EP: 126 Discovering Your Authentic Self: A Deep Dive Into The BREATH Framework™ With Annie Leib

BWW 126 | Authenticity

I’m very excited about our guest today! Annie Leib is someone I met via LinkedIn after watching her create awesome, real, and vulnerable content on LinkedIn. If you have been on LinkedIn in the last few years, real and vulnerable content is starting to emerge, but it wasn’t always that way. Annie was one of the pioneers of keeping it real on this professional platform. And that’s what made her stand out to me and I wanted to connect with her. When we met, Annie didn’t disappoint. She’s as real in person as she is in her content.

During our discussion, Annie and I chatted about:

  1. Her road to becoming an executive leadership coach.
  2. What her BREATH Framework™ is and why it is important
  3. Why reclaiming your power and control can be challenging steps in healing
  4. How authenticity plays a role in her framework
  5. How Annie organically grew a network in LinkedIn of over 35,000 followers. Yes, 35,000.
  6. And how you can do it too!
  7. And finally, how working within the BREATH Framework™ is not a one and done type of exercise. It is something that you need to learn and repeat.

Listen to the podcast here

Discovering Your Authentic Self: A Deep Dive Into The BREATH Framework™ With Annie Leib

I am so excited for our guest. I got to tell you, it’s been a while since Annie Leib and I have met. She is someone that I have been watching create awesome, real, and vulnerable content on LinkedIn. Another guest that I’ve met on LinkedIn, but I can’t sing the praises of that platform more. It’s a wonderful place to meet new people, meet, network, and find opportunities, so go check out LinkedIn.

If you’ve been on LinkedIn in the last few years, I would say real and vulnerable content a few years ago is starting to emerge, but it always wasn’t that way. It used to be very stuffy and professional. Only people would not share more about their personal lives and I’m so glad that that platform is changing for the better.

Annie was one of those pioneers of keeping it real on this platform, and that’s what made her stand out to me and want to connect with her. When we met in person, we haven’t met in physicality, but in the interwebs, Annie did not disappoint. She is as real in person as she is within her content and I’m excited for you all to meet her.

During my discussion with Annie, we chatted about her road to becoming an executive leadership coach and why the word breath is important to her. It’s an interesting story. Also, how she founded her BREATH Framework and why it is important. We also discussed why reclaiming your power and control can be challenging steps in your own healing, how authenticity plays a role in her BREATH Framework, and how Annie organically grew a network on LinkedIn of over 35,000 followers. You read it correctly, 35,000. She started just like you and me with 1, 2, 10, 100, 1,000, and she organically grew it. She didn’t pay a marketer or a third party. She did it with blood, sweat, and tears. She’s giving you some good old simple secrets on how you can build a network on LinkedIn, too.

Finally, I swung back around and talked about the BREATH Framework and said, “Is this a one-and-done exercise?” It is not a one-and-done. It is something that needs to be repeated throughout your life and your career. Here’s more about Annie. Annie has an executive MBA. She is a certified professional executive coach and facilitator. Her mission is to guide senior executives and their teams to alignment, personal freedom, and fulfillment.

While using specific fear-mapping techniques, which we do talk about briefly in the show, she helps executive teams adapt to change and transformation. She is the Creator of the BREATH Framework and the author of the book Begin with the BREATH. We didn’t discuss this on the show, but a fun factoid about Annie is that she is a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan. If you do decide to connect with her on LinkedIn, mention that to her and tell her I sent you.

Before we get started, if you’re enjoying Brave Women at Work, please make sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. If you’ve left a rating and review already, I thank you so much. Your support of the show helps it gain traction and continue to grow. I have to tell you all that the show reached 33 countries, everyone. I can’t believe it. I’m so humbled. Thank you. You can also share the show with your friends, family members, or colleagues on your social media feeds.

Lastly, I’m just wanting to talk about coaching. If you’ve been feeling stuck in your career, then I’m going to invite you personally to take advantage of a special launch or dream career or business. It’s one-on-one coaching with yours truly where you get to work with me on creating a crystal clear vision for the type of career or business you want, the income level you desire, and what it will take to make it happen.

We’ll also discover hidden challenges that might be sabotaging your success. I’ve talked a lot about them on the show. Perfectionism, people pleasing, guilt, numbing out, you name it, we talk about it. You’re going to leave the session renewed, re-energized, and inspired to finally create a career you love once and for all.

You’re going to talk to me to have that session. You simply go to my website at BraveWomenAtWork.com. You grab a date and time on my calendar. Here’s the great thing. It is free. It’s 30 minutes of your time. I’d be honored to speak with you and see if coaching is a fit. Let’s welcome Annie to the show.

BWW 126 | Authenticity

Hello, Annie. Welcome to Brave Women at Work. How are you?

I’m great. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

I am so excited too. I always love to start with my guest’s backstory, a little bit about how they’ve gotten to where they are on their journey. You are no different. Tell us a little bit about you and how you’ve gotten to where you are.

The best place to start is my breath story. In 2015, I was at a low place. I was signing divorce papers in an autobody shop because that’s where the notary was. That’s how bad things were. I look over on an auto body shop wall, there’s a piece of paper and it’s a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem randomly. It says something about breath or breathing. I’m like, “You can strip me of everything but you can’t take my breath. That’s mine.”

Fast forward, as I’m climbing up the corporate ladder, I decided, “Forget that. I don’t want to be a number. I want to be a human. I want to be seen as a whole person. I need to go back to school at 40 to get my executive MBA, and then I’ll go be a manager and be an executive leader somewhere.” I did that. In the midst of being in my MBA program, COVID hit and the world was turned upside down.

I decided to start a coaching company because I had been coaching a lot of my cohort. They were like, “You need to be an executive coach.” I got my certificate very quickly and I started my coaching company, but I wanted to be different from other coaches, so I created the BREATH Framework. That’s where that story and the beginning comes in.

BREATH is an acronym for Begin where you are, Reclaim your power, Excavate your core values, Allow, Through, and Heal. I take people on a journey through my coaching modality called BREATH Framework from their Begin to their Heal. It’s exactly what I did on my journey. What I’m doing now, to sum up my story, I’ve come full circle and I’m coaching the executive that I used to be.

How was it to go through that and develop that framework? You didn’t know it was happening at that time, but was it a painful process? Was it a long process to go through as you were going through your own breath framework? Tell me about that experience of healing.

It was a totally painful and arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be like that. I don’t want to scare anyone. I just took a while, went through this process, put it together as I went along, and then finally, it became a coaching modality. In fact, it’s funny that you bring that up about the program. I just created my new program for BREATH Framework, which is called TrueNorth 90. That is getting people to authenticity and simplicity using the breath framework in less than 90 days. This is something where we can see true results in less than three months.

Are you saying that because the original BREATH Framework would take potentially longer, maybe 6 months to 9 months longer?

Exactly. That was the original, and also, I took longer when I went through it. Now, I’ve perfected the program. Most people extend and they want to usually do it for 3 more months after the 3. There is a definite impact in less than 90 days and that’s my guarantee. I will keep working with a client even if they’re not seeing results, which by the way has never happened. That’s my guarantee. You will see results in under 90 days.

In terms of the framework itself, I want people to go and look at your website, which we’ll share at the end, and your resources. I don’t want to give away all the spoilers. Can you go a little bit more in-depth in the framework? Why did you decide the acronym was the way the acronym was? Dive a little deeper into the framework.

The best way to understand it is, B is for Begin Where You Are. What I have found with clients and what I’ve found in my own journey is that you have to truly understand where you’re beginning. Most people, when they come to me and I, in my situation, did not know where I truly was beginning. Discovering that. Looking into some self-awareness techniques and some fear-mapping. That’s super important to figure out where your beginning is. R is for Reclaim Your Power. They’re all important, but that’s a super important step to reclaim who you are. Remember who you are, your value, and your worth.

E is another critical step. It’s for Excavate Your Core Values. Excavation means digging deep into your character strengths and core values. What shapes your behaviors and the way you act based on those values? Are you living with those values? If you’re not, how can you start? A is Allow, Not Control. We go through life trying to control so much of everything, where we go, what we do, what our children do, what our spouse does, and how we can perfect everything in our life. If we loosen the reigns a little bit, life becomes a lot more bearable. Learning how to allow things to be as they are.

Through is a little bit of an uncomfortable part. That’s the second to last step where you sit in your discomfort. You’ve now discovered where your power was and you reclaimed it. You’ve figured out your core values. You’ve now allowed a lot of things you used to control. Through is sitting in the discomfort of being who you are. There’s a lot of discomfort in that because a lot of people have been fighting it for most of their lives. It’s discovering that person that you are, and then sitting with it, truly looking in the mirror and seeing what’s there and who’s there.

Heal is a beautiful step. That’s the final step in the BREATH Framework. That is a place of fulfillment, wholeness, oneness, and freedom, which is the ultimate goal of the program. It’s hard to explain quickly, but freedom is an important word to me. When you go through the Heal step, you gain this personal freedom that you didn’t have before. You were in shackles before just by that control stuff, by not having your power, and by not knowing your values. All those things get tied together in the Heal step.

I have so many questions now. I’m like, “Where do I go?” I’m a curious person by nature. I ask questions as part of what I do. What is fear mapping? Can you share what that exercise is?

I’m going to give you the high level. It’s looking at the things in life that keep you scared. Those are also the things that keep you down and stuck. We can discover, through my activities and exercises, what your biggest fears are. By the way, a lot of them are connected to your values, so when we do the Excavate piece, we uncover a lot of your fears.

The only way to fix something is to become aware of it. If you’re going through life, you have these fears, and you’re not aware of them or what to do about them, you’re going to stay stuck in those fears. If you can truly look at them, examine them, excavate your core values, and figure out what matters to you and what makes you you, then at that point, you can take a look at your fears and start to kick them off one by one and check those boxes.

That’s interesting because people probably come to you and they’re like, “I want to make more money. I want a bigger position. I’m an executive.” You have to go underneath all of that because what they’re coming for is probably part of it, but not the whole thing. It’s like an iceberg. Is that true?

You’re on point. I’ll reframe a little bit of what you said. Usually, people come to me for something other than or in addition to the real root issues. That’s what we discover together on this journey. I call it underneath the underneath. We peel back a layer but there are so many more layers underneath to get into. Another thing I want to note too is, you don’t have to go back and discover all your childhood trauma in order to become a stronger, more powerful, and empowered person. I’m not talking about that.

You don't have to go back and discover all your childhood trauma in order to become a stronger, more powerful, and empowered person. Click To Tweet

I don’t want people to hear that, be scared, and think, “What am I going to discover if I peel off those layers?” It’s not like that. It’s an empowering and strengthening process. We’re not here to go through more pain. You’ve been in enough pain. We’re here to strengthen ourselves, empower ourselves, and understand authenticity and vulnerability but not to be in more pain. Don’t think that I’m saying, “Pull back the layers,” to add pain to your life. This is to find your strength.

There’s one thing that I want to clarify because people know I’m a coach and I have clients. You said you’re an executive coach. I don’t do this often enough. Every now and again, I should probably do this. What is your definition of the difference between coaching and therapy? I want people to understand, coaches can hit on stuff from the past but we’re not therapists. When people ask you the difference, what do you tell them?

I have to first and foremost say, “I don’t have a license in therapy, a social worker, or a doctor, but I have my coaching certification and I have a boatload of life and business experience.” Coaches often find solutions to problems and help present them to their clients. I don’t knock therapy ever. It’s a wonderful modality depending on what they’re doing, CBT or whatever. They’re mostly there to listen and have you discover your own solutions. You talk yourself into things in therapy, and that person’s there to guide you. A coach to me is like, “I hear what you’re saying. Let’s map this out and get you a solution right away. Let’s take action.” Therapy’s a little different than that. That’s my personal opinion.

I tell people that therapy is more of that. We’re looking a lot more in the rearview mirror. When I work with clients we’re going to touch on the rearview mirror because it might have an impact on forward momentum. I believe that coaching is about more forward action and the present.

The present is such a good part.

The present and the future, we’re there to help you, keep you accountable, and help you find the clarity to take action. Again, I love therapy as a modality as well, but I want to make sure we clarify that because it can get a little bit confusing. With the BREATH Framework, where do you see people often, if they do, get hung up or stuck in that process?

I’ve had some people get a little bit stuck in Reclaiming Their Power because we have to understand their value and worth. Most people in life don’t truly know their value and their worth. That takes a little time. I don’t want to say stuck, but this isn’t a step where I’m like, “This week, we’re doing B. This week, we’re doing R.” It’s much more conversational with me. Sometimes it might go out of order.

You’re always going to begin and end at the Heal, but with the other ones, sometimes you might discover your core values a little bit more before you reclaim your power. Sometimes you might do them at the same time. They all lead to each other. People get stuck in Reclaiming Their Power, but when they do, it’s like a light bulb went off. Excavating Core Values, I’ve spent a lot of time with people delving into their values of who they are and what they stand for, and understanding how that can help them be their most authentic selves by understanding and living in their values every day. I wouldn’t say stuck as much as it just takes some time.

There are two in here that hit me. The first one I’ll touch on is Reclaiming Your Power. They’re all very important. That one hits me hard because I have said on my show many a time, “Perfectionist, overachiever, and people-pleaser.” I read an article as I was prepping some content about being the office doormat. I was the office doormat for a very long time. I was giving my power constantly because I wanted to be seen as agreeable. I wanted to get the promotions. You don’t realize. It starts by being pervasive. It’s like an illness all over where you’re giving your power away. I can see why Reclaiming Your Power is a big one for people.

You are speaking my language. That’s exactly right. Your default becomes, “How do I control everything? I want to control what you think of me. I want to control that everybody likes me. I want to control my promotion.” You then get to the Allow And Not Control step. Do you see the difference? You can still go back and reclaim your power because you’ve now allowed, versus controlling.

The second one for me is control. I would over-control everything else in my life and I would not surrender because I was not in my own power. I became a control freak of everything else I could control, cleaning the house or other things. Do you see any patterns with the people that you work with? I’m already a self-claimed perfectionist, achiever, and gold star chaser. Do you have a similar pattern or not? People that come to you are from all walks of life.

Mostly, I consider myself and call myself and my practice an executive coach because I work with a lot of senior executives from corporations. I also have individuals that are not. I’m coaching a stay-at-home mom but she’s very involved in her community. She’s a leader in her community. She still has that mentality of doing things right, making sure she’s perfect, and all those things. I have a span of people that I see that come to me, but there are always similar threads between all of them.

It’s interesting that there are threads. I’ve just gotten started in the last couple of years, but mine are those overachievers, those people pleasers, those people that struggle with doubt, imposter syndrome, and things like that. It is interesting how people get attracted to us, and then all of a sudden, we start to see those commonalities. You also have a book that goes with us that I researched. I have not read it yet, but it’s called Begin with the BREATH. Was that where you first mentioned the BREATH Framework? Tell me about that book, and if that’s where the framework is covered even in more detail.

BWW 126 | Authenticity
Begin with the BREATH: Our intuitive coaches ignite professionals with breath and life, healing and elevating souls by Annie Leib, Cordelia Gaffar, Felicia Miller Johnson, Ipek Williamson, Elizabeth Ndungu, Jenny Landgren, Heather Louise Vasey, Kelly Bryant

It’s where it’s covered in more detail. I wrote the introduction to that book about how BREATH Framework started, and then a bunch of coaches, colleagues, and friends of mine wrote how the BREATH Framework impacted their lives and their coaching practices. There’s my introduction, and then there’s a bunch of chapters. It’s not a long book but it shows how this one framework can influence other people in their lives and how it’s impacted different souls. That’s what we did. We got together and did a collaborative book for the BREATH Framework.

I’m asking you selfishly, are you ever going to train other coaches? I’m digging your BREATH Framework here.

My strategist was like, “You need to be training on this and you need to be charging to train.” I’m like, “What? I just want to teach people how to do this because it’s amazing. I want to show people the impact that I’ve made and how it’s helping people.” She’s like, “You need to be making training.” Truthfully, I haven’t thought about it. As I expand, I will be having more coaches working with me, and so I’m going to have to train people when I farm out work. They have to understand my framework to teach it and to guide using it. It’s probably in my future, but there are no immediate plans.

Keep me in mind for the future. I’m a learner by nature for sure. Switching gears off of the framework, I want everyone to follow you on LinkedIn first off, get the book, and look at the framework. I love and over 34,000 other people love your LinkedIn post, so congratulations on your following. How did you grow that thing? I’m reminding everyone, if you’re not on LinkedIn, please go on LinkedIn and set up a profile. I’m asking you to do that. How did you grow such a large following on LinkedIn?

I can promise you blood, sweat, and tears, it’s all organic. A lot of people I hear get these huge followings and there are plenty that are much bigger than mine, but some of them don’t do it organically. I don’t know how to be anything but authentic. I just got on there and I started posting about my life. Creating a coaching practice, I started giving out complimentary consults as virtual coffee dates to get on and have conversations with people. That’s how I got my first clients.

I started talking about my personal life, like my kids and my struggles. I was lonely for a while. As you know now, I’m engaged but for a while, I was in the dating scene. I would talk about different feelings I was having and ways that I was struggling with the coaching business and in my life, and then ways that I had successes and my learnings. I just got on and I was me.

This is the cycle with LinkedIn. You think no one cares. You think, “Why should I post it? I’m certainly not going to do it every day. No one wants to see that.” I am telling you, if you put your schedule together. I rarely miss a day. If you post every day, people are going to follow you, and then they’re going to wonder where you are when you’re not posting.

BWW 126 | Authenticity
Authenticity: If you put your schedule together and post regularly, rarely missing a day, people are going to follow you. They’re going to wonder where you are when you’re not posting. The key is to get on there.

They do care about what you’re saying.

They do care. Get on there and post. Get on there and engage with other people. Engage, that’s the key, because the algorithm likes it and it’s authentic. You want to meet people. You want to grow your network. I adore all my followers. I write to them. I miss them when I don’t talk to them. They’re important to me. These aren’t 100,000 people that I never heard of. There’s a group of probably 500 people that I talk to within every month. Continue to grow your network.

When I hit 35,000, my goal now is 50,000, but it’s become less important because now it just happens by itself. Whereas under 35,000, I was like, “I want to be at 35,000.” The numbers to me are a little bit more vanity metrics now and I’m less worried about how much attention I’m getting. I’m more concerned about growing my business. Until I got to a certain point, I cared about every number. Who was liking my posts? Who was engaging? I would give the advice to just get on there, engage and share. Do it every day. Make a goal. Say to yourself, “I’m going to do this every day for a year.” See what happens. I bet you you’ll be satisfied after that year. You will have a following.

Not everyone runs a business or they might be in corporate. Even for someone that has a 9:00 to 5:00, why would you say it’s important to grow their network on LinkedIn?

It’s all about personal brand. You could work for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, but what’s your brand? Who are you? Do you support the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association? Are you a volunteer there? Do you support the Boys & Girls Club? Are you into feeding the homeless? Are you raising money for this awareness or that awareness?

What is it about you? Does your child have developmental disabilities that you want to talk to? Do you want to make a statement to the world that this has to be talked about and these people need to be seen like the rest of us? What’s your brand? It doesn’t matter if you have your own business or if you work for another company. It’s more about what kind of brand you’re developing online.

That’s interesting because people will ask me a couple of things because I’m still in a corporate position. They’re like, “Why are you doing this? You have a solid career.” I felt the need where I was supporting my company’s brand during the day. What about me? Who am I? I joke about it. I don’t know, maybe you’ll say, “Jen has a midlife crisis.” I don’t know.

I’m just saying that I felt like I was in a sea of nothingness. I wasn’t identifying who I was. Working with women and championing women is my cause. It’s pretty evident online. I feel good about that. People know when they come to my profile or read my content. It’s like, “She’s going to be talking about negotiation of women or she’s going to be talking about women.”

That’s your scene. When someone says your name, they think that. That’s amazing. That’s a brand. You’ve created that for yourself. It doesn’t mean that’s what you always have to talk about. I certainly don’t only talk about executive coaching. That’s one of the last things I talk about because that’s not what people want to hear about. They want to know you. They want to know who you are. They don’t care what company you work for. It’s nice if you’re supporting your company’s brand, that’s wonderful. What people want to see on this platform is who you are. That’s what’s going to make you stand out.

You’re challenging me because I’ve always thought about LinkedIn that it’s professional. When I read your content, you go into the vulnerable. You’re radically honest. You’re talking about all the things. Do you find that that’s unique or more people are doing that on LinkedIn?

More people are doing it now than a few years ago. I only started about a couple of years ago. It was not as prevalent. In fact, I don’t even remember people putting selfies. What I got really into was video, raw video footage of me at 5:00 in the morning before a run like, “I don’t want to do this run, but I’m going to tell you right now, I know how good I’m going to feel after this run.”

Popping back on the video and being like, “I just did that run. I’m telling you, get up and do something that you’re scared to do.” It’s that kind of message. Video was hot for a while, then it went into more selfies and pictures of yourself. Now, video is back. I can share the algorithm secret with people. Video is like a short film or short raw footage. Everybody’s watching that.

TikTok, Instagram reels, your stories, and things like that, you can do that on LinkedIn. Just use your iPhone. It doesn’t have to be edited. I go on my iPhone looking like I just got out of bed and I’m like, “Listen, this is what’s on my mind.” It got this vibe of Annie’s so authentic and it matches with me because I don’t know how else to be. My whole thing is like, “This is hurting right now. I’m not going to lie to you.” I put my dog to sleep. He was my COVID dog and now I had to put him to sleep. We just bought a house as a blended family.

It’s these different things. They don’t have to do with executive coaching but they have to do with me. When you go to a coach, you know this as a coach. Someone comes to you. They want to know who you are. You’re not this person behind a screen. You’re Jen. You’re special because of all the ways you’re special. They come to me because they want me to tell it like it is because I teach authenticity. That’s what I do. That’s my brand.

Out of curiosity, why did you decide on LinkedIn versus Instagram versus Facebook? I don’t know. Facebook is on the way out, but some people feel like Facebook or TikTok. Why LinkedIn?

I was graduating from my MBA program in the middle of 2020. That’s where I thought I was going to get a job. I was starting my program. I was starting my business. I thought I was going to get out of my MBA program and get this big-time management consultant job and be traveling to it, and then COVID hit. I was doing it for business reasons, and then I was like, “This is stuffy. I want to be the real me. I don’t want professional shots.” Not that I don’t have headshots, I do. I just want to show them what it looks like when you’ve been working all day, you come home, and you have three kids to get to soccer practice. This is what it looks like. It’s crazy.

I wanted people to understand that that’s what life is like for most of us. Everybody isn’t perfect and has a suit on every day. I wear T-shirts and sweatshirts. That’s who I am. I picked LinkedIn for business, but then I made it my own platform. Facebook is great for groups and business pages. Socially, that’s so old school to me. Instagram, I’m getting started on. It’s important not to get overwhelmed when you’re starting and to just pick one platform. If you’re starting a business, LinkedIn is where to start.

I agree with that. You’re challenging me again and I’m challenging everyone here. Go to LinkedIn. If you don’t have a platform, start there. If you have lower than 500, you’re an expert in this, so I know that you need to get over 500 for LinkedIn. Five hundred is a good threshold. Start connecting people in your network.

Posting and engaging. Make virtual coffees with everybody that you might have an interest in talking to. Talk to everybody. If you’re starting, it’s not about charging at first, it’s about bringing your value to the table, and you’re still figuring out your path. Go, engage, and learn from people. Be a sponge. That’s what I did and that’s what helped me.

It's not about charging first. It's about bringing your value to the table while still figuring out your path. Click To Tweet

It’s good feedback. Having a goal with LinkedIn and your network is good because I made the mistake that you have coached people on this. My head was down. I was a quiet worker for a long time and I did not network. When I look back at the jobs that I have gotten, it’s through other people. It’s not through Monster or whatever.

It’s never through an ad. It’s always through who you know.

For any of those manager-level jobs or higher, you’re not finding them online. I’ve been in this position for quite a while, but in between when I was looking for a position, I had my resume open on LinkedIn to recruiters. Some of my friends were on various levels. Everyone’s got to start somewhere but they were getting recruited. Maybe they were in IT or they were in other areas. I would have friends that would ask me like, “Have you had a recruiter call you? I’ve had so much success with LinkedIn.” I’m like, “Zero.” The network piece is important. I’m hoping we’re giving you some good momentum to get started on LinkedIn. Anything else on the LinkedIn stuff, Annie?

No. Just be you. Show up as you. Come talk to me if you don’t understand who you are and you want to get coached on that because that’s my bread and butter. Be you, show up authentically, and tell your story. That’s what people want. They want to know who you are. They don’t care as much about your profile and where you used to work or where you work now. That’s at the bottom of the barrel. Make sure your About section is great. Tell your story. Give your accolades. I’ve had some magazine appearances. I was recently recognized by Forbes, which was the coolest thing in my career. It was mind-blowing. That’s under my About section.

BWW 126 | Authenticity
Authenticity: Just be you, show up authentically, and tell your story. That’s what people want. They want to know who you are.

If people go to read about me, they’re going to see that right away. It’s not on my website yet. I need to get somebody on that. It’s been so crazy. Try not to get overwhelmed. It’s a little bit of a process here. This is not something that I did overnight, by any means. It is blood, sweat, and tears to start and run a business, and to be an entrepreneur, but you can do it. If I did it, you can do it. I can promise you that.

Even if you are a 9:00 to 5:00-er, 15 minutes on LinkedIn a day or half an hour on LinkedIn a day makes a difference. Don’t just lurk. You have to engage, post, and connect.

You can lurk if you want. It’s just not going to get you anywhere. You can see other people’s content and you can do that behind the scenes, but it’s not going to get you a network. It’s not going to gain you friends. I still have people that now I’ll post and they’ll be like, “I remember meeting you for a virtual coffee at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. You changed my life in a half hour.”

First of all, that makes me cry. The reason I’m saying it is not to brag. I’m saying it because look at the impact you can make just from one conversation. It’s one free half-hour conversation. There are a handful of people that will say, “You changed my life. You changed the trajectory of my life with that conversation.” Don’t doubt the impact you can make on one call.

That’s so powerful. I forgot to ask you a question about the BREATH Framework. With the BREATH framework, is it cyclical sometimes? I’ll be vulnerable here right on this medium. Sometimes I go into these patterns and this is part of the human condition. I get ahead, and then I go back because it gets comfy. I want to be in the Begin Where You Are stage again.

Maybe it’s on a new thing. They say, it’s a new level, new devil, where I’m like, “Here I go again. I’m going back to those old places, old spaces, and old patterns that I thought I had graduated from.” Do you find that sometimes you have to take clients through the BREATH Framework multiple times on different issues so that they can need to revisit it periodically?

That is so common. It’s not like, “Jen, this is the answer. The be all, end all is going to answer all your problems.” You’re working through a struggle and an obstacle and I can help you with this framework. If you’re not on a journey, we’re all evolving because we’re looking at ourselves. I can tell from knowing a little bit about you and talking to you a few times, your self-awareness is high. Sometimes you might overthink things because you’re so aware of how you feel and where you are.

For you, you’re going to constantly be evolving and growing. Instead, you’re looking at it like, “I got to start again. Now, I’m back here again.” You’re not at square one. You’re nowhere near square one. You already came way ahead of square one. Now you’re here, you’re at a new starting place and that’s okay. You’re only human, but the reason that you’re feeling what you’re feeling is because you’re growing.

The key point here is that you might feel like you’re back at square 1, but you might be at square 3 or square 7. It just feels like it, but you’re inching forward.

If you are starting at square one again, you want to keep having somebody to talk to. You want to work with a coach or somebody that you trust that can help you get through to the next square. That’s the thing. We need to link arms. We need to hold hands. We need to do this together. You don’t need to do it alone. That’s why I don’t compete with people for coaching business because there’s plenty of coaching business out there. I am not in competition with other coaches. We all have our unique modalities, unorthodox styles, and different ways we do things. There’s plenty of business for each of us. We just need to link arms and not try to do it alone.

To answer your question, the very long way of answering your question, it’s definitely cyclical. What I like to do is I like to teach people the BREATH Framework, so they can apply it to their next obstacle and don’t need me anymore. It’s something that you can learn how to do. You rewire your brain, thought patterns, and behaviors, and then you can say, “Let me apply this here.” Your outcome is different because your way of doing it is different.

Giving them that framework so they can apply it to various problems or situations in their lives. I love to ask this question and I can’t wait to hear your answer. What are 1 to 2 ways that you believe women can be braver at work?

I’m going to give you three ways. It’s funny, I posted about this. I made a reel about three ways that you can be more authentic. How do you become more authentic? 1) You haven’t reflected on your core values. Like I said earlier, how do you live in your values every day? If you don’t know, do some character strength and core value evaluations or analysis. That’s one of the bread-and-butter things that I do. 2) You’re not observing yourself objectively. You’re not standing on a wall like a fly on the wall and saying, “I see myself.” That way, you don’t know what’s authentic and what’s not. You have to observe yourself objectively.

3) You haven’t examined belief systems. Some of which were developed in your childhood. Those are the things that affect your behaviors today. If you haven’t looked at your values, if you haven’t looked at yourself objectively, and if you haven’t examined your belief systems, you’re not going to be as authentic as you think you are. That’s how you become more brave at work.

If you haven't looked at your values, looked at yourself objectively, and examined your belief systems, you're not going to be as authentic as you think you are. Click To Tweet

That is so strong and unique. That is a solid answer. This is not an infomercial or coaching commercial in any way, but I believe in it and I know you believe in it. This is where having a coach or someone that you trust like a mentor or whoever in your life. Have someone that can help you with what you just said, because how often do we get stuck in our own belief systems? We don’t even know we’re stuck in our own belief systems.

How often do we go, “I know my core values.” You’re like, “What are my core values? What am I living and breathing every day?” How often do you look at yourself from outside of yourself or really look at yourself objectively?


If you instill these practices in your life, you can change your life, the atmosphere around you, and your ecosystem tremendously.

We know we’ve got your book Begin with the BREATH. Go get that wherever books are sold. Where can women find you and your work online?

LinkedIn is my favorite. That’s my baby platform. That’s Annie Leib on LinkedIn. It’s a great place. I’m very reachable. It doesn’t matter how many followers I have. I will respond to you if you write me a message. My website, AnnieLeib.com is a great way to get in contact with me, learn more about my story and what I’ve done, and see some of the magazines that I was in. Also, I just started an Instagram, @Annie_Leib_Coaching. I had a personal Instagram for years with thousands of posts, but that was my family and stuff. This is a lot of coaching stuff. For example, I made a reel about authenticity. That’s the kind of stuff you’ll find on my Instagram.

By the way, I find Instagram exhausting. Do you find Instagram exhausting or are you getting energized by this new platform?

I’m not energized. I just know it’s something that I have to have for my business, but it is not something I put a ton of time into. I put a heart into it because I’m never going to post something inauthentic, but I do not spend a ton of time there. There are all these people that’ll tell you that’s where you get your leads and that’s where you get your business. It’s just not where I do business. Not right now, anyway. I limit my time on it.

I’m more of a LinkedIn gal, too, so if anybody wants to chat with me, you know where to find me. You can either talk to me here or you could talk to me on LinkedIn. Maybe I’m getting old school, Annie. I don’t know.

No. Old school is the new school, just so you know.

That’s awesome. That makes me feel good. You’re a good coach.

Thank you.

It was such a pleasure. It’s so fun to have you on. Maybe we’ll do this again sometime if you care to, but it was so fun to have you.

I would love to. You ask awesome questions. You’re good at this. This is one of your gifts. I appreciate you having me. It’s been a pleasure. Anything I can do to help in the future, let me know.

Thank you.

That’s a wrap on my conversation with Annie. I hope you found our discussion both valuable and inspiring. After learning about the BREATH Framework and how Annie grew a following over 35,000 people on LinkedIn, here are a few reminders for you moving forward. As Annie says, “Remember, no one can take your breath away from you. You have the ability to B) Begin where you are, R) Reclaim your power, E) Excavate your core values aka what’s important to you, A) Allow, what you try to control is stressing you, T) We’re moving Through, which means facing your demons, imposter syndrome, doubt, and struggles, and H) Heal.

Also, if you haven’t jumped on LinkedIn yet to begin networking, there is no time like the present. Spend fifteen minutes a day there, and I promise you, you are going to find people. Birds of a feather flock together, you will find job opportunities, and you’ll find networks. It will be time well spent. How do you do that? We discuss that in our conversation. First, be yourself. That’s most important. Post and engage in conversations. You can always start by lurking, but then if you want to jump in the pool and get the most out of the experience on LinkedIn, you want to post and engage in those fifteen minutes a day.

This virtual networking is going to help you or it may help you land your next job, find a mentor or sponsor, develop a business, get more leads, and way more. Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn. I know I mention it all the time. I have to say a PS. I do not get any affiliate revenue from LinkedIn. I just think it’s a powerful tool. PPS, don’t forget your values. That’s for another episode, which I believe I may have done a while back, but values are so important. I may do one again.

Focusing on what is important to you and using your values as a lens when you’re making decisions is going to help you feel in alignment with yourself and with your biggest goals and dreams. I believe this is one of the core principles of being authentic. It’s being true to what you value. As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on Google Podcasts and Stitcher. Until next time, show up, be authentic, and be brave.

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About Annie Leib 

BWW 126 | AuthenticityAnnie Leib is creator of the BREATH Framework™ and Founder & CEO of Annie Leib, LLC, an executive coaching firm.
Annie’s business and coaching education, personal and professional life experiences, along with her compassionate and intuitive personality propelled her to build this unique coaching modality. Annie realized that in order to feel fulfilled in the workplace, it’s essential to first uncover your true, authentic self. Once you excavate your core values and apply them as a leader, you’ll notice increased staff loyalty, client retention, and an increased bottom line.
Because when you take care of your people, your people will take care of your business.

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