Emotional Optimism: Living in The Silver Lining Podcast - A collection of exploratory thoughts and conversations to help tap into emotional optimism and heart leadership. Think of this podcast as your personal prescription of leadership tips, empathetic food for thought and courageous and real conovs!
Finding Your People
1:27Coming out can be an incredibly challenging experience for many people, often resulting in being estranged from loved ones who have difficulty accepting their sexuality or gender identity. When I came out, I faced rejection from my mother who didn't understand at first. The isolation of that period was incredibly difficult to go through alone. However, moving to a new city where I could be myself without judgment was truly transformative. In San Francisco, I instantly found a community of LGBTQ allies who understood what I had been through. Surrounding myself with that support allowed me to heal and move forward into a new chapter of acceptance. Whether it's close friends, an LGBTQ center, or just moving to a more welcoming environment –- your people are out there! Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Personal story of coming out experience and being estranged from mother Importance of having a support system of friends, community, or LGBTQ center How moving to San Francisco provided a "playground" and instant friends Episode Highlights: [00:07] The Difficulty of Coming OutIt was a challenging experience of coming out to my mother. She didn't understand my sexuality at first and saw it only as a sexual thing, rather than an integral part of who I wasthey are. This lack of acceptance led us to become estranged from each other for some time. The isolation of this period was undoubtedly difficult to go through alone. However, moving to a new city eventually provided a fresh start as well as a place where we could fully be ourselves without judgment. [00:35] The Power of CommunityIt’s important to have a strong support system, especially when facing challenges related to one's sexuality or identity. No one needs to go through such difficulties alone. Having even just a few close friends who can understand and empathize with what someone is experiencing makes a huge difference. Beyond close friendships, being involved with the local LGBTQ community can help expand one's circle of support. For instance, community centers have amazing resources for people to connect with others. And there, they can gain acceptance and they can seek advice so they feel less isolated in their journey. And so, having that kind of community plays a vital role in feeling less alone and more empowered when navigating life's hardships. [00:55] A Place to Be FreeMoving to San Francisco after a difficult “coming out” experience was truly transformative. The city was like a "playground" where I suddenly felt free to fully embrace my identity without judgment or constraints. It was easy to instantly connect with new friends who genuinely understood what I had been through. Surrounding myself with an encouraging community in a new home allowed me to heal from the isolation and start anew. Even just relocating to a more accepting environment can provide the safe space one needs to grow into their authentic self after facing rejection, allowing you to playfully move forward from a painful past into an optimistic future.
E101: The Capacity to Love is at the Core of our Success
3:36What kind of leader do you aspire to be? In our new podcast episode, we discuss the power of leading with love. Leaders who embody love not only inspire their teams but also foster environments of trust and respect. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Embracing love as a leadership quality The way we love others is the way we were loved The power of community Episode Highlights: [00:13] Embracing Love as a Leadership Quality Leaders who embody love, who consistently demonstrate it in their actions and interactions, and possess the ability to both give and receive love, are the ones we aspire to follow. They not only represent the leadership of today but also set the standard for the leaders of tomorrow. [00:42] The Reflection of Love: From Childhood to Success in Leadership Our approach to expressing love is often a reflection of how we were loved during our formative years. This early experience serves as a foundation for how we either extend love to others or withhold it. By introspectively examining how our specific needs were met during childhood, we can better understand our own methods of caring for others. The way we attend to the specific needs of individuals within our team or company is crucial. Emphasizing once more, the capacity to love is fundamental to our success as human beings. [02:00] The Importance of Community In times past, we grew up in close-knit communities or tribes, where our needs were met by various members. However, modern society has shifted away from this communal living, leaving many feeling isolated and disconnected, except perhaps in workplaces, religious gatherings, or sports teams. This isolation makes us vulnerable. Yet, love serves as a “super glue,” binding us together. Our capacity to love varies based on our childhood experiences of love and care, or lack thereof, which can cause trauma. Nevertheless, we all possess the potential to embrace and embody love.
E100: Rooting Culture in Kind Candor
3:01In today's episode, we delve into the concept of "kind candor" and its pivotal role in fostering a positive organizational culture. It’s an innovative approach that combines honesty with kindness when giving feedback to employees. By providing clear, specific, current, and actionable feedback, we enable employees to improve without feeling undermined. The ultimate objective of kind candor is to cultivate an environment of trust where employees are receptive to feedback, seeing it as an opportunity for growth and betterment in their roles. Tune in to learn more about how this strategy can revolutionize your workplace dynamics. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Background on moving to a culture of "kind candor" Five principles of kind candor: kind, clear, specific, current, actionable Examples of giving feedback using kind candor approach The goal of kind candor Episode Highlights: [00:01] Moving from a Kind Culture to a Culture of Kind Candor Our company's culture has focused on being kind for the past 14 years. This longstanding emphasis on kindness is something employees can rely on and feel they will be treated well. On the other hand, kind candor builds upon this existing kind culture by allowing for honest truths, or feedback, to be given to employees in order to help them improve. However, this feedback is done in a kind manner since the culture already emphasizes kindness. [01:16] The Five Principles of Kind Candor The five principles of kind candor are: Be kind. Be clear. Be specific. Be current. Be actionable. For example, an employee made multiple mistakes. Point out the specific errors. Offer to work with the employee for free for the next 30 days to ensure the issue does not happen again. This offers clear, specific, current feedback on the mistakes, while taking an actionable approach to helping the employee improve through additional support, all delivered kindly. [02:09] The Goal of Kind Candor The purpose of kind candor is to help employees grow in their roles, not to punish them for mistakes. The feedback process is intended to build people up by giving guidance, rather than tearing them down or putting them on the defensive. When employees feel supported rather than attacked, they will be more open to feedback and improve based on the guidance. By implementing those five principles, you’re able to cultivate an environment where employees feel safe improving through honest discussions, rather than avoiding feedback out of fear.
E99: Don’t be Afraid to Give Yourself an F
2:08Ever graded your own performance? In our new episode, we shed light on a unique exercise assigned by Gary that had us all doing just that. We're sharing a fascinating leadership lesson: the power of self-graded performance. Hear how our team faced their weaknesses head-on to drive growth and collaboration. Discover how this transparency is steering us towards becoming the greatest organization in history. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Gary sets homework to self-grade performance Leadership shares grades and growth areas Focus on partnership and making the organization the greatest Episode Highlights: [00:07] Leadership Shares Grades We took Gary's homework assignment seriously and were honest about our weaknesses and opportunities. By openly admitting to grades of D or F in certain performance areas, it allowed for transparent discussion of improvement needs. This level of authenticity also likely helped foster collaboration, as others could understand how to support their colleagues better based on the self-identified challenges. Overall, it seemed to be a valuable exercise for the leadership to candidly assess their own performance. [01:04] Commitment to Growth We need to commit to spending time with each person every month to build partnership and address issues proactively. The goal is to build stronger partnerships where we can support each other and address any issues before they escalate. Making this commitment shows our willingness to improve in an important area through dedicated relationship building with our colleagues. [01:32] Vision of Being the Greatest Gary's vision is for the organization to be the greatest in history. Honest self-evaluation, like the exercise Gary assigned, is crucial for achieving this ambitious level of success. By grading ourselves and openly discussing weaknesses and opportunities for growth, the leadership team can effectively work on improvements and partner together to help each other excel. This type of candid evaluation and support among the team will help drive them to reach new heights as an organization.
E98: Emotional Efficiency
1:06In a world where effective teamwork is essential for success, understanding the importance of emotional efficiency can revolutionize the way teams operate. In this episode, we delve into the realm of emotional intelligence and how it enables teams to have productive discussions and make quick decisions. By cultivating trust and fostering genuine connections among team members, emotional efficiency becomes the foundation for creating an environment where everyone feels safe to express their ideas and opinions. Join us as we explore how developing psychological safety and connection can unlock the true potential of your team, leading to enhanced effectiveness and collaboration. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Emotional efficiency speeds up decision making Trust and understanding come from time spent together Psychological safety allows open discussions Episode Highlights: Emotional Efficiency: The Secret to Effective Communication At Vayner, there is a hidden gem that often goes unnoticed - emotional efficiency. Through spending ample time together, whether in pitches, events, or internal discussions, the team has cultivated strong bonds and trust. This not only creates a sense of psychological safety but also allows for a shorthand communication style. Conversations can dive deep into important topics, swiftly resolving them and leaving them in the past. This level of emotional efficiency enables the team to work with speed and effectiveness, constantly honing this invaluable skill. Unlocking the Power of Emotional Efficiency: The Vayner Approach One noteworthy aspect of Vayner's success lies in their mastery of emotional efficiency. Over time, team members have developed a profound understanding of one another, fostering deep connections and trust. This foundation enables swift, no-nonsense discussions that leave previous issues behind. Consequently, Vayner excels in being fast and efficient, constantly training themselves to maintain this crucial muscle. By embracing emotional efficiency, Vayner unlocks their true potential and paves the way for effective collaboration and decision-making.
E97: Vulnerability is Key for Growth
2:35Growth can be elusive when we're in the midst of it. But it is only truly realized when we emerge from the depths. It's a unique journey for each person, and to authentically discuss growth, we must acknowledge the vulnerable moments that shaped us. In this episode, learn how vulnerability allows us to shed our armor and authentically connect with ourselves and those around us. When you learn how to strengthen your relationships, foster growth, and become a more effective leader – new horizons await! Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: The power of vulnerability in leadership Leading with authenticity Sharing our lived experience in pursuit of growth Episode Highlights: [00:10] The Power of Vulnerability in Leadership The number one skill for any leader and manager lies in embracing vulnerability. It can be learned or discovered through personal journeys, especially during moments of stumbling and growth. By shedding our armor and releasing shame, we create an environment where authenticity thrives. As leaders, our role is to work for and with our people, fostering a safe space where we can share our mistakes and lessons learned. Growth may not always be apparent in the depths, but by acknowledging vulnerability, we can inspire others and truly connect on our journey towards success. [00:55] Leading with Authenticity As leaders, our primary role is to work alongside and support our people. Gone are the days of asserting dominance and shutting others out. True leadership lies in creating a safe space where we can remove our armor and openly share our mistakes and moments of falling down. It's about acknowledging that growth is not always a straight path. By embracing vulnerability, we cultivate authenticity and inspire others to persevere, for it is in our shared experiences that true growth flourishes. [01:35] Sharing Our Lived Experience in Pursuit of Growth Understanding and measuring growth can be challenging while immersed in it. It's only upon resurfacing that we truly grasp the progress made. Growth manifests uniquely for each individual, making it essential to openly discuss our goals and vulnerabilities. By summoning courage and faith, we can step into our truth and embrace our imperfections. There is no shame in sharing our dyslexia or any other personal experiences. As leaders, we have the privilege of offering guidance based on our lived experiences. Let us seize this opportunity to inspire others and leave behind what doesn't serve them.
E96: What is the Honey Empire?
2:43Introducing the Honey Empire philosophy where “honey” comprises 51% and the “empire” claims the remaining 49%. But here's the intriguing part, that seemingly small 1% holds immense significance. It represents our approach to treating people, our behavior, and our role as Vayner citizens. Behind every great business is great leadership. Hear how Gary Vaynerchuk and his team at The Honey Empire prioritize emotional intelligence and necessary life skills to build a top talent culture. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Embracing emotional intelligence and kindness The power of prioritizing people and essential life skills Uniting vision, behavior, and trust in pursuit of success Episode Highlights: [00:07] Embracing Emotional Intelligence and Kindness In every situation, we strive to be the bigger person, making attempts to forgive, embracing kindness, compassion, and humility. These qualities form the very essence of our emotional intelligence, skills, and traits. However, embodying them can be challenging without self-awareness or guidance. The Honey Empire encourages us to embrace these values and make a positive impact on those around us [00:47] The Power of Prioritizing People and Essential Life Skills at the Honey Empire At the Honey Empire, we prioritize teaching necessary life skills alongside hard skills, resulting in remarkable success within our organization. By putting our people first, we experience internal growth, attract top talent, retain employees, and benefit from word-of-mouth recruiting. This investment in our team translates into exceptional outcomes for clients and a delightful experience for consumers. We believe that true ROI comes from valuing and empowering our employees, as they become more engaged, innovative, and motivated, even bringing their friends along as ambassadors of our mission. At the Honey Empire, we foster an environment where success and enjoyment thrive through a focus on essential life skills and prioritizing our people [01:29] Uniting Vision, Behavior, and Trust in Pursuit of Succes At the Honey Empire, we excel at seamlessly bringing together all the vital components and venturing into the market with purposeful behavior. Our approach is a unique blend of intuition and clear communication, often conveyed through grunts or quick texts. Gary and I have spent considerable time together, forging a strong bond of trust. It is my utmost commitment to bring his vision, mission, and desired culture to life within the empire. Together, we strive to achieve greatness and make our mark in the hunting industry.
E95: Trust First
1:17This week, we delve into the unique culture of our company and the critical role of trust within it. Our discussion today offers key insights into how we empower new hires by immediately placing trust in them, recognizing their value from day one, and eliminating the need for initial proof of worth. We also shed light on the importance we place on active listening and inquiry for new employees, and how understanding the dynamics of our company can lead to effective contributions. Here's a glimpse into the episode highlights that unravel our unconventional approach to fostering a culture of trust and curiosity. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Immediate trust in new hires Recognition of employee value from day one No need for initial proof of worth Emphasis on active listening and inquiry for new employees Understanding company dynamics to contribute effectively Episode Highlights: [00:08] Prioritizing Trust: The Unique Pillar of Our Company Culture One of the most commendable practices we uphold in our company is our approach to trust. We are a company that puts trust first, a rarity in my experience. It's a palpable feeling here, unlike other places where 'people first' is only a slogan. [00:27] Trust First: The Golden Ticket to Our Company Culture Our rigorous vetting process, often extending to six or eight weeks, ensures that we've thoroughly assessed each potential hire before they step through our doors. After numerous interviews and extensive discussions, it's only logical that we place our trust in you. We've invested considerable time in getting to know you. Hence, there's no need for you to prove your worth upon joining us. Your value has already been established. You've earned the golden ticket, akin to Willy Wonka's coveted prize. [00:46] Embracing Curiosity: Navigating Your First Week in the Company In the first week of orientation, I emphasize to newcomers that their value is already recognized - they've made it through the door. Now, their contribution can expand by taking the time to listen and ask questions. Understand what drives us, what sets us apart. Explore why we're causing such a stir in the market, why we've chosen our particular approach. Delve into our methods and motives.
E94: Creating a Safe Workplace for EVERYONE
3:59A safe workplace for all - that's the goal of today’s conversation. Listen in as we discuss how we, as leaders, can create an environment where people feel they belong and can be their authentic selves. We share insights on building trust and connections so that anyone who suffers in silence feels comfortable speaking up. Most importantly, they promise to support each other through options and solutions, not answers, and ensure no one has to go through challenges alone. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: Fostering openness and comfort in workplace Creating a safe space and comfort in the workplace Embracing empathetic leadership Episode Highlights: [00:07] Fostering Openness and Comfort in the Workplace Creating an inclusive and open work environment is a priority for us, where everyone feels safe and supported. While we strive to provide a conducive space for our team members, it is equally important that each individual feels comfortable enough to share their thoughts and experiences. Despite our best efforts, there may be instances where someone might not feel at ease. We recognize that this can happen even if we have done everything within our power to encourage openness. [00:30] Creating a Safe Space for Belonging and Support In our quest to foster a sense of belonging and importance among our team members, it is crucial to recognize that we cannot force anyone to change or open up. Our goal is to create a safe space where individuals feel valued and understood, but we cannot achieve this for everyone. Building trust and connection is essential in creating that safety, and while some may choose to share their experiences with us, others may find solace with different colleagues throughout our organization. We must strive to create a safe space for everyone. If you are unsure how to do this or feel uncomfortable, it’s important leaders are able to facilitate a conversation about it. [02:19] Embracing Empathetic Leadership: Prioritizing Well-being and Support for All It takes self-awareness to step aside and prioritize someone else's well-being. Remember, it is not about us; it is about creating an environment where individuals can be heard and supported. As leaders, we are here to listen to them and connect them with the right person. We may not have all the answers, but it’s important we’re able to come up with options and solutions so we can be there for them in every step of the way. This is what empathetic leadership is all about - having each other's backs and ensuring that no one faces challenges alone.
E93: Ask Yourself, "What Do I Need?"
2:02As leaders, there are certainly tough days when we don't feel our best. In this insightful discussion, learn about the importance of self-compassion in leadership and why asking yourself "What do I need?" on those difficult days can help you refocus on self-care. I’m also sharing the challenges and loneliness of leadership, and why going easy on yourself is very important in self-care. Tune in for relatable advice on balancing empathy for others with empathy for yourself - even on your worst days. This is a must-listen for any leader looking to sustain well-being in high-pressure roles. Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation: How to practice self-compassion as an empathetic leader on bad days The power of asking yourself “What do I need?” The loneliness of leadership and the importance of self-compassion Episode Highlights: [00:08] How to Practice Self-Compassion as an Empathetic Leader on Bad Days As an empathetic leader, it's natural to want to always show up as your best self. However, there will be days when you fall short and don't meet your own high expectations. It's important to practice self-compassion on these bad days. When you find yourself in this situation, try to acknowledge your feelings and the fact that you're not perfect. Ask yourself what you need in that moment to help you move forward. Maybe it's taking a break, talking to a friend or colleague, or simply practicing some deep breathing exercises. It's also important to let go of any negative self-talk or self-judgment. Remind yourself that it's okay to make mistakes and that you're still growing and learning as a leader. Instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, focus on the positive actions you can take to improve. [00:40] The Power of Asking Yourself "What Do I Need?" As human beings, we all have moments where we miss the mark and don't meet our own expectations. During these times, it's natural to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. However, instead of dwelling on what went wrong, it's important to ask yourself a simple yet powerful question: "What do I need?" By shifting your focus to your needs in the present moment, you can take steps to prioritize your well-being and improve your overall state of mind. It may be as simple as taking a break, practicing self-care, or reaching out to a supportive friend or colleague. [01:08] The Loneliness of Leadership and the Importance of Self-Compassion Being a leader can be an isolating experience that leaves you feeling confused and overwhelmed. It can feel like you're having conversations behind closed doors that are alarming and stressful. It's important to recognize that it's okay to struggle and that you need to go easy on yourself. Finding compassion for yourself can be difficult but it's crucial for your well-being. Making friends and building a peer group is essential for support. Remember, you need each other – the group of peers you surround yourself with and the ones you don't want are equally important in your growth as a leader. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself, it's not always easy but it's worth it.