Week 3 - Facing Uncertainty and Trusting Curiosity (Courtney Simpkiss's Story)
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hey, this is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of the Bad Ass Womens Council. Are you ready for week three of our eight week series, Stand Tall in Your Story? This series highlights the women of Rise and Thrive Indianapolis. The six women that you're about to hear from over the next six weeks started a seven month journey back in September of 2019. And the reason they joined was to ban burnout, build community and boost their business. But what they soon found out, it was so much more. The depth of self awareness, confidence and courage that was gleaned from this group honestly took us all by surprise. And I had pretty high expectations and it exceeded all of them. Why do I talk so much about story? Our stories are written by us for us. Including our emotions, our ideas, our intuition, our words and our actions. Our stories have highs and lows, struggle and celebration. Stories really represent our humanity, our ability to connect and to serve. Our brains are literally wired to process information as a story. Writing our own story gives us the influence we need over our own lives. It honors or past, our present and the imagination and dreams for our future. In fact, it's our intuition and our dreams for the future that should play a much stronger role in our story. No one would disagree that it's helpful to know ourselves through assessments and our historic results. However, our greatest growth comes from living out of our imagination in our dreams to courageously pursue what's possible. Sometimes the most courageous thing we can do is to be curious about what's next and be willing to follow that curiosity. Today, we have Courtney Simpkiss. She's speaking of her experience to follow her curiosity in her life and career. As a small town girl, growing up in Indiana, then to achieve top leader status in a Fortune 50 company, having sold more than$ 50 million in her career, Courtney comes to us with the perfect balance of EQ and IQ. Because not only does she know her stuff, you really want to gather around and hear from her and learn from her. Courtney's world is one of inclusion and partnership and she's also the first one to defend her people with fierce loyalty. I asked Courtney about the impact of Rise and Thrive as she was diving into this new opportunity with Gibson Insurance. This is what she had to say.
Courtney Simpkiss: The impact of Rise and Thrive has really allowed me to shortcut some of those early learning curves, early things where when we're in a new role, in a new situation that we tend to struggle with our identity and struggle with finding where we can make an impact, the highest and best use of our talents the fastest. Going through this experience helped me really get refocused back on who I am, what I bring to the table so that I could not waste time trying to find a different identity in this new role.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You see even with her rich background and experience, we still question ourselves. We still have those little voices in our head, sometimes I call her the little bitch in our head and it takes a strong community that can help us narrate those voices. And that's what Courtney was able to get from Rise and Thrive. Just a little about Courtney. She's heavily involved in our Indianapolis philanthropic community with her clients at Gibson. She's providing really innovative approaches to employee benefits. Things that really look at employee engagement, as well as the bottom line. When I first heard Courtney was going into the insurance business, I got to tell you I was skeptical. It didn't seem innovative and impactful enough to suit Courtney's style and business savvy. But then I learned the way that she's serving in this world of employee benefits and it made perfect sense. This isn't your average yearly renewal process. This is a fiercely loyal partnership where she's looking for ways to navigate the complexity and confusion of our healthcare system. One that often stresses our employees out who are trying to go through their most challenging times of being injured or sick and they aren't able to navigate this confusion in the midst of their busy lives. And Courtney really comes alongside these companies to look at their bottom line because that matters and also the employee engagement and the day to day stress of those employees going through health challenges. I was fascinated. A few minutes listening to Courtney share client stories about the impact and you quickly realize why she's there and it is all about story. The story of the company, the stories of the employees that she's fiercely loyal to. It's really interesting and good work that she's doing. I hope that you'll go to standtallinyourstory. live and watch these videos too. My partners at Cantaloupe TV, thank you, Jon DiGregory and team, have done an amazing job of bringing that event together into a book of stories. Videos that you can watch. And as you watch, don't let Courtney's beautiful and contagious smile and laugh fool you. This chick is tough as nails. I've seen her face every challenge with equal parts tenacity, humanity and grit. Would you all give a really bad ass welcome for Courtney Simpkiss.
Courtney Simpkiss: Wow, there's a lot of you. All right, let's do this. Okay that haircut, you know the one I'm talking about. That haircut that we've all always saw. That one. That haircut that you thought you just absolutely had to have, it would look so amazing on you. We've all done this before. It was 1998. I was a senior in college. I was waiting tables at Palomino and I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life. Now see, up to that point, I was crystal clear I wanted to go to law school and yet something inside of me was telling me that that wasn't really the right thing. I cut my hair because when we don't know what else to do, we cut our hair. Really? What's the worst thing? Unless you're Erica Ballard, which it looks amazing. You can end up in that. But what if we could actually, anytime we're facing a really tough decision or a major life change, what if we could manifest that optimism that we find when we get the curiosity to actually cut our hair? Going back to that moment in college. I was a senior and like I said, I was dead set on going to law school. But something in my belly just was telling me it wasn't the right thing. I had done all the things I was supposed to do. I had amazing grades. I had been accepted to law school and yet I was ready to walk away from that. And worse, while I knew it wasn't the right thing for me, there was this little nagging voice in my head that kept telling me," Oh gosh, what are people going to think of you?" Worrying about what everybody was going to think because I didn't have a good answer for why I didn't want to go to law school. And I didn't really know what I was going to do next. I had some friends that were in sales, so that looked kind of cool. And so I thought I might explore doing that. Well, when you have a degree in criminal justice and you've waited tables in college, it's not like people line up to give you interviews. I could not get an interview to save my life. Finally I did. And while my first job in sales wasn't exactly as glamorous as some of my friends' jobs were, because I sold spoilers to car dealerships. You know those things that are on the end. Not so great. But it did ultimately lead me down the path to what was my dream job at ADP. It was everything that I had ever thought of and so much more than this farm girl from Indiana could have ever imagined. I got to travel through president's club trips and places all over the world that I never thought I would see. I've got to work with some of the most incredible leaders and mentors and supporters and I had amazing results. And I was promoted a lot. I ended up in the top 1% of all leaders at ADP. So when Tim Leman called me and said," Hey, I've got this opportunity I want to introduce you to. I think you'd be a really great fit to be a partner at Gibson." Once again, I was facing a really scary decision. The thing that I knew is I had been at ADP for almost 14 years, had reached this pinnacle of position and I was traveling all the time. And I knew to continue down this path, I would be missing out on relationships, valuable time in my daughter's life and I just wasn't willing to sacrifice that. I chose being a 100% me, and being 100% the mom I wanted to be, and this entrepreneur I wanted to be, over that 1%. There are those times when we're so afraid to make a decision and believe me, I have had them. And I have wished somebody would just tell me what to do. Can we get a moment of silence for that? Fortunately, yeah maybe even frustratingly at times, even my own mom wouldn't tell me what to do. Her motto has always been, what's the worst that can happen? She has the best attitude about what's possible life. And even when things are uncertain, that doesn't mean they're not worth doing. When society makes us believe that we have to have it all figured out, it can feel absolutely paralyzing. I think it comes down to this. There are two types of people in the world, according to Elizabeth Gilbert anyway. There are jackhammers and hummingbirds. Jackhammers are those people that so clearly know what they want to do, that they are pursuing it day in and day out with relentless focus and purpose. And then there are hummingbirds, those people that move from tree to tree, flower to flower, looking for their meaning, all the while, actually fulfilling it by cross-pollinating the world with the experiences that they take from one place to the next. Maybe I'm a little bit of both. But I think a lot of people would call me as a hummingbird in a lineup if they saw me in one. But I think curiosity can serve both of us. Whether you're searching for that next thing after you've been going after a goal relentlessly and you're not really sure what that's going to be, or if you are still trying to figure it all out. You can point your toes toward that thing that you're curious about and take a leap and try something new. I've had the fortune to be able to work with some of the most amazing people in my career that have encouraged me to do that. I've had some amazing mentors. One of them calls that trust your curiosity, or build a backup plan. This notion of having a blueprint for an escape pod. I love that idea. Another mentor of mine at ADP, when I was going through some darker times, she said," You know what, Courtney? You need to just point 10% of your energy every week in following something that you're interested in or curious about outside of the job that you already have." She was also that same person that when I told her I was leaving ADP to go to Gibson, she said," You absolutely need to do this. You have to trust yourself because you'll regret it if you don't." I've seen so many times where I wished that I knew what was next and I know many of us have fallen into that same category, but what if we just took some of the pressure off of those outcomes and trusted our curiosity a little bit more when we were looking for that next thing? Now, when we were writing our stories and I was asked the question, what's kept me from sharing mine up to this point? It was because I hadn't really figured it all out. And then I realized, that's the whole point of it. I don't know what's next many of us don't. How ironic is that? Here's the thing. We have all faced uncertainty. We've all made major scary decisions in our lives. Think back to a moment when you did that, right now. Whether that was starting a new job, a new relationship, a new school or getting a new haircut, you took a leap of faith even when you didn't know how it was going to work out. You trusted your curiosity and it led you to the next thing and to the next thing. We're all going to have moments like that again. I want you to remember back to that time when you trusted your curiosity, even when you didn't know how or when it would come together, because I believe when you do that and you move towards that next thing, that's ultimately where you find your meaning and your purpose. Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thanks so much. If you would like to have Courtney or any of our speakers, including myself, come to your organization and speak live or virtually, please hit me up. We would love to chat with you about that. And if you are interested in the next experience that we, thrive. live is hosting, it starts in October. It's called Business is Human and you can get more information at standtallinyourstory. live. And this time we're inviting the guys. Men and women are welcomed. Celebrated. We'll see you back next week with another speaker and another story. Thanks so much. Make it a great day.
Our stories are written by us for us. Stories represent our humanity, our ability to connect, and our ability to serve. Through telling our own stories, we can honor our past, our present and the imagination and dreams for our future.
Our intuition and our dreams for the future play a strong role in those stories. We must pursue our imagination and our dreams to achieve our greatest growth. Because the most courageous thing we can do is be curious about what's next and be willing to follow that curiosity.
Writing our own story gives us influence over our own lives, and in this week’s episode we will listen to Courtney Simpkiss — CGO at Gibson Insurance Agency Inc. — as she writes her own story. Courtney Simpkiss is a small town girl who grew up in Indiana and achieved top leader status in a Fortune 50 company. Courtney is currently serving the world of employee benefits by looking for ways to navigate the complexity and confusion of our healthcare system. This week, you will hear about Courtney’s story of uncertainty and curiosity.
After college, Courtney walked away from a law school acceptance because she knew it wasn’t right for her. Despite her “unglamourous” first job of selling spoilers to car dealerships, she ultimately landed her dream job at ADP. It was everything she had ever dreamed of, and she was promoted a lot. Although after working at ADP for 14 years and ending up in the top 1%, she chose to leave and start a new career at Gibson. Courtney talks about how to make those difficult decisions in life whether it be a new job, a new relationship, or a new haircut.
Listen in to learn more about the touch choices she faced during her life and how she found her purpose and meaning by trusting her curiosity.
And tune in each week to hear from another speaker about how to stand tall in your story and rise and thrive during these difficult times.
This year, Rebecca has built a similar experience called, “Business is Human,” which is open to both men and women. Right now, she is looking for 4-5 men and 4-5 women join the group for a 9-month experience in Indianapolis. If you are interested in that opportunity, go to standtallinyourstory.live and tell Rebecca a little bit about yourself.
To check out the Stand Tall in Your Story 8-week series, go to standtallinyourstory.live