Today, I’m inviting you to eavesdrop on an extraordinary conversation that I just had with Ruby Fremon, my friend and author of the new book, Potent Leadership: Drop the Mast, Ignite the Real You, and Reclaim the Leader Within.
While there are many online “influencers” who claim to be leaders and show off their fancy lifestyles on social media, Ruby has made a name for herself by embodying a rare level of authenticity and courage (what she calls “potency”) in how she leads. In fact, as you’ll hear today, it was one of her bold social media posts that inspired me to reach out and invite her to be a guest on the podcast!
It takes tremendous courage to rise above that noise and own your voice, but it’s crucial if you want to unleash your unique leadership abilities and make a significant impact on the world.
In our conversation, Ruby shares her powerful concept of Potent Leadership. She shows us how we can apply it in our own lives, starting from how we talk to ourselves, when interacting with others, or running our businesses. You’ll discover why traditional notions of leadership are often flawed and learn what it takes to be a potent leader in today’s world.
- How to foster unity in a culture that promotes division.
- Maintaining composure when facing online attacks.
- Authentic leadership starts from the heart, not from the ego.
- Avoiding falling into the trap of leading for popularity and likes.
- The differences between leading with intention vs. leading for attention.
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Hal Elrod: Hello and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today I am interviewing the one and only, Ruby Fremon, author of the new book, Potent Leadership. Look, we all struggle with being ourselves in a world, a society, a culture that wants us to be something else. We have been taught, trained, and programmed to show up in a certain way in order to be liked and loved by others. And we bring that into our businesses and into our leadership but leadership isn’t about pleasing. It is about leading. And in today’s online culture, it’s easy to confuse influencers with leaders, chase the followers, the likes, the superficial success. But while influencers paint a pretty picture, real leaders pave a path. Ruby Fremon is the author of, again, this new book, Potent Leadership. She’s someone that I see frequently at SunLife Organics. We get smoothies together. I see her at the farmer’s market. She lives not too far away from me and actually just sat down with her a week or two ago at her house to be on her podcast.
This all started because I reached out to ask her to be on my podcast. I follow her on social media and I really appreciate how she leads with integrity and authenticity. And it was literally one of her social media posts, which we’ll talk about today that caused me to text her and say, “Ruby, you got to come on the podcast.” And she goes, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask me for so long.” So, really, really my pleasure to introduce you to Ruby and her new book, Potent Leadership. And the ideas that she has about the difference between an influencer and a leader and actually someone who is really leading from that place of authenticity and integrity. And if you remember, a few probably two months ago, a month or two ago, I did an episode on The World Needs You to Lead. And this is really, you could say, a follow-up to that episode because that episode was really about how every person, every one of us is a leader because we influence other people, whether that’s our family or our friends, even ourselves and the world beyond.
Before we dive into today’s conversation with Ruby, I want to take just a minute or two to thank our two sponsors, first and foremost, Organifi. Organifi makes some of the highest quality whole food organic supplements made from real whole foods, not synthetic vitamins that you find in the lab. And I personally won’t take those synthetic vitamins. I always vet out the ingredients on every product that I take, and that’s why I’ve taken Organifi for roughly seven or eight years now. If you want protein powder, if you want a green juice or a red juice, I just took the red juice like 20 minutes ago. I take it every afternoon with a little green tea. It’s like my pick-me-up in the afternoon, head over to Organifi.com/Hal and then use the discount code “HAL” to get 20% off your order as a listener of this podcast. So, one more time, Organifi.com/Hal and then use the discount code “HAL” to get 20% off.
And then last but not least, our other sponsor, CURED Nutrition, and CURED Nutrition makes a variety of products. What makes them different from Organifi is that they infuse CBD in almost all of their products. And I’ve told you for me personally, I take their Rise product in the morning. It’s a nootropic. I take their Aura product after my smoothie, which helps with gut health and immunity. And then before bed, probably my favorite of their products are their nighttime oil or if you want that portable, their CURED Night Caps. So, I usually take the nighttime oil, which is CBN and CBD oil at home, but then I don’t travel with it because I don’t want the airport to like take out the liquid out of my bag and throw it away. So, I take the Night Caps, which are cute little gel caps that you could put in your bag and take with you when you’re on the road. But by the way, I should have the text in front of me. I can paraphrase it. I gave the nighttime oil to Tiffany, my COO, who I’ve been working with for eight years. Last time she was at my house and she texted me, I think there was an expletive in there. She’s like, “Oh my gosh, this frigging oil, whatever, like I’m sleeping better than I ever have. Thank you so much.” So, it really makes me happy as somebody that suffered from sleep issues to be able to share a supplement, a product, a routine, anything that can help you sleep better. So, if you want to sleep better or you want that morning nootropic for focus, or you want that product for gut health that I take after my smoothie and there’s a bunch more products, CUREDNutrition.com/Hal and then same thing, same code “HAL” for 20% off your entire order.
All right. Without further ado, let us talk about how to tap into your potency to become the potent leader that the world needs you to be with my good friend, Ruby Fremon.
Hal Elrod: Ruby, it’s good to see you again.
Ruby Fremon: Hey, Hal. It’s good to be here.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It’s been just a few days since I was with you at your home, in your space, with your husband, Kevin. And you and I got to have a great conversation for your podcast, The Potent Truth, right? Is that Potent Truth or is it The Potent Truth?
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. Potent Truth.
Hal Elrod: Potent Truth. Awesome. And today we’re talking about your new book, which if you’re watching this on YouTube, I’m holding it up. It is a gorgeous cover. I was just complimenting you before we started recording on the interior. I was like, “Who did your interior layout and design?” I’m like, “It’s gorgeous.” I had a lot of influence but Kevin helped you out. Your husband helped a lot. It’s beautiful. So, I want to start here. We’ve known each other for many, many years, and we run into each other literally. It’s funny. We both live like 20 minutes away from each other and we go to this place called SunLife Organics and I see you and Kevin there like all the time. And so, what got me, though, to reach out to you, I had not read your book yet. I had seen your book actually at SunLife, which it’s up on the shelves and I was like, “Oh, Ruby’s got her book out. That’s so awesome.” I was really excited to see it but I’ve been following on social media.
So, I actually get the most value from your content until now that I’m reading the book but it’s been on social media and I’ve been so proud of you, so inspired by you, and how you’ve led these last couple of years through this really divisive time where people are really afraid to speak their truth because they’re going to offend other people, they’re going to get canceled, or whatever it is. And I just want to acknowledge you for how you’ve been showing up as a potent leader, honestly, as a potent leader on you’ve been practicing what you teach in the book in the way you lead on social media and, of course, behind the scenes in other ways. So, thank you.
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. Thank you so much for recognizing that and acknowledging that. It’s been, I mean, what a time to be alive.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Let me ask you. Where are you most? I follow you on Instagram primarily. That’s where I read your stuff. Is that where you’re most active?
Ruby Fremon: That’s where I’m most active. Yeah.
Hal Elrod: What’s your handle on Instagram so everybody listening can follow you?
Ruby Fremon: Iamruby.
Hal Elrod: I-A-M-R-U-B-Y.
Ruby Fremon: Correct.
Hal Elrod: Iamruby. That’s simple. I like that. I should do IAmHal. I’m going to change mine. I like that. So, there was a specific post that you put up, and then I reached out. I’m like, “Ruby, I got to have you on the podcast.” I’m just so inspired. It was like the straw that broke the camel’s back but in a good way, you know? I’m like, okay, I’ve been stalking Ruby’s Instagram for a while. I know she’s got the new book out. I’m going to order the book. I started listening to an audible, which you read, which was awesome, by the way, hearing your voice. I think one of the biggest problems right now is that human beings were so divided. And that’s not news. I’m not saying something that we’re not aware of but I think we’ve lost sight of our shared humanity collectively. Many of us have. And we see that as people are calling other people out and shaming them for having different beliefs. You know, “You’re stupid. You’re an idiot. I can’t believe you can’t see this. I can’t believe you voted for him.” Right? I mean, there’s just all this just hate.
And for me, that’s been my message. I’ve tried to go, “Dude, we’re all brothers and sisters. We all have far more in common than we will ever have different. We’re human beings doing this thing called life, trying to be happy and healthy, and get along and take care of it.” And I think you and I both have a, not a theory, but I mean we see who’s dividing us, right? It’s very much government and politicians that are really actively dividing us. You think about that like what’s a good leader do? They don’t divide the people they lead. They bring them together. So, you posted something. You talked about the difference between calling people out and calling people in. And what you said really touched me. And so, I’d love if you could talk about the difference between calling someone out that might have differing beliefs and calling someone in.
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. The easiest way for me to explain this is calling people out is the shaming, the blaming, the pointing the finger, which we’re seeing a lot of, the canceling, whereas calling people in is calling people into a conversation, into a space where we can actually see the human in each other. It’s been a wild few years and I was really loud at the beginning but there were certain things, certain lines that I didn’t cross. Like, I didn’t want to call names to anyone. All I wanted, just personally for myself, was the ability to be able to have a conversation without being shot down. And now, over the past couple of years, it’s gotten even worse. Now, the polarization is literally having people’s accounts removed online and removing their voices from every platform. It’s getting people fired. And that is the calling people out mentality. It’s bullying. It’s the same energetic frequency. But when you call people in, you’re calling them in from a place of responsivity versus reactivity and that’s the biggest difference.
Most people right now are reacting to everything because they’re having a triggered response and they’re reacting from that response versus taking that triggered response, getting curious about their own triggers, waiting until they can get to a calm, collected, responsive state where they can actually respond to something. And that is what I see as the biggest issue. And of course, yes, there are people who are controlling this division because, of course, divide and conquer, right? A collective that is divided is much easier to conquer. Why not just have them blame each other? But we all essentially want the same damn thing. And if people can just take a step back despite the differences and just look at the basic human needs of what we all desire, that’s where we can recreate or reconnect to the humanity.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Well said. So, let’s talk about that in action. So, if you see somebody on social media and so much of it happens on social media, right? That’s like our…
Ruby Fremon: Oh my God. Yeah.
Hal Elrod: Right? That’s our new town hall or our new coffee shop or whatever. But if somebody sees somebody and I think you kind of address this in terms of you get triggered, right? What might somebody like let’s actually give somebody a script, if you will, right? What might somebody say if they’re engaging on social media and also in person, right? Let’s say you got family over, the in-laws are over, and your in-law says something that’s like a very heated, divisive statement or divisive in that you’re like, “Oh, my God, I can’t believe they think that. It just boils my blood when they say that or they believe that.” How might we respond? What’s a way? Is it with a question? Is it with an invitation? Is it with an observation? Like, how might you respond to somebody, whether it’s in person or on social media? And are those different? Maybe is there a nuance there?
Ruby Fremon: Yes. There is a difference between person and social media. And so, let’s start with social media because when you’re behind a screen, people are very brave behind the screen.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Ruby Fremon: Right? It almost like it dehumanizes people. So, it’s easier to bully people behind a screen because it dehumanizes. You don’t feel like you’re actually talking to a human being. You don’t have the energetic resonance, the heart resonance with this person as if they were in front of you. And so, if you notice yourself reading something or noticing someone is commenting on your post and you feel triggered, your heart starts racing, your blood starts flowing, you start to feel anxious in your chest, and you just want to like pounce on them, put the phone down. Just put the goddamn phone down like just put it down, turn it off, and breathe, and get curious about the trigger. Because if it happens on a phone, if it happens online, you have the grace to take a moment but we’ve now become this instant noodle society where we think we have to get to everything right away. When you and I, we are children of the, I’m hoping I’m saying this right, children of the 80s and we didn’t have cell phones and pagers and stuff. We had to wait until we got home to answer to listen to the answering machine. So, why do we feel like we have to respond to everything so quickly? So, put the phone down.
Hal Elrod: Which is funny, like the emotional trigger, literally triggers someone’s thumbs to just start moving on them.
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. Right. So, that’s why it’s like just drop the phone or close your laptop, walk away, and get curious with what it is that you’re feeling. Because it’s not that someone did something to you. It’s whatever they said actually triggered a wound within you. And that’s what you get to get curious about. If this happens in person, you don’t necessarily have the same grace to just like drop and walk away, especially if it’s a family member at a dinner party. But you can notice in that moment, “Huh, I’m feeling triggered.” And when you notice that again, the heart racing, the palpitations, maybe you get a little warm, maybe you feel immediately the fight response going into action, again, just take a deep breath and let that be the version of dropping the phone and get curious about maybe what they said and where that’s coming from. I think that when we start to get curious about why people say the things that they say or why we say the things that we say, it helps you reconnect to the human behind the words.
Hal Elrod: It’s a great point. I want to hear your thoughts on, so there’s a take for me that’s been really helpful for this kind of philosophy, which is if I had lived that person’s life, whoever that person is, including my wife… Literally, I apply this philosophy to every other human being on the planet other than me, and I guess including me. But if I had lived that person’s life, been exposed to the same media, the same resources, the same mentors, the same influences, the same trauma, the same pain, if I had lived their life, I’d probably be exactly the same.
Ruby Fremon: There’s something that I say that’s very along the lines of that is everyone is doing their best according to what they know, what they’ve experienced, what they’ve lived through. And it’s funny because I’ve had a lot of arguments about this, too, because people will get really upset about that. It’s like, “No. My ex didn’t do their best and this person is not doing that,” but they are. They’re doing the best with what they know, what they have, and their experience is like that’s literally the best. That’s where they’re at with what they know and what they’ve experienced. And again, like this is what is happening. The division is happening because of the dehumanization. We’re no longer seeing people as people. We’re seeing them as red or blue, black and white.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Left or right.
Ruby Fremon: That’s how we’re seeing people or even like states, “Oh, California or Texas.” Like, we’re just starting to see people as labels. We’re not seeing the human being behind the labels anymore and that’s where we need to get to in order to begin to heal as a collective.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Am I making up this term, ideological warfare? Isn’t that what we’re in the midst of? Left versus right? And immediately you find out, “Oh, wait, you’re in that camp?” and then all of a sudden you have this entire narrative of what people in that camp, what that represents.
Ruby Fremon: Right. Because everything is so black and white. There’s no room for nuance. It’s insane.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Oh, wait, I always say I’m apolitical. I think I said this on your podcast. I’m like choosing between Republicans and Democrats and choosing between McDonald’s and Burger King. Neither are looking out for your best interests. Neither are really healthy, right? And if you’re arguing that, “No, no, no, McDonald’s is the one. They’re the one.” Look, dude, they’re a corporation looking out for their bottom line as are the people in power, right?
Ruby Fremon: Yep.
Hal Elrod: And so, I forgot where the hell I was going with that.
Ruby Fremon: I mean, it’s the polarization really, right? And polarization has seeped into our culture as a whole. So, we’re seeing this on a political standpoint in our population but it’s now also seeping into marketing and the way that people position themselves and the way that people show up on like Facebook. Oh, my God, I can’t stand Facebook because people go there to post super polarizing questions to stir people’s emotions and create long, engaging threads that are really just a bunch of people arguing petty sh*t from a reactive state like this is now seeping into our culture and how we operate. I mean, it’s not okay. This is not how we should be treating each other.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. It’s the downfall of society if we don’t change. And here’s the thing, we can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves. And if you’re listening to this and you found like no judgment if you’ve been that person that was like triggered or was shaming somebody, right? I know for all of us like I almost feel like we woke up from a dream/nightmare over the last couple of years and I feel like we’re now kind of at least a lot of us are like, “Whoa, what happened? Where were we?” Yeah. I mean, I got caught up in it like, I mean not shaming people, but caught up in like, “Oh, you believe that? You’re into that ideology? Oh, you’ve been fooled.” And it’s like on both sides but it’s like if I was exposed to the same things they were or vice versa like, if all you watch is CNN all day, you’re going to believe one thing. If all you watch is FOX News all day, you’re going to believe another thing. Both of you think you’re right and the other one’s wrong but all you’re believing is the narratives, the propaganda, etcetera, that’s being handed down.
Let’s do this. I want to dive into Potent Leadership, the book. Drop the Mask, Ignite the Real You, and Reclaim the Leader Within. What I love about this book is how universal it is in how you approach leadership. And what I mean is this. I did a podcast probably a couple of months ago. It was Episode 466 for anybody that wants to listen to it. It was called The World Needs You to Lead. And I talked about you might not identify as a leader, right? Maybe you’re like, “I’m not a leader. I’m a mom,” or, “I’m a dad,” or, “I’m a salesperson,” “I’m whatever.” But I said if you influence another human being, which every human being influences at least one other human being unless you’re a hermit living by yourself in the Amazon, you’re a leader. You are leading through the way you show up for those that you love and those that you directly lead. I’m going to read the back of the book real quick or at least the first half. You said, “In today’s online culture, it’s easy to confuse influencers with leaders and chase the followers, the likes, and the superficial success. But while influencers paint a pretty picture, real leaders pave a path. Leadership isn’t about what you do, nor is it about what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you be. What people really yearn for is someone who cuts through the bullsh*t and lives and operates authentically. They’re looking for you, stripped of the facades, you undiluted, leading with your true self, your potency.” Define that. What is potency? What is potent leadership?
Ruby Fremon: Potency is the unique medicine that you have to offer the world in yourself. It’s the totality of all that makes you you. If you’re in business, you’ve probably heard the term unique selling proposition. Everyone wants you to find the one thing that makes you unique. But the truth is we all don’t have one thing that makes us unique. It’s the totality of everything that we are that makes us an individual. And so, your potency is that. That is your power. It’s taking all of those things that make you who you be, your tonality, your expression, your beliefs, your values, like what you stand for, how you show up. All of that, that is your potency.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And including, would you say, your personality, your sense of humor, your quirks, like all of it, right?
Ruby Fremon: Yes. All of it.
Hal Elrod: Who you be. Yeah. So, what do you see then? What do you see as the main issues in leadership today, like the opposite of what’s causing people to not access and tap into that potency, that medicine that that people need?
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. So, I like to define it as the two paradigms of leadership. We have the old paradigm which is slowly crumbling, yet people are still living in it. And that’s like the typical, I’m going to paint a picture, the leader standing on a stage with a microphone speaking down to the people in the audience. And then the new paradigm of leadership is the leader standing in the middle of the room, no stage, doesn’t need a microphone, doesn’t need to be higher up than everyone else, and is talking with the audience. That is the difference and I like to describe it in that way because it provides a real feeling, right? Leaders are leading communities. Leaders are paving the way for other human beings. And so, to try and take yourself and put yourself on a pedestal that is positioning yourself as better than versus equal to.
Hal Elrod: Got it. So, one of my friends… Do you know who Jon Berghoff is by chance?
Ruby Fremon: No.
Hal Elrod: So, Jon’s one of my best friends and he started a company called XChange and they do this work, Appreciative Inquiry. So, they go into like Google and Facebook and all these companies and it’s based on this holistic approach, hearing the voice of every person in the room and giving it equal value versus just the CEO or just the executive board. And I love that it made me think of that when you talk about that leader in the middle of the room. Not like, “I’ve got all the answers. You need to follow me,” versus, “Hey, we’re in this together.” It’s almost like a real leader is more of a facilitator, facilitating interaction and engagement amongst people, bringing equality, etcetera. What are some of the other qualities of a potent leader whether empathy or love or like what are some of the qualities that you would attribute?
Ruby Fremon: Leading with heart versus ego, that is huge. Leading with a devotion to service to others versus service to self, I call it self-conscious leadership versus conscious leadership. If you’re leading consciously, you’re leading with a heightened awareness of yourself and those around you but self-conscious leadership is really leading for your own self-conscious desires for the notoriety. Potent leaders are also unafraid to show up in their truth. They’re humble enough to admit when they’re wrong or when they don’t know something. And, yeah, they’re not afraid to position themselves as the same as everyone else.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I want to dive into one of the things you just said, which is the element of service. I’d love for us to spend some time on that. And I want to help people listening to really try to find this place inside of them. And here’s what I mean, a place of servant leadership. I think that for you, potent leadership is servant leadership. At least that’s a huge component. And I think that it’s like I have some friends that have debated me on this and saying like because… Let me back up. In 2004, I read a book, Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders, and he talked about, I don’t know if this is how he worded it, but what I took away from that is selflessly adding value to the lives of other people. That became my purpose in life that I wrote in my affirmations and every day I affirmed it and asked myself, “How can I selflessly add value today to those I love and those I lead?” And I don’t remember if at first, it was authentic meaning not the desire was authentic but I don’t know like into the whole fake it until you make it. Like, I was wondering like I was like, “Dude, I’m selfish. I have a lot of selfish desires but like I don’t want to be selfish. Like, I actually want to be someone who serves others.”
So, meaning I’m trying to remember how when it started, if it was like I want this, I don’t know if I’m feeling it. It feels weird and like I just want my own selfish stuff. So, I’m just putting that out there in case someone’s listening and they’re like, “Yeah, I’d love to get there like I’d love to be a servant leader but I really want to achieve my goals and make lots of money and all of these things.” And here’s the distinction that I want to make and then I want us to converse on it and hear your thoughts. I believe that you can be selfishly selfless. And what I mean is it goes back to I think it was Zig Ziglar that said, “You can have everything that you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” And so, another one of my mentors said that there’s two ways to get what you want. You can take it or you can give so much that people give it to you or that you attract it into your life. And so, the point is you can have your cake and eat it too. Meaning if someone’s like, well, I can’t be a servant leader because I’ve got bills to pay and I want to be successful and I want to be the star and I want all these things.
What I found is that when you can do it in writing, get to a place where you go, “You know what? I’m going to commit to selflessly adding value to the life of every person I possibly can.” That’s going to be my MO, my mission objective. But you can do it knowing that the more you do that and the more you can live in alignment with that, the more people are going to see you as, “Oh, wow. Ruby is someone that genuinely, like at first, I didn’t buy it but I’ve been following her now for like a year. She legitimately is looking to serve and add value at every turn. And I’m so attracted to that. I want to hire her. I want to coach with her. I want to buy her book.” You know what I mean? And so, that’s what I’ve found through experience that like I leaned into that and people, I’ll give you one example. I committed to do this. The year I committed, I’m like, “I need to live this in my actions, not just in my philosophy.” So, that year, it was 2005, I was a salesperson for Cutco. It’s my last year and I was like I’m going to lead a group of my peers. Every week, I’m going to lead a call that I get nothing out of. I’m not getting paid for it. I’m going to do a really good job. I’m going to plan content, I’m going to hold people accountable, everything every year.
Because I’ve got this big goal and I believe that if I lead, I can help other people reach higher heights than they would without my support. And so, I led this group all year long with no expectation, never asked for anything. I genuinely didn’t have anything I was trying to get out of it. I was just selfishly I was using it to live my new value of leadership. But here’s the cool thing. My book came out, my first book, Taking Life Head On like six months after the year ended and that year more people in that group hit our highest milestone than ever before in the company. And I reached out. I was really nervous, but I reached out to a corporate contact I have at Cutco and I’m like, “Hey, Jon. I’ve got a book coming out and I was wondering if maybe I can make them available for sale at the national conference this year? Like, I could just set up a booth in the back, like, no pressure.” He’s like, “Hal, are you kidding me? You’ve given more to this company this last year than any sales rep I’ve ever seen. We’re going to fly you in, hire to speak at the conference, and we’re going to buy 500 copies of your book for every person in that room.”
And I was like, “Oh, my God.” Like, I never expected that. And it’s about playing the long game, right? That’s part of it is like if you always are looking to add value and do it from a place of sincerity and authenticity. So, like, as I’m reading Potent Leadership, I’m reading your book, like that’s what I’m getting from who you are, like you really are a servant leader. So, I know I just said a lot. I would love to hear your thoughts or stories or experiences or anything on that aspect of like really being a servant leader.
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. So, I love this topic and the way that I look at it is actually a little more nuanced. So, let’s backtrack. I was raised Sikh and in the Sikh religion, selfless service is our backbone. We call it Sewa. You may have heard the term, Sewa, before. That is what we do. And so, when we go to the temple, we also perform Sewa in the temple. So, if anyone listening or, Hal, if you’ve ever gone to a Sikh temple, you’ll notice that there’s always a kitchen and there’s always food at all times of the day. The doors are always open. We never lock anything. We welcome people of all colors, of all races, of all nationalities, of all religions, and we will feed you if you come into our kitchen, which means that the people who attend the temple must also then donate their time, energy, resources to cook the food. So, I grew up going to the temple. I grew up going and helping in the kitchen with these giant huge pots on the stove and making big pots of like daal and like Indian food and doing all the dishes. And so, I grew up as that being part of my backbone, the idea of selfless service and of giving back.
So, moving forward in my life, volunteering became a big part of my life. I was always volunteering somewhere, giving back my time, energy, and resources. Now, where things get tricky, I think, is this idea of servant leadership because, and I’m going to say this, not everyone is in a place emotionally, mentally, physically to be able to do that. I believe that when someone has their basic needs met like they had a roof over their head, food, water, they feel secure, they have some idea of a community, whether it’s like family, friends or maybe the places they volunteer provides the community, it becomes easier to give back. But when you are struggling, it is difficult. And so, I feel that, especially in the personal development space, like there’s a lot of talk about this, but it’s really important to also then understand this is another nuance is that human beings are built with ego for a reason. Now, when ego gets unhealthy is when we’re operating from the majority of our life through our ego but ego is your sense of identity. It’s a sense of self. It’s a sense of I and you are important. So, if you are not filling your own cup, it’s going to be really hard to give back. If you are not doing the Miracle Morning every morning, nice little plug.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I mean, that’s a given. Yeah. Continue.
Ruby Fremon: Then you’re not going to feel like your cup is full. And then there’s this other nuance of people who have experienced, let’s say, trauma around being abandoned. That is my biggest core wound is the trauma of being abandoned or feeling unheard. They can often fall into the category of being the martyr where they give everything and then they forget about themselves. That’s also not servant leadership, right? Servant leadership to me is really just heart-led leadership. When I lead, when I serve, I serve from my heart. But if my heart is not feeling full, then I will acknowledge that and pull away and know that I’m not in a position to serve at this moment in time. There are also experiences, again, the nuance, there are also times when your heart isn’t full, but serving is what fills your heart, right? And so, you go and serve and you fill your heart and that’s kind of like the selfish piece. It’s like I’m serving but it also makes me feel good, but I’m also serving this person like what a cool dynamic.
So, I think that there’s all these different nuances involved with service but what I strongly believe in is serving from heart versus ego. And quite often in this day and age, with social media being a thing and everything being seen and tracked and shown and recorded, service has become this weird way of proving yourself to the world. Like, “Oh, look, I just gave my sandwich to this homeless person, and I’m going to record myself doing it.”
Hal Elrod: I’m going to selfie. Yeah, take a selfie of it.
Ruby Fremon: Right. Did it really happen if you didn’t capture it and show it? And so, that’s something that people can ask themselves is can you serve without even people knowing that you serve so selflessly?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. That’s a very interesting nuance. So, for me, I don’t want to put it out there. You know, to me, it’s almost embarrassing to be like, “Hey, look, I gave all this money. I did this or that.” But I’ve had a friend of mine, Brianna Greenspan, she’s one of my co-authors. She is on our team and she said, “Hal, you should tell people like you need to be more forward-facing about what you’re doing,” A, because she’s like, “The Miracle Morning community and all the books that they’ve bought and all of that they’re really contributing so you should let them know that.” And she goes, “And then, B, it sets an example for whether it’s other leaders or whatever, like, ‘Oh, wow this person’s giving. Maybe I should give.’ It’s just the whole how you live your life gives others permission.” So, then I wonder, is it my ego in like an upside down weird opposite way where I don’t want to be seen like I’m gloating, but I’m actually robbing people of being inspired to give? So, any thoughts on that?
Ruby Fremon: It’s a conundrum.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, it’s a conundrum.
Ruby Fremon: And I felt that, too. Mostly, though, mostly because of the ways it’s being done online now, right? There are people who do this and you almost have like this visceral reaction when you see it, read it, and you’re just like, “Ooh, like this is totally coming from this weird egoic place.” And there are others who do it and you’re like, “Wow, this is coming from heart.” Like, for example, there was an organization when I was living in L.A. that I was very deeply entrenched in, and it’s called SPY, and it’s basically an organization that supports homeless youth. And I would go there once a week in person and volunteer at their location and we would hand out free clothes and give them job opportunities, help them build resumes, things like that. I would never go and like do these selfie videos because you got to keep things sacred and you got to respect the privacy of other people. But I would go and do a story and say like just heading to SPY, “Check out this organization. They’re doing great work.” There’s a difference, right? If you’re doing it, if you’re showing it to pump yourself up, that’s different than showing it to inspire others.
And I think for you, there is actually a really big opportunity. It’s why transparency in the NGO space is really important. I used to work for a charity foundation, so I was really big in that space and transparency is really important, showing people where money goes, even just having like a website dedicated to like here’s where we’ve donated. Like, that’s something I invite you to do, right?
Hal Elrod: Yeah. No, that’s a great point. Yeah. Nuances like you said, right? Nothing is black and white, everybody. A lot of nuances.
Ruby Fremon: Nothing is red or blue. Nothing is black or white.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Nothing is red or blue either. Yeah. It’s interesting, right? Like, the saying that I was apolitical, I’m like, I have many liberal values and many conservative values. It’s not one or the other. Interesting. So, one question I have for you is I think right now the word, influencers, it’s a very popular topic, right? And people are aspiring to be an influencer. I’ve even identified as an influencer. I had someone call me that at various points. I’m sure you have too, right? What’s the difference between influencers and leaders?
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. So, it’s a quote that you read, which is influencers paint a pretty picture and leaders pave the way. That’s the best way I can explain it but I’ll dive deeper into that. Like, every leader is an influencer, every human being has influenced on something, on someone. Every leader is an influencer but not every influencer is a leader, right? So, a lot of like the traditional how you would traditionally define an influencer is someone who is going online and making money through their online presence. So, they’re promoting a lot of product. This is literally how they make money. Whereas leaders who like I’ve accumulated a big community around my work but I look at them as my community and not my audience, and that’s also a difference, right? But I understand the responsibility that I also have in having a platform like this. So, I do spend a lot of time and thought into ensuring that everything I do is coming from a place of my values because this is why people have chosen to hit the follow button, whereas influencers are really just doing their own thing to pay their bills, get clout, gain notoriety, all the things.
And I think the two get enmeshed, especially in the personal development space because of the way that people are fighting to be seen, a.k.a. proof their work, aka feel visible due to maybe some traumas around visibility. Like, there’s a lot of reasons that we do this. I’ve done it, too, and that was the first half of my career is being really big, being seen on all the things, doing all the things, doing daily videos. It was insane. There was one point in time when I was recording and releasing two podcast episodes a week. Insanity. And then I pulled it back and I got clear on, “Well, why? Why am I doing this? Am I really doing this for the notoriety?” Like that’s my inner child saying, “Hey, I want some attention because I didn’t get enough attention.” So, now I operate from a place of intention. And I think with influencers, they don’t put much intention into what they’re doing but, yeah, it’s really like the picture versus paving the way for others.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And I feel like that speaks to like it’s quantity over quality, right? Like, how many followers can I get? How many clicks? How many likes? Not what’s the depth of the impact that I’m making? You know, what’s the depth of the impact that I’m making? As the author of a book on leadership, what’s your vision for leadership?
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. Well, first, funny story. I started writing the book in 2020. I started working with my book coach, and he really was just like my cheerleader on, “Okay. Write every day. Write every day.” I started writing. It’s like February 2020, and I’m pumping out pages like just in the flow. And then it’s like the second week of March and holy sh*t, what is going on in the world? And I’ll tell you, my entire inner paradigm collapsed and I had to take a break from writing because I needed to get back in touch with my beliefs, which were slowly crumbling in front of me and I was left with dust to pick up the pieces and figure out what do I believe. So, writing a book on leadership in the year 2020 in itself was a feat, let me tell you. That’s a huge accomplishment.
Hal Elrod: Doing anything in 2020 was a feat.
Ruby Fremon: Oh my God.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Ruby Fremon: Doing anything. But my vision for leadership is one that is really based on building and harnessing community, on bringing humanity back into our population and our collective. It’s one that’s based on seeing each other, hearing each other, acknowledging each other, seeking to understand one another, versus being the one trick pony who knows all the answers to all the questions. It’s one that’s based on servitude, on love, on humility. It’s being human truly.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Seeing the best in others, bringing out the best in others, the best in yourself. So, leadership it’s a really loaded word, right? You could write a book on leadership that’s for CEOs specifically, like how to lead an organization, right? Who is potent leadership? Who’s your book for?
Ruby Fremon: It’s for anyone that sees themselves as a leader and for those who are seeking to feel more internal leadership for their own lives. I’ve worked with people in corporate and I’ve worked with entrepreneurial. I will say most of my clients are entrepreneurial leaders, but I’ve worked a lot with some corporate leaders as well because they’re seeking to change the paradigm in the corporate space, too. But there are also the moms, the stay-at-home moms who lose their identity when they have children, and they want to feel that sense of like self-led operating system again. And so, that’s who the book is for.
Hal Elrod: I read the first review that popped up on Amazon, right? I looked at your book is something for everyone. Literally, it’s so funny you said that for anyone that wants to see themselves as a leader but here’s what I like. The person wrote, “If you are on a spiritual journey or running a business or looking for a new perspective on how you are moving about in this world, this is the book for you. Thanks for the lessons and wisdom. Get your copy ASAP.” And I really second that. That’s what I mentioned in the beginning, I love how universal the book is because to me that’s what leadership is about. It’s not a role. It’s who you be. It’s who you choose to be, how you choose to show up. And how you choose to show up, you are a leader for everyone you love, everyone you lead, everyone you impact, everyone you contact, everyone you touch. And that’s what I like about this book. And to me, it really was a book on getting in touch with your authentic self.
And then once you’re in touch with who you truly are, that’s your unique selling proposition is who you are, as you said, then I feel like you really help people muster up the courage which you’ve exemplified with how you’ve shown up these last few years as a potent leader. But really, you help people. I mean, that’s your process, right? I don’t have it in front of me. You tell me the four steps. It’s awareness. Wait, I have it right here. I can tell you what it is. One second. Awareness, acceptance, ownership, and then shift. The four steps to freedom or the four steps to potent leadership. So, where can people grab the book? Where’s the best spot?
Ruby Fremon: It’s available on Amazon and Audible. You can also just head to PotentLeadership.com and all the links are there.
Hal Elrod: All right. Yeah, and I recommend audible if you’re an audible person because I get to hear Ruby’s voice the whole time and her authenticity and your potent leadership comes through that. But I also have a hardcover copy because I like to underline and circle, which I’ve been doing, and I’m holding my hands right now and then go back to it and be able to revisit it. So, Ruby, any final thoughts, closing words, closing message for everybody listening right now?
Ruby Fremon: Yeah. In a world that makes it feel like it’s tough to own your voice, to own who you be, have the courage to understand who you be. Have the courage to show up in all of your being. Let go of the doing and focus on who you’re being.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community, the book is Potent Leadership: Drop the Mask, Ignite the Real You, and Reclaim the Leader Within. Grab it on Amazon, Audible, or at PotentLeadership.com and follow Ruby Fremon at iamruby on Instagram. Ruby, I love you. I can’t wait until the next time I get to see you and Kevin. We got to have a dinner. We’ve been talking about that for far too long and…
Ruby Fremon: For years.
Hal Elrod: For years or at SunLife Organics we’re going to see. It’s funny, we’ve seen each other at SunLife. We run into each other like there’s something, there’s some sort of like we’re magnetized to each other. We see each other at the farmers market like we just run into each other so there’s definitely a reason for that.
Ruby Fremon: Definitely. Thank you so much. It was such an honor to be on this podcast. I feel so much love, like my heart fills anytime I’m in your presence. Oh my God, I’m going to cry. Like, really, you’re such a genuine human being and I just want you to know that the human in me really honors the human in you.
Hal Elrod: Thank you. Thank you so much. That means a lot. That was the highlight of the podcast for me. I don’t know for everybody else, but selfishly, that was the highlight of the podcast for me. So, I appreciate that so much and I love you too. And goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning community, friends, family, I love you so much and I will talk to you all next week. Go get Ruby’s book, Potent Leadership.