Most of the time, our limiting beliefs keep us from achieving what we want. Stemming from fear and doubt, we move away from something before we can even have the chance to deal with it. The host of the thought-provoking podcast, The Millionaire Woman Show, Debra Kasowski, shares an event in her life that changed her perception and understanding. She talks about why we should act as is, instead of as if—believing that life is too short not to follow through and act on what you truly want. Providing inspiration, Debra then gives her insights on making an impact on people’s lives by doing your part within the larger puzzle that is in front of everybody.
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Act As Is, Not As If: Breaking Free From Limiting Beliefs With Debra Kasowski
I have a guest that I have been waiting like crazy to get on the show. We’ve had many conflicts. Our guest is Debra Kasowski. Welcome to our show, Debra. How are you?
I’m fabulous. Thank you for having me, Jen.
It was at the end of December 2019. It was awesome.
She is committed to enriching the leadership potential of her countless clients essentially guiding them to go within to capitalize on their true personal power so they can achieve the measurable success they desire in their business and life. Which I love because it’s in line with what I do. She is a three-time international bestselling author. She is a certified executive coach, a world-class trainer and consultant focused on helping aspiring business owners and solopreneurs develop the winning success habits that transform human potential into sustainable profits. This show is about transformation and making that shift in your life. As you and I were communicating back and forth via email, one of the things I was excited to talk to you about is your story and how you made the shift that you made many years ago into coaching. Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into what you’re doing now.Act as IS versus act as IF when targeting your goals. Click To Tweet
Those transformations and transition points have been a different point and more consistently and more frequently. My biggest transition was in 2014 when I had an opportunity through my workplace to go and get certified as a coach. I had been running my side hustle business. Without certification, I was helping people get results. People would come and ask those questions and I was like, “This is interesting, this coaching,” and I was introduced to networking. It was an eWomen Network Event and the friend had asked me to come with her. I was listening and I did realize it was Sandra Yancey at the time, the CEO, and when I was sitting there, she was talking about This Little Engine That Could.
As I listened to her and watching everybody interact and talk about business, I was like, “I need some of this. I need to be a part of this world.” It was intriguing, the strategy, planning and people being fulfilled in what they were doing. I’m like, “I’m going to do this.” I thought about the ways that I could do that but there were all these little events that led to that. There was that event and I was sitting at a real estate seminar and my husband had known the person presenting. I was listening to him and watching everybody around him mesmerized with his message. During the break, I went up to him and I said, “I’d love to pick your brain to learn how to be a speaker like this.” He goes, “That’s great, Deb. No problem. Let’s chat after the break.”
After the break, he pulled me up in front of those 200 people. He asked me what I did wrong and I’m sure I was 50 shades of red. He used me as a teaching moment. Although, it was a harsh one for me. It was about we don’t get something from someone else without having some type of exchange. It would be a lot more appropriate for me to take him out for a meal and coffee, so there’s some reciprocity or volunteer for one of his events to learn what I wanted to learn. Even though that was harsh and quick learning, which I learned immediately on the spot, I had a number of people come up to me after to give me the resources that I needed. Even though it spotlighted and made me feel embarrassed at the moment, it turned into a beautiful turning point.
I had gone to another conference and this lady came up to me and I had developed a product because I was listening to this other speaker at this real estate event. I went up and I said, “I can do this.” He looks at me goes, “Quit over-analyzing things, Deb, and get started. I’m willing to mentor you.” That was my first experience with mentorship and I said, “Maybe I’ll write a book.” I didn’t even know where that even came from because it wasn’t in my plans. I had one phone call with him and he said, “I want you to interview nine women and when you come to my event in Vancouver, you’re going to present your new product in front of the group, or as far as you’ve gotten.” I was like, “I’ve never done something like this before.” I was stepping out of that comfort zone and started developing a coaching practice after that. When I had the opportunity to get the certification, I thought, “Why not?” This makes everything more real and for those organizations and leadership that are looking if you are certified through the International Coach Federation, so they have a sense of security because there’s a guideline and ethics follow.
I love that story. Sometimes that’s exactly what happens because I’m a speaker as well. You stumble into that and the passion starts developing. I know people that have stumbled into that and it’s not a passion for them and they’ve said, “I don’t want to do that. I thought I did but I don’t want to do that.” When you do stumble into something that is passionate for you, it leads to other things. When we talk about life after breaking through the glass ceiling and things, what are you doing to help people break their glass ceilings?Take the time to figure out where you’re at, and the vision that you see for yourself. Click To Tweet
I know that you work a lot in self-awareness. That’s one area but I don’t want to go down that road if that’s not something you want to do specifically. For those that are reading, a lot of people are in that position where they have a corporate job and they are thinking about, in the midst of or have made that transition into the impact they want to make in life and other people through significance. What are some things that you could be sharing with us about what you do to help them get through this process?
One of the things that I like to do first off is to find out where they’re at and what is the vision that they see for themselves. Often, people don’t take the time to figure out what that is. I remember one lady that I was working with, we sat down at a coffee shop and she’s like, “I don’t know what I want. I know I’m stuck.” I start with a simple exercise of, “What do you want,” and repeat that every 2 to 3 minutes for 10 to 15 minutes, until finally she dropped her pen and said, “This is what I want. I want to go to Jamaica.” I said, “Okay,” and we also go through the list to see what other priorities come up for her. This was significant to her. I said, “Do you know how much Jamaica costs?” She goes, “I have no idea.”
This is the thing that I find is universal is that people see their dreams as unattainable and they haven’t even researched it because they’ve already discounted themselves from achieving that. One of the things is to question those beliefs, thoughts and where they came from. We’ve got to start there because when you feel a certain way about something or your thought, it’s going to dictate the actions and behaviors that you have moving forward. I said to her, “We think it’s a big thing that we need to do or a big action but is it an email, phone call or is it connecting with someone who’s maybe been to Jamaica?” Within a week’s time, she had messaged me and said she looked into the cost and a year later, she was married in Jamaica. It was cool to watch when you get focused and dialed in as to what it is that you want and also question, “What belief do I have around to achieving this?”
It’s funny because we hear about this all the time. I know someone, and I’m paraphrasing everything, said that we have this tendency to say, “I wish I had $1 million in the bank,” instead of, “I wonder what it would be like to have $1 million in the bank?” To me, that is unique and different in approach. That’s something that people could look at too to step back a little bit. I know one of the things that you do is help people who are stuck like she was. What are some things that people can be doing to get out of being stuck?
I love that you said that you keep asking her, “What do you want?” I know that you love The Notebook. I referenced that movie quite a bit because I love that scene where he goes, “What do you want woman?” I say that a lot when I’m talking on stage. I say to people, “What do you want?” I get that. It’s definitely starting with what you want, but what are some of the things to get people unstuck from their own limiting beliefs that are preventing them from getting to where they want to go?
Often, those limiting beliefs are fear-based. What I encourage people to do is, first of all, you’ve got to look at if I acted as if, I want you to act as is. It’s like when you have the bank already. Let’s use an example of the real estate broker or the speaker on stage. What would that person act like? What would they need to have? Who would they need to be? What would they need to do in their daily actions to be that person? The thing is people act as if it may happen. When they’re in that if phase they have that part of doubt. They have that little piece of fear.
They’re not on the hook because it’s not real.
It’s like, “It’s never going to happen for me.” They have this little subtlety in their language and I can tell that in the hesitation when they share their dreams with me. When I can get them to say and break down what they think they needed to do to be that person of excellence, they’ll say that they have to practice daily, they’ll have to research these things and they need to dress nicely. Suddenly, we have a discussion about what standard you are willing to increase yourself to. Have you been living or settling for a lower standard for yourself because you’re worried about the work, the effort involved or you don’t have the resources?
The thing is we don’t have to have all the same resources to be successful. We never were meant to have all the resources, but we can rent things, we can barter, borrow and do short-term consignment type things. There are many things we can do but people get caught up in, “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have enough money.” Yet if they went around their house, I guarantee that there’s something that they would sell because they no longer use it.
It’s taking that action, that limiting belief becomes that wall and they can’t see it. It’s a solid wall, not a chain-link fence. They can’t get through it.If you don't ask, the answer is already no. Click To Tweet
It’s only through action. Take that safe, first step. What do you think that person has to do to be who they are? You can act as is that you already are. When you put yourself in that mindset, you start behaving and acting differently. You start making different choices. It could be like they would say, “I wonder what Jen would do in this situation?” After that, they start making different decisions.
Even the dressing part, I know it’s funny you say that because for some reasons, my daughter talks about it all the time. She says, “Mom, I always remember what you used to say.” I don’t remember saying this all the time, but she said, “Dress for the position you want, not the position you have.” She’s constantly saying that. What we’re talking about here is that’s one component of it but more likely given the fact of the people that are probably reading this, it’s more about acting as is and the detail of what you’re wearing. I love that. I’ve never heard anybody say that act as is versus as if things were happening. That is key and different. Tell us a little bit about your book. You have a book called Let’s Be Curious. How do you utilize your book in your coaching?
One of the things with being a coach is asking powerful questions, coming along and being the thinking partner with the person that you’re working with. My book is called, Let’s Be Curious: Ask the Right Questions, Get Better Answers, Create the Results You Want. What I find is people are scared to ask questions, so I like to tap into that and find out what those dreams are and what fears have been holding them back. One of the things is we start questioning where that self-limiting belief came from. As kids, we used to ask why all the time. At some point, someone shuts us down. What we want to do is being able to open up the dialogue and realizing that if you don’t ask, the answer’s already no before you even ask because you haven’t opened up the options and opportunity for someone to give you a different answer.
That’s powerful. Every year, I have a theme for myself. In 2020, simplicity is my word all year long. A couple of years ago, my word was curious, curiosity or be curious. It’s funny that you have that in there because it did open up my practice. This was before I was coaching full-time. It opened up my practice, but it also opened me up. I was amazed at the growth I had in that year because I didn’t stop with one question. I said, “Then what?” I even call it the dot-dot-dot theory. We can’t end anything with a period, we have to end with dot-dot-dot. We don’t say, “How are you doing?” Someone says, “Good,” and you go, “That’s nice.” It’s, “Why are you feeling that well? Why are you feeling good now?” “That’s neat and then what?” I love that you say that it opens up those opportunities because I’ve lived it not knowing this is what you teach, but I’ve lived that out of the blue. It happened to me. I’m amazed by my personal growth in that particular year when I focused on other people instead of myself. That was the curiosity for me.
That curiosity is important. In fact, I’m also trained in emotional intelligence and a modality called Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry is a powerful tool that not too many people are familiar with. Both are 30 years of age in their research and best practices. The Appreciative Inquiry is being able to frame your questions in a way positive way and expecting positive results. Often organizations, and you’re probably familiar with this and your readers are too, is the SWOT analysis. We’re looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and we’re looking at Threats. It’s not that Appreciative Inquiry ignores threats and weaknesses. It’s only not our focus. In Appreciative Inquiry, we use something called SOAR. SOAR focuses on what are the Strengths that we have? What are the Opportunities that exist? Who do we Aspire to be? What are the Results we’re looking for?
It aligns with that ‘act as is’ as well in that aspiration part. When we start asking questions of who we aspire to be, let’s say that we want to be strong, powerful communicators, the results will be that there will not be conflict or miscommunication. Looking at the strengths that we have, we can start formulating plans of putting the people in place. Even as a solopreneur it says, “If I aspire to be this, what are the things or steps I need to take?” Success leaves clues all around us all the time but it’s being able to ask ourselves questions within and start asking the questions we need outside of us to get some of the answers we need to build that foundation and to grow into who we need to be.
I love that because you’re right. With SWOT, there is an emphasis on the strengths and opportunities but a lot of emphasis on what’s holding you back and why can’t you? When you hone in on that, it’s hard to get back over to your strengths and opportunities, because you’re worried about the challenges that you have to overcome. That’s inspiring and especially for those that are reading who are fearful of taking that leap into their side gig as being their full-time job because they want to make that impact on people.
Tell me about a little bit about when someone’s thinking about what fulfills them, what the significance they want to make in life or the impact they want to make on other people, how do you help people manifest those desires? I know that a lot of people when you ask them what their hopes and dreams, or what is they’re “passion” because I don’t think a lot of people know how to derive their passion are. They know they like playing tennis or reading, but they don’t know how to develop their passion. What are some of the techniques that you’re giving to them? It sounds like it might be surrounded in the SOAR part of this, but what truly fulfills people and how can we find that?
One of the things is I use the SOAR to find out where they’re at, getting that baseline measurement, finding out a little bit more and interviewing them around. I also want them to map out some of the significant events that they’ve had in their lives where they can identify, and I refer to this as the golden thread of events that led you to where you are. Years ago, when I was in my coaching program, we had an exercise that we had to find our unique significance or signature presence. It was the first time I thought about the different events that stood out for me.
I didn’t recall a lot from my childhood, but I had a significant event that happened when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I had a cousin die in a car crash with three other people. It was devastating to our family. I remember that following Christmas making a gift to give to my godfather, who was the father of that boy, and he was out in the cold and my other uncles went to look for him. I would come out of the bathroom and I said, “Is he here yet? I have this gift for him.” They’re like, “Debra, now is not the time to share your gifts.We have this big puzzle to solve in front of us. Until you do your piece, the picture doesn't form. Click To Tweet
It wasn’t until I was in the coaching program that I realized I had buried that down. I thought about different instances about why speaking suddenly had become important to me. It’s not like when I was a kid that I was like, “I’m going to be this and that’s what I’m going to be.” I don’t think any of us ended up being what we thought we do because if it were, I would be a Wonder Woman and that hasn’t happened yet. The fact that I suddenly had this zest for sharing a message, and I didn’t even know where it came from but as I started thinking about, “What are these significant events? How did I get positioned in these leadership positions?” In junior high and high school, I was the president of the student council and I found myself in different other areas. When I started looking at where all these things and even being in that hall that day when he pulled me up on stage in front of those 200 people, I was like, “When I look back, it was all leading me to where I was now.”
When I think about passion and purpose, I realized that what I was burying down is indeed what my purpose was because I had this sense that maybe I was holding back because it wasn’t time. I had accolades and was still an achiever but at some level, I felt that there was always something holding back. Now is not the time. What will other people say? I got caught up in other people’s opinions and different things but that burning desire inside of me got stronger and stronger. I’m like, “This is passion and purpose.” It feels light and free. It does not feel like work and I know I’m making a difference. What tied it in had happened years ago.
I’m going into my second TED Talk coming up here but my TED Talk is online. It’s called Packing a Difference in a Shoe Box. My TED Talk talks about a bucket list item that I had years ago about how I wanted to watch a child open my gift, and that’s when it all made sense to me. I started this initiative and it was all because I stopped sharing my gifts for a while. I want to encourage everyone to share their gifts, whether it be through a shoebox than a material thing or whether it be coaching someone, which is often seen as intangible until people start getting results. Those sharing gifts are important in the world. Until people step up to the plate and share those gifts, it’s like we have this big puzzle in front of us and it is missing pieces. Until you do your piece, the picture in front of us doesn’t form.
It’s sad because your gift is something that someone else is looking for now. That’s one of the things when I looked at it is even though I had a fear, if I don’t give this to somebody, then someone else isn’t going to succeed and I have to. That was the only thing that was going to push me or was going to help me in that way. I love your stories. Thank you for sharing them. I love that you’re going to be on TEDx again. That’s awesome. I’m going to be doing my first in June 2020. I’m excited, so we’re going to talk offline a little bit on some tips and stuff for me. I want to say thank you for sharing everything. I want to ask what you would leave everybody with? In this thought process, is there something, a quote that you would leave them or an action item for them to take as they’re reading to change their life?
One of the most game-changing books is from the Four Agreements. The second agreement is one that changed my life and it got me away from worrying about what other people were thinking. We get easily caught up in why are they doing that? Why are they ignoring me? The second agreement is don’t take anything personally and it’s by Don Miguel Ruiz. When you learn to stop taking what other people do, say or their behavior personally, you realize that none of their actions have anything to do with you. Whether it be positive or negative feedback or interaction, it’s based on their view of the world, how they’re feeling, experiences that they’ve had in their life, and if something triggers them to say something to you, it’s often not what you said. You might be reminding them of someone else.
I love that. Stop talking, take action and get results.
Don’t take it personally. Do your thing.
Do you have a gift for everyone who’s reading? Can you tell us about the gift?
If you go over to my website, I have a three-part mini-course. It’s a video format, plus assignments to make habits stick so you can stay focused and consistent on your game, so you can create habits and routines in place. That is so you can reach your goals and get the results that you want.
Thank you for that gift. Anything that we can do to consume and continue to improve our personal performance and personal lives is going to be absolutely fantastic. I want to say thank you. I’m going to repeat everything so that everybody gets this. One, a couple of action items here, take time to think about the end. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want? Ask it over and over. Two, act as is, not as if. Be sure to act as is and look to those people who are inspiring you and find out what they’re doing on a daily basis.Frame your questions in a positive way, and expect positive results. Click To Tweet
Take the first step. That is one of the things that you said. Take that first step and decide what that step is going to be. Take some quiet time to do the golden thread method of what are some of the stories that have always been there that are telling you a story about seeking your passion. If you’ve been someone who’s always done SWOT, consider doing SOAR as well with Strengths, Opportunities, Results and Aspiring or Aspire. Go pick up the book, The Four Agreements. I wanted to recap what all the wonderful things that you said and all the actionable items that people can take away from here. If they want to do coaching with you, they can get information from you about your coaching programs and certainly you’re looking for speaking opportunities as well. It has been an absolute pleasure, Debra. Thank you for taking the time to share with my audience on your success and how you moved into your significance as well in changing people’s lives, so they can realize their dreams. I’m grateful that you’re in this world to help people do that. Thank you for joining us.
Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
We will catch you next time. If you haven’t already, please give us a great five-star rating and write a review for us so we can continue to move forward. As I’ve always said before in lots of other shows is if you have a topic that you’d like to have addressed, please be sure to send me an email. You can find me at JenDuPlessis.com and send me a quick email like, “Jen, I’d like to have this speaker or this topic brought on.” We’ll be happy to do that for you. We will catch you next time. I hope that your day is prosperous, you are inspired as a result of this episode, and you’ll go out and get curious about your life to make an impact on everyone else’s.
- Debra Kasowski
- The Millionaire Woman Show
- Episode – Jen Du Plessis Episode on The Millionaire Woman Show
- Sandra Yancey
- Let’s Be Curious
- Packing a Difference in a Shoe Box – Debra Kasowski TEDx Talk
- Four Agreements
About Debra Kasowski
Debra Kasowski, the charismatic host of the thought-provoking
podcast, The Millionaire Woman Show, is committed to enriching the leadership potential of her countless clients, essentially guiding them to go within to capitalize on their true personal power, so they can achieve the measurable success
they desire in business, and in life. After graduating with distinction, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, this award winning, three-time international bestselling author, speaker and Certified Executive Coach spent many years as a clinical manager exceling in leadership development, before founding Debra Kasowski International, a world-class training and consulting venture focused on helping aspiring business owners and solopreneurs develop the winning “success habits” that transform human potential into sustainable profits.