Discovering Authenticity w/Annie Lieb
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Women's Council podcast, and I'm super glad that you're here. We provide reflection and connection for the high achieving woman. So, obviously, the podcast episode you're listening to by yourself, so the connection you can find at badasswomenscouncil. community. Come on in and join us. All right, here we go. Hello. This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Women's Council podcast, and I'm super glad that you're here. So today on the show, we have my sister from another mister kind of gal. Annie Leib is here. Welcome, Annie.
Annie Leib: Hi. Hi, Rebecca. Hi, everybody. Thanks for having me. I so appreciate it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Absolutely. So, as we were introduced and I started looking at some of your work, I thought," Oh my gosh, I love this woman. We do similar things, but in a different way, and this is amazing." And then I saw your picture and I'm like,"And we sort of look like sisters, now it's creepy."
Annie Leib: Well, I have to tell you, this is how special you are. This is how special you are. I washed and blew dry my hair before I got on. I mean, that's kind of a big deal.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Especially in the summer.
Annie Leib: Yeah, it's a big thing. I mean, this is as much as my hair will ever do, so just to note.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay. I hope I can meet that honor and expectation. Well, so thrilled that you're here. Start out and tell our listeners, you have a framework called the BREATH Framework, which, two things. One, I love a good framework, and I love when it speaks to just real words and doesn't sound corporate speak, and that's what your stuff does. So what is the BREATH Framework? Let's just start there.
Annie Leib: Thank you for asking. This is super important to me, so let's just go back to 2014. I was signing my divorce papers in an auto body shop, because that's where the notary was. And you're like," What am I doing? What has happened to my life?" Low point. And I look over on the wall, again, of the auto body shop, and I see a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem. Talk about fate and God coming in, right? And he says something about breathing, breath. And I'm like," You know what? I might be a Jewish girl that will get in trouble with her father, but I'm going to turn around on my heel and get the word breath tattooed on my hip." And that's exactly what I did. I wrote it on a cocktail napkin and I turned around, went to the tattoo shop in Philadelphia and I got it tattooed just for me on my hip, small, in my writing. Fast forward, after building my life back brick by brick, I decided to go back to school to get my executive MBA. Put myself through school. And in the midst of that, I figured out this whole coaching mission that I'm on, but I decided I'm different than just your everyday coach, and what can I bring to the table of real value? And I thought back to the word breath, so I made it an acronym. So BREATH, B is for Begin where you are. R is Reclaim your power. E is Excavate your core values. A is Allow. T is Through, and H is Heal. And it takes people on a journey just like mine from my Begin to my Heal where people can follow that journey and I mirror what they're going through, what I've gone through. So I bring a bunch of coaching certification and all that fun stuff, but a bunch of business professional stuff together with my own personal development to help people to get to their most authentic place.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Now it's really getting creepy, because I got tattoos after my divorce as well. It was always something that I had wanted to do and just hadn't. And actually, my last tattoo, I have several now, is in my own handwriting and it's the title of my book.
Annie Leib: And just so everyone knows, we didn't have real preparation for this.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Until this moment.
Annie Leib: She didn't know anything about this. This is right here, right now.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh gosh, I can't wait to dig into all of this work, but I also want to say about this moment that we are having, growth is a natural process. You don't go out to your lawn and go," Grow, do it, do it now," or your flowers. Nature just grows. The same thing happens with alignment of the people that you need and want in your life. When you're paying attention and when you are your authentic self, the people that you need and this kind of synchronicity will happen naturally. And so I love just having that moment live on the podcast to remind people great things will just naturally come into your life. You don't have to go out and search for them all the time.
Annie Leib: And it takes time. Time, and just breathing into it and leaning into it. I fully agree. I love the grass analogy.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Okay. So BREATH. Love this. The first three I intuitively get, and then we get to, so after the core values, Excavate your core, Allow? What was T?
Annie Leib: Allow, and it's actually allow, not control. T is through, not around, which I didn't say earlier. And H is Heal.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Ah, okay. So beautiful. So you are doing this work in the business setting, correct?
Annie Leib: Yes. So it's a great, where I think you're going, I just want to make note of this. So what I've really done is I'm doing this in an executive, senior executive setting, C- suite or senior exec. People that have never had professional development in intersect with personal development, we see a lot of this executive professional development coaching, and that's wonderful, but what about the people as people? What about their authentic selves? What about their own resiliency and adaptability and agility in their lives and their personal? We bring our whole self to work. And in my mind when I created this, there was not enough emphasis on the person as a whole person. That's how I felt when I was in corporate America. I felt like a number. I was doing my job and I got paid well, I was actually in pharmaceuticals for years, and I liked it, but there was something that I wasn't seen as a whole being. And so I spotlight that for people. Let's talk about leadership and executive development and all of those things, but let's also talk about you as a person.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. I use my framework, it's called Business is Human, that the business needs to control, measure, and optimize. That's the needs of a great thriving business, but humans, our needs are personal, emotional, and social. So when we ignore our human needs and try to turn ourselves into a business, control, measure, optimize, everything has to be controlled and measured or it doesn't count. We leave the best of the best of who we are out of the equation, and now we're showing up like a machine, here to produce instead of a human. And so love this work so much. So as you made this shift and started doing this work, what were some of the responses that you got, good, bad, and otherwise from your clients as you led them down this path to really look in the mirror and discover themselves? Tell me about that.
Annie Leib: So it's funny that you ask that. I have a big healthcare client, they're a$ 25 billion company, and I coach a lot of their executive leaders. And I just had a case study written because I wanted to not just say what my impact has been or have them give a testimonial, which they've done so amazingly for me, but actually what's the real impact that I'm making? What are the results? What are the outcomes? So what we're finding is these people, it's like shining a light on them for the first time ever. They're like," You're seeing me as a human. You're showing my authentic self and allowing me to see it." And I'm like," No, no. It's you doing the work, I'm just guiding you." They're looking in the mirror for the first time they're being heard. They have a voice. They're able to understand what emotional agility means, what it means to really be resilient, what it means to be vulnerable, sometimes for the first time. And most importantly, not most importantly, but I would say really importantly, what a lot of my practice is based on figuring out their core values. Most people that I get together with at first really don't know what they are. If they think they do, they don't really truly know what they are. I did not. So I'll give you a great example. When I started digging into my core values, I laughed at the word" freedom." I was like," Why would that be somebody's core value? Do they mean to not be in jail?" And then as I dug deeper into this excavation of my own core values, I realized not only is freedom of core value of mine, it's an overarching core value that is woven into every bit of the fabric of my being. I need to be free, to be authentic, to be me. That is Annie in a nutshell, and I figured that out through all this work, and I'm finding that freedom and safety are things that people crave and they've been waiting for and they've been wanting to see, and I'm giving them that mirror to look at themselves and see those things.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Ah, I love that so much. And isn't it in interesting that you laughed at it at first? I find that when I'm helping clients identify their uniqueness, that they dismiss the things that are most unique to themselves because we just take it for granted. It's just like," Oh, you have lips." It's just such an inherent part of who we are that when somebody spotlights it, it gets kind of uncomfortable at first, right?
Annie Leib: Yes, you're absolutely right. And I will see that in a lot of clients at first, but what I think is really important as an executive coach, especially as an executive coach, is to develop that rapport and trust first. When I say there's a BREATH Framework, it's not" Rebecca, today we're going to work on B. Tomorrow we're going to work on R." That's not how it works. It's much more conversational. I get to know them. They start to trust me. I start to trust them. Because I will tell you, as you I'm sure know, there's as much healing going on for me as there is for them. That's my mission and purpose and I heal every day with my clients, and that's what I think makes this so different and so incredible. So, do they recoil some? Yeah, sure. It's scary. But I think as a truly intuitive person and an empath, I have an ability to sort of sense that, and we can work together through that, again, going through. Because a lot of times, what we try to do is," Well, I don't like that. I'm going to go around." And that just doesn't work. It doesn't get you where you want to go. It does not get you to authenticity.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And it's funny you say that, because the organic nature of our processes is hard to articulate in a marketing statement. Because we are so steeped in,"What's the ROI and what's the step by step process?" And I quickly say," Look, if you are looking for someone that's going to be on page 23 by the third session, I'm not your step, but that's not the way this is going to work." And it takes a really open individual to allow that kind of freedom in a work environment, but the results are...
Annie Leib: Isn't it? See, you are somebody that can really understand. You are somebody that this resonates with, so I hope the listeners get what we're saying. It isn't all about ROI. I mean, that's involved, and it does in create an impact on the business, a hundred percent. And it does make more resilient, better leaders, for sure, when somebody knows their authentic self. But there's so much, I don't even like this term, but the soft skill, the soft side of things. That doesn't mean weak.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Amen. Yeah.
Annie Leib: To be vulnerable, to be authentic for people to have the best company culture, they need to know themselves.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Think to some of your best client results, those that are really now thriving and have been through this transformation. What do they say or what would they say about how they lead differently now that they've done this work?
Annie Leib: I think they lead the same way we do in our personal lives. I think they go hand in hand. So I think the more authentic you are as a person, the more you lean into your strengths and core values, the more people are going to listen and hear you and follow and understand and promote you and agree with you and join your team. We're on this mission together, so the more that you know all that about yourself, the more you can align with that stuff about the company. Then when everything really comes together, when the light bulb really goes on, it's when the company's core values align with your core values and you really lean into them. So that's what I think is the best. When I think of the testimonials and the quotes and snippets I've gotten from clients, it's like," Annie showed me my core value. She showed me how to lead as a more authentic person, a more resilient person, to lean into vulnerability." Because that's like we just said, it's not weakness. I mean, that's who I want leading me. That's the kind of leader I want to be. I want someone who's real. Tell me like it is. Transparency, communication, resilience. Be who you are. I'd rather you tell me," You've made a mistake, take responsibility" then to have accountability and just lean into that and just lean into your truth and who you are. I will listen to somebody like that all day long and I will join their team.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I just had a woman tell me she was in a let go from a position, and she said," It would've been so much easier if it would've been a more human conversation." And we all know how to speak human, we're just not sure we're supposed to at work. And I thought that was really fascinating the way that she articulated it. What hurt the most about it was not, she knew why it needed to happen, the business decision. It was that she just wished that they would've just spoken like a human to her during the transition.
Annie Leib: Just treat me like a human being.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Use human words like you would your sister. Annie, so people listening right now were saying yes, core values. I probably need to know what those are. What advice would you give them today to get started in that discovery of their core values?
Annie Leib: So one of the exercises I do with my clients is I have them close their eyes and I have them think back to the last time they actually felt fulfilled. And they might ask me," What does that mean?" And I say," No questions. It's what it means to you. Close your eyes and describe the last time you felt fulfilled." And they start to tell me how it tasted, how it smelled, what it felt like, all the feels, and we can sort of piece together a story of what matters to them. When they were in their greatest, most whole place, that whole heart feeling, what were they feeling and thinking and observing? And I can kind of see, okay, do you see how freedom really matters to you? Do you see how safety really matters to you? Do you see how truth really matters to you? And I can sort of piece that together and we walk through it. So think about the last time that you felt fulfilled and what comes up for you, and a lot of times, your core values will start to pop up in your mind.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hmm. That's good stuff. Super good stuff. And it is fascinating that it takes people a while to remember being fulfilled or to describe it. I did a LinkedIn survey one time and I asked people to describe a thriving life and people responded back and said this is hard. They said," I can tell you what I don't like about my life, but I've not spent much time thinking about what is good or what feels like thriving." It's fascinating because we were just inaudible.
Annie Leib: And Rebecca, to your exact point, isn't it so much about mindset? And that's a lot of what I work on. And I'm I'm thinking that because you talk about people's uniqueness, you talk about that, too. It's perspective and mindset and how are you seeing things? I have a great example. The other day my client said," When I go out, I get annoyed with my husband because he doesn't engage. He's not social. He's not funny like he is at home. I want him to say something smart." And I said," Hold on for one second. How incredible is it that he can go out in front of people and not have to be on stage and just be authentically himself and not have to try to be funny or perform or be smart? Just be." And she was like," Oh my God, you're so right. Why am I not appreciating this about him?" And I said, because you were making it about him, but it was really about you. So it's all in perspective.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Mm, that's such a good story. It really, really is. I'll have clients think about what I call the little bitch in our heads, our inner critic. And what's that story that she's trying to tell you, and how can you reframe that story into the truth, into something beautifully inspiring? So my little bitch says," Who do you think you are?" Because of a non- traditional route of education in life and all the things. And now when I hear that voice, my own voice, my inner critic, my little bitch, I respond and say," Well, I'm not for everyone. But when I show up for the people I'm meant to show up for, it will be with my whole heart, vulnerable, ready to serve."
Annie Leib: Oh, I love that. I felt that right in my heart.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: It's the same thing. I'm not for everybody. I'm not the kind of match for every client or situation or keynote or relationship, but when I do show up for those that I'm meant for, you can damn well bet it's going to be a hundred percent. And mindset, right? We can flip that script any time we want. So as you are working with these clients and transforming them and their mindset and how they see themselves, well, that can't help but translate into transforming cultures, and you're working with executives at some major companies. This is not airy fairy woo. This is a business need that I believe needs to be a universal requirement for executives.
Annie Leib: Amen.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Right. So when you step back now and look at the clients or the companies of the clients that you're working with, any stories that you can share about how different it probably is, or maybe you know the story of how different it is to work for and with these leaders and what that's doing to their company cultures?
Annie Leib: Yeah. I mean, I have sort of dug into the hearts and souls of some of these leaders and their entire trickle down effect. Their entire team is reacting and responding to this, and things are flowing better, and things are just more authentic in general, and things are just going the way they're supposed to go to add to the company's bottom line and move the company forward and align with their values. And everyone's on the same team. It's just this, what's the word I'm looking for? The gelling of everybody. They're coming together. They're making an impact together. They're feeling these teams are feeling like they belong, and they didn't feel that before. And I've heard from quotes, testimonials and things they've said, and again, the case study that I just had written on this big company that I work with is just remarkable, the transformations that are happening within these people. And then, like you just said, undoubtedly, it transfers to the company culture. It can't not do that. It seeps over, it spills over, it seeps into. It's just remarkable. And just the lightness of people, the light bulbs I see in their eyes of," Oh, I know who I am now," is just the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, I love that. And I'll take it a step further, the ripple effect then doesn't stop at work because who we go home as, when we've been in that kind of thriving environment where you know who you are and you're contributing and working together, you bring that sense of self and light and awareness home with you each night, too. Right? So the kinds of relationships that you foster are beautiful compared to" I'm exhausted, and" That day sucked," and all of those things.
Annie Leib: It's funny you say that. So I had a client recently who we've just worked on him being in his more authentic self, which is a lot of empathy and a lot of honesty and a lot of wisdom. And once we excavated that, where he needed to be, he became a better father. He was a more patient and understanding and empathic father, and so right from the office and his leadership, it translated and went right down to being a parent. And you could see it in his family. I mean, his wife jumped on one time and was like," Annie, you're our savior." It was the best feeling because I'm like, yes, this is a wife that's appreciating me in what we're doing here. And I know everyone's families, I know their kids' names and when their birthdays are and what their spouse's names are, and it's really, truly, Rebecca, my mission and purpose in life to help and guide these people just be better versions of themselves so they can lead better. It's really, truly amazing.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Mm. I love that. I have chills because it is so, so true. I did a keynote this morning. Kitchen keynotes are now part of life.
Annie Leib: I love it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You probably do some of those yourself. It's weird, but there's some benefits to being in my jean shorts and a T- shirt for my keynote. But this was a global organization. We had people from India, we had people here in the States, people from all over. And one of the things I left them with was because as career professionals, we like to learn, we like to read, we like to listen to podcasts. I encourage them instead of reading another book or listening to another podcast about their industry or their work to start listening and studying the brain and emotions and the psychology of life and self- awareness. Turn that quest for knowledge into learning more about how our brain works and who we are as humans.
Annie Leib: It's such good advice. I mean, it's brilliant. When you think about it, listen, it's wonderful to be a sponge and want to pick up knowledge about your industry and you should be staying on the pulse of that if you're a good leader, a good executive. But at the same time, turn that lens around and take a look at yourself and what makes you, you, and you're going to become a better leader, because you're going to be able to see people differently and understand how they work. And I strongly believe when you understand how people work, you have it made, because then you understand why they do what they do, why they act the way they do, who they are. And then they want to know you more and who you are and just everything is cohesive and it just gels nicely. I'm so with you, I love that advice.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And then they are better fathers, and then we have cultural transformation much, much broader than the business environment. But I love starting there. I do get a little frustrated sometimes when people will say" It's interesting. They will pay double the amount of money to go to a conference to get certified or get check points on something about the business, but they're bulking at paying for an executive coach." That part of it, we still need to shift a bit.
Annie Leib: We need to work on that. But listen, it's the first thing to cut, it's in our lives too. It's like," Well, I don't have time to go to the gym." That's the first thing you should do, because it's for your wellbeing and your mental health." I don't go to therapy. I don't have time. I can't find a therapist." It's like," Listen, this is going to make you a better whole person. This is not the first thing you should cut." But again, that mentality and that way of thinking, we need to work as a movement, you and I and those badass people that do what we do, we need to teach them that this is so important.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: A hundred percent, a hundred percent. I have a box of glass sales awards under my stairs that do very little to enrich my life today. So I'm not mad about achievement. I mean, I made good money and my career was great in many ways, but it's the work that I've done to know myself that feeds me each day more than the glass awards under my stairs.
Annie Leib: Absolutely. Your calling, what you're here for. This is your mission. This is what you're here for. This is your purpose.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: So you have taken this business. I love the gas station story or the oil change story. Which one was it? Oil change?
Annie Leib: The auto body shop.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Auto body shop. Yeah. I love that story because it is a real human story, and it was a catalyst for change. Sometimes depths of pain and trauma are a great catalyst for change. And now you've built this business, you have this amazing framework, you're doing great work with clients, and I believe in some of the research that I did on you, you're building some products around some of this? Tell us what's next with what you're doing.
Annie Leib: Thank you for asking. So working really hard on my digital product. The next thing that's coming out, I think early September, working on it right now, creating and building this course on BREATH Framework. And what it will do is it's almost like getting a taste of me. You can't do one on one coaching yet or you're not sure? It's jumping in for six weeks, an hour a week going through my modules of learning the BREATH Framework and taking executives from a place of feeling stuck or broken or unsure about themselves to a place of empowered and activated and self- assured. It really takes you in a short time to sort of get a new mindset and rethink about who you are and your authentic self, and that's going to be launched in early September. You can learn more about it on my website, you can sign up to be an early bird, no obligation, but you can learn more about it there and I can certainly meet with you for a consult and tell you more about the course as well.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, tell us your website. Let's go ahead and just pause.
Annie Leib: Annieleib.com. Just A- N- N- I- E- L- E- I- B. com.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Excellent. Thank you for answering that call. Everybody calls it a little something different, and some people are afraid to call it anything because it just feels too not business-y, but these are the moments, time and time again, from podcast guests or clients or friends, it's those moments of taking action on something that just was hugely emotional to you that often bring the most impact to the world in ways that we desperately, desperately need it. So thank you for being you and showing up as you to do this kind of work. I hope there's millions more.
Annie Leib: Thank you for recognizing and acknowledging that. That is huge that you understand that, that this just came down to me one day and I was like," This is what I'm meant to do." And I know you feel the same way. And the work every day doesn't mean we don't have self- doubt sometimes, it doesn't mean we don't say, like you said earlier," Who the hell do you think you are?" But at the same time, there's so many more days now that I've worked so hard on myself where I say," I know exactly why I'm here. I know exactly what I'm doing." And people say," How do you get there?" And I'm like," Come coach with me. I'll show you."
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. And there are so many that get that nudge, that tap, and ignore it or push it to the side because," Well, that doesn't seem real." Or," When I get caught up, I'll go pursue my own." And so much impact in the world is being left untouched because people aren't answering that nudge that they get at the auto body shop.
Annie Leib: Yes. You're so right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, I'm thrilled that you've been here. AnnieLeib. com so we can continue to follow you. Are there any other social media places?
Annie Leib: Yeah. Find me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is my baby. That's my platform. That's where all my people are, so find me there. You'll learn about me. If you want to read, you'll see my website. You'll be able to see some of my products that are coming out and everything that I'm doing, so LinkedIn is my spot. a
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Excellent. Thank you. Thank you for being you.
Annie Leib: Thank you.
Speaker 2: When I work with my clients, I want them to discover their unique, personal story so they can then stand tall in that story and live a life full of soul and emotions and their natural curiosity about their unique gifts, talents, and abilities so they can live a thriving life, because our brains are hardwired for stories and our brain wants us to thrive. So I help my clients tap into that. And I also have a sponsor for this podcast called Storybook, which is a unique and innovative platform that helps you bring your company's stories to life by tapping into the emotional flow and the natural curiosity that we have about your products and services. So check them out. You can go to my website, wethrive. live, click on the Stand Tall on Your Story link and see the kind of work they're doing for us, or go to their site, cantaloupe. tv, and there's hundreds of stories there that they've created that you can experience. Check them out. We're so grateful to work with them and for them to sponsor the podcast. And please join the online community at badasswomenscouncil. community, where we can continue the conversation and you can meet other badass high achievers like you. Thanks so much, make it a great day. If you like the music for the podcast, go to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to your music and look up Cameron Hession Clouds, you can download the full song there. He's got some other stuff out there as well. And y'all, he's my son. Be great if you'd go and download some of his stuff.
Today on The Badass Women's Council, Annie Lieb talks to Rebecca about executive coaching and using her BREATH Framework to help folks discover and bring to life their authentic self. In their conversation Annie shares how discovering a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about breathing in an auto body shop while signing her divorce papers led her down the path towards building her life back brick-by-brick. And, how years later it inspired her towards building her framework. Now, Annie uses this framework to guide and coach leaders to be more authentic, and discusses with Rebecca how those changes manifest in people's daily lives.