BrandsTalk

Why self-advocacy is so important w/Cindy Wahler

February 01, 2022 Brigitte Bojkowszky Season 5 Episode 59
BrandsTalk
Why self-advocacy is so important w/Cindy Wahler
Show Notes Transcript

“When we ask what the goal of businesses are, most often business leaders, owners, shareholders would say, to make the most money as possible. I think the answer should really be is to be able to stay in business forever.” — Cindy Wahler

In this episode I have an extraordinary woman as my guest. Cindy Wahler, a psychologist, leadership consultant, and author.

Our topic circles around our relationship currency - self-advocacy.

💡Learn about how important self-advocacy is in public and private life and how to improve it;

💡Hear what the most common mistakes people make when promoting themselves in their careers;

💡Catch Cindy’s perspective on personal branding and how to strengthen it;

💡Get some insight on her most current book “20 Effective Habits for Mastery at Work”;

💡Take away the two key leadership attributes aspiring leaders shall focus on.

Her vision is to bring out the best in people within the business environments that they're in.

Cindy has broad based experience in positioning organizations for success, within both the private and public sectors. She works with senior executives at the CEO, EVP and SVP levels developing leaders, who can execute organizational strategies and drive business results. She offers a wide range of corporate leadership programs, include leadership assessment, executive coaching, succession planning, and talent management. Cindy is also an advisor to a number of boards on CEO succession.

Cindy is a regular contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post, CNN and Chief Executive Officer and an author of her recent book on leadership entitled “20 Effective Habits for Mastery at Work”.

She writes and speaks on a variety of leadership topics that include: Empowering Women, Attracting Top Talent, Leading Remote Teams, Imposter Syndrome, Executive Presence.

Watch us on YouTube: https://youtu.be/hp0NRutTrpA 

Get in touch with Cindy Wahler:

Get in touch with Brigitte Bojkowszky:

Get Your Free Brand Building Guide and Checklist “The 4 Essential Steps to Build an Irresistible Brand” NOW: Brand Building Guide & Checklist

For more info visit: BridgetBrands.com

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Ready for brand stories get inspired and learn from thought leaders, CEOs, business owners, and managers who tell their brand stories who share their valuable insights from their own experience. Welcome to BrandsTalk. I'm your host Brigitte. For brand lovers this show is to help you develop and grow your brand in a more strategic and sustainable way. Walk the Talk. Let's get started and dive with me into the world of brands. I'm excited to have Cindy Waller as my valued guests today. Cindy is a leadership consultant with broad based experience in positioning organisations for success within both the private and public sectors. She works with senior executives at the CEO, EVP and SVP levels, developing leaders who can execute organisational strategies and drive business results. She offers a wide range of corporate leadership programmes including leadership assessment, executive coaching, succession planning, and Talent Management. Cindy is also an advisor of a number of boards on CEO succession. Cindy is a regular contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post CNN, the Chief Executive Officer and an author of her recent book on leadership and titled 20 effective habits for mastery at work, she writes in speaks on a variety of leadership topics that include empowering them and attracting top talent, leading remote teams, imposter syndrome, and executive presence. Cindy earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Oktava. And she is a certified Organisational Psychologist with major in leadership development. I warmly welcome Cindy avala. Welcome to BrandsTalk. Thank you so much. It's an honour a privilege, and I'm excited to partner with you today. Thank you, Bridget. So I'm so happy to have you as my guest on my show today, Cindy, I'm so excited to learn and discuss about our topic today, the concept of self advocacy, the ability to speak up for ourselves and the things that are important to us. So before we do that, Cindy, I would like you to tell us a little bit about your background. And yeah, about your journey that brought you right there where you are now, for sure. So like most people, my journey has not been a straight line. I started off studying clinical psychology, as you suggested, and I built a very successful practice in clinical psychology. And then though I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, family, business owners in the area of manufacturing, electrical, and also food industry. And so I grew up around the dinner table around profit and loss around capital gains around talent discussions, that in fact, as a child in that lesson didn't really interest me. But I did a course absorb some things. And I would say that my very first job was in leadership development. And I was an employee in a financial services sector. And I would say that I've failed as an employee. And the reason I was a failure as an employee was because I think that for me coming from self employed entrepreneurs, it was challenging to fit within a process driven environment. And I didn't have the maturity. And so when I got impatient and wanted things to go faster and wanted others to adopt change, I got frustrated, rather than thinking about how could I partner? How could I actually, as you say, advocate from my point of view, so I quit, and I decided to go out on my own. And so I was only an employee in my entire career, 25 years plus for three years. And when I went out on my own, or wanted to go out on my own, it was interesting the feedback that I received. And so there were many that said, you know, that's not possible, or you're too young, or it's too hard, or you're going to fail. And so there were others that of course, were supportive, but it was probably a constant theme. Every time I've pivoted and change and done different things in my career in my personal life where there are two camps, you know, one that says, you know, go for it, we believe in you, you're going to be successful. And then the other that's I think sometimes people project their own fears around this is too risky. Exactly, they do so. So Nevertheless, it is a bold step to start your own business and to go into solopreneur. Ship. So with doing that, what was your vision with that business? And your big? Why? What makes you inspire others? Well, because my degree originally was in clinical psychology. So as you suggest, I really like to understand what motivates people, what drives people? And I always thought the question around our leaders born or made is a dated question. Sure, there are natural attributes that we come to the table with. But I think a lot of it because the world is so complex and ever changing that we do have to learn skills, and then undo skills and add additional skills. So my vision was, how do I bring out the best in people within the business environments that they're in. And my vision was that I was going to be able to look at two segments, those who are high potential leaders, who are eager to learn and aspire to make a difference. And then seasoned leaders who in fact, have been successful, but need to learn how to adjust to a different mandate, different scope, different set of stakeholders, and how do you sell your vision or your platform to a complex set of stakeholders? So that was my vision. And in terms of being able to add value? I thought that I didn't question that as much from the point of view is that I thought I will learn with my clients, my clients will teach me how to be better, better, which is what they've done in my entire career. And I like to surround myself with experts, because that's how I learned. And that's how I continue to be inspired. So for example, there was one client that I have, and I'll never forget this. He was a consultant with one of our major financial services, accounting firms, and he was a year before retirement. And he was very, very senior partner. And he said to me, Cindy, I like if you would coach me, and I said, You want me to coach you? I said, I think it should be the other way around. And I said, also, I'm intrigued by one year, you have one year left to go, why would you actually request a coach at this point in your career? And he said to me something fascinating. Virginie said, because I want to figure out how I can impart my knowledge and my Intel and my expertise on people around me, and I need your help. It's not a role that I actually played formally. Of course, I've done it. And so this gentleman sticks in my mind, because he's so inspiring, and basically said, there's always something to learn. And I need to know how to best impact and influence people with the talents that I have. Now, that's such a beautiful story. So let's stick with your clients. I'm sure you have different kinds of clients. So what are the major pain points? And what desires? Are you exactly satisfying? Other than that of the story you have just told us? Sure, yeah. What is the transition that you have? Sure. So back to the topic for today, it is around self advocacy. So there are a lot of people as you know, who are extraordinarily bright, highly talented, and very adept at their technical skills. So they're hired as a graphic designer, or they're hired as a web developer, software design, or chemists, whatever their discipline is, but in terms of being able to promote themselves around why it is they add value, it's hard for a lot of people we might have grown up in an environment where humble being humble, and being self effacing is a value set. But in the business world, and in much of society, we're rewarded for being noisy, we're rewarded for being loud. And so my goal and my vision, my motivation is to help elevate people so that they can maintain their level of humbleness, seen as being ego balance, but at the same time being experts at the table. So lots of times booja clients will call me and say, you know, there are people at the table that are smarter than me. They're brighter than me. They're more talented than me. And so there's a self diminishing aspect to their leadership, where they make themselves invisible. And so it's my job to help really magnify their talents and allow them to feel that they do have something to offer. Okay, that's beautiful. I think a lot of people are in this situation. So let's say go a little bit deeper into the concept of self advocacy. Could you explain that what it exactly is and means and also, it is so important to understand Sure. So I think for most of us, we are to our defence, when we started our careers, you are an individual contributor. And you are given a mandate that's generally quite narrow. And here are your tasks, here are your objectives, here are your timelines. And if you come in on time, and if you come in on budget, and you deliver, then you're rewarded, right, and then you are given a great performance appraisal review, maybe a bonus, and eventually you elevate and go to the next level. But what we don't understand and what probably is not explained to many of us is that our relationships are crucial. So we have two sets of currency, your technical currency, and your relationship currency. And in order to have relationship currency, then you need to be able to advocate around how I can make a difference to that person. And so that's so bad, because he means that you don't have to have all the answers that you have to know enough that you're prepared to fail, make a mistake, learn from that, but in fact, have a point of view. And so I'll give you an example. One of my clients last year, wanted to be promoted, and her executive thought she was ready to be promoted. But his peers said, when they did a calibration meeting, we don't think she's ready. And every time she comes to the table, she brings her direct reports, and showcases them, which is great, and spreads the accolades to the team. But we don't understand where she's driving, change how she's driving change, and how she's really an innovator in all this, maybe it's exclusively her team, we don't know. So I, I gave her the feedback. And she said, You know, I'm very frustrated, because we're told it's all about the team, and don't have too much ego. And I said, You're right, except there has to be a balance. So what we did was I had her present the AI in it, in other words, how she led the team, how she created alignment, what her ideas were, and over time, then they had a better idea around the differences she made. And some of the pain points as you say that she had to negotiate, because there isn't alignment. When you're dealing with complex projects, there's different egos, there's different areas of power dominance, different ways of looking at things. But the ability to bring things together means that you do have to advocate for your point of view and other points of view. So that's part of what I think self advocacy is about. And the other part has to do with having confidence that what you know, is in fact, what you know, we talk about good is good enough that things don't have to be perfect. So you have data points. And what we do need to rely on is our gut and our judgement, based on how many years we've been in the seat, or how many years of expertise we have, even though there may be other people who are more informed. And again, I remember an executive telling me, Well, I need your client, my direct report to weigh in. And I said to him, your boss, your manager is saying you're not weighing in enough. And he said, Well, my expertise is in this swim lane. And my peers have other expertise. And I said No, I said your expertise runs across the team across all the segments. And so you should be able to extrapolate some of your knowledge to the other segments and weigh in. Otherwise, you're going to be seen as that subject matter expert, which is fine, if that's what you want for your career. But if you want to impact the enterprise more broadly, then you need to be able to speak more expansively. And so for him, he had the knowledge, but he didn't have the confidence. And I said if you get challenge, that's part of it, your ability to stand up to strong personalities. So what activities or actions in developing self advocacy skills, do you advise those that are mid career and become their own boss start their own business? So you have some pieces of advice here. And one more on this topic does it mostly effect women? Is there a kind of gender issues. Okay, so let's go to the first part, and I'll anchor weave it with your second question, which are very important questions that you're asking me, Bridgette. So I like to look at the population even though we can't really put people in groups because we have a bell curve. Not everyone fits in a group. But broadly speaking, I think there are two groups of people there are those who play not to lose. And what I mean by that is if you play not to lose, then you are usually very planful, organised, methodical and very thorough. And so you may gait risk, which creates a lot of comfort, and a lot of predictability. So if you do that, then probably for your career or as a personality, you might be safe in life. But if you want to be a change agent, if you want to be creative, if you want to be innovative and make a difference, then you need to shift to the second group, which is to play to win. And when you play to win, that means you're prepared to take a loss, you're prepared to fail, and it isn't comfortable, and it's soul crushing. And it can you drop you to your knees in tears because you fail. But if you play to win, you also increase your chances of winning. And so part of it is to back to your point around strategy and tips. It's around thinking about stepping back, what is it that you want from your career? What kind of impact that you want to make? And are you prepared to shift your mindset? That's part of it. I think the other part is we you know, when we talk about imposter syndrome, briefly, when you're introducing me, the challenge is that a lot of people compare themselves to others. And so one of the strategies I say is stop comparing yourself that you're in this seat, because you have value, your organisation didn't hire you because they felt bad for you, or felt sorry for you. They they believe that you add value. So when we compare ourselves, it's a losing proposition, we will always feel there's always brighter, more attractive, smarter, more talented people out there, rather than saying, I am good enough. And I'll give you a personal example. When I started out in my career, one of the things that I did was I partnered with a major management consulting firm, globally well known. And my role was to be a team facilitator with seasoned executives, I didn't have the opportunity to stand in front of the room to present some of the content. So I went up to the lead. And I said, may I would love to do this. And I was pretty nervous. I'd never done it before. And he said, I'm sorry, Cindy, you can't. And I said, why? And he said, Well, you you're on the smaller size, and you will not be able to impact. So I didn't win the genetic lottery, I'm five foot one. And it was crashing, because it's not something that I could can change, or control. And I thought, Well, that's it, then my career is not over. But limited, I will never be able to speak to you to present to do the things that I love to do. But I thought about it. And I thought, how could I allow one person really have that kind of input and change or control my world. And so when I reviewed it in my mind, I thought, I'm not going to give him the power. And that's why when we talk about advocacy, it's do not lose your agency. Because when you keep your agency, then you're in control. And so one of the things that I teach also, when you talk about strategies is that you can expect at the table that people will challenge you, because they like to spar, or they're motivated to create tension, or they're arrogant, or they think they're right. So you need to go in expecting that. And then you need to figure out how to regroup. And one of the things is that we sometimes we keep repeating the same argument or the same solution. And what you need to do is find a different way to present the similar information so that you can influence person. The other strategy I think about out is that it's important to socialise your ideas in advance. So before you get to the major meeting, or the presentation, think about who probably are going to be your naysayers who do you need to meet with to get them on board, who are going to be your advocates, pick one strong person and ask them in advance, I need you if you're comfortable to weigh in at the meeting, because I don't believe everybody's aligned. And I believe that I'm going to have challenges and difficulties. So could you help me out? And then the next strategy is to take that person and say, okay, you know, Bob, or Susan is being very challenging with me, I want you John to go to Bob or Susan, because they respect you. They listen to you, and maybe you can help me by speaking to them. So it's really leveraging your stakeholders and your partners to your cause. Because none of us are successful by ourselves. I don't know anyone who's been a success as a singular person. And so part of that advocacy is being able to partner effectively and pull on the past power and influence of others. Thank you so much for giving us the example of your own experience. And I think especially for those that is important, that suffer from this imposter syndrome, because it's so much harder, you know, overcoming this barrier to speak up for yourself when you are coming from such a low self worth? Yes. Yeah, yeah. So I'm Cindy, as a psychologist and leadership consultant, you are not only a regular contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post, CNN, and Chief Executive Officer, you have written more than 100 publications, you've been featured on podcasts on live streams. And you are also a renowned, author of the book 20 effective habits for mastery at work. Yeah, it's a book for leaders in the early stages of building their career, or are keen to develop more advanced skills that takes them to the next level. I love this book. Because it's a bite sized book, I would say, each of the 20 habits are short chapters, and what I love their action steps included. So it's really easy to read and reflect and learn and grow from, would you like to, for the audience? They might not know the book yet? Would you like to go a little bit deeper into what exactly they can expect and learn from? Sure. So you just gave a great summary. So the objective in writing the book is that I wanted to share some of the insights from my own clients. In a way it was a thank you to my clients who've helped shape and build my career, because without them, we wouldn't be sitting here. And it's their insights around what's effective. And that's part of it. The other part to your point is that I wanted to make sure that it was practical. And so if you're reading a chapter on self promotion, what is what do we mean by self promotion? And how do you actually promote yourself? What do you need to do? Or if it means how do you accept feedback so that you're able to be open to being a more effective leader. So those are the points. And I probably could have written a book on hundreds of leadership traits, but I tried to pick out the core ones. And I think that my objective was to help leaders both at the beginning of their career, and along the spectrum, wherever they are in their career. And that is something that you come back to depending on where your challenges are in a particular role that you might be in. That's one specific, quote, habit number 16. Persisting, and I quote, using the failing up and making mistakes is an essential part of developing. I love that. Could you please elaborate on that a little bit? Because I think it's very, very helpful. Sure. So as I mentioned before, at each step of my career, life, when I wanted to do something, and take myself out of the comfort zone, that I think at a good hearted nature, people around me would say, you know, you need to be careful, because those are high risk stakes. You know, if you go into clinical psychology, you'll have to be dealing with human lives. And that's a big responsibility. And then when I went into business, well, you know, there's lots of competition, are you sure you want to do that? And then recently, when I embarked on wanting to write my book, The feedback was, well, you know, there's so many books on leadership, are you sure you're going to be able to publish it? Are you sure there's a space for you? And so in terms of trying things, it is true, the saying that, you know, it takes many years to be an overnight success. And so the idea is, is that if you put yourself out there, and you fail, you learn a bunch of things. One, you learn that the walls don't come crashing down on you, even though it's hard, you can get up. And then you need to be self reflective. Okay, what do I learn by that? How do I be better, better. And so in writing my book, of course, it had many, many, many revisions and iterations and feedback from many people in my world to help cultivate the best book and the best target audience. And so I think failing up means that with each failure, you get better you perfect your craft, you become more of an expert. If you don't fail, going back to my earlier point, then you stay safe. And I think that you don't have a level of curiosity that allows you to explore and then allows you to change and that failure helps in shape you I think it allows you to be tougher, and you can still be vulnerable, but tough to say okay, and I always say to myself So what is the worst that could happen? So when I went out on my own, and hung up my shingle, I thought, well, even though I failed as an employee, if I fail as a self employed person, they don't go back and learn how to be a better employee. That's the absolute worst that could happen. I'm not going to land up on the street. So I tried to do the math that way. And think about that. And that's why I think failing up actually is a way for you to be more achievement oriented and more successful. Exactly. I always tell myself as a former flight attendant, what is the worst thing that can happen? I will not crash and I will not die. So I will stay alive. The only thing that can happen, I learned. So it might be a detour, but fail us help us really grow out of this comfort zone, or make this comfort zone bigger, and then go from there and make the next step. That's so that's right. Yeah, absolutely. You always have to be asking why. And you always have to be pushing forward. And it's also important not to accept the status quo. So even if something's working. The other thing when you asked me about so bad, because see, a lot of clients have pressure around. Well, I'm told I need to be a change agent. And it seems overwhelming, it seems How am I going to change the world? And I say to them, actually, I said, there are those that changed the world. But there are many things that you can do to help the world or your world or your team better. Maybe it's finding cost savings, maybe it's improving efficiencies, and how to do work better, or how to help, you know, write a piece of software that's going to generate more revenue, something like that. And when we make it smaller, then it's not as overwhelming around how do I make that difference? Great. Yeah. So if you had to narrow it down and select one or two key leadership attributes, what would you recommend aspiring leaders to focus on? So I think I learned this by failure. And so I now in hindsight, I want to offer my counsel and my leadership coaching, and that has to do with what we're talking about, which is self promotion. And so there is a way to do it, I call it humble confidence. There's a way to promote yourself around having your ideas around having a voice at the table. And I'll say that people will sometimes say to me, my clients, well, you know, somebody talked over me, or we're now on the next agenda item, and I didn't get to speak and I said, I say to them, bring it back, interrupt them back, it's okay. If interrupt, in a business setting, everybody's cutting each other off all the time, it is common practice, and and say that, you know, you didn't have a chance to finish your point. So part of what I think is very important is is self promotion. And the other part is what we're talking about is taking risks. Because when you take risks, as you say, then you learn and then you surround yourself with an entrepreneurial mindset. You don't need to be self employed, to have an entrepreneurial mindset. And entrepreneurial mindset means that you're taking risks, that you don't want to just accept the status quo, and you're creating discomfort. And it's human nature not to tolerate or not to want discomfort, but from discomfort comes what you would refer to as growth and learning. And so those are some of the two sort of very important leadership attributes that I think are important if you want to be successful with your career. Oh, yes, yeah, I remind myself all the time when I'm in a discomfort I know, Brigitte, it's a good thing, because you learn you are in a integral state. So that gives comfort and again, and I'll say to myself all the time, why am I doing this? Why did I? Why am I presenting? Why did I, you know, agree to go on the stage with hundreds of people. It's reading anxiety for me, and I think, Oh, my God, I can't do this. And will I let the audience down? I go through every, every of those thoughts, and all those self doubts each and every time. It doesn't go away. And you know, as a psychologist, that some level of anxiety is to keep us alert. And the other is, is that you know, you, the audience wants you to win. You know, people aren't in your court. And that's what I think about that, you know, in attending today and being with you, that your attendees and listeners are interested in getting knowledge and so that helps me also have courage to be on your show, and to contribute to your very worthwhile and important platform that you have. Oh, thank you so much. So I think that is also interesting for our audience. What is one of the most common mistakes people make in their careers when it comes to self promotion? You have, let's say a short list of three, four or five for sure, I think so for some, they are showboating. So they're basically speaking up about what they do. And they're showing off and by showing off, then they usually alienate people around them because they are the smartest person in the room. And there is a uncomplimentary and attractive quality to that, and they're not team players. So that's one of the things that people do that, that they should, that they, you know, need to avoid around how they, you know, get ahead in their careers. And I think, you know, the other thing is we're sort of talking about is that, make sure that you surround yourself, figure out who are the decision makers, who are the power brokers who are the influencers, and then develop an alignment with them, and maybe volunteer your services, your talent and work on a project, and have work on an initiative with them, so that they get to see the value you bring, and they're able to promote. And so when I talked about stakeholders before, there is a difference between being a mentor and having a sponsor. And so a mentor is someone that's going to mentor you and support you generally, and give you general career counsel, a sponsor is somebody that's prepared to risk their reputation and their career by saying, you know, what, I need you to think about promoting Brigitte because I believe in Brigitte and so the next time an opportunity comes up where there's a seat at the table or a role. I want Brigitte to be in that role. And so you need to think about in your career, that you have a sponsor who's going to vet and go to bat for you, because it's very difficult in the sea of competitive players to be able to have that recognition by yourself. Okay, thank you so much for that advice. So I would like to also ask you something about personal branding, because I think that ties very well into the topic of self advocacy. So as being and doing all what you are, you also have become really a thought leader with a renowned reputation, your specific area. So you have become a strong personal brand in your field. What does it mean to you to be a personal brand, and your authentic self as a personal brand? We'd love to have your opinion. Oh, I love this question as well. So I think for me, it means being able to be direct and transparent. And my clients will say to me, that the value I bring is like holding up a mirror. And so they'll say to me, it's it's Ouch, that it's not easy, because I rolled up a mirror, I create a reflection of themselves. And that that is sometimes painful to see, because I think most of us show up with good intent, right? Intent, right? How do I be good for 10, co worker, partner, employee direct report, boss each day, we show up with that intent, but we may not be doing that, and we don't realise it. So when I hold up the mirror, the value that I bring is up, I will be direct. And I will tell you so another example is one of my clients said to me, Cindy, he shoots he scores. I said, I I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean, I don't understand that reference. What do you mean? And he said to me, can you speak faster? Yours, you're explaining things in such a slow way. So I said to him, Okay, that's fair feedback. But you do know, you're referred to me for your listening skills. And so he said to me, he thanked me after towards the end of the coaching engagement. And he said, you know, if I would have said that, maybe to somebody else, they would have, you know, shut down or retire or quiet. But you know, you took it in stride, and you challenge me back. And that's what I value. So when we're talking about my personal brand, it is to your excellent adjective, bringing my authentic, open, direct, transparent way, and then giving practical tips and strategies. And I'll say to my clients, I said, here's some strategies, you need to come back to me and tell me Cindy, that was a bust, it didn't work out, and we'll try something else, or that was effective. And then we keep pivoting until we get it right with whatever change you need to affect. That's beautiful. So do you have any helpful advice of how we can strengthen our personal brand, and especially for those that are transitioning from a corporate into solopreneur ship? So these are great questions as well. It is simple as it sounds, it's actually complex. To me, the advice is to just be you. So being you means that if You understand your value set what's important to you, then you have credibility and you build trust. If you try to aspire to something else, or somebody else, we can look to those attributes and admire those attributes and work on them. But you shouldn't really take somebody else's brand, because it's unnatural. And so think about what's important to you what your values are, and then convey those values around what it is that you believe in. And when you do that, I think then you can more easily build trust, you're credible, and you're not seen as mirroring someone else, or speaking from some academic book or some research paper. And I do remember, you know, one of my supervisors was very, very, extremely smart, very intellectual, very cerebral, very empirical and research oriented. But I had a hard time connecting to him. He was very precise, and very accurate, because his personality, and his real self never came out. It was shrouded in this sense of accuracy, and an empirical kind of framework. And so it for some, it may work, but for me, it created a distancing effect. And so when we're talking about brand, it's who are you as a person? And then how are you showing up and conveying that one of the things that I think is critical is that I'll say to people, okay, once you figured out what your brand is, then do your little 360. Go to your stakeholders, the ones who are going to be critical, not your fans, and go not your usual cast of characters and ask them to describe to you what your brand is, and listen carefully. And is it aligned with what you want your brand to be? If it is fantastic? If it isn't, and there's a gap, then go to that person and say, okay, so what is it that I need to do? If you think that I need to be more motivational or more inspirational? What am I not doing? What is more motivational look like? And so that you get some examples. And that's a way to get some just in time, feedback around how to enhance your brand, and how to align what you think your brand is, versus how you're showing up? Yeah, the self concept is very often different from how people perceive you. And it's so important to get this external feedback. Not necessarily from your best friends, but from everyone else in your surrounding business partners, friends, everyone that you're somehow directly connected with. So that's really important. It's a little bit uncomfortable feeling to ask the people, but still, then you really see what is the gap in between. And you see on what your strengths are, and what you really need to improve. Yeah, and how that ties into your values, who you are, who you want to be. And that helps you to really, truly live by the values, the values that you have to find for yourself in that particular moment. Because they can also change over time you're involving your value set that you you want to live by are also evolving over time. Absolutely, you're right. And seems like the opposite to me would be highly stressful, to live to not live your values or to live something that isn't you, it seems unnatural to me and very stressful and so why not figure out who you are and what you're about, and then be that and then you surround yourself with people who are aligned with that and those that are not that's okay, there's enough other people to go around. That's okay. Absolutely. To also let go of things that do not serve you. Yeah, exactly. And then maybe over time over life, we do let go of things that yeah, and people and so it changes over time, which is not and make free for that what serves you and surround yourself with people that really are on the same page? Absolutely. All right. So we are at the end of our show Cindy, and I would like to do a quick vert wrap with you like I do every tension for me. So I will start with of course self advocacy. So confidence self assuredness direct transparent openness, okay, mindset, positive, open, fluid, pivoting. Okay. Then then collaboration, partnering, Equity Diversity Leadership, strength, influence impact making a difference. Wow. And last but not least, brands, excellent brands. Okay. So right in front of us, I would say right now it's current and topical, I would say Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Netflix and Spotify. So those would be some some Microsoft Apple, those would be some of the brands that come to mind. So, to me brands that have been able to pivot and be agile, and here's one maybe parting thought, you know, when we ask what the goal of businesses are, most often business leaders, owners, shareholders would say, to make the most money as possible. I think the answer should really be is to be able to stay in business forever. That's a beautiful, absolutely stay in business forever. That means you're able to change understand your consumer, listen to your consumer, and basically be adapt to the changing landscape and technology and demands that are required. Absolutely. Totally agree. Cindy. So listeners who would like to get in contact with you, where would they find you? So on my platform, my website, Cindywahler.com, as well as on LinkedIn. And so if you Google me, you will easily have access to both those platforms. And I'm also on Instagram, as Cindy Waller to is my handle. Okay, great. I will put everything into the show notes. Thank you so much for being my guest today on BrandsTalk. Cindy. It was really a pleasure having you here. And learning from how important is to speak up for ourselves and for all the advice on how to improve it. Thank you so much, Cindy. Thank you, Bridget. I enjoyed it tremendously. It has been a privilege. Thank you. And that was my conversation with Cindy Wahler. If you liked my show, head over to Bridgetbrands.com and sign up for my newsletter to never miss an episode. I look forward to welcoming you in my community. Also, don't forget to subscribe to my brandstalk podcast on your preferred app. Share it on social media and if you find a minute or two, leave a quick rating or review. Thank you so much. Hope you will stay tuned in on the next episode. When we dive into the world of brands.