149: Lead Without Fear – Cultivating the Courage Habit with Kate Swoboda

Ep149 lead without fear cultivating the courage habit Kate Swoboda TalentGrow Show with Halelly Azulay

‘Becoming fearless’ is often presented as a solution to our fear. But perhaps the better approach is instead to cultivate courage in the face of fear. This is what life coach and author of The Courage Habit Kate Swoboda recommends, and on this episode of The TalentGrow Show Kate and I discuss what it means to live and lead courageously. Tune in to discover common fear patterns that hold us back as people and as leaders, why we need to look beyond the platitude of ‘becoming fearless,’ and what we can do to cultivate courageousness in our daily lives and in the workplace. Plus, find out how to identify and break free of the cue-routine-reward loop that so many of us are trapped in. Listen and share with others in your network!

ABOUT KATE SWOBODA:

Kate Swoboda (aka, “Kate Courageous”) is creator of YourCourageousLife.com, Director of the Courageous Living Coach Certification at TeamCLCC.com and author of The Courage Habit: How to Accept Your Fears, Release the Past, and Live Your Courageous Life. She helps individuals, teams, and companies see where old, fear-based habits have kept people stuck or started to limit what’s possible for an organization, and then start creating more courageous lives by getting into “the courage habit,” a four-part process for behavioral and organizational change.

Kate has appeared in MindBodyGreen, Entrepreneur, USA Today, Forbes, Lifetime Moms, The Intelligent Optimist, Business Insider, and more, and her website Your Courageous Life was named a top-50 blog for happiness by Greatist. She’s spoken at conferences and seminars on the topic of courage as it relates to personal development, releasing overwhelm, business and marketing, money mindset, wellness, increasing emotional resilience, and healthy goal-setting using habit-formation techniques.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What made Kate realize that her perfectly-planned career wasn’t right for her (5:00)

  • Kate and Halelly discuss how to deal with fear and why ‘becoming fearless’ is not a helpful approach (8:01)

  • Why leaders need to be more human (11:24)

  • Kate outlines four common fear patterns that hold us back (13:12)

  • What is a cue-routine-reward loop? What is the proper response? (16:20)

  • Kate shares a story of someone she worked with to highlight the negative implications of allowing fear to control your actions (18:18)

  • Behaviors to overcome fear and develop a courage habit, including reframing a limiting story (21:56)

  • What makes it so valuable to reach out to other people when you find yourself slipping into fear? (24:41)

  • ‘Accessing the body’: what does it mean and why is it so beneficial? (26:38)

  • What’s new and exciting on Kate’s horizon? (31:04)

  • One specific action you can take to upgrade your leadership skills (31:54)

RESOURCES:

Transcript:

Episode 149 Kate Swoboda

TEASER CLIP: Kate: It’s the noticing of that pattern that actually is the pivotal point of interruption. By all means, I would love to talk about what the research indicated we can do instead. The only thing is, we might shortchange ourselves if we try to jump straight into “I’m going to do all the good things and not look at the stuff that’s hard. The stuff that actually trips me up, or the stuff I might have taken on as an entire identity.”

[MUSIC] Announcer: Welcome to the TalentGrow Show, where you can get actionable results-oriented insight and advice on how to take your leadership, communication and people skills to the next level and become the kind of leader people want to follow. And now, your host and leadership development strategist, Halelly Azulay.

Halelly: Hey, hey, TalentGrowers. Welcome back to the TalentGrow Show. I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist and the TalentGrow Show is brought to you thanks to TalentGrow, the company I started in 2006 to develop leaders that people actually want to follow. I am so glad you’re here today. Today we’re talking about something that has come up for me and I’ve written several blog posts about this in the past, which is how to deal with fear and how to be more courageous. We’ve actually even had a couple of different episodes about courage in the past, which we’ll link to in the show notes to help you compliment this one. But today, we have a guest, Kate Swoboda, who is going to talk to us about what are some of the patterns of how fear shows up for us so that we can recognize them and break them? She shares actionable advice for what are the steps you can take to become more courageous – these are backed by science – that she’s going to share a story about a client she’s helped so that you can really envision how this works. I think that you’ll find this episode to be super useful and actionable, because I know we all face fear. We all deal with situations where we’re not sure how to handle or we’re not sure what to do and today we’re going to give you some things that you can use. I look forward to hearing your feedback afterward and knowing what you thought about it, but without further ado, let’s listen to my conversation with Kate.

TalentGrowers, this week Kate Swoboda is joining me. She is the creator of YourCourageousLife.com, director of the Courageous Living Coach certification at TeamCLCC.com and author of The Courage Habit, how to accept your fears, release the past and live your courageous life. Kate helps individuals, teams and companies see where old, fear-based habits have kept people stuck or started to limit what’s possible for an organization and then start creating more courageous lives by getting into the courage habit, a four-part process for behavioral and organizational change, which Kate and I are going to discuss for you today. Kate has appeared in Mind Body Green, Entrepreneur, USA Today, Forbes, Lifetime Moms, The Intelligent Optimist, Business Insider and more, and her website YourCourageousLife.com was named a top 50 blog for happiness. Kate, welcome to the TalentGrow Show.

Kate: Thank you so much for having me.

Halelly: It’s a pleasure and I look forward to speaking with you today about all things courage. Before we do, I always ask my guests to tell us their professional journey, very briefly. Where did you start and how did you get to where you are today?

Kate: Well, I always like to say I started by doing all the things that I thought were right and ending up in exactly the job I’d always trained for, dotted all my Is, crossed all my Ts. Had something of not a breakdown but a kind of crisis of confidence because it was like, “Oh, this actually is completely wrong for me,” and that knowledge really took me by surprise and I felt very blind sighted by that understanding the day that it hit. Really had me questioning, how do I trust myself? Then that sparked a whole career reinvention journey of what is it that I actually want to do in this one precious life, and that led me to coaching. These days, I really look at how is it that people face fear and instead of trying to outrun, how do we actually deal with it and practice courage. I take a really pragmatic approach to that, research-backed, let’s develop the emotional resilience approach. Then, as you mentioned, I write about that at YourCourageousLife. I’m the director of a coach certification program, and I have done some facilitation and speaking in the corporate world, trying to bring some of these tools to organizations as well. Now today it’s all led up to I get to talk to awesome people like you, so I’m thrilled to be here.

Halelly: Thank you. You know, I think that some people that are listening might be like, “Oh, I love this topic,” and some people listening might be like, “Woo, woo.” I like that you have a science and research-based approach and I’m looking forward to digging into that a little bit. I’ve actually dabbled in writing on courage, because I think it is actually something that is really lacking for a lot of people. A lot of people struggle with that, and TalentGrowers know that I’m always lamenting my own decision to make this a 30-minute podcast, because I always want to make it longer. But I’m mindful of how long their commute is or their run or whatever they do when they listen, so I’m really, really struggling with the desire to ask you about that day when you decided that things needed to change. Can you tell us a short version of that?

Kate: It’s how I start The Courage Habit. If anybody wants the full story, that’s where it is. Basically, I was sitting in a meeting that I would say was cruelly scheduled. If you’re a manager and you want better retention, don’t schedule a meeting for 4:00 the day before everybody goes on Christmas break. I think that was contributing to my breaking point. It was being discussed at the meeting, I was so tired, and it was being discussed at the meeting, “Hey, everybody, how about over Christmas break we work on this project and everybody comes back and brings their ideas.” And that was just the worst. I had been looking forward to a vacation. I’m at the last hour of work before I’m free for a vacation. I’m so burned out. Perfectionistic, overachieving, a million different committees, always volunteering to do the extra. I was burned out. I wanted my vacation and I was sitting there listening to colleagues bicker with one another and suggest everybody do work. I kind of knew all that was going to happen was that people who controlled the project were going to end up having their idea go forward. I couldn’t not bring something back from break, because then I’d be the person who wasn’t doing anything, but then whatever I brought back from break I knew wasn’t going to get picked anyway. So I was just sitting there and I know this is going to sound woo, but I think of it as sort of intuitive wisdom, that voiceless voice that just said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” And again, I’m very pragmatic and it shocked me. It was like, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” and it felt similar to, if anybody listening has ever been in a relationship that’s been having trouble and they suddenly just knew this isn’t the right relationship for me. It’s like once you know it, you can’t un-know it, and that’s how that moment felt. From there, it was just like total terror, but I knew. I just knew I couldn’t keep doing what I’d been doing.

Halelly: It’s really clarifying and helpful when you get that knowing, and I wonder also, sometimes we wait too long for the memo to hit the inbox. We have enough signs, usually, earlier than that, and we can prevent a lot of suffering and continuing to do something that makes us so unhappy. In your book, The Courage Habit, you talk about how people are wrong when they look or seek being fearless, or that they think that they should get rid of fear. I’m thinking what you just described, a lot of us have been in that position, and you’re scared to death, right? Making a decision, knowing that it’s not right is one thing, but what the heck do you do next and how do you bring in the bacon or the bread or the kale salad, whatever it is that you want to bring home to eat? I mean, how do you do that? Why do you say that we shouldn’t be fearless and what is it that we should do instead?

Kate: I say we shouldn’t be fearless or try to be, because no one is. If something doesn’t work, we need a different approach to handling it. No one is. Anyone who is selling fearless is literally selling something. There are three common ways that we try to deal with fear. We try to avoid it, or ignore it. We try to placate it, and we try to attack it. None of these ways of dealing with fear bear out in the research as effective models. In my case, with the job that wasn’t the right fit for me, I had been trying to ignore the signs that it wasn’t a right fit. There were health signs all over the place and I’d been trying to placate it – maybe if I just make a lateral move and kind of move to doing a little more work in this area, then it’ll be okay. And I attacked it. I would tell the fear when it would come up, I don’t like this, etc. Stop, shut up, I just need to get this work done. But those things weren’t working.

So for anybody who is listening, when fear comes up, if you need to have a difficult conversation, if you are trying to manage an internalized critic, something within yourself that’s wondering, “Am I a good leader? Am I a good manager?” Trying to avoid that question or that fear, trying to placate it or attacking it, which is telling it to shut up and go away, those things don’t work. If they worked, I’d be writing books about how they work and trying to get everybody to do more of that. Or if they worked, there would be no need for such a book, because those are the things that everybody does anyway. And we’d all be fearless. If it worked, it would have worked by now, so we need a different approach. To me, when we are caught in that cue of fear, we need to pay attention to how those patterns or responses to the fear become habitual, to the point where we don’t even realize that we are just enacting the same pattern over and over and it’s controlling us. That’s what I really want to get people to pay attention to – how do we pay attention to the fear instead of trying to outwit it or outrun it or out-logic it, and deal with it head on. Then go, “Where has this become a habit and how can I change a habit?” Because that’s the good news, anybody can change a habit.

Halelly: Let me make sure I’ve got you. What you’re saying is, instead of trying to hide from the fear or ignore the fear or tell the fear to go away, we need to face it. And when we face it, what we need to do is look for what type of a pattern are we repeating here so we can break the pattern with new habits?

Kate: Absolutely. There are four predominant fear patterns that I’ve found tend to be most pervasive. We all do all of them. Usually there’s one in particular that really will hook us. It’s the noticing of that pattern that actually is the pivotal point of interruption. By all means, I’d love to talk about what the research indicated we can do instead. The only thing is, we might shortchange ourselves if we try to jump straight into, “I’m going to do all the good things and not look at the stuff that’s hard. The stuff that actually trips me up, or the stuff I might have taken on as an entire identity.”

Halelly: That’s like masking, or putting on a Band-Aid when there’s something that’s underneath the surface that needs to be taken care of.

Kate: Absolutely. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but I do read a fair number of books that are written by people who have that wonderful narrative, storytelling approach to illustrate a concept. Kind of like Malcolm Gladwell or Charles Duhigg. The story of the CEO or the leader, when the company is in trouble, who instead of trying to go in there and just exhort everyone, “Work harder,” which is like an avoidance technique, or any of that. The story of the CEO who gets up in front of the podium and actually says, “Hey, everybody, I’ve got to talk to you. The company is not doing well and I don’t totally know what to do about it and I am asking all of us to work together.” That story is, at least from what I can tell, it’s the one that motivates the most people. It’s the human story. And I think as leaders, we need to be more human. By all means, this doesn’t mean that we just vomit up whatever emotional thing we have going on in that moment. We do need to be professional. There are times and places for the proper disclosure of information. But, there is something about a leader who steps up and says, “I don’t have all the answers. I’m actually stronger because you’re with me and you’re stronger because I’m with you. That’s how I lead.” That is incredibly motivating and inspiring to other people.

Halelly: What are some of these fear patterns you mentioned? Can you at least give us a quick overview of them?

Kate: Sure. Again, we all do all of them, depending on the circumstances. It’s not “which one do I not do,” we all do all of them, but usually one hooks us more than the rest. So big one, perfectionism. Most people don’t even realize that it’s a behavioral pattern. People raise their hands and go, “I’m a perfectionist.” They take it on as an identity. No baby comes into the world born a perfectionist. Babies come in and get conditioned into things like perfectionism, and that’s the constant over-achieving, striving. Certainly there are good things about it, like a strong work ethic and a willingness to hustle, but when it’s perfectionism, that willingness to hustle is less about pride in doing a good job and more about fear of not being enough. That’s why it’s a fear pattern. People feel fear and sometimes respond by going into perfectionistic fear pattern.

Other people are people-pleasers. They’re the “yes” people. They’re always saying yes. They don’t know how to say no. They constantly solicit other people’s opinions rather than trusting in their own, or their crowdsourcing is kind of all over the place, instead of just a select few who have really earned their stripes to be the people you consult when you have some kind of a quandary.

Then there are pessimists. Pessimism is the hardest fear pattern, I’ve noticed, for people to claim. I always tell people, “Look for where you go into pessimism. It’s there. Don’t deny it.” But pessimism is the kind of “whomp, whomp. Be realistic. I don’t even know what the point is.” And I like to just own it for myself. When I have run a fear pattern, when perfectionism leads to burnout, sometimes I’ll go into pessimism. Look, I worked so hard on that and it didn’t work out.

Then there’s self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is, I suppose, perfectionism, people-pleasing pessimism as well. It has those components, but it needs its own separate category, because self-sabotage is the kind of two steps forward, one step back. I worked really hard so now I blow off and I play and then, oops, I missed a deadline. It’s spending because you saved. And I also think self sabotage is like if you have a big, bold idea, telling someone who you know has stolen big, bold ideas from other people in the past and then they go and present it at the meeting. That’s a total self-sabotage move. You don’t realize it, of course, in the moment. But that’s one way that it can look.

So we’ve got perfectionism, people-pleasing, pessimism and self-sabotage.

Halelly: Interesting. So if you’re feeling the fear for something that you feel like you need to do but you’re scared to do it, then you can try to identify what the source is or where the fear is coming from or what’s guiding you to feel that fear, because then you can probably do a better job of sidestepping or overcoming or slaying? What do you do?

Kate: Well, the idea is that this is habit based in the brain. Habits in the brain run on a cue, routine, reward, loop. As far as the brain is concerned, the reward is whatever decreases stress. Things that are familiar decrease stress. Things that we have control over decrease stress. In this example, if I felt a cue of fear about, “Oh my God, I’m in the wrong job,” I totally, after that experience, that meeting I told you about, went into perfectionism. For me, that looked like going home and on that break instead of working on the project, I began doing all these MTBI and strengths finder and all these performance indicator tests, because I was going to spend my Christmas break finding my new perfect career. The cue of fear led to the routine, the fear pattern of perfectionism, and the attempt was to get the reward. The short-term reward of perfectionism is stuff like feeling in control. The short-term reward of pessimism is, “If I go into a fear pattern of pessimism, maybe I feel intimidated about going after what I really want and so I back off.” In the long term, backing off is not in your best interest, but in the short term, to the brain, it’s what’s familiar. It’s what’s known. And there’s less stress.

What we need to be doing is, when we have the cue of fear, we’re probably going to go into these fear patterns, and the important piece is do I recognize it? Do I feel that fear, notice when I go into the fear pattern, and then how do I interrupt it? That’s where what I call the courage habit comes in. These research-backed behaviors that actually build more emotional resilience, so instead of just endlessly repeating that fear pattern, habit, it’s like how do I interrupt it and then practice a courage-based behavior instead? Until that courage-based behavior becomes my new habitual way of dealing with things.

Halelly: I’d love for you to tell us, is it possible for you to use a story of someone you’ve worked with who has maybe some kind of a relatable situation for the TalentGrowers, and walk us through the four specific behaviors, through their story?

Kate: Absolutely! I worked with someone once who came to me. I’ll call her Myra, not her real name. She came to me and one of the biggest things she wanted help with was around releasing stress and particularly around being able to prioritize and get organized. What we found was really interesting, because at first she was pretty skeptical about whether or not coaching could help. She came and was just like, “I’ve already done a gazillion things. I’ve attended this Stephen Covey seminar on important but not urgent and how we quadrant everything and stuff like that. It just isn’t quite working.” What I actually had her do after a couple of sessions was break down step-by-step, painting me a sort of scenario of what it looked like to walk through what she was walking through. What kept happening is that she was always behind on projects. One of the things that she found was she was getting behind on projects because she would let things snowball. She would need to be working on something and then one of her kids would need something so she would attend to that. By the way, her kids were old enough that they could attend to things themselves. It was her own fear of not being a good enough mom that had her abandon her priority and pivot over to them. So that’s the first place we look at fear.

Then as the project started to get a little bit further, like if she’s working on her laptop over the weekend, suddenly she’d be like, “You know what? I better do a software update.” Then she does a software update and it turns out that the software update required some other thing and then she’s having to take her computer to the Apple Store and have that worked on. By the time she gets to the Apple Store, she’s hungry. So we started to look at all the little pivot points where she was making decisions and we found that there were little things all over the place where fear had stepped in. It was either a fear of not having a good enough idea and procrastinating as a result of that. There was some perfectionism in there, like I’m not sure what else to call the impulse of “ I have to have all my software updated before I can finish this project that’s due on a deadline” other than perfectionism. You don’t actually have to have your software updated unless you’re being forced to. So little things like that were coming up.

One of the things we kept looking at, that actually kept coming up over and over, was that a lot of her over-performing was related to a really common experience for women in corporate, which is that she had a lot of male colleagues. She was the only female colleague in a leadership role, and she felt really intimidated by that and she just was going to this perfectionism mode of “I have to actually manage every little thing” because – and this is a very real thing to deal with – if I mess something up, how do I know that it isn’t going to be like, “She just doesn’t have the chops for that role?” And particularly around being a mom and someone in a leadership role, she was really juggling how do I show up for work and not have any trace of being a mom on me or bring that into the workplace? Because that’s a very real thing, that that’s going to be looked down upon in a lot of workplaces.

Halelly: Interesting. She totally sounds like she was procrastinating doing her work. What are the behaviors you taught her to do?

Kate: We looked at the interventions of the courage habit. They are accessing the body, which is slowing down, getting present to the fear sensation that you feel; listening without attachment, again, slowing down. It’s like what is the fear saying? You listen but you don’t attach to it as true, and any manager who has ever taken a workshop in giving or receiving feedback knows what this means. You’re listening to what the person is telling you in terms of feedback, but you don’t take it on as “This means that I’m awful and I completely suck at all times.” It’s depersonalizing it. You reframe limiting stories, and this is not affirmations. I know you said that some listeners might be like “what’s the woo?” But not woo. This is actually backed by dialectical behavior, cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy and reframing a limiting story is as simple as there’s no way I’m going to get this done and deciding to go, “You know what? I know I won’t get this done by the deadline. I’m just going to make a plan and work as far as I can up until the deadline. Or I’m going to talk to somebody and renegotiate the deadline,” instead of hanging out in the stressful place of “I’m never going to get this done.” And then there’s reaching out and creating community. Fear totally thrives in isolation, and we really do need to reach out to other people and be open about what we’re working toward, how fear is coming up, and of course you do need to pick those people carefully. There are some people who just really aren’t doing that work, and learning how to identify people who share those same values so that you can reach out to them is really helpful.

That’s what I helped Myra to do. We started with this whole breakdown of her day. There was a lot of accessing the body and listening without attachment. What’s coming up for you at that moment when you think, “I’ve got to update my software?” What’s coming up for you in that moment when your teenage son needs you and you abandon this project that has a deadline to go talk to him and it’s not really something you have to be there for in that moment? And then reframing limiting stories and reaching out and creating community were part of the process in terms of bolstering her ability to notice that critical voice that was worried about a misstep and be willing to go, “I might make a mistake and I’m totally capable of cleaning it up.” Then coaching was a form of reaching out and creating community, but another big thing that we really talked about was finding those male allies within the company who seemed like they might understand a little bit about what it might feel like for her to be the only female on the team and offer some support in that way. That actually was really helpful as well.

Halelly: Great. The fourth step, the forming community – what specifically do you do? Let’s say you carefully select one, two, I mean I don’t even know how many people. Do you kind of run things by them or do you just blow off steam with them or get their advice or have them mentor you? What do you think people should do with that?

Kate: It could be any of those. Mentor relationships are wonderful, but the big thing that reaching out and creating community is, as I think of it, finding those people who share your same values. Noticing who are those people who practice integrity, when a hard decision has to be made, who are the people who don’t shy away from making the hard decision, even as they are very clear about the fact that it’s hard? Because those are the people who are really going to give you the best advice if you need to bring a hard problem to them. Those are the people that don’t see you in your moments of fear and think that’s all of who you are. When I think of the people who I trust the most, the people who I trust the most are those who if I call them and I’m super upset about an issue, and maybe, “I’m completely ticked off at her and I can’t believe she did that and she’s being such a b-i-t-c-h.” They understand that in that moment, I’m angry, that that’s not the totality of who I am and that after I have a little time to blow off steam I’m going to come back to a more compassionate world view of seeing empathetically what might be happening for that person. It doesn’t mean that I’m an awful, mean person, just because I was angry in that moment, or that I’m weak because I’m scared. It’s really important in particular around that one to find the people who don’t think that being afraid when there’s a challenge automatically means that you’re weak. We really need to disabuse that cultural myth about feeling afraid.

Halelly: Totally agree. Wow, I want to ask you so many more questions, but I’m noticing that our time is quickly running out. Can you give us also just a couple of quick tips about accessing the body, just in case, I mean, to some people they don’t know what that means.

Kate: Okay. Accessing the body can mean anything from mindfulness, which if there’s anybody on the planet who still thinks meditation is a hippy-dippy woo-woo thing, go check out the clinical research. You can go to scholar.google.com and you can find abstracts for days on all the powerful benefits that meditation can bring. Everything from obviously lowering stress to even boosting your immune system during cold and flu season. It’s huge. Accessing the body in that way is important because we don’t logic our way through fear. Again, you’re not going to talk yourself out of your fear and your feelings, that system in your body telling you, “Hey, something is wrong here,” is going to override logic, if the feelings get strong enough. So you need to attend to the feelings.

Accessing the body can be mindfulness, or accessing the body can also be going for a run or a vigorous walk when you’re stressed out. My personal favorite way to really cathart stress whenever I’ve had a long day is CrossFit.

Halelly: I love CrossFit!

Kate: You go throw around some heavy barbells and jump on stuff and all that and it’s like, ooh, there goes the day’s stress. It’s also accessing the body as in when you’re having the difficult conversation or when you’re sitting at your desk and the internalized critic is going, “You suck as a leader,” it’s like you just need to take a breath. Because when fear is really kicked up, it comes fast, it’s overwhelming, we need strategies for slowing down and understanding what the fear is actually saying and doing. When you understand something, it can become a lot easier to be with. And that’s the big thing is that the paradox is, the more we lean into the fear, the more we actually try to be with and understand the fear, the less control it ends up having over our lives. That’s why accessing the body is such a powerful portal. It’s my personal favorite, of the four parts of the process. You can do all of them, you can do one of them. All of them together is most powerful, but if I were going to pick one, that’s my go-to.

Halelly: And it’s probably the one that people skip over completely, because we don’t like to feel, so we ignore it. We push it away. Sometimes we become so numb because it happens so often that we’re no longer even able, we don’t get the little memos. They come too late. They come when things are completely out of control and suddenly we only feel it then for the first time because we’ve been ignoring the small signs.

Kate: Absolutely. This is so important for anyone listening to get. It doesn’t have to be that way. What you just described is exactly how it keeps running over and over and over when it’s unchecked. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to go into work, whatever intimidates you, whatever arouses fear or stress or overwhelm, whatever your word is, it doesn’t have to control you. You can learn strategies to, at first, it’s going to be interrupting the old way of being, and then implementing a new way of being. These are tools that you can teach other members of your team to work more effectively as well. Imagine if everyone in the office, instead of being stressed out and either taking it out on other people or shutting down completely in some way, because they’re stressed, what if people actually on your team started to attend to their feelings by accessing the body, got better at listening without attachment to themselves, to others, were reframing limiting stories, instead of it being like a downer conversation when things are tough, where everybody is complaining and it’s so bad and so negative, what if we reframed those limiting stories. And then what if people on the team reached out and were really able to create community with one another? That’s a more productive workforce, but more importantly, that’s a happier workforce.

Halelly: For sure. And then you can of course go into the cue routine reward, instead of doing the old one, you can create new ones, which I know you talk about in your book. We don’t have time to talk about it today, but before you share that one specific takeaway action, just tell us a really short highlight about what’s new and exciting for you these days Kate?

Kate: What’s new and exciting is just life. I know that doesn’t sound very new and exciting, but I love the work that I do, directing people in the Courageous Living Coach Certification, and I’m working on my second book proposal, but I don’t feel like it’s developed enough to talk about yet. And I’m really looking forward to summer vacation. I know that those are not these big, massive projects coming down the pipeline that sound really impressive, but they feel really good to me and it’s a far, far cry from the days when I was sitting in a meeting at 4:00 right before a break and knowing that I wasn’t going to get a break. So to me it’s a huge victory.

Halelly: Instead of dreading, you’re excited and looking forward. Awesome. I love it. All right, all our guests always share one specific action that listeners can take today, tomorrow, this week, to upgrade their own leadership skills or in your case maybe to upgrade their courageousness?

Kate: I’d say after you listen to this, sit down and write down something that has been really bugging you, something that has been hard lately, something you need to do, have been resisting, something that intimidates you. Then start writing down what all the voices inside are saying. Why hasn’t this been done? What are the voices saying to you – is it, “You can’t do it. It’s been done before by someone else and better.” And then figure which fear pattern is this? Perfectionism, people-pleasing, pessimism, self-sabotage. Just start with that clarity about “Here’s what I’m afraid of and here’s how it’s showing up and what the voices are saying and here is the fear pattern I think that it is.” Because if you can just do those initial steps, you’ll start noticing it all over the place, and that’s what really opens up the door for you to go, “I want to change this habit. Instead of going into a fear pattern, I want to access the body or I want to reframe the limiting story.”

Halelly: Because creating awareness is the first step to generating change.

Kate: Absolutely.

Halelly: Love it. Well, Kate, I know people are going to want to hear more from you, learn more from you, stay in touch. We’ll link to your book and we’ll link to your website. Do you hang out on social media, should they follow you anywhere?

Kate: Yes. I’m KateCourageous on Instagram, and You’reCourageousLife on Facebook.

Halelly: Cool. Very good. Thank you so much for stopping by the TalentGrow Show and sharing your insights with the listeners, Kate. I really appreciate you.

Kate: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Halelly: We covered a lot of ground, TalentGrowers, in this episode and I definitely felt like if we were to go for another 30 minutes we would have a lot more interesting information from Kate. I definitely encourage you to check out her book and her website. But, take action. Kate suggested you sit down and think about what are some of the things that are showing up for you in terms of things you’re afraid of, and what are some of those fear patterns that are maybe at the helm of that fear? And so the more awareness you create, the more change that you can put into place to create a better life, a more courageous life, and to build better teams. I really would love to hear what you thought about this episode, as I always do. Also, what you would like to hear about in future episodes. So, be in touch, give me feedback. You can use the little voicemail tab on any page of my website, the little black tab on the right and record me a voicemail, and especially if you record with good enough sound and give me permission, I could even play it on a future show. Or, you can write me an email, halelly@talentgrow.com, or you can leave me a comment on the show notes page or use the social media. I am happy to hear from you.

I’m Halelly Azulay, your leadership development strategist here at TalentGrow. TalentGrow is my company that sponsors this show, the TalentGrow Show, to help develop leaders that people want to follow. Thank you for listening, and until the next time, make today great.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to the TalentGrow Show, where we help you develop your talent to become the kind of leader that people want to follow. For more information


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