STB 031 | Sam Collins

Women Are Still Struggling With Self Confidence with Dr. Sam Collins

Dr. Sam Collins works with communities and organizations to create the right conditions for empowerment, equality, and change. Throughout her 20 years of experience, she has worked with women and has seen some common themes appear over and over, like lack of confidence, fear to speak out and share their voice, and being fit into a blueprint that women have to take on all of life’s responsibilities. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Dr. Sam shares her thoughts on this week’s episode.

Women Are Still Struggling With Self Confidence with Dr.Sam Collins

Welcome back, beautiful lady. I was in a conversation this week and someone said, Oh, what’s the name of your podcast? I’m going to go look it up and take a listen. And I said, “She’s Talking Back”. And then they said, after a pause, they said, is that in the intro? And I said, no, but it’s going to be this week. So there it is, there it is.

Hello. Welcome to the show. I am really excited to bring this amazing woman into your realm, into your ears. The beautiful Dr. Sam Collins is a leading international voice on leadership and equality, a social entrepreneur, speaker and author. Dr. Sam Collins founded Aspire nearly 20 years ago. I would like to say before, it was even fashionable to be running big events for women when she was just 30 years old. So, a visionary, as well.

Now it’s a globally sought after organization that empowers a new way of leadership in life work and the world. Dr. Collins has lived, traveled and worked in the UK, Europe, Canada, Africa, India, Australia, and the U S. So she brings a very strong global view of women and women’s issues. She has been named one of the Top 200 Women to impact business and industry by Her Majesty, the Queen and A Woman Shaping the World by CNN. So, a well-recognized, beautiful woman inside and out. Without further adieu, let’s get started.

You are in for a treat because of course I’m inserting my 2 cents before you have the opportunity to listen to my conversation with Sam Collins. And you know, what I love about this is Sam and I, it feels like two women just sitting down and somebody happened to be pressing record. It really feels like a casual conversation to me anyways, around some really compelling topics. We talk a lot about, well, let me start here.

First of all, we talk about skills and talents as women, the importance of understanding our strengths yet recognizing when they can become our Achilles heels. I really love that Sam identifies at one point, listen for this, the importance of being able to ask ourselves better questions and the value that coaches bring and helping us do so. I also feel like we spend a good amount of time kind of chipping away at what Sam is seeing right now.

And one of the most powerful words she uses in describing this is that she’s seeing a lot of unrest and there are some really great pieces of this conversation because I think she’s right. I’m still reflecting on it, but one of her takes on this is that we’re moving too quickly into the solutions where we have a tendency, of course, to want to take action and maybe action right now, isn’t the right next best step. But instead to not do anything, to create the space for allowing creativity to come in, to find a new way, and that really resonates for me. I do believe it’s a time to start challenging ourselves and one another to come together, but to think differently.

We also get into it around what Sam calls, the Blueprint that she sees for us as women. And, you know, it centers around some of the things around responsibility, guilt, shame, but I love and listen for this, how she says, these are all very emotional.

And I liked that lens. I’m still thinking about it. I’m going to come back to it before we wrap up today, after you have a chance to listen to the conversation, and I’m going to share the one thing that Sam shares that she, when it comes to women, she has not seen a lot of progress for us, in her global and 20 year perspective. So I don’t want you to miss that. So, I’m going to make sure I recap it and point out at the end with a few additional thoughts, but for now the beautiful Dr. Sam Collins.

One of the things I really wanted to ask you about was I was thinking about this. I mean, you’ve been out 20 years, right?

And many lifetimes before likely.

Yeah. That’s it that’s before it was trendy for coaching was trendy and women’s issues were trendy. How did you move into that at the time? Do you remember?

Yeah. I mean, I want to say it’s trendy now. I mean, I’m not really big trendy type of person, but It’s a good word. It is funny. And I think that’s a good thing because it means so many more people interested in it. It becomes much more mainstream, but yeah, when I started Aspire, I was 29 and I do remember really clearly, I had wanted to start my own business and I was going to be 30. So that’s a huge thing.

And, you know, I grew up with a mother who was very sensitive, but also very, you know, determined to want to provide for a family and go out to work. And, it was the eighties. So that was, I think that, you know, that was the one of the first times that we really saw women power housing their way into the business world at least.

And so I could see, I was watching all this as a teenager and very impressed, so impressed with the, particularly with the suits and the clothes and, you know, the sense of empowerment. Having grown up really with a stay at home mother until my teenage years. I started at Aspire, I did it because being inspired by mother, but unfortunately my mother dying early, you know, she was, she won, she took her own life.

I was in university in England at the time. And so I think having had that experience, obviously a dramatic one, which a lot of people have had. I was someone who perhaps had not gone down the usual path, or the more typical paths of maybe some of my friends or what was of me from, my father, you know, I’d give my family. So I was, I would say I was quite rebellious anyway. So, if I wanted to do something, I wanted to do it and I’ve always been like that. And it’s been a gift and other times it’s been a complete curse, but so I had this plan to start this business.

And all I really knew, Michelle, is I want to do something that made a difference to women. I didn’t really know exactly what it was going to look like or how it was going to work, or if it would work or any of those things. And I do remember some very well-meaning people saying to me, well, you know, in a business sense, this is not going to work.

When we think of branding, all those things, you cannot alienate half of your market target market, which is man. I’m like, well, they’re not my target market. I just became sort of more familiar with coaching and I just sort of thought this much more empowering philosophy for women was just the way to go. And I remember someone said, I think it was actually my dad.

He said, very well-meaningly, as dads do, do you know some people, they’re going to call you a feminist. And at the time, and it sort of evokes images of, you know, the bra burning sixties, which I happen to love. I think that was a phenomenal time. And I was like, that’s a bad thing? And yeah, that was a lot of people that said, yes, that’s a bad thing. But as you say, now, you know, I’ve seen this over the years, that being a feminist, and you’ve seen that so many great memories, t-shirts, you know, this is what a feminist looks like, yes, feminism is wonderful. And if it’s trendy and people are associating much more with it now than then, that’s a great thing. That’s a good thing, go for it. You know, we’re all should be feminists. We will, our feminists at high, believe me, maybe there’s a few names. So probably wouldn’t mention that really are not feminists, but, and they’re running countries, but mostly.

You mentioned something about having kind of the positive aspect of your personality trait and then the dark side of it being that I kind of just do whatever you want, go your own way. How has that proven positive over time for you? Because everybody has, I don’t think people recognize that sometimes your greatest gifts can be, there’s always a dark side to that.

I mean, there’s been such a focus isn’t there on knowing, not understanding your strengths. And, I think the pitch has been that these are the things that will make you, the happiest will make you the most productive or give you the highest performance and there’s truth in all of them. But the same time they can absolutely be your Achilles heel. And we don’t always recognize that part of it. And I don’t think there’s been that much really written about that or talked about of that because I think as women

And particularly we really needed to discover our strategy. So we don’t really want to know that it’s Achilles heel too.

But you know, there’s a lot of, I think gender problem of gender biases when it comes to strengths, because a lot of the things that perhaps mainstream human population has been socialized as strengths, more masculine. And so, in many, you know, when you think about businesses or larger organizations that are measuring you based on these more masculine strengths, so are you strategic? You know, are you able to get things done? Are you able to, you know, move forward at pace? And you know, all these things are valuable of course.

But they are quite muscular in nature. So nobody’s really know yet, or maybe a few innovative companies are, nobody’s really managing on your skill of being an empath let’s measure empathy, let’s measure femininity. If you’ve seen a performance review, that’s measuring our level of feminism. I haven’t, but you know, as women, we have very unique skills and talents that are not have not been valued up until now and now, it’s all changing.

Yeah, I was, I just wanted to clarify, because I do hear it being talked about in terms of like leadership, like an empathetic leader, for example, but I think, I just want to be clear on what you’re saying that it’s not yet being measured, so it’s not really been ingrained into the system yet. I call it the report card system in corporate, you know, just keep moving up the ladder.

I don’t even think it’s just in corporate. I think it’s in our education systems. I think it’s ingrained in quite an early age and for those that are talking about it, you’re right. It hasn’t really made it into the structures of the system.

So for example, the report card, the performance review, the talent review or whatever it is, there are some people that really get it and will be really trailblazing change in these areas and wanting to see these kind of policies and structures shift, but the whole system need to change and evolve in my view right now, we’re looking for big structural changes to systems.

You know, whether it is a corporate system or whether it’s about race or equality or discrimination, whatever it is, the systems, the bigger picture systems is what we are all upset about right now. And I’m wanting to really see change. And I think that it’s a great time. You know, it’s a wonderful time in history, but look back at this and say I was alive. Then it was me out there. I was in 2020 and look at what change and I’m scared and I’m excited. And I’m wondering, and I’m curious about it all.

Yeah. What is it your sense today? We’ll capture a snapshot because you know, it’s changing day to day, but what is your sense today of what we’ll see?

It is changing moment to moment and I think as women we’re really able to move with the tide, we do have these skills of being able to handle many, many things all at the same time. So, it’s no new news to us. We’re like, okay, you know, we can do this, even though it can be very tiring. I think that it’s sometimes I wonder whether we’re answering the wrong questions, you know, I think it’s important that we move past just trying to fix things, because if you’re trying to fix things all the time, we fix a hole and then another hole appears and then we fix a hole, a hole appears, and it’s a bit like a game of Whackamole, you know.

And I think once you recognize that and say, okay, let’s move a little bit out into the more of a creative open space and ask questions about what really needs to be different and what is it that we need to be spending our valuable time and energy on? I think we might have very different answers to the ones we’ve had before.

So, I think this is where coaching can be very, very valuable, whether that’s self-coaching or working with a coach to be able to ask ourselves really the right questions.

So, would you say that one of the potential risks that is facing us right now is the loss of our creativity?

I think one of the greatest opportunities that we have right now is the creation of our creative activity. You know, when we have a less crowded mind and when we have less concern about risk, so, you know, sort of going back to what you said about me being a bit more rebellious or wanting to do my own thing, I’m really seeing that happening now more where women are saying like, okay, you know, screw it.

I can do that. Or, you know, I don’t have to stay and do this, or I don’t have to deal with this kind of behavior anymore. And I think this is sort of the point I’m seeing right now is a lot of unrest, so much unrest. I think we want to move into, which is the very masculine way of doing it. We want to move into solutions phase, you know? Okay. So what should we do about it?

Well, how about we sort of don’t do anything about it right now, because what we have been doing about it is not working. So, let’s find something new, let’s have a new way of coming together, a new way of creating change. And it has to be done, in my opinion, en mass. And I would take the example of all of the marches and everything, and the protests that are happening in the U.S. right now, this is en mass and it’s sustainable because it’s en mass and it’s sustainable because it’s actually provoked.

You’re starting to provoke others to action, and we’re starting to see some perimeters of structural change. So I think that creativity is key. I think that being able to think about things differently is key. And I think coming together with other people is fundamentally important right now, there shouldn’t be a loan venture cause loan ventures don’t tend to work too well. They’re not too sustainable.

Women are poised for that because we love community. We love coming together in community. It’s really just now marrying that with the creativity and the ability to start organizing, to lead the change.

Yeah. I mean, women coming together for community organizing and leading change, it’s no new news, right? We’ve been doing this for thousands and thousands of years. However, you know, women have within that, a level of conditioning, a blueprint, if you like, which is, has been very limiting in my opinion.

And there is a blueprint that says, well, if you do this, you’re going to have to sacrifice something else. If you do that is going to give you a level of guilt and shame. So, decide whether you want to do it because it’s going to come with a good old dose of guilt and shame. And if you want to do this thing over here, you need permission.

So, make sure you ask permission from the right people so that you can do that. And men don’t have these things are very different in a very different way or not as much. So we’ve got a whole dose of responsive. We also have a huge amount of responsibility. We’re responsible for everything, everything, including like everything that happens in our houses, everything that happens with our bodies, everything that happens in the world, we have this huge sense of responsibility.

So, you’ve got this combination of responsibility, guilt, shame, and sacrifice ingrained into us from thousands and thousands of years, generations. And so if you’re trying to do something you want to lead change, you come together as community and all of this stuff is tied into it. We’re limited on what we can achieve and do why think is so amazing right now is I’m starting to see these levels of permission, responsibility, guilt, and shame, changing, like the blueprint is changing. It’s starting to fall away. We’re not asking as much permission anymore. We don’t feel so responsible. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get things done, but if you’re doing it with a huge dose of responsibility on your shoulders, it’s extremely tiring. And there’s been much work on guilt and shame.

If we can get rid of these things, which are very emotional for us, or at least minimize them, then we have such a great opportunity for creativity and innovation and changing and leading the world.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking a lot about with regards to this is the opportunity for people to really lead change by leading themselves. I mean, there’s a lot of external factors, which you’ve talked about from a generational perspective, but there’s always choice. And there’s always an opportunity to fill yourself up first and come from that place of self-love and work within so that you can show up stronger and more powerful in the world, which allows you to then be a more transformational leader. Do you agree with that?

Oh, 100%. 150%. I mean, I think this is the work that we’ve all been doing for, for so many years.

And so many of us that go into this business, do it for that added bonus of not only helping others, but having our own personal journey and being able to go inward and work on ourselves. And I actually feel like it’s such a great opportunity right now to do that. Even within the chaos of everything, that’s happening to be able to check in, like I’m doing a whole check in with myself the last few days about responsibility.

Like, Oh, here I go again. Like, I feel like that’s my responsibility. Like if my child starts screaming or something happens, like that’s my responsibility. Well, as a parent, of course you can argue that it is, but it really governs how we, you know, how I approach that situation. Or you can go the other way and completely abdicated God, you know, like I can’t stand this kid.

Like, you know, you decide your own destiny, you deal with it, you decide your destiny. Or there’s another approach, which is to sort of release this responsibility and then decide what to do from that space. And that’s very different, you know, that’s leading system, very different places for me. And that’s, you know, that’s a journey and of course, you know, as we do these things, we can role model it and turn it into a tool, turn it into a story, you know, turn it into something that you say, okay, I’ve learned this now. I want to share this because it’s really been helpful for me. It’s really valuable. And I want others to be able to do this, too.

So, I want to go back to start, you know, starting this, whatever it was going to be, not attached to how it, how it came out. I mean, you have a lens. I think that a lot of people don’t have, you really do have a lens to, I think 20 years in the business of women and growth of women and in connecting with women over 20 years, time in this way is powerful. You have like that feet on the street, sort of behind the curtain information.

So, I’m just curious what you’ve seen happen over the time. Like, are there some overarching themes at the grassroots level? Just even within your business that you’ve seen with women and the shift.

I like that feet on the street, I’m going to use that! It’s interesting because I think that there are bursts, you know, over time there are bursts of activity and in condition, I use the word ignition where you really start to see change happen.

If you look back over 20 years and you sort of see it as a linear history, you can kind of say, Oh, not that much has happened, but when you look at it in terms of bursts of action, it’s really very interesting. I definitely can see sort of the pre COVID-19 time and the post COVID-19 time. It almost feels like we worked really hard for 19 and a half years so that we could have COVID-19 to be able to allow us to sort of explode into something new. And, you know, I encourage anybody. That’s sort of trying to create any change that on a daily basis, it can sometimes feel like a grind or not much is happening, but then, you know, when you have any experience I was happening now and you can start to become conscious of what’s happening now, it can be really, really quite exciting.

One of the things that I have seen over the past years is I have not seen a huge amount of progress in what I would call women’s confidence. I am sort of, struck every time I run a workshop or event, a live workshop or event, I refer to those for a moment cause they were pre COVID where I have the same themes coming up every time.

And I felt like, gosh, this is a bit of a game of whack-a-mole, you know, let me help and whacking up again and whack them up again. So it really did encourage me to start asking different questions. So I’m equipping women with the tools to be more confident, but they keep coming back to me, not so confident. So that’s where I come to the more systemic structural changes and how women can influence those structural changes that we talked about.

One of the themes I have seen more recently, in the past 10 years or so, would be predominantly to do with the rise of globalization and digitalization is the amount of women in places, you know, countries across Africa and India and South America and room sort of rise of women in those countries. And I think they were always there, but they didn’t have the visibility or the connection that we can have now when we have these kinds of platforms that we’re on now. And I think that’s very, very exciting because there are millions and millions of women out there who are doing great things and who have been traditionally thought of as oppressed, who are now really starting to come together and do great things in their communities.

And we’re starting to see more than ever female country presidents, female leaders in their communities, women who are really leading change. And as I’ve seen that rise, I have also seen a number of women in the more developed countries and that seek examples of, you know, US, UK, Canada, et cetera, who have become extremely tired and almost jaded and cynical.

So just sort of been working really hard over a long period of time, trying to create change and seeing not a lot happen. And then that being reignited by women who weren’t necessarily part of this movement, but then have created movement. And I would use the MeToo movement as an example of that. So that was a great sort of re-ignition of women where women said, okay, well, if she can speak up and I can speak up, if she can do, I can do it.

And I think that’s a phenomenal thing. So when you sort of put all this together, it can seem like a chaotic mess to be outside. Well, you know, if an alien came down and observing the women’s movement, they’re like, what the heck is going on, but actually it’s a wonderful tapestry of things happening across the globe. And I find that really encouraging and really exciting.

Yeah. I mean, it’s not going to be a perfect, beautiful line. It’s going to happen. It’s going to be the map from hell.

I love that. The map from hell. I remember reading some research from my doctor was some years ago about career trees and career ladders. And, you know, you may be familiar and this sort of masculine approach of the ladder, like it’s going to be one perfect line.

You’re reminding me of that right now. And, you know, the women, we plan our lives. There’s lots of branches coming off of a very integral tree and it has a lot of beauty to it. We’re hanging out at one branch for awhile and went work and we’ll go somewhere else. And this is, this is how we operate. It. Hasn’t really been recognized yet as valid and tangible and a way to go, we get it.

But the world is catching up there and hopefully we’ll catch up pretty fast.

I saw a video on Facebook last night of I’m just into art and, you know, from New Zealand of course of great fame right now. And she was listing, I think she had two minutes or something to list off all the achievements that had happened, things that happened for New Zealand. You may have seen it for New Zealand. And anyway, she went to two minutes 50. I was really struck by her great spirit and authenticity and down to earth nervous. And it’s just wonderful kind of example of someone who is in a very political position obviously, but who is managing to do such great things, in arguably one of the most challenging times in history, she’s achieving all these things, which just a smile on her face.

And she’s kind of, she’s felt like you’d have a round for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. It was something. And I was like, gosh, this is what we need. This is what we are, please, can we just replicate you? And I know there was so many women out there that are, this is their style. This is who they are. And the more role models that we have of women like that, it makes such a difference.

And then on the other side of the coin, I was watching this woman who was being interviewed last night on CNN. And she was being, you know, asked a number of things and a very accomplished woman and very credible. And, I had all this experience and I was listening to her speak and I was commenting to my husband about how inauthentic she sounded, it sounded quite scripted. And I was like, you know, like, relax.

No, of course, I guess it’s really, this is what we want right now. We don’t just want the credibility and the experience and all of that kind of stuff. I have no idea what she did before I don’t care, you know, what I care about is who she is now and what she’s doing and how she’s doing it. I find it very interesting, but I think that a lot of us women need to maybe unlearn some things.

Well, one of the things, and, and I did recall what I wanted to ask you, which really builds on this story is that you’d mentioned about the voice. And I do believe that when we see other women or experience other women speaking more of their truth more authentically, that really does open the door for others to do it because they’re walking around in fear to really say what they think.

I think sometimes people think that you’re sort of born brave. They say to me, well, Sam, you’re so confident as if like I came out of the womb that way. I mean, I don’t know, maybe I did, but I mean, I’m being very awkward. I’m still very awkward. Now. I remember being a very awkward kid and awkward teenager. I’ve always struggled with my weight, these kind of typical things that we struggle with and very fragile after my mother’s death.

And I remember doing the first Aspire event, actually, Michelle, and I was so nervous. Oh my God. You know, I was just like hives creeping up. And my sister Emma was like you should put a scarf on or something. Cause you look like you’re, you going to scare people. And I remember being so nervous about it and I don’t want to get nervous now because I’ve worked on it.

You know, I’ve worked on being bolder and I’ve worked on and it’s taken a lot. I’m still not there. Cause it’s, but I’ve worked on not worrying about what people think and that’s huge, but there will be a consequence to things I say, and I’m okay with it. You know, what’s going to happen. And I mean created this sort of world around me where it’s my own business, so okay. You could argue, wow, you don’t have a boss. You don’t have a, a board, you know, but at the same time I need to have clients, right. I need to have people want to listen to me. So, I think that we can work on it. And yeah, when I have observed or been involved with people who are bolder than me, I want to be like them, you know, as much as it might scare me, I want to be like them.

And I remember having this conversation with this woman who, at the time was running a charity, called Women for Women, International Women’s Survivors of War. I was having a conversation with her and we’re having some food in Washington, DC. And she said to me, you should come to Rwanda, you know, leadership, blah, blah, blah, women. You should come to Rwanda with me. I remember thinking Rwanda, you must be joking. I’m not going to Rwanda. Just had two little kids, at home. And I was actually sort of disappointed in myself, but I thought that’s just not my thing. Like, I’m not the go to Rwanda type of woman. And she was like, it’s so amazing. The women there are doing such phenomenal things. We’ve got this leadership program, you have to come, you have to come. And I remember thinking, I just felt really scared about it.

You know? Like I’d never been to Africa before. And I didn’t really want to try this kind of stuff that you put in your head. I remember going home to my husband, Robert and Robert said, it was very unusual for him. He said, I forbid you to go. Forbid if you knew him, you’d be like, how did that word even come up with that? And of course, I don’t know, like something to sparks inside me. Like when someone says that you can’t do something or I forbid you to do it, I thought, well, I’m going to do it. Then. It’s like we were talking about before this kind of strength, but also Achilles heel. So I didn’t end up at Rwanda. I ended up in Congo, which is sort of the same kind of thing.

They’re completely different countries, but it’s the same sort of just with the same kind of just in my mind. But, I never thought that I could do that. I never thought I could do that. And I was in some pretty hairy situations in my visits to Congo. And I was just actually, I’ve actually just written about it, just rewritten that chapter of my book, because I wanted to capture a lot of that stuff. But if we can stretch ourselves a bit more, I mean, it’s a bit cliche has a coach like stretch yourself, be bold everyday, all that kind of crap, but it’s actually really true. It doesn’t mean you have to go to Congo. Cause right now, like go into the store or something is a big deal. But if we can stretch ourselves to do things that are beyond where we are, you did a little bit, a little bit every day, after a couple of weeks, a couple of years you come really, really bold and you don’t care really what people think. It’s sort of, it is what it is.

Yeah. I love that. You said that because what most people go to in their mind is they have to go and make this huge, like they see way over here and that’s where they want to be. And so they just shut down thinking I can’t make that leap instead of focusing on the one next thing, the one next thing. So for some woman, it’s not just, you’d love to be on this podcast with us having a conversation. Maybe that’s your big leap, but tomorrow you need to go to your neighbor and tell her what you really need.

Yeah. That’s actually a great idea. I’m more scared of going to my neighbor and telling her what I really think than going to Congo!

But it could be something very small, you know, just in terms of letting your voice out in a bigger way or in a different way or In a way that feels a little uncomfortable for you.

And there’s got to be, so I was having a conversation with one of our speakers and she was saying that, Oh, it’s such a little thing. Her name is Dr. Lori Hood. And she was saying that people call her Dr. Lori and not Dr. Hurd. And so she was having a conversation with someone academic and said, Oh yeah, that’s a thing like for men, we call them Dr. Hood and a woman will call them Dr. Lori. And I was like, Oh yeah, that’s really interesting because people call me Dr. Sam, rather than Dr. Collins. Not that I really carry the way, but it’s kind of was such a little thing in such a little thing. And I said, actually, it’s not a little thing.

It’s actually a big thing because this is for you around your identity. And there’s obviously some kind of gender bias in here about how we view people with doctorates. And we’re having this whole conversation. It’s like, you know, you’re right. It’s not a little thing is actually a big thing for me. And so, I was rethinking this whole idea of little things like, cause I’ve always been a big fan of take a small action every day. And if you do a small action every day, then you know, a week or something a year, are you going to have a big leap?

But these are things are not little. I think it’s about do something. And we need to have sort of equality of action because I always say at my events, you know, you could be sitting next to somebody and they say, and I’ve witnessed this where you sort of share your things you’re whacking on. And one woman, when I was saying, I just, I want to, they’ll use the word, adjust, very mitigating word.

I just want to get home from work on time. I’m exhausted. You know, I work so many hours. I want to get home from work on time. My thing is work life balance. And the other woman says, I want to end poverty, you know, poverty. I want to end poverty. And you see the woman who wants to get home to work on some sort of shrinking in her chair. Like, Oh God, sorry, I don’t want to end poverty. I just want to get home on time. You know, what’s really interesting. I find, first of all, there needs to be a quality of action. So, wanting to end poverty is not more important than once to get home from work on time.

Because in my opinion, if all women could get home for work on time or it didn’t work so hard, we would end world poverty. Would we not because right. So all this time, so fast, what needs to be quality of action. But also, I think stop comparing ourselves to other people, secondly, is my sort of second point. And thirdly, that all of these things are completely connected. They’re so connected. Like work life balance is connected to ending poverty or wherever else it is. So yeah, I’m sort of rethinking this whole thing.

You can’t compare like, you know, somebody, you know, first days or weeks of starting to take some sort of forward action and choice and somebody who’s been working that muscle for a year or 10 years.

Yeah. Right. Either you absolutely. You asked me to write, but I, I say that we suffer from comparisonitis and it’s a really big problem.

I see it less actually with online stuff. Cause I think it’s like, you’re less likely to do it, like comparing like, Oh, I like her shoes or she’s taller than me or similar to me, or she’s more well-spoken than me. And it’s such a cacophony of crap that we have whirring around in our minds that if we’re able to release even a fraction of that, there’ll be so much space for creativity. I mean how much effort and all this stuff that’s crazy.

And by the way, you don’t have to, I just want to, I say this, I don’t believe that you have to go a little step by step by step, but sometimes that’s what people need to get the engine going, the warm up the engine, but it is entirely possible to just leap.

I think take the steps, but don’t see them as small, you know? Because for some people it’s huge that you say, well you could just say, speak up at a meeting or something or like speak to your neighbor. Like it’s not such a big deal, but actually it’s a huge deal. It’s a huge deal to speak up at a meeting when you wouldn’t normally. And there could be all sorts of like judgment and consequences happening as a result of doing that.

So, the more that we make that, okay. And I think there’s also a big space in here for bringing in failure because we don’t want to mess it up. We don’t want to say it the wrong way. We don’t want to get a negative reaction. We’re really concerned about these things, but that’s going to happen sometimes. And that’s how we learn. We grow. We’ve got to learn to let go quickly. We’re taking our time, our sweet time or letting go of things. And that also takes up a lot of space and a lot of energy.

Well, we’re screwed now.

I said to my daughter yesterday, I don’t know, yesterday was one of those days where it was like one thing after another, after another, I was like, and she’s had this oral surgery, So she’s been in our bed with me and I said, you think we should just like stay in bed for six months? Like no school, no work. She was like, let’s just watched Netflix for six months. Did nothing. Both of us were like, yeah, let’s do that. But of course, you know, we just ended up doing that for a little while and then coming out a bit.

So, what might you be watching on Netflix?

Oh my God. I’ve watched every, every combination of cooking show that there was, I started off by watching some of the fashion make-overs and I just got really bored with it because I thought no one really cares about that anymore. Like, no one’s really doing fashion Make-overs too much things that I just don’t have to think.

Or you can zone out for 10 minutes, come back and be right on track.

Yeah. As long as the 10 minutes I’m telling ya, but yeah, my husband’s always like, this is great show or something really serious. And I’m always like, yeah, I’m watching my cooking show.

I want to zone out. I usually want like something kind of, not too much violence. I mean, I just want it simple and I love cooking shows. Yeah. You’re cooking shows fan to the competition ones.

I love, love the competition wants. And there’s all these really like new creative, crazy type competition shows those, which there’s one about like body tattoos, otherwise there’s one the other day about flowers, like people creating these amazing creations a lot. These are out of Britain, like very British shows and they were creating these like flower creations and stuff. So yeah, I would never normally have the opportunity perhaps to watch so much Netflix, but there’s a fair amount of Netflix and Amazon Prime going on in our house right now.

How normally do you spend your free time? You have an hour or so of just personal wind down time. Are you reading books?

I can’t read. I wish I could. I’ve never been a great reader. I’ve never been tested for dyslexia, but I’m pretty sure I have it because I just like the words kind of move around over the screen for me on the book for me. So I’ve never been a great reader. But my husband said something to me really interesting recently, he’s always telling me, you need to have a hobby. You need to have a hobby. It’s just all sorts of things for me. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. And then the reason he said to me, this is after 15 years of being together, he said, I’ve realized that your work is your hobby. And I was like, Okay, genius. You just realized this?

Because when I get bored so easily. Right? So free time for me is where I’m feeling bored probably. So then I’m like, I’m on Harvard Business Review and I’m looking at the latest things around women. I’m scouring Twitter or LinkedIn for stuff. I’m spending a ridiculous amount of time on our LinkedIn group, looking at everyone’s posts and so interesting. Like the stories and things people are saying or the latest research and stuff. I just, I love it. I love it. I love it. I mean, I get interrupted often cause I have three children and a dog and house and stuff. But yeah, I don’t really I’m and I’ve done some at the start. I’ve locked down. I went out for a walk. So I was like, we’re going to walk every day.

And then like, literally I tripped over my dog and landed on a car in the street as with my daughter. And of course it was like right at the start of lock out. So, nobody came everyone from a social distance was like, are you okay? Are you okay? I’m like, no, I’m not like humbled back to the house and went, I don’t want to go into like the hospitals right now. They’re busy enough. And I’m sure it will be fine. This is 12 weeks ago now. I mean so much pain with my knee. And I finally went in the other day and the surgeon’s like, you need surgery.

Oh, okay. So, haven’t been really been able to do any exercise, which I don’t love to, but I feel like I should. And I quite like it when I’m doing it, you know? I’m that person. I’d love to be the pweson that loves to work out. When I’m sad I eat, when I’m happy, I just like to eat. So when you combine that with no exercise, it’s not been the best for me, but so I haven’t been able to do that. So I’m looking forward to having my knee surgery.

Well, I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you so much for being on the show.


Alright, lady, if that conversation, doesn’t get you thinking and thinking quite differently. I don’t know what’s going to, did you hear it? Did you hear the one thing that Sam says, we, she has not seen a lot of progress in for women around the globe. I was floored when she said I don’t see a big change for women when it comes to confidence. That is very interesting. And I would love to hear what you think wherever you found this conversation, this podcast episode, I encourage you to reach out because I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on that tidbit of powerful information. And so that has gotten me thinking confidence and thinking differently. And then towards the end of our conversation, you know, stretching ourselves, becoming bolder and doing that one day at a time, and this is what I wanted to wrap with you on for today.

So, what I have for you at this point, and I’m going to be noodling on it a little bit more myself, but one of the things I do know for sure after all these years is that success does not require confidence. Success requires you to take bold action, despite of not feeling whatever good enough, confident enough worthy, et cetera. And so what I encourage you to do as a takeaway is to focus on one way you can stretch yourselves each and every day, one day, that one thing you can do each day to open the door to greater boldness in your life, whether that’s personal or professional, whether that’s with your family, your coworkers, your friends, finding one way to move towards the bigger leap that is in your heart. Because I know it’s there. I know it’s knocking at the door. And what I can tell you is that knock only gets louder and louder and louder, especially if you ignore it. So I’m encouraging you beautiful lady to not ignore that. Tap on your heart, the tap at the door, and to stretch yourself each and every day. And I believe the confidence will come. All right, beautiful lady. We’ll talk to you soon.

About Dr. Sam Collins

STB 031 | Sam Collins

Dr Sam Collins is a leading international voice on leadership and equality, a social entrepreneur, speaker and author. Dr Sam Collins founded Aspire nearly 20 years ago when she was just 30 years old, now a globally sought after organisation that empowers a new way of leadership in life, work and world. She has lived, travelled and worked in the UK, Europe, Canada, Africa, India, Australia and the US. Sam has been named “One of the Top 200 Women to Impact Business & Industry” by Her Majesty The Queen and “A Women Shaping the World” by CNN.

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