Hey goal achievers! I invited a special guest to join me on the Elite Achievement podcast to talk about clarity, leaning into your intuition and learning to trust yourself.
Lynn Casaletto is a dear friend, coach and an all-around amazing human being. In 2005, she founded Core Growth Consulting, which provides executive coaching and consulting to high achieving heart-centered business owners and teams. Her team is passionate about helping people create more peace and fulfillment in their lives and her message and insights did not disappoint.
The first question I asked Lynn was how she got started back in 2005. And her answer has us off to a great start. “It’s so wild, you know, especially since today, we’re going to be talking about intuition and clarity. But it was just one of those things – I like to call it a God-poke.” She goes on to explain that it was for her, that idea, feeling and thought that just didn’t go away. And the ongoing internal voice that said, “Lynn, you need to start your own business.”
As it got louder and louder, Lynn says she finally had the courage to say, “Okay.” This leap required her to leave an apartment in NYC and a job she loved, working for a Fortune 500 company, to go live with her parents in New Jersey. At 30 years old, Lynn went from living “the life” to making a desk out of two dressers and a piece of plywood to start a business.
I personally love that so much because I know what it’s like to record my podcasts, sitting in my closet on one of my daughter’s chairs with a makeshift Rubbermaid tub desk that supports my laptop.
According to Lynn, sometimes that’s all it takes. “You don’t need fancy things, especially when you’re starting out.” What it does take is making a decision and “having the courage to believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and take action one day at a time.”
As Lynn talked about the tugging she felt on her heartstrings, I was nodding my head in agreement. I remember so vividly being there myself. But I didn’t listen to the voice for a very, very long time because I was scared. Curiously, I asked Lynn to share how she grew the courage and how she helps her clients today do the same.
“It’s so wild,” she says. “That is where I think the balance of intuition kicks in. It’s knowing that it’s right. Even if it may not make any logical sense on paper. I remember going through it with myself and my coaches and mentors. It’s almost like reverse engineering your intuition.”
She still uses that skill today, helping her clients tune into the sense and thoughts that won’t go away. Then, as the picture becomes clearer, backing it up with facts. She suggests asking questions like:
It’s a process that she believes starts with acknowledging that the feeling isn’t quieting. And as it grows, putting pen to paper and conquering the how, when, why and then the bigger question like, “What’s the biggest courage play that I’m going to have to really, really own right now on this?”
What I love about Lynn’s questions is that they’re all focused on the positive. I find so often when I’m faced with a courageous decision, I go to all the reasons it won’t work. So, I wondered how she remains in that place of possibility instead of the negative “it won’t work” space.
She agrees – that the negative space is very real – and she talks about remembering the things that spurred her to take action. When she puts herself back in that time of getting started, she explains that she can instantly remember how nervous she felt and how her mind tried to focus on why her calling made no sense. But staying positive couldn’t be more important.
Lynn shared a recent example she read in the book, Three Feet From Gold by Sharon Lechter and Greg Reid. In it, they talk about how you should never make big decisions when you’re in a valley. And that when you’re facing things like a career change, relationship change or a move across the country, you should leave from a position of strength, like you’re walking towards something, not walking away from something. She believes the concept of focusing on what you’re walking towards can help pull courage forward.
Lynn also explained that whenever she is making a big decision or facing a crossroads in life that requires boldness and overcoming fear, she goes through three questions. She starts by asking herself, what are the facts? This question helps her get clear and eliminates the stories she may otherwise make up when her nervous system, jitters and emotions kick in.
Next, she asks if she could see it better than it is because trying to find what is amazing about the option generates positive energy. “Our reptilian brains are trying to protect us and say, no! Don’t do it. Don’t grow so fast. Don’t take that big, bold leap in life. What if it goes wrong? What if you fail?” By seeing it better than it is, Lynn finds that her courage returns. She focuses on questions like, “Why is this absolutely right,” “How could this be guiding me in some way,” and “What else could I learn through taking this leap forward in life?”
The last step is all about vision. Lynn shares that when we create it first in our mind, we have to see it, believe it, taste it, touch it and feel it. Only then can take action to actually build it.
As I heard Lynn talk about growing courage to take the bold risk and big leaps of faith, I focused on her process of getting clarity and creating the vision that gives space to explore the possibilities. I wanted to dig deeper. Fortunately, Lynn was game, and she dove into an exercise she learned from Pete Grieder, an amazing coach.
Lynn explained an exercise that Pete has shared with thousands of people, called the “What do I want exercise.”
Lynn exclaimed, “I love the simplicity of it. Because you literally ask yourself that question or have someone else – a friend, a coach, a mentor – ask you – what do you want?”
It seems simple, but Lynn continued, “You just have to sit with it. Like, what do you want? Picture your life – whatever timeframe – a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now. What do you really want? The person who’s doing this exercise with you asks that question over and over again till it’s exhausted. It’s exhausted the things that you actually want. And I think the beauty in that exercise is that you have to give yourself permission to want what you want. And to not judge it or label it as good or bad. You have to let go of what other people want for you. And you just have to honor yourself and be very real and true.”
“At the end of this list, then you hone in on the one or two things that you really want. And then you get super clear on what that will provide for you in life. And then you build it.”
Lynn related this exercise to what I do for a living, and it really is simple and yet profound. With the right environment, timeframe, accountability and baby steps, you can get to what you really want, just like any goal.
As I reflect on what Lynn has just shared, I realize she’s right. I love helping clients get that clarity around what they want because it’s so foundational in our goal achievement journey. Without that clarity, it’s very easy to fall victim to excuses, stay super comfortable and not take risks.
I appreciate the simple framework and the thought of asking, “what do I want” over and over. I wondered how often Lynn recommends people go through the exercise.
“That’s a great question,” she says. “I Love New Year’s Eve. Most often, I’ll probably have a martini in my hand (dirty) and a notepad, going through reflection. I’m so relaxed, and I’m able to be present with myself and dream. Maybe it’s one of the things you do to close out December, or maybe it’s the first week in January when you’re getting ramped up. But I think that would be such a cool ritual to do annually.”
She asked for my opinion. I have a lot of systems in place and I do a year plan, a quarterly reflection and a monthly goal review. I know the value of a thoughtful process right before you set your goals. So, you’re not setting goals you think sound good or that you should achieve. They’re actually in alignment with what you truly want.
I’ve watched Lynn’s vision and business grow over the years, so I’m excited to learn about some of the bold moves she’s been making lately. Her response was on par with most entrepreneurs I know. “Oh, my goodness, it’s so wild!”
Lynn shraed, “I feel like it keeps getting better every year. I don’t know if that just comes with experience. Or maybe trusting myself more.” Probably a little of both, I think silently. Lynn describes a big move she made in the last few years, which involved moving her family from the East Coast to the West. After starting her professional career in NYC, Lynn explains that it was that heartstring tug once again that led her to California. “It really made no sense on paper. But it was one of those things, like intuitively, it just kept getting louder and louder.”
So, she packed up and moved her business to the West Coast. Her next bold move was expanding the team. “It used to just be me – a one-person shop. Then it was me and my teammate in Indiana, then my husband came into the business. And now we have Caitlin, who is another team member, and we’re continuing to grow. All of those decisions take a lot of courage. I can tell you that for most of them, all of them actually, intuition was the front runner. And then we reverse engineer the decisions to ask things like is this the right person and how do we make it work? When’s the right time?”
This isn’t the first time in our conversation that Lynn has mentioned listening to her heart and it’s prompting a bigger questions. Both Lynn and I came from a very male-dominated industry. And I wondered if her experience was similar to mine. The experience that showed me that women and men make decisions differently when it comes to logic and intuition.
Lynn instantly had insight. “I love the question. Because I think I used to believe that women were just way more intuitive. Almost just like thinking of being a mother – like you just have that sense, right? But the more experience I have working with clients and teams, men and women, I can’t even say it’s a male or female thing because I have a lot of male clients and their superpowers are their intuition. And when they get away from it, it’s almost like things aren’t going their way as much as when they honor it. I’m sure there’s research on who’s higher or what comes more naturally. But I will say, I think the thing that helps us connect with our intuition is allowing ourselves to get quiet. When I am consistently meditating or running without music, I find those tend to be the times that help me tune into my intuition. Even journaling! It’s wild sometimes, but when I’m back in the habit of journaling, things will come out of the pen onto my paper.”
Those journal entries, Lynn shares, might be just simple thoughts. But then other times, they’ll warrant special attention and ideas that require more thoughtful reflection. Lynn says the value is in learning how to tap into our intuition quicker because then we can recognize when we’re not using it – like when we’re running 24/7.
And I couldn’t agree more. I told myself the story, for a long time, that I was not good at strategic thinking. And I think I told myself this story because my model for being a good strategic thinker was someone who used reports, data and analysis. But now I recognize that a lot of my best strategies come after a run or a great yoga practice.
Admittedly, I am still working on the daily meditation, but we’re building that habit. Because I notice that when I slow down, get quiet or pour into myself, I get these feelings in my mind and on my heart. And when I take action, those ideas and strategies come quicker. So, I’ve learned if I honor that intuition, it’s almost like the universe is saying, yes girl, keep going.
Lynn was in full agreement, ” Oh my gosh, yes, Kristin!” She remembers a thought she wanted to share earlier and jumps back in, “We both grew up professionally in more of a male-dominated industry. And I think sometimes intuition can come off poorly. Like if you were in a business meeting, and you said – well, I just feel we should do this – you would get looked at like, alright lady, are you crazy? Followed by, where are the facts to back it up? And I think we have built a protection mechanism. Like, I can’t just say what my hunch is, or feeling is anymore.”
Although she knows the numbers and reports in a given situation, Lynn shared that she is most grateful for the marriage of numbers with feelings. The ability to use the reports to help speak into the intuition – which allows for a place to honor the feelings.
My experience backs up what Lynn said and takes me to a time when I made a decision in the corporate world. I wanted to tweak something in my coaching schedule and when I was discussing this with the leadership team, it was all based on a feeling in my gut – I felt it was right and I was leaning into the individuals I was coaching. But I couldn’t specify the stats or the data to back up that decision and I felt incredibly inadequate. I thought, well, gosh, maybe I’m really not that great of a leader because I cannot articulate how I made this decision. And looking back, I see that it’s really a blend of trusting your intuition and learning to embrace the data to back it up and really give that proof.
Before our interview concluded, I wanted to go back to something Lynn shared earlier about her team. I was curious if she felt perfectly prepared and ready for the team members she brought on.
She says that when you find the right people, you “make it work,” which includes shifting the way she worked altogether. “I think what’s interesting is that for so long, I was solo. And again, coming from working in New York City where it was people, people, people all the time, all hours. Then going to just me being solo and starting my business, it was a shift. And now, I feel like I’m getting back to my team, and that’s filling me up in a new way with the collaboration and the creativity. I was not necessarily ready. But like so many people that have gone before us, people who are leading so well in business and in life, say all the time, do it before you’re ready. Because if you wait till you’re ready, you’ll never do it. So, I’m like, okay, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because I trust this, I trust myself, I trust our team, I trust our clients, I trust what the world needs. I feel like what we provide people, it is so needed – there’s an endless opportunity to serve people. So, I was not ready. I did the research, I made it work on paper and it’s been good. It’s been really healthy and scary and awesome and amazing.”
I love her answer because so often, we wait to have a perfect plan, or we wait to feel totally ready. And that hinders our confidence because we gain confidence when we act. In Lynn’s answer, I hear that although it’s scary, and although it’s risky, you should listen to your intuition.
Lynn shared, “I feel most alive, on-purpose and fulfilled when I’m doing things that scare me – when I’m doing things that challenge me – doing something that I’m not an expert at. I can be confident but still scared.”
Relates to me starting this podcast and trusting myself in the moment. I still feel scared every time I get on the microphone, but I also know as I record and grow my podcast that it is coming from my heart. And there is a real genuine purpose behind my work to help others maximize their potential and achieve their definitions of success.
As we’re exploring this element of courage and leading into fear, I know from my work that when you’re scared, if you can stay connected to your mission and your vision, you can borrow some of that courage until it becomes more habitual and normal in your everyday life.
“I would love for anybody who is thinking of starting a podcast just to think about what it’s going to feel like on your 20th, 40th,” says Lynn. “You know, you got to keep doing it. You got to keep showing up. And that’s all it is. I feel like that’s what life is. We just got to keep showing up.
Just keep showing up. It’s as simple (and as hard) as asking what you really want.
To learn more about Lynn, visit https://www.coregrowthconsulting.com or www.instagram.com/coregrowthconsulting. Until next time, remember to focus on your weekly wins, those lessons that you are learning along the way and consistently progress in the direction o