What is mindful leadership?

Today we’re joined by Laetitia Andrac who shares that a mindful leader is someone who first has awareness about their own needs, and stops when they need and sets clear boundaries and so on. It’s a leader who waits to respond, who holds the space for their team, and allows for everyone to just be still and trust that the right plan is coming. 

Laetitia is a holistic business coach and a ‘soul+biz doula’. She helps womxn leaders and

entrepreneurs in creating a soul aligned business, career and life.  She is making ancient spiritual wisdom accessible for busy modern-day women. She has a solid grounding in mindfulness (started meditation at 5-year-old) and spirituality (lineage of healers), along with an authentic ‘say it as it is’ approach and impressive business savvy and strategic background (with her 12+ years in business and leadership).

 Together we explore:

  • What is mindful leadership
  • How do you cultivate a more mindful work environment
  • What are the benefits of mindfulness
  • How the mindful leader experiences stressful times in a more peaceful way
  • How to make a meeting and collaboration more mindful

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Transcript:

[00:00:00] Anne: Hi everyone. And welcome back to my channel and my podcast today, I’m joined by my dear friend Laetitia and she has a lot of great things to share with us. She is a very powerful person because she combines a very strategic and innovative mind with her practices in Ayurveda and also mindfulness and coaching and I would say wellness and she brings a lot of different angles to conversation that I always appreciate and she’s had a big impact on me over the last two years, I think it’s, uh, since we met for the first time and we actually met because we both started our business and we’ve kind of bonded over this journey of growing a business and trying to figure out how to do it all. As we yeah, embark on this journey.

[00:00:49] So welcome, and I’m super excited to have you here on my podcast. Today we’re going to talk about a topic that I think is going to be really powerful for a lot of people, which is about mindful leadership and how we can be more mindful when things get so stressful. And I mean, let’s face it. Leadership is a very high impact role with lots of responsibilities and a lot of factors that stress us out regularly.

[00:01:13] So welcome Laetitia. I’m so excited to have you here. 

[00:01:17] Laetitia: Thank you. Thank you, Anne for having me, it is a beautiful way to sit together and have a conversation I’m very honored to be here and I love what you do. 

[00:01:29] Anne: So before we get into the topic, why don’t you maybe tell everyone a little bit more about yourself, maybe something that goes beyond what I’ve just shared.

[00:01:39] Laetitia: Yes. Sure. So just for everyone to be comfortable, I have a French accent because I grew up in the south of France in Provence. That’s why I have this accent. I’m not pretending to be French 

[00:01:51] Anne: Just imagine! 

[00:01:54] Laetitia: So that would be fun. I’m French and I grew up in the south of France and I moved to Australia seven years ago and I chose Sydney where Anne chose

[00:02:05] Melbourne. So it’s always something in Australia between Sydney and Melbourne, it’s a bit of a battle. And, uh, so I chose Sydney and I settled in about seven years ago, living by the ocean, loving it here, and I moved after burnout. So I’m sure it’s going to come up during the conversation. I was a strategy consultant working for a big well-known and renowned strategy consulting firm.

[00:02:32] Doing projects all across Europe and internationally in the US as well and so on. And actually it’s after a project that I wrapped up in Berlin that I burned out. So funnily enough, and then we decided to move to Australia and this is where my transformation started to happen. So as you see me today, seven, seven years of deep work and always growing and learning.

[00:02:56] Anne: Amazing. Thank you so much. Yes. So. European connection here today. I love it. Yeah, the accent I do, you know, like there was a time in my life where I felt like, I always felt sad when people pointed out my accent like, oh, where are you from? Where you from? Like, why does it matter? I’m in Australia now.

[00:03:13] Like I’m Australian. And now I’m almost like, you know what? It’s awesome. It’s it adds to my story. why should we try to hide it? You know? It actually doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take away from our message at all or the impact we can create. and actually it’s beautiful. I love it. So yeah, let it all out. 

[00:03:30] Laetitia: Thank you!

[00:03:33] Anne: Awesome. So I mean, you talked a bit about your background just before. Yeah, whilst you now work as a coach, and, combine all your practices and your knowledge. There’s a big, experience that you have actually in the corporate world, because you were actually quite a successful high level leader in the corporate world.

[00:03:51] And you worked for some really big companies in Europe and also here in Australia before you went and shifted full-time into your business. So maybe tell us a bit more about your journey, your career. And how you got here. And also your leadership journey, I guess, and like the challenges that you faced when you started off and became a leader.

[00:04:10] Laetitia: Hmm, all of that. So many things to unpack. So my leadership journey, I started in strategy consulting straight after school. I decided to join, one of the biggest firm in strategy consulting in France and in Europe and straight away. When you are a consultant. You just throw! And we used to say that you’re thrown in the deep water without any knowledge of how to swim.

[00:04:40] And if you come back to the shore, we throw you away with more people attached to you, and then you have to come back to the shore and you can do that. Then it’s like building the resilience. So this is my leadership journey. The beginning of my journey was really like I arrived the first day, got my laptop and then straight sent to a client and I was straight away leading a project. And I was like, I’m just out of school. I, yes, I have some experience working because I started working when I was 14 years old. So this is another story probably, but I, I was, leading a tele phone company shop back in France for Orange because my parents were working at Orange and I needed to pay the bills.

[00:05:21] So every Wednesday and Saturday I was doing that during my study. So I had a bit of experience leading teams and leading conversation and so on, but to be sent straight away to the client being like hey, I pretend I know everything, but I actually don’t know anything has been the beginning of my leadership journey.

[00:05:39] So this is how it started. But quickly, I actually felt very comfortable in that. I am someone who is very energized being in a setting with other people, facilitating workshops, facilitating conversation, and all of that. So straight away. I was thriving in that role, which is not the case for everyone, right? So my leadership journey, because it was truly serving how I am and who I am, but besides with those who are thrown like this in deep water, like I don’t like this.

[00:06:09] And then quickly I asked for some training, I asked for some support and I was grateful that the different partners were open to that. And this is how I strengthened, basically my leadership training. And this is an invitation for anyone listening to this, to ask for support, for help, for training, for mentor, whatever you need to be supported in your leadership journey.

[00:06:31] You don’t have to do it alone. And this is my journey. And basically through that, through that learnings, through those teachings, I just thrived in the consulting world. I was one of the youngest manager in the firm, in Paris. And I was seen as one of the best female leader internationally. So I got to meet the, you know, the CEO of Deloitte.

[00:06:55] If you have to name one of the firm, I was a strategy consulting for, so I, I was really thriving and everything on the outside. I remember my last project in Berlin. I was leading an innovation challenge with different European cities. And I met my Bloomberg because it was for Bloomberg philanthropies.

[00:07:14] It was like on the outside, everyone would be like, oh my goodness. She is amazing. She’s got it. Actually on the inside, I was crumbling. I was working too hard. I was pushing, I was motivated by the carrots, by the ego, by his next promotion, but I loved what I was doing. So it was too hard to stop. Actually, I just really enjoy that role in that leadership and everything I was doing until one day I couldn’t wake up.

[00:07:41] So this is why I love to share about my journey, because it’s about not reaching that point to reassess your life and so on. And now as this is why I’m doing what I’m doing, because I use all of those teaching and knowledge to help my clients to do the same. And after this burnout, I took some time off. I reflected, I reconnected with myself and this is why we’re going to talk about today about mindful leadership.

[00:08:08] And when I arrived in Australia, I chose to work for a big corporation here in Australia, and I chose to, to pick a way to lead, which was very different. I decided to be a mindful leader and I was known for that. I was having a team who were thriving. Everyone wanted to work on my project because I was very mindful of everyone’s wellbeing in my team, at the same time, as of course delivering the project and all of that, but bringing the human at the center of the way we were doing business and the way we were delivering the projects. So, yeah. 

[00:08:44] Anne: No, thank you so much for sharing that because I do think that will resonate with a lot of people because I know that a lot of people in my audience and also my clients they often identify as high achievers and they’re quite eager to, to grow and level up in their leadership journey and the leadership experience. And they’re kind of waiting for the next promotion and they want to have big impact. And for me, it definitely resonated too, because I was there too. I had a very successful leadership career, probably not to that high level that you did in the sense.

[00:09:11] But I still was quite successful. And for me it was similar. I was somehow driven by these external factors of success. That gave me my validation that gave me. I guess the, the confirmation that, you know, I’m worth something. And you know, when people then looked at you and said, wow, you’re so successful.

[00:09:27] Some of that made me feel like I’m worthy. Right. And that gives you a certain value. And then yeah, the ego drives it, you look for the promotion, you look for it for the money. But also for me, like whilst I was really good at that, right. It was at some point not aligned with my values. So I was really stressed out.

[00:09:42] Luckily for me, like whilst it led to a lot of anxiety and also mental health issues, it didn’t lead to burnout in that extent. Right. But there was definitely moments where I was crying on the floor where I couldn’t get to work. Cause I was so anxious that I didn’t know how to continue. Cause it somehow was just too much.

[00:10:01] And you know, you get caught up in it and you get caught up and in working in delivering and high achieving, that is then at some point it becomes really hard to step back and to set a different example because I always share with my clients, it’s like, you have to set your boundaries, right? There’s nobody else that will set them for you.

[00:10:16] You have to set your boundaries. And if you work too late every night, people will start to expect that, and they will call you at midnight because they know that you’re still working and it’s not, therefore the companies, especially international companies, they will take as much as they can from you.

[00:10:30] And it’s up to you to say, okay, here are my boundaries. And I can still be an amazing leader, but I don’t have to work myself to the ground. So yeah, I definitely resonated with that. And I think a lot of people are in the same boat and it’s quite tricky. I think, to feel like you are becoming a leader you can create impact while staying within your boundaries and protecting your yourself.

[00:10:50] And I think that’s where mindful leadership can come into play to really help us yeah, be more self-aware and understand where, where we need to stop and how far we can go. So let’s go straight into the topic. So when we talk about mindful leadership, how would you define it? What does it actually mean?

[00:11:07] Laetitia: Mm. So as everything you can all define it differently for me, mindful leadership, start with you as a center. So how do you feel, this kind of checking with yourself and being mindful and aware of where you are at and sharing that authentically, genuinely with your team? Because this creates a vulnerability and an empathy bond with your team that is then making you move mountains.

[00:11:39] I am telling you, I would come to my team and I would share with them what was happening. And then it’s like, people support you. People will come and take the work. It’s not it’s just so as this is you as a center as mindful, but it’s also you in your community, you in your team. You in the company.

[00:12:01] And I love what you said about the value, because for me through embodying mindful leadership, this is when I exited this beautiful role that I have in a beautiful corporation in Australia and nothing against the corporation. I was about to get an even higher role. I was general manager about to be promoted, even higher in the food chain.

[00:12:21] And I said, no, because it was not align anymore with my values. And this came because I was aware of my value. I was mindful about it. I was mindful of is the impact it had for me, my family, my community, my coworker, my team, all of that. So the mindful leadership is really about this awareness that you have of yourself and the ecosystem that you are part of.

[00:12:48] And when you lead by being mindful, everything is way easier because you are authentic and you are magnetizing the right opportunities for you, the right projects, the right team, the right next step, because you know yourself. And you are acting in alignment with it. So that’s how I define mindful leadership.

[00:13:11] Anne: Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you so much for that. And I think it sits so well in emotion intelligence as well, right? It’s the key to, to build our emotional intelligence is we’ve got to start with ourselves and to connect and to be aware that’s where mindfulness comes in. Because if we are not learning to be present to be seated, We can’t listen to what’s actually going on, right?

[00:13:30] Yeah. That’s really powerful. And so how would you describe someone that is a mindful leader? What do they do that others dont? 

[00:13:38] Laetitia: So a mindful leader for me, the first things I did does is comfortable with silence. What I love to say is they are embracing the void, they are embracing this moment of in-between.

[00:13:52] Well, the wait to sit there. For the great idea to come rather than running all the time. And this is what we want from leader, right? We want them to have this next vision’s a step forward is innovation mindset. And this comes from the void. This come from space. This comes from being still as you’ve shared beautifully it’s it comes from this moment of silence this moment of in between.

[00:14:18] So for me, a mindful leader is someone who first as this awareness about their own needs, as we’ve mentioned and stop when the need and sets clear boundaries and so on. But the way I see it, it’s those leader who wait a bit to respond, who hold the space for their team, for everyone to just be still and wait.

[00:14:41] And then the right thing is coming. So you have to trust for that, but allowing this moment of silence of in-between is really essential. 

[00:14:49] Anne: And what would you say could get in the way of that? Because you know, as you said, it’s like, we are almost told we gotta act, act, act, act, act, and we always gotta be on the ball. Take action, make decisions, you know, it’s quite fast paced, often certain leadership roles. How would you deal with that challenge of being pushed by the organization and pulled from all directions pushed and pulled pretty much. And how, how could you still create that moment and how could you be comfortable with that? Whilst everything around you is full of noise. 

[00:15:20] Laetitia: Yeah. So it’s creating what you said, creating those boundaries, those energetic, physical, verbal boundaries around you to allow that space. I remember watching a few years ago about this Ted talk about third space. So it’s about creating this space of in-between about creating consciously this space.

[00:15:42] So for instance, for me, it can be as simple as. I would block my calendar in corporate. I would do that. Like my PA couldn’t book meetings unless I had 15 minutes of breather between meetings. So I was not, the leader was jumping from one meeting to another, to another running late or, you know, so as a leader, we’re always late.

[00:16:01] We’re always on the go. We’re always running and don’t even have the time to read what you submitted. They don’t even have the time to take a moment to digest. So that they can have a bigger impact as it can say the right thing, or they can be innovative or forward thinking and so on. So it’s about creating those space in your, in your day, creating those moments of yeah, of deep presence and connection and preparing what we always say is a lot of leader going to a meeting without having prepared, it’s, which we know and we say that in strategy consulting, I used to repeat it all the time to my teams. And now I say to my clients, It’s all about 60% comes from the preparation of a meeting.

[00:16:45] Then you have 20% of that is done in the meeting and 20%, which is in the followup of the meeting, but 60% is into preparation. So you need to allow that space since that time to prepare your meeting. So the way to do it is, set those boundaries, creates the space, ask your PA, if you are managing your own calendar as a leader, you just block just book time on Outlook, on Gmail, like on Google calendar, you block this time.

[00:17:11] And I do the same today in my business. After a coaching session, it’s impossible to book unless I have half an hour breather prior and after. It is impossible to book a podcast interview. More than one day. Like I have put some rules in my system, in my automation to make sure that I allows that space to breathe as a leader of my own company.

[00:17:34] Anne: Yeah. Really powerful. I love that. And I think it also comes down because when you look at the definition of mindfulness, right. About being present in the moment with no judgment of what’s going on to just experience what’s happening to us, what’s happening in our mind. What’s happening around us. But not actually placing any value to what we’re seeing and no judgment.

[00:17:55] Right. I think when we look at that, then it also comes, becomes important because if we can’t create the space to sit still, then otherwise we’re not able to also then sit and just observe what’s happening. I think, especially if we’re constantly on the run and in the rush, then it’s really hard to calm down the judgment.

[00:18:14] Cause that takes a lot of practice, right? To just stop the judging, the judging thoughts and the negative thoughts that, that constantly are in our mind and, and, and judging ourselves and, and putting meaning to things, even though we don’t even know what they actually mean. So when we think about.

[00:18:29] So we talked about creating stillness, creating the space to be in the moment, but what would be your key tips on how we can be more observing rather than placing judgment on what’s going on? Like how can we just be with what we’re experiencing? 

[00:18:46] Laetitia: Wow. So the first dip is taking a few deep breaths before jumping into any meeting or any conversation.

[00:18:56] Creating those conscious breaths. It can be just three deep breaths. And I used to do that before my team meeting, I would guide them through three deep breath would just arrive all in the space. When you were all together in the office. Then when I exited we were online on zoom, but we would still do that. Just a few deep breaths, three.

[00:19:15] Consciously connecting with the moment arriving there, letting go of everything that happened before this meeting, being in this meeting and letting go of any things that will happen after this meeting, being here first tip. Second tip and this is coming from the MIT teachers that I had Otto Scharmer, through

[00:19:34] one of the trainings that I asked to have. Otto Scharmer is amazing he’s German. Anne, I don’t know if you know him. He’s amazing. I love him. I’m like, look him up. Yeah. Look him up. He wrote the Theory U, he facilitated the Theory U, and I’ve been trained as a Theory U, practitioner, and it’s all about when you make this space, when you take those breaths, when you are very mindful, then when you arrive in this meeting, you drop into what I call generative dialogue, deep generative listening, which creates generative dialogue. So you don’t arrive to this meeting with already the ideas with proving a point, with having to win this meeting, no, no, no.

[00:20:14] You come from a place of, we are going to co-create the solution together. We don’t know what it is yet. We’re all arriving with different pieces of a puzzle, and we are going to create together a beautiful things that we don’t know what it is yet. So the generative dialogue, open minds, open hearts that comes with it.

[00:20:36] And the deep listening is essential for me. So just embrace that. If you really struggle with understanding what I’m talking about, I wrote a blog about deep listening and generative dialogue, or you can check Otto Scharmer work. I just love his work, he’s one of my mentor, just kind of deep listening. And then the third thing is allowing the judgment to be, but letting it go straight away.

[00:21:02] So rather than being stuck in the judgment mind. You’re just like acknowledging it. Oh, okay. I’m judgmental right now. This is it, let it be, let it go and you carry on. And then it’s easier to go back to center because you’ve experienced center at the beginning of the meeting with your breath. Then you’ve committed to co-creation generative dialogue, deep listening.

[00:21:23] And then when you catch yourself in judgment, because we all have the monkey mind. I am human. It happens to me a lot as well. Then I can go back to square one. I am deeply there, deeply listening? Oh, I’m judging myself. Let’s go back. So it’s just a movement. 

[00:21:38] Anne: Hmm. I love that. Thanks for sharing. And I think one thing to add there is also, I always when I tell or explain it to my clients too, about judgment I think a big, important thing is also when we want to accept judgment, because you said, oh yeah, I’m judging.

[00:21:50] Okay. Let it go. Or I think a key I thing to know there is also that it’s such a it’s a human survival mechanism, right? Like we are, we are, we all have this instant judgment ingrained in our ourselves because it is based on survival. Right? We need to, at any given point in time, especially back in the days, nowadays, not so much, but, but we need to know that we’re safe.

[00:22:10] So automatically our brain will, will assess every situation. It will assess every human we meet, within milliseconds, every situation we were in, everything that’s happening to us and constantly look out for threats, but because it does that, it constantly judges everything that’s going on, it judges ourselves and our actions.

[00:22:28] And so the problem there is that often we’re not really under threat, right? Not under live threat luckily, right. But it’s obviously these things can happen to us. Of course we can meet people maybe that we don’t feel quite comfortable with. But often it’s actually not that, big of a threat.

[00:22:41] Right. So I think just knowing that it’s a very natural mechanism, I find always like my rational mind, my engineering mind likes that because it’s just like, oh yeah, of course. Yeah. Okay. It’s not that I’m doing anything wrong. It’s actually like, you know, it’s just, it’s actually useful for survival to know that I’m safe or not, but sometimes it gets in the way cause we get so caught up in it.

[00:23:00] And then we, as you said, you entered this spiral of like judging, oh, I’m judging. Oh, why am I judging again? And off you go… So I always love for people that love the facts or the rational mind sometimes enjoys that, knowing that it’s completely normal and it’s actually there for a purpose, but it doesn’t always serve you that well.

[00:23:19] Laetitia: Hmm. And with what you shared where I love it. It’s a fight and flight response, right? If you’re always on the go. If you’re always on survival, if you have no psychological safety in your team, if you’re just always, always, always feeling like someone wants to get you, then you’re not mindful because you’re stuck in that.

[00:23:39] But this is natural as you’ve said. So how might you with a few deep breaths, with a few rituals, anythings that can help you to step back and connect with your parents on positive. Nervous system and connect with this beautiful abilities that you have to see things differently from a different perspective and accepting from someone else in your team, a challenging perspective on some things that you’ve suggested, but actually this is gold because this is what’s gonna make this amazing innovation to emerge.

[00:24:13] Anne: Yeah. So that leads quite well into the benefits of mindful leadership because we, if we are able to stay present and stay open guys, cause you said before being open to, you know, not getting into a meeting with already trying to prove a point or with your opinions, your ideas, and kind of having that generative dialogue of being open for working on something together and come up with whatever the best solution looks like.

[00:24:35] And no matter who comes up with that, right. It’s just as a team, whatever comes out of our minds together. So that’s obviously one big benefit, right? If we’re mindful of that, if we are calm, if you’re present, if we’re centered, we can allow other ideas to come up. What would you say are the benefits of being a mindful leader?

[00:24:51] Laetitia: So conflict. Uh, less likely to arise. Of course, you always have conflict when you lead a team. When you’re a leader, you always have political situation or rational situation, or, you know, the sales and the marketing and all of that may not go together or, you know, the operations, all of that, I experienced it, but what’s happening is when you are mindful, conflicts tend to be dealt very different.

[00:25:18] Because you come into that saying, I am here to find a resolution with you. I am here today to come and connect with you. Understand what’s happening for you in your team, in the creation of this product, that we have the crazy innovative idea to create and just understand and find a solution together.

[00:25:38] So conflicts tend to arise less when they arise, you’ll find a resolution way quicker. So the third thing is really the creativity, when you are mindful and when you come from that place of, you know, saying, and I used to say, sometimes my team, they were used to me being a bit ‘woo’ at the end, but I would say, okay, we are opening this meeting with an open heart and open mind, and we are open to receive whatever is coming up.

[00:26:04] And basically when you do that, when you’re like, let’s brainstorm, let’s go create, and let’s not judge anyone’s idea. We just put everything on the board. This is when you make space for creativity, creative thinking, and ideas that you have never thought of come together as a group, as a team, you can, co-create the things that was not there before.

[00:26:28] So creativity is a huge benefit. And if I have to mention the fourth one, because it’s coming up now, so I’m just going to release it, as it wants to come, it’s really making you feel better, simple, but you don’t, you’re not as anxious in your body. You’re not as anxious to go to those meetings. You’re not you know, stressed out as much and you don’t burn out as much, you’re just more connected with yourself and with the people around you, you will notice that even the wellbeing of your team will increase because then you’re very mindful. You’re like, oh, this guy is not feeling really well. Maybe I should ask him what’s happening. You know, you’re just, you’re more connected on a deeper level to your community, your team, and everyone’s, that’s working around you.

[00:27:14] So you take the human being in its ecosystem rather than just this person said that to me in this meeting. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:27:23] Anne: So I think to, to kind of summarize that, right, there’s a big part about your own wellbeing, your stress levels, which will lead also into your resilience. Right? Resilience has obviously been such a big topic over the last two years, cause we all had to deal with so many changes on a big and high level.

[00:27:36] That resilience has been something that a lot of people were craving to build for themselves. So by being more mindful and managing our stress levels early on, right, we can increase our resilience quite automatically. And then the last part you said, I think is so powerful because I think that’s something that my clients always are, you know, that’s where.

[00:27:54] Great. It’s about relationships. It’s about the people you said right at the start, something like putting the human at the center. Right. And I think that’s what we stand for as the leaders that we are, that we, and the things that we want to create. And the change in the world is actually really building better relationships.

[00:28:09] Making everybody feel seen, feel heard, feel safe, but being who they are. Right. So I think like better relationships, better connection is a big part that comes out of mindful leadership. 

[00:28:19] Laetitia: Exactly it ends with you know, the great resignation or, you know, all the things that are happening in the corporate world right now, a lot of people are actually kind of looking to exit some of the organizations as a part of, if you create this deep connections is deep relationships, then your team is thriving and the people tend to stay together for longer, which is exactly what happened for me. I said for six year and a half in the big corporation, I was in Telstra.

[00:28:49] And actually I stayed with most of the same people within my team and of course my team grew at the end I had around 40 people, but they stayed. And when I left a lot of them left because we created this bond together. We were like family in a way. 

[00:29:07] Anne: Yeah. But that’s the thing, right? People, people crave connection at work and in personal life.

[00:29:11] And that’s what makes them feel safe and seen and appreciated. And that’s why they stay. And I think that’s why it’s so important as leaders, we really have that role and we have that privilege to create that connection, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. We can really have a big impact.

[00:29:26] Positively and negatively on the life of the people that we lead. So if we can be mindful of that, I think we can change the world. So much change we can create. 

[00:29:36] One other thing I do want to touch on, cause I think it’s really important and connect s to two big part of the work that I do.

[00:29:42] Obviously my company is called Lead Like You, so figuring out like how can we be at our best? Like how can we lead with our strengths, with who we are authentically. And I think when we look at your journey and obviously I know a little bit more about you than the listeners too, or the people on the screens, right.

[00:29:57] But you’ve went through a journey. Starting in the corporate world and kind of having separate your spirituality and your corporate persona, were almost like two different people right at the start. And then over the years, when you probably with the big life shift of, of burning out and feeling really stressed out, was that the moment when you were like, hang on, I need to connect it?

[00:30:20] Like going through the shift of connecting it slowly. And you said here in your leadership role in Australia, you were able to just lead differently and you were, became known for it. And you created a whole new culture. What would you say? Was it mindfulness about self and self-awareness, that has led you to tune into who you really are, because I think it’s quite beautiful to see that you’ve over that journey of leading that you actually managed to become more of who you really are by the end of your leadership journey.

[00:30:49] And I think that’s something that I work on with my clients and that’s the vision I have for everyone that we are who we are when we are leaders. So what would you say has allowed you to make that shift? What was the biggest catalyst and how did you find, I guess the confidence and the belief that you could become that person?

[00:31:07] Laetitia: Oh, my gosh. It’s such a beautiful question and so deep and it takes me back when you were asking the question that I am very visual and kinesthetic. So I could feel, you know, is this person that I was when I was starting in strategy consulting. So I come from a family of farmers, of deeply rooted into the earth, connected to nature, a very spiritual, healer.

[00:31:33] I started meditation at the age of five, all of that, but what happened? They didn’t study. They didn’t do any, you know, superiors, you know, uh, the didn’t go to university. All of that. I went to university to one of the best business school in France and then entered one of the best consulting firms. So what happened is I just kind of stepped away from my roots and being like, no, no, I’m going this direction.

[00:31:59] This is pulling me down. And when I say that I feel a bit of emotion because now of course I reconciled it too. But at the time I was like, no, I’m extracting myself from this background from this culture from, you know, being very earthy and so on. And I go up. I was seeing that as going up and I go up, I I’m just going to be more into the rational, into the knowledge, into the science, into the data and all of that.

[00:32:30] So I’m going up, but what happened is at some point, the two persona, as you’ve described or the two, the roots and the branch of the tree, or the leaves were just too disconnected. And one day the elastic broke. And this is when I had my burnout. And when I had my burnout in the weeks that I took off for stillness and recharging and so on, I was reconnecting with my roots, with where I come from with my journey.

[00:33:02] I went to India when I was 21. I connected with Ayurveda with deep spiritual practices in India. And it’s when I burned out. In 2014 that I reconnected with India where I was in 2004. So 10 years before I reconnected those together, I reconnected with my childhood and the practices of EFT, of meditation. I reconnected the both, and I was like, this is it.

[00:33:28] It’s super powerful to have the science knowledge, the strategy that all of that. Which, and when I say that, I show the right side, which is funny, which is a divine masculine with my divine feminine energy, with all this connection, with nature and with all of that. So it came from a place of rupture of burnout, of broken.

[00:33:50] I try to help my client to reconcile the two before they’re there. You know, to just kind of not go through the same journey as I went through, because it’s very uncomfortable then to bring things together. But what happened is when I broke things together, then I was going back to the farm of migrant parents and asking them a lot of questions.

[00:34:09] I went back to my dad and I was fascinated about the mushroom and we’d go, you know, hikes. And so-and-so I asked him again, some question about nature, about all of that. So I reconnected with who I was. And then when I took this new role here in Australia, I just came as a whole. This is Laetitia. I am this person.

[00:34:32] I am deeply spiritual and deeply strategic and deeply innovative and deeply irrational. But at the same time, trusting in some stuff that is very in the invisible world. And we just, I just feel, I just have this intuition that this is the best way forward for this, or this is a pricing for this product.

[00:34:50] And sometimes it would ask me. Why is this pricing? I’m like, I just feel it’s, this is a, can we run some model business model behind it? Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s run some. And then of course it was good. You know? So it’s about bringing those two. So for me, it took me this moment of darkness. To reconcile the two, I I’ve seen people going through findings themselves without having to burn everything to the ground like I did, but for me it was really a rebirth, like a Phoenix rebirthing as a whole.

[00:35:21] Anne: And did you encounter any challenges in that corporate world by really being yourself? Did you feel like some people wanted to kind of, keep you quiet on that one side of yourself and how did you go with that? How did you manage it? 

[00:35:33] Laetitia: Hmm. 

[00:35:34] So, yeah, it’s definitely the emotional part of myself. The deeply empathetic part of myself was often raised in my, you know, and of your evaluation.

[00:35:45] And so on, was like the, how you a lot in the emotional, you have too much emotional. What about the rational and the political, you know, those different circles of rational the political and emotional, you need to be in balance with those three. Unfortunately, I’m deeply emotional and I’m deeply intuitive.

[00:36:02] So it was harder for me to be just in the political and just in the rational, the emotional was very present. So I will always remember all the time. The feedback I had was how can you, you know, it’s always how to, how can you lead less through your emotion lens? How can you embrace more the political and the rational lens?

[00:36:23] How can you, so it was coming quite often. This part of me, which was deeply emotional and yeah. Deeply empathetic. I am. So it was one of my main challenge. And the second challenge that I. I’ve been confronted to it’s when I was saying, no, we cannot take this project on because the team as too much on. So the, no, the, no that I stand for when I decide to be my whole self and to be mindful and looking at my team and all of that saying no to taking on more than what we could deliver.

[00:36:58] Sometimes it was like, you’re going to say no, like the CEO said, it’s a strategic project. I’m like, cool. So someone else will do it then, but it’s not for our team. It’s a, no. Are we going to pitch this client? We’re going to have to do this RFP by this time. No. And this no sometimes was not received as well, as I would have I loved it to be received.

[00:37:20] So yeah, 

[00:37:21] Anne: I think that’s, every time we step up for a boundaries, right? That’s why it’s so hard for people to, to hold their boundaries is because whenever we step up with our boundaries, whenever we make decisions, when we take command and that part, you know, in that moment you took command for your team.

[00:37:35] Like you stood up for your team. So whenever we make this stuff, tough decisions, The hard part about it is that it will create reactions. It will create people that might not agree with it. And so that’s where it, I think a lot of people struggle when making tough decisions is because the backlash or the emotional reactions of others.

[00:37:54] And I think that’s where it’s a lot about practicing and starting to feel more confident with holding our boundaries because putting front of mind why you’re doing that, I think that’s where connecting them to purpose, connecting to values, connecting to. What you are trying to achieve by saying no by holding your boundaries, I think becomes really important.

[00:38:11] What are you saying yes to one, when you say no to others? I think it’s really important so that I think that challenge, a lot of people can resonate with that. And I also think the emotional part, I think that a lot of people can probably resonate with that because I think that’s something that. I guess a lot of women here regularly that they’re just too emotional at work.

[00:38:31] And in the corporate world, there is no room for that. And I think it’s changing slightly, but I do think there’s still this whole issue in the corporate world where and that’s also where I guess my motivation comes from with the strengths-based development of my clients is really helping them work out their strength, especially if they’re different to what society has

[00:38:52] somehow named and claimed as leadership strength. Right? So, and, and often we get criticized for things that are not necessarily seen as the old school leadership traits or the characteristics of leaders who have to be tough and authority driven and, you know, like it all has to be autocratic and there’s no room for the human in the, in the equation.

[00:39:12] And I think. It’s so important for us to understand and embrace that that’s what makes you actually unique. And when you reflect it, you right at the start, you said your team here, you created a team that was thriving. You created a team where people were engaged, where your retention was amazing. Yeah. People would stick around. People would want to come onto your team. So you created something. Absolutely amazing. And the problem there is. That connection between you leading with your emotions and your empathy resulting in a strong team like that. Some people can’t see that connection yet. And I think that’s where it’s about.

[00:39:48] It’s so important that we talk about this and see that’s your strength. You were leading with your strength. You were connecting to your intuition, which is your strength and creating something really powerful and successful still in the business. And I think that’s where it’s so impressive to see that you were able to still stick to that.

[00:40:05] And even if it they said, you know, turned on your emotions that you were able to to embrace it? 

[00:40:12] Laetitia: Yes, I think it was the younger me when I was in strategy consulting when would tell me to kind of deal with my emotion in that time, before I burned out, I was trying to do it, but I couldn’t, I was connecting with my client on a deeper level.

[00:40:29] And that’s why as a client, we’re buying more projects. Gosh, she’s quite good at what she does. So maybe we’re going to let her do her thing, but still it was coming up. So I was trying, but in the second phase, in my rebirth and my fanning space, I was like, I know it works. I know this is how I am. You don’t like it? Just let me go. And this is something and you’ve witnessed it, Anne, I was really ready to be let go. I was like, you don’t like it. That’s fine. So often we have this. As leader, we have to conform. We have to be like this other leader, or like we compare. And this is where I love your strengths based approach.

[00:41:11] But this is where also you need to know that if you play to your strengths, if you are the unique leaders that you are meant to be, it will work out. You will be, it won’t be making sense for anyone else, but you. But this is what’s going to happen. And just what happened with me, I was like, I just don’t care. I do it in the way I want to do it.

[00:41:33] And this one, you know, Hey, do you want to take this on? Do you want to grow your team? Do you want to promotional? Like, I’m just doing my thing and I’m enjoying it. So just kind of following through with this is really powerful because then it creates a stickiness with the team, as we’ve mentioned before, but also.

[00:41:51] This unique abilities that you have to be a changemaker in your organization. And to be a leader, seen like, oh gosh, she’s owning it. Or is owning it in a way that is so different than never seen before. And I think when you start owning this, it, you, you can’t say what’s going to happen, but this is what, and I think I’ve shared that with you.

[00:42:13] Anne I went for an interview. To be recruited as a partner of a big consulting firm here in Australia. When I was about to exit the corporate world, you know, the universe always send you sign. So it was like, Hey, do you want to go there? It would have been my dream job two years ago. So I went for the interview.

[00:42:29] I tell you, I showed up like with a dress, probably like this, not with my consulting outfit, like the beautiful suit on, no, I showed up with the dress. Showed up. Like I am not with high hill nothing. I went to this interview so relaxed. So me being like, this is my values, this is what I care about. The work-life balance is essential.

[00:42:50] I don’t want to be on project for those kinds of firms that have a negative impact on tomorrow. We’re like, yeah, we want you in, but I’m not at all. And I went to this interview really to see, you know, what would happen. Yeah. Own who you are, and then I’m telling you magic will happen. 

[00:43:09] Anne: Hundred percent. Oh, beautiful. I think that’s a very good closing sentence there.

[00:43:15] And I think I normally ask my guests what it means for them to lead like you, but I think you kind of summarized it there already quite well. What it means for you and yeah, I think that’s a beautiful message to take away. So. Thank you so much for being a guest and for sharing your story so openly and vulnerably, and also sharing your wisdom around, uh, mindful leadership.

[00:43:36] If people would love to connect with you, where can they find you? 

[00:43:39] Laetitia: So I love to hang out on Instagram @essential.shift. Otherwise, if you’re more a LinkedIn kind of person, you can find me Laetitia Andrac. If you don’t know how to spell it. 

[00:43:52] Anne: It’ll be in the show notes. 

[00:43:54] Laetitia: I’m sure. And yeah, and I am under my website www.essentialshift.co

[00:44:01] So yeah, looking forward to connect, don’t hesitate to message me with your aha moments after this episode and thank you Anne for having me. 

[00:44:09] Anne: Amazing. Thank you so much. And thanks everyone for tuning in. Bye.