In this interview with Spencer Snakard, executive transformation coach, trainer, and speaker we discuss how alignment and fulfillment can create a profitable, lasting legacy.
About Spencer Snakard
Spencer Snakard is an executive transformation coach, trainer, and speaker. She works with visionary entrepreneurs and transformational leaders who are on a mission to make major impact, helping them to break through barriers to their next level of success while loving life every step of the way … and without giving up what matters most to them.
Read the Transcript
This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.
Deliberate Leaders I am your host, Allison Dunn, Executive Coach and Founder of the Deliberate Leaders podcast where we are dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. And today, I have a fantastic guest in the house with us today. Her name is Spencer Snakard. She is an executive transformation coach, speaker and trainer. She works with visionary entrepreneurs and transformational leaders who are on a mission to make a major impact, helping them to break through barriers to their next level of success, while loving every step of the way, and without giving up what matters most. So, kindred spirits. Spencer, thank you so much for joining us here today on Deliberate Leaders. Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. So I like to kick these off with a very deliberate conversation. And I’m just curious, would you be willing to share your like go to leadership tip with our leaders, our listeners today?
Yeah, I think the biggest thing that really is the foundation for everything thing else is living in alignment, knowing who you are, what you’re here for what matters most to you. And making sure that how you run your business, how you live your life, every aspect of it is completely lined up with that the goals you set, the visions you have for yourself, the targets you’re aiming after everything lined up with that.
I absolutely love that tip. And I’d say congruency and alignment are like consistent words that yes. And in our Deliberate Leaders Program alignment is the A in compass, which is our acronym that we use.
I think alignment today, in today’s times is becoming more challenging to actually make quick adjustments so that we’re in it. So what are some of the things that you are recognizing and helping your clients through to help them make sure that they’re realigned or in my terminology, be calibrated so that they you know, are focused in their purpose
Yes, well, so much of it, I think is even just starting to have people look into what do they when we set out for things that we think we want to really start to connect into? Is that really what I want? Or is that something I think I’m supposed to do because it’s the next step of the ladder, or it’s the next step in the journey, or it’s going to really impress my parents who are going to finally think that I’m super successful and be extra happy about me or, you know, to impress the neighbors or whatever it may be. It’s not always necessarily so things that may seem so kind of blatantly out to appease other people, but really who we are as human beings, is, it’s important for us to belong to be accepted to feel like we have a place in this world and so many of our motives are often driven by that. And so when we really start to tune into it, I’ll probably say this quite a few times, because it’s one of my key things I keep bringing people back to is it really tuning into who you really are.
And for me, I really believe that’s on a soul or a spiritual level, I think there’s a distinction between who we are and what drives that true purpose, that true calling that we have. And then there can be a distinction between that and how we show up in the world. Because a lot of times how we show up in the world is more of that human way of coping with the need to survive and potential threats or risks or things that could stand in our way. And so we find ways to cope and do that, but they’re not always in sync with each other. And so one of the first things is really to be checking in with well, who am I really? Or who do I aspire to be who I want to be in the world? And when I look at those things that I want, are those really in alignment with that? Is it really what I want? Or is it trying to fit? check some box off by that the identity or who I think I’m supposed to be? Or how I think I’m supposed to look? Right? And I am sure you use assessment type tools when you’re working with clients. And so one of our tools that we use is a disc assessment. Are you familiar with that at all? Like a personality profiling?
So I guess, but yeah, that’s real versus adaptive, and how we modify our not our authentic selves. But in some cases we really do based on who we’re working with and the type of environment that we’re in. Yes. So what are some of the telltale signs that someone could self diagnose whether or not they may be out of alignment in need a chiropractor, or, you know, someone to help them kind of realign into their authentic purpose? Yes. You know, I think it’s so fascinating. I think there are so many signs that really show up in our lives all the time. And, and we may not make the connection of Oh, this means I’m out of alignment, or Oh, this means I’m headed down a path that’s not really in sync with who I am or what I’m here for isn’t really what I want to be doing. But I mean, it could be everything from health issues. A number of times people will have health issues. I had one client who was in the ICU.
Prior to working with me, part of why she came to me was because she had a seven figure full service ad agency and was literally running herself into the ground and ended up in ICU for weeks, and ended up selling the business and said, I still want to do amazing things in the world, I still want to have a very successful business. But I know I can’t do it that way anymore. And that’s that really the whole reason that she started working with man. And we’ve been making huge strides in that with growing her new business. But so health issues to answer your question or part of it, certainly relationship issues can come up things where you just feel you just feel disconnected or you feel like you know, we have those whisperings and we don’t always listen to them. But if we tune in and we listen, there’s almost always those little whisperings of Inklings that are saying things like this, there’s more to this or I meant for more than this or this isn’t really where I want to be or what I want to be doing. And so when you really start to listen in when you can take a moment to even just step back, I was a yoga instructor for over 15 years. And part of what called me to yoga was that sort of that ability to be focused in a still way, if that makes sense. I didn’t, I never did well with meditating. So I wasn’t really wanting to be able to just sit and to be able to meditate, yes. But I knew I needed something to keep my brain from going into 80 million different things per second, that we’re going up, I need to do this. And don’t forget about that. And I got to get on that, ah, on all the stuff that we do those of us especially who are leaders and have a lot on our plate, and we’re headed out for amazing things in the world and people are counting on us. And so anyway, for me yoga was a way to get focused, you can’t be in a revolved inverted triangle and be thinking, Oh, I got to remember to get milk when I go to the store after.
So when you give yourself those moments to be able to whatever your form may be, and I’m not saying people have to do yoga, but whatever your form is to be able to sort of unplug from all the chatter in the business.
And listen in a lot of times, it’ll let us know.
I would say that I recognize that as one of the significant phenomenon so like if we’re not trying to figure how to do it virtually and not inside the office while homeschooling while traveling, trying to stay up on what’s happening in our community in the news and new regulations, that just finding a place to be quiet enough to even just allow ourselves to tell us what we need. Yes. Is I you think it would be less of a challenge and yet I think it’s that heightened, much more heightened to challenge than ever. Yes, I think unless you unless you make something like that on your list of goals is to do that’s right.
I have so many clients hate me but Spencer, I need to keep doing things I’ve measured by how much I accomplish. Like Yeah, the first thing we got to start breaking down barriers, you can still accomplish awesome things but let us not have that decide how worthy or valuable or good you are in the world.
And you use some terminology called the perfection principle and curious how can it help? How can it help us fulfill our mission? So explain what it is, and how can it help us? Yes. So the perfection principle is a principle or a foundational belief that I’ve been developing recently. And I’m really coming to feel like this is, I feel in many ways, like for me anyhow, this is kind of the answer to all of all of the woes in the world. That I as I mentioned before, I believe we are spiritual beings. I love that expression from a French philosopher that says we’re not human beings having a spiritual experience. We’re spiritual beings having we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. And I really believe at our at our heart at our center, we really are spiritual beings. And with that, and this for me is not I just want to preface this by saying this is not all about religion or doctrine or you know what you’re supposed to do to be a gun right worthy person, but just that I think the essence of us is beyond that.
This physical body that we’re housed in, and when you, when you think of the sort of God universe, spirit, source creator, whatever it is, that lives within us, I really am a big believer that that lives within us, we are an extension and an expression of that. And with that, I feel like God doesn’t make mistakes. There’s, there’s I think there’s so many of us who think you know, there’s something wrong with me or I need to fix this thing about myself or if only I didn’t, or if only I would. And it’s like, we have this constant push and strive to be more better different to change something about who we are how we are. I’ve had some of the most amazing human beings that I’ve ever known say to me and moments of despair, I feel so broken. And so the perfection principle is the idea that really there is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you, there is nothing missing. You are perfect and whole magnificent divine being exactly as you are for all that you are and for all that you’re not.
That’s something that a lot of us I think really tend to push back on sometimes like no but I need to be this or I need to have that or I need to get to this place and then everything will be great but when you really embrace yourself for being perfect whole and complete exactly as you are and exactly as you’re not, all the other stuff literally just fizzles away, there’s no need for fear for doubt for comparison. for, you know, that sense of not being enough, all of that goes away, when we really ground into this, this idea of this principle. So, you know, I get that it’s not for everybody. Some people might be saying, I didn’t sign up for the spiritual stuff on this episode. But for me, I feel like we can’t pretend that we’re not and I think that’s honestly I think that’s a big piece of what’s missing in the business world is that we come at business from a very intellectual, right brain perspective of Okay, I need to figure this thing out, or I need to learn this thing to do I need to do this thing better. And it completely loses the essence of who we really are. And there’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. Right? Right. Which I love that saying, if someone was interested in trying to identify how to tap into that inner spiritual, like, you know, the purpose side of things and really connect with where energy flows and what we’re thinking about.
And let’s say they’re not highly religious, so like trying to yes to be similar.
What are your go to activities? How do you help people access that?
That intuition? Yeah, there’s a number of exercises that I take clients through one of the ones so this isn’t the end all be all, but one of the ones that I really like and I still play with myself on a regular basis, is doing a kind of a standing in the future exercise. Like imagine that it’s five years from now. 10 years from now, however far in the distance you want to go and that everything is exactly as you want it to be that life is amazing and fulfilling, you’re happy, you’re joyful, you’re at peace, you’re, you’re in the dream relationship you want, you’re making the impact in the world that you want, you’re making as much money and more that you want, everything is exactly as you want it to be. to, to do some, I tend to do it as journaling, that people could do it as some sort of meditating or just sort of feeling into it. But imagining how life is in in that state and really approaching it from the present tense, even though we’re imagining the future, that it’s almost like you’re doing a journal entry or writing a letter to a friend telling someone about how incredible everything is, and really to get into the details of it. And it’s not necessarily about like, it’s funny, I joke about how I called my husband into my life this way, and I joke about it, but I really do believe it.
Actually, I mean, this, this is a relationship example, but the tool totally works from a business perspective as well that I was on a bit of a rant about my ex in my journal, and I thought
Okay, Spencer, you know better than this, you don’t need to spend another second on what you don’t want, what do you want? And I wrote out this whole long, like, give him three page type thing. And within a month there he was. So, but it’s really that kind of getting into that feeling of things as well like, how do you want life to be that and how does it? What’s the experience of it for you? Again, if you were to tell someone about it, like being type where it’s like, oh, it’s I feel so free, I’m having the best time of my life and all of that and, and then to really notice to you know, here’s the big thing to notice if if things aren’t quite in sync with where you are now, to notice, okay, is what who I’m being and what I’m doing now. Is it in line with that? And is it is it anywhere even on the path to lead to that? Because sometimes we can also look, you know, I realized when I was still in my corporate career for nearly 20 years, and thinking that I wanted to move on to start my own business and to do things that I felt were really much more in line with my purpose and my calling and I have this really. Then I was like, wow, I’m spending the most amount of time on the things that really, I feel matter least Now, obviously, I was getting a paycheck and health care. And that was all good in the world. And I sometimes also will kind of think my mom has been through two rounds of cancer. And occasionally I’ll have the thought of, if I knew I only had fortunately she’s still with us, she made it through. But I’ve had moments where I’ve thought if I knew I only had six months to live or a year to live, how would I spend it? And is what I’m doing now? Anything among the things that I would be doing and if it’s not, I need to figure out how to how to shift that how to get those things in mind. Right.
I think that’s that is an absolute beautiful exercise. One additional successful way which I’m sure you’ve also used with your clients is if you can’t write it out, then you know put it in a vision board or dream chart. Yes, anything so I highly visual form Yes, it would be incredibly painful style, but I can see like just detail to almost picture perfect and words. Yes, on an actual visual board. Yeah, then visuals are a great tool to use. And that’s I love that you brought that up as an alternative if people don’t like the writing process. And even if you do like the writing process, it’s still great to have a visual, I encourage my clients to do that too, to do screensavers and do pictures on their wall like right next to their computer. I even have notes I use little sticky notes that I’ll write like with a big fat permanent marker, little sayings or things there that I’ll feel like, okay, at any point in the day, I can just kind of ground into this. Yeah, that’s awesome. Um, one of one of the other things that I know that you kind of do some focus on is helping people overcome barriers and creating breakthroughs. And so I guess my question is, is, what is
And so I guess my question is what is the most common barriers that keep us from being able to have breakers?
The most common barriers that keep us from having breakthroughs, I would say .. Okay, well, the short answer is fear. But that doesn’t help people that much to say, Well, how do I get past that?
So the short answer, I think, is fear. And really with that fear, again, it’s kind of that conflict between who we are as these limitless, perfect divine spiritual beings housed in this physical body that that we have a legit need to survive, and we could be harmed and, and so I think, you know, ultimately, I think that’s what the fear comes down to. I mean, I sometimes will say, you know, it’s not like we’re being chased by saber toothed Tigers anymore, but we still have that wiring in us. We still have our caveman instincts of needing to survive needing to take care of ourselves needing to belong, to be accepted to be successful. And, you know, the biggest way I think that we’ve adapted that in modern day life is through the development of our identity of who we think we are, of who we think we have to be really because we find it seems to work a time or two, and then we start collecting evidence and going oh my gosh, see, it really does work.
Before you know it, we get stuck in this state where it’s like you have to be that like, if I’m the super achiever, if I was the superstar student in school and got praise from teachers and parents and even friends maybe said, Wow, you’re so smart. How do you do that? If that’s something that then becomes who I am or who I think I am, who am I, if I’m not that, it’s like, there’s no opportunity to fail, there’s no room to be able to take any real major risks or to potentially fall flat on my face, especially if other people are going to see it and be aware of it. So, so it really can get us stuck in these sort of one dimensional ways of being and ways of doing things. And so that’s one of the biggest things I do with people is help really getting into opening those pathways up to be able to remove those barriers to start to discover well, who are you really and, okay, what’s it going to take to, to step into that? Take that courageous move or step into that scary space and that I think the benefit of working with a coach always is to have someone there with you to kind of be your guide and to make sure there’s a safety net there if you if you go falling off the cliff.
People are like, oh my god, there’s a cliff involved.
Sometimes there is yes, yes. Well, many of the people I work with say to me, I feel like I’m on the edge of something really big that they’ll say I’m like, I feel like I’m on the edge of the cliff and I can see the other side but it’s so scary to step off the cliff and trust that a bridge is going to be there that I’m going to safely make it over the other way. So right.
Um, as far as breakthroughs Do you think that do you think that as humans that we naturally are inclined to not look for breakthroughs or do you think it’s a yearning desire? I’m just curious if I think it’s a yearning desire, really, I think I think inherent within us is this desire to expand and I feel like we see that really at I feel like we see it everywhere in nature around us. I mean, all of life is constantly growing and expanding. But even spiritually, you know, I feel like that’s very much what we’re here for. I am a big believer that we come here to, to learn whatever spiritual lessons we’ve chosen to learn before coming into this life. And so I do think we have this sort of inherent a yearning to move on to the next thing, it’s just then will sometimes be confronted by the fear or the risks or the what ifs. And that’s where we sometimes may, unknowingly and unintentionally get in our own way. I’ve certainly seen many places in my own life where I’ve done that and certainly many places in my clients lives where they do that. And so that’s really the part of breaking through that fear as well as recognizing where we’re really setting ourselves up, to not be able to get through to the other side or to make it hard to get through to the other side.
You touched on identity and identity, you know, like I realized that topics just so gigantic.
So how can some of the aspects of writing identity that make us feel successful also be the things that limit us hold us back and permit us from moving forward.
Yeah, they, you know, it has to do with kind of that one dimensionality that I mentioned that when we get stuck in this idea of who we think we are or who we think we have to be, it doesn’t provide a lot of space for anything else. And I would use the reference sometimes of that it can be like your identity has you by the juggler, you know, sinking your teeth, or at least, or at least with the teeth on the neck with the threat of being sunk into the neck. That it really sometimes can feel like our identity almost has this hostage or has, you know, right on the edge of like, Don’t make another move kind of thing. But, um, you know, when we can, again, when we can start to recognize and start to recognize where and how it’s eliminating us. I mean, just as an example, you know, you can think of, for instance, politicians here we are coming up on an election and taxes on my house a little more appropriate topic. Yes. So I’m sorry. not going to get into politics on which side is right or wrong or that I agree with or anything, but let’s just say as far as identities go, politicians can be very charming. They can be very, what is the word I want to use, they connect with people very easily they can be sort of charismatic, and those ways that that they can build a following. And people are like, yes, you’re the one and you’re the one who’s going to take care of us or that I want in my in my corner. But being charismatic and connecting with people and being visionary doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills to then implement to carry those actions forward. And there are many times that we’ll see that that’ll happen that and, you know, some cynical folk may said, Not that I’m ever cynical myself.
But it may be a little more cynical might say, well, they were just lying along the campaign trail and saying what they you know what we wanted to hear, but I really think a lot of times is people mean, they believe it, but it’s a lacking skill to them be a different way.
To now be able to implement because to implement, there’s more management involved, there’s, you’re going to have to maybe tell people you’re not so happy with how things are going or and have to be stronger, firmer about what needs to be different. And this is very much the case and leadership that we see that leaders can have. I’ve seen very much both extremes where some leaders have done very well with the implementation side of things, or I should say, in the workplace, they did well, with implementation, they got promoted to a leadership position. But then they didn’t really have the leadership skills to connect with the people and to be visionary, and to let go of the hands on nitty gritty day to day stuff and trust other people to do it. And then the reverse people that have been very visionary, but then don’t quite know how to get the things lined up to get it carried out beyond that. So that’s just one example. But there’s so many ways that whatever those aspects of our identity may be, they’re very limiting. You have to be that you can’t be anything else. And that’s of course, not to say that you truly can’t be but when we’re bind to it, when we’re unaware of it.
Hold that it has on us, we get blindly locked into this one dimensional way of being.
I think your utilization of the political you know, the charismatic leader who then makes all of these promises, but then doesn’t surround themselves with the right team to actually do the implementation logistics execution is a very relevant story for businesses today. Certainly.
Given where we’re at, so we’re in August, this episode, we’re rolling in September. And there is more and more people who are kind of disclosing on LinkedIn that they’re, they’re at a pivot point, they, they either are no longer with the organization that we went into COVID-19 with, and so they’re being forced to reinvent themselves. And what advice guidance would you give to those folks about the world of possibilities that are in front of them and keeping that like drawing them together?
Words what’s the right thing to do? Yes, I’m such a believer in everything as an opportunity. And I know that’s hard to see sometimes in the thick of it, especially if you’ve, if you’ve lost your job, especially if you didn’t have a Package on the way out with losing your job. So I my heart just breaks for so many people that have lost so much over the last few months and I know many businesses have gone under. I just always choose to look at things as an opportunity and think, okay, that’s because something better is out there waiting for you. There’s a next great thing that’s ahead of you. I often feel like it’s cause for you know, breaking out celebration if whether it be someone leaving it losing a job or whether it be someone losing a partner in life, if it’s a divorce or something I sometimes have to hold myself back to not offend people when someone says they’re getting divorced, I want to say congratulations.
Yes, I mean, it’s just it’s a it’s a new, you know, it’s kind of Okay, so this, I guess part of it for me isI always look at it like, Okay, how can you make the most of what you have? It’s not necessarily to say what you have is like, awesome and what you necessarily thought you wanted. But given that you have it, it’s perfect exactly as it is. And so how do we use this now and move forward? And without I think so much of your approach is, is going to determine the outcome, how you approach it, if you approach it as Oh, my gosh, this stinks, this is terrible. I can’t believe this happened. And this is why me all of this, you’re going to get a very different result than you would if you approach it from what an awesome opportunity. Obviously, this is a calling for my next great thing. And now let me go figure out what that is. And so to answer your original question, then that led into that of how, you know, how do people do that? I think a lot of that comes back to what we started with speaking about alignment taking this time, this opportunity to really tune into what am I really here for what am I on this earth for what do I want to do with my life, what’s the legacy that I want to leave behind or the mark that I want to make?
And how can I most effectively do that? Or where can I apply my gifts and my talents to most effectively do that. And whether that means a shift, perhaps as you said, up to the word pivot, I know that’s been a big word of the last few months, whether that means pivoting into a whole new form or way of working, or whether it just means, you know, pivoting even on what your what boundaries you’re setting as far as what really matters for you. Like, for instance, if someone was with a company that was okay, but wasn’t an awesome company that they really believe in and stand behind, then maybe it means Okay, let’s find a company that’s more aligned with who I am and what matters to me in the world and is going to create those opportunities for me.
Yeah, I think that’s an excellent advice. And I’m just really encourage anyone who’s listening who is at this moment in time like it is happening for you, and not to you and yes, are beautiful things I had, for sure. Yes. I want to wrap
This interview with kind of going on the more personal side so in your bio it says that you’ve been married to the love of your life for six years and that combined to have a blended family of five kiddos ranging from 13 to 25. And I am also from a family of five so I was raised in a family of five and then just curious, what has what can you share in raising five kids that is translated to business is Do you have any similarities that you have?
That is so great No one’s ever asked that but it’s brilliant and yes, I immediately have things I can relate to.
So I will start by saying I have my the three oldest are my bonus children that I had the wonderful gift of receiving when I married my now husband of six years they were already 13,15 and 16. I think when I first met him when we started dating, so their mother and father both did a magnificent job with them. It’s been so interesting though, the first thing that came to mind when you ask that is the different personalities, totally different personalities, all five of them. I mean, there’s certainly some similarities and some overlap. But there’s also a lot of distinctions and different things that motivate them. Different things that appeal to them different ways even of relating to them, you know, some are much more sort of intellectual fact driven. And others are more touchy feely. I, you know, emotionally I want to, I want a hug and to know that I’m loved and cared about and not in the workplace, obviously, but, but they know that they’re loved and cared about. Yes, they do want to know they’re loved and cared about. Yes, absolutely. And so, so yeah, so the different personalities definitely, definitely carry over and, and also seeing the different gifts and talents and skills of each of them and also the different weaknesses, they’re there and the things that aren’t there stronger suits to recognize that and to you know, really work with that to work with it in ways of okay, this one may not be as strong in this area, but I know this really excels in this area. So how can we support them in that?
Even thinking of helping them plan for future paths because they’re all teenagers or young adults now. And so looking at the, you know, where are you headed in life? What do you want to be doing? What’s the mark you want to be making in the world? And what kind of work do you want to be doing? And how can we help you now to prepare you for that, just like in business with anyone who comes into our, our ranks, so to speak, to see how to really help develop them and work with their gifts, their talents, their weaknesses, as well and set them up for success? Yeah, and you hit on so many of the points that I was hoping to elicit in the conversation I’d say, the way that you know, the reflections that I’ve had and I don’t get to often like have this conversation when people have two kiddos, I’m building a business is really easy, but no one entrepreneurs the same and so the journey is different, you know, everything doesn’t look the same. So you know, to create something that’s unique to you, and that feels authentic on, you know, your legacy or whatever you’re trying to create. So I love that.
Yes. My second question is I also So you mentioned that you love spending center summers together in the rocky coast of Maine. And that is where I spent my summers. Oh, interesting. Yes. So we’re best in Maine do you spend do you spend time? We Uh, well, it used to always be York area. You’re you I wonder if we ever crossed paths.
It’s funny. My family has a long history there. My mom’s family was from Worcester. Worcester mass. Yeah, I think they’re from Worcester mass. And so I, my husband and I got married in York and your Carver, which was a long time dream of mine. We have wedding pictures at noble light on the rocks there. Which it’s funny. I didn’t think of it as we planned it. But as we were there and there were some kids watching us and a little girl watching and kind of moving on over us. I was thinking oh my gosh, I remember being a little girl on the Roxy Wedding couple getting pictures taken. But right before we got married, I found a picture from my great grandparents in 1916 standing up short Sam’s. And it was just it was so cool. So we’ve we have a long family history and Maine, my parents end up buying a cottage further north of north of Brunswick. So that’s where we tend to go the last few years but my husband and I are still talking about getting a place of our own and in New York somewhere to be able to, to go eventually, once we’ve got grandbabies to be able to enjoy it too.
That’s awesome. Well, that is our dream as well when we have grandbabies to be able to bring them back and our families from the short sans area so we I’m sure have cross paths if you guys are and I did too, we must have so it’s so great to reconnect with you as well.
Spencer it has been such a pleasure having you on the show today and love the connection and the kindred spirit that we have in kind of our thinking and philosophies for coaching. And I just can’t thank you enough for joining us.
Thank you. It’s been such a pleasure. Thank you.