EP 114 - Bold Leadership Revolution March CEO Debrief

March CEO Debrief

Hey, hey, bold leaders. Welcome to the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast. This is your source for straight talking, no fluff, business and high performance conversations that add real depth and value to the way bold leaders live, work, and thrive. We know you’re craving context and nuance in a world that swings wildly from one polarized topic to the next. In between those extremes, there is little room for truth, dichotomy and contradiction. And boy do we need that now more than ever.

I’m your host, Tara Newman, and I have spent my entire working life dedicated to helping every day people perform in extraordinary ways, all while busting the myths and BS fed to us by corporate America, internet marketers, our society as a whole, our families and ourselves.

Today is our monthly CEO debrief episode where you can grab a cup of coffee and imagine us sitting across the couch from each other. Now, this is my third monthly debrief episode. We’ve done one in January, we’ve done one in February and we’re doing this one in March. I decided to debrief monthly for you for a few reasons. 

One, your accountability. When I did my end of year debrief last year, I was able to identify times throughout the year where I drifted and lost sight of my priorities. If that’s happening for me, it’s most definitely happening for you too. When you see my monthly debrief come up, that should trigger you to go and do your own debrief.

The second reason why I’m doing this is I’m leveraging my strengths. Some of my gifts are the ability to stay focused, organized, and put structures in place for consistent action. This is one of the best ways I can share those gifts with the most people and potentially have the greatest impact.

And three, transparency’s a core value for our business and I want to continue to take you behind the strategy and share more of myself with all of you. I’m here for creating more intimate spaces in the vastness that is the internet. Places where small business owners can land during challenging moments, oh my goodness, and are we having a challenging moment right now, as well as those times of joyful celebration, and we’re having that too. That has been sort of the pendulum swinging, right? We’re feeling the anxiety and some of the fear around this prolonged crisis that we’re in. And then we’re also feeling immense joy and gratitude seeing the opportunities out there. And we’re just in full range of this pendulum right now.

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SO I WANT TO SAY THAT THIS CEO DEBRIEF WAS DEFINITELY MY HARDEST ONE SO FAR. 

I did not want to sit down and reflect on this particular month. It has been wild. It has been exhausting. It has stirred up my anxiety. I have had a panic attack. We are navigating just so much uncertainty and ambiguity right now. And the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and structure my brain around debriefing. I know so many of us are having a hard time concentrating. We’re having a hard time feeling motivated, we’re having a hard time being productive, and these are all a trauma response. This is all our brains chemistry, our chemical reaction, to what is happening right here and now. So it took me a few days, it took me way longer than this would normally take, but I did put myself down in a chair because it’s important. It’s really important now that we are taking stock and serving the land in what’s going on in our businesses. So here we go.

FIRST QUESTION, WHAT WAS YOUR AREA OF FOCUS THIS MONTH? 

And I could barely say that without laughing. So first, let’s acknowledge what a month. It’s felt more like an entire quarter or maybe a year. Holy smokes. Also, I feel like it was so long ago that we started this month, so long ago. As I record this, I’m on day, I think, 19 of what some people are calling social distancing. I have my own thoughts on this because I don’t really feel like I’m social distancing. I feel like I’m in complete isolation. I feel like in New York our governor was not doing a lockdown or a shelter in place. He actually rebranded shelter in place and he’s got an acronym for it now. It’s called PAUSE. Very smart to rebrand it, but it’s not helping me. We’re actually on lockdown over here.

So my focus for this month was originally around the fact that we had an encouragement period for The BRAVE Society. That shifted a bit. So my focus has become taking exquisite care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. A lot of my actions this month were around carving out a space to be a human being who feels the depth of what is going on around me. This means reaching out to my coaches, getting clear on what I need, putting my emotions down on paper, doing a fear inventory, breathing, walking, moving, hydrating, napping under a weighted blanket, Reiki, managing my energy so that I can show up for my business consistently from a place of healthy work and clean energy. I want to be completely transparent and say this is where I spent 80% of my time this month. I spent 80% of my time taking care of me. I’m doing this so that I can keep my emotions out of my decision making and to keep any fear, frenzy, or financial scarcity out of my actions.

What’s needed from me right now is my presence, my optimism, my calm, my ability to hold a client’s vision for themselves and their businesses. That’s requiring me to hold big space, offering heaps of grace and be mindful of each of my client’s default behaviors and trauma responses, which means I need to be doing the same for myself. That being said, we did have an encouragement period for The BRAVE Society. We opened the cart or this enrollment period pretty much just as COVID-19 was hitting our shores here in the United States. We had to make a decision whether or not we were going to close the doors and try again later, or if we were going to show up and do this thing anyway. We decided that we were going to do this thing because this is the exact reason why I created The BRAVE Society.

Back in June of 2018, I started to see the horizon, which was showing a recessive economy. I didn’t think we were going to see it. I was happy that we didn’t see it in 2019 and I thought that we were going to see it in 2020. A recession, it could have been just a market correction, a blip. I didn’t know. I certainly couldn’t predict a global pandemic, but we were preparing for a shift. I thought back to the 2008, 2009 recession when we were going through that as business owners and what we would have needed in that moment. We would have needed community. We would have needed a place to come together in a mastermind like fashion to develop our leadership, to give us a place to invest in ourselves, to give us a place where we had sounding boards, but also someplace that was going to be easy on our cashflow and not cashflow intensive because sometimes you just don’t know how things are going to shake out.

So that was the primary reason why we created The BRAVE Society. Another reason that was part and parcel to that was that I was seeing so many women investing in things in their businesses and not investing in their own leadership. I understand that it’s hard to make those decisions. If you are a woman in business and you are anywhere from startup to scaling through your first few million, capital is important. How you spend your dollars is a very strategic activity. I wanted to give women a place where they could invest in themselves and invest in their teams, invest in themselves and invest in the operational things they need in their business or technology that they need in their business. So I felt very passionately that while we were in the middle of this, I was still going to go forward with this encouragement period.

SO THIS BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT QUESTION. HOW DID WE DO ON GOALS? 

How did you guys do on your goals this month? Were you on target? Did you drift? What happened? So our goals shifted pretty quickly. Almost as soon as we opened the cart, which I say we were hit with this chaos, confusion and uncertainty. We decided to go forward with the enrollment. As of yesterday the cart closed. Today’s April 1st, we actually are leaving the link up for another few days just in case anybody needs a little more decision making time. So if you’re hearing this and it’s April 2nd or April 3rd, you can probably still click on the link and get in. We hit our goal 40%. So we enrolled 40% of the people that we were looking to enroll and I’m going to call that a win. I’m going to call it a win. We have a tremendous amount of data that came out of this encouragement period that we are diving into. We saw different behavior than what we’ve been seeing. We have strong confirmation on things that are working, even though we didn’t hit our goal, that are allowing us to make some decisions on going forward. We’re going to sit down fully on Monday and debrief this encouragement period, but I am wholeheartedly optimistic on what I saw.

It was hard. It was disappointing. I had a lot of emotions around it. I made my own personal mistakes when it came to this launch, meaning that I spent a lot of time wrapping my head around how to do this. How do you launch and sell something in a time of such uncertainty? I had beliefs going on in my head that weren’t going to serve this launch. At the same time, I could be really stubborn in my beliefs. So it takes me a little bit to turn them and to create new beliefs. However, I was able to do that two days ago. I was able to recommit and make decisions that allowed me to operate for the last few days from a different energy. That is probably too late to have a positive impact on this encouragement period. However, it was very eye opening to me to be able to self reflect and witness my own behavior around this, my own beliefs and my own inner psychology. That gave me really critical data for how I can move forward.

Now, while we continued with our encouragement period, we split our attention between putting some free content out there, not necessarily related to BRAVE, but also related to BRAVE, for our communities. So over the last two weeks we’ve put out extra podcast episodes, we’ve done on Facebook live, we were really showing up on Instagram stories, supporting our community and having these conversations. We’ve gotten a lot of reflection back to us about the content that we have been putting out. You know what they say, when you chase two rabbits, they both get away.

So I don’t regret a second of how I spent my time over the last three weeks. I’ve showed up exactly how I envisioned every day since I went bankrupt in 2010. So much of my personal and business mission is around lifting others, showing up vulnerably to normalize the ups and downs of business ownership, and so strong women get it out of their heads that asking for help is weak. I don’t regret a second of how I showed up, but my attention was split.

WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF THIS MONTH? 

Even when things don’t go according to plan, even when we don’t get the outcome we want to get, it’s not really about the outcome, it’s about the process. It’s about the journey and how we get there. So what are you the most proud of this month? So two things that I’m really proud of this month is, one, my family has adapted to the current circumstances really well. There are a lot of things that we do on a regular and consistent basis as a family that are paying off for us now. How we lead our family is paying off for us now. I’m really proud of how I’ve shown up for my family and led them.

The other thing that I’m most proud of is this business that I’ve built for the last five years and that I’ve stuck to what I know works. I’ve avoided the sexy tactics. I walked away from marketers who want to tell me what my problem is instead of helping me figure that out for myself. I have largely avoided shiny objects. I have invested a ton into me and honing my craft and myself as a leader. It is paying off now in huge dividends, and that is something that I’m really proud of because sometimes we make investments that don’t pay off immediately. There’s a little bit longer term for the ROI and it’s really great to see when things do come into fruition and do start to pay off.

HAVE YOU EMBODIED YOUR WORD OF THE YEAR? 

Let’s not forget, just a few months ago we chose a word of the year. We set a very specific intention, a very specific vibration and frequency for the year. Even though it very much feels like 2020 has been canceled, I assure you it is not. It is still here. It is still alive and well. It is still raring to go, and there’s still tons of opportunity for you for the next nine months. I’m not going to let anybody, anybody, forget that for a second. As a matter of fact, I’m more committed than ever to lead small business owners right now. So please continue to tune into this podcast. If you know a small business owner who has not yet discovered this podcast, please refer them to the Bold Leadership Revolution podcast, as well as leaving a review for us so that other people can find us. Now more than ever, this work is so important.

So have you embodied your word of the year? Well, my words of the year were slow, heal and teach. Currently, I am embodying all three. I also feel like I sort of manifested our current situation by choosing the word slow. I’m going to have a giggle about this, but almost every single person I spoke to last week showed up and said the same thing. We feel like we manifested this. This is everything we’ve been asking for to slow down, to have more time, to spend more time with our family, to try homeschooling our kids, but we haven’t had the courage to make these decisions and now the decision has been made for us. I’m just super curious if anybody else listening to this sort of feels this way. I get that we didn’t want it wrapped up in a global pandemic, but is there anything about this situation that you were like, “I was calling this in. I’ve been thinking about this.” If you have, head on over to Instagram and DM me and chat with me about it because I’m really curious.

So we’re obviously slowing down. Since the coronavirus is creating and triggering trauma left, right and center, it is bringing up new things for me to feel through and process in support of healing. Heal, that was my other word. So really making sure that I’m carving out very specific spaces and places in my day to allow myself to process what I’m feeling, to explore with curiosity how I’m thinking about things, where I feel things in my body, making sure I’m getting plenty of movement in. This is all part of healing. I have led a number of web calls in various places teaching what I know on adaptive leadership strategies, as well as recession proofing your business. So 100% I am embodying that word teach. As a matter of fact, yesterday, as I was typing this up, one of my team members said, “Hey, you’re really embodying that word teach.” I just laughed because we were both acknowledging it at the same time without knowing it. So check back in. How have you embodied your word of the year?

NEXT QUESTION. THIS MIGHT BE A TRICKY ONE RIGHT NOW FOR SOME OF YOU, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MONEY, REVENUE, PROFIT AND SALES? 

How do you feel about that right now? It’s a complicated question to ask at this moment because I know so many people are rumbling with do I sell, do I not sell? And I have some thoughts on that. But how do you feel about your money, revenue, profit sales, right now? Honestly, I’m charged. I feel so good about my overall business financials right now. This is something that I have worked on consistently and diligently for a few years and I feel great. We just reviewed our Q1 numbers. They’re exactly where we predicted them to be. We run a very data driven business over here. They’re exactly where they were predicted to be, and now we’re looking to add some growth in Q2. Yes, even in our current circumstances, I’m anticipating growth because the women we work with know that now is the time to double down on their plans to recommit to what they want, who they want to become and bet on themselves. When you invest in you, you will always win. I truly, truly believe that. That is a rock solid belief of mine.

The stock market goes up and down, but with bold strategy, brave mindset and tools to expand your energetic capacity, you will rise and be able to create your own economy. When you are stable and solid, your business is stable and solid. People are still spending money. They are, I promise. And you want to know how I know? One, I’m still spending money. I’m making investments in my own coaching. John and I, my husband and I, have decided that this is a great time to set up an at home gym. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that we’ve slowly been bringing pieces into our garage and creating a garage gym, except that we must be two weeks too late on this concept because you cannot find a single dumbbell, kettlebell, barbell, bumper plate, rower, anywhere. You can’t find it on Walmart, on Amazon, in Target, at Rogue. Nowhere is there at home gym equipment to be found. So people are still spending money. I think how they spend money is going to shift though. I can’t wait to start talking about that because I think that’s really exciting. I think it’s really exciting.

So how do you feel about money, revenue, profit, sales? And how you feel about it is different than what is actually happening. So I also want you to look at how you feel, but I want you to look at the facts like I did. Look at your numbers. Look at your numbers. Don’t go an entire year feeling one way about your numbers, only to look at your numbers at the end of the year and realize maybe they were better than you expected. Now’s the time. Take a look. What are the facts, and let’s keep our feelings separate from the actual facts and decision making that we make in our business.

NOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE FINANCIALLY FOR NEXT MONTH? 

And I know this is kind of a tricky question because April for me is about watching our current business climate stabilize and adjusting financial goals as needed. But you know what? You have to have those financial goals first in order to adjust them, right? So if you don’t have financial goals, let’s start to set some. I’ve identified a few key investments that I will be making around getting more support through coaching for myself, as well as an investment to hone my craft. In April, we are going to continue to dial back on our personal expenses as we’ve been doing for the last three months. This is proving to be a really helpful and useful experiment, so to speak, and to see what is it that we really need to thrive? Really honing in on our thrive lists and making sure that we are in a good place personally because that will impact our businesses.

WHAT HABITS HELPED YOU PERFORM YOUR BEST? 

Now, this has been a huge conversation for my clients and I around what habits have been really keeping them grounded and anchored in their routines right now. Like many of you, I have seen a big shift in my routines, but I’m actually enjoying this a lot. When we first learned of our impending social distancing lockdown, shelter in place, whatever you want to call it, we huddled the family together and I gave them a shared goal. The goal was that we will prioritize our mental health and safeguard our sanity. Being a shut in, especially for two kids who are used to being active with school, friends and extra curriculars, I have been very present to the dip in their mental wellbeing. We’ve created a schedule that works for us. We have filled our days with cornerstone activities like meals, chores, schoolwork, play time, family meetings, exercise and cooking.

However, when this first happened, I was like, “Oh my goodness, this is amazing. I’m an introvert. I’ve planned for this my whole life,” like all the memes, except that it’s actually been hard for me as an introvert to have everybody around me. Things that were used to being in my routine, things like reading, weren’t accessible to me for the last few weeks because my brain was so tired from our prolonged crisis and the impact of this on past trauma and this being traumatic. So it hasn’t really allowed me to focus on reading. So I’ve been really going hardcore on things like hydration, breathing, movement, sleep, including naps with my weighted blanket, tidying and decluttering, getting outside when it’s sunny out. So those are some of the habits that I have been working on, as well as doubling down on things like grace, self compassion and love.

WHAT HAS BEEN TIME WELL SPENT THIS MONTH? 

For me, it’s been teaching and sharing my knowledge on how to recession proof your business, adaptive leadership strategies and supporting my clients and customers.

What have been your best lessons this month? Oh my gosh, so many lessons. I think there had been more lessons for all of us this a month than maybe all of 2019, to be honest. I’m learning so much about myself. I’m learning a lot about other people. I’m learning so much around what works in my life and what might need to be shifted. So some of my best lessons have been around simply acknowledging that this is prolonged trauma. It’s highlighting how well I’ve learned to take care of myself over years and years and years and years of incremental improvement. This is the big payoff for me right now. It’s teaching me greater grace and self-compassion. I feel, right now, completely loved by myself, no matter what happens. This time has allowed me to gain more clarity on my company values, how I operationalize them and how we lead as a team. I’m having to work a little harder around separating my emotions from my decision making and it’s taught me how important it is to have a specific place, a space that’s carved out to feel and process emotions, so I don’t make decisions from that place.

I think my last big lesson is the fatigue. Oh my God, the fatigue. It’s so debilitating at times, and I’m used to being fatigued with my chronic illness, but this is for sure next level. Making sure that I’m getting plenty of sleep and really carving out times to put myself back into bed and to take that nap or just completely go back to bed in itself.

I always like to end these with additional notes that I can reflect back on when I look back at these reviews for years to come. And you can make your own additional notes, but here’s my additional note. There is nothing easy about what we are experiencing right now. Yes, there are things to be grateful for. Yes, there are amazing lessons to be learned. Yes, there’s tremendous opportunity on the forefront for all who have the courage to go for it now and not someday, but this is a hard thing. This is hard and that’s okay because we can do hard things if we decide that is what we will do. So I’m sending you all off into your day with a lot of bold love, and sending you a lot of health and wellness and wellbeing. I would love for you to come and chat with me on Instagram @TheTaraNewman. Please, please, please, more than ever, please share this episode, please share this podcast. Please help me get the message out in the world. Please help me keep more small business owners calm during this time of crisis.

I call these weekly meetings, CEO debriefs, and I do them twice per month inside the BRAVE Society. We do them together. I have pulled together some of the highlights from CEO Debriefs that I’ve done inside of BRAVE and I’m sharing the best of the best with you. You might have heard a couple of these on the podcast, but I want you to take it a step further and feel what it’s like to do these with us inside of the BRAVE Society. So head on over to my show notes and sign up now to receive 10 CEO Debrief Questions you will want to ask yourself. Plus, listen in on some of the most popular shares that I’ve made. Listening to someone else’s debrief is a great way to find the language for what you’re experiencing, get a concrete example of radical self reflection, and learn how to grow your business because it’s oftentimes not what we think.

If you found this podcast valuable, help us develop more Bold Leaders in the world by sharing this episode with your friends, colleagues, and other Bold Leaders. Also, if you haven’t done so already, please leave a review. I consider reviews like podcasts currency and it’s the one thing you can do to help us out here at the Bold Leadership Revolution HQ. We would be so grateful for it. Special thanks goes to Stacey Harris from Uncommonly More, who is the producer and editor of this podcast. Go check them out for all your digital marketing and content creation needs. Be sure to tune into the next episode to help you embrace your ambition and leave the grind behind.

Important links to share:

Listen in on CEO Debriefs and Get 10 BOLD Questions for your own debrief.

The BRAVE Society

Follow Tara over on Instagram

Help more Bold Leaders find this podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts