Episode 227 – Dolores Hirschmann Clarity About Life, Destiny and Purpose

Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you may be in the world. We love hearing from you, we love getting your feedback and we’re honored that you will join us today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger, and we’ve got a really fun and interesting guest with us, today. She is an internationally recognized strategist and coach working with clients to clarify their idea worth sharing, and design their communication strategies and implement business growth systems. So, welcome, Dolores Hirschmann 


Dolores Hirschmann: Thank you so much, Steven, for having me! 


Steve Shallenberger: Oh, you bet. Before we get started, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about Dolores. She is a writer, a TEDx organizer, a participant in Ted conferences. She is a CTI certified and ICF accredited coach – she’s going to tell us what those acronyms mean – and has a business degree from the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. Originally from Buenos Aires, Dolores speaks fluent Spanish, English, and French, and lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. We’re excited to have her with us today! We’ll have her just tell us a little bit about herself – and that kind of leads in the first question, but we have some things in common. She was raised in Argentina and I had the chance to live in Argentina, and that’s where I first learned Spanish; then, I went from Argentina to Uruguay and Paraguay, and lugares in Mexico y España 


Dolores Hirschmann: So we can actually do this podcast in Spanish!  


Steve Shallenberger: Yes! Yes, we could. For any of our Spanish speakers, you would enjoy that part – but now we’re totally in English.  


Dolores Hirschmann: Yes, absolutely!  


Steve ShallenbergerAlright, Dolores, tell us about your background, including any turning points in your life that’s had a significant impact on you, and especially to what you’re doing today, which is very interesting! We’re going to have the chance to talk quite a bit about it. 


Dolores Hirschmann: Awesome! Thank you, Steven. So, I moved to the US when I was 25. But before that, there were two moments in my life that I would say were kind of a before and after. First was, when I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor and at that time I was 20, my older brother was 21, we were always fighting – fighting for the car, fighting for everything – and he sent me a nice note saying that he loved me and I’m like, “Oh my god! I must be really sick!” People actually thought I was going to die. I ended up having surgery in the US. But it was a before and after because it really made me understand or made me curious about what am I supposed to do here? So, that moment, although I kind of had it all along, that moment made me kind of focus on a hyper purpose. And what I mean by that is that my mindset shifted and I had this feeling like, “Okay, I’ve got a second chance. What am I going to do with it?” I think we all have this feeling like, what are we here to do on this earth? I think at 20 years old you don’t really spend too much time on that. I was forced to do that, and kind of forced into, “Hey, what am I going to do with my life?”  


Dolores Hirschmann: And then, at 24, because I had nothing better to do – so says my father – I graduated from university and actually my graduating paper was “Marketing on the Internet, relationship Marketing” in 1996. I’m going to talk more about that later because without intending I came full circle. But into 1996, I had the idea to go and do community work in a remote part of the world – kind of what you did, Steven, in your work – and I ended up living in Malaysia, in insular Malaysia in Sabah, which is North Borneo. I lived there for three months, literally in the jungle, sleeping on a hammock between two trees. And I cried for the first two weeks because I had this romantic idea of what an adventure was and then when you’re actually living under a tree, all that romanticism goes away. I’m like, “Oh my god, this is not what I thought!” But, after two weeks of crying and asking myself, “Okay, do I quit? Do I go back home? Do I have the courage to do that or am I curious enough to stay and see who I can become in the process?” And I did. What I learned, Steven, is that nothing is more rewarding than leaning into a challenge and mastering yourself in it. What I mean by mastering yourself is literally finding who do you need to be to have the best experience you can with what there is – like, no showers, no toilet, bad food, and living in a jungle.  


Steve Shallenberger: Wow!  


Dolores Hirschmann: So, anyway, this brings me to today. I live in the US, I have four children – my pancreatic surgery did not hurt me that much, so I was able to be a mom – and I have spent pretty much all my life and the last six years of Masters In Clarity asking myself, “Why is it that ideas that can have a positive impact in the world sometimes die before they even start, or they die when they’re barely being born?” And what I mean by that is people with good ideas are not really capable of realizing the full potential and the impact that these ideas could have. 


Steve Shallenberger: Right! Well, okay, that’s a great background! Thanks for sharing! It’s so interesting, and I think this is going to be really the heart of our discussion today, which is, how do people realize everything they’re capable of doing? That’s a tall order, really, but that’s what we believe: we believe every single person has the capacity to become their best, to be a high performer. And so, the things we’ll talk about today I think will be of great interest to our listeners in helping us be better at that, helping us do a little better. Now, before we dive into that, let’s go back. Tell us what a CTI certified and ICF accredited coach is. 


Dolores Hirschmann: So, at 38, I started asking myself, “How do I wrap around my background?” I think many people feel that if you look at their LinkedIn or their resume, it’s all over the place, but what do I really do? How can I present myself in the marketplace, especially as an entrepreneur? So, I decided to go and study coaching. There’s many schools to study coaching and I chose something called CTI – which stands for The Coaching Training Institute – and ICF is the International Coaching Federation which is the organization that oversees coaching and accredits the programs to make them more robust. 


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, good! Well, thanks for that! I hope your family is well. We’re in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis right now, in the very heat of the moment, and are you, folks, doing okay where you’re at? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yes, we are doing well, thank you for asking. I hope you and your family are as well, and everybody listening. I don’t know when this will air but you can’t hide from this – wherever you are in the world, you are experiencing it in one way or another. I think, for the first time in history, we can all say that we are in it together, worldwide. 


Steve Shallenberger: Yeah! How true! Okay, well, let’s talk about this subject. This is a big subject for us: how do we realize the best that we’re capable of? And so, let’s talk about what a Chief Clarity Officer is – that’s what Dolores is. What is that, first of all? Then we can talk about how to do it. 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah, that was kind of a play on words. I love playing with words. But honestly, that is my role. My role for my clients and my role for my team is that, presented with any situation any day, how do we find our way through it and how do we find clarity when we have the darkness of confusion. And so, if you ask me what would I do for free all day long is exactly that: is helping people sort through situations that may feel stuck – thus, the title that I gave myself: Chief Clarity Officer for our company that’s called Masters In Clarity. 


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, good! Alright, well, let’s hit this subject. How can people realize their greatest potential? 


Dolores Hirschmann: So, there’s a couple of elements, I believe: realizing that you have potential because I think the awareness or denying that we do is the first step – giving yourself permission to believe that you are brilliant and that that brilliance is really a gift that you were born with, and that you have spent time and energy over the years and over the course of your life, expanding on that gift. Whatever you’ve done – whether it’s your work experience, life experience, academic education – all of it is ingredients that you’ve put into the recipe of you. And so, today, you are, I would say, an agent of change. And the question is, what are you taking as a personal responsibility to ensure that you speak up, show up, and take action? 


Steve ShallenbergerAlright. One of the things that you talk about is how to clarify what possibilities look like. What are the possibilities of a person? What’s your recommendation for a person in that area? How do they clarify these things that they might be really good at, and develop them? It’s not about comparing against other people – that’s the heart of Becoming Your Best. It’s becoming YOUR best, not somebody else’s best. And so, how do people start zeroing in on their strengths or things that they can parlay into serving other people, and making a difference, and leaving a legacy? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Absolutely! I think this might be counterintuitive, but I would start by making a list of everything that comes easy to you because that’s going to reveal your strengths. Something that comes easy and you lean into doing more of that, it’s something that you enjoy, that you basically are wired for. Without doing this exercise, we might not reveal that. So, the first step is making that list of what comes easy to you. And then, looking at the list and searching for those that you say, “This comes easy to me, but I never really paid attention, therefore, I never nurtured it or worked on it to make it more of whatever that is.” So, the first step is identifying, and then, the second is nurturing and working on it more to make it even stronger. And third, go out – I know we can’t leave our house right now, but just serve with it in one way or another. Don’t build a business around it, don’t go get money for it. Just serve. And then, listen or experience it or just observe what happens when you intentionally serve with something that you know is one of your strengths. Because whether we’re talking about you as a leader to add value in your organization, or you as a leader to be the best in your community, or you as the leader to run a business, leaning into what you are wired to do and acknowledging yourself and communicating, “You know what? Here’s a role I can play because this is what I’m really good at” – this starts bringing and walking the path of clarity of purpose, and clarity of intention and action. 


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, that’s a great answer! Thanks so much! One of the things you’ve talked about, Dolores, is how to align your outside growth with your inside growth. Tell us about that. What’s that? How do you see that? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah, I see this a lot in my work. For the most part, 80% of my clients are business owners, and then, 20% of my clients are executives at companies. That can vary, but basically, at any point in our work – in whatever way you work – there are things that you might be asked to do or you know that you have to do, that you cannot recoil, that you shy away from. It could be a business owner saying you should go and speak in public and share about your work or it could be a leader having a difficult conversation with a team member or having to have a deeper conversation and potentially kind of discussing letting go of someone. The moments and situations that we are asked to experience, that sometimes feel really uncomfortable, the more we push ourselves to do something that inside of us we are trying to run away very fast from, that’s an indication that we are trying to perform beyond our internal capacity. As we build our emotional intelligence, as we build our internal capacity, personal strength of managing our self-doubt, of managing our imposter syndrome, of managing our self-confidence, managing the concept of trusting yourself and follow your intuition – these are all kind of internal process exercises – the more we are practicing these internally, the easier it is for us to take action on some tasks that might sometimes feel scary or overwhelming or we really don’t want to do them. 


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, yeah. That makes perfect sense. In other words, when you’re totally aligned inside, it’s a lot easier to be aligned outside.  


Dolores Hirschmann: Exactly!  


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, that makes a big difference! Now, you’re a TEDx organizer. Tell us what that means. 


Dolores Hirschmann: Oh, what that means is that a few years ago, it was weird – I was running my business, everything was going well, but there was something that I was missingSo, I asked myself, “What would I do for free all day long?” At that point, I had already been exposed to the TED Talks, I had been part of a team that did a TEDxI had attended some events for the TED organizers. I was asked by someone in the community if I would lead a new TEDx event here in our community. And it was interesting because as I was asking myself what would I do for free all day long, the answer was, “Hangout with people with really big ideas.” So, it kind of all came together in a serendipity way. I think the best things happen that way. I agreed to organize, and what it means is that I volunteered to put together an event on one day, here in Massachusetts, and I put a team of volunteers together, we scheduled a venue here, and then we did an open application for speakers, speakers applied to speak at our event, and then we chose those speakers that were aligned with the conversation we wanted to have. So, that’s basically what it is. It’s not a paid thing. It is a license granted by the main Ted organization and it’s something that we, TEDx organizers, would do to bring a specific conversation of possibility and opportunity by sharing ideas amongst our community. 


Steve Shallenberger: Wonderful! Oh, I’m so glad you shared that. I – and perhaps some of our listeners – may have wondered how that all happens. Great job!  


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah, there you go! Now, the mystery is revealed. 


Steve Shallenberger: There it is! You got it! That’s for sure. Now, Dolores, if you could go back and give your younger self one piece of business advice, what would that be? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Oh, just do it! Don’t doubt yourself, you’ll be fine, even if you mess it up. At the end of the day, one day, we’re all going to die and here’s where my 20-year-old experience came back because the truth is, that day, even though I never truly believed that I was going to die – and I’m honest here – what I was feeling and what the doctors and my parents were saying just didn’t make any sense. I never really felt that I was dying, but they thought I was. But somehow, what stayed with me is that that is the final chapter and it’s actually pretty clear – we’re all going to do that. So, what does messing up mean? The worst thing is you die and then life ends, but in between – between now and that day – try things, break things, play with things. Be respectful, of course, but don’t shy away on “What if it goes wrong? What if people judge me?” So, if I were to say something to my younger self, is, don’t think it twice. Just do it? 


Steve Shallenberger: I love it! Bravo. Amen! Yeah, just go out, have fun, get out, get in the ring, right?  


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah! You need to break some eggs to make an omelet. 


Steve Shallenberger: Jump in the arena! I love it. Now, any final tips you’d like to leave our listeners with, today? It’s been great! It’s been fun talking with you and hearing your perspective, your insight, your encouragement, your inspiration. Nice job! So, any final tips? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yes! And I think I’m going to give a tip that is true to the times that we’re living right now, Steven: as we all follow the rules and respect what we’re told so that we collectively protect each other, I want you to lean in what is possible as we co-create – we the world. Really I’m not exaggerating. We, the world. We, all people. It’s up to us to co-create what life will look like in a week, in a month, in three months, in two years. You know the saying, “Stop the world – I want to get off!“?  


Steve Shallenberger: Yeah.  


Dolores Hirschmann: Well, guys, the world stopped and we got off! So, when we go back into the world, what kind of world do we want to live in? And I think it’s up to each one of us to decide what kind of life you want to live in and pretend to live in that world, pretend that that world is real. If we were to all do that, from an aspiration perspective, understanding that it’s possible for all of us to be our best selves – oh, boy, that could be a really nice world to live in. 


Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, a fresh start. That’s great! So Dolores, how can people find out about what you’re doing? 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah. You can check out our website at and there’s an orange button that says “Start here”. Click the button and just jump in and have a conversation with us. 


Steve Shallenberger: Okay, well, that’s pretty easy!, right?  


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah. 


Steve Shallenberger: Hit the button! Get going! 


Dolores Hirschmann: Yeah, don’t hesitate! We don’t bite. 


Steve Shallenberger: Great! Well, thank you, Dolores, for being part of the Becoming Your Best show today. It’s been a delight having you here! We wish you the best as you’re making a difference in the world and blessing a lot of lives.  


Dolores Hirschmann: Thank you so much, Steven, for having me!  


Steve Shallenberger: You bet! And to all of our listeners, wherever you may be, we’re thinking of you today. I’m inspired by you, by your efforts, by your desire to become your best – and in the very process, you are blessing other people, just through the very fact that you’re trying. Well, it’s been great to be together with Dolores! We’re signing off. This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day! 


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