Ep 84: Magic of Milestones 1

On this episode of Communicate for Good, Erica poses and discusses the following introspective questions: 

“What do I want to do?” 

“Who do I want to be?” 

“What are my internal and external motivations?”

She explains how answering these questions can help you determine the necessary shifts required in order to become the person and leader you want to be. She also addresses the relationship between motivations and validation, and the importance of knowing when validations are wanted or needed externally and when those can/should be sourced from within. 

Resources referenced:

The Gap and the Gain by Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy


A Survival Guide for Leaders by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky



This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!


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Welcome to the Communicate for Good podcast where leaders on a mission to make the world a better place come to talk and learn about how communication language and words can help increase awareness, revenue and impact. With less stress and more joy. I’m your host, Erica Mills Barnhart, and I’m so excited. You’re here with me. Let’s dive right in.

Now, if you’re new to the podcast, let’s talk quickly about Communicating for Good at the individual level. This episode is focused squarely on you as a person and a leader, so in the Communicate for Good model, when you communicate for good you communicate for the good of yourself, your team, your organization, and my extrapolation the world. The team and the organization and the world, these are aggregates of the work that you do at the individual level, and so your work around communicating is so important. I want to say thank you for being somebody who wants to do that work and is willing to do it and figure out how you can communicate most successfully for you, and most authentically for you. 

Birthdays are what we refer to as a milestone. I had to look that up. I was like, really, was it a stone that indicated each mile? It was yes, that’s exactly what it was. Thank you Romans, at least that’s who it’s attributed to. It was basically a way of saying, Ahh, I have progressed, I was there and now I am here. When we get to these “I am now here moments,” especially with birthdays, the question that we ask is like, what do I want to do this year? That’s totally legit, like I have things I want to do this year. But there’s another question, and I don’t want to shift a little bit to being in the organizational space as a human and leadership. There’s another question that can help you prioritize the doing that can help you answer that first question. And often you end up answering it maybe a little differently. And that question, of course is who do I want to be? Who do I want to be later today? Next week, next month, next year? At my next birthday? Who do I want to be? And you can you can answer this personally and professionally and or professionally? If you wanna bust out a life wheel and do it for the different areas of your life that is totally great. It’s a very interesting question, Who do I want to be? And you know, I’ve worked with clients on this all time I’m forever asking this, if that’s where you want to go and that’s what you want to achieve then who do you need to be? Right? What shifts do you need to make? In order to be the person who can achieve those goals? Who do you need to be? Who am I to be like, I’m gonna wave my Wild Magic Wand, I’m going to be this other person. You’re not going to be another person. You’re not going to be another person, you’re still going to be you. This is, which version of me, what am I ready to let go? What do I want to do more of, bring more of, what do I want to be? And you do get to choose, to a great extent you get to choose, you don’t get to choose everything right? But to a great extent you can. 

Now what’s interesting is this question both of what do I want to do but also who do I want to be? And again, this extrapolates to all areas, but let’s think about it most in terms of a professional context. This boils down to to a certain extent, and Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy in the book The Gap and the Gain, which I’ve talked about a lot recently on this podcast because I I just think it’s really it’s powerful mental construct, they talk about intrinsic and extrinsic success factors. And I think you’ve heard of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, which are what are the things that like, you know, jazz you up? And do you source those from within? Like, if it happens, you’re psyched for you. And it doesn’t matter if you get any external validation? And or what are the extrinsic exterior things that had to happen for you to feel good about that. An easy peasy one for me is working out. Yes, that’s personal. I don’t need anybody to be like, yeah, you go girl, because I love working out because it feels amazing. And I have commitments to myself around doing it. And most importantly, for me, at this stage in life for my mental health, just keeping me centered and focused and grounded with momentum going on. If nobody else ever noticed that I’m working out, I’m good! But there are other things, like, I just started a class that did not go as well as I had hoped. And I had worked really hard to put this class together. On balance I do well, with teaching, you know, it’s a reason that I that I like to do it, that I love doing it. And that’s extrinsic motivation, right? It’s this external validation piece. And so it was, it was actually a really stark reminder to me, that as it relates to teaching, how it goes for the students really matters to me, and that they weren’t thrilled with the course, they were less than thrilled, that was really hard. So unlike, like me working out, I need both intrinsic and extrinsic validation, right, and so on the motivation, you know there’s this relationship between validation and motivation. Of course, if I don’t have that validation, I’m less motivated so then I have to source that from within. Right? And then I have to source that from within being able to source from within and also be aware of when you need or want that externally is really important. We all need a combination. 

Dan and Ben and their book are like success factors. You want what you want, because you want it, and it’s all about you. I’m on board with that to a certain extent, right? You don’t always want to be keeping up with the Joneses, that’s exhausting. It’s exhausting, but also I think we just have to be real that most of us have both a need, you know, a need for some external validation, but being clear on when you really do and when actually this is a just for me type thing and if nobody had fives I’m good, is very powerful. And this question of who do I want to be, is all about you and what you want. Right? So when you think about this, and when I work with leaders, again, we’re asking this question a lot. And they’ll go to, Who do you want to be as a leader? And oftentimes, this will be about the impact on others, which is fabulous, because that is being in service to your team and your organization. And then it’s who do you need to be to lead in the way you want? What adjustments might you need to make in terms of your skill set and your mindset. Fundamentally, as a reminder, leadership means to see one’s own way and that is not to the exclusion of others. But it is a nod that I need to be centered for myself in order to be in service to others. So what did we know? Is there a, it turns the adjustments, differentiating between a skill set upgrade or a mindset upgrade? You know, what does it mean to be? So skill set, they might be, I need to become a better listener, I need to be better at public speaking. If this is on your list, go back and listen to episode 78 through 80 because they did a three-part series on becoming a confident public speaker. Maybe it’s public speaking, maybe it’s asking questions. Right? Maybe it’s asking questions. Mindset is, you know, more things around adaptive leadership, right? There’s this idea from Heifetz of are you dancing on the balcony or the floor with your people you get off the balcony and go to the dance floor and be with your people in order to sleep? You need to be able to go back and forth. But fundamentally, this is probably combo meal of mindset and skill set, right? Because the skill set is discernment of I know when I need to be up there and I know when I need to be down here. And then it’s the mindset, am I in the trenches and am I doing the work with my people or my up there noticing the bigger picture? Those are different mindset spaces to be in. 

So who do you want to be? You know, you can wait for your big day, your birthday, if you want to, but you can use mine. Go for it! Like I said, I love me my birthday! Maybe this is a good time to pause. Just get curious about who do you want to be and see what you learn. Right? I would say that like, as I what was striking to me when I was doing this reflecting is that I’m in a phase of life where a lot of things, I’m like, just more of that. Kind of more of the same and not more in terms of quantity, just, let’s keep doing that, you know, time with family, healthy eating, working out although I’m nursing a shoulder injury so I’d like that to think I’d like to work through that I don’t want more of that, thank you. It is also about connecting with my friends preferably over food or while walking. Professionally, I want to be of service in the highest way possible to my clients, my students, my podcast listeners. How I may do that, I may evolve that a little bit, but it’s a pretty delicious place to be like, I just want to do more of that. Just more of that, right? As somebody who’s trying to completely break up with over-achieving it was a really interesting realization. I share that because you might be surprised. You might be surprised that it’s more about more of the same as opposed to these big goals, bigger and better and all the rest of it. At least that’s the case for me, and I reserve the right to change my mind. I reserve the right to change my mind as things get going. 

Who you want to be later today, tomorrow, next week, next year. Whenever, whatever time horizon works for you. You get to decide. If you need a little help figuring this out, book a Discovery Call with me. Let’s explore it together. You don’t need to do this alone although again, fundamentally, this choice is yours about who you want to be. Do good. Be well, and I will see you next time. 

Thank you for listening to the communicate for good podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, I would so appreciate it if you would right here right now. Go rate and review the podcast. Your review will help even more purpose driven leaders, teams and organizations. Learn how to use words to change the world. To find more ways that communication can help you increase awareness, revenue and impact. Head on over to www.claxon-communication.com

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?