Episode 100: 5 Powerful Leadership Lessons I Have Learned in 100 Episodes!

June 20, 2022


100 episodes and nearly a full year later, I feel like I’ve learned some of my most powerful leadership lessons in that timeframe. There have been many times in the last year where I’ve leaned on my closest family and friends to get through some of my toughest times. It’s been hard, but at the same time, it’s been so moving, inspiring and joy-filled because we were exactly where we’re meant to be. Sometimes I can’t even wrap my head around all the grace and true possibility that’s come during this time.

So, to mark this special milestone I’ve distilled the last 100 episodes into the five most powerful and life-changing leadership lessons that were too good not to share and also not something you’ll hear in the mainstream, because these are not obvious metrics of leadership and growth!


[3:00] You Have Another Gear 

The first leadership lesson that really opened my eyes to the next level of what’s available to me is that I have another gear. We all have another gear. 

In the past, whenever I would hit a limit, I would just tell myself that I wasn’t ready and I would give up. What I realized going into this last year was I’m not telling myself that story anymore. I don’t have a limit. I have another gear. So, anytime I hit a limit now, I ask myself: “What do I need to do to kick it into my next gear?” 

I’m not talking about burning yourself out. I’m talking about the mental story that we tell ourselves when things get hard. I knew that this past year was going to be hard. I knew it was going to require me to level up. I knew it was going to require me to actually see the world through a new lens, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be successful if I allowed myself to try and operate in my standard gear. Again, I’m not preaching burnout, these are limited moments in time of proving to yourself and showing yourself what you’re truly capable of and turning it up a notch when you normally wouldn’t. 

[11:54]  I’m Not Here for Easy  

The second thing that I took away from the last 100 episodes is reminding myself and viewing my life through the lens of: “Okay, I’m not here for easy.“

Recently, I had a conversation with my mom and we were having a talk about some of the leaps that we’re going to be taking in business that come with some risks, but massive possibilities. And my mom told me: “I just don’t want you to experience the pain if this doesn’t work out. I just want it to feel easy for you.” And it struck me: “I’m not here for easy.” That’s not what I signed up for and I don’t want my mom to protect me in a way that keeps me sheltered from “hard.”  Then I thought about my own kids, about how many times I want to protect them or make it easier for them. But easy isn’t the goal and it’s not going to serve them in who they’re becoming. So, I had to stop setting that expectation of “When is it going to feel easy?” Setting that low bar expectation of “easy” isn’t going to get me where I want to be and, more importantly, isn’t going to help me become who I am called to be. 

[15:24]  Contemplation 

The third thing is probably the one I would highlight the most, and that is taking the time to contemplate.

Over the last year, I walked through so many challenges and I’m grateful for each one of them. I’m thankful for the opportunity to figure it out and to grow. You have to create the space to do that and that contemplation is as important, if not more important, than massive action. I have made the mistake many times in the past where I go back to my comfort zone, which is massive action. I am incredibly good at saying what I need to do and then going and doing it and turning it up a notch and going to that next gear. I do that so much that I don’t come up for air to think about what I’m doing, to imagine where I’m going, to know what I’m working towards.

 Entrepreneurs are comfortable in activity, and super uncomfortable outside of it. Doing something that’s not productive is like death to us. But I’m arguing that contemplation time allows you to break into a new level of leadership, thinking and possibility. 

[18:57]  The Power Is in the Heartbeat of Your People

The fourth thing that for me goes along with this is surrounding yourself with good people, a good team and raising them up in a strong culture. 

Competence isn’t enough, and it’s also not enough reason to keep someone on the team that isn’t aligned. A lot of times we hire either out of desperation or looking at someone’s skill sets. But the power is in the heartbeat of your people. You hire for where you’re going, and when you, as the leader, have a vision for where you’re going and your people have that vision too and they resonate with it, you can get through anything together. And if you keep someone on your team because of just their skill alone, they can become an anchor in pursuit of that vision.

I learned this over the last year and it was like we went from having clipped wings to just soaring.

[20:43] Do the Right Thing Now 

The final thing is to make the tough choice sooner rather than later. 

You’re the leader and you cannot operate solely from emotion. You cannot avoid what you don’t want to do because it’s going to be painful or hard, if you know it’s the right thing to do. Always do the right thing and do the right thing now. 

It’s time to fire the client that leaves you feeling dread every time you open your email hoping that they haven’t sent you a message. It’s time to let go of that team member who is absolutely fabulous at what they do, but they do not line up with your mission any longer. It’s time to let go of the project that sucks the life out of you. 

It’s time to stop doing things that are not aligned and that don’t light your heart up. So, make those tough choices and make them now. It might cause you some pain up front, but remember – you didn’t sign up for easy and you have another gear. You’re going to get through it, you’re going to figure it out and you’re going to finally be in flow and in process towards where you’re actually supposed to go, instead of just doing what you’ve always done. 

I hope today’s episode left you feeling empowered, knowing that you’re not walking through the tough seasons alone and it helps you see the vision ahead, so that you can become the leader you’re called to be.

And if this episode spoke to you, make sure to subscribe and leave us a review! Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke! If there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show, just reach out and share that. We do this for you so the more you tell us, the more we can serve.


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