Strategic Conversations, Part 1 - Planning with Future Focus
I coach smart women to get promoted and better paid without throwing anyone under the bus, manipulating people, or burning themselves out.
I teach simple but powerful concepts that help my clients engage in strategic conversations with a mindset of self-confidence and authentic power.
Over five podcast episodes, I'll be teaching each of these five simple but powerful concepts that you can immediately implement into your life and career so you can get bolder, braver, and better paid.
This episode is about the first and most important concept: Planning with Future Focus.
Three questions I ask my clients to help them with Future Focus is:
1. WHO are you in the process of becoming?
2. WHAT results do you want in the future?
3. HOW can you be your Future Self now?
If you enjoyed this and would like to learn more about my six-week coaching program, please email me at email@example.com to set up a quick consult over Zoom.
Full Episode Transcript
Hello! Welcome to Episode 62 of Born to Thrive with Jamie Lee. I’m Jamie Lee. I’m a coach who helps smart, ambitious women working in male-dominated industries like tech, engineering, finance, energy, etc. get promoted and better paid.
My clients do this without throwing anyone under the bus because, frankly speaking, they hate office politics and who can blame them? And my clients learn how to thrive in their careers without playing little games or manipulating people.
Most importantly, they do it without burning themselves out.
I teach my clients how to engage in strategic conversations with a mindset that generates self-confidence and authentic power.
My clients learn how to negotiate, lead, and influence with emotional mastery, which is the secret to lasting success and genuine confidence.
Now, if you’re listening to this and wondering: Wait, what? Where’s the catch?
Here’s the catch: It’s simple.
Really, no! So simple that you might overlook it, you might disregard it.
I certainly did for the first 35 years of my life, almost 40. The secret is that it’s so simple to master these strategies, to learn the new mindset, but it takes effort, it takes practice, it takes a whole lot of mental focus to get it right.
So it’s simple but not easy.
So I want you to stay tuned for more on this because I will be teaching you, my dear podcast listeners, my thrivers, these simple, powerful, but not always easy to implement concepts right here in this podcast.
Because you’re born to thrive. Not just survive, not just get by, but thrive.
I believe that.
This past week, I had the amazing privilege of presenting one of my favorite workshops: Strategic Conversations - How to Lead, Influence, and (of course) Thrive for women working in deep foundations right here in Manhattan.
For those of you who are not engineers, like me, I will tell you what deep foundations is. I Googled it and I also learned from having conversations with the engineers this past week: deep foundations is the work geotechnical engineers do - geotechnical means that they work with the earth, the rocks - and they study the earth, the rocks, and figure out the best way to lay down roots for buildings - foundations for buildings, highrises. And we have plenty of them here in New York City.
So, the deeper the roots, the more sophisticated the foundations, the higher the building can rise.
And, on a personal note, this is so cool. This is so cool for me because I recently moved to Hudson Yards here in New York City and Langan, the engineering firm that hosted the workshop this week, it’s the same engineering firm that laid down the deep foundations for Hudson Yards.
It took two years, I learned. Nearly the entire New York office and probably more working around the clock, hundreds of engineers working around the clock for two years. I heard they had to work 24-hour shifts, just around the clock, all hands on deck and they laid down the most technologically advanced and the most deep foundations in the Western Hemisphere. Isn’t that so cool? I think that’s amazing.
And what’s really, really mind-boggling is that Hudson Yards is actually built on top of servicing train lines and so they had to be so sophisticated and it was like laying down some really intricate root canals right next to servicing train lines. And I heard some amazing stories of how engineers - the best engineers - worked around the clock to make this possible.
Anyway, at this workshop this past week, I presented five key ingredients of strategic conversations, how to lead, how to influence so you can thrive in your career by showing up to strategic conversations and leading them.
So, these key ingredients are some of the most simple but powerful concepts that you can immediately implement into your career to get bolder - that’s right - to get braver, of course, and get better paid.
I’ve decided to teach each of these concepts over a five-podcast series starting today. The first of these five concepts is planning with future focus, so that’s what we’ll talk about today.
Most of us are past-focused and I know this because when I ask my coaching clients, “Okay, tell me about where you are now and where you want to go,” they immediately go into their past. They immediately start telling me about where they went to school, how they got their first job, how they got lucky or they didn’t get lucky and now they are where they are. And so they tell me everything about what had happened in their past because we, a lot of people, most of us are past-focused and we feel that what has happened in our past will determine our present and our future.
And when you think that the past determines your present and your future, guess what you get.
More of the same. More of your past.
If you had experienced some things that are unfair...I remember early in my career when I worked at many of these companies, many, most of these companies, I always felt the situation was unfair. And when I thought the situation was unfair, my boss was terrible, he’s not a good manager, things are so unfair for me. And when I thought this, I always sought evidence of how the situation was unfair for me in the past and how the situation was unfair for me now and then I created that by thinking it into the future.
And of course, when I got to the future, that’s what I got because I was always thinking it’s unfair.
And our primitive brains are wired for security, safety, and comfort and I think this explains why so many of us are past-focused as opposed to future-focused because the brain is wired for security, safety, and comfort and the brain will look to repeat patterns of the past so that it can have a sense of security, safety and comfort.
Even if you feel miserable, if you’ve been so miserable in your life, it just feels comfortable being miserable because it’s what is familiar. So then we keep looking for the familiar in the past, in the present, and then again in the future.
What if we said we can have a future focus, not a past focus?
This is simple but it takes mental focus. It takes active imagination to create future focus. And it’s simple but it might feel unnatural and, because it feels unnatural, it might feel uncomfortable and, because it feels uncomfortable, not a lot of people do it. And that’s how you stay stuck in your past focus, repeating the past over and over again.
Nothing changes if you keep looking into the past.
So, I have some key questions to help you create future focus and I hope you take this as an opportunity to apply this to your own life, to your own career, and you can do this by writing down your own answers to these questions.
The first question that I like to ask is: Who are you in the process of becoming?
When we were young, we were always in the process of becoming something new. I remember, when I graduated kindergarten, I was interviewed at the kindergarten graduation ceremony and the adult asked me “Who do you want to become in the future?” And I said “I want to become a teacher.”
And here I am, teaching.
And when you were in elementary school, who are you in the process of becoming? You were always preparing for the next grade. If you’re in first grade, you’re looking forward to becoming a second-grader. If you’re a second-grader, you’re looking forward to becoming a third-grader and so on and so forth, right?
But then, sometime after college graduation or high school graduation, we stop asking ourselves who are we in the process of becoming?
And we feel like we’ve just become a person.
Or, worse yet, we feel like we need somebody else’s permission to become the next level.
And I see this is my own experience when I felt that I needed the acceptance, the approval of my supervisors, my managers, my employers. I needed them to give me their stamp of approval so that I can become promoted and become a manager and become the next level.
And what I want to offer you is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to become someone new.
You only need your own permission.
You don’t need the school system, you don’t need the authorities, you don’t need the employer to give you a definition of who you are in the process of becoming.
It’s up to you.
If you can imagine it, you can be it.
Take, for example, I have a recent client who works in a male-dominated industry, super smart, super ambitious, her brain is just amazing. And she hates office politics, right? And she kind of struggled with this future focus and then we landed at: I’m in the process of becoming somebody who fulfills her potential.
And that unlocked a lot of self-appreciation, self-acceptance, self-confidence.
And she had a recent win she shared with me, which is that she’s been doing so well in her job right now she got a call from this C-level executive who called her personally and told her that she should continue to act as if she couldn’t fail.
And I think that’s because she has created the mindset of I’m becoming a person who fulfills her potential.
What you think creates your result.
So if you think you are becoming somebody who is a better leader, if you think you are becoming somebody who is bolder, who is braver, who is better paid, then you can make that a reality.
Just by thinking it, believing it and seeing it, imagining it, you have already created this as a possibility for you.
So the only permission you need is yours.
Who are you in the process of becoming?
I am in the process of becoming somebody who creates a scalable coaching business. I am in the process of becoming a coach who creates $250,000 and more in annual revenues. And I love just thinking about who I am in the process of becoming.
Take, for example, you can become somebody who has as much money as you want.
I like to think about what would it be like for me to just have an extra $20,000 in my bank account? It’s just sitting there in my checking account. It’s just sitting there, sitting pretty, and when I go to my checking account, I see it, it’s just there. And I’m like, yeah, that’s a possibility and I am in the process of becoming somebody who has created that result.
So my next question for you to help create a future focus is: What results do you want for yourself in the future?
And this is a big question that a lot of people, surprisingly, struggle with. 9 out of 10 times when I ask my clients, “What do you want for yourself?” the first words out of their mouth are “I don’t know.”
So I want you to take some time and just write down what do I want for myself?
I want to have more money.
I want to be a leader in the industry.
I want to be promoted.
What you want is, I think, something that is sacred. And when you can want something and feel good about wanting it, it’s just magical.
And the secret to this magic is to want what you want from a place of abundance, not scarcity.
And you would know if you’re in a scarcity mindset because you’re thinking, “You know, if I make more money, than it means someone else makes less money and that makes me feel bad. If I win, that means someone has to lose.”
In other words, you’re thinking in a win/lose mindset, a zero-sum game.
You’re thinking there’s only a fixed and limited amount of good things in the world and I shouldn’t be the one to hog it all. I don’t deserve what I want.
The impact of you bringing a scarcity mindset to a strategic conversation is that it results in you bringing a past focus. It results in you thinking, “Well, I did x, so give me y.” It results in you creating this sort of win/lose mindset that can create a haggling situation as opposed to a win/win conversation.
So the alternative to this is to come from a place of abundance, to want what you want and feel good because you’re coming from the mindset of there’s always more and the abundance only grows.
Now, these are two diametrically opposed mindsets and it’s totally okay for us to sort of struggle in terms of straddling from all of our thinking, having been in this scarcity mindset and we’re now trying to cross what I call the River of Misery and really think and believe from an abundance mindset. That’s where I am. And that’s where most of us are because most of us have a human brain, most of us are predisposed to think in scarcity and it takes effort, it takes mental focus to consciously choose to think in an abundance mindset.
In other words, belief is a choice. It’s a choice that takes effort.
And I have been practicing this abundance mindset for a few years now, just a few years since I’ve become a coach, and it has created a tremendous impact in my life, in my thinking, in how I feel, and in the results I create because I now do believe and I do think that when I make more money, when I have created that amazing, scalable business, when I do just have that $20,000 just sitting in my checking account, sitting pretty, my clients get to make more money because when I’m more successful, it means that I get to invest more into making this business scalable, successful, impactful, and that creates positive results in the people I work with.
The work I do changes lives. I mean, right now, I have clients who have generated 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars increase in salary. Just imagine what else is possible if I can grow as a person, as a coach, as a business person.
Imagine the impact that you can make if your abundance only grows and grows.
I think about my mother a lot because I kind of have learned my scarcity mindset from her but, at the same time, I’ve also learned the impact of what happens when women win, when women economically, when women make money.
There’s research that’s quoted by Clinton Global Institute that women around the world in developing countries, when they make money, they invest 90% of it back into their families and that means it goes back into their communities. So, when women win, the world wins.
And my mother showed this to me with her example, even though she taught me a lot of scarcity mindset by her example, she also taught me that when she made money, she made sure it went toward children. We got it. We got it in terms of food, in terms of rent, in terms of clothing, in terms of education, right?
When women win, families, communities, the world wins.
So, when you win, we all win.
It’s a win/win game.
And that is the abundance mindset that is so important for you to bring to yourself, to your future focus, to your strategic conversation.
It’s so powerful when you come to this conversation, let’s say a salary negotiation, with the mindset of There’s plenty of good things in the world. There’s plenty of value that I can create. And there’s plenty of money to go around. And I’m worthy of what I want. I’m worthy of the value I create. I’m worthy of the money I earn.
Just imagine the power of believing it and bringing it with you to the conversation.
This is a tough one to really believe.
I know because I’ve coached my smart, ambitious women around it. It’s so tough but you can believe it if you practice it, if you want to believe it.
A lot of us, a lot of us who are smart, a lot of us who are ambitious, we feel like we need to struggle. We feel like we need to strive, you know?
Again, this is the example I learned from my mother: you gotta strive, you gotta work hard, you gotta put in that extra effort, there’s virtue in working hard.
And of course, this is all great. There’s nothing wrong with that. Working hard feels great.
But if we approach it from a scarcity mindset, there’s only a limited amount of good things and we’re not really sure we’re really worthy of it, so maybe we shouldn’t have what we want. Underneath, there’s the fear that we’re not worthy of our success, which leads to tension, which leads to stress, which leads to subconscious stress, this cognitive dissonance.
But what if you can imagine the person you are currently in the process of becoming? What if you can imagine your future self and you can imagine your future self with absolute love, unconditional love?
And when I ask my clients to imagine their future self, who is successful, who is worthy and when I ask them, “What emotion does your future self feel?”, they almost always say “Present. Calm. In the moment.”
And so this is really fascinating because, the more we think about our future self, the more we think about who we are in the process of becoming, the more we think to believe that we are worthy of what we want for ourselves in the future, we come back into the present. We become present. Now.
This leads to my third question: How can you be your future self now? How can you live into that future vision now? And how can you bring that future self to this strategic conversation?
How would your successful vision of you in the future, what does she look like? How does she hold herself? How does she show up to a strategic conversation?
Would she sit tall? Might she make eye contact? And might she think, “You know, what I want is a done deal because I can imagine the future and it’s amazing and it’s great and I’m worthy of it,” and so it’s not such a big deal that you ask for what you want because you’re coming from a place of abundance, you’re coming from a place of worthiness.
And so another way to think about it is kind of like you’re reverse engineering your future self into the now. You imagine your future, you live into it because what you imagine for the future is what you bring now because when you imagine the future, you feel the emotions now. Just like when you imagine, or when you think about the past, you feel those emotions now. So it’s always what you think now, whether that’s the past or the future.
And the option that I want to offer you is that you can come from an abundance, from a place of worthiness and luxuriate, enjoy what you want, feel good in what you want.
And when you do that, it’s not such a big deal if you’re in this strategic conversation and you encounter some pushback, you hear no, it’s not such a big deal because in the future, you know it’s a done deal. It’s just a small stumbling block right now and you can deal with it.
What couldn’t you ask for? What couldn’t be able to say with honesty if you really came from a place of love, abundance, worthiness, from the future?
So, if you enjoy this, if you enjoyed listening about your future focus and how to bring this future focus to your strategic conversation, I want to invite you to my exclusive six-week coaching program that I’ve just created for women who are ambitious, women who want to become braver leaders and braver leaders who are better paid.
It’s a six-week program.
In the first week, we’re going to explore what’s not working for you.
The second week, we explore that compelling vision of your future.
The third week we talk about emotional mastery because emotional mastery creates negotiation mastery.
And then week four, we talk about how to cut through the drama with your emotional mastery. Week five we talk about your conscious leadership, we put all the elements together.
And then week six it all comes together for us to hone in on the intentional outcomes, the results that you want to create with your leadership, with your mastery of emotions and negotiation.
So, if you are interested and you want to schedule a quick consult to see if this might be a good fit for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you and I will talk to you again next week.