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Lauren Sikes on Business Unveiled

How to Establish Effective Team Communication

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How to Establish Effective Team Communication

LAUREN SIKES ON BUSINESS UNVEILED

How to Establish Effective Team Communication

What is your communication style? How do you communicate with others? What communication challenges would you like to overcome? Setting clear communication expectations and understanding why others interact the way they do is so important to the success of a team. Today we are talking with Lauren Sikes, Founder and CEO of Truth Collective all about how honest conversations save us time, energy, and heartbreak. 

Lauren is a learner and a teacher. But ultimately she is a dreamer and always has been. However, somewhere along the way, she stopped dreaming. As a kid, her joy came from sports and she was a gifted young athlete and nationally ranked. However, as the accomplishments mounted, her dreams became clouded by other people's expectations, comparisons, and timelines. Thus began a decades long journey of perfectionism and fear of failure that had her playing small, underperforming, and stuck in a rut. She carried this mentality into her professional career, all to one day realize, she was tired of it all — tired of not showing up authentically.

Little by little, she began to reconnect with the dreams inside of her. As she sat around the table with her family at home and around the table with her coworkers at work, there were so many untold stories, emotions unchecked, dreams unrealized. She realized we were all fearful of our own potential and possibility. What if we started believing and started cultivating the courage to be less of what has always been and more of what could be? What if we had honest conversations?

So she did something she was not in the habit of doing, she asked for an opportunity rather than waiting for one to come to her. She asked her boss to start a program for teachers and that small program turned into what is her business today.

She created something that she needed. Lauren created a place where people could have honest conversations with ourselves and others. A place where people connect with their potential and possibility both individually and collectively. What she didn’t realize at the time and knows now, having honest conversations transforms the way we live and work. It is liberating and empowering. She knows this because once she started having these conversations — imperfectly no doubt — her life started to shift. Thus began the journey of tapping into potential and possibility through honest conversations and now she gets to teach others to do the same. Lauren is the CEO and founder of Truth Collective, a leadership and culture company that helps leadership teams have honest conversations that transform the way they work.

MAIN TOPICS
  • Honest conversations save you time, energy, and heartbreak.
  • Barriers to having honest conversations.
  • Getting this started in your workplace. 
KEY TAKEAWAYS

The process for helping people have honest conversations

Why people struggle with honest conversations

Honest conversations save time, energy, and heartbreak

MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST

Lauren Sikes is the Founder and CEO of Truth Collective, which revitalizes culture + leadership through workshops and coaching. Prior to Truth Collective, Lauren spent 13 years as a teacher while also developing and facilitating successful professional development programs for diverse audiences. Whether it’s working with companies, nonprofits, or schools, helping people create the space and develop the tools to have honest conversations is at the core of her work when guiding people to reach their potential personally and professionally. Lauren’s experience as an educator and leader informs Truth Collective’s work in designing training to help people create a healthy, high performing culture that is diverse and inclusive. Upon launching her company, she was awarded the Social Impact Scholar as a part of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s PreFlight program. A Nashville native, she earned a Bachelors in Social Work from Miami University and a Masters in Teaching from Pace University. She has been trained by Columbia's Teachers College, Stanford's d.School K-12 Lab, Teach For America, and is an overall obsessive life-long learner.

EPISODE TRANSCRIBED

Hi, y'all. It's Angela. I'm back for another episode of business unveiled. And I'm so excited for our guest today. She is so flippin awesome, you guys, we got to meet at the CO working space, gosh, months and months and months ago. And I'm finally so excited to get to have her on the show because she is going to talk about something that's really important. It's so so, so important. And we were just chatting before we started recording that people don't know how to have a true honest conversation anymore. Like they just they don't. And from a productivity perspective, when you are not having honest, upfront, transparent conversations, not just with your team, or your clients or your family, but all of those things.

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And it takes so much energy and time and effort and hurt and heartbreak. If you tell like one little white lad that can just turn into something else, just because you don't want to have an honest conversation. So that's what we're going to talk about today. So Lauren, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Angela. And I can't believe we're finally reconvening after meeting at the CO working space. So it's good to see you.
I know. But I feel like because you are in a group with some other women that I also am in other groups with. And so I feel like I kind of know like, what's been going on, because all the girls, it's kind of like, Oh my god, Lauren's doing this, and this and this. And so it's like, fun to keep up with you through them. And then also, like on social media, too. It's like, I feel like I know people, you know, through through the other women that we are all connected with. So it's it's awesome. I'm so excited today. But before we dive in and talk about how to have an honest conversation and why it's such a flippin struggle, I'd love for you to take us back. I know that you're a teacher, and I know some of your background. But for everyone that's listening, I love for you to share with them a little bit about who you are, what your journeys been. How have you gotten to where you are today?
Yeah, so I think more than anything, yes, I was a former teacher. And I taught for 13 years in public and private schools in New York City and Nashville, which is where I'm from. And ultimately, when I think back on my journey, and who I am, I am a learner and a teacher at heart. I'm the oldest of four siblings, and my mom had us four and five years. And so she always said that, you know, I taught my siblings along the way. And I love it. So that so sweet. I know. And so when I think about being a learner and teacher, and we actually have talked about that, to our love of learning, and just figuring things out and teaching other people how to do it. What I've realized over time was that I was also a dreamer. But for so long, I wasn't dreaming and I wasn't living into my purpose and potential. And just kind of to take you back a little bit. You know, I was a kid growing up in a southern family, and came from a just a love of athletics. So a lot of my joy came from Sports early on, and I was a nationally ranked swimmer. But like, as those accomplishments were adding up, I really took to other people's expectations and their timelines, comparisons of where I needed to be. And it really instilled in me this sense of perfectionism, and fear of failure. And what that had me do was really play small underperform. And I was stuck in a rut for a really long time. And I share that because in those moments, and then there's decades of living like that. I had a ton of feelings that I did not talk about because I thought that It would be a burden for other people to hear that it was not okay to be anything but smiling. And I am a smiler. But anything but smiling and perfect. And so when I really started to think about, you know, what do I care about? And how am I showing up. And when I was teaching the students, and not showing up authentically not being honest, and letting them kind of see me, I realized that that was actually impeding their success and their journey. I wanted to make sure that as a teacher, I had this kind of moment of how do I start to show up more honestly. And so in that teaching moment, I realized that I was sitting around the table with other co workers, and we were having these same conversations, and we're talking about the same problems. And we were not talking about solutions, we weren't being bold enough to actually put into actions and changes and try new things. And it became frustrating for me, and as a learner, someone who would go to professional development conferences and learn a lot, and then come back to the school, and then be told that's not going to work here, or we can't do that right now. I began to get really frustrated, and not being able to apply what I was learning. And so in these honest conversations, it actually really happened in my personal life. First, and then I started to kind of push in the professional life. But I started having these conversations, and I'll actually share wine I'm sure the love this is my family listens to this, I can't wait. They're gonna be like, Can you maybe not share all the personal stories. But that's what makes it real and raw.
You know what I think I think they'll be okay with this. And you know what, it, we're better for it if we can create these honest spaces. So like, for me, growing up in that family, where, you know, perfectionism, really kind of a pedicle piece of who we were, we were emotionally avoidant. And I really internalize that as being conflict is bad. And like if we have these feelings, that is bad, and rather than seeing conflict as an opportunity for growth and connections. And so what happened was, I actually had a conversation with two of my family members, because we just weren't operating our best there was some unsaid tension and things going on. And so I decided to just take the risk, and have the conversation reveal the elephant in the room. Angela, what happened was it actually improved the dynamic of our family. It wasn't that it wasn't uncomfortable having that conversation. It wasn't that emotions were weren't charged, they were. But we worked our way through it, we were revealed our truth. And we came away with some next steps. And I had like, was like, Whoa, this stuff, wow. And it's the same thing in the workplace. When we have this connections, and as a teacher, I started to sit around and have these conversations with my team. And we started to push the boundaries of what was possible. And that's really where that opportunity came where I wasn't in the habit of asking for things I was much more of a life happens to you person versus you create the life you want at the time. And so what happened was this opportunity presented itself, and instead of doing what I normally would have done, which was play it small, actually asked for the opportunity. And I asked my boss to start a summer teachers Institute, which I created the opportunity created the programming, and I had teachers come to this summer learning experience. We're honestly what we did was we pushed and innovated and solved problems that then impacted our teaching experience and how we were creating the experience for students. And that was a little seed that led me to where I am now. And when I started my business, it was really about creating an opportunity for teachers to innovate culture and curriculum. And I quickly learned that leadership needed a lot of help. Yes, being a culture where people could have these honest conversations. So really, all in all, I realized that I created something that I personally needed, both as a in my personal life and in my professional life. And that was a place where people could have these honor, honest conversations, whether it's just with themselves or with other people. And it allows us to reach our potential and possibility it's the growth, place of innovation and creativity and collaboration and all those great things that actually make go into work. Awesome.
Yeah. It's funny, because if so many entrepreneurs that I talk to, especially in the podcast, and if you ask them, like, why did you create that? I bet you, I would say 95%. And I mean, all of us, it's like, we create something out of a need that we had. Because we know other people need it as well. And that's where, like most companies are born is because of that, why? And then it just serves the passion. And if you're using your own product, and it's making you happier, and it's helping you, you know, it's going to help others. But I do have a question like, what was the day like? Like, did you gradually decide like, Okay, I'm going to stop teaching on this date this year, and I'm going to start my business or Did something happen, that pushed you out of teaching? And you were kind of like, forced into like, okay, now is the time for me to start my business? Like, what did that transition look like? And how did that feel?
Oh, my gosh, I love that question. Because the one I had, what I call it, God dammit. And the god moment was, you're going to need to start a business. And it took me I think, two years from that moment, to actually go and do it. Because I was like, Who am I to go start a business like I am a social work major. A went to teach for america got my master's in teaching, and I'm a teacher. I don't know anything about business. I've only worked in schools and nonprofit area. And I knew that voice. And I was like, No, not yet. Um, and once again, that's kind of back to that perfectionism playing at small fearful making mistakes. But in building that summer teachers Institute, it was the seed that was like, wait a minute, you can do something, and you can build it from the ground up. So it was almost like my prototype for the business and building my own confidence. But I also really wanted that to be my full time job in the organization that I was working with, because it's safe. But what happened was, we had our own culture change and shifts happening and leadership that I knew was going to prolong that being my next professional opportunity. And at the time, I had a lot of momentum. With the institute that I had built, there was a lot of energy, there's a lot of good things happening. But I just knew that I was going to miss this opportunity. And so in the leadership changes that were happening, the organization that I was working with, I actually there was an interim leader kind of stand in, and I was going in to negotiate my next year, and what that was going to look like. And I had three options that I felt really good about. One was to continue teaching, but to do some of this on the part time. And that could add value, you know, had all that listed out this way, this way, this way. And then I had another one, which was my third option was just, you know, maybe it's time to part ways. And I did not have a client, I had registered as an LLC, and it was just sitting there on the side hadn't even started the business officially. But I bought a domain registered. And nothing. First step though, I just needed to make it a little bit real. And I walked into this meeting. And the first thing that was said to me was, you know, you have been hired just to be a teacher. And kind of a root statement like, how, how did you take that? Well, once again, in my god moment, when the meeting, I didn't know which option I was going to choose. But I had all these I thought we're going to kind of talk through them and negotiate and have a just an honest conversation about what's the best path for me professionally. And then also what's the best path for this organization and how I can add value. And so I was set told, you know, you're just a teacher. And in all honesty, I've had a lot of shame about choosing the teaching profession. You know, my dad always said, I should go to law school and do all these other things, then there was always kind of like, oh, maybe this isn't enough. And I had just finally gotten used to being a teacher and thought, you know, I'm really good at this. And I really enjoy it. And I have found kind of this way to impact adults and students and families and it felt really good. And so when that comment of you're just a teacher, which hit on sort of that shame
Early on in my career, I went, you know what this place isn't for you? Yep, you've outgrown it. If they can't see the potential, and also what you contributed for years and built for this organization, then like, this is time to go and do your thing. So I Angela needed the door to almost be closed in my face. Yep. You to take the risk. And it wasn't closed, I had an option, right. But the option was to go backwards. Mm hmm. So that was a real like, sliding door moment, in terms of which direction do I go? Did I go play it safe? And I go back to what I've been doing, knowing that I've been playing small? Or do I take this opportunity to say, you know what, I don't have any clients. And, gosh, this was probably February of 2018. And I was going to be working through July 2018, through for that organization, and not really able to build the business on the side, because my time was pretty tied up and the need to network. So I walked away in July without a single client. And I think a week or two later secured my first one.
So did you know though, like when you left and you started your business, did you know that you needed to focus on helping corporations and other teachers and other schools like how to have these honest conversations? Or is that something that kind of evolved over time as you started to get more clients,
it evolved, because I thought that I was going to be hired by leadership to come in and teach teachers a framework for how to innovate. And I use design thinking, which is popularized at the Stanford D school, an idea which is a design firm. And it's a process for innovation, it's honestly kind of like prototyping and scaling different parts of your business. And I thought I was gonna do that. And I walked in, and this first client that I'm still very thankful for, because they hired me, and they kept me afloat, for the first six months. But I realized their leaders didn't know how to institute change management. So they knew that they wanted people to be more creative, and to think outside the box, but they didn't know how to cast a vision. And then how to have conversations to hold people accountable to what that vision and what that process would look like. And so I was having a coach on the side, and another client via a referral came into my life. And they said to me with my original business idea, which was to help teachers innovate culture, and curriculum, so new culture was a little bit of the problem. But realize the stat, this other client came in, and had a very, like storied corporate career, and I told him what I was doing. And he goes, you know, that's great. But my own leadership team doesn't work well together. And we have very different definitions of what our vision and our values are. And that looks different, and how we're doing our work every day, could you come and do like, a values and behaviors workshop because they wanted me to turn their values into daily behaviors. And like, funny, you should say that I'm having to side coach, this other client in doing that. So sure, let's start there. And one of their values was courageous. So I go in, and there's this, you know, executive leadership team, and they're operating multiple schools. So I've already kind of moved quickly past the sixth grade classroom that I was in, you know, a few months prior. And one of their values being courage or courageous. we operationalize all those behaviors, through storytelling and different exercises that we took them through. And at the end, I said, You know, I want you guys to evaluate yourself on the behaviors we talked about today, I want you to evaluate each other. And then I want you to have courageous conversations around whether you are doing these things or you're not doing these things. And the CEO calls me the next day. And he's like, can you come back and do a courageous conversations, huh? She's amazing. Angela, mind you. I've had this conversation with my family members that has like, changed the dynamics of how we live and operate with each other. I've been doing this in my personal life. And I'm like, Well, yeah, I can do that. And, you know, I'd said it table after table where leader shut down a conversation. And I felt like I was working in cultures where we weren't talking about the elephant in the room, and really reached frustration points in my prior workplace and I probably didn't handle them very well, once I reached those frustration points because they There was no room and space or skill set in those organizations to have this conversation. So this was my opportunity to like, now do what are my entire business is, because I am still working with that organization, we have worked with that executive team, all six of their schools and their entire staff of 350 plus people teaching them the honest conversations framework, giving them the tools and giving them this space to have these conversations. And it is shifting their culture. It's helping people learn who they are, and showing up more authentically. And I remember a new hire this summer on one of our new hire trainings, just to catch them up on what we'd done. We ended and they go, Wait, is this like really how this place works? Like, we get to like, say what we need to say and have these conversations and like, that's so freeing. And I was like, Yes, this is what your workplace has committed to you. And now we work with companies and schools, because people are people. And this is a skill that liberates empowers people to show up, honestly. And it does, like you said, save time, it saves energy, and it saves heartbreak.
I would love it for you to share because I know that there you have this great process that helps people have honest conversations, and also as women. And it's funny, I saw this really funny tech talk the other night where they were talking about masculine and feminine energy. And how men communicate is just like, Hey, where do you want to go to dinner? It's like straight line communication. It's like, Let's meet at Buffalo Wild Wings. 730. And then two girls have in the conversation, you know, to women, it's like, well, I got my hair done. And I don't like it. It's like this, like messiness of conversation. But it's like, and then when you put emotion into it, and then you put culture into it, and then you put learning and then entrepreneurship, and then you put business and employees and team members like it just can get really, really fuzzy sometimes, but there has to be some type of a process to help people, no matter what situation you're in it to have an honest conversation like what is can you share with us like some of the keys without like giving everything away? Like what, what are some tips like what is the process to just do have that honest conversation.
So two things as you were just sharing, that we talk a lot about with our clients. And first off, especially in the workplace, and when we're giving and receiving feedback, I'll quote Rene Brown, I think it's like clear, it's kind of unclear is unkind. So wailing down to say what you really need to say is important. So sometimes it is okay to get very succinct with your language, when you're giving and receiving feedback. And then secondly, this is where we start with clients, because one of the barriers that people will have them, they're thinking about doing this work, they're like, oh, feelings and emotions, like we just don't need to waste our time with that. And here's the thing, we're humans, whether we like it or not, we operate from our feelings. We don't operate from our facts, data analysis systems, as much as I would like for that to be the case. And I really tried hard for a lot of years for that to be how I could operate. But what we have is feelings about the facts, the data, the analysis, and the systems. So when we can actually own that we're human, and that we are driven by feelings, emotions, which then create stories for us. That's when we can really start this work. And that's just sort of a precursor. It's a foundation, we have to repeat it all the time. Because I so often will hear with clients are like, oh, that doesn't matter to me. I'm like, Well, given that you've said, XYZ, I think it does matter to you, let's talk about and it's pretty eye opening, like one of the things is is getting attuned to our emotions, and really kind of building that. So I'll walk you through a little bit of our process that won't give it away because we really we have a pretty nuanced and a lot of things, but I think it will help people. I think the first thing to do, and this is what we do when we move into our honest conversations workshops with teams is that we have to unpack our definition and our beliefs about what healthy communication is. And so we simply asked like what is healthy communication to you? And we share that out because everyone has a different belief and understanding and experience around communication. And then we unpack what our views and assumptions are about conflict. And that means just even the word conflict, what does that conjure up for you? Like Angela, when I say conflict, what's your like? gut feeling? Oh my gosh, like,
what I immediately go to, with conflict is, I mean, just today, it's like, and I'm like a big horoscope, person two, I'm like, Huh, how should I handle this today? But mainly right now. It's just like my family, like, Oh, my gosh, like, my niece is in college, and like, she can't get along with my sister, who's her mom. And, you know, I'm trying to like run interference. And I'm like, why does there have to be so much negative conflict, if we could just all communicate and get on the same page. But we think so differently, that I've come kind of, to the point to where it's like, I just give up, it's like, I'll have my relationship with my niece, I'll have my relationship with my sister quit trying to fix it. And it but it's just, it's what it comes down to. And I know what it comes down to like, as a therapist and a business owner, it just comes down to clear communication and telling the truth, being transparent, and having an honest conversation. And for some reason, my sister and my niece, like, they just can't tell the truth to each other, like a mom and a daughter. And like, I didn't have that relationship with my mother, like we had a good relationship. And so when people are like, what conflict, I'm like, my God, it's just between, you know, you get all the girls together. But it's not that way in my business at all. It's just seems like family drama. I guess that that's what I think today of conflict.
Totally. And like, when I hear you talking to you, just like the energy drain that that causes
god, yes.
And you hit on something to, to coach you in this moment. But to think about what boundaries Do I need to set so that I can get out of the way and people can figure it out for themselves? Right, like, yeah, like with my niece and my sister, as much as I want to fix it as much as I like, honor. You know, the truth and maybe to like, what they need to do is hold space for one another's truth, without consequence, or, you know, sometimes I think we, we want it to look a certain way. And we can't hold our truth in someone else's in the same, you know, space. And guess what two truths can exist. And I have to like, think about that all the time. But it's so interesting when we sit around like with a leadership team and talk about like, what is healthy communication? And what is conflict? Because everyone has such different experiences that inform their answers. And it's actually pretty eye opening for people to see their team and what they're saying, and then kind of connect it to how they're working together. And go, Oh, I didn't realize that that's how that person sees conflict. So when I give, like really succinct feedback, and it's pretty, you know, direct, that's why maybe they don't receive it very well, because of this experience earlier in their life and how they see you. So it really does impact like how we show up and then understanding to, and this would be interesting work for like, all three of you guys. Knowing what your triggers are? And what's behind Yes. Until the fight. It's the basics, the fight, flight and freeze, like what are the topics or the people that make me respond in certain ways. And so like, for example, for me, on certain topics, I result in like fighting, and sometimes that's where my ego is at play. I am a big proponent for social justice. So if someone's saying something that hinders that, I can kind of go into fight mode, which we know actually does not get the result that you want. But then there are some things around like the perfectionism or I'm not enough. And if someone gives me feedback, where it feeds into that, I freeze, and I kind of shut down. And so just recognizing what those are and sharing those or as a team, and by the way, all of that is very vulnerable to be sharing, but it's also very eye opening, and then going into the actual framework. So like I need to have an honest conversation. I think understanding what your intention is, is really important. So for me going into that feeling discussion, my intention was weak, I want to improve this because we cannot continue on as we're can, we're going like, this path is not going to be fun for our family. And when we're all together, and so my intention is to put it on the table and just see what your perspective is. And so coming in and setting that intention is really important. It could be in the workplace, I want to put the I want need to talk to you so that we can work better together. Then here's the big stuff. It's separating the facts from the emotions.
And so that's really hard for sometimes, especially for women.
Yes. And honestly, I would push back to you, for men too. Because oftentimes, what we do is we say, our emotions as if they're facts, like, what we're feeling about something, we make it factual. And then that's where it gets all confusing. So like, the facts are what you notice and what you observe what you hear, like they actually happen. Like fact right now my dog is lying on the floor in front of me as I'm talking to you. fact, I'm observing it, I'm seeing it. how I feel about that is a little unsettled. Because what if something happens in the dog barks. And right before us, right, super simple idea. But like facts and emotions are huge. So facts, I walk down the hallway, and my coworker, and this is pretty COVID, my coworker doesn't say hello, or make eye contact with me. emotion, oh, crap, they're mad at me. They think I've done something stupid. And I make up this whole story. And then I go tell my other co worker that so and so didn't look at me. And then we create this massive story that takes away what time and energy there right, because time spent away from doing productive and energy creating a story. Instead, I could go to that person and say, Hey, and it is when you walk by and I said, Hello, you didn't look at me. It just made me feel like something's going on. hurt by that. Imagine saying I'm hurt. It feels weird saying that. But it's pretty powerful. That person is like, Oh, my gosh, I was prepping in my head for the meeting that I was walking into. Like, that would be me. Like, Yes, totally, totally. But it's, it's nothing. And I could go, Oh, that's so much easier than the big story I could have made up. And I think we're we're in really intense conversations. And conversations that have a lot of layered pieces, we have to understand, like, when we have our first honest conversation, we're not going to solve it all. So I just gave an example. That's quick and easy. But once like, potentially, your sister and your niece like those are going to be layered conversations. And so noticing that, like the first conversation is breaking the dam. And it's letting things starting to flow through. And you're going to have to have to continuous conversations. We always want that quick fix. But I think to what we talk about with clients is we try to close the gap on when we're having these conversations. So, so often we walk in with the client, and they need to fire someone who for years has underperformed or for years has had an attitude that has been toxic to the culture. And I'm always like, Well, have you told them? And we really dig? The answer is no. Like, right? He has talked a lot about this person's behavior. But they've never been clear with that actual person, and given them an opportunity to develop. And then we have this honest conversation when we have to fire someone. And pardon my language, but shit hits the fan. Because, yep, it comes out of nowhere. And then that breeds that distrust in the culture, right? Like people are like, oh, wow, that could happen to me. And there's the stories that carry through. And so really thinking about especially, honestly, workplace for him, it doesn't matter, but especially in the workplace. Can we close the gap on when we have these conversations when we notice a behavior that is not culturally aligned. It's not values aligned with our organization. And we need to have that conversation sooner than later. So that we give people an opportunity to course correct. And then practice. Yes. Well, the last part is practice, practice, practice. Like, with as a team use fake scenarios, we actually use real scenarios from people's workplaces. And we work through those. And it's an at bats kind of thing. The more you do it, the more skilled you're, you'll get at it. You won't necessarily get less uncomfortable. But you'll see that
I think one thing that could really change, like you said, the dynamic, like if I went into the conversation and said, which I'm trying to think back, I'm like, have I done this? Or have I not done this? Um, it's like so much arguing. And so much gets lost in text message. This is why I don't like text and email. And so I like to Marco Polo, so people can actually like, see my facial reactions. But if I'm going into kind of like an uncomfortable conversation or conflict conversation, where I know there's going to be a conflict, just by saying, like, my intention, so. So I'm going to ask your advice, like, so my sister, she always thinks she's like, you're always dog in me, you think I'm a bad mom, and you're not even a real mom. And you don't. And I'm like, I never said, You're a bad mom. And I'm never dogging you like, I'm here to support you. And I'm trying to help you with your children. And if your children come to me and say, well, mom's always mad at me, and she ignores me, and then she doesn't talk to me for days. That's not teaching your children how to actually communicate through difficult times. And so let's talk about this. Because in the real world, and in the business world, you've got to teach your kids how to communicate their difficult conversations. You can't go days and days and days, which is what my sister does. And not talk about it like that would drive me crazy. It's like, Let's sit down, let's have an adult conversation. So, you know, I've said to her, I'm not here to dog you, I'm not here to upset you, I'm here to help. I'm trying to, I am trying to fix it. I just want everybody to get along. Like Can't we all just get along. And so but if I go in and say my intention is to have better communication, and to strengthen our family versus saying, I'm not here, to which I find myself like now that I'm talking through it, I feel like I'm like always defending myself, like, I'll go into and say, I am not here to put you down or dog you ism. As a mother, I'm not trying to take your place. I really want us to talk through a healthy conversation so that we can all feel better. And we can all be on the same page about a few of these situations. Like what's the right way to do it? Like, because I feel like I'm on the defense all the time, like, and people make so much shit up in their head, like you were even saying, like you did it, you know, like in the beginning of the conversation where, like, you're in this room with people and they're judging you and thinking that like being just a teacher is not good enough. And so we make things up in our head, but it's like, a therapist told me like, just mirror them back. So if they're saying, you know, you're attacking me or your doggy me and like mirror them back. No, I'm not dogging you that's not mine. But what's the right way to say it to get them to like, open up so that people don't shut down before you even start the conversation?
Yeah, so I think first and foremost, when you're when you're in the heat of the moment, and you find yourself being defensive, naming that and taking a pause. You know, right now I'm feeling defensive, because I so want to fix this. And so I'm digging in. And maybe we need to just take a timeout and come back and revisit this because we're probably not going to be productive in this conversation right now. And just taking that time, because what's going to happen is you're going to actually what you're doing right there, you're in the fight mode, right? The fight flight, not fight mood. And what happens in that is sometimes we go to places we that aren't going to be productive, and that are actually going to harm the relationship more than they're going to help even though we're so fixated on fixing the problem. But I think in taking that timeout, one, you can say let's come back. And this is part of that next steps in a conversation like let's come back tomorrow and just have that conversation. And you actually started to dig into a really positive intention. When you were talking out loud of no want to have this conversation so that you know we can strengthen our family and that we don't have to feel that we're always coming up and butting heads together. I would love to be able for you to feel supported. In this relationship and in raising your kids, so I'd love to have a conversation to just see how we can do that better together. And just start it that way. And honestly, if you wanted to, you could quickly just like, how do you see it? And that's part of our framework to you after unpacking that fact. And emotion is like asking for that perspective, and giving that other person, the ability to say, like, here's how I'm experiencing our relationship. And your sister saying, you know, I feel like you're always dogging me. And your response being like, tell me more about that. What does that feel like? For you? What, in that moment? What am I doing to make you feel that way? or What am I saying? And you're asking those questions. And I think what would be interesting, too, because it may not be actually something you're saying or doing. It may be that internal belief for your sister. Hmm, maybe I don't feel, you know, effective as a mom. And you're, you are mirroring that to me, right? Like, that's triggering me. And so I'm feeling like, I have to defend that. And so just getting into an honest conversation where you can get to sort of this unpacking those beliefs. And then for you, why do I feel the need to step in and fix it, and I don't know, the whole dynamic, but really getting to the core of that, and sharing that with your sister, and then starting to just build or rebuild that relationship and that trust of like, we're going to partner together in this, like, we want to show up in our family, and for it to feel like whatever you want to feel like. And for our, you know, communication to feel like, whatever that needs to feel like, and naming that kind of keeping that at the focus of any conversation. But yeah, that intention of just restating when you talk about, like strengthening the relationship, versus, you know, coming in, and then feeling defensive, like, to me, that's just softens it. Yeah. Do you do family therapy? Like, can I hire you? Like, family session? classes? Yes, totally. And hilarious is so many former families have like asked about things like that. And we are going to put some family dynamics and then communication pieces into our online courses that we are launching in 2021 that we had talked about prior to this. So part of that is like walking through exercises and putting these frameworks in front of people so that they can use them. And we have clients at work that literally sit with the framework in front of them. And they use it until they're comfortable and can not have it in front of them. And I don't think there's any shame with having some nice sentence starters in front of you to just frame your conversation and keep you focused on mutually solving the issue at hand.
Well, and I also feel like to like you have this framework in the workplace, it can bleed over, you know, in a positive way into your personal life. And then like I've had to learn that, like if I'm driving from meeting to meeting, which I've kind of like potty trained my family now where I'm like, don't bother me during the day, and it is a bother because when there's conflict and negativity, like I'm trying to best serve my clients, I'm trying to get through the work day after the work day. And sometimes my work date isn't until 9pm, then then let's talk about it. But like, don't don't disrupt because it's like your emergency cannot be my emergency and then your negativity. I don't want it boiling over into my workday, because I don't want to go into walk into another meeting. Or if I'm going to teach a class or we're going to do a podcast or I'm going to do a zoom. Like, I don't want that negative emotion like weighing on me. throughout the day. I am the person that I'm like, I'd let's just sit down and talk about it. Were some personalities. I know. They're like I need to absorb, I need to think I need to walk away. And like you just said take a break and let's come back to it. But for personalities like me, I'm like, No, let's adapt, let's do right now. And so I've had to really learn how to reframe and respect the other person's needs in different situations. So that we both are ready to talk about it because like you said, it's not productive. And it just it wastes a bunch of energy that it's like I just don't have the energy anymore for it. So this is really helpful. You're so good at this.
Thank you and I will say like I I'm not perfect in this like, and what's so funny is when you're teaching this, and when I'm talking with clients, like I lead very vulnerably, with, I mess up, like, I may mess up tomorrow or yesterday. And it's about just stepping into it the next time and doing better. Because once again, like, we're humans, I'm going to repeat what I repeated at the beginning. And I say, with clients all the time, like we operate from our emotions and our feelings. And we just have to own that, and we have to feel them. And then we have to tell our truth about them in productive ways. And so when we sort of slow down that process, that's why I love walking through my days, it's like fact, an emotion, I'm feeling something here. And I'm aggravated, or I'm frustrated, because like, I love efficiency, and I also like, I already have a plan for my day like you. And, you know, it's like, everything is mapped out, everything is organized. And so when something comes in and throws it off kilter, that's frustrating to me. Sometimes, I need to check myself on it, and give people time, and throw my schedule to the wind. And then other times, it's a boundary. And it's communicating, hey, in my workday, like I really want to be focusing from this time to this time, here's what's going on. I would love to talk to you at whenever is convenient, on reschedule, you know, like, Yeah, really just kind of putting those boundaries in place. Because otherwise people don't understand like, why you're asking them or telling even, but I do, I think like, I have to say that because what's so funny about this work is it is so convicting for me, and like I bet accountable so often, but it's also been the most freeing. And I should also say to, like you mentioned, like the family stuff, when we've been working in the workplace, what's so interesting, I've seen teams who were sitting there talking about work scenarios, and how to have honest conversations, that someone in that room, I'm thinking of a very specific team, one time said, and this is a team that was not very vulnerable, the least vulnerable member of the team. And he pops up and says, No, I just need to say something here, because I know we're supposed to be talking about work. But I have this situation with my parents right now. And that's the honest conversation that I need to have. And he like, talked through it. And I kid you not the rest of the team and what someone said out loud, they're like, I had no idea that that was something that you're dealing with. Wow, wow, that just like that is a lot. And empathy. And the connection that came from that conversation, like it changed the dynamic of that team, that bet to communicate and collaborate and do their work better. But it took that personal story to open up the floodgates. And what's also interesting, we always we do a lot of data collection. And so a lot I love it always, you know, have workshops. And we do we our entire engagement with a client starts with a culture study, actually understanding where they are with like surveys, interviews and observations. And so a lot of our post workshop surveys, people will say, you know, this is a skill that while my workplace is investing in it is going to impact my personal life. And my professional life like this feels like I'm being invested in as a person, not just a worker. And I had no idea, Angela that that was what I was doing. I like I was there Nope. To work better. Really. Because at the end of the day, I'm still got perfectionist tendencies. I'm a one on the enneagram like you I'm I get shut down kind of person. So yeah, wait a minute. Like that is what the value is here. Here, I don't know, my dream was too small. Mm hmm.
Do you feel like you're finally in the place like you are where you belong right now? Yes. It definitely helps put into perspective like how to answer some of those hard questions because there's some young entrepreneurs that I've mentor and they don't know their purpose. They don't know what their passion is yet and that's okay. I didn't know either in my 20s I was still trying to figure it out. But those times are really important because it helps shapes you into who you are today.
I love that. And that resonated a lot, because I think to some of my disconnect, or not disconnect the discontent, I felt, really, in my teaching career at times worth things that while I was good at them, it wasn't really authentic to me. And what I love about owning your own business is owning your time and owning what you create and what you put out there. And so it makes sense as to why, you know, I did feel some of what of that discontent, I am a learner. I always have been, and it was actually what drove sort of some of the innovative things I did as a school teacher. And then you know, not oftentimes our people, school teachers and then start running businesses. I think there's probably a lot more opportunity for that, actually. Because I used to, I'm a teacher, how, who am I to like, sit with a executive team and CEOs and do this work. And what I realized is your teaching background, is exactly what makes me the right person to sit there and to facilitate sessions and coaching sessions, because it's actually what I did with kids. It's the very same thing. That's awesome, right? Like, you're, you're moving people in a direction of their growth in purpose, and so much to have what you just said, coaching entrepreneurs about understanding their purpose, like the word that's been coming up for me so often. Just I would say, over the course of a couple years, but it's coming through to you, and a lot of the work that we're doing is authentic, we show up authentically us. And we have that self awareness about what matters to us, what are my values, and oftentimes, it's hidden in your stories and your experiences in your life. You start to make decisions from that place. And it's really powerful. And I've been doing that in my business a lot, really looking at the things that I value the most, and the things that we want to create for people in terms of being able to be honest, and to create connected communities and to be on this journey of continuous learning. Like all my decisions kind of filter through that.
It's so so, so important. I'm so excited for when you launch your online program, because I'm like, I know so many people that need to like sign up and learn this stuff, because it will help with personal and professional development. 100%. When do you anticipate to be launching? Or do you have a launch date yet?
Oh, the inner perfectionist in me. You just got to get it out there don't actually. And we had already done sort of a mini test, we created a workbooks during our, like early COVID quarantine days. So we've got to just filter a lot of that over and take a lot of what we already do and just put it on there. I'm going to say at least end of quarter two. And I think that that's flexible, and we're also rebranding so will no longer be does not add something new. That tells a better story of what we really do. Which is I love it, honest conversations that transform the way that they live and work. And so yeah, there's online course dates. There'll be soon the launch will happen, we'll do a pre sale, we'll do some codes, we'll do all of that. So yeah, I think the best way is for people to sign up for our newsletter or the designer newsletter so that they can be or follow on social media, but especially Instagram or LinkedIn, but we will give all that information there of when we're renaming and rebranding, and then when we're going to launch those courses. So because people can either do a subscription and do have access to everything, so that they can do that self awareness work and figure out their values and authenticity. Or they can like our conversation today. Use this to have these conversations with their family. Or if they're leading a team, really kind of creating that healthy and high performing dynamic for a team and walking through those exercises. So there's a lot there. It'll be a combination of like video, audio and exercises to walk through and probably some community building to where people can do some monthly q&a is with us and just really formed that community to further deepen their journey and their work. Or they can do an ala carte workshop and just you know, whatever floats your boat and is a need for you today, you can get something like that. So I'm so excited about, but quarter to so let's just say buy some Yay,
awesome. Well, we will put all the links in the show notes. And so definitely you're going to want to sign up for Lauren's newsletter. So we'll put that in the show notes. And then go over to Instagram and LinkedIn. And you're going to want to connect so that you can follow the journey. And we're so excited about your online subscription service. And whenever you go live, let us know. We'll be happy to share it all around. And thank you so much for your time today. Lauren, this was amazing. So helpful.
Thank you. And thanks for showing up and just being vulnerable and sharing some of what you know, you're thinking about in terms of honest conversations, because I know that everyone has something in their life. And so I just appreciate just having a real conversation with you, Angela. Absolutely. This is awesome.
And everybody that's listening. Thank you so much for tuning in. And be sure to tune in next week for another episode of business unveiled. valio. What's up GST leaders thank you so much for tuning in. And I would love for you to text me your number one takeaway, any feedback that you have, and we're also starting a new series called The number one time suck how you can be more productive and GSD and everyday life so you can be present. So if you can help us out and let me know, just text me your number one Tom Cech 6155 to 78755
Let's get shit done.

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Published: June 3, 2021

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