Finding your laser beam of genius with Sarah Watson

Phenomenal A list talent causing a wave of destruction at a company.

We’ve all seen that person.

We may even be, or have been, that person.

But what is the reason for it?

Sarah tells us it’s when Talent has “misplaced genius”.

And she is essentially the red telephone for capital T talent.

Sarah Watson is an Executive Coach that helps bring leaders to their greatness.

She used to run the Global Strategy department for the global ad agency BBH, and whilst doing that, and being the chairman of the New York agency, she unearthed her calling. Having worked on brands for years and helping them find their soul, she realised that’s what she needs to do – but for people.

Today Sarah is going to talk to us about why monasteries exist.

Her love of language and poetry and how this finds its way into her work.

Sarah tells us how she helps people drop into a different presence and a different part of themselves that is deeper than the one they thought they had constructed.

And what happens when they do that.

She talks about the emergent journey.

And how people are conditioned out of their power.

And she ends on God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins. And her articulation of how this relates to her work is simply gorgeous.

This is such an inspirational episode. So, grab that favourite beverage or throw on those running shoes, and enjoy this conversation with Sarah.

And please don’t forget to let us know what you think of this episode, leave a review and subscribe.

Follow Sarah on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-watson-aa49181/

00:00:02:05 – 00:00:27:03
Philippa White
Welcome to the show, where we unearth new ways of looking at ever evolving lights around the world. Seen from a number of different industries, cultures and backgrounds. But there’s one thing that unites everyone I speak to. They all want to do their part to make the world better in their own unique ways. It’s a uniting passion. Whether they’re from the commercial world, third sector or public sector from the Global North or the global south.

00:00:27:15 – 00:01:01:14
Philippa White
My name is PHILIPPa White and welcome to TIE Unearthed. If a man not know where he goes, no wind is favorable. I read this quote by Aristotle a little while ago and it made me think of my friend Sarah Watson and her incredible work as an executive coach. Hello and welcome to episode 67 of Tie Unearthed. And today I’m speaking with Sarah and she’s going to tell us how she helps people find their laser beam of genius.

00:01:02:04 – 00:01:27:14
Philippa White
Whilst running the Global Strategy Department for the global ad agency BBH and being the chairman of the New York Agency, she unearthed her calling. Having worked on brands for years and helping them find their soul, she realized that’s what she needed to do. But for people, and she describes her calling beautifully, she helps bring leaders to their greatness.

00:01:28:11 – 00:01:52:11
Philippa White
Now we are all driven by external noise and stimulus. You know, there’s so much going on around us and we all feel it. There are also chemicals in our body, cognitive bias and so much more forcing us not to live a consciously designed life. But life doesn’t have to be lived by default. You can design it, you can direct it, and you can be in control of it.

00:01:53:01 – 00:02:08:06
Philippa White
As Sarah says, life is so much easier when you’re in touch with who you are. And today, Sarah is going to tell us how that’s possible. So grab your favorite beverage or throw in those running shoes. And here’s Sarah.

00:02:08:13 – 00:02:13:14
Philippa White
Sarah, thank you so much for joining us. It’s amazing to have you here. How are you?

00:02:14:04 – 00:02:23:01
Sarah Watson
I’m so well. It’s a very cold New York day. You find me in not as cold as we need it to be, but it’s. Yeah, I’m. I’m in fine spirits.

00:02:23:12 – 00:02:43:23
Philippa White
Good. And so you’re up in New York. As I like to set the scene for our listeners, because I do talk to people all over the place. And and I haven’t spoken to somebody in New York in a while, actually. So yeah, temperature very different to here. I have this problem where it’s so hot, my glasses plug up because I get so excited on these podcasts.

00:02:43:23 – 00:02:49:18
Philippa White
Oh, very different sort of. Plus what is it? Plus plus 28 on the on me.

00:02:49:18 – 00:02:50:15
Sarah Watson
Oh my goodness.

00:02:50:22 – 00:03:06:11
Philippa White
Yeah. So a bit different. So, Sarah, I’m really looking forward to getting into all of the amazing things that you’re doing. But before we get into that, it’s just really nice to just get a little bit of context about you and your story. So can you tell our listeners?

00:03:07:02 – 00:03:25:18
Sarah Watson
Sure. So I am from the northwest of England, right between Manchester and Liverpool, and I grew up there and my parents were teachers. And the only thing I knew about my life is I didn’t want to be a teacher and I thought I wanted to actually work for Vogue. I thought I wanted to work in fashion. And I had every Vogue going back to 1978.

00:03:25:18 – 00:03:44:14
Sarah Watson
And actually I wrote to the two people I wanted to work for who were Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood. And yeah, and this was in like the early nineties and I went and interned at Paul Smith’s office, his actual office on Floral Street. And I realized then that if I wasn’t a fashion designer, I wasn’t really interested in going to fashion.

00:03:44:14 – 00:04:07:20
Sarah Watson
And so I went to advertising, which actually I had a phenomenal time. I remember when the September edition came out and I saw Anna Wintour’s process, I realized actually I’d had an equally creatively nourishing time in advertising, as I would have ever had in fashion journalism. I was a strategist at two agencies in my whole career. I started ZB London, I went to BBH London.

00:04:07:21 – 00:04:16:02
Sarah Watson
I went back to London to run the strategy practice, and then I came back to BBH in New York, and that’s about 12 years ago.

00:04:16:08 – 00:04:34:20
Philippa White
And just for our listeners, because if you I mean, I’m sure if you Google Sarah, you’ll see somewhere, but I mean Perth style has I mean you can see now and actually I didn’t know that about you about the Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood story. But now I understand that fashion has obviously always been something that you’ve been passionate about.

00:04:34:20 – 00:04:39:18
Philippa White
I think so. I mean, your look and just your soul, unique and stunning.

00:04:39:22 – 00:05:17:07
Sarah Watson
I tell you what I’m learning about this fellow, which is because I’ve carried this with shame, actually, for most of my life, because to work in fashion, you know, my parents are public schoolteachers. You know, they’ve lived they public servants, they’ve lived their life in service of others. And so to want to do something that’s trivial as fashion or advertising, I have carried with a lot of shame, actually, but I think, you know, to really bring this to the present and what I understand about myself now and what I’m doing now is that I’m really interested in how you strive to embody yourself in the moment, how you with a certain intensity, how you live

00:05:17:07 – 00:05:30:13
Sarah Watson
in the presence and bring yourself to life. And ultimately that’s kind of what I’m doing now in coaching, but I’m much kind of deeper level. So I am understanding kind of the through line a little bit in that whole.

00:05:30:13 – 00:05:48:07
Philippa White
Story financing that how when you’re obviously doing that for other people, we’ll get to that in a second. But through that process, there’s probably been quite a bit of. So Oh yeah, reflection and understanding, isn’t it? You talked about, you know, obviously doing something different now and intimated that you’ve moved on from advertising. I’d love to know what the catalyst was.

00:05:48:07 – 00:06:13:14
Sarah Watson
I was sort of global chief strategy officer and I was chairman of the New York office, which I think was probably my favorite job ever, because I was interested in the soul of the organization that some of the bigger questions about who are we? And this is what I live my life for now. Ultimately. So after the pandemic, I really just got during the pandemic, I got really super clear about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

00:06:13:17 – 00:06:35:13
Sarah Watson
I speak to so many people who are we all went through some kind of version of this. I think we were forced to. But I realized that actually what I thought I was doing was showing up and leading people and, you know, getting the team together and all this stuff. And actually, when I realized that I could just have one on one powerful conversations, this is it.

00:06:35:13 – 00:07:04:08
Sarah Watson
This is what I want to be doing forever. And it was interesting when I was clearing my office out downtown in Tribeca, I was going through ten years of Moleskine notebooks, and you go through these books and you remember every meeting that you were in so vividly, the briefing and the sandwiches and whatever. And reading those books was very illuminating for me because I realized that no matter what the client was asking us for, the only thing I was ever listening for was the soul.

00:07:04:08 – 00:07:24:12
Sarah Watson
What is the soul of this brand? What is the soul of this organization? What is the power that wants to emerge that hasn’t fully emerged? That’s what I thought I was supposed to be doing. It’s so strange. I look back on this now and to be fair, sometimes that is what the ask was from the clients. But most of the time it wasn’t.

00:07:24:12 – 00:07:45:12
Sarah Watson
And I got really clear how I just only wanted to live in those existential conversations where the question is, Who am I? What wants to emerge that isn’t here now? And so that’s what I’ve devoted my life to. So I left at the end of 2020, I trained a full time, deeply deep training. Throughout the whole of 2021.

00:07:45:17 – 00:07:55:04
Sarah Watson
I launched my practice 2022. So I’m in the second full year of it now and I’ve come home to my calling is what I was put on earth to do. And, you know, I’m just so grateful.

00:07:55:04 – 00:08:14:05
Philippa White
And so just back to those Moleskine notebooks and cleaning out your office, had you decided that that’s what you were going to do then? Or and if it was then, what was it that made you say, I have to give in my notice. I need to do this? What was that?

00:08:14:08 – 00:08:39:04
Sarah Watson
I think it was the clarity that that I woke up to, the fact that that was what I was always doing, not realizing that that that actually I was supposed to be doing more than that. So it sounds a very weird thing to say because, you know, I’ve seen a lot of client issues are much more granular and specific and tactical than that.

00:08:39:04 – 00:09:08:22
Sarah Watson
I suppose I sort of unashamed myself for the fact that I’d always showed up in those meetings, in those challenges with this great, great fear, which some people would call imposter syndrome. I wouldn’t call it imposter syndrome. I’d say I genuinely was an imposter. I wasn’t attuned to those questions, and I think I’ve been ashamed of that. And then all of a sudden I just got real about No, no, look, that’s just not the level that I’m attuned to.

00:09:08:22 – 00:09:26:14
Sarah Watson
That’s just not yeah, that’s just not my strength. The more I started to entertain the idea that there wasn’t it wasn’t that there was something missing in me was it was something more present than I’d been willing to, to fully accept that. I think that’s the shift.

00:09:26:18 – 00:09:43:11
Philippa White
That’s interesting. And then it’s almost I mean, we’re going to go into that, but it’s almost like you kind of had that light bulb moment for you, and that’s essentially what you’re doing for everybody that you work with. Right, exactly. That’s what’s amazing. Yes. Yeah. What gets you excited every day?

00:09:43:13 – 00:10:10:24
Sarah Watson
The possibility for true transformation that is contained within conversation. It’s really unbelievable. And in a way, we always used to say it’s about advertising. You know, the possibility that a piece of communication can the impact that can have on your business overnight, there’s nothing else you can do in your business that would turn things around at that velocity.

00:10:11:13 – 00:10:48:09
Sarah Watson
And it’s a bit the same is true in coaching and I hear, you know, sometimes like you sort of hair tear in the space time continuum something sometimes because something else opened up that wasn’t possible before a way of having a relationship, a way of thinking about yourself in the evening, the example of me like, Oh wow, maybe this isn’t a terrible thing, but I’m not attuned to, you know, tactical conversation is maybe it’s an amazing thing because I am attuned to something else and just that realization can open up a whole different life.

00:10:48:09 – 00:10:50:06
Sarah Watson
That’s what gets me excited. Yeah.

00:10:50:07 – 00:10:57:12
Philippa White
Can you bring to life just how you do it and what is working and what does it look like? And who? Who who comes to you?

00:10:57:15 – 00:10:58:09
Sarah Watson
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

00:10:58:12 – 00:10:59:16
Philippa White
Who do you work with?

00:10:59:16 – 00:11:26:15
Sarah Watson
I’m very happy to talk about that. This is something I want to share, PHILIPPa, which is the parallels between your business and what I do as well. What I think is so fascinating about time is that you get people to experience themselves in new ways totally and not in a way that they couldn’t have done by reading the book or doing the training course or, you know, learning the framework.

00:11:26:15 – 00:11:57:07
Sarah Watson
It’s way deeper than that. They get to show up and really experience themselves as something that they have more than they had taken themselves for till that point. And you can’t take that back. Once you’ve experienced that, you still can’t take it. You’ve really got that deep in your bones because it is the truth. You had it already, but it never it never had an opportunity to to give voice to how I work is really on the vertical dimension, not the horizontal dimension.

00:11:57:07 – 00:12:23:04
Sarah Watson
So let’s talk about that. So I understand the horizontal dimension being training skills, negotiation skills optimization like you know, and by the way, this is really, really important. You know, that’s technical stuff, horizontal. I work on the vertical dimension, though. What wants to emerge, what is really already true about you that hasn’t come out yet. So and again, tie hotelbeds to this.

00:12:23:22 – 00:12:47:12
Sarah Watson
Yeah. The example I gave actually was when I remember. Do you remember when Bruce Jenner came out with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair and the story? I’ll never forget it. Just the story. Just broke my heart of how when he was like the most famous athlete in the world and he was on the cover of every cereal packet and he won ten gold medals or whatever it was at the Olympics.

00:12:47:12 – 00:13:14:11
Sarah Watson
And all he could think of was, I’m in the wrong body and it’s tearing me apart. And and I think of about that. I think about all the horizontal coaching he would have had to be an Olympic athlete, optimize, optimize better, better, more, more nutrition, do it in whatever they had in the eighties, whatever. And underneath it all, there was something that was saying, I’m a woman and that is more important to me.

00:13:14:11 – 00:13:24:10
Sarah Watson
And he says, I would have given every gold medal. She says, I would have given every gold medal to be me, who I am. And and so that’s a very extreme example.

00:13:24:10 – 00:13:25:02
Philippa White
Beautiful.

00:13:25:05 – 00:13:52:19
Sarah Watson
Yeah, but it’s so powerful I think, because it’s extreme because she transitioned. And obviously that’s not the truth for most of us. But what is true and I really experience this for most of us, there is something beneath all of that optimization and all that training and all that stuff that wants to come out that is more powerful, that actually will make all of that stuff better.

00:13:52:19 – 00:14:17:17
Sarah Watson
Like you don’t need negotiation skills training if you’re really, really clear about exactly who you are and what your value is and you’re really showing up like that. Yeah, I’m sure you could do some stuff that which would help, but in terms of accessing the depth and the power of yourself. And that’s what I live for too, for to help people draw into that deep herself.

00:14:17:21 – 00:14:36:24
Philippa White
This is fascinating. It’s wonderful listening to this, because you’re right, there’s so many parallels. I mean, there’s so many, so many parallels with what with what you’re doing and what Ty does and why. But obviously, the way that you do it in the way that Ty does it is obviously, you know, actually it’s almost yours is very complementary to what we’re doing.

00:14:36:24 – 00:15:01:06
Philippa White
But, you know, the process to unlocking somebody’s essence can just be so different in so many different ways. And obviously, everyone has their their own way of doing that. And ours is sort of through exposing people to to global challenges and connecting them with humanity and really, you know, comfort zone, disrupting and and getting them sort of in a situation that they have never been in before, but then realizing just what their power is and what they’re capable of doing.

00:15:01:14 – 00:15:15:24
Philippa White
Yeah, I’d love to understand what types of people come to you who is looking for this. I’m sure it’s a huge range in the same way Ty is actually a huge range. Yes. You know what? What does a session look like?

00:15:16:00 – 00:15:45:15
Sarah Watson
Before I answer that question, I actually you’ve sort of answered it all already, because when you were saying that, something about when you were dropped into the situation and we have to you know, we have to figure it out. And so I would say here is the parallel and the word I bring to this is you have to drop into a different presence, a different part of yourself that is deeper than the one that you thought you’d constructed.

00:15:45:21 – 00:16:06:24
Sarah Watson
So this is ultimately what happens. And I know I have these skills on my account. When I did this, I’m thinking, Oh God, I’m not very good at final or whatever it is. And then all of a sudden I’ve dropped in and I’ve got nowhere to hide and all that horizontal noise disappears. So it’s even helpful for me to draw these parallels because now I’m going to share a story, a really concrete story about how this happened.

00:16:07:02 – 00:16:31:22
Sarah Watson
This is actually a friend of mine. It’s not even a client of mine, but it happened. It’s so binary that it just illustrates this really well. So a friend of mine, very high powered marketer, calls me at the start of the summer and says, I don’t know what to do. I’ve been offered the absolute job of my dreams, but it doesn’t carry the title that I’d absolutely promised myself that I would take in my next move.

00:16:31:22 – 00:16:47:17
Sarah Watson
And I haven’t slept for seven nights. I mean, we’ve all been in some version of this situation. Oh my God, I really want this, but I can’t help. I have promised myself that I’ve got to have this title and I’ve asked them for this title. Like I said, I’m not going to do it unless it carries this title.

00:16:47:17 – 00:17:04:14
Sarah Watson
And they’ve said, no, it does not carry this title, this job, take it or leave it. What do I do? Wrinkle dissolve to the end of the summer and I wake up one morning. Linton, I see my friend is posted. Oh I’ve got some really big news. I’m taking this big job and it’s got the title that she wanted.

00:17:04:17 – 00:17:25:14
Sarah Watson
So I immediately texted her, okay, we need to talk. She calls me back immediately. She says, Sarah, it was our conversation that’s flipped the switch. Okay, I’m like, okay, remind me. So in our conversation, we had spoken, you know, she obviously shared this really difficult dilemma. And then we taken a step back and we talked about really what was going on in her life.

00:17:25:14 – 00:17:45:22
Sarah Watson
And, you know, she has a very young child who has some very specific needs from her. And she really just got clear about this is the most important thing in her life actually at the moment. And I know I know I wanted this title, but actually, I love this organization. I love these people. I love this job. You know what?

00:17:45:24 – 00:18:08:07
Sarah Watson
I don’t care at this moment. I’m going to take it. But now that I’ve reached this clarity in myself, I’m just going to share with them why I think this role. And to be fair, all its peers need this C-suite title because they need this level of mandate. They need to be in this community if you want to do what you want to do is as an organization, you in this role needs to have this title.

00:18:08:17 – 00:18:35:15
Sarah Watson
So she shares this with the hiring manager, who obviously has to pick themselves up for that level of sheer Hotspur about having their organization restructured by someone who doesn’t work there. But once she’s picked us up, she takes it to the CEO who says, You know what, she’s right. Let’s do this. So she gets the job that she wanted, she gets the title she wanted, and everyone around her gets elevated and gets the mandate that they need.

00:18:35:17 – 00:19:04:14
Sarah Watson
So now this organization has the power to transform in ways that weren’t possible. So, I mean, I could talk about this all day because it’s so brilliant. And I will say we have all done this in our lives. This is not beyond all comprehension. We’ve all done a version of this. But for me, this is the parallel with time she found herself making a decision from the present moment, not from the ego.

00:19:04:14 – 00:19:24:18
Sarah Watson
So the ego is always past or present. It’s always playing for you. Well, she said in this appeal, and it’s always playing well. What about this? More like it’s never present. She got present. She’s like, Actually, okay, stop the noise. What? I thought what I promised most of all, what does life require of me in this moment? Well, it requires I want to do this job and I want my son to be with my child.

00:19:24:18 – 00:19:45:00
Sarah Watson
So therefore, everything cascade and I would say none of this would have been possible if she hadn’t have dropped into that deeper version of herself. And so the invitation here is for us all to live from this place more and more and more and practice it and speak up. This is the work of our lives. I mean, this is really hard.

00:19:45:00 – 00:20:08:19
Sarah Watson
This is what every single religion ultimately is about waking. Wake up, wake up, be here. Now, it is very, very hard. But I love those two examples because I think they’re so concrete and practical. The conversations with me, ultimately, this is what we’re trying to get people to experience for themselves. So again, there’s nothing cognitive here. This isn’t in the mind.

00:20:08:19 – 00:20:19:17
Sarah Watson
This is this is not horizontal. I mean, horizontal. It is in the mind. It’s cognitive. It’s the things we need to know and thank goodness that exists. So we need skills and that’s not where I work. I work.

00:20:19:17 – 00:20:44:09
Philippa White
Really. Yeah. It’s so interesting. And again, this is the parallels of the tie in outcomes from the experiences that we have. Just before the end of the year, we finished a program with a group of really senior executives from a large communications network. So we had chief global people officer, we had a global creative director and two employees.

00:20:44:09 – 00:21:14:13
Philippa White
And so we had somebody from London, somebody from Hong Kong, Singapore and somebody from Australia, super high level head down, getting the job done. They wanted to get involved with TIE because one, they wanted to be more, do more, get involved with something bigger than themselves. Purpose plays a big part of it in the sense that understanding what is it that makes me tick, I kind of feel like I’ve just got so into the day to day job, sort of, as you said, I love how you said that the sort of horizontal kind of noise.

00:21:14:13 – 00:21:31:04
Philippa White
But where’s my essence? What is it that makes me tick and where’s that excitement? Because I’d kind of forgotten it. And I don’t I’m not given the space to realize that, to unearth that. And I love my job. I’m not wanting to quit. I’m not just, you know, I love where I live. I love the network. It’s there’s I need more.

00:21:31:04 – 00:21:49:18
Philippa White
There needs I need more. Yes. Humanity plays a huge part in what we do that connection with a different humanity, a different reality, a different world, understanding that different world that plays a big part of it. And so, you know, they jump in six weeks, 2 hours a day, pretty intense. But it was amazing. At the end of it, we had tears.

00:21:49:21 – 00:22:09:15
Philippa White
So you have these really, really high level individuals and they’re brought to tears and the brought to tears because they suddenly realize things about themselves that, again, that they hadn’t kind of unearth, you know, the purpose piece again, sort of. I feel like we talk a lot about authenticity. We talk a lot about the importance of people and the importance of but we don’t practice it.

00:22:09:15 – 00:22:38:00
Philippa White
We need to practice that. I’m running a business if I’m feeling this, other people are feeling this, and I need to make this a reality. And I think the thing with all of these types of experiences of if it’s coaching or leadership development programs, what it is, whatever it is, but like you say, it’s once you’ve ignited that, whatever that is and you’ve found that, I think your advice of okay, so one, stay true to it, be in the present moment, understand how you can then really is that in your day to day?

00:22:38:01 – 00:22:59:18
Philippa White
Because that’s what we talk a lot about with tie it sort of. Okay, so now that you’ve unearthed that, how can you do that in your day to day job? And again, it isn’t quitting your job because to be honest, quitting and then starting something else again. It’s all going to come back if you haven’t figured that out, once you have unearthed that from someone and someone now has realized that you’ve found that is you.

00:22:59:19 – 00:23:17:07
Philippa White
As you said when we talked on the phone the other day, which was beautiful, just that laser beam of genius that they’ve got or that laser beam of essence that’s important to them, whatever it might be. How do you then help them continue that moving forward? And do you do that? And I’m guessing, oh, we do like once you realize that, what does that look like?

00:23:17:07 – 00:23:17:16
Philippa White
Well.

00:23:18:06 – 00:23:40:02
Sarah Watson
It’s a journey. It’s an emergent journey. You have to embody this day in, day out. And I often think about, you know, the reason like monasteries exist is that, you know, people can study lots of spiritual stuff in great depth, but it doesn’t mean you’ve blundered it. You have to stay in this day after day after day and and to stay present.

00:23:40:02 – 00:24:07:16
Sarah Watson
And and so I think for me, I do like to work and maybe this is my English literature major and also my advertising background. I do love language, I love poetry, I do love words. And I do love the idea that there are a little phrase this that you can give to people that are almost like talismans that you can carry with you to describe that somehow capture in words what it is that you, that who you are.

00:24:07:20 – 00:24:20:04
Sarah Watson
And they can be very helpful in bringing someone back. But it has to be poetic. You know something? That’s the meaning of it unfolds and unfolds and unfolds for you the more you think about it and reflects on it.

00:24:20:05 – 00:24:23:10
Philippa White
So it’s interesting. I like that. Yeah, I like that.

00:24:23:10 – 00:24:45:18
Sarah Watson
I didn’t answer your question, though. Who do I work with? The phrase I’m working with at the moment is I’m the red telephone for Capital T talent. So my what I really love to work with. So we’ve described the horizontal in the vertical dimension. I really love to work with people who where the the vertical dimension is really, really out of the classic sort of core.

00:24:45:18 – 00:25:04:05
Sarah Watson
But I love the brief that I love is the founder, the CEO. The manager can calls me up and says, I’ve got this phenomenal A-list talent. They are so brilliant. Their contribution is so valuable, yadda, yadda, yadda. And they are also causing a wave of destruction. And this cannot, cannot go on. They need to know that they cannot go on.

00:25:04:08 – 00:25:34:19
Sarah Watson
What are we going to do about it? So I love this conversation and I’m really learning this about myself, partly because I know already that there is nothing wrong here. Yes, the behavior is unacceptable. Yes, it has to stop. But that’s not how I’m going to meet them, because that’s not going to do anything. I have to meet them knowing that this whatever is going on here is bad, misplaced genius is somehow so out of place.

00:25:35:01 – 00:25:58:20
Sarah Watson
It would rather tear down their career and tear down this agency and tear down their reputation, then be held back. I always know that there is an intelligence to this, and I think the reason I relate so strongly to these people is I see myself in this. I carried shame that I couldn’t set up a data unit and, you know, write brilliant IPA papers.

00:25:58:20 – 00:26:26:21
Sarah Watson
And I was so ashamed. Do all the things that a CSO is supposed to do. I was weighed down by the shame and now I realize no, because it was something else that wanted to emerge from me that was way, way more powerful than me trying to put myself into that box. And there’s no shame in that. But Shane creeps into this, particularly when people know, many people know, you know, particularly the sorts of people I’m dealing with, you know, how to behave in an office, you know, when you’re misbehaving.

00:26:27:04 – 00:26:39:06
Sarah Watson
Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. But like so I’m not there is no we’re not going to horizontal dimensions. We’re not going to retrain your behavior. We’re going to look and see what is really going on.

00:26:39:11 – 00:27:03:05
Philippa White
I love it and I love the misplaced genius. I love that. I think I mean, gosh, that’s that’s the case for everyone to be everyone. When you see children misbehaving and you realize, poor thing, the reason that there is because they’re not feeling understood. And I think and it’s the same and I think it’s really interesting. We talked about Jim Carroll just again before we started recording and he talks about this and I’m sure you remember it.

00:27:03:08 – 00:27:23:05
Philippa White
I’m sure it’s in many presentations that he’s given over the years, but I love it when he talks about his performance appraisal and he you know, and he says, I don’t like performance appraisal. And and I’d say, you’re really good at these things. You’re really good at things that actually you need to work on these things. Then he’d go out and he’d be trying really hard these things, but then the next year he’d come back or six months later or whatever.

00:27:23:11 – 00:27:48:22
Philippa White
And he’s still really good at these things, but still never really good at these things. And he realized, Oh my God, I need to stop trying to be good at everything. I need to realize what my laser being genius is. And then once you start focusing on that, then that is when you become extraordinary. Yeah, it’s that misplaced genius that maybe the person can’t see or other people can’t see it.

00:27:48:22 – 00:27:56:16
Philippa White
But once you find it, then you explore that and focus on that. And then that’s when the flower kind of blossoms, doesn’t it?

00:27:56:19 – 00:28:19:08
Sarah Watson
Nailed it 400%. And I remember now, Jim. Yes, yeah, 100%. The thing I would bring to this conversation is the body, though, and this has been the big thing that I’ve immersed myself in since I left the industry. And the body doesn’t lie if you feel it in your self, whether it’s true or not or whether it’s just an idea that you feel you need to take on.

00:28:19:12 – 00:28:37:23
Sarah Watson
And I do think the world that we live in pulls us out of that, particularly, you know, the overstimulation and, you know, everywhere. And I have this as well. You know, I go on LinkedIn and these people are so brilliant and they’ve got these brilliant jobs and these huge successes. And it’s so oh, wow. It’s so easy just to think, oh, I’m not I’m just not enough.

00:28:37:23 – 00:28:45:09
Sarah Watson
I’m not I’m not good enough. And it pulls us away from the real truth of what is inside us that wants to emerge.

00:28:45:15 – 00:29:10:02
Philippa White
Yeah, well, you talked about LinkedIn. That’s a beautiful Segway because anyone who is listening to this please follow Sarah on LinkedIn because she shares the most beautiful snippets of your findings every once in a while from Congress nations. And what they end up being are these inner truths I would say that everybody can relate to. And you read it one like you say, you’ve got a wonderful way with words.

00:29:10:02 – 00:29:19:20
Philippa White
I guess it comes from your Oxford University just love of reading and education. You articulate things so beautifully and I just wonder, can you share one with us?

00:29:19:20 – 00:29:50:01
Sarah Watson
Special Thank you for saying all of that because I carry so much shame about my LinkedIn post because I’m still it’s not a new thing for me to post and share and oh, I sort of share. And then I don’t really know if that was the right thing. So thank you. That’s very helpful for me to have. I tell you the post that got the most responses from memory for me was one where I talk about people being conditioned out of their power, and I think that’s very true.

00:29:50:09 – 00:30:11:21
Sarah Watson
And it’s particularly true of women. It’s true of anyone outside of, you know, kind of a powerful majority. But I think it’s also true of all of us as well. You know, and I say this, it’s really a summary of everything we’ve been talking about. That’s there’s so many clues that tell us. No, no, not not like that.

00:30:11:21 – 00:30:26:03
Sarah Watson
No, not you. Not like that. But a lot of it, actually, we just have to connect with what is really true. But we get this kind of gaslighting effect in society a lot so that that was very powerful for people.

00:30:26:06 – 00:30:29:21
Philippa White
Sarah Is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to tell our listeners?

00:30:30:00 – 00:30:57:08
Sarah Watson
You got me thinking about the quote because there is a quote that just sort of spontaneously keeps coming back to me when I’m, you know, when I’m doing this work. So it’s a poet called Gerard Manley Hopkins, who’s a British Jesuit, Victorian poet, very brilliant. And he has this poem called God’s Grandeur. And I think even if you are not a believer, this will still kind of speak to you.

00:30:57:08 – 00:31:18:18
Sarah Watson
And so the opening line of God’s grandeur is the world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out like shining from shock foil. And I take obviously flame out, which has a slightly different connotation in such a contemporary Poland’s. He means it will flare out. It will it will hit you in the face. It will flame out like shining from shock foil.

00:31:19:05 – 00:31:37:17
Sarah Watson
And I so often feel that this is what I’m doing in my conversations with people. You know, people show up with all the stuff that we all have, which is, oh, I don’t know if I’m in the right place, in the right job in the world so hard and everything’s irresolvable and all the things that are true, you know, about how we live.

00:31:38:00 – 00:32:01:01
Sarah Watson
And then just in a moment, it’s like a kingfisher. You just get this glimpse of brilliance of color that’s so unique and perfect and beautiful and, you know. Okay, wait, wait. Whoa. What was that? What? I just saw something that God’s grandeur, you know, I saw you. And most people, they don’t see us as. This is a LinkedIn post that I’ve had.

00:32:01:19 – 00:32:16:08
Sarah Watson
I’ve done. This is the air we breathe as individuals. We don’t see that as a kingfisher. We are as the kingfishers flash. We just see that we are a kingfisher. We don’t even notice that. And I catch that. And I and then you look at it.

00:32:16:08 – 00:32:20:13
Philippa White
What a great and they can visualize that it’s so great isn’t it.

00:32:20:13 – 00:32:45:06
Sarah Watson
You catch and and they say okay what was that. And we, we have kits and then we present to Ed you slow down and you feel it in your body and then you start to integrate it. Oh, no, this is me. This is me. And I was reflecting on mentor shit and particularly what mentorship has really be at its most powerful in my life, which is it’s not so much the fireside chats.

00:32:45:06 – 00:33:11:03
Sarah Watson
People sit down passing advice, although I’m sure know that’s very, very helpful. The time zone has been most powerful really is what people have called my Kingfisher. Like people said, okay, the thing that you did then I don’t even know what it was. Do more of that. Yeah. And you’re like, oh, okay. Okay, really. Right. But what’s so interesting and again, we go back to time with this is it’s already there.

00:33:11:04 – 00:33:28:14
Sarah Watson
We’re not asking you horizontal dimension to learn something new because you’re missing and you’re deficient and you need to have more skills and more, more, more and better, I would just say. So it’s all there in you and you need to give it life and you need to nurture and you need to be content and you need to not be ashamed of it.

00:33:28:15 – 00:33:48:02
Sarah Watson
And so I often think about that poem. I mean, for me, I feel like I sold God, but I mean, I don’t want to put people off with my language, but I saw the source. I saw you as a deeply grounded child of this earth, of this planet that we’re on. I saw it. And so then I can speak to that.

00:33:48:02 – 00:33:55:20
Sarah Watson
And it’s like almost you hear me speaking to that in you. And then you can accommodate it anyway. We’re getting a bit.

00:33:56:08 – 00:34:17:18
Philippa White
Yeah, but it’s, it is, it’s that essence isn’t it. It’s what makes you you and actually back to the beginning of when we were talking about your work with companies and obviously brands and having to find the soul of that brand. And in marketing speak, we talk about your USP, what is your unique thing that sets you apart from everyone?

00:34:17:18 – 00:34:43:17
Philippa White
And and it’s funny because humans have that and we’re all unique. But what’s interesting is, your essence, your special Kingfisher, your special that unique part of what you have to offer, no one else has that. Everyone, you know, everyone has a different element. But yes. What makes you you know, one has that and it’s finding that. Yes. And then making that you can, in all of its senses as it’s.

00:34:43:17 – 00:35:11:01
Sarah Watson
So brilliantly said Phillip, because and I will say this is my experience as well, which is that I really feel that we are destroying this planet because because we need more stuff and more things. We need more experiences because because like who I am, I need I don’t even know why. Who am I like? I need the thing when you when you know this literally you’re so unique.

00:35:11:01 – 00:35:14:15
Sarah Watson
There is no one like you. You don’t need the stuff anymore.

00:35:15:00 – 00:35:24:05
Philippa White
No, you don’t need the stuff. And if you don’t, it doesn’t, you know, because what makes you you you know, it doesn’t matter all of the other stuff.

00:35:24:05 – 00:35:38:24
Sarah Watson
It doesn’t matter. And so so in a way, I do feel this is very profound work. You know, we trying to get ourselves away from the horizontal dimension and the stuff, the we’re just trying to ground ourselves.

00:35:38:24 – 00:36:00:16
Philippa White
Yeah. And I couldn’t agree more. And I think life is so busy. It was so hard. You know, everyone’s trying to sort of come out of that. There’s challenges and global challenges and you know, you name it, we’re facing it and it’s it’s a lot. And I think it’s very easy for the noise and for everything to just become really overwhelming.

00:36:00:16 – 00:36:18:00
Philippa White
But if you have yourself to fall back on and if you have yourself to kind of be that core, that noise is important and we obviously all need to kind of respond to it. But if you have that core, you are so much more able to respond to all of that because it becomes, okay, I can come back to this, it’s fine.

00:36:18:00 – 00:36:22:12
Philippa White
But all of that, it’s all it’s all figure out, well, that’s all we can sort it out. It is.

00:36:22:16 – 00:36:44:12
Sarah Watson
Human beings. We’re just phenomenally flexible. We were made for this. You think about, you know, all the way that humans live all over the world with so flexible we really can. And when I think a lot about the world that we’re facing and what we’re all going to need to do, we’re all going to need to do what my friend did about making that decision like this.

00:36:44:17 – 00:36:57:03
Sarah Watson
There’s like this is we’re all in this world. This is it. This. No, it’s that. And but we have to in our bodies, we have to draw it into that. We as a world, we all do it. You know, we’ve got to have no choice. So.

00:36:57:03 – 00:37:15:24
Philippa White
Yeah, yeah. Oh, well, I have absolutely enjoyed this conversation. We have so many similarities. I mean, I didn’t actually say this at the beginning, but Sarah and I did work together at at BBH, and when I left, we continued those conversations every time I go to England. And then she moved to New York and then I got to New York and we’d have sort of other catch up.

00:37:15:24 – 00:37:28:17
Philippa White
So I haven’t seen you in a while because COVID has got in the way. But yeah, let’s continue these conversations and I’ve adored this, so thank you. Keep doing this work. You have you have found your kingfisher so and the yeah.

00:37:29:01 – 00:37:39:06
Sarah Watson
Well back at you this was absolute pleasure and yeah. Thank you for the incredible work you do, which again, I think we are only scratching the surface of your gifts. It’s very exciting.

00:37:39:06 – 00:37:41:01
Philippa White
Thank you. Until next time.

00:37:41:01 – 00:37:43:16
Sarah Watson
Until next time.

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