Pushing Past Doubt, Embracing the Wonderhell of It All: A Q&A With #LMA23 Keynote Laura Gassner Otting
By LMA International
April 04, 2023 | 4-minute read
Are you going through your own wonderhell? Trying to be all things to all people? Fighting a tsunami of conflicting emotions? Laura Gassner Otting has been there.
At the LMA 2023 Annual Conference, taking place April 24-25 in Hollywood, Florida, Laura will take the stage as keynote and share how you can live more limitlessly and bring contagious confidence to work.
We sat down with her to learn more about her philosophy, advice for people weighed down by their own potential, what attendees can expect to learn and more.
You’re a successful author, catalyst and executive coach who inspires people to push past doubt and indecision and think bigger. What advice have you received that encourages you to amplify your impact?
The best piece of personal and professional advice I ever got was “You’re just not that important.”
I know that sounds harsh, but at the moment I was given that advice, I was trying to be all things to all people, all the time. I thought I was super important to my family, my employees and my community. I said yes to everything, and tried to be in six places at once. As a result, I wasn’t actually showing up for anyone in the way that I had hoped. My family suffered, my employees were unhappy and my community obligations went unmet.
By understanding that I wasn’t, in fact, that important to about 90% of those areas — the school would find someone else to chair the bake sale, my employees needed me to stop micromanaging them, the town park committee would someone else to run the meeting — I could focus on where I was, in fact, that important.
Too often we say yes to things simply because we’re the most proximate, and not because we’ve been identified as the most qualified. This advice, while difficult for my ego to absorb, reminded me to start saying no where I’m not that important, and double down where I am. As such, everyone — including me — could be in a better place where we were able to think bigger and have our impact amplified.
In today’s world of constant change, what do you find yourself being most passionate about?
The only thing that I’ve found does not change is our desire to grow. My secret super power, if I have any, is this: I am able to look at someone and, in pretty short order, figure out what makes them great. I reflect it back on them in ways that they can finally see it, or actually see enough of it to finally act upon it.
For me, I am constantly passionate about other people’s potential — what they can and can’t see — and how to get them to see the version of themselves that is so plainly obvious to the rest of us. When you see someone finally believe in themselves, that light that sparks in their eyes powers you for years. It reminds me that I, too, can keep growing.
The best piece of advice I ever got was "You're just nor that important."
Your new book, “Wonderhell,” discusses how success is wonderful, but also a bit crazy and stressful. What advice do you have for people looking to achieve their goals but currently feel stuck in a wonderhell?
Wonderhell is that space in your psyche where the burden of your potential plunks itself down and asks, “Hey, what else you got?” So I’d say first, congratulations! Wonderhell only presents itself to those worthy of more. It’s time to embrace the ambitious part of you who sees that bigger, better, bolder you, and go after it.
Second, I’d advise getting comfortable with all of those voices in your head telling you to stop, slow down or even turn around. That tsunami of emotions — it’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s fascinating, it’s terrifying — isn’t a limitation, but invitation. These voices are not slings and arrows, but helpful allies telling you that you’re on the right track.
Finally, I’d say that it’s important to understand that our journeys are cyclical, and filled with lessons, losses and life. On the other side of this wonderhell is simply the next one, and the next one and the next one after that. So rather than trying to get through these moments and merely survive them, defining ourselves as stuck, we should look forward to them, plan for them, learn from them and thrive in them instead.
At #LMA23, you’ll be speaking to attendees on how to live limitlessly. Without giving too much away from your keynote, what is one way we can all start to live this way?
I’d like to challenge everyone who will be in the audience to think about two questions: First, what is your definition of success? Second, who, what or where did that definition come from?
There’s still time to join us and AMPLIFY your impact! The LMA 2023 Annual Conference takes place April 24-26, 2023, in Hollywood, Florida. Learn more and register today.