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18. (S1E18) Getting Back on Track with Deb Coviello
Episode 1826th August 2021 • FINE is a 4-Letter Word • Lori Saitz
00:00:00 00:32:53

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My guest today is Deb Coviello, Author of CEO’s Compass - Your Guide to Getting Back on Track and host of The Drop In CEO podcast.

Deb and I are chatting about what to do when you no longer fit in where you thought you did, transforming your learning experiences into a platform to help others, and baby-stepping your way into your purpose in life.

Deb says it took her 52 years before she started listening to what other people were saying about her strengths and seeing the signs, the green lights and not the red lights, that allowed her to get pulled into work that lights her up. Now she can look around and say, “oh, this is where I belong, instead of stubbornly sticking in that place where everything is only just fine.”

When she isn’t transforming lives and businesses from within, Deb is a board member of Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce, (WFFC), an avid Curler with the Cincinnati Curling Club, and a mother of 3. She’s been married to her husband Dan for 32 years and is a resident of Cincinnati Ohio.

Deb's very cool hype song is Road to Victory by Veigar Margeirsson. Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r13PgM4Zds8

Be on the lookout for Deb’s upcoming book “The CEO's Compass, Your Guide To Get Back On Track.” You can get on the waitlist for that at her website – DropInCEO.com.

Come join us in the Fine is a 4-Letter Word Facebook group.

This episode is sponsored by Zen Rabbit. When you’re asking yourself “what’s next for me? Who am I now, in this next season of life? And where do I even start figuring out my purpose?” the F*ck Being Fine Experience is here for you. Go to https://zenrabbit.com/ to learn more or to schedule a complimentary call.

Transcripts

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Hello and welcome to Fine is a 4 lLtter Word. My guest today

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is Deb Covell. Welcome, Deb, I'm eager to hear what you have to

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say about your story. Well, Lori, just thank you so much for having

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me. I mean, we've been friends for a while and we have our

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story, so I am so looking forward to sharing my stories and hopefully

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it resonates with your audience, so thank you so much.

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Yeah, my pleasure. Let's get into it right away. The question I always

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ask, start out asking is what were the beliefs that were instilled in

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you as a child, and the reason I ask this question is because

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I wanna get some insight into what your foundation was

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that leads you to make the decisions or make the decisions you've made

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in the past up to this point... Well. Thank you for that question,

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and I've never been asked that question before. So it gave me an

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opportunity to think a little bit, and if we think about

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the years that I was starting to make my own decisions or look

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at others behaviors and expectations and formulating my own... It was very

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clear, and I think I'm grateful to my parents for this,

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that education, it was very important to heads down, get the grades,

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that was more important than anything, so that you could get the job,

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so you could make the money and be independent, and I was that

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way as well. But it was really about

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just Do the work, do the work, and get that status in society,

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and to a lesser extent, not so much in the arts or sports

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or anything, but just heads down, Study, get good grades because if you

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didn't, you'd get a tongue lashing so it was very clear that that

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was some of the foundational things that kind of set the path for

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them, how did I proceed through high school, college and thereafter

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a. A tongue lashing as in they were angry or they were disappointed?

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Or both? Both because you would feel emotionally

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disappointing, and then there were times of degradation

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and not words of encouragement, not like, Oh, it's okay, they weren't weak

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that way because sometimes... Oh, just try harder next time. I think early

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on, it's like, Okay, well, how can I improve? How can I meet

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your expectation? It was one of those things getting feedback, but then

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not getting guidance, and so that was kind of... I would probably say

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some of my origin story, well then gosh, darn it, I'm going to

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muscle through and figure it out, and yes, that builds strength of character

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and trying to figure out how am I going to get the better

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grades, get into the right schools to get those opportunities, etcetera.

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So again, it could have been generational, tap your foot, get the good

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grades, or else to... It would have been nice to have a little

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bit more guidance, but you know that along the way, I figured things

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out and I can help others. So a long story, but yeah.

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That's the truth. So I'm guessing you did not go into theater arts

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when you got to college? I did not because it wasn't practical and

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it wouldn't pay the bills again, or... My parents, I think,

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were from a generation of a post World War II, you needed to

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get certain kinds of work because you need to be independent and pay

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the bills, so for me, and again, it was maybe a little bit

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different for other siblings, it was not encouraged, you had to get

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the good grades to get the good job, etcetera. So while I was

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artistic, and this is a really interesting story as a child,

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I was very artistic, arts and crafts, singing, musical instruments, I could

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write, I could draw, they thought I was going into the arts because

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I was so good at that. And then something changed along the way,

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it's hard to put my finger on it, but then I switched over

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to being a STEM professional, and while I still did okay in the

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arts and language, in writing, etcetera, I started

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getting really good Math and Science for which then I studied engineering

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and moved in that direction, but never quite

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lost the desire for the arts and the creative aspect.

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Interesting, I wanna come back to that, but you mentioned your other siblings

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or brothers, sisters. My sister Beth, again, we are from the same parents,

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but we are slightly different though, it's very interesting. And if she

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listens to this, we do get along, we gibber jabbber about all kinds

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of things, because I think we're at a place in our lives where

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we appreciate each other's differences and how we've evolved, but she was

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perhaps a little bit more artistic and into the dance and music and

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sports, and for some reason, there was a difference in our upbringing,

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they supported her in those areas, that's where she was aspiring,

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and so we felt like we had different upbringings, different goals and expectations

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again... Yes, do well, but supported in different ways, so it was very

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interesting from a parenting perspective, we learned what to do, what not

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to do when it comes to my children and the next generation.

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But it was a little different for me.

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Truth. It is interesting how children can grow up in the same,

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essentially the same environment with the same parents and be so different,

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have such different outcomes as adults. And that's true. So fast forward,

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my husband and I know we're very different people, but to have strong

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similar values, we treated the two boys and one girl exactly the same

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way, same expectations, there was no like, Oh, poor baby, we'll dust you

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off and be on your way. Now, we had hard conversations,

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there were tears, there were deadlines and there were rules for all three

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of them. The reason I asked that question about your siblings,

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it was because I was curious if you were the only girl and

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the boys, that it was emphasized to not be fluffy because you were

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the only girl, but that's not what you do. Never mind,

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we were treated the same way when it came to hard knocks.

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It was a little bit tough, but the way they parent had felt

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a little bit different, but again, it is what it is,

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we've moved on were strong for what? We've become productive citizens and

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can't wait to share more of the story. Yeah, okay, so you went

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into the Engineering and then you pursued a career in that

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direction, and then you got to a point where... What happened?

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Well, I think I was pretty successful, worked really hard, had a very

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supportive husband, I started moving up in manufacturing in quality and

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operational excellence, from being an individual contributor, to being a

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manager, to being a vice president of a large corporation, and I will

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tell you, I had set out I wanted the big job,

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I wanted to have large influence, have a lot of responsibility,

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and I had that role and worked hard,

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and then got burned out, and then at the moment...

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I will say that during the last year before I... That organization,

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while I did have the dream job, and I grew so much,

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so much as an individual for which I've learned so many lessons and

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taking them forward, I don't regret anything, but I distinctly remember

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coming home one night to my husband and saying, Something's gotta change,

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I'm tired, I'm burned out, and I will say... And let's just talk

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about adult beverages, you can occasionally have a glass of wine or something

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once a month, once a week, but I will say even such things

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like that no longer were able to alleviate the stress of work.

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Something wasn't right, and I couldn't put my finger on it,

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but I did remember saying, something has to change.

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Did you think it was something that was wrong with you?

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Or did you think it was the environment? Or what did you think?

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I know you said you didn't really know what it was,

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but what were you feeling in your gut that it was...

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In my gut at the time, the environment,

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I couldn't keep up with it, I was still utilizing my same skills

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and the people around me, but the environment was just, I think so

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overwhelming, I could not... I no longer had the capacity or the answers

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to manage it, so there was stress and extra hours,

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but later... Upon reflection? Yes, the environment was challenging. I believe

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at that time, I didn't necessarily have all the skills necessary to either

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deal with it or maybe I had changed and I no longer could

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be in that environment, and I think that was probably the reason why

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it was no longer a fit that is really good reflection and insight

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that you had changed and that's what had fit before didn't fit any

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longer. And that's okay, we change. We're allowed to change. And I even,

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they use the terminology and entrepreneur, somebody that's trying out new

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things while in a corporate environment and I was trying out new things,

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like how I was going to lead... We were gonna do some fun

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stuff, we were gonna do marketing in an organization of technical professionals,

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and I would bring up those and they would say, Well,

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that's nice, but are you gonna still get me the results that you're

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supposed to get, or it wasn't mentored or coached or nourish,

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or you know, well, maybe not that idea, but how could we leverage

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your thoughts in another place, there was no room for thought,

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leadership and innovation. Just get the results. Let us know what you need

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to get the results. Very short sighted and it wasn't serving me anymore,

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I got the results, but my heart wasn't in it anymore,

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and I was probably starting to slide miss deadlines and not meet expectations,

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and that's what happened to me as a child. In fifth grade,

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I no longer was getting above straight As I was slipping until they

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had to change the environment for me to excel again.

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That's interesting that you saw that. You see that parallel.

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Yeah, I was a very bright kid. Talk at it. Very smart,

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just like you. And I actually started getting bored and my parents had

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put me in gifted and talented and stuff like that, but then it

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just got to the point where I just wasn't thriving. My grades were

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sliding, and so they changed the environment, skipped me a grade,

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and then I was finally challenged in an environment where I had to

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find new skills in order to get my grades up.

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And that was a good change for me.

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Same thing in my corporate life, I was in a situation,

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I just was no longer thriving. And so when I left,

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I was lost, but now I'm thriving. And there's so much in there.

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How long did you stay there? Knowing that this isn't really working for

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me. I think my period of uneasiness was about six months...

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From about an April to November time frame, I mean, I'd always worked

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hard, I worked long hours. I worked to the detriment of the family

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sometimes, so my husband, God bless him, I was very supportive,

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but then reflecting that I was still putting in the same hours in

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more hours and didn't feel like I was getting ahead, so I think...

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To your point of six months, I was realizing things were not fine,

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however, they probably were not fine for a longer period of time,

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I just didn't realize it. Right, because as we were talking about before

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we started recording, you just knows to the grindstone,

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keep doing the things, checking the boxes, and

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not acknowledging or allowing yourself to recognize that things were not

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fine. Yeah, and the other thing is, I have to take accountability for

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that, so I didn't see it, I didn't realize that maybe I wasn't

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open to it, nor were there anybody in my path, advocates,

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bosses, mentors that would even say, Hey Dad, let's talk...

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Where do you wanna go? What do you need to do?

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Nobody that asked me those questions to try to open up my mind,

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and mind you, I don't rely on my boss from my personal development,

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but it would have been nice along the way to can ask those

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questions, and so knowing what was not there to open my mind to

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ask the questions where things... Fine or not. I coach mentor people now

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in that same vein and ask them, Well, what excites you,

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what are your strengths, what would you rather be doing, where do you

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see yourself just asking those questions to ask people to just stop and

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think, versus do... And that's what we do, is we just do.

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Do and do. Yeah, so two points here, one, you can't beat yourself

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up because you did the best you could with the knowledge and the

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experience you had at the time, and then two, you've now taken that

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and turned it into something bigger and beneficial for others, because now

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you're taking what you didn't have and implementing it, I don't know,

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implementing isn't the right word, but passing along

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that what you wish you would have had

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to help others in their career... And it's the same thing that you've

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done, you've had a great career as well, but

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we get to this place where I've been there, I know how you

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feel either stuck or overwhelmed, and when we

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face somebody, we just meet at a networking opportunity or somebody may

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be a client or somebody we're coaching, we see something in those people,

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great potential, great drive, and we just see the face, we see fatigue,

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we see anguish, we see uncertainty, we see lack of confidence,

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but we start asking these questions and poking around and we see these

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people that to your point. And for your show, and I love your

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show, they're fine, but they really are it, and we, from an outside

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perspective, start poking around asking questions, and we see what their

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true potential is, and then they have to be willing and open to

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say, You know, I would like to try to think about doing something

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different. But it's hard, it's hard to get over that precipice and just

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having time and space and opportunity to say,

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Okay, I do wanna change or I do wanna change the environment,

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or I need some help. Yeah. Yeah, and I've often said that it's...

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Sometimes we need somebody else to see that spark or to see that

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potential or to have the belief in us before we can have it

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in ourselves, but. There's a caveat to that one as well.

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My husband always said to me, even before I left Corp said,

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Oh, Deb, you can be a plant manager. You could be a CEO

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and I was like, No, no, no. No, no, I don't wanna do

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that. That's too much responsibility. I don't have the skills, I can't do

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that. Gosh, golly, I'm now the founder of my own company at the

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CEO, learning about sales, marketing, budgeting, finance, business development,

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product development, etcetera, and now I'm dropping into other people's

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organizations and partnering with the CEOS and senior business leaders and

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help guide them to get back on track hence the name of my

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book. So people can give you all the advice in the world,

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you may have a mentor advocate, a person has to be ready to

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hear and receive what they say, and again, no fault of your own,

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but that you've gotta be ready to hear it.

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Exactly. Again, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Exactly.

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So how many years? I'm 56. Now, I finally, at the age of

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52, started listening again and not being so stubborn, but then you get

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to a point in your life, and I don't know if it's a

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little spiritual or simply more self awareness, we slow down a little bit

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and you start looking around and people will say, Oh wow,

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that was a really great speech, or that good webinar you did,

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or, Wow. I really love your writing, and you say Who,

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me? Wow, I didn't realize you'd like that or I wrote that Well,

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you just have to take it, slow down a little bit and listen

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to what other people are saying to you where you see the green

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lights and not the red lights, start listening to those signs,

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'cause they actually may start pulling you to the work that you should

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be doing versus being fine. I love that. Again, it's to the point

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of sometimes other people see things in you that you're not able to

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see yourself, and once they start pointing them out, you start recognizing,

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Oh yeah, yeah. That is something I could do. And

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another thing you just said that is so important is

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recognizing the little things, because we often talk about

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what is my purpose or redefining my purpose of refining my purpose as

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it... It's gonna be a rainbow in front of your yard,

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saying, Here it is, at the end of this rainbow is your purpose,

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and sometimes finding what is important for you to do that may be

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defined as purpose is only found in taking those small steps,

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one at a time. Absolutely. Because if you think about like,

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Oh, I wanna be a professional speaker. Oh, I wanna be a professional

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coach... Oh, that's a lot of work. Oh, I don't know how to

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do it. I tell people, and I used to be a procrastinator when

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I didn't have a path forward, but I have learned to discipline the

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engineer and may set the expectation, set the road map. Where do you

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wanna get to? And then every day, what are you gonna do today?

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What are you gonna do tomorrow, next week, next month, and start moving

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forward, because then then when you look back a month, three months from

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now, you say, Oh wow, before I wasn't even writing my book...

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I'm half way done. You have to break it down to small pieces

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and just start moving forward, starting with, where do you wanna go to?

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What is fantastic look like? Exactly, and that's why so many people need

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a coach or someone who can help them, help them keep them accountable

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and help them set out those steps, so like we do in the

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find a fantastic program in the 12 weeks, we help define,

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Okay, what are you doing today, what are you doing next this week,

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and then what are you doing the week after that and

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leading along in little steps, and I'm pretty sure that's what you do

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with your clients as well, and I do. And just know it's an

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iterative process, because even though I have had some great mentors that

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have said, Dad, you're good at this, and I figured out who's my

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target client, but even now two and a half years into a new

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venture, I'm still not quite sure where I'm going, and so I'm actually

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gonna be pulling on two of my mentors and a new person that

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I just met that really wants to see me succeed, I'm going to

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be bringing them together and say, Okay guys, I can only see so

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much of the forest. What do you guys see? You're looking at Dev

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Covell here, you hear me speak, you see what I do?

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Why don't you say... Because I can only see so much even when

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you think you've arrived and things are doing well,

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be open to the fact of you may not still be there and

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get some external input, so I also, even if I coach others,

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I am leveraging the wisdom of others to see what I can't say.

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We have to, we have to... And growth is a constant,

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you never get there, wherever there is, there's always another there after

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that. It's growth. Or if you're not growing, you're dying. So

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growth is a constant. But I'll tell you one of the things...

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And just if I could just go back a little bit too,

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when I went from corporate to going into business for myself,

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I had doubts. Like, Oh, what do I know about business?

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So I know how to market myself, the first time I went out

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to network with somebody over lunch, I couldn't even spit out my 32nd

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elevator pitch, and I said, Wow, I'm never gonna let that happen again,

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but the guy was still very kind of just come on in and

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do a quote for me and we'll see what we can do.

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So I got my foot in the door for my first gig,

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but the thing that changed for me was, and I find with so

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many really awesome people is the belief in themselves.

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When I went to start my podcast, I met this person,

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Jennifer spar, who actually interviewed me on a podcast, and I was getting

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ready to record my first episode, and she says, What's holding you back

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from pushing the button and doing a solo? I said, it's just me.

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And I asked people that I mentor. Okay, so you don't think you're

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confident, you don't think you can talk to a senior executive,

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when did you own that narrative, when did you not believe in yourself,

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and if they can't even name the time place with a person that

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may have put the doubt in themselves, they actually have to say,

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You know what, it was me, I created the narrative. I owned that,

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do I own that perception that that person is so much higher than

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me, I can't have a conversation and make a proposal as soon as

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I got to that point of... When I left corporate and I said

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I'm going to go into business for myself. It was that belief,

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you know, I'm the only one holding myself back and it's only me

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that can succeed, so many people don't get that and don't trust themselves,

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but once you get over that... Oh wow.

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It becomes a roller coaster, but the possibilities become endless versus

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limitless. So I'm on a roller coaster right now.

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That's really what life is. That's been my experience and the experience

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of people I've talked to is... It's a roller coaster. Hang on,

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in fact, it's interesting that you just mentioned roller coaster because

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a few weeks ago, I happened to see on

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Facebook a video of my Uncle Murray's 90th birthday,

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and he was doing his speech on... 'cause it was a

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crowd. People, he was giving a speech because they wanted to hear from

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him. Of course, and looking back on his 90 years, he used that

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analogy of life has been a roller coaster, but

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what I don't really remember the lowers as much as I remember the

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highs, is like I just... He remembers the good parts, and I think

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that, yes, life is a roller coaster, but when you get to

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the end of it, now, I'm not saying he's at... But when you

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get to be in a, let's say, and you look back,

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the things you remember are the high points, the low points you might

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remember, but they're not what... Really stick in your mind. It's the higher

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points. Yeah, I mean, I've had low points. We all have,

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it's what life is. For me, they're still impactful, but I've

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not let them define me, it's taken a while.

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It's taken a while to not let them... To find me...

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To put him in a box and say, Okay, yes. That was an

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unfortunate event. But again, taking the high road, what did I learn from

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that? What can I control and move forward with? And what I do

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find is I get a little older and a little Grier,

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is valuing things like what brings you peace of mind, like just seeing...

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Again, if you happen to have a niece or nephew or a child,

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and when you see them step on a college campus and say,

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I got this... Okay, that's a peace of mind. You'll still worry about

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the people in your life, but when you see those highs,

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the top of the brother Coaster that, Okay, we're gonna go down the

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other side, but it's gonna be a little bit more fun and joyful

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versus scary. The first time you do go down on a roller coaster,

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so you get a little wiser and be more real, and I guess

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just take life a little bit less serious.

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Yeah, I like what you said about not letting the LOS define you.

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And it's hard. God again, God bless my husband, he's had to work

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with me a lot, he asked me a question the other day,

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'cause I was actually bothered by what somebody said or did to me,

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and he said, Why do you... Why do they matter?

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And when they asked me that question, Why do they matter?

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Then I have to ask myself, Well, no, they don't... They happen to

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be, I don't know this person in my life, but

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I'm not gonna let what they say take power from me,

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I own how I feel, as soon as he just kind of like

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Jolene with that statement. It was like, Okay, they are what they are,

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and I'm just not going to let them bother me, they don't matter

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so much. It's just, yeah, it takes that

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moment of clarity or that awareness or somebody asking you the question

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to make you aware, to make you evaluate is what I'm trying to

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say. Make you evaluate that situation. But I'll tell you right now,

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again, even today, I was having a little bit of a low only

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because there's so much going on in my life, but then when we

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pause and reflect like, okay, it's good. You've got a lot going on

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right now. If you didn't, something would be wrong, so then I say,

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Okay, things are fine, but I do have to say things are really,

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really, really fine right now, because now I've crossed over, I'm in my

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own business, I am doing what I want for me and for clients

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that I want to work with. Just today, I spoke to somebody who

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was referred to me and they want me to speak at one of

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their events, and so it's like, Okay, I have arrived, people are starting

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to see me, to know me and say, We want you to speak

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with our group. Because I have something that they might wanna hear.

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Okay, so I'm really in a great place. And

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to your point, in the work that you're doing, I do feel fantastic,

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may be a little bit less fantastic one day, a little more,

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another day, I'm kind of in between today, but you know what?

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I'm doing really well. Really fantastic. That's amazing. And that's life,

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that we can bend those highs and lows, but you're on this upward

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trend, as long as it's trending upward... Then you feel amazing.

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Yeah. Ups and downs going up. And you're seeing the pay off from

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the work that you've done to get to this point.

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True. And for people that haven't seen me in a couple of years,

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they look at me and they see me and they say,

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We can't believe how much you've changed, but I might

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challenge that. And again, I'm thrilled when people say, Oh my God,

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I see you, you look right, you sound great, all of that,

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but I'm saying to myself, maybe I didn't change, but I became the

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person that I was... Or meant to be,

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yes. I'm wondering if I was somebody, this person who was very talkative

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as a child, very creative, love to write, love to speak,

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led to share, and act and sing and all of that,

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and that it was not able to do that over the years,

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but now I'm becoming the person that I really love being,

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and I think people like me more for it 'cause I'm happier because

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of it. Right, because you're being your authentic self and that feels better,

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and people feel that energy and then want to be around that kind

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of energy. I love that. Before we close out, what song...

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So speaking of being in good energy, what song do you love to

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listen to that gets you hyped up when you need an extra boost

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or you're already feeling good and you want to

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revel in that? Well, I appreciate you asking that, and I had to

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write it down because I never remember the artist's last name,

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but there's an artist, vicar Marson, and he writes

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a song, Road to Victory, and it's epic music, so it just starts

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very low, very intentional, and then crescendo because you feel like you're

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walking up a hill about ready to go either into battle or to

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get out of stage, it is very, very uplifting, and every time I

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hear the song, I get a little sorrowful, a little sad,

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a little tearful. May be joyful, but it really, really propels me to

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say, Just keep going down, just keep going. Road to Victory by vigor

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Marson, an amazing song. Really motivates me. I love it. We're gonna put

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a link in the show notes to that.

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And before we go, how can people get in touch with you

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if they want to hear more about what you're doing?

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So. Just Lori, thank you so much for having a conversation with you

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and your audience, I'm grateful for it. In our friendship, there's a couple

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of places that you can find me. If you go to my website,

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drop in CEO dot com, that's D R O P I N C

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E O dot com, and on my cover page, we'll get an idea

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of what I'm about, I have a video, I'm also launching a book,

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The CEO's Compass, your guide to get back on track, there's a link

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there to get on the wait list for that. My playground is LinkedIn,

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so Deborah a Coviello, or look up the drop in CEO.

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I play a lot on LinkedIn, share videos, blog posts, and engaged with

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a lot of people, so those are the best places to find me,

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but drop in CEO, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube clubhouse, I'm all over the

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place. Yeah, okay, great. And we'll have links to that in the show

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notes as well. Thank you so much for joining me this week on.

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Fine is a 4 Letter Word. Thank you so much, Lori,

Links