The Key To Heart-Centered Leadership With Alan Mikolaj

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership


Explore heart-centered leadership with author, change agent, coach Alan Mikolaj. Uncover his purpose-driven journey to personal/professional growth and his commitment to the power of partnership. LOVE is his secret sauce!

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The Key To Heart-Centered Leadership With Alan Mikolaj

Good beautiful day, you beautiful souls. This is Charla Anderson, host of the Charla Anderson Show, collector and connector of fascinating people, and every one is fascinating, especially YOU! I am so happy that you join us for this episode. We have an incredible guest, Alan Mikolaj, who is a dynamo in heart-centered leadership. We’ll introduce him in a moment. We’re here on this Win Win Women platform. If you’re tuning in on the live streaming services, you might want to jump on over to and search for the show. That way, you can interact with us as we move forward and have the Q&A. Thank you so much for joining us.

Every show, I like to begin with a centering moment, a breathing exercise. I call it a little mini vacation. It’s 22 seconds. If you want to join me, we’re going to breathe in calm for 7 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out gratitude for 11 seconds. Let’s do that quickly so it helps us all take a moment to be still and know. Here we go. Breathe in for 7 calmly, hold, and release. Thank you. We should do that multiple times a day to have a moment of quiet and away from our devices. It is something fun for me to do. I cannot wait to introduce you to my guest, my special friend, Alan Mikolaj.

Looking Back

Thank you for joining me, Alan. You’re from Pearland, Texas. I’m in Fort Worth, Texas. I was born and raised in Houston, near the coast down there. We are Texans, which I love. You have already been published in The Change, the book series. My book will be coming out soon. I cannot wait to hear and know more about that. I’m going to introduce you as a leader’s leader, an entrepreneur, and a heart-centered soul who is doing the right thing out there in the world to lift humanity. Tell us a little bit about Alan Mikolaj, and then we’ll talk about who you are in this world and what you do.

Love-centered, heart-centered, and purpose-centered is a very central aspect to who I am. I am value-centered. I am a leadership development expert, a coach, and a change agent. I love helping people to grow and become.

Become better human beings, serving humanity. This is loving. I wrote in my description that love is your secret sauce. You have that in your bio. You didn’t say it was your secret sauce. I did, but I love that you said that. I say this on my show all the time. Love is God. If God is love, you can’t be not love. I guarantee He loves you exactly who and where you are right this second. No matter where you are and who you think you are, you are loved. We have that message and that method of uplifting people as I know you do in your business, which is Laeden Professional Services LLC.


The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership


There’s a story there.

I’d love to hear that story. I know the definition. I looked it up and was like, “This is awesome.”

When I was writing this book several years back, A Travel Guide to Leadership, I was forming a company with almost the exact same name to publish and market it. I also was using it in leadership development programs that I was using. When you look up the word lead in the dictionary and go find the root word origins, laeden is the old English for being on a journey or a journey guide. The very origins of the word lead are about being on a journey.

I love that because aren’t we all on a journey? We’re on a life’s journey. Here I am on a journey. I’m from Texas and I’m in Iowa. It’s beautiful, amazing, and different. The blessing of these last few years is that we can do these meetings and calls from anywhere in the world if you’re trying to find a good internet and a decent background. I’m in a farmhouse in Iowa. I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to postpone or cancel, one or the other. I love that about our technology these days. When you say laeden, the definition was amazing that it came out through you. You created your whole business around that idea of guiding people on their journey.


That’s true. I want to return back to the other part of what you were asking and talking about, and that’s the idea of love. Love is at the center of my life mission statement and my leadership philosophy statement, and at the core of what I do now. For a lot of people in business, their culture may not support using the word love, but there are other words that can help express that in business, leadership, and life. It is being in service to others and being compassionate. What person is not, in some way, in service to others?

A lot of people in business are not using the word love. However, this word expresses every aspect of leadership: being in service to others and keeping a compassionate heart. Share on X

I’m a Zig Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer. Tom, Julie, Cindy, and Zig Ziglar had this whole philosophy about the next man up. The people at the companies and the things that I associate with are in that mindset of, “We’re all in this together. Let’s make the next man up and help the next person through.” I do believe that heart-centered businesses are the next generation of businesses. I have a friend who started a company called HeartProfit. I would love to connect you with Staci Wright who started HeartProfit. Her whole philosophy is to love your employees enough to serve them.


The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership


The Ziglar philosophy is when you meet the people’s needs, find out what their dreams are, and help them find a way to meet their dreams in your company and your people. They may go on and do a different job or leave you, but they will never leave your loyalty. Those two companies are so aligned with what yours is. Tell me what you do professionally with Laeden Professional Services.

I want to spin off what you said about meeting needs a minute before I answer that, if I may.

This is your show. You tell me what you want to say.

You’re so gracious. There is a book called The Servant Leader. The author’s name is not popping off the top of my head, but in his book, he defines love as meeting the legitimate needs of others. When you talk about helping meet people’s needs and that being a form of love, if not love itself, certainly others have recognized it as that. There is no greater way that anyone, particularly leaders, can help themselves do that better, whether you want to call it love, service, or meeting the needs of my constituents.

There is no greater way than getting clear on your purpose, helping others get clear on their purpose, and connecting that to your greater collective purpose and shared purpose. We have individual purposes. We have shared purposes when we serve on a team or in an organization. Being clear and leveraging your purpose and your shared purpose impacts so many different critical aspects of leadership and organizations. People call them metrics, employee engagement, revenue, profitability, or retention. The list goes on and on. The research is clear about how being clear and leveraging purpose-driven leadership impacts so much in the business world.



Childhood Memory

I got your book and read through your chapter in The Change. I’m so aligned with that purpose of loving people through these unsteady times, loving who and where they are, and making an impact wherever they can. If you’re not familiar with this, Les Brown wrote the foreword. We’re both in this book. You were in version 20 or book number 20. I’m going to be in 21. It’s very exciting to be participating in that. That’s how we met, and I’m so grateful for that. You talk about how at a very early age, your mama or your mothers says, “What’s your vocation?” It is not, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s “Who do you want to be when you grow up?”

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
For The Change book art: The Change Vol 20

That’s a true story. My mom says she doesn’t remember it, but she has asked me that off and on throughout my childhood and adolescence. It’s one of my earliest childhood memories. I must have only been maybe 4 or 5. Maybe I’m misremembering because it’s so early of a memory. It may be I was in first or second grade, but somewhere early in my childhood, I remember my mom calling me into the kitchen. She got down on her knees and said, “Alan, what’s going to be your vocation?”

From a very early age, I was being asked something that a lot of people are never asked. From her context as a devout Catholic mother, she is trying to ensure that I connect that to God and Spirit, and service to the world. Despite being asked that from a very early age, my road to discovering what that truly was, was a journey. I brought the very first life mission statement written on December 14th, 1986. It was my 1987 life mission on a legal pad.

We didn’t have computers much then, barely. Where did you find it?

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: My mother asked me when I was young “What will be your vocation?” It is something a lot of people are never asked.


I’ve kept them. I have a box up in the attic. When I’d hung my own shingle and was developing the Purpose-Driven Leadership Program, I climbed up there. I was like, “I have to get this out for one of the videos when I’m talking about life mission and leadership philosophy.” I hold it up very similarly in one of the videos in the course. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while I felt like I had been on a journey with my life purpose, that very first one resonates with the one I have today. I even have that one here too. It’s much more refined and professional on the computer, but this idea of service is central to it from the very beginning.

It’s who you are. I’m a server. You’re a server. We serve with love. People are very attracted to that. I want to mention that about you. I was a flight attendant for 34 years. I could see in their faces there were some beautiful and special-spirited seniors. We often had wheelchair passengers and things like that. I would say, “You have the most kind countenance. You have a sweet spirit.” I say that to you not because you’re a senior at all.

I collect people in Aldi’s. I’m shopping and I make friends easily. People want to feel that love or that special aura, whatever you are exhibiting because you live in peace or because you live in love. You exude it out there. I say unconditional love and unconditional forgiveness, but not unconditional boundaries. The harder people are to love, the more they need it. I believe you exhibit that, and I feel it to this point.

You honor me. There is no greater gift than to have you affirm that. That is beautiful. Thank you. That’s awesome.

Thank you. We met on Zoom. You reached out and we ended up having such a great, beautiful conversation. Life is busy. You have twin children or twin boys and grandkids. All that is going on. I call it there’s never nothing to do.

Making that time to have nothing to do is very important as well, right?

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: Making the time to have nothing to do is also important for a working person.



Exactly, and choosing. That twenty minutes of meditation, prayer, or quiet time is like sharpening the saw. You sharpen the saw and that gives you the energy to keep going. I want to know something about your clientele. Who are you serving in a professional way? I know you’re serving in a community way. You’re also a critical incident specialist. That’s a tough one, as well as all of those things. Lots of hats you’re wearing.

I don’t currently wear the critical incident stress management hat though. I did that for about twenty-plus years. I don’t know that we mentioned it, but I was an Army medic back in the late mid-‘80s, and then in the late ‘80s when I got out, I got my paramedic license. As the ‘80s rolled into the ‘90s and I started teaching at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, teaching paramedics, nurses, and doctors on pre-hospital trauma life support and helping paramedics through our paramedic program, there were two major transitions that were happening at that time in the world of emergency services workers. That was that women were beginning for the very first time to more abundantly show up.

My mom is one of the first EMTs in Texas. That’s where I got my inspiration to get into emergency medical work. The other big thing that shifted was the recognition of the psychological impact of that kind of work. I was one of the early leaders back in those days to help form critical incident stress management teams here in Texas.

I ended up writing a small supporting textbook for emergency services workers, whether you’re a firefighter, a police officer, a paramedic, a dispatcher, all of those people, especially after critical incidents like a child death or a major event like a loss of life when a firefighter dies in the line of duty. What a lot of people in the general public don’t know is that sometimes during, but mostly after those incidents occur in the background, beautiful volunteers come in, go through debriefings with them, and help them to mitigate the impact that that event might be having in their lives. Secondarily, they help identify anybody who might need more professional help and go seek psychotherapy or a psychologist.

That was a large part of my life for twenty years, both EMS and critical incident stress management. When I got out of that work and got my Master’s in Clinical Psychology, I started at Quest Diagnostics as a training specialist. Through that career, that’s where I began to first dabble in coaching frontline leaders on professional development and leadership development.

At that time, they didn’t have learning and organizational development specialists. I learned that there’s such a thing as learning and organizational development specialists that do leadership development and coaching and that sort of thing. I reluctantly jumped ship because I loved working at Quest Diagnostics and then went to work for the parent company, CommonSpirit Health, that owns the Greater Houston area and the St. Luke’s System.

I did a lot of intense leadership development work there. I led a team that helped design a high-potential leadership development program and then was asked to administer that program. I gathered faculty, the CEO, the CFO, the chief nursing officer, the chief medical officer, and others from around the business unit, my colleagues, my boss, and myself, and then we all facilitated select workshops over the course of a year. That’s one of the first places I’m more fully developed and what has now grown into this Purpose-Driven Leadership Program. In a program like that, you are lucky if you get a sliver of workshop time for that.

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: I led a team that helped design a high-potential leadership development program and was asked to administer it.


With all of the work I had done with leaders from the frontline to the C-Suite, the research that I’ve read, and the firsthand work I did, I realized that leaders were not getting the tools that moved the needle on things like employee engagement, productivity, retention, revenue, well-being, their own effectiveness, and how their constituents view them as leaders, which is what they call leadership presence now. The foundation for that is purpose-driven leadership, identifying and clarifying what that is for you as a leader and then being able to leverage that. How do you then take that to a team level or even an organizational level?



You asked earlier about some of the things I do. That program can be taken completely on demand and online. I can do it hybrid where we do some version online, or I can deliver it in a series of workshops live in person, which is the best way to have it done. Learning in person is always more meaningful. I also offer coaching from frontline leaders to the C-Suite, confidential, professional, and safe places to discover issues and obstacles or, “I’m doing okay, but I want to go from good to great.” Coaching is a great way to do that.

I offer 360-degree leadership assessments, the LPI or the Leadership Practices Inventory, to leaders so that they can get an assessment of their behaviors, how people perceive them, and how they show up as leaders. I’m a change agent. If they have projects that they’re working on or about to implement, they have something that they need to implement, like a new SOP, or they have some sort of process that they’re trying to improve or recurring problems on their team and they want someone to come help them with the people side of change and help them manage that, I’ve been doing that for years too.

That’s the repertoire of what I offer. There’s nothing that gives me greater fulfillment than to see a leader grow, change, look at me, and say, “Thank you for helping transform my leadership.” Even better is I’ve had several leaders tell me, “You haven’t just transformed my leadership, but you’ve helped transform my life.” They do all the work. I’m just the catalyst.

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: Nothing gives me greater fulfillment than to see a leader grow, change, and express their gratitude for my help in their transformation.


Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know. If they want to find you, I’ll say it here. It’s

My website is My email is

Desire To Change

We want people to find you. I have a question for those leaders that you’re leading. They wouldn’t be coming to you if they didn’t recognize a need or be driven to you by someone who sees that they have a need for leadership development training. How big is the desire to change from that? Back in my day, it was top-down management. It was like, “You do what I say or you’re out of here. You’re fired.” How big is leadership or the desire to change? I’m sure some people don’t care.

It’s a critical piece. They’re not going to reach out to me if they haven’t had some sort of impetus, anxiety, or a boss saying, “Find a coach,” or “I’ve seen this Purpose-Driven Leadership Program and what it can do. I want you to go take it or your team.” When I think about my mission, people always ask me, “What kind of leader do you work with or what industry?” It doesn’t matter.

I want to help anyone and everyone, but I do have an ideal leader. The higher up that food chain or that hierarchy that you talked about, the greater the umbrella that they cast. The director is going to cast a wider umbrella than the supervisor. The vice president is going to have a wider umbrella than the director. The CEO is going to have the widest umbrella.

An ideal leader who is higher up the food chain casts a greater umbrella. Share on X

What’s interesting is that most of the dynamics don’t change, like the foundations of having a leadership philosophy and purpose. I know we’re getting close to time. That leader that I love working with the most is exactly what you said. They’re not afraid to say, “I need help. Nobody does this alone. Nobody’s on an island. I need it to be confidential.” That’s where I come in.

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: I love working with leaders who are not afraid to admit that they need help, or if they cannot do something alone.


That’s amazing. Do you help peel away ego? I’ll relate it to my perception of customer service, so to speak. You’re in a line at an airport and you say, “Please, not that one.” My definition is there’s customer service that has empathy, that cares, and that wants to do, “I would do anything to help you, but my hands are tied.” It’s having empathy and caring about the person. I call the other one the enforcer. It’s the enforcer that’s like, “The only control I have over my life is you right now, and you’re not getting it.” You’ve probably noticed those two extremes of customer service, but I’m guessing it relates to leaders as well.

Leaders, typically, when they’re considering working with somebody like me, are usually not going to come into a discovery conversation and say, “I need help with my ego.” That’s not going to come up.

I’m talking more about your observation rather than your admission.

What they’re going to say is, “I need help building culture,” or “My engagement scores are down and I need to lift them up,” or “I’m having a retention problem,” or all of the above. Through the process of working with me on those issues, as we go through discovery and as the trust builds in the relationship over time, they might have developed self-awareness because now they hear what people are saying.

They’re getting feedback from that assessment I was telling you about or I make an observation in coaching about something that they described and the light bulb goes off. I don’t force feed in coaching anything. The ICF model of coaching is not that model at all. It’s client-driven. The closest akin that people might be aware of is Rogerian Unconditional Cegard in psychotherapy. ICF coaching is very similar to that. I’m there 100% for that person.

Impact On Women

I think about coaching versus therapy. Therapy to me is we’re looking at the past and what went wrong. That’s okay for a moment, but don’t stay there. Coaching is about where we’re going and looking forward. I have one last thing. I know I want to invite you to share a beautiful poem and all that. I want to ask you this. Win Win Women is the platform that I am choosing to be on here. It’s on a lot of other platforms, but we’re primarily a women-run organization and female globally. In coaching, how does it relate to women to men as far as the numbers, receptivity, or things like that?

In private practice, most of my clients have been women. I don’t know why. I’ve only been in practice for about a year and a half, so it’s not a huge number once I’ve left the corporate world. When I was in the corporate world, I leaned toward women because I was in healthcare. Healthcare is predominantly nurse managers and directors who are women, but there are a lot of men there too. I’ve coached them as well.

It’s interesting. I’ll give you an example. I had one woman leader who was talking about how she was, in her self-perception, a little more dominant than she thought. She felt like she wasn’t approachable. Through coaching, we talked and discovered a lot about that. One day, I said, “Do you want to brainstorm a little?” She was stuck with that.

I said, “I have a suggestion if you’re open to it.” She said, “Sure.” I said, “Why don’t you go ask a few people, the people that you trust that are around you, sideways in your current role, on your team and those that report to you?” She came back so relieved because everyone she talked to said she was very approachable. It was not even an issue for her as far as they could tell.

Poem And Book

It’s interesting in our own perceptions. We’re our own worst critic. It does sometimes take someone to lift us up a bit or tell us. It feels good. “Encouragers need encouragement too,” is one of my sayings for this episode. I often say, “Do you have some last words that you say?” but I know you have a beautiful poem that I’d love for you to read.

This is a poem that is in the book, A Travel Guide to Leadership. It was pointed out to me when I was writing the book. I had a group of family and friends who were my editors. My good friend and also brother-in-law was the one that suggested I put this into the book. It was all about that purpose part of it and finding your life mission.

It’s by Ella Wheeler Wilcox called The Winds of Fate, “One ship drives East, and another drives West, with the self-same winds that blow. ‘Tis the set of the sails and not the gales that tell them the way to go. Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate, as we voyage along through life; ‘tis the set of the soul that decides its goal and not the calm or the strife.”

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: The winds of the sea are the winds of fate as we voyage along through life.


I get chills. I love that so much.

I do want to extend the offer to anyone who is either here or you can find my email, I’m going to make three promises to everyone here. If you email me, I will send you a PDF version of this for free. I also have a white paper about the course development in The Change. It’s Volume 20. I’ll send you my featured author copy.

I’ll make three promises. The first is I’ll send that to you. The second promise I’ll make is about a week later, I’ll follow up and ask you what you think and if you want to network with me. No sales gimmicks. I love meeting anyone, especially leaders, but you don’t have to. I’m also going to promise not to do something.

After events like this when people say, “Enter your email and you get a free gift,” your inbox is bombarded for weeks and you have to unsubscribe. I’m not going to do that. If you don’t want to talk to me, network, or meet me and talk in person, say no or don’t respond. You can also say, “Thank you for the book,” in your heart. That’s okay. I do want to offer everyone the opportunity to connect in a deeper way and to break the ice. I’m happy to send a free e-version of the book.


That’s a beautiful offer. I also love the promises. I want my growth, my friends, and my list to be organic. That’s what you’re doing too. Thank you for all of those things. You have the last word, and then for anybody who wants to ask questions, this is the time. Do you have anything you want to add at the last minute here? Thank you for everything and all your wisdom.

Thank you. Your grace and your gifts of yourself to the world are amazing. You honor me by bringing me onto your show and all of your kind words. Thank you.

Thank you very much. We can continue to chat and talk about whatever comes to mind. Maybe someone in the audience would like to chat with us. This is the interactive time that Win Win Women allows me to have live interaction if we want to. Sometimes, we record it. Sometimes, we don’t. If it’s personal, I would edit it out if there’s something you want to say. Is there anybody out there?

Alan, I’ve heard you speak on gratitude before. We started this meeting by talking a little bit about gratitude. I was wondering one more time if you would please share your impressions of gratitude, the importance of it, and the best way to approach gratitude.

Don, you’re amazing. Don is a dear friend and former colleague. Thank you for your question. I call gratitude the bridge to success. It’s my second core value. It’s second to love. We don’t have the time to go into the full answer, but he’s right to point out how powerful gratitude is. There’s a lot of work in the literature too on how gratitude boosts endorphins, well-being, happiness, and success. Fostering gratitude is an amazing way to improve your life in so many ways. You can do it formally with gratitude journals. You can carry a gratitude rock in your pocket, and every time you touch it, you think of something that you’re grateful for in that moment. There are lots of different ways to do this.


The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership


We have a few more minutes. There are two things. Gratitude is one of my top core values as well. It’s like, “Thank you.” I wake up in the night and I’m saying, “Thank you.” I don’t know what I’m thankful for. I’m driving and I’m like, “Thank you. Thank you for your shield protection. Thank you for the free oxygen I’m breathing.” It attracts a lot more things to be grateful for as opposed to complaining, which also attracts more things to complain about.

In my book, Split-Second Transformation Change Your Words, Change Your Life: 31 Daily Practices, every word matters. Speak what you want, not what you don’t want. It’s walking in gratitude for the miracle of life even in the worst circumstances on the face of the earth. You could be in a war zone. You could be in a gutter. You could be in whatever. If you can take a breath, you have something to be grateful for right then and there. Breath is the I AM of life. It’s the Great I AM coming into you at every breath.

I love that. The Great I AM is in my A Travel Guide to Leadership book.

I wrote that love is the secret sauce. You’ve had secret sauce in your book. We have some continuity here. That’s crazy. I love it.

I have to share two gratitude rituals that I do every single night. It’s rare that I ever miss it. One involves the twin boys. Even though they’re eight, we still have grandma’s rocker that she gave us that we cuddle up in every night. We say what we’re grateful for that day, and then we listen to a song about gratitude called Go Gratitude.

Privately, I do a mental version of the gratitude journal that is, “I am thankful for,” fill in the blank, and then, “Because.” The because part of that is important. It connects the brain and heart and helps us to bring greater meaning to it. For example, one of the things that sometimes comes up on my list is, “I’m thankful I can afford a Starbucks cup of coffee because.”

The because is important because when I was a single dad with my older two boys from a previous marriage, there was a time when I couldn’t afford a Starbucks cup of coffee. I don’t even have to worry about that anymore. To remember that and to say, “I’m thankful that I had a Starbucks today because of the abundance it represents in my life,” that shift is so much more than just saying, “I’m thankful for a cup of coffee.”



That’s perfect. Somehow or another, you talked about the twins. I’m already talking to my two-and-a-half-year-old grandbaby. I say, “I am,” and she goes, “Happy.” They’re not doing daily prayer or anything like that, so when I have her, I’m like, “I’m happy that I have,” or “I’m thankful for.” I bet you that you ask your children, “What do you think your vocation will be? Who will you be in this world?” That’s what I asked you in the beginning. Often, I say, “Who are you in this world? We’ll then talk about what you do.” You have to learn who you’ll be.

When we ask those kinds of questions, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’re asking what job role. You’re like, “Do you want to be a police officer or a doctor?” or whatever it might be. We ask those questions. They’ll oftentimes say, “I don’t know yet.” I’m like, “Good. That’s okay. You’re eight years old.” More importantly, who are you going to be when you grow up? Are you going to be a person of love and service and helping others in some way? That’s more important than anything else.

This young man was here, visiting. I had a moment. I was like, “Are you going to be a leader? You need to decide now if that’s the case because your values are going to be following you. They will help you make decisions for the rest of your life.” Value is important. Choosing your values is important. If they can start, it will help them make decisions for the rest of their life.

My lovely wife has my mother with her.

You were awesome, Alan. I got my diploma for being a mother.

Vocation. I love the term. You were like, “What is your calling?” That’s beautiful. It’s nice to have you with us. Thank you. You got your parenting diploma and grandparenting, I’m sure, too. What a blessing.

Also, great-grandparenting. How many grandkids and great-grandkids do you have, Mom?

17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

That’s a big family reunion and a big Christmas dinner.

She should see the table my husband built.

She is a teacher of service and love, that woman right there. She is amazing.

No higher blessing than to be called blessed by your children.

Thank you.

That’s beautiful.

Charla, my name is Miriam. One of my favorite things about Alan is how consistent he is in his journey. As leaders, we can say whatever we want, but people are watching us. I watch Alan, and this message of gratitude is so consistent. It’s been, for me, eight years. He has made me a better leader. He has made me a better person. That,” Who do you want to be?” is not what you do. It’s who you are. You could go do anything, but you can’t change your character and your integrity unless you choose it.

My heart is so full that I’m here to get to tune in, share with both of you and appreciate the gratitude and the journey. To me, that’s Alan’s commitment. The commitment is to the journey. If the journey is smooth all the time, who cares? Nobody is going to listen to us if it’s all roses and sunshine. They’re watching what we do when there’s a transition, change, pressure, and all these things. Who are you when it’s tough? I appreciate the gift of the journey and the gift of gratitude. It makes my heart full. I’m appreciative to be here.

Thank you for joining us.

Miriam, you honor me. Miriam is an amazing, inspiring, and powerful leader who has her own story. If there’s someone you should have on your show, it would be Miriam. She is amazing.

Miriam, I sent you an email. I’ll send you an invitation.

I would love that.

I’ve booked 120 days out and it got full, but now it’s not. We got some spots coming up.

That’s awesome. I will email you. Thank you.

Does anyone else want to jump in and shout? We can take another minute or so, and then if not, we’re going to shutter down. I do this every single week. It’s fun. I do it because I want to offer hope and encouragement and tell people’s stories of overcoming. Alan, you overcame a lot. You talked about divorce. You talked about not being able to afford a cup of coffee. You told me that you got fired after extremely successfully building something. Nobody gets through without some bumps in the road. We all have a story to tell, and every story matters.

Miriam highlighted that for us. Thank you, Miriam. That is true. No journey is without its bumps, its storms, and its obstacles. No journey is without needing to take a pause, rest, and be a sojourner for a moment.

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered Leadership
Heart-Centered Leadership: No journey is what its bumps, storms, and obstacles. No journey is without needing to take a pause, rest, and be a sojourner for a moment.


Adjust your sails for the wind that you’re facing and which direction you want to go. I told this young man, “You don’t have last second, last week, last minute, or last word. Nothing that you’ve experienced from let there be light, you can’t change anything there. If you take a stand right now and make a change in your next words like, “I apologize I messed up. I’m going to do better, make a new agreement, and move forward,” you never have to get discouraged. You always have the next breath and the next word until you don’t. That’s why we’re living this dash very intentionally, aren’t we?

Charla, I want to thank you for your gift of love. Everyone that’s on that participant list is people that I love dearly. To see their support and feel their love, you’ve blessed me.

Episode Wrap-up

That is awesome. This is Charla Anderson Show, collector and connector of fascinating people, and every one is fascinating. I am live every Wednesday at 1:00 PM on Win Win Women Network and all the streaming services. I do encourage everybody to come back to the Win Win Women because then, we can chat and have some interaction. It’s so much fun to do that and encourage each other and lift each other up. is my website. It’s being upgraded a little bit. It will be a little bit more fun or a better representation of what I can offer and share with you. Thank you so much for joining us. Alan has been a huge blessing to my world in the last few months since we met. I’m so grateful that you joined us. I will end the show by saying always choose joy.


Important Links


About Alan Mikolaj

The Charla Anderson Show ~ Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) | Alan Mikolaj | Heart-Centered LeadershipAlan A. Mikolaj, MA, ACC is the owner and LLC manager of Laedan Professional Services, LLC, a leadership development consulting firm and coaching practice. He is on a mission to partner with like-minded leaders who want to make a positive difference in the world. Alan firmly believes in the power of partnership, and he is driven to maximize your personal and professional potential. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University and his Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential through the International Coaching Federation.

Alan has been partnering with leaders from the frontline to the C-suite for nearly 20 years. He has worked as a Training Specialist for Quest Diagnostics and as a Senior Learning and Organizational Development Consultant for Catholic Health Initiatives/CommonSpirit Health.

He has taught at multiple community colleges, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Sam Houston State University, and the Bradford School of Business. He is the author of three books including A Travel Guide to Leadership and is a contributing author in the 20th edition of ‘The Change: Insights Into Self-Empowerment’ book series, one of the world’s fastest growing book series published by Jim Lutes and Jim Britt with a forward by Les Brown.

Alan’s diverse professional background includes serving as a licensed paramedic for over two decades and fulfilling a crucial role as a medical specialist in the US Army. His insights and experiences span across various sectors, including healthcare, the petroleum exploration industry, private business, and higher education.

Beyond his work as an author, change agent, coach, and leadership development expert, Alan’s commitment to critical incident stress management has been both profound and impactful. Authoring a book on the subject for emergency services workers, he was the founding president of the Southwest Texas CISM team in San Antonio. Serving in CISM as a volunteer for over 20 years, he has also served as a clinical member of the Bluebonnet CISM team, supporting the greater Houston area’s emergency services.

I’m Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) on live TV, streaming, and podcasts. As a Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, a retired award-winning flight attendant, an Olympic torchbearer, a personal development junkie, an inspired speaker, a published author, and your courageous coach, I want to share my passion for living life full-out, saying YES to intriguing opportunities, and encouraging YOU to do the same. Let’s jump on a discovery call and get to know each other. Find all things Charla at

On The Charla Anderson Show, we discuss mindset, how much your WORDS matter, princess-to-queen energy, mantras, HOPE, faith, miracles, overcoming, and much, much more, including learning from amazing guests.

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Collector & Connector of Fascinating People... & everyone is Fascinating!  Sharing Encouragement, Courage, Inspiration, Smiles & Hugs to Leave OUR World a Better Place.

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