Regina Huber has seen firsthand that when businesses of all shapes and sizes leverages the innate feminine values of inclusiveness, transparency, risk awareness, and co-creation, magic happens. It translates directly to faster growing and more sustainable bottom-line results. Founder and CEO of Transform Your Performance, Regina’s work across 5 continents is changing the way the game if business is played. Learn her secrets of transformation – personal, professional and corporate.
Melinda Wittstock: Welcome to Wings, Regina.
Regina Huber: Melinda, I'm delighted to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: I'm looking forward to talking to you too and I always like to get the story behind the story, if you will. What led you to create Transform Your Performance?
Regina Huber: Well, it's sort of a long story, but I believe that everything of most we did in the past somehow flows into what we do now. Everything we do becomes relevant for our next phase somehow. I've seen that and over. But we cannot see it while we're in the midst of it. So there's this long story to this question and there's a shorter one. The long story is my background.
My background includes international work, working and living experience on five continents. More of that is on my bio page of my website, transformyourperformance.com. I'm sure we're also going to talk more about it during our call, but the short story is that I went through a very painful experience. Actually, a number of very painful experiences that led me to my purpose. For example, before I came to New York about six years ago to found my current company, I own companies in both Argentina and Brazil. The one in Argentina was highly successful. But the experience with my business in Brazil, in which I had invested all my money and two years of my life, was less pleasant. And I had to close it soon after opening it. That was because I found out that my business partner was fraudulent. So I had to really cut cords with him, but the business depended on his brand name, at least a part of it. So I had to make a difficult decision to dismantle a huge brick and mortar undertaking. And I had just finished building it and it cost me all my money and two years, you know? So it was a really painful experience.
But eventually, that's also why I'm doing what I do now, and so I actually have to be grateful to him after all, because it forced me to study the reasons for why I allowed this to happen. I was asking myself, how could this happen to me, right? So first of all, I was in victim mode. But then I took a step back, that bird's perspective that I sometimes like to take, and then I looked at it and said, look, there's something in you that allowed this to happen. And so that's when I really learned how to take responsibility for my life, including all these experiences. And at the time, this also cost me my confidence, not only a lot of money and time. It was a really painful experience in that sense as well. And I had to learn how to build my confidence back. And now I can help other women raise their levels of confidence too, because I know how it works. Wherever they are with it, they don't have to go that low. Hopefully not. But you know, it's a process, how to build your confidence back or how to raise it to the next level. Even leaders, especially also women, oftentimes struggle with confidence and self esteem issues.
Melinda Wittstock: So Regina, what you say resonates so deeply with me. And I think, you know, if you're victimized or you feel like you were victimized by a situation, and in my case it was an emotionally abusive marriage, where you're in that victim state where you have no power. And that recovery process of actually using it to regain your strength or figure out your true purpose, sometimes when really terrible things happen to us, it's actually the making of us.
Regina Huber: Right. So yeah. There are several thoughts that come to mind in this context. The first is, I believe that every single person we meet is a teacher in our life. So when we meet somebody who teaches us a tough lesson, that's a good thing. It really is about what we make of that situation. And while we're in victim state, it's hard to see it. We cannot really be powerful when we're in victim state. It's understandable that we are because it's painful, but there is a point where we just need to make the decision and move on and see what's the lesson here. Why did this happen? What do I need to change in myself so this does not happen again?
And I discovered, for example, and this was only one of the things. But one of the major reasons why I let this happen was because at the time, I was getting a little bit tired of doing everything by myself. And I had had a successful business in Argentina. I had done everything by myself all my life, I felt, and moved to different places and whatnot. And I was just relieved when I met this person who was there and who knew the whole spiel of how it works in that country. It was a new country for me again. So it felt like I had an ally, but it turned out to be the opposite. But also I noticed that at the time, I just didn't trust myself enough, although I had proven to myself before that I could actually do it. So we must trust ourselves. And also, I did not listen to my intuition enough at the time. I did not do enough due diligence because he was well known, so I thought that was enough proof that he would be okay to work with. And that's not always true.
Melinda Wittstock: So this is a really interesting point about really being conscious and learning from the experiences that we're going through, but when we go back and we have … I don't know, we can have regret, which isn't very useful, or we can flip that around and actually learn from it. The interesting thing that you're saying is how hard it is to sometimes recognize what's happening to us when we're in that moment, and that applies to everything from personal relationships to maybe team dynamics that aren't working well in a business.
So, we're just a bad client relationship, or … There are so many different ways, and so how do you recommend being able to separate yourself from that kind of [inaudible 00:21:56 that we get into, where we're so stuck in something that we can't literally see the forest for the trees.
Regina Huber: Well its something that's really good to get an outside view, outside perspective. In my case it was a friend who helped me with some sessions and we did some work around this. I think when you're in a team dynamic what's really helpful is maybe you get a coach who helps you through that, or the entire team through that. I also, for example, for that situation, I also studied conversation and intelligence, which can be a really great change to our team dynamic.
It depends on the situation, but I think an outside view is always really helpful because it gives you that perspective from somebody who hasn't been involved, and therefore isn't so caught up in the situation. That's the first idea that comes to mind. If you don't have that possibility, it's really going inside and becoming still and thinking about the situations as if you were not involved.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, getting that kind of perspective and distance. How many of your clients … When you're helping them with their businesses, how often is it really that you're helping them with their personal growth?
Regina Huber: It's very … it happens very often because it's … we don't have separate lives. We like to sometimes separate out our lives into our emotional life, our relationships, our professional life, our personal life, and all of these artificial distinctions. But our life is really one, and it's amazing how things have happened in our personal lives impact our businesses and how we show up in the workplace if we have a job, so very much. It's really not separable, so they trust me a lot with their details of their personal lives because when we release certain things that keep our minds busy, that keep our motions busy in a negative way, then this has also a very big influence and impact on our business or our job.
Melinda Wittstock: It really does. The further … further and further out, I get in entrepreneurship. You know, I'm sort of four times serial entrepreneur.
Regina Huber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: The more I realize almost any issue that I'm having in my business at any time is really an issue inside myself. Like, there is such an intersection between personal growth and business growth.
Regina Huber: Yes, absolutely. There is. That's why I do my personal work every single day. I like to do it in the morning because that's when I am still not too distracted. There are days when I start by early [inaudible 00:25:02, it might not be possible, but then at least I try to make some time and go to yoga or do some dance classes in the evening, which is my big passion.
Just really something where I can focus on my wellbeing and also on my personal growth. It's a combination of many different activities for me. Some people meditate every day. I mix it up a little bit. It's really important. We oftentimes work so hard, and I see it with so many entrepreneurs but also with women in corporate. We work so, so hard, but we're not getting anywhere because they're not doing this.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I call it the Miracle Morning that when you sit quietly and peacefully and just open yourself out to inspiration, or you may choose to journal or something, you're more in touch with your heart, what you really want, you can be much more intentional, and you can really get much more into that focus you need to really be able to be taking massive action in a few things that really are going to change the game for your business or your life. How do you help your clients prioritize the many ideas that we all have as entrepreneurs? That kind of ADD thing we all have. How do you help them focus and prioritize?
Regina Huber: Well one thing I like to do myself in the morning, and I recommend that to my clients, is to really sit down and write down one to three outcomes that I want to achieve that day. Sometimes it's one that's important. It's not 10, necessarily. So we tend to think about 10 things and it's really about limiting it to a certain number that we can reach because it's much more satisfactory to at the end of the day go back and say okay, I got to do these three great outcomes. They can be a little bit ambitious, but they should be doable. So sometimes we might have something that we're not absolutely sure that we can achieve, I would still write it down. Maybe that day I get one step closer to it. It's also valuable.
It doesn't have to happen 100% that day. It can happen only 25% that day, right? Then I put it down again for the next day, and maybe I get to the next 25%. So, it's really having achievable, smaller … and I actually don't call it so much “goals” but outcomes that I want to achieve. Little dreams per day. Also, maybe sent an intention. Really set yourself up for that success. One thing that I like to do also when I run out of my own ideas is … and I pass these on when I find them helpful, is I listen to YouTube pre-recorded meditations. You could [inaudible 00:28:19 them, or just a pre-recorded audios that are inspiring. I work a lot with the concept of power.
I work with the concept a lot of inner power, so anything that has to do with powerful statements is really valuable to me personally. I also give my clients my own … sometimes I make little recordings for them that are specific to their situation, or I inspire them to record their vision. Now, we usually write our vision, right? Sometimes we have to modify our visions, sometimes we have shorter-term visions, so we can record that and listen to it in the morning to set ourselves up in that [inaudible 00:29:05.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that's wonderful.
Regina Huber: One thing that I also wanted to add that it's really important that these activities are enjoyable. When you've done something in the morning because you have to do it, then I would not recommend it. It has to be an enjoyable process so that you can actually do it every day. Again, it doesn't have to be always the same. So many people try to meditate, and they just find it really hard because their mind goes crazy. So do something else. For me, walking sometimes is meditation. Dancing is meditation. Whatever it is for you.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I get my best ideas often when I'm walking my golden retriever in the woods.
Regina Huber: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: You know?
Regina Huber: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: I also meditate; I also like to be on the water. I mean, there're all kinds of things. Sometimes just like in the shower. I love what you said about having fun because really, the reason we become entrepreneurs in the first place is really to live our true purpose, I believe. And to create value for other people.
We have some problem we want to go solve, we want to help other people at the crux of it, and hopefully in a way that's really into alignment with who we are as people. So, that process, my goodness. If you're going to take on all the responsibility of being an entrepreneur, you better be having fun along the way. What are some of the ways that people can really add fun to their workday?
Regina Huber: First of all, we have this saying, “No pain, no gain.” I like to cross the pain out and put “fun” instead of it. Like, “No fun, no gain.” Now we can put that in front of you while you're working as a reminder, and I think it's just really important to look at every single activity as something that creates value. For example, I started writing an article that is quite challenging for me because I want to find the exact right words. It's on diversity. It's also on how we still have resistance to diversity.
It's a big passion of mine to talk and write about diversity because it's something that I've always had a big appetite for. But it's really hard to get it across in the right way to shake it up a little bit, and at the same time not be offensive. So that article, for example, is really challenging for me. I've been working on it for a while, and I want to write part of it this afternoon. I look at it as “Eh. Oh my God, this is really hard.” You know? I've written so much already it's this hard. But I can turn this around and say, “Oh my God. This is such a cool challenge. I'm going to put something out that really is different.”
Once you start doing it, the fun comes. Once you've changed that thought and you start doing it, the fun comes. I've seen that so often. One of the major challenges for us entrepreneurs is to pick up the phone and call people and ask for their business, or to introduce ourselves. Sometimes just by starting the process and really thinking about it as a pleasant conversation you're going to have with the person rather than, “Oh, I have to sell something,” you know, turning that thought around into, “Oh, what can I learn about this person? How can I build a relationship with that person that actually gives me something even if I may not sell anything to that person? How can it be enriching for both people?” So, really turning those thoughts around and making it a pleasant experience helps me so much.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: Regina, take us through your system. It's called Powerful Leadership Trans … Again. Regina, so take us through your system. It's called Powerful Leadership Transformation, or PLT. Tell me a little bit about what it is and all the different steps that you take your clients through.
Regina Huber: Yeah, sure. My system, Powerful Leadership Transformation, is composed of four main elements, four main areas. The first one is an empowering mindset. You could also call it a self-empowering mindset. It's really about how to upgrade to that empowering mindset. We talked about it a little bit before already, really, intrinsically, right? The second step is uncovering our authentic brilliance, or specific [inaudible 00:34:52. I also call that, in my work, distinctive uniqueness. It's that unique being that you are with all those unique talents, and gifts, and skills, and oftentimes you don't go deep enough with that so we don't really know how to distinguish ourselves. And that is a key as entrepreneurs.
The third one is how to step into a compelling and confident presence, which I call a body conscious presence. There, we also focus on our energy, which is an essential element to our presence. Oftentimes we only think about our presence as our external presence, and that's not really all it is. Then the fourth [inaudible 00:35:31 of course, [inaudible 00:35:32 action because we also do need to take action. But action alone doesn't always lead us to where we want to go. So, we need the other three and oftentimes our expected action is actually a result of the first three.
Melinda Wittstock: I'm curious, I want to get into a little bit more about body conscious presence. What does that actually mean?
Regina Huber: Yeah, so you might have heard of research that 55% of how others perceive us is about our body language. But, I want to go deeper than that because it's not just about our gestures, about our posture, about our movements. It's really also about the energy we carry. You know, I am a passionate dancer, and in partner dance I'm known as an excellent follower.
A part of it is, of course, practice because I've been doing it for a while and I dance Tango, and somebody [inaudible 00:36:51 two of the hardest dances as partner dances. But, it's not only about that. It's also about the energy that we carry as dance partners. I can immediately tell if a leader in dance, a dance partner, will take me through a pleasant dance experience or not. That's because of the energy. That's immediate. So, it's not about only rhythm and steps, it's really about being centered.
The same centeredness, and the same grounding, and the same energy, and being in our powerful energy, and our power energy as I call it, is really key in business. It takes .07 seconds for our brains to figure out whether it's safe to trust somebody. That's mainly about our energy, because we cannot pick up all the other aspects as fast. When we go into a meeting or into a call with a prospect, if we're not fully present in our body conscious presence, in our energy conscious presence, then the other person picks up on that before we even say a single word. [inaudible 00:38:04 so important to prepare energetically and-
Melinda Wittstock: So that's less than a split second. Like, make these judgments so fast.
Regina Huber: Yes, and it's our survival mechanism, really, Melinda, because that's what keeps us safe. It's that fight or flight, freeze or appease, right? We have to react really fast when there's a real threat. We take that into all our situations [inaudible 00:38:33, and that's how it works. You don't even notice it.
Melinda Wittstock: So there's … So this is really interesting about how we show up as women, and some of the challenges we face in our businesses whether it is speaking up, or whether it's being successful in asking for money from a venture capitalist, or asking for the sale. I mean, there's so many different ways in which we have to be confident and in our body.
I noticed a long time ago I did a really interesting boot camp for technology entrepreneurs to prepare us, really, for that route of raising Angel Adventure Capital. We had to speak, and I noticed that … We had to do a two minute pitch about ourselves, and I noticed that so many of the women were standing a little bit hunched over, a little bit defensively with their arms, say, across their chest, and not really speaking up, and speaking with question marks at their end of their sentences.
Regina Huber: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Which is very popular right now.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. So we were in effect letting ourselves down in ways that we weren't even conscious of.
Regina Huber: Right. This, exactly one of the reasons why I wroted my book speaks of, Stand up and Shine, because we often do not remember to prepare physically and energetically, and mentally by the way, because we prepare our content and then we solely focus on our content and that's just a tiny part of it. Dance has taught me a lot about posture. It has improved my body posture naturally, of course. I started dancing really late in life because I didn't really have access to [inaudible 00:40:55. But it still helped me. It's only a part of it.
The book I wrote because I when I came here, as I told you before, I had just gone through this very confidence-destroying experience, to call it something, and I came here and I didn't even have a business yet and I had to build a network. I knew I was going to build a business, but I didn't know anybody. So I had to step into this networking situation, I had to start testing my pitch, changing my pitch. At the time, it wasn't investors but it was still very challenging for me because I was still building that confidence up again.
I had to come up with some tools that I later put into my book that have helped me not only in networking situations, but also in speaking situations. I still use them. I don't use all of them every single time, but I still use my favorite ones. One of it specifically has to do with energy. The tools in the book have helped me so much, and they've helped my clients, so these are really cool tools that are very easy to learn. They can help you just feel safer in that situation. That's how I want to put it. We certainly have heard of Amy Cuddy and her Ted Talk about power posing, but that's only one of the ways that people already know about.
I came up with power dancing, because that's just more fun to me, but I respect Amy Cuddy's way very much. I actually was interviewed by a Forbes contributor last year about my power posing idea, just loved dancing … so, anyway about my power dancing idea, I just love dancing and I'm a movement person, so that's more fun to me and that's how I do it. And you can still … you can still do it in a bathroom stall, as Amy Cuddy suggests or you can dance. We have our headsets; you could put the music on. Everything is possible.
Melinda Wittstock: Dance is a really wonderful thing. And just this whole idea too of just standing in the power pose, right? With you're standing up straight with your arms open for two minutes before you go and say, make a speech or ask for the sale or do your talk or appear on a podcast or whatever it is, is really transformational.
Regina Huber: Yes, and it creates a lot of physical reactions. We don't notice them, but it releases certain chemicals. It opens up our heart, because we open up our posture. There's a combination of things that happen here. It opens up our breath. Deep breathing is just another really easy to do and to remember technique, but there are so many other ways. I think oftentimes also visualization is very necessary, positive-outcome visualization. Olympic athletes have used visualization for decades to win their gold medals, so why should we not do it.
Everybody who has every invented something has used visualization, otherwise we wouldn't have airplanes. We wouldn't have the wheel.
Melinda Wittstock: Well all of Einstein's … you know, Theory of Relativity was a visualization.
Regina Huber: Absolutely. It all starts in our minds. It starts with an idea; it starts with a vision, and what we can envision, we can achieve.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, when you are doing visualization, we've had a lot of people on the podcast talking about the best way to do visualization, and Natalie Ledwell of Mind Movies, most notably, but to really feel it as if it's already happened, and feel the gratitude for it, and really feel the emotion, associate the emotion with having achieved, and not getting all held up in the how, because the universe may have other plans … the universe may have a better how than our left brain egos can come up with ourselves.
Regina Huber: Exactly. It's really important … you mentioned emotion, and Natalie does the mind movies. You can create your own mind movie also in your own mind, right, so you can call it a mental movie. It's sometimes not even just an image or a picture; it's a movie. And as you play that movie, you feel into it. So, that's the most important part. As you look into your inner vision with your inner eyes, you want to get a taste of it, a smell of it. You're going to also figure out what it might sound like, but the most important part of it is really the feeling into it. What does it feel like to have achieved this dream of yours? And, so how do you feel? Do you feel happy? Do you feel fulfilled? Do you feel relieved maybe? Do you feel powerful? And that's the most important part.
And you can actually anchor that feeling, whatever it is, with a hand gesture, and I also explain in my book how to do this. It's a tool that I adapted from NLP, from Neuro Linguistic Programming. So, whenever you repeat that hand gesture, once you've programmed it into your cell memory or into your physical memory, with that hand gesture you can trigger that same feeling, and that also puts you into a more powerful state.
You could, for example, do that with confidence. You could find a situation in the past where you experienced a huge feeling of confidence, a high level of confidence, and you could program it into a hand gesture and then trigger that feeling, just with that hand gesture. That's another type of visualization. You could also visualize something that happened in the past, and that will help you feel more powerful again, or you could visualize something that will happen in the future, which I call a positive outcome.
Melinda Wittstock: Sorry, go ahead.
Regina Huber: No, and another really great visualization, for example, for that pitching situation, is to really visualize yourself standing there in a positive way and pitching confidently to this audience and then also visualizing that positive outcome of getting what you want.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Okay, Regina, I always like to go back into people's childhoods, because often the clues are there for how you became an entrepreneur or why you wanted to solve the particular problem that you're solving as an entrepreneur. What were you like as a kid? Did you have the lemonade stand all that kind of stuff? Did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Regina Huber: I did not. I grew up on a farm, so my parents were certainly entrepreneurs. Although my dad also had a job, and I saw a lot of hard work for myself. I started out in corporate. I think my family's take was more, get a job, be in a safe situation, but they always let me do or let us do, I should say, what we really wanted to do. So, we were never restricted. We were never limited in any way. I think that's definitely something that, that was very helpful.
I have a brother who is an entrepreneur as well; he has a very successful company for solar installation. And my other siblings have jobs, but they have done entrepreneurial things at some point or other. So, it sort of is a little bit in our blood, although we didn't have those lemonade stands as kids.
I think it came later. I've always been really independent, and that's probably part of it. I have traveled everywhere by myself. Even as a kid, I was quite independent, although I was also very shy, so that was a challenge that I had to overcome over the years. But traveling and moving to these different places and stuff like that … so eventually … the first business I had was actually a bed and breakfast. It was a bed and breakfast in Argentina, in Buenos Aires. Very successful; it was number one on Trip Advisor for most of the time that it was open, and I didn't know a lot about it, but I'm a learner by a doer, to call it something.
I have always learned by doing, and I think we just need to trust ourselves that we can do this. We don't need a degree or a certificate for everything we do. We are capable beings.
Melinda Wittstock: Regina, I love hearing this story, and it's interesting how many entrepreneurs, though, do come from farms. Because there's something about working on the farm that is really kind of … it develops your resilience, right?
Regina Huber: It does.
Melinda Wittstock: And there's sort of an entrepreneurial aspect to it. It's interesting.
Regina Huber: Yes. Yeah, farmers are entrepreneurs. They don't depend on anybody. They don't have a job. I mean, my dad did have a job, because it was a smaller farm and the income had to be complemented. We were five kids, but there's a lot of that. You have to learn how to use your time. You have to adapt a lot to circumstances like weather.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, things you can't control.
Regina Huber: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Things you can't control, which is actually one of the biggest challenges, I think, for a lot of entrepreneurs, who tend to take things personally that aren't personal, where you just have conditions or timing issues or things that happen that you can't control. So, how to develop the resilience in the face of all that. So, it strikes me that you had great training for that as a kid.
Regina Huber: Yeah, that might actually be true, see?
Melinda Wittstock: There is always the clue in the childhood, and one of the things that I say to people when I'm helping them trying to find their true dharma, or step into their authentic passion and purpose is what did you like to do as a kid? What do you do where time disappears? And, the clues are always a little bit in there.
Regina Huber: Yes. What did I like to do? I'm just wondering, because I have heard this question before, and it's always a little bit hard for me to answer, but I did do a lot of dreaming, a lot of daydreaming.
So, that was really … you know, I'm a Pisces and we are dreamers naturally, but we do a lot of daydreaming, and that's really visualization. It is visualization.
Melinda Wittstock: There you go. Right? And now you're teaching other people to do it.
Regina Huber: Yes, among many other things.
Melinda Wittstock: Totally transformational. So, what's next for you? Where do you go next? Do you have other books in the works or other big ideas you want to go pursue? Where do you think you'll be 10 years from now?
Regina Huber: 10 years from now is sort of way out for me, because we evolve and grow so much every single year, and my experience has been that its always changed and always been different than what I thought it would be. So, for example, in the past I'd say, “Oh, I'm always going to stay in Argentina, in this house, in this bed and breakfast.” And then I didn't.
I was in Brazil. I said, “Oh, I'm always going to stay here. I could stay here for the rest of my life,” [inaudible 00:54:29 Oh, and this beautiful climate. My favorite climate; I was not and then I didn't.
I'm somebody, as I said before, I'm a movement person, so I can't really look that far out, but I look at, let's say at my dream vision right now, I would be working with a number of private clients that are really driven and I have some of those right now. So, keep working with people like that, a certain number, and then do a lot more work also in corporate, because I think we need so many more female leaders in all areas. So I love working with entrepreneurial women. I don't only work with women, but mostly.
And I love working with corporate women too, because I think we need the women leaders in all areas, and I really would like to make my contribution to change that in the world, to have more diverse leadership, not only with regard to gender diversity, but in all sense ideally. More diverse leadership and more inclusive leadership as well, and I think women do that sometimes a little better.
And really also in that sense, make my little tiny contribution to more peace I the world, because I really do think and believe that world peace will depend on whether we have more diverse and more women in leadership.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. What a beautiful vision. So, Regina, how can people find you and work with you?
Regina Huber: Well, I am, of course, online with my website, transformyourperformance.com. My book, Speak Up, Stand out, and Shine, is on Amazon; it's also on my website with a link to Amazon, easy to find. I am on Twitter as TransformDance and on Linked In as Regina Huber, and I'm on some other social media, but these are the most important ones. Facebook, it's also Transformyourperformance.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Regina Huber: Oh thank you Melinda. It's been such a pleasure chatting with you today.