Pam Solberg-Tapper has been on the top of the world. Literally. Standing at 90 degrees north on the North Pole, this executive coach/leadership trainer and adventure athlete looked around her and felt only one thing—small. “I felt like a speck on the earth,” she says. “I looked around and felt that I had to make each step, each moment count. I realized I’m not in this world for long and all the moments left need to be wisely used. I have things to do.” Indeed, she does have things to do. Solberg-Tapper is what is known as a Grand Slam and Seven Continents Marathoner, meaning she has completed marathons on all seven continents, as well as the North Pole. She is one of only 17 women in the world to have accomplished the title.
Her sense of adventure is built around her philosophy that people should endeavor to “Live intentionally, be extraordinary, and do great things for your world.”
Her career in executive coaching and public speaking began 17 years ago, when she was comfortably working in healthcare. Her educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration and a Bachelor’s in Medical Technology. She also holds Human Resources Generalist Certification.
After reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a self-help book written by Stephen Covey, Solberg-Tapper felt her core values shift. The book presented her with an approach to becoming effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself with what the author calls “true north” principles used as a moral compass.
“It was a sobering moment for me,” she explains. “I wanted to look back and not have regrets, and I wanted to help people make their lives more meaningful as well.”
It was then she decided to embark on a major career shift, and went back to school to become certified by the International Coach Federation. She also became a certified Dale Carnegie speaker, certified by the Coaches Training Institute, and is pursuing the prestigious Master’s Certified Coach designation. Today she is the owner of Coach for Success, a Twin Ports’ based business that has established itself globally.
Mostly, however, this enthusiastic cheerleader uses her adventurous experience to help people muster the confidence to pursue their life’s passions. In essence, she teaches people to toss fear aside, exit their comfort zone, and make their dreams come true. Sound like a lofty goal? It is, she concurs. But the journey is paved with baby steps, and some fairly simple principles. Her first rule of thumb is “When in doubt, act.”
“Nothing builds confidence like taking action,” she notes. “A confident person acts on their desires and doesn’t let the fear of failure stop them. Take small steps to prepare for bigger challenges, such as running a 5k, then 10k, then half marathon, to build confidence to run a marathon. Then give an update at a team meeting to build confidence for public speaking.”
She also recommends building your decision-making confidence by making small decisions quickly, even if it is something as simple as ordering quickly and decisively at a restaurant. Likewise, Solberg-Tapper is a firm believer in “using body power,” by carrying oneself in a powerful way.
“Research shows that your body language has a major impact on confidence,” she explains. “Carrying yourself in a powerful way directs your feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Try this pre-event warm up before a challenging situation such as meeting new people, public speaking, a job interview or a courageous conversation—in private, take up as much space as you can by expanding your arms above your head and spreading legs out as far as you can. This power posture evokes your ability to bring your boldest self to your challenge.”
Then, during challenging situations use these power postures:
• Sit or stand up straight with chin up and level
• Keep shoulders back with chest open
• Use open arm gestures with hands up
• Lean in when speaking to others
• Keep relaxed and uncross limbs
And finally, this seasoned coach recommends we all “stop the uptalk.”
“Uptalk, or rising inflection, is the raising tone of your voice at the end of a sentence that sounds like you are asking a question versus making a statement,” she says. “Uptalk makes you come across as if you are asking for approval. Instead, speak with assertion by lowering your
inflection at the end of a sentence.”
Solberg-Tapper herself has employed these actions into her own life to push herself from casual 5k-er looking simply to lose weight, to an elite adventure marathoner, admitting she has stumbled often along the way. (At press time she was getting ready to run a marathon beginning at the base camp of Mt. Everest—an altitude/oxygen-challenging event that had her slightly nervous.)
“That’s an important part of the journey, having the confidence to try, but the vulnerability to tell our authentic story along the way,” she says. “But I believe in these three principles—focusing on the finish, pushing from ordinary to extraordinary, and sharing your victory. These steps can help you be your best, boldest, bravest version of yourself.”
For more information on Solberg-Tapper, visit coachforsuccess.com
Written by Holly Kelsey-Henry. Originally Published in Duluth.com the Magazine May 2016 issue. Get yours on newsstands today.