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Podcast Transcript

You 101 With Rebecca Bales

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we uncover what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, I'm going to confess right now that I've been super excited about this episode for a while. We have a very special guest, Rebecca Bales, and get us kicked off here.

Marsha Clark  0:34  
Well, I'm happy to do that. We do have a special guest with us today, Rebecca Bales. She and I've known each other for quite a while. I'll talk a little bit more about that in just a moment. But I think this is a really important topic in the area around self awareness and self knowledge. And it all starts there. So thank you very much, Rebecca, for being here with us today.

Rebecca Bales  0:53  
I am thrilled to be here today, Marsha. It's such a relevant topic and just so valuable to the work that you do helping other women and the work that I do.

Marsha Clark  1:01  
I agree with that. We are a great example of women supporting women.

Rebecca Bales  1:05  
Yes, we are.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:06  
Yes, so the title of today's episode is "You 101". I don't know why I want to say one on one. I've gotten, I'm in a basketball mode I guess. I don't know. (It's football season!!) Sorry about that. Zone defense. Okay, so no, our entire focus today is really fundamental or core to the work that you both have been doing for decades. And before you both even started your own business and the women's leadership programs you've developed or you, Marsha, for writing "Embracing Your Power", this foundational idea of truly getting to know who we are, who we are as a leader, who we are as a woman leader and then as a whole and authentic person and discovering more about who that person is - how to explore, celebrate and embrace who that person is - can you tell I'm excited about this episode?

Marsha Clark  2:03  
So I love that we are talking about this today, as I said earlier, and you know, one of the major emphasis in my work is that I want us to be our best authentic selves. And we can't be authentic if we don't know who we are. So that's the essence of your work, Rebecca, it's the essence of much of the work that I do. And Rebecca is going to share some work that she does and an instrument, many instruments that she uses in doing this work because it is a very personal journey for each and every one of us. And I think that our listeners, each of you today, are going to have an opportunity to see some things maybe in a new light to have some of those, as we call them, "aha moments" because that is going to be critical to even beginning to think about how to be our best authentic selves in this leadership journey.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:01  
Absolutely. So, Rebecca.

Rebecca Bales  3:02  
Yes, I was just thrilled, Marsha, when you and Lumina came together because you're such, it's so compatible to the work that you're doing by itself as a standalone suite of assessment tools, helping uncover the true self in others. And that's exactly what you do. And that's exactly who you are. And it's just such a, it's just a match made perfectly together.

Marsha Clark  3:02  
I agree. I agree.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:24  
So on that note, Rebecca just mentioned Lumina, which is Lumina Learning. Marsha, I'm going to let you give our listeners a little insight and background on your relationship with Rebecca, how the two of you have come together.

Marsha Clark  3:37  
Well, it predates Lumina. (Right.) I was introduced to you. You had written a book. (That's right.) And we had something in common. We were both, at that time, fairly recent widows. And you had written a book about your journey following that time and really chronicling that time in your life. And I did a book signing for you at my house. Books you know, who knows all the things that bring us together. And then you mentioned the work that you were doing then and we came together, we kept hearing about each other. And we knew that there was a time when we needed to be working together. And we've done a lot of work since that time from the standpoint of I'm certified as a Lumina Practitioner as well as having even sponsored others getting certified as a part of the process because I think I believe in her instrument. I think it is one of the finest. There's lots of instruments out there. And there is a suite that you can talk about here shortly. But I do think that that there are some unique things about the Lumina tools that deepen and broaden what we can learn about ourselves. And that's a big part of the reason I wanted to partner with Rebecca.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  4:56  
Awesome, awesome. So I think the perfect way to open this episode's content is to say something that you say in the introduction of your book, "Embracing Your Power", which is that we always bring a copy of the book for reference material. So will you set the stage and read those first two paragraphs as a kickoff.

Marsha Clark  5:16  
Yes. And I am going to read them because I haven't memorized my book. So, you know, I had a vision of helping women achieve success based on their definition of success rather than what someone else wanted for them, or from them. And to this day, ever, ever, ever, and always to this day, my wish is for them to hold on to themselves, for us to hold on to ourselves, in the process, staying true to who we are rather than adopting either a male model or some someone else's profile of what leadership is, and knowing that every person has both masculine and feminine traits, characteristics and strengths. And that what is the key is that women avoid placing restrictions on our paths to success based on how we've traditionally defined those inherent qualities. So the real message here is beware of self created obstacles. And know that each one of us is ultimately a complex individual capable of growing our strengths, and diminishing our weaknesses.

Rebecca Bales  6:22  
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, that's just that's the perfect setup for this entire podcast here because it absolutely aligns with people finding their authentic self. I mean, Marsha, you're just such a prototype of that. You've done that work yourself, you're out there. People see that in you and they know that about you. I think they see that in me and know that about me, because we've both done our work. We were sort of forced to do our work early on, like when we first met, (That's right.) been through that. Yep. So now we can help others and put that out there. And I think that psychometric tools help give us a snapshot into that. And it's the beginning. It's not the the entire being, but it's the beginning of seeing yourself really as how you show up and who you are inside, and you take it from there.

Marsha Clark  7:06  
I agree with that. And I think the emphasis on each of us doing our own work, we can only take others as far as we've been ourselves. And I had a mentor once who said, you always have to put yourself out there hoping that others will come, you know, maybe not as far as you've been. But you always have to take another step further, or two, or three or five. And so I think that's an important part of this, that you have to do your work and the tools that you have, and the work that we do helps women know how to do that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  7:34  
Yeah. So I'm sitting here with two resourceful, authentic, successful women, two of the most successful that I know. And I want to take full advantage of your knowledge and suggestions regarding how we, our viewers and our listeners, can be our best selves. So let's start with some of the You 101 basics. If I'm a listener out there, I may be wondering where do I even begin trying to figure out who I am. So what are some of the first steps on this journey of self discovery, and I'm going to start with you Marsha, and then we're going to go to you, Rebecca.

Marsha Clark  8:13  
So I say this at the beginning of every program, and you've both heard me say this as part of The Power of Self Program, is that the biggest derailleur or showstopper to leadership effectiveness, and this is based on research, is our lack of self awareness or self knowledge. So I often say I think I'm showing up to the world this way, and the world is seeing me in a very different way. And so when that happens, that's how I can get off track. And so there's two sides to this. There one, is me knowing and understanding my own default patterns, habits, strengths, etc., and the other part of the self awareness is knowing how others are seeing me, and are they aligned. So that's what I think about when I come to this. And the other thing we talk about is that we're not here to fix you because you're not broken. And that, I think, is a an important part of the authentic piece of leadership. So that's the two things that I would bring to the table.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:15  

Rebecca Bales  9:15  
I completely agree with that too, Marsha. I mean, it's like we're perfect. Every single person out there is perfect in their own right. It's knowing who you are, knowing the baseline of what you start from, and then knowing when you need to maybe flex or adapt to a given situation or a given person. And sometimes recognizing our own strengths is hard to do. It's one of the most difficult parts, and being able to label it and talk about it and put it out there. And I really hate when we talk about deficits and things like that, because it's about sure we may have a weaker area and there might be a time we need to lean into that and develop that. But we really need to play from our strengths and just understand what the whole picture is. And then we can be true to ourselves.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  9:56  
I love that. You get to a certain age and it's like really, do I have to work on that? Can we just like go all in on what's working, thank you! Okay, so Rebecca, I know we're going to discuss your Lumina Learning Assessments here in a little bit. But before we do that, I would like to know what drew you to the world of assessments and why is getting that self awareness so important?

Rebecca Bales  10:23  
Yeah, that's a great question, Wendi. And, you know, I was a psychology teacher and that's how I started my career. I had my own life experiences, Marsha's spoken to one of them, which caused me to get into a situation where I needed to make a career change for myself and my children and my family. And so when I did that, I went to the corporate world. And I realized, wow, everybody's using assessment tools out here to help teams and leadership development in individuals. And so that's what really got me entrenched in the psychometrics. I was already certified in several of them as a psychology teacher and had led certifications in them. But I kept migrating to what I thought was the next best one. I saw the work it did for the clients, for the organizations I worked for, for teams and groups of engineers, and leaders and attorneys. And, you know, I just saw the light bulb go off for people and how it made them a better person, and made them more effective in what they did. And so every time I see that light bulb go off, I just get goosebumps.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:21  
Wow, that's great. We love light bulbs.

Marsha Clark  11:23  
And I have to tell you, I'm an assessment junkie, I mean, and I think you are too. Like you said you always were looking if you knew some and every time you saw a new one, you want to do at least go explore and say, Well, what does that measure? And how can that help? And is that better than and, you know, more insightful and different assessment tools measure different things. And so I think that's a part of leadership development, and more importantly, that self awareness piece.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:49  
So if you could pick one of your most favorite assessment tools, or most powerful or insightful, which one would that be? And whether that's an assessment or a workshop, you know, what is it and why would you say it's so powerful for you?

Marsha Clark  12:05  
I'd be crazy if I didn't say the Lumina!

Rebecca Bales  12:07  
Yeah, I'm sitting right here.

Marsha Clark  12:11  
No, and the reason, the reason I say that is one, a lot of instruments, and I'll contrast it for a moment to the Myers Briggs because that's the one that I think many people, the MBTI or Myers Briggs, and that says, I'm either an extrovert or an introvert. I'm either an intuitive or sensing in some either/or scenario. There's degrees, but you know, it's still an either/or. And what I love about Lumina, and I say this to all my clients when I recommend us using it, is that I get to be a bit of both, because we're all a bit of both, right? And so I've got more extrovert than I do introvert. Anybody that knows me knows that. So. And yet, I have to own that introvert part of me and understand it as well. So that's one piece. I'm not an either/or, I'm a lot of things. And this tells me how much of each I am. The second part I like is the three levels of Persona, so the underlying, the every day, and the overextended. And I often liken this to my underlying is who I am in the morning when I wake up before I had my first cup of coffee or put my makeup on and get ready to go wherever it is I'm going, and that sort of that true core me. Then the every day is what do I need to dial up in my underlying or what do I need to dial down to show up and be effective in whatever environment I'm in. And then the overextended are, what are those triggers that put me into a stressed or high anxiety state and how do I understand what those are and how that overextended shows up. And what do I need to do to manage those triggers more effectively to not put myself in those overextended places when I don't want to be. (Exactly.) So that's why I love the Lumina Spark Instrument.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:06  
You want to elaborate on that, Rebecca?

Rebecca Bales  14:08  
Well I think Marsha described it totally and completely accurately. And I think that not just doing that for yourself but I think what I see when organizations embrace Lumina at an organizationally wide level is a tool that doesn't stereotype people. So when we get into stereotyping or typing as in some of the typing instruments, then we start to get into this, and sometimes it isn't meant to be but it just starts creeping up into the culture, we get into this, well, you need to be at "this" to be ahead. Or if you're not at "this", you're not going to be suited to do "that". And so it's just Lumina is highlighting what everybody is uniquely and independently of anything else that they may have a strength in. And so with that people can take and embrace their true self, their true value of what they have to add and not be limited by a box or a type. That's why I think it's a beautiful assessment, assessment tools.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  15:00  
I like that. So now we're gonna switch gears a little bit and talk about lack of self awareness. And the fact that that is one of the, as you said earlier, one of the biggest derailleurs for leadership effectiveness. I'd like to hear you both elaborate on that a little bit more.

Marsha Clark  15:18  
Well, they've heard my piece of it, so what...

Rebecca Bales  15:22  
Yeah. So I think you know, lack of awareness, you're not going to really know what your strengths are, or how you're showing up, you have a default kind of gut or instinctual reaction to things that doesn't always serve you or the parties involved to the highest degree. So if we can learn our baseline, if we can learn what we're probably apt to do in a given situation, and the flags that tell us, "Oh, my gosh, I'm getting triggered," you know, as you mentioned earlier, what triggers these automatic responses, then you can take a pause, you can take three deep breaths as what we say, because the brain actually releases itself from being gripped around whatever it is that's triggering, and you can step back and make a different choice in that situation. And in that pause, while you're doing this, is your power. So that's where we're really stepping into the power to be the best you can be in that given situation.

Marsha Clark  16:14  
And I talk about that as being thoughtful and intentional. And we might even think about it as remember when it was when you're mad count to 10? Yes, well, that was really, we didn't understand the psychology or the brain operation as it related to that, but that really was the pause that allows us to take back if we feel like we're losing our personal power, take it back and provide that thoughtful and intentional response.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:41  
Well, I want to talk about something that's kind of in that lack of self awareness blind spot.  The term blind spots is used a lot in workshops. What are they really and how does someone go about identifying their blind spot and then getting clear on what that is?

Marsha Clark  17:01  
Yeah. So I want to use another model. And for those who are listening, I'm gonna try and describe this, which is always a challenge for me. That's why I have to have a whiteboard or flip chart in every training class because I draw all the time. But this is something called the Johari Window and I have a copy of this in front of me so I make sure that I say all the words right so if you go look it up that I have credibility with you. But so this I love. Johari is JOHARI. If you want to go look that up on the web or the internet because there's a lot of (HARI) yes, because this is the name... the model was created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham.  Joe and Harry, got it? Love it. It was so funny because it sounds like such an exotic word, Johari. All right. So here's the deal. It's a two by two. So there are four quadrants. And the top left hand quadrant is known as the "known to self and known to others" quadrant. And so that is also referred to as my public self. I know this about me, you know this about me. So it's all out there for all to see. So that's how that comes to be. And not only public stuff, but also the arena. It's like I'm performing in the arena for all to see. So there's that. Okay. Anything that you would add? (Top left, top left, okay. Yeah.) Anything you would add?

Rebecca Bales  18:39  
No, I think you've got that.

Marsha Clark  18:41  
All right, then the top right hand corner (Wendi is my Vanna) is "not known to myself and known to others".  And so when I think about it, you know, I'm thinking this and others are seeing me this way. So others can see things in me that I cannot see in myself and that's where the blind spots come. (Okay.) So that's the essence of blind spots...

Rebecca Bales  19:09  
I totally agree. And I also think that's a great spot where assessments can come in to help unfold these blind spots. And then once they're made aware to you, even though you may say, and I see this all the time, people say that's not me, I don't see that me. And I always say, you know, sit with it a little bit. Sit back and just sit with it. And they'll always come back and say, two weeks later, I saw it, you know, because now once it's been brought to your awareness, you start to see it.

Marsha Clark  19:33  
Yeah, that's right. I cannot not see it, cannot be unseen. And I also think about and you also say, sit with it and check with others to see what they're seeing in you because again, that goes back to they can see things in me that I can't see in myself. All right, then the bottom left hand corner (Wendi, point) is "not known to others but known to me". So this is often referred to as the facade quadrant. So we have the arena, we have the blind spots, now we have the facade. So a facade is a fake front, right? I mean, that's what the word facade means. And it doesn't mean that I have to tell everybody everything about me, there are things that I will keep private by choice, by intentionality. At the same time, though, there are things operating inside of me, in my head, in my heart, in my defaults, in my habits, that I'm aware of but that you may not know. And therefore you can make up all kinds of stories about it because you're applying your own projections and experiences to the table. So anything you would add to that?

Rebecca Bales  20:44  
Absolutely. I mean, I just think that it's, that's a really important quadrant I think because we all do have things that we maybe should just keep in ourselves. They're our inner thoughts, our inner feelings. They'e for us. There are some things that it might be best if others understood more about us, and it would take the relationship to another level. But that's a personal choice.

Marsha Clark  21:05  
It's a personal choice and it's, and you may not make the same choice all the time. (That's right.) I may share something with you, but not with you. And I think that's a part of what we have to also consider as we think about ourselves in relationship to this quadrant. And then the bottom right is the "unknown" quadrant. I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows. Those are the things that can often come back and haunt us. And even this is a place where I think the assessments can help us too because I didn't know, you didn't know, but oh, that's what's happening in this scenario. This is why I keep finding myself in this situation that maybe I don't want to find myself in. So, thoughts.

Rebecca Bales  21:47  
And I think that that's really at the core down underneath our conscious level. And so yes, if an assessment can pull at that I think there's a different one than Lumina Spark. It's another Lumina assessment that we'll talk about in a minute. But yeah, it gets at the core of that. And that's what when triggered, you can have responses that you're unaware that you would even have.

Marsha Clark  22:07  
And I think about that in the underlying persona. I mean, that's the one that is that deeper down, that if I don't understand that part, it's hard to know what to dial up or down dial down for effectiveness in our daily lives. Because I don't even know it's there. (That's right.)

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  22:23  
Yeah. So does anyone want to share anything from their facade window or their blind spot window that they discovered, either one of you?

Marsha Clark  22:34  
You know, when I think about blind spots, until I became really aware of how few boundaries I set and then I was such a people pleaser, I just always thought it was being kind, or you know, being helpful or being supportive. And as I did more and more of these assessments as a part of my corporate life, and you know, and then subsequently into the leadership development world, that was the big "aha" for me that from a blind spot perspective, that my kindness and almost overuse of kindness, overuse of support, you know. That's why I love the quote so much "Givers need to set boundaries because takers rarely do." (Right.) And I was one of those givers and I didn't set boundaries and I found myself in resentful places. I do everything for them and they do nothing for me and do they not know and appreciate and all that. So I you know, come up with all these stories. So for me that was a big thing when I found out through assessments about setting boundaries and being a people pleaser and and giver all the time.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:36  
Okay, Rebecca. Blind spot for you that you uncovered.

Rebecca Bales  23:39  
Wow. So a blind spot for me, my first one that I got to when I took my Lumina Spark was reliable to hesitant. And I remember sharing it with my daughter who was working with me at the time. And I said, This isn't me. I don't see this. And she was like, Excuse me. Yeah, this is you. And not only is it you, but you've actually gotten a little better about it. And so I was like, no it's not. But that was one of the cases where I put it away for about two weeks, and boom, here it came. And I saw it and I couldn't pull the trigger and create a decision and action on something because I was too emotionally tied into it and I was overwhelmed about that, so I just shut it down. And that's when I realized there it is.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:19  
So reliable to hesitant. What does that mean specifically? It means you're hesitant to make decisions or...

Rebecca Bales  24:25  
It means you can get hesitant because you're so in tune with being reliable and making an accurate course of action, that you are going to deliver on anything you take, so you just decide you can't take it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:39  
As a southerner, I call that baked in a squat. Baked in a squat.

Marsha Clark  24:49  
Okay, that's interesting.

Rebecca Bales  24:53  
Total sidebar on that one.

Marsha Clark  24:55  
Facade information.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:57  
Yes, yes. Okay. So, we've covered kind of the, I'm looking at my notes here. We've covered a lot of the, we talked about facade. I want to talk about public real quick. Also, I've got that here in my notes for us to talk about. How do ya'll feel about your public personas and how did that, or those aspects of your personality, reveal you?

Marsha Clark  25:24  
I will tell you that for me it's the power of transparency. That for me is the public arena self is that the more I can let people know who I am, it prompts me to want to show up in that way. You know, it's the if you say it out loud in front of other people you've got to live up to the promise, right? And so for me, that public facade is about transparency. And I would dare say, in today's professional world, it's about building your brand and knowing what you want your brand to be, and showing up consistently so that others see it in you and you see it in yourself.

Rebecca Bales  26:01  
That's really, really insightful, Marsha. Yeah. So for me, I would say that I have an empathy for people that I think comes through, I can feel it anyway, just a really deep caring on what their needs are and what what they're trying to do and how things affect them. However, on the flip side, I'm extremely purposeful and tough. So I'm surprised sometimes because I think I kind of mask that tough. I know I don't the purposeful, but I mask that, and I will have feedback that wow, you know, you were really tough on that. (Right.) But it's the combination of the two I think I've become known for and that I think other people see in me. I definitely see it in myself.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:43  

Marsha Clark  26:44  
Well, the courage to say tough things, the courage to have conversations, the courage to, and it's all in the spirit of wanting to support the other person and thinking that what you have to offer is going to help them. (Absolutely.)  (Yeah.) Yeah, that's the part that comes through loud and clear.

Rebecca Bales  26:59  
It's the hard part too, because you don't know. They have to be ready for it to take it too and so it depends also on where they are in their journey on how you can help to propel them through it.

Marsha Clark  27:09  
Well, what's the old adage of meet your client where they are, not where you are?

Rebecca Bales  27:13  
Exactly! Yes.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:13  
Yep. Okay, so facade, this one down here, in the lower left for those who are not watching my hands. You know, I don't want to ask ya'll to say what you think your facade is. So what are some examples of facades that come up in women leaders?

Marsha Clark  27:38  
Let me think about that a minute. So I think the facade of, I can't be a woman. I can't be...  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  27:47  
Oh. I have to be the boy in the room.

Marsha Clark  27:49  
I can't just be my feminine self. I can't bring this idea forward. I can't speak my truth in a world or a, you know, a conference table of strong masculine you know, whatever's. I think that is a part and it's... it is a part of what I know about myself because I hear it, you know, when the question comes up, the comment comes up, the thought appears. And yet, I'm not gonna let them know what I'm thinking. That's what it triggers in me or prompts in me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:21  

Rebecca Bales  28:22  
For me, I think it's the facade of self doubt. So I think that there are in the work that I've done with organizations globally in the women's programs at that level, most of them the question is, when was the last time you doubted yourself? And the senior leaders who are in the room say, um, maybe right before I walked in this door.  And so we all project this air of confidence which I do believe many of us do have, but inside there's that little bit of self doubt that comes with this. And it's great to acknowledge that and I think it's important for other people to understand we all navigate through this life.  

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:02  
Right, right. Well, before we move off the Johari Window as a whole, I want Marsha to talk real quick about this author, Martha Beck and her commentary on blind spots. And one of her blog posts is titled "Getting Rid of Your Blind Spots." So talk to us about that.

Marsha Clark  29:23  
Well, and again, I'm going to refer to notes because I don't want to write anyone else's work. So pardon my reading, if you will. So one of the things that she suggests that I really found most fascinating is that you already know what's in your blind spot. It's just that looking at it makes you extremely uncomfortable. So that in and of itself, right, and we've all had those moments. So in that same blog post, she shares a mindfulness exercise and this is, you know, I'm all about the tools, right. So this is what I think about as tools. And I think it can be really powerful for our listeners to help them as they, you know, ease themselves into being more open or receptive to the feedback of others, which is where the blind spot feedback is so important in that, and to be more gentle with, you know, not be so hard on ourselves, and really accept what might be coming at us from that regard. So the exercise that she sets up is as kind and this is, I'm quoting now, "As kindly as you can ask yourself the following three questions." And I went through this exercise recently. "What am I afraid to know?" Oh, that's, that's huge. What am I afraid to know because if I name it, now I've got to deal with it. Alright. So what am I afraid to know (and I would add about myself). The second question is, "What's the one thing I least want to accept (about myself)?" And the third is, "What do I sense without knowing?" And we did a whole episode on intuition. LaRue Eppler. And this is the, I know but I can't name it, I can't touch it, I can't label it. And in the essence of the first two, I can't, I don't want to because it's too painful.

Right. And for our listeners, that LaRue episode is not out yet. But we have recorded it. Okay. Yeah. Coming to a theater near you very soon.

Okay, thank you. Yes. So, you know, an important instruction that Beck adds to this exercise is, she warns that whatever comes into your mind, do nothing about it. Not yet. And even if you feel a hint of some new realization, that's the first big huge step. More insights will arrive soon. I love that part too. Again, coming to a theater near you. And the kinder you are to yourself over time, the more likely you are to experience major breakthroughs. And, you know, just for our listeners, the blog post is from her website. So if you want to know more about this, her name is Martha Beck. So I'm going to spell it out - And, you know, she strongly advises her readers and followers to seek honest feedback and she puts it this way: Hunting for your own blind spots, (I even love that terminology) like trying to examine the back of your own head, is much less efficient than soliciting feedback from others. And this process combines, this is another analogy that was provocative to me, this process combines the attractions of strip dancing and skydiving, and she goes on to say, making you feel completely exposed yet energized by the sense that you could be catastrophically injured. Now just get that combination, exposed and catastrophically injured. And know how valuable honest feedback can be. And how much precious time it can save in one's struggle to awaken. And I still have to force myself to go looking for it. But when I do, I almost always benefit. And I love that she says I don't care how long we've done this work. There's always more work for us to do on ourselves, not just in supporting others, but really in continuing our own journeys. Thoughts, Rebecca?

Rebecca Bales  33:39  
Oh, I just think it's powerful. I think that the questions, the three questions you asked were huge. And I think that question about fear, you know, fear can be conquered. But it's that fear that drives many of us in our blind spots and our reactions that we don't understand where they're coming from is because we're tapping into that fear. So it is something good to explore, I think.

Marsha Clark  34:00  
Yeah. And would you agree, given the psychology background that you have, there's an emotional maturity that this addresses, and that comes into play strong. And can I accept this without going off the deep end, or being overly dramatic, or, you know, oh, my world is ending kind of thing. So I mean, I think that emotional maturity is a big part of that. Would you agree with that?

Rebecca Bales  34:26  
I would completely agree. You have to be ready for this.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  34:28  
Yeah. And I love the phrase, I'm gonna pull this out of what you just said, "My struggle to awaken" I mean, that feels almost like that strip dancing and skydiving imagery. You know, you're like Cinderella, or whoever, Sleeping Beauty, waking up into who I really am. Yeah, so this is where some of these assessments or approaches to development, I think for me, can get a little confusing. Me as a perfectionist type A personality, I also know I'm trying to figure out what's the right answer, not necessarily what's the the answer that I'm getting that really resonates or is correctly describing me and my attributes. So I can also find myself spending a lot of time running around trying to get feedback from other people and that may or may not be helpful. So I guess all of that to say my question is, how do we, our listeners, our audience here, know where to spend our time and what to pay attention to with that feedback?

Marsha Clark  35:38  
Yeah. Would you like to go first on this one?

Rebecca Bales  35:40  
Sure, I can go first on that. So you know, I think I always come from the so what factor. So you take in all this information. And just like even our, as Marsha knows what I'm talking about, our overextended and what triggers us to have reactions that might not be too pretty out in the world. If it isn't affecting you, if it isn't derailing your success, if it isn't causing injury and harm to others, then so what, you know? So maybe that's one that we're just becoming aware of. If there's another one that we could say, Wow, I could have had a much better outcome, I could have been more effective, I could have led my team in a different way, I could be a more powerful female leader, then let's work on that one. It's one to take and embrace. And that's the way I navigate that.

Marsha Clark  36:22  
I like that. And mine is about what am I getting by displaying a certain behavior and what am I giving up. And again, not at everyone else's expense with the larger, you know, goal or purpose in mind and service. And so I always say you want to get more than you give up, right, but recognizing that every choice we make has that component to it, the get and give up. And so I think it's getting clearer about what those things are. And it goes back to the power of the assessment. Is it going to give you some insights into that so that I get clearer about what I am getting from it and what I might be giving up, in addition to. So it's a both/and kind of thing.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  37:04  
Right. Okay, so now want to get into the details of the Lumina Spark tool so because I know this is one of your fundamental differences in your company. And for those of our listeners or viewers who may not be familiar with Lumina Learning, Rebecca, tell us a little bit about the Spark assessment first and then you can talk about all the other tools in the suite, please.

Rebecca Bales  37:28  
Sure. So Lumina Spark is our personal behavior/personality assessment. So we look, Spark looks at personality through the lens of behavior. So instead of saying, Well, how do you energize yourself whether you're extroverted, introverted, we look and see what actions and behaviors do you have that are extroverted behaviors and what do you use that are introverted behaviors, and to what degree on both sides. Because as Marsha mentioned, she has an introverted side to herself that she also needs to acknowledge and nurture and understand how she is being when she's presenting that side of herself. So I think that's the beauty to Spark and also, as Marsha mentioned, doing this in the three personas of the self. So it's a very holistic assessment. We don't see a human being as just a flat one dimensional person. We see human beings as three dimensional. So you have your preferences, which are your underlying self, you have your everyday self, which is what you're tuning up or tuning down to go out and navigate the world, and then you have your overextended itself, which often happens when we aren't looking, you know, it's when we get under stress and pressure. But we really are a combination of all three of those parts of us. So Lumina does that. Lumina Spark really measures scientifically and empirically each one of those, and they're measuring 24 behaviors in those three personas. So nothing's inferred or assumed. A typing tool will say, Well, if you like this you're this type of person. Lumina Spark says, How often do you use these behaviors and to what intensity.

Marsha Clark  39:02  
And I want to just add something there too, Rebecca, that I like about it is the fact that your point of I have to know about and nurture my introverted self, the older you get and the more times you've been around the block, and I've been around a couple of times, (me too) is that I'm beginning to tap into all of me. So this idea of my best authentic self is all of me. (Absolutely.) And so, knowing when to use and tap into my introverted self, that self knowledge is powerful in helping me be more effective and being more intentional and thoughtful about how I choose to respond, how I choose to initiate, how I choose to interact. And so I think that's another piece of this that's really important is that me understanding all the pieces and parts of me is is a huge power tool.

Rebecca Bales  39:57  
Huge and not being limited in to one, to be stuck in one area, but that you have energy that's flowing all over into all areas and watching that. And I think that this is what Spark does for the individual. But I think what Spark offers us is the latest in research, the latest in psychometric research that's out on the market. It also offers us the latest in digital technology for tools to wrap around the assessment. So it's not just the assessment, one and done. It's ongoing learning tools and digital access and apps for your phone and your iPad or your tablet.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:34  
Incredible resources. (Very much so.) Okay, so for our listeners who may want to learn more about Lumina Learning, the Spark tool or take one of your assessments, where can they find your team?

Rebecca Bales  40:48  
Yes. So they can find my team at

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:55  
Okay. Okay.

Marsha Clark  40:55  
Now tell them what your role, because yes, you have a huge role in that company.

Rebecca Bales  41:02  
I do. So I'm actually, actually I own this company, this part that operates under the Lumina Learning umbrella. So I am the global partner for Lumina across the US and I actually work in all of the Americas, but my remit is really across the US. That's my focus.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  41:19  
Wow. Wow. Wow.

Marsha Clark  41:20  
And I want to say one other thing. The people who do the kind of work that you and I do, I mean, your  very gracious comments at the beginning about two successful women, there's a lot of people that try this that don't make it. And I do want to credit you with you've been around a long time. We've come through the ups, the downs, the financial debacles, bubble burst, I mean, there's been a lot of things going on, (amen) and everything. And the fact that we're still standing here talking about what we do in our line of work, I think it's a pretty incredible thing. I want to give you a lot of credit for building this capability inside this country, and even this, you know, Americas.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:00  
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Rebecca Bales  42:02  
The same to you.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  42:03  
Well, Rebecca, we like to wrap up each episode with two or three key takeaways. So what two or three key points would you like everyone to really hone in on on what we talked about today?

Rebecca Bales  42:16  
Well, I think, number one is the importance of creating self awareness and deeper self awareness than we may have at any point in time, and that that journey is ongoing. It doesn't stop when you're 50, or you're 70, or anything. It doesn't stop when you retire. It is just the best leaders that I've ever seen are sponges and they want more and more information on themselves and on others. I think that's key.

Marsha Clark  42:44  
I like that. And I agree. I learn something new all the time. And I love that I learn something new all the time. I think what I'd like our listeners to take away is if even just envision that Johari Window. If you are going to document yourself, so this to me is a self awareness exercise, what do you think goes in the top left hand quadrant of the Public Self Arena? What do you think you know about yourself and others know about you? And in the spirit of Martha Beck's we may know our blind spots without knowing our blind spots, what do you think might be some of your blind spots? And I would say, even if you can't name the blind spot, can you name times when things are not quite right, or they're a little off, or it didn't turn out the way I thought it would turn out and can you see any themes or patterns in that? And then this facade stuff, getting really clear about what you may or may not want to share and under what conditions you might share it with whom. And then you know, the unknown stuff is notice when you have more questions than answers. So what are those circumstances, and then think about how assessments might help you fill in some of those blanks. And I'm also going to offer a little, I'll call it a housekeeping tip. Keep all your assessments in one place that you've ever taken. If you can't, I mean, go find those, put them all together, because one of the things we use several assessments, as both of you know, in our programming, and one of the things we do is we give a, kinda go technology on ya, a concatenated file, which just means we combine them all, which means we combine them all. And we suggest you go through and read no matter what the assessment is measuring - our preferences, our personalities, our conflict management modes, or whatever all those things might be - what are those things that keep showing up no matter what you're measuring? Because I think that's another power of the assessment tools. And I think that's another way to really go broad and deep to say at my very core, who am I? And that to me is where a lot of our power lies.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:58  
Yes. Yes. Well, thank you both for being amazing today, as always. Rebecca, thank you so much for being a guest on the show.

Rebecca Bales  45:00  
Yes. I was so happy to be here.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  45:02  
And for our listeners and viewers, thank you for joining us on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please download, subscribe and share this podcast with all of the women in your life and the men in your life, too. And visit Marsha's website at for details on the tools that we talked about today. The Johari Window is in there on her website. You can find that tool and look at it. Obviously you can find out information about how to buy her book, "Embracing Your Power". And Marsha, why don't you close this out.

Marsha Clark  45:46  
Well, let me say also, Rebecca, thank you so much for being here. We've talked about this and said we were going to do it and now it's finally happened. Yay! And I really do know that our listeners can take away some really good stuff from today. Anything that you would like to say before we do our final sign off?

Rebecca Bales  46:02  
I would just like to offer your listeners a complimentary Spark assessment if they want to reach out to us. So at the email address, (say it again), (Can you spell Lumina for them.) And please add in there that you heard about us on this podcast.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  46:28  
Episode 58. Awesome.

Marsha Clark  46:30  
That's great. That's great. So now you talk about somebody who is willing to put put her money where her mouth is and really try to create the awareness. That is really something. So, thank you very much for that - an added benefit that I didn't know about!

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  46:47  
No, this was a surprise. Yay!

Marsha Clark  46:51  
And I also just want to say there's no better example that I can think of. I started out with our partnership as being one of women supporting women. And I think your offering this to our listeners, who are primarily women, is yet another huge example of that. So as always, here's to women supporting women!

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