Commit to Yourself: Defy Norms to Reach Your Goals

Listen to the BOLD Business Podcast


Search Blogs and Podcasts

Commit to Yourself: Defy Norms to Reach Your Goals

Commit to Yourself: Defy Norms to Reach Your Goals

As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.

With Red Direction Business Base Camp, learn how to implement and handle processes to meet your business’s specific needs and better understand your market.

Get Started NOW!

Starting the conversation:

Stop trying to fit into a box that was never meant for you. This conversation is built on owning your truth and creating a life that resonates with your core values. The secret to unstoppable self-discipline? It might start with the promises you make to others. Bolanle Williams-Olley, CFO Mancini Duffy, shares about the importance of defying ‘norms’ to reach your goals.

Your dreams may need a reality check so they don’t die and so you don’t accidentally get farther away from reaching them. It’s easy to go through the motions of a plan, habit building, and even achievement, but if you are not living along the way chances are you are stuck in norms that do not serve you.

This program is to help you claim your commitment to yourself and others. It includes giving up the good, the nuances of time and energy management, and skills necessary to succeed. The cumulative benefit is reaching your biggest long term goals staying true to yourself along the way. Jess Dewell talks with Bolanle Williams-Olley, CFO Mancini Duffy, about why it is BOLD to defy norms to reach your goals.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Bolanle Williams-Olley

What You Will Hear:

0:30 Commitment to others helps you commit to yourself.

  • Hold yourself to your word.
  • Stay true to yourself.
  • This is a muscle to build continuously over time.

4:45 Haven’t I already learned this?

  • Recognize something is missing or is not happening.
  • Who must you become to reach your biggest goals? Are you applying what you’re learning?
  • Your likes will shift which means you will shift too (or get stuck).
  • There are 3 levels of awareness to integrate long term habit development.

12:20 It takes time and energy to pause and explore.

  • What is your cadence to assess your use of time and evaluate your energy?
  • Pausing will speed up the process.
  • Be ruthless in your assessment of how you use time and energy.
  • Remember: everything has an ending, and sometimes it is up to you to assign the ending.

20:22 Give up the good for the great.

  • You only have so much time.
  • It is unsustainable to go-go-go.
  • Claim the privilege you have to pause.
  • Keep your eye on where you are going.

24:55 Long term goals keep you growing.

  • Life happens, and big goals may seem on hold to keep your dreams and hopes alive.
  • Own your reality today.
  • Celebrate what you are doing! It is a stepping stone to your next.
  • Time to think is a priority: what we do now will help us become who/what we want to be?

23:39 Claim your business knowledge.

  • You know more than you think you do.
  • Friction provides clues to what can be leveraged.
  • Start with your business’s levers to impact revenue, profit, and capacity.
  • Embrace change, which starts from the top.

32:10 The pulse of business is intuition.

  • There will be failure, focus on how quickly you recover.
  • What can you loosen the grip on – that is really outside of what you can control?
  • Learn from mistakes and build as you go.
  • Bolanle Williams-Olley shares her specific cues she’s keeping connected to the pulse of her work.

42:21 Two skills and a network are needed to be able to commit.

  • Be yourself. Know who you are and like who you are.
  • Accountability. How you help yourself stay on track and make adjustments as you take the next step.
  • Community. To help you move through difficult times – you are not alone.

47:11 It is BOLD to challenge ‘norms’ while staying true to yourself..

Commit to Yourself: Defy Norms to Reach Your Goals - Bolanle Williams-Olley
Commit to Yourself: Defy Norms to Reach Your Goals - Jess Dewell


Jess Dewell 00:00
Okay, you’re tuned in to the Bold Business Podcast, and I’m your host, Jess Dewell. Welcome. Every conversation that I host here is to spark an idea to get down to the right business right now, without losing track of your long-term business strategy. Join me on my pursuit to identify the right work to be done, how to do as much of that right work paths as possible, and to navigate your toughest business decisions. My goal is to bring you high-quality knowledge, experience and tools that allow you enable you and empower you to make bold decisions. As an entrepreneur and a business owner. There are three things I’m going to start with as we get into this program. The first is time and energy is an equation. And that pausing to assess how that time and energy is being used, allows not only exploration, but the right next step to occur. And you really have to be willing to give up the good to get to the great. And all of this comes down to the skills that are necessary to not only be committed to your goals, but to commit to yourself to become the person, the leader, though, into the role or roles that you have to get things going and keep moving forward. And that’s what Bolanle Williams-Olley and I talk about in this Bold Business Podcast. Bolanle Williams-Olley is the CFO and co-owner of Manzini Duffy, a national design firm, very historic, very tech-forward based in New York City. And not only is she doing the CFO, part of the work she has wrapped into the operational performance as well. In her role as dynamic leader, she builds waves, a collective of women making waves in the industry that she is in by engaging each other and striving for more she builds live her nonprofit focused on addressing the needs of children and improving the quality of education in low-income schools and communities in Nigeria, and she builds money, a company to help small design firms with financial solutions that empower the firms to become successful, and more importantly, to thrive financially, and as a group providing an important service to their communities. She’s also the author of a best-selling book, build boldly chart your unique career path and lead with courage, which is what we’re talking about here at the Bold Business Podcast.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 02:41
You have to pause. So if you do that, I think it puts you in a better position to just be ruthless about what is working for you. And what is it?

You are listening to the Bold Business Podcast, where you will hear firsthand experiences about what it really takes to ensure market relevance and your company’s future.

Jess Dewell 03:05
Let’s start the conversation with this. What makes it important to be committed to yourself?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 03:12
If you cannot be committed to yourself, how do you then commit to others? How do you move in in life? How do you hold yourself to your word when no one is watching? Being committed to you helps you stay true to you. It helps you find yourself some more. It helps you know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. I will give an example of how I am committed to myself. How about that? At the start of April, it said I was going to work out for the next 12 weeks. And I would wake up every morning, four days a week and show up for myself. And we are now in what is this the third week of April. And I have been doing that that is a sign of commitment to myself. My husband isn’t awake. My kids are not awake. Nobody else is here and I get myself up and I go down to that gym, no matter what. Right? I feel like when you’re committed to yourself in that kind of way. It spills through in all areas of your life, be it personally be it professionally, be it how you show up. It’s a muscle that you build. It is something that is special for you. If you’ve not been committed to yourself if you’ve not been staying true to what you say you want to do start today.

Jess Dewell 04:31
Start today. And I actually think that’s the basis of our whole program because there might be some unlearning. We’ve got to do. We have relationships that we’re in already that could benefit from an upgrade anywhere in our lives. We have our definitely our relationship with ourselves, but our willingness to change our relationship with the outside world to really help us on the inside. And it does seem it’s very monument to do, and I know I’m one of those, I was actually raised to be seen and not heard in this world and in this time. And so when you are raised to speak when spoken to, to have your own voice is a very interesting thing. So I’ve spent my entire adult life working on claiming that voice. And I will tell you, I still have to recommit to myself on some regular basis around that. And the fact I can point back to it and say, That’s just the way it is. That’s the way it was cool. Right? There’s an I have no judgment about it. It is what it is. It was what it was. So how can I use it? And so Mike, what? So then leaning into that, oh, lonely? Would it be? How hard is it when you first start building the muscle, though,

Bolanle Williams-Olley 05:47
It’s hard, it’s something that it’s somewhere you where you haven’t been? You’re not used to, to what it is, it feels uncomfortable, which is the main reason why you have to keep going. And for me, I think a lot of the things that I either choose to commit to or do in my life, the moment even if it’s before I start, the moment where I’m like questioning a lot means I absolutely have to go there. It means that there is some growth that is waiting, in that experience, that situation beat whether it’s at work, whether it’s personally, whatever it is, it means that there’s some growth that needs to happen in that space. And so I just want to quickly like, say something that you said, that was really powerful, that act of having it’s nonstop, right, it’s a continuous commitment. It’s not like you commit once, and then you’re all good. And so when you’re building that muscle at the beginning, it might feel very weird to you, but you have to push through. Now, when you push through, you will feel good. But it means you’ve learned what you need to learn at that beginning stage, then there’s the next stage that comes with comes with its own set of trials. And you’re like, Wait, have I done this lesson already? Let me know what else speak up in a meeting. Don’t I know how to stand on my own ground. I’m a leader. Now all these things aren’t just coming naturally. No, is always that recommitment that you have to do the beginning might feel very scary. But really and truly, you have to trust yourself. You trust yourself, you have to trust what the person that you’re going to become. Once you go through that process. And you have to believe really and truly believe that you will be better for it. I always say it’s two things. I let’s say you commit to I don’t know, again, I like to use fitness, maybe that’s like this article to run. If you commit to it, or you start running, so I just did a 10k

Jess Dewell 07:47
Congratulate, that’s the big effort.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 07:49
Yes, coming from someone who used to do half marathons, I took a break. And then I said I was going to do this and committed to it. However, it let me know that I don’t really enjoy running. As much as I used to in the past, I didn’t why my other forms of cardio, be it jump rope or cycling or whatever it is I’m doing now. Yes, going through that process, again, can also help you see things that you don’t are not serving you. How would you know that this thing isn’t serving you or working out for you or isn’t for you if you actually don’t go through the process. So commitment to me helps you again, navigate through life, helps you see where you should, where your strengths are, obviously see what you shouldn’t be focusing on helps you see the areas where maybe you might need additional help resource, whatever it is, to help you get through things.

Jess Dewell 08:46
There’s three levels of awareness that I talked about. And you’ve articulated at least two of them, and there might have been a third one in there. So just reflecting back. The first one is we put in the effort to do it because we know there’s something to change until we take action. We don’t actually know if it’s the thing that’s going to change. We just know we’re going to be better for it. The second one is I heard you say not only do I know who I am becoming I actually like it and then when things show up and they don’t fit I get to choose is this part is this something that I’ve learned to do differently? And it’s why I feel uncomfortable now or is it that next stage of cool iconic as I’m experiencing it so I can go and then the third one could be around this is it still useful in service but I could be wrong about that I have is about you find that moment in the road where you get to choose new or not right, first one you’re on a ride and you’re like oops, I got on that ride again. The second is Oh, cool. I know I’m on the ride. Maybe I could do something different while I’m here right? So I’m on a roller coaster maybe I keep my eyes open instead of screaming I don’t know. And the third one there’s that choice do I get on the rod or do I not? Yes. Did I hit all three of those it worked all three men okay cuz I thought he told me boys stories.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 09:59
And I love you Your summarization? Get this out of this story Deli.

Jess Dewell 10:06
And it’s so funny. You’re like, I used to do half marathons. And now I’m doing 10 kids. And I’m like, I will walk a 10k. And I get really excited that. Okay, so let’s talk about, let’s talk about being of service. Sometimes, and I’m going to speak in a general place, there’s going to be a resistance to recognizing this, it’s no longer serving me. And that could come across what that could come out as selfish. That could come out as ego that could come out as just self-love. There’s so many different things. So how do you know? How do you know when something’s not truly serving you anymore, versus something you think needs to be happening around it for whatever emotion or viewpoint you might have?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 10:56
Yeah, for me, and for some of the folks in my network, right? Like, you could have your own perspective, but then you have to zoom out and see other people experiencing it. That’s it, I have lack of peace internally and externally, in the environment, right? If something wasn’t serving me anymore, right, there’s actual there’s a lot of confusion around it. Typically, again, if something is just if some, if you’re doing something for the first time or something new. And you’ve had that lack of peace, at some point moments, you’re going to have clarity, like, you’re going to go okay, I should keep going that path. But it’s truly not serving you anymore. You will have it is almost nonstop, right? There is no break, there is no like that internal tussle, the confusion you’re feeling. And then you also have to look around your environment, right? If it is something that you’re doing with people, how are you relating to people? How are you showing up? Whether it’s office, workplace, in your family, whatever it is, how are you showing up? And is it constant negativity? Is it always like tough all the time, I think if you’re experiencing that at length at nauseam, where you are not having moments of breaks, where there’s a clarity where you’re like, Okay, this is why I had to go through all this stress. That is when you actually have to pause. And then be very honest with yourself and do that analysis and do that self-awareness, like what is happening here, let me step out of the noise. And look at this thing, whether it’s a job, whether it’s I don’t know, running a 10k, whatever it is, whether it’s eating poorly, if whatever it is, you’ll have to pause. And in my book, I talk about something called slowing down to speed up, if you don’t have you are actually not pre-programmed those moments of pausing. Your it’s not going to give you you’re not going to know that you know that this thing that you’re doing is no longer serving you. So that continuously so for me how I know is by those pre-programmed moments by instead of just going and listen. It’s like it’s reality, right? Like, we are always on the goal. You have to intentionally put that pause. So some people do it quarterly, some people have monthly meetings with themselves some people, whatever it is some people do daily, right is that they like reflection on, on what happened today, a month, a quarter might be good, because then you have multiple patterns, right? It’s not just one instance, you have three or more examples where okay, this thing went really wrong. And I really need to assess if it’s still working for me or not. So if you do that, I think it puts you in a better position to to just be ruthless about what is working for you and what isn’t.

Jess Dewell 13:55
Our I have a big proponent and I talk about saying no ruthlessly, and people are always telling me just that’s so strong. Why do you, I want to know well and lay Why do you use the word we’re useless?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 14:11
I use it because I think a lot of us are very passive about what’s happening in our lives, right? Like things are constantly happening to us. We constantly think we don’t have enough time. We constantly are maybe either burnt out or whatever it is. And you almost have to go to the extreme right? Like I need to ruthlessly do a time analysis and energy and let me know just how about time and energy analysis. What is draining the life out of me and am I in a position at this point, right? Understanding that to even do that is a privilege, right? What in whatever capacity that you’re in? Am I in a position where I can realign my Energy, how it is being poured out what is sucking my energy and what is giving me life. Life is hard, right? But if you’re not, if you’re not looking at where, what, if you’re not doing an energy analysis, you’re always constantly going to be drained. Right? That’s essentially what I’m trying to say. And so that that’s just something that you that’s why I use that word ruthless. Because if I’m not careful, I’m just going to not be able to serve all the people, I’m not gonna be able to show up well, as a wife, as a mother, as in the workplace, whatever. However, I’m showing up, I’m not going to be able to, if I don’t do a roof less analysis, that’s why I use that word definitely like it.

Jess Dewell 15:45
I’m your host Jess Dewell, I’m we’re getting down to business, on the Bold Business Podcast. This is where we’re tackling the challenges that matter most to you with actionable and achievable advice to get real results that lead to your success.

Didyou know of those of us with a plan 10% just have an idea 75% have written but don’t use their plan, and 15% successfully achieve what is in their plan, know exactly where you are. And what is the necessary work to get where you want to go with a growth mindset reset. This is dedicated time to evaluate exactly where your business is, where you want it to go. And the trajectory you are currently on. Go to solutions to get started.

Jess Dewell 16:34
Many of us and I’m going to add will actually go so far to say every one of us has at least four or more roles. We’re all a child, some are some are parents, some are mentors, some are teachers, some are there in all these referrals. And that’s just that’s without saying, This is what I do. Or here’s where my skills are, or here are the places that I volunteer my time. Or I give my time. Or I joined my time or I have part of this community. And now it goes on and on. So ruthless is that’s one of the reasons I like, because then I can be like, cool. How much time do I actually have for all this stuff I’ve got where it is. And to the point of just because I like it doesn’t mean I have the time and energy to do it. Also part of ruthless when we have to start saying no to the things we actually yes to do the things to take us where we want to go?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 17:33
Yes, yes.

Jess Dewell 17:35
I’m hearing you

Bolanle Williams-Olley 17:38
It really is powerful. I feel like I wouldn’t be I think it comments a feedback I always hear is oh my gosh, you’re you always have a lot going on. But that’s because I’m working on things that I really want to work on. I’ve said no, it’s not everybody is everybody doesn’t have the same capacity to in terms of focus or doing or interests you might not do you might not want to do multi. But each thing that we’re doing, whether it’s one thing, whether it’s 10 things always take your energy, right? And so you have to really think about okay, if I’m only focused on one thing, what are you being ruthless about so that you can give it your all if you’re doing more than one thing? What are you cutting out? Right? What are you? What don’t you just have time for anymore. So that it’s that time and energy, right? So it that’s where the jam or the magic happens, right? That’s where you actually accelerate and grow even faster, move faster. endingsare always good.

Jess Dewell 18:39
If I can be ruthless about pausing or stop pausing something or stopping something or letting something go. It does not mean forever. It means far right now, it’s an especially when I start saying no to things that I care about. When I am when I all are ruthless. I need the time and the energy for this and this that means I don’t have any for this instead of letting it drain my energy because it’s there. I put it on the shelf and I say I will come back at such and such a time and we’ll see where things are at because of this and this have an ND for evaluation and assessment.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 19:15
A good example I have a lot is my nonprofit. So when I first started my nonprofit I used to crochet but when I was crocheting and I was a project accountant or it’s you know product that comes into the firm. I used to commute and I had my train time. I think I probably had my baby my little shoe I just had my one child so I could say I am going to crochet 30 Hats over the next 30 days and actually find pockets of time to doing that give back. But as I started progressing, so moving from that senior project accounting role now to Financial Controller at that point in time, right so there was a shift So in my job, and so I had to start thinking of what am I going to give up? Right? timewise? And how is the nonprofit going to evolve? Right? So the nonprofit then evolved from me actually donating. Then the next project or next couple of projects was, Oh, can I crochet a small amount and hub that? raise funds for projects? And then the next thing is, can I then just fundraise? I will crochet when I have time that I think about like, I want to be able to appreciate my 30 Yeah, that, that is something that I enjoyed. Right? I enjoyed doing actually being able to go deliver this to a NICU or whereby did over the holidays? Does it mean that the nonprofit is still doing important work? No, we were able to now we’re about to be 11 years old. We’ve raised over almost $100,000, in the 11-year timespan having major impact, so I gave up the good for the great off. Yes, I still, maybe a month ago, I crocheted a hat for my friend who just had her baby.

Jess Dewell 21:05
Do you burn the candle at both ends?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 21:08
Yes, I was. But not anymore. Not because I paused right. One of the ways that I always know if I’m burning the end, is my husband and my kids. My daughter is always saying, Mommy, how can you just get into bed and you could be talking to me at 921? And I say something? I’d come back. It’s a night 21.30 And you’re asleep? How is it that you do that? Like my did? My buddy always knows that I have to see the woman my sleep is affected. I got to do something. I’m like you’re doing too much. There’s something going on? Like I’m someone who sleeps well, who says any issue we have can be solved by sleeping. You sleep you rest. You wake up fresh refreshed your brain, you could think clearly the moment that’s affected? I know. I have to see my What did you say burning the candle? On both ends? Yeah, I’m sacrificing. There’s something that’s making me sacrifice my health. And then pause. But a lot of us again, is it a one you don’t have the ability to depending on what stage you’re at life. And it’s a it really is a privilege for you to be able to pause right. When you think about the spectral with different types of folks who are working right do you might be viewing your career? And you don’t have the ability to do that.

Jess Dewell 22:33
That concept of burning a candle at both ends. I’m like, do you want to shine brighter, shorter? Or do you want to make a long-sustaining impact that has a bigger Yaris?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 22:43
Yeah, yes, yes.

Jess Dewell 22:44
So I hear you saying to it’s, of course I can do that. But then it’s because it becomes all about you, or me, or whoever’s in the center of it.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 22:52
And without that pause, yes. Yes. Always the longer-term goal. Yeah. So you have to keep your eye on where you’re going. But then always constantly looking back at what stage? Are you? How do you course correct? How do you fix if things are going off with not You’re not going to you will never get there? Right? Well, what does that say, you know, we say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And if you just keep sprinting and sprinting, you’re just gonna get tired and be like, You know what, I’m not even doing this. And then nobody gets to see that amazing light at the end of the tunnel.

Jess Dewell 23:26
So regardless of where we are in our career, in our life stage in the place that we live in our socioeconomic status in the time and energy that we have. How do you talk to people about making long-term goals? And how far out do your long-term goals go?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 23:43
I think it depends on the season you are in. It’s a it’s really. Some people can think beyond, I guess a perfect example. I get a lot of examples.

Jess Dewell 23:57
Yes, I love this.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 23:58
Let’s just rewind back to 2020 or 2018. In my company, right? Like most leaders in 2019, actually, February of 2020 could sit and say we have our three-year strategic plan, or this is our three-year goal. This is what we want our company to achieve. And then COVID happened. And literally you have to readjust right? It is how is this business going to survive through this week? You understand what I mean? Right? because life happens, right? And so this idea of how do you set a long-term goal? How far out do you look? We all you always want to dream. You always want to have your hopes. You always want to think about what it is you want to achieve, but then you have to come back down to okay let’s talk about this year. Okay, let’s talk about the next three months. Okay, let’s talk about this currently aren’t that we’re in. And so also, depending on the season of life you’re in, you think about the size of your goal. It could be, like I said, earlier, I talked about setting a goal to work out for the next three months, that’s a, that’s a three-month health goal that I want to see. And then when I get there, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to work out for the whole year, it doesn’t mean my long-term goal isn’t to be healthier, and that and whatnot. But I’m such a huge advocate of let’s then narrow down what are the steps is going to take? What are the steps I will take for you to get to that long-term goal in a shorter window? The other reason I like that is that, then you have something to celebrate, we need to celebrate, if not, is going to just feel like this never-ending journey, never-ending path to this goal. So if you don’t take a moment to celebrate your small and big wins you marching towards these goals. It just feels harder. It feels harder. Yeah. What I’m trying to say is how far it really depends on you. But you can have multiple steps towards your longer-term goal. How do you set the goal? It depends on what season you are in life and just thinking about what you really need.

Jess Dewell 26:18
I’m your house to just do well, I’m we’re getting down to business on the Bold Business Podcast. This is where we’re tackling the challenges that matter most to you with actionable and achievable advice to get real results that lead to your success.

Focused on growth. Listen to more programs like this, which support the challenges and opportunities you are working with right now. Search Bold Business Podcast for the key terms at, or your preferred podcast listening app.

Jess Dewell 26:51
I’m going to think about this from a business owner perspective that has been it that is keeping the lights on has been growing and maybe starting to see that first level of stagnation in revenue. And that causes a couple of questions to show up, right, these questions with our revenue starts to pause are, am I going to be able to maintain this, sometimes we flip into that protective mode of gotta make sure that I’m either growing or staying right here, and then now actually trickles out into a whole bunch of other things. And so that stopping to celebrate is really important, because if we’re celebrating along the way, we can figure out how to use what we’re celebrating as momentum to our next because I can tell you, personally, I used to have revenue goals. And it was great, there was a point in business that actually made a lot of sense, we gotta get to what we can pay the bills, we got to keep the lights on, we got to be able to grow and support the people that we got that are on our teams that are depending on us, and that the clients that we have, and the communities that we serve, are all taken care of that has a commitment, going back to the very beginning. But then, so you get to this place. And then what about your own commitment? And where do you want to go? What did you want to do this revenue goals are still important. They’re an incredible basis, because we have income and expenses and all of these things that we might want to reinvest or not, or do a new project or not. And so that still matters. And that still exists, the focus that I have switched into is what do What does right direction actually need to be in five years for the companies that we know we can be the most service to? And those are the types of things through our work today. Can we find it and then we’re making our goals for the quarter and the year aren’t? And then we’re saying okay, cool. So based off of what we’re seeing, how is that moving the needle of revenue? So we’re taking that thing that everybody does, okay, so how do we just get more revenue is one way to look at it. But when we ship that lens, and look farther out, and then make a choice and run an experiment, for lack of a better example, right, get some real data, and then figure out how to go there’s something to be said for that. And that can help in just starting out, too. I know I want to be wherever I am in my career path, and I want to be a business owner by x. Okay, cool. So what does that mean? What do you have to learn? Who do you have to know? And what order? What does your time energy relationship ratio look like? So you can do those things. If it’s in within three months, that’s way different than in three years. And you will you commit to that. So I’m going to come all the way back to full circle on that. So to your point about the steps and cheers point. It depends. It’s a commitment. It’s a prioritization. And we’re gonna we’re gonna use this word ruthless.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 29:39
That is no good. It really is so good, I think. And that, that’s something that my spend everything that you shared is what I spend a lot of time thinking, thinking about, especially for our company. Where do we want to be like you said in in the next three years, but then pulling it back and then also looking at at our current or current clientele, where should we be spending more energy going? If we want to, if we want to become this firm? Who are we serving now? Who is helping us get there? Who are our big clients? Who are the clients that help keep the lights open? The doors open? How are we nurturing all the various kinds of relationships? And like he said, then you have to assess. Right, then you have to assess because in our role that he’s in the architecture, engineering and construction world, a lot of the products you win our relationship-based, right and nurturing those relationships. But all of that is tied to time, a copy there and launch that did I hear you’re taking all these folks out and dirty? Green, so you need to make sure you’re spending it in the right place to get you to that three, five-year goal. I really love that, that you switch perspective, you could set the revenue goal, but okay, how really? Do you get there? Yeah.

Jess Dewell 31:04
And there were all kinds of ways. Honestly, I have walked into companies and said, they’ve said, This is what we’ve done every time we just double down and we do this and then all of a sudden it quit working. It’s okay, what quit worrying about it. That’s what their industry changed. Guess what they forgot to them tomorrow, guess what? They became obsolete because they weren’t having a pulse on their business. And that’s actually where I wanted to go next, both personally and professionally, right, both for an individual and for a company. It’s, we need a pulse that secondary, like that intuition that you get right. And you talk about running, it happens and running. It happens in meditation, happens in steel building, it happens in our career, there is this place where it’s like, Oh, I know this is going to happen. And it starts to happen. That intuitiveness is a skill that comes from just doing the stuff we’ve been talking about. And so how do we, how do you, how do you help people recognize and own the power of that intuition? And that, that that’s really something that helps with that equation of time and energy is

Bolanle Williams-Olley 32:06
The best way is to take off the trading rules. And create an environment of trust. But that requires if you’re leading a team or leading a company, or leading people, and you surrounded yourself around with a solid team, with whoever your teammates are, I like to think of as a sports team. Yeah. Best. The Right. Lots of time.

Jess Dewell 32:32
That’s an everybody job. Right? Their role? And how to expand?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 32:37
Yes, yes. So you invest a lot of time there. And we have to give people the ability to be able to make decisions on their own. If they fail, or if they trip up, how quickly do we recover? Because that’s always the fear. I’m gonna if I let go, or if I’m not in it, or if I’m not doing things the same way, and then give freedom, something is going to blow up right there. And they’re not going to be able to recover. I can go back Oh, letting go. Oh, control.

Jess Dewell 33:11
I like your I like your training wheels exam. Yeah, yes.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 33:16
When you take off when you’ve poured into when you’ve poured into people, and I say you pour a lot into B to A players or a to a plus players also, right? Because the folks who you’re building with, they want to have to do some want to have to go there. They’re in that position for a reason. You’ve hired them, they’re strong, they know what you’re doing, but then you have to let them actually try. Yes. And when they try and again, I want to go back to this overall idea around a misstep or failure. There needs to be that trust that if they come and speak to who is leading them or whatever, that they’re, they’re not going to want to be completely shut down. Right? Like, you’re going to be able to think through the problem and solve it and recover quickly. And people like that, who have that power. No, they learn from their mistakes. And they keep pressing on, right, take off the training wheels, if you’ve invested, invest already. Take off the training wheels, create an environment of trust, where people are, there’s open dialogue, and people can come and speak and you will get to where you’re trying to go. It might be bumpy, while you will get there. But it’s that offense of all right. Like often leaders, your goal is to develop other leaders just trying to develop teammates, everyone should have that you have that, that power to do that. And so the only way you can do it is going through it. Yes,

Jess Dewell 34:44
it is the truth. And every time it’s going to be different. That’s the other thing I think. Sure. And we’ll go back to that awareness conversation. Oh, I’m here again. Didn’t already learn this lesson. Why yes. And guess what? Now you get to practice it.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 35:00
Thank you, thank you for reminding me of that.

Jess Dewell 35:03
I’m just like, oh, it’s already been in our conversation. So bringing are bringing all of the different pieces that we’re talking about back together, I think it’s so important, not only from a listener perspective, but I know I use that to make sure my context is correct. So tell me about how, where do you feel like your intuition is the greatest within your business. So you’ve got your tools, you’ve got your systems, you’ve got your people. So what are the cues that you have learned to use for you, because I know it’s just for you, and everybody listening, just make sure you remember, it will be different for you. But I want to try and get some examples out there so that you have some concept of what you might already have in your next self-assessment and reflection. Ha.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 35:44
So what’s a good shoe that I could share? For me intuitively, I lean a lot on how I get clarity around problems, right, something difficult that I’m trying to solve for. And I have to quiet I have to quiet down a lot. And make sure I’ve stated maybe, what is the challenge I’m experiencing now? What are my what are all the potential options that, that I have? And intuitively, what is giving me the most clarity to get to that next position? When I get that, I share it with what I call it my my partners or people who I know whether Okay, so now I’m talking professionally, but like even personally, right? You have to have a core group of people who are not yes, people

Jess Dewell 36:38
That’s right, somebody to call us on her BS.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 36:41
This sounds like a good solution. Or this sounds like the right or right pathway. Let’s take this path. We already know internally, like that’s how you should go. But then there’s something about having a trusted I will call it either, again, board of directors, personal friend, peer mentors, whatever the case is, that can that you can bounce that solution or pathway forward. That then helps you try it gives you the it gives you the ability to try it. But personally for me to actively I always have its challenges that challenging, then I have a moment of clarity, then there’s peace that follows. Yes, I can’t explain it. Hmm, I got you. I can’t explain it to people sometimes. But I’m just like, No, this is how we should go. Because I feel like this piece for me that follows immediately the answer?

Jess Dewell 37:34
Hmm. Do you lead with your heart?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 37:36
I do. Live in both.

Jess Dewell 37:39
I was gonna say it sounds like it’s heart first followed by your brain because I leave. And if you were to ask me that same question might and I’m only getting there, right? I’ve never actually shared this before. I might not have ever even known this before. But it settles in my gut. Like, oh, there’s no way my knowing yet. You’re feeling peace. And I’m like, oh, that sounds heart-related. I’m like, Oh, I make gut decisions. There’s a lot of lead by gut first check self between ears second, and it sits in my gut. There’s a knowledge goes fool. And it stops right there. And there it is.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 38:13
So there those of you just know it. I love it. So like, that’s right. So at least you can trust it, don’t ya? Yes, yes. The other thing I’m touching my like shoulders, but I carry a lot. Yeah, I carry a lot in my shoulder. So sometimes when this is like, relaxed, I have like when like my actual physical body. Okay, this is the way forward, then I know. And it’s very tricky in my role. So in my role is very technical. Like it’s like knowledge base, the effort, right? Like, you don’t sometimes you don’t really have the ability to just feel, right, because you can easily you can say, Oh, you feel this and the numbers is isn’t making sense. But I feel like there has to be a balance, right? It’s almost very, like calculated risk is ish, which is why it’s a heart and head can feel it. But okay, let’s go back and see this actually,

Jess Dewell 39:06
There’s more questions to ask. That’s how I use it. It seems to contradict everything I’m seeing in front of me, or what’s showing in front of me is actually saying something not contradictory, but just all out different. So what other questions can we ask to find that could and I’m cohesiveness isn’t the right one but the link because apparently there’s a link there. And we got to go with what we know. And we’ve got to go with what we see what we can also acknowledge to the point of the pulse on the business. There’s more to find it. That’s actually I think the biggest thing to take away is just because it says it doesn’t mean it’s that

Bolanle Williams-Olley 39:42
Yes, yes, always dig deeper. I don’t. When I’m assessing like Team performances studio performances and who is doing well what can we learn right from what’s happening? It was it still takes you back to interpersonal dialogue. MCs are people relating and the teams or studios sometimes, or even within your team, even on your project, whatever it is, if it is something that you’re working on the way to know if you’re doing things the right way, or if there’s a lot of answers is just in performance and how you’re producing while you’re producing, I find that when there’s more trust, in maybe yourself, or in the teams that you’re on, it flows through in the numbers, just the need and the bottom line. You don’t have to worry too much on Oh, will you make your numbers because all of that interpersonal stuff, the human stuff of business, I don’t want to call it soft skills, the human part of running, your business is working. And so then the numbers will just work out it work itself out, doesn’t mean you don’t look at it, it doesn’t mean it can’t get better, but in the chances are a bit more smoother than people who maybe don’t trust themselves or teams where they have that kind of issue. And then you just, it’s constant you’re constantly trying to fix.

Jess Dewell 41:09
So let’s talk about the skills you need to be able to commit to yourself, what would they be?

Bolanle Williams-Olley 41:14
First of all, let’s use the be in my book or Bill bulls, role framework, the being be yourself. And the first thing is, do you know who you are? Before you want to try to commit to that person? Do you like who you are right now? That’s the first skill. yourself, you have to do actually want to come throat? Who would this current person is? Because when you’re now able to do that, and you’re like, Oh, I like how this person is, oh, I think this person could move a little bit more with integrity. That’s you, when I say this person or whoever the folks listening, right? I think I can improve in this area. I think I can be honest with where I haven’t been doing as great.

Jess Dewell 41:59
There’s a Steve hero’s journey that’s like that, right? That talks about that. When are we actually able to be ready to do that, and you just jumped right into the deep end. And then there’s a story called The Neverending Story. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this movie. Okay, the Neverending Story. This is a childhood movie of mine. So we’re going way back to the 80s, I think, and the 1980s. And this character has to overcome all of these things. And one of the things that they have to overcome is, are they true to themselves, and they have to run through the they have to go through these gates. These gates are statues and they have eyeballs. And he has to make it through without the eyeballs opening and shooting things at him because he’s not really true to himself, and only the truth can only the truth will get you through. Yeah. Right. So what for me, as you were saying that I’m like, Alright, got the hero’s journey, and we got to childhood show of mine. That’s how important that’s how imprinted that one is.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 42:54
Oh, yes. So to me, it’s a really important skill that you need to be able to commit. The second thing is accountability. And being in community is Oh, yeah, maybe it’s both right, that’s like a double, I don’t know.

Jess Dewell 43:12
So not okay, I like it, I like it.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 43:14
And maybe I’ll let me talk through it. So again, let’s go to my example of wanting to improve my health, wellness, and all of that. A lot of times we think we can do this on our own, we are aware operating and some people can, some people are able to. But the moment you decide that this is where you want to be, sometimes it helps to move you motivate you even through the moments where you really don’t want to do it by being in community. And so with that, my fitness example, I’m part of a fitness group that one of my girlfriends runs, and she’s literally run this, maybe now this is going on eight years. And so the last eight years on and all that has been that support where I wake up. And people who are in this group are it’s a global group. But the way this group have already worked out, by the time I wake up, so if I wake up like they’re in Nigeria, Nigeria is five hours ahead of me. So when I wake up, and I want to be this person that wants to show up for themselves. I’ve already seen someone who has done it that in this day, and then that gives me the boost that I need to go downstairs to the gym and workout. And so that’s where that community and accountability comes in. Right? Because now you’re not just accountable to yourself, but you’re accountable to the folks where all of us have committed in this group that we’re going to do the do this for ourselves. I find that so no matter what it is, you want to be a better architect. You want to be a better CFO, I mean, a CFO Leadership Council I’m not I don’t act like I know it all. In fact being in that you munity something called the CFO Leadership Council. What it did for me when I joined was made me feel like these big problems and issues and wins maybe that I’m going through at work. There’s so many other CFOs going through the same. I remember I attended the conference, and I was like, wow, okay, I’m on the right track. And the reason why I joined also is because I was a, I am a first time CFO, now I’m seven years in, but I was like, Oh, my decisions are, this is not just intuition. You know, what I mean? It’s not just like something that I think but I’m actually making the right decisions for my organization. And those two, two things, I think are two ways for you to think about many. But those two things, I think, is one, being aware to being in community that can help you really stay committed to all the great things that you want to see done.

Jess Dewell 46:02
So hover over.

Bolanle Williams-Olley 46:07
One makes it bold. Wow. So all that, to me, is us boldness to me in terms of my career journey, and I’m what made the decisions bold, I go back to this 21-year-old girl who during the 2008 financial crisis, walks to the Seattle office to ask for more tasks, and please invest in me, and I’m like, girl, you are crazy. And just sat there, like most people know he’s there. It’s the crisis, which add them into your work. But that was a very bold, whoo. Boldness, that spirit of bold is what makes all these commitments bowl to yourself is one is going to help you elevate move to another level in your life in your path. Regardless of you knowing what the outcome is, I didn’t know what that outcome would be. But I made a statement, I ordered something to myself, and I committed to it. That is a bold, radical act in itself, regardless of what the outcome is. I took a double promotion from senior project accountant to controller regardless of not knowing how things would happen. I was like, I’m gonna better myself. That’s bold, right? So for me, what makes it bold for anyone, any decision that you make to commit to anything in your life is, is that trust that you’re building yourself is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. But you know that this is the next step that you need to take. And you’re actually going to take it like you’re actually going to do that action. I think a lot of people talk, right, we talk talk, but where’s the action? Where’s the step, take that step. And it’s a bold move right there. You take one step towards what you’re thinking in your head, like the thought, the dream, whatever it is, and you actually do it. That’s what makes it bold. For me. That’s my own definition of boldness.

Jess Dewell 48:18
This is just one program I’ve created in the pursuit of identifying the right work to be done, and then doing as much of that work as possible. Because that’s where success happened. We’re talking about building businesses that last, the Bold Business Podcast equips leaders, business owners, and management teams with the strategic mindsets and the practical tools to navigate the ever-evolving business landscape. Before you go, remember to visit red for solutions, articles, and more programs like this one created to help you navigate the challenges that you’re facing in your business today. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media channels to keep up with all the latest insights. It is bold to pursue building a business that lasts until next time.

Jess Dewell hosts the Bold Business Podcast to provide insights for building a resilient, profitable business. By deeply understanding your growth strategy, ensuring market relevance and your company’s future. It is bold to deeply understand your growth strategy with your host. Jess Dewell. Get more information about how to drive solutions and reset your growth mindset at Thank you for joining us and special thanks to our post-production team at The Scott Treatment.

More Posts in This Category