Rhysa Sisco Of Regulate with Rhysa On How Leaders Make Difficult Decisions

An interview with Maria Angelova


Take ownership of the good and the bad. A leader is someone who can accept the praise of making good decisions, but also the accountability of decisions that did not turn out. No one expects anyone to be perfect, we are all human, but leaders inspire confidence when they know how to take responsibility.

As a leader, some things are just unavoidable. Being faced with hard choices is one of them. Leadership often entails making difficult decisions or hard choices between two apparently good paths. What’s the best way to go about this? Is there a “toolkit” or a skill set to help leaders sort out their feelings and make the best possible decisions? As part of our series about “How Leaders Make Difficult Decisions,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Rhysa Sisco.

Rhysa Sisco is an occupational therapist, serial entrepreneur, and business mentor for leaders. She created The Business Regulation Program, for aligned entrepreneurs to break through their business blocks by regulating their nervous system. She has worked with over a 1000 clients and business owners on learning how to regulate their systems to expand into their next level of business.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My name is Rhysa Sisco and I am the founder and CEO of Regulate with Rhysa. I began my career as an occupational therapist, helping patients understand their nervous system and how to regulate. I then made the leap into becoming an entrepreneur as a health and fitness coach.

Running my first business I struggled with the constant stress of being a CEO, feeling immobilized making daily decisions that impacted the company, and struggled with having hard conversations with employees.

I was on the verge of quitting at one point and that is when I really dived back into the world of nervous system regulation and it completely changed my life and my business. I learned how to manage the day-to-day stress without it becoming overwhelming and actually have fun running a business, how to make decisions that were in alignment with my values and mission, and being able to have hard conversations without wanting to avoid them.

I realized that these skills are missing for most entrepreneurs, nobody is teaching this in school or business mentorships. I pivoted my business and now help leaders and business owners learn how to harness the power of nervous system regulation to make decisions so their companies and lives can continue to flourish.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I have had so many different people who have influenced me along my journey from mentors to peers who I now consider friends.

I have two people who came to mind and I found them around the same time. My mentors Lacy Healey and Jenn Kennedy. When I found them, I was feeling lost in business, felt disconnected from who I was, and struggling to find my mission in life.

Lacy really helped me step into the role of CEO and figure out how to run my business my own way. To throw out the rule book and do what was in alignment with me and not just how things have always been done.

Jenn helped me deepen my relationship with myself. My leadership skills can only be as strong as I am able to lead myself and she really opened my eyes to how important my self-development journey is as a CEO.

Both of these amazing women and leaders have made a huge impact on my life.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

As a leader, I think one of the most important aspects of leadership during difficult times is confidence and communication.

When I was going through a transition in my business, I had to make some very hard decisions about not only where the business was going as the mission was pivoting, but what that would look like on a day-to-day basis. It required getting very clear on what the mission was and being able to communicate that and being confident in what was being created. Confidence is easy when things are going well, but when there was no proof yet that it was going to be successful, showing up and embodying what the mission was and the confidence I had in that mission was sometimes the only thing that kept moving the business forward.

It is more than just saying your confident that things will work out, but really believing that it will work is what can get you and your team through those uncertain moments.

Also, being able to provide updates and acknowledge concerns and how each step is moving the company forward. Everyone on a team feels more secure when they know not only what is happening and how it is impacting the business.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through challenges? What sustains your drive?

There have several times when I had thoughts that maybe I wasn’t meant to be an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning of running a business. We too often look for external validation to measure success and forget about why we started a business to begin with. I would remind myself of why I am here. The mission I know I am called to lead. By not showing up and giving it my all, I would be letting people down who I haven’t been able to help yet.

My mission transcends money, it transcends time, and it transcends myself. It is about doing something that is greater than what I thought possible. For me that is creating a world of aligned and regulated leaders that improve the lives of everyone they impact and lead. By helping other leaders learn to make aligned decisions, listen to their intuition, and work through blocks in their business, that will allow them to further their missions in this world and impact more people. When we all work together, I believe that we can create a new reality and better our world.

My drive and motivation come from thinking not only of the people we have served, the people we are currently serving, but all of those to come.

Leadership often entails making difficult decisions or hard choices between two apparently good paths. Can you share a story with us about a hard decision or choice you had to make as a leader?

When I was looking for a business mentor, I spent a lot of time talking and researching different people. I found some wonderful leaders in the business mentorship space and had to make some really tough decisions between different mentors that felt aligned.

There was no wrong choice, but they all approached business differently and that would shape how I viewed and ran my business.

For me it came down to getting clear on what I wanted out of a mentorship and how being in those containers would expand my leadership skills and me as a person.

I broke down the logic for hiring each mentor, but it came down to who I felt was most aligned to help me and my business.

What process or toolset can a leader use to make a choice between two difficult paths?

For leaders, making a tough decision between two difficult paths can feel daunting. However, there are various tools that can assist making the decision-making process more manageable.

First, always bring the decision back to the mission and the values of the company. Choosing the path that is in the most alignment with those two things will usually be the best choice.

Sometimes you come across a situation where they are both in alignment and you have to decide between them. In those circumstances, I think having a process to make decisions is crucial.

Having an outline or framework for working through those types of decisions. Looking at all of the dimensions like financial impact, potential ROI, advantages, disadvantages, risk, and time factors. Breaking the decisions down by logic can help bring clarity to the decision-making process.

Ultimately, the leader must also rely on their intuition and trust themselves. Not every decision that is best for the company will always make logical sense.

Do you have a mentor or someone you can turn to for support and advice? How does this help? When can a mentor be helpful? When is this not helpful?

Yes, I have found a strong support system that I can turn to when I have big decisions. I have both business mentors that I work with as well as fellow entrepreneurs that I can turn to for guidance. Having those people in my network has been invaluable to get different insights, different points of view, and being able to hear people who have experience being in similar situations and how they worked through them.

I think one of the biggest lessons of being a leader is that you do not have to do it alone.

I enjoy having peers from different backgrounds and industries because I find that they all approach decisions differently or can see the decision from a different angle and give really great feedback, advice, or a different perspective that I hadn’t seen before.

Before asking a mentor for advice, I like to get clear on what I want from their answer. Am I looking for guidance, support, help to walk through different scenarios based on the options, or just to be a sounding board. That way when I am asking for help, I can also be clear on what I need from them and get the type of feedback I desire.

I think turning to a mentor can be a detriment if they do not share similar values or if they are not clear on your mission and how the decision will impact the big picture. There are the mentors who want to tell you want to do in every scenario versus a mentor who knows you, knows your vision for your future, and helps you find the answers that are within you.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader when faced with a difficult decision?

When faced with a difficult decision, a leader’s most critical role is to stay calm.

If a leader is in a state of being anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed when making difficult decisions, it can often lead to misaligned decisions for the business. When leaders are in those states, they are not able to be as logical or have deep thoughts. The leader who has the tools to calm themselves, will not only be able to think more clearly, be more logical, listen to their intuition, and will also not feel rushed into making a decision.

Do you ever look back at your decisions and wish you had done things differently? How can a leader remain positive and motivated despite past mistakes?

There have been decisions that I look back on now and wish I would have made different decisions, but I do not regret any of them. I often learn more from the decisions that did not work out the way that I was hoping. Those hard-won lessons are the ones that we remember the most.

The leader who accepts responsibility and then learns from past decisions are the ones who will experience the most growth.

I think when we shift our perspective from thinking a decision is either be good or bad, to one of learning and growth it changes our perspective when making decisions.

I think it is easier to remain positive when we view it as just another learning opportunity. Next time we are faced with a similar decision we have an opportunity to approach it differently or pull from our past experiences.

What is the best way to boost morale when the future seems uncertain? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team during uncertaiun times?

A leader can inspire and motivate their team by providing clarity and belief.

Having a clear vision for the future that the team can get behind is crucial. Even when things feel uncertain, taking time to celebrate the small wins and achievements that are moving the business forward is a powerful tool to continue boosting morale.

The team behind a leader can only believe in the mission as much as the leader can. Make decisions with that belief, show up with that belief, and lead with that belief. That will boost the morale of the team.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses or leaders make when faced with a hard decision? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

Common mistakes that I see are leaders rushing into decisions from a place of scarcity or fear. I see a lot of new entrepreneurs making decisions reactively and when they are dysregulated (anxious, scared, worried). When they are in those states and making decisions, those decisions are almost never in alignment with the business and end up moving them further away from their missions. It is important to take a step back, be able to calm their system so they can make clear decisions, and then look at the long-term effects of that decision and if it will move them forward or backwards.

Second, they don’t have a process for making decisions. This sounds simple, but if they use a different process each time it can make it hard to be consistent and clear with decisions. Not only does having a process give them a structure, which for most of us takes away the anxiety when having to make hard decisions, but it also helps when more people get involved so everyone is on the same page. It does not have to be a complicated process, but knowing how they make decisions and having a process that works for them and their team will make it easier to replicate each time they have a decision.

Third, they make decisions without keeping sight of their mission. I see leaders have exciting opportunities come up and they jump at the chance without taking time to see if those opportunities are in alignment with their mission. Learning when to say “no” to opportunities or offers is the hallmark of a good leader.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a leader should do when making difficult decisions? Please share a story or an example for each.

1 . Know your decision making process.

For me, that looks like taking time to listen to my intuition first. What is my gut telling me I should do. Then, I will work through it logically. Look at it from different point of views, what are the short-term and long-term implications. I then go and compare my instincts with my discernment and if they are on the same page I move forward, if not then I go and find where there is a difference and get clear around that issue before deciding.

2 . Know who is involved in the process.

Do you make decisions on your own? Do you have mentors that you talk through big decisions with, when do you bring them into the process, and what kind of guidance are you looking for? Who on your team needs to be involved and when?

I typically like to take time by myself to think through decisions before reaching out for guidance. A skill I have learned that has served me well, is to not to just communicate what decision I need to make, but what I want them to help with. Do I need different perspectives on the decision, do I need them to play devil’s advocate and challenge me, or do I need them as a sounding board to talk it through. I already know how I feel about the decision before getting another perspective and get better feedback when I am clear on what I am looking for from them.

3 . Make room for errors.

Letting go of the expectation that every decision will be perfect. Reframing it as doing your best to make a decision with the information that you have. I have numerous examples of times looking back I wish I would have made a different decision, but when I have a similar decision come up, I am always so grateful for the lessons that I learned the first time and sometimes it has been those lessons that ended up saving me a lot of time or money.

4 . Communicate your decisions.

Letting people know what is happening and the implications that will come from that decision. When people feel like they are included and can be heard, not only will it help strengthen the team, but create an environment of openness.

5 . Take ownership

Take ownership of the good and the bad. A leader is someone who can accept the praise of making good decisions, but also the accountability of decisions that did not turn out. No one expects anyone to be perfect, we are all human, but leaders inspire confidence when they know how to take responsibility.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Melanie Layer of Alpha Femme shared a quote, “I am not the best, I am the only”. To me this meant that instead of seeing everyone as competition and how can I rise to the top, which often feels like if I am to succeed someone else must fail, which has never felt good to me. To see it as trying to rise into the greatest version of myself. Being the best version of me to encourage more leaders to be the best version of themselves. When one of us rises, we all get to rise together.

How can our readers further follow your work?

You can find me on Instagram at RegulatewithRhysa if you interested in learning more about how nervous system regulation is the key to unlocking every block that you have in your business. There are free trainings for working through money blocks, that may not be what you think, and tools all entrepreneurs and leaders need every single day.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Thank you for the amazing opportunity!

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at angelova@rebellious-intl.com. To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.