“In the zone”, With Carrie Charles and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Tapping is a powerful technique to get “in the zone.” You tap on pressure points on your head, neck and shoulders while saying certain phrases. It may seem strange, but it works! As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High-Pressure Moments,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Charles. Carrie Charles is the […]

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Tapping is a powerful technique to get “in the zone.” You tap on pressure points on your head, neck and shoulders while saying certain phrases. It may seem strange, but it works!

As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High-Pressure Moments,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Charles.

Carrie Charles is the CEO of Broadstaff LLC, a staffing firm serving the Technology and Telecommunications Industries. Carrie has a diverse background as a lifelong entrepreneur, Certified Financial Planner, Master Certified Life Coach and a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

For over 30 years, Carrie has helped thousands of individuals grow personally and professionally. She has helped companies such as General Dynamics, Hewlett Packard and Eli Lilly attract, retain and develop their employees. She has been a featured expert on NBC, HSN and Clear Channel networks.

Carrie is a thought leader on workforce development, diversity, women in tech and is a frequent keynote speaker at national industry conferences. She is the host of the Podcast, 5G Talent Talk, in partnership with RCR Wireless News, with an audience of 100k+.

Broadstaff was named an INC 5000 company in 2020 and was awarded the #15 Fastest Growing Company in Tampa Bay 2019 (Tampa Bay Fast 50). In 2019, Carrie was awarded Tampa Bay Businesswoman of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Carrie sits on the Board of Directors of Cable Runner International, NEDAS Technology Association and is also a Board Member of Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum and the Executive Director of Industry Relations.

As a mother of a childhood cancer survivor, Carrie aligned her personal mission with her role on the Board of Directors of the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

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?

I currently serve as the CEO of Broadstaff. ( We source talent for the wireless, telecom and connected technology space. I have a diverse background as a lifelong entrepreneur, Certified Financial Planner, Master Certified Life Coach and a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. While I am proud of my career, and where I stand today, my childhood experience molded me into the woman I am today.

When I was young, I endured a great deal of violence, abuse and uncertainty. Before age 35, I lost my mother, father, both sisters, all of my grandparents, some to suicide. At age 11, my son was diagnosed with cancer.

My mother was a housekeeper. I would go with her to clean houses, in hopes of one day owning one of those big houses. We lived in mobile homes, had very little money and my mom handmade my clothes. Through it all, I knew that my experiences were part of a greater plan to help other people. I transformed my pain into purpose.

When I was 18, I joined the Marine Corps. This also instilled an incredible drive to overcome adversity, at all cost, whatever it takes. With my past experience, I actually thrive in the midst of chaos and adversity. It is when I am at my best. It provided me the skills and grit to flourish as a female entrepreneur and brought me to where I am today, sharing my story with you.

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

Growing up, I had a difficult life. I had this intense desire to be successful so I could be an inspiration to others. I wanted to prove that it can be done — starting from nothing, no college degree, no family support. I wanted to rise to success out of the ashes. I saw so many women who had self-doubt, fears and insecurities. I wanted to help women step into their power and chase after their dreams no matter their background, education or perceived limitations.

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 died when I was young and I met a woman who was her age. She became like my mom. She believed in me when I did not. She constantly told me how great I was, that I was capable of anything, and she always always believed in me. That was exactly how my mom was before she died. It was as if my mom continued to speak her message through my friend. Her belief in me helped me to take risks and go further than I thought I could go. She helped me step into my power.

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 have made many mistakes in my professional life and learned valuable, difficult lessons. Many lessons I had to learn multiple times before I “got it.” I decided to increase my staff and hire more people because I knew the business would grow. Soon after, our biggest client made a significant change that affected us and I had too many people on payroll. I kept them all and my team worked extra hard to get more contracts to support. Now, I don’t hire until I have the contracts in hand. Lesson number two. Do not allow one client to represent a large part of your revenue. That was a hard lesson that I will never forget!

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?

Crave discomfort. When you are comfortable, you are not growing, you are not risking, you are flat. When you are uncomfortable, you are stretching yourself and moving to the next level. Say yes to things that scare you, then find people to help you make it happen. Always be the hardest worker in the room. Hard work has gotten a bad wrap lately. We hear things about work-life balance and 4 hour workweeks. People somehow feel you can be successful by investing little time and effort. That is simply not true. You develop where you spend your time and time IS a function of success.

I encourage you to crave discomfort. Fear is your friend and don’t forget to outwork everyone.

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?

The Bible. I read it every morning at 5am. There is so much wisdom in the Bible, all my questions are answered there.

One of my favorite verses that has guided my business is 2 Corinthians 5:7.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

I heard this in church when I was 8 years old. At the time, I had a difficult home life. I told myself every day that my pain had a purpose. While I might not have understood that purpose then, I was confident that I would see the fruit of that pain someday. Today, that verse helps me lead my company, my family and keep my head held high when times are tough. I take the steps without seeing the whole staircase, knowing someone has my back.

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

Anything is possible if you believe. I think that success starts with belief — in yourself, what you are doing and belief that you WILL get there. Dreams die when you stop believing. Doubt kills dreams. Know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will work and you will get there, and never never never quit.

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

I am speaking a lot on mentorship, women’s career growth and the advancement of black tech leaders. Diversity is a passion of mine and such an important topic. It is a problem that needs to be solved. I look forward to continuing to be a voice for women in tech.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s 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?

1 — Deep breathing. This sounds simple, but breathing is a powerful tool to relieve stress instantly. I take three very deep breaths, hold them at the top, and it instantly puts me in a focused state.

2 — Anchoring is an NLP technique that I learned many years ago. I remember a time when I was in my genius state, when I was at my best. This anchors my current state to the past state of success. I immediately feel like I can conquer the world.

3 — I call on my inner coach. Some people have an inner critic, I have an inner life coach. My inner coach motivates and inspires me, and gets me ready for the moments when I need to shine.

4 — I don’t use the word “pressure.” I choose to call it excitement. Pressure and excitement feel the same way in the body. The word pressure feels heavy and uncomfortable. But excitement engages and ignites me. Change the way you see things and the things you see will change.

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?

1 — I get my body ready for high performance with plenty of sleep, exercise, healthy food, supplements and avoid alcohol.

2 — Tapping is a powerful technique to get “in the zone.” You tap on pressure points on your head, neck and shoulders while saying certain phrases. It may seem strange, but it works!

3 — I take some time alone and give myself a pep talk. I speak positivity and release my inner genius.

4 -I practice. Go over what I am going to say or do. Write it down, speak it, and understand it on a deep level, so when the time comes to shine, I can just be me.

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

I love to visualize the outcome I desire. I picture a movie in my head, then play it out the way I want it to go. When the time comes, it is as if I have already been there and been successful. I am more relaxed.

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

I practice work / life integration vs. work / life balance. Work-life balance is a myth. I don’t believe that it is possible to have perfect balance as a woman with a busy career and board responsibilities. However, I do believe in integration. My work and life are one, but I block time for each and use that time efficiently, again keeping the first thing first. I teach my kids to be independent, make decisions and take action for themselves, with my guidance. My personal time is also integrated with time for unplugging mixed with time for checking and responding to emails. Bottom line — I am fully present where I am at that moment. I don’t stare at my phone when I am with my kids, unless they know that it is my “work time” and vice versa — I focus fully when it’s work time, then schedule myself for personal time.

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?

Get hyper-organized. Organization is key to maximizing efficiency and directly contributes to overall success. If something frustrates me, I create a structure, an app, a routine to make that thing more efficient / create workability. For example, it took me 5 minutes to grind and make the coffee in the mornings. I bought a coffee pot that has a timer so it is prepared at night and ready at 5am. I prep my shakes in individual containers so it reduces the time of scooping from 8 different containers and re-closing them. Each little preparation saves time and as a result, increases efficiency and reduces stress. Whether it be your meeting schedule, your personal life, or even your morning routine, create systems of organization that will support your success as an individual and as an entrepreneur.

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

If I want to stop a bad habit, I have to put something good in its place. If I eat dessert every night and I want to stop, I will make tea every night in its place. To stop a bad habit, I think about how I will feel afterwards. My desire to avoid feeling bad will deter me enough to break the habit.

To develop good habits, it takes enormous discipline. I have to force myself to do something I do not want to do on a consistent basis.

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?

I believe that the state of flow is created. It is not something that just happens to you. It is created by doing work that engages you. It is created by being organized, efficient and staying VERY focused for long periods of time, with short breaks.

I get into flow state during my day by breaking my day into “themes” not projects. Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, etc. This allows my mind to work the same way for a block of time.

When I am in flow, I will work every day for 2 weeks, then take 2 days off. This allows me to continue the momentum and get the endorphins from getting this done. Always avoid getting behind or procrastinating. Stay focused and you will see great results.

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.

I would inspire a movement to eliminate self-doubt. Self doubt kills dreams and ideas. It causes us to play small, not recognizing all we are capable of. If we could eliminate self-doubt in every person, imagine what we would create, innovate and how happy the world would be!

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 have lunch with Richard Branson. He is an out of the box thinker like me, a visionary. I would love an hour to ask him questions and get inside his creative mind so I can model his brilliance.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


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