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...
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...
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...
We can get so caught up in how we are seen that we miss opportunities to course correct and expand our views on the world around us.
And admitting you made a mistake or that you changed your mind can feel like jumping into shark infested waters.
The process of expanding our views and self-correction involves connecting meaningfully with other’s experiences and needs so we can see the world outside of our own experience.
Sometimes we take in important new data that activates protective behaviors like defensiveness and control while navigating feeling disoriented and uncertain.
How we move through these moments rarely looks or feels graceful. Especially because parts of us still resist the discomfort that leaves us feeling out of sorts.
But when you commit to growing as a leader and as a human your work is more than an intellectual and tidy process.
And it requires deepening relationships with others so you can truly understand from your heart the needs...
When you choose to step into conversations about racism you risk giving up your comfort and the illusion of control on how you are seen.
In essence, when you choose to speak up against injustice you are inviting discomfort.
And inviting discomfort is an affront to all the ways you protect yourself from harm.
Yet when you befriend your discomfort instead of letting it shut you down, you can navigate the vulnerability of potentially being misunderstood.
The polarities that come up around wanting to say the right thing, but not be performative or not wanting to center yourself, but be authentic and true are real and can also shut you down.
Sometimes it seems best to just stay quiet.
Taking the time to pause and not just react is important, especially in our hyper-responsive world. But indefinite silence is never ok when harm is being done.
Self-leadership helps you lead yourself with more confidence and clarity through the vulnerable and awkward moments. And...
If you do not know who you are, the world will tell you who you are.
And If you lead from a place of who you think you should be instead of who you truly are, it will take a toll on you and those around you.
There is immense effort put into editing instead of owning your multiplicities, leaving you exhausted and confused.
You also give up your power and give up what is most sacred in you when you do not make room for embracing the beautiful multiplicities in you and in all of us when you filter yourself.
But when you begin to unpack the burdens you carry that impact how you show up in the world, you can embrace all of your multiplicities instead of trying to fit into a mold of what you think the world wants you to be.
It can take a lot of effort sorting through the noise and the baggage you carry to figure out who you are and to embrace all of your identities.
My guest today hit a wall in her own life and found the power of embracing all of her multiplicities...