Business doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it up to be, especially when it comes to finding success. Internationally recognized speaker and business growth strategist, Laura Gisborne, believes that thriving businesses have very simple business models. In this episode, she joins host Elizabeth Backman to explain what this all meant and how leadership, legacy, and giving back play into that. She shares some great tips on creating the impact you want on others and finding the time, energy, and space to serve people. Plus, Laura reminds us of our unique purpose, dancing along to the journey of wherever life is taking us and making not just a point but a difference.
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Going Narrow And Deep: Insights About Leadership, Legacy, And Giving Back With Laura Gisborne
This is the show where we interview experts from around the world on how you can get better results when you’re making a presentation, and about the leadership and being the person who steps forward and says, “Yes, I do have something to say,” because all that is behind the presentation. You’ve got to have something to say and you’ve got to have a reason to do it. I am so excited. This is my 50th episode since I started this. I get to have one of my very first guests back for a repeat performance. Laura Gisborne, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Elizabeth. It’s great to be with you. I’m deeply honored to be in your 50th episode.
I’m glad I could get on your schedule. Let me say a little bit something about Laura, but before I do that, if you’re enjoying this, please follow us on YouTube. You can hear us on any of your favorite podcast apps. I invite you to go to our free assessment. It only takes four minutes and that’s where you can see where you are strong in presentation skills and where you might need a little support. The link is SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. Laura, let me do the official bio here. Laura Gisborne is a highly successful business expert with over 25 years of experience from structuring and selling small boutique businesses to owning a multimillion-dollar wine and real estate empire.
Laura has owned nine businesses when she was only 23 years old. When I think of who I was when I was 23, my mind boggles. On the other hand, you’re sure you know everything at 23, so maybe it’s not that scary. She’s an internationally recognized speaker and serves as a Business Growth Strategist for leaders in both the private and non-profit sectors. The innovative business model of her company, Limitless Women, exemplifies that companies can be both profitable and purposeful. To date, the Limitless Women community has raised over $400,000 for charities. Through their initiatives, thousands of women and children are receiving regular contributions in multiple countries across five continents.
She’s also done this close to home by serving as Guardian Ad Litem for foster children through CASA, Parent Education Coordinator for Family Outreach, a board member for Habitat for Humanity, the New Peaks Foundation, and she’s also on the business engagement team of Pachamama Alliance. She’s also the author of the books, Stop the Spinning: Move from Surviving to Thriving and Limitless Women. She’s been featured as a guest expert in both CBS and ABC, as well as the national hit show, The List. Laura, I’m glad to have you back. It seems just right to have you for the 50th episode.You want to make a difference, not just a point. Click To Tweet
It’s my pleasure to be with you.
I will say to anybody who’s reading, be sure to go back to my first interview with Laura, which was about leadership and qualities that a leader needs to have. We recorded that on January 2nd, 2020 and a few things have happened since then. I’d like to ask you, what have you seen in your business and what have you seen with your clients in the chaos of 2020?
It’s been an interesting and fascinating adventure. I’m now probably closer to 30 years of entrepreneurship at this point. In 2020, what I’ve seen is the power of those who did not pivot, but instead went narrow and deep. We’ve got clients whose businesses are up exponentially by 50%, 100%, numbers that would seem surreal in other circumstances. Part of that has to do with the focus. For those of us who historically have built our business speaking and traveling, going to other places, what’s available when you have this opportunity to be at home and to be doing what you and I are doing now, meeting virtually.
You’re in Europe and I’m here in the United States. It’s very exciting that we’re able to do that. Embracing moving forward in business with what we’re here to do, what our legacy work is, and what our message is all about which is creating impact in the world. I love your tagline. You want to make a difference, not just a point. I’ve seen it to be a great opportunity. I’ve also been aware and cognizant that there are many who it has not been a great time for them. It’s been tough for many people. Those of us that are committed to using our businesses to give back to others, we’ve had more of an opportunity in 2020 than probably in decades to be of service and impact, and use our vehicles to make the journey easier for those who are struggling.
Talk a little bit about going narrow and deep.
When COVID first came out, the first wave of the conversation in business development was, “It’s time to pivot and grab this next wave.” In my prayers and meditations, the messages that I was receiving was, “That’s not the way to go.” The way to go is we have a mature audience. The majority of our women have been on a journey to get them to this place. They have a message and an opportunity to serve with everything they’ve learned. That doesn’t shift and change because we have a world catastrophe. It’s not our first world catastrophe. My husband and I got married the night before Y2K. We were like, “Is the world going to be here when we wake up in the morning?”
We’ve done real estate development for many years. 2008 happened and there was that going on. There have been various things like 9/11. There have been different things that have happened over the course of my business career. Those things happen because life happens. How we choose to approach that, when we ground more in what we’re here to share about, when we bring a deeper level of service and more present and more conscious conversation to our unique spin on the wheel, our piece of the puzzle of service, the world moves a lot faster for us.
Can you talk a little bit about what do you mean by going narrow?
All businesses provide a solution to someone’s problem or their desire. When we look at all the things we could be doing in business, what I find is that businesses that are thriving have very simple business models. They’re very clear on who they serve, what the challenge is that they’re here to help solve, and then how they uniquely provide a solution. It’s a 1, 2, 3 formula. When I see an organization that’s struggling, often it’s lost sight of where their lane is. We call it staying in your lane. Going narrow and deep is another variation on that theme of staying in your lane. Who is it you’re here to serve? What’s the struggle that they have, and how are you uniquely designed to serve them? There are all these things you could be doing. There are all these problems you could be solving, but when you go narrow and deep, you have the opportunity to be magnetic to the ideal clients that you’re here to serve. Whether that be an audience that you’re here to speak to, or an individual client you’re here to serve, or in our world, a charity that you’re here to help scale, just become magnetic to them.
It’s not being all things to all people and trusting that that will be okay, which is often a challenge. People say, “If I’m not everything to everybody, I’ll miss people.” That means nobody knows how to refer you. Talking about the charities, we’re all told it’s good for the soul to donate and all of that. We should be tithing and doing charitable things. Why should we?When you go narrow and deep, you have the opportunity to be magnetic to the ideal clients that you're here to serve. Click To Tweet
Elizabeth, it makes me think about when my children were little and my son would say to me, “My sister called me a pink elephant.” That wasn’t exactly what she said, but she said something silly. I said, “Are you a pink elephant?” He said, “Of course not.” “Then why are you upset about this? Who can you help? Where can you get out of your own way? Where can you stop being obsessed with this conversation that’s not helping you move forward and share a little bit of your goodies? Who’s at school that you could give a kind word to? Is there something you could do to help your teacher?” I have to tell you that my children, as adults, are amazing leaders and part of it comes from this tenet of service.
Whenever we get into the, “Who am I to do this?” or “I’m not ready,” or “Someday, I’m going to be good enough.” All of this is directly related to something that’s going on inside of us that I call the poverty consciousness. What happens in the process of serving others is that we get out of our own way. We get the opportunity to see that we are greater than we are experiencing ourselves to be in this moment. By being of service to another, we become expanded. It’s the core premise of our work that getting cause is growing. You could do it for that reason. You could also do it because you can. There’s something beyond self-actualization that happens when we see what we’re capable of. There are lots of reasons to give.
It’s a way of doing direct service. It pays you back in intangible ways. It makes me think about rule number one of any presentation is to make it about them. I can break that down into all sorts of tools and techniques for making good presentations, but it’s about delivering a message that is serving them, that you have to believe in.
Let me say one more thing that was super helpful. I believe you might have taught me, Elizabeth, back in the day when I was getting started as a speaker. You’re getting to give a talk. The idea of like, “Am I going to be good enough? What’s going on with my voice because I have allergies?” That’s okay. You’re going to give your talk. That’s important. It’s an important opportunity.
I love what you said about being able to give a talk. Every time you do a presentation, whether it’s within the company or it’s to promote a service, a practice or an idea, it’s a gift to your audience. That’s how you get out of the “I’m not good enough” head is to think about how are you serving the others. Tell us about the Pachamama Alliance. This is very exciting.
Pachamama Alliance was co-founded by Lynne Twist, her husband Bill, and John Perkins. It is an organization that’s deeply committed to social justice. The work that they’re doing in the world, that’s not a new mission for them. It’s fascinating in this environment where we’ve been struggling in the United States of bringing awareness to systems that no longer serve. How those of us that are born into privilege often are unaware of what’s happening around us and what it’s like for others.
I love the work that they do there. They are also devout activists in the protection of the planet and the headwaters of the Amazon. That encompasses not only the environment, but also the indigenous people who live there who are the guardians of that area. I got involved with them in 2015. That’s when I started working with them and we’ve been blessed to have Lynne come and speak several times at our Limitless Women conference to bring her leadership because this isn’t her first rodeo. She was one of the founders of The Hunger Project in the 1970s. She’s been a lifetime activist and role model for those of us that are committed to giving back because we can. I’m very grateful to have them in my life.
The other thing about giving back is if you don’t feel like you have cash, you probably have more cash than somebody else. You can also give time, and you can give time to people. The good thing about doing it through an organization is they will remind you. I don’t know about you, but it’s too easy for me to spend my time hunkered down behind my computer, working on this, that and the other, and forget that I had that appointment to go serve lunch at the homeless shelter or things like that. I can’t do that one anymore. Now I have to donate in other ways.
Do it when you can. I’ll tell you this because another woman who nobody who’s reading this knows. She was my babysitter who was one of my spiritual mothers in this world. She is now 79 years old. She’ll be 80 in January 31st, 2021. She gets up every morning at 6:00 AM and goes to her church. She puts together meals for families with foods that have been donated in government funding and worked with restaurants, but then somebody else passes them out because with COVID, it’s not safe for her to be doing that. She can get up and do the compilation part if you will. The piece around what we have to give is often not related to money. It’s often related to our time and each of us has special talents. Using those in a way to serve in any capacity that we can is a blessing.By being of service to another, we become expanded. Click To Tweet
Does mentoring come in there in terms of giving and serving?
I can’t say how it works for others. I can tell you that I grew up in a family with a tremendous amount of violence and abuse. My parents were gone much of the time and I’m clear that Barbara took care of me without being paid many times over the course of the years.
Barbara was your babysitter, right?
Yes. The example that she set for me and she’s a devout Christian. There was a lot of stuff that was being laid in the groundwork of who I am now as a leader. There were also other women when I was in my early twenties and I was in a domestic violence relationship. I thought that was normal. There were other women who saw me who raised their hand and said, “Come here. It doesn’t have to be that way.” There’s a great deal of impact in those experiences for me as an individual that have led me to use my life now to be in an organization that’s philanthropy first. Those women changed the trajectory of my life and therefore, the lives of the people around me and my family.
I feel excited to be able to pay forward some of the gifts that I’ve been given. That’s the place that is pretty exciting. It’s pretty exciting to wake up and be me, and be in a position where when you and I get off this interview, I get to be in a conversation with one of the founders of another nonprofit that we’re super excited about that we raise funds for every year. It is based in Uganda. This is the whole thing. This whole opportunity that I get to use my experiences to be of service to others is pretty exciting.
Talking about a legacy, this is something that we can think of in terms of our legacy, whether we’re recognized or not. If we’re still working our way up the corporate ladder or trying to do this or trying to do that, how can we find or make the time, the energy, the space to truly serve somebody that we maybe don’t know?
I would encourage everyone to start where you are. This is the thing, we’re humans, we’re all doing the best we can. If we get bombarded constantly with negativity and with all that’s not working, that’s going to continue to show up as our experience. If we choose instead to have a daily practice of grounding and gratitude, and if it feels right for you, meditation or prayer, where you check-in and you decide this is the day the Lord has blessed me with. I’m a Christian, so this is going to come out. Now, how do I choose to be a good steward of this gift? I woke up this morning. I have a roof over my head. I have an opportunity for work. I have an opportunity to serve. What would you have me do? What is aligned with what I believe is important?
When you start from that place, I find that there’s a whole lot less distraction. There’s a whole lot less fear and overwhelm because we’re aligned with what we’re choosing instead of being at the mercy of what’s happening around us. I would say that anyone who gets up and says, “Where may I be of service?” It can be something as simple as a smile to a stranger with our COVID mask. We could still be smiling because your eyes are smiling. You can do that. It can be a kind word. It can be opening the door for someone. It can be doing a random act of kindness for someone in your home that they weren’t expecting. It’s these little ways of being in generosity and presence that will change your level of joy and happiness in your life.
This makes me think and we’re going to be publishing this right after Thanksgiving. Thinking about Thanksgiving for Americans at least is about stopping to give thanks. I love the way you say stop and give thanks every day, and you start there.
Here’s what I hear all the time. The number one challenge for my ideal client, for my number one, for my who. I work with women business owners who were committed to using their profits for purpose of giving back. Most of them, almost all of them at some point hit a wall and they feel overwhelmed. They feel like there’s too much to do. They feel like, “Someday I’m going to get there,” instead of being grounded in the present. I have to tell you that this practice of daily grounding, of daily prayer, of daily meditation is a way to put on your strengthening, to put on your remembering of who you are and what you’re here to do so that you’re feeling strong and grounded. Overwhelmed doesn’t come in because you’re so clear on your purpose.Life is happening. How we choose to dance with that is part of the journey. Click To Tweet
The daily practice of gratitude and grounding gives you a better place to start from. It also means that you are acting instead of reacting. Instead of reacting to everything that comes in, you’re figuring out who you are and what do you want to do and who do you want to be.
The best way I’ve heard that is responding versus reacting. We do respond at what life presents, and how do we dance with what is inevitable?
Responding is related to the word ponder, and to think instead of to act. It will tell us to think rather than act. Laura Gisborne, I love you. I’m happy to know you and have you as my friend. I’m honored that I could have you as my special 50th episode guest. Do you have one thought to leave us with?
It always comes back to the same one for me, which is compassion. More compassion for ourselves, we’re doing the best we can. Life is happening. How we choose to dance with that is part of the journey. It’s what we’re here to do and to learn. I believe if we’re alive and breathing, God’s not done with us. There’s more for us to experience and learn and develop. As we’re growing together and choosing to be in this stance of life in this lifetime, what does it look like for us to do it in a way that is kinder, a little gentler, a little more patient and understanding that there’s divine timing? Things are unfolding. You’re well. Remember that you’ve got this, that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that you’re doing the best you can each day. Be kind to yourself in the process.
Thank you, Laura Gisborne so much for having been on the show. I urge you to go back and read the first episode I did with her. You could find that on YouTube or on ElizabethBachman.com/podcast. Thank you very much for joining us. There will be more. We’re not stopping at 50. I’m very excited to have you, Laura and all of you reading. Please, if you enjoyed this, go to YouTube and follow us on YouTube. Subscribe and tell your friends. If you’re interested how you can be a better presenter, take our free assessment at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. I’ll see you on the next one.
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About Laura Gisborne
Hey! I’m Laura
An entrepreneur, philanthropist, writer, wine maven…
And fierce advocate for helping brilliant, passionate women like you mobilize their richest gifts into a business they adore that transforms lives and the world around them.
Working with me, you escape working harder and harder just to feel “good enough.” You shed the frustration of not being where you thought you’d be by now.
And instead start living your greatest purpose. Far faster and with far greater ease, clarity and power to do good than you ever imagined possible.