Margie Warrell: Silencing your inner critic to live a life of bravery and boldness

Margie Warrell: Silencing Your Inner Critic to Live a Life of Bravery and Boldness #8

Warwick Fairfax

January 22, 2020

She battled bulimia all through her teens and later survived an armed robbery and a miscarriage. But Margie Warrell refused to let these crucible experiences define her. She fought her way to a life of significance helping women in particular live authentic lives of unshakable bravery, not battling against external forces but against internal ones. In this interview with Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host (and fellow Aussie) Warwick Fairfax, Warrell describes how she has learned to silence the nagging voice of self-doubt in her head, responding to its taunts of “Who are you to try something like that?” by answering boldly back: “Who am I NOT to try something like that?” Challenging herself, and her self-doubts, so bravely have led her to become a member of the Advisory Board of Forbes School of Business & Technology, an honoree of the Women’s Economic Forum and a sought-after leadership consultant to such organizations as NASA, Johnson & Johnson and Google. Her empowering insights to women, and indeed all people, continue with her latest book, You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself, coming from Wiley in March.

For more information about Margie Warrell, visit www.margiewarrell.com

Highlights

  • How battling bulimia in her teens and 20s led her to dig deeply to understand the emotional issues behind it (5:24)
  • How being the first person in her family to go to college challenged her parents’ expectations (8:51)
  • The necessity of challenging the voice in your head that indicts you with self-doubt (9:41)
  • How to prevent the negative voices in your head from creating crucible experiences (12:45)
  • The key to living a life of significance filled with joy (23:00)
  • The challenges unique to women in overcoming fear (25:12)
  • That challenges men have when defying cultural expectations (28:20)
  • Why knowing how you’re wired is a critical part of being brave (32:55)
  • Steps to take to silence the voices — internal and external — that try to hold you back from living a life of significance (38:00)
  • How to fuel courage in your life’s biggest moments (43:00)

Transcript

Gary S:
Welcome everybody to Beyond the Crucible, the podcast that’s all about living and leading with significance. I’m your co-host, Gary Schneeberger, the communications director for Crucible Leadership. And the focus of our podcast, really the purpose of it is to visit crucible experiences, those events that occur in our lives that could be failures, things that we’re involved in that maybe we caused to some extent, and they can be tragedies, and traumas, and setbacks that just happen to us in day to day life.

Gary S:
What makes them all kind of combined together is that they are life changing, and the purpose that we talk about them is that there’ll be life changing in positive ways. That they will become the fuel that will help us all live a life of significance and our guide on this journey as always is the founder of Crucible Leadership and the host of Beyond the Crucible, Warwick Fairfax. Warwick, it’s great to be here. We’re going to have a good show today I think.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. Thanks Gary, and it’s wonderful to welcome Margie Warrell. She is a fellow Australian, so you will notice that. I have unfortunately lived in the U.S. a long time, so mine has got toned down a bit unfortunately, but we do speak the same language, so that is fun.

Warwick F:
And so, just by way of introduction, Margie and I have actually known each other for a while maybe about 10 years. I think we met on a coaching conference in Washington, DC a while ago, and noticed that we might be from the same country. So, we struck up a friendship, and Margie’s been so supportive and helpful, and had me on her a wonderful podcast, Live Brave, and a column she wrote for Forbes.

Warwick F:
And so we’ve known each other for a while and it’s just wonderful Margie to have you on on the podcast.

Margie W:
Well, I am just delighted to be here with you Warwick, and I’m so delighted you’ve launched a podcast too.

Warwick F:
Well, thank you so much.

Gary S:
And for listeners, just so you know in addition to being Warwick’s friend and professional connection, this is what Margie has also done, and I think we’ll all agree that she’s living a life of significance, but here’s her biography. Margie Warrell has walked the path of courage many times since growing up. The big sister of seven on a small dairy farm in rural Victoria, Australia.

Gary S:
From backpacking solo around the world in her early 20s to starting a business with four young children in a new country, Margie’s gained valuable insights about defying self-doubt, building resilience, and embracing life’s challenges with faith instead of fear. The titles of her previous bestselling books, Find Your Courage, Stop Playing Safe, Train the Brave, and Make Your Mark reflect her passion for emboldening people to realize their potential and lead braver lives. A member of the advisory board of Forbes School of Business and Technology, honoree of the Women’s Economic Forum, and a sought after international speaker, Margie draws on her global experiences, background in psychology, business and coaching to speak and facilitate leadership programs with diverse organizations.

Gary S:
They include NASA, Salesforce, Morgan Stanley, SAP, Marriott, United Health, Mars, Johnson and Johnson, MetLife, Berkshire Hathaway, and Google. Margie’s ability to distill complex issues into accessible insights has also made her a sought after media commentator on outlets such as The Today Show, CNN, CNBC, Fox and Friends, and Bloomberg. Her Courage Works column with Forbes has been read by millions.

Gary S:
In her spare time, it does not sound like she has much spare time, but it says right here in the bio, in her spare time, Margie enjoys adventure travel and long hikes in beautiful places. Most recently she summited Mount Kilimanjaro with her husband Andrew and their four teenage children. I’m looking forward to being part of this conversation as you guys have a chat.

Warwick F:
Well, Margie again, so great to have you and we’ll obviously talk a lot about what you’re doing now. Love the new book, You’ve Got This, which I’ve read about half of and it’s so exciting. I love all the work you do on courage, but I’d like to start by way of sort of highlighting that is just some of your crucible experiences.

Warwick F:
Because at least from my perspective, crucible experiences mold who we are and help give us a passion for helping others or at least it can do. And so, I would just love to hear a bit more about your story and crucible experiences before we get to all the fantastic work you do on courage.

Margie W:
Yeah, thank you Warwick. I sometimes struggle to nail it down to one experience because I feel like I’ve had quite a few. Each has shaped me in different ways, and it’s funny when I look back and think what was maybe one of the earlier tough experiences before I really hit out into the … Got at the gates in my adult life, and actually it was probably dealing with an eating disorder to be honest in my teens and 20s.

Margie W:
And something people sometimes have a lot of shame around, and don’t like to talk around a lot, but I think that the journey for me, the inward journey of coming out the other side of that, I had bulimia for 13 years. From being about 13 years of age. And while I was quite high functioning, it wasn’t that, I went through college, and did well and everything else. But for me, the journey of really looking inwardly and going, “What’s underneath all of this?” was actually quite a crucible experience.

Margie W:
And I actually think I came out the other side of that through actually a 12-step program, believe it or not. And we really a journey of faith to “God, I got to get your help on this. I’m struggling to do this alone.” So, I think that also took me into the readings and learning about why we humans do what we do, and why we sometimes do the very things that we know aren’t serving us?

Margie W:
Why do we and sometimes fail to do the things that will serve us? And so, that took me down on a new pathway in many ways that ultimately ended up shaping a whole professional pathway as well. And then of course, as you know in Papua New Guinea I ended up in an armed robbery, which was pretty violent, and then 20 weeks pregnant, finding out 10 days later that I’d lost my first child, that was obviously a much more dramatic crucible experience.

Warwick F:
Yeah, I mean everybody’s journey is different. I mean, one of the things it’s interesting is you have an interesting story kind of growing up in, was it Western Victoria in-

Margie W:
Southeast actually.

Warwick F:
Oh sorry. Southeast. So, close. Well, at least I didn’t say Northwest, but anyway on a dairy farm, and I think one of the things you write about in your books a bit about and in You’ve Got This! is that maybe there were expectations, and traditional role models from mother and grandmother.

Warwick F:
And so, I don’t know. You’ve had a number of experiences that you’ve had to try to discern who am I? You go through something like bulimia or armed robbery or losing a child. It all tends to make you introspective.

Warwick F:
So, it may not be a traditional crucible experience, but I have a feeling that part of the way you grew up is shaped or it led you to make certain decisions and say, “Well, who am I? Do I want to follow this traditional role?”

Margie W:
Yeah, and to that point, well my father milked cows for 50 years. He dropped out of school at 15, 16. I’d say he probably had dyslexia or a learning challenge that he never got support with, and so he just did very manual sort of work in many ways for his whole working life.

Margie W:
And my mom, she actually left school at 16 to become a nun and joined the convent for nine years, and was nearly making her final vows for anyone who is familiar with Catholicism. Nearly making her final vows, and decided to leave, and then met my father not long after, and had seven children. And I’m actually Margaret Mary, so very Catholic.

Margie W:
But I share that because my parents were very much filled traditional roles, and for me growing up my dad used to say, “Oh, I see you being a sister Margaret Mary one day.” But no one in my family had ever gone to university. It was sort of seen in my parents’ world only really smart people, like really smart people would go to university. It just wasn’t something that people did was to go to university.

Margie W:
And so, even to say, “Well, actually I really want to go to university.” My older brother didn’t or until much later. And so, my parents’ actually expectations was probably quite low.

Margie W:
If I’d left school at 16 and trained as a hairdresser or worked in a local shop, I don’t think they’d have really thought much about it to be honest with you. So, it’s interesting in sort of what it is having parent expectations. I knew that they thought I was wonderful, but I just think they didn’t have very big ambitions for me because they didn’t see a world. Their whole world context themselves was very small.

Margie W:
And so, yeah that definitely shaped me, and for me over the years having the little voice in my head how many times that it’s whispered, “Who do you think you are to do that? Who do you think you are at 18 to move to a foreign city and go to university or to go traveling?” And I remember thinking about writing my first book after I’d started down this new pathway of coaching, and a few people said, “Oh you should write a book.”

Margie W:
And the voice in my head was, “Who do I think I am to write a book?” I mean, I’m just this not overly well educated girl from rural Australia, and didn’t ever study literature. I don’t know where the apostrophes go, I went to a very small school.

Margie W:
The only kid in my grade, my entire elementary school years. So, yes that little voice of who am I to do that is one that honestly in so much of my work and including my latest book is really in the words of Marianne Williamson, “Who are you not to do that?”

Warwick F:
Right, right.

Margie W:
“Who are you not to play big?” And playing small doesn’t serve the world, but that’s been a real act of courage on my part.

Warwick F:
No, absolutely. So, I mean, for some of us like me the expectations were pretty high. We had our huge Fairfax Media dynasty, and the benchmark was through the roof. They’ve taken me to be one of the great Fairfax’s, and I don’t know, do something incredible for the nation of Australia or that was sort of the benchmark.

Warwick F:
But I don’t know if it’s good or bad. It almost feels like the benchmark was set kind of low. It’s like do you feel like, “Hey mom, dad, you could’ve had a little bit higher expectations or maybe you found it freeing.” I don’t know. It showed on the other end of the spectrum.

Margie W:
You know what’s funny? And I’m going to chime in here, Warwick. When I realized who you were once we’d met, we’d had lunch together that day and I was like, “Oh, you’re Australian.”

Margie W:
And we had this lunch, and you said, “Oh my family’s in media.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, whatever.” I don’t know. Whatever. And then you gave me your card, and I got home that day, and I got it out, and I looked at your last name.

Margie W:
I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s Warwick Fairfax.” I was actually stunned, astonished, stunned because we’d had such a lovely time and everything. I grew up knowing your name.

Margie W:
I mean I grew up knowing your family name, and certainly in my late teens and 20s when your face was plastered all over Australia’s newspapers-

Warwick F:
Absolutely.

Margie W:
… and all through the media, your name was … You couldn’t turn on the TV at night and your name would be on the television for a period there.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
And our worlds, our social worlds were literally opposite. I mean, I was sort of from a tiny little rural think for … Any Americans listening, I’m like from rural Mississippi, West Virginia or somewhere, and you are the Murdoch or the-

Warwick F:
Right. Exactly.

Margie W:
You’re just so big. And I was like, “Oh my God, I just met …” Our lives, that our paths even crossed.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
And so, yes, we grew up with different expectations.

Gary S:
And there’s something that’s interesting that you both said that does relate, I think, to crucible experiences, and I think our listeners can understand this. Margie, you talked about how you’ve heard or you heard that voice in your head say, “Who are you to do X, Y or Z?” And Warwick you had … I don’t know if it was a voice in your head, but it was a voice on the television saying, “You did this wrong.”

Gary S:
For listeners that have those voices in their heads telling them, “You can’t do this.” Or telling them, “You should do that instead of this.” What’s your advice to them to ensure that those voices don’t become crucible experiences in and of themselves?

Margie W:
Well, I would say and actually I’ve been writing about this in my new book that’s coming out next year is you’ve got to challenge those voices in your head, and do not treat the voices in your head as though they’re the truth. I believe they are really coming from that place of fear, which is wired into all of us to keep us safe, to protect us from failure, and humiliation, and rejection, and being exposed as unworthy, which I think a lot of people have a deep seated fear of being exposed, found out, is not good enough in some way. And I think it really requires really that mindfulness muscle of what these voices in my head, these self-doubts, that inner critic is what they’re saying isn’t the truth.

Margie W:
It’s not the truth. Don’t buy into this as the truth. And to challenge that, and to turn it on its head instead of, “Who am I to do this?” Yeah. “Who am I not to do this?”

Margie W:
Or you know what if you fail and what would people say? It’s like, “What would open up for me if I didn’t believe this? If I actually bought into the opposite of this?” And having the courage to defy that voice, I think is what is so crucial into avoiding a crucible experience in and of itself, of living our lives and not living the lives of significance we have it within us to live, because we’ve let that voice sit in the driver’s seat of our life, dictate our decisions, dictate our actions, and keep us living a much smaller life than honors us or serves the world.

Warwick F:
It maybe in your book, I seem to recall the phrase people living lives of quiet desperation. I don’t know. I could have sworn I read it there, maybe I’m thinking of somewhere else.

Margie W:
That’s a Thoreau line-

Warwick F:
Okay.

Margie W:
… I believe. And so, I think I paraphrased him-

Warwick F:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Margie W:
… and I was just paraphrasing Thoreau. Some of us end up living our lives of quiet desperation, and Eleanor Roosevelt has a wonderful quote, and she said, “Most people tiptoe through life only to make it safely to death.” And as they tiptoed, they’re living lives of quiet desperation because they’re going to the grave with the song still in them. And-

Warwick F:
I mean, what’s amazing to me is you grew up in just this quiet life. It’s not like you had role models of your parents who were, “Let’s just bet it all. Let’s take big risks.” So, you’ve taken a very different path than you grew up in one sense, and everybody makes different choices, not to say that other people’s choices or your parents choices were wrong choices.

Warwick F:
I mean, everybody has to live their own lives, but what made you live a life of courage just ever since you grew up, going to college in Melbourne, and you just took a very different path your whole life?

Margie W:
Yeah. I have, and my mum and dad, I’m so blessed they’re still alive, 80 and 84, and still living in the little rural area I grew up, and I’m going to have Christmas with them, which will be beautiful. But one thing that I think, which is a deep value that’s guided me a lot is that Christian value actually. “To he who much is given, much is expected.”

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
Now, you could say I wasn’t given much. I mean, we never had any money, but I was given gifts, not that I even knew what my gifts were, but also this sense of mum and dad have always donated the tiny little bits of money they had. They always donate heavily, whether it’s to the church or some charity or helping people in parts of the world that are far less privileged than even I was.

Margie W:
And so, this idea that we should live our lives for others, and do something good with our life that helps other people, and so that’s been guiding for me. How do I do something that I get a sense of purpose from that helps other people? And it’s interesting.

Margie W:
I have a sister who’s a doctor, I have a sister who is a physio, who’s now with the World Health Organization. A lot of us have actually done things that we’ve felt are in contributing to the world in some way. So I think that has been definitely a guiding force for me, not to be self centered.

Warwick F:
That’s interesting. It almost seems like rather than professionally how they live their life, it’s the values that your parents lived that perhaps most influenced you.

Margie W:
Yeah. Very much part of their community. My dad would always do lots of favors for everyone, and if they couldn’t afford it, “That’s fine. Don’t pay me.” That’s sort of who he is.

Margie W:
So, I think that definitely had an impact on me. I guess we all have different personalities too, Warwick, and I have an adventurous spirit. I love experiencing new places. I think I knew that I’d probably get easily bored if I stayed where I’ve grown up, and just by virtue of probably my personality, I’ve enjoyed living and experiencing a lot more of the world than I would have had I not left.

Margie W:
And I go back there, and I love going back there. So, it’s a very beautiful little place. It’s called Nungurner, where I grew up, which doesn’t even have a shop, and it still only has a … Actually, the school’s doubled in size.

Margie W:
It used to be one room and now it’s two. And I love going back there, but I think I knew that there was a whole lot of world out there that I was feeling called to go and live in, and explore, and experience, and be part of that I wasn’t going have that if I’d stayed in there. And I felt that again and again over my life. But I think about my second career.

Margie W:
My first one I studied business, and I worked in marketing, and then I decided that just wasn’t feeding me, and maybe that psychology, and then coaching, et cetera. But over my second career where I’m speaking, and writing, and coaching and everything, I love seeing the impact that using the tools that we learn can have on the lives of other people. That lights me up. It’s soul satisfyingly rewarding. And so, yeah.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I almost feel … Obviously you have a business and what have you, but it almost feels like it’s more of maybe a mission that you’re not doing this to build some empire. You’re doing this to help people, and in particular women who often, I think as you’ve written, maybe don’t always have … Sell themselves short, maybe don’t have the courage, don’t always stand up for themselves.

Warwick F:
It almost feels the word mission just comes to mind that-

Margie W:
Yeah, yeah. You’re right. And absolutely. I think that you’re correct. And it’s funny, even this latest book I’ve written, which isn’t just for women. And a lot of this, while I do a lot with women, I do a lot in general audiences and speaking at a lot of big conferences for big companies with often 70% men sometimes.

Margie W:
But I will say that even my latest book, it’s called, You’ve Got This!, And it’s the power of trusting ourselves. And I think about how, “Well, strategically I probably should have written a leadership book that would lead to higher speaking opportunities, and I probably should have a lot of people working under me, and then be leveraging my business for a lot more passive income.” All of these things.

Margie W:
I’m like, “Oh, I know I should from a profit maximization.” Or if I’m looking at through a commercial lens, there’s a whole lot of things I probably should’ve been doing that I haven’t been. But then I go, “Does that light me up? Do I want to do that?” I’m like, “No, it’s not lighting me up.”

Warwick F:
I’m sure people like with a lot of folks who have a coaching philosophy, it’s like you can have a whole Train The Brave coaching program in which you would license people as Margie Warrell licensed. I mean, I’m sure people have suggested that, and maybe that would work. It probably would.

Warwick F:
But do you want to have a thousand people trained in the certification program, and is that really what you want to do? It’s not wrong, but it may not be what you want to do.

Margie W:
And you know what? It’s funny. I was talking to someone about this yesterday who said that, “Oh, I could be doing that.” And I said, “I’m an empty nester in 12 months time, and maybe once I’m an empty nester, I’ll go.”

Margie W:
You know what? I have capacity for things that I haven’t had for 22 years as a mom where I really want to be around the kids more. But yeah, up until now when I’ve thought about that, it just hasn’t lit me up.

Margie W:
So, who knows what the future holds. Maybe that will be in the future, but it certainly just hasn’t been what I felt called to do up until now.

Warwick F:
I mean, I think this is important for the listeners to understand. I mean, there’s a few themes here, which is your motivation isn’t about building an empire or money. It’s about using the gifts and the passion that you have to help other people to help them not lead quiet lives of desperation, to live their life to the fullest, so that on their death bed they can say, “You know what? I’ve made mistakes, but I gave it my all, and I lived as full a life as I could possibly live.” Right?

Margie W:
Mm-hmm (Affirmative). Yeah.

Warwick F:
And that would be, and yeah, I mean we grew up obviously very differently, but that sense as I’ve mentioned in other podcasts, that sense of altruism. Fairfax Media was founded by a person of great faith. He built a huge empire, but he wanted to really have a newspaper that would be serve the colony as then was of Australia, and succeeding generations.

Warwick F:
There was a sense of altruism. I remember, I think my grandmother is reputed to have said, “When you have wealth and blessings like this, it’s almost like you’ve got dessert, but you have this obligation to serve other people.” So, that sense of serving others, that was certainly ingrained in my family. And so, yeah. I mean, I think your whole life you’ve been about helping other people.

Warwick F:
It’s just hard wired in you, which I think is, to me if you want to live a life of significance, a life that’s filled with joy, joy doesn’t come from building an empire, it comes from using your gifts to serve others. You clearly live a life of significance, I would have thought you probably a live a fairly joyful in the holistic sense of the word, if that makes sense.

Margie W:
Yeah. I’d like to think I have joyful moments. I have plenty where I’m like, “Ah.” As well.

Warwick F:
But in terms of the overall direction of what you’re doing with your life, it’s not like you said, “Oh, why am I doing this? Oh I should have just-”

Margie W:
And I think it’s such a tragedy when people just spend such a big part of their adult lives doing something that just brings them no joy. I mean, as you know, I don’t think it’s realistic that all of us are feeling joyful every moment of every day. But for some people, it’s like … Their work is just this dread, and I’m like, “That’s a really sad state to be in.”

Gary S:
Right. I want to grab something Warwick said a few minutes back when he pointed out that really the focus of a lot of your work, Margie, is women. And when I look back at the … We have all guests fill out a sheet that sort of identifies their crucible moments, and you talked about your crucible experiences.

Gary S:
And it’s interesting to me as I read the first couple of those that they are those that perhaps are most associated with women. Dealing with bulimia in your teens and 20s, men have bulimia as well, but I think we hear more about it with women. An armed robbery in Papua New Guinea, everybody is susceptible to that, but I think the bad guys will target women perhaps more than they’ll target men.

Gary S:
And then obviously losing your first child at 20 weeks being pregnant, do you think those crucible experiences, the fact that you are a woman who went through those things, is that maybe why you drifted in some way to really focusing your altruism and you’re wanting to help people to women?

Margie W:
Look, partly yes, but not entirely. I think I do a lot with women because as a woman and having now worked with thousands of women around the world, and thousands of men too. However, my experience is women are much more likely to underestimate themselves, and doubt themselves, and hold themselves back from putting themselves forward for things than men, and I know so much that.

Margie W:
I mean, our biology is slightly different, but how we socialize is different. And while we were in a stage now obviously, the world is changing, and I think girls today are growing up in a different environment that I grew up in. But that said, I think those social norms, and the penalty that we pay when we break out of the norms, and the expectations on women, and we want to be caregivers, and we hit this thing when we’re trying to have a career.

Margie W:
We go, “Oh it’s all too hard.” And I get that. I left the corporate space too. But I so often see women who really struggle with self belief, and worthiness, and I actually ran a program in Singapore yesterday with Oracle. 300 women from across Asia Pacific, and as I went around and I was talking to people, how many of those women kind of go, “Oh I don’t know if I’m ready for this bigger role.” And I find that less so in men who would go, “Oh I’m not sure I’m ready for a bigger leadership role.”

Margie W:
They’d be more likely to go, “Yeah. Bring it on. In fact, I was ready a year ago.” So, just these patterns and these tendencies. With that said, I will say Gary, I think all of us can be held back by fear in different shapes and forms, and I think sometimes for men it can show up differently too.

Margie W:
And Warwick, as you having read my book that’s coming out, I have a chapter in this on men because I think men can struggle with revealing their vulnerability. And sometimes where women have shame triggers around our bodies and how we look, men it can be around appearing weak, and not being strong-

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
… and the pressure they feel. And so, I think that fear can show up in different ways.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I think that’s very astute. I think I’m sure your right from a woman’s perspective if a woman says, “Hey, I think I deserve a raise.” It’s like, “Oh you’re being kind of pushy.” Whereas if a man says that, it’s like, “Hey, good for you. You’re being bold.”

Warwick F:
And so, how do you navigate that I’m sure is challenging in a way that gets the job done. There’s no point pushing a trigger that gets the answer no. So, how do you do it in a way that gets the answer yes? Which is probably another whole conversation.

Warwick F:
But for men, admitting that you fail, admitting that you don’t have the answers, admitting that you’re clueless is a taboo. And so, you’ve got these male managers to pretend that they know everything, and that they have all the answers when they’re scared puppy dogs. I mean, that’s sort of the reality.

Warwick F:
I mean, you’re obviously married, you’ve got at least … How many sons do you have?

Margie W:
Three.

Warwick F:
Three.

Margie W:
Three sons.

Warwick F:
Okay.

Margie W:
Yeah.

Warwick F:
So, you’ve go a lot of experience. So, there are social norms for each, but I’d like to talk a bit about courage because I love your passion for that. It’s easy to say, “Be brave.” But we’re all-

Margie W:
It’s harder to do it.

Warwick F:
We’re all scared or just so many questions. It’s such a broad subject. I know for me, it’s knowing there are some areas where I don’t have to be brave in everything.

Warwick F:
I don’t know if this is on point or not, but it just occurred to me. I’m a reflective advisor type, I grew up in an intellectual family, but I’m not particularly athletic. And so, the stereotype for boys is you’ve got to be athletic.

Warwick F:
Well, I’m kind of not. You’ve got to be competitive. Well, I’m kind of not. I don’t really want to pulverize the next guy to the ground. It doesn’t excite me. It doesn’t turn me on.

Warwick F:
I mean, I’d rather have a conversation than stick their head in the mud. It just doesn’t really do it for me. And so, playing a round in golf or batting or being competitive, it’s the last thing I want to do.

Warwick F:
And so, I’ve had to come to terms with it’s okay not to be brave in the sense of playing a sport that I don’t enjoy and being competitive. I mean, it’s just what’s the point? Now, being brave in terms of Crucible Leadership, I don’t know if that makes sense, but part of it is avoiding stereotypes, and part of it is just picking your battles.

Warwick F:
Things that may be difficult, it’s okay not to take on things you don’t want to do just because. Like, “Oh I’m going to do bungee jumping just because it scares me.” Okay, great. But if you don’t want to do it, that’s okay, right?

Margie W:
Yeah. Well, I have something to say on that, and that is actually when the expectation is that you should be doing sport and whatever, then actually that can be an act of courage to go, “I don’t want to do this.” And risk the disapproval of those around you.

Margie W:
Like, “Really son? I always thought you’d become a star footballer like me.”

Warwick F:
Right. Exactly.

Margie W:
That’s an act of courage.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
And so, being who we really are and true to ourselves, that is courageous in itself. And the question I often ask people when we talk about being brave, and bold, and taking a risk or whatever it is, for the sake of what are you willing to do this or do you want to do this? Do you need to do this?

Margie W:
And for the sake of bungee jumping for instance like, “Wow, it really excites me and I think it’d be so much fun.” Great. Go out there and do it. Well, for the sake of, I don’t know. There’s got to be a compelling reason. There’s got to be a big why. Why would you do that?

Margie W:
And things that I did in my 20s that were brave, I don’t want to do them. I mean, I jumped out of a plane. I mean, I don’t want to do it anymore. It just don’t interest me, but at that time it was exciting when I was 19, 20 years old or whatever to do one jump, and then I decided that it was enough.

Margie W:
But I do think, for instance, building a business. If you want to build a business because that really calls to you and lights you up, fantastic because I really want to run a multi-million dollar empire. Great. Be brave and bold.

Margie W:
I don’t really want to do that, so why would I take those risks? It’s just not calling to me.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I love that phrase you said. Be brave for the sake of what? At least from my perspective, and I think we both share this is in some sense, helping other people. Making the world a better place.

Warwick F:
I mean, not everybody defines for the sake of what that way, but I think probably you and I do. Yeah.

Margie W:
Whatever is met, and I think this is where we’re all different, right? Some people want to sail a boat around the world, and some people want to create beautiful art, and some people want to build a big business, and that lights them up, and they want to come up with a better way of people communicating or traveling or whatever it is, and that uses their skills. They’re entrepreneurial, they love to create, they love to innovate, they love to … Or whatever.

Margie W:
And you think of Warren Buffett, he loves looking at the spreadsheets, and the P&L statements. He loves examining the books and going, “How can I make money out of this?” He’s gifted at that. He loves making the money.

Margie W:
He didn’t really know what to do with it all when he got it, so he’s given it away, that’s great, but that’s what he loved to do and he was good at it. I’m not actually that good at that. So, some people have gifts that will allow them to make a lot of money, and other people’s gifts maybe don’t make them so much money.

Margie W:
But I think the point is what is meaningful to you, and what’s meaningful for you and what you’re doing with Crucible Leadership has some similarities with what’s meaningful to me, but I also bring different strengths to bear, and different life experiences. So, what I’m doing is going to be different than what you’re doing or what the other 10,000 coaches are doing.

Warwick F:
And what I like about what you’re talking about is it’s got to be meaningful for you, but I think you said just a minute ago, it’s got to be linked to how you’re wired. I mean, there’s an intersection in there between being brave, feeling like it lights you up, but also feeling like it’s an area that you have some gifting, and passion, and experience. Does that make sense that there’s a linkage there?

Margie W:
Yeah. Absolutely. And to your point. I have three sons, and my youngest son absolutely loves football, rugby, in the mud, put their face in the dirt, and he’s good at it, and he loves it.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
My third child, my son Ben, not his thing at all, like you. Why? I just couldn’t think of anything much worse.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
And I’d like to think as a parent I’m like, “That’s great.” But-

Warwick F:
Exactly. They’re both fine.

Margie W:
That’s totally fine. The world doesn’t need everyone wanting to put people’s face in the mud.

Warwick F:
Right, right.

Margie W:
But we also need a world where not everyone is just sitting back and writing poetry. We need people to be out there … tails. And I remember Richard Branson a few years ago, I got invited to interview him on Necker Island down in the British Virgin Islands, and spending three days with him, and he’s a guy who obviously loves making things better, building businesses, making things better that lights him up. He’s really good at that, but there’s lot of things he’s not good at too.

Margie W:
And just recognizing the world doesn’t need a million Richard Bransons. Just like it doesn’t need a million of me. It needs each of us. It needs each of us to really use our own strengths in the best way, and whatever that is.

Margie W:
And so, I don’t ever kind of cast, “Well, you want to run a banking business that’s all about money?” There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what your strength is, that’s what you’re good at.

Margie W:
Then the question is what do you do with that?

Warwick F:
Right, right. I think that’s well said. So, let’s talk a bit about your new book, You’ve Got This! I love this idea. You talk a lot about fear. Well, you have to talk about fear if you talk about courage, and I think you probably talk about fear in every book you’ve ever written, which make abundant sense listening to those naysayers or so-called friends that want to hold you back.

Warwick F:
But just this notion that I think you talked about you’ve got a lot of the gifts and the answers within us, within you if you’d only listen. Talk a bit about kind of what some of the core themes in your new book You’ve Got This! is.

Margie W:
Yeah. Well, the subtitle is The Life-Changing Power Of Trusting Yourself. So, I really dive into this concept of what it is to trust ourselves and to trust our innate capacity? To deal with each moment of life as it arrives.

Margie W:
And so much of the anxiety people feel particularly when they’re dealing with change, and uncertainty, and disruption is brought on because we are scared. We’re not going to have what it takes to deal with what’s coming at us, and a lack of trust also keeps us from pursuing the challenges, going after the challenges, starting the business, writing a book, whatever. The lack of self trust that we’re like, “I don’t know if I have what it takes to do what it is I really want to do.”

Margie W:
And so, there is an act of courage to go, to trust yourself, and to trust your capacity to handle things, and to rise above the challenges, and to figure it out even though right now you’re not sure how. And I know for me even having my fourth child, it was like, “Will I? Won’t I?” And I just was really like, “Margie, if you didn’t let fear that you wouldn’t have what it would take get in the way of you having a fourth child, what would you do?”

Margie W:
I’m like, “I would at least be open to the idea of having a fourth child.” And so, then a year later we had our fourth child, and it was busy, it was crazy, it was bedlam, it was different. But each day, and each hour, and each moment I’ve been able to figure out how to raise my four children and pursue my vocation outside of the home as well, which was actually often inside the home in those early days anyway.

Margie W:
But my point being that a lot of people don’t do what they feel called to do because they’re afraid they don’t have what it takes, and they’re afraid that they won’t be able to deal with the challenges that they think are coming.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. It could be listening to the naysayers within you or maybe the naysayers around you-

Margie W:
Around you.

Warwick F:
… is obviously you and I would know, and listeners in the US, maybe not. There’s this phrase ,”Tall Poppy Syndrome”, which is basically in Australia from my perspective. If you want to succeed in any area of life other than sports, you’re going to be cut down by your mates, and your family and friends, and there are other cultures that are a little bit like that, but it’s easy to have people say, “Oh come on, Margie. Really? You want to do this?”

Warwick F:
Or, “I don’t really see that.” And I’ve had that in my own life after the whole Fairfax Media thing went under. I was not in good shape. I mean, in the ’90s I was pretty despondent, miserable, and if you ask people, “What do you think Warwick is going to do with his life as well?” I don’t know. Probably not much.

Warwick F:
I’ve listened to, and these are well meaning people, but sometimes the voices within us and the voices around us, they don’t really serve our higher selves if you will.

Margie W:
Yeah. And I think that’s true. So, one is we’ve got to manage the internal critic, but we also have to be able to deal with the external critics or even those well meaning people who just say, “Oh you can’t do that.” And I wrote about that in my book where I really wanted to be a journalist, a TV journalist, and mum was like, “Oh but darling, you don’t read the paper.”

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
You own the papers, Warwick, and we didn’t even get a paper. Literally. We’ve got a weekly paper for farmers and one for Catholics monthly.

Warwick F:
Right.

Margie W:
And so, we weren’t a family that sat around talking about what was going on on the news, and I mean mum was speaking from the very best of intentions. She just didn’t think I was someone who was into what was going on in the world enough, and I wasn’t an avid reader and all that stuff. So, I think we’ve got to be so careful about giving other people’s opinions more power than they deserve, and listen to other people’s opinions.

Margie W:
Just listen to the advice, see what resonates, but in the end trust yourself. Trust your own inner instinct, that inner sage, that inner voice that’s like, “You know what? This does feel right for me even if someone else is saying, “Really?””

Warwick F:
And to me, one of the things I’ve learned is there’s two aspects of that trust. One is trust the inner voice, and you’re so right. In scripture, it talks about that still small voice, which is really talking about the Lord, but in more general sense there is that quiet voice within you.

Warwick F:
Wherever it comes from that you need to trust, but also the way you approach things will be different than others. I mean, you’re probably, my guess is a bit more spontaneous and risk taking than I am, and that’s good. I mean, I think that’s great, but it’s like I can’t be that person.

Warwick F:
I’m more, other than when I do a billion dollar takeovers, other than that I’m normally fairly cautious. So, that one exception.

Margie W:
I’ve never done one of those myself.

Warwick F:
Well, it’s okay. You don’t add that to your Christmas list.

Gary S:
So, we’ve talked about how you guys are different here at the end, and Margie I’m going to introduce you to a phrase I use all the time with Warwick, “We got to know when to land the plane.” When it’s time to kind of come in for a landing, and we’re getting to that point. But I wanted to stress one thing for our listeners that if they were to listen to this from the beginning and just jot the words that came up the most, I think we’ve heard from Warwick significance a lot and we’ve heard from you, Margie, courage a lot.

Gary S:
And I think that’s a great place to end because it seems to me, and I’d love to hear your perspective on this, both of you, is it really possible to live a life of significance without courage? And is courage a noble goal to go after in pursuit of a life of significance?

Margie W:
I would say courage isn’t the goal, but it would be required at points along the journey. I don’t think that every day we may go, “Oh I have to do something bold and brave today.” However, I think as we pursue whatever it is that is meaningful and calls to us, there will be moments that we have to take the brave path over the comfortable one, and that will be required on our journey of forging a life of significance.

Margie W:
And sometimes that will be easier and sometimes that will be really hard, but I think there will be many moments in our journey that we have to choose that path of safe over fear, and courage over comfort.

Warwick F:
That’s absolutely well said. I’d say to live a life of significance, you have to have courage. You cannot get there without it, certainly for me and I’ve talked about this in earlier podcasts, there would be inflection points where I was working in some aviation services company doing finance and business analysis, and I started exploring coaching.

Warwick F:
Well, it took courage to then want to be certified and start coaching. Well, it took courage to want to write a book about something that was so painful that I avoided it for years. But then gee, if it can help other people, so I started it.

Warwick F:
It took courage to start Crucible Leadership or even a podcast because I’m a basically reasonably shy, reserved person. But you feel called to do something and you get the strength, but I guess the bottom line is that inflection points in your life in particular, that’s when you need the courage the most. Does that make sense? Is that your experience, Margie?

Margie W:
Oh absolutely. And that term inflection points I think absolutely. There’s those moments I was referring to, and sometimes we don’t know when they’re going to come. But there’s a part of us that goes, “Oh this is hard. This is scary, this is uncomfortable, and I risk falling short here.”

Margie W:
And it’s that moment of choice to go, “I will move forward and advance towards this for the sake of something that’s bigger than myself, and for the sake of whatever it is that’s calling me forward.”

Warwick F:
And that’s probably a good point to maybe wind this up is that for me, what motivates me is courage has to have fuel, and the fuel for me is the why, which I think you talk about. And for me, it’s life of significance, helping others. It’s whatever it is.

Warwick F:
If you find the fuel, you’ll have the courage, or at least you’ll have much greater possibility of having the courage. Does that kind of-

Margie W:
Yeah.

Warwick F:
… feel right?

Margie W:
And the why, and the why-

Warwick F:
Exactly.

Margie W:
… which is really synonymous for the sake of what.

Warwick F:
Exactly.

Margie W:
To really stick with the question and anyone listening to this, to stick with that question, how will I feel a year, five years, 10 years or in the twilight of my life from now, if I don’t do this? What am I putting at risk? What am I missing out on? And what might I one day regret if I don’t heed that voice, that call to courage? And I think that’s-

Warwick F:
And as you said in the words of Thoreau, you don’t want to live a life of quiet desperation. You don’t want to be that person.

Margie W:
And go to grave with the song still in you.

Warwick F:
Exactly right.

Gary S:
That is a very resonant note to land the plane on. Margie, where can listeners find out more about your book, about you, about your speaking, all of those things?

Margie W:
Oh thank you. Yes. Look, the best go-to place is just my website, MargieWarrell.com. M-A-R-G-I-E, because the way I pronounce my name and the way it’s spelled, for American listeners it could be different, but I’m sure you’ll provide a link.

Gary S:
And that is true for Warwick as well. I always tell people if you want to engage Crucible Leadership in LinkedIn, you go to @WarwickFairfax, and it’s with the W in the middle. W-A-R-W-I-C-K Fairfax. You can find us in LinkedIn. If you want to engage us at Crucible Leadership on Facebook, it’s at Crucible Leadership. And you can also visit us on the web at CrucibleLeadership.com.

Gary S:
Warwick, I’m usually the one that says goodbye, but I’m going to let you say goodbye to your good friend Margie. Margie, it was great spending time with you. Thank you for sharing your insights and work. Take it away.

Warwick F:
Well, Margie, thanks so much for being here. Your journey of courage is something I’ve always admired. It’s actually been inspirational to me and in my own journey, so yeah. Just helping women and men have courage, to be bold, you can’t preach it enough if you will because you might be brave today, but tomorrow the voices come back.

Warwick F:
So, every day you got to wake up again and say, “Okay. I’ve got to be courageous again.” So, thank you for your life’s work. It’s so important. So, we appreciate you being here.

Margie W:
Well, I’m just delighted our lives, our paths have also crossed, so thank you again. It’s been an honor.

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