Episode 142: Power Your Business Profits With These Key Steps, with Susie Carder

Thank you for listening to our Finding Brave show, ranked in the Top 100 Apple Podcasts in Careers!

“Most people get stopped by fear, and fear leads you to believe that where you are right now is a safe place and going forward is a risk. The truth is, you’re always at risk when you’re standing still. It’s a risk of stagnating, but more importantly, a risk of missing out on your own destiny.” – Susie Carder 

If you’re in business you know that profit is key, which is why I’m so excited to share this conversation on the podcast. Today’s Finding Brave guest is an expert at helping people generate revenue and maximize profit, and she is here to share how it is not hard to build a 7-figure business. In fact, she says that wealth is your birthright! There is a roadmap and system to achieve it though, and in this episode she reveals the steps to start you on the process of building and growing your own profitable business. 

Susie Carder started out as a low paid hairdresser trying to support her 2 little girls. But working for someone else became a challenge (to say the least). So she decided to do whatever it took to create her own business. After much blood sweat and tears (mixed with cheap mascara) she went on to create, not one, but two $10 Million companies!

Susie’s core genius is the ability to simplify complicated issues by creating simple, proven systems that are guaranteed to create dramatic growth for any company. She has helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs increase their revenues by more than 3000% and worked with top business moguls including John Assaraf, Lisa Nichols, Steve Harvey, Doug Carter, and Paul Mitchell.

Her newest book (number 10), Power Your Profits: How to Take Your Business from $10,000 to $10,000,000 is a bulletproof start-to-finish plan for taking your business from startup mode to multimillion!

As Susie reveals, during your entrepreneurial journey you must hold fear in one hand and courage in the other – and then jump. Along the way down miracles will happen in your business, and you will be on your way to becoming the most powerful you – while living your highest potential.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What’s really holding a lot of business owners back from achieving exponential growth [5:23]

  • Susie’s own money story growing up, and the biggest lessons she’s learned about making money [7:35]

  • The very first thing she does when working with a brand new client to help set the person on the path to profitability [11:34]

  • Why more isn’t better better when it comes to the products and services that you offer [14:13]

  • Why you need to determine your highest income-producing activity, and then the steps to take after knowing what it is [15:40]

  • The best way to discover your calling, and what to focus on instead of money [22:04]

  • A breakdown of Susie’s roadmap to achieve profitability, and how to start getting “from the struggle bus to the prosperity bus” [27:41]

  • Why business owners resist selling, plus the other ways that fear is often keeping us from becoming our highest self [30:23]

For More Information:







Resources Mentioned: 

Order my new book The Most Powerful You today!

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK (avail January 1, 2021), click here.

If you enjoy the book, thank you in advance for leaving us a 5-star rating and positive review on Amazon!

Subscribe to Kathy’s weekly newsletter at https://kathycaprino.com for book updates, free offers and giveaways, free webinar training, and more. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out!

Other Resources Mentioned:

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey & Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Video Training Course on Udemy

Susie’s Latest Book, Power Your Profits: How to Take Your Business from $10,000 to $10,000,000 (With Bonuses) & Her Other Works                                          

LivePlan & Business Power Tools

Become a Sponsor!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Finding Brave, we’d love to hear from you! Please write to info@kathycaprino.com with your proposal and for more information.


“The reality is you have a really expensive hobby if you’re doing what you love, your passion, but you’re not making the money that you need to make.” [5:42]

“I like to take the complicated things and simplify them so we can really wrap our mind around it. How many qualified leads do we need to get to close a sale?” [12:37]

“You do want to have multiple income streams, but you want to look at the highest income-producing activity to start with.” [14:38]

“I want you to stop selling your programs and services, and start selling the result.” [16:52]

“You’ve got to really love what you do. The thing I find is people’s self-worth doesn’t match what their goals are. So your net worth will only go as high as your self-worth.” [17:40]

“The more access they have to you, the more intimacy they have with you, the higher the price point should be.” [33:08]

Sponsor Highlight!  

I’m thrilled to share that Audible.com is a sponsor of Finding Brave! Take advantage of their great special offer of one FREE book of your choice with a 30-day FREE membership trial! And feel free to keep the book even if you cancel the membership. Click here to sign up for your free book! http://www.audibletrial.com/FindingBrave

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave interview episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my Youtube channel at YouTube.com/kathycaprino. And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show! 


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Key Changes Leaders Need To Make Now To Help Their Organizations Thrive

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Supporting Today’s Workforce”

Errol Gardner: Over the past 6 months of remote work, we have solved for or adapted to many of the challenges that initially arose– technical, logistical, getting the right people connected with their clients and internally there are still some unavoidable challenges. Our younger staff may not have as much space at home to work effectively and those with young children or with home schooling, may have a harder time committing to a predictable work pattern. At this moment, we and our clients have a degree of stability when it comes to working remotely—which underscores our human resiliency and ability to work in a dynamic state.

In a way, remote work has eased some work burdens for us. In the past, you had to find a way to physically be in the same place or be prepared to lose intimacy through a phone call. Now, the norm is to take video calls allowing us to see people’s facial expressions and respond accordingly. By doing so, you can broadly emulate what happens in most face-to-face situations, particularly if you have an existing relationship with the person and can understand their body language.

I think the biggest challenge we are facing is managing new relationships. So far, we have adapted many of our existing working relationships both internally and with clients to function virtually and many continue to thrive. However, over the next 6 to 12 months we will have new hires, new managers and managees to connect. This type of relationship building—forming trust and ultimately teaming is what will be hardest to achieve in the virtual world. When we meet in person, we spend the first few interactions getting to know each other’s personality and working style. We develop bonds and collaborate with a level of trust that will be difficult to replicate from a solely virtual starting point.

Caprino: How can leaders overcome those challenges, and helping remote employees and teams collaborate closely and thrive?

Gardner: As social creatures, humans still crave connection and friendship, even at work. Making time for virtual games or team bonding exercises is still important when remote in order to form those connections. Various studies tell us that a large proportion of an individual’s behavior is driven by their manager, so it is important to maintain those relationships.

Moving forward, depending on government guidelines, it will be important for us to come together again and invest time in our teams to the extent that it is safe. I feel that once a month or once a quarter it’s important to make time to get everyone in the same location—perhaps outside given the challenges of the pandemic, to build a baseline that is needed to continue the momentum of working remotely.

Caprino: Talk about great leaders who are tackling the tough conversations we need to have today, about issues that are at the forefront of people’s minds. What are leaders doing well and not so well, in helping people feel heard and understood?

Gardner: The hallmark of a good leader is deep listening and transparent communication. If you look at various studies that are created its often the case that only a small percentage of employees think that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization. So, in regards to the pandemic, those leaders that shared information across their company, prepared offices and individuals to face the challenges ahead but then also took a step back to listen to their employees’ needs were the organizations that have adapted more quickly in these challenging times.

Now more than ever, making conversations accessible about mental health is vital. At EY, we have put a focus on investing and making sure we have the right facilities available to support people if they’re struggling with the impacts of working in this kind of environment, or if they have experienced Covid-19 first hand or through their family.

Another conversation at the forefront globally is the racial unrest and inequity we are all grappling with. Companies who addressed the issues head on and made organizational commitments to being anti-racist are faring the best. At EY, for instance, leaders in the US and globally came together to take a stance, contributing $3M to organizations fighting social injustices and $4M to HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and evaluating internal talent and business processes to further advance equity across race. Organizations need to articulate clearly what they think is right and what they cannot support.

For leaders across all organizations, it is important to host listening events to hear the lived experiences and injustices colleagues have faced. Some experiences happen within the work environment and exposing those to the highest level of leadership does allow real and genuine change to develop.

Caprino: How important is it today that leaders do what is necessary to move managers out of the organization who are toxic, narcissistic, abusive or otherwise harmful to the culture?

Gardner: If a manager is not aligned with the values of an organization and is stifling the growth of their colleagues, it should be a quick decision to remove them. Increasingly, there is recognition among leaders that a candidate’s fit with organizational culture is as important as their skills and experience.

At EY, we always try to take our people through a process of education and enlightenment in order to increase awareness and understanding. We have found many missteps come through lack of knowledge or lack of self-awareness as very few people get up each morning wanting to upset fellow human beings. But, if that doesn’t work, it is important to send a message. We are a values-based organization, and inclusivity is at the heart of our organization. Effective leaders embrace diversity to challenge the status quo. Making it a comfortable, safe and equitable environment to get work done is of the utmost importance to us.

Caprino: How can leaders better identify when their own behavior and communication as a leader and manager needs to change?

Gardner: Having the self-awareness to look internally at your own behavior and communication is one of the trickiest parts of being a good leader. Something I think the Black Lives Matter movement demonstrates is that most leaders really didn’t recognize—and may still not be aware of—just how unjust the society is for people of color.

By listening to colleagues of all levels in an unfiltered fashion, engaging in reverse mentoring and frankly just giving people the opportunity to share their lived experience, leaders can go on an educational journey and act as a catalyst for behavioral change.

Leaders need to be comfortable to get uncomfortable seeing their words and actions from a different perspective. A lot of leaders have very little exposure to the prejudices societally entrenched against people of color or the LGBTQ+ community. Without exposure there is a lack of understanding and a lack of self-awareness. So as a leader, put yourself in uncomfortable situations, ask questions and take feedback graciously on an ongoing basis in order to change when needed.

Caprino: What must leaders do differently today than ever before and how will that strengthen their leadership, communication and ability to inspire action towards a shared vision?

Gardner: We’ve talked a lot about empathy, but it is also about connecting with people. Leaders need to communicate to a certain extent and then be active listeners. Managers are used to being brought into conversations to offer advice and opinions but that means it can sometimes be easy to forget to listen to what people are saying and capture the sentiment of employees and even wider society.

At EY, for instance, we talk a lot about keeping humans at the center of everything we do. That means our employees, our customers, our stakeholders matter most. If you don’t understand them, what is motivating them, making them happy or sad, it is really hard to move the business forward.

In an era where uncertainty and change are the norm, it’s imperative for leaders to create a compelling story framed in the future—and you can bring employees together this way. And the future is all about transformation and being comfortable with it.

By focusing on realizing transformation from the inside out, leaders can unlock meaningful change for people, customers and other stakeholders.

Learn more about the EY transformation journey here.

To build your leadership and career strength in today’s times, read Kathy Caprino’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, and subscribe to her LinkedIn newsletter The Finding Brave Circle.

Four Powerful Steps That Will Boost Your Career During This Pandemic

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “The Most Powerful You”

During these past four months, I’ve heard from many more professionals than usual on LinkedIn and privately—particularly those who have decided to use this unprecedented time to rethink their lives and careers. For so many, what was intolerable in their work before has become more glaringly so, and the hopes and dreams they had for their lives are now even more pressing. In fact, according to my recent Power Gap survey, 76% of the close to 1,000 women around the globe who completed the survey indicated that they’ve lost sight of their thrilling dream for their future, and 25% feel this is the most pressing of all the power gaps. Many are finally ready to do something about it.

During this time, when millions no longer have to physically commute and have extra time available to them, people have decided that now’s the time to take action and change what isn’t working in their careers. And I’ve seen this phenomenon occur every time there’s a major crisis in the world. It happened to me and so many others after the tragedies of 9/11, where suddenly we realized that so much that we’ve taken for granted simply cannot be counted on. And we’ve seen that life is much more precarious than when recognized before the crisis, which bring with it a sense of urgency and agency.

Personally speaking, after a brutal layoff in the days following 9/11, I finally left my 18-year corporate career to go out on my own, and became a marriage and family therapist, and later, a career coach and writer. It was the powerful catalyst I needed to pursue a new career that aligned much more closely with who I am and what I care most about in the world.

What people begin to see in times like these is that no job or career is truly “safe and secure.” The only constant is change. Once that dawns on us, it often motivates us to take the reins on our lives and careers and finally pursue that new job, career or field, or get on the path to starting that new venture we’ve been dreaming about for years, because we see that there truly is no time like the present.

But during these uncertain times, and always, we need to be very strategic and intentional in our efforts if we want to land plum roles or claim new opportunities that will be a great fit with our values, needs and desires.

Here are four key steps you can take starting today (yes, even during this pandemic) to make the most of this time and make the changes you want in your job and career:

Stop focusing only on applying online

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that more than 80% of jobs are NOT achieved through applying online and 70% of jobs aren’t even publicly listed. If we are engaging only in applying online and sending out our resumes, we’re missing the boat completely. It’s effective and powerful networking that is what is needed now, and that includes numerous ways of “bringing yourself to market” and also connecting with mentorssponsors and “ambassadors” who can open key doors for us that we can’t open on our own.

Summer—and during these months of the pandemic—is a critical time to cultivate those relationships. Job seekers need to overcome what I’ve seen is a key “power gap” of Isolating From Influential Support (Gap #4 of the 7 most damaging power gaps that professional women face today), and start taking more empowered action to build these support relationships.

Get in the right room, finally

My friend and colleague Judy Robinett, author of How To Be a Power Connector and Crack The Funding Codeshared with me that women are so often “in the wrong room” in their networking, meaning that they stay stuck associating with people at their same level but fail to reach higher and connect with people of influence who can make things happen for us that we can’t achieve on our own. Women are often networking at the wrong level for their goals.

In her book Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor and her researchSylvia Ann Hewlett revealed that women on average have three times as many mentors as men—but men have twice as many sponsors (sponsors are high-level, influential people who can help elevate you and connect you with new opportunities that you can’t access on your own).

It’s time to get intentional and do the work to build an influential support community that will help you elevate and stretch beyond your current level. The fact is we simply cannot manifest our most thrilling dreams by trying to hack it out alone and in a vacuum. We need others who’ve already achieved great success and impact who can uplift and support us and advance our causes by opening doors for us while we’re not in the room. And we need to stop feeling ashamed, humiliated and “less than” because we’re not where we want to be.

It’s been exactly those times that I finally openly admitted to influential supporters and advisors that things weren’t going well in my career or business that allowed my problems to shift and be solved. When we muster the bravery to admit—and take accountability for—addressing our core problems and challenges head on, then we will experience the growth we’re needing.

Find new ways to be of service and demonstrate your potential to your influential supporters

Once you start building a powerful network, support those in your network. Ask how you can help your ambassadors and supporters. What do they need that you can offer and provide? What introductions can you make for them? What skill do you have that may be helpful to them?

Maybe you’re a fantastic writer and can help your sponsor or mentor by rewriting their bio or polishing up their Linkedin profile. Or maybe you’re a wizard using Canva and can help your advisor create some beautiful new images and quotes to share on Instagram.

Don’t focus your efforts solely on you and how you want to make more money or build more success. Think about important ways you can help the people in your network to thrive and grow. It feels enlivening to be of service and use your talents and gifts in ways that help others. Secondly, it is highly generative and creates more growth for all involved. As your supporters grow and flourish, so will you.

Speak up more bravely and confidently about the new work you’re thinking you want to do (even if you don’t have it all nailed down yet)

So many professionals tell me that they have an idea of what they want to do in the next juncture of their career, but because they’re not 100% clear about it, they don’t feel comfortable talking about it or sharing the vision with anyone else. That’s a big mistake.

You can’t move forward with your idea or vision for the next chapter if you won’t talk about it. People are very resistant to share about their new ideas or potential new directions for three key reasons: 1) they’re afraid that their current circle of colleagues and friends may think the idea is silly or that they’ll get negative pushback, 2) they fear their ideas aren’t good or sound enough, or 3) they fear that if they don’t have a clear idea of how to execute on their vision, or what the new direction is with absolutely clarity, that it’s not worthy of being discussed. These are faulty reasons for staying quiet.

Yes, in certain circumstances you might want to keep your innovative career or business ideas to yourself until a specific point along the development path where you’ve vetting them more fully. But in general, if you won’t talk about what you’re thinking about and hoping to create, you can’t build support for it. And we need a great deal of powerful support if we’re to achieve the biggest, most thrilling dreams and visions we have for our lives.


During this pandemic—when you may have more time to think and evaluate where you are today and where you want to be in the future, take empowered steps that will help you gain more control over your future. This is a perfect opportunity to put yourself first, finally, and decide what you want for your life and make the changes you need, to achieve those thrilling goals and visions.

As Viktor Frankl shared in his groundbreaking book Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

To achieve more bravery, power and success in your career, read Kathy Caprino’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.

Episode 141: So, You'd Like To Record Your Own Audiobook? Here's What To Know, with Gabe Wicks

Thank you for listening to our Finding Brave show, ranked in the Top 100 Apple Podcasts in Careers!

“It’s hard, but make yourself step back, take a breath and do this as if you were having a conversation with a friend. The minute that someone starts thinking that they’re performing to an audience and not sitting across the table from a friend, they start making mistakes.” – Gabe Wicks 

Whether you’re already a published author, or you’re thinking of writing your first book, you are probably aware of the growing popularity of audiobooks. Maybe you’ve already decided to record your own audiobook, but you’re not sure where to begin with the process. Today’s Finding Brave guest reveals how audiobooks are rewarding to publish but hard work for both the narrator and studio, and there are numerous pitfalls and nuances that I wish I knew about before I recorded the audiobook for my new book The Most Powerful You (which I’m thrilled to share is in the Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon’s Women In Business audiobooks!). It’s about so much more than just showing up and getting behind the microphone.

Gabe Wicks is a Nashville-based producer for over twenty years, most of that within the book industry.  He is the VP of Creative Services for HarperCollins Christian Publishing, which currently produces over 500 audiobooks annually. Gabe produced my audiobook and was a joy to work with!

In this episode, Gabe reveals why an author should or should not read his or her own audiobook, the elements that make up a compelling audiobook, where he sees the audiobook world going in the near future, and perhaps most importantly, why you need to not be so hard on yourself during this experience.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • Who Gabe typically works with, and a big misconception he sees people holding about audiobooks [5:16]

  • Some common mistakes authors make while recording their audiobooks, and a real-life example of how these struggles can appear for someone in the studio [9:17]

  • What you should know in terms of recording at home versus recording in a studio – plus Gabe’s equipment and set up recommendations [12:05]

  • Why you’ll need to be aware of the fatigue level of your voice – along with other helpful recording tips [16:20]

  • What to look for in a good studio, and the financial investment one should expect [21:02]

  • The one question to ask yourself if trying to decide whether you should read your audiobook yourself, or have someone else do it for you [25:40]

  • What Gabe can and can’t tell when assessing someone’s audition reading an audiobook [32:02]

  • The trends he is seeing in the industry that will most likely continue post-pandemic [33:42]

For More Information:



Resources Mentioned: 

Order my new book The Most Powerful You today!

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK (avail January 1, 2021), click here.

If you enjoy the book, thank you in advance for leaving us a 5-star rating and positive review on Amazon!

Subscribe to Kathy’s weekly newsletter at https://kathycaprino.com for book updates, free offers and giveaways, free webinar training, and more. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out!

Other Resources Mentioned:

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey & Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Books Gabe has Narrated on Audible

Listle App

Become a Sponsor!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Finding Brave, we’d love to hear from you! Please write to info@kathycaprino.com with your proposal and for more information.


“I think that’s the thing a lot of folks don’t quite understand upfront. There’s a whole industry out there of professional readers who might do a better job than you would on that book. [5:38]

“Don’t ever buy the cheapest equipment you see on Amazon. There are a lot of brands that are making good gear right now. You don’t need anything more than a good laptop and a good microphone, and the rest of it is where you put it.” [14:16]

“You need to be aware of where your fatigue level is with your voice, and it’s different for everybody.” [16:21]

“Even if you don’t read the book yourself, you should be involved in the casting of it.” [27:06]

“Because there is such an explosion of content right now, there’s plenty of work out there for voice actors and there are plenty of works that should be read by the author.” [34:00]

Sponsor Highlight!  

I’m thrilled to share that Audible.com is a sponsor of Finding Brave! Take advantage of their great special offer of one FREE book of your choice with a 30-day FREE membership trial! And feel free to keep the book even if you cancel the membership. Click here to sign up for your free book! http://www.audibletrial.com/FindingBrave

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave interview episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my Youtube channel at YouTube.com/kathycaprino. And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show! 


Download on Apple Podcasts


10 Questions To Help You Know If Your Leader Or Manager Is Someone You Should Be Supporting

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “The Most Powerful You”

For 15 years, I’ve been coaching mid- to high-level professionals and leaders in achieving their highest and most rewarding goals. This involves helping them embrace new strategies and approaches that allow them to make the positive impact they long for and become the kind of leaders they want to be. Throughout the process, they’ve told me that in overcoming their own power gaps, they’ve expanded their ability to learn from critique and found new ways to be more inclusive in their leadership approach. They’ve built more psychological safety in their organizations, and reduced the divisiveness and conflict in their ecosystems and work cultures.

It’s very inspiring to observe people mustering the bravery, confidence, and strength to walk through their deepest fears and insecurities. I’ve learned in my time as a therapist and coach that “greater awareness equals greater choice,” and these individuals are intentionally choosing to shift how they’re operating in the world to become leaders of beneficial influence, who uplift and support their followers, employees and constituents as they ascend.

Sometimes, in working with professionals around the world, I also see that they are struggling with their decision-making processes, unable to make a definitive decision on a direction to pursue or action to take. In many cases, their decision processes have failed them in the past—for instance, they’ve taken the wrong career route, or chosen a terrible job, or followed the wrong leader who wreaked havoc on their life. And these faulty decisions make them feel paralyzed today as to what to do next. Or they haven’t ever really trusted themselves fully so they waffle and waver when needing to put their stake in the ground and decide on a course of action.

Overall, I’ve seen that there are 5 key reasons that people’s decisions fail them, and these reasons are:

  • Their decisions don’t support their intrinsic, core values
  • They made the right decisions but due to weak boundaries or insecurity, they didn’t communicate or enforce their decisions with clarity or commitment.
  • Their decisions emerged from a place of disempowerment, fear or weakness instead of strength
  • Their decisions weren’t sufficiently vetted and didn’t take into account the real-life impact and outcomes
  • And finally, their decisions focused on the wrong problem instead of the key challenge they actually needed to address

Today, in these times of greater fear and uncertainty, I’m observing that my clients and course members—and those I hear from on LinkedIn on other social media platforms—are struggling even more in making key decisions that will have a large impact on their futures, including what jobs they should stay in, the career changes they need to make, and now, who they want to vote for in the upcoming local and national elections. These key decisions include which business or political leaders to follow, which organizations to join and which causes and directions to pursue.

In figuring out—and committing to— a vitally important decision that you’ll have to live with for the foreseeable future, that will have lasting repercussions in your life and the lives of those you love, I’ve found there are some key questions you can ask yourself today that will help you make the right decision for you.

These questions will help you cut through the noise and clutter, clarify where you really stand, and help you make the correct choice for who you are, focusing on the issues you care about, and the outcomes that matter most to you in your life and work. And these questions will help you not only choose the leader you want to follow, but also determine the way you want to show up in the world.

As a start, below are 10 questions that will help you identify if a particular leader or manager is truly someone you should be supporting and working for (or voting for):

Ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. Does this leader or manager behave, communicate and operate in a way that I respect, admire and want to emulate?
  2. Does this leader share my core values and inspire me to be the best, highest version of myself possible, or do I find that their actions and suggestions make me behave and speak like a “lower,” more insecure version of myself?
  3. Does this leader know how to build beneficial, supportive relationships with others that help create sustainable growth and achieve critical allyship that is so necessary for my organization or entity to thrive?
  4. Does this leader believe in the innate equality, deservedness and worth of all people he/she leads, and do they support that core value in their words, actions and deeds?
  5. Can this leader take critique and challenge well, and take responsibility and accountability for his/her actions, instead of blaming others? Do they show remorse when they go wrong, and apologize when an apology or change of course and attitude is called for?
  6. Can this leader respect and like people who don’t agree with their actions and opinions?
  7.  Does this leader show maturity, emotional intelligence and regulation, temperance, patience, empathy, balance, and other key attributes that make a great leader?
  8. In reviewing the communications from this leader over the past six months, including social media messages, public and private statements, emails and memos, and other written and verbal forms of communications, do the communications show more positivity than negativity? (i.e. What percentage of these messages contain uplifting, positive words and sentiments that move people forward and what percentage tear people down, blame or attack others, or contain otherwise divisive or negative messages? Is there a ratio of more than 3 to 1 of uplifting and positive language and messages vs. denigrating and negative ones?)
  9. When this leader takes action, does the action support the growth, safety and success of the vast majority of people under him/her, or just those groups he/she is personally attached or connected to and only those who support him/her?
  10. Finally, are you able to say “I love how this leader behaves and communicates because he/she builds bridges across major divides and differences, and reduces the potential harm, conflict, anger and a lack of acceptance among the people he/she leads?”

Bonus question: The opposite of question #10 is if you often have to say, “Well, he/she didn’t mean it”  in response to divisive, derogatory or discriminatory statements the leader makes. If you find that you have to continually excuse away their behavior and say “they didn’t intend it that way,” ask yourself one final question – Why do I continue to want to make excuses for this leader? Why not do what it takes to choose a leader or manager I don’t have to make excuses for?

If you find yourself saying “No” to many or most of these questions, then your decision is clear. This is not the leader you want to be supporting, and it’s time to make some powerful decisions on what you need to do.

Perhaps now’s the time to finally look for a new job, and leave that harmful manager or leader behind forever. Or perhaps you can pursue working in a different department, working for a different manager within your organization who aligns more closely with what you want. Or maybe it’s time to take the reins and launch your own venture so you can finally become a great leader of your own enterprise. And now is the time to decide clearly who you want to lead you both regionally and nationally, in the upcoming elections.

Base your decision on what you truly value in life, and in all respects—both personally and professionally—choose to follow people whom you respect and who embody the very traits that you want to emulate and bring forward in both life and work.

To make stronger, more effective career and leadership decisions, read Kathy Caprino’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, and work with Kathy in her Career Breakthrough programs this Fall.

How To Reduce Divisiveness And Build Trust And Unity In Our Workplaces

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Supporting Today’s Workforce”

As almost everyone has read, seen or experienced directly, our country has grown more divisive, angry and ununified in recent months. Hate-crime violence has hit a 16-year high, political polarization has increased, and a majority (55%) of adult social media users are “worn out” by political posts and discussions. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing racial inequalities that have been rooted in systemic racism in our nation. We’re facing extreme challenges in our organizations and institutions where increased trust and unity are critical if we’re to make progress to address and solve these pressing dilemmas.

To learn more about how we all can reduce divisiveness today and work to build that needed trust and unity, I caught up this month with Dr. Laura Gallaher who has worked in the field of professional and personal development since 2005. Laura is an organizational psychologist, speaker, facilitator and executive coach and she is the founder and CEO of Gallaher Edge, which she started in 2013 and rebranded in 2018.

Her noteworthy career began after the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded upon re-entry in 2003, killing everybody aboard. Following the tragedy, NASA hired Gallaher and a team of organizational psychologists to change the cultural influences that were deemed to play a role in the accident. She worked for eight years to positively influence culture, develop leadership capacity, and improve organizational performance at Kennedy Space Center. Gallaher was also hired to help manage the change associated with radical changes in the performance management process and philosophy at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

At Gallaher Edge, Gallaher helps leaders across a variety of industries navigate changes and improve their organizational culture through workshops that build trust, grow self-awareness, and align strategically from the inside out.

Here’s what Dr. Gallaher shares:

Kathy Caprino: So, Laura, from your work and research perspective, why do humans struggle so much with change?

Laura Gallaher: We often hear that people resist change—but if I gave you $10 million, you’d probably agree that would change your life – so would you resist it? Assuming there’s no “catch”—no! You wouldn’t resist that. So it isn’t really that humans resist or struggle with change, it is that change tends to bring loss, and loss is painful. We call those losses the “costs” of change. When we hear that change is coming, we attune to the costs associated with that change. People only respond to their own perceived costs to changes in their lives. Evolutionarily speaking, we are programmed to avoid loss.

An endowment effect study by Knetsch showcases how we humans can be irrational in our own decision making. When participants in the study completed a task, they were rewarded with their choice of either a mug or a chocolate bar. About half chose the chocolate bar and half chose the mug. However, a different group was only given mugs as a reward after completing a task. When given the option to switch for a chocolate bar, only 10% of people took up that offer because most people had formed an ownership bond with their mugs.

When change is coming, it is valuable to remember that we are the ones putting the value on both the gains and the losses associated with the change, and we have control and choice over our own perceptions. Use that power of choice to shift focus—even change that initially feels unwelcomed will always bring both gains and losses.

The best way to deal with change is to focus on what will be gained. For example, unemployment is unfortunately skyrocketing due to the impact of Covid-19. If someone lost their job, the gain could be finding a different job that is better for their skills or lifestyle, or potentially the push they needed to start a business.

On the other hand, it could also be an opportunity to slow down and reconnect with their families or even themselves, helping them be the best version of themselves possible.

Caprino: During these times that are so difficult to handle, what tips and strategies can help us?

Gallaher: The environment today can make us feel that we’re in survival mode—constantly stressed, feeling like we can’t do enough and that we’re falling behind. While the news today is almost on a constant loop of negativity, we need to remember that we can still thrive in this environment. It’s all relative—it’s hard to believe, but there were days even pre-pandemic that were tough to get through, too.

We all evolved to be survivors, so our default mode is to survive—to shift into thrive mode, you’ll want to override your brain’s auto-pilot and retake control of our thoughts, your attitude and your chosen environment.

To do this, set aside some time for self-investment. Choose to practice gratitude multiple times a day and feel the meaning of it. In addition, choose to focus on some tangible action items. Limit how much news is watched if it limits your overall happiness. We have far more choices in life than we tend to realize. Everyone has a choice with what to do with their time, so determine where attention is given.

Caprino: What is the importance of the culture we’re in and how does that impact our resilience?

Gallaher: Culture has a huge impact on human behavior. It is where we learn what is OK and how we pick up on how things are done. The United States has a somewhat fragmented culture at this period in time, which means that different segments of the country have different ideas of what is OK and not OK. The pandemic and its impact on the economy is creating a scarcity mentality, which can lead people to start focusing more on themselves and less on others, which inhibits a society’s ability to collaborate and grow to reach new heights.

The flip side is that this pandemic is significantly increasing the generosity and desire to come together in other groups of people. Some are using this as a time to give to others when they see them struggling. Our healthcare workers, for example, are fighting every day for the lives of others.

Awareness of systemic racism has also elevated, and while it creates division and can trigger insecurity in white people, the murder of George Floyd has served as a catalyst to correct previous injustices. Now, the majority of adult Americans believe in the fight for what is right.

Many times it is darkest before the dawn, and when we can connect to a purpose (like fighting racism) and connect with each other (through generosity and caring for those who are ill), resilience abounds. Additionally, these experiences are creating deep wells of resilience that we will all be able to pull from in future life challenges. We are all more resilient than we think.

Caprino: Talking culture, so many of us are fighting with each other politically and ideologically, and in hateful ways that are devoid of compassion and understanding. How does that situation impact people and what can we do differently to thrive through this?

Gallaher:  Underneath all of this is vulnerability. When we feel vulnerable and afraid, especially subconsciously, we tend to rely on defense mechanisms to cope. I believe that as humans, our most natural way of being is kind and compassionate, but as we are all raised imperfectly by imperfect humans to become imperfect adults ourselves, we each develop ways to defend ourselves against unpleasant feelings internally.

So in the face of human suffering, especially if there is a subconscious feeling of helplessness (i.e. I can’t do anything to fix this), people may respond in ways to reduce their negative internal feelings. This can look like blaming the victim (i.e. if I can convince myself that they somehow deserve it, then I don’t have to cope with the painful discomfort of injustice).

On top of that, our desire to feel good about ourselves means that our egos often keep us in a place of wanting to feel right, instead of wanting to learn. So, we often tend to dig in our heels in the face of opposition, preserving the good feeling about ourselves as being “right” and also a “good person.”

Thriving in these times stems first and foremost from our ability to practice self-acceptance and courage. Lean into the vulnerability that underlies the anger, accept that you are wrong sometimes (we all are), and focus yourself on learning and listening.

Societally, from the top, it would look like politicians learning how to communicate in a way that is less polarizing. We are all far more alike than we are different, and we all tend to agree on way more than we realize—we just don’t highlight the similarities and the agreements, especially when there is vulnerability and discomfort.

For each of us as humans, what we can do is listen. Listening is one of the most powerful tools to facilitate connection, change and growth. Listen like it’s not about you. Listen to your friend share their personal experience with racism. Listen to your employee talk about their fear of falling ill. Listen to your co-worker talk about the fear of the decision of what is best for their children.

It is harder to hate people up close, so move communication to phone or video call and away from text-based communication—like email—as often as you can. Remember our common humanity.

Caprino: Should business leaders encourage and tackle head-on the difficult and sensitive conversations that today’s times are demanding?

Gallaher: While business leaders regularly face the potential for difficult conversations, 2020 has brought this to a whole new level. From navigating racial conversations to deciding how to keep employees safe amid the global pandemic, people are experiencing difficulty separating their personal lives from the workplace. This may make leaders nervous, wondering how can I help employees feel heard, understood and safe during these times of uncertainty?

As a leader, this is the time to actively listen to what employees need and not shy away from topics that seem difficult to address on the surface. Do your employees have kids and now have to decide between working full-time or home schooling their children? Does an employee have Covid-19 or is close to someone with the virus? Is an employee passionate about bringing more awareness to the systemic racism in the United States?

Hear what employees are saying, but also note what isn’t being said. If what employees are relaying isn’t perfectly clear, follow up by saying “Tell me more; I want to understand,” or try paraphrasing what you think they’re trying to say.

If employees’ concerns haven’t been addressed yet, these are all conversations that business leaders need to be having now. Having an effective conversation means it’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. These uncomfortable conversations create room for growth in the workplace. No one needs to know all the answers, but being willing to facilitate these conversations fosters a more inclusive organization.

More importantly, don’t let the conversations die out once the world regains a bit of normalcy. Create the space for conversations to take place within the workplace and mediate as appropriate to ensure these conversations remain respectful. Having an ongoing, open dialogue in the workplace leads to a culture of learning and understanding and can help eliminate issues, like systemic racism, nationwide.

Caprino: Why do people become more divisive and critical of each other in crisis like this pandemic?

Gallaher: There’s a saying that the best way to assess an organization is to try to change it. In your work culture or organization in this time of crisis, are people pulling together or are they dividing? Are people leaning into the change to identify how they can adapt, or are they digging their heels in to avoid the pain associated with change?

Fear can be dominating. People start to look out for themselves, so fear of losing money or power creates an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Most fundamentally, whether someone reacts in fear or unity comes down to trust. When people trust one another to act not only in their own best interest but also prioritize the interests of others, then people will unite even more in difficult times.

When trust has been damaged, or is lacking, people move into a state of assessing and evaluating the environment and people around them to gauge if they can proceed with trust, or if it is dangerous to trust others.

The best way to get through the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality is to state collaborative intent and actively listen.

Caprino: What are the best strategies you can offer to help us thrive through dramatic change and uncertainty?

Gallaher: Leading through dramatic change and uncertainty is no easy feat, but the reward is monumental. Not only does it build trust, but it also increases productivity and efficiency.

First, as a human, it is valuable to remind yourself that even though your brain often triggers your body to react as though survival is genuinely at risk, most of the time, you really are OK—you can breathe, you are alive and you are going to be fine. Use your brain to overcome the fear-based visceral reaction that comes in times of stress and uncertainty.

Second, as a leader, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. A crisis is a crucial time for a business that demands true leadership and the willingness to be decisive. Handle the pressing tasks first and practice self-compassion. When you take care of yourself, you are your best self for others; trying to put others before you means that they end up getting what’s left of you instead of the best of you.

When communicating with employees on these tough matters, project confidence and optimism while staying grounded in reality. Being authentic as a leader is powerful. Also provide the context people need for current events and what the business is going through.

These conversations need to happen on a consistent basis rather than just reacting as the environment shifts; employees want to hear from you more than you realize. Be intentional about each change put in place and recognize the impact that it has on the emotional state of employees.

Consider gains and losses in the face of change once again: a significant gain we can all take away from this time of uncertainty is that we’ve now been encouraged to speak with others and self-reflect in a way many of us hadn’t done previously.

Now that those doors are open, we can continue allowing ourselves to find comfort in the uncomfortable and have these conversations on a long-term, ongoing basis.

For more information, visit: Gallaher Edge

To build a more positive and impactful career and more effective leadership approach, read Kathy Caprino’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, and work with Kathy in her Career Breakthrough Programs.

Episode 140: Building Trust and Unity In The Workplace During Difficult Times, with Laura Gallaher

Thank you for listening to our Finding Brave show, ranked in the Top 100 Apple Podcasts in Careers!

“When we choose to be neutral on things where people have deep emotional responses, then we are not creating that kind of connection and community that we want to have in our culture.” – Laura Gallaher

Improving organizational culture now is extremely critical for the future longevity of companies everywhere, because the struggles that workplaces worldwide are currently facing are numerous. Today’s Finding Brave expert guest draws from her incredible experiences to share how we can all address these challenges, as well as how we can more fully recognize the unexpected positive changes to culture that are coming from the pandemic.  

Dr. Laura Gallaher has worked in the field of professional and personal development since 2005. An organizational psychologist, speaker, facilitator and executive coach, Laura is the founder and CEO of Gallaher Edge, which she started in 2013 and rebranded in 2018.

Laura began her career at NASA after the Columbia exploded upon re-entry in 2003, where Laura and a team of organizational psychologists were hired to change the cultural influences that played a role in the accident. She worked there for eight years to positively influence culture, develop leadership capacity and improve organizational performance at Kennedy Space Center. After then working as a Talent Management Consultant at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, she founded Gallaher Edge – a management consulting firm that creates transformational change in businesses through meaningful and impactful human experiences. 

Now is the time for everyone, not just leaders, to build strength, maturity, self-awareness and self-acceptance. Each one of us has the ability to operate with more grace and compassion for one another, which will increase humanity not only in our workplaces, but also in a world that needs this so badly right now. 

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What organizational culture is really all about [8:10]

  • A big realization that Laura has made about fear, and why this is so relevant to workplace culture [9:55]

  • What’s going so wrong in organizational cultures today, and why it’s important to understand that culture starts from the inside of each of us [17:35]

  • The positive benefits of leaders who have maturity, and what can result from them not having this [18:43]

  • What’s behind the fear, hate and divisiveness that’s overtaking organizations, individuals and societies, and what can be done to overcome it [24:01]

  • How to talk about the significant global issues of today in the workplace, and why being neutral is not really neutral [29:00]

  • The specific action steps that leaders can take to build a more positive workplace culture [39:15]

  • What each of us can do in this remote world to build a more inclusive and safe environment for everyone [42:51]

For More Information:






Resources Mentioned: 

Order my new book The Most Powerful You today!

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK (avail January 1, 2021), click here.

If you enjoy the book, thank you in advance for leaving us a 5-star rating and positive review on Amazon!

Subscribe to Kathy’s weekly newsletter at https://kathycaprino.com for book updates, free offers and giveaways, free webinar training, and more. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out!

Other Resources Mentioned:

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey & Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Become a Sponsor!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Finding Brave, we’d love to hear from you! Please write to info@kathycaprino.com with your proposal and for more information.


“The environment that you create for somebody can absolutely change the relationship that they have with themselves.” [11:51]

“Intuition and your gut are incredibly powerful, and I want to learn to hone those things, rather than suppress them.” [16:37]

“Culture is from the inside-out, like everything is, so it’s always going to start with self.” [17:35]

“There’s a lot that’s really scary right now in our country, and acknowledging fear and having that vulnerability is exactly what we need.” [25:24]

“We’re never responding to the world around us. We’re only responding to the story that we’re telling ourselves about what that means.” [28:10]

“There is no objective truth when it comes to our human experiences.” [34:49]

“I actually see it as a silver lining of the remote world, that we have to be intentional about our communication.” [44:43]

Sponsor Highlight!  

I’m thrilled to share that Audible.com is a sponsor of Finding Brave! Take advantage of their great special offer of one FREE book of your choice with a 30-day FREE membership trial! And feel free to keep the book even if you cancel the membership. Click here to sign up for your free book! http://www.audibletrial.com/FindingBrave

Watch video versions of my interviews on Finding Brave! 

Don’t forget – you can experience each Finding Brave interview episode in both audio and video formats! Check out new and recent episodes on my Youtube channel at YouTube.com/kathycaprino. And please leave us a comment and a thumbs up if you like the show! 


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How To Get Exceptional Results In Your Career Through Authority, Warmth And Energy

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Today’s True Leadership”

Ever wonder why some people who have the same level of technical skill and ability as you do seem to catapult forward fast while you stay stagnant, at the same level or compensation, for years? As a career and leadership coach, I’ve connected with many professionals around the globe who, while extremely talented and accomplished, don’t seem to achieve the high-level success, impact and recognition they feel they deserve. And they are often extremely confused as to why this is happening.

To explore more about behaviors and traits that can propel us forward quickly and powerfully in our careers, I caught up with Steve Herz this month, who has a new book on just this topic. In Don’t Take Yes For an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth and Energy To Get Exceptional Results, Herz explores how we can catapult our careers and lives forward with three key communication strategies―authority, warmth, and energy, and how we often need some tough critique and feedback to let us know how to shift our ways for more success

Herz is President of The Montag Group, a sports and entertainment talent and marketing consultancy. He is also a career advisor to CEOs, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and young professionals. Prior to joining TMG, Steve was the President and Founding Partner of IF Management, an industry leader whose broadcasting division became one of the largest in the space, representing over 200 television and radio personalities. The agency represents some of the biggest names in sports and news media, including NBC Sports Mike Tirico, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Dan Shulman and CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward.

Here’s what he shares:

Kathy Caprino: You argue that we don’t get enough honest feedback at work, so it’s crucial to proactively ask your boss how you’re doing. Is this especially true right now, when we’re all working remotely and lacking valuable face time? What’s your advice on how to ask for feedback?

Steve Herz: We should be trying to get feedback all the time, pandemic or not. For reasons I explore in the book, we get a lot of positive feedback that we don’t actually deserve. Mixed messaging, or flat-out omissions, have generally replaced direct dialogue and tough conversations in the workplace and in nearly every space we inhabit, resulting in a lifetime of what negotiator Christopher Voss calls “the counterfeit yes,” in which we hear a fuzzy “yes” all while life is actually delivering an all-caps “NO”:

You didn’t get the promotion; you didn’t get the sale; you didn’t get the girl or guy. You can’t trust all the yesses you hear. In fact, if you’ve checked off all the obvious boxes necessary for a stellar career in your field – education, credentials, years of experience – but you still aren’t where you want to be, that lack of honest feedback is probably part of what’s holding you back.

It’s critical to ask for—and be open to—an honest assessment of your performance. And this is more important than ever right now, given the massive unemployment we’ve seen and the increased job insecurity. So, if your company is thinking (as many are) about layoffs, you want to make sure there’s nothing about your performance that you’re blissfully unaware of – that could doom your immediate future.

When you ask for feedback, make it simple. Ask – “what is one thing you think I could improve upon?” This is especially important if you usually only receive positive feedback from your manager. Or make it fun – if the situation is appropriate – and ask, “if you were a genie, what is one thing you would change about me that would improve my performance?”

For example, a young agent in our company who, after a few weeks as a trainee, asked me how he was doing. I told him he was doing great, to which he said, “Oh no, I’m not taking that from you. I know the book you are writing. And I hear how to talk to other people. I want to know what you think I’m not great at.”

So, I told him he said the word “like” way too often and that the filler word compromised his authority, especially as a young professional. He asked in a way that showed he was sincere about improving and saw it as an opportunity to grow and advance his life and career. I advise everyone to do the same. Look at feedback as a gift.

Caprino: The premise of your book is that the number one thing that determines your success is not your education or skills, but your ability to connect with people. I think we’re all really longing for that connection right now, as we’ve been social distancing for months. What’s the role of “connectability” in one’s career success, and what are its key elements?

Herz : In my work, I discuss the 85/15 rule. Based on a seminal 1918 study by The Carnegie Foundation, this rule states that only 15% of your professional success is correlated to your technical (hard) skills. In my view, the huge overlooked 85% is that ability to connect, persuade, and gain influence and respect from your boss, colleagues, clients.

The key elements of “connectability” are authority, warmth and energy, aka AWE. If you’re competing against people in your field who are all roughly perceived as equal in the technical skills, your AWE is the only differentiator. AWE is about your ability to have that technical substance and the stylistic sizzle; to be seen as one who knows their stuff, is trustworthy and makes others want to follow their lead. There is no other path to maximum influence without those traits.

Caprino: Unemployment is at a historic high right now. What’s your advice to people who have lost their jobs or who are worried about holding onto the job they still have?

Herz: If you are unemployed, try to make sure you have skills that are in demand. While technical skills only account for 15% of your success, that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. It’s crucial to have good technical skills – but the point of the 85/15 rule is that they only get you a seat at the table.

If you realize that your skills aren’t in demand or up to date, the first step is to retrain yourself with the myriad of free or low-cost tools available online. And if you still have a job, make yourself as indispensable as possible. Stay in close communication with your customers, your colleagues, and your manager and make sure you’re doing your job effectively and with very little friction. This is not the time to be the squeaky wheel. And try to use whatever free time you have (outside of family and other key interests) to improve your skill set, as well as your authority, warmth and energy. If you show up (remotely) as a better you, your bosses will notice.

Caprino: As our work interactions move from in-person to video, what should we be paying attention to as we try to connect with people when we don’t have the benefit of being together in the same room?

Herz: Pay attention to the way people are reacting to you. It’s harder to gauge this when you’re communicating virtually, yet you will still receive responsive cues from others. If you notice someone tuning out – like when they stop looking at the camera, start typing, or they’re not nodding at all or asking any questions – you may have to turn up your energy to keep their attention.

Try speaking more loudly or in faster bursts or show that you’re emotionally committed to your message. And sometimes calling out someone and soliciting their opinion also keeps them on their toes and energizes them. If they are not responding, you may have to become more inquisitive and interactive. It’s much easier to lose someone’s attention over Zoom, so it’s paramount to use every tool you have to keep them engaged.

Caprino: You’re an agent for some of the most successful broadcast journalists in the country. How did you come to identify these three elements as the key to getting ahead?

Herz: It was an evolutionary process. I started out working exclusively with sports broadcasters and media talent to other professionals in various fields because I discovered that the key to becoming a superstar manager, salesperson, or CEO is no different than the key to becoming a superstar broadcaster: you have to get your audience, of one or a million, to trust and believe in you.

Over the past two decades, AWE has become the prism through which I observe, assess, coach and grow every single one of my clients. I listen for it when we’re analyzing recordings of their voice, and I look for it while observing them perform simulated interviews, meetings, or sales calls. It takes a special person with a thick skin to work with me. I’m always respectful, but I pull no punches. Because of this, I’ve been hired and fired in the same day by people who were too accustomed to hearing “yes.”

But those professionals who have stuck with me, who have refused to take “yes” for an answer, have seen their stars rise. Anyone in any job can do the same.

Caprino: Is there one element of AWE that is most commonly underappreciated?

Herz: Energy is both underappreciated and probably most misunderstood. Energy is not just your energetic output. It’s the dynamic you create in your interactions. It’s most important to have the kind of energy that energizes other people. And you can sometimes energize others with relatively low energetic output. It’s a question of having the presence of mind to understand what is necessary in the moment. One example is Jeff Feig, who rose to the executive suite and built a billion-dollar business at Citibank based on his key strength: listening to and acknowledging others. He had record low turnover in his tenure because his team felt so energized by his caring ways. It is counterintuitive to think of a low-key person like Feig as energizing. But when I spoke to many of his colleagues, that was the unanimous feedback from all of them.

For more information, visit stevenherz.com.

To build a more impactful career, work with Kathy Caprino in her Career Breakthrough programs and read her new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.

Episode 139: Editor’s Summer Top Pick: Power Gap #1: Not Recognizing Your Special Talents, Abilities and Accomplishments

Thank you for listening to our Finding Brave show, ranked in the Top 100 Apple Podcasts in Careers!

I’m excited to share our “Editor’s Summer Top Pick” for Finding Brave! This episode is a special favorite of our wonderful editor Matt Mawhinney of PodAssist.com and shares vitally important information about the first of the 7 damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women are facing today that block them from reaching their highest and most thrilling potential. Today’s episode explores Power Gap #1: Not Recognizing Your Special Talents, Abilities and Accomplishments and how to close this power gap for good.

In this episode, I give an overview of all 7 of the power gaps that my book The Most Powerful You explores, and I focus on Gap #1 – THE most prevalent gap that I see in working with thousands of professional women in my coaching programs, courses, webinars and trainings. So many women struggle to recognize that they are indeed talented, to believe that they are actually “great” at what they do, and to see clearly how their talents and abilities truly matter in the workforce and in the world.

It’s essential to understand that it’s not arrogant or selfish to recognize and appreciate that you have greatness inside of you, because when you leverage your talents and passions in a bigger, more confident way and in service to others, you are finally able to make the powerful difference that you were meant to, and experience the joy, reward and fulfillment that you long for in your work, business and career.

“Know that you are amazing. Every individual on the planet is, and the world needs your talents and your abilities desperately. Can you trust and accept that fact, that you are special and you are unique, and now is the time to recognize that clearly?” – Kathy Caprino 

Highlights from this Episode:

  • Why I decided to publish a series of podcast episodes focusing on the power gaps that I see, and the two major questions I wanted to answer by doing this [4:23]
  • What I have discovered over many years of working with professional women about the importance of “positive power” and why women tend to fear it [7:01]

  • A breakdown of all 7 power gaps, and the anecdotes for overcoming them [10:53]

  • How I uncovered my own special skills and took the brave step to reinvent myself [24:43]

  • What research is showing that happens to girls around the age of 13, and how it’s holding us all back in damaging ways [33:23]

  • Some powerful action steps you can take today to overcome this first power gap, including a strategy to maximize the effectiveness of LinkedIn for you [37:10]

For More Information:






Resources Mentioned: 

Order my new book The Most Powerful You today!

In Australia and New Zealand, click here to order, elsewhere outside North America, click here, and in the UK (avail January 1, 2021), click here.

If you enjoy the book, thank you in advance for leaving us a 5-star rating and positive review on Amazon!

Subscribe to Kathy’s weekly newsletter at https://kathycaprino.com for book updates, free offers and giveaways, free webinar training, and more. And to discover if you are experiencing any of the 7 damaging power gaps today, take Kathy’s Power Gap Survey and find out!

Other Resources Mentioned:

Kathy’s Power Gaps Survey & Support To Build Your LinkedIn Profile To Great Success

Kathy’s TEDx Talk, Time To Brave Up & Free Career Path Self-Assessment

Kathy’s Forbes interview with Lauren Letellier on The Crushing Similarities Between Family and Business Dysfunction

The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth

The Confidence Code by Katty Kaye and Clare Shipman

Core Personal Values Exercise from the CT Women’s Business Development Center  

Episode 4: Gender, Power and Relationships: The Crushing Effects of Patriarchy, with Terry Real

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“You can’t have what you want in your career, and you can’t have the reward, the thrill, the impact, the meaning or the purpose you want if you don’t have any power.” [7:21]

“I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t like a little more confidence right now, and a more power to take the reins on their life and career.” [11:59] 

“You can’t have a rewarding career if you don’t know how you are talented, and if you can’t talk about it or name it.” [15:20]

“People that don’t recognize that they are important and valuable often feel victimized and stuck.” [19:01]

“So many people hold themselves back from a happier life or career because they think they’re faulty, or not as educated or smart.” [19:53]

“What I’ve seen is that so many women actually don’t think they are worthy of the great success and rewards that they dream of.” [33:23]

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Banishing Our Nation’s Blind Spot About Blue-Collar Economic Potential

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Supporting Today’s Workforce”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the nation’s July Jobs Report on August 7, and despite the recession and Covid-19 crisis leaving millions unemployed, a quiet revolution is underway. An ongoing blue-collar expansion continues as business leaders, entrepreneurs and job seekers find growth in this emerging sector. This revolution is what blue-collar entrepreneur Ken Rusk calls the “blue-collar boom.”

According to the Center for Economic Policy & Research (CEPR)’s Blue Collar Job Tracker, employment in construction, manufacturing, and mining and logging increased by 669,000 or 3.58 % in May. The construction sector gained 464,000 jobs in May, a 7.05 % increase, albeit largely a recovery from April’s losses.

To learn more about the blue-collar boom and the economic potential it represents, I caught up with Rusk, the author of the new book Blue-Collar Cash: Love Your Work, Secure Your Future, and Find Happiness for LifeFounder of Toledo, OH-based Rusk Industries, Rusk is a self-made millionaire. He skipped college and started out digging ditches, then worked his way up to buying the business and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Passionate about helping other people achieve their dreams regardless of their educational background or past experience, Rusk has coached hundreds of people without college degrees.

I was excited to catch up with Rusk to tackle the myth that career success requires a college degree (and college debt). Rusk explores how Americans still have a blind spot for the nation’s talent gap and sustained blue-collar growth—a viewed shared by many others including Mike Rowe, dubbed “The Dirtiest Man on TV”—and Rusk contends that despite significant overall job losses, blue-collar workers remain in greater demand than their white-collar counterparts, earning up to six-figure salaries without a college degree or the debt that follows it.

Below Rusk shares about this blue-collar boom and the opportunities it provides for workers everywhere:

Kathy Caprino: Ken, in your new book Blue-Collar Cash, you talk all about a new “blue-collar boom.” Can you share more about this and what it means for professionals today?

Ken Rusk: Long before the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread recession, blue-collar fields have enjoyed a resurgence due to high demand for trained professionals to replace a generation of retiring trades professionals, from plumbers and construction workers, to carpenters and welders, and anyone skilled or willing to work with their hands.  And most people are surprised to learn the earning potential for these professions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources detail a range of occupations and median annual salaries, many in the six-figures, such as:

  • Construction Manager: $93,370 (top earners: $159,560)
  • Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers: $92,460 (top earners: $156,710)
  • Wind Turbine Service Technician: a “green-collar” job where experienced top earners often exceed $104,000

Kathy Caprino: With today’s blue-collar boom, why should people without college degrees have more reason than ever to be optimistic about their future and proud to be in blue-collar work?

Ken Rusk: Despite the serious economic challenges facing us today, and their profound impact on the nation’s outlook, a perfect storm of positive influences now casts widespread optimism across blue-collar industries. This powerful sector of our economy now thrives, with high consumer confidence, huge demand for its services, full employment (with high disposable income) and the highest personal satisfaction numbers in generations. Combined with a serious labor shortage, there has never been a better time to be in the blue-collar world.

Caprino: What did it take for you to end up a millionaire after starting your career as a ditch digger?

Rusk: I could easily answer this question with expected traits: character, persistence and resilience. Though the answer goes much deeper than that, and something I wish educators would teach our youth as they prepare to enter the world.

I created a proactive life plan for myself: I sat down early in life and sketched what I wanted in life, down to the smallest detail, and then worked relentlessly to achieve it, always keeping my eyes open for opportunities to advance. Your life plan, if clearly envisioned, will provide all the motivation you need. You just have to be open to opportunities and seize them as they arise. Earning wealth wasn’t a main focus for me; I prioritized building a life of comfort, peace and freedom, and hit my goals, one at a time.

Caprino: Why do you think so many people overlook blue-collar jobs despite shrinking demand for white collar jobs?

Rusk: The blue-collar life has long suffered an undeserved stigma. With origins in the digital era of our economic transformation in the 80’s, an emerging trend was the beginning of the crisis of the American worker. The tradition of shop class, with woodworking machines, plumbing, electrical, car mechanics and home economics, was soon replaced with personal computing. While computer training was necessary for our kids to learn, it should not have been a binary choice.

The unintended consequence: millions of kids were eliminated from the necessary discovery of learning how to use everyday hand tools in favor of punching keyboards. Colleges, in turn jumped on board to funnel everyone into thinking a college education was the only path to success. Pursuing a trade was somehow gradually perceived as settling for less. And based on the rewarding opportunities that exist today, nothing could be further from the truth. And quite simply, working with your hands is enormously gratifying. The secret is that you can build an amazing life in an industry many others overlook.

Caprino: How did you end up training blue-collar workers to get on the right life path and why do you do this? 

Rusk: Initially it came out of necessity. Some 33 years ago, I started a company with 12 employees we convinced to believe in our mission, stick with us through all the uncertainties, and work very hard in a tough business, all with the promise of making their lives better for it. We came up with effective strategies that we still use today, ideas we continue to modify and improve upon.

With over 200 employees today, I see unwavering loyalty and ever-lengthening tenure of our team members. Over time, the need for constant recruiting slowed significantly as people realized they could build the life they wanted for themselves within the organization. Helping to mold effective goal-driven team members is a key part of my “coaching” outside our organization. I enjoy playing a role in people improving their lives. And this should be a standard practice in any business. The ideas themselves are quite simple; it’s the execution of those ideas where most people fail.

Caprino: So, in your view, what holds back so many blue-collar workers from achieving the comfortable life they deserve?

Rusk: Unfortunately, some people in blue-collar professions haven’t yet seen who they are or who they’re meant to be. So many of us live by the if/then rule. For instance, “If this could happen in my life, then I’d be set. Or “If I could catch a break, then my life would be better.”

We wait for life to happen to us, instead of us happening to life—as it should be. But it’s amazing how much this can change once they have a vision of their future, and then plan it out accordingly. For example, we are all familiar with planning a vacation: pick a destination, maybe book a flight, rental cars, hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc.  And then we wait in joyous anticipation of that day to come. We can see the week unfolding in our minds in crystal clear detail. And yet most of us live our daily lives in much too present fashion.

Research shows how effective a solid visualization strategy can be. According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech professor Dave Kohl (see his book Where Will You Be 5 Years from Now?) ), in a typical group of 100 people, 80 of them readily admit to not having any real goals.  The remaining twenty do have goals but break themselves down in an interesting way: Sixteen of them have goals, however, they remain in their minds—like most hopes, wishes, or dreams, not documented in any real way.

The final four do write them down, yet three of them leave their goals in a drawer somewhere, rarely looking at them again. It’s interesting that the remaining one person not only visualizes their goals but writes them down in very clear fashion and then posts them somewhere where they can be seen daily and therefore reviewed often. They also tend to earn nine times as much in their lifetimes as those who do not follow this practice.  And here’s the best part—anyone can do this.

You have the ability to be that one percent. We all do. With the right habits, you can design and achieve the life you want for yourself.

Caprino: What skills and training have you found to be essential to become an independent blue-collar worker?

Rusk: Historically, trainees would work for years before advancing. Not true today. With the high demand for anyone willing to work with their hands, one can enter the field of his or her choice, and quickly gain the experience needed to rise through the ranks of their chosen trade. So many business owners are in need of quality candidates, they now offer employees everything they can (competitive pay, training, bonuses, etc.) to keep them engaged. It is a workers’ market in today’s blue-collar industry and that bodes well for those looking to change or advance their careers.

Just like the theory in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, workers who can gain 4,000+ hours’ experience in a skilled trade, especially within a small company, can propel themselves to the top in both wages and responsibilities. This can also set them up to take the next step—starting their own company. And today it has never been easier to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Caprino: Why do you think women are helping drive today’s blue-collar boom—even in areas like welding and mechanics that were rarely considered in the past?

Rusk: In a not unexpected yet still somewhat surprising development, women are not so quietly moving into lucrative blue-collar positions traditionally held by men. Why? The answer is simple—they’re smart and they see the opportunity in front of them.  Remember Rosie the Riveter? Savvy women are now making six figures in jobs that are in high demand, and both technology and their command of precise details and quality opens many doors. They realize their country needs them, maybe not under wartime duress, but they are now more critical than ever.

Caprino: In your view, what are the keys to comfort, peace, and financial freedom as a blue-collar worker or entrepreneur?

Rusk: I would start by imagining your life the way you want it. Everyone’s picture is different so there are no wrong answers. Only you know who (and what) you are meant to be. And only you know how to live the life you want.

Build on your expectations as you achieve each goal. Begin with the end in mind and forge a clear path to get there. Turn your if goals into when goals, and set exact, precise stepping-stones to measure your progress.

Build your plan with certainty and share it with your trusted support system (friends, family, or trusted coworkers). Once you start to make progress on this plan, you will mentally click into overdrive on your way to achieving your entire picture. Here’s a simple formula to make this point clear: Vocational Passion + Life Vision = Comfort, Peace and Freedom.

Further, I would recommend the following actions:

  • Commit to your goals: get all in and be accountable
  • Turn IF goals into WHEN goals by breaking them down into small, doable steps
  • Apply discipline to make financial goals a reality, using tactics like weekly payroll deductions
  • Envision your best life and sketch it out for yourself … then display it in a place you can’t miss (refrigerator door, bedroom, mirror)
  • Ensure your success by sharing your goals with trusted peers, friends and family.

For more information, visit KenRusk.com and Blue-Collar Cash.

To build a happier, more impactful career, read Kathy Caprino’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss, and work with Kathy in her Career Breakthrough programs.