Candice and Michelle speak with Suzie Carmack, PhD, executive well-being coach, thought partner and well-being campaign designer; Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University; and CEO of YogaMedCo about her mission to transform the ways we work today, so that we can all move out of work-life imbalance and into well-being. Suzie is the author of three books: Well-Being Ultimatum, Genius Breaks, and Coaching for Well-Being.
Candice and Michelle speak with Suzie Carmack, PhD, executive well-being coach, thought partner and well-being campaign designer; Assistant Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University; and CEO of YogaMedCo about her mission to transform the ways we work today, so that we can all move out of work-life imbalance and into well-being. Suzie is the author of three books: Well-Being Ultimatum, Genius Breaks, and Coaching for Well-Being.
Well, welcome back to the Virginia badass podcast. I'm Candace. I am a small business owner and fundraiser here in Northern Virginia
and at Michela, Recovering attorney and political activists, also in Northern Virginia.
So we're excited tonight we have a good friend of mine, Susie. Car Mac on and she's amazing. A total badass. I met her a few years ago before I get into, but it's so appropriate that we have Susan on tonight because it's crazy, so literally. I mean, I know that this podcast will drop in a week, so this news will be all. But for today, it's like hot topic. So we have four prosecutor's career. Prosecutors quit the Department of Justice today because of the interference from the White House, Um and extensively Bill Bar in the recommendation for Roger Stone sentencing. So we have that craziness. Andrew Gang just dropped out of the race. Um, and obviously we're all anxiously awaiting primary results from New Hampshire. So it's just it's insanity. So it's appropriate that we have Susie onto light, too, Takis off the ledge and help us re center ourselves because literally, during this administration, every single day, it seems to be a bigger dumpster fire. Um, and I would love some tips and tricks as far as like how to get back into. Okay, we can get through this. It really is. We can handle the next 266 days. I promise. Um but so to tell you a little bit about Suzie or well, I'll let Susie tell you about Susie. But how? I met Susie. It's kind of Ah, this crazy story. So, um, I think it's about seven years ago I had been at the Junior League of Northern Virginia, has Enchanted Forest fundraiser and, you know, for those folks that may have encountered enchanted forest type fundraisers, it's a big ball room, lots of crazy Christmas trees, all decorated and some sort of theme. And they're all of the silent auction. And I was wandering around the forest that day, and this one tree really spoke to me. And it was this yoga tree it had, like, I'm not on it. It had on a lettering, just all sorts of yoga, essential things, or things you would think would be essential for your gout reality that you need nothing for yoga except yourself. um, but the tree really spoke to me and not a gift certificate for this studio. That was, I think, in McLean. And so it was the first time I actually been on a yoga tree because we've had them in the past. But never had I had a yoga tree kind of like speak to me. Well, alas, I did not get the tree. I was. And I was kind of heartbroken that I actually didn't get this tree. And it's not like you win it. It's not like, you know, Hey, you, $1 million you do buy it. But you know what? I was disappointed. I did not go home with that tree on that. You're and I realized I was disappointed because I really needed to start going back for yoga. It was one of those I'm not a runner. I never like team sports. Um, but no, I know. Somewhere about 2000 to 2003 I had taken some yoga classes in Springfield and really, really just enjoy them. It's every once in a while. I kind of get in that yoga care gonna just for whatever reason, that weekend I needed to refined joga. And obviously that tree was not for me. Which meant that studio was not for me. And so I Googled yoga near me. Um, okay. From the Internet. And lo and behold, there was a studio. There was, like, a mile and 1/2 2 miles, maybe a little orbit right around the corner from my house. And and apparently the ground opening was like, the very next weekend. And so I end up swinging by and sighting. I just literally looked walking in the door, and I remember, um, before I even met Susie, I met her charming certificate, other who could not stop raving about how wonderful sues Iwas. And then I got to meet her, and she was just this amazing, um, radiant ball of joy. I mean, there is no other word that I could describe Susie with, but just joy Joy full. And it was in that moment it was almost like, um I think the term is it was a god wink that, um, Susan entered my life, and I joined the studio, and you just loved every minute I was in that studio. Um, it was just a peaceful and joyful um and you know, it was wonderful that I became friends with Suzy. Um, and you know, she actually crazy enough? Um, before I ran for office, I actually was attending. AA was signed. M had been selected to participate in the Sorensen candidate training program. And one of the things that they encourage candidate participants to Dio is to actually fundraise for there. Tuition. And Susie was so kind, she actually held a small fund raiser for me in her yoga studio. So she was my first fundraiser before I even became a candidate, and it just it was incredible. So I know that that's totally a rambling introduction, and I will let Susie tell her story. But I am so excited to have you on tonight because you really are just this most the just most joyful person I've ever met. And I'm so grateful that
you're all Hi. I'm sitting here
smiling. Of course, it's a podcast, so no one can see my facial reactions, but, um, I am overcome with joy with your introduction. Candace, that was beautiful. And it it's ah, its memory lane for both of us. So I just want to start by saying thank you for thanks to you and Michelle, both for this podcast. I love the title. Uh, this is about, you know, bad
and yes, I said that I love every minute of it. When I saw that you all were starting this effort, I remember thinking, Oh, I wonder if I'll ever be cool enough to be a badass. So? So the fact that I get to be in this episode is super exciting and, um and ah, just But thank you so much. That was very generous of you to share that. And I've just love seeing your journey and the the force for good and change that you are Candace Andi. Now, with this vehicle on the other things you're doing Ah, I'm not surprised to see the ripple effect that you're creating, and I'm just really excited to see that. So So thanks for having me is what that boils down to. Just really glad to talk with you all.
Well, thank you. Well, you know, you have an amazing story. I mean, just kind of the journey that took you on the road to deciding. Um uh, you know, this later point in your life to go get a PhD. Um and you know, do what you're doing and talk about what? Your You know what you talk about today with, um, folks about wellbeing eso Can you tell our listeners a little bit about your journey
horse and I'll I'll do my best to give the highlights right? Because, you know, we
a world where soundbites are kind of what we're used to write. We try to capture our lives on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. And you know, as much as we complain about those vehicles, there's actually a beauty and being able to stay connected with folks. Um, so you know, it's not and all bad story, in my opinion, but in any case, you know, a person's story is rich and it's deep and it has many layers, and I know every listener out there has that to Ah, but you know, I'll say that my story in terms of what I'm doing now and how a zay stand in my life now and I look back at the time I was doing different things that were fun. They were interesting and not necessarily trying to make it a linear path. But sometimes life grabs you and asks you to choose differently perhaps than you expected. And then when you look back, you realize there's bigger reasons. So so with that kind of ah framing, I can say that, uh, early, you know, I came into teaching yoga and fitness. Actually, when my Children were small, I had head adas, you know? Ah, in theater successes relative, right. But I enjoyed teaching theater and being doing some acting in some dancing choreography before I got married and started to have my Children who I love dearly intern L in their twenties and late teens. But, uh, at the time I wanted Thio. This was a time when work life balance was really just starting. Thio kind of catch the ability to have even a conversation and at least for me, and I was really struggling with my love of work and my love of being of service to others and also my love of my Children and trying to figure that out, right? So I landed somehow with this idea that I really liked health and fitness, and I, you know, I thought that that was cool that I could, you know, bring my Children with me to a gym or to a studio that had childcare and have, ah, have a day that was somewhat flexible. And I could I could control where I wasin. At one point, I remember I was actually teaching and five different facilities on five different
days s so that, you
know, so I could take my kids with me. So anyway, that's kind of word began and it was just a matter of sharing. Ah, what I had found to be true as mom, that the taking care of myself, you know, wasn't ever perfect. But the more that I did that, the more that I was able to show up in my life as a mom. Ah, as a friend, as a mentor, um, as a partner, you know, whatever that might be. And so that idea it really wasn't always about, you know, helping people with their vo two max or their flexibility or maybe things that, you know people care about. But to me, it was more about how does how does this moment of pulling over and taking care of oneself really transformed? Um and and protect us really and fuel us so that we have more to give. You know, how does that how does that go? And that's that's kind of a dichotomy that we have to pull over and pause to actually have more to extend. And so anyway, so that's kind of where it all began. And, ah, you know, as the years went by, I was doing different things and, uh, you know, continuing to work in that fitness in yoga realm eventually. And I think when we're in alignment with what we should be doing, things show up quickly. And suddenly I was traveling as actually a yoga mentor or yoga master trainer training other yoga teachers. And, ah, that was wonderful for me at the time, both because it gave me some time to travel. And it was, Ah, you know, I enjoy that and also got to meet other teachers and and folks in that space, and we have found that we all were, you know, at the time. Ah, we didn't realize we actually were in the beginnings of ah, the shift into what a deeper kind of connection into technology was starting to happen. You know, as my Children grew up. Ah, I remember. For example, they had guidance at one point that it kids should only have one hour of television a day or one hour of media. And then a few years later, they were getting that when they were still in school. Right? So anyway, so as I was traveling and starting Thio continue, This was no late nineties Early. Coming into the early two thousands, I started to really be thinking about the life and of what had always fascinated me. And And how could we equip people well to be living in this life that was having more and more technology more and more demands faster, faster pace? Uh, you know, the idea that we could turn off work was starting to disappear. Really? Uh, and also how we were getting consumed into this virtual world. You know, whatever that might be e mails, gaming, et cetera. And so, you know, and I I was really committed thio figuring that out and and not really knowing where to go. But but knowing that still that that idea that pulling over to re fuel was important to find the connection within ourselves so that we have more to connect in our lives and in that virtual space that that's starting to ring True. So, um so as it goes, uh, being in D. C, I started working with people one on one. And as you can hear, I talk fast, right? So, not surprisingly, I started attracting, um, in my I started working with people privately basically personal trading for yoga, which we now call yoga therapy. But we didn't have that at the time. Was the framing necessarily? And I attracted, you know, CEO Sze commanders, You know, senior military officers, people S E s. D s 14 and above. Um uh, you know, moms that we're CEOs and Mom preneurs people that, you know, we're we're driven and of service and really loved making an impact in the world. And what I found in working with them one on one is that they didn't have a space to pull over in their lives. They had so much they were carrying for everyone else. And, uh, you know, it's it's that that loneliness at the top framing, which I don't really like there is some truth to it, because where do you go to unload the stress of holding, sir face for everyone else. Where do you go, Thio process. That's dress, even if you're okay with it. Where do you go to share out some of the challenges that you have? And so sometimes in our yoga sessions, I wouldn't necessarily hear the whole story. But it gave those folks those leaders of space where they could tell me a little of what was going on. Ah, we could move also and hopefully allow their body to catch upto all that fast pace that was happening and then, you know, send them out there and get back to where they needed to go. And so, little by little, um, and I am coming to an ending soon. Well, uh, I got to a place where I realized that, um I wanted to equip them with tools that they could use outside of our time together. So instead of thinking of it as only a yoga class where you have to be on the mad or with me or wherever it might the, um, that, you know, how could we bring that into their lives to and not, you know, feel like they had to only come to a yoga class or yoga session to get it. So I started, um, small with choreographing, um, routines essentially for those folks so that they could then bring them. Um, you know, practice them at work. And it was especially helpful to my clients at the time who had back pain, who had been medically advised to do movement regularly. They didn't always like to do some of the protocols they were given. They were boring. But if I help them to see it could be a chance to set an intention. And Thio connect their mind, body and heart. Ah, you know, these routines that was creating for them started to have more value, and they started to like them so much they started to bring me in to do workshops for their teams, and the teams weren't always willing to be honest. It was really weird at the time to be doing yoga in the office. It was really strange. We weren't even We didn't have Fitbits yet just to set the stage. We didn't We weren't talking about setting, you know, taking steps during the day, etcetera. And this idea of moving during the day was, uh you know that during an in an office like you could do yoga and address, you know, with heels Are you kidding? You know, it was just very strange, but at the same time, that's where powerful solutions come from, is out of nowhere. So I was committed and I saw that they were working and kind of just let anyone who laughed at it just go ahead and laugh, because we were doing it anyway. And I decided to have fun with it. So, So fast forward. I ended up really, uh, trading other teachers and fitness professionals, yoga teachers, etcetera to to share this kind of idea that we could be, um, taking breaks throughout the day as a way to refuel and recharge and, you know, on the days were really busy instead of that yoga class. Or that you know that walk or that, you know, etcetera Or, you know, in lieu of those on really busy days in between those times in between our exercise, But if nothing else on the other side. So so then that led me. When life happens. I did have an unexpected life turn where I went through a very hard and painful divorce. Ah, and I found myself with all three kids that I was 100% possible for I don't want to necessarily go into the darker parts of that story. But I realized that is yoga teacher looking at, you know, three Tweens that I needed to figure out a way to financially support them here in northern Virginia. And, um, and get them, you know, to college and, you know, clock was ticking. And so I had always dreamed of getting my own PhD and decided, Why not? You know, just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't. And so, um, I was very grateful that when I apply to George Mason, I wanted to study two things I wanted to study more about what the sitting and stress in our work day was doing to us from a public health perspective on, I wanted to study the science of getting the word out of helping people thio rethink the way they were working so that they could feel better and have that well being. And ah, I'm very grateful that Mason, uh, you know, took me on. I was definitely not a traditional student in so many ways. And, uh, thanks to Dr Gary Crops and many other mentors there, uh, you know, finished my PhD in 2014 where I examined wellbeing and ah, fast forward. Today it's a beautiful full circle that I now serve on their faculty. I teach in our public health program where I'm encouraging other future public health workers and students. Thio go out there and solve their own problems of e public health problems that they care about. I mean to go out there and work his teams, to address them and to make their own kind of impact. But it all started with, ah, you know, just a curiosity and the desire to be of service. And it wasn't a linear road, but, um, but it makes sense now that I tell that story. So thanks for letting me go on that long. Well,
it's I mean, it's a really great story, and they think it's interesting that you've been so look at the forefront of a lot of this. I think you caught like you kind of talk about it on your website is like you know this cult like a culture of well being at work. I think that's how you talk about it. And, um, I just really love the whole concept of that, especially, like is a former. You know, I have represented a lot of employees who have been terminated, have been fired, who have been discriminated against, just treated awfully in the workplace. And the impact that I've seen, how that has on them. And it's really changed how I view. I mean, just the impact that work in general like a great workplace has a good impact on you. Stress? Like how all of the things that happened in our jobs impact our daily lives. And so, you know, one of the things is that, you know, you talk about this like, you know, when you started doing this, we didn't have smartphones, right? It wasn't. You know, you're not all connected like all the time. And so how how has this kind of change? Like what? You d'oh! And you know how you serve your
excellent question. And, um when a circle back first that there are so many hard things that happen in the work today we're place today that people are going through these silent struggles in military health, sometimes the framing, invisible wounds or happening. And, you know, it could even be happening just to buy the ways that people are engaging in an office on a team trying to get a project done. And so, um, you know, my heart goes out to anyone listening that's struggling with that, whether they're experiencing that, or they, uh, are witnessing that. And it's really incumbent upon all of us to try to address that and to bring that out into the open. So, um, so that's definitely a passion ery of mine. But you know, into your point, it is. It's so funny, as I you know, is I have been honored to tell part of my story before a swell, and it is funny. It's like sounds so dinosaur age like,
Yeah, we didn't even have smartphones, you know? It s so, uh, you know, we did it, you know, like and I know, uh,
you know, is someone who went to college with a typewriter, you know, like what I say these things to white kids, they just think I, you know, landed from another era or something. So but it
wasn't that long ago. But then, yeah, really, Waas Because we have definitely transformed. You know, historians years from now we'll look back on the the transformation and how accelerated it is. And who knows? It's not slowing down anything. Anything that I can see. Um, but
of being completely vigilant, um, you know, all the time, I think is one of the challenges the smartphone kind of culture has given us. Ah, one of the things I talk about in my first book while being ultimatum is this idea of a digital detox. And I'm hearing more and more about that. Ah, you know that framing or something like it from others as well. So you know, as long as it's in the conversation, you know, who cares? But But the idea that, you know, just like we wouldn't leave our computer on all the time without rebooting it and, you know, making sure that it's system was working, okay? Or you wouldn't leave your car in the in your parking lot of your driveway without turning it off, too low it to rest, right? That, um, that it's important that we give ourselves, um, that human human to machine interaction that we give ourselves time to reboot that that interaction as well. And so, um, you know, it is challenging to do that, but it also is important for us to do it. And what I'm especially intrigued by now and the work I'm doing now is actually twofold. From a public health perspective. In addition to teaching at Mason one of them, one of the spaces I'm looking at is how this kind of vigilance actually starts to be, unfortunately, the precursor for some outcomes such as burnout, compassion, fatigue, stress, contagion on teams and how it really becomes a dysfunction not just for the person, ah, and that we've got to get out of blaming and shaming the person because they can't handle it or the demand. But actually looking at the system's level, challenges that are happening on the team and organization level and how we can shift the norms, you know. So if a leader, for example, is emailing their team a 10 o'clock at night, the irony is that leader might be doing that because they had a really heck of, ah, y'all say hell of a day and ah, and that's the first time they had a moment to sit down. And that leader actually is very compassionate, loves their team and wants to get back to the people who were asking for a response. But the irony at the other side of that is as that team gets that email a 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, two o'clock in the morning. Um, then the team actually thinks it's normal to be on all the time or that there's an expectation of response at that time. And so it becomes this Catch 22 that, um, you know, everyone's thinking that someone else is gonna set the bar of what the expectation is, but it doesn't happen. And so some of the work that I've been doing in different cultures military, culture, health care, culture, even education, K 12 education, especially, is actually looking at that and these fields that are so driven to make change in the world that we we respect deeply, and folks that are in those fields have where their work as an identity, you know, teachers are teachers. It's part of who they are. Ah, military service members are service, you know, service above self health care workers. You know they are, you know, they're in it completely with, and they wear the identity of what they dio as part of who they are. Those jobs were 24 7 It's a key part of their identity. And then, if the technology isn't managed, then we have this perfect storm for the human system to not be able to sustain. And so we've got to build in both personal and team level norms that shift, shift the conversation and actually normalized break taking. Normalized digital detox. Allow people to take vacations, etcetera, etcetera. But it's not easy. Is this the kind of wrap up to that? It's It's not easy. This is kind of new ground that we're just starting. So I think I realized and figure out,
Yeah, I've been trying to be more conscientious like myself, like I'll notice like when I sent e mails to people like Like, Is this something that's like, you know, could I time this or, you know, Or I think I've even used um, haven't done this a lot, but like using like the email function don't like okay, I can write it at night, if that's what I need to write it, or you know, but that to send it in the morning. This is to be tried to be conscientious about, like, not overwhelmed, like, because it's just like I wanted to turn off to, you know, like I don't want people jamming up my email and, you know, because it's like, I still feel compelled. And it's like, if you know, the emails there at 10 PM or somebody could be e mailing you like how I gotta check in, You know, you know, you know that Zen
that interesting that there's new technology tools to help us with this? You know, it's kind of the first wave of that, but I think that's an excellent technique. The other day I saw something else in just by giving ideas to your listeners for solutions. I also saw this really beautiful, um, someone and I was e mailing with who? I don't know. Well ah, for ah, um, you know, kind of a committee type of thing puts at the end of her email in her signature. I paraphrase that it was something like, I work non traditional hours So even if you get this during non traditional hours, do not feel the need to respond or something like
that. I thought that was lovely,
you know, because
yeah, some people do like to work
at night, and that's their thing, right? Um but, you know, for whatever the norm is, it's really just bringing it out into the conversation. Ah, having leaders be aware that what their behaviors are, others will follow from a 360 effective for well being and culture. Ah, and then also, you know, to be able to have a conversation where that you know, where we understand each other and where we understand that we're trying Thio Ah, you know, not just build our life around our work but actually allow our work to adapt to our life. And, you know, not everyone's on board with that idea, but we know that as well being is recognized and brought out into the open of culture of a team and organization, A government agency. I'm actually honored to be doing a series for the Treasury Executive Institute this spring, which is s CS and GS 14 and GS 15 leaders across all the government agencies and we're really going to be unpacking. Um, you know, these very challenges. How can we, uh, take while being on not just a zone organizational challenge, but actually is a team challenge? And that's to me the new punk New Wave, Because it's almost like a We've missed the middle. We've We've started to have organizations and national calls for well being for organizations. We've started to have national conversations about the prevalence of things like physician burnout and lawyer while being, uh, et cetera, which is good. You know, that's the first step of solving something is to bring it out into the open and organizations were stepping forward and creating wellbeing culture campaigns. Uhm, honestly, they're not always using the science of campaign designers. They do that. But hey, something's better than nothing, in my opinion And okay, like, let's start with something. Let's do something instead of nothing. And we've also tried to kind of look at while being from an individual lens, helping people to remember to take care of themselves, to be more self compassionate. But what's kind of missing is the team space. Uh, you know, if I convince a worker that she should take Ah, you know, some time for herself during the day so she could get her mind and body, you know, together again. So then she can come back and be fully invested in the afternoon. But the team is pressuring her because she's gotta deliver a delivery ble or whatever it might be. You know, she's going to know it's almost worse than it was in the first place. If we hadn't woken her up to that idea, because now she feels tourney and she feels, you know, a dichotomy there between what she's knowing is right for her and, frankly, good for her body and what the team, Norman expectation is. And so so a lot of the work I'm doing now is investigating. What are some of these patterns and norms that are happening at the team level? And how can we, uh, work with the team in community based participatory research, which is a long title? But the concept isn't that the researcher comes in and knows everything and tells, you know, the team or the organization or the population or the community. What to d'oh. It's actually quite the opposite. We get to know what's going on? We get to know the real people living those real lives and then find out, you know, work with them to figure out what they identify as the problem and also then engineer a solution based on that. And so, uh, so, you know, kind of stay tuned because I feel like the good news is, you know, we've We've been singing the tune of individual Well being for a while now, you know, that's catching on. We're hearing more and more organizations and even agencies say Yes, we care about this. We want to make this change. Ah, but where it's really gonna click together is that middle layer at the team level and that that's going to take a team mentality to solving it. And it's gonna take leadership support as
well. I agree with that. I do think it's interesting that you have to change that can't just be like a one on one. It's just yet it's not helpful if you just go on vacation for a week. But you're the only person like and then you come back to the whole same culture, you know, like it just doesn't necessarily, um, help things does. So like one of the things I think is really interesting about one of the groups. You work with us in the military, right, Which I don't know, Like if people necessarily are associating a lot of the things that you do and like just talking about even doing yoga with, like, military commanders, right is not necessarily what you're thinking about. Um uh, like, that's just not kind of maybe a stereo like it doesn't fit the stereotype of what you're thinking. Do you feel like What is it like working with, like, military cultural? This versus, you know, like some of the other government, Or like, you know, private. It's
really it's a is a great question in it, and it's an honor. I will start by saying, You know, I was honored to be a military spouse myself for 18 years. Ah, and now it is an honor to serve military culture and have you know, done that in several different contexts that I continue to work on. Um, some of the work I do. I can't talk about the podcast, but I can't tell you about which is the kind of beautiful irony, but some of work. I I certainly can. And, um, I'll tell you, actually a story to kind of illustrate the question you just asked. So, um, about it almost two years ago. Now, I got a call from someone who was my former client, Um, who's now a friend who is also senior level general in the Air Force. And he asked me to come in to help his team of commander. So he was having a commander's conference of commanders, right? Ah, leaders, leadership conference, if you will, for his unit. And what he wanted to do with them is he said, Essentially, would you come in and and, you know, share more about the science of well being and help give us some ideas for what we could be doing about it, and so that so That's really my kind of beginning. Response to your question is that you know, there's more and more discussions of resilience. Um, well being, you know, whatever names were using today, I don't want to give those fields a disservice because there's a lot there in the science fields. Actually, there's a difference. For example, between wellbeing and resilience, there's a crossover but there's a difference. Ah, and there's a lot of great work done being done by all the agencies. You know, the U S. Navy is has a whole culture of excellence campaign. Now, um, you know, I could go on and on about these amazing efforts that are happening for sure. But what's interesting is the conversation now much like sitting disease. Actually, in the early days, when I was telling people there was this thing called sitting disease, they they thought that I was, you know, coming from the moon or something and that, you know, how could sitting be bad for you? And then now we actually have the nomenclature. That sitting is the new smoking. And we now know that there's 28 different health outcomes that are affected by sitting too much during the day and that moving throughout the day really makes a difference, Right? We didn't know that then, but now we have the data to kind of tell that story better into convince folks that might have otherwise not be on board with that idea. And so so then the question becomes, How do we do it? And so it sense bringing it back to resilience and well being. In the military culture, there is definitely more openness, their studies being done all the time on the benefits of yoga, for example, or mindfulness or other practices in the restorative space for military workers. AH, service members, veterans, et cetera. And as that data on this, that science gets to be more solidified and gets to be published and more, um, you know, increasingly and frankly and the science based in journals that scientists, you know, like because there's a whole hierarchy going on there, you know, as I starts to happen. And as that research starts to show quite clearly with the benefits are, then it does start to open up mindsets that, hey, maybe this is a good idea. Um, and now we're at the space where I can see and where we're going. If someone has been setting this trend for a while is it's not so much a convincing now of that. This is a good idea. It's more a matter of how are we going to do that? And and so a lot of the work that I do now is actually starting from the assumption that what a leader really cares about. You know, people first mission always is, actually, for example, one of the Air Force mottoes and this idea mission first. Excuse me, people always, but ah, but this idea that, you know, taking care of people is a leadership. Um, you know, tenant, it's that's true for military and otherwise. And so helping leaders to impact the fact that as they support their their airman, their warriors of whatever service with holistic solutions for them to have the best operating human system possible that that's actually gonna be a matter of readiness. A matter of recruitment, a matter of retention. Ah. And also, frankly, a return on investment because, you know, for every dollar that the military spends not on health care, they have a dollar to spend on the defense of our nation. And so, um, so some of the thought papers I've written about five years ago actually made that case. Ah, and and helped to frame, uh, this idea while being not just as ah, I didn't put this in the paper, but not justice. Like rainbows and butterflies like Yeah, it feels good. Yea. Like that. Miss feeling. You get after a massage, like Okay, for me, that's enough. But to actually position it the health economics of it, that as, um, you know, we invest in planes, you know, we invest in ships, we invest in tanks or or other weaponry. And, you know, wherever you are in the political spectrum, you know, we need those tools to be it at their optimum capacity for us to be able to keep, you know, our world secure. And, you know, we just we depend on our military service members to do that for us. And so just like we do our best with the resources that we have to take care of those those things, Um, let's do the same thing for our people. And and in a changing world where people are fighting wars not just in the field but frankly, at a desk, um, you know which. Let's be frank, that's happening. Um, you know, we've got to think of different ways that we can take care of them so that they could be more present, and we're vigilant and, um, the same headaches that health care workers we know that burned out physicians, for example, make um, you know, we respect them, and it's tragic if that happens, but a burned out physician will make more mistakes. Will have lower patient activation, higher reports of patient pain, disengagement, you know, and all the things we want in the patient journey. And so to take care of that physician and to prevent burnout is not just a solution for that physician. Although we could stop there. It's also a solution for patients. And so we take that kind of mindset into military, you know, taking care of our people that give up their lives truly in all in multiple ways to help protect us. Why wouldn't we do all that we can to invest in them and to adapt to the changing world for them? So s so that's That's the, uh, that's the mindset shift that we're starting to see. And now the question is starting to go into the space of Okay, I'm with you. It's a performance issue, what we need to do about it. And so the work I'm doing now is is doing some senior level advisement to help folks figure that part out.
You know, if I mean I I hope many people just hear everything that you said because, you know, on one thing I like I want a package you up and I want to ship you off to, you know, coach all the fight. You know, Lisbon's articles recently on all the folks who have to do all the moderating online for, like, Facebook and YouTube And, um, you know, and the trauma that these workers are facing, um and you know, they you know what kind of world that we live in that they're having to face over and over again is we're trying to make decisions. I mean, I think that if, you know, they could have some, you know, coaching in this way where they would have a safe way of knowing how to a take a break and and really kind of safely re set themselves and, you know, fix the culture that they're in. Um, you know, I it just it would be powerful. I just don't know if these Silicon Valley companies are ready to hear that, because obviously, it's all about the bottom line. But, um, you know any I don't know. I just That's definitely a space where I know that they need to culture shift. But, you know, one of the things I was thinking about earlier was, you know, as we talk about this mind mindset shift for leaders in front of as part of teams It also works in our personal space because one of the things that I've been, um, watching on the sidelines a lot lately, So I'm not a parent. We don't have Children, That's you know what? Something that's to be, um, but obviously have a lot of friends that do. You have kids and a variety of different ages and the stress and anxiety that Children seem to be facing today seems to be so, you know, exponentially increased. I mean, I remember growing up in being a very anxious you know, overachieving teenager, but what these kids are having Thio adapt thio, Um, and in the technology, as is almost more of the problem and and certainly not part of the solution at this point, you know, I think that not only does it help if you are able, Thio, you know, have that minds of shift in the workplace and changing that culture. But if those leaders and then those team members are taking that home and taking that mindset shift home and modeling a different way. Um, of how they're, um, protecting themselves. I think that we're showing the next generation that there is a way to put it down, put it away, reset in a more you know, in a healthier way. Then I think kids we're seeing today and I think it's gonna be important that we do model this because I know I don't know. You know, kids are seeing these these bad behaviors on TV, and then, you know, they see Mom and Dad just by nature well, way mimic each other. Um, but I think it's important that, you know, anywhere we can instar thio chip away at it like the way you're doing. Um, I think it's I think it's gonna be transformational,
you know? I'm right there with you in that vision of what that could look like. And, um, you know it does. It does start. It takes all the things right. It takes that individual commitment. It takes modeling and seeing the behavior differently. And the, you know, it's It's interesting what I see and some of the teams I work with is that you know, there's almost like a sigh of relief collectively when when we bring these things out into the open because everyone's secretly going through their own struggles in their regular, you know, just their lives, right? And then the stresses of the demand of the work and then the pace of them of this lifestyle we're in. And when you put all that together, when someone pulls over and says, You know what? This is really hard, and we need to figure out a way that you could do this sustainably and not be overwhelmed. Every day there's, Ah, there is this kind of collective relief, you know, they're still in uncertainty of how we're gonna go about doing that. And we've got to manage the expectation that we're not gonna, you know, make the world slow down anytime soon. But, you know, we've got a almost think of it like an athlete. You know, that trains for ah, an event and hopefully trains in a way that they can sustain themselves in that event and that they don't over train, you know, before that event, so that they're missing out at the event right You know, our lives are the event, and so we've got to be able to adapt accordingly. An end to your point. Candace also set that tone. Our Children will be working in a, you know, in living in a world that we can't even fathom today. Uh, and so, you know, I didn't even know we didn't have, you know, smartphones. Like when my Children were young. And look at where that is now. All right, So who knows what their Children are gonna have? So, um yeah, So I will say that my second book for if anyone listener is looking for that kind of solution, How could I take a break during the day in the land of ah, small start? My first book. Well, being ultimatum is more about the architecture of how we design a life strategically, and we design it for, ah, for sustainability. And I also share my personal journey through burnout. The irony of being a burnout researcher and that I had burnout is brought forward. And then I also share Ah, you know the funny thing? They're right. But then I also show how well I was trained and I'm built to create interventions and campaigns. And so I had to basically turn inward and give one to myself and then, um started sharing that with other people and seeing their success. And then, you know, it's grown since then, and we've helped a lot of folks. And so there's tools for that on my website as well as my second book is more of the If the first books were the strategy level, the second book, Genius Breaks, is, uh, is about well being ultimatum. Mr. Strategy Book Genius Breaks is more of the day to day, you know, how can I take this mini break of mindfulness? And so, after so many years of training, yoga teachers and I still train coaches to use yoga today in my company. Yoga Medco. Ah, but I'm basically trained the public. I give them the kind of formula for how I would put together a mindful movement experience on a yoga mat for a longer extended period for a yoga class. But shrink that down Thio a day level. So we've got schools, you know, they're taking genius breaks, and we've got offices there taking genius breaks. I call them genius breaks because I'm trying Thio, Um you know, I kind of have fun with the idea that everyone's a genius and to actually take that seriously, I think everyone does have a genius inside of them. I'm not talking about like, intellectual genius. I'm talking about creative genius. And so one of the things that I've found in the work I've gotten to do over the years working with passionate people is that when you love what you d'oh and you're in a space that's demanding everything from you all the time, you don't want to ever take a break. You will miss meals. You'll keep going. You know, artists will stay in studios, leaders will, you know, stay till 10 at night, etcetera. And so when you're in your genius, it's actually that much more imperative for us to take breaks because we're actually finding now that break taking improves creativity. It obviously protects our health. Uh, it actually improves cognition. Um, and so, you know, it's not just about the kind of warm, fuzzy after effect of a yoga class was. Actually, we've got the neuroscience now to show that, um, our bodies respond with these micro breaks throughout the day. So instead of just telling people go do that, um, the book attempts to teach them a framework for how to create, um and and then even how to share them with their teams so that they don't have to feel like they're the only weirdo in the office. You know, doing yoga by yourself, because I have learned that I could convince someone that this is good and fun, and they could love it. But if there's no one next to them doing it with, um, it's gonna be boring and probably not gonna be sustainable. So, you know, if people are looking at you like you were, just tell them to join you and it we'll shift it.
Well, you know, one of the things about your message that you know I loved when you were teaching me yoga. Um, and you know, it was reaffirmed. We would talk to Aunt Beverly a couple weeks ago, and again, you've kind of reaffirmed it tonight, but it's just this ability to give yourself permission. Um, you know, it's it's empowering, and you're giving yourself that kind of agency and that we really do have that ability even when we are going, going, going, You know, isn't
it saying how easy it is to give agency to others or to support or kindness outward, right? We would never, you know, the people we care about and
people we don't
like, You know, like, open the
door for somebody when you're walking down, you know, to into the mall, or what have you like? We'll just do that. You know, we humans are pretty nice, actually. You know, unless we're cranky, we're pretty nice. But then I like how mean are we sometimes in our own minds to ourselves. And, um, you know, the neuroscience of compassion actually teaches us that that, you know, if we're harshly self critical, if we're always going into, you know, the should've could've widows or the damn it. I wish I hadn't. Um then, actually, our body responds to that and has high high about high basis of stress. Um, we're gonna fight or flight bowed and then actually can be held. You know, from a trauma perspective over time, like you're bringing forth before, and I won't say, but, you know, and when we start to give ourselves a break for being human. Ah, and starts to allow ourselves to be a dynamic human being that some days is totally on it and has it together. And it's like, amazing itself. In other days, it seems like, Wow, I can't believe this is all happening and I'm not even sure where I'm gonna go next. We're wired for the resilience, and we're also wired to reach out for connection. And so, you know, as we start to make that time to pull off the digital space Ah, you know, to connect with each other in real life
and sometimes, yes,
connect digitally. You know as well as much as you know, we talk about it the kind of bad rap that social media has for pulling us away from our lives. There is some benefit. Uh, you know, when it's used in certain patterns, we know that social media can actually, you know, be our friend or foe, so to speak. And so, you know, we are hardwired for connection, and and so we've gotta you know, if nothing else, take the time to notice where we are and are not plugging ourselves in for that connection and where we're allowing ourselves to embrace that connection with from each other. And I think that, um, you know that that's what's gonna help us to keep being sustainable. And also have more fun. You know, we've got a sometimes don't take ourselves too seriously every day. Yeah,
well, this is this has just been again a lot to process, Just tremendous information. Thank you for joining us. I think we're actually gonna have to have you back because I think there's just a lot bored to wanna know. Therapy of the podcast. Um, there's there's so much more than that we could do with this. I feel like I want to, like, have you talk about, um you know how, um, you know, political candidates could potentially, you know, figure out how to work this into their own, you know, day to day strategy, because talk about, you know, really being on all the time. Um, not to mention, I think maybe the entire Democratic Party probably needs to have a therapy session for third. You know, collective neurosis right now. And I rolled
myself. How positive. Dinner. Right. One pause. A
positive. They're up there and only say that Oh, you know, I I defer to my colleagues in that therapeutic Rome. You know, one of the things I love about coaching and now trading coaches, uh is, you know, coaching. It's facilitation, right? And coaching is a power share. And so you know, therapy is, is, is wonderful and I don't into infer otherwise, but it's a different, you know. It's ah, it's more of that provider space where they're trained to help us figure out what the problem is and then help us tow, you know, with a pattern of providing us with service's or instructions or, you know, diagnoses, et cetera. Um, and that's where jm you know, that's what they dio, um, coaches. However we, you know, we facilitated. We we work is we have a thinking partner. Ah, and so you know, that's a space that just me. Personally, I'm more comfortable in. I was really doing that before I even knew that's what that waas you know, before I got my own coach training. Now I'm training other people to blend yoga and coaching together with yoga Medco. That's what we do. Actually is training folks to be, um, yoga based or yoga inspired coaches to kind of bring a mind body perspective into coaching. And so anyway, so I just wanted to call that out, that Ah, you know, by all means, I would agree with you that we need some support for those folks that are, you know, in their truest sense. I think anyone in the political space, you know, if we get out of all the pointing and the fingering and the in labeling and all of that and grandstanding, um is they're actually, if you really get down to the core, they're there because they want change to happen. And they're there. They're there because they care, Uh, whether or not they have the way forward that makes sense for the rest of us
is, of course, the issue. Um,
um, you know, and, uh, whether or not they're trying to force upon us, their particular solution is also part of the issue. So there's a power to me. It's a cz much the process as the power, um of whether or not they're trusting that the greater public kind of, you know, is smart enough to kind of get that. So, you know, to your point, I I applaud anyone who's willing to put themselves out there in anyway. Um, and ironically enough, it's actually something that I personally struggle with, Uh, even doing a podcast like this like to put these ideas out there is is it ironically, a struggle? But then at the same time, you know, we we summon up that courage and we go out there and we do what we can. Ah, whether that's in a one on one conversation and having the courage to say, You know what, this is no longer okay for this team to be operating this way. This is hurting our people, or it's someone in the political sphere coming out and saying, No, we can't do this anymore. This this has got to stop. And so anyone who's putting themselves out there, you know, on behalf of other humans ah needs a break. This is where I would, uh, that was that's where I would come down and and and ah, and put it out there that way. But But at the same time, every human has that creative source of genius inside of them. And so the break is actually not about, um, anything, but actually reconnecting to that well, And so, uh, you know, I would encourage anyone as we go into this next, uh, next few months to take that time to go back to their, you know, creative, intuitive nature. Because that's where all the good stuff really is.
That's fantastic. Well, again, thank you for joining us tonight. And before we wrap up, we do have our badass of the week. And, Michelle, you have someone Who Who's great?
Yes. So my proposal for badass of the week the Sikh is Laura Dern, Um, who won an Oscar this week. But one of the things that I came across and reading about her the coverage of her getting this Oscar was, um she talked about so and I'm totally for openness. So she went. Ellen, the generous came out on her show on her sit motor. Actually was, like, 20 years ago now, longer ago than that s so long ago. Oh, my God. Yes. Um, Laura Dern had played, um, had played like a lesbian. That kind of help her figure out that she was gay, like, had this character on the show and people had before she took the role of people and sent her. Don't take this role. It's really risky to do this. She's like, No, no, this is meaningful. I want to do this well, in the aftermath of being on the show, I mean, we all kind of know Ellen, you know, faded from the spotlight for a while. But Laura Dern, that always said she had. She ended up having have a security detail and actually had a hard time getting worked for a while for years afterwards. And so I just wanted to highlight that, you know? And she said she would do it all over again because it meant something so much to people that whole show and just think how it's it's kind of taken on. At the time, there was kind mixed reception, I think to it and that it's really become a meaningful moment in our country's culture. And so I just wanted to highlight her because I think just think that she's been on this amazing journey. I'm also a big fan of her character in the Star Wars in the recent reboot and swell, and she's just I just think that's like an incredible she took this big risk and, you know, kind of paid a little bit for it but has also come back. And she was courageous. Yes. And we also I think, had you had also suggested we have a mini shut up as well to Natalie Portman and her cape of overlooked women directors with their name sewn in them also. And she's kind of on record is also making these points about lack of female representation in the Oscars nomination.
You know, there was a lot these bad ass woman, and you know that there are time is coming on. Dhe, You know, I'm really hoping that, you know, it is not too long before we look back and say who we got through it. And it's just so much better. But obviously, we were still just gonna power through it. Well, this is a great conversation this evening and we look back, uh, before Thio. We look back looking for it, Thio visiting again next week. And I'm sure we will have a special guest. And so thank you