Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jean Latting, Founder and President of Leading Consciously, located in Houston, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Leading Consciously is an organization dedicated to building inclusive and equitable communities through leadership coaching, consulting, and research. Our focus is on organizations that want to actively help their multicultural members grow by becoming more productive and knowledgeable on how to bring new levels of quality to the table.
Tell us about yourself
I started out as a community organizer in welfare and tenants’ rights. Then I moved into organizational development, leadership, diversity and inclusion, and equity. Essentially, I was an academic doing organizational consulting, coaching, research, and teaching. My research fed into my classes. My classes helped develop my consulting skills, and the consulting bolstered my research and teaching. I always reminded myself that the best academics are those that do, teach, and research. It’s what I call being a scholar-practitioner.
When I retired from academia, I simply moved full-time into the consulting and research that I truly enjoyed. It was a pretty easy transition. The only difference is now I don’t have to grade papers. But even without the title of “Full Professor,” I still consider myself a teacher. I share my knowledge wherever I find interest, positing new ideas and giving voice to notions that many people take for granted.
I’d say I’m primarily motivated by two things: first, I come from a long history of people who achieved and gave back simultaneously — all the way back to my great-grandparents. My ancestors weren’t in it for themselves. They just believed in excellence and helped bring people along. I’m proud to honor them and their struggles by living my life the same way.
Second, I’m really appreciative of all that I’ve been given. My parents and grandparents were in a position to support my education through my undergraduate work. I received federal government scholarships to go to college for my master’s and doctorate. A philanthropist supported my academic research when I was at the University of Houston. Families, friends, and colleagues stood by me, even when I disappointed them. Their support awes me and inspires me to keep working to positively impact as many lives as I can.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’m still in business! I say that partially in jest, but for small businesses, it’s absolutely true that every anniversary you get to celebrate is a big accomplishment. That said, I credit my success in business to my biggest accomplishment — continuous self-examination and self-development. In all my speaking engagements and in every one of my Pathfinders online membership groups, everything I focus on is about consciously developing oneself to be an instrument for good. It’s why my business is named Leading Consciously.
If we realize that we have strengths yet still are unfinished – that there is room for us to grow – we can extend the same grace to others. It’s the foundation for appreciating everyone and everything around you — the foundation for appreciating oneself and all that you offer. And it guides us to continuously develop toward all we are meant to be. I credit self-awareness and personal growth as the number one way I’ve helped people be stronger, happier, and more successful.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Self-doubt. This is a paradox, especially when you consider my earlier comments on self-awareness and personal growth. On the one hand, self-doubt is useful if it means not making simplistic assumptions or succumbing to hubris. Self-doubt stemming from humility and measured confidence is functional. On the other hand, self-doubt can be paralyzing. It certainly has been for me at times. I start second-guessing myself and can’t get off the dime to move into action. I see measured confidence as healthy and hubris as the ill-advised extreme. When you step back and take a deep breath, you’re giving yourself a better opportunity to embrace a positive but realistic perspective and adjust. That’s the key to stepping forward from caustic self-doubt and into the light and strength of humble confidence.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Condition yourself to the idea of giving more than you get. I’m a big believer in what goes around comes around, and I’ve often been delighted at how the universe gives back to people who live their lives as beacons of goodness.
- Be open to learning from everyone — even people you suspect have nothing to offer. Putting your emotions aside and opening your mind invites opportunities to grow and succeed. Remember, Einstein was a patent clerk. You never know where you may find the next genius idea.
- Check out my blog on LeadingConsciously.com and my programs like Pathfinders: Leadership for Inclusion and Equity to hone your leadership skills and build an even stronger reputation for making the world a more inclusive place.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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