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Dr. Gail Hayes, Executive Leadership Coach

Hello everybody, and welcome back to another guest series on The Defiant Business Podcast. I’m your host Ruthie Bowles, and I am so excited to welcome Dr. Gail Hayes to the show today. She’s an internationally-recognized communicator who ignites the atmosphere with contagious enthusiasm and a passion for purpose. 

We just had a 30-minute conversation before I started the recording; that’s how much enthusiasm she brings around with her. She’s been called a conduit and a bridge between the races, genders, generations, and political parties. She paints pictures with words to promote understanding between communities. Thank you for joining me today Dr. Gail.

Dr. Gail: Thank you for honoring me with the invitation to be your guest today, Ruthie.

Ruthie: It’s incredibly exciting! I will include a longer bio for Dr. Gail on the website. You have to read about some of the things that this wonderful woman has done. 

What’s Your Superpower?

Ruthie: I’d like to start by asking, Dr. Gail, what is your superpower? If you can’t pick just one, I’d understand. 

Dr. Gail: I believe that my superpower is influence. Whenever I go places and people seem to be confused about issues, I’m usually able to fluently see into a situation. I’m a spiritual woman. I’ve actually asked God, “What is it about me? Where’s my gift?”

Some things that come to mind are singing and writing. And one of my friends said, “No, that’s not your gift. Those are your talents. You need to go before the Creator and ask him what your gifts are because those are just your talents.” 

At first I thought, who is she to tell me that? But that’s what I did. It was as if I heard God say, “There are people who are fluent in different languages, like French, Spanish, German. Gail, you are fluent in people. You fluently see into people. Therefore, your gift is a gift of influence.” 

So I can look at a situation, listen to people, see both sides of it and help them to build a bridge to understand each other. They may not accept what the other says, but at least they’ll be able to understand it. They can agree to disagree before they kill each other.

Ruthie: Well, that is an incredibly powerful gift to have these days. And I guess we’ll have to check in with you post-Thanksgiving. I’m sure a lot of us are going to come back from Thanksgiving with some interesting family stories, to say the least. 

dr. gail hayes

Tell Us About Handle Your Business Girl Empowerment Zone

Ruthie: Every guest I’ve ever had on the show is an entrepreneur in some form, and you’re no different. So I was hoping that you could tell us a bit about your company Handle Your Business Girl Empowerment Zone.

It Started With Bullying

Dr. Gail: I wanted to call my company something sustainable or solid like Hayes Consulting or something. But many years ago, when my daughter was 7 and in elementary school, she was being bullied. I realized very quickly that the teacher could not stop the bullying.

I don’t know why people think schools can stop it. You’re going to have to train your children. It’s the children that can stop this. We’ve got to empower them. 

As an executive leadership coach, I immediately knew that I needed to empower my daughter to do something. I knew that it was a uniquely female issue because one little girl was Black and the other one was white, and they were coming for her.

And she would come home every day with a headache. And that was like, “What are they doing to you?” She said, “Well Mommy, Zuri and Nicole keep bugging me.”

I was going to go to school to stop it, but I made a command decision to allow her to go through the fire. How else do you make diamonds? It’s with the pressure, and I wanted a diamond. And so I was willing to step back and allow her to go through it. Because she was just letting them do whatever they wanted. 

One day, one little girl threw something at her, and she went completely off. When she came home, I realized that she had been sent to the office. I said, “Gabrielle, do you know why these little girls do this to you?” And I’ve been telling her everyday she’s been alive that she’s precious, pretty and powerful.

Empowerment Was The Key

And I say, “You’re precious, pretty and powerful. They don’t know they’re precious, pretty, and powerful.” And then she asked me the magic question that everyone wants to know, “Well, whose job is it to tell them? Mommy, if it’s my job, tell me so I can do my job.”

And she immediately became empowered. And I said, “It’s your job, baby.” 

The next day after school, she got off the bus and she was crying. I assumed the worst, but then she said, “Mommy, you’re not going to believe what happened. Zuri and Nicole started bugging me and I said, ‘Hold it! How would you like it if somebody were treating you the way you’re treating me right now?’

And they looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, you’re right, Gabrielle.’ Then I told them that they can’t do that because they’re precious, pretty, and powerful. And they skipped away.” And I said, “You handled your business girl.” 

She Handled Her Business!

So the next day she gets off the bus and I can see her jumping up and down the bus. She runs to me and buries her little head in my waist, and says, “You’re not going to believe what happened today.” I was really nervous.

“Zuri and Nicole came to me and they asked me to teach them how to be precious and powerful. Say it to me, Mommy. That stuff about the business.”

I said, “You handled your business girl.” 

At that moment I thought, wait a minute, let me go and buy that domain. My daughter is now 22, and I just started using it these last 3 years. This is something we need to do because handling your business is not just about running a business. It’s about handling the business called you. 

The teacher called me saying, “I need to know something. What have you told your daughter? All the girls have stopped fighting.” She’d created little ambassadors- which is what I helped her to do- telling all the girls they were precious, pretty, and powerful, and what that looked like.

And I was giving her a character trait every week to reinforce that. We also started The Precious, Pretty, Powerful Girls Book Club, teaching girls how to become powerful communicators. We did that for a number of years. 

When you change the identity, you change the behavior.

When you change the behavior, you change the focus.

When you change the focus, you change the destiny.

And so that’s what I base everything on.

So that’s where Handle Your Business Girl came from.

Who’s Your Ideal Client?

Ruthie: That is wonderful. It really speaks to the work that you do, which is incredibly varied. For those reading, who is your ideal client?

Dr. Gail: My ideal client is a person who recognizes who I am. They’ll hear me talk, they’ll see what I’m doing, and they’ll start asking me questions. If they start asking questions, I understand they’re seeking.

I’ve had my clients say to me, “I’ve been looking for you for years. I’ve waited for someone who could touch my heart and speak to my mind at the same time.” 

People want somebody who’s protective of them in their space and who won’t violate being trusted with someone’s inadequacies. Because we all have some inadequacies, even those who’ve ascended to high positions.

I think that everybody is called to lead somebody somewhere, and do something great. We’re all leaders, but most people don’t identify themselves as leaders. And that’s unfortunate because we’re all leading somebody somewhere. We’re all influential to a certain degree, but you have to accept it and step into the water. 

Breaking Free of Blockages

So my clients are usually people who want to break free of blockages. They see other people who are doing things that they really want to do. Those people don’t have the talent or content they have, but they’ve ascended because they’ve removed their blocks and they’re unafraid.

What keeps us back are our blocks, our limiting beliefs. We’re afraid somebody’s going to judge. Girl, if I’m gonna judge you anyway, you might as well be you and do what you need to do. 

Ruthie: My goodness, yes! People are going to judge you anyway, so you might as well do what you want to do.

Dr. Gail: My mother used to say, “They talked about Jesus, and he’s perfect.” That liberated me. People talk about everything and everybody. What do people bring into my space? What do I allow into my space? People will give you negative information for free. People will come and leave their garbage right with you. 

Don’t Sign For Snakes!

 I once heard a man say, “If somebody comes to your door and leaved a box of snakes, why are you going to sign for the snakes?”

That’s what we do when we allow negative influences to penetrate our lives and permeate our environment. We allow negative stuff, and those people swap that stuff off and leave you. And then you’re trying to figure how to clean a mess up.

I don’t want to clean up anybody else’s mess. I’ve done that long enough.So I just stop people and tell them, “ If it doesn’t edify, please pass me by.”

Ruthie: Oh, that could be on a shirt!

Dr. Gail: Well, I’m working on a shirt and a cup right now! My daughter made a beautiful design. 

Ruthie: Because that really sounds like something I need on a coffee cup, a shirt, on a mask, right? 

Dr. Gail: I stop people, and I ask them, “Is this going to be something good and positive? What’s the end result? In other words, don’t tell me, ‘This person is really making me sick.’ Say, ‘I’m having this problem, and I need to know how to fix it.’ There’s a difference between you talking directly about the person vs. the problem. 

When you talk about a person, that stuff is coming back to get you. Whatever you put out into the universe is going to do one of two things; it’s either going to touch your heart, or hit you in the chest with a sledgehammer. So watch what you put out there.

Ruthie: That is so very true. That’s our first episode, and I’m already feeling a bit blown away. I’m really looking forward to the rest of our episodes going this week. We’re touching on a lot of really important topics as they relate to us professionally and personally, in the workspace and at home. 

A big reason I wanted to have Dr. Gail on is because she tells it like it is, in a way that it’s much easier for people to understand. So I’m hoping that these episodes will be the catalyst for some great conversations, either public or private. So please join us for the rest of this week. 

dr. gail hayes