Rugged individualism occupies the heart of American mythology.
We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We ignore structural inequality and rely on our “can do” attitudes. We take on the personal shame of job loss or bankruptcy or health struggles.
And we unquestionably accept that to make it in America, all we need to do is work hard.
Are we happier and is our society stronger for all our self-reliance? Or does individualism exacerbate the political, social, and interpersonal issues that cause us all so much pain? And in what ways do we collude with this toxic myth as we lead and support others around us?
In today’s leadership roundtable conversation, my guests discuss how addressing the cultural burden of individualism is a powerful place to start when looking to also address the cultural burdens of racism, sexism, and consumerism.
Deran Young is a licensed therapist, CDWF, CDTL, Co-Author of the New York Times Best Seller, You Are Your Best...
How we talk about health matters.
Conversations about health are pervasive–when we get to know each other, when we play catch up, at kid pick-ups, and in between calls or meetings.
Many of us see these conversations as benign since they are so commonplace and seem universal in their relatability.
Yet, these conversations matter because so many of our beliefs around health are connected to a more complicated web of power and profit that burdens our culture and our own well-being.
Those beliefs can often be traced back to diet culture which fat-shames, fuels disordered eating practices and more serious clinical eating disorders, and spikes feelings of depression and anxiety.
Diet culture is not just a trendy hashtag or something to police our words. It impacts all of us - whether we feel like we are sucked into it or not.
Diet culture fuels orthorexia which places moral meaning on the food we eat, what our bodies look like, and the kind of fitness we engage in.
We need to talk about power.
Like, get into the nitty gritty details on what we believe about power, how we move around power, and how we see ourselves in relationship to power.
We need to get really clear on how we define it so we can truly understand the impact that our definitions of power have on our beliefs and actions.
There are too many examples of people in power who still have a dated and toxic view of power while others struggle to see themselves as powerful.
Our relationship to power impacts our choices, as children, when we set out to have careers, and in our relationships with others.
My guest today showed me how we–especially those who identify as women–have a harder time embracing power versus empowerment and how our incomplete definitions of power welcome the more palatable empowerment lens, but fear or reject the true roots of empowerment.
Kelly Diels is a thinker, teacher, and "development coach for culture makers".
Over the last 10 years, she...
When we ignore our collective losses and tragedies, we only compound the pain they generate.
And when we feel like our pain is ignored or we cannot share it, remembering can become complicated. And how we lead can become toxic.
No matter your age, you have moments in your life that are embedded in your nervous system–the time, the place, who you were with–when something significant happened in your world that shook you to your core.
When we experience significant collective losses, who we were with and how we connected impacts how we metabolize shock, grief, or horror, as we grapple to make sense of the experience in the moment.
And the sense of community, or lack thereof, we feel during those moments also impacts our remembering.
When we remember together, we comfort each other. And we also come together to ask the hard questions that support change that sustains.
Over the last 2 years, the January 6th Committee has gathered an...
Today I am bringing back my annual debrief to the podcast.
Looking back on 2022 has been fruitful and offered a lot of data collecting. You know I love to collect data and review what choices, behaviors, and commitments were kept and which of them were not honored.
But looking back has not always been a practice or something I enjoyed. In fact, it felt counterintuitive to me. I know many business spaces normalize this practice but a trauma-informed lens, plus working with hundreds of people over the years, has taught me that practices which in theory should be filled with ease can really stir up whatever echoes of burdens we are carrying.
I feel like for most of my life has been forging ahead with little reflection on looking back. As a result, my inner system felt like it was dangerous to look back.
But when I shifted to looking back as data collection, and not connected to my identity, worthiness, or safety, looking back became a part of my...
We all connect with the power of vulnerability in ourselves and in others.
And vulnerability continues to be misunderstood and misappropriated in marketing businesses and services, political campaigns, legislative agendas, and leadership, to name a few.
These days, discerning between true vulnerability and what today’s guest calls #vulnerability can become a real challenge.
When vulnerability is used with an agenda to acquire more community, brand awareness, or social capital, this agenda moves us away from the heart of this courageous state.
Vulnerability is complicated because it RARELY feels good. But what leads us to vulnerability often is good, because it means we are following our integrity even when there’s a lot to lose.
Many of us struggle with vulnerability because we struggle with knowing ourselves. All too often, we know more about who we think we should be, than who we really are.
This becomes extra challenging when the...
One of the biggest challenges to self-care is that it means different things to different people.
Is it bubble baths and facials? Nice vacations and or buying a coveted outfit or pair of shoes? Or is it advocating for reasonable wages and safe working conditions?
For some, self-care is a justification to splurge or just take a dang day off when a justification sadly should not be needed. For others, self-care is a means of survival and maintaining the capacity to keep moving forward when things feel bleak.
And all too often, self-care is now presented with an individualist lens that puts the onus firmly on us and ignores the systemic influences that get in the way of caring for ourselves, and the very real need for community and support in our lives.
Self-care is not a problem that can be solved through consumption or a prescriptive plan but is both an individual practice and deeply relational and connected to the communal.
So when I read an article by...
Conscious consumption is one of the hottest trends in retail marketing.
We shop to make a difference, have an impact, build a better world.
But many of the businesses that claim to be doing good are running on business models or operating principles that are hardly disruptive.
Instead, they're counting on consumers' desire to both have their cake and eat it too.
The more companies can convince us that shopping equals advocacy, the more we'll buy.
With all that said, I was curious what a company would look like - beyond the marketing pulling at my heartstrings - running with the full awareness of what it means to truly disrupt exploitation.
A company that honors transparency and relationships will have the answers to our questions without defaulting to marketing speak or trendy buzz words, and that’s why I wanted to speak with today’s guest.
Leading a fashion lifestyle brand might be an unlikely role for someone self-described as...
The mental load we all carry right now is next level.
But just because this load is invisible does not make it any less important.
Kids, pets, aging family members, school, work, the economy, democracy, access to safe and affordable health care, chronic health issues - the list goes on and on, and feels like it keeps piling on without relief or end in sight.
On top of this, we carry past pains and difficult life experiences too.
And most of us don’t realize how much pain we carry until we end up on the brink.
Many people face systemic barriers that make that load heavier, and don’t have access to time and resources to find relief. And we’re also bombarded with messages like, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” that make carrying a lot a badge of honor.
What if our places of work cultivated spaces that supported healing instead of perpetuating over-functioning and over-working?
If you want to cultivate...
There is a difference between nice and kind.
Niceness is appeasing and complacent. Kindness is loving and generous.
Niceness, in IFS terms, can be experienced as a strong protector shielding us from vulnerability and risk by over-accommodating others. True kindness, on the other hand, connects us to our compassion and our values.
We sacrifice our integrity to play nice, to go along to get along. When we lead from niceness, we sugar coat and people please. While this may offer some relief, this posture usually creates more stress and internal dissonance.
To lead with kindness, you need the capacity to receive and navigate the responses of others. Kindness stirs up vulnerability because we do not know how we will be received, how we will be perceived, or how others will respond.
And these fears are especially common when navigating conversations and feedback around race, gender, ability, and so much more.
My guest today helps me dig deep into the intersection of niceness,...