Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Leah Marone, Mental Wellness Consultant.
How could you describe your career path in few words?
I would describe my career path as diverse, autonomous, and enlightening. The fields of psychology and social work were incredibly enticing to me simply because of the variety they promised. In order to be an effective clinician and manage my own well-being, I’ve had to maintain certain boundaries and consistently check-in on my values and self-care. The intense need to fix, solve, and soothe others was driven by my empathy, but needed to be managed in order to prevent intense bouts of burnout and compassion fatigue. I coin myself as a ’space creator’ and this has morphed into many forms over the last two decades. Whether I’m attempting to create space for an individual client or ignite a whole audience, the energy exchange and vulnerability that is ignited is what keeps me engaged and focused on supporting and motivating others.
When you get surprised by an unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?
This happens quite often in my line of work and my first thought or response is to gather more information. This not only helps me identify what can be controlled, it also moves me into a mindset that allows me to validate the triggered emotions, while simultaneously creating a pathway for logic. I am a recovering perfectionist and in the past, I had the tendency of moving through life with an ‘all or nothing’ filter. Learning to accept life’s challenges as learning opportunities and avoid taking false ownership of every hurdle required many reps and reframes. I now view life as a process, it’s a series of ups and downs. It’s helpful for me to capitalize on what I can control and attempt to surrender to the rest. Validating my past efforts and ability to recover and access support is incredibly effective when I am confronted with an obstacle. Rather than moving into a state of catastrophic thinking, I attempt to remain in the present and remind myself that feelings are fluid and every day greets me with the opportunity to engage in new thought processes or experiences.
Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?
There are many, but if I had to choose one, it would be to defuse your inner pleaser. Accessing empathy as a means to understand others' needs and perceptions is an amazing, essential leadership quality. If not balanced though, it can interfere with the ability to honor your values and boundaries. Operating with a sense of urgency, aiming to be liked by all, and consistently accommodating for others not only leads to burnout, but it also has a way of interfering with progression and self-connection. Integrating frequent check-ins that identify your motivations, tendencies, and behavior patterns is essential for authentic growth. Lead with empathy, but avoid the trap of over-accommodating and solely seeking the validation of others. Validation should first and foremost come from within. This can be learned and enhanced with repetition and changing the tone of your self-talk.