Sometimes we do not realize how close we are to the gold when we decide to give up. Looking at life’s uncertainties and learning to push through regardless leads to success, says Allison Maslan – best-selling author and CEO of Allison Maslan International, a global business mentoring company. Allison shares her own success journey and the accompanying pivots in her life, including a formative professional relationship that eventually lead to her discovering what is important to her. Allison says at the heart of her journey is resilience. She differentiates the physical aspects of resilience from the lesser appreciated side – emotional resilience.
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The Different Faces Of Resilience with Allison Maslan
I feel blessed at this moment to be here, to be able to breathe this air, to be living. I was going, “What am I feeling in this moment and grateful for?” I had a lot of things happening in my mind, and yet they could all be described as being alive, breathing, and present in this moment. That is such a blessing. I take that blessing for granted sometimes. Maybe I’m alone in that. I don’t want to take it for granted at this moment. This show is going to be spectacular like they all are. This I’m particularly excited about because I’ve got this incredible, amazing business owner. She’s a beautiful woman, a divine being that I get to chat with. You get to be part of that chat. You get to participate in it and you get to absorb it. Try this information on and see what works and what doesn’t. You always get to leave comments and send us your thoughts and feelings which we appreciate. I don’t want to waste another moment of the precious time that we get to spend with Allison Maslan. I have the honor of introducing this lovely lady.
Allison Maslan is the CEO of Allison Maslan International, a global business mentoring company. She’s the number one bestselling author of Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams Into Reality. Allison has built ten successful companies starting out at age nineteen. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Merrill Lynch and Charlotte Russe. She pays it forward helping ambitious business owners around the world grow high revenue businesses and they’re passionate life through the Pinnacle Global Network, her private mentoring and mastermind enterprise. Allison has been featured in Success, Fortune, Forbes Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News. Across the US, Allison’s journey is highlighted in a new documentary called Inspired By 11. Allison, I’m joyful that you’re with us. Welcome to the show.
Thanks, Adam. Thank you for having me. This is going to be fun.
What’s not written in that bio that you would love people to know about you?
I feel blessed. I’m thankful for feeling alive and being in the moment. I came from the gym and I’ve been with the same fitness trainer for many years. He kicks my butt. I always say, “Thank you, body. Thank you for taking such good care of me all these years because I do have a lot going on.” I feel blessed because I get to do what I love. I’m on this mission to help others get out of their own way and live their purpose and share their gifts with the world.
You’ve got a fitness trainer that you’ve been with for many years. I want to dig a little bit into that.
It’s the longest male relationship of my life.
Let’s explore that because people for sure would be curious. What has led to that sustainable professional relationship? I’m blessed I’m married to my college sweetheart. We’re married for many years. Any relationship is not easy. It’s worthwhile every day. I thank God for it, and yet it’s not always easy. To be in a professional relationship for many years, there’s something there that if we’re digging into that soil a little bit, people could get something useful.
I have a trapeze coach for many years. I’ve had my accountant for many years. You build these relationships with people. I’m a relationship person and I’m happily married also, but you get people that you know they have your back. We support each other. Marcus, my fitness trainer, when I think about all the life changes and dramatic pivots I’ve had over the years since he’s been in my life. I was a single mom for several years. Whoever you spend time with, you’re going to the hairdresser or whoever, and he gets to hear. He saw me go through all kinds of wrong relationships and he’d be like, “Allison, please stay away from this guy.” He was my protector. My daughter was going through a rough time. He was giving me advice for her. It feels like home when you go and you get to spend time around people like that, that is truly your success team. They believe in you and he stretches me further than I care to. I’m on the treadmill and I’m already huffing and puffing. He pushes it up and up and I’m yelling at him. I even might say a few curse words. I’m grateful because he knows I can do it or he wouldn’t push me that hard and that’s what a good coach or mentor will do.
People are pivoting all the time. When I was pivoting out of practicing law, which is part of my history spending many years doing that work. Ultimately, writing a book about my journey into something that was a calling from my heart. Instead of having a midlife crisis, I ended up with this crazy midlife calling. I then wrote a book about it and got to travel and train and teach that topic around the world. I found that a lot of people were saying, “I’m reinventing some area of my life. I’m pivoting into something new and different.” Sometimes they knew what that was. Sometimes it was a bit of a mystery. I thought to myself, “There’s something to this idea that we’re constantly evolving and changing and yet there are some things that remain constant.” The best relationships in our lives are those constant things. It can be a rock that we can build things upon. It’s a foundational piece.
For you to have a relationship with your trainer for many years, it’s spectacular. A lot of the people that we’ve spoken to and trained thousands of people all over the world have pivoted into coaching. They’ve pivoted into that space of training other people or wanting to do some of the things that they were seeing me do and all that. A lot of those people don’t have clients for lengths of time. People in our audience are going, “I would love to have a client for many years. What’s this guy Marcus’ secret recipe to be able to maintain a great relationship with you for many years?” You’ve stated a few. I heard you say he has your back and that it’s like coming home. “That he stretches me even to the point where I curse him out, but I know he’s got my back and so I’m grateful for him.”
He does what he says he’s going to do. For me as an individual and also running my companies, that has been my number one value. If you say you’re going to do it, do it. He has great integrity and he’s also honest with me. We’ve had some serious talks. There was a period of time where I was constantly showing up late and he had to have a serious talk with me about that and I deserved it. When I come in and I’m looking ragged because I’m not getting enough sleep and not taking care of myself, which business owners can do, he was worried about me. He sat me down, gave me a lecture, and I needed to hear it. I have the greatest respect for that honesty. Even to the point where he’s raised his prices significantly over the years. If you could imagine over many years and I am like, “You deserve it.” I would rather pay more and know I have someone like that who has my back that always shows up. That helps me to be my best and gets me on my game than trying to save a few bucks here and there.
What you said is what they want their clients to say about them. That’s the best review. That’s the best endorsement. How cool for Marcus to have you as a client and to be someone who’s showing up the way he is so that you say what you say about him. I’m sure his business has grown not only from the standpoint of what the market would pay for his services, but you’ve probably referred him out. The person he is, he probably doesn’t have to spend too much money on marketing or other things to keep his business moving in the right direction.
I credit him for many things. I credit him for helping me get through some rough times in my life. It’s like anything. You need to have some things in your life that stretch you to help you see what you’re made of. I’m such a believer in having a coach and I have been in several areas of my life because I always want to take it to the next level. To be the best person that I can be, always growing and evolving as a human being.
It’s an interesting thing because a lot of people look at six people have gotten some success or at least what the world might define as success and think, “They don’t need a coach anymore.” I was running probably the largest personal development business training company in North America for a number of years and all that time I had a coach. I have a coach now. We’ve pivoted several times. I seem to always want to be surrounded by people who are smarter than me, that know more than me, or at least can see my blind spots, which I know at this point in my life I cannot see. At a younger age, I probably thought, “I’ll look in the mirror. I’ll set up those two-way mirrors. You could see everything somehow.” Even with family and other people that are around, you can’t see your blind spots.
When I was a CEO of Peak Potentials, there are a lot of people who are afraid to tell you what they see or won’t share your blind spots for fear that somehow you hold it against them. Your ego would get the better of you. Maybe you fire somebody for being honest or showing radical honesty or what have you. It is in many ways for a business owner and entrepreneur, somebody that’s the CEO of their own company. It can be a lonely experience because there are not a lot of folks around who will have the guts to tell them what they might not want to hear. You’ve been through a lot with Marcus. Maybe let’s go back to some pivot time in your life, whether it was in business or in relationships or in some other area where you got to that place where it was a challenge. That you didn’t even know you’d overcome, but somehow you learned something about yourself and the world perhaps. What was that like? When was that? What was that?
I would say probably the biggest pivot in my life was in my early business career. I was running a full-service advertising and PR firm. I had fallen into that. I had no knowledge and no experience in marketing or advertising. I had not taken one class. I was doing reading cards for people and I was trying to make an extra few bucks here and there. I had grown up in an entrepreneurial family. There was never my voice saying, “You can’t do this.” People would say, “Allison, do you do brochures? Do you do radio? Do you do the television?” I go, “Yes, absolutely.” I would walk out of their office and I’d be, “I have no idea how to do this.” I wasn’t afraid to ask for help even back then. I would go to the radio station and I’d say, “Can you teach me everything I need to know?” I would go to the printer and I would be in the back with the presses and learning. I was flying by the seat of my pants, built this company.
We had big clients like Ben & Jerry’s and Supercuts. I was flying all over the country. I was making a lot of money. My daughter was young then. You would have looked at me then and you would have thought, “This young woman, she’s got it together,” but the truth was I was an absolute wreck. I was working day and night. I had no life. I knew how to bring on clients, but I didn’t know how to delegate. I didn’t know how to run a company. I didn’t know how to put systems together. The business was running me. I was afraid of letting it go for many reasons. Financially was a big one at the time as well. From the stress of it all, I ended up having a terrible car accident. What happened was I ran over myself with my car. I know that’s an odd one, but it’s true. People have had that happen and not survive. It was a car. It was rolling down the driveway when I was picking up my daughter from daycare. I jumped in trying to stop it. I wasn’t paying attention because my head was on too many things. It pulled me under the car and out into the street.
It was such a miracle that I survived that. In that moment, I knew that I still had my legs and all that, I was like, “I’m done.” A 4,000-pound car rolled over me. If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is. I walked away from the business. I walked away from my marriage. It was a difficult marriage. That was my pivot I set on. I took a year off completely, examined my life, and what was important to me. What I was passionate about. What worked in the business? What didn’t work in the business? I regrouped. There are lots I can share about that time. It was a gift. I hit the wall and that was my breakthrough. I went on and built many companies from there that I’ve had a blast with but approached them in a different way.
What was important to you? You examined yourself pretty fully at that moment. You had the time to do that. What did you learn was important to you?
What I found about with advertising, which I was good at, was I had the creativity and I had the ideas. What I felt back then was I was as good as my last marketing campaign. I didn’t feel I was getting these deep relationships. I had great clients and we liked each other and all of that. There are many things that I felt that I wasn’t able to get on that deeper level with people. It was about the money. At that time in my life, I want to make a lot of money. I thought that was the driver. I still feel making money is important, but for different reasons now and I thought aligned with what was important to me on a deeper level. That was helping and making a difference in their lives.
The money phase is an interesting one. Having moved out of very much a financially motivated profession, which was the practice of law. I did that for many years. It was definitely money phase and with good reason. Randi and I have four kids and cars and houses and all things that were important. At least from my perspective then it was important to take care of all that responsibility. Life is expensive. Now, even the most modest life is a lot more expensive than the median salary that people are paid. I, for the most part, cannot understand anybody going the job route anymore. There’s an opportunity further down the road when you’re working in a good company. There seem to be more limitations now than ever before.
With more than a billion people working virtually and creating their own economies, I still see that as the future for many. What you said is telling. You were in a phase, a stage where money was quite important for the same reasons it was important to me. There are things that you trade off at those times, it seems more money. It sounds like one of the things you traded was the fulfillment of the work. I know for me that was it. I woke up every day and by everybody else’s definition I was successful, yet I was miserable, and I could only look back and explain that as I was unfulfilled. Success without fulfillment felt like a failure to me. I continue to do something I felt I was failing at day after day and not think somehow it was going to land or end up wrong. With a heart thing, a cancer thing or this thing or that thing, I was seeing that down the road. I don’t think it’s an accident that your accident happened.
I even had tire tracks on my legs for a year and it was a pretty crazy time. I had to make money. I had a child to take care of and family. The difference is I made money in all the companies that I’ve run since. I’ve got an incredible team and I want them to make money and do well and all of our clients to do well and so forth. That’s not the driver. That money should be the result because you’re doing something you believe in deeply and that propels you forward. The money doesn’t have a passion tied to it. You’re going to end up burning out. That’s what was happening to me. I didn’t know how to delegate and I wasn’t structuring my life right.
Burnout’s an interesting topic because I’m still a recovering workaholic and maybe you know a little bit about what that’s like. I don’t ever feel burned out anymore. There’s a difference between being committed or passionate about a business or a job even and working pretty tirelessly at it. In one case you end up with burnout and another case you end up being more and more able, energized to go forward. You’re agile. You’re flexible. You’re resilient. I would love to know what you think is the importance of that? What is the importance of resilience to you and how would you define it?
It’s at the top for sure. There is emotional resilience and there’s physical resilience. For me, I keep a pretty productive pace. I have a big event coming up. I’ve got a book called Scale or Fail and a lot of this is in there. The resilience piece for me is the self-care is crucial and to be able to feel healthy, feel strong, feel inspired, and feel motivated. The emotional resilience piece, you have stuff coming at you all the time. As your business grows, you’re putting yourself out there more, you’re going to be vulnerable, and you have to be able to allow things to bounce off of you. If an account did not work out or an employee left, or a technology is not working, if I am reacting and getting bounced around by every little thing that happens then I am completely dependent on my outside circumstances. It takes practice and knowing that you’re not going to die from it. I’m a big believer in getting right back up again and going after it again until you get it right.
I will say we are simpatico. This is another one of these wonderful serendipities of life. We’ve got a book that’s coming out called Embrace: The Path to Resilience in Business and Life. It’s talking about exactly what you’re discussing that resilience isn’t physical. People think that resilience means endurance. I used to think that. When I was a lawyer that was it, I was more tenacious. I would sleep in the office. I’d work harder and longer and miss my kids’ things on Saturday if I had to, whatever it was to get the job done. That led to this burnout, which led to this eroding of feeling. When our feeling self, our emotional self is frayed or is somehow disappearing so that we’re more comfortably or uncomfortably numb to the world around us, we are a time bomb ticking. We only hurt ourselves or we hurt other people around us.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on resilience. I’d love to find out whether you have a process that you would deconstruct for us the moment around pivoting. By pivoting, this is the concept of change but not managing so much change. Although management’s a part of it, it’s the alchemy of it. It’s the utilization. Many times, people are dealing with change and it’s creating stress. Part of that stress is their resistance to it. Part of the stress is their fear of it. It’s one great constant in the universe that’s all about us. If we’re getting ticked off or triggered by change or the prospect of change, we’re ticking time bombs. What would you say is that deconstruction of a pivoting process for you?
As wisdom and life experiences set in and you’ve been through a lot of things, you have more confidence that it’s going to be okay. Some of my biggest moments like, “What are we going to do now?” end being the biggest blessings. I have gotten good at following my intuition and getting quiet and listening to that inner voice. If you’re constantly asking other people, “What should I do? Should I do this? Should I make this life move?” I do work with my coach and I talk about things and we brainstorm together. I listen internally, and I do what feels right. A lot of people make decisions out of fear instead of true choice. That’s the key in a pivot. You’re making the choice that is what your heart calls you to do, what your soul calls you to do, not what you think others think you should do or what you’re afraid will happen. If you do that, it’s going to bite you in the butt later.
People can do for you, but they can’t feel for you. It’s the feeling, that reliance on doing or reliance on outer circumstances to change things so you’ll feel differently inside. What else is life except for a collection of our feeling experiences? When we get to the end of it, we take nothing with us. I don’t care if you live in a 20,000 square foot house or 50,000 square foot or a 500 square foot thing, it doesn’t matter. You take none of it with you anyhow, but you will take with you and you will be with yourself then and the feeling of what your life was like. That won’t be a doing, it will be a felt perception and no one can guide you there. Often, we listen to other people or ask people and it’s good to ask people their opinions, we’re clear about that. It’s not like we’re saying, “Don’t ask people for their thoughts.” That’s what you ask a coach sometimes, “Tell me what I’m not seeing. What am I missing?” that thing. Ultimately, to make those decisions is the key to the whole thing. You have to create that quiet to be able to make a decision that’s from your soul or your heart. That’s a mature way to live a life that I certainly wasn’t living in that way when I was in my 30s, even.
I didn’t always do that either. You can be impulsive and reactive, but there is that cause and effect thing. You go, “I need to think about this or approach it differently.” I also think too that sometimes we’re tempted to make a change when we don’t need to make a change. We can get impatient and we want to move on to the next, especially business owners and entrepreneurs are that shiny object syndrome. We work with our clients to help them stay the course. Let’s dive deeper in this. Let’s tweak this a little bit. Let’s look for other solutions or other opportunities that are aligned with what you’re already doing. You may throw out the baby with the bathwater when you were two feet from gold. There are a lot of precious jewels if you can stay with it longer. That takes discipline and patience.
I want to dive into one thing that is a great dovetail to self-care. Our theory about resilience or at least my experience is that we have to be able to be self-aware and present with what’s going on in our lives. That self-awareness and self-honesty is a key thing. We can surround ourselves with the emperor’s new clothes where you don’t even realize things that other people can clearly see, but somehow, you’re in a whole different space about reality. That self-awareness and being able to look at things for the creative opportunity they present, that’s the first step. The second step is what’s the wisdom that you have learned? What do you mine? Are you mining for that wisdom regularly in the areas that you would otherwise think you’d like to avoid? If I can get away from this person or this situation or this mistake that I’ve made and never think about again, it wouldn’t be too soon. To look in that woodpile for wisdom is not intuitive necessarily. The third piece is self-care. I believe that rituals are a big part of self-care. Do you have rituals that assist you in taking care for yourself that A, that you deserve and B, that creates more resilience for you as a business owner?
I can be a workaholic too. I love my business, but you can become boring and narrow-minded if that was all you’re doing. I’ve been a trapeze artist for many years. I have been training with the same trapeze coach. I fulfilled a dream of mine by building a trapeze in my backyard. I’m up there all the time and you have to be focused and you’re in the moment. You’re facing your fears. You’re challenging yourself. There’s a lot of teamwork that goes on. There’s a lot of camaraderies and my fountain of youth is the trapeze. I try to get up there as much as I can. I know in all the books you read it’s like, “Get up at 4:00 in the morning.” It isn’t happening for me. I’m a night owl so I’m most creative at night. I like to sleep in. If I could sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30, I’m in absolute heaven. Sleep is important to me. I like to take baths regularly and relaxing. The last thing is homeopathic medicine and that was one of my businesses for a long time as a homeopathic physician. I’m a big believer in that and taking care of the whole person, the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual.
We’re holistic beings. Even thinking about resilience, it’s these four areas. Many people think that if they create physical resilience, even the resilience that comes from earning a lot of money or being able to amass a lot of money that somehow, it will work out. As a lawyer and not just as a lawyer, I’ve found that a lot of people who have a lot of money aren’t necessarily happy or healthy or have great relationships. It’s one area in that equation that you laid out. It’s one quadrant of a bigger pie. Allison, it’s been a pleasure to have you on the show.
I loved this conversation. This is great. I love talking about these things and you’re helping many people. A lot of people out there that are ready to make a pivot or in the middle of a pivot, we need to know that they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be.
Anybody that would love to go and find out more about Allison and that book Scale Or Fail, you can go to Amazon.com. I also want to remind everybody in our audience that your feedback is important to us. Please leave a review on iTunes. Feel free to leave a comment at AdamMarkel.com/Podcasts. You can leave a comment, check out further shows that we’ve got. If you haven’t yet subscribed, please feel free to do that. You can also join our Facebook community at PivotFB.com, which is our beautiful Start My PIVOT Community. Everybody that’s out there pivoting in some way, pivoting out of something, pivoting into something, it seems that there’s a huge community of all of us who are doing that. Reinventing some area of our personal or business lives all the time. Lastly, it’s important that we experience gratitude as often as possible. I remember being in Japan and speaking. We were doing an event with Tony Robbins and I was first up to speak and had a beautiful 90 minutes with this beautiful group of people, a large audience of folks.
Afterward, I got introduced to this gentleman who is known as the Warren Buffett of Japan. He’s a successful business owner, billionaire, and that entire thing. Through translation, I was told that this gentleman says, “Thank you a thousand times a day.” I remember sharing that information with some of my students a little later when I got back to the US. Some guy who was being funny but also serious at the same time said, “He says thank you a thousand times. He’s a billionaire.” I said, “That’s great. That makes sense.” Do you think that he says thank you a thousand times a day because he’s a billionaire or is he a billionaire potentially because he says thank you a thousand times a day? I’ll leave it to everybody to make up their own mind about that.
I want to remind us all how grateful we can be in this moment because we’re alive. My prayer, my hope, my wish is that everybody wakes up again tomorrow. If you got to wake up now, that’s good news. Even if what you woke up to might be a challenging day. It might be that things are going great for you now. It could be somebody triggered you or ticked you off or you got some email that’s upset you or whatever. We all have that stuff, but you woke up. My hope is that you all get to wake up again. My prayer is that we, Allison, you and I, and our families get to wake up. In that waking moment, in that first breath that we’re aware we are getting another day, receiving another day. That we realize there are people taking their last breath at that moment, and it is sacred. It’s special and we can be grateful right then and there. If you’re interested, as I have been for many years in declaring something out loud at the moment that you are more conscious and awake. You can say these words, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” It’s been a pleasure. Have a beautiful rest of your day. Allison, what a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you.
Thank you so much.
- Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams Into Reality
- Inspired By 11
- Scale or Fail
- The Conscious Pivot on iTunes
About Allison Maslan
Allison Maslan, CEO of Allison Maslan International, A Global Business Mentoring Company is the No. 1 Best Selling Author of, Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams into Reality. Allison’s built ten successful companies starting out at age 19. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Merrill Lynch, and Charlotte Russe. Now she pays it forward helping ambitious business owners around the world grow a high-revenue business and a passionate life through The Pinnacle Global Network, her private mentoring and mastermind enterprise. Allison’s been featured in Success, Fortune and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox across the US. Allison’s journey is highlighted in the new documentary, Inspired by 11.