As part of my series on “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Founder and CEO of LeadHER International, Dr. Sarah Renee Langley, Speaker, Strategist and Synergist.
Dr. Sarah Renee Langley is an Award-Winning Global Empowerment Speaker, Tedx Presenter, Business Strategist, Leadership Trainer, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Published Author, who is highly sought after for virtual and live stages on leadership, success and happiness around the world.
For nearly 30 years, Dr. Langley’s personal and professional experiences have afforded her the opportunity to help her clients learn how to redefine their success and happiness and win at being #1 on their own terms.
Dr. Langley’s company, LeadHER International, is a successful leadership, personal and professional development firm committed to empowering, educating, and enhancing corporate leaders and business entrepreneurs to boost their confidence in themselves, boldly own and unleash their leadership power, and create endless opportunities to lead limitless lives.
Through her successful Limitless LeadHER programs and services, Dr. Langley has counseled, coached, consulted and trained top Fortune 500 executives, employees, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on quality leadership, efficient service delivery and accelerated profitable growth strategies worldwide.
She has also received numerous awards for her selfless act of service toward economic policy change and human equality.
Dr. Langley has been featured on ABC, Fox News, CBS News, Good Morning America, Huffington Post, and was a Tedx speaker. On a personal note, she loves to travel, write, sing, and play the violin.
Thank you so much for your time. I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Unlike many, I actually started and eventually stayed in the counseling field. My very first job was at 14 years old as a summer camp counselor. I was told I was a good listener and could be trusted with secrets. When I was in the 11th grade, one of my best friends told me she wanted to be a psychologist. Since she was my best friend, I said I too, want to be a psychologist. Well, legend has it that when she went to college, she fell in love with some chemist or computer science major and she then went into chemistry. I kept the pact and continued on the journey to becoming a counselor.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Ha, yes! Initially, I interned and studied under counselors who had their own private practices so I could learn how to launch mine. At the time, I wasn’t interested in purchasing an office, so I decided to start my private practice right in my basement! Typically, as a therapist, (to which I will use counselor and therapist interchangeably), we don’t serve our clients food or such. But because I was running my practice in my home, I treated my first client as if I was a host! I offered the client water, food, whatever I thought would make the client feel comfortable. The client seemed a bit perplexed as if the client wasn’t used to a therapist offering anything other than counseling! But from that experience, I realized that I had to keep my personal and professional life separate, especially and regardless of the fact that I was running my business from my home. After a while, I outgrew my home and eventually rented my first office thereafter.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
I am a fan of Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill. Additionally, I love Youtube, so daily, I would listen to my ‘YouTube Mentors’ like Jim Rohn, Earl Nightingale, Rev. Ike, Florence Scovel Shinn, Les Brown, Lisa Nichols, Dr. Joseph Murphy, Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor. Jim Rohn said, and I paraphrase, when you are at a job, it isn’t about what you are getting there, it is about who you are becoming there. That hit me. He additionally said, instead of wishing for things to get better and easier, wish that I do better in managing matters. These great thoughts of wisdom lead me to embracing Hill’s book Outwitting the Devil. I learned how I was truly the master of my ship and fate, and that life wasn’t happening to me but through me and for me. I didn’t have to play the law of average and remain mediocre at best, when comparing myself to others. And that was the problem. My comparing myself to others and hating those who are living their best lives. Full transparency, I thought earning my degrees automatically meant I would be happy and successful. I realized that wasn’t the case. Happiness isn’t based on external factors but internal factors, by first loving and accepting me and my potential to be great in this world. That is when I gravitated to more motivational gurus that I previously mentioned and realized that I call the shots on my happiness and success. This is what I help my clients with today. Helping to push them to their greatest selves and developing the confidence and clarity to get to their greatest level or true success and happiness on their own terms.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
Agreed. Full transparency again, my vision for my company was to say I had one. Growing up, I didn’t necessarily have the example of entrepreneurship or success. I grew up poor and the examples of success unfortunately were few and far between at the time. We, meaning my siblings, myself, our friends growing up were pushed to at least graduate with a degree or go to the military. At the time, I was fighting the statistic of being a young unwed mother on welfare. This was the society and the system to which we were very privy to. In fact, I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, believe it or not. I saw myself supporting others with their vision as an entrepreneur, like my brothers. I thought being an entrepreneur was for men. It wasn’t until, another funny moment, I got laid off and fired so many times, I figured it was a sign from God to start my own business! So, that was when my vision changed from being a supporter only to actually running a multimillion dollar counseling, coaching and consulting firm that helps save and transform lives all over the world by understanding the concept of being a limitless leader.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
Yes. My number one principle is ‘Stay The Course’. There is a reason for having plans-it is to help you navigate through and stay the course no matter what comes your way. In fact, I look at obstacles perhaps a bit differently than others. I am unsure if you saw the movie ‘The Black Panther’, starring the late Chadwick Boseman. It’s about a Marvel Comic Books character about T’Challa, who becomes king of Wakanda. The point I am making is, there was a part in the movie where his suit was shock absorbent. So whenever he was hit with shots by his enemies, his suit would absorb the shots and add to his power. Well, I always believed whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I believe it was the late great Nelson Mandela who said ‘every day may not be a good day, but everyday is a learning day.’ That said, I am a firm believer that life conspires to serve and help you get to your greatest self, your real self, your real purpose in life. So when things awry in my business, it could be a reflection of something going on within myself that needs my attention, or that I am not making the right moves and need to tweak something, like my thinking or perspective, or business deal, or people I am associated with, whatever, or make a different move, but as I follow my plan that I originally had for my business, to which plans are subject to change as you change and evolve, I just have to believe in my business, my purpose, my vision, and making sure I am very confident and clear on my end goal. That is to transform lives through my limitless leadership services and products. I know I am here to help set the captives free who are imprisoned in mediocrity or the lesser version of their true selves. I am here to help make people better than I met them and leave them better than I found them by setting them free to be limitless from the inside out.
Thank you for all that. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
So, let me start with saying, I really pray for those who have lost a family member or friend during COVID. My heart goes out to them. I had lost my uncle and cousin due to COVID. The year before, my precious Mommy transitioned, but at least I and others were able to attend her homegoing. I was unable to attend my uncle’s and cousin’s homegoing services. That is painful just as much as losing a loved one, especially due to COVID. My uncle and my cousin I believe were alone in a hospital room taking their last breaths without a family present. I didn’t attend because my Dad, whom I almost lost during the same time my Mommy passed, had medical complications to which I wouldn’t subject him to travel or to any exposure. I have been protective of my parents, and during COVID, my Dad and I pretty much stayed in doors all of 2020. We weren’t going anywhere. We had food delivered. The senior center closed down. So, I had to bring services to our home for my dad but later in the year. I had to run my counseling and coaching practice virtually during the day and then attend to my dad during the times I had off or had breaks. After a while, we had a system in place. My dad was physically breaking down, and I had to Decide to help him keep afloat with work for the sake of our livelihood. He was depending on me. Role reversal, right? So what I’ve done to address these challenges were the following:
1. Decide. I had to decide to be determined to see us through the pandemic.
2. Put a system in place. So scheduling work around Dad and also holding him accountable to helping me help him.
3. Take advantage of resources. I looked for grants, sponsorships, resources for dad, you name it, as a financial buffer in support of whatever income I lost during this time.
4. Pray and perform self care. I still had to make time for myself, so having a daily routine like prayer in the morning, affirmations, exercise at home, talking to friends, and staying busy all served me.
5. Be purposeful. I felt so pulled to serve the public when the pandemic crisis initially hit us, so I took to Zoom and Facebook and started a few masterclass series to help the community at large on managing emotions and how to overcome even in the pandemic.
So, if you feel a strong desire to do something that’s in your purpose, do it! As Florence Scovel Shinn said, never argue with a hunch. These processes pulled us through the pandemic.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
So. Income and how to shift from in person services to virtual services. But I will be truthful. I am so future focused and forward thinking. I have had practice doing work online for almost 10 years!
When we as counselors were allowed to serve clients via phone years ago, it was a good direction to take and gain practice and knowledge on, so that when the pandemic happened, it was an easier shift for me to serve clients via online. Regarding income, since people have lost their jobs, counseling, which you would have thought would boom due to the atrocities we have all faced, was still considered a luxury — not a necessity to pay out of pocket or find ways to pay for it. Speaking went downhill, and leadership coaching and consulting wasn’t an option. So I went into hustle mode. Why? Which is another great point to make.
In order to steer clear through any obstacle or challenge, you must stay fixated, obsessed, passionate with your WHY. My reason at the time was my Dad. I wanted to help see him on his 80th birthday. I had to take care of him and didn’t want him to worry not once about his food, housing or overall livelihood. Opportunity presented itself to do counseling online with a third party, and governors from various states were granting emergency licenses for licensed medical providers. I was considered as a first responder during the time, and so I became licensed in multiple states to provide care for residents in need of counseling services. Doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, activists, protestors, you name it, I served them, on top of doing my masterclass series, and on top of caring for my dad. I was so hell bent if you will, about making sure our livelihood was secured, I didn’t realize that I darn near made more money in 1 month than I did in the first half of the year, and because of that, it inspired me to continue making more money in 1 month than in one year. In fact, I realized I was able to create another 6 figure business during the pandemic!
I will say, another tidbit or success tip that helped me through during the pandemic was keeping positive. My morning ritual really helped me, and reading stories about millionaires being born out of crises, I wanted to prove that point to be true in my life. I hired business coaches who helped us learn how to create massive value through massive premium, high ticket offers. I will admit, while making money during the pandemic, I had to see about on average, get this, 100 people to meet my numbers. I was working from 8am to 10pm Monday through Friday, and at times, adding Saturday into the mix. I Decided, there goes that word again, to change it up by knowing my worth and value and that I can command myself to get paid directly and at the price I set with seeing only the clients that light me up. And in proposing my offer to selected clients I was serving, they decided to hire me directly at higher price points. What helped here was having a plan and strategy. I decided how much I wanted to make in a month, how many clients I wanted to serve, and what days and times I wanted to see them. That meant I had to go up on price and believe that the value I offer is worth that price point. And apparently, the clients thought so and paid for it! I couldn’t believe it. All from me remembering my why and deciding that I wanted this to be a win-win for everyone, with me including myself in the equation. Have a business that serves you, not the other way around. It’s all in how you look at it, and how you think of yourself that leads the way.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
This is a great question and so glad you’ve asked. In my masterclass series, which are available on my youtube channel, Dr. Sarah Renee Langley, I talked about three ways to overcome and advance during and after the pandemic. Before I explain, I want to put some bonus tips out there. First, do not beat yourself up for how you feel or felt during the pandemic. This pandemic caught all of us by surprise and who realy was prepared for such a thing? So how you feel is how you feel, you are human, and reacting based off all the unforeseen, unexpected happenings. Extend to yourself the courtesy and grace in how you deal with the pandemic and your emotions. Next, be mindful of what you are consuming. Meaning, watching all the news outlets about death tolls, fear, uncertainty, and the like, as it is only magnifying your own misery and fear. If you must consume, consume in bite sizes, decide, that word again, decide to only watch but so much of the news and zoom right out of it and go about your day. Don’t worry, you will be and stay in the know. Lastly, have outlets and resources and utilize them. Take advantage of resources that are made available to you financially, mentally, emotionally, to help live and maintain a balanced life during the pandemic.
Now for the 3 points.
1. Control. Understand that we as human beings have to have 3 elements to really live a balanced life and feel stable and sound. Control is one. Look not at what you can’t control, but rather look at what you can control. The serenity prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can control, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. What are you in control of to be thankful for? The more that you focus on what you are still in charge of, the more you focus on that you magnify that in your life.
Next, 2 is Community. We are created to be relational. Therefore, communicate with others. I know, we may all be sick of zoom. It is funny how comical it was at times, you know, people not realizing their cameras are on or their audio are on and they are just being them, and we got to really see and hear it, which cost some people jobs, or got them new ones in new industries, I’m being funny, but nevertheless, while we may have been bummed at sheltering in place and not spending physical quality time with friends and family, remember that was out of our control so it really hurt us, but we had online access to facetime with our loved ones. So, utilizing resources made available to still keep in touch and staying in touch puts us in control and engaged through community.
Lastly, number 3 is Contribution. When we feel purposeful, we are energized, sobered, empowered, powerful. Hence, when we can contribute, and not for gains, but simply for giving — it really boosts our energy and happiness. Again, that puts us in control when we decide, that word again, to give and not look for anything in return. So whether that is of your time to volunteer to help someone in need, even while you are in need, it takes your mind away from your needs and can make you feel good that you are helping someone else. Giving of your resources, or information, or anything that feels purposeful can really do wonders for you overall. These strategies can overall help manage your mood and actually boost your mood as you overcome and advance during and after the pandemic.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-COVID economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-COVID economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-COVID growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-COVID economy?
One opportunity, honestly, is the birth of more entrepreneurs. It has been a rollercoaster for all of us regarding financial security, livelihood, mental and emotional health, you name it, and I think, in fact, another quote is, out of greatest calamities come greatest opportunities. Many realized that they do not need to depend on anyone calling the shots on their money, when to get it, when not to get it. So many decided to start their own businesses and many succeeded in the pandemic! Isn’t that amazing! When you decide to take control of your life, life has a funny way of helping you succeed, even through challenges. It is all meant to help you grow and become your greatest ultimate real self.
I also think in the post-COVID economy, or at least I hope, that people now have more surplus to put away for rainy years like for another pandemic, God forbid if another one comes. Seeing major corporations close down or take advantage of the stimulus checks and what it meant for small businesses and the working class was crazy to me! I thought they would have had nest eggs for such times. Therefore, I think we could learn from that experience in that having a plan to put money away, emergency funds to cover as much as possible going forward to keep yourself and your lifestyle afloat through any major events.
Lastly, another opportunity I anticipate in this post COVID economy — more activists and political figures gunning for policy changes and policy protections to support working and middle classes. Watching people on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, I have noticed how amazingly talented people are from all walks of life. You only see the glitz and glamour of those celebrities and public figures. But seeing the “average regular everyday folks” doing their thing, I see people who not only want to entertain us and become viral, but also want to contribute to society. Many are taking to Capitol Hill or to their local government offices to see how they can contribute toward the cause of ensure equality, protection, and service to the underdogs and underprivileged. Regardless whether they have political experience or education, they have heart, passion, drive, and a decision to make a difference on a larger scale. So I see opportunities to lead in leadership positions locally and perhaps nationally — for a better and safer place to live in this world.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
Hmm, so we are not going back to what is normal, whatever was classified as normal. We aren’t going back to that. We will need to create a new normal with what we’ve experienced as a learning lesson and point of where we create. So, we are likely more cautious in our interactions, as the pandemic really hit everyone differently. Masks will continue to be worn by choice even if vaccinated, determining where to go and congregate, or even now concerning business, we moved to virtual operations, so many aren’t as interested in doing in person services as you think. Even with the world opening up again, people are very cautious and taking their time in rushing back to what was. That will never really be. Rather, let’s take what we’ve learned and turn those lessons into blessings not only for ourselves, but for the next generations after us to have a blueprint to follow from our trial and error.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-COVID economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-COVID Economy?
Shift. So, I really would love to permanently run an all virtual business if I could help it. But now I have built this component into my business and offer in person at a premium. I have my Daddy to care for. So, I want to make sure his well being is secure, and all my decisions have him in mind. The system he and I had was really good and what I’ve done actually, which is another tip I want to offer here, is journal. Journal your experiences so that you have a point of reference, your own roadmap to follow if or when this situation strikes again. So in rebuilding my business, I am taking the lessons I have learned that I have previously mentioned into account as I expand my business to 7 figures and beyond, and having my personal and leadership development firm planted all over the world serving billions of people. It starts with a what? My favorite word, decision. The rest will follow suit. Lastly, relationships. I have really been cultivating relationships with those in my industry and seeing how to serve in larger capacities, taking advantage of social media to showcase my experience and skills as way of promoting myself, my brand, and partnering with like minded individuals so that all the work isn’t on one person. As well as serving in even bigger capacities through my 1 on 1 VIP Exclusive Coaching Services and Mentorship programs for aspiring entrepreneurs who need the confidence, clarity and collateral to break out in their own respective businesses. So in a nutshell, think and work smarter instead of harder for real. Leveraging time, money, resources, and relationships to preserve my energy, time, money and peace is key.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
To do the same. Follow sound advice, get support through coaching, consulting, mentorship, really invest in yourself and don’t shoot yourself in the foot by playing the law of averages. Meaning — not staying average and watching on the sidelines. Not continually being a consumer but a producer over their lives. This pandemic gave an opportunity, believe it or not, to take fuller control over one’s own life. I didn’t mention this, but the best thing anyone can do for themselves right now is really get to learn more about themselves. Spending quality time with themselves alone to learn more about their potential. To trust their inner selves, their gut, their intuition, and the only real way in doing that is by carving out time for ‘alone time.’ That plays part in my secret of living, loving, and leading powerfully without limits. Being present with yourself, appreciating things about yourself you normally don’t give yourself credit for, and tapping and unleashing that potential within to make a world of difference, not only in the lives of others, but definitely first in your own life. All of this can be made possible by having a mindset and success strategist like myself in their lives because it is absolutely worth it to give themselves that gift of wise counsel for sustainable success and happiness.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The key to success is the continual pursuit of knowing who you are. So, it is time to look fear square in the face and do the very thing you think you cannot do, and that is to successfully be who you were already destined to become.”
Dr. Sarah Renee Langley
I hope mine count! I took parts of quotes from Napoleon Hill and Elanor Roosevelt and made my own quote. It was relevant to my life because that is the key to success and happiness. Being you. The real you. I had to decide to be my greatest self so that I can really serve others completely and fully. And it just feels great to be self-accepting, self-appreciating, and self-loving. I would compare myself to others and feel so inadequate compared to others, until I decided to look at what I loved about me and let that be my basis in building my esteem and positive self image. That is what opens the doors to being successful and happy, all at the same time. Being me. Taking time to really know who I am and to remind myself and remember who I am. That is my hope that someone takes away from this interview. To pursue yourself and discover who you really are and be ok with who you truly are without guilt, permission or apology. Just be.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Go to my website, drsarahreneelangley.com and check out my services, testimonials, and how we can work together to live, love and lead powerfully without limits!