For some reason, making decisions does not come that automatically for most women. Second-guessing seems to be second nature for a lot of women and too often in life and in business, it holds them back from getting the success and significance that they deserve. Coming to the rescue is Diane Halfman, the founder of SPALife. SPA stands for “Seek Power Always,” a message that comes through clearly in the work that she does around helping women make better decisions faster and empower themselves to live a life by design, not by default. With a badass background as an undercover cop, Diane has a unique perspective of life that she is more than willing to share with other women. Joining Jen Du Plessis in this synergistic exchange of ideas, Diane discusses how women can overcome their tendency for second-guessing and start showing up in the world as their BEST selves. Stick to the end for her incredible gift!
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SPALife: Making Great Decisions That Set You Up For Success With Diane Halfman
I’m so excited about our guest because we had this beautiful conversation on the phone for 1.5 to 2 hours and dug on it. We didn’t record that call and that’s what we should have done, but that’s the way life goes. We have Diane Halfman with us. She is the Founder of SPAlife. She helps women entrepreneurs with decision making and a lot of things that are right along the same line of what I do. It’s amazing how God brings us together. It’s amazing how that happens. Diane, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Jen. It’s so great to be here and be sharing with your audience. I’m smiling so big because I love when women are synergistic and our messages are all very similar. We touch different audiences and we bring our life experience into it. I am thrilled to be here.
Thank you. We’re going to talk about your life experience too. Why don’t we start with how you got from where you were to what you’re doing now. I want to say again, thank you for your service to our country and everybody around it. I know your husband is involved too. Tell us a little bit about your history and how you transformed into what you’re doing now.
It seems like an unlikely path. I was a San Diego Police officer for ten years. I worked at Uniform Patrol as well as undercover in gangs, narcotics, vice and particularly undercover as a prostitute because we were hunting a serial killer. I cultivated over the years some skillsets to not second-guessing myself, to be more confident, to be able to make quick decisions in very life and death situations. When I retired from the police department, I started utilizing these skills to help women entrepreneurs to not second-guess themselves, to have those boundaries, to make those bigger decisions. To see how that can affect not only how they were being in business, but also decisions they were making in their own life as well. I cultivated SPAlife and as you had alluded to, SPAlife is an acronym. The SPA is for Seek Power Always. That power within you to do that deeper work. We have to be able to reach in, be able to listen to our self and our intuition. To utilize that power as a launching pad to be able to impact the people that we want to in our life as well as ourselves to live the life that we’re here to do.
Let’s talk about that a little bit. We’re going to talk about a lot of things with this too. With this show being Success To Significance, you had a lot of success in your practice being a police officer and then you moved into this impact. How do I make an impact and be significant to other people? We all go through a variety of glass ceiling. Let’s talk about your story. I’d like to talk about where you think this is coming from for women generally.
What I see is sometimes the inability to make a decision. They get halted for whatever reason and I’m sure there’s a multitude of reasons behind it. I have a reason why I’m second-guessing myself on occasion but tell us about your transformation in that. You went into becoming a police officer. I don’t know if you’ve always been tough. Was there something in your past that created this toughness in you or was it something that happened while you were in it and you had that a-ha moment that said, “I am a woman. Hear me roar, watch out, here I go?”Listen to yourself. Reach into your intuition and use that power to impact people and live the life that you are here to live. Click To Tweet
Jen, I did not grow up wanting to be a police officer. It was nowhere on my radar. Being the oldest of three children, my parents wanted me to be successful and my dad. As I was going into college, they said, “Are you going to be an attorney or a doctor?” As if those were my only two choices in the world to be successful and have a good income. I knew I didn’t want to go into the medical field. I was intrigued by law. I got my degree in criminal justice and started working with an attorney in my senior year in college and realized that this was not the path for me.
I found it very tedious and boring. I didn’t want to be inside all day. I was looking like, “What am I going to do now with this degree in law?” A lot of the guys that were graduating college at the same time were going into law enforcement and they encouraged me to take the test. I exceeded well in the test at that time because of what was going on in the world with the serial killer. There weren’t that many women on the department, they needed more women. I stepped in at the right time and had no idea what I was getting into. I’m someone who grew up in the middle-class family, twelve years of Catholic school, had no idea what was going on in the street.
This was a rude awakening for me to get into this. I had been married for six years and became a single parent as I was coming onto the department. I had two small daughters. For me, it became having to pep talk with myself especially late nights, walking down alleys by myself. I worked by myself a lot to have that commitment that I have to get home every night. I had my daughters to get home. I had a big reason to make sure that I was clear about what I was doing, to be very cautious but also to trust myself. That came with a lot of practice.
I’m a concealed weapons carrier so I’m comfortable. I can’t imagine going up and down an alley at night dressed in the manner you would have had been dressed and knowing that someone was out there seeking someone to take advantage of. There’s so much fight or flight in our decision making. If I put myself in that situation for you, you would have to make a decision quickly either I’m going to fight or I’m going to take flight. When a lot of people, men, women alike come up to that decision-making mode right at the tip of it, it is a fight or flight, trying to incorporate wisdom, and trying to incorporate some other things that we’re going to talk about.
Where do you think this all stems from in the business world? What have you learned from working with women so that women and men, who are reading this, can help themselves when they get to that fork in the road and they have to make good quality decisions? How to not second-guess themselves? How to trust themselves? What are some of the tactics that people aren’t using that they should be using to get that?
One of the things I found that has distinguished decision making between men and women is men tend to be a little bit more okay with being wrong. To throw out their decisions and see what sticks and go with it. They’re okay to pivot. It doesn’t have to be 100%. They could be 20%, they’re still going to throw their ideas out there, keep moving forward, and keep going. For women, it has been statistically proven that unless women feel that their decision making is 100% correct, they will be less likely to put it out there. They will be thinking about an idea and then a man at the same table will throw out the same idea and he’ll run with it.
She’s still thinking about it because she wants to be completely right about that. One of the things that I help women with is, I have them look at where have they seen their success in decision making before. If we can build on where has that decision making worked for us then we can build on that success and go, “I can build that muscle and I can do it again.” When we don’t see that we’ve made successful decisions in the past, it makes it hard in the moment to move forward and we stand in that paralysis of waiting to get to that 100%. When we can see that, “We have made great decisions whether it’s in our personal life, past business or in general.” When we can do that, we build upon that success.
I’m smiling about this as you’re talking about it because coming from the mortgage space way back years ago, it was a male-dominated industry. When you were saying about the man sitting there and the woman thinking an idea, there were times where I thought, “They took my idea.” It was not because I was overlooked or something. I don’t play that game, I’m a tough girl but it’s because I wasn’t finished with my thought process on delivering it. They came up with the idea quickly so they got credit for having that idea as opposed to I could have had credit for that idea had I got it off the ground faster.
That’s where I’m able to differentiate because I had to make decisions that were life and death decisions. I didn’t have the luxury of time to ponder it over and yes or no, or have all of those things. I started looking at a lot of pre-thinking of scenarios. If I was in this, how would I be? If this happens, how would I react? I knew what my boundaries were, what I was basing my decision making on. This completely works for the civilian life too. You know how you want to move forward in your business and what you want to bring to the table. It’s a few extra bits of information that solidify the direction that you already know. When you get that knowing solidified within you, the knowledge enhances it, but you have to go with the knowing.
Do you have a tactic that you use that helps someone make a decision? I have tactics that I use that you and I’ve talked about, but I’m curious to see what your answers are going to be. When you find yourself in that pondering, you’re not taking action, and you know that you need to take action quicker, what could you tell yourself? Is there a mantra? Michael Maher who wrote The Seven Levels Of Communication has a piece of paper that has 50 or 60 same words and it says, “Do it now.” You go through and cross that out, do it now and when you’re all done, you’re like, “Let’s do it now.” It is crazy. I can’t believe it works. It’s like Mel Robbins with 5-4-3-2-1. It’s a mechanism that triggers. What kind of trigger do you have that helps businesswomen and men make better decisions faster?
The most simple thing is core values. If you don’t know your core values, if you don’t know why you’re here, and what you’re standing for, it makes it hard to make decisions because you’ve got nothing to base those decisions on. If you know what those core values are like what is my mission? What is my purpose? What are those things? We hear those words and sometimes they feel like you say words that they start blurring out like goals, values, and they don’t mean anything. What do those words mean to you? How do those things get incorporated in your life so that when you are making decisions, you are basing them on something? One of the tools that I use and I share with clients, I have something called Diane’s Daily Design.
For those of you who are reading, I have a big calendar in the middle here because I’m a visual person. I like to see 1 or 2 words of what it is I’m doing. I have my values on here. I have a value statement. I talk about how is it that I’m being the best. The number one thing for me is to be with my people. What is that? That’s my clients, family, sweetheart, my God, these are my people. That is the number one thing with me. What are the decisions I’m doing? Who am I impacting? What am I doing? How does it affect my people and me being with my people? That is the number one thing that I weigh against people is how it affects my people and myself.
Another thing for me is to enjoy epic health. Health is so important to me. We’ve all heard these statistics around. If you don’t have your health, you have no other wishes or goals in the world. For me, that’s a broad topic from going to the gym, getting a massage, getting a facial, having self-care, getting good sleep. The spectrum of health is big because I believe that you need to show up completely ready and prepared in yourself as your best self in order to be able to help other people. The S in the best for me is for standing in your power. I walk the talk. I look at where am I being confident. Where am I giving my power away? How is the decisions that I’m making? How is it that I am standing in my power with it? I’m also leaving the space for people to stand in their power but it’s a two-way street to make sure that I’m showing up in my best way.If you don't know your core values, you are going to have a hard time making decisions. Click To Tweet
My T in best is to transform the world. Right now, in particular, I am very passionate about saving the children, being involved in human trafficking. I’m an abolitionist which is a donor for something called Operation Underground Railroad. That is all about helping and saving children. You’ve got to look at what’s something bigger than you that is part of what you are doing, part of your values, part of how you make decisions which is why you get up in the morning and you’re excited to do what you do because you’re clear on that. When you have that framework, it is something that you base everything against on whether you do it or you don’t do it.
A little side note here, I went shopping with my daughter and squatted down. I didn’t bend over to look at something on the lower shelf. I stood up and my back went out. All day, I was consumed with managing my back. Nothing else got done. That’s an extreme example but it is true about your health. When your health is not there, you can’t focus on anything else. It’s impossible. Nothing mattered to me. In fact, church didn’t matter and I’m a Eucharistic minister so I had to call and say, “I can’t even get out of bed.” Nothing mattered except managing my health because it takes so much of a priority over things. It does create a cloud of everything else around you.
One of the resources I love having my clients listen to or read is the book called Essentialism. One of the things in that book that I love and it hit home with me, particularly with health, especially as an entrepreneur to know that you are the asset. When you realize that you are the asset in your business, meaning if you’re not up and going, your health isn’t great, you don’t have good focus, you don’t have clarity, you don’t feel good, how is it that you’re going to long-term be able to help other people? That’s where you start feeling burnout. That’s where you don’t have the energy.
That’s where you tend to twist your ankle because you are not fully conscious, you didn’t get enough sleep. There are so many things that come back to having that extreme self-care. Some people look at that as being selfish. It’s being selfless that you have to. For every decade that we get older in the world too, we start appreciating health even more because we start looking at we have impact, legacy and significance that we want to have. If we don’t feel good and we can’t be our best self, we can’t do that work.
I’ve read the Essentialism a couple of times. It’s a good book. That brings me to this question. This particular show is exploring what people have gone through to break through glass ceilings that they had whether it was decision making or something big. Especially now that we’re in the COVID challenge, they’re saying, “I don’t want that job. This was the catalyst.” I’ve been sharing with a lot of people. It’s not what COVID is doing to you but what COVID is doing for you. They’re in that space where they’re saying, “Do I go back to the job full-time? I hated it. This is the thing that needed to move me. The catalyst and the trigger to move me into a new space.”
Some people are still in that. Losing sleep at night about what do I do. Others are taking the baby steps, in the middle of it, meandering around, wondering, was this the right thing or it’s cool? Others have come on the other side of it. When we think about decision making in each one of those quadrants, what are some suggestions you could give to someone who’s thinking about leaving the comfort of that long-term salary job and now going into not even following your dream? Don’t follow your dream, pursue it. Pursuing that beautiful passion, that dream of owning another business or going into some type of philanthropy work. What could you suggest to someone who’s going through that and struggling through it?
The litmus test of that is time. Time gives us a perspective to everything. If we said something like, “This is the big legacy thing, the big dream job, the entrepreneurial pursuit, this is the thing I want to have in my lifetime.” It feels so elusive. It’s something that is going to happen twenty years from now or down the line or whenever kind of thing. When we put things in perspective, we start writing like, “What are the accomplishments on our deathbed? What is it that we want to say that we’ve accomplished? Who do we want to impact? Who is it going to involve? What does that look like?” If we put ourselves where we are now, where would we be with that if we had a year left to live, six months, a month, a week to live?
When we start moving that time back and you are picturing yourself on that deathbed one week from now, how important are those things that we say we want to do? I look at those things like you do, COVID and things happening in the world, those are all external things. We always have those things. There’s always somebody doing something in politics, there’s something happening with the environment, and religions. These are things that spin as part of the human experience. We have to get clear of what we are about. What’s that internal world. What is the impact that we want to have?
We don’t have the time that we think that we have. A friend of ours who retired, her husband had a heart attack and died in his backyard. He was relatively young. We’ve heard all of these different stories that have happened and no one is on their deathbed saying like, “I wish I would have done more things on my to-do list.” It’s like, who are the people that I spent time with? What was the impact that I had? Why am I here? What do I want to have happened? What is it I want people to say about what I’ve done? How do I want to feel fulfilled?
Have I done the purpose, that good and faithful servant at the end of your life? When we look at it with a sense of urgency, that’s where people can make those decisions that it’s not letting the fear of whether I do it or not. It’s how much can I jump in and learn along the way. What kind of mentors can I have that can accelerate it faster for me? Who is it that I want to emulate that is doing something similar that I can look at that? There are so many resources out there that can show us how to do it. You have to do that first step of committing that I’m all in.
Take the steps because otherwise, it’s a Netflix. Let’s talk about second-guessing also known as buyer’s remorse. I always choose a word every year. This 2020, my word is simplicity. In 2019, my word was wisdom. When I made the transition into coaching and speaking full-time, I felt like I was making decisions left, right, and sideways costing me an arm and a leg consuming a lot of debt because it was a new arena that I was playing in. I felt like, “I don’t have the knowledge. I’ve got to get coaches around me. I have to surround myself.” I felt like a chipmunk. I had all these nuts in my mouth.
The only thing I was swallowing and consuming was saliva. I had nothing else going on and I wasn’t fulfilled. It made me say, “Are the decisions that I’m making correct?” For 2019, it was all about gaining wisdom to be able to make decisions that could move my practice forward. Every time I was making a decision, I was starting to second-guess like, “Is this right? Is it not right? I learned before it was bad and I got burned. Now it’s my fault.”
How do you get past that second-guessing so that you can move on? I felt like I got very stifled. I had so much in my mouth, I couldn’t even chew so it’s one thing to chew on it. How do you get past that second-guessing? That was a real struggle for me. I’m past it now to a certain extent. It’s more of a wisdom decision than a second-guessing. There were many nights where I woke up and said, “I never should have bought that. I never should have got that. I have to call them in the morning and say no.” I didn’t because I had another second thought. What are some suggestions that you can help people with second-guessing themselves?You are the asset in your business. Click To Tweet
I love so much that you brought this up, Jen, because this is such a big issue. A lot of people think that they’re going to get to a certain point in their business and they’re not going to have that second-guessing or they’re going to get to a certain point where that’s not going to happen anymore. It evolves into a different level of that. Part of what helps in the second-guessing is know your values. Know the whole parameters of how you make decisions in the first place. Gather all the knowledge that you have out there. This is why we have advisors whether we have a team of advisors, we have a mentor, or we’re watching certain people that we respect and trust on social media and looking at how are they making certain decisions.
When you see other people make big decisions, you then can weigh in. Do I agree with that? Do I not agree with that? You start putting the stake in the ground of what you stand for and how you make certain decisions about what’s your end game. Where is it you want to go? Part of making decisions has to do with, what are the expectations you have for yourself? What is the result that you want to have for yourself? When you look at that big picture, when you’re looking at an individual decision, you take all of that knowledge. I love how you have the word with wisdom because when it comes down to making big decisions, it has to be completely that gut decision. It has to be that wisdom. It’s the culmination of your experience and your life.
You know that this is the direction to go into. Particularly for women, even if you’re at 50% of knowing to still go with that anyway, to not have that paralysis of waiting for 100%. I don’t know too many people that have 100% sure on any decision. It’s almost like that preponderance of the evidence, “Enough of it makes sense that you make that decision.” Instead of going into that spin of second-guessing, go into taking a deep breath and letting the decision breathe. You made that decision for a reason.
Let the next step happen, let it move forward, let things happen because then certain things reveal itself after you’ve made that initial decision. The great thing is you can make another decision. Where people get caught up is they want to go back to that original decision. You don’t want to go backwards. It’s all about going forward with the new information that you had. Part of getting past second-guessing is that you made all the best information you can with all the information you had in the moment.
When new information becomes available, then you can make different decisions and you can continue to move forward. Any of us who are a parent, we can go back and go, “I could have made this decision. I would have done this or whatever.” That doesn’t make a difference. Our kid is not five anymore. They’re now 15, 25, 35. We keep making decisions now that we have more information. That’s why those second and third kids tend to do a little bit better because you weren’t practicing like you were on the first kid.
That helps me too. The only thing I could muster up was to have this conversation and made a big decision. I feel good about it but I love that you’re saying don’t go back and say, “I shouldn’t have done that. I would’ve done it differently,” rather “Now that I have made that decision, how do I make the best of that decision and make sure that I’m forging forward with that?” That’s the biggest a-ha that I’m getting from this time here together. I’m hoping that the people that are reading are saying, “That’s it. Dug on it.”
I’m going to start my own business, dug on it. I’m going to leave this company because the information I have right now says, “I don’t want to go back to that 9:00 to 5:00. I don’t want to sit in that sterile office which look at the walls that my husband is sitting all day.” It’s terrible. I don’t want those things anymore so dug on it. I’m going to take the next step. Diane, I know you have a gift for us in helping us take this movement on. Tell us a little bit about the gift.
The gift is ResetYourPowerGift.com. I use the word ‘reset’ because sometimes people look at power is something you either have it or you don’t. We all have power. We all come in with that. Sometimes, we let left circumstances throw us off and I’ve created these checklists to be able to look at, where have you given your power away? How do you reset it? How do you get it back? How do you move through some of these decision-making skills so that you can build your wisdom, build your confidence and feel good about moving forward with any decision that it is that you need to make?
I can’t wait to get it myself. I love being a podcast interviewer because I get all these wonderful gifts too. It’s all about getting yourself better. The great Les Brown says, “If you’re casual about your business, your business will become a casualty.” He also says, “If you’re casual about your life, your life will become a casualty.” I’m always working on purpose, always intentional about what I’m doing and very purpose-driven, and that’s a purpose-driven life. That’s exactly why. If someone is reading and they would love to reach out with you, have you help them get over this hump, and start making better decisions, what would be the best way to get ahold of you?
I’m on social media, you can look under my name, Diane Halfman. Diane Halfman Fan on Facebook and also my name under Instagram. If you know that you want to have a conversation with me, you can go to DianeHalfman.com/20mincall. I’m happy to support you in any way that you’re at to make those decisions.
Diane, thank you so much for sharing your story and your time with us here. I love what I learned. I know that next time I make a decision, I’m not going to go backwards. I’m going to say, “Now I have new data, where do I go from here?” It’s like being an investigator. No wonder you’re so great at this. You have new evidence and it takes you to a different path. Thank you so much for spending time with us.
It’s my pleasure, Jen. Thank you.
Everybody, thank you again for spending time with me and taking time out of your day to read. I hope that we’ve given you something that will change your life or at least tweak a few things in your life. I want to remind you to please write a review and give us a great five-star rating. If ever you run into someone who’s broken through a glass ceiling that you think their story would be powerful for us to share, please let me know by getting ahold of me at Jen@JenDuPlessis.com. I’ll catch you next time on Success To Significance.
- The Seven Levels Of Communication
- Operation Underground Railroad
About Diane Halfman
Diane Halfman was an undercover cop for the San Diego Police Department where she experienced a unique perspective of life behind the scenes. Diane took her years of experience to pioneer the creation of her own company called SPAlife which stands for Seek Power Always.
As the host of the Live Your SPAlife Podcast and as the RESET Specialist Diane Halfman travels the country speaking, consulting, conducting workshops dedicated to helping overwhelmed women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders move from a life of emergency to emergence.
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