15: Staying Balanced and Remembering the Need for Rest

What makes you happy? Undoubtedly, there would be numerous and varied answers to this question. Aristotle said, “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” Let’s talk about what it means to be happy.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • After big weekend celebrations for my daughter’s graduation and birthday, I am exhausted!
  • Rest and balance are essential, which is one of the themes of Aristotle’s work, the Nicomachean Ethics, from which the above quote is taken
  • Everyone wants to be happy, but the extremes of life bring much unhappiness
  • Being kind to your body with rest brings happiness
  • Times of insane busy-ness have to be balanced with times of rest
  • It’s OK to plan in times for rest and relaxation
  • Aristotle advocated principles of moderation and balance, not pushing too far in either direction
  • What are the things and who are the people who take your energy from you? (these might be “EGR” people—”extra grace required”)
  • Identify the activities that cost you the most energy each day: “What you give your energy to, you’re giving your life to.”
  • Are you pursuing happiness? (which is not necessarily the same as FUN)
  • This summer, can you allow the time to slow down?  “Live life. Don’t just push through it like a machine.”


14: Everything You Need You Already Have

“Everything you need, you already have. You are complete right now. You are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality.” -Beverly Sills, American soprano

My thoughts today are inspired by the graduation this weekend of my youngest daughter from high school and with her Associate Degree from our local community college. Coincidentally, she also turns 18 this weekend, so there are many milestones to celebrate. 

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • A story from many years ago about my acting career and Let’s Pretend Circus: we were offered a chance to buy the company for a mere $5000, which we didn’t have. I had forgotten that circumstances had already fallen into place to provide us the money for the down payment. After prayer with my friends at Bible Study, I realized that God had already given us what we needed. I burst through our front door upon arriving home and shouted to my husband, “God wants us to buy a circus!”
  • I had already been given what I needed because God knew what was coming for me
  • Graduation brings much apprehension, anxiety, and the fear of the unknown of what the future holds
  • Most often, we are afraid of the future because WE want to control the outcome
  • To graduates of high school or college: “You’ve already been given everything you need in advance because God knows what is coming. Believe in yourself and trust in God. You’ve already been given what you need.”

13: Finding Your Voice

Do you have a fear of public speaking? It’s a common fear for many people, even though many others–like me–use a speaking platform constantly in their chosen professions. So why does speaking in front of an audience prompt such immobilizing fear? How can it be overcome? Join me as we approach this topic today.

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I’m not going to be silent.”–Madeleine Albright

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • THE #1 FEAR for most people is the fear of public speaking (even ahead of dying!)
  • The problem with not using your voice is that when you don’t speak up, your opinions, expertise, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, kindness, and curiosity don’t get shared
  • Simply recognizing that using your voice is important doesn’t change the terror that comes with it
  • What can we do? Some people say, “Imagine your audience in their underwear,” or “Look over the tops of their heads.” Some advise to carefully script yourself, to use notes, or memorize your words
  • My advice is to speak from your heart because your words are intrinsically entwined with your heart. “The exact reason that people are afraid of public speaking is because their heart becomes vulnerable.” This is a risk you have to be willing to take!
  • Look at people and see them as humans who hear and understand what you have to say
  • “Stage fright” comes from a focus on self and a fear that your heart will be wounded
  • The best way to practice public speaking is to practice being vulnerable with your heart
  • You have to have complete confidence that they need to hear what you have to say
  • Value your voice and be vulnerable with your heart, then people will feel your genuine care for them
  • “You have so much to share with the world that people need to hear you.”  


www.elisahayes.com  Check out my “Freebies” tab for great resources!

12: How is Your Communication?

How is your communication? Do you regularly use the language of inclusion or do you use your words to marginalize certain people? These are important questions to consider, and they can make a huge difference in your relationships and in your business.

Rollo May, an influential 20th century psychologist, said simply and accurately: “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy, and mutual valuing.”

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • When you feel marginalized, sidelined, or just not quite included
  • The example of my youngest daughter in dealing with her high school as she finishes up her high school degree AND a two-year college program
  • Her journey has required grit, self-determination, and self-motivation
  • The problem: when she needs to communicate with the high school, she and the other “Running Start” students are not the norm and don’t need the hand-holding that the other students do—so they are marginalized
  • She and the others are spoken to with non-inclusive, condescending language
  • How do we wade through this non-inclusive language that marginalizes women?
  • For example, why use the word “mankind” when we refer to humanity (Doesn’t that marginalize women?)
  • Often, we communicate with a lack of empathy
  • If we take the time to listen and focus on the feelings of the one who is listening, our language will change
  • Why I believe it is the responsibility of the communicator to communicate with the language that you intend and in a way that it can be received correctly
  • How the same thing happens in business and the customer WILL go somewhere that they are seen, heard, and NOT marginalized
  • “If I feel marginalized by someone’s language, then I’m not likely to want to hear more of what they have to say.”
  • What are YOU saying?
  • Is our communication open, welcoming, and inclusive?
  • Can we continue in a dialogue of family and friendship, or is it just the language of commerce and cold, hard cash?
  • Be sure your language is such that includes ALL people! 

11: Dare to Dream Big

How big is your imagination? Do you dare to dream big—or does fear hold you back? Today’s show explores the idea of dreaming big and stepping out to do hard things. Before you go out to change the world, maybe you need to change things in yourself. Let’s talk about it!

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” This quote comes from American medical researcher Jonas Salk, and is the perfect lead-in to this episode.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • For 14 years, my company, Let’s Pretend Entertainment, has had one message: “The power of imagination is the power to change the world.”
  • You can’t change the world until you change yourself
  • Imagine your highest imagination–your biggest dream–Can you picture it?
  • Clarity of vision is important: “We can’t move forward without it, but we can move mountains with it.”
  • Why you must have faith–in yourself, in others, and in something much bigger than you
  • It’s when you have faith that miracles happen
  • When you have faith, the universe conspires on your behalf for extraordinary change and magnificent impact
  • As Chief Daydreamer at my company, it’s my job to lead the charge in dreaming big and making things happen
  • Why are people afraid to dream big? They have no faith
  • Steps up to dreaming big:
    • Believe in yourself and your ability to get sh*t done
    • Go out and do something really hard that pushes you beyond your boundaries
  • After my accident, I had to do the hard things required in my recovery. “I dreamed of a life that wasn’t crippled, even though my body was.”
  • What legacy can you leave in this world that makes it a better place for you and others?
  • John F. Kennedy spoke at Rice University on September 12, 1962 and said: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. That goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one in which we intend to win, and the others, too.”


www.elisahayes.com  Check out the Freebies section of my website for great resources!

10: Permission to Indulge in a Little Self-Pity

Do you ever feel sorry for yourself? Most of us do at one time or another. We may call it “having a pity party” or self-pity, but it’s something that prompts very different opinions. In today’s show, I’m giving you a little advice about why it’s OK to indulge in self-pity at times.

“Self-pity in its early stage is as snug as a feather mattress; only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.” –Maya Angelou

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • When was the last time you felt sorry for yourself? After all, it’s a natural human response!
  • Sometimes we think that self-pity is bad and wrong in every way
  • Why self-pity is perfectly fine at times
  • If you say you never have self-pity, then you probably aren’t honest or even human
  • “The more you avoid something, the more energy you actually give to it.”
  • Why would you want to give an enormous amount of energy to something you don’t want?
  • Why it’s OK to admit that sometimes things just suck and you just feel sucky
  • Go to the pity party!
    • Show up for the appetizers and then leave
    • Own your self-pity and give yourself a time limit
  • My recent cancer scare and my anger that prompted a “pity party”
  • “Have I not been through enough?”
  • Why it’s OK to enjoy the “featherbed” for a little while and then go back home
  • Feeling guilty about feeling sorry for yourself just makes it worse
  • How to cope:
    • Have a glass of wine—just one!
    • Talk to a trusted friend
  • Howard Schultz said, “In life, you can blame a lot of people and you can wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and say, ‘Listen, I have to be responsible for myself’.”

09: Be Authentic, Not Perfect

Oscar Wilde said, “Always be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” That goes along perfectly with our topic for today–authenticity. What does it mean? How do we lead authentic lives? What does it look like when we aren’t authentic? Let’s discuss the idea of authenticity together.

If you heard the show’s intro, then you heard me say that this is a weekly podcast–but that isn’t entirely true. It’s been almost two weeks since the last one, so what’s up? Why have I not been authentic? The answer is that I’ve gotten caught in the trap of wanting everything to be perfect. Have you been there? If you have, then you know that trying to be perfect for everyone else is very time-consuming and energy-consuming. In short, it’s just plain exhausting, so isn’t it better to just be your authentic self?

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • The weirdness of talking to a microphone in my office when I’m much more used to a real audience with real faces
  • The point of the podcast is to be real and honest in mentoring women
  • Making yourself fit into what everyone else thinks you should be does NOT make you authentic; it just makes you a good actor
  • “Be true to who you are and know that who you are is enough.”
  • Why I teach mindfulness: because it teaches you to notice the story line going through your head
  • Speaking about leadership challenges me to lead by example, and–after all–isn’t that what mentoring really is?
  • How I imagine the many faces listening to me (and I want to hear back from YOU!)
  • How do we be the best that we can be? We share aspirations and always leave room for growth and own when we fall down
  • One of my favorite memories from my college days
  • What it means to be willing to “take the hit”
  • My challenge to you this week: Be honest, be real, and be willing to take the hit




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08: Ripped from the Headlines: Lessons on Empathy

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

This quote has been attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, and others. It’s been re-quoted so often that we simply accept it as a “truth-ism.” This quote forms the basis for our show today on empathy.

Starbucks is closing 8000 stores on May 29 for several hours to implement racial bias training for 175,000 employees. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, then you’ve seen the recent news story of the two black men at a Starbucks in Philadelphia who were asked to leave the store, refused, and then were arrested while onlookers used their phones to record the incident. Let’s talk about what went wrong and what could have been done differently.

Show Highlights:

  • As a resident of Seattle, I’ve sent Starbucks a warm, appreciative video about my customer experience and how getting coffee at Starbucks wherever I’m traveling “always makes me feel like home.”
  • My personal complaint about an incident with my wheelchair: not about a Starbucks issue, but a human issue where I wasn’t seen or heard
  • In the Philadelphia incident, it wasn’t a racial issue, but was manifested as one–”It’s a human issue, about seeing people, listening to people, and caring about people.”
  • The outcome will ALWAYS be better if people feel like they are seen and heard
  • This week, I’ve had meetings with city council officials about a property development issue where there has NOT been “empathy-fueled leadership”
  • “Implicit bias” says, “I’m right and you’re wrong. My problems are more important than yours.”
  • We can tell what’s fake and what’s real, so people will know if you really care
  • The ONLY way to show care is empathy, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes
  • “Go out, listen to someone, focus on their feelings, and SHOW how much you care.”

Resources mentioned:

Watch the YouTube to see videos I’ve done for Starbucks:

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07: The Lessons of Failure from Wilma Rudolph

What does it take to be a winner? Do winners ever fail? Failure and struggle are important processes to go through to fully enjoy the beauty of winning. Failure is painful and hurts in many ways; no one likes that feeling of failure, but it’s an important part of life. There is no better example of all that comes with winning and losing than the subject of our show today.

“Winning is great, sure, but if you’re really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated ALL the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.” –Wilma Rudolph

Show Highlights:

  • Wilma Rudolph was born in 1940 in Tennessee into a poor black family, the 20th of her father’s 22 children
  • A premature birthweight of only 4.5 lbs. and a childhood filled with illness preceded a bout with polio that took the use of Wilma’s left leg
  • Leg braces, treatments, massages, and help from her large family were Wilma’s life until she pulled the braces off at age 9 and started walking
  • Soon she was playing basketball, running, jumping, and challenging her brothers in sports
  • At age 14, she was noticed by a college track coach, so she started running, soon qualifying for the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956 at age 16
  • After winning a bronze medal, she went back to college in TN, but fought repeated illnesses because of her drive to always win
  • In 1960, she was the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in a single Olympics in Rome, as she tied and set new world and Olympic records
  • She was an instant celebrity in Europe and America, but was intent on making change 
  • She refused to attend a ticker-tape parade in her honor in TN because it was to be segregated, as everything was in the South in the 1960’s
  • She overcame incredible odds and personal failures, and soon retired from amateur athletics and became a teacher, coach, and mother of four
  • She wrote an autobiography and allowed a movie to be made of her life
  • Her greatest accomplishment was the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, a non-profit sports organization
  • Wilma died of brain cancer at age 54 in Nashville in 1994


  1. Amazing Women in History 
  2. Notable Biographies
  3. ESPN 

06: Financial Literacy for Every Daughter

Who gets to give names to specific celebratory months? Have you ever wondered? For example, April is National Humor Month, National Internship Awareness Month, Inventors’ Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, Cannabis Month, National Alcohol Month, and the list goes on and on. I would like to focus on April as National Financial Literacy Month. Why? Because Tax Day is just around the corner!

It’s important to talk to young people about financial literacy. The most valuable thing that young people have on their side is TIME. Just putting away small amounts of money—and starting while you’re still young—will yield amazing results! Read more