Expansive Leadership with Judy Sims

Why do leaders get stuck? How can you expand when it can feel so much safer and easier to contract?

We explored these questions and more with Judy Sims, a pioneering leadership trainer and much sought-after leadership coach on a mission to change the world, one Expansive Leader at a time.. In past lives, Judy was VP of Digital Media at the Toronto Star, CEO of tech start-up Shopcaster, and a digital strategy consultant. In her current life, Judy is the author of the book, The Unstuck Leader, and founder of both The Center for Expansive Leadership and The Expansive Woman Project.

If you’re feeling stuck or looking to expand as a leader, you’ll want to savor this episode of In Trust.

Expansive Leadership with Judy Sims

Talking Points

  • Judy’s journey from corporate vice president, to tech startup CEO, to executive coach and investigator of leadership “stuckness”
  • Grounding and reaching, i.e. the perfect state of being for a leader
  • The central core of Expansive Leadership
  • How Judy’s work is about helping being shift from a state of threat to a state of trust with consistency
  • What Judy means by grounding
  • Unpacking the feeling of stuckness
  • The prioritization that leads to leadership failure
  • The contractive cycle
  • A practical exercise to stop contracting and begin moving into Expansive Leadership
  • Why Judy created a live, virtual, community-centric program to help women leaders overcome imposter syndrome
  • How men and women tend to experience imposter syndrome differently
  • Where imposter syndrome tends to grow out of
  • The life plateau that tends to happen around age 38 (and is rarely talked about)
  • The importance of setting values


“We’re grounded in solid core values and purpose, yet open to new ideas, people, and situations. To me, this is the perfect state of being for a leader, grounding and reaching.” – Judy Sims

“When we get into trouble in the world, in our leadership life, in our personal life, it’s when we forget who we are.” – Judy Sims

“That is the central core of Expensive Leadership: It is not about all the things that great leaders do; it’s about how to become the kind of person who does all the great things that great leaders do. There’s no formula for what to do, but there is a formula for how to be the kind of person who does the thing.” – Judy Sims

“My work is about moving people and helping them shift from a state of threat to a state of trust with consistency.” – Judy Sims

“When I say grounding, I mean grounded in solid core purpose and values. It’s about remembering who you are in those moments. What do I value? What’s important to me? Who am I? And then make the decision from that place. And that is as much about trusting yourself as it is about trusting the situation that you find yourself in and your ability to move through it.” – Judy Sims

“The feeling of stuckness is deeply personal for people. They blame themselves, and yet at the same time are mystified by what’s causing it. And that’s how you slip into that reactive contractive state where you’re defensive, reactive, and judgmental.” – Judy Sims 

“When we prioritize comfort over truth, that’s when leaders fail.” – Judy Sims

“When you look at the research, the number one factor in improving your imposter syndrome is confiding in other people who have it.” – Judy Sims

This episode sponsored by:

The Future Is Trust

Embracing the Era of Trust-Centered Leadership

There’s a lot of uncertainty about the future, but one thing we are sure about is that The Future Is Trust. Which also happens to be the title of our Amazon bestselling book: The Future is Trust: Embracing the Era of Trust-Centered Leadership.

This reimagination of what a leadership book can be sheds light on:

  • Why Trust: Why now, what’s changed, and what do we have without trust?
  • What is Trust: The act of trusting–how it inspires belonging, resilience, and collaboration.
  • How to Build Trust: Starting with ourselves, the foundational tools to wire all of our connections for trust. 

Visit out thefutureistrust.com to order your copy and access special bonuses.

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