Failures don’t automatically mean “the end.” It may just be a “restart” button for you to press and try again.
Success comes in different forms and in different times. Just because you haven’t achieved your dreams and gained the success you desire doesn’t mean it’s too late for it. Nothing is ever too late if you believe you can.
Laura Cooke is a leadership development and change management consultant. Her calm and diplomatic nature creates the space for courageous conversations, vulnerability, and resilience by modeling what she works to bring out in others.
Her passion for employee engagement and leadership development led her to train with Brene Brown to become a certified Dare to Lead facilitator. She has written a new book, Leave it All on the Dance Floor: Why it is Never too Late to Follow Your Dreams.
In this episode, Laura shares what led her, along with other fellow powerful women leaders, to achieve their goals without the boundaries or the limits of time. She emphasizes the importance of believing in your biggest “why” in your life.
What you will learn from this episode:
- Discover what the dance floor metaphor is and how it can inspire you to find your own version of courage
- Know why you need to understand your biggest “why” in life and what its purpose in your journey is
- Learn why you shouldn’t stop just because of a failure
“We have two choices: lay down our sword, or keep going. I want to inspire people to keep going.”
– Laura Cooke
Valuable Free Resource:
- Grab a copy of Laura’s book, Leave it all on the Dance Floor: Why it is Never too Late to Follow Your Dreams: https://leaveitallonthedancefloor.com/
02:23 – Laura shares about her book, Leave it all on the Dance Floor: Why it is Never too Late to Follow Your Dreams, and how it came to life
03:30 – The Dancefloor Metaphor: What is in it for you once you read the book?
04:54 – How did Laura connect with the featured women in her book?
07:04 – What surprised Laura while writing her book
07:58 – Laura shares a story that was really inspiring to her
08:54 – Who is the book for and what can YOU expect learning from the book
10:30 – Grab a copy of Laura’s book: in Amazon or https://leaveitallonthedancefloor.com/
10:36 – Where to find Laura: https://lauracookeconsulting.com/
“Often, we have two choices: lay down our sword, or keep going. And I want to inspire people to keep going.” – Laura Cooke
“Understanding that having a bigger “why” helps us move on when we have those obstacles thrown in our path.” – Laura Cooke
“Look it in the eye. Actually, look it in the eye. Is it as terrible as you think it is? Is it as scary or big or insurmountable as you think it is? And when you actually look it in the eye, normally it’s not” – Laura Cooke
Ways to Connect with Laura Cooke:
Ways to Connect with Sarah E. Brown:
- Website: https://www.sarahebrown.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/knowguides
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahebrownphd
- To speak with her: bookachatwithsarahebrown.com
Full Episode Transcript:
Laura Cooke 00:00
I’ve had a lot of failures along the way….just to inspire others not to give up. Often, we have two choices, kind of: lay down our sword, or keep going. And I want to inspire people to keep going.
Sarah E. Brown 00:20
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women, where we talk about the challenges senior female leaders face in being happy and successful at work. I’m your host, Dr. Sarah E. Brown.
Sarah E. Brown 00:35
My guest today is Laura Cooke. She is a leadership development and change management consultant. Her calm and diplomatic nature creates the space for courageous conversations, vulnerability, and resilience. She models what she works to bring out in others. Her passion for employee engagement and leadership development led her to train with Brene Brown. And she’s now a certified Dare to Lead facilitator. She has worked with hundreds of leaders through the program, changing the way they show up at work and in their lives. And as a fun fact about Laura, she has been my accountability partner for four years. Every morning without fail, we spend five minutes on the phone or text about what we’re going to do today to work towards our dreams. And I can tell you that if it weren’t for Laura, I would have given up on mine years ago. So, the importance of staying in action and having somebody as an accountability partner to keep you moving, I can’t overemphasize. So, Laura, thanks so much for being here today!
Laura Cooke 01:54
Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited! And it’s been an honor, having you as my accountability partner as well. I think that check-in has been such a big part of my journey.
Sarah E. Brown 2:08
Well, it’s certainly been a big part of my journey. And I think it’s a big part of the journey of a lot of the women we’re going to talk about today. So the reason Laura is here is that she has just written a new book, called, Leave It All On The Dance Floor: Why it is Never Too Late to Follow Your Dream. So tell me the inspiration behind this book. Why did you want to write it?
Laura Cooke 02:32
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you! Well, being a middle-aged woman who’s kind of not gotten as far as I had hoped, at this point in my life, I had to dig deep and look into where I saw my life going and kind of build it a later half. And as both of you, you and I have a mentor and Jack Canfield, one of the things he once said was, “You would never be given a dream if you didn’t have the means to accomplish it.” And that quote really speaks to me because that fire still burns in me, and I’m not willing to give up on my dreams. And I wanted to share my message and my journey. I’ve had a lot of failures along the way, just to inspire others not to give up. Often, you know, we have two choices: kind of lay down our sword or keep going. And I want to inspire people to keep going.
Sarah E. Brown 03:30
Terrific. And so tell us a little bit about how the book is organized, and what you do in it. And so we get a flavor of what the book is like.
Laura Cooke 03:38
Yeah, absolutely. Well, just to share the “Dance floor” metaphor is an important one to me. As a super shy and withdrawn child, dance was a form of art or expression for me when I didn’t necessarily have words. And so as a young child, I was introduced to dance. And it’s such a beautiful art form in terms of expression and the emotion that could come through in it when we maybe don’t have the words. So that metaphor was an important one in my journey. So sprinkled throughout the book is my story. And then I’ve also pulled in over 20 women who have shared their stories with me about overcoming all different kinds of things such as whether it was, you know, physical constraints, emotional journeys, spiritual journeys, health-related journeys. Those are the women whose stories I’ve highlighted throughout. So it’s got my story, their story, and then each section also has an insight where I’m asking you, the reader, to reflect on your journey and maybe do some introspection around that.
Sarah E. Brown 04:50
And how did you get connected with the women that you’re showcasing?
Laura Cooke 04:53
Yeah, so last summer, I partook in an online training program that was focused on women speakers who are hoping to increase their exposure and their business. And what I didn’t expect was this amazing community of heart-centered women who had such impactful offerings to give, and amazing stories as well. And I had just put up a little post about, “Hey, I’m looking at doing this book. I’d love to include stories of inspiring women who have overcome things or have achieved great success despite obstacles.” And I was overwhelmed by the amount of responses that I got! And I was just so amazed by their willingness to step into their story and share it with me.
Sarah E. Brown 05:46
Hi! This is Sarah Brown, again, the host of the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. I hope you are enjoying this episode, and gaining some tips and inspiration on how you can be happier, and more successful, and experience less stress at work. If you would like to learn more about how you can take control of your career, and do it your way, visit sarahebrown.com. There you will be able to download a free chapter from my book, Let Your Personality Be Your Career Guide. It contains information and exercises on how you can identify your unique interests, strengths, and needs, and translate that into career goals that are just right for you. Now back to this informative episode!
Sarah E. Brown 06:40
And you know, if you think about it, it’s a very vulnerable thing to share your story, particularly your failures in the past. What an act of love and leadership that is! So I think it’s so cool that so many women volunteered to do that. That’s great.
Laura Cooke 06:56
Yes, I would- go ahead.
Sarah E. Brown 06:59
Go ahead. Was there anything that really surprised you in the process of writing this?
Laura Cooke 07:04
Yeah, the one surprise– well, a couple of surprises. The first one was the recognition that I’m still struggling with my inner critic, that idea of “Who do you think you are to be writing this book?” And you know, that self-doubt around “Will your story resonate?” And, you know, I think sharing some of my failures is the story, is the lesson in the book. And the second thing was understanding that having a bigger “why” helps us move on when we have those obstacles thrown in our path. And so all of these women who were bold and brave and vulnerable enough to share their story with me became my bigger “why” and helped me push through because this is for them. It’s not just for me.
Sarah E. Brown 07:53
Well, give me an example of a story that was really inspiring to you.
Laura Cooke 07:58
Oh, well, I mean, there are so many! I mean, every single story has such an interesting message in it and a unique and interesting message in it. But, you know, one thing that- a story that sticks for me is particularly one woman who has overcome trauma, who has overcome addiction, who has overcome a brain injury, and kept getting up, kept moving forward, and is now pursuing her Ph.D. And so just that journey, and all of the things that she’s overcome has been so inspiring.
Sarah E. Brown 08:39
Wow! I don’t have anything to worry about when I hear about all of those things. What an amazing thing. An amazing list of things to overcome. So who do you see benefiting from the book? And what do you hope they say after they read it?
Laura Cooke 08:54
Yeah, thank you! Definitely, it’s targeted toward women. But I’m happy for anyone to read it if they get something out of it, but it’s targeted toward women. And what I hope that they say after reading it is that it’s inspired them to take action. If I can help one person step beyond that self-doubt, that fear, to pursue their dreams, then I’ve done my work.
Sarah E. Brown 09:22
That’s very cool. Because as you and I both know, the key to this is just to keep moving forward.
Laura Cooke 09:28
Yeah, one step at a time.
Sarah E. Brown 09:30
One step at a time. Baby steps and you’ll eventually climb Kilimanjaro. Yeah.
Laura Cooke 09:39
I was just going to say often, we look at these insurmountable barriers, and we have such trouble imagining how we can move past them. And so it sits on our shoulders like a weight that we can’t move beyond and one of the things that I say and it is a section of the book is “Look it in the eye.” Actually, look it in the eye. Is it as terrible as you think it is? Is it as scary or big or insurmountable as you think it is? And when you actually look it in the eye, normally it’s not. And so I just invite everyone to maybe look at that, that biggest barrier in your way in the eye and break it down to see– is it really as big as you think it is?
Sarah E. Brown 10:26
Very good counsel. So Laura, where do we find the book?
Laura Cooke 10:30
It is going to be available on Amazon!
Sarah E. Brown 10:32
Terrific! And where do we find you?
Laura Cooke 10:36
Yeah, so the best place to find me is either at lauracookeconsulting.com. Or if you’d like to just look at my website specific to the book and events that will be happening around it, it’s leaveitallonthedancefloor.com.
Sarah E. Brown 10:52
Laura, thank you so much for being with us today. And congratulations on writing a book. That is a big job, I know, but thank you! It’s a gift to all of us women.
Laura Cooke 11:03
Thank you so much for having me!
Sarah E. Brown 11:06
Thanks for listening to the KTS Success Factor Podcast for Women. If you like what you’re hearing, please go to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. And if you would like more information on how we can help women in your organization to thrive, then go to www.sarahebrown.com. You can sign up for our newsletter, read show notes and learn more about our podcast guests, read my blog, browse through the books, or contact us for a chat. Goodbye for now.