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Podcast Transcript

Beyond Bossy Bully and Bitchy

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:11  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership with Marsha Clark" where we believe there's a better way to be a woman today! With research tools, books, and our own personal experiences, join us on this journey because in every episode we're uncovering what it actually takes to be a powerful leader in our organizations, our communities, and our lives. Marsha, welcome! And what are we going to be talking about this week? The title is intriguing....

Marsha Clark  0:47  
Well, thank you very much, Wendi! And hello to everyone... All of our listeners out there, and thanks for joining us again today. Today, our topic is going "Beyond Bossy, Bully, and Bitchy." By digging deeper into really talking about the nature of power, how power is perceived, and actually accepted differently across in between men and women. And we'll be offering some of our very favorite exercise exercises that really helped us to uncover the unconscious bias around power and gender and helps us to explore how our own beliefs about the power might be limiting our opportunities, not only to own, but to embrace our power as well.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:38  
I love that. Okay. But first, we cannot start talking today without explaining the title. I again, definitely an attention-getter on this one... A little bit provocative, so...  

Marsha Clark  1:50  
Yes, absolutely. And, and we I love provocative, you know, I love because that's where the real juice comes in. Right? It's really what gets us at a deeper, more thoughtful level. And so what we were very intentional it when we use all the words that we use are that's our, you know, deliberate points. And, you know, I, when it comes to these words because there's more than just bossy, bully, and bitchy, you know, that that women get called. And so I often collectively refer to them as the "B" words.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:26  
So tell me more why specifically, these words, and what do they have to do with power?

Marsha Clark  2:32  
Well, you know, it's sad. It makes me sad to think about it. But in some ways, it's kind of obvious that when we're talking about power, and women, that these are the words that come up, especially if a woman is acting out of stereotype if she's being too assertive, or too aggressive. And the idea of women and power can conjure up some of these negative words or strong images and even memories for lots of people. And that's why we want to get beyond these labels and beyond these stereotypes, and because it's such a strong part of our culture. And I have to bring this up, because it's one of my favorite little memes, if you will, that maybe some of our listeners have seen as well. But it's a picture of a probably a five or six year old girl who's kind of leaning in with a stick. And she's, you know, pointing it and looking into the face of another little five or six year old boy. And she says, I'm not bossy. I have skills, leadership skills, understand. And so I think about that as a five or six year old, and I'm also thinking about it as a 25 year old, a 35 year old, a 45 year old, because this is a part of the stigma that gets attached. We get called "little bossy boots," or, you know, those kinds of things that are oftentimes intended to be endearing, but they're also diminishing because it doesn't allow us to step up and assume a powerful role.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:04  
Right, right. Yes, I've definitely seen that internet meme. And yes, she's got quite the little stick in her hand, and but he doesn't look all that happy either, the little boy. You know, there's t-shirts and coffee mugs with with this picture on it.

Marsha Clark  4:20  
Yeah, I, I think it speaks volumes. And that's why many women that I know really enjoy it, and appreciate it. And it may be something that we cared about. But then again, you know, there's always some reality or truth below the surface of the humor. And it's like an uncomfortable joke that everyone understands. And yet, you know, dot, dot, dot, and for little girls who grow up to be women and to demonstrate those leadership behaviors and to be assertive. That's when we often get labeled as the B words.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:55  
Yes. And you know, it's surprising to me that this is still a thing You know, I would think that people would recognize and appreciate leadership skills in women today, even even more than they have in the past.

Marsha Clark  5:11  
And I think that's true to a great extent. And there are still many exceptions to that. And I'll go back to one of our, you know, foundational points or foundational elements, which is, it depends depends on who you're talking to, what their personal experiences have been, what kind of national cultures they've grown up in, what kind of organizational cultures they've, you know, experienced from a professional perspective.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:38  
Right, right.

Marsha Clark  5:40  
And, Wendi, I don't I don't mean to sound flippant, you know. I do think about there was a an advertising phrase many years ago that says, "You've come a long way baby." That was directed to women. And even though we've seen progress over the decades, and that women have certainly achieved, you know, more top leadership roles and have garnered more respect. And yet, I think all you have to do is open up a newspaper, or any sort of media, and you'll see that strong women who have taken some powerful leadership stance continue to be vilified and called out using whatever, some pejorative or negative terms. And so it really does depend...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:29  
Right, exactly. Well, there's an exercise in your book. And I mean, it's literally the first activity you have in chapter one of embracing your power, your power, called powerful women are dot, dot, dot. And so share with us why that activity gets the first spot out of all the tools you provide.

Marsha Clark  6:52  
So Wendi, one of the things I know and have continued to learn about is that when we move into an exercise like this without, it's not about teaching all the points and then seeing if you get the answers right at the end of the you know, section, or whatever this is about what are what are the thoughts and beliefs that I'm holding deeply inside myself. And so we've used this as an opening exercise on the program. And I even use this as an opening exercise in the book. And so it's got 20 years of history and a lot of travel around the world. And we, we intentionally want women to dig deep inside themselves and uncover their own hidden biases that they may have around the the word power or the concept of power. And we and that's the way that we begin to start the exploration that helps them to start the journey of finding discovering rediscovering their more authentic, authentic, powerful self.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:59  
Right, right. So how does it uncover the hidden biases?

Marsha Clark  8:05  
Yeah, so it's like word association. And so one of the instructions that I give at the very beginning of this exercise is, "Don't overthink it. Don't over analyze it. Don't worry about being politically correct. Give me the first word or phrase that comes to mind." And that when we when when the women do this in the programs, and as they read the book, I hope that that that it will effectively reduce or minimize the censoring of their thoughts, because we're so good. Oh, should I say that? Could I say that? What will happen if I say that, and so we want, what the exercise is, is we give them four different prompts. And I'm going to take you through some of those in just a minute. And you get to answer the same prompt, each of the four prompts three times that without hesitation, and if someone does that quickly, and honestly, without filtering or censoring their responses, they can maybe discover some things in themselves, because I've had many women say, I don't know where that came from, I can't believe I said that out loud, or wrote that down or whatever it might be. And I think by better understanding some of our underlying beliefs about power in general and my own power, that it can be either it can either serve us well or it can be a limiting factor in us really stepping into our own power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:35  
So I know the activity is in the book, but do you mind walking us through an example or two, just because I want I really want the audience to be able to hear that thought process in themselves.

Marsha Clark  9:48  
I would love to. And so here's what I would invite our listeners to do if you can grab a pen and pencil paper, something to write on or you may you know, do it on your device or whatever. It may be, but have something where you can capture some immediate thoughts. And so what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you the prompt, which is the beginning of a sentence. And it's like filling in the blank at the end of the sentence. And again, don't overthink it, Don't overanalyze it. And I'm going to ask you the same give you the same prompt, three different times, and then I'll change. So hopefully everybody's had time to get a pen and pencil or paper ready. And so Wendi, would you be willing to be my guinea pig? Alright, so I want you to finish this sentence, and I'm going to say the same thing three times, and then I'm going to shift.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:49  

Marsha Clark  10:50  
All right. "Powerful, women are __________."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:55  

Marsha Clark  10:57  
"Powerful women are _________."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:00  

Marsha Clark  11:02  
"Powerful women are _________."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:05  
Oh, my God. I'm blanking on a last word, but it it has to do with "managed." Like what I was, and you may go further with this. But I want to go ahead and say what I envision when I think of a powerful woman is a woman who is very much in control of herself and her reactions and responses. That's where my brain goes.

Marsha Clark  11:30  
So that's where your controlled word that's what that word represents for you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:35  
Yes, that's why I felt like I needed to clarify that because my image of a powerful woman goes immediately to Robin Wright's character in "House of Cards" - Claire Underwood. Like her, that will imagery of that still, controlled power is resonates with me. That's what I see.

Marsha Clark  11:56  
And even in your third response of "managed" is self-managing, not an external management and content. And I want to be clear, too. Controlled is not controlling. Control is about me controlling me not trying to control any, any others. Alright, and then your second response, remind me what it was?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:19  
Oh my. I have no idea. Maybe "confident?"

Marsha Clark  12:26  
Confident confident. Yeah, and, and so thinking, making some connections here for you. So you feel confident when you feel like you are in control of yourself. And that you're you're conscious and managing yourself very intentionally, yes. So again, hopefully, that's just an example for our leader or our listeners, you know, to understand about themselves as well. And if you, you know, in the book, we encourage people that you can either do read the book individually, or you can read it as a group or in a book club or something like that. And it's fascinating to share these responses with other women and go, "Oh, tell me more about that." And that all of that kind of conversation helps us to deepen our own understandings about our failings about power.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:12  
So what then do we do with our responses?

Marsha Clark  13:16  
Well, I think that, you know, there's this exploration that we have to do that says, what do I really mean about that? Or what is how does that show up for me, in ways that I can feel more powerful as I move through my day, as I make my choices and decisions, as I, you know, contemplate how I want to show up. And that, you know, the idea we do this, that the other three prompts that we give our power, less women are three times powerful. Men are three times power, less men are three times. And it's useful to go through all four of those, because then I have not only my list of three words, but I have will have this powerful contrast with powerful, powerful women contrast with powerful men. How does powerful and powerless go together for both women and for men? And so there's, there's more data to mine, if you will, around all of that for me to then say, "Hmm, what does that mean for me?"

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:25  
So I remember doing this in the class and there were some really uncomfortable moments with some of the words that people were sharing because, I mean, we were there to be authentic and write it all out.

Marsha Clark  14:39  
Right, and this is where you know, some of the B words show up even when men when women are describing other powerful women. And I often ask the class you know this, "Did someone's face or name pop into your head that you thought of as powerful or powerless?" And how did that influence your responses? And so if I've had a powerful female boss or mentor, or coach or mother, or you know, grandmother, aunt, whatever it may be, then I think about what words describe that woman, you know, or, and the same is true for the other categories as well. And and that is often a part of how this shows up. And if I've had some bad experiences with bad women leaders or women that I've not had a good relationship with or have been distressing, you know, in my relationship with them that shows up too.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:42  
Right. And I know we're going to talk more about the reflection questions from this exercise here in a little bit, but I'm guessing the audience is curious about what are over the years, what are some of the words that you've collected that describe these four groups:  powerful women, powerless women, powerful men, and powerless men?

Marsha Clark  16:05  
Yeah, I've often said I could write a book about just the responses I received 20 years. But I but I have kept up with what are the most common responses, because I think that's, you know, I always look for themes and patterns. And so that's what I what that's what I offer in response in this response. So the most common responses to powerful women are, is strong. By far the number one smart, decisive, bold. And then risk taker and bold and risk taker sometimes are interchangeable, right? I'm willing to stand up for what I believe to be courageous. And and that often has risk attached to it. So I and I'm willing to do it anyway. So that's the the top answers for powerful women are the top answers for powerless women is afraid or meek, scared, even. Another is isolated, and the third is abused. And it can be verbal abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, all kinds of abuse gets associated with powerlessness. And then for powerful men. Strong is also the number one word for them. So that is one thing that the two lists of powerful women and powerful men have in common. And the second most common for men is powerful men are leaders. And and I just want to contrast and make the list for when it has only started to show up sporadically on the Women list in the last few years. And I that for me goes back to because we have more women as leaders that we can point to or think of than we did 20 years ago when I started this exercise. And then the third thing, which again, I think is interesting, power for men are often described as being intelligent and powerful women are often described as being smart. And I don't know what to make of that, quite honestly. But it is enough that it's been repeated enough. That it's noticeable to me, it stands out for me. So I just I just say Isn't that fascinating, and we'll talk more about that. And then the other thing that comes into the powerful men list that is I think also telling is the words are like arrogant, abusive, condescending, domineering, dominating. And so it's a concept of power over and you know, that's got its own set of stories and examples and experiences that women have. And then the last thing I'll say about powerful men is they're often described as tall and rich, interesting. And women, women don't get described as being powerful women based on physical attributes or financial balance sheet. You know? And yet when we think about men, that's some words that come up and so... And then the last thing I would offer is that the powerless men, the top three, and this is around the world, are weak powerless men are weak, wimpy, that's not often a non U.S. word, but it is some aspect of it and lazy.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:26  
So, Marsha, how did the lists change over the years? Or do they when you do this exercise and and also when you do this exercise with men or in co-ed programs, do these words and lists change?

Marsha Clark  19:41  
Yeah, I will tell you I get asked that question a lot. And and here's what I will offer to you. I think that my experience because I am a woman in the front of the room asking the question and as a facilitator, I have some help. Call it positional power and influence in the room. What I find is that the men are still careful, even though I give the same instructions of first thoughts not politically correct, no right or wrong answers, that sort of thing. They're still a little more careful and guarded in their responses. And I, I also think that men have more similarities behind their answers of what is powerful and powerless. So their lists look more of this. There's greater similarity between the men and women list on theirs. And I think it's because their view of power is their view of power, right? So the male view of power is what powerful or powerless is, and doesn't often take into account the experiences of women either as leaders being powerful, or our moments of feeling powerless.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:53  
Right, right. So one last question about these words, have you seen the words change or evolve over the years? And are our attitudes getting any better about powerful women or any of the other beliefs?

Marsha Clark  21:09  
The there's some, there's some good news. And there's some bad news around this that says, I'm happy to report or say that women describing other powerful women that there are less be words being used about that. And so I think there's been more awareness, more education, more research, more books, more noticing that, you know, because a woman is powerful, or because a woman has achieved a certain level of leadership, responsibility that it in standing up for what she believes in is not a B, description. It's a leadership description. It's an L description, if I can set that way. And I will also tell you that it still makes me sad that women have continued one of the things that that has remained pretty consistent is that men are still described as being arrogant or dominating, or, you know, condescending and even abusive.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:08  

Marsha Clark  22:10  
Can I offer one other little description here? And this, I think, also speaks to the how have things changed over time... When we first begin doing our research 20 years ago in2000, we were saying what other companies out there or what other programs were there for targeted specifically to women in leadership. And other than women's studies, or women's history programs in university curriculum, we didn't find a lot. We did find one other program, though. And it was, it was literally called "The Bully School." And it was targeted for women, and here was the tagline -- "The Bully School - Where you send your women to smooth off their rough edges."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:07  
Okay, there's just so much wrong with that my head is spinning. "Where you send your women.... " Okay, let's just put that to the corner for a second. "... to smooth off their rough edges." The bully school. Well, knowing what bullying means and the connotation of bullying now, and how that word triggers, especially in parents, that's rather frightening that there was a school.

Marsha Clark  23:35  
Right? Well, and you know, you've heard this, there's been a lot being written about this, even most recently, as you know, many leaders have been under so much stress and pressure and strain, that there's a lot more bullying and abusive behavior going on on airplanes and grocery stores, and offices as well. And I, you know, I've heard the phrase now and read the phrase many times that said, if the kind of behavior that some people are displaying, as adults were displayed in, in elementary schools and on the playground, it would be labeled bullying, and it and they would be sent home to their parents. You know, and, and so I think there's some real there's some real things to be learned about that and what and what one person calls bullying or in what one person is just, you know, having an emotional reaction or not thinking and being deliberate in their responses to certain things. I think we got to take a breath and take a moment and really look at our adult behavior around these kinds of things.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:42  
I know you often use the phrase "So what? Now what?" or something to that effect. So if someone has completed this exercise, and they have their thoughts down around their attitudes about powerful women and powerful men and powerless-ness, what's the so what? And the now what? What are they supposed to do with this information?

Marsha Clark  25:07  
Yeah, the what? So what? Now what? are three are the three organizing principles that I try to apply to a lot of things. How I write letters, emails, you know, presentations, and so on. So I think this so what in this case is for them to explore how, or whether their attitudes or beliefs might, in fact, be affecting their ability or willingness to fully step into their own power. So So when we've had negative experiences of powerful people, whether they're men or women, it has an impact on us on how we think about power, how we might use it, or choose not to use it, because if it felt abusive, or, you know, controlling, then it can have, you know, I don't want to be that, right. I have recently, quite as I've written a paper on, and the title of it is life's trauma, and its impact on who we are. And it speaks to the traumatic experiences of women, and how that can quiet us or shut us down or bring us great thanks. And so you can find that paper on my website, if you're interested in that. And we could have a whole episode on that. Now, I also want to talk about the so what is, if we have an experience of being around, and with women who we feel are power less, we can assume or absorb some of that as well. So we can be powerful, and we can be too powerful. And we can also be in that powerless state. And so the now what, to all of that, if this is the so what, how is how are my life experiences of either being or feeling powerful or powerless, and seeing other powerful or powerless women impacting my choices, my behaviors, my personality, about being able to step into or not my power? And that's why we need to then the now what is dig into it, find out where that's coming from? And and, you know, two of my favorite Coaching Questions are is how is that helping you? And how is that hurting you? Or how is that enabling you are? How is it disabling you?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:27  
So then the reflection questions really seem to tie in with uncovering people's hidden biases or attitudes around power.

Marsha Clark  27:37  
Yeah, so we're asking people to check their thoughts about powerful and powerless-ness in both men and women. And then see how, where it's the same, where it's different, and so on. And then to say, are there some patterns or themes that show up for me? So let's just say I work with a woman who's really powerful, but she reminds me of another woman that I worked for eight years ago, who took powerful to an extreme and therefore less than positive experience. So am I going to, you know, apply what the woman eight years ago am I going to, you know, hold the woman in front of me, you know, guilty for that kind of behavior, versus really beginning to understand and accept who this woman is in front of me rather than applying all of those things. And, you know, again, we started this exercise long before the phrase unconscious bias was, you know, a buzzword. And it doesn't mean, we haven't always had unconscious biases, it's just not been a part of, you know, the professional language or vernacular that we know it to be today. And so I think that these unconscious biases have a direct link. And that's what we're trying to help women connect those to make those connections and links for themselves and for others.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:58  
One of the reflection questions in the book that really stands out to me as especially deep is the one about seeing myself in my responses. Tell us more about that question.

Marsha Clark  29:11  
Yeah, you know, one of the things I asked women where do you see yourselves on the powerful women our list? And you know, I've usually got a flip chart, because I've been capturing their responses. And it's got, I don't know, you know, depending on how many are in the room, it could have anywhere from 25 to 75 words on the page. And, you know, what I often hear from women is, wow, that's a little overwhelming or daunting. I mean, I have to be all those things to be powerful. And the answer, of course, is no. And yet, these are possibilities and words that you might want to think about where what are those words on there that you particularly want to try and absorb and, you know, make your own and then the other side is we've all felt powerless. We've all had powerless moments. Have I've been afraid you bet you Have I felt isolated being the only woman in the room? You bet. Yeah. And you know, all of those words on those lists can also apply to each of us. So I want, you know, I want us to acknowledge that we're going to have both of those moments in our lives were the choice of being powerless, or that the experience I should say, of being powerless is is just going to it's going to happen. So make that an expectation in your life, where our choice point comes in, is I don't want to live there. I don't want to live in an abuse state. I don't want to live in a victim state I don't want to live in, you know, that isolated state. So how am I going to get myself out of that?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:40  
That's reminding me of the quote that you have in the book by Alice Walker: "The most common way we give up power is by thinking we don't have any." I love that.

Marsha Clark  30:52  
Yeah, I do too. And, and it starts with us, right? I can either continue that thought process that says, you know, I had no choices, one of my moments, would I hear me, we do have choices. And sometimes it's really hard, right? So the choice might be the difference between bad and worse. So they're not always going to be delightful, positive, energetic, you know, passionate. Thanks. So I agree with you that that is a powerful quote. And I want us when we have those moments of powerlessness to really dig down. And you know, we do another exercise that talks about what's a powerful moment, and what were your power sources. And you can see that in the book as well. And that when you are able to list those power sources, that's your go to when you're feeling powerless, that can help pull you out of that space.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:51  
Right. The other question that I'm finding so compelling is the one about do you strive to be powerful? And I guess I never really considered that a woman wouldn't automatically say yes to that question. I mean, that's my personality. And I sit from the viewpoint of who wouldn't want to be powerful. So talk to us about that.

Marsha Clark  32:14  
Yeah. And that really gets to the heart of the matter. And, quite honestly, why we started this activity to begin with. seeking power for the sake of power, just having it right, I'm all powerful, isn't something that most women want. And I believe that's still true today. It's not the end, it's it, I want women to begin to understand how having their own personal power is a means to whatever and they choose that in to be. So it's the reason we even struggled with using the word power in our programs, because there's more reaction. And over time, I haven't seen that way that typically we think about power someone having power over us because that that is often the woman's experience. And that's not the kind of power that women were seeking. And so, but what I believed in what the the team of people that I, you know, worked with and surrounded myself with to develop this material so many years ago, deep down in our hearts, we really felt like women wanted power, they just wanted to do it in their own way, and to define it for themselves. And, and what that often leads to is something for the greater good. Now, I'm not here to say men don't want that too, because I think in their heart of hearts, most of them are saying their power positions as being for good as well. But I think there's different ways that we articulate that, or, you know, the measure of how we measure success is depth is different. And so in order for us to understand that about ourselves, and to get clear about that, we got to understand how we feel about the word, how we internalize the word, how it can, as I said earlier, enable or disable us, and how can we begin to use our power for the good in our roles in our families, in our homes, in our communities, and so on? And, you know, we often ask the question, and I literally chart this list as well. What would be different if women had more power and influence both personal and positional power? In order to what how would the world be different? How would their businesses be different? And so you know, I think, do you strive to to be powerful and not it's not about power over it's about you, being your best, most powerful, authentic self is really sets the stage For then all of the work that we do, both in the the remainder of the program and in the subsequent chapters of the book,

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:07  
Right, and I love that you just use the word influence because as I'm going back, like, as we're having this conversation, I'm wanting to go back and, and edit my answers, of course, and influential is something that I think women grasp a hold of, I think it's a big underlying basis for a lot of things that go on within the women's movement. And anything that women are involved in, they're looking to influence the situation, other women to a point of view, and that just that word influence, to me implies more of a collaborative experience, rather than these words that come out when women and men are asked to describe powerful men, it's more of a one at the top, many underneath, whereas influence implies a lot of us locking arms and having having influence on the situation.

Marsha Clark  36:05  
Yeah, I want to, I want to offer something on this. So and you and I don't think you and I've talked about this, but the title of the book is "Cassandra Speaks" and it's by Elizabeth Lesser. And I won't get the subtitle of it just right. But here's the spirit of it. That history has been written through the voice of men, by and large. And Cassandra is a mythological character, who was a beautiful, powerful woman. And when she spurned the sexual advances of Zeus and the other mythological gods, the curse that was put on Cassandra was that her voice would not be heard or given weight. Now, just think about that for a minute not. And admittedly, this is a mythological story, but there are other institutional and societal examples that are given in this book, and you kind of go, oh, that's how that happened. And so it's, it's this idea of when we're assertive when we speak up, when we stand up when we have courage of our convictions, all powerful stances that we can take. Historically, those have been diminished, denied, resisted, refuted, spoken over, ignored all of those things that we've experienced, many of us as women. And so I think this idea of influence, how can I have influence if my voice can't even be heard, right. And so I would just encourage, if you if you're interested in understanding that the subtitle is something like if that history would look different, if women got to tell the story, our side of the story on what it feels like on this end of that dichotomy of men and women.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:56  
Exactly. You know, I never really knew how much thought went into each of these activities that you've described earlier in this podcast, and all the questions around it. I mean, you could spend an entire day or probably a week just digging into people's histories with power and how it affects them today.

Marsha Clark  38:17  
Yeah, it is very deep and intentional. You've heard me say 100 times language matters, right? language, language, tone, timing, all of that. And, and we have been very intentional in the way that both the sequence of things that we do, the way that we deliver it, the conversations, we this is a part of the programs and the book being written for women, by women, because we need to talk about this stuff. And so if a woman just scratches the surface of her story, your story, my story around power, and you know, we can uncover some deep wounds, right? I mean, there's some deep hurts, traumatic events and so on. Look, we're not here to help you heal those wounds in the sense of you know, I, I'll let me kind of break here for a moment and say, the way that I differentiate therapy and coaching for example, is therapy is looking back and asking why why did this happen? What's happened in my life that's created me to respond react live this way, what coaching is, is looking ahead and asking how, so we want to we want to help you figure out what your thoughts are, what your feelings are, be able to link those to the experiences for the purpose of saying how do I want to be and how do I want to do going forward perhaps differently than I've done before? For whatever reason, so um, look, if there are deep wounds that you need to work on, please go find the help that you need and there are piston, you know, counselors are great ways to do that. This book this program, this coaching that I've been involved in for so long, it's about looking ahead and asking now.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:07  
Exactly. Well, let's start wrapping this up with a little reversal of power, if you will. I think people might be curious to hear YOUR responses to the questions of powerful women are ______.  Are you up for this Marsha?

Marsha Clark  40:22  
I am!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:24  
Okay. So, "Powerful women are _________."

Marsha Clark  40:28  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:31  
I love that. Yes! "Powerful women are _________."

Marsha Clark  40:35  
Smart. And and I want to I want to be really clear what I mean about smart. They're smart about results. They're smart about data. They're smart about relationships. They're smart about timing and on and on it goes. So smart is a very broad and encompassing term.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:54  
Love it! And "Powerful women are ________."

Marsha Clark  40:58  
Bold. It is one of my favorite words, you know. I just think having the courage of our convictions, standing in the hot water, you know, in spite of.... All of those things come to mind for me when I think about powerful women.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  41:15  
Exactly. So do you think your words have changed over the 20 years you've been doing this work?

Marsha Clark  41:21  
You know, when I saw when I saw this question on our notes, I did some real thinking about that. So the first time I did this exercise, of course, was 20 plus years ago, and I think my answers were the same. I don't have them recorded somewhere. But I think that this hit the the leader, the smart, the bold, if I look back over my lifetime, those are things that I have both believed in and embodied. For whatever reason, I can't tell you why. But I've been fierce about these, you know, I, I, I strive to be the best person I could be to serve others to be a leader in you know, every club, I joined in high school, I was the leader, I was the head of my drill team, I was, you know, all those things that were available to me as a young girl. And I take pride in that. And I think those things are part of what have created the me I am today.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:21  
Exactly. So I'm kind of just blown away thinking about the power of words. And the words we use to describe power and other people how it influences our attitudes about them and just power in general.

Marsha Clark  42:36  
Yeah, me too. I listened carefully to the words to the tone. And and if I'm, if I don't quite understand it, I do want to explore it because I want to understand, you know, what's behind all of that. And I used to tighten up when I heard the phrase powerful women or, you know, women described as the the be words, whatever they might be. And, you know, I now I just remind myself, we're all coming from such different places with different life experiences. And we got to we got to own where we are at any given point in time, and we have to recognize we still have a whole lot of work to do in the world.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:13  
Absolutely. Well, thank you all for joining us today on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. We invite you to download and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Google Spotify, wherever you like to listen to your podcasts. And, please visit Marsh's website at for all the links that we talked about today, the tools and other resources. Please subscribe to Marsha's email list and stay up to date on everything in the Power Of Self and Marsha Clark worlds. You can also find out more about Marsha and her latest book, "Embracing Your Power" on the site as well as other social media.

Marsha Clark  43:55  
Well and Wendi, let me add my thank you to our listeners today too, Wendi! I really appreciate you joining us and I hope you've been able to, you know learn and have some new insights. And I hope that we, you know, generated some provocative thoughts inside of you as well coming full circle to that word provocative. We also want you to know that we want you to hear from you. So whether you have thoughts or questions or comments, ideas, you want to probe this further, please let us know get in touch with us. We'd love to hear from you. And as with all of our information, whether it be programs or books or podcasts, we want you to know that we're here to support you. And so as I close all of our podcasts session, "here's to women supporting women!"

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