Macklin Connect: Session Leader Cindy Smith
Meet Cindy Smith. Cindy is a Session Leader at MacklinConnection and has been participating in workshops since 2017 when a colleague invited her to join an introductory series. With a background as an intelligence officer and senior logistician in the US Army for more than 20 years, Cindy now runs a real estate sales and investment practice in Austin, Texas. She credits the Macklin Method for introducing her to a new way of learning that allowed her to strengthen her ability to develop genuine connections with people in both her professional and personal life.
Here, Cindy shares her journey with the Macklin Method—from early frustrations to becoming a Session Leader—and what she learned about herself and the people in her life along the way.
How did you first hear about Macklin and come to join one of their workshops? What was your initial reaction to the experience?
I was invited to join a Macklin Method workshop in early 2017 by my colleague, Lauren. She was an accomplished, poised and successful professional, so when she asked me to participate in a new approach she was learning to authentically build her network, my immediate response was, “sign me up.”
I laugh now because I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and how much it would change me. I’m pretty sure that I had a very “normal” mindset about learning at that time—I’d be in a class with an instructor, take lots of notes, ask and answer some questions to show that I’d learned the content, and graduate at the head of the class (yep, I’m, that person). From the first moment I dialed into the Macklin Method group session I was disoriented and reeling from my efforts to “get it.” I even made up a story that I was a slow learner.
I am forever grateful that Lauren and the many generous leaders I encountered along the way didn’t vote me off the island the first, second or even the third time I took the Beginners course. Instead, they believed in me and made space for me to learn, practice, and even co-lead the Macklin Method series with them. Now I know that they were just “Being their Stand” and creating a space for me to learn.
What has been your favorite aspect of the Macklin Method? What surprised you most about the experience?
Discovering the power of the story in my head is both my favorite aspect as well as the one that surprised me the most. I say “surprised” because I self-characterize as something of a “word-nerd,” meaning that I was always curious about the root origin of words and expressions that appear in everyday language. I believed that having grown up all over the world, I was attentive to the different cultures or backgrounds that we each bring to the table.
What I was missing was that language is more pervasive and impactful than I ever imagined. I observe that we swim around in this soup that shapes the very world that we live in, yet we rarely see it, much less examine it or intentionally create with it. Until I noticed the existence of my own self-talk, I was never able to notice anyone else’s. So though I’ve had success in several careers and a marriage that has withstood the test of time, I can say that my lack of awareness about human self-talk (the very real existence of the story in our head), was a gap for me. Learning with this new knowledge—and helping others discover and cultivate this superpower for themselves—is both exhilarating and peaceful for me.
How has your experience with Macklin impacted your professional and personal life?
The workshop absolutely helps with the domain of career and business. For me the most powerful “aha” has been the collapse of the many silos that I was trying to keep up with in my life. I thought that my professional identity was separate from the work I was doing in spirituality, which was distinct from my personal relationships with my husband, parents and extended family. Trying to juggle all of these domains was exhausting and unproductive.
My work with Macklin Method had me create a Stand for myself and others that transcends all aspects of my life—professional and personal—and is congruent with the person I’m called to be. When I act from my Stand, listen to what is important to clients, and am a source of help that matters to them, my business referrals grow abundantly.
Why did you decide to take the step to becoming a MacklinConnection Leader?
Leading the MacklinConnection series is my way of being a part of a virtuous cycle that was made available for me, and to continue to practice with an amazing community of folks. It’s how I can contribute to this ever-growing world that we’re creating. I accept that I can’t teach anyone anything. But I can be a joyful, humble and courageous practitioner so others have the space to learn for themselves when they choose to do so in order to live a life they love with the people they care about the most—and I have a lot of fun doing it.
What do you enjoy most about being a Macklin Leader?
Every workshop session with new participants and every Arena call with the other session leaders is both familiar and fresh. Familiar in the sense that the structure is recurrent and the Macklin Method is fundamental and useful for every situation. It’s fresh because we’ve all been modified in some important way since the last time we were together. I’m in awe of each new situation, thinking, story or outcome we produce together in the few moments we have. I delight in the lasting nature of these connections. I don’t take for granted that I can walk around with them for the next few minutes, hours, days or a lifetime knowing that we’ll never be the same for having spent that time together.
And now for some personal details! What’s your favorite hobby?
I’m currently a student pilot, learning how to fly an airplane. I have no background with it, but am having a lot of fun discovering how what I do (or don’t do) impacts the airplane. So far, I’m pretty brilliant at taking off, but landings elude me! Fortunately, I have excellent instructors, including my husband, who are excellent at overcoming my rookie mistakes.
Favorite thing to do in Austin?
Eat tacos! But seriously, I’m on a quest to be a tourist in my own town. There are countless curious and zany things to do in Austin, so my husband and I decided to explore some of them. So far we’ve done a Segway tour, an East Austin street-art tour, and a ride on a Duck, an open-air amphibious bus. The added bonus is the complementary duck noise maker that you quack at all the pedestrians you pass! I don’t really have a favorite yet, but it’s a hoot discovering all the quirky aspects of our city.
Favorite movie/book/tv show?
Movie: Anything that deals with the paradox of time, such as the 2011 film “In Time,” a Robin Hood-like story about a dystopian future where time (not money) is the commodity of accumulated value. Things that make me go hmmm.
Book: Fiction: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Non-fiction: (there are so many!) but I was moved by The Choice by Edith Eva Eger and found a lot of value in The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann.
TV show: I’m addicted to Food Network. I’m fortunate that my husband does all the cooking at our house (perhaps out of self-preservation), but I could watch cheffy people all day.