Bringing In The Human Element To Leadership
My plan is to live to 110—to be a wise matriarch
Smiling on the Zoom call, Wendy Marshall outlines her future plans: "My plan now is to live to 110 at least," she says. It's something she's had in mind since 2017 when her 39-year career at a senior level for national retail giant Myer saw her put in 70 hour weeks: “I was totally on the treadmill."
Then within six months, three “life changing events” derailed her world.
First, her beloved dad died at 90. “I was holding his hand when he took his last breath. I remember thinking, ‘Is that it? Is that all there is to life?’” she says. “It was the first time I seriously questioned my purpose in life.”
Next, Wendy was blindsided by being made redundant from her job, which had become "a massive part of my identity" after she became a mum at 17 and gave birth again a year later.
Then came the true turning point. Days after she had a long conversation with him, Wendy’s brother Greg Marshall took his own life. Just 16 months apart, the brother and sister were each other’s best friends in a family of six siblings.
“It was totally out of the blue, just didn’t see it coming,” says Wendy, 63. “That’s what really set me on the path—there has to be more to life and there has to be some way I can honour my brother and do more to help others.”
"I love the quality of the training we get at TCI. I love the fact we know what we are taking about. We are evidence-based, it’s all proven, models that work. I don't know where I'd be without TCI."
Two months later, TCI came on her radar on Facebook and she said yes to a live event facilitated by Matt Lavars. “I thought, ‘this is just amazing’,” says Wendy, who took Matt aside: “I said, ‘I need you to help me with something. My cynicism.”
Wendy struggled to believe that “at my age, there is another chapter” and that she could have personal growth. Still, she signed up at Masters level then almost immediately upgraded to Pro Coach.
Three years later, Wendy —runner-up in last year’s ICG Australian Coach of the Year—has “done just about everything there is to do with TCI, now I’m going around a second time,” she says.
Her business is a roaring success, she lives her ideal daily life every day (including hands-on time with her six grandkids) and is fit, healthy and plans on never retiring.
After starting her coaching journey learning “how to help other people not do what my brother did” Wendy realised almost 40 years in retail meant her calling was business coaching.
She works with both small business and corporates, and is about to start working with a series of programs which will attract big business. “Yes, I earn money but it’s not about that,” says Wendy. “I am able to give back so much.”
You found TCI after you’d had big changes in your life.
Yes. My dad, my job and my brother. I’ve had three failed marriages, I left all of them, and my brother was the only male left in my life I could talk to about stuff that was very personal. We came together as a family to lay dad’s ashes and Greg … was down. We had a conversation on the balcony and back then I would have said he was a bit unhappy. I can see now he was depressed.
Why did you sign up to TCI?
I’d done an MBA in 2010 but work paid for that so I had never invested in my own education. I thought, ‘I can do this, I have the money’. It was very confronting, to do the deep personal stuff. But when I decide to so something I’m all in. And I have not looked back since.
How has TCI changed you?
I am a totally different person. I now know that anything is possible. I know a life of meaning and purpose is not just possible, it is our right. I used to shoot from the hip. Now I have very deliberate language. I know that if I was sitting on that balcony with my brother I would have a very different conversation with him.
Why do you love business coaching?
The clients I attract. What I love is, it’s goes down to, ‘You are a human being, let’s talk about that.’ They come to me with business, saying they are stuck, don’t know how to develop a strategy, and what I find out is they have all the traits we all have. We just explore trust. I help them be better people and that opens the floodgates to be better businesspeople.
"TCI has given me language and understanding of human traits and behaviours and the complexity of being a human, the possibilities of being a human, of living a life with purpose and meaning."
What does your ideal average day look like?
I feel I live it every day. I love the flexibility, being able to pick up my grandchildren. My ideal average day would be to get up, meditate, reflect, exercise, start the day with whatever I have decided to do—coaching sessions, marketing, still studying. I love gardening, reading and crocheting. The real thing about my ideal day is I know I have the total freedom to do what I choose.
What do you know about yourself that you didn’t before TCI?
That I needed a plan. My plan now is to live to 110 at least. I’m going to be physically healthy, spiritually and psychologically healthy. I love the idea of being the wise matriarch, giving value when I am 80 or 90.
What has coaching given you?
Remember in Forrest Gump when Forrest stopped running in the middle of a desert? That’s me right now. I have been running for 40 years, young mum, trying to bring up kids, broken relationships. I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s a field of flowers in front of me. A field of possibilities and I have the confidence and belief in myself to go where the path takes me.
Tell us about your business.
It's called Wendy Marshall Consulting. I have five clients and am working in two joint venture partnerships as well.
What challenged and surprised you most about TCI?
No really challenged by anything. I can navigate stuff pretty well. I find the constant references to ‘you need to make a lot of money as a coach’ blood annoying. I understand why they do it and they do it with good intent. I have been fortunate to be smart enough to find what success means for me.
"I would have been blind to this three years ago. I will always be a par to the TCI community, I love it and what I can give and what I can learn."
What was the big turning point or milestone with your coaching journey?
Joining BNI was quite a turning point from a purely business point of view. The other one would be learning that I am intrinsically motivated, not extrinsically. I am completing my papers for me, it’s not about having the qualifications on the wall. I didn’t even finish high school because I was pregnant, so I am doing this for me.
Your best marketing strategy?
Advice for other TCI coaches?
Keep taking action whether you believe in yourself for not. Keep showing up. Read the fucking manual. Follow the system, follow the study guide.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
With a very successful business where I am working not a lot and making lots of money.
Wendy lives life on her terms and works with who she wants when and how she wants. She is a wise matriarch and “I just love the idea of being part of communities,” she says. “If I tell you I’m going to do something, I will get it done. My hidden talent is I will always have a go and not give up.”