Speed Versus Space for Leaders with Michelle McGlade
Hello, beautiful lady and gents. I know there’s a few gents out there. It’s so lovely to get the opportunity to hang with you again this week. Welcome to the M Sessions or what I’m calling the M Sessions. Hell yeah, we are having this time together to dive a little deeper, get a little bit more personable, not personable. Well, sure. Get a little more personable and personal, vulnerable, authentic – you and I together. And what I love about this is we’re talking basically about what I believe and how I define leadership, which is from the inside out when you’re able to really focus within you and create strength and power from within that is when and that is only when you are able to truly lead because you are now coming from a place where you can, of course lead yourself and that strength and power that authentic use showing up in those ways creates the opportunity for you to lead others.
And this is a choice how much time you spend on this. How long you allow circumstances to get you off track. But what I do know is it’s up to you and as we are living in a time that certainly it’s very easy to look outside of us and see the changes that we want to happen. And maybe even point the finger at people we would like to see showing up differently. I encourage you to turn that finger around and point it back at yourself and really take a look at how you are showing up. How you’re cultivating the leader inside of you, how you are addressing the circumstances around you. Are you letting them get you off track? How long are you staying off that track? Or are you developing the mechanisms to get yourself back into a place of hope, a place of choice and a place of action in the direction that you would like to go and that you would like to see in this world.
So, if you’re just stopping by here for the first time, you’re catching us in the middle of a conversation and I encourage you to take a listen. And if you like what you hear, there’s a couple of episodes previous to this, where we have been having this conversation and where I’ve been working to build on the conversation. We’ve talked about being seen and not heard. I shared a really personal story around just what it was like for me growing up and some of the different mechanisms that I can look back now and see that I put into place to remain very, very safe and how those have served me. But now it is time to flip that switch. And for me to work on changing that story for myself and really being thankful for where I am and now looking at the different types of mechanisms I’d like to have in place as a strong leader of self and others.
And then last time, we talked about being about being overworked and high achieving and how we continue to seem to underpay ourselves and the mechanisms of overwork and putting ourselves last. The reason that I’m using these different types of moments in my life is because what I would like you to see is that there are negative mechanisms and positive mechanisms. They’re there for very good reasons. At times, they serve you and get you to where you are. So, there’s really no reason or need to hash away at the past, but to just observe and be curious and look at what you, what switches you’d like to flip. And to know that this shows up in so many different ways for you. It’s not just you as a leader of your organization or you as the leader within your family unit or amongst your extended network.
It really is all of you and it should. And so it’s not siloed is what I want to say. And that these little sneaky mechanisms that seem to hold you back or seem to get you into a downward spiral of no opportunity and no choice and no hope, really can be turned around with the flip of the switch. It’s just recognizing them and how and where they’re showing up for you, because for you, it’s different than for me, but the more I can share and the more I can model and the more I can highlight using different aspects and elements of my life, the more I believe there may be an opportunity for you to glean the insight that you need to flip that switch and to step into your true self leadership, your true voice, your true, authentic self, and bring that forth for the benefit of you. And of course the benefit of others.
All right, I’ve got a few more interesting tidbits and story for you today. So, let’s get started shall we.
Alright, what shall we call our time together today. You know, I wrote this down and I think it will be meaningful for the discussion I’d love to have with you. So, we’re going to give the theme of the M Session for today. We’ll call it Speed Versus Space.
And I want to start with just some reflections about what it was like for me when I was young. I was painfully shy. I was so, so shy. I remember even just having trouble, like having a conversation with my grandparents or my parents, or just expressing myself in any way. And, certainly this was a challenge, right? A challenge, in some different way, shape or form. But the piece that I’m remembering, particularly when I was really required, I mean, I needed to make a shift I had to. So, I grew up in the Twin Cities and went to a private Catholic grade school. And so it was really small. It was really intimate. And you were with the same 20, 25, 30 students every year, year after year. So, it was pretty safe that way, especially if you’re a quiet, shy type of child like I was, and right after sixth grade, my parents built their dream home up in the suburbs.
And so, we moved up there and of course I then was required to transfer into a new school, a public school with a much, much, much larger student population. I think the class sizes, then I’m gonna just say, I know I graduated with just over 200 students. So, let’s just say the average class size was around 200, which was huge when you come from 20 to 25. And I remember it was so painful. I just felt like a fish out of water. I mean, first and foremost, we wore uniforms at the private school. So coming into a public school where you’re now in seventh grade, how you looked counted for everything, the labels that you wore were extremely important. And I had no fashion sensibility, completely, you know, new fish out of water and shy. It really was the moment where I had to sink or swim.
And the one thing that saved me, I guess not really saved me. The one thing that nudged me in the direction of just being able to talk with you here today even, is I went into the music program. I was studying flute since I was in fourth grade and they had a band program at the new school. So lo and behold, that was my first opportunity to start expanding, putting myself out there in a much bigger way and literally being on stage. So the very first time I was ever on stage was in seventh grade. And this is a really important part of the story because being shy, being very reserved, you know, being a young person that not really even expresses myself, music was the medium that helped me to do that. And so, of course, I’m a huge proponent of the arts, but in order to be in the band, I needed to get up on a stage and actually play in front of people.
And this was terrifying. I mean, terrifying to me, but it’s such a pivotal moment because I know that this was a time when I started to teach myself some of the mechanisms, the positive ones to help me get out of fear and anxiety, to get me to a place in the present moment and to be able to allow myself to walk out on that stage in front of basically everybody. Which was, like I said, terrifying. And I actually shared that process with you last week. So I want to review it. I’ve built on it over the years, but let me just lay it out for you. So one of the things early on that I started to do was to create space. I realized that when I don’t create space before something that is a little bit scary for me and I rush into it and I don’t have that time, it doesn’t go well for me.
So, creating the space. So what you would see for me as a young person going to prepare for a concert, I would be one of the first ones there. And maybe from the outside, you would think, Oh, she’s just an on-time sort of gal has to be first, you know, the overachiever. It really didn’t have anything to do with that. I always felt more comfortable if I had plenty of space and time to prepare myself before the event. So I would prefer to be one of the first people there to go in and on the stage and get my stuff set up and to really feel into the energy of the space of where I was going to be and start to settle my mind and go through the process of experiencing it before it happens.
So, creating space was a very early mechanism that I used. And that was one of the things that I talked about last week, the second step. So, your fear of following along, because now I’ve created a whole process around this.
The step second step is, as you can imagine, when you’re in a wind ensemble or any type of group like that, there’s a lot of people, right? So you don’t have that quiet space all to yourself right up until you step on the stage. So I think without knowing it, what I really loved in the process is I’d create the space. I’d have the time to put myself into the energy and then all of the people would arrive. Right? All of the other band members would come in and that would create the diversion. And the diversion is something that has carried with me in my process.
Again, I talked about this last week, so the first step is creating space. The second step is just having that random time of diversion where I’ve accepted and now I just don’t need to think about it. I’m just letting it go.
The third step of the process, whether I knew it or not, right before we would go on stage, and I do this now all the time. And stage can mean a lot of different things with this was literally a seventh-grade band concert, right. Is taking a few breaths, really like we’d line up or we’d walk out on the stage and sit down. And there are these moments before the conductor came out and I would take a few breaths. I would plant my feet, you know, that’s really important for your posture anyways. And I think that’s how I developed that without knowing it. So some of these things, I did it, like I didn’t even realize I was doing it honestly. So creating the space, I’d have the randomness, I’d have the diversion of all the activity and getting excited and then we’d walk out and I’d prepare myself.
I’d breathe, I’d settle into my body, plant my feet on the floor. And I would get into the present moment. Focus. Now, the only addition that I had that we talked about last week was the mantra. So let me talk about that a little bit more. So, before I do that, let me run down the process of you following along.
So, I create the space.
Then I go into diversion for a period of time.
Then I start settling in by doing breathing, planting my feet onto the floor, using a mantra, which last week I shared was highest and best self is what I’m currently using, and tapping on the top of my head and then really just settling in to the presence of my body before beginning.
So, I can trace a lot of this back to seventh grade band, right. Just trying to come out of my shell, trying to, you know, get myself out of anxiety and fear and all of the negative thoughts of, wow, I can’t do it or I’m failing or being found out as an imposter, whatever it is. I can trace it back to the early days of having to just step out on stage as that really shy, unconfident, young woman that I was. But I can also see how I’ve used this in other ways. And I want to share those with you because maybe you weren’t a seventh-grade band student. Maybe this shows up for you in another way, and this process, this mechanism really that I’ve built on, you could apply in your life in some way, shape or form. So another instance that I remember using this is when I was in the healthcare space.
So, I’m a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. And every day when I would go into my clinic. I owned and operated a couple of different clinics. And when I would go into the clinic, I used this exact same process. This is fascinating to me because I don’t know that I really realized it, that it became such a critical component to my success during the day. But you know, when you’re working with other space, so this is the first time that I would say I was really working in somebody else’s space. You know, as a band student, you’re working in a community. So being present for your community is where I first learned it. But then you take that down to the individual level, as a practitioner coming into help treat somebody with a chronic illness or something that they’re really struggling with, that they’re not finding answers to.
You really need to get into that present moment. And I use this process, even though I had a team and the team could take care of a lot of the things happening at the clinic. I still preferred it on those days when I would be there first. Isn’t that interesting? I preferred it when I had the time to go into the clinic when no one was there and it was quiet. And to create the space of just walking in and sitting, I would sit in the chair in one of the rooms and just kind of take in the energy of what was going to be happening there for that day. But having that time was so critical to me and really getting into the mood of who I was while I was there and who I needed to be, despite all of the craziness going on around me.
And then I would just do some of those little tiny activities, those diversion activities. This is such a critical time to be like, okay, I’m prepared now. Let’s just have a little fun. You’ll let straight in the room. Do we need this? You know, is the plant need watering, is the artwork on the wall crooked, just little tiny, random activities that didn’t have any matter shape or form. And I wasn’t attached to what I chose to do with the time. And then as it became closer and closer, and people were coming in to the clinic, other practitioners, I would go sit in one of the treatment rooms by myself. I would close the door and I would do the breathing. I would breathe. I would put my feet on the floor. I would quiet myself to get into the present moment. I don’t remember using the mantra piece that much. This really has come into play more and more in the past years.
But what I do know is that this process and these several mechanisms stacked together in a process that became so critical for me. Especially on the days when I didn’t have full energy. And I know you know what this is like. The days where maybe you had a two-hour full day before you got to the office, because you were taking care of matters at home a full day, because you a high achiever like me and you’re completely overworked and exhausted. When you got out of bed, you didn’t have anything left to make your day, get started, let alone make your day happen. Or even there are many of you out there like me who have struggled with chronic auto immune challenges. And, maybe that day, you just don’t have it in you, but you need to find a way – you need to make it happen. You want to show up for yourself and your dreams.
And that’s what I did. And this is the process that I used creating space, diversion, activity, breathing mantra, present moment.
Let me give you one more beautiful example of this. I do this often, now specifically. I can tell you, I have a women’s group here locally, and I need to show up for them. We have two events every month and I lead and facilitate and or speak or both, or, I’ve got a good amount of leadership opportunities and people are expecting of me because I’ve chosen. I’ve made this commitment. I don’t want to make it sound like it’s not my decision. Totally my decision. But they’re expecting me to show up with a certain amount of energy. And some days lady I’m telling you, have you ever felt like this? You got to go get up onstage and bring it. People have maybe even paid, right? They paid for this and you have a responsibility and you just might not have it. Or you might not be feeling your most powerful self. I have those days, I use this process. And if you think about it, the theme here is any time I need to get up on stage, literally, for a seventh-grade band concert, literally for a speaking event, or literally when it comes to showing up in my business for my clients, create the space.
I do this in the car a lot of times, too. Oh, let me give you the deeper part of the story. So for the women’s group locally, I create the space. So I usually leave, I don’t cut it close. I don’t cut it close to arrive 30 minutes before, and I have people there making it all go. So I literally don’t need to be there, but I still do this. I go early. I like to be first. I like to have the space. I like to walk the room. I like to feel into the energy and settle in and not be rushed. And then as everybody else’s coming in, I actually don’t stick around. I might talk to people for a little bit, do some diversion, sort of activities, maybe check a few things on my phone. It’s very random and it’s very relaxed. Then I go into a quiet space before, breathing mantra, usually in the bathroom stall and get present. And then I go out and we’re on. So literally any time I need to show up, regardless of how I’m feeling, I use this process.
Whew. Well, I guess I had a lot more to share on this than I thought. We talked about it last week, but I thought it was really important because I can see how I’ve been developing these mechanisms and stacking them and using them to my benefit. So I really wanted to shine the light on that for you. And then I want to add to it. So I’ve talked a lot about before. So those are all examples of before kind of going into that session going on stage, for example, but I wanted to share with you, as well, and build on that because now in my role, as coach, as my role as leader and facilitator of other leaders, there is a very specific extension of that process, extension of those mechanisms that I use during. And I thought, you know, the light bulbs going off could all the amazing women leaders and few gents that are listening to this show, leverage this with their teams in their boardrooms. You know, one-on-one. Yes. Hell yes. Right? So I’m going to take you through a process and what I do and what I use when I’m in session one-on-one with a client to stay present and to really slow things down.
And if you are tracking with me really closely, then you just, the aha came to you of why the M Session for today is all about Speed Versus Space. Because I’ve talked a lot about creating space. And now I’m talking about slowing things down and that’s one of the critical elements when you’re working with and coaching high performers, high achievers, you know, people who are in leadership roles. I find that we don’t take a lot of time to slow down. And so as a coach, the best thing I can do is help slow things down. But I’m a mover and a shaker, too. I’m a futurist, when it comes to strength finders, that’s my number one. So, I’ve had to figure this out for myself, but I now use it with leaders that I work with. So slowing things down.
So, of course, it goes back to the breath. That’s going to be a common through line to all of this is the breathing. And the reason is that when we breathe, and I talked about this last week, when we breathe, we cannot be in the past and we cannot be in the future. So, really when I’m in session with somebody and here’s what happens, I could say something as simple as what’s the most top of mind for you right now? So, I might say something like that to a client and they can literally, without barely taking a breath, talk for the next 10 to 20 minutes straight and just go on and on and on.
So, what I do is I model for them and start to create the space of slowing down. And I do this first and foremost, step number one, breathing. I focus on my breathing. I put my feet on the floor. So you’ve already heard both of those. I make a conscious effort to hold in my words. And the reason is, is it’s not my job to do a lot of telling in the coaching process, it is to just ask and give better help my clients and ask themselves better questions. So, I make it a point to hold in my words and to do that. The mechanism I use is writing. So I make, I don’t write sentences, but I make a lot of one word notes to myself and phrases about what they’re saying. That sounds actually, it’s not about what it sounds or what I think there’s no judgment made. I just let the breath come. And I intuitively right?
What stands out, what I’m being channeled to write, encouraged to write. And it’s just coming into me by focusing on the breath and staying present. And then the unique thing about what I can do is I have very, very good complex pattern recognition. And so I’m looking for the patterns. So, that’s the process I use. That’s literally my coaching process right there, slowing things down. And how do I do that? And the reason I’m sharing this with you, maybe you could use this process with yourself.
Are you a high performer? Are you a leader of others? Maybe you can use it with your team when they come in and their hair’s standing on end. And they’re saying all the things, right? So I’m giving you the process of slowing things down by getting present within yourself and modeling presence by breathing, putting your feet on the floor, don’t be reactive. Hold in your word. So, holding in your words is not to not express. It’s to be non-reactive and instead use the opportunity to write and look for patterns in what they’re saying, and that’s where you need to go next.
So, like I said, I see this being used in several ways. I just described to you literally how I implement this into my coaching sessions with high performers. I believe you could follow and implement this process with your team, with your high performing team. When you have individuals coming into you, running around with their head cut off, or I could see you implementing this for yourself through a journaling process, could be a very, very good way to get out of your head, into your body, and into your heart to create that heart and mind hookup. But the key really is to look at the speed versus the space and to create the space and to slow down the speed. And that’s what I’ve got for you. Beautiful lady and gent. We’ll talk to you soon.
Before we wrap it up, I do have one ask and I’m really focusing on this, by the way. I want to model for you something I’ve been thinking about a lot and observing an extremely successful woman. And if they’re doing it, if the women on the show are that I’m interviewing and the women in and around me are doing it and I’m doing it, then I know you’re probably doing it, too. I don’t know that it’s just a woman thing, but you know, I hang out with a lot of women these days, but I have a suspicion gents do this too.
And what I’m talking about is making an ask. I really believe that we don’t make an ask for what we need often enough and as human beings in this world, what I do know, and I can speak for myself is I am overjoyed when somebody asks me for assistance and I can serve, I am overjoyed when it is really clear to me how I can serve them.
And I am overjoyed when they come and ask me to do so. And any time I’ve made an ask to some other amazing woman or man in my life, they have been delighted to serve. And so I think we don’t want to bother people sometimes, but a lot of times I believe that the issue is we’re not clear on what we want or need. And so we’re not able to make a clear ask of another person. And when it’s not clear, it’s more difficult for them to serve.
So, I encourage you, one, to get more clear on how others in your community and your network could serve. You get clear on how they can help, and then don’t be afraid to make the ask. So now that I’m getting off my soap box, I’m going to make an ask of you, which is, could you please, if this resonated in some way, shape or form, or you found an aha moment or just one little shift that you can make, that’ll make all the difference for you. I have a belief that it will do the same for another person in your life. And so my ask is very clear. Would you please share this with one other person?
You don’t have to send it out to an email list, make a big post on social. I’m just asking for you to share this. Like literally take the link, put it in an email and say, this made a great impact on me. And I think it will you, too, or whatever it is from your heart, that could be extremely, extremely helpful for me and helping spread the word.
But more importantly, impactful for somebody else who needs to hear this information. I would so appreciate that. All right. I have some amazing interviews coming up. There’s going to be more from me on the M Sessions, and I’m just excited to continue the journey with you. Until next week! We’ll talk soon.