Today we’d like to introduce you to Saren Stiegel.
Saren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
According to my upbringing, I had three futures: law school, medical school, or business school. I didn’t think I was good at math, so law school seemed the most logical.
From my scarcity mindset, law school and my proceeding career as a lawyer meant surviving daily inadequacy and lack of belonging. I survived acne, neck spasms, anxiety, and self-doubt.
To fix my brokenness, I taught and did yoga; I went to therapy and tried alternative medicines; I annotated self-help books; I drank green juice and consumed more mindful, locally-grown, grass-fed superfoods than you can imagine.
Then, in fear of never finding a job, I took a job as divorce attorney at a boutique Chicago law firm. Finally, I seemed to have the wealth and power I craved, but nothing healed.
Despite expensive degrees, a supportive upbringing, and world experience, I felt like I didn’t add value to my workplace or the world. I was grateful to have a job, right? Who was I to deserve more than survival?
Crazy part, instead of transforming culture, I was actually enabling the toxic environment I was in and doing nothing to change it. Instead, I suffered through bathroom-stall breakdowns, felt victimized through late-nights at the office and voiceless in meetings about performance expectations. Unsure how to find a better solution, I tendered my resignation.
Quitting my job, however, as glorious as it seemed the first week, was not a sustainable solution to happiness.
I wanted to blame the law, corporate culture, and American consumption, but they were not the perpetrators. No one forced me to compromise values or silence my voice. I created my self-doubt as much as I created my lack of purpose.
For six months after quitting law, I immersed myself in healing. I continued to do the healthy things but added in an immersion of disciplined personal growth.
This was more than goal-setting and passion-projecting. I had uncomfortable confrontations and forgiveness — with myself — about the value I bring to the world. Lots of snotty noses, loneliness, and shame. My bathroom floor became a good friend. At times thinking the discomfort was unbearable.
This was growth, but instead of accumulating more money, degrees, or travels, this growth was a shedding — coming back to the value that was always present.
When high-potential women go from a surviving, scarcity mind to re-connecting with their worth, everyone feels the impact.
Over the past four years, the glow-getter tribe has transformed conversations that used to be about what we don’t have.
Now, it’s about what we are changing.
We redefined growth as augmenting our strengths and magnifying our best selves for the growth of others. #givegrowth
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Hardly been a smooth road. Every business is a giant experiment. You put out a product, service, or content and you see how it resonates with your people. Do they respond? Does it solve their problems? If so, to what extent? Founding a company meaning a lot of trial and error in answering those questions. The struggle is often about seeing the failures and mistakes as a learning rather than a reflection of your worth and ability to succeed.
A great example is an event I planned back in 2017. I invested lots of money in the event and had really incredible leaders in attendance. Unfortunately, the day of the event about two-thirds of the expected people showed. I felt like an incredible failure for allowing that to happen. A few days after, I learned that my email account wasn’t sending emails, so a number of people never received tickets.
Glow Effect – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
US executives and founders retain Glow Effect for experiential leadership development programs. Our team program and our individual curriculum experientially train leaders in our proprietary #GiveGrowth process for transforming personal genius into community solutions.
Instead of development aimed at making first-world executives wealthier, happier and more successful, we experientially show leaders those things manifest while being an active part of creating change locally and globally.
When US leaders engage in our programming, through our non-profit arm, Glow Exchange, we offer impact leadership development in rural developing communities. Currently, we’re building a program with tech executives and members of a 26-year-old non-profit organization, READ Nepal, that will result in the direct impact of 300 people across both communities.
As a social enterprise, we’re not just a charity that requests donations for others far away. We’re more like TOMs’ one-for-one model, where the purchase of an American leader’s program allows the purchase of a Nepali leader’s program. However, rather than the American executive giving without a connection to the recipient, the success of the American executive’s program relies on her co-creation with the rural community.
In 2015, American executives together with a Ugandan community organization raised 100K and completed the Glow Effect Center for Women & Girls in Kasaali, Uganda. The Glow Effect Center houses the training of over 50 local women and girls and excels the growth of their organic farming cooperative.
Of the surveyed Glow Effect Center graduates, 80 percent report a decrease in domestic violence and 80 percent report an increase in income. The American executives, similarly, have gone on to start leadership development programs at their companies, start a Boston non-profit law firm, and join the Peace Corps.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success equals fulfillment, feeling like my work and life offer value to others and equally bring value back to me.
- Website: gloweffect.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @TheGlowEffect
- Facebook: /Thegloweffect
- Twitter: @youaretheglow
Marlena Elise, Carlos Almanza