Remind Yourself of How You Got Here — Don’t forget to celebrate your successes, no matter the size. Cumulatively, they add up to huge milestones.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dawn F. Landry.
Dawn F. Landry is a bestselling author and an award-winning and respected business professional for nearly three decades. In February 2017, Dawn founded Authentizity, LLC, as an independent B2B growth strategist and a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach to provide consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams’ engagement and productivity.
Dawn launched BD Dynamics, Empowering the Technical-Minded in August 2021. It is self-guided online business development course targeted to advance the intentionality and accountability of Doer/Sellers within the business development process.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you, Karen. I am very blessed with a 28-year career in Houston’s corporate real estate industry, in leadership roles and as an executive in business development and marketing leadership positions within the region’s largest economic development organization, as well as international commercial construction companies.
All that experience prepared me, but it was nothing like 2017 for me. That year was my Year of Surrender.
The year prior, I read the book The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer no fewer than five times.
To say that it had a profound impact on me is an understatement. It put an exclamation point for me about my self-reflection and gratitude for where I am in the present and taught me how to surrender to serve.
I then spent 2017 testing that Surrender Theory. In fact, it felt like because I had declared that I was Surrendered and Released to whatever presented itself before me that I was tested even more.
If the past two years of the pandemic have shown us anything it is that despite our best laid plans, life rarely follows a predictable path. However, I’ve found that if you relax and breathe through the challenges that you will be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Trust me; I wasn’t born with this trait. I come from a long line of worry warts. In fact, you could even call them Worrier Warriors. If there is something to worry about, they will find it. They also welcome the company to get you worked up right there with them.
Worrying is natural; however, I choose differently. I have found that as soon as I become aware of my worrying that I can opt to go down that road or simply focus on a new, more positive thought. It’s a healthier option because I know deep down that 99% of the things that my overactive imagination concocts never come to fruition. So why worry about it?
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
I used to wonder, “How did I get here? Did I oversell my capabilities? What if they find out that I’m not all that great and they take it all back?”
I later learned that I’m not alone.
According to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, an estimated 70% of people experience these Impostor Thoughts at some point in their lives.
And it’s not just us “mere mortals”. Well-known, very accomplished people (from Albert Einstein to Tom Hanks, Tina Fey and Neil Armstrong) who we admire (and who seem to have confidence to spare) have expressed their own battles with taming the Imposter Thinking in their brains.
First identified in 1978 by psychologists Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes, the Impostor Phenomenon is the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications. In fact, Dr. Clance has a free assessment tool to help you identify at which level of the Imposter Phenomenon you are currently experiencing: https://paulineroseclance.com/pdf/IPTestandscoring.pdf.
For the record, I had a score of 65, which indicates that I frequently experience Imposter Thoughts.
As I reflect on the past 30+ years, I will say that my Imposter Thoughts were much more rampant in earlier in my career. The more I became experienced (and comfortable) in my role with trusted colleagues, the more confident I became to express my ideas and opinions.
However (for me,) age doesn’t necessarily make the Imposter Thoughts disappear. Each time that I jump off the deep end into unfamiliar territory with new people or new projects, I get a little precursor to anxiety.
I’m more self-aware now. That precursor is just a twinge rather than a full-blown, internal anxiety attack. I’ve taught myself to use that twinge as a reminder that I’m pushing myself to greatness and climbing to a new frontier that I have yet to discover.
Because that’s all it is, right. Thoughts of being an Imposter are just thoughts until we give them power and energy. The Harvard Professor and Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, uses the phrase: “Fake it until you become it.” Her words are so much more proactive and engaging than “Fake it until you make it.”
How has your definition of success changed?
The late Zig Ziglar has frequently been quoted as saying: “Your attitude defines your altitude.”
My attitude is grounded in remaining present and of being a resource to those with whom I encounter. I accept and surrender to each day as the gift that it is, feeling truly blessed with the wonderful clients that I serve. When the next opportunity is before me, I embrace it as I would an open door. I know that what I’m learning today will prepare me for that next challenge.
I have witnessed in how I choose to deal with life’s challenges impacts my ability to either walk through the fires or to allow them to overwhelm me and my future. I’m no Pollyanna. These times of uncertainty make me uncomfortable as well.
Although, as a life philosophy, I try never to dwell for very long on the things that are out of my control. Instead, I choose to look for the roses among the thorns and produce lemonade from lemons.
In so doing, I have received a gift from our forced solitude. I have experienced abundant creativity in the silence by allowing myself the space I needed to dig deeper into my observations with curiosity. Typically, nothing sparks my inquisitiveness more than being surrounded by the ocean on a ship in the middle of nowhere.
However, in these past two years, my imagination has been undistracted and has even expanded to new levels. I made beauty out of the ashes. I took the quiet and uncomfortableness to use it for good, as I pressed and stretched myself in the most challenging of situations.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
If you examine the leading organizations which have the most longevity and overall sustainability with their clients, you will note that they all have one thing in common.
They are continually seeking opportunities to transform their businesses to ever-shifting market patterns. They also know how to proactively anticipate a client’s needs, and often become problem finders in addition to being problem solvers.
Those true innovators devote time, energy, and effort to their advancement, even during the darkest of days. Most importantly, they do so even when budgets are tight.
Because they realize that they must continually repurpose/reinvent/restore themselves to build the resilience of their companies. As acknowledged through the acceptance of their service and/or product offerings by their clients, this evolutionary mindset ensures the success of their business development professionals and their efforts for true market penetration.
I often ask my clients, “Have you consistently invested in your business, even during the challenging times of this past year when monies were tight, and the outlook seemed bleak?”
A natural inclination when times get tough is to pull up the draw bridges and hunker down. As it relates to business, that tendency extends to not expending any dollars on research, development, education of staff, and ESPECIALLY not BD/marketing.
However, I’d like to counter that inclination. You may be missing out on an opportunity to position yourself and your company for rapid acceleration in revenue and overall organizational growth.
This counsel should not be misinterpreted. I don’t advise that you implement radical shifts, even if your competition is doing so. Now is the time to be a leader, not a follower.
What I am offering is that you consider these three recommendations:
- Reflect — Is there some additional area in which your clients might benefit from an alternative, complementary solution to your already existing service or product line?
- Research — Are there existing internal assets and/or resources that are best aligned to easily ramp up this offering? What might the cost/benefit analysis be to your organization if you decided to move in this direction?
- Reach Out — Ask some of your best clients to test/validate your idea and garner their input, as well as early adoption.
You see, I have followed that resiliency-building philosophy since I started Authentizity in February 2017. As a solopreneur, I am Authentizity’s product, so I live my own model. Therefore, Authentizity’s investments have included more training, learning, and service development/advancement for me. Those expenditures have reaped significant revenue in business resiliency in the many market shifts since the company’s inception.
Now I ask you to ponder: Is your business’ service offering built for resiliency in its future? If not, then don’t hesitate reflect, research, and reach out today!
The market is moving quickly; be a leader and not a follower; and don’t be left behind…
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
Many of us have been like caterpillars in our cocoons these past two years. Like that insect’s habitat, it’s sometimes been uncomfortable with bouts of restlessness. However, while we’ve been homebound, we’ve been growing (whether proactively or passively) through our experiences.
Also like the caterpillar, we will emerge as a beautiful new and changed creature if we are strategic and intentional in our emergence.
Did you realize you were evolving in and through the delays of last year?
Do you see the months of deferrals, suspensions, and interruptions as an opportunity to take you to the NEXT LEVEL? Or are you longing for the past, regretting that time, and/or fighting the present while living in doubt?
We can’t change the past, but we can use the experiences and lessons learned from our cocooned time to take ourselves to the NEXT LEVEL.
As I mentioned previously, I choose to live a surrendered life. Some may assume that that is passive. However, it isn’t.
While surrendering is about releasing and letting go of control, it is not about sitting around, eating bonbons, and being uncreative/unproductive. It is about harnessing opportunities that are presented before us to explore a path that we may not have even been bold enough to dream up for ourselves.
I see surrendering as a proactive way to look forward. While I have no crystal ball and do not know what to expect on the other side of the pandemic, I have faith and trust that during my cocoon time of 2020 and 2021, I was being prepared for the NEXT LEVEL that awaits me for the future.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”
Do you know why you get up in the morning to conquer each beautiful day?
I am not speaking of your “WHY”, but more about the driving force behind it.
Through a Simon Sinek WHY Discovery course several years ago, I identified that my WHY is to: Inspire, Ignite, and Activate the Greatness in Others and Myself.
Leveraging both financial budgetary resources, as well as my own navel-gazing, self-reflection hours, that investment has been one of my North Stars, as a gut check to guide my decision about the direction of my business, Authentizity, LLC.
However, as I reflect upon these past several years following my husband’s stroke in November 2019 and the time throughout COVID-19, knowing my WHY has taken on a whole new meaning.
Authentizity was created as a business-to-business consulting, coaching, and training firm. That will stand the test of time and continue. I welcome the opportunity to work with organizations and professionals to advance their company culture, alignment, and ultimately impact their advancement for the future.
However, by authoring and self-publishing my bestselling book, ARMORED, I am realizing my vision of transforming the pain that I have experienced to fulfill a greater purpose. ARMORED offers encouragement, lessons learned, and provides comfort that even though we must walk through dark valleys in life’s journeys, we are never alone.
It wasn’t easy, though. I wanted to capture my experiences to share and motivate. Typically, writing is a therapeutic outlet for me. However, my thinking vessel was completely dry from exhaustion, and it took all my power.
That’s when the quietness of the early months of the pandemic were a benefit to me.
With some self-awareness about it and then having given it a name, here’s what I did to begin to dig myself out and create a new chapter in my life’s book:
- I allowed myself the time to heal by giving myself the grace that I so desperately needed. This was the most challenging for me. I’m a Type A+++ personality. I get s — t done! Operating at a slower pace isn’t typically in my DNA. However, I have had to learn to speak nicer to myself. In fact, it occurred to me one day that if I were speaking to a beloved friend the way that I was talking to myself in my head that that person would no longer want to be in my company. That jolt brought me back to reality!
- I caught myself when in worry and/or doubt about the future. I remembered 2017, and my Surrender Year. I then embraced whatever was in the path before me. That mindset taught me to live for the manna of the day.
- I looked for, and lived in, appreciation for even the smallest of victories. When you live with an attitude of gratitude rather than lack at the foundation of your being, then you exude and attract peace and contentment for being in the moment.
Recently, I had an opportunity to assist someone within my network whose husband had a stroke. While she told me how much she appreciated me for listening to her and then sharing my perspective and lessons learned, she will never know how much fulfillment that I received by serving her to allow my pain to have a purpose.
I know that these are challenging times for so many, but I’d like to propose something to you. Can you define your purpose in your obstacles and serve others through your pain?
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
There are two questions for your audience to answer this topic: “Does it feel like you’re doing all the right things but aren’t seeing any results? Are you close to throwing in the towel and calling it quits?”
My advice is to not give up it’s an endurance test. If you’re not succeeding yet, it may be an indication that you need to try, try, try again as the proverb says.
Now we know American male success stories which include Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs, etc.
However, in honor of our upcoming March Women’s History Month, I would like to highlight examples of noted female inventors who kept trying despite the odds. These include:
- Invention #1 — Madam C.J. Walker:
Sarah Breedlove — who later would come to be known as Madam C. J. Walker — was born on December 23, 1867, on the same Delta, Louisiana plantation where her parents, Owen and Minerva Anderson Breedlove, had been enslaved before the end of the Civil War. This child of sharecroppers transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs.
By early 1910, she had settled in Indianapolis, then the nation’s largest inland manufacturing center, where she built a factory, hair and manicure salon, and a training school. Less than a year after her arrival, Walker grabbed national headlines in the black press when she contributed 1,000 Dollars to the building fund of the “colored” YMCA in Indianapolis.
In 1912, Walker said, “I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations… I have built my own factory on my own ground.”
- Invention #2 — Jamie Kern Lima:
In 2008, Jamie Kern Lima co-founded IT Cosmetics after having difficulties with makeup products due to rosacea and hyperpigmentation. The business struggled over the following years as beauty retailers rejected her products. She was featured on a 10-minute QVC segment in which she wiped her makeup off, revealing her bare face to illustrate the use of IT Cosmetics concealers. All products sold out by the end of the segment.
By 2015, the company had more than 182 million dollars in net sales. It was acquired by L’Oréal for 1.2 billion dollars in 2016. She remained with the company upon the acquisition and was the first female chief executive officer of a L’Oréal brand. In August 2019, Kern Lima announced on Instagram that she would be leaving the company. Kern Lima has been included on the Forbes’ list of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women” since 2017.
- Inventor #3 — Joy Mangano:
In 1990, after growing frustrated with ordinary mops, Joy Mangano developed her first invention, the Miracle Mop, a self-wringing plastic mop with a head made from a continuous loop of 300 feet (90 meters) of cotton that can be easily wrung out without getting the user’s hands wet. With her own savings and investments from family and friends, she made a prototype and manufactured 1,000 units. Early assembly was done in her father’s body shop in Peconic in 1991.
After selling the mop at trade shows and in local stores on Long Island, she sold 1,000 units on consignment to QVC. It sold modestly at first, but once QVC allowed Mangano to go on-air to sell it herself, she sold 18,000 mops in less than a half hour. By the year 2000, the company was selling 10 million dollars worth of Miracle Mops per year. Today, Mangano is a named inventor of 71 patent families and 126 distinct patent publications for her inventions.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
As a continuation to the previous question, the biggest obstacle is quitting too soon.
However, what was one common element in all these women’s stories? They have Tigger-like characteristics.
- T — Tenacious
- I — Inspired
- G — Goal-Oriented
- G — Grateful
- E — Empowered
- R — Resourceful and Responsible
Can you identify your Tigger strengths? If you’re struggling, then consider these three tips:
- Keep It Simple and Get Back to Basics — You can never go wrong when you’re serving others to help them achieve their dreams.
- Identify Anything Holding You Back — It may be that the biggest roadblock is in your thinking.
- Remind Yourself of How You Got Here — Don’t forget to celebrate your successes, no matter the size. Cumulatively, they add up to huge milestones.
For further Tigger encouragement, consider that:
- Invention #1 — WD-40:
The WD-40 name comes from the fact that the formula represents the 40th attempt to create a degreaser and rust protection solvent. Although it was originally used in the aerospace industry, it became so popular among employees that it was packaged into aerosol cans and introduced to retail in 1958.
But what if the lab had called it quits after 39 tries?
- Invention #2 — Bubble Wrap:
Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding created bubble wrap in 1960 in an attempt to create a trendy new textured wallpaper. This was a total failure, as was a later attempt to market it as housing insulation. When the wrap was eventually used by IBM to package a newly launched computer during transport, it suddenly became an overnight success.
Today, few people even realize that bubble wrap began as an abject failure.
- Inventor #3 — The Pacemaker:
Pacemakers used to be huge — the size of televisions. Then Wilson Greatbach made a mistake that revolutionized medicine. When building a heart rhythm recording device, he pulled out the wrong sized resistor and plugged it into the circuit. When it was installed, he realized it sounded like a human heartbeat. With some work, he miniaturized the device to two cubic inches.
The result was an implantable pacemaker, which has since saved thousands of lives.
What these stories prove is that to survive defeat takes patience.
Yet, I don’t know about you, but patience is no virtue of mine. It’s an area that I have worked on for (gulp) now five decades. I’m better than I used to be but nowhere near “there” on my journey.
I do recognize that life’s delays, valleys, and speedbumps don’t last forever. However, they do cause me to slow down just long enough to reset and strategically plan for the next great thing.
My advice: Keep it up. Your greatest achievements may be just around the corner!
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
I use the words stuck, or stale to describe that need for inspiration or information. From my own firsthand experience, I have witnessed that I’m never stuck or stale in one spot too long. Just as I’m settling in and getting cozy, life has a way of changing my circumstances to force action.
Earlier in my life, I sometimes have been fearful of the consequences and refused/delayed to push myself to make a move. During those times, I failed to recognize that my indecision is actually a decision.
To get me out of the stuck or stale state, here are 3 Tips that I try to employ:
- I tap into as much self-awareness as I can muster. — With much practice through the years, my gut instincts (I call them God Whispers) are fairly attuned IF I quiet my mind to allow the answers to come. However, they oftentimes don’t reveal themselves in full form, or in a timely fashion. That’s when I have to trust and surrender to the solutions of the day.
- I ask myself: “Who can I serve today?” — I have found that once I extract my ego from the situation and change my perspective by focusing on assisting others to achieve their goals, then I am far more productive, engaged and utterly content.
- I make small decisions/do little tasks. — How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I’ve found that small gains cumulatively amass to great victories. You just must take one step/complete one activity, and then take pride in that accomplishment.
When I choose to passionately and creatively embrace these strategies, I experience days in which I feel fully awakened, invigorated and joy filled. It’s always choice, though.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have lunch with Jim Clifton of Gallup to thank him for taking a chance on me by providing a review for ARMORED. I would also welcome an opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Joel Osteen to thank him for changing my world and walk with God more than eighteen years ago when I became a member of his church, Lakewood Church. Finally, and for fun, meeting Diana Gabaldon would be such a treat!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram: @dlandry101 and @armored_book
Press (Authentizity): https://www.dawnflandry.com/press
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.