The old one-dimensional female archetypes -- the soccer mom, the starving artist, the successful-but-lonely boss lady -- are dead. Women are creating new, multidimensional archetypes and defying stereotypes. The most fulfilled women are constantly creating in multiple areas of their lives, whereas burnout often happens when we feel like the routine of our day job is all we have time for. The Archetypal Woman Series is a tribute to inspiring women who rearrange time and space to explore and excel in a range of activities. May their stories encourage you to expand into your own uniqueness for the benefit of you and everyone in your orbit.
Editor's note: So many of us feel frustrated with the status quo. Allison actually took action. As a senior sales leader at Salesforce, she's a natural at conversation. She parlayed this into a side project hosting a podcast, Little Left of Center. She interviews people making a difference, and gives them a platform to spread their message. I highly recommend adding it to your lineup! The podcast features a wide range of leaders making a difference local to Atlanta, where she lives, and around the world. Read on for her motivation behind starting the platform--and how we can enjoy the journey that is finding our purpose. ~ Mary Margaret
Your podcast, “Little Left of Center”, is a platform where you interview “culture-changers--the fascinating people who veer off the path of convention and change the way we live”. What sparked the creation of this project?
Born of frustration of the divided political climate, I realized that voting once every two years was not enough of an impact to really change a culture and move it forward. While the podcast is NOT a political podcast (despite its name!), I realized that there were so many interesting problems that needed to be addressed and so much that I was passionate about.
When I had my first child six years ago, I really struggled to figure out where my purpose was in the world other than going to work and making sure my kids stayed alive. ;-) Through that time, I started volunteering at a local elementary school that was experiencing a lot of challenges. I became an academic mentor for kids that were struggling. I realized that it’s easy for people like me to dismiss kids who were disruptive as “bad kids.” What I realized by being face-to-face with these amazing children, was that in many cases, their worlds were focused on survival. Many parents were trying to figure out where the next meal was coming from or to keep a roof over their kids’ heads. This was happening through no fault of their own, but systemic issues that made the challenges almost insurmountable.
I realized that the lack of access to healthy food, transition in the home, not always having access to basics we take for granted, really affects the kids’ ability to learn and progress in life.
I started to experience so many challenges and inequities that were becoming so obvious to me, but were so tangled in their condition. Whether it was women’s reproductive rights, healthcare putting profits over people, social media’s effect on society, suicide rates climbing in children, homelessness, racial responsibility and awareness, politics, and so much more.
I realized that I could use my voice to share the stories of people who were working to solve these complicated issues.
I launched the podcast Little Left of Center in May of 2019 where I interview culture-changers. I’ve gotten to interview CEO’s, founders, entrepreneurs, political figures, religious figures, comedians (YES, they change the culture more than we think!), authors, influencers, seekers, and so much more. With one listen, I promise, you will leave with a different perspective that you came in with, you’ll have a fresh perspective on topics you may not have considered, and be motivated to act and use your own voice or passion to get involved.
Also, I wanted to offer a platform for others who felt like they could contribute. I have a podcast program called Press Play Podcasts where I take people step-by-step from concept to go-live for your very own podcast. As 2020 marks a new decade, people are ready to make their mark. I help people do it!
What have you learned about yourself as a result of putting yourself out there in this new way?
I am continually looking for new ways to get better. So if I come from the framework that I have unlimited possibility (we all do), why not say YES to the things I am interested in? I am 45 years old and feel like I am just getting started--and that’s really exciting to be a perpetual student. Hopefully I'm inspiring others to make their own impact along the way.
You have said whenever you get caught up in the numbers--how many downloads your podcast is getting, and that sort of thing--you remind yourself to “just keep creating”. Why do you find the act of creating itself to be fulfilling?
Years ago, I took a course on brain science. And the concept was that your brain only repeats patterns it knows. That’s why we find ourselves with the same problems, different people. Same relationship, different people. Same job, different company.
And if you consider fight or flight, you aren’t really present there either. The only time you are ever present is when you are creating. So I took that concept and continually look for opportunities to create something out of nothing as often as I can.
I also think that just re-organizing your life to spend five to ten minutes creating when you wake up (for me, I follow my breath for ten breaths, move my body for a few minutes, and write in a journal--all before I look at any screen), you exercise your muscle and it gets easier to access your creative side if you make it part of your ritual.
Has anything you’ve learned from your podcast guests changed the way you approach your job as a Senior Sales Account Executive at Salesforce?
YES! The art of being curious and continually asking questions helps me ask critical and tough questions of my prospects and customers. Just the art of compelling and interesting conversations in and out of work helps both scenarios!
How have you seen the corporate working world evolve for the better over the course of your career?
I work for Salesforce which is a very progressive and evolved, transparent, and inclusive company with a focus on equality, equal pay, and giving back to the communities worldwide. So I have been very fortunate in that way.
However, over the course of 20 years, I have personally noticed when I go to other corporations and see that their buildings are old, or their technology is antiquated, it’s typically a company that doesn’t appear to value their employees in the same way. I notice a lot of turnover or people who feel trapped or undervalued. I’m always surprised to see in this day and age, some companies aren’t as forward-thinking and are stuck in the past.
Conversely, I also work with organizations that are looking to innovate. They put a high value on their employees' needs and ideas, and invest in tools to help their employees be their very best in the world. So while I do think there’s a long way to go, there are really impressive examples out there that are leading the way for other companies.
The reality is if you don’t evolve, you go extinct. My job is to help companies disrupt the status quo, innovate, and lead in their market by connecting with their customers in a more meaningful way.
What would you tell someone who feels there must be “something more” to life, but doesn’t know where to begin to discover it?
Oh, Mary Margaret. You know this question is the golden ticket. I feel so passionate about this! I believe that our purpose is at the intersection of what you absolutely LOVE (something you can talk about ad nauseum), what you’re good at, and who you want to serve--as in something bigger than yourself. In other words, what breaks your heart?
At its very simplest form, the answer to your question is do more of what lights you up. Make time for it. Even if it’s for five minutes. It is a life saver and life giver! You will know when it brings you energy, you are nourished by it, and you feel joy!
Allison Hare is a podcast host and producer, podcast coach for Press Play Podcasts launch program, speaker, activist, mom, sales professional, and proud wife dedicated to helping curious entrepreneurs, executives, and change makers disrupt the status quo and create a better tomorrow.
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