Being a leader isn’t easy. You are constantly plagued by “what ifs,” which lead to “only ifs” and stop you from reaching your fullest potential. Your inner critic creates your self-doubt and holds you back from being a great leader. You may think you are alone, but if you look close enough, you can find all the help you want.

Sharon Wallis is an author, a speaker, and a leadership consultant. She is the CEO of Cascade Leadership Solutions. She helps leaders make the impossible possible. She joined us on this episode to discuss why we shouldn’t listen to our inner critic, why we’re not alone, and where to find help.

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    1. What are the trends that leaders are having trouble tackling nowadays?
    2. Do you believe anything is possible?
    3. What are the conflicts related to leading leadership?
    4. What are the four cs?
    5. How often do you believe your inner critics?

    Your inner critic is lying to you!”

    Shannon Wallis


      [02.48] Starting the conversation, Shannon shares a brief introduction about herself, her education, her career journey, and what caused her to start her own firm.

      [11.28] Leadership in the virtual work environment.

      [15.57] Shannon’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: DVFR metaphorical multiplication equation (D – Dissatisfaction, V – Vision of your future, F – First steps, R – Resistance for change)

      [23.55] The productive dialogue model, which is called ‘The four Cs’ in Shannon’s book.

      [28.41] We have all the support we need to do something, whether we realize it or not it.

      [33.52] Shannon talks about how she stays at the top of her game as a leader of a global business.

      [39:29] Signature Segment: Karan’s Take


      Shannon Wallis is the CEO and founder of Cascade Leadership Solutions, which provides leadership development, culture assessment, change management, team effectiveness, executive coaching, organizational optimization comprised of strategic planning, and many more.

      Shannon was the global director of high-potential leadership development at Microsoft and the chief architect of an award-winning global leadership program prior to founding Cascade Leadership. As a leadership consultant, she inspires leaders to model exemplary leadership that can transform companies, organizations, and communities. She believes ‘anything is possible and shares the ‘can-do’ mindset with all her clients. She makes them believe they can do the impossible.





      Shannon’s Book: WE the Change: Launching Big Ideas and Creating New Realities

      Cascade Leadership App

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      Episode Sponsor

      This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership, the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services, all designed to up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.

      Click the plus button on the tab to access the written transcript:

      Episode 28 | Stomping Your Inner Critic to Birth Your Vision with Shannon Wallis

      Shannon Wallis  00:00

      I feel like almost like we have whiplash. One year ago. We were talking about how do we tackle the great resignation about one year ago. And now we see companies laying people off at rapid pace because they’re worried about recession.


      Voiceover  00:21

      Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


      Karan Rhodes  00:57

      Hey there superstars. This is Karan and welcome to the lead at the top of your game podcast. You know, just because we are all leaders doesn’t mean that we don’t constantly struggle with our own inner critics, right? I mean, I don’t know of a single individual who doesn’t, you know, at times, wonder if they can achieve a tough goal or when they have completed a task to the best of their ability or feel that their capability is less than 100% of what is expected. However, I bring you hope today because today’s guest not only has insights on how to quell that inner critic of yours, but they have also walked a 500-mile pilgrimage on the El Camino de Santiago in Spain. To bring us such learnings. Her story is absolutely fascinating. Shannon Wallis is the founder and CEO of Cascade Leadership, which is a global leadership development and executive coaching firm. She has been an executive at companies such as Microsoft, Coca Cola and Citibank and is renowned for her abilities to help leaders and teams create extraordinary but achievable business visions that deliver next-level impact. I’ve known Shannon for many, many years, and she is an absolute open book whose personal story is immensely compelling. Believe me; there is no way you will not want to listen to every second of her episode. So while you do we’ll jump in in just a second. But be sure to stay tuned for just two minutes after the episode to listen to my closing segment called Karan’s Take, where I share a tip on how to use insights from today’s episode to further sharpen your leadership acumen. And now, enjoy the show. Hey there, superstars, this is Karan, and welcome to today’s episode, I have the honor of having one of the most fantastic people I know, as our guest today, in full transparency. She was my former boss when we worked at Microsoft years ago, but we’ve always stayed in touch. And if there was a person who leads at the top of their game, this is this person. So we are so pleased to welcome to today’s show with Shannon Wallace, who is the founder and CEO of Cascade Leadership, which is a leadership development company, a global leadership development company. And she’s also the author of a book called We the Change, Launching Big Ideas and Creating a New Reality. So welcome to the show, Shannon,


      Shannon Wallis  03:34

      I’m so delighted to be with you. This is really, really fun.


      Karan Rhodes  03:38

      isn’t it? We could talk for hours, but unfortunately, we only have a few minutes. So let’s if you don’t mind, let’s delve right into the interview today. But before we go deep into a lot of your insights, for as much as you feel comfortable, would you mind sharing a bit about your background or your education where you grew up and high level overview of your professional history?


      Shannon Wallis 04:05

      Karan, you know me, I’m an open book, I wasn’t always. It took me a long time to get to the place that I am. And that’ll be more understood, as I share a little bit about my background. So I’ll start by telling you that I think when most people meet me, because of the companies I’ve worked with where it because of the you know, the education that I have people usually assume I come from a really privileged background. And I would agree with them. Because I grew up in the United States where I had access to health care. I had a home and I got an education, and I had food. And I grew up under the poverty line. So in my experience growing up, I didn’t perceive that I had all of those things. And one of the probably massive turning points in my life was working with Microsoft where you and I met and I had the opportunity to really work on six continents and I saw real Poverty and it changed how I perceive my entire situation, and also called me to do some different things. And in that process made me realize that who I really am is the American dream. So I came from nothing. And I turned my life into something. And all of my siblings have a very different situation in life, honestly, because they’ve shared with me because I went to college first. So education is so important in my life in terms of helping to eradicate poverty. It’s where I donate about 20% of my time per year to nonprofits that are focused on eradicating poverty primarily through education. I was really privileged in that I was able to go to Northwestern University. And I can tell you honestly, having grown up in South Dakota, I could not afford to go to South Dakota State, and Northwestern made it completely possible for me, and that usually blows people away. They’re like, how is that possible? Right? Because yeah, they just, they helped it make sense. You know, South Dakota State gave me some, like, this is what you owe us. And I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. I didn’t understand loans, Pell Grants, things like that Northwestern made that possible. And because of that, I later went on to Duke for Business School. And then my career was really in consulting, I was at Coopers and Lybrand, and I was at Price Waterhouse before they merged doing organizational consulting, and I was in Atlanta, Georgia, and where you’re located, but didn’t know you, at the time, didn’t know each other. And then, you know, all roads lead to the mothership of Coca Cola in Atlanta. So I ended up at Coke. And when I was at Coke, I moved to Vienna, Austria, where I was the Chief of Staff to the President of Central Europe and Eurasia. And then within two weeks of my arrival, the CEO at that time, Doug VISTA was basically removed by the board. And that ended up in a massive restructuring, where I lost my job four weeks later, oh, man, I know. And my husband, I ended up in Spain, he’s half Spanish, half Spanish, half American. And we ended up in Spain, I ended up doing freelance work, we moved back to the States. And that’s when I joined Microsoft. And that’s when I met you.


      Karan Rhodes  07:14

      Yes. And their rest is history.


      Shannon Wallis 07:16

      very, so I’ve kind of evolved from, I didn’t mention, like, before I went to grad school, I was working as an accountant and actuary. So this isn’t like a wide departure. But it was little steps, where I went to grad school ended up in consulting from, from doing business process reengineering into organizational change from organizational change into leadership. And so that’s how my career evolved. And then eventually, I really did feel called to help in some small way, shape, or form with eradicating poverty. And it’s actually what caused me to then leave Microsoft, and start my own firm so that I could have more flexibility to donate my time in that way. And so I’ve been doing this 11 years, I’m really proud of what I’ve built. I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done with private enterprises, but also really, with the work I’ve done eradicating, you know, helping to eradicate poverty with the, the, you know, organizations that I work with. So I’m, yeah, I feel very, very privileged.


      Karan Rhodes  08:20

      And I’m proud of you to Shannon. I mean, you’ve always been so supportive. I mean, people pray for, you know, managers or bosses that are empathetic and understanding and collaborative, you name the agitative. And you absolutely always work and continue to be and it does not surprise me that cascade leadership has grown to the extent it has because you make impact all over the world, and you always have always have, you are definitely a “shero” of mine.


      Shannon Wallis  08:50

      Oh, I love that


      Karan Rhodes  08:55

      Well, you know, one of the things that we both have in common as you know, this whole podcast is about exemplary leadership and some of the the key trends and things to think about and some of the quagmires that leaders have to tackle. And we’ve always studied ever since you and I’ve worked together have studied, you know, kind of what’s worked well. We’re our participants struggling. And I’m just curious in these days, since you’re more in consulting again, are you seeing any trends that leaders are having trouble tackling these days? And if so, could you share maybe one or two? Right, right.


      Shannon Wallis 09:33

      Oh, yeah, I mean, so you know, now today, I work in kind of three ways. I work, you know, one on one is an executive coach, I deliver, I design and deliver leadership programs for high potential leaders and companies. And I also work with leadership teams. So you know, really what’s present at this moment, is, I think just the complexity and the amount of change that organizations are experiencing. I mean, I feel like almost like we have whiplash. I mean, at one year ago, we were talking about, “How do we tackle the great resignation?”


      Shannon Wallis  09:33

      One year ago. And now we see companies laying people off it at, you know, rapid pace because they’re worried about recession. And I mean, to go from how do we desperately retain people to how do we desperately lay them off? I mean, it, it’s kind of crazy to be working in that. And, you know, I think the leaders that I’m working with, everybody has their incredible strengths, and they also have their development opportunities. And what I really see people struggling with is how do you how do you do tackle all of this with compassion? So they’re not, you know, I always joke that nobody shows up work to try to create havoc and mess with people. And yet the environment is creating havoc and messing with people, everybody feels, I think, I mean, I see so many clients who are feeling really kind of triggered, they’re not at their best. And they have to kind of tap into what enables them to be at their best. And I spend a lot of time in the coaching one on one kind of helping people to see what do I look like at my best? What’s my best self? How do I get there? How do I know? How can I predict when I might not be there? What can I do to create better structures around me to be more at my best. So that’s kind of what I see going on right now.


      Karan Rhodes  11:28

      Oh, so insightful. I’m seeing the same thing in our consulting world as well. And the other thing that I’ve noticed is, most leaders feel that there’s never a time that they can be off, especially with the new new but the you know, the in hybrid model of work that has gotten so popular that we used to do all the time back in the day, but they just feel like they all have to be on 100% of the time. And with the ever changing markets in their industries and helping their companies stay competitive and still motivating their teams. They just feel that they have to be octopuses, and be almost specialists and everything with that’s not, you know, realistic sometimes, wouldn’t you say?


      Shannon Wallis 12:14

      Yeah, and that I would also add to that, too, I completely agree. And I also think so many more people are working virtually. Right. So it’s hard to leave the work environment, you have to be really intentional about that. And then we’re working across time zones.


      Karan Rhodes  12:29

      Yes, yes!


      Shannon Wallis 12:30

      So many people. And so it is really, it’s really hard to feel like I can turn it off. I mean, I can wake up at three in the morning, turn over my phone and see new emails that have come in already from people I work within Europe. Right, you know, so and then remind myself, Oh, I don’t have to respond right now. But not everybody feels that way.


      Karan Rhodes  12:50

      Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I’ll say I’m guilty of that, too, because I have clients in Australia, and I’ll think, you know, they’ll email not expecting to answer but I try to be responsive. But yeah, you just have to turn it on and turn it off and have that kind of self self control, if you will. So I’m still learning. I’m a work in progress. (Laughs)


      Shannon Wallis  13:11

      I think any good leader is


      Karan Rhodes  13:14

      Yeah. Well, I definitely want to really talk more about your book, shaman and some of the things that you talk about in there. First of all, would you share with the audience a little bit of the overview about the book and what are some of the areas of focus that you talk about that I’m sure they want to you know, run out and get a copy?


      Shannon Wallis 13:37

      Well, first of all, thank you for promoting my book. It is “We the Change; Launching Big Ideas and Creating New Realities.” And I learned this from a PR person that I should always have it at the ready and hold it up.


      Karan Rhodes  13:49

      Yes. And I you know, I have your book I was gonna hold it up to and forgot it on the bookshelf. So I apologize. So I’m glad your PR person reminded you to do that. Oh, look at you.


      Shannon Wallis  13:59

      I’ll hold up your book…


      Karan Rhodes  14:01

      I love it. Thank you


      Shannon Wallis 14:02

      Lead at the Top of Your Game. Back to my book! You know, to me, so the book was started as kind of a love letter to my daughter’s. So it was back in around 2018. I was in a coaching certification program. And in a rabbit coaching exercise, somebody asked me what what’s something that you want to create? And it just came out of my mouth? I’m gonna write a book. Who’s it for my daughters? What’s it about? How to make real change happen in your life? Because I feel like I’m an example of that both personally and professionally, my career. You know, I’ve transformed my life personally. And professionally, my my work has been around change. How do you transform and so that’s how it started, and I decided to use El Camino de Santiago a 500 mile medieval footpath across northern Spain. as a metaphor for how, if you’re a non athlete like me, somebody who had never hiked, how do you start in, you know, the north eastern part of Spain on the French Spanish border in the Pyrenees Mountains, in roadsafe device, and then walk 500 miles or 800 kilometers across Spain to the northwest, in Santiago de Compostela. And you’ve never done anything like this before. And so I use that as a metaphor throughout the book to tell my story of the first time I walked it, which was back in 2002. And then the lessons that I learned, and then to go from there into my personal reflection now, what have I learned since then? How can I explain what was really going on with me how I actually ended up in Santiago de Compostella. And then in the second part, it’s a workbooks with over 40, coaching exercises for somebody who might not be able to afford a coach. Because I really believe that I started writing the book for my daughters. And as I start in, as I got into writing the book, I realized I was writing it for my mom, who didn’t have a college education. It was why we were living under the poverty line. She was working a minimum wage job. But she had she was incredible artists, she had all these beautiful ideas, but she had no support network to say, how do you take your art and turn it into shoebox greetings. And so I wanted to give people like my mom, you know, young women kind of in their mid 20s, to late 30s, a roadmap that enabled them to say, I have an idea, or I want an idea. How do I how do I make that happen and turn it into something real. And so that’s kind of how the book came about. And then I started telling people that I was writing a book for my daughters. And in the process of my telling them, they said, Oh, I really liked to read that book. You know, I love people knew my Camino story, they’d hear me talk about it. They’re like, I want I want to read this book. And so then I was like, all of a sudden, a little bit about, you know, kind of what I call the inner critic. I’ve heard you talk about it, in other many other talks about as imposter syndrome thinking, really, I mean, it’s anybody that I better get serious about this, I’m going to learn how to write a book. So then I knuckled down, and it took me a while. But I was able to, you know, I’m really, really proud of it. I really am.


      Karan Rhodes  17:24

      I’m very proud of it, too. Yeah, would you mind sharing, because we we need at least one thing to add to our leadership playbook. So what is one piece of advice that you have included in your book or that you give generally, during your coaching, on a situation that we can share with our audience.


      Shannon Wallis 17:44

      So I want to go to a model that I use immediately in the book, which to me sums up something I live by anything is possible, anything and I know it is cliche, and I believe it is true. So I use this this very simple metaphorical multiplication equation called DVFR, it was originated by Gleicher. But then adopted and really popularized by Bechard and Harris, if you wanted to go look it up. And it stands for… D is for dissatisfaction of your current state. V is vision of your future. F is first steps steps to close the gap between that dissatisfaction of the current state and your vision of the future. And R is resistance to change. So it looks like this D x V x F > R. So because it’s a multiplication equation, if any one of those is missing D VRF. If one of them zero, your product is zero, you will not overcome resistance to change. Yeah, and if you think of anything you’ve tried to change in your work, either personally or professionally, when you don’t change one of those if not two, are missing. And every time you’ve been successful, they’re all in place.


      Karan Rhodes  19:05

      They are all in place. You’re so right, this satisfaction vision was that first steps,


      Shannon Wallis 19:11

      First step is to close the gap between… because if you you know if you have no gap between your current your decided, you know, your current state and your future state your vision, then there’s nothing to do I mean, if they’re in the same place, no gap, no first steps needed. And, you know, it’s interesting, I mentioned that Doug Ivester story. Well, I was at Coke, then when Doug Daff came in, and it was interesting, he gave, from my perspective, first steps to make a change happen. We have to reduce the workforce at Coca Cola by 20%. So this is back in late 99, early 2000. We’re going to reduce by 20%. I don’t think his vision of what was supposed to be created and, or dissatisfaction with the current state was well understood. And it was interesting because he wasn’t with Coca Cola a couple of years later. And that’s really I mean, for people who know Coke, they don’t change over CEOs, like that.


      Karan Rhodes  20:09

      They do not! They do not unless it’s something major.


      Shannon Wallis  20:13

      Yeah, so I often use that as kind of, you know, just see how this works. So you have to have all of those in place. And here’s the cool thing about first steps, you don’t have to have all the steps, you just have to have the first steps. Because once you have the first steps going, it’s like, you know, when you’re walking the Camino, you don’t have to walk the whole thing in one day, literally, you know, baby step after baby step. And when you talk about somebody who is not an athlete, not a hiker, who ended up with 16 blisters on her feet, because she didn’t know what she was doing. You know, literally some days, it’s just, I’m just gonna put one foot in front of the other.


      Karan Rhodes  20:52

      That’s all. And eventually you got to the finish line. Right?


      Shannon Wallis 20:55

      Exactly, exactly.


      Karan Rhodes  20:57

      And much the wiser.


      Shannon Wallis  20:59

      Well, and and I really use that approach with people. Like, we don’t have to figure it all out today, what’s one baby step you can take in the next two weeks before we meet again, that’s gonna move you a little closer. And if we can identify that it’s amazing how I mean, it’s so interesting, because sometimes I have clients who are like, well, I can do these 10 things. And I’m like, Just tell me one thing to do. And because 10 can be overwhelming, you might have really good intention. And you might only do the 120 minutes before we meet, but you’re one step closer to whatever your destination is.


      Karan Rhodes  21:32

      That’s right, they have to keep going. And, you know, a lot of times people get almost like deer in the headlights, because what happens is, there’s some kind of conflict or adversity that confronts them. And so they almost get paralyzed, because they’re not sure which way to go. So I’m just curious, what’s your thoughts on, you know, conflict as it relates to leading in leadership?


      Shannon Wallis  21:57

      So I think that’s such a great question, because I think you have to have it. And I think a lot of us part of what can get in the way. So I often start out with, if you want to think of vision, what is it that you want to create? If you want to think about dissatisfaction with the current state? What’s getting in the way of you having it today? And it is often our own stuff? It’s not a structural issue of I don’t know, I don’t have that skill. I don’t know how to do it. That might be true. But really, it’s usually something much deeper around, I don’t think I can have it. I don’t think I’m smart enough. Good enough. Pretty enough, whatever it is, to have that thing. Conflict, many of us don’t feel I mean, we didn’t usually learn in our families of origin, how to manage it. Well, I certainly didn’t know I didn’t either. And then I think my kids they grew up with, you know, use your words, but it wasn’t, it didn’t teach them really how to skillfully use their words. So I think a lot of people know maybe what they need to say, but then they blurt it out. And they leave this kind of week behind them of damaging the relationship. And they fear that because we you know, human beings want belonging. And so they fear that disconnection. And so they end then because I don’t know how to do this, well, I avoid it. And yet, if you really want to bring people on board with an idea, you have to kick the tires, you have to say, Why won’t it work? What are the risks? Who’s going to say no? Why would they say no, because the more you surface, all of that, and it’s going to create tension, which is going to create conflict, the more you can surface it, the more you can deal with it, the more you deal with it, the more likely you are to overcome it and mitigate it. And so you have to do it. And yet we avoid it. And then that gets in the way. And so one of the lessons I had in walking the Camino is I think you I could just say, say what needs to be said. And then I give a model in the book that I call productive dialogue. It’s four seas around, how can you do this skillfully. And I always joke that there’s the four C’s, and that we usually start with the third one. And the third one is content content is you you have wronged me with wronged me in some way. And then, you know, you’re on the other end going, what was it? Yeah, I’m gonna try to defend myself. Right. And so I found like, really the most helpful thing and if people want to, I can go into this further, if you want, but it’s also in the book, creating context, what is something that you and I both want? So do we, you know, and I think of it in terms of what’s the result that we want to create together? What is what’s some aspect of our relationship that we both consider to be important or what’s a value that we both hold? That’s right, and if we can stay focused on that, that’s kind of the vision for the conversation. And then we can that’s, see, see one, okay, yes, you too is that To create, if we have that vision of something we both want to want, why wouldn’t we want to have a conversation? And then number two is, is a consent? So how do I create psychological safety for somebody to enter the conversation with me? And that’s where I turn it over to I’ll ask people like, I know that we both really believe that being on time with our customers is really important. When can we have a conversation about that, so that they can then feel ownership of saying, I’d have a conversation, and I can kind of control when it’s going to happen. This creates a little more psychological safety. So there’s a lot of neuroscience under this and positive psychology. But those two things can help transform, a really difficult conversation that’s related and where we’re going to surface conflict.


      Karan Rhodes  25:48

      But it moves the conversation forward so that you can get to the next stage right,


      Shannon Wallis  25:54



      Karan Rhodes  25:54

      …of engagement. For you, listeners who have been with us for a while, what challenges described is a perfect exam, for example of leading with stakeholder savvy, which is in the lead at the top of your game book, which is all about, you know, really under taking the time to understand those that you are communicating and relating to it, understand their perspectives, their values, what is top of mind for them, comparing to what’s top of mind for you. It’s all about you know, being curious. But at the end of the day, if you’re leading, you’re trying to have this conversation so you can get to the the end game. And before we had our we got on the podcast, Shana. And I had a quick chance to catch up. And she mentioned how important the the tactic of driving for success is. And so I wanted to give you a moment to share why that was Shannon.


      Shannon Wallis 26:46

      So I have to believe that people who are listening know your book, but I’m just going to do another little plug for it. And say, Yes, you know, I really think you did a great job with this book, you have a lot of wonderful research in it. And I really appreciated all of the work and kind of the intellectual horsepower that came into being. I’ve seen you create a lot of things in your career, you are…what’s really lovely about you is you’re very creative, but you also know how to put things into action. Most people don’t have both skills, they usually have one or the other. And so I coming back to the kind of the drive for results piece. But in the drive for results piece, I think, again, it goes back to the baby steps. So I think we are our own worst enemy. We may not always know how to get things done. But if we focus on what we want, and don’t let go of it, because often the first place that we end up not getting what we want is we say, I can’t have it. I can’t have it for all sorts of reasons. I don’t know how, I don’t know, how is a big one, I am not worthy of it. That’s your inner critic is telling you, “Who are you? Who are you to do this?” I mean, if I lived my life like that, I wouldn’t be I’d still be in South Dakota, probably living in, you know, a small home. And you know, my mom kept our heat in the winter at 55 degrees.


      Karan Rhodes  28:12

      Oh, good gracious!


      Shannon Wallis  28:14

      And it’d be really cold. So I just believe it is one step at a time. And what I would share with anybody listening is that just to be really clear, your inner critic is lying to you.


      Karan Rhodes  28:31

      Say that, again.


      Shannon Wallis  28:32

      Your inner critic is lying to you. And what is it know? Seriously. I mean, there are so many examples of people doing something for the first time that they knew nothing about.


      Karan Rhodes  28:45

      That’s right.


      Shannon Wallis  28:46

      If I a couch potato non athlete can walk 500 miles across northern Spain for the very first time with like, 20 pounds on my back, and 16 blisters on my feet. I really believe pretty much anybody can do anything.


      Karan Rhodes  29:01

      That’s right. That’s right.


      Shannon Wallis  29:03

      We just have to get out of our own way. I also think that there’s a lot you talk about kind of the political acumen, right stakeholder savvy. Absolutely. Your supporters are critically important. And I think for a very long time in my life, Karan, I thought I did everything alone. I didn’t think I had anybody supporting me.


      Karan Rhodes  29:24

      Really? I don’t think I’ve ever known that. Oh, my goodness.


      Shannon Wallis  29:28

      Yeah. So I felt… and what I came to realize through walking, honestly, walking through the Camino where I had kind of a spiritual experience, was that that was an illusion. That was kind of a protective mechanism for myself, because things didn’t feel safe in my home. I couldn’t rely on those people in my home. And so I became very conscious of relying on myself. And then in the process of learning how to rely on myself, I started to believe that, really, I always had to rely on myself, I didn’t know how to ask for help. I thought God had not abandoned me, but had blessed me with gifts to help me, be efficient. And that, you know, and honestly, because I have a very strong spiritual foundation, I believed that God hadn’t abandoned me. But God really needed to focus on the people who he, you know, for whatever reason hadn’t given the same gifts to. So I was meant to do it alone. And then that’s a big part of my story is that we are not alone. And we have supporters around us at all times. I mean, I look back, even my mom got, you know, God bless her. She had, you know, she didn’t have the education, but she was there, she was my champion, she always thought, you know, that I was she told me I was special, I thought everybody grew up thinking they were special.


      Karan Rhodes  30:50

      You were special Shannon! (Laughs)


      Shannon Wallis  30:53

      She had a gift of really making you, you know, drink the Kool Aid. And I think all good parents do that. But you know, she really did that. So we didn’t have a lot she could offer financially. But she believed in me. And then I think of the teachers that I have, I think of the colleagues that I had, that I wasn’t aware of, were just there in, in deep support of my being at my best. And I was blind to it. But then after I walked the Camino, I can really look back on all of that and go, Oh, my gosh, I have been so blind, what an illusion I was living, we are all so connected.


      Karan Rhodes  31:30

      We are also connected. You’re so right.


      Shannon Wallis  31:33

      And it’s why I actually named the book “We the Change.” So the “We” means two things. So I believe, you know, Gandhi had said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And the more I’ve reflected on my life, it is WE the change you want to see in the world,


      Karan Rhodes  31:49

      because you’re not walking alone.


      Shannon Wallis  31:51

      We’re not walking alone. But we capitalized W capital W capital E, and it means “women empower the change”.


      Karan Rhodes  31:59

      Oh, I don’t think I knew that. Oh, my goodness.


      Shannon Wallis  32:04

      So I think of that more as the feminine energy. feminine energy is about… So men have it as well. Right?  But it’s the, it’s the connection piece that through are willing to say what we want, ask for help. Accept help, connect and accept help, we can really move mountains, we can create new realities in our communities. And that was why I mean, so in the end, when I was done with the book, I was like, Please help it find its audience. Because, I mean, I obviously you know, I really fundamentally believe we can change anything, if we’re willing to do it together.


      Karan Rhodes  32:11

      Yeah, they do. That’s right. That’s right. And honestly, if you can’t tell, I mean, Shannon is a true visionary in almost everything she does. I mean, she’s talking to them in relation to her book right now. But she is the ultimate vision, big picture person. And when we worked together, I could you know, if I could hear her vision, I could figure out how do we get there? Or what do we need to do to get it happening, but she’s talented on all levels, but being a vision and seeing the big picture and giving direction and inspiring others? There are definitely gifts she’s had her entire life, and especially the time since I’ve been working and knowing her, definitely.


      Shannon Wallis  33:30

      Thank you. Thank you.


      Karan Rhodes  33:31

      Well, my last question for you machine. And I’d love for you to share with the audience. Just personally, what do you do? And what does it take for you to lead at the top of your own game? Because you’re running a global business these days, and you’re doing big things? And you’re having I understand a lot of collaborations and partnerships. So how do you stay on top of your game?


      Shannon Wallis  33:57

      Well, I mean, for me, family is really important. So you know, for me, feeling connected to family and family is not, it’s interesting. It’s not just my immediate family. It’s kind of like, I kind of you know, me well enough. Like when I connect with somebody, I might not see them for years. I might not talk to them for years. But once you’re in my tribe, you are in my tribe, like I


      Karan Rhodes  34:17



      Shannon Wallis  34:18

      Like forever. Yeah. And so that’s really important to me, I don’t let go of that. And so that part of that, and then, you know, something interesting that I’ve done in the past three years started with the pandemic is that I participate on a weekly basis in an energy healing circle. So think of it like it’s like a prayer circle. So when we work on healing for ourselves, and others, and I did that because I was worried when I had to go to virtual How will I connect with people? And because I knew when I walked into a room, I know how to do that. I just sense what’s going on in a room and I wondered, too Can I still do that virtually. And so I started working with a group of people virtually around the country who wanted to study this together. And I will say, you know, it’s a mindfulness practice. So it enables me to kind of recharge, I’m always busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, I don’t always allow a lot of quiet to come. And I, it’s so it’s, it makes it makes me slow down. And I think really connect in with who I am, you know, as I said, I’m a spiritual person connecting with Holy Spirit. And then through that, really connecting with what matters most and listen. So I really feel like you know, I shared with you that, you know, I left Microsoft, because I felt called to do something different. And that those callings, I believe, come from a Holy Spirit. And so, for me, it’s like, I’m listening for what am I called to do? So it’s something that kind of that helps me to kind of connect, stay centered. And then honestly, I have my guilty pleasures, like anybody. I’m just one. Okay, so you’re gonna you’re gonna laugh because it’s kind of it’s honestly embarrassing, but so silly, but I, I hate at night, like going through like bad news. You know, it seemed like everything was bad news. Yeah, so I get on YouTube, and I watch just videos called The Dodo. They’ll love me that I that I’m talking about it. It’s about animals, rescue animals. And I’ll usually watch like three little videos of The Dodo. If I want to feel and it’s not about you know, rescue dogs, chickens. Beavers. I mean, all sorts of things.


      Karan Rhodes  36:43

      Okay, I’ve got to look that up.


      Shannon Wallis  36:44

      Yea, The Dodo? That is I sometimes my husband like, what are you doing? We’re in bed, and I’m looking at The Dodo. I mean, this is serious. Oh, and so I’m like, “I’m watching The Dodo.”


      Karan Rhodes  37:01

      So, okay, you know, I’m gonna get after the podcast and go look this up, because that might be my new favorite thing is well,


      Shannon Wallis  37:12

      It’s uplifting.


      Karan Rhodes  37:13

      Well, that’s what I need too as well. I think we all do. Okay, so listeners, I’ll have a link to The Dodo on YouTube in the show notes. But I’m definitely going to check it out. As soon as we finish the podcast. All right, Miss Shannon. I have kept you overtime. This has been absolutely fantastic. And insightful. We thank you so much for coming to the Lead at the Top of Your Game Podcast!


      Shannon Wallis  37:37

      Thank you for having me. I mean, really, it’s been such a lovely pleasure to be with you, in this way just to connect and share a few laughs. And really talk about you know, I’m so passionate. We both are about leadership. We are I will share one thing you can add this as well, Karan, okay, sure. I have an app. It’s called Cascade Leadership.


      Karan Rhodes  38:00

      That’s right. Mmm hmm.


      Shannon Wallis  38:00

      And it is a think of it as a resource library with podcasts, Ted Talks, articles, free assessments. It has a manager toolkit. And now I’m going to talk to Karan after this about having the lead at the top of your game podcast on my app.


      Karan Rhodes  38:21

      That would be fantastic.


      Shannon Wallis  38:23

      It’s free. There’s no notifications, no advertisements. It’s really meant to be a resource for people to help them lead at the top of their game.


      Karan Rhodes  38:31

      That is awesome. All right, listeners, you’ve definitely got to download the cascade leadership app. All right, that is got to be a to do number one to do once you listen to this episode. But thank you all so much for joining us again on the leader the top of your game podcast, it is an honor spending time with the wall, please be sure to rate and like and subscribe to the podcast and share with a friend. We’d love the additional listeners and we also love to help others lead at the top of their game. And without further ado, we will see you next week. Bye bye. Well, I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Shannon Wallis, founder and CEO of Cascade leadership links to her bio her entry to our leadership playbook. And additional resources can be found in the show notes both on your favorite podcast platform of choice and on the web at lead your game And now for Karan’s take on today’s topic of managing your inner critic. Well today I wanted to connect how managing your inner critic is essential for one of the tactics that I write about in my book lead at the top of your game. The tactic I want to connect it to is leading with executive presence. And as you know, executive presence, the way we define it anyway, is your ability to make clear and convincing oral or written arguments in order to compel other There’s to follow your lead. Now to be clear, there are times when your inner critic can be helpful, you can use it to ask yourself if there are any blind spots you’re missing, or any perspectives that you’ve not yet considered. But the important thing is to manage it and keep it in check. So that it doesn’t rob you have your confidence or push you into a sea of inaction. The trick to dealing with your inner critic is to develop a balanced relationship with it, to not ignore it or avoid it, and the emotions it raises, but to name it by calling a spade a spade, and offering yourself counter examples of how you indeed have the capability and expertise, and also stay mindful and positive along the way. So what I recommend is to leverage a friend or accountability partner to talk about your insecurities and validate whether or not they’re true. You can also use a time to brainstorm how to overcome your concerns. And you know, having the courage to face your inner critic head on is going to be absolutely essential if you want to lead at the top of your game. So thank you for listening to this episode. And I really encourage you to like and subscribe to this show, and to share it with at least one friend because I’m sure there’s a tidbit that they can benefit from as well. Thank you so much for listening, and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at lead your game You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled k r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of shockingly different leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people talent development and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on demand project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Bye for now.

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