I have a guest interview for you today, and I’m so excited! Jo Saxton is an author, speaker, podcast host, and leadership coach. She’s spearheaded an initiative aimed to help women grow in leadership, which I love. I got to sit with her and have an incredible conversation about owning your voice, owning your mission, your message, your purpose, your power, and your leadership. Even if you don’t identify as a leader, you absolutely are and this empowering episode is for you! Let’s jump in!
In This Episode Allie and Jo Discuss:
Jo’s journey to become a passionate leader
Cultivating opportunity for everyone to participate
Overcoming excuses, hurdles, fears and worries to step into your purpose and bring it to fruition
The biggest mental block that holds women back from stepping into their purpose
Figuring out your purpose
Jo’s book, Ready to Rise
The importance of investing in self care
Mentioned in this Episode:
Courses (Use the code PURPOSESHOW for 10% off!)
Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
I sat here for three minutes trying to think of a new way to greet you guys when I go to record the beginning of an episode. But anything other than my usual greeting just feels inauthentic, because I get so excited when I sit down at my microphone to introduce a new guest to you or to start recording a new episode. I’m just gonna throw out the limiting belief that it’s just the same thing over and over again with the way that I greet you and start fresh, okay?
Hello, friends! I love you guys so much. I’m so grateful to be here with you today. I’m so grateful that you have chosen to give me a piece of your day and let me be a part of it with you. It really makes me so happy.
I was just on Instagram right before I recorded this looking through some of the tag notifications and there were four different women who had tagged me in an Instagram post. One of them was on a walk and you could hear one of my episodes playing in the background that she was listening to. One of them was pushing her baby in a stroller. One of them was at the park pushing her child on the swings. The other was in the bubble bath.
They were all listening to an episode and tagged me in boomerangs and little video clips with part of their day. It just makes me so overwhelmingly happy and grateful to be in your day. It really lights me up every single time I get tagged in something like that.
I feel so grateful and overjoyed because I love podcasting. I think it’s the part of my business that I love the most. Hearing that you guys love it too and that I get to be in your ears for part of your day is really special to me.
Actually, one of the reasons I wanted to start a podcast is because it’s really special. It’s kind of intimate. I get to be in your headphones and be a part of your day with you. So, thank you! Thank you so much for letting me take space in your life.
Today is a guest interview and I’m so excited! My friend, Jo, is an incredible human being. We met at a speaking event we were both speaking at almost a year ago, and we’ve stayed in touch on Instagram, texting back and forth, and supporting each other. She’s incredible. I’m so excited to introduce you to her today.
Her name is Jo Saxton. She is a Londoner who was born to Nigerian immigrants. This is where she tells me she gets her very vibrant and tenacious spirit, which I love.
She is an author. She’s a speaker. She hosts her own podcast. She’s a leadership coach. She’s incredible. She’s spearheaded an initiative aimed to help women grow in leadership, which I love, love, love.
She’s also written several books on leadership, identity, and leaving a legacy behind. Her recent books are More Than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers To Influence Your World and The Dream Of You: Let Go Of Broken Identities And Live The Life You Were Made For. Her most recent book is Ready To Rise, which is the book that I recently read that made me want to talk to her.
As I was complimenting her on her book she asked to come on the show and I, of course, said, “Yes! Please share your story and your message.” Strong women are my jam and strong women who help other women be even stronger are even more my jam. I love her so much!
Right now Jo lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Chris, and their two daughters. This conversation is like from one mama to another. Jo is so strong. She is one of those people that you want to have coffee with every week and make sure that date is set in stone in her calendar so that you never miss it. I wish that was my reality, but unfortunately we live on opposite sides of the country.
I got to sit and talk with her today and have this incredible conversation. I can’t wait for you to listen in! Enjoy this conversation about owning your voice, owning your mission, your message, your purpose, your power, your leadership. Even if you don’t identify yourself as a leader, you absolutely are.
This is an incredibly empowering conversation. Please welcome my friend, Jo!
ALLIE: Hello, my friend! Thank you so much for talking with me today. I can’t wait to dive into this! It’s going to be so good!
JO: Thank you. Thank you.
ALLIE: I just love you so much. You guys need to follow Jo on Instagram if you’re not already. She’s amazing. You are such a light and you speak so beautifully, eloquently, and graciously about every single thing that you do with a kick in the butt. You really have a gift.
Tell me your story. I want to hear about the beginning of you and your journey, because you’re such a passionate leader now. I love being able to peel back that onion and ask how did this start? What happened that made you come up to this point that you’re at today?
JO: My heritage is Nigerian. My parents moved from Nigeria to England in the 1960’s. There’s a very large Nigerian community in England, especially in London. I was born in London and grew up there. I lived there until I was 30.
I often say I was the last to realize I was a leader. When I look back, I realize this story has been weaving its way, the sense of purpose has been weaving its way all along. I grew up in the inner city. It’s been completely gentrified now, so no one would ever know, but it was then; I promise it was then.
And even as a child I was struck by two things: the lack of opportunity and the access to what would help somebody thrive. When I looked around at the kids at school, we were all as intelligent as one another. We all had gifts and abilities. We all had potential, but some of the choices were determined before anybody had a chance to make them.
Some things environmentally weren’t helpful. Some things systemically weren’t helpful. But I remember being aware of how unfair that was, that people’s lives were set on a trajectory before they had a chance to choose it sometimes.
Whether it was the overwhelm of family situations or the pain of things they’d gone through, the things had run ahead of them. And yes, I always hear those super stories of that person who managed to do the odds, but I grew up with a number of people who tried, who really tried, and weren’t able to for various reasons.
At the same time, I would have often said I was the last to work out that I was a leader. I was given things at school to do. Is there a responsibility? Jo will do it.
Is there a team that needs captaining? Jo will do it. And I loved it, but I didn’t feel adequate. I didn’t feel competent. I didn’t see people like me leading.
We were the immigrants in our community. Our community was an immigrant community. There were families from Portugal, from Spain, from Pakistan, from Bangladesh. We were known as an immigrant community, so I grew up seeing these tabloid headlines of how immigrants were stealing people’s jobs and they’re doing all these other sorts of things.
When you’re a kid you read things, but you don’t interpret what’s going on. You just feel it. You just get slapped down by it. And so, I think there was a sense of I didn’t know what leadership looked like in my body, in my skin, in my womanhood.
Although when I think about it, when I think of the women in my family, constantly there were women who were doing incredible things. But they often uncovered their purpose in difficulty, tragedy, and struggle. I think it was probably into my twenties when I looked back and realized that the things that I was passionate about, I needed to do something with and not complain at people.
I was very much a person of, “Do you know what’s happening there? Someone needs to do something. Somebody needs to change that for people.” Whether it was a teacher, a pastor at church, if it was work, I’d say, “I’ve arranged this meeting because you need to change things.”
ALLIE: It’s amazing though. Even if you were not getting that it’s you, you were doing that. You were so ambitious and set up in that way already.
JO: I’m glad you call it amazing because I think my teachers just found it irritating. And my mother definitely found it annoying. You uncover these gifts in unusual ways, I think. I think it took me a long time to realize I had a voice and a perspective, and that perspective was valid.
For me it was in defending somebody else. Whether you’re a mom or not, the mama bear comes out when you’re defending somebody else. You know what I mean? It’s not a birth thing; it’s just a DNA-caring-about-somebody-else thing.
I think I first was able to uncover my voice in thinking of the people who were the most vulnerable in the community and thinking of people who needed help, encouragement, or needed inspiration. I’d often look back at the opportunities I was denied or didn’t have access to. Our school wasn’t funded especially well and all that kind of thing, so naturally my heart went to teenagers who needed access to opportunity.
Over the years, I think it’s always come back to I think people have potential. I think people have purpose. But they don’t always have the environments, the investment, or the opportunity to do anything about it. And so, I think in all of my ranting at various groups and various people, it was always about figuring out how can we get the obstacles out of the way so somebody can thrive.
I think it probably wasn’t until I moved to the States that that focus particularly attended to women. I don’t even know why. I’m sure if I spent a lot of time with a therapist and lots of people they’d explain to me why I felt that.
I think it was in my thirties. I have two daughters, and I think that probably ignited a couple of things, detonated a few things within. But then again, I think it was being in an environment where I looked and thought, “Huh, what would it look like for everybody to be involved? For everybody to have the opportunity?”
And I think it was probably walking into conferences where I was speaking, in rooms, and being the only woman there, the only woman of color there, the only black woman there and thinking, “Wow! Well, I’m definitely not the only one who’s able to do this. I know that. I’m definitely not the only one able. I’m definitely not the only one with the gift. I’m definitely not the only one with purpose and potential. Somehow I got the opportunity.”
And again, the question came back to me, “What are the obstacles I need to get out of the way so that women can be all that they were already designed to be?” I think being surrounded by a group of women who were often underestimated, being raised by generations of women who were underestimated and seeing what they did with that probably set fire to something.
But it also made me realize that it’s just for the cultivating. It’s just for the cultivating. It’s just for the courage, but also the opportunity. I think the world would be a healthier place if everybody got to play.
ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely.
What does that look like for you in the work that you’ve done, the things that you’ve started and created? What does everyone getting to participate look like? What kind of things has that looked like?
JO: Like you, a friend and I host a podcast which talks about leadership. And we did it specifically because we thought, “How can we get into people’s ears? How can we get in people’s heads? How can we take down as many barriers of costs and time?”
When a woman is arranging to go to an event, there’s her going to an event. But there are also all the other things she’s got to take care of—business, whether she’s single, married, or whatever her lifestyle is—to make that thing work. There are all of those pieces.
The data shows that whether working women or otherwise, they tend to manage the household in particular ways. So, part of the fuel for the podcast was the question, “How can I come to you? How can I come to you and give you leadership development, investment, encouragement, and tools to help you thrive right where you are and in a way in which you don’t have to pay for?”
And then, obviously, because I’ve got bills too, there are other things that you pay for. I write books. I host a digital coaching platform of women leaders.
ALLIE: I saw that and it’s like $40 a month or something? That’s amazing.
JO: And it always begins with a 30-day free trial, because I know for some people it’s not going to be realistic right now. So it’s like, well get what you can. Get what you can.
I grew up with an extended family of Nigerian women, and I remember one of the times I got in trouble was when I made a meal just for me. And my aunt sat me down and she said, “What is this?” I said, “It’s lunch, it’s dinner.” I felt really proud of myself.
And she said, “You don’t make food just for you. You make food so there’s enough if someone comes by.” I said, “So, who’s coming?” She said, “You don’t know when they’re coming! You don’t know! You need to make enough so that there’s some for somebody else. You make enough food so that there’s enough to share. We are a family.”
She reminded me of how important it was. I was raised by a village of women. It was a mixed blessing, but it was a blessing in the end. It was this community of people who helped other people go forward.
And so, the free trial is just a way of saying, “You might not be able to do this, but how can I help you get forward a little bit? Just a little nugget that will set you on your journey?”
It involves speaking. A lot of the speaking I do is faith based, so it is in churches. Or it was when we could travel, when we could move outside our chairs. Sometimes it’s corporate events.
But it’s always this question of, “How can I help women own their voice again? How can I help them work out who their community is so they can build a village around them so they can do the purpose thing? How can they get on after the dreaming?” Do something! Just do it!
ALLIE: That’s so good. Now you have the book and you’re talking to women. To me, when I watch your videos and when I look at the book, you really help people locate and bring to fruition their purpose, and really step outside of all the fear.
You’re this massive empowerer for women who were coming up with all these excuses, hurdles, fears, and worries and asking, “Why me?” And you say, “Why not? Why not you?” That is my favorite thing about you.
I get a lot of comments, a lot of messages from women and typically the vibe of their message is, “You know, I really love what you’re doing and I would love to do that too, but I’m just not like you.”
Have you ever noticed people using the Enneagram as an excuse? I can’t take it anymore. Just forget the Enneagram if it’s holding you back. It’s supposed to be propelling you forward. They’re like, “I’m just not an 8, so I can’t do that.”
I forgot I was even an 8. I don’t sit here thinking about this. Just do it. But that’s my 8; that’s me being an 8, case and point. It’s just things like that, using that as an excuse.
I get these long-winded messages from these beautiful women who are mothers and wives and they have this thing, this idea, and it’s about to explode at the seams if they don’t do something with it. And they say, “Yeah, that’s how I feel, but my husband’s not really onboard or it’s not a good time.” I would love for you to speak to all of that kind of stuff for the women who are listening.
JO: I think there are three things I’m struck by listening to you—the things which are personal, the practical, and the professional. On the personal level, I would ask every one of us to think of the stories we tell ourselves of who we are and what we’re able to do. There is who we are and then there’s who everybody told us we were supposed to be. Whether that’s our families, whether that’s societal expectation—and that’s nuanced by whatever our cultural identities are and the various intersections of our identity and stuff.
When I’m coaching leaders I often tell them to say, “It’s time to unwrap the gifts.” If you gave the child in your life—whether it’s your child, a Godchild, niece, or whoever—something which was beautiful, that they were talented in, and that would help them and they didn’t unwrap the gift, you’d feel sad for them. You wouldn’t shame them.
You’d just feel sad for them, because you’d know that inside that package is something that would bring them life and joy. They wouldn’t have to be good at it straight away. They’d just develop and grow into it.
I think as women, we do that all the time. I think we hide our gifts and call it being “humble.” I think we shove them back under the tree and say, “Nope, I can’t do this because it’s too costly.” And it costs us in the not doing. It really does.
I would say we need to ask ourselves on a personal level what work we need to do to own who we are. To say, “Yes,” to who we actually already are. To say, “Yes,” to those passions that actually benefit our communities. That actually help you get a kid through college.
That help you look after your parents because they don’t have the resources. That help you get the mortgage done. What do you need to agree with about yourself rather than to keep pushing off and pushing off and pushing off and pushing off?
I think some of the reasons why we don’t lead actually begin in our heads and in our hearts long before anything else happens. It may be that a little work is needed there. A little saying, “Yes” to who you are. A little acknowledging your voice because otherwise we internalize it or we push it sideways and it comes out in weird spaces.
On a practical level some of us are kind of owning our gift and saying, “Yeah, I am, but there are these external circumstances which make it impossible.” I think in that level, I would say, first of all, this is why you need your village which are a brain trust as well as a practical resource to ask, “How do you make it work?”
Sometimes we feel like to justify stepping into our purpose everything else has to be perfect. We think things like, “If I get to do what I do, then I’ve got to be the best chef ever. I’ve got to be the best at all the things all the time.”
Well, no one is the best at all the things all the time. No one. And if they are, they’re actually a Marvel character. They are a movie. They are not a person. Or they’re Wonder Woman, who is also awesomeness. Again, it’s entertainment friends. Entertainment. Not real.
Sometimes it takes work. It takes conversations with your household, with your partner, with your community on how you can make things work, practically speaking. Rather than saying you can’t do something and putting a period at the end, I encourage you to say, “I don’t know how to do this,” put a comma and then start getting curious with it.
Then start saying, “Okay, this is the passion and this is how I think it could help our life. This is the purpose. This is what I think it could do. What do I need to rearrange? Do I need to rearrange my standards and my expectations on myself? My expectations of others?”
Because the people you live with take longer and they don’t empty the trash in the same way that you do, is it like, “Okay honey, it’s time to get over that?” Or is it because they don’t fold the laundry in the way that you do? Sometimes we just gotta deflate the perfectionism and let it go. Smile, wave, and walk away. Just walk away.
Or maybe you need to work out budgetarily what help you can get, what resources you can get to help you achieve your goals. Because your goals are worth investing in. Then I would ask, professionally, who are you connecting with? Sometimes we have these ideas and we expect to be rescued into it. We wait to be rescued.
We think things like, “Maybe when we’re discovered.” This is not American Idol. Even that’s kind of construed. Who do you need to connect with? Are there online groups, Facebook groups, Instagram, LinkedIn, places of connection where you can begin to start taking tentative steps?
ALLIE: And come from a place of giving. I think people come into places like that and they’re like, “Okay, everybody owes me my start.”
That’s what I was thinking when you were talking about how you give seven days free. I think when you come from a place of giving, it will come back to you. And then find that boundary line of, “I need to show up and do the work, but I’m going to give and then trust that eventually it will come back to me.”
I gave away so much free content. I created courses with people and didn’t take my fair share. I made mistakes, but I showed up and now I’m here. Now you’re here.
Show up. Give generously. Do the work yourself.
JO: Again, it’s like don’t just make the meal for yourself. Give it to someone else. Give access to someone else. Give opportunity.
And I understand the worry. I understand why people say there is scarcity, because on one level there has been a scarcity of opportunity. There has been a scarcity of access. If there wasn’t scarcity, there’d be more women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. The data tells you the disparity.
However, we don’t have to be defined by that. We can still function with generosity in those moments and say, “How can we begin to create a new culture and give access and opportunities to people around us? I don’t have the money to do it yet, but maybe I can share a contact. I can share a connection. I can point to a resource which really helped me.”
That is doing a countercultural thing with the scarcity that’s in the atmosphere. That’s us tearing that down. It’s like sowing seeds that come back on you, that grow into something good for you later. And it’s important to do. It really is.
ALLIE: Yeah. I love that.
What do you think is the biggest mental thing that holds women back from stepping into what they know is their purpose outside of other roles? Outside of motherhood, outside of marriage and relationships? What do you think is the biggest mental block for most people?
JO: Imposter syndrome. I think it is the mental thing which says, “Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are to try that?”
There is a book called The Secret Thoughts Of Successful Women by an educator called Valerie Young and she talks about the different ways imposter syndrome shows up. It’s where you try to be an expert and think, “Unless I’m the expert, unless I know 110%, I’m not even going to try this.”
And that’s data driven. We know that women, statistically, don’t apply for things. If they don’t feel they fit the whole job description, they won’t apply. Whereas guys think, “40%, 50%, 60%? I’m good; I’ll grow. It will be fine.”
Sometimes it shows up as the perfectionist who says, “Unless it’s perfect, unless everything is perfect, then I’m not sure I should be doing this.” It shows up.
I think one of the other examples she gives is “the soloist” The soloist says, “I should be able to have it all down all by myself. If I can’t do that then maybe I shouldn’t be here.”
ALLIE: I agree with that. I think it’s a lot of, “I’m already stretched thin, so I can’t take that on.” Okay, well, then let someone help you with this. That doesn’t have to be you. And you take the dream that has to come out of you.
JO: Yeah, totally, totally. I think it’s worth us asking ourselves the ways that imposter syndrome shows up in our lives. Does it tell us we have to be a superhero? Does it tell us, “Well, you should know this by now. You should know it all by now.”?
When we were kids learning how to ride bikes, we didn’t know we were falling down very hard. I ended up learning how to ride a bike in my thirties because I didn’t do it when I was younger. And it is terrifying, because I’m thinking all 5’9” of me is going on that concrete floor.
I don’t want to do this. It feels weird to learn. I should know this by now. Everybody else learned when they were 3. What am I doing waiting three decades to do this?
I think sometimes some of us feel we’re showing up too late. We think, “We should have done it in college. Why didn’t you do the MBA when you had the chance? You didn’t get to do this thing. You should have done a business class. Instagram is old now and you should have been one of the first who came through. You should have written a course. Now everybody does courses, so you can’t do a course.”
We think all of that kind of stuff. Imposter syndrome will crush your dreams before they even begin to take flight.
ALLIE: That’s so good. And it shows up in all different ways, like you said. So many different sneaky ways. And it’s really like perfectionism too. It’s like a version of perfectionism.
JO: Yeah. It really is.
ALLIE: I know this happens a lot in my community and I think it’s just so common and I don’t want to look at it because it’s so sad, but let’s talk about unsupportive partners. What do you say to a woman who has an unsupportive partner? I’ve experienced it in my community.
Partners who straight up in a controlling way say, “You can’t do that because of this. We don’t have time. I don’t want you pulling from the kids, so you can’t.”
What do you even say? I just cry. I don’t even know what to say to that.
JO: Like you, I’ve seen similar things. And, depending on the nature of the relationship, there have been different ways to do it. I know women who’ve done all kinds of things. Some were like, “Well, you’re sleeping on your own.” That rectified a few things.
But I ask them in that conversation, “What is this reflective of? This is the moment, this is the context, but what’s this about? Is this pointing to something else dysfunctional in your relationship? Have you got used to not using your voice in your marriage for so long and in your partnership for so long?”
The hard thing then is owning your voice and saying, “We are going to a counselor. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you we’re going.”
Sometimes our relationships have secrets that we hold between the two of us and we think that this is how we work. But actually, it’s not working, and we have tried every which way to make it work without actually confronting it head on.
We’ve acquiesced. We’ve adopted things. We’ve lost our shape a bit. And it may mean some really tough conversations, some really tough conversations.
It may be talking with your wider network of your community and people who know and respect your spouse. It may be saying, “We need to go to the counselor about this.” Because when it’s really controlling, we know it’s not just about that moment.
Sometimes it’s a fear thing. Sometimes relationships have unpacked it to say, “I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’m going to lose out. I’m afraid that the kids are going to lose out.”
Okay, well let’s talk through the fear. It might be a legit fear because of their own lived experience before. They’re saying, “I’m worried about what this could mean for us.” I get that. Those you can talk through. But I’ve never seen those things fixed without courageous conversations.
ALLIE: Yeah. That’s really good. That’s the first step of starting whatever it is that your dream is, whatever it is that you want to go and do. If you’re not supported behind the scenes, it’s really hard.
It can be done, but why would you put yourself through it if maybe your partner is just reacting from a place of love and concern? It’s coming out controlling but really they’re just afraid. How would you know if you didn’t have a conversation?
My husband is very supportive, but we’ve had to learn each other’s language on this. He is very cerebral. He’s very analytical. I’m very intuitive as a leader. I’ve just got a gut feeling and I’m like, “I’m going. We’re doing this.”
And he’s like, “Hold on a second. Where is the data?” And I say, “The data is in my gut.” We’ve had to learn each other’s language, respect each other’s angle, respect each other’s way, and almost build a third language.
Now he’ll say, “Okay, I know you’re intuitive, so help me understand what you’re doing.” And I’ll say, “Okay, I know you need data, so this is the data and these are the things I’ve read.” It helps us. We’re stronger that way. But we really did have to work at it.
Sometimes now we congratulate ourselves, “Didn’t we do well with that conversation? We’re so awesome talking about money now.” And then the next day someone will buy some shoes and we’ll be like, “What?!”
ALLIE: I love it.
Another question that I have for you is what if somebody wants to start something? They want the lifestyle change. They want to go a different way, stop being broke and step into a purpose, but they feel like they don’t know what that thing is?
JO: Yeah. I love those questions.
First of all, I want you to get some trusted friends around you. Not that friend who’s envious of you. That’s not a friend, by the way. They can leave your life permanently.
Get a trusted person around you. Someone who’s not insecure about your abilities and your talents. Get someone who’s been in your life a long time. Because sometimes we don’t see well because we’re in the weeds of everything.
We need someone who knows us who we can ask, “What have you seen me do well? What have you seen me be consistently passionate about? What are the things that I’m not seeing that I think, “Oh, I just do that.” And they can say, “No, actually there’s something in this!”
I think having that kind of brain trust around you helps. For those of us who are more introverted, I would encourage you to get a chart, a timeline of your life and the skills that you’ve had. Things that have come easily, that have been life-giving, or things that have piqued your interest.
I would see it as a way of accumulating data for a little period of time. Of gathering some ideas. And then I would look at the needs in the world and say, “Where are the gaps? What’s missing? What’s not happening?”
It might be in your community. And the thing you have to tell yourself is that just because you see someone else doing it, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Only you can do it in the flavor that you come in.
Here you are with some idea of a book or a resource you want to produce, and you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, I got on Instagram and I saw them doing that.” So? There are millions of people in this country alone. Millions, millions. There’s still an audience for you. There’s still a market for you. I would start there with your skills.
I’ve often been activated by friends saying, “Yeah, you’ve had that thought for a while now. I’ve heard you mention this thing about coaching leaders. I’ve heard you mention that. It’s time to kind of follow up on that.”
I would encourage you to think through those. Or to look at the timeline and say, “Huh, when I was 15, I coached people. When I was 20, I coached people. When I was 25, I was still coaching people.”
See the trends. What are the currents in your life, the ongoing currents? What is the skill set that you have or that you want to build? Those would be some of the starting places.
Then once you see a need then you begin to see, “I’ve got this. Here’s the need around me.” Then work out how to begin to connect the two.
ALLIE: I love that.
If I’m looking back as somebody with no clue what my purpose is, I would go back and see in my life people consistently coming to me for help or commenting to me, “How is everything in your life not falling apart? You have so much going on.”
And I always said, “Well, it’s just simple. You just have to simplify it.” I would have conversations over coffee about these things. I turned that into my business and that’s what I do. That’s where I shine.
So, yes, listeners, I encourage you to go back. Think, “What is the thing that I’ve always just done? Or that’s asked of me a lot?”
What are you following on Instagram? What are your passions? What kind of pages about certain things are you really drawn to? It’s hidden in those weeds somewhere.
In closing, I want to just hear about your book. I’m writing a book now and I know already how hard it can be. I didn’t know. People warned me, but I thought, “You’re just not good at it.”
JO: That’s so funny! “It’s because you’re rubbish!”
ALLIE: But really. I was like I talk about this all the time. How hard could it be?
But it’s just a lot. You put a lot into it. Then you have that final date coming and you’re like, “Oh my God, I hope I said everything I was supposed to say.”
I would love to hear, as an author, your heart for this book. Why did you write it? What is the big message in it? What are you hoping people walk away with?
JO: It’s called Ready To Rise and I wrote it because I kept on encountering women who were bursting with ideas, bursting with potential, but trying to be polite about it. Sometimes they would physically be shaking and I’d think, “Oh honey, you need to do something.”
But the obstacles were they’d never had a mentor before, they were overworked, they were underpaid. And they were thinking that was their norm, hoping that if they work harder and harder and harder, someone would notice them. And I thought, “Oh it so doesn’t work that way.” So, that was one of the things.
But also in these conversations with these women they would ask, “How did you do this? How did you? What was it? How did that work?”
And so, some of it was unpacking the question, “If I could put something into women’s hands to say, “I don’t care where it is. You’re the one with the gift. I’m not going to prescribe that. It’s already in there.”
Some of them, it was in the church and they wanted to do things in various communities. Some of them, it was in business. Some of them, it was as creatives. And I thought, “Let’s help you get out of your own way. I want to get you out of your own way.”
I also acknowledge that we don’t arrive with a clean slate. We’ve had encounters. Some of us have had sexual harassment we’ve had to deal with. Some of us have had controlling bosses. We’ve been through stuff.
We lead from the inside out. So, all of those things can fuel our purpose, but they can also cause our purpose to burnout some as well. I wanted to have something that would help us unpack some things and process some pain. Or at least point to saying, “Go to a therapist. I’m not one. Go there.”
Now as we deconstruct the things that have gotten in the way, what are the things we need to construct around us that will help us move forward? What does it look like to not just have a voice, but to own your unique voice, the flavor you come in, your gifts, abilities, and actions?
We talk about that. We talk about what it looks like to build a village of people around you and not be so isolated and threatened by everyone. To actually have people who help you deal with the mental load of life, but also help you move forward.
Guys have been having networks for years and no one was feeling weird about it. Women, statistically, are known to be great in business when it comes to building relationships, but not as great at leveraging them for their own advancement. Because they don’t want to use people and all that kind of stuff. Well, don’t use them then, but still engage.
ALLIE: Yeah. And we’re so worried about, “What if they think that I’m doing this? What if they think that I’m doing that?”
Today I was hosting a training in my business membership and I was telling them, “You have to go live in your business. It’s going to explode you.” We were talking about how to do that and one of the women said, “I don’t want to go live in my business because I’m afraid people will think I want all the attention on me.”
And I said, “That is such a story. It’s not about you. It’s about your message. And in your worry about, ‘I don’t want everyone to think I’m focused on me,’ now you’re focused on you and stressing out. Go spread your message.”
I love the section in your book that’s really about friendship, because we need each other and it shouldn’t be weird to leverage, talk, share, and ask for help. You asked me for this interview and I was like, “Oh my gosh, thank you! Fill a slot. Yes, please!”
It’s friendship. It’s community. It’s that universal law of giving and receiving.
JO: Absolutely. I think we are better at this stuff than we realize. We have been arranging playdates, school things, and organizing all kinds of stuff. Just shift some of those skills into this. Invest in you like you invest in all these other things and all these other purposes.
The skills are there. We’re actually halfway there. But we have to attend to the things to get intentional.
The other thing I always say to women leaders in particular is that you’ve got to invest in some kind of self care. There has got to be some kind of taking care of your body, taking care of your mental wellbeing, taking care of your emotional wellbeing, because life is a lot.
ALLIE: What do those things look like for you?
JO: For me, right now, exercise is a part of it. Exercise is good for my mind.
ALLIE: I think I saw you on your Peloton.
JO: Yeah, I do. I love that thing.
ALLIE: I love mine too. I don’t use it as often as you do.
JO: But you know, I did have a season where it was very good for hanging clothes; I’m not going to lie to you. It looked good. It looked fine. But then I actually had to get on it and ride.
Then I just thought, “You know what? I’m scared. I’m scared this is going to do damage to me.” So I got some padded shorts and that made everything better.
ALLIE: Oh my Lord, yes! I’m not going to get too TMI here, but those should come with the bike.
JO: Yes, because I don’t want to slice and dice in places that don’t need to be sliced. I had stitches when I had my kids. I don’t want to do that again. Don’t want to do it again.
ALLIE: It’s so bad!
JO: It’s so much. So, once I got my padded shorts, I felt so much better about stuff. And honestly, I think it’s just good.
It’s been good for my soul. It’s been good for my mind. It’s been good for the frustrations. It’s been good when I’m dealing with grief to just get on and ride it out.
My personality is very physical, so that’s been good for me. Getting outside and walking. Fresh air apparently is real good. Fresh air is good stuff.
ALLIE: Yeah, it’s good stuff. So simple. For me, just breathing. God gave us the power of our breath. It changes your mood, your perspective, to just slow down and breathe, especially if you’re outside like you said.
JO: Yeah. I think that’s a really good one too.
ALLIE: Thank you so much, Jo! I really appreciate not only your time, but you are such an expert. You really are.
Because you listen and you are intuitive, you know just what to say. I mean, even just the way you’re speaking here is the same message, but a different energy than when you’re just on your Instagram. You showed up for my audience and I really appreciate that.
JO: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. It’s been fun!
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
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