With all the expectations we have to live up to, the loaded schedules, and a million things we have to get done, it’s easy to feel lacking. We feel unsure of our accomplishments and even when we’ve already done so much, it’s still hard to feel fulfilled. But not as hard as when you don’t even know what you want to do or what your life’s purpose is. If you often find yourself questioning the path you are on, you cannot miss this episode! Annie Leib, a Certified Professional Executive Coach and the founder and CEO of Annie Leib, LLC & BREATH Framework, INC, talks about what the BREATH Framework stands for and how it helps you identify your core values, your whys, your mission, and your life’s purpose. Tune in and learn how you can find alignment in being your authentic self, finding that purpose, and achieving amazing results.
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Begin With The BREATH – Finding Alignment For Your Highest Productivity With Annie Leib
We’re always looking for tips and tricks to help you to take back time or think and act and be more strategic in everything that you do so that in this episode, you can be your best self, your authentic self. I’m excited to have Annie Leib with us. She is an experienced executive coach and businesswoman. Her sole purpose is to align leaders with their most authentic selves, which unlocks their ability to create a huge impact in the world and huge productivity.
She helps companies to see that when you take care of your people, you take care of your business. I couldn’t agree more. She’s going to tell us a lot more about herself but she’s also centered her practice around her two children, Sammy and Evie, and their rescue dog, Randall. She’s an executive MBA and her professional coaching certification. Without further ado, Annie, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Authentic self, so take care of yourself and be your authentic self. The big buzzword lately is this authenticity. What does that mean to you? There’s a lot of hype around it. People are authentically fake, even when they say they’re being authentic. What does it mean to you to be authentic? Let’s start from there.
I’m going to put it out there. The word is overused and it’s used where people don’t understand what it means. I agree with you in that regard but I will tell you that my whole mission and purpose is to get people and guide them to their most authentic selves. When I say authenticity, I’m talking about someone that knows who they are, knows their core values, knows their why, their mission, and their purpose here on earth. It’s when you can figure out these things I have. I can explain this later but I use the BREATH Framework. When you can figure out where you are, where you want to go, who you are, and who you want to be, those things can be woven together and you can find your authentic self. That can help you to be the most productive version of yourself.
When you’re focusing your time and energy on the things that are important to you, not to your parents or to someone else who’s decided this is your path but to you, then you’re able to be at your happiest.
When you can dig and find that true self because you’re right, many people walk around and they’re living up to what their parents wanted them to do or their siblings or their best friends. It’s not who they are. How can you be full and content and healing and evolved and all of those things and get everything done that you want to get done if you’re not truly you? People walk around on this treadmill and I help them to get off that treadmill.
People are throwing around the use of authenticity also in terms of a little bit of vulnerability. They’re mixing those two things up and they think, “If I share something about my life and my heart, that’s going to make me authentic.” Sometimes, there’s this overshare on social media. It doesn’t feel authentic to me. I wanted to get your thought about that. Are we misusing the word and trying to use it to manipulate it a little bit?Authenticity is when someone knows who they are, their core values, their whys, their mission, and their purpose here on earth. Click To Tweet
Some people are and some people do share too much. I happen to be a sharer but I don’t consider myself an overshare. I do believe there is a piece of vulnerability, especially in what I do. When I do share a piece of me, and I share a lot on LinkedIn, I have a pretty engaged following but I’m not like a Facebook or Instagram person. I focus on that one platform because that’s what works for me.
I have found that when you can share who you are and I share about my kids, my dog, past successes and failures, and what’s going on, the stuff that gets the most interaction and engagement that people truly grasp onto is when I am the most authentic me. That’s when I put myself out there. I know what you mean that people do overshare but there’s a fine line. You have to learn how to navigate that when you’re sharing on social media, and it takes some time.
It’s part of what you do. It’s also natural that you’re going to do that. In certain contexts, I’d see people. Maybe it’s just me and maybe I shy away. Maybe I should share more. I do share some private things, too. I think your stories are powerful and they help people to connect with you and to connect with whatever they’re looking to find in themselves. They seek their stories in your story. Sometimes it felt like it wasn’t genuine.
I agree with what you’re saying. If it’s not authentic to you, if you’re sharing because you think you have to share and you’re telling a personal story that you don’t want to tell, that’s going to show. The more you align with who you are, what might be comfortable for me to share may not be for you, and vice versa. You have to be aligned with that authentic self in order to tow that line with sharing.
What I’m hearing you say is that what’s authentic to me is going to be different than authentic to you. People shouldn’t feel that if you want to get followers, you have to share all of these types of things. It’s important also to understand that it’s finding that comfort level for each of us. Let’s go back to something that you said. A question came up. You said that people are authentic when they know their purpose on this earth. How do you know if you know your purpose on this earth?
I can tell you that you have to start when you don’t know it. It starts with, “I don’t know why I’m here.” Rather than I fall into, “I know what my purpose is.” I have more people that I talk to them right away and they’re like, “I don’t know what my meaning is. I don’t know what my purpose is.” I’m like, “You’re the perfect person that I want to talk to,” because that’s what I do. That’s what I find passion in because I didn’t understand my purpose and meaning.
When I found executive coaching and realized that, besides my children, this is one of my reasons. My mission in life is to help people and guide them toward this self-actualized person that they’ve never known. How did they uncover who they are and what their core values are? What makes them? That’s my mission and purpose. That’s where all my passion is. Once I found that, I knew that I didn’t have it before.
It’s important to understand and connect to your higher purpose because that’s where passion comes from. That’s the biggest problem with the Great Resignation in my opinion. We are so disconnected from ourselves, from each other. Even though we have tools that connect us more than ever, we’re not connected. We’re living in like a state of distraction.There's a fine line between being authentic and oversharing. And you have to learn how to navigate that when you're sharing on social media. Click To Tweet
We’re the most connected we’ve ever been and the most disconnected we’ve ever been in. It’s crazy.
There are a lot of people that want to know desperately and want to have something that they’re passionate about. Adam Grant did a TEDx during the pandemic about meth. There are a lot of people in this meth state and they don’t know. If somebody doesn’t know or they’re not connected to it, what’s a tip that you could give us for people to take that first step?
I did another show and was asked a similar question. I have two answers. One might be like an eye-roll answer. If you want to start something free and on your own, start journaling. I hate to stereotype but most of my men are like, “I don’t journal. I don’t want to do that.” Even if you feel that, sit down with a pen and paper. I don’t care if you write about your chicken nuggets for dinner or if you write about your trauma from when you were six years old. It doesn’t matter. I want you to write. It’s incredible what you find out about yourself when you free write. Make it a habit. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes each morning and see if you can do that for a week and see what comes out of it.
I can’t guarantee but I’ve never heard someone come back to me and say, “I sat there and looked at the blank page.” Start writing about anything. That’s the first step. The other thing is if you want to invest in yourself and find a coach like me. Find someone whose purpose and their meaning in life is to help you find yourself because there are many of us. I don’t believe in competition in my business. There’s plenty of business for everybody. Plenty of people need help.
There are many people that feel this passionate about coaching people, helping them, and guiding them. That is a great investment because that’s all I do. All I do is help executives find their true selves. That’s like saying it in one short sentence. There’s a lot, the fact that I can do that and I have a track record of doing that. If you don’t feel that’s something you’d want to do, talk to people who’ve done it. I bet you, it might turn you around. A lot of people might be skeptical like, “What are you going to say that I don’t already know?” Talk to people. See who’s had a coach that’s helped them. I bet you you’ll find out something that’ll make you excited to do it.
Find a coach and do some journaling. We’re not going to end it here because you said, “Go find a coach,” and then we’ve got nothing to talk about. Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of different interesting ways to approach looking for what drives your passion. One thing that I’ve heard that it’s interesting is, “What’s the one thing that you can’t not do? You try not to do it but you can’t not do it.” I’m sure if I took coaching away from you, you can’t help but do it. Everyone you talk to, you probably coach because it’s what you do.
I’ll give you an example. I don’t want to watch football. I’m like the son my dad never had. I would like you to take that away from me but no matter what I do, I am drawn to the sport. It makes me crazy, passionate, and insane. I can’t rip myself away from the game. I want to be one of those people that go shopping on Sundays and don’t know there’s a football schedule but I can’t, so I know what you mean about that.
There you go. That’s funny because it’s somehow in your DNA. That’s interesting. We can get clearer on what our passions are when we think about the things that we can’t not do.When you find your purpose and your meaning everything else aligns and you naturally become more balanced. Click To Tweet
One other point I want to add to that is that I do a fulfillment exercise in one of the exercises that I give to a fairly new client. We talk and there are some in-depth questions I ask like, “When was the last time you were fulfilled? 50% of people say they don’t remember, which saddens me. I want to help them get to that place but the other 50% can close their eyes and tell me and describe it to me.
I say, “Describe the taste, the feel, and the smell. When was the last time you were fulfilled?” Usually, that will have a theme or a woven thread into it that I can say, “Do you hear what you said? That’s something you’re passionate about.” We can bring that into meaning and purpose. It takes a little while. It takes a couple of sessions but that’s where I’ve started before with that.
That makes a lot of sense. It’s from the same thing. It is to tap into what we already have insights into. We just don’t know how to access it. It’s there. We know that there are times we’ve felt passionate about something, enjoyed doing something, felt fulfilled in the work or the play that we do, and how to uncover that. What’s the connection between our authentic self, finding that purpose, feeling productive in that context, and being able to be strategic about the way that we approach our lives as a result of knowing that?
If you do the work and you find your authentic self, you’re going to align the rest of the areas in your life. The things like focus, productivity, and managing time, all of those things are going to become more aligned when you find out who you are. When you can align, figure out who you are, and meet yourself there, all the other things are going to line up. You figure out your core values, your purpose here, what’s controlling you, and what you’re trying to control. This is the modality that I’ve learned. When you get all those things in order, the other things fall into place.
I like the word alignment. It fits and helps us. When we’re aligned, it’s like being in the flow. You’re aligned and things flow. When things are unaligned, you’re more distracted. It tends to be that things don’t feel easy. It doesn’t work.
I’ll give you an example. If you start off your day every day with one thing that you do every single morning as you sit at your desk. You have a notebook and you write down a few things that you’re grateful for every day. Your day is going to start with that and that’s your routine. That’s your habit and that’s a beautiful way to start your day. You might do it so much that might feel a little off if you don’t do it one day because you’ve started this routine and this habit. It’s a beautiful thing that you’ve brought into your life because you start to think like, “I’m grateful that happened because of this.”
You start to look at life a little differently. That’s one of the ways that I’ve become more productive and been able to strategically manage my life better. I was not the best time manager but I start the day with gratitude. When I do that, everything shifts into alignment a little bit easier than if you just get up, you’re hitting your alarm, and you’re waking the kids. Give yourself some extra time to breathe. Things go and flow.
I’ve been doing that for years consistently, writing down what I’m grateful for. After a horrific difficult time in my life, that’s when I implemented it when I needed it the most. I continued the practice because it changes what you look at. How you start your day sets up the energy for the whole day. I’m in 100% agreement with that.You will get more of what you want when you loosen your grip. Click To Tweet
I believe that gratitude is connected with meaning. Tell me what you think about this. I believe that we’re not truly seeking balance in our lives. You know how everybody talks about balance. “I have to find this balance.” I think we’re seeking meaning and when we find meaning balance will be a by-product of finding meaning.
You’re saying it in different words. When you do those things and you find your purpose and meaning, everything else aligns. You naturally become more balanced, focused, and productive. Things flow better in your life when you figure out who you are. When you figure out who you are, you know your meaning, your purpose, and why you’re here.
Many people go on this treadmill or this hamster wheel, through life, and they’re not present. They crave presence. It’s like, “I have to bring people. I’ll pull the back of their shirt like over Zoom. Pull them back for a minute.” It’s like, “Come back here for a second. You’re already over here. Come back here and talk to me.” When we can bring us ourselves back to the center, everything else flows.
We are aligned, you and me, so that’s good. You mentioned earlier something that I’m working on with my new book. I’m interested to talk to you about it. You mentioned control. In my new book, I’m talking about control and how I think that it’s our relationship with control. It’s a natural, biological, and psychological part of our system at every level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s also the source of almost all of our stress. Let’s talk about control.
In my BREATH Framework, that’s the coaching modality that I created. It’s an acronym. B is for Begin where you are. R is Reclaim your power. E is Excavate your core values. A is Allow, not control. T is Through, not around. H is Heal or healing. One of the biggest steps in my coaching program is to allow, not control. What it looks at are all the ways that we’re trying to control every aspect of our life and how if you learn to start with baby steps, 1 or 2 things, relinquish a little bit of that control that you’re putting on everything, life will flow a little bit better. Things will be a little bit more aligned. You will get more of what you want when you loosen your grip.
Let’s talk about that. There are people who don’t realize that they’re in this control trap. It was something that was like an a-ha for me. If I look at all the different things that create stress, it’s all when we’re trying to put an excessive amount of control on something or the opposite of apathy and exerting control from pretending that there’s no control like withholding and things like that. That’s also a form of control. It’s just not recognized as that. People are reading, and now they’re woken up to this. What is something that they can do to loosen that grip a little bit?
I’m going to go back to my original statement. It starts with some of that free writing and journaling. That’s a good first step. I’m not giving you an assignment. I’m not giving you even a prompt. I’m saying I want you to go with a pen and paper and free write what’s on your brain. When you can get some of that out onto paper. I don’t have any clinical studies but I feel like I’ve proven this with people.
When you do that, you mind dump, and then you’re able to breathe for the rest of the day a little bit differently. You’re able to loosen your grip on all those other things because everything is becoming an alignment, which you and I have been talking about this whole time. Your productivity is more. You are not being so uptight. You’re relaxing for a minute by getting this stuff off of your brain and onto paper. That’s like a good first step in my book, too. There’s more work that we need to talk about why you’re controlling these things.It's okay to not feel so perfect all the time. It's okay to not feel like you have every single thing measured and in control all the time. Click To Tweet
What does it make you feel like to control those things? What does it make you feel like to not control those things? The T in BREATH is for Through, not around. What I mean by that is you’re sitting in your discomfort because some of the Allow in the A is going to make you feel uncomfortable because you’re not used to it. The next step is to go through and sit in the discomfort and go, “It’s okay to not feel so perfect all the time. It’s okay to not feel like I have every single thing measured and in control all the time.” It’s okay. I’m okay and sit in it. That’s part of my process, too.
You said the journaling is that mind dump. That makes sense for people who are reading and they’ve followed different time management techniques. David Allen has a technique where he has you dump it all out so that you have space. That makes sense. It’s another way to release, let go, and free yourself of the worries or whatever’s on your mind.
I heard this quote that said, “Let go or be dragged down,” and it’s so true. Think of yourself holding onto the back of a car. You have to let your hands go or it’s going to drag you. That’s the way it works. It made me think of that. Every time I try to control something, I think of myself on the back of a car like, “I’m not going to let this car drive away with me hanging on the back. I’m going to let go and I’m going to control that.” Do you know what I mean? I think of that in my head and when I start to get controlling because everybody does. I don’t care. Unless you’re like a Buddhist Monk, you’re going to be trying to control something.
It’s a need. We are all control freaks. It’s fact.
In some ways, we have to be. I have to make sure my kid eats dinner but it’s not probably going to be in my timeframe. I’m trying to control that but we have to be able to. That’s why I don’t say let go, at first. I say, loosen the reins, which is what I said earlier. Loosen a little bit. You don’t have to be white-knuckling everything. When I can get people to take that first step to loosen their hands a little bit of their grip. Baby steps are huge for me. I’m not in a life overhaul in two months. I’m into baby steps.
Without the loosening, it has to come before the let go. I did some Behavioral Psychology and, in those studies, the first thing that we learned was to help somebody to loosen their grip. I remember my trainer, he’d come at you with a pen and he’d go, “Take this from me.” You yank it and he’s holding it back and you’re pulling. There’s this complete tug of war. He’s like, “As a coach, you’re never going to help anybody to move forward if you don’t get them to loosen their grip.” That has to be the first. I love to use all these kinds of cool lines.
They are analogies and things that you’ll never forget. I’ll never forget that because it makes total sense. It’s also our human nature. You ask somebody to come up and say, “Take this from me,” and they try to take it and the person won’t let go. They keep tugging at it. Instead of letting go of themselves and being like, “If you don’t want to give it to me,” then it becomes this tug of war. What a metaphor for life that is. When we see that someone else isn’t going to let go, we keep tugging.
It’s so counterproductive to what you think you should be doing. Grab it, hold it tight, and pull it toward you. When it’s like, “Don’t be a slave to you. Let it go.”Let go of your burdens or be dragged down. Click To Tweet
We could sit here and talk about this all day but unfortunately, my readers’ attention span is probably about 20 to 30 minutes. We’re almost at that point. I like to ask everybody, what’s your definition of productivity and why?
Productivity to me is when you can lay your head down on the pillow at night and say, “I did okay.” Why? It’s because I’m never going to get every single thing done. I’m always going to have more to do but if I beat myself up for it, that’s not being productive to me. Productivity is crossing things off the list and being able to lay down at night and say, “I got a lot done. I’m good.” If you can sit, your soul is settled, you’re laying on the pillow, and you’re like, “I did all right,” then I feel like you’ve been productive.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you feel my readers should know?
One last tidbit I’ll say is freedom is an important word to mean. We didn’t touch on that at all but when you are bound to schedules, and we all are to a certain extent but I mean, control and suffocating yourself on trying to get things done, that’s not productivity. For example, if you’re coaching with me, we go toward a place of freedom and you’re not free like a gypsy running through grass and flowers. I’m saying you’re free because you’ll get more done if you relax a little bit. We find this place, this Zen, this flow. Some people think if they’re not like this, they’re not going to get anything done but I’m telling you, go toward the freedom and it will help you to become more productive.
That’s an important word. What that means to everybody might be different things but free from stress, control, and those types of things. It’s going to make us more productive. It’s going to make us feel more productive. In my first book, I talked about productivity as a feeling. I think that’s what you were aiming at. You put your head down on the pillow and you feel like you did something. It doesn’t have to be like you did everything but you did what you needed to do or you’ll be okay and tomorrow’s another day. How can people hear more about you and what you’re doing? Where do they go to?
Thank you so much for being here.
Thanks. I appreciate your time and your great questions.
My pleasure. Thank you all for being here and being attentive and present. The important thing is that you take away the word alignment. That was said many times, how you can find alignment in who you are, how you show up, and all of that will lead you to amazing results. It sounds like we have an assignment. Take out your journal, spend 5 or 10 minutes every day and see how it works. See what you find out, what you notice about yourself, what that does to your stress level, and let me and Annie know what that did for you. Thank you all for reading. I’ll see you in the next episode.
About Annie Leib
Annie’s message and methodology for coaching leaders was cultivated from her years in the business world and her extensive personal healing experience which she has combined for the benefit of the leaders she coaches. Her widespread coaching work spans across industries and has brought praise from companies for the change it has created. Her clients become changed leaders that lead change.
Her unique methodology is captured in her trademark BREATH Framework, which has an intense focus on the identification of a person’s life purpose, value system, and core leadership traits. Annie helps clients realign their actions and mindsets, unlocking their hidden potential. They then recognize and manage the emotional barriers that keep them from it. Her methodology is captured in her book, “Begin with the BREATH.”
Annie brings a unique mix of power and vulnerability to her coaching. Her high energy and dynamic coaching technique is ideal for executive leaders who want to adapt their style to this new world of hybrid working environments and demands for more empathetic and engaging leadership. Her clients rave about her ability to summon from them the courage and vision to see themselves more fully and utilize all of their intellectual and emotional capacity to change the world.
Annie’s world is centered around her practice and her two children Sammy and Evie, and their rescue dog Randall. She has an Executive MBA and her professional coaching certification.
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