When we meet people, we are always looking for the core of who they are. Sometimes we just observe, other times we ask lots of questions.
When I met Peggy McColl at the 21st Century Book Marketing Conference in San Diego, I first observed. A seasoned speaker she was engaging and had a wealth of important information about the power of online marketing to capture business.
Then I had some time to talk with her. Lively, extremely smart, and most of all available as a human being, she captured my attention at the core level. I wanted to find out what makes a best-selling author and recognized expert in helping authors achieve success be able to stand strong and be open.
I am always interested in what formed us as children and how that impacts us as adults. I believe that is the first leadership development program we enter, in our families. So in my interview with Peggy, that is where we started.
Q: What were the messages from childhood that prepared you for womanhood?
Peggy: I grew up with hard working parents. I was the youngest of four children. We did not have much economically yet, we had each other. We lived in an 800 square feet home; and literally were together in tight quarters all the time. Funny how it did not feel constricting; it was just the way it was. What I learned without the words ever said was that it is your responsibility to work hard, and equally important you need to do what you agreed to, you need to deliver.
Q: How has that stayed with you as an adult?
Peggy: I took that mantra with me and I always delivered. Funny, being a female in the workforce had limited impact on me. Because of that deep belief I was given from my roots I was the “go to gal” at work. The saying was “If we want something done, go to Peggy”. I moved up fast in my career and never saw my femaleness as a block. In the 1080’s I was the national marketing manager for Toshiba in Canada and loved every minute of it.
Q: Were there any cultural blocks as a woman or you let them just stay invisible?
Peggy: Here is where there were some mixed messages. When I wanted to go to college my parents said “what for?” They convinced me not to go. I am an avid learner and yet had no one pushing for higher education, so I got my learning in the school of experience. Then when I would get a promotion my mom’s attitude was “stay where you are and don’t take on so much”. Here I had to begin to ignore what I do believe came from an older perspective about women who are here to serve others.
Q: Were there conflicts with your mother because of this?
Peggy: Actually she was proud of me and saw that times were changing. What is interesting, that idea of serving others played out in different ways. I do believe that servant leadership is the most effective way to lead. I always felt I was here to guide my direct reports and help them grow, exactly what I do now with my coaching clients.
Q: What are the main ideas you would like to leave women in business with today?
Peggy: Help people see the best in themselves. Show appreciation. We women are really good at that and need to be the models for our male counterparts. And help those you council learn the “Law of GOYA”; it stands for “get off your ass!” So, you see what I learned as a kid definitely does continue in my adult life.
Check out Peggy’s book “Viral Explosions” it will help you expand your business and brand on line. It’s a great read.