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Tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up choosing your field.
Hello, I am Dr. Karen Semien-McBride, I was raised in the inner city of Compton, CA, I was all about business, accounting in particular. I was the kid at 16 doing my family member’s taxes. My goal was to become a CPA.
But I soon realized that my crunching numbers would result in boredom because I also had extraordinarily strong leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit. I had a passion to teach and be instrumental in others learning and obtaining their goals.
I have always been an entrepreneur and a leader. As I stated before, I believed in teaching others and that brought me to a place where my goal was to lead people. Lead people in a way that would produce results that would create opportunities, and that would shift the norm of what people would consider leadership to be.
I was extremely blessed to have amazing mentors in my life. My dad was the first entrepreneur I met. He was a DJ; he played music for parties, clubs, and events; that is what he did as his side gig. He showed me how to do something I love and monetize it.
He also taught me how to finance my dream by working a full-time job and letting the job be the financier of my dream.
But I even took it a step higher, as a teenager headed to college, I sold my flower business to a florist and received $11,000 to pay for my education. In addition to my dad, I had great professional mentors that I sought out.
I looked for people I wanted to emulate and learn from to mentor me. I made that my practice in every position I held. Leadership and mentorship are so important to me because there are individuals who do not know that they can seek out mentors and don’t have to wait on someone to come to them.
Hence, the work I do today, executive coaching, is a way to enhance emotional intelligence, leadership, and my theory of the new leadership language.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to launching your company and how did you overcome them?
Although I had done all the research, completed all the forms, and set up all the structures needed to launch my business. The one thing that hindered the launch was, ‘me’. I was in the way of fear, overthinking, doubt, over planning, procrastination, and second-guessing.
Thank goodness, I used my own tools to identify the hindrance. I share with my clients, “if you shift, everything around you will shift.” As we grasp the concept of EI or my theory of Operational Style, the New Leadership Language, we take on a different perception.
EI allows us to shift our perception, our norms, or the areas where we feel stuck. We get in the way of our success, and it is usually tied to perceptions we have created around what people will think, and who likes us, instead of us setting our professional trajectory based on the basic personal competencies of EI.
If we grasp the concept of self-awareness, we become ‘woke’ as our millennials would say. We are simply aware of who we are, how we operate, and what we can accomplish.
What are 3 tips you can share with our readers as it relates to your industry?
The first thing I recommend is taking our Operational Style Assessment. It introduces you to self-awareness. I share with my clients that the assessment immerses them into self-awareness. It starts the conversation around how you show up, when you walk into a room, in conversation, interaction, etc.
Secondly, I would recommend one more book, Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck, an easy, yet very impactful, investigation of ‘you’. Allowing you to see where you are in a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset and how that correlates with EI.
Third, start to actively and intentionally apply the tools that you are learning. As we know, repetition is one of the best forms of learning and comprehending. The more intentional we are, the more results we see in our growth.
How do you personally define success? What does it mean to you?
I’m answering based on my prescription for success. I would say first, I realized that I was what we call in the New Leadership Language, a ’Planner’. I believe a plan is necessary whether it is a business plan, a strategic plan, a growth trajectory plan, or an exit plan. I believe preparing for growth is necessary.
Secondly, I realize I was what we call in the New Leadership Language, a ‘Thinker’. I see things logically and conceptually. I’m able to solve a problem quickly. I’m able to see how others can benefit and grow from thinking strategically.
I’m able to see a weakness and turn it into a strength. I believe my success is helping others find theirs.
Thirdly, I now understand that I have attributes of a ‘Doer’, another terminology that is used in the New Leadership Language.
Although being a ‘Doer’ is not a strong attribute of mine, I do know I utilized it in building relationships, finding resources for people that I support, and being open to connecting with individuals that may not necessarily fit in my sector. Understanding that growth is not just in one place.
An example would be that once I understood that these attributes were a core part of me and how I operated, I embraced them.
I embraced the weaker parts of it, as well as the strengths and through that process, I became more aware of how I could become successful using this information. Then, I applied it to my career which brings me to why the CEO Institute model is successful.
Success is based on what works for the individuals. Some of the things that are synonymous with success are, committee, resilience, failure, open to lean, we don’t know everything, and we must build a village of support.
What advice would you give to someone asking for advice about becoming an entrepreneur?
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to step into the CEO role of their business and hire an executive coach or seek out multiple mentors who can serve them in different sectors of their business. Leadership, and emotional intelligence, but leadership, in particular, is about awareness.
If we are not aware of the possible pitfalls, possible wrong turns, and potential missteps that an executive coach or a group of mentors can provide, we can miss the mark when we don’t have to miss it. As an executive coach, I have an Advisory Board of executive coaches that support me in different sectors.
Emotional Intelligent leaders know how to leverage the diversity of thought, diversity of communication, and diversity of expertise.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
Wow! I would have to say there is not one single factor for me. But I will say this, you must truly know your business model, your customer base, and your value proposition, and as I stated above have a village of people that can support you and believe in you and your products.
What is the one mantra that you live your life by?
There is a quote I wrote many years back, that has permeated my career and enhanced my success that states, “You have to get uncomfortable to grow”.
I have found this to be true and knowing this, has helped me not to succumb to fear, doubt, worry, and all of the other emotions that stagnate us from stepping out and doing what we are destined to do.
How can you be reached if someone is interested in your products or services?
Our website is www.mkcircle.com
YouTube: Dr. Karen Semien-McBride
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