How does one lead with purpose? Elizabeth Bachman interviews Laura Gisborne of Legacy Leaders Global about how she helps women find their purpose, erase their scarcity fears, and prosper. Laura is also an author of multiple books, including Stop the Spinning: Move from Surviving to Thriving and Limitless Women. In this conversation, Elizabeth and Laura talk about questioning your capacities to lead, your greatest resources, and healing the poverty consciousness. Moreover, Laura offers helpful advice on how to make business more profitable along with the power of having faith and trust.
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How To Lead With Purpose With Laura Gisborne
My guest is the amazing Laura Gisborne. Laura is a highly successful business expert. She’s had many years of experience from structuring and selling small boutique businesses to owning a multimillion-dollar wine and real estate empire. She had owned nine businesses, her first was when she was only 23 years old. Laura is an internationally recognized speaker and serves as a business consultant for business leaders and entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries.
The innovative business model of her company, Legacy Leaders Global, exemplifies that companies can be both profitable and purposeful. By companies, we mean companies with hundreds of thousands of employees and companies that are one person working from their laptop. It’s still possible to be profitable and purposeful. Through Laura’s initiatives, thousands of women and children around the globe are receiving regular contributions, multiple countries, five continents. She’s truly an international leader. She’s also served as a Guardian Ad Litem for foster children through CASA. She’s been a Parent Education Coordinator for Family Outreach, Board Member for Habitat for Humanity, The New Peaks Foundation. She’s on the business engagement team of the Pachamama Alliance.
Laura is an author of multiple books, especially Stop the Spinning: Move from Surviving to Thriving and Limitless Women. She’s been featured as a guest expert on both CBS and ABC, as well in the national hit show, The Lists. You can hear and learn more about her work at www.LimitlessWomen.com. In this conversation, we talk a lot about leadership and facing the moments of, “Who am I to do this? What’s your greatest resource? What are the attributes of a leader? How do you heal poverty consciousness?” It’s not called that. It’s called making your business profitable. It’s one of the things that Laura talks about. She talks about having faith and trust, which is always a lesson that’s useful for me to learn. Here we go with Laura Gisborne.
Thank you, Elizabeth. It’s great to be with you.
Before we get into all the wonderful things that you have to teach us and to impart, the question I ask everybody is, “What’s your dream interview?” If you could interview someone who’s no longer on Earth with us, who would it be? What would you ask them? Who ought to be in the audience to listen?
The person I’m most curious about that I’d love to interview is Mother Teresa. I have been reading about her and studying her work and her legacy. It’s interesting because I was not raised Catholic. It’s not that element for me, but her work as a humanitarian and philanthropist is inspiring. That’s who I’d like to interview.Giving causes growth - both personally and in business. Click To Tweet
What would you ask her?
I read some of her letters that she wrote. It was these letters that were the crisis of faith like, “Who am I to do this? Am I on the right path?” It’s interesting because she never had that. We see interviews with her. We see her work in the world. We never picked up on that. I was fascinated by that distinction. Is this what I’m meant to do? The other piece that was fascinating for me that I read was around her calling. It’s a big calling to become a nun, first and foremost, but then to leave her order and to go to her Mother Superior and say, “I have to go to India. I have a different calling.” She had no infrastructure and no groundwork there on the ground. For her to go there and say, “I don’t know how but I’m going to show up,” I find this inspiring.
To answer your question about who the audience would be, who hasn’t felt that? Who hasn’t felt a little bit of like, “Who am I to do this?” Especially those of us that are out as speakers and leaders in the world. There is a lot of that. Amongst my other friends who are out there speaking and leading, what do we do when we have that crisis of faith? What do we do when we say, “It’s not going the way I thought it was going to go. Am I crazy? What’s going on here?” How does she move through that to create an amazing impact and save millions of lives?
When she started, she would have had no idea that it would have any impact at all. Although I suppose she would have realized that she would have made an impact on a few people, hand to hand. This isn’t what I was going to ask you. This is great and this leads me to another question which is for you. You work with women stepping forward to claim their space, claim their visibility. How does one deal with the crisis of faith? I don’t know any woman who hasn’t laid awake in the middle of the night thinking, “Who am I to be doing this?”
That or, “Maybe I should shift gears.” First and foremost, it is that, “Who am I?” question. Also, “Is this the right path? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” For the “Who am I?” what keeps me going is I have a deep commitment to my faith. I feel that I don’t have to know the answers. Everything that I do now in my leadership work was presented for me. If I can remember to be in what I call my conversations with God, and remember to be in faith and to receive and follow the path of least resistance. This is a different spin on the wheel than how a lot of us were raised to believe. It’s been my adult understanding and my experience that the greatest things that have come in my life have come quickly and easily.
I remember when Scott and I were celebrating our twentieth anniversary. Everyone loves the story of how we got married ten weeks after our first date. I think that’s a great story. I’m like, “The juice of twenty years in partnership is so delicious.” If I hadn’t followed that, knowing that intuition and jumped in with both feet as he did as well, the adventures that we’ve had wouldn’t have happened. It’s that place of learning to follow that which presents and trusting, knowing, and not always knowing the outcome. If I stay out of my own way, trust the divine unfolding, and follow those paths that present, I get a lot less of the questioning of, “Who am I to do it?”
Sometimes I call trust, “That T word.” I do have to let go of control and trust that it’s going to be okay. I wanted to ask you about leadership. This show is about internationally stepping forward, claiming your place, and focusing on the live communication part of it. That’s what I teach as a presentation skills trainer, whether it’s in standing up in front of a group or convincing a client to enroll with you or to use your company, or in a meeting. It is leadership. Speaking is a cool and fun tool that helps you show up as a leader. Wouldn’t you say?
I would say and I think it’s a fascinating adventure. You and I were talking about the first time we met and how terrifying that was. I was brand new and I was being invited to speak. I wasn’t a speaker and I didn’t have any training. I was following the calling or the invitation, showing up and saying, “How can I serve? Where would I be of service here? What would that look like?” This doesn’t go with the presentation structure per se, but it does go with what I would love to have more women and more men feel, which is the confidence of service first. Scott and I were in Africa once, working with a nonprofit organization there. I started a lot of my presentations with an inquiry, which is, “What’s in it for you? How can I best serve you today? What’s up for you right now?” It’s amazing how that engagement creates a flow of energy.
I often say that rule number one in speaking is making it about the listener. What is it that they want? What are they looking for? Start with that. Thinking back to the first time we met, I had no idea you were just beginning. You came to an eWomen group where I was a known member. You flew in from out of town so you weren’t local. Everybody was there chatting and saying hi and whatever. I saw you over there looking a tad lost. You covered it up well but that is my business. I noticed that you also look smart and interesting. I came over and said, “Who are you? You’re our speaker. Welcome.” Anybody who’s reading this, if you’re ever at an event and there’s a speaker who doesn’t already know the group, say hi because they probably need it. I’ve been stranded that way a few times. It’s not much fun. We’re all human. We’ve been friends ever since. I’ve come to some of your events.
You taught at one of my events. I think that event was 2015, 2016.
It was interesting, talking about leadership in terms of showing up, stepping forward and saying, “I can do this. You should listen to me. I know something.” What are the great attributes of being a leader?
I wish I could remember where I read this. It’s been true for me as a business leader. I’ve owned nine companies and sold six of them. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. I’ve run large teams and small teams. The reality is that, for me, one of the great tenets of leadership is that leaders cultivate other leaders. I find that people who are amazing at leadership have a presence about them. There’s something that cannot be overstated by the power of presence. It also goes with this conversation, where speakers learn to shine and get their word out. It’s the grounding. It’s the knowingness. I think that this idea of, “How do I show up in every interaction?” 100% present for what’s being presented.
A lot of times, we go in with our agenda that’s not always what’s in the highest and best. It requires a presence of grounding and positioning. What I think is one of the most common human conditions all over the world is that people want to be seen and heard. If we’re actually leading others in the same way that we’re standing on stage and having the opportunity to impact an audience, what’s in it for them? Where are they right now? Being present and compassionate for yourself and the other person is a big piece of this. Everyone has something to share. Everyone has something to say. Listening with kindness and compassion for what the other party is saying is a big part of this cultivating of other leaders.
I’m a speaker trainer, so I would add to that. What do they need? How can my knowledge serve them? How can the questions I know to ask to serve them and present it in a way that they are ready to hear? That’s especially in our increasingly international business world. Sometimes, you have to ask them to spell it out. Not everybody knows what you’re referring to. Bearing that in mind of not only what they need and how I can serve, but how can I present it in a way that they will get it? Talk a little bit about what you do with your company.Once people expand into their confidence and growth, they don't go back. Click To Tweet
We started our initiative as a business training fundraising organization.
Is this Limitless Women or is this Legacy Leaders?
Legacy Leaders is a program offered by Limitless Women. There are a few private sector businesses that I work with who know that they want to grow in scale for purpose. The only way that we decide that that’s a good partnership is if they’re interested in giving back to charity. We help organizations partner with nonprofits and charities that they care about so that they can grow their business in a purposeful way. That’s one segment of where I spend my time. The other segment where I spend my time is helping the nonprofits as part of my philanthropy is to help scale and grow their organizations. It’s a fascinating thing.
We were in real estate. We had a winery. We had all these cool things going on. For all the years that I was building my private sector businesses, I was always voluntary in the nonprofit sector. To be in this season of life by bringing those two things together, what I find is that many of the founders and the leaders of private sector businesses deal with the same thing that we’re talking about. Who am I to do this? Is this my calling? Is this the bigger work? There’s something inside that has them feeling that there’s something bigger and something more. By taking their profits and using them for purpose, it’s amazing to see how they grow, not only individually in their leadership, but also how their organization starts to grow and how their team starts to get on board. There’s a whole lot of that, that’s fantastic.
Every nonprofit I’ve worked with for many years always needs funding. These are always started by a founder with a great passion and then they build teams. We were in Uganda with a team of twenty paid employees. The passion for the vision and the mission is so there, yet fundraising is not always a place that comes easily. Creating this marriage in this partnership between the private sector and nonprofit is what we’re about.
That’s actually how I learned the art of public speaking. I started a nonprofit and was invited to create an opera company in the Alps. I said, “Yay,” then, “Do you mean I need to raise $100,000 just to start?” It was just me. That’s where I learned the art of speaking to get results. Talk a little bit more about how you define purpose. there? Bearing in mind not everybody reading this will have English as their first language. Spill it out a little bit more. What does that mean to you?
It’s a personal adventure. Let me say that first. What’s purposeful for one person is not purposeful for another. We travel and work all over the world. Everyone that I meet wants to have the people they care about to be healthy. We want our own bodies to be healthy. We want to be able to get up and make a difference with our work. Now, not everyone has a deep understanding, a spiritual practice or has grown up in the culture of giving. What I find is a fascinating piece where giving actually causes growing. It causes personal growth and business growth.
It’s a little bit of a backward idea. Most people think, “Someday when I get there, I’ll give back.” What happens is that giving causes the growing. This goes back to what you teach and lead with. You’ve got somebody who knows they have a message and they want to get it out there, but they’re terrified. You teach them how to shine. You give them the resources and the skills to do this. Once they’ve expanded into that place of confidence and they’ve found their voice, they don’t go back. They’re expanded in their giving and the growing. That’s where we work with organizations and individuals. It’s like, “How do we support you in your own personal development and expansion as a leader? At the same time, who is it that your heart calls to make a difference for you? Where is someplace that you’re touched?”
One of the things I talk about is how do you address the, “Yeah, but?” There is a scarcity mentality, especially with women. They say, “I’ll wait until I get there to donate. How can I possibly donate if I’m only barely making payroll or barely paying my bills?” How do you address that one?
Here’s a beautiful thing to share with your community. The secret mission, that’s not so secret, of Limitless Women is to heal the poverty consciousness of women leaders. We’ve been doing this work for about years. No one has come to me and said, “Will you help me heal my poverty consciousness?” What they say is, “I don’t have enough money to pay my bills. I’m always behind or there are not enough hours in the day.” These are two symptoms that show up. “I’m working hard but at the end of the day, I still feel like I didn’t do enough.” In the developed world, it’s a human condition that there’s not enough or I’m not enough. It’s something we’ve been fed through our education, through our media, and through people who are doing the best that they could with what they understood. That scarcity mentality causes us to focus on what’s not there.
Lynne Twist wrote a book called The Soul of Money. She’s probably the person that I respect and admire the most about this work because it’s been her legacy for 50 years. The idea of scarcity is actually a false concept. There’s no lack of resources on the planet. If you’re reading this or you’re watching a computer, you have resources beyond what the majority of the planet has access to. We need to learn to be resourceful. Have you ever had the experience where you gave someone a gift and you were a little more excited about it than they were?
Maybe they loved it but there is a joy for you of crafting, wrapping, or finding it for them and knowing it was going to be something perfect. This is not a new concept. The Bible is old and that’s one path. There are many places where we’ve learned this piece around the gift is in the giving, like the Qur’an and the Talmud. This is what I would consider a universal principle or universal truth. The idea of how to heal the not-enoughness is to get out of our own way. We have to expand and give what we have, and understand that what is a small amount to us can be life-changing for another person.
Every Friday, I send out a free gift. One time, I sent out a free gift Friday about what you can give. It’s not about your money. If you’re healthy, you can give your blood or donate your organs. You can donate your time. You can clean out your closet. There are so many ways that we can contribute and make a difference for someone who may be on hard times or may not have access to resources. It’s not about when I get there. It’s about what I can do now.
That’s one of the things I loved when I first heard from you. My voices were going, “I can’t give. I need every cent for me.” That circles back towards faith and trust, too. Faith, trust and doing it because it’s a good thing.
Do it because you can. There’s a whole thing about strategic philanthropy. I’m a business strategist at the heart of the work. Whether I’m working in private or nonprofit, I’m helping businesses grow and expand. There’s an idea around strategic philanthropy that we give to get because it’s a hip thing these days. I encourage people to consider, especially in the tentative leadership, that you’re not giving to get. You get to give.
More than two billion people live on less than $3 a day in the world. You’re talking about having a global audience. I can’t fathom, as a wife, a mother and a woman born in the United States, what it would look like to raise my family on $1,000 a year. I can’t get my head around that. We’ve been to Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and in many places where people literally have the shirt on their back. They hope to have a meal for the child. Education even becomes a luxury. Water becomes a luxury. That’s not running in their house. They don’t have electricity. I’m not saying this for anyone to feel bad. I want us all to have a perspective of how affluent we are.
You and I met before I got clear about Limitless Women as a fundraising organization. We set out a milestone for our company in 2015. We said that if we could raise $250,000 over the next five years, we’ll know that we’re on the right track. When we do our business trainings, we invite everyone to give directly to nonprofits, either the nonprofit that we vetted or the nonprofit of their choice. They give what they feel comfortable with. The nonprofits don’t say to me, “Elizabeth donated $10, you donated $10 and Melissa donated $20.” They don’t tell me that. They say, “This is what your community has contributed.” As of 2020, we’ve raised close to $400,000 for charity. That’s good. It has not been me. It’s been you. It’s been our community members, each donating a little bit at a time cumulatively, what we can track. There’s probably more than that but that’s what we can track at this point. It’s good stuff. We’re on the right track.
I love that you said Limitless Women is a fundraising organization instead of a business training school. With all of this, and there are so many things to think about, as a leader, what should we focus on?The idea of scarcity is a false concept that's only found in the developed world. Click To Tweet
There are a couple of different things. I get asked about money a lot. I say, “Money is the easy part.” Figuring out your systems for how to monetize a business or how to raise funds for your organization, how we do marketing, and how we do sales become fairly easy over time. What I think becomes a challenge for leaders is the opportunity to keep growing into the next version of ourselves. If we’re alive and breathing, God’s not done with us. There’s the next level of our contribution, our experience. You may want to call the adventure, being on this adventure of life.
Where it becomes a little tricky is in getting out of our own way or our mindset of, “Who am I?” when it’s not about us, it’s about the cause. It’s about the community. It’s about the team. It’s about the bigger work. That’s one piece that I feel is constantly a muscle that needs to be strengthened for leaders. The idea of the power of presence, for me personally, requires a healthy practice. What I mean by that is, “How do I take care of myself and my body first, so that when I do open my mouth, I’m not coming from a place of not feeling good, being tired or being distracted?” “How can I be fully present in every conversation if I don’t take care of myself first? I’m not good at that.” I have a feeling that other people will have the same challenge because they share it with me. That means inquiring what your body needs, which is sleep. What’s a daily practice of movement to help your body get grounded so that your brain can be present in a conversation? This is a daily practice of leadership.
You said something about finding your most important resource. What’s that?
My husband and I were having a conversation once. He works at a resort in Colorado and he’s the top salesperson for this organization. I said, “You’re such an example of a person who is doing exactly what you should be doing.” He grew up poor by United States standards. He started selling vegetables door to door when he was seven years old. When he was about 10 or 11, he would go to the golf courses and would find golf balls. He would clean them up and sell them to the golfers. It’s this kid who thinks differently. He was such a hard worker.
Why I’m giving you that story about Scott is this. All of us have something we’ve been doing and we’ve got a little practice at it. We’ve got some mastery, but we’re not usually aware of what it is. When we find that groove and we bring that to our work or our organizations, it’s a bit like breathing. It’s not a hard thing to do. The question becomes a different question. How do I discover what I’m fantastic at? How do I live in that lane?
Find what you’re good at and this whole thought about, “If you build it, they will come,” has got so many people in trouble over the years.
Clarify that for me.
In terms of people having a dream. I spent 30 years in nonprofit arts. It was never about the money. We do it for the love of the art, which has then landed me in places where I say, “I have to pay the rent now.” I’ve been there. It’s dreaming but realistically.
I’d love to talk about that. This is a place that I see many leaders become martyrs.
That I’m going to sacrifice myself on behalf of this other thing and therefore I’m valuable.
I have been there, done that. I’m trying not to do it again.
I say this frequently because I was raised in the Christian faith. I have many beliefs that encompass what I believe, a global perspective on the spirit. At the same time, we don’t solve any problems by doing that. We don’t solve any problems by being a martyr. I joke that Jesus came already to save us. We don’t have to do this. It goes back to the thing that I said about self-care. Take care of ourselves first. We take care of our basic needs. We then go into the world of service. It’s a different thing. What I think happens often is that we get so turned on and so fired up about the service that we forget the self-care. That’s where we have the, “I forgot to make money to pay my bills.” We have to take care of our sufficiency. That should be the first order of business in business and in life.
You and I have been friends for a long time. You know I don’t do breakfast talks. It’s not my great energy time of the day. I sent you an email that said I love you. I’m going to need a few more minutes if you need me to show up on film. I need to take a bath, wash my hair and put on some makeup before I talk to you if you want me on camera. I had to do that first to come to you fresh. I wouldn’t feel great if I rolled out of bed. If we were recording audio, I’m good. I can be in my jammies. If you want me on camera, I have to feel good and grounded and give you my best.
I want you on camera. If you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and look up the video. Watching Laura Gisborne with that amazing smile and watching your energy is wonderful. Laura, this is great. I know you have to run.
Here’s the piece around that though. I’ll say, “I’m going to run but I’m going to run and do what I know feeds my soul.” It doesn’t feel like a struggle.
Do you have something to leave us with?
Two things, the first one is getting good at saying no to that which doesn’t fit and trusting that. I have a lot of prayer and meditation that helps me know. This is a place that you lead well with speakers and getting themselves present and grounded where they shine. Your body will tell you. It’s different from butterflies. Also, to have a knowing that something’s not right. It’s not lining up or doesn’t feel good. It’s okay to say no. Sometimes, a no is just not now. That’s important to remember. If prayer is your practice, ask to be shown when the right time is for this. Is this the right thing for me? Your body will respond. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is that it’s not easy to be called for leadership. I always refer to my husband. He joked with me about this years ago. There is one queen bee and a whole lot of worker bees. In nature, there’s generally one leader and a whole lot of followers. That’s divine and that’s the way it is. When you’re called for leadership, it’s not egoic. It’s not about you. It’s about the worker bees. You get to be in service. You have this opportunity. My request is that you be compassionate with yourself in the process. Do it always from service. Be compassionate with the fact that you’re a mere mortal in a human body, doing the best you can. Keep showing up each day with the next step and be kind. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.
Laura, this is a lovely way to end. How can we find out more?
Is it just for women?
We are a women’s leadership organization. We love men and we have them come around now and again who feel the calling to support women through their lives, their work and their business, but we’re a community of women supporting women.
That’s great. I have to say that of all the newsletters that I get and that I subscribe to and then unsubscribe, your Free Gift Fridays is one I’ve been following for years. It’s like there’s a little Laura Gisborne in my inbox.
I would give a little invitation for that. The Free Gift Friday will be on that website but there is a website for FreeGiftFriday.com if anybody’s interested in getting goodies from us. I send out resources for personal development and business development every Friday. I’m happy to share
It’s useful. I’ve got a whole folder once I’ve downloaded. Thank you, Laura Gisborne. This has been Speakers Who Get Results. I’m delighted to have you here. If you want to see where your presentation and leadership skills are strong and maybe you’d like a bit of support, you can go to www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. I’ll see you on the next one.
- Laura Gisborne
- Legacy Leaders Global
- Stop the Spinning: Move from Surviving to Thriving
- Limitless Women
- The Soul of Money
About Laura Gisborne
Laura Gisborne is a highly successful business expert with over 20 years of experience. From structuring and selling small boutique businesses to owning a multi-million dollar wine and real estate empire, Laura has owned nine businesses, her first when she was only 23 years old. Laura is an Internationally recognized speaker and serves as a business consultant for business leaders and entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries.
The innovative business model of her company, Legacy Leaders Global, exemplifies that companies can be both profitable and purposeful. Through her initiatives, thousands of women and children are receiving regular contributions in multiple countries across 5 continents.
She has served as a Guardian Ad Litem for foster children through CASA, Parent Education Coordinator for Family Outreach, Board Member for Habitat for Humanity, The New Peaks Foundation, and is on the Business Engagement Team of the Pachamama Alliance.
She is the author of the books, “Stop the Spinning – Move from Surviving to Thriving” and “Limitless Women” and has been featured as a guest expert on both CBS and ABC, as well as on the national hit show, “The List.” Learn more about her work at www.LimitlessWomen.com