"The Follow-Up Question" Podcast Featuring Rebecca Fleetwood Hession
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hello, this is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Badass Womens Council Podcast. You know what I love just as much as hosting a podcast, being a guest on a podcast. Recently, Michael Ashford, who has a podcast called The Follow- Up Question, invited me to be on his show. I thought I'd share a bit of podcast love and publish that episode here on my show as well, because he is such a great host, and just allowed me to talk about all the things I'm passionate about. Things I'm writing about, things I'm thinking about. I thought it would be a good opportunity, if you're new to the show, that you'd learn a little bit about me. So, here we go.
Michael Ashford: You have a section or a blurb on your website that says, there's a look when people are thriving as their most authentic self. That gives me chills when I hear that, but I would love to hear from you, what is that look? When you see that look, what does it look like?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Exactly what you think it would. Here's why that's important. Let me give you some context before I actually answer the question. All of my work looks at business being human. In business, we're careful to control, measure and optimize. Everything that we do in business really is about that. Humans are personal, emotional, and social, and we have been conditioned to believe that we shouldn't maybe bring as much of our emotions into work. Well, that's like saying, "Hey, could you not bring your arms today? They're inconvenient." We don't show up without personal, emotional and social needs, expectations in the way we move through the world. When I'm coaching and working with clients, I'm watching for how they look and respond, which comes from that personal, emotional, social place, as they're talking about things in the business. A client may be talking about a project that they're working on. I can tell by the look on their face if it's something they're really excited about, even if it's not... It doesn't even have to be overtly so. There's this brightness in their eyes, there's this animation when they talk. There's just a vibe when someone is really doing the things that they are wired to do and doing them with a different kind of meaning and purpose. It shows up. You think about times that you've talked with someone or interviewed someone when you think, man, they're just totally going through the motions, right? Maybe they're good at their job, they may even be an expert, but you just feel like they're just going through the motions. It feels business like, it feels robotic. It feels like a machine, and they can crank it out, man. They can produce, they can bring you what you want. But if you tap into something where somebody's using all of their humanity to do that, they look different. They just look different.
Michael Ashford: I can't imagine that anyone would disagree with what you just said there, that you know it when you see it. Why has emotion in business been tamped down for so long, particularly with women? Why is that something that we have suppressed and lifted up as this emotionalist robot is the way to go? Why do you see that being the case?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'll answer the question, and then I'll answer it for men and women, and then we can go down the route of how it's perpetuated with women. Let's go back to the shift from being farmers to factory. We're going 1800s back now, okay? When we were in farming, as our means of survival, it was all about working together as a community. It was living in uncertainty. You never knew if the weather was going to fail, bugs were going to take over everything, half the people in your family would die. Everything about life was very uncertain. So, you needed faith, you needed each other to work together to a common end of survival. Well, when we shifted to the factory, the factory is where we realized that when we use the machines and the tools that the economic viability came from being able to control, measure and optimize. The factory is all about let's break business apart into various pieces and parts. When we do that, we can ensure we have a better outcome, we can make more money. Then all of a sudden our work was about pieces and parts, and it wasn't as much about community serving the whole. In fact, you could do a job in a factory for eight, 10, 12 hours a day and not know how it really impacted another human. We lost a part of our human connection. Well, what perpetuated the problem was then we said, okay, if this control, measure, optimize, breaking it apart into pieces, and parts works really well in the factory, we really need people to get through school quicker. So, they took school, which used to be a community classroom, a bunch of people, different ages, living and working together and having conversation, and we made school a factory. We broke it apart into pieces and parts and ages, classrooms, and topics. You could go through quicker and get people into the factory faster because the economic engine needed more people. When you think about that shift, that's been now five to six decades in the making, our value, from the time we're five years old is compliance, to be controlled. Like raise your hand if you have a question, helping is cheating. There's very little that puts huge value in our lives now around the people, humanity, community connection. We've built this system, which economically has been amazing. We've had huge benefits out of it. Even after factory work shifted, the factory model still exists today in the way that we work and the way that we educate. This idea of us as humans being personal, emotional, and social, which is our human needs and how we interact as humans is a secondary value, which I believe is why we have so many challenges with kids in school that are struggling mentally and emotionally. We've got burnout is an epidemic. The World Health Organization has said, okay, now we're all burned out, because we're not meeting enough of our human needs, we're trying to operate as machines, and we're not. Machine's here to produce, we're humans, here to have a personal, emotional, and social experience with our work and our life.
Michael Ashford: So, dive into, then the women aspect of it. I've been in business my entire career, and I've worked my way up the executive chain. I hear the things that are said about women and their emotions, and have tried to tamp that down as much as possible. But why the double standard, I guess, is the question?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, I don't know the research as much as maybe some people probably think I do, because I do work with a lot of women. But here's what I know based on what I've just said is we don't value personal, emotional, and social as a business. We think, what do your emotions have to do with it? Well, everybody brings their emotions to work. Everybody does, and women tend to emote and to show emotions. When you're in charge of bearing and caring for children as part of the role that you've been put on the Earth for, we're pretty supercharged in that emotion, empathy department and caregiving aspect of things. Even though we all have wildly different personalities, we do know how to care for each other. When we bring that in big, bold, beautiful ways into business, it can be jarring and feel like this juxtaposition from what had traditionally been held and valued. But I think what we're seeing in this last five, six years and will be ongoing over this next decade is a shift where it's been proven out that the more women you have on your executive team, the better the bottom line. The business case is there because what people inside of your company are craving is the kind of empathic, nurturing and caregiving that women can provide. It's just, are there enough men that can stomach it? Might be part of the challenge. We've only been in business in a meaningful way for a pretty small number of years. For a lot of years, just a bunch of guys getting together, making the decisions. They pretended like they weren't bringing their emotions, even though we all know how much work was done on the golf course. That was a socio- emotional experience, right? Our emotions might show up a little different, but it can feel jarring to what people are used to. But the good news is that it's proving to be totally beneficial. People are just going to have to suck it up and get over it.
Michael Ashford: I agree. The business women, leaders and entrepreneurs that you work with, what are the things that they, I don't want to say struggle with the most, but what are the challenges that they face in their businesses that you're helping them work through?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Uncertainty. Personally, it can show up in a business strategy, and it goes back to this huge value in control. We want to believe that there are assured outcomes in most of our decisions. The fact of the matter is, that's just not true. One of the big things that we talk about, whether it's their own insecurities and being unsure about themselves, it can show up as imposter syndrome, it can show up in a lot of different ways, but this uncertainty can also show up in, hey, I've got this business strategy that I'm feeling like is a really good one, but I don't have a guarantee that it's going to work out. You've got to have the guts and the gumption to work past that, what I call the sea of uncertainty that exists in all of our lives. I'd say that's the common issue for probably every single person that I have worked with, and continue to work with today.
Michael Ashford: I was going to say, male or female, there's probably not a whole lot of difference there, right?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But here's the difference is, the inhumanity, the way we deal with uncertainty is personal, emotional, and social. It's so ironic, I just got off a phone call with a client right before this interview. What she recognized today is that the people on her executive team... She's CEO of a startup, they handle uncertainty very different. They handle challenges so differently in their own emotions. One of them is more apt to check out and go and try to deal with it on his own. Another one is more emotional and wants to process it out loud. Another gets a little more defiant about it, and wants to argue about it. All of those are just human responses to things that didn't quite go like they thought they were going to. She's learning to not take any of it personally, she's learning that each one of them needs to have their own personal response to those business challenges.
Michael Ashford: You talked about from the farm to the factory, and then dove into education there. When did that spark your interest? Or when did that become part of your messaging, that this is maybe a problem? I'll put words in your mouth there, is this a problem, and when did that spark that idea for you?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: It's interesting, our lives are small. You always hear people say, " Well, life is short." That's usually because some horrific thing has happened to some family member and all of a sudden, I think life is fragile, but I don't think for most of us, it's short. When you think about how long life is, what I just talked to you about today has been evolving and changing and gathering more information for, let's say, I'm 54. For the last 30 some years that this has been evolving. But the desire to understand more about our education system and why it is what it is and why it isn't very effective was born out of my first child, my son was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, and school was a real challenge for him. I started to dig into what he needed, how the school was responding. What I uncovered as I dug into how school works is not only was school not very effective for him, it wasn't all that effective for everybody in the classroom, but because we have a high value of control, it's easier to say there's something wrong with that kid, then there's something wrong with that classroom. I've done a ton of research and looked at our education system and how it benefits us and how it challenges us. Because I'm a business consultant and have been doing that kind of work for decades as well, I started to see some of the similarities and some of the root cause analysis that came from education to our work environment. It just has accumulated all of this information and interest over the years to where... I'm actually writing a book right now called Business is Human, that talks a lot about how we got here, to this place of burnout, by not meeting our human needs. I don't know, it just evolved over time.
Michael Ashford: What are some things that stick out to you when you take a look at the education system and in particular, in the light of your son who has ADHD, what are some things that stick out to you where you point to and say, gosh, if we could do that differently, this would happen. Where does your mind go?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I don't think you can improve the system we have, I think we needed a new system. Because a lot of people have tried to improve the system. I actually tried to start a charter school 10 years ago. I got through a couple of rounds of approval with the mayor's office, where I was in my community here. There was enough things that were broken that I pulled out of the whole thing and just said, no. At some point, I'd like to go and build the education system that I think would serve us far better. But I don't think you can take the one that we've got and make it what it needs to be. If I was going to make one, it would start with we got to have the basics of communication, right? You've got to be able to read and write and communicate because we make sense of the world around us through our stories. You know this better than anybody. It's why you're passionate about what you do.
Michael Ashford: Right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's been the case from, writing on walls of caves, to the Bible, to everything has been around communicating and making sense of the world based on stories, because our brains are literally wired for story. Our brains make sense of things by creating a story. I would start with communication. You got to know how to read, write, communicate. Then once you're able to communicate, then you can start to learn and challenge and understand. But before I would go to topics, I would go to understanding ourselves because one of the key aspects of success that actually has been researched and defined is that the more you know yourself, the greater your capacity for empathy and understanding others. By knowing ourselves well, you start to understand, well, what are the things that I'm uniquely gifted in? What are the things that I'm interested in? What are my feelings about? Getting to know ourselves allows us to then understand others. Then you start to look at, okay, the world is based on an economic engine, right? We need money to survive. Everybody should have a basic foundation in business, the basis of business; how money comes in, how money gets spent, what do you do with the leftover? It doesn't have to be a... It shouldn't be a specialized area, everybody should have some understanding of commerce. I want... If my kid's going to go work at Chick- fil- A, I'd like for them to have a basic understanding of how they use their time impacts the bottom line of the business. How they serve customers, impacts the repeat customers, which impacts the business model. I believe that everybody should understand commerce at a pretty young age and at least at a high level. Then once you understand commerce, you understand that commerce actually exists, yet for the financial aspects of survival, but it's also about serving each other. Your business should have some aspect of serving another human. If we can use our unique gifts in a business way to serve other humans in a beautiful way, and that is how we make money and create opportunities, well, then you've got the opportunity to specialize. Then someone could say, at this point, they may be into their early 20s. They could say, "You know what? I'm really interested in architecture. I've been working here. I've been understanding this. I'm good at building things. Facial reasoning is part of I've understood through this experience, and I'm really great at that. I'm going to now go specialize in an area." Then you could create education for those specialized areas that I think those are situations where people instead, what we have now is people pick something based on the five careers they know something about when they're 16 years old. Then come to realize they're not at all gifted or talented or interested in that area, and the job is nothing like what they thought it was. Now, they're$ 80,000 to $100,000 in debt in education for something that they don't give a shit about. Then they got to turn around and go find a job, trying to use that education inaudible That just seems pretty ass backwards to me.
Michael Ashford: I'm a walking example of that. I went into college as a civil engineering major and walked out with a journalism degree. So, go figure.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay, I'm going to turn the mic... Because I have my own podcast too, so I now want to interview you.
Michael Ashford: I love getting podcasters on the show because you always do this. Go ahead, shoot.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay. When you were thinking about your degree, did journalism ever come up as a viable option when you were in high school?
Michael Ashford: No.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Why do you think that is?
Michael Ashford: A number of factors? I was valedictorian in my high school. So, I was good at all the subjects, and I was going to go to Kansas State University, no questions asked. I grew up a Kansas State fan, my family all went there. I was going to go to K State. Well, K State has one of the top engineering programs in the country. Because I was good at math and science in high school, a lot of my counselors... I tested well in the ACT, and I tested well in the standardized tests that you get in our education system today. My counselors and the folks who were directing me in high school pushed me towards, " Hey, you're going to K State, get a degree in engineering." I liked building things out of Legos when I was a kid. So, they were like, " Hey, you like building things, let's turn this into civil engineering or get an engineering degree." Nevermind the fact that personality wise I am... This is not to stereotype anyone, but I'm the exact opposite of an engineering mind. The way that I communicate and interact with people, it's just not the engineering mindset, and tedium bores me to no end. I was never asked those questions. I was never directed in that direction in high school. I could have pointed to a number of things that I was good at. I was in debate or I was in mock trial, I was in public speaking, I was in plays, I was in all these really extroverted things, but communication and journalism was never brought up. I wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying there, because I was a failure of, " Hey, you're going to this school, they have this program. You test well here, just go do this thing." I got into an internship the summer after my freshman year working for the Kansas Department of Transportation as a civil engineering intern and was miserable, absolutely miserable and knew right then I can't do this.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You're a perfect example. Have you had an experience in your education that wasn't about algebra and chemistry and math and science, you would have learned things about yourself, like tedious work makes me crazy. You would have learned things about all of your interests would have been clues to really how you're hard wired to move through the world. I spent a lot of times, my clients asking things like, what did you do for fun when you were growing up? Because in our hobbies and our interests that give us really strong clues to how we really want to work and want to relate to people. Had you known that, then you would have made different choices. The other aspect of it is the arts, social studies, skilled trades work, hands on maker's work, is it seen as a great career choice? Very few educators are steering people... They say things like get a" real job", sends me over the edge. I want to poke people in the eye with a fork when I hear that. It's like, okay, a real job is one where you provide a product or a service and someone pays you for it, that is a real job. We have more opportunities to make money in some sort of commerce way now than we've ever had. There are gazillions of real jobs. New industries pop up every two to three years, it didn't exist. Using your gifts and talents to do something where you can serve another community, cause, company and make money is more viable now than it's ever been, to which in my opinion should be based on your interests and the way you move through the world, not because K State has a really good engineering program and you can make a lot of money there, and that makes sense, because... I am actually... In the book, I have a story where I make fun of, well, if a kid plays with Legos, he probably should be an engineer. I literally have that in the book as a funny story, because it happens all the time. When my daughter was five and you'd asked her what she wanted to do, she'd say, " I want to be a teacher." Well, she only knew of maybe two or three careers available to her because I was a consultant and she never knew what I did because my job was not a real job. She knows about nurses, teachers, she knows two or three jobs. So, she's going to pick the one that she knows. Then when I'd asked her the follow up question, I was like, " Oh, what is it that you think is going to be fun about teachers?" Basically, she wanted to hold dominion over a group of people in a classroom. She had no interest in anybody's teaching or education, she just wanted to be in control.
Michael Ashford: Which makes sense for a young child.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: If you really dig into it, it's not always what it seems. That's a perfect example, that whole idea of, well, you can make a lot of money here, you're good at math and science, you should do that. In fact, the no child left behind deal in 2001 screwed us in a lot of ways, because skilled trades work, now we have the biggest skilled trade worker gap in our economy that we've ever had. It's horrific because no one... We cut out shop class. People needed to be in more math and science classes. So, nobody ever got to experience hands on work to see if it was something that they really enjoyed. Now, if they want to do hands on work, it's seen as lower, you must not have been able to get into college. Oh my gosh, you can go be a plumber for 100 grand these days because we have such a almost shortage. You get me all fired up with these topics.
Michael Ashford: Well, you're absolutely right. There's a marketing problem with those skilled trades jobs that for whatever reason, people saw them as lesser, when nowadays you can make amazing money in those because they're in such high demand. That goes back to what you were talking about in terms of how money is made. Supply, demand, the demand for something. Something else you also brought up that really caught my attention was the idea of knowing yourself to know others. Can you dive into that? I love that. How does knowing yourself then, I guess balloon out from there into empathy for others?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: When you think about what it takes to truly know yourself, if you're willing to look in the mirror and really study your life, your challenges, your gifts and talents, your ability to use those and not use those. If you take the due diligence that it takes to dig into your emotions and why you feel the way you feel and why you don't make me feel the way you think you should feel, that's hard work. What you realize when you do that is that we're all very different, down to our fingerprints. If you look at your hands right now, your fingerprints are unique. When you do the work to understand how unique you really are and how intricate we are, and how interesting we are, you can't help but look out at someone else and recognize that they have those same fears and insecurities and gifts and talents and intricacies, and it just evokes this sense of empathy and understanding for all of our uniqueness.
Michael Ashford: As the mother of an ADHD diagnosed child, how much more is that important to you to get others to understand the uniqueness factor that you just talked about? How much greater is that on your shoulders?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: When I first was trying to understand the world around my son, he was in third grade, and I was realizing that we were losing our like for each other. We will always love each other, but I was so frustrated with school. He was frustrated with school, and it just hit me one day, it's like, all of our conversations were about grades and homework and school. I thought, how is it that we're going to get through this system, but not like each other at the end of it? I stepped back and I said, you know what, I'm going to no longer care about his grades, I'm going to try to understand more about him and his heart. I started to move through the world differently, and I tried to see the world through his eyes. I asked lots of questions. I really tried to understand what was happening with and for him. It was in that discovery where I realized that my son was so different from me in so many ways. Then I started to understand that that was the case for all of us. I went down this path of wanting to be an advocate for kids, parents of kids with attention deficit disorder. I thought that was going to be a thing for me. I created some training modules for parents of kids with ADHD. I did a TEDx talk about it, and I really did, I think a nice job of helping to educate and advocate for these kids that... I titled everything not wrong, just different, because I didn't want to parent these kids with the understanding that there was something wrong with them that needed to be fixed. In fact, it's that perspective that causes such strong self- esteem issues, and challenges, and people that are trying to move through the education system when it's hard for them. When you start to see people through the lens of not wrong, just different, you realize it's not really about a diagnosis, it's about the fact that every single one of us on this planet are very unique, and yet we've forced ourselves to live within an education system that values normalcy and compliance and control. Then I realized it really isn't about advocating for ADHD, it's about advocating for our personal uniqueness. Then I went down the path of saying, okay, if I'm going to change the education system, I'm not going to change it through the lens of the parents of the kids with the diagnosis and a challenge. You're going to change the education system by tapping into the hearts and minds of everybody who has the kid, who they want to really be great. Working with high achieving women became a joke that I'd say, if you want to change the world, get a bunch of moms together that are aggravated about something, they can change some stuff, right? But it's just evolved over time that I recognized firsthand that: Our uniqueness is our competitive advantage. It's our super power. When we can get through the uncertainty and the insecurity of life, by owning that uniqueness and tapping into the power of our humanity and channel that to a business model, oh my gosh, you're unstoppable. There's infinite ways to create beautiful experiences, both for the humans, but also to build pretty amazing businesses, and I do love that. I love that.
Michael Ashford: Do you ever feel the dichotomy of, you know something that can work in business. It's tried and true. I don't like the word best practices, but you've seen a situation before, and you can bring your experience to it, and what you just talked about, the uniqueness of a situation, the uniqueness of a business, the uniqueness of the man or woman leading that business. Do you ever feel the pull of those two working at odds with each other?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Constantly? In fact, one of the things that I spent a lot of time helping people understand is there are a lot of right answers. School taught us that there's mostly right and wrong and that's just not true.
Michael Ashford: One right answer, one wrong answer, or lots of wrong answers.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah, right. That's just not true. I think we... Okay, I'll give you a perfect example with my podcast, I did this to myself. I knew I wanted to start a podcast. So, I did what you always do when you have an idea. I started Googling how to start a podcast. But I wasn't just looking for how to start a podcast. I wanted to do it the right way. I wanted the right way to do a podcast, and I spent months. It's all kinds of information, but none of it really lined up to say this was the right way, and this was the wrong way. Then I did the next thing that you do when you were trying to do something new like this, I hired a podcast consultant. What she said to me, every time I would ask the question is, how do I do this, and what about that? She would come back and say, " Well, what do you want the show to be? How do you want it to be?" I finally said, " I just want to know the right way to do it." She said, it's your damn show, Rebecca, do it the way you want to do it." I was like, oh my gosh, I spent more than six months stalled out from even starting because I was looking for the right and the wrong way to do it, because I didn't want to look like an idiot, right? I had a reputation to uphold. I couldn't have a bad or a wrong podcast, I had to have the right way to do it. I think we do that to ourselves in a lot of things in life, looking for the right and wrong answers, and instead, we should be looking to say, who is it for, and why does it matter? Then look to connect in more of a human way and build a business around the human needs versus the other way around.
Michael Ashford: You just said something that Lindsey inaudible who I know you worked with that has mentioned on her episode of this show, who is it for? Why are you doing it, or why does it matter? I love it. I think that was the title of her episode, actually.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah.
Michael Ashford: How do you come to that moment of self- awareness where we've been just in business, in education, in life, we've been told there's a right, there's a wrong. Especially nowadays with so much division, and people trying to box people into a black and white issue. How do you lift yourself above that? How do you help your clients lift themselves above that and have the awareness to understand what it is they want?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: There's two approaches to it. Sometimes people come to me when they're just burned out. They're like, " F it, this sucks. I'm done with the standards. I'm done trying to meet everybody else's expectations. I'm done caring about it because it's too hard." That's an okay starting place too. Sometimes you get there from a, I have bigger dreams and I want to elevate above the standard of what's a commonly held belief because I believe that I can do more and be more if I let go of that. Even a place is an okay starting place, I wish it didn't have to be that extreme of a place to get there, one way or the other. Just be curious. When you think about curiosity and how we move through the world questioning other people's motives, or why things work the way they work. What if you just held up the mirror and got really curious about yourself? What if you just got really curious about what are your triggers? What's the work that I love to do? What are the condition... This is my favorite question that stuns people, " What are the conditions that you work best in?" People look at me like, " What do you mean?" Well, you choose every day how you move through the world and what you do or don't do. Have you decided what conditions you work best in? Even just asking yourself that question, just getting really curious about yourself is a beautiful exercise. I have a download called Dream the Decade, which I created last fall before I knew we were going to be in the dumpster fire of 2020. It seemed like a really hopefully and ambitious thing to do.
Michael Ashford: Good time.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But all of the questions in there still apply because we still are moving through with the new decade, that it's called Dream the Decade. It just moves you through a set of questions to ask yourself more about, what do you really want? Because I think as humans, we are good at articulating what we don't want or what the pain is or what the challenges are, but the place of emotion doesn't really have the capacity for language. Simon Sinek taught us a lot about that in Start With Why. But to be able to ask yourself, why do I do? And articulate your own story to write your own story, and then go look for the opportunities to live the story you want is a beautiful way to move through the world. I don't know. You get me all excited about things, and I think, did I even answer the question?
Michael Ashford: You answered it how you wanted to answer it, right? A little bit of a leading question here, perhaps. Are you living your authentic life?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I am, and it is beautiful and scary and frustrating, and every emotion that you can possibly describe. I ask myself that every single week. SI started my business about, I don't know, four or five years ago now. Prior to this, I'd been in a career for 19 years with the Franklin Covey Organization. I was traveling the world and I was working with the world's best thought leaders. I was making lots of money. I was serving my clients in a beautiful way. My work was in a bestselling business book. Every marker of success that I didn't even know to dream about, I was doing. Of course, when things are going that well, you say, " Hey, I'm thinking I'm going to quit and start my own visits." Which is what I did, because I just knew that there was so much I had in me, so many dreams, so much creativity that I wasn't able to use in my role. I had to give myself the space to explore that. You talk about uncertainty, holy crap. What it took for me to get to that point of saying I'm willing to dump into that sea of uncertainty was huge. I'm a big faith person, so I just prayed for God ideas, not good ideas, for a long time, until things started to roll and progress. One day I was sitting out on my back patio and I was writing, I was working on some of that early stages of this book that I'm working on, and I was frustrated. I was angry, things weren't going as fast as I wanted them to, and just not having a good day. Then all of a sudden I stopped and I said, " Okay." I remembered writing in my journal, the year or two before, I just want every morning to feel like a Saturday morning. I want to have the time and space to explore ideas and dream and hope and wonder and create something from it. Well, that's exactly what I was doing on a Tuesday morning. Another place in my journal says, I just want to tell people stories. My podcast, and my rise and thrive experience, and that's exactly what I'm doing. Even on the days that suck, and there are some days that suck, I remind myself that this was what I asked to walk into, and it's in that place where things suck and struggle that you learn more about yourself too. It's in those places where I get innovative and I make changes and improve. I'm doing everything that I think God hoped I would do with what he gave me.
Michael Ashford: How does a person who is living that authentic life, that authentic, true to themselves version of themselves, how do they view the uncertainty that they're going through versus someone who is stuck or not living authentically, how do those two different worldviews play out?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I don't know how to do this life that I'm living this authentic life without my faith. That's how I do it. When things are really uncertain, I picture that, God's up ahead of me paving the way, and I just can't see what He's working on, but I have to trust and have faith that that's the case. Because what I do know is the more faith that I have, the more uncanny connections that happen. You can sit and you can make the business plan. We all have it, right? You have all your notes and your business plan jotted down, but it doesn't account for the fact that the next time I sit down beside someone that is completely unexpected in the coffee shop and they are the exact solution to something that I needed, that I didn't even know to plan for. Those are the kinds of things that when I'm feeling really uncertain, I just say to myself, God's got this worked out and I just need to relax and make a cup of coffee and let it play out like it's supposed to. That's what keeps me moving forward is my faith.
Michael Ashford: Awesome. Rebecca, how can people follow along with your work, eventually when you publish that book, where are you going to let it be known? As a fellow author, I feel your pain right now. Where can people go to connect with you and learn more?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm going to answer that question, but I am going to say, if anybody is out there writing a book or is inspired, or is aspiring to write a book, this is my third iteration of this book. It's not like you wake up one day and you go, " Today, I'm going to write a book and it's going to be very fabulous. I'm going to sit in the coffee shop and whatever." I've written, basically two 70,000 word books to get all of the ideas that I had out in a really messy and crappy way so that I could finally get the format that I needed to put this one, this third and final iteration out. I think whenever you hear somebody say, " Oh, I'm writing a book." It sounds very inaudible and sexy, and it is a colossal, hard, pain in the ass activity.
Michael Ashford: Agreed.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Just to clear up any misconceptions that people may be feeling about me right now. It's not the inaudible but I love it. Where can people get in touch with me? My website is wethrive. live, and there's a place that you can always connect with me there. I'm active on LinkedIn, Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, great place to connect. My podcast is called the Badass Womens Council, but 47% of my listeners are men. So, apparently the topics resonate in both ways.
Michael Ashford: That's good.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm pretty active on Instagram with Badass Womens Council as well. Honestly, I'm open. If anybody has questions or wants to connect, email me, rebecca @ wethrive. live. One of the things you ask about me living my authentic life, one of the most bold and courageous things that I've done is I only check email twice a week so I don't feel like I'm a slave or a prisoner to my email. If you message me, within a few days, I'll get back with you and be happy to schedule a time to talk.
Michael Ashford: Thanks for becoming much more clear as you answer these questions here. Rebecca, thank you so much for your time. One last question for you. What's a question that you wish you were asked more?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I want a good question. I rarely get inaudible this is just fabulous. I guess it's the one that I always encourage people to ask our youth, is what do you love to do? What do you love about your life? We always go to the what do you do? But when you ask people, what do they love, it gives a far deeper insight to who they really are. I think that's always a great question, it's what do you love about your life? What do you love to do? It doesn't have to be an occupation. I love to walk in the woods with my dog. I love a lot of things that have nothing to do with how I make my paycheck.
Michael Ashford: Let's go there. What do you love to do? What do you love about your life, Rebecca?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh my gosh, I love nature. Anytime I can be out in nature and understanding that I am part of such a much bigger picture, I think is so life giving, and it gets you out of that selfish of, all the things that you might've been frustrated about. I can stand in the middle of the woods and hear the millions of creatures that are around me and realize that I am just one little speck in the big universe that is our life. I love to be in nature. I love to write. Right now, it's feeling a little taxing, but that I do love to write. I love antiquing and junking. I love it when somebody throws something out on the side of the road and I see it and I'm like, " Oh, look, my next treasure." I take it home and paint it and make it look beautiful. I love creating, I love to paint and draw and art, and I love to create things.
Michael Ashford: Beautiful. Love it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: See, there's nothing to talk about when you ask somebody that. Did you see my face look different when I talked about what I love?
Michael Ashford: You took the words out of my mouth.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: When you can get people talking about the work that they love, they look different.
Michael Ashford: Absolutely. I see it very clearly right now. So, thank you so much for your time. This has been a pleasure. This has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much, Rebecca. Have a great rest of your day.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thanks. Thanks for having me. Thanks so much for listening. It was fun to just think through some of the things I'm writing about and passionate about, and I hope you enjoyed. Make it a great day.
Our uniqueness is our competitive advantage and our superpower. Each of us has our own talents and gifts that we can use to serve our community. However, we need to get curious about ourselves first and understand who we really are before we take on that challenge. When we can get through the uncertainty and the insecurity of life, we can own our uniqueness and tap into the power of our humanity. We can start to live our authentic life, and we can start to thrive.
In this week’s episode, we are sharing with you another podcast: The Follow-Up Question. Earlier this week, Rebecca Fleetwood Hession was a guest on Michael Ashford’s podcast. To share the podcast love, we decided to publish that episode here this week. We will listen to Rebecca as she tells us about her passions, her thoughts, and the things she’s writing about right now. She even shares a bit of her own personal story, and tells us about her book, “Business is Human.”
Before founding WEThrive.live, Rebecca had a highly successful career at Franklin Covey Organization. She was traveling the world, making lots of money, and serving her clients in a beautiful way. However, after 19 years, she decided to quit and start doing her own visits. She needed the space to explore her own dreams and creativity, and so she did that. Today, she is doing exactly what she wants to be doing: living her authentic life and telling people’s stories through WEThrive.live.
In Rebecca’s conversation with Michael, she discusses the human side of business and the emotional, personal, and social needs each person has. They discuss the challenges of uncertainty and imposter syndrome today as well as how to get curious about yourself. Michael and Rebecca share their love for stories and talk about the importance of communication and empathy in everyday life. They finish off the conversation with a discussion of what a truly authentic life looks like and how to live one today.
Listen in to learn more about how Rebecca is bringing humanity back into business and helping people live their most authentic life.