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Truth Telling From The Trenches With Junkie of Leadership Development and Speaker Coach Anna Rohrbou

Anna Rohrbough is a junkie of leadership development and a speaker coach. She has been mentored and certified by the #1 leadership expert in the world - John C. Maxwell.

After Anna took the TEDx stage she was hired to be a speaker coach as well. She began to coach leaders and speakers to find their core message and not only live it out but share it with others.

Anna loves to empower courageous confident leaders. Most recently Anna stepped it up again and took on politics. She ran a successful campaign sharing her message that politics can be done differently and is not leading her fellow council members through that journey as well.

Anna not only believes in sharing your gifts with others but also exemplifies the idea that you should be doing what you preach as well.

She has a double major from the UW in economics and Political Science and after her first foray into financial planning found that she loved building and leading in her own business. She and her husband are raising two amazing leaders themselves as they are becoming junior adults themselves. Her dogs and her teenagers bring her an immense amount of humor and reminders that she isn’t really all that special.

When you work with Anna or meet her you will see though that she will leave you empowered and believing in your purpose and leave you with the tools to lead the life that is waiting for you.

Where is your business located?

Mukilteo, Washington

Where did the idea for your business come from?

I saw a lack of leadership all around me and I mentioned to my husband in frustration once, Why am I always surrounded by a lack of leadership? With his own humor my husband said to me: “Do you think they are waiting for you to lead?” That sent me on a journey of learning, growth and discovery. I wanted to help others become the leaders they wanted to be and didn’t see.

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

I feel no guilt about this. I roll over and pet my dog with my foot, he is always by my feet. And then I roll over and unplug my phone. I leave it on mute most of the time and every night. I check for the text message and time of when my 17 year old son got home.

Then I head to emails and delete the ones I can.

If I have a few minutes or a several, I scroll on facebook and make sure I didn’t post something the day before that I might want to re-think. I am not someone that jumps out of bed... so this gets me awake and ready to move on in the day. I also try not to return to facebook until the afternoon.

What does your work day look like and how do you maximize your productivity?

My work days are all over the place. With my business and my council responsibility the days are never the same. Let me try:

I picked a day. I often have a coffee appointment or a touch base call in the morning. I also like to coach my clients after 9:00 am in the morning. Often I am then off to meet someone for a lunch meeting. That is often surround my city or county politics. I come back to my office in the afternoon and catch up on responses and follow up. If I have a council or committee meeting in the evening I will go home and try to figure out something for dinner and either set it out to be cooked or prepare it. I check in with my kids and head off to the meetings.

The evenings I do not have meetings or obligations you will find me plopped on the couch catching up on a show (mindless tv show) sipping a glass of wine and hanging out with my family.

Maximize productivity? With the many different pulls on my day I would say this is where I struggle. I think what I do is allow my calendar to guide me through a busy day. If it is not in my calendar it will get forgotten. The best thing I have done recently is set Tuesdays as a purely want day. I only schedule things I WANT to do in there. If there is a meeting that is scheduled out of my control I of course honor that but that only happens about once a month. Regardless - I choose. The day is always full to outsiders unless I WANT to meet or I want to hang out. I have really enjoyed this day. I still get work done, like planning content or a speech or workshop but only if I want to! Weekends get scheduled with kids activities and things for family and sometimes I felt like I was missing that time for myself. Tuesday’s work for my needs.

How do you bring your great business ideas to the world to serve your clients?

I have learned to really trust my intuition and all the knowledge I have invested in for the past decades and especially the past 5 years.

I have a process I follow for my leadership clients and our thinking partner calls. I also have a process I follow with my speaker clients.

I am often contracted to do different workshops and seminars on leadership and personal growth. Yet I think I touch most people by being out in the world and putting myself in leadership roles and taking risks. People see and feel my energy and my desire to show and teach leadership. It all comes back to developing the leader within. People work with people they respect and I think that is why I am seeing business growth and have more influence in my area.

What is one trend in business that excites you?

I have searched for the answer to this and I can’t come up with one for business... but I can come up for one with me and politics.

I feel like there is a growing sense and vocalization of the fact that the majority of people have more in common than not... and that people are craving integrity. Honesty and transparency with their elected leaders. I see a future of people like me stepping in and not getting bulled over by pressure to be and do something out of their core values.

Maybe this is a trend I am starting. I don’t care it is a deep calling. I also see this in business now that I think about this. That relationships matter but the ability to take action matters as much! I have a new client who came to me because she couldn’t find a coach that was the right fit - until now. She wanted someone to care for her, support her but also someone who would hold her feet to the fire. To show belief to her through their actions too.

I think there is a trend in the belief that not every person is for everyone and a great business leader honors that client that isn’t the right fit and helps them discover the right person to help them move forward.

What is one strategy that helped you grow your business?

Above all for me it is if I am not taking action it is because there is some underlying belief that either I don’t think I can (not worthy) or I really don’t want what I claim I want.

This realization has helped me overcome some huge hurdles. When I believe in what I say I want and I take action - that is magic. When magic isn’t happening I know it is something within me.... not the economy or lack of something - it is within me.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I made an investment on a location for an event I was sure I could put on. $2800. I lost it all because I didn’t hold the event. It was this tipping point (and my savings) that pushed me to the realization that I wan’t acting like me. I was fearful of something and didn’t know what.

I spent the next 2 years focusing on the matter between my two ears. I cried, I screamed, but I continued to invest in me. At that time it was the action I needed to take to heal, grow and know that what I believe matters most in my success. That process has helped me immensely in teaching and sharing with others how to find the strength to lead themselves.

I now do not take it personal if I am not doing what I should be doing. I know that there is something within me that still needs work. Sometimes it can be as simple as I changed my mind other times it can me as hard as trying to figure out my mind. Either way I have and hold the power to my life, success and happiness. I have the power.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to this community?

Stop investing in outside things until you invest on the inside. You are wasting your money and time.

Business idea? Find what works for you. Accountability doesn’t work for everyone.

Networking doesn’t work for everyone.

Social Media doesn’t work for everyone.... on and on....

Everyone has a way of working and do not feel pressured to fit into a mold. Listen and do what you need to do to make it work.

I need space. Space to think and space to be alone. I need to feel empowered and I need to feel like I am making a difference. When I don’t I don’t excel.

I guess I would say - Do YOU. Let the rest go.

What is the best $100 you have recently spent? on What? Why?

Okay it was more than $100 but it is absolutely what came up for me. A big smile spread across my face and I also sacrificed.

My mom was in town and we spent several days running errands and back to school shopping with my 14 year old daughter. My mom was looking for a new purse. I could tell her budget was about $100 by the ones she looked through. WE could not find the right one. And then.... we were in Bellevue at Nordstroms and we were just playing with more expensive ones. I saw her face when she put THE purse on. I knew the brand. I want that brand in my own purse collection.

We compared, and tried on more and not one held a candle to that one. I could see the price, she could not there print was too little. I knew I what I felt I needed to do. You see I could afford it, especially for a gift. My mom doesn’t live close and we see her once or twice a year.

She gave me $100 to ease her own guilt and I accepted. I spent more. The reason I feel it applies is because it is not about money. It was about the tool that money is and what it can bring. Money does not bring happiness it is just a tool and in that moment it was that feeling of empowerment and ability to provide and delight. It is why I sacrifice. I work to empower courageous confident leaders/women to believe in themselves. In that moment it was that purse that was a symbol of how I felt about her and how I felt she would feel so loved and empowered every time she wore it. I hope that makes sense.

What is one piece of software or app that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Timetrade.... and my calendar.

My calendar is the structure to keep my self sane. My Timetrade account has cut out back and forth emails to schedule time with me. Saved my sanity.

What is the best business book you have read? Why?

Wow... I am sitting here thinking wow. I am into leadership so it has to be that. My favorite is Leadership Gold by John Maxwell.

However because of particular challenges I am being faced with I have began reading the The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader of a leader again.

Every time we read a book again we step into it at a new level of awareness and this one in particular is rocking my world.

What is your favorite quote?

"It doesn’t matter what you believe all that matters is that I believe in me.”

That was from my daughter when she was 12 years old at the time.

Who inspires you in business and why?

I don’t have one. I am inspired by many people for different reasons.

I am inspired by husband for the way he manages his stress and leads his company.

I am inspired by Debbie Page for the way she is building her brand/business with such integrity and knowledge. (a little wink to you Ms. Page).

I am inspired by Oprah, but not for the most common reasons. I was inspired by her when I heard her say - “I am not nice, I am an introvert, but I am kind.” I don’t care about being nice... and it defined the difference between kind and nice to me.

I am inspired by anyone that steps out, is open about being afraid but does it anyway.

Since I have spoken about politics I will be honest, I have not been very inspired.

There are many that I work with that I respect but not many that have taken that next step to really make a difference and put themselves at risk.

I hope to be an inspiration to others that come along beside me or after me.

What are your thoughts on work-life balance?

It is not achievable. Balance is such a bad word. You can balance only for a short period of time and yet we strive for it like we have to achieve it daily.

I like to look at it in terms of harmony. There are times in our life where we will focus on our career and building and growing. WE spend excessive hours doing this because it is right where we want to be.

There have been times in my life where I focused on my little kids, they need constant parenting and mothering as babes. I see the value in that for my family. Yet when I was in it... I judged myself for not being more. I thought and was raised that I should be able to do it all. I couldn’t do it all at one time.

I have learned from that. So I look at life differently. I am not pushing and pushing for my business to ramp up... I am okay with where it is, I see the season changing too soon. My son is a senior and last year of High School and my daughter is a freshman.

I don’t even have 4 full years until they are both - poof - off on their own. A different season is opening up for me and so I am not trying to create balance right now. I am creating harmony. Some days I am gone for 16 hours - other days I don’t pick up the phone for a soul outside my home.

I will never strive for balance again I will always strive to see where the harmony is and can be in my life in that season.

What are the 3 business lessons you’ve learned so far?

1. Do what you really really want?

2. If you can’t do what you really really want then do what will bring you closer to that so you can eventually do what you really really want.

3. Sometimes what we think we are going for leads us into something we could have never thought to hope for... so let go of the expectation, step into the journey with real action and allow the journey to take you where you are meant to go.

What is your workspace like?

My office is warm and inviting. I created a space where the walls are warm with pictures that inspire. I have one wall that is accented and it brings out my creativity. Maybe reminds me that I am creative. Every piece of furniture has a story and meaning and every decoration I choose. It is my space. It reminds me that I am free to be me. Sometimes it is cluttered and messy. When I am getting ready to deliver, do an event or workshop, my desk can have 4 books, 5 notebooks and my computer on it. All open and un-filed. I find this has become apart of my process and it is good.

Other times when I am coaching or feel a need to reflect and replenish I organize.

Right now my office is tidy. I have spent a day last week purging and organizing because of the chaos that ensued the days before. It isn’t about perfection for me it is about acceptance of where I am at in the moment.

Last thing you do at the end of your work day?

I shut down my computer and often double check emails. I think through the next days meetings and obligations and I quickly decide what time I need to get up and how my morning will look.

I also might start thinking on the short drive home, what kind of outfit I will wear.

Dress with heels, Jacket and skirt or jeans, shirt and jacket.... and what shoes! That always relaxes me if I have an idea of how I will present myself the next day.

What is the one thing you can't leave home without?

Well obvious is my phone but along with that is headphones.

I hate talking on the phone without headphones. That doesn’t seem super exciting so let me ponder this......I never leave home without something covering my arms.

I always wear a jacket or cardigan or dress/blouse with sleeves. Oh this is good too.... a bra!

What superpower would you love to have to use for good?

I might have said something different throughout the years, in fact I know I would have.

Today I say - unlimited energy. I discover as the day goes on I lose my willpower for all the good intentions. I would like never tire.

Number of unread emails right now?


Anything else you want to add?

I have 5 emails... and I never go to bed without clearing my emails. That is the problem I will read them and forget by the morning with the influx of new ones to read yesterdays.

Oh the journey we take!

How can other entrepreneurs connect with you?





If you are reading this and are interested in being featured in the Truth Telling from the Trenches series - apply here.

#truth #feature #women #business #debbiepage #leadership #development #speaker #coach #johnmaxwell

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