EP 59: The Transformational Power of Conversational Leadership with Daniel Stillman

Uncategorized Aug 19, 2022


How you talk to yourself often reflects how you lead and how you talk with others. 

The harshness of your inner conversations seeps through into your conversations with others.  The vice grip of judgment, resentment, and out of aligned expectations you’re holding combined with the burdens from difficult life experiences make it loud between the ears. 

We navigate our internal conversations while simultaneously engaging in conversations with others. It gets messy and the inner conversations eventually spill out to our external conversations. 

But our inner conversations of doubt, shame, and judgment are not a moral failure but a reflection of our past pain plus the world we live in and the thousands of messages we get everyday focused on questioning our health and our worth. 

The message that we are the problem when we are struggling with how we talk to ourselves leaves out the responsibility of our history, our current culture that conflates...

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EP 58: An Ecosystem Approach to Leading Community and Business with Pamela Slim

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2022


When you experience something that elicits an emotional response at work, you respond according to the extent of the emotional burdens you carry.

Our burdens come from our past traumas combined with the real-time heart-wrenching news–on repeat–we are moving through right now in our country. 

And our places of work can also be ground zero for some really painful experiences or where we relive difficult life experiences. 

When we can connect the impact of our traumatic and difficult life experiences to how we lead, that builds the foundation for a trauma-informed culture. 

It also moves us out of an individualistic lens to a collective approach to healing and change.

And when we can name the traumatic experiences that happen in our places of work without retribution and move to accountability and repair, this also builds a trauma informed culture that moves us beyond pathologizing pain and struggle to normalizing. Even healing it.

When the whole...

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EP 57: Toxic Proving, Gender Bias, and the Not-Enough Loop with Wendy Collie

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2022


When we spend most of our time trying to prove our worth, our proving shifts to looking for safety and validation from external sources and delegates our worth to others.

When we engage in this kind of proving, we end up in what I call the “not enough” loop.

The not enough loop is rooted in the belief that if you can change or fix yourself based on these external metrics–the standard of enough–you’ll get relief and feel more secure and capable.

But it only deepens our feelings of insecurity, comparison, and scarcity, which loops back to looking outside ourselves for validation. The not enough loop counts on us to externalize our worthiness.

When we fall into the not enough loop in our work, we often hear blanket labels like “imposter syndrome” that place responsibility on the individual and shut down conversations about the biases and pressures that make imposter syndrome and the not enough loop so much more prevalent for anyone who...

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EP 56: The Intersection of Leadership, Brand, and Inner Work with Nicole "Ziza" Bauer

Uncategorized Jul 01, 2022


It feels like we are in a collective hangover right now as we unlearn toxic ways of viewing difficult emotions, life experiences, and just being human.

And the commitment to understand those unpleasant feelings or aspects of ourselves isn’t any less daunting. It’s hard work to discover why we can’t set and maintain boundaries or deepen the courage to speak up when the stakes are high.

But our capacity for discomfort creates our capacity to lead with courage.

Our ability to work with our emotions helps us achieve the changes we desire inside us and around us. 

Working with our emotions–doing inner work– involves an intention to better understand why we do and feel and respond the way we do. 

When we do inner work, we take responsibility for our own needs, our pain, our difficult life experiences. We listen to our discomfort and get curious about what we need instead of exiling the parts of us that need our support.  

Sure, this kind...

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EP 55: Embodied Leadership: Pushing Back and Speaking Truth with Lisa Gungor

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2022


When being right is more important to you than being in relationship, difference and questioning become something to fear.

And fear shuts down connection and curiosity.

Unattended grief and rage are fertile ground for fear to have a party with our capacity to stay curious and welcome the discomfort of doubt and questions. 

And trust cannot exist without the ability to share and question the norms and beliefs of a community. 

When we lead or are led this way, questions become a threat to belonging and status quo. 

And when you are in the public eye, there seems to be even less room for doubt and more momentum for digging heels into being right, at the sacrifice of relationships and dignity.

Today’s Unburdened Leader guest and her husband lost friends, community, and much of their livelihood when they started to question some of the foundational tenets of their beliefs, which were deeply intertwined into their community.

Instead of their doubt and curiosity...

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EP 54: Honoring the Fullness of Your Grief with Marisa Renee Lee

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2022

 If you don't take time to grieve, your body will make the time for you. 

Grief is an emotion that does not respond to intellectual strategies or hacks. It has a job to do and it will take you out if you do not listen to it. 

And there are not many spaces that encourage you to take the time to tend to the fullness of your grief. 

Work deadlines are still looming. Bills still need to be paid. Family care needs are still all too present.

But when we neglect to approach our grief and the grief of others with the reverence it deserves, we may unintentionally become complicit in toxic narratives around grief while doing harm to ourselves and to others.

And when grief is not tended to, our bodies end up being the truth tellers in ways of: anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, brain fog, and so much more to get us to pay attention to our grief. 

My guest today addresses powerfully what it looks like to normalize grief and what happens when we try to bypass it. 


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EP 53: Leading a Sustainable Business & Life Without Burning Out with Racheal Cook

Uncategorized May 20, 2022


Our bodies are often the wisest parts of who we are, but we regularly over-ride the messages they send us when they tell us when we’re at capacity. 

We push through, over-work, see physical and emotional pain as something to overcome instead of important data to take into account about our needs and how we are living. 

And even if we do take in these messages clearly and see the need for needed shifts and care, it feels like change is not an option or acceptable. 

So we push ourselves until we crash. And this is often normalized  - sometimes even celebrated - as a part of how we do work and life. 

And when the body dials up the pain or the anxiety to finally get our attention, the default for many is to become at war with the messenger - seeing our bodies as the enemy instead of the culture of work and health care as the culprit. 

This is only reinforced by the expectations from work and how everyone else “seems to being doing it all...

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EP 52: Charlie Gilkey: Leading With What Matters Most

Uncategorized May 06, 2022

When you are not clear on what truly matters most to you, how you decide to use your precious time can leave you feeling overwhelmed and lost. 

And even your sense of time and what you can get done gets skewed by the tyranny of the urgent. Or comparison to how others are doing life and work. 

Striving and grinding is still the norm in so many spaces. The message is still suck it up, chin up, get it done. And falling or failing is on you and you alone.

This mindset is deeply problematic as many are pushing back on these approaches to how we use our time and the expectations around how we do work recognizing how culture and many of the systems we work in contribute to burdening our sense of time.

Boundaries around your time mean disappointing people. So if you are focused on over-delivering and making everyone happy, things can get messy, fast.  

If what matters most means meeting metrics that are set by others, burnout and disillusionment are inevitable.


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EP 51: Leading Transformational Communities with Shannon Siriano Greenwood

Uncategorized Apr 22, 2022

The desire to be seen, loved, and belong drives so many of our decisions. 

Especially when it comes to connecting in community.

Community plays a powerful role in our wellbeing and culture.

But what happens when the communities we are in make us sicker? 

Part of the antidote to toxic communities is finding spaces that support bumping up against our fear of being misunderstood, our fear of not being able to handle a difference of opinion, our fear of rejection. But this is a messy process and many spaces struggle with creating this kind of culture. 

And when our places of work and learning and worship struggle with messy realities, community feels less like community and more like a place for us to perform and check boxes.

Our connections and relationships become transactional instead of a place where we grow and strengthen. And when we are in transactional spaces, we are not truly seen, and the deep change we desire doesn't happen. 

But Community can serve as a...

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EP 50: Embracing the Hot Mess: A Special Anniversary Episode with Alison Cook, PhD

Uncategorized Apr 08, 2022

You carry life's burdens with you every day. Some days, they might feel heavy enough to break you.

But they also have the power to inspire you.

Your burdens are those difficult life experiences you’ve had. Our past pains can be the source of many of our recurring struggles. And they can also motivate us to do good in the world.

Coming to terms with our burdens–how they inspire us and how they continue to cause us pain–is a key step for allowing ourselves to be known and loved as we are.

Without recognizing our burdens, we can’t make ourselves open to intimate connections. 

This is the work of a lifetime.

Self-discovery takes time, and it doesn’t necessarily get any easier with age. But one way we can enhance the process is to listen to others tell their stories and share their burdens. 

And that’s been the goal of this podcast from Day 1. Today, I’m proud to be sharing our 50th episode with you.

My guest, Alison Cook, is a longterm...

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