Advancing Wellness In The Workforce with Mari Ryan and Handling A Big Family with LaChelle Adkins

People always place high regard in the pursuit of their wellness. However, when we think of wellness, sometimes we only limit that to our physical well-being. Mari Ryan, speaker, author, and CEO and Founder of AdvancingWellness, gives her insight about how there is more to wellness than what meets the eye. According to Mari, wellness is also about how we manage our healthcare costs and how that links to our behavior, lifestyle, and chronic conditions. Mari shows how we can measure and manage well-being using different approaches, especially in the workforce.

Caring for a child needs a lot of focus and attention, but how can you handle and care if you have fifteen children? America’s Supermom LaChelle Adkins, life coach at Protocol Group Inc., shares the journey of having a big family. She speaks about the importance of encouraging people with a large family size with something positive, especially in seeing them together and supporting each other. As she gives us a glimpse of her downward spiral with depression and how she was able to overcome that, LaChelle shares some wisdom from her experience of being an only child to becoming a fantastic supermom.

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I’m so glad you joined us because we have Mari Ryan and LaChelle Adkins. Mari is a CEO and Founder of AdvancingWellness and LaChelle is a Life Coach at Protocol Group. We’re going to talk about many interesting things from the importance of wellness to an organization to what it’s like to have fifteen children and how to help life coach other people. I’m looking forward to talking to LaChelle and Mari.

Listen to the podcast here:

Advancing Wellness In The Workforce with Mari Ryan

I am with Mari Ryan who is the CEO and Founder of AdvancingWellness, an award-winning author, speaker and workplace well-being strategist. She’s also the author of The Thriving Hive: How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results, and it’s the winner of the 2019 Axiom Business Book Award. Congratulations and welcome, Mari.

Thanks so much, Diane. I’m excited to be here.

That’s quite an honor already to have one with the book. It’s a very important topic. Engagement is huge. I want to get a little background though on you to see what led to your interest in this and can you give us your backstory a little bit?

I spend my entire career in business. I had been working as an independent consultant in the early 2000s, but I was living on the road 100% of the time. I had 3,000-mile weeks and 6,000-mile week. Every other weekend I was away and I get home at the end of a project. My last project was for Hewlett Packard at Microsoft. That’s where my 3,000 and 6,000-mile weeks came in. I get home and I said, “This life sucks. This is not what I want to do with my life.” I had no relationships with people of my friends or people in my community. I had somebody else living in my house, so it wasn’t empty. It was not the life I wanted to live.

I hired a life coach to help me figure out what it was that I’m good at? What are my strengths? What can I do that’s going to have meaning in my life? It took me a little while to figure that out, but I then went to a training program. It was a couple of days of a certification program and it was about worksite wellness. I realized in that experience that all of my business experience would be leveraged. I needed to learn some new things about this particular area, but I had the skills that would help me thrive in this type of business. I decided that was the work I was going to do for the rest of my career. That was several years ago. I had an MBA, but I went back to school to get a Master’s in health promotion because I felt like that would help give me some more credentials to work in this field. I went from being the newbie to being an expert.

I’ve done that thing where you know it all and you leave and then you start all over again, but it’s fun. I was thinking about wellness, that’s interesting to me. Speaking of credentials, I had received a certified medical rep degree. It was like a two-year master level thing when I was a pharmaceutical rep. I’m interested in what you had to learn to become a wellness expert because wellness can mean so many things. Give me a little background on how you define wellness?

It’s interesting because even in the time that I’ve been working in this field, our definition has evolved. When we traditionally think about wellness, we come out of the medical model. It’s about how much we eat, how much we weigh and do we get enough sleep and are way in using tobacco and how physically active we are. The traditional aspects of our true physical wellbeing, that has been the focus for decades. That was the focus of the programs that employers were provided with the goal of impacting healthcare costs. It was all about how do we manage our healthcare costs and the link between behavior and lifestyles and chronic conditions.

There are tons of research that show that there are relationships between the aspects of our lifestyles and many chronic conditions. That was the traditional approach. The things I had to learn had to do with behavior change and understanding what motivates individuals around their behavior. A lot of aspects of behavior were an important part of it. Some general aspects of what does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle, but we still have the business of it. When we think about this from the business perspective of human relations and human resource management types of topics as well. It was an interesting and broad curriculum.

[bctt tweet=”If our financial life is out of whack, then life is completely out of whack.” username=””]

It’s interesting and I’ve got some experts on the show to talk about mindfulness and different things and I assume that factors in, too?

It does and that’s one of the directions in which some of the programs and the approaches that we’ve taken predominantly because stress has become such a big issue. We need to have more skills to be more resilient because fundamentally stress doesn’t go away. We don’t eliminate stress in our lives. We learned to manage it generally.

That’s an important point. You deal with thriving, which I think all the behavioral factors of what makes people thrive is fascinating to me. I’m curious what you mean by people-centric organizations? I think some people might not know exactly what you mean when you say how people-centric organizations ignite engagement and feel results.

When I think of a people-centric workplace, I think of one where the thought that our employees are our most important asset is not just rhetoric. It is someplace where the leaders and the managers in that organization recognize that employees truly are the most important asset because you can’t achieve your business objectives without an engaged and productive workforce.

I gave a talk to 250 CEOs of trucking companies. They are all almost 100% turnover in that industry and the engagement levels are horrible because it’s always been that way. How are you tying your wellness, wellbeing, engagement, productivity and commitment? How do they link together?

There’s a strong link. As you know, with some organizations where they have high turnover, they obviously probably have low engagement. Gallup‘s done a lot of research on reporting and employee engagement for years and they report as many as high as 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged. The element of engagement is around someone’s ability to feel connected to the work that they do and feel connected to the organization that they are working in. We’re seeing a lot more research that is demonstrating that there is evidence to support that organizations that build cultures of health, safety and wellbeing are creating a competitive advantage.

That’s interesting because those are the things we were talking about in that last talk. What I thought was interesting was how little these CEOs understood the importance of connectedness. I remember in the surveys with Gallup, having a friend at work, somebody that they felt close to was a huge factor. You’re out in these virtual jobs. Trucking’s virtual work. There’s a lot of these tough jobs that seem like they’d be hard to do because mindlessness or whatever it is that you have redundant things that you have to do. We’ve seen things like the Fish Philosophy where you can find the joy in even the most mundane jobs. What are you seeing as the thing that’s holding a lot of these workplaces back that is keeping their engagement low?

I think part of it is not making a concentrated effort to focus on it. With a number of my clients who tend to be a little further out on the progressive curve on some of these types of things are starting to focus on what the true employee experience is about. That goes from the moment an individual applies to work to an organization or has awareness in the hiring process to when they leave or retire. That whole journey of what goes on every single day, what it’s like in the viewpoint of that individual and what that experience is like. This is a common thing that’s done in the customer service and the customer marketing world where they focus on the customer journey. They’re translating some of that same thought process to the employee experience and the employee journey.

TTL 553 | Advancing Wellness
Advancing Wellness: In an environment where there’s low unemployment and where people have the choice of what jobs they are going to take, hiring top talent is becoming increasingly difficult.


It’s those organizations that are starting to think about what that means. A classic example of this is I took a job and I was hired. Clearly, they knew that I was coming because they gave me an offer letter and said, “Show up on this day and we want you to work here.” I arrived the first day at work and I was shown into an office that looked like a closet where they stored used furniture. There were no computers set up. There was a bunch of chairs. No one had planned for my arrival. That onboarding experience is something that is going to stay with me forever. I keep telling that story over and over again because it was a horrible experience. Nobody cared even to have a computer ready or move the extra chairs out of this office or dust it off or anything. That’s an example of, “What do we do to show we care for people? How do we demonstrate that across the entire life cycle of the employee journey?”

I’ve seen that more in smaller companies than in larger companies. I’ve had that, “Here’s your desk.” and I’ve had another one where it’s a couple of years of onboarding in pharmaceuticals type of thing. I think there’s a range. What they don’t even consider as they grow, they start to scale. Sometimes in HR type behavioral onboarding stuff gets put to the side. Have you seen that?

It seems it’s not a top priority sometimes. I think in the environment that we’re in where there’s low unemployment and where people have the choice of what jobs they are going to take, hiring top talent is becoming increasingly difficult. Organizations have to look at these elements in order to get the people in the door and get them on the bus so that they’ve got the right people there. Then to keep them engaged while they’re there so that they don’t leave. I’m seeing it at least within some of my clients and hearing this much more within the circles that I travel. It’s starting to become a much bigger issue and one that can’t be put to the side where we have to focus on these things. If people don’t get the sense that they’re feeling cared for and appreciated and that their work is valued, they’re not going to stay. They vote with their feet.

I know engagement is such a problem for so many organizations. You talk about well-being tying into it. You know me, I like to measure things as I do my curiosity. I want to know how do we know if we have a good level of sense of well-being?

I’m totally with you on the measurement piece. As with any other aspect of the business, we have to have metrics to be able to measure whether we’re making progress. This is an important part of the work that I do with my clients is establishing metrics and baselines by which we can measure progress over time. There are a number of different approaches that we can take to measuring well-being. We look at these quite broadly. We’re not saying, “Does everybody have normal blood pressure or are they getting enough sleep?” Although both of those things are important. When we look at it organizationally, we want to be able to see if we do have some measures of engagement. Every organization should have some baseline measures that they’re using for engagement in addition to being able to look at metrics for well-being. I have a model that I use to be able to look across a number of different elements within the organization.

For example, financial well-being has become an important part of the overall dimensions of well-being. As we all know, if our financial life is out of whack, then life is completely out of whack. One of the things that we might measure or look at as a metric in the workplace is loans against 401(k)s. This was a very interesting story from a small organization that with part of a program that I was leading. This was after the recession, so this wasn’t in the midst of the recession when people were struggling. The people in her organization, she noticed that the loans against 401(k)s were increasing. People were borrowing against their retirement savings to meet their obligations. We know from many workers in the US that they don’t have the $400 a month if a car breaks down. This is another way to be able to say, “Are there metrics that we can identify within the organization that is going to tell us indicators of what’s happening for the well-being of the workforce?”

It’s interesting to me to quantify things like that. When I was researching curiosity, the biggest thing I was finding was there were assessments that said, we’d tell you how curious or not you were, but they didn’t tell you what’s holding you back. That’s why I wanted to research what held you back, so if you can move forward once you know those factors that block you. I’m curious, financial obligations might block our ability to feel like we have a good sense of financial well-being. What other things hold us back from having a good sense of employee well-being?

If we look at it at the individual level. First off, everyone has stress in their life. We have the challenges of the life we live that we’re tethered to our technology meaning we are tethered to our work. Our boundaries between home and work are blurred. That puts added stress on everyone. We have a lot more stress in our lives. If we look at the dimensions of well-being, there’s still our physical well-being and there are billion-dollar industries that look after our physical well-being. Whether we’re working out or getting enough sleep and the traditional things. If we have bad habits there, then certainly, our well-being can be diminished because those building good habits around our physical health can help us in lots of other ways. Other places that we see that are impacting well-being. Some of this is based on adaptation from the Gallup model is that we have physical which I call energy and financial well-being, which is another important element. There’s also connection and community.

[bctt tweet=”Because of technology, our boundaries between home and work are blurred.” username=””]

The extent to which we have strong relationships. Someone we can call on when we are in a time of need and connections and relationships within the communities we live in safe communities in which to live. We hear a lot more, even in the workplace about loneliness and isolation. I think technology may have something to do with that. Many people may be working remotely. They may be working from home, so they don’t see anybody except when they’re out walking the dog, so they don’t have those connections. Although hopefully, they’re making connections while they’re out walking the dog. This possibility of isolation and loneliness as a result of some of these things. At a court, some of this is also a purpose. The extent to which people feel that they are connected to both the work that they do and feel they have a purpose in their life. That purpose in life may or may not be connected to their work, but it’s something that gets them out of bed every day and keeps them motivated so that they can keep going.

You brought up some interesting points about virtual work. I’ve taught a lot of virtual online courses and I’ve worked virtually for many decades, either in pharmaceuticals or in online teaching or even this. I think that there are some people like me. I thrive working alone and I love that, but a lot of people can’t get themselves motivated to do it. It depends if you’re a good match for whatever it is. It was harder for me to get motivated to be a pharmaceutical rep because I didn’t like that job. I love what I do and so my husband said a joke when he leaves at 6:00 and he comes back at 6:00 and I’m like, “Have you left yet?” I haven’t even noticed he’s gone. You’re talking about having your purpose. How do you determine that purpose or if you’re even matched properly to what you do?

First off, it takes some introspection to be able to know even for yourself as you say, you knew you didn’t like the pharmaceutical job. We know when there’s something not right, whether it’s the environment in the workplace that’s not right or it’s not fit with the skills that you need or the education. There’s that aspect, but there’s also the fit for the organization. Do I feel good about what the purpose is that this company is doing? In my book, I characterize this in a black and white way of a dive hive where their only purpose was profit. The alive hives, which were their purpose was tied to pollinating the plants, flowers, the fruits and vegetables, so the people had healthy food to eat every day. That was a purpose that could be dramatized as in this case in the book to show the connection to something that is bigger than myself as the individual.

When people feel that connection, this is why you see so many people passionately working in not for profit organizations because they feel connected to the mission of that organization. In some ways, we can create cultures in the workplace that help people feel connected to that purpose. If it’s something that you can’t get excited about and you’re never going to get excited about, then you’re probably going to be one of those people that shows up, does the job, collects a paycheck and goes home and doesn’t feel any connection to it. Not every job might instill passion in people, but at least it’s making you feel something you’re doing is connecting to a greater purpose.

I love the culture at the pharmaceuticals, I just didn’t like the job itself. I’ve worked for other companies where I loved my job, but I didn’t like the culture. I think of someone who I’ve worked with in the past, she adores what she does in her particular job, but the culture is so toxic. When you work virtually, she doesn’t deal with the culture very often, but you could tell when she has to, it has such an impact. Do you think it’s hard to find both or are you seeing more people finding both good culture and good task alignment?

I think especially with the Millennial generation who’s been pushing the envelope on this, they’re very focused on this and they are seeking work that has both meaning personally at a larger level.

I think it was the Wall Street Journal or one of them had the Gen Zs was the most stressed out generation entering the workplace. Do you deal at all the generational issues in the book?

Not specifically in my book, but we certainly deal with it in the workplace. It’s interesting because you think about some of these generational issues. Every generation may have their issues. Let’s take financial well-being as an example. You’ve got older individuals who haven’t sufficiently saved for retirement. They’re continuing to work. They can’t retire because they don’t have enough money to retire. You have the Millennial generation who’s burdened with college debt. They’re struggling to pay off college debt and that has implications whether they can buy a home and other aspects of their financial well-being. You’ve got younger people who may still be living in their parents’ basement because they aren’t earning enough money yet to be able to afford anything in terms of independence. Across the generations, there are different issues, but they are still issues for each of those individuals.

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Advancing Wellness: Every generation have their issues.


As you said, each generation has its unique issues. I find all the things that you address in your book are fascinating to me since I’m also into the behavioral realm. I’m curious why you pick the beehive metaphor with the thriving hive. What drew you to that?

It was interesting because I had been contemplating writing this book and I’d done some research. I was doing interviews with CEOs for quite a while before I got ready to sit down and write. A few months before I knew I was going to have the time to start writing, I was in Georgetown in Washington and heading out on my morning walk and I walked by a window that had some bee decor in the window. I thought beehive. I bet that would be a great metaphor for the system that represents the workplace. It’s got workers, although I take liberties within the book about having a hierarchical structure where the queen bee is in charge, which is not true in the way beehives truly work. It has all of these bees in different jobs and doing different functions. I knew nothing about bees, so I had to do a ton of research to understand bees, but it took me a little while to learn about the bees.

You have to develop your curiosity.

I was very curious about bees.

How’d you get to be the winner of the Axiom Business Book Award? That’s hard to win.

They have 22 different categories for their awards and something you submit to. They had a category called business fables. I thought, let’s see. As long as Patrick Lencioni isn’t writing a book, I might have a chance, so I won a silver award.

It’s such an important topic that you deal with and I think that so many people could learn so much from you. You’ve had decades of experience in different marketing, consulting, and executive roles and I think a lot of people probably want to know how they could reach you. Could you share a link or whatever you’d like to share so people can find out how to find out more about it?

Our website is There are lots of information there about what we do. You can find links there to all our social media accounts. We’ve got Facebook, YouTube channel, LinkedIn and all the places where you can find us. Were easy to find.

Mari Ryan, thanks for being my guest.

Thank you so much, Diane.

You’re welcome.

Handling A Big Family with LaChelle Adkins

I am here with LaChelle Adkins who is a Life Coach at Protocol Group Inc. She’s also known as America’s Super-Mom who has created a movement to empower women to overcome stress, depression and limiting beliefs. It’s so nice to have you here, LaChelle.

Thank you so much for having me, Diane. I’m honored to be here.

This is going to be fun and you’re welcome. I couldn’t help but notice that one little aspect of your bio. You have fifteen children, thirteen of which you had with your husband, Jerome. I assume you like a big family. Can you give a little background and how we got to know you as America’s Super-Mom?

I was an only child. Every day is an adventure for me. Growing up as an only child, my mom had eleven brothers and sisters. She was the only one in her family of the twelve who went to college while I was growing up. She was the first generation. Education was important and I would go and visit my grandmother for the summers because she was working and she had a career. During that time when I was younger, my parents got divorced she was going through this single mom thing, but education was something that she impressed upon me. I attribute my large family to the influence that I had with those summers with my grandmother.

She had a heart for people and she imparted so much wisdom to me growing up as a child when I had to be a latch-key. I long for companionship with other kids. I was fortunate to have a lot of the material things, but I learned at a young age that the material things didn’t matter if you didn’t have anybody to share them with. That was something I used to always put on my Christmas list was a brother or sister. I guess I was able to be fortunate enough to find the right mate and I was blessed with the kids. As each one came, I’ve continued to open up my arms and heart and embrace them all.

How many years apart? Did you feel you’re always pregnant?

Yes, for the most part. We met in college. Our oldest daughter we had before we got married and my husband has two other boys. After we had her, they’re all eighteen to twenty months apart. There are no twins. They’re all single births. I had eleven of them naturally with no pain medicine, and the last two, because I was in the 40 age range were high risks, so I had to have two C-sections.

[bctt tweet=”The purpose in life is what gets people out of bed everyday.” username=””]

Is there a time where it gets easier? I remember having two made it twice as hard sometimes and then after a while when they’re old enough, they’re helping you.

When they want something, let’s be real when it comes to kids. I think for me the hardest transition was from one to two. We had our daughter. She was at the age where she was learning how to walk and be independent and you had to do that transition with one’s a baby. You want them to interact, but then she doesn’t realize that she’s so small, so you always have to watch them and try to divide your time. It’s one of the things with life. There is no balance with multitasking in a lot of time. As a mom, when you have two kids you think, “I can just divide my time and I can give this one that and that,” but it doesn’t work out like that. I think that was the hardest transition. After you have more, they entertain each other.

How do you take them anywhere? What size of the vehicle do you have to have?

My oldest daughter graduated with her master’s from the University of Miami. We had to take a fifteen-passenger van. We had one, but our kids are older to where a lot of them have their own car and they drive, so we have two or three cars that we’ll take if we go somewhere as a group. If we travel, we’ll rent something. The day is much of having a fifteen passenger even though that’s what we used to have because they’ll have a friend that wants to come over or there are extracurricular activities, they need to take their soccer gear. It was always something, but now that they’re older and a lot of them work and have their own schedule, we don’t require all of us to travel at the same time a lot.

I have to look up what a fifteen-passenger van even looks like. I had my nieces and nephews were at the same age as my kids. I’d have four to six kids go on sometimes, but when you’re talking fifteen, that’s a huge thing to deal with. You’ve caught the attention of Fox News and different things for being America’s Super-Mom. Why do you think they regard you other than being able not to kill yourself having fifteen children? What have you done that caught their attention to being a supermom?

I have always tried to raise my kids by being an example and I try to incorporate them being examples to each other. It’s not about, what mom and dad are doing when they have extracurricular activities. For example, soccer matches, basketball, whatever they’re participating in, we’ve always impressed, “The family is going to go there and support you.” It’s not about, “My friend wants me to go here.” We impressed that, “We’re all going to go out. We’re going to support graduations. You’re going to make it work, change your schedule or do whatever.” We think it’s important for them to be the example as well as participate and be a spectator also. A lot of the things that we do as a family is to encourage other people because we get a lot of attention because of the size of our family.

I’ve always had the mindset that let’s use that attention for something positive. We’ve given meals to first responders for the holidays as a family. We’ve made diaper wreaths for new moms at hospitals and taking them to them as gifts for Mother’s Day. We try to be an example of a family. That’s some of the things that have attracted attention for us. We were also contacted by the Rachael Ray Show and we were able to help them spearhead a national organization campaign. A lot of people, the first of the year they get all, “I want to do this”, they get discouraged and they were thinking, “If we could have a family of your size that can lead this campaign, I’m sure that we can inspire a lot of people to do it.” It was a neat experience. We got to work with Peter Walsh and Rachael Ray on that campaign.

TTL 553 | Advancing Wellness
Advancing Wellness: Be responsible for your own actions and for your own thought process.


You’ve done some amazing things with your life coaching. You’ve used your career in marketing from Indiana University, do business coaching to small businesses. I was looking at some of the stuff you did, but you also are honest about having a downward spiral of depression. Do want to talk about how you were able to overcome that? Was that from having so much pressure from having so many children?

For me, looking back after I’ve gotten out of the way of being bitter, blaming other people, feeling like a victim, I had the time to reflect and realize that I have to be responsible for my own actions and for my own thought process. One of the things that I have always aspired to do was have a spirit of excellence about things that I did. If I wanted to be a good mom, if I wanted to be good in school. I got my degree from Indiana University. It was very competitive. We had to test into the business school in order to get a degree.

I’ve always been on this track of the competition. Having high standards and things of that nature. I’ve had that same mindset in life. It caused me to put too much pressure on myself and have unrealistic goals about things that I couldn’t control. My husband also was a pastor, so I have the pressure from the church. He also was an officer in the military. We had issues with being an officer because the officers are saying differently than enlisted. You’ve got a different standard there. There were a number of things that were putting me in a mindset to try to please other people, not thinking about what the outcome was and what was doing.

There were times where I wasn’t getting any sleep. There would be days that I wouldn’t even eat because I’m thinking about all the things that I got to do. I homeschool the kids at certain times. This desire to always achieve at any cost. My husband was the only one that worked because I stayed home. We value a parent being here, but it was so many things that I can look back and see that were triggers. Before it was like, I’m in survival mode. We have a system. You have another baby. You’re going to go with that system not taken into account that, “We need to reflect here. What should we be doing here? How should we be handling this?” We’d never had that time to do that. It was always survival mode, so for me, that was a lot of it.

It would be hard to work and imagine the daycare.

We used to have a daycare center. We stopped that because the kids were jealous of the other daycare kids. A lot of the kids, they were young. They would gravitate towards us. We had a lot of kids that would call us mommy and daddy and they had to share toys and it was ridiculous.

You would think that they’d probably get good at sharing if you have so many kids though. I am always fascinated by the dynamics of families. I studied our environment and how it impacts curiosity. You were talking about how your mother in pressed upon your certain education and that kind of things. It’s so fascinating to see how all these kids can be all raised by the same parents, the same situation and yet have completely different perspectives in the way they look at life. You deal a lot with things like that when you’re doing your life coaching. I know you deal with the victim mentality. When people have that and they come to you, what advice do you give them to help them escape that?

[bctt tweet=”Anxiety, depression, and everything can take place because unrealistic expectations keeps on growing.” username=””]

My coaching style is more honest in a sense to where people need to recognize what their problems are. A lot of times when people get a coach, it’s like this is the end thing. There are so many coaches. The joke is there’s a coach on every corner. They can help you and you come to the coach you’re telling them what you think you need and you think it’s this process that you’re going to start and you’re going to have everything you want, like anything else, we’ve sensationalized, like fast food, but a lot of times people come to you and they are misdiagnosing themselves. They’ll say, “I need to build my confidence. I want to go for this promotion and I need to do a few things to get my confidence together.” As you start coaching them, they don’t know how to set boundaries. They have a desire to please people or they feel bad about their childhood.

It’s like a simple task that you could give them. Your thinking is simple, but there are many different obstacles to overcome because you’re trying to avoid some of these masks that they have on. It’s like they want to show you the end part that it’s okay to admit, but then when you want to do the work, people are nervous about removing their mask. I have been fortunate because with my story and being able to be transparent, it puts a lot of people at ease and they’re able to say, “She is open and honest. I feel like I can trust her.” That allows them to be able to remove their own mask. I use the analogy of if you need to put some medicine on your leg and you have a Band-Aid on.

As long as you have that band-aid on that medicine’s not going to get to your leg. You have to remove the Band-Aid and put the medicines directly on the wound. That’s how it is with coaching. You got to get these masks off so that you can see what you’re working with. With my story being able to be transparent and feel like I don’t have to seek the validation of my clients for anything, allows me to be a 100% intentional with serving them. That puts them up in a place to where they can realize, “I don’t want this pain. I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t want to not be in control. I want to be in control.” Feel uncomfortable to admit that and ask for help and then be able to be open with creating a strategy to overcome it. Does that make sense?

As you’re talking about the desire to please people, I dealt with a lot of that when I was researching curiosity. Fear is something that holds a lot of people back because they have these experiences that have shut them down in the past and they don’t even recognize it. When you’re seeing the desire to please people, do you see it more in women or in men? Do you deal with more men than women or women more than men?

I see it in both of them. I did a series with Chris Salem. We were doing these little Facebook Live series and I noticed that men will speak up about certain things, but I feel there is a difference in how I can coach somebody that’s a male rather than a male coach and a male. There’s this barrier there that I feel is a difference. I recognize that it’s like we’re apples and oranges. I know that there’s a certain point that I can coach a male, but I think for some things to be 100% transformation, it requires another male to do that.

It is interesting the way men will treat other men versus how they’ll treat other women and what they’ll let go. I had an old boss of mine say something to me that I thought he would never say to a man. I’m thinking, “That was insulting.” I wonder, “Would you ever say that to a guy?” you know he wouldn’t. It’s interesting how the dynamics of coaching and sometimes helps to hear different perspectives from male to female, but sometimes they’ll only listen to it from one angle. You’ve got an interesting background on helping people with a life balance issues though too. I’m sure a lot of women have difficulty with career, marriage, motherhood trying to do that. What helped do you offer them for that? Is there such a thing as a healthy balance? I don’t remember it. When my kids were young, it seemed hard as I recall.

I help people to be transparent. I had a coaching call and they’re like, “I don’t look my best.” I think face to face is always better than being over the phone or text. I said, “You’re at home. This is different. It’s not like you’re out in public doing this.” There’s this desire to always to look perfect and well-together. It’s the thing that makes the standards so much higher. That’s where the anxiety, the depression and everything can take place because that unrealistic expectation keeps on growing. I talked to somebody and it’s like, “You could come into my house one day and it is spotless. You may come back an hour later and it looks like a tornado went through here.” It’s clean when everybody’s in bed.

TTL 553 | Advancing Wellness
Advancing Wellness: The secret to happiness is recognizing who you are, what your voice is, and what your role and purpose is.


Being able to embrace that though is a hard thing for a lot of people and I can only speak for myself that it is a sign of me being weak if my house is not in order. If my kids don’t have the right shoes on or they can’t find the matching socks or all these different things that we put on ourselves instead of being honest about we’re having one of those days. There are several times where I go with my daughter and I would’ve never done this. She’ll have on some shorts and want to wear some boots or something crazy, but I’m letting her express herself. It’s like, “Is this something she’s going to remember?” It’s like, “You want to wear those boots? That’s not my choice,” but she has on shoes.

Women have such unique issues. We talk about paying the pink tax because there’s so much more that we have to do. When you were talking about the looks thing, it brought to mind Modern Family. There’s an episode where the mother has her makeup and she’s ready for the day and the husband comes in and he says something like, “There she is.” A real insulting thing like, “She looks good for a change.” My husband will do that to me once in a while making fun of me as a joke. I don’t think that men realize is that when you’re working virtually especially, it takes an hour of our day as a female that they don’t have. My husband’s got the Bruce Willis hair. He gets out of the shower and he touches his head and says, “Hair is done.” It doesn’t work that way for me. I noticed so many men would say, “Let’s hop on a conversation at 6:00 AM with a video.” It’s so easy for them. It’s a little different for us. I think we have a lot of expectations of looking good and handling it all. Do you think that we have it all? Is it too much that we’ve asked and we’ve stepped up for?

This is the thing that resonated for me, which is the secret to my happiness and my being willing to get on that call at 6:00 in the morning. It’s the fact that I recognize who I am and what my voice is and what my role and purpose is. There were times that I was searching for being the best mom, being the best first lady in the church, being the best officer’s wife. It looked like I was three different people. At this place, I’m this way. This place, I’m this way and it was a lot of pressure. I’m like, “Am I wearing the right outfit? What are they going to think about this? Should I talk like this? Should I act like this?” It’s a lot of standards where I didn’t have control. I felt I was a puppet in all these different situations.

After I was hospitalized, I realize that I needed to know who I was because I was trying to fulfill all these different standards for other people. I thought this was the right thing to do that I said, “I’m going on a social past.” I stopped getting on social media. I stopped watching TV. I took some time to reflect and figure out who I was. Now, I recognize that it doesn’t matter what role I play or all these different things that I have going on, “I am LaChelle. However, these different things are platforms for me to add value to people.” That to me is the difference. Before, if somebody said something at 6:00 I’d be like, “I need you to do this. I’ve got to get up early. I have this thing.” It’s like, I’ll tell the people, “6:00 I don’t know what I’m going to be looking like,” which is totally different and less stress because that’s me. I can be me about this rather than feeling like I have to put on this facade all the time.

A lot of people could use help with doing some of these things with their life-balance with coming over and having a lot of these limiting beliefs and all of the things that you talk about. I’m sure that a lot of people reading this want to know how they can reach you. Is there a website or some way that you want to have people contact you?

My website is They can follow me on LinkedIn. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, but LinkedIn is my favorite platform and then through my website. I do a lot of Facebook Live interviews. I also have an audio podcast that I put some of that material out on Facebook to encourage people. My topic is diligence, so I’ll do audio, do a video or something related to that topic to help people recognize different ways that they can attribute some of these traits and characteristics into their daily living.

You’ve got all the video crew probably built into your family if you need it.

[bctt tweet=”Having a conversation face to face is always better than being over the phone or text.” username=””]

It’s one of those things. You have to be strategic when you’re dealing with them, but everybody has their own life.

It was so nice to have you on the show, LaChelle. Thank you so much for being my guest.

Thank you.

I’d like to thank Mari and LaChelle for being my guests. We had so much fun on the show and I have so many great guests. If you missed any past episodes, you can go to If you’re looking for more information about Cracking the Curiosity Code book or the Curiosity Code Index Assessment, it’s all at You can become certified to give the Curiosity Code Index there. For more information about the show or to contact me for speaking and that type of thing, you can go to I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Mari Ryan

TTL 553 | Advancing WellnessMari Ryan, CEO, and founder of AdvancingWellness is an award-winning author, speaker and workplace well-being strategist. She leverages over 30 years of business experience in various marketing, consulting and executive roles across a variety of different industries. For the past decade, Ms. Ryan has been creating healthier businesses and impacting the lives of employees, through her consulting work and speaking on workplace well-being. Mari has developed well-being strategies in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, hospitals, health insurance, software, and educational non-profits.


About LaChelle Adkins

TTL 553 | Advancing WellnessLaChelle Adkins is a life coach at Protocol Group Inc. She is also known as “America’s SuperMom “ has created a movement to empower women to overcome stress, depression and limiting beliefs. LaChelle and her husband Jerome have 15 children (13 of which they had together) and 2 sons from other relationships. LaChelle has experience with juggling motherhood, military family life, career and life in the ministry all of which led to a search for perfection which was unobtainable. This quest to acquire something not possible led to a downward spiral of depression which resulted in 3 hospitalizations.


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