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How to discover your superpowers, own your story, and unlock personal growth | Donna Lichaw (author of The Leader’s Journey)

How to discover your superpowers, own your story, and unlock personal growth | Donna Lichaw (author of The Leader’s Journey)


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Donna Lichaw is an internationally sought-after executive coach, keynote speaker, and best-selling author. She helps visionary founders, CEOs, and executive teams level up their leadership and scale their impact while staying true to their mission, purpose, and themselves. Donna works with leaders at companies like Google, Disney, Twitter, Microsoft, Mailchimp, and Adobe, as well as a plethora of mission-driven startups and nonprofits. In our conversation, we discuss:

  • How our personal narratives influence our success and failure

  • Why identifying your superpowers (and kryptonite) is so important, and how to do it

  • The value of doubling down on your strengths rather than trying to fix weaknesses

  • How to acknowledge and reframe feelings of impostor syndrome

  • The Double Diamond framework for personal growth and goal-setting

  • The power of visualization and how it can fuel motivation and creativity

Some takeaways:

  1. The stories we tell ourselves internally, whether positive or negative, shape our perceptions and behaviors. By consciously crafting empowering narratives, leaders can enhance their ability to navigate challenges and inspire their teams.

  2. Focus on leveraging your strengths rather than fixing weaknesses. Identify what you excel at and find ways to use those strengths productively to achieve your goals and fulfill your purpose.

  3. Rather than viewing weaknesses (kryptonite) as obstacles to be avoided, identify how these challenges can serve you in unique ways. For example, impostor syndrome might act as a motivator, pushing you to work harder and grow. By acknowledging and understanding this, you can turn potential challenges into opportunities for growth and self-improvement.

  4. Take a retrospective approach to identifying your superpowers. Look at three peak life experiences: from your childhood; a recent accomplishment; and how you got into your line of work. Your superpower will often be present in each of these moments.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, and YouTube.

Find the full transcript at: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-discover-your-superpowers-own-your-story-and-unlock-personal-growth-donna-lichaw-author/

Where to find Donna Lichaw:

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dlichaw/

• Website: https://www.donnalichaw.com/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Donna’s background

(04:25) Donna’s origin story and transition to coaching

(08:38) The power of storytelling in leadership

(11:36) Becoming the hero of your own story

(14:49) Changing your story

(21:19) Understanding and shifting others’ stories

(25:41) Imposter syndrome

(31:28) Exploring different types of kryptonite

(36:41) Identifying and leveraging strengths

(43:53) Identifying superpowers

(56:39) Running experiments

(01:01:52) Using product frameworks for personal growth

(01:12:41) Identifying subconscious goals

(01:15:27) Envisioning impact

(01:16:44) Lightning round


The Leader’s Journey: Transforming Your Leadership to Achieve the Extraordinary: https://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Journey-Transforming-Leadership-Extraordinary/dp/1959029134

• Effective Leadership Is Transformational, by Ken Blanchard: https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2019/06/13/effective-leadership-is-transformational/

• Ken Blanchard’s website: https://www.blanchard.com/

• How to write a kickass README: https://dev.to/scottydocs/how-to-write-a-kickass-readme-5af9

• This Week #5: Overcoming impostor syndrome, introducing growth to an org, and how to partner with your Data Scientist: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/this-week-overcoming-impostor-syndrome

• Community Wisdom: Dealing with impostor syndrome as a PM: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/community-wisdom-dealing-with-impostor

• Stuart Smalley: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Smalley

• Kryptonite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kryptonite

• How Dyslexic Thinking Gives Entrepreneurs a Competitive Edge: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisoncoleman/2023/05/16/how-dyslexic-thinking-gives-entrepreneurs-a-competitive-edge/

• Characterizing Creative Thinking and Creative Achievements in Relation to Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9283685/

• Robert Iger: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/leaders/robert-a-iger/

• CliftonStrengths test: https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/252137/home.aspx

• VIA Character Strengths: https://www.viacharacter.org/

• How to fire people with grace, work through fear, and nurture innovation | Matt Mochary (CEO coach): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/how-to-fire-people-with-grace-work-through-fear-and-nurture-innovation-matt-mochary-ceo-coach/

•10 Steve Jobs Quotes That’ll Stick With You Long After You Read Them: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-steve-jobs-quotes-thatll-stick-with-you-long-after-you-read-them

• Gestalt coaching: https://gestaltcenterforcoaching.com/

• Gestalt therapy: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/gestalt-therapy

• Head, Heart and Hands: http://creatingminds.org/tools/head_heart_hands.htm

• Managing nerves, anxiety, and burnout | Jonny Miller (Nervous System Mastery): https://www.lennyspodcast.com/managing-nerves-anxiety-and-burnout-jonny-miller-nervous-system-mastery/

The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love: https://www.amazon.com/Users-Journey-Storymapping-Products-People/dp/1933820314

For All Mankind on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/for-all-mankind/umc.cmc.6wsi780sz5tdbqcf11k76mkp7

Ted Lasso on AppleTV+: https://tv.apple.com/us/show/ted-lasso/umc.cmc.vtoh0mn0xn7t3c643xqonfzy

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Possibility-Transforming-Professional-Personal/dp/0142001104

• IMPRESA Monkey Noodle Stretchy String Fidget/Sensory Toys: https://www.amazon.com/IMPRESA-Glitter-Stretchy-Phthalate-Latex-Free/dp/B0868X6NRQ

• Dolly Parton quote: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/21268-find-out-who-you-are-and-do-it-on-purpose

• Donna’s favorite fidgets: https://pen-name.notion.site/Donna-Lichaw-s-Favorite-Fidgets-f84f241d31704a498d71d3502af1821b?pvs=4

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

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