We all strive to be a better leader and a better influence to those who are working for us and helping us thrive. In this episode, Dr. Diane Hamilton is joined by Margie Warrell, a bestselling author, speaker, and internationally renowned authority on courageous leadership. Margie talks about self-trust, reminding us to not compete with everyone except our self and to not allow stress to magnify. Highlighting some crucial bits from her book, You’ve Got This: The Life Changing Power Of Trusting Yourself, she also reveals her methods of coaching people through language. Finally, she introduces her advocacies, touching on various women-based issues incorporated in charitable weekends. Tune in to this episode to lead more bravely and become the courageous leader your team needs today.
I’m so glad you joined us because we have Margie Warrell here. Margie is a bestselling author, speaker and internationally renowned authority on courageous leadership. She has a new book and I’m excited to talk to her about that.
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
How Self-Trust Can Lead To Success With Margie Warrell
I am here with Margie Warrell who is a bestselling author, speaker and internationally renowned authority on courageous leadership. She has spoken to some of the top industries throughout the world. She’s a member of the advisory board for the Forbes School of Business. She is a woman’s Economic Forum honoree. The list goes on and on and she’s got a new book titled, You’ve Got This! The Life Changing Power of Trusting Yourself, and I’m looking forward to having you, Margie. Welcome.
It’s great to be with you, Diane.
I’ve seen you speak. We met in person and I was looking forward to this because we didn’t get a chance to get to know each other at the last Forbes event. You did a great job of emceeing it and I was hoping we’d get a chance to learn more about you. Before I get into some of the stuff you’ve done and ask you about your book, I want to get a little background on you because people will recognize you have a beautiful accent right off the bat, but can you give us a little background?
I come from the deep south. It’s a long way south, from Australia. I grew up as a big sister of seven kids on a small dairy farm in a rural area of Southeast Australia. I have found myself having a global existence, which is standing quite in contrast to my childhood. Maybe that’s where I get my adventurous spirit from because I grew up in this tiny area, like in a little cocoon. At eighteen, I’m like, “Let me see the world.”
You’ve seen it. That’s for sure. I was looking at some of the places you’ve been. What exactly is your title at this point? I know you’re an author and a speaker.
Diane, I don’t know about you, but I often struggled to answer that question because I could answer in so many different ways. I speak, I’m an author, I’m a mom of four kids, I have my leadership advisory, Global Courage and I facilitate leadership programs. I’m on the board of advisory board for Forbes Business School. I struggled to nail it down to a title but probably the better way for me to describe is saying, “I feel passionately called to do it,” which is emboldening people to live and lead more bravely. I do that in lots of different ways. That’s probably the best way to describe what I do.
You definitely focus on being brave and in your books. I’m looking at some of the past titles, Brave, Stop Playing Safe, and Find Your Courage. Bravery is a huge topic, which focuses on things that I’ve written about in my book on curiosity because one of the things that hold people back from being curious is fear. I was interested in your book because you focus on a lot of that. Does fear hold you back? My research finds it does hold us back from being curious. I want to get into that. It’s interesting to note that you touch on a lot of women-based issues as well. You have different charitable weekends and things that you’ve done. Can you share a little bit about that?
As a woman, mother, sister, daughter, and friend, I have found myself over the years, while my work isn’t necessarily focused purely on women because so much of it is around helping people rise above the fears that can hold us back. It’s my experience that women often doubt themselves more, back themselves less and can be that much less confident in their ability to rise above their challenges and often underestimate themselves. I started running Live Brave Women’s Weekend a few years ago in Australia, which I’ve now done globally in Asia and in the US. I ran one of those in Bali, which a mutual friend of ours came along too, flew to from the US. 100% of the money was going off to support the work of The Hunger Project. I donated my time for that, which was a worthy cause.We're wired to focus more on what we can't do or got wrong. Click To Tweet
I believe that and I know you have a passion for emboldening women as well, Diane, but I truly believe that our world would be a better place if it was more inclusive and equitable in all its forms. We need more women seated in decision making tables and for women to rise and to own a place there and to be able to wield their power effectively. We have to be willing to dare and take to do the things that we’re afraid we might be inadequate for. We’ve got to back and trust ourselves and be more ambitious than maybe we feel we have the right to be.
You brought up so many great points there. One of the words you used was, women doubt more. I know doubt is a big part of your book and you talk about it. You have the wording like this is a master class to beat self-doubt in your book. Something that comes to mind is I remember talking to a lot of people who feel they have to be perfect at doing things. It’s mostly women who tell me, “If it’s not perfect, I don’t feel comfortable submitting it or whatever.” Is done better than perfect? Is that something men see more than women that it’s okay to move forward without having everything absolutely perfect?
If you’re a brain surgeon, I try and go to be perfect. In most situations, we don’t need to have things to be perfect. I do think this is something women struggle with more. I believe the way we socialize and the norms of the cultures that we’ve been raised in, women tend to set this bar high for themselves and are less comfortable with winging it. They’re going, “I’ll put my hand up and take on that role and figure it out as I go.” That’s good enough. I remember Sheryl Sandberg writing about that, “Done is better than perfect.” I absolutely believe good enough is often good enough. I do think we create a rod for our own backs when we think we have to do something perfectly before we try to do it at all or before we put ourselves out there and put a hand up.
This can apply to men as well, but I’ve seen this phenomenon of perfectionism more prevalent among women. I know myself as a mother. I had four kids in five years. I remember one time dropping them at this school. We lived in the US for eleven years. We’re living in McLean and I dropped them at school one day. There was another mom walking in and she always looked immaculate at 7:45 AM. She had two boys and they were always dressed in matching clothes and she said, “One of my boys spilled something on him as he got in the car. I had to go back inside and change both of their outfits. I don’t know how you would do that with four.”
I looked over at my kids and they whatever they dress themselves in, which was this mismatch of whatever. I was like, “I do it with four because my kids look like that.” We didn’t have any matching clothes. If one of them gets dirty, they get dirty. Lowering the bar as a mom gave me the freedom to do more work and pursue what I was doing, albeit at a slower pace in the early years outside of the home. I do think that we have to be so careful in the standards that we set for ourselves. Yes, I always say aim high and sometimes we have to lift the bar but sometimes I believe that we do ourselves a favor when we lower the bar on what we think we’re supposed to the standard we set.
It’s funny when you talk about kids getting dirty. My husband and I make a joke about some of the things. His mom always told him, “Don’t get dirty.” He wouldn’t try a lot of things as a kid because he was always afraid of getting dirty. I’ll take him out. We go out bike riding and rock climbing and things he never did. We always make a joke, “Don’t get dirty.” You want to get a little dirty in life.
I do know the last time I was dirty because I told you. I flew from Australia and I’m in Hershey, Pennsylvania to do a keynote. The day before, door to door was 31 hours of travel. I caught my connecting flight in Philadelphia and my suitcase didn’t land. I was like, “I don’t even have anything to get dressed into.” I wanted to go out and do some work. I was like, “I’m going to go out dirty in the same clothes I’ve been in for the last 2.5 days.” I didn’t look dirty, but I felt pretty dirty. I remember hearing years ago about some research that kids who grew up on dairy farms, I don’t know why dairy versus other farms, have the lowest level of allergies and asthma. I thought that was interesting, but I didn’t have to look at photos of my siblings and me as kids. We were always filthy. I looked like a street child. I was always dirty. It cracks me up when I see these photos. I don’t remember being that dirty. Maybe it gave me a tolerance for it. I have a fantastic immune system. I pretty much never get sick. There’s something to be said for the freedom we give ourselves, whether it’s physically getting dirty or allowing ourselves freedom. How much do we not have the freedom in how we operate in the world?
You’re talking about a lot of things that deal with exploration, which is part of what is important to develop curiosity. A lot of people hold themselves back from fear. In my research, I found four things kept people back from being curious and those are fear, the assumptions are the voice in our head, our self-talk, which I know you discuss in your book. Technology, and environment, the people around us, it sounds like your environment was good for exploration. You probably learned not to wait for confidence, but you tell people in your book don’t wait for confidence. Do you find that a lot of people are waiting for the perfect time or for some kind of special power?
Absolutely. There’s so much research that shows how many people wish they were more confident and that’s more prevalent among women than men, which is not that surprising. Confidence is the belief in our ability that we will succeed at a task is what it means, the terminology. If we have to wait until we are sure that we will succeed at a task to the degree that we want to be successful at it, also, before we start to do it so we will be successful in launching the business, leading the team, designing the product or landing the day, whatever it is, before we try to do it, we’ve got a whole back. Also, we shut down the possibility of even ever doing it and we miss out on all of the learning.
I’m tying this in with your work, Diane, on curiosity. It ties in with the work of obviously Carol Dweck in the growth mindset. When we give ourselves permission to learn and we’re operating from that experimental mindset. “I wonder if I should try. I wonder what might be possible if I give this a go.” Approach it with that much experimental mood of curiosity and wonder mindset. It gives us enormous freedom because the value is on the learning, uncovering and unfolding and not on, “I’ve got this perfectly 1 to 5-star award.” It allows us a whole lot more space to grow, express ourselves, learn, try things and achieve things.
Many people are so afraid of failing that they get halted. We talked about failing forward and so many people focus on their weaknesses and they can’t get out of that mindset. I had Tom Rath, who is the author of StrengthsFinder 2.0 and that’s the bestselling nonfiction book of all time on Amazon. There was a reason because it resonated with people. People want to hear about their strengths a lot of times, “What am I good at?” I asked him, “Do we only focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses?” He doesn’t want that to be the message. He thinks we also need to look at our weaknesses, but some people are so focused on weaknesses that they can’t see their strengths. What advice do you give them when they’re in that boat?
I know that is common. We have to pay attention to our weaknesses to the extent that they don’t trip us up as we sharpen and work from our strengths. That is my sense. We all have this negativity bias and it can overtake us if we’re not mindful. We are so wired to focus more on what we can’t do or get wrong or I’m great at than on what we can do, got right and can do even better. To anyone who is constantly focusing on their weaknesses, I would get them to go through an exercise. Sit there and write down what it is you love to do. What is it you’re good at doing? What is it that people praise you for? What is it that people come to you for or appreciate about you? How can you do more of that in your work? How could you cultivate more of that in different aspects of your life and notice the difference it makes?
We can’t thrive or flourish in life to use the positive terminology of positive psychology unless we are operating from our strengths a lot more than many people do. I’ve struggled with this a little bit myself because it’s easy as you go along doing what you’re doing to look at other people and go, “Diane is so great at her podcast interview.” “She’s so great at writing about this.” “This person is so good at research.” “This person is so good at facilitation,” or whatever it is. Not only appreciate but what is it that I’m good at? I believe there’s so much power in running our own best race. How can I make most of what I’m good at? Let other people be good at what they’re good at and I believe that approaching it from that abundance place of where we all bring different strengths to the table. I believe that we thrive, grow, and build the most in the greatest sense of self-trust. We combat in a way that self-doubt when we are doing what it is that we’re naturally gifted at.
That ties in a lot to not only Rich Karlgaard’s book, Late Bloomers but David Epstein’s book Range. I was listening to some of his work on Range where he was saying, “You’ve got to compare to what you were recently not to what somebody else’s.” Our mutual friend, Rich, in his book, talks about sometimes we feel maybe we’re late to the party. We look and compare ourselves to everybody else and we think we’re not where we should be. Where we should be is a subjective thing.
I have to sometimes practice self-compassion in this regard, Diane. I don’t know about you. I wished I wasn’t like this but I can easily find myself making those negative comparisons like, “Look at this person. I should be there by this age or I should have done that.” We don’t look at who’s looking at us and going, “I should be where they are.” We compare where we are with someone else that’s been in the game for twenty years. We compare our weaknesses with other people’s strengths and we tend to compare what we can see on the outside of others. They tend to be doing everything with such poise and grace with our insights. I know I’m paddling furiously underwater and yet that person does it with such ease and yet we have no idea what’s going on for them.
Maybe they’re peddling even harder than you are. I know I have to practice and be intentional and come back to Margie. Bless them. Good luck to them on their journeys. What are you doing with what you’ve got and where you are that makes an impact that allows you to show up in the world in a way that makes the biggest difference for others? It also helps you feel the most alive. When I’m operating from that place, it’s not about everybody else. It’s about how I can do it. It’s about me coming from a place of service to make the biggest difference for others, which to me, allows me to shine the most.Wanting to be successful before even doing the task shuts down the possibility of ever doing it. Click To Tweet
You’re talking about a lot of that self-talk of what I call assumptions, which is that voice in our head. A lot of that in what I found was a lot of our environmental experiences can shape us. You grew up on the farm, you’re allowed to explore and that type of thing. In my experience of what I had was my father was extremely competitive. If you didn’t come in first, there’s no other position. That was it. I was raised to be super competitive but not everything is a competition. When you’re on teams, you’ve got to be supportive. There’s a lot of things that we learn, in general, that can be not great for communication, emotional intelligence and in so many different ways. What I look at when I’m helping people is, what are ways to overcome some of these things that we tell ourselves? We can say, “I’m not going to say that to myself anymore.” “I won’t be competitive.” “I won’t be hard on myself” “I won’t compare myself to somebody else,” or whatever it is we tell ourselves. I know a lot of people are looking for specific solutions like, “How can I overcome my fears to not tell myself these negative things?” Are there any guidelines or specific stories you can share?
There are interesting stories I can share. Yes, and they’re the term story. I wrote about that in my book, Find Your Courage around challenging our stories. In challenging our stories, whether you call it the self-talk, I’m going to label this as all of the stories we live in, the labels, the beliefs, the rationalizations, excuses, all of that stuff and stopping. When we find ourselves, our stories trigger and amplify our emotions. If you’re feeling stressed, resentful, filled with self-doubt, resigned, or whatever, and you notice that, you ask yourself, “What’s another story I could tell myself here?” Flip that Instead of, “I should be further ahead.” Now it’s like, “I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” “I’m not telling it enough.” “I’m telling enough of the task I have now,” and operating from that place.
It would be lovely to flick a switch and go, “For the rest of my life, I’m never going to make a negative comparison. I’m never going to doubt myself and I’m going to be forevermore focused on working for my strengths.” That’s not also who we are as humans. We aren’t as many human beings as human becomings. Our life is unfolding and peeling back the layers of those messages that we got as kids. For me, I was not athletic or I was quite plain. We have all of these messages about who we are. It would be lovely to go on a weekend course, read a book, do one therapy session or one coaching session and then we’re forevermore living in a powerful place.
That’s not who we are as humans. That’s where we’re being kind to ourselves. One, by saying, “What’s another story I can tell myself right now and what actions will I take from this place?” Two, being kind to yourself when you slip up because we do all slip up. For you, it might be moving into this competitive mode and I know that can make me tense and I can sometimes miss out on joining the ride when I’m in that mode. For me, I’m more of proving myself. I don’t know who I’m proving myself to, but it’s pushing this false sense of urgency. It’s like, “Margie, there’s no race. You’re not competing.” I’m usually not competing with anyone except myself.
You talked about your four pillars of curiosity and one of them was the relationships we’re in. One of the things we can do in our environment is creating an environment in which we have rituals and practices that can help us reset and disrupt some of those hard-wired thoughts and behavioral patterns. For me, it’s taking time out to journal and reconnect with my highest true self. I will always operate from a better place when I’ve done that. If I don’t do that, I can easily get pulled into operating from that small self of, “I need to prove myself. I need to get ahead. I’m not enough,” which can get me all tied up.
It’s fascinating to look at how we view ourselves. Our mutual friend, Dr. Maja Zelihic, she and I are writing a book about perception. It’s so important because so many of these things impact how we get along. Some of it is based on our culture, curiosity, intelligence, or gender and all the things we’re talking about, as I think about what motivates me, my perception of what I want to do and what I find helpful to get me to get things done. Some people talk about the stress that it’s always bad or something that we need to be worried about. I know you talked about combating stress and thriving amid uncertainty. A lot of people don’t look at stress that it could be eustress or distress. It could be that a little bit of stress can be good, can’t it?
Of course, it can. We cannot perform at our best without some stress. If I was having a sleep one minute before we started chatting, or ten minutes before I was getting on a stage to speak, it would not be my best talk. It’s that stress and bit of that nervousness that allows us to be at our best. Those butterflies that you hear people who are world-class in a game, whether they’re a singer, some artist or whatever it is. For me as a speaker, there’s always nerves I’m like, “Good. This lets me know I’m alive and I care about this.” When we’re feeling that, it’s how we interpret those feelings in the body even.
There’s some great research that shows you how we interpret those feelings of stress in the body can help or hurt or harm we perform, “I’m excited. I’m about to get on stage to speak to 1,000 people. I know this matters to me.” It’s a different space than, “I’m terrified. This is such a nightmare. This is terrifying.” That’s coming from a different space. When we feel a certain level of stress, that’s okay but it is important that we don’t talk up, spread and magnify our stress, which is what a lot of people do. Someone could be working in an emergency department of the hospital and say, “This is the most rewarding job. I love it.” Someone else could say, “I couldn’t think of anything more stressful.”
It’s not exactly the same situation. What’s the difference? It’s all about our perception of it. We can help shift even our own perception by the language that we apply to it. That’s one of the ways when I’m coaching people, I’m like, “What’s your language?” “What are the words you’re using?” “Are your words setting you up to excel to perform at your best to bring your best to whatever you’re dealing with?” “Are your words feeling fear, anxiety or leaving you feeling less than in some way,” in which case change your language about it. Often, you can feel these subtle shifts in our language from I’m nervous to I’m excited. It’s an interesting situation where our emotions, body and all that sort follow suit and it allows us to make a subtle shift in the way we’re experiencing some external stimuli.
You bring up so many great things that deal with our perception of life and a lot of that ties into whether people are engaged or not in what they do. We were talking about how we can look at the emergency room job as being great or horrifying to us. As a pharmaceutical rep, I can remember, I worked in this company for twenty years and the worst part of my job to me was driving. I hated driving and I can remember being around a table one day and they asked us, “Tell us what you love about your job? What’s your favorite part?” Almost everybody at the table said, “I love to drive.” I was stunned. I was so young at the time.
It was in my 20s and I thought, “That’s what you about this job?” That was the thing that I disliked the most and I ended up leaving that job because it wasn’t a good match for me. I was only happy when I was doing my paperwork and my expense report. That’s when I knew it was aligned correctly because I liked to be on computers and all the things I do now, and it’s a much better alignment. Do you think we’re hard on ourselves? Everybody keeps telling me that I should love this. This is the greatest job ever. What’s wrong with me? It’s not what’s wrong with you. Maybe you’re misaligned?
Absolutely. Check how much of the story you’re telling yourself because sometimes we can make things have a negative experience of something because we’re attached to the negative perspective on it. How much of this is something I’m creating and how much of this is not a fit? It’s not for me. As I travel around the world and meet people, I meet people who have loved different things. Some people are like, “I love being a vet.” Other people go, “I love being a nurse.” I met someone and they’re in an actuary and they love the numbers. What goes on to me as I am so glad you love numbers. I’m so glad that you love that because I couldn’t get any worse. That’s so not for me. It’s okay for you not to like something. Only make sure that’s not what you’re doing eight hours a day. If there are elements of your job you don’t like doing, is there a way that you can do less of those elements? How can you shift your inner narrative about that because if we can’t change a situation? As Viktor Frankl once said, “When we can’t change our circumstances, we challenge to change ourselves”
Maybe in the short term, you can’t change what you’re doing. How can you change the narrative you have about it? I’ve talked to a friend’s son. He’s got a job in a grocery store at the time and he said, “It’s such hard work and I’m going to get paid minimum wage.” He was having a compliant, “Tom, what a fantastic experience for you.” Before you go off to college that he’s having a gap year. I said, “It’s a great experience for you to know what it’s like. It’s like earning $10 an hour. That’s so good because for the rest of your life you’re going to have more appreciation for money and whatever career you pursue.” He looked at me a little bit blindly, “Really? Do you think it’s good?” Sometimes I know for myself that I started calling it a frozen vegetable factory. I’ve worked on files and everything. Some of the worst jobs are some of the great experiences. By reframing experience, we can shift our emotions around it and allow us to get on with it and get on with sorting corn all day as I did there, when I was 21.
A thousand interviews ago, I used to ask some of the same similar questions of everybody and one of them was what would you change. Most people would say nothing because whatever I did or learned made me what I am now. It’s hard not to think that all these things are such great experiences. I’ve answered telephones, dialed for dollars and done all these crazy jobs when I was young. Working in art galleries or weird things that every industry that you’ve had the experience can help you in every other industry because it makes you more broadly experienced, so you’re not so tunnel versioned. We’ve got so many teams now. You want to have people have this wide variety of experiences. Sometimes if you get people too narrowly focused, they miss the whole point of everything. I don’t think I would go back to change anything, but a lot of people sometimes wonder, “Did I make the right choice?” I don’t know if that’s even a question people should be asking. It’s like, “What can I do to move forward?” I know you do a lot of things bravely to move forward. Did you climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Yeah, I did. Slowly.
How long did that take you? Talk about moving forward, upward and onward, what was that experience like?Where we should be is a very subjective thing. Click To Tweet
We did this as a family. I did it with my husband and four children and it was an adventure.
How old were the kids doing this?
My youngest was thirteen, which is young. It was 13, 14, 16, and 18 at the time. It seemed a great idea at the time when we said, “Let’s do this together as a family as a bonding experience.” It was to mark the milestone birthday of my husband. We had guides. We didn’t set out on our own. On summit day, which was a grueling day, it took us nine hours to get from the base camp, which is already at about 18,000 feet up to the top of the summit. It was the most physically grueling thing I’d ever done and I wasn’t necessarily quite fit enough. I look back and we were all glad we did it, but we can’t say we enjoyed that particular day.
It was hard, but for my kids, I’m so glad that we’re able to afford them that experience because they’re all not necessarily mountain climbing kids. I have a daughter at college and she’s not that athletic. Every now and again, something comes out with friends she’s like, “Yeah. I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.” They look at her like, “You climbed Kilimanjaro?” She’s like, “Yeah.” It’s great because she’s like, “Everyone thinks I couldn’t do that and I’m like, ‘I did it.’” It helped my children for their identity. If you work hard and you’re willing to put one foot, however slowly in front of another, you can do amazing things. Believe me, we went slowly.
I talked to my husband into doing a river rafting in Grand Canyon, hiking out trip years ago and it was hardly the same thing. For us, that seems like a big feat. We had to hike ten miles straight out of the canyon and it was five hours. There were other people that were with us who obviously had not hiked it before. They were quite a bit older. I asked them what you did to prepare and not even hiking at all. Nothing, this is their first attempt. I’m always surprised. What makes people think that they can do these things and they’re not going to not get out of bed for the rest of their life? Did you get sore? How bad was it?
No, I wasn’t overly sore. I’m moderately fit. I’m not super fit. I exercise regularly but not hardcore, so I’m a moderate exerciser. I wasn’t that sore. You have so little oxygen, we had to stop a lot. It was more with the lack of breath, your heart beating through your chest and a lot of nausea. I ended up throwing up and I had a pounding headache. It was physically grueling with this terrible nausea and a pounding headache. I kept on panting to walk to that pace. If you think of the slowest walk you could do like small steps, one foot apart. That was the pace that I had that’s where I was, but we did it. It was a grueling lesson. You put one foot in front of the other you’re amazed at how much you can do. It was nine grueling hours, but we got there.
We were all hyponatremic from drinking so much water and not getting enough salt. I remember somebody pulled out some beef jerky and we came back alive. You don’t realize how much salts in that stuff. It’s those little things that can make you come back from the dead almost. I can’t even imagine doing something like what you did. I had Erik Weihenmayer on. He’s the first blind man to hike all the top peaks. Blind, he did the river rafting part of the Grand Canyon. I can’t even imagine doing that blind. I’ve seen him rock climb at the rock gym and to watch what he was able to find the courage to do talk about finding your courage or Find Your Courage is your book. That guy knows how to get that harsh critic out of his head. It’s hard for so many people. You’re trying to instill that confidence that you’ve got this.
I wrote about this in my book, Brave, which was rereleased as Train the Brave but it’s the same book. Courage is a muscle and Erik didn’t start out climbing Kilimanjaro or Everest. He would have started out with something that wasn’t quite so audacious and it’s the same for going in a raft. I doubt he’s supposed to go on a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. It probably was something else. You build that muscle the more you practice it. I know for me, leaving home at eighteen to go to college and living in a big scary city and it wasn’t residential. I had to find some way to live in a city and pay my own way. That was hard and I was and truly out of my comfort zone. Three years later, I built up resilience and a bit more confidence. I got an around the world ticket at 21 and backpacked around the world for a year.
At the end of that year, arriving back at 22, I had more confidence. I was a bit braver again. I remember when my husband and I got married, both of us said, “Let’s try and live overseas.” I was always backpacking on a shoestring budget and let’s get the first job overseas. He came home and he said, “I can get one. I’m thinking of Paris to New York, London, or Rome.” I was like, “I can get something in Papua New Guinea and Port Moresby” I was like, “That wasn’t in my top 500. Let’s do it.” I always think my fourth child was act of courage. How do I have four children and pursue a career? How do I do that? All of those things were quite different. They were all strengthening my courage muscles in different ways. All of us need to start where we are. If you’re absolutely loving your life where it is and exactly how it is right now and you’re loving your relationships and you feeling alive, excited, purposeful and powerful and positive, fantastic. Stick with it. If you’re not, ask yourself, “What would I do if I was being brave?”
It may be something that seems small. It might be like, “I’d sign up for this hiking group.” “I’d sign up for that class.” Invite that person for dinner or something. The more we do those little things that scare us or make us a bit uncomfortable, the less they scare us, and the more comfortable we get with them. I believe this concept of training the brave. Every day I was going to stretch myself in some way and do something. I published an article to Forbes and every time I publish an article, I’m often like, “I know it could be better.” I’m like, “I need to publish it.” There’s always this little bit of vulnerability when I do a newsletter or even my podcast. I’m like, “I know it could be better, but I need to get it done.” There’s always a level of vulnerability with it. I take a big deep breath and I’m like, “Do it.” I’ve had so many people say to me, and I don’t know if you have the same, Diane, “It’s so great that you have a podcast. I want to launch a podcast. I’m not sure what I’m doing.”
I’m like, “Do you think I have any idea about what I’m doing?” It’s interesting that you brought up one of the pillars of curiosity. One of the things that stop people is technology. I seem to have an ungreen finger with technology. I take my phone to the Apple Store and they’re like, “What did you do?” I’m like, “I don’t even know what I did.” They’re like, “We’ve never seen this before.” I always stop that at 1-800 IT Help people. They’re like, “What did you do?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I’m so sorry.” For me, launching a podcast myself was this whole technology thing. I outsource some stuff. I’m like, “Let’s get over myself.” To anyone reading, I’ll say, “Sometimes the fear of learning a new skill, having to deal with a new technology or messing it up can stop us going, ‘I’m going to give myself permission to not do a brilliant job so I can get going and do something.’”
Many people wait until they can figure out everything to perfection and you have to do it. I remember when I was offered the radio show because this is on AM/FM and podcast stations. I had to have a show or there’s dead air on the radio. You had to do it. I only had two weeks to learn it. I didn’t have anybody to help me and it was overwhelming. Some of the things that we get into sometimes I like to do something and sign up for a class to do something that scares us a little bit. Now, you’re getting your Doctorate. When I did that, I thought, “How hard can it be?” I did it to find out. What led you to want to do it?
I signed up for it in a spontaneous moment because my personality type tends to be a little spontaneous. I was like, “This seems like a good idea.” I haven’t had 500 moments in and I’m like, “Why did I think that was a good idea?” For me, learning scholarly writing, academic writing, and citations and all that, it’s not easy. It is not my natural fit. I’m much a stream of consciousness writer. That’s my style. It comes from a hot space and interjecting the odd bit of research versus the way scholarly writings are written. I find it hard and even learning to use online referencing tools, etc. Speaking of technology, I’ve had to embrace a few times, that taking on that growth mindset, “Margie, you can do this because it’s not natural and because you’re not good at it and you got feedback on that assignment that you did twenty things wrong. This is good for you. It’s stretching you.” I use that voice on myself. “This is good.”
You’re going to need that voice at the end because I used to work as a doctoral chair for many years. The person that gets you through your committee and I worked on the committee. When you think you finally figured out how to write the dissertation you submit to school and they send you back pages of things to change. It’s so easy for you to go, “What? This was perfect in my mind.” It’s a learning experience and I love that you embrace this desire to continuously learn. A lot of people could gain a lot from doing that. Your books show that you do a great deal of research into this area that so many people can benefit from. Your focus is on overcoming fear, being strong, powerful and those types of things. Are you going to continue to write in that vein? Have you thought of going in any other direction?
For now, it’ll be interesting if I feel cool to go in another direction. For now, it feels like it’s aligned with me within the space that I am which is around in one way or another helping people with lead, speak, communicate and parent more bravely. At this point, I’m focusing on where I am, which is obviously I’m launching this new book. I’m taking a term off my PhD, so I can do that. If I feel differently in the future will change, I don’t need to know. Sometimes people say, “Where are you going to retire?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I’ll let you know when I retire.” I feel that I don’t even have the intention of retiring anytime from 70 to 80.
I’m curious about what your dissertation topic is.So many people wait until they could figure out everything to perfection. Click To Tweet
I’m focusing on the interplay of gender, power, and leadership and how gender norms impact how we perceive an exercise of power and leadership influence. I’ve got a bit to go to get that fine-tune but particularly, I have an interest around having grown up for myself. My mom stayed at home, raising the seven kids, the girls to the inside jobs, the boys to the outside jobs. I never even vaguely considered myself as someone who could be a leader or a powerful person because the word powerful was always associated with greedy rich people in my world map. I know I met so many women in particular whose notions of power and ideas of self-identity as leaders get in the way of exercising power having a greater way of doing greater good in the world.
That’s interesting because one of the chapters that Maja and I wrote was about gender and its impact on perception. You might want to listen to one of the shows. I had Joe Lurie from UC Berkeley on. He had a good book on perception. He gets into some of that and in his book might fascinate you it was an interesting show as well. I know that’s a huge undertaking and I admire anybody who can process.
It comes back to when you were talking about that. It comes back to at the core of so much of my work is around embracing the discomfort. That is a prerequisite for us to learn, grow and thrive. We have to be willing to go, “This is going to be uncomfortable.” Climbing Kilimanjaro, writing a book, doing a PhD, leading a team is and making a meaningful change in your life is uncomfortable. If we embrace that emotional discomfort, even the physical discomfort, as part of what it takes it shifts our relationship to it. You go, “This is part of it all,” versus, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way and I need to avoid this.”
Speaking of discomfort, our event where Roger Love was such a great speaker and he did this wonderful get you out of your chairs talk where everybody had to sing. That’s embracing my discomfort because if I sing, the whole world would clear out. It’s finding those things that make you uncomfortable and going, “What’s the worst can happen if you do you sing along, get up on stage, try this new mountain climb or whatever it is.” It helps to push yourself. Too many people want to sit in status quo. That would be boring to me.
The worst thing that could happen and the neuroscience shows we are wired to overestimate the risks and to catastrophize the outcome. Our idea of the worst thing that could ever happen is usually unrealistic. You won’t die. No, it won’t be the end of the world, homeless, or a laughingstock. It’s funny when Roger Love spoke at Forbes Thought Leaders Conference I got up on stage and he got us all doing that I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You song, which happens to be my wedding song. I got up there and I was like, “Do I or don’t I?” As I stepped on stage because I was insane. I was like, “Do I would or don’t I?” The brave part of me was like, “Margie do it.” The other part of me was like, “Don’t do it.” I went with the brave part and I sang to him, “I can’t help falling in love with you.” I was doing it. I’m like, “I can’t believe I’m standing on the stage singing to Roger Love.”
You’re good at it, though.
I don’t think I’m that good. Afterward, so many people said, “I love that you did that.” I’m clearly not a professional singer but I’m sure I was off pitch or whatever. Whatever, let’s have fun and lighten up a little bit too. If we can sometimes lighten-up on ourselves, it allows us a whole lot more freedom to do more fun things.
That’s such a great place to end our conversation because I couldn’t agree more. Margie, this has been so much fun and all the people who are reading are probably wondering how they can get you to come to speak for them, read your books or find out more about you. Is there some kind of link you’d like to share?
I would encourage people to pop over to my website, which is MargieWarrell.com. There’s a page, book links there and everything else there.
There’s so much great information there. I checked it out before you came on and thank you for sending me your book. It was awesome and I hope everybody takes some time to look into your work. This was so much fun. Thank you for being here.
My pleasure, Diane.
This was wonderful.
I’d like to thank Margie for being my guests, we get so many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can find them at Dr.DianeHamilton.com. You can either listen to them there or read them because we make them into a blog and transcribe everything. Wherever podcasts and a lot of radio shows are listed, we’re on iTunes, iHeart, and Roku, you name it, but a lot of people also do to read them so we do make them available for you in the transcribed form. Please feel free to go to the website for that. If you’re looking for more information about Cracking the Curiosity Code, the Curiosity Code Index training or becoming an affiliate or any of that information, that’s also at Dr.DianeHamilton.com or you can go directly to it at CuriosityCode.com. A lot of great information on the site and Margie had so much that she shared. I hope you take the time to go to her site.
I hope you check out all of the guests’ different information that they provide. A lot of it, you might forget what you heard and you knew you wanted to go back to it. That’s another reason to go to my blog because the show has links to all these things that we talked about, including Margie books, her website and anything else. Sometimes that we refer to shows, previous guests and things that and we link back to everything so we can make it easy for you to keep track of all of that. It’s one more thing to make this a useful resource for you because I know I use a lot of these links and different classes I teach and the different things I do. Feel free to share and I love to have feedback regarding what you think of everything on the site. Please contact me. I’d love to hear more from you. I hope you enjoyed the and I hope you join us next time.
- Margie Warrell
- You’ve Got This! The Life Changing Power of Trusting Yourself
- Global Courage
- Stop Playing Safe
- Find Your Courage
- Live Brave Women’s Weekend
- The Hunger Project
- Carol Dweck
- StrengthsFinder 2.0
- Late Bloomers
- Dr. Maja Zelihic – Past episode
- Erik Weihenmayer – Past episode
- Train the Brave
- Podcast – Live Brave Podcast
- Joe Lurie – Past episode
- Roger Love – Past episode
- iTunes – Take The Lead
- iHeart – Take the Lead
About Margie Warrell
Margie Warrell is a bestselling author, speaker and internationally renowned authority on courageous leadership. Having grown up on a dairy farm in rural Victoria, Margie has spent much of the last 25 years living and working around the globe (she is currently based in Singapore), delivering leadership programs with organizations such as NASA, Berkshire Hathaway, Salesforce and the UN Foundation. A member of the advisory board of Forbes School of Business and Technology, Margie is a Women’s Economic Forum honoree and passionate advocate for advancing women to senior leadership tables. Currently completing her doctoral studies in the interplay of power, gender and leadership. Margie’s latest book is titled You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Take The Lead community today: