Stop Box-Checking: High Achievers, People-Pleasing and Rediscovering Your Authentic Goals

Season 4, Episode 5

Featured guest: Devon Montgomery Pasha, Director, North America for Event Design Collective and Founder of DMP Creative, LLC

Who are you living for? Devon Montgomery Pasha, director, North America for Event Design Collective and founder of DMP Creative, LLC, shares her perspective on working on your own goals versus the goals of others, identifying box-checking behavior and taking back control of your life.



Podcast sponsored by Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Myrtle Beach Convention Center

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Meet our guest:

Photo of Devon Pasha Montgomery.
Devon Montgomery Pasha

Devon Montgomery Pasha, CMP, CED, is a passionate events professional with over 20 years in the industry. She currently serves as the director, North America for the Event Design Collective, specializing in event design education and training in the United States and Canada. A believer in purposeful and mission-driven events, Devon leverages design thinking and empathy-driven systems to design events that maximize impact.

Prior to applying her skills for the Event Design Collective, Devon worked at several universities to help advance their institutional and alumni events as well as notable special events around the Philadelphia region, including work for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Waterworks and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Devon has been a featured speaker and volunteer for MPI, Academic Event Planners and Northstar Meeting Group, and has been recognized for her passion in elevating the importance of events in advancement. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in Music and a B.S. from Drexel University in Culinary Arts and Event Planning.

Devon earned her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) certification from the Events Industry Council in 2020 and a CED (Certified Event Designer) designation from the Events Design Collective in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Creativity and Innovation from Drexel University’s School of Education and is an adjunct professor at Drexel University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Devon's social media links:

Instagram: @duchessmontypash; @dmpcreativellc; and @eventcanvas

More about our host:

Courtney believes that transforming past experiences into impactfulPhoto of Courtney Stanley, standing. conversations through raw, authentic storytelling challenges the status quo, connects people from all walks of life and results in great change for the world.

  • Courtney is the youngest member to have ever been elected to Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) International Board of Directors
  • She is the recipient of Smart Meetings’ Entrepreneur Award, MeetingsNet’s Changemaker Award, the Association for Women in Events (AWE) Disruptor Award, the MPI Chairman’s Award and MPI RISE Award.
  • Named Collaborate and Connect Magazine’s 40 under 40 and a Meetings Today Trendsetter.
  • Recognized as one of the event industry’s most impactful change-makers.
  • Serves on the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force, AWE’s Board of Directors, MPI’s Women’s Advisory Board, is a Meetings Mean Business Ambassador and is the co-founder of the award-winning movement, #MeetingsToo.
  • Named as a 2020 Meetings Trendsetter by Meetings Today

Connect with Courtney:


Editors note: The following transcription was facilitated by AI program and proofed by our editors. Although it is very accurate, there inevitably will be some mistakes, so please consider that when reading. Thank you.

Courtney Stanley  
This podcast is brought to you by Myrtle Beach Convention Center. 

Hello everybody. This is Courtney Stanley, and welcome to another exciting episode of Dare to Interrupt, a listening experience where you have the opportunity to sit in on honest, unfiltered conversations with leaders who are considered to be the most influential, inspiring and innovative leaders in the world of events, hospitality, business and beyond. 

Throughout their careers, these leaders have dared to interrupt conversations, their own comfort zones and sometimes even societal norms to hustle toward their greatest levels of success. 

I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to today's guest. Here with us we have Devin Montgomery Pasha, director, North America, for Event Design Collective and founder of DMP creative LLC. She is also one of my coaching clients and has become a very, very good friend, and somebody that I just constantly am so proud of and so inspired by.
Devin, it's great to have you here with us today. What is the most exciting thing going on in your world these days?

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
Well, thank you for having me, Courtney, and for that wonderful intro. I am super excited about bringing event design to the North American audience. And we are in the beginning, almost middle, of our 2023 roadshow, so I've had the opportunity to bring our level-one education to the West Coast. And I'm excited to be heading back East. So, I'll be in D.C. and Philadelphia this June, headed to Chicago. So, it's really the most exciting thing—to start educating and re-educating the North American audience on the value of event design.

Courtney Stanley  
Yeah, and tell us more about what event design Collective is. So, when you say level one, what does that mean? Give us a little more information?

Devin Montgomery Pasha
Absolutely. So, the Event Design Collective is also the owner of the CED, or certified event design designation. It was like you mentioned in the intro; so, I'm the director here in North America and cover the United States and Canada. And one of my real pleasures is training event and meeting professionals in … using our Event Canvas methodology. So, that's our trademarked 14-point system that teaches you the language of how your events bring value, both to your stakeholders and your organization. 

To put it plainly, event design is like being the architect for the building prior to building the building. If I said, “Hey, Courtney, I need you to go build a building,” you would say, “Okay, well, what type and how big and where does it need to be? And what are its uses?” 

Well, that's the step that we need to take in events today to really ensure that we are all in alignment with our stakeholders and our event owners to ensure that the event has the highest ROI that we're designing for that behavior change for our stakeholders, instead of planning a great entertaining moment but not designing it for that change—not getting that result or designing with those results in mind. 

So, our training has three levels. The two we offer most often in the United States is our Level 1, which is an eight-hour day and a great introduction to what it's like to be on a real event design team. 

The Level 3 is the course that you take on your way to getting your CED designation. So, it's a three-day course. And then six months after you put into practice what you've learned and facilitate your own team on a project to get that CED designation. 

And what I'm really excited about is the opportunity to bring that Level 1 across the U.S., partnering with local MPI chapters to really start giving this language to event and meeting professionals in our industry to disrupt the conversations of that reactive event planner, where you go plan the gala and you run away and get RFPs instead of like, “Well let's take a step back. You know, what is the purpose? Who are we trying to delight with this event? What is that desired behavior change? What do we need them to do, to think, to say and to feel when they've left us?” Because events are pivotal moments of change. And now more than ever, they have to have a high ROI. 

So, why wouldn't you take just a little bit of time to design for that outcome at the outset. And that's what I'm happy to share with our North American and Canadian audiences.

Courtney Stanley  
I love that you said ROI, because this is such a conversation that our industry is having right now. Especially, you know, post-pandemic we're trying to ensure that we are really articulating the return of emotion, the return on investment of marketing through events and engagement and community building through events to stakeholders who really do control both the budgets that we're able to work with, and also outline the objectives that we're trying to meet. 

So, I love that you use that specifically in here to describe what the program is meant to accomplish. And I think that there are so many people in our community today who are really trying to make an effort to elevate, to really truly listen to what their members, what their customers, what their audiences, need, in order to fulfill those objectives that were set strategically at a high level. 

So, that's awesome. I you know, big fan of Ruud and Roel. I think that the organization has made such an impact. They've been around for a while now in the industry. I'm always seeing all of these Design Sprints happening at all of these different events, and I believe you'll be at MPI WEC in Mexico this year, right? Running some Sprints and also potentially taking the stage to talk about something super special?

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
I am. So yes, we do Design Sprints everywhere to really share the practical hands-on utilization of our event canvas. So, we'll be IMEX [Frankfurt] In just a short couple of days, it feels like, so anyone going to IMEX Frankfurt, come visit us in Hall 9. But yes, I am. I'm representing the team at WEC ’23. In Riviera Maya. We'll have four opportunities for guests to come and do real hands-on Design Sprints as we look through future WECs and some EMAC conferences to get additional perspectives on the EMAC audience. 

But, thank you. I have the opportunity to take the stage at one of the more intimate sessions to talk about a topic that's really near and dear to my heart. And it's about changing the narrative away from a box-checking behavior, which is my passion topic, my soapbox topic, but something that I think really is what disrupts the conversation and something I'm learning in a vulnerable way but hoping to share with my community as an effort towards mental fitness; to understand how to be your most authentic self and the power that that has in our industry.

Courtney Stanley  
So, you said something that I think is very interesting, and I want to dive into this and better understand it; when you say, box checking and trying to get away from box-checking behavior. And does that mean that we leave our industry altogether? We are a community of list makers, of box-checkers? 

So, explain a little bit more; what does that mean, when you say personally getting away from being a box-checker?

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
You know, it really stems from, I think, a conversation—or more like a mantra that was in my family when I was growing up. It's something my dad used to say often, which was, if you do good in school, and do good in high school, and get into a good college and do well in college and get a good job, you too can … and it was sort of like “fill in the blank” here. 

But what I didn't realize was that this is where the value was being set. And so, this is what you should do. So, you need to do good in school, you have to get into a good college, aka, you will be valuable to me If you go to what I perceive as a good college and get what I perceive is a good job. 

And it's like, okay, well, I did good in school: check. And I got into a good college: check—shout out to Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania—and women's institutions. And I got what I perceived was a good job in the meetings and events industry, or a job in my industry, which was important to me, but to maybe others was not, you know, a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer. 

But again, this is what I perceive to be valuable. So, check the box. I think a lot of women in our industry look at job descriptions and say, “Okay, my value lies…if I check all the boxes of my job description; do I bring x amount of value that I bring an x amount of business? Did I convert x amount of customers? Did I meet the KPIs for this event—you know, check, check, check. 

And we mold ourselves like chameleons towards meeting the goals of others that have been set by others. But through that we lose a sense of self and a sense of authenticity of self. And I have found, through a lot of hard work and issues and rock bottoms and tears that that box-checking behavior is toxic, and it's dangerous. And it's really easy to lose ourselves in the quest to become the best box checker. 

But in the end when you've reached all the boxes, and you say, “Hey, I checked the whole checklist. Can I have my gold star now?” It's like, “Well, no, there's another checklist right behind that. And there's another one right behind that.” And you're constantly in this grind. 

And this is where burnout comes from. This is where this toxic perfectionism comes from. Because in checking all of these boxes, and totally losing a sense of self, you're only working for the goals of others and there's nothing going in. There's nothing filling you up to make sure that this work is also fulfilling. 

What I find is that women in this industry also choose it because we love it. We choose it because it speaks to us on a very deep, personal level. It's like a calling. But we do it because it makes us self-happy. But then somewhere along the way, we lose that. And I'm just passionate about saying there's a way to be a leader in our industry, but maintaining your sense of self, which I think comes with a sense of worth. It comes with setting healthy boundaries.

So, yeah, that's um, that's just the topic I like to share and have conversations on to ensure that others maybe don't go down the same path I did.

Courtney Stanley  
I love this topic. And I appreciate it personally, because I do find it so relatable. And I know Devin, when you and I first started getting to know each other, working one-on-one in a coaching capacity, we went through a couple of assessments and one of those assessments was the Enneagram personality tests. Do you remember what type you were?

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
Not off the top of my head, but I have it—I need to pull up our notes. I have a notebook somewhere. I do remember it was enlightening, because it spoke to the strength of that same behavior. And what I think the most interesting was when doing that was every weakness you have has a flip side, and the flip side is its strength. And through that Enneagram, and through these assessments, was finding out that what I had been told my entire career was a deficit was actually a superpower. But you needed to understand it as if you own it as your sense of self and as your authentic self. You can portray it and work with it as a strength versus letting others perceive it as a weakness.

Courtney Stanley  
Mm hmm. So, I had a hunch—and I didn't remember what type you were, either—but I had a hunch that we were the same type. Because of how you were describing the different boxes and even using words like value—placing value on these boxes—and also validation. You use the word validation.

And so, for me, my head immediately went to achiever. And that's what my Enneagram type is: achiever. 
And I actually just pulled up your notes, and you're also an achiever, which again, I'm not surprised to see. But I just want to read through some of these points that are meant to describe the successful achiever personality type. So, it says that this particular personality type is afraid of failing and being unworthy. They avoid feeling unworthy or feeling like a failure by setting and accomplishing goals, so that when they check those boxes, they hope to feel successful and worthy. 

It says that this personality type has a desire to be admired and accepted, they seek value through accomplishment, which may push them deeper into their work. And they also use the word “people-pleaser” to describe this personality type, and says [they] need external validation. 

Yes, yes…and what's so interesting, is that you and I actually have the same secondary Enneagram personality type, which is the supportive advisor. So essentially, our primary driver is to succeed; it's to achieve in hopes of feeling valued, and we seek validation in order to hopefully feel worthy. But our secondary type is to serve. So, we are advisors, we are coaches, we believe in others, we're able to clearly see potential in others. 

And so that combination of putting others first, and also wanting to check the boxes to be seen as worthy, and not a failure, really ties in beautifully with the idea that we may struggle with being a people-pleaser, constantly putting others first, putting their needs first and also wanting to succeed. 

So, I just thought it was interesting when you were talking through the box checking, because I had a question that came to mind. And it might have been more rhetorical, but it's also for the audience. When you use the word “value” and checking those boxes, I think a great question to ask is, who created those boxes? 

So, if we're checking all of these boxes all the time, and we've set these expectations for ourselves, who actually set those expectations for us? Who drew those boxes and asked us to check the boxes. That's the first thing. 
And then the second thought that I had was, what do we personally, actually, value? What is important to us? So, if we were to assess the boxes we have in front of us already, and then draw new boxes that really align more with what we actually find important and valuable—whether that's being authentic, whether that's having healthy work life balance, whether, whatever it may be—I think this conversation is such an opportunity to ask those two questions, who's setting the expectations, and do I actually agree with what's being valued.

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
And I think it's a great conversation, and I hope is eye-opening, or there are some ah-ha moments that are that are happening here. I remember you and I had this rhetorical conversation, but it was heartbreaking to me. When I was burning out at a job that I had put everything and all I had, in making sure because when you do events, and you’re welcoming attendees, and there's multiple stakeholders, you want your vendors to have the best experience because they're your partners, and they're your support system, and you want them to do their best to make you look good, or to fulfill their goals. You want your attendees to have the best possible time, because their engagement and their experience is the crux of your day-to-day; it's the crux of all of that blood, sweat and tears.

And driving yourself crazy, I mean, to the point where, you know, being hospitalized for exhaustion, literally getting a Netflix and chill in a platonic way doctors note, because just push and push and push because it's this pressure of like, these all have to happen. And I'm trying to control these outcomes. But it's, where is the value? 
And I remember at the end of this particular event cycle, someone's like, that is the best I have ever seen. That was the best one that has ever happened. But it was the one I had done with the least amount of support, with the least amount of help, with the most amount of obstacles. 

And you know, the first question out of this person's mouth was how are you going to top that next year? And I remember thinking, that was the worst possible moment, when they asked me that question. Because it's like, you clearly have no idea what I did to get here, what I sacrificed to get here, and it was almost like, there was the next checklist just ready and waiting for me. It was like, “Hey, you just ran a gauntlet, and you've been beaten with red hot pokers. And you just made it to the finish line.” And someone immediately just points to the start line of that next gauntlet, and that was the ah -ha moment for me, which was, this will never be enough. This will never be enough. And I got so little back from doing this that it really raised the question of who am I working for, and who is the boss here? 

Fast-forward a couple of months and I had the opportunity to join the EDC MasterMind program, and that is a really high-level leadership opportunity within the Event Design Collective. And Paul Wilkins, who is an amazing speaker, and I highly recommend all of you go listen to his YouTube channel, subscribe to his newsletter. He was leading this and it was from potential to performance and how really to get the most out of yourself every day. And while Paul said, just there was so much knowledge and nuggets and transformation in that three days; there was one sentence that I took away from that, that has continued to just sort of mic drop in my mind, which was, if you're not working on your own goals, then you are working for the goals of others. 

And every time I repeat it, it still has that impact for me. And I think it ties so nicely into that achiever, and into this box-checking behavior, which is I think the box-checking behavior is consistently working for the goals of others and towards the goal of others, but if you succeed, nothing for yourself in in the progression and toward meeting those goals. It's a hollow victory; there is nothing on the other side other than the opportunity to continue to work for the goals of others. And even if you work for an organization, that doesn't mean you have to abandon what Paul calls the “Me Inc.” of life—you're still the CEO of Me Inc. And you could work happily for your organization for 50 years and still be the valued CEO of Me Inc. because you're still getting something, you're still working for your own goals even within an organization. 

So, it's not to say to all the members listening that you should go quit and go out on your own, but it's even when working for an organization, how are you working for a Me Inc? And, again, where are your goals in meeting these other goals? How does that impact you? And I think it's that turnaround from box-checking to authenticity, and recognizing the difference between working on your own goals within this role that you have, but ensuring that you maintain the autonomy of Me Inc., and you are still the CEO of your own life and journey. 

And if you lose that, that's where it becomes toxic. And that's where it becomes maybe more dangerous to your mental health or your performance, because there's no you anymore in the driver's seat. 

Courtney Stanley  
Mm hmm. A word, Devin, a word. There's so much in there; my head just went to so many different places while you were talking. I do think that yes, I think that that's an amazing way to look at it. An amazing perspective. I think it's so easy for us to lose ourselves when we're working for others, and also to stop taking care of ourselves when we're working for others. And something I don't want to gloss over is that brief story that you were sharing that example. You were sharing about the doctor giving you a literal Netflix and chill prescription to basically medicate the burnout that you were experiencing.

You also mentioned hospitalization, which I don't want to let go of because, for me, my ears perked up. And that's because I have also been hospitalized for burnout and for stress. And the way that that showed up was, you know, having panic attacks, fainting—fainting really was what led to being hospitalized. And at that time, it's been a long time since that's happened. And I still work daily to manage my emotional health, my mental health, my physical health, anxiety, and really try my best to keep that in a spot that is manageable, if not eradicated. 

But I remember at that time, when I did end up in the hospital from fainting, the prescription that was given to me was very similar to yours. It was you’ve got to take care of yourself, you have to slow down, you have to hydrate, you have hydrate. Yep, yep, hydration was a big one, because you're just traveling all the time. And there's so many different things that are getting in the way of you properly taking care of yourself. 

But really, the biggest challenge that led to all of these symptoms of behavior, like not taking care of myself, was that I was in an environment where I was working for someone that I could never…I could never actually feel worthy. And that's the most simple way that I can put it—I was working for someone who really did not care about me as a person, who prioritized their goals 100% of the time, and my needs really did not matter. And no matter what I did, in this particular situation, no matter how hard I worked, no matter how many boxes of his I checked, no matter how many, you know, accolades I was receiving left and right, in different forms of my involvement in the industry, it just was never enough. I was never able to actually feel like I had met his expectations or standards because they were completely impossible and unfair. 

And because I am someone who is constantly wanting to put others first and serve and also achieve and do my best, it was just running on a hamster wheel. And eventually, it was too much. And for me, the solution in order to really be able to take care of myself better was to remove myself from a situation that was entirely toxic. And the leader that I was working for was not a good leader that was supporting the needs of his employees, myself included. 

And that particular situation ended because I was let go. And that was probably one of the biggest pills to swallow, because I had done so much work and poured every ounce of energy I had to the point where I totally neglected my own needs to try to meet the needs of this person. And it was the biggest blessing I could have ever been handed to be let go from that position in order to work in a different environment, take care of myself and also heal because workplace trauma is also a real thing: PTSD. Working for a toxic leader, so difficult. '

So, that's just some of the stuff that you were talking about in being hospitalized, and you know, mental burnout and all of these things. I was like, are we the same person? Well, this is unbelievable.

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
And then it also applies to… box-checking doesn't stop at the workplace. It follows you home. As you know, I'm not a young mother anymore, and my daughter is 5 years old. But it goes to the same thing because you shift into being the perfect employee to trying to be the perfect mom, trying to be the perfect working mom, trying to be the perfect partner or spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend. It applies to your blood family. It's like, am I being the perfect sister? Am I being the perfect daughter? And there are people, again, who are setting the expectation for what this is, instead of you saying, “You know what? I did great today.” 

I remember when my daughter was first born, it was like, did I brush my teeth today? Great. I survived the day. There are some days where it's like, is my daughter safe? Is she wearing clean clothes? Did she get fed today? Even if breakfast was a, you know, a bagel or dinner was buttered noodles again. Because that's all I could muster, and it's not a four-star meal. And, you know, did she have fruit today? I don't know. But you know what, she smiled today. She was fed today, she was loved today, and she's sleeping in a warm bed. I did great today. And really, it's taking ownership back of that checklist. And, you know, we need to do that. 

And even if you're not a mother, it's your partner, it's like, I'm killing myself to be skinnier, or to be a vegetarian, or to, you know, make myself available 24/7 to them when I'm not traveling for work. Where is this checklist coming from? And again, that toxicity. Where the danger comes in is if you are not owning the checklist and the value that comes from the checklist, that's when you lose yourself. And when it becomes dangerous. And when it becomes toxic because of the pressure, especially for achievers to do it perfectly.

It's this pressure to parent like we don't work, we have to work. We have to partner like we did before we had kids and without having a job, you know? We have to friend like we don't have any other responsibilities. We have to be the perfect children to our parents based on what their value system is. And it's like, there's no room in any of that to say, “Here's who I am, like, just to me.” Um, for those of you in therapy—I'll be vulnerable for a moment—in therapy, love therapy, I highly recommend it to all—there is no stigma to me for any type of talk therapy. But I remember saying to them, when I really was facing this burnout, when I was really facing this hollowness, was, I have no idea who I am anymore. Outside of the value given for being a good daughter, being a good spouse, being a good mom and being a good employee. And all I do is look for validation by meeting other people's needs, by the value that they set for me. And is that who am I? 

And since then, and actually since taking the reins of my own life and saying I'm leaving this job, I am leaving a job where the checklists just keep coming, where the perception is just keep doing it, because we like how you do it but we don't want to promote you. We don't want to acknowledge your value. We don't want to acknowledge there's a more strategic ways to employ your skills to avoid burnout for multiple people across our organization. I was actually told that by asking to be in a more strategic role, to reduce frustrations and streamline, was that I was difficult. That I was actually too challenging. And I was like, You know what? That's a title I'm going to own, like, well, you're kind of emotional. Like, I'm also going to own that, because emotions are my superpower. Challenging the status quo is my superpower. Changing the conversation is a new superpower. And I don't let it negativity define it. 

It's like that's where I bring value. And if that's challenging to you, it's because you are challenged, not because I am challenging. And I'm not going to be in a place where that is not accepted. So I, last year, I took the reins and said I'm leaving this, and that was the scariest thing I've ever done, with a young child at home and saying I'm going to travel 30% to 40% of the time; I'm going to have a more commission-based role versus sort of the steady paycheck every week and health insurance and guaranteed days off. I'm going to take this plunge. I'm going to open an LLC to bring value and consulting to others who may need these types of services, who need these challenging conversations. And I'm going to teach. 

And that goes into that self-service part, is teaching what brings value. Teaching is what fills my battery—to empower younger people to challenge the status quo, to know their value and their worth, and to understand that there are great ways to join our industry, but as empowered leaders from the beginning with the tools to question versus entering as that sort of reactive order taker and having then have to wait 10 or 12 years to either feel burnout or to not be able to answer that. 

So yeah, there's a lot of mix in there, but I hope those who are listening can find some value in the struggles, but also that there's a path forward and honestly, I feel like myself now, like, even down to the curly hair, which I didn't even realize I had forever. This is what my hair looks like, you know, and this is how I find joy. And yeah, it's scary sometimes. And yes, some days are hard, but the value in knowing that I'm working for a Me Inc., that I'm working for my goals, and that there's value in that, and trying to ensure that I'm the one setting the value to the checklist that I give myself.

Courtney Stanley  
I want to give the audience an opportunity to do a little bit of homework after this conversation today, because I have a feeling that this conversation is probably going to be all too relatable for the listeners, and they're probably going to feel very connected to this. They may be experiencing this right now. 
So, if you could give them a few tips and tricks for them to be able to start to do this work and to stop being a box-checker, what are some things that they can practice?

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
One of the most valuable tools I had was having someone ask me—and this is, again, goes back to Paul—was what does wild success look like for you? And we actually had 11 minutes to answer this question. And I cried for nine out of 11 minutes. Because no one had ever asked me that before. It was how do you bring value to others? How do you bring value to the organization? And every time I went to answer that question was “How do I find success within someone else's checklist?”

And that is the most powerful question I would ask our listeners, is what does wild success look like for you? And that could be in your personal life, in your work life, and some sort of balance of the two. 

But what is success, and set a timer, set 11 minutes, and think on that question and just write everything that comes to mind. Because if you can see it in your mind's eye, then you can start to take apart how you as the president and CEO of Me Inc. can make incremental changes in your own life towards getting there. And if you have the flag on the top of the mountain, even if it looks like Mount Olympus and it'll take you 10 years to get there, guess what? 10 years are going to pass anyway. What do you want to have happen at the end of 10 years? It's not like it's not coming. And that's the tool. That's the visualization exercise, I would ask everyone. 

And then how many baby steps does it take today, even if it's just one, even if it's, I'm going to make 10 minutes a day to exercise. I'm going to walk around the block eight minutes. I'm going to read a chapter of a book every day to educate myself. 

These are just micro…pivotal little micro changes. But the little changes start to add up over a day, and a week, and a month and a year. It just gives you the strength to keep adding on to them and taking micro steps towards what seems like Mount Olympus. And eventually that flag will get closer and then you'll have the opportunity. You'll have set your mental radar to be aware of the opportunities that get you closer to what wild success looks like for you.

And the last piece of advice I will say is know your strengths and weaknesses. Take some of these tests, like personality tests, any Graham's emotional intelligence quizzes, Myers-Briggs, because if you know your strengths and you know your weaknesses, you can find yourself on the way, but stop wearing scarlet letters and walking around with shame for things that could actually be the letters on the back of your superhero cape, okay? And just own them in a different way, change that conversation. And it might take a little bravery sometimes, but I guarantee you that one micro moment of bravery can be that little step towards walking on someone else's path and taking a step on your own.

Courtney Stanley  
I love the visualization of the scarlet letter on the front versus what's on your superhero cape. I absolutely love that. And for anybody who's listening to this episode, I encourage you to actually share that; share that with Devon. Share that with me, tweet it out, post it, Instagram, like whatever, but share it, tag us. It needs to be heard, whatever that is.

So, I love that Devon--and I actually think you've already shared such great final pieces of advice, which typically would be my last question—but instead of that, I would love if you have this information handy to tell people when they can see you at MPI WEC, because this is really kind of that foundation for the topic that you'll be discussing on stage in front of a live audience. And if people are going to be there, Devon and I will both be there. We would love to meet you. I will be there supporting Devon as she gives her talk on this particular topic. So, tell us where we can actually see you if we are going to Mexico.

Devin Montgomery Pasha  
Absolutely. And I would love to see all of you in Mexico. And please connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email at, but I would love to hear your story. You can join me; it's one of the Fireside Chat conversations at WEC. I believe I'm on the 14th in one of the morning sessions, I think it's like 11 or 12 o'clock.

So, I have a session right before lunch, which hopefully you can feel super empowered. And then if need to have a little bit of lunch—I won't tell anybody—to go process what we're talking about. But bring your letters with you, you know, and let's tear them off our chests and make some superhero capes together. I'll be sharing, again, a lot of this story, but also opportunities to identify that box-checking behavior and how you can take some incremental steps towards wild success in your own life.

Courtney Stanley  
Well, I can't wait to see you, and on the road a little bit this year, actually, probably on a few different occasions, since we're both road warriors. And Devon, I just want to thank you so much for sharing the stories and all of the lessons that you've learned that you're applying with us. And the audience, of course; we want to thank you all for listening. Share what you learned from this episode; your greatest takeaways on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; by following at Meetings Today and at Courtney Onstage, and be sure to never miss an episode by subscribing to Dare to Interrupt on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more. 

Be bold, be you and keep daring to interrupt, my friends. Until next time

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About the author
Courtney Stanley

Courtney is a keynote speaker, writer, podcaster and career success coach with a background in experience design, community engagement and leadership development. Courtney is the host of Meetings Today’s “Dare to Interrupt,” a podcast that provides a platform for the event, hospitality and tourism industry’s most influential and successful women to share their stories of adversity and success, unfiltered.