Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Celebrate the Women in Your Life with Linda Allen
[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 407 of Live Happy Now. We’re celebrating International Women’s Day this week, and it seems like a great time to talk about how we as women can support one another. I’m your host, Paula Felps, and today we’re talking about how we can use this occasion to remind ourselves to celebrate the women in our lives.
International Women’s Day celebrates the diversity and achievement of women, gender parity, and inclusion, and that begins with how we as women support one another. Today, I’m being joined by Linda Allen, a Texas business woman who has realized that the best way for her to leave a lasting mark on the world is simply to touch one life at a time. She’s here to talk about why it’s important for us to truly focus on making sure that the other women in our lives feel seen and how she does that in the workplace and in the world. Let’s have a listen.
[00:00:59] PF: Linda, thank you for joining me on Live Happy Now.
[00:01:02] LA: Well, thanks for inviting me.
[00:01:05] PF: One reason that I wanted to talk to you is a few months ago, we had a guest on, and she talked a lot about how women really don’t have each other’s backs and what a big problem it is like not just in careers but in social settings. Honestly, as I was having that conversation, I was thinking about you because you are the antithesis of that, and you’re very good at making women feel seen. You make everybody feel seen, but you’re very good about acknowledging women and promoting and supporting them. So that’s where I really wanted to start is how do you see the world. Do you think that women really are bad about having each other’s backs? Or is that your experience?
[00:01:44] LA: Trust me. I’ve had my experiences with maybe the backstabbing or the snide comments. But I don’t see it that way, that it’s all women are out to get women. Who isn’t a little bit jealous? Who isn’t a little bit competitive? But that’s not the way I see it. I don’t see that way at all. I see it as women, we like each other for the most part. I think we’re very curious about each other. But sometimes, we don’t want to ask questions or we don’t want to be supportive because we don’t know what to say or how to say it. How will that woman accept it? So that’s the way I see it. Maybe I’m a little Pollyanna, but that’s okay. I like the way I live.
[00:02:23] PF: Yeah. This is – We’ve got International Women’s Day coming up this week, and that’s all about inclusivity, equitability, equality. We want that gender parity, and it’s important to talk about how we need to start by getting support from other women because it’s not that the men – I mean, it’s not just that the men need to recognize our value. We as women need to recognize our value and one another’s value in our lives.
[00:02:50] LA: No. That’s so great. I don’t know about you, but I think of a woman’s support, for me, is more important than a man’s support. I’m not talking about it in a personal way but in a professional way. Because women, we identify with each other. We know what makes us tick, sometimes what makes us not tick. So when I get a compliment from a female or a supporting comment, that’s bigger to me than a man’s comment or compliment.
[00:03:23] PF: Yeah. That makes sense.
[00:03:25] LA: Because I think we know we tick. For a female too, I think about – we struggle. And I don’t wanna put all women in one bucket here. But women are trying to wear a lot of hats. We’re trying to be everything to everybody, including to ourselves, and that’s a lot of hats. Most men don’t try to wear all the hats that we do. We only have one head, but we try, what, like eight hats on at a time? Well, that’s ridiculous. Who are we fooling? And it’s going to be hard to keep them all on the head at one time. But it’s a struggle, and I don’t know why women feel like they’ve got to be superheroes at all times. But, hey, that’s the way we’re wound, and we are what we are.
[00:04:07] PF: Well, is that why you’re so diligent about making women around you feel seen? That is just your nature? Where did that come from, and why is that so important to you?
[00:04:18] LA: Paula, as much as I hate to admit this, I don’t think I’ve always been this way. But let me tell you how I think I got here. When I was much younger, I always had this idea in life that I wanted to be famous. I didn’t know how I was going to be famous, but I wanted to leave this gigantic mark, that when I walk off the face of this earth, I wanted to leave the big mark. So my first career, I was in broadcasting. The reason I wanted to do that was because everybody would know me. Linda Allen’s on the air. Linda Allen, Linda Allen. I wanted to be known. I wanted to be relevant. I wanted to be a part of history.
I got into that business, and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I don’t think I was going to leave my mark in that business. So I said, “Okay, what am I going to do to leave my mark?” So I got into corporate America, which was great but something that’s not going to make you famous, leaving that big mark. No matter what big job title I could grow into, I feel good about getting the new job. But then after that, I’d be like, “Did I really make a difference? Am I a part of somebody’s story in life?” [inaudible 00:05:25] really.
So then I jumped out, and I left corporate America, and I said, “Okay, maybe I can make my story. Maybe I could leave my mark by owning my own business.” So I jumped out. I opened my own business after being in corporate America for a long time, which was a little bit scary. What I’ve quickly discovered is, don’t get me wrong, I do well in my business. So I really feel like where I can leave a mark and be a part of somebody’s big life story was with my team members.
When you own a small business, you get to know your staff, your team members very well. I really was feeling like I was making a difference in their lives. They would fall into a hole, sometimes. I was able to help them recover because you’re never going to be able to climb out of a hole. You need somebody to help you get out of that hole. I was able to help my team members not just be the best at their job, but to help them to make good money, to feel good about themselves, which ultimately helped them be the best mamas if they were females, the best daddies if they’re dads, husbands, spouses, wives. I thought, “Wow, this is where I can really leave a mark in this world and be relevant in life.”
So I’ve been in this business for almost 14 years. I really think, Paula, that’s where I made this transition to find. I mean, I’m in the insurance business, and don’t get me wrong. That’s not a very sexy business. Okay, fine. But it’s needed.
[00:07:04] PF: But we all need it.
[00:07:06] LA: Glad to do it. But that’s not going to leave the big mark. But where I leave a mark is with the people that I touch. My staff is a big piece for me. Then if I got – Just I realized I could see the difference I can make in their lives. I started doing with other people. I mean, I would meet people, whether it be come to my house. I’m in a lot of organizations, and I would find ways to build them up. Not just try like, “Oh, your hair looks cute today.” Oh, that’s nice to hear. Don’t get me wrong.
But I would look for things that I felt I could say or do or contribute to them that I knew would make them feel better that day or perform better, to help them to see their value. Man, I’m going to tell you how I go to bed at night, and I sleep well because I feel like I am truly relevant in this world, and it is the coolest feeling.
[00:08:01] PF: What differences do you see in women when you do make them feel seen, when you acknowledge their accomplishments and just the simple fact that they show up on a tough day when they’ve been up all night with their kids? What difference does it make for them and the way that they move through the world?
[00:08:19] LA: I can speak, first of all, to the people that work with me and for me. They come to work some days, and you could just tell they don’t want to be here.
[00:08:28] PF: We’ve all had those days, haven’t we?
[00:08:30] LA: I mean, sometimes, they look like they don’t need to be here either. I love my team. Just by either acknowledging something that’s going well, something that can help them with, as little as an extra spring in their step. As cliché as that may sound, it’s noticeable. I’ll hear them get – As the day goes by, their chatter builds up. The excitement in their voices is better. So I know when they leave here because I’m only eight hours of their day. They got a lot more hours, and they’re going to do things and see people. It’s going to help them to be possibly better with all their contacts that they make throughout the day.
[00:09:13] PF: How does that change them, as they walk out into the world? Have you seen differences in people in terms of like how they start dealing with customers, with their family, things like that?
[00:09:24] LA: Oh, 100%. My motto in the office is when you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good. I learned that from a great mentor early, early on in my professional career, and I have made that my mantra and everybody that’s ever worked for me. They hear it, they have to live it with me, and it shows. It absolutely shows. The energy is good. I always tell my folks here. I said, “Guys.” I said, “You know, you’re going to spend a lot of time in this office and a lot of times with these people that we all work with, me and the customers. You got to make it your best, and you got to attack it as if you own it, just like I do.”
It’s really cool to watch the way my staff operates because they feel that sense of pride and ownership in the business, in the customers, and the success we have. It’s hard to leave that at the door, which is a cool thing. So they take it out with them. They achieve bigger things at home. They take on board positions with their booster club. They take on new positions in their churches. It’s really cool how that just follows them out here when they leave here.
[00:10:39] PF: I remember several years ago talking with a researcher named Shane Lopez, and he was talking about work and was saying that if you don’t get things to line up for you at work, it’s pretty tough to get things to line up outside of work because work is such a consuming big part of your day. So your ability to create an experience where they feel supported, they feel encouraged, they feel happy to be there is changing their life once they leave that office. It’s also changing the lives of their kids and family once they get home.
I mean, have you ever really sat down and thought about that kind of ripple effect that it has, simply by going to the office with the intention of making everyone feel welcomed and happy and encouraged?
[00:11:25] LA: It is amazing when you think about how it multiplies? Absolutely, yes. Because I know if they leave here, and they’ve had a good day, and they feel valued, and they feel good about themselves, that their kids will have a better night, their spouses, their friends, their other family members. It’s crazy. So I don’t touch just nine people. I’m touching nine times eight, probably, and that’s powerful. That’s just in one day.
[00:11:50] PF: That’s an incredible reach. I wish more people would stop and think about it that way, where this one interaction is going to change these multiple lives today, and you can get up and do the same thing again tomorrow. That’s so much power that we have.
[00:12:04] LA: It is. It’s really kind of scary sometimes, and then what’s sad is we don’t actually use that power to build people up.
[00:12:11] PF: Right. You had a Facebook post a few months back, and it stopped me in my tracks. It was so powerful, and it was about an encounter that you had with a homeless woman as you were leaving a store. I wondered. It really struck me in such a profound way. Would you talk about that? Would you tell us what that experience was and the outcome of that? Because I thought this was an incredible example of really your kindness and uplifting someone else.
[00:12:37] LA: I have to give you a free story because I didn’t put this on Facebook. I wasn’t having the best day. I was already irritated with the store I was at. Things weren’t going the way I thought they should go. So then I walk out to the store, and I say hi to most everybody because that’s just what I do.
[00:12:57] PF: Right, it is.
[00:12:59] LA: When you’re in other countries, they think you’re a fool, but that’s okay. I don’t care. So I say hello to this lady, and she didn’t have any shoes on. She’s pushing a cart. So you could kind of probably determine what her lifestyle is. She looks at me and she says, “I’m better than you,” and she calls me a name, and it wasn’t a very nice name. At that very minute, Paula, I was like, I wanted to call her a name back because I thought that was absolutely unnecessary. I’m being nice. I’ve been [inaudible 00:13:32].
But I said, “Nope, that’s not the way I roll.” So I just asked her. I said, “So why did you call me a name?” She said to me, “Nobody is ever, ever nice to me.” I said, “So what is it that you need?” I will tell you my first thought. She’s going to say, “I need some money. I need food.” You could tell she paused for a minute, and she goes, “You know, I’m homeless. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m probably crazy. But I’m happy.” She said, “I just want to be at peace. I want people to leave me alone.”
I asked her. I said, “So would you make me a deal? Just make me a simple deal, if I ever, ever see you again.” I think she hangs out in the area that I live in. I said, “Would you just say hello to me next time and not call me a name, and I will show you appreciation and value?” She looked at me, and she reached over, and I’m like, “Oh, here it comes. It wasn’t about to happen.” She gave me a hug. I was a little bit surprised. Then she just walked away. You know what? I thought a lot about her, and it was profound to me as well because I thought, “Oh, my gosh. Did I just put myself in terrible danger right there at the moment?” I cared about making a connection with this woman.
But I really thought a lot about her, and I thought she’s no different than me, in the sense that we all just want to feel appreciated in some way, and we want to be at peace. That is huge in life. I can’t think of anybody, whether you’re a female or a male or whatever. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated and be at peace? It was such a cool moment for me. I mean, even when I was talking on Facebook, I teared up because I can’t believe that just happened. But it felt so good that I felt like she walked away feeling a little bit better about herself. I thought, wow, what a difference I could have made in her life. I’m just so glad I stopped and even said hello to her and took the time to do it.
So I think that’s a lot of it. We don’t take the time, in most cases, to build people up, to say hello, to acknowledge what their needs are. We just are too busy with our own space.
[00:15:47] PF: How do we really start adjusting our mindset to be more about supporting other people, even if it’s strangers, even if it’s women that we don’t know?
[00:15:57] LA: I think for me, and I’m a really big believer on a couple of golden rule type things, you get what you give. As I just said, how many people – We all want to feel valued. We all want peace. If we give that off to other people, if we give that feeling, those emotions to other people, we have a greater chance that we’re going to get that in return. So that’s part of the way I think we can be more, I guess, present, if we think about what it is that you want because karma will tell you, if you get it, you’re going to get it back.
[00:16:37] PF: So be careful what you give away.
[00:16:38] LA: Exactly. So I live like that. I feel like if I give you something, I may get it back. Maybe it’s a feeling. Maybe it’s a thing. To me, that has made such a difference of getting this mindset really, I guess, kind of locked in for me.
[00:16:58] PF: Let me ask you. I know when you start practicing gratitude, your mind then gets used to looking for things to be grateful for. There are so many cases where when you start focusing on something, your mind automatically does that. Do you find that is true with you now, where you are constantly looking for the good in someone?
[00:17:15] LA: You know, I do. I absolutely do. Sometimes, you got to look. I mean, sometimes, you have to really be more mindful of what people are doing. But that’s a big part is get out of your head and look out of what’s going on around you.
[00:17:30] PF: Are there any daily practices that you use to keep your positive mindset? I mean, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you without a smile on your face. You are always so positive and so filled with joy. So are there practices that you do on a daily basis to keep yourself in that mindset?
[00:17:48] LA: I pause and just reflect on the day before. I am a very spiritual person, so I do believe that good things come to those who do good things. So that definitely drives me as well.
[00:18:00] PF: I love it. Linda, you are a delight, as always, to talk to you. I appreciate you coming on the show and just chatting with me for a while.
[00:18:08] LA: You are so welcome. And you as well are a delight, so it was my honor to be in your presence.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:18:19] PF: That was Linda Allen, talking about International Women’s Day and how we can support and encourage the women in our lives. Now, International Women’s Day isn’t the only thing that we’re celebrating in March. This is also our month for celebrating happiness with simple daily actions that we call Happy Acts. Visit our website or follow us on social media to discover new happy acts that you can do every day to make your world a happier place. Of course, we’d love to have you celebrate the International Day of Happiness with us on March 20th by hosting a happiness wall in your home, office, church, or school. To find out more, just visit our website at livehappy.com and click on the Happy Acts tab.
That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all-new episode. Until then, this is Paula Felps, reminding you to make every day a happy one.