Embrace Adversity to Grow as a Leader with Annie Hyman-Pratt, Leading Edge Teams

Embrace Adversity to Grow as a Leader with Annie Hyman-Pratt, Leading Edge Teams

June 29, 2022

Anxiety, fear, stress (and other negative emotions) are an unavoidable part of the entrepreneurial journey. It’s how we handle them that matters. Our returning guest, Annie Hyman-Pratt, is an entrepreneur and author with a passion for psychology. During this episode, she explains why we need to embrace adversity to grow as a leader, why we should never make decisions when we are in an emotionally triggered state, and the power that lies in choosing compassion. 

About Annie Hyman-Pratt:

After 10x’ing her family business in seven years, Annie is now the CEO of Leading Edge Teams, a business consulting firm that guides companies through every challenge imaginable. Annie believes that the success and sustainability of a business can largely be attributed to the people involved and she has recently released a book on this subject titled The People Part.

Why you need to grow as a leader?

You may have a good leadership skill, but here’s why you need to grow as a leader:

First of all, it gives you the chance to reach your full potential while successfully leading and motivating your team and business. You can reach greater levels of accomplishment and unlock your full potential by consistently improving your leadership skills.

Moreover, growing as a leader is crucial for adapting to the changing world. Continuously evolving as a leader gives you the abilities and perspective required to successfully manage opportunities and challenges as the business landscape changes. It makes sure you’re still quick, flexible, and responsive to changing circumstances.

Additionally, developing your leadership skills enables you to build solid connections. Establishing trust, encouraging collaboration, and fostering interpersonal relationships are all possible by improving your communication, empathy, and interpersonal skills. Higher productivity and staff engagement result from this.

Lastly, leadership development promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement inside your firm by setting an example for others to follow. You may embrace innovation and change and make wise decisions that will help your team and the organization as a whole. In the end, making an investment in your leadership development prepares both you and your company for sustained success.

Episode highlights:

  • Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Be sure to surround yourself with people who can support you during the tough times, and share the joys with you during the good times. (05:39)
  • Learning how to control your emotions is a powerful skill for an entrepreneur because challenging, stressful situations are an inevitable part of the journey. Acknowledging your feelings and speaking about them are two of the most effective ways to manage them. (20:40)
  • Welcome challenging situations into your life. Growth occurs through adversity. (25:45)
  • Entrepreneurs know how to get results, but being too fixated on getting quick results will more often than not leave you feeling disappointed. Rather than focusing on the end result, enjoy the journey. (27:00)
  • Fight, flight, freeze, please; these automatic responses don’t work in business. Business problems can only be solved when we are thinking clearly and not being driven by our emotions. Don’t make decisions when you are feeling triggered. Take a step back, get some perspective, and then act. (30:33)
  • To release anxiety, embrace compassion. (40:00)

Annie’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“Our ability to grow is based on what challenges we can endure so that we can learn. If we can’t endure it, we don’t have any chance to learn from it.” (25:45) Our comfort zones are dangerous places because they hinder our ability to progress. Learn to appreciate the challenges that you encounter along your entrepreneurial journey.

Connect with Annie:

Resources Mentioned:

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[00:01:13] A.J. Lawrence: Our guest today has a great experience. She took over a family business, this amazing coffee chain. Literally, I used to go to one of them back in the ’90s, right at the point when Starbucks seemed to be growing everywhere. And yet she was able to compete and grow and then sell the company even in the face of all the incredible competition from Starbucks. So, really impressive there.

[00:01:39] She’s gone on to be a C level executive in different companies and also fractional work there as she created her own leadership consulting firm. And now, she has built a great company that is working with senior level executives on how to build high functioning teams. So, this is where we’re gonna spend a lot of time talking today with this great background.

[00:02:04] I think the things that I think are gonna be a lot of value to everyone to listen and kind of take out of it is sort of the value you need to put into building your own leadership capabilities, because at the end of the day, it does start with what you are doing and what you provide for your teams.

[00:02:23] So, it sounds pretty straightforward, but evaluating and being deliberate, yes. Since we keep constantly talking about how to be more deliberate entrepreneurs, I think it’s gonna be worthwhile. So listen to how our guests kind of walks through this and then two, the next two things that are really gonna be of value, and they’re kind of combined, is how to really drive engagement by soliciting opinions from your team and working on being able to show your value of their opinions.

[00:02:58] It’s funny. I just had a conversation with one of my teammates about something that I thought they did brilliantly and I was like, oh, that’s great. Thank you. And I went off and they kind of came back to me and said, I put a lot of effort into this. It would be really nice if you kind of walk me through how you thought it was so great. And I realized it was like, I just was so happy that it was something I could use for one of our engagements.

[00:03:25] And I didn’t realize just that there needs to better understand what they could do further to continue getting the type of work level that they want to. So it was like, okay, I need to show more value to their level of work. So this is great. And our guest today, really dives into this and it’s how important, but also how to be very candid in the discussions.

[00:03:53] Now, we hear about this a lot, don’t frame it, you be straightforward. But she also says to be very tentative and the way she talks about being tentative in candid dialogue is to come from an emotionally neutral. I sometimes bring emotional impact what I’m trying, I’m like, oh I can’t believe you did this.

[00:04:13] It’s like, pull it back, remove yourself from this. Be candid in the discussion, but remove your emotional focus from it. It’s gonna be very interesting how she guides us through these different things. So, I think you’re gonna love today’s episode and there’s so much we can learn about how to build your team.

[00:04:33] So, please let’s welcome Annie Hyman-Pratt, the CEO of Leading Edge Teams and the author of "The People Part", a really great book.

[00:04:42] Hello, Annie. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. It’s great to have you here.

[00:04:47] Annie Hyman-Pratt: I’m happy to be here.

[00:04:48] A.J. Lawrence: You are in one of my favorite sunny places on the planet right now on the west coast down in California so I’m pretty jealous since we’re having sandstorms here in Spain. But I’m really excited.

[00:05:00] I’ve been going through your background and I’m really interested in learning more about your new book, right behind you, The People Part. Given this great experience you’ve had and everything you’ve been doing, where do you see yourself as an entrepreneur these days?

[00:05:15] Annie Hyman-Pratt: It’s a good question. First, I probably would start with, at the beginning of my career. I didn’t even see myself as an entrepreneur because I came into a family business at first, right. And so, that’s something that my parents had started in the ’60s, The Coffee Bean and Tealeaf. And then I kind of grew up in the family business.

[00:05:34] And then I came back to the business after college, when my dad had heart problems. And then, while I was at Coffee Bean, I was very entrepreneurial, meaning I did a lot to take the business further and I came into the business during a time when the beverage, the coffee beverage revolution was happening.

[00:05:54] So, it’s kind of like I came into an old mom and pop business and I got to really modernize it around the beverages, including a very famous beverage that we invented called the ice blended mocha. So all those cold blender drinks, we were the first. But because my parents had started the business, I didn’t see myself as like a true entrepreneur that came later after the business sold.

[00:06:20] I was with Coffee Bean for all of the ’90s and we sold it at the very end of the ’90s. My family did. And after that, I started doing all kinds of interim work and I had a consulting business. But even then it took a while before I saw that as a real business. So, where I am now as an entrepreneur is, first of all, I love my business.

[00:06:42] Now, I have basically a consulting and training agency, right. We help entrepreneurs, specifically privately-owned businesses, with entrepreneurs that need to build leadership team and infrastructure. And so that’s what we do now. And of course I have a, you know, I really focus on the people part of it, and I see myself right now is having a a) business I love, b) definitely an entrepreneur that’s had to do all kinds of first time things, right. I’m in great company with my clients.

[00:07:17] And what’s kind of interesting though is that as an entrepreneur, I’m ambitious but not like I was when I was 20, 30. I would say I’m more on the side of I really wanna have a great impact. And it’s like, I really wanna mentor people. I want people to have the value of me having gone through some things that hopefully I can get them a little further along with a little less pain. So, that’s where I am. I’m totally enjoying building my business and it’s less about me now. How can I make sure that my clients, my community, my friends, that they get the results they want.

[00:07:56] A.J. Lawrence: Because you’ve had the successes you can now kind of expand on your definition. I would love to later on argue about it.

[00:08:02] Given that you have written a book about it, what do you think has helped you the most though? Now that you’ve gone on this journey, like you said, you went from growing your family business you grew incredibly was you took it from this mom and pop to an international business. So it wasn’t like you were just sort of in the store making frappuccinos, you actually grew it. And by any other definition as a true business person, entrepreneur, I just wanted to kind of touch back on that first. What do you think has helped you the most as an entrepreneur?

[00:08:36] Annie Hyman-Pratt: I think all of the support and learning I got along the way. Meaning the thing about being an entrepreneur is, or even in a business that’s growing, or even as a leader, is you are doing so many things for the first time and things rarely go as expected.

[00:08:53] So, I had a lot of great people along the way that helped me, right. That like either would talk me off the ledge if I was having an anxiety attack, that would help me. I had a consultant who was fantastic at helping me set up an org chart, who helped me put together plans that were at a higher level for the company. I had got to learn from some really good people.

[00:09:22] And, of course I didn’t get to learn everything before doing it. But I had enough support that even when I fell or I blew it, I didn’t feel- most entrepreneurs I think probably feel a lot more alone than I did during the journey. I had some good support around me. I think I was really lucky with that. And once I recognized it, I was really good about getting that in place, meaning that, you know, like even after coffee being sold and I was working inside other businesses, I was an interim executive in the C-suite.

[00:09:58] So, I did come in for six months or a year as a CEO, CFO, or COO, usually often around a transaction, help a company kind of get cleaned up and turned around and then hire my replacement and go. And because I had to come in and make rapid change, I needed everybody around me to learn the business I was in, one that I was popped into. I found that the better I could do with people and the less isolated I was that helped me the most.

[00:10:26] A.J. Lawrence: So, this is gonna be a very basic question, but how did you go about, because, you know I think for many entrepreneurs we do try and we generally have the ability to connect with people, but what I was fascinated was just your focus, your books, and going through your website stuff on building that connection, that kind of culture that develops a connection between people.

[00:10:50] And I’ve had a few other guests on who kind of work in that kind of thing. And I know I have a lot of difficulty in doing so in larger scale one offshore, even 10, but then as it scales, it’s like wait a second. So how did you develop this? You were saying to develop that connection.

[00:11:08] Annie Hyman-Pratt: A couple things were going on. First, I had to learn a little bit about myself. Meaning in my life I’ve been a rather high anxiety person, right. A perfectionistic, would like to control everything if I could. And I’m more introverted than extroverted. So, one of the things with that I think that’s pretty common for introverts is that, I avoid tension.

[00:11:35] It has to be really super high stakes and then I’ll come out swinging. But for just kind of day to day stuff, it’s like I really have in my life worked to avoid interacting with people, avoid tension. So I had to first kind of recognize, what is that about? Like, why am I uncomfortable with people? What is going on? And I could recognize pretty early, I feel a bit scared. Like basically, is this person gonna think I’m saying dumb things right now? Is this person perceiving me as not knowing what I’m doing? That was because I was running a business in my twenties, that was a common thought of mine.

[00:12:17] Kind of like, am I getting disrespected right now? Do they not respect what I’m saying? What I’m trying to do here? And so, once I could recognize that I was getting triggered, I guess I would say, that I was going to a fear place that I had something to work on. And then I knew, had some support with some coaching, for how to do that differently. For when I was feeling fear to not do the thing that was natural for me, which was to withdraw, shut down, fold my arms.

[00:12:52] And I have a story where I had when I was at Coffee Bean, I had a very extroverted director of operations. She was awesome. And so just bundle of energy, right, and extremely extroverted. So, I remember talking with her in kind of a heated, passionate discussion and we were standing in a hallway outside her office. And as she was talking, things were getting a little heated. She was stepping towards me, right, and I was backing up backing down the hallway. And I talked about this later with a business coach, luckily a very great coach that I had, and he said, when you feel like stepping back, you actually have to take a step forward and then she’ll back up. And you know what? It totally worked.

[00:13:36] And I think that kind of thing was kind of life changing for me because it said to me that how I perceive things that like kind of my natural way is not always the good way, especially if I’m not in a good place. Because her experience was, she’s stepping forward cuz she doesn’t want me to exit the conversation. She’s looking for more of a connection.

[00:13:58] And so I think that was like one of the things that got me interested in psychology too, of just like how do humans really work? What’s really a play here. Been kind of a closet anthropologist my whole life. And I spent a lot of time just kind of trying to get a handle on research what is going on with people in their psychology.

[00:14:18] And then, I went to a small kind of alternative university called the University of Santa Monica. I have a California master’s degree and something called spiritual psychology and that program was excellent. And it was, even though it’s called spiritual psychology, it’s really this psychology of human experience. That’s more what I would call it. I learned, oh my gosh, just so much. And that I got to turn around and apply in the business. That was a big pivot for my business too. By the way, like that was something on the journey of, you know, I went to this university more for personal reasons than business reasons.

[00:14:56] I had, you know, after Coffee Bean sold, it was actually not something that I wanted at the time. I was not ready to sell the business, but my family was, and I grieved for a long time and had trouble getting out of that. Ended up getting a divorce and a kind of at a low point in my life. I found myself enrolling in this university that a friend had recommended and it was life-changing.

[00:15:19] A.J. Lawrence: Having a business where you had done so well and been and then had it, I can see very much that transition helping. And then, you know, maybe I could see that being part of the reason why you’re saying you didn’t consider yourself an entrepreneur. I think as entrepreneurs, we create our environment. That’s just what we like to tell ourselves. Well, we try. Yes.

[00:15:44] And I like your thing about not withdrawing because yes, I kind of clicked on that. I’m like, yeah, maybe a little too much on my part as an introvert, as a fellow introvert. These are my toys and I’m taking them with me. Going away that kinda that right there.

[00:16:00] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Exactly. And it’s how we humans are hardwired to protect themselves. Like that is, that’s automatic for us humans that I talk about in the book, cause again, I’m like fascinated with the kind of the biology and the physiology of how our nervous system works. And we, humans, are threat detecting machines and that part of us is so much older, evolutionarily than the front part of our brain. Like where the great part of human creativity, complex thinking, interacting with other people, all of that is like up front here, but the triggers are more centered in our emotional center, in our amygdala. And that catches threats long before we’re conscious. And so, our feeling as an introvert of like, oh no, this isn’t going that well, I better exit like exit stage, right.

[00:16:58] That hits us well before we could even think about that it’s happening. It is absolutely automatic. And that is, I think one of the hardest things about being human, is we have to learn to regulate that to not let that run us. To not let that be the thing that operates our behavior. And even though we, most often, when I’m in a triggered place occasionally I’m gonna be really angry and act out.

[00:17:23] But most of the time, if I’m just under a strong amount of tension, again I’m looking for the door, like I’m shutting down. But not everybody’s like that. I think we saw it at the Oscars, right. And Will Smith had the opposite happen to him? He literally lost emotional control. And at that moment, we like to think he was in charge of his behavior, but not really.

[00:17:45] A.J. Lawrence: It is amazing. Just the frame by frame point out. Like he was laughing then he turned and looked at his wife and his wife was upset and it was like, he just switched off. It was like, I gotta, I gotta, yeah, I’m not gonna, oh wait, boom!

[00:18:05] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Danger, right? Like my wife has been insulted and that’s not okay. And I promise you, he was not thinking at that point. It was just his emotions were running his behavior, which is super human. But, if we can’t learn to control that especially in business, cuz the thing is business has a lot of tension all the time, so hard.

[00:18:29] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. And what I found actually even yes, watching Will Smith and his wife, was Chris Rock’s control on a few fronts, 1) he did begin but stopped and he began to draw a fist. He stopped himself, held himself straight up. He went to immediately do the com cuz I’ve seen him. I saw him back in the ’80s doing public access channel. He can attack, you know, heck less. And he went to, and then he stopped himself and there was a few things he did that I felt was like, yes, the joke. And, oh, he should never. And it’s like, okay. But how Chris Rock held himself? And that’s the hardest part because he was attacked. And yet it’s like for all the talk of everything with what Chris Rock did afterwards, maybe before not, but afterwards, I thought was masterful. That was hard.

[00:19:32] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Really hard. And that is something that is worth getting better and better at in your life though, is learning how to handle a really stressful situation without automatically reacting, right, where you do get to have some choice. Maybe he can’t do everything he wants to do, meaning I’m sure Chris Rock looked back on the night and thought, oh, I wish I’d done this a little differently, but he certainly wasn’t running on autopilot. He certainly had his wits about him and his self control.

[00:20:05] And it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. Once you can get a handle on your emotions not controlling you, you can change them. I don’t know how the exact saying goes, but it’s basically they’re finding now that mood follows behavior. It’s not mood comes first and that’s why you act like you act. You can act your way into a good place.

[00:20:32] A.J. Lawrence: Smiling. Literally just by going through, the smiling people have lower pain, you know, all the things and it’s just the physical objects, breathing techniques. I had a business coach who called himself a born again Buddhist, Jerry, he just kept saying, you step into the fear, it’s a plate, your fear. And I was like, what does that mean? We’re just, it’s like, okay, step into the fear. That actions, your thought process of things, that have fear, that anger, et cetera, more so.

[00:21:17] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yes. If you try to stuff it down and avoid it, not acknowledge it, it gains steam, right. Then it’s like a tea kettle with too much steam in it and it’s going to blow. So instead if we can acknowledge the fear and go ahead and feel it, it’s one of the things of where I wish we were teaching young children a much richer vocabulary for feelings.

[00:21:44] Because when you can describe your feelings, they automatically dissipate. Because it happens here, because describing your experience happens in the front part of the brain. And that automatically takes the emotions down. But if people can’t articulate it in their head or out of their mouth, they can’t get a hold of it.

[00:22:05] Like Will Smith. If he could have caught himself inside his head and said, Oh, my God, I am feeling enraged right at this second. That’s a feeling I can feel. I feel like going up and punching Chris Rock, but then he probably could have kept himself from actually doing it.

[00:22:22] A.J. Lawrence: But even in that extreme, that ability to look at it from a business point is moments will happen, hopefully well, at least a decently run business that’s not a common occurrence. But even in the best, there will be that temperature though. Situation occurs, an escalation, that ability to kind of step into that process, I think is as you’ve said, that’s something to really kind of practice leaning into.

[00:22:55] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yeah. And recognize that you’re okay. I literally think of it as like for myself anyways, I think about it as a, when I get through a really tense, difficult, often awkward or embarrassing or just fearful situation, I tell myself, look, I didn’t die. I felt all that. And I’m still here because our ability to grow is really based more on what challenges can we endure so that we can learn.

[00:23:26] Cause if we can’t endure it, we don’t have any chance to learn from it. It’s getting to a place of where you’re like, this may suck, but I’ll be okay. That’s the power place. Not, I’m gonna get this to work out perfectly.

[00:23:41] A.J. Lawrence: I know I’ve done it myself. And I know from other entrepreneurs in speaking, we have a tendency of like, I need the answer. I need to know what to do. And the reality is, as you said, it is not. I think a lot of it is just a little bit of incremental direction, correct effort. And then you’ll soon be walking out the door and then 10 years down the road, you turn around and like, wait, I’m doing this. What I didn’t think I could do.

[00:24:09] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Exactly for sure. I think one of the things that you’re saying too about like, you know, you turn around 10 years later, it’s this thing too of entrepreneurs are so good at achieving. Like that’s one of the reasons entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs, right. Because they know how to get results. Okay. The downside of that is that they expect results, great results too fast. When you can normally get results fast and then you can’t suddenly, it feels terrible. It feels like something’s wrong. And you know, for us entrepreneurs to really get deep in themselves of like, no, this is a journey and it does take time.

[00:24:48] A.J. Lawrence: I know for myself, a lot of it is it’s like, oh yes, I can achieve results. But the results never really matter because it’s in a sense, the puzzle of getting the results that’s so interesting. Yet, that’s a period of usually high stress, the puzzle part. So you’re not, even though that’s my favorite part, it’s not a part of joy, even though trying more to with more experience. But still it’s like, okay, I can do this. And then all of a sudden it’s like, yeah, yeah, great shiny thing. Oh, okay. That’s nice. But oh yeah. I don’t. Oh, wait, what, what did I just do here?

[00:25:30] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. We need the stress intention to have the growth. Like otherwise, if all you are is comfortable, you just, you don’t really get anywhere. But yeah, but it’s funny because we spend a lot of time trying to avoid that and yet it is what we need.

[00:25:45] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. And it’s usually like the good stuff, you know, it is that like I stints you know, it’s like, yes, when it’s happening, when you’re X, Y, or you’re not doing this or whatever, yes it’s horrible. But afterwards it’s like, remember the time I didn’t sleep for three days and I talked myself, Pearl, and I did this and I built the database and somehow we launched on time. It’s like why is that cool? Because I made it happen.

[00:26:13] Well, you talked a little bit about like having to learn and I may want to even go back to this, cause you said you had to learn to not follow your natural instincts. Was that for everyone, cause you were using reference of the extroverted operations manager or director of operations you had, was that for that type of situation? Cause then I do wanna ask you about the type of mistakes you would like to share, that you think people could grow from.

[00:26:41] Annie Hyman-Pratt: So I have wonderful instincts and certainly we all do, like, we all have our super strengths. Okay. So the thing is when I can’t trust my instincts is when I’m triggered, when I’m in fear or upset or overwhelmed, I’m exhausted, right? I’m in blame or self blame. When I’m in an emotionally triggered place, that’s when my instincts aren’t right. That’s when it’s like, they’re driving me. So, it will feel like I should shut down and exit a scene.

[00:27:26] And that will not help. It’s just in most business situations, business situations are rarely life and death, luckily, at least in this part of the planet, right. At least in the first world or whatnot. So they’re not life or death, but we have a part of us that feels like it is.

[00:27:47] And those instincts to fight, I think of it as fight, flight, freeze or please, right? Please, placate, get to say whatever you can, any lie to get the attention to diffuse. And so those are the kinds of automatic responses that don’t work in business because they’re not from a thinking place.

[00:28:13] You don’t solve a business problem by running away from it. You certainly don’t solve a business problem by expressing your anger by berating somebody or getting angry at somebody. Both those things hurt relationships. So now not only do you have the business problem that still needs to be solved, but now you have to fix a relationship.

[00:28:34] And by the way, exiting or withdrawing is not better than acting out. It’s just different because when you talk to anybody on the other side, who’s had somebody withdraw from them, I mean, that feels just as bad. I mean, it’s basically abandonment. So we have these natural instincts that are such an urge in the moment and that feel right, but they’re not if they’re coming from a place of emotionally triggered.

[00:29:01] So for me to learn that my thinking is not good when I’m not in a good place, but when I am in a good place, my thinking is excellent. That’s kind of how I see that. And as far as mistakes go, I would say that like my biggest mistakes in business were because I could not get out of that anxious place.

[00:29:21] It’s kind of like I could have a gambler’s mindset of like, oh, that didn’t go well, I better double down. Feeling like I have to make this thing work instead of being able to back up for just a second and look at the whole picture. One of the examples I give in the book is when we were building stores in the ’90s.

[00:29:45] It was when Starbucks was also expanding very big and they were public. They had raised a lot of money. They could build stores everywhere. They didn’t really have to choose. But anytime they would pick a location, I would be thinking, well, we need to be right near them. They know better. And it was like this fear of missing out, right.

[00:30:03] This thing of like, if I don’t get in there, I’ll totally miss out. That was the feeling and it was so not true. So what happened is it led me to lead us leasing some not very good locations with very scarce resources. We couldn’t do hundreds of stores at that time and I needed to be pickier. So I think that’s also where the shiny new object thing can come from.

[00:30:29] So for me, it was things like I would see something that Starbucks or another competitor was doing in their store and I’d feel like we have to do that right now. My team was going, we can’t do that right now. Like what are you talking about? But I would get indignant and really, it was from a place of fear.

[00:30:47] I think that’s the thing that I couldn’t recognize early on is that when I was in a place of fear and I wouldn’t have identified it as fear, but I could have identified it as anxiety. Like I have it running in me that like we have to do this or else we’re gonna be in trouble. And it just wasn’t the truth.

[00:31:07] That’s something that I would want that I hope for entrepreneurs to learn really early. Cause you can save yourself from really big mistakes of when you’re in a really anxious place about something you’re feeling like you have to do it because your emotions are running. That’s a good time to slow down.

[00:31:23] A.J. Lawrence: I kind of feel that when we go, I know one, I know from my own experience and then I’m talking other entrepreneurs that becomes so much more difficult when you’re growing or you are in transition parts of the business. Because you think things are difficult, starting things off. And then all of a sudden you have a business and then all of a sudden you’re like, oh wait, we’re alive.

[00:31:45] Okay. We have some money. Yay. I’m not, I don’t have to lose sleep because I can’t do payroll. But now I have instead of 20 responsibilities at one time, I had 200, 300 in this list. I know I’ve had difficulty in that, being there. That kind of like, oh wait, I am anxious, yeah, cause it was always like, okay. Yeah, no, no, no. I have other, just this it’s but yeah. Do you think the practice to do that.

[00:32:16] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yes. And the stakes do get higher so it is natural to be more anxious, right? Like I kind of think early on in a project or in a business like things are working and you’re like, oh, my gosh, this is fantastic, but you didn’t have to have it work.

[00:32:33] Not quite the same as like later. If something doesn’t work, it’s like, you know, it could be a million dollars. That was not the case on day one. And you know, so stakes do go up. It is can be more anxiety producing, but learning to get a hold of that so you can think.

[00:32:49] A.J. Lawrence: Yeah. And I think it goes to, like you said, that first thing of losing that fear of that fear factor. Kind of coming in because yes, when you’re later on those big mistakes may cost a million, but they probably are not as impactful to the overall survival of the business compared to smaller things. It’s just how many object? Okay. One, two. Yeah. It’s like, if I can count it then. Yeah. Oh wait, I can count that. But yes, its that you that oh, big means scared. No. So alright. Leaning into that and building your ability to understand yourself there. That’s a great.

[00:33:31] Now that you have this book coming out, you’ve had the success, and you are continuing to build upon your success, how do you go about the defining your own success today, but then also as you look towards the future?

[00:33:46] Annie Hyman-Pratt: I think my own success today is more about what can I contribute. Like, first of all, I definitely have to be okay. Like one of the other things I’ve definitely learned over time is like, if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t show up for anybody else. My joy is to show up for other people, is to help my clients, my team, and my family, to help them all get good results, have a good experience.

[00:34:17] That is my definition of success now. It’s like kinda what can I provide other people by being there for them, by being the best of me, so I can contribute and connect and all that. So, that’s how I define success for me now. And I’ve realized I have to take care of myself to do it. I do think that one of the things that I, how would I say, that I feel very appreciative and some privilege too, is that like I have had some good business successes.

[00:34:47] So, that I can be a little less stressed. I don’t have to worry where our next meal is coming from. And so that part I really appreciate. And I definitely still wanna grow the business, but I wanna grow the business, not at the expense of me or what I can contribute to other people. I think that’s where I’m kind of careful because I have had times in my life and in my career where I was pushing so hard for the achievements, for the business success, that really everybody else in my life fell by the wayside. I didn’t have anything left for them. And I don’t think I even saw it that way at the time. I’m a really good mom, but I had years where my kids were little and I could be there with them for the time, but my presence was not there.

[00:35:37] And it’s certainly a regret I have and it’s fine. I mean, my kids are doing great and nobody’s perfect. My ambition is sort of moderated by how I wanna show up. And I would also say I am way more compassionate about myself and for everybody around me. I feel very strongly like it’s hard to be human.

[00:36:01] It is where we have all these emotions that aren’t programmed for the lives we lead today. And yet we can’t turn it all off. We are emotional beings. That’s one of the things I say is like, you have your senses. You can’t not smell smoke. You’re gonna still smell smoke.

[00:36:17] You’re gonna feel threats. You’re gonna feel fear and anxiety and joy and love and anger. You are gonna feel all of that. But the thing that I think has helped me the most is getting more and more compassion and as I’ve grown and learned and aged, that compassion, that’s how I release the anxiety.

[00:36:44] It’s so much easier to let it go when you can drop the judgment to compassion, instead of thinking, this should not be happening. One of my big ones was when Coffee Bean sold, right. My parents should not have sold it. That should not have happened. Like I carried that with me for years. And that was painful.

[00:37:03] And when I can come into a place of compassion around it of like, oh my gosh, we all had a hard time through that by the way. My parents had a difficult decision to make for the whole family. Not just me, I’m one of five kids. So this wasn’t all about me. And they had a lot invested in the business like they knew businesses could go down.

[00:37:28] I hadn’t had that experience yet. So they had all this knowledge. I could have compassion for me though, being 30 years old and having really great success thinking that this is what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna be the Bean Queen forever, and then I wasn’t. But instead of being angry, I finally came to a place of like, it’s okay, life goes this way sometimes.

[00:37:52] I didn’t do anything wrong. My parents didn’t do anything wrong. I felt for a long time, like I should have showed up differently. I should have done it differently. None of that’s true. It’s okay, things just happen. One extra thing I’ll just add with that quickly is, one of the things I say to entrepreneurs all the time is your compassion has to be greater than your ambition or your life will be torture, right?

[00:38:18] Because entrepreneurs have big dreams. And if you go big, you can have big falls. That’s part of it and to survive it, you gotta be easier on yourself.

[00:38:29] A.J. Lawrence: I completely agree cuz I know from myself with high expectations. I’ve had successes in my life, but I’ve never had successes that I targeted.

[00:38:42] Four, three exits and seven, you know, all that nice stuff and the money is all good. But it’s like, yeah, I was gonna be pointy billion. I was gonna be this and this. And then it’s like, OK, you know. Problem is that compassion first with yourself then also with everyone else around you on that. Because that was success, just wasn’t success you wanted.

[00:39:06] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yes, exactly. Exactly. I mean for a decade, I probably would’ve taken back Coffee Bean at any moment and after it sold. But then after that, now I’m in a place of like recently I had a dream that I got Coffee Bean back, and I was like, I don’t want it. How did I get this done?

[00:39:24] There’s no part of me that wants Coffee Bean anymore. I’m grateful for the experience, but I love my business now and it’s tiny compared to Coffee Bean, but I love it.

[00:39:33] A.J. Lawrence: Oh, I’m glad you did. That’s what’s cool. So the book, The People Part, everyone will have links to everything below and then our show notes and on social media. Everyone, look out for "The People Part" by Annie Hyman-Pratt.

[00:39:50] And how else should the audience come, talk to you and see what everything else that’s going on?

[00:39:57] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yeah. So please grab the book. I mean, this is a book that I wrote because people were asking me for leadership and entrepreneurial business books to recommend, and I didn’t have any I could really recommend. I’d have parts of some that I could recommend, but I really wrote this book because it’s the thing I want people to have.

[00:40:16] And it really is about the people part of business. About how to interact, how to get yourself to a good place, and how to interact with people in a way that’s most productive. So you guys can get the goals, right? So, that’s the first thing.

[00:40:30] The second thing is you can come to our website. So, my company, I have a wonderful company, I have an amazing team called, Leading Edge Teams. Leading Edge Teams, teams with an ‘s’ and leadingedgeteams.com. You can go there. There’s all ways to contact me there and you can find us on social media too.

[00:40:48] A.J. Lawrence: Alright, so we’ll have all that. Like I said, show notes and on the socials so that way you can find Annie. They have some great material going through their site and picked a few things that I need to work on with my team.

[00:41:05] Annie, thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really, really appreciate that. This has been great.

[00:41:11] Annie Hyman-Pratt: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

[00:41:18] A.J. Lawrence: This episode of Beyond 8 Figures is over, but your journey as an entrepreneur continues. So if we can help you with anything, please just let us know. And if you liked this episode, please share it with someone who might learn from it. Until next time, keep growing and find the joy in your journey. This is A.J., and I’ll be talking to you soon. Bye bye.

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