The Bregman Leadership Podcast
Episode 170

Amy Jen Su

The Leader You Want To Be

How can you become the leader you want to be? Amy Jen Su, leadership coach and author of The Leader You Want To Be, understands that busy entrepreneurs and leaders want to improve, but they don’t want to be overwhelmed at the prospect of doing more. Discover a practical way to prioritize your workload so you can delegate or eliminate tasks, the five key leadership elements, and how to know when you are at your best.

About

Website: Paravispartners.com
Book: The Leader You Want To Be
Bio: Amy Jen Su is Managing Partner and cofounder of Paravis Partners, a premier executive coaching and leadership development firm. She is coauthor, with Muriel Maignan Wilkins, of the Washington Post bestseller, Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), and a frequent contributor on HBR.org.

Video

Transcript

This transcript is unedited.

Peter: With us today is Amy Jen Su. She is the author most recently of the book, the leader. You want to be five essential principles for bringing out your best self every day. She’s a fellow Harvard business review writer. She is the founding and managing partner of power of his partners and she’s an executive coach. So what I really liked doing in this podcast is getting as practical and real as possible, and so it’s exciting to be speaking to someone who’s on the ground with people like I am working to help them make the kinds of changes that will help them to be more successful. So it’s not a theoretical or conceptual conversation, it’s a very practical one. Amy, welcome to the Bregman leadership podcast.

Amy: Thanks Peter for having me. It’s great to be here.

Peter: So why did you write the leader you want to be?

Amy: You know, the leader you want to be is really part of a larger mission. I’ve had as an executive coach in terms of the hope I have for myself and others to be who they’re meant to be, make the impact they’re meant to make and do that without all the sacrifices and compromises that I think we all feel we make towards our health, our families, or even our integrity. And so this is just a continuation of work that I’ve been doing for almost two decades. And I think as I think about organizational life and how much more complex and fast it’s gotten, it feels like this, the timing’s right for a book like this.

Peter: So I’m going gonna sort of full disclosure here. I almost passed on this book cause I looked at it and I, and I looked at the title and it’s like five essential things for bringing out your best self and you know, be the best leader you could possibly be. And, and it, it felt, um, you know, I get, I get probably two or 300 books a year for the podcasts and I read, or at least look through most of them. And I was like, ah, you know, another book about being your best self, like not interested. And then, and I didn’t pass. I mean, then I looked at it and I actually read more into it and I’m so glad that I didn’t pass on it because I actually think it’s, it’s really great and I love how practical it is. So I do sort of want to start out by asking you this question because I do think this like be your best self and, and you know, better this year, better than last year and it, it, I get exhausted just thinking about it. And I also wonder whether there’s some destructiveness in like constantly pursuing, you know, better, more perfect. You know, no excuses improve who you are today. So you’re better than you were yesterday. Like, I think it gets tiring and I wonder, so, so anyway, my question to you is, you know, is it really important to bring our best self every day? And is there a downside to it?

Amy: It’s such a fair question, Peter. Honestly, and in a way, I hope this book reframes and redefines best self, if you will. Um, I think in this case, in this book is not trying to say the superhuman Peter, you need to be Superman or Hey Amy, you need to be super woman and be going 24, seven a day. Um, and it’s also not, Hey, you can just take a pass and be reactive and be on autopilot and be a bunch of old habits and patterns. And so in this book, my hope is folks say, Hey, who is the best self that’s authentic? That is true to who you are, your principles and values. Um, it’s not easy cause sometimes being conscious and present to say in this moment what is really the right thing to do, uh, can be challenging. But that’s my hope, that it’s less about striving for some perfection or yet another should, but instead to tap into a greater truth and a greater essence to who we want to be in the world.

Peter: So paint very briefly, if you can, this picture of these two liters that you talk about in the book.

Amy: Sure. In the book we characterize a leader a and a leader B. And in some ways to modes, we all find ourselves in right leader, is that part of us? Sometimes you even wake up and know, wow, I’m holding a broad lens on the world today. I’m not taking things personally. Even when life throws a curve ball, it feels like I can handle it with a little more ease and effectiveness. And then leader B lives within all of us too, right? Where we’re more a reactive, we’re a little less effective. Uh, we’re a little more burnt out. And so leader a and leader B and the characterization of those two modes, if you will. We’re meant to just have all leaders and professionals realize we’re all going through the same thing and feeling the same tensions.

Peter: So one of these pitfalls, there’s some pitfalls that lead us to becoming a leader, be the sort of more reactive tense leader as opposed to the more expansive maybe visionary leader. And, and one of the pitfalls is, you know, I’ll just do more pitfall and I’m, I’m, you know, I, I, I’ve found myself asking this question as I was reading the book also because I, there was more things to do right? When you’re reading the book, it’s kinda kinda help you to get clearer on some things, which is actually more to do. So how does this not become one more thing to do that that sort of conspires to send us down the, I’ll just do more pitfall,

Amy: such a great question that I’ll just do more, which is so pervasive in society and for all of us. And I think the key distinction is, are we just doing more for the sake of volume or a should or are we just doing more of the value add and what we know really brings out our best self or makes us feel effective? There’s usually a few things that we all already know. And then we lose touch with that. You know, what are the two or three things that you, Peter or I, Amy do that, you know, we know whether that’s a good night’s sleep or the way we say our yeses and nos can make the difference between just doing more value add versus doing more volume.

Peter: Right. And you know, it, it, it, you, you, you make this great point here that I, that it’s kind of a favorite point of mine because I think it’s our biggest challenge, which is we know so much more than we do. It’s this gap between what we know and what we do. And what I’d talk a lot about is, is emotional courage, the willingness to feel things we could actually close the gap between what we know and what we actually follow through on if we’re willing to feel stuff. I’m wondering, and I think that, you know, a lot of this book is about closing that gap. And I’m curious about your, um, sense as to the emotional courage piece of it. Like is, is it important? Can you kind of plan your way around it so that you don’t have to be willing to feel things. And um, I’d love to get your perspective on that.

Amy: I think emotional courage, what a great term. And I love that you are bringing that out into the world and getting people to think about that because the more we turn off and we turn off those feelings, I think the more the autopilot kicks in, right? So I always say to clients, Hey, permission to feel what you feel. I actually want you to get present to whether that’s joy and happiness as much as getting present to maybe frustration or anger or sadness. But the key is how do you not let those emotions run you or to become those emotions, but rather just to experience them. Let them inform you and then say, okay, given my principles and my values and how I want to engage with my colleagues or my work, then how am I going to choose to show up? But without the truth of the feelings, it’s almost impossible to really proceed with choice and real action.

Peter: And you actually have some really great in the book, um, some of these real action points, right. Which says like here, you know, like when you’re in that place where you can take action, here’s some actions that you should take. Um, by the way, I felt fall into all your pitfalls. The, well, not really the, I’ll do it later. Pitfall, um, which, which just reinforces my, I’ll just do it now. Pitfall like you have the, I’ll just do more pitfall. I’ll just do it now. I’ll just do it myself and then I’ll just do it later. And I imagine that most people who fall into the, I’ll just do it now. Pitfall tend not to fall into the, I’ll just do it later. Pitfall or vice versa. But I keep myself, uh, sort of more busy than I would need to and I can’t remember now whether this was in the four quadrants, whether that was in the purpose or in the process section of your book.

Amy: Yeah. The, they’re actually in both. So they’re introduced in the purpose chapter. Yeah.

Peter: So when I first again, and I’m just sort of telling you what my experiences were, and I’m sharing this with listeners too, because I think it’s worth getting over these, these elements of resistance that I certainly felt because I think there’s real value in this. I, I saw our a four quadrant model having spent many years in consulting and you know, now coaching and consulting and advising for, you know, 20 years. I’m like another four-quadrant model. Uh, and, and in fact, I, I have found myself, like I went back to it and I drew out the four quadrants and I started listing things and then I had a conversation with my own assistant about, you know, her view and, and you know, what are things that should be in her for it. So, so I would love for you to take us through your four-quadrant model and kind of what fits into each quality quadrant relatively briefly so that we can kind of get into the meat of it. But I think it’s a very useful way of thinking about, you know, where should we should be spending our time and where we should not.

Amy: Great. Yeah. The four quadrants of purpose, quadrants a as found in the purpose chapter. Uh, if you could imagine drawing an X axis, uh, which is your contribution, what’s the difference you want to make? What are your highest value add projects? So, you know, for all the listeners out there, if you think about your tasks, your projects and initiatives, um, if I were to ask you directly which ones are your highest and best use provider, asked your boss or your board or your colleagues, what would they say?

Peter: Well, let’s, let’s actually do this so that it can be real. So, so there’s, at the top of the quadrant is contribution and the left box is low contribution. And the right box is high contribution, the right column, the left column is low contribution, the right column is high contribution. And then the Y access is passion, right? Right. Yeah. And the top row is high passion and the bottom row is low passion. That’s right. So if I’m in the top right quadrant, I’m in high passion and high contribution.

Amy: Yes. And that is the sweet spot, right? Most people will tell you they feel like their best self, they’re in flow, they’re highly effective, engaged when you are both making a difference and feeling that high sense of passion and energy.

Peter: And then down below there’s I’m contributing. This is what you call tolerated quadrant too. I’m contributing but I’m not particularly passionate about it. I’m not, it doesn’t jazz mate and do anything for me. But it’s probably important for me to contribute.

Amy: Yes, these are the places where many times your colleagues or three 60 will yield where you should be focused and what folks hope you work on. And you know it’s value add. But perhaps you’ve gotten bored of it or it was never your favorite thing to do. And there’s some part of everybody’s job that falls away, falls in this tolerate bucket,

Peter: right? And then you have quadrant three,

Amy: which is the upper left quadrant, which is low contribution but high passion. And, and you talk about elevating here. Talk about that for a minute. Sure. So we all have those places where we love what we’re doing. But you know, the contribution and value adds a little unclear. And so either the guidance is to elevate yourself where maybe, you know, it’s something you love to do from a previous role, but it’s really time to let it go and give it to a direct report or somebody on your team or it’s, Hey, maybe you’re seeing something that you’re excited about and you need to socialize the idea and make sure you elevate the idea to other stakeholders.

Peter: Got it. And then quadrant four, which is low contribution and low passion, you say basically you don’t like it, you’re not contributing to it. There’s no reason you should be doing it.

Amy: Yes. Try to eliminate, that’s the eliminate box.

Peter: So now here’s a cut. So let’s, let’s play with this. Uh, and actually let’s use me as an example cause why not? Cause we’re talking. Um, so, so there’s a lot of stuff that goes into my high contribution and high passion, uh, quadrat. And I think probably a lot of entrepreneurs would feel the same way, right? Because I started the company, I run the company. I, you know, in many ways I’m the, you know, I’m certainly, I’m the thought leadership of the company. And so, you know, I’m working with clients, I’m writing, I’m coaching, I’m speaking, I’m teaching all about leadership. You know, I’m, I’m sort of the, if you, and I’ve had conversations with clients about this, you know, when I’ve, when I’ve been on television or when I’ve shot video, I’m in the role of talent, right? Like what the production companies are, what the film industry calls talent versus the production side.

Peter: Right now as an entrepreneur, I kind of do both, right? Because I’m running the company, but I would much rather just be in talent. Like I’d much rather someone else run this company and someone else do all the marketing and someone else, you know, write the proposals. And I just write coach speech and teach about leadership and create thought leadership around that. So that’s what I want to do. So my high contribution, high priority, high, high passion is in thinking about and spreading the word about and supporting other people in becoming better, stronger leaders. Right. Okay. So that’s there now, um, if you go down to tolerate, there’s like a ton of stuff, right? It feels like my tolerate is huge because ultimately marketing all come down to me. It’s Bregman partners, right? You have the same thing with pair of his partners, right? So, so, you know, the marketing and the proposals. If I’m going to actually teach or consult or coach around the stuff that I probably have to be the one to write the proposal because I’m designing the thing and my question is for people like us, how do we not spend our lives in toleration?

Amy: Right? Yeah. It’s such a classic problem and I was feeling it viscerally in my own body as you were describing it in terms of my own life. Um, I think number one, the awareness of the distinction between the activities that puts you in that quadrant one versus the tolerate box. And then to really look hard at that tolerate box and say, what portions of an activity could I continue to build a team around me? Um, so the second principle in the book is about your operating system and this is where the purpose quadrants and your operating system really need to go hand in hand. So for example, my assistant, um, color codes my calendar against these four quadrants and she knows that there’s only so much of the tolerate color that I can tolerate on any given day. So very strategic about threading that through the week in a way that I don’t lose energy and uh, more and more have had to supplement folks on our team, um, or outsource to folks who can take pieces that relieve re relieve me from the tolerate box as often as possible.

Peter: Got it. Um, so I have a new, uh, assistant and uh, she started about a week ago and I, as soon as I sort of read this, I was like, okay, I want you to read these two chapters. At least like we, you can read the whole thing. It’s a great book, but read purpose and process. And then let’s talk about it. And so I might actually ask you the favor. Um, I, I’m, I’m cornering you a little bit cause I’m asking you on the podcast, but if our EAs can have a conversation, because I bet my, I could learn a lot from how you and your EA are working together and maybe the four of us could have a conversation.

Amy: Absolutely. We’d be happy to. And I shared we would get ideas too, so it’d be a great group brainstorm for sure. That would

Peter: be really fun. Yeah. And cause already it’s like even in a basic thing, it’s like, okay, so how do you color code in, in, in Google calendar. But you probably already know how to do that, so we’ll, we’ll, you know, we’ll talk about all this stuff. So then it comes to the elevate and, and this is, you know, things that are low contribution and high passion and I couldn’t find anything to go in that box. And I’m curious about that. So like I found things where I found things like I kind of make my own travel arrangements and I, I don’t know. Is that a passion or is that just like a, an OCD control thing? You know, like I, I travel so much, so I kind of like, you know, fat hotel’s not available. I know what other hotel I want or if, you know, I know where I want to sit on the plane, if that, you know.

Peter: So I’m making all these micro decisions that are absolutely not a good use of my time. There is no question that it’s a good use of my time and yet yet I find myself doing it. And so is that, is, does that go into that quad? Like does that mean that that’s a passion even though I would hate to think like, cause I don’t actually think it’s a passion to do my own travel and yet I find myself gravitating towards it. Um, or here’s another example with finances. Like I, you know, it’s my company, right? And so I’m close to the finances and that feels like maybe that’s high contribution, but I don’t actually know that that’s high contribution. I don’t know that I’m contributing so much, but I might just be controlling or I might not want to lose control of the thing that I think, you know, can make or break a company and, and so I might just not be trusting enough to, so I’m curious about those two examples. Like they don’t feel like passions to me. I would love to have nothing to do with our finances and yet I still find myself doing it. And I don’t know that it’s, I don’t know, that doesn’t belong in this quadrant of delegate hire or eliminate, but I’m a little afraid of getting too far from it. So cure me.

Amy: Yeah. So for sure those are activities that feel like to the left side, right, the left column or the two quadrants for sure. And it does for many of us, we tend to hold onto those things out of control. Um, it can feel really good. It’s low hanging fruit. It’s things that tied to our preferences. But that’s a place, for example, Peter, if we were to have a conversation with our EAs, uh, that would be a perfect thing for your EA to come to know or for anyone’s EA to come to know. Um, so that really your time and energy is focused on things like this podcast or when you’re out in the world writing and spreading your message. The world needs more of that then for you to, you know, obviously do your own travel plan. So it’s great for, I think, all professionals just to notice where are the places we are holding onto something because of control and not because it’s actually a high passion or necessarily a high contribution. It’s a great place to get help. And to tie back to that emotional courage, right? Letting go of control does require some vulnerability from all of us and some patients that it may not happen right away in the way that we want it.

Peter: I hate when people use my own methodology against me now, but that’s true. That’s 100% true. It’s, that’s hard. So let’s say those things belong in that quadrant of delegate, right? Delegate, hire or eliminate, right. And I can’t eliminate it. So it’s, that’s delegated. And, um, what then fits into like what are some examples of things that fit into high passion, low contribution.

Amy: So I have a lot of clients who, especially when they take on a new role, uh, still love to do things like for example, fix or solve certain problems that really now were meant for, meant to empower their teams to do so that they can go on and take on the bigger role that they’re in. So for example, I had a CEO, uh, who had originally been more of a COO type role out in the field. Um, and when he became CEO, the board said to him, you now need to find like 40 days back in the office instead of all the traveling that you used to do. And this is somebody who really loved being out what’s customers and out with the field. And we literally painstakingly went through his calendar and found 40 days. And a lot of them conferences and board work and other things he really enjoyed, but he realized weren’t truly in the mandate for his first year as CEO.

Peter: So you’re making actually an interesting point because you could argue for any CEO there’s a very high contribution to them being out there in the world and meeting with customers and being at conferences like it would be hard to argue that he’s not contributing. Yeah. But I think what you’re saying is looking at the whole picture, where is the highest and best use of contribution for this person and, and it’s like it’s not just a question of hike because you could put all of those things in high contribution, high passion. Yeah,

Amy: parse it a little thinner where the really top strategic customers we kept on his list. Unfortunately it was sort of a big segmentation to then figure out now how did he let other people get a chance for visibility while keeping his visibility in the truest, highest place,

Peter: right. When you’re CEO, everything is high contribution and so you really have to prioritize and actually you call it quadrant one prioritize. You really have to prioritize, you know, given limited time, limited resources, what is the highest contribution that needs to go in that box? Everything else needs to go and other boxes. Yeah. Great. Okay. So I love that. Thank you. And so, so once we have purpose clear and we have a sense as to, okay, these are things that need to offload, these are things I need to spend a lot of my time on. Um, uh, you go into process daily practices. And so I find that really important and we could bring, you know, EAs into the conversation or you know, other people who work with us because, because, you know, when we’re doing something that’s more than just one person and most of us, you know, are doing things that are more than just one person or should be. Because if we’re not, then it means that we’re not making the highest and best use of our talent. Uh, what, give us some, some advice about how to take what we’ve just been talking about and proceduralize it, I don’t even know if that’s a word, but to, to to bring it into a process that allows us to be effective

Amy: process and purpose as you mentioned go hand in hand, right? You could have the best two by two quadrants, all plotted, but if it’s not operationalized into your calendar and the way you run your daily practices, you won’t get very far. So for sure, um, first step, looking at the calendar, uh, as I mentioned, color coding against those quadrants so that you can get a quick snapshot, you know, at any moment, being able to pull that up and say, wow, are my colors trending towards that upper right hand quadrant or not? And then down to the micro level of, you know, Hey Peter, when are your power hours? When do you feel the most clarity of thinking and energy? And let’s make sure all those Q1 activities mostly fall into that protected time. Um, so the chapter goes into a lot of just basic blocking and tackling and good habits.

Peter: And it’s both increasing your awareness, right? With the color coding and then, and then really thinking about your own energy and your own schedule and, and how to maximize your ability to bring your passion and contribution to the activities that needed the most.

Amy: Absolutely.

Peter: Great. How do we find a productive balance between structure and spontaneity? Cause you could go through this whole process and everything is super structured and yet there’s a spontaneous element that is probably important or maybe you would say it’s not as important, but I’m curious to get your thoughts around it.

Amy: I think the word awareness that you said previously is the number one key, right? So we all fall differently on the continuum of love, of spontaneity versus structure. So if you’re a more high structure person, like really honor that and go to town. I would say for folks who desire more spontaneity and are more emergent in their style, you know, as you go through that chapter, tread lightly, pick one or two things that give you freedom, you know? So I think for folks who spontaneity is very important and I think play for all of us is um, part of building Instructure for busy people is actually looking for, uh, you know, unstructured, unstructured time, if you will.

Peter: Right. Right. Time where you’re coordinating it off to be spontaneous, right? You can be spontaneous between two and three this afternoon.

Amy: Yeah. Yeah.

Peter: You want the, you talk about purpose, process and then people and, and in the people it’s really about bringing out the best in your people and, and also kind of matching the right people to the right work. So what I’m curious about is what do you do when you have someone who’s great at a particular skill or talent? Like they’re just, you know, like you brought them in to do acts and they’re really, really great at it, but their communication or their detail orientation or other elements are, are, are not up to snuff and, and you do some stuff in order to address it, but you know, you know, they’re really great at the stuff that you hired them for. But this other stuff is really getting in the way. Do you and, and, and, and attempts to remediate, haven’t been so successful. How would you approach that?

Amy: Those are really tough situations, right? When folks are meeting one need in their role, but not getting the whole role. And I think that happens a lot now, especially in high growth businesses where people wake up and while they have the same title, the job just got bigger. So I think everything you named there would be what I would suggest, you know, step one, letting the person know that you have an aspiration for them to be more effective and to rise to the occasion and then providing that support and that coaching to see if they can grow in those ways. But I do think there’s a point where for every leader in professional or a team leader where you say, wow, even with our best efforts, the person just hasn’t traveled far enough on that particular dimension to do that role. Well. Um, and one thing that comes to mind is there’s a great YouTube video of Jeff Warner from LinkedIn talking about compassionate leadership and that leaving somebody in a role where they’re just not performing actually is not compassionate. Right. So I think at that point,

Peter: what gets top as if they are performing and they’re not performing right. It’s not like they’re just not performing. It’s like they’re actually performing, but they’re also not performing. Right. Um, because they’re, you know, because there’s different areas of the job that required for things. But maybe, I guess what you’re saying is truthfully that’s not performing. Like the answer is, you know, half performing or performing in some stuff and not others. It like people, our whole package and there’s probably someone who would be a better fit for the role in that way, is what you’re saying. Okay.

Amy: Right. I think that’s the assessment that would need to be made. Right? Is there a way to reduce this person’s scope just to what they’re good with and make sure their title and comp are commiserate with that? Or is it that truly you now as a manager or taking on some of that underperformance, if you will, and compensating for somebody which then limit your own time or is it actually hurting the morale of the rest of the team? Right. Seeing that I think then you may have a tougher decision.

Peter: Yeah. And maybe there’s ways of hiring someone to do the stuff that they can’t do or don’t do well. Uh, or, or maybe it’s not right fed. I don’t, I don’t know the answer either, but that, those are good ways of thinking about it. All right, quick in terms of presence, uh, I have one particular question with you around that. And it’s also personal, which is I find your, when you talk about presence, you talk about the ability to show up the way you want to show up with intention. And also I talk a lot about intention versus impact, right? Which is you can have the best of intentions, but your impact might be off. So you have to really be aware of kind of what your impact, uh, what you want your impact to be. And then and then, and then do what you need to do to have that impact.

Peter: So here’s what I noticed about myself from a presence perspective. I am really good at doing things and I’m much less good at not doing things. So I have a predisposition towards action. And so, and let me give you an idea. I’m going to give you this super simple example of it’s not even work-related, which is I exercise every single day. Not a problem. I, you know, I’m not gonna miss a day exercising, so I’m going to work out. That’s an active thing to do, to be fit, but not eating things that I shouldn’t eat is much harder for me. So it’s like it should be the easiest thing in the world because actually exercise requires time and energy and effort and planning and all this stuff. Not eating stuff I shouldn’t eat requires nothing, right? Nothing. But just, it saves me time and it saves me energy and yet I’m much worse at it. Give me some advice.

Amy: That’s a great question. I’m smiling here because I think I’m the opposite. So I probably could use some advice back where exercise feels like it’s the hardest thing. Um, so I think in a world number one of where between sleep diet and exercise, if we get some of that right. So I number one, I would say take a victory lap for that. The predisposition towards action keeps you healthy and keeps you moving. And then the question is on the eating front from the, when you find yourself reaching for the candy bar versus the Apple, you know, is, is there, is that that just default or is that um, a signal or a cue? I know for me, when I start to reach for the chips or the candy, there’s usually an underlying feeling that I’m not as tired or something else. So from in the book and that particular chapter, there’s some research, uh, that actually came out of a great HBR article about if then, so I guess my advice would be the next time you find yourself reaching for something, Hey, if Peter is what, then you tend to reach for not good food, sort of how you want to be framed.

Peter: If that trigger happens, give me a different behavior that triggers on too. Yes. Okay, good. Um, one last question. Uh, I cause I want to touch each of these, although you have a lot more information in the book. Um, your fifth is peace. So it’s purpose, process, people presence and peace. And, and you talk a lot about acceptance and gratitude and, and, um, rather than striving and, and ego protection, uh, you know, I, I find it conceptually, uh, appealing and you know, easy to understand and you know, candy to the Zen in may. But, but on the other hand, I also feel like, look, I’ve achieved a lot of, you know, written a lot of books. I’ve contributed to a lot of books and yet I still feel the survivor mentality. I still feel this mentality that has actually served me really well in my success, which is the opposite of peace. It’s like I got to keep running and I got to keep producing and I got to keep creating and I gotta make something of myself. And like, we could go into all of the psychology of it. But I’m curious how, how you take this advice of, you know, letting go and apply it when there’s strong psychological need in people that drives them to do what they do, right. Otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they do. How do you, uh, how do you help people bridge that gap?

Amy: I think the answer that question is, you know, the point of diminishing returns. So I think there is a level of, uh, inner dissatisfaction desire for the inner part of ourselves that want to keep producing and achieving and expanding. And to your point, there’s a real, a high functioning, high benefit part of that. And so I would say keep what’s working for you that keeps you productive. And then my question would be, do you personally have a tipping point where, wow, it starts to really impact your health or your relationships or other commitments that are important to you? And where’s that fine line between, you know, a healthy paranoia and hunger that keeps all of us motivated. And when does that become, um, not productive or effective or when we get in our own way.

Peter: So I could identify that point. But identifying it and following through on shifting it are two very different things. It’s sort of like get maybe the answers, emotional cards. I mean that’s always my answer, but you know, it’s like it might be the same thing as letting go of my admin travel and finances, right. Which is like, it’s, there’s still a nagging need, uh, or drive, uh, to be more better. I mean that’s probably why I react to like your best self kind of thing. It’s like when is it enough? And I think, I think part of, at least my answer to it is there, there’s not an easy answer to it. You have to be willing to feel the vulnerability of not being enough in order to sit with who you are in that moment and not keep striving for some moments. And, and when that happens, it, you can’t convince yourself that you’re enough. You just have to sit with the, you know, emotional experience of not feeling enough and yet not really doing anything to change that. And maybe over time then that changes, but maybe it doesn’t.

Amy: Right. But I think your point on getting present to those moments where we don’t feel like we’re enough. Right. And just the sheer experience of that courage to get present to it, I think begins to create an alchemy towards that set of feelings, um, to say, Hey, we are enough. Right. And I have many leaders who are at real pinnacles in their careers where the conversation now is wow, permission to just for a moment tastes some satisfaction that you’ve arrived and that now you can begin to have fun and say, what would it mean to optimize for joy and for passion and for contribution and something different.

Peter: Well, we’re going to experiment with this cause this evening I’m leaving on vacation, uh, with my wife and I just sent out my email out of office message and it says, and this tells you about how ineffectively I’ve done this in the past I will be, uh, without access to email, uh, for the next week. And then in parentheses I right for real this time. Cause I, you know, cause I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t really work. But I’m really gonna sort of cut the cord and see what I experienced, uh, over the next week with, with just Eleanor, we’ve been talking with Amy, Jen, Sue, her book is the leader. You want to be five essential principles for bringing out your best self every day. Amy, it’s been really lovely speaking with you. Thank you so much for being on the Bregman leadership podcast.

Amy: Likewise Peter, thanks for having me.

 

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