Leadership In Today’s Economy

by | Nov 19, 2008 | Entrepreneurship, Mindset

An interview with Larina Kase, PsyD, MBA

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Today’s tough economy can hurt not only your pocketbook but your self-confidence and self-worth, as well. As a business owner, nurturing your inner leader and stepping up as a confident leader of your business can be crucial to your success. Today, I’d like to take a break from this month’s topic and share with you an interview I did with Dr. Larina Kase on her recently release book, The Confident Leader.

Larina is a professional speaker, author, and recognized expert in peak performance, anxiety and stress management, leadership, and entrepreneurship. She has a doctorate in psychology and a master’s in business administration, and her unique approach is regularly seen in media such as Inc., Entrepreneur, SELF, and on national TV and radio. She is the author or coauthor of seven books including The New York Times bestseller The Confident Speaker. She has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and executives from companies such as Verizon, Intel, Morgan Stanley, & Ernst & Young.

I’ve been following her for a little more than a year now and believe what she has to share is relevant to you and building a business you love.

Carma: How can career achievement help boost our own confidence?

We know from recent research that self-esteem and confidence are some of the most important predictors of career success and income, and that it doesn’t go the other way around — we can’t wait until we have a thriving career and hope that it increases our confidence. Instead, if we develop confidence, we’re more likely to have a thriving career.

Confidence does NOT necessarily come from achievement. It comes from how you interpret your actions. Two people can achieve the same level, and one feels great and proud of her process of getting there, and the other feels that she could have done better or worries if she’ll do as well the next time. Guess who’s more confident?

Carma: The former, of course! You know, it really takes courage to be confident. And what you say here really resonates with my definition of courage — doing what you know needs to be done in spite of feeling the fear. But courage isn’t everything, is it? You need to be authentic and stand out as your own true self. So, why do you think that being merely effective doesn’t cut it in today’s economy?

As you know, the current economy is a challenging one and it will separate the true leaders from the simply effective people. The cream will rise to the top and they will be the ones who will be most competitive for the best jobs, clients, and other opportunities.

Ironically, in tough times, most people become LESS exceptional. They get scared. They retreat into their comfort zones. They seek security and play it safe. They want to blend in and fly under the radar. They are afraid to accept responsibility for things that don’t go well. They do not step up as leaders.

You must avoid this temptation! These things will keep you in the average zone (or worse) and keep you from being exceptional and presenting your best.

Carma: So how do you do that? Can you share five ways to make yourself exceptional, to stand out in a tough market?


  • Become an expert.
    Pick one aspect of your work and make yourself an expert in it, such as “the woman who gracefully handles difficult customers.” This makes you invaluable.
  • Speak in specifics.
    Market the results of your work by highlighting outcomes and data. This type of self-marketing delivers value without coming across as self-promotional.
  • Tell stories.
    Stories engage others and make you memorable. Show your value by telling the success stories of your clients or customers.
  • Step up as the leader.
    During fearful times you’re tempted to fly under the radar, but this makes you dispensable. Instead, pick a project you are qualified to lead and take charge.
  • Take ownership.
    When you’re anxious, fear of failure increases and you don’t want to be blamed for problems. Unfortunately responsibility-shirking undermines your confidence in yourself and others’ trust in you.

Carma: You know. All those things you mentioned seem, on some level, obvious. So why is it that we will know what we need to do — maybe even want to do it — but we fail to do it anyway?

We high-achieving types are great consumers of knowledge. We always want to learn more and be our best, but most of the time we struggle with turning our knowledge into action. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • The timing isn’t right
  • We don’t have the right support or other resources
  • We aren’t committed to making the change
  • We don’t yet have the skills to successfully take action

These reasons can be legitimate and important to consider and manage, or they can be excuses. The #1 reason that we don’t take action is fear. We doubt ourselves and get paralyzed with indecision. When fear is active, these reasons all feel very legitimate, when in reality they are not important.

The key, then, is to critically evaluate your readiness to take action when you are not feeling particularly anxious about the change. If you need to address these factors, do so, and while you have momentum, start taking action!

Carma: Again with the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s like the knife can’t be sharp unless it is scraped against the stone … you can grow and reach your full potential unless you are courageous enough to face the obstacles in your path that are there to help you grow. Hmmmm. Anyway, I digress. Let’s talk a little about your new book, The Confident Leader. Is it just for leaders?

It’s really about personal leadership — being the leader in your career, business, community and life. It’s for the person who wants to take charge, push their own boundaries, surprise themselves with what they are actually capable of, and make a real difference in the world.

Confident Leader Cover
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Carma: That sounds like just the kind of book for my readers, a book that will help them conceive, develop, and nurture a business they love through confident leadership. Where can they get a copy?

They can get it — plus lots of bonuses — at www.ConfidentLeaderBook.com.

Carma: Thank you, Larina, for sharing your thoughts with us today.

You’re very welcome.


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