In this episode, I interview US-based strengths guru and former senior marketing leader for Southwest Airlines, Dana Williams. Her Unlock Moment was to discover a new understanding mid-career about what she was really here to do. That realisation led to a fundamental reorientation of priorities in the pandemic, the creation of a new business and her book, ‘The Strengths Journal’. She reminds us that we should always stay curious about what makes us love the work we do.
Gary Crotaz 0:02
My name’s Dr. Gary Crotaz. And I’m a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I’m in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound, that they remember vividly, where they were, who they were with, what they were thinking, when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I’ve been meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things or brought about significant change in their life, and you will be meeting them with me. We’ll be finding out what inspired them, how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. Today I’m delighted to have Dana Williams on the show. A champion of transforming your life through purpose, Dana’s corporate career encompassed 25 years of marketing and leadership at Southwest Airlines. She has coached over 500 clients to success and created the first Gallup strengths-based daily planner, the Strengths Journal, she is a Gallup-certified strengths coach, and has seen the transformational power of accountability. As busy leaders, we want to accomplish goals but need an easy plan designed for our individual needs. Dana is an inspiring coach, author and leader. We’ve been working together for the past year, on her Dominate Your Day Clubhouse rooms. I know you’ll enjoy hearing about her journey, and how she’s navigated the forks in the road. Dana, welcome to The Unlock Moment.
Dana Williams 1:48
Thank you so much. I appreciate you inviting me to your new podcast. So excited to be here!
Gary Crotaz 1:52
I’m so excited. You’re here. So let’s start out. Take us back a little bit. And tell us a little bit about your story of your journey through to senior leadership in Southwest Airlines.
Dana Williams 2:05
Yes. So I actually started at Southwest Airlines when the company was 10 years old. They’re now 50 years old. So it was I was right out of college started and started in in flight. And then quickly at 21 became a manager and had to learn the hard way. I remember asking my boss, am I too young to apply for this manager position. He said no, if you think you can do it, go for it. So I did. And then I loved managing and found that I really loved the whole HR opportunity that I had with managing in the operation area. And so I moved into the HR department. And in the HR department, I was responsible, it was a small group and there was only 5000 employees and I was I learned how to hire how to train, how to develop people. And I was all of 24 at that time. And then my husband and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. And this was he’s in real estate. And this was the beginning of one of the real estate crashes of our career as husband and wife and we moved to Nashville, didn’t know a soul. And I decided that I had to leave Southwest at that point. And so I decided I wanted to get into marketing, got this opportunity to work for a real estate development company, and became their Marketing Director, opened up the first downtown mall in Nashville at the time. This was in the late 80s, early 90s. And I had a background in retail, which I think you do too. And so I loved it. I really love the whole marketing, developing the marketing plan. We’ve won an award for opening, which is so fun. And from there, we moved back to Dallas. And about four years later, and Southwest came calling again. And this time I got hired in the marketing department because of my marketing experience. And it was so much fun. And I came to Southwest at that point, when they were just starting to grow in California, starting to grow across, acquired another airline. So I’ve actually gone through two acquisitions of other airlines and just grew my way up into marketing. And at that point, I was in my early 40s and decided I really wanted to be home with my daughter and just start my own business. So I started my own business as a consultant, helped start a Christian high school, did a lot of cool volunteer things. And then about 2008 when the market hit again, another crash. My husband got cancer, his partner died and our marriage went in the tank and I was like, wow. And about that time I said maybe it’s time for me to hang up my consulting hat and go back to Southwest and just get a more secure job right now because things were so topsy turvy in my life. And my old leader, I ran into his wife that day and she said, Are you, would you be willing to go back? I’m like, yeah, so they hired me back. And that was my third time. I’m called a boomerang at Southwest. And came back as Marketing Director, had advertising and promotions and communications, all under marketing, and just came in. And it was an exciting time, because I had just come off of 9/11 in 2000, you know, 2001, and they were still coming out of that lost decade of business and hadn’t been growing. And when I got there, it was time to grow. And so we acquired AirTran, which was an airline out of Atlanta, Georgia, I spent a lot of time in Atlanta, getting to know all those employees, worked with their leaders, worked with their marketing department, helped bring all them all together, and worked on some fun campaigns like Bags Fly Free, and just a really exciting time to be in marketing. And it was at that time, I think that I had kind of a pivotal moment, personally, and career-wise about what I was really made to do.
Gary Crotaz 6:12
It’s really interesting. And for me, this is interesting, because we’ve never had this conversation. And we’ve never talked about about your career. And it’s interesting. I mean, you see this a lot in, in retail as well, people who started, you know, on the shop floor, and you know, 10 years later, 20 years later, 30 years later, they’re in senior management, but they’ve got a certain perspective on that business, because, you know, because they know it, end-to-end. And for me, coming into retail, I, I came on a very different path where I’d never worked in a shop, I’d never worked in a warehouse. And actually, you know, it was, I think you a have very different perspective, when you walk into that environment, and you don’t really understand how it is, you know, at the coalface, as it were, so when you were a senior leader in that role, did you did you use your, your experience? You know, when you when you first started out in your career, did you find that helpful, you know, to to be the team leader?
Dana Williams 7:08
Absolutely. And I think more important is I learned, I trained right underneath our founder, and our co founders, was very close to Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett at that time. And they taught me so much about building culture, and growing people, and putting people first. And so I did spend a lot of time on culture as a leader. And being kind of that, as I came back the third time, it was being that historian of, here’s what the movement of this company is about. And you’re a part of making that difference. That was a big piece of what I talked about a lot around the company, as well as in my own team, especially during COVID. Being able to tell them, we’ll get through this, we’ve been through other things, we’ll get through this. And this is why we’re gonna get there and how we’re gonna get through it. And let me tell you some stories. So I became a storyteller of the founding of the company for those people that I served, and then people that I led.
Gary Crotaz 8:13
A lot of people as they, as they go through a corporate career, have to reinvent themselves when they become a manager for the first time, become a senior leader for the first time. And for you, you’ve gone away and come back into those roles. Maybe that helped maybe that hindered, but how did you, did you find yourself having to think explicitly about reinvention as you came in, as you came back each time into the new roles?
Dana Williams 8:39
Yeah, I think when I came in the second time, the company was really growing. And I was growing. And it was so exciting. And so fun. We had such a great group of co-workers. And it was just wonderful. When I came back the third time, you know, my daughter was already in college. Like I said, I was going through some personal things with my husband, I kind of was, became more of the advisor. And that’s what kind of catapulted me into coaching. I think because I enjoyed listening and sharing and coming alongside, I wasn’t a competitor, I’m not gonna go after being, you know, trying to be this, I’m here to serve and kind of took on that role. And that was, it was, it was fun for me. And then when coaching came about, it was really fun. Because I was able to find my place with coaching.
Gary Crotaz 9:28
Yeah, so you’re here to talk about this Unlock Moment. So tell us about what that was for you. What was what was the moment where you suddenly found this new clarity as to what was coming next?
Dana Williams 9:41
Yeah. So I was, I was in the process of opening one of our new markets. It was a beach. It was actually a beach town. It was small. It was something we typically did not open. But we were opening this market and it was a big secret. I worked on it for like six months. And it was it One of one of the most proud moments I had, because it was such an amazing partnership with a city that we’d ever done. And I looked at, back at that time and think that was a pivotal moment, because I was doing exactly what I love doing. I was leading I was coming up with marketing campaigns for the city was just we had so much fun developing the campaigns, working with the city, you know, all the things we did to make it happen. And there was this picture of me with the local authorities from the airport, as well as our Vice President, our real estate department. And we were, you know, announcing that we were serving the market, and I was smiling. But I looked back at that picture. And I was smiling, because I was doing something that was really exciting and fun. But yet there was something missing. And it wasn’t until a few weeks later that one of my girlfriends bought brought to our department, the assessment called StrengthsFinder. And I did that assessment. And I realised that there was value that I didn’t know that I had in myself. And I think because I was going through a tough personal time, at that moment with our marriage, our marriage is fine now, we got through all that. But it was a tough time, but I didn’t know who I was. And once I took the assessment and found out who I was, and then learned that I could start coaching with it, as well as leading and marketing. It was all of a sudden a clarity of like, who I was and what I was supposed to do. It was like my calling, all of a sudden, I was transforming my life. Focus, I got more clarity, I think when you get focus about what you’re made of, you get more clarity. And everything kind of clears up about what you’re supposed to spend your time on. And that’s what kind of happened with me.
And bring to life for our listeners that are not necessarily experts in in strengths. What was it that you saw in that, in that tool, in that assessment, in that report that that was new for you?
I think I’ve I mean, I was so blessed to have amazing leaders at Southwest Airlines that of course, our founder, they were always positive and encouraging and grubby, but I never really knew clearly what I was made of. And it was when I found out that I had ideation and strategic and individualization. I like to customise I like to come up with ideas. But this whole strategic thing, I didn’t realise I had that. And so it’s, I think it was a good way to diffuse self-confidence, or to boost my self-confidence, and my productivity and my energy, because then I realised I need to practice these everyday, and I need to use them everyday, because that’s what I’ve been made to do. And that’s the clarity it brought. And at that time, we were going through a reorg. And I was helping our Vice President with that. And I realised I really wanted to do something and more of a strategic, I’ve always done more of the creative side, I wanted to do something more on the strategic planning side. And, and I knew that I had the gifts to do that. And so that was kind of fun to, to shift. And to use those talents to do that.
Gary Crotaz 13:18
What was the moment when you knew that you’d need to do something different? Was it on reading the report? Was it talking to somebody about it?
Dana Williams 13:27
No, it took probably once I got the report, it wasn’t until a coach went through the report with me. And this is one thing I say everybody needs a coach, right? Because you can look at the report and go okay, and then just stick it in your your drawer, you know, and never look at it again. And that’s kind of what happened to me the very first time I took out that well, this is great. But it was about a year later, or six months later, when we were doing the reorg that I pulled it out again. And then we got actually coaching from a coach on it. And she really helped bring out what was in the report and helped me see where my sweet spots were, and helped me see where my basement and blind spots were. And we all have both right. And, but I think we’ve grown up with people saying well, you’re really good at this, but you need to work on this. And I was always kind of, I’m pretty much a cup half full person, but I was probably putting myself down too much about what I didn’t have. And once I learned what I did have, and I learned that I need to be there and spend my time there, then it just energises me more. So it was probably about that moment in time. And then I started when I started applying it every day.
Gary Crotaz 14:39
How old were you at that time?
Unknown Speaker 14:42
Gosh, I was probably late 40s. Yeah, probably late 40s. And so it was like why didn’t I know this earlier?
Gary Crotaz 14:52
And I think that that’s that’s that’s that’s something that a lot of people who who worked with coaches or use, you know different tools, if they find that that there’s a sense of, you know, whether you’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, your 70s, there’s always something new to discover about yourself. And, you know, there’s, it’s never too late to find out what your identity is, and what you want to do with it. And I find it fascinating always working with people who, you know, are beyond the point in their life, maybe in their teenage years, or their early 20s, where they’re sort of figuring out life for the first time. And there’s, and they’re discovering, there’s so much more to figure out. So what did it feel like to be at that stage in your life in that stage in your career, and to feel that you were really discovering new insight about yourself?
Dana Williams 15:43
I think that clarity came, and the confidence came, and then people started talking to me about how I’d help them or, Wow, you really, and they started associating me, you know, not only as a marketing marketer or leader, but as a trusted confidant coach. I was like, there’s something going on here. What is this, you know, and so, right about that time, our leader, we told him, we’d like to get, we asked if we could get certified. And he said, Absolutely. And so that was just the game changer. So once I went through the certification course, and learned more about Clifton Strengths and learned more about myself, I think I started this journey. And so that’s been, it’s been a really exciting journey to be on. And it’s never dull, because I think studying ourselves change, we change constantly, right? So being … that gave me the energy to keep working on it, and in seeing what was working, what wasn’t working. But that was the magic moment.
Gary Crotaz 16:46
When you talk about confidence, would you have described yourself before that time as not confident, or…?
Dana Williams 16:54
it’s funny, because this is the thing we’re talking about this month in my company about courage and confidence. And I think, I think I had a risk-taking part of me that always just gets out there and does stuff. But I think there was always a fear of Oh, what if I don’t do it? Right? Maximizer. What if it’s not perfect? And what this taught me is, it’s okay, it’s going to be authentically you. And don’t try to be, compare yourself. And I think I grew up always, you know, having other role models to look up to or other people that were either within my company or other corporate female leaders. And I would say, well, I should be like that. And what this helped me say is, No I need to be my authentic self. And then that gave me the confidence to say, I don’t need to spend my time on what other people … it’s good to learn from other people. But I need to spend more time managing myself – and I think that was the aha moment, it was actually a amazing counsellor that my husband I were visiting. And we love this guy, we see him whenever we need to see him, we always talk about, uh, you need to have a counsellor, on, on, on call when you need one. And he talked about it as the hula hoop moment. And it’s just putting the hula hoop around yourself, and working on managing yourself and not trying to change anybody else. And I think that was the clarity that I got was I need to work on me. And the more I work on me, the better everything else is going to be – that I can’t change anything outside of that hula hoop. And so that is where the power came in, I think.
Gary Crotaz 18:31
And I hope people listening to this conversation can really tune into that thing that you just said, which was so powerful about, you know, having gone through life, and we all do, seeing other people that are inspirational and think I need to be like them. And there’s this aha moment when you suddenly realise No, I need to be me, at my best, in an authentic way. And then you start working on yourself as a direct result of that. It’s it’s a, it feels in some ways, subtle, but in some ways revelatory in that mindset shift.
Dana Williams 19:04
And knowing that we’re a work in progress, we’re never going to be just perfect. But there’s things that we can work on every day on ourselves to make ourselves be the best we can be. And I learned how to transfer that energy from being frustrated, or expectations of others, is to really focus on myself. So I brought that into the workplace with me and talk to my leader, quote, co-leaders as well as people direct reports when they were frustrated about how somebody was behaving or something didn’t happen the way it should happen. It was somebody’s fault. I was like, let’s just put the hula hoop around you, just focus on you. What can you do inside yourself to manage this? And so it became my little thing that you know, I have the hula hoop thing. Go on that. Yeah.
Gary Crotaz 19:51
So what happened next, what changed as a result of that realisation?
Dana Williams 19:55
So then, as I went on this journey with Gallup with … I was working with Gallup, and working with Southwest. And again, I had this fabulous leader and we started getting calls from other departments within the company saying, Hey, we hear y’all are using strengths. We want to do that. How did y’all do it? Can you help us? So I just said to him, Can I help? If somebody reaches out, another leader reaches out? Can I help with this, and he goes, absolutely, you know, spend 10% of your time on it and spend the rest, you know of your time on on marketing. So I started doing that. And then Gallup, we, every time that our HR University for people, were working towards a Gallup initiative, they called me in the room, and then I became the expert. Because we had done it the long … we were the first ones to do it, and we had done it longer than anybody else. And so then I found myself having to develop a strengths-based kind of like a roadmap for us to become a strengths-based company. But it took from the time I got, I’d had my first assessment until that happened. That was about seven years, eight years, until our leaders, our CEO said I want to be a strengths-based company. And that’s when everything changed, then everything started hitting. And it was about that moment that I started realising I’d work with our teams within marketing and lead facilitations. And then I’d go and help other groups, I was on a bunch of cross functional teams, whether it be to manage the Max, which was a certain type of aircraft, or to manage opening Hawaii, they were all cross functional. So always made sure everybody had their strengths, and would do the team grid with them. And one of the things I learned is that they all wanted to do it now, kept calling. And that’s how it kind of moved. So it was a grassroots moment when it moved. But I realised after I’d worked with them on their strengths, I said, How do I know they’re going to keep doing this? It’s probably like with your book, The IDEA Mindset, how do you know they’re gonna keep doing it when they got a actual book they can hold and they can talk through. So that’s why I created the Strengths Journal. And I, I knew I was going to be going out on my own, but I had no idea when. And I was just, I said, I’m just going to start working on this. So about almost three years ago, I went to Gallup and said, Can I create a strength space journal? Will you licence me to do that? And they said, Yes. And I told my leader about it, I told the people I work with I said I’m creating this journal, I don’t know where this is going. So fast forward to 2020 COVID hits, and I’m thinking I was gonna tell my leader in 2020, that I was probably going to leave in that year, but I didn’t know when well, then when COVID hit and all the challenges and they needed people to take early retirement early packages, I thought, well, here’s my opportunity. So I was ready. And I think that’s what I tell people, when they’re thinking about starting their own business or leaving corporate, there’s a lot of things you need to do to kind of be ready. And part of it was I had been doing it for three years, I had been getting calls from people outside of Southwest to go help coach, at my church or people that were formerly Southwest Airlines leaders that had left and gone to other companies and hire me to come in and do their facilitation. So I got to practise what I was going to be doing when it was time to leave. So when the opportunity came, I was like this is it. It’s here on a platter, I’m going to I’m going to leave and I’m going to start my business and I’ve got money to start it with now. So it was it was just a godsend. It was blessing. My boss was so surprised. I was like, Why are you surprised? Like, this is what I’ve been that I’ve been thinking about it for so long. That by the time the opportunity came, I was I was so ready. And I had been preparing myself
Gary Crotaz 23:45
is interesting. So you describe something along the way, three years before you leave. When I when I talked about that moment with my coaching clients, I talk about a ‘post-it note moment’, which comes from in my own past, there was a moment in particular role where I decided that I was leaving, but not … I didn’t know when and I didn’t know where to but I decided that I was leaving. And I wrote it on a post-it note to a colleague, and I just put I’m leaving and put on the post it note and put it on their desk and they went when when are you going? And I said I don’t know. But there’s something in that moment of deciding that at some point the path is somewhere else. And that’s that’s what you’re talking about three years before you left.
Dana Williams 24:29
Gary Crotaz 24:31
What was the trigger? Then when when, at that moment when you said I don’t know when? And I don’t know quite how yet. And in reality, it’s going to be three years down the line. But what’s the trigger when you went? I know that this is my future beyond the role that I’m in today.
Dana Williams 24:49
I think it’s when I started getting calls from people that I had coached within Southwest or led and they had gone to other companies. They said can you come help us? I thought Well, there’s an opportunity here, and and then when I had developed the I was like, why hasn’t anybody developed a daily planner around strengths to help them daily with this because I feel like everything you do daily contributes to where you’re going, if you don’t do the daily work, you’re not going to get where you want to go. And that was my case. So I’ve really built it for me originally, because I thought, if I’m going to make a change, and I’m going to go on my, on my own, I’ve got to start working towards that now. And like you, I didn’t know what that magic moment time was going to be. But I had it, it was just like a calling, an internal calling that I had to fulfil that hadn’t been fulfilled yet.
Gary Crotaz 25:40
And I really liked that the, the idea that this is very instinctual, really that, that you didn’t sit there one day and say, you know, I want to make loads of money from a book, which book am I going to write, you know, I want to make, you know, be successful in my own business, what business is that going to be? You were doing things because they were right for you. And they were interesting. And you know, you followed your nose to opportunities. I think that’s, that’s, that’s what you’re describing? Really?
Dana Williams 26:08
Yes. And I think the other thing that happened was, I remember telling one of my co-workers I was really close to and she was the Vice President, another department, because we were both kind of planning out. Okay, when do we think this is going to be when we’re going to leave, this was before COVID. And I said, I feel like I need to tell my leader in in February that I’m probably or in March that I’m probably going to leave in the end of the year. Well, who knew Who knew that in March, we were going to have COVID. And then who knew that all of a sudden, my plan=q1, I couldn’t tell him because I needed all hands on deck for COVID, I had to get into that. And I thought I can’t leave now. This is this is a very important time in the history of the company, I’ve got to help do what I can do to keep things going. And so the timing was was again, I hadn’t put a date on it other than maybe by the end of the year. So it when this all happened and the opportunity, we found out in July that they were going to offer packages for people, cash packages for people to take early retirement, I was like, Okay, well, I’ll just do that. And I didn’t even have to think twice about it. Where some of my co-workers took it and it was a very hard decision, very hard. And some of them have gone back. And some of them have, you know, have stayed on the you know, started their own businesses. So I think you just know it, that the timing, things can come up, and you just have to go with what’s going on and say, Okay, this is the door is not quite open right now to have this conversation. So…
Gary Crotaz 27:43
And you’re describing the journey, you’ve been on, you know, through through many years, you know, to and fro in and out of Southwest, and through these different times. The people that have known you for a long time, have they observed you changing over that time, do you think, in who you are,
Dana Williams 28:02
You know, I my husband probably would, because he’s been with me through it all. And it’s funny, because the very first time I left, I actually before I started in marketing in Nashville, I just worked for myself also doing some training. And I thought … and that came from the human, the HR area. And so at that time, it was like, Okay, this is something when I look back, I always have people do life maps where they draw their map of their life from birth to to here now and look at the moments and where did they see that pattern. And that’s the pattern that started emerging for me is, oh, I’ve kind of left and started my own business a couple of times. And what I’ve learned from that is that I needed to use that time at Southwest to grow and learn, I wasn’t quite ready yet. If I hadn’t had all that experience in marketing, this would have been really hard to do to launch a business and launch a journal and, but I was able to, I call it my lab, I was able to learn while I was at work, doing my normal day job, I was able to learn a lot and get myself focused. But I didn’t have focus till after that moment of getting the strengths.
Gary Crotaz 29:15
And bring to life for the listeners. What is the Strengths Journal and and…
Dana Williams 29:21
So let me grab mine right here. Oh, here it is. So the Strengths Journal is a daily journal that I created, where you … actually before you even start filling it, filling it out daily, you you really kind of have to identify your 10 talents by taking the assessment and then really write in your mission, your core values and your goals. And it’s all about what your mission is. And in really being able to find that I love how you’re naming this podcast unlocking it is really unlocking that unique talent in yourself and then applying it every day. So every day is intentional. So like this morning, you know, what is my desired, you know, intention for today, what is the outcome for today, and why? And I have to tell myself that every morning, and then I have three big action items for the day. And I apply my Clifton Strengths to those. So that helps boost me to get each of those things done. And then I kind of talk about what you’re grateful for have fill in a spot for what you’re grateful for. And then what did you learn or what fear did you conquer, and this goes back to that confidence thing, because I learned, we’re not growing unless we’re stepping in fear. And especially as an entrepreneur, I’m stepping in fear all the time of, Oh, I’m gonna try this now. And we’ll just get out there and learn and and then within the journal every week, is a quickly weekly review, where you’re reviewing what you did the week before, and where you’re going the next week. And then also reviewing your wellbeing, which is so important right now coming out of pandemic, the mental your mental health and managing the five areas of wellbeing that that we know from Gallup, which are around community, physical, community, physical, financial, and learn your actual work, what you’re doing at work your career wellbeing, and then how you’re feeling within your, I call it faith, it could be people call it different things, but in the community, so I, you kind of have to write those every day. And how you’re how you’re managing your social, that’s so important. We need six hours of social every day, whether it’s this, like on a podcast where I’m talking to you. But I think during the COVID people got in a habit of just being by themselves, you know, Netflix, and so I have them write themselves every week on how they’re doing with the wellbeing. So it’s been fun. I launched a bootcamp a couple about four weeks ago, and we have people working on their mission statements right now. And it’s been fun. I think my passion is really helping people birth their purpose and live it every day. And I think that’s what happened to me. Once I found that purpose. Then I was so energised. And I felt clear about where I was spending my time and where I was going.
Gary Crotaz 32:14
And do you think that purpose crosses your corporate career and what you’re doing now? Or do you think you discovered it at this point of transition?
Dana Williams 32:22
So I have high Belief in my strengths. And I think those are, you know, core values are unwavering. So I felt like I worked for a company that was mission based. And it was about giving people the ability to go where they want to go at a low price with great customer service. And I think that building my business right now is purposeful as well, which is helping people birth their purpose and live it out every day. So I think I learned from that about, and I think I’m attracted to that. I’m attracted to something that’s purposeful.
Gary Crotaz 33:00
And having gone on this whole journey, what have you learned about yourself do you think?
Dana Williams 33:05
Wow, I think I see I’m learning to see myself, like a plant in a garden. And that I have to get myself around the right environment to grow. And it’s in, it’s that proximity. It’s putting myself in proximity with people that are ahead of me, that can help me as well as people that encouraged me. As well as me working on myself and spending so much energy working on myself that I’m not, I don’t have the energy to be, I guess, frustrated that things aren’t a certain way they should be because I’m constantly thinking about working on myself. And just really, how am I getting watered? How am I getting fed? How can I then feed others? And you know, I’ll take an airline metaphor, but the oxygen mask, you know, I’m just let’s put the oxygen mask on myself first that I can serve all those people that I want to serve. And I think that’s purposeful too in
Gary Crotaz 34:06
People’s really important for you?
Dana Williams 34:07
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think I was raised in that human human environment. It’s pretty, it’s pretty powerful.
Gary Crotaz 34:17
And what advice would you give to other people who maybe today are in a similar situation to where you were a few years ago?
Dana Williams 34:26
I would say not to give up at all on themselves. And to make sure that and this is something that it’s kind of like it’s crossing over my personal life and my my work life, but I realised we were in some friendships with people that weren’t the best for us. So learning to clear away those toxic environments that aren’t good for you to grow in at this the garden, you know, again, the garden metaphor, but how to get yourself in a place where you can grow and learn constantly. But focus on what you’re made to do and do more of that. And, you know, I think everybody needs a coach, which I’m so excited about the work you’re doing, Gary, and how you’re helping people with your book, and how you’re changing lives through that. And I think we can’t do it alone. And I think at a point in my life, I thought, oh, I can do this, and I don’t need, I can just do it. And I learned that, that I need people around me and people that I can lean on. So my best advice is to get your own advisory board. And this is what I recommend all the time to new entrepreneurs, it’s people that are ahead of you, that are experts in areas that you’re not an expert in, and ask them to be on your virtual advisory board and ask if it’s okay, if you call upon them, you know, once a quarter for advice, you don’t pay them. But they’re honoured that you ask them, and they’re people you trust. And I think that is my best advice. That’s the thing that’s kept me going in these early days of starting my business.
Gary Crotaz 36:02
And again, I’d like the people listening to tune into the fact that what you’re describing here is absolutely real for you. It’s authentic for you. This is not you spinning a story, because you think it’s the right thing to say, it’s this is the journey you’ve been on and the life you lived. And I think that’s what makes it so powerful. The things that you say and the advice you bring. And I thank you for that. We are early in 2022, we are hopefully coming to the end of the worst phases of the global pandemic, although there’s obviously other global instability going on right now, which is, which is causing everybody to question things that they thought were stable, and maybe are less stable than they imagined. But when you look ahead to the year of 2022, and you know what’s to come, what are the things that that you’re focusing on for this year? And what are your what are your goals and objectives that you’d like to be achieving?
Dana Williams 37:02
That’s a great question I like to use in this … kind of one of the things I’ve done in the past, and it really helps me get focused, but just focus on one word for the year. So this year, my word is Abundance. And so if I’m thinking a word, if I’m thinking abundance, I’m not thinking about what can’t be done. I’m thinking about what is going to be done and thinking into that every day. And it’s putting myself in the garden of hope of like, oh, okay, that didn’t work. But here’s where we want to go. And so I really, this is year two of my business. And I always say here we go that I don’t know why I bring up garden all the time. I’m not that good of a gardener. But usually it takes three years for a garden to set. Right. So I always tell people when you’re doing something new wait till the third year, and then all of a sudden you start to see things start to bloom and go and set. And so I’m giving this is kind of my transitional year this year, of, we did a lot of testing and learning last year of things. And this year, just like we’ve been talking about with whether it’s Clubhouse or LinkedIn Live, or some of the tools we’re using, what’s working, what’s not working, what stuck, what do we need to change. But my focus is to get I have an evergreen class that I want to get launched at the end of the year, and I’m doing these bootcamps in preparation for that. And then I work, I want to work with other corporate clients. So I have a half a dozen that I’m working with right now. And I just love it, being able to help them come in. And as they’re going through these changes. I feel like I’m right back in the marketing department at Southwest helping the leaders where we were in what we were going through. So that’s been exciting to see that too. I’m attracting right now. And so I just want to continue building those two areas of my business and and mentoring along the way. We have also been giving a donation to Nomi Network, which is a international network for women that have been sex trafficked, and helping them get back into the workforce. And I’m passionate about helping them with that and helping these women get back in the workforce. So I’m always wanting to get back a little and that’s the area this year that we have chosen to get back in.
Gary Crotaz 39:21
That’s amazing. And where can people find out more about you?
Dana Williams 39:25
So just come to DanaWilliamsCo.com is the easiest place or they can find me on LinkedIn or Instagram at DanaWilliamsCo. And I think those are the two easiest places to find me right now. Or three easiest places to find me right now.
Gary Crotaz 39:40
Dana, thank you so much for for coming on the podcast and telling your story. It’s been really it’s been really lovely.
Dana Williams 39:48
Thank you, Gary.
Gary Crotaz 39:51
The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity when you suddenly know the right path ahead. What Dana articulates so clearly is how a focus on who you are when you’re at your absolute best every day is a route to a deeply fulfilling life. From senior and influential roles in the airlines industry with Southwest Airlines, she stepped away to follow her personal passion to help people through coaching and the Strengths Journal. Through her dominate your day podcast and the sessions she hosts on Clubhouse and LinkedIn Live, her commitment to reaching out with her message to more people is ever-present. Dana, thank you so much for sharing your story on The Unlock Moment, and I’m sure you’ve inspired my listeners to go explore their strengths as they figure out their path ahead. This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset available in physical book, ebook and audiobook format. Follow me on Instagram and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!