This Female Founder Feature, Alessandra Wall, Life in Focus, is a friend of Prowess Project and career coach. We were thrilled when she agreed to shed some of her wisdom for female leaders with our audience. My biggest take away – show up as yourself. ASK for help, all they can say is ‘no’.
1. Background – what have you done (this is not limited to work), where are you from, what do you want us to know about you?
I grew up outside of America; Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and finally France, my mother’s birthplace and the country where I spent the majority of my childhood. Although my father is American and I’m a US national, my early experiences here were very much as a foreigner, and that international experience shaped much of my current mindset, approach, and practice. For one, having to adapt and watching others adapt to a variety of circumstances helped me realize early on that our choices and actions, not our circumstances, define the course of our lives.
2. Tell us about your business.
Life in Focus Coaching started as a passion project. I was burning out as a psychologist and needed a shift. I wanted to continue helping people change but on another level. I wanted to be present and support people when they were poised to take action, make radical changes in their lives, and show up as their best selves. The women I coach today are hungry for more, they want to make a real impact and be recognized for the value they bring to the table. Our work helps them identify what right for them looks like, articulate their value, and build the confidence to step into their power and success on their terms. In recent years it’s become apparent that we can’t do that work alone, that we need to engage and partner with the organizations that hire these exceptional women, so I’ve added training, speaking, and consulting to my repertoire of practices.
3. How does the Prowess Project mission -empowering women in the workplace – speak to you?
It aligns with everything I know and believe about women, our capacity to grow and adapt, and the value we bring. It’s about allowing women to dictate the terms of their success and the shape their careers will take.
4. What do you wish that your colleagues/coworkers knew about your work style?
I am who I am. I show up in the therapy room, in my coaching, and in negotiations with CEOs the same way I do with good friends. I don’t play games, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I expect no less of the people I partner with, and I’m teaching other women to show up the same way. We don’t need to be more or anything less than our true selves to succeed.
5. What’s your all-time favorite productivity hack (this can be in personal & professional life)?
My all-time favorite productivity hack is the Pomodoro method (look it up). Break your day up into 25-35 minute increments, with 5 and 15 minutes breaks. By segmenting your work in that way you become far more conscious of how you’re spending your time. The breaks allow you to regroup and reset mentally. It’s counter-intuitive, but it leads to huge productivity gains. My pattern is 25 on five off, 25 on five off, 25 five on 30 off, and repeat. My second favorite hack is setting no more than three daily goals for myself.
6. If you could bring attention to one thing that women deal with or excel at, that goes unnoticed or unthanked, what would it be?
I think there is a lot that is taken for granted when it comes to girls and women. From an early age we’re expected to step up and show up; set the table, help with younger kids at family gatherings, be little hostesses at parties, be helpful, and quiet, compliant and studious. It starts early but we carry those expectations through our adulthood. We do a lot without anyone having to ask us to step up, and everyone (including us) takes it for granted. Sometimes we need to slow down, realize how much we do, and talk with the people in our lives (professional and personal) about where we can drop the ball.
7. What does a “me” day look like to you? (how do you recharge?)
Quiet time, spent outside, with a book, staring into space, and if there’s anything other than the sound of songbirds it would be a playlist of great jazz divas (Dinah Washington, Madeleine Peyroux, Billie Holiday…)
8. Define empowerment.
Speaking up, saying what you mean, owning who you are, and what you need. Having the courage and the humility to asking for help when you require it and raise your hand when you’re the best person for the job.
9. What career advice would you go back and tell your 15-year-old self?
Stop thinking about what’s right and start thinking about what’s right for you. That goes for every choice you make, not just career choices.
10. How can readers connect with you?
My website is lifeinfocussd.com email also works great: Alessandra@lifeinfocussd.com and then my most recent and up to date information and thoughts will be on LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/