Podcast Transcript

Old Dog

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
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. Alright, Marsha. Dogs. I mean, I'm a dog lover. I'm intrigued by today's title. Does this have anything to do with "old dogs, new tricks"?

Marsha Clark  0:32  
Well good guess, Wendi. That's exactly it. Today we're going to explore the impact of our ingrained habits and beliefs on our ability to create the results we want in our lives. And we're going to explore a model that I call the Leadership Maturity Continuum. And I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I believe we can teach old dogs new tricks with some awareness and support.

Yeah, I'm not even sure where to start on this because it's not a topic that you specifically reference in your book "Embracing Your Power".

Well, that's true. And I don't introduce the leadership maturity continuum in book one. Our readers won't necessarily be familiar with the idea although many of my coaching clients and program participants, they're going to recognize it because I use it a lot in the context of learning, the context of personal change management, growth mindset, and those kinds of things. So for everyone else listening in today, it will be new, which is a touch of irony since we're talking about teaching old dogs new tricks and introducing new content while we're doing it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:35  
There we go. Well, in anticipation that we might actually be talking about this idea of teaching old dogs new tricks, I did a little research on that phrase because I was curious where it came from.

Marsha Clark  1:48  
Oh good. I don't even know that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:50  
Yeah, it's like we say it, but why are we saying it? So apparently, the first known use of the phrase itself was in a book of Proverbs from 1546 written by a gentleman by the name of John Heywood, an English writer who served during the reign of from Henry IIX to Queen Elizabeth I.

Marsha Clark  2:15  
Wow.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:15  
There was a similar idea published in 1534 in the BOC which is a book of husbandry, and that was written by John Fitzherbert. But it wasn't exactly the same phrase.

Marsha Clark  2:30  
Okay, well, now, I feel really old because I had no idea this phrase was that old. I guess the concept of people being stuck in their ways or having what we today call a fixed mindset, that's not anything new.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  2:42  
Right. So yes, this phrase has lasted almost 500 years. So there are some ancient stories going back as far as time as we can document about old dogs.

Marsha Clark  2:54  
Well, no doubt about that. So you know every culture has, I call them their mythical tales of heroes, who had to overcome their own thinking or stuck thinking, if you will, before they could defeat whatever dragon or demon stood in their way in order to reach their goal. So it is the foundation, think about it, for virtually every hero or warrior story that we've been telling and hearing for years and years. And in fact even as we're talking, I'm really realizing that the leadership maturity continuum that we're going to talk about today really is a blueprint for every, dare I say, epic life journey of growth and discovery that leads to that ultimate victory of self and service. So now I'm even more excited to talk about it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:40  
Yeah, exactly. Well, since most of our listeners probably haven't heard or seen this model yet, will you break it down for us and walk us through it and then also share where this model came from.

Marsha Clark  3:52  
Sure. So the good news is, it's really, really simple. So it's, I think that our listeners will find it pretty easy to visualize. So to answer your second question first, the model is something that I developed over time as I paid attention to what I was hearing in programs, hearing from my coaching clients, and sorry about that listeners. But it came about as I helped people move from a place of self awareness, which as you know, is where I start every thing, every program, every content piece I do to the point of self management. It became very clear to me early in my leadership journey, that self awareness wasn't the full answer to being an effective leader. And I'll remind our listeners that in some of our early sessions we talked about one of the biggest deraillers and showstoppers is lack of self awareness. So that is where while we start there, we think we're showing up to the world one way the world is seeing us a different way. And yet, that's not enough. We might we need more than that. So I realized I had to get beyond myself in my own personal situation and look at what would be good for the organization or the customer. And that's where the self management piece came in.

So imagine, you know, the three parts of the continuum. And if it's helpful for our listeners they can kind of write these out if they want to follow along and build it with me. So the three parts are self awareness, kind of start on the left hand side of the page, if you will, that leads to self management, and then self determination. So those are the three parts - self awareness, self management, and self determination. And when I refer to this model in classes, I'm usually drawing it on a flip chart or whiteboard or something like that. I draw some long arrows between each element moving from left to right. So self awareness is the first step, then we need to think about self management, so it leads to self management, and then the third part, another long arrow to self determination.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:53  
Okay.

Marsha Clark  5:54  
Under self awareness, here are the things that I think make up self awareness. I bullet the words "habits", "patterns", "defaults", "strengths", and putting in there "how others see me" or see you, and I'll explain this in a minute after we build out the rest of the model. So I'll go into a little bit more detail there. Under self management, I write the phrase "responses (in other words, my response) to stimuli", and the stimuli can be verbal and nonverbal and it considers both results and relationships. And then under self determination, I write "initiates stimuli", both verbal and nonverbal and also considering results in relationship.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  6:51  
Okay, so basically, the last two items on the continuum are identical except under self management, the word is response to, and under the very right hand side under self determination, it's initiates. Right?

Marsha Clark  7:07  
That's exactly right. It's the only difference and yet, it's a very significant difference. But the last part of the visual for the model, think about under self management and self determination, I draw a bracket that links those two together, and I write underneath that "in service to something larger than one's self". So with self awareness is all about me. Right! Self management and self determination is in service to something larger than me. And that's the model, just these three key elements with these descriptive words and phrases written underneath.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:46  
It's a little like the emotional intelligence models out there that include self awareness, self management, but I don't think I've seen anything that talks about self determination. That seems new.

Marsha Clark  7:58  
Yeah. So let me share my thoughts and reasoning around that. In my mind, there are two different or separate choices, right? So my responses in the self management category are often more spontaneous. And it doesn't mean that I don't want to make sure I'm being thoughtful in my response. It's just that it's in the moment, right, you say something, I respond. In self determination, I'm the one who speaks first. I want to be clear about why I'm saying what I'm saying. To what end, am I saying this if you will, and it is also a thoughtful choice and one where I often have more time to plan for, and therefore to ensure that clarity and timing of whatever it is I'm going to initiate or say. And when I'm initiating the verbal and the nonverbal stimuli, it can also set off a whole chain of conversations and actions and reactions and stories and all of those things that just happen in our day to day interactions. So I want to choose very wisely my words, my tone, and my timing.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:06  
Yeah, all of what you just said is reminding me of last evening. Scott and I were coming home from another city on a flight and it was delayed by two hours. And you know I, as you're talking about this, I'm thinking about all the self management I was doing, like biting my tongue, everybody else is stuck here with you Wendi, it's not just you, you're not a unique snowflake. It's okay. So let's circle back to the first element, self awareness. Oh, and that, you know, just very quickly again that balance between self awareness and then also, self management I think is especially in a stressful situation is constantly like pinging back and forth and pulling against each other. So okay, so under self awareness, you list habits, patterns, defaults, strengths, and how others see you. What's the connection there?

Marsha Clark  10:08  
Yeah, so many of the models and research and frameworks and all that talk about how we need to raise our self awareness in order to increase our effectiveness, but they rarely tell us how. It's just go do that, just sprinkle something and it will happen. And so if I lack self awareness to begin with, it's pretty likely I don't even know where to start to better understand myself. So that's why I list some of these basics here. If I'm beginning to understand myself, and gain that self knowledge, I really need to understand what's driving me, right? So what are my habits? What are the things that I default to? Those are unconscious, Wendi, and that, to me is one of the really big differences about self awareness. If we lack self awareness, we're just kind of plundering and plodding right through life, right? I mean, and it's just, it's happening, we're not thinking about it, we're not conscious of it, we're not aware of how it impacts others or any of that kind of thing. So if we're someone who really wants to understand what's driving the results or outcomes that we're experiencing, you can begin by tracking habits and patterns.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:19  
Give us an example.

Marsha Clark  11:21  
Alright. So let's say you know someone who's really struggling in their job with procrastination, waiting until the last minute to get things done. And so they're coming to you for help. You know, you could be their manager and you want to coach them through that, or you can be a friend or a mentor or something like that. But you're trying to help them improve performance. You know anybody like that?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:42  
Yes. Yes.

Marsha Clark  11:43  
All right. So from a self awareness perspective, it would be helpful for them to start to notice and identify the habits and patterns that lead to that procrastination. So for example, are there only certain projects they procrastinate on, the ones that have to produce charts and graphs or the ones, are they the projects that are more complex than others, and, you know, maybe they have multiple milestones, or I gotta talk to 27 people before I can make a move, or some of those kinds of things. Or maybe they you only procrastinate on projects related to one customer, or when working with a certain, you know, teammate or another department or something along those lines. So you're good everywhere, but you begin to notice, you know, I really don't like working with John or I really don't like, you know, my customer Suzy, whatever it may be. So is there procrastination, is your procrastination, related to tasks that they're worried, won't turn out well, or where they may lack some confidence in producing a good result. So again, by helping us begin to see how our habits and the patterns of our behaviors are tracking, we can begin to see a path to a new way of operating.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:56  
Okay, let's talk about defaults, because when I hear defaults that makes me think of, you know, I'm bouncing down to my baseline animal reptilian self. So how do defaults and knowing and being aware of your defaults play into building self awareness?

Marsha Clark  13:13  
Yeah. So really, by definition, a default is basically following an automatic path, right? It goes like an autopilot. I go on autopilot, I don't even think about it. And, you know, it doesn't leave me with any other options or alternatives. I just, I just do X and X and keep right on going. So think of the default settings on your computer or your phone, when you first buy it and unbox it and all that kind of stuff. Unless it's a completely new system, like if you're switching operating systems, you're gonna likely fly through the setup and accept all those default settings from the factory, right? It's gonna, they've done the homework for you, it's all just going to work. And you know, they've done it based on thousands of users that have come before you and been a part of their test labs and all that. So you don't really have to think about any of that kind of thing. When I hit the create button or the send button or whatever, it just happens, right? So it's the same as our own mental and emotional default settings. Now, not just let that sink in. We have our own mental and emotional default settings. So over time, our brains and our bodies have established these default responses to whatever experiences we've had in our past and whichever one we might be in the middle of right now, and the ones that come in the future. And it's the cumulative effect of the habits and patterns over time. So that's where default comes in. Default equals cumulative effect of habits and patterns over time. So it is that unconscious act. And, you know, I do want to offer a side note here, just because I think this is a really important point. When we're operating in the unconscious, it's a default Once we become aware of something, it becomes a conscious choice point. So, when I increase my self awareness, I now have choices available to me that I may not have realized I had before. And guess what? I'm accountable for those choices.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:22  
Which can be bad.

Marsha Clark  15:24  
So if you think about this example, our procrastinating friend or teammate or employee or whatever, their defaults might include, so let's just think about here's what I do at an unconscious level. I might accept social invitations in the days leading up to the deadline, because I really don't want to do deadline because I'm waiting till the last minute. So I'm going to have a reason not to do that. Or they may hyper focus on other tasks that aren't as critical. This is one, there were some studies done in the 90's. And I want to say it was the University of Southern California where they talked about women under stress are the "tend or befriend". So how many of us under stress when we really don't want to do something anyway decide that we're going to organize the junk drawer (oh gosh) rather than do the task at hand? Yeah. Or clean off our desk, or something. (Yes, or sort out the pantry.) Yes! hyper focusing things because it's a distraction, because they really don't want to do the task.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:18  
And you know what, it's also a soother. It's like it takes that stress away for a very fleeting moment.

Marsha Clark  16:28  
Fleeting moment. That's exactly right. And it's, we can see the results of it, right. So from start to finish, we can see oh, look what I did it, doesn't that look nice! Then there's this huge thing over here. So we might even add more tasks before we even complete the other project. And, you know, then we can justify all those delays due to the new and added tasks. Yeah, I mean, these are just, you know, a few examples that I know I've been guilty of in my lifetime. And that procrastination, again, can be a default, a habit, a pattern that I need to understand about myself.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  17:03  
Exactly. Well, and I love that you add "strengths" to this list of considerations to help people gain self awareness because it was one of the things that I really appreciated about the Power of Self Program was that it was so centered on increasing our awareness of our strengths and building capacity on that, not this message of, okay, let's analyze all your weaknesses and drill down on those. I mean, at some point in life you just kind of have to say, Okay this is who I really want to be and build on those strengths rather than trying to reinvent yourself based on weaknesses.

Marsha Clark  17:42  
Well, all the weaknesses... you're not enough. And women get that message enough. So I'm really glad to hear you make that point. Because I think it's a really important one for us to hear. And it's a common comment that we hear is that, Oh, I get to be me and you're going to value me. So the focus on strengths that we take in everything was quite deliberate. And to be honest, it hadn't really made its way, if I think back to the beginning of the Power of Self Program, strengths finders today is very common and many people have done it, but it wasn't part of the mainstream leadership programs when we started. So it was being introduced around the same time that we were starting Power of Self, around 2001. And we were already, you know, had put a lot of other assessments into our program to help identify strengths and default behaviors at the time. So it was a few years before we added it in as a very regular part of our leadership toolkit. And of course, you know, since then, it's become a very popular assessment worldwide. And I'm always fascinated. People can often remember their strengths, you know, they know their top five, they may not know the order of all of them, but they're speaking that language.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:54  
It's funny. I have my five in my phone as my contact. When I share my card with people, it's in there in the notes.

Marsha Clark  19:03  
Yeah. And so just for those very reasons that very things like that our design team felt like it was really important for women, you know, especially us because we get all these we're not enough messages, to really dig in and explore strengths since it wasn't something that quite honestly, we get to do as part of our work environment. So and that takes me to the last aspect of self awareness, which is how others see you. And this can sometimes get lost because I just think, well I know my habits, my patterns, my defaults, my strengths, okay. I'll, again, remind our listeners, this lack of self awareness, so this, I think I'm showing up to the world one way the world is seeing me another way, that second part is how others see me and it's critical. You know, when I work with my coaching clients, (the reason I want to bring it up here is because I hear it so frequently) so working with coaching clients, they'll declare themselves as having very high self awareness. Well, how well do you know yourself? Well, how well do you know? And they'll, you know, and they'll tick off here's what I know about myself. And I've found that that's usually about the first part of this, the habits, the defaults, the patterns. What they're often missing, and just think about that in interpersonal relationships, I don't know how you're receiving me. I don't know. Because I think what I'm saying, because it's at that unconscious level, is everybody thinks this way. And everybody has this, and everybody does this, you know, it's that I don't recognize that there's, you know, 187 ways I could look at something at a minimum. Right. Right. So that's the part that's also critical in our self awareness.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:44  
Which is really ironic to me, since women tend to be more focused on how others see them already. I mean, and I say that and then I'm thinking, you know, that's probably from a, like a visual and a surface level. (yes) Okay.

Marsha Clark  21:01  
Appearance level like superficial, packaging level.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:05  
Yes. Yes. Cocktail chatter and that's about it.

Marsha Clark  21:08  
Yes. Yes. Yes. So and that's part of another reason why we put it in our programs. We want women to have a healthy, realistic sense of how other people see them. That's a goal or objective. And for those women who already have that healthy self image and clear sense of self awareness, they know how to separate the input, right? When people tell them, oh, you look nice or, oh, something not so nice. Whether they solicited it or not, right? That they take that input as information without letting it skew their self image, because one of the ways we give away our power, right, is to let other people define us.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:50  
Well, and I just want to like put a triple underscore, take that input as information. Information is neutral.

Marsha Clark  22:01  
That's exactly right. I'm the one who puts the meaning on it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:05  
...who puts the meaning on it. Yes.

Marsha Clark  22:07  
And thank you for doing that because I think that's such a key point in all of this. And you know, sometimes we have participants, I have clients, who haven't learned how yet how to filter and objectively assess what the feedback, the external feedback to really use what's helpful and really flush away what's not, right? I mean, it's feedback and I say to all my clients, feedback says as much about the giver as it does the receiver. And that's why when we begin to understand that, that's one person's point of view, it's one person's perspective, they're seeing it through the lens of their own life experiences. And it may or may not be useful, it may or may not be relevant. (Right.) And it may or may not be asked for, solicited. So that's why for me the strengths information is critical because it can help strengthen that container, you know how we often refer to that, to hold the feedback in a realistic way. And then we hold all the information up as it's intended to move us along the continuum to make more deliberate choices with how we interact with the world.

And one other thing that I want to add that, you know, particularly takes us back to this episode title. If we can't get past the self awareness item, we can fall into that old dog trap. And that is where we hear things like you can't teach an old dog new tricks, or a leopard never changes its spots, or I often use the Popeye "I am who I am", and that sort of thing. And you know, thank goodness, that's not true. We're not these static human beings in that, you know, literally the neuroplasticity, and I know that's a big word, I always get thinking about that, but our brains have the ability to grow, to change, to develop. And that's what allows us to learn new things well into our aging lives, if you will. And if I choose (and I am emphasize the word choose) to stay in the "This is who I am. Deal with it." stage, right, I can definitely be seen as immature because that's the 16 year old self. (Right.) I'm the center of the universe, all things revolve around me (Right.) and even to the point of narcissism thinking that the whole world has to adjust to me, and that it's here for my every benefit. (Right.) And none of that is leadership.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:29  
No, definitely, definitely not. So to your point of moving along, the next element of the leadership maturity continuum is self management. And a key point there is that it's about responding to stimuli when considering both the impact of results and relationships. And that is taking much more sense now that you are (taking) it's that it's making much more sense now that we've talked about self awareness. So is the bottom line here that we are interacting with the world, that verbal and nonverbal stimuli, and we're in reactive mode?

Marsha Clark  25:12  
Yes. The short answer is yes, absolutely. And that's exactly what's going on at the self management step in the continuum. Okay, as we learn more and more about our own habits and patterns and defaults and strengths, and how others are experiencing us, all those bullets below self awareness, we can use that information now to more effectively calculate, and even anticipate how we want to respond to the outside world. And that's why it's called self management. We're managing our responses to external factors.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:43  
Okay. How does this play out with our procrastinator example?

Marsha Clark  25:47  
All right, let's go back to our procrastinator. If I know that I'm a procrastinator, and I know what my patterns and defaults are, then I can be better prepared when those, for lack of a better term, "triggers" show up, when I know that I've now learned that it's when John asks me to do something. So John's a trigger. Or when it's this kind of project, charts and graphs project, that's a trigger. So I'm now anticipating that. So when I'm under a deadline for a big project and my friend or partner texts me and asks me out for a happy hour, I intentionally kick into myself management mode and very deliberately consider how I'm feeling, what thoughts are rolling through my head. What impact would saying no have to the relationship? What impact would saying yes have to the results of the project? So all of those things are now going through and my brain is processing that. And it's part of the process of slowing down long enough to be thoughtful and intentional. And that's the key here is being thoughtful and intentional. That's where the maturity aspect comes in, why I named it, because it's not maturity as in, I'm now chronologically older so I'm more mature, it's that my thinking process has matured. And, you know, remember that the underlying question through all of this is how will the decision or choice that I'm making in this thoughtful and intentional way be in service to something larger than myself in just this particular interaction or transaction.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:26  
Right. And when you say slowing down, I always think of the Marshaism, "slow down to speed up". (That's right.) And so that's not an insignificant addendum to the model. So why is it so important to ask that question?

Marsha Clark  27:40  
Yeah. You know, the practical answer is that the old saying, no man is an island, well, neither is a woman, no woman is an island either. And almost everything we do has ripple effects, right? So what I do impacts you, what you do impacts Scott, what Scott does impacts... and the ripple effect goes on and on. And there is much research that says people feel more purposeful when they're working towards something larger than themselves. We want to be, we don't want to be this small individual in the world. We want to be part of something bigger.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:11  
Right! Okay. So the final element of the model goes from self management to self determination. And the difference you said was that self management is responding to stimuli, but self determination is where we initiate the stimuli. So what's an example of that?

Marsha Clark  28:30  
All right. So Wendi, you know I love a good football metaphor, right?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:33  
Yeah, Cowboys fan.

Marsha Clark  28:37  
So the difference between the two is that when you get to self determination, you're a free agent. All right. So I know some people out there are going, well what's a free agent? So that's a person who has the freedom to actively pursue one's own goals, you know, one's own approach, how I'm going to deal with something, and how I'm going to create something. So remember that you're doing that all the while keeping the impact of your actions on your results and the relationships, keeping those in mind, as you choose to initiate a conversation, an idea, a proposal, a recommendation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:21  
Yep, and also in the service to something that's larger than yourself.

Marsha Clark  29:26  
Right. Dare I say, in contrast to beady-eyed self interest is the phrase that I often use. It's in contrast to that. So at this stage in the continuum, if we go back to our procrastinator friend, they've evolved to the point that they are actively putting structures in place to help them with this challenge of procrastination. And they're doing that in advance. And it can be something as simple as putting their phone on, you know, Do Not Disturb while they're working or turning off Facebook or LinkedIn or other social media that might distract them. They might let their friends or their partner or co-workers know they need to focus and hunker down and request that those people wait until the project is complete or at least I've done what I need to do today to get done before we go out and do happy hours, and so on. So taking both the impact on the results, I'm still getting my work done, I just need to do the relationship thing maybe a little bit later.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:29  
Right. So it's really a balancing act.

Marsha Clark  30:31  
It is, and it's all very proactive. I've thought about it ahead of time, therefore I'm prepared for all the triggers that are going to come my way and I'm much more effective because I have a solid understanding of my self awareness. And I'm going to use that as the blueprint for what structures I need to put in place to keep me on track.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:51  
So I you know, as we've been talking about this, we've been describing it as a left to right across the paper, you know, it's a linear look and feel. So are these elements always linear?

Marsha Clark  31:06  
Yeah, so if we're paying attention to how our self determination, initiated words and actions as well as our responses in that self management are being received by the other person, so this is how am I impacting the other person, and whether or not we're achieving our desired outcomes, we're going to keep learning more about self management and self determination. And that's where it's circular almost. (Yeah.) So I respond a certain way, what happens then? Oh, do I need to respond differently? And the next time I speak? Oh, I brought something up. Did it land flat? Did it get picked up? Did it send us down a different path? Was it a more useful path in service to what we were trying to accomplish? So I've got to keep paying attention through all of that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:55  
Right. Yes, now I'm picturing more of like an upward spiral, maybe. I mean, that's the goal. Sometimes you may come back down the elevator a little bit and learn something but the the progress is continuously up.

Marsha Clark  32:10  
And here's the other thing, what you just said triggers in me or prompts in me is, if someone wants to go down a rabbit, you know we call it rabbit tracks or whatever, get us off topic, maybe they made a connection in their head, right? So then my response to that, I can either be frustrated and make up a story and say, 'Oh there they go again getting us off topic', or I can say 'help me understand how that topic relates to what we're trying to accomplish here'. And what we're trying to accomplish here is something in service larger than ourselves. (Right.) And if it's just a curiosity then let's take that offline because it's not useful in this meeting. But they may share something that I've never thought of or that three other people are thinking 'I wondered when we were going to bring that up'. So it's a learning opportunity if we're paying attention. And we don't know what we say what that's going to trigger in others. (Exactly.) And that's why we have to keep the "in service to something larger than ourselves" in mind because we've got to keep bringing people back to that point.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  33:17  
Yeah, yeah. So even though this episode is titled, "Old Dog", I feel like this leadership maturity continuum helps us when we're acting like old dogs and need to actually, you know, do some new tricks. We just need to take the time to better understand what makes us tick, our habits, patterns and defaults plus our strengths, and apply them to those new tricks, self management and self determination.

Marsha Clark  33:43  
Yeah, I like that. And, you know, again, I want to emphasize the word "maturity" isn't a synonym for "old". Anyone at any age can get stuck in old habits and patterns and, you know, those can be explored and deconstructed. We take them apart and we put them back together again to build those new and better approaches. And I'm a firm believer that we can all learn at any age, when we're ready, if we're open to it. And you know, I'm sure you've heard one of the old favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching is 'When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." How many times have we heard that?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:24  
Yes, yes. Is there, I think I've heard there's a second part to that quote?

Marsha Clark  34:29  
Well, there is. "And when the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear." (Ooh.) Because I'm now taking on responsibility for my own learning. (Wow.) That's the way I interpret it and I, you know speaking of strengths, "learner" is one of my top five. I am a lifelong learner. And so these kinds of things intrigue me to no end. And I just believe that can be true for any of us if we open ourselves up to it and we want to.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:59  
Yep. Yep, well, um, that kind of gave me goosebumps a little bit. I'm gonna have to sit back and think about the teacher will disappear. I'm trying to think about times in my life where the teacher has disappeared. And there are many, I mean, there are times where that has happened. So, something else to self reflect on. (That's right.) All right. So Marsha, any closing out thoughts on this? Any big takeaways that our listeners should have from this episode?

Marsha Clark  35:25  
Well, you know, as we become mature, as we begin to open ourselves up and become more conscious about some of these things both in our self awareness and then being very thoughtful and intentional and deliberate in both our self management and self determination, I think that that is when we really become our own teacher. And so I think that the idea of "I'm not stuck, I'm not an old dog that can't learn new tricks, I'm not a leopard that can't change spots, I'm not this is who I am, deal with it'". I'm more thoughtful. I'm more conscious of how I'm showing up in the world and what results I want to achieve and how I want others to see me as a leader. And are my verbal and nonverbal cues, are my actions and behaviors reflecting who I want to be? And am I ever evolving in a way that as, you know, the minute I think I've arrived, the world continues to change around me. (Exactly.) You can get behind in a flash.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  36:47  
And it's changing quicker and quicker. So the need for us to be adaptable is quite the leadership skill today.

Marsha Clark  36:56  
Yes, we need neuroplasticity in all parts of our lives. And I also want to say we teach that, or teach best, that which we most need to learn. And I've said for many years. I created the Power of Self Program for me. Everybody else just got to come along for the ride because I was trying to figure out what is my personal power? How do I show up in an authentic way? And I think that this leadership maturity continuum is a very basic and fundamental way to think about how I show up as a leader. Am I self aware? Do I self manage effectively? Am I initiating this verbal and nonverbal stimuli in service to something that really makes the world a better place?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:46  
Right, right. Wow. Well, Marsha, thank you for today. This was a very powerful episode. And thank you, listeners for joining us on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe and share this podcast wherever you like to listen. Visit Marsha's website at marshaclarkandassociates.com for links to all the tools, other resources we talked about today, subscribe to her email list, stay up to date on everything in Marsha's world. And please get her latest book "Embracing Your Power" on the website, Amazon, and check her out on social media as well.

Marsha Clark  38:24  
Well, and Wendi, you know, one of the things I'm learning is the book is now out there, you know, in a lot of different places, and I'm doing speaking engagements and so on. And what I'm seeing in the results of people hearing our messages like on this podcast, or like on those speaking engagements, there's people buying the book more, you know, it's spurring sales. And I'm hearing how people talk about specific podcasts, episodes that touch them or meant something to them. So I do hope that our listeners will not just download this for themselves or buy the book for themselves, but that they really are willing and ready to share it with others because I think a lot of people have a lot to gain in the value of this. Because there's a lot of people in need of help and support because of all the things that we've been through. And I do think that this can help them. And so I I hope that you'll not only connect with us on social media to follow what we're doing, but that you'll share it on your own social media so that your network of people can benefit from it and can open up all new kinds of conversations and possibilities, (Absolutely) you with them. You know, because I think that the power is in the stories and the power is in the sharing and the power is in the speaking our truths. And, you know, even being vulnerable to I don't know how to do this or I wish I had more support for this or I wish I knew more about this. We can help each other out tremendously in that and I think these podcasts and the book and even the speaking engagements are ways that give us the language and the container to have those conversations.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:08  
Absolutely. Well thank you all, listeners. And Marsha, I'll let you close it out the way you always do...

Marsha Clark  40:14  
Which is, all that I just said leads us to, and here's to women supporting women!!