Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Stephanie Calahan
To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:
Introducing Stephanie Calahan
Todays guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots podcast interview is Stephanie Calahan.
She is a lady who has a path that is so similar to many of us, who are searching for a better way of living our lives.
We are in a job that we dislike, and feel the ambition and drive to take control of our futures and go it alone.
But what can it be like when you also have the burning passion to also help the world find a better way of living too, but you find that path that you know is right for you, is actually destroying you little by little.
Your dreams and ambitions are actually the very things that kick you in the teeth and stop you in your tracks.
Well, Stephanie had been in corporate America and was used to hustling, working extremely hard everyday, and coming back for more again and again.
It was what she did.
How The Dots Joined Up For Stephanie
And what she knew.
But after taking the leap of faith and setting up her own coaching business, helping clients and friends find the passions and path in life, she realised that she had taken on too much.
So determined was she to make a huge difference her body started closing down.
She had pushed herself to the limit of her personal endurance, and had hit a crossroads
In her own words “I created a trap for myself where I took that toxic environment that I had in the corporate world and created my own version. I was doing things that I was really excited about, but the problem was that I did not put any of me into any of that time.”
And so she stopped and assessed.
She made the difficult decisions that went against who she was, but knew would make her who she should be.
And now with a flourishing business, a wonderful home life and a smile that literally covers the whole of her face, isn’t she glad that she did just that.
But why did she leave a situation that she didn’t like, and recreate it step by step?
What made her decide that she had to reach out to others for help, to be able to help the people that she was so determined to provide support to?
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs in todays Free podcast, with the one and only Stephanie Calahan
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Stephanie Calahan such as:
How she decided the time had come to make her leap, when she realised that the values of her employer did not match that of her own!
How she now believes that she stayed in her miserable job for two years more than she needed, so as to remain loyal to the staff that she personally hired
How the only fear she felt in quitting her job, was what she would tell her friends and family!
The importance to her of doing a “Resentment Test” to any new work or opportunities that come her way
How it is integral to our success that we allow time of reflection and quietness to enter our busy lives!
How To Connect With Stephanie L Calahan
If you enjoyed this episode of Join Up Dots then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Ted Yoder, Sean Swarner or the amazing Alfie Best
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription of Stephanie Calahan Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello, bear world. Welcome to Episode 168 of Join Up Dots. And as intro man said at the beginning, yes, this is your blueprint for success. When we talked to the movers and shakers, the zig and zag is across the globe. And we find out that for most of them, they’re just like us. They are getting it going every day. They have stumbles, I have balls, I have trials and tribulations. And it’s the perseverance but generally wins out. And today’s guest is a lady who has a path that is so similar to many of us who are searching for a better way of living our lives. We’re in a job that we dislike and feel the ambition and drive to take control of our futures and go it alone. But what can it be like when you also have the burning passion to help the world find a better way of living to but you find that path but you know is right for you is actually destroying you little by little, your dreams ambitions are actually the very things that kick you in the teeth and stop you in your tracks. Well, our guest has been in corporate America and was used to hassling working extremely hard every day. And coming back for more again and again. It was what she did and what she knew. But after taking the leap of faith and setting up her own coaching business, helping clients and friends find the passions and path in life, she realised that she taken on it too much. So determined was she to make a huge difference. A body started closing down, she had pushed yourself to the limit about personal insurance and hit a crossroads. In our own words, I created a trap for myself where I took that toxic environment that I had in the corporate world, and created my own version, I was doing things that I was really excited about, but will be problem was but I did not put any of me into any of that time. And so she stopped and assessed. She made the difficult decisions that went against who she was, but new would make her who she should be. And now with a flourishing business, a wonderful home life and a smile but literally covers the whole of her face. Isn’t she glad that she did? Yes, bad. But why did she leave a situation that she didn’t like and recreate it step by step and what made her decide that she had to reach out to others for help to be able to help the people that she was so determined to provide support to? Well, as we normally do? Let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots. But one and only Stephanie Calahan, how are you, Stephanie?
Stephanie Calahan [2:41]
I couldn’t be better, David, and thank you so much for a wonderful introduction. It’s absolute pleasure.
David Ralph [2:47]
And it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show, because I’m going to cut to the chase. But we will sort of meander through your journey because that’s what we do on here. But when I was reading your background, I thought yeah, this is the kind of thing but I I think so many people do it isn’t a new storey is it is it’s it’s the desire to separate yourself from something that isn’t good. But because that’s all you know, you do kind of recreate it in a different environment. Did it shock you that you actually did that for yourself?
Stephanie Calahan [3:18]
Oh, it absolutely did. You know, I am a typically very driven, gold focused person. And when I created my own business, I had a really clear vision for what I wanted. So when I found out that I had created something that it modelled that vision, but not completely, it was a really, it was one of those blinding flashes of the obvious moments where you saw something totally differently than you had prior.
David Ralph [3:54]
And what was that blinding epiphany?
Stephanie Calahan [3:58]
Well, the blinding epiphany for me was that in 2009, I was told I wouldn’t see 2010. So it was it was pretty extreme in my case. And what I had done was, you know, I worked in the corporate space for many, many years and had a tremendous number of responsibilities and had chose to leave when that experience just no longer matched my values, the company had changed in my time there. And it was just really, it didn’t match me anymore. And so I decided to step out on my own. And when I did that, I was very conscious of what I wanted to create, I wanted my son to have the benefit of a stay at home mom, even though I wasn’t a stay at home, Mom, you know, I had some very clear goals in place. But I also had all these things that I didn’t have the capacity to do when I was in the corporate world that I wanted to do. And you know, looking looking back on it now I kind of laughed because I I tried to do it all at once. You know, I tried to do probably 10 years worth of things all within the space of three or four years. And I made myself sick, I take full responsibility for that. Now at the at the time, I didn’t see it clearly. But when I got really ill it, it was in that moment where I had to take a different look at what I was doing.
David Ralph [5:25]
Right. This is an interesting storey, and we can go off into many different directions. But what I want to do first of all is sort of take you back to that company that you were working for. But the values didn’t sort of match up with yours, because so many people and so many of our listeners will have that similar storey and I think it resonated with me. But I work for a company for 10 years, and I grew with the company. And then it got to a point where I thought, this isn’t the company I joined. Not that it was a bad thing, because basically corporate land has to develop and go into the different directions because he’s going to die out or but when the values didn’t match yourself personally, was that something that just crept up on you? Or were you pretty aware? from the word go? Was it a new manager that came in? Was it a different structure? How did that actually apply to you?
Stephanie Calahan [6:14]
So I was very, very conscious about the organisation that I chose to work with when I graduated from school. And when I graduated and got my degrees, and I had done a lot of research. And so the company I started working for I really believed in and I David, I actually thought I was going to retire from that organisation. You know, that was my original plan was how much I believed in that company. And I moved up in that organisation very quickly, to a point that by the time I left, I was managing a team of about, you know, anywhere from 250 to 300 people at any given point. The point where things started shifting is the company went from being a publicly held limited liability corporation to a privately held or private, or excuse me, a publicly traded company. And when they went from being private to public, a number of things in the operational structure of the business changed. They went from an organisation that was very people focused, that was very focused on making a difference overall, to a company that was more focused on the bottom line, largely like a lot of publicly traded companies. And so at in that period of time, I was being asked to do a number of things in relation to my staff, in relation to my clients, even in relation to myself, although I put that at the lowest end of my priorities at the time, that just didn’t match with who I was. And David, it was, it was so toxic for me at that time, and it wore on my conscious so much that I would physically get ill at work. And then you know, go back to work and do it again, I probably stayed there two years longer than I
David Ralph [8:04]
shut off. It’s fascinating because I’ve been in the same situation, as I say most of our listeners are in that same situation. But the bit that sort of jumped out at me was the fact that you are working for a company that you don’t really believe what they are doing. There’s a certain structure, hierarchy, values, whatever, that are changing, but you put yourself at the bottom, you were still taking the responsibilities and doing the job to your best of your ability, supporting your staff and, and playing the car, but they wanted you to have even though deep down you should have been looking after yourself first. You know, if you in a plane and the planes crashing, what happens you put your own mask on and then so everybody else. But when you in a corporate role, you’re so kind of frightened about letting people down or not looking as good as you used to do. But ultimately, it comes back to bite it, doesn’t it?
Stephanie Calahan [8:57]
Oh, absolutely. I mean, ice ice, like I said I stayed for probably two years longer than I should have. And my whole reasoning for staying was because I didn’t want to leave my team down. I was very blessed to have a team I worked for the largest account the firm had, that was my client. And so I was blessed to be able to cherry pick my staff. And so those 250 to 300 people were some of the best of the best in the firm. And I had kind of mentally put myself in this position of Saviour, which is silly. That’s not a position I should have put myself in. But but that’s where I was in thinking that if I left, what would happen to them? Did they
David Ralph [9:37]
feel that as well, when you used I imagine you used to go out for a drink in the evening and that kind of stuff? Did they sort of say to you, Stephanie, we know it’s going a bit so pear shaped here. As we say in the United Kingdom, it’s not as good as it used to be, we’re relying on you or was it’s just the fault that you built up into your head because you hired them that actually they were relying on you more than perhaps they were.
Stephanie Calahan [10:00]
So because of my position in the organisation. I was not allowed to share a number of things that I did with my staff. So for example, even though I had cherry picked my staff and had some of the best of the best in the firm, when it came time for reviews, all the sudden, there were instances where I was even though I had given the reviews, they earned a certain pay increase according to the documentation. Those that were higher in the organisational structure than me said, you know, no raises. And so what I chose to do was take my raise, and divided out among my staff so that they could have a raise. But that was something I wasn’t allowed to speak about. So there are a number of things that I did in the background that my staff was never aware of. probably still are.
David Ralph [10:51]
I’ll tell you what, Stephanie Calahan, if I ever have a boss, you’re the you’re the person for me.
Stephanie Calahan [10:57]
I’m not sure I do that again. I’ve learned some lessons that Yeah, you know, they were they were so brilliant and so good. And and that whole bell shaped curve of compensation just didn’t make sense. Because we we had stacked that team to begin with.
David Ralph [11:14]
So yeah, so when you did leave, and you sort of said to the team, actually, I’m going off leap of faith time I’m starting my own business. was their jaws dropped? Or was it just kind of Matter of fact, oh, yeah, we kind of expected you to be doing this.
Stephanie Calahan [11:29]
It was a little bit about the team was so large that you get a lot of different reactions. And I think that those that I reported to were very surprised because I was very vocal to them on how displeased I was with the way things were going. I don’t play politics well. So for those that I reported to, I was not necessarily their favourite by the time that I left. But those that reported to me, some of them weren’t surprised, because they saw me there all hours of the night, they saw me tired and drained, they saw that better than I did. And other people would joke and say my blood red and blue because our corporate colours were blue. So, you know, I guess the different people coming from different perspectives.
David Ralph [12:18]
And so you said you walk out of the office, and you go, right, what do I do? Or have you been transitioning? Have you been planning for what you were going to do when you walked out?
Stephanie Calahan [12:27]
So I started, you know, the two years there probably the last year there, I started playing with the idea of starting my own thing. And so I had one client, that was interesting, because I was working anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week. And then on the side, what side was left, I didn’t sleep, I was also working with this one client just to kind of prove concept a little bit. And it was a very little bit. And there was enough proof of concept in that, that I knew that it was better for me to leave this toxic environment and not have everything buttoned up than it would be to stay longer and try to get everything totally smooth out within a new business because the corporation continued to disintegrate in front of my eyes. And there was pain in that too. Because like I said, I I started with a organisation that I really believed in. So it was almost like living in a death of sorts of watching the company that I really believed in shift before my eyes,
David Ralph [13:34]
then that’s interesting as well, isn’t it? But although you walked out and you said I’ve had enough of this, there was still enough of your history to say I helped build this and I want to see it flourish.
Unknown Speaker [13:47]
Oh, absolutely. What kind of twisted
David Ralph [13:49]
individuals, aren’t we somehow? Is it really? Yeah, it really is. And I think part of what I had done because I I spent so much time I mean, you know, I’m a recovering workaholic now. So I spent so much time when I was in that corporate world, you know, I’d go to work before the sun came up. And I’d leave after the sun went down that let you know how much time I was actually there. That through the course of my time for working for that organisation, I had kind of started defining who I was in relation to the role I had there, versus who I really was holy Stephanie, that if you ever woke up in the City of London, I did it for years and years and years, you actually based around how many hours she did. And so if you were workings or six or seven hours extra a week, you were kind of all right. But if you were doing like 20 3040 hours extra week, when you was a member of staff at they wanted, now I look back on it, and I go, What the hell was I doing? If I if I can get the work done in nine to five time. But there’s something wrong is either that I’ve got too much work or not doing it in the right way. I don’t look at it as a badge of honour at all. But exactly as you did for years and years and years, I was up there at the crack of dawn and I’d work there too late at night, come home hardly eat, go to sleep, get up and do it again. And you never wanted to complain about the amount of work you had, in case they saw it as a weakness somehow. But really, but for all the listeners out there, and I say this because there must be thousands and millions of you all out there going to do these jobs where you’re in trays and never empty. And your manager is saying to you, you know, you’re not achieving your task, because bass and bass and you’re just fire fighting all the time. You know, it’s hard to do, but you really do actually have to put a hand up and say, hang on, this isn’t my problem. This isn’t the amount of work that I should be doing. This is the company’s problem. And you either need more staff, or you need more of a structure or you need better management or something. And I know it’s almost impossible to savour because myself and Stephanie probably wouldn’t have said it as well. But it is the truth isn’t is definitely if people have got too much to do, really, instead of discipline, knocking down and doing extra hours and putting the family life on hold. They should really put the hand up and say, hang on, something’s wrong here.
Stephanie Calahan [16:09]
Absolutely. You know what’s interesting, in my case, and this is where I say I incorrectly kind of played Saviour and you can’t see me I’m putting Saviour in quotes here because I put myself so far less that I would argue for my staff, that we needed more stuff, we needed to be able to budget as a firm larger to have more people on our team, because they were working really hard. And I’d put in more hours trying to make that happen. And I put my needs at the very, very bottom. But but there are many people that don’t work in that way. And if you can stand in your full authenticity, and you know, I mean you you always want to check and see, am I really being as effective as I can be because not everybody is as effective as they could be. So it’s good to do that check. But once you’ve done that check, and you can authentically say you know, I really do use my time quite effectively. And I still have more than any one person could do in the given the time that’s allotted. It’s it’s really good to have a heart to heart conversation with the person that could make a difference for that
David Ralph [17:17]
is a difficult question to actually pose to yourself, oh, isn’t it, you know, we all go to work. And we all swear blind that we’ve worked really 110% every single day. But then when you actually start analysing it, and you spent maybe another 10 minutes extra at the coffee machine, and then you was over here and you was talking to that person over at their desk. Actually the nuts and bolts of doing the work, probably for many people take second place. I had an epiphany when I read this book called the 8020 principle. And I assessed all my work and just bought, what is the company asking me to achieve? Just do that. And once I did fat, and it took me you know, quite a few weeks to actually narrow it down and get rid of all the stuff that I thought I should be doing but actually wasn’t sort of leading towards the end product that I actually realised. But in many areas, I wasn’t as effective as I would have said in my head or was until I actually did the audit. Do you think that so why is being Do you think do you think people should actually audit themselves? and be honest? Or do you think that colleagues should do it for them?
Stephanie Calahan [18:21]
Well, I really think that that depends on the personality of the person that we’re talking to. Some people are very, very good at being introspective, and looking at themselves and evaluating what’s going on other people because of their personality style, that’s just not something that’s as easy for them. So I’m suggest kind of a combination of the two. I mean, if you’re working in any kind of team environment, you have at least one or two relationships, that where you feel safe and having a conversation like that. So do the evaluation yourself, but then reach out to those people where you do feel safe having that conversation saying, Hey, what do you see? You know, what are the the things that I share with my clients all the time? Is it busy does not equal productive? And that ties exactly to what you’re talking about David with the 8020 rule, you know, just because you’re Go go go and doing and doing and doing all the time doesn’t really mean that that doing is getting the company or you to the right and point,
David Ralph [19:20]
do it do we need to do that kind of assessment on our personal life as well, because I remember reading this book, and it literally changed my corporate life. But actually, I still found that I wasn’t spending as much time with the family as perhaps I should have done. Where if we did, we were just watching Telly, where we could have actually been doing a bike ride or you know, going for a walk in the woods or those kind of actual quality time. Is it something that we should assess the whole structure of our lives?
Stephanie Calahan [19:48]
Oh, I think it can certainly benefit the beneficial. I mean, I know that when I when I did find out how ill I really was I did a review of 100% everything. But I not only did a review of what what I did you know those those news, those things that filled my calendar. But I also did a review of what is really important to me. You know, we go through life every day. And we have things thrown at us all the time. And sometimes we don’t stop to say what is truly important to me, what are my values? And am I putting my time in equal amounts towards what those values are? So I mentioned earlier that I you know, I wanted to build a business that had the structure in place where my son, which when I started my business, he was still in diapers, where my son had the benefit of stay at home mom, well, that’s because I grew up with a stay at home mom. And I knew there was a tremendous amount of value to, to me in recognising my own self worth in having help with school work in all those personal things that my mom was able to help me do because she didn’t work outside of the house. Yet, I also knew that I wanted to work outside of the house. So how could I establish a structure where my son had that loving attention. But I still had what I needed working outside of the house. And that was one example of me actually tying the personal and the business together. In my case, to make it something where I felt really good at the end of the day, that the right things were being focused on.
David Ralph [21:24]
So So you were setting off on the path, but you walked out of that office and you thought this is for me, I’m gonna love doing this. This is playing totally to my strengths.
Stephanie Calahan [21:35]
I did. I did. You know, it’s interesting that the walk on faith that we took, I left my job, my husband left his job, and we moved two and a half hour south with a toddler in tow. So we really did take a rather large leap of faith. And at that time, everything was flowing so smoothly for us even even in an economic time where homes weren’t selling and you know, they we’re difficult our homes sold in six days, for heaven’s sakes. It was unheard of and in multiple offers at that, you know, so they were enough. I don’t, I’m not somebody that usually uses the word signs. But for lack of a better word for today. That’s what all of us that, you know, there were enough indicators that we were making a good move, and we just have to continue moving forward with that plan.
David Ralph [22:23]
Well, let’s play the first about motivational speeches. And it’s a perfect time to bring this one on. This is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [22:30]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:56]
So that pretty much says how you felt at that time. Yeah.
Stephanie Calahan [23:01]
Oh, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I mean, I was getting physically ill in my work, why, you know, and, and, and I had a new son and I had a husband that I wanted to spend a lot more time with, why not take the chance. And and I’m very fortunate, I’m very blessed that I had a husband that was willing to support that. Not everybody does. But But in my case, I had someone in my life that was willing to support that decision. And so we went for it. And I, I do it all again.
David Ralph [23:33]
What are you scared? When you feel Wow, okay, I’m gonna do this? Or were you really have a belief that it was going to pan out by you?
Stephanie Calahan [23:42]
You know, it’s interesting. David, I’ve had a number of people ask me that recently. And I don’t, the only fear that I remember, wasn’t so much am I going to succeed? Or am I going to fail? It was how am I going to tell my friends and family about this? Because in my world, I was I was very well paid at a company that had unbelievably good benefits. I travelled all over the place, you know, people thought I was in this really exotic cut type of job, and how in the world to walk away from that is she nuts. And I grew up in a family that was a family of employees, I didn’t grow up in a family of entrepreneurs. And it takes a whole different mindset. So I think the biggest fear I had stepping out, at least initially, was how am I going to tell my friends and family that I’m going to do this. It’s interesting, I never had any kind of fear and talking to my husband about it, I guess he was living with me and knew what I was going through and knew that he would support me. And there were friends and family that thought I was crazy. When you’re leaving a sure thing to go for what and with with heart to heart conversation, I was able to tell them what was really going on, and what was really on my heart. And even though they were still kind of shaking their heads and weren’t really sure, they were there to support me as well.
David Ralph [25:00]
Strange, isn’t it, but you still use that word, a sure thing. But really nowadays, I would say that the risky route is becoming an employee, really, if you can actually create a business. And I know you put incredible amount of hours in and you work hard, and you never know if it’s going to pan out until it pans out. But once you can create your own income main, you are actually safe, that is the shore thing. And that’s the kind of message that I’m trying to get over to my younger kids, my nine year old and my 12 year old, but when they come out of the education system, work really hard while you’re there, but don’t think the job is the thing that you’ve got to get. What you got to get is something that you love doing and will pay you and whether that’s you creating your own income or something else, make sure that that’s the important thing that you focus on.
Stephanie Calahan [25:48]
I absolutely agree. And I have similar conversations with my son, who’s now 13. And what’s interesting. The other reason I’m so glad that we took that leap of faith is that in watching him grow up, he has soaked in a lot of what I’ve done, when he was really, really little he was, you know, around when I was having conversations with my clients, so it’s kind of funny at 13, he will now play back to me some of my coaching phraseology. I’m like, Wow, he was listening when I didn’t think he was. So there’s there’s these indirect impacts to my family as as well. And in terms of, you know, what’s a sure thing and what’s not a sure thing? Gosh, know what everything is a risk at this point. So then it’s about what kind of strategy can you put in place to mitigate that risk, and still make it something that you just love to do. I mean, I I’m so lucky, because I get to talk to people like you and do these interviews, I get to work with clients that I can honestly say, I love them. And, you know, that’s, that makes the work that I do so much more fulfilling, because I, I like them, and I love them. And the work we do, and the work that they do then ultimately changes other people’s lives. And so it lights me up and why, you know, to think about if I was still back in that corporate world, I’d be such a different person.
David Ralph [27:14]
But that’s the key thing is know your your love your clients in a way, Stephanie, it’s almost like you care too much. And ultimately, that what that sort of brought you down, didn’t it that you were trying to do far too much, not just too quickly, but really providing huge amount of value, because you wanted your clients to think that you will the best thing since sliced bread and you probably wanted to feel about yourself, not just to justify yourself personally, but justify to your company, but you left but you weren’t making a mistake, and you’re going on to bigger and better things.
Stephanie Calahan [27:49]
You know, it’s there’s there’s that. And then there’s also just simply overcommitment because it was so excited about the work that I was doing. And I was so excited about all these different organisations I was being introduced to, I was not only the mother of a very young son, I was also on a number of different boards, because I had been raised to believe that if you were a part of something, and it wasn’t going the way he wanted, then you should be the change versus complaining about what needs to change. And so I got on the board of a lot of different organisations. And I did read crisis counselling, and I did child advocacy work in the court system. So I was doing the work of probably three or four people while trying to grow a business, which is just craziness. You know, I look back at it now and say how in the world did I survive as many years as I did, you know, in creating that, but it but it was because there was so I wanted to give and so much and and what I learned through that period where I was ill and David when I was ill, I went from helping many, many, many people in different capacities, whether it was my clients, my family, my community, to being told Stephanie, you have to quit. And when they say quit, they meant everything. So I went from being amazingly over active to someone that the bare minimum was two or three clients and taking care of my family. And it was some of the hardest conversations I ever had, when I had to contact these organisations that I really believed in and say, I’m sorry, I can’t help you anymore. And it was like that for me for well over a year and a half as my body gotten better and got healthy. And it was a very humbling experience. And but it was also a very fortunate experience, because then I had the quiet to actually listen to myself, for the first time.
David Ralph [29:46]
This is this is the gold isn’t a miss bit to hear where you actually Yeah, because I hear that so many times that the real successful people keep on telling me that every morning they spend like half our with nothing con just welding clothes on. But but no Telly or no radio on or anything else just sitting there thinking. And I used to think that was kind of madness, really, I used to think I’ll just get up and go off and do stuff and be productive. But they swear blind, but you need to have those moments to actually reflect on those thoughts that because of pace of life can’t quite get out because you’re not allowing to get out. And that is the sort of the nuggets of gold, but your your personal body is showing you what you should do. So you feel about the quietness is so important as you progress.
Stephanie Calahan [30:35]
It is the number one best change that I made. And I had to make a lot of changes in my life. After all of that. I still have quiet time scheduled both in the morning and at night. I’m very, very strategic, because of my particular illness, I have to now probably forever, be very conscious about my energy level. And you can tell when I’m having these conversations, I’m really engaged, I have energy in my my conversation, I’m not a monotone person. But that does drain my system. And so I have to be very calculated and very thought thoughtful about what I schedule into my day. And those quiet times are the times that allow me to be very smart about what I’m choosing to put into my day for my personal life, for my business life for the work that I do with my community. And and and it’s completely changed the way that I work with my clients. Because my clients are frequently workaholics or wanting to be recovering workaholics just like I was and there’s a you know, I found that the slower I got, the faster my business grew. And that’s just counterintuitive.
David Ralph [31:49]
Explain that. Why Why was that the case.
Stephanie Calahan [31:53]
So it goes back to the conversation we had earlier about you can be busy all the time and not be productive. Especially when you’re starting a new business or even for seasoned business owners. There’s so many different, quote experts or gurus that are out there saying, Oh, you need to do this, or you need to do that, oh, you need to do this, or you need to do that. And it’s really, really easy to get caught up in thinking that you need to do it all, in order for your business to be successful. What I found is that we can try to do it all. And this isn’t new news, when you try to do it all, you can’t be a master at any of it. And so what I ultimately ended up doing, again, going back to that doing an assessment, I’ve looked at what was the most effective for my business and got rid of all the rest. And that’s something that can make a lot of people really scared. What if I let go of the wrong thing? What if that one technique that one business strategy that I don’t do anymore was the thing that’s going to rock it my business. But what I found and what I help my clients figure out as well is when you have a few strategies that are fully aligned to who you are. And you do those really well, then your business is going to grow. You don’t have to be running around frantic every day, proving how busy you are to equal how good you are. You can be good, you can be valuable, and you can be enough and still be rested, and still have time for family and still have time for the other things that are important in your life without being frantic.
David Ralph [33:34]
I agree with that. Totally. When I started this this show I was doing I was doing stupid hours I really was and most of it was, but I didn’t really know how to do it. So everything was taking three times as long. And the fact that I set up on a daily show with just me and no one else sort of helps me it’s always me doing everything was a big ask. But now because I know it’s so well. And I know the things that are working and the things that aren’t I can just not pay attention to the stuff that really doesn’t bring any benefit to me. And I’m getting a lot more free time. And people say to me now how are you doing it? How are you running a daily show all on your own? And it’s just that I’ve got good at it. I suppose I’ve just got good at it. I’ve streamline things, I’ve got some processes in place, I automate certain things. And you can build yourself a business where you are closest to the door nowadays, can’t you with sort of virtual assistants and technology and different things? I was playing with this thing the other day Stephanie, and it blew my mind. Have you seen IFTTT on the internet?
Unknown Speaker [34:39]
Yes, I have.
David Ralph [34:40]
Isn’t that fantastic? It’s brilliant in it. I can’t think of enough things to make this thing work. But for the listeners out there, if you haven’t heard of it, it stands for if this if this VAT then or if
Stephanie Calahan [34:55]
this was it. Yeah, If This Then That
David Ralph [35:00]
back, so you’re better at it than me. And you basically can programme the internet, which kind of blows my mind that you can actually do this, to have certain triggers. So if one thing happens, something else happens. So if you find yourself doing sort of social media, for example, and you’re having to post at a certain time, you set up the internet on these programmes to actually do it. And it will pretty much be like a virtual assistant, but you don’t have to pay and just runs 24 hours a day is amazing, isn’t it?
Stephanie Calahan [35:30]
It really is, you know, and the people that look at it sometimes can get a little overwhelmed at first, because there are so many different things that you can do with that particular tool. But what’s beautiful and important to understand is that any tool is amazing for you when you use it, and is worthless if you don’t. So pick one thing, get it going, and then revisit and pick one more thing, you don’t have to do it all at once. And that’s how you can make that technology to really rock for you.
David Ralph [36:02]
So knowing what you know, and what your business needs to run, what kind of internet resource would you have taken back in time with you to the beginning? What What do you use now over time that you just go wow, if I’d known this when I first started, I definitely be using this all the time.
Stephanie Calahan [36:19]
The software that I just absolutely adore that started saving me hours and hours and time is an all in one marketing solution called Infusionsoft. Before Infusionsoft, I tried to marry a number of different computer systems together and tried to get them to talk to each other. And it was just never smooth. It was it was there was always some kind of cog in the wheel that I was having to go and research and try to figure out and, and I’m a geek, I mean, I one of my degrees is computer science. So the techie stuff doesn’t intimidate me. But it was a time drag significantly. And infusion soft helped me get it all in one system, so that I wasn’t having to try to get different things to talk to each other.
David Ralph [37:06]
And what would you say because I imagine a lot of our listeners are going to sort of reach over and see what it is I imagine it’s something that you have to pay for, would it be money well spent for somebody who’s starting a new business?
Stephanie Calahan [37:18]
I think my suggestion would be to least get your baseline business going. Because it it is a fairly significant investment. But I’ll also say that I wish I would have invested in it sooner, because since it is all in one. And since there’s so many ways for you to be able to truly communicate with your audience, it actually helped me build my business. And so the thing that I did that I encourage my clients to do if they’re considering jumping on this software, is I suggest that you come up with some kind of strategy, where you are building a programme or a process that can help pay for the software. So for example, when I finally did decide to switch over to Infusionsoft, I said, Okay, so what kind of investment Do I need to have this software for a year? And then what can I put in place that will bring in that kind of money to be able to cover it so that I net even? And then anything after that was pure profit?
David Ralph [38:20]
That is a simple, isn’t it, but very difficult as well, because I know so many of our listeners will be, you know, just dipping their toe into online marketing and affiliate programmes and things like that. So it sounds very easy if you’ve done that, but it’s also is almost a leap of faith again, if you’ve never done that. So how would you suggest that somebody can suddenly create income that will provide for expenses that they didn’t have three weeks ago?
Stephanie Calahan [38:49]
help more people. And I know that sounds really cheesy, but here’s the thing, there are people out there that don’t have business cards that don’t have websites that don’t have fancy software, that are making money, because they know what they’re good at. And they know how to help people. And they joined the two together. So my real suggestion, if you’re just starting out new is get good at sales, get good at listening, you’re good at communicating, get good at understanding the true pain that people are in, and then how you can help them eliminate that pain that’ll grow your income faster than anything else.
David Ralph [39:29]
You seem to be a lady who is totally in the right place. Now. Yeah, did you feel that? Do you feel like it’s all come together for you now?
Stephanie Calahan [39:39]
It really does. You know, now I’m a I’m a continuous improvement type of person. And I love to learn. So there’s always more things that I want to do. But in terms of peace of mind with where I am and what I’m doing. Yeah. Oh my gosh, yeah.
David Ralph [39:54]
And what’s the number one, just that you’re allowing me time you’re you’re allowing yourself to work at a performance level that is suitable for yourself.
Stephanie Calahan [40:06]
I think that’s that’s definitely high on the list. I think the number one word that comes to mind is alignment. And I’ve said it before here in some people may know what I’m talking about, and 79. So let me try to explain that a little bit. Before in my corporate life, and early on, when I started my business, I said yes to everything, because I just wanted to make money. You know, if somebody wanted to work with me, okay, if somebody wanted me to try out this programme, okay. And, and I didn’t necessarily check against its alignment to my business, my business goals and who I was. And so my number one thing that I do, and I teach my clients how to do this, too, is I, I call and I do what I call a resentment test. And that is any new opportunity, any new idea, any change that’s coming about, I get really, really quiet. And I actually sit with kind of my hands on my heart and my eyes closed, because I’m a very visual person. And when I try to think of things with my eyes, open my eyes distract me with all the other things that are going on. So I found that if I close my eyes, I can really tune into myself better. And so I close my eyes and I think about this opportunity. And I say Do I have any resentment? If I said yes to this, would I have any feeling of resentment about that? Now resentment for me typically shows and some kind of sick to my stomach or my neck will get kind of tense. And so I tuned into my body as well as I’ve learned how to do that. It’s kind of I’m a I’m a a woo woo person, and I’m very analytical logical strategy person at the same time, I’m an interesting mix. And so I do both. And when I do this resentment test, if I feel any kind of resentment, then I’m looking back at it saying, okay, can anything change with this particular situation so that I feel no resentment. And that goes to who I make offers to work with, that goes to what kind of software I might invest in, that goes to what kind of classes I might purchase, so that I can feed that love of learning new things. And once I started, practising doing that resentment test, on the things that came into my life, I found that I was, and then I honoured it, you know, if it came up, this just really doesn’t feel right, then I didn’t do it. I honoured that in me. And what that’s allowed me to do is have space for all these things that I do feel great about doing. And it sounds really simple. But so many of us are programmed and are trained over the course of our lives, to just take what’s coming at us that we don’t take that time to ask ourselves, well, how do I really feel about this?
David Ralph [42:52]
I’m about I can’t, I didn’t realise I had a similar approach. But I have an excitement test, I suppose. If something comes to me, and I think Yeah, I fancy that I’ve been I’ll do it. And if somebody comes along, and I think oh, no, Ben, I don’t and that it’s pretty much well, and since I’ve been doing this show, to begin with, I wasn’t getting a sniff of any opportunity. It was just me not pushing it out. But recently over the last maybe 4050 shows, suddenly, I’m getting people coming to me going, would you like to do this? Would you like to do that. And I couldn’t make a fortune. And I know my family would love me to be sort of making a fortune. But I look at it. And I think I can’t be bothered, I don’t really fancy doing that. And so if it doesn’t sort of spark my interest, I’m not doing it at all. Even though I know that I’m literally turning down a life changing amount of money every month. It’s just not worth it. And I think I’m going to hold true to that. So that’s the same approach that you’ve got, although you go for like the the negative the resentment, and I go to the excitement.
Stephanie Calahan [43:56]
And I think here’s, here’s the difference for me, I I found and the reason I went to resign, it was because I found I got excited over too many things. Because I could because I’m I one of my blessings is seeing the potential in stuff. And so I could see the potential in a lot of things. And the resentment test has been doing a little bit more of an honesty check for me and the type of person that I am of Okay, based on what you know, right now. And based on what’s lying out there. Is there anything that could be kind of funky about this? Even though Stephanie, I know you see the potential? And and and that’s what shifted it for me. You know, I have a lot of people that will be on interviews, and even clients asked me Well, how do you handle working with difficult clients? And, and I laugh because, David, I haven’t worked with a difficult client since at least 2006. Because of this resentment test, because I get really honest with myself and say, How do I think it will play out working with this particular person? I’ve talked with them enough to know who they are and what they’re about and the problems that they have, you know, how, how is this person’s being the way they act, their energy, whatever word you want to use? You know, how do you think that’s going to play out Stephanie, and any if I have any kind of like Elmo kind of feeling? I don’t go for it. Because that way, when there’s no resentment, and I really can say, I love the clients that I’m working with, I don’t have to worry about difficult clients and all the strategies around what you have to do when you have them.
David Ralph [45:30]
Well, I suppose this whole conversation could be classes at 20 again, isn’t it? Right? Right, you’re looking at the clients about work well with you, you work well with them and brings maximum results, or those awful clients, but they phoning you up all the time. You’re chasing around, you’re trying to do everything and you’re giving them 80% of your time, but 20% reward just don’t have the first case.
Unknown Speaker [45:55]
David Ralph [45:57]
So what if you really did go back because what we Join Up Dots, obviously, and we’re going to bring Steve Jobs on a moment for his his speech that he made back in 2005. If you look back at your life, there seems to be many different dots. That’s what makes up a life. But to me, the illness that you’ve had, you’ve had and you’re still sort of dealing with seems to me to be a great thing, although that’s bizarre because it’s an illness and nobody wants but it seems to be the wake up call that has really made you find your place. Do you feel that? Or would you say there’s something else in your life that you would go, that’s my big dot, that’s when Stephanie really found what she should be doing? And how she should be doing it?
Stephanie Calahan [46:38]
In terms of what I’m doing and how I should be doing it. Yeah, I absolutely agree. And even what’s interesting is, even in the moment when I was really ill, I looked for lessons. So it’s interesting, because I didn’t fall into that was me, why is this happening to me state, I took it at the beginning of Okay, there’s something I’m missing. I’ve been hit with a brick to say Stephanie opened up, pay attention. And I decided to actually listen and pay attention. And in. So it really was a very good thing that happened to me. Do I wish it hadn’t happened? Well, yeah, I wish I could have learned those lessons in a slightly less catastrophic way. But But I’m still glad that it happened. I, I interact with my family differently. Now I interact with my community differently. Now, I interact with my clients differently. Now. There are things that prior to the illness, I would have held back, you know, if I had been in a conversation, I would have censored myself. I don’t know, because life is so precious. And and I got to a point, you know that that line where you saw wow, you know, what will I miss? If I if I don’t see 2010. And life is just way, way, way too precious tonight, not say what needs to be said. And so the work that I do and how I do it is significantly different now because I don’t hold back when something needs to be said I still say it with love. But my clients have really fast transformations because of it, too.
David Ralph [48:16]
So are you really the young girl that you was when he was an eight year old now? Are you the person that’s closer to your authentic self?
Stephanie Calahan [48:25]
Oh, I’m definitely closer to my authentic self, I think I still have, I think I still have work to do to get 100% authentic Stephanie, because I spent so many years training myself not to be. But I’m probably about 90% I wouldn’t bet of being fully fully me. And I’ll continue to explore that.
David Ralph [48:45]
Because there is a danger. I’ve spoken about this many times. But people become so authentic, but they actually become a caricature of themselves. And people expect them to operate in a certain way. And I think I was guilty about when I worked in an office by expected me to be a certain way. So I played up to it every single day. But you you’re just doing things that actually feel right to you what you should do. That’s right, that’s definitely. And there’s no question. It’s who you are.
Stephanie Calahan [49:13]
I, I spent many, many years David being a chameleon. From the time that I was young, I was the good daughter, I was the good student, I was the good employee, you know, being good, was important to me, I didn’t want to disappoint. So I was never not me. But I was always the version of me that I thought somebody else wanted me to be. Today, I approach that very differently. So even when I have conversations with, say, a prospective client that’s thinking about maybe working with me, I can really transparent in that very initial conversation and say, Okay, here’s what working with me is going to be like, they’re going to be times are going to tell you things that you’re not going to like at all. And there’s going to be times that I asked you to think about things that you them blocking, and you’ve been avoiding. And I’m going to have you do it anyway, you know, and I will try to talk them out of working with me by telling them, I’m not going to try to be a chameleon for you. I’m going to come at this from the best that I know with the skills that I have and with the intuition that I use. And we’re going to work this together as a partnership. But I’m not going to more for you. And the clients that really resonate with that hire me and the people that that scares them, they don’t
David Ralph [50:32]
that doesn’t anything scare you Bono.
Stephanie Calahan [50:35]
I think probably one of my underlying fears is still ice, I say I’m a recovering workaholic for a reason, just like recovering alcoholics will will say they’re always in recovery mode, I will always have this tendency, because I get excited about things, I will always have this tendency to get excited about something and get so deep into it that I lose myself in. And so I think one of my bigger fears is that I would allow myself to do that, again to where I get myself really sick. And so the which is what happened the first time, right, I don’t want to repeat that. And so I’ve put a number of different things in place with with people that love me, that can say, hey, Stephanie, you’re starting to slide. And I’ve allowed that to happen. So that I don’t let that fear actually come true. But it is still something that plays in the back of my mind.
David Ralph [51:30]
I think you’ve got it all nailed down, Stephanie, I really do. But let’s listen to the words of a gentleman who really had it nailed down and did some amazing things in the world. This is Steve Jobs. And he made a speech back in 2005. And he’s got huge resonance with so many people’s I’m very interested to see whether it plays out for you as well. This is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [51:50]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [52:25]
How did those words make you feel? Do you think they’re true to you?
Stephanie Calahan [52:30]
Oh, they’re absolutely true to me. I’ve actually shared that speech in a blog post on my own blog. It’s, it’s interesting, if we are open enough to looking at our history, to see how it all connects together. I mean, even if you look at my degrees in college, I ended up in college for five years. Again, because I’m a long term learner, I’m interested in a lot of different things. And I ended up with a degree in human resources in marketing and a degree in colour, Peter science and kind of a subset of studies in psychology. And you look at those three areas and go Hmm, What’s she going to do with that. And at the time, I had counsellors that told me, Stephanie, you know, you’re never going to use all of this just graduate already. But what’s amazing is even with all of that I use all of that in the work I do today, the work that I did when I was in the corporate space, and I learned how to resolve conflict, and I learned how to work with a number of different people on a team. And I, you know, I and I learned a number of different things in that experience, while the end part wasn’t so good, the beginning and middle were fantastic. And I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from that time. And I use all of that in the work that I do today. My my illness and the subsequent learning that I had from that made me completely alter how I communicate and interact with people. And I’m much more transparent. I think, you know, back in the day, I never would have wanted to talk about my mistakes. And and that’s largely what we’ve talked about on this show today. You know, I feel that being transparent and sharing my storey allows other people to learn from my experiences. So yeah, all those dots Connect for me.
David Ralph [54:13]
So So what do you think but so many people don’t go for those words, that they’re in situations that they don’t like they’re in jobs that they don’t like, and where we’re saying to them that no experience is wasted. Take what you’ve learned and move on and try different things and go around wrong corners and open wrong doors, but keep on moving forward. People are kind of stuck. And I’m able to even get that that inertia, that momentum going.
Stephanie Calahan [54:40]
So whether they’re stuck in a corporate space, or whether they’re self sabotaging in a business they’ve got today, I think the reasoning remains the same is that what we know, we know, what we don’t know is scary. And in our subconscious mind is continually in a state of trying to keep us safe. And what we know is safer than what we don’t know. And so whether whether you’re in a job that is just not working for you, or whether you’re like I was and you created a business model that just didn’t didn’t work for you. And Gosh, now what do I do, because now I’ve stepped out and I’ve started a business and it’s not working for me, you know, those are scary things. And I think your show is fantastic. Because people can hear these different experiences and hear about how the dots join up and get some inspiration to be able to honour themselves. And I think that’s what was really critical for me is I had to step up and say I was worth it. I had to step up and say even though this might be difficult for other people in my life, even though this might be scary for me, I deserve more. And that’s not an ego thing. That’s just a I’m a human being on this planet, and I have value thing. And everybody listening to your show does too. It’s just sometimes we forget that. And that leaves us stuck in positions that we’re unhappy about.
David Ralph [56:06]
So before I send you back home, a now time machine to have a one on one with yourself on the Sermon on the mic, as opposed to last question is do you think that everyone out there can have a kick ass life?
Stephanie Calahan [56:19]
I really do. I really do. I think, you know, kick ass life is defined so differently by so many different people. I was on a show the other day, where we talked about creating a lifestyle business. And the host was kind of aggressive with me to begin with. He’s like, Oh, you teach people how to live a lifestyle business, you know, rich and famous and yachts and boats and planes. And I’m like, Well, you know, that’s not what my life looks like. Because that’s not what my lifestyle business is. When when you get really clear and honest with yourself about what’s important to you. That’s the first step clarity is the first step. And then you get the right resources in place. If you don’t know how to do it. There’s all kinds of resources all over the globe, whether it’s internet based, or whether it’s in your local area that can help you figure it out. But the first step is being really clear on what your kick ass awesome life is.
David Ralph [57:15]
So define it, and then go and get it spelled out spot on. I’m going to play the tune now. And this is the end of the show. And I really don’t want to show to finish but this is the Sermon on the mic. And if we could send you back in time, like we’re going to, what kind of conversation would you like to have with your younger self? And what age would you choose? So I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it fades, Europe, this is the Sermon on the mic
with the best of the show the Sermon on the Mount.
Stephanie Calahan [58:04]
Hi, Stephanie, this is your older Stephanie, talking to Stephanie, that’s in her 20s. And just starting on her career, and it’s good to see you again. And I want to let you know how brilliant you really are, that you accomplish a tremendous number of things in your career that you’re just starting out on. But I also want you to know that you don’t have to do things that don’t feel right for you. And you don’t have to believe that working and working and working is something that proves your value. Because you’re valuable right now, I would encourage you to look at everything that you do, Stephanie, and eliminate the stress as best as you possibly can. You’re working in a corporate space. So there’s always going to be these instances where they’re stressed. But there’s also instances where you can be true to who you are, and stand up for those things. And I want to encourage you to do that. And I’d also like to encourage you to really take stock in where you’re spending your time. I know that right now you’re going to work before the sun comes up, and you’re leaving work after the sun goes down. And that you’re feeling a tremendous amount of guilt when you leave if the sun’s even out. But I want to tell you, that’s not natural, it’s not healthy. And then it’s totally okay for you to enjoy life fully with your family, with your friends, and build those relationships, and still do a really good job for the organisation that you work for, and for the people that you work with. And I’d encourage you to be true to yourself in everything you do within that organisation. And when the time is right to leave, go ahead and take that leap. Because you can do it. There’s support systems there for you. There are people there that love you that will lift you up that you didn’t even know were there. And I love you. And you’re going to do great.
David Ralph [1:00:16]
Definitely, how can our audience connect with you?
Stephanie Calahan [1:00:20]
My website is Stephanie Callahan calm, and Kalin is spelled with one L. Little different that way. And if you go to my site, you’ll see in the upper right I am connected on Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus and LinkedIn and Susan’s loser different ways. So I would love to connect with you. I’m actually one of those people that does have a conversation on social media, I certainly share a lot I publish a lot on social media. But if you reach out to me and start a conversation, I’m going to be thrilled to talk to you and meet you. So whether you’re commenting on my blog or reaching to me in that way, or you know, if you want to have a conversation on the phone set up a time for us to talk as well.
David Ralph [1:01:00]
Stephanie, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Stephanie, thank you so much.
Stephanie Calahan [1:01:14]
Thank you for having me on. This is a fantastic show.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free. And we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [1:01:43]
Yes, hello there. Do you know during the show, I was looking through the iTunes reviews that everyone’s left. Oh, I’ve had some amazing ones. Well, every single one is amazing. They’re all five star. Why will they not be five star? Because it’s a five star show. But I haven’t seen one from you. Someone said Is it is it me? Please tell me Is it me? Well, if it’s just an oversight, please make amends by going over to iTunes and looking for Join Up Dots with David Ralph. And if you could find a few moments to leave a five star rating and review our it be absolutely amazing. And it will really push my show further up the rankings and make it more of a show that I want to deliver to you on a daily basis. So if you could do that, thank you so much. And I tell you what, I might even come and mow your lawn this Sunday.