EP 64: Coping is Not Healing: Making Sense of the Pain with Natalie Gutierrez Part 2

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2022

 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...

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EP 63: How Choosing Nice Can Lead to More Harm with Jenny Booth Potter

Uncategorized Oct 14, 2022


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,...

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EP 62: Coping is Not Healing: Making Sense of the Pain with Natalie Gutierrez Part 1

Uncategorized Sep 30, 2022


We all carry pain. All of us. 

We navigate the vice grip of the pains from our past along with the pains from the present while trying to keep it all together. 

And when things break, we often carry the blame and responsibility for our pain because we’ve absorbed the messages that our struggles are our sole responsibility; neglecting to see the systems, the business practices, and the cultural norms that weigh us down, too.

As a result, the desire to control our emotions and our environments runs deep.

And our protectors are often on high alert editing our words, our tones, and how we express emotions–especially the difficult ones. 

But when we seek to control both our inner world and our external world as a means of creating safety, we end up having the opposite effect. 

To counter these toxic messages and systems, we need to do our own inner work and set the foundation for the capacity to make changes in the spaces where we live and work.


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EP 61: Mental Health and Entrepreneurship: Confronting the Stigmas with Jason Van Orden

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2022


Quick-fix solutions abound for mental health challenges. 

As leaders, we’re fed the same advice over and over again. Generic one-size-fits-all “thought work” designed to alleviate our gloom and get us back on the road to success.

But that generic advice comes up short. And much of it further stigmatizes mental health struggles, failure, and doubt to the point where people fake it until they make it and then end up face down in a serious mental health crisis. 

We as leaders and business owners have a responsibility to offer something other than quick fixes or bandaids. We have to do the work to create spaces for the nuances of life to show up. 

We need to make mental health a priority in our businesses. How we all approach mental well-being can shift the stigmas around struggle while honoring the whole person with as much care as our bottom line. 

Today’s guest joins me for an important and nuanced conversation about the intersection...

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EP 60: Enneagram, Anti-racism, and Resilience with Jessica Dickson

Uncategorized Sep 02, 2022


We often look at the results of quizzes and personality assessments for language to help describe ourselves to others. And to better understand ourselves. 

These assessments can help us manage how we hire, date, and even want others perceive us. 

The language of these tests can fuel connection and belonging within and with others–to an extent.

But it can also be used to sort, judge, or even shame aspects of another’s personality. These assessments can be used to silo an aspect of how people show up or experience the world, into something that becomes polarizing or seen as “good” or “bad.”

We react to judgments of a trait in someone else instead of being present to someone’s full identity.

Yet, used with self-reflection and curiosity, assessment systems like the Enneagram can further a deeper understanding of ourselves, so we can in turn lead ourselves and others from a place of health.

My guest today is shaking things up...

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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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