1772 – The Power of Authenticity in Leadership with Josefine Campbell

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Executive Coach, Author & Inspirational Speaker of Campbell Company, Josefine Campbell.

Campbell wide

Josefine has worked with renowned organizations such as Maersk, Novo Nordisk, Deloitte, McDonald's, and KPMG. She coaches individual leaders and groups within these organizations, focusing on challenges, personal growth, and career development.

Interestingly, she mentioned that most clients come through recommendations and engage her as an external coach. This is a testament to her expertise and her value to these organizations.

Josefine also discussed the challenges and fears that executives and entrepreneurs face. She likened the feeling of being in a high-pressure work environment to walking through a dark forest as a teenager.

She shared a personal story of her experience in a martial arts competition, where she doubted her abilities compared to others who had been practicing for much longer. However, she learned that bravery and risk-taking are essential in both entrepreneurship and martial arts.

Josefine's new book, “Power Barometer,” offers practical strategies for managing personal energy for business success. She emphasizes the need to listen to one's body and control breathing to calm the mind and signal the brain that there is no danger.

She also highlights the significance of controlling one's attention and not letting external factors dictate its place. For those interested in learning more, Josefine encourages visiting her website,, where they can find free tools and resources from the book.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of Josefine Campbell, executive coach and author
  • Importance of authenticity in leadership and its impact on energy levels
  • Trying new things and changing behavior can initially require more energy
  • Alignment with one's personality is crucial in implementing new approaches
  • Importance of respecting boundaries and its impact on energy levels
  • Josephine's work with organizations and coaching individual leaders and groups
  • Challenges and fears faced by executives and entrepreneurs
  • Importance of being brave and taking risks in entrepreneurship
  • Being aware of surroundings and controlling breathing to calm the mind

About Josefine Campbell:

Josefine Campbell, a renowned executive coach and the founder of Campbell Co, leads a premier leadership consulting firm catering to multinational corporations.

Specializing in inspiring and coaching leaders, teams, and talents, Josefine's clientele includes major entities like McDonald’s, Deloitte, Maersk, Novo Nordisk, and the Carlsberg Group. Drawing from her extensive experience, she employs a practical and pragmatic approach to leadership development.

Josefine is a four-time jiu-jitsu champion, reflecting her keen interest in fostering personal leadership in challenging situations commonly encountered in modern work environments.

Before venturing into executive coaching, she served as a serial entrepreneur and held a role as an external lecturer at Copenhagen Business School, further enriching her background in leadership and business.

About Campbell Company:

Focused on addressing clients' specific challenges, the company uniquely emphasizes enhancing personal energy for heightened performance and resilience in demanding scenarios marked by uncertainty, conflicts, or changes.

Drawing inspiration from Japanese martial arts, founder Josefine Campbell's early experiences in Jiu-jitsu championships shaped the company's philosophy.

Her success in mastering reaction-based disciplines underscores the importance of maintaining composure, quick reflexes, empathy, and rational thinking in high-pressure situations.

Tailoring programs to individual companies, Campbell Co ensures customized solutions for diverse professional challenges.

By offering new insights and tools, the company empowers leaders, team members, and individuals to thrive in adversity, fostering a holistic personal and professional development approach.

Tweetable Moments:

04:37 – “Being in integrity with who I am made a huge difference energy wise.”

11:34 – “Entrepreneurs are brave people and that's why we will react sometimes the same way when we are at work as if we were walking through a dark forest.”

15:28 – “Rather than letting other signals things happening outside me dictate where I put my attention, I would control my attention myself.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Campbell Company website at

Check out Campbell Company on LinkedIn at

Check out Josefine Campbell on LinkedIn at

Check out Josefine Campbell on Facebook at

Check out Josefine Campbell on Twitter at

Check out Josefine Campbell on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us. Right now it's executive coach, author and inspirational speaker Josefine Campbell. Josefine, your new book is Power Barometer How to Manage Personal Energy for Business Success. And your website is Josefine Josefine, thank you so much for joining us.

Josefine (00:01:17) - I'm so happy to be here. Josh, thank you for having me.

Josh (00:01:20) - You know, I was I just have to point this out for, you know, for people who look at a lot of websites like I do. So most, you know, most personally branded websites are going to start with a hero shot, right, of, of our hero. And that's you, Josefine. But you have a hero video like it's if nothing else, just go to Josefine Campbell. Com so you can see what Josefine is doing. I love it because we were talking about like what that evokes. And I'm inspired. Like I'd love to do this. I'd love to do this exact same thing. Anyway, we're not here to necessarily talk about your web design, but let's definitely talk about the work that you do and who you work with.

Josefine (00:02:04) - Well, actually the web design, I do it in the honor of the people I work with. And and what I do is I'm an executive coach. I'm also a leadership development consultant, but I coach individuals and groups. Sometimes I speak to large audiences up to I think I've been speaking up to like 600 people.

Josefine (00:02:23) - But, you know, in the smaller groups, it's personal conversations because leadership is personal. So I put some thoughts into if people are going to approach me and they want to feel like speaking to me, and also speaking about what is difficult as a leader of some of the leaders I work with are very experienced, and sometimes it can feel very vulnerable to share what is difficult for you or what your fears are. And of course we need to address that sometime. So I have to show myself as someone that you feel comfortable talking to about things which are easy and things which are difficult. And so that's why I chose to do something which is authentic and where I'm real, because the conversations we are having are real. And I truly believe that as leaders, we come across much stronger and we are much better at dealing with whatever we got to deal with if we are being true to who we are. And on top of that, not being authentic cost a lot of personal energy.

Josh (00:03:27) - Yes it does.

Josefine (00:03:29) - Yeah.

Josh (00:03:31) - I personally completely agree what's going on there. Like so let's say for example, let me give you an illustration. Um, so I had read a book, it was a sales book. And then I started implementing something. I'm like, well, it's a little outside of how I normally would communicate, but I'm going to give it a shot. And because I trust, I trust that this works because the book was very emphatic. Uh, and so I tried it for about three weeks and, and it ended up being an abysmal failure. And I for me, I would say abysmal, but it was a fail. And most importantly is I felt just a lot of tension and like my energy. I started just really not looking forward to going to work. Where then went back and said, listen, I'm going to not do that anymore. I'm going to go back to just doing what I'm used to, you know, even if it's slightly less effective in theory, I need to be in integrity with my personality and, you know, my who I am.

Josh (00:04:37) - And sure enough, I mean, just, you know, going back and and being in integrity with who I am made a huge difference energy wise. Can you kind of explain what's going on there and that example?

Josefine (00:04:48) - Well, first of all, George, I have to make sure that I understand the example you are giving in depth. So, as I understand it, is it correct that you read a book with some leadership communication approach and you tried using that approach.

Josh (00:05:05) - In this case? Yeah, it was I mean, it was kind of a sales leadership, you know, concept. Um, more about, you know, again, mostly engaging with potential clients and that sort of thing. And, um, basically the the recommendation was to kind of go a little bit stronger, you know, in framing and that sort of thing. And that ended up being uncomfortable for me. I like just being nice. Josh, I'll be frank with you.

Josefine (00:05:31) - And when you talk about sales, people tend to also like to buy from people who they like.

Josefine (00:05:38) - So right. And you could probably sense that when you overstep some boundaries. So I have three potential explanations. Maybe one of them is true. Maybe three of them are true. You let me know. That's also the core of coaching. Is that the truth. It lies with you. Mhm. So at the end of the day, what brings value from these conversations is what you take with you from the conversation what you act on. Mhm. So the first one is that you know doing new things. It takes energy changing your behavior. It costs a bit of energy. You will actually use different areas of your brain when you do new types of behavior. Then when you're doing what you usually do. So that's the first one. The second one is that there was something in this approach which was not completely aligned with who you are. There was something that if maybe that author had designed that approach to you and not to everybody, and putting it in a book, then maybe the author would have adjusted that approach slightly to fit to your personality better.

Josefine (00:06:49) - And that's where we move into that. It cost energy not being authentic. And the third one is that if that approach makes you overstep other people's boundaries, and you could sense that, which I believe you probably can because you're a brilliant communicator. So I believe you can probably sense the responses you get from people, then that doesn't sit right with you and that costs energy. When things doesn't sit right with us, we tend to start thinking about it and worrying about it and being bothered about it. And we will allocate energy to solving it unconsciously or consciously.

Josh (00:07:29) - Yeah. So, Josefine, you work with some pretty big organizations Maersk, Novo Nordisk, Deloitte, McDonald's, KPMG. But talk about what your work typically involves. Are you working with individual leaders or are you working within the organization? What does that engagement typically look like?

Josefine (00:07:50) - Yeah, always work within the organization in the sense that whenever I'm trying to help a leader or a group of leaders, it has to work in their organization. Like if I try to help them in a way where it doesn't fit their organization, it's not going to help them.

Josefine (00:08:06) - They tend to be the leaders who find me and who picks me. Most of them come through recommendations. Some of them find me online, and then they will engage me through their organization. And it can be an individual leader who would like an external coach, you know, not someone from people in culture department, but someone who is not within the organization who can discuss different challenges with them, help them grow either as a leader or in their career. And I also have a couple of leaders that I regularly coach just because they're so smart that they know that having an executive coach that matches them, it's going to improve their performance drastically. So some of these people, they are the best performing leaders in the organization. And so it's not because they have an issue, it's just because they know it's going to make them better.

Josh (00:09:02) - Hmm hmm. Your new book, Josefine, is called Power Barometer How to Manage Personal Energy for Business Success. All right. Give us the mini Ted talk version of of this book.

Josefine (00:09:16) - Okay, so in my practice as a coach working with individuals and leaders, I found that some of the most effective techniques often are some of the techniques that I learned as a martial art champion. I was quadruple national champion in jujitsu when I was younger.

Josh (00:09:37) - Oh my gosh.

Josefine (00:09:38) - And in jiu jitsu, you have different types of championships. You have battles like in Karate Kid. Have you watched the movie Karate Kid? The old one from the 80s.

Josh (00:09:47) - Oh, yeah. Miyazaki.

Josefine (00:09:49) - Miyazaki and wax on wax off.

Josh (00:09:53) - It was one of the defining movies of my formative years.

Josefine (00:09:59) - Yeah. So it's a wonderful movie. And you remember at the end of the movie, they have this championship. There are these battles where they're fighting on green tatami mats.

Josh (00:10:12) - Johnny.

Josefine (00:10:13) - Okay. So we have that type of championships as well in jujitsu. And I was also quadruple national champion in those kind of championships. But the one that I use as an example in the book, it's a different kind of championship.

Josefine (00:10:26) - It's what we call the reaction track. So reaction track it has 10 to 12 posts. It takes somewhere in between 1 and 2 hours to walk the track. There's a day track and there's a night track on each post. You will most likely get attacked. There are few posts where you have to do first date. Maybe. So you know you have to stay clear and calm and be agile to be able to give the required response to the situation. Just like in leadership, in collaborations, in modern work life. You know, sometimes there's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of changes, a lot of hard times, a lot of pressure. We don't know exactly where we're going. Maybe we can't see much in front of us. Just as when you're walking through a dark forest, it's so dark there's no lightning. You can't see a hand in front of you. You can only see the flower that they put on the floor. So you can follow the path. And, you know, at some point you're most likely going to get attacked.

Josefine (00:11:34) - And I realized that sometimes, especially on the executive levels, especially if you're like a VP or an SVP, there's a lot of stake, a lot of stake. And also if you have your own business, oh my God. And can feels terrifying sometimes. I think entrepreneurs are brave people and that's why we will react sometimes the same way when we are at work, as if we were walking through a dark forest, just like I was doing when I was a teenager. Then the first year I was competing, I was puzzled when they announced the winners. I actually thought they were wrong because I just practiced for one year. I told my sensei when when they announced my name, they must be wrong. I just practiced for a year. The other girls, they practiced for 5 or 7 years. They had better belts than I did. But you know what happened? One of them. She beat up the person she was supposed to help.

Josefine (00:12:37) - So if you're all fired up, if you're all in what I call the red zone, if you're super focused on, like, I'm going to get attacked now, I'm going to get attacked.

Josefine (00:12:45) - I better defend myself. I better defend myself. Right? Just like when you say, okay, this is dangerous, this is uncertain. Okay, I gotta save, I gotta save. I better not spend anything. Maybe you don't invest in the right thing. Or maybe you spend too much because you think, okay, I'm gonna invest. I'm gonna invest now. But you, you don't see what's coming. You don't pick up the signals. You don't. You don't hear what people are saying. You don't get the micro signals in the conversations. You don't pick up the signals from the market. But here, literally, when they arrived at the post where someone was pretending they weren't paying and they needed first it, a bandage or something else, they would kick them and beat them instead of helping them because they were fired up. They were in the fight flight response mode. And another thing that happened is and some of the posts, that's not just one person attacking you, that can be more.

Josefine (00:13:36) - But if you're just expecting one attack, if you become super focused, as we often do when we feel there's some pressure, you don't see what's coming from behind. So it could be at some of the post. They would defend themselves very well with the first attack, but then on the second or the third they wouldn't see what was coming. My sense I he did a lot of mental training with us, and he taught us how to calm our mind and listen to our body using our body intelligence. And this is really interesting because back, you know, we're back in the 90s, right? So back then we didn't know much about how the impact really was in the brain. But today we have so much evidence on what is really going on. When we breathe slowly, when we listen to our body signals, this whole thing about listening to what your body is saying is not so woowoo anymore. All neuroscientists can explain to you very quickly exactly what's going on and why it is so smart. And I put some of that knowledge in my book as well, because the people I work with are very pragmatic, they're very scientific, they're very practical.

Josefine (00:14:48) - So we do things really down to earth and really practical. What my sensei told me was to breathe slowly, because when you breathe slowly, you send signals to the amygdala where the fight response is located, that there is no danger. So the breath is the only of the vital responses you can control. You can not control how fast your heart pumps, but you can control your breath. So you can actually tell your brain how to behave by controlling your breath. Another thing they taught me was to be aware of where I would have my awareness.

Josefine (00:15:28) - Mhm. So rather than letting other signals things happening outside me dictate where I put my attention. I would control my attention myself. And sometimes I would put my attention outwards, as you should do in an important meeting. I would put my attention around myself. I couldn't see a thing. I could listen, you know, and sometimes you could hope for someone would give themselves away by speaking up while it should be quiet. So they could surprise you.

Josefine (00:16:03) - But. But the people who are attacking us were jiu jitsu fighters. And there were people from the military. They're trained well. You were in the military, you know, like if you're doing an exercise like that, you're not giving yourself away by chatting.

Josefine (00:16:13) - Right? So they would be quiet. I would have to use my senses. I would have to try to sense if I could feel someone was there approaching me. Do you know that feeling? You're trained as well? Do you know that feeling like if you're in a dark room, do you think you could feel if there was another person there, even though you couldn't see a thing?

Josh (00:16:37) - My brain thinks so for sure. Yeah. We all feel like we have that, you know, and I apologize. I know we're running at the at the very end of time here. Josefine, um, your website is Josefine Campbell dot com, and we've got that linked in the show notes. So for someone listening just click the information icon, click around, click the notes.

Josh (00:16:54) - You're going to see a direct link Josefine to your website where again you'll have as well your new book Power Barometer How to Manage Personal Energy for Business Success. Um, what would you recommend people do after having listened to this podcast and and they want more? Josefine.

Josefine (00:17:12) - Yeah, on my website there's a section called freebies there. You can go and get some of the tools from the book. If you sign up on my email list, you get the first chapter for free. And, um, you always free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn. I also have an LinkedIn newsletter. Write me a personal message if you have any questions. I actually do care about people. I do like to hear from you, so feel free to send me a message and ask me the questions you have.

Josh (00:17:41) - Awesome! Josefine Campbell again, your website, Josefine, your new book, Power Barometer How to Manage Personal Energy for Business Success. Josefine. It's been a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much.

Josefine (00:17:54) - It's been wonderful being here. Thank you Josh.

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