Natalie and I go back several years. She was in my coach training program, and from our first peer discussion, I was seriously impressed at her level of intuition and calm, supportive style.
I was so thrilled when she announced she was writing a book, Let Her Out: Reclaim Who You Have Always Been. It's all about going back to who you used to be, and celebrating your courage & tenacity -- your true self.
Read on for an interview to learn more about her history, her book and her philosophies in life!
On Providing Space for Discovery
I focus on helping people connect to who they REALLY are. What being coached and being a coach has taught me is that we have to start with ourselves in any endeavor for improvement or change. Too many people want to speed through this self-discovery phase and get to "fixing things and other people." In the work I do - through my writing, coaching and speaking - is to provide people a place to do their own work and discovery so the "things and others" are no longer a stressor.
Your book is called Let Her Out: Reclaim Who You Have Always Been. It's all about supporting womxn in going back to their original "source" of themselves. What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
I want the reader of this book to be able to look in the mirror and say "I see you. I love you. I'm going to bring more of you to my every day." I help her get there through the Let Her Out framework along with over 100+ coaching questions.
On creating a different kind of book
Now something cool about the book, it's a bit different than most -- you tell the reader that you don't want her to read it straight through in one sitting! Can you talk about why this is and where the idea came from?
I had an amazing group of people serve as my editorial board. They got the first peek at the nearly completed manuscript. A piece of feedback that I heard from more than one of those individuals was "wow, there is a lot to unpack here. If you really want people to get the most out of this book, give them an outline on how best to experience this book."
From there, I wrote a section called "How to Use This Book" and one of my suggestions is to "not binge this book." I've had many people tell me they were going to settle in to an afternoon read and get through the book quickly, but they heeded my advice.
Now, I can see the work these women are doing to actually get the most out of the experience. Because I've described this book as "where life story meets life coaching", they get a healthy dose of both, which are best taken one section at a time.
The book is also really practical and gives exercises for the reader. I'd love to know, which exercise was the most difficult for you and why?
My favorite exercise is the Intermission. It's a blend of some of my favorite life story / personal timeline exercises I've used with many of my coaches. It's great to have my own version out in the world.
The one that was most difficult was the Barrier Buster exercise. I spend the most time in the book helping the reader identify and overcome the barriers she has erected around herself that are keeping Her in versus out. Because this is such a personal journey, it was hard to develop a framework and guide that I thought could work globally, but I was able to put it all together.
Both of these guides are available free for download at LetHerOut.com in the resources area.
On the importance of onboarding
Ok, a fun question now! What was your favourite tradition growing up? (Smalltown tradition or otherwise 😉
I loved the county fair growing up. There are a few stories in the book that talk about the county fair. I loved it because it was one of the weeks when you were able to get out and socialize and run around the fairgrounds with your friends.
Coming from a small town, you don't see other kids regularly during the summer, so this was THE week to do it. It was also a time to share what I learned in 4-H, a youth development organization.
It was where socialization met personal development, so it's no surprise that I loved it!
Aaaaand back to the "serious" questions 😉 Your company is called Small Town Leadership because you grew up in a town of 600 people (!!!!) and found so many leadership insights from that experience. Can you share one tip about how to make a big city or a big organization feel like a small town?
A key way to make a big organization feel like a small town is to make sure everyone feels welcomed from Day 1.
My mom is famous for having a basket of cookies or a casserole on the porch of the new family in town within days of arrival, and I always thought of that when I onboarded new team members.
When someone steps into your organization and quickly is introduced to others on the team, has quick access to all of the necessary tools and equipment to do their job, and has casual touchbases set up with a variety of people, they will find their way more quickly than if you give them their laptop and log in and say "good luck."
On helping people with big dreams
Ok, now let's tackle a true serious topic... A lot of women I work with face what I call "impostor messages", for example when woman see that it’s mainly men getting promoted, it’s a silent message that women don’t belong in leadership in their company.
For other women, it's blunt and explicit, like being told that if they decide to have children, to not expect to get a promotion to VP level. Have you witnessed or experienced impostor message? What advice do you have for getting past it?
What I've seen a lot of is "who I am to _____?" Who am I to be the VP? Get the promotion? Earn the high salary? Now that I work with a lot of coaches, when they sign a new client or are able to increase the rate they charge, they almost always look over their shoulder as if they've been caught doing something wrong.
This is the behavior I want us to call out and eliminate. You are EXACTLY the person who should be the VP, get the raise, sign the client. When we can stop questioning the things we DO achieve, we will stop questioning the things we are THINKING about achieving.
I can't help but throw in a 'coach-y' question.... If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do? 🙂
I would be coaching every kid from a small town to achieve big dreams. I would tell them that being from a small town should not be seen as something that holds them back, but instead as something that can propel them forward.
I would introduce them to new people, places and possibilities so that they can dream big for themselves, and bring a different message of inclusion, openness, and empathy to communities that otherwise are fear-filled regarding change and difference.
Her Recommended Resources
And there's one "dream big" question I love asking everyone -- If I could wave a magic wand and you could change ONE thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
For men to be stronger allies. Specifically for straight, white men, to be stronger allies to everyone who doesn't carry that description. One of my friends, Julie Kratz, works in this space specifically, and I appreciate the clarity of her work and message.
When we can have people who don't look like us advocate for us, things can start to change. I think a lot of "waking up" was done in 2020, but there is still so much more work to be done.
I have to ask everyone this (because I love me a good book recommendation!) What leadership book are you reading right now or would you recommend?
I am listening to Brene Brown's new podcast on Spotify, based on her book Dare to Lead. I highly recommend for any leader! I also work with the Positive Intelligence organization and have to give a shout out to our leader, and author of Positive Intelligence, Shirzad Chamine. It's going to be the next movement in personal development!