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Podcast Transcript

Beginning Again

Marsha Clark  0:00  
This episode is being sponsored by Amazech, which is a women's business enterprise that has a proven track record of driving business transformation through technology and talent. Amazech's culture is defined by two key values, making a positive impact at every step, and giving back to the community. Visit to learn more about them.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:37  
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, Happy New Year!! Yes, all the things. How is this possible that we're in 2024? You know, I'm remembering writing 1982 on my notebook paper for my class. I mean, this is insane.

Marsha Clark  1:07  
You know, I'm not sure exactly what happened. 2023 came and has now gone. And it feels like we were just recording this episode yesterday, but it's been a year ago.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:17  
Yeah, yeah. So for everyone, clarification on that. LeeAnn Mallory has been a guest before for us, and so she is back. And 2023 was definitely a whirl. And I guess it's probably a very good thing that we have, again, our special guest today, LeeAnn Mallory, to help us focus and get grounded as we start to intend to move intentionally into this new year. I'm just gonna lay all that groundwork because January 3rd, I mean, this is like two days after the big New Year so everybody's probably still cleaning up the tinsel and everything else.

Marsha Clark  1:59  
Or taking down the Christmas decorations or whatever that might be. Yeah. Well, LeeAnn, let me also welcome you to our show today. And I look at every time we can go a year and it's a blink of an eye. And lots of things have been happening on many levels in this world. And I love that you're back with us to be able to give us the, you know, beginning again because this time of year we begin again and again and again. So here we are.

LeeAnn Mallory  2:25  
Yes, here we are. Thank you. I'm really happy to be back. This feels like a fun thing that we could do because as I was saying, I change this process every year because I learn and actually the scientific community is getting smarter about motivation science and neuro psychology and all of that. And I just keep adding stuff in that I think is relevant and that is helpful. So I'm just gonna pitch to keep coming back.

Marsha Clark  2:53  
So let's do it. It'll be our new tradition.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:56  
I love it. Okay, so for our newer listeners who don't remember LeeAnn, she was our guest a year ago on episode number 65, which was all about beginning again, also. So today we're once again lucky to be led by LeeAnn and her powerful practices that help us reflect on the past year, appreciate what we learned, and then set intentions for this coming year. And I just can't wait to get started.

Marsha Clark  3:25  
Well, and before we jump in, I do want to say for those who didn't hear last year's episode, it's still worth going back to listen to because even though it's a similar process we're going to talk about this year, but it's not identical. And they may find something specifically really relevant or valuable in that episode. And then we also, in that episode, shared a lot of our personal backstory on how LeeAnn and I have known each other for years.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:49  
Yes, yes. LeeAnn is part of your know, love and trust circle.

Marsha Clark  3:53  
Yes. That's right. And for those who like hearing some of that contextual stuff, another reason to go back and listen is because today we're jumping into that same content, and they'll have an opportunity to know and learn a little bit more about it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:07  
Exactly. Great point, Marsha. Okay. Well, then, LeeAnn, are you ready to help us reflect?

LeeAnn Mallory  4:11  
I am so ready. I'm very, very excited. Thank you again, for having me. This is just a highlight. I've been looking forward to this. So thank you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:19  
Excellent. Excellent. Well, we talked about this a little last year, or i.e. last week. But will you open this up today with an explanation of the intent of beginning again?

LeeAnn Mallory  4:33  
Yeah. So the phrase 'begin again', I lifted that (it's much better to say lifted than I stole it) but I lifted it from meditation teachers, Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein. And I love the phrase. They use it in the context of doing a sitting meditation because for anyone who's practiced meditation, you know that you you start off and you're focusing on your breath and whatever you focus on. And then the next thing you know, you're thinking about your travel or your grocery list or whatever. And both Sharon and Joseph will just say, 'and if you find yourself doing that, no big deal. Just begin again'. And it's just such a, it's gentle, and it's generous. It acknowledges our humanity, that we're not just robots and we don't just sit down and focus on something. And life happens and sometimes we get interrupted. And we want to have that generosity and and that grace with ourselves. And so every year we get this opportunity to begin again on a big base, you know, in a big area. But what I love about this, too, is that we're doing this at the beginning of a new year. But every day we have multiple choices, opportunities to begin again. And even following kind of the trajectory of this process where you reflect, you vision, you plan and you implement. That cycle happens on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. And so just kind of getting that cycle, getting that muscle memory of going through all of those processes or ways of thinking really helps us to get what we want out of life and out of work. And so it's just a good rhythm to be in. And so that's, and I love, I'm kind of a planning nerd. I have to keep a paper, you know, I have my electronic planner, but I also keep a paper planner where I write and all of that. And so, I love the process. It's just kind of my nerdiness, and I love it, you know.

Marsha Clark  6:50  
Yeah. And I think the new year is the natural time to take a moment and think about it and go deep with it and be thoughtful and intentional about it. Get clear.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:00  
LeeAnn, how's your process different from setting new year's resolutions, because every time people think New Year, they think New Year's resolutions (which we never keep.)

LeeAnn Mallory  7:07  
. . . which we don't keep which is part of the problem. And in fact, the first title of this process was 'Not Another New Year's Resolution". That's what I used to call it years ago. So I've been doing this every year for several years. And a New Year's resolution tends to be, I think of it, Marsha, do you remember the term 'spots' when we were talking about strategic planning? So there was the term 'spots', which meant Strategic Plans On Top Shelves, meaning that there are conversations . . .

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:09  
Wow. That sounds very corporate.

LeeAnn Mallory  7:20  
Yeah, it does I know. It was very corporate (and real). But there would be, there's this dynamic where we have a great idea, we see the future, we want things to happen, we write it down, and then we don't follow up on it. We just kind of put it away and maybe at the end of the next year, we look at it again and you know, if we're lucky, we can give it a thumbs up. But this process is much more intentional. And so it's not just like, it's not just a wish. We're actually putting some, it's a holistic process. It's an iterative process. It acknowledges that things change, we get opportunities that we didn't know about, and do we want to take advantage of it or not? And are we moving toward that because we want to do it and it supports who we want to be in the world or are we responding out of fear? Like, oh, if I don't take this .  . . kind of a scarcity mentality. And so it's different in that way. Did that answer your question?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:50  
Uh huh, yeah.

Marsha Clark  8:51  
And I want to say two other things about this too, is, you know, I'm old enough to remember in workplaces where you did ten year plans. And you know, what a silly thing. I mean, we have no idea and all the change that goes on in the world, then it went, you know, went to seven year, five year plans and three year plans. And so this idea, and I also think about in New Year's resolutions as being more focused on who I think I should be or what I think I should do or how I think I should look, according to someone else's definition or even my own idealized version of myself. So it's less about being purpose driven and more about being I would call it conformance driven.

LeeAnn Mallory  9:37  
Yeah. Right. And that's another thing. I think that our own personal values and sense of purpose (in other words what is important to us, who we want to be, what's the impact that we want to make in the world) that is the umbrella for this process and everything fits underneath that. And I have  always considered myself not to be goal oriented. You know, we used to use that term all the time. So 'n so is really goal oriented. And I think that I just wasn't hooking on to something that felt important to me. And so when I think about 'what do I really want, who do I want to be, what's the impact that I want to make' and my year falls out of those questions, it has a lot more meaning for me. And then I'm much more willing to take risk, invest, say no to other things because I'm really clear because that is, that's the umbrella that all of this is sitting underneath.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:45  
Okay. Well and I think LeeAnn, the plan for today is for you to lead us through the reflection process like you do with your coaching client. So okay. So step one.

LeeAnn Mallory  10:57  
Just to because we're not going to go through the whole process. . . When I say the whole process, the whole process of the because I give myself till the end of January to finish this process, you know, the whole process, not just the reflection. But starting with reflection and then looking at vision, and then actually planning it out like at what time of the year am I going to focus on this? So what does this need to look like, and then the implementation is where you start looking at what strategies do I need to put in place to hold myself accountable in a really loving way, not a harsh way. But so that's the implementation part of it. And we'll talk about that. But today we're going to be really looking at, you know, because we were together last year and we talked about the process, I thought it would be nice to say, you know, and what kind of year did we have? So that's the first step is to actually reflect on the past year. And so when I look at my year, there are three things that really worked. I put processes in place, I was really clear about what I wanted. One of those was navigating how I live with type one diabetes. So this has been, I was diagnosed maybe 20 years ago, right at 20 years ago. And I know, Marsha, we were working together in Power of Self. And yeah, I was noticing all these changes. Well, with this disease, or probably with any progressive disease, the more time goes by the more it's like nuanced it gets. And I just wasn't doing what I needed to do to get the results that I wanted. And the results are things like not, you know, being too high or too low, or all that kind of stuff. And I finally said, and I had done this before, this is the year that "da ta da ta da". But last year, I really made a commitment and I made a big investment. So I actually joined a program, and it was expensive. And it was a three month intense coaching group so there was accountability, there was an investment, so I made a commitment there. So that was one thing. I got much more focused about my financial management, setting some commitment devices in place and some defaults. And then finally, from a professional perspective, I had this dream of doing a limited series podcast. Now I used a podcast every couple of weeks, and what I have found about myself that I do much better when I'm organizing myself around a topic. So I did a limited series podcast that was based on a leadership program that I had done. So those are probably the three big things. Awesome. Yeah. And all of that came through. There's a couple of things that didn't, and one of them. And this is something that I really need to put some focus to this year because it's important to me, is I have a hard time writing, like writing blogs and things. And I there's a whole slew of things that I won't go into here. But there's a lot of resistance that I have, a lot of procrastination. And I just want to crack that nut this next year. So I didn't achieve that last year. And now that I've learned about some strategies, I'm going to play around with which strategies do I need to be using in order to make that happen. It's important to me. There's no one that's just dying to read my blog post or whatever, but I want to do it and so it's important to me. And then I need to dial in a little bit more my blood sugar management when I exercise because I consistently have low blood sugar if I exercise in the afternoon, it's really inconvenient. And so those are, at least right now, two things that I know that I'll focus on next year because I didn't, I just couldn't get there.

Marsha Clark  15:05  
You know, LeeAnn, I appreciate your point about even on the writing and doing it for you and procrastination and those kinds of things. And I just believe that it happens when it's supposed to happen, too, right? And that's kind of that natural thing. I think about a conversation you and I had years ago where you talked about they built this new building or university or something and they didn't put any sidewalks on it. They waited to see where the natural walking paths were before they poured the concrete, so to speak. And I see these things kind of in that same way. That even though you wanted and thought last year was the year you needed to do it, may be what? Maybe you weren't ready yet.

LeeAnn Mallory  15:42  
And maybe I think that I had this big vision of and the blogging and the writing was going to be around the podcast series. I learned a lot. I dropped all the episodes at one time. And I learned a lot about that process. And maybe that was too much, you know, but there is something in me that both wants to do this and is resistant. There's some (tension). Yeah, there's some perfectionism, there's some not wanting to fail, and what will people think and you know, all of the, like psychological or emotional things. It feels more like that. And so I just have this desire and like, maybe nobody will read it, but I want to write it.

Marsha Clark  16:32  
You know, Wendi, do you remember when the first book came out and people asked me questions all the time? And it's like, you are putting yourself out there for everyone to see, hear, read, feel. And  you feel like I'm setting myself up as a target and they're going to be taking shots at me. And yet, the part that I love about what you're describing, and I really encourage our listeners to think about this, doesn't matter if anybody ever reads it. That's not the point. It's me allowing my own expression to tell my story, or my perspective, or my narrative, and you know, you've got to know, practically speaking, somebody's going to take a shot at it and more than one, and that's okay. And I'm not going to let that define or limit me.

LeeAnn Mallory  17:18  
Right. And even most people don't like to hear themselves speak. And that was one of the reasons  why I did the podcast. I just wanted to get over that, again, that level of perfectionism and there was something that I wanted to do. And so I just, you know, to heck with it. And again, encouraging everyone out there, there's that phrase, you know, 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. There's just something so nice about saying, I was uncomfortable with this and I took a shot on me. And I really, that feels really good.

Marsha Clark  17:59  
Wendi, I can do hard things. Haven't we had that conversation?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:03  
Yes, we have.

LeeAnn Mallory  18:03  
So I'm curious about you all. What are you proud of in 2023?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:09  
Marsha, you go.

Marsha Clark  18:11  
All right. Well, you know, I have to say I finished writing book two. I mean, I got it to the publisher, and you know, just getting all those hundreds of pages of handwritten, my handwritten, that's my style for writing. And but I had to find that out too, LeeAnn. But I finished it. I got to be a guest on several other podcasts and exposed my work to a whole new audience. And in addition to that, I was asked to be guest speaker based on book one and so again, got to meet new people, work with new clients. And those were the professional things. And on a personal note, I did a pretty darn good job working four days a week most weeks as I ease into my retirement. And, you know, to your point, LeeAnn, there are a couple of things I fell short on as well. And one was going to the gym consistently, because I went to the gym, but I didn't do it consistently. And I know I always feel better when I do. And I, too, want, I have more white papers to write. I'm not doing blogs. And you know, the book is the book and it's an educational tool. My white papers are somewhat research based, but also more anecdotally based in helping to clarify or make distinctions. And so I've spoken on here a couple of times about how I keep my running list based on a variety of inputs that prompt me to go 'I need to probe that, I need to share something on that'. And so I fell short of that in '23 and I'm going to continue working on that in '24.

LeeAnn Mallory  18:30  
Can I, I'm curious about the white paper, why that's important to you. Like if you got underneath that, why is that important?

Marsha Clark  19:54  
Two things, because I've asked myself that question. One is I think I have something to offer in the way of perspective and experience. And I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's more like writing an editorial or an opinion because I'll share statistics because that's always the base of my thinking but then I'll twist it, or bring into it, the reality of my own lived experience around that. And I think about it in terms of when you get to be my age it's like, 'when they go through my stuff'. But as my grandchildren are reading about it, they know me as Mimi, right? I'm Mimi. That's all they know me as, really. I want them to know me, to know my lived experience, to know my thoughts and experiences. And I write it with that, because I'm in my, I've said this before, I've got a foot in purpose and a foot in legacy at this point in my life. And so I want my legacy to be to let others know what my purpose is about. And I think when I've shared those things, whether it be in coaching conversations or keynotes or whatever it might be, people share with me that it's valuable, that it causes them to think in a different way. And delivering value is really important to me.

LeeAnn Mallory  21:29  
Yeah, yeah I get that. And I love you just gave me, I've written down something to remember myself, is it's okay to write a piece that's like an op ed. It doesn't have to be something that someone would (grade) It's not graded and it's not a PhD dissertation, either. And I'm not writing just about this when, it's not just blogs, but like you say, like I share things oftentimes in my coaching conversations, or I think about something, a coaching conversation that I've had. And I think that this would be good for other people to know. You know, it's really what to think about, but it's providing value. And that's what I'm not doing. So that op ed idea, thank you for that. . . move that forward.

Marsha Clark  22:28  
And before we go any further, LeeAnn and I, we can get into these conversations and you know, the other thing I think about is you live long enough that things come back around. So it's the Back to the Future, right? So things that are so deeply ingrained in me that I can just flip out of my mouth with nothing, right? I mean, it's just the way I talk and think these days, right? That for another person, it's like golden because they haven't had the same lived experiences or seen it the way it was then and now it's just a slightly newer version of it, or, you know, got a little tweak to it. So I think there's something in that as well, that when you write and you live long enough, you see things come around and there's a value and a richness and a depth that is attached to that.

LeeAnn Mallory  23:13  
Yeah. Love that. Yeah. Thank you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:16  
So, Marsha, just knowing how much you achieve in any given year, do you participate in the ritual of beginning again in any way?

Marsha Clark  23:26  
I think I do. I think I do. You know, the idea of I reinvent myself all the time. Because I mean, and I think about a woman's life. You know the majority of our listeners are women. We grow up as cute little girls. Then we grow up as the dramatic teenagers, you know, teenage girls are often attached to drama. We then come into our professional lives as I want to be a grown up, I'm adulting, learning how to adult. We get ambitious, we do on and on. We become wives, we become mothers, we become daughters of a different kind where we have an adult to adult relationship with our parents. We end up oftentimes, I know with my mother we reversed roles. I mean, she was coming to me asking what should I do when she had been that for me for so long. And you know, then a grandmother and then . . . I mean it goes on and on and on. And so every one of those, whether you call it seasons of life or roles that we play, I'm reinventing myself trying to be ever more intentional about who I want to be and how I want to show up and again, that purposefulness associated with that.

LeeAnn Mallory  23:48  
There is a book that I have pulled a lot of strategies out of and I heard this woman on a podcast. Her name is Katy Milkman. She's a professor at Wharton. She and Angela Duckworth of Grit fame have, you know, I think their organization is called Greater Good or something like that. But you know, University of Pennsylvania and Wharton and they have all of that Adam Grant, there's, you know, all of those people are up there doing behavioral science, etc. One of the strategies for how to change - so her book is called, it's Katy Milkman, her book is called "How to Change". And one of the first things that she talks about is taking advantage of what's called the Fresh Start effect, which is a real dynamic. And so it addresses timing. So the timing of change, and there are natural seasons in our life that making change is, we're kind of poised to do that. And it can be the New Year's one of those. So that's a good timing. Birthdays are a good one. So I had a big birthday in 2023. I turned 60. And that was, you know, definitely a marker like, okay, so I'm 60 now. What does that mean to me? Is there something I want to be doing differently, but moving to a new city, changing jobs, becoming a grandparent, and like you said, my parents are also aging, and so that those roles are shifting. And that's also why I think like a ten year vision like doesn't work because we don't factor in, okay I need to think about what kind of daughter I want to be as my parents age, et cetera. But it's definitely part of my vision right now. Who do I want to be? But not when I was 20. So that changes, but really taking advantage of the feeling of a fresh start is one strategy to use in order to change.

Marsha Clark  27:03  
Yeah, and to begin again.

LeeAnn Mallory  27:05  
And to begin again. Right.

Marsha Clark  27:05  
Yeah, I love that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:07  
Yeah, what I'm hearing from both of y'all talk is that one of the missings, if you will, in an old fashioned New Year's resolution is a plan. We have to look ahead and plan, schedule, set milestones, create time on the calendar, you know, all those things. And based on what I see with your podcast, Marsha, here I mean, I know that we plan this content for the year. And so how does that apply to the other things that you do in your life?

Marsha Clark  27:44  
I will just say, as an entrepreneur, first of all, you have to meet the clients where they are if you're truly going to deliver value. I'll offer this as self awareness, self management, self determination. You know, I have to be aware of what I'm really good at, and what I want to deliver. So that's the self awareness piece. The self management is being in response and responding to what my clients need. And self determination is what I want to put out into the world that is mine, that I'm going to initiate. So you know, I'm clear about what my strengths and specialty and purpose and passion is about. I want to meet my clients where they are and deliver value to them. And I want to put my own work out into the world. So that's how I think about it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:29  
LeeAnn, how about you?

LeeAnn Mallory  28:30  
So how do I plan or how do I vision?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:34  
Well, yeah, I mean the point I was trying to make was that, you know, most people write down a list of new year's resolutions and then that list gets put to the side. And six weeks later, they realize, yes, they joined a gym, but they haven't gone. So the planning aspect.

LeeAnn Mallory  28:50  
So the planning and the implementation, I think, are two different phases. So you will reflect, you know, on the prior year, and another thing that we're not covering right here that I think is really important is just the appreciation like, what did I learn? Who helped me because even though we may think that we've done things ourselves, we never do anything by ourselves. Like it just never, in the smallest ways we have people supporting us. We're not doing things in a vacuum. And so I think that is a big piece of it. And then looking forward, and as we were saying with the value since the values and purpose, then, you know, what does my next year, what does that want to look like, what I want that to look like. And then I start kind of sketching that out. Well, so like last year when I did the podcast series, well, I knew the program was ending in May. So I knew would be somewhere around the May timeframe when we would start like the recording could start here but it wouldn't end probably for a little bit of time so I was able to kind of look at the calendar and start saying, 'Okay, there's going to be a block of time'. And it worked out great, because like summers are a little bit less busy. So I knew summer is going to be the time where I'm really going to be working on recording the podcast. And then there will be everything that comes after. So really getting clear about what does it mean to do these kinds of things. When I set the goal last year of getting better about my blood sugar management, I didn't have a plan. But I knew that, you know, by the end of the year that that was going to be a goal. So I started doing research, like, 'Are there coaching programs? Is there a podcast?' And that's actually how I found the program that I did is I was, is there a podcast for type one diabetics, and sure enough, there was and then I kind of backed into it. But then, you know, you kind of sign up, and then I say, okay, that's happening in this period of time. So I kind of then look at the year and start planning out when are these things going to happen. If I want it to happen by the end of the year, what is the pace or what is the cadence and when do I need to really start getting my resources together? So that's the planning piece, really looking at milestones, who else needs to be involved, what else do I need to be thinking about. And then the implementation kind of is doing this cycle on a weekly and daily basis, keeping those goals in front of you. And so every quarter, I do this process, but pretty significantly and look at where am I, is this still what I want, how am I doing, et cetera. So, and then, you know, engaging in those strategies. And we can talk a little bit more about like the, like you said, I say I want to go to the gym more, but I don't want to do it. And so Katy Milkman kind of outlines several strategies for helping you do that. And just like temptation bundling is a great one for getting to the gym, where if there's something that you love to do, like, I love certain music, I love to listen to podcasts, I love listening to books. And if I say, alright, the only time I can do those things are when I'm exercising. And so you bundle something that you're not crazy about with something that you really want to do and it's called temptation bundling. And then all of a sudden, I'm going for a walk, or I'm going to the gym, and I'm reaching, or I'm wanting to listen to a podcast, and I go, 'Well, when am I going to the gym?' Alright, so I need to get to the gym. So it creates that association. And so temptation bundling is a big one for things that we would tend to procrastinate on.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  32:57  
Yeah, I like that. I like that. Okay, so I have something in my notes here about the Beginning Again Workbook. So, LeeAnn, talk to us about that. What does that look like? How do you use it?

LeeAnn Mallory  33:08  
Every year it's a little bit different. But it has it always has the phases of reflecting first, visioning second, planning, and then implementation. So all of those are part of the workbook. I suggest that you print it out and actually write in it or that you have a journal that you're writing. And I just, there's so much data out there anymore about the value of handwriting. And I will take several iterations. Like I said, luckily my birthday is on January 31st and so there's also this thing where like, by my birthday, I want to have my plan developed. I also do things like engaging in the full body. So one of the parts of the workbook is walking a labyrinth. And when I walk the labyrinth, and in the workbook, there is a link where you can find 'Where's a labyrinth near me?' And luckily, there's one, an outdoor one, at a church near me that I can walk to. And it's fascinating. I will ask myself a question at the beginning and then I start walking the labyrinth. And for those of you who have walked the labyrinth before, you know there's a lot of trickery that happens there because right after you start walking, it looks like you're about done. And I think "Oh well that was fast. I'm duh ta duh. . ."  and then I realize oh no, I'm going way, and then I go how is that like life where I think I'm done but then I look up and I have this whole other section. How do I how do I deal with that? So I like to engage with either a labyrinth or other physical things. I love sitting with my tea making this whole process really desirable. I like doing it. I like the reflection part. And so I suggest that people print it out. Or another thing that I've done is that I have downloaded it into onto my iPad with a, an app called Notability. And there are several of them. And then I have this film that's on top of my iPad that makes it feel like I'm on paper. And so I actually will write it in there. And then I can have it with me whenever I want it. And so I don't know, let me check with you, Wendi. Is that the question that you were asking?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:33  
Yeah, I wanted to hear about the workbook because I have this in my notes. So yeah, I want to hear about that.

LeeAnn Mallory  35:39  
There are all kinds of links in there. You know, I always provide links whether it's to other websites or podcasts. Like this year, I included the link with the interview between Katy Milkman and Maya Shankar. And that is actually how I learned about Katy Milkman is that she was interviewed by Maya Shankar. And I thought, Oh, well that's going in next year's Beginning Again process because they were talking about all of these strategies, which just makes this whole thing a lot easier.

Marsha Clark  36:12  
Well, and I love it when you have several resources or references like people, books, podcasts, YouTubes, Todd Talks, whatever it may be and you're beginning to connect the dots. And each of us are going to connect those dots in different ways based on our life experiences and values, and so on and so forth. But when you start to me, that's when it becomes like blinking neons - pay attention! pay attention! - because, you know, it's the 'I saw it again, oh, there it is again', and whether it's subliminal or conscious or unconscious or whatever it may be, I just, I encourage our listeners, think about that for yourself and notice it because it's speaking to you in some important way.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:55  
Yeah. So now I want to move on to systems and structures. Okay. I'm reading, I'm seeing some notes on Fresh Start effect, commitment devices. So talk to us about that.

LeeAnn Mallory  37:11  
Okay. Yeah. So we talked about Fresh Start effect already. So that is timing changes that you want to make to other changes that are already happening, again, moving, new job, new year, birthday. I think spring is a great time, but you could do time changes with any season. And actually, our quarters, our corporate quarters, our business quarters are aligned with those as well. So that could be another kind of taking advantage of the Fresh Start effect. So another strategy that I used, this one is called a commitment device. And basically what that is is that you, gamification is a commitment device where people are engaging with other people to reach a goal or whatever kind of competing. And so that's like a group accountability would be a commitment device. When I joined this coaching group for type one diabetes, like I, it was a little sticker shock, you know, because it was a hefty price tag and I was paying for this out of my pocket. There's no, you know, my business isn't paying for it, this is for me. And so laying that money down really, okay, I'm going to do this, I'm going to show up all the time. There was also an accountability group with that too. And so there was an expectation that you were going to be in these small groups and that you were going to support each other. We had 40 or 50. It was all an all women's group. So there were like 40 or 50 of us and then they broke us down into smaller groups. And then our role was to help support each other. And so that would be, that would be a commitment device. There are some famous commitment devices too. One that is really interesting is there was a story the first time that I heard about this was years ago and this woman was wanting to stop smoking. And she had tried and tried and had not been successful. And so she had family members who died in the Holocaust. And so she gave her best friend $5,000. And she said, "If I haven't quit smoking by the end of this year, you are to give that money to this neo Nazi group". Wow. Yes. And so right. And so you can make a big commitment or a small commitment, but so it is a way that it really holds your feet to the fire. You know, we've heard the the term burn the boats and that's kind of the same thing. And there is, there's no way out. We're going to do this until we're done. And so that's a commitment device. I already mentioned temptation bundling. And that's where you put two things together, one thing that you like with one thing that you're trying to get better at, and you do those at the same time. There's another one called nudges or cues that I use. So again, with the diabetes group, one of the things that I learned is that for every person listening, your cortisol goes up in the morning. And when your cortisol goes up, it also causes your blood sugar to rise. All right. And so for diabetics, then we have to give ourselves insulin. All right. Also, I love my coffee in the morning. So what I do is first thing in the morning, I take two units of insulin. So those nudges and cues will end up, any of these can become a habit, you know. You start this association. And so in the beginning, I just had a note next to my bed, or I would I have my pdm, my device, next to me and so I woke up and I just hit two units of insulin immediately so that I had insulin on board before my cortisol started rising and to take care of the coffee that was, that I was so excited about that. So yeah, so those are, those are the main ones that for me, her book is so good. Again, it's called "How to Change". She is so accessible. And if you look for her on podcast, the one that I recommend was Maya Shankar, "A Slight Change of Plans". And so she was a guest there, she's great to listen to, but she's been on several podcasts. And so I recommend just finding a podcast that Katy Milkman is on. And she is, she's fantastic. She's fun. She's, you know, she's got a lot of humility, she makes fun of herself. And so she's human, she is human. And so I would say that as you're looking at things that you want to change in the next year, which of these strategies might be helpful. And so as I look at writing, I'm not quite sure yet, which one of these strategies I will use, whether it's a commitment device or a temptation bundling like I can, like I can only this is one thing I've thought of is, I can only have a latte at my favorite coffee shop when I'm writing. And so that's a way again to kind of temptation bundle. Yeah. And I actually work great at this coffee shop. I kinda get into a vibe and so that would be an example. So the next thing I think, would be to look at what you have going on in the next year, what you're committed to, and what support might you need. Everything doesn't need a strategy. Sometimes we just do it. But other times we need, we need some help.

Marsha Clark  43:16  
Yeah. You know, you've laid these out. And we've also talked about some additional things like setting defaults. And can you speak a little bit to that, and then also about hiring people to do things.  I want to share those with our listeners as well.

LeeAnn Mallory  43:33  
Absolutely. Yes. So setting defaults, that's also I think some of these overlap so much that I get them confused in my head and I think it's not important that we call it the right thing. But a default is something that you don't have to think about. So if you're trying if you're have a goal of saving money, just setting up an automatic withdrawal to like your. . . So I just in the last couple of years formed an LLC. I always just had a DBA, which then meant the money was just, it is just kind of mixed in with everything. So I formed an LLC and gave myself a salary. And so automatically, that money goes into my joint checking account with my husband. And that's, that's our money. Then I also set up a tax savings account, where money automatically goes in there, and then like automatic 401k, all of those things. So those are setting defaults because decision making is labor intensive. It takes a lot of brain power. Yeah. A lot of intellectual horsepower. We think, oh, when are we going to do it, how are we going to do it, how much all of those things are draining for us to think about. And they're always kind of hanging over our head, did I do it or not, etc. It is, it's an open loop. And so setting up as many defaults as you can, is one way to just take it off. And I think, Marsha, the hiring people to do things like delegate. There are some things that you just, you're just not doing. You have a team of people and you delegate it and forget it. And so that, and again, like people that produced the podcast. I just said, 'All right, I want you to edit it and I want you to provide all the social media clips and all I have to do is X. And so then I'm not thinking. I just know it's happening and that's like setting up a default. Or it's like I said, delegate and forget it.

Marsha Clark  45:48  
Yeah. And I when I look at those, the two that I use the most, it's that I think the Fresh Start effect, when you get to that. So whether it is the beginning of the year or my birthday or entering a new decade, like you were talking about. Turning 70 for me was a couple of years ago. That was another  big moment and that's when I decided I wanted to work four days a week. And the other that I've done for a long time, you well know this, is hiring people to do things I'm not good at or that I don't want to do. And my teams are amazing. And they get to play to their strengths and I get to play to mine and we get a lot of stuff done.

LeeAnn Mallory  46:24  
Yeah. I suspect that you're using other ones and you just don't know about it. So I'm like, that's the thing. I mean, like Katy Milkman didn't design these. They did a lot of research that said what are people already doing that seems to be helping and then they, I mean, this is very, very research based. But like I noticed I didn't know it was called a commitment device. But that's what I use. And I didn't know it was called the Fresh Start effect. But that's what I've been using. So there's likely things that if you learned more about it, you would say, 'Oh, I'm already doing that'. And I think that's another thing for us to get much better at recognizing that we are already so capable. And we've got so much at our back already that we can pull from that we don't need to recreate wheels.

Marsha Clark  47:18  
But I think the value of the work that you and I do, LeeAnn, though, is to give people a structure and a framework and a name. So it's like, when the women come into the room and say 'Imposter Phenomenon - there's a name for that'? It's legit if it's got a name and I think that makes it easier to access with less stress and less effort. That's the beauty of what we're bringing to our listeners, to our clients, to the people in our programs and so on is easier accessibility.

LeeAnn Mallory  47:48  
Absolutely. I can look at this list now and I can say, 'All right, here are the things that I want to have happen. This one keeps, it's been elusive. I resist it. I procrastinate. Which one of these strategies is most likely to help me write more?'  And like you said, now I have a name for it. Is it the commitment device? Is it temptation bundling? Is it a little bit of both? But I can actually, I can look at the dynamic or the strategy and say, how would that how would that play out in helping me? And again, the overarching thing for all of this is that all of these things that I want to accomplish are important to me for some reason, not somebody else's goal or something that I think I need to do. No, this is important to me and because of that, I'm going to put my resources behind it.

Marsha Clark  48:43  
It's like putting a label on the file folder. I can find it now. And the label is such that I can remember  what's in there. You know, I'm not just rifling through papers.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  48:55  
Well, I feel like we're just getting started and yet it's time to wrap up. So, Marsha, as you think about this discussion today, what's a key takeaway for you?

Marsha Clark  49:05  
Well, I think the takeaway, I love the devices. You know, I mean, the commitment device and the Fresh Start and all of that because that's new language for me, too, that even as I think about not only myself, but how I can help clients in starting new. And you know, I have a First 60 Days document tool, and I have an Ending Well document tool. And I'm thinking, you know, the first 60 days is pretty tactical. I mean, there's some clarity things on the front end, but then it's pretty tactical. I'm thinking I want to do a little bit more research around some of that and maybe embellish that work to a greater degree.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  49:43  
Okay. All right. LeeAnn, what about you? Key take away?

LeeAnn Mallory  49:47  
I named it the beginning. I think that Marsha framing her writing as, you didn't say op ed but you said opinion piece, and that's basically, that's what it is. And so that just frees me up. You know, when I think oh, this is my op ed. I get to have thoughts, and original thoughts, and that they're, I think that they're helpful. They're based on experience and conversations that I've had with people who are making an impact, et cetera. And so, yeah, that's, that's what I'm walking away with. Thank you. So thank you for that.

Marsha Clark  50:25  
So Wendi, what about you? You've got to give us, we've got to. . .

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  50:28  
No, I've gotta look at the clock. That's my job. So I want to end, I want to share with everyone where they can find LeeAnn. Her website is And we'll have that in the text transcription  notes. And her email is And so you know, Marsha, I know, next week, let's talk about next week's episode. Our reflection work is continued and we're exploring "Big Rocks Revisited". So what are we looking at for that discussion?

Marsha Clark  51:08  
Well, you know, and I just want to, as we think about getting ready for this new year, it is a fresh start, it is a begin again, a natural timing for all of that. And I look at this as a way for us to invest in ourselves, to take time to get clear. And that's what really the month of January podcasts are about and whether your birthday is January 31st or not, and that you give yourself the grace of that time. And really, even as you go through the holidays, it's hectic, it's chaotic, it's a lot and you're as tired after the holidays as you were going into them. And I need a holiday from the holiday, all that good stuff. But I hope that these topics that we're covering, and as we get into "Big Rocks Revisited", even beginning to better understand what those big ticket items are. And that's what we're going to talk about in the next episode as a continuation of this "begin again", and again and again.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  52:11  
Right. So for everyone, to review, if you haven't heard Episode 65 with LeeAnn Mallory last year, was entitled "Begin Again" also and Episode 42 was where we introduced the concept of "Big Rocks" and prioritization. So that's where we are today and where we're headed. So thank you, listeners, for joining us on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast and give us a review. Your feedback really matters to us.

Marsha Clark  52:47  
Yes. And, LeeAnn, I want to thank you again for coming back. So really we could, we could be here all afternoon and this could be a 12 hour podcast. But and it would be so much fun to do that. And I think we've got to give ourselves the grace and time to do those things as well.

LeeAnn Mallory  53:01  
Yeah. You know, I do want to say one more thing that this Begin Again Workbook, that will be in the show notes, too, so people can download that and find it really easily if you want to print that out.

Marsha Clark  53:16  
I love that. And you know, even as you were talking about writing things down, physically writing them, I just read an article this morning about they're teaching cursive again. And the headline was, and a lot of states had, you know, said they weren't going to do that anymore, and the headline was, "Kids Are Learning to Write Cursive Again so They Can Read Grandma's Letters." I have laughingly said that cursive will be our generation's hieroglyphics, right. But you know, I just, there is something and that's why I handwrite my books. There's something about writing things down in a physical way that stimulates us. I encourage everyone to download that workbook so that they can have that physical and intellectual experience because it will stimulate things that you don't get just by typing or thinking or even walking and doing all those things. Find what works for you, but I encourage that. And listeners, thank you for joining us today and I hope you've gotten some additional tidbits for your own practice or your own activity of beginning again as we start this new year of 2024. And we don't do things alone. We always have a great team of people that we know and love and trust. And I want you, wish for you that you can find that group for yourselves and you know, as always, we're here to support you. And "Here's to women supporting women!"

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