Episode 34 - Kim-Adele PlattsDo you 'Primark' your compliments? Do you adequately reframe? Are you being kind to yourself? We're making conversations about leadership count!
Kim-Adele Platts, Career Development Coach
Making Conversations about Leadership Count!
If you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect others to?
This was a question and topic that surfaced during this powerful and insightful conversation with Kim-Adele Platts.
Kim is a business partner of previous guest Nat Schooler who you may remember from the recent special episode where he interviewed Wendy!
Among her many interesting takes, she suggests that being a leader does not come from having a degree.
True leadership comes with aligning your beliefs with the people around you.
It creates a culture of communication and confidence.
Getting the best from your team is not about your customers being sold to; rather encouraging their need to buy from you from having invested in you and the long term value they will acquire as a result.
During this conversation, Kim-adele talks about how we can sometimes ‘Primark’ compliments.
She also mentions the importance of viewing everything from a different viewpoint and gives a great analogy to demonstrate that.
She also offers a surprising and interesting fact regarding how quickly people make decisions.
We think you’ll agree, in this episode, Wendy Harris our “Conversations Queen” lived up to her nickname once again, with one of the most incredible conversations that count, yet!
At the end of the episode, mention is made of a free downloadable book.
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Full Episode Transcript
Making Conversations Count – Episode Thirty-Four
10th June 2021
Wendy Harris & Kim-Adele Platts
00:06:14: Primark brush off
00:08:16: How far have you climbed?
00:09:50: Silent delaying
00:11:39: No regrets
00:13:47: Lesson, blessing or both
00:14:30: It’s not you, it’s me
00:16:29: Take the next right step, do the next right thing
00:19:45: Share, share, share
00:22:33: Your super power
00:26:43: Glass bauble
00:28:07: Tea or Whiskey
00:29:34: Daily opportunities
00:32:44: Kim-Adele’s pivotal conversation
00:36:16: Positive intent
00:41:39: Final conversation
Wendy Harris: For anyone striving to get to the top of their game, this episode is for you. I am joined by a lady who champions the human spirit and puts confidence, kindness and humanity back into her leadership programmes; it’s the lovely Kim-Adele Platts. We’re going to be making conversations about leadership count.
So, what’s new Wendy Woo? Do you remember that lady I was telling you about that was in Barcelona? She’d booked the Power-Up Session and we caught up to see how she had been getting on. She’s had a great shift in the conversions of the conversations that she’s been having and they’ve also implemented some operational changes based on the conversations that we had. I’m going to be really looking forward to working with them again later in the year.
I’ve also delivered a customer service webinar to ten champions at the British Library. It was a great afternoon and it was interactive and fun and at the end, I was told it was better than they expected. I’ll take that as a huge tick!
The lovely Jo in Bromsgrove wrote in and said this, “After listening to the conversation with Sarah Townsend I’ve just realised I don’t carry my business cards, so you made me rush to get them and put them in my handbag. I’ve got to figure out now how to keep them from not getting dog-eared”. Well, Jo that was a great tip and let us know the first time you have to get one out of your handbag.
From South Africa, Michelle Wolf has left us a Podchaser review, “You are all about making conversations count, Wendy. I loved the tap, tap then slap, slap and sledgehammer story that was Ann Hobbs; this podcast is not only about how to publish a book, it deals with life and loss. Although grief connects us, somewhere and somehow it reconnects us too”. Well, Woolfy, that is a true observation and if any of the listeners know how to help Ann make her story a film, do get in touch.
Time to carry on the conversation with the lovely Kim-Adele Platts.
Kim-Adele Platts: The reality is at our simplest human beings want to be listened to, they want to be understood and they want to be respected and the other thing is none of us want to be foolish. If we believe that to be true, nobody wants to appear foolish, the same is true of whoever gives you an opportunity; because if they give you an opportunity, if they thought you were going to fail, they risk appearing foolish because they gave you the opportunity. They’re not going to risk appearing foolish, so if they gave it to you, it’s because they believe you can do it.
So, borrow their belief and it’s amazing the things you get to do. I borrow people’s belief all the time. I’m like a belief hoover, it’s like you said, “Come on and do the podcast”, I was like, “Okay, I’ll believe in you that I can do this. I’m not sure I can, but I’ll give it my best shot and I’ll borrow your belief and do my best not to let you down”. It just allows you to change the tempo, I guess.
Wendy Harris: It’s fascinating isn’t it because I had a tumultuous upbringing and by the age of 7 all sorts had happened. My mum and dad had split up, there was a custody battle, I’d switched from parent to parent, I’d run away, I was skipping school; but at 7, I knew I wanted to be either a teacher or a policewoman. Now that I’m older, it says a lot more about who I listened to as a child and perhaps who I was most influenced by. That makes sense, yeah.
Kim-Adele Platts: It all makes sense; it makes total sense.
Wendy Harris: My relationship with my mum now is just diabolical and my dad’s no longer here; it’s like you saying that, I got a bit emotional here. That voice that you are to your child totally was like my dad was stood here going, “See that’s what I’ve told you. You don’t just say to somebody can you go and do something, you say, ‘I need you to do this because'” and taught me the result of it, so not only will it help me it will help you. I’ve got my eldest daughter working for me now.
Kim-Adele Platts: Oh fab.
Wendy Harris: She’s gone off and she doing all sorts of amazing things and she’s like, “Mum, if it hadn’t had been for you, I would be wobbling so badly over what I’m doing in my life”, she says, “but I’ve got that anchor and I know that you’re in the same boat”. That’s what ties you down isn’t it?
Kim-Adele Platts: It’s that connection isn’t it, it’s that piece that’s like — I think with all the people in our lives, we’re here for a reason. We’re here to support each other and you look at it and say, “What would you say to the people that you love and care about?” Whether that’s your children, whether it’s your family, whether it’s your closest friends, you want to be there for them, don’t you? You want to be there to say, “Do you know what? Give it a try, because even if you fail what’s the worst that can happen? We’ll still be here, we’ll still love you”, and yet we don’t do that for ourselves, do we? We pick on the most critical voice.
Wendy Harris: Do you think though that sometimes that’s because it’s not always a two-way street and it’s not always equal? It’s potentially a more maternal instinct than a paternal instinct, that as a mum I’m there to support my husband, my extended family, my children, people in my business, my clients, etc. Yet how often do we actually hear, “Wendy, you’re doing so well”, or, “Kim, this is brilliant what you’re doing”, and believe it?
Kim-Adele Platts: We don’t do we, because we have — one of my friends Caroline, she’s great. She calls it the Primark brush-off, where somebody gives you a compliment and you immediately go — so something like say, “Oh you look really lovely today”, and you go, “This? A fiver from Primark”. It’s like even when we are —
Wendy Harris: Undermine ourselves.
Kim-Adele Platts: We can’t accept it, because accepting it might feel egotistical, it might feel like the person thinks that we’re better than we are and therefore we just get rid; but how would we feel if we gave that compliment to somebody else and they did the same? We would feel a bit like, “Oh”.
Wendy Harris: Yes.
Kim-Adele Platts: We genuinely meant it, we meant that here you’re doing a great job, you’ve got this and we’ve got your back and we’re so proud of you.
Wendy Harris: Have you learned the tactic to reinforce the compliment, because I know I have?. When people do that brush-off, because I don’t pay big compliments of respect often, I’m encouraging because that’s in my nature. But a big compliment and if it’s brushed off, I will make sure they know from where it comes from. I have to kind of really reinforce that to make them stop and listen and I want them to accept it and hold it.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, and actually sometimes I’ll share with them the whole Primark brush-off piece and go — I’m a massive “do as I say, don’t do as I do” because —
Wendy Harris: Yeah, because we’d be in big trouble otherwise!
Kim-Adele Platts: I’m probably still learning it and sometimes people will say something and I have to say, “Thank you”, and then carry on the rest of the conversation in my head, which is, “Just a fiver”. It’s like, “Just don’t say it, just don’t say it; say thank you”. I’m getting better now at, “Actually, I really appreciate that”, or, “I really needed that today”, because sometimes we do really need that and we need to know that we’re doing all right, that we’re making good choices, because life doesn’t come with a manual, does it? We do our best and we layer in children and families and friends and you’re doing your best to try and be a value-add to the people around you, that you leave everybody with a feeling of increase, and sometimes you doubt that you’re doing it.
It feels like I’m actually nothing well and I think we’re — Nat and I were chatting about this on our reflections the other day. I said, “Yeah, we constantly look at where it is we need to go, but we don’t often look back at how far we’ve come”. We need to do that because if not, life’s just going to be very, very hard. Even if you climbed Everest, there’s base camps and camps along the way because you need to be able to acknowledge how far you’ve come, whilst getting ready for the next bit. It doesn’t mean to say you stop climbing the mountain, but it means that you give yourself some kudos for having climbed as far as you’ve got.
Wendy Harris: It has to be Everest as well, because otherwise you get to the summit and there’s something else taller.
Kim-Adele Platts: Absolutely!
Wendy Harris: You get to the top and you go, “And that’s next!”
Kim-Adele Platts: We do, don’t we, because we’re always striving for the next thing and we don’t give ourselves time. It’s that balance, isn’t it, because we don’t want to spend that long congratulating ourselves on how far we’ve come that we don’t move forward any further. It’s like, “Woohoo, look at me”.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, juggling it all can sometimes be that you can’t actually progress at the speed of knots that you want to go at either. I had a conversation with somebody who I’ve worked with for a number of years and I just said, “Look, I’ve held myself back because I know my time will come”, and the response I got was, “Wendy, that is so sad, because how do you know that you’ll get your time? You’re kind of banking on the fact that the children will be grown up and out of the way, and everybody will be settled and then you’ll have more time and freedom”. When will that ever really happen?
Kim-Adele Platts: We’re all guilty of it, we’re all guilty of putting our lives on hold waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect time where it’s all going just to fall in, but the problem is —
Wendy Harris: I’ve got Martine McCutcheon singing in my head now, “This is my moment. This is my perfect moment”!
Kim-Adele Platts: I think for the fact that my voice when I’m singing sounds like fingers on a blackboard, I’d join in, but I mean that’s just not fair to anybody listening! But it’s true; we put ourselves on hold for this perfect moment, this perfect time, this perfect something and actually, it’s what I call silent delaying. You will see it in people that you meet. We will have had those meetings with the silent delayers that violently agree with what you’re saying but then go, “Just before we press go, I wonder how many people are wearing a blue jumper in a DM postcode today”, and you’re like, “Really?” What value is that going to add to the actual discussion? It isn’t, it’s just a way of delaying actually pressing go and we do it on ourselves all of the time.
We convince ourselves that we are absolutely, in support of what we’re doing, and then we’ll create a silent delay, and I do it all the time, “When Scarlett starts school”, or, “When I meet somebody and therefore I’m not on my own and that will become a little bit easier”, “When we’re not in lockdown, and actually I’ve got some childcare”, “When we’re not …”, “When we’re not …”, and you can’t live your life on when, when, when, when; you’ve got to live it right now, because the past no longer needs us, and the present is all we’ve got, because the future isn’t promised.
So, all we’ve got is right now and I don’t mean that from a doom and gloom point of view, but actually if we live in the moment right now, and we make the best of the moment we’ve got, with what we’ve got available to us then actually, before we know it, we’re doing things we never thought we would be able to do and we’re doing them now.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, I was talking to Nat about this and saying that there were so many opportunities that I wished I’d have took that I’ve learned to recognise how that opportunity makes me feel when it arises, because I hate regret. I hate looking back and going, “Oh”. Nick as well, Nick taught me about to be magic and I was reading that book. I got so far and then I stopped, because I’d got this idea already and I had to go and do something with that idea before it got lost.
When it makes you just feel, “Oh my God, this is so overwhelming, I can feel my chest actually cramping now, and my tummy’s like rolling”, I’m thinking it’s that scared to the nth degree, I want to swear and I can’t, but those are those moments where you go, “I’ve got to do this, it doesn’t matter what happens”.
Kim-Adele Platts: It always reminds me a little bit of that part in Dirty Dancing, so a real movie from my childhood, the first movie I went to on my own, well with my friends when I was 14, and that moment where she says that she’s scared of saying this, but she’s even more scared of walking away and never feeling the same way. I just think that’s a great take; she was talking about that relationship, but actually it’s a great way of thinking about our lives which is actually, “I’m scared of doing it but I’m more scared of walking away and regretting it in my future”, because we don’t regret the chances we took, we regret the chances we didn’t take; because the chances we took always move us further forward.
I say to my clients, “There’s no downside to an interview”, and you can see them looking at me, like, “She’s a crazy woman this one”.
Wendy Harris: “I didn’t get the job but there was no downside?” I get you; I do get what you’re saying.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, so for me whenever you go for an interview there’s only two outcomes: either you get the job, in which case fantastic; or you get a really good feedback of what you need to do to get the job next time. Either way, you are one step closer to the job, but only if you frame it that way in your mindset; if you go, “These are the only two things that are going to happen. I’m only going to get them”.
The same is true of like anything that goes wrong in our lives. I genuinely believe that everything in life is ether a lesson, a blessing or both and it might not feel like it at the time. I mean don’t get me wrong, there’s been plenty of moments in my life where it didn’t feel like much of a blessing and I wasn’t really sure what lesson I was learning; I just felt broken.
I had one massively melodramatic moment I was that broke and I didn’t know how to breathe and obviously I do know how to breathe, I’m still here breathing and still talking and probably people wishing that I could just stop for five minutes, but at the time that’s how it felt. Now, when you look back, you realise that you were learning something, you were learning that you’d got more strength of character than you thought or that you could overcome some of these things.
I’ve also learned that people don’t hurt us on purpose, they’re dealing with their own pain, and the reality is, harsh as it sounds, they don’t even think about you. You’re just —
Wendy Harris: It’s more about them than it is —
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah and what happens is, we layer in how we feel, so we start telling them how we feel. Now, they are there, dealing with their own pain, unable to cope; now you’re hurt, now you want to tell them about how you feel and they feel frustrated because they’re like, “Hold on, this was about me and now you’ve made it about you and I was already in a bad place and now you’re in it”. The whole thing just spirals.
So, much as my ex-husband says that I’m a bit of robot, he was like, “Your ability to just put in a box and move away”, and I was like, “Well, I don’t. I deal with it; I just deal with it on my own because dealing with it with you or whoever it is isn’t going to help, because you’re dealing with your own pain. So, why would I add to that, because it’s not going to help. I need to find a way of dealing with my own pain, my own way”.
Wendy Harris: It’s about breaking the cycle, isn’t it? I mean my dad was always very supportive; my mum thinks she is, but it is always about her and it’s about breaking that cycle and we do tend to do things and copy patterns, behavioural patterns. I can just say, “I’ve broken that pattern”, and I know I’ve broken that pattern, because of the way that I have had to do it on my own and some of the family just don’t understand. They think I’m detached, but I think that has been the difference between, you know when you were saying you’d run off and get these memories to measure? The negative memories are survival; the positive memories are the thrive.
It’s kind of like, I will look at things and go right, “What’s the positive of this?” Because there’s no point dwelling on the negative, because you’re never going to break the cycle. It’s like somebody moaning about a particular situation over and over and over again. With me I have a three-strike rule, if you moan about it three times, that’s it; I’m not going to give you my advice again, move on.
Kim-Adele Platts: You’ve got to be able to take it haven’t you and it’s like — you know, I mean, you’ll know I love a good quote. I can get a quote anywhere, and for me one of the ones that I use at the moment and it’s from Frozen II, which is, “Take the next right step, do the next right thing”, because sometimes we cannot see the answer and we can get stuck trying to work out the answer to the big problem, but actually if we just look at what is the thing I can see that I can do and do it, you change your vantage point.
I think it was Michael Jordan that said, “You don’t need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the next step”; because if we keep moving forward then we change our viewpoint, we change our vantage point. But we do unfortunately come into conversations with people who are just stuck in that doom loop and pity loves a party.
‘Wendy Harris: It does.
Kim-Adele Platts: So, they want to invite people into that so that they can just dwell in it and it’s like, “But that’s not going to help you, and it’s not going to move you forward and actually it’s just going to drain you”. I remember one of my friends saying to me once, she was like, “I can’t ever decide if you’re incredibly stupid or incredibly strong”. I was like, “Probably a bit of both, probably in equal measures”. I’m a big believer in worrying doesn’t change anything but it does change you. It’s not going to alter what’s happening, but it is going to alter your focus. Whereas, if you can just focus instead on, “What can I do? What is the thing that I can do?”
I describe it to people as the, “The thing that I can do, becomes the life raft to cling to in the stormy seas of my mind”, because everything else is out of my control and I don’t like being in that stormy sea, so if I can cling wholeheartedly to one little life raft that’s just moving me forward, then I stand a chance of weathering the storm.
Wendy Harris: A great analogy, Kim. I’m mindful of the mental health first aider training that I did and they liken depression and negativity to a black hole, that you’re at the bottom of a well that’s got no water in it. They were saying about, “You can outstretch your hand to somebody, but if they don’t want to take your hand back then you’ve got to leave them where they are until they’re ready”.
So, that one step could well be that if you feel like you’re stuck in a hole, in a puddle, it doesn’t matter the analogy; if the one thing that you can do is the raft becomes a conversation with somebody, that you can have a conversation to work something through, it might not change anything, but at least you’ve got somebody on your side.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, and actually sometimes saying it out loud — we can have these conversations in our head, but until you have the conversation out loud, until the words come out of your mouth and hopefully this resonates with people, we’ll all have done it, and sometimes we say it and we’re like, “Ignore me. I understand for myself how ridiculous that is now, now that I’ve said it out loud”.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, “I sound like a complete and utter crazy woman”!
Kim-Adele Platts: But in my head, that made total tangible sense for days, when I thought about it. I do quite a lot of stuff on imposter syndrome and one of the biggest challenges with imposter syndrome is you won’t tell anybody you’ve got it, because your biggest fear is being found out. So, if I tell anybody, I’m bound to be found out as I’m telling them.
We know, all the research shows that if you can share it, it’s the first step to overcoming it and we get that fear. So, I remember I share this quite a lot; I did a keynote speech, before we went into the first lockdown and I remember standing there and looking — I never look at the audience, looked out at the audience, all the things they tell you not to do and I panicked. There was standing room only, there was all these faces looking back at me and I was like, “You don’t want to do that, get off”.
I remember looking at this group and saying to them, “Do you know what? Every fibre of my body is telling me to get off this stage and run as fast as I can, and I can’t for a couple of reasons. The first, I don’t think I could run fast in these heels; and the second is I’ll never come back from it. My name and my face, my picture is plastered all over this programme, so you will always know that Kim-Adele Platts is the girl that ran way. So, I can’t do that, but I can give myself permission to share with you it’s how I’m feeling and in doing so, hope I can shut the little voice up long enough to remember what I’m here to talk to you about”.
Then I’d got on with the rest of speech, so I thought to myself, “What’s the worst that can happen? I share that with people and they could all walk away”. They all could go, “If she doesn’t think she should be here, I’m not going to give her my time”. It would have been embarrassing, but I wouldn’t have died. I’d have been a bit mortified; I’d have had to have gone and got myself probably a very very stiff coffee.
Wendy Harris: People actually respect that kind of open, honest admission, because they know themselves that it’s unlikely that they would ever want to put themselves in a position of being on a stage either; so you saying that means that you’ve immediately connected with everybody.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, and actually I had people queueing at the end to come up to say, “You stood there in bright red dress with bright red lipstick and a massive smile on your face looking like nothing’s ever bothered you and yet when you said it, we knew you meant it”. We were like, “If she can do that, maybe I can do the whatever it is I’m fearful of”. I said, “To be fair, that’s my reason for sharing, because we’re all fearful of something. We all have something we’re vulnerable about”.
I spent years terrified that people were going to find out I was just an ex-hairdresser and turn around and go, “Oh my god, we’ve got a hairdresser on the Board. That’s awkward, get her off”.
Wendy Harris: I honestly did not know that. I know we met through the Love Ladies Networking online. We have had the opportunity of meeting in person but it’s never quite happened, I don’t know why. My impression of you online is your quotes are always positive, it always adds value, you’re like that kind of auntie to me that kind of goes, “Come on, if I can do it, you can. I don’t know whether I’m going to do it, but I’m giving it my best shot”, that’s the impression that you give out. It’s incredible that you’ve just shared that you were a hairdresser, I wouldn’t see that — what is wrong with that? I love my hairdresser.
Kim-Adele Platts: I love my hairdresser too, absolutely, she’s a dream and actually for years, I was worried that I was an ex-hairdresser because cutting my teeth in corporate life, you’d get put on all these future leaders’ courses where they’d get the application forms. So, you’d be put forward based on what you did and then you’d have to fill an application form and they’d suck their teeth, and they’d like look at it and they’d go, “Oh, where’s your degree?” “I don’t have one.” “Okay, where’s you’re A Levels?” “Yeah, well I don’t have those either”.
So, actually over the years, I started to think, “Oh my goodness, I shouldn’t be here. I’m even more of a fraud than I thought I should be because I don’t have the qualifications, I don’t have the education”; I got told at one point I didn’t have the gravitas and I didn’t have the vocabulary, so I had to learn a new vocabulary and work on my presence. All of those layered into my own lack of faith that I was actually good enough, that I was worthy, and I now realise being a hairdresser wasn’t my downfall, it was my super power, because as a hairdresser they teach you to really listen to people, to understand what’s important to them, to create a level playing field and a connection and then to communicate effectively and to watch them walk out as the best version of themselves.
That’s leadership, because as a leader if I can listen to my people, if I can really understand them and if I can help them be the best version of themselves, then I’ve done my job as a leader but that falls back on my skills as a hairdresser. So, once I realised that, which I’m ashamed to say was probably about four years ago, and I’m 48 this year, so I mean I’m definitely a late learner, but once I realised it was like, “Actually, I’ve spent years running away from the thing that made me good at what I do”.
Wendy Harris: Yeah. You’re a beautiful bloom now. It’s everybody’s journey is everybody’s journey and I do believe that we go through things at the point of readiness and sometimes we do have to push ourselves through certain barriers and boundaries and vulnerabilities, because it’s all based in emotion, isn’t it? But I can hear what you’re saying about the qualifications things because I bunked school most of my primary, secondary; managed to come out with qualifications, I don’t know how, so there must be a level of education.
But a couple of years ago I thought, “How can I say that I have done this for 30 years and that I have all this experience, etc”. Whilst I’ve done the job and I’ve trained and I’ve managed and recruited, how can I actually say this on a CV, because I’ve got no qualifications. I went and put myself through getting a degree and I didn’t have to.
Kim-Adele Platts: No, but we do, don’t we? I mean I became the worst course junkie; so if you’ve read my CV, I didn’t have a degree and I didn’t have any of those things so I panicked. So, I’m a Lean2 practitioner, I’m a Prince practitioner, I’ve got diplomas and qualifications in leadership. When I became a coach, I didn’t want to be another fraud in my head, so I went and got my Level 7 Diploma, I then became a Marshall Goldsmith Accredited Coach.
I’m not doing it for anybody else, I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for me to be able to say, “I can credibly say I can do this”, because, not only have I got 30 years’ experience doing it with great accolades from people saying the impact I had, I’ve got a piece of paper; I mean how ridiculous is that? So, I’ve got 30 years’ experience, just like you, people coming out of the woodwork saying, “This woman really made a difference”, or, “Really helped me to believe in myself”.
I heard some lovely things recently, that really blow you away where you didn’t expect it, so somebody had put out on LinkedIn, “Does anybody know of any good speakers that can inspire and motivate people to kind of go and do more?” I had two people that I’d worked with in the past simultaneously put me forward for it. People that I’d led years ago and I was totally and utterly blown away. Even if I hadn’t have got the gig, just the fact that they were willing to say, “You want to speak to this woman. She’s genuine, she’s authentic, and actually she’s walked that walk”.
I was like, “Oh my goodness, how humbling that somebody could be that kind to you, and I think sometimes you’ve got to take those moments and rather than, I spent so many years dismissing them and going, “Oh, you know, they’re just being kind”, or, “They don’t really mean it”, or it isn’t this, or it isn’t that, until I realised I was inadvertently disrespecting them, I was inadvertently taking their opinion and their beautiful gift of giving me their feedback — and almost like I now imagine when somebody gives me feedback, I imagine the most beautiful and delicate glass bauble and go treat it like that. Because if you immediately go, “Oh yeah, no, you’re just being kind”, it’s like you’ve just let go of it and smashed it to smithereens on the floor; you wouldn’t do that with a gift.
Feedback is a gift because people have to give of themselves, they have to put themselves in that space of — it can be uncomfortable, can’t it? It can be a little bit — because we’re terribly British, we don’t really like to step out there and —
Wendy Harris: We’ve been conditioned, haven’t we, and yet we all strive for unconditional love.
Kim-Adele Platts: Absolutely.
Wendy Harris: So, there’s an oxymoron in how we try to live our lives.
Kim-Adele Platts: I’ll take it totally. I’m desperately trying with my little girl to make sure she knows that the love’s unconditional, so even if she’s been told off about something, it’s like, “This is about what you’re doing not about who you are, so mummy always loves you, no matter what happens. Even if we fall out, mummy always loves you”.
Wendy Harris: Yeah.
Kim-Adele Platts: We’re talking about what it is that we need to do differently and they’re not the same thing.
Wendy Harris: It’s not a score sheet of life, is it? It’s not ticks and balances.
Kim-Adele Platts: It’s about the whole and it took me a lot of years to realise that we are perfectly imperfect, because I spent years desperately trying to be everybody’s cup of tea. We’re British, we could argue about how we take our tea as much as we could about politics and religion. You are never ever going to be everybody’s cup of tea.
Then I found a quote which was, “I’d rather be somebody’s shot of whiskey than everybody’s cup tea”, and I was like, “I love it”. For the right people, I’m their shot of whiskey and for everybody else, I’m not their cup of teach and that’s fine. I would never knowingly hurt of offend or upset anybody and if I ever did, I would apologise, because it isn’t my intention to ever do that. It doesn’t mean to say I won’t do it, but it won’t be intentional. Therefore, if I’m not their cup of tea, they can move on and that doesn’t mean that I’m being unkind, it just means I can’t be everybody’s cup of tea.
We are perfectly imperfect and it’s okay to have a difference of opinion, it’s okay to disagree, we just can’t disrespect, because we live in world of polarity; so for every up there’s a down, for every left there’s a right. So, I always say to my clients, “If I were to hold this book up and say to you, ‘Wendy, there’s literally nothing written on the cover of it’, would you say I’m right or I’m wrong?”
Wendy Harris: I’d say, “I see it differently to you”.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, but when I turn it round there’s nothing written on my cover, and actually once you realise that just because I’m right doesn’t make you wrong and just because you’re right doesn’t make me wrong, we’re just viewing it from a different viewpoint.
Wendy Harris: Different face, yeah.
Kim-Adele Platts: That’s life. Everything we do we’re viewing it from a different viewpoint and if we change our mindset to seek to understand always; that doesn’t mean to say we have to agree, but we constantly seek to understand, then all we can ever do is grow. My nan always said, “Every day is a school day”, and God bless her she was right, because if we open our minds, we learn something every day and what an amazing gift every morning to go, “I wonder what I’m going to learn today? I wonder what new thing or experience or opportunity or challenge, any of those things, I wonder what today is going to bring, because I’m going to grow from it”.
You talked about we have to go through our things and I’m a big believer that we grow through our pain, only if we go through our pain. So, we actually have to look at it and look at the — and we can’t always do it straight away, there’s been things in my life that it took me years before I was ready to actually go and visit them and look at them and say, “What were you teaching me? What did I need to learn from this because I wasn’t ready for the lesson”, so I survived but I didn’t thrive and to thrive I had to go back into those dark spaces and really look at them and forgive myself for not being there for myself, for not being perfect, for not being there for everybody else, but take the learns.
I think it is how we do that and kind of move forward and you were so kind, bless you, with the, you know, I come across as one of the aunties that’s going, “If I can do this, you could do this”. I think that’s my — we all have a purpose in life and Pablo Picasso said that, “The meaning of life was to find your gift and the purpose of life was to give it away”. I believe my purpose is to say, “Do you know what, if I can do this, as a slightly scatty, not particularly well educated, has been through a number of disasters”, I mean?
I’ve nearly finished writing my book which is called, and you couldn’t make this up, Three Divorces, a Stalker a Needle and a Critic, it’s like actually my reason for it is, if I can traverse this world with all of these things, so can anybody. All you’ve got to do is find the right people to believe in you and when you doubt yourself, borrow their belief. But then do the right thing and pay it forward, so if you’ve borrowed somebody else’s belief, lend your belief to somebody else, because that’s going to be how we change the world. That’s going to be how we move it forward by sharing our belief in others, and borrowing other people’s belief in us when we need it. It’s going to be, I believe, the new currency; that and kindness.
Wendy Harris: Now, everybody that I invite onto the show, I ask them to think of a conversation that created a turning point for them, simply because I think that those stories resonate with each of us and we can take a little bit from every story that we hear, and it’s those memory banks that I want people to be building up to go, “Do you know I’m in this situation and what do I do?” The memory banks go, “Well, you remember when you listened to Kim on Wendy’s show? You need this bit of advice now”. What was that conversation about, Kim?
Kim-Adele Platts: There’s been so many over the years, but I think for me probably my biggest turning point was becoming a mum, and it was talking to people about, I was terrified becoming a mum. I was in early- to mid-40s, I was 43 and I’d had a miscarriage and I was later on in life, and I went and gathered as much information; I was terrified I was going to get it wrong, that I wasn’t going to be right.
Then I spoke to one of my friends who said, “Do you know what? You’ve just got to go with your gut. You’ve got a good heart, and as long as you’re always trying to do the right thing, and you’re willing to acknowledge and take account when you get it wrong, be as kind to yourself as you can be to other people”. It was a real turning point for me because I’ve always had the reputation of being kind. I’ve been kind to everybody else, I’ve been evil to myself and in that moment, I suddenly realised that unless I learned to be kind to myself too, I wasn’t going to be a good mum, because my little girl is going to learn from me. She’s going to learn not just what I say and do, but what I say and do about myself, how I behave, how I show up in the world. I knew I needed to make that change.
My friend also told me about this writing down every day anybody that you’ve touched and by that what I mean is, if somebody says thank you to you, or, “I appreciate that”, or, “That really helped me”, whatever it is, write it down. Because then, when you have those moments where you’ve got it wrong, absolutely you have to acknowledge it, you have to apologise for it and you have to make it right, but that’s it. You don’t then have to carry it. I used to wear like a hair shirt for the rest of my life. Yeah, I do joke that this is why I’ve had so many divorces. It’s like when you end up in that argument, “And another thing, you never emptied the dishwasher in 2004”, and like, “Really, you’re not over that yet?”
Wendy Harris: “You left the toothpaste just with the lid off and you didn’t straighten the towel”, come on, Julia Roberts time!
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah and you’re bringing it up ten years later and you’re like, “Really? Really?” But I did that to myself, I carried every mistake and every new mistake would just get added to the previous mistake. That’s a heavy load, because we don’t make mistakes because we’re trying to get things wrong, we make mistakes because we’re trying to do the right thing, but we’re perfectly imperfect and actually, if you can just forgive yourself in the same way that you forgive others; we forgive others when they make mistakes, because they’re human and we all do, but I think we’ve got to learn to forgive ourselves and for me that was such a massive turning point.
I’m still not brilliant at it, I still sometimes get it wrong, but I will go back and I will look at that little book and then I wrote a quote for my little girl that on reflection, I believe it to be true of everybody in the world, and that is to be kind, to be curious, to dream big and believe, because we are proof that miracles happen, because we’re all proof that miracles happen to somebody. Maybe that’s just the thing we need to hear, that we’re a miracle to somebody.
Wendy Harris: Aww, you’ve got a good friend there that’s given sound advice. I just sort of say that when it comes to not always getting it right, that’s going to happen because we’ve got to unpick stuff. It takes a long time to break a habit, much the same as it is to give up smoking, or to cut down on your drinking or to not put as much in here so that it’s on your hips. There are so many challenges that we have to face that you’re not going to be able to lead the perfect life and act in the perfect way, so, yeah, just be.
Kim-Adele Platts: Yeah, I think it is, it’s that being kind to yourself, because I’m a big believer and this is for anybody, I don’t believe people have negative intentions, there’ll be an exception; because whenever I say that somebody will bring up a serial killer or something and it’s like, “Okay, there’s an exception to every rule”. However, in the main I believe people have positive intent; that doesn’t mean to say they’ll always have a positive impact.
We all know when we’re giving feedback to people that one of the things that I’ve spent years doing in senior leadership roles, and you have to give people feedback, and the first thing they do is defend what they were trying to do, because they weren’t trying to get it wrong, they were trying to do the right thing; they just didn’t quite manage it.
So now I don’t even start with the feedback what I start with, “What I think you’re trying to achieve is”, “I think what you were trying to do is X, Y, Z. Am I right? Is that what you were looking for?” They’d be like, “Yeah, yeah”, “Brilliant. That’s exactly what I want you to do. What I need to talk to you about is whilst that’s what you’re trying to do and that’s an amazing goal, this is what’s happening, so how can I now help you to align what you’re doing with what you’re wanting to do? How can I help you to achieve it?”
You’ve immediately ensured that they don’t think you think they’re stupid; you don’t think that they are trying to do a bad job; and you’re now their ally in achieving their goal, so you’re now in it together rather than on the attack and it makes the whole conversation so much easier, because you’re dealing with intention versus their impact. It makes difficult conversations so much smoother.
I think once we get into that place that if somebody is doing something, even if it’s really obvious… I go into organisations, I often do transformational stuff as an interim and the first thing I say to any organisation, any team is, “If I do something that’s really irritating, even if it’s really really obvious, could you do me a favour, could you just tell me what it is, because even if it’s obvious to you, I promise it’s not obvious to me and I’m not intending to irritate so unless you tell me I’ll carry on doing it?”, because we have blind spots for a reason; we’re blind to them.
That’s why we have coaches because they can shine a light. We all have blind spots for a reason; we’re blind to them and actually, what we need is people to shine a light on our blind spot and say, “You know here, this is where you’re getting your own way”. This isn’t saying you’re a bad person or you trying to get things wrong, it’s around saying, “You might not know this yet but when you do this, actually it’s not you at your best”.
Sometimes our blind spot can be, we’re really good at something and we just can’t see it. So, the amount of people over the years that have been working on something that they’re darn good at, they’re brilliant at it and when you chat to them, they’re like, “Yeah, I’m working on this”. “Don’t, you’re brilliant at it; work on this where you’re not quite so good”. Then together you’ll level up, but I think we’ve just got to be more open, haven’t we?
Wendy Harris: Yeah, and I think that’s where conversation really does count doesn’t it in terms of picking who you have those conversations with, like who you pick as a coach and for what reason, whether it be personal, business, growth at work, whatever it is it really does come down to who it is that you’re having those conversations with.
Kim-Adele Platts: It’s got to be, and I talk to all potential clients and say, “I won’t be the right coach for everybody”. The first conversation has got to be around whether or not you think you can trust me, because if you can’t trust me with your worst fear, we won’t be able to get you to your full potential. We’ll get you to as far as you’re going to be able to share with me but if you’re going, “I can’t share this”, then actually it’s not the right thing for you.
Likewise, I look at those conversations and go, “Do I think this person’s going to share?” because if they’re not going to share, I don’t want to waste their time or my time. I want to be able to help people to get out of their own way and go on and be the best that they can be.
Wendy Harris: People make quick assumptions and they make decisions very, very quickly. In your line of work when it comes to starting that conversation, how long do you think it takes before they have made their mind up whether they’re going to or not?
Kim-Adele Platts: It’s a fascinating question, so I believe they have probably made that decision in the first five minutes maximum. It can take them a while to acknowledge that decision and I always say to them, “Go with your gut”.
Wendy Harris: Yeah.
Kim-Adele Platts: We don’t trust our gut enough and gut instinct is usually there to keep us safe, and then we overthink it and we come up with reasons why actually, maybe it’s wrong. But for me I’ve always said, trust your gut instinct. Gut instinct is basically your inner child and your soul telling you where it thinks and that’s the bit you’re trying to connect with, that’s the bit you’re trying to understand. Where is it damaged? Where does it need help?
Know that there is no right or wrong answer. The right answer for you is the right answer, so you don’t have to justify it to anybody else, and I guess from you that’s why I always set it up with clients that go, “I won’t be right for everybody”. I’m saying that so you’ve got a really easy get-out-of-jail, but likewise I want to be able to add value.
I want to be able to leave things better than I found them and if someone’s not going to be able to trust me, then yes, I can leave it a little bit better than I found it, but that’s not really going to leave them with a feeling of increase; and I think that’s what we’re all here to do, is to leave everybody and everything better than we found it and acknowledge that we can’t be that for everybody, and that’s okay.
Wendy Harris: Kim, I think if all the other bits of pieces that we’ve talked about, which are really helpful and insightful, there’s one thing that I know that people really do struggle over is, if they need a coach or not, who should they pick and why should they pick them. Do you know what? Five minutes and trusting your gut is probably the best advice they’ll ever get; thank you for that.
If people want to get in touch with you, to carry the conversation on, listen to the show, leave a review, but really we want people to be getting in touch with the guests and carrying that conversation on. Whether it’s just about sharing the experiences, whether it’s that you’d like to talk to Kim about being a client or whatever it is, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you, Kim?
Kim-Adele Platts: All over social media as kimadele10, I’m on Linkedin as Kim-adele Platts, or if you went to my website, which is www.kimadele.org, my telephone number and my email address is there and I’m happy to chat to anybody. Sometimes all we need is a conversation and for me, it’s always a non-obligatory conversation. Sometimes you just need two minutes and you’ll work out for yourself it is or it’s not for you or actually, all you needed was just that two minutes.
Wendy Harris: I’m sure you will agree that that was a powerful conversation. We all need to keep a check on those blind spots. Kim has kindly offered a free downloadable document that we will put into the show notes on Apple. We’ll also be putting them on the website and Kim has very kindly done a letter to listeners. Find out what she’s offering to you and go to www.makingconversationscount.com website for all the details.
Now, of course you are welcome to book a chinwag with me, you’ll find all the details on the website too; my book is a bestseller and it’s currently on special offer for the Kindle version. Until next week, thanks for listening.
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