Interview with Holly Berkley

Brooke German

June 08, 2016

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Holly Berkley realized that she needed to make life changes to improve her happiness. After research and hard work, she saw the results she desired. Her transformation led her to want to help others change, and she has been doing so ever since. She spoke with me about what it takes to get to the top.

Brooke Lazar (BL): Working from the ground up to change your life and career choices can give inspiration to all of us; can you share the exact moment you changed?

Holly Berkley (HB): I was in the midst of an excruciatingly painful conversation with my husband about our relationship when I realized that I had been focusing on all of the wrong things in my attempts to find happiness. It wasn't about external things, such as my career, social life, or even my marriage. It was about my internal perspective. The doors of clarity opened, and I knew what needed to happen next.

BL: You've taken control of your life, and you want to share that strategy with others. What's the most important thing you want listeners at the WITI Annual Summit to take away?

HB: We've been taught that confidence is about "faking it 'til you make it" or simply "leaning in." Modern neuroscience, and my own experience guiding hundreds of smart women, has shown that applying external strategies has limited effectiveness and longevity. Authentic confidence and powerful leadership are only attainable when you delve beneath your surface. Then, growth and leadership strategies can obtain traction and open up opportunities to make a difference in your personal and professional worlds.

BL: You've spent so much time learning about the human brain and how it functions. What inspired you?

HB: I'm an insatiable, lifelong learner who tends to read mostly non-fiction. I have spent years absorbing and applying advanced training to neuroscience and neuropsychology. Those sciences will help with the subtle energy systems found in Energy Medicine, Energy Psychology, and the metaphysics to my work with corporate and individual clients. I call myself a STEMinist, since I'm a science and tech geek, as well as a feminist working to support women to be the powerful leaders the world needs now.

BL: Why do people, even professionals, lack the confidence they need?

HB: Confidence doesn't come from knowing things, no matter how many degrees or how much tech or executive-level experience you have. Our confidence reflects our deepest-held beliefs about ourselves, ones we may not even be conscious of. These beliefs were formed in our early years by the mental and emotional conditioning of parents, teachers, religious authorities, and the social mores around us. These beliefs color your thoughts and reactions and can be nearly impossible to unearth and shift with your mind, no matter how many Post-It affirmations are on your bathroom mirror.

In the tech world, we're confronting deeply entrenched social biases of gender disparity, sexism, racism, exclusion, etc. on a daily basis. While sometimes it may not feel like you can do much about those eternal "glass ceilings," you can free yourself of the internal ones, such as imposter syndrome (feelings of inadequacy), not speaking up and taking credit for your work, or not applying for challenging new positions. Overcoming those negative feelings is the promise of the new neuroscience tools and strategies that allow you to transform those subconscious beliefs into something that can work for you.

BL: Do you find that working with others to change their lives also helps you stay on track?

HB: Years of private practice and consulting to corporations around personal and professional development have shown me that it's crucial that I take care to be effective in supporting others. It's a great discipline. And over the years I've also dealt with many of the same issues I see coming up regularly and have developed effective systems and strategies to simplify the process for them.

BL: What's the most difficult part of guiding others in their professional lives?

HB: Helping them realize how easy it can be. We all procrastinate and avoid doing what's "good" for us out of fear, time constraints, or achieving results. When a client understands that there is enough time and that things are not as difficult as they seem, they can get started.

BL: What do you do in your spare time to make sure that you satisfy your needs?

HB: Aside from keeping up on current professional development advances, it's a real mix. I meditate daily for the mental and emotional "reset" it provides, and I do yoga and go hiking to strengthen the mind-body sanity connection. I frequently immerse myself in the soul-feeding environments of museums, music, and dance performances. I also spend time nurturing the relationships that are important to me. Finally, I love riding my sport's bike long distances for the sheer joy of it.

Brooke Lazar is a student at Youngstown State University, majoring in Professional and Technical Writing. She is an editor and is dedicated to achieving her goals. In order to immerse herself into the writing world, she spends her free time reading and conducting research on writing styles in order to edit individual manuscripts accordingly. As a WITI intern, she hopes to acquire skills to further her education.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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