Attuned Leadership for Women Podcast
Career Fulfillment Tips from 150 Corporate Women with Jess Galica
Are you a Type A, ambitious go-getter who longs for career success and fulfillment without sacrificing your well-being? Look no further! In this episode of Attuned Leadership for Women, Dr. Crystal Frazee is joined by Jess Galica, author of the book “Leap: Why It’s Time to Let Go and Get Ahead in Your Career.” Together, they dive into their personal stories of overcoming work discontent plus Jess shares her insights from interviewing 150 corporate women with the same challenges and desires for career satisfaction.
This show is packed with effective, simple, and doable strategies that can make a big impact on your career journey. From real tips for navigating stress and imposter syndrome to finding your unicorn space and making deeply intentional choices, these career fulfillment tips will empower you to create the success and fulfillment you deserve.
About Jess Galica
Jess Galica is the bestselling author of “Leap: Why It’s Time to Let Go to Get Ahead In Your Career.” Before publishing Leap, Jess spent 15 years building a successful corporate career at some of the world’s most prestigious companies like Apple, Bain, and Siemens. In 2020 she began researching and writing about women’s experiences navigating work and life, as she craved a more authentic and purposeful career after stepping into motherhood. Today Jess works with women interested in shifting their career trajectory, hosts the “Reclaim Your Career” podcast, and speaks to organizations about building meaningful careers, advancing women, and the delicate balance between life and work. She holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and lives in Boston where she is a mom to two young children.
Quotes from the Episode
“I quickly realized that my story – building a career, doing everything right but waking up lost – was not unique. This was not a me problem. This was a women problem.“
“When you choose a certain anything, like right now, let’s say career path, there’s all the other possibilities that you didn’t choose. It’s just a lost opportunity, but you’re choosing it…But making those choices with intention is what I saw uniformly creates the most ease and fulfillment.”
[00:00:20] Conflicting messages in culture.
[00:03:38] Not a me problem, a women problem.
[00:04:17] Women’s career pivots and the feeling of not getting it right.
[00:08:24] Gendered conditioning and cultural expectations.
[00:10:01] Toxic message of “having it all.”
[00:12:44] Post-gender world and glass ceilings.
[00:18:48] Strategic decision-making and planning.
[00:21:24] Lost opportunities in career choices.
[00:26:48] Diagnosing career dissatisfaction.
[00:29:06] Finding joy in personal time and hobbies.
[00:36:08] Managing stress in micro ways.
[00:37:27] Finding a support system.
[00:43:47] Trusting your body’s wisdom.
[00:46:09] Women’s freedom and stress levels.
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Jess’s book Leap: Why It’s Time to Let Go to Get Ahead In Your Career
- Charlie Gilkey – Productive Flourishing Substack. He wrote an article “The Benefits of Displacement” on how everything your do displaces something else you could have done so choose with intention.
- Eve Rodsky’s Find Your Unicorn Space
FREE Leadership Resources from Crystal:
- Free PDF Training: Stress & Overwhelm Relief Game Plan
- Free Short Audio Training: How to Run Your Day Without It Running You
Get updates about Crystal’s upcoming book! REVIVE: The Working Woman’s Unexpected Guide to Recovering from Burnout
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Prefer to Read? Here’s the transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.
Dr. Crystal Frazee:
Where do established and aspiring women leaders go to get answers to their biggest challenges, like how to deal with double standards, break free from hustle and burnout, drive change without being bossy, and how to raise visibility by doing less, not more? I’m Dr. Crystal Frazee, your host and a women’s health and leadership expert and author. I’ve spent the past 15 years developing the answers to those questions. I believe that your body has all the wisdom you need and that without much effort, you can leverage it for things like faster, better decision-making, creating a magnetic presence for influence, and even navigating perimenopause so your performance goes up instead of down. In this show, I will teach you what traditional leadership approaches overlook, how to leverage your body wisdom to break free from time and energy traps, shatter barriers, dissolve the good woman programming that stops you from living on your terms, Level the playing field at home and work and be the most powerful leader you can be. Get ready to rewrite the rules of success and satisfaction using the practical strategies of attuned leadership for women.
Dr. Crystal Frazee:
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Before I ask you to give a short introduction, I want to start by giving the listeners a sentence from your book. Ooh, let’s do it. So I’m on page 7, and here it is. I quickly realized that my story, building a career, doing everything right, but waking up lost, was not unique. This was not a me problem. This was a women problem. So that just really stuck out right on page 7. And I felt called in and seen so much by that statement.
Jess Galica: Yeah. Oh, I’m so glad it resonated. And you know, I actually have heard that line before others calling that out. And I think there is something about this almost relief in reading that line that you’re not alone, right? That this common experience is something that so many women are feeling and experiencing and navigating, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean something is broken or wrong in you. I think that just is actually a very almost optimistic and hopeful sentence for women because they feel like, okay, it’s not about me. We can finally get to the root of what’s going on here.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Absolutely. Naming it depersonalizes it, right? Because if everybody’s experiencing this, then it can’t be just my problem. Yes. And I think I found that so you know, comforting because I have had lots of career pivots. And I think that up until the past few years, I’ve had a feeling about that that’s still hard for me to describe. It’s not shame. It’s something, though. It’s something like a a feeling like I didn’t get it right the first time. And I just felt very relieved and seen in if I actually want to have quote, you know, it all a successful career that I also find fulfilling. It’s almost inevitable that you’re going to have to make those changes. Yeah. Yeah.
Jess Galica: yeah, I really personally can resonate with what you’re describing, too. I think there were so many moments in my career where I felt like, what’s wrong with me? That I can’t figure this out and get this right, and in particular, with changes. And I’ve moved across a lot of organizations and different types of industries, and it kind of felt like Goldilocks. Like, ooh, too cold, too hot. And you start to feel like, ooh, why can’t I just get it right? So that really resonates, that feeling of it’s something between shame or this kind of fear of failure or just this worry and this concern that, am I ever going to fit the pieces together? But I think back to your original point, when you realize you look around at all these phenomenal women and peers around you who are thinking the same thing, you start to realize, OK, I’m going to figure this out. It will come together. And this isn’t all about me and my shortcomings. There’s a bigger picture and a bigger story here.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Well, go ahead and take a second. Let the listeners know who you are. And I think that your story gives so much credibility to the rest of the conversation.
Jess Galica: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, so personally, I live in Boston with my husband and my two little kids. I have a 3 and 1 half-year-old and an almost 1-year-old. I love being a mom and love being a present mom to them. And then professionally, and the professional is important because it was such a big part of my identity for so much of my life. And I’ve had a lot of professional success. So I’ve worked at some of the best companies and global brands in the world, like management consulting at Bain and working at Apple and Siemens and tech leading global sales teams. And yet I had a moment like you described at the beginning, Crystal, in 2020, actually before the pandemic broke out, when I was stepping into motherhood for the first time, pregnant with my now three and a half year old. And I just felt like I’m collecting all of these gold stars, and yet I really do not feel fulfilled. I do not feel content. And I love what you said in the beginning about listening to these whispers inside of your body. And I had those whispers telling me there’s something different here that I really want and need. But I had struggled all of my life to listen to those whispers. But 2020 was kind of the real pivot moment for me when I started doing things a bit differently. I began doing this research and thought leadership around women at work and in particular, women navigating work and the role of caregiver. And that led to me publishing the book that you see behind here, Leap, Why It’s Time to Let Go to Get Ahead in Your Career. And I also started coaching in 2020. So helping other women that are struggling with these problems and need some support to figure it all out. So yeah, that’s me personally and professionally. And the story is still unfolding, but this is the work that I love to do and the space that I’m really, really passionate about.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Love it. And when you were creating your book, you set out to figure this out. This can’t just be me, right? And so you sought out these women to interview. And I kind of want to start at the foundation of this. In my mind, I think, OK, the beginning of this cultural problem is gendered conditioning. It’s gendered conditioning norms. It’s that we grew up with fairy tale stories and played with baby dolls. There’s just certain gendered expectations if you’re identified as a female at birth, how you were raised depending on your particular culture that you’re from, your community, your family of origin, and things like that. even moving into sports and how young females are treated with that. And I’m so curious, did you feel like that was a theme that showed up in your interviews?
Jess Galica: Oh, absolutely. Yes. The stories that we are told, that is a lot of how I thought about what you’re describing. And the stories that we were told is so formative in how women um, create their goals around career and create their goals around family, if that is part of the goals that they want. And absolutely it impacts kind of the expectations that women have. What I found is that there are so many women who reach this point, right, where they’ve been in their career now for 10, 15, 20 years or more. And they just finally start to realize that, wow, these stories that I’ve been told are such a sham, right? Yeah. No one’s coming to save me. Yeah. Yes. No one’s coming to save me. And some of the stories that I saw come up the most were stories around women having it all, right? My generation in particular, and maybe the generations up and down a little bit, I think there was different variations of this same story, which was you can do and have it all, right? Whether that was the traditional you can have it all, whether it was then Sheryl Sandberg’s lean in, like just work harder and it’ll all come together. Whether it’s this more recent kind of girl boss era, there was this feeling of if you just keep your head down, if you just keep your foot on the pedal, everything will kind of magically fall into place. I think that that’s a really, really toxic message that the generation of women who are kind of reaching leadership positions and reaching maturity in their careers had so much of growing up. And yes, it did open some doors and create some empowerment, but it didn’t come with the kind of support and structural changes to make that idea really a feasible reality for more than maybe like 0.00005% of women. So absolutely these stories that we heard and grew up with have a massive, massive impact on how, how women view, you know, what they want their career to be and then how they really reckon with the reality that it turns out to be.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Reckon is a great word that jumps out at me because that really was my experience. It was a reckoning and even some of the female executives that I’ve coached who are in their 50s, who are still climbing the ladder and doing the things and feeling so frustrated that they’re still facing the same challenges, that there’s so, so much of the invisible barriers that they have to deal with just to get to a level playing field. And also that After all this work, they still don’t quite feel like they’re there yet. Yep.
Jess Galica: Yep. Yep. Yeah. You know, in my book, the research primarily interviewed women who were at mid-career point, right? So maybe a little bit earlier than kind of in that completely seasoned, completely peak stage of their career. But they experience the same things, right? Which it’s like 15, 20 years in, you’re like, gosh, I think two things are happening. One is you’re realizing that, oh, I’ve had enough experience now to actually be impacted by some of this bias, right? I’ve been looked over for promotions or I’ve had to put up with all of this kind of under the radar sexism at work. or particularly if you’re a woman of color, right? I’ve had to put up with even more. And there is this frustration and kind of this reckoning of like, wait, I kind of thought we were past this, right? Weren’t we sort of in this post-gender world? And the reality is, no, we’re not. I so empathize with women who are of the age and kind of generation that you’re describing, right, where they’re almost like in the last chapter of their career, right, in their 50s or 60s potentially. And there’s always space for many chapters, but you get the idea. Because I think for so long, for the last 5, 10, 15, 20 years, we have seen this opening of doors in a way. But the burden has always been on the woman to make it happen, on that individual to break the glass ceiling, for example. And that is such a heavy, impossible, and unrealistic burden to carry. And I think the women of an age that you described, they have been carrying that burden for really all of their careers. And I think we’re just seeing the tides begin to shift where people are acknowledging that hey, we can’t expect any individual woman to be such an unbelievable rock star or so wildly powerful or so incredibly capable that she can just bring that glass ceiling down on her own. We really need to start to look at the systems and structures and processes and cultures and big picture stuff that is around individual people that’s keeping them from having that level playing field.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Yeah, the bigger picture for sure. And also, I mean, for the women that I was referring to, they didn’t have those role models. They are the role models. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Oh, it’s so hard. So when we talk about the reckoning, What do you think that first sense is? With attuned leadership, I love to take it to the level of the body, and I use the word body wisdom to describe that, actually having the emotional intelligence to understand what’s happening, or even just the ability to label sensations in our body. Now, if I imagine what’s happening to that mid-level career person, I’m thinking they feel tension, What would you say the first thing in your interviews is that showed up that was that like alarm bell that went off for them?
Jess Galica: Yeah. I love what you’re describing, and I wish that more people had that skill or that practice of really having that attuned leadership. I think it would lead to more people, and in particular women, kind of avoiding what I’m about to describe was the more common scenario. Yeah. Because I think one of the common scenarios is that of women interviewed for my book is that they almost reach the point of breakdown, right? Where it’s like something has to give. So there’s a spectrum of sort of how far do women have to be pushed towards this breakdown before they really acknowledge or admit or embrace that they need a change and want to change. And there’s such a spectrum, right? There are women who are probably embody more of this attuned leadership, or they really know themselves well, and they’re open to change and all of that. But I think there is also a big demographic of women who are really averse to change, and they’re very fearful of it. They’re very hesitant, very reluctant. And so it takes something pretty monumental for them to really, really kind of give themselves permission of, you know, Hey, I need to slow down. I need to make a change. I want something different. So I love the work that you’re doing to try to move people to kind of have that awareness sooner. But I often saw that it took a lot, right? It’s like people, you know, kind of crumbling under the demands of motherhood or, um, you know, dealing with really like. monumental life events, like the loss of parents, where they start to realize, OK, it’s time for me to really think about what I want in life. So oftentimes, it is that. But there certainly are women who demonstrate more of the ability to do that earlier on. But that was part of the motivation for the book, was on my own journey. And I’m not at the end of my career, but I was like, gosh, it took me 10 or 15 years to even imagine, even give myself permission to imagine that maybe I want to step off this track a little bit. Why couldn’t I get there sooner? I was really curious about that. And so that’s a lot of what I explore in the book, all of the emotions that hold women back from ultimately making that choice.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Yeah, and I think disappointment is one of the first ones, right? And that kind of rings true with what you’re describing. When you said get off the track, I’m thinking like, yeah, what happened? You know, I, you know, went to graduate school and, you know, did all the things, right? And that’s not what led me to fulfillment. It was totally creating my own agency and creating my own career on my own and stepping out of healthcare. Yeah, I mean, there is the shiny gold stars that you mentioned that we’re working towards that we’re so used to validation. And that is a piece of that self-fulfilling sense of worth that we get externally, part of that gendered conditioning. But I wonder what it is if I could go back and talk to my, even my 20-year-old self, this path that you’re on, where do you think it’s gonna lead? I’m so curious what my answer would be.
Jess Galica: Yeah. Yeah. And I think maybe what you’re getting at is something that I saw a lot, which is that Women are not even doing that activity of really pulling up and thinking strategically or thinking proactively about the choices that they’re making. So people often are like, all right, well, what’s the golden ticket? Or what’s the perfect way to fix this? And there’s obviously no perfect way. But I think if I could get more people doing one activity, it’s more kind of strategic decision-making and strategic planning. Because what I find is this, and I want to be clear that there are a lot of benefits to some of these more stable tracks, as we call them, of staying on a, oftentimes that comes with more security. It might come with financial security. There are many wonderful things. And so I’m never encouraging women to just quit your job and go rogue. But I think what I encourage women to do is take stock of the choices that you’re making. There are trade-offs on every single path. No one gets out of those trade-offs. And I think where women can find fulfillment and find more ease in the decisions that they’re making is when they spend time really being truthful and being proactive about communicating, okay, what are these choices and trade-offs that I’m making? What am I prioritizing right now? And what am I saying no to? And Unless and until you do that, nothing feels satisfying, right? Because you feel like, well, why am I doing this? And what is it getting me? So I really coach women to spend time getting clear about what they want out of this path and what they’re willing to say no to or give up as a result of it.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: And even the executive women that I’ve worked with, when I ask, and there have been, there’s exceptions to this, but I’ve asked some of my clients, what is this for? What’s the end game? There’s not an answer. It’s just like, keep on this path, keep going as high as I can, see how high I can go, see how much I can earn. But the reality is when we go into those feeling states, it’s really coming at a cost. And I was just thinking there’s a sub stack that I just subscribed to and I’ll link to the author because I can’t, it’s Charles something, I can’t remember his last name, but he just published something and he has a phrase for what you were describing that when you choose a certain anything, like right now, let’s say career path, there’s all the other possibilities that you didn’t choose. It’s just a lost opportunity, but you’re choosing it. And so if you’re not choosing it mindfully and willfully, those could be huge lost opportunities and opportunities not just for your career, but for better health, better sense of control over your home life, agency over how much you want to travel. I mean, who knows all the pieces that goes into that. But I think that, yeah, is such a great way to think about it. What are the lost opportunities because of the choice I’m making?
Jess Galica: Yeah, and that can feel like a really, I don’t know, maybe a negative spin on it, right? What are you losing on? But I actually think it’s a helpful, I love that way of framing it, right? Because it’s inevitable, it’s honest, right? What are you saying yes to means what are you saying no to? And I think that no one knows the right way to do life, right? We are all doing it for the first time or depending on- And as best as we can. And as best as we can, yeah. And so I think the only sort of universal truth that I feel like I can say across women is you want to be living it intentionally, whatever your choices are. For some people, rocking that professional track and going to the very, very top is the right thing, right? And for other people, that’s the last thing. So I think every person should have total control and freedom, and it’s going to look different. But making those choices with intention is what I saw uniformly creates the most ease and fulfillment with the choices that women make.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: So if we think about waking up in the morning and asking ourselves, am I satisfied on this path? That’s such an interesting and nuanced question to ask.
Jess Galica: Yeah, it is. I think there’s a difference when you ask yourself daily, and there’s a difference when you ask yourself quarterly. Zoom out. Yeah. Right? Because you know what? Whatever path you take, there’s going to be days when you wake up and you feel like, nope, I am not satisfied. Today is not a good day. But what I like to encourage women to do, and I interviewed a lot of high performing, successful women, primarily in corporate business worlds. They’re really used to doing this strategic kind of planning in their work life, right? Of, okay, you set your objective for the year for your team or your department or your division, your company. Here are the activities that will get you there. Here’s the way that you’re going to measure success, right? Here are the metrics or indexes that you’ll track. Even the most sophisticated corporate businesswomen Very, very, very few are taking that same approach and methodology to their own career. And so I always say that’s a great place to start. Start to run your career as if it’s your own business, your own company. What is your three to five year plan? What is your goal for this year? So I like to think about it on that kind of annual basis and then breaking it down quarterly and really like set some time with yourself, you know, manage it like a board of directors, you know, 90 minutes every three months where you’re sitting down and you’re reflecting on things. Because I do think there’s a The day-to-day can be a wonderful checking in and a wonderful almost like meditative practice, but you can also get lost in that, right? You want to be tied to a bigger kind of annual or, hey, the next few years, this chapter of my life is about X. Otherwise, the whims of a day, if it’s a good day or bad day, I think can kind of shift you in directions that maybe aren’t intentional.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Absolutely. Yeah. And it’s like, well, I don’t know the saying exactly, but what you measure is what happens, you know, what, what we make happen is, is what we’re measuring. And so it’s kind of like, what are the KPIs, you know, your key performance indicators of a fulfilling career and knowing what that is for yourself.
Jess Galica: Yeah. And that will change over time, right? You know, I, the book is not just for mothers, but a lot of the women who were interviewed are moms. And a lot of the decisions that they made around career were impacted by that. And I think motherhood is such a good example of how your career goals will change, right? There are seasons of motherhood, there are seasons of career. So you might make a decision that, you know, hey, like, and I’m putting it in the context of kids, because it’s easy to sort of visualize, right? Hey, my kids are super young, I want to be here with them, you know, while they’re in this little phase that I know is fleeting. So hey, the next three years for me are about keeping things on speed dial or shifting down or whatever it is to really prioritize spending time with my family. Or maybe that’s what you choose during teenage years of your kids. Maybe what you think is, hey, I’m fulfilled by financial security right now. And there’s these things that I want to provide for my children. I’m going to bust my butt until I get them. So these can all change over seasons too. which I think is important to note that you’re not clocking in to, you know, or locking into one thing for the rest of your career and the rest of your life. It’s going to ebb and flow for sure.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: One thing I’ve heard you say that applies to that is first decide where you aren’t satisfied in your career and then decide what to do about it. So of all those things you just listed, if there’s one area that’s underperforming that you’re measuring, zooming in and focusing on that. So in your case, if it’s the quality time or For someone else, if it’s financial growth. Yeah.
Jess Galica: Yeah. And I think you bring up such a great point, Crystal, which is you need to sort of diagnose the problem before you can get better. And I think sometimes women can just feel like, oh gosh, everything is out of balance or I feel like I’m not spending the time that I really want to. And sometimes almost just throw their hands up in the air. Like I see some women, you know, even like leave the workforce, for example. or quit their job because they feel like, okay, I don’t even know what it is, but it’s, it’s not this. And I think there actually is an opportunity to, before you do that, right, actually figure out like diagnose it. What is the thing, right? Am I looking for more purposeful work? Do I want a job that’s going to reward me financially more? Do I want to be able to spend more time with my kids? And I’m always amazed that there are usually ways to get to those goals without dramatically sort of blowing up your career or blowing up the track that you’re on. But if you don’t do that work of really pinpointing, like, here’s what I want to change, then sometimes blowing it up feels like the only option. There’s different ways. So ironically, right, my book is called leap, which implies this sort of like blowing it up type mentality. But a lot of what I talk about is the ability to create these small changes that have really outsized and big impact.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Yeah, and the more aware of what you need you are, the easier those little micro shifts can be. It’s the saying of, if you’re listening when your body’s whispering, then you don’t have to hear it scream.
Jess Galica: Yes, yes, yes. Yeah, and we don’t always need to get all of our fulfillment out of work. So I’m a huge fan of Eve Rodsky and her work. A lot of people know her from her book, Fair Play, but she also has another book, How to Find Your Unicorn Space, which is all about women finding joy and fulfillment in what we might traditionally call hobbies, right? But there’s really this sort of loss of women committing time to that. And it’s kind of like work and caregiving, and that’s it. But sometimes, even recommitting yourself to find this unicorn space, I have witnessed with clients and with women that I’ve seen just in my life, it has an unbelievable impact to shift their joy, fulfillment, even without pressing the dial on any child care situation or any career situation. So there’s that too of really making sure you are changing the dial on the right thing.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Exactly. And I don’t want the listener to think, oh no, now I have to add more to my to-do list. I have to find a hobby. It’s not really that. It’s listening to your body to find the thing that really sparks joy is what she’s describing in the book. And then allowing yourself the time and energy to put that on your calendar. And all of that, I mean, in my other episodes, I talk a lot about the perfection paradox. And that’s just the term that I use to describe that gender conditioning, that it can make it so hard for women to make the change because in order to choose, let’s say, to take time for my hobby, I’m choosing to do less of something else, which if I have an ideal way that is supposed to be done in my mind of being a parent or showing up in my career, then I may be inflexible and unwilling to compromise that inner story. And so if you’re hearing this part of our conversation and you’re thinking, wow, yeah, I really don’t have many hobbies or other things outside of my home management, caregiving and work-related activities that really, really lights me up, that could be a real opportunity to just check in with yourself on that. Yeah.
Jess Galica: Yeah. But Crystal, I think you’re so right that it’s more about claiming that time for yourself, right? It’s feeling empowered that, hey, you should have time every week. That’s for you. And you get to fill it however you want, whether that’s a traditional hobby or something else, right? Whether it’s like lying on your bed or watching junkie TV, it’s really mostly about that you deserve to have time for yourself with no other objective.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Mm-hmm. 100%. Do you have an activity that you do like that?
Jess Galica: Oh, interesting. I know. And I, because as you’re saying that I’m thinking, you know, gosh, I’m in this season of life that is incredibly demanding. And for me, I think it has been more of a mindset shift. I don’t have the, you know, hobby of, okay, I go and, you know, I knit on Tuesdays at four or I, you know, whatever. But for me, it’s been a mindset shift of taking time and space for myself unapologetically. So leaving work or leaving my kids, obviously with another caregiver. Yeah. And just taking that time for myself, like go on walks, make the phone call to a friend, do something social, right? You know, it’s so easy as parents of young kids to just focus on that. I haven’t found my one thing that I do, but for me, it’s been the mindset shift of I take time every day or every week to just do something just for me. And that is always it’s often a different activity evolving.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So as I think about women listening to this, and starting to check in and feel like a little inkling maybe inside their body that hmm, maybe there is something more. If I were just more intentional about it, that could be satisfying about the way I’ve set up my work and life. What do you think are, are there any other challenges that we haven’t listed that you think are roadblocks that most women end up experiencing as they start down this path of really examining it?
Jess Galica: Yes, OK, a big one that I think, and if we kind of look at this a bit within the work category, a very common situation that can come about is that women have this feeling of, oh, I’m dreading my work. I’m dreading my job. I don’t like what I do. And that’s not quite right. Really, what they’re struggling with is how to manage stress. and how to manage, as you put this perfection paradox, how to manage insecurities or imposter syndrome at work. And so it’s not really that they dislike their work or they want to quit or they want to leave, it’s that they’re really struggling to navigate these emotions of, I’m stressed at work, or I feel like I don’t know if I’m performing well, or I don’t know how to have this difficult conversation. And if they could just figure out a way to move through those things with less stress, they actually would be pretty happy at work. And so sometimes there’s a mistaking of, okay, do I really want to leave work or am I just struggling to cope with the stress, especially as a woman, especially as someone who’s probably prescribed to this perfection paradox that comes with navigating high intensity or career just that you feel matters.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Right. And the longer we’re under those high levels of stress ongoing over years, or if you’re leading a company, you know, and you’re through the pandemic, I mean, it’s astronomical, right? It makes your ability to cope and respond to stress harder. So if you don’t have those intentional ways of managing it, your stress resilience is probably going to go down. Oh, interesting. I think that probably can feel really demoralizing and defeating for some people who have been able to historically take on so much and be badasses and people say, you know, wow, I can’t believe you can handle all of this. And then at some point, everyone has that threshold. If we’re not replenishing ourselves and processing the physiology of stress through our bodies, you know, it has a beginning, middle and end and not letting that take a negative toll because that can definitely lead to the breakdown that you were referring to in the beginning.
Jess Galica: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And I don’t know. I mean, in your work, if you found kind of what is the most powerful thing to counteract that, I’m curious what comes, if anything comes to mind for you, I have ideas too, obviously.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Yeah. I mean, like for stress resilience to be able to manage stress. I mean, the idea that I would want to put out there for someone who’s not that knowledgeable around stress as a physiologic part of what our body experiences is that stress is not a bad thing. It’s a great thing. It’s how we think on our feet and navigate heavy traffic and get to work on time and and do all kinds of great things is how athletes perform and compete. You know, one is going to charge ahead of the other when they get that little adrenaline pumping in their system. But it’s over time. It’s that we’re under so much stress every day, internalized stress, pressure we put on ourselves, stress externally from outside. And the best way to minimize the effect of that on our body is to deal with it in micro ways. not like, oh, I’m going to go to one hour of yoga or I’m going to go for a run or I’m going to do some breathing at the end of the day, but to actually have little tiny blocks of just a few minutes sprinkled throughout the day. So your body, you know, as a biologic organism can process cortisol and all of the stress chemicals to completion before it gets elevated again. Sure, yeah, yeah. And that’s, it’s not hard. That’s the other thing, you know, there’s the huge popularity of polyvagal understanding of those systems and how to calm our nervous system. So whether that’s humming to yourself, doing some breathing intentionally, but more frequently, even just mindfully when you’re drinking water, doing it very mindfully. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it has to be frequent and it has to be intentional.
Jess Galica: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that. Me personally, I’ve done some of these micro things. I journal every morning for literally three minutes, right? Or two to five minutes, right? Just write a couple to a couple of prompts. And I always try to get outside at least once a day. And I don’t know, that might sound a little depressing, but for some of us who are on back-to-back calls and all of that, we get it, right? That’s amazing. Yes. Yeah. And I think those micro moments are so huge. Yes. What I’ve also seen have a big impact is Finding someone you can talk to about this, and I hesitate to even fill in with who that needs to be because I think there are so many people who can play that role right, it could be a family member or a friend, it could be a therapist, it could be a coach right in the most traditional sense but. oftentimes just getting a little bit of help. I think of people who have some difficult email to send or a difficult meeting, right? You’ve got a presentation that’s incredibly high stakes. And you’ve got your boss at work. And hopefully, you’ve got some peers that are your connections. But I think a lot of times, people lack, like, who is that person that I can really go to to strategize and talk through this? Like, OK, does this email look OK? Hey, can I practice my presentation, the first 15 minutes of it, with you? And finding someone who can play that role for you. I mean, for me personally, that’s why I’ve seen such the power in coaching, having a coach who plays that role. It’s like unbelievable the results that you get from it. Not everyone can invest in having a private coach. So that’s why I say, right. It can be other people in your life, but just feeling like, okay, I’ve got someone to go to and kind of chitchat about this and be a sounding board is so immensely powerful.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Especially women who are the only ones. So if you’re the only female on a board or the only woman in a senior leadership role, it can feel so threatening to share whatever it is, big or small, that’s stressing you out in the workplace with your male peers. And it can be so incredibly helpful to get the validation from another source and to have a safe place where you can go and just be your real self about how things are affecting you so that you can process those feelings and access your strengths. access those parts of you that has totally got this and just really needed a place to put some of the stress and the fears and all the other things that may come up and reaccess the belief in yourself, remembering your track record and all the other challenges that you’ve already overcome. It can just save so much energy.
Jess Galica: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So yeah, if there was one, you know, there’s a couple, if I had a magic wand, right, there’s a few things that I would do. But what would be really high on the list would be this ability to navigate stress and all of the demands that are put on us. Because I do often see that women are kind of equating that stress and that feeling of like, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not meant to be here. And sometimes that’s not true, right? You know, everyone experiences that kind of stress. And sometimes we just pathologize it a bit when really it’s like, we just need some tools and some mechanisms to navigate it better.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Amazing. So as we bring it towards the end of our conversation, what do you think If someone is listening and they’re like, hmm, I’m feeling inspired to think about this, maybe I’ll read the book. And maybe there are some things that I want to work on within my career, staying where I am, but making some shifts. What kind of wisdom do you want to leave with them, either in how to navigate challenges they may face, or the benefits, or what are on the other side? Yeah.
Jess Galica: Oh, such an important question, big question. A few places I would point people to either think or literally go. First, obviously, I support the book. One of the reasons I love the book is that I put reflection questions in every chapter. So it is a good place to start if you’re feeling like, OK, I kind of think I want to make a change in my career, whatever that looks like, but I’m not sure yet. The reflection questions in each chapter will be really, really helpful as a starting point. So of course, you can go there.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: And I will jump in and just say, it is a very enjoyable read. Your writing is really good. It’s very lighthearted and it’s not a heavy how to read at all.
Jess Galica: Yes. Thank you so much for saying that. That was one of my goals. I didn’t want this to feel painful and hard to read. I almost wanted it to feel like chicken soup for the soul, like this is just a fun therapeutic thing to put on. So I’m so wonderful it landed that way for you. But what I would also recommend, kind of across the board, there’s sort of two pieces of advice that I sometimes give. And I’m always hesitant to give advice because no one knows more than you do about your path. But the two things I can pretty confidently say for most women, the first is that especially high-performing type A kind of women, really driven to action, right? Action is often our comfort zone. Like, give me a checklist, it’ll be done in a day kind of thing, right?
Dr. Crystal Frazee: And so what I really encourage women to- I’m raising my hand for those that can’t see me. Yes.
Jess Galica: Yeah, what I really encourage women to do is know that and kind of try to self-correct. Push yourself to spend more time in the sort of thinking, reflecting, figuring out where you want to go before you immediately spring into action, right? Because I often see this spring into action and then you’re moving maybe not in the direction that you wanted. So slow down, right? That’s the first piece of advice. Slow down, get very intentional about where you think you want to go and why. Um, and then the second piece of advice that I’ll say is. I often get this point of view from women, like, okay, I know that I want to make a change, but I don’t know what I want. I’ve got no idea what I want. So where do I start? And what I always say is, you know, more than you are telling yourself. And I think you got to say it again, you know, more than you are telling yourself. And this will ring true, I think, Crystal, for you, right? It’s these years and years and years of conditioning to hide that truth that we know, to hide that instinct, to hide that self-knowledge that we have. And so it’s not that you’re really going out on this adventure to go and find that truth that exists somewhere very far from you. You are actually just taking out the shovel to get all of that dirt and muck that has been covering up what you already know. And so it’s this encouragement to really be retrospective, go inward, and trust that you know more than you’ve been telling yourself.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: And if I add anything to that, I’d say that your body knows more than you’re letting yourself believe because we can feel that, right? Like when we are doing something and we feel like a micro violation, someone’s just not being as respectful or someone puts more on our plate than we want to. Like we feel a violation or if we say, yes, I’m going to do that. And then we’re like, oh, I regret saying yes. There’s so many examples of the body saying, Oh, I don’t like that.
Jess Galica: Stop, stop, stop. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re so true. And I think that spending time in your body can be especially helpful for women who are in their heads. So if you are someone who is typically in your head, right. And hello, raising my hand too. all the more kind of reason that I think spending a little bit more time in your body can be very, very powerful because that’s probably a sensor or a line of communication that you’ve sort of shut off or almost shut off. So spending time to restrengthen and reawaken that can definitely lead to a lot of learning.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Let’s say someone works with that for a while and realizes, OK, my body is telling me things. I have realized things. I’ve journaled. I’ve processed this. There are things that I understand I need to do. What do they need to do then?
Jess Galica: Well, I say, and what I think is so cool is, it’s up to you, right? And sometimes that takes away a little bit of the fear. I think there’s sometimes fear to getting to that truth of, OK, well, if I get to that truth, does it mean I have to blow everything up? And so I like to say you get to choose what you want to do with that. Right. And maybe it does mean you want to move into action and make changes. Maybe it’s something you want to sit with for a while. Um, and maybe it’s something that, you know, what you, you know, that truth and you’re gonna stick with it for a period of time because it’s serving you in some way. Right. So I would just say you get to choose what you want to do with it. But if you want to move towards action, then there’s sort of a whole host of more pragmatic things that you can do to execute that change, many of which I touch on in the book. But that choice is yours. And that hopefully gives women the freedom to say, OK, even if I discover something that feels destabilizing or a little scary, I get to sit with that and decide what to do with it.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: That’s great. That’s very soothing to my nervous system. My stress level is going down thinking about that. Yeah, I agree. It’s kind of like once you realize that you don’t have to do something with it right away. Exactly. You can sit with it and figure it out.
Jess Galica: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: Well, I’m so grateful for your time coming on and talking with us, sharing about your book and your wisdom of the experiences that you gained in writing the book and coaching other women. And I definitely do recommend Leap. I enjoyed reading it and underlining and highlighting half the book. So we’ll link to that. And all of Jess’s information will be in the show notes. Where do you want people to connect with you?
Jess Galica: Yeah, the best way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. So that’s where I share most of my content. So you can find me via my name, Jess Galica, and also the company website, which is reclaim your career is on LinkedIn as well. And then reclaim your career.co is the website. So yeah, come, come find me there. And so happy to be here. And this was wonderful to chat. Thank you so much.
Dr. Crystal Frazee: To all the listeners, I want to say a big thank you. I appreciate you tuning in so much. Catch the show notes at crystalforz.com forward slash podcast. And as always, if you haven’t yet, please take literally one minute on your phone, open the Apple podcast app, open up the Attune Leadership for Women show, scroll down, leave a rating and a typed review, just like you’re texting me to tell you what you like about the show. It helps so much. This episode has been written, edited, and published by me, Dr. Crystal Frazee, executive leadership coach, trainer, speaker, and creator of Attuned Leadership. The next show is kicking off an exciting new series. It’s all about communication that helps professional women go from feeling meh to taking control of their own momentum in their career and life. We are going to have guest experts talk to you specifically as a professional woman, giving you tips on negotiation, not just to increase your salary, but in everyday life. How to make sure you’re using communication that compels other to action and gets you the buy-in you need. how to have cringe-free self-promotion so you are always making sure you’re top of mind for opportunities, and how to use nonverbal body language so you have influence and impact. I can’t wait and I hope you tune in. It’ll go live in two weeks. So take care, be well, and live attuned.