CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke Minisode Transcript

Women Innovating Networking Growing Scaling – that’s WINGS … I’m Melinda Wittstock, my mission is to help women take flight to soar to the success of our dreams in business and in life – creating and growing businesses in alignment with our passion and purpose.

On our Mentoring Minisode of Wings of Inspired Business … we talk about how to embrace the “power of now” – that is, be embodied in the present moment. Also what challenges – whether what we learn when we fail or when we find ourselves battling a disease cancer – can teach us about how to get the most out of life and succeed in business. It can bring choices into sharp relief – and make clear to us what is most important.

Here with us today to provide their insights and inspiration are …Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell.

Susan and CrisMarie are the co-founders of Thrive Inc. – and they’ve been helping women, men, couples, and business teams resolve conflicts and create thriving relationships – their expertise on conflict resolution, communication, teamwork, and creative problem solving put into use at Fortune 100 companies like Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, AT&T and Nationwide, as well as, at organizations like the Gates Foundation, University of Washington Medical Center, and the San Francisco Giants.

They are the authors of The Beauty of Conflict and The Beauty of Conflict for Couples, and also co-host The Beauty of Conflict podcast – and their expertise has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show.

Susan shares what she learned battling cancer – that in a life or death situation, choices become much clearer – and how to keep making the right choices even when in health there is an abundance of opportunity. Sometimes the hardest thing is knowing what to say “no” to.

CrisMarie shares how to overcome perfectionism – a common challenge for adult children of alcoholics – the idea that if you just tick that next accomplishment off the list, everything will be copacetic. Problem is, there’s always a new challenge, and that’s why we need to leverage our power from within.

Melinda Wittstock:           CrisMarie and Susan, it’s so good to have you on Wings. Welcome.

CrisMarie Campbell:         We are excited. This is CrisMarie.

Susan Clarke:          yes. And this is Susan. Yes, we’re thrilled to be here.

Melinda Wittstock:           Well, I always like to start with what’s inspiring you both. What’s the thing that’s lighting you up the most right now?

Susan Clarke:          Well, I’ll go first. This is Susan. And what I am most inspired by right now, is I have been doing a lot of work, which is referred to as Equus Coaching. Working with horses in the area of leadership, and this is something I’ve been passionate about for a few years now from my own experience of getting a chance to work with the horses.

Susan Clarke:          But now I’m really enjoying doing, providing opportunities for women leaders to come and experience a different style of leadership, because horses have so much to teach us and for me, it’s all about the herd. About interconnectedness and using what is a natural strength for women. So, I’m really excited about that and it sure is inspiring me.

Melinda Wittstock:           I really do believe that’s true, that women are at our best when we’re collaborating with each other. And it’s so wonderful that we can learn from non-humans. I think that’s great.

Susan Clarke:          Well, horses are really, probably the most intelligent animals there are, because that’s how they’ve survived. And so, they have a lot to teach us and sometimes we miss that, because most of our communication is about 90% non-verbal in various ways and horses are constantly reading that and using that as a way to connect to each other. [crosstalk 00:01:44] is why it’s so powerful.

Melinda Wittstock:           That’s so interesting. I personally learn a lot from my dog.

Susan Clarke:          Exactly. Yes.

Melinda Wittstock:           Variously how to be in the present moment. How to shake things off, and just love and loyalty. So, CrisMarie, how about you. What’s inspiring you?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yes. For me, it’s really helping women play a bigger game. I’m an Olympic athlete. I competed in Seoul as a rower in 1988, and we were expected to medal and we lost, and I walked away thinking I was a loser. And that shame really contracted my ability to play a bigger game. And so, I’ve recovered that and realized, “Oh my gosh. I was at the Olympics.” That was one of two races I lost during my career of rowing, and so I have a keynote that I’m doing, I also help women in my coaching. And that’s really reclaiming that.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I’ve been so focused on the corporate, that to really focus in on women leaders and helping women be more successful, is very close to my heart.

Melinda Wittstock:           I love that. What a great segue into the challenges part of this mentoring minisode, because I think sometimes we learn more. In fact, maybe always we learn more from when things go wrong. Right?

Melinda Wittstock:           I was an athlete too, not an Olympic one, but when you lose something it teaches us, it helps us grow as a person. Obviously it depends on how you react, but when you think to the challenges that you’ve had, or the setbacks, or even traumas and whatnot in your lives, what have been the things that you have learned most from?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Susan, you want to go first?

Susan Clarke:          Yeah. Sure, I’ll go first. This is Susan. And really, my, probably signature moment, in terms of learning was in my early 20s when I went through, actually four different cancers, but the original cancer diagnosis was really when I found out I had six months to live.

Melinda Wittstock:           Oh my gosh.

Susan Clarke:          And I remember it was all of a sudden, everything, up until then I had relied on my medical team to give me a path and suddenly there was no path. And I was like, “Okay. I’ve got to do this differently. I’ve got to step up and find out how I want to live this life, whether it’s going to be really, six months or longer. I have to do it differently.”

Susan Clarke:          And that was really where I learned about embracing the present moment. That’s where I learned about embodiment, that’s where I learned about, “Okay. How do I overcome something that seems impossible?” And even with really smart people telling me, “You don’t have a chance.” And that was, I still apply everything I learned to my life now.

Susan Clarke:          It actually got harder after I got healthy, because it was like, when you only have life or death it’s pretty easy to make a choice. It becomes harder when you have tons of other choices, but I have to keep applying the same thing.

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. It’s interesting the challenge of abundance in a way. Right?

Susan Clarke:          Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:           Like, it’s cool to have an abundance of opportunity, but it brings with it a new challenge, like what to say no to.

Susan Clarke:          Exactly. Yes.

Melinda Wittstock:           How about you, CrisMarie?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Well, when I was working hard, I was a consultant at Arthur Anderson and I was focused on being perfect, working really hard. I was in relationship with an alcoholic, I had chronic pain, hay fever, back pain, whatever. And I just hit the wall, and at that point I really had to look at, what was I doing all this for? Trying to please everybody and be a perfectionist, and I recognized that really, I was an adult child of an alcoholic, and a lot of my patterning came from that fear place of, “If I could just please you or accomplish this next thing, then I’ll be okay.” But it never happened. The bar was raised even higher, so I was never rigging the game to win. Making me really unhappy and unsatisfied in my life.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, I had to deal with trauma and all sorts of things to unwind that, to really look at, “What is it that I want?” And recreate my life from there.

Melinda Wittstock:           I’m also an adult child of an alcoholic, so I know exactly what you’re talking about, but in that journey though, I’ve come to peace with it in the sense that I think, “Wow. That was done for me, not to me.”

Melinda Wittstock:           Because in the growth that comes as a result of it, and of course being tested every step of the way in entrepreneurship to really uncover those … Oh, it’s kind of like the mindset iceberg where you have these limiting beliefs or blocks that have come from that fear or something in our lives, something in our childhood that we have to recover from to really do the thing that we’re meant to do here in the world.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I completely agree. I mean, when I realized it, it was like seeing the bottom of the iceberg. So, it made my patterns make sense like, “Oh, no wonder.” And I do agree it helps, that recovery process helps to step into my true purpose versus what I’m trying to kind of, stay above in a certain way. If that makes sense?

Melinda Wittstock:           Absolutely it does. And so, now is the fun time where you get to share your top three pieces of advice for women in business and female founders of all sorts of different companies at different stages, and looking back on your lives and all that you’ve learned in business what would be the top three pieces of advice you would give to your sisters?

Susan Clarke:          Well, this is Susan again. I’ll go first here, because for me, one of the things that really has stood out, that has helped me the most, is when I really realized when I’m feeling resentful or even in my like, “Oh my god the world is not treating me okay,” I need to ask myself, “Where am I not setting boundaries or defining myself?” Because it was easy for me to make resentful about the other person and be upset about it or react to it versus, “Wait a minute. There’s some way in which I’m not actually showing up here, and I need to look at, what am I not saying? What am I not doing? And how can I bring myself forward?”

Melinda Wittstock:           That’s a really good one. Whenever we’re feeling these feelings of resentment, or it could be jealously, or in anger, whatever. It’s usually a great opportunity to look within. What is it that we’re manifesting? What is it that we’re attracting into our lives?

Melinda Wittstock:           CrisMarie, what would be your top number one piece of advice?

CrisMarie Campbell:         You know, for me, I really had to develop, and this can be an ongoing process, an internal locus of control. Meaning that whole people pleasing, looking outside to see if you think I’m successful versus, “Wait a minute. How do I define success, and how do I know I’ve reached it?” Versus, depending on, whether it’s a number of downloads for a podcast or how many people sign up for things, or whatever the external measure is, is to really come back and identify what’s important to me. And that can be an ongoing challenge battle, but it’s very healthy when I can locate inside myself.

Melinda Wittstock:           I love it. Both your number one pieces of advice are very similar in the sense that it’s the powers within.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yes. Absolutely.

Susan Clarke:          Yes.

Melinda Wittstock:           Okay. Let’s go onto number two. Who wants to go first on number two?

Susan Clarke:          I’ll go again. This is Susan, and I would say that next piece is, use curiosity in whatever you’re facing. And I say that, because, well, I’m going to go back to my cancer story. When I just saw it as a fight that I had to get rid of something I just, it did not work for me, but when I became curious about cancer, curious about how it was impacting me and my life, it was a whole different thing.

Susan Clarke:          It was almost like, “Oh. There’s more to this than just a battle.” And I have found that over and over again with people, in relationships, or when I’m facing a physical challenge myself like, get curious don’t just fight it. Figure out what’s really going on.

Melinda Wittstock:           Love that. CrisMarie?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yeah. For me, it’s kind of like when, what I find with women often is, we don’t promote ourselves very much. Now, I use this example. Like, if men were quilters most women … If men were quilters and they quilted, they’d put it up on a billboard, they’d get lots of money for it, charge $100,000. Women make quilts and they give them away, because they care.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, it’s learning to find that juice, that, hey, it’s okay for me to say, “Hey, this is my success. This is what I’ve done.” I mean, that was, reclaiming my Olympic experience was a huge part of reclaiming me. And so, when we don’t share who we are we’re limiting, people want to learn from us, work with us. And so, promote yourself more and don’t buy into that’s it bragging or arrogance.

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. I love that. Personal branding is not personal bragging I like to say, and we can confuse the two. Okay. Now we’re onto the last piece of advice. Number three.

Susan Clarke:          Okay. Well, again, this is Susan, and I think the last piece of advice I would say is, any time you’re in a stressful situation take a deep breath. Oxygen is really something that is way more valuable and way less cost, it’s a free resource. And so often I think we don’t utilize that enough, and we really, I mean, athletes have learned to, but I think people in general don’t really use breath and oxygen as a path to settle themselves and be present.

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. Breath work is transformative, but even just literally just take a couple of deep breaths really can reset an entire situation. All right. CrisMarie.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I would say ask for help. You’re an athlete Melinda, and Susan is too, and when I was rowing I had a mindset coach, I had a physical coach, a rowing coach and I never thought of not having a coach in my life, in my work career and so often people are like, “Really? I should get a coach?” They try to be a coach, but they don’t get coaching.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I used to teach at Martha Beck Coaching Institute, and everybody was trying to learn how to be a coach and I said, “Have you hired a coach?”

Melinda Wittstock:           Right.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Because if you’re coachable it’s going to make you a heck of a better coach for other people.

Melinda Wittstock:           Absolutely. But I mean, it’s also just a great shortcut. Why not learn from someone who’s done the exact same thing you’re trying to do?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yes.

Melinda Wittstock:           I always just, gosh even if you look on LinkedIn, just figure out someone who’s doing exactly what you want to do or close, and doing it really, really well, that person, if he or she is an, A player they’re going to want to help. They’ll feel flattered.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I agree. I agree.

Melinda Wittstock:           They will love to give. And in business you need all the help you can get.

CrisMarie Campbell:         It’s true. For sure.

Melinda Wittstock:           We have a lot of women who listen to this podcast who are in business, obviously. They’re entrepreneurs, but they’re also in relationships and they could surely use your coaching on that. I know this to be true. How can people find you and work with you?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yeah. We’re located at Thrive Inc. T-H-R-I-V-E And we have a couple of freebies there. How to set boundaries that stick, because women struggle with setting boundaries. And also how to have tough conversations at work, which is … So, they’re little, mini E-books that will help you in either one of those situations that are available at

CrisMarie Campbell:         And you can also find our books, The Beauty Of Conflict for teams, and The Beauty Of Conflict for couples at

Melinda Wittstock:           I love it. Thank you both.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh, Melinda, can I also add, we also have a podcast, The Beauty Of Conflict. We’re really easy to find [crosstalk 00:14:24] Beauty Of Conflict.

Melinda Wittstock:           Fantastic. Yeah. I love it. Well, thank you so much, both of you for putting on your wings and flying with us today.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh, it’s delightful.

Susan Clarke:          It’s been fun to fly.

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