After nearly a decade as the Executive Assistant, Producer, and “Chief of Simon Sinek,” New York Times Best-Selling author and TED celebrity, Monique Helstrom has had unparalleled experiences and gained unique perspectives from thought leaders, executives, celebrities, educators, military, and the general workforce that this world depends on.
This bonus episode is from one of our weekly Leader Assistant Zoom Chats where Monique joined us to talk about all things communication. I trust you’ll enjoy what she has to say!
Also, don’t forget to check out Monique’s online course – Introduction to Effective Communication – and remember to use the code LEADERASSISTANT at checkout to get $10 OFF!
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After nearly a decade as the Executive Assistant, Producer, and “Chief of Simon Sinek,” New York Times Best-Selling author and TED celebrity, Monique has had unparalleled experiences and gained unique perspectives from thought leaders, executives, celebrities, educators, military, and the general workforce that this world depends on. These encounters have equipped her with the tools necessary to disentangle common issues plaguing humans and businesses around the globe.
Through her years as a fierce type-A, Monique has sharpened her ability to take large complex problems and break them down into bite-sized, achievable nuggets which she now uses in her consulting and speaking business. She is obsessed with growth and development and hopes to spend her life showing others that they CAN achieve their next evolution, as long as they’re willing to.
She willingly admits that she has made a million mistakes in her life and career. Her greatest achievement has been that she can now admit it and learn about herself in the process so that she doesn’t make the same mistake twice. After all, we learn so much more when we fall down than when we pretend we have our eyes wide open.
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Podcast Intro 0:00
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants.
Jeremy Burrows 0:10
Hey friends, welcome to episode 118 You can check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/118. This episode is a special bonus with Monique Helstrom. She’s going to talk about communication and this is a recording of one of our weekly leader assistant zoom chats that we have on Wednesday afternoons. We have had this weekly free zoom chat pretty much since the pandemic started in 2020 and had been going almost every week since. So a few weeks ago, Monique joined us and she talked about communication and partnering with your executive and how to communicate better with them. So I hope you enjoy this bonus clip. But I also want to encourage you to check out Monique’s introduction to effective communication online course. You can find a link to this course in the show notes at leaderassistant.com/118. And there’s an exclusive discount code just for leader assistant listeners. If you use the code leaderassistant at checkout, you’ll get $10 off Monique’s course. So again, check out the show notes leaderassistant.com/118. to click on the link to get to Monique’s communication course. It’s a very well done professionally done course. And she has lots of insight and tips and practical advice on how to be more effective in your communication, which is a big part of being a leader assistant is being a good communicator. So again, check out her course you can find the link to her course and her website at leaderassistant.com/118. All right, hope you enjoy this zoom chat replay recording of Monique Helstrom. Today we’re going to talk about communication for a little bit. Again, if you’re new to this call, we usually keep it short and sweet, about 30 minutes. Quick topic, quick q&a, just to see everyone’s faces and connect with other EAS around the world. So today we have a special guest from Monique Helstrom. Monique is she joined us actually six months or so ago for one of these sessions. But today’s a special treat because she has a special course that she just launched. And she’s gonna tell us about that in a little bit. But in a unique code for leader assistants as well. So Monique was Simon Sinek’s chief of staff, she was chief of Simon Sinek, executive assistant chief of staff, all that stuff. For several years. Simon Sinek is a best selling authors TED Talk speaker, if you haven’t heard of them. But Monique basically ran his life in his business for years. So she knows what it’s like to be in your seat. And she knows what it’s like to struggle with communication with your executive. And so she’s going to share a little bit about communication. So Monique is in Denver, and she’s amazing. And I just can’t wait for you to hear from her. So I’m going to stop talking. I’m just delaying for 10 More seconds because people keep joining the waiting room. And I don’t want anybody to miss out. So alright, 404 Central Time, Monique, I’m going to hand it over to you.
Monique Helstrom 3:57
Thank you. Hi, everybody. Thank you, Jeremy. So as Jeremy mentioned, communication communication is one of my soap boxes, if you will, is one of my passions in life, learning how to better communicate with everyone in my life, my friends, my family, my co workers, it has me changing the way that I communicate or at least even focusing on how I communicate and how I receive others communication has changed my relationships has changed my friendships has changed my relationship with my mother and my sister. I mean, this is this is no joke stuff. Because at the end of the day, what we have as human beings is our communication. This is what is separating us from the machines is our ability to think creatively and think critically and communicate. And that will always be there we will always have the ability to communicate. And not only is this the tool that we have to use. This is the tool we use for relationships, and, and building and community and feeling like we belong somewhere. And it is it is the foundation of everything that we do as human beings, or at least I think it is. And so again, when I put my attention towards it and finally changed what I was doing the ripple effect from that changed my entire life. So I’m going to give you a couple of tips here about that. Just to give you an idea of of why this idea even bubbled to my head, as we know, as executive assistants, communication is one of the most important tools that we have as well. And not only is it something that we have to use strategically meaning our communication, we have to use it in the right way clear, concise, you know, on point prioritized all those things. But we have to be the receiver of communication verbally, non verbally over email, over slack over the thing, we have to look at someone and look at their mouth moving and know what they’re really trying to say, as opposed to what they actually said, we have to pay attention to our executives and look at them when they’re telling us something be like he’s in a really bad mood today. And we have to understand all of this and learn what to do. And this definitely was something that I went through. So I’m in an eye for the first year and a half that we were together in this partnership. It was almost as if we spoke two different languages. It was almost as if I was speaking Spanish and he was speaking English. And we just couldn’t communicate. We couldn’t figure each other out. He would say one thing, and I would answer it and he would be like, no, no, that’s not what I said. Like but but and we just kept bumping heads. And there were stupid little fights that we would have solely about miscommunication. And this all escalated to one big fight that we had, which I’ve told this story 1000 times in the airport. And we had this enormous blow up, where we started to scream at each other at the top of our lungs, because I had just had it, I had had it with the frustration I’d had it with not communicating well, all those things. And we had an explosive experience in the Chicago airport. And from that point on, I said, I’m not doing this anymore. Because this had been something that had been happening my whole life, I oftentimes just say, Why do I keep having the same argument with people? Or why do people not understand what I’m saying, or bla bla bla bla bla bla. So it was from that moment on that I decided to change how I was communicating and look deep within to do that. So the most important thing that I did the foundation of how I changed my relationship was learning about me, and my communication habits and my personality, and my strengths, and my weaknesses, and who what makes up the Lego blocks that are Monique, because the knowing that I know not only what makes me feel in alignment with who I am as a human being, but more so it helped me understand when I was out of alignment. And I’m going to go through those right now. So learning who you are, I am a big fan of personality tests. If you’ve ever heard me speak before, you’ve heard me say that before. I’m a huge fan. The reason being is that we as humans have a very hard time describing who we are to others, because it’s us, we are the only people that have the opportunity to to look at ourselves in the mirror. So we have a different vantage point than every single solitary other human in the entire world. So when we try to explain ourselves, we’re like, Well, it’s kind of like I, you know, it’s not that I’m impatient. It’s just that I like to move fast. And, you know, we know what that means in our head, but to explain that to somebody else, so that they understand was nearly impossible. So in taking personality tests, one of the biggest things that did for me was a gave me the language to use to describe myself to other people. So instead of saying, I like to work fast, and sometimes I’m impatient, and and I really like doing things. Instead I found out that my top strengths and strengths, finders was achiever and what that meant, and I read the definition, and that’s how I use it. I say I am a high achiever, which means I like to be busy and productive. I like to have structure and I like to have outcomes at every single meeting. And I like to be the boss. This is this is who I am. And my personality test told me this so I am very comfortable explaining myself to other people and using that word. I’m an achiever, I am an activator. One of my top strengths is harmony. And this helps me because so when this situation happens, I’m probably going to say this thing because I am this person. So it gave me tools to explain myself to other people, family, friends, workers, whatever it might be. And so it helped me know when I would be in balance with what was happening in the world. So I’m going to keep using the achiever strength just because I’ve already used it. So I know that if I’m doing a project or in a conversation, or in a meeting, and we’re moving, and there’s going to be outcomes, and there’s going to be a 10 point plan, and after we leave, it’s going to be like you’re going to do and I’m going to do and she’s going to do, and we leave, I know that all my fields are going to be tickled, that it’s going to be a great conversation, I’m more energetic, when I come into it, ready to roll, I plan ahead, those sorts of things. And I can also trick myself into tickling the strength of mine. So oftentimes, if I’m about to go into a slightly boring task, where we’re not going to have a 10 point plan, at coming out of the outskirts, I can make it I can game the system and tell myself, Well, I’m a high achiever. So we’ll do this thing. And then afterwards, I’m gonna write down 10, new things that I learned out of the conversation. So I’m challenging my own self, knowing my own strengths, so that I can make every situation I walk into in alignment, or at least as close as I can be, with who I am and what I need, and what my strengths set is. Even more, so it helped me understand when I was out of balance. So I would sit in meetings with Simon with whomever, we would have these two hour meetings where we would knock around ideas. Like, just hold a gun to my head in that, like, you’re you’re wanting me to sit here for two hours just to strategize about stuff. And you don’t want to walk out with a 10 point plan after we’re done. You just want me to sit here and listen to you. That would drive me crazy. And I would be uncomfortable. And I would shift in my seat and I would be tired, and I always coffee and all the things or we blame other people. And we point our fingers and go, you know, they always have these boring meetings and pointing our fingers out. Instead, this gives us the ability to have the accountability to know that we’re just out of alignment, that I’m just, I’m going to squirm in this meeting, because I’m a high achiever, and there’s nothing to be achieved in this meeting. So it to me, I’m just out of alignment. So I can sit here for two hours and think about what I’m going to do after and that’s fine. My stress level changed dramatically after I started to do this. Because when we don’t understand why we have these feelings of stress and why, why is this situation causing me so much heartache? Why am I focused on this thing? If we know what our strengths and weaknesses and our personality is likely somewhere in there is going to be the answer of why that situation stresses you out.
Why that? When you go to your in laws house, why every single time you go to the in laws house as frustrating because and you don’t know why and they’re lovely people, but it just drives you crazy. But if you finally understand that the personality of you, and the personality of your mother in law, have differences and what those differences are, then you’re like, Well, no wonder she said that thing. No wonder she commented on that thing. That’s who she is as a person. That’s easy. So it gives us the ability to take accountability for ourselves and our actions. And it gives us the ability to understand what’s happening in the outside world and not point our fingers. And that really helped not only with me, but with Simon. And then the second part of this once I learned who I was, and I did my strengths finders and my Colby and my astrology thing and my Enneagram and all the doodads, there’s 1000 of them. Just start doesn’t matter where you go. I’m a big fan of Strength Finders, I’m a big fan of Enneagram Colby I just did Colby a little bit ago and that actually scared the pants off me because it was a little too accurate for me so I I haven’t read it again since I did took the test but it had some really meaty information in there. I’m just not ready to process it. And that’s again a strange like that’s amazing to know that, that I’m just not ready to process the information that I got from Colby yet. But I can with strings finders any agreement some of those other ones. So once I learned about myself, I started to say these things out loud. Hey, one of the reasons that I’m calm Silly making lists, Simon is because I’m a super high achiever. And he was like, oh, okay, well, why don’t I like lists and I was like, I don’t know, take some personality tests. So I had him do the same thing. I had him take strengths finders in Enneagram. And I looked up his astrology sign and what the name Simon men, and it doesn’t matter where you go, just look up some stuff. And it helped me put language to him as well. And it helped me learn how to speak to him. So his number one strength was strategic, his number two strength was futuristic, meaning everything he thinks about is in the future. Strategy is all about looking in the future, futuristic is all about looking in the future. He rarely if ever looks behind him. And that was evident in his string set. So da, whenever I went to him and said, Hey, so I’m going to do this thing. And it’s going to take this steps in order for me to get there. And I’m going to do this. And then I’m going to do that. And remember the time that I did this the last time, and I would watch his eyes glaze over. And then he would stop paying attention. Now I know why. So I would change what I would say to be future focused. We’re gonna do this thing in the future. And I want to accomplish this thing in the future. So I need these things right now. And it was like magic, it was the easiest change that I’ve ever made was just to speak to his strength set. And knowing what was at the bottom of his strengths, said his his bottom strengths, they’re not weaknesses, their bottom strengths, knowing what his bottom strengths were also helped me because I tried to avoid those I tried to avoid talking about heavy duty detail or competition was at the bottom of his I never really said anything that had some sort of a competition or somebody who’s going to win something or be better than something, I just stopped seeing those sorts of things. And our communication changed dramatically. It changed everything about our relationship, it brought us closer together. It helped us work through hard times and difficult conversations. It avoided lots of conflict that we didn’t have the ability to do before. And when we had conflict, we were it was easier to talk about it. Because we would say, ah, we had this thing happen. And it’s probably because I’m an activator, and you’re strategic. And we sort of just butted heads on that thing. So let’s talk about it. Let’s figure out how we could do this better next time. And then we let it go. And it went away. It was no joke, the simplest thing I’ve ever done. And it was the foundation that I’ve built everything else from, I base a lot of what I do about who I am as a human who I am as a person, and how I can use that to my advantage to help me be in alignment with every situation that I run into. And I base everything off of that. So those are my easy quick. You can do them tomorrow tips, you can take a couple of personality tests, write some down, really pay attention to the words, you can start with some friends, and just say, hey, you know how I’m kind of like this? Well, I took this personality test, and it told me this. Does that resonate? Does that seem like it’s me, and then yeah, and you can just sort of start there and get comfortable using that language. And using what it means. Because I’m an achiever, that means I like these things. Because I’m an achiever, that means I don’t like these things. And then I know and I was easier able to talk about it. So yeah, these are these are some easy, simple tips that you can do right away. This also helped with my personal relationships, just throwing it out there. This helped me with every relationship I’ve had since that point with, you know, a spouse, a partner, or whatever it might be. Because it did the same thing, because our communication is all we have no matter who we’re talking to. And I was able to better describe myself on the first date. Because I’m single, this is what I was using, but I literally put my strengths finders in my dating profile. Because I was like, if you can’t deal with someone who’s got number one achiever, you’re not gonna like me, and I’m gonna waste my time going to coffee with you. So here’s who I am. This is my peeps, because somebody out there is going to be like, that is my chick who’s and achiever have met that person yet, but there’s someone out there who really appreciates that. And again, and I was able to talk about this on day one, this is kind of who I am, and this is how we feel about that. Who are you are so on and so forth. I know that sounds funny, but I definitely used it in my dating profile. So there you go. Those are my those are my quick tips for you.
Jeremy Burrows 19:56
Awesome, Monique. That was very helpful. Thank you so much. We’re going Gonna take just a couple of questions. But first, you just launched a an intro to communication course, on Monday. And we wanted to all post the link here in the chat. But we wanted to hear kind of a quick overview of what is included in the course, and why it’s relevant to us as assistants. And then just just so you all know, I posted it in the chat, the promo code, discount code leader assistant, you can use when you’re checking out to get $10 off Monique’s course, and that’s either Tier, she has a few different tiers with different bonuses. So leader assistant use that code to get $10 off her course, she spent a lot of time and energy on this project and had a professional video company do it with her. So that’s very high quality. But yeah, why don’t you give a quick overview of why assistants should care about your course.
Monique Helstrom 20:57
Because it’s chock full of tips just like this that are actionable, usable, you could start them tomorrow, it’s not you need to work on this thing for three years. And then you get to this point, and then you can know, it’s stuff that you can use in your life today, tomorrow, the next day, and you can start to perfect them. So it’s 20 tips. It’s the tips that I’ve been asked most, when I’m on stage and speaking, are broken down into sort of a who, what when, where why type of thing where there’s tips within each section. The whole course is a little bit over an hour, it’s broken up into various videos, and you can consume it however you want video by video or all at once. It’s only a little bit over an hour. And then I have a workbook that goes with it a 75 page workbook where there’s exercises and you can go through and practice. Practice how you do some of these things, practice how you say them. And then you know, there’s different tiers in there as well of course and you can have a call with me or the course plus them doing an Ask Me Anything things like that. But the the reason for EAS to buy this course is because a the actionable tips, and b this is all about human relationship we as yeas, there is no more human of a relationship than the relationship between an executive and the assistant as much as we don’t want it to be. Sometimes it is very, very human, and very much based off of how we communicate. And again, it changed my life. It changed my career trajectory. And I figured if it could do it for me, it could do it for other people as well.
Jeremy Burrows 22:36
All right, I hope you enjoyed Monique’s thoughts on communication and please do check out her course you can find the link at leaderassistant.com/118 It’s an on demand course. So you can start right now. And binge watch it and binge go through it if you want. Or space it out if you prefer the leaderassistant.com/118. And don’t forget to use the discount code leader assistant when you’re checking out to get $10 off. Lastly, if you’re wondering where the q&a portion of that Zoom chat is, you can actually watch the replay and catch the full q&a portion within our leader assistant circle community. So you can join at leaderassistant.com/community hop into the weekly zoom chats section. And watch the replay of Monique’s zoom chat including the question and answer portion. Again, that’s leaderassistant.com/community.
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