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Podcast Transcript

Living Your Values

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 tell us about this week's episode.

Marsha Clark  0:44  
Well, thank you, Wendi, and hello again to everyone who's listening today. Today's topic is Living Your Values, and we're going to talk about some things that might actually seem to be a bit daunting and overwhelming. And that is clarity, courage, risk, and vulnerability. And each of these is part of our lives. It's an important part of our life. And we think that it getting clear about these things is something that's going to help us live our best lives.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:12  
Absolutely. Now in the last episode, we talked about values, getting clear and standing your ground. So when did you first really have to stand up for your values?

Marsha Clark  1:24  
Well, when when this question was asked of me, I had to think about that a little bit. And again, I love the retrospection part of this exercise or this activity and going through and really helping me to get clear about it too. And, and I think I've, I've stood up for my values. I didn't know that was what I was doing. But I've been doing it for quite some time. And so people who know me, well know that I had a special needs sister who was six years younger than I was. And I was not just a sister to her, I was almost like a surrogate mother. So she was a big part of my life. And when I was in the seventh grade, we had a group of kids that were called the special education class, and they too, had some physical and other kinds of disabilities. And we were in PE physical education class one morning, and one of the girls in my class started making fun of the physical education or the special education kids. And it really bothered me. And I asked her to quit, she lived close to me, she knew about my sister Aaron. And it was, I thought, really insensitive of her to do that. And in my 12 year old version of myself, I went to her after I'd asked her a couple of times, stop it. And I said it nicely. And then I said it strongly. And then I went up to her, and I put pushed her, I'll just be honest, I pushed her. I'm not a proponent of physical, anything, but I did. And, you know, of course, that's the time the PE teacher comes in and catches us and I got sent to the office, and I was a good girl, and I made good grades. And I'd never had that experience before. And I was in tears. And I told her principal and the assistant principal what had happened. And they were quite understanding about it, and they didn't, they, there were not harsh consequences for me, I didn't get kicked out of school, or expelled or any of that kind of stuff. But they did say Marsha not acceptable and so on, right, so so they admonished me for my actions. And they also admonished her, for her instance it insensitivity to the situation. And so again, you know, thinking about the earliest version of me standing up for my values, that was my 12 year old version of standing up for my values. And, you know, I'll also tell you that throughout my life, I feel like I support the underdog, you know, if I go back to who are the people that I think are getting a fair shake in life, and that, that is my, my way of living, the values that we talked about in the last program. And I also think about a more adult version of living by values, and it really was about my time. When I left EDS, we had a, I alluded to that in our one of our earlier podcasts, but we had a new CEO coming in from outside the company. And I lived for 20 plus years in a company that I thought their company values aligned with my personal values. And that's what made it part of what made it such a wonderful experience. And this was no longer true. So the idea of that was, if I was going to get up and look myself in the mirror every morning, I knew I had to do something. And so the short version of that, again, is that I chose to leave EDS because it was a company that no longer aligned with my values. I was very clear about that. So hard decision the hardest professional decision I've ever made.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:05  
I'm sure. So I, you know, again, yes, we've talked about EDS being in your background. And I know that, because I grew up here in Dallas and watched EDS from the start, from the beginning. And I know that values were a big deal to the company and within the culture. How did that experience of being a leader there shape your values, then, and then also now?

Marsha Clark  5:33  
Now, I will tell you that it was amazing. I don't know what better word to use. But it was an amazing experience to work in a company and work with people whose values closely aligned with my work, you know, I don't expect anything to be 1,000%, you know, perfect or the same. But but the sentiment of these values was very strong and Central. And, you know, some of the big ones for me, were treating people with dignity and respect. So it goes back to I don't care who you are, what you've done, or where you've been. Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. And EDS felt that way, too. You know, in those days, the phrase, people are our most important asset. And we don't like to think about people as assets. And yet, it was what made the difference. If you're a, if you're a service oriented company, or you're providing a service, people are your product, that and so treating them with dignity and respect is usually important. And so I love that aspect of it as a as an employee, and as my obligation and responsibilities as a leader. And then the other thing was service to our customers. You know, we had all kinds of customers, all kinds of industries, we had good ones, bad ones, really bad ones. Really good one. Yeah. And so you really learned and it puts your customer service values to the test, and you tried to figure out how to work your way through that. So that was a wonderful, deepening experience of that value, providing, you know, feedback to my employees and helping them grow. We had a kyp saying that was no your people. Hmm. And so what what did they like, what did they want, what were they good at long before we had this whole body of literature and work around it, this was just about doing the right thing as a leader. So developing, growing, helping them achieve their their goals. And what we rewarded was intentions, effort and results. And it was usually the combination, right, there wasn't just want, like, we wouldn't just reward intentions or just reward effort, it had to be the full array. And I'm a believer in that as well. Another was playing in the center of the circle of ethics. And I love the visual of that. So because this idea was when we get close to the outer edges of that circle, we can make one more step and be outside of the circle. Yeah. And so it you know, another version of that is the slippery slope and those kinds of things. But this idea of, am I in that center, or close to that center, I don't want to mess with ethics, I don't want to mess with integrity. And we were very clear about that. And we turned away business, when we felt like something was awry in that regard. These are the same principles I apply in my business today. And whether it be treating people with dignity and respect, serving my customers and delivering value to them, helping people grow not just my own associate team, but also my clients as well. And I try to model this in not only what I teach, but also what I live.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:57  
So to leave a company that had been such a big part of your life must have been like a huge, almost painful decision. Why did you leave?

Marsha Clark  9:08  
Yeah, it really was. I mean, if I come down to the core of it, it really was because it was no longer the company whose values aligned with mine. Right? And what I there were 44 of us who were officers, and I was the 38th one to leave. Wow, yeah, it was a mass exodus so that even that statistic there tells you how important values were and and and how people felt about what was happening and what we anticipated the future would bring as a result of that. And the bottom line for me was I had to be able to get up in the morning and look myself in the mirror like who was looking back at me exactly. And I had never had a boss and the new CEO was my boss as an officer. I'd never had a boss I couldn't figure out how to work with and how to learn from And what became very clear to me was I didn't want to learn how to work for him and be, you know, figure it all out because I wouldn't like me if I did.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  10:09  
I would have been such a huge radical shift from your values.

Marsha Clark  10:13  
It really wouldn't. It wouldn't. It absolutely wouldn't. And so here was the process for me. It was a nine month process, he came, at the beginning of the year, the first three months was getting to know him, you know, who is the What's he talking about? What does he emphasize? What does he value? What's his rhetoric? I mean, those kinds of things, how does he deal with customers? How does he deal with, you know, the people of the company and so on? And the second three months, because of what I learned in that first three months was to stay or do I go, do I stay? Or do I go agonizing over that, because I had grown up in this company had, you know, opportunities that I could never have imagined. And yet here I was, in this moment of truth principles are only principles when you practice them when it's inconvenient, right and, and then the last three months, was really planning my exit strategy and, you know, working with the lawyer to write a resignation letter, and, you know, all of that, and, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It wasn't made lightly. It wasn't made quickly. But it was made with great thoughtfulness and intentionality. And, again, it was the hardest professional decision I ever made. And I wouldn't be sitting here with you today if I hadn't.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:25  
Exactly, and we are grateful for it. And in your programs, and in the book, you introduce some foundational elements, that sets set the stage really for your work. And for those of you listening, you can see those on Marsha's YouTube channel. And we'll provide links in the show notes below. But as I'm listening to your story about leaving, I'm also reminded of how some of those were really in play for you Even then, clarity and courage are two of them that really come to mind for me immediately. So what role did clarity and courage play in your decision?

Marsha Clark  12:07  
Well, as I said to you that second three months was do I stay? Do I go? So I was agonizing there. I had no clarity on that for that time period. And, you know, I have to share a story about a conversation that my husband Dale and I had at the time and you know, I would come home and I'd be commiserating about, you're not going to believe what happened today kind of thing. And, you know, all the things we do. And, you know, so after several days and weeks of this, Dale finally said to me, said, you know, Marsha, we've been rich, and we've been poor. Now I want to be clear, both of those are relative terms, right? We were financially secure, and poor was lower middle class, middle class kind of upbringing that both of us had had, right? And he says to me, we know how to be both, we like rich better, let's just be really clear. It's nice to have financial security, but we know how to be poor. And I knew we weren't going to be poor again, I mean, or ever, you know, we've never really truly been in that position. But all of a sudden, it's clicked in me that you're right. And because he said, Look, we'll figure it out, we'll do it together. And so that was all I needed to hear. That gave me the clarity of that I can make this decision. I know he's behind me, I know, we're in this together. And I know I can make this decision and we're going to be all right. Right. And so that was the clarity part. And, you know, the idea of figuring it out together, then then it helped me Have confidence. And I think confidence leads to courage. Yes, right. Because when I feel like I'm not alone, here, we can figure this out together. When I when I then knew that I had people still inside EDS, who could help me navigate that last three months of figuring out how to leave with integrity and with ensuring that, you know, I, I got what I deserved in my exit, and so on. Then I had the courage to go in and say I quit.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:16  
So something you said in the book early on, and the book for those of you listening, embracing your power by Marcia Clark. So something you said in the book early on, has really stood out to me about clarity. And you said if we are clear to begin with, we often end up in a place we don't want to be you elaborate on that. What do you what do you mean by that phrase?

Marsha Clark  14:42  
Well, I go back to the clarity of making choices and decisions based on our values based on the vision that we've created for ourselves. And that if I don't have that clarity, I can wander around aimlessly for a while or I can feel lost fields. And and most of us, you know, having been thinking that we're at least in control of our own lives is an important part Yes, of who we are. Well, and in the...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:11  
Lostness. I just want to touch on this real quick, there's also a lot of feeling of overwhelm, right? Because if you're lost, and then you're also incredibly busy with work and family and other obligations, it's really a feeling of overwhelm in addition to the lostness. Which, which then leads to a feeling of aloneness.

Marsha Clark  15:34  
Right? Wendi, I will tell you, the women that come into the programs that I do, when we go through the first, you know, couple of topics or days, it's all of a sudden, they just say, I'm not crazy, right? I'm not the odd person out. Yeah, other women are experiencing this and feeling it is well, and I will tell you, what I find with most women, is that we're trying to get it all done. So we come in with our, you know, 10 items are on our to do list for today. And we're busy trying to check them all off. And we don't finish, I always use the Gerbil wheel as we're running as fast as we can. And we jump off a wonder of a wheel. We don't even take a breath before we jump right on the next level. Well, you know, the first gerbil wheel can be getting kids off to school in the morning, the next gerbil wheel is being at work, the next one is getting off work and going home and doing it all again in the evening. And so we just keep running and we don't exhausted, we're exhausted. And so this idea of and I can't think clearly when I'm exhausted and right, if I don't take a minute and you know, I just fall into that default pattern of get er done, get er done, get her done. And, you know, we've got to figure out, what are the things that I need to do that are really going to make a difference, right? That are going to be important. And you can define important however you want to I often suggest to, to women, when you have a priority conflict, ask yourself, what's going to be important to you a year from now. Because you know, item number 13 on the to do list probably isn't going to be the one that pops up. So So how do I get clear about working on the things that matter that are going to advance whatever it is, I'm trying to get done in a positive way, that's gonna allow me to do it without killing myself or exhausting myself to the point of burnout or health issues or relationship issues or whatever it might be. Because, again, you know, women are the most sleep deprived part of our population, because we try to get it all done. And the research just keeps coming out and reinforcing that we don't do our best work. And we can't if we're not thinking clearly. So you know, this is it, where another one of the foundational elements comes in, which is slow down to speed up. Yes. And we're going to we're going to talk quite a bit about that when we talk about setting and maintaining boundaries and one of our future podcasts. And so I'll just leave it with you now slow down long enough to get clear about what are the things that I need to work on. So that's the clarity part. And then having the courage to say no to some things, and having the courage to delegate something, even if they don't do it exactly like you do. It's still going to get done. Right. So those are the kinds of things I think about when it comes to the clarity and the courage.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:35  
Now, when you introduce the foundational element of courage in the book, you use a quote from Winston Churchill.

Marsha Clark  18:46  
Yeah, so he said, "It takes courage to know when to stand up and speak. And it takes courage to know when to sit down and listen."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:52  
Oh, my goodness, yes. That, THAT. Let's just like etch that somewhere on everybody's forehead, please. So why that quote for you, though?

Marsha Clark  19:03  
Yeah. So when I think about the choices that we have, we run up and down all kinds of continuums. There's the speak and listen continuum. There's the loud and soft continuum. There's the Fast and Slow continuum. And what I want to teach people again, going back to the foundational elements, one of them is good leaders know they have a toolkit and are always trying to enrich that toolkit, new tools, new ways of using old tools, and so on. great leaders know what tool to use when. So I'm not going to always be loud or soft. I'm not always going to be you know, speaking or quiet. I'm going to be all of those things. I want to help people get clear about where I want to play in this moment, to accomplish what I want to accomplish the clarity of what I want to accomplish, and pulling that part of me that I need right This minute that tool, that language that tone, that timing, to get the best result. And so what I like about this one is, you know what? If I have if I'm meeting with my team members, or even with my family, think about this with children as well. And I ask them a question. Here's what we're trying to solve for, here's what we want to do, or here's the thought or an idea. What do you think? Because if I have as a parent, or as a boss positional power, then what we know is I'm going to set the tone for whatever answer they give. Right? Right. Oh, so we need to go that direction. Okay. Oh, Marsha, I agree with you totally. Oh, Mom, I'm with you on that, you know, and, and rather than, I'm not learning anything from them, I'm living in my echo chamber, and they're telling me what they think I want to hear Yes. And that's the human condition. It's a it's often a tendency that many of us have. And so I want to know, that, or I want to point out that if we really want to know what other people are thinking, we ask the question, and then we'd be quiet. Yeah, and that's and that's hard. For an extroverted I'm a flaming extrovert, I mean, I have zero introversion. And so the idea of getting comfort, comfortable in the silence in the moment, and it can be me biting, literally biting my tongue to do that, but that's appropriate at that time. Now, the flip side of that is, if I'm in a situation, and this is where courage comes in, and risk taking comes in, quite honestly, is, wait a minute, I have a totally different point of view on this. And I think it's important for this group to hear my point of view, and, and so I will speak up in those moments, I will go against the grain, I will buck that status quo. And particularly if you discount me or dismiss me, I'm going to probably be a little louder, if I think it's an important point to make. And so that's that dancing up and down against all of the continuums whether again, fast, slow, loud, quiet, talk, speak, as you know, whatever, all those things are, right. And, and I, I work with a lot of women who want to find their voice. And for many of us, we have been taught, you know, children are to be seen and not heard. And we take some of that with us as adults, good girls don't fill in the blank, right. And so there's a lot of those things that we have to say, well, that may have been what worked way back then. But it's not the life I want to live. And I want to be able to contribute my best thinking, I want to be able to contribute my best work, I need to find the courage and the skills and the timing, and be clear about what I want to say.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:49  
So I love that you talk about an old adage of having two ears in one mouth, so I can listen twice as much as I talk. So yeah, that's and I'm sure, you know, that's probably hard for you as an extrovert every once in a while.

Marsha Clark  23:05  
It is. It is, and yet it is so true. It is so true. I learned so much more. When I'm hearing someone else's experience, or I'm hearing a story, or I'm hearing, here's the logic. So what I've learned to do when people are talking is "Tell me more or say more about that", or, "Oh, I'd never thought of it that way." You know, how did you arrive at that. So I'm trying to I'm a student of people. And you know, I want to make sure that I'm learning about them all the time. And so I want to make sure that I'm giving them the opportunity to share their stories with me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:46  
Something you said earlier, as you were sharing your story about leaving EDS was really powerful. So you mentioned feeling really vulnerable, and how you had to take very calculated risk to leave. And to me that shows up in your planned timing, and and to start your own business. So I know we're going to have a future episode focused entirely on your favorite tools for value, evaluating risk, but just for a minute or two, can you explain how clarity and courage impact both vulnerability and risk taking so why don't we break all that down and unpack it and talk about vulnerability first.

Marsha Clark  24:39  
So I define vulnerability as not knowing what's coming next, right? So I have to be ready for whatever it is that's coming. And so this idea of if I've lived my life in a pretty predictable, repeatable kind of way, and I paid at least two modicum of attention, I can anticipate what's coming and be ready for it. When I, when it was time for me to leave EDS, I had no clue. I had been getting up and going to work every day for 30 years. And you know, maybe maybe it was going to the airport, or maybe it was going to the office, or maybe it's going to a client side, but I always knew, you know, what was coming where you were going? That's right. That's right, and so predictable and routine. And so when I decided to leave, it's like, Okay, if I, if Friday is my last day, what do I do on Monday. And what I will tell you is this, as I as I mentioned, there were lots of people exiting EDS at the time, for the very reasons we talked about that clash of values. And so what I, we still lost stayed in touch with each other, because we'd become Dear friends, many of my dear friends are still, you know, from my EDS days. And so here's what they would tell me the first 30 days we slept. Now sleeping has two parts of it, we worked really hard at eds. And so our bodies, when we finally got slow enough that said, Okay, I'm taking advantage of this, we're sleeping in today and tomorrow and the day after that. But the other part of that sleeping was the sense of loss, the depression and the grieving that comes along with that. And so that was a typical first 30 days kind of thing. And then what I'll tell you is the next 30 days for me was I cleaned out all my closets, I organized the junk drawer, and I did 20 years worth of filing. That took about 30, that took about 30 days

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:39  
To say, yeah, there's your next month...

Marsha Clark  26:42  
There you go. And, and you know, that will for me was there's there's some research that shows that we all know the fight or flight, you know, response to stress. Well, there was a study done, University of Pennsylvania, that talked about women's response to stress, because all most of the early research was always done on men all the time. So now we're getting some women based research. And what we are all about, in addition to fight or flight, there's some aspect of that in us, but is the tend and befriend is our response. So if you find yourself under stress, you might want to clean off your desk, you might want to organize the junk drawer, you might want to and so my way of dealing with the stress of the vulnerability of not knowing was doing all this organizing stuff, right, the tenant, the 10 thing, and the boyfriend might be calling somebody up and say I want to go have dinner and want to go have a glass of wine, whatever it may be. And so that was part of what was going on. Now there were other people. And I will tell you anecdotally, I can't say this is absolutely true, because I haven't, I haven't found any research on it. But more of the men just jumped from their EDS world into another world almost immediately. And some of them didn't last very long in that next job. And there's, you know, there's many reasons for that, but part of it is I thought I you know, that guess what the new company would need? Yes, either. And even when I think about myself in that third 30 days, I went on a couple of interviews, I was getting lots of calls and things. And I chose to go on a couple of interviews. And I went through about two rounds with each of the companies. And what I noticed in this because I was really paying attention to what was going on for me. What I noticed is I'd come out of those interviews and I felt heavy. You know, it's just like, Oh, that. I don't know, you know, and it was like, they didn't speak the same language. They didn't have the same energy. I didn't find them to be particularly insightful with the people that I was interviewing with. And so I said, You know what, I don't think that's the path I want to go. I don't want to go from one big corporation to another big corporation. Right? And so I stood in it, and I really use that word. I mean, I just kind of languished, and, you know, then I began to pay attention to what am I reading? Because I told you, I'm an avid reader of what am I reading? What's peeking my curiosity? What conversations do I get a lot of energy from? And what really happened in that time period is that I figured out that it was a reinforcement of I knew I was good at the leadership stuff. Now it it The question was, what am I going to do with that? So it was really part of that transition from calling to purpose. So I was fortunate enough that I did have that financial security that I could explore that a bit and, you know, spend some time getting clearer. And then you know, I will tend to be vulnerable. I was absolutely vulnerable. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, and I would go and have conversations with people about what I wanted to do when it was when I was thinking about the power of self program. I got two responses. One was, Marsha that's a great idea. How can I support you? I love it. Because there again, weren't women's leadership development programs back in those days, other than University Women's Studies, or women's history kind of provide, right? And so that was one response I got the other was really great idea, Marsha, and then it was, you know, sort of a good luck with that. Because because they had no belief that it was gonna why why would that be needed or right you know and and, and yet both were very informative to me. So the first one was, there is something to this, the second one was really preparation for I was gonna have some naysayers because, you know, for, for an organization to put both money and time, you know, you got to approve budgets, and you got to give people time off from work to learn. And this wasn't a traditional program of go for two days, or take a web webinar or whatever. I mean, you had to make some commitment in days and things. And so it was a fascinating time to be vulnerable, and yet, pay attention. Yeah, just notice.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:05  
And all of that then culminated and connected to that risk taking of you connecting the dots and jumping off with clarity and courage and confidence to start your power of self program. So talk to us about that.

Marsha Clark  31:21  
Yeah, so I never dreamed that I know where in my line of sight was entrepreneur. I later was Yes, often there but you know, not entrepreneur. And so when I think about being an entrepreneur, it was it was very coincidental. One of the women that worked with me at EDS had a consulting gig and she said, Marsha, I need some help on this where you can help me. And I thought, Well, sure, you know, I got time. And I love this person. So I loved working with her, and so on and so forth. And so I went and registered as a DBA. And, you know, didn't put a lot of thought into it's Marsha Clark and Associates, I can do that easily. I'm a soft proprietorship. So you know, I'll make it work. But but the risk side of that really came down to more of how are you going to do good work? How are you going to find clients? How are you going to have cash flow? How are you going to grow your business? So this whole idea, you know, I, in order to minimize my risk, I knew it was risky, because I didn't know what I was doing. And so I'd go to took the class at the, you know, Community College on how to start a business. And I'll tell you, it's a $5 class, and it was about worth worth about five. And so I left at first break, because I had learned at EDS more about business than the people who were teaching this right. And so and then I went to, you know, I'd worked for Small Business Administration for six years. And so before I joined EDS, and so I knew that their resources so I go to this organization called score the service corps of retired executives. Hmm. So I go to this group of people and they're basically telling me one that I don't have a viable business. because quite honestly, they were older white men...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:14  
Just about to ask a follow up question. In the room telling you... yes...

Marsha Clark  33:21  
Yes. And so you get I mean, everybody comes to that image, right? Oh, yes. These are beautiful people. They're well intended. And they're offering right I think, is really good advice. And then the third.of this was the how many years I had stood up in front of a group of executives begging for budget money, right? And so I didn't want to do that people said, I also went to some of these financial you know, funding kinds of sessions and it was O. P. M., other people's money, that way. You don't need to put your own money into this. You need to you know, and I'm thinking but if I use other people's money, they're gonna think they can tell me what to do.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:01  
Exactly. Exactly. Now then I begin to...

Marsha Clark  34:04  
Understand You know what, maybe I am an entrepreneur because I want to do it my way. And so when I...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:11  
I want to highlight just real quick that, that during this time period, this is like the early days of the Internet and it's definitely way pre-iPhone and social media and crowdfunding and GoFundMe pages and all of that. So yeah, so I just want to point that out that yes, is this back back when you really were having to word of mouth or network to build your business?

Marsha Clark  34:38  
That's right. I can't tell you how many breakfasts, lunches, snacks, coffees, dinners, gatherings at my house, I mean, all of that was to, you know, rustle up the business. And there were other people doing, you know, consulting and strategy and change management work, which I also did, because that was I could do that and be hired for that to supplement them. The thing I really wanted to do And yet I knew what I really wanted to do. And everything was working towards that. And so the whole idea of that was I want to do it my way. And I. And so that was what gave me as I paid attention to how I was responding and reacting to all these things was that was a part of where the risk and the courage and just the insight getting clear about that was for me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:28  
So I know you've heard the phrase, walk the talk. So this whole conversation feels like a huge lesson in walk the talk and that living your values means you have to be clear on who you are and what you want. Right?

Marsha Clark  35:44  
It absolutely does. And that's why in every program, we start with that, so I phrased it this way, who am I, as a woman, who am I, as a woman later, who am I as a powerful woman leader, who am I as an authentic, powerful woman later, right. And, and so everything I do starts with self awareness first. And so the Center for Creative Leadership has done a lot of research around this and as have other organizations that say the biggest what they call derailer, or showstopper on leadership is the lack of self awareness. I think I'm showing up to the world one way, when in fact, the world is seeing me very differently. And so I want you to close that gap. First of all, get clear about how you want to show up in the world, and then build in processes and systems, if you will, to get the kind of feedback to make sure that you're showing up in the way you want to be showing up. And that's a part of where that walking the talk gets to be. Because I can say something with great sincerity and great intentionality. But But I may not understand how it's landing with the other person.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:02  
Right, right. So in closing, what I'm really hearing is something that is a foundational element in me, which is a bias towards action. And since you're clear on your vision, and you're clear on your self belief, move it that moving forward action and showing up even though you might be scared. For me personally, I know that if I'm scared of something, it's probably something that I need to do. I mean, you know, excluding bungee jumping and parachute diving and swimming with sharks and things of that nature. But if it's something career wise, or self development improvement wise, to me, it's just a huge indicator. If I'm a little bit scared, or even maybe big, big time scared, it's it's probably an indicator that I need to progress in that direction at least. So what are your final thoughts on that?

Marsha Clark  37:56  
Yeah, so here's what I will tell you. You know, the definition of courage is being scared and doing it anyway, some something along those lines, it's easier to be scared and do it anyway. If you have people supporting you, what one that but but even before that, I gotta know it's right for me, right? So I go back to that core, me is this keeping in integrity with that. And so if it is, then who can support me Who can help me, and that can be, you know, spouses, partners, friends, mentors, coaches, spiritual leaders, I mean, there's all kinds of ways in which we can seek support, and know that we're not alone. I just think that's such an important piece. And so get clear what's good and true for you, and then find the support you need. And then one of my favorite phrases about action is actually a book titled by Peter Block, and it's called "The Answer to HOW Is Yes," ah, Oh, I love that. So I just say, go figure it out, go try a bit, you know, yeah. And and see what happens, be ready to, you know, adjust, adapt, and pivot and things, and then just go again, right. And so, I'll take I'll take you back to also one other thing. I mentioned in one of our previous podcasts that I co authored a book with my friend, Dottie Ghandi, and it's all about choice. And so one of the five messages and one of them is, there's no such thing as a last choice, because there's always a next choice. And I love that message, because I can think I painted myself into a corner and I can't get out. Yeah, you can, your feet may get a little sticky. And you may leave a trail, a trail or a path or whatever. And yet you can get out of that you can make another choice, right? Just because we get stuck in something doesn't mean we have to stay there and I think that also gives you a bit of freedom then to say permission doesn't work. If it doesn't work. It's still okay. But we can make this happen.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:02  
I think that is such a huge lesson I'll never forget when I first learned that I probably was in my late 20s. And ever since then I've told myself just make a decision. The next decision can undo that decision. But you've got to keep the forward progress going. And I think so many people just get stuck. And they in this paralysis analysis situation. So I love that you've shared on this whole episode, how to live your values, and that means a bias towards action.

Marsha Clark  40:35  
So let me leave you with this. And this just popped into my head, I worked for a wonderful man at EDS named Stuart Reeves. And one of the messages he taught me because I took on a role was my I was the first woman in the group of the top 100 at eds. So it was a big deal. A lot of a lot of eyes on me. Yes. And so literally, the week after I moved into this role, Stewart got called to go work on a temporary assignment. And I did not see him for the next six months, I think I talked to him about 30 minutes over that time period. Wow. So I'm flying solo all the way. Right? Here's what he and I and I said this to him at his retirement party. And this is the mantra and it's a part of our foundational elements. In absence of a plan, create one, create a plan, create one, in absence of a leader, be one, step up, take, take it and make all mistakes at full speed. And don't make the same one twice. So learn from whatever it is you're doing. And I have lived by that 1000 times Oh, yeah. So thank you, Stuart. But this idea of we don't have a plan, okay, let's sit down and create a plan. And typically, I'm going to pull people together to make that plan, an absence of a laser beam and have the courage to stand up and speak your piece, your point your perspective, and find your voice in that regard. And in an art classes, we talk about that how to how to find your voice and then how to put it in the room. And then you know, you're going to make mistakes, don't get caught up in that. Just make them all at full speed and don't make them don't make the same one again and again.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:17  
Make the mistakes at full speed. I love it. We're going to close out on that note. So Marsha, thank you so much for joining us again today. And thank you, listeners for joining us on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. Please download and subscribe share this podcast your authentic path to powerful leadership with Marcia Clark. And please run over and visit Marsh's website at for links to all of the tools and other resources that we talked about today. Subscribe to our email list follow her on social media and know that you can always check out her book and get "Embracing Your Power" on the site as well as through her social media and obviously on wherever you get your books.

Marsha Clark  43:10  
All right, Wendi. T hank you for another great conversation and we hope this has been useful and valuable to you that's really important to me is to deliver value. And I also want to tell you, I'm always a phone call or an email away so you can get in touch with me and I want to I want to learn from you and I want to share with you and answer any questions that you might have. So you know get in touch with this via email or as Wendy said some of our social media channels. And you know as you leave this, this listening to this podcast, here's to women supporting women!

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