PP 088: Beyond Bound and Broken with Ria Story

Episode Transcription: Ria Story

KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. I am so happy you are here and I am thrilled to have guest Ria Story who is the speaker, author and co-founder of Top Story Leadership here with us today. Welcome Ria! I’m so happy you are here.

RIA STORY: Hi Kim, it’s so good to be here. I’m so excited to be able to talk to you and hopefully add some value to you and your listeners.

KIM: Oh thank you and I’m so excited too because I know when we talked last time you already filled my brain so much and I just walked away feeling so enlightened, so thank you again. Ria is the author of “PRIME Time the Power of Effective Planning” and that’s just one of your books and you have another one coming up soon, right?

RIA STORY: That’s right. I’ve got a book coming out in the first week of April and this will be book number eight for me. One of the things I love to do is write because I can reach so many more people through my books. This new book I’m really excited about it’s called “Leadership Gems for Women” and it really focuses on leadership from a woman’s perspective both at home with family and interacting with your family relationships there at home but also leadership in the corporate world where I talk about women, women are naturally gifted high level leaders because they’re relationship oriented. However, I think a lot of times we feel pressured to kind of suppress that relationship building and leadership in “a man’s world” can be a little challenging as women so I love to talk about leadership from the women’s perspective and it’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about this book and I’m just so excited about it.

KIM: -and we were chatting a little bit pre-chat. It’s so coincidental that we are recording this on International Women’s Day which I think is absolutely fabulous.

RIA STORY: That’s right. It’s exciting. You know if I hadn’t given it a thought and been a little more on the ball I should have launched the book this week instead of a month from now. But that’s OK.

KIM: Well there’s been so much going on especially this year women related, so I don’t think there’s going to be a wrong time and everything happens at the right time, right?

RIA STORY: It does. You’re exactly right. And that’s one of the things I love to talk about in PRIME Time which is what we’re taught touching on today.

KIM: Definitely! Let’s jump right in. Would you mind, before we start talking about PRIME Time, would you mind sharing a little bit about your journey and I know this is a very broad question. I would love to know how you have found time and to write a book. How you get your ideas? How, if it’s on paper/on computer, and just share a little bit more about your background if you wouldn’t mind.

RIA STORY: Sure. I left home at 19, I left home with absolutely nothing. I didn’t have a card. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have a high school diploma. I didn’t have a job. I left home with pretty much nothing. The reason I left home I ran away or left, that was the third attempt actually. But I was just running to escape an abusive situation. I was a victim of sexual abuse by my father from age 12 to 19. Really, by the time I left at age 19, I was just absolutely desperate to get away, leaving home with nothing. I was completely unequipped to enter the real world and and get a job and I didn’t have any real job skills or anything like that. The only job I really could get was waiting tables. Now it didn’t take me long at waiting tables at $2.13 an hour and picking up half eaten pizza crust to realize that’s not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. No, there’s nothing wrong with being a waitress. Believe me, I learned some valuable lessons about people and about work ethic in doing that and I enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I wanted to do the rest of my life. So, I looked around and I thought ‘well, I better get busy and I’d better go to school.’ So that’s what I did. I worked a full time job and I studied to get my GED and then start attending some college classes at a community college.

I found a second job and so I worked two jobs and went to school at night and then on the weekends and along about that time Mack and I got married and I had a stepson, nine year old stepson at the time. So I was really balancing. You know I was balancing two jobs most of the time, role as a step parent and a wife. And cooking and all of the things that go into sustaining a family as well and I really continued to balance that throughout the years. It took me almost 10 years to earn my MBA. Most of that time I had two jobs, either as a part time job on the weekends, or nights, and then a full time job during the day. Also and during that time, I learned to train and run my first marathon and then Mack and I started competing in mountain biking racing. I really didn’t think about it, for me it just kind of was really simple for me in terms of focusing my energy on what was most important, you know was the number one priority, and take care of that and nothing else mattered. When I really started to look back. I realize that you hear so much about managing time, but it’s not about managing time. For me, I didn’t have any more time than anyone else and I still don’t. We all had the same 4300 something minutes in a day. What I managed was – what I did with it. That’s a strength for me. I’ve figured out how to kind of put that into words and help some other people figure out how they can do that.

It’s not that I’m super woman and you know I tell people, I’m like: “Look I did some things wrong, and made some mistakes like everyone else, but I graduated with my MBA in 2012 and again I was still working two jobs at that point and volunteering for a nonprofit, and you know just a lot of other things at the same time.” I heard Les Brown speak, and Les Brown is a motivational speaker and he says: “You have a story” and he was talking at the time to a roomful of 200 people and he says – to this whole room of people he said: “You have a story to tell, and someone needs to hear your story.” I thought back to my story of being abused from age 12 to 19 and I thought: “Well, I have a story but I don’t want to talk about it.” And so I didn’t. I spent six months saying: “OK, I’m not going to talk about it. I don’t want to share my story. I don’t want to dig the past back up. You know I’d really just done a good job of closing that chapter of my life and saying I’m not going to open it again.” And I battled with that for about six months and it finally came to the realization that if I could help somebody else by sharing my story then it was, it gave it a purpose. I talk about – if you’re a person of faith that God doesn’t cause the pain in our lives that he’s able to use it.

And so when I realized that by sharing my story I could help someone else overcome, it really gave me a sense of purpose and a passion for helping others. So six months after I heard Les Brown say that, I made the decision to start talking about my story. Mack and I went to a speaker training where they had a contest and it was very simple rules for the contest. You were given one minute to speak, 60 seconds. You could say whatever you wanted and five of the winners would be chosen to speak on stage with Les Brown. I’ve been fighting this decision for six months and I thought: “OK, this is an opportunity. I’m going to see if I can do it.” But I didn’t tell a single soul because I was like: “What if I can’t do it?” And right up until the morning of I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to even you know say 60 seconds about what I had experienced. I completely melted down the morning of, I had mascara running everywhere and makeup and it was just a complete mess. But you know what? I got up on that stage and I did it. I gave my one minute speech and I shared just a little bit about my story and it didn’t matter at that point when I sat back down. It didn’t matter if I’d won the contest or not because I’d won such a much bigger victory in myself. I did win the contest, as it turns out, so a few months after that I went on stage with Les Brown speaking in Los Angeles.

So that was a start of a new chapter for me. I resigned my corporate job that I’d gone to school for so long to be able to do. But it really opened a chapter there, where I realized that through sharing some of my experiences and some of my lessons both from my early teenage years and overcoming that and also through the rest of what I’ve been able to accomplish as well. That’s when you find that passion and that purpose in life when it gets just so exciting you wake up every day just excited about things.

KIM: Ria, you’re so inspiring. And I can’t even imagine. I’m just going to ask what types of feelings went through after you had shared your story?

RIA STORY: You know it was, it was interesting because I thought: “Well, gosh if I can talk about this and help some other people, it kind of gives me a sense of purpose.” It took me almost a year to write that first book about where I share some of my experiences. That was difficult because it’s going back through some memories and experiences I really wanted to forget. I tried very hard to leave that behind but I didn’t realize – I wrote the book and I speak about my story to help others, but I didn’t realize – how much healing it would bring me. As I was able to work through some of those emotions and really moved past them I talk about in my book “Beyond Bound and Broken” where you know when you learn to cope with something and you just throw away the key and say: “I’m not going to talk about it” that’s not really true healing. And so I think it was incredible for me to go through that. Writing about my experiences and talking about experiences because it really helps me realize that you know the past and where we’ve come from doesn’t determine where we are going. And being able to say this is where I’ve come from that gave me a whole new strength in being able to say: “I don’t have to let it define me. The rest of my life.” So it’s almost like we have to admit our vulnerabilities to gain strength over them if that makes sense.

KIM: Oh that makes absolute sense. And also sharing those vulnerabilities in the stories behind us makes us more of a person and not a statue in front of our audience.

RIA STORY: Absolutely.

KIM: Allows us to connect. So that is so huge. I am intrigued though you had to – did you say sometimes you’ve done more than two job? While you’re going to your MBA?

RIA STORY: Two jobs, a part time job and a full time job..

KIM: Two jobs, you are a step mom (my dogs citing the input, I apologize) and a wife, everything that you have had going on it sounds really like you were superwoman because I don’t know how you fit everything into a day. So, I would love to jump into primetime I mean..


KIM: I would love there’s got to be a way that I can fit 48 hours into 24 just cutting out some of the I don’t really curse on here but some of that bullshit that I’m doing during the day. Right.

RIA STORY: I think that that you’ve heard right on the nerve of things Kim, you know when I talk about this in the book where I break time – I kind of categorize time in five different blocks or five different buckets if you want to call it that. I talk about the first bucket or the first block of our time is that as the letter P stands for POWER – it’s the power block. And this is where activities that we spend in following our purpose, our passion. Anything that’s very productive that’s helping us move forward towards our goals. That’s the power zone. You know that’s kind of the foundation the bulk of our time should be spent on activities in that block and a lot of times you know people go: “Well, I can’t spend a lot of time there because I’ve got you know e-mails to tend to you and the phones ringing and you know all of these urgent things that pop up” they may not necessarily be things that are important. So for example if the phone rings and a telemarketer calls and when the phone is ringing it’s urgent. You feel like you need to answer it. But when you answer it, it may not be very important. It’s a telemarketer. But if you answer it you’ve kind of disrupted your, you know whenever you’re working on your concentration and you kind of have to start over. So I talk about you know that foundational block where we should spend the bulk of our time is that power zone.

And the next block above that is RESTORATIVE. So if you think about stacking these blocks on top of one another they get a little bit smaller as we go up. Or they should get smaller. A lot of times what happens is if we stack the blocks in the wrong order and I’ll talk about more of what each of the blocks are if we stack blocks in the wrong order – it’s just like you know when our children sit down and play with blocks and they stock the the little blocks in the bottom and the big blocks on top what happens. It tends to topple because not very stable. So, the blocks have to be in the right order so the first block is that power zone and that’s the biggest block – activities here are in our strength zone in alignment with our core values our purpose our passion. Working in this block means we say no to some things that are in some of the other blocks. And I’ll talk about that as we go to the second block is restoratives where I talk about these are recreational activities where we find renewal and rejuvenation.

So the time spent in these activities allows us to really recreate ourselves, find that renewal in that sense of rest. You know activities like this can be – getting enough sleep, or it can be family time, or it can be meditation, or sports or exercise you know some of those things that we need to do they’re good for us that give us a sense of renewal and refreshment and some rest. And talk about you know if you’re sleeping seven or eight hours a night that’s you mean you need to sleep you know to sleep to stay very productive so that’s time in the restoratives zone. But if you’re sleeping 15 hours a day that’s more time than you need to spend there. And so any of that extra time sleeping above what you really truly need falls into an expendable block, where it’s really just time that it doesn’t need to be there.

The next lockup is INCONGRUOUS block, where I talk about these aren’t necessarily bad activities. They’re just things that aren’t really helping you move towards your goals. So they may be things that are popular with other people. For example I had the opportunity to decline a job last year and I mean it was a great job. It wasn’t a bad job at all, it just wasn’t really going to help me move in the direction of my goals and toward my purpose. And so anything that we’re were saying yes to.- that’s not in alignment with our core values, falls into this block, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means it’s not what we need to do.

And I talk about you know a lot of times we have to say “no” to the good things in life, in order to say “yes” to the great things and that’s hard to do because there are good opportunities with saying “no” to the good – frees us up to be able to say “yes” to some of the good things or the great things so, important that we know what those things are.

KIM: Oh, absolutely my husband told me: “To Be the Bonzai.”

RIA STORY: I like that!

KIM: Cut off the weak branches and let the strong ones grow.

RIA STORY: That’s a good way to put that because sometimes we’re spinning our wheels in those areas that we’re just not strong. And we talk about you want to work on your weaknesses and be well-rounded. But I have a different theory – like work on your strengths and shine like a star because these stars are exciting. You want to shine bright and you know that’s in terms of what we know how to do where our strengths are.

KIM: Right.

RIA STORY: So the fourth block is MARGINAL block and this is those activities and situations where you’re just getting by it’s kind of like you’re putting out the fires. Health is a good example. We are exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet which is a restorative zone activity or restorative block then we’re not going to spend nearly as much time battling a health crisis or getting sick or coming down with the flu or coming down with any of those chronic diseases that we really could prevent most of the time through a healthy lifestyle. So marginal block is the crisis situations that come up because we didn’t take care of something in a restorative or the power zone. These are deadline driven, immediate projects something that has to happen right now. It’s the you know the running out of milk and it’s eight o’clock in the morning and your kids are getting ready to go to school.

You know these are the things we couldn’t really we could have prevented but we didn’t. So, the top the very top block is expendable and these are just purely our time wasters. You know I talked about restorative activities and there’s a time for recreation we need that. But if you’re spending you know 10 hours a day watching TV – that’s time that you could be doing something else. So anything that falls above and beyond recreation can be expendable relationships that are toxic in your life or negative or unhealthy. Or another example of something that expendable it’s something you really don’t need. It’s something that you just need to just get rid of. Just say “NO” to. So this, when I talk about with my clients is sitting down in your calendar and deciding what you know – how much time are you spending in this town? – how much time are you spending in that zone? and when you really start to look at it it’s hard to do because then I’m going to say: “OK, what do we need to get rid of? What needs to go?” And I think a lot of times that comes down to identifying our core values you know deciding what – what hat we are going to wear? and what we don’t need to do? You know, what do we want to say “YES” to? And that’s a that’s a value then go for it. But if it’s something that falls out of that it’s saying “NO”.

Volunteer opportunities, you know I get asked to serve on a volunteer projects or donate my time to a lot of different things. And you know they are good opportunities but they’re not necessarily where my strength is or what helping me move forward. And so. I just have to say no thank you. I appreciate the opportunity but it’s not in alignment with where I’m going and what I’m doing. And but because I can do that I can give more of my time in my strength zone. You know helping people or writing books or coaching clients or speaking. And those are the things that I that I really can help make a difference in someone’s life. And so I just have to really be very strict about saying” “What am I going to commit to?” because and that’s something I talk about in the book is – I don’t like to make any commitments on the spot like I love to say: “Let me think about it” because then I don’t feel pressured right then and there to give a “YES” if I can step back and think about it and reflect on a little bit and say: “yes, it’s in alignment” or “no, it’s not” “Yes, thank you that’s great” or “no, it’s probably not what I want to do” Does that help?

KIM: Yes.

RIA STORY: OK, good.

KIM: And I’m reflecting back to early in 2016. And I’m rearranging the letters in PRIME and I realized that – I was making up a word here but I am I was miper -MIPER.

RIA STORY: Yeah, yeah.

KIM: And that was a really bad place to be in. Because I mean with -R at the very end I was sleeping two or three hours a night.

RIA STORY: Oh wow. Yeah.

KIM: For about a year and a half. And that’s a disaster for you to put -R at the end. No! You need to get our -R up to where it needs to be because especially if you’re feeling anxious and depressed I can’t tell you and I’m sure you know Ria but after I started sleeping six to eight hours. There’s just some night say I wake up you know I wake up six and I feel totally refreshed. I’m not acknowledging my alarm, is that bad to say? I have an alarm but I’m not acknowledging it. This morning I finally heard about an hour after it started going off. But if there’s something that I need to get up for then I hear it.


KIM: But today it was just set, I don’t even know why. Anyway. But it was really leading to a lot of anxiety and depression but I was also not following the -P. I was chasing what everybody else was doing instead of what I wanted to do. That all together. Oh my gosh. There needs to be.

I recommend another book for what happens when you’re not doing PRIME when you rearrange the letters or it’s all in this book I need to read it.

RIA STORY: Well, I maybe I should and maybe I should address that more. You know it’s something that you know again it’s not then that I had any more time or any more ability than anyone else. It’s just that I had a natural. I learned kind of naturally early on that the power of focus and particularly in today’s media driven – social media driven world. I think we’ve lost a little bit of that. You know it’s so easy to be multitasking and you’re you know maybe you’re on the phone with someone but you’re checking Facebook at the same time but you’re not really truly focused on listening to that conversation. The more that we do that the more we try to divide our attention the less attention we have to give to anything. Sooner or later we end up not being truly focused and not really working in our strengths. You know when I’m working on a book, project or when I’m when I’m writing morning times or my strong time of day. So you know I like to do my writing first thing in the morning and even I did this even when I was in the corporate world like I. I would take my calendar at work and I would block off the first two hours of the day because that was my PRIME get something done focused thinking time and I wouldn’t take, I wouldn’t go to meetings before 10 o’clock in the morning.

Even now I try not to make a lot of coaching clients or appointments in those first few hours of the day because it’s just that’s like golden time in terms of my productivity and I can get more done. They’re working in that strength time of day than I can in the afternoon when I’m when I’m just – I’m just not as sharp not as not as with it. So I think a lot of it is identifying where our strengths are and then you know figuring out a system to help us balance out where we’re not strong. And I was talking with a client not too long ago and she like me – has the challenge of wanting to say “YES” to everything because these are great opportunities and I told her, you know I said: “Look, build yourself an assistant whether it’s a best buddy or your hobby or even a journal that you can write down these opportunities that come up and build yourself up a step in there and that says – Before I accept another opportunity, I’m going to go look at my list of values and decide if it’s in alignment or I’m going to ask you know my best buddy to say – hey, is this something that’s in alignment with where I’m going.” So, you know if you know that that’s not a strength area for you saying “NO” build in a step and say: “OK, here’s what I can do I can add a step to say – pause – reflect, I don’t need to commit to that.” And that will help you build up that mental discipline.

KIM: I’m actually in a mastermind and accountability group right now, where before we purchase anything or before we sign up for anything even if it doesn’t require a purchase we bring it to the group and weigh out the options. And I know that might sound like a little bit of a – I mean it is a time expenditure. It is, but it has kept my wallet close when it needed to be..


KIM: -because there are so many e-mails like, there’s so many e-mails that go through my box on any given day and I’ve been trying to unsubscribe but there’s some that I really don’t want to do and it’s so easy to get sucked in. I do want to ask though how many tabs do you normally keep open on your browser on time?

RIA STORY: Just one – unless there’s something I’m flipping like if I’m flipping back from a website to copy a quote or something. Just one.

KIM: Wow! OK. I feel like I’m accomplished right now I only have open nine. But, I’m really trying to get it down to three. I was flipping back and forth plus a little bit more so…


KIM: Yeah. Not, during our interview though of course I’m focusing here. But getting down from 20 though to nine has been an accomplishment. So they’re going to take a little bit of work to get down the three..

RIA STORY: Your computer was probably speed up too.

KIM: Oh absolutely one tab has been a blessing. Let me tell you – how many items are on your To Do List for a day? I know this varies but at any given – Do you have a To Do List?

RIA STORY: I do, I find that I’m goaled. I like having a goal. So, I have had probably a different list than other people. So let me explain that a little bit.

I basically look at my week ahead and I put my most important value driven activities first and those go on the calendar before anything else. So, exercise for me is and you know – that’s a prime restorative activity. I absolutely do that pretty much every day that goes on the calendar first and I protect that like gold – it’s an appointment with myself. So, I look at that whole week and I set those value based activities. This might be a date night with my husband or that’s a relationship value. So I need to protect that. You know there’s things that you got into like clients and appointments and things like that. So those go on the calendar. Those I call them the “Big Rocks” so if you think about if you had like a jar – a big glass jar on your table and you’re going to put a whole bunch of stuff in there you want to put the big things in first. So if you put a bunch of the big rocks in first and then you fill the rest of the jar with smaller pebbles – the urgent things or – the junk things or – the you know the time wasters those small pebbles will just kind of fill in, you don’t really have to worry about them they’ll they’ll settle in where they can.

But if you try to throw – if you let the smaller things get into the jar first and get about halfway full and you try to put your big rocks in. It’s not all going to fit. And so I use that analogy a lot because I say: “Look, put the big rocks in first in your jar or your infinite week or day, put the big things in first.” And so I start out looking at the week and then I have a list of. And you know anything and everything goes on my list. So it’s little things that I that way I don’t have to worry about having the brain space to remember to make a haircut appointment. You know at some point there needs to be done but it’s not really important. So I write everything down the list and then I pick the one most important thing on that list. And I don’t do anything else until that one most important thing is done. Because if it’s the most important thing I don’t need to work on the little stuff you know a lot of times we get caught up on doing the easy stuff like: “Oh, call and make a haircut appointment” That’s a – you know “that’s a five minute thing that’s easy, let me get another way first” But if it’s not the most important thing I don’t need to do it! I don’t need to do it! I got to get the most important thing done. It sounds very simple and like anything it’s it’s very simple and powerful but it’s not easy to do because a lot of times you know we want to get the little thing, you know like e-mails. You look at the e-mails and go: “Oh, I can delete this one, and unsubscribe, delete, junk. Real quick reply.” And so we tend to do the easy things first. But if we’re not doing the most important thing first we’re not focusing our energy. The best way.

KIM: Absolutely. And I actually use the big rock method as well but I’ve been putting – and this is a big change for me just in the last week actually I was putting everything I thought out in my head down and I used my journal for this. I found that when I’m using electronic means, I get distracted by more taps.


KIM: And it’s so much easier to open up Facebook or whatever else and see what’s going on. So, I use my journal and I was putting everything that I could think of down on today’s To Do List and then I just. Well, I guess it was last week I started putting everything in a Master List not looking at it. But then everyday putting three down. But I think starting today, even though it’s already afternoon my time, to put the one item down, because I haven’t even filled in today’s. I don’t know what I was doing today out of PRIME. I know I have to get stuffs done. How bad is that? I’ve been sitting at my desk for five hours and they don’t know where in PRIME, I have spent my time for the day and I guess if I was in the -P, I would know it.

RIA STORY: It’s not that, you know I think what you’ve touched on two things there. Number one, it’s important to find a system that works for you. You know I keep a Google Calendar, because I can balance my calendar, my husband’s calendar, you know my work calendar so I can I can manage that electronically, if electronic doesn’t work. Use a journal, use a calendar. There is nothing wrong with that. The trick is finding a system that that fits you and how you like to work, because if you don’t like to use it you’re not, it’s like extra. You won’t do it. You don’t. You won’t do it. And the second thing is what you just said – is you know minimizing those distractions. And look, I’m not perfect at this either, trust me. I figured out about a month or so maybe a little longer than that six weeks ago. You know like a lot of people, I would pick up my phone to do something and those little red notifications would pop up like from LinkedIn or from Facebook or Instagram. And so then it was like: “Oh, wow! I’ve got to go check that out. You know someone’s commented or something like that” And so – Oh, that’s urgent and may not be important but it’s urgent, and so I’ve felt that need to go check it out. And “Simon Sinek” talks about this a little bit in his book – Leaders Eat Last. He talks about the fact that social media feeds a dope, I mean, a chemical reaction in our body so there’s actually a biological reason why we like to go get rid of those little red numbers. So, when I realized that that it was it was really a distraction for me what I did was I’ve changed my phone settings so I turn off all the little red notifications for like social media. And so now when I pick up my phone I don’t have any of those little red numbers that kind of get me off track. Now I can go you know I certainly do go check social media, and check those notifications but, I can do it when I’m ready to do it so it’s like when I’m ready to open that door then, I go open it and deal with it and then I close it back up and and don’t open it again until it’s my time. So it’s figuring out what works for you.

KIM: You are so right that little red dot is it just sucks you in and I has to turn it off. Thank you.

RIA STORY: Yeah. Well and you know in the end it may not work for everyone but for me, it was getting to be a distraction. So, I’m like “Oh, I’m just I don’t need to do it” or put it on you know put it on a second screen instead of your homescreen or you know whatever works..

KIM: or in folders. Yeah!


KIM: Well, going back to what you were talking about the phone with telemarketers. We do. In my house still have a landline. I don’t even know why. When you were talking before I was thinking about you know why do we have it. I can just cut it off and save some money anyway the ringer is just off, because anybody who may have an emergency has our cell phones.

RIA STORY: Well,they are. Yeah.

KIM: But all the telemarketers call the landline. So I just leave it off during the day and I’ll check the voicemail. Do anybody who’s listening if you called my line, you don’t know I may – I cannot say that I listen to the voicemail every day. If you have my e-mail just email me. That would be easier. Which actually takes me to another question. Do you have an e-mail schedule that you follow?

RIA STORY: I don’t, for one reason – number one e-mail for whatever reason doesn’t seem to distract me like those little red notifications did so, that it’s not it I’m not as driven for that for some reason. So it’s not, it’s not an issue, it’s not a distraction. And the other reason is because the business that I do you know speaking and working with clients, you know we get contact inquiries through our e-mail and our website and those come to my – come to my e-mail. And so for me those are our priority, because I always want to make sure that I’m responding to a client whether it’s a voicemail or an e-mail. You know those are priorities for me. And so you know when something comes in then I need to deal with it now. That being said, like on this call with you and it or if I’m in a meeting or something, I don’t check my phone, I turn the phone off or put it down, because whoever I’m working with deserves my full attention, the phone can wait. But once I get to that point: “I’m OK, now I’ve got a minute. Let me check something.” I do want to check that e-mail or that voicemail and respond to something that’s, you know if it needs immediate attention to respond to someone I try to do that. That’s a priority for me. But some of that is because of the business I’m in and working with people. So, again it kind of comes back to what are your values.

You know if email is more of a distraction and you’re getting more junk emails, then you’re not getting clients in that way. That may be something that you want to have a protected. You know I know people who do e-mail like once a day like I read of an executive recently who they got up in the morning and that was their morning routine to deal with e-mails for an hour. But that was that was what they did for that hour. But they didn’t check in again for the rest of the day. So, you know again it kind of comes back to. If I know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. I can put those action steps in place to help me do that.

KIM: Absolutely. I have actually transitioned myself from checking whenever I saw the little envelope appear to checking maybe in the morning and then at the end of the day and then usually I’m only in there, if I’m expecting something, because that is for me anyway. It’s not how my clients get in touch.

RIA STORY: All right. Perfectly good.

KIM: Yeah! I want to circle back around to talking about the “NO” because in talking about women and competence and leadership there’s multiple signs of confidence, there’s the knowing that you’re good enough to go forward and ask for something and not being scared of “NO”. Right?


KIM: But there’s also being scared of what happens if you yourself say “NO”. What are other people going to think?

RIA STORY: that a – yeah you’re right. It’s a pretty profound difference because confidence is something that we like, we’re attracted to that because it and it inspires us, it builds trust it builds influence if we know someone has confidence we have confidence in them. They know what they’re doing. They you know maybe they’ve got experience at it or they’re speaking from that experience. So, competence in our particularly in our leaders or someone who we’re following is a good thing. And you know I talk about this a little bit in my new book Leadership germs where the difference between confidence and arrogance is humility. So we want leaders who are confident but who also have some humility. So it’s OK to say yes I’m good at something that’s competence. If you have a strength and you are good at that that’s OK. That’s an ability that’s a talent that’s a gift. You know I think it’s perfectly good to recognize that and say: “Hey! this is something I’m good at” where we have to be careful and being overconfident is crossing the line and saying: “Well hey, I’m all that and a bag of cookies because I can do this.” So we have to season that with a little bit of humility. So I think that’s that’s important. But absolutely if you have a strength and a gift and you’re good at something I think you should be confident in that. Don’t be afraid to ask for that or you know if you’re asking for something in relation to that. Own it, because if it’s yours it’s yours. And who is it. I can’t remember who said it but somebody said that: “Each one of us is gifted in something, and we can do that one thing better than ten thousand other people”

KIM: I’m going to have to look that up.

RIA STORY: OK. I cannot remember off the top of my head so but it’s someone who said it so I need to look that up as well. And the other thing you talked about was saying – Know yourself and being you know being afraid what what would be the consequences be. For me I find the strength and the courage to say no and not worrying about what what other people might think if I’m very much in alignment with my values. So if I know something is not in alignment with my values, you know I know that I need to say “NO” and I can say “NO” with confidence and not worry about what that other person is going to think about, because I can say: “Hey, this might be a great thing but it’s not. It’s not my thing.” So I’ll give you an example though a lot of times the way I teach this are Mack and I teach this where speaking is – Kim, if you and I are getting ready to walk out the door today and I’m going to go drive to New York and you’re driving to L.A. Can we ride together?

KIM: No.

RIA STORY: No. I mean it doesn’t mean I don’t love you it doesn’t mean you’re not a great person. It just means we’re not going the same direction. And so something I heard someone say a few years ago it’s pretty powerful for me is: “Whenever an opportunity comes up I can ask myself – Is this going to move me in the right direction. And if the answer is “NO”. I need in decline it’s and it doesn’t matter if it’s a good opportunity or a missed opportunity or somebody may feel like they’ve got their feelings hurt. I just need to say NO”. And I talk about is a stewardship. You know I’m a person of faith and so I talk about you know we steward our money. We steward. We talk about money as a stewardship but our time is just as much if not more of a stewardship. And so you know I can only, I can only protect what I have. But when I can, I can do a better job of storing it wisely.

KIM: Oh absolutely. And something I like that or something I think about in this context a lot is and I know it might seem unrelated is the Movie Miracle on 34th Street where Santa is referring customers to other places, you know even if we say no we give a lot by referring the person somewhere else to where they have gone. You know even get better services and then they would respect us even more.

RIA STORY: Absolutely. You know it’s kind of an abundance mindset. We’re saying you know there’s enough to go around. Let me connect to let me, I can add value to you maybe connect some dots for you. And if I can’t I’ll just have to say that up front. “Hey, I’m not the best person to help you. Not my strength.” And sometimes we’re serving people better. Like you said you just mentioned that sometimes they can get something better somewhere else. You know if the if a client comes to me and they want coaching and it’s something that is not in my strength zone or I feel like I’m just not the best fit for them I will absolutely tell them: “Hey, you know you maybe need to find something different because I’m not the best person for you.” If I tried to take that person on and we’re not a good fit, I’m not doing them any good. I’m not doing me any good. At the end of the day it’s not moving either one of us forward.

KIM: I love that you brought that up because I was looking at an opportunity last year and to be totally honest I didn’t have money for it but I saw a way that the money could come up but flat out, I asked the person who was running this event: “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” And I was really looking for an honest response.


KIM: And she actually came back and said: “I wouldn’t do it.”


KIM: And that filled me with so much. It gave her so much integrity. To me, that I know that when the opportunity arises again I will go back because I know that she’s honest and you know led me in the right direction when I needed to hear rather than saying: “Yes, you know go open up a credit card so you can pay me”

RIA STORY: Right, and builds trust. And you know she, you know any interaction we have with someone we’re either making a deposit and increasing our trust in our influence or we’re decreasing it. And you know we need to be authentic and transparent to our values, so that when we say: “Hey, no it’s not the best thing for you.” We’re building trust with that person just like you have so much more respect for her now that you know that you can trust her because she’s, she’s built that reputation for you.

KIM: Oh absolutely. I just have to say you’ve been full of so many awesome Tweetables. I can’t wait. You you’ve just had so many great nuggets of information during this whole chat every time you say something like what you just said I can’t wait to listen to the recording so I can pull it out because, I know my big mouth has gotten in the way of my memory.

RIA STORY: Thank you Kim. I’m glad.

KIM: It’s been awesome.

RIA STORY: That’s exciting. I love your energy. And yeah I just can’t wait to see where your podcast and your listeners are going because you’ve got a lot of good stuff going for you.

KIM: Thank you so much. And speaking of good things going. Tell us again when “Leadership Gems for Women” is coming out. And also where listeners can find out more about you and all the great things that you’re doing.

RIA STORY: Sure. “Leadership Gems” will be releasing the first week of April so in about three or four weeks you can find out more about me at TopStoryLeadership.com. So, TopStoryLeadership.com. You can pre-order the book there. It will be available on Amazon about the first week of April. Pre-orders are available now so you know that’s something some people like to do. You can find more out about speaking and coaching and leadership development on my website. I was going to say feel free to connect with me, I’m on LinkedIn or Facebook (not currently) or Twitter or Instagram so feel free to connect with me. It’s just Ria.Story.

KIM: Listeners, you can find all of these great links in all the information that we’ve talked about including the transcription at TheKimSutton.com/pp088. Ria Story, it has been fabulous having you here today. Thank you so much again for joining us.

RIA STORY: Thank you. It’s my pleasure. Take care.

KIM: You too.