*This blog post is part of our new Legacy Leader Series: a blog series for leaders who want to navigate the current chaos in the world, embody the crucial qualities that leaders need to stay on the forefront and amplify their legacies in the world.
Last week in Part 1 of our Legacy Leader Series we talked about the two biggest things leaders need to prioritize right now to not only navigate the darkness coming up in our world currently (both in business and in the world at large), but also to survive the coming huge changes that will leave many people reeling (and without thriving businesses, because it’s already happening).
These two things are:
- Emotional Health/Strength and
- Transmuting Our Relationship To Power.
We spent much of last week’s blog talking about what emotional health means for us as leaders and how it impacts the world around us. That was the macrocosmic view of emotional health.
And at the end of that post I mentioned that this week we would talk about our relationship to power and how it needs to shift. But as the week went on, I realized there was MORE nuance to the emotional strength piece that I wanted to cover with you.
So, today I want to talk about emotional health on a more microcosmic level — the level of your business or career/work.
I’ve been working with leaders for over 8 years now. Thousands of them. If someone asked me right now, “what is one of the top things you’ve worked on with leaders that has created the biggest results in their legacy and their revenue?” I’d respond, “internal, emotional strength.”
It’s not some formula, blueprint, or template. It’s the building of that internal emotional fortitude that has produced the incredible TANGIBLE results that many of my clients see in their careers or businesses. Focusing on the intangible aspect of leadership produces the most powerful tangible results.
That is why we’re going to talk about emotional strength/internal fortitude on a deeper level today.
In a world obsessed with 7 figure formulas, fame, and making as much money as possible, we often tend to leave spiritual growth & internal work for “later”. We shell out $20k for business coaching, but balk at shelling out the same amount for a coach who will help us navigate our inner environment with a sense of peace and confidence.
We think, “after I make my 7 figures” or “after I fix this system in my business” I’ll have time to do this internal work.
What many leaders fail to see is that not prioritizing the internal work actually HOLDS BACK or SLOWS DOWN their profits and their visibility. So, it’s an oxymoron to say I’ll prioritize this AFTER I make my first million.
***Here are a few scenarios that will help make this clear for you:
The up/down cycle of doing business & putting ourselves out there
Angie was a very successful entrepreneur who had managed to build a multiple six figure business that was changing many people’s lives. People in her industry respected her work and things were going great.
While she was happy with what she had achieved and her success, she came to me because she was also feeling so utterly drained by the way she had been doing things.
“If I do one more launch, I swear I am going to just die,” she said to me as we explored working together. She had late stage adrenal fatigue, too, by the way.
Her constant tiredness was making her cranky with her team, and she was feeling resentful of the time she had to spend on clients. She told me that she could not fully enjoy her success because the stress of launching always took so much out of her that she spent months recovering.
But what was it about launches that drained Angie so much?
It’s mostly the emotional roller coaster I go through, Angie confided in me in our first session.
Even though I’ve done this a million times, I’m still a nervous wreck before the cart opens. I start out super confident and excited. Then I can FEEL my cortisol pumping as I wait for the first few sales to come in. If the sales don’t come in right away, I go into despair. All the “old” voices come back up. I’ve worked with “mindset” coaches before but just telling myself positive things doesn’t make the stressed feelings go away. It’s like a measly bandaid over a wound that needs stitches.
When I asked her to tell me what those voices say, she replied:
Things like “you see? Your success up until now was a fluke. Nobody actually likes you. Who do you think you are?” I even hear old stories from my childhood come up, things my parents told me, like, “you’ll never amount to anything” or “don’t try to go too big because it’s less painful when you fail.”
And then I will spiral a little, she continued.
I pick myself back up. Spiral down. Then at the very end, if sales come in and I meet my goals, I feel great. It’s like an addiction — I get my high from the sales. When I’m making money easily I feel great. When it doesn’t come in so easy, I let it affect my internal state and it really throws me.
If sales didn’t meet my expected goals, then a part of me makes it about there being something wrong with me. It throws me into a deep state of questioning everything. It brings up all my childhood stuff. I question if I’m crazy and I’m not really as good as I think I am at what I do.
I notice that it affects how I show up for my community afterwards. I can be short with them, feel mad they didn’t buy from me. Resentful. And then this tires me out so much that I literally have to disconnect for a week or so. And in those few weeks, I slow all the progress we just made down.
It makes me realize that if I could stop this emotional roller coaster around launches, we would be even more further ahead than we are now. All the time I waste “recovering” emotionally, is time that we could be moving forward, inspiring more people, and making more money.
Have you ever felt that way? (If you’re here, I bet you have.)
For Angie, the way her launches affected her internally was ultimately affecting company profits and her team. And it was affecting how she showed up as a leader. The time she had to take to recover emotionally and get back to a state of internal peace again, was lost time on moving her mission forward. Whenever she showed up with her energy all out of sorts, it turned off her community on a very subtle energetic level.
It also affected the quality of the experience her clients were having because they weren’t feeling her full passion online as she recovered from the internal voices that whispered such mean things to her. In addition, the big energy swings inside of her undid some of the trust her community had built with her when she was feeling good, because your community can feel everything, trust me.
Angie was getting to the point where she was ready to throw her whole business model of launching in the trash, because she was so tired of going through the emotional rollercoaster of launches.
But hold up! I said to her. What if the launches are not the problem?
She seemed kind of surprised by this question. There was a long silence on the phone before I continued.
Do you really need to throw out your ENTIRE business model and start from scratch?
What if BEFORE we throw out your entire business model, we do some work on building your emotional strength when these launches happen, so that you DON’T go on that roller coaster?
What if you didn’t get the sales you wanted and it didn’t trigger all the “I suck” voices.
What if no matter what the results of the launch were, you remained connected to your joy & confidence, and were able to keep your momentum up afterwards no matter who bought or didn’t buy?
Why don’t we try that first before we change your entire business model? If after that, you still feel like you want to get rid of launches, then we can explore changing the business model into something that is actually more aligned with your soul.
You game? I asked her.
She was game.
So we spent the next several months working on just that. Diving deep into these old traumas. Untangling the old stories of her worthiness, her “right” to be successful. Detoxing and releasing so many stories that tied her value as a human being with the results she got, or the amount of money she made. So many beliefs that her ego felt it had to hold onto in order to keep growing her business, yet were actually holding back her business growth.
Through doing that work she realized that she actually didn’t want to change her business model at all. She just needed to tweak a few things about how she managed her launches with her team, take away some features she offered as part of her launches, and do the internal work she had learned with me during her launches.
What needed adjusting was her emotional fortitude, not her business model.
When Angie did her next launch, she told me:
I literally didn’t even care about the results. I felt happy, calm, and centered the entire time. I didn’t even need to look at the daily sales numbers as obsessively as I used to. I just checked a report at the end of the day that my business manager would send daily. And when I felt we needed to tweak something to get better results, I just did it without going through that whole “omg my life is over and we will fail” rigamarole that I usually go through. I calmly made the tweaks and kept going, confident.
I was able to think clearly the entire launch, keep showing up high vibe and motivated, even when sales dropped, and as a result we had our biggest launch to date. AND I’m not needing weeks to recover.
She did another launch after that and was 10 sales short of her goal. This was the true test of her work with me over the last few months.
When I checked in she told me, Honestly, I felt fine. I literally just thought, “oh well, but we still got 30 women in and that’s amazing. I objectively looked to see if we could have done things better, tweaked, and just kept going. It had no emotional effect on me whatsoever! That’s amazing! I just moved on to the next thing we had planned, and kept my focus on that.
Are you starting to see why your internal work is SO important to the long term success of your business or career?
We all think that successful women don’t have these experiences internally. That we must be the only successful women who are having these issues. But the truth is, ALL OF THEM do. (I know because they all come to me for help with this, like Angie).
I call this work “building equanimity”. Equanimity is the ability to stay rooted and solid at your core, no matter what is going on in your work or life. It’s so important to the long term success of our missions that it’s one of the four main pillars of the work I have been doing with leaders for over 8 years now.
Running a business or expanding our careers brings up all of our worthiness issues, all of our old traumas from our earlier life. It is a vulnerable thing to put ourselves out there. It is inevitable this stuff will come up. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s a normal part of doing soul/passion based work in the world.
Those emotional flare ups can either build you up to be a better leader, or they can derail you. By prioritizing your internal emotional strength as a leader, you can become a stronger, less derail-able leader.
And oh yeah, THIS is why my clients seem to have such phenomenal results in their businesses revenue wise over the long term. Not because I gave them some new snazzy formula or business strategy. But because they have the emotional fortitude to weather the ups and downs which, if weathered well, bring in more profit and impact.
Not having properly built up our emotional strength as leaders can really slow down our progress because it can cause us to make rash decisions that hurt us in the long term (like throwing out an entire business model that was working fine).
This creates big revenue dips and gaps, or makes us look unreliable to the communities we support, or it makes us have high turnover on our teams because the environment feels really unstable to the people we hire.
Making decisions from an emotional place vs. rooted in our deep internal wisdom and equanimity has a huge effect on the long term success of our legacy. And I hope you are as invested in the long term success of your legacy than the short term “make money now” portion of your work. Without emotional strength & masterful equanimity we burn out, results suffer, and eventually shut down our work, businesses, or careers, and then wonder what happened.
A leader has to be emotionally supported as much as she is supported financially and strategically.
This becomes even more crucial as your influence grows and you have more things on your plate. You will be criticized by people who are jealous of your light or just don’t agree with your point of view. You may get negative reviews. Team members may stab you in the back. All sorts of crazy things can happen (if you could be a fly on the wall in the rooms of masterminds I attend with 7 and 8 figure business owners/career women, you’d be amazed at the crazy shiz that happens).
If this throws you off for weeks, affects the way you perceive your brilliance, makes you dull your light a little, or causes you to stop showing up as powerfully, your impact in the world is affected (and your finances too).
As you and your work become more well known and more in demand, you may need to juggle flying to one country to lead a retreat, then flying out the next day to give a talk to 3,000 people who are expecting you to bring your A game. You may need to show up calm and centered during a personal crisis in your life that may happen while you’re continents away, and can do nothing about it.
Do you think you will be able to maintain this type of schedule without prioritizing building up your emotional strength and energy?
Nope, you won’t be able to handle it. And then lose out on valuable opportunities to spread your message even wider.
Being the calm, centered leader when everything is in chaos (the bigger picture)
I’ll never forget the night that Trump was elected President of the United States. Intuitively in my body, I could feel what had just happened energetically in the world, and that we were about to descend into some dark times.
For about 5 minutes I felt myself spiraling down into a deep dark hole of despair, similar to the one I went down when my dog died. But I realized, I am a leader and everyone is freaking out. People are looking for someone to lead them right now. People are looking for the leaders to show them the light. I have to get my shit together and show up as a calm, equanimous presence for my community. Because that is what leaders do.
I took a deep breath. Did my internal work just like I teach my clients. Processed and released. Tapped back into my equanimity and then showed up on Facebook to do a live broadcast. I was able to do this in just FIVE minutes.
For 20 minutes, I led one of our most highly viewed broadcasts. We did a few meditations and some work to help them tap back into their strength. Don’t worry, we can handle anything. We can get through this. In the end nothing can take away your internal peace. We have control over that, I reassured all of those people in despair.
By the time we were off that broadcast, several leaders who had been spiraling were back to center, and starting the work of what we call “the resistance” on Facebook.
Emotional exhaustion in today’s climate of corrupt men trying to bring down the world is common. If we, as leaders don’t possess the internal strength we need to fight this battle in the long haul, our world will descend into darkness.
(This is why women of color are SO CRUCIAL to lift up right now, by the way. Because women of color have been building their internal emotional strength for years, because they have NOT had the privileges that white women have. People who have had privileges are more emotionally fragile because they have not endured what women of color have had to endure on a daily basis in society.
This is why I believe that we need women of color to be in leadership positions now more than ever. And to win this fight, we can’t keep allowing women of color to do this on their own. White women, and women of privilege, NEED to build their internal strength and leadership so that we can all band TOGETHER. The ONLY way we are going to defeat this evil and remove its root from our world, is by coming together and supporting the voices of those marginalized, instead of being so emotionally fragile due to our privileges and hiding out when we get “overwhelmed.”)
This is why emotional strength, equanimity, is one of the most important things for us to prioritize as leaders in today’s chaotic world. Not only does it give our businesses lasting power and keep us in momentum towards expansion, but it also affects the direction our world takes, because we have the internal strength to keep fighting for what is just, kind, and true while the whole world watches.
HOMEWORK FOR TODAY’S POST:
Answer these questions in your journal and then report back here in the comments. I love hearing from you and seeing how we can support you!
- On a scale from 1-10 (1 being lowest and 10 the highest), how would you rate your ability to stay off the emotional roller coaster in your work or business?
- Ask yourself, is there something in my business or work that is making me want to shut it all down that instead might be feeling that way because I have not mastered my internal emotional response to it?
Next week we’ll talk about power and our relationship to it. This is the second “root” of the problems in our world today, and we’ll explore how we need to shift our relationship with power in order to be the potent, successful changemakers we desire to be. (And in order to change our entire world for the better.)