CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke: Feminine Power

How does feminine power manifest in the way we lead our businesses? What happens when we as women are too much in our masculine energy?  Shifting from pursuit to attraction, shifting from hustle to flow, from left-brain tactics to right-brain intuition … can get us out of our comfort zones in business. Yet our true power is in leveraging the feminine.


I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet two inspiring entrepreneurs who specialize in conflict resolution, team building and creative collaborative problem solving.

CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke are the co-founders of Thrive Inc, and they’ve spent 20 years helping men, women, couples, and teams to resolve difficult conflicts and create strong, thriving relationships.

It turns out women have a special aptitude for using their feminine power to get the best out of teams in business – and today we’re going to get into the challenges that come for us when we lean in a little too much into the masculine … in our business lives and our personal lives.

CrisMarie and Susan are authors of The Beauty of Conflict and also The Beauty of Conflict for Couples, and as co-founders of Thrive Inc, they’ve helped entrepreneurs and Fortune 100 companies like Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, AT&T and Nationwide, as well as, the Gates Foundation, San Francisco Giants and many others … resolve difficult conflicts and create strong, thriving relationships. They also host the The Beauty of Conflict podcast and their work and expertise have been featured in notable outlets like NBC’s The Today Show.

Today we’re going to explore how women in business can better leverage their natural “feminine” skills like empathy, intuition and collaboration … and what happens when we ignore that side of ourselves. For years women have tried to fit themselves into business systems and cultures created by and for me … and along the way we’ve underplayed our biggest advantages. And at the same time we can also undermine ourselves by apologizing too much … not setting good boundaries … and shying away from saying no.

So let’s put on our Wings with CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke of Thrive Inc.

Melinda Wittstock:           CrisMarie and Susan, I’m so excited to have you on Wings. Welcome.

CrisMarie Campbell:         We are excited to be here. This is CrisMarie.

Susan Clarke:                      Yes. And Susan, and I am too.

Melinda Wittstock:           I am so intrigued by what you do, because I know a lot of women in the Wings community and our listeners who are entrepreneurs struggle day to day with this kind of, balance or perhaps integration issue. They’re very powerful in their work, and building their business, but there is sometimes an underlying fear, “If I’m too successful will that hurt my relationship or prevent me from finding a man, or whatever.” What’s that all about, and what are some of the biggest challenges that you think female entrepreneurs have when it comes to love and relationship?

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie. I think what a lot of that is about, is our social conditioning of that, the man should be the bread winner, and here I am a woman and I’m powerful and I’m making things happen and, “Oh my gosh, now I have to pretend that doesn’t exist when I’m trying to date.” Which is really crazy, because you don’t want to hold yourself back. You want somebody who’s going to love you fully.

CrisMarie Campbell:         And I do think it is a wrestling between masculine and feminine energy, and often, and this was true for me. I’m successful and I can get stuck also in my masculine energy versus also allowing that feminine vulnerability, softness and asking for help. And pleasure, and joy. So, being able to turn up the volume when I want, it’s kind of, like a continuum. When I’m at work I might be more aggressive and taking action, but can I also receive and move into that fluid asking for help?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Because men, if you’re talking about a heterosexual relationship, men love to serve. So, asking for what you want is really powerful in that dynamic.

Melinda Wittstock:           I love this balance between the masculine and the feminine kind of, archetypal energies, because when we all began in business the only role models were men. All the systems were set up by men, so we had to fit into that. So, it’s no wonder we got really heavily into our masculine energy.

Melinda Wittstock:           And I think at a big cost, though as well.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh. I agree. I mean, I think we live in a patriarchal society like you’re saying, and we lose, actually, somebody said to me, I was coaching with somebody. I had my coach and she said, “You know CrisMarie, you can’t out masculine a man.”

Melinda Wittstock:           Right.

CrisMarie Campbell:         And I was like, “What? Oh my god. I never thought of that.” Because I was really trying to compete with the men, because I was around a lot of corporate men, and she said, “No. Sink into your feminine energy, your hips. Move slower. Even how you’re dressing you can add more color, you can soften it.” And that felt very threatening to me, because I was used to shutting that down to survive the patriarchal energy.

CrisMarie Campbell:         But when I did, my whole world opened up finding that resource in my feminine energy, but a lot of women are scared of that.

Melinda Wittstock:           I remember having this epiphany, a similar one raising Venture Capital for one of my technology businesses, and women get 2% of the Venture Capital money, right? Out there. Even for companies that qualify for Venture. Highly scalable potential billion-dollar unicorns, and I was trying to be a man. I thought I had to be a man and then I realized that, “Wait. Wait a minute. Not only do people buy from people they know, like, and trust. But they’re also going to invest in somebody that they know, like, and trust. And how can you possibly have trust, if you’re being inauthentic?”

Susan Clarke:                      Yeah. We’re one sided.

Melinda Wittstock:           And I realized that I wasn’t really being authentic to myself. I was so, way in my masculine that there was something, perhaps imperceptible, something just off, maybe. I wasn’t really conscious of it at the time, but I think with more distance now as I’ve learned to be much more comfortable in the feminine, and really leveraging that, so much more. So much more abundance, so much more flow, so much more ease in my life. So much more opportunity, so much more success, frankly, has come to me.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Well, even the feminine, just as an archetype is about receiving. So, you can receive so much more abundance as opposed to making it happen and driving, which I could get caught in that environment.

Susan Clarke:                      You know, it’s interesting listening to both of you.

Melinda Wittstock:           This is Susan.

Susan Clarke:                      And I’m probably going to say something slightly different, in the sense that, for me the thing that has been striking is that I’ve always been a pretty blunt, direct person. And honestly, a lot of times that has been used against me. I will watch men in the room do the exact same thing I might do, and they’re actually rewarded for it, and I’m actually considered to be difficult, aggressive, angry.

Melinda Wittstock:           Right.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Aggressive.

Melinda Wittstock:           That’s happened so many times to me, and so many women around me I’ve seen that happen.

Susan Clarke:                      Right. And I’ve really had to come to learn, “Well, wait a minute. I’m not actually … This is who I am.” I have a brow, we call it the brow when I work. And when I’m thinking, I use my brow.

CrisMarie Campbell:         She furrows her brow.

Susan Clarke:                      [crosstalk 00:22:37] furrows my brow. And people think I’m angry. And I finally just realized, I’ve had people tell me, “You should get Botox it would be much more [crosstalk 00:22:43].”

Melinda Wittstock:           Oh my goodness.

Susan Clarke:                      And I’m like, “Well, this is who I am. These lines, scars, creases came for lots of reasons, and I’m not going to Botox them.” And I am going to be blunt, because that’s how I learned to survive in my world. I think what I was doing, was trying to become more soft, and that was just not naturally who I had been. And when I actually decided to be more of myself, the softness started to come out too.

Susan Clarke:                      This is where the horses have been so powerful for me, because they’re big, powerful animals, but they’re also the most vulnerable animal you can ever imagine.

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. So, you have to explain a little bit about the horses. What do you do with horses, and what have you learned from them?

Susan Clarke:                      Well, first, you need to understand, I was not a horse person so I didn’t grow up riding. And none of this is about riding horses. All the work I do is on the ground with horses. They are not in halters, they are, what they call at liberty, and you develop. I mean, the first time I did a workshop I was invited to walk into this round pen, which is kind of like an arena like area with a horse that, in my opinion was very … Looked like it was going a little bit on the wild side. Running around, and kicking, and I was like, “I don’t have a clue how to go in there and be with this horse. This seems insane.” I was actually terrified.

Susan Clarke:                      But I am the type of person who says, “Somebody’s got to go first, so I’m going.” And I went in, and I was still just terrified trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, and the women who was coaching me, she said, “How are you doing out there?” And at first I was like, “I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m good. I’m good.”

CrisMarie Campbell:         I was watching this.

Susan Clarke:                      And eventually I was near tears, and finally I just was like, “If I’m honest, I am terrified. I have no clue how to relate to this horse, it seems like it’s really upset.” And I hardly every cry, but I could just feel the trembling. And all of a sudden there was this silence and the woman who was coaching me, she said, “Do you notice where the horse is?” And, the horse had come right up behind me and was breathing on my shoulder. He was totally calm.

Susan Clarke:                      And she just looked at me and she said, “That’s the first time you’ve been honest. You are congruent right now. You are actually saying what’s true and that’s what a horse wants.” And it was such a powerful lesson, and I so much had to learn that in my own style of leading like, “When am I willing to be vulnerable and show up?” And sometimes that is being honest about, that I’m scared. Sometimes it’s that, I actually have a strong opinion and I’m going to say it.

Susan Clarke:                      And that willingness to expose myself, to be out there and reveal is, the horses read that as presence, embodiment. And that’s what they respond to and I think we as people need to that more, but we’ve learned how to kind of, do all sorts of other things to cover that up.

Melinda Wittstock:           Well, I think the interesting thing too about animals is, we can learn a lot as human from, I think all animals. They communicate, and they communicate differently than us. And it’s something that we’ve learned with our reasoning capability, and our ego, and our left brain, we often override those talents that we likely have, we just haven’t really developed.

Melinda Wittstock:           And I think when we’re talking about feminine energy and being in the archetypal or sometimes people say sacred feminine, we are much more tuned into that kind of, empathetic communication, much more into intuition, all those sorts of skills, which I think the more and more I go on my journey in leveraging more and more of the feminine in my business and the way I organize my business, the more success I have. I think, “Why not really leverage inspiration, and intuition, and empathy?” All those things that were formally known as soft skills.

Susan Clarke:                      It’s interesting what you’re talking about, because currently … Well, one thing. We have, as humans, this is still Susan talking. We often have a lot of, trauma whether it’s big [inaudible 00:27:12] trauma or a little trauma all the time, because we are a culture that has actually learned to separate and not stay either connected to ourselves or really, our greater so-called herd.

Susan Clarke:                      And in horse language, and animals in general do this much better, and why horses are so profound at it, is they are ultimately the most vulnerable animal. They look big, and they look strong, but they actually aren’t. They can easily, if they did not interconnect with each other out in nature they would never survive.

Susan Clarke:                      And so, they have learned how to communicate quite rapidly and quickly, as a herd, to be a stronger unit and that is such a powerful thing that we have dropped in our culture and is really important to get back.

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie. What you may not realize in the horses is, the matriarch is the head of the herd, and she’s head of the herd not because she’s the strongest, it’s because she’s actually the most present, so she picks up danger and says, “We’ve got to go somewhere else.” The stallion goes and fights whatever, but the matriarch leads the herd to safety and is the most calm. She eats first.

Susan Clarke:                      And she sets really clear boundaries for the rest of the herd.

CrisMarie Campbell:         She does. So, she’s a great model for women in today’s society. Us women leaders.

Melinda Wittstock:           So, this is so fascinating to me and resonates so deeply. A lot of my listeners know some years back I found myself in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest lying on a banana leaf, staring up at these millions and millions of stars in the middle of nowhere. You were not charted by Google. And the epiphany that I was having around the balance of nature, in that really delicate ecosystem and how it works translated to me as the balance between the divine masculine and feminine.

Melinda Wittstock:           And then when we as individuals are within us, our balance between the masculine and the feminine, we’re really at our, I guess our kind of, highest … What’s the word I’m looking for? We’re really at a more evolved state. Right? We’re more powerful, we’re more capable, we can do more things.

Melinda Wittstock:           And with all the work you do around relationship, and obviously business, and all the aspects when you think of your athletic background, and all of this, how do you see those two things playing together? Do you believe it’s true that men need to leverage more of the feminine, women also need to be in balance between the masculine and the feminine?

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie, and I just know from my own experience, yes I relied too much on the masculine, which coming from the head and the shoulders, and trying to make things happen versus, so that’s the body location usually of masculine energy, versus being in my hips, being still and receiving, which is all the Buddhist Monks, meditation, prayer. It’s really allowing that, and it can feel threatening to let go of control, because my masculine says I have to make things happen, I have to dominate.

CrisMarie Campbell:         And I think all of us … I do think there is a shift into more of the divine feminine, and it can feel, for me it can feel vulnerable, because it’s like, “What? I have to rely on something greater than me?” In the sense of a higher power, or that receptivity versus, “I’m going to be in control of everything and make everything happen.”

CrisMarie Campbell:         And I think men, the same way, I think we’ve all been acculturated to rely too much on that masculine, which I think is why we have so much separation in war and reaction in our political world versus more connecting, and diplomacy, and trying to understand the other, which is where it comes into relationships. If I cannot try to dominate and make Susan wrong, or whoever I’m working with, but actually be curious, and open, and interested, that’s a transformational moment that can occur.

Melinda Wittstock:           So, I think that’s so, so true and when we look at conflict, which is really one of your areas of expertise. I mean, really, it’s in the name of your business. The Beauty Of Conflict. So, this is interesting. I think men are more comfortable with conflict than women, or maybe they just don’t take it as personally. What do you think are the big differences between men and women, and how they handle conflict first of all in business? We’ll talk about business and then we’ll talk about relationship.

Susan Clarke:                      Well, I mean, this is Susan, and I’d say first off, it’s really important to look at what is conflict? Because a lot of times, I mean what you were saying about men are more comfortable in conflict, I think men are more comfortable being right or wrong. And that is actually, really the stopping point for dealing effectively with conflict, is getting into that positioning. There’s got to be a right answer, there’s got to be a right way to do this.

Susan Clarke:                      And I think men have been trained to believe that, that’s … In our business world you go up the ladder, because you’re a subject matter expert, but, however, the real issue is, you’re not right. You’re a subject matter expert, so you have a strong opinion, a strong story, but really, conflict is about being able to bring conflicting ideas, differences together and find ways to actually go beyond what we already know. And that is something very different.

Susan Clarke:                      So, it’s not about fighting to be right, and that is a very hard thing for people to get.

Melinda Wittstock:           I mentor a lot of women and gosh, interviewed, god, more than 500 high performing female entrepreneurs on this podcast and one of the things that keeps coming up over and over again, is that women have a really hard time saying no. Or just standing for something. Right? Or standing for themselves. So much people pleasing and making sure everybody else is great, and then forgetting about ourselves.

Melinda Wittstock:           What’s the reason for that? Why do we shy away from that no word? Is it a fear of conflict?

Susan Clarke:                      This is Susan. I think two things are going on there. One. Women are probably known for their collaboration, but the piece that women sometimes don’t do, is really realize, as important as a, we is, to be connected and to develop their relationship, it’s also equally important to have a strong me. To have a sense of, “What do I want? Am I going to show up and say what I think, feel, and want?”

Susan Clarke:                      And when I met CrisMarie I could see she was brilliant at consulting, standing forward, kind of, synthesizing people’s ideas, but way too often she did not put her own idea into the mix with that kind of clarity. And I see that happen with women leaders a lot where they’re collaborative, but they don’t stand forward in their own truth.

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie. I think our background, like what you grew up with also influences how you show up. And for me conflict was scary, it  was an angry alcoholic. I’m an adult child of an alcoholic, so it was always threatening. And when differences come up, if women … Women love connection and being connected, and as soon as I’m going to give a different opinion I start to worry, “Oh, am I going to hurt your feelings? Is it going to threaten the relationship?”

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, I’ll opt to sacrifice me in order to … So, this is what Susan was saying. I’ll optimize at the relationship level, what we call the “We,” in our Beauty of Conflict book, versus, “Hey, wait a minute. This is important for me to say, even if you’re going to be upset, so I’m not so comfortable tolerating you being, maybe disappointed, or angry, or rebuffed, or whatever you experience over there by me coming forward and saying my own opinion.”

Melinda Wittstock:           And so, is there also an issue though around sense of how we value ourselves?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Well, I think that’s really what we are saying is that, if I struggle valuing my own opinion at the cost of …

Melinda Wittstock:           Yes. I get it.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yeah. It might threaten the relationship and so I’ll throw myself under the bus and make sure we’re okay.

Melinda Wittstock:           Right. So, what are the steps that women can take to find that value in themselves? How do you coach women to find that sense of personal empowerment or value in themselves so they can have strong boundaries, they can actually honor their true intentions, their true purpose, who they authentically are, rather than trying to just please everybody else?

Susan Clarke:                      This is Susan. There are two focus areas that we have. One is, first off, helping women come back into their body, because often we are way too cognitively focused, up in your head, and not really embodied and grounded, and so that can be, even that idea of breathing. Coming back and being really solid inside yourself and noticing what are you thinking, feeling, and wanting?

Susan Clarke:                      And then learning to develop a tolerance for when things become uncomfortable to hold that tension. And the first step to being able to do that, is to actually use yourself, your full self as a container. To be able to sort of, hold that tension and stay present.

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie. Developing the capacity for … We tend to react and go back to being like a little kid versus connecting into the body, the feminine that we were talking about before, and kind of, a felt sense of safety. So, having a felt sense of safety inside, and recognizing. That will help build what Susan’s talking about. That container to tolerate somebody over there who I care about being upset with me, is going to diminish, it lessens over time, so then I … And there’s also ways to say things that are talking about me.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, rather than, “You can’t interrupt me.” Whatever that is. You versus, “I’m uncomfortable when you interrupt me. I lose my train of thought. I want to keep talking.” So, there’s some languaging once the person, once the woman is located in herself, those come much more naturally than trying to just learn the language. So, the embodiment piece is really powerful, and then learning to set boundaries.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Really, what we do, is we take women through a boundary-ing process where they identify, “What are my core values and how are they being expressed in my life?” And then, “How do I need to speak up and then take care of them?” Not expect somebody else to take care of them, but make statements of, “I want more alone time. I want to make more money.” Whatever it is. But to talk from themselves.

Melinda Wittstock:           So, let’s go into a conflict situation. Right? Perhaps in the workplace where you are having a conflict with an employee, or a client, or a colleague. What are the most important things to do and keep in mind? What is your best advice for women in that scenario?

CrisMarie Campbell:         You know, for me, this was probably the hardest. The real time. “Here I am in the moment. Oh my gosh. What do I do? This is uncomfortable.” And is to really, actually come back to myself like, if I am having a disagreement to actually talk about, “Wow. I’m really feeling uncomfortable.” Or, “I don’t really know how to handle this. And that’s the last thing I would think to say, but when I drop in, that’s what we call being vulnerable and talk about real time what is happening for me, the dynamic can shift in an instant.

CrisMarie Campbell:         And I remember one time we had a difficult corporate client we were developing leadership development for them, and they kept changing the game, the leader kept changing, and at one point, and of course as a people pleaser here I’m like running in this direction, and then I run in that direction, and I’m trying to please them, and finally I realized, I said, “You know what? This really isn’t working for me, so what can we do to kind of, wrap this up and you can find another provider?”

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, that was a huge risk for me to do. I wasn’t wanting to give away business, but to really get to the point of, “You know what? You may have your process, but it’s not working for me over here.” And what happened, I was surprised, because I thought, “Okay, we’d end that contract. We wouldn’t get paid.” They were like, “No, no, no.” They fell over, “We want you to stay. What do we need to do?”

CrisMarie Campbell:         And so, it was surprising outcome, but that was only because in that moment I stood up and said, “This isn’t working for me.”

Melinda Wittstock:           Right.

CrisMarie Campbell:         To a client.

Melinda Wittstock:           That’s important to do. I mean, we can have the wrong clients. We can have clients that are totally out of alignment, that we’ll never make happy. And in fact, by firing a client we attract the right clients.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Exactly.

Melinda Wittstock:           And really, being brave enough to do that is so, so important. And so, I’m curious about the …

CrisMarie Campbell:         I think, Susan, did you want to say something about that other, too?

Susan Clarke:                      I mean, I think CrisMarie covered probably one of the biggest pieces. That willingness to be vulnerable and speak up, and I think it’s interesting, you were just asking us about being curious, and I would say the second piece is, notice your own level of curiosity and really take responsibility for that, “Am I open or am I closed?”

Susan Clarke:                      And it’s not that one is wrong. There are times to say, “Look, I’m not interested in your opinion, because right now we need to move. We need to make a decision and go and so, I’ve made one. So, I’m not curious, but I need to know the difference between when I am open and really wanting that interaction, and when I don’t.”

Susan Clarke:                      And so, that to me, if I can measure in any given situation, “How vulnerable am I being? What am I hiding? How real am I being?” And then also look at, “How curious am I? Those things, to me, are the most fundamental … Those are the important things that I can be owning and taking responsibility for in any given moment.

Melinda Wittstock:           What about apologies in a conflict situation? Now, I’m Canadian, so for a long time, unconsciously I just found myself apologizing all the time like, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” And not even being aware that I was even doing that. So, what happens when people apologize in conflict. Is it a good thing, bad thing?

CrisMarie Campbell:         We tend to suggest people don’t go to apology, because apology really is, “Okay, I’m sorry.” And you’ll probably repeat the same pattern, because you haven’t necessarily. When I do that, I haven’t really soaked in like, “What happened, and what’s my part in it, and what’s not?”

CrisMarie Campbell:         And so, if we can … We were just coaching a woman last night in a relationship like, “If you can reflect back what you’re hearing, like, wow, I get you are really angry with me, because you didn’t think I cleaned up the house, or finished the proposal on time, or did a good job.” I can really hear that.

CrisMarie Campbell:         “And what I can acknowledge is, I did rush it at the end. What doesn’t fit for me is, I still got it done and we got the client.” Pull apart, so reflect and acknowledge what do you agree with, the acknowledgement, and what do you disagree with.

Susan Clarke:                      Also, I mean, I think the caveat to say here is that, if you’re always apologizing definitely it’s time to step back from it and reassess like, “Really? I’m using this word all the time.” Now, there are people who never apologize, and it’s like, there is a place of, and to me It would be more like, “Own my part. What did I do that created the problem?” And sometimes saying I’m sorry, because I wasn’t conscious and aware, is important to do.

Susan Clarke:                      But if it’s only just kind of a quick response so you can still get your way, then it’s not very useful. Or if it’s just to protect yourself and you don’t even know you’re doing it, it’s an unconscious statement.

CrisMarie Campbell:         This is CrisMarie. That’s what I think. I was a big apologizer and it was really, “Oh my gosh, I’m threatened that you’re upset with me. What do I need to do to fix it? Throw myself on the mercy of the court.” And really, that’s abandoning me, and it’s really not being very present for the other person, because I’m not standing up full size as an equal and saying, “Wow. I get it. You really didn’t like that. That matters to me and I don’t want to do that again. How can we …” Or, “Let’s work on that.” It becomes more relational in dialogue.

Melinda Wittstock:           I’m really intrigued by consensus as well. I think women, we’re very collaborative, we tend to want to try, and reach consensus and bring everybody along, but when does that become almost paralyzing in a way? When to aim for consensus and when is it okay not to have consensus?

Susan Clarke:                      Well, we are probably really not that big of believers in consensus, believe it or not. What we do believe in, is that people need to be heard and they need to know that you’re actually going to consider and take into account their ideas and thoughts. But it is important sometimes to say, “Okay. No. This is the direction we’re going. Are you on board or not? Can you agree and we’re going to move forward knowing that you’ve been heard.”

Susan Clarke:                      Because we don’t always have to get our way, but what’s actually more important, in terms of the relational piece is, have we been heard? Have we been considered? Is there a genuine sense that our perspective mattered? And that’s different than consensus. And I think too often, actually consensus sort of, washes that away too, because you’re not really … I mean, there is this thing for me, it’s all about location. Where am I and what are we doing, how well does somebody else know where I’m located, and how well do I know where they are?

Susan Clarke:                      If they don’t like an idea I need to know that. I don’t want them just to agree to it, but I also need to tell them, “Hey, we’re going to go in this direction can you be on board or not? You don’t have to like it. I just need to know you’ll go with it.”

CrisMarie Campbell:         We deal with teams a lot, helping teams develop high performing teams and one of the phrases we use is, “Disagree and commit.” By Andy Grove. And it’s like, “Hey, we want to have this conversation, this rich …” When Susan’s saying location, “Where are you relative to this idea?” And we want to have that discussion, but in the end we’re going to make a decision and if I’m the leader, I’m going to make that call and we have to do it for a certain level of velocity, otherwise the windows of opportunity are going to close.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, if you wait for consensus, you’re going to miss opportunities, but that disagree and commit, when we walk out of here we want everybody’s behavior aligned with our decision, because otherwise you get that undermining, “Well, I didn’t agree, but.” And that destroys team trust and cohesion.

Melinda Wittstock:           So, who are your ideal clients? Who do you work with most, Susan and CrisMarie?

CrisMarie Campbell:         We work a lot in corporate environments, but we are usually working with high powered women who are leading teams, and often have strong personalities, are driven, but they still struggle showing up in certain situations as fully themselves. They can often undermine their own success if they are afraid of conflict, afraid of disagreeing to authority or power, or even their style puts off other people on the team. That’s one in particular. And they’re trying to, they’re often not at the very top of the organization, so they’re having to influence up, sideways, and down.

CrisMarie Campbell:         And all of those dimensions have different levels of nuance in that, you know, how you show up. And, women are often good at one, but not the other, or not the other two. Does that make sense?

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. Absolutely it does. And I mean, it’s interesting too, as women grow companies, so there all these different stages and seasons in a woman’s life, right? So, you think of taking the leap from corporate, say into entrepreneurship. So, suddenly you’re on your own, you’re in that visioning stage and you’re doing everything yourself, but then you can’t succeed until you start hiring people. Women tend to hire too late, or not fast enough. Right? And then all those sorts of things.

Melinda Wittstock:           And then it gets to the point of scaling. I know this year for the podcast network that I’m launching, I have a lot of people to hire. And I’m going to need to hire quickly. So getting all those systems and everything in place, it’s very top of mind for me personally to make sure I have an amazing culture. So, not only am I attracting A players, but that I’m really doing everything to set them up for success.

Melinda Wittstock:           What would be the main piece of advice you would give? And I’m all ears.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Well, it’s interesting, because I love that you recognize you do have to manage up to your board or investors, whatever that is, the next layer. And for hiring you really want to be clear on your behavioral values. We usually recommend one to three behavioral values, so no matter if you’re hiring the podcast assistant, or the marketing person, or your CFO, whatever it is, do they have those behavioral values?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Whether it’s, “Hey, we’re scrappy. We do things quickly and we recover.” Or humor, “We have a good sense of humor.” Or is it a disciplined work ethic? And one to three, and really, what does that look like? And then when you’re interviewing Melinda, what you want to do is, ask people, “When was a time that you had a …” If it’s work discipline or something, “When was a time that you were the only one and you got something done, or you had a tough challenge. How did you solve it?” And did they do it themselves, did they leverage a team? Those are some ways. I think Susan wants to say something.

Susan Clarke:                      Well, I wanted to say, this is Susan, I totally agree that, that’s the way. I also would say women tend to actually be pretty good at finding a culture, building a culture and taking care of those [inaudible 00:53:35] are a little behind when they’re going to hire.

Susan Clarke:                      The other thing I would say is, the thing I see women leaders who are strong do, and I’ve seen this even in CrisMarie, is she leaves herself behind. And inherently I would recommend to people in that world, “What are you going to do to take care of yourself? How are you going to build into this whole process, ways in which you are sure you are going back and nurturing, taking care of?” Because that is so vitally important for women leaders. And if it doesn’t get built in, it can get ignored. So, I would just add that caveat.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, Melinda, take care of yourself while you’re growing this giant empire here.

Melinda Wittstock:           It’s absolutely vital to do. I mean, I spend a lot of time now, usually my mornings in deep work. I mean, it’s sort of, solitary, not a lot of phone calls, really on my own agenda I’m thinking about strategic priorities for the business, being in meditation, or getting those kind of, downloads. That’s absolutely vital for me to have that kind of, solitude, because I get so many inspirations from that.

Melinda Wittstock:           And just, working my calendar, making sure there’s time for self-care. All these sorts of things. But I do believe that for a CEO of a company to really walk their talk and be the change they want to see or be exemplified just in their behavior.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I would say Melinda, you are doing a lot of the great things. Also, what are you doing for fun?

Susan Clarke:                      Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:           Oh, yeah. I know. Fun is important. In the Wings of the Empowered Woman, the retreat community we have for women who have seven, and eight, and nine figure businesses, We have a mastermind and I, just on our call the other day we were all, “Start of the year, let’s see, let’s give ourselves little evaluations from one to 10 in all these different categories of our lives.”

Melinda Wittstock:           So, you know, a lot of people in money were an eight, or a business an eight or a nine, or whatever. And love even high, but recreation and fun almost all of us were at a fail grade. It was hilarious.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I know.

Susan Clarke:                      [crosstalk 00:55:51].

CrisMarie Campbell:         And you know, you can find little ways to integrate fun like dressing a fun way, or coloring. That sounds silly, but I love color. Coloring at your desk or designing your office so it’s pretty and it makes you feel good when you’re there. So, not like, “Okay, now I have to take up hip hop dancing.” Which I also do, but something like that. It’s more little ways to integrate so that you make yourself, you’re communicating to yourself, “Hey, my insides matter as much as all my business success.” Because as an Olympic athlete I know what it is to leave myself behind, but make sure I get great results and not feel very fulfilled at the end.

Melinda Wittstock:           Yeah. Well, it’s so easy too, to put all your extra kind of, self-care time or fun time into self-care. So, in my case that involves massage, and doing hot yoga, and walking in the woods with my golden retriever, and these things. And these things are fun to me. I mean, I do enjoy them. And reading. These things are fun.

Melinda Wittstock:           But it’s not like going out partying or whatever. I don’t have a huge amount of time for that. Although, great conversations with great friends over a really wonderful dinner, to me is fun as well.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh yeah.

Susan Clarke:                      Yeah. For sure.

Melinda Wittstock:           Just making time for yourself is. So, ladies I could talk to you forever. There’s so much. You really promise me you’ll come back on this podcast sometime soon, because any one of these topics is worthy of an episode.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh, we’d be delighted to.

Melinda Wittstock:           And yeah, we really could talk for a long time. So, I want to make sure that people can find you and work with you, because as we all know everyone in business and in life needs, not even one coach, but a number of different coaches.

CrisMarie Campbell:         I agree.

Melinda Wittstock:           We all need that support. So, how can people find you and work with you?

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yeah. So, our coaching is at Thrive Inc. T-H-R-I-V-E And there we do coaching, Susan does Equus work. We have a workshop coming up here in Montana, because we’re up near Glacier National Park.

Melinda Wittstock:           Oh, nice.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Yeah. Find Your Mojo in Montana, which is geared towards women and helping them find their blind spots to their leadership, because it’s really, it’s not just a cognitive learning, it’s an experiential learning. And that’s in May. And you can see that on our website, Find Your Mojo.

Susan Clarke:                      And we’ve run it a couple times a year.

CrisMarie Campbell:         Oh, yeah. And we both do individual coaching, and we do actually strategic off-sites for … Two day off-sites for businesses, whether you’re small or big, to help you get aligned as a team, clear up any differences you have, because once you do that, getting clear on your strategy just kind of, tumbles out because it’s really clearing up those dynamics, and then that creativity and innovation really start to flow.

CrisMarie Campbell:         So, you can see that on the website as well. And you can also listen to us on The Beauty of Conflict Podcast where Melinda, we would love to have you as a guest.

Melinda Wittstock:           I would love to join you. I really would. Thank you for that invitation. I love being a guest on other people’s podcasts and going back and forth like that. It’s wonderful.

CrisMarie Campbell:         You bet.

Melinda Wittstock:           And so, I know that you ladies have amazing … In addition to your podcast I know you have these great books and resources, and also some complimentary gifts for our listeners today.

CrisMarie Campbell:         We do, indeed. Yes. We have a business book and a book about couples. So, The Beauty of Conflict for teams, and The Beauty of Conflict for couples. And those are both available on Amazon. And then on our website www.thriveinc, T-H-R-I-V-E, at the bottom of the page we have a free resource. One, how to have tough conversations at work, successfully. It’s a little, mini E-book. And then also, that’s free. And then how to set boundaries that stick, because again, we know women have a hard time saying no, or setting boundaries, and those are just available to you on our website.

Melinda Wittstock:           Wonderful. Well, thank you both so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.

CrisMarie Campbell:         We love flying with you, Melinda.

Susan Clarke:                      Yes. Thank you.

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Listen to learn the secrets, strategies, practical tips and epiphanies of women entrepreneurs who’ve “been there, built that” so you too can manifest the confidence, capital and connections to soar to success!
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Review on iTunes and win the chance for a VIP Day with Melinda