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Jun 29, 2021
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20. Founder, The Unburdened Leader

20. Founder, The Unburdened Leader
Jeff’s guest Rebecca Ching is a leadership developer, coach, psychotherapist, writer, speaker, and podcaster. Rebecca shares the concept of the “unburdened leader.” Jeff and Rebecca talk about how culture is the ultimate differentiator for organizations. Rebecca shares what it looks like to lead from the healthiest place inside each of us. She talks about how microaggressions occur in the workplace, how curiosity and boundaries play a defining role in creating positive culture. Rebecca talks about leadership-based vulnerability which is based on risk, uncertainty, and emotional exposure. She shares 6-principals that create positive culture, including creating brave and safe spaces, building trustworthiness and transparency, working with peers for support, seeing things in a circle versus hierarchical, empowerment and choice, and understanding cultural, historical, and gender issues. Rebecca reminds us that trust is built on connection, and connection is feeling seen, understood, and respected.


Intro: Duration: (02:29)

Opening music jingle & sound effects

Jeff Hunt:

Hello, Human Capital listeners, this is Jeff. I’m excited to announce we will now be posting new Human Capital episodes every other week. This change is because we have queued up an incredible lineup of upcoming guests and can’t wait to share them with you. These top leadership influencers will help us unpack topics like how to create cultures of fun in the workplace, how to build environments where healthy debate and better decisions can flourish, and how employee personal lives affect company brand equity and what to do about it.

I would also like to give a quick shout-out to the Human Capital Podcast production team at GoalSpan. These talented folks help bring you not only every episode on time, but also produce and post the transcripts on our Human Capital site. We encourage you to follow GoalSpan on social media to see thought leadership posts and episode trailers, of course on all platforms.

In the meantime, stay tuned for a great episode with Rebecca Ching as she talks about the unburdened leader.

Jeff Hunt:

Today, we're going to talk about leading from the healthiest place within each of us. And when I say leading, it actually doesn't matter whether you manage others or you’re an individual contributor, because what we're going to discuss today is applicable to both.

We will be exploring how healthy self-leadership can decrease microaggressions in the workplace and how curiosity and boundaries play a defining role in creating a positive culture. My guest today is Rebecca Ching, who is a lead developer. She's a coach, she's a psychotherapist, a writer, a speaker, and a podcaster.

This busy woman helps entrepreneurs and business owners and leaders navigate the unique complexities of being a leader, whether at home, at work, or in their communities. Welcome, Rebecca.

Rebecca Ching:

Oh, I am so thrilled to be here. Thank you for having me.

Jeff Hunt:

It's absolutely my thrill to have you on the show because I love this topic. And anytime we get to talk about culture or self-awareness, or self-leadership it's just a real treat for me. And I know you're an expert in this space, so I think we're going to have a fun conversation.

Rebecca Ching:

We get to geek out together. That'll be fun.

Topic 1. Who or what inspired you to go into business? (02:30)

Jeff Hunt:

Exactly. So, you know, before we dive into this topic, I'd like to go back and hear your backstory if you're willing to share it.

So, can you share with us a little bit about the beginning of your career, was there any one person or thing that inspired you to become a leadership coach and a marriage and family therapist and sort of blend this space?

Rebecca Ching:

So I went to graduate school and got my master's in marriage and family therapy. And honestly, it's a crappy title for really what MFTs are known for we're systems trained. So my foundational training is understanding how the systems inside someone or in and around them, whether it's their work, their school, their community, social support, how those systems internally and externally are helping or hurting the goals that they have in our work.

So that's my foundational training and. I ended up building out a brick-and-mortar business and had a group practice for nine years. And I led that team. Holy cow, I learned so much about leadership that way and differentiating leading and managing, and therapists, it's that whole culture in itself, but always felt more, I love the business.

I love strategy. I loved different metrics and my team would just kind of love, like Rebecca's worrying about all this other stuff we get to show up. And then with COVID and I'd already been feeling this urge to do something big, particularly after 2016, I felt this important need to go. Back to my roots and really support leaders but in a different way. But leaders who are cultivating spaces that were brave and safe and that we're wanting to offer a place of refuge and a place to still be creative and innovative, but not get sucked into the toxicity.

And so I started to test and dance with some different things and because of a beautiful global network. Started getting opportunities. So in 2020, literally January 2020, I formally launched my unburdened leader, coaching business two months later. Right. We all know what happened and that just.

We just blew up. And then that summer, I ended up closing down my brick and mortar and kind of dispersing the group and just taking my clinical practice online and really streamlining who I work with so that my clinical work is with a lot of leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs, but really who are.

Not able to get out of bed, not functioning well, really in a place where it's hard to take care of themselves, but I get their work too. And so I can work in that clinical space. And then the leadership coaching really is working with individuals or teams or organizations. Around the globe of a lot of entrepreneurs.

I have a special place in my heart, and I was telling you before we started chatting, why I specifically kind of fell in love with this population. I was seeing these folks face down in my clinical work and after unpacking it was hearing, I couldn't push through anymore the burnout, the self-loathing, the shame.

And they would try these different coaching or methodologies that would tell them to kill their fear, to suck it up, to push through, to break through, to let it go. And my training in trauma, I’ve been a trauma therapist, my whole career. I was like, but that's not possible.

Neuroscience says you can't just let it go. I had issues with that whole song. Let it go. I'm like, but you can't. And my family got sick of me and my editorial, whenever that song came on. And so, that's when I started dabbling in it. And so just flash forward to now, I still have a small clinical practice, I believe deeply in that work.

And it's wonderful to have that option, but really putting a lot of time in supporting leaders and their teams as they see fit. Really integrating and normalizing. What does it mean to create a culture and normalize being mentally well, mentally wellbeing with leadership? o much of the business stuff bifurcated.

And box us in the little pieces like I'm right-handed right. But I shouldn't just cut off my left arm. I still need it. And so, it's been really fun, and inspiring to work with these leaders who have so much impact, who cared deeply. But still, I've worked closely with Brenee Brown and her team for nine years.

I'm a certified facilitator and consultant at her work. And then also into internal family systems. I'm also certified in that and I do PA thing and I'm a clinical consult, all the nerdy stuff there. And so I integrate those two and it's been really cool to help leaders understand maybe the echoes of their past traumas or difficult life experiences.

We don't do a deep dive into it, but we recognize the echoes in our nervous system and what our bodies are carrying. It May still impact their confidence during a pitch or when they're having to lead a team or have a courageous conversation, they're getting frustrated. Like parts of them are like, why am I feeling so insecure? I know I can do this.

So, when I especially bringing in IFS and help them understand just their beautiful complex inner system, it's not just something to think through, but to feel through. It's like light bulbs go off, but there still is this huge cultural burden around emotion, around showing your feelings, confusion on expressing vulnerability, which Brenee defines as risk uncertainty, and emotional exposure, which are all dangerous to our brains.

Like our brains, pick that up and they're like, want to shut it down. And so, to normalize that protective response, instead of shaming it as resistance and thinking it's a weakness to go, oh, there's a part of you that says this isn't safe let's get to know it. So you can understand it. It can trust you and you can lead it instead of it overwhelming lead you. And so there you go. That's a little cliff note.

Topic 2. Unburden leaders (08:47)

Jeff Hunt:

That's great. Well, you're doing such worthwhile work and I actually love the title of your practice, which is also your podcast as well. So we want to hear a little bit more about that, but the unburdened leader is so apropos because if you just boil it down to the most simplistic terms, people are going to trust unburdened leaders more. They're going to want to follow them more. They're going to want to engage with them and have relationships and probably have higher productivity. And if you think of the burdened leader, what comes to mind for me. Well, first of all, it sort of brings up sadness, but you also think of, a leader that is distracted possibly and not as mindful and maybe having a harder time being present.

And so I love that concept. The other thing that I'm just reflecting on as you were sharing was that you launched this last year, talk about a year of burdens. The year of COVID was the ultimate acid test for everybody in terms of dealing with burdens. And so, wonderful that you could sort of live in that space and help people not only heal and become more effective leaders but help to change culture internally in their organizations.

The last thing that I'll reflect on before I ask you to share a little bit more about IFS in that model is that this seems so worthwhile because culture is the ultimate differentiator in an organization right? So if we can shape, we're talking about our own internal culture and our own internal systems, which leads to healthier external culture within the organizations that we lead. And that ultimately is the differentiator between companies, because that's not something that you can copy. You can go copy the pricing structure and matrix. You can go look at marketing policies and go to market strategies and verticals.

But when you come to internal culture and how we treat each other, how we're responding, how we actually do strategy together. Implementing new initiatives and how we engage with one another culture is definitely something that you can't copy. So thank you for sharing all that.

Rebecca Ching:

Yeah. So I want to circle back to your first reflection about unburdening leaders. So you talked about just kind of differentiating a leader who's carrying a lot of burdens versus one who's caring less and burden is a term I really took from the IFS model, which is founded by Richard Schwartz, which kind of differentiates it from a lot of other personal development and psychotherapeutic approaches.

This burden, and if we release the burden, then those parts of us that we don't like that protect us - the doubt, the imposter experience, the inner critic, they can relax and then they can unburden themselves. Here's the trick though that yes, unburden leaders can be more present, but it doesn't feel better because when you feel more vulnerability when you connect with your emotions, you're actually feeling more.

So you can go from feeling like a super numbed out, protected, just head down, working hard. And then all of a sudden people could do their work and then start to pay attention to what they're feeling in their body and what they're feeling emotional. And all of a sudden they're like, Rebecca, I thought I was going to feel better now I'm feeling all the feelings.

And so, but then I'm like, but are you aligned to your values? Are you connecting with people in a way that feels more aligned and more true and life-giving? So they're like, well, yes. And I'm like, yes. So it's also this, it doesn't mean we have it easy breezy. Being human and leading is hard, but to be completely terrified of like, not keeping all of the ways we protect in place and afraid of how we're seeing that's exhausting.

So it's still as hard-living an unburdened leader life. But it's an aligned life. It's a life of meaning and connection. Still heartache, still heartbreaks, still annoying, frustrating, disappointing, even irritating things happen. So I wanted to speak to that because I think there's still this sense of how do I not feel bad?

And I'm like, no, no. How do we feel those difficult emotions and still stay true to ourselves and care for others in ways that are aligned to what matters most?

Topic 3. Microaggressions in the workplace. (13:20)

Jeff Hunt:

That makes sense. So, one of the things I mentioned in the intro was microaggressions in the workplace, which is actually, unfortunately, very common and microaggressions can take on many different forms.

It could be a snide comment, a contemptuous glance. It could be, um, you know, uh, ostracizing somebody for any reason. And I guess I'm curious to have you make the connection for us. Between burdens that people carry and how they might be manifested in this way of microaggressions and how the work that you do with them can help reduce the microaggressions to happen.

Rebecca Ching:

Well here I'm going to be generous of my assumptions that we don't want to harm those that are in our lives personally and professionally, but there are times when people or situations, or just things are happening out of our control, really bring up a lot of emotion and we're gonna not do this perfectly.

And I think that's sometimes a lot of the leaders I work with have a high standard of integrity and sometimes rumble with the protector of perfectionism a lot too, and are afraid of not always doing perfectly. Microaggressions to it are all those things, but they also can, they can be more insidious.

And just because we don't know that it's a microaggression doesn't mean intent and impact are so important. We have really our inner reckoning around this and a lot of people are eating a lot of humble pie, say it lightly around why it's not how I intended it. But we have to understand the impact they have to go together.

I don't think it's just impact, I think it's heavier on the impact. And there can be microaggressions because of how we've been raised because of our worldview, because of how we own identify or in our own race or gender. Our own socioeconomic background, our own abilities, and the list go on that we can cause microaggressions, even when we're not angry and upset just by how we talk to people.

So, this has been really shifting. And I work with such deeply caring people, it's almost a mobilize them a little bit. Like they've hunkered down to learn all the things, but it's an awkward process to shift how you communicate or see the world. And then another part of those ways that we can do the microaggressions, like the ones you've referenced.

I go back to Brenee’s research, her rising strong research, and she talked about these different ways that we offload pain, which to me is like how these different parts of us, how they overwhelm us. And she talks about a term like we chandelier like we take it, we take it. And then we just get everybody. Or there are ways that we can try and control situations or micromanage situations, and she has all these cool names for it.

But there are these different ways that when we're not addressing the burdens that we're carrying from our story, and many of the leaders I work with are like, Rebecca, I've already worked on this. Why is this still an issue? And I say because you just got promoted to C-suite. And your whole nervous system is going back to holly cow, we're exposed there are risks, there's uncertainty you want to perform well.

And it's finding those echoes in your story, finding those echoes of those burdens that maybe there's still a little bit attention or just an often it's just a glance. Some it's attention. It's a little moment saying oh. And then, you know, the system kind of orienting to 2021 and they're like, okay, I got this, you know, so it's just staying curious because there are parts of them don't even want to look back.

We want to edit our past and be done with it, but I call that a lobotomy. Like we can't just, or that, that movie eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, where they tried to erase certain experiences. And so, and, and science supports this like deeply, but there's been this narrative.

Particularly in the professional development space that we get to bifurcate or cut that off and that you failed. If you're doubting, if you're struggling, if you're questioning, but I guarantee you, if you have felt like I've got this and all of a sudden you don't, there's probably something new that you're doing exciting and good, but it's going to tap into this primal part of our nervous system and find those echos that say, no, we got to hunker down. Who do you think you are? You shut this down.

Topic 4. Exploring our inner selves. (18:00)

Jeff Hunt:

Exactly. It's so interesting to me too. And I know you've talked about resistance in the past and it seems as though many of the methodologies and modalities historically have been focused around trying to tamp down these feelings and it ends up for many people becoming like whack-a-mole.

So like if I'm walking to a high-level meeting and I'm going to give a presentation and I'm filled with fear or anxiety or I’m super angry at somebody that's at the table for whatever reason, the whack-a-mole theory is I'm just going to tamp that down and I'm going to get through this 30-minute window versus what I think you're referring to, and I'd love you to elaborate on this, is actually taking time to explore and go inward and get curious about these various parts of us and these feelings that we have that are so strong that might actually be ruling the roost at that moment. But in a more calm time, we can look into those feelings and try to really get to the core of what's driving them. Is that right?

Rebecca Ching:

Yeah. What I love about what IFS offers is that when we feel all of a sudden overwhelmed, maybe by an inner critic or imposter experience, right? Like who do you think you are? Scarcity and shame are showing up.

The good news is it's a part of us. It's not all of us. And I repeat that ad nauseum, like, okay. A part of you is feeling like, but this isn't all of you, so you're good. So let's just notice this part and let's help it not overwhelm you let's help understand its fears and concerns. And then we explore that part's job and its fears and concerns.

And it sounds weird. I work with highly relational people. So once they kind of get their brain around, they get to do that with their inner team. They're like, holy cow, I had no idea it was connected to this experience, or it's still worried about this. That's so far apart.

And then we get to help them know it's 2021. And again, how our brains are made the neural networks of our brain. Our brains and bodies have a powerful way of healing and self-healing, but sometimes something gets in the way, just like if I had a scratch. That can heal, but if some sand or dirt gets in that scratch, then it could get infected.

The same thing happens with difficult life experiences. Sometimes the natural healing mechanism is disturbed because something gets in the way. And so it's so cool to be able to go, okay, wait, I'm feeling so hijacked, but they can differentiate enough even at the moment. So they're not totally limbic and taken out to go, okay, I need a little time out and even be able to say, hey, listen, I need a little space.

Let me get through this meeting, get me through this proposal, this conversation, whatever it is are dealing with this news. And then I'm going to revisit you later and just like a good relationship when there's trust, and trust is built on connection. And Brenee talks about it in her research connection is feeling seen, understood, and respected.

And connectedness is one of the score CS in IFS and core elements in self-leadership. So it's a beautiful inner mix. So for connecting regularly with our inner team, We're going to build trust. And again, I mean, I'll be honest with you. I was not someone that was like, I'm like meditation, are you kidding me?

Like seriously. I was like are we going to, we're going to close our eyes. I mean, I still have parts that are like okay, we know that the train left the station on this, but they still like, even though they're like, come on Rebecca, I'm speaking for them.

But like, come on. I don't want these people to know that. But again, it's not maybe the cultural sense of this. It's just relationship building. And that's what the people that I know you and I work with. That's what they're into. And it's really seeing, not just others, but themselves as wholly human and normalizing struggle.

Normalizing doubt. Normalizing asking for help, or pausing. Right? Nobody wants to say, I need more time. Nobody wants to say, I actually need to clarify something. There's just still that those echoes in a culture that you were talking about, where if a culture stifles. I need help. I need to know more. I need to slow down.

I need to change my mind. Oh my gosh. Don't change our minds these days. Holy cow. So I think there are still these mixed messages where we could talk about this stuff, but the culture at large is carrying these burdens and is ready to pounce on that too. So.

Topic 5. Advice for leaders. Being the exception to the rule (22:44)

Jeff Hunt:

What would you say Rebecca to the leader that that comes back and might listen to this episode and says, I just don't get it.

I got these things figured out when I go into the meeting and I do the presentation, it goes fine. I ride at a very narrow band and I get my job done and I'm doing just fine. What would you have to say to that, to that type of person?

Rebecca Ching:

Awesome. And, and when it's not fine, I'm here as a resource for you, or I can help connect you with resources because that's not sustainable.

I won't say that to them, but I'll say great. And if it ever changes, be kind to yourself and make sure to ask for help. But I think folks that are riding that tight line have that expectation of others and usually have a lower patience threshold for other people struggling because if they slow down enough to hold space for others, that means their stuff might come up.

And that's why I talk about leading ourselves well, so we can lead others well. There was a season where my bandwidth was so full. I just expanded my business, my oldest daughter was just diagnosed on the autism spectrum, my youngest son was a year old. I had no bandwidth. I brought on this whole team.

I was like, yes new team. We'll do these cool things together. And I was not holding space for myself or others. Even with my clinical training, because there's, there's no training. That can take away the fact that we have our limits, we have capacity. And that's a hard thing to admit that we all have our capacity.

We want to be infinite. We want to be the one, the exception to the rule.

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah, we all want to be the best so well. I'm just reflecting on what you're saying. The other opportunity for that individual might be to get some sort of 360 feedback and then really pay attention to that feedback. And take that to a coach, such as yourself to say, hey, these people are sharing with me that I'm really short or that I micromanage.

And I don't see that in myself. And maybe you can help me explore that. Is that sort of a way that, they may be able to grow?

Rebecca Ching:

I think that's great. I have a mixed relationship with 360s, cause I think there's so freaking helpful and I see some cultures weaponize them. You know, we're going to 360 you, and everyone's like, oh no, I've gotten 360. Cause usually that person that gets their work done.

They're frustrated about something. Let's get some more data from your team for what's going on. And let's take a look at, cause this frustration is not fun. For me, and maybe this is hearkening back to my clinical background, I don't like forcing this work. And I know in companies, sometimes you can get on a performance plan and I get it.

It's kind of like in, in clinical work, sometimes it can be court-mandated therapy and it's never the juiciest work as it could be if you want it. But if someone wants to keep their job, but if shame is kind of hanging and fears hanging out, like I gotta do this and change, then I don't like that as the motivator.

So, I guess it just is having a conversation with what's not working. You've got it, but who else is not working around you? And like you're saying maybe it's a 360, maybe it's some iteration of that. So again, I know that that is not the common corporate-speak and again, there's some really cool 360 is out there when done well.

But I just know that sustained change happens when everybody wants it. And so sometimes someone may need to fall and fall hard. To really have the growth and the change that they need. And I'm like, I'm here for whatever phase that you're in. But if leaders, if we're over-functioning, that's what I see sometimes is I've got a rescue.

I got to fix it, we got to tweak this. Sometimes we got to let things fall and that I know that costs dollars and that costs resources. But it may not cost as much as constantly band-aiding things too. So it's a dance, but I do think if that person says I'm good, then I would ask, how are other people around you?

How do they feel about their work? How are you feeling about their work? And that probably would be a good trailhead to some further curiosities and conversations. It's a great one. I appreciate that example.

Topic 6. Boundaries. (27:13)

Jeff Hunt:

A great question to be asking. So, share a little bit about boundaries. I know this has been a topic that sort of comes up now and again, and some people get confused around boundaries, what they are because there are boundaries for people in terms of behaviors, but there's also boundaries that extend from those people too, to businesses in terms of.

Their markets and strategies and customers and policies and cultures, so share a little bit about that.

Rebecca Ching:

Yeah, it's an essential pillar in our unbeatable unburden leader coaching, and it's also essential in any trauma-informed approach. So. the six kinds of principles of a trauma-informed kind in a clinical area were about safety.

And I call it sprays and safe spaces, building trustworthiness, and transparency. And that takes a lot of courage. Working with peers for support, not everything has to go to the coach or the therapist. Really seeing things more in a circle versus hierarchical collaboration and mutuality. And this is the toughest one in systems, man, homeostasis love status quo, and empowerment and choice if people feel like they have choices.

I know as a Gen X-er I have a hard time with folks that really lean into this one, because I'm like, you just suck it up. You just do this, you know? But then other times I'm like I'm done with it too. And then it really understanding the cultural and historical and gender issues and more in your area.

So I think boundaries help make that happen. And Brenee has this ridiculously simple definition of boundaries. That's okay. And what's not okay. It totally pissed me off when I first heard it. Cause I'm like, it must be more complicated, but that's her genius. And so it's really what's okay and what's not okay.

And her research supports us in my work supports is too that the best way to know when a boundary is not working, not being respected or there's one nut in place that needs to be is to check and see if you're feeling bitter resentful. And so the Trailhead of bitterness and resentment, when that comes up in my work, I'm like, all right, boundary inventory time.

I know immediately that's the boundary trailhead. And now my clients, the ones who've been with me for a while are like, okay, Rebecca, I'm in a boundary rumble here, what what's going on? And people conflate a boundary with a wall.

And there isn't any conversation anymore. And sometimes I have some boundaries. I won't be specific. That may feel like walls to some people, but they're just very, very distant because the life we'll just leave it there, and so some people may interpret a boundary as rejection or while, and that's why the deeply caring people I work with have a hard time because they don't want to hurt other people.

Or maybe they're on the other end. They're like F it, I don't care and hammer it down. A boundary is, within a relationship, and boundary people respecting your boundaries or you respecting your boundaries shows how you are showing up for yourself or how others are showing up for you.

So you also get down to boundary clarity when you see how people respond. So initially there's always pushback. I say the closer the person is when you shift how you've been working or leading. So maybe this is in your team, or even in your own personal life, you're going to have more pushback.

The closer the people are. So I prepare people for the pushback three to five, three to six times usually. And that's hard. It's hard labor, but it's part of the gig. I'm like, yay, they're pushing back. You've got a good boundary. So there's that setting and maintaining the boundaries.

They're setting the boundaries and then maintaining the boundaries and that's the hardest work. And we often will compromise our own boundaries. That's what I see the most with leaders. And, and so if I am not clear on my values if I'm not clear of really what's okay and not okay.

And I haven't communicated that to others. Bitterness and resentment will abound within myself and those that I am leading in my family and my work and my community. So it is a word we toss around like I'm setting a boundary and I'm like, well, tell me more. And it's like, and sometimes it is, I need to have a pause on this conversation and we'll revisit it next week.

No, I need to get closure and out like, Nope, I'm going to hold to this. Here's why. And I do specific scripts and practice on how to navigate that. And we do what we call in IFS, the Y O U the U-turn to help get the whole team on board to help maintain boundaries.

It's a lot more work than just an intellectual decision of yes, no, left, right? Not okay. Okay. But if we're not clear, no one else is going to be.

Jeff Hunt:

Well, I love how you made the connection between boundaries and values because core values must be present in an organization to provide clarity around desired behaviors and how we operate and things like that.

And without that, there can be a disconnect. The other thing that I was just thinking about as you were sharing was that boundaries can be sort of undergirded with high trust and, a compassionate relational environment. So that even if somebody is setting a boundary with me or vice versa, it can be communicated in a way that's still very engaging, not disengaging or disconnecting.

Rebecca Ching:

Ooh. Yeah. I like how you said that, because even like whether it's my husband or a dear colleague will set a boundary, I still will feel the sting. I'll still have a little bit of a parts party. But that doesn't take me out. Cause I'm like, Ooh, what's going on? Oh, I hate that I let them down. Oh, I hate that they needed to do that.

Oh, I'm annoyed. I don't want to change or something like that. Right. And so, but because of the relationship, I don't get taken out and I'm able to do my own inner dialogue check-in with my own inner team. If I need to ask clarification questions I have a strong negotiator part, my poor husband.

He's like you're four years in DC suck. Cause you can spin and work anything. I'm like, I know I've got those parts. I will not take no for an answer. It's not helpful, but I do delight in them at times.

Topic 7. Lighting round questions (33:50)

Jeff Hunt:

No doubt. Exactly. Okay. We're going to shift to some lightning-round questions. So I'm going to throw some questions so you can give me some top-of-mind answers. Most of them are pretty easy. So the first one is what are you most grateful for?

Rebecca Ching:

I just got flooded with a whole bunch of things, but I am so grateful for my family and where we live. We live in San Diego and we are within walking distance of the ocean and for my health. And to do meaningful work. Those are the kinds of things that just flooded me right away.

Jeff Hunt:

What's the most difficult leadership lesson you've learned over your career.

Rebecca Ching:

I can only pick one.

Jeff Hunt:

You can give me a couple if you need to.

Rebecca Ching:

You know what? This is probably one that's been said and done, but when I overrode my instincts, I didn't trust myself. Especially regarding hiring or having to make tough decisions around a team or even in a personal place around tolerating things, you know? I think that's about all I probably should say. So I think where I'm at right now with that is I might get that little wave of, I don't know, or let's slow down.

And my thinking intellectual parts are like. You're just being too sensitive. You're just being too worried about that. Or you're still worried about that thing from the past. That's not related and said, I just go, okay. I don't know what's going on here, but I'm going to pause. And so I've been trying to do that radically or if I don't catch it right away, I'll circle back and go, you know what?

No, wait, I need to pass or pause and sometimes pass. And that was a slip interesting slip there. So I think, I think that one and.

I think one of the most difficult things about leadership is, the loneliness of it. And that really, it isn't like you have a great team and it can be communication, but there is a set of partners of it. And I normalize that now with a lot of others, but the pain of loneliness is often felt physically.

Like we feel like emote shame and trauma they store in the same place in our brain. And so the pain of that, and to not personalize that when I feel left out or I feel a disconnect, I stay curious about it and I do that work. But I think that to expect everything. Cause I've seen different kinds of leadership where they're, immeshed where they're disconnected.

I've seen power over, you know, in so many of the different places I've worked have not been great leadership. I learned what not to do, even though we were doing great things and they were great people. So, I think working through that, and even in my own family of origin to we learned to lead from all these different places.

So I would say to be okay, cause connection is one of my core values. And so to know that I don't have to have those needs met by everybody and that what is the appropriate level of connection and then where do I, and so developing really good support outside of work peer support, professional development support. That's been a game-changer for me.

Jeff Hunt:

Who's one person you would interview if you could living or not.

Rebecca Ching:

Yeah. I would love to interview Robin Williams and. I kind of would love to have a JFK interview and really just code, come on, dude. Let's talk about this family of origin situation. You were in chronic pain. I have some questions yet. He did some stuff like his legacy, you know, it's just complicated.

And I'm thinking of two white guys at the top of my head. I know there are some other people, I mean, Oprah. Hello? I think that she just came out with a new book on trauma. That I'm shit. She just an incredible, incredible platform. I think I want to interview my daughter in 20 years. She's going to be a champion. I cannot wait to get to know her story.

Jeff Hunt:

Do you have any top books that you could recommend at this point, whether they're business or otherwise, or I know you've probably got a ton of them?

Rebecca Ching:

Sabine, I believe it's Selassie I apologize. I'll check on that. You belong. She's a gorgeous writer is recommended by my podcast producer.

And it was amazing. The best fiction book and I have an up and reading fiction and I don't have it cause I've lent it out. Is the midnight library by Matt Hague. I think it is the midnight library. Holy cow. And it's a, it's a leadership book. The book of forgiving. I recommend this by Desmond Tutu and his daughter.

It has these incredible exercises and Brenee research. I heard about this book through Brenee her research found the inextricable connection between grief and forgiveness. And I think as a leader and a business owner, we deal with a lot of grief and having to work on even self-forgiveness. Okay. And this one's a little radical.

But let me tell you it's the best book I've read. The body is not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. And in my clinical work, I did a lot of stuff with food and body, and really see this as a leadership issue because we do talk about health and things in ways that really are dangerous and colluding with a lot of toxic stuff.

In folks, mental health wellbeing, I've never heard someone differentiate self-worth, self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-love the way she did. I mean, she goes there. I would say those some of the most frequent fires of recommendations of late.

Jeff Hunt:

So as we wrap up, share with our listeners, the single most important takeaway from our talk today, is there anyone or two things to just rise up that you'd love to leave them with?

Rebecca Ching:

Leadership is lonely, but you don't have to go it alone.

Jeff Hunt:

That's great. Well, Rebecca, thank you so much for coming to the show today. This was a wonderful talk.

Rebecca Ching:

It was such a privilege and an honor, and I hope we get to do it again. Thank you for your leadership and how you show up on this podcast and all the spaces you're in. So really grateful to know you.

Outro (40:27)

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Jeff Hunt:

Thanks for listening to the show this week. We release a new episode of Human Capital every other Tuesday. I would love to know what you thought of this episode, so please email your comments to humancapital@goalspan.com. Human Capital is produced by GoalSpan, a performance management technology and consulting company. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and please share this podcast with your colleagues, team, or friends, thanks for being human kind.

Human Capital — 20. Founder, The Unburdened Leader
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