35: Coming Into Your Own as a Leader with Allyson Witherspoon

This week’s episode is dedicated to all of you who are coming into your own as a leader. Whether you’re on a quest for an unconventional career path, or rising up in a heavily male-dominated industry like my guest on the show today, I know you’re going to relate and learn so much about mapping out your leadership roadmap.

Allyson Witherspoon is the US Chief Marketing Officer for Nissan, and her life-long career in the automotive sector has taken her all over the world, from Japan to Saudi Arabia and Amsterdam. As a female senior executive in a traditionally male-dominated industry, she’s had to navigate coming into her own as a leader, and she’s here to distill some powerful concepts that are going to help you do the same. 

Join us on this episode as I quiz Allyson on all things leadership. We’re discussing the challenges she faced on her career path, the importance of seeking out mentorship and asking for help, what being a leader is truly all about, and Allyson is also sharing her practical process for approaching imposter syndrome. 

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Coming Into Your Own as a Leader with Allyson Witherspoon

This week’s episode is dedicated to all of you who are coming into your own as a leader. Whether you’re on a quest for an unconventional career path, or rising up in a heavily male-dominated industry like my guest on the show today, I know you’re going to relate and learn so much about mapping out your leadership roadmap.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine, MD | Coming Into Your Own as a Leader with Allyson Witherspoon

Allyson Witherspoon is the US Chief Marketing Officer for Nissan, and her life-long career in the automotive sector has taken her all over the world, from Japan to Saudi Arabia and Amsterdam. As a female senior executive in a traditionally male-dominated industry, she’s had to navigate coming into her own as a leader, and she’s here to distill some powerful concepts that are going to help you do the same.

Join us on this episode as I quiz Allyson on all things leadership. We’re discussing the challenges she faced on her career path, the importance of seeking out mentorship and asking for help, what being a leader is truly all about, and Allyson is also sharing her practical process for approaching imposter syndrome.

Enrollment for the current round of Habits on Purpose for Physicians (HOPP) CME Small Group Coaching Program is now open. The next round starts in October 2022. If you’re a female physician who wants to better understand your habits and learn to apply pragmatic tools to create new ones, click this link to learn about the program and to sign up now.

What you'll learn from this episode:

  • The challenges Allyson encountered as a leader in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
  • Why Allyson has been committed to bringing female voices to the decision-making table.
  • The power of seeking out mentorship. 
  • Allyson’s practical three-step process for not letting imposter syndrome keep you stuck.
  • Why it often takes so much courage to be willing to be imperfect.
  • Allyon’s self-care journey and the beauty of starting to take care of yourself.
  • What being a leader is really all about. 

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

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  • Click here to send me any questions that you would like addressed on the podcast!
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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Episode 35. Today is a really special installment that touches on leadership, feeling like an imposter, and the importance of seeking mentorship and support along the way.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now, here's your host physician and Master Certified Life Coach Kristi Angevine.

In this episode I have a conversation with Allyson Witherspoon. Allyson is the US Chief Marketing Officer for Nissan®. And she’s had a passion for cars and design since she was really young. She’s essentially spent her entire career in the automotive sector.

Prior to her current role at Nissan, she worked in Yokahama, Japan, where she was the General Manager for Nissan’s Global Brand Engagement. And, she’s also served as the Global Business Director for Volvo®, in Amsterdam.

She’s been named as the Top 40 Under 40 by Automotive News. And had the pivotal experience of being in Saudi Arabia in 2018, on behalf of Nissan, the week the women there received the right to drive.

As a female senior executive, in a heavily male dominated industry, it’s been Allyson’s mission to champion other women in their quest for unconventional career paths.

Talking with her was a total delight. And, this conversation felt like it was meant for all my clients who’ve been working on coming into their own as leaders. And, I know where there’s one person that can relate, so many more need to hear this conversation. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed having it.

Kristi Angevine: Allyson, welcome to the show. It is so fantastic to have you here this morning.

Allyson Witherspoon: Yeah, I'm excited to be here and kind of just catch up.

Kristi: Yeah. So, for the listeners who don't know you, who haven't heard of who you are, or who might know you, but haven't gotten to know you in this capacity, can you just give a little brief introduction of who you are? And, where in the world you are, where you're calling from?

Allyson: Of course, absolutely. My name is Allyson Witherspoon, and I am the US Chief Marketing Officer for Nissan. So, I am responsible of all of the consumer-facing advertising and marketing that you see from the Nissan brand.

I'm responsible for the digital customer experience, and all of the data innovation, which is a little bit more behind-the-scenes of how do we build a data and analytics practice across the company, and across the different tools that we'll need, things like that.

So yeah, I've been in automotive my entire career. Actually, it was a passion point that I had, starting when I was really young. And it was just something… I loved the design of cars. And then when I got my license, and maybe even before that, I loved to drive. And so, I kind of fell into it right out of college, and I just realized that it was something that I really enjoyed. And so, I just kept going with it.

Kristi: That is really amazing. And as we talked about, as we were chatting before we started, it's very different than what I know. And it's very different than what a lot of my listeners know, which is why I think it's so fun to have you on. So, where are you located right now?

Allyson: Yeah, so I'm based in Nashville, Tennessee. I've had the opportunity to kind of live in different parts of the world, in different parts of the country, but currently, I'm in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kristi: Okay, amazing. For my listeners, I'm on the opposite side of the United States, in Bend, Oregon. And I'm imagining, if we looked out our windows, we’d both see very different things. Because, right? We are in the middle of kind of the thick of fire season. And, I know that's not something that really touches Nashville, thank goodness.

Allyson: Yes. Yeah. It definitely, no. Definitely we're not in fire season here, at all.

Kristi: So, you talked about how, your entire career, it sounds like since a very young age, has been related to, cars, into basically being in the automotive sector. And this is a very traditionally male dominated field, I think that's fair to say. Can you talk a little bit about some of, just some of the challenges that you encountered being a female in this male dominated industry?

Allyson: Yeah, I think, I mean, to me, it's hard to kind of pick a few. Because I think, I forgot what the actual stat is, but it's something like 80 to 90% of leadership is men. And so, I think it is very much a male dominated industry. For me, I think that the biggest thing is how to come into an industry, and how to bring a different voice to the table.

And I think my experiences have really been around that, and how do I use my abilities? And I have very much specialized in marketing my entire career, and how do I bring that into a very manufacturing-oriented male dominated industry? And to represent how that can help us move the brand. How does that help drive, revenue? How can that help, the overall brand equity of the company?

And so, I think it's my experiences have really been around that; how do I bring a different voice to the table? And I think one of the most important things is that women are over 50% of the actual car buyers, which is why we need to have female voices at the table. But I think most importantly, there's also a statistic that women influence anywhere from 80 to over 90% of the car buying decisions in any home.

And that means, even if you're not the one that's actually signing, the car deal or kind of signing the car contract, you're the one that's actually influencing what you actually purchase as a family. And so, I think that's why, so that statistic is there, and it's been growing over time.

And so, I think, that's been a bit of a catalyst to having a more diverse representation of people that are making some of the car buying decisions. But that's been a bit of my journey. It's hard to say what the challenges are because it's really been around that; how do I bring this different voice into the rooms to help influence what we do as a company, and how we reach out to consumers, how we communicate with them?

And even sometimes wherever I can, how do we influence some of the vehicle technologies and things that we have, and how is that relevant for women?

Kristi: Yeah, I think you articulated that so well. I mean, I think most people listening can really relate to the fact that it is a really palatable challenge, to feel like you are bringing something new to the table that might be sort of outside the box, that might not be the standard way of doing things.

And to feel really strongly and passionately about why that's important to do, not just for yourself or for who you think you're serving, but for your company and for the culture. So, I think, I mean, I just love how you said, there all these questions that you're trying to answer.

How do I address this? And what I'm curious about is, early in your career, because you're quite seasoned at this now, you've been doing this for many years. I'm curious if early in your career, what it was like knowing that you really wanted to bring that different voice to the table, and trying to do that? If it was challenging then? Or, if it was something that maybe just came very easily for you at a younger, at a younger stage in your career?

Allyson: Yeah, and I think it's always been challenging. And I think anyone that's in an underrepresented group, in a company or in an organization, and that can be a smaller organization, or even a larger one, I think that that is always going to be a challenge. I think the things that I encountered when I was younger, was one, how to find my voice. And then, over time, how to effectively use it.

I was very fortunate, there weren't a lot of female executives when I first started. But I was very fortunate that there were some male colleagues that I had, that were willing to take me under their wing and help me, to kind of show me the ropes a little bit. And, I'm incredibly grateful for that.

And I would say in that, especially in the earlier part of my career, a lot more male mentors than I had females. And, that's just because there weren't any females that were available. And so, I think it's funny, because the mentorship kind of changed. Because some of the male dominated industries, you do get comments about, like; how do I make my appearance where it's not going to be…

Where it's going to be effective, and not a distraction? Which I think is, when I think about it now, it’s highly offensive, but at the time was maybe a good reminder of, like, don't make things about being a woman. Make things about what your voice can be, what you can offer to the table, how you can influence whatever it is.

And I think if someone were to say that to me, now, I would have a bit of a different reaction than I did then. But I was, I think I was a sponge, and I wanted to learn, and I fortunately had people that were around me, that did take me under their wing.

At the beginning, I actively sought people out because I was excited. I'm a very energetic and kind of passionate person about marketing, and specifically automotive marketing. And there were people that, I was voluntarily asking people to be my mentor, and just kind of not taking no for an answer.

And I had people that were in very influential positions that saw potential in me, and helped to kind of help me figure out who I can be, as an executive in the automotive industry.

Kristi: So, I think what you just outlined there, is almost like, some bullet point ideas that are so amazing. That idea of really being active about seeking out mentorship. I think we really cannot underestimate the power of that.

Because doing something in isolation, doing something alone, and maybe not knowing that you've got somebody in your wing, either quietly cheering for you, or openly supporting you and advocating for you, is so much harder than when you have essentially a team that is there to support you.

And it sounds like you really carved that out for yourself. So, number one, actively seeking out mentorship. And you mentioned not taking no for an answer. So, it sounds like you had a sense of like, grit and persistence about it; “I really need you to help me, and I want you to guide me. And, I am not going to just walk away.”

Allyson: Yeah. I also think it's very rare that people will say no to that. I think the people that would say no, are probably the people that may not be the best mentors, for whatever reason. And so, I think it's if someone were to say no, or it just wasn't the right kind of fit, just kind of move on and find someone else and find the right person.

But this was literally right out of school, I was very active in kind of seeking those people out. And, I wanted to learn. I had that curiosity, and I knew I wanted to be great at something, and I just needed to get my training wheels.

Kristi: That's so great. I think curiosity can be so powerful, especially when you pair it with excitement and a willingness to just keep on going. And because sometimes, people, like you said, sometimes people will say no. And it's great they said no because they weren't going to be a great match.

And it would be super easy to say; Okay, well, that one person said no, so I guess there's no one here. But to just keep going and be like; and I'm gonna find the next person who's gonna be super helpful to me. It sounds like… I’m curious, is that something that came, like as a spontaneous characteristic that you've had since you were a young kid, with being pretty persistent?

Allyson: Yes, it yeah... I think that that's definitely in my nature. I grew up; I was raised by my dad, and I have a twin brother. And I think, part of that dynamism in our home, my dad never put us into gender roles. He let us kind of discover who we are. And whatever that was, he was there to kind of quietly guide us and help support us along the way.

And so, I think, looking back now, it felt like I had a bit of a naive approach to it, maybe. But there was also this kind of there was this persistence and this resilience of, like, I know, I can be great. I was very fortunate in that I wasn't raised being told that I couldn't do something. And I kind of brought that into the work. And I brought that into the workplace setting.

And I think, not everyone has that experience. And I think I still have impostor syndrome, and things like that come through trial and error; and am I good enough? Maybe I'm too young, maybe I'm too this, all those things. And I think that we all have, there's a piece of that in all of us.

But throughout the course of my career, I've been able to acknowledge that, but not let it be a block or a barrier for me. And so, it is somewhat spontaneous. It is a bit in my nature to just kind of I'm a really curious person and I want to learn. I've had to learn how to rein it in sometimes, because it can be overwhelming and energy levels can, you know…

Sometimes you have to learn how to kind of manage those, depending on what the situations are. But that has always been kind of the core of who I am.

Kristi: So, I love that you recognize that that was there from a young age. And also, that despite that being there, you have had a little bit of self-doubt, a little bit impostor syndrome. If you're comfortable, I would love to just sort of take a little tangent to talk about impostor syndrome. Because you said, when it comes up, it's been important for you to acknowledge it and not let it block you.

And that, right there, I mean, if everybody who's experienced feeling self-doubt, thinking that maybe I'm not blank enough, or who am I to do this? Could just say; oh, I'm having some impostor syndrome, and I'm not gonna let it block me. And moved on, as quick as you said that statement, we would have no trouble with impostor syndrome, in anyone.

So, I'm wondering, can you talk a little bit more about what that might actually look like for you, with acknowledging it, and working through it? Not letting it like, keep you stuck for long periods of time. Because I think a lot of leaders who are listening to this, they can experience that.

And sometimes, it's not just not speaking up at a meeting, or not bringing up a new idea, but it can turn into more of a chronic state, that can really influence somebody's sense of self.

Allyson: Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I've seen it. There are a lot of men and women that I talked to… I think mostly it's more with women, to be honest, that I've seen. But I think for me, I've always kind of come up in my career, and I've always been the youngest, have a little bit of an untraditional background.

I started consulting, and then I was advertising agency side. And so I've been in these situations where I've kind of come in with this different background, and I've been in meetings, or in situations, or in leadership roles, where people are much older than I am.

And I think at the beginning, there was a pride piece of me that was there. But there was always this part of in the very front of my mind still, of like; have I earned this yet, am I ready? Am I ready for that? And I think I still get that to this day.

I think when it comes up now, I understand that that's what's happening. And I start to work through and just start to problem solve. So, if I'm dealing with a challenge or a problem that I have, and I start to feel like maybe I'm not the right person, or maybe I did something wrong. It's a little bit more about like, okay, how can I not take that and how can I make that better the next time I do it?

And so, I think what I've learned to do, is to not get caught up in the swirl of the; I'm not this, maybe this person is better because of that. I have learned to not get caught up in that swirl. And I definitely got caught up in it, when especially, in the earlier part of my career.

But really, it's kind of take that, acknowledge it, and quickly try to turn it into the problem solving. So, how do I get to kind of the creative thinking out of whatever it is that, like, how can I bring something else to the table?

Who do I need to tap into, is another thing, where can I get guidance? What can I research? Where can I find a way to kind of tackle whatever the situation is? And make it less about me not feeling ‘I'm good enough’, and more about; how do I actually solve this business challenge?

And I think the other thing that I've realized, as I've progressed through my career is that, and this one's hard, because I am very much a perfectionist. And in marketing, you almost have to be, because it's everything is so external and public, of what we do. But I'm starting to let go.

And I think this is going to be a lifelong thing that I work on for myself; is starting to let go of this idea that I have to be perfect. And sometimes the best thing to do is to get things out into the world, see how people respond to it and move on. And, I try to take that with myself.

I spent two years in Japan. And I was working for global, in our global marketing department at Nissan's global headquarters. And I had a team that was… A lot of them were based in Japan. I had a team that was also in the Middle East and London and New York. And so, you're kind of dealing with, you know, all these time zones, but also a lot of different cultures.

And a majority of it was Japanese, which is a very different business culture. And I had a lot of stumbles, and I had a lot of kind of communication failures and things that didn't go very well. And what I started to realize is that… I started to just kind of go through…

In the marketing world, we would call it like an optimization assessment. And every day, in the mornings, I would get ready, and I would take the train into the office. And I would think through how I was going to communicate with my team? How was I going to get them kicked off on something? How is that going to motivate them?

And then, at the end of the day, I would go through and kind of start to assess, like; how did I do? And if I succeeded, what were the things that worked really well? And, how can I apply that? And if something wasn't successful, or actually a failure, what are the learnings that I can get out of that?

And I just started to kind of train myself into that. And it made me realize that it started to really solidify for me that there is no perfection. This is about the journey. And it's the learnings that you get from all of these experiences that you have. And that, just continues to grow and compound.

And to just cut myself some slack, and just keep growing and learning. And I feel like, and again, it's so hard because I am very much a perfectionist, but I just started to allow myself to have a journey. Instead of focusing on a destination, or what this idea of perfect project, or perfect X, or launch, or things like that, and just let that let the journey happen.

Kristi: Yeah, I think that takes so much courage to do, because there's a willingness to be imperfect. And to learn that, especially to learn that when you are in a different culture, I mean, that definitely qualifies as a badass move right there, to doing that.

And so, I really want to, for the people who are listening to this while they're driving, while they're exercising, I want to take a moment just to do a quick summary and emphasize some of the like beautiful pearls of wisdom that you just laid out there, that just came off of your tongue so easily.

Because I think, what you basically said, for dealing with your own experience of feeling a little bit like an imposter, you essentially taught yourself to understand what was happening. So, my sense is you probably could feel when you were feeling a little bit of self-doubt. And you're quick, you basically got to the place where you're like; oh, I recognize, and I understand this is what's happening.

And you went from recognizing it, to shifting into not letting yourself go down that swirl, so that you could take whatever, and pivot, and start learning and problem solving. And understanding what you could do to make something better. And that's just such a practical thing to do.

Basically, number one, recognize impostor syndrome might be creeping up. Number two, decide on purpose, to not go down that rabbit hole, and instead tap into problem solving. And I love that you're like; okay, not only what can solve this solution, or be the solution for this little quandary I've got, but who can help me? How can they help? What could that look like?

And we do a lot of talking about, when you're doing personal reflection, how you can do your own, like evaluation of your habits. Like what's gone well? What hasn't gone well? And you basically echoed that same thing for the optimization assessment.

What can I do differently? What can I learn from these failings? And how can I remind myself, that even though I had these failings, they mean nothing about me, in terms of my worth, they're just an opportunity to learn and refine and get better.

Allyson: Yeah, and I think some of that, too, I think one of the biggest things is that, I think when you're in the earlier part of your career, everything seems like all the stakes are on single decisions. And I think what is beautiful about kind of progressing through your career, is that you realize that there are millions of decisions that are going to be made, there are going to be millions of experiences that you're going to have.

And to kind of just trust in yourself, have confidence in yourself that it's all going to work, it will all work out. And as long as you just keep learning and trying to grow that development. And I don't think things ever get easier. I think that you start to have more tools and ways to be able to solve them.

And I think, I have a personal board of directors, that I call my personal board of directors, and these are the people that I tap into, and they're people from my personal life, from my professional life all along the way.

You know, people that have known me for years, and some people that are kind of newer in my journey. And these are the people that I tap into for the big decisions, for the things that I'm struggling with.

My best friend, she's the person that I call when I'm having those impostor syndrome moments, and she can be my hype girl. And, that's great. And my husband is my hype man. And it feels so good to have those people in your corner, especially when you're going through those moments.

And, it's like, I can do it, I can try to snap myself out of it and get to the problem solving quickly. But there are times, especially if there's a bigger thing that I’m facing or bigger challenges I'm facing that, it's like, let's call the board of directors and get them on the phone, get them on a FaceTime™.

Kristi: So, I love everything that you said, and just how you've gone through this and learned these things. Because I do feel like, even though confidence is something that we see some people who just seem naturally confident, confidence is also something that we can cultivate as a deliberate, sort of practice, and a deliberate feeling.

And so, that's one of the things we talk about on this podcast a lot, is how we can look at the default habits we have in our life, whether they are behavioral habits, whether they're emotional responses, whether they are sort of our overall mindset habits, and how we can be really conscientious and intentional with them.

So, when you and I were hopping on the phone at first and you were telling me about your transitions with work and living in different places. We touched on a little bit about how the pandemic had its influence on you.

And, we talked a little bit about self-care. And self-care is one of those habits that I think it's very easy to just forget about just accidentally let go by the wayside. So, can you talk a little bit about what your self-care, sort of the journey that you've gone through with your self-care? And how it may have either been informed through the pandemic and changed, and what you might be doing right now to be very intentional about your self-care?

Allyson: Yeah, I would say that for the longest time, I didn't have a self-care ritual. And I lived a lot of the early part of my career very burnt out, and not taking care of myself. And then, I think I was in Japan, and then I moved back to my role that I have now, to Nashville. And in the course of that kind of the sequence of it was my father passed away, I moved from Japan back to Nashville, COVID hit, and then my mother passed away.

And all of those things, kind of happening within a very small amount of time, it shook me. And it shook me in a way that I was having like, physical reaction. I was having like a physical response to it. And that was enough of that shock, to kind of make me completely reevaluate what I needed to do.

And it was when it comes to self-care… I've always been an athlete, my whole life, but it was really getting kind of back to that. And not just… I've been a runner for years, and it wasn't just running, because the impact of that sometimes can wear down the body, but adding in yoga and Pilates.

I started to get sports therapy massage and cupping, which has been very effective for me. It was about kind of making sure that I'm doing these things. And these are part of who I am, and making that time, and prioritizing that time. And I think also, it's prioritizing, where I put my energy. That, to me, is also a form of self-care.

And that it's not putting energy into relationships, friendships or relationships that aren't serving you or aren't kind of supporting you. And so, I kind of went through a phase of just making sure that the people that I had around me, were all kind of, we were all here for each other, and that's a two-way street.

And then I also kind of in this process, and through that, and I had very much put my personal life on the backburner trying to kind of climb up this corporate ladder. And, I had really ignored the personal life part of me. And I think, through, again, all those things that kind of happened in a short amount of time…

I had reconnected with someone that I had worked with, and that we had met in Japan. And we started a relationship, and he and I got married at the end of last year. And, I think the beauty of starting to take care of yourself is that it opens up all of these other doors that you didn't know, weren't even open yet. And I think that, to me, it was that was such a surprise.

And it made me realize that, when I'm my best version of myself, which means I'm taking care of myself. I'm making sure that I work out because that's what's important to me. I'm eating well, I’ve got the nutrition down, I'm drinking a lot of water, I'm getting sleep; I'm a better version of myself. And that, makes me better at my job. And, it makes me better with my friendships and my relationships.

Kristi: Oh, that is so important. And I'm so sorry about your parents, and thank you for being willing to share that, here. I think that's such an important message for everybody listening to this, men, and women, just to hear about how, when you really do take the effort to take care of yourself, it frees you up and opens up so many opportunities.

Not just for yourself, but just in meeting other people, and tapping into your creativity, and going for goals that might be a little bit bigger, because your cup is more full. As opposed to you're just running around completely haggard, your cup is empty. You're not usually as able to tap into those things.

Allyson: Yeah, and I think you touch on the creativity, that's a huge part of what my role is. And I think, in order for me to really, really be able to tap into that side of me, I have to be able to. Part of my job is to think about things that have never existed yet, or things that have never been done before. And in order to do that, I have to make sure that I am in a headspace where I can do that.

And I think the other thing that I've learned a lot, too, is that this is all within our control. And like, we create these boundaries, we create the prioritization, and it's important for us to own that part of it, because no one else is really going to do it for us.

And so, it's important for us to make sure that we commit to these things because they’re priorities in our life. And not let other people's priorities get dictated to you. You dictate; you know what's important to you. And so, stick to that. And if you, veer off that path, don't beat yourself up. Just get back to what you know is… Get back to those habits, get back to the routine, things like that.

Kristi: Yeah, I feel like throughout this entire interview, you have just dropped these beautiful little truth bombs, for people to give them that, I don't know, the access to the confidence that you have really cultivated. You need to, with sort of saying, you need to be the one who is going to author what you need, set your own boundaries.

Because as soon as those are overly flexible, it's so easy to let someone else's agenda morph into our own and not even realize it. And then wonder why we're so exhausted, our ideas are not coming very quickly, we feel like we're stuck in a rut, or something like that.

Allyson: Yeah. And a big pivot for me was acknowledging that other people aren't going to do this for me. Other people are going to, they're coming in with what they need. And sometimes that is not in harmony with what you need.

And it's really about kind of sticking through to what it is that you need. And being a bit dogmatic about it. And it's things like taking vacation. And I think, in the US, it's a joke sometimes, because you take a vacation, but I'm doing calls eight hours a day and things like that.

And I've gotten to the point now, where I have confidence in… I have an amazing team, and I have enough confidence in myself and the team that I know that I can go away, and they are going to be able to handle it. And, I'm not intimidated by that. I'm not threatened by that. I need that.

And it's also me communicating to them like; hey, I'm going to take time off and you all are in charge. And if there's a fire drill, text me, but other than that, you're not going to hear from me. And what I've realized… And if you haven't done that, try it. Because what happens is, that whoever it is that you work with, they step up and they love it. They love to feel empowered in that way.

And it's little things like, if you’re away, of course, I stay on top of things, and I do carve out time just to check in and check emails and things like that. But I very rarely actually respond to an email when I'm on vacation.

And the reason why, is because if I respond, someone else on the end of that is going to feel like, okay, she's working, and it's okay to email her. And, I've allowed that. And so it's like; nope, I'm not.

And I think, at first, it scared my team a little bit. But they, of course, they’re total rockstars, they loved it, they ran the show, and I was able to take time off. And so, it was a win for everyone.

Kristi: So, I'm gonna just ask some of my clients who are listening to this right now, to rewind, go back about three and a half minutes, and listen to exactly what Allyson said right there, and then write it on a sticky note: No one's gonna do it for you. But you need to try it, to let other people rise to the occasion of taking care of the things that you know, that they're totally capable of doing in your absence.

So, as we kind of get to the end and wrap this up, one of the things that I read, when I was reading your bio, was that you are, part of your mission is to be really helpful in helping other women to pursue unconventional career paths. And to do it in a way that, my impression from reading things, is to do it in a way that was really helpful for them, and helpful for other people.

And so, for people who are listening, who are in leadership positions, or who have the opportunity to be in more of a leadership position in their work, who are struggling with some of these things that you have overcome, and you figured out. Do you have any particular advice that you might just pass on to them?

Allyson: I think a lot of the work is with ourselves. And, I hope that doesn't feel like a cop-out answer. But I feel like, I think it's being really clear with yourself about what you want, and where you want to go, or how you how you want to show up in the world and in your journey. And then, start to kind of build that roadmap and ask for help.

To me, asking for help is a big part of that. And I have an executive coach. And I remember the first time that I heard someone, and it was actually a female CEO, and this was years ago, and I heard that she had an executive coach, and I was like; wow, does she need help? Why is that?

And actually, we all need help. We all need support. We all need to have, you know, somebody that can help, that we can talk through situations with, that can help ground us, or remind us, or give us advice on how to approach different situations. And so tap into those things.

They can be friends around you. There are a lot of resources that are out there. Podcasts are amazing. And just ways for you to kind of just to start really being intentional about who you want to be, and how you want to grow.

And the other thing is that, being a leader is about, it becomes less and less about your technical capability. And it becomes more and more about your ability to guide a team. And so, work with your team, empower your teams, make sure that they're doing work that is motivating to them, or they understand if something's not great, why it isn't, give them that context.

But I think that's the other thing too, is that you start to realize it isn't about you anymore. And it's about like, what impact you can make on the world and the people around you. And I think that that's been such a rewarding part of how I've seen things evolve when it comes to myself and how I see leadership.

But I think if you're struggling with challenges right now, really think about, you know, how are the ways for you to get through those? Do you need to push through them? Do you need to phone a friend? Do you need to take a step back from something, and kind of reassess it? Do you need to take a little bit of time off because you're burnt out?

But start to become very intentional with the decisions that you're making in the way that you want to approach things.

Kristi: Yeah, well, I think your answer is the opposite of the cop-out, like, absolutely, like the epitome of really getting to the heart. I mean, I feel like you distilled down some really big powerful concepts that people spend like a week at a leadership conference going over, into about five sentences, which is amazing.

Like. starting with yourself and what you want, what you're struggling with. Making a roadmap. Asking for help. And then, learning how you can empower your team. I mean, that's phenomenal.

Is there anything that you think that we have missed? Anything that you would like to mention before we close up?

Allyson: No, to me, it's such an exciting time to be a woman, and there's a lot that we're going through. But I would have to say that we have the potential to change things. And I think the more that we work on ourselves, and keep developing our skills, and keep working, and tap into each other, the more impact that we're going to make.

And I think, again, so much has happened, especially over the last few months. But this is a journey. These are just single moments in time. And I think if we kind of keep working the plan, we can all get there.

Kristi: Allyson, I've got to say, for the people who’ve listened to this interview, Allyson and I have never spoken before. This is our first time meeting. And I just had such a wonderful time listening to your story, hearing what you've run up against, seeing what you've learned, and I just really am so grateful you came on the podcast. So, thank you.

Allyson: I've really enjoyed speaking with you, so thank you for inviting me. And thank you for letting me come on, actually.

Kristi: Of course. Well, thanks so much.

If you just listened to this conversation near to it’s release, in real time, September 28th, 2022, and you find yourself wanting support to work on your own mindset and your own habits, if you’re a female-identifying physician you are in luck.

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I’ll talk you in the next episode.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit www.habitsonpurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.

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