Question - how do you talk to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances about things that matter - hard things - in a way that leads to each person being seen, heard, acknowledged, and treated with dignity? How do you get to a resolution, and sidestep the hurt, the wounding, the rage, and reactivity? How do you have conversations, in work and life, that lead to genuine understanding and change, and leave you feeling respected and at-peace, even when you still disagree? That's where we're going in today's conversation with Alexandra Jamieson & Bob Gower, partners in business and life and co-authors of Radical Alignment: How to Have Game-Changing Conversations That Will Transform Your Business and Your Life (https://getradicalalignment.com/book).
Alexandra Jamieson is the bestselling author of five books, and co-creator / co-star of the Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me. She is a highly-sought-after success mentor and motivational guide for thousands and has made it her mission to empower women to create epic lives. Bob Gower is a New York-based consultant, writer, and speaker. He contributes to Inc. magazine, has lectured at Columbia University, NYU’s Stern School of Management, the Berlin School, and worked with leaders at Chanel, Ericsson, Ford, and GE to non-profits like New York Public Radio, the Studio Museum, and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Learn more at: Radical Alignment website : https://getradicalalignment.com/
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So question. How do you talk to friends, family colleagues and acquaintances, about things that matter hard things in a way that leads to each person being seen, heard, acknowledge and treated with dignity? How do you get a resolution and sidestep the hurt, the wounding the rage, the reactivity? How do you have
conversations in work and life that lead to
genuine understanding and chains and leave you feeling respected and at peace, even when you still
this agree. Well, that's where we're going in
days, conversation with my guess, Alex Jamieson and bob gower partners in business and life.
the authors of radical alignment. How'd, you have game changing
I'm relations that will transform your business life Alex is at best only author of five books, co, creator and co. Star of the arctic
nominated documentary. Supersize me. She is a
The highly sought after success, mentor, motivational guide for thousands and has
which made it her mission to empower women to create epic lives. Bob is a new york based consultant writer speaker. He contributes to inc magazine,
lectured at columbia and why you, the berlin school, worked with leaders at companies like chanel, eriksson for g and all the way, the nonprofit sector in europe.
radio studio museum and wikimedia foundation, and they have spent years deconstructing how to have healthy, positive conversations.
We need these insights right now, like never before
excited to share this conversation with you. I'm Jonathan fields- and this is good life project-
How does a I even work where
Creativity come from what's this,
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fat or he? Oh, my god, and I've been I've been gluten. Free I've been kido, I you know I got through other and now I am not really anything anymore, but I'm very happy with myself- and I am very happy with my diet- and I dont know that I would have gotten here without having gone through all of those very different
if three step processes and all the things that I learned about myself and learned about my my body along the way, because, like oh yeah, so do I understand kido and now interesting kind of why it,
It worked for me. I understand, I understand all of these little pieces and so part of the journey, maybe is trying things that feel definitive for a little while try them on. You know it's like that. There's the form shoe hurry right, like you, you crawl, walk, run in martial arts right. You work the kata over and over again like these, these regular forms, so you can eventually break free of the forms just like jazz musicians play scales over and over again, so they can be fully free and and break free from the form, and I think maybe a lot of life is like that. So there is value in creating these forms, air I mean
We just want a whole book on a force tat for us to get a belief. Let's talk about that. Actually, I'm because what was possible.
To my head also is a much more tangible saying here is a framework
four discernment that I found to be really
useful in a lot of scenarios that can guide behavior for you to play with rather than like. This is the one way to do this. One thing and I feel that's more: what you're talking about yeah yeah yeah, it's like dating you- have to date a lot of different people to find your person, but then, once you find your person, you both change and become different people along the way too, and it's the same way.
Diet or frameworks like you have to try a lot of them out and then, eventually, you find your version of it or you dance back and forth between different things that work at different times, for you was a difference between dogma and approach or patterns or frameworks. I think one of the things like writing the book for us. You know it's a framework that we ve been using unit for close to a decade now, but we didn't write about it for the longest time, because you belts
simple, you know it just was like. Oh it's just too simple and too obvious, and so why would you bother writing about something that so simple and so obvious? And it wasn't until we would be talking to people who are going through something and we would offer it to them and they'd be like wow. That's amazing, and it was hard
for us. I think was hard for me to see that something so simple and so obvious actually could be value but other people, but in many ways that's all its valuable right like me
talking to you about what simple and obvious for you, like. I know like you're. Such an amazing market are an amazing audience builder and end even like an audio technician like I've taught you by so many different things over the years, and I have
and sometimes at the things you're telling me seem very simple and obvious to you and yet to me, they're kind of their just now
in my room and then in the end, they really they really have revolutionised the way. I've thought about different things
maybe it's interesting. Also the m, as we are having this conversation, I'm working on my neck, spoke about the spark attempts. Anna was literally just working on the chapter about advisers where the
impulse is to advise commander to guide
and one of the things I learned along the way is that the sermon entry level adviser in the early years, it's all about telling people what to do. You know why
two graduating deserve ninja level advisers, you just shut up
it's all about the powers of awareness and observation and appropriate questions and problems and frameworks, and you dont give any answers anymore. More had so far
needing to kind of sea the evolution of the allies of all that and by the way,
wasn't just data and
at the duck. But that makes me think of my dad. Actually, it was a high school principal for twenty five years. I think he is that ninja level adviser like he doesn't tell any of those four siblings. He has four kids. He doesn't tell any of us what to do or how to think or how to be. He only asks questions that he would be so perfect for this chapter, but it's honestly as a child and like two inches tell me why
just tell me your ways: does this give me the stuff yeah there I mean that's what we're talking about. We all crave certainty and just want the answers, but you know, along with that, comes dependence which, at the end, is a disservice. I was thinking about a dolly
and she says that she never offers advice to people who are coming into the music industry. She does sort of says hey. This was my experience and you might learn from and he might not, and that was kind of a big light bulb that went off for me and then recently I've kind of closed down sort of an aspect
my business, which was much more about strategy and actually the last client I had.
We expressed some dissatisfaction at the end because they were like. We really thought you were gonna tell us what to do
you know like, we really thought you are you going to analyze the market for us. I have no idea how they thought that, because it meant nothing in my contract said that that was
I was going to do or the team that I had was going to do. We did say that we had experience and their vertical, and so we could bring that to the conversation we could have opinions, but
conversation was really there is, and what we were there to do was to lead them through.
and then she also said the client also said at the end, and I think we had the exactly the conversation we really need to have, but I can't help but being disappointed, and I was like okay,
wait. He was a great experience on the one hand, because I felt like okay, we got them where they needed to have cause. It was really about them having they really had like a very fundamental, difficult conversation they needed to have that they just weren't having and frankly
Good analysis was going to lead them away from that conversation rather than towards it, and you know it was
allowed them to kind of pretend that they were aligned without actually having the deed conversation about power and authority and ownership, and where cash was going on this organisation, which was all messed up, an all out of
I meant yeah they needed to know who are we as a team like? How are we working together? Not what are we going to do out there like that'll happen eventually, but the team cumbersome
had to happen, for he was almost all about intention really like one person's intention was to make sure cash flowed in one direction and other persons intention was to disrupt the market who, by the way, have been hired by the first person you know like, but there, but they just want it. You know like so they all had like different it and they can kind of kept bumping into each other. They would make plans in and not do them, and it was because there they were, they were each thought. The company was had a different purpose than
and then the other one thought yet. So I guess it's gonna get us into our topic of conversation, also, which is conversations often hard conversation
it's but really really necessary. Conversations like you guys shared, and yet you sort of developed the framework that you've been using with each other for the last decade or so as well as you both have your own independent businesses with clients. Colleagues,
We certainly are in a moment now culture wise, where people are finding it harder to have.
Conversation, conversational, hello, hard conversations, even people that we,
in no care about deeply. Sometimes it's family and I'm curious. Actually, how you would you distinguish we too?
in conversation and argument we were just talking about this or we arguing about yeah you're. We talk about discourse and debate. Kind of is the distinction that we ve been making recently and debate is really. You know your your ear there too kind
prove the other person wrong. You know, as this is very common and social media is one of the reasons I'm not really on social media. Now is because I found myself participating in debate with people that I was never going to convince and there was sort of inconsequential, even if I did convince them like
didn't even know them very well. So why was I spending time like trying to convince them of things, but really I was trying to disprove the wrong. I wasn't trying to learn anything. I wasn't there to to be changed by it and I think
when it comes to discourse, or maybe a sort of you. No positive argument are good argument. You come in willing to learn.
Because you understand that you don't have the full picture of what's of the topic like they were all there are viewing the world like a really like a pin hole of a per cent.
And and that, if we're going to really understand something that we need that we need other people, we know we need. You know people who too can share in that thinking with us in my capturing the spirit of our conversation and then we are also talking about and what makes a conversation or what makes communication tired. What makes a tough and refer for ass, we came out a can of two main things which, as you know, is it highly emotional. Like? Are you already in a no feeling a lot
people will say triggered, but I feel like that that doesn't give the respect that we deserve as humans, that we are emotional, physical creatures and, besides being emotional like is it a high stakes topic? Do you feel like something?
really fundamentally important is on the line like somebody, gonna lose something some big
when something so emotions and high stakes. Those felt like that to really important parts of what makes a conversation, tough, you're, the mixed up
sense to me? You know when you with that interest, to relate the distinction between discourse and debate. I think you can have.
Those two things right, emotion and high stakes can be present, whether it's a debating you're just trying to prove the other person wrong or whether it's a discourse and
You really want to have an open conversation and see if there's at possibility of resolution, and yet it can get really
national and the stakes are high. What what pops into my mind is
There will be some people listening to this or there was some people. Listen to this, who know people who love to debate its their sport
and this too, so you
into a scenario where
its emotional, but
one person. This is their sport. There are an athlete, and,
All they want to do is provoke emotion and create,
that in the name of winning
but on their side they are completely
emotionally detached it's just fun. It's is a hundred
sense, but I have actually I'm a friend of mine who is in the practice of law. It was a litigator very successful, while the slavs loves what they do and and part of it is because they have found a profession.
Outlet for this thing, where there's no there's no emotional investment, yet part of their their love is to provoke a motion on the other side, especially
when the stakes are really really really high in the name of winning, and I wonder what what you do:
when you find yourself in
acting with someone will you're you're in it from a deeply emotionally.
while the state and the other person. It really is just sport we're talking about in good faith, gesture yeah, honestly, I didn't join the debate team for a reason because I don't enjoy that kind of sport.
I I do get very emotional, or it feels very important, like important conversations feel deeply important to me and so to trigger someone purposefully doesn't feel like fun to me. So we, you know, we've gotten really into this idea of. Are we both in this conversation in good faith? Are we coming together for a clear
outcome that serves both of us? Are we really willing to listen to each other, be changed, maybe even by each other. Like? Are you that open? Are you willing to really be present, so I had an experience a few months ago where it was a very emotional topic with an old friend- and I realized oh she's, not coming to this in good faith, and I asked for a time out and that was really appropriate to ask for it. I call them, but let's
examine how work communicating here and that required a pause usually going about it. Sort of like the relationship to truth, and as you were as your both talking one, I should have stepped out a relationships because with people that you're describing Jonathan you know they did. Who just want to argue, and I think that maybe two different reasons why
As I know, people who are just contrary in and really they just kind of enjoy the game and enjoy the k later. There's they sort of just take pleasure in things getting kind of stirred up, which I don't, and
and I think, there's another site which is sort of when you look at our legal system. The idea is that each side is going to
beat the hell out of each other side and then once
it is going to win and be happy at once,
he's going to lose and suffer, and that's how we find the truth of the matter. That's how justice is served tell them.
It seems to be sure the underlying the inner in
in litigation. That's like the underlying philosophy, but I think what we are talking about
and I knew the kinds of relation to the kind of conversations that I prefer. Maybe we may come out from
very very different angles have very strong different opinions and very strong different mindsets and ideologies. But the goal is to have a relationship with the person on the other side and actually do
something with him to reach some kind of sense of alignment. Whether or not we disagree,
It could be that we're going to disagree and commend in october, we work with a lot of business.
Instead of one person loses and feels really bad, they can sabotaged the project and in variety
very subtle way. You know which we see I've seen over and over again they can quit, which then you have to bring somebody else back in
and also they may be, bringing some really vital perspective that if we just shut that person down shut that person up, keep that person from contributing we then miss out on we just don't we don't get their brain. We don't get there being working on the problem anymore. So I think, when I think about difficult conversations of the kind that I care about, because there's so many different kinds of conversations, I would classify as difficult
the ones that I want to engage in are the ones that have a purpose to them like alex- and I may argue about you know, in everything, from personal to professional, tina kind of direction of the business to direction of the family to where you know, but we're committed to each other. You know like we're going to be together, so we have to figure this this thing out and we have to come to something.
in the agreement, and so it's ok to lose. You know, in quotation, marks from time to time. You know I don't have to get everything I everything I want, because what I want ultimately, is for the relationship to be vital and healthy and for the relationship to move forward.
Yeah, I think, having that madeleine's is something that sometimes is not there.
Easiest thing to access. Does him lens as they like?
it's really going on here and at the end of the day, who,
the code to I want to be right, or do I wanna be happy at the end, and probably not the exact group at its its
I think this part of the idea also
Wonder you in the context of meeting up as somebody who just loves to argue our debate for the sport of it
and there's no malice there, also, which is their fun, whether one
things if you are not that person, you know
if you want to have hard conversations for the purpose of true resolution, whether being able to identify whether the person, the other side of the conversation as quickly as possible, is in it for her using your language, debate or discourse becomes a pretty mission, critical skill hear that sometimes
don't figure out until you're in the conversation to I recently
I won't named the person. You know somebody who had known for years and who I've tried at different times to do professional. We just you know we share,
I love of each other. We share a love, certain ideas and then after
while I realized that they liked to destabilize everything, that we were doing on a very regular basis like that that was kind of their fun, and I like that,
You know and they're very successful like it's like they create things by just realized like I don't think we are going to create anything either. I'm not going to have a mai mai, create something great, but I'm not going to have fun doing it and that's important to me or we're just never going to create anything together, because I keep trying to create form and you keep trying to create discord or chaos. Yeah we've lost saga
these basic ground rules that we discovered we were using with each other that we have found
important in those conversations out there in the world waiting with shorthand is setting the stage, but it's
When are we going to talk and what are we talking about and in what state? Always we showing up to the conversation and to under end a retarded like? Why is it important to both of us to have this conversation, and most people are used to having that level of clarity before you get into a topic like hey? Can we talk about this topic on saturday, when we ve
eaten. All we ve got some quiet and I were both sober and fed and awake and we're gonna talk about acts like that level of specificity is really unusual, but it been a huge huge calming
sedative to my nervous system when it comes to toughed up rather than arguing about something in in the middle of the night yeah and in a in a desperate way to resolve it before we go to
yeah, I'm not after not after. We share a bottle of wine, not right before bad, never wear. But it's really important right now
it's so important right. I carried out there
at one of the classic instructions for you and loved one which is never go to bed angry. I do not believe in that rule. We do not. I used to believe that I really
did you and then I realized in our relationship. Actually, it was like, oh this. Why would I even try to talk to you at midnight like? I am not my best self. I am not. We are okay with going to bed angry yeah. You are because I think, there's another really important relationship skill.
taken me a long time to learn that self soothing, because I think often when I was an argument, I was seeking
solace, through my partner and some saying, like you, you know like when you agree with me, I will feel ok or when we reach agreement, maybe even to be a little
generous, but really it's no. It's more like when you see things my way, you know like that's, that's the mindset I'm in then I will be ok but learning.
Due to a kind of lie in bed and be ok with things feeling a little bit disruptive a little bit on shore a little bit
and soothe myself and be like okay, I'm going to beer is actually a midget to me. It is it's something. I've learned rather late in life, or I am embarrassed to say, but it's it's it. I think an important adulting skill. I think it really only took a couple of time a couple of instances for us to realize. Oh, if we just go to bed tomorrow, there won't really be a problem,
never was up for us pretty much wasn't a problem. We were just tired and cranky. Now, right, maybe we have as a simple clarifying conversations, and that happens like yours,
times where you let the conversation go you wake up in the morning or like what was I so upset about. You know like that that seems so important last night, but now that I'm having breakfast breakfasted to spare whatever I love you, I love finding out with one yeah. It's so funny say that
his eye. I noticed that about myself
also an eye and a tribute, I think, part of it to a longstanding meditation practice? Is that
times were I'm just not fun. There too
it's where you are unjust and I can tell I have a short fuse.
Is a non near like interactive and not kind. I may not like you, I don't create space for people.
absolutely love and new conversations. Aren't that what I want and I've gotten to a point where
You know I will,
not always, but most often known as unlike
being an idiot ha what
it's like going on here, I'm like is it the topic? No, I don't really care about that. Much like. Is it the
listen, not being cool, and my oh, it's me, I haven't slept well for three days or aims,
really stressed Gaza monday deadlye, and this is being into
generated. It's not in its not an inter relation.
well thing it's an internal relational thing. This is actually one of the points about tough conversations right now in this climate that keeps coming up for me, and I think social media is an amplifier of this problem.
So hard for us as humans to admit one were wrong. It so hard for many many reasons, but I think social media makes it hard because you're gonna get slammed even if you're, apology or change of mind is, is very honest and real. If you feel like you can't win.
lot of people just double down on whatever their initial assumption or opinion was yet we were in a time and also
yeah. I think social media is interesting in that I think about Robert Cialdini, his arms, her seminal work on influence and what- and he talked about this thing called the consistency principle where you know we feel compelled as human beings to act and say things that are consistent with our prior actions and things that we've said so we make a little
Eight men, you know if it's in passing in conversation, then it's out there in the ether and we can pretty quickly change your mind and have conversation, but we don't even like to do that, but if we make a a graphic or a
or or something, and then we put it on the rules and then there's all people who are like. Then it's almost like, I feel like that.
makes you feel like you're more dug in and that unconscious sir, like biased towards consistency, makes us want. It keeps
and doing the same things, even if our thought evolution is different, because we want
seen. A certain way certainly complicates things. It's almost like consistency of identity were eager
wait like we want. We want to be like. Oh I'm still the same person that I was before. I think about this. A lot with someone
we have had a long conversation about you go over dinner last night about so that some of these topics and and how you know I've been on your pike ass before and talk about my experience of being in a call for a couple of years and watching the vow, which is about the next him called with
and each video, and it got I'm watching that now in a sort of reminding me and bringing up a lot of stuff and one of the things that I really
remember about it- was watching
I own mind, adopt opinions or thoughts, her feelings that I now done it and if I with it all right, we are highly influenced by the people. We are ruined often, and that's kind of one or two things that calls for a prey upon, and I highly recommend the valley kind of goes into this in some some detail in and one of the film makers talks about this expert
to lie, and so it was hot, it's hard to leave these groups. Even when there's a part of you that sees wait. This doesn't make any sense way. This is kind of you said there can be s going on here and maybe I would be happier doing something
Ass one, you have a community of people around. You were kind of supporting you kind of. Can keeping you in this in this thought pattern, but to its really it's you
one desire to be consistent. I said this thing
and the longer you ran in some ways the harder it becomes did her away like I know you know like I was in only for two years, which we know is both a long time in a short time in some ways compared to others. But when I look back on it like leaving after two years is kind of hard, because I would have to admit that that previous two years was something of a mistake and that I have now of all times, I've known you know- and I am so glad that I was actually in this group before social media was, if the him, because I hate to think what is it you know, I would hate to have those facebook messages you know
in an archive somewhere, came out of that kind of thinking and at the same time, I think in the moment you're thinking to yourself. Well, I would have to admit these two years had been a mistake, and yet reflecting
Your conversation about having tried a dozen different approaches to
eating over the last couple of years, and that actually not being mistake because it's giving you these data points to drop you into a place where you are now which is really healthy, and I think, with a lot of times, with the benefit of time, we gain perspective and say what it was two years that I probably would have done something different with, but it also informed me in a way that dropped me into a place where I am
in some way able to pull some benefit from the experience and bring forward into my life. Your army would regret in many ways. This is a really terribly useful because you know,
whatever it is you ve experienced has gotten you too, where you are now sure if I had this perspective that I have now having had that experience- and I had this perspective before I had that experience
I might have made some different decisions. Yes, and by the way we are not making an argument for everyone to run out and joint cults. Let us not devoid of any up midgets
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You brought up this idea, setting the stage which I think is really interesting, suggestion sang and instead of you, if there is an issue that you know you need to address, instead of just doing it,
I then, in their due.
In a way where the setting is constructive. You guys also talk about really creating some sort of structure for the conversation itself. When it happens, this idea of intentions concerns boundaries, dreams. You can taught me that about that structure, yeah! Well, you know, even before you go into those four pieces of a conversation which, by the way most people don't have structured conversations so to even bring it up or invite somebody into it can feel a little strange, the first couple of times, but how you-
invite someone into a conversation can really be so transformative, and it's like the last thing anybody wants to hear is. We need to talk. We need to talk now right. Nothing good is coming after that sentence, and it really is hague. Can we can we talk about x later this weekend and I'd like to talk about this with you at a later date, or do you have time now to talk about this city of space and capacity for this? That's actually something that my
some of my friends and I have agreed to in our text chain and we don't use it as an emotional dumping ground, because people were real, live lives or fallen, and they have stresses, and but we ask permission first, I hate. Does anybody have space for made to hop on a phone call, or can we have a private text about this thing? I really respectful it like immediately sets the tone instead of in me, invading your space, but the topic. Will you come into a space together about something
and for the steps themselves, you know one of the ways we think about. It is missing conversations that you know usual often when there is conflict and persistent conflict among people.
that is because there's some either informed
sean missing you, sometimes them
in conversation is good bye. You know like that. This is not
We're we're just not aligned and we never will be, but more often than not. There's some
what is missing new wants to the car.
safe are some missing information. So when we talk about intentions, concerns boundaries in dreams, what we really,
trying to do is get out all of the let's call this sort of the high stakes thinking or the high impact. I am quite saying it's more like the emotional like. Like the start, it feels really important to us. So, for instance, when we started to write a book together, we had the conversation about we're getting because we never done business together. We don't even in a you, know romantic and intimate partnership, and we really both had
experiences in the past, combining the two and we were like- let's, let's not do this and then when the book became sort of the next thing to do it sort of came
as I always seems like this- is really the wisest thing to do. We wanted to do a very
deliberately. So he sat down and we were talking about our intentions and attention,
really easy. You know we want to. You know write a book because it's it's good for business and it helps us get our thinking out and it might be fun to create something together. You know that does release really simple, but then concerns you know, that's where we all get crazy
you like humans. We just have such a strong negativity bias. I was certainly raised in a household where worry was kind of one of the dot. One of the predominant activities, like I would say like fifty to eighty per cent of the conversation around the dinner table, was wary of some
and so worry, is where I go very very quickly and what was really kind of funds,
just what I ve got our worries out and we both had the same worry, which was that this was going to be
to divorce and wished and divorce was to you know, dying alone under a bridge. You know
may be living in a van, maybe not living in advance. You know, but like like some sort of all my fears end up there by the way in a band media, with alone dying under a bridge. That's where every year and the year
and I, but it was just really to make space for that without having because it you know like a deck. That kind of fear will come up in our brent in a mind and as soon as it comes up you're like well, I can't say that, because that sounds
because it makes me sound like an idiot, but it was really it's really. When you create space to say that to say that to each other, then you
kind of celebrated in a key you can kind of dissipated. You know a friend
as a neuroscientist talks about when we speak
and then there's something about our brain hearing them which actually changes the way changes our cognition and kind of a significant way. It actually sues that thing that there
something about bringing it out, and so, when we talk about intentions, concerns boundaries and dreams, we're just gathering information
we are not saying, oh, I
this concern. We better do something about it. When I'm saying is, I have this concern. That's all I'm saying one of the things we ve come to see his cell important and any time we share this we offer this is such a. We hope it such a gift well received that when you share your fears with each other, even if my fear involves you, I'm not like blaming you. Where were we agreed and not take our fears personally, like I'm? Not saying you're going to do this or that your fundamentally flawed
and because I have a fear about you in some way, like our brains, come up with bizarre fears and worries, and it's not your fault that I have a fear about you or that somehow involves you, and so it really does create this sense of what's called psychological safety like oh, I have it.
Safe place with my partner or with my team, or I can share my fears and then I feel so much calmer, because my fears have been witnessed. My brain can now like check that off and I'm still a part of the group, I'm still loved, I'm still accepted data, so that is so def
from the first thirty five years of my life. Yet amid the the notion of safety or because when I first read, does forth into the intentions, concerns boundaries, dreams and a meeting
membrane. Just translated at a safety leg. It was,
Even a conscious and just like us- are safety
because in my mind nothing happens without that or nothing valuable happens without that plenty of destructive things happen without it. But if something valuable happens without
I think it's kind of dumb luck and fairly rare, but with head it sort of, like you, created the container and the context for really powerful and often really hard,
the things to happen simultaneously, that that have a net positive outcome, yeah, the the beauty of this conversation, a structure. Conversation like this, where you feel safe, is that you're developing empathy for each other, even with someone or you are diameter
they opposed on something that feels emotional and high stakes you can reconnects and feeling
I understand where you're coming from. I don't have to agree with how you feel or what you think, but I I see you, I feel you as a person again
and that's what allows us to click maintain relationships. Even if we are disagreeing about something you will not reach that sense of safety, rightfully witnessed reeling. Seen feeling like I can share my.
authentic south, like what I what I really feel and what I really thing. I was thinking also about the the next piece which is boundaries. You know that with away way boundaries I think, have showed up for the first, like thirty thirty or forty years of my life, it was, I have a boundary and you better
spect it you know like it was sort of like is almost like this petulant child. You know, like I have a boundary, you know, and it was
usually only expressed after somebody had violated it across.
It are shown like they were going to and I needed take. I somehow proof that I was like it was almost like a macho petulant child macho
a stance like I'm going to show you I'm strong by showing you that I have this boundary
stay we really try to frame the conversation about. What do you need? You know like? What do you need to feel safe? What do you need to feel at your best and it becomes an exploration, and I think in personal relations
if this is really powerful. But we do this, we do a lot of this work with professional groups too, and it
amazing. How often that question has never been asked
here you are on a on a team which is which is supposed to be high performing, and yet you
ever really asked each other. What do you need to perform at your back
it's like two and acknowledging the different people need different things to perform at their best and different people are different stages. Their career have different temperaments, come from different backgrounds, have different goals. So everybody, you know some people working fourteen hours a day may be fine, and then some people, like me, may have a you know like for at best. It seems these days now that I'm in my fifties and boundaries is such an interesting topic. You said that you had that relationship or being a petulant child. I just didn't, have any. I didn't have any boundaries for the first thirty years. I didn't know what they were. I didn't know it was ok to have them and thus two questions. What do you need to feel safe and what he needs to be at your best are two different ways to help you find can have different ends of the
the spectrum and when we ask this of people we do say look, you know you might not get everything you want. It's not like you're ordering off a menu, especially in relationship. You know we have a child's jonathan. You have a child like you know that, like no rules, rules and boundaries like there is going to be some flexibility in there sometimes and things change. And if I ask someone, what do you need to feel safe? And I don't respect that or I have said what I need to feel safe.
and it's not respected. Then I had hoped my my sense of safety and my ability to be in an honest, empathetic relationship is greatly changed, so I can just tell you you're safe here, and then you automatically feel safe right right. Yeah, the individual is the only one who can determine if they feel safe, it's not being told by somebody
If you are safe, this is a safe space, so you can't literally yell at somebody and say, look you're safe here, just open right now I mean it's. It's it's interesting too, because that question. What do you need to feel safe?
I wonder if some people immediately now and they they love the fact that they ve been ass because they ve never been able to actually share
but now also wonder if so many things
ass, she never even considered the question and have no idea what they need to feel safe and I'll. Give myself as an example in many contexts. I feel sick
if having a conversation about tough topics. You know
real time on the forerunner in person, but for other topics with certain people. I feel safe, communicating via the written word. You know I've written back and forth with family members about certain topics.
and that helped me feel safe and lead to incredible outcomes, but having to speak. The words out loud, didn't feel safe to me
has so interesting. So sometimes even it's it's the mode of communication that plays a role,
So it's really. You really have to expand what you think about them now in one other thing,
we recommend and mrs maybe another setting the same thing, but as something that helps me feel safe as we actually time each other. It's that no cross talk equal speaking time rule is.
One of the only things it's been studied and shown to create the safety you create more in depth
if that it exists in some ways we're trying to reverse engineer by using the timer unit- and you may know from like Amy edmondson work on on team work, and you know the team, psychological safety that and her work was used by Google and all these other.
About. Essentially that you can. You know a team has psychological safety when everybody is contributing about the same amount, so they could be
Conversely, it could be very boisterous team or could be a very quiet team. As long is not one one or two people aren't like dominating the whole thing.
And it's not you know it's it's not universal. Necessarily, but often when one or two people are dominating the conversation, everybody else is feeling a little constrained in what they might contribute for some reason right, so they're feeling a lack of safety in contributing. So it's even asking the question even prioritizing safety as a thing because a lot of people- and yet it also you know I kind of macho thing
often in business, often with men, but like no we're just going to like spit out any idea here this you know, and I and I think, there's value in it and and I the book radical candor comes to mind and I've loved the book. But when I first heard it,
It is just sounded like it was gonna, be an excuse for these jerks that I worked with two. You know yet more, rather than less I'm just being under having candor here. I think your terrible
citing adding adding in the sense of safety revaluing safety. To me,
it seems, to be somewhat of a new concept into it and a lot of the places we go to yeah, and I think that emmons research is really fascinating too, when you look at the best functioning teams and- and you could expand that to
personal relationships to organizations really do have a fairly equal.
amount of contribution, because what was that
it was me also. So you know I lie very much on the introverted side of the spectrum and in my head a lot there's a ton of stuff going on my head all the time. Even when I sleep
and so I'm always processing, and I am sort of a hyper aware of what's going on around me for a lot of the time, even though I'm in my head, which is a weird thing to say, she does a lot
ida, spinning in my head and when it comes
out either as spoken word on written work, it's usually
cause reached a point where I have some type of synthesis
that I'm ready to share, but I am
no I'm not quick and not the person in the room has really fast
with a line or response or on a mike. You are much more uncertainly
slow burn- and you know, I wonder- knew when, when you think about that equal, what would it take for me to be in a room with five other people around the table, who are fast or loud or extroverted, and feed
well like. I have contributed what I need to contribute and I think it's really interesting to think about like what would it take if one of the measures of really high function is equal time? What would it take for me in that room to feel like? I could contribute equal time. I actually don't know the answer to that, but now
I I want to spend some time thinking about it. I'm the same I need to. I need to think things through and we we both have pretty strong morning, journaling practices and part of why I do that is it helps me get clear. It helps me sift through
but I actually use the intentions, concerns boundaries and dreams myself by myself. Before I have a conversation with somebody else, I recommend that a lot with clients like in, if you want to talk about x with so and so think about these four things for yourself about the topic and then share the intentions, concerned, boundaries and dreams with them and think about it in advance. Give yourself some
I'm with these four buckets. One thing will do with james, especially now that where everything is remote, you know, like all of our work, is remote
We ve been using more digital tools for this, but we'll get his people will give them two minutes or three minutes to journal on yeah. You know like just to get the ideas out and we use like a virtual posted no board
just all the ideas will go up and an even anonymous, and we just did it with a team of like sixty people, doing
international sales team sales team, and so they got university
but to get all the ideas out and then what happens? Is people see that other people actually have the same as they did they say
cells reflected in what's coming out and they begin to feel more comfortable as you were. You were talking about that Jonathan. I realize I identify and I don't it and if I with how you what you're saying as like, when I first come into a group, I tend to be extremely quiet and it can go on for months. Sometimes it can go on for a very, very long time
and I ve enamored having on a few occasion for people like where then all of a sudden something or click- and I dont know what it is exactly, but all suddenly feel comfortable and then I'll start. Joking I'll start making reich
I, like my personality, like people actually have described it as that that my personality has suddenly changed and like no actually I'm just. I think I just felt safe enough now to bring out a certain part of myself and now I just have this hypothesis. I know I'd love to to prove it or I loved it. I'm not pay attention to it that I think going through this intentions. Concerns boundaries and dreams. Exercise may speed that up for me re because all of it, because now I'm hearing from others
people a day feel safer because I know more about them. I have more data, and I see myself reflected in some of that data. Like they share my concerns. They share my dreams. We share our intention safe. I feel I feel identify with them a little bit more and I have also been
I get some of my own some of myself out. Could you know those nagging thoughts that I've been just keeping to myself all that time? I've been quiet instead of keeping to myself now they're out and now I can move on
now? I can kind of let myself go a little to the I love that I mean if it's, if it becomes a tool, cheer or
Yes that allows you to show up more quickly in another, an authentic way. I mean that's a wind for everybody unless you are authentic were his offense.
But let's work on the assumption that it's not for now you we have really did the the idea of the dream
Inside of it also, I think, is really interesting because a lot of times we come into conversation and you can have it
It may be an argument. It may be hard theirs. It there's a topic that that one of the fears is very lightly and I'm curious is as him now. Experience is both personally and with so many different groups that one of the big fears
Is that one person's dream or the other person's dream is basically to win
and that doesn't mean when you over necessarily it just means to dominate or maybe is to leave, or maybe it's to end the relationship of the project,
never may be
They may actually sharp, unlike what they really want is like. Can we just get this be?
and I say that we can lay to weaken yeah I'd, get back on a harmonised pays and really do good work again
But if you never, if you not explicit about that,
I would imagine it wreaks havoc so much. I am so much agreeing with you right now. Let's go to the missing conversation that one or one of the the potential missing conversations that we're talking about an aim. You might discover that you're, not in alignment or this shit. We shouldn't move forward on this relationship
this project, but ultimately, why dreams are so important. What we see most of the time is that when we we put dreams at the end, because it brings you back together, we encourage people like sure your dreams for you and for the other
listen and for each other. If it's almost like a meadow meditation like you, you start moving it out like for the world that will be impact it by this decision for family etc, and when you hear somebody else's dreams unless their dreams recently dark, which I have never experienced personally, you why the other person's dreams for them like. Oh, I want you to
that too, and then you want my dreams to happen for me and then we release oxytocin together and then we're connected again. We ve gotten through the concerns we got through the tough stuff, but I gather there are these generative gross filled. Energy is that we can then like attached to to move forward together. It's it's really inspiring to hear each other's dreams were the dreams can even be.
for us. You know, like I dreamed, that our relationship is deeper through this experience or that we come out stronger team or better as a gay about when writing one of the first,
as we were really using this was you know we live in
city, where there are a lot of like cocktail parties that you can go to, and you know we have our intervention,
We have our extroverted moments and sometimes
they coincide in and sometimes they don't. You doesn't. Sometimes they line up and
times. You know you're in an event, and one person wants to go in the other person doesn't, and so that happened enough times
on the way to events we would start talking like. Well, I have a dream that will be. You know there will be happier as a couple on the other side of this.
Has resulted in a new boundary or a new agreement, which is you can go home without me and that's total. He didn't like
He needs to get impatient with anybody else,
and tomorrow morning we will feel like now now
we miss the tomorrow morning, when we wake up a really good or were in the cab going home and we feel really good, but maybe we're going home separately- maybe that's fine,
that little simple things I that feel like. I will ask
sailor, but then yellow you know it
to add them up over the course of a day or a week or dozens of times, indifferent different types of things, and it ends up
you know leading up to the big fractures and very often
ends up all coming.
In one explosive laundry list of every wrong that has ever been done and every violation that's ever been made and whereas, if you
sort of them at an maybe that's her. Something to touched down on here, is the notion
where, on the one hand, you're saying set the stage like psychiatric create the time.
Like sale Kaden make sure that an appropriate time for all parties involved actually have,
conversation and that your readying and prepared, but at the same time, have it you now don't just because it's not the right time
You know yeah if somebody's a was ever going to be the right time or they keep blowing it off. It dense piles into it like a big giant explosive mass. What that's? One of the reasons why I avoided
have conversations from most of my life because in my face,
if origin, tough conversations or important topics meant it was going to evolve into a fight that you then had to be prepared to re litigate every past wrong. So, like everything was on the table and what we're asking people to do in this structure, conversation is we're going to talk about this topic. You get really clear when you set the stage. I want to talk about this thing together and it's something that you can keep coming back to write it's like emit. It's like a conversation of meditation like oh and we're talking about this.
That's an important topic like: let's have that conversation another time we agreed we're going to talk about this thing here and that is so calming it's like. Oh, I don't have to somehow defend my entire existence in the space of this one conversation. I know what we're talking about here, you're talking about entering a conversation prioritizing the relationship over or at least equal to the topic under discussion.
Saying that we want that. I want to come out of this with a good relationship. Whether or not maybe we even decide that. Oh this thing that we were getting rich do together. We really shouldn't do it because you know where our goals are relatively different or our attitudes are relatively different, but that preserves the relate that can preserve the relationship potentially as well, but we aren't one of the things we think about his government's four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse right and I think what you're describing Jonathan is like when I'm pent up
No like I'm much more likely to. If I, if I haven't expressed a boundary, it's much more likely to come out expressed as criticism of the other person right. You know like if I have an expressed or boundary of say. I know I want to go to bed at a certain time. You know and or I dunno like, and somebody else kind of violates
cause me late, all the time you say you always call me late you're, always the kind of person who d you know, rather than expressing the boundary up front, then, is much more likely to be expressed in a way that that that the other person can kind of here have to share a huge parenting land with Jonathan, which will appreciate that's over the summer. Our now thirteen year olds said out of nowhere at the dinner table, I'm really glad and being raised learning to care about other people's feelings, like we ve been using this style of communication with him for
six or seven years since he was little and because you know, I feel, like I've, been re parenting myself as much as I am like parenting him to have tough conversations in a way where there is empathy and respect and clarity like how dude I'm really glad you're being raised, to learn to care about other people's feelings too and he's just gotten into high school. So
see what the next couple of next year starting next year, will see a future that is open and turn on your voice. Mimicking. You see that,
what more time I needed a needle dealer. We remember this moment. Yes, we ve been talking a lot about the container than we thought
little bit about her late. We hear what you got cancer: that rules of engagement. We talked about arguing, good faith brought up governments for her
when we had. She had julian John on the package in the password to us a fantastic. I loved and both the its and it's fun.
To see. I think I recall I commented during our conversation on the pod cason and for those who don't know Julie, don gottman run the sing colloquially called the love lab, but they ve been researching, love and partnership in conversation for forty years, and they was about forty five minutes, the conversation and a kind of sad. I notice how, like you know you and they ve been together. I think forty or fifty years on that
and as you guys, are doing a really interesting dance, even in the studio, you know because they were really it was like they were handing the baton between each other in the conversation and you could,
you're in the studio you could sense like I could watch them and see the physical tells of one somebody who was not speaking had sunday. They wanted to contribute, but there
feeding and it was interesting to certainly see how they were embodying the ground rules that you're talking about their own observations about healthy relationships near the their whole bunch of other, very specific rules of engagement that you guys write about, but one of the things that she kind of wanted to
explore on more than met a level. Is
The young. Maybe two things is the idea of
awareness and self care, because in a way, I think they kind of go together, because I I yeah we're we're talking about, know things that you do and sort of in the moment you know are leading up to the moment. Here's how we're going to set the stage for the moment and here's. Here's here's how we interact in the moment, but you know before
if you ever get to the moment what you brain, the state of being the state of mind that you bring into that moment, I have to imagine, is equally important to constructive outcomes. Yeah one hundred per cent. My mind is going into like three different directions as your as you're talking about this one is one of the gifts actually of spending. All the
my time at home for the last six months, so used to travel a lot and I used to work on a month, multiple projects, while at the same time I still do that, but you know that I would be cheap
jeanne context a lot, and I was actually under a lot more stress. My diet wasn't is as good and when we talk about sort of emotional presence or the presence that I bring to some
Saying I know you know you're a meditate her and here the buddhist will say that he goes back to bodily sense.
Asian right in many ways, lake
Your emotion is that is an expression of your interpretation of the bodily sensation.
And I'm actually reading a book by a neuroscientist now, and he basically says neuroscientist know the same thing. You know like that. We have a bodily
stationed in that bodily, and one of the things I notice with self care. This kind of goes back to our rules of engagement. Where we talk about no alcohol, let's be fed. Is that let's pay attention to the bodily sensations were having like how we feel coming into something and that really
Changes- and I think I don't actually, I have no idea whether you enter whether you notice Alex, but I actually feel like a much more stable person,
over the last six months- and I was before like I cause I get you know- I identify with some of the things you were saying earlier, John about you know like I just kinda bad mood or I'm short,
and I just noticed that happening less and less, because I've been much more in control.
and self aware, because I had a steely meditation internal in practice.
I know how I feel and I can change you know I. I have kind of strict routines. I wake up. I drink two bottles of water because I know that if I'm not taking care of myself, then I'm just not going to bring my thyself to the situation. My own,
have the same self care rules that you do but were also really aware that how we take care of our physical bodies is going to impact on the quality of our conversations, and so we have a lot of compassion for each other, like if one of us isn't
feeling great? Like you know, what I understand? Lake near nervous or tired are anxious, maybe licked. Let's talk another time and I've actually and I've done a lot of work around,
Rewiring my own nervous system in our early childhood trauma, as I would dissociate during certain really tough conversations because they reminded me of childhood. I think that's really common. It's really common, and just I just. I love that the idea that
we hold trauma in our bodies is becoming more well known so that we can have more compassion for ourselves and each other in these tough conversations like, oh, you might like again. The word triggered, like you, re, actually be triggered in your nervous system right now, and that is not the time to have a tough conversation for important decisions need to be made its like raising children right like you, don't try to teach them anything when they're having a meltdown, you help them get com, they take a nap and
he. Then you talk about what happened. It. Nothing good happens in the intellectual brain. When, where am I
finally lit up like that, but we do take a much deeper, greater responsibility for.
How were showing up physically to these conversations, I think actually having these intentional conversation,
over the last several years has helped me in
I'm ways rewire my nervous system over time
become like a new rewiring. So it's almost. I use
or to realise that the inevitable
these things that you might have experienced as doom and gloom before it's like. Oh, I can go to that place, but it with a different context, and it's it's actually going to be okay, which may it's it's almost like a form of exposure therapy yeah, exactly yeah. You live through something and you're like. Oh, I can
through that again better x out, then I guess when you approach it with sir, like okay, so with a set of rules or for a framework that with a natural approach,
wait? You understand that that the core
The dynamic is replica ball. It probably gives you a certain amount of sir psychological bedrock to go back to that place more readily as well yeah, and I think you both actually said the same thing in different ways. You you just mentioned it Alex and we're talking about that. You help a child calm down, and then you have the converse
Later yet you have the conversation later right. You know because I think the tendency is like oh, the child's com now so now I don't have to deal with now and now and not in it deal with anything, and so there is a part of self care and awareness, which is that in that enlightened peace witches,
it was I going to the gym? I know if I exercise three times a week that my life is better, even though I don't necessarily want to go and exercise three times a week greatly, and just like that. In the difficult conversations
I know that my- and this is something I mean from we got together in let's say I was in middle age, you weren't quite there yet, but you know how he very late. We involve we'd, be ted signify.
relationships and one of our sort of early rules was, we can talk about anything and they were
several conversations, especially early on, as we were getting to know each other in the first couple of years of our relationship where I got this might end it. You know like this.
Little thing that I'm feeling this thing that I'm having and my tent.
He had been another relationships to actually just bury that thing. Well, it's not up right now, so I'm just not gonna worry about. You know it's a sort of like this nagging little thing, so it's not really worth bringing out and I think what I've, what I learned- and maybe some of hopefully we captured in this book- is no. It's actually now is the time
If I m feeling com- and there is this thing that was nagging me before- and I know enough about myself to know that when I'm low blood sugar and it had a glass of wine and am in a tired later on that this is going to come out and it's gonna come out in some.
Kind of nasty way or suffer some less than kind way. Some way that I don't intend, so now is the time to bring this up.
Now a sunday that conversation- and, I think, a lot of our intent with this. But one of the reasons could clearly were creating this, like structured linear, for
step process for a very nonlinear, very organic thing, which is you know, emotional resonance with another human being essentially,
and so one of the reasons
I have this is because, when you have steps is just more likely to happen. If I ain't going back to the gym metaphor, if I have a trainer and a spreadsheet who's told me that you know one day a week, I'm going to be doing upper body, and it's going to consist of these exercises in this many reps, I'm far more likely to make it to the gym. When I look at that spreadsheet than I am, and because I
this sort of linear process, rather than to saying, oh, you should move more. You know you should exercise some net wits
kind of raise me round to
question that I want to ask and then well what can come? Full circle, witches and everything Bobby user planted that seed, which is you
wrote this book when he shared originally like you both had an intention when you decide to sit down and write this, it would be fun for a project together. Do something cool, it's good for marketing
it'll help people, but that what that last thing you know when you create effectively a toolbox for a conversation and you offered out to the world at this moment in time. Do you both have a bigger intention around what what you would love it to enable I'm gonna point to a few real world examples from friends and clients and readers that this might be the first time and might like a twenty twenty year,
If my career here that this might be the first time or people keep saying. Oh my gosh, this is really helping me with some really tough stuff and people are having conversations that they otherwise would never have had
or would lead to more problems in marriage,
is an on business teams and in families and just hearing their feedback that dumb. Oh, my gosh. I actually have like a great
adult relationship now, because now I know how to have an adult conversation about tough topics. Were I wrote a letter to my father in law and now we're finally communicating about something that keeps devolving into fights one of our family gets together. It was not planned that the book would come out at this perfect moment. That was made of the divine luck that you mention before, like that
it was kind of a lucky timing in some ways that it's so useful right now, yeah I mean I'll, say I really I've. I've had much as say: I've had sort of a rough time with personal relationships through a lot of my life. You know intimate related alex is my fourth wife. You know, like my end,
and the best I'm just very happy with the relationship I haven't. You know people talk about burying the right person being for your personal happiness, a six.
As in having the right and I would say not just marry the right person but having the right relationship at home. He is one of the most impactful things you can do for personal happiness or really echoing what you're saying alex and then there's a no
their component to this cause. Our tool can be used and personal relationships in you know like private relationships or any cannot be used in professional, and we use in a professional context. Quite a bet. My back
and in my interest, has always been in
for a sustainability and social justice and creating more equitable, creating a more
sustainable world. As I've worked on climate, I've worked ivan nba its focus on sustainable systems.
and I've always been a little perplexed because they just these problems, just seem so big and so vast, and I know they're going to be hereafter. I'm gone, you know like we're not going to solve them in our generation, but I want to, but I would like to solve. You know at least contribute to solve them in our generation and I
like one thing that I'm seeing or one contribution that I can make, is helping leadership
aims of organizations make better decisions and part of the making better decisions is hearing from everybody
You know like welcoming everybody and welcoming you know where you know a diversity of voices and one of the things that are.
missed, and the diversity conversation is that when people come from different backgrounds, we see the
in different ways and that almost by definition will introduce more conflict potential or the more or more potential for conflict,
because homogenous teams, just like oh yeah, I get you, you get me and we're just gonna move forward, and so, when you look a sort of the team performance metrics
imagine his teams can perform pretty well, but diverse teams tend to be more creative and have more divergent thinking about them, and so part,
my personal mission is to help teams develop what I would call for the healthy emotional landscape said
welcome more voices, and so they can have they can make
sort of share decisions. Rather than this, you know commanded control top down smartest highspeed guy in the room
saw the decisions and everybody else run scared and does what they say. I think that model of organizational development or digital design, his kind of run its course, and I think we really need a new model if we're going to tackle problems like climate change like poverty like racial equity in this world of it so
good time for us to come full circle here, sir hanging out in this container of good life project. If I offer up the phrase to live a good life for each of you, what comes up I'm with people that I love and getting to make stuff that's fun and feeling like I'm contributing and helping more people than just myself and my immediate circle yeah. I don't know that I can add it. It's it's relationships and be it spending time with people who fill me up. Who, rather than deplete me and is feeling like my work, is good like I'm on the edge both like I'm scaring myself a little bit? You know like trying new stuff, making things a little bit harder stepping into situations where I feel a little unsure. I really love that because it forces me to grow and then feeling like that work is there for a good reason like it is contrib.
into this project, of creating a more equitable and and and sustainable world. Thank you, though. Thank you. Jonathan is lovely to see you. Thank you so much for listening and thanks also to our fantastic sponsors who help make this show possible. You can check them out in the links we have included in today, show notes and while you're at it, if you've ever asked yourself. What should I do with my life? We have
he did a really cool online assessment that will help you discover the source code for the work that you're here to do. You can find it at spark: a type dot com, that's s, p, a r K, e t, Y p e dot com or just click. The link
shown us and, of course, if you haven't already done so be sure to click on the subscribed button in your listening out. So you never misses episode and then share share the love. If there's something that you heard this episode, that you would love to turn into a conversation, shirt with people and have that conversation
when, when ideas become conversations that lead to action, that's when real change takes hold see you next time
Transcript generated on 2023-06-22.