I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda F. Williams. Linda is the Founder of Whose Apple Dynamic Coaching and Consulting. She is a Certified Executive Coach and Consultant who created the Guided Power Strategy (GPS) to Success. She is a trained psychotherapist and behaviorist who specializes in organizational culture and work-life balance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I am a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, molestation and a 17-year marriage to a man later convicted as a rapist. I was deeply traumatized, yet clueless, as to how profoundly the aftermath was affecting my life.
The repercussions on my life, career, and relationships were evident. The core of the aftermath was a mystery. I was frustrated and completely clueless as to why my life was such a mess. It would take decades for me to even see it.
My freedom came during the 7 years of writing. I came out of that realizing that my life had been sidelined by guilt, shame and self-loathing. It was a blood, sweat, and tear-stained battle back to even recognizing who I truly am. My entrepreneurial journey began there.
Why did you found your company?
I decided that while there is nothing I can do about the past, I could surely take revenge on it by making it count. That’s the only revenge we get on the pain of a painful past.
I flipped-the-script by channeling that pain into purpose. Whose Apple Dynamic is the conduit.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
The power of Whose Apple Dynamic is a been-there-done-that perspective that, in tandem with my psychotherapy training, behavioral science background, and labor-management leadership, gives me insight into what lays between the lines of people’s stories.
The things they don’t say. Those stories that they think are too true to tell.
These stories become the scripts by which we live our personal and professional lives. It took me decades to figure it out and it breaks my heart to watch others going through it.
My philosophy is that the cure is in the cause. Our proactive strategy differs from traditional coaching models. The responsibility of a coach is to recognize, address, and hold the client accountable to overcome, deeply entrenched negative mindsets.
To ensure that our clients are not left constantly battling those mindsets, we disarm the mindset at its core.
This is the way I see it: the only effective change is sustainable change. Short-term tactics will never trump a sustained, deliberate, strategy. Instead of spending precious time in an endless game of symptom-chasing Whack-a-Mole, our clients spend that energy enjoying their lives.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Oh, there have been many. Some are “virtual” mentors that I have never met. I know them through their writings and life-examples.
However, during a period of massive personal and professional growth, a gentleman named Tim English not only walked me through that process, but he also demonstrated the qualities that resulted in remarkable outcomes for the organization.
How are you going to shake things up next?
Our methodology is core-driven. Over 36 years in labor-management relations and my clinical background have convinced me that tactics result in minimal sustainable personal or professional outcomes.
I’ve learned that, because personal development and influence are human factors, external means of forging control or compliance bring short-term outcomes, at best. All the emotional intelligence we can muster is of minimal effect absent apparent internal change.
We equip leaders with formidable tools to recognize, root out, and disarm emotional mind-fields before they sidetrack productivity and stifle strategic outcomes. That includes effective communication and leadership competencies that cut to the core of influencing human beings, as opposed to managing human resources.
Our clients gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their teams. That translates into an indestructible foundation, which results in true joy and fulfillment in their lives and careers.
We are currently developing a specialized application that allows clients to track and update their progress during the coaching the relationship. The more convenient the engagement the greater value can be delivered to the client. This includes eliminating the paper-intensive administrative and onboarding processes.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey?
The advice I most cherish comes from my own mistakes. Here are a few of those.
My Greatest Power Resides in The Truth of Who I Am.
It took a lot of healing and sound advice from family to even remember who I was before the trauma. My sister asked one day, “Linda, do you remember how you were before you left home after high school?” I didn’t remember.
She told me of things we did as a family — fun times. I didn’t remember. Over the course of the ensuing months, with her help, I began to remember.
The Linda I had morphed into was a false persona that I thought was protection. It only drew more pain.
Then, as I remembered the little girl I used to be, the one I left behind, I began reincorporating her back into my life. I brought her along, so to speak.
It has served me well in business. I know that I must be authentic, open, and willing to share my failures and mistakes. I resist immolating others’ paths to success, recognizing that what worked for others may not be my own unique Path of Purpose.
Change is Disruptive by Nature
That 7-year soul-deep boot camp during the book project taught me that change is scary because it takes you to unknown places. I also learned that resistance is expected and that settling into that place stifles growth.
So, I feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear is a smokescreen, beyond which is my destiny. Fear is a weak opponent because it can’t withstand resistance. The minute you walk through it, you learn it wasn’t the big bad boogieman it wanted you to believe it was. So, I take a deep breath, step forward, and keep it moving.
Inspiration and Motivation Aren’t Enough
In my former career, I saw hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on flying hundreds of employees to different states for training. Each time the training trend changed, off we went. If the training was good, we’d come out of it inspired, motivated and raring to go — for about a month.
Then it was back to the status quo as competing deadlines, new initiatives and business-as-usual, took center stage. What was missing was transformation.
You can be inspired without motivation. You can be motivated without transformation. But, you cannot be transformed without change. Change is progressive. Absent support and accountability, inspiration and motivation will seldom result in transformation.
It is within transformation that we reach that elusive ground called, sustainable change. We need to leverage it.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking?
On a business level, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is a source to which I often return. You just can’t take it all in at one sitting. His teachings are the height of authentic and values-driven leadership.
In my previous career, I negotiated several collective bargaining agreements and participated in three different labor-management partnership counsels. I’ve observed lost time and monetary resources at the hands of the contentious and entrenched positioning of the parties.
I have seen hyper-competitiveness between various departments or mission areas arrest productivity and erode morale. Napoleon Hill calls for a no-tolerance rule against a toxic culture — even if it means both the arguing parties have to go.
Jada Pinkett-Smith has a new Facebook series called Red Table Talk. She, her mother, and her daughter talk about life challenges. They are highly transparent as they discuss difficult situations in their lives. It’s real life. It’s real talk. It leaves you thinking deeply and give courage to speak up.
I recently read Maya Angelou’s novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings because I wanted to know how she overcame her childhood. She was a regal and remarkable woman. The depth of her voice commanded attention and what she had to say dripped with wisdom. I wish I could have met her. I plan to do her legacy proud.
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 see this.
National Football League Hall of Fame legend, Curtis Martin. It was while watching a Curtis Martin interview that I knew I would finally finish the book. Let me tell you about this young man.
As a rookie he led the American Football Conference (AFC) in rushing. He was the second player in National Football League (NFL) history to start a career with ten straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He a career high of 1,697 yards. He became the fourth all-time leading rusher in NFL history, racked up 14,101 yards, scored 100 rushing and receiving touchdowns, and ended his career with combined net yards of 17,421.
Here’s the thing, though. He hated football. He hated running. He never fully understood what he called the “X’s and O’s of football. When the reporter asked how he could have a stellar career despite hating to run, disliking the game, and being challenged by the playbook, he said, “I guess I was playing to a purpose higher than the game.”
At that moment something went off inside me. That was it! That afternoon I started the final chapter of the book and finished it the next day. My 7-year journey was finally over. You should have seen the incredulous state I was in . . . for hours. It was a good day!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
They should visit WhoseApple.org or follow me on these social media platforms.
Originally published at medium.com