1807 – The Power of Self-Awareness in Leadership with Zovig Garboushian

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Founder, CEO & Speaker of Boldness Ablaze Coaching, Zovig Garboushian.

Garboushian Wide

Zovig Garboushian brings a unique perspective, focusing on the crucial role of self-connection in leading effectively. She believes that getting more connected to ourselves can lead to less stress and more ease.

Zovig shared her experience working with diverse clients, including leaders, CEOs, founders, and small business owners. Her goal is to help them understand the mission of their business and their personal role in relation to that mission. This alignment is key to success and fulfillment in one's professional life.

One of the most enlightening parts of the discussion centered on the concept of ‘being versus doing.' Zovig stressed the importance of tuning into our natural way of being. This introspection can profoundly influence our decision-making and behavior. She suggested simple exercises, like taking quiet moments to reflect on our motivations, which can reveal the reasons behind our actions.

Regarding organization within companies, Zovig highlighted the symptoms of being off-balance. Feelings of incongruence, unsafety, or uncertainty about direction can signal a misalignment between personal beliefs and professional engagement. It's crucial for individuals to feel that their values resonate with their work environment.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance of self-awareness in leadership and personal growth
  • Zovig Garboushian's work with leaders, CEOs, founders, and small business owners
  • Focusing on being versus doing and natural way of being
  • Impact of old messages and expectations on decision-making
  • Symptoms of being off-balance in an organizational context
  • Zovig's approach to executive coaching and organizational training
  • Emphasizing alignment of personal beliefs and values with professional engagement
  • Regular and prioritized coaching sessions

About Zovig Garboushian:

Zovig Garboushian is the dynamic force driving Boldness Ablaze, a boutique professional services firm specializing in speaking, leadership development, and executive coaching. With over 25 years of expertise in marketing, management consulting, organizational change, and leadership development, Zovig is committed to guiding leaders in reconnecting with their authentic selves, reducing stress, and leading with greater ease.

Through Boldness Ablaze, she empowers leaders to break free from limiting traditions and fears, fostering deep self-trust and confidence. Zovig's impact extends to diverse leaders, including C-suite executives and business owners, expanding their definitions of success.

A champion for women in leadership, she contributes leadership content to Brainz and Strive Magazines, hosts Sparking Thoughts: LinkedIn Live, and appears on podcasts like Career Spotlight and Digital Connections. As a board member of's Coaches & Mentors, she also created Leadership Essence, a 2-day women's leadership immersion.

Zovig's client portfolio includes Accenture, Google, Microsoft, Planned Parenthood, and more, emphasizing her dedication to helping clients feel comfortable in their skin as they pursue their priorities.

About Boldness Ablaze Coaching:

Boldness Ablaze Coaching offers keynote speaking and executive coaching services, targeting leaders seeking enhanced effectiveness and authenticity in the workplace.

The coaching addresses key leadership challenges, specifically guiding leaders through significant changes, facilitating difficult conversations, streamlining decision-making, fostering deeper relationships, and promoting grounded, thoughtful influence within organizations.

The approach emphasizes self-awareness as a catalyst for positive change, encouraging leaders to focus on personal growth to improve professional outcomes. By understanding individual values and motivations, Boldness Ablaze Coaching helps leaders silence doubts and uncertainties, enabling them to navigate business challenges and personal endeavors.

Whether aspiring to become a better leader, start a business, or embark on new life adventures, the coaching emphasizes the transformative power of self-awareness in quieting distractions and fostering meaningful progress in both business and personal pursuits.

Tweetable Moments:

05:05 – “We are rewarded for the results that we produce, for the money that we make, for the things that are outside of us that we're constantly doing. But no one ever got an award or a bonus for being the most self-aware.”

06:32 – “If we are able to tune into who we are naturally in this world without effort, then the way that we make our choices, the way that we make our business decisions, the way that we engage with people, the way we show up when the you-know-what hits the fan, it changes; it becomes more authentic.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Boldness Ablaze Coaching website at

Check out Zovig Garboushian on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:05) - A thoughtful listener before we get going. Did you know that my company up My has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my, where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my, where you'll see shows like Experience Focused Leaders Podcast. If you're seeking insights on transforming customer experiences, you can't miss the Experience Focused Leaders podcast with your host, Alex Kovalenko. Alex, the CEO and founder of relay two, brings his rich background from Stanford MBA, Wharton BSc and the University of Pennsylvania B.A. he's a smart dude, along with his real world experiences of building organizations across global hubs to the forefront of this engaging podcast. Now, each episode is a deep dive into the world of customer centric strategies where Alex and his guests, seasoned business owners and industry veterans, share their invaluable insights.

Josh (00:01:32) - They discuss the latest trends, offer practical advice, and reveal the secrets behind exceptional customer experiences and business growth. Are you a business owner who values customer experience above all? Then this podcast is your go to resource. Better yet, if you've got unique insights and strategies that have helped you stand out in your industry, we'd love to have you as a guest on the show. Share your story with a community that's as passionate about customer experience excellence as you are. Tune in to the experienced, Focused Leaders podcast for your weekly dose of inspiration and practical tips. Let's push the boundaries of customer experience together. With us. Right now it's keynote speaker, executive coach, and founder and CEO of Boldness Ablaze Coaching. It's Zovig. Zovig. Thank you so much for joining us.

Zovig (00:02:28) - Hi, Josh. It's a pleasure to be here.

Josh (00:02:30) - Yes, absolutely. Well, give us an overview of the work that you do.

Zovig (00:02:33) - Yeah, sure. So I am an executive coach and I'm a speaker and I'm an organizational consultant.

Zovig (00:02:39) - So sort of a multi-hyphenate. Um, but essentially what I do, no matter what the form is, I help people get more connected to themselves so they can lead with less stress and more ease so they can tune in to what they already know so that when they hit their challenges, whether they be business challenges, leadership challenges, or just personal challenges, they have a set of tools that reside within themselves to help them move through these things with more fluidity and ease. The experience of the challenge, the conflict and the change. I do that in executive coaching. I do that one on one. I work with a lot of leaders, CEOs, founders, startup founders, small business owners to help them understand what the mission of their business is and who they are in relation to that, which is a really big deal when it comes to leading a business and leading people. And then as a speaker, I talk mostly about self-awareness. A lot of it is in the work world and in the business world.

Zovig (00:03:34) - And then as an organizational consultant, I do a lot of training, and I do a lot of discussion and advising on how to create environments that are welcoming and hospitable to people, instead of trying to put them into boxes. Yeah.

Josh (00:03:51) - Well, you said something there at the beginning so vague about, you know, helping leaders understand themselves. And I wonder if there's someone that's listening to us that goes, well, I think I know myself pretty well.

Zovig (00:04:02) - Oh, yeah. I'm sure there are a lot of people who are saying that. I think I think the thing that I'm so glad you asked this, Josh, because it's not that we are walking around oblivious to ourselves, right? We are smart people. And if you're a business owner and someone has the that has the guts to go into entrepreneurship and start something from the ground up, you know enough about yourself to know that there's a possibility of success. But I think what can happen, what has happened to me and what I know happens with my clients and the people that I work with, is that we can know too much and we can get meaning.

Zovig (00:04:36) - We can know too much information, knowledge. Oh, I've seen this before. I know how this is going to go. I have all the tools, I have all the frameworks. But then we get further and further away from what we know inside. And so what can happen is that we can talk ourselves out of things. We can try to do more than just be who we are naturally. Okay.

Josh (00:04:59) - So I really want you to tell more, talk more about that, about this idea of being versus doing. Yeah.

Zovig (00:05:05) - So in our world, it's it's kind of how our world is set up, the design of our world. Right? We are rewarded for the results that we produce. We are rewarded for the money that we make. We are rewarded for the things that are outside of us, that we're constantly doing. But no one ever got an award or a bonus for being the most self-aware, right? And so that kind of work is almost invisible. Or we think that it's invisible so we can deprioritized that kind of discovery, that kind of journey, that kind of inner work for what we think is outer gain.

Zovig (00:05:38) - But if we can pause and start to get curious about who we are, why we do what we do, where that came from, how much sense that makes where we learned it, how true is it for me now, as I am in my life, in my 30s, in my 40s, in my 50s, if we can stop and look at that and ask ourselves those kinds of questions, we might come up with different answers than we thought, and we might come up with different ways of doing and being and thinking. See, have you ever. I'm sure you have. And maybe you've been this person, you've been in a room and then someone just walks in and you can just feel them. You can feel their energy. You can feel the calm or the expertise that they have or the wisdom. Like you can just feel it. That's being. Doing is all right. Let me tell you all the stuff I've done. Let me tell you exactly how we're going to do this. Let me let me figure out all the tactical things.

Zovig (00:06:32) - And there's nothing wrong with that. Like we have to do tactics in this world. We have to. We have to take action. But what's behind the action, I think, is what makes the action that much more magical. And if we are able to tune in to who we are naturally in this world without effort, because we each have a way of being that is natural and without effort, if we can tune into that, then the way that we make our choices, the way that we make our business decisions, the way that we engage with people, the way we show up to, you know, when the you know what hits the fan, it changes. It becomes more authentic and everybody's talking about authenticity. Authenticity. Author I want to be authentic. That's about when your inner stuff aligns with your outer behavior, and that stuff can get really easily discombobulated in our world. I mean, look at our world. It's upside down, right? So it's easy to get disconnected. And so it's our work to I think it's really, really important work to get reconnected to what's already there.

Zovig (00:07:31) - Because the answers are, are, um, you can't see me if you're listening, but I'm pointing to my heart like the answers are there. They're already inside. Does that answer your question?

Josh (00:07:39) - Yeah, it's a great one. And I'm wondering if there's someone that says, okay, I'm on board. I'm totally down with doing some introspection. Um, so is there something that you would recommend, maybe a simple exercise that someone can do, maybe something like a daily practice that we could do so that it could be a little bit more in tune with who we are, because I think we all have been in that, like we've all experienced that we're. We're either in flow or we're not in flow. And and how frustrating that is when we feel like we're out of flow. Like something's not right. I feel like I'm doing all this work, but it just doesn't seem to be landing right. And so we want to avoid that. So I don't know if this is maybe just a simple kind of recentering exercise or, you know, something that you'd recommend.

Zovig (00:08:30) - There are so many. I mean, one of the easiest things to do is taking five minutes, either in the morning or in the evening when things are quiet. I like morning because morning is before all of this stuff has happened. Right. So nothing's I have less of a chance of things interrupting me, taking five minutes, let's just say in the morning to sit down and say, okay, what's happening today? What do I want to create? But also why do I care about it? Because I think when we start to ask ourselves why I care about this, that's when truth starts to pop up. That's when stories and things that have influenced us start to pop up, and that's when we can begin to separate. Well, that's not actually mine. I don't actually care about that. What I care about is this. So ask like questioning ourselves and reflecting, why is this important to me? Well, I want to become a CEO. Why? Why? Is it because you believe that what you have to offer in a leadership role is something that others cannot, and you can't stop yourself from guiding people and offering them your expertise to support teams.

Zovig (00:09:36) - Or is it because you want the money and you want the prestige, and you want the I don't know, whatever else goes on with it, and I'm giving you two polar opposites on that spectrum, right? It's not just one or the other. So I'm being dramatic for effect here right now. But but it is important for us to question why do I want this? Why is this become so important to me? And is that reason did that come from me, or did that come from something someone told me?

Speaker 3 (00:09:59) - Hmm. Yeah.

Zovig (00:10:01) - So that's one easy way to do it.

Josh (00:10:03) - Yeah. And it's quite amazing. And I'm sure you've got some thoughts on this about how much of what we do today is driven by maybe old messages or outdated messages. Maybe it was our parents that had expectations, and you know, I don't want to get too woo woo on this, but.

Zovig (00:10:24) - I love it. Yeah.

Josh (00:10:25) - I mean, you know, there's some baggage and you know, it's like I'm trying to get dad's approval or something like that.

Josh (00:10:31) - And then that kind of transfers into, you know, customers or whatever. Right. That's kind of we're just, you know, we're complex yet simple beings in that, you know, there's just things that we want. We want safety, we want acceptance, we want love. I'm sure you've got some thoughts on that topic.

Zovig (00:10:48) - Yeah. I mean, you know, when you say, I don't want to get woo, like, I actually think we're more woo than maybe we want to admit. And there are plenty of high level leaders and people who have gone on to be successful in business, that we're doing it to please dad and maybe didn't know, maybe didn't really. I can think of a couple right now that exist in our world that I would put money on. That's what's going on. Right? And and it's not so hard to notice if you actually stop to look. But we do carry stuff. We carry stuff from our culture. I'm a first generation Armenian woman, you know, I'm the I was the first one from both sides of my family, born in the States.

Zovig (00:11:23) - That was a lot to reconcile. And some of the things that I thought or carried with me growing into my adulthood in my 20s and 30s, now in my mid-forties, I've had to reconcile, is this mine, or did this come from something old? And it's not that that old thing is wrong. It just doesn't work for me anymore and maybe never did. But it's a it's a courageous move to look at those things and go, I'm letting this go. I'm letting go of the safety and familiarity of this story for the sake of trying to create something different and bigger, and that is mine.

Josh (00:12:00) - A lot of work that you do, Sauvage has to do with the concept of organization. Can you share just kind of a bit about that, what that means and how that might look, when that may be off for someone versus when it's in the groove.

Zovig (00:12:15) - Within the context of the organization or a company.

Josh (00:12:18) - Is that so in your work as an organizational consultant? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Like what are the symptoms when when that's off.

Josh (00:12:26) - Yeah. We come in and do some good work.

Zovig (00:12:29) - Yeah. At the individual level it's when someone feels like they don't fit in, when they don't feel safe to make a mistake, when they are constantly questioning themselves and if people will accept what they've chosen, you know, being a leader, whether it's running your own business or being a leader within a larger organization, that that's a rough ride, right? It can be a rough ride because you have to make choices that sometimes not everyone likes. And so, you know, if if you are leading a team or you're leading a business or an entire, you know, organization, then you might feel incongruent with yourself because you're doing things that you want to please people you've made a choice for. Maybe it was more about pleasing the people than it was about what was right for the business, and you're constantly having to reconcile those things, and that can be hard, you know, at the individual, individual contributor level, like a person who's not managing a team but showing up, doing their work, doing the thinking work, it can feel like they are unsure of which way to go.

Zovig (00:13:27) - It can feel like they, um, are afraid of making mistakes. It can feel just it's not always a tactical thing that you can describe. Josh. Sometimes it's just a I don't feel right about this, and sometimes it's hard to even put words behind when we don't feel right about something, but that's when we need to pause and look within and go, okay, what feels off? I use the word incongruent because it's not wrong and it's not right. I don't believe in right and wrong in the way that we sort of. There are many rights and wrongs right to in many ways to do things well. I think incongruent is the word I like to use when it comes to noticing something is a little off kilter with us. Is this congruent with me and how I think and what I believe and what I believe to be true and right in this moment, and with who I am now. Because what was right for me now, what's right for me now, may have not been right for me in my 30s or in that past relationship, or at that other company that I work for or in my previous business.

Zovig (00:14:26) - We change, hopefully.

Josh (00:14:28) - So if you've worked with leaders at companies like Accenture, Credit Karma, New York Life, Google, Microsoft Universities, Chevron, NBC universal, Samsung, what does your engagement typically look like?

Zovig (00:14:43) - So if it's yeah, if it's an executive coaching engagement, I typically work with people anywhere from six months to I've got a few clients I've been working with for two years now, but we meet regularly. It's usually every two weeks. It is a regular and prioritized, um, conversation that we have. I'm certified in several different frameworks and assessments and coaching and change management. So I bring as well as things like yoga, and I've done personal and professional development since I'm 20 years old. So I have tools and frameworks and principles and ideas to bring from lots of different places to support the person in that particular journey we meet. We talk, we challenge thinking, we get uncomfortable. We put the mirror in the client's face, we pull things apart, and we reestablish what's true and what's real and what's right for them.

Zovig (00:15:34) - Sometimes we workshop stuff, sometimes we roleplay. It can be tactical like that, and sometimes it's deeper. If I'm doing training, if I've got a group or a team that I'm working with and I'm we're training in feedback, communication breakdowns, inclusive hiring, we're still talking about how we show up as individuals. It all boils down to ourselves what are we doing and what do we believe within ourselves, and how is that impacting how we engage with the world around us?

Josh (00:16:03) - Uh, Zoe, your website is boldness ablaze to a friend that's been listening to our conversation. Where do they go from here? What do they do? Like if they want a little bit more Zoe in their life? Or if you have any resources that you'd recommend or share.

Zovig (00:16:19) - So you can reach me at Boldness Ablaze You can also reach me at Zoe. Com which is where I keep most of my keynote speaking and organizational training, um services. So in two places and I play around a lot on LinkedIn, like I respond to my community on LinkedIn, I offer, you know, my ideas and thoughts, and I engage because I enjoy LinkedIn and I enjoy the the ideas that I see there in that platform.

Zovig (00:16:44) - I'm not on other social medias like Instagram or Facebook. It's just not my jam. I'm going to be honest. I don't want to spend my time there, but I do love being in the professional world and hearing how our personal lives match up with our professional experience and how one informs the other. So if you want to find me that you can send me direct message and you can send me an email at Zoe at Boldness and I will personally respond to you.

Josh (00:17:07) - All right. So we have both of your websites listed in the podcast app to our friend that's listening. Just kind of click around there, click on the cover art, show our the notes, the information icon, the two websites Zoe and Boldness ablaze Zoe Garbus. And thank you so much for this great conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.

Zovig (00:17:29) - Thank you Josh, it was a pleasure. Have a wonderful day and happy New Year.

Josh (00:17:38) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence common Guest.

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