Ep #145: Why Women Need to Go For the ‘BIG, Happy, Holy WOW Money’ with Serena Hicks
Most of the corporate badasses I work with are motivated to advance their career so they can make a big, bold, beautiful impact in their organizations and the world.
And that’s great. I’m here to make a game-changing impact too.
But…while you’re out there being a complete badass and changing the way business is run from the C-Suite out, I want you to remember two things:
1. You deserve an incredible title to match the incredible leader you are becomin
2. You deserve to be paid handsomely for it, too
That’s why I invited my very dear friend, Serena Hicks, onto this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer.
Serena is an exceptional human being, a smasher of the patriarchy, and an all around total corporate badass in her own right.
She’s also a Black biracial money mindset mentor who teaches folks how to come into the right relationship with money by first coming into the right relationship with themselves.
In this episode, she drops some truth bombs on us about the connection between earning a lot more money for ourselves AND rapidly increasing our ability to become the leaders (and the change) we want to see in the world.
Hit play and get ready for lots of giggles, a few swears, and a big dose of badassery.
Want to receive the recognition you deserve, step into a higher leadership position, 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. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- Why change is always an inside job
- Why you need to become an investigator of your own career
- How to use money as a tool for transformation
- How to build trust by asking for more
- How your own career and financial success paves the way for other women to succeed
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Join Serena’s Boom Boom Room
- Listen to BIG Happy Money with Serena Hicks
- Join Serena’s newsletter
- Read Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
- Connect with Serena on Facebook
- Follow Serena on Instagram
- Follow me on Instagram
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join my group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
- Get your copy of my book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Go to StacyMayer.com/Strategies to join my email list and receive my email series, Seven Promotion Strategies that Your Boss Won’t Tell You
Stacy Mayer: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and I'm incredibly excited to be here with you this week with a very dear friend of mine, an exceptional human being, a smasher of the patriarchy, and just an all around corporate badass in her own right. And we're going to be talking to her today, and I just can't wait to share her wisdom with you. And let's just dive right in, because we've just already been giggling and getting so excited about all of the badassery that we want to share with you today. Thank you, Serena, for being here.
Serena Hicks: hank you for having me, Stacy. Yay, hello.
Stacy Mayer: And there might be a lot of. Yes, yes, there might be a lot of giggling and possibly swearing in today's episode. Who knows? We're going to see what happens. Let me give a formal bio for Serena and then we're just going to dive right in.
Serena Hicks is the black biracial money mindset mentor, who teaches folk how to come into right relationship with money because it requires that they first come in to write respectful relationship with themselves. Serena teaches and lives into Big, Happy, Holy Wow money as a way to free herself and others from patriarchal programming about what money is, who has it, and what is possible. Thank you, Serena. Thank you so much. Yay!
Serena Hicks: Oh, my God. Thank you for having me. Hello and welcome to all of your listeners to the Stacy and Serena Show. We were just talking a lot, and before we started, I was like, hold on, I'm going to get a little more coffee because it's a wild week in my world. So, I'm currently hopped up on caffeine at almost 5 p.m. local time. Prepare thyself.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, my God. Talk about a wild week. So today we're actually recording this on August 31st. And I was actually at an Executive Ahead of Time coaching call today and I was telling them that I'm I was starting to say, I can't believe it's September. And then I actually said, thank God it's September because I have had an absolutely wild August, as my listeners to this podcast know, I had COVID this month. I had my children for some reason didn't go back to school until yesterday. So like the rest of the country has been in school for a couple of weeks and I'm still home with it and I'm like: aahhh!
Serena Hicks: Okay, that's a lot. And also we were supposed to hang out, so I'm still sad about your timing.
Stacy Mayer: Yes, exactly. She came out here to California and I was just like: no, we need to stay. We need to hang out. Let's do it again.
Serena Hicks: Yes.
Stacy Mayer: So tell us, Serena, as I ask all of my guests, what are some of your secrets to success?
Serena Hicks: I first want to offer that, I think perhaps one of the biggest secrets to my success. And it's not exactly where so-called success, by the way, because like: what is success, you guys? Success is loving yourself and self validating, not letting the world tell you who you are, but you deciding. But fairly quickly, actually, somewhere in December of 2020, I had a over $100,000 cash collected month and I've been a coach for basically a year. So it was a BFD big effing deal friends. And how that happened has stayed with me, which is ultimately I recognize that I'm an example of what is possible and this is absolutely not about me. This is about everyone who sees possibility in me or sees themselves in me. And what I mean by that is it's hard to be what you don't see. Many of us, especially your listeners, how many female CEOs do they see? How many female leaders do they see? It's hard to see yourself doing what you haven't seen someone else do. Representation matters for all of us.
And when I plugged in to or surrendered to pending, pending my word choice that day, the fact that my success is not mine alone. First of all, it's never mine alone. We never build anything individually. That is a patriarchal illusion. Rugged individualism. But secondly, when I realized my success paves the way for other people's success, my success normalizes what is possible for other people. That for me is a big fucking deal. That's a game changer. That's when it was like, This is not just about me. This is about not just young people behind me. This is this is about us.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. Just yeah. Speaking of and we a lot of the women in Executive Ahead of Time got to bear witness to Jennifer, who's part of our group, just got promoted to chief sales officer. And we're really celebrating that after three years. I started working with her three years ago, vice president, senior vice president, now chief sales officer, and she's at her sales kickoff and there's a line of women. She said, Stacy, they're asking to take their picture with me. It's unbelievable.
Serena Hicks: Yeah, I have full body chills and also. Jennifer. Yeah, exactly. I know, right?
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, it's it's a big deal what we're doing.
Serena Hicks: Yes. And everyone, shout out to Jennifer all week. But whatever position for all of your listeners don't lose sight. Your story is significant every step of the way. Every promotion that you get, however you identify racially, gender wise, age wise, like you are an example of what is possible and not to the point that you should burn yourself out because the world does not need another overextended woman with our full, all full. But to be an example of yeah, a well bound reed woman, a well paid woman, a well supported woman. Can we get more, please?
Stacy Mayer: Yes. Yes, please. Yes. Oh, my goodness. Oh, thank you so much.
Serena Hicks: Yeah, you're welcome. I want to answer. So that's my major thing. I think the other so called secret to my success is I was mostly just over broke. Mostly mostly broke. I had enough except for that time. I filed bankruptcy in 2008, but mostly I was broke for my adult life and my big brother passed away in 2018 at 47 years old from cancer, and I was over-drinking and overeating and perpetually single. And in my grief, newly pushed out of my last corporate job. I had a real personal reckoning. And the short version was I realized this is not a dress rehearsal and we get one life. And I realized something was off because I was way too smart and had prestigious jobs. I worked with phenomenal leaders at MTV News, and worked in television for years. I've done special events and I was like, something's not adding up. I should have more money than I do as a 40 year old woman at the time, with my resume, with my skill set, with my network of friends. And I realized. Something is off. And I it was a happy accident.
But the shortest version is I ended up hiring with money I really didn't have. Just so we're clear. But remember, that was the whole point, hence the hire, a money mindset mentor because I realize I should have so much more money if money were based on merit, if money were based on intelligence, if money were based on willing to roll up sleeves and get in there, if money were based on willingness to pull all nighters, if money if money matched heart, I was like, if, if any of that were true, I'd be a billionaire. And that is not true and that's why I hired a money mindset mentor and then joke on me. It took me years to figure it out, but I'm like, Oh, this is my sacred work. Got it.
But I recognized we live in a capitalist society and I think that I can effect change much more powerfully being a player, for lack of better terminology, then being as broke as I was for many years.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, exactly. Because that's that change. It's not about you. It's about you're showing everyone else what's an example of what's possible.
Serena Hicks: And one of the things that I talk about, and I'm sure this is something your listeners are probably hopefully consciously doing and if not consciously cultivate this paying a living wage. When I think of your listeners and your clients, I imagine them being in positions where they are advocating for things like: yeah, we do the right thing as a company. Yes, we always pay living wages. And not to be ugly, just to be very honest, like people in charge have not have not prioritized that in the last few years. They prioritize profits over actual people. And I think when people hear those words, they think like, oh, lol, money doesn't matter. I argue of course it matters. But one of the reasons I like having piles of money and your clients being in positions, leadership positions, we get to be the policymakers. We get to say, okay, here's what health care looks like at this company. Here's how we pay. And it's not just piles of money until everyone goes broke, but it's not asking other people to give more than we get or excuse me, give more than we are giving to them, like making it reciprocal. And women, in particular being gatekeepers or stewarding is a better word, the circle of abundance, whether it's in corporate or entrepreneurial environment. I'm like, this is what will clean this hot mess of a world of women.
Stacy Mayer: Yes.
Serena Hicks: Women getting paid. Yeah. And I feel like... I guess there's always two sides to this and maybe we can talk about this for a minute in terms, of I'm really grateful that we have a lot more DEI initiatives in organizations. I'm glad that we're that there are other people fighting for us to get higher wages, to get equal pay and things like that. But I also what you spoke about is you were like: that was internal work. You said there's something off and I think the work that I'm doing in Executive Ahead of Time is: let's not wait for them to catch up with us. And then how do we do the work for ourselves?
We have to do the work for ourselves. All of the greatest spiritual leaders model this, all of the greatest leaders model this. And guys, I'm just like, It's always an inside job. So any time we are passing our power to another person when they fix the economy, when they see me for this, we're just abdicating our power and our responsibility, which certainly all of us raise as females. We're socialized to do. So we are not supposed to be in charge of our money. We're supposed to be happy they let us work lol.
So ridiculous. So I am 100% with you. And I am actually think of and I hope that your clients will agree with this and listeners same same community. I think of myself ultimately as an artist. I think of you as an artist. I call it my sacred work sometimes, but same, same in a corporate environment, it's giving what only we can give, seeing things through our point of view, using our collective history and our individual history. I don't know about you, but me and every leader I've ever met, we sometimes joke. Sometimes we're not joking about things like childhood trauma. And that really sucked and working on healing. But also, here's how it serves me as an adult. Here's how I could be an over caretaker. Except it's like, Yes, but when we put it in safe containers and are paid appropriately, it's not over caretaking. It's being a boss. And yes, yes, yes to what you said. It always starts on the inside. We take our power back as women and women of color and nonbinary humans, we take our power back when we decide we are in charge of our destiny, promotion, etc.
Stacy Mayer: So we decide we're in charge of our destiny. We ask for it. Sometimes I'm realizing that when I first started this, I was inspired by a small handful of women that I was working with in women's leadership who were actually asking they were directly asking for promotions, directly asking for raises, still not receiving them, many of them choosing to leave the corporate world as a result. This is not for me. So okay. So we're willing to do that. We're willing to put ourselves out there, but something still doesn't add up. So then where do we go? What do we do next?
Serena Hicks: I think that energy shifts and we can also talk about money as an energy next, but energy shifts when we take charge of something. So I think there's two different ways you can ask. And I know that you're a mom, so I'm going to exploit that situation. And for all of your momma listeners, I'm a cat mom. Same thing. Different, but not different. There's the asking as in they may say no and we may feel disappointed or we may feel ashamed and we'll stop asking. And there's the type of asking that's like, If you can't get me what I need, that's okay. I'm going to find what I need.
Stacy Mayer: Yes, yes.
Serena Hicks: Like Mama Bear energy. Like, please forgive my cheesy, easy example, you guys. If a mom has a sick kid and first doctor is like, I'm full, can't see your kid. Mom doesn't just go home and grieve. This is sad. Nobody's helping. Mom is like, next doctor. Next doctor. Gotta phone a friend. Mom is on it. And when we take our power back, asking for a raise, asking for a promotion, like absolutely one of the steps. But if they say no, it's not like game over. It's like, okay, now what do I do? What's my next step? And maybe it isn't even leaving the company like it doesn't mean. Oh, then I got to leave. It's just a matter of. Holding our part in it, which is our power in it. Meaning if you ask once and they say, no, that's not game over, that just means they didn't get it.
Serena Hicks: Yes, exactly.
Stacy Mayer: Exactly. One of the things that I teach is that if you're being told that you can't have a promotion or a raise or whatever, this is one of the first places that I look is like, why don't they see me as an executive leader? They actually and I know you have a really great story about this, too. But it's this perception. It's not because you aren't a great executive leader. It's not because you're not worthy of that. And so I think when we take ownership, then what we do is we become these investigators first and we start to say: oh, okay. Is it is it just because this is a jerky company and they're never going to give me what I'm worth or can I start to shift perception? And then here's the beauty is when you do shift that perception and you're like , no, you know what? A lot of people here see me as an executive leader. I do know exactly what I'm doing. Then you're like, I'm out. If they're not going to give you what you want, but now you're taking that with you. That leadership with you.
Serena Hicks: Yup, leadership.
I have two stories that just lit my body on fire listeners. I hope you like stories. I like stories. Okay. First one is the corporate one. Next one is about Prince, because Prince is just a gift from God. Okay. The corporate one, I really wish I could name names. Please forgive me. Please give me community. That's not my strong suit and I'm not going to pull it up on the computer right now.
But years ago I remember reading an article by The Big Boss Chairman, whatever it is that the company that owns Estee Lauder and he was talking about, he just made an appointment. I think she was the new president. Maybe she was the new CEO. But it was a big brouhaha because it's probably around 2010, 2015, and she was a she CEO. And what this big boss of Estee Lauder, who had just appointed her said was she's the first person I've hired who I've been scared of, as in I know that she's not afraid of getting fired. I know that if we go head to head on something? She'll leave if she's not happy. And I was so fascinated because I thought, oh, she's totally in a corporate role, but she's she is the captain of her own ship and destiny. And I love it. The chairman is even going on record being like I was somewhat scared to hire her because I know that she's not going to hold on to this job for life. If we leave, she'll go. She is not like, okay, this is it. Thanks so much. I need my retirement package. She had an energy that he was talking about and I think that you just articulated that so much. So I hope that story illustrates it even more for our community.
Stacy Mayer: And I want to add I another win to this is that one of our other recent C-suite promotions that when the CEO offered it to her, he actually said to her, I love the way you manage me. I was like, yes.
That's what I mean by this shifting perception of an executive leader. She's actually showing up as her CEOs, peers. She's saying, I have value to bring to the table. It's not that graspy, accept me or else.
Serena Hicks: No, and it's so abundant because, fun fact: money is just a tool for transformation and that it's just a symbol for everything else. That is the perfect segue way to the Prince story. I think I heard this from Jenn Shinjiro in her book or one of her, You are a badass books, plural. Here's the story. Prince was opening for the Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones loved Prince because the Rolling Stones are amazing. And Prince is amazing. He's opening for Rolling Stones. This is Prince. People didn't get it. So he was basically booed off stage as an opening act.
So after that concert, the Rolling Stones were like, Dude, we love you. You have to say you're the best. Do it again. We love you, he says. Okay, second show together. He's the opening act. Prince is booed off of stage. The Rolling Stones are like, We love you. We'll keep you forever. We know you're a phenomenal musician, Prince says. I know I'm a phenomenal musician as well. I have to resign. Because Prince decided, even opening act for the Stones just isn't the right fit. That audience didn't appreciate him, and he just decided, no. I know the Rolling Stones appreciate me, but their audience doesn't. And I'm not subjecting myself to that. Think of that self context.
Stacy Mayer: Gosh.
Serena Hicks: That's self validation. And this is we all know how it worked out with Prince. He's phenomenal. And yet this was before he was a big deal and yet he knew he was a big deal. And I just love...think of the courage it must have taken, especially the Rolling Stones and opening for them like the hottest ticket. I'm sure his manager, I'm sure his handlers were like, Prince, this is an opportunity for you.
Stacy Mayer: Exactly.
Serena Hicks: Can your clients relate? "This is an opportunity for you."
Stacy Mayer: Oh, my God.
Serena Hicks: People will see you. It means like, shut the front door. I'm out.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, no, totally. And I love that so much because I look at getting a promotion as one giant experiment into how do we find those spaces where we can really be ourselves, be our corporate better self? And, and so if we're, let's say we have a boss and we're not quite ready to leave that company yet and that boss is a toxic boss, then I actually they say, how do I solve that? What do I do? And I'm like, stop worrying about the boss and start putting yourself in rooms where you're inspired, where you're greatness is showing. And that might not be at your company. I also teach always be interviewing. Because it's showing us how are we in the market. Like, Oh, wait, no, I do have value. This is just one person who's kind of makes me feel icky. So get out.
Serena Hicks: I love that so much. And now I'm going to quote Jay-Z. Don't go with the flow. Be the flow.
Stacy Mayer: Oooo.
Serena Hicks: And I feel like, especially when we're stuck in a toxic relationship at work or anything, it's like we want to go with the flow. And it's like, no, no. And you also, as we were talking earlier, it's like, no, just don't go with the flow. Be the flow. Be the kind of person who walks into the room and. We come in to the energy. We do.
Stacy Mayer: Yes. So let's talk a little bit more about the flow of money. I love this and and how we can be in that energy.
Serena Hicks: Yes. Okay. So Stacy may already know this about me, you guys. But one of my fundamental beliefs is money moves to you because it wants to work through you. And when we are open to money. So money is an energy like love, like creativity. If you think of love, like think of someone you love and hugging them and think of how it amplifies even more love, whether it's hugging one of your babies or kid or your lover. When you're in love, there's only more love created from it. Creativity, likewise, is just an energy. Where do new songs come from? Where do new fashion ideas come from? Where do solutions in office environments come from? The unseen energy of creativity. Money is the same. Money requires a steward to come forward. So, like it can't just decide to manifest in your bank account. You have to be sort of a clear, open channel.
Hold that thought, everybody. And also just know that money is an unlimited resource like love and creativity. And I know that some people are like, this is weird, I don't understand, but I want to offer. All of the systems of oppression are built on a scarcity concept. If you think about who decided it was okay to enslave people, why? Why is it companies are like, we don't need to pay a minimum wage? It's all a concept of scarcity, i.e. we won't be able to turn a profit. We have to have low prices. We have to be competitive.
Serena Hicks: Scarcity breeds competition instead of collaboration. Scarcity breeds lowering our energy. And by energy I mean our creativity to solve a problem instead of aligning our energy and creativity to find a solution. And those are really different energies. Just like running away from a problem is really different than running towards something. And as it pertains to money in particular, people are. So let me just say that again. Super different energetic signature that most people understand. if you're running away from something that is different energetically than when you're running towards something, I'm sure a lot of your clients understand that concept as far as we don't want to run away from a bad job, we want to run towards a great fit. So money is same, same, and that so often people are running away from the idea of running out of it instead of running towards the concept that money is just trying to support you and work through you and fun fact it's unlimited. So when you start to integrate the idea that there's always more money, which so many men, so many men, not all men, but so many men have that concept. I think it's one of the reasons to get promotions and paid at the rate they do. Very often, at least in my experience in corporate America, you can tell me otherwise. The job description says up to 100,000 and the dude asks for 120 because he knows there's always more money.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah.
Serena Hicks: That it builds trust Like our pricing. So I'm obviously an entrepreneur, you guys. So for corporate queens, you're what you're asking for as far as compensation package. It doesn't break trust, it creates trust or it breaks trust if it's way too low. Because what you're ultimately telling the employer is you don't you don't value yourself.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Oh, wow. I thought she was totally a VP. And then she was like, ask for way too little money. And I have thankfully, I've actually had some women in HR be like, that's actually going to be way too low and they're going to look down on you. Don't do that. And that's great. And that's the change that we're wanting to see. That we start to look out for each other and we help each other out in that way. So I was just thinking about as you were talking about, okay, so you were always in your life just above broke. Which is actually pretty good because a lot of people spend their whole life being broke.
Serena Hicks: Yeah. Unfortunately, yes.
Stacy Mayer: So I think for a lot of the women that I meet, I mean, these are highly educated, actually very well paid in society. Maybe not at their company. They could still be very underpaid at their company and very often are, but in society when you're making 200 hundred and 400 thousand you should quote unquote just be happy. And I think that that is a lot of the story that goes on in their heads where they're like, but what I really want is to make an impact. What I really want is to be a good job. What I really want is to be respected. And I do make enough money.
Serena Hicks: Yeah. So that's just patriarchal programming. That's just women being socialized to take what we get and say thank you. Be a good guest at the party. Yeah. I mean, I don't know about you, but I was I was taught how to behave at a party, and it wasn't to ask for more.
Stacy Mayer: Exactly.
Serena Hicks: Thank you for having me and conduct myself accordingly.
Stacy Mayer: Yes. Like actually taught that. No, I really was taught that.
Serena Hicks: Yeah. And I'm sure so many of your listeners, especially if they're educated. Yes, yes, this is how we function in society. Take care of other people in the room, especially as women. You can deal with yourself. If there's something left over, you can have it. And yes, that was literally why I left my last corporate job. Technically, I was pushed out because I got real beefy, but my boss literally told me, "You're a single woman, you make more than enough." I was bringing in piles of cash in the sales department. I was in piles and I looked around and my bosses were all white men. And I'm the only one with a Daytime Emmy, and I'm arguing with these dudes half the time while the EVP tells me separately, it's so good how you manage them, but sometimes tells me they find you intimidating, could you tone it down. And this all hit me like a ton of bricks? I teach them how to do their job again and again. Yeah. And yet I'm literally told. Listen, you're a single woman, you don't have any kids, you get paid more than enough. And that was unsatisfying, not just for me back to what we normalize. So when people say I want to have an impact, be a woman who gets paid, be a woman who normalizes, not just being promoted into leadership positions, but fair comp packages.
Stacy Mayer: Exactly.
Serena Hicks: Yeah, I think I think oh gosh. I just forgot her name. Who's our Facebook friend who wrote Lean In who was talking about a seat at the table?
Stacy Mayer: Sheryl Sandberg.
Serena Hicks: Thank you. She's amazing. Why I can't think of her name. I was. I've been privileged in many ways, but my very first big kid job was as a production assistant at MTV News and Documentaries in 2000, working on the election coverage with Betsy Forehand, who is such a woman, still is ahead of her time. She literally told me to sit at the table when we had our weekly news department meetings. And you guys, the table was for the producers. And then associate producers stood around the table and then production assistants stood against the wall that surrounded the walls of the room, and interns didn't get to come in the room. And I remember Betsy specifically telling me, like, no, you sit at that table.
Stacy Mayer: Mm hmm.
Serena Hicks: And I was like, that's not. She was like, No, I am your boss, and I need you to be there. And you will learn things. And I think. No man could have told me that it had to be Betsy Forehand who was doing it since she was, I guess, a production assistant, which is probably why she got promoted so quickly and ultimately, like normalizing it for me, making it safe, not telling me to do something she didn't do, like normalizing me doing it and normalizing it for others.
So. I want to just call out. It's just patriarchal programming when someone is making piles of money while we're clear. And yet the idea is I don't want to ask for too much or other people don't have this and I want to offer and they won't unless you make even more sense. Yeah, you go first and you get to normalize it.
Stacy Mayer: Yes.
Serena Hicks: And share it, while we're at it.
Stacy Mayer: And you know what you said where he was like, you're a single woman with no kids. You're making more than enough money. I think when you said that, I was like, oh, my God, that is such a gift. Because knowing you, that's why you walked out the door.
So there was a woman in Executive Ahead of Time who just kind of really I mean, it was so off the cuff and it wasn't even...I think she took it as a compliment, but she said that her boss is consistently telling her that he doesn't see how she does it all.
And I was like, what? And she said, wait, wait, wait, what? And she was just telling me the story. And I was like, Wait, what did he say? And she said, Well, I have three kids and I'm the only one with three kids. And I was like, Does he say that in front of other people? And she's like, Yes. And I was like: You realize how wrong this is? Because I mean, it was just like exploding. And then she just looked at me and she was like, you're right. That's why she constantly feels a little uncomfortable.
Serena Hicks: Yes. And also, again, it's socialization. As women, I mean, anyone who has parents who are attempting to raise a good citizen. So no shame and blame here, guys. I'm not like: all of our parents did it wrong. I do not believe that they were doing their best to raise good citizens. But we were all cultivated to be like, yes, praise, yes praise, and not necessarily pause and take a beat and take a step back and be like, Is this praise in alignment with my personal values and priorities?
Stacy Mayer: Exactly.
Serena Hicks: Is it perpetuating is it perpetuating a system of oppression that perhaps I'd like to opt out of? Or is it the kind of praise where I'm like, You know what? I am proud of that. Yeah. In front of everyone else.
Stacy Mayer: Let's just keep repeating how she has three kids! I was like, what is going on? Yes. Oh, so important.
So let's talk for a minute about the energetics of money. I'm really curious. Maybe for myself how I can tap into this a little bit. But as as a woman. Okay, so I've I've asked for it. Oh, I can see that I was maybe a little raspy when I ask for it or whatever. So how can I tap into that flow? How can I shift things a little bit? Anything for our listeners?
Serena Hicks: Absolutely. For your listeners, absolutely. And for you, Stacy ready? Okay. First of all, it's a practice. Like we were talking earlier before we started recording, we were talking about I'm hiring and I'm learning how to hire in the most effective way. It's a practice like a yoga practice. So for anyone who's ever like, I tried that once, it didn't work. You're going to get to try it ten more times in this lifetime. This is this is not a thing that one day you wake up and you check the box and you're like, I've nailed it.
And then the energy of money, I think that the first way to check your money mindset is like, where you at? Do you have piles of it? And by piles, I mean. Untold amounts. You can vacation, you can do all the things and you feel good about it. Because I also have clients who have piles of money and they're still like, I'm so ashamed. And so coming in to write relationship with money isn't any certain dollar amount, I argue, especially when people are like, Well, I have enough. And I'm like, Do you have enough? Unless there's an emergency, do you have enough? Unless the world stops in another pandemic. So define enough.
But the number one thing that I would say is money is a neutral energy. It is neither good nor bad. And when we opt out of the false binary concept that money is really good or glorify it, or money is bad and dirty, I want no part of it, then we can use it as a tool. So I like to remind people it's a bit like a scalpel, a surgeon scalpel can heal, it can cut cancer out of bodies, it can do amazing things. And you can use a surgeon scalpel to kill people. It's not the scalpel that's the issue. It's how is one using it as a tool.
Okay. So now that we know we've remembered money is a neutral tool. It is an energy form. I fundamentally believe it's a living energy. And when you ask like, how can you align with it? I want you to think of it. Everyone think about like, what are the last five or six things you've said about money? Something that's really common is I don't have enough. Or I need to pay down my debt and. If you can think back to some of the last things you've thought or told other people about your money situation, what was the energy? And so by that, in my universe, I'm an animal lover. You all have kids. Same, same. If you're constantly telling your kids it's not enough, it's not enough. Or if you had a dog and you're like, Oh, you're doing it wrong, you stink. It's not enough. I need you to come when I call more often. If you're effectively in a mean energy, just like kids or dogs, it'll avoid you. Nothing sane that is alive wants to come and be told how it's insufficient, inadequate, and otherwise not doing it right. And when you are in appreciation, every little thing blooms with love. So when you are in appreciation for what you have, inevitably, even more comes knocking on the door. This is true in romantic relationships. This is true with our self love. This is true in our relationship with our body. If you have animals when you're like, Oh my God, they're so great, you're loving it, admiring them, it's almost like they start behaving better. Dunno. It's weird magic. So when you're like, How do we align? Start with appreciating what you have. So for any of your listeners who are like, Yeah, but I'm in a ton of debt, guys, that is such a part of my story. It's one of my favorite parts of my story. Piles of debt at some point. And it wasn't a problem because I was so grateful. And I mean that that was after having a bankruptcy.
So I was paying obscene interest rates and I was so grateful that someone somewhere would loan me money. But I was like, Yeah, I've seen that business. They're taking a risk loaning this to me. So it makes sense. Something for nothing is not a thing. Not in life, not in money. So if they're going to quote risk by loaning me this money, which allowed me to get my business off the ground, credit cards, not a bank, obviously. I was actually delighted to pay their fees. That again, is the energy of appreciation. So that allowed. Unknowingly, almost at the time, allowed me to align with money. As in, money wants to move to you and work through you and it can't work through you if you're into hoarding. Because some people are like, I just want to never spend and never buy a new car and never employ anyone. And I'm like, Well, good luck with that.
You are not an excellent conduit. You are not an excellent conduit. Someone is not going to be delighted with you. And for those who understand, oh, money is a tool that not only feeds and clothes you and your family and friends, but again, you get to either become an employer or be someone who's determining how does your company treat employees? How do we function as a company in the community? How do we actually serve the world? And when you're in that energy of stewardship, money is very happy to: Oh, hello, we have a healthy conduit. We have someone who takes care of us. And it flows, but it starts with appreciation. That's your 50,000 word essay. It starts with appreciating what you have. More comes from there.
Stacy Mayer: So I want to ask you about the person, the male colleague that asked for $120,000 when the job was posted at 100,000. And so from the outside end, we look at him and it doesn't seem like the word appreciation doesn't necessarily come to mind. I was thinking maybe greed or hunger or wants or desire, and then yet he's the one who wins. And so we sort of see that game.
Serena Hicks: Can I explain it? Because I love that you brought that up. I'm like, Oh, no, he is an appreciation. So forgive me if if religion is not your thing, but it's sort of like, I've gone to church and it's like God is big. Why not ask God big? Not like, Oh, I'm only going to ask for this tiny little thing because I don't know if you can do it. God is like: hello, or the Divine, please insert whatever doesn't trigger you listeners. But I'm just going to say God is big and money is big too. Money is not God. We never confuse that. But the dude asking for 120, he's like, Yeah, man, this is not hard. He fundamentally understands the company can find the extra 20,000. Hard. Stop the end. Yeah.
Stacy Mayer: I have things to do right with this money. I'm going to be a steward. We don't know what he's going to do with it. But iI think that as, as the women listening, it's like, yeah, you have things to do. We were talking about at the beginning.
Serena Hicks: Yes. And not just donate, not just donate, but when you say things to do, I'm like, okay, everyone in my universe. And obviously it did not start this way, but as soon as I could, everyone in my universe gets paid a fair wage. The place to get my nails done now, it costs way more than where I used to get my nails done. But everyone gets a living wage. It feels good to get my nails done there and to know that this is not yet another almost enslaving people labor, which is not uncommon practice in many nail salons, at least in the United States right now, where people are not getting living wages. And it's also donating. It is also, again, money.
Let me say it like this. I haven't told you this yet. Money is like water flowing, is healthy, nourishing and life giving. Like flowing water, river streams, ocean. Stagnant water or stagnant money breeds death and disease. So when I say stagnant, it's ke I just want money and just want to keep it just in case. Just want to keep it. That energy is closed off. It is hoarding. It is stagnant. Money, money, money, money doesn't like that. He likes to.
Stacy Mayer: Sorry, but my five year old, we went to this river. And the water was not moving. And he knew that he could not get in it. He was like, it was really bizarre. He was like, no, that will make me sick. It's what he said. It was very strange. And we were like, yes, this is not a pond that we would be going to get water here, but he was like, that water is not moving. I'm not supposed to get it.
Serena Hicks: I have full body chills. I love his instinct. But it's like, yeah, it's just laws of a universe. It's just not rocket science. If anyone's, like, sort of understanding, but not? I'm like, listen: you can connect with me, you can also just read the Tao Te Ching. It's all the same, pick your pleasure. If it seems like it's not landing for you, just get you a copy of the Tao Te Ching and read it. Same thing. Yeah.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. And so if we look at the patriarchal programming and we start to say, okay, well it's not me specifically that's bad with money or it's the way society. I think for corporate women we get this double whammy because not only as a society, but we actually have an organization that was created to stifle us as women or as employers or whatever. I mean, that's literally how we talked about at the beginning of this episode that how they were supposed to make profit was to.
Serena Hicks: Okay. So I just, I mean, just to summarize it, guys, everything the patriarchy taught us about money is wrong because it taught us that very, very, very, very few able bodied, tall, broad shouldered white men were good stewards of money and no one else could be trusted. Not women, not people of color. Meanwhile, women and people of color were not given access to money like those very, very few chosen dudes. Nope, you can't have a credit card. No, you can't have a home. Okay, we'll give you a credit card with much higher interest rate. We'll give you a home with much higher interest rate. Then we'll say, why do you have why do you have debt? Why don't you own a home? It's this bizarre shame and blame game. Economic oppression is a form of oppression. And it's just, as we said at the beginning, opting out and recognizing this is actually a wild collection of bullshit. I know that your community doesn't do this, but in my community it's so many entrepreneurs and so many of them want to start a business using not $1. And that can happen. It just doesn't tend to happen in business anywhere else. And I just think it's not a coincidence that these are generally women and people of color who were like, well, debt is bad. And I'm like, Oh, except for it's how it's built, basically every other business in America and. Again. That is not bad. That is not good. That is a neutral tool. It's just we have been taught to fear our own power, which is to use money as a tool. And we have been told, oh, you don't know how to use it. And we keep drinking that punch. And then we're like, I don't know, I feel bad. I did something that's not even that interesting, but we're using it against ourselves.
Stacy Mayer: The best lesson. When I first started my business from my husband, who taught me how to market using advertising dollars, he was very confused that I was so hung up on running Facebook ads. He was like: it's kind of just numbers, if you make more money. I was like, but that's thousands of dollars.
Serena Hicks: Oh my God.
Stacy Mayer: And I was like, wow, the way he sees the world is and money is so different than me. Why is that? It's only because of programming. And so then it just allowed me to trust. And so if you're listening to this episode and you're like, wow, the way Serena sees the world and money is so different than me. Just trust. Just lean into it. Just see if that works for you.
Serena Hicks: Yeah. I would also offer the best way to check. Is there room for improvement in your money mindset is to just check. Like I said, check your checking accounts, check everything. Are they just lush and abundant and full and are you totally covered? Because if the answer is yes, good for you. Keep going. And if you're like, I could see some room for improvement, I'm like, That's the beauty of money mindset. There's it's, yeah, there's almost always like, Oh, I could tweak this out, I could tweak that out. And I also need to offer in case someone's like, but I don't want to work harder. You don't have to work harder to make more money.
Stacy Mayer: Oh no, the opposite
Serena Hicks: This is why we align.
Stacy Mayer: You said, I mean, literally. So this is not a joke. People when I say ask, it's actually an energetic thing. So many people just blow that off they say: oh, yeah, well,I just need to ask for it. I just need to ask for it. When I say, okay, you're going to go in and this is your salary, this is what they're offering you up that by 20%. There is actually a reason for that. It is creating a shift when you ask. It's not saying, Oh, but wait, I need to work 20 more hours and then ask.
Serena Hicks: You know what? I want to give you an example and it's a story. And once again, apologize to your community and you, Stacy, I cannot remember the proper name. I spent ten years in New York City. I was watching a documentary from a friend of mine who basically was like, You'd love it. So there's a restaurateur in New York who's known for providing not just a living wage to service, but also multiple restaurants, health care insurance for his service team.
It is... Sorry, guys, not enough coffee. You would know his name, but he's a restaurateur in New York and he is known for taking care of his service team. Why he has so much money and he's open about it: because I take care of my service team, which takes care of my clients, and then I put my money in front of the people who take care of the people who pay me the gift that the restaurant. So in this documentary, he was telling the story of one of his restaurants, which is one of his fine dining spaces. And they talked about when they have a server shadow over however many weeks. And what if that servers first chance, first night that they get to, quote, lead. They are being shadowed, he says. We tell them, whoever they're sorry, their dining room manager tells them, I'm going to be watching you. And I want to be very clear. I will be judging you on how early and often you ask for help. If you think you can do it all alone, you're not going to be okay here. Early and often you ask for help and you get it. I love it. I wish you guys could see Stacy's face.
And we tell them this directly and some people still fail even though they've been shadowing for weeks. But he was like, when people think they can do everything, I know this will harm my guest experience. I know they can't do everything. So I know if they think there's any benefit, any benefit to quote them, doing it all or trying to do it all, I know they are risking my reputation and this fine dining experience, and for that reason they won't pass muster we will not hire them we only hire people who do not attempt to over function, do not glorify I can do it I can do it. And I just as we're saying, it's an energetic shift. It's the equivalent of asking for more money. Asking for help in that fine dining experience is like, I deserve to be supported. I validate myself and I will. I will not suffer silently in an attempt to be helpful. I will make sure that I am well resourced so that I can be a sustainable resource.
Stacy Mayer: Yes. And when we're looking at the boss, that doesn't actually say: you know what? You're a single woman, you you don't really need more money. When we have the boss, that just sort of goes, you're not ready. Who doesn't really give us more information than that? Check in with yourself, because part of what is happening, that person could totally be a jerk. I'm not saying I'm not letting them off the hook, but let's say that they're a smart individual and that they're there. You're not actually ready. What I heard and what you said is that when you present as not needing any help, you actually are not ready. You are going to break at that next level because I want people to have a voice at the table. I do not want them just to get promoted. And so what we have to do is that work to ask for help.
And sometimes they even tell you directly. I do stakeholder interviews and interview people's bosses, and they'll actually say, I can't promote her because she won't ask for help. So just start looking and checking in with that, because at those higher levels, you have to be able to let go and to ask for help.
Serena Hicks: To be reliable. It's a trust issue. And I'm seeing it in my hiring and it all comes back to scarcity versus abundant mindset. Money versus lack of money. Because when someone's trying to overperform or I can do it, either they're fundamentally not being wise, they're not playing the long game, or more likely they're just functioning from patriarchal programming of women are helpers. We are helpers. Set yourself on fire if that means it'll keep someone else warm. And it's like we I mean, it's actually I think we're so meta right now, but like, this is a part of getting promoted, is opting out of that and demonstrating.
Stacy Mayer: Opt out, right now. And this is such a great powerful place to end on. The opting out is like: I don't know why Stacy keeps telling me to ask for 20% more, but I'm just going to ask for 20% more. The opting out is to just say, You know what? I don't know why I tend to do it all. I don't know if it's patriarchal programming or what, but as a woman, you are in especially a woman that is highly educated and and wants to be an executive leader, you are going to have tendencies to want to do it all. Let's just say, whether it's not your fault ever. And so then what we need to do is our work is to check with our self and to opt out.
Oh, so good. I had a woman who got promoted into another group higher level and she was like, I know nothing about this function and it's the best thing that ever happened to me because she was forced to opt out because she actually didn't know the level of detail and the breadth of knowledge. But then she said, this is the best leadership role I've ever had. Because I can actually be a leader.
Serena Hicks: There's such a difference. I love it so much. And it's such it's a gift to the world. Especially when a woman does that.
Stacy Mayer: You talk about taking people to church. I think I saw your last webinars about Money Church or whatever. Maybe, maybe it wasn't even called a webinar, but whatever it was, it was a fabulous gathering of women to be able to go to money church This is what this episode feels like.
Serena Hicks: I think we have to call it the big happy holy wow. I'm in the middle of a rebrand. You guys, I used to call it Big Happy Money, but I'm like, Let's bring more sacred to money. It's not always happy. It's always sacred, but it's not always a happy experience. So I'm like, okay, it's holy well, money.
Stacy Mayer: Holy wow.
Serena Hicks: Trademarked Money Church. So we're calling it Big Happy Holy Wow.
Stacy Mayer: But there's all these other levels to that.
Serena Hicks: But oh, we can talk about that on another podcast.
Stacy Mayer: Yea, exactly. Of course. Oh, thank you so much. So tell us how we can find you and connect with you and learn more about your work.
Serena Hicks: Okay, so you guys, you can come to my website www.SerenaHicks.com. It's Serena spelled just like that tennis champion, Serena Hicks. Also I literally tomorrow in September 1st. So by the time you guys are listening to this, I have opened a room called the Boom-Boom Room and it is where we talk about money and the intersection between racial identity and gender identity and inherited trauma and how being seen and having triggers the nervous system and all of the things. And that information is also on my website. I live on Facebook as Serena Hicks AF. I don't bother using my professional page yet. And you can find me on Instagram its @xoxoserenahicks. And if you go to my website, you can sign up for my newsletter, which I send out sporadically and usually, usually when I'm fired up about something. So those are the ways.
Stacy Mayer: All right. Before we go, any final words of advice or wisdom to a woman who's trying to grow in her career? Trying to ask when we're trying to figure it out. Feeling stuck doesn't know what to do next. I'd love to hear.
Serena Hicks: I want to say two things.
First of all, a comfort zone is a lovely place, but nothing ever grows there. I don't know who originated that phrase, but if you feel uncomfortable asking for 20% more or having these conversations with your boss, that is a good sign. That means you were in the sweet spot being uncomfortable and holy shit, uncomfortable is acceptable.
Also, I want to remind your community, if they think that their fee, their comp package is expensive, their employers will, too. If they see their package or their request as expansive for them and their employer, their employer will, too. Energy is contagious, and what we fundamentally believe about a situation is often contagious to the people we're negotiating with.
Serena Hicks: Yeah, I love that.
Stacy Mayer: And I feel like I can actually switch into expansive. We talk about our beliefs and: ooh, I don't know if I...
Oh, one thing that kind of triggered me was this idea of living in 'I have enough', when you don't. Ooh, that's hard. Go in and out, in and out. But I'm okay with that. But this is like going from expensive to expansive, I can do that good. I can do that in my head. I love that.
Serena Hicks: I want everyone to do that because and I also want to honor what you said. It does feel hard. I want to keep in mind remind your listeners that I had a bankruptcy in 2008. So I know what I'm saying when I say you can create something out of nothing, you can literally create a seven figure business, I'm at 1.5 mil, and under three years, out of thin air with a bankruptcy on my credit and. You cannot create something from lack energy. When we're in that scarcity, desperate need, I'll settle for crumbs, that grasping desperate energy repels. You can create something from nothing you cannot create from desperation. Yeah. Getting rooted, which often means being supported in community like the one you offer is generally a really great step.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. I am inspired by you all of the time, and this is why I invited you on my podcast. And thank you so much for being my friend, my colleague and my inspiration. So it's been great.
Serena Hicks: Thank you, Stacy. Thank you for having me.
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.
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