I’m the luckiest guy on the planet. I mean it! I love podcasting and I get to speak with the most interesting business owners, authors, speakers, and coaches on Marketing Monster Mashup, the official podcast of Leading Results.
For this podcast, I discussed life lessons – learned and yet-to-be-learned – with Wanda Harward. Wanda spent years as a social worker and is continuing her quest to help others find their path as owner of Finding the Key Life Coaching.
Wanda shares her story of how her retirement was the start of the next chapter of her journey. Not one to sit still, Wanda turned her social work experience into another opportunity to help others in a fun and affordable way.
Listen and learn from Wanda:
- Why helping others is her calling
- What advice she would give someone wanting to take the first step to finding their path
- How life is like a role-playing adventure similar to Dungeons & Dragons
- Why Wanda chose what you pay over flat fees for her services and how that's worked out so far
- How to figure out where you are on your journey through her organic and fun sessions
Don’t take my word for it – listen to the podcast! (Or read the transcript below.)
Learn more about Wanda Harward and Finding the Key here.
Here's the full podcast transcript:
Host – Matt Starnes: Matt Starnes with the Marketing Monster Mashup in this episode, episode 25, the guest is Wanda Harward and she is with Finding the Keys, so we've had coaches on the show before, but her approach is truly unique as it's almost like a creating a character sheet for a board game, think Dungeons and Dragons or something like that, but it's a great way if you think about it, to frame how you go through life and your advantages, disadvantages, so give it a listen. I think you'll really enjoy it and she also has a unique pricing model that's working. Other people might want to think about adopting because it truly is fair. All right, enjoy the episode and let us know what you're thought.
Intro with piano music: Marketing Monster Mashup, the official podcast of Leading Results.
Matt: Very excited to have you on the podcast.
Guest – Wanda Harward: I'm excited to be on your podcast.
Matt: For those folks out there in podcast land that aren't familiar with you. I wanted you to share your background in social work.
Wanda: I was a social worker and I am glad to be different. So, um, I was a social worker with the department of social services for 30 years. I recently retired in November. Matt:Congratulations. Wanda: Thank you. When I was coming up toward retirement, probably about actually about two years ago, I started thinking about what will I do with myself now, now that I am not going to be a social worker anymore. So I started doing some reading and some thinking and some thinking and some reading and I decided that life coaching would be a very good thing for me to do.
Matt: Let's just say you're not one to sit still. Some people will be like, oh, I can go the bingo parlor.
Wanda: Just, yeah. Most of my friends have called me the busiest retired person they know because I stay busy all the time.
Matt: So you've got all that experience from doing social work, which I'm sure was very rewarding, but also used a lot of your energy.
Wanda: It gave me a good background for life coaching because a lot of my clients or I venture to say, all of my clients were people just like you and I had a lot of barriers between them and being successful and getting the things that they needed out of their life and what they wanted for their lives and that's what we spent a lot of time doing was looking at those barriers and figuring out how can we get over these barriers, what ways can we put together with their own personal resources plus resources in the community to overcome those barriers and make them more successful.
Matt: Excellent. And I guess some people confuse therapy with life coaching, right? What is the difference to you?
Wanda: Life coaching is definitely not therapy. Therapy is more geared toward someone who has a condition that is causing them a lot of mental anguish and causing them not to be able to function normally in life and if you get something like that going on, you definitely want to converse with your doctor and get into some therapy, possibly medication if it's appropriate.
Wanda: Life coaching is a different track like coaching is, “I'm basically a mentally stable individual, but there are some things in life I want to accomplish and I'm not quite sure how to get from here to there and I would like someone to work with me to sit down and help me come up with a plan to get from where I am to where I want to be.” And sometimes there's some therapeutic components, you know, we might sometimes talk about your family background a little in regards to how that's affecting your choices or like a, uh, someone that was working with wanted to talk a little bit about, they had lost some family members and they wanted to talk a little bit about grief and I, we did some discussion about that and also referred them to a grief counselor. So sometimes those things come into play, but they're not the main focus. A little bit of overlap, but just a little bit.
Matt: I really like your philosophy. If you could just kind of share because I think it really is interesting.
Wanda: I named my business 'finding the key' because I firmly believe that everyone knows they hold inside themselves the answers to their questions, they are the treasure and they just need to know the key to open the treasure and sometimes we spend a lot of time beating our heads against the wall and kicking the treasure box around and trying to get things out the hard way when really what we need to do is go look for the key so that we can open the treasure and we can succeed and get the things we want out of life.
Matt: I think that's really true that, you know, we spoke probably seven months ago or so. I think they'll always spoke before, since then and before then, but about kind of the coaching. And I shared a couple things with you, but it really, for me, it, uh, for, you know, my kindness and my weight problems. It's, it was listening to my body and what it was telling me. It was full. I used to just zoom right past that just because we’re so used to eating this huge portion of food and I would just eat it because, oh, I always ate that portion, so it must be that. What really has helped to listen to my body and go, okay, you're not hungry. That's okay. We're just going to wait or I'll just skip that snack. When I can tune in, I don't always listen, but I've gotten better.
Wanda: That's produced results because you've done a great job with that.
Matt: Thank you. Thank you.
Wanda: But yeah, I mean really often we don't listen to our bodies and what we already know to be true. We just do what we think the rest of the world wants us to do or what will keep up the appearance of who we think we are and sometimes we need to slow down and say, maybe that's not what I need to be doing to be successful. And you've done a great job with that.
Matt: Oh, thank you. Thank you. It's physical. That was one thing, but it's always connected to the mental as well because it starts kind of in the brain and everything else follows in a really like the, uh, the, the key and the imagery you use on your website. Um, can you tell us that website address? I'll ask you again later…
Wanda: Finding the Key.net and also I have a Facebook page, which is Finding the Key on Facebook and so easy to find either place.
Matt: I guess it's not that unusual these days, but you're actually available to meet. Do you meet in person?
Wanda: If I were, if a person is local in the Charlotte area and they want to meet, we can meet at a coffee shop or someplace that's, you know, central to both of us. I can meet with people over the phone, over the Internet, we can use Skype, whatever they're comfortable with and we can make it work any way you want to make it work.
Matt: I think that was really, really neat because it another, they're just starting to play around with us through major healthcare providers even as far as, okay, you can do a virtual visit. It's not necessarily for you to drive out and get off work for half the day and all these types of things.
Wanda: So we're so busy. Just to carve out an hour to talk on the phone is tough. So this makes it a lot more convenient.
Matt: How has that opened things up for your business prospects? So you're not just confined to Charlotte. It's really worldwide.
Wanda: Be Aware and also would be open to people who have disabilities and can't get out easily. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to do an internet based business has because before, when I was a social worker, I worked with a lot of people who are disabled. Um, and I believe there's just not that much in terms of life coaching or any types of counseling that you can do over the phone, you know, that's affordable. Most of them. It's really expensive and so it's good to be able to offer this to people who getting out of the home may be difficult for them.
Matt: Where it is quite literally the journey to coordinate all the things necessary to get that emotion that's right for some folks. So I also really like your pricing model because I'm sure it’s everybody’s first or second question, hey, you sound wonderful. This is great, but what's it going to set me back?
Wanda: So the first time I meet with a person I don't charge anything because that's more or less a chance for us to get to know each other and see if it's a good fit. Right? And then if we both decide, yeah, this is a good fit, we're going to move forward, then I'm going to ask that person, what do you want to pay me? It's a sliding fee scale and you decide where you slide. I do recommend that people take into account what life coaching costs in general, um, and look at their own budget and see what makes sense and if they need to start out maybe lower at the beginning because maybe employment's a little shaky and then later as things get better then they can raise it up if they want to. Um, so yeah, I'll let you decide where you slide.
Matt: So how has that worked thus far?
Wanda: So far it's been great. Everybody's been very generous. Nobody's disappointed me yet and I also look at it as the folks who can afford to pay more, kind of help out the folks who maybe can’t. So if I have someone that does come along and say, you know, I don't have a lot of income right now, but this is what I can do, that's going to be okay. That's great. It balances out. It all balances out because part of this, one of the reasons I want to do this was I wanted to remain in service to the community in a way that made sense and I didn't want to continue in social work right now, but I wanted to be able to still provide what I felt was a valuable service to the community and at a price that people could afford.
Matt: Can't beat that really. When you're thinking about kind of your perfect customer, where is that person when they come to you, are they, I guess, do you have that in your mind like, oh, this is where they are? Anything you've noticed with the customers or the folks you've helped out thus far?
Wanda: Right. I think the most important point for a person to be at this is to say, I know I want to move forward. I know there are some things I want to do. I'm not real sure how to get from here to there, but I'm open to options. That's really the most important thing. You have a motivation to drive to move forward and you're willing to consider options in. You're willing to listen to what I might have to say. That might be some options. You're willing to try some new things maybe different than what you've done in the past in in a different way than you've done it in the past and that's really all that's required.
Matt: Seems like a good way to do it. So I really like your system and we can post some pictures to go along with this as well. But I think it's really neat since you and I are both geeks and yes, I’ve shared a few geeky things on this podcast along the way, so this in no surprise to most listeners. I guess we’ll just kind of walk through the process.
Wanda: When I start working with someone I'll send him or her a brief questionnaire. Doesn't have a whole lot of questions on it, but it has some real important questions on it. And some of the things I ask about are, what do you find our your attributes? What do you like best about yourself? What do you do? Well, I want to know that first because we want to, we want to work from a place of strength, we want to work from what you do best. And then also ask what are some areas that you don't do as well that you consider your room for growth that you consider know your areas that you want to improve?
Wanda: And I think that's important too, because if they can't answer that question, we may be stuck for a while. I will admit I've had people who were like, I'm not really sure what I want to do. That's fine. That's the area for improvement. I don't know what I want to do. We can work with that. That's cool. You know, interested in the different places of where they're starting. I have had people say, I don't have an idea where to start. And I'm like, okay, that's where we'll start where you wanted it. That's what we do. Um, I asked people what are three areas that you want to achieve within the next three months? Something simple that you know, that if you work on it for three months you can probably do it. Um, I asked some kind of what you might call fantasy questions. Um, what, if anything was possible?
Wanda: What would you wish for? Um, tell me about your favorite character from a game of book or movie or other media, if it's something you created all the better because that tells me a little bit about who you are and what you like. And also ask about coaching preferences. How do you want me to address things? If things aren't going well, what do you respond well to? What kinds of coaching and prompting work well for you? And that's what I want to know about. It's really important that some people might be like, I want you to really kick me in the behind. I be like, okay, you know, or some people will be like, new. That kind of scares me. Lists can be a little more dental in this go this way. I'm like, okay, I can do that. So then I take that information that they gave me and then after the first time that we sit down and talk, if they're interested in, this is an optional piece, then we do a character sheet and if you're at all familiar with role playing games, the character sheet is what you use to play a role playing game and you create your character and that character goes into adventure.
Wanda: So if you want to go on an adventure with me, again, this is optional, but it's a lot of fun. Then we can create your plan. You have a player character sheet and go on an adventure and you answered my questions and you created the player character sheet.
Matt: And it was so much fun. As a kid I grew up playing dungeons and dragons in a basement. It brought back a lot of very good memories.
Wanda: Do you want me to share this with the audience?
Wanda: So Matt, the Leather Jacket Guy is a marketing account executive and his abilities are one - he is carrying, two - honest, three - volunteering. Four - has a sense of humor. Five, he's kind. Six, he shares well with others, and seven, he is attentive. All of the things I believed to be true because I knew him a little bit.
Matt: I'll tell you, that first one filling that out, it's actually the toughest because, and I didn't cheat, I didn't ask anybody, but I was just sort of like, okay, let's really think about this, but part of me was just like, that's self defeating part of people. That little voice was just like, oh, you know, that's too boastful. You don't want to say this or this, but I was like, well, if I can kick myself for the things that I think I'm horrible at, or you know, there's got to be the Yin and the Yang to that so that it can help me get through it. I mean, it wasn't a huge thing, but it was still. It was like, boy, I don't like that little voice. Get out of here.
Wanda: People do have trouble coming up with these seven things and sometimes that's why in that first meeting we may work on some of those things. What are some? Tell me a little bit more about yourself. Oh, hey, here's something else we can put down you just told me about yourself, so we always want to work from a place of strength. We want to play to our strengths and these are your strengths. I asked him also to give me his adventuring party. This is your support system. This is who you know you can count on the people you can go to in a pinch. You know the people who would say, yes, let's put on the backpack and going in that venture. So he gave me that information and so I know he has people in his life that will care about him and help him in a tough time. Then we talked about challenges. You may tell these people.
Matt: Absolutely. Okay, good. Good.
Wanda: With the places to improve in this, he wanted to improve and have healthy eating habits. Take more risks. Say no when appropriate. Get give when appropriate and be open to receiving what I need. Take more time for my own interest to slow down and to get adequate rest. All very things to do for a person, and so these are your challenges. These are those things that you want to work on over a period of time. So what I would ask the person next is out of those challenges, tell me about your quest. What one thing out of all of that, what's your storyline? Where do you want to start? So tell us what's your storyline? What you're stuck. You're chosen this quest today.
Matt: And this quest, I'm thinking back to these Dragon Lance modules for D&D, which were quite fun. I want to storm the castle. No, I think I've made the little bit progress on it, but I still have. I want to do all the things of course. And when I do that I got an. I get into a lot of trouble and I say yes to everything. And there's that Jim Carrey movie I guess from the early, late nineties, early two thousands. But it was. Yes Man. Yes. And he had the opposite problem. You saying no to everything and then he just said yes to everything and found that hole. That doesn't work either. Right? I watched that movie a lot because just as a kick to remind myself to, you know, because one thing is choosing new adventures and challenging myself and the other is saying no, but I would, I would say it's saying no to respect my time and my family's time. Right. So I just, I can't do it.
Wanda: Awesome. Learning to value to say no and knowing that that's the right thing to do sometimes is great.
Matt: Yeah. Which is really difficult. So.
Wanda: So that would be your chosen quest and that would be something we would start working on together.
Matt: I want to slay that dragon. Right?
Wanda: Ask you what do you think would be a task that you could do in the next week that would help you toward getting better at saying, no?
Matt: I started down this road, but what taught me this rather recently is so on Facebook I get invited all these things and then I help out my wife Joey with the Geek Gala charity, you know, things like that. So I've got those types of commitments in there that brings me a lot of joy so I won't neglect those support. What's helped us, you know, looking since a lot of people invited through Facebook, I look at that and then and see, okay, these all look wonderful things to do, but realistically what can I do on a weekend? We're usually one day is or a few hours on a weekend is to promote the Geek Gala or go to a con or so started there and they're like, okay, I definitely can't do anything that day. Somebody look at these other things. Okay. This is a birthday. Is this an acquaintance or friend is it a good friend? Is it family and then I kind of prioritize from there. Okay. So yes, I'm going to go to that are, you know what? I'm not sure how I got invited in this. So they're not like barely an acquaintance, so no, I don't need to go to that.
Wanda: One thing I might say to you then is put down, as a task is I will say yes to the things that give me joy. That's excellent. Yes. What specific? Specific I will say yes to the things that give me joy. You know, the other thing I might recommend to, to kind of stretch is can you do some research and can you find some reading either on the Internet, books, articles, whatever you want to try to find it on the value of saying no, the value of setting limits and to boundaries in your life because that's important. It's important to know this is what's important to me. This is how far I will go and outside of this is going to be maybe not a great place for me. So I might challenge you to do some reading to do and then tell me about that. Maybe make some notes and tell me about that next week. Okay. Tell me what you learned. So how would you know when you had achieved your quest? What would, what would be the sign to you? I'm doing this thing pretty well now
Matt: I think. I think sometimes I dread getting an invitation because I know I have to weigh it right now and I think to remove that dread and instead just look at it as, oh, this was flattering that I was invited. Let me see if this fits in with the joy I'm after and make sure you fit the parameter of what my goal is.
Wanda: So I would have you write down a statement that would say, I will know I've achieved my quest when this happens, and then I would ask you too is how when you get to that place when you like, Hey, I am so there. How will you reward yourself? What will your quest loot me? What will you get out of the deal? We get to choose my own loop. You can choose your own. Not only choose your own quest, but use your own loot. I like that. That's what I choose my own adventure as well, right? Yeah, that's right. And so also each person, if they're, if they choose this particular path that they have a paper on, which they'll write down their quest progress for the week. You could write everyday or every other day, whatever you were comfortable, but when you had something to put down and then to keep up with this is when I did this and this is a time that that didn't go so well and this is why that happened and it kind of analyze how, what made this go well this week?
Wanda: What made this not go so well this week? You know, don't have to decide one of the other. You just have to record it so we can talk about it and if there's any learning that come up along the way, you know, if you have a moment of Aha, I think I see how this works. I think I know why I do this now. To make that, that note and then we'll talk about that at the next time we get together and we'll decide do you want to continue on this quest to feel like you've accomplished this quest and we needed to move to something else or kind of where are you? And that's what we'd talk about. Interesting. And then I would also ask from you, what kind of support can I give you, you know, how can I help along the way? Do you want to text me now and again and let me know how it's going when they email me. Do you want to get together once a week or once every other week or how do you want to do that? What support do you want from me as your coach?
Matt: That's great. Can we do that? Good. What I liked is when we were setting it up. It was, here's the player character sheet and it was a Google doc so I could go on and put that on there. And so, uh, I think that would be. I know some people are low tech so that we could, I'm kind of a combination. I take written notes and then I'll put them in something like an Evernote or something like that. So I embrace both. But um, if there are people that are completely digital, they really can just fill it out on a Google doc and you can see it as it's kind of happening so I can print it out and hand it to somebody. They just want to write on something. You don't have to use the Google doc if you're not comfortable with it.
Wanda: I can email you the questions; I can email you the player character sheet. We're flexible that I think this is what I like most about this.
Matt: Every, every part of it to me is very much, just coming back to your whole philosophy that everybody has the keys and it's like everybody knows kind of what they're comfortable with or they'll discover it through working with you. So even the technology, it's like, okay, I'm not as tech savvy so I can write what we're uncomfortable or you know, what, um, Mr. Techie or like digital world cloud, so I'll just follow up that way. So it's, and I think it's just that care of every step of this. That's, it really is choose your own adventure, choose your comfort level. And even the level of a, you know what, I need this help now. And then as it evolves, it seems like you can step back a little bit.
Wanda: Or as you say, okay, I'm ready for this next quest, let's go through a different door and get the extra key out and I have a sort of a player hand. But there I wrote up that goes with this, that explains all of this to a person. And one of the things it says in there is if any point that you're on your quest and you're like, you know what? This is not how I want to go. You can abandon that quest and we'll do something different. You know, we're going to talk about why you're abandoning it. Is that the right thing to do? You know, just to make sure that's you read you really want to do. And it's really the best choice for you. If you want to abandon the question, it's not a great choice. I'll tell you, I don't think it's a great choice.
Wanda: I'll let you do it, but I will tell you that it's your quest. It's your life. It's not mine, so I'm going to be here to support you in whatever choices you make and that's my job.
Matt: What if there's somebody out there that's kind of on the fence of, I'm not sure how they would be on the fence at this point, but what, uh, what's the message you, you would get out to them as far as you know, why they should take a take that next step and communicate with you to get, get this rolling.
Wanda: So I think an important thing to know is something that I read about and that I've experienced in my own life is sometimes it's hard to start new things because you're afraid that you'll mess it up. And it's really, really hard sometimes to say, I'm going to take a chance on something new. I'm going to try to open up to another person. I'm afraid I'll mess up. I'll it. I'll make a mistake and I'm going to tell you right now, yes you.
Wanda: Chances are good for you. Take chances. Get Messy. Make mistakes. That is the only way to learn. You know, Ms. Frizzle said it best, but look that up. If you're not sure who she is Google the Magic School Bus was a wonderful thing, but yes, it's really important to be willing to take that chance and be able to say, I might make a mistake but I'm going to be okay and I'm going to. It's going to be fine and I'm going to help you with that. So yeah, it is hard. Sometimes it's scary, but drawing anyway and just it's so very necessary because all of a sudden a day can turn into a week. We can turn it into a month, a month, can turn into a year or years and all of a sudden it's a lifetime and you're like, I wish I had done that, but you know what, there's no better time than right this minute because you know some, you can spend a lot of time thinking what you did right in yourself or what you didn't do right.
Wanda: You cannot live in the past and you cannot live in the future you have today and that is all you have. Love it. So do it today.
Matt: Absolutely. All right, so I know you mentioned the website before, but mention it again, and also Facebook and any other best ways to contact you.
Wanda: It's Finding the Key.net or on Facebook you can find it as Finding the Key life coaching. I do have an email address if you just want to go straight to the source and it's firstname.lastname@example.org. Findyourkeytoday@Gmail.com. So whatever works for you, just contact me one of those ways and we'll get started.
Matt: Excellent. All right, well wonderful. Thank you for joining me and I hope this helps a lot of people out there take that next step and I think you know, to me it definitely fits in with my geekiness but it just to me it's a very logical way to go about it with having a little bit of fun. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Right?
Wanda: I'm pretty good at the having fun part.
Matt: All right, me too. Thanks so much for joining us.
Wanda: Thank you.