My guest on the Rising Resilient series of the Leveraged Business Podcast is life coach Linda Lalicata, talking about building career resilience. She takes us through a masterclass about spotting the signs that your life journey feels incomplete, and using positive psychology, self-confidence and coaching to achieve career goals.



As entrepreneurs, we’re highly driven, we’re committed to the impact that we have, we push ourselves. And we beat ourselves up a lot. It’s what drives us, but it also can cause a lot of burnout and stress and anxiety when things don’t go quite to plan.

In our Rising Resilient series interview for the Leveraged Business Podcast, I spoke with life coach Linda Lalicata on spotting the signs that your life or career isn’t where you want it to be, and getting the right support and accountability to work on the kind of personal growth and self-confidence for building career resilience.


Jay Allyson

104 How to Use Positive Psychology to Build Self-Confidence and Achieve Career Goals – interview with Life Coach Linda Lalicata

Jay Allyson         Jay Allyson        
104 How to Use Positive Psychology to Build Self-Confidence and Achieve Career Goals – interview with Life Coach Linda Lalicata           104 How to Use Positive Psychology to Build Self-Confidence and Achieve Career Goals – interview with Life Coach Linda Lalicata          

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    The concept for this series was always about how to survive and thrive. There’s two sides to it – so you are always consistently rising resilient. So, my feeling was I’ve got a lovely group of women who are entrepreneurs who coach with me, and I invited some of them to share thoughts, insights and experiences, both personally and also how they help their clients to achieve greater resilience.

    Join us as we dive into the inspiring narrative of Linda Lalicata, a vibrant figure dedicated to building career resilience and guiding women on their journeys to professional and personal fulfilment.

    Linda brings to the table a unique blend of neuroscience, educational acumen, and coaching expertise to help her clients achieve their career and life goals. A staunch advocate for nurturing self-belief, self-confidence, and self-esteem, she has transformed her own experiences into a catalyst for change.

    As a teacher at Bronx Community College New York, she goes beyond academic issues, addressing the deeper struggles that hinder student success, proving her commitment to holistic development. From battling the shadows of self-doubt and her own family turmoil, Linda has emerged as a beacon of personal growth, her life a testament to the transformative impact of resilience and education.

    Linda doesn’t just coach; she awakens her clients to their innate strengths and values, equipping them to navigate life’s hurdles with openness, grace and determination.

    In our interview for the Leveraged Business podcast “Rising Resilience” 2024 series, we explored the essence of resilience through Linda’s lens – what it signifies to her and the lives she touches. This episode is an invitation to those yearning to unlock their potential, to feel empowered, and to celebrate their innate talents, propelling them towards greater success.



    Jay: Linda, welcome. It’s great to have you on the Leverage Business Podcast.

    Linda: Oh, thank you so much, Jay. It’s such a pleasure to be here, and I appreciate that you asked me. It was an honor.

    Jay: Oh, thank you.

    So, I have this idea that lots of the time when I’m supporting people in coaching that the thing that comes up the most is you know, the need for resilience because like there’s highs, there’s lows, there’s an awful lot of things that hit us. And I know that you do so much to do with resilience in your business, and you help other people.

    The provisional title, as you know, is tackling challenges and changes in your life and business with confidence, compassion and courage. And I’m sure you can add some more C’s to that somewhere. And we’ve talked about this because that’s one of the angles for how you help people kind of pick themselves up in the face of adversity and all sorts of things.

    But let’s just start you know, what part of the theme of what we’re covering in this series really speaks to you most, and why?

    Linda: That’s such a loaded question. There’s so many ways I could answer it, so I’m going to give you as succinct of an answer as I can.   Through my own life, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and I don’t know when I realized I was a resilient person, but when I recognized, I said, Oh my goodness, you know, I can’t believe I’ve gone through all these experiences and, and come out relatively unscathed.

    And I really know a lot of women that are not as fortunate that they’re having similar situations that I experienced, but they’re not coming out on top.  They’re not thriving. They’re not even surviving. They’re getting themselves into very, very bad places. So, for me, resilience means not that you have a perfect life. It can be very imperfect, filled with challenges.

    But instead of catastrophizing, you see each difficulty almost like a challenge. And you look at it squarely, and come up with mature solutions rather than freaking out, which had happened to me. And from that major freak out was, that’s probably when I found my resilience that I did have such a bad situation, I came out of it.

    So that’s what it means to me. It means to be able to overcome any difficulty with grace and grit.

    Jay: Grace and grit. I love that. We talked in the title about confidence, compassion, and courage, and you’ve given me another kind of way into that. So that’s wonderful.  I mean, for context, tell us a little bit about the work that you do and who you help, how you help them.

    Linda: Yes. Well, my journey many, many moons ago, started basically with having no direction. So when I first got out of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I had had some ideas and they didn’t work out. My mother was very pragmatic woman. She goes, you got to earn money. That’s it.  Become a secretary. You’ll always have a job.

    Well, that’s what I did. I went I became an administrative assistant, started out slow, was really a receptionist assistant, and then I moved on to administrative and did that for a number of years with different companies. And yes, I earned money. And yes, I did have good benefits and that was great, but I wasn’t going anywhere.

    I wasn’t finding any fulfillment. I was complacent. The pay check and the benefits made me that way and I always kind of, I hate to say it, thought of myself as a dumb blonde and never thought I could do anything else until I one day realized that some of my bosses, some of the things they would say, it’s like, Oh my God, this guy makes twice my salary. I’m so much smarter than they are   and what’s going on in my head. And you know, just, you sometimes have to have things happen to get you to the point.


    Finding Your Strengths to Highlight the Path 

    Linda: So, I decided through my many experiences, I realized I wanted to help women that are like the way I was back then: just earning a paycheck, but knowing they could do so much more and more than just survive -more than just, you know, getting to the end of the day- to be who they want to be and  to basically come home and feel satisfied.

    And if they love to be an assistant, that’s wonderful. It can be an excellent job. And some, some bosses really elevate their assistants to give them many, many jobs, but if they’re not  moving in that direction, then they’re just being complacent.

    And so that’s what I do. I help women find their direction, find their path. Are they on the right path? How can they survive thrive in that, in that position? And if it’s not the right position, how to find the confidence to find the right journey for themselves.

    Jay: So how do you start getting into that when you’re working with a client? I mean, you can understand the context, what they’re coming in with.  Where do you start in terms of like helping somebody see that bigger picture for themselves to work through the emotions, the tensions, the feelings that they have right now to start on that journey towards.  A different, either a different mindset or a different career, even. How do you start with somebody?

    Linda: Yes, that’s, that’s an excellent question.  Because [with] my clients, it’s not a cookie cutter. They don’t all come in the exact same way. Some people know what they want to do. They just need a little help with direction. And then some of them don’t know anything. They’re just like, I’m miserable. And I don’t know what to do with my life. And.  It doesn’t really matter what’s their starting point.  The most important thing is that we have to, for anyone, know our strengths, know our values.

    Because otherwise you’re just going to go down a path that’s not going to lead anywhere. Because you’re not going to be happy. You’re not going to stick to it. You’re going to be going, going off on these tangents. And, and there’s never going to be an end goal. So, the first thing I always like to do with a client is have them uncover their strengths. And through positive psychology, there’s so many ways of doing it.

    And one of the best comes from Martin Seligman. It’s a bit lengthy, but it’s such a telling test where you can uncover your top strengths. And we all think that we know ourselves so well. And the reality is a lot of times we don’t.

    So, when my clients do a strength test, they’ll be like, wow, I never thought of that as being my strength. I always thought this would be it. And I said, well, that, that could be one of the reasons why things are not quite going the way you want them to, because you’re leaning on something that maybe isn’t a strength, but these core strengths and your core values can help you uncover what you want out of life.

    I had a client – this was one of my first clients – she used to be a lawyer. And her mother wanted her to be a lawyer. She thought it would be a great career. She was very good at it. And she said, I hated it. I hated every minute of it. And when I got to know her, she was the most placid, calm person. And of course, she hated it. She didn’t like conflict. She liked peace. She liked to, you know, be one with the world.  She was into yoga and meditation. And that’s why she was unhappy. And she was a young woman. She went through all the schooling and she left. In the prime of her life, just walked away and became a coach herself.

    It’s important to know your strengths. And that’s the starting point. Once we have that, we can uncover what is it that makes you happy. What is it that would make you feel fulfilled and can we make that a career path for you and it really opens up a lot of people’s eyes.

    That’s how I went into academia. After all the years I was an administrative assistant, I changed my life completely, and I had to ask myself, what made you happy? And I realized what made me happy was being close to nature. And I said, well, how do you make, how do you make that into a career? And I said, ah, I’ll go into horticulture.

    And I ended up not going into horticulture, but it was a starting point. It got me from there to where I am now. So, I got talked out of going for a horticulture degree, and I was, it was explained to me, if you get your doctorate in biology, you can still do horticulture, but you have something that could open a lot of doors. But I never ever would have gone that way if I didn’t have a starting point.


    Hitting the Tipping Point 

    Jay: I love those stories because it brings up a couple of things for me. One is like many of us have been kind of pushed or shaped or like the expectations of others for some people can be quite big and you know you kind of want to do your parents proud you want to kind of be as good as your siblings and you know people around you so there’s that side of it.

    Where sometimes in midlife, and I’ll be talking to other people about midlife journey   in midlife you suddenly get to that point where you think: Hey, hold on a minute. What about me? What do I want?  So, there’s that sometimes hits you quite hard. It’s not a slow thing. And that’s when people find you, I think, find you as a coach.

    But the other side is, you know, you were talking about career, and it’s also the same with business direction. So sometimes we end up thinking, Oh, what’s the business I want to build? And sometimes we kind of fall into a business because of a certain circumstance.

    I know a lot of people have been laid off over the last decade. There’s been a lot of change in the world. And so those people are like, well, I’m in this box, I’ve got this label, like, I’m an accountant, or I’m a this, and I’m a that, and I should be continuing on that. I should build a business around that. But actually, it’s also an opportunity to think out of the box and think, well, is this the only thing that I can do?

    Has this been giving me happiness and joy and fulfillment, as you said? And does it really play to my strengths? Or do I just find that’s the obvious place to start? So, there’s a lot of questions, I think, that can come up for people.  So that’s that side of resilience in terms of your circumstances change like how do you change with it and how do you use it as opportunity.

    There’s also the sense that, even if we’re in the business that we want to be in or in the career we want to be in, that it can get stressful. There’s anxieties, there’s workplace conflicts as you mentioned earlier, there’s all sorts of kind of things that show up for us that that. Try as we might with all our wonderful techniques of positive psychology, they bring us down. And so you kind of you get pushed down, you get up again, you get pushed down, and there’s a song around that.

    How do you start to recognize and how do you help your clients with this?  Like when it’s sort of the natural up and down. And when you’re sort of really going into a burnout, very low depression kind of state. What should you be looking out for when you’re trying to stay resilient and you don’t want to go down the slippery slope?

    Linda: Yes, and unfortunately that does happen to a lot of people, and it typically does start with what I mentioned earlier, complacency. You fall into that  rut, and just kind of keep on going with it, and the stress builds up and builds up.

    For all of us. No job, no career is perfect. And obviously, we always try to see the bright side. That’s part of resilience, looking at things, reframing them, seeing the positives even when something is really, really negative and accepting it.

    But for people that are too complacent, and they’re not recognizing that their anxiety is starting to build up, some of the ways is basically if you find that you’re hiding from the anxiety. Instead of facing it and dealing with it, you hide from it.

    And how do we hide from it? Some of the most common ways is we plop ourselves in front of the television and we eat our feelings.  And sometimes we, we don’t even realize it, but the stress is there, and someone asks a simple question, and instead of just answering, even if it’s an annoying question, instead of just answering it and moving on, we snap, and we get sarcastic, and you know, we start fights.

    And that, unfortunately, that was my, my mom, when she was working, she was having a lot of   Issues at work and she never dealt with them the way she should have. How she dealt with them was unfortunately with alcohol and anger and that is unhealthy.

    So if someone takes a good hard look and says: Is this anxiety that I’m dealing with? That’s just a daily thing, and I, you know, we all go through it. Or is it something that I’m letting pile up? If you find yourself doing any of the things that I said earlier, chronically, then it’s time to find help. You can’t, you can’t deal with that on your own. You need to face the realization that things are getting out of hand. And sometimes we can do it for ourselves.

    It happened to me. The anxiety got so, so bad that I had a mini nervous breakdown. And it was from the silliest situation, and I’ll just make it very, very brief, my last boss, I liked her very much, but unfortunately, as I got better and better at my job, she stopped seeing me as a person, and I became almost like an additional limb. I became part of her and not an individual, not Linda her assistant, but part of her.

    And one day, it was the end of day, she had to get something signed for me so I could ship it out via FedEx. All it was was a simple signature to be done in a second by her superior.  And she took over 30 minutes, and this was at the end of the day, and I wanted to go home, I was tired, and I missed three trains for my commute. And it would have been fine if she said, oh my god, I’m so sorry, he wanted to talk about this, and you know how he is, I couldn’t just walk away, so please forgive me.

    I would have been fine. I would have been I’m on your side. She came out and ha ha ha.  You know, we started talking and I forgot you were out here and that did it for me. I said, Okay, that’s enough. I’m not I’m not even seen as a person anymore. And I went home and got hysterical and could not stop crying for quite a while.

    And I said to my husband, that’s it. It’s going to kill me. I’m done. I said, I got to make a change. So, it got to that point that that punch in the face made me wake up and I don’t want other women to have to go through that. I that that was what made me wake up.

    But other women don’t have to get to that point where they come home and cry hysterically for half an hour. No one should have to feel that kind of pain that makes them get to that point. So that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to work with women in situations similar to my own, because I didn’t deal with the anxiety. It was always there and it took that to bring it up.

    Jay: Yeah, I mean, that hit hard in the face that I think what comes up for me is how do we recognize the symptoms you’ve touched on this already in terms of that complacency,  so that it doesn’t get to that tipping point,  that you don’t kind of end up in that situation,  right or wrong of  how it was triggered,  just the fact that it’s built up.

    Linda: Yeah.


    Recognising the Symptoms that Things Have to Change

    Jay: So how would you recognize the symptoms, for yourself or in others? You know, what does it, how does it, I mean, you said about quick to anger and snap, but is there anything else that people should be looking out for?

    Linda: There are other signs. If you find that you are sleeping too much or you’re drinking too much, that you’re not enjoying the things that you used to enjoy, that you find yourself just going to a dark, dark place that   you’re not finding the joy in things.

    Another thing people commonly do is  they salve  their anxiety with things, they like chronically buy things. They’re not satisfied with what they have because they’re not looking, they’re not resilient. They’re not dealing with it. And instead of you know  being grateful for the things that they do have.

    Because at that point, you’re not really grateful. Not really. I mean, you’re grateful that you have a job and that makes you complacent. You’re grateful that you have benefits, but you’re not grateful for the good things around you. At that point, you know there’s something out of whack and you can’t keep going that way because you’re hiding from it. You’re not dealing. You’re hiding.

    Jay: Brilliant. Yeah.  I mean, let me come back to your background, what you went back to school for, so to speak, was neuroscience and psychology related, isn’t it?

    Linda: It’s funny, Jay, because my life really is quite convoluted. I went back to school for my bachelor’s originally in biology, and I worked with a marine biologist. So my focus was on, believe it or not, fish, not people, not mammals.  But I was interested in behavior, but since my doctoral advisor was so old school, psychology was to him a junk science. It was not a real science, so he talked to me out of going that way.

    So I got my doctorate, was working in academia and my students I work at a community college and a lot of my students have come from very difficult backgrounds. Their issues are not just academic. They have problems with… in fact, right now, I have a student that was homeless. She’s living in someone’s apartment and sleeping on their couch and money and unwanted pregnancies and having to raise children on their own. And I said: Oh I’m not equipped to handle this.

    And I was always interested in psychology and behavior so I went back to school, a couple of years ago right around when the pandemic was starting, and I earned my degree in psychology.  And it was the best, one of the best things I ever did. I wish I had done that originally. It’s okay. We end up where we’re supposed to end up. And I learned a lot of valuable lessons on the way. So that’s how I got my degree in psychology.

    And then I decided I wanted to do more with it, but I didn’t want to be a therapist. So I became a certified life coach, which was not therapy, but close enough.

    Jay: Well, actually, that’s where I was going with asking you about that, because when you said about, you know, at some point you’ve got to find help, it struck me that there’s a sort of typical, there’s probably more, but there’s typically three paths.

    There’s the sort of self-care, like, you know, take care of yourself more, put your own mask on first, and the things that we often do. But then there’s the therapy route, and then there’s the coaching route.

    Linda: Right.

    Jay: Walk me through how somebody would decide what sort of help is best for them, from your experience.


    Why Self-Help Doesn’t Work 

    Linda: Self-help is out there. There are so many books on the market.  Unfortunately, it’s human nature that we don’t follow through when we do things on our own. Not everyone, but for a lot of people. I’ve met potential clients that have bought self-help things that sit on a shelf and collect dust, they don’t know how to hold themselves accountable.

    So if someone is in that category, that they want to help themselves, but they can’t. They can’t stick to a routine. They look something up, they read a book and it’s like, okay, I read this book. Great.  That’s when you take the next step. My advice would be to find yourself a certified life coach, someone that has experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone that has a psychology degree. There’s plenty of very, very good coaches that have good backgrounds, but it’s someone that can help you uncover where you are.

    Now, any good coach would recognize that someone needed more help. We do not diagnose. We can give advice in certain cases.  We help the client go on their own journey and we help guide them.  If someone is suffering from symptoms, the first thing I would say is I can help you with this. But you need to talk to someone that is licensed to deal with a mental health issue.

    And it becomes very, very clear when you’re talking to someone if they are just having a lot of problems manoeuvring through life because there’s just an overwhelming amount of, you know   anxiety and work difficulties. And they’re just like, you know, I can’t stand my boss. I don’t want to come home and yell at my husband. I don’t want to make my children miserable. That’s a person we can help. We can help them build resilience, learn how to reframe, not take everything so personally. And deal with bad situations in a mature way.

    But if they’re saying, you know, I can’t sleep. I find I’m drinking too much.  You know, I just, I can’t cope.  I can’t even get myself out the door in the morning because I keep going back to look for my keys. That’s someone that’s dealing with something   veering on what would be a mental health issue. Probably something that they could deal with, with a little bit of therapy. That would not be something I would deal with. I would tell them you need to get help with that situation.

    Jay: That’s a really helpful division of like where it crosses a line. What I really liked from what you said was: help them build resilience, learn how to reframe, because that’s often, you know, the story we’re telling ourselves, Brené Brown style. And finding different ways to deal with the situation that, you know, not falling into our usual kind of traps and habits, et cetera.


    Creating Resilient Habits for Yourself 

    How long in your experience of supporting people with this and I can give my answer as well. How long does it take to kind of change those like baked in habits where we, we’re trying to be ourselves at the same time, we’re trying to regulate our emotions. How long does it take before that becomes a habit, a normal way that you deal with things?

    Linda: I wish there was like a very definitive answer to that question, but it is based on the individual and how dedicated they are to making a change. If someone truly wants to change, that transition would be relatively quick. If they, if they stuck to what, what is it that they say?   A habit is, is formed and broken. I think it’s like 23 days.

    That can be true if someone is truly dedicated and they do something continuously, but I would say for most people, it would take at least three months to make that transition to where now they are dealing with things in   And I know I keep using that word mature, but when you think about it, when we overreact to things, it is sort of like being a child that doesn’t get their way, and we revert back to that, even as adults.

    So, I would say three months for someone that is dedicated, but someone that keeps slipping back.  and slipping back. That, that might take a little bit longer, but as long as someone has the drive and the willingness to put in the work, they will get to a good place in their life within about three months. I don’t see it happening much sooner than that.

    Jay: I think in business as well, it’s a lot to do with   how the environment is showing up as well as how we’re showing up, you know, it’s kind of like managing yourself within time, within all the other stuff that’s come on and having boundaries and you have talked a lot about that on the podcast over the years.

    So, I mean, thank you so much for, for this short sharp shot in the arm in terms of rising resilient. I’m really glad that you’re able to join us today.

    Linda: Thank you. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions.

    Jay: Thank you so much for your time today. It’s been just awesome.

    Linda: Hey, thank you, Jay.​ 

    For those moved by Linda’s story and eager to harness their inner confidence and find a path to building career resilience awaits. This is an invitation to those yearning to unlock their potential, to feel empowered, and to celebrate their innate talents, propelling them towards greater success.


    Visit the Podcast episode shownotes to connect with Linda and sign up for her complimentary Self-Confidence course.

    You can find out more about Linda and life coaching for building career resilience on her website