In this episode, we delve into Annie’s journey of becoming an Executive Coach, moved by the desire to make an impactful change as a leader. We talk about the BREATH Framework, its peculiar conception, and its unique way of enhancing leadership. Annie also highlights the importance of reclaiming our power, how leaders tend to unnoticeably give it out, and so much more.
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to all of our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners wherever you may be in the world today. This is your host, Steve Shallenberger. We have a terrific guest with us today. So excited to have her here. She is an experienced executive coach and businesswoman who has as her sole purpose to align leaders with their most authentic selves, which unlocks their ability to create a huge impact in the world. She helps companies see that “when you take care of your people, your people take care of your business.” Her message and methodology for coaching leaders was cultivated from her years in the business world and her extensive personal healing experience which she has combined for the benefit of the leaders she coaches. Her widespread coaching work spans across industries and has brought praise from companies for the change it has created. Welcome, Annie Leib! We’re excited to have you with us.
Annie Leib: Thank you so much. Great introduction, I appreciate it. I’m blushing.
Steve Shallenberger: Oh, I can’t wait to hear about BREATH. Before we get started, just a little bit more, I would like to tell you about her unique methodology, it’s captured in her trademark BREATH Framework, which has an intense focus on the identification of a person’s life purpose, value system, and core leadership traits. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. It’s had a big impact. Annie’s world is centered around her practice and her two children Sammy and Evie, and their rescue dog Randall. She has an Executive MBA and her professional coaching certification. So, Annie, tell us about your background including any turning points in life that’s had a significant impact on you.
Annie Leib: So, let’s start with me after college, I went into pharmaceuticals in sales and business development, and I was in that business for years. I started to feel voiceless, like a number, and like I didn’t have the impact the way I wanted to, and I couldn’t be the leader that I really wanted to be. And I decided to leave the corporate world and go back to school at 40 and get my MBA. In doing so, I ended up loosely coaching a lot of my cohort, and they started to tell me, “Annie, I know you’re in pharma, but you really have this coaching thing down and you need to start coaching executives to be a better leader. You’re so positive. You’re so motivational.” But I figured that there are so many coaches, what could be different about me? And that’s when I came up with the BREATH framework, and that is an acronym. B is for “Begin where you are.” R is “Reclaim your power.” E is “Excavate your core values.” A is “Allow.” T is “Through.” And H is “Heal” or “Healing.” And I take people, it’s very similar and mirrors my journey to become this soul-centered, fulfilled, whole person that is the most authentic version of themselves, where they can make the most impact in leadership. And that’s exactly what I did on my journey. So, that’s what I do for people. And that’s sort of a little insight into my world now that the company is growing leaps and bounds and I’m coaching senior-level executives across the world, and it’s been really impactful.
Steve Shallenberger: Tell us about your journey that led to BREATH that allowed you to think of these things.
Annie Leib: So, go back to 2014, it’s one of the lowest times of my life from signing my divorce papers in an auto body shop where there was a poem on the wall because that’s where the notary I needed to get a signature and I saw this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson randomly on the wall of an auto body shop, and it said something about breath. And that’s when I said, “You know what? You can strip me of everything but you can’t take my breath, that’s mine.” So, fast forward to 2018, going back to school and starting this coaching modality, that’s where BREATH originated. I have it tattooed on me. It’s really a super important word to me. So, that was a real turning point. And then when I came up with the modality, I needed an acronym because it really symbolizes the journey and the struggles that I’ve been through to go from that executive and that person that really wasn’t authentic and was kind of wearing a mask to this person that’s whole and fulfilled and soul-centered and able to make an impact as a leader.
Steve Shallenberger: So, the first one is Begin. Tell us about that. People have got to get going, they have this idea, they have this dream, they have this feeling, maybe they’ve been crushed in the past. Tell us about Begin, I love that.
Annie Leib: They’re all really important steps, but I think Begin is really huge because when I meet an executive that’s in this lost space and isn’t sure why he or she is so unfulfilled and unhappy in their life, or not being the leader that they set out to be or not making the impact that they set out to make. They often think that their Begin is somewhere else. Then we talk and I have some clarifying questions and some activities that we do, and then they realize oftentimes their Begin is not where they originally thought. So, it’s really important for me to meet my clients and my executives where they are. So, for me to help them clarify in their life where exactly their Begin is, is super important.
Steve Shallenberger: And then “reclaim your power,” what is that?
Annie Leib: “Reclaim your power” is when you figure out how you’re giving your power away on a daily basis — it might be the way we’re talking, it might be the way we’re acting with people, it might be in our relationships, it might be with our children, our spouse, our boss. And there are just so many ways that we turn over our power, and we don’t realize how we’re giving it away, and we become powerless. So, I help people to become more empowered and know what their power is. And that is how you reclaim your power.
Steve Shallenberger: So, what’s an example of that, Annie?
Annie Leib: An example of that is just your verbiage, just one off the top of my head is speaking in a negative tone about yourself — allowing that voice in your head to overcome what you really should be thinking of yourself. “Oh, I could never do that.” “That’s not something that I could ever accomplish.” “I’m not good at that.” Not leaning into your strength is really common for people. That way of thinking, that mindset is actually giving people’s power away.
Steve Shallenberger: And they can’t focus and they can’t become fulfilled the best that they’re capable of doing. If that’s the world they’re in, their mind is everything, their thought is everything.
Annie Leib: I made a post today earlier, I made an Instagram Reel actually about what if things worked out totally well and your life became beautiful. How come we’re always worrying and thinking to ourselves, “This isn’t going to work. I’m going to be late. I’m going to fail.” Change your lens, change your mindset, and take your power back.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, that is what gives you peace, happiness, power, focusing on the things that are important. Now, you talk about values as well, core values, that’s just fundamental because that’s starting to really form what your thoughts are. When you start identifying that stuff, it just opens up so many possibilities, and now your mind has a place to go. Tell us about that.
Annie Leib: It does. Values are so much a part of your mindset, and many people don’t know their values at all. So, when I use the word “excavate,” it’s because it was bigger than dig — a big deep dive into what your values are. And I’ll tell you a quick story that will explain excavating your core values. So, when I was on my journey and I decided to look into values, I pulled up on my screen, it was like 150 different values and I’m looking through all of them, and I remember seeing freedom and saying, “Why would anyone choose that as a core value? What does that even mean? Not being incarcerated? Why would someone choose that?” And as I dug deeper, as I dug into this world of core values, I realized that freedom was not only a core value of mine, but it was an overarching core value to me that everything in the world about me is being free to be authentically me. That is so super important to me and it trickles down throughout the whole fabric of my being. So, once I figured out that freedom was such an important core value, I could be totally free to be me and I understood that that was such an important core value to me.
Steve Shallenberger: Yeah, that’s a big deal, isn’t it?
Annie Leib: Oh, it sure is. Once you identify those and I have activities and things that we’ve done that I can sit and talk to them about and do that will help them to identify their values. And that’s part of my coaching.
Steve Shallenberger: So, what gets you up in the morning?
Annie Leib: Aside from my beautiful children, what gets me up is this job, honestly. I have had so much fun and grown so much and learned so much from growing this company, and being able to interact with executives every single day and help them to become the most authentic version of themselves; it is motivating to me, it’s inspiring to me, and it really is my life’s mission.
Steve Shallenberger: I love that because when you’ve got a passion burning in your heart, and it’s clear, and you see that you’re helping people fulfilling that passion, it makes it a lot easier, doesn’t it?
Annie Leib: It sure does. If I go a couple of days, let’s say I’m on vacation or I just need to take a couple of days off, and I don’t feel that I’m healing or coaching someone, I really lose some of that zest and I need to get back to work.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, now tell us about the Allow part. So, we’ve talked about several of these, it’s great, I love it. We’re talking about BREATH today with Annie Leib, this is great.
Annie Leib: So, A is for “allow not control.” So, what that really means and why I named that was because in life, there are actually ways to surrender. And I don’t mean defeat or failure, I mean, surrender where you let things be as they are, you allow them to be, you loosen the reins and let go of them, and you realize that if you allow things to be as they may, you will be a lot happier in your life.
Steve Shallenberger: So, you’re saying don’t stress over a lot of things you can’t control.
Annie Leib: Exactly. There’s so much in our lives that we can’t control. When we learn that and allow them to be as they are and let the chips fall as they may, life is a lot easier.
Steve Shallenberger: And the T stands for what then?
Annie Leib: “Through not around.” So, “through” means to go through something and sit in the discomfort of it to learn how you react to it and deal with it in your life, rather than trying to beat around the bush and go around which a lot of us try to do. When we actually go through it, we can recognize the issues, we can get through the problems, and we can work toward an outcome, versus trying to go around and hitting a wall.
Steve Shallenberger: And then, of course, the last one is Heal. Why did you put that last?
Annie Leib: Heal is really the final place that you get to through my program, where you get to a place of fulfillment, wholeness, oneness, personal freedom, and all the things that I discovered along my journey. And the reason it’s Heal or Healing, not Healed, is because it’s an ever-going and ongoing process. We are constantly evolving and growing as people, and it has to be a present-tense healing.
Steve Shallenberger: So, Annie, what is one overall message you’d like to give to our listeners today?
Annie Leib: My overall message, Steve, is that you don’t have to be uncomfortable in your life. You don’t have to be unhappy, you don’t have to have discontent, and you don’t have to feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel. There are ways to get through your obstacles to overcome your issues. There are ways to get you to a place of personal freedom and wholeness. And if they go to my website, which is annieleib.com, and you go to Learn More, you can learn all about my executive program that can take you to a place of your authentic self.
Steve Shallenberger: What’s a final tip, or final tips, that you’d like to leave with our listeners today that would help them be happier, more fulfilled, more at peace, and make a great contribution in all the various areas of their life?
Annie Leib: So, a final tip would be, your life doesn’t have to stay the way it is if you don’t love the way it is. There are ways to get through this, start journaling and free writing, just get some of your head thoughts out of your head and onto paper. It’s really an amazing way to find your awareness and increase it amazingly. These are little things that you can start to do but you can reach out to me and learn more. We have a plethora of activities and discussion pieces that we can go through to try to help you get more to your authentic self.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, thank you, Annie, for being a part of the show today. Tell us one more time how people can find out what you do or where you’re at.
Annie Leib: LinkedIn is a great place to find me, Annie Leib. The other place is my website, annieleib.com. I’m an executive coach that helps people to make more impact as leaders and become their most authentic selves. If you click on Learn More, you’ll be able to look at my story, you’ll be able to hear more about me, and you’ll be able to find out the ways that I get you to a place of wholeness and peace and personal freedom and your most authentic self.
Steve Shallenberger: Well, thanks so much for being with us. Congratulations on your journey, the things that you’re doing, and thanks for sharing these ideas today.
Annie Leib: Thanks so much, Steve.
Steve Shallenberger: You’ve been a trooper. Our listeners would never know this, but this has been the most challenging technological interview I think I’ve ever done because the internet has gone off three times.
Annie Leib: No worries. It was fun. You were fine. We’re all good. Nobody knows except for us.
Steve Shallenberger: No, I’m telling the world and I want them to know that Annie is awesome. We just made it work. And then our wonderful team that puts all this together will make it seamless. I want everybody to know you’ve been so great to work with. I loved the interview and appreciate your thoughts.
Annie Leib: Thanks, Steve. I really appreciate your time, and look forward to working together.
Steve Shallenberger: You bet. And to our listeners, we’re so grateful that you could join us today, love your attitude, always trying to learn more. How to make your good better and your better best. And always, this is your host, Steve Shallenberger.
CEO, Executive, Corporate Trainer, and Community Leader.
Certified Professional Executive Coach