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Podcast Transcript

Whats Your Superpower

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:07  
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 to become your most powerful leader for our organizations, our communities and our lives. And so today, along with Marsha, I'm going to let Marsha introduce our very special guest, Raquel.

Marsha Clark  0:40  
All right, well, thank you, Wendi. First of all, I too, would like to welcome our listeners and our viewers today. It's exciting to bring you another special guest today. And this is a woman that I met about four years ago through a program and she has had great success -  so smart, so competent and powerful in her very own right. She is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Southwest Airlines. So many of you know, we're coming to you from Dallas, Texas and that's where Southwest Airlines is based. And I'm really happy that you're going to be with us today. And Raquel is going to talk about her special superpower. So I can't wait to hear more about that. So thank you for being here. And welcome.

Raquel Daniels  1:23  
Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

Marsha Clark  1:26  
Thank you. It's good to see you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:29  
Okay, so, Marsha, I know that these videos we've had, we're always having special guests here. And I know that Raquel came right to the top of your mind. Tell us why, and why is Raquel Daniels here for our audience.

Marsha Clark  1:45  
Well, so when I thought about it, when we met four years ago, it was a part of a women's leadership program through the Texas Women's Foundation. And it was a powerful group of women. It was the inaugural program for them. So every company who participated sent their very best and Raquel was certainly at the top of that list. And one of the things that I appreciate about you, Raquel, is that you bring all of you to everything that you do. And if she doesn't understand something, she's going to ask for clarification and that helps the whole group better understand what we're doing. And I loved your questions that you asked during that time period. Because, you know, when you've been teaching this for so long, or when you're now in today's world writing about it, we skip parts. She never let me skip a part. And I appreciated that. The second thing is she was willing to share her own stories with the class. And as a woman of color in a senior level position in a very visible company that's known for its culture and known where it has its own brand, you represented that and yourself in a leadership way, in a powerful way. And the other thing that I love about Raquel is that she challenges me and not in a negative,  not in a "you're wrong", not that kind of way. It's whenever she would start with a "now wait a minute..." - it's gonna be, she's gonna want to get beneath the covers on this, right? So how does this work? And how does that play in? And did you consider this and that...again, it deepens all of our learning around this material. And that's one of the reasons I love you so much.

Raquel Daniels  3:28  
Thank you. Yes, thank you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:30  
So Raquel, you know that with this podcast, and also with Marsha's book, "Embracing Your Power", is to bring out the best of women through these programs. So of all the tools and resources that you learned going through the Power itself, what are the key things that you remember? What were the key learnings for you?

Raquel Daniels  3:49  
So the key learning for me is, as Marsha just said, that challenge plays in the coaching, right? I love how you just displayed challenge, because often we think challenge is aggressive. And challenge is this thing that is undesirable. But really the challenge aspect came from not only the challenge of asking you a question, but challenging ourselves and what we know. Right, right. And I think one of the best tools that came out of that experience is really about understanding ourselves and being able to be vulnerable enough to understand ourselves and ask the hard questions. Because we as women, though, many times we're in big rooms, and no one wants to raise their hand and say, Oh, maybe there's something there I want to pay a little attention to or I need more on, right? And we really limit ourselves sometimes to not really be able to get the good stuff. Yeah, exactly. Because we're not open in a way or challenging ourselves in a way to ask those tough questions. So that's a major tool.

Marsha Clark  4:48  
Right. Well, and I want to say this too. You know I grew up learning that the way that you create that safe space is you put something yourself out there that's kind of out there that, Oh, she's gonna say that in front of all these people, kind of thing. And you were my partner without us ever talking, you know. I would put this out, but then you'd take it to your own story which fed every other woman in the group. And you remember, I think it was the end of day two that a woman, I mean, came forth with a story that blew all our socks off. Yes, blew us away. And that's a part of building the trust and support group. And this idea of having learning partners. And I know her class was four years ago, and they still get together and support each other. So amazing.

Raquel Daniels  5:38  
I think the key that you just said, Marsha, is safety. Like, oh, my gosh, Marsha was able to create that safety, and allowed us to create safety very quickly. And the moment someone begins to share whether it's through that experience, then it does give everyone else license to share. It says it's okay.

Marsha Clark  5:58  
We didn't laugh at her. We didn't shame her, we didn't challenge in a negative way. We didn't deny her story. And that's why women don't have a lot of this space. Right. And so when we find one, as you well know, you kind of glom on to that. You want to make sure that okay, this is going to be different. Yeah, it's gonna be good.

Raquel Daniels  6:17  
It's gonna be good. And actually, what we said was, You too? Yeah, it was, Oh my gosh, it was like, so Whoa, you too have something and we all have something. And wow, we all keep it in. And that was the unlocking. I mean, I think that was what, that sealed the deal for all of us in that first cohort.

Marsha Clark  6:39  
And you know, when we talked with one of our other guests, and like, when she talked about being the only, right. And I know you've had that experience, I've had that experience. And so when I think about that, when women come together as a group of women, all of a sudden, we've been thinking we're crazy. And we're the only one that's thinking this or doing this or feeling this. And then you go "Oh, that's true for you? And maybe I'm not crazy. And then it becomes a whole possibility of sharing and learning from each other. And I tell every class we do, and it's going to be true with the book. I encourage women to read the book as a group so you can have conversations and share notes and stories, because you're going to learn as much from each other as you can learn from me or the content that we're doing.

Raquel Daniels  7:24  
I think what it really showed that day was I see, and so so often, when I see you, that allows for me to be safe with you. And so if I don't see you, if I don't hear you, then how can I have trust and be safe? And how can I get to the depths of what I need to get to to learn if we're talking about women progressing or being the only, there has to be a space that we can all go deep. Yeah. And I that's what I love about the exchange and the opportunity. And you know, I'm a big advocate for at organizations think it should be one that comes because you want to create the space that you can go deep, to really uncover and unpack some things so you come up like the Phoenix. Like, I need to come out and try and be all that I'm supposed to be.

Marsha Clark  8:11  
Yeah. And we've talked about this is deep work. And yet it's deep work with loving support, not just from me, but from any coach, any peer, any colleague. And I know you strive to do that work at Southwest. It's not just, I mean, in all the diversity work that you do.

Raquel Daniels  8:30  
Yeah, it is. It's interesting because we do strive, in my mind, it's about inclusivity, and creating inclusive spaces for all to thrive. And I often, for a long time I struggled with the idea of it's deep work, because I had to wrap my mind around what does deep work mean. And in the end of the day, I thought of it as it's complex. Anytime you are working with humans, it's complex. You can't just put a human in a box and leave them and say, "Done". Right. We don't know how, we're never done. We are complete works in progress. But it is deep work. And it's deep work because ultimately, in particularly in the time we face now, we know that there's a war for talent, we know that there are many things happening in the world that you want to create spaces where everybody can thrive. That doesn't mean we're all going to be the next CEO. It just means that you want to be able to have the tools necessary to compete in the way that you'd like to compete. If we think about athletes, athletes are constantly refining their gift, and they're never done. But there are spaces that they can do that and so we want to help create space for the best athlete.

Marsha Clark  9:43  
Now I love that analogy. And the idea here about 'How do you know it's deep work?When it's painful." It's uncomfortable.

Raquel Daniels  9:52  
It's uncomfortabIe. I like that, Marsha. It's uncomfortable because painful, I resist. It can be painful, but that's not what we're going for. We're going for uncomfortable. We're not going for judgment. But anytime that you're growing, right, anytime you're stretching, it's uncomfortable. And so there's challenge in that, and you want that in order to get movement.

Marsha Clark  10:19  
Yes. Well, you know, if you think about the whole working definition of diversity and inclusion, diversity is getting invited into the room to sit at the table. Inclusion, very different. It's very different. I'm going to ask you for your thoughts, I'm gonna ask you for your input and I'm gonna give it weight and consideration, not just check the box that okay, I asked her what she thought. So we've really got to have the opportunity to pull that out and hear it. And like you said, be seen and be heard. Truly.

Truly. If diversity, equity and inclusion are done well, it sees all, it includes all, it leaves no one out. Right. And I mean no one. It doesn't leave men out, it doesn't leave, it is everybody all the time. But inclusion truly is getting in the mix of things and we're able to come alongside each other to hear and appreciate and value, respect and belong, right? I think the biggest way to notice that if you've ever seen a child, and I always like to ask people this, right. So if you've seen children, and you ask them, Hey how was your day today? And that child comes home and they say, not so good. You know, and you'd like, tell me more. Well, I didn't get to play at recess. And you're like, why? And they said, well Johnny said I didn't know how to catch the ball. You're thinking, well, you're all six. Nobody knows how to catch the ball or be quarterback.. Yeah. But the point is when that six year old comes home and says I didn't get to play at recess today and the thought of them sitting by themselves, that's breaks your heart, right? Adults are the same. Adults are the same. And they've been excluded in a way that's very real. And if I can ever have someone think about their children being excluded at recess or lunch, the same thing happens to an adult. So once they're out, you don't get the best of them anymore. They're not engaged. They're not willing to give you that discretionary effort. Right. Right. And those are all the things we do.

Just enough to get by, flying under the radar.

Raquel Daniels  12:34  
Just enough to get by, flying under the radar. So yes, inclusion's for us all.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:38  
So speaking of flying, I'm going to switch gears. Okay. All right. Talk about the Super Woman pose, what that means, what it means to you as you learned it by going through Marsha's program.

Marsha Clark  12:51  
Well, so it comes from Amy Cuddy's work. And she even has a book I think it may be called "Power Poses" or something. But the last time I looked it was the second most watched TED Talk.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:03  
Oh, wow. Okay!

Marsha Clark  13:04  
And because it resonated so much with women, and it's, you know, the Wonder Woman pose or the V. It's the two most common. And so the idea of this is that if I stand with hands on hips like this, I look like Wonder Woman or if I have this, it's the V pose that with, you know, head slightly raised, and so on. And what happens physically in our bodies when we do this pose is that our cortisol goes down. So it's one of the, you know, chemical hormones in our body. And cortisol is the stress hormone. Any of us who gain weight around our waist as women which many of us have done over a period of time, right? Every time I started a new job, you know, 10 to 15 pounds, and then it took me you know, 18 to 24 months to get it off. It took me five minutes to put it on.

But it's that cortisol that, you know, it's there to protect us, right, so the stress hormone to protect our organs, our vital organs. Well, what happens when we do this power pose is that our cortisol goes down. And actually our testosterone which is often considered to be masculine, but all of us have testosterone, it's a strength hormone, which gives us more courage and confidence. So two minutes standing in the pose. And what was fascinating about her work is that children, blind people, they, especially the V, they strike this pose without ever being told about it being a power pose. So think about as a blind person they do that and they've never seen it. It's like the runner who breaks through the tape. It's like the peacock that spreads its wings or a tail. It's like the cobra, who opens up. Those are power stances. They are demonstrating power. And that's a part of what we do. So as you know, we talk about when we got those pressure moments and the stressful moments, and we have this opportunity to be included, right? I encourage women to get to the meeting early, do the practice, practice, practice, practice. (We're going to talk more about that.)  Then strike a pose, and then go get 'em.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:14  
So what does that mean for you, Raquel?

Raquel Daniels  15:16  
The pose is, I don't do the V, but I do do the arms. And then I also want the other part of the power pose that  we learned from Marsha's. I've been watchful of, if you notice, I'm kind of spread out a little bit, and so that's part of my power pose a little bit, taking up space. And I watch with my son, and I watch with my husband and others that sometimes we can walk in a room. And we're just neat. And we like it. Right? But I kind of spread out and open my body. Yes. Right. And I think the opening of my body is one to receive and give. I often stand. And if I stand, I do stand a little bit, sometimes to the side of a podium or behind a chair. So that can be blocking. But behind it I'm always more open. Right? My legs in the firmness, right? But it is about the openness that I don't have to stay constricted. Yeah. Right. So I kind of move myself out of space. And I think that gives a lot of power. I think when you walk in a room, you get there early, you understand your environment often, and

Marsha Clark  16:29  
You sit by the most powerful person in the room.

Raquel Daniels  16:31  
and you sit by the most powerful person in the room! But you really work to give yourself the leveling that you need to find your deepest confidence, right? Open yourself up.

Marsha Clark  16:44  
Yeah, and by making ourselves small, others see us as small. Take up your space. I want to, this isn't in our notes, but I know I'm gonna do it anyway. So one of the things that I teach about executive presence, and you reminded me of it sort of, with the straight and the open. So if you look at sitting up straight, standing up straight, whatever it would be, this vertical stature is the domain of dignity. So it gives me a dignified, you know, presence. When I kind of roll my shoulders and take up a little more space, this is the openness. So this is the domain of relationships. And that spreading yourself out is offering your heart to them and being ready to receive them unto yourself. And that's a part of the relationship building. And so I have women practice those things. Then the pace or the gait with which you walk into the room is the domain of confidence. So if I walk in with a steady, heads up, you know, dignified open heart presence, I'm much more likely to engage and connect with the people in the room. Right? So it's another part of the power pose and the power of the body.

Raquel Daniels  18:00  
It's another part of the body for sure. And I think it's interesting, because when you do sit up straight, it gives you a moment, it gives you that air flow. And I also think it's quite funny too, that, you know, often people think, well, Kip, I do that pose and would be powerful, felt good. And know what you can do the pose in the lobby, and by the time you get to the room...

What did they tell me? Stand up straight? Breathe! So you have to have it on a constant replay. Yes, it's happening because you can walk through all the moments. You can drive the car up to the parking spot, be full of confidence, get out, do the pose, grab your notes, walk in the building, walk in the room, and like, oh God!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  18:50  
And then you're gonna get sideswiped. Raquel, what do you think? Yeah. And you're like, wait a minute. I was posing.

Raquel Daniels  19:00  
So it's an ongoing effort. Like you're never, you're never there. Right. I think it's a build. Yes, you get distracted, but it's something you have to have in the top of your mind.

Marsha Clark  19:11  
So here's my offer to every listener out there. Try walking that way, showing up that way all the time. Make it your stature. Yes, right. So I say I don't care if you're back in the workroom, go stand that way. If you're pushing the grocery cart, do it that way. So you remember when you invited me to speak at the International Women's Day? This woman from Southwest Airlines came up to me afterwards. She said, "We saw you in the room. We didn't know who you were but we thought you would be the speaker just because of the way you carried yourself.

Raquel Daniels  19:42  
It's true. It's true. It's true. And you think about it some from what your mom said right? Stand up straight, sit up straight, don't slouch, but it is true. It is true.

Marsha Clark  19:55  
And now we make it right. Right. And that's the thing is that when it becomes just that natural then I'm showing up that way, no matter what.

Raquel Daniels  20:06  
All the time, no matter what.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  20:08  
So there's so many places we could go from here. But I want to dive into your support system. What do you suggest, or who do you suggest women include, or what, if you want to talk about tools, for their support system?

Raquel Daniels  20:25  
So I suggest everyone have a kitchen cabinet. I suggest everybody and if you don't know what that is, that they are your cabinet, your council, your conciliatory people, but they're critical people in your life. They're the ones that on speed dial that you call that can coach you through the hard moments that can give you the professional acumen. There are some that have the skill. There are some that would be your cheerleader, but they're all working together. And they may or may not know each other, right. But they are your team, your coaches, your allies. They are the ones that are going to take you across the finish line. Everybody, every woman, every man needs that. And what I think is also important is that this group is diverse. Yes, it has to be diverse. And as women, as  me continuing in my journey, I have women and men that support me that are counsel to me that are able to advise me and it's critical. It's so vitally important.

And then I also think everyone needs a great coach. When I think about the partnership with Marsha and I, and it's no secret, she is a great coach. And I I've used the term before athlete, I think of myself. And it was funny the other day, I was like, Oh, for real, this is what it is. And I don't think we always say. I'm a career athlete. Yes. So in my sport, which is my career in organizations in corporate America, in my sport, I need a coach just as Dirk would need a coach or Dak Prescott would need a coach and you need that person that's able to help you hone and tweak and finesse, right? At a certain point, it's not about skill at a certain point because all those subjected nuanced discretionary items. And having a coach to me is one of the greatest investments someone can make. For real. She didn't pay me to say that.

Marsha Clark  22:29  
I know, it is true because I think a coach lovingly challenges you. And when I think about  when people say what differentiates me from other coaches, and I think this is just advice on finding a good coach, it's not about on the best or only by any stretch. It's who's going to have empathy and compassion for your story, for your experience, your organization and culture. And then who can relate to that in a way, not that they have had exactly happened to them, but there's enough of a relationship that they can say...Have you thought about, Did you consider, What would this look like... but also to help you get clear.

Raquel Daniels  23:10  
Help you get clear, and I think about it in this aspect, when you think about Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan or Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. So it has to be someone who knows your sport. They must know your sport, you're not choosing someone who is football and baseball. They need know your sport, they need to understand where you are trying to go and then be able to lean into guide that. So it's not a one size fits all. I agree. It's not a one size fits all. And there's a lot of nuance in that. And it's like any perfect, you know, pairing of a relationship. You have to be able to have an authentic conversation.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:53  

Marsha Clark  23:54  
The good, the bad, the ugly. And you know, one of the ways I differentiate coaching and therapy you know.

Raquel Daniels  23:59  
Yes it can get very close some time. It's critical.

Marsha Clark  24:04  
But it's this idea of therapists looking back and asking why. Well, what makes me think this way, or What experiences have I had? Coaching is looking ahead and asking how. That's where I want to try and get to. How can you help me do that? And that's where practicing questions and tools and that sort of thing.

Raquel Daniels  24:19  
It's goal oriented, specific. It requires work and effort. So you need them both. Those are the tools.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:26  
Okay. So one of the traditions of Marsha's programs was to name the class. I remember going through this and traditionally, I think most of the classes before yours had given names to the cohorts that were powerful women in history. Tell us about your class name and why y'all chose Amplify.

Marsha Clark  24:47  
So amplify, amplify. They would say we had spirited debate on a rainy day.

Raquel Daniels  24:57  
And the question was why, and what was our goal, and our goal really is to continue to help lift women. And we really celebrated or latched on to the theme of women supporting women. So how do we continue to take our charge? And really, it's simple. Amplify it in the world that it is I am my sister's keeper. So how do I help pour in and grow and continue to build, you know, the sentiment about women being great in the world. And that really is what it's about. I mean, we're finding right now how to do that. Right. I think we have some very, particularly speaking of our coharts, some very dedicated and type A women. Everybody's charging forward in a variety of industries and organizations, but it always comes back to how are you able to just make the world or make this place for women a better place, and being respectful of all of those differences.

Marsha Clark  26:07  
Well, you know, we do a whole exercise around, "I've Got Your Back", right, and we literally,  as, you know, lean into that. And what I see in your group is one, you have each other's backs. And any one of you could call anyone else. Yeah. And you know, I'm gonna call this person because they're gonna give me this, or I'm gonna be this person, because they're gonna do this. And that's a part of playing each other strength. And yet, always being there for one another. So always take a phone call or email.

Raquel Daniels  26:36  
Email, always answer the email. And know what I think that the important piece about this is too that there's a responsibility of each of us when we are connecting in groups or we're connecting in our organizations that you have to at some point say "I'm all in". You cannot continue to look from the sidelines. And I think our Amplify group, one, you know, one differentiating factor about us is that this particular set of women said "I'm all in"  because we'd all participated in network groups or something like that before, but this was a little different, right?

Marsha Clark  27:13  
Yeah. Well, and I have to tell you a story. So it's also fun, right? So we do a lot of fun stuff, check out good places to eat. One of the women in their group was getting married, and it was during covid. And she and her fiance were planning to go to Las Vegas, and they were gonna have Elvis marry them in one of the Elvis chapels, and that couldn't happen. So the rest of the group all got together, put a little money in the kitty. And we had Elvis come to their... And it was...

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:49  
Oh, my gosh.  

Raquel Daniels  27:50  
And everybody was having a life moment. And that's a big life moment. And because we were on the call, kind of like what? It was what? There's a lot of whats. But it is fun. And I think it, I mean, that's where the goodness lies, right, opening yourself up. And it's hard. I think it can be hard for women, it can be hard for women of color or people of color, it can be hard for anyone who has been considered an other to truly open up because with openness comes some amount of consequence, or you could be hurt, right. And so I think it's a lot to be able to do that.

Marsha Clark  28:30  
It is. It is and y'all, your group has really done it.

Raquel Daniels  28:33  
It's a lot to do.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:35  
So I'm gonna shift gears a little bit. And there's been a lot of TED Talks and other people have taken up the mantle with books, etc, about Imposter Syndrome. So tell us about all of your research and work around that. And then I want to hear from Raquel as to how, if she had imposter syndrome or if you still have it, I want to hear your story on that as well.

Marsha Clark  28:59  
Yes. So we tapped into the topic of Imposter Phenomenon or Imposter Syndrome, it's called both things, at the very beginning of the program 20 plus years ago, and we actually went to the source.  So Dr. Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes were the founders or the namers of this Imposter Phenomena based on their work in a master's program where training associates would do a sign up sheet and say who can come be our TA as many in college know. And the men kept signing up but the women didn't. And the women were actually much better students in many of the cases. And so there was this, they decided to do some research about why aren't women signing up for this. And the belief was "I'm not good enough". And so since that time, so here's the deal. It's found most in high-achieving women. Isn't that ironic that highest achievers worry about not being enough? So, yes, you know, and the way that I describe it, I think, physically, people see me as this big, you know, really big, and I see me as this. And they're gonna find out that I'm not all those things that they think I am. And so I go around worrying about that. Today is gonna be the day they find out that I have no clue what I'm talking about, and that sort of thing. And so that's what the syndrome is. And it can be paralyzing, because both men and women can suffer from the imposter phenomenon or the imposter syndrome. And women get stuck, and men move on. And if you read Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" she talks about it using a slightly different example. And she said, if a job gets posted and it has 10 requirements, if a woman has eight of them, she will not apply because she doesn't have 10. If a man has four of them, he's gonna apply and say, I can figure out the other, right, I can figure out the rest. And so that's kind of how it shows up. And you please tell us your stories about how it showed up for you.

Raquel Daniels  31:03  
Yes, and I think that's, that's spot on. I think I would layer on to it these others, speaking of diversity, equity and inclusion. I think there's other lens that you have to add on to it historically, to that finding the conversation and why sometimes people may feel that, hey, what if I'm found out or that that idea of perfection is what I hear that I've got to be number one all the time. And that's just impossible, right? That kind of gets to the point it's exhausting. It's not possible. It's not achievable. But I would say yes, I think it factors in, depending on what the situation is. Because there if you remember, in the class, there can be definite moments that you're like "No, that's not me". Yeah. And I think it's dependent upon, too, are you stretching? Are you challenging? Are you learning in your role, right? And that's key to being, as you said, type A or not type A but progressive, higher achieving. If you are continuously trying to move and not even trying, but you see for yourself that there's a broader path and so you're learning, you're growing, you're seeking it out, right? You're going to question yourself. And so I've found that it's attached to "Well, what season am I in in my life?" Am I in a season of growth or am I in a season that I feel I am an expert in that season. I'm a master. Right? And we have to think about Malcolm Gladwell and all the 10,000.

Marsha Clark  32:29  
Okay, how many times do I have to do this to be a master?

Raquel Daniels  32:33  
How many times do I have to do this to be a master? But I do think it's connected for me. Am I in a learning and stretch or am I in mastery? I would say if I'm in mastery, then I'm absolutely sure of what I'm sure of all the time. Right. And I also think it's a tie to your, your skill, it's tied to your acumen on how close that is. So if you're a practitioner in something, you're probably not going to feel that imposter syndrome as much, right? It can ebb and flow. But if you're moving to learning something new, you probably are thinking, Oh my God, and where are those safe spaces to ask the question, and I think what helps with that is having the the cabinet, the coaches to say, "No, you're good". It's not a matter of, you know, for women I would say or for myself, it's not a matter of "Can you"? Because I believe and I know I can. It's a matter of I want to do well. See, that's the nuance, right? It's not a matter of can I? It's but no, I'm looking to "Can I be the best"? And so you have to gauge yourself on that you know. I was listening to something and I think this is a good example of it. Oprah, you know, Oprah has been a success at what, everything? Everything. But she was not a success, as I understand, with her TV studio, her network, right? And so she, there was a lot of question there, there was a lot of, you know, understanding and so she was a little skittish about it herself and saying, "Wow, how does this feel? Will I be able to achieve this?" Right? And so even if someone at that level...

Marsha Clark  34:23  
Yeah. Right, and that many successes.

Raquel Daniels  34:27  
And that many successes, so I think we have to be very cautious about it. I think I do. It's understanding and being vulnerable and those around us appreciating when you're in a season of learning.  The season of learning is something to apply.

Marsha Clark  34:42  
But I will tell you if you know people who have imposter syndrome, what Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes tell us is, don't try to make them feel better about it or to deny it. Because it's, "I get that this is really scary for you", or again, "Do you really have some anxiety around this? What are some strengths that you have, Raquel, that we can draw upon to help you move through this?" So you go back to that place versus, Oh you shouldn't feel that way.

Raquel Daniels  35:12  
Or what I would think too much, the point I didn't make so well earlier but I will say now that it's the safety in the room. Yeah. Am I safe enough to say, Gosh I really want to do well at this, and man, I've never done this before. Yeah. Right. Because most of us, and I think that's the difference in your analogy that you said earlier between men and women who were like I needed to have done this before. Guys like, no, you know. Everybody plays golf, right? Right. No, I'm going, let's do it. I got the, I have the whole outfit.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  35:43  
I have the outfit, therefore, I'm great. I'm great.

Raquel Daniels  35:46  
This is going to make it happen. But I think there's a lot to learn from that. I'm ready.

Marsha Clark  35:51  
I do too because I do think we forget that we've been in many situations, figured out our way to wind our way through that and come out good on the other side. When I got tapped on the shoulder to go be the president of the healthcare business unit in my EDS days, what was the first thing I said to my boss? I don't know anything about healthcare. I mean, we automatically go to what we don't know, yes, and the data requirements I didn't meet. So being encouraged, and reminding what can you draw upon versus denying that the feeling or "shoulding" (That's one of my trigger words. We'll talk about in another podcast), but it's the 'What else could be true". You could be great at it.

Raquel Daniels  36:38  
You could be great. And one thing that you just said, too, that I've been focusing on. Rather than that list of "Why I'm Not", let's focus on the list of "Why I Am". Like well, why not? Let's just make the list of why not. Like, the list of why not will most likely be longer than the... I'm sorry. The list of Why, WHY will be longer than the list of Why Not.

Marsha Clark  37:01  
Yes. And I do want to say one other thing here. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I've always struggled a little bit with, is it just imposter because that's what we have or feel or is it because we're not made to operate like the norm of the masculine hierarchical model. So are we not conforming to some standard? And it's a double edged sword, right? Because if we try to act like men, that doesn't work. We've all tried that. That was the 1980's you know, yeah, shoulder pads, men's fabric suits. We just wore skirts, and you know, they wore pants, trousers. And so is it that lack of conformity or is it that we really do feel like an imposter, or has the system, the organizational system dynamics prompted. And I was happy to read recently, it was a Harvard Business Review article, and I think I shared that with you, that there's a challenge to this idea of really understanding. And I think there's more for us to learn about distinctions around I'm not conforming to a more traditional masculine model, versus I have imposter syndrome.

Raquel Daniels  38:18  
Yes. That's very interesting. I would like to lean into, I think it's somewhere in the middle. I really believe it's what I said earlier. I believe it's attached to the learning curve. And I think regardless of the situation, when you're talking about a certain set of people, I think if they're higher-achieving, they're pacing, they're looking for new opportunity, then I want to understand what is in place about the atmosphere, the climate for learning, right? Because if I'm stretching as a new leader, or I'm stretching as a senior leader, that grace maybe, that needs to be present for me to truly learn. So is there an environment for questions? How do we view curiosity? Is there an environment for how we have frequent chats, one-on-ones? Well, what's that environment that's going to allow me to find confidence in the learning that's happening or how I am to engage. And if we celebrate the different ways that that happens, right, coming back to inclusion, then I think we might see a push on the imposter syndrome because I wonder if, I wonder if impostor syndrome is limited or this concept is limited, because we have one way to think about how we show up and learn and accomplish certain things.

Marsha Clark  39:45  
And it's reinforced by the world and society.

Raquel Daniels  39:48  
Right? Yeah, right. Yes.

Marsha Clark  39:53  
We're either not enough or we're too much. Right. Wonderful.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:57  
I love what I've heard out of the both of you during this last segment because to me, what I'm taking in and processing is that we're now looking at imposter syndrome through the idea of fluidity, like maybe it's stronger. I love your idea of time is a season of learning. If I'm in a season of learning, I may feel like I have more of an imposter syndrome, then that goes away or dials way down. Yes, I do. Yeah. So I'm really curious about new research that comes out on that.

Marsha Clark  40:31  
Well, I'll tell you after I've done my 87th podcast. Because I mean, I have to tell you, you know, having done the program for 20 years, having been a leader for 45 years, whatever those are, I mean, I'm pretty comfortable in that. And I don't I don't experience too much imposter. But writing this book, I'm, you know, yeah, doing podcasts for the first time and all that kind of stuff, yeah. I mean.

Raquel Daniels  40:57  
It's like the Oprah news station.  So it's the same thing. What I would love for women to take away at this moment, or whoever, if it's a woman, if it's a dad watching this or their young daughter is, hey, stop being in silence or in your own head and come out and seek some of the tools or say it out loud where someone could come alongside you and support you. That's the main takeaway.

Marsha Clark  41:24  
That's right. That's the support system, that's asking for help.

Raquel Daniels  41:27  
Absolutely. Raise your hand and be vulnerable, say. Ooh, they may say, you should know that. You're like, I don't. Can you help me?

Marsha Clark  41:33  
That's exactly right. Right. And move on. That's right. Right. Well and I want to put an exclamation point on something you said. You know my friend, Suzi Vaughan, gave me this phrase, and I use it for myself and I also want other women to practice it. "Strive for grace and not perfection". Because we strive for perfection. We do. We not only want to do it, we want to do it the best. And we may even be competing against ourselves.

Raquel Daniels  42:01  
Can I tell you a story about that?

Marsha Clark  42:03  
Well, absolutely.

Raquel Daniels  42:03  
Let me tell you. Let me tell you a story about that. Because I think this is spot on. So you know, I have a spirit of preparing. But I could probably, you know, probably over prepare. So for every presentation, I prepare. It's just in me. I feel like I need to write it out. I actually, I brainstorm and my brain is storming. So I have all these things. And I have notes. And then it's a whole process for me right, narrowing it down and trying to figure out the right and then bring in people and then once I have it, I'll stand in front of the mirror, I practice. And so then I might practice in my car or when I'm on a walk or whatever. So I had this big presentation. And I practiced, like I was ready.Thought of my opening, closing, done the power pose and all the poses (done all the poses, all posed out). And I'm ready for what, as Marsha would say, a perfect in my mind when I was imagining the perfect presentation. And I was presenting and I stammered. Now what's key about this is that I as a child, I stuttered. I lost my two front teeth when I was six. So I was walking along hid my front teeth on the steps. So when I really was learning probably younger than that, when I was really learning how to talk, I had two front teeth. So there were a lot of the things that I would say...

Marsha Clark  43:32  
I did not know this.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:33  
I didn't know this either and the whole time I've been thinking how clearly and succinctly her word choice is, how she speaks.

Raquel Daniels  43:41  
A lot of the things that I said I would... and so I really had to practice. What helped was speech therapy and band. So I played clarinet. Okay, so I'm in this room and I rarely, rarely stutter, like I try to practice to be comfortable and be comfortable. So I'm in this room, big executive presentation, and I stammer. I was like, Oh my gosh. So I had to get myself back together. This was just last week. So I had to get myself together in myself while this is going on. I was very nervous about just the whole moment, as you said, learning new things and like this is my first time so I need to show, right, had a little imposter, a little everything. Everything happening. And I stuttered, I finished, and someone said it was great presentation. But I couldn't receive it because I stammered. And I really had to work a couple of days. And I got some more feedback. I had to really work a couple of days that it was good. It was in the spirit of excellence and I had done the best I could. Though it may have not been perfect, it was human.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:58  
Right. Right. That's very beautiful.

Raquel Daniels  45:01  
It was human. Yes. And it has resonated with me because so often as women or others, or whoever we are, we're going in the room for it to be a perfect and we're judging ourselves or against it, against perfect. And sometimes it's not gonna be perfect, but it's still gonna be great and you have to think about all the other things that come from the moment. But I had to tell that story but I wasn't planning on telling that but I did, that idea that I had to work through, and I think we do as women about the spirit of excellence, the spirit of good. And sometimes good is good enough.

Marsha Clark  45:42  
And that is the overachieving woman, right? That's like the definition of the overacheving woman. Yes. Everything requires 120%.

Raquel Daniels  45:51  
No, it doesn't. And if you laid it all on the table, even if the good and it is not accepted, then that's not what needed to be. Right. There's other decisions you might need to make.

Marsha Clark  46:08  
And what I've learned about leadership over the years, is that if I show up perfect every time, that's what I'm telling all the people around me that they have to do it perfect, you know. Be human.

Raquel Daniels  46:18  
Be human. Yeah, human. Be human, fail fast and be human and, and just know that it doesn't have to be perfect.

Marsha Clark  46:27  
Thank you for that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  46:26  
Yes, absolutely. And I want to talk because I have in my notes here, something about spiraling. So did you start, I heard you started so how do you stop that? Marsha, I want to hear from you.

Raquel Daniels  46:42  
Yeah, yeah, I did. And you know, I do a lot of meditation and walks. And I think I had to just sit with it and say, you know what, Raquel, I had to ask myself the question. You had prepared. And you've done the best you could do, right? And it wasn't like I made a "C" if I was gonna grade, right. Just kind of walked in and.... But, but I had to stop the talk in my head and replace it with 'good job', or know what, it's your first time. Right. In this particular scenario, there was a lot happening, that it was my first time solo. And so I had to stop and say there were a lot of good moments in the first time solo and stop concentrating on the 3%. One thing, on the one thing, right. And that brought me out of it, right? It brought me out of it.

Marsha Clark  47:44  
Good, good. Well, and what I will tell you, we show a DVD...

Raquel Daniels  47:50  
It's called My Kitchen Cabinet.

Marsha Clark  47:55  
Can I offer my work as a gift to one of Margaret Wheatley's fearless questions? And what I want women to understand is did you do the very best that you could? Because you didn't go in there going, okay, stammer here. Right. So this idea of "Did I do the best that I could?" and then they say, "Well, I could have done better". Yeah, if you didn't have anything else going on and you totally concentrated on that for 89 hours, and that's just not a woman's life! And so did you do the best you could in light of all the things you were trying to get done in service to all the other people, the other projects, the other organizations, your family members, and all that we take on. And that's how I prevent myself from going into that spiraling, because it is the self talk. We're our quote, unquote, "worst enemies", right? And so it's how we choose to see ourselves as much as how we're believing other people are seeing us. You've heard me say, both of you have heard me say this. We're so worried about what everybody else is thinking about us (oh my gosh) when in reality they're worried about what everybody else are thinking about them. They're not even paying attention. So self focused.

Raquel Daniels  49:06  
Would you say that quote again? Because I do forget it. But I wanted to make a point about it.

Marsha Clark  49:06  
Which one?

Raquel Daniels  49:08  
Because it's a gift, right? Our work is a gift. Can I offer my work as a gift.  I think we have to pause there. Can I offer my work as a gift?

Marsha Clark  49:23  
That's right. I've given you everything I have to give to you.

Raquel Daniels  49:25  
Can I offer my work as a gift? And I would really just want to play around with that because I think that will be freeing. If you offer your work as a gift, you give it and you let it go. You rarely take a gift back, you know. You give it and you let it go. So can I give my work as a gift? Yeah. Right.

Marsha Clark  49:25  
Right. We're also going to write that down, too.

Raquel Daniels  49:50  
You might need that this next week.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  49:56  
That's good. So it sounds to me like, Raquel, that you were aware earlier in your career of these feelings of imposter syndrome so was it Marsha's program that kind of gave you the language around and the tools in order to address these feelings?

Raquel Daniels  50:15  
You know, so really I think Marsha's, our opportunity with her just brought certain things to light and named certain things. I won't say that I could have ever called it this when I was younger. I don't know that it comes in play, honestly, until you're in a certain trajectory in your career, quite honestly. Because I think when you're in a certain trajectory, then if we think about being an athlete, you are competing. The game is different. So when you're at the bigs, you notice everything. Right? And you are, that's why I use the term as an athlete because if you're gonna be a franchise player, you're gonna do some other things. Like you know, Tom Brady's a different level at the Super Bowl. We're not talking about can I do it, right? Everybody that's at the Super Bowl can do it. Right. Now what? Yeah, exactly. Now what. It's the little things that make you great and win.

Marsha Clark  51:18  
Well as a Dallas Cowboy fan, if you che``at, what?

Raquel Daniels  51:21  
Well? How can I forget, but you know that, then let's just talk about it there. Because when you are good in business, right, and you do certain things, then it calls for a certain reaction. And thats what it's like.

Marsha Clark  51:49  
Amazing. You don't win that many Super Bowls, right?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  51:51  
That's right.

Marsha Clark  51:52  
Great team.

Raquel Daniels  51:52  
We're getting into as I read, you know, Oxygen and other things. So it's the nuance, right?

Marsha Clark  51:57  
I had a CEO tell me once he said, the higher you go, the more important nuance becomes. Judgment, discretion, yeah, you really must be paying attention.

Raquel Daniels  52:07  
You know, it's this idea of leadership and the growth. And your last guest said something I think was really important is that as a leader, you're going to be in a constant state of learning. So the key is, how comfortable do I become in that space? And I think that's the key thing.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  52:38  
The key is comfortable.

Raquel Daniels  52:31  
Yes, you have to, there's always going to be change, there's always going to be a lot happening. So the true key to quietening some of that is your levelness, the ground you're standing on. How do you build for yourself that internal compass and comfort?

Marsha Clark  52:50  
And I think leadership and learning are two sides of the same coin. I believe leadership is a profession just like being a lawyer or accountant or doctor or anything else. And if I'm a leader, I can lead anything as long as I'm also a learner who's going to go in and know enough or can build the checks and balances in the system to make sure that the people are, because usually you have a team of experts, right, if you're going in to do something like that. And so if I focus on my leadership stuff, and I know how to learn, and I'm an agile learner, and so I think you're onto it, because the learning piece of it is just another side of that leadership coin.

Raquel Daniels  53:28  
Well if we kind of piggy back, take your note and piggy back a second to the imposter syndrome I think the key is that for many, we've been convinced that I have to be the expert of all things all the time, all the time. And we don't have great voice around no, I'm not the expert on how to make that necklace. I am the leader here. And here's what I bring to ensure we have the checks and balances, make sure that experts can make the necklace. But we don't have the language to transfer us from "I don't have to know all the things". That's our burden, it is a burden. That's our burden truly is that no one's given us the tools to release "I don't have to carry the burden of being the expert".

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  54:14  
Right. Right. Yeah. So the title of this podcast is "Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership". So I want to ask a two part question. What does it mean to you to be authentic? And then I also want to hear both of you talk about the term "masking'.

So authentic means for me that I am genuine, that I'm leading according to my values, and that I am for lack of better terms, I'm able to be very real and have grateful energy. So today I'm my authentic self, right, having energy, I don't feel I have to present or show up in a certain way which would be masking. Right, because masking means I don't feel safe enough, or there's something here that I need to be guarded, or I need to be super aware. And I don't mean, we all need to be aware of how we show up, but I'm very conscious that that may not be received in an open way. And so crossing the threshold of authenticity and being genuine, I feel is very hard. And I think that people can often get dinged on it, because it's not quite fair. Yeah. You have to have a certain layer of comfort and trust, or the understanding of what we're giving or what is required in this moment, to truly be authentic, right?

Right. Yep. You have to understand the environment.

Raquel Daniels  55:49  
You have to understand the environment and understand the exchange in our currency at this moment, right?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  55:53  
Exactly. Yes. I love that.

Raquel Daniels  55:54  
You know, everyone shouldn't get that gift.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  55:58  
Thank you. Yes.

Raquel Daniels  56:00  
And it is a gift. It is.

Marsha Clark  56:01  
Yeah. So I like the genuine, I get to bring me and all of me and all my radiant glory, right? I mean that, to me, is authenticity. I'm not having to try to be something or somebody that I'm not, and censor. And yeah, so here's the masking part for me. I often describe this as, for example, know your audience, right? So if I'm talking to you, and I know how you'd like to receive information, how you like to, you know, banter back and forth or whatever, then then I'm going to use a certain strategy to communicate to you  to try and get my message across in a way that you understand it. When I'm presenting to you, that's going to be different. To me, if I'm being authentic, and strategic, because I know you and I know you, I behave and communicate a certain way. Because I want to get my message across. If I speak to you in a certain way, and you in a certain way, because I want to please you or conform to what you think I should do or be, that's masking to me. They can look identical. It's how I view it and the intentionality of it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  57:17  
Yes, the intentionality behind it. Yes.

Raquel Daniels  57:19  
And I think there's a layer to that I would be remiss if I didn't bring up is that as others, so it can apply to women of color, it may be men of color, it may be individuals in the LGBT community, and etc, there's a layer of masking that how I show up every day, so the conversations that I have, how I present myself, looks very different than I would present myself in a comfortable place or with friends. Now, the conversation about that there can be an emotional tax that comes with that, right. So if I have to put on a show, or if I have to dress and when I say a show, I'm at a loss for words right now. Because it's as if I have to, have to perform, thank you. If I have to perform, then when I get home, I'm just emotionally spent. That's what we've heard. That's what the research says and all of that, right, because that performance means if I perform well, therefore, I'm accepted. Therefore, I can ascend the career ladder, and all the things that sometimes are felt in corporate America. So there are some definite tenets of masking that are negative and that have severe consequences for those, right? But I think it's about how do you perform and what do you think is expected of you, and that performing in a certain way is a requirement.

Marsha Clark  58:50  
Yeah. And if it's in you, and you can do it, it's not asking you to be something you're not. It's just asking you to use some parts of yourself that are not your favorite. Or, and it's not that, I would never ask anyone to do anything, you know, unethical, immoral, illegal, any of that. And yet, if I need to come across as assertive, because that's the way you're going to hear my message, then even though it may be a challenge for me to be assertive (anybody who knows me would laugh at that), but, and yet, that's what it calls for, right? And it's in me, right? And I can draw from it. And I'm tired at the end of the day and worried at the end of the day, and yet, it's still a part of who I am. But my goal is to help every person I work with find more parts of themselves they can bring to the table to be able to present the best of all, the whole self. And that's authenticity, too.

Raquel Daniels  59:46  
Right. And that's diversity, equity and inclusion work and why the work is hard because you want to create the space where individuals don't have to mask so that I can bring my whole self to work. And we always say within expectations because I think there are some lines too that particularly when we're having conversations about career trajectory, or different things, all of us have to shift in some ways.

Marsha Clark  1:00:09  
That's right. We've got to know the rules of the game.

Raquel Daniels  1:00:11  
We've got to know the rules of the game. Yeah. And so what got you there won't get you there or keep you there. Yeah. So you may have to adjust. Yes.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:00:20  
Yep. So to wrap up, we're going to do a little speed round here of some topics that were brought up during this episode. So I'm going to throw them out and I want a quick response from both of you. Okay. All right. So number one, the importance of getting coaching or support from someone...

Raquel Daniels  1:00:20  
Important, highly.

Marsha Clark  1:00:20  
I think if I want to be as fully developed as I want to be, that I need help, because people can see things in me that I can't see in myself. And people can help me articulate things about me that I fumble and bumble and I stammer.

Raquel Daniels  1:01:05  
It's hard to do surgery on yourself. And so you need someone who is a willing and honest person. I mean, to use a women's analogy right now, you need someone to tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth.

Marsha Clark  1:01:20  
Yes. As we did... with a smile.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:01:26  
Good. Exactly. Exactly. So quality, quality, helpful feedback...

Marsha Clark  1:01:34  
Has to be, well first of all I have to be clear about what I am trying to accomplish and how I want to show up. And I need feedback that is provided with loving support.

Raquel Daniels  1:01:49  
Yes, I agree. I would ask myself, is it helpful or is it hurtful? And if it's helpful, there are tenets of it that are constructive that actually give me practical application for what I can change, right, or what I might amend. It's not just, oh I think. There's a practical nature to it. And that person or the feedback comes from a place that they're willing to support you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:02:21  
Right. Right. And there we have it, folks. Raquel Daniels, thank you so much for being with us today. Absolutely. I'm going to let Marsha close this out. Well, sorry. Thank you, guys, for joining us today on "Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Please encourage your friends to download and subscribe to this podcast. Join us on for all the details about the books, the tools and the things that we referenced during the podcast today. Check out Marsha's book, "Embracing Your Power". And just thank you for joining us today.

Marsha Clark  1:03:04  
Well, let me add my thanks to Wendi's and Raquel, thank you really. I mean, I loved our conversation. And you know, I've shared this before on our podcast, we want this to be you know, we're all just having a conversation. You know, we're all our new best girlfriends and the circle of women and those kinds of things. And so we want to hear from you, any thoughts, comments, consideration of what we've said. If we can help you in any way, let us know that and you can reach me at and we'd love to support you, hear from you. And as always, here's to women supporting women!

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