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Marcia Newman on Your Working Life

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Noted radio host Caroline Dowd-Higgns interviewed Marcia Newman, who is a consultant and speaker for AccelaWork. We’ve got the full transcript.

If you’d rather listen then read, you can enjoy the 20-minute piece online. Or, jump down for the word-for-word transcript.

Podcasting Studio

© Flickr user Michael Coghlan

Caroline: I’m Caroline Dowd-Higgins, thank you for listening to “Your Working Life”, my podcast series featuring thought leaders in the career and personal growth arena. You spend a significant portion of your life at work so my goal is to provide you with tools, inspiration, and resources so you can enjoy your career and love your life. I am delighted to welcome my very special guest to the show today, Marcia Newman. Marcia, welcome to the show.

Marcia: Thank you so much, Caroline, it’s lovely to be here.

Caroline: I’m psyched for our wonderful conversation. We became fast friends when we met only a few months ago and I want to tell our listening audience all about you. Marcia Newman is Principal of Marcia Newman and Associates and she brings over 20 years of experience in strategically maximizing performance and growing leaders through professional coaching, consulting, training, and inspirational speaking. She’s a woman after my own heart. She’s interested in finding solutions to issues facing organizations and people, and asks the essential questions to lead people to find answers of intention and choice. Now, Marcia clarified and aligns every aspect of business, personal, and organizational life through congruence of spirit, voice, and the purpose of her clients whether they be corporate or individual.

We’re going to learn so much more about Marcia throughout the show but I want to start our juicy conversation, because you really are someone who cultivates leaders, Marcia. I’d love to start the conversation, what are the critical aspects for leaders today? Because the world of work is changing.

Marcia: It is definitely changing. I have the privilege of working with people in every aspect of their domains. For me, you can’t get into leadership in an organization without getting into leadership of the person. I think, for leaders today, they have to be as aware of who they are individually, as who they are in their organization. I think critical aspects for them are self awareness. It’s hugely critical that people evaluate themselves continually and see where they’re going and where they’re taking others.

Courage. We’re facing into the unknown in unprecedented ways today. I think courage is a virtue of great leaders who are willing to step out and take risks, but with that they must be humble. Humility is something that is highly under valued and it allows itself to express the virtue in others by calling forth the greatness of others while you’re together on the journey. I think the other thing is intention. I think we must be intentionally authentic about what we want, who we are, and who we want to cultivate others to be.

Caroline: So beautifully put, Marcia, I couldn’t agree more. As a fellow coach that really resonates with me and I’m sure a lot of our audience is nodding as well. Now, here’s something that the audience doesn’t know about you. They may know this about me, but we share this in common in that we are also professional singers who have for many years been singing and have that part of our livelihood. We as musicians are used to coaches, that’s just part of the world of music. Why is coaching also important to those who are outside of the arts?

Marcia: Well, as you so aptly put it, my introduction to coaching was the phenomenal voice teachers I had who acted more in the world of looking at life than they did just looking at your voice. Because your voice is who you are and it’s how you live your life and express it, and I got into coaching for the same reasons. I think coaching is important because, … Especially with the arts. Artistic people bring a lens to organizations that have often been shut down by people who have not been able to develop that gift.

When we look at organizations today, it takes an increasing amount of creativity to think outside that box. Artistic people tend to look at the whole picture and not just see what’s in the weeds and they’re working on today. I think … I was thinking about it this morning. We were raised to be creative as children. We got our fingers messy in finger paint. We play acted with our friends. We were spontaneous and we had that joie de vivre that is often shut down in organizations. To bring that back, that aspect to bear of allowing someone to express creatively what is needful for the organization is such a gift.

Paintings are not just things we hang on the wall to look like we’re cultured, paintings are expressions of moments in life. People who have that expressive personality whether it’s visual arts or vocal arts or acting whatever, they see in organizations because of holistic relationships, what often is missing that just in day-to-day getting done the urgent, not the necessary, takes place.

Caroline: I love that, it just makes me smile. Not only as a fellow artist but someone who has committed her life to helping other succeed. I think you would agree with me that in the sports fields and in the artistic endeavors, coaching has been the norm for decades. It’s lovely to see it catching fire and becoming the norm in businesses and non-profit and even government organizations. Because it’s coaching for success, it’s not just corrective behavior. Would you agree, and to add?

Marcia: Absolutely. Well for me, the neatest thing about being a coach is being able to call forth someone’s greatness. I can see what’s in them that they often don’t know is lying there dormant. The other thing is too, accompany someone on that journey to have the pleasure of watching that person grow in every aspect of their life. Yes, I agree that everybody needs a coach in their corner and how great it is in organizations we kind of latched onto this idea.

Caroline: Yes.

Marcia: I think coaching is important too because it’s good to have a sounding board. Even though or intentions may be great, we don’t often express ourselves the way we think we do. To hear someone else kind of reflect back what they’re hearing and seeing is very needful if you’re intentional about self awareness and how you’re growing and what you’re choosing to become.

Caroline: Goodness knows, it’s always a journey even if you are at that top level, C-suite executive role, you’re not done.

Marcia: Absolutely. It’s daily, daily.

Caroline: Yes. Marcia, you write so eloquently about person-ship and I’ve heard you speak on this as well. Describe for the audience that leadership is person-ship and what you mean by that.

Marcia: Well, for me, as someone who’s been in leadership circles for many, many years, I think it’s becoming attractive to adopt other people’s versions of leadership and not necessarily our own. As I mentioned earlier in the conversation, who we are as individuals, authentically, intentionally, what we choose to become is the pair of pants that we put on. It’s not someone else’s pair of pants. I think what I’m seeing today is that information alone … We can read about leadership. If you Google leadership there’s millions and millions of titles. That alone does not make a leader. Who you are and who you become in and through your practice of leadership is what I call person-ship.

People in a Meeting

© Flickr user Gobierno Aguascalientes

It’s the person that people see, whether you know it or not. It’s the person you’re carrying and it’s the person that other people will choose to follow. I am not negating that there’s amazing information about leadership. Certainly, I have been a part of writing in the conversation as well. I think if we think more about who we are and the I that needs be changed first, and then think about we need others, for me that is what is truly important.

Caroline: Beautifully put. What I see with so many individuals is that ah-ha moment, that awakening, that awareness of, “I had no idea that this might have been a blind spot,” and I think a coach can help identify that. I would love for you to share, with your incredible wisdom and expertise, some very common things that hold people back today.

Marcia: Well, the first thing I’m going to share is that I think we have inflammation of the brain. What I mean by that is I think there is so much interference and intrusion in our lives that all this information congeals in our brain and causes us, like it would in the body … The energy goes to the brain when there’s inflammation in order to heal it. I think often this inflammation keeps us from doing what’s necessary and pulls us to the urgent. There’s so much interference and so much intrusion today. I think necessarily people need to get back to simplicity, to mindfulness, and to gratefulness, and to reclaim the present moment.

A lot of us are letting life slip by. The other thing that I think holds people back is … And this is a very large thing. It’s how they view themselves. I think we’re in a society that is largely bent towards comparing, and we often compared ourselves to others instead of magnifying the uniqueness that we bring to the table. I think people often are concentrating on developing things they think other people want of them, not necessarily … And it goes back to the whole idea congruence … The things that they know that may take more work and focus within themselves but not trying to be something somebody else wants them to be but being who they naturally are.

Caroline: That’s great. We talk a lot in career development about the importance of values and how values can really predict our career and our life satisfaction. Speak to me a little bit more about values and how you might work with someone in a coaching capacity to identify theirs.

Marcia: Well, we all live by values whether we’re aware of what we’re living by or not. Typically, what happens is if you come to me and we start talking, I’ll ask you what you want and what you think is important and what matters to you. Then we’ll begin looking at, do the things that you are currently doing or have done in the past or say you want to do in the future. Line up with what it is you say you want. It’s very interesting something other than they truly believe they want themselves or they, as we just said, they feel like there’s a limitation. They don’t think they’re worthy of it, they don’t think they can have it.

Self limiting beliefs hold people back. I think people truly want what is essential in life but, again, this being pulled away into the other that they think society tells them they should be or the workplace tells them they should be. Recently, I had a client that I’d been working with for three months, she was a physician. She was changing roles and she was launched into … With a new practice, an opportunity for great leadership potential outside of just her own day-to-day seeing her patients. When she came to me she said, “Oh, that’s what I want. I know that I want to be this leader. I want to be valued and I want to be respected in my practice.”

Three months later she actually did not want those things because we uncovered underneath who she really was and what she truly valued. When she sought those things herself she said, “Well, that’s not what I want, that’s just adding more of what I already have. She came to a place of resonance, alignment, and balance. It was really beautiful to see because it was not … It really didn’t take that much time. In her mind she thought she needed X but when she came down to really honoring the time with herself she said, “No, it’s why, which is what I’ve always been and that’s who I choose to be.”

Caroline: I think it’s important to dove tail on that, Marcia, and also say that our values change depending upon where we are in our lives. It might be a life stage, whether you’re a new professional in the job market or maybe you’re growing your family or you’re considering retirement. Would you agree that our values change over time?

Marcia: Oh, absolutely. I had the privilege of working with some clients from Dow AgroScience this year. Several of them retired and the company’s gone through much transition. The ones who retired I had such fun with because many of them had never asked the essential questions. Back when they first started their career, they were in a time warp that said you are pretty much your job and if you get an excellent job and stay with the company the company will marry you and you will marry the company. Then they find out, oops, that’s not really all there is. At the end of their life, or their work life, they’re saying, “Hmm, who do I want to be when I grow up? How can I pull together and marry all that I am and bring that to bear, to the fore.”

Yes, I think absolutely, crisis precipitates change and we are in a culture of change. I think for people who are absolutely trying to navigate the work life balance, career decisions, they absolutely would benefit from someone guiding them, helping them, listening to them as a coach would.

Caroline: I loved hearing you talk about simplicity and authenticity and taking that time to really listen to yourself. As our listeners appreciate you wisdom in the podcast, what do you think are the few most important things for one to focus on during the day, if you could distill it down to just a few?

Marcia: Well, it’s funny but I think the most important thing is gratefulness because you cannot be anxious or worry and be grateful at the same time. There is wisdom that says to give thanks in all things, even for the things that are not well at the time. You could be ill, you could be suffering, you could have a work crisis, you could have … Feel anxiety over a family issue. You could be pulled and stretched at work.

If you stop and give thanks for that moment it clears it away and it helps you re-energize and re-focus on matters at hand. I tell people that gratefulness is like a vitamin pill. You don’t need a prescription, you can take it as many times a day as you need it, and it always re-centers you to what you have now. We don’t know what the future holds. We all want to move forward but we can’t until we own where we are in the present. I think one thing that gratefulness, even in difficult situations helps you to do, is own wherever you are.

One of the moving things to me about Victor Frankel who wrote … Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t think of his book. Something about suffering. Anyway, he wrote that when he was in concentration camp he realized that no one could take away from him the power to choose. He chose to be grateful even in the midst of suffering and death. When we get to that point where no matter what situation we’re in, we can choose to be grateful. It’s very empowering and it just brings the day into greater meaning.

Caroline: What a beautiful place to end. Marcia, I’m so grateful for you today, but I would love for you to share how we can get in touch with you. Because I know so many of the listeners would benefit from your wisdom as a speaker, an author, and a coach. How can we engage with you?

Marcia: Well, thank you very much, Caroline. They can contact me through my website, They can find me on LinkedIn and my office cell number is 317-432-4204. I would welcome their call and would love to know how I can serve and encourage them today.

Caroline: Marcia, you’re a joy. Thank you so much. I know our paths will continue to … To cross, I should say. I’m so grateful that you shared your time and wisdom with us today.

Marcia: Thank you, Caroline, it was a joy and a pleasure for me as well.

Caroline: I want to thank all of you for tuning in to “Your Working Life”, where my goal is to help you design our career destiny so it doesn’t happen by default. Career and life satisfaction is possible and it’s time to embrace what you love doing so you can do more of it. Now, my show is available on iTunes, You Tube, Pod Bean, and Stitcher. Leave a comment, as I always appreciate hearing from my listeners. I’m Caroline Dowd-Higgins, take care.

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