“A goal is a dream with a deadline”, Ivy Slater and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Know your values and be in touch with them. When you make decisions consistently based on your values, you end up in a state of flow. Everything is in alignment. Make decisions and don’t get stuck. Commit to what you are going to do and learn from it. Done is better than perfect. It does […]

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Know your values and be in touch with them. When you make decisions consistently based on your values, you end up in a state of flow. Everything is in alignment. Make decisions and don’t get stuck. Commit to what you are going to do and learn from it. Done is better than perfect. It does not serve you to be perfect and you know nothing ever is, so move through and enjoy the growth.

As a part of our series about Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewingIvy Slater.

Ivy Slater is a professionally certified business coach, speaker, author and podcast host. She works with private clients and corporations to scale their businesses and implement sustainable growth practices. Her work focuses on strategic planning, communication, sales, leadership and using the power of relationships. She hosts roundtables, facilitates meetings, offers training and speaks nationwide.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

As a child, my number one focus was dancing. I started at age three and continued into college, ultimately getting a degree. Most of my childhood I spent performing dance, watching professionals dance and going to as many dance classes as I could. I was always very self-competitive and always striving to improve. By age 14, I was dancing with the 17 year olds.

I’m a daughter of entrepreneurial and business-minded parents. My father opened his first business the year I was born and my grandfather, who lived with us in his older years, spoke often of his entrepreneurial endeavors. My mother started her first business when I was in elementary school. Our dinner table was like attending a college business class. As we talked about everyone’s day, the conversation always included business.

I was raised on understanding the value of money. I remember I wanted a television in my room and at the time it was going to cost 120 dollars. My parents told me I could have it, once I earned 60 dollars. They would match the rest. I learned so early about having a strong worth ethic. Everyone in our home pitched in and we all had responsibilities. Everyone had a role in participating and a value in the house.

Being a dancer early on taught me many lessons and my last book was themed around dance and included the many lessons I learned. Also, growing up with the parents and family that I did played a giant role in my success.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? Wed love to hear the story.

After seeing leadership and entrepreneurship in action from my parents, then working for two women entrepreneurs very early on in my career, I knew I wanted to be the master of my own destiny. I became determined to do that for myself. It all goes back to my dance background. I always wanted to be better for me, not better than someone else. I am inspired by people, rather than intimidated by them.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My mom. She always supported me, but the magic came in her belief in me. There is a difference. She drove hours for my dance dreams for many years. I was taking classes 5–6 days a week in high school and the expense was huge.

She always believed in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind to and that was a game changer…that was beyond support. I remember I was working on my business and raising my own prices when she looked at me and said, “Yes, I wish you would have asked me. I could have told you were selling yourself short.”

She would even come into retreats with my clients and help them own their financial value. She is a firm believer in women, empowering women and making sure they continue to earn more. She has encouraged me always and has seen my success beyond what I see. I see her doing the same thing with her grandchildren and it’s beautiful.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I didn’t know my own potential and worth. After working in a business with four partners, one of them mentioned to me one day that they were the top performer. I felt that might not be true, but didn’t have the financial knowledge to back it up.

I remember going into the office that night and pulling all of our sales. This was when everything was still hand calculated, so I couldn’t easily go in and run a report on the computer.

I spent six hours going through the sales and profit of the sales team. I found out that I was actually the one bringing in the most money.

This was an interesting mistake because it led to my confidence boosting and my heart racing at the thought of not knowing that kind of information. Even though my father always told me how important it was to know your numbers, I had let it slip away, too busy working and raising my kids. It was a mistake I would never make again.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Let go of fear and step into confidence even when you’re not sure. That doesn’t mean being arrogant, it’s about the inner belief that you can do something. Know you are smart and that you will figure it out. It’s not acting like you know it all, it’s showing a hunger to learn and taking risks and feeling the belief in your heart and gut that you will succeed.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. The principles in the book are ones I have always lived by when it comes to my businesses. The Power of the Master Mind is one with which I really resonate. Surrounding yourself with good people is key. I would not be where I am today without the support of team members, mentors and my network along the way.

Can you share your favorite Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” — Napoleon Hill

You can achieve anything if you keep dreaming has always been my inner message. I’m also a big planner, and a strong believer in goals, so deadlines force me to take action and stay in motion, even when things seem impossible.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Our clients problems have shifted and we are leaning into what is going on and figuring out how to be a resource and a solution to what is current and present. I am also working on my third book, which the inspiration came to me for while leading Zoom calls during the pandemic focusing on visionary leadership. The working title is: “The Magic of Scaling Up: How to be a Powerful Innovative Leader for the Rapid Growth and Successful Future of your Company.” I realized the vital importance of leadership traits as leaders navigate hard times. Its anticipated release date will be in 2021 and I am already conducting interviews.

OK, thank you for all of that. Lets now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

As cliche as it sounds, clearing your head is always the answer. I take three deep breaths to clear my head and get out of the emotion, so I don’t instantly react. I also get out and talk a walk when I feel stress and pressure building up. If stress is really high, exercise is my go to activity. When in doubt and I really need a pick me up, it’s a handful of peanut M&Ms.

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

Meditation is a big one, even if for a short time. 2–5 minutes is plenty of time. Before I speak for instance, I always find a quiet place and meditate. If I can’t get into the mindset myself, I use an app to guide me. Breathing exercises are also a great way to relax. Again, if I feel like I am not doing a good job of breathing on my own, I will find a guided practice. Ground yourself and clear your head of any distractions before you get on a stage or go into a meeting. Focus on the present and let everything flow. You can’t control it, so just be in it. Lastly, I vision the result I want to see at the end of a meeting, a speaking engagement or any high pressure or stressful situation.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, wed love to hear about it.

I visualize a standing ovation if I’m doing a speaking engagement. If it’s a client meeting, I visualize success and joy at the end of it, knowing I made an impact. This is key. If I’m writing a speech, I see the audience smiling and nodding as I put down the words, engaged and interested in my content.

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

The special technique is creating a daily habit so my body and mind has a resource it knows to go back to when necessary. I am always early to any event. I like to scope out the place, find a quiet place for mediation and really feel I own the room. This is great when I am speaking and also when I am networking. My focus is on the people coming in and the conversations I am having. When you are early and prepared, you aren’t coming in rushed, worried and anxious. This eliminates nerves and shows you are a leader.

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I always do a morning gratitude practice. I love mornings and for me, it’s especially important to set my intentions for the day. I also have Money Mondays and Financial Fridays, always keeping track of my numbers, what is coming in, going out, what is expected, etc. I meditate and exercise to keep my mind clear which is really the best success habit for me.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

It’s easier to create good habits rather than stop bad habits. It spirals into a negative if we try to stop. It’s hard to go on a diet, but it’s easier to eat healthy. Take consistent action and try to start a new habit that erases a bad one. If you aren’t punctual and your bad habit is time management, a way to develop a great habit would be setting a goal to find time to research time management tools. Start with that and then take consistent action to actually start using the tool and finally, you are on time.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Know your values and be in touch with them. When you make decisions consistently based on your values, you end up in a state of flow. Everything is in alignment. Make decisions and don’t get stuck. Commit to what you are going to do and learn from it. Done is better than perfect. It does not serve you to be perfect and you know nothing ever is, so move through and enjoy the growth.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Equal educational opportunities for all young children. This is extremely important when it comes to a future in leadership. Every child needs access to tools, technology and resources to learn, develop and dream.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to meet ballet dancer and choreographer, Mikhail Baryshnikov. When I was in my teens, he came to the states and did a ballet that was choreographed by Twyla Tharp at Lincoln Center. It pushed the boundaries, it pushed tradition and it inspired me greatly. I will never forget watching that dance. It showed me there is always a next level of possibility and innovation. Richard Branson has also always been an idol of mine and of course, the one and only Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


Instagram: @ivyslaterssc

Twitter: @SlaterSuccessCC
Facebook: Slater Success Coaching

LinkedIn: Ivy Slater

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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