Understanding Leadership with Sarah Madras

Our guest today is Sarah Madras. Sarah is a former mental health therapist, a certified Dare to Lead facilitator, Mindset Transformation Expert, and Leadership Development Coach. Hailing from North Carolina, Sarah answered her call to courage to help people with their relationships and mental health, communication, building self-confidence, and how to have hard conversations. She’s been doing one-on-one with her clients for 20 years and she noticed a pattern among them. Most of them also wanted her help on how to communicate and deal with dysfunctions in their workplace. This was her hint to shift in teaching business owners who are having these challenges.

Her greatest piece of advice is to be master awareness and curiosity.

Tune in and learn everything leadership and mindset transformation with Sarah Madras.

Visit Sarah’s website: https://www.sarahmadras.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahmadras/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahmadrascoaching/

Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hi friends. I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain Marketing. Today, my guest is Sarah Madras. Now, Sarah is a former licensed mental health therapist turned mindset transformation coach for business leaders. She’s certified as a dare to lead facilitator and Sarah is an expert on people and their ability to work as a courageous team to unlock new levels of business income, and most importantly, impact. Sarah, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today.

Sarah Madras 0:50

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. Well, and

Katie Brinkley 0:53

I’ve had the pleasure of joining you on your podcast and a part of your Facebook group. And every single time I hear you speak, I’m like, Man, that girl is just down. Right? Inspiring. And I asked you to come on. So thank you, again, so much for agreeing to come on to the show today. Now, before we get started in the good stuff, I always like to have you guys loosen up a little bit and tell us a little bit about what life was like growing up and where you’re from.

Sarah Madras 1:21

Okay, so I’m from Florida. And for me, that meant being a Florida girl. And life was like the living and breathing in the pool in the backyard. I could have been out there for forever in a day. And it was only the parents saying okay, command you have to eat. And then the whole once you’ve eaten, you have to wait 30 minutes. And so growing up for me, it was all about sunshine playing outside. Like I tell people, I don’t play video games, because I was always the kid who was playing outside on the swing sets or mud pies. We had woods in the back of our house. And we would go exploring and build forts and tree houses and things like that are at a kid here. And so one summer, we watched Dirty Dancing every day. And we had that whole dance choreographed. And so that was how I spent my childhood is playing outside. My cousins lived next door to us. And so our fence, we had a fence that we could just cut in between both yards, and they were right around my same age. And so we would just play outside for hours swim in the pool. And just have fun.

Katie Brinkley 2:37

That sounds like your childhood was very similar to mine. I’m from Denver, but my neighbors were the neighborhood kids were my best friends growing up. And I can’t tell you like like those in the graveyard and played street hockey every day. And it was just I have some of the best memories of just being outside all the time as a kid. Now you’re in North Carolina. Now you help people all over the place. But you are in North Carolina now. That is where your businesses and you know, talk to us a little bit about what it is that you do now.

Sarah Madras 3:09

Okay. So yes, I’m in North Carolina and absolutely love it here. It feels like home, Florida never felt like home. So the second I graduated, I was out of there. put down roots here in North Carolina. And what I’ve been doing here is really kind of answering the call to courage that I feel like we all get asked at some point in our lives. And it just so happens that my call to courage, the first one I received was to show up and to help people with their mental health within their relationships, to be able to communicate, to be able to have resiliency, build their self worth, have the competence to have hard conversations, things like that. And so it’s funny because I did that one on one for you know, almost two decades. And I kept hearing the same things over and over and the same messages and the same themes. And my clients would always say, if only I would have had these skills 20 years ago, my life would have been so much easier. And now that I have the skills, my relationships are great, you know, our home life is great. But then I go to work. And I see all the toxicity and all the problems and all the power struggles and the dysfunction. And now that I know the difference there like I just can’t take it anymore, come to work. And please teach these skills to the people that I work with. Because if I’m stressed out at work, then I end up bringing that home and I want to be able to have both areas of my life be fulfilling not just my home life. And so that’s how I made the transition out of doing mental health counseling and into leadership development and working with business owners.

Katie Brinkley 4:59

Yeah, and you know, I I think that one of the things that really stands out to me with what you do is leadership. If you are a business owner, or if you are a CEO, there’s a lot of pressure on you, and to not have all the answers to be able to steer the ship. And a lot of times, we don’t really think that, hey, they might be questioning it, too. They might have some mindset issues, too. We instantly think they have all the answers. And what you do really changes that, right?

Sarah Madras 5:28

Correct, for sure. Because that is one of the first things that I tell people about myself as a leader, and and when I’m teaching and facilitating is I’m telling them, we define leadership as anyone who sees the potential in people and processes, and then has the courage to develop that potential. A leader is not someone who is armed with all the answers, and who always gets it right, I’m going to make mistakes, I’m probably going to make a couple mistakes and say something funny on this podcast. We’re going to be imperfect. A leader is somebody who’s gonna say, I hear you, I see you, I don’t have all the answers. But I’m going to keep listening until I get it right.

Katie Brinkley 6:12

Now, that is something that not very many leaders that I’ve been around to say. And I think that that comes to having that open relationship with your employees. And how can somebody if they’re like, Well, if I if I say that I’m vulnerable? If I say I don’t have all the answers, will that kind of lesson my authority figure for my workers for my employees? Right? What do you say to somebody? It’s a question kind of being vulnerable?

Sarah Madras 6:40

Yeah. And that’s the beauty of it is that’s one of the myths of vulnerability is that I have to have all the answers that I have to be perfect and have to be right all the time when the truth is, what your team and your your employees want from you is to know, oh, they don’t have all the answers either. So it’s okay, if I don’t have all the answers and I can be vulnerable to it actually makes you more relatable, which creates that connection. And then they say, Oh, if it’s safe for the boss to be vulnerable and not overly answers, then it’s safe for me to be vulnerable and not have all the answers. And so it actually creates a closer team, rather than making it a wider divide.

Katie Brinkley 7:21

You know, instead, I think that that’s what you’re doing is also very similar to what we’ve seen happen with social media over the past year, especially with reels tic TOCs, all of this short video coming out the show of being yourself, like, hey, look, I it took me 14 tries to get this darn lip sync done with this real heater. You know, it’s showing your bloopers showing that you’re vulnerable, that makes you more relatable, and people want to do business with you. Because right Oh, yeah. You know, like, I That’s funny. She’s funny, or Oh, yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve done that, too. I’ve made that same mistake. And yeah, I think that that’s one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen come out of maybe of 2020. Now, you’ve been doing this for a long time and helping people do this for a long time. But do you think that people are more receptive to this type of thought process now?

Sarah Madras 8:12

Oh, for sure. And not only receptive, they’re craving it. They not only do they want it, they need it and they’re craving that truthful connection and belonging, people can sniff out the fake BS, like the BS meter is on point these days, right? And nobody, or at least for me, the second that somebody shows up and everything looks all perfect, I’m automatically turned off. Like I’m like, No, can’t relate to that can’t connect with that. And I’m turned off by it. People want to know, they don’t need to know all your messy, they just need to know Oh, you got some messy too. Alright, cool. I’m not the only one I don’t feel as alone anymore. And we don’t have to have all these this secrecy and wear these masks and you know, in hushed tones of what’s really going on, we can just show up as who we are and have truthful connection and belonging, because that’s what’s actually fulfilling.

Katie Brinkley 9:09

Exactly. And I think that with this big shift of remote working, it can be hard to be that leader or your business with with people working from home or now and, and having people that work in different time zones. Now, I know a lot of people might have said, Man, if I can work from home, I might my home might as well be on the beach in Hawaii, you know. And so, with that type of work life mentality really being more embraced. As a leader, it can be hard to still give that opportunity to your employees. Now. I know that you are a dare to lead facilitator now. Can you just quickly explain that to anybody that might not be familiar with what that term is?

Sarah Madras 9:50

Yes. So a derrick lead facilitator means that I have been certified through the Brene Brown curriculum of dare to lead and that I’ve been trained in In order to train others in it, and so Brene Brown is a fellow social worker, and researcher, she’s got one of the most popular TED talks on vulnerability. She’s got seven best selling books, I believe it’s seven. And over 20 plus years of research went into this work of creating the four skill sets of courage and leadership. And so I learned of the work. And it was so transformational when I was working with my one on one clients, that I reached out to their team, and I said, Hey, like, I just sent them an email, bam, you know, like, info at Brene, brown calm, and was like, Hey, I’m a fellow social worker, licensed therapist, this work is transformational. I need to get it out to more people. But I don’t want you to sue me or put me in jail. So can you tell me how I’m able to do that without getting sued. And they emailed me back, and they said, so glad that you asked, we would love for you to get this out to more of the masses. And the way that you do that is you get certified through our program in order to deliver it. And so is an extensive process, in person trainings, online training, supervision is probably when it was all said and done at least a year and a half, if not two years of the process, and in order to become certified. And then we do continual education and things like that in order to deliver the work. So

Katie Brinkley 11:30

now you say, you know, you’re a former mental health therapist, you know, she’s a social, former social worker, why is that important with leadership skills,

Sarah Madras 11:38

the difference? The reason is important is because social workers are wired to look at a person in their environment. So what that means is, we’re not just seeing the behavior and being like, Man, this employee is lazy and doesn’t care about their job, because they keep showing up late. And they’re missing deadlines. We want to get curious, and we’re wired to lean in and be like, what is the big picture of what’s going on in this person’s life? What is stuff that’s going on at home? Are they taking three buses in order to get here? And that’s why they’re late is because the bus is late. Are they having to? Are they getting in the process of getting a divorce. And so they, when the husband used to do drop off, they’re trying to do both? We look at the person in the environment, and all the things that context, the history, the biology that are going on, rather than just seeing the behavior as good as or bad. We want to get curious and dig in and understand why it’s happening.

Katie Brinkley 12:37

No, but I think that when you look at somebody’s situation, that shows that you’re being a good leader, and I think that it’s kind of a new concept, but with the dare to lead facilitator, I know that there’s four courage skills of being dare to lead facilitating, can you walk us through those four different skill sets?

Sarah Madras 12:55

Yes, of course. So the first one is living into your values. And so we figure out what what are your actual core values of what feels like truth to you? What is something that’s part of who you are, not what you’ve been programmed by your parents of you should be this way or not how you wish you would be or what you wish was important to you. But like, Who are you actually? And then matching that to see is that an alignment? What are the core values of an organization? And then what are the behaviors? So taking it from BS to behaviors is what we call because everybody can be like, yes, our core values that our organization is integrity, community and trust, but then all of their behaviors and the way that they act is like, yeah, we never see each other, everybody works remotely. We’re in silos, nobody’s working in teams or cooperating. And it’s like, well, that’s not community. And so it’s really taking it from just BS to behaviors, so that it’s all in alignment, and so that the employees are working in places where they’re shared values, then the second skill is trust. And it’s really establishing that foundation of trust, one self trust within yourself, trusting your own intuition, knowing what is fear, versus what is intuition, things like that, and trusting your team. So what is the trust within the organization? And how do we create that into behaviors as well. So there are seven key components of trust that we always operationalize, and behavioral eyes and measure. Then the next one is rumbling with vulnerability, because at the end of the day, like vulnerability is part of the human experience because we’re emotional beings. And so it’s really understanding what is vulnerability? How does it show up in the workplace? The old school leadership style was very much robotic of Check your emotions out the door. compartmentalize, you know, you come in and you put your head down and you do your work and you clock out after 40 hours. And that’s just not realistic anymore the way that the culture is shifting,

Katie Brinkley 15:15

we have no arms. Yeah, we all come with us all the time. I mean, go well, I sent you the email last night didn’t just see it. Yeah.

Sarah Madras 15:22

And we can’t check our feelings at the door every day in order to be a whole person. We can’t compartmentalize and be like, well, this is who I am at work versus who I am as a human right. And then the last skill set is learning to rise. And what that means is setbacks and failures are inevitable. And so how are we going to rise from them stronger, rather than letting them crumble us? And sending us into this shame spiral of, oh, gosh, I’m so stupid. I can’t believe I made that mistake, or Oh, my God, I can’t believe I said that. In that meeting. I’m never speaking up again, things like that. So it’s learning how to rise from setbacks, recover from hard things, and having the courage and resiliency to keep showing up again and again.

Katie Brinkley 16:12

Now for there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that listen to this podcast. So someone listening to this podcast, who is an entrepreneur, and maybe they have a smaller team of remote contractors, what do you think that you see the is the biggest mistake that they might be making? Without even realizing it?

Sarah Madras 16:30

Yeah, y’all this one is so easy, because I see it all the time. And I’m like, Oh, my God, they don’t even realize they’re doing it, stop it. It’s they’re breaking trust. People are breaking trust all over the place, not just and that’s the thing is even if you’re a solopreneur, like a solopreneur is listening, you’re building trust with your customers. And so it doesn’t matter if you have a team or not, you still need to know what trust is. And when we talk about trust, when I go in and do this training, the first question I ask is, raise your hand, if you think you’re 85% or more trustworthy, every single person in the room raises their hands. Yep. So just like think of that number in your head right now. How trustworthy Are you? What percentage just hold that number in your head for a second? And then I asked 90% 95. Still, there’s still people in the room, unlike 100%. And there’s usually always at least one person in the room that’s like, Yep, I am 100% trustworthy. And then I’m like, Well, what does trust mean to you? And they’re like, I don’t lie. I don’t cheat. I don’t steal. I mean, if only that it was that easy of like, I’m a good person, because I don’t lie, cheat or steal, then we break down what trust actually is. And they recalculate their number. And everybody’s underneath 85%. They’re like, Oh, crap, I had no idea that I was breaking trust with my customers or with my team and not even realizing it. But now they go. As I’m going through the training, they go, Oh, I know, a company who’s done that? Oh, I’ve seen that in our organization. Oh, yeah. That’s familiar, right? It’s so like, one of the components of trust is accountability. How many times this just happen with a local organization? You set up an appointment at the doctor’s office, you show up to your appointment? You’re waiting 30 minutes, and you’re like, What is going on? Like? You said, my appointment was nine, I was here and you’re like, hey, about one, and they’re like, Oh, we’re running behind? It’s gonna be an hour? At no point. Do they take any form of accountability? At no point? Did they try to say, Hey, I understand how this is impacting the whole rest of your day? What can we do to fix this or repair it? So they broke trust by not being reliable of following through with what their word was, and then they broke trust a second time by not having any accountability of what their mistake was?

Katie Brinkley 18:55

Oh, I have that. Sarah. Talk to us more about trust because like when you started, you know, okay. 85% like, yeah, me. And you just broke down trust into accountability and, you know, being responsible. What are other ways that we might be misconstruing? The thought of trust?

Sarah Madras 19:15

Mm hmm. So another big one that knocks people on their butts is when I say one, the first component of trust is boundaries and boundaries also looks like saying no. So when you say yes to something, that’s actually a no for you. You’ve just broken trust. Because the person is sitting there thinking this is totally okay with them. They said yes, they would take on this new project. Yes, they would discount their services for me that inside because it wasn’t actually a yes for you. It was a no but you were trying to people please. Or you were, you know, afraid of losing the sale or you are afraid of causing conflict. You were like, Yeah, I can do that. I can help with that. And now you have all this resentment inside of you. And it’s now tarnishing your relationship with that person. Because when you go to show up to the appointment, you’re like, I’ve discounted my services so much just to please them. And now I don’t even want to show up to this, like, what more do they want for me now I feel taken advantage of. And you’ve just created a distressing relationship because you essentially lied to them. Instead, it was okay with you when it really was not okay.

Katie Brinkley 20:24

Oh, I love that, Sara. And I think that it comes into mindset with another aspect that that you work with leaders on is the mindset and with what you just shared about the yes and the No, and discounting yourself. Trying to be the people pleaser, that full transparency mindset is something that I have worked on, it is something that is hard because I’m a people pleaser. Sure I can do that. And it started I know, 100% It started with my business, because I started with social media for free. I was out now 18 years ago, being a social media, anything didn’t exist. And so right, I was doing a lot of work for free, essentially. I mean, I got free coffees, I got free concert tickets, you know, stuff like that. So but at the same time it cost them stuff. But you know, and then getting the mindset around, I need to charge for these services was really hard, because I have been doing it as a complimentary service for so long. So mindset is something that I think no matter where you are, in your journey, it’s there’s always something to be tweaked. And people pleasing, saying no, that was one of my biggest hurdles that I’ve had to overcome. I know that probably a lot of solopreneurs. deal with that.

Sarah Madras 21:38

For sure, for sure. And especially the beginning, when you’re starting out, and you have that lack and scarcity mindset of like, I just need to get my first client, I’ll do whatever I need to do in order to get my first client. And what we don’t realize, because I’ve been there too, right? Like I remember those days at the beginning. And when we’re in that mindset, we don’t realize we’re training people on what to expect from us, and on how we how we’re going to allow them to treat us. And so all of our interactions with people is us training them of how they’re allowed to treat us and how our interaction is gonna go. And so essentially, when you went from, yeah, I’m doing it as a hobby, where you can trade me for concert tickets, or coffee. And then you said, just kidding. Now I’m charging it as a service. Now pay me money. You had trained them for however long of Wait, no, this is how we do things. What do you mean, we’re not doing it that way anymore. And it’s harder for them to adjust to that. Rather than if you would have been like, here’s the cost for my services. And here is why it is valuable and how that value matches the investment. You’ve trained them from the beginning. You can’t take it’s harder when you take things away from people, they like it when you add things. Don’t take things away, add more.

Katie Brinkley 23:01

Well, and Sarah, you know, I know that you work with both men and women. But I do think that women probably have the people pleaser. I don’t want to be mean sort of tendency more often than men do. And I don’t know, probably, but the mental health background that you have you you can explain that a lot more than than I understand. But I think that it is one of the bigger hurdles that female entrepreneurs probably have is I could just do that. Or Okay, I’ll say yes, you know, because I could help and just wanting to be that people pleaser mentality. Do you see that often?

Sarah Madras 23:33

Well, what I think happens. And I think the difference between men and women is the men habit, they just call it something different. They don’t want to rock the boat. Like they it’s not that they want to people, please, they don’t want to deal with the conflict. They don’t want to deal with whatever emotional aftermath is going to come after them. You know, ask them if they say no. And in organizations, it’s the the men don’t want to lose their job. They view it. The story they’re telling themselves is I am the primary person, my purpose in life that I’ve been trained, is I am supposed to produce and be the breadwinner and bring home the money and support the family. And so they say yes, in order to not lose their job, because that risk of losing the job is then I am not providing for women. Same concept, different story that we’ve been trained in the cultural narrative that we’ve been brainwashed to is. Women are supposed to sit there and be pretty and not saying anything and just get along with everybody. And so that’s why it’s called people pleasing. Just please everybody. And so that’s that programming of Don’t Be loud because then you’re a bitch like that. Don’t be too opinionated. And so that’s where that people pleasing mentality is but at the end of the day, it’s the same concept of wanting to be liked. We just whether you’re male or female, you want to be liked. Just the narrative is different that we’ve been digesting as a culture.

Katie Brinkley 24:59

Oh man. Sarah, this has been such an awesome episode, I’ve learned so much. I’d love to have you come back on. But we are nearing the end of the episode. So before we wrap up, I have two more questions for you. The very first question is, what do you think the biggest mistake is that entrepreneurs, business leaders, anyone in the leadership role is making with their employees?

Sarah Madras 25:24

Oh, biggest mistake they’re making with their employees? I would say it’s viewing it as not being open to evolving. They’re so used to the old school model, have you do it because I’m your boss, have just fall in line, I’m your boss, rather than saying, hey, that’s outdated and not working anymore, because people have so many options now available to them. And people want a workplace where they feel like they are part of that team. And so I think that’s the biggest mistake of going into it thinking that my team has to just fall in line because I’m the boss. And it’s Trust is earned based on your actions. It’s not earned based on your titles. And so I think that’s the thing that they’re missing the most.

Katie Brinkley 26:16

Oh, I love that action. Yes. I love that. Okay, so I lied, I said, I had two more questions. What piece of advice would you give to somebody if they are sitting here listening to this episode and saying, Wow, I never even thought about some of the things that you brought up today. What action item can I take going forward into the rest of this week that I can start implementing immediately?

Sarah Madras 26:38

What action item can I implement immediately? To me, the first action step is increasing your level of awareness. That’s always the first step to change. So if it’s just what is the one step I’m going to take today, it’s increasing your level of awareness. So awareness of what is your mindset when it comes to people pleasing when it comes to boundaries, when it comes to trust and things like that, when it comes to confidence? What is your mindset around that and being aware of yourself talk and when you’re falling down a rabbit hole into suffering? Awareness of as a leader of a team? am I expecting my team just to fall in line? Because I’m the boss? Am I saying things like, because I said so or just being more aware of how am I showing up as a leader being more aware of what am I saying, being more aware of are my actions lining up with the words that I’m saying? So I think the first step is just increasing your level of awareness and getting really curious, not shaming yourself, but just getting curious and like, Huh, I wonder why I do that. I wonder why this happens. So awareness and curiosity. Oh, I

Katie Brinkley 27:54

love that. Well, Sarah, this has been such a great conversation. I’d love to have you come back on the show again someday and we can dive into some more topics because it’s just been great. Where can we learn more about you and, and you and your business online? Yeah,

Sarah Madras 28:07

so you can find me online at Sarah madras.com. You can find me on the socials at Sarah Madras coaching on IG, Facebook and Instagram. And I do weekly free coaching on Wednesdays in my Facebook group called Brave leaders dare to lead.

Katie Brinkley 28:23

Wonderful. Thank you again so much for coming on the show today.

Sarah Madras 28:27

Yes, thank you so much for having me. It was a blast.

Katie Brinkley 28:31

Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com. Connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.