Ready to release the pressure on yourself? How do you break cycles of urgency and conquer the myth of over-responsibility?
Carla Reeves joins the podcast to discuss her journey to stop merely surviving and build a life with more power and influence.
- 1:12 – What was the turning point in your life that made you realize you have more power and influence than you realize?
- 5:01 – What are some of the greatest personal victories that you’ve found?
- 8:25 – You can’t give what you don’t possess.
- 11:04 – How to break the cycle of “I have to do this now.”
- 13:38 – The myth of over-responsibility.
- 17:25 – How do you make more money per store when you’re closed one day a week?
- 19:43 – Carla’s advice on how to release pressure from yourself.
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Connect with Carla
For over a decade, ambitious leaders have relied on Carla to call out their blind spots, challenge their thinking and expand their perspective. Carla believes in ditching the illusion that life will be great “someday” in the future and teaches leaders how to wake up their thinking to create and live a juicy, rich, meaningful everyday life now.
Carla Reeves is the host of the Differently Podcast, a Mindset Coach, Trusted Advisor, and wholehearted about working with people who are ready to mess with their thinking to ignite their living.
Episode 24 – Full Transcript
Aaron Lee 0:01
Welcome to the new generation leader podcast, we’re giving you the tools you need to lead in the digital world ready to reach your true potential. This is the new generation leader podcast. And welcome to Episode 24, the new generation leader podcast with Carla Reeves. For over a decade, ambitious leaders have been relying on Carla to call out their blind spots, challenge their thinking and expand their perspective. Carla believes in ditching the illusion that life will be great someday in the future, and teaches leaders how to wake up their thinking to create and live a juicy, rich, meaningful everyday life. Now, Carla is the host of the Differently Podcast, a mindset coach, trusted advisor and wholehearted about working with people who are ready to mess with their thinking to ignite their living. Welcome, Carla. Glad to have you on the show today.
Carla Reeves 0:53
Thanks, Aaron. Excited to be here.
Aaron Lee 0:55
So tell us a little bit more about your story. How did you get into this work?
Carla Reeves 1:00
Yes. So gosh, I spent the first half of my life checking the boxes, like I mentioned to you of thinking that those were going to lead me to this happy, successful fulfilling life. And I was diligently doing that. And I mean, it obviously didn’t happen in just one day. But over a long period of time. And my life kind of falling apart, I realized, like, these boxes are not leading me where I really want to go. And I felt depleted and empty on the inside, while even though everything sort of looked good on the outside. And it was that really a pivot point in my life where I kind of threw my hat over the fence. And it became my mission to figure out how to do life differently. Because I knew there was something greater possible, I had no idea how. But I made it my mission from that point to figure that out. And I did that. And I’m still doing that in my own life. But I intensely did that in my life for a number of years, and really cleaned up my inner life. And as I did that, everything on the outside of my life started to look and feel different. And then I got to start helping other people do that in their lives. And that’s the work I’ve been doing for the last over a decade.
Aaron Lee 2:17
So talk about that a little bit. What kind of journey did you go on? Where did you start with yourself to work on you?
Carla Reeves 2:25
Yeah, it’s such a good question. I at that time, like I remember reaching such a low point, and just really having no idea what to do. I had a girlfriend, invite me to an introduction to the landmark forum landmark, for those of you listening is a curriculum for living your life. And I went to an introduction, and thought, oh, my gosh, this is what I need to do. I thought I knew what I was doing with my life. But I clearly didn’t at this point. And I was willing and ready for some outside input and help. And that program really kind of set a new course for my life, because it was all about taking responsibility for your life and your circumstances. And I think up until that point, I really felt like I was just at the mercy of my circumstances. And if everything was going right, and I was getting good feedback from my people, or my boss, or whatever it was, I felt good. But the moment anything went awry. It just sent me spinning into like working harder and doing better and being more and giving more and overextending myself. And it was just this cycle and roller coaster that left me exhausted. And so this program was all about kind of handing the reins back to you to say, you actually have more power and responsibility and influence than you realize, and are you willing to take ownership of that? And to me, that was just like the hugest gift to say, wow, like I really have influence over this. And it just opened up a world of possibility like, wow, what do I want to create and build in my life instead of just surviving?
Aaron Lee 4:04
Yeah, that journey from just surviving to thriving. That was one of those phrases that really came just rolling off my tongue throughout the pandemic, because it gave us an opportunity. We were all thrust into this reality together of, okay, we have to survive. But now how do we thrive in a new world in a new reality? Jeremy Kubitschek he was on a few episodes ago, he talked a lot and we talked in that episode about the waves of change that came through the pandemic and, and how all of those waves hitting us at once. It gave all of us a fairly common similar narrative that we were living but the same thing happens in our individual lives that those waves hit us and propel us and it really comes down to the discomfort that we have something jolting us and making us Move. So as you look back over this last decade, what are some of the greatest personal victories that you’ve found for yourself?
Carla Reeves 5:10
Yeah, such a good question. I think, really like pry three come to mind. When that pivot point that I told you where my life was falling apart, I found myself in the middle of a divorce that I just never saw myself in those shoes. I never saw myself divorced. And since that time, I have met my husband and built a marriage, and we’ve been married 21 years now. And these tools that I learned back at that time in my life of going through landmark and making changes in my own life are really tools that we applied in our marriage and building a marriage. And so we have intentionally built our marriage from the very, very getgo of like, we wanted to do this differently to, and it has been a ton of work and required a ton of intentionality. But I never thought it was possible for marriage to just keep getting better. You know, it was like, I always bought into the fairy tale that you just kind of get married and live happily ever after. But that didn’t happen. And so I was like, Well, how does this work and same thing that I applied to my life, we apply to our marriage. So we’re constantly creating, and building our marriage so that it just gets better and better. And we continue to fall in love today over and over again. And it’s because of all the work that we have put in all of these years. And so that’s a legacy that I’m really proud of leaving and modeling for our children. And then I think, as I mentioned to you, before we hit record, my two boys are 18 and 20, we’ve raised two boys, and we’re at this new stage of our life. But I think doing that very intentionally, I’m so incredibly grateful for doing the work in my own life, so that I could show up and be the parent that I wanted to be and not perpetuate negative cycles that I was living on to them, they’re gonna have their own right, like I we didn’t execute perfectly, but I feel like we’ve done it really intentionally. And I feel really proud of that. And then the, I guess the third one is that I left corporate America when I had my first son, and didn’t know if I would go back and started to lose my own sanity a little bit when he was like eight months old, and like, who am I outside of being a mom. And while I loved, loved loved being a stay at home mom, I needed some kind of creative outlet. And I started writing to kind of figure out my own sanity. And I ended up creating a company called sanity journals at that time, for my own sanity. And it was a creative kind of business outlet that I could do at home. And my goal has always been to build a business that would allow for this flexible, spacious and now mobile, low lifestyle so that I could be the mom I want to be and really show up for my marriage and not be consumed by my work, although I’ve had to work on that really, really hard. That building a business that really allowed for us to have this lifestyle that we’re committed to to for our family. Those are the three things that really stood out when you ask that question,
Aaron Lee 8:25
what are the things that I always say to leaders is you can’t give what you don’t possess. And most of the time, leaders call us in teams and organizations want to fix what’s over there in someone else. And so it’s a great opportunity to really start at the beginning to start at home. And one of my stops earlier in my career was in a nonprofit focused on strengthening families. And one of the research studies that we found at that point was the business impact of focusing on strengthening families meant this very principle that we’ve talked about this ripple effect that it starts with you, and then the people in your inner circle, and then moves out and the ripple effect of how you invest plays out both positively and negatively. So if there are negative things like you described, happening in yourself, or the negative patterns that stack up at home, and how we were raised or educated, or any of those influences, all of those then have a ripple effect outward to how we show up at work. And then the same is true when we start to build those positive habits. So it’s great to see and and hear your story of how you’re layering those in building a great as my friend Jeff says, a great life, building a great life at home and in those you work with. So what have you seen in terms of positive outcomes from your clients and the leaders you’ve worked with over these past 10 years?
Carla Reeves 9:56
Yeah, I just wanted to speak to one thing you said I had a conversation with To the potential somebody’s interested in coaching last week, and at the end, she kind of said, you know, I understand how this is going to impact my personal life. But what about my business? You know, how is this going to impact my business. And it’s so true to what you said that so much of what we’re you know, anguishing over or dealing with in our personal life, whether it’s just on the inside, right, or in our families, or in our marriage, it is impacting everything. And as you take that time and energy to focus on yourself, I think it’s like I said to you, one of the most generous things you can do for the people, you work with the people, you live with the people in your community, it just ripples to everything. And it’s really a just a foundational piece. Okay, so you asked me a question, What have I seen with leaders. So there’s so many things, right, but I’ll just tell one story, because I think it captures a lot of what happens for people, but I had a client years ago, and she’s been on my podcast. So she’s shares her story publicly. But she came into coaching, she really didn’t even think she wants to coaching, she was an HR person inquiring for her team. And then after we talk, she’s like, wow, I really want to do this. But her main challenge at the time was she was getting ready to retire in a couple of years, she was not paying the attention, she wanted to, to a new relationship in her life to her teenage son, and also to her mother, who was getting elderly. And it was really just, she was just grappling with that, and feeling completely out of balance. And she said to me, like, just helped me get to retirement. And then I can really pay attention to these other parts of my life that I want to. And I told her, I’m actually not okay with that. Because what happens is people it’s like that someday illusion, right? Some day, we’re going to live the life we really know we want to live. But it’s not right now. Because I’ve got to do this. And it is an illusion, because what I told her was, if you get to retirement, and you don’t examine yourself, for the behaviors that have gotten you in this situation here, you will just recreate a similar, although different scenario, where you’re kind of feeling the same exact way in retirement. And so you have to break these cycles and examine what you’re doing to create this for yourself right here. So that you can take it wherever you go from here. And so we did just that in really challenging her thinking. And one of the main pieces for her was this, you know, she had this over responsibility gene from her childhood that had her you know, it was a strength, but it was an overused strength that was not allowing her to set up her team for her retirement and delegate properly and have balance in her life. And she felt responsible for everyone and everything. And she would do anything to not let people down. But she was letting herself down, and probably the most important people in her life. And so she just, she started to make changes now. And she’s in retirement now and still using the tools. And so while the over responsibility might be some kind of different behavior for people, there’s usually one really significant behavior that’s really keeping them from what they want, and addressing it now versus later changes the course of the rest of your life.
Aaron Lee 13:38
Absolutely. That over responsibility. I see some of those sorts of character traits, tendencies that we all have that all of us latch on to, and we put so much stock and people celebrate the things that we are best at. And sometimes we turn them into overdrive, or I think I heard some of this in your story that your focus in doing so many of these things that you’ve been told you need to do, that only just keep depleting your tank. And so there’s a power balance in terms of how we work, how we rest, how we rejuvenate and stay in balance. And, and I think there’s somewhat of a myth, I guess that, you know, let’s, let’s try to focus so much on our strengths that we end up working less, but in reality, it’s learning how to become better at something else. That allows us to flex and be at our best more efficiently, but we’ve got to figure out what is that other thing, but so often that other thing those other people are the ones we look at and kind of turn our nose up at and say, Oh, I don’t want to be like that person that person does. And that’s not like how I am one of the phrases I’ve heard a a lot. And I kind of tune in when somebody says this, they say, Well, you know how everyone thinks is or everybody does this. And usually, it’s not everyone. But there’s this myth we have that everybody does it that way. And that’s not how the world operates. But if we can get past that and overcome that, then we get to a place where we can really build up some strength in how we’re working together and how we’re collaborating. And that ripple effect goes layer upon layer further out into our work in our efficiency.
Carla Reeves 15:40
Yeah, that place from, you know, responsibility to over responsibility, I love to work in that space, because, like these leaders were talking about don’t necessarily have more time or capacity to like, do anything more or add anything to their plate. But when you can work in that space, from responsible to over responsible, you can help leaders harness a lot of energy that they’re wasting, that they don’t need to be doing that energy on time. Right. And I also love what you said that, you know, instead of, I can’t remember how you said it, but like, what’s the thing you can add, that’s going to kind of shift all of this, like, I thought about my own life and productivity and kind of an addiction to productivity, right, because it got me a lot of success. And helped me just helped me a lot of ways in my life, but I started to overuse it. And I’ve had to learn how to relax in my life. And relaxation was not something I ever even really hold on to. But I knew intellectually, I had to add that to my life in order to take care of the other parts of my life and my own self. Right? In doing that, adding relaxation to my life has actually shifted the productivity to a better quality of productivity. So I like that you said that, you know,
Aaron Lee 17:15
that relaxation, productivity dynamic is really hard, because we think, Oh, I just need to push harder, I need to do more. But there’s a reverse side of that, that it doesn’t make sense. And it’s kind of that Chick fil A principle of how do you make more money per store when you’re closed one day a week. And it seems counterintuitive, it doesn’t make sense, in our minds, but somewhere, somehow, that dynamic playing out for us, if we can adapt that, adopt that. Put that into our regular rhythm of our own personal energy management, we end up farther ahead than we would have been, if we just kept pushing. Yeah, I
Carla Reeves 18:05
mean, when I think of Chick fil A, it’s like it’s their values, right? Like that’s like an aligned action to the values that they have and hold. And I think that we can do that in our own lives. I mean, that’s why I have been practicing incorporating relaxation in my life. It’s not because I wanted to, but it’s because it aligns with my values and these other important commitments I have in my life. And so when you can start to line your life up to those larger values and commitments, you start to feel better. And it’s not always a life balance issue. It’s really about making sure that you have you’re touching those important parts of your life almost every day. And then you feel better even in the imbalance because you’re not neglecting these things that are really important to you.
Aaron Lee 18:58
Right. And it’s so easy. Sometimes, especially the more that all of us have technology in our fingertips, whether or not we’re working from a home office or commuting into the office. We all have technology at our fingertips in a way that allows us to be able to keep working anytime the phone pings us and we’ve got to set up those boundaries to be healthy ourselves and make sure we can stay focused on on what’s important. Alright, so as we wrap up, let me ask you the question that I asked every guest What did you learn in your life or career that you wish you had learned earlier?
Carla Reeves 19:40
Hmm, gosh, so many things, right. But I think just releasing pressure, right, like I think back to my younger self and really going through my whole life is just so putting so much incredible pressure on myself and to just learn to really Use that pressure, and to take the focus off of over there. And instead of wanting to show up for other people in a certain way, or wanting other people to like me or wanting, you know, things to look a certain way on the outside is really just learning to come back over inside of myself and really cultivating that inner life and my faith and my intuition and trusting my own instincts. That’s been some of the, you know, faith, intuition and learning to trust, my own instincts has really been a game changer in all areas of my life and taking so much pressure off and leaning into trust instead of fear and all of those things. But those are tools that we all have, you know, in our fingertips within us 24/7 That if we can just learn to cultivate those, they impact everything.
Aaron Lee 20:57
You’re so right. And there’s so much going on internally inside of ourselves that that when we can really tap into that and be true to ourselves and look for our our best opportunities as individuals to grow to flourish. We don’t finish that growth journey. And it’s an exciting journey to be on. So Carla, how can people best connect with you and follow along your journey and your work?
Carla Reeves 21:26
Yeah, so you can find me at Carla reeves.com I have a podcast as you mentioned, that’s called differently. So you can find me on any your favorite podcast player and then LinkedIn and Instagram at Carla s Reeves.
Aaron Lee 21:40
Awesome. That’s fantastic. Well, Carla, thanks so much for coming on the show today. We’ll drop all of those links and some highlights from our conversation in the show notes at New Generation leader.com/ 24. And look forward to continuing the new generation leader journey. Thanks for being on the show. Carla,
Carla Reeves 22:00
thank you so much for having me, Aaron.