Interview with Lindsay Pera - Leaders in Conversation

I'm so excited to introduce you to Lindsay Pera. In this third interview of our Leaders in Conversation series, Lindsay Pera joins Beth Wonson to talk about how the salvation in leadership is going to come from our diversity, and learning to trust our instincts and intuition. The issues we face today, requires the ability to stop and listen with empathy, cultivating conversations to step forward and use our peacemaking skills.

Lindsay Pera consults with organizations, non-profits and socially conscious businesses on how to integrate regenerative learning and "new paradigm" business processes. Lindsay is also an entrepreneur whose companies create transformational Apps, services and resources for organizations and business leaders. You can reach Lindsay at: https://mysticssociety.com and https://lindsaypera.com.

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Leaders in Conversation Featuring Lindsay Pera
 

Transcript

[VO] Welcome to a special episode of Dynamics of Leadership. The following interview is part of our Leaders in Conversation series.

[Beth Wonson] Hi, this is Beth. Today the person who's joining me is someone who has been really instrumental in the development of my business and me being able to level up and go to a new place. It's Lindsay Pera. For those of you who don't know Lindsay, you're in for a treat. And I'm going to tell you a little bit about her background and why I personally felt like she is a good person for you to get to know. Lindsay's corporate career encompasses management consulting, financial services, and technology. She's one of those folks who began her career in a big consulting firm in the technology space, and she then transitioned to a $2 billion insurance company to help drive pivotal IT transformation in 2004. Lindsay left Silicon Valley and moved with her family to a beautiful multi-generational homestead on the Central Coast of California. Lindsay says she wants to live in a world where appreciation flows freely, where kids play outdoors, and lemons are in season year-round. Now I don't know about the lemons in seasonal year-round part, but the other part I happen to know is the way Lindsay lives her life. As a mystic mama, a tech entrepreneur, and an intuitive strategist, she's a sought-after contributor and motivator on so many topics including health, wealth, business and transformation. She's the founder in the leader of a community that you can access and find online called The Mystic Society. And this is a place that Lindsay's created as a container for entrepreneurs who want a safe spot to explore weaving magic and peacemaking and presence into their work that they take out into the world. This is truly how I connected with Lindsay through my desire for these components to be more in the work that I do. It's her passion to direct resources into the hands of entrepreneurs creatives and world changers. Here's Lindsey Pera. Thanks so much for coming on the today. I know my listeners are gonna be just captivated by your words and the things you have to share with us.

[Lindsay Pera] Thank you so much for having me. I adore you and I would follow you anywhere, Beth. So, it's a true honor to be here and get to know your audience.

[BW] Yay! Thank you so much. One of the first questions that I asked you, and you typed in the answer here so I have some insight, but I asked you to answer it from this place right now. What is it about your work that makes it so you just cannot wait to get out of bed in the morning and show up?

[LP] Hmm. So many different things about my work, but what's live for me, right here, in this moment, is actually that we're in a time of profound shift and change in our collective. Not just in the way leadership is forming and needing to show up, but in our political systems or economic systems. We are facing a lot of shift and change in a lot of challenge but also a ton of room for opportunity and potential. And my work is new paradigm in the sense that I feel that I'm on the planet to help shift resources into the hands of those people who are planning to effect positive change, who are seeking new solutions and creative solutions from these opportunities. When I talk about shifting resources it's not just money but energy and life force and connection and the idea that as we are more deeply nourished, and we see more of a return, not only on our investment but on our energy. We can show up together in new ways and we can begin to close the gap on some of these big challenges that are facing humanity at this time. So I feel like I'm on that transition team. It gets me out of bed in the morning. I'm grateful for all the other people who I look around and see on this transition team - you're certainly one of them. So I would say that's kind of where it's landing for me in this moment.

[BW] Yay! Tell us a little bit about your company, for people who don't know. And how the organization, the framework you put together, really helps folks become part of that transition team.

[LP] Yeah, absolutely. As you mentioned I was kind of one of those classic corporate refugees where I just ignored my own body cues and my own intuition too long until it, you know, as we all know, when we don't listen to our body, it starts talking louder and louder and louder. So I was one of those people who had a health crisis that kind of forced me to take that seemingly idyllic leap to move to the country. And I had this feeling that once I would land on the other side, everything would be different, everything would be perfect, everything would be better. But like so many who take the leap, whether that's shifting their job, or changing a relationship, or moving their geography, the work that you have to do tends to be waiting for you on the other side of that shift anyway. And so I had my own experience with what is it to actually think that your amputating or leaving behind a whole piece of your life. And for me, that was my business experience and my corporate experience;. And so slowly what happened, I think it took me all of two weeks as I started back at work, although in a volunteer capacity after moving because a small local non-profit. And it's still around. It's called Central Coast Village Denter and it operates under the name "Outside Now" at that point was going through a strategic change, and I thought, "Well, hey, you know that's kind of what I used to do. I could come help you out and help facilitate your board meetings, and help you design your strategy." But the beautiful thing about re-emerging from that contraction from my work in a new space, was that it allowed me to set down some of the stories and baggage of how I thought business had to be done. And it allowed me to show up in a way that was more aligned and authentic to me. And for me that meant bringing forward a little bit more of my intuitive side, the side that believes in ease and grace, the side that believes that it doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. The side of me that believes that business increasingly is going to depend on our ability to look beyond profit and include the people, and the environment, the planet. So I found my way into consulting with organizations for whom those metrics mattered, and ultimately was able to start my own company. My first company as an entrepreneur was creating a software platform in an application to help people with chronic illness because that was something I was dealing with. I navigate their way to shift, not just through tracking their symptoms or their pathology, but instead through tracking the things that helped them feel more whole. Like time in nature or time with family or laughter or whatever it might be. That was my first little foray into entrepreneurship/ But along the way I started getting asked the question, "Wait. How are you doing it? How are you not just showing up the same person that was burnt out in your former corporate life? How are you doing it in a new way what does that look like?" And so the conversation of authenticity. congruence. alignment. ease. and grace ... these things kind of became my definition of what it is it is to see magic. And the equation of money, magic, and meaning in business. And so it was really from that place that my new paradigm - consultant, boutique consulting business, was started. And that's kind of the integration of the work that I've done where it's not an either/or. You know, is business good or bad? Or is living in Silicon Valley good or bad? But instead how can you invite more alignment and show up with your gifts from where you are right here, right now. Maybe without having to take the grand leap, maybe we can actually build bridges.

[BW] Hmm. That's great. You said something about you "wanted to show up with your intuitive side forward-thinking". I think that's what I heard you say. That's what I wrote down. And I know that particularly for a lot of people who happen to listen and follow my work there's a real curiosity about the intuitive side and how to work with the intuitive side. Like, work, as in industriousness and how to lead with the intuitive side. How'd it even begin to trust it. For people who are in that place of curiosity ...

[LP] mm-hmm

[BW] ... but haven't yet begun to dabble in that. What's your words for them about putting their toes into it in a way that perhaps they won't be mocked or ridiculed or feel ashamed or embarrassed, in corporate America.

[LP] Absolutely. Great question well first and Foremost I think it actually comes down to lexicon, right? And what words are more commonly used in which spaces. But it isn't uncommon in the C-suite or in leadership to hear a good leader say he trusted his gut, or she trusted her gut. So how do we actually define gut instinct versus intuition? I actually think the two kind of go together.One is a kind of knowing that comes just -- it's almost like it comes in the kind of knowing of a "yes" or "no" on a whole level. The other is a body speak, when our body tells us "yes" or "no". But those two together are really powerful allies. And I think increasingly the leaders of today we're seeing are willing to say that they integrate both. That giving themselves more mindfulness or conscious meditation. Or maybe they like to run. Or maybe it's nature connection. That these things help them become better leaders because they become better in-tune with themselves, they're better able to listen to their own, instincts is another word that we use for intuition, though it isn't necessarily appropriate for all of us to lead with, "Hey we're here to talk about intuition and manifestation. But we can talk about consciousness, we can talk about mindfulness, we can talk about co-creation. And ultimately those are all similar ways to say the same thing. I think my belief system is we have an intuitive knowing. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, it is a muscle. And a sense that we can all develop, but that many of us were not supported in developing. I know the opposite is actually true. A lot of the leaders who find their way into my community are sensitives and empaths who have been really burned out by their corporate environment because they haven't been honored for their knowing. Because there hasn't been an ability to say, "Hey, something feels off to me about this decision can we go deeper in some way?" And that doesn't have to mean that you're being obstructionist, or that you're being woowoo, or pulling things from the unknown. It just means you're honoring something that's real and true, just like you would if you were on the trail and you sense a predator nearby, and you're like "Hey, we should pause." We should listen. This is their awareness senses that we can cultivate and build. And when teams are supported to listen more deeply to each other and to trust each other strengths, there's almost always an intuitive and a sensitive on every team who has or hasn't been speaking their unspokens about what they know to be true. And they can point back to times where they said, "Yeah, I had a feeling about that. I wish I had spoken up. Or ""I had a sense, but I" never did act on that." Or "Everything on paper with that candidate looked right but I really had this little inner inkling". Those are all ways that we didn't necessarily listen to our gut our intuition. And so I really delight in supporting people whatever the language is that will be appropriate for the environment or the culture that you're in, to get better aligned to how to listen to that inner knowing. And how to step forward and use their peacemaking skills, whether that's speaking the unspokens' or allowing a time line to slow down a little. If maybe decision-making is moving too quickly or the opposite! The ability to say, "I really feel confident there's an unseen metric here" and then building the place of your team then seeing and respecting you for your ability to lead from that place and when you see success that comes from that that builds trust over time that means we can say, you know when Beth says yes, I trust Beth's yes. And when Beth says pause, I trust that pause. "Oh invest this, something's fishy let's go deeper, I trust that. But it's not actually that scary to begin to bring that language. And if you're willing to, and it actually creates a richer fabric in your teams, and certainly a stronger leader, when we allow you to tap into what that inner knowing is for you.

[BW] Mmm. I love that. I was on a call earlier with another gentleman, who does transformational leader work, and he was talking about how 20 years ago, when he started dabbling in this kind of "other knowing" and showing up authentically and everything, he really took a lot of ridicule from his peers at the C-level for showing up in that way. And I'm hopeful that that is shifting. It is with the people that I work with, but I wonder, is that because those are people who show up for me that I attract it? Or is it truly shifting on a global level? But I'm hopeful that it's because the world needs more of these peacemaking intuitive's willing to have tough dialogue type of pieces. Was there a defining moment in your life when -- I know you talked about your illness and leaving Silicon Valley -- but when did you first see yourself as kind of a leader? As someone inspirational that people would want to learn and grow from, and be around you for that? Do you know when that kind of started happening?

[LP] Oh my gosh. For me it was actually at a really young age. About the age of five I had moved to Geneva with my mother and my stepfather, who were lifer Hewlett-Packard employees. And had the opportunities to spend sometime abroad. so we went, and I remember defiantly coming out of my room to go to school, in freezing snow storm, in my California flip-flops and sundress. And my mother saying, "No, you need to go put your boots and your snow suit on," and really going into a articulate verbal debate with my mother about the reasons why I should be allowed and empowered to make my own choices. And of course my mother deciding yes, that's all valid and true. And they're the facts of frostbite and a walk to school, and so, no, I am overriding your attempt at claiming leadership in this moment. But I do remember in that meltdown and the tears that ensued that she got down on her knees and looking in the eye and said you know for people like you being a kid can be really hard but one thing I know is that you will be able to step into your leadership as you become an adult and then the world needs people like you. So she gave me a validation and an empowerment at a young age that said that what could have been perceived as being a challenging child, or a willful child, or -- we put all kinds of labels on girls, bossy, all of these things, but having a strong leader as a mother and a woman, who had committed herself to empowering other women who, she spoke all over the world to women in software about claiming leadership and making life choices. She really granted me the permission to trust that I had a voice and I had a pathway forward in leadership. And that's one that I ended up pursuing eventually.

[BW] Well that is such a great story. Thank you for sharing that.

[LP] Sure.

[BW] I know you coach and consult with many entrepreneurs, much like me, who are trying to level up their business at the same time that they're trying to make an impact in the world. So for folks who are listening, who are thinking "Oh my gosh, I may want to do that, I may want to start my own business, I may want to become an entrepreneur ," what do you think has to be present for that person to be able to make that leap?

[LP] That's a great question. Entrepreneurship brings with it its own unique life journey. It's really a personal development journey. It's the first thing I tell people, you have to be willing to do the work, and to look at your self in the mirror, and to not potentially have the safety net that you have in other professional scenarios. But I actually kind of like to pull the microscope back a little and look at any type of work. What we do, whether that's for a company, as an employee, or consultant, or as a contributor, or as an entrepreneur, through the lens of a Buddhist concept, It's called Right Livelihood. And Right Livelihood essentially merges together three primary facets or tenets. One is that we each have a reason that we're on the planet and that that's kind of this idea of having a sole purpose and path. Or similar to your first question, like what is it that gets you up and out of bed in the morning? And then the second piece of Right Livelihood is that if you allow yourself to continue to refine and align to what's real and true for you, authentic for you, what your sole purpose and path is, and we actually see our livelihood, our sacred commerce, our compensation, begin to match that alignment so the longer we stay stuck in mismatch and lack of alignment actually, the more constriction we can potentially see on those resources that flow to us. Not just money but our life force energy. We see people's anxiety, overwhelm, burnout increase when we're out of alignment with our soul purpose and path. But then that third piece, that third kind of pillar of Right Livelihood is our leadership and legacy. And so as we walk the path of identifying in alignment and soul purpose we allow in the potential of sacred commerce. And new ways that we actually see is that people claim their legacy and their leadership in a more empowered way which ultimately produces more meaning for them in their lives. So I mean, if that kind of thing appeals to you and you're not able to claim it or achieve it from where you sit in your job, or in your profession, entrepreneurship can be a great place to go out and create anew. I think increasingly I'm encouraging people to not necessarily choose entrepreneurship as the only path to do that. I believe real change in global change is going to come from changing our big companies from the inside out. We're starting to see that. We're seeing that in the non-profit sector. We're seeing that in the government sector. Even though people don't think we are, we are. We're seeing it in technology. We're seeing it across industries. And so I really am encouraging people -- what would it be to not just take the leap because you believe it will look like something else on the outside. Build these skills from the inside, and if there are still aspects of your soul purpose that aren't being met from within the organization you're in, how can we help you flesh out your right livelihood to meet that? Is that writing a book because that can be done in conjunction with what you're doing in an organization. Is it public speaking? In most cases that can also be done. So there's so many ways that we can start to bring in the creative and allow for the expression of your fully holistic self that aren't just take the big leap and leave the company and go start your own thing. Because unless you have a lot of courage, a lot of ability to look risk in the eye and say, I still want to do it, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Building a business is hard. Building a team is an entirely different skill set. The idea that your soul purpose alone can help you be a good entrepreneur, it's not actually true. You can be the world's best at teaching someone how to knit but that doesn't necessarily mean you're great at running a business about how to teach people how to knit. And so you have to kind of want both of those skills. But I do think that if we can settle back into this belief -- and this concept of Right Livelihood spans many culture.s There's a beautiful professional flower in the Japanese model that basically touches on this same thing, which is you can find the sweet spot of these cocentric petals of what you're here to do, and what people are asking from you, and what you can be compensated for, and what actually gets you up in the morning. Then you find that kind of sweet spot. And that can happen in entrepreneurship but increasingly I believe we're being called to work deeply to shift organizations from the inside by claiming those same things.

[BW] Wow. I love that and I know so many people that I do coaching with that come to me and say I gotta get out of here, I gotta get out of here. Well the reality is the person you leave with this still goes with you. Right where you go, here you are.

[LP] Yeah.

[BW] How about we slow down take some time, figure out what's to be learned here, what pathways are in this environment, and decide "yes" in six months from now, and three months from now. Is the urgency to get out of here still feel the same? Is it still driven in the same way once we deal with what's underneath that?

[LP] Can I just riff with you on that? Because one of the things you model so beautifully for your mastermind peers, and for clients, and for those that you share your podcast with, is you are so generous with your ability to remind yourself and others to come back to how is this me showing up in this situation. So when we hear someone saying, "I gotta get out of here", on a metaphoric level it's trying to get out of your self your own constraints, the things holding you back. So until you're actually not pointing the finger at them, or it, or the whatever, and instead say, I desire to go do this other thing. Because you're actually gonna face that exact same dynamic wherever you go.

[BW] Yes, so true. And I think that's truly the heart of Navigating Challenging Dialogue. And I think it's the heart of the work that you and I both do as well as lots of people who are in our ecosystem.

[LP] Mm-hmm.

[BW] Who can you think of currently who's out there in the world who is a leader for you? That is someone who you are admiring and following their work and learning from them, from where you sit.

[LP] Gosh, there are so many professional leaders, and there are so many leaders in individual niches right now. I think about Serena Williams and her willingness to create her own rules around her clothing. I think about Amanda Palmer and her great work on the Art of Asking and vulnerability. But I mean, where I feel my emotion rise when you ask that question it's the youth. It's a kid who came out of parkland. It's Gretta talking about climate change. We're surfacing, right now, a whole lot of stuff that feels really ugly to people. And really kind of ugly to look at in the collective. But ultimately I feel it's been long-standing stuff under the surface that had to come to the surface. And so part of the pain is we're kind of seeing the boil come to the surface and kind of opening up for healing. And when I find myself in my own moment of despondency, or "how are we gonna deal with plastic in the oceans" or whatever it might be, where I truly draw inspiration is from these kids who are like, We don't have any time to not have the hard conversations anymore, people. Let's do this and let's figure out how to be at a table even when we don't agree." Because the pathway forward is going to be found in our willingness to sit at the table together and to look at these from different angles. And I think this idea that we all have to be the same and agree is leading us in a really detrimental direction. I believe that ultimately our salvation is going to come from our diversity. And our ability to bring our different lenses, our different backgrounds, our different strengths, our different woulds potentially, because that drives decision-making. And by bringing a round table together, literal or metaphorically we're up to the challenge of solving the problems that we face today. But man, I look at Greta stand up there and talking to the UN and I go, "Yeah, I've got so much to learn from you kid. You got nothing holding you back. You're speaking the unspokens, you're speaking your truth to power, you're putting on your own oxygen mask. She navigates her own health issues and challenges so you can't just, say, throw "privilege" at her, that she's an idealistic youth. I'm blown away by the kids of today and I see real true leadership there.

[BW] Yeah, that's great. I love hearing tha.t I know that when people get to hear this podcast, particularly people that don't know Lindsey Pera, they're gonna feel like I did when I met you. Which, it gets me emotional, but how do I get more, right? How do I learn more from Lindsey? How do I get to hear her words and know what you're thinking about and what you're seeing in the world? And what you're putting out there for all of us. How can people do that?

[LP] Oh my gosh. Definitely gonna answer that question but I just have to hold the mirror back up to you Beth because the feeling is so mutual. You know for those of you listening, Beth and I ended up in a room together with a simple flip chart with an organization that was facing crisis and just watching the space that you hold best, and your art of inquiry, and your ability to draw out the strengths, and the concerns, and the fears, but also the expertise in each person. I had the exact same feeling I hope we get to continue to be in rooms together. I want to keep weaving. So thank you for that. And I receive it, but I also want to reflect it back to you. But in terms of finding me I am on social media platforms you can find me both at the MysticsSociety.com website but also at LindseyPera.com. Part of my work in the world has been to bring together eight women leaders each year in a mastermind which I love and it's my deep soul work. But also I knew I was only reaching eight people a year, so we created an accessible membership group called The Mystics Society, which is a way that anyone who's kind of what we call bridge walking between their own sensitivities, and intuitive, and peacemaking instincts, and business and livelihood -- and how to make change in the world -- this is a community where you can do that. This is a community where I can bring some of the resources from my mastermind and share them on a more broad scale. I do show up there live every month and I take hot seats and I Q&A and I am in there. That is actually the place on social media that I delight in showing up. So if that is the kind of thing that interests you, you can certainly find it there. But I'm also out there talking via my Facebook Live channel which is the Third Door Series where we seek to have the conversations of the "yes, and" in life. And kind of move out of this polarity that keeps us stuck of this idea that it has to be either/or. And then of course popping yourself on my list is going to get you my monthly newsletter, so all of those are options for a little bit more Lindsay.

[BW]A little bit more Lindsay. Well I can't encourage my listeners more to check-in, see what you can learn. If a lot of these ideas and concepts sound new or foreign to you or feel little resistance to them, then I encourage you even more to just be open. Because it's a fascinating way to be in the world. So I'm in your group on Facebook and I think it's one of the first places I check every day to see what's coming out or what sacred enquiries Lindsay's putting into the world. That really sets me in the right place for my own self-awareness and growth and development for the day. So I encourage you to access that. Thank you for taking time, and share this with folks. And I look forward to more time with you.

[LP] Me too. I look forward to our ongoing weaving. Thank you for having me.

[[VO] For more leadership resources, including podcasts, blogs, and videos, please visit us at BethWonson.com.