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Podcast Transcript

A La Carte

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:11  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, what episode is this? Set it up!

Marsha Clark  0:27  
Number 99!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:28  
I'll just do that for the drumroll. So yeah, so welcome, everyone to episode number...

Marsha Clark  0:37  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:39  
The crowd roars with... three figures.

Marsha Clark  0:43  
Yes, our crowd of two.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:44  
Yes, in the studio.

Marsha Clark  0:47  
Well, you know, and I would like to think that our listening community is cheering along with us as we're one episode away from our milestone 100th show. Kind of really unusual.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:58  
Absolutely. It's unusual for a lot of podcasters. Just to let everybody know, Marsha is in the top 3% edging very close to the top 2% of all podcasts that are out there. And one of the reasons for that is number one, consistency. Like we've been consistent with this every single week. So I know next week we're going to do some reminiscing on favorite moments and all of that so I don't want to jump ahead. But I do have to say that I can't wait to celebrate the big 100 with you.

Marsha Clark  1:29  
It is a century mark sort of thing.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:33  
That's right. That's right. All right. So, today, in honor of our 99th episode, we're offering up a treat ala carte style by recognizing and reviewing our fan favorite episodes.

Marsha Clark  1:45  
You know, Wendi, I love this. We looked over the data and we identified the top 5 episodes as determined by you, our listeners, you collectively our listeners. So first, let me say thank you for all your support and encouragement along the way. And, Wendi, how about we jump in and take a look back at our top 5 downloaded episodes. And we'll start with No. 5 and work our way up the list.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:10  
I think that's fantastic. Okay, so No. 5. The episode that is the 5th most downloaded show was Episode No. 36 titled "Weirdos in the Room" or "Don't Take it Personally".  

Marsha Clark  2:25  
I still love that title.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:27  
Well, me too. I mean, the whole idea behind the title is that we focused on how men and women show up so differently in situations, especially in the workplace. And when people describe those differences, they often speak of them in terms of the weirdos in the room, or at least referring to the behaviors of the opposite gender, whichever side you're on, as weird or strange.

Marsha Clark  2:51  
Yes, and you know, even after 20 years of doing this work, I still find that people are fascinated to have these behavioral differences called out in such a way that in reality, first, it validates their own experience. And second, it provides them with some options on how to interact differently, and based on their own new awareness. And even number three is it shifts you from they're just a jerk to oh, they're just being themselves. You know, it becomes less, you know, don't take it personally becomes less personal.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:26  
Right. So, the the other part of the title "Don't Take it Personally" was in reference to the idea that when confronted with those differences, anyone who might try to point them out or call them out is often dismissed and told in one way or the other, don't take it personally or don't be so sensitive.

Marsha Clark  3:46  
Yes, you know, it's only business. That's the other. Don't take it personally, it's only business sort of thing. And it reminds me of the woman in the documentary that we watched a couple of weeks ago, "She's Beautiful When She's Angry". And the woman said something like, as long as people are going to be insensitive, we're going to have to correct them.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:07  
Yes, definitely. Right. Yes, great memory and recall. You know, that's such a powerful reminder that back in the mid 60's and early 70's, which is the timeframe that that documentary highlighted, women were definitely the weirdos in the room, or at least the women who were being vocal and advocating for women's equality and liberation.

Marsha Clark  4:32  
Yeah. And it's just a reminder that in some ways, what was true at the turn of the 20th century, was still true in the middle of the century when the documentary covers and is still a reality for us today in this 21st century. And there are fundamental differences between the genders. And we're going to you know, we look at the impact and how we work together, and whether those differences are driven by chemistry and that can be, you know, chemistry can cover a lot of things that can be just the natural affinity. But I would also say the biologics and the condition.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:08  
So in the Weirdos episode, we focused on the research of Dr. Patricia Heim, who's studied gender differences for over 50 years.

Marsha Clark  5:18  
Yes, and she refers to them as invisible differences, the exploring about how men and women often operate differently in the workplace based on a set of expectations and rules that are usually running in the background at a very subconscious and sometimes,I think, even unconscious level. And as we say, in our programs, and in the book, "Embracing Your Power", if you look at us biologically, we're 96-97% the same, right? I mean, men and women, we've got the same, you know, neurological system, the same skeletal system, all that kind of stuff. And yet, that's that three to 4% difference that matters, in a variety of behaviors, such as how we approach new situations, our orientation towards goal versus process, and especially in our linguistic patterns.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:08  
You know, Marsha, I think it's important to clarify for our listeners, especially anyone who hasn't been with us all the way from the beginning or listened to the majority of the shows, or even read your book for that matter. When we talk about Dr. Heim's work on invisible differences, she was describing behaviors from the perspective of a bell shaped curve and using language that referred to men or women versus speaking in terms of masculine or feminine. So will you provide a little context on how that content has evolved to keep up with how we understand those invisible differences today?

Marsha Clark  6:45  
Yeah, and I do want to really point that out, that the bell shaped curve, every piece of research I share with our listeners on any of these podcasts is a bell shaped curve. And I want to just remind each of us, we can have our own set of life experiences. And our lives are so small compared to the what's available in the world, right. And that's why bell shaped curve research is helpful because it gets us beyond our own unconscious, subconscious biases, stereotypes, and therefore how we interact and respond. So I just want to put a point on that. And I think we we even said this in the Weirdos episode itself. You know, the bell shaped curve, and her work, it's also not about making one right or wrong. So the examples that we're going to talk about today, they're not going to reflect every single person's experience, but they do represent the vast majority of people's experience. And they're repeatedly validated even though this has been going on for 50 years. People say, well, she's been studying for 50 years, why hasn't something changed? Because we are who we are. I mean, that that's a strong part of more than just conditioning. And the other adjustment we've made to work like Dr. Heim's is the acknowledgement that where she speaks of men and women in very binary terms, we recognize that the behaviors aren't simply gender specific, but show up more along the lines of masculine and feminine, that spectrum. And I know for myself, I identified as much on the masculine side as I do on the feminine side. So it's more reflective of what we see in real life, which is that some of the behaviors she attributes to men are also often seen in women who demonstrate traits or qualities that are often attributed as masculine. And as I said, that's someone like me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:45  
Right. And I think that's an important distinction to update how the content is framed. And as I think back to the episode, there were so many important points we discussed. But I think one of the highlights for me was the research not only from Dr. Heim, but also Sheryl Sandberg on how men and women apply for jobs differently.

Marsha Clark  9:07  
That was Sheryl Sandberg's example. And, Dr. Heim calls it and I quote, "Stepping into the confessional" end quote, and the idea here that Sheryl Sandberg picked up on is that if there's a job opening, let's just say a job posting and -  by the way, this comes from the Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" - she says if a woman has 8 of the 10 requirements in this job posting, she's unlikely to to apply for the job. She has 8 but she doesn't have the other 2. So she won't even apply because she sees that as a matter of honesty. I honestly cannot fulfill all 10 requirements, and she's confessing, as Dr. Heim refers to it, to not being fully qualified.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:54  
And what are the stats regarding men in this same scenario?

Marsha Clark  9:58  
Yeah, that's a little different. So, Sandberg's research shows that if a man has 4 of the 10, 4 of the 10, not even half, he's going to apply.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:09  
I'm guessing that one of the reasons that episode is in our top 5 is because so many people can relate to those invisible differences today, and they're looking for ways to close that gap and better understand who's those weirdos in the room.

Marsha Clark  10:24  
I think you're right, Wendi, that and working out how they can not take it personally when those inevitable differences do show up. So it's a very fun episode and you go oh, yeah, oh, I've seen that. Oh, I've experienced that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:39  
There's George! Yeah, you start thinking about a specific person in your life, or two or three. So, speaking of fun coming in at No. 4 on the highest downloads was our episode titled "Practically Perfect in Every Way" with Tracie Shipman, our resident imposter phenomenon or IP expert.

Marsha Clark  11:01  
Yeah, I think she calls herself the IP poster child.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:03  
Oh my gosh, yes. Well, that's her for sure, not for her own personal but for her experience with delivering this content and understanding it. So that was Episode 48. And it was the first of three in a series in exploring IP. And in that first episode, we looked at the original work of doctors Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes who coined the term 'Imposter Phenomenon' in the wayback. So we talked about Dr. Clanse's IP test, which our listeners can find online by searching for Clance IP scale.

Marsha Clark  11:43  
Yes. And Dr. Clance provides quite a bit of her original research information on her website. And this does go back to the early 70's. And we covered the topic in the book "Embracing Your Power". It's included in chapter two, it for those of you who have the book starting on page 63. And one of the things that always strikes me as particularly powerful about Dr. Clance's work is the imposter cycle. And we work through that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:11  
Tracie walked us through that on the episode and every time I hear her present, I can't get over how exhausting it must be.

Marsha Clark  12:17  
You know, I have the same feeling. It just sounds like it's hard to find joy in this way, and success when a person is automatically defaulting to that process of getting work done from the bad dreams and the worry after saying yes to a project or an assignment or task to the procrastination to the tiny failure inventory. And then the one that makes me saddest is the discounting of praise. And it's hard to watch when someone you love or someone that works with you, for you, that you lead, falls into that cycle.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:50  
Yeah. You mentioned the perfectionism that a lot of people with high IP have and that's exactly why we call the episode "Practically Perfect in Every Way", as a shout out to that common characteristic of the imposter phenomenon.

Marsha Clark  13:04  
Yeah, that's right. And perfectionism, we know, is much higher in women than it is in men. And so as I reflect on that episode, Wendi, I think one of the things that makes it so popular is that it speaks to so many people, so many of our listeners on a really a couple of different levels. For those listeners who do have frequent or dare I say constant flares of IP, the episode gives them a name for what they're thinking and feeling and helps them recognize that they aren't alone. That, to me is one of the biggest things. It also provides some strategies for managing their IP. And for those listeners who don't personally struggle with the challenges of high IP but may lead others that who do, or maybe they just have someone in a close relationship with them, or to them that has high IP. And so that introductory episode, and the two that followed, provided some suggestions on what to do and what not to do when supporting others who struggle with impostor thoughts and feelings.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:05  
Yeah, I think you're right, Marsha, that and the fact that so many high achievers who I think make up a significant part of our listening audience still have a lot of IP stuff going on. And this episode is one of those that you listen to, connect with, and then share with others who might also be feeling like you do.

Marsha Clark  14:26  
I think that's a great point. And might I add that it is the women who are some of the highest performers that suffer from the higher IP scores. There is a correlation there.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:35  
Yes. So I wasn't surprised that the imposter phenomenon episode hit our top 5 download list. And I'm also not surprised that this next hit on the list coming in at No. 3 is Episode No. 35 "What Matters Most" which was focused on exploring the impact of our values and how those play out in our day to day lives and choices.

Marsha Clark  14:59  
Yeah, I'm really happy that our listeners connected to that episode in such a strong way. For our current listeners who may not have yet listened to 35, we spent an entire show focused on values, beginning with exploring the definition and origins of the word itself. And then looking at the use of helpful values, clarification tools, and then finally figuring out how that clarity can shape or influence our choices. And it was, I think, a really important conversation to have it for anybody, anywhere, anytime. And apparently, our listeners agree with us on that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:37  
Yeah, one of the things that I really enjoyed about that episode was going down the rabbit hole to learn more about the origins of the word value. I remember being surprised at that time of how closely the word's origins directly tied to the spirit of what we're advocating when it comes to clarifying your values and why it's so important.

Marsha Clark  16:00  
I agree, Wendi. But some of those original translations of the word 'value' were rooted in other words, or phrases like to rule over, or to have power. So, at its core, the word 'value' is derived from the Latin root valere, V A L E R E meaning  "Be strong, be well, be worth". I just even love that phrase. And our values drive our behavior, our choices, if you will, and they have power over, they rule over those choices, that behavior, and I think one of the other derivatives used the phrase, dominion over our choices, our thoughts and our beliefs.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:48  
What I think was so important in that episode was the clear distinction that our values aren't aspirational. They're fixed in our reality. And so we had a whole discussion on the difference between claiming a value, for example, being healthy, but in reality, if I don't live out that value and actually make healthy choices, then it's not really a value. It's more of it's an aspiration. (That's right.) Hello, January 1st resolution.

Marsha Clark  17:20  
Right, right, right, right. And I really like how Dr. Russ Harris describes values. And here's his definition, or description. "Values are your heart's deepest desires for how you want to behave as a human being. Values are not about what you want to get or achieve. They are about how you want to behave or act on an ongoing basis, how you want to treat yourself, others and the world around you." And I just love that. I mean, it's about the being and not about the doing.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:56  
So we broke down the origins of the word value, because it set up a foundation for understanding what our values are and why they're so important. Then we talked a little bit about different values, clarifications, tools, including what you offer in your book, "Embracing Your Power". And you have the clarification list and the set of reflection questions from pages 84 through 87 in the book, so that helps readers better understand and prioritize their values.

Marsha Clark  18:28  
Yeah, we kind of unpacked, if you will, that exercise from the book. And as I said in that episode, once you work through a values checklist, whether it's the one I provide or from another source (there are probably hundreds of them available online, just so our listeners know), so, you're gonna go through some sort of sorting process. And the goal here is to get as clear as possible on your core values, those guideposts that you're giving power to giving dominion over your behaviors, over your resources, over your choices.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:04  
And I remember you offered up a really powerful sorting question at the end of the values clarifications process, and it's really stuck with me, the one about looking at myself in the mirror and saying, 'without these values, I'm not me.' So will you elaborate a little more on that? Why is that such a powerful sorting question?

Marsha Clark  19:27  
Well, what I often share is that our core values are the uncompromisable, right? That no matter what might be occurring, I'm holding true to these. So it can't be a list of 23 things because we can't hold on to them and stuff. So I recommend that it's really our core values are somewhere in the 5 to 7 range, and they're the ones that clearly steer us in how we choose to live our lives. And, you know, I just I just keep thinking about principles are only principles when they're practiced when it's inconvenient. You know, one of my favorite lines from the movie "The Contender", and I think that you could say values are only values when they're practiced when it's inconvenient. You stand up with them even in the heat, even in the fire, even in the controversy.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:17  
Okay, so last big refresh on that episode, you introduced the discernment process of asking 'what', 'so what', and 'now what' and it relates to the values clarifications process. So will you remind our listeners of how those discernment questions can help in this particular exploration of values?

Marsha Clark  20:38  
I can and in this case, the what is the values clarification checklist itself, you know, following some sort of process for getting as crystal clear as you can on what values are in fact driving your choices. And this also includes getting clear on any illusions you might have about what you think your values should be. That's, you know, the shoulding on yourself, versus what values you're actually living out. The 'so what' question allows me to do some critical thinking about what could be underlying those values. Questions like, what difference will it make if I'm living this value? Or so what do I need to do differently, if anything, as a result of seeing how I am or might not be living my value to a list?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:27  
And so then the 'now what' becomes the plan, right? Like how do I commit or continue to commit to living out this value?

Marsha Clark  21:34  
That's absolutely right. And it's my personal accountability question. Now, what do I do with this awareness? What do I do with this information?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:42  
I love it. No wonder that episode has been such a popular one. It's so practical and foundational to so much of what it means to live an authentic and powerful life.

Marsha Clark  21:53  
You know, that and how to lead others, right? I mean, living our values while leading others, especially when they may be unclear or uncommitted.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:02  
Absolutely, great point. Okay, so let's move to No. 2 on our top 5 most downloaded podcasts, "A Dangerous Dance" Episode No. 27, which ran back in late March of 2022.

Marsha Clark  22:17  
Yeah, this was our exploration of Chris Argyris' Ladder of Inference. And quite honestly, that model, or that tool is one of my all time favorites. And I remember that episode being very meaty.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:30  
Mm hmm. And it makes a lot of sense, since the model itself is very meaty. You shared in that episode that this is one of your favorite models to help people get clear on fundamental differences and be able to work through those differences to reach more effective outcomes or results. And I can totally see why you say that, because the Argyris Ladder of Inference is a complete exercise in itself in examining our biases, beliefs, assumptions, everything that drives our thinking in our decisions.

Marsha Clark  23:02  
Yeah. And it's been one of my favorite models for exactly that reason. And it was first introduced, or I was first introduced to it through Peter Senge's work around The Fifth Discipline, and in addition to the breakdown that I provide in the book "Embracing Your Power" in chapter five, and that's under Building and Sustaining Trust, and it starts on page 142. So those references, you know, I also appreciate the explanation in The Fifth Discipline Field Book. So if our listeners are interested in learning more about the model, exploring it more from a different angle, that's also a great resource. It's called The Fifth Discipline, the F I F T H  Discipline Field Book.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:45  
Good to know. So The Fifth Discipline Field Book. Great. As much as I'd like to basically just recreate that entire conversation where we worked our way through the whole model, we really only have time to talk about a few of the highlights from that episode. So why don't we start with why the episode was titled "A Dangerous Dance".

Marsha Clark  24:07  
Yeah. So The Dangerous Dance represents how we can frequently get ourselves into disagreements and they can be of varying levels of intensity with other people when we don't realize or acknowledge that (and this is big) our view of the world isn't universal. Everybody doesn't see it the way we see it. And not only that, but we also don't realize that our thinking is based on our worldview and therefore, is inherently limited, inherently biased and reinforced by a loop of our belief systems. We convince ourselves we're right, you know, in that way. So when we are in discussion with others, and we discover that their perspective differs from our own, and especially if we've pursued the conversation to some point of decision making, we've got to decide and move on. So that's when these differences can potentially create some powerfully dangerous, thus the dangerous dance, interactions. And, you know, here we metaphorically refer to that as the dance. Dangerous dance.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:15  
Right.  We spent a lot of time establishing this image of this ladder which represents our thinking and decision making or choice making process, whatever you want to call it, established or based in air quotes, "facts", you know, it's all our own facts. And that's pretty much where this dangerous dance even begins. Right?

Marsha Clark  25:36  
That's right. So because every one of us comes into a conversation with our own unique ladder, and it's been built up over our lifetime based on where we grew up, when we grew up, our social conditioning, our customs, our education, our values, our experience of what works and what doesn't, all of those things that cumulatively influence how we see the world and how we interact with others. As we said, in the episode, our ladder even influences how and what kind of facts we absorb and trust.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:11  
You know, that's one of the things I find so fascinating and useful about that model. And it helps me remember how to check in with and adjust my thinking and attitude about other people when they approach the same issue or decision from a completely different perspective.

Marsha Clark  26:29  
Yeah and I think that's an essential power behind this model, this tool, to better understand our own mental pathway, always something that's important. And our attribution of meaning to the facts that we collect, the assumptions we make based on the meaning we apply, and then the conclusions we draw from those assumptions. And then the actions we take at that point. So we select the facts, we interpret those facts, we make assumptions, we draw conclusions, we act, and we feel so justified and right, you know, I am right about my decision, your decision, our decisions without really testing our own process, that ladder for getting to that decision.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:16  
And I'm remembering so much about that conversation now. And how powerful it was to dive into this idea of how easy it is to fall into your own echo chamber trap, or just of just looking for or believing data that reinforces your current beliefs or values.

Marsha Clark  27:34  
Yeah, the echo chamber is the new word. It's the new phrase that it is, it is so present in this model. And, it's easy, it's validated. I'm right, I'm, you know, self fulfilling, and Argyris calls it a reflexive loop that we set up. So without even realizing it, where our beliefs affect which data we select in the future, we're doing it so fast. So it really can become that echo chamber, both internally in our own thought process, but also externally by who we surround ourselves with and the sources of information that we choose to believe and validate.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:13  
And that's where it becomes a reinforcing loop as well. Because if I'm only looking at certain data, it's likely to naturally support or reinforce my beliefs. It's the human equivalent of the search engine algorithms where the more we spend time on certain sites, that's where they they more often pop up in our feed.

Marsha Clark  28:33  
That's exactly right. So, yes, social media and the internet is reinforcing those, our ladder, if you will. So, you know exactly what it's like. And only we've forgotten that we're the ones who built the algorithm. And yet, we start to believe it's the only data out there. That's why read lots of different things, look at different opinions, talk with people who have different views from you. You are broadening your perspective, and it will never be broad enough, right? The world is too big for that. But make it a point to get curious.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:12  
That's a powerful reminder to slow down and notice where our own thinking or beliefs have come from, to challenge our thinking and our process for arriving at decisions.

Marsha Clark  29:23  
You know, another thing I love about this model, it invites us to that deeper level of really critical thinking and analysis, not just oh, yeah, thinking and analysis or no analysis. And as a leader, if I'm not promoting that level of thinking and analysis, if I'm not creating time and space, and big emphasis safety for that to happen, we're likely building our own organizational echo chambers and that's going to lead to hubris, which leads to breakdowns.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:56  
I'm so grateful that our listeners placed this episode at the number 2 spot because I'd forgotten how much I really learned from it.

Marsha Clark  30:03  
Well, I'm glad they chose it, too, and that they found it valuable. And I think if we could all commit to that slowing down, you know, the slow down to speed up. Slowing down, checking in on where we are on our own ladders, and genuinely inquiring into the ladders of others, we could see a significant shift in in how we treat each other and the quality of our decisions collectively. And I just want to remind our listeners, too, when we get to that top of that ladder and we're ready to take action and we've made up this story, we ask ourselves, what else could be true? And the way that you can begin the conversation with the other person is to go back down that ladder. Help me understand. What did you see? How did you interpret that? What assumptions did you draw? And then we go back up the ladder together. Then it doesn't become the a dangerous dance, it becomes a beautiful dance. We're in step together. We'll win the, what's the show? Dancing With the Stars. We could shift to that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:03  
All right, Marsha. We've arrived at the No. 1 spot of your podcasts. So No. 1 downloaded episode. Yep.

Marsha Clark  31:12  
You know, I can't say that I'm surprised that this particular episode hit the top. But you know, the topic was so intriguing and relevant but also because our guest has quite a following all on her own. So I'm sure her network helped boost the popularity of the episode.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:29  
Well, I think that's a really good point. And our No. 1 most downloaded episode was titled "What's Your Superpower?", and it was our video interview with Raquel Daniels. And since that episode aired, Raquel has transitioned from her roles at Southwest and H. C. S. C, and is currently preparing to launch Raquel Daniels Consulting, as well as continuing to serve as a DEI executive.

Marsha Clark  32:00  
Yeah, and I talked to her just yesterday. And she's, you know, moving into the consulting space. She's going to be amazing in that role, given her depth of knowledge, and really understanding what it means. And so one of the things that I recall most about that episode is just her authenticity. You know, we pick up on that in so many different ways. And she's just very real. And she's very serious about this topic. And, and, and she's great fun. I don't want to mean, she's so serious, but I mean, she's, I don't even know how I want to say it. She's grounded so much in the information. And that showed in our conversation. And, you know, a lot of that was based on the fact that not only had Raquel experienced virtually all of the content we cover in our workshops, and she's a graduate of one of the programs but also because she herself has studied the topics. She's led initiatives in the organizations where she's worked centered on those same foundational concepts of authenticity, that I think about authenticity in terms of diversity and inclusion, and the personal power. Where does that lie and how do I use it? And even dealing with the imposter, you know, phenomena that we talked about before in this in the sense of "Am I enough and will they figure out that I am or I'm not?"

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:34  
She definitely was a textbook example of someone who embodies what it means to be on that authentic path to powerful leadership. One of the things I loved about listening to Raquel was how real and relevant she made everything. I mean, for example, her role as a DE&I corporate executive is all about creating safety in the organizational system so that people can create, can bring their their whole real self to work. So one of the first thing she mentioned in the interview was how important it was to feel safe, for herself to feel safe as a participant in your program, safe enough to challenge you early on with some of what you were presenting to the group. Am I right?

Marsha Clark  34:19  
Yes, yes we laughed about that yesterday, too. You know I think it was like day one or day two, early on day two in the program that she was participating in, when she pushed back and spoke up, you know, that's not my experience, or that's not how I see it. And I also thought it was powerful in the interview when she brought that up as an example of creating a safe space. And and I loved how she put it. If I don't see you, if I don't hear you, then how can I have trust and be safe? And how can I get to the depths of what I need to get to to learn if we're talking about women progressing or being the only. There has to be a space that we can go all in, go deep. And I mean, that is her motivation, right? And yet when you just meet her you don't know that. You think there's pushback or you know, you've had a lot of ego up your ladder of inference in relationship to that. But hers is to truly create the space where you can trust one another, you can be yourself and you can ask hard questions and have hard conversations.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:28  
Yeah, that was another 'aha' for me in the interview where the two of you were talking about doing deep work, and you mentioned that it's painful, or uncomfortable, or both at the same time and necessary for growth. And she once again offered an alternative perspective by saying that she agrees with the idea of promoting deep work as uncomfortable, but she didn't like the word painful.

Marsha Clark  35:54  
Yeah, that's a good point, Wendi. And I think that's one of the other fascinating intersections with Raquel is her experience as an athlete. To me, that's where it came into play. So she understands the important difference between pain and discomfort from an athletic perspective, you know, especially from a peak performance perspective. And as she said, deep work can be painful, but that's not what we're going for. Right? We're going for uncomfortable. We're not going for judgment. But anytime that you're growing, anytime you're stretching, it's uncomfortable. And so there's challenge in that, and you want that in order to get the movement, the challenge leads to the movement. And I just think that's, I loved her distinction. And I learned from her distinction.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:40  
Right. And I appreciate that differentiation. Raquel's persona definitely comes across as strong and confident. And that's something I found interesting is that her intentional practice of power poses and taking up of space. I loved when she was talking about that.

Marsha Clark  36:58  
I did, too. So, the visual that she provided of her spreading out, you know, literally spreading out in meetings or during presentations, of standing often, which, you know, is a more powerful pose, and of keeping her posture and stance open, which is her way of telegraphing that she's available to receive and give was, I think, a great personal example of how she uses this practice to boost her own confidence. And the research, I just want to remind our listeners, the research on power posing, it continues to evolve. And even since this interview with Raquel a year or so ago, and a meta analysis of the studies shows that power posing still appears to have a significant positive corollary effect on individuals' feelings of confidence, and the hormonal connection, and this is where they talked about boosting testosterone, which is a power strength giving therefore confidence building or reducing cortisol, which is a stress hormone, has been shown to be unsubstantiated from the first studies that were done because it hasn't consistently played out. And so there's been some backing away from that from the earlier claims.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:17  
Got it. I think, regardless of the hormonal impact, the confidence boost that comes from practicing power poses sounds like it's still strong enough to keep doing them, especially if that practice is working for you as an individual.

Marsha Clark  38:31  
I absolutely agree. And, you know, they talked about placebos, and you know, if it works, it works.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  38:37  
Yeah, exactly. So this was another episode that I could just sit here and rerun point by point but for me as we start winding down here, one of the other highlights from that conversation with Raquel was her philosophy and strategy of how she has built her support system.

Marsha Clark  38:55  
Yes, I loved it too. She referred to it as her kitchen cabinet.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:00  
Kitchen cabinet, this is her inner circle, in some ways her know, love and trust circle like yours, Marsha, that she goes to for support, advice, mentoring, encouragement. And I think she mentioned that they are the ones who are going to take you across the finish line. I loved her sports analogy.

Marsha Clark  39:19  
Of course I did too. You know that. And something else that she said was how important it is that her cabinet has to be diverse and diverse from a variety of perspectives. So you know, she talked about gender, work experience, talents, and so on because as her example, not everyone can provide C suite career advice if they've never been a top executive in a Fortune 500 company or not everyone's wired to be a cheerleader, right, to be your promoter. And, I loved how she emphasized that the kitchen cabinet doesn't necessarily have to know each other. They're not there for each other. They're there for her. They're her coach, her ally, they're her team.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:05  
Exactly. It was just so much fun to have someone in the room who was a walking, talking advocate for so much of what we talk about here on the show.

Marsha Clark  40:13  
Yeah, actually that's related to what I wanted to highlight as we start this wrap up. Raquel's advocacy and comments regarding masking toward the end of the episode, she reminded me how important it is to remember that even with the best of intentions, to create those open, inclusive teams or businesses, and to promote authenticity and belonging and safe spaces, they're legitimate situations where not everyone feels like they can bring their full, authentic self to work. And here's something she said that I think is very powerful. There's a layer of masking that how I show up every day. So the conversations that I have, how I present myself, looks very different than I would present myself in a comfortable place or with friends. Now the conversation about that, there can be an emotional tax that comes with that, right. So there's that for me to shift who I am. And so if I have to put on a show, and in that she was referring to having to basically perform for others, how she has to dress or speak or anything around conforming to the majority. And she went on to say, then when I get home, I'm just emotionally spent. And that's what we've heard. That's what the research says, and all of that. Because that performance means if I perform well, therefore I'm accepted. Therefore, I can ascend the career ladder, and all the things that sometimes are felt in corporate America. So there are some different tenets of masking that are negative and that have severe consequences for those. But I think it's about how do you perform and what do you think is expected of you. And that performing in a certain way is a requirement. So we've long talked about the power of making deliberate, strategic choices, and adapting and adjusting our styles or our approaches to achieve the outcomes we want. But that's easy to say when it truly is a choice. And not everyone has the luxury of choosing to fit in. And the cost of trying so hard is something we all need to recognize and honor when others share their frustrations and quite honestly, they're exhaustion, that emotionally spent.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:47  
Yeah. understanding empathy, support. All are important reminders for leaders who aspire to be true allies. And so thank you for pulling all of that in, Marsha, and reminding us of what Raquel said.

Marsha Clark  43:01  
Of course. It was such a powerful moment for me in that episode. And, you know, the idea of masking and I remember there was a woman when we were developing the initial Power of Self. She talked about how she gets up, she gets dressed, she drives to work. She parks her car, she walks into the building, she gets on the elevator. And right before that door opens she says to herself every day, "Showtime".

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:29  
You know what I'm thinking of? Mrs. Maisel, tits up.

Marsha Clark  43:34  
Oh, yeah, yeah, I get it. I get it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:38  
I mean, seriously. Like, it's like that instant thing.

Marsha Clark  43:42  
Every day. You know, Showtime. And that's when we have to perform and that's when we go home exhausted.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:49  
Yep. Well, this, Marsha, was an amazing trip down memory lane highlighting our top 5 downloaded episodes.

Marsha Clark  43:57  
And yeah, well, I love how varied they were, you know. When you look at everything from invisible differences to imposter phenomenon to exploring values to racing up and down the ladder of inference and you know about how we process information and make decisions and then wrapping up with No. 1, Raquel Daniels' inspiring interview regarding superpowers and I think it really reflects the diverse interests of our listeners. And dare I also add I have a sign in my office that  someone gave me that says, "I'm a woman. What's your superpower?" So, you know all of this, we're focused on women and that's on being a woman is our superpower and all that comes with that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:37  
I love it. I love it. This was really a great ala carte selection from a variety of topics. So for those of you listening, I'd offer that maybe you go back and listen to all 5 of these just to, you know, get those extra special nuggets. And what a great way to tee up to next week's 100th Episode celebration. It's a mile stone and, Marsha, I again, as always, I'm so honored to get to be on this journey with you and Team Marsha.

Marsha Clark  45:08  
Well, I'm right there with you, Wendi. And, you know, this milestone, it's been a journey of love. It's been a journey of discovery and growth. And, you know, I'm equally honored to be walking it with you. So, thank you for being such a great partner in providing all your expertise and your energy to the adventure.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  45:25  
That's right and everyone, we hope you will join us next week for our special episode. And as always, thank you for joining us today on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe and share this podcast. Share this podcast because everybody needs to know what the top 5 are and visit Marsha's website at If you still don't have her book, I mean girl, girlfriend, really, it's Episode 99. It's time to get the book so that you can follow along with all of the things and the tools that we call out.

Marsha Clark  46:02  
Well, thank you, Wendi. And thank you, listeners, for really, you're the ones that make this possible. And we hope that you get, continue to get great value from what we're offering to you. You know, we are going to shift into book two here pretty quickly, even before it gets published. And so we hope that the nuggets, the tools, the experiences, the stories, the guests that we bring to you are truly helping you to understand yourself in a new way, expanding your vision of what's possible for yourself. And that we, none of us can do that alone whether it's a book or a podcast, a friend, a mentor or a coach. But for sure we know it's always "Here's to women supporting women!"

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