Ep #156: Whole Self Series: Building Your Badass Leadership Brand with Kathryn Morrison
If you want to be the kind of corporate badass who:
🔥 Has a massive impact at her organization…
🔥 Who brings incredible thought leadership to the conversation…
🔥 And who makes powerful changes in the world…
…then you need a badass leadership brand to match.
Having a powerful brand will help you access more influence, receive more job opportunities, and be invited onto stages, panels, podcasts (and more) where you can spread your powerful message with those who need to hear it the most.
(I’ve spent my career doing this, and it’s next-level rewarding.)
So in this episode of Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer, I am bringing you branding queen, Kathryn Morrison, to help you create a beautiful brand based on your values and the amazing things you want to be known for.
This is the second interview in my 5-part Whole Self Series.
In each episode, I am bringing you a special guest who will help you not only be a badass in your career, but a badass in every area of our life.
Let’s get started.
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:
- How to begin building your leadership brand by uncovering your why
- How having a strong brand will help you have so many more choices in your career
- Practical ways you can begin transitioning to becoming a leadership brand
- How to create an environment that allows you to step into your authentic power
- Why you need to delegate from your energy and your highest desires
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #155: Whole Self Series: Becoming a Balanced Working Mom with Rebecca Olson
- Robert Iger’s The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
- Listen to Kathryn’s podcast, Ascension Through Entrepreneurship
- Connect with Kathryn 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 corporate badasses. Welcome to another episode of Women Changing Leadership.
And I am so excited about this series that I'm bringing into you at the end of the year to really celebrate all the aspects of you as a powerful woman and bringing in special guests that I actually didn't even really make the connection to. I don't know why, but that's just the beauty of rebranding and getting more connected with yourself. Is I really started thinking about what are the different aspects of our lives as women that we can elevate besides just being that badass at work?
We have to be a badass at home. We have to be a badass in our marriage. And I'm starting to say have to, but in reality, we 'get to'. And when we start to blossom and open up those parts of ourselves, then literally anything is possible, both in our lives and in our careers. And I'm so excited.
And the really fun part about this is I didn't have to go very far to find incredible women to go on this podcast at the end of the year, because these are the women that I surround myself with. These are my peers, these are my colleagues, these are the badass women that I'm following on Instagram, the people I'm putting into my brain on the daily, the people I've hired, the people who've coached me. And I'm just so excited to share all of these people that I genuinely love. And that makes me think that you'll probably genuinely love them as well.
So today, I'm bringing in Kathryn Morrison straight up from Austin, Texas, and I'm going to have her introduce herself. But really just the short and long of it is I just absolutely adore Kathryn. We were catching up today after we did a group together as students, as peers, probably about three years ago. But you know when when you meet that person? And it's really special to have that friendship where you can go three years and not really talk to them directly, but then you get back in the conversation again, it's like you never left. So that's that's who Kathryn is to me, and I'm so excited to have her on here. Hi, Kathryn.
Kathryn Morrison: Hello corporate badasses. I feel like I'm among you. One of the things I talked to my audience about is: we're zebras, right? We're a little bit wild. We're a little bit badass. And the topic of branding is perfect. I'm the queen of the rebranding. I've built a career on branding, right?
I think it's really fun because, there's who we've been taught to be, and then there's who we see ourselves stepping into in the future. And I'm sure that's what Stacy is helping you all unpack every single week. And so we're going to dive in today: like, what does that actually look like? There's the visual aesthetics piece, but then there's also just like, what are your values and what do you want to be known for? Like if you think about a brand, right? Disney is known for something. And HBO is known for something. And like they've done that very specifically through their branding. And when you're able to think about bringing that into your corporate career, like, yes, that could be in your company, that could also just be you creating a personal brand on LinkedIn and starting to go to different conferences as a speaker.
Stacy Mayer: Oh this is so good. Kathryn, before we get into everything, because I'm already getting really excited and have lots of questions for you. But can you formally introduce yourself. Formally, quote unquote.
Kathryn Morrison: So I'm Kathryn Morrison and I'm from Austin, Texas. Stacy and I were in a mastermind together like three years ago. At the time, I was coaching the employee to entrepreneur transition. And just this year I blew up my entire half a million dollar business and went all in on spiritual entrepreneurship. So at this point, my starting program is branding. I believe the first step of anything is figuring out who am I? What do I stand for in the world? And taking that mantle of leadership and then figuring out how you wrap position and package all of that up and then send it into the marketplace. So I coach entrepreneurs, but everything that I teach can very easily be applied to the corporate badasses that are listening. And then I have a higher level mastermind for people who are scaling into multiple six and seven figures.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, I love it. And just to give you some intel onto what I teach my corporate badasses, is, I think the second module in Executive Ahead of Time is if we're going to start to transition from being known as that subject matter expert, which is that person who waits to be told what to do, and that person who really just identifies as all the things we did before. Right, Which is what you're saying. And then we have to figure out what our leadership style is, who we are as a leader, because that dreaded word, imposter syndrome, which I don't even really believe in, I think what's happening is, we don't know what else we're going to do. We don't know what we're going to replace our expertise with when we start to transition into our leadership style. It's like, what is that? And so there are so many ways to define that so beautifully as a leader. And this whole idea of leadership brand and and figuring that out. And I'm very excited, my brains exploding. I'm looking at Kathryn in this absolutely beautiful background that she has that I know there's a whole story that goes along with that because she shares this everything on Instagram, you have to follow her. And when I look at that, how many of you brought your your work, like when you transition to work from home or even created your home office, you just sort of created it as your office space? Like the same as you had at work. So this whole idea of transitioning from who you were into, the person that you actually really closer to who you are.
Kathryn Morrison: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. There is a lot for us to unpack there.
Stacy Mayer: So let's start with your secrets to success. Catherine.
Kathryn Morrison: Hey, I mean, it's just going to come back to brand again. I think of branding as the core essence of something. And the more that you can sort of continue to deepen in and ask like: what are my gifts? What is my core essence like, and how do I package and wrap that up for the world? I think every individual has that. I was recently reading The Ride of a Lifetime, the Bob Iger book. He was the CEO of Disney. And he talked about when they did the Pixar deal, the biggest thing for Steve Jobs was like: We can't lose like the soul of Pixar. So even companies have souls. That was the biggest thing for them, otherwise it's like you'll buy Pixar and then all the stuff that made it magical will disappear if you sort of take that apart.
And so for me, it comes down to, I would call it the soul. And I think it is: what is someone's essence? And then how do you want to package that up? And the answer for me, every single time when I'm like, what's the right business strategy? What's the right thing to do? It's always just like, what's the right thing for me? What's the most magical way that I could possibly do this? And probably for some of your people, it'll be like speaking on stages, and for other people it will be maybe building some sort of content platform on a LinkedIn or something. And it's always going to be deepening into who am I and what are my unique gifts.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. And I'm looking at you and I know a lot about your tech background, living in San Francisco and Austin and your different worlds that you created and the way that you're talking right now, it seems like you were a chief marketing officer, and I know that actually wasn't the case. So can you tell us a little bit about what you were doing in the corporate world and then how in the world did you get to soul branding.
Kathryn Morrison: How much time do you have? I mean, I will I'll try to keep it brief, but I worked in, it wasn't marketing, it was business development, but I was always working very closely with the marketing teams. I worked at the San Francisco Chronicle selling ad spaces. So I started there, then transitioned because I was out in San Francisco into the tech space. I worked in ad tech and mobile ad tech for a number of years. Then I moved down to Austin and I started selling like these big multi million dollar connected device deals to like Hunter Douglas, like the connected Shades or Disney connected toys. Like those were the types of clients that I was working with. So it was very high level clients thinking about: how do you use technology and where technology is going to sort of leapfrog your company into the next generation of where society is kind of headed. So I think I've always loved innovation and being like: where are we going? I think that's why I love tech so much. My husband still works in tech and I love like a lot of our friends still work in tech. So that's always those are fun conversations to have.
And then there was just a point where I realized, coming back to brand, I was like: Wait, what are my gifts? I was great at like unpacking clients. I could always track in a sales cycle what was happening with clients, but that wasn't the whole enchilada for me. And it was like: What is missing? What do I want to do? And when I found coaching, that really clicked. It was like, this is the thing, you know? And once I started that...
I've also gone through a very big spiritual awakening. I think when Stacy knew me three years ago, I was an atheist. And at this point I've had just a handful of things that have been like inexplicable spiritual experiences. And just this past year I realized like that was the track that I was feeling really called to go down. Talk about pivots, right? Pivoted from tech into mindset coaching and the business side of things. And then I pivoted again this year, as I saw that at the core of the soul, that's where I like to play. And so that is really the core of the work that I'm doing now.
Stacy Mayer: So what are some of the first ways that we can enter into this branding work and what you teach? Like, what are some questions we can ask ourselves?
Kathryn Morrison: I don't want the simplicity of it to be lost. It's such a simple question and I feel like it's asked all the time. But, what are your values? I think there's always a really good entry point of like: what are the things that matter to you? And and you have to caveat it and nobody taught you to value them. Cause there's some things that when people unpack it, it's like: oh, well, like what my parents taught me or, I grew up in the Midwest and this is a value of the Midwest. And it might be that it was taught to you and you agree with it, right?
But I think sometimes we have to look at like, what are the things that really matter to me? And I can't explain why. It's just something that's always mattered to me. And like for me, one of the examples that I really struggled with was I value beauty like tremendously. Visual aesthetics have always just really appealed to me. And then going into the corporate world and like it was always just like, that's silly. It doesn't matter. That was sort of like the the brainwashing that I had started to get in my mind. What I cared about didn't matter. And then when I started asking, like, what are my values and what are the things that really matter to me.
I remember spending time at my wedding, looking at the weight of the paper and is it linen or what else? And when I when I started to track over time, what were the things I was really good at. And then I allowed myself to own beauty as a value. I was like, Oh, wait, I'm here to help people create visual brands. And visual brands matter because they stop the scroll. And so it was just interesting because I'd worked in business development for how many years and I always downplayed my gift of beauty and bringing visual aesthetics in. And now I can't tell you how many of my clients talk about the clothing that they wear to a networking event or the Zoom background. And it's not to make an impression, right? It's not to like manipulate or try to figure out how do I get someone to look at me? It's like, how do I communicate in the things that I'm either wearing or the things that I'm showing up on, like when I'm coming on to a Zoom meeting that you could look at me and you know exactly who I am.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, I love that. And when you said that about your brand now about beauty and the way you incorporate it, if you shared that with me as your leadership style or who you were, I would be like, yeah, let's bring her on our team. It's just so clear. And I think a lot of us, first of all, don't take the time to really connect with what our values are. And then now, then it's okay, well then what do I do with that?
And so so the first thing that kind of came to mind is just in a generic way for ambitious women is the conflicting values of, say: empathy, compassion or family.So when you're at work, you feel like a lot of that empathy and compassion, when you have a crappy boss, it's just getting squashed on the daily. And so I think that what you're talking about is a really internal approach to brand, and then we get the opportunity to express it at chosen moments. But it's not in conflict with other people because it's us. It is who we are.
Kathryn Morrison: And I think it's interesting because, you get to decide how much of you wants to be expressed and then you might find it's like: oh, who I authentically am and my values are just in conflict with this company. And then that's just a decision that you have to make. I was just thinking about this, because I'm in the entrepreneur world, but when you ask I just started thinking a lot because I have friends who are employees at this point, but they've gone and they've created like very strong personal brands.
I have a girlfriend, she's in the tech space, she's in VR, and she speaks on stages. She just has her own brand and she's created a brand that's strong enough now that she's constantly, she has the pick of the litter of where she goes into companies, who she's willing to work for or not work for, because she decided: I'm going to take all of me. And for her, she has a very strong opinions about women and leadership, especially in things like VR, like they're not very well represented. And she was like, This matters to me and this matters to me and this matters to me. And I'm going to show up how I want to show up. And when she decided to, like, let all of that out, I think she got fired. She was not a fit for that company. And then she was like: and that's fine because. I'm going to make a platform for myself that's bigger than any company. And at this point, like constantly, companies are reaching out to her. Because she's the asset now, right? They want her as the person who can come and it's like: oh, we've got we've got Tricia. It's almost like a thing for the company because she's well known enough in the space.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. And for the women that I've worked with who successfully transitioned into creating a leadership brand internally, they were just so smart about it. And I think what's happening is that we feel like our values are getting squashed and then we lose our brain. And so we get complacent. We sort of feel like: Oh, well, I'm stuck here, this is terrible. Or I'm going to blow everything up and I'm just going to speak my mind and I'm going to say all the things. And that can work great. That's fine. And sometimes we do have to do that. But for some of the women, we have unfolded, it has been like: you know what? I'm going to start a podcast over here. I'm not going to be talking directly about what I'm working on, but I'm going to be talking about the things that matter to me. I'm going to bring in other leaders in the space that matter to me and start to connect with them. And then her CEO started to get on board. He was like: wait, what's going on? People are talking about you. And it's a transition sometimes as well. But it required that willingness for her to say: you know what, there is something else that I want to do in this world. There is something else that I want to bring to the conversation. And just to find a way to be able to do that that worked for her.
Kathryn Morrison: Yeah. Yeah. And I love that you're saying she started a podcast. There's no right or wrong. I think there could be like: Oh, I'm 100% congruent with this company and all of me shows up and that's good. Or it's like: Oh and I love this, this and this of my current company, but this part of me is getting an itch I want to scratch, so I'm going to go over here and create my own platform. And there's a million different ways and there's no right or wrong.
Stacy Mayer: So do you have any practical tips from an aesthetic standpoint on how to work with our energetics in our office spaces at home? I talked about that at the beginning, and I think so many of us just tried to recreate our home office. And even if we've returned to the office, we all have home offices now. We all have at least a space that we work from that is dedicated to our work. And I think we just kind of forget about it and we don't even plan for it. We just put the blurred background on Zoom and move on.
Kathryn Morrison: Yeah, and you wouldn't think about that. I have. We could talk about this for a long time. I think we're about to. So one of the people that I got to know that really turned me on to this. So I have to give her credit. I have a very good friend. Her name is Olga Neiman, and she's like an OG in the New York interior design. She's coming out with a book next year from the same publishers that did Martha Stewart. She was the editor in chief at House Beautiful and Domino Magazine. She comes from the design world. And then she came into more spirituality and she was like: How do I help people bring in like the future self through the office space? And so it's always looking at like, okay, so like, is this space? She came in the console. So there were so many people in my program that just had literally the same office chair, from their company, just like brought it in.
Stacy Mayer: I do, I have the same office chair.
Kathryn Morrison: Right. And so that's not necessarily good or bad. You just want to ask: how does this make me feel? Do I want to have this chair here? And I think oftentimes for my clients, it's become a symbolic thing to let go of the corporate office chair and then to bring in something that's much more representative of the company they're creating.
But like for people who are in a company, you have to think about if you've gone home, like how do you create something that is extremely representative of you it still works with getting on to client calls. It still works with like whatever the company is. The biggest thing is just intentionality. I think so many people, there's just a lack of intention and consciousness.
My husband sometimes takes meetings from my office. I don't know if you post the video anywhere, but it's like Rainbow Brite behind me because that's my energy. I actually had like an energy artist in Austin paint this painting for me. But you could think about: what are my values? What are things that matter to me?
I have a client who is she actually lives in Austin now, but she's from New York. She's Puerto Rican. There's a lot of things culturally that were really important to her there. So she made an entire background of her, pictures of her family, but done beautifully. Like the way that they were matted and hung. It was sort of this homage to her Puerto Rican culture, to her family. And that's what sits behind her every single day and is over her shoulder. And that matters to her. That was something that was like really intentional. And it's a conversation piece now. She gets on and clients are like, Who's that? And she's like, This is my aunt. Let me tell you about my aunt. Let me tell you these stories that are important to me.
There's other things. Are there colors that feel really good to you? You can close your eyes and bathe yourself in a color and just notice in your body what feels really good. So the simplest way to do it. And for some people, like a cool tone of blue might feel really good and then a warm toned blue might feel not great, right? So you can just start to do that or just ask yourself, where do I love to go? You could also look in your closet. Oftentimes people are like they're not even conscious of it, but they are clocking what colors feel good or look good on them. So you could look into your closet and say like: is there a color that I'm pulling a lot from here and bring that into your office space? So it could be anything from like the visuals of the colors of it to is there something that brings a lot of symbolism to where I'm sitting and what I want to bring forward? Maybe if you decide you're a woman leader who stands for something really important, are there icons over time that you could have framed behind you.
So there's no formula to it, but it's just really sitting down and being like: what do I stand for? What do I represent? What makes me feel good? What is indicative of my energy and my values and then making your decisions from there?
Stacy Mayer: As I was listening to you speak, I was like you: you, doing these things, makes your life easier. Because we are always trying to psych ourselves up. Every single meeting, every single negotiation, every conversation that we have. Every time we go into work, we're trying to be the corporate badass. And what you're suggesting is that we create the environment. And now maybe we could go into a little bit of the spirituality of it. It works for us. It actually uplifts us.
Kathryn Morrison: You're feeding yourself the energy the whole time. And so if you think about going back to the example of, like: if there's some it's a platform that you're representing, are there things that symbolic that sit behind you? Then you get on to a meeting to talk about it. You're going to see yourself in the Zoom meeting, too. So what you see is yourself and then behind you is all of these things that are like powerfully representative of the leadership that you're building and standing for. And that's lyour team. It's right behind you.
Stacy Mayer: Oh, my gosh, It's like, do this work to set yourself up for success. Like, it's just so important. I love it.
Kathryn Morrison: I mean, one, it helps you to feel good. It helps you to feel however you want to feel. Do you want to feel powerful? Do you want to feel more feminine? Do you want to feel whatever the thing is? And then how can you encode that in your space? But then you also have to think, everything that's behind you is always talking to the people who are on the meeting with you. I get on a Zoom meeting sometimes and I'm like: what is happening? There's a broken shelf, and I'm like: what's happening? And that's basically how you're presenting yourself to the world.
Stacy Mayer: So that we blur it out. Right? But then the funny thing is, is we know the broken shelf is there. So we also know when we've created beauty and a space that feels very connected to us and powerfully. One of the concepts that I teach is authentic power. And you, Kathryn, just embody that to a T. You seem so yourself and in in that so incredibly powerful. And that actually segues into what I wanted to talk about, which is your family anf some of the systems and processes that you have put into place to be this amazing mother, which I would love to hear from that. And then also this amazing businesswoman at the same time. And I think that for a lot of women that's in conflict that we can't have both. And you just do it so incredibly beautifully.
Kathryn Morrison: I don't know if this is a leading question, but I've just delegated out everything I don't like.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, no, I think it's great. Yeah, that's the leading part of it. I think it's great.
Kathryn Morrison: I ruthlessly delegate it out anything that I don't love. AYour people might have a sense of like as they've built a team, they've had to learn to delegate things that maybe they used to do themselves, but now that's not the highest, best use of their time. When I started doing that in my business, as my business was growing and growing, I had to get over that. That: No, I can do it better. Or no, Like, it's fine. I'll just keep doing that part of it. And it was so uncomfortable. But then I started hiring a team. I started bringing on employees. And then I started looking at why am I still doing the laundry? Is this the highest, best use of my time? Do I love this? And then just making it was so powerful for me one day to make a mental calculation of how much would it cost me to just have someone come in and help me with these things? And last year I just asked myself, I made a whole list of what do I love at home? LWat do I love to do at home and what do I not love to do? And then how do I delegate, the same way I've ruthlessly delegated myself out of anything in my business That's not my zone of genius. How can I do that with my home?
Because your energy is your energy is your energy, right? So if you're like an SVP at a company, but then you're like chasing around your two year old eating mac and cheese over the trash can. You've got to think about that. If you're running yourself ragged at home, that's still the person who's coming into the office. And I see that so often too, with like the people that I coach in their business. They don't have things set up for themselves, systems at home, to make themselves show up well rested and powerful in their business. And I think the same thing would just be said of the company.
So here's the thing. So there's the math of it. I could pay someone to do the laundry. I don't even cook dinner Monday through Thursday. We have a house manager. And the crazy thing is, it's not that expensive. Like, people are always like: they're so confused. When I decided to do this, all of my friends were laughing at me.
They thought it was hilarious. I was like, No, no, no, I'm going to. I'm going to find this person. I didn't know that this role existed. So I made a job description. I made the list of all the things I didn't want to do. And I made an amazing job description. And I was like, there's someone who this is their dream job. They want a garden, they want to cook meals, they want to just like, make my house beautiful. And so I wrote out a whole job description, and I think I wrote like: family seeks White House Chief of Staff meets Mary Poppins. That was what I was looking for. I wanted someone who had the domestic Mary Poppins codes, and I also wanted someone who had their stuff together. Because I have three kids, there's a lot of schedules. For anyone listening. If you have many children, you know it gets busy, right?
And so I had to believe that there was someone out there in the world that wanted to do that job, and I ended up finding her. It was an accident. I went out one day because I wasn't getting the people I wanted online. So I was like: It's a local job. I'm just going to go and I'm going to look and I'm going to put up flyers in places around my neighborhood in Austin where this person might be, and I accidentally stole the manager of one of the stores. She'd been working at the store for like five years. She was a retail manager. She was very good at managing employees, getting all the stuff done around the store. And it turns out retail doesn't pay that well. So I'm like, I can pay you more to come to my house. She loves it. She loves cooking. She loves like making the house look beautiful. And so it's just like I didn't really took me work to believe that someone else wanted to do that. And then I also had to look at all of my belief systems around, like: are you really going to do that? That's kind of ridiculous. You're mom, but you like you don't cook the dinners? Like there was all of that conditioning that I had to just track. Why? Why because I am the mom, should I be the one cooking the dinners? Why is that the case? All of the things that have been imprinted on us.
And for me, I had a mom who was a stay at home mom. So I had all of that sort of coming down to me of like, this is what the woman does. And we could talk about unpaid labor and we could talk about all the things that for so many women, who are tracking really high up in either their business or their corporate career, and yet still were putting ourselves on the hook for all of these other things at home. And so I got rid of all of the tasks that weren't the highest, best use of my time. And now I get to like, just play with my kids. Yeah, right. Because otherwise I would be getting done work and then I'd be seriously be cooking and just washing the dishes. It's a long time, right?
Stacy Mayer: I don't play games with my kids because I'm cooking and washing the dishes.
Kathryn Morrison: Right? You should hire that out.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah, exactly. No, I love it.
And also what I'm hearing from a delegation perspective, where you started this conversation is that,you really have to listen to what Kathryn delegated. She delegated from her energy and from her highest desire. So she actually said that she went and she did not hire out go put flyers on these stores. She she went physically to the store so you could say: oh, okay, that's not something that I should be doing as a SVP or whatever. But no, she's like, because from an energetic perspective, I need to physically be there because you would not have found this woman if you hire that out, right?
Kathryn Morrison: YI had the idea. It was like an intuitive download. It was like print out flyers. I marketed the crap out of this. I had a QR code that went to like a really nice. So the way that I had made it, was like the same way I market for clients. I'm marketing to get the best person and I spent 5 hours on a Friday and my brain is like: Seriously, you run a half million dollar company, you're spending 5 hours on a Friday driving around?
And I remember that day, I just I felt it. I was like: this person has just been created. From the work that I just did, they're coming. And it took like two weeks for her to apply, but I just knew that it had happened. So I had to get over that. But that was my ego, right? My ego was like: this is stupid. You shouldn't have to do this. But I was like: I want better candidates and I'm not getting them. I'm not getting them through like the standard tools that I have online. And I just got this great idea. Also, I made it very playful. People that follow me on my Instagram stories were like, What is Kathryn doing? I was just like: We're at the juice bar now. I just tracked the whole thing. I made it like a really playful experiment, and I decided I was going to take responsibility for that. We created it, and now I don't have to do any of that.
Stacy Mayer: And I think that your leadership brand is the same way. It has to be this this commitment to that, but then also this creative experiment. We're just playing with it. I loved how you said if you have a favorite color that you see in your closet, in your wardrobe, just see how can I bring that into my office space? How can I bring that into my conversations or into my room or a picture of somebody? And at first it's one that you stare out across the room, not behind you, like anything, right. To uplift your energy and to sort of feel that connection. I just I love that so much. It feels so, so right.
Kathryn Morrison: Yeah. I'm all for just like: how do you project your energy into the world? How do you protect your energy by delegating things out? Who you are matters and what you're doing in the world matters. And so how do you optimize what you're doing? And so what your favorite things to do are is like you love certain things at work, and then when you get home, you love to like color with your kid, how can you make sure that like you have time to color with your kid?
Stacy Mayer: Oh, that's so good.
So I have a question for you. Why do you personally feel called to have a seat at the table? Like you are an icon. Why do you feel driven to do the work that you do as a woman in leadership?
Kathryn Morrison: Hmm. It's interesting because I almost feel like this is where we'll get into a little bit of the woo. It just feels like there's this thing that really wants to. I just feel compelled. I could say that me, the human Kathryn decided to, like, go live in the woods. But there would be this other part of me that was always driven towards, there's this thing that matters. And I believe that's purpose. I think that all of us have something that we feel really just, it comes from inside of us and we feel very driven to do. So it's interesting. I think one of the first things that I one of the first spiritual experiences I had was like I was saying, like I really wanted to help people, like, live their purpose. And I had an experience where it was like: No, no, no, you're not doing that. Like you haven't even figured out who you are. So you've got to do that first. And I feel like that has been the work that I've done. And now I'm just like: Oh, now that I've sort of cracked the code on that, I'm a little bit crazy. Let's help all the people just do this because so many of us are just like living the conditioning of like: this is what women are supposed to do. This is what the company said you should do. And it's like, what? Let's figure out who we are, what our leadership is, and make sure that we find an environment that's congruent with that.
Stacy Mayer: And any final words of advice as we wrap up for a woman who's trying to get ahead in her career, trying to figure all these things out, what would be your final words of wisdom for her?
Kathryn Morrison: Well, we could talk about the word trying. She's doing it, right? There's a little bit of: really just tapping into, what is that thing that you just feel called to to do? That seems to just really matter to you? Maybe it's like more advocacy for women in the workplace. Maybe there's some D-I stuff. If there's something that just seems to really matter to you and you have to tether to that more than you tether to that little scared part of you that's like: Who am I to do this?
I think of the 'who am I to do?' is just like something we've been taught that's not actually who we are. And one of the biggest shifts I had is,whenever I get the 'Who am I to do this', I realize that I'm just bumping up against like a belief that I've been taught that isn't mine. And I'm like: Oh, we're going to blast past this 'Who am I to?' We're going to own the reason I am the person to do this is because there's this thing inside of me that just seems to matter. These are my values. This is my mission. This is what I really care about. And that's how I know that I'm here to do it. And anything else is just beliefs that need to sort of be unwound one by one by one. And the more that we unwind the who am I to, we become the person I am the person too.
Stacy Mayer: So the first thing, when I said a woman who's trying to get ahead and you said, let's look at the word trying. I love that because the last chapter in my book is failing ahead of time. And it's just all those little words, right? I hope I hope it works out. I'm trying to and I think what you just described is this: You're already doing it. So can you just kind of pull all that together for me?
Kathryn Morrison: I would say hope is not a strategy. I do think for some people it's a helpful place to get to. Like if we were to talk about an emotional scale, hope is better than despair. So that's good, right? To be in 'I hope'. But if you think about the energy of hope, hope is passive, right? Oh, I hope it works out. It's just sort of like, where are you and where is your free will in that? I hope it works out. It sort of is telling. Versus, when you believe that you're a powerful creator, then it's like: Oh, I know it will, and here's how I know it will.
I might not know the timeline exactly. I think that's helpful. Sometimes people freak out a lot about, like the timeline of it's like: Oh, I want a promotion in the next two months or something, right? It's like: okay, well, how about I know I will get promoted or I know I will get the next role. And then you start to look at: and then what are all the things that you're like not quite sure about? And hope, I think it's a useful place. If it's as far as you can get in your belie, hope is useful as a stepping stone. But if you stay in hope, you stay passive. So I think once you sort of pass through hope, you get to like: oh,it's belief. And then once you get past belief, it's knowing.
Stacy Mayer: Yeah. And anything but passive today.
Kathryn Morrison: Yeah. And so let's not be passive. And it's okay to have grace and compassion if you're in the place where it just feels like the kind of thing like you're hoping for. But to just really then get to the point of like: Oh, this is a stepping stone towards me owning my leadership. I'm not going to stay in hope. Because hope is not a strategy.
Stacy Mayer: So good. So good. So how can people find you? Learn more from you, follow you, all the things.
Kathryn Morrison: I play on Instagram a lot. I'm at @KathrynMorrisonCoaching and I also, for those of you who are maybe have an inkling of entrepreneurship in your bones, there's a podcast called Ascension Through Entrepreneurship, and you can check me out.
Stacy Mayer: They're awesome. Oh, thank you, Kathryn. Thank you so much for being here today. This was super fun.
Kathryn Morrison: Welcome. It was great to catch up.
Stacy Mayer: Yay.
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 “Women Changing Leadership 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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