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Marcey Rader, Founder, Productivity Lead

After experiencing extreme burnout, Marcey Rader decided enough was enough and took back control of her life. Her business, which helps other people avoid the same physical and mental exhaustion she experienced, has thrived through Covid; Marcey tells The Industry Leaders how.

How did you end up sitting where you are today?

I spent 14 years in the clinical research industry as a study coordinator, monitor, clinical lead, line manager, and trainer. I travelled up to 48 weeks a year and had extreme burnout and boredom with my work.

In my 30s, I also competed in over 100 endurance triathlon, mountain biking, running, and adventure events. My high-stress, high-intensity lifestyle triggered three autoimmune diseases by the age of 39, and I had been in menopause since age 36. I leapt and started a business to keep that from happening to other people. I've never looked back or regretted my decision.

What kind of work does your role involve?

My day is never the same. I speak virtually and in-person doing keynotes or workshops on email, distraction, time boundaries, and task management. I coach executives and business owners on personal productivity and healthy behaviours. I consult with teams on their workflows, guardrails, communication, and how to work well remotely. I write articles, record interviews, and look for ways to develop my business.

What I didn't realize I would love so much about being a business owner was giving other coaches work. I get jazzed every time I can provide another business owner with a new client.

What gets you excited about your industry?

There's a new shiny app or tool every day in the productivity and health industries, so it's easy to become distracted (oh, the irony!).

I'm glad there are companies like Bagby and Moment helping us with our digital distractions and promoting mindfulness around our devices. With health, we focus on bio-individuality and that what works for one person may not work for another. Depending on our season of life, what worked for us before may not work for us now. In speaking, I'm glad that there's a virtual option for people who find it hard to travel (both attendees and speakers).

What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Be fair. It's easy to become friends with many of my clients due to the closeness of our work. Because my knowledge and experience are in my head and not a physical product, it's easy to give it away. All that becomes a slippery slope.

I never want one person to hear that I coached or gave advice on something and didn't charge them when they paid for the same thing. I see it as a red sweater. If I worked at a clothing store and my friend walked in, I can't give them that red sweater for free.

How do you support aspiring leaders in your field?

I hire coaches to work for me as Team Specialists in their areas of subject matter expertise. Not everyone who coaches or speaks wants to have a business with people they have to manage, nor do they enjoy the business negotiation process.

I want and thrive on those things, so it's a win-win. The coaches get to keep their business and have clients given to them silver-platter style. The clients get an executive team that they don't have to vet. I also provide pro-bono speaking to a limited number of associations and organizations that I believe in.

How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?

My #1 Strengthsfinders attribute is Learner, so I have to curb my learning to avoid information overload! I read about 50 books a year and listen to podcasts in my fields. I love business books and always have a personal or professional development book going along with a fiction or lighter reading. It's easy to think I have to learn or know it all, but I've found staying in my lane, sticking with what I know and can expand on, and referring out on areas I don't have been the best strategy.

What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?

In 2020 my business exploded because I've been training people to work well remotely for over a decade. I was beyond capacity, and because of COVID and not knowing how long it would last, I was afraid to say no to work.

I was also onboarding a new team member, started a new coaching program, and rebranded!

I spent time putting the processes in place and moved to a new project management system, outsourcing most of the implementation. I delegated more tasks and responsibilities and gave full ownership over some areas of the business.

You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

Tell NO ONE but my husband and my financial planner!

I'd still work because I love what I do, but I would be more choosey about my clients and time. I'd spend three months touring Asia and then build a house around Asheville, closer to the mountains. My husband is a professional drummer, so his band would record in any studio they wanted to and go on a short tour. I'd pay for my niece's higher education, send my friend Daniel to acting school, and give Eric seed money to start a dance school. I'd also pay my Support Specialist's mortgage.

How do you switch off after a day at work?

I transition by sitting in my infrared sauna for 40 minutes, reading, doing paper crossword puzzles, and breathing exercises. There is no better way to relax at the end of the day!

If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?

That productivity tools had notifications off as the default. Doctors would refer nutrition and exercise advice to nutritionists and personal trainers instead of giving advice (which is often outdated).

What book or podcast should everyone know about?

I'm addicted to the New York Times Daily podcast for the story of the day. I also listen to Ben Greenfield Fitness, Tim Ferriss, and Run Like Clockwork. And on July 16...Health-Powered Productivity by Rader Co.! The book that changed my life was Power of Less by Leo Babauta.

How should people connect with you?

*Ever wondered what kind of leader you are? Take our free quiz to find out.

**Looking to level-up your leadership skills? Check out our article on the best self-help books for business leaders and entrepreneurs.


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