Unlock Your Authentic Self with Annie LeibNov 30, 2022
Working for a major pharmaceutical company Annie discovered she was being treated as a statistic, not as a whole person.
After leaving a decade-long career she received her executive MBA and crafted a unique modality called the BREATH Framework which helps guide blocked professionals to find fulfillment and unlock their true authentic selves.
Annie has worked with Fortune 500 companies including a multi-billion dollar corporation to create better leaders who have a direct impact on staff loyalty, client retention, and an increased bottom line.
Her genuine, unconventional, and unorthodox style has created major transformational shifts in the companies and leaders within them.
Because when you take care of your people, your people will take care of your business.
If you haven't listened to the interview yet, please do!
My top take aways from the episode are:
- Leadership is influence and inspiration. Lead with love in every aspect of your life. You don't need to be fierce and strong. Rather lead with love and empathy first.
- If you go to work on a Monday feeling uninspired and down, you are not living your authentic life. Start doing the inner work to figure out what you really want and what really lights you up.
- When you are stuck, the best thing to do is to journal. Use prompts to help encourage yourself to write. You will learn so much about yourself! Make sure you use a pen and paper - not a device!
- Focus on what you can control, not on what you can't!
Annie Leib, James Laughlin
James Laughlin 00:00
Welcome to lead on purpose. I'm James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion musician, and now an executive coach to global leaders and high performers. In every episode, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you lead your life and business on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today and investing in yourself. Enjoy the show.
Would you like to connect personally with some of my podcast guests? They are arguably some of the most influential leaders and high performers on the planet. Each month, members of my HPC, the High Performers Club, get to connect with a leadership titan in an intimate Q&A. They also get access to powerful high-performance leadership coaching, and monthly masterminds. There are only 20 seats at the leadership table. You can apply today by going to www.jjlaughlin.com/HPC.
James Laughlin 01:06
How much time do you invest in your brain? Well, look, our brain dictates so many things. It's our largest asset. We've got to look after it, right? But often we're putting things in our skin and we're doing all these other things that care for our bodies, but our brain dictates so much. I came across a product a wee while ago called Flow State and it's made such a difference. And look, they offer functional mushrooms that sharpen cognition, they really boost energy and definitely strengthen immunity. And they actually use one of the key ingredients, it's lion's mane. Right? So, lion's mane is popular among really peak-performing athletes and those wanting an edge. It's known as the brain mushroom. And it's currently being studied extensively for its nerve growth factor potential as a means to ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's and for treating inflammation in the body. Look, the thing I love about these products, is they don't taste like mushrooms, you can mix them in with your tea. They're a great replacement for a coffee, but I actually love the P.M. Mushroom Blend, the evening one. It helps me sleep. And to know that my brain is getting extra nutrients is just the next level. The one thing that's really important for me is what's in there. So, they've tested heavily at Hill laboratories for heavy metals, pesticide residue, microbial, and also Massey University for active compounds. So, I urge you, if you love your brain, and want to go the extra mile to nurture it, head on over to flowstate.nz and you can use the coupon code lead on purpose to get 15% off.
I don't know about you, but sometimes I get home and I think, what am I eating tonight? It's the last thing I want to do. I don't know what to cook, I don't know what's in the cupboard or in the fridge. And it often leads to poor choices like ordering some takeaway. So recently, Caroline and I started eating green dinner table and it's absolutely amazing. After a long day, when I'm knackered, I know that when I get home, there's going to be a great recipe and all the ingredients I need right there in the fridge. And look, I absolutely love it. I've been doing it for several months. And it means I don't have to think at the end of the day, and I just know that I'm going to get good, nutritious, wholesome food. And look, it's plant-based, which has so many benefits. So, if you're a meat eater, perhaps you might want to start on maybe just three three-day plan. So, you've got three evening meals for you and your partner or you and your family depending on what option you want to go for. That the food is delicious. It's so nutritious and it means we don't need to think and as leaders of families, teams, and organizations, what we put in our bodies is just so crucially important. So, I urge you to go and check it out and I want to give you 20% off your first order. So, you can go to greendinnertable.co.nz and use the coupon code purpose.
James Laughlin 04:17
Working for a major pharmaceutical company, Annie discovered she was being treated as a statistic, not as a whole person. After leaving a decade-long career, she received her Executive MBA and crafted a unique modality called the BREATH framework, which helps guide blocked professionals to find fulfillment and unlock their true authentic selves. Annie Leib has worked with Fortune 500 companies, including a multibillion-dollar corporation to create better leaders who have a direct impact on staff loyalty, client retention, and an increased bottom line. I know you're going to love today's show, so sit back and enjoy
James Laughlin 05:13
Annie, a massive Welcome to The Lead on Purpose Podcast.
Annie Leib 05:18
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be with you today.
James Laughlin 05:21
It's a pleasure to connect. I know how busy you are, and I know how powerful your work is. So, I know that you're very in demand. So, I appreciate getting this time with you.
Annie Leib 05:30
I mean, you're the one that gets all the demand of wanting to be on your show. So, I am honored to have been chosen. Thank you very much.
James Laughlin 05:37
It's a win-win. I love it. So, I'd love to start by asking you what's your definition and what you believe about leadership.
Annie Leib 05:47
I think leadership is influenced by inspiration and helping others helping guide others to be the best version of themselves. That would be my off-the-cuff definition.
James Laughlin 05:58
I love it. And when you look around you, or you look back on your life, who have you known to be that person?
Annie Leib 06:08
You know, I have to say the best leader in my life, I think is my father. He is somebody from that I get all of my drive and passion from all of my ambition, all of my Philadelphia grit I get from my dad, he has a well-oiled machine. He's in wealth management, and he is a well-oiled machine. This is for him at his company, and they respect him. He just leads with his, you know, with his heart and he's very successful. So, to me, that was the guy that was my go-to.
James Laughlin 06:40
That's incredible. I love that it's amazing to have someone so close to home that you can actually model on and be like, that's my definition of leadership that's really special. What got you into the place you're at now with your career? Where did that actually start? Because at the minute, you are incredibly influential in helping leaders to really embrace the present to embrace gratitude and use your incredible framework, which we're going to go deep on in a moment. But where did that all start?
Annie Leib 07:06
Thank you. Okay, so there's a bit of a story. So, I was in pharmaceutical sales and business development for years, that was my career, I stopped for a while to have kids, and I then ended up getting divorced, which we can talk about later, also, but I decided to go back to school in 2018, to get my executive MBA at St. Joe's in Philadelphia. And I just sort of thought, I don't want to be doing this anymore. This isn't driving me, this isn't lighting me up and more power to you, if that lights you up, but it wasn't doing it for me. I knew there was more out there. And I knew I had this passion for this mission. I just wasn't sure what it was. So, when I went back to school, and I met the cohort that I stayed in school with for 20 months, they were like, how are you not coaching like this is your gift? So, it sorts of led me down the path of getting my coaching certificate and starting my own business. In the midst of that, I have a very important word to me. That's breath. Because I think, you know, in a very downtime in my life, I thought to myself, you can take everything from me, but you can't take my breath. That's mine. And I have a tattoo of breath written in my writing on my body. And so, it was very important to me. So fast forward to 2020, as I'm starting my new company, COVID has hit, and things are in disarray in the world. And I think I have so much to teach people my life's passion is to guide leaders, I want to help the same people that I was that person that needed guidance, and resilience, to make an impact. I didn't know how to do that. And now I can teach people how to do it. And I'm going to come up with a way to teach them. And that's when I went back to the breath. And I created the breath framework. And it's an acronym, and we can get into that later. But that's sort of the origin of how my company started and how I started in the executive coaching business.
James Laughlin 08:58
That's amazing. I love that. I'd like to like just to go back to the pharmaceuticals time when you were there. So, when you went in on a Monday, what was that feeling that year, a year or so into that industry, or a couple of years? And how did you feel on a Monday? What was that was a joy?
Annie Leib 09:14
No, I felt uninspired, and I felt mismanaged and misunderstood. I felt like I was just a number. You know, like I was just a number as an employee. I wasn't Annie, I wasn't able to bring my specialness in my uniqueness, and I didn't feel I could make the impact that I knew I could make. I didn't understand resilience and adaptability. All the things that I teach today were the ways that I wasn't feeling them. That's why I think I have such a strong feeling about who needs my help or guidance because I was that person.
James Laughlin 09:50
Yeah, I really think you are best served like that and are fitted to serve the people that you used to be. So, like the person you were five years 10 years 15 years ago. You are best fitted to serve that person, right?
Annie Leib 10:02
Absolutely. And you know what? James, you're also constantly learning like in this job as I'm helping to heal as I help heal people and guide them. They're healing and guiding me as well. It's an ever-evolving process. So, I see mirrors, as I see myself in them. And I try to hold up a mirror so they can see themselves sometimes because a lot of times you're not looking at yourself, you're looking outward for validation. So, I tried to do that. And I just think it's an ever-growing process. That's why in my breath framework, which I'll explain to you, the H stands for heal and healing. It's not healed, because it's, it's ever-present. It's not a past feeling. It's right now we are healing right now.
James Laughlin 10:41
Like, I can't wait to jump into it. For a second, though, I just want to chat still about that feeling of being uninspired being at the job, because there's somebody listening right now. And that person knows who they are. They're listening right now going, oh, yeah, I'm doing the thing and I'm showing up to the job, and I don't love it. A lot of people stay there, and they stay there and stay there and stay there until they're 65 or they're 55 and they don't know what to do next. So, what was different about you? What helped you make the leap to go? Not? This is not for me?
Annie Leib 11:15
It's a great question. I just knew that there was when I went back to school and started getting, I went back to school after 20 years of not being in school. I mean, I was like, how do I even add two plus two, let alone get my MBA, you know, I needed a calculator just to do addition. So, it was really was real, a new beginning and a fresh start for me. And I just knew, I don't want to be, truthfully, I don't want to be bossed around by anybody else anymore. I want to be my own boss, I want to inspire myself, I want to be self-inspired. I want to be self-reliant, and stop with the outside validation that was always in my life, I don't need to get these accolades from outside people, I can make something special on my own. And that's when it all started for me. So, what I call, the person that you're describing is just somebody that's on the treadmill, they're just on a treadmill running in place. And come I come in contact with so many people that become my clients that are like that. They're just running the treadmill of life, the monotony of life, the uninstall, the lack of inspiration, the lack of understanding their core values, understanding who they are, their purpose, their mission, these are all the things that I tried to help them discover, and that we are successful in discovering with most of my clients.
James Laughlin 12:29
It's interesting as we pick up these things through life like a house is important. And then an investment property is really more important than a beach house. I know. Yeah, the car, like we got to keep upgrading the car. Well, yeah, we've got to have, you know, five degrees and a master's. And we've got to, you know, keep up with the Joneses and have all the new things. So how do we that's a treadmill, I see that as a treadmill. And climbing the corporate ladder can be a treadmill, depending on how we perceive it. So how do we build all that baggage? What is it about the way we operate as humans that we get to the point where, wow, I didn't even realize I'm here, but I'm here, I'm collecting all this baggage, that doesn't really mean much to me, but I'm doing it?
Annie Leib 13:07
It's fine. I believe James, it's by not doing the work sooner. So, the sooner that you're listening, and you are even thinking this is remotely you even 5%. think about starting to do this work. With me or whomever, you choose to be an executive coach for you and guide you toward being a better leader and a better version of you a more authentic version of you. And we can talk about the word authenticity, too, because I think it's really overused. But I want to say that I have a specific definition, of authenticity that I try to use with my clients. And what I'll say is that we just keep going through life through these steps and these this monotony and this, and we think we have to do this, as you said, and get that and get this degree and marry this person. I was very humbled when I split with my husband. And I sort it was at the lowest point in my life in 2014, and 15. And I've clawed my way back since then, now it's 2022, almost 2023. And it has been eight and a half years of brick by brick building myself back up. And what I did was I started to do the work. I just saw, you know, there's more to life than what I thought everything was, what are my priorities, what are like I said, my values. And that's what not enough people are thinking about because they don't know their purpose. They don't know who they are. I talked to so many people, James that just don't know who they are. I asked them about core values, and they have no idea. And I understand I relate to that because I didn't know either. And now I'm so invested in them, and they're so ingrained in me every day in everything I do to bring my core values with me so that I can instill my mission and purpose in life. And it's just an amazing thing once you start to do this work.
James Laughlin 14:53
I 100% relate, I guess that's something that you and I do have in common, and we share that we both separate it out from our marital partners, and by the signs that we chatted with before we hit record, but we both got great positive co-parenting relationships and friendships with those people, which is awesome.
Annie Leib 15:10
Super, super important to anyone out there who has, and you use the words consciously uncoupled, which I would say, is basically what we ended up doing. I married a great guy; we were just better as friends. And we always put the kids first. That's one of the priorities that when I was clawing my way back and sort of building my life back, I think was the most important to always put the kids first as a kid of divorce. I wasn't always put first and they did their best, but they didn't know what we know. Now, my parents didn't understand. So, nothing, I'm not pointing fingers. But what I will say is like, if you are getting divorced or split, just don't make it about you. Because I will tell you that one of the best relationship strongest, and most resilient relationships I have is with my ex-husband, my kids, dad. It's rare. It is and it takes work. It takes work on yourself. And it takes work on the way that you affect people and your effect. It's an important piece.
James Laughlin 16:06
So important. And it's funny, you know, if I think of it, I'd love you to share yours as well. But so, Lisa is my former wife, and she's done a lot of work since then on herself and internally and spiritually. I've done a lot of work and seen therapists and work through it and got coaches, and that's been really valuable in helping us have a strong friendship, and that friendship is just, it's unbreakable. And Finn comes first, right? For both you and your former partner. Did you both do the work in different ways? But did you both participate in some form of self-growth?
Annie Leib 16:39
I think that we definitely both did the work. I am a little bit more spiritual. And I've, you know, gone into executive coaching, like, this is my world. That's not really his world. But we've definitely matured. And we always again, I can't instill this enough in people like we just made sure to put Sammy and Evie first over our needs and desires and once and jealousies, whatever it was that we were feeling those kids come first and it shows because your relationship goes and like you said, your either way, whether you like it or not, you have a bond with this person. So, you might as well make it good. You have a kid with this person. So, you're either going to go through life miserable, because you're going to be talking to them. I mean, I talked to him multiple times a day, every day over text, I often think to myself, what if we hated each other? Like, how awful would that be? And so that we have this good relationship, and we are really strong. Here's another thing, James, we have, really, and you'll probably relate to this, we have very strong boundaries. So, his time with the kids is his time with the kids, my time is my time. And we're very respectful of that time. It doesn't mean we don't talk to them during it. But he makes his choices and does the things that he does. And I don't get involved with that. And I do the same thing. We're very, we have very strong boundaries between us, and we understand how to respect one another's parenting because it's not exactly the same as I'm sure you can relate. So, we're not the same person. We're two different people, we have two different houses. You know, he's got stepkids now he just got married. So, he's got a house full of kids, here's just me and the dog and his sister. So not his sister, my two kids. So, you know, it's a trial and error. But it's also like being really sure of yourself learning, like you said, growth and evolving and learning about who you are, and just going on this journey together because you're stuck together. You're not stuck married, obviously, but you got Kids.
James Laughlin 18:31
You're always a family like you're making decisions as a family. Yeah, yeah, I think the term that comes to mind when you share your story is we're told this knee thing that's like, we live happily ever after. But the way I think of it, we live happily, even after, you know, so even after we split, like, let's we still live happily.
Annie Leib 18:51
I like that, you know, it's funny that you bring that up, I have this theory about happiness. And I'm kind of changing switching gears, but I want to tell you because it just came to me. I don't believe that happiness is a state of mind. So, through your points happy even after this, it makes sense what I'm going to explain. So, I believe that happiness comes in moments, just a moment here a moment there that you can grab and put in your pocket for later and savor that moment, right? But when you are chasing this happy state of mind, you're going to be constantly disappointed because it's not. It's not a real thing to be happy all the time. That's not how we work as humans. So yeah, I'm not always going to be happy with his decisions or my children's decisions. But there's a place in time where I have to go okay, this is a happy moment. This is a happy moment, and the rest will follow.
James Laughlin 19:42
I love it. I really do. And for the listener that's listening right now, before we get into the breath framework. I just feel like hearing your journey and hearing your realness, your rawness, that genuine, you know, human approach to life just really draws me in. So, I'm sure the listeners are being really drawn in right now as well.
Annie Leib 20:03
Oh, thank you so much for saying that.
James Laughlin 20:05
Yeah, no, really, truly. And I guess, when we talk about separation because let's face it, 50 to 60% of us are going to go through a major separation with our intimate partner. So, in the moment of separating, and the year or so that follows that we can choose to blame and not grow. Or we can choose to let go within learn, heal and take the lessons. So, if you look back on that, what was one of those lessons you learned about yourself? In terms of when you guys parted. What was one of the greatest takeaways you learned about who you are? How do you show up?
Annie Leib 20:43
That's a great question. You ask amazing questions. The first thing I thought of when you said that was like, isn't that part of every relationship like conflict comes in, you either have you get to blame, or you get the gift of choosing to evolve and learn from it, right? But I learned this is the sad part. And I'm not going to cry, but I could. The sad part about the split was I really learned what partnership was when we split. I didn't, I was immature; I didn't understand what a partnership really was when I was married. So that the split, and the following evolving of myself and learning and growth of me, and finding of me, was me learning how to be a real partner. And today I can be an evolved healthy boundary type of person that understands because, again, I did the work, but I didn't do the work before. And that's where it landed me in a place where I didn't understand what real true partnership was, you know, there's there isn't us against the world mentality when you're married, I think you should have that is, you know, something that really helps people to grow together, instead of growing apart. So that's my lesson, I learned partnership. So sadly, it didn't work with him. But I learned how to have a future partnership with him.
James Laughlin 22:05
That's so gold. I love that. And, you know, because you're in the industry of coaching, I see that as one of the ultimate partnerships. When you get to coach someone, it's not, you're not teaching them, you're not training them. You're in a partnership. It's like hand in hand, let's do this. So, it's really cool that you've taken that lesson. And now you apply it every single day, to the people that you work with.
Annie Leib 22:26
And you make a great point about like, my core values, which are also my company's core values, but I ingrain them in every part of my life every day. As I said, they're woven in. So, their love, freedom, perseverance, trust, and truth. And what you just made me think of was, isn't that really like aren't my core values, sort of my definition of what a partnership really is? I mean, in coaching, partnership, love, freedom, perseverance, trust, and truth are probably the most important values that I can instill and be involved with. So that for me is a true relationship and a true partnership when you can instill your core values there like I do.
James Laughlin 23:06
So good. So so good. Well, let's take a look at the framework. Let's chat about the breath framework. And when you think about that person that might really benefit there's probably multiple people, what would those types of people look like? Or how would they be feeling right now? You know, who are they?
Annie Leib 23:24
So, I focus a lot on executives and executive leaders that are feeling stuck. They're feeling like they're not communicating clearly. Their teams aren't respecting them. They're not leading the way they want to lead. And they don't understand why oh, I've worked this hard for so long. Why am I on this treadmill? Why am I a hamster on a wheel? Why am I not making the impact I want to make? Why am I not more resilient? Why am I getting affected by this? Or that? Or the other? Why is my communication so unclear? Why aren't people doing what I'm asking them to do? You know, why aren't I more adaptable? All of these questions that you're asking yourself, why do you just feel like in your job, you know, and you've worked really hard to get, walk the company ladder and get high up at this in this position, and you're like, so unsatisfied. If that unsatisfied sort of lost, stuck feeling that I tried to go for that I find a lot of an end and, like lack of mission and purpose. So not really knowing after this many years in business or this many years in your life, who you are, I find that helping people and guiding them toward understanding who they are, helps them to be better leaders and make more impact.
James Laughlin 24:43
That's amazing. So amazing. I can feel myself I probably rewind 5, 6, 7 years I was probably that exact person fitting-
Annie Leib 24:51
Aren't we all? I mean, there's, it's so common. I mean, that's, you know why you and I do what we do. Part of what we do is we help the people that live If you said earlier, I don't know if it was on camera or not. But you said, you know, we help the people that we were, I mean, isn't that the best way to guide people and say, like, I felt this, I went through this, I get you. And people in these roles, these executives that I coach, just want to be seen and heard. And they're not being seen or heard. And I see and hear them. And that is like, a new sunrise to them. It's a new light shed on life. That's how I feel like I sort of open up for them.
James Laughlin 25:32
So good. And before we look at the breath frame, I keep you keep telling me these things. I'm I want to know more. So, when you talk about values, so for the person that's listening right now, and they're going, oh, my gosh, how does she know her values? Like I don't know, like, I know what's good and what's not good and what's right and wrong. But how would you say someone should go about uncovering the values that are actually already there? It's not something that we just decide cuz they're like, in there? How does someone uncover them? How do you uncover yours?
Annie Leib 25:59
Well, I can't give away all my tricks. But I will tell you that I'm going to tell you a quick story to help you understand how I uncovered mine. So, I understood that there were these values, but I didn't know what they were. I'm like, what does that even mean? What's a core value? And I started by looking at my strengths because that's really what I think one should lean into their strengths. But I remember looking at this list online, this was years ago. And it was core values, like a list of 150 of them. And I saw the word freedom. And James, I laughed, I said, who would ever choose that as a core value? Why would you what do you need not in jail, like what's freedom, right? And the more I dug into it, what I call excavating your core values. So, it's really like a deep dig and a deep dive into who you are, I realized that not only is freedom a core value of mine, but it's my overarching core value that's woven into all of the other values that I live for. And then I am, so not only did I laugh at it and not understand it, but I had to do the work to try to uncover to figure out that freedom to be me to be authentically me and show up as Annie and be me truly me is the most important thing to me. Without that I am jailed, like I laughed about I am ball and chain on my leg, I am weighed down by the weights of life. And once I discovered that through my work that I do, and then I did, you know, I sort of just base my life on that, like, I understand what freedom means. So that's one of the ways that I figured it out is I just went through the words, and I dug deep into like, what is that I'm really looking for? It's the people who put me in a box my whole life, it's the people who said, this is how you have to be. And that's what I did. I was very accommodating. Now I'm free to be me. And I can show up as me. And if some people don't like it, that's okay. Everybody doesn't have to like me. But I didn't understand that before.
James Laughlin 27:58
What I love, I really love what you're sharing, there's the look at the APA studies or the psychological studies around human needs and drivers and what our biggest desires are, you have done something that most humans don't do. And that is to spend time on your values and uncover freedom as one core value. And the reason that to me is so important. And why I wanted to bring it up when the APA did a study on what is the biggest desire for a human-like the number one desire. The one thing that every human is subconsciously seeking is personal freedom. That's it like we all want that we don't want to be told what to do held back suppressed judged, we want to be free.
Annie Leib 28:44
To your point, people don't know that the same as when I looked at the list and I saw freedom I laughed. It didn't make sense to me. But yet everybody, as you said in the studies when it comes down to it is searching for that, looking for that wanting that needing that craving that to live their life as their best selves. And so, few of us have it. So that's kind of what I try to help people to find.
James Laughlin 29:11
What I love about the work that you're doing as well is that within a team, whether it's you know, a sports team, or it's a business organization, we all want to feel free, but still operate within a team setting. And that is so challenging. And so, I feel like when we jump into the breadth framework, I think it'll be things in there that help people actually be individuals and have freedom, but still work really well within an organization.
Annie Leib 29:36
Well, you bring up that you're like plugging this for me like what I do best is I work with executive leaders that are on the same team. And I work with them one to one, but when I'm coaching them one to one, they can sort of mimic each other and start to coach each other using my framework and the things that they're learning and the tools and they can apply them by us all working together, so it's very beneficial for a company to come to me and say, Look, I have 5, I have 10 people that I need you to coach. And I can do one-to-one coaching with them. But I'm working with the whole team. So, I understand the inner dynamics of everything, and how they're interpersonal and all related. And it just makes everything at work for them more cohesive. And more, they become more resilient, and adaptable, and all those things that they weren't before. So, your kind of, you know, dropped me right into where I would say, like, this is what I do. But you're you said it like that, that is the best group for me, that's the best. Like, if you could give me a gift, you'd say, this company really needs you, Annie. Go here and coach their team.
James Laughlin 30:42
I want the listener right now, to take a long, deep breath in and get ready because now we're gonna jump into with Annie and learn about the breath framework. So please go ahead in your own time, I'd love to learn about it.
Annie Leib 30:57
So, as I told you, in 2014, I was signing my until this point, but I was signing my divorce papers at the end of 2015. And I looked over at the wall, and I saw Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem that said something about breath. And I thought to myself, which I told you already, you can take everything for me, you can strip me of everything, but you can't take my breath. And with that, I turned on my heel and went to a tattoo shop in Philadelphia and got the word tattooed on my body. Fast forward five years, and COVID hits. And I'm like, how can I teach people? The ways that I've learned in the past several years of being stuck, and hamster on a wheel. And unfulfilled and closed-minded? How do I how do I do? How do I show people what I've done? And that's when breath popped into my head, the word and I decided to make the breath framework, and it's an acronym. So, B is for beginning where you are, and R is for reclaiming your power. E is excavating your core values. A is allow not control. T is through not around, and H is heal or healing. So, I actually take people on a curriculum and a program with me from their beginning all the way to their heal. And it gets them to find their most authentic, truest, best version self of themselves. So, they can say, look, I am fulfilled, I am whole. I understand what was missing. Before I know who I am. I know my purpose. And that's what the breath framework is.
James Laughlin 32:34
Incredible. So, in terms of step number one, because I think step number one is the hardest to take the first step and because you're always thinking about the fifth or sixth or seventh, how do we take that first step on, start the journey with a breath framework how to be.
Annie Leib 32:51
So, what I will tell you is that people doing this on their own, often come to me, and it's not like this, James, it's not like today, we're going to work on B. Today, we're going to work on R. It's very conversational, and all integrated and woven into each other. So, I'll just explain that. But what I'll tell you is a lot of people think they're beginning in a different place than they're really beginning. And that's what I'm for. That's what I can point out and uncover to them. Like I'll say, after three sessions. Now I know where you beginners do you see how this is your beginning, but you thought you were here? Or they think their self-awareness is much higher than they originally thought it actually is. Or they just aren't sure really where they are. So, they come to me, and we do some initial sort of assessments and talking and just all I need is one or two stories in their life, and I can sort of intuitively guide them. All right, this is where we're really beginning for you. But yes, the beginning is very hard, how do they what should they actually do to begin, if you're not going to reach out to me or a really good executive coach, start journaling, and just free write, and this is what I say, James to people, I don't care if you write about your dinner, or if you write about your trauma when you were five, it doesn't matter to me, just write, just grab the pen, don't type it. Grab the pen and paper and just start writing, you will be amazed at what comes out. It's true even if you're not a writer, even if you're that. I don't want to say man, but it's mostly men that do this, but man or woman that's like I don't write, I'm not doing that. That's a waste of time. I am here to tell you to come back to me and tell me it did nothing for you. I would love to have that discussion.
James Laughlin 34:32
I will back you up 100% on that. And say that 95% of the male executives that I work with when I talk about, hey, let's talk about your journaling program. And they're like, no, no, no, no, I don't journal. I'm not doing that. It's amazing. For me personally, my biggest challenge is internal challenges and that feeling of being stuck. Journaling has helped me out with so many things.
Annie Leib 35:00
I have Yeah, it's so helpful. And it's not like some Shakespearean, you know, you have to be this like floaty. It's not like that. And I even prompt sometimes just to sort of get them started. And it's amazing what comes out of it. Truly with like, I would have to say, 99% of my clients, like maybe there's one out of 100. That's like, I'm absolutely not doing this. And we have to take another route. But anyway, point is, that's a great place to start.
James Laughlin 35:25
I'm talking about prompts, is there one power prompt that you would like to share right now for the listener to go? You know, what, if you want to just go within and be more aware? Here's one question or one prompt that can help you.
Annie Leib 35:36
I just give a word. So, I'm going to give the word purpose and see what comes out of that. Now, there are a million avenues that we can go, but the word purpose is going to get your gears what does that mean? What is my purpose? Who am I? Hmm, let me think about this, this was my purpose, but it's not fulfilling me, these are the things that go on in your head and just start to write, and then you want somebody to discuss it with and I'm here to discuss it with. And that's really how coaching begins with me.
James Laughlin 36:04
So cool. And essentially, you bring the purpose up, obviously, the lead-on-purpose podcast, and I think a lot about purpose.
Annie Leib 36:11
I didn't even put that together. I swear!
James Laughlin 36:14
So good, well, high five, we're in flow, it's so good. So, I think about it a lot. And I feel that there's passion and purpose. And so, passion, for me are the things that I do for myself and light me up. And you know, that's from my life. And then I feel like purpose is well, that's what I do for others. And so, passion is for me purposes for others. And so, I think it's easy to get caught up trying to find a purpose. And we often look for these 50, 60, 70 yearlong purposes. I think it can come in like six-month waves, it could be like for the next six months, I'm just going all in here for the next three years, or hey, just this week, this is my purpose. So how do you go about connecting with your purpose?
Annie Leib 36:58
You know, you're so right. When you say passion, for me purpose for others, my purpose is service to others, my overarching overall purpose, it's service. So, once I found that broad purpose, then there are branches of that purpose, right? So, what I do every day, is part of my purpose and mission in life to be in service of others, and to guide them and help them from places that I already was to share my life experience and my vulnerability so that they can see they're not alone, to show them that I too, was not the best version of me. And I know what that feels like. And I know how downtrodden, you can be when you're just not the best you and you really want to be because you're a good person. So, there are different ways that I do this. I mean, my purpose is also very much my children and being in service to them and loving them. I don't have to tell you, I'm sure you feel the same way about Finn, but it's just, you know, being in service to them. When I say that, I don't mean doing things for them. I mean, being there for them. So, consistency, and unconditional love are the two things that I think are my purpose when it comes to my children. That's what I'm here to provide for them, obviously, shelter and food. But you know, really, when it comes down to emotions, consistency is so super important. That's why they need unconditional love no matter what they know, I love them. And so that's part of my purpose. But again, that's in service to others. So, if you can see how that sort of woven throughout my life. That's how I sort of put purpose to my life every day. It's
James Laughlin 38:34
It's incredible. Yeah, the purpose is just a massive core value. You can here's like, it literally is part of your DNA.
Annie Leib 38:41
Yes, it is. It is definitely. People the other day, I was doing a podcast interview and I said, you know, I'm very passionate. And she goes, I couldn't tell. I really have. But yeah, I mean, I'm just a very, I'm from Philadelphia, I talk with my hands. I'm not Italian, but I talk with my hands. And I'm very passionate. I have a lot of grit. And I know I'm telling you James as I did so much searching so much soul searching to find who I really am. That yeah, I sharpened and honed in on what my purpose is. And it's absolutely my mission and purpose to serve others. So that's, you know, sort of how I came to be and how I made the breath framework and how I, you know, instill it in people's lives every day.
James Laughlin 39:26
And you talk about reclaiming your power when I heard that I was like, oh, I want a piece of that. That's like how we reclaim our power. So, how did you reclaim yours?
Annie Leib 39:40
Well, I told you about the downtime in my life. And that was the only downtime in my life but that was the worst that 2014 - 2015 time in my life and reclaiming my power meant being stripped of everything but my breath to go back to my story about breathing right like being really stripped of everything. And a lot of it I did to myself, a lot of it, you know, was self-sabotage and just not feeling good enough or knowing my worth. So, starting with the work Brené Brown, doing the reading, doing the journaling, doing, reading the blogs, being well versed in every part of self-care and self-love and self-worth. And everything that I learned, I just became a sponge. I'm like, this is no way to live life. I am now here bear alone, I don't have a husband, my kids are with him, like, what do I do? Like, what do I have? And that's when I started to reclaim like I was a sponge, I picked up everything I could from everybody around me that was teaching me those good ways to be better, to be a better leader, to be a better friend, to be a better daughter to be a better partner. That's what I was learning every single day. And as I built myself back brick by brick, that was Reclaiming my power. And I also stopped trying to control everything that was a big part of reclaiming my power. So, when I stopped holding everything so tightly, this has to be this way, this has to be this way and sort of relinquished control a little bit, which is very hard, especially for executives, but I sort of just said, life is going to be what it's going to be I have these strengths, I have these weaknesses. And I'm going to start to accept myself for who I am. The ended I started that excavation process of core values and figuring out who I was, that's what got my power back.
James Laughlin 41:31
To me, that's so tangible, the way you share that it's not this like otherworldly thing that people can do. It's like, actually, there's a process and the power is in the process, like follow the process, and you will also be able to fully step in and reclaim your power.
Annie Leib 41:48
Yes. And it's also, to your point, yes, there's a process that didn't have a program, and it's doable for anybody. But it's customized, you know, like, it's not going to be the same for James as it is for Eddie, and Susan and Joy, I need to have that intuition that I have to get in there and really understand their personal life and their professional life and their obstacles and the things that they're trying to overcome and some of their trauma. And these are things and I know that word is scary for some, especially executives that are like what do you talk about my trauma? But trauma doesn't have to be some horrific thing. trauma can be something that somebody said one day that stuck in your mind and sort of affected, your development through your life, and when trauma can be so much. So don't be scared of that word, be open to it. And what I'll what I ask is that these people that I coach, or anyone listening, what I'll ask of you is just to have an open mind. Now, if you're listening to this podcast, I bet because of all the interviews that James has done on these, it's such a highly rated podcast and such an important mission, that you are obviously a little bit open-minded at least because you're not going to be listening to this if you're not. But if you can bring open-mindedness and willingness to look at yourself and look in the mirror when I hold it up. That's going to bring you fulfillment, happiness, wholeness, freedom, and the ability to see your authentic self.
James Laughlin 43:18
And traumas and interesting one you bring up like, that just sat with me for a second, I think of the big T and the small t. And the big trauma could be the abuse. The big T could be marital separation could be the loss of a loved one in a major accident or a financial crisis, but then you've got the small T's. And I guess that's what you're saying. Like for some executives that are gonna be quiet, like I'm not here to talk about trauma.
Annie Leib 43:42
I just want to get Yeah, I just want to lead, I want to lead better. What does that have to do with my trauma?
James Laughlin 43:47
Yeah, totally. So, they might have not many or any of the big Ts yet. But they may have hundreds if not 1000s of the tiny T's there, you know, the little micro argument they've had with their partner, they're feeling like, hey, show up for my kids, because I'm so busy at work. That's a tiny trauma. You know, how do we, how do we work through the tiny traumas? How do we actually first of all address hey, we've got them, like, hey, I've actually got all these tiny micro traumas and they are chipping away at my psyche and spirit?
Annie Leib 44:20
How do you start that? Well, first of all, I hate to tell you this, but everybody has them. So, there's no like, you're special and you don't have it as everybody has them. This is part of life. Here's what you have to recognize about trauma. It makes you, you. It makes you unique, it makes you special. It makes you the very incredible person that you are. So, this isn't always a bad thing. There are a lot of traumas in my life and my clients' lives that have formed who they are and motivated them to be the best version of themselves. So, this is not necessarily you know, some like I said some big horrific things small teaser every De, there's something that your mother said to you one day when you were getting dressed, and it never left your mind. And it's been bothering you ever since you get in a fight with your spouse, and they call you a narcissist, you really start to think to yourself, Am I a narcissist? And you can't get it out of your mind. These are the little things that like you said, perfectly chip away at your soul and your spirit. And these are the things we can discuss so that we can really take a look at them, dig deeper and get over them.
James Laughlin 45:27
Yeah, I think that the ability to recognize that we do have these tiny traumas everywhere in our life, and they do compound there, you know, it's not a linear thing, like these things are compounding and getting bigger. And that's where we have a breaking point where we scream at someone or we yell or we are short-tempered, or we drink too much or we smoke or there's promiscuity, like all these things, how we express the tiny built-up T's.
Annie Leib 45:51
The Escapisms is another thing I talk about in my program what we all do all of us, unless you're Buddha, okay? All of us use escapisms, it can be drugs, drinking, sex, or porn, it doesn't matter. I mean, we all have escapism, or we workaholics, you know, are we throwing ourselves so much into something because we're ignoring everything else in our lives? Those are escapism. We all use them. It's just a matter of, can we hone in and say, that's what I'm doing? Okay, I see how I'm putting all my time and energy into this. And this is really missing out. This is really lacking. No wonder my spouse thinks that I'm never around. No wonder she thinks I'm a narcissist. And we start to put the pieces together. It's like a puzzle. So, my job is to put the pieces together with you and guide you to be your whole puzzle, which is your authentic self.
James Laughlin 46:43
Stunning. And the healing part, I think that we all have this desire to heal, right? And if we could fast track to that, that's great. Everyone wants to fast-track the healing, but it's not possible. The work's got to get done to get to the healing point. So how do we start the healing journey? How, in fact, how did you start your healing journey?
Annie Leib 47:05
I was at my lowest, I was at my lowest. And I just said, this is rock bottom. And I can't feel worse or be doing any work. My life is I'm a mess, I'm stuck. I am making an impact at work. Forget it. You know, being unique and special, forget it. Being able to lead people and be responsible and reliable and adaptable and resilient. All those things, forget them. You know, my determination and my diligence were down. It just wasn't me. It wasn't me. So that's when it began when I started to become that sponge and just pick up on everything around me of these leaders around me and I just made a decision, James. This is a choice. You want to go on a healing journey with me or whomever you choose to. That is a choice when you decided we will do it together. But you have to decide it. If you're one toe in one foot, and I've said to clients before you're not ready. You're not ready yet. Let's do this and then come back to me in six months, and we'll see if you're there. But I can tell you some people are just not ready. They're not open, they're not willing, they're not ready to jump in with two feet. And that's okay. Might not be ready. But when you are I'm here.
James Laughlin 48:17
What's the cost of people jumping into early when somebody goes, No I'm ready and you just know they're not? And they go anyway, what's the potential outcome?
Annie Leib 48:24
It's just not seeing the progress probably that they want to see as quickly as they want to, and it not making as much of an impact because they're not their mind is not in the right place. They're not open, they're not willing. They are closed minded they're still closed I think of people as like they have a zipper shirt on and I like to go like this with their sweatshirt, you know and it just to expose them and that's what I do is I expose you know, who I am and my vulnerabilities but because I'm ready and willing and able I couldn't have done this in 2012 I wasn't there I wasn't ready. That's why I got to rock bottom because I wasn't ready to do the work and get help. So, I too have been there, and I have compassion for you and empathy if you don't, you're not ready but I will be honest and open until you are from Jump Street you're awesome I really like your great conversation but you're not ready. And then the people that come to me that is like I'm this, I'm that, I'm and you know, I don't know what to do. Okay, you're ready to jump in. You're at your bottom where you've had it, you're at your burnout place, your empty place. Let's try to fill up your cup.
James Laughlin 49:34
That's so great for the client, but it's also so great for the industry. And like let's go to therapists and we'll talk about therapists So, I have had so many people I've met in life who went yeah, went for therapy, but they were crap like that therapist was crap but not going back to therapy. Therapy sucks. I was like, Well hold on a second. You went to one therapist for one session you didn't enjoy it. Sucks. Yes. exact. So, I was like, okay, was that therapist crap, or were you not ready? Right? You know, could you go back next year and the year after maybe you'll find that that therapist is great because now you're ready. And I see, you're bringing that to the table in the coaching industry as well going, if you're not ready to be coached through a powerful transformation using breath framework, then you're just not ready yet.
Annie Leib 50:24
Well, it's like, if you're selling a product to a business, right, and you, you want to launch this product for them, but you look at their business, you look at their numbers, you look where they are, and they're just not ready, I'm not going to take their money. If I don't want to do that, it's not going to be as successful as if when you come to me when you say I am already, it's time, it's the same thing. My product is me and my service, right? And I can clearly see, I'm not going to just, that's not who I am, I told you my core values, right? So, I'm not going to sit here and say, I'm going to collect their money because I need it. And they're not ready. But that's okay. It'll just take longer. I'm not in the business to coach people forever. I want to coach them, give them the tools and let them fly. So that's my sort of mantra or my motto.
James Laughlin 51:09
One thing that keeps coming up in my mind when we're chatting is you embraced change like there's been a lot of change in your life in the last 10 years. It's like, whoa, that's like extreme amounts of change, right? It's, it's incredible. Now, some people will really step into that and thrive, and others will just crumble. How do you embrace it? And how do you continue to embrace change in your life, personally, and professionally?
Annie Leib 51:37
Number one, it's still the letting go of the control. So, you have to understand that change is coming. Whether you like it or not, this is life, right? Unless you're going to lay in your bed, and not do anything ever. I mean, there's always going to change, you're out and about you're working, you're in relationships in every aspect of your life, there's going to change. You can like I said earlier, either choose to battle against it, where you're going to crumble, or you can accept it and say this is what life is life is going to bring me to change, I have to learn adaptability, I have to learn resilience. Those are two huge parts of my program with executive leaders, adaptability and resilience are huge. And those are the two things that I used and use every day, to make sure that I'm the best version of myself and to make sure I'm making an impact in everything I do.
James Laughlin 52:27
What do you believe about resilience? When you think of resilience, what does it mean?
Annie Leib 52:32
Resilience is an ability to come back from an obstacle, or to understand how to deal with conflict, understand how to deal with something in your way, or someone in your way, in a professional, vulnerable, compassionate, empathic way, when you can combine all of those you really understand resilience.
James Laughlin 52:59
And see when I think of that, I just love what you said. And you've got this horizontal flatline. And let's say a major life ambush comes up in the form of whatever finance, a pandemic, divorce, and you drop, you fall, the rock bottoms, you're falling right below that midline point. And the idea of resilience is okay, I'm here I'm at rock bottom. Okay, let's get back. Let's use the tools, the people, let's get back to here. Now, I always think if we can get back to here, that's a win. But if we can get to just slightly above by going, oh, all this stuff at rock bottom and the gap there that I can back up through I learned so much on that journey that actually, I've got a new midway point my like, my new flat line is now step up. So, what do you approach in terms of building resilience and developing that grit and that strength on the journey back up to the midway?
Annie Leib 53:50
So, that's what I call getting ahead of it. When you can get above that line, you can get ahead of things you can understand self-awareness is so big James, and I have to tell you, everyone thinks they have it and rarely do people really well, that's part of what I teach, and show I didn't have it before. So, I give them examples I show them I give them examples of my own life, my vulnerabilities. And I show them what self-awareness really means. And I point out things to them that they're not seeing, because oftentimes your lens is like this, right? But you need to open it up and be able to see through your blind spots. So, what I'll tell you is I try to get them to understand the tools that I give them, but then to apply them, when you can apply the tools to your everyday life, you can get ahead of it. So, I had a client say to me today, you know, she reacts with me, she was six months with me we got to a really good place. And then she went a few months and sort of had a little bit of a spiral and came back to me. And she said you know I always have Annie in my mind when this happens. And I think to myself, no, don't think like this think like that. And I'm like, do you see how you're applying the tools to your life? You're not spiraling the way that you came to me thinking you are, you're actually ahead of the game because you're applying the tool. So, if that answers your question that's, that's what I try to do to help them get ahead of it.
James Laughlin 55:10
It's brilliant, I think thought replacement and activity replacement is in a really powerful way.
Annie Leib 55:16
We have a little thing that I deal with executives, sometimes where I have them put a rubber band on their wrist for the week, and every week until they see me again, and every time they have a negative thought about themselves, or self-worth doubt, or that voice that track that runs in our head, a lot of the time, they have to flick themselves with the rubber band, and they have to, they have to erase the negative thought and put in a positive one. And I have yet to have somebody come back to me and say, that was stupid, it didn't work. They're like, wow, that retrained my brain. I mean, this is something that anybody out there listening can do, just to retrain your brain and your pathways. And this is what's so amazing about humans and our brains, we can actually rewire our brains. And that's an incredible tool to use to start to see yourself better and heighten and increase your self-awareness.
James Laughlin 56:11
That's so still important, what you said around Look, you've got the negative thoughts, we've got, I think, 50 to 70 thousand thoughts a day. And two-thirds of those, for the vast majority of all humans, are negative thoughts. And so, we've programmed this 1000s of those millions of times across our lifetime. And so, when we have a negative thought, and we go, oh, just don't think the negative thought that actually doesn't help but replacing it, and then building up that muscle, so letting the negative muscle atrophy and then really building that positive power word or whatever you want to call it, the thought, and really building that as important. How long do you think it takes if someone's above the line, so they're not, you know, they're not experiencing major anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation? So, they're above the line. How long do you think it takes for that person to change some of those negative narratives? Is it a week is it maybe a month, six months?
Annie Leib 57:07
I would say between one and three months, I really try to I really think, and I've had feedback that I make an impact, a true impact with them after about three weeks, but I want it to in order for it to stick. This is really like rewiring and reframing things. I say about three months.
James Laughlin 57:27
And that's not gold about that. So, the University College of London did a study on habit installation. And they said, look, it takes anywhere between seven days, I think it was 200 days for a habit to form, but the average was 66 days, which is two to three months.
Annie Leib 57:45
James Laughlin 57:47
So, it's spot on. That's amazing. You're seeing the science play out in your day-to-day process.
Annie Leib 57:51
Practice. Yes, exactly.
James Laughlin 57:54
That's really special. I love it. So, for the person that wants to know more connect with you. How do they best do that?
Annie Leib 58:03
So, my number one favorite, my baby, platform is LinkedIn. That's where you will find me, I post every day I post really vulnerable content about my life, my kid's love in my life, lack thereof, whatever it is that I'm going through, I post because I want to be authentic and real. And I do a lot of stuff about professional life and work. But I do a lot of personal things as well. So, follow me on LinkedIn. And you can message me anytime. I mean, I'm on there all the time. The other place to find me is my website. So, annieleib.com. Now, everyone misspells my last name. So, I'm going to spell my name, A.N.N.I.E like the orphan, Leib, L.E.I.B as in boy.com, everybody misspells it. So, annieleib.com is a great place to find out more information on me reach out to me or LinkedIn.
James Laughlin 58:51
Brilliant, I'll make sure to put that all in the show notes. And I'm looking forward to following your journey. And you've done some amazing work with some organizations that are seeing Nestlé on there. The other big players, it's really cool to see what you're doing. So, I've no doubt you're going to continue to grow and continue to serve because it's in your DNA.
Annie Leib 59:10
Thank you so much. This was amazing. I mean, talking to you. I can't believe it's an hour. I was thinking to myself, wow, that's like kind of a long time to be. But I could talk to you for hours. We are so aligned. It's awesome.
James Laughlin 59:21
100%. Like if I can ask you one last question? Yes. So, we're going to fast forward many, many, many years. It's your last day on earth. It's your last five minutes of life. And someone very young, maybe it's a grandchild comes up to you and says Granny or Annie, can you please tell me how I can lead my life with purpose? What advice would you give them?
Annie Leib 59:49
A great question. I would absolutely 100% And I have it on my wrist to prove it. I would say lead with love. When you lead with your heart and you lead and lean into love every day of your life, both professionally and personally, you will be able to leave with purpose.
James Laughlin 1:00:07
So stunning. I'm going to take that on board, and I know the listener that's listening right now will just take that on for the rest of their day. So, Annie, thank you so much for the work that you do. Thank you for creating this space today and being so vulnerable and sharing all about your life and your passions and your incredible breath frameworks. I want to wish you nothing but the best.
Annie Leib 1:00:27
Thank you, James! You too. I can't wait to collaborate one day or do more together. This was awesome
James Laughlin 1:00:32
It's going to happen. Okay, good to see you.
Cool, you too!
James Laughlin 1:00:52
Thanks for tuning in today and investing in your own personal leadership. Please hit that subscribe button. And I'd love it if you'd leave me a rating and review. I've got some amazing guests lined up for you in the coming weeks. And leaders. It's that time to get out there and lead your life on purpose.