Felicia Zigman practices what she preaches. Within the hustle and bustle of fast-paced company cultures, Felicia recognizes the need for active self-care. As a passionate consultant with a demonstrated history of building and leading high impact teams, she uses positive psychology to help people lead happier and healthier lives. In her own words;
“My greatest passion is helping people and organizations understand their strengths, achieve sustainable happiness and well-being, removing obstacles and ultimately reach their full potential.”
I sat down with Felicia to learn more about her career and legacy.
Lisa Solomon (LS): Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Felicia Zigman (FZ): Hi! I’m Felicia. I am a Los Angeles native and a single mama of a 5-year-old son Noah, and an adorable (and slightly neurotic) terrier, Jakey. For fun, I enjoy entertaining, cooking, spa days, learning and traveling. I also really like dark chocolate, sleeping in and watching TV.
LS: What are you most proud of in your career so far?
FZ: I am the most proud when I see my clients successfully reach their goals and when we see a significant change in their attitude and abilities. This gets me out of bed every day! I am also super proud to have been a part (albeit a small part) of the SpaceX story, having created their first Training development team back in 2010.
LS: What led you to become an organizational development leader and coach?
FZ: I’ve always been interested in human behavior… how we think, feel, relate to each other and ultimately, how we behave. This led me to pursuing my BA in Psychology and later, a Master’s Degree in Public Health (Health Education) and since then, receiving several certifications in Executive Coaching, Happiness (positive psychology) and ultimately starting my own practice back in 2016, after the birth of my son.
LS: What kind of course or resources do you wish you had when you were starting your career to set you on the right path and encourage lifelong learning?
FZ: This is a great question. I am actually happy with the resources that were and were not available to me at each point of my career. Granted, it wasn’t as easy to get information back when I started, around 1999, but it did teach me how to find what I needed at a given time. As the world and technology advanced, I was super appreciative of how much easier it is to learn and get your hands on resources and information. I am also very excited to expand how I can deliver my services and information with a greater reach.
LS: What tools do you find indispensable for those working in your industry?
FZ: These days, Zoom! Otherwise, I am happy that in my field, tools are often helpful but not necessary. Important traits like listening, empathy, intuition, direct and honest feedback are indispensable for those who want to help others be their best.
LS: Any advice for those looking to get into organizational development?
FZ: Gain experience through practice. Getting a certification is nice, but applying it is key. Also, it’s not only expected that we will always make mistakes, but I believe that’s how we learn best. And, it certainly requires that you demonstrate resilience. Other than that, take on free clients. Practice. Be transparent about your experience and knowledge. Let them know what you can do for them and what you are unable to do. And, continue to read and learn via books, Ted Talks, podcasts, interviews with others.
LS: How can our students learn more about organizational development? What books or publications do you find most helpful?
FZ: There’s a lot of information these days that I reference a lot in my practice. A few titles are, Focus by Daniel Goleman, Solve for Happiness by Go Gawdat , and EQ 2.0 by Travis Bradbury.
LS: Who or what most inspires your work?
FZ: I am most inspired by the blend of creativity and science that I use daily to help my clients reach their goals. No two people (or two companies) are the same so I approach each goal, obstacles, and person in a way that best works for them. This keeps me on my toes and fully engaged.
LS: Where and how do you work best?
FZ: I am an introvert, so most of my best thinking comes from quiet. I feel like I can work through each person’s experiences and situations best when I have reflection time to myself, which is sometimes a challenge when you have a small child at home.
LS: Through which opportunity have you learned the most over your career?
FZ: That change is inevitable. I’ve learned to go with the flow rather than fighting it. Nothing stays the same, and this is good. It just took me a while to realize this.
LS: How do you hope to impact your community?
FZ: I would like to be a person to help people find their own happiness and fulfillment and help others cultivate their own.
LS: What’s the best advice you ever received?
FZ: The best advice I ever got is that I will make mistakes. And everyone won’t like me. When I was in my early 20’s I didn’t find these concepts comforting but now I understand that it’s exactly these things that make you better, more resilient, and ultimately, wiser.
LS: What excites you for the future?
FZ: There’s a lot that excites me about the future. First of all, I believe that the area of Happiness and Positive Psychology is in its infancy and is starting to take off and be embraced by organizations and individuals. I am glad to be a part of this. I am also excited to continue to do and be true to my brand and be open to extending my reach and reinventing how I do it. Running a coaching practice during Covid has pushed me to adopt new practices and delivery channels, like educational videos, podcasts, online coaching platforms and facilitating dynamic sessions virtually. This has been a super cool silver lining.
LS: What is still your biggest challenge?
FZ: My biggest challenge is (and has been) promoting myself and my business. I am fortunate that up until this point, my practice has been solely word-of-mouth, but with Covid, I am finding that I need to be more intentional and strategic about building my business.
LS: What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
FZ: I have learned that one size doesn’t fit all. Theory is great and important, but when you’re talking about human beings, there’s not one way to do something.
LS: What do you want your legacy to be?
FZ: Love this question. The greatest thing I will leave this world is my wonderful, compassionate, funny son. This is my greatest achievement. After this, I hope my legacy will be that I helped many people achieve their goals and happiness/fulfillment in a very human way.
LS: What’s next for you?
FZ: I am going to keep doing what I’m doing, but with a farther reach. I am also going to continue learning, growing and listening. And, practice happiness daily.
To #PowerUp with Felicia, check out her Cultivating Happiness course today!