Women Worldwide with Deirdre Breakenridge

Have you ever thought about intentionally designing your life? The beginning of our lives are usually shaped by external factors and people like our parents, teachers, communities, and culture. Once you reach a certain point, you might realize that you want to live with intention and design a life of your choosing. You don’t have to wait until your in your 50s to do this, but that’s what happened to my guest Kelley Connors.

She reached a point in her life where she decided it was time to be brave and take charge of the second half of her life and live with the kind of impact that she wanted to make. She even became a coach, so that she can help others do the same. In this inspiring episode, we talk about choosing a pathway that works for you, practicing the power of positivity, the importance of slowing down, and how Kelley helps people navigate through awareness.

Show Notes

  • [04:47] When Kelley turned 50, she started thinking about the second half of her life. She thought it would be great if she could be more of a designer of her life and be more intentional instead of just living out habits. If she was more aware of what was possible in her life, would she create a different future for herself?
  • [05:40] She decided to help other women do the same thing and learn from the experiences that she had.
  • [06:59] Something may just stir in you, and you might realize that you want to live with more impact in your life.
  • [08:23] You are worthy of a life where you can work well, live well, and thrive.
  • [09:24] We've been shaped by parents, teachers, neighborhoods, and culture by the time we're in our early twenties. These are external factors that impact how we see our life.
  • [09:51] Reshaping your life requires an understanding and belief that you can let go of those habits.
  • [11:39] We evolve throughout our whole life with experiences, but we also have the ability to change our thoughts.
  • [12:48] We are now more aware than ever because of communication and mindfulness.
  • [14:24] The first steps are slowing down and pausing. Use the power of whole being.
  • [15:24] Recognize that your body is connected to your head. Bring awareness to how you are feeling in your body.
  • [18:06] Constricted energy points are fear, and bravery is an everyday opportunity to break through fear and feel vulnerable and connect with others.
  • [19:37] Getting in touch with your gifts is finding what you can offer the world that makes you happy.
  • [24:03] Coaching is different than consulting, because you have to inspire people with a promise of something better.
  • [26:55] There's new research that says self-reflective people are more creative. Solitude improves your ability to be self-reflective and that improves your ability to be creative.
  • [30:23] Energy is your superpower as you age. You have to be smarter with how you use energy.
  • [31:28] You can generate life force with positive thoughts.
  • [32:34] Kelley has learned by quieting down and being interested in others. She also reads a lot. She has been learning from other people, because she is writing a book about bravery.
  • [35:49] Kelley is launching a Life Work Collaborative so others can reignite their life's work.
  • [37:41] Social media actually disconnects us.
  • [38:41] Kelley's mom was a key inspirational figure in her life, and she became that even more so after she had a stroke and became disabled.
  • [39:39] If we knew more about others, we would be happier.
  • [42:19] It's important to have a couple of good friends in your inner circle.
  • [43:19] Spend some time every day and slow down and be quiet. Notice your breath and embrace positive thoughts.

Links and Resources:

Direct download: WW217.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

Donna O’Donnell Figurski and her husband David were just going about their normal morning routine when something went terribly wrong in David’s brain. When he was doing his morning workout, his brain started bleeding while he was doing his 13th chin up. He felt pain, but thought it would be okay. After a short time, Donna called the paramedics, and it led to a life or death situation, several surgeries, and Donna unwittingly becoming a caregiver before she even realized what that role meant.

Donna is here today to talk about traumatic brain injuries and the role of a caregiver. She shares her story, and gives a lot of pointers and advice for people who find themselves in this situation. She stresses asking for help and taking time for self care. Donna is the author of Prisoners Without Bars: A Caregiver’s Tale, and you can find her writing and speaking about this topic online and in magazines. She also publishes children’s stories, but her greatest accomplishment is being caregiver for her husband and high school sweetheart.

Show Notes

  • [04:01] On January 13th 2005, Donna's husband David did 13 chin ups during his morning workout and something burst inside his head.
  • [05:33] The pain in his eye and head was so bad that Donna called the paramedics. He had a bleed in his brain. He had emergency surgery with a 1 in 20 chance for success, and Donna was instantly turned into a caregiver.
  • [08:39] Donna was glad that she happened to be at home during that time. Things could have turned out a lot worse.
  • [09:21] It took many years, before Donna realized that she was a caregiver. It never crossed her mind until she wrote the book.
  • [11:06] Things are a lot easier now 14 years later. At first, she had to help him with everything.
  • [12:43] The surgeries and all of the treatment was a huge hurdle for Donna.
  • [14:32] Donna never believed that all of these problems would be forever. The neurologist always gave them hope.
  • [15:40] They kept going towards the little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
  • [17:18] She got David transferred to Columbia Presbyterian after the neurosurgeon said David would be a good organ donor.
  • [19:22] She knew that the transfer was the right thing to do.
  • [23:50] Donna learned that she was stronger and more capable than she ever thought she was.
  • [24:55] Donna had to take over all of the jobs that David used to do including paying the bills.
  • [26:26] She had to step up and learn and now she does everything even the taxes.
  • [26:59] It's important for others to know your partner's job, so you can take over if you have to.
  • [28:13] At the beginning, Donna accepted help from family members and close friends. On the first day of surgery the nurses and the receptionist took care of her. They were her support system until family arrived. When everyone left she was on her own.
  • [30:59] Donna used the email updates she sent as fodder for her book.
  • [31:24] David's also helped with his students and his lab. His students even came in while he was in rehab. He had his cognitive abilities, he just had physical issues.
  • [33:56] David was a keynote speaker a year-and-a-half after his injury. Donna credits the man who invited David to speak for giving David back his scientific life.
  • [36:09] At the time, Donna lived in the moment and just dealt with the stress by getting stuff done and keeping her head in the sand.  She now encourages caregivers to take me time.
  • [38:03] Donna puts little stones in her pocket to remind her to take me time.
  • [40:06] Donna needed some time alone to cry when things first happened. She didn't want her kids or David to see her upset. David said he wasn't worried because he know that Donna was there taking care of everything.
  • [41:46] Take care of yourself. Get some stones for reminders. Accept help.
  • [42:42] Don't take it personally when someone has brain injuries. Don't be afraid of people who are different. They are just people.

Links and Resources:

Direct download: WW216.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

We have an impressive guest today. Sue Bhatia is the Chairman and Founder of Rose International which is a global IT and business services provider. Sue immigrated to this country to pursue the American dream. She was happy with her job, but felt climbing the corporate ladder would take too long, so she took a big chance and founded her own company.

She is now able to do that she loves and create a positive impact. She works to help promote and develop women entrepreneurs, and she is passionate about everyone finding work that they love. She has won several awards including Fast Company's Top 25 Women Business Builders in North America and Enterprising Women of the Year from Enterprising Women Magazine. She is passionate about the future of work and technology and shares why reskilling the American workforce is a must.

Show Notes

  • [03:18] Sue grew up in New Delhi, India. She came to the United States in 1987.
  • [03:45] Her first years here were hectic. She got married and received her masters degree in management information systems. She had two children and was really happy with her job.
  • [04:39] She thought she was living the American dream until she was offered a raise and realized that it would take forever to achieve the type of success that she wanted.
  • [05:11] She had seen her workplace hire many temp workers, and decided to start her own agency.
  • [06:00] In spite of naysayers, she quit her job and got to work. She got a lot of rejections and realized that it was harder than she thought.
  • [07:08] She kept trying and got three large contracts and business began to take off.
  • [07:16] In six months, her husband had to quit his job and join her.
  • [07:32] He ex-boss also came and joined her.
  • [07:44] The business has come a long way. They hired 10,000 people in 2017 and 10,000 people in 2018.
  • [09:54] The future of work is here. A lot of skills are going away because of automation. We are going through a huge digital transformation.
  • [10:18] Next year, there will be twenty billion Internet of Things connected devices.
  • [11:21] There are 30 million us workers in danger of losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. 1.4 million of these jobs will be disrupted by 2026. 57% of this will affect women.
  • [11:40] Women are in more support positions than men are, and these are the jobs that are going to be automated.
  • [11:58] In order for people so survive in their jobs, we have to learn new skills and reskilling is.
  • [12:16] 65% of kids in elementary school today will be doing jobs that don't even exist today.
  • [12:24] One of the most valuable skills right now is emotional intelligence combined with artificial intelligence.
  • [12:37] All of our jobs are being impacted by artificial intelligence, big data, and virtual reality.
  • [12:52] We all need to be open to change and lifelong learning.
  • [13:48] Relating to people and thriving in a team culture and being collaborative are valuable skills.
  • [14:18] Soft skills are really going to be in demand going forward.
  • [15:02] AI is humans coding machines to learn over time.
  • [17:39] Colleges need to find a way to incorporate soft skills. People with STEM skills earn statistically $30,000 more.
  • [18:45] Students need to be open to learning and not narrowly defining their goals. Be open and let the market and your internal definition of success take you in the right direction.
  • [22:46] Sue studied architecture and then management information systems, but the skills that really helped her as an entrepreneur we're having a goal-oriented mindset and having the ability to take risk.
  • [23:29] One of the main risks that she took was immigrating to America. She is open-minded and is willing to try things and see what happens. Flexibility has also helped her a great deal.
  • [24:28] Having a business is like surfing. There's no firm ground under your feet.
  • [26:14] Sue loves having the ability to make a positive impact in so many lives through her business.
  • [28:03] People do business with people they like, so relationships are key. It's important to have a transparent honest relationship with everyone involved with the company.
  • [29:51] With entrepreneurship, the key is to enjoy the journey, and you have to adapt and reinvent yourself over and over again.
  • [30:55] Leading by example is very important. It's also important to create a positive work culture where people want to do their best.
  • [31:37] Leaders are also responsible for watching the market and keeping track of the latest trends in their industry. And always leading from the heart. As well as, creating a ladder for people to move up.
  • [32:29] Leaders also need to have the resilience to face the ups and downs.
  • [33:51] Her most pivotal moment was starting Rose International. She also realized that she is more capable than she thought.
  • [34:50] She saw an Iraq Vet panhandling. Which then led to starting Deployment to Employment this is a program set in place to hire veterans. They have hired 800 veterans over the last couple years. They have created a support system to help veterans find a job with resume writing workshops and more.
  • [37:44] Stress is a part of life. Negative thoughts are part of our survival mechanism. To handle stress Sue practices mindfulness and keeps things in perspective and focuses on the positive. She also loves connecting to nature.
  • [41:00] Define what success means to you and be clear about what you want to do and research very carefully.

Links and Resources:

Direct download: WW215.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29am EST

Evan Hackel has an extensive background in training, human resources, and learning development. He is the CEO of Tortal Training and the creator of the Ingaged Leadership brand. If you are wondering if that is a typo, the answer is no. On this episode Evan shares the difference between engagement and ingagement. Especially as it applies to a leadership role.

Evan is the author of Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business a book not only for business, but for life. We are all leaders in some respect, and we all need to be more ingaging when we talk to people. We learn some of the principles in Evan’s book, and he shares a story where he saw his father engage in true leadership and find an opportunity that others had missed. Evan’s philosophy is to get everyone on the team inspired to work for the same vision.

Show Notes

  • [03:30] Evan has a passion around the power and impact that people make. In most businesses, the people are the asset.
  • [03:47] A big part of accessing this talent is learning development and training. It's giving people the tools they need to succeed and helping them to understand how to be successful.
  • [04:07] Involvement is the "I" in Ingagement. To engage people you need to involve them. You want a common vision with shared values.
  • [04:26] When everyone in the organization has a responsibility for success it makes a massive difference.
  • [05:09] A bottom up organization with everyone valued is a game changer.
  • [06:16] When team members have ownership in goals, they work very hard to achieve those goals.
  • [07:38] Evan's company has a learning strategy and an engagement strategy. When companies reach out to him, they try to get to the root of what the organization really needs.
  • [08:29] Everyone in the organization is part of the design process to get to what is truly needed in the organization,  instead of what they thought they needed. People actually get the training they need.
  • [09:21] The consulting process has mechanisms that involves everyone in the organization also.
  • [10:36] People at all levels have important things to say.
  • [12:34] Evan wrote his book Ingaging Leadership to pass on to his kids and to make a difference in the world. The book is really about leadership and life in any fashion.
  • [13:45] Listening for the kernel of truth. Try to listen to people to see how they are right. When you are really listening people feel heard. This is a trait of a good leader.
  • [18:25] Management is about execution and leadership is about inspiring.
  • [21:31] People don't become leaders by mistake. The idea is to build upon that success and learning new and growing existing leadership skills.
  • [23:49] Evan shares his big aha moment on leadership. An amazing example that he learned from his father.
  • [28:36] Evan would rather err on the side of trust as opposed to distrust. He values positivity in his team.
  • [34:24] When everyone knows the key things in the company that are trying to be achieved, everyone works in the same direction.  Seeing the financials and knowing the vision helps key in their role to success.
  • [35:49] Being successful takes grit and determination. Honestly carrying is at the core of who Evan really is.
  • [39:16] Make sure you find the time to grieve. Holding it in is not the way to go.
  • [41:29] All of the principals in the book will make a difference in someone's life.
  • [41:45] Another principle that Evan wants to share is distinguishing fact from opinion. A lot of people share opinions as facts. This makes conversations difficult.
  • [44:38] Take some time and think about your conversations and whether you are speaking fact or opinion.

Links and Resources:

Direct download: WW214.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EST

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