Sally talks Self-Leadership with Andrea T Edwards

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Andrea T Edwards, The Digital Conversationalist, is a change agent, provocateur, passionate communicator and social leader. Andrea challenges organisations to think differently about integrity in the digital age. To think differently about the positive potential of social media. And she challenges business leaders to understand that, the tool of business transformation today, is the powerful voices of employees as social leaders – the champions of your business in the digital age.


Connect with and follow Andrea: ANDREA EDWARDS  and UNCOMMON COURAGE and LINKEDIN 


Uncommon Courage Facebook Group 


#leadership #courage #uncommoncourage #confidence #influence #selfleadership #socialleadership  #singapore

So I suppose for me, I haven’t had that struggle, but what I would say is for anyone who is struggling, get some time by yourself. 

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Interview Transcript

– Hi, Sally Foley-Lewis here with another Spark Self-Leadership video interview or what I would like to say, just a good old chat with a good old mate so, or a little less of the old, I think. I’m so excited to be hanging out in this particular conversation with a dear, dear friend, Andrea Edwards. So welcome to Spark, Andrea.

– I’m so happy to be here, Sally, thanks for having me.

– Oh, my pleasure. I’m going to give you the clinical introduction to Andrea, and then I’m going to invite her to share her version of how she introduces herself because I love, I get lost and I love listening to Andrea speak and just encourage you to listen to the passion that she shares. So Andrea is a digital conversationalist. She works with content and makes sure that content is at the heart of every business, and I love what she does. You need to check her out. I’ll make sure her website is linked to this. She is a change agent, a provocateur, and she’s a passionate communicator, and a social leader. So Andrea wears a lot of hats when you look at what she does and when you stalk her on social media. However, there is a common and thread. So Andrea, share with us your way of describing who and what you do and why.

– I think the easiest way to describe what I do is, ’cause there’s on one side, there’s the work I do, and the bit that I get paid for, on the other side is the voice that I am in the world and I say, I’m a voice for humanity and all life on earth. So like people see a lot of hats, you know, I’ll talk about equality and diversity, I’ll talk about the environment, I’ll talk about wars, I’ll talk about the pandemic, I’ll talk about the world, but really, what I’m at the fundamentally looking at is global society and how we need to unify to come together to solve some of the biggest challenges that the world is facing. So I’ve really taken on the mantle of that. I’ve gotten stronger and stronger and stronger in my voice as the years have gone on, but as I see things not changing and get more and more concerned for the future, especially for our children and grandchildren of people have them, I just don’t feel that I can be silent anymore. I look in my boy’s eyes, they tell me their fears for the future, and I hear their fears for the future, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that the greatest fears that they’ve got are not going to come to pass. So I’m driven by a very strong desire to make sure that it’s not as bad for the children in our future. So that certainly will give a voice and passion, right?

– Absolutely, and I think one of the things I really admire about you is that it could be quite easily to just listen to those fears and try to placate and try to sit with, and have empathy with, but you take that to a whole other level and you take action, and you can see that you’ve got the capacity and capability to do that.

– Yeah, if not me who, right? And I remember six months ago, I said to one of my mastermind groups, “I’m going to notch my presence up,” and it was probably about 12 months ago, and they’re like, “What? You’re going to notch it up more?” They said, “Well, where do you think you are now?” I said, “I think I’m about 70%. I want to move up to about 90%.” Never more than 90% because there’s 10% that’s me and it’s private and it’s my life, but yeah, I’m extremely concerned for humanity and if I can do, I can make sense of lots and lots of big, big information, and I can sort of work out what the important things are. That’s one of the things that I do, I’m reading all the time, I’m watching all the time, and I’m trying to understand the big picture of what’s going on and then working out what really matters and what’s worth paying attention to right now. So I kind of feel, it feels like a duty. It’s not an easy one, though.

– Well, anything worth doing is not always the easiest, is it?

– No, no.

– Yeah, so to me, that’s an obvious link to the title that you give yourself as a social leader, and I think that’s anyone who, you know, I would encourage anyone and everyone to be following you and supporting you and asking them of themselves, “Then what can I also do?” And I think that’s a really valuable thing, but let’s pull back an underlying with that and I want to ask you, in order to have that awareness about yourself that 12 odd months ago, you said you’re going to notch yourself up. You’ve looked at the world slightly differently now. There’s things that you need, you feel you need to do, you’re compelled to do for humanity. Link that to me and your self-leadership, and your understanding of what self-leadership is.

– Yeah, so I mean, self-leadership isn’t my topic but I think everything I do is fundamentally about it, especially with my last book. It’s really about working out who you are, and you said stripping back the layers. To work out who you are, you’ve got to strip back all your layers because every single one of us has been harmed or badly influenced or put down, and we’ve been, I think, the majority of people are disconnected from the source. From the minute we are born, we start being disconnected from who we are, and if you never leave the confines of your family and your community and you never get out there and spend time away from what all of these people who know you think of you, it’s very difficult to work out who you are, and I’ve spent more than half my life, I’m a country girl from Australia, I’ve spent more than half my life living around the world. I’ve spent months, years alone in my own head, which is a very scary place, but by doing all of that, I’ve really sort of been able to sort of pull out all this stuff that was inside of me that I didn’t think was mine or I’ve been able to pull it out and look at it and say, “Do I agree with it?” Yeah, okay, I agree with some of it so I’ll keep that bit, but the rest of it’s gone. So my religious education, the family I grew up in, the community, the school, all of it, and I didn’t have what I would consider a bad upbringing, but like everybody, there were other people might look at my upbringing and say, “It was bad,” right? So, but I don’t sort of think that way because I see that there’s a gift in every experience if you choose to see it that way. I remember one of my parents apologised years later because when my parents’ marriage fell apart and I said, “You don’t have to apologise.” It’s all part of who I am and I don’t dislike who I am. So yeah, pulling yourself apart and then bringing yourself back together but it takes a lot of silence. So it’s doing the work and I know you talk about that a lot, but it’s really valuable work. It can be very, very scary, and it never stops once you start. I see some people start and then it’s just too intense so they have to take a break. I’m like, as long as you get back to it at some point, it’s okay. But, yeah, getting to the source of who you are and what you care about and what you believe in, and really also, the external influences around you, who’s right, who’s wrong, who should you be listening to, who shouldn’t you be listening to, and there’s a lot of people that with a lot of opinions that they put on us and we’ve gotta say, “I’m stronger than that. I need to step into that. People will have opinions about what I’m doing. I’m not paying attention to those opinions.” People I know, the people who I don’t know, I don’t care because I don’t know who they are, I don’t know where they come from, I don’t know what they think, which of course, if you’re going to be on social media as a female, you need to have some armour on. Otherwise, you can find yourself getting very… Well, you find, if you can’t be strong, they can silence your voice and we see that all the time, and I will never let somebody silence my voice with the hatred and the anger that we’re seeing on social media these days, and the more women that get on social media, the more of us there are, the less they can silence our voices. So yeah, so for me, it’s really getting in touch with who you are, working out what’s important to you and then going out there and claiming your space in the world because we need you to, we need everybody to.

– So I guess taking that a little step further then, when you are talking about, for example, let’s take one of the things that I’ve seen you be really passionate about is the climate and the situation we’re in in this world, and the world is constantly changing. There is no denying that, whether we are dealing with a pandemic or we’re dealing with a war or we’re dealing with an actual massive, big blip in our climate change where whole islands are just sinking, where capital cities have to be moved, those sorts of situations, and we are going to be facing something constantly when it comes to change. Tell me where you see the need for humanity to be thinking right now, and again, how can people use self-leadership to help them shift or change or act responsibly and quickly?

– Yeah, it’s a big question. I mean, you’re in Australia, you’ve gone through the floods, right? I was there the last time it happened 10 years ago, and it was a 1 in a 100-year event. It’s now another 1 in a 100-year event and it’s even more extreme than it was the first 10 years ago, right? We are facing a tectonic shift for humanity. The world has changed. Everything is changing. So from what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, and whether or not this that ripples out around the world and consumes us all, that’s one issue that is still an unknown, and depending on when this goes live and obviously when people watch it, you might already know by that point, but then we’ve got the financial change. So the Chinese have been building up the power of their currency right across the world for many, many, many years, and that’s going to, so the us dollar is not going to be the central currency anymore, and that’s going to have a massive impact. Food insecurity, that is something, right now is a huge, huge issue. All prices are going to go up, not just on oil and gas, everything, and that’s obviously developing nations are going to really, really struggle, but also revolutions come from food insecurity. That’s when the wars and the incursion start, but the power balance is shifting how China plays in the world at the moment is anyone’s guess, but I’ve always said, when China takes its eye off the domestic ball, it loses control of its country. So I think Xi knows that. I think he needs to own, he’s gotta keep his focus on the domestic market because the 1.5 billion people, it’s a huge population to be fed and watered, right? So we are, the world that we have known since we were born is now over, and then you’ve got the climate emergency on top of it, and people just aren’t paying attention. They’re not because it’s too frightening. It’s too overwhelming, but life will not be going on as normal. Life will fundamentally shift whether we choose that shift or whether it chooses us. So from the climate emergency, the way we all live in the west, in the wealthy countries, we have to fundamentally change how we live, businesses have to shift, the global economy has to shift, everything has to shift, de-growth. So I just really want to encourage people, and I know it’s difficult, but if you can start to pay attention to what’s going on, and the best way to do it without being overwhelmed is to always read this information objectively, take the emotions out of it. If you’re reading news, and you’re just feeling this deep fear or despair or any of those sort of horrible emotions coming up in you, the best thing you can do is step back from it and just try and read it for what it is because it’s not, the news is not the end point. It’s just a piece of information for this point in time. So we don’t know what the end point is now, none of us do. We don’t know where we’re going so I try and work out what all the possible end points are so that I can make decisions, you know? So this whole Russia, Ukraine thing, once I had about three weeks just reading constantly, trying to work it out why, why now, how’s it going to go, what’s China doing, what’s everybody else doing? I came home and I said to my husband, “Are you ready to pack up and leave quickly? Should we be getting cash to put in our safe so that if we need to go quickly, we’ve got some cash to take with us?” So to me, that is the time we are in right now, and that’s a big thing for people to face. You know, I’m with people who are not thinking about this stuff at all because it’s too big, it’s too hard, but try and pay attention to some of it, try and put your mind into this space because it is happening, and then this decade, if we don’t do what we need to do to address the climate emergency this decade, it’s our last hope for real action that’s going to… We can’t stop it, we can make it less severe. You know, the tipping point in the Amazon’s being talked about, the way its glacier’s supposed to crack off in three to five years, so big stuff’s coming.

– Mm, and I’m hearing, what I’m hearing underlying all of this is around, rather than getting wrapped up in the emotion, get wrapped up in education.

– Yeah, yeah.

– And teach yourself, educate yourself on what the true facts are around each of these critical world issues so that you can then make an educating and a less emotive decision that will support the move in the right direction, and that’s where I think, what I’m hearing and what I’m interpreting from what you’re saying from a self-leadership perspective, it’s also once we’re educating ourselves about an issue, but also having that level of self awareness is, “Where does this sit with me?”

– Yeah.

– How am I showing up for this, and what is it that I need to be aware of within me that will have a direct impact on those around me and the choices I make for myself and my loved ones because I think that’s where we can have the most impact and the most direct, immediate impact. Yes, we can be doing things that have a broader community impact and I’m all for that, but I feel like there’s more empowerment when I go, “What can I do right now that impacts just around me?”

– Yeah, if you’re sitting in fear, you can’t do anything. If you’re sitting in helplessness and hopelessness, you can’t do anything. So you’ve gotta work out how to get yourself out, and you know, this isn’t something I’ve always been able to do. It’s something I’ve, no one taught me how to do it. It’s something I trained myself to do because I mean, you’re going to, even still, I can go into spirals when I’ve just overwhelm myself with the severity of the crisis’s, the multiple crisis’s that we are facing, but I allow that to wash over me and then I come back to it, but so don’t expect it to be like once you learn how to take your emotions out, you can do it all the time. You can’t, but if you’re in fear and helplessness, you can’t do anything. It’s not a good place to be, and action is always the pathway out. So whatever you can do to act, whether it’s working out your family situation now and what you should do or look looking at the maps of the world where it’s going to be too hot to live, are you living in one of those places? Are you living in one of those places where the floods are going to take out your home? So what are the decisions you should be making or thinking about? It doesn’t mean you have to do it right now, but this is what’s coming up. Where do you need to set your children up if you’re a parent? You know, I’m in Thailand, my children have British and Australian passports, but we’re also a part PR in Singapore so where would be the right decision for us to place our kids for more security in their future? So that’s the sort of stuff that we think about which I think probably is a bit overwhelming for a lot of people right now.

– It might be overwhelming, but it’s also doesn’t mean it should not be said.

– Yeah.

– And I think that’s the thing and it’s the way in which we choose to say it that has a big impact as well, and I like your point about it’s not about getting rid of your emotions. You can’t get rid of your emotions. You are, to me, I often say, “We’re a bag of emotions.” It’s identifying being really clear about what those emotions are, and doing the work to be able to understand those emotions because then you have better choices around how you will respond versus react to something and also have better decision making around what actions you will take, and that’s just linked into that piece about around emotional intelligence which is also linked into self-leadership in a lot of ways.

– Yeah.

– Yeah. I just want to just shift it a little bit because you did mention earlier that you’ve written a book, “Uncommon Courage”, and I just want to say, I don’t want to call it a book, and the reason why I don’t want to call it a book is because it is a phenomenal piece of work that it’s an exciting journey in here. When you flip the cover, and I will do that in a moment and give people a sneaky peek but, you describe “Uncommon Courage” for us.

– Oh look, I wrote this during the pandemic, and I just saw this fear and rage and sorrow rolling around the world, and I was like, “Oh, we’ve gotta get out of this place if so many of the world is stuck in this negative feelings where we are just not going to make it as a society.” And I’ve travelled the world. I left in Australia in 1995 so I’ve been on the road ever since and obviously, I’m a proud Australian and I always come back, but on the journey, I’ve just, it’s just been a journey of deep, deep, deep self awareness and just really looking at myself and who I am and what I think, and then going out into these societies around the world and my favourite places are the poorest parts of the world because there’s so much life and there’s so much richness in these places, and when you take, when someone doesn’t even know when their next meal’s going to come from, they have a different way of looking at the world. They have a different priority, and I’ve just been touched by so many amazing lives. I’ve met the richest people in the world working in public relations for the technology industry, and I’ve met the poorest people in the world. I was blessed by Mother Theresa in Calcutta, right? So I’ve just wandered and watched and paid attention and listened and met people and talked, and this book is really just, it’s just everything that I’ve learned and I’ve seen, and it’s funny little quirky experiences. It’s more complicated things like the journey that we went through with one of my son who the world wanted to put a label on him and I was like, “No, you’re wrong, you’re wrong.” And everyone thought I was nuts and I was right, and trust me, I really liked being right. And I just wanted share how I went through it all, but the final… I’m not at the end of my life yet, but the real thing is, it’s the path to peace and contentment in yourself, and I think that’s what I really want to share with people, if the path to that because I see so many people, they’re in their emotional body all the time, and whether it’s reacting with anger all the time or just reacting with strong, just feeling empathy, really deep empathy which I also feel, but it’s just about how do you find the contentment in yourself and who you are and the piece that comes with that. So you’re not lashing out. You’re not reacting. You’re present in your being and-

– Like you’re equipped the choice.

– Yeah, yeah, and it doesn’t mean I don’t get angry and I don’t rage, but it’s pretty rare for me to feel that to really go hard. I’m pretty calm. I don’t get angry with people. If someone really does disappoint me or annoy me I can stop that feeling pretty quick, and I call it closing the circle. You know, it’s Maya Angelou, it’s when someone shows you who they are, believe them. I agree with that, but there’s another side to that. I think when someone shows you who they are, believe them, but then always leave the door open for them to evolve, and so I talk a lot about stuff like that because people, we all mess up.

– Yeah.

– One of the chapters is let people be dicks sometimes, you know, we’re all dicks sometimes, we all make mistakes. We’re all going through things. It’s like allow people to come out of those things rather than keeping them locked in them. So it’s so many different things, but it’s fundamentally, it’s about the journey to peace and contentment.

– Yeah, I totally agree with you about that. I think, Jess Pater, who’s a U.S. based professional speaker says that we judge people and we are judges, we’re human and that happens, but it’s about when we judge, make sure we judge with double line spacing and extra wide margins so we can edit, you know?

– Yeah, nice.

– It’s in that similar ilk and I love that. So let’s have a sneaky peek in here because I just love how… Let me just move my glass, I don’t break anything. I just love how this is set out. There’s hashtags that link to all sorts of things so you can actually take yourself on a real specific journey, there’s self-empowerment, the external influences which I think is important, and every which way you share a story, and then you give people an opportunity to dive in and do some work. I think is just, and what I love, the habit of courage. I love that, to make it a habit. What I love about what you’ve created here is you can go from front to back or you can go, I’m feeling lucky today and let me just have a, let me just open it where it may land and that’s what I’m going to focus on. And I don’t think you’ve left anything out. So to me, this is a life work in this journey that you’ve created, and she’s also created the workbook to go with it. Like, how’s that, how’s that?

– If you want to really dig in. Not everyone wants to do that and I was very clear up front that not everybody likes that stuff in books, right? But I wanted to do it for the people who did want it, and the people who don’t want it, don’t worry about it. You just move past it, but yeah, doing-

– So what do you, sorry, go on.

– No, no, you’re right.

– Well, I guess if we take this to another level higher, what’s the big impact that you want this book to achieve when it comes to the humans that are in your world and the humans that may come across the Andrea Edwards of the world?

– Well, first of all, I hope the book’s good enough to do the job. That’s the first thing, and I put a lot of pressure on myself, everything I put out, it has to be good enough, and it’s not a false sort of ego thing, it’s a real thing. There’s a lot of non-sense out in the world and especially on social media and social leadership, and I just can’t contribute to the non-sense and the noise, there’s noise, and it’s so much noise and people are overwhelmed by the noise. So it has to be of value, but what I’m really trying to do is in order for the world to transform, to change the way it needs to change, to address the challenges that we are going to be facing in, what we’re facing now, and it’s going to get worse in the future, we need the world to have the right mindset to embrace those changes, and that’s what I want it to be. I want it to be the book that can help do that, one of the voices contributing to that. We’ve got to get a handle on ourselves. When we see the division around vaccines or wearing masks or any of that sort of stuff, it’s not helping us. Being divided does not help us, it does not serve us. In fact, all the divisions that are going on and people really believe in what they’re saying, and look, to be honest, vaxxer, anti-vaxxer, mask wear, a non-mask wear, I actually don’t really care about those debates ’cause to me, they’re not actually important. What’s important is us coming together and saying, “What do we need to do as a united global society to have a chance at a good future for our kids?” That’s it, and we need to be doing that and we’re not. If we continue as we are, we cannot succeed, but then of course people are cynical, right? And they’re like, they’re either hopeless or helpless or they’re cynical and cynicism’s the worst part of it. You know, they can’t believe that humanity can transform the way it needs to transform. So they don’t believe that we are ever going to do it, but if we don’t do it, we’re stuffed. If we do do it, we can create an even better world for all humankind and all living creatures on it. So that’s kind of my big goal, sort of what I’m trying to do.

– Yeah, what was your very first, I think you were in the Australian army as a musician, is that right?

– That’s right.

– Yeah. So I kind of want to go back to where it all began in a lot of ways for you and one of your early career, and the career is only one part of someone’s life so we’ll pick on that at the moment. What did the army teach you about self-leadership and how it’s got you to where you are today?

– Oh, that’s such a good question. My time in the army was probably one of the greatest learnings of my life. So I graduated university and musicians go in as musicians, which is the equivalent of a private rank so you still start at the bottom, right? But then, the first three months is basic training so no matter what you do in the military, you’ve gotta do basic training so you’re all the same. So those three months I was in a platoon of girls, and it was an eye opening experience for me because every possible type of person was in the room, from people who barely scraped in from an intelligence test perspective all the way through to university graduates, and you had to work together as a team ’cause if you didn’t work together as a team, you all got punished, and seeing a lot of people who just did not have that approach, they did not care about the team to, I was responsible for the girl that was going to fail and if she failed, I failed, and every night I had to drill her in the room, teach her how to use, how to break a gun down and put it back together, the rifles, and I was able to break a rifle down and put it back together after seeing it twice. It took her three months to get it so from a learning how to teach somebody who just… Yeah, and then going out into the band, obviously, music was my passion but I’m still in the military here. And there was a corporal who was senior to me playing the same instrument as me and he was a complete and utter bully, and when you are junior to somebody in the military, they’ve got power over you but as time went on, I just didn’t really care what he thought, and then I started to become you useful to the band so this is something I always say, find the opportunities to do something where you can start moving into a place. And I started doing public relations for the band. I just created it so that was great, and then right at the end, when they decided to get rid of some of the bands so I put my hand up for redundancy. I wanted to get the hell out of there, but I spent the last six months in the defence public relations department ’cause I knew that that was the career that I wanted to go on and that was an interesting little chapter. It’s just in its own, but yeah, it taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about people. I think within my family, I already had a pretty complex sort of group of humans that I grew up with, and then going into the military, like this lady Banbridge ’cause you only ever call each other by their surnames, helping her to succeed. I was like a mom at 21, you know? But yeah, I always value it and it’s always been a valuable thing to have on my CV as well because a lot of men have to do military service around the world. So when they see a female with a military background, it always gives you a step up. I’ll never regret doing it. It taught me to be very, very strong and I was already strong, but it taught me to be stronger because I’m being strong within a system where I’m beneath people and people like to, they like to use that power, and I had to learn how to use, keep my power and not let them crush who I was. So they were never going to crush my spirit, but they did certainly crush a lot of the spirits, especially in that basic training phase. So yeah, no, it was a interesting time.

– Yeah, definitely. And I really appreciate hearing that because I think, our past is our past and we can spend a lot of time regretting some of those things or we can actually be grateful that it happened because there are lessons to be had, and I think mentioned that at the top of the show but like you said, even though you wanted to get out of there and you were done with it, you still don’t regret having been through that experience and the lessons of making sure no one took away your personal power or dulled your light, I think is absolutely critical, particularly, and I want to really hone in this, and almost repeat it so people don’t lose this, but particularly in an environment where there’s hierarchy, and it’s very clear hierarchy, and whether that’s cultural or organisational that there’s the hierarchy and there’s probably quite valid reasons to respect those levels and ranks and whatever or however you want to talk, label them. However, that doesn’t ne necessarily mean that you are less then. They’re two different things, and I think that’s a really clear distinction around understanding the situation that you’re in and understanding who you are in that situation.

– Yeah, yeah, never let anyone take your power.

– Yeah, absolutely.

– And in the military, boy, they tried.

– So how do you make sure that you don’t lose your power? What are some of the real things that have worked for you around that?

– The one thing I’ve always been really confident in, and I’ve gotten more and more confident in as I’ve gotten older, is my brain and the way I think and how I can interpret information. And, you know, people have sort of said to me over the years, “It’s amazing how you can sort of take on so much,” and I’m like, and so when you hear it and you’re like, “Oh, okay, so that’s a skill, right?” And ’cause you don’t always know what your skills are, but I’ve always been really confident in my brain and how I think, but also my ability to sort of take onboard a lot of different perspectives from a lot of different sources so from people as well, but also my intuition is a really powerful force that I learned. You know, when I was travelling in Egypt and I had a couple of fellows thought it would be a good idea to try and rape me, they didn’t succeed and I beat the crap out of them, but I knew the danger was coming. I could feel it, I could feel it in my body, and that’s when I really learned to trust that. So between intuition, paying attention to what people say, and that includes conversations on social media. So sometimes I’ve sort of sit on a Twitter feed and I’ll just go down and look at all the comments ’cause I want to know the words people use. I want to know the different sides of the argument, and even though sometimes people say things that make me go, “Ugh, it’s just so ugly, I don’t want to hear that.” I still need to face it. So yeah, I think that’s probably, I think I might have lost track of the question and not answering it directly. I hope I haven’t, but yeah, you can’t take away a power when you’re confident in something in yourself, right? So-

– Self belief, mm.

– Yeah, but it’s not an arrogant thing. It’s not that, it’s just, it’s massive curiosity, right? My brain is just like, I mean, I said to my husband, Steve, “God, you must be, you could have married someone and had such a much more peaceful life.”

– Maybe, maybe not. You know, I don’t know, yeah, I wouldn’t go there with that one.

– Well, that’s true.

– Yeah, simple is not always simple, you know?

– Yeah.

– So what I love about that is, never for one minute do I ever see you as arrogant, and I’ve known you for quite a while now, but I do look at you and I admire exactly what you just said. So you actually know you and I see you as exactly how you just described yourself. You are someone who has this macro, this ability to go macro and take it all in. I sit there and go, “Ugh,” you know, have a minor infarction and admire that capability that you’ve got, and so therefore I would be, and I do listen to your point of view ’cause I trust it, because you’ve done that synthesis and you’ve got that capability to do that. And I think that the fact that that’s what you do, and that’s what you know you do is very well aligned. And to me, that’s part of that personal power thing is that how well do you know yourself? And it isn’t arrogance, it’s awareness, and then understanding what value that can be to others and to yourself and being aligned with your values.

– Well thanks, I appreciate you saying that because that is what I… If you’re going to go out there with a voice, you have to earn the trust of people and people will listen to you if they trust you, and especially if you’re dealing with the deep stuff, but the other thing is every single one of us has a gift within us but so many of us don’t know what that gift is, and really spending time to work out what that gift is in whatever, not everyone can do the big macro perspective of what’s going on in the world and that’s fine, but find someone that you trust who can and listen to them or but work out what yours is. What is it? And you know, some people are just, they’re beautiful at taking care of people. Some people are… So my other skill is communications, and that’s my profession, right? So I’m making sense of stuff and I’m talking about it. So I’ve brought these things together, and give yourself the time to work it out, work out what your gift is, but also allow it to emerge because it’s going to keep, it keeps growing, and I think once you recognise it, it grows more and more and more over the years and you get more and more confident, but we need everyone speaking up, sorry-

– Sorry to interrupt you, but I reckon doing the work in here, even if you did half the exercises in here, you would be so much closer to understanding what your gift was or is.

– Mm.

– So you know, that’s why I popped this back up and I’m sorry I interrupted you because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to share with people that who maybe sit there and heard you say that they don’t know their gift, and you kind of think, “There, that’s me.” This is the sort of thing that will help move you towards that awareness so I just wanted to share that. So I apologise. I probably ruined your train of thought, but-

– No, it’s okay. You know, the social leadership programmes I run with big technology and sort of B2B companies, that’s what I’m doing is trying to help people to work out what their voice is which is what their gift is. So if they’re going to go and speak up on a topic on social media as a business professional, I want them to talk from the place of their gift, not from the place of the business that they work for because that’s boring, and the vast majority of people do not know it. And when they ask their community around them, they often don’t know it. So it’s like we can’t see it, and if we could see it, we’ll change our lives.

– Absolutely, and what I’m hearing from that is that understanding your gift is part of self-leadership. When you have got your self-leadership ignited and it’s in an exceptionally clear position, and it’s always evolving ’cause we’re always learning, then that’s almost the same as knowing what your gift is and being prepared to put it out into the world.

– Yeah, and we need those gifts out in the world ’cause we’ve got some big challenges coming up so…

– We always will reckon. I don’t think we’ll ever be short of a challenge, and I don’t know that that’s the way it is.

– We are facing the gravest threat humanity has ever faced right now with the climate. So it’s bigger than anything we’ve ever seen and we need to change more than we’ve ever changed. Our level of consciousness must rise right around the world, greed and corruption and all that’s negative side of the world, and we’re never going to get rid of it, but we need to reduce it to a very, very small level because you’re always going to have bad actors in the mix and we have to accept that. People are yin and yang, the balance, right? We’re always going to have light and dark so we have to accept it, but we’re out of balance and we need to get back into balance, but we really need to raise consciousness and it’s time.

– Thank you. I’m going to get some very important links from you to share with this so that when people are listening to this, they’ll know exactly where to go because you are the informed one. So we’ll make sure those links are included with the show as well so thank you, Andrea. Any final words? Actually no, I’ve got a question for you. Where you are now today, what do you wish you knew about self-leadership when you were younger? 

– I don’t think it’s a struggle that I faced. I think a lot of people definitely do because I got on the road pretty young by myself and travelled so I think I started doing the work. I remember seeing a, I went to see an osteopath who turned out to be quite a spiritual guy and he wanted to talk about all the problems and the relationships and all these things in my life that would’ve have impacted my life, and I said, “Oh no, no, don’t need to talk about that, I’ve already done all of that.” And he’s like, “What? Nobody’s done all of that.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve just spent the last 20 years doing it.” So I suppose for me, I haven’t had that struggle, but what I would say is for anyone who is struggling, get some time by yourself. And it can be scary being by yourself, facing your head and working what’s going on up in there, but I suppose the one piece that it took me longer to overcome is the voices in your head. That’s the bit, and I think the start of the book, it’s like one of the very first chapters where I talk about the voices in your head, it’s a separate entity and if it’s bringing you down and telling you you’re useless and that you can’t do things, you need to get that voice under control. I lock it in a box at the back of my head. It escapes on a regular basis and tells me I’m useless, and that who am I to think that I can go out there and say these things in the world, you know, that sort of stuff, and I just have to go, “No, go away. Lock it in the back of my head and keep going.” If the voice is telling you, if the words it’s speaking are not pushing you to be the best you can be and be bigger than you are today if that’s what you want to be and to achieve everything that you want to achieve, you got to get that voice under control. To me, that’s the most, probably the most, the lesson it took the longest for me to really learn and it was the identifying it as something separate and it’s the ego voice, right? But I’ve never, I still, to this day, I don’t understand it. Why do we have this voice, this narrative in our head that belittles us, but there are people who don’t have it which is amazing.

– Yeah, and then I’ve done some reading around self-talk and the voices in our heads and that imposter syndrome and I’m the same as you. I still come away thinking, “But why would we have this in the first place and why would it be so negative?” And I’m still lost for that, that definitive answer, that magic bullet to fix it, but yeah.

– Is it a primitive survival thing? Is it the lizard brain? But I’ve never really found the answer, but it’s not right, but it’s incredibly convincing.

– And I love that you’ve been able to find that process and I hear you, you said it’s one of the longest things for you from on your journey, but you’ve been able to find a process that actually helps you go, “Thank you, I’ll lock you back up and shove you back there.” And I think that that’s a strategy that is probably worth exploring for some people and thank you for sharing. I appreciate that a lot.

– I hope it helps.

– Thank you. Andrea T. Edwards, the social leader, the digital conversationalist, the legend, thank you so much.

– Well, thanks Sally, and it’s just awesome to be here, and let’s all just get out there and change this world ’cause we need to, all right?

– And we’ll put all the links and grab yourself a copy of the “Uncommon Courage”. It is an amazing journey. I’ll have another little quick flick through for you like a preview, a teaser. There’s just so many good things in here, and there’s stories and there’s activities and there’s love hearts and there’s hashtags, and there’s just… And you look at, oh, hang on. I’ve gotta get to one of these pages. I love these pages. This is so cool ’cause the hashtag, don’t underestimate the hashtag. It links everything together and it gives you a proper journey through this process. This work that you can do with yourself. So the link will be in the show. Ladies and gentlemen and everyone, thank you. This has been another Spark Self-Leadership interview, and I will see you again very soon. Bye for now.