00:08 Hi, I'm Denise Simpson, master life and leadership coach who helps women step into their authentic and feminine power. So they can lead like visionaries influence with grace and create a legacy of contribution and service. You'll hear about real leadership clients with real problems, navigating their success in life, business, and career. If you're ready to become a masterful leader, then this podcast was made for you. So
00:47 Hey there. Welcome back to another episode of the Dr. Denise Thompson podcast. I'm happy you're here, my friend. And let me tell you why I am talking today about service. I want for you to think of the word leadership and I want for it to equate or be synonymous with the word service. Leadership is service. We are serving others. We are serving the organization. We are serving our families. We're serving our children and the word service has a mixed connotation. Some leaders have completely separated themselves from the word service while other leaders are wrapped around that word. And I want to show you why it's important to take on this definition, this new way of looking at leadership, being of service to self first and foremost, so that you can then serve others. So that's the caveat there. It's, it's the nuance within that statement. It's serving ourselves first so that we can therefore serve others at the highest, most ultimate level of their potential.
02:05 This is what I'm talking about. So when I think of leadership, I mean, so many, so many images pop in my brain. I of course, think of my first role models of leadership, my mother and father, although they were interesting. And I learned a lot of things and a lot of things not to do. Mom and dad were very interesting leaders. And I saw this power trip between both of them, mostly on my mom's side, my mom, herself, she, when she would feel that her power was taken from the relationship from her marriage, she would therefore take it out on my dad and on us, the very interesting relationship that my parents had with each other. And so I learned a lot about power through them, the push and pull the manipulation and the abuse of power. So when mom didn't feel loved, or mom didn't feel like she was being respected as a woman and as his, his partner and spouse mother would, you know, would, would use her power in a very abusive way.
03:22 And this is what I learned that a woman in power, a woman in a relationship should be like, and it took many, many years to unravel that I have to say. And then I saw my father who was a lousy lousy husband. And for many years I would tell myself, well, he was a great leader in our family. You know, he worked three, four odd jobs. He begged borrowed and stole to keep food on our table. You know, he did the best he could. And he loved me so much and loved my sisters and I so much, but there was a big component of being a leader in this family and the role that he took on as the, the male, as the father figure. And, and that component was that he didn't respect my mother. Lot of marital, extramarital affairs, a lot of stuff that went down between them.
04:18 So for many years I played the story of, well, that was her problem. She was weak. She pretended like she was a victim. She tolerated this, that's her fault. I'm separating my relationship between them and the real, the relationship I had with my father individually and intimately. And I was very wrong in that. I was very wrong in doing that. I have to admit, it took me years of therapy to realize that that was just my own way of, of letting him be a man, letting him get away with how he treated my mother and, and us seeing this every day. I mean, that's all they fought about was he and his extracurricular activities and affairs. And so I had to really come to terms with, he just been a lousy human being, just a bad human who was conditioned in a very interesting way.
05:22 You know, his, his behaviors, the results he created in his life, all stemmed from his beliefs about marriage and about love and about respect and respecting his body respecting other's bodies. It respecting his is w you know, women's bodies period. And so I had to come to terms with he was a bad leader and that I needed to really put that under the microscope on how I was leading from those beliefs, from what I was conditioned to believe about what, you know, a heteronormative relationship look like, right? Meaning male, female, my mother and father, and how I was showing up in my own relationships, not only in the organization between male, female, but in my own relationship between myself and my lover. And so I really had to dig in and do a lot of unraveling unlearning of what I thought leadership was. And so they were my first role models of leadership, and then the extended family, my culture, even my religion, had so much to do with, you know, the hierarchy and, and what I believed, um, was right for a woman to do or not do just by being excluded from, from certain, you know, places in the Bible, right.
06:50 Not being mentioned, females not being respected. Of course, we all know the story of Mary Magdalen, uh, known as a prostitute. And, and there's so much more buried under that story. And, and it's very interesting if you're interested in theology, there is, uh, a feminist theologian, Megan Waterson that I follow. And so of course, it's slanted, cause it's a, it's a feminist way of looking. It's filtered through her lens as a feminist. And it's very, very interesting, especially if you are a Christian or you're wanting to really learn about the role of woman in the Bible, follow her, listen to what she has to say. Very, very interesting. Um, the revelations that I've learned from following her and reading her work. So that's the copy filter is through the eyes of feminism. And so religion had a lot to do with that. How I lead from what I learned as a Catholic school girl, even got her PhD from a Catholic university kind of full circle.
08:01 And so there's just so many layers upon layers of socialization and how we were conditioned, how we are conditioned to lead. And so that's, what's important to understand here is when we're looking at serving others, what's the lens that you see this through. Are you seeing this through the lens of Christianity? Are you seeing this through the lens of what you learned from watching your parents? Are you seeing this through the lens of your community or your culture, right? Serving others, you get to frame that, however, you wish again, many, many leaders that I've coached, don't even put the two together leadership and service they've been conditioned to separate the two. They think that leadership is about business as is about logic. It's about rationalizing is about using data and evidence-based strategies. Trust me, I am a consultant and this is what they want to hear.
09:03 They don't want to hear about serving their employees. They don't want to hear about serving themselves first to serve others, to be able to come from a place of replenishment, a place of love and kindness and uplifting. They don't want to hear that. And I say this and I'm generalizing perhaps, but those that I have served in my consulting and coaching practice have, have believed or have been conditioned to believe that these two things should be separate. And I'm here to tell you that it's not, it is synonymous leadership and service because when you mutually exclude leadership and service, you do have vast disservice to yourself. The leader, the guide, the person in front of the pack, the torchbearer, you're the one leading the heroes on their journeys. You, my friend have done the work. You have done the work to heal yourself. You've done the work to find justice within yourself.
10:07 You have done the work. So therefore you are able to serve from a place from a capacity, unlike any other in that organization. And so this highly affects you and, and how you show up to serve, to give, to provide as opposed to hoard, as opposed to protect, as opposed to shield on the contrary services about giving it's about showing up, it's about showing your vulnerabilities. And sometimes saying, I don't know how to do this, but as your leader, I'm going to find out how, and by the way, if anybody in this room has any suggestions on how to do this, I'm all ears because we're here to serve. And that's the culture that you create among your followers, a culture of service, because when you model serving, when you model serving from a place of replenishment, from a cup that is so full, it is overflowing.
11:13 You then get to show your employees how to do that for themselves, for their families, for their own followers, for their communities. It's a ripple effect. My friend leadership is serving others and service services. The core of your role as a leader, it's like the foundation. It's the foundation that the house is built upon, serve as the meal. One for you to think about when you first got into leadership. Now some of us were guided, perhaps unconsciously. Some of us were intentional in pursuing a career in leadership. For example, I was unconscious in my pursuit of empowerment. I, in my childhood was, uh, a victim of abuse, sexual trauma, and molestation, and a few other things that a little girl should never have experienced, but I did. And we deal with it and did not know that unconsciously, I was getting myself out of the ditch, probably like somebody threw me in the ditch by crossing their boundaries by, by violating my body, by doing what they did to me as a little girl, like think of that person, throwing me inside a ditch, right?
12:43 With, with nothing to pull myself out of with nothing, you know, with no shoes, with no clothes, maybe. So I couldn't leverage the ground. I couldn't leverage the walls. I couldn't climb out of the ditch, right. That was me in my youth, in my young adulthood. And when I left home, I left my hometown. I unconsciously said, now that I've done so much work on my healing, I've I unconsciously said, I'm outta here. I'm no longer a victim. And if I stay in this environment, I will continue to be victimized. And I left at 17, went off to college and another town, two and a half hours away at that time. And I immersed myself into a new identity, the identity of a leader. Now, at that time, I was very conflicted. I wanted power. I wanted to abuse others because I was abused, hurt people, hurt people.
13:44 And this was exactly the path that I was on. I left and I found all the education found all the tools, found all the ways that I could position myself as a person who was powerful. And I found a way to do that through leadership. So immediately I declared a major in business and leadership and administration. I went on to get dual master's human resource development and in management, and then ultimately a PhD in leadership studies. But during that, that timeframe, when you know, right at the cusp of learning about power, which was 17, 18, 19, I was immersed in it. I wanted to learn everything about power. I wanted to learn everything about mastery, but, but to use it to my advantage, to leverage it for me, right. I was ready to really step on anyone who got in my way. This is who I was in my youth.
14:47 This was who I was because I was a victim and found liberation. And I found a way to liberate myself, was through positioning myself as a powerful person. And people feared me and men feared me. I had relationships that were horrible and toxic. You know, it, it, I was a different woman, but I was conditioned because of my circumstances to find power and abuse. It didn't know I was doing that really didn't know I was doing them. I just wanted to find a way to get out of the ditch. I wanted to climb out of the ditch that someone threw me into. And so I didn't know leadership was about serving others. At that time, I was worried about survival. My brain went into fight or flight, and I was ready to fight at that time because I couldn't in my, in my, in my childhood.
15:43 I couldn't fight. I couldn't speak a word. I was threatened. I was told that if I said anything, that I would be dead, I was told so many things that I believed this person. And so in the ditch, I came to terms with, I'm getting myself out of this ditch. I'm going to climb out of the stitch some way somehow, but I'm going to do it come hell or high water. And I'm going to run over anyone who gets in my way. And that's the, the attitude. That was the concept, the self-concept that I took on for myself during those early years, maybe up until about 2021. So about, from 17 to about 2021 graduate school turned my life around. That's when I realized, okay, that was petty. That was amateurish. It's time now to lead with service. I learned from my mistakes. I learned why I was a tyrant, why I abused others during that time.
16:48 But now I get to learn from some incredible leaders who are serving me and my peers and, and I'm ready to learn from them. So graduate school really turned my life around. And that's when I started to do therapy on my, my trauma. And so I know about separating leadership and service, and I've seen it. I still see it today. And it's just about putting under the mice microscope. Why you believe this? Why you behave from this place of disbelief, why you've separated the two. And so let this episode serve you in this way. What do you think about when I ask you what leadership is? Do you immediately think about power? Do you think about the formal title? Do you think about the roof financial rewards, right? All the benefits that come with, uh, title, do you think about authority? What do you think about when I ask you what leadership is to you?
17:55 Or do you think about leadership as service, serving others and uplifting them? Right. Not, not solving their problems. Right. But helping them on their individual journey, reminding them that they are whole complete and resourceful, just the way they are is that when you think of, when you think of leadership and it fit is not my friend, then I implore you to take this opportunity to define it for yourself. Remember why you came into leadership to begin with. And if it was like me to get out of victim hood to get out of the ditch, I understand if your behaviors reflected those beliefs at that time, I get it. I get it. But here's, what's so important to know is that you get to evolve. Yeah. You don't get to stay and have mindset. You don't get to keep torturing yourself with the past new circumstance, new situation let's move forward.
19:08 Or you know, too much at this point in your career, you've learned so much you're here. Now. You've been programmed. You've been conditioned. You've been told to believe certain things. It's time that we challenged them. It's time that we put them under the microscope. And it's time that you evolve from this place, right? From all of that. Knowing from all of that past experience, that's exactly what I did. I was exhausted not serving others. I was exhausted being self-centric. It was exhausting being a narcissist. It was so exhausting. I wasn't replenishing my soul. I wasn't replenishing my purpose in life. I wasn't able to serve others the way I knew I could. And that's when things changed for me. And I know they can change for you too. My friend, thank you so much for your time today. I hope this served you very well. I want for you to serve them so well, serve your family, serve your children, serve your partners, serve your employees, your followers, your clients serve them so well that that say sheet you once again, remember why you stepped into leadership to begin with it was to serve my friend. This is our natural inclination as women who lead we're here to serve ourselves so we can serve others and help them reach their highest, greatest potential. Thank you so much again for your time. I'll talk to you very soon. Take care.
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