134: Leaders with Heart Embrace Change and Rise from It

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In this episode, Heather speaks directly to listeners about some recent changes she has made, and how she has learned to embrace change even during this pandemic. Heather also shares some key decisions she has made to create a metamorphosis in her life.

Key takeaways:

  • Now is the time to see change as a positive despite what is front of us.
  • Starting anew right now might be exactly what you need to help you see the situation differently.
  • How aligned are you with your personal and professional mission?
  • There are powerful ways to overcome your challenges and it all starts in the mind.
Prepare your ears for this wonderful episode. Listen and learn!

Embracing Change

I have reached quite a few milestones in my business these last couple of months during the coronavirus. My second book has been completed, and it’s a pretty big deal to write a book during a pandemic. I recognize it, and feel blessed to have done it.  

During this time, I know what I should have done. But I wasn’t doing it. I decided to do something that seems so obvious to me but I kept on fighting it—doing a name change for my business.

To be honest, my heart was really more in the place of employees. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Noble Beginnings

For the last four or five years, the business name has been Customer Fanatix, and I decided to change it to Employee Fanatix. It was obvious because all of my work has been focused on employee listening, leadership development, and everything related to the employee experience, engagement, and retention.

The reason why I fought was because my heart was with customers and employees early on in my career. When I started Customer Fanatix, the idea was I would help organizations understand the connection between how leaders can impact both the customer and employee experience, and how we can look at it as a continuum or a journey. That’s looking at both stakeholders at the same time.

Over time, people were more confused if I was more on the customer side or on the employee side. My efforts and messaging on social media became more singular, focused and it was more about leaders and their impact on employees. I just made a choice not to include all of the customers.

I started my company in 2015. People were reaching out to me because of my writings on LinkedIn. They wanted me to help them on both the customer and employee experience. The focus changed, but in the end my heart didn’t change.

My end goal is to help employees and leaders be better and stronger. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetEverything I do is about how we impact in their (employee) experience, whether they are working with leaders, executive, facilitating groups, or speaking on stage. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

The Metamorphosis

It was always about the underdog. When I was a child, I felt like an underdog. So, I have always been an advocate for people.

We are in very unsettling times. But I am thinking of what’s happening right now as a metamorphosis. It’s all about change and being comfortable with it. To be honest, I haven’t always been comfortable with change.

But what has worked for me in the past is I try to focus on a mission that is bigger than myself. I try to focus on something exciting, powerful, and way beyond me that it helps me move forward past any adversity put in front of me. It helps me build my resilience.

Recently, I have just hired my very first employee, Monica. I just brought in a marketing team to really help me take the business on and take things off my lap so I can be the leader I talk to you about all the time— the one who focuses on caring for myself and my family first.

Aligning what I was already doing and using this time to start anew and afresh help me focus on shedding some of the skin of the past and the pain of the current. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetMy desire is to uplift people by my words and my actions, and to bring people together in collaborative settings of safety. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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133: Leaders with Heart Provide Hope and Possibility for Those They Lead

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In this episode, Heather joins the show without a guest to talk about the status of her next book, The Art of Caring Leadership, which is based upon this podcast. She also tells her perspective on the death of Chadwick Boseman, a former Marvel star and king of Wakanda, the fictitious country in the Black Panther movie.

Key takeaways:

  • All employees are looking for hope, and they need leaders to help them discover it.
  • There is power in seeing someone who looks like you in the highest positions of leadership.
  • Be flexible in your recruitment and promotion practices to be more inclusive, and to provide the symbols of hope.

Updates on the Book

I did finish writing the Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations. 

They’ve sent out my book to three reviewers, which could be very scary. It was really nerve-wrecking. But once I got the first one, I felt that it’s not going to be too bad. They gave some really good feedback that made the book richer, more synced, and easier to read. I hope that you will be proud of how I was able to encapsulate some of the most important voices that you’ve heard here. I am super excited about that.

We have to learn to celebrate our little successes, our big successes—all the same. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Lessons from Chadwick

Just recently, Chadwick Boseman passed away at 43 years old. He died of cancer. If you’d recall, he played the king of Wakanda for Black Panther. He was the first black superhero.  When I saw the news, I felt like I was punched in the chest and the air left out of me.

I didn’t quite think about why until I reflected on some work I’ve been doing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Looking through survey feedback, we would just keep seeing over and over again their desire to see more people of color in executive leadership roles.

I realized that the reason why people are having such as response about Chadwick’s death is because we saw him as a hero. He was a beacon of light for people who has overcame much and at the same time has represented us.

He got some assistance and good mentorship from other people, and he made it where he was. He did it with grace, even when he was battling with cancer for the last few years.

Inside of organizations, those who are different or considered a minority often don’t feel like they belong. They don’t always feel like they’re part of a purpose that’s bigger than themselves.

When they are able to see people in the highest parts of the organization, they see that there’s so much possibility to become those persons in the role. It’s the possibilities that keeps them having hope and makes them want to stay because they want to see how far they can go as well.

We actually have the ability to achieve. We can do more than what we think we can. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetThere are very few limits in front of us. We can place our own limits in front of ourselves with our own mindset. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Celebrating Self-care

We have to learn to celebrate our little and big successes all the same, or else, our life becomes one big blur of tasks. It’s interesting because in the book, I talked a lot about self-care and self -compassion. We need to make sure that we’re doing that more often. I did that for myself during and at the end of this process to celebrate.

If you are someone who leads organization where you have the ability to think outside the box regarding recruitment and your promotion practices, and to diversify the top ranks in your organization, do it.

We’re making sure that people of color and those who are different than the mainstream are going to be at the top roots, because you want to give everybody hope, a desire, a bigger purpose, and to know that they can do and be more.

It's the possibilities that keep your people hope and make them want to stay because they want to see how far they can go as well. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetIf you have the power, use the power. Let's not just talk, but let's actually walk on this journey together. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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124: Leaders with Heart Find a Way to Be the Solution

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In this episode, Heather joins listeners in a personal journey during COVID-19, the racial divide, and writing a book.

Key takeaways:

  • Be the solution to the problems in our world. Don’t bail out from taking responsibility.
  • You are worthy of your leadership. You are good enough for others to care for. 
  • We can all choose to be unstuck post-COVID-19.
Prepare your ears for this wonderful episode!

Updates on the Book

I am excited to report that I already finished the first draft of the book and I was able to give it to the publishers for sending out to reviewers. Now I am getting feedback. This gives me the opportunity to look back at my manuscripts with a fine-toothed comb and start to work on the changes based on their review.

Not all of it was awful. Most of it were very insightful. No one said that I need to go back to the drawing board. I feel good that that did not happen. But I have work to do to get that done.

We cannot control everything. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Black Lives Matter

One thing that continues to happen throughout our histories is the treatment towards people of color, predominantly Black Americans but also other races. When we think and learn more about it, we have to stop seizing the opportunity in a negative sense, of treating people with darker skin as lesser people. Historically that is how it has gone and it has been opportunistic and gearing towards selfish interests.

We cannot change the system, the processes, and how America is formed. Some of us might have the power and control to do it, but some of us have the ability to control our mindsets and how we think of all humans, including people before us, first. How are we supposed to be acting with them? How can we show up and stand up?

What we must think about is the role that we play in the process and in the solution. Know that you have and possess a certain amount of power, authority and ability to show up differently, to be antiracist, and to support all humans: the people, the brothers and sisters around you. 

So I ask you to stand solidly in your shoes, take your responsibility, and be accountable for your own things. You must not get completely overwhelmed with every single thing in the world.

We can control lots of things and we can influence many. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetYou possess a certain amount of power, authority, and ability to show up differently and be anti-racist. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Art of Caring

One of the things that came in my heart when I was writing the book is the title, the Art of Caring Leadership: Why Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations. This is based on this podcast and all the people I have interviewed.

I adore every single guest I had on my show. I have experienced so much richness and value, and I didn’t set out to write this book when I wrote this podcast. But little ways in, I realized that I have got to share these people with the world. 

We have to stop treating people with darker skin as lesser people. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetI find great excitement and thrill by highlighting and uplifting others. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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108: Leaders With Heart Are Not Imposters At The Table

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In this episode, Heather Younger speaks to listeners from Chicago at the No Longer Virtual Conference about imposter syndrome and why it happens. She also shares what to focus on instead and the ways we are all meant to be where we are.

Key takeaways:

  • Know that you are uniquely created to be where you are.
  • If you don’t think you belong, others might not think it either.
  • Create the opportunity to include others who might feel the same way.

This episode brings in helpful insight to you and your people. Don’t miss it!

The Imposter Syndrome

I came to speak to meeting planners for the first time at the Meetings Industry Council – Colorado’s Annual Conference. We had an interesting setup called Theatre in the Round and when I went in, I was super nervous. There were speakers who were talking for a lot longer and I was feeling a little judged. But that wasn’t because of them but because of me.

The imposter, the person on my shoulder went on saying “You are not good enough. You don’t belong here.” It has pervaded my life. As an outsider in my own home when I was young, I felt like I didn’t belong and I wasn’t good enough.

But part of my talk on the stage was about using my voice to help others who may be feeling the same thing and I felt very compelled to tell it.

I was put on this earth to uniquely deliver the message I was going to deliver. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Bring People In

So, I went home and I prepared quite a bit more. I had a little bit of nerves the next day but not so much as to fall from underneath me. When it was time for me to speak, I walked up, stood there and I just felt more confident. The story on belonging was really coming to heart.

When we sit around the leadership table with other executives or managers, sometimes we look at people and go, “That person is seriously smart,” or “That person is really sharp.” We are judging and sizing up people in a way that minimizes us. 

As leaders with heart, we know that we’re human and we’re going to have this journey up and down, so expect that to happen. But know that you are uniquely put on this earth to give the message, to be the person, and to represent your own people.

There are people that you need to bring into the fold to make them feel included and not feel small around you. You may embrace people physically or with your eyes and your word. Bring them in, so that they know that they belong and they are included.

As leaders at the table, we sometimes ask, “How the heck did we get here? Do we even belong here?” – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetI influence people and so do you and every single person on this planet. We all get to choose who we influence and how we influence. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Open More Windows

If you are an executive leader you won’t realize the fear that circles around private meetings inside the organization. 

You may minimize or do something even bigger like informing them what came out of those meetings. That is a way to show that you are including other people, and there is nothing to be fearful about.

There is a power structure in organizations, whether we try to make them more humane. There is fear and division. I am not saying it would go away, but it is there. So produce more open windows to make your people feel they are part of something big. When you walk into the room, they don’t have to look at you like you are above them.

If we walk away with leading someone feeling like they are an outsider, and if they feel they’re less than us, then we have not been leaders with heart. 

You do belong. You are good enough. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetProduce more open windows where people can see and listen through to make them feel connected. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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102: Leaders With Heart Know That Love And Care Is Transformative

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In this episode, Heather speaks with her listeners her plans for 2020 and the role they can play in it. She also talks about a powerful story of how loving and caring transformed a group of women, and how these can also transform our workplaces. Lastly, she shares some updates on her latest book.

Key takeaways:

  • Love and care in the workplace can transform cultures.
  • Once we set out to do some thing and we are wholly focused on that, it will become a reality.
  • Leaders play a huge role in their employees’ happiness and well-being. Take it very seriously.

Don’t miss this episode. Listen and learn!

Where we’re headed

I’m going to continue to interview leaders who are more emotionally intelligent having diverse backgrounds, jobs, and insights. This 2020, I am looking to change things, and that’s getting more interaction from you.

You may tweet to me, post something on LinkedIn or email me at heather@customerfanatix.com if there’s something you want to see, or specific people you like to refer to me. Reach out if you feel like there’s something missing, or if I am not going far or deep enough when I am interviewing people, or if there’s a question that is continuously lingering on your mind. I want to get that out for you.

I want more interaction between us. The idea of this podcast is to evangelize the message that imperfect leaders can also be caring leaders. If you have new ideas, just shoot them over to me. I’m very open and you might see changes from me pretty quickly.

You’re listening in because you think there’s something special here. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Unconditional Love

My daughter watched something in school about a woman who has a salon, and all she does is help women whom people might think of as broken. These women have either been battered, sexually abused, or homeless. When all of them entered the salon, the salon lady fixed them up.

When they came in, these broken women were all jaded, hostile, and a little bit rough. But, the salon lady loved on them and made them feel good by doing their hair and nails, massaging their cracked feet, and doing other things that the average person wouldn’t do.

Within a matter of four or five hours, the broken women were already interacting with one another. They were lifting one another up. They told each other, “You can do it!” They became sources of inspiration for one another in their own brokenness.

The salon lady was able to break the walls and smoothen the rough edges of the women in a matter of hours. It was because she gave them unconditional love, care, focus, and importance. 

As a leader, it is the love and the care that you put into your people, the focus and the importance that you make them feel that enables them to uplift themselves. As a result, they do more for those around them. They feel better about themselves, and now they see the world differently. They’re prepared to do more for their team and for you.

You don’t have to be perfect in order to be a leader that other people want to work for – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Good News

Last Sunday, I just signed a contract for the next book, the second one, and this is going to be predominantly based upon the interviews in the podcast. I’ve boiled up some main concepts of what caring and loving on our people really looks like, and the impacts that they have to our team, our culture, and our performance.

I am very excited about partnering with my publisher whose values are completely aligned with mine and my company. The book won’t come out until May 2021.

I am also excited to hear all of your feedback. My goal is that everyone of you buys the book and pass it down to all supervisors and managers in your organization so that we can continue to evangelize this message. 

Thank you for being a part of this journey. I welcome all honest feedback you provide along the way. If there’s anything that I can do for you outside this show, please let me know. I am a good listener, so you could always reach out to me.

We can change the hearts and the minds of leaders around the world. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetAs a leader, love and care should really be your focus. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetWhen you love and care for your people, they feel better about themselves. – @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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94: Leaders With Heart Allow Their People To Discover Their Best Selves

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In this episode, Heather shares a personal story about her daughter that highlights what courage and authenticity really look like. She also discusses how leaders need to be the catalysts to create environments that allow people to discover their gifts, and in turn, use those gifts for the betterment of all.

The Unpredictable

All of you know that I have four children, and my oldest has been a source of inspiration. She has also been a source of stress at times, but more of an inspiration since her birth. She is a kid who struggled with cognitive delays and it caused her to be someone who works really hard to just stay afloat.

Recently, she enrolled in a rhetoric course, which required her to do speech analysis, and poem deliveries in front of the whole class. They all had to choose a speech, and she chose Malcolm X. This is my daughter, the quiet, introverted, compliant, young lady, and she chose Malcolm X. I asked her why.

We have to put our people in environments that allow them to stretch outside themselves, their limitations, and where they thought they could go. -  @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Taking The Step

She selected Malcolm X because the piece talks about getting the point across with people who are not listening. She believed in his lens. My daughter, this person whom we don’t know if she is understanding what is happening, was so crystal clear.

She also said, “There were a lot of things that were against him. A teacher told him that he would never make anything of himself. I felt for him, because over my life, I had people who implied that I wouldn’t go places, and that I couldn’t do certain things. That really spoke to me.”

After she gave the speech, her teacher and everybody else in the room were flabbergasted. It was impactful for everyone because it talked about the truth regarding a large group of people in America.

After three or four days, Her teacher still kept on mentioning her talk in class in a positive light. He even decided to do a unit on Malcolm X for the next semester.

I can’t believe my daughter took the step. I was so proud of her. To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have that courage. 

She decided to be her most full self. She decided to be courageous in exploring what needs to be explored, in teaching others, and in bringing them to the truth.

Do not place limitations on your people. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Discovering Our People

We have an obligation to let our people discover the depths of who they are.

We have to allow our people to have safe spaces, and put them in environments that allow them to stretch outside themselves, their limitations, and where they thought they could go, and not place limitations on them. 

When they do, whether they do well or not, we still recognize them for their courage, authenticity, and effort, because those are the things that we value. When we value those things, then we get more of them. As a result, they flourish.

Decide to be courageous in exploring what needs to be explored, in teaching others, and in bringing them to the truth. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Recognize your people for their courage, authenticity, and effort. -  @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet When we value the courage, authenticity, and effort of our people, we get more of them. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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88: Leaders With Heart Recognize The Smallest Of Changes In The People They Lead

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In this episode, Heather speaks about milestones, recognition, and moving past barriers that can make it difficult for leaders to be the best they can be. Heather also shares a couple personal stories on the milestones of her children last week, how she recognized them, and her past fumble related to it.

Key takeaways:

  • Pay attention to the greatness inside your people or they will go somewhere with people who will.
  • Don’t see obstacles in your way to being the best leader as permanent. They too shall pass.
  • Employee recognition helps them feel seen. Be the gift bearer of that type of positivity.

 This episode sure is a gem. Don’t miss it!

Recent Milestones

This week, three of my children reached significant milestones. My son was promoted to a higher rank and the civil air patrol prepared a pinning ceremony to appreciate his efforts. We attended with our youngest who was beaming with pride for his brother. 

The next day, my eldest son and daughter were promoted in their Taekwondo ranks, considering they only started months ago. Also, my daughter recently got her driver’s license. To celebrate her win, we had a family dinner and gave her a card of appreciation with money as a gift. All of us signed the card, telling her how much we’re proud of her. 

The recognitions to their milestones are well deserved. More importantly, we make it a habit to recognize our people.

Appreciating Efforts

When our people at home or at the workplace achieve milestones regardless of the size,  we want to make sure that we are recognizing them for their effort. We’re letting them know they are noticed. 

Many of us feel like we’re all alone in the world. There’s so many people who are depressed, anxious and lonely. But when we show appreciation for our people, they will know that they are important in your life. You want to be that gift bearer of recognition, so they’ll know you regard even the tiniest of their milestones. 

I wrote an article about this tree in my front yard. Two years after moving in, I barely knew it was a plum tree. Then, I met a neighbor about to move out and said that he just loved the plum tree in front of my house. 

I had no clue it was a plum tree, partly because I am not a green thumb. Also, I just never noticed any plums in the tree. He told me he would collected the plums that fell down, and he would make jam from it. I was a little bit irritated hearing that. Years after, I kept trying to look for plums in my tree but I only tasted its sweetness once. 

Remember to look for the greatness inside the people we lead because if we aren’t, others will find them. Our people will go to where their greatness is recognized and appreciated. They will go to where they are rewarded and awarded for what they do and bring at the table. 

Don’t be like me, who entirely never noticed the plums in my tree for years. Instead, be like my neighbor. Go grab the plums that are over there. Grab the greatness you see inside of your people. Make sure that when you do that, you put it to good use. Folks who doesn’t notice that the organization they are in would allow them to grow, will seek for more fertile grounds.

Be that gift bearer of recognition, so your people will know you regard even the tiniest of their milestones. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet When we show appreciation for our people, they will know that they are important. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Recognizing Obstacles

We positively recognize milestones. But there also obstacles and challenges that prevents us from becoming the best leader. It goes in our way of appreciating the “plums” inside our workforce. 

Yes, there are obstacles and challenges in our way, but those too shall pass. Look at them as temporary things that could pause you to be the best and the greatest leader you can be. 

Look for the plums in front of you. Grab them and leverage every piece of greatness inside of the people looking upon you for leadership. Bypass the challenges and obstacles that are in your way. It’s okay to pause, but know that they’re not permanent. 

Remember to look for the greatness inside the people we lead because it’s there. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet People go to places where their greatness is recognized and appreciated.- @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet There are obstacles and challenges in our way, but those shall pass. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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87: Leaders With Heart Actively Build Resilience

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In this episode, Heather updates the listeners on the book that will come out based upon the podcast. She also talks about the importance of leaders building resilience in the face of adversity.

Key takeaways:

  • Leaders must first build resilience in the face of obstacles before they can help their people do the same.
  • People all around us are in a struggle.
  • How quickly they can rebound or bounce back from those struggles will make all the difference in terms of efficiency, productivity improved emotional well being. 
  • Leaders everywhere must make a choice.
  • How quickly are you going to get up when you fall down?

This episode is short but sweet. Thanks for listening!

Book Updates

I’m super excited with the direction of the book based on this podcast. I just finished the brush-ups of the first couple of chapters. Now, I can submit them to a literary agent, and hope they can represent me to publishers. But, even if they don’t, that is okay. I will move forward on getting the book out because its message is powerful and crucial. 

Also, there will be opportunities for listeners to support the launch of that book, Not only that, you can get to decide about things before the launch, such as the color of the cover, etc. So, keep an eye out. To the listeners, my former guests, and the Leadership with Heart community, you mean a lot to me. Your following and referrals means so much.

Moving Past Adversity

We cannot let other people's perceptions of us derail our leadership journey. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

My daughter lives with a lot of adversity around her. 

She was born with a sensory processing disorder and a rare multiple heart defect which would require a very risky open heart surgery. Over time, she had been better but the chance of getting surgery is still there. Also, she has always been challenged because of her special needs. She has learning delays that’s why she struggles managing schoolwork. She has difficulty understanding her body and space, and is socially awkward. She has a hard time fitting in and keeping friends. She is very smart yet she lacks confidence. 

But she is impressively resilient. 

Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty. Hence, she just moves through the things that are happening to her. She is focused in plotting her course forward and doesn’t let anything get in her way. She does get stuck a lot while she moves forward, which represents a lot of leaders all over the world. But as someone who is resilient, she moves past the adversity and quickly bounces back.

If someone is around you at work and they don't care for you, who cares? - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Reflecting on Resilience

Today, reflect on how you might be stuck.

There are things that we cannot choose, like where to be born or the disabilities that we could have. But we can choose how we react to people and life circumstances, and how we show up every day at work. We also choose how to respond to those who might come at us aggressively.

In the workplace, we need to build up relationships and connections amongst each other. Becoming stronger and more resilient amidst adversity allows you to lead your people who are going through much doubt, delay, inefficiency, and non-productivity.

The truth is, we all get stuck. But resilience is how quickly we bounce back from being stuck.

Evaluate your situation and figure out how to reframe your current circumstance. Do you want to be in a leadership role? Should you be in that position? Recommitting to the role means that you also commit to learning resilience. Only then can you help your people that look up to you build the same outlook.

We all choose our mindset and the direction that we go. We cannot control anybody around us but we can control ourselves. Together, let’s all commit to doing just that.

We can choose how to react to people and life circumstances as they hit us. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet In order for you to help many of your team members move past their own adversity, help them to get unstuck. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet When a person says no, find another way around it. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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79: Leaders With Heart Love The People They Lead

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In this episode, Heather speaks directly to listeners about a deeply personal story that reminded her of the importance of loving the people on your team. She outlines the benefits of doing so and she inspires leaders from all walks to care deeply for the people who look up to them for leadership.

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid to lead with love.
  • Leaders who care deeply create deeply caring employees.
  • Sit with your people and meet them where they are.
  • Leadership is not a cookie-cutter experience. 
  • Meet people where they are.
  • Emotions create loyalty.

Listen and learn!

Deep Caring Love

Recently, a friend of mine posted something on LinkedIn and tagged me as the “amazing leader.” It was a really touching post, but it made me think of another article I have written before. I didn’t realize how long ago it was until I searched for it on LinkedIn. 

In 2014, I wrote an article about why it’s okay to love your employees. I know this is a really hard conversation to have and even a tough one to broach because most people really move away from this idea of love in the workplace. 

I don’t mean love like romantic love but a deep caring love. Actually, I had this kind of love while I was working at my last job position before I decided to go on my own for Customer Fanatix.

Leaders with heart are the ones who make us feel important, and take the time to be with us where we’re at, right there at that moment. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

A Walking Example

It’s okay to love your employees. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

One day, the manager who brought me in noticed something different. He could see that I was reaching a heightened level of frustration with some of the decisions because I felt completely ignored. He could have let me just swim in that pity for a little bit, but he didn’t. 

He came down without an appointment to my office. He sat down on a chair and said, “I know this is frustrating but we hired you for a reason. You’re here to do what you do best and we want you to do it well. I know that what’s happening is all frustrating, but please do stick with it because we want you to do what you do best.” Then he gave me a smile. I’ve got to tell you that at that moment, I loved that guy.

Today, he already left that position since a lot of the management decisions didn’t align with who he was as a leader, which I greatly respected, but boy did it hurt because he was such a wonderful manager. 

But just recently my heart was really broken for him as his son who was just in his 20’s passed away in his sleep. I really cared about him and I quickly requested the information to make sure I could get to his son’s funeral. When I showed up, I remembered when he cared for me and I wanted to do the same for him. I want to be there for him. When we locked eyes, he looked at me and his eyes said, “Thank you.” But I looked at him back and expressed, “No. Thank you.”

Leaders With Heart

We know those leaders with heart. They’re the ones who make us feel important, and take the time to be with us where we’re at. They don’t delay. They don’t act too political. They don’t put words up. They are humans. They are real. 

When he came down and cared for me, I knew I just want to be there for him, too. Of course those are two different scenarios, a really horrific thing his situation is. But it was him being there for me when I was down and feeling kind of “ugh” that made me want to go to the ends of the earth for him. During that time, I know he needed as many friends as possible to envelope him with love.

Don’t shy away from being that leader who loves your people. Your greatest reward will be your people looking at you with admiration. They will care for you and they will go over and above for you in every initiative you put in front of them. So be that leader with heart.

Most people really move away from the idea of deep caring love in the workplace. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Through your love for your people, you will reap much larger dividends than you would if you focus on moving up in the business or trying to add more accolades. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Your people will run that race with you, right beside you and maybe even in front to make sure that you’re winning. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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74: Leaders With Heart Know That They Are Responsible For Their Mindset

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In this episode, Heather talks directly with listeners about the importance of protecting and controlling their mindset. 

Recently, Heather delivered her first ever TEDx talk on Transforming Adversity into Opportunity. In it, she shares a personal story of adversity and what she did to overcome it. You might want to check her talk about before listening to this episode HERE.

Key takeaways:

  • Adversity starts in the mind.
  • We can choose to be stopped by the adversities that come our way or rethink them.
  • Leadership is just as much about emotional self-control than anything else.
  • Never stop fighting the important fight for those who matter to you.
  • Your leadership is only as good as those whom you grow.

The Adversity

Not long ago, I did my first ever TEDx talk entitled Transforming Adversity into Opportunity. In there, I shared my personal story of growing up in a family where I felt like an outsider. I didn’t feel good enough and respected. I felt like I had no voice.

Interestingly, shortly after I posted the talk on social media, a lot of people started reaching out to me with their stories. Many were squared in a space of employee-leadership relationships.

One of them, I could tell, was really hurt. She had applied for a particular job she really wanted. She did very well, and had gone in for multiple interviews but she never heard back from the company. 

When they finally responded, it was just a generic email. She never knew what she didn’t do well enough in order to get the job. As we continued to engage with one another, I could feel her pain through the email she sent. Nonetheless, she thanked me for the impact that my talk had.

You can transform any challenges and obstacles into an opportunity to grow your team, yourself, and the organization. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

The Fight

The fight is worth fighting for. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

A lot of the people who reached out to me, particularly the employees who are frustrated with what is happening in their organizations, or people in the HR who are exasperated with what leaders are doing or failing to do, felt limited within their roles. However, it all boils down to the mindset. The issue is, how much of these barriers we see as our own, are real?

In the case of the woman who was feeling low after getting turned down but was uplifted afterwards by my talk, it was because I helped her rethink that it was not the only opportunity out there. Similarly with leaders, it’s not the only avenue you can take.

In the workplace or with employees, we frequently hit walls. I know what it feels like because I always hit a lot of walls, especially when representing the customer, or the employee to the executive leadership team. Oftentimes, it was like doors were always closed on me, making me very infuriated.

But, I understood that as a leader, titled or not, you still have to know that there are many other avenues that you can take, that the fight is worth fighting for.

If you’re a leader, whether you’re just starting off or you’ve been leading for 30 years, whether you’re leading one, or an organization of 3000, barriers will be in front of you and you might become disheartened.

Whenever I interview other leaders around the world and across different industries, I ask them, “What are your words of wisdom for people who might be stuck in their leadership, for them who feels they’re in a hard place, and for those who want to learn more?” Truthfully, I love all of the feedback these people have given. I’ll be making sure to include those things in the book that I am writing.

When they talk about moving forward, taking it day by day, working on you, giving yourself time, love and care—it is so critical.

The Opportunity

For the woman who was going back and forth with her position, it was just so awesome to see her use reframing as a way to move past and overcome what was going on in her mind.

The fight is worth it, but in most cases, the fight starts in the mind. As a leader, if you can learn to bypass those negative barriers existing within you, you’re going to achieve a whole lot more.

Do you know how much of your perceived barriers are real? - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I would love for all of you to go and watch my TEDx talk. I hope it will impact you significantly. You can find it directly in mentions below or you may search it on YouTube.

This is the key: as a leader, you can transform any challenges and obstacles you have into an opportunity to grow yourself, your team mainly in growing their emotional intelligence and their ability to overcome, and the organization.

As a leader, titled or not, you still have to know that there are many other avenues you can take. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet No matter where you’re at right now, barriers will be in front of you, and you might become disheartened. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Watch Heather’s TEDx Talk on Transforming Adversity into Opportunity

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