Finding Success in 2020
Happy New Year! We are excited to be in 2020 and know you have plans and goals for everything you want to accomplish to make sure that the year is meaningful and successful for you! To support you in that goal, on today’s episode of The Leadership Habit Podcast, we’re talking with Marilyn Sherman, the founder of Front Row Leadership, Crestcom faculty member, author, and hall of fame speaker. Marilyn will share insight on how you as a leader can create your seat of success in 2020! You will not want to miss her four tips on how you can accelerate your growth in 2020. Enjoy!
Jenn DeWall: Hi, everyone. It’s Jenn DeWall here again with The Leadership Habit, and today I am interviewing Marilyn Sherman. She is the founder of Front Row Leadership, and she’s a hall of fame speaker. On top of that, she’s the author of four personal development and leadership books. I’m sure you can tell by my enthusiasm, but I am so excited to have Marilyn here on the show today. Thank you so much for joining us on the leadership habit, Marilyn. We are so lucky to have you.
Marilyn Sherman: Hi, Jenn! I’m so happy to be here.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh, yes. Yeah. Let’s get this going. I know we’ve got a great show that’s planned for today, but for those of our listeners that don’t maybe know you, could you share a little bit about who you are, front row leadership, and what you do as a speaker and as an author?
Marilyn Sherman: Well, I came out of the corporate world to follow my passion and my dream to be a motivational speaker helping people get out of their comfort zone and live their life in the front row. So for the last 20 plus years, I’ve been inspiring audiences to determine what it is that they really want in their business, in their leadership, and in their life. And so I came up with this concept of living your life in the front row. And I wrote a book about living life in the front row. And I speak about from our leadership, and I’m, I often talk about the seat of success because I truly believe that the most successful people out there are people who are intentional about where they sit and who they sit with. So that’s what I love to talk about, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a really long time.
What is Front Row Leadership?
Jenn DeWall: And we are going to talk about the Seat of Success on today’s podcast. And I know our listeners will love it for those that maybe don’t understand what Front Row is, what does it mean to be a “front-row “leader?
Marilyn Sherman: Okay. So imagine you’re at a particular venue where there’s like red ropes separating the VIP section from everybody else, and you’re escorted down. You go beyond those ropes to sit in that section. And you are treated with white-glove service, and they call you by your name and they thank you for being there and they ask you, is there anything else you need? And you sit down going, “Oh man, it doesn’t get any better than this.” That to me is literally a front-row experience, but you and I can have front row experiences, front row moments at any time in our life. Like if I were to ask you, you know, name a time in your life where you said it doesn’t get any better than this. It could be the day you walked down the aisle and made everybody laugh because of how fun and funny your wedding was.
Marilyn Sherman: Right? Or it could be the day you got the promotion in your job. Then people valued you, and they excelled, or they saw how much you Excel in your position. That would be a federal moment because there are a lot of people who are not so enthusiastic, they’re not so focused on a particular direction and they settle for what I would call general admission seats or even worse balcony seats.
Jenn DeWall: They are barely present.
Marilyn Sherman: Oh yeah, they are so disengaged. If they’re in the balcony, they’re so disengaged. If they can leave their balcony seat and come back and no one would ever notice that they have left. That’s how disengaged you are in a balcony seat. And those are the people who they like, they show up maybe on time, maybe not, you know, they never volunteer for anything. They never throw their hat in the ring. They never suggest ideas. They’re just totally disengaged. And that brings down the whole culture of any team, any organization, any environment. So that’s, that’s why I’m so passionate about helping people find their purpose, discover their purpose, and then go for it.
Jenn DeWall: I love that. I mean, it’s such a beautiful way, and I think that our listeners can probably ask themselves like, why? Where are you sitting?
Where Are You Sitting?
Marilyn Sherman: Exactly? Where are you sitting right now? Because you and I wear lots of different hats. Like we have our health chair, our relationship chair, our work chair, our spiritual chair, our attitude chair. We have chairs all over the place. So for each one of those chairs, you can say, “okay, am I in the front row, general admission, or balcony of each of these areas?” And it’s funny, I spoke at a country club association, and I got a call from one of the attendees like two months later and just said, “Marilyn, I need to give you some feedback because after your front-row leadership speech, I went home and I had a conversation with my wife and I said, honey, we’re living in the front row aren’t we?” And he explained to her what the concept was. He learned from my speech and together, they decided that they had sort of set, got set in their ways and started living in their comfort zone. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great and it wasn’t exciting. So together, they decided what would front row to them be, and they decided it was an Alaskan cruise of all things right. They got so excited, they went on the cruise, they sent me a postcard and he said, “We had so much fun. We were so outside of our comfort zone. We were just living our life in the front row and we’ve already booked our second cruise.” So that’s just an example of just being aware of where you’re sitting in your life and choosing to sit in a better seat.
Jenn DeWall: I love that, that there’s a choice in it. That you at the end of the day get to choose where you sit in your life, where you sit in your career if you’re up in the balcony and, or general admission or front row. No. Do you think that there’s a lot of people that are in the balcony? Cause I think at first when you describe balcony, you might think that those disengaged people maybe love being there, but I wouldn’t, you know, that’s not necessary to know. How do you see that?
You Choose Your Seat of Success
Marilyn Sherman: Here’s the deal with people that are living and working in the balcony. They allow fear, intimidation, lack of confidence, and lack of courage to believe that that’s the seat that they deserve. So they have a low expectation of their own success. They say things like, well, I usually don’t get any opportunities. No one ever listens to me anyway. And you know what, I probably wouldn’t be a good manager, or you know what? I don’t think people will even like my idea so I’ll just keep it to myself, or I don’t have anything really a value to add cause people are going to question me and I’m going to not know the answer so you know what, I’m just going to be okay back here. So they, if you know me, you’ll know that whenever seat you’re in, you are in it because you chose to sit there. No one put you in a balcony. No one put you in general admission and no one’s going to hand you a front-row seat. You, you have to decide, you know what, there’s a chasm. There is a difference. There is a gap between where I am and where I want to be and I’m in charge of bridging that gap.
What is the S.E.A.T. of Success?
Jenn DeWall: Yes, today’s going to be such an amazing podcast. It’s all, you know, I mean it’s just really being intentional. We need to be more intentional. And you said it great. No one’s going to come there and hand you a ticket to the front row. That’s all on you. And what you want that to look like. And I think that ties into the topic you’re going to share with us, which is the S.E.A.T -and that’s an acronym- of success. I love a good acronym, don’t you? Yes, absolutely. Or, that coincides with your front row leadership. You guys can’t see it yet, but you’ll see it on our image. She’s got a chair that shows what it’s like, what you need to be in that seat of success. And I just think that this is a great time. There’s no better time to help people, you know, get back into that driver’s seat and control their success and recognize that this is an equal playing field. So long as you choose it, you can move from the balcony.
Marilyn Sherman: Here’s the deal. If you do not like your seat that you’re in and whether it be your relationship seat, your physical chair, that you know, the physical seat that you’re in. Your job chair, your position chair, even your own attitude chair, you have two choices. You either shift the perspective that you have about the chair that you’re in, or move to a different chair. And if you just take responsibility for that, you’re going to get a lot further in your life and in your career and in your relationship because you’re taking responsibility and accountability for the seat that you’re in.
S: See Where You Want To Go
Jenn DeWall: So let’s talk about that. The S.E.A.T of Success. What does that mean?
Marilyn Sherman: It obviously starts with the S for S.E.A.T, and that is to literally “see” where you want to go. See yourself in your ultimate front row. What does that look like? I can’t define your front row. No one can define what your front row is. You have to see it for yourself first. So I learned that from my mom and dad because they used to teach me all the time. There were eight kids, and my parents had eight kids in 10 years. So they showed me all the time how important it is to have a vision for your life. So they would sit us down and say, okay, where do you see yourself next week? How about next month? How about next year? How about five years? How about ten years? Where do you see yourself in your ultimate career goal? Where do you see yourself? What are your tombstone goals? Write them down. Let’s discuss this. I mean, it was a constant reminder of how important it is to see yourself, where you want to be in your life. So it was really ingrained in, in growing up. So that’s the, you want to have a seat of success. You have to see it first. Where do you see it? So that you will know if you’ve achieved it or not. Like, I wouldn’t want you to set a goal to be a better leader because that’s nebulous. That’s not as specific. You can’t say, well, yes I am, or no, I’m not because it’s so fluid. You would want to say; I want to be a leader where my staff will stay with me for ten years or more and they refer their friends to me. So we have a constant bench of people that want to work for me.
Marilyn Sherman: I mean, that’s an indicator of good management, good leadership, right? So you have to see what does success look like for you? What is a front-row seat look like for you in your relationship, in your job, with your leadership, with your business, with your spiritual walk, with your physical body, with your relationship you have with your spouse? What do you think gets in people’s way from being able to actually see the vision? Lack of the outcome you desire. I think a lot of people don’t understand how powerful it is to see it first and then have it become your reality. See, a lot of people have this mantra all believe it when I see it, and it’s actually, you’ll see it when you believe it. So if you believe, you know what, I deserve a front-row man in my life. In fact, this is what I did because I was single for seven years and I decided I’m going to practice what I preach.
Marilyn Sherman: And I literally wrote a list of everything I wanted in a man and came up with 356 traits on my list and then narrowed it down to the top 10, and in the top 10, he had to speak fluent French. So now I just celebrated 14 years of being married to Mr. Yves de Boisredon, and he is from France. I mean, like, who knew that you would put that on your bucket list? But I did, but I believed it because I believe that I deserve a front-row man in my life. And so this is, these are the traits that I want in this man. So I’ve manifested it. I think a lot of people believe that that’s a bunch of hooey. It’s hogwash. It’s not realistic. It’s like, Oh, please. And those people are fine. Just don’t ask me to have lunch with you because I don’t want to hang out with you. I want to hang out with people who have this belief that yes, you can have more in your life than you have right now. So I think that’s the number one thing is lack of belief that they deserve a front-row seat in their life and they can manifest it.
Jenn DeWall: So powerful. How, how the heck do you see the vision? I mean, you listed a great way of thinking about how you were able to envision your now husband at 14 years. You identified over 350 traits, narrowed it down to 10; how do people create visions? Because there are some people that it might be really, really intimidating if they are maybe more like my husband, more analytical. It is really, really hard to start thinking and believing could happen that’s not actually in their present.
Marilyn Sherman: Well, what helped me growing up is I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, and when you look at famous, successful people, people who are at the top of their game in their field, every single one of them has had some sort of adversity in their life that they had to overcome to be the first this or the first that. To be the most successful, this, or be the most powerful that, right? They all had to go through something. And so it takes away your excuses that if you say, well, I’m too poor. I live in too remote of a location, or I’m too female, or I’m too young, or I’m too old, or I’m too fat, I’m too thin, I’m too uneducated, I’m overqualified. Whatever excuse that has prevented you from achieving your dreams, I guarantee there’s someone out there who had that exact excuse, overcame it, and became a huge success despite that excuse.
Jenn DeWall: So it’s your choice. You get to choose how much you let that excuse dictate.
Marilyn Sherman: So you, what you do to really make your vision, to create your vision is to sit back and reflect. What do you really want? What does success look like for you? What is your front row? Define it and then be on the lookout for people who are already there. People who have what you want and then read up on them, get to know them, read articles about them, read their book and you’ll realize, Oh my gosh, they did A, B, and C to get to where they are, and you know what I can do A,B and C too. So that’s how you create your vision.
Jenn DeWall: Yeah. Small steps. Breaking it down, get to know, educate yourself. And it’s also valuable in terms of really maximizing your fullest potential to truly have that front row experience in maximizing your own potential and what you can accomplish in your life.
Marilyn Sherman: In fact, my book is called, Why Settle for the Balcony? (How to get a Front-Row Seat in Life)
E: Manage Your Energy
Jenn DeWall: Yes. And to all of those that are just listening as I’m sitting here and probably thinking about more about myself, what can I do to be more of a front-row individual? I, you know, it can be really hard, but it is first just starting with the vision of where you want to be and maybe just breaking it down into those smaller steps. So let’s talk about the E.
Marilyn Sherman: Okay. The E is all about “Energy.” You need to focus your energy on those things that will move you toward your vision or your goal. You see, a lot of people talk about time management, and I say forget time management. Go for energy management because you only have so much energy. It’s a finite amount of energy every single day. So why waste one ounce of that valuable energy you have worrying about things that are out of your control? Fear, doubt, shame, insecurity, comparison to others. None of those things will help you achieve your goals and your vision. So don’t waste your time worrying about those things. And if you think about how much time we waste worrying about those things and worrying about what would people think, what will people say, how will people judge me and what will people think if I stretch out of my comfort zone and do something different. That is just, and it’s, it’s like energy draining. It is like taking away your energy and now you don’t have the capacity to go for your dreams. So you have to set those boundaries to protect your energy.
Jenn DeWall: It’s funny you talk about the capacity to go for your dreams and how, when we’re not aware of where our energy is going, we don’t have the capacity. I think it’s; we forget to even look at it like that. We’re so immersed and maybe, I mean, I’ll go back to myself in my twenties gosh, was I very, very ambitious and wanted to be promoted 20 different times. You know, that was, I was highly ambitious, whether that was, you know, I’ve grown a lot, but I think at that point in time it was super easy then to always compare myself to my peers. Like who’s moving up faster and who’s got these interviews, who do they want? And I never thought about it as energy. And so I love that you’re making that connection between, it’s not about not wanting that, or not feeling good enough. You acknowledge it, all those things happen. But really looking at this as this is your energy that you have to use. How do you want to use it?
Marilyn Sherman: And you give off energy too. Like you can’t have this dream of being, you know, big stage motivational speaker. If you walk into a room and you suck the life out of it. I mean, I mean when you’re a leader, you walk different, you show up different, you introduce yourself differently, you meet people differently. I mean, your energy shifts when you are living your life in the front row or you’re walking toward the front row of your life.
Jenn DeWall: What about the people that maybe have the energy, you talked about the ones that can zap the energy or if you are the one that zaps the energy out of a room, what if you have your vision and then all of a sudden you have your energy, and then you meet that person that wants to kill your vision? What do you do? How do you do that ever?
Marilyn Sherman: Have you ever heard that phrase? Do you pray for your coworkers? Pray they get another job? There’s usually one person on staff who’s like negative Nelly, who would always be saying, “No, that’ll never work. No, we’ve already tried that. No, we can’t do that. No, they’ll never go for it.” It’s like shut up. So you have to set your boundary of how much time you allow yourself in their presence. And they’re the kind of people that want comrades to be negative Nellies with- do not buy into that game. You set a boundary and say, “Wait, stop. Let’s move to a solution or resolution. Otherwise, I need to get back to work.” Because as soon as you say, “Oh my gosh, you are so right, this sucks.” Now you’ve got a friend for life, and they will interrupt you at all hours of your workday saying, “Hey, do you got a minute? Did you hear?” All the gossip that will drain your energy quicker than anything. And it’s so tempting. It’s so tempting. So you just have to set your boundary and then draw a line with these people and say, “You know what? I’m not into that. I’m going to focus on what’s right and what’s good in the world. And right now, this isn’t helping me.”
Jenn DeWall: Gossip is keeping you in the balcony. I mean, and I guess if you think about it from a different level, the more that you gossip, the more that you’re showing yourself that you’re probably not a strong leader because you’re not able to rise above. And if you’re doing that, you’re likely going to stay in the balcony. Yes. Okay. Have that energy. I mean, it’s easy, right? We have to acknowledge it. I know that there are plenty of times it’s easy to get wrapped up into your frustrations and then want to vent about them, and then it all of a sudden quickly turns into, you know what else? I don’t like it or this person and that and yeah,
Marilyn Sherman: And people play the one-up game. Oh, you think that has, Oh my gosh, you should see what happened to me. Oh, my God. And it’s like, Oh no, no, mine’s worse. And then you play the who’s got it the worst game that doesn’t help anybody.
Jenn DeWall: No. You feel like you feel awful when you’re done. There’s never, you know, there’s that point where if it’s an honest vent where you can feel like, okay, I just needed you to get that off my chest. But we know the difference and how that feels.
Marilyn Sherman: The reality is things happen. But you put a time limit on it. Say, I’m so angry right now, but I’m going to be angry for another seven minutes tops. That’s it. And then you allow yourself that anger to get it off the chest. But then after seven minutes, actually after three minutes you realize, you know what? It felt good. I’m done. I don’t need to be angry anymore, and people are like, really? You’re putting a time limit on your anger? Yes. It’s a reminder that you and only you are in charge of your anger or frustration or resentment or whatever it is that you need to get off your chest.
Jenn DeWall: That’s a great tool. I mean time yourself, right? You know you can live in that emotion. You can be frustrated, angry, all of those things, but give yourself a timeline.
Marilyn Sherman: Yeah, you can go on vacation there. Just don’t live there.
A: What is Your Attitude?
Jenn DeWall: What about the A?
Marilyn Sherman: The “A” is a very good segue from energy, and that is your attitude. How do you show up? What is your attitude? Do you have a positive, optimistic, so grateful for where I am attitude, or do you have an entitled attitude? Like you have an expectation that people are going to read your mind and fulfill your every wish? No. You’ve got to have an attitude that’s in alignment with getting you towards your vision and salespeople know this. This is sales 101. People buy from people who they like, trust, and believe. And if you’ve got this negative attitude and you’re sarcastic and you’re always putting people down and saying, Oh, just kidding, don’t take it so personally, people are going to be, they’re going to be repelled by you.
Marilyn Sherman: So, I firmly believe in having an attitude of gratitude and attitude of this is a good place. I am going to see what’s right about the situation. I’m going to learn from my mistakes. I’m not going to be fearful. I have an attitude of ambition. In fact, I grew up listening to all of these, you know, with the motivational tapes. So when I went to college, I went to Washington State University. Everybody thought I was so weird because my dorm room was filled with affirmations. So every day, I would just wake up and I would read the affirmations on my wall so would have a good attitude. So I had these posters that I made that hung down from the ceiling to above my window. And they, I even remember it. This was many years ago.
Jenn DeWall: I would have loved that dorm room!
Marilyn Sherman: And my, because I wanted to, you know, Dr. Dennis Waitley used to say we move toward and become what’s uppermost in our minds. So every day I would wake up and I would see these signs motivated, dedicated, open-minded, level-headed, healthy, wealthy and wise. And those were the signs I had hanging from the wall in my dorm rooms because that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. Isn’t that funny? That I remember them. Motivated, dedicated, open-minded, level-headed, healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Jenn DeWall: No, that’s, I love that actually more in awe of thinking about how can I really start to even leverage affirmations to help shift my own attitude because it’s easy. It’s easy to get discouraged or frustrated. And then to throw your attitude out the window.
Marilyn Sherman: Another hack too, I learned this from Jack Canfield, and Jack Canfield is an amazing guy. He had he wrote the book, the success principles and I also, he was my mentor for a while, and I went to his training.
Jenn DeWall: Did he also write- he’s part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series-
Marilyn Sherman: Yes, he co-authored the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and they sold 150 copies.
New Speaker: Oh my gosh, he was your mentor. That is fantastic.
Marilyn Sherman: Yes, and he always said, “whatever you learn from me, share it.” You know, he was not one of these people that was really, you know, protective of material. He was like, no, put it out there in the world. So he taught me this hack. If you ever allow a negative thought to end your head and it comes out of your mouth, say the words cancel, cancel. Now, I don’t know exactly why you have to say it twice, but it’s about re-framing your brain. Like re-framing that, well, I would say a needle on a record, but the young people are going what the heck is a record and a needle? But you know, imagine a needle going around in grooves, right to play on an old LP. And it’s going to play that music based on the groove. But if you switch the groove, it goes to a different song.
Marilyn Sherman: So what you need to do with your brain is to quit defaulting to, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough; I’m not attractive enough. Get that needle out of that groove and switch it to a new groove, which is, I am good enough. I am amazing. I am on the right path. I’m growing every day; I’m worthwhile. And now you’ve got an affirmation that is positive. So the cancel cancel is if you ever allow yourself to say anything negative about yourself or anybody else, just say, cancel, cancel, and then your brain stops and says, okay, what’s the reframe? I am good enough. I’m on my way. I’m getting better every day. I am worthwhile, and I’m so cute. I’m so good looking.
Jenn DeWall: You talked about the attitude thing, and it’s, and I can say, from my experience as a coach, and you’ve have more experience than I do, but my experience as a coach, it was really easy to ask people, “Do you have a confidence issue?” And ambitious people will say, “No. Are you kidding me? I’m very good at my job because they’re always relying on their technical side.” And so I’m curious about those that may not even be aware that it’s their attitude that’s holding them back or their belief and it’s holding them back. So how do you, what do you recommend for people to actually create awareness instead of maybe thinking about that because I think there’s a lot of people that if they were more aware, they would actually make the changes. They just have no idea.
Marilyn Sherman: In my line of work, I get introduced to really high-end executives and high-end CEOs, and you know, running multimillion-dollar organizations and I get to share the stage with them or I get to go to the events pre-speech and I get to be in their rooms. And so I like to ask that question, especially women leaders who are running like multimillion-dollar organizations. And I’ve asked this question of them and I would say, how did you overcome your confidence or lack of confidence as a woman, as a woman in leadership? And 100% of the answers are I didn’t overcome it. I just learned how to manage it, which means every once in a while, it’s human nature to look at somebody else, and they, and you have the comparison trap. Oh my gosh, look it. There’s so much smarter than the more educated I am. There have more opportunities than I do. You stop and say, you know what? You’ve done this. You’ve come this far. You inspire other people. You look at, look at what you’ve done in your life. Celebrate that, and now all of a sudden that voice is gone and they go on to do it, to do what they need to do, so they haven’t gotten rid of it. They just learned how to manage it. Isn’t that fascinating?
Jenn DeWall: I love that perspective. I think that it is just an understanding of how your attitude is, again, truly something that we have to make a conscious effort to be able to manage that. It’s not that all these people that you might be comparing yourself to, that they’ve got it all figured out and they don’t –
Marilyn Sherman: You’ve heard the phrase the imposter syndrome. Okay. There’s a lot of executives that have the imposter syndrome and that, that means that they’ve got this little voice, that fears that someone’s going to say, okay, I got it. You really don’t know what you’re doing in your position. I mean the imposter syndrome is someone who’s going to reveal that they’re going to find out that I really don’t know, or that I really don’t have my act together. But here’s the thing, and I don’t, I can’t remember who I heard this from, but they said if you were an imposter, you wouldn’t be asking the question. So, therefore, for all the listeners out there who have, who are feeling like every once in a while like, “Oh my gosh, if they only knew, you know, I’d be in trouble,” but guess what? You are so not alone. It is a very common, common, common thing to have a little bit of doubt once in a while. A little bit of self-confidence issue once in a while know that you are not alone and you work through it
Jenn DeWall: And that it’s not a bad thing, you know, it’s not a bad thing. We’re human. It’s normal to have those types of feelings. And I think it’s always a great way of just reminding ourselves what value we do have- to what you said- coming back to our own value. So instead of listening to “I’m not good enough,” reminding yourself or reflecting on all those past accomplishments that you’ve had because you know it’s in there. I guess it’s so funny, people oftentimes- I like to call it that they forget their resume.
Marilyn Sherman: Interesting.
Jenn DeWall: Like they have this resume of all these professional accolades, but then when it comes down to those moments where failure happens, mistakes happen, they completely forget their entire resume. So they forget why or how they were actually capable of getting where they are today.
Marilyn Sherman: Not only that, there’s always going to be someone better looking than you and worse looking than you. Obviously. It’s very subjective, but there’s always going to be someone smarter than you in the room. And someone not as smart as you in the room. There’s always going to be somebody who’s less experienced than you, and there’s always going to be someone more experienced than you. So let go of the comparison trap from this day forward. Let it go. Because it does not serve you.
Jenn DeWall: Hey, you said it; it’s subjective. It’s your own viewpoint. And it’s not necessarily true. It’s just how you perceive the world.
Marilyn Sherman: Yeah, exactly.
T: Have Tenacity
New Speaker: I think that that’s so important that you called that out. Let’s talk about our last letter – T.
Marilyn Sherman: The last letter of our acronym S.E.A.T. is Tenacity. And I love that word, tenacity. And that really means to go forward no matter what. Like my dad used to always say, be tenacious. And I was an athlete growing up, and I was a volleyball player and he always used to say, go for the throat, be tenacious. So I love the word tenacity. So you and I, it’s never a smooth sailing to our destination. There’s always going to be winds that changed direction, right? There’s always going to be some sort of obstacle that prevents us from getting what we want. So that tenacious part, to have tenacity is to go through it, to work through it, to know that you are not alone. You can get through this. This is only a stumbling block. This is not an exit strategy. This is, this is not a final, you know, this is only temporary. It’s like when someone gives you bad feedback or criticizes you- criticism is just feedback. You learn from it and you move on. There are going to be days that aren’t as productive as other days- be tenacious. They’re going to be medical things that happen. You realize, “Oh my gosh, I did not know I was going to have MS,” for example. You are tenacious to get over it because other people have led very normal lives for a long time. Despite that, “h my gosh, I’m going through a breakup.” You know what? Be tenacious and hold your head high and know that you are worthy of good relationships in your life. So the tenacity part is to know that you’re not alone. Other people have had the same issues and adversity and stumbling blocks that you and I have had and they went on to do great things to spite it. So be tenacious.
New Speaker: Do you have any advice for those people? Maybe we’re talking to that person that let’s say maybe they’ve applied for a lot of jobs and they haven’t had a callback, or maybe have applied for promotions and they haven’t seen that, and they’re feeling pretty down. How, how do you help them pick themselves up to start to be tenacious when maybe it’s a little difficult because they’ve been down for a minute.
Marilyn Sherman: Right? A good reframe is to just stop and be so grateful for what they have right here,right now. It’s like, I don’t want you to be so focused on the next chair that’s closer to the front row than the one you’re sitting in right now. I want you to be really, really appreciative of that. The fact that you do have a chair to sit in. Like there are a lot of people in the world who don’t even have a chair to sit in. Like literally, they don’t have clean running water. Right? So put your life in a perspective. Remember how I said either you have two choices, either change the seat you’re in or change the perspective you have in the seat, the perspective you have of the seat that you’re in. So if you are struggling because you’re not getting a callback, well guess what? Tomorrow’s a new day. You apply someplace else; you keep putting your resumes out there, you keep following up with people, you keep doing the right thing regardless of the outcome. And I promise you it will get better. It may not be in your time, but it will be in time.
Jenn DeWall: And that’s the piece. I love that. That’s a great point to wrap that on is it’s, we don’t get to control the time, but again, it comes back to the control that we do have.
Marilyn Sherman: Yeah. And we do have control over how we show up and what we do when we do show up, we also have the control of who we sit with and where we sit. So be very aware of the people you allow into your life. Because sometimes there are people in our life that tell us, well go figure. You know, you’re not educated. It’s like Whoa. That’s where you pull out the list of all the people who never got a degree, didn’t even graduate from high school, and they made a huge success in some very niche market that no one ever thought was possible. Well, guess what? They had to do something, right? They had to overcome that in order to be a success. So that means you can too. There are no excuses. You know, I wrote a book about it – Is There a Hole in Your Bucket List? Because I think everybody should have a bucket list of dreams and hopes and aspirations. So think of your bucket of your dreams and your hopes. So it’s not a bucket list, it’s literally a bucket. But all of your lists would go in this bucket. But there are holes in the bucket. Those holes are created by nails. And the nails have names like fear, insecurity, doubt, shame, comparison to others. But who holds the hammer that pounds the nail into the bucket? Well, that’s you and I. So we need to stop pounding nails and our bucket lists. We need to put the hammer down the nails down and start patching up those holes and we patched them up with courage, with kindness, with compassion, starting with yourself, have compassion for where you are right now today because if you have any guilt that you’ve reached this far in your life and you’re not where you thought you’d be at this age, stop, give yourself some kindness and compassion and then go for it the next day.
Jenn DeWall: I love that you just hit on, you hit on so much there that I feel like it’d be an entirely new podcast, but even just thinking about our environment that we’re in, how we can truly create a place for us to create that seat for success. What do we have to do to be able to make that, you know, I know that there’s the mindset piece, but are there some tough decisions that we have to make in terms of our coworkers, in terms of our friends? Yeah. To allow us to actually pursue that front row seat.
Marilyn Sherman: Well, you need to start asking questions. I firmly believe in mentorship and sponsorship and advocacy. So a mentor is someone that you can go to and really sort of let your hair down and say, you know what, I’m struggling with a, B, and C and what I really want is D and F. What advice do you have for someone like me who wants to get D and F and I’m stuck in B. So you need to have a mentor in your life that you can open up the kimono and say, I’m struggling. And your mentor could be someone in your own company, or it could be outside of your company, but it could be, it has to be someone that you trust, someone that you can open up to and share your struggles and your aspirations with. We all need a mentor in our life. And then when you show up and you do good work and you have this positive energy, people start to take notice. And that’s where advocacy comes in. Because if you are constantly showing up with this great attitude and positive energy and everybody notices it when you walk into a room, wow, the light changes. It’s just so bright. People take notice and people talk about you when you’re not in the room. So when a special project comes up, a special assignment or promotion some sort of a, you know, position that’s special for someone who is really put in the work, your name will come up. That’s advocacy and everybody needs advocacy, but you can’t control who advocates on your behalf. You just control how you show up on a consistent basis, positive, energetic, enthusiastic, engaged. And then sponsorship is you do that enough. Someone who is in a position to promote you or to hire you or to choose you or to give you a raise. They will be aware of you and they will be in a position to do something about it.
Jenn DeWall: Sponsorship, advocacy, mentorship. Yeah. Ones that I think the first part that you had said too, which is so important, is to be able to own the opportunities that you have, your weaknesses, your mistakes, whatever that is, and give yourself permission to change instead of living in maybe your the criticism or bad feedback that you’ve gotten, but start with like understanding your areas of opportunity.
Marilyn Sherman: Yeah, for sure. And here’s a good hack, too. I want you to stop labeling yourself. Well, that’s just who I am. I don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like sitting in the front row. I don’t like asking questions. That’s just who I am. I’m always late. That’s just who I am. I don’t like to network. That’s just who I am. I say stop and reframe it. Say up until today; I’ve been someone who hasn’t been real good with time. Up until today, I haven’t been as engaged as I could be up until today. I’ve been someone very comfortable in the balcony because as soon as you say up until today, that means there’s hope for you and me to change in the future.
Jenn DeWall: Marilyn, I’ve loved it. I love it.
Marilyn Sherman: I’m dropping truth bombs. Catch up, Jenn!
Jenn DeWall: Yes, I know. If they could see me like you know the up until today, I think it’s such a, even up until listening to this podcast. Really thinking about everything that you’ve shared with all of our listeners, that there’s so much. You know the great thing about the concepts that you shared is none of this requires money, right? So you come at it from the first thing of I don’t have money or I don’t have access to this. Then you’ve missed the entire podcast because it’s really just about our own ability to do the work.
Marilyn Sherman: That’s an assumption people make. They assume it would cost too much to sit in the front row, but you have something of value, and if you have something of value and you are able to communicate that value to someone else who needs it, you can have an exchange of opportunity and it doesn’t cost anybody any money. Do you want to hear specific examples? I live in Las Vegas because that’s the convention capital of the world and my business is speaking at conventions. But before I lived there and my girlfriend that lived in Vegas saw that I was coming to town for a speech and Earth, Wind and Fire was playing that night. So they called me and said, Marilyn, do you know Earth Wind and Fire’s having a concert on the same day you arrive in Vegas? Do you want to go see them? And I’m like, Oh, gosh! So they picked me up at the airport and we drove to the event space to buy our tickets for that night. Now of course, our tickets for the nosebleed section. I’m so not a nosebleed person. I’m such a front-row person and I could see front row seats still open. And so they went to go grab a beer. I didn’t like to wait in the line, so I just took a walk. But I walked with purpose. I walked like I know exactly where I’m going. I didn’t, but I acted as if I knew where I was going. I had my head held high. I walked with a sense of purpose, never looked down, never looked at anybody. And I walked right through security and made it all the way down to the front of the stage. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, that was so cool.
Marilyn Sherman: Look at this. It is so different in front of the concert. And then I went to a very good looking young man who was standing next to the stage and I got out of my comfort zone. I said, excuse me, what time does this concert start? I thought it was supposed to start at 10 o’clock. He said, well, it is supposed to start at 10 but my uncle Phil isn’t scheduled to be out on stage until 10:15. And I said Phil as in Phillip Bailey, the lead singer of Earth Wind and Fire? He goes, “yeah, that’s my uncle. Why are you in the business? “I said, no, I’m a motivational speaker. He said, “Can you motivate me?” I said, “Sure! Any day above ground is a good day.” And then I started saying like, “there’s no such thing as a bad day, only bad moments that people choose to nurse all day long.” And he’s like, “wow, you’re really good. I have to go take my seat though. Where are you sitting? Down in front? Where are you sitting?” In the nosebleed section? He’s like, “who are you with?” “Two girlfriends.” He says, “wait right here.” He runs backstage and he comes back with three all-access badges. He said, “sit anywhere you with your girlfriends and then meet me right here and I will introduce you to my uncle and the rest of the band after the show.” I know. So I go running back up to my girlfriends and they’re like, Marilyn, where have you been in? These people tried to steal our seats. I said, well, they can have them because we’re going to the front row. And they said, “well, how did you do it this time?” And I just acted as if I knew where I was going, which created an opportunity for me to get to the front row, which created an opportunity for me to see someone that I could engage in a conversation with, which very quickly we found out that we both had something of value to share with each other that costs neither one of us any money.
Marilyn Sherman: See, most people take their seats in the balcony of their life and they don’t like the seat. They don’t like the view. They don’t like where they are and they complain about it. And once they complained about the bad view, the bad seats, the bad everything. Then they look at other people who have what they want and they make stuff up as to how they got there. And you know, I’m no longer talking about a venue at a concert. I’m talking about life. If you don’t like the seats you’re in, don’t complain about someone else who has it when you never applied for it.
Jenn DeWall: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yeah. Oh my gosh, I have, I love this. Yes. Okay. I don’t even want to end it there. Like I feel like I want to keep talking because it is, you nailed it. Like there are so many last final points.
Marilyn Sherman: I still have one.
Jenn DeWall: My one last question anyways, so you keep going with your final one. I want to hear
Marilyn Sherman: Because I want to sort of put a bow on this. You know about living your life in the front row really is not all about you. The best seat in the house is when you, as a leader, are an usher for someone else to live their life in the front row. Yes. So in Vegas, if you ever go to a show, there will always be an usher and I guarantee you with two things, number one, they have knowledge of all the seats in the venue and number two, they have a flashlight and they look at your ticket with their flashlight and they say, follow me. And they use their flashlight to direct you on the most direct path to the seat that’s on your ticket. That’s what an usher does. They illuminate the path for you to get to your seat. Such a good leader. A great leader. A front-row leader is someone who becomes the head usher illuminating the path for their team to live their best life, to be the best at their game, to be the best version of themselves so that everybody in the department can live in the front row because everybody’s front row is different. But as a leader, you do it by inspiring them with your own light.
Jenn DeWall: I’m crying because that was so nice I hate that I’m overly emotional, but I love that because you wrapped it up so perfectly – thinking like create your own seat for success- but then at the end of the day, it’s about being the usher, I just, I really started to tear up- that’s really good.
Marilyn Sherman: I love it. I love it. I love it.
Jenn DeWall: Well, I loved our conversation, and I’m just going to wipe my eyes. Oh. Because clearly you can probably tell him the person that cries at every single movie. I’d be like, that’s such a beautiful story.
What is Your Leadership Habit for Success?
Jenn DeWall: I’ve loved our conversation. I loved everything that you shared in terms of how we can become frat row leaders by creating our own S.E.A.T. of success. And I obviously I teared up during the moment where you talked about how we can all be the ushers to help other people. You’ve just shared so many valuable insights, but I want to close on our final question, which is, what is your leadership habit for success?
Marilyn Sherman: Well, I’m super grateful for my mom and dad because they taught me this habit, and that is never sit in a place of knowing. It all always continue to learn and to grow. So my dad used to say, the more you read, the more you lead, the more you learn, the more you earn, and the more you know, the more you grow. So my habit is I’m constantly learning. I’m constantly going to see other speakers. I’m constantly listening to audiobooks. I’m constantly listening to other podcasts like this. I read books, so I’m a constant learner because I never want to lose that curiosity about how people become successful because it’s so inspiring. And then, I incorporate those into my keynote speeches.
Jenn DeWall: Oh, gosh, I love that. Will you say that one more time for our listeners? Because I’ve never heard that expression before.
Marilyn Sherman: The more you read, the more you lead, the more you learn, the more you earn. And the more that, the more you know, the more you grow. So never be that person that says, I know it all, I have arrived. Here’s another one. It’s trite, but it’s a good one. When you’re green, you grow, and when you’re ripe, you rot. So don’t ever arrive at your leader, your leadership position, and then never learn anything from the people that report to you. Be open to learning from everybody and constantly learn because, like a piece of fruit on a tree, as soon as it’s right, it will fall off the tree and rot. So as long as you’re learning and growing, you will always learn and grow.
Jenn DeWall: Thank you so much for sharing your leadership habit and for sharing all of your expertise. That was so great to have you on the show today. And just thank you again for sharing all of your advice and perspective and just giving the path for how all of our listeners can get their S.E.A.T. for success. Thank you, Marilyn.
Marilyn Sherman: My pleasure.
Jenn DeWall: Thank you so much for listening to The Leadership Habit Podcast. If you’ve enjoyed our podcast, please share it with your friends. If you found value in it, please review us. By sharing it and reviewing it, we will be able to continue to spread our message to create more impactful leaders around the world, and most importantly, stay tuned for next week. As we begin our newest series: Work Fails. We are going to be talking about personal stories of failure and perseverance because we know that as leaders, failure is part of the process. These minisodes will take place twice a month and we hope that you’ll find as much value in them as we do.