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What are you deliberate about in your life?

What does living deliberately mean to you?

Would you say that you’re a deliberate person? Would those who know you say that you are deliberate in how you live your life and lead?

Living deliberately can be a real challenge, especially when we’re constantly dealing with unexpected issues and navigating through the many crises in our world. The pace of life is so fast, it often feels impossible to slow down and reflect before taking action.

But there’s something deeply important about being deliberate if we want to cultivate life, work, and relationships that align with our values. It is messy, awkward, and challenging, but it is so worth it.

Today’s guest has built a career that serves her personal needs, values, interests, and skills through deliberate action, even when it flies in the face of conventional wisdom about entrepreneurship. 

Our guest today, Laura Roeder, is a true inspiration. She’s a lifelong entrepreneur and the founder of several bootstrapped companies that have each reached multi-million dollar status. Her ventures include Paperbell, CoachCompare, MeetEdgar, Marie Forleo’s B-School, and LKR Social Media. She’s been recognized as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and has shared her insights on entrepreneurship at prestigious venues like the White House, the Virgin Unites Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Laura’s desire for time freedom has impacted her decision-making as a business owner
  • How launching a business immediately before having her first child fundamentally changed the way Laura has run every venture since
  • Why leaders need to let go of the belief that they can’t teach someone else to do what they do 
  • How owning up to your mistakes and the steps you’ve taken to fix them builds trust
  • How Laura has navigated her desire to work and to lead after selling a company for a life-changing amount of money

Learn more about Laura Roeder:

Learn more about Rebecca:



[Inspirational Intro Music]

Laura Roeder: And I decided very early on, I’m like, “I’m doing this for that freedom.” So when a friend wants to hang out, when another freelancer invites me to a movie in the middle of the day, whatever, I’m gonna say yes to those things because that’s why I’m doing this. So I’ve always been deliberate in making choices so that I could have a business that didn’t rule all my time because, as I said, to me, it was like what’s the point? I can get a job and know exactly what my hours are, so if I’m gonna have my own business, I don’t want it to take over my whole life.

Rebecca Ching: What are you deliberate about in your life, and what does living deliberately mean to you? Would you say you’re a deliberate person, or would those you know say you’re deliberate with your life and how you lead?

So, like many of you, I’m feeling the heaviness, the weight of all the things going on in the world, our country, our own families or spaces of work and learning. And I hear many people I work with and talk with share how our relationships and connections often feel strained, and I sense you might find doing life in a deliberate way elusive, and if you may feel like you’re constantly putting out fires or navigating strong reactions to what you hear and see around you, I suspect and believe you want to be deliberate, but things are going so fast it feels hard to slow down and reflect. But there really is something important about being deliberate, and it differs from other ways that we show up in our relationships with ourselves and others as well as how we cultivate the life we want to live and the relationships we want to have around us.

I’m Rebecca Ching, and you’re listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with humans who navigate life’s challenges and lead in their own ways. Our goal is to learn how they address the burdens they carry, how they learn from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.


My guest today led me to digging into my dictionary and thesaurus. Now, to be honest, I like looking at word definitions and their context, so this was a fun deep dive. Now, my guest also got me thinking about the power of being deliberate or too deliberate. What does that mean? And so, yeah, this is where the dictionary and thesaurus came in. And I found this definition and it states, “Deliberate means to carefully think or talk something through. It also means a slow and measured pace of careful decision making.” If you choose deliberately, you make a very conscious, well-thought-through choice.

After further reflection, I realized why I felt so stuck this week with my words of the year, which are rhythms and reps, and I chose those words because I wanted to dial in even more after a year of focusing on space and pace in 2022 and then slow and bold in 2023. And so, for 2024, focusing on dialing in my day-to-day rhythms and reps felt like the right focus. You know, I wanted to cultivate this feeling of flow and maybe it’s a bit of a fantasy, but I was going for it. What I repeat daily to feel generative, not just passive or reactive. I want the rhythms of my life to support not just my wellbeing but also my ability to parent well and support my clients’ unique needs and do the things I love and the things I’m excited about creating and building this year and the years to come.

And so, when my guest today really honed in on this word, deliberate, I started bringing that into my focus, and I felt this traction and clarity when I connected deliberate with my focus on rhythms and reps.


Before, I felt fuzzy, and I was squeezing everything into my day. Deliberate feels more action-oriented to me and clarifying than intentional. Intentions and intentional is great, but it still left me feeling fluid and not as moored and anchored.

So asking myself what I want to be deliberate about caused me to move beyond my to-do list and dig more into my values and my integrity, my larger commitments that I’m working on. And adding deliberate to some parts of me activated feelings of being cautious and fearful and uncomfortable. So what was interesting in the slowing down, instead of just pushing through and ignoring those inner bits of wisdom that we often brush aside, right, I’d get curious and befriend those parts that feel like resistance but they’re just trying to protect me. So, sure, this is slower. But it feels good to me to power with those parts of me that are like, “Why are we doing this?” or “I don’t want to do this!” instead of powering over so I can work it through.

Again, some people call this resistance. I call it protection because of my Internal Family Systems influence, and it’s taught me to turn inward and befriend some of these different parts that have objections and what gets in the way of me being deliberate, which helps me be more deliberate and aligned. In a world that feels so reactionary and fast and fire hosing all sorts of things, deliberate, this practice at least of deliberate, calms my system and the flow of my rhythm, and reps begin to take more shape in flow. It’s messy, clunky, awkward, for sure, but something is shifting, and I dig it.


And so, as I was thinking more about deliberate, I had a call with a client recently, a really incredible leadership client, and I think this is an important case study to share, too. So we were talking, and she was like, “This year has been a shit show.” [Laughs] The summary. She had a really hard year personally and professionally. She had health challenges, challenges in a professional organization where she had a leadership role. She had things come up with her family and extended family and a lot of different things with work and the systems at work and her staff. It was a lot, and like many of you, she wears a lot of hats.

And we recently reflected on the year, and she wondered if she’d done anything fruitful, and I was like, “Dang!” That surprised me and then not because I think it’s a sentiment that many of you can relate with. It’s hard to see, through the fog of all the hard, what you’ve done. And so, I reflected to her how I saw how deliberate she was and how she showed up in the hard, showing up for her health, her kids, her team, her community, her family, her extended family, and specific things we worked on together. I was like checking the boxes. She was like, “Ahh, dang. Yeah. Oh, yeah.” [Laughs]

And I reflected on how I saw all she did this and how she connected to her values and how she put in the reps her whole life prior to this year so that when she moved through this really hard year, along with the fruits of her really dialing in and getting clear on boundaries and having this incredible community of friends that she’s cultivated over a long period of time and also leaning on other support systems, like me, she really was deliberate, and it was definitely exhausting and left her a bit bruised, but I reminded her how she was deliberate with her constant curiosity on how she wanted to show up each day with each tough situation that showed up.


Before she just responded, she almost reflexively would ask, “What’s my end game? What do I need? What do others need from me? What concerns are coming up with me?” She would just take actions based on those answers. She had these embedded algorithms that were just a part of her values system even with all these other things coming at her. Did it mean she felt easy breezy about things? Um, no. She was routinely frustrated and always had much to work through during our coaching time. I realized how inspired I was by how even in her exhaustion and frustrations she could lead herself and her family and her team so well and so connected to what mattered most. And she did this by regularly taking a beat and getting deliberate.

I saw how it felt slow and cumbersome at times because so much of what she was struggling with was outside of her control, but instead of reacting, she responded to hard things that were aligned. Again, yes, it was messy, awkward, and challenging, but I see how she can look and feel good about how she moved through some really hard times that felt like they had no end in sight. She did not lose herself with all the demands because of her deliberate clarity of values and her deliberate commitment to her boundaries and her health and how she wants to lead. That takes a lot of courage, character, support, and self-leadership.


And so, I want to say I suspect many of you are more deliberate than you’re aware of, so it’s like you’re not deliberately deliberate maybe. You may have some of these internal reps and these things going on that you haven’t brought to your consciousness yet, and maybe you’re being hard on yourself for not seeing all that you’ve been able to navigate throughout this school year, throughout this year, throughout whatever period of time. And just bringing the word deliberate to your consciousness I hope will allow yourself to give you more credit for all that you’re navigating right now.

My guest today lives a very deliberate life born out of her own values, interests, and skills in such a way that really inspires me too and why I’m honored to share this conversation with you all. She’s an OG in the online entrepreneurial space and someone I’ve followed and watched with much respect over the last 15+ years, and my goodness, she has been deliberate about her life, how she wants to lead, and what she wants to do and create in her businesses. It was really cool to hear her talk about how she takes the time to think things through, recalibrate, and adjust when things are out of sorts, and I’m just grateful that this conversation brought the word deliberate to light for me, and I hope it’s a delight for you too.

Laura Roeder is a lifelong entrepreneur and founder of several multi-million-dollar bootstrap companies. She founded Paperbell, CoachCompare, MeetEdgar, Marie Forleo’s B-School, and LKR Social Media. She was named one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and has spoken about entrepreneurship at the White House. Laura believes in supporting entrepreneurship around the globe and has traveled to South Africa as part of the Virgin Unites Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship where she offered guidance to budding entrepreneurs and has spoken to students at The University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University.


Now, I want you to listen for Laura’s discussion of the shifts she made when she was preparing for a really big launch before going on maternity leave and how she adjusted things when she got deliberate. Pay attention to when Laura talks about how we all fall into rigid all-or-nothing ways of doing things and forget that life happens in seasons, and it’s okay to flow and adjust as life happens instead of being so hard on ourselves to do things the way that we originally planned. And notice when Laura talks about how she has always been deliberate about building her businesses, so they do not, I repeat, they do not run her life. Now, I’m really excited for you all to hear this conversation. Please welcome Laura Roeder to The Unburdened Leader podcast.

Laura, welcome!

Laura Roeder: Thank you, Rebecca! I am very happy to be here.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, I was really thrilled when we booked this because you are someone I’ve wanted to talk to for a long time about so many things, and today, I’m excited to dig into just all of the things that you produce and create and all that that means for how you do life. I will say when I was prepping for this interview, there were a few themes that emerged but one theme that really emerged to the top about you and your work is that when you see a problem you create a solution that often turns into a new company.

Laura Roeder: Yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Whether it’s, you know, from website development to online courses to MeetEdgar, which was your social media company that you have sold, and now to Paperbell, which is a software for coaches. You truly create powerful products and businesses that meet the needs of many while building a lot of trust and credibility. And your productivity seems connected with deep listening and the ability to market and sell your offers. And I guess I just want to start by asking you to define or at least offer your definition of productivity.


Laura Roeder: Yeah, I actually love the topic of productivity because something that’s been a big theme in my life has been working a lot less hours than a lot of other entrepreneurs. To me, I’ve always wanted to have a company so that I can also enjoy the rest of my life, so I kind of wasn’t interested. I’d rather just have a job and have limited work hours, you know?

Rebecca Ching: Right.

Laura Roeder: So I think productivity is super important, and to me productivity is working on the right things. I think the difficult part — well, there are lots of difficult parts. I guess there are two parts which are defining what the right things are, which I think you really have to make sure that you’re sitting down and taking time and doing that, and then keeping yourself focused on the right things can also be difficult, but I do find for me if I have that clarity on what the right things are, it actually does make it much easier to stay focused on spending my time just doing those things.

Rebecca Ching: No doubt, and it sounds like it’s a lot of values and boundaries is kind of how I translate that. So who or what helps you decide and discern what are the right things to work on and who or what helps you maintain that focus?

Laura Roeder: Yeah, so I mean, I’m a huge fan of the book The ONE Thing. Have you read that book, Rebecca? Are you familiar with it?

Rebecca Ching: I am very familiar with that book, yeah.

Laura Roeder: Yeah, so for anyone, you know, listening who hasn’t read the book, it’s called The ONE Thing because it’s like do the one most important thing, you know? That’s kind of the whole book is, what’s the little phrase they use, “The one thing that makes everything else easier or you don’t need to do it at all after you do this one thing.”


I think that book provides an excellent framework of helping you focus on what is the thing — you know, we’ll talk about business in a sense. Obviously, this can really apply to anything. What is that one thing that’s actually going to make the biggest difference in moving things forward? And sometimes that’s a small action, but it’s easy to fill our time running in a thousand different directions in our business because the truth is there is no map, you know? If there was just one map we would all just do it, and it would be a lot easier. But this is also what’s so fun about business and entrepreneurship is that there isn’t one right way to do things. You really can do it a thousand different ways, and you can be successful, which I think, you know — I just felt overwhelmed just hearing myself say that out loud. It’s like, “Oh, a thousand different ways?”

So I think it’s a matter of really looking at, “Okay, what are the things that I do in my business that don’t produce any revenue –,” which it’s like it’s okay to do things for fun, but usually in our business we’re like, “Okay, maybe a few little fun things, but mostly I want to do the revenue things in a business when we can do the fun for fun.”

If you actually take a hard look at, “Okay, what are all the activities I do in my day and which ones are directly leading to either getting new clients or retaining clients, that’s kind of all there is to a business at the end of the day, just being very, very strict and focused on only doing those things , and something they say in The ONE Thing is you have to earn the right to do the other thing. So I really like to think of it that way. It’s like, “Okay, once I’ve done the most important thing, then if I want to do some fun piddling around, okay, I’ve earned that right because I know that my core things that are moving the business are done.

Rebecca Ching: This is interesting because you’re a bootstrapper with your businesses, and a lot of people that I know and work with, whether they’re starting their own company or they’re involved with a business, that’s not the message. It’s like, “Be all in. Do all the things. Be useful all the time.”

Laura Roeder: Right.


Rebecca Ching:  I’m just wondering how this approach to productivity and creating in business is different than so much of the conventional wisdom out there.

Laura Roeder: For me, it’s about that freedom value, you know? You said it’s about values, and a big inspiration for me in working for myself was having that time freedom. You know, working for yourself isn’t the only way to achieve that. But you do get a lot of control over your time, and that was a huge reason that I wanted to start working for myself initially.

Actually, I think the last straw was I had a friend who was — I was living in Chicago at the time. I was like 20, 21 years old, and I had a friend visiting me from LA, and she was actually at the time an aspiring actor in LA, ended up actually being a working actor. Almost never happens, so it happened for her. I would go visit her in LA, and even though she had a waitressing job at the time, and she was doing auditions and stuff, she had time freedom, you know? She was able to take time off. She was able to kind of control her schedule, and we’d have a lot of fun when I would visit her in LA. When she came to visit me in Chicago, I was at my job leaving at 8:00 in the morning, getting back at, like, 6:30, and I was like, “I don’t have any time to hang out with my friend! This isn’t very fun,” and I’m like, “I want to have what she has as far as that time freedom.”

And I’ve been working for myself always, you know? I quit. That was kind of my first and only job. So by the time I was, I think, 22, I was working for myself full time. And I decided very early on, I’m like, “I’m doing this for that freedom.” So when a friend wants to hang out, when another freelancer invites me to a movie in the middle of the day, whatever, I’m gonna say yes to those things because that’s why I’m doing this. So I’ve always been deliberate in making choices so that I could have a business that didn’t rule all my time because, as I said, to me, it was like what’s the point? I can get a job and know exactly what my hours are, so if I’m gonna have my own business, I don’t want it to take over my whole life.


Rebecca Ching: I just meet so many people where there’s almost this, “It’s cool that it took over your life,” you know?

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: And I saw, even when I worked in politics or in New York City in advertising, there’s this sense of the work and how it takes over. It was cool. And I remember when I was working in New York and I was on my way out for something personal on a Sunday morning and I got a call for a conference call and I’m like, “It’s Sunday morning.” They’re like, “Yeah?”

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: And [Laughs] this was like, “Okay, something needs to shift.” But there still is this sense it’s almost like to have time freedom is not cool, I hear sometimes.

Laura Roeder: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: Or scary, I think or scary like there’s this fear of having space in their life. No doubt that you run into those folks on the regular. What comes up when you guys are talking about how you use your time? You’re just as successful and just as productive, but you have a different approach. What are some of the conversations that you have with folks on this difference?

Laura Roeder: Yeah, I mean, I think you’re absolutely right that it can be uncool, almost kind of embarrassing. It’s like, “Why do you have so much free time? Are you not working hard enough? Do you not care about your success?”

Rebecca Ching: Right.

Laura Roeder: I mean, I live in the UK now, and UK and American cultures are not super different. Everywhere else in the world thinks it’s so strange how Americans are about work and how we work all the time, how, yeah, we’re taking calls when we’re on vacation with our kids. They just are like, “What? How have you guys been so scammed by the companies you’ve worked for to be available 24/7?” It is a very different expectation here.

So, you know, that helps a lot, but there is still startup culture, even here. I think it’s just that willingness to be able to confidently say that you’re doing your own thing and other people can think about it what they want, you know? I’m not gonna try to convince anyone who thinks I should be working all the time. They can think whatever they want about it. Yeah, you just have to remember that people are going to not understand it or think it’s not the right thing to do or judge or whatever, and you just have to feel good about your own decisions I think.


Rebecca Ching: And there’s definitely some freedom when you are running your own business, but that particularly can be challenging when folks are not and they’re trying to do that.

Laura Roeder: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: So the system can be quite a rub to move forward in that. I’m curious, though — I mean, these are great focuses, and it works, definitely, this type of focus. But what reoccurring challenges do you face as a leader and a founder when it comes to staying productive especially on your one thing?

Laura Roeder: I mean, I think the challenges are, like everyone, there are just so many ideals out in the world coming across all the time, and I think you have to have that balance of the number of ideas and media that you expose yourself to. I think this is a challenge for me because I love listening to podcasts. I love reading. I love reading business books. In the US I went to a lot of conferences. They don’t have as many here, so I don’t go to those anymore. So let’s cut that out at least. I’ve learned so much from all of these sources, but at the same time, when there’s so much of other people’s ideas around it can get very easy to get convinced that you’re missing out on the thing you should be doing because people often present their ideas this way, you know? They’re presenting, “Oh, if you’re not doing a quiz funnel — what are you thinking not doing a quiz funnel? A quiz funnel is obviously the answer to everything!” [Laughs] And it’s like they’re not wrong. A quiz funnel could work. It could make a difference in your business, but there’s an unlimited number of things like that.

So I’d say that’s something that I am always trying to find my balance with. I enjoy having other sources of information, and of course I have a lot to learn, right?


And I don’t want to limit myself to just what I’ve learned so far. So it’s like taking in that information and staying focused on your plan and being willing to change your plan because that has to happen a lot too. I would say how to balance all those things I haven’t totally nailed yet.

Rebecca Ching: I don’t think we can. I think it’s about staying nimble, right? It’s like this sense — it takes a lot of, at least for me, a sense of self-awareness, right, to know when you start to feel like you’re tipping over into that buzzy space where it’s too much information or the shiny sparkly squirrel moments are a little bit higher on a cycle. You know, we feel it when we’re distracted and getting aware to know what that feels like. Obviously, too, we just see it in our work and what shows up in our work when we’re starting to spread too thin. But I do see that. A lot of people are so scared of missing out on a new thing that, yeah, that isn’t a real tension. There’s some great stuff out there.

And I really appreciate what you said, too, that balance between — you know, you don’t have to have the hubris of, “I’ve got it. I know it all.”

Laura Roeder: Right.

Rebecca Ching: Which is like the death of anybody trying to lead and create, versus information overloads. I have a feeling that that’s pretty much a very common experience for folks. I appreciate you naming that.

I want to switch over to something that came up. You’ve talked about this in several different ways. When you were launching MeetEdgar, which is your social media platform, which you’ve since sold, you were going to be on maternity leave right when you were launching Edgar.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So I just want to pause on that. That was a thing that you were aware of and you planned for, and I just had to sit back. And of course I mean, especially when I had my first kid and there were a lot of logistics, but to launch something new while also launching your new family —

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: I was like — can you talk me through what was going through your mind as you prepared to launch a new business and start a family simultaneously?

Laura Roeder: Yeah. Yeah, and I have two kids now, but this was my first kid, so I was starting a family, right? It’s not like I had — anyone who’s had a newborn, you have no idea what it’s like until you’re there. [Laughs]


Rebecca Ching: Good point! Good point. I resonate with that too, yeah. [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: That’s just how it is. So yeah, the company launched I think it was in September or something like that, and then my son was born at the end of January, and, you know, I was pregnant. I knew he was coming and about when he was coming, and I talked to a lot of moms with businesses, you know, to get advice and hear what they had done. One thing that I decided to do was I’m like, “Okay, I don’t know if the baby’s gonna have health problems, if I’m gonna have health problems. I want to make sure that I can have at least 60 days free and clear, which again, is something so American that I thought that was kind of this really long, “I’m not gonna work for 60 days.” [Laughs] You know, here in the UK people take a year off when they have a baby.

But anyway, I just wanted to make sure that I had at least that time completely set aside because, yeah, you don’t know if you’re gonna be in intensive care for three months, right? Some people have had that experience when they have a baby. I actually think it was an amazing forcing function for launching the business because I was creating a business from pre-launch that could run without me, you know, because I knew that’s what was going to happen, and it’s very interesting to me how little this is done because I had a friend that was starting at a freelance agency type of business, and she was talking about how she was gonna start by hiring people under her to do the work. So anyone can do this right from day one. It’s like if you are charging $100 an hour, charge $150, pay someone else to do the $100. You can do that from day one, you know?


Everyone has that option available to them. I get it. You’re finding your first few clients, you want to pocket it all, whatever. Everyone can do that but it’s really hard to have the courage to do that, I think. You kind of feel like you’re supposed to be doing it all yourself. But I was just like, “I can’t. I can’t do it all. I’m not gonna launch this business knowing that I’m creating this nightmare for myself in a few months where I’m working around the clock trying to take care of a newborn, which I have no idea how to do because I’ve never done this before.”

So I think it was actually such a blessing because I’m like, “Okay, well, I want to make sure that we have marketing activities.” Marketing is kind of my side of the business, so on that business, my business now, my husband is my co-founder. He’s a developer heading up building the actual products. So he has that side, and then I’m the one who’s running the business, marketing the business, making sure people know about it when we get customers. So I’m like, “Okay, I need to put systems in place and people in place so that people are still learning about the business and we’re still getting customers.” It did help me fundamentally and permanently change how I run businesses. It’s the same thing now. I mean, I’m still very active in my business. It’s not like I don’t do anything. But I also have a business set up that I can check. Last year I traveled for six months, and I was in more of a check-in schedule on the business, and that was fine. It’s just always been set up that way from day one.

Rebecca Ching: There’s a part of me — and check me on this — that I think it depends on what you’re doing to be able to step out of the business but maybe not. But particularly for the things that you create, to really set them up so that you’re not at the center of everything is kind of captain obvious but also mind-blowing, right?

Laura Roeder: Well, and I would say you’re right that there are businesses that you can’t step away from, and it’s your choice if you want to make one of those businesses, you know what I mean? So it’s like, yeah, if your business is just selling your own time, you would have to change that business in order to step away from it, and we get to choose if we have a business that’s selling our own time or another type of business. Truly one is not better than the other. Again, this is the beauty of entrepreneurship. We all get to decide how we’re entrepreneurs, how we’re leaders. But you shouldn’t be surprised by that.


If you have a business that’s only selling your time, don’t pout about it when you can’t bring someone else to do it. If you’ve decided you don’t want that anymore, change it up so that you’re selling other people’s time or so that you’re doing a different type of business.

Rebecca Ching: There’s been a season in the entrepreneur space where selling your time or having that kind of transaction was poo-pooed because it wasn’t scalable. Maybe I’m just bias because that’s just something I — I just love what I do, and I love the interaction and have figured out my enough. But there’s this pressure of you’re settling sometimes too. I think what you’re saying is if that works for you, great. But if it’s not, then it’s time to do something different or take an inventory. I think a lot of people end up feeling stuck like they don’t know where to go from there, and that’s a tough space to be in. You don’t seem to get there that easily.

I’m curious how do you keep your passion for work — you love to work, you love to do what you do — competing with your love for family and instead integrate all of these loves? How do you navigate that?

Laura Roeder: It sounds really simple, but I like all of it, so I make time for all of it. I do really enjoy my work, and I enjoy the time it’s there, but I also enjoy working out and hanging out with my kids and hanging out with my friends and traveling, and it’s just one doesn’t need to be the only dominant thing in my life. And something else, you know, I think that we can take from outside America is also this idea of having time on and off. So I’m so with you about one-to-one services. I mean, Paperbell serves coaches, and most of our kind of core functionality is for people who primarily work one on one, and I’m like I think one-on-one coaching is so important.


I think it’s like you can achieve so much working with a really amazing coach one on one, and I want all the people who love it to do one-on-one coaching. And if they want to have some time off, another way to handle it is work nine months, save up some money, stop working for three months, and then go back. We can be so black and white about this stuff of, “Everything has to be –.” We kind of forget there are seasons in life or that not everything has to be the same way all the time. There are just so many options for, I don’t know, how we can get that mix of more of what we want in our lives.

[Inspirational Music]

Rebecca Ching: Leading is hard. Leading is also often controversial as you navigate staying aligned to your values, your mission, and your boundaries. Now, navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence, clarity, and calm. I know you don’t mind making 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 your 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 it safe and small. Now, 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 deliberate, actionable, and aligned.

So 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 can deliberately deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently than you were taught.


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

[Inspirational Music]

Rebecca Ching: So it sounds like, for you, it’s this real clarity of what you love to do and doing it. Are there any tradeoffs that you do weigh between work and family?

Laura Roeder: I mean, you know, every hour can only be spent doing one thing, right? So it’s always a trade off in that sense of you can’t do all the things all the time. But, you know, something I was thinking of while you were talking is I think actually this is where, as women, it’s a little easier for us to lead here because it’s like as much as we have that puritan work ethic guilt, we don’t have that extra layer that a lot of men have of being the provider is your sole purpose on this earth. At least we’ve been lucky enough to be like maybe being a mom can be another purpose, which is funny because I think we often felt held back by that, but it’s like, “Okay, at least we get something else!” [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: The men only got one thing. [Laughs] They only got the work is what so many men are taught. I think we do see a lot of women leading the way here because we are lucky enough to at least feel a little more free, that maybe work is not our one job in the world. So it’s like if we can take that little crack of light, that little crack in the door for that freedom and keep growing it, I think it’s a beautiful way that women lead. Sometimes I think of it, like you were saying earlier with it not being cool to not work all the time, it’s kind of like taking how people are underestimating you and just being like, “Great, you already think that anyways, so we’re just gonna run with it,” right?

Rebecca Ching: Nice, nice.


Laura Roeder: You already aren’t taking me seriously as a woman or whatever, so sure, just keep going. Keep not taking me seriously. I’m gonna do my own thing. I’m gonna love it.

Rebecca Ching: I mean, that’s a really good point. It’s just like listening to all the naysayers is definitely the ultimate buzzkill to anything that you’re creating and leading and wanting to do. Speaking of that, the roles of creator, entrepreneur, founder, CEO, they all involve leading. In my experience, the founders that I work with often need a lot of help delegating to others and, most importantly, trusting people to execute their vision. There’s just like sometimes this white-knuckle grip about it, and you don’t have that, but I often hear from many of the leaders I work with that it feels more productive. They’ll say, “Listen, Rebecca. It’s just easier for me to do it myself than take the time to delegate, train, and trust others.” But it’s not sustainable, the physics of it. I’m always like, “This isn’t sustainable!”

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, I’d love for you to walk me through how you build trust with your team from the hiring process to working through the inevitable conflicts and challenges.

Laura Roeder: Yeah, I mean, there’s so much to say on this topic. I mean, it’s such a common thought and thing people say. The “Well, I could just do it myself faster,” or “I can do it myself better,” and I just like to kind of zoom out and see what a ridiculous statement that is. Out of all the people on this earth — you know, because people say, “Oh, well, I have a special way I do my bookkeeping,” you know? “No one else would really — I like to categorize things a certain way. No one else would really understand,” right? 

Rebecca Ching: That scares me. Laura, I’m having a heart attack just thinking about that for someone saying that. Like, “What’s happened to you?” Anyways. Go on, sorry. [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: Yeah, and it’s like, “Okay, so what you’re telling me is this bookkeeping system that you’ve created is so complex that out of the hundreds of thousands of people, none of them — hundreds of thousands who are great at bookkeeping, millions or whatever, none of them can understand your system? If that’s true, that’s a nightmare. You need to burn that down. That’s obviously not true, and I think it’s the choices you’re making.


It’s like, okay, you can do everything yourself, but that’s a bed you’re gonna have to lie in, and you’re gonna have to do everything yourself.

This is like whenever people can’t understand how I’ve done so much working part time, I’m like, “Listen, people need to do all the things. It’s just not me. People are doing all the things to make the business run. The founder, the owner, does not need to be the only one doing those things.” So it’s not like I have some sort of special magic where I get 200 hours of things done in an hour. There are 200 hours. People are doing the 200 hours. We’ve just divided it up among more people. That’s it.

Rebecca Ching: And yet, you and I both know a lot of people that don’t lead this way.

Laura Roeder: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And so, as I’m listening to you — I’m particular. My husband was just reminding me the other day, with love and affection, how particular I am about things that we do. [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: But I think there’s also this piece of isolating yourself, then too, and creating this sense of specialness, a false sense of specialness or I can’t think of a business that is healthy, that the staff and the team are happy, that when you really get into the numbers the business is doing well, and do they sustain over time? I really can’t — I think sometimes it can sustain if there’s just unicorn money coming in or a certain kind of talent for a while. But without that delegation and that sense that, “I am not the center of all things,” yeah, I just can’t think of an example where that has worked.


Laura Roeder: I agree, and people get very disappointed that the other person isn’t doing it exactly like them. It’s just a huge delegation mistake a lot of people make. You know, you even see people with teams around them who are “delegating,” but it’s just a nightmare for everyone because really they’re giving very specific instructions, the person does it, you know, the leader goes back and says, “You haven’t done it right,” it’s this back and forth. And it’s like, “Yeah, if you do it that way, you’re right. It will take more time than if you had just done it yourself.” But expecting other people to be clones of you is never gonna work.

Rebecca Ching: I think that’s the danger, and I learned that early on about the power of having people who have different perspectives, how that can bring out the best. But man, building up that kind of self-trust too, when you build something that is all about you, it can never grow and expand. How do you create expectations with your team of you and the role that you play so that you can stay true to your priorities and your areas of focus?

Laura Roeder: It’s, I think, just that constant process of having as much clarity as possible in what you mean when you say something, what your expectations are, what their expectations are, I mean, right? So trying to be really explicit with these kind of communication things, and I would say if there’s one leadership principle that is, to me, the one thing that just kind of makes everything else go easier is just to always assume that everyone’s doing their best. Always assume that someone had a valid reason for what they did. You know, this applies to relationships and everything. When we’re upset with someone, we create crazy stories in our head of like, “Oh, well, they were trying to get back at me,” you know? “They were doing that on purpose,” because it’s so much more likely that they just, whoops, didn’t read something than they tried to sabotage your project and will never be able to do it again, but this is kind of how our head sometimes spins out. Like, “Oh, my God. They’ve messed up everything else if they’ve messed up this, and now I can’t trust them to do anything.”


It’s like just assume that sometimes people make mistakes, that they’re doing their best, that they want to get it done right, and move forward from there. It’s like, yeah, sometimes you find that it’s not a fit. You just can’t work with someone. But if you just make that base assumption that they were trying to do it right, that you’re both working towards the same goal, that is just, I find, like 99% of it.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, there’s a lot there. Having that generosity of assumptions most importantly it protects us, it protects our hearts, it protects our mindset and our blood pressure, all of that. I do think folks who’ve experienced betrayal trauma in their story, this is here it comes out, where they need to do some of that deeper healing work because a mistake, like people are human or there’s just a misalignment or some sort of gap in your SOPs that came up but, you know, you don’t know until you know. But to have that generosity of assumption really my sense is that this allows people to come to you quicker when there’s a mistake, right? They’re not afraid to come to you, or maybe they’re like, “Oh, shit. I don’t want to let Laura down,” but there’s still a little bit more of that openness to name it quickly, identify it, and move forward. At least that’s my sense in how you lead. Is that your experience?

Laura Roeder: I think people who work with me would be able to identify that it is something that is very important to me. I think the thing that just does not work with my style is if someone has made a mistake, just going through the list of all the excuses. I’m like, “Yeah, let’s just talk about what went wrong so that we can fix it next time.” Something that earns a huge amount of trust and respect for me, which I’ve seen everyone on my team do, is come to me when they know a mistake’s been made that I don’t know about, to let me know, you know? They know that I don’t want to find out about it later. So, you know, they might send me a private message or something being like,
“Hey, I found that this hadn’t been happening for the past three weeks. I thought it had. Here’s what I’ve done to fix it. Just wanted to let you know.” And that built so much trust in me.


Rebecca Ching: I want to underscore that. I’m with you too. Just name the thing and explain what happened, what you saw, what you’re doing about it, what you need from me (if anything), you know, anything that we need to look out for. I just feel my body relax, and I also just have so much compassion for the person knowing I’m like, “Oh, gosh. That probably was really hard to get to that space of –.”

Laura Roeder: Right.

Rebecca Ching: I think one other thing that stood out to me about you is this piece around identity and work, and so many business owners and leaders connect literally their identity and worth with their job titles, the money they make, the work they do. And I think you’ve touched on this a little bit, but I want to go deeper on walk me through your thought process on how you differentiate yourself from your work and the companies you create.

Laura Roeder: Well, okay, we’ll have to link to this article. So I wrote this article called Wealth is Not a Measure of Value Creation because this is something that I’ve heard a lot of people say in the entrepreneur world. “Oh, the money that you create is based on the value that you create,” and I’m just looking around like, “I’ve seen a lot of people creating a lot of value and not getting wealth in exchange,” you know? I see all the teachers working away in school creating, you could argue, a lot more value than I am, you know, truly changing people’s lives, and they are certainly getting paid a lot less than I am.

So I think that recognition on the financial side has definitely helped me. I believe that all humans have equal value, and so, I don’t have my core value from my work because I have my core value from being a human like everyone else.


And I enjoy doing something that makes a lot of money and sometimes gets me interviewed on podcasts, right, and has this amount of status in the world. But I just happen to love doing that, and I don’t know, it’s just like, to me, when you start making your worth about what you do for work, then very quickly you get into this idea of, “Okay, well, now my worth is more relaxed than somebody else based on what they do for work, on how much money they make.” So I think that’s a good kind of reminder if you’re finding yourself getting caught up in that. Like, my value can’t be from my work unless I believe that people who do “lesser work” have lesser value than me.

Rebecca Ching: Dang.

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: I mean, I just want to let that breathe for a moment because I — but we do that as a culture. I’m married to an educator of 25 years plus, and now he’s in administration, and yeah, definitely how we look at that. I saw that article, and I’m like, “Oh, that’s a whole conversation in itself.” [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: Yeah. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: But, you know, value creates value, wealth creates wealth is kind of the summary of what you’re saying. Kind of calling BS to that. It’s almost like everything needs to be monetized. Everything has to be a business if it’s of value. I’m just wondering if you can say more about that because a lot of people feel less than, like they’re not creating value, if they don’t have the wealth. And I’m not even talking about crazy wealth, just even there’s one thing just to get your basic needs met, but there is this sense of feeling of value, a sense of belonging, a sense of meaning in what you do and just creating value and not having people minimize it passively or directly. Yeah, how do you perpetuate that in your life and in your businesses and not collude with that dominant approach to — yeah?


Laura Roeder: Yeah, I mean, it’s such a big topic, and I certainly would not say that I’m not colluding. I mean, I’m in the capitalist system, which is just like everybody else, and that’s kind of the core of all of this where we’re raised in these capitalist cultures, and that’s not just kind of one random belief system. I view it as kind of a really core part of our culture in America or, you know, in the UK, same thing. We’ve got some more socialism sprinkled in here in the UK, but it’s still a capitalist culture at the end of the day. And I certainly could not say that I’m not colluding in it or not participating in it, and I guess all that I can do is talk on podcasts like this and write the articles that I write and probably even more importantly is how we’re operating day to day with the people that I work with on my team, with our customers. I mean, just having that respect and those values of, yeah, not thinking that the coaches who use our software are more important if they make $500,000 a year versus $20,000 a year. We think all of our customers are equally important. But man, it’s a big topic.

Rebecca Ching: You shared that when you sold MeetEdgar it was for a life-changing amount of money.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And that you didn’t have to work but you still choose to. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I think a lot of people kind of go, “Why are you not on a beach eating Bonbons or just volunteering somewhere?” There are a lot of shoulds around this. I’m just wondering maybe just share how you were feeling at the moment of the sale or at the moment of the reality of the sale and what drives what you see as productivity today on the other side of that sale.


Laura Roeder: Yeah, I mean, this has been a huge struggle for me. It continues to be because I sold the company about two years ago, and I feel like it’s kind of — I feel like I’m still getting it. I feel like it’s still hitting me what that means because I’ve kind of viewed it in the past as a very black and white way. I’m like, “Okay, well, if I don’t have to work, I shouldn’t work. But I want to work. But I shouldn’t if I don’t have to,” and I feel like just now I’m kind of understanding the nuance better of like, “Okay, well, I can just work as much as I want to on the things that I want to. I don’t have to quit altogether.” I mean, I haven’t had a break completely in work. So the way I’ve done it is I’ve really had to journal and visualize, “Okay, I haven’t done any work for a month. What am I doing all day?” And I always get to the point that I would want to lead some kind of project. That’s just who I’ve always been. The group projects at school when I was a kid, I always have to be the one in charge of it. I wouldn’t be happy just volunteering because I’d want to change how they did everything, you know? [Laughs] It might make me happy for a little while.

So, to me, the way that it’s impacted me the most, having that financial success from selling the company, is just really I do get that extra check of I really do need to be enjoying this work because I really don’t have to do it, which is such a rare — most, you know, almost all of us need to work for money. It’s just kind of how things are. So to not, it’s like, “Okay, well, it would be pretty ridiculous to spend all your time doing work that you really don’t enjoy. You should either just be not working or trying out a different kind of work that you do enjoy.”

So the biggest difference for me is I’ve been able to put that check in place where I am regularly checking in with myself, and that doesn’t mean I love everything. I still have to do taxes. I don’t enjoy it, you know? [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Exactly.


Laura Roeder: I have lots of people that help me, don’t worry. But, you know, there’s always a lot of boring work to be done. So it’s like anything, right? I mean, parenting is a great analogy for it. It’s not like you are far from it to —

Rebecca Ching: So true.

Laura Roeder: [Laughs] — enjoy every moment of parenting. But you’re choosing to be there, right? I mean, this is one of the kind of personal development concepts that I find is so helpful for me is always remembering that I have the choice. It’s like when I’m cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night, actually, yeah, I do choose to do this. This is what I want to be doing for my kid right now. I’m not loving it, but yes, this is a choice that I’m making. So reminding myself for the work, it’s not like every moment is fun and perfect. But it’s like, yeah, I want to make sure that I am enjoying it, that it is what I choose because I am so lucky to have that freedom to just be able to quit and do something else.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, I’m kind of dropping into those moments too where, whether it’s parenting or work, things are really hard and difficult but there was such a sense of peace and meaning and clarity even in the hard like this is where I’m supposed to be, versus the times where I wasn’t choosing my agency, even boundaries, and feeling trapped, and no living creature does well when they feel trapped or stuck or stifled. And doing what we can to fight for our agency, even if it’s those little choices, is so essential to our wellbeing, let alone the health of the work that we do and the quality of the work we do. But at the heart of it is, if we’re not well, then whatever we do is not gonna be well.

So, no, I appreciate that, and that’s just a really good rumble because there is this narrative (it’s not as big, but it’s still there) like if it’s hard, that means it’s not meant to be.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Or, you know, you’re doing something wrong, and I’m like, okay, that stuff lights me up so quickly, and I’m not hearing that from you at all, but really owning the choice and almost tightening in given the choices and the freedoms that you have, how to be even more discerning with that and not tolerate, which I think a lot of people end up tolerating a lot and forgetting even if there’s some level of agency. It can be hard for sure.


How has your understanding of productivity and even success changed since you were younger? I know where you’re at today, but when you look back to where you were to where you’re at today, how has that changed?

Laura Roeder: I guess something that’s changed has really been being more deliberate in how I want to achieve. I have been very lucky to get to know a lot of very successful people, you know? Famous people who are heading up famous companies making lots and lots more money than I would ever see in a lifetime, and I think often when we get started we just kind of blindly want to emulate the most successful people. It’s like, “Okay, if that person is heading up a five-hundred-million-dollar company, I should make myself an image of that person.”

You know, when I was starting out, it’s like that’s what we do naturally. We kind of look around. We’re like, “Huh? What am I supposed to be doing? Okay, I’ll copy them. I’ll copy them. I’ll copy this. I’ll copy this.” And as I got to know more successful people I’m like, “Man, I do not want the life of a lot of these people.” A lot of very successful people are alcoholics, are drug addicts, are in abusive relationships, I mean, all the things in life that —

Rebecca Ching: Exactly, yes.

Laura Roeder: [Laughs] You know? And so, yeah, I think that’s something that’s changed over my journey is instead of just kind of following the script of what does it mean to be successful? Oh, I’m supposed to be on a magazine cover, and I’m supposed to have a book deal, you know?


I’m like, oh, I haven’t written a book. All I hear is I look around and they all have book deals. They’ve all written a book, and I’m like I just haven’t wanted to write a book. Maybe I will someday, but it’s just like it hasn’t been a genuine desire of mine, but it can be challenging to check in with yourself and not just be like, “Okay, I have to get a book deal because that’s the thing people do.”

Rebecca Ching: Because it’s not your one thing.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And to be okay with that is really — that takes a lot of clarity and a lot of confidence and alignment of values. And I’m so glad you said that about successful folks because I’ve worked jobs where I’ve had the behind-the-scenes window of the folks that everyone’s like, “Oh, my gosh!” And not everybody. I think there’ve been some unicorns of folks with immense amounts of success and wealth that are just decent, healthy humans.

Laura Roeder: Totally. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: But it’s not the norm. It’s just not. I really appreciate you naming that. I want to give a little airtime to what you’re working on now.

Laura Roeder: Yeah. Yeah. So my company is called Paperbell, and we are a software platform for coaches (life coaches, business coaches, leadership coaches, executive coaches, all the coaches) to run your business. So that means your contracts, your payments, your clients’ scheduling, sharing files with clients. It’s basically having one place to make it really easy to sell and deliver coaching packages. And yeah, it’s just been a business that I’ve really enjoyed running because coaches are so lovely. We literally get these emails that are like, “I have so much love for you and what you’ve created.” Like, “Thank you! [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: That’s awesome.

Laura Roeder: “You make me feel really good. I really appreciate this!” When we hire for customer service we’re like, “It is a very positive crowd that you’re getting to deal with.”

Rebecca Ching: That is so cool to hear. Well, full disclosure, I bought access to your product about a year ago, and we’ve been trying to play around how we’re gonna — if we can work into it. But you had offered some incredible deal. And I will say this has really struck me is the constant iteration that you’ve done, the real time, “Hey, here’s another thing. Here’s another thing.”


You shipped this product four years ago, which at the time of us recording is about when shelter-in and the pandemic really blew up, something that’s just worth noting. I just have really appreciated, since this has been on my radar, how it isn’t perfect. It’s just, “Hey, we’ve got this. Oh, we’re listening to you to do this.”

Laura Roeder: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: And, you know, that perfectionist hasn’t gotten in the way of you just iterating. It’s been beta from the get-go, and it almost feels like it’s still beta but really fruitful beta.

Laura Roeder: For sure.

Rebecca Ching: So I dig that. I think there’s something that feels exciting to be around something that isn’t , “Here’s what it is.” It’s like, “Oh, wow, I’m a part of something that keeps growing and changing and keeps getting better and better,” and I think that’s exciting. And I don’t see that a lot. I see a lot of folks like, “We’re the best,” then there’s how to maintain that, versus, “Hey, here’s the thing,” and “Hey, guess we’re gonna offer this,” and “We’ve got some new things around the corner.” I don’t know, for me, as a consumer and as someone looking for things to — but also just as someone who watches businesses and kind of nerds out on that stuff, there’s something really cool about the community building and what you’re modeling in the process of how you’re growing Paperbell too.

Laura Roeder: Yeah, thank you. It’s actually really interesting hearing an outside perspective on that because I don’t usually get that. And yeah, I mean, it’s funny because in the software world, you’ll hear all these different sorts of methodologies for creating it’s called your roadmap, when you’re gonna build the next new tool, and ours is just really — I’m like we literally just build whatever the most people are asking for. It’s really simple, and yeah, I mean, that’s the nicest thing about having one really clear market, as we do. If people ask for it, it’s relevant. The more people who ask for it, the more relevant it is. I mean, the last big things we’ve shipped were an iCal integration, a Microsoft Outlook integration. It’s not always the most exciting sounding stuff, but…


Rebecca Ching: But kind of though if you’re thinking, “Oh, my gosh. this would help me really implement this more too.”

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So yeah, but as it goes back to what I first asked you is you are a really good listener, and I think whoever we’re leading, whatever we’re creating, really listening and figuring out who to listen to (and you seem to do that really well) can really help us focus on the one thing, be productive, stay aligned to our values. And I think that’s the challenge is having those boundaries around who we listen to but making sure we still listen. So I appreciate that a lot.

Gosh, I feel like this is a master class. We’ve touched on the tip of the iceberg for so many things, but I really appreciate you sharing some of your wisdom and heart and experience. But I want to wrap up by this tradition of asking folks some quickfire questions. The first one is what are you reading right now?

Laura Roeder: I just finished an amazing book Exit Interview by Kristi Coulter. Have you read that?

Rebecca Ching: Ooh. No. Haven’t even heard of it. I need to add that to my list.

Laura Roeder: So it’s like an Amazon exposé book about her tenure working at Amazon, but it’s also just — she’s an incredible writer, an incredible storyteller and just lots of really interesting takes on women in higher-up positions in larger companies like that. So yeah, Exit Interview by Kristi Coulter. Highly recommend it.

Rebecca Ching: Okay. On it. What song are you playing on repeat?

Laura Roeder: Oh, I’ve been listening to a lot of Florence + The Machine lately.

Rebecca Ching: She’s amazing. She’s amazing. She’s amazing. I saw a meme the other day where someone was like, “Florence is my therapist.” I’m like — [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: Yeah! I’m not a religious person, but I am moved by Florence + The Machine.

Rebecca Ching: What is the best TV show or movie that you’ve seen recently?


Laura Roeder: Ah, not a big TV watcher, but I watch Love Is Blind on Netflix, [Laughs] the dating show. I have to say —

Rebecca Ching: And you didn’t claw your eyes out? [Laughs]

Laura Roeder: I love it. No, I get so much enjoyment.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] Okay.

Laura Roeder: My best friend watches it, and we text each other.

Rebecca Ching: But, you know, a lot of people love it. It is a guilty pleasure. I will see if I get sucked into it again.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: What is your favorite eighties piece of pop culture?

Laura Roeder: You told me this question was coming, and I’m not an eighties person. I could not think of anything!

Rebecca Ching: What about the decade that you grew up in, then maybe nineties.

Laura Roeder: Yeah, I grew up in the nineties. I mean, Saved By The Bell.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, hello!

Laura Roeder: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: What is your mantra right now?

Laura Roeder: So lately I’ve been on a deep dive into determinism, which topics we do not have time for on this podcast. Just look it up because I had never heard of it in 39 years somehow, and then now I’ve just been like, “Oh, my God.” [Laughs] Um, yeah, my mind just got blown. So the Sam Harris Waking Up app, he has a free will audio series that has been the best explanation of it to me. So it hasn’t been my mantra lately but just kind of the topic that’s been on my mind lately, I guess.

Rebecca Ching: Nice. What’s an unpopular opinion that you hold?

Laura Roeder: Oh, God, I feel like we went over so, so many of them in this podcast. I guess one that brings to mind is you don’t have to be in hustle mode ever, you know? I think that’s something that people can just not wrap their minds around. It’s like, oh, but surely you must have to be in hustle mode for the first year, or you must have to be in hustle mode, okay, not all the time but a lot of the time, and that you can truly create amazing projects. You can create amazing work and just not have hustle mode, burnout mode, overload mode be things that you do.

Rebecca Ching: Imagine that. Oh, my gosh. That’s a whole conversation. And who or what inspires you to be a better leader and human?


Laura Roeder: I guess what I think about the most is family members of myself or my husband’s family that have passed away and thinking about how the people — it’s so not about your “accomplishments,” you know? When you’re going to someone’s funeral that was so beloved — like my husband had an uncle that he was very close to that passed away since I’ve known him, and it’s like everyone just talks about how much they enjoyed being around him, how good they made him feel. It’s just the stuff that we — I mean, I know it’s cliché, but all these things that we put on our list are just not what matters. And I think that’s something that always helps me check in with that. It’s like, “Okay, I’m gonna be dead someday. Who really cares what companies I created?” Really, the core impact that we have as humans is how we interact with the other humans and whether we had a good time and everybody else did that was interacting with us.

Rebecca Ching: I really appreciate that, and I think it’s easy to lose focus. But man, that’s where the good stuff is.

Laura Roeder: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Laura, where can people connect with you, your writing, and what you’re working on if they want to learn more about you and all your offerings?

Laura Roeder: Yeah, so my company is www.paperbell.com. I blog at www.lauraroeder.com. I think if you spelled it wrong and Googled “Laura Roeder” you’d find it anyway. Yeah, sometimes I’m on Twitter, sometimes I’m on Instagram. You can look me up.

Rebecca Ching: Awesome. Laura, thank you so much for taking this time and for this conversation. I’m really just grateful for you sharing some of your thought leadership and hard-earned wisdom, and yeah, I just look forward to seeing what you continue to create and model for so many of us, so thank you!

Laura Roeder: Thank you!

Rebecca Ching: Before you go, I want to ensure you take away some of the important and wise wisdom Laura shared with us in this Unburdened Leader conversation. Laura drove the power of being deliberate with your goals, values, and life you want to build. She walked us through how being deliberate grounds us in reality and supports our budgets, personal capacity, and values.

Now, I’m curious, after listening to this episode, how do you want to be more deliberate in your life and work? And where are you not giving yourself credit for how you are deliberate even when things are hard? And what fears or concerns come up when you slow down to reflect and get deliberate with your life? What supports do these concerns need from you and from others?


You don’t have to look far to find prescriptions and steps to curate your dream life being sold to us, right? And I see how these things can be oversold with enticing marketing but miss the mark on what it’s like to live and lead in this complex world. Living a deliberate life does not mean we must be rigid or prescriptive, but when we’re deliberate, we can clear the haze and the noise away because many of us have been born and raised in this grind culture where our worth is tied to what we do and how we do it and how fast we do it and how much money we make doing it and all the things, right?

There’s something really powerful about reclaiming the power to be deliberate and just reclaiming your own personal power knowing it’s never gone, that it just got buried underneath all the burdens and the shoulds from the world and focusing on this and being deliberate is the ongoing work of an Unburdened Leader.

[Inspirational Music]

Thank you so much for joining this episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can find this episode, show notes, free Unburdened Leader resources, ways to sign up for my weekly Unburdened Leader email, and ways to work with me at www.rebeccaching.com. And this episode was produced by the wonderful team at Yellow House Media!

[Inspirational Music]

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meet the founder

I’m Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

I help change-making leaders get to the root of recurring struggles and get confidently back on track with your values, your vision, and your bottom line. 

I combine psychotherapeutic principles, future-forward coaching, and healthy business practices to meet the unique needs and challenges of highly-committed leaders in a high-stakes world.

This is unburdened leadership

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