If you want to lead yourself well, you have to know yourself well.
The tricky thing is, it can be surprisingly hard to really know yourself.
We live in a world where we are told by others–on repeat–who we should be and who we are.
We have gotten so good at being who we think we are supposed to be that we end up believing there is something intrinsically wrong with who we uniquely are.
Especially when it comes to behaviors, personality traits and abilities associated with how your nervous system operates.
We tag the word disorder onto neurological differences like autism and attention deficit and hyperactivity which pathologize aspects of being human.
This dangerously narrow view of health and functioning decreases everyone’s ability to better understand the incredible resources we have in ourselves and in those around us.
We all are trying to figure out what makes us tick and how we can improve our work and life.
And that is what today’s Unburdened Leader...
When you are not honest with yourself, you end up living a disconnected life.
You may feel connected to your life when you get the dopamine hits of likes and follows or public affirmations from colleagues. Though, let’s be honest, these external validations are never satisfying for long.
If you live a life where your worthiness and safety are woven into the opinions of others, it makes sense why so many cling to a life that is unsustainable and out of alignment.
And it often takes a big crisis to push us out of the grind of the life we are living to reflect and re-evaluate.
Whatever the catalyst is, getting honest with yourself and your circumstances is the only way through figuring out what next steps to take.
In a world of highlight reels and social media filters, being honest can feel counter-cultural. And stepping into radical honesty can stir up a lot of emotion.
Choosing to be honest with yourself and others definitely has risks. But you will also experience the rewards...
We are seeing conflict move so quickly to chaos these days.
Anger, entitlement and self-preservation can kick into overdrive when you feel devalued. We forget about relationships and fight to be right, no matter the cost.
Civility is pushed aside more and more as we navigate our differences.
The wounds of relational trauma, betrayal, neglect, poverty, racism are playing out in so many spaces of public gatherings and personal relationships.
But now is not the time to throw our hands up and walk away from this messy state of affairs.
Yes, there is a lot happening that takes us out of our space of leading from confidence, clarity and calm. It is inevitable that our emotions will overwhelm us at some point.
But it is essential that we cultivate spaces together that encourage conflict that moves us towards solutions, not sensational soundbites.
We have to look at how we communicate and the language we use. We have to intentionally set expectations and guidelines for what is okay and what...
We all grew up being told who was the creative one, who was the smart one, and who was the sporty one. There was no space for anyone to hold a multiplicity of skills and interests.
Of course, none of us hold just one identity, skill, or interest.
So an identity crisis–or multiple identity crises–is inevitable.
But an identity crisis can be a powerful turning point in your life and work.
On one hand, you can keep doing what you’ve been doing—what you’re supposed to do. Or you can take a big risk and do something different.
We all have PhDs on what we are supposed to do. We have breathed in the messages on what it means to be a success and responsible. Staying on the current path is oddly comfortable—even when it sucks.
When you decide to honor the desire to grow and make a pivot with your work or take a risk with a significant relationship in your life, you are entering into a stage of growth that can be lonely and a bit disorienting.
Leadership and discomfort are inextricably connected.
So much personal and professional development teaches us to figure out the problem and quickly move on.
But true resilience and growth require more than just the decision to “let it go.”
Leading well requires tolerating the discomfort of being seen, not just at your filtered best, but really being seen in your strengths and also when you make a bad decision and navigate the fall-out, respond defensively to criticism, and struggle with your confidence.
Bypassing or shutting down discomfort leads to numbing and disconnecting instead of feeling through the hard things.
It is essential that we get to know the burdens we carry and learn how to heal them so we can lead ourselves and others with more presence and generosity.
On today’s show, it is an honor to give you a window into the friendship I have developed with two colleagues of mine, Natalie Gutierrez and Kim Paulus. These friendships have become so valuable to...
Everyone gets angry.
And most people have learned to hide their anger–often at great costs.
There is a LOT of baggage we carry around the emotion of anger.
These burdens come from our faith traditions, culture, family of origin, work, school, and inform your relationship with anger today.
We are constantly navigating the many rules of what is ok and what is not ok when it comes to expressing, let alone feeling anger.
In the process, anger can slowly start to consume us. Anger overwhelms and it feels like it owns us—even as we’re doing our best not to show it.
But contrary to what many of us have been taught, anger is an important and valuable emotion.
You can own your anger instead of your anger owning you.
To own your anger, you’ve got to trust yourself. You’ve got to be able to hang out with the anger you feel so you can identify where it’s coming from and what it’s trying to tell you.
My guest today is no stranger to rumbling with her...
We love to be right. So much so, that we often trade being right for being in relationship.
Without relationships, we cannot experience meaningful change because the change we desire is rooted in relationships, not the certainty of being right.
But dang, the expediency and certainty of being right sure are seductive.
Pursuing being right cultivates the tunnel vision of perfectionism which runs rampant over our curiosity and creativity–the very ingredients needed for us to have a sustained impact.
When we focus more on creating change instead of criticizing ourselves or others, we are freed up to get creative about our sustainability practices and modeling this for others too.
But too often, perfectionism has a party. We want to get it right from the start and fear making mistakes.
Or we worry about sustaining the work we are already doing, so we don't bother starting, counting ourselves out, believing our small actions do not make a difference.
But they do.
How you lead yourself impacts how you lead others.
And how you lead yourself and others has a ripple effect in all the spaces you live and work.
It really is that simple. And that important.
Unaddressed pain from difficult life experiences and traumas rob us of our capacity for connection.
Unaddressed burdens of trauma impact how you make decisions on everything from parenting to public policy.
Both individual and collective traumas perpetuate disconnection in all the spaces we live and work in.
The ripple effect of disconnection takes us out of our innate ability to genuinely care about the well being of others. We become hyper focused on our own safety - sometimes at extreme costs to others.
When we make decisions based on fear and self-protection, we end up generating more fear and dehumanize the people we lead.
This is weighing us down individually and collectively. Our unaddressed trauma generates very real consequences in our communities.
As my guest today wisely states, we...
The commitment to being an engaged citizen is a commitment to being an engaged leader.
When you make the choice to invest your energy into staying informed about social and political issues, you are investing in your leadership.
I’m hearing more and more from leaders who are prioritizing leading with justice, equity, and community care in mind. So if the kind of leader you truly want to be means being an engaged citizen, one who is informed about the social and political issues facing the people they lead, you’re in good company.
But in today’s deeply polarized culture, that’s hard work.
It can feel like resting in the midst of that work is like tapping out of the biggest fight of your life.
But being an engaged citizen requires rest. Rest is not tapping out.
Without rest, you won’t have the energy to question the people & institutions in power. You won’t have the capacity to extend care to those who are often forgotten or...
Everybody’s carrying a burden that’s weighing them down.
If you dare to care, it is inevitable you will end up carrying the burdens from grief, betrayal, and rejection.
And these burdens are often unseen.
These invisible struggles fuel loneliness, shame, and despair. Eventually, the unaddressed burdens we carry start to impact our ability to live and lead in ways that are important to us. They take their toll on the quality of our work, our relationships, and our well-being.
Yet, instead of transforming the pains from abuse, betrayal, loss, shame, poverty, chronic health struggles, and so on, we see them as a poor reflection on our ability to lead, succeed, and provide.
We have breathed in the clear and emphatic message: Hide your pain.
These toxic messages around struggle take a dangerous toll on how we care for ourselves and others.
To engage our teams, support wellbeing, and lead through change, we must model and explore real and honest emotions.