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How to build your influence and build Communities?

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What is your body of work?

Have you ever wondered with all the gifts and talents you possess, how are you sharing your message with the world? 

Well, this time on The xMonks Drive, Pamela Slim joins us to reveal the secret of transformation, where she speaks about our mission in life – how we are responsible for these missions and how to achieve them. This blog is a transcripted version of the conversation we had with Pamela.

Finding your Deeper Mission

Gaurav: Pamela, you’ve spoken about finding your mission at your roots. When you’re talking about finding your mission and operating from that space, I personally struggle to define that for myself. And I’m sure you would have come across several people who would give their fortune to identify what they care for. So what’s your advice to people like me, who have struggled to find their deeper mission?

Pamela: There is a bit of a myth that we only have one deep mission that we can identify our life’s purpose with. That somehow the skies open and the birds start to sing louder when we discover this one thing that we are put here on earth for. And for some people, that is the experience that they have, or some people can describe from the time they were very little, they knew they were driven to pursue a particular goal or to contribute something. For many other people who I’ve worked with throughout the years, there isn’t a singular mission. 

I think what the emotional desire is and really what the spiritual desire is, is to spend our life doing things that have meaning and purpose for us, where we feel like our contribution is something that is furthering something good in the world, Like the creation of something or the change to something. I work with a lot of people who really like creating a new future of systems and structures that are more equitable for people. So people want to feel that emotional, spiritual connection that their life matters because their work is contributing to something positive. That’s often what it is that we might describe as a mission. In Body of Work, I described it as “roots”. Plural. And so, I often tell people that throughout the course of your life, you can have many things that you feel deeply passionate about, and that’s really okay! 

You want to look for these places where you feel a sense of strong emotional connection. And that strong emotional connection can be something that makes you very angry, where every time you see it, you can just say, “This is wrong, something needs to be done about this.” Or it’s something where you just can’t help yourself from being drawn into a particular story. I was always really drawn into both pursuits of aspirations and dreaming and really thinking about how to have an imagination and how to really create things. And I also was really drawn to stories of connection, collaboration, and community. And so either one of those emotions and really a whole range in between, from being annoyed by something- how many software startup founders have really begun to create a particular product because they have heard so many people and experienced themselves, that there was just something that was kind of annoying that wasn’t being done well.

So, in your pursuit, the thing that’s interesting, which always makes it a personal and spiritual journey, in addition to a business one is often the things that might disconnect you, from your deep emotional feelings is your personal work that you need to do. And what I found, especially in the early days, when I work with people in corporate who maybe had been in there for a long time, where they were kind of trained to just suppress their emotions, is they needed to do a little bit of what I call “thawing out your soul”, and allow yourself to feel allow yourself to express what you are really feeling, when you begin to do that in your personal life, then it really does bleed over into your professional life. And that’s where you can begin to discover some of these things where you might say, I would really make me feel good if I could help people find work that’s more meaningful, or it would really help me feel good if I could create a software to help people schedule meetings more effectively. That’s where it begins. And it doesn’t have to be some singular epic mission at your root.

Partnering with the world 

Gaurav: Why is it important for us to form partnerships in today’s world? And when you’re talking about the ecosystem, What is an ecosystem? And how can we protect them?

Pamela: So the partnerships are when you look at work that you want to do in the world. One of the perspectives that come directly from The Body of work is that the way I define our body of work in our life is everything that we create, contribute, affect and impact throughout the course of our lives. So it’s everything, how we are as a parent, what we create in work, how we show up at community, the emotional wake that we leave behind us, as we walk through rooms, and as we walk through buildings. And so with that, as a central focus, I always look at work and leadership and influence in the context of the work that’s being created. So with that, when there’s any kind of substantial thing that you want to change for those of us in the coaching industry, I think I can safe to say we share a deep belief in the power of transformation, we know and believe otherwise, we wouldn’t do what we do, that people are capable of making change. People can absolutely transform their lives, their personal lives, their relationships, their work lives, they can become better leaders, they can recover from disasters, and come up better and stronger. As that is an example of something if we believe in that deeper power of transformation, what it actually takes for people to make a significant change, there are so many things involved in that change that go far beyond the contributions, that you and I could make, even if we were side by side every day working on that problem that- how can we help more people transform? 

Look at all of the different elements that go into transformation? What are people’s home environments, like what’s going on in their mental state? Do they have supportive circles and peers? Are they moving in a direction where they really understand the opportunities available to them in any significant kind of work that we do, they’re often are elements of that work that are essential for the transformation of our clients to get the full promise of what we want to promise to them as business owners or leaders especially, I think it’s impossible to deliver all of that ourselves. And that would be for one company, or for one, you know, individual thought leader. 

So by definition, the way that I look at ecosystems is that we need to be identifying the very best people that we can imagine around the world, who are each contributing from their unique bodies of work. From their thought leadership, I define thought leadership as just your specific perspective on how it is that you think a problem should be solved. So as you’re sharing that unique perspective, you are assembling the other wonderful people who are providing balancing supportive information, resources, and support. And that can include companies that are including products, that help people who make apps we know can help people change habits, that assistant transformation, people might attend events, and fly in for, you know, a large conference and get inspired by other people, people listen to podcasts. 

So, I think that partnerships are essential for how it is that we look at the work getting done and really to also give ourselves, the opportunity to focus on that which we do the best because the area where I find many people get stuck is with the weight of having to deliver the entire promise of the transformation for their client if they’re wanting to, you know, have them change completely into, you know, a much better leader, there are so many elements to that, that are outside of our control, let’s say as an individual coach. So that’s really the reason why I say we need to be looking at the collective, we need to be curating and helping our ideal customers to find the best resources to solve their problems.

Building your Influence

Gaurav: Pamela, you do a lot of work in helping leaders thought leaders build their influence. Just curious, how do you define influence? What is influence?

Pamela: Influence is really related to the perspective of centering both the work itself so the body of work itself, what you are creating in order to solve a specific problem or help your customer achieve an aspiration. That is the central focus of what we do as professionals, one of the metaphors that I shared once with Body of work, is that there are some people who I work with, who are a bit uncomfortable with saying, I’m really passionate about what I do, and I believe in my product or service, but I just don’t want to be one of those people that’s constantly out there, talking about how great I am. And in the spotlight. To which I said imagine that you have a mirror strapped to your forehead. And if you could imagine, when their eyes are on you, let’s say people were like shooting light through their eyes to you. To be a thought leader and to have influenced those light beams, hit that mirror, and it turns right back around and shines on the body of work of what you are creating. 

Influence is simply your ability to make a substantial contribution to improving whatever it is that you care about building, you know, in your body of work. So that by definition, then yes, people might look at you, people might you go to a conference where you’re speaking about what you’re doing, it’s really not about you. That’s usually the place where most people start to get very tripped up, it doesn’t mean that your contribution doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that you can’t absolutely love yourself and appreciate the role that you take. But when you confuse that people are looking to me, Pam, as the influencer is the expert who has the answers, and not me, Pam, the creator, who is constantly looking for ways to contribute to my field. That’s the difference. And for me, personally, I do not work with people who are simply looking to increase their ranking to be featured at XYZ conference. And it’s just because my work is the work itself. It has to be around the body of work that they’re creating. That’s when I get really excited when I say we have something here. This is such a valuable piece that we need in order to solve the kinds of bigger problems that we have. And then from that, as an individual leader, you can decide how could you use your unique gifts we all know people who are amazing on stage in roles of influence who are charismatic and there are some people like that who utilize their influence, to be sharing the message of what the work is there. Also are extremely powerful people who influence the work by the strategic way in which they help the work get done, in which they assemble really smart teams to get the word out, and it is not. It’s really just not about you as an individual having influence. so profound, that’s not what I care about.

About the Speaker

Pamela Slim is an author, community builder, consultant, and former Barclays Global Investors corporate director of training and development. Her first ten years in business were spent developing and delivering training programmes for major corporations including HP, Charles Schwab, 3Com, Chevron, and Cisco Systems.

Pam has coached thousands of entrepreneurs as well as small company service providers such as Infusionsoft, Progressive Insurance, and Prezi since 2005. Pam co-founded and launched the Quiet Revolution and the Quiet Leadership Institute with author Susan Cain.

Pam is well known for her books Escape from Cubicle Nation (called Best Small Business and Entrepreneur Book of 2009 by 800 CEO Read) and Body of Work (designated Best Small Business and Entrepreneur Book of 2010 by 800 CEO).

Finding your Deeper Mission

Gaurav: Pamela, you’ve spoken about finding your mission at your roots. When you’re talking about finding your mission and operating from that space, I personally struggle to define that for myself. And I’m sure you would have come across several people who would give their fortune to identify what they care for. So what’s your advice to people like me, who have struggled to find their deeper mission?

Pamela: There is a bit of a myth that we only have one deep mission that we can identify our life’s purpose with. That somehow the skies open and the birds start to sing louder when we discover this one thing that we are put here on earth for. And for some people, that is the experience that they have, or some people can describe from the time they were very little, they knew they were driven to pursue a particular goal or to contribute something. For many other people who I’ve worked with throughout the years, there isn’t a singular mission. 

I think what the emotional desire is and really what the spiritual desire is, is to spend our life doing things that have meaning and purpose for us, where we feel like our contribution is something that is furthering something good in the world, Like the creation of something or the change to something. I work with a lot of people who really like creating a new future of systems and structures that are more equitable for people. So people want to feel that emotional, spiritual connection that their life matters because their work is contributing to something positive. That’s often what it is that we might describe as a mission. In Body of Work, I described it as “roots”. Plural. And so, I often tell people that throughout the course of your life, you can have many things that you feel deeply passionate about, and that’s really okay! 

You want to look for these places where you feel a sense of strong emotional connection. And that strong emotional connection can be something that makes you very angry, where every time you see it, you can just say, “This is wrong, something needs to be done about this.” Or it’s something where you just can’t help yourself from being drawn into a particular story. I was always really drawn into both pursuits of aspirations and dreaming and really thinking about how to have an imagination and how to really create things. And I also was really drawn to stories of connection, collaboration, and community. And so either one of those emotions and really a whole range in between, from being annoyed by something- how many software startup founders have really begun to create a particular product because they have heard so many people and experienced themselves, that there was just something that was kind of annoying that wasn’t being done well.

So, in your pursuit, the thing that’s interesting, which always makes it a personal and spiritual journey, in addition to a business one is often the things that might disconnect you, from your deep emotional feelings is your personal work that you need to do. And what I found, especially in the early days, when I work with people in corporate who maybe had been in there for a long time, where they were kind of trained to just suppress their emotions, is they needed to do a little bit of what I call “thawing out your soul”, and allow yourself to feel allow yourself to express what you are really feeling, when you begin to do that in your personal life, then it really does bleed over into your professional life. And that’s where you can begin to discover some of these things where you might say, I would really make me feel good if I could help people find work that’s more meaningful, or it would really help me feel good if I could create a software to help people schedule meetings more effectively. That’s where it begins. And it doesn’t have to be some singular epic mission at your root.

Partnering with the world 

Gaurav: Why is it important for us to form partnerships in today’s world? And when you’re talking about the ecosystem, What is an ecosystem? And how can we protect them?

Pamela: So the partnerships are when you look at work that you want to do in the world. One of the perspectives that come directly from The Body of work is that the way I define our body of work in our life is everything that we create, contribute, affect and impact throughout the course of our lives. So it’s everything, how we are as a parent, what we create in work, how we show up at community, the emotional wake that we leave behind us, as we walk through rooms, and as we walk through buildings. And so with that, as a central focus, I always look at work and leadership and influence in the context of the work that’s being created. So with that, when there’s any kind of substantial thing that you want to change for those of us in the coaching industry, I think I can safe to say we share a deep belief in the power of transformation, we know and believe otherwise, we wouldn’t do what we do, that people are capable of making change. People can absolutely transform their lives, their personal lives, their relationships, their work lives, they can become better leaders, they can recover from disasters, and come up better and stronger. As that is an example of something if we believe in that deeper power of transformation, what it actually takes for people to make a significant change, there are so many things involved in that change that go far beyond the contributions, that you and I could make, even if we were side by side every day working on that problem that- how can we help more people transform? 

Look at all of the different elements that go into transformation? What are people’s home environments, like what’s going on in their mental state? Do they have supportive circles and peers? Are they moving in a direction where they really understand the opportunities available to them in any significant kind of work that we do, they’re often are elements of that work that are essential for the transformation of our clients to get the full promise of what we want to promise to them as business owners or leaders especially, I think it’s impossible to deliver all of that ourselves. And that would be for one company, or for one, you know, individual thought leader. 

So by definition, the way that I look at ecosystems is that we need to be identifying the very best people that we can imagine around the world, who are each contributing from their unique bodies of work. From their thought leadership, I define thought leadership as just your specific perspective on how it is that you think a problem should be solved. So as you’re sharing that unique perspective, you are assembling the other wonderful people who are providing balancing supportive information, resources, and support. And that can include companies that are including products, that help people who make apps we know can help people change habits, that assistant transformation, people might attend events, and fly in for, you know, a large conference and get inspired by other people, people listen to podcasts. 

So, I think that partnerships are essential for how it is that we look at the work getting done and really to also give ourselves, the opportunity to focus on that which we do the best because the area where I find many people get stuck is with the weight of having to deliver the entire promise of the transformation for their client if they’re wanting to, you know, have them change completely into, you know, a much better leader, there are so many elements to that, that are outside of our control, let’s say as an individual coach. So that’s really the reason why I say we need to be looking at the collective, we need to be curating and helping our ideal customers to find the best resources to solve their problems.

Building your Influence

Gaurav: Pamela, you do a lot of work in helping leaders thought leaders build their influence. Just curious, how do you define influence? What is influence?

Pamela: Influence is really related to the perspective of centering both the work itself so the body of work itself, what you are creating in order to solve a specific problem or help your customer achieve an aspiration. That is the central focus of what we do as professionals, one of the metaphors that I shared once with Body of work, is that there are some people who I work with, who are a bit uncomfortable with saying, I’m really passionate about what I do, and I believe in my product or service, but I just don’t want to be one of those people that’s constantly out there, talking about how great I am. And in the spotlight. To which I said imagine that you have a mirror strapped to your forehead. And if you could imagine, when their eyes are on you, let’s say people were like shooting light through their eyes to you. To be a thought leader and to have influenced those light beams, hit that mirror, and it turns right back around and shines on the body of work of what you are creating. 

Influence is simply your ability to make a substantial contribution to improving whatever it is that you care about building, you know, in your body of work. So that by definition, then yes, people might look at you, people might you go to a conference where you’re speaking about what you’re doing, it’s really not about you. That’s usually the place where most people start to get very tripped up, it doesn’t mean that your contribution doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that you can’t absolutely love yourself and appreciate the role that you take. But when you confuse that people are looking to me, Pam, as the influencer is the expert who has the answers, and not me, Pam, the creator, who is constantly looking for ways to contribute to my field. That’s the difference. And for me, personally, I do not work with people who are simply looking to increase their ranking to be featured at XYZ conference. And it’s just because my work is the work itself. It has to be around the body of work that they’re creating. That’s when I get really excited when I say we have something here. This is such a valuable piece that we need in order to solve the kinds of bigger problems that we have. And then from that, as an individual leader, you can decide how could you use your unique gifts we all know people who are amazing on stage in roles of influence who are charismatic and there are some people like that who utilize their influence, to be sharing the message of what the work is there. Also are extremely powerful people who influence the work by the strategic way in which they help the work get done, in which they assemble really smart teams to get the word out, and it is not. It’s really just not about you as an individual having influence. so profound, that’s not what I care about.

About the Speaker

Pamela Slim is an author, community builder, consultant, and former Barclays Global Investors corporate director of training and development. Her first ten years in business were spent developing and delivering training programmes for major corporations including HP, Charles Schwab, 3Com, Chevron, and Cisco Systems.

Pam has coached thousands of entrepreneurs as well as small company service providers such as Infusionsoft, Progressive Insurance, and Prezi since 2005. Pam co-founded and launched the Quiet Revolution and the Quiet Leadership Institute with author Susan Cain.

Pam is well known for her books Escape from Cubicle Nation (called Best Small Business and Entrepreneur Book of 2009 by 800 CEO Read) and Body of Work (designated Best Small Business and Entrepreneur Book of 2010 by 800 CEO).

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