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Tanya Dalton talks with Laura Gassner Otting about Making Your own Luck on the Intentional Advantage Podcast
April 25, 2023   |   Episode #:

288: Making Your Own Luck with Laura Gassner Otting

In This Episode:

Do you feel like success is just a matter of luck? Think again. Being lucky is a choice… and it’s completely within your realm of control. I’ve got Laura Gassner Otting, author of Wonderhell, on the podcast and we’re talking about the science of making your own luck. We dive into choosing your identity, borrowing confidence, breaking through your limiting beliefs and making choices about what you want to prioritize. No more fake it ’till you make it… believe it until you become it. After the show today, you’ll walk away with actionable strategies to make your own luck with no 4 leaf clover required.

Show Transcript:

Watch the Podcast

The Big Idea

Don’t fake it ’till you make it… believe it until you become it. That’s the science behind luck.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I tap into my full potential?
  • How can I identify and overcome my own limiting beliefs?
  • How can I make my own luck instead of relying on chance?
  • What are some practical strategies for achieving my goals?

Actions to Take

  • There’s a science to luck -Think back to a time when you felt very confident and ask yourself: Who am I when I am the person who is crushing it?
    • Make a list of like what you were wearing, how you were talking, who you were hanging out with, you know, the energy you were using, the words you were using. Post that list where you can see it (on your lockscreen, on your mirror) and

Key Moments in the Show

[07:30] The FU Forties
[09:35] What’s your ego’s currency?
[18:50] It’s not failure that defines us
[21:27] The Science Behind Luck
[27:53] The Fundamental State of Leadership
[32:44] Why we don’t want work/life balance

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Tanya Dalton: We have to stop, see how far we’ve come in order to see how far we can go. It’s like when you’re hiking up a hill, and you get to the halfway point and you think you’re gonna die.

you’re catching your breath you turn and you see, oh my gosh,

I’ve come pretty far.

All of a sudden you think to yourself, I think I can make it all the way to the top,

Laura Gassner Otting: you also see beyond the top of this mountain, there’s another one and another one and you’re like, oh, I actually wanna go there.

the thing that we saw from the bottom isn’t actually the top. And

that’s that moment where you’re like, not only can I keep going, I didn’t even realize that I wanna go to the other mountain beyond this mountain.

I think those moments are so definitional

Tanya Dalton: it’s that mindset not of Oh, oh my God, there’s more mountains. It’s:

Ahhhh there’s more mountains! And that is 100% a mindset. I think there is so much to be said for

making your own luck.

Tanya Dalton: Hello. Hello everyone and welcome to the Intentional Advantage Podcast. I’m your host,

Tanya Dalton. This is episode 288. We’re gonna be talking about making your own luck. Now, I know a lot of you feel like luck is one of those things where you’re either a lucky person or you’re an unlucky person. But the truth is you get to make your own luck through your choices, through how you decide to operate through this world, and I think that’s really powerful when you decide that you wanna make your own luck.

It’s really choosing to step into your own power. So today on the show I have

Laura Gassner Otting. Laura is an amazing woman who has just had her book come out, Wonderhell, during its debut week, it hit number two in the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list, which is amazing. My friend, Laura’s secret power is seeing your greatness and reflecting it back to you, and that’s really what she does in her book. She is frequently on Good Morning America. The Today Show, Harvard Business Review, Oprah Daily, she is a founder of a tech startup. She has run and sold her own global search firm. She is an incredible woman.

We’re gonna be talking about reconciling the receipts, borrowing confidence, choosing your identity and even why it’s okay to be the world’s most okayest mom, full permission on today’s show. So let’s go ahead, let’s get started.

There’s a spiritual art to work and life. I’m not talking about sitting in silence on a mountaintop or chanting mantras for hours a day, but finding meaning in your work in everyday life can increase your productivity, boost your happiness, and yes, make you feel so much better about your days. I’m Tanya Dalton, a bestselling author, motivational speaker, seven figure entrepreneur.

Oh yeah, wife and mom. So I get it. I understand the stress of daily life, but as a productivity expert, I’m here to help you choose the extraordinary life. This season, we will be exploring work, parenting, personal growth and more. Because when you choose to be intentional, every day can be filled with meaning.

Let’s create the world we want our daughters to live in. This is the Intentional Advantage.

Tanya Dalton: Laura, I am so excited to have you here today. I have to tell you, I watched you earlier on Good Morning America, and it was so fun getting to see you talking about your book, and it was amazing. So amazing. I’m just so proud of.

Laura Gassner Otting: She get to see me fangirling with Robin Roberts when she’s like, I love you. And I was like, I love you too.

Tanya Dalton: She said she loved your writing, so …

What we can learn from Robin Roberts

Laura Gassner Otting: She is, I think, one of the warmest and loveliest and abundant and generous people I’ve ever met. This was my fourth appearance on Good Morning America. And when I came, it was the, it was my, my third time in studio, my second time with Robin.

And when I was there in January with her, I came home and I said to my husband, like, I could learn so much about how I show up in the world with other people because I mean, you know, I know the show was about. Intentionality, right? And so she shows up and she, my segment is four minutes and it’s part of like four hours for her.

So she has a million, billion things going on, and I can tell you that in those four minutes, I have a million, billion things going on, but just about the four minutes. So the fact that she has it for every one of those four minutes segments,

All morning, every morning, and yet she still stops and she is incredibly present and she looks you in the eye and she says, I’m so glad you’re here.

I’m so glad you’re here today. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you, and you’re just like, wow, I wanted to do well, but now I wanna do even better because of you. Like she’s just, she’s so, gracious and, and, and, and abundant, and it just makes you wanna be even better because of her. I mean, it was just, it’s, we could all learn so much about how she moves to the world.

Tanya Dalton: Yeah. I feel like that shines through. Did you, have you seen her Masterclass? Her Masterclass is, So good. It’s so good. So what I love, what I love about this is a lot of times, and you and I run in circles where you get to meet people who maybe are well known, and then you meet ’em and you’re like, oh, you’re, yeah.

It’s so nice to meet somebody that you’re like, you’re who you said you were. And I like you. I like you even more.

Laura Gassner Otting: Uh, even more. I mean, they say like, never meet your heroes. Right? But. I, I mean, wow. She was a hero of mine before. She’s even more of a hero of mine now. She’s just incredible. But you know, like I’ve met a ton of people, as have you, in the green room of some of these’s events, and they get on stage and they preach love and kindness and generosity, and they are the most selfish, narcissistic, um, scarcity minded people.

What being in alignment looks like

Laura Gassner Otting: And you’re just like, really? Like, it must be so exhausting. Like, I have a theory that we are not all tired from doing too much. We’re tired of doing too much that doesn’t actually matter to us, right? We’re tired of the costume changes and the code shifting and how we have to be one person at work and one person at home.

And I think about these people who have very public images and the ones that are so very different in private than they are in public. That’s gotta be exhausting. Like I have people all the time that are like, you’re the same person on stage as you are behind the scenes. And I’m like, yeah, I don’t know how to be any other me, but, whew.

Tanya Dalton: I feel the same way. Alignment is so important to me. I call it reconciling the receipts. When I go to bed at night and my head hits the pillow, I have to reconcile the receipts. I have to go through the different actions I did throughout the day, the different interactions I had throughout the day, and do I feel like that’s aligned with who I want to be and how I want to move through the world.

And if it’s not, That’s not okay. I, I’m gonna be up. I’m not gonna be able to go to sleep unless my books are reconciled. And I think it’s so important, and there are so many people who go through life unaligned and I don’t know how they do that. It feels like that takes so much more effort. It takes so much more work to hold up a facade versus just just being you.

But I think part of that is being comfortable in your skin,

The FU Forties

Laura Gassner Otting: You know, so I’m 52 and, um, and, and I. So my mom used to call them the FU forties, right? Like, you just, like, you get through your forties and you’re like, well, I mean, I’m probably not gonna get much worse. I hope I’m probably not gonna get much better. I mean, you know, if, if somebody gives me good solid, like constructive criticism and feedback, I’ll go to school on it for sure.

But for the most part, I’m pretty much, uh, this is who I am. You know, I might get a little better on the edges, but this is who much who I am, and like, either you like me or you don’t. I’m either for you. Or I’m not your people and that’s okay because there are billions of people in the world that all of us are gonna find our people.

But I spent, I spent a lot of my first few decades of my life worrying so much about impressing people, so that I didn’t even, I didn’t even find impressive back. You know, like, I think it’s not even just the, like, why are you wasting money buying things you don’t want for people to impress people you don’t like?

Like it’s not even that. Like there are people who like, even if they complimented me, I don’t know that that would make my day, so why am I so worried about the shade? I don’t like, I think we spent, we waste a lot of time and energy on trying to impress people that just don’t impress us back.

Tanya Dalton: That’s what’s amazing to me is we spend so much time and energy on people who don’t really matter in the shape of our world, honestly. And it really is one of those things where it’s exhausting because if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, I had a conversation with another author just this morning and she was like, oh, I learned these new tricks for LinkedIn, um, that I think can really grow our following. And I was like, okay, why do we wanna grow our following? And she was like, well, I mean, we have a bigger platform, or people buy our books.

And I’m like, okay, well maybe. But do you know that having more followers means more people will buy your books and is having more people buy your books what you really want? Or do you want to get more speaking gigs? Cuz the more speaking gigs gets you more people buying your book? Like what are you actually aiming for here?

What’s Your Ego Currency?

Laura Gassner Otting: And I think that, I think that our society has become so focused on vanity metrics. How many likes, how many followers, right? Like, and it used to be like, you know, how fancy is your car? Like I live in Boston right now and the currency here is. Where do your kids prep and where do you summer? Right. That’s what like the rich fancy people talk about.

I grew up in Miami and the rich fancy people there talked about like, who doess your plastic surgery and how big is your boat? Right? It’s like everywhere has its currency. And I think in this world of like leadership and thought leadership, the like, how many followers do you have? Right? Like there, there’s currency and I think a lot of that currency, like where do your kids prep or how big is your boat.

They’re just their ego currency

and they don’t actually, at the end of the day, we’re kids prep, or how big is your boat? Or who does your plastic surgery? Any of the rest of it. None of it actually matters, right? Like are you showing up for the people that you love, the causes you hold dear, the companies you wanna build, the things that you actually, that actually matter to you in the world.

And if you’re not showing up for those, I don’t care if you have a million followers, it doesn’t actually matter to me. And it doesn’t actually matter to you either.

Tanya Dalton: That’s the thing is we use metrics a lot of times as false Gods.

Laura Gassner Otting: Mm-hmm.

Tanya Dalton: we’re looking at these metrics and they don’t even count. I mean, this is part of the reason why, I mean, my listeners know I left social media because I feel like you get caught up in that game of how many followers do I have? What is, you know, what is the en, how many people have commented, did people like this?

And if they didn’t like it, what did I do wrong? And I was tired.

I was exhausted of bending and twisting and trying to contort myself to fit what an algorithm wanted, what other people wanted. When really the question we should be asking ourselves is,

What do I want?

What is important to me?

Laura Gassner Otting: For sure. Now, right before we started recording, you had asked me how I was doing and I was like, I’m great. I just found out my book debut number two on the Wall Street Journal bestselling list. Amazing. That’s a metric. It’s a vanity metric. Does it actually matter? Maybe, maybe not, but speaking of intentionality, I know that the Wall Street Journal bestseller list allows me to open doors to certain clients who, when I was a wall, when I was a Washington Post bestseller, were like, oh, that’s nice.

Now they’re like, oh, that’s impressive. Let’s have a conversation with her. We have a short list of people we’re bringing in for this event. They’re all Wall Street Journal, New York Times, et cetera. Like I know that there are certain metrics that will get me into a door, into a room that I would not have been taken seriously in before.

So I spent the last, you know, six months hustling my rear off to be able to get that metric, that checkbox, because it, it intentionally puts me in a place that I wouldn’t be in otherwise. But like,

Tanya Dalton: Yeah.

Laura Gassner Otting: does it actually matter long term? Is anyone gonna put on my gravestone that I’m the Wall Street Journal bestseller?

No. Right.

Tanya Dalton: If that’s what makes your gravestone,

Laura Gassner Otting: I’ve done, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. You know, people all the time. Like, I get, I’m, I, you know, I’m doing all these, all these, all these, uh, podcasts and I’m having all these conversations with people to, uh, to promote the book. And, you know, I I, I get questions like, well, what do you want your legacy to be?

And I’m like, my legacy. I just want the people who I love to be able to say, my life was just a teensy eeny bit better because Laura, was in it. Like, that’s it. That’s it. That’s nothing else. Nothing else should be on your, on your gravestone. Other than like, she made people’s lives better. Her life mattered.

That’s it.

Tanya Dalton: I think that’s true. It’s like when we get to the heart of what really matters, a lot of times it is this little sliver of something. It’s not all the accolades and all of the, the fanfare and all of the extra, but it is, I mean, amazing accomplishment. We were just celebrating that right before we hit record because it does open up doors.

And that’s the thing is I know for you, as it is for me, what’s important to you is that the message get out because you’re really here to help impact people. You’re really here to make a difference. You’re really here. And that can happen when you have doors open to you, where you can get on these stages and you can talk more to more people.

And that’s really incredibly powerful. You know it, it’s interesting though, cause we were kind of talking about this idea of worrying. Other people say, I loved in your segment on G M A how you had the funhouse mirrors up and you were talking about how we look at ourselves and how other people look at us, and I think all of that fits underneath that idea.

The Looking Glass Theory

Tanya Dalton: You called it the looking glass theory. I wanted you to talk about that here really quickly because I felt like it was really powerful

Laura Gassner Otting: so the Looking Glass theory is not mine. It’s 120 year old theory in psychology that says we are not who we think we are. And we’re not who others think we are. We’re who we think. Others think we are, and I’ll repeat it again cuz I know it’s that you were just like, what?

We’re not who we think we are.

And we’re not who others think we are. We are who we think others think we are.

So when we walk into a room that we’ve never been in before, right? The room that I can get into now, I’m gonna walk into that room and I’m gonna be like, I wonder if these people are looking at me going, did she really deserve it?

Was she really? Did she really get the numbers? Was it really true? Is the book really good enough?

If I’m thinking that about the people in that room, if I’m thinking they’re thinking about me, what do I have? I have imposter syndrome. If I walk into that room and I say, all these people are like, wow, she did it.

Number two, amazing. First new book, like on the list, only list that week one of only three women. Amazing. She’s a rockstar. I’m gonna walk into that room and I’m gonna be like, yeah. I belong here. Right? So this idea that we are not who we think we are, we’re not who others think we’re, but we’re who we think others think we are is why A lot of times we walk into places we’ve never been before and people look at us and we go, oh, they think I don’t belong.

And then suddenly, boom. Imposter syndrome.

Tanya Dalton: We start projecting other people’s stories, other people’s ideas on us when we don’t even know what it is,

which is why I love the whole funhouse mirror concept because it’s so distorted when really the only mirror that matters is your own mirror.

Laura Gassner Otting: Right. And so what do we do? Um, you know, when I, when I wrote Wonderhell, I wrote it because I found myself in Wonderhell. And so I talked to a hundred glass ceiling shatters, Olympic medalist startup unicorns. And I was like, how do we get out of this moment? We’re like, it’s amazing. It’s great, it’s wonderful.

And also I’m full of stress and anxiety and fear and uncertainty and imposter syndrome. And here’s the bad news. What I found out is that you don’t get out of it. You actually, you can’t. You, you, the, the answer isn’t just like, Put your, put your shoulder down and work harder and lean in and rise and grind and, and survive it.

The answer is actually on the other side of this Wonderhell is just the next one and the next wonder if we’re lucky, the next one after that. So we need to learn how to thrive in it. And one of the things that I learned from these people that I talked to was that the way that they turn things around in the fun house is that they, they, they talk to themselves about times in their life when they were success.

I was able to accomplish this. I was able to accomplish that. I was able to accomplish the next thing, which then tells me that now that I’m in a place where I’ve never been before, everything that got me to here isn’t gonna be enough to get me to there. But it tells me that I know how to create systems and habits and structures.

Intentionally that will help me build the foundation I need to get to the next place. So even though I’m not good at the next thing, it’s not that I’m not good at it, I’m just not good at it yet. And so rather than having imposter syndrome, they go, oh, I’m just at a place where I start. I get to learn about what’s coming next.

And that really changes everything cuz

they change it from this limitation to an invitation.

How Your Past Helps You

Tanya Dalton: I like that because I talk a lot too about the breadcrumbs, so we have to stop and do reflection on a regular basis. We have to stop, see how far we’ve come in order to see how far we can go. It’s like when you’re, when you’re hiking up a hill, right? You’re hiking up a hill and you get to the, you get to the halfway point and you think you’re gonna die.

Your legs are burning and you just feel like I need to turn back around. And you’re catching your breath and you turn and you look and you see, oh my gosh, I’ve come pretty far. All of a sudden you think to yourself, I think I can make it all the way to the top, but if you didn’t stop and look at how far you’d come, you would never believe you’re gonna make it to the top.

Laura Gassner Otting: Well, and, you know what else happens? Like when you’re at the bottom of a hill and you look at the top, the top of the mountain, you go, I wanna go. there Because that’s what you see from the bottom. And then you start hiking and hiking and hiking. You get halfway up and you’re like, my legs are burning. I think I’m gonna die.

I don’t think I could do it. Let’s just stop right now to this, this like, you know, beautiful vista with the little sign, right? Scenic outlook. And you look over out of the sign and what do you see? You see how far you’ve come and you’re like, I’m amazed at myself. But you also see beyond the top of this mountain, there’s another one and another one and you’re like, oh, I actually wanna go there.

Right? So like the thing that we saw from the bottom isn’t actually the top. And that’s Wonderhell is that moment where you’re like, I think I can keep going. And not only can I keep going, I didn’t even realize that I wanna go to the other mountain beyond this mountain. And how cool is that? How much, how many, how much trail mix do I have? How much water do I have? How many hours of sunlight are they left? And you’re like, can I do it? Is it possible you start doing the math in your head about like, can you actually make it? And, and I think

those moments are so definitional

to who we are as people

Failure isn’t what defines us

Laura Gassner Otting: we think that the failures are definitional because we think everybody’s watching us. Like my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote is You, we would worry much less about what other people thought about us if we realized how seldomly they did.

Like nobody cares. Nobody’s paying attention. We’re all so busy worrying about ourselves and what everyone’s thinking about us, that we don’t even have time to look at anybody else, and yet we think that they’re all looking at us.

No. So I, I think it’s pretty amazing that we have these moments where we realize that it’s not the failures that are the definitional moments, it’s how we rise to the challenges that are in front of us that really create who we are going to become.

Tanya Dalton: Oh, I like that. Yeah. I mean, Eleanor Roosevelt, she’s like the OG truth bomber, right?

Laura Gassner Otting: She really

Tanya Dalton: lemme just drop the mic before there were mics. She is so amazing. But I think this goes back to one of the concepts you talk about in your book, which is making your own luck. You are at the bottom of the hill.

Like you said, you see that summit and you think that’s where I wanna go. And when you get there you think, oh my gosh, there’s all these other summits I wanna go there too. And it’s having that mindset not of Oh, oh my God, there’s more mountains. It’s Ahhhh There’s more mountains. And that is 100. A mindset. I think there is so much to be said for making your own luck.

I think so often we feel like, oh, this isn’t gonna work out for us, or there’s this ceiling I can’t seem to break through. I’ve been exploring in my personal life, a ceiling. That I’ve had for a while. And then you start to realize, oh shit, I put that ceiling there. That’s my ceiling. I need to break through my own ceiling.

So sometimes the ceilings are there from others, but sometimes we put them there ourselves and it is mindset that has to, has to break them.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah, I think so. I, there’s a, um, there’s a great, uh, quote, uh, I think it’s Sinclair Lewis, uh, who said

the doors to hell are locked from the inside.

I think that is so interesting cuz so often the, the roadblocks that are in front of us and the limitations and the ceilings are all, they’re all ours.

They’re all our own. Doing. Like this conversation earlier about like, if I just had more social media followers, I could sell more books. Well, Could you, or did you just create that? Did somebody hand you that idea or did you create that because you saw somebody who has a lot of followers who also has sold a lot of books?

Is it correlation? Is it causation? Right? So like where are we getting in our own way? What are we stopping ourselves from doing?

The Science Behind Making Your Own Luck

Laura Gassner Otting: And, and the people who I studied who made their own luck, like there’s actually science behind it, they acted like extroverts. They had a positive outlook, they said. To things they, when, when, when something was negative, they, they didn’t just soak in the negative, but they actually saw like, what can I learn from this opportunity as well?

So they were able to turn that around so that it was a growth moment.

And, you know, as a raging introvert, you know, who, you know, makes my living on stage and has to like, do all the self promotion. Like, I could talk one-on-one all day long, but like, you put me in a room, I, I could talk to 10,000 people on stage, but if you’re asking me to address 10, I’m gonna act like, you know, have the runs for four days ahead of time.

Like it’s just, Too uncomfortable for me, but, um, I, I, I act as a situational extrovert when I need to, right? So these moments where I’m like, I need to go to an event tomorrow, that’s gonna be a really important event that’s being run by the editor of the Boston Globe, and I wanna make sure she knows about my book.

I gotta show up to that event and I gotta show up with my extrovert face on. And then I’m gonna go to the airport and I’m gonna fly to Houston to hang out with my son for the weekend and I’m gonna curl up in fetal position on that plane with the AirPods in, even though they’re not on, because I won’t be able to talk to another soul.

Right. But like in order to make our own luck, we have to do the things that lucky people do. Right? And a lot of times that’s like showing up. It’s being positive. It’s looking at that other mountain and saying, not only do I wanna go there, but like it’s available to me until somebody shows me that it’s not, right? But like it can’t just be the voice of my own head that’s telling me I can’t, because we have to ask ourselves, well why not?

Like why do you think? Like why do you think that thing you think is true is true? And a lot of times it’s the answer is because???

How to Borrow Confidence

Tanya Dalton: Yeah, well I know one of the things you do is you wear your limitless yellow a lot of times cuz that just pushes you so you dress in a way that forces you to feel confident, right? I

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah.

Tanya Dalton: So you wear your limitless yellow, I wear red lipstick. I went around for years thinking, Ooh, it would be so nice to wear red lipstick.

I wish I was one of those people who could wear red lipstick who told me I couldn’t wear red lipstick. And I realized one day that people who I’ve just met have no idea whether I’m a red lipstick wearer or not. So what if I just start wearing it and

Laura Gassner Otting: Yes, that is the coolest.

Tanya Dalton: Is like your, your limitless yellow, where it’s just this other almost persona where, okay, I’m gonna step into this.


Laura Gassner Otting: So,

Tanya Dalton: do the thing I do, and no one’s gonna tell me I can’t.

Laura Gassner Otting: Okay, here’s what I love about that. I’m, so, I’m sitting here today wearing like, you know, like a workout tank and I just, it’s been a busy day. I haven’t showered since I worked out this morning at 8:00 AM at, I’m disgusting. I’m glad this is like video and audio and not like, smell of vision cuz it’s not good.

But, um, I had a similar day like this about six months ago where I was like, it was 6:00 PM and I was stanky and my teenager had come home from high school and I had just gotten the, the, the, um, my new speaker reel and my new speaker reel is, Good Morning, America today. Show me going out on stage wearing head to two yellow ha like welcome to the stage, stage, stage, stage.

Like it’s just, you know, like this major, like I look like a, like a, like a wide world wrestling, you know? It’s just amazing. It’s just, it’s just bigger than life. And I showed it to my teenager and he. Cackled like cackled during the entire thing. And I was like, what? Why is it so funny? And he’s like, mom, he’s like, that video makes you look like that’s how you, like, it makes you look like you make dinner every night in your like head to toe, yellow in your like platform four inch

Tanya Dalton: I’ve brought dinner.

Laura Gassner Otting: right.

Like, hello, dinner, dinner, dinner. Right. He’s like, people don’t know that you’re, you. They don’t see this. And so it’s a really interesting thing, like when you show up in the world in your red lipstick, you walk in and people just assume that you are fabulous. Red lipstick Tanya all the time. They don’t know.

They don’t know. And, and, and here’s the other thing that I think is really interesting. There are studies that show that if you say, I am a smoker, you are less likely to quit smoking than if you say, I. Right. So like I am a smoker is identity I smoke is just like a bad habit. And when people see you smoking, they don’t think she is a smoker.

They think she smokes. So they don’t know that you’ve been doing it for 30 years, that you’ve been doing it for th 30 days. They don’t know that it’s something you’ve quit and you failed. They don’t know that it’s just a first cigarette. They just see you doing it once. So when people see you wearing red lipstick, they’re like, she’s a red lipstick gal.

Right? Like you are like that. You can become the person who you wanna be. And it’s not even a fake until you make a thing. Because I am the person who shows up on stage wearing all yellow. I’m not that person all the time. But the more I show up on stage, larger than life, head to toe wearing bright yellow, the more I can, I can reach in and find that person whenever I need to access her.

So it’s not this fake until you make it. Cuz I’m not faking it. She’s in there, I’m just learning how to like, you know, harness her more.

Tanya Dalton: I don’t believe in the fake it till you make it.

Laura Gassner Otting: I don’t either.

Tanya Dalton: Because when you’re faking it, you know you’re faking it. I’m a

believe it till you become it

type of person where if you believe it, that’s what’s gonna make the difference. And this, this goes back to that whole looking glass theory. When I walk into a room with red lipstick I am changing how they look at me.

Laura Gassner Otting: And you see it. You see how they look at you

Tanya Dalton: I walk in the room. So it’s all really within your realm of control, and I think so often we think that is outside of our control, that we don’t have any ability. All that luck is literally luck when it is making it yourself. You have to do things to make that luck happen.

You have to be the one who takes the action. You have to be the one who steps outta your comfort zone. You have to be the one who identifies as whatever it is you’re wanting to be. That is a hundred percent within the realm of your control,

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah, I ask myself all the time. Who do I want to be and how would that person act in this moment? And that person is rarely gonna say, I’m gonna say no to this opportunity that I’m not entirely confident I can do. The person’s rarely gonna say, I’m just gonna show up wearing my like schlubby clothes. The person’s rarely gonna say, I’m gonna, you know, snap at my kids.

The Fundamental State of Leadership

Laura Gassner Otting: Right? So in those moments, like I snap at my kids plenty, and I show up in pl shlubby clothes plenty. And I say no to things, plenty. But in those moments when I’m channeling my best. And I’m like, who am I when I am the person who was crushing? I know who I am, right? I’m the one who doesn’t skip the workout. I’m the one who eats the salad and not the sleeve of Oreos, right?

Like I’m, you know, I made a lot of sleeve of sleeves of Oreos this week and like stress eating. But, but, but, but I think, um, I think asking ourselves that question, who do I wanna be? Who would I be if I were the person who I really wanna be? What would she do right now? I mean, talk about intentionality, right?

That’s how we get to be more intentional. Because the more you do that, the more that person. It’s actually a Harvard Business Review article from like 1986 or something. It’s called the, um, it’s called the, uh, the fundamental state of leadership. And if you think about the moments where you were crushing it, you’re like, You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re making it rain.

You’re closing the deal. You’re, you’re given the presentation. Or maybe it’s like a quiet moment when you know, you’re like helping a loved one through something, a really hard problem. Or you’re like putting together the, the, the spreadsheet, you know, and quiet in the back room. It could be loud, it could be quiet, it could be public, it could be private, but it’s where you were, where you’re at the best.

And if you make a list of like what you were wearing, how you were talking, who you were hanging out with, you know, the energy you were using, the words you were using. The, the food you ate that day, all those things, and you put that list like on your mirror, on your lock screen, on your phone, and if you read it every day and you live into it every day, you actually will start to become that person more often.

And further, if you surround yourself with the people who see you as that person more often, even when you don’t have confidence in something, they see you as that person.

So their confidence becomes your confidence until it can become your own confidence full-time.

Tanya Dalton: Yeah, we can borrow confidence. We can absolutely borrow confidence, and I think there’s a lot of truth to this idea.

Being your best doesn’t mean you have to maintain that. It’s like you can run on the treadmill at level 10, but you can’t run it for three hours. You can do it for, well, me, not very long at all, but, but you don’t have to be this best version of you 24 -7.

It’s just another version of you. Just like you have the workout version of you, you have the, the work version of you, you have the family version, you have the friend version. Those are not separate people. But you show up differently for each of them.

You’re not gonna show up at GMA in sweatpants like you do with your kids, and that’s okay.

We want to have these very different compartments of ourselves because it’s okay to reserve certain parts of ourselves just for certain people not showing up as your best. Every single moment isn’t a fail. That’s reality. That’s authenticity. That’s you living your best life.

Laura Gassner Otting: Absolutely. You know, one of the, like, as I mentioned, I did all these interviews for, uh, Wonderhell.

Let’s celebrate being the Worlds Okayist Mom

Laura Gassner Otting: One of the ones that I loved the most was I interviewed Sally Krawcheck, who founded Ellevest. Right. It’s a 1.5 billion financial services company. It’s it’s investment by women for women. And she said at one point, she’s like, I spent decades crushing it on Wall Street. I was, you know, like I was one of the quote unquote biggest men on Wall Street. Right. And I’m a woman, she said, and there was a day that I realized, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a sister, I’m a daughter. She’s like, I’ve realized that if I was gonna crush it in my work, I needed to just be okay at home.

I didn’t have to crush it every single day with my kids. Like I could be the world’s best mother all the time, but that was gonna come out of being the world’s best financial analyst all the time. And she’s like, there were moments where I didn’t need to be the world’s best mom. I need to be the world’s okayest mom.

I wasn’t terrible,

but I didn’t have to be the best

in all places of my life all the time. Things could be good enough to sort of keep going down the track and it would be okay. And I just felt so, , vindicated by hearing someone who has just been so ridiculously successful professionally and also personally knowing that she, she wasn’t this like bold-faced name in every part of her life, in every minute of her life.

And I was like, Okay, then maybe it’s all right that I, you know, miss the kids’, you know, soccer game when they were seven and a half and they’re, they’re not gonna be serial killers. It’s gonna be okay.

Tanya Dalton: They’re not gonna be serial killers cuz you miss the soccer game, I promise.

Laura Gassner Otting: But, you know, we do like, we punish ourselves so much for not showing up and being all the things to all the people all the time. Like we were talking about that in the beginning. It’s just, and it’s, and, and, and I think we do it much more as women, And especially as entrepreneurs, right? I mean, it’s, it’s, and we forget to focus on the things that matter most and where we are the only people who can do the thing that we’re doing.

Why Balance Doesn’t Work

Tanya Dalton: I think really it comes down to choices, right? Choosing how you wanna show up, choosing where you wanna lean. I’ve talked about this concept before of, it’s like riding a bike. If you want to lean into a priority, you gotta lean over. Like riding a bike, you can’t stay lean too long or too far because you’ll fall over.

You’ll scrape your knee.

You have to counter balance. This is why balance doesn’t work. This is why that whole concept and idea of balance is such a fallacy because

the cost of greatness is commitment,

and commitment means leaning over to the right or leaning over to the left, and then counterbalancing. And so it is this continual process of choosing where you want to show up as your best and where it’s okay to be. Okay. And it’s okay if sometimes that’s your home life. It’s okay if it’s your kids. Sometimes it’s okay if it’s where you are at work. Sometimes it’s okay. I mean, we need to give ourselves permission to not be a hundred percent in all areas at all times, because that is exhausting.

Laura Gassner Otting: I think we also gotta give ourselves a pat on the back and know that sometimes our 80% is better than most people’s 110%. And maybe that’s all right. You know?

Tanya Dalton: So true. So, so true. Laura. I mean, your book, Wonderhell is such an incredible book. So many good stories. I wish we had more time to chat, but I wanna ask you this about your book. What would you say is your favorite quote or your favorite takeaway that you think. My listeners, my watchers, cuz I’ve been stepping outta my comfort zone.

Now recording the podcast is a whole new thing with doing video as well. What do you think they need to walk away with knowing? Like what would be the one nugget if you’re like, Ooh, I wanna give you this.

Laura Gassner Otting: Yeah. Yeah. I would say, especially given that most of your listeners or watchers are women, I would say that

this place of Wonderhell which is in between who you were yesterday and who you just realized you can become tomorrow, weighs so heavily on each of us because we feel the burden of that potential, and part of as women we feel is the like, is it okay for me to want more?

Right. They say if you can name it, you can name it and it’s stressing me out. Well, I’m like, no. I think if you can name it, you can claim it. And if showing up more, having more money, more time, more resources, more leverage, more power, more network, more knowledge, allows you to show up better for the people you love and those causes you hold dear.

And the companies we wanna build. And I say, it’s not your res, it’s not your, it’s not your ambition, it’s your responsibility. Like, let’s go for it. Let’s embrace our ambition and, and, and take back that word because it’s not a dirty word.

Tanya Dalton: It is not. And if we can, if we can take that back and we can step into our power, that’s everything. I love it. I love it. The book is so good. I am so proud of you, Laura. Please, please tell everyone where they can connect with you and where they can get the book.

Laura Gassner Otting: Sure. So my name is Laura Gasner Otting. All my friends call me l g o so you can find me on all the socials that, Hey, L G O H E Y L G O. The book is on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. Um, bookshop.org for independent book sellers and really everywhere fine books are sold.

Tanya Dalton: Thank you so much for coming on and having this conversation

Laura Gassner Otting: Well, thank you so much, Tanya. I loved it.

Tanya Dalton: I think that takeaway that Laura left us with was so powerful. That whole concept, that whole idea of making your own luck, it is about reclaiming your power. It’s about choosing who you want to be and all the things we talked about, choosing your identity, borrowing confidence, even if borrowing confidence means borrowing it in what you’re wearing, whether it’s red lipstick or or wearing an all yellow outfit on stage.

Really making those choices of where you want to lean in your life, that those are choices. And a lot of times we’ve lost sight of our power of choice. I want to encourage you today to grab hold of your power of choice to grab hold and make your own luck. You’ve probably heard me say before,

the opposite of stuck is not unstuck.

There’s not a magical moment where all of a sudden, ah, the angels sing on high and the cloud’s part the opposite of stuck is action.

So what action are you going to take today? What’s something you can do that’s small? 10 minutes, five minutes, that’ll get you started making your own luck? It’s probably gonna be something that’s a little bit out of your comfort zone, and that’s okay.

I know for me, doing these podcast episodes on video, that’s out of my comfort zone. I’ve done 280 some odd episodes without doing video, and now here I am on video. Those of you watching on YouTube, this is kind of a new thing for me. Those of you listening to your podcast player, head over to YouTube and check it out because this is you getting to see me step out of what I’ve always done.

I have always done the podcast on just audio, so it is a choice. It’s choosing to shift, it’s deciding. I want to lean into a different area. It’s seeing a different summit and making that decision that I’m gonna climb that. So that’s where I am now climbing my summit, the next summit and each time, as Laura said, you get to a summit

there’s a new one heading your way. Now if you wanna get a hold of wonder hell, it’s available anywhere books are sold, and I’ll have all the links to connect with Laura on my show notes. I wanna encourage you to go there. Today was amazing and I hope that you feel like you have the ability to make your own luck because when you make the decision, when you choose to take action, when you choose that you are in charge of making your own luck, that’s when you’ve got the Intentional Advantage.

Ready to take action on what we talked about on today’s episode. The easiest way to get started is my free take five challenge, five minutes a day for five days. That’s it. And yet it will boost your productivity and double your happiness. I can promise you thousands have taken the challenge. Go to Tanya dalton.com/take five to join or click the link in the episode notes.

And don’t forget to follow the intentional advantage on your podcast player so you don’t miss an episode.

**The transcript for The Intentional Advantage–one of the best productivity podcasts for women– is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.

Tanya Dalton is one of the top female motivational keynote speakers in the area of productivity, habits, time management, goals and work-life balance.

Image for podcast episode artwork is by Cottonbro Studio