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Unleashed E60: Laura Gassner Otting - Redefining Success

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Champions live in a state of Wonderhell, constantly bouncing between feeling wonderful and being overwhelmed and uncertain. Recognizing these feelings, leaning into the emotions, and developing loving critics are keys to ongoing success.

Laura Gassner Otting is a best-selling author, speaker, and executive coach. Her upcoming book, Wonderhell, explores the traits and strategies of successful people in various vocations and walks of life.

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  1. Have a bias for action; successful people act even when they aren’t sure they are on the right track. Not acting is a choice too.
  2. Keep criticism in perspective. Criticism probably means we are doing something that matters. Ignore the complainers but use constructive criticism to get better.
  3. Develop a community of loving critics by giving abundantly to help others. Leave behind people with a scarcity mindset and surround yourself with those who are invested in your success and are like who you want to become.

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View or listen to this and other past episodes on the Unleashed Podcast Library

Episode Highlights and Excerpts

  • Laura’s upcoming book, “Wonderhell”, explores the characteristics and mindsets of successful people. She interviewed hundreds of successful people in a variety of domains to identify patterns and trends.
    • She coined the phrase, “Wonderhell” to describe the opposing tensions of success being wonderful while also being hell. People are constantly swinging from feelings of engagement and pride, to feeling stretched and undeserving. There are two internal voices, one cheerleading and one criticizing.
  • Certainty is a fool’s errand. We must learn to get comfortable with the ‘hell’ of uncertainty.
  • Tactics for leaning into uncertainty:
    • The hard thing about hard things is not the ‘hard’, it’s the ‘do’. Laura found that successful people have a penchant for acting, even when they are unsure it’s the right path.
    • A vision matters, but so does taking little steps towards the goal every single day. If you want to run a marathon, start with one kilometer, then two, then five, and so on.
    • Doubt and imposter syndrome are all not bad, they just need reframing. We ought to feel stressed and overwhelmed when doing something we haven’t done before. Every champion has self-doubt, but they don’t hear it as a limitation, they see it as an invitation. It’s new and interesting. Sustainably successful people normalize self-doubt.
  • We all need community to help us on our journey, but there are methods to get the most out of our circles:
    • It’s a common meme: don’t take criticism from anyone you wouldn’t take advice from. But that’s not reality. Reality is we turn the volume up on the critics, not the supporters. Be aware of that.
    • Criticism can turn into rocket fuel. Learn from the critics who have good points and use that information to get better.
    • At the same time, turn the volume down on the naysayers and up on the yaysayers.
    • It’s an indicator that you found something that you have to work your ass off to get right. If it’s easy, everyone would do it.
    • Figure out how to help others. Be a giver and show up for people, exceed how much you need them to show up for you. Keep an abundance mindset. Aggressively look for ways to help other people. Then it comes around.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    • Burn your bridges with scarcity people. Don’t hang with people who take away from your growth.
  • Successful people never get out of Wonderhell, it’s an ongoing series of challenges, goals, and feelings of doubt. Get used to it! If you start to feel comfortable or even complacent, that’s a good indication it’s time to move on.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

At Results we care about your success, we understand how overwhelming it can feel to run a business, and we’re here to help. Reach out to Nicole through our contact form for ways to unleash the potential of your business. 

Visit the Unleashed Podcast Library where you’ll find exclusive conversations with world-class thought leaders, authors, and leadership experts. 

Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.

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Laura Gassner Otting

Laura Gasnet Otner Headshot (1)

Laura’s rebellious and entrepreneurial edge has been well-honed over a 25-year career that started when she dropped out of law school to join an unknown southern governor’s presidential campaign, and ended up as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, where she helped shape AmeriCorps. 

She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and perspective generated by decades of navigating change across the start-up, corporate, nonprofit, political, as well as philanthropic landscapes. Laura dares audiences to find their voice, and generate the confidence needed to tackle larger-than-life challenges by helping them to seek new ways of leading, managing, and mentoring others. 

She’s an instigator, a motivator, and a provocateur, and she’s never met a revolution she didn’t like, just ask her enduringly patient husband, two almost-grown sons, and troublesome puppy with whom she lives outside of Boston, MA. 

You can learn more at Laura’s website