00:08 Hi, I'm Denise Simpson, a master live 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 let's get started.00:46 Welcome back, leader. Happy you are here. Let's get into this topic, this conversation of why you are a leader. Why do we call you leader? Why are you in a position of authority, a position of power, a position of influence, a position of privilege where you get to connect with other humans and their brains? Where you get to impact change in behavior, where you get to impact change in culture, maybe the status quo, perhaps maybe a performance measurement, maybe a specific result that you wanna create or maybe lead a team to create. Why are you a leader? I love this question so much because it's so good to revisit this question. It's an opportunity for us to reflect on why we're doing what we're doing. Why are we here? Why are we in this organization? Why are we running for office? Why am I the board of director?01:56 Why did I start this business? Why it's such an important question. Why? Why are you a leader? It gives us this opportunity to really sit down, reflect and ponder why we're here and why we wanna stay here, why we wanna keep going, why we don't want to change direction, why we wanna, you know, assess our trajectory and perhaps maybe reevaluate where we're going all because of this question. Why? Why are you a leader? How did you get into leadership? I'm always so curious as to how someone got into leadership. Was it something you saw as a child? Maybe it was a role model, maybe it was your mother, maybe it was your father, maybe it was the mayor of your town. Maybe it was someone at school, perhaps a principal or superintendent who was highly influential and maybe just maybe unconsciously inspired you to go into leadership.03:12 I'm always so curious as to how did this journey start for you and when did you realize leadership is the road, This is the vessel, this is the avenue to inspire change to impact employee behavior, to support, to be an ally for your followers, right? A lot of us go into leadership because of something very strong, maybe a contrasting event in our lives that made us realize things could be done better and I may be that person to do it better. I know for me, I spent a great deal of time in my childhood as a victim. I am a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and some other things that a little girl really should not have been subjected to. But I was. And so for a very long time in my childhood, I wanted to fly under the radar. I didn't wanna bring attention to me or to my body.04:22 So I did things unconsciously like overeat, like over-indulge. Like use food to cover my body. I used it as a shield, as a barrier so that my predator wouldn't think I was desirable. These were the things that a seven, eight year old little girl is thinking about unconsciously, not because an adulthood holder to, to think this way or to do these things. These were the things that my brain came up with to cope with what was happening. And so these are learned behaviors that I took on in, into my adulthood. And so from my childhood, up until about maybe 17, right, Right when I graduated from high from high school, I remembered feeling unknown, unrecognizable. I was invisible. I didn't want anyone to draw attention to me. I had a very small group of people I connected with and one best friend and always had a boyfriend.05:27 And that boyfriend took on a role of a best friend many times. And I didn't confide to my sisters, I didn't confide to my parents. I was, I just wanted to sometimes even disappear. And I remembered many times as I was dozing off to sleep, I would look up to the sky. I had a window above my twin bed in a room that I shared with my baby sister. And I remembered looking up into the sky, the night sky, every single night almost at least it felt like it every night I'd look up into the sky and picture myself in a different galaxy, on a different planet, maybe with different parents, with a different family, with a different life. I never thought to hurt myself, but I did want to be invisible. I didn't want attention drawn on me. And these were the symptoms of a child who's been abused.06:35 And up until high school, I remembered it was two weeks after high school graduation. I told my mother I was leaving up the road to go to school and it was a two hour drive. I had not prepared her for this. She thought I was gonna go to the local community college. She thought I was just an average below average student sometimes and just didn't have motivation or ambition. And she thought that because I made her believe that I didn't have desires and that I didn't want to be the center of attention in that in my family, that I just, I just wanted to go with status quo. And whatever comes comes, I mean, she had some interesting beliefs about me because of how I behaved throughout my childhood. And two weeks after high school graduation, when I said, It's time for me to go. And I know she was worried, but she never told me no. She knew I had to leave. She knew I had to bloom and blossom.07:41 And she, despite being so worried about me, supported this decision. And I left. And I remembered starting summer school at the community college in the town I moved to, um, it was like summer two, uh, cuz I had already missed summer one's registration. But summer two I was registered and I was living in, in an apartment with my sister, older sister who was already there. So it, it made the transition easy for me because I had her there. And, and I'm sure it reassured my mother that because my older sister was there, I would at least have family to support me as I moved to this big town. And it was a pretty big town compared to the small town I was leaving and I needed to leave, I was suffocating. It. It's as if my soul could no longer stand being submerged underwater as if a cork was being shoved down underwater.08:48 There was an anchor tying this cork underwater. That's what it felt like for me. And I needed to leave so that I could breathe again. I hadn't breathed, it felt like in so long, I, I didn't know who I was. I just knew that I didn't want to be the same person ever again. I wanted to move as far away as I possibly could. And in that case, it was only two and a half hours away, . And it was such an opportunity for me and a privileged opportunity I might add, because I had a mother who did not say no. And I had parents who said, Let's do it. I will support you. We will support you. So I had great support in both my parents, and it was an opportunity for me to figure out who I was. Not the victim, not the abused, not the little girl who couldn't tell her perpetrator her predator.09:58 No, I was now a grown woman, or at least metamorph into this butterfly from a caterpillar who was in a cocoon for a very long time. And here I was free. It was a feeling of sovereignty. It was a feeling of no longer being oppressed by my own demons, by my own family, by my own predators. I felt free. The shackles were off. Subjugation was now over. My mind was now free to explore. And let me tell you, did I explore and I explored willingly, excitedly, curiously, overwhelmingly. I explored. I immediately found a job. I've always worked since I was 16, , uh, the Montgomery Word Tire Center in my hometown. Uh, in order to run the the school store, I had to have a part-time job in high school. And I did and loved it. And I loved working. I loved labeling myself as a hard worker.11:17 I loved the recognition from my leaders that I worked hard. And it was a label that I was so happy to take on. So when people would talk about me, it was always, she's a hard worker. And maybe ask her to take your shift because she'll never say no. She always wants to work. So I loved that reputation that I was creating in the workplace, including running the high school store. Excited to, excited, loved it, loved counting the till. At the end of the day, at the end of my shift, I loved being recognized as a student worker. I loved this idea because I wasn't and somebody in athletics, I wasn't a cheerleader. I wasn't a dancer. I was sure the hell not as smart as the GT people, uh, which is gifted and talented back then. It's, I think now it's AP advanced placement.12:12 I was, I was below average. I never got c's, but I was never an a plus student. It was always B'S or B minus. But I found a place where I fit in and, and that was in the workforce. And so I immediately got a job when I moved to this new town to go to college. So I've always worked, always had a part-time job, always went to school full-time, always had a full-time load. Never ever did I do part-time workload or student load. It was always a 15 credit hour semester. And this is how I graduated from college at the age of 20 and at the age of 19, right before I graduated from college, I was asked to become a manager at a bath and body work store because they recognized my hard work ethic, . I worked really hard and I got along with everybody and I was a team player and I encouraged my peers and my coworkers.13:18 I was excited to meet sales quotas. I was excited mostly to meet customers. I even met a boyfriend through , through Bath and Body Works, who, who I stayed with for about seven years. I mean, it was just such a beautiful, beautiful opportunity for me to blossom and really come out of that cocoon. And I learned about leadership from a very bad leader. I learned about toxic leadership and masculine toxic energy from a female leader at such a young age. I knew that she was wrong. I knew the way she was treating us was inappropriate and unacceptable. I knew that much. And that's when I realized I can do this and I can do this 1000 times better. And guess what? People like me and my fellow peers and coworkers deserve better. And I stepped up to the plate and I accepted that position before I even graduated from college.14:22 It was such a, an amazing opportunity to learn responsibility, to learn about corporate culture, to learn about a mission and vision of an organization. And the objectives that I and my store team needed to meet on a monthly, weekly, daily basis. It was the best training ground for someone like me, someone who was ready to leave her past behind. For someone who did not wanna keep labeling herself as a victim, for someone who was given the privilege to lead others, the privilege of getting store keys, , and leading a team of 40, 45, 50 people. It was absolutely magical. And that is when I fell in love with leadership. I felt important. I felt like somebody finally saw me for this person with authority, with status, with a position of power, somebody who was being taken seriously, someone who was being seen and understood and respected, above all respected.15:40 That was the pivotal moment for me at 19 years old, was that I left behind a world of pain and suffering. And I entered a world where I had authority, where I had sovereignty over my life, where I was able to make decisions for myself as an adult, as a leader. It was so critical for my development as an adult, as a leader. And I thank God for that opportunity. I was bursting at the seams. It felt like I was ready. I was really in a cocoon for such a long time. And here I was exposing my vulnerabilities to my employees, exposing my lack of knowledge to my employees. I mean, they knew I was not even graduated from college. They knew I didn't have a lot of retail experience. They knew that I was new to management, knew especially to retail in this way, but I had their respect because I was vulnerable enough to share with them that we were going to do this together and that I don't know all the answers and I'm gonna turn to them most of the time for those answers.16:57 And I trust them. And I was gonna work so hard to gain their trust. I communicated to them that I was here for them. I was here to make this place a better place to work. I wanted for them to feel seen and understood and respected all the things that I wanted for a very long time. And I was able to give that to them through my words, through my actions, through my behaviors, through how I treated them with respect and kindness and compassion. And this is how I gained their trust. And this is how they put all of their trust and confidence in me. And they respected me all the way to the very end. Until I left that organization, it was the beginning of the trajectory of my leadership career. And from that point on, I made it my mission to be the best leader that I could be for my people.18:06 Sure, the status, the position of power, the authority, all of that that comes with the title was there. Of course, it was underlying, I knew, I knew the benefits of what all that was going to bring, but more importantly, above that underlying current was that I wanted my employees to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be respected. I made it my mission to learn everything I could about management, about leadership, about culture, about leading, with compassion, about showing my employees that I'm not omnipresent or all knowing that I need them. I'm gonna lean on them to help us reach these performant measurements. I wanted them to know that clearly I was here for them. That's it folks. That was the start. That was the beginning. I graduated at 20 with a bba, that's a Bachelor's of Business administration in with, I should say, a concentration in leadership and administration.19:21 Absolutely loved everything I learned from the college of business at my university. I respected my professors, I sought their help, I sought their advice, their encouragement. I then went off to get a dual masters of art in human resource development and management. So I was refining my skills at the postgraduate level. I was wanting more at that time. I then went and sought other leadership opportunities in this big town that I lived in and that I created a home. And I then went eventually to get the PhD in leadership studies. And I have made it, made it my mission to help as many women leaders as possible be masterful in their craft. Love what they do, no longer sacrificing their souls for a seat at the corporate table. I wanna help as many women who are ready and eager, who have, who have, who have answered the call, this call to lead into serve.20:30 No matter how it happened, when it happened for me, it's very clear, because I've done so much self-awareness work. I've done so much reflection work on why I am who I am today and those pivotal moments in my life and in my career that really set the trajectory of my life. And I want for you to take this opportunity to think for yourself. Why are you in leadership? How did you get here today? What was it? Was it a a memory that you have that's still carrying you today? Was it someone who modeled excellence for you? Who inspired you to take this career trajectory? Tell me who in your life supported and encouraged your growth and expansion? Why my friend? Are you a leader? That is the question. And it's time to contemplate that so that we are reminded, we are, we are reminding ourselves that we choose this life, we choose this career path.21:38 We choose to serve others. Yes, there's so many wonderful benefits of being a leader, but there's also this calling that was placed on your heart that you answered. And where are we going from here? Because you answered. Again, this is to remind us of our why and why we wanna continue on this path. So my friend, I wanna hear from you. Share with me why you are a leader. Why do we turn to you for leadership? Why do you have the privilege of leading other humans with brains? I wanna know who you are and why you are a leader. So listen, you know how to reach me, , DM me over on Instagram or LinkedIn or Facebook. I want to hear from you and learn from you why you are a leader. All right, my friend. I hope you found today's episode helpful and helping you remember why you're here and why you're choosing to be here, and why you're choosing to move forward as a leader. We need more people like you in your industry, in organizations like yours, in our society, models of excellence, great models of great leadership. We need you and I wanna hear from you and support you. All right, my friend. Have a fantastic week ahead. I'm wishing you all of my best take good care.23:20 Hey, Leader, do you want weekly leadership tips, coaching and training straight to your email inbox? Yeah, I thought so. Head over to dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Again, that's dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Just submit your name and your email address and we'll get started right away. I look forward to serving you inside your email inbox. See you soon.