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IAM1843 – Executive Coach Empowers Professionals to end Overwhelm and Thrive at Work

Podcast Interview with Rachael O'Meara

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

This episode on I AM CEO Podcasts features Rachael O’Meara, an executive coach who focuses on empowering professionals to overcome overwhelm and thrive in their work. Rachael's decade of experience in sales and client services at Google has equipped her with insights into successful leadership, avoiding burnout, and maintaining focus on one's mission.

She is the author of the book “Pause,” which has been recognized as one of the top business books for career development. Rachael has also been featured in esteemed publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review.

The episode highlights Rachael's CEO hack of taking up to four breaks in a day to foster creativity. She also shares a CEO nugget of advice, emphasizing that individuals have the power to choose and create their own experiences rather than being a victim of circumstances. Rachael believes that being a CEO means being the author of one's own life and is centered around conscious and authentic decision-making.

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Rachael O'Meara Teaser 00:00

I think mastering yourself starts with EI, starts with knowing how you feel. It's paired with things like maybe being mindful in the moment, meaning I can know what I'm doing.

But what the mastery skill there is if I don't know how I'm doing, how can I be in relationship with someone else, whether it's my peer or my boss or my team and be in relationship with them so that we have a solid mutual rapport and we trust each other.

If I'm not in that mode for myself, chances are it's probably not translating to others either.

Intro 00:33

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:58

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we've hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, just like you, what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on CEO Hacks and CEO Nuggets. This is by far one of my favorite questions I asked on the show. In other words, I asked, what are the apps, books, and habits that makes you more effective and efficient. Those were the CEO hacks. Then I asked for a word of wisdom or a piece of advice or something that you might tell your younger business self if you were to hop into a time machine. Those were the CEO nuggets. That's what we'll focus on this month and some of the top ones that can instantly impact your business.

I love all the questions, but with every episode, I thought I would walk away with something I could look at and implement right there to save the precious resources, time and money. Or I would also learn about the advice, tips, and tidbits or tools of the trade on how to level up our organizations. So you'll hear some of these this month. Sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Rachael O'Meara of Rachael, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Rachael O'Meara 02:34

Hello, Gresh. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:37

No problem. Super excited to have you on. What I want to do is just read a little bit more about Rachel so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Rachael is a transformational leadership and executive coach who empowers professionals to learn how to end, overwhelm, and thrive at work. For the past decade, Rachael's experience in sales and client services at Google has helped her have a pulse on what it takes to be a successful and thriving leader.

Meaning steering clear of burnout, staying on missions, and feeling great as you do so. Her book Pause was one of the top business books for your career, and she's been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review.

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One fun thing about Rachael is she's back in grad school again, getting her MA in Transformational Leadership at the Wright Graduate University in Chicago and currently studying how to live purposefully a fun subject. She has a lot of helpful information for CEOs and I'm super excited to hear some of this.

Rachael, are you ready to speak to the community?

Rachael O'Meara 03:35

Absolutely. I'm very excited to share more.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:38

Yes. Awesome. Definitely looking forward to it. So I wanted to kick everything off to hear a little bit more about your background and what led you to get started with your business.

Rachael O'Meara 03:46

Yeah. So for me, I've been working at Google for over a decade now. I'm actually still there. A few years ago, I really wasn't doing too super great there. Essentially, I was overwhelmed. I felt burned out and I asked to take a three-month unpaid leave and fortunately got approved. I know a lot of companies don't offer that, only about 14% of global companies offer any kind of and only 4% offer. So that's an interesting trend, right? So anyway, I was very fortunate. I took off those three months and really looked at who I was, what I wanted to do, because what I was doing, which was in client services, managing a team, it just really wasn't working for me. I was being told I wasn't meeting expectations and it wasn't for a lack of trying for sure.

So what I realized during those three months was I really wasn't aligned with the role that I was in. And so, I did go back to Google. I went into a role that was focused and aligned with my strengths, which were things like relationship building and networking, and that was in sales, which is where I am today. I also started my own company on the side as I began to study social and emotional learning. This was just something I was doing on the side, but as I got into it and the years went by, a couple of years went by, I decided to attend the first part of their graduate school at Wright, which is getting a coaching certification.

I was super surprised that I liked it so much. I had no idea I would be a coach by the way. So this is a good example of just not knowing where you're going to go, but you follow a trail of instinct or what you want to do. I was just in love with it. So I actually started coaching people on the side. I volunteered internally at my company to coach others. Now I have a group coaching program and I'm building it out as I go. So that's part of my business.

I also am an author and a speaker so I wrote Pause the book that you mentioned and that was pretty much a labor of love that I did on the side of my core role for five years. I wrote that so that wasn't like my other company at the time. But it was like I knew it would become something better or something bigger sooner than later.

Gresham Harkless 05:58

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. It's great that Google's allowing you to do that and you've been able to start your coaching business and write your book, all those things from there.

Rachael O'Meara 06:05

Yeah. It's also something that I think we have to take upon ourselves. So no one told me to look at myself like this was me just hitting the wall going, I can't keep going like this because I'm miserable. I feel like a failure. I don't like it and I can't keep going like this. I felt like I was in the mental tailspin, drained every day and exhausted.

Now looking back, I realized I took that time out because I didn't have the emotional intelligence and the skills that I really needed to know that I was on that path. And if I hadn't any of that self-awareness that I have now that I've learned since probably would have avoided all of that together. And six months before that would have changed course.

That's why I coach people on emotional intelligence because it's basically to me like one of the most important skills of your own self-awareness so that you can really be the driver in your life to know what you want and when you need stuff. Because man, if you don't know, then you're going to potentially just go right by it. Next thing you know you're hitting that wall.

Gresham Harkless 07:00

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I always say everything happens for a reason. So I feel like maybe if that didn't happen, you may not be speaking here today about emotional intelligence and helping a business owner. So I appreciate you for talking about that, for being able to focus on that and also to help many others do it.

So I wanted to hear a little bit more about what you're doing. What is emotional intelligence that people don't know and what you feel makes you unique as well?

Rachael O'Meara 07:25

Yeah, that's a really good question. I think the thing with that word, it's like a buzzword right now. Yeah, EI. Emotional intelligence. It's all really a catch-all phrase for being self-aware so that you can know in the moment what and how you're doing, how you're feeling, and how others are around you and in the environment, but it's also in the present moment. So to me, all of that chalks up to how am I doing in this moment and being aware enough, no matter what's going on outside of me, whether it's a conversation or a board meeting or anything like I am aware enough to respond in a way that is aligned with my authentic self.

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Then I am a better leader for that. I feel more resilient and satisfied moment by moment. I can direct any way I want to from there. That's like the base of emotional intelligence. The actual science has only been around about 23 years. It came out when there was some research published and then Daniel Goldman wrote his book, The Emotional Intelligence in 1996. So when you think about it, it's really new. Like we didn't have this back when we were talking about like things 30 years ago in business school and stuff like that. Even now it's like very new and the research is still coming out. So that's what I think it is and it starts with your own self-awareness.

But then you can regulate your emotions. You can be with others in social, in a social context, that social intelligence, you can have more empathy and feel more motivated. All of those are really driven by that potential self-awareness that can be created. It's a skill, by the way, like we're not just born emotionally intelligent, although some of us might be. But if I can really develop those skills and hone them, like how am I feeling in the moment, expressing myself, having a positive outlook, all of those things can gear me up towards really optimizing my own leadership. Like feeling good every day and satisfied no matter what's going on.

Gresham Harkless 09:23

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a huge thing. And correct me if I'm wrong. I always feel like if you're able to understand yourself, that's usually, I don't want to say the highest level of mastery. I feel like that's a quote, but I feel like it could be because if you understand yourself, then that helps out a lot, largely because you understand maybe if you're angry or maybe if you are feeling burnt out.

Maybe you get intuned into those things before you hit those barriers. But if you're not as in tune or know yourself in, sometimes that's when things happen.

Rachael O'Meara 09:51

Yeah, no, I think your spot on Gresh and it's funny cause I mentioned I was in grad school. I just wrote a paper on this recently about will to mastery, which was Alfred Adler's motivation for why people are driven in life. Like one of his beliefs is that it's for your will to master and it can be to master yourself. Like what other opportunity, what other greater challenge could there be in life? And by that, who are you really without the masks, without the things that you think can make you happy, but who are you?

That is a really scary question. So, I think mastering yourself starts with EI, starts with knowing how you feel. It's paired with things like maybe being mindful in the moment, meaning I can know what I'm doing, but what the mastery skill there is if I don't know how I'm doing, how can I be in relationship with someone else, whether it's my peer or my boss or my team and be in relationship with them so that we have a solid mutual rapport and we trust each other. If I'm not in that mode for myself chances are, it's probably not translating to others either.

Gresham Harkless 10:55

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And so you actually coach people on helping them out with understanding that, or you help them. Can you tell us a little bit more on like how exactly?

Rachael O'Meara 11:04

Yeah. So I feel like that's one of the things that I help a lot of folks with is just to learn about what's going on, what they are really hungry for. It could be figuring out their next career move. It could be what their next step in business is or like figuring out what they want. I think a lot of people, including myself with that point, when I burned out at Google, I didn't know what I wanted. I didn't know who I was. I didn't even bother to look because it was super scary to have that courage and be like, hold on a second. If I don't figure this out, I don't want to just keep going down this path.

I feel like a lot of people stay on that path because it's easier, or you may just feel like that's the default and they got to go that way and who knows, unless you really explore it and be curious, it's hard to know. So what I do is help people learn how to get out of overwhelm or even take back their life. I would call it like reclaim their life in a way that is for them. I think a lot of times we're on that treadmill, like the hedonic treadmill is my mentor, Bob Wright says we're just spinning our wheels thinking this is the way that we're supposed to be living. The reality is you can step off the treadmill, but you need to be in a place that feels supportive and that you have the internal intrinsic skills to know and the beliefs to know that you're going to be okay.

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So that's what I help people with because that's what I think coaches who are just facilitators for what people already know, but we can help harness that and bring it out in others so that you recognize it. If you're in that seat of being the coachee and saying Oh, like light bulb moment. Yeah, I can do this or this is what I want, but sometimes it takes facilitation. That's what I enjoy the most about coaching. I have a coach as well. I feel like we all need coaches in our lives. It's actually something that I think is really exploding in our world, especially with entrepreneurs and CEOs, because no one can do it by themselves.

It's not about fixing you. It's not about like having something, someone different than you, but it's about how can you emerge into the person you were meant to become? That's why I coach others.

Gresham Harkless 13:05

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This might be an app, a book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Rachael O'Meara 13:16

Yeah, my hack is do up to four mini-breaks a day. They don't have to be 15 minutes. They could be five, but make sure you're building in the time and the space to be creative. This could be on your commute. You could be like singing in the car as your favorite song plays. To me, that's fun and it's engaging in play. And also you are feeling creative. So that's my hack.

Gresham Harkless 13:39

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. This is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Rachael O'Meara 13:50

Oh, I love that. Yeah. Like you, my two cents is you always have a choice. I can get about 10 times in our time together, but know that you don't have to be a victim. Like I think for me, I fell into that role a little bit and I can choose to be a creator instead of a victim. I can choose to be personally responsible.

So if I were to jump into that time machine and tell my 20 something self, when I was like being a great achiever and checking off a lot of boxes and being awesome you can choose, you can also choose to be with yourself, be you, being with you to know who you can become instead of letting the wheels of life dictate that for you.

Gresham Harkless 14:27

Yeah, I definitely appreciate that. I think it even goes back to what you talked to as far as coaching. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So Rachael, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Rachael O'Meara 14:41

Wow, I could go a lot of ways with this, but I think it's being the author of your own life and that and as a CEO of a company, you are the author of your own life as well as the company. But don't forget yourself.

Don't forget that you are the author and the creator of you and you can choose anything you want anytime. But it takes consciousness, it takes support and it takes being really in your authenticity, like knowing what you align with and that's hard work.

Gresham Harkless 15:08

I truly appreciate your time. Appreciate all the awesome things that you're doing. For anybody that wants to follow up with you. What's the best way for them to do that?

Rachael O'Meara 15:16

Yeah. So, anyone can actually follow up with me at my website, You can probably just Google Pause Rachel and I'll pop up there. I have a podcast as well called The Pause Cast and every speaker I invite, guests on who are transformational leaders or people who I think are having changes in the world that we all need to know a little more.

You can get a free gift on my site called Three Keys to Turn Burnout into Thriving and it's a blueprint. You can download it and start reading about how to avoid burnout. That's at

Gresham Harkless 15:52

Awesome. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes as well so that everybody can subscribe to your podcast and find out all the awesome things you're doing.

But thank you so much again for the work that you're doing and sharing your story with us. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Rachael O'Meara 16:04

Thank you so much. It was an honor to be here. Thank you.

Outro 16:08

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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