Ep #100: How I Used This Podcast to Uncover My Unique Leadership Brand (and How You Can Too)
Welcome to episode #100 of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer!
I created this podcast to teach you the exact skills you need to master to scale yourself to the executive level and change the way business is run from the C-Suite out.
But over the course of recording these 100 episodes, I have learned some very important lessons, too.
And to celebrate this major milestone, I will be sharing one of the most powerful of these lessons with you today.
Uncovering and refining your unique leadership brand is one of the fastest – and most fulfilling – ways to start showing up as a senior executive leader.
Producing this podcast has also been the perfect exercise for me to refine and communicate my own core values and what I stand for as a leader.
And in this episode, I will be sharing both inspiring and highly practical ways that YOU can begin to own your own leadership brand.
Because when you understand what you truly stand for and how you want to lead, it’s going to be so much easier to show the value you bring to your organization (and others).
If you want to step into a higher leadership position, receive the recognition you deserve, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work, and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy, then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Register here for book release updates, specials, and bonus content – delivered straight to your inbox.
What You'll Learn:
- The importance of finding your unique leadership brand
- Why you need to understand your ‘isms’ as a leader
- Examples of my own ‘isms’ and how they are rooted in everything I teach
- How to be consistent with your leadership brand
- Leadership brand examples from real executive leaders
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #1: How a Promotion is NOT a Reward for your Hard Work
- Ep #2: Why You Should Stop Doing What You’re Good At
- Ep #3: How to Become a Walking Billboard for Your Desires
- Ep #72: Executive Advocacy with Kim Blue
- Simon Sinek
- Leave me a review on iTunes
- Receive updates and specials for Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite by signing up for the Promotions Made Easy email list
- Connect with me on LinkedIn and send me your thought leadership quote
- Join my 6-week group coaching intensive Executive Ahead of Time
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I am your host, Stacy Mayer, and super excited to be here with you this week as we celebrate my 100th podcast episode. I'm so excited. Oh, my goodness, this is a huge, huge, huge milestone. As we know most podcasts don't make it past 20 episodes; and there are thousands and thousands of podcasts out there that you can choose from, so I owe this one hundredth episode to you, the listener. The people who are doing the work that I'm talking about and sharing on this podcast. The people who are sharing this podcast with their friends and letting other people know about this valuable message. The people who are also on board with my mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by doubling the number of women in the C-Suite each and every year worldwide - I am so, so thrilled.
And then, as any good coach would say, I also want to take ownership for myself, for doing the work, for putting this podcast out there, for starting before I was ready. I had no idea what the next hundred episodes were going to be about. All I had was a general outline for episodes number 1, 2 and 3, and I just got started. I remember thinking when I was doing episode number 1, that it was going to take a lot of effort. I think episode number 1 was seven minutes long. That's how long the content was. I wrote out every single word. It took me hours to prepare for it. I was nervous when I was recording it and I thought, 'Oh my goodness, I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep doing this for another couple of years.'.
And sure enough, here I am two years later, still doing the podcast - 100 episodes - and let me tell you, it gets easier. It gets so much easier. And actually, it got easier, faster than I even expected. So, once I got really clear on what it was that I wanted to share with you guys, once I got clear on what was resonating with you, I couldn't actually stop talking and just couldn't wait to record every single podcast every week. And I'm not lying. I know that not every podcast host feels that way, but for me, this is literally the joy of my life, and I'm so grateful to bring this to you every single week.
So, I just want to celebrate today with you guys and talk about the 100 episodes, things that I have learned; and then also share with you some of the ideas and concepts that came specifically out of this podcast, and how you can start to create those own thoughts, and ideas to develop your own thought leadership. But in the spirit of celebration, before we get into today's episode, I want to share a couple of the reviews that really just stand out to me and warm my heart. One of the reviews - and I don't have it word for word in front of me - is basically the dozens of people who have reached out to me and told me that they got promoted simply because of what I share on my podcast. And it brings so much joy to my heart. I am so grateful to have this platform to be able to give these tools to you for free every single week and then I'm grateful that it works. I know that what I teach works. I see it work all of the time, but it takes another person like you to actually implement it. So that is the biggest, best review that I ever received for this podcast - is the emails, the notes - I have people who will book a strategy session with me just because they want to tell me how much I've changed their life. So, I just really want to say thank you to that.
And to that extent, I want to share with you one of the 5-star reviews that we received on iTunes and says 'Stacy is the real deal. I was searching for a podcast that would show me the way to the C-Suite and stumbled upon this one. Stacy knocked my socks off and completely changed my perspective. Every single episode has actionable nuggets and real-life examples. I've had great success so far by acting on the advice she provides. If her podcast is this good, I can only imagine how great her other offerings are.' And that's what I'm talking about - you guys are getting so much from this podcast and really being able to implement it and the work that I teach and I'm just I'm so thrilled to be able to give this to you. So that's my celebration. You can imagine a bunch of balloons in the background. I'm going to have to go to the balloon store and pick those out because my children would absolutely love that. But we're going to have to get a '100' balloon and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate because this is a really big deal.
And for those of you who have been working on your own milestones, I want you to continue to celebrate that and really take the pride and joy for something that perhaps two years ago felt really complicated and difficult, like having a conversation with your boss's boss or your CEO or creating a career development plan and actually taking steps to progress that forward, pulling yourself out of the weeds, speaking to the vision when it felt very uncomfortable at first. It does, does, does get easier with time, but we have to start. And so that's what you're doing today. You're starting on this path with me. And for many of you - you have been a listener for the last hundred episodes and I'm super, super grateful.
So, I talked about some of the lessons learned inside of this podcast over the last hundred episodes. That's what I want to share with you in today's episode, and I'm going to share with you a couple of quotes. And these are quotes of mine. These are things that I say on a regular basis, but I want to also share with you my process for coming up with these quotes, and then, how I use these quotes in my coaching. And the reason why I say that is because as you're listening to this episode, what I want you to start to do is start to understand what your quotes are. So, before I get into the actual quotes themselves, I want to talk a little bit about the importance of understanding what you stand for - and for lack of a better word - your leadership brand.
Now this is something that you see in executive leaders all the time. You see what they stand for - you see their core values. You understand what their particular mission is as an executive leader. And you've probably heard or had the desire to put together a quote-unquote elevator pitch for yourself. If you were stuck in the elevator with somebody, what would you say to them in a quick 'This is what I do'; and I don't really work with my graduates of Executive Ahead of Time on elevator pitches. That's not something that I do. But in my higher-level programs, I do talk a lot about leadership brand. And so, I wanted to just get your wheels turning as you're listening to today's episode - what is your particular leadership brand and why is that so important?
So now I'm going to speak to why is that so important? The importance is because, as the subject-matter expert, your work did in fact speak for itself. So, you could do your work and people would refer to you - and this is more like the traditional elevator pitch where it's like, 'This is what I do. I am the head of product engineering and I have launched these three products in the last year'. So those types of deliverables, your subject-matter expertise - It might even involve a title or literally the work that you do. So, all of that falls under your subject-matter expertise, your job, so to speak. And as you start to move into executive leadership, it's important to really see yourself as this valuable leader as this asset to your organizations. And one of the fastest ways that we can start to do that is to develop our leadership brand - to really understand why we're unique, why we stand out as an executive leader. And this is going to translate into everything that you do. So, as you're interviewing for another role, as you're applying for C-Suite jobs - when you understand what you truly stand for and how you lead, you are better going to be able to show the value that you bring to your particular organization.
And here's the kicker. This is not just fluff, it's not just something you do so that you can get a job. It actually helps you be more successful as the executive leader. So just like your subject-matter expertise helps you be successful now, you know what you're good at, you also know what you're not good at. You know what you have to outsource and where you need support in certain areas. And you also know where you can go really deep. When you start to understand your leadership brand, you do the same thing. You understand where you can go really deep. You understand where it's important to outsource. You understand where you need to shine, what your strengths are. You understand how to communicate with other executives, how to communicate with your board, how to communicate with your CEO. You understand how to make better, faster decisions at your organization. So, all of that leadership brand helps you become that better executive leader.
So now let me explain a little bit of my own process and how I've developed my own brand as an executive leader of my own company and how I lead all of you. And then you can start to apply some of these tools to yourself. So, I am a person who learns by doing and I take action first. I like to learn through experience, and trial and error, and I definitely evaluate along the way. I make choices. I pivot - different things like that. But the biggest thing that I want to say to you is that I am very prone to taking action and really starting before I'm ready. So that is something that I've just always done really well and then learned from that. So, let's go back in time, a couple of years ago when I started the podcast. I actually had already had a coaching business for several years and I had been coaching women to get promoted. That was all very clear. And I had this thought that it would be super cool to have quote cards on my social media. So, if you guys are following me on LinkedIn, you know that I have a lot of valuable content that I share directly on LinkedIn as well. And one of those things that I thought is that it would be really cool to have these memes or quote cards or something that I stand for. And the best that I could do - at the time - is actually take other people's quotes. So, I would hear a quote from Simon Sinek and then I would post it on my LinkedIn page. And many of you are at that place. You know what thought leaders resonate with you. You know what concepts resonate with you. You read a book. You see something. You put it into a quote-unquote quote card, and then shove it up on social media. And this is what you stand for - and that's good. I get that. I understand the value of that. That's the place I had to start.
But I also gave it up very quickly, and here's the reason why. I did the quote cards, and I realized that in terms of executive leadership, these quote cards were going to get me nowhere. Basically, what I was saying was that I admire other people for what they do. And I knew that the transition for me was going to have to be, 'I admire myself for what I do'. This is the work that I bring to the table, not just admiring other people. And that takes time to figure out what I stand for. And so that's why I'm sharing with you in this podcast so that you can start to figure out, if you don't know already, exactly what you stand for. What are your '-isms'? What would your quote cards say?
And so, two years ago, a hundred episodes before now, I had no idea; and I felt quite honestly a little bit of shame around that I thought I’ve been coaching these women - they are getting promoted. I have some testimonials. I have things that other people say about me -so maybe that's a place to start; and I would sort of move around and try different things, but nothing really resonated with me. And so, it always kind of fell flat at the end of the day. So now fast forward to January of 2020, when I started my podcast, and like I said, I only had the first three episodes. I had a basic concept of what I wanted to talk about, and then I just dove right in and started it. Well, lo and behold, I started to create quote cards that were literally coming from what I was talking about. And now for me, it's really easy because I record my podcast episode, I can look at a transcription of my podcast episode. I can see literally what are the words that stand out in that podcast episode, and I can turn them into a quote card. That's it.
And so through taking action, through actually sharing my message - I developed quote cards. Now, does it matter to have quote cards? Not really. Like I said, quote cards in and of themselves are not very important. But what does matter -and this goes back to you in terms of your leadership brand - is 1) understanding and really thinking about what are those things that I say all the time. What are my '-isms'? What are the things that people actually repeat that I say? These are some of the questions that you can start to ask yourself as you want to think about your own unique leadership brand.
And I'm going to give you some tools on how to actually come up with that. But that's basically what we're doing is we're just sort of creating a lens and some awareness to 'what are the things that I repeatedly say,' and then 'what do other people say back to me'? And we're actually turning those into quotes. So, this is going to involve you writing this down. So, you're not recording a podcast episode, but you're thinking about it. And this last week, what was something that I said over and over and over again in the last month? Even if you did this once a month and you sort of think back and then you can paraphrase it a little bit; but we're starting to create quotes of ourselves. And again, like I said, this isn't like wishful quotes like 'I wish I sounded like this'. I wish I sounded like Simon Sinek. I wish I sounded like Oprah Winfrey. No, these are not wishful quotes. These are true to what is actually coming out of your mouth, and they can be very mundane at first. So, I want to share with you some of the quotes that I have found that have really stood out, stood the test of time for me. These are things that I learned literally through this podcast and then also what my clients inside of my advanced programs are continuously quoting.
When they say, 'Stacey says', or 'like Stacey always says', so that's what I'm listening for is what are those things that are really resonating for you. And then also what is very obvious? So, as I share with you some of these quotes from myself, I don't want to have to explain them to you. And I'm going to try really hard not to explain it to you too much, but it kind of reminds me of - if you have to explain a joke, it's not a very good joke. So, I'm going to try, and hopefully these quotes stand on their own. That's another quality of finding your leadership brand is that it doesn't need to be over explained. It just is. We're like, 'Oh, I get that'. So that's my experiment right now - is how can I deliver these quotes to you and see if you get it?
So, the first quote that was very obvious to me was 'a promotion is not a reward for your hard work'. A promotion is not a reward for your hard work. So, think about it, do you understand that quote? Does it make sense to you? And then it's like, 'Well, yeah, I get it', and then you could think about it even longer and start to unpack it even more. That is why quotes are inspirational, because you get it immediately and you're sort of like, 'Oh, and I can continue to think on this quote a little bit more'. So that's one that I love. I just said it out loud one day on my podcast and then I was like, 'That's a keeper.' And I've been saying it ever since because it really is what I stand for and it's everything that I teach.
Another quote from me is Right time, right place is not something that just happens - it is something that you create. Right time, right place is not something that just happens, it is something that you create. Now I'm realizing, as I'm sharing these quotes with you, that it's really hard not to explain them, but hopefully that stands on its own. That stands the test of time. You can think about it. You can figure out what it means to you. And it's also rooted in everything that I teach and share on this podcast.
Another quote of mine is ‘always be interviewing’. Always be interviewing. And usually with that one, I do end up explaining it a little bit more, but I'm going to refrain from that today. But just kind of think about it - what would that mean to you to always be interviewing? And I guess I will explain just a little bit is that by interviewing, it's formal, informal, internal, external, there's all kinds of things here. So maybe that quote will end up becoming a little bit deeper. I'll change it and shift it a little bit more so that it's even more clear.
Another quote that I always say, and people always repeat is ‘stop failing ahead of time’. Stop failing ahead of time. And my favorite thing about this quote is - this is the quote that I tell myself the most. Am I failing ahead of time? And a great example of this is - I have a book coming out on November 30th, and I have this gut instinct to be like, 'Well, I hope it does well. Well, I hope it does good'; and it's like all of that is failing ahead of time. So, stop failing ahead of time.
And then the fourth quote that I wrote down for myself that often gets repeated and it's something that I say over and over again is 'people who trigger you are the most predictable people'. People who trigger you are the most predictable people. So, this kind of goes in line with managing your emotions. And if you think about it, just like really think about it, is that true? And then - if that's the case, what do I do about it? So, these are all fantastic quotes, and they're not just fantastic quotes because I said them; but they also say something about me and what I teach and who I am as a leader. They point to my core values and then they also provide inspiration and direction. So, this is why it is so imperative to start to think about what you're '-isms' are.
What are your quotes? What are the things that people constantly repeat and say that you do? And then, now the next level is - say it more often. So, once you uncover - just in my day to day - you're just going to start to look at: what are the things I do in my week and what people say about me consistently. And then you're actually going to start saying those words out loud, you know, sort of like, 'as I always say' - you know, things like that.
So let me give you some examples, and these are examples of executive leaders that I have worked with, interviewed on this podcast, bosses of some of my clients because I always do stakeholder interviews. So, these are actual executive leaders and the quotes that they tend to use frequently to describe their leadership brand. So, here's one of them, is that 'I'm always going to be the voice of the consumer'. I'm always going to be the voice of the consumer. And for this particular executive - how she was describing it was -she realized that that was her style. That was her thing. That was her brand - that she was the voice of the consumer. And then other executives would look to her to ask her questions because they knew that she would always point out the consumer. So, we would get, as she was saying, she would get really caught up in the work and the details and what they were delivering and oftentimes the other leaders would forget about the consumer. And this is also how she led her team. It's also - they knew that if they were going to bring her into a room, she was going to call them out on 'are they looking at the consumer or are they just thinking about themselves and completing this project?'. And so that really became her leadership brand. She owned it, and then she started to use it to her advantage. Can you see how that is so much more powerful than an elevator pitch? That's like, 'This is what I do'. No, I am the voice of the consumer. And then also that translates into any other role, the executive-level role that she gets at any company in any particular domain. She doesn't have to be that subject-matter expert in that area because she knows how to consistently look out for the consumer.
Another quote that I have, and this is actually one of my graduates who is also a senior executive leader, and she often says, 'focus on what you can control'. And this has become her leadership brand. It's how she guides her team. It's how she made decisions throughout the pandemic. It's how she communicates with her CEO, and she literally uses those words - come out of her mouth- on a regular basis. She says she reminds people to focus on what they can control. And then it instantly tells people what they should do. So, this is her quote card. This is what she stands for - it's very clear to me when I hear her say that - who she is as an executive leader, it's her executive level brand.
I also found a quote from one of my interviews on this podcast, and I have lots of quotes from the executives that I interview on this podcast - really wonderful, brilliant quotes. And this one stood out to me. It's from Kim Blue, who I interviewed on executive advocacy, and her quote was 'allow me to be the foundation on which you can be great'. And she just said this in the episode - it didn't even sound so - it just sounded like something that she just says on the regular. It wasn't like this fantastic quote, but really, if you look at it by itself, 'Allow me to be the foundation on which you can be great'. If I had an executive leader that had that attitude; that basically said and made decisions and acted in this way. I want to work for that person. I want to promote that person. I want her to rise the executive ranks. I know what she stands for - I understand her core values. And a lot of times as women in particular, we're told that we need to take credit for our work. And so, it becomes very difficult because we're such compassionate team players. And in this particular quote, she sounds like a powerful leader. She doesn't sound like somebody who defers responsibility to her team and doesn't take credit. She, one hundred percent, is taking credit. But she's also saying to her team and the other leaders at the organization, 'Allow me to be the foundation on which you can be great'.
So, start to come up with those quote cards. I want you - I really want to challenge you to first think about what are the things that I say on a regular basis when, especially when I am really, truly acting as an executive leader. What are the quotes that people remind me of, that say about me in terms of leadership? What are the things that people are consistently saying? And what is it that I really want to be known for - What do I want to stand for? What do I want to care about? And once you start to unpack that a little bit for yourself, then you can really start sharing those quotes with other people. And you can just say them in conversation. If you're having a 15-minute ally meeting with your boss's boss's boss, you can say I am traditionally the voice of the consumer. And then she will get it - she will know what you stand for.
So that's my encouragement for you, and I would also love to hear from you in two ways. So, you've been listening to this podcast for a while. I definitely want to encourage you to go on to iTunes - leave me a review. We need these next one hundred episodes to get into as many hands as possible. And one of the ways that we're going to do that is by your reviews and you're spreading the message about this podcast. So, leave a review, or share it to your LinkedIn page if this podcast really resonates with you, as I know that it does, because that's why I'm still doing it. And then secondly, I would also love to hear from you in terms of: what is your quote? And I'm happy to start collecting these quotes and sharing these quotes and posting about you and your quotes and your leadership as much as possible. Because basically, what I'm doing is recruiting corporate badasses like you who are ready and are able to get promoted into those higher-level executive positions. Because the only way I am going to get to my mission of doubling the number of women in the C-Suite each and every year worldwide is through you - for you doing the work, for you spreading my message and getting more and more women promoted. So, thank you so much for listening. I'm thrilled to see what happens in these next hundred episodes and have a wonderful week. Bye.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.