How to make the right decisions for your business with Kelly Campbell

How do you know when to trust yourself to make the right decisions for your business?

That’s just one of many topics covered in Part 2 of my conversation with Kelly Campbell, Conscious Leadership Coach for agency owners and host of the Thrive podcast. (To hear Part 1, Episode #431, Friction and Happiness in Business, as well as my appearance on her Thrive podcast, you'll find all of that here.)

Kelly and I picked up we left off in Episode #431 and covered so many inter-related topics, from what it means to be happy at work (and where does that happiness come from) to what exactly is intuition and how do we use it to trust ourselves – and others – to ensure that we make the right decisions in our businesses. 

Here’s one baby step you can take to help make decisions:

The next time you have a big decision to make – or even a small one – stop yourself, restrain yourself and try what Kelly suggested to access your intuition or the inner wisdom in yourself. 

Here’s how: close your eyes and imagine having made the decision one way. Then observe yourself.

  • How does that actually feel in your body?
  • Where do you notice a sensation?
  • What does that sensation look like, feel like, smell like, taste like?
  • Is it positive? Is it negative?
  • Does it have a color associated with it?
Then do the exact same thing with the other options. And let me know how it goes.

    Listen to the entire episode here (and below) You can also scroll down to read the transcript.  

    And if you like what you hear, we’d love it if you write a review, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and sign up for Quick Tips from Marketing Mentor.

    Transcript of Podcast #437 — Kelly Campbell Part 2

    ilise benun

    Hi there, this is ilise benun, your Marketing Mentor. And this is the podcast for you if, and only if, you are ready to leave the feast or famine syndrome behind, and I mean for good.

    I love this new conversation with Kelly Campbell of klcampbell.com. She's a conscious leadership coach, among other things you'll hear when I asked her to introduce herself. Kelly and I picked up where we left off in Episode 431 and we covered so many interrelated topics: from what it means to be happy at work and where does that happiness come from, to what exactly is intuition and how do we use it to trust our ourselves and others to ensure that we make the right decisions in our businesses? Since it's a new year, I'll also be introducing a few new elements to the end of the podcast, starting in this episode. So, listen and learn.

    Hello Kelly, welcome back to the podcast.

    Kelly Campbell 

    I'm so excited to be back.

    ilise benun

    And we are just going to pick up the conversation where we left off, kinda, because we had a lot to talk about and I think I only got to one of my questions. And so, let's just begin, though, where I always like to begin, with you introducing yourself.

    Kelly Campbell

    Yeah, happy to. So I am Kelly Campbell. I am a conscious leadership and agency growth coach. I work predominantly with, or I should say exclusively with, leaders of creative media and technology agencies or firms. And I focus most of my work on trauma-informed coaching, trauma-informed leadership coaching, as part of that offering.

    And the other side of that is agency-growth consulting. So, it's sort of a hybrid between working on the individual as an agency leader, helping them with self-development, self-confidence, self-care, things along those lines. And then also on the business side from a tactical sense, helping with business development, all types of strategy, operations, culture, etc. So, growth in all the ways that we mean growth, personally and professionally.

    ilise benun

    Yeah. And actually, that's kind of a good segue to where we left off because in our Part One, which I will link to, so people can find it, we talked a lot about evolution, how to not drag your baggage into your future. And we also talked about this idea of using your business as a laboratory for your professional growth, yes, of course, but also I believe for your personal growth. And I know that anyone can do that in any job, but I think it's especially opportune when you're self-employed, when you have more control over what you do and how you do it. So we didn't really get a chance to talk too much about that. So let's start there. What would you say? What are your thoughts about that idea?

    Kelly Campbell

    I do think that when you have so much more responsibility on your shoulders, of course, you're going to have to encounter some things that might be uncomfortable. And of course, it's in that discomfort where we really grow. 

    I think anyone who's been through something pretty catastrophic or altering in their lives, they realize that there's a lot of growth that comes out of that. Whether that be a death of someone close to you or a divorce, or getting laid off and having the opportunity to start a business.

    Whatever the thing is that happens, I think that you encounter that a lot when you own your own business, whatever type of business it is, because you're constantly being given these different challenges or encountering different types of adversity or just encountering things you've never encountered before. And so there's a lot of growth, a lot of curiosity, a lot of learning, and also a lot of discomfort. And I think now, it's great, a of people are talking about that discomfort more and more. People are getting more vulnerable; sharing their struggles, whether those are personal or professional. And yeah, I think it gives you a great opportunity that you may not have had if you were an employee or had a leadership role inside of an organization.

    ilise benun 

    Right. And I think this also connects to one of the ideas we touched on a little bit last time, but I also wanted to dig more deeply into, which is the idea of being happy with work, happy at your work.  Because how do we reconcile the goal—is it a goal of being happy with the work—with the discomfort that is inevitable with growing and learning?

    Kelly Campbell

    So, I think that there's a couple of things to tease out here. I think there's a difference between being happy with your work, being happy at work and making your work the reason for your happiness. Those are three very, very different things. And so, I think we get into some interesting territory, which may not pan out the way that you're hoping if you are like me and really thinking that the work—in my case, my cause marketing agency—was going to provide happiness to me. And ultimately, I was looking to fill a void. I wasn't happy within myself, and therefore I was looking externally for all different manner of things that would "make me happy."

    And so, I think, yeah, you get into some tricky things there. Being happy with your work is part of having pride in what you're putting out; the impact that you're making on your clients' lives and businesses. And then being happy at work is more, I would think, culture. It's more, "Is my team humming along? Are we collaborative? Are we innovative? Are we working through some of the uncomfortable conversations of late? Are we supporting one another?" So, I think that these things are … happiness as part of work, I think, has a couple of different pillars, if you will.

    ilise benun

    That all makes sense, and I'm glad you made those distinctions, and I feel like we could do a Part Three just on those three distinctions. Perhaps we will but, as you're talking, I'm also thinking about two things, because I want to connect this idea of where does the happiness come from? Is it internal or external, basically. And really, is it happiness? Because for me, I don't ever think about happy, number one, for some reason—like that's not a word I use. And I'm not looking to be happy if, in, or with, or at, work. I think of it more as a sense of well-being.

    Kelly Campbell

    Okay.

    ilise benun

    And maybe it's just semantics, I don't know. But I don't even think about the word “happy” as it relates to myself. I'm not sure why. I just don't identify with that word. I think of it more, and I'm aware more lately, of a sense of well-being, and that's my goal. 

    And I guess the point I was trying to make also is that often the words we use have a lot of baggage and predetermined definitions. And so, I like the idea of coming up with not a new word, but a new way of thinking about something so that we can find our own definition of that. And so that's kind of what I'm doing with the idea of well-being.

    Kelly Campbell

    I like the idea of well-being. I do think it might be semantics. I think we’re probably saying exactly the same thing. If I use “happy” or other people use “happy” and you're saying “well-being” or “a sense of wellness,” for me, it's about “fulfillment.” I actually like that word more than happy. 

    That's the one that I use if I'm talking about myself or the work that I do. Feeling a sense of fulfillment in what I'm doing, the impact it's having, how I feel about myself, how I'm being of service—all of the stuff that's wrapped up in that. And obviously the financial aspect of it, as well. So for me, yeah, it's more fulfillment, but I like well-being. And if people are comfortable with happy, that's fine. But to roll back to your original question, is it internal, or can we source happiness externally? Hands down, it has to come from internally. 

    If you cannot—and I'll use the word “love” because I'm unapologetic about that—if you don't love yourself first and foremost, you cannot love other people. And when I say “love” in this context, you cannot show up in a way that you want to, for your employees or other people in your life or your professional world, even. 

    And so, I think that this goes back to our Part One about the idea of bringing ... wherever we go, we bring ourselves with us, right? So, if you're bringing some unhealed stuff along with you in your personal and professional life, then that might be an area to look at, because if you're trying to source happiness externally, it's kind of a losing proposition.

    ilise benun

    Yeah. I agree. And it's one of those things I think that's just so much easier said than done.

    Kelly Campbell

    Oh totally. It's so much work.

    ilise benun

    Right? It's so much work. We don't want to …

    Kelly Campbell

    On-going, lifelong work.

    ilise benun

    Yeah, exactly. We don't want to underestimate, "Oh, you just have to love yourself." We don't want to underrate what it actually involves.

    Kelly Campbell

    And that's different for every person, PS.

    ilise benun

    Exactly. Yeah. And the path is different and the light bulbs are different. Everything is totally different. But I think what I'm wanting to try to get at, also, is one of the byproducts, I would say, of shifting the source of one's happiness, well-being, fulfillment, whatever you want to call it, from the outside to the inside gives you access to this thing I call “intuition.”

    I've been very attentive to my own intuition over the last couple of years. And so I just want to start by maybe defining it a little bit and then hearing how you think about it. To me, it's knowing something without knowing how I know it, but there's a knowing that I trust—and it's not like it's always right to trust that—but there's a quality of listening to myself instead of listening to what's outside.

    Kelly Campbell

    You got it. Yeah. So I would define intuition as inner wisdom. And I like the words that you're using around “the knowing,” I would call that “deep knowing,” and trust in terms of trusting yourself. I think all of those are components of intuition. And I think for a long time, we just, I guess, as a society, here especially in the states, we've kind of discounted intuition, for a long time.

    We refer to it, especially in the business world, as a “gut feeling” or a “gut sense,” but we discount it. And I think that there's a reason why, but that's a whole ‘nother show. But especially in the business world, we tend to say, "Well, we can't just go based on feeling. Oh my God. That can't actually be fruitful. We have to go based on data and numbers and we cannot let emotion into the situation."

    And while there is a drip of truth to that, I think that we are very wise as humans. And I think that the more that we can trust ourselves—and this goes back to loving yourself—but the more that you love yourself, the more that you trust yourself that you are the subject matter expert of your own life, that deep knowing starts to grow. And it becomes a little bit louder. It starts off as a very soft, inner voice and it gets louder. And to the point where you start checking in with yourself, "How does this feel to me?"

    I'll give you more of a concrete example. If you are weighing a particular decision … I do this with my coaching clients often: "Does this feel more right? Does this feel more right?" Well, how do you actually know? How do you start to trust yourself? So what I do is I have them close their eyes and say out loud, or just in their mind's eye, "Okay, I'm going to make the decision this way. I'm going to choose path A."

    How does that actually feel in their body? Where do they notice a sensation? What does that sensation look like, feel like, smell like, taste like? What is that all about? Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it have a color associated with it? 

    And then do the exact same thing with the option B. And a hundred percent of the time, your body will have a reaction. That's inner wisdom. So, I challenge people to use that. If you think this is kind of airy-fairy, and there's no way that intuition is like a real thing, try it the next time you have to make a decision.

    ilise benun 

    So, I wrote down a bunch of things while you were talking. All connected in my mind, but I'm not sure if I articulate them they'll sound like they're connected, but I'm going to try. One is that I don't think of intuition as a feeling. And so when people say, when they define it as a gut feeling, I make a distinction there and say, "No, it isn't actually a feeling.” 

    I think it's more about the knowing and the wisdom as opposed to the feeling, but that could also be semantics. But to me, the feeling part that gets in the way is when you want something or when there's some kind of desire involved, that I sometimes see it as an obstacle with people.

    And so in the example that you used, my approach would be more like: We're looking for the right thing to do. What is the best thing for you? If you could get out of your own way and see what the best thing would be for you—and often that means removing the: "I want this to happen" or the wish, and somehow being able to see “this is what's right”—that there's this sense of what's right, even as it relates to you making your own decision. 

    And then, the idea of trust, trusting yourself, learning to trust yourself, listening for a voice that's very faint usually, and then grows stronger and stronger … I also don't want to ignore the other aspect, which is trusting others. 

    There are certain others that you can trust when you can't yet trust yourself. And that is connected to something I was thinking about this morning, where a project that I'm working on, which is going really well and I can't really take credit for it because it was not originally my idea, and I just came up with something and tried it, but it seems to be very successful, and so I was thinking about how trusting someone else who said, "Why don't you try this," is the key to all of the things I've achieved, actually. And there were so many years where I just didn't want to hear feedback from anyone, I think because I didn't trust myself to determine whether or not that was the right feedback for me. So, I don't know, make what you will out of any of that, Kelly.

    Kelly Campbell

    No, it's good. But basically, you're confirming this idea that, in order to—and we can insert anything here—in order to X others, you have to X yourself, right? So, in order to trust others, you have to trust yourself. In order to love others, you have to love yourself. This comes back to “it is all interconnected.” I see it very clearly that, it all comes back to, if I have it within, then I can have it without, on the external. 

    But I like the idea of what you said about, I guess maybe I would call it like a caveat. Or just like a little,"Hey, watch out for..." This idea about, if you're thinking about making a decision and you're trying to lean into: "Okay, what's right? What is the right thing to do?" making sure that you're not clouding it with desire.

    And so, I think this actually, for me … you talk about the idea of “feeling” being the thing that might get in the way of that. I look at it the exact opposite. I think if we can get out of our heads, because desire is mental. It's intellectual, it's emotional, but it's certainly in our minds. Let's, at least, kind of level set there. 

    Your body, though, where that inner wisdom, that intuition, lies, I think if you get out of your head and into the body, I think it's a really important distinction. Getting into the body … there's a difference between feeling something in your body and thinking something in your mind, or having an emotional reaction. They are different. And so, yes, you have to be conscious that if you are thinking, "Hey, should I decision path A or B," not thinking, overthinking it too much, and going with the particular option that is your desired outcome. 

    I think getting back into the body and saying, "Okay, what does it feel like if I were to move in the direction of option A and actually have that? Could I visualize myself there? What would it feel like in my body?” And then obviously do the same with B. And again, we're just using a very amorphous example about decision-making. But I think this actually holds true for just getting into the practice of getting back into our bodies, because we are so disconnected, so disconnected at this point. So yeah. I don't know if that was the answer to your …

    ilise benun

    Yeah. What I'm thinking also is I make a distinction. I agree with you about a lot of people overthinking, number one. And the older I get, the more I see how much wisdom there is in my body. And I'm reading a really interesting book right now about the immune system, since we're all so focused on our immune systems, called Cured, which is about how we just really have to let the immune system do what it knows how to do.

    Kelly Campbell

    Amen.

    ilise benun

    But I also make a distinction between emotion and feeling, and I think of feelings as fake, actually, and emotions as real.

    Kelly Campbell

    That's interesting. Oh my God. Tell me more about that.

    ilise benun

    All right, a little bit. And then we'll put a bookmark and continue the conversation.

    Kelly Campbell

    Okay. All right. Deal. I'm just super curious. Feelings are fake?! Oh my God. Such a provocative statement.

    ilise benun

    Right. So I think number one, that feelings are addictive. That a lot of us just do certain feelings over and over and over, like a habit, like an addiction. Some people do anger. Some people do fear. Actually, fear is a huge one. People are just automatically afraid of this or that. And I'm very suspicious. Like, really? You're really afraid of that? Because it's very accepted to be afraid of certain things, as opposed to really looking deeply and saying, "Wait, why am I resisting that?" 

    So, I have a whole theory that is influenced by other people that I believe about fake feelings, as opposed to emotion—which is a little bit harder to describe and define. But I think it's in the body, not that feelings aren't in the body, because certainly they are. But that there's just this other level. Maybe we could say it's a higher level of response that is real and that I would call “emotion.”

    Kelly Campbell

    Oh, I love this. This is interesting. So as you were talking about why you believe feelings are fake, I was jotting down that I originally had this response of like, "Oh my God, what do you mean?" And then I realized the way that you're describing it, it's the same thing that I say. But the way I say it is different. 

    So, feelings of fear or anger or reactivity or all of these things—and from the outside perspective you are looking at it like, "Wow, you're ... that's really what your reaction is going to be, or that's really what your response is going to be?" Those are fake. I would call them “false narratives from unhealed childhood trauma.” So sure, you say “fake,” I say “false.” That's interesting.

    ilise benun

    Yes, it is. And maybe we can wrap up and I'll give one personal example. I used to cry at the drop of a hat.

    Kelly Campbell

    Oh girl. You and me both.

    ilise benun

    Especially when I was angry. And so my fake anger reaction was tears. And it was just totally automatic. I could not control it. And to me that was an example of a fake feeling that I was addicted to until, I can't even explain to you how I stopped doing it, but I don't do it anymore. I changed myself to the point where I don't do that anymore. I don't even remember the person who used to do that. It's not me.

    Kelly Campbell

    Yeah. I resonate with that very much. From my perspective, I don't know much about your story or where that comes from, but I can say I've had the same lived experience and mine was a trauma response. And I won't say that I don't do it anymore, but I do it a lot less, a lot less. And all this is, is an emotional regulation. So the more you do this self-work, the more you're able to regulate your nervous system. You're able to see, "Okay, there's less reactivity." And in this case, I would call that trauma response “reactivity. “You call it like that “being addicted to it.“ But it's sort of a default behavior because at some point in your life or my life, we learned that that response made us feel safe. We don't have to unpack all of that on this podcast. But it's fascinating.

    ilise benun

    Here's a new element I'm adding to the podcast, starting with this episode. One baby step you can take, based on what I discussed with my guest. So here's the baby step from my chat with Kelly. The next time you have a big decision to make, or even a small one, stop yourself, restrain yourself, and listen. Try what Kelly suggested. If you're weighing a decision, try to access your intuition or the inner wisdom in yourself.

    Here's one way. Close your eyes and imagine having made the decision one way, then observe yourself. How does that actually feel in your body? Where do you notice a sensation? What does that sensation look like, feel like, smell like, taste like? Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it have a color associated with it? Then, do the exact same thing with any other options you have. See what happens and let me know how it goes.

    So, did you learn a little something? I hope so, because that's how this works, one baby step at a time. Before you know it, you'll have clients with bigger budgets. Speaking of better clients, they're probably not going to fall in your lap. If you want to build a thriving business on your own terms, you need my Simplest Marketing Plan. The new 4.0 version for 2022 is packed with all new content, including six new case studies and six new lessons. You also get three different planners, plus access to the free monthly Office Hours group coaching session where you'll meet other creative pros who are practicing what I preach and taking control over their business and their life. You can find it all in the marketing mentor shop at marketing-mentor.com. I'll be back soon with more conversations with creative professionals who are doing what it takes to ditch the feast or famine syndrome. Until then, see you next time.