EP 35: Navigating Career Pivots and Identity Crisis with Dr. Lindsay Padilla, PhD

career identity Sep 10, 2021

 We all grew up being told who was the creative one, who was the smart one, and who was the sporty one. There was no space for anyone to hold a multiplicity of skills and interests.

Of course, none of us hold just one identity, skill, or interest.

So an identity crisis–or multiple identity crises–is inevitable.

But an identity crisis can be a powerful turning point in your life and work.

On one hand, you can keep doing what you’ve been doing—what you’re supposed to do. Or you can take a big risk and do something different.

We all have PhDs on what we are supposed to do. We have breathed in the messages on what it means to be a success and responsible. Staying on the current path is oddly comfortable—even when it sucks.

When you decide to honor the desire to grow and make a pivot with your work or take a risk with a significant relationship in your life, you are entering into a stage of growth that can be lonely and a bit disorienting.

But leaders like us know there’s more to life than the status quo.

My guest went through her own shifts in her career and identity and is growing a business and a life that looks very different from her original life plan.

Dr. Lindsay Padilla is an ex-community college professor who accidentally started a business while on the tenure track. Now, as the CEO and co-founder of Hello Audio, Lindsay challenges online industry norms of unfinished courses and unconsumed content with her product.



Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • The surprising side hustle that sparked Lindsay’s move out of academia
  • The role networking played in her developing a business that capitalizes on her teaching knowledge and experience
  • How shifting careers changed not only her work identity but Lindsay’s identity within her marriage
  • Why identity shifts can be a source of grief, even when the shift is good or necessary
  • Why your metrics of success may have to change with your identity
  • How a series of major personal and professional losses made Lindsay recommit to her taking care of her body and to keeping her values at the forefront of her business

Learn more about Dr. Lindsay Padilla:

Learn more about Rebecca:

Scroll Down for the Full Episode Transcript:

Lindsay Padilla: Who am I? What am I doing? I’m not teaching at all, and I’m running a business. I was miserable, and that lightbulb was like I need to reorganize my business. I didn’t build this for my strengths; I built it because of what other people were doing online.

[Inspirational Intro Music]

Rebecca Ching: A crisis of identity can turn into a powerful turning point in your life and work. When you have a fork in the road moment, you’re given some clarity and some choices, but it sure can be overwhelming too. You see how you can keep going as you are with the comfort of the known (even though it may suck) or you can do something different which can feel really risky. Maybe you’re one to jump into the new path and figure things out as you go, or maybe you're one to study, consult, and plan before taking the leap into the unknown.

Now, we crave certainty when the stakes are high, so the known is attractive, but there comes a point where we have to move in a new direction because the status quo is not sustainable. So we look at our choices and often feel the tug to do what we think we’re supposed to do, right? We all have PhDs on what we’re supposed to do. We’ve breathed in these messages on what it means to be a success and be responsible. Plus, like me, you’ve taken the classes, you’ve connected with mentors, you’ve joined communities and masterminds. Yeah, sure, we need to learn from others, but we need to take the skills we learn and make them our own, and if we don’t, we end up building a business and a life that does not fit us at all. In fact, it can be downright harmful.

I'm Rebecca Ching, and you're listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with leaders whose burdens have inspired their life's work. Our goal is to learn how they’ve addressed these burdens, how they rise from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.

Growing up inevitably leads to a crisis of identity. It is a natural part of the developmental life cycle.


We do not talk about it enough. The common crisis of identity, often referred to as a quarter-life crisis or a mid-life crisis are common developmental experiences. For me, I held the belief that the idea of transitioning careers and changing professional interests was flaky, even wasteful. I know for others, many do not want to be forced into one professional identity, but the pressure is still great to have a clear answer to, “What do you do?” 

Now, I grew up being told who was the creative one, who was the smart one, and who was the sporty one. There was no space for others or for me to hold a multiplicity of skills and interests. Sadly, I think the collective culture still likes to box us into one identity and tell us who we should be. Changing careers stirred up a lot of the shoulds in myself and in those around me, but as I grew and matured, I refined who I thought I should be and came more into who I truly long to be as I honor the desire to stretch into new areas of work and interest. I stopped listening to those who wanted me to play it safe or did not get my continual evolutions. It was scary and lonely at times, but it’s worth it. 

That crisis of identity that I went through, and so many go through, is a data point of a normal and appropriate growth edge you are working through. It’s a response as we move through the stages of growth and development, and we don’t talk about these enough and the common crisis of identity they stir in us. 

That’s why I am so excited about today’s Unburdened Leader conversation. My guest went through her own shifts in her career and identity and is growing a business and a life that looks very different from hre original plan. Dr. Lindsay Padilla is an ex-community college professor who accidentally started a business while on the tenure track. 


Now, as the CEO and coach-founder of the Hello Audio software, which takes your content and creates private audio feeds to make learning on-the-go much easier for your people, Lindsay challenges online industry norms of unfinished courses and unconsumed content with her product. All of her business ideas were born out of her tenure track years teaching adults online at a community college, and the ridiculous amount of learning she’s done in all things education, along with the years spent growing her course creation business online.

Now, listen for the data Lindsay collected that led to her leaving a career she thought she would do for the rest of her life. Pay attention to the windy paths towards her business today and the role networking played in her successes. Notice how Lindsay navigated immense losses while staying focused on what mattered most to her.

I am especially excited about our conversation today. I get to introduce you all to a colleague, actually, someone who used to live not too far from me, now moved a little bit to north county, but y’all, I’d love to welcome Dr. Lindsay Padilla to The Unburdened Leader podcast today. Lindsay, welcome!

Lindsay Padilla: Yay! Thanks for having me!

Rebecca Ching: All right, so I want to jump in today and have you answer a question that you’ve probably been asked a lot about, but hopefully we can approach it a little differently. I think this is a juicy story. I would love for you to tell us about the day that you handed in your resignation letter, or maybe it was press “send” on your computer, finalizing the decision for you and your husband, that you guys both made, [Laughs] to leave the comfort and security of your academic jobs to become entrepreneurs months before you were tenured. I think that’s important to note.

Lindsay Padilla: [Laughs] That is correct.

Rebecca Ching: So yeah, tell us about that moment where you made it official.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, so it’s sitting in my dean’s office. Yeah, so, like, the step before maybe hitting “send” on the letter was telling people who employed me and the people who had to find the people to take over the full-time work. 


So I was a full-time professor at a community college in the fall semester of 2016, at a college in Northern California. It was my dream job. It was everything I’d worked up to in my, you know, 32 or 33 years up until that point, and I was so scared about that conversation because I think, as a teacher, as somebody who goes into service work, right, where you’re giving yourself -- I love teaching, and I was good at it. So I’m not that entrepreneurial story where you were trying to escape something. Like, I left something I’m actually tearing up. I haven’t talked about this moment in a long time, so I’m glad you asked.

Rebecca Ching: I see it.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I see that, yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: ‘Cause it means a lot to me. Teaching was a vocation for me, it truly was. So that moment, I felt like, actually, at that time -- you’re making me think about what I was thinking and what I was going through at the time -- I was processing feeling like I was leaving students behind.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: It was in the middle of a school year, so it wasn't the summer. We have that summer break where there’s that separation, and if you’re an educator, you know what that feels like, and it’s good, and it’s needed in many cases, but it was in the middle of an academic year. So I also felt, not only like I was leaving my students behind and the future students who I could have had. So it was like I was seeing that part. It was also my colleagues, people I cared about that, you know, put their neck on the line to hire me, to stand up for me to be hired in that position -- it’s very competitive to get a full-time position. 

And so, the dean, yeah, I was really nervous about that conversation. I had preconceived notions of, like, I’m a sell out, who does she think she is, she abandoned us, or she lied to us. I think I had a storyline in my head. 


So I was only employed by that school about three years, so to your point of we  just left before tenure, my husband was closer to tenure. I was a year-and-a-half, and he was one semester. I know the adjuncts out there and the other faculty who wanted that position, and I think that was the hard part for me. It felt like I was leaving an identity.

The reason why I’m crying now is I think that was unresolved, and the first couple years in my business I kind of pushed it aside, and I didn't realize that I was pushing it aside, but I truly left a path that I had set out for myself and chose to go in this very uncharted place -- or it felt uncharted to me. It didn't have a path. It didn't have the PhD and the job, right? There was no exact path, and so, it felt like oh, I’m doing this thing and it’s for a bigger potential reason and a potential higher impact on the world, but it was almost like honoring past Lindsay who, that was her big impact was what she would do in the class.

Rebecca Ching: So okay, tell me about the tears right now. Tell me about the emotion. You cared about this work. You cared about your students. You care about your team members, and you’re noticing that those younger parts of you, that that was what you were looking for. That was your life’s goal.

Lindsay Padilla: That was it, yeah. Yep. That was that mountain. Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: So this is almost five years ago.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Since you made that decision at the recording of this conversation. Yeah, what else are you noticing as you reflect on that?

Lindsay Padilla: So I think I’m just, like, addressing that path. So what did the dean do, right? I had all this oh, my gosh, I’m the worst person, I’m the worst colleague -- the opposite. He was like, “You are so brave. You’ve figured out something different. I can’t wait to see what you do.”

Rebecca Ching: He believed in you. He love-bombed you.


Lindsay Padilla: And I wasn’t expecting that from the dean, the person who has to, like, scramble -- not that coordinating adjuncts that were working at the institution -- like, I knew I was opening up a position. I think about this when I think about hiring within my company now. Sometimes when someone isn’t the right fit for that role, it feels like you’re hurting them, but the reality is you could be letting them onto something better. And so, I did really try to ground myself in the I’m opening this up for that excited teacher that I was, that I’m not right now. That’s not my path, and I’m opening that up. And so, I think he (and respect for him) didn’t make me feel bad about it, didn’t make me feel like I was leaving anybody, and he also was like, “You know, we don’t make enough money as professors. You are doing something a little bit different with our knowledge, and you’re still that same human that can make an impact, and if you fast forward a couple years and everything that’s happening with COVID and just in general, educators aren’t paid a lot, so I think it’s always in the back of their mind about could they do something different with their degree or what does a different path look like. I think it was in the early days of paving that out which is why I started my podcast, Academics Need Business because I felt -- that was me processing that identity of has anyone else done this? Am I silly? Why aren’t we talking about people leaving academia? And so, I wanted to interview people in that position because yeah, the reality was I was met with, “Good for you. That’s awesome,” and not what I was expecting.

Rebecca Ching: That’s wonderful. A couple of things -- the emotion I’m sensing for you, you weren’t entitled. You recognized that this is -- in the world of academia, a tenured, full-time professor gig is a great gig [Laughs] in that world.


Lindsay Padilla: Yep, absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: And anyone listening can think about whatever that relates to in their field, and you got it. You and your husband, you had it. I’m seeing that, that sense of responsibility that you had, it wasn’t like peace out, F it. 

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: You recognized you weren’t owed much, but you had earned this, and you didn't want to disappoint others. Is that what I’m sensing?

Lindsay Padilla: Sure.

Rebecca Ching: People that you cared about who took a risk in you, and so, it took even more courage to leave a good thing. So I’m curious, then (and I’m sure those listening are too) what was weighing you both down in your jobs as professors that led to this shift, even this great experience?

Lindsay Padilla: [Laughs] Nothing.

Rebecca Ching: Nothing?

Lindsay Padilla: Like, I got into teaching college level, specifically, because of the autonomy and the love of the subject, and, specifically, community college for the love of teaching and not so much the love of research, right? I didn't go down the path of an R1 institution or anything like that. I felt really at home. I made a lot of choices to make my life look a certain way, and, like I said, I really did love it, and I felt supported at my school. I was always involved in the union at most institutions. Adjuncts get paid horribly, so I was always thinking about, you know, just rights of professors and stuff like that. So that had always been something that I was passionate about is fair paying --

Rebecca Ching: Thank you. As a chronic adjunct professor, thank you.

Lindsay Padilla: Correct! Fair pay was really important to me, all the things. Yeah, I felt like I was making my impact there. It’s very fulfilling. Teaching is very fulfilling, and there were a little bit of some admin issues on our campus, specifically, but, you know, at the end of the day, I loved what I did day in and day out. So what was weighing on me, I think, was -- I think part of it’s probably some ADHD which we can get into later, undiagnosed. 


I was in a very structured environment, so sometimes I would criticize myself for not being super organized in my class but because I’m a professor and I can decide how my class is organized, I was basically making decisions that felt good for me. Which, in turn, felt good for my students. 

Rebecca Ching: Nice.

Lindsay Padilla: My dissertation was about the emotions of teaching and learning in the classroom as it relates to human rights education and talking about social justice and things going on in the world ‘cause I taught sociology. So I felt very, very connected to my work. I had just produced research that was with my work and with colleagues. So all the things adding up to a very healthy relationship with her job, and then I started going oh, maybe I should work out. Well, guess what happened? I was feeling amazing, like, the best I’d ever felt in my life. I was so happy. I was all the things, and I got into an MLM. [Laughs] I was selling Beach Body products on accident, and I was sitting here being like oh, academics and teachers could totally work out in the morning. We’re busy. All the things that you realize, and I felt good, and I wanted other people to feel like me, and so, I started selling that. When it introduced an extra thousand bucks a month, I was sitting here going oh, it’s not about not spending money on Starbucks with this, now, salary; what about income streams? It was just this world that I had never considered because of my path, and yeah. 

So I think the weighing was more like the opportunity, the weighing of doing something bigger and that excitement, and that’s where that ADHD comes in of, like, what else can I do, what else can I generate if I’ve accomplished this other thing. I remember saying to my husband at one point, coming back from buying my first course and getting into this, I remember saying to him, “Oh, this is it. We both landed the full-time jobs. We bought a house. We solved the two-body problem in academia where our schools were near each other.” I was like is this all there is? Here I am at, like, 33 saying that out loud, and it’s like yeah!


Rebecca Ching: Totally.

Lindsay Padilla: So I’m just having that moment, and I think it blew up faster than I was expecting it to and different things fell into place, and it was like oh, I can create a whole different life that I didn’t even know that I could create.

Rebecca Ching: Then once you saw that you couldn’t unsee it.

Lindsay Padilla: Nope. 

Rebecca Ching: And so, you had all this amazing goodness in your life, but then bringing in this side hustle by accident, because with that, especially MLMs, you learn about marketing and audience and all of this stuff. I could almost sense in your brain it was like [Clicking Sound] just clicking.

Lindsay Padilla: Absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: And all of a sudden a whole new world for you. Then it sounds like it went quick. So then tell me more from the awareness of side hustle to getting your first idea for your first business Build A Better Beta. Walk us through that. 

Lindsay Padilla: Okay yeah. So yeah, and I’ll try to collapse timelines. So selling MLM,. I start listening to Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn through Chalene Johnson, and so, I started to -- and this is the early days of Periscope, so live video is coming out and I was like I could do live video! I love that kind of thing. And so, all of this was all lining up. This was all the year of 2015, and I think my path in 2015 was I can do it better than my upline is doing it. That was my ceiling of awareness. Turn that corner of that year because that’s when I -- the first program I bought was Todd Herman’s 90-Day Year, and I thought I wasn't organized, right? Here’s the ADD person who’s like, “I’m not productive!” [Laughs] I wish I could go back and be like girl, that’s not the problem, but that’s what I thought was, so I thought buying the system would make me, you know, more efficient in my business, but what it ended up doing was finding out oh, I can build a thing outside of Beach body. I shouldn't be slinging shakes. What can I make? What can I sell? 


It was going to his live event, which was April of 2016. I went to his live event, and I sat next to Melissa Griffin, of all people, who is amazing, an amazing course creator, super successful. I was at this very successful table which is another storyline in my journey. It’s always, like, Lindsay’s always networking, and she just was, like, bringing up this little Pinterest course that she had. She was like, “I have this course, and I have thousands of people go through it, but people aren’t finishing.” I just remember being like, “Oh, yeah, you know, so how do you organize it? How are you organizing it, and have you tried this?” She looks me in the eye, and she’s like, “Why aren’t you telling everyone this? No one at this table knows how to teach, and that was the day where I was like oh, shit.

Rebecca Ching: Oh.

Lindsay Padilla: And I think that’s the piece where it was like I’m health coaching on the side. I love teaching. But when that came in, I was just like who am I to hold back this information from people who are teaching really great things? This was the very beginning of the event, like, the first lunch, and so, that event was download in every speaker and every conversation. Adrienne Dorison hired me at the event to do something with her course, and I just walked up to her, and I was like, “Girl, I can help people finish,” and she was really into efficiency and all this stuff.

So I just came with that energy, and guess what, summer rolls around, and what do I have to do in the summer? I actually have a totally open calendar. So heading into that fall -- so it’s August -- Derek comes to me, and he’s like, “I don't think you should go back to teaching right now.”

Rebecca Ching: Oh!

Lindsay Padilla: “You probably shouldn’t go back right now,” and I was like, “I need closure, but I hear you, noted,” right? And so, I head into that fall semester, and here’s the moment -- because of my networking, and I don’t even know how -- Trivinia Barber reached out to me, Amy Porterfield’s VA, executive assistant at the time. She’s like, “What if I partnered with you? There are people that Amy’s teaching to create courses, and they need a little bit extra curriculum support.” 


I was like, “Okay, tell me more.” And so, we had this call, and I remember taking this call in my office that had no windows [Laughs] ‘cause I was a -- you know, you’ve gotta go through the ranks to get windows, and it’s the middle of the hall.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Lindsay Padilla: I had no windows, and I remember secretly taking this call. My brain was exploding. Trivinia gets on the phone, and she says, “I sold a $60,000 package for you,” and I was like, “What!” Here I am -- office, right? My salary’s $67,000, [Laughs] and I’m imagining my ladder, and I remember, in opening up into this world, I could hit $100,000 in 20 years, okay? Oh, my gosh, and I remember calling Derek shaking and laughing ‘cause I was like, “This is silly! Like, what’s happening?” He’s like, “Oh, my gosh!” And I was like, “What do we do!” And then he’s like, “You’re leaving,” and then I think on the way home when I got back and talked and he’s like, “I think I should leave too,” ‘cause he was like what is this!

And so, yeah, it moved very fast, and it’s very dramatic feeling. I’m, like, getting back into that energy, but those are the types of signs that the universe was sending me [Laughs] as I was on my way out. There was another really interesting thing that happened where on our campus I taught one of my sections in one of those bungalow-type emergency -- where they create them ‘cause there’s not enough space, and it was, like, in the parking lot.

Rebecca Ching: Right. [Laughs]

Lindsay Padilla: The day after I teach, a driver ran into that exact bungalow. Students were hurt by where they were sitting.

Rebecca Ching: Really? How?

Lindsay Padilla: But there were no deaths or anything like that, and it was -- I just remember this visceral reaction of, like, I need to get out of here. It was like this is also unsafe, and we could also talk about school shootings and other things that were happening, and the type of procedures that we were doing at our community college level. That was another sign where I was like I’m just leaving.


So the way we funded this -- so the people listening are like did you have all this money in savings? They’re probably asking that. Part of this conversation that fell into place was let’s sell our house. We don’t need a house anymore because we don't need to show up to a physical location. So that hit us, and we had purchased a property in Petaluma, and, I mean, it’s silly, that two-and-a-half years into selling a house to -- so selling the house became a project, and so did launching the business or, like, getting the things in place that would make it somewhat stable. So we funded it through that. I think that’s really important to say out loud, and our plan at that point was to actually -- we did house sitting across the world. We left in May, and we did that for nine months. And so, house sitting was another weird universal thing that fell in my lap. I didn't even know it was a thing, and it’s where you go and watch people’s pets all over the world, and you stay at their places for free.

So we were in Belgium, in Hawaii, in Nashville, London.

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Lindsay Padilla: We stayed in these amazing cities, and we weren’t actually paying rent which is bananas. We were in Mexico, that was the first stop and it was, like, four months. So the summer in Mexico was amazing. So there I am in Mexico, now running a business, and it started to dawn on me in Mexico, and I was like oh, shit, I’m the breadwinner. [Laughs] Breadwinning in being a solo-preneur is like go sell things and price it and all these responsibilities and hacks that I don’t think I, like, truly thought about as somebody who was used to a salary and healthcare. I knew we would make it -- we would figure it out, but I was also -- talking about this amazing supportive partner, absolutely, he’s amazing, and I was worried about him a little bit because I was like what’s he gonna do?


And he wasn’t necessarily like, “I’m gonna be in the business,” it was like maybe he’ll just support me in some way. And so, his role in those early days was, like, getting us the house sits, doing some of the caretaking of the animals. It wasn't a lot of work, but he wasn't doing a lot, and I think I started to feel scared, and I wasn’t used to communicating with somebody who didn't understand what I was going through. 

So Derek and I have lived very side-by-side parallel lives, both professors. Definitely a different subject matters, but that’s what made our conversations interesting, and then we’d grow into this and it was, like, the first time in our whole relationship that it was like he doesn't know what I’m doing. He doesn't get it. That was the story in my head, and I retreated. I was uncomfortable sharing and asking for help around it. What I didn't realize was I was actually mirroring my mother’s relationship with my father as the provider, and I didn't know that. 

So the identity was, like, who am I, what am I doing, and I became a manager. I, all of a sudden, was turning into an agency, and so, now I’m not teaching at all, and I’m running a business. It hit me, and that was in Mexico. I was, like, miserable, and we could tell. This was the first time we were having problems in our relationship or it felt like separate, and it was like, “I’m not happy.” Then Derek was like, “Well, you're not teaching.” That lightbulb was like I need to reorganize my business. I didn't build this for my strengths; I built it because of what other people were doing online which is a whole other conversation that I know we’ve had before.

Rebecca Ching: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay Padilla: So yeah, there was a lot there. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: Take a breath. Thank you for sharing that. There’s always good data when your closest person -- whether it’s your partner, friend, whatever -- if there’s conflict when there hasn’t been before, there’s some data to glean. I loved how you caught how your family of origin influenced how you were running your business.


Lindsay Padilla: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: It’s, like, systems repeat. Homeostasis is an insidious little thing. It’s something that people feel like is so separate. Like, oh, this is my personal life, and this is my business life. I’m like what’s the common denominator? You’re in both. 

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And you are you. [Laughs]

Lindsay Padilla: And you need to make money to live and survive, and yeah, so if we get into where I was for the next two or three years, right, running Build A Better Beta, starting to make some money, I still had issues. Yeah, it stemmed from watching my father who, by the way, was kind of an entrepreneur, just did it with his hands. He’s a laborer but an independent contractor. He built kitchens for, like, really famous people, and he was running his own business because he had to find work and it was referral and all the things, and then my mom was tasked with, quote-unquote, “bookkeeping,” and, you know, he went and did the physical labor and would come back exhausted. Then my mom was responsible for taking care of all of us, then it was like I just remember, the entire time growing up, her hunched over the computer with bills trying to make it work, and then my dad being like, “Oh, you just spend too much money,” and hiding credit cards and all that stuff.

So take that with me and feeling like I was mirroring my mom in that I was scared about what I was doing and how I was spending money in my business and keeping my partner out because my dad was very clear, like, you’re creating this. I’m creating the work. And so, I think I flipped that. That was a lot of what I processed, actually, in therapy was witnessing that and how I took some of that feeling and relationship with money. It’s still something I’m totally working on, but once I saw that, I’m like Derek wants me to succeed. He’s not sitting here saying, “How are you spending this money? Oh, my gosh.” His relationship with money with his family is also very different. It was always there. His family was very well off in San Diego. He didn't have to worry about it, so also kind of dangerous ‘cause it was like oh, everything's gonna work out. 

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]


Lindsay Padilla: You know what I mean?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: That mix. He was a partner, and I didn't know what that looked like, and I had to break through allowing him to be a partner and carry some of the weight of the household. And so, just to clarify, that’s what breadwinner meant to me as I witnessed in my family. I’m, like, literally doing it differently, and I feel like I’m healing a lot of my family, generational, how we create wealth in my line. That’s also helping carry me as I push myself to do things like raising capital. It’s like oh, this is scary because I don’t know an example of this. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: I want to get into that.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I think, man, we all have money stories. We all have relationship stories, and Derek right now is an integral part of your businesses.

Lindsay Padilla: Yes, he is. Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And so, he ended up folding in and shifting and finding the ideal roles, and that settled your system quite a bit. You’ve referenced -- and I want to touch on this now before we go into some other things -- you referenced being diagnosed with ADHD, and I happen to have a little inside scoop that this is very recent.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: I remember opening up the Instagram DMs, and you’re like, “Hey, Rebecca, do you know somebody who could help me with this?”

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah!

Rebecca Ching: I’m like, “I do!” Do you remember the first thing I said to you?

Lindsay Padilla: Yep, you were like --

Rebecca Ching: I said --

Lindsay Padilla: “Be prepared for grief and, like, processing.” I think that was the language you used was grief when you were thinking through the identity and your past as it relates to it. Yeah. 

Rebecca Ching: So what are you learning about yourself as you own this information about how your brain works and how you best function and work in life?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, I remember the call with the doctor who gave the official assessment, and I was nervous about not getting it. It was, like, I either have ADHD -- like, please let me have ADHD because I can jump on this label, and then I can do my academic thing and go research it and all the things. [Laughs] 


I remember the call we had, and she’s like, “So, you have it,” and I felt this sense of relief. I was like okay, cool. I have this -- I don’t want to call it an explanation, because it is an explanation, it is.

Rebecca Ching: But it’s like guard rails. It’s a container.

Lindsay Padilla: It’s like guard rails, yeah. Yes, and not a lot of guard rails in an ADHD brain so it’s all -- [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Lindsay Padilla: Right? So I attach to those. Yeah, and I just remember coming over this overwhelming first sense of relief, and I was like yes, and then it was like I think some of that feeling I had at the very beginning of this call was thinking back to past Lindsay and honoring what she went through. So as we just blew through those years of business, I wasn’t okay, and I sought therapy, didn't know therapy was an option or that I needed it, and doing that work really had me face some of the criticisms that I had inside my brain like I’m a bad CEO. That was very common. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why can’t I hold onto money? Why are my friends successful in doing this in their business, and I’m not attached to this revenue, but revenue’s important. There were real things I was working through. We didn't do the ADHD track there, but I at least was processing the thing that’s actually very common in ADHD which is, like, that inner critic, ‘cause our thoughts are pingin’ around, right? So as I honored her and I was like that was really hard, and I did it. I did the hard thing. I rumbled with it, right? That was hard, and I am good at what I do. I’m good at --

Rebecca Ching: You’re really good at what you do, and you were carrying the burdens of these beliefs and these stories that you weren’t good enough.

Lindsay Padilla: Yes, yes.


Rebecca Ching: A good enough wife, a good enough manager, entrepreneur, leader --

Lindsay Padilla: -- CEO, yes.

Rebecca Ching: And CEO, and this diagnosis, these guard rails helped you redefine some of these stories, helped you release some of these burdens. Tell me more about that.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, I had that relief and that honoring of past Lindsay, and that was really hard. Then, yes, you start to go back and look at academia, and she had said to me, like, “Well, you attached success to academics, so you made it work for you because that mattered to you.” Other people with ADHD could possibly struggle -- if they label it boring or they label it ‘I don't need this,’ they react differently. And so, I liked school, and when an ADHD person likes something, they tend to be able to hyper-focus and all of that stuff. So I do get into this hyper-focus mode when I am, like, really excited about something and it’s really hard for me to do something else, and at the expense of other things that need to get done in a business. I always criticized myself. The motivation, the distraction, all the things, that evidence was actually in college. So I was a procrastinator, and I knew what my bottom was, which was, like, an A minus, and I just, like, made it work. I would stay up overnight and study something ‘cause I enjoyed it, for the most part, most subjects.

So that’s why I was successful and never had the mental anguish that some people associate with school because I flipped it and it was academic success. Fast forward to entrepreneurship though, that is not academia, and I’m used to being successful. [Laughs] I’m used to getting A pluses, right? I’m used to --

Rebecca Ching: The immediate feedback too, right?

Lindsay Padilla: Immediate feedback or money feedback as immediate for me? Not good. Not healthy based on my --

Rebecca Ching: Oh, interesting. That wasn’t a metric that fueled the motivation and the focus.

Lindsay Padilla: Nope.

Rebecca Ching: Oh.

Lindsay Padilla: I think being a sociologist and studying Karl Marx and going through economics systems and, like, the things that I knew academically --


Rebecca Ching: Of course. That makes so much sense.

Lindsay Padilla: -- was really challenging for me to balance that theoretically. Of course, I want to talk theory and think about why I’m thinking something and why I feel a certain way, so yeah, that metric of success wasn’t a good marker, and if you don’t have that metric of success in building a business, the day to day is a slog. I think that was always what I was, like, searching for in those, like, three or four years when it felt like a struggle. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, you reflected back that one thing I said, “Be careful or just be aware that grief is likely gonna come up.” So as you are reflecting all that you have had to work through, push through, what is grief teaching you right now? What are you grieving?

Lindsay Padilla: I think, yeah, I needed to grieve maybe some of the identity stuff. Even just in the beginning of this call, right? Clearly I have such a connection to the teacher and that path. I have a lot of thoughts around there are threads and paths that we choose, and you can see how they play out, you know? But you pick one, and that thread sometimes it’s just like oh, that was a great thread. I see threads in business. Where, like, the Build A Better Beta and helping teachers leave academia during COVID, that would have, probably, exploded, right? That’s a beautiful thread. Someone else is carrying that right now. I think I will return to that thread about, you know, what it means to be outside the academy, probably, in the future as it relates to tech, and I see a successful exit with Hello Audio or a potential IPO, and it’s just like whoa, this woman was a professor, right? How can we talk about, you know, us holding professors back inside institutions and potentially not contributing to society in some way. Brené Brown, someone we both love, and her work was all in my dissertation.


Yeah, I think I’m grieving what academia gave me that I did enjoy, and grieving, I think, with ADHD, yeah, that was a great life too, meaning, it would have been cool to learn that I had ADHD as a professor. I don't know if I would have felt like I had it. I think the structures -- as the doctor who assessed me was like well, you know, “The semester helps. The grades help. I just built a grading system and, like, activities and things that I enjoyed, which is great, and my students love it, and you could compare me to the next teacher who was a big test person, right? It was like oh, cool, there are different types of teachers who enjoy different things, and my joy, actually, passes on to my students. 

So yeah, ooh, now you’re making me think about speaking about this from a teaching perspective. I’m sure there are some academics that might not have realized that they possibly have ADHD and feel like they don’t fit in academia, and they're doing things differently.

Rebecca Ching: Hello.

Lindsay Padilla: And they don't even know that it’s tied to that and that they’re probably speaking to those students who need that outlet and that that’s a great thing too. So it can’t always be about test scores and all the things. So yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, no. 

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, I want to shift gears to talk about some aspects of your new company, Hello Audio, which I love. I haven’t even begun to tap into how I want to use it. Last summer we were dealing with a global pandemic. You also went through a really painful work betrayal involving this new company, Hello Audio. Can you talk about what the stakes were for you and your husband as you navigated this work betrayal?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, so --

Rebecca Ching: Deep breath.

Lindsay Padilla: Deep breath, and yeah, it’s great because I feel like this conversation is going -- like, the threads are all there. So I’m looking at, you know, this conversation about not feeling like a good CEO and, like, where I am now with this company and what things are in place that make me feel successful. 


So yeah, sorry, just having a little moment where I’m connecting those dots.  So I had a course business, and we came up with this idea that wow, what if there were podcast versions of courses? We sell lifetime licenses. I have no idea how to do Dev, and I actually had no interest at the time, in August of 2019 when I sold those licenses, to actually label myself CEO of a tech company. So I was actually searching for someone else who was doing it that I could, like, partner with ‘cause Lindsay likes to partner. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: And Dev means development, right?

Lindsay Padilla: Development, yes. So having never started a tech company, we didn't know what was possible, blah, blah, blah, but I knew people wanted it. And so, I went down this path of, like, trying to possibly partner with another podcast hosting company, and that path is a process, right? You’re basically going into somebody else’s business, and they have board members that they’re talking to, whatever. So months in, it’s February 2020 (last year), and a customer basically reached out to me and was like, “Hey, I think we should build this. I think I could help you, and we’ll build it faster.” I’m not gonna just go build it because of the audience and all the things is what she said.

So I started to think about that, and this person builds apps and has been doing it for the last 15 years and managing Dev teams. I’m like great, that’s a skillset me and Derek don’t have. We have the vision. We’ve run a business. We have some of those things in place. I also felt comfortable because I had just launched a new funnel that was doing very well in my other business, so I think it’s important to highlight that. The person who was the breadwinner, things were coming in, so we were feeling good, and were like maybe we can do this. So yeah, then when the pandemic hit was the early days of that partnership, and then we worked in the pandemic. I got this gut feeling like we were building something really cool, and I saw my role in it, and I saw how I could help the company. When you have a team behind you that quick and that early, I felt safe. 


I felt very, like, oh, cool. Like, again, not having the ADHD diagnosis but being like, “I’m not good at XYZ, dah, dah, dah.” I have people now, and we can all divide the roles in a way that makes sense for me.

So we felt that pretty quickly. Yeah, so that all the way from February to end of May of last year we built this product. Me, Derek, Nora (who are the three co-founders of Hello Audio), and this other person. So there were four co-founders at the time, and we decided to build it before we did equity which is pretty common. You want to see what the working relationship feels like and all the things, and that person was in charge of the developer that we all collectively hired, but yeah, I mean, we built something together, and there was somewhat of a confrontation in Slack where I called myself the CEO as I was writing the welcome email (we were, like, two weeks out) and she was like --

Rebecca Ching: Two weeks out from launching, right? Two weeks out from launching?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, out from launching. Website is going live, copies ready, we’ve seen the product, but we actually haven’t logged in and looked at code, ‘cause we didn’t need to. [Laughs] In my head it was like it’s happening. So she says -- yeah, and I had this weird reaction ‘cause I think it’s like, you know, those spidey signals that are just kinda going off a little bit. Like, I was questioning does she wish she was running this? I don’t know. There was a weird spidey sense, and I said to Derek, “I’m gonna respond that if that’s on the table, we don’t have to have an equity meeting. I’ve been operating as CEO, we’re just talking equity. Roles matter but, like, what do you mean?” And so, I confronted her, and then she had written, like, “Oh, this is totally normal in tech. Sorry you don’t understand,” in so many words.

Rebecca Ching: What’s totally normal? What’s she saying is totally normal?

Lindsay Padilla: Waiting to use the label of CEO before equity, which is just not true. Elon Musk calls himself, like, something crazy --

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Lindsay Padilla: The name and role of CEO literally means nothing. There needs to be a president, legally. [Laughs]


Rebecca Ching: Right.

Lindsay Padilla: But, like, it’s not tied to equity. It’s truly not.

Rebecca Ching: It’s tied to hubris, yes?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: It’s tied to ego. It’s tied to pride. Okay, gotcha.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, and roles and recognition. We know what CEO means.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Lindsay Padilla: And so, I felt, by her saying, “You can’t use that,” I’m like is this on the table, right? Like, the table of equity.

Rebecca Ching: Let me just recap this. You’re having this conversation. You’re getting ready to launch two weeks out. You referred to yourself in the launch letter as CEO and there was pushback from one of these co-founders that you brought in from the original three around you using this title.

Lindsay Padilla: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: The three of your first, you, Derek, and Nora, plus this other person.

Lindsay Padilla: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And this other person’s the one that said, “No, I don’t think you should use CEO,” and then the spidey sense started going off, and --

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, and, again, labels and titles are important for lanes like who’s doing what, but it really isn’t a huge deal in the season of where your business was at. Is that -- am I somewhere --

Lindsay Padilla: For the most part, yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, gotcha.

Lindsay Padilla: It has nothing to do with equity and everything to do with what responsibilities do people have, and it’s like if that’s on the table, where do I fit in? I think that’s where I started to question -- ‘cause it’s like what would I do? This doesn’t make a diff -- it wasn’t adding up in my head when she’s running product, right? So that exchange happens. I say, “Great, I’ll change it to co-founder.” Fine. Then, the timeline that we now know is the next day she had a new business page with a new name up, a new company.

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Lindsay Padilla: And that Friday -- so this is now two days -- this happened on Wednesday. Thursday, the date is the same date that was the day after the Slack exchange, and then that Friday she attempts to delete any connection to Dev stuff. So we’re talking about communications in Slack where files were exchanged around Dev. We’re talking about Dev folders in Drive, and the Dev board in ClickUp. We don’t know this yet. 


This is just out of whatever. There are other things happening where we’re actually asking for signatures and addresses to be put on incorporation docs that Friday, and she comes back and says, “I need my lawyer to look at it,” and we’re like, “There’s addresses. Your lawyer does not have to look at getting an address for incorporation yet.”

So she holds us on that, and Monday is our normal standing meeting. Again, we’re in the pandemic. It’s the end of May. She comes to a Zoom call that has always been 90-minutes long. She comes off camera, and she says that she’s picking up her kid’s stuff from school. Schools were opening up where parents were going back and getting things. Remember, like, it was a little dramatic.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: I’m not saying she’s lying. Never have I ever had that happen, and we were gonna confront her and say, “Why aren’t you singing things?” She doesn't come on camera. The meeting goes on for an hour, and I can’t remember what we talked about. Then, we have another 30 minutes, and I said, “Great, can you come on camera and talk about why you’re not signing the documents?” “No, I can’t. I actually have to go. There’s another call.” In text. I’m like this does not feel good. We all were like this is not -- what is she doing? What is she doing? Tuesday rolls around, and she writes in Slack (and it was Derek’s spidey sense that went off), “I accidentally deleted stuff in ClickUp.” I thought ClickUp’s confusing, and it made sense, and Derek was like, “No, something’s weird,” goes to all the trash, and finds it. 

So he recovers everything, because she didn’t actually delete it all. So we recover everything. Now we know that she has officially gone behind our backs and deleted stuff. Something’s wrong, right? We didn’t know the extent, again, that she had a business page up or anything like that. That’s just stuff that comes later. Our equity meeting is now a week away. And so, we, obviously, the other three co-founders, are having very serious conversations about what this means and, I mean, that was a long ass week because I just wanted to be like, “What are you thinking? What’s going on?” 


And so, we operated as if we knew nothing, obviously, and we just prompted her for logins of stuff, and so, we filled the Slack with her excuses so we could take screenshots of it, and we tried to communicate with the developer who we’d been communicating with. He totally starts communicating, and then silence because he didn't know, right? He had to be told not to talk to them, no joke, and so, we have all of this. It’s documented officially in Slack, the whole timeline, all the conversations. We downloaded every Voxer. We have, like, everything.

Rebecca Ching: Real quick, what are you feeling in this? 

Lindsay Padilla: Oh, my gosh. So scared.

Rebecca Ching: Were you just in crisis -- okay.

Lindsay Padilla: So scared in that I just don’t know what’s happening, and it’s one of those things when someone acts in a way where you, like, can’t explain it, my brain goes to, “Oh, my gosh, she could be thinking this. Dah-dah-dah. Like, I want to analyze everything. Like, this is her move. This is her play. I want to be prepared. I tapped into advisors and colleagues and lawyers that this conversation was -- this is happening. We don't know what’s going on, and it was just like what’s she gonna do? Why is she doing this, and we just had to wait for her move, and that’s what we did. The question became is she gonna use this as a negotiation chip at the equity table, like, I have everything. I could run away from this, and that’s one thing we were thinking. Is she gonna have the guts to show up to the equity meeting? What are we saying? How are we organizing this equity meeting? Clearly, we don’t want to partner with somebody who did this, that we know did that kind of thing.

Rebecca Ching: Mm-hmm.

Lindsay Padilla: And so, we just had to wait. It was just wait to see what her plan was, and the day before the equity meeting, late afternoon, we got an email that said, “From the advice of my lawyer, advisors, colleagues, friends, I’m not gonna move forward with this company -- it’s not the name Hello Audio -- and I’m not gonna move forward with this company. No hard feelings. You guys are all amazing people.” Then the next sentence is, “But I own everything,” in so many words. 


She said, “I own the ideas, the rights, the copy, the features. I’m copywriting it under my company, and it is patent-pending.”

Rebecca Ching: Okay. 

Lindsay Padilla: So that was the end. Thank god my lawyer was available ‘cause I went into oh my god, what do we do? Because it’s like at that moment I felt like now we knew what her play was and yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, so let me jump in, though, ‘cause not only is that the perfect storm of global pandemic, you have someone who you brought into your original triad and added a fourth person, now, effectively (is this accurate?) stealing your work. Is that a correct word?

Lindsay Padilla: It’s not stealing.

Rebecca Ching: It’s not stealing. What is it?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, so my lawyer, basically, was like, “Okay, cool. I’m sorry this is happening to you,” and in so many words. He’s a tech lawyer in Silicon Valley. You know, he has an office up there. That’s where we hired him, and he’s, like, “This kind of happens, and I’m really sorry this happened to you. There’s always legal weird battles.”

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Lindsay Padilla: You know, obviously, everything has its nuances, but he’s like, “What she said is false. That is not how copyright works.”

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Lindsay Padilla: Not only can you not copyright ideas, which she put in that sentence, we collectively worked on something. Whether or not there was ever any written thing that said, “Lindsay, Derek, Nora, you know, this person, and this developer are building this thing, and this is who owns it and how and all the things.” Even though that document didn't exist which, clearly, looking back would have been great, we did this collectively, and that’s called joint copyright. So we actually all have rights to that code.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, so she didn't -- okay.

Lindsay Padilla: So she didn't steal. She’s taking the narrative and saying, “I own everything,” to intimidate and puff up.

Rebecca Ching: She took a collective piece of work and was saying inaccurate things.

Lindsay Padilla: Right.


Rebecca Ching: Okay, so while you're dealing with this within COVID, you also had your second miscarriage while this is going on. Miscarraige is something that is so common and so not discussed enough.

Lindsay Padilla: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: And so many people suffer in silence. So how were you navigating this loss and moving through all of that, the loss that betrayal brings in with the loss of what COVID brought on all of us, I mean, again, that’s, like, a perfect storm trifecta of loss.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, I refer to it as a perfect storm of 2020, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: So literally, the baby was conceived that week. [Laughs] Not even kidding. Looking at the timeline and everything.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh, wow.

Lindsay Padilla: So yeah, fast forward to about, literally, a year ago is when I knew I was pregnant, and the first miscarriage I had -- actually, also in a very disruptive time in my other business which is a side note, and also, it’s tied to -- we could talk about identity stuff as well. Lindsay waited for a long time. Lindsay likes to achieve things, and, like, babies weren’t really that thing, but in August 2019, I took out my IUD, and I got pregnant immediately. Like, no period, nothing. This was someone who hasn’t had a period for seven years, so I was shocked of that miscarriage, and that miscarriage was, like, in October of 2019. So, actually, tied to the early days of this. Me not being a CEO of a tech company, I was also processing personal loss and how that was tied to business for the first time.

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, so in June, I find out I’m pregnant and, you know, this is, like, weeks after watching her sell the thing that I created and pretend like I don’t exist, so there was joy in being pregnant, I guess, and being like okay, cool, we’re gonna have this quarantine baby. [Laughs] Right, like, of course, that would happen. 


In August we, actually, had the miscariage, so it was, like, nine weeks, and I think we went through, like, 13 weeks of thinking everything was fine which is how that works. That’s the thing with miscarriages. It usually happens early, but you’re still sitting with it for 12 weeks, and I think this was, like, my 13th week of thinking I was pregnant even though the fetus was not for, like, 9 weeks. That’s a long time to be in the headspace of okay, this is what we’re gearing up for now.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: And to get a little bit further than last time, and so, I think that tied with all the turmoil of business is, like, if you think about what’s going on hormonally, I mean, all the things, right? So I  just started really just thinking about how do I get into my body and recognize stress and emotion and release and all those things? That’s what I got to explore in the fall, and I got more space for that when my thing was finally out there, so we were able to, like, officially launch in November, and that felt really good, and then -- 

Rebecca Ching: It sounds like it was healing.

Lindsay Padilla: It felt like it was healing.

Rebecca Ching: It sounds like it was healing.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, and I think that the miscarriage tied to that, so yeah, it was a lot.

Rebecca Ching: And so, I’m just thinking -- from your experience, right, in the early stages of this second company that you’re building, and then you’re sharing what you’re learning. So I want to wrap up with your latest venture with Hello Audio. You are learning who you want to bring on, how you want to evess, and now you’re connecting with leaders who are saying, “We care about your company and about your wellbeing,” and I’m thinking how many times I’ve seen people, in both my clinical and leadership, in these positions face-down, and they can’t show it because they’re afraid of losing trust. I’d love for you to share about your latest venture that you’re about to embark on with your Hello Audio business. I’m so excited, and I, also, want you to talk about, briefly -- because we could talk forever, Lindsay, I know this. 

Lindsay Padilla: [Laughs]


Rebecca Ching: About just the power of networking in this story, too, because, you know, networking often has a dirty connotation to it. You and I love it. Like, to me, when I realized that’s actually a part of my work, and if I put that in, it’s not something on just to splurge. I love it, but you and I are both extroverts. You’re an extrovert, right?

Lindsay Padilla: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, I thought so. And so, that is something that doesn't wear my nervous system down. So share with us what you’re about to do, ‘cause you and Derek are packing up here in San Diego to do something so cool.

Lindsay Padilla: So we got into Techstars Atlanta which is an accelerator, a very high-profile accelerator, and, you know, they have thousands and thousands of companies that apply every year, and their acceptance rate is, like, two percent. We got in, and it’s a big deal. So we’re moving to Atlanta, and it’s a bootcamp-style kind of we’re gonna help you make sure you do this right, right? And so, us going in and being like how do we scale to avoid burnout, how do we keep -- all these things, all these values that we’re establishing as a company, Techstars is very founder-friendly and give-first mentality, and we love it, and so, that support and that network is huge. 

So we’re very excited, and that’s what we will be spending this summer on. I think the other side of it is gonna be Hello Audio 2.0. The other side of it is gonna be a multi-million dollar raise, a seed round. This is where we start building the thing that, I guess, is the way to -- I don't know, the tech thing. It’s funny, I was like say it. It’s like some people spend their lives knowing that they’re gonna build a tech company, and they get into all of that, and it’s just like this is so new to me, but it also feels really good and, to your point earlier of, like, finding the people that have values I align with and making sure they’re on my board and they’re investing and they know where I stand on things, that means I have power to change this institution, you know, potentially, from within which is what drove me in teaching.


And so -- 

Rebecca Ching: I was gonna say that, yeah.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, there’s that thread of, like, if the money isn’t driving me to do it, like, why are you doing it? It’s this journey and this process, and I see myself getting on podcasts and talking with people I respect in this industry to talk about what it’s like to build a tech company as a female with an idea. Like, how do you do it and how prepped and prepared we are for it. So I also see this, like, I’m doing this because I want to show other women they are totally capable of doing this and that there’s money out there to help grow companies that have impact and have aligned values with how they want to see the world be different and better and that we can do better. And so, that’s the cool thing. It’s, like, if I could build a company that goes public, it’s, like, that impact you can have on hundreds and hundreds of employees, why the fuck not? Why not build it and, like, get the right people around you to help you do it. So Techstars is a part of that because we do need guidance. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Let me jump in though because part of you getting in with this and getting this was because you were networking. You had met someone who was in the pipeline with this particular --

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, he is the global pipeline manager of Techstars.

Rebecca Ching: What stood out to me is you just wanted to continue to serve and be generous with someone who you enjoyed, someone who, wow, this is a fun connection. You didn’t have an agenda, but you knew that this was a really important relationship, and you’re like you know what, I’m gonna help him out and just be generous without an ulterior motive, at the time. ‘Cause you were at a different place with things. I think that really just stuck with me when we first spoke is just I look at networking as how can I just be generous, and not, like, generous and then maybe they’ll give back to me. It just feels good.


Lindsay Padilla: It feels great!

Rebecca Ching: How can I just be generous, period? I think it’s important to note even, and I always say this, but grief is the biggest clarifier. The grief of betrayal is sometimes harder for me, at least, to work through, and the grief of loss is sometimes so painful it takes my breath away, but whatever the iteration of grief is, it clarifies what matters and what doesn't.

Lindsay Padilla: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And I’m hearing this, like, you moved through, you got the support of lawyers, you leaned on your co-founders that were original, Derek and Nora --

Lindsay Padilla: And friends.

Rebecca Ching: You check the stories, and you got the help. You reached out to me to get some different resources as you were getting clarity on how your body and brain work.

Lindsay Padilla: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: You stayed the course. You got clarity. You even said, “I need to be more embodied.” That was one of your takeaways after the second miscarriage. An embodied leader is someone who has a high capacity to feel.

Lindsay Padilla: Mm.

Rebecca Ching: And if you have a higher capacity to feel, you’re not gonna shut down; as Brené says, armor up; as we say in the IFS world, we say protect, have our protectors come in, and we don’t have to hide, and then you’re now able to disrupt an industry that is on steroids with bro burdens of white supremacy, toxic masculinity, and so, you're moving forward. I wanted to say that this is something -- and it wasn't easy, and you also didn't know this is where you wanted to be. You were literally sometimes taking one step at a time. So how did I do with that summary as I was connecting my threads?

Lindsay Padilla: So good! Exactly. It is one step at a time. You don't know what’s around the corner. There are some threads you’re following. There’s bread crumbs, and you look back and you're like wow. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Wow. So how can people find you and connect with the work that you’re doing?

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, you can go to helloaudio.fm, that’s, like, the easiest thing because there’s a link to the Facebook group. 


I would direct you to the Facebook community if you search “Hello Audio Community.” I think if you go to www.helloaudio.community, that actually is the direct Facebook link. That’s the coolest place to kind of learn and see how other people are using it, ‘cause they’re sharing their use cases, their wins, tech questions, all of that. And so, we run a great little tech community there, and I think that’s kind of the best place I would say at the moment.

Rebecca Ching: Awesome, and then Instagram. You’re at…

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah, so all the handles are @helloaudiofm across Instagram.

Rebecca Ching: But for you, too. I want people to follow you!

Lindsay Padilla: Oh, and me! [Laughs] Who needs this.

Rebecca Ching: I’m like you! You!

Lindsay Padilla: Instagram I’m @drlindsaypadilla, and, I believe, the business page isn’t the business page anymore, so on Facebook I’m Lindsay M. Padilla or whatever so you can just Google me.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, we’ll get that all linked in. We’ll get that all linked in.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Well, I can’t wait. Maybe I’ll have you come back on the other side of this experience this summer.

Lindsay Padilla: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And hopefully celebrating some things, but hey, I know we covered a lot of territory today. Thank you for hanging in there with me through all of it, but I think it’s so important to see this. Sometimes we just see success or we just see a conflict, and then we have our own stories, but know that being a business owner, being a human is a complicated, windy road.

Lindsay Padilla: Isn’t it?

Rebecca Ching: So thank you for showing up.

Lindsay Padilla: Of course.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, it is. Thank you so much, Lindsay. Really grateful for your time.

Lindsay Padilla: Same.

Rebecca Ching: When you decide to make a pivot with your work or take a risk with a significant relationship in your life, you are entering into a stage of growth that can be lonely and a bit disorienting. It may even lead to a crisis of identity which can stir up a lot in you and in those around you. The trusted support from her husband and affirmation from other thought leaders who saw how her skills could be used outside the classroom helped Lindsay move through her crisis of identity and take the leap to be on the exciting path she is on today. 


What beliefs or fears may be holding you back from making a shift in your work or personal life? How have your needs and interests changed from early in your career to now? What support systems respect and value your desire to innovate and change?

Now, I know the life I thought I would have and the one I have now are very different. All I am doing today is fueled by my diverse career journey, and all the paths I’ve been on are interconnected, but making those changes meant evolving how I saw myself. It is so important we remind ourselves what we work for, desire, and invest in five, ten, twenty years ago can vary even drastically because we do not stay the same. We are dynamic, not static. It is normal and healthy to grow and desire change no matter how hard it can feel to move through.

Leading is hard, and leading is also, often, controversial as you navigate staying aligned to your values, your mission, your boundaries. Navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence, clarity, and calm. You do not mind making the hard decisions, but sometimes the stakes seem higher and can bring up echoes of old doubts and insecurities during times when you need to feel rock solid on your plan and action. 

Finding a coach who gets the nuances of your business and leading in our complex and polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing at safe and small. Leading today is not a fancy title or fluffy bragging rights, it is brave and bold work to stay the course when the future is so unknown and the doubts and pains from the past keep showing up to shake things up. Internal emotional practices and systemic strategies are needed to keep the protector of cynicism at bay and foster a hope that is actionable and aligned.


When the stakes are high and you don't want to lose focus, when you want to navigate inevitable conflict between your ears and with those you lead, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader coaching is for you and where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently from the status quo.

To start your Unburdened Leader coaching process with me go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a free connection call. I can’t wait to hear from you!

[Inspirational Music]

Thank you so much for joining this episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can sign up for my weekly Unburdened Leader email, find this episode, show notes, and free Unburdened Leader resources along with ways to work with me, at www.rebeccaching.com.


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