Some people choose to go in one particular avenue, some people stay in the same place for 30 years, and some people manage to change the world. No matter what you decide to do, it’s all about designing your destiny. Award-winning certified professional coach Lisa Marie Platske made the decision to leave law enforcement to open up a leadership training business and did training for quite a few years in variety of corporations. Lisa Marie thought it was a natural transition because she was an expert in human behavior from her work in law enforcement that she translated to organizations. Lisa Marie talks about her transition from a gun-toting super hero to professional coach.
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Designing Your Destiny with Lisa Marie Platske
I am super excited for a very special guest. We are being joined by Lisa Marie Platske of UpsideThinking.com. She is an award-winning, certified professional coach. She is a three-time author. She has the most unique story in terms of how she got into being a coach than I have ever heard in over 300 interviews. Lisa, thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor and a privilege to be here.
Let’s get to that interesting non-traditional story. Tell us about your previous life.
I used to be a federal law enforcement officer and I started on the piers in New York and loved what I did. I did not have the inkling that I was going to be an entrepreneur or step out of law enforcement. Yet here I am.
Federal law enforcement officer on the piers of New York City. I’ve got to ask from a visual perspective, and this may sound stereotypical. You’re dealing with burly longshoremen and people mafia and people smuggling stuff. I’m guessing you caught them by surprise because they were not expecting a beautiful blonde to throw handcuffs on them.
I had long blonde hair and I am not sure that I knew what I was getting into. When you watch TV shows like Charlie’s Angels growing up, it’s a very different visual.
You mean you weren’t wearing a black leather Lucy Liu outfit? I’m so disappointed. I’m going to ask for pictures.
I was very disappointed as well. I had some really long red, white and blue fingernails the first time I showed up at the gun range. I thought that the Guess sneakers that were cute and black would suffice for the expected leather boots that were uniform given that I was supposed wear. It was a rocky start.
Let’s go back and talk just a little bit more. What made you want to be a federal law enforcement agent?
I wish that I could say that there was this magical story, but truly I didn’t know what I was going to major in in college. There was something about criminal justice. I’d watched all these police shows that I thought this would be really interesting. When I really look at it now and I look back, I am committed to mercy and justice and protection. Every part of my business and my life is with that. I grew up in a family where there was a lot of domestic violence and I called the police a lot as a kid and the police came in and saved the day. Not only that, I think that’s the reason why superhero stories like Wonder Woman and all of that are because there are people out there who want to do good in the world and that goodness translates into helping other people that wouldn’t normally be able to take care of themselves in the way that they could. I always say, it just something that I just fell into, but really, in looking back, I believe that we’re all build into it.
There were some dots that were connected in your own personal law enforcement experience wanting to save the day for somebody else. Let’s talk a little bit about the transition from bad ass gun toting, super hero to coach.
I had never planned on leaving. It was, once I was in, I was like, “This is it,” like I’ve come home. These are my people. My husband who I met on the job, he said that we’re going to go out for a date. I said to him, “I’m not interested in a long-term relationship. I’m not interested in anything. We live in different states. I get to see you every three weeks. I’ve got a great life.” When it came time to when my husband proposed, I just thought I keep doing my thing. I just keep on with my job. I’d live in Dallas, Texas, he was in California. We would just keep doing it. Friends of mine said people who get married live in the same household.
That for me was when I said, “What would I do?” What I recognized at that moment is that the job and I had become so intertwined that who I was, was that law enforcement officer. There was a lot of fear that crept in over like, “Who am I going to be?” After we got married, I even remember the first time I showed up at an event for my husband, some cake cutting for something. They were like, “You’re Jim’s wife.” I was like, “Don’t they know who I am?” I’ve learned to embrace that as the most beautiful title that I could have. However, in that time in my life, it was not. It was like I had my Master’s degree first, I had that promotion first.
How did you go from there to being a coach?
I looked at what I was passionate about, what I loved, and I love leadership. I love influence. I love how people can choose to go in one particular avenue and some people stay in the same place for 30 years and some people manage to change the world. I made the decision to open up a leadership training business and did training for quite a few years in variety of corporations.
I would imagine the federal law enforcement helped there.
I had post 9/11, I had developed leadership curriculum. It wasn’t that I didn’t have credentials for this or a master’s degree that I did a thesis in formal and informal mentoring. It was just simply that I never thought about leaving the government. It was a natural transition because I was really an expert in human behavior from the work in law enforcement that I translated it to organizations. Then with the coaching it became that the economy started to change and with marketing, you always need to be somewhat of a futurist like what’s going on in the future, what’s going to happen, how is this going to affect what the marketplace looks like. The marketplace shifted tremendously in organizations at the time were downsizing. Training was in house. There were lot of big changes. If I didn’t evolve and change by going into coaching and being able to offer my services one-on-one, those larger contracts weren’t there. They just disappeared, they dried up so quickly. They’re now back but at that time it literally was, “Let’s have you come in for a year to let’s have you come in for one-hour training.” That would have ended my business.
You’ve written three books along the way. Tell us about each one of those.
Design Your Destiny Live is my event, but Designing Your Destiny was my first book and that just came out of having conversations with people and saying, what are you struggling with? What I found was that there were three questions I’d ask people: Who are you? What do you want? Why does it matter? People couldn’t give me the answers. Think about that like, who are you? It was like this big struggle and it was fascinating. I wrote a book about that. I wrote a book Connection, The New Currency. Connection is the piece for me that when I was struggling in law enforcement, I recognize that I was struggling so much to be seen that I had to do something. I went and attended a leadership training. At that leadership training, the instructor gave the results of an interpersonal behavioral skills assessment and shared with the class that I was a zero.
I can’t imagine that from you. It’s seems so not like you.
I was mortified. I want it to disappear and at the same time I knew there was some truth to it. She further stood over me. She stood over top of me in the class and said, “If Lisa invites you to do something and you show up. She doesn’t really want you to be there. If you invite her to do something, she secretly wishing that she was someplace else and not with you.” It was at that moment that I recognized that I better figure out how to connect, how to position myself and my expertise, ultimately how to market myself, and a lot of other pieces. Because what I had learned was that I learned how to be another version of who I was when I put on my uniform to keep myself safe. I might be smart and tough. I might be strong and right, but I’d be alone in dead.
That was a really big awakening for me. I started to study actually, believe it or not, marketing. I started to study positioning. I started to study connection. Because of the value of how that led me to being the fastest promoted officer in the agency and it actually allowed me to have some lucrative contracts very early on in my business. It’s ultimately the element that I eventually wanted to write about in the Connection, the New Currency book. I did that and that was actually an anthology, but it was my way of being able to say, this is really a critical piece for you to understand.
We’ve got Designing Your Destiny, which you talked about. We’ve got Connection, the New Currency, which you started to talk about and then your new book, Turn Possibilities Into Realities.
Turn Possibilities Into Realities is really about courageous, vulnerable leadership. It’s about how do you take something that’s a possibility, something that may seem absolutely crazy to people and turn it into something that’s actually real and tangible. One of the stories that is shared in there is a woman who actually was homeless and needed a place to shower. That’s what had her go onto community college because they would offer her showers. She now has a Master’s degree, an MBA, a PhD in leadership, a very successful consulting business and has been the COO of a hospital. I’m always fascinated by people who are willing to be in the space of courageous, vulnerable leadership.
You’ve got something on the header of your website that I absolutely love, “Want to accomplish more in two days than you have in the past six months? Find out how.” Tell me more.
I just actually came back from a retreat that I hosted called Influence Amplified. It’s all about the power of influence and it is a great example as being here. Seth, you understand that the key to influence is giving it, not getting it. If you’re someone who’s an influence giver, it’s this magical spirit of reciprocity and generosity that comes back when you’re somebody who only seeks it and only wants to receive it. It’s like cutting off the cycle and it’s almost this is scarcity, where it’s like you can feed the wolf and there’s never enough, if you will.
I have heard something from our mutual friend at ABC who says, “The whole you give through is the whole you get through.”
For me, it’s always about what could that be? What is the potential for how you can generate more giving of influence than receiving of influence. In those two days, we actually map out how you can actually do that step by step, pulling out a calendar, understanding that, having your calendar, having your non-negotiables, having the things that are most important and mapping them all out and then laying over that your organizational structure. Because if you don’t lay out what it is that you really want, you can build something and it can be incredibly successful. I’ve seen people do things that are very profitable and not scalable. I’ve seen people who create things that are scalable and nonprofitable, it’s reverse. I’ve seen people who sailed things so great and forgot that they had a life. They have lost everything, relationship with children and gotten divorced and sick and a whole lot of other things.
I’ve seen people who’ve been incredibly successful at having it all, if you will. Having it all on their terms. Being able to do that is about understanding these seven pillars that I teach and go into it. Being able to recognize that your plan and my plan aren’t going to look the same. Neither if we put in a room of 100,000 or a million people, and yet for whatever reason, there are so many processes out there on influence and on creating something that is sustainable or profitable that is a one size fits all. We all have things that are a little different that we want.
Three books, coaching and consulting. You did a live event, Design Your Destiny Live. Absolutely an amazing amount of resources and ways to help other people. Who is your ideal client?
I work with people who are mission driven entrepreneurs and executives, who really have something within them that’s usually a burning desire. They’ve oftentimes experienced success in life, whether they’ve been a CEO of a small company and then it was bought out and then they decided that they want to go off and do something else. They recognize that because of some tragedies in their life, that they’re called to something greater. They want to be able to design their destiny at this point. I I work with a lot of women and a handful of men and it used to be the other way around because people used to come to me and see the law enforcement part and I have a very direct no nonsense.
Yet with women there’s oftentimes this, “I’ve done all these things for other people and now I know that there’s this bigger calling for me.” I always say they’re movement makers to some degree. One of my clients is somebody who brought the first TEDx into a prison, behind bars. Somebody who created a conference for women in law enforcement, specifically to talk about the culture and how it can be shifted and changed. Those are big conversations to have, to be a disruptor. A woman who is looking at an outdoor education. She did an outdoor education campaign years ago that was very successful. In fact, it’s still ongoing. You can still see it on the outdoor channel and network and it’s something where for herself, she’s looking at how do I move into a new generation where technology in handheld is so prevalent and actually teach them to literally get out. These are people who have these big missions in them and those are my ideal clients because I love that. Sometimes it’s that you don’t burn yourself out by thinking you have to do it all at once or every avenue.
For our folks listening and watching or resonating with what you’re saying, I want to get their hands on any of the books, Turn Possibilities into Realities, Connection the New Currency or Designing Your Destiny, who are interested in your Design your Destiny Live event or coaching or speaking. Is the best place to send them to UpsideThinking.com?
Yes, and if they put in their name and their email address there, I’ll actually send them something. Some free training webinars that actually have information on influence, have information on connection, all free resources. I believe so much in gifting knowledge, and then there’s also the information about Design Your Destiny Live.
Lisa, thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks so much for having me, Seth.
- Design Your Destiny Live event
- Designing Your Destiny
- Connection, The New Currency
- Turn Possibilities Into Realities
About Lisa Marie Platske
My journey to becoming a speaker and coach was a non-traditional one and began when I was hired by the U.S. Customs Service several years after college.
I showed up at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center with long blonde hair, red, white, and blue fingernails and a pair of black high-top Guess sneakers instead of the stereotypical scowl and combat boots. As you can imagine, this did not go over well.
I envisioned sitting at a big mahogany desk with the official seal of the United States of America emblazoned on the name tag on the door to my office. What I got was an assignment to work on the rat-infested piers of New York with some pretty cranky men who didn’t think women should be part of their world. (Oh, I could tell you some stories…) And, no desk. And, no office.
I realized quickly that it was going to be VERY different than the detective shows I watched on television as a kid. (No, I was not going to be one of Charlie’s Angels.) And, I recognized that being my soft-spoken and speak-when-spoken-to self was not going to enable me to excel in this arena. I needed to find my voice.