How to Support Your Team’s Mental Health
October 22, 2020
Show Notes: Episode 101 – Self-Leadership and Building Resilience
October 26, 2020

Click here for this episode’s show notes.

This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Susan 0:09
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting. With me is my co-host and dear friend JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm.

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Our topic today is self-leadership and building resilience. We’ve had lots of requests from our listeners to talk about how business leaders and HR professionals can fortify themselves during challenging times, especially in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Given our roles, we have to become strong, creative, forward-thinking, and a steadying force when things are chaotic, scary, and unpredictable in the workplace and in the world. Consequently, we decided to ask a couple of experts to join us today to help us all think about how can we strengthen our self-leadership and become more resilient so we are ready to face whatever comes our way.

So our first guest guest today is Dr. Benjamin Ritter. Dr. Ritter is the founder of Live for Yourself Consulting. He is a Chicago-based leadership and empowerment coach, a regional learning manager for YPO, a national speaker, a consultant, a mentor, teacher, and he’s passionate about guiding others in finding, creating, and sustaining a career they love.

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Susan 2:35
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Susan 2:57

So Ben, what is self-leadership?

Ben 3:07
Well, self-leadership is basically just leading the self. But it’s, of course, more complicated than that. So just to break down at least my beliefs on leadership, and then kind of direct them towards that individual motivation. And so leadership for me is not the persuading of other people or convincing other people to do something or the controlling of other people. It’s creating an environment around someone that is oriented towards their own values and towards what actually motivates them and engages them. And so self-leadership is actually creating a life around you that is really, in simple terms, just easy. So it’s very aligned to what you care about, what you desire, what motivates you, and so you’re really just living an aligned life towards your goals, towards your values, and so then making decisions that actually serve you are a lot easier. You also have less decisions that don’t serve you, those don’t surround you as much either. So self-leadership in a one liner is leading yourself towards what you truly care about, being able to actually take action.

JoDee 4:08
Ah, I love that. And I…although, you know, a lot of us are doing it, I don’t know that we think about that definition and those terms. So, well said. So, how can we be our own leader at work?

Ben 4:25
So I used to just work with clients, and I’m like, here’s the live system, it’s a decision making framework, you filter it through these different pillars, and you will make aligned decisions. And I was realizing that certain people were having more difficulties, like, using this framework than others, and I was like, well, what traits do the people that don’t have difficulty have within themselves that are making it easier for them, and that’s when I created the three C’s of self-leadership. And so if you want to lead yourself at work, you really want to first start with getting clarity, and that means knowing what you truly care about, what’s the core, and that…that really helps you to stay motivated, and it helps, you know, stay very intentional. But then also you need to know the processes, so you need to know your long term goals, your short term goals, you got to break those down to monthly goals, to weekly goals, daily goals, and really know the little things that are the most important for you to focus on to take action. So you have to have that clarity. The second part is having confidence. And very often I work with senior executives, you know, high-powered individuals, high achievers, but they have…they’re just getting in their own way. They don’t believe in themselves. Their inner critic is stronger, it has the microphone, it’s front and center instead of their inner champion. So you really need to also highlight your successes and really build that inner confidence while also learning the hard skills and soft skills that you need, so actually being intentional about what you’re studying as well. And the third component, and this is the most important, is control. So despite your emotions each and every single day, despite potentially negative or leeching relationships around you, you’re taking action to create an environment around yourself. So the people, the resources, and dedicating your time towards the things that you’ve uncovered in the beginning that are your goals and your values. And if you instill those traits within yourself and you build all of your work around that, towards getting clarity on what you need to accomplish, what you want to accomplish, what your vision is, you feel confident that you can do it, and you build a network that supports you, that helps you prioritize and be very intentional with your time. You will lead yourself in every situation, not just at work.

JoDee 6:21
I love it. And you alluded to this a tiny bit, but my suspicion is, in working with people, is that confidence is maybe the hardest for people. Do you find that as well?

Ben 6:36
Very, very hard. You know, I work with clients in, like, three, six, and 12 month coaching programs, and I’m like, in three months, we probably can get some clarity and get your confidence where it needs to be, and it’s like, it’s literally because we have these mindsets, these programs that we that we brought with us our entire life, you know, that’s why we are where we are today, they were good for…for a reason. But within them are usually these. You’re not good enough. Or what are they going to think of you? Or what do you mean? You can’t do that. That’s…that’s…you’re not capable of that. You can’t ask for that. Who do you think you are to be able to walk into this room and say you want to work on this type of project. And so we are our worst enemy. And that’s what…I think that’s where self-leadership comes in again. What do you want to lead yourself towards? And honestly, this is why I…when I founded Live for Yourself Consulting, I called it Live for Yourself Consulting because I myself was just so sick of not truly living for myself, not making decisions that served me. And it’s a lot easier said than done because we…we have stories that play in the back of our mind that are…that are holding us back, that are pulling us back, that are trying to keep us safe. But you hit the nail on the head. If we could all just handle confidence, like, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t matter. Because if we were just super confident all the time and weren’t judging ourselves and being negative towards ourselves, we wouldn’t have to listen to a podcast about self-leadership.

Susan 7:56
It’s funny, when you were talking about the script in your head – you’re not good enough, who are you to think you should do this – I think you’ve met my inner voice. I know that voice. Yeah, it’s pretty common, I know.

Ben 8:05
Well, I have one too. He…I just…I just don’t listen to him as much. I put him in a little box, I give him some video games, and he just stays busy.

JoDee 8:12
Oh, great idea.

Susan 8:13
Good idea. So tell us about, with COVID-19 and the pandemic going on, obviously, you work with a lot of leaders, you do a lot of coaching…what’s changing? What are people experiencing that we as HR professionals or business leaders should be thinking about as they’re trying to manage self?

Ben 8:29
Surprisingly, I actually haven’t been talking as much about COVID-19 as before. I think that’s a sign that we’re trying to get out of this mindset and towards, like, business continuity and outside of this, like, how do we deal with the trauma of everything shifting and changing. But I still think no matter what, it’s critical that we at least are aware that everyone is going through some high level of trauma. Like, there’s multiple changes going on in every person’s life, no matter what, no matter how COVID has influenced you. Maybe business has skyrocketed. You know, maybe the demand for your services has increased. Excellent. But now at home, you have, like, all your family members and…and no routine and no structure. And maybe used to get all…you know, all your…your soul was filled by travel and now you can’t travel anymore. It was filled by the social experiences and so your soul is not filled. I think ultimately, no matter if you’ve lost your job and you can’t work or you’ve maybe even lost a loved one, you just…the first step as a leader, especially as an HR professional, is to say everyone is going through something pretty heavy right now. How do we lead with compassion? How do we lead with empathy? How do we lead with the humanistic style of leadership to say, are you okay, what’s going on? And then it’s not just, oh, I’m fine. No, no, really. Are you okay? How is life change for you? Like, peel back the onion for people a little bit and then say, how can we build some more structure, some more routine, get you back this feeling that, you know, your life is in some…some, you know, you have control over it in a way that maybe you…you might have lost over the past couple of months as a leader. If you don’t have these conversations and you don’t understand that everyone needs the conversations, then we’re missing out. Because instead, if you’re trying to fill the void with…well, we’ll just meet more often, we’ll have more calls, we’ll have more meetings. Well, Zoom fatigue is a thing.

Susan 10:10
It is.

Ben 10:10
Do people truly need more meetings? Is that really showing…showing compassion? Or is that micromanaging?

JoDee 10:16
Ben, if a good leader was a superhero, what would be their power?

Ben 10:22
I love this question. So other than just a cape, because all superheroes need a cape, unless you’re flying, and if you’ve watched The Incredibles, you know capes can be dangerous, because they can get caught in jet engines. So be very careful if you’re wearing a cape as leader and near a jet engine. But honestly, a good leader for me…and when I work with leaders, sometimes I will get the response, “this is so touchy feely,” because I’ll go to corp…corporations and teach the team model of managing to motivate, or I’ll teach them certain components of job crafting, and it’s…it’ll be this huge shift from this, like, dictatorship, authoritative style of leader…leadership or coach…coaching-style leadership where it’s like, go, go rah, rah. And instead, it’s really understanding that every individual is different. And I’m not talking about, like, personality assessments, I’m talking about just what do they love to do for work? You know, what is their vision for work? What resources are…might they be lacking that they like to do their work with? You know, what issues that they’re facing with clients and customers, that they’re facing based on who they are, and how do you get them involved to solve them? And then how do you build trust with that individual? So I think if we were to hone that down to this…this one specific superpower, it’d be psychic. Because if you had the ability to care, right, that’s just ingrained within all of us as leaders hopefully. If you were psychic, you could then actually cater to all of those different components and build an environment that motivates and engages.

JoDee 11:49
Ah, I like it.

Susan 11:51
Ben, how would you define job satisfaction? What is it really?

Ben 11:55
So this is where I’m going back to my…my research. When I was finishing up my doctorate I stumbled across the field of job crafting. And so job crafting is basically the theory that job satisfaction is built on three main components. You’re looking at the actual work that someone’s doing. So, do they love the work they’re doing? And if they don’t love it, as a leader, are you recognizing the fact that they’re doing work that they don’t love? So are you providing more recognition or building buffers around that work to actually energize them while they’re getting de-energized in a way? Then you have the social context. So that is…and I build these out a little bit more, so there’s…it’s not all research based, so it’s not all peer reviewed. But, so, yeah, we have some social context where…Are you working with people that you enjoy working with and minimizing the time that you spend working with people that you don’t? But also, are you mediating that conflict as a leader between the people that might not enjoy working together as much? And then I like to loop in customer relationship, because that’s part of the social context, clients or customers, if that is applicable to your role, so that as…as a leader, are you helping employees navigate those relationships or find solutions for those difficult conversations that they may be having throughout their day so they feel that they actually are making a difference? And then also, the meaning that they feel behind their work. So as an employee or as a leader, are you helping invoke that meaning and bringing it front and center on a daily basis? So job satisfaction, in summary, is…Do you love your actual work that you’re doing? Are you able to do more of it? Are you working with people that you love working with? And do you feel that your work is impactful and meaningful? And when I do conversations about how to find your next career sweet spot, so what to do next in your career, I also love to loop in…What challenges or learning opportunities do you want to face in the future? And do you feel that your role is actually leading you towards there, that spot? And so that’s, for me, at least, how I would define job satisfaction.

JoDee 13:45
Yeah, I like it.

Ben 13:47
And huge note, all those are within our own control as employees. So on one end, I’ll help leaders instill that, but on another end I’ll go in and talk to frontline employees to be like, look, this is what…you can do this. You can have these conversations, you can build this in for yourself.

JoDee 14:00
Is there anything else our listeners should know that we have not asked you about? Probably 1,000 things, but maybe a couple of things.

Ben 14:09
Well, the main thing that got me into this, I think the first ever talk I ever gave was on the topic of how the worst piece of advice I ever was given was to go find your purpose. And if I was to reverse time, five years ago, and you took old Ben and you said, Ben, the reason why you feel stuck, the reason why you feel underutilized, the reason why you are getting angry towards your job, the reason why you were pulling back from the relationships that surround you at work and burning bridges and just kind of withdrawing into yourself, the reason why you’re not being as productive as you can be in giving back is not because your work isn’t meaningful. It’s because you’re not creating meaning within your work. And if someone stopped me and told me that, I would not be on this show with you today. And I think it’s so important for everyone to realize that everything that they feel is a feeling that developed within themselves. You know, there’s no other cause for it. And so there are always ways to take more control over your current job, your current life, that serves you more than you’re serving yourself right now.

JoDee 15:13

Susan 15:14
That’s great. So how could our listeners contact you if they have more questions or maybe interested in engaging you, Ben?

Ben 15:20
Yeah, I’m super active on LinkedIn. If you just look up Dr. Benjamin Ritter, I pop up and I will respond, I will connect, you may get a message with, like, a link to a YouTube channel or something, but I am there to actually have real conversations. To that point, I also post a ton of free content on YouTube. But honestly, the best way, simplest way to talk to me, anyone, is LinkedIn.

JoDee 15:40
Well, thank you so much for joining us today. You’ve been very insightful and empowering and I love it all.

Susan 15:49
Thank you so much, Ben.

Ben 15:50
Yeah, and thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

Susan 15:52
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JoDee 15:55
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Susan 16:48
Our second guest today is Susan Drumm. Susan is a CEO, advisor, and leadership coach focused on helping leaders and their teams to develop the capacity and mindset to lead in today’s disruptive environment. She has been running a boutique consulting firm, Meritage Leadership, with a cadre of 15 coaches and consultants since 2006. She’s worked with private equity firms and their emerging portfolio companies, as well as large corporations such as Oracle, Viacom, KPMG, A&E Networks, Genentech, and others. Susan has graduate degrees from Harvard Law School, Carnegie Mellon University, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Welcome, Susan. So glad that you’re here. So our first question for you. Why is resilience the number one trait leaders need during this time of change and uncertainty?

Susan Drumm 17:38
You know, I think resilience has really become a hot topic during this time. I mean, given we’re in unprecedented levels of change in people and the reality of not knowing…not knowing when this is going to end, right? Not knowing how you might be personally impacted, what is next year going to look like. Certainly questions I’m asking myself. How your business is going to be effective. We’re truly in a state of chaos, and the future feels very unknowable, as it normally is, but even more so now, right?

Susan 18:10

Susan Drumm 18:10
So, you know, I…I think leaders…what we found is leaders with a high level of resilience are viewed as being more effective by their managers, by their peers, direct reports, and firms that have this ability to bounce back from change and adversity don’t just survive, but they thrive. So it’s a more important skill now than it’s ever been because of the change that we’re dealing with.

JoDee 18:40
Yeah, I agree. Susan, how do depleting emotions affect our bodies, and at the same time, how do renewing emotions affect our body?

Susan Drumm 18:52
Yeah, I want to make the connection between resilience and emotions. You know, I think sometimes in business, they people want to separate emotions and business, but you…we are emotional beings, and they are…and they are directly tied with your ability to be resilient. So when I talk about depleting emotions, what we’re talking about there is emotions, such as fear, frustration, impatience, and anger, and they create a toxic feeling in our bodies and release stress hormones. In fact, these emotions create a cascade of 1,400 biochemical changes in our bodies. Now there…it’s not to say…you know, these are normal emotions, but how much are we continually pumping our bodies with that type of emotion? It was designed to just, you know…imagine a deer in savannah plains feels the fear, runs away, and then goes back to life as normal. Well, the problem is we’re not…we’re not allowing ourselves to get back to homeostasis, and we’re staying in that, and it’s really depleting our bodies, but also our ability to think. So when that’s happening, it’s almost like you’re not using the highest reasoning parts of the brain. And if you contrast that with renewing emotions, renewing emotions, such as care and appreciation and love, those are having very different…different biochemical changes. There are 1,400 different chemicals going into your body there. One of them is DHA, which is the happy hormone or the vitality hormone. And so the more we can access these types of emotions and direct our energy to move away from those things, and to not stay in it, right? Use the information if you’re in fear or frustration, but not keep reliving it and reliving it, because you’re just, at the end of the day, doing damage to your body, one, but two, you’re also not in the highest reasoning part of the brain to be able to make the decisions that you need to make in these types of unprecedented change times.

JoDee 21:03
Yeah. You know, I love the analogy about the deer and thinking about the deer just running away. And in today’s times we don’t have anywhere to run to, right? We’re living and working in our same savannah, if you will, that we don’t have any place to go.

Susan Drumm 21:20
Where you go…I think where we have to go is go within, right? So the work is really…your safe place is to go within, kind of shut out the world for a moment. Obviously, a big believer in meditation, but that is…is truly where you could go to be safe and learn some techniques to be able to go there so you can recharge yourself to be able to go out and run away from the tiger again, right?

JoDee 21:44
Yeah, yeah. Love it.

Susan 21:47
I love knowing about D…is it DHA, the happy hormone? Yeah, I want more of that. Sign me up. I’ve heard you use the term “coherence.” Can…can you talk a little bit about what is coherence and why is it important?

Susan Drumm 21:59
Yeah, coherence is the optimal state where heart and brain are aligned. You know, what most people don’t realize is the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. And so the brain takes its cues from the heart and what’s going on with the heart. And the way we measure that is HRV, or heart rate variability. So coherence shows…and we can actually measure this, there are…there…there are apps I can talk about after the show, when you’re in a state of coherence is your heart sending a clear signal to your brain, and you can measure that by…it’s almost like a perfect sine wave on the heart rate variability. When you’re in a state of incoherence, the analogy is, you know, you’ve got one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas with your car. It’s a jerky ride. And that’s where you see heart rate variability on, you know, if you were to look at that being monitored, it looks like a jagged line. So coherence is the state of optimal performance. Your heart and brain are aligned.

JoDee 23:01
I love it. Susan, I know that you are a certified HeartMath trainer. What does that mean? Can you tell us more about that?

Susan Drumm 23:10
Yes, HeartMath is an amazing institute that’s done a lot of this research that I’m talking about, looking at how do our emotions affect our body physiologically, and being able to look at and measure how do we…if we intentionally shift emotions, what does that do to our body? So they’re the ones behind doing the research and creating some of the techniques to be able to get into coherence. The fascinating thing is, when I went through the training, it wasn’t just other coaches on. In fact, a lot of them were people that have to deal with intense high-stress situations. There were probably less coaches, there were more….There were EMT workers. There was an F-16 fighter pilot, basically needed…wanted to train his squadron on these techniques, because they have to make split-second decisions, so they better not go to fight or fight, they better be in the highest reasoning part of the brain. Also, I think it was the head of…Chief of Police for all of Colombia. He was learning the techniques so that he could – Colombia the country – he…so that he could teach his officers to be able to remain coherent and not go to fight or flight in the face of danger. So you can see how these techniques are just…For me, I wanted to bring this to leaders, because I also think they’re dealing with…certainly not necessarily life or death situations, but…but can feel just as stressful when I have to contemplate furloughing employees, I’ve got to contemplate maybe shutting down certain…given this crisis. How do I take care of, first, myself so that I’m making the best decisions for those that are working in the company?

Susan 24:57
Amazing. So I would love to hear some of those proven techniques that we might be able to develop the capacity to prepare for, recover from, or adapt in…faced with stress, challenge, change, or adversity. What are some of them?

Susan Drumm 25:10
So our program looks at three main areas, and I’m going to focus in on one. So there is coherence that you can do, or work you can do, to build resilience from the heart, which is the HeartMath things that I’ve been talking about. There are also things around the head, which is looking at the inner critic and how you get into some loops sometimes. And then there’s work we do also with the body to…for the body to be resilient. So today, I’m going to focus in on one of the heart techniques, and there are many techniques, so…so this one is just a simple, quick one that I think is really best done in this type of forum that people can start practicing today. In fact, I would encourage that. The technique is called “quick coherence,” and it will get your body into a state of coherence, in that perfect sine wave that I mentioned before. It’s so simple that sometimes I’m like, really? This is actually…. But…but the data…and I will tell you the app that I use that…that shows that is profound, because when I’m out of coherence, it will show me and when I’m in coherency, it will show me. So let’s…would you be game to try the technique right now?

Susan 26:22
Absolutely. I want coherence.

Susan Drumm 26:24
It’s very simple. So I do this every morning and every night and also often before stressful situations, or even just in the middle of the day to reset. Now you can do this with your eyes open or closed. And it’s not meditation, and it’s not mindfulness. So if you imagine this technique, you need to be able to…this is the same technique that, you know, if an EMT is dealing with a high stress situation, they’re not going to, like, go off and close their eyes and go, “om.” You know, they have to be in the moment. So how do you, in the moment, kind of remember some of these. But for the first time I think will take a little bit more time and it…it will feel maybe a little bit more like meditation, even though it’s not it’s not designed for that. What you want to do is focus the attention on the area of your heart and imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area a bit slower and deeper than usual. So you might think five seconds in and five seconds out. So just take a moment to center yourself doing that. That’s step one.

And now step two is to make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative emotion, such as appreciation, care, or love for someone or something in your life. Could be a pet, a favorite place. Do your best to really feel that emotion.

Alright. How did that feel?

Susan 28:50
It felt great. I gotta tell the listeners, it’s the first time I had my eyes closed during a podcast, and it really…it felt great.

JoDee 28:59
It did feel good to me too. I think…I love the thought of practicing this or doing this during a stressful situation, because typically, my…you know, I think our hearts want to race or we want to think about what should I do, what should I do, as opposed to just going in that relaxing state of thinking about your heart.

Susan Drumm 29:22
Exactly. And so, you know, you can do this. No one needs to know that you’re doing this. If you start to feel your heart race, maybe in the middle of a meeting, start breathing a little bit slower and deeper, and then just connect, again, to a positive emotion, such as care or appreciation. And the more you can connect to that, then it’s slow….it’s basically reversing that from depleting emotions to renewing emotions. And you’ll find that your system…you’ll get a hold of your brain in a better way and be able to think more clearly for whatever needs to happen. And…but the thing is, here’s…the more you practice it, that’s why I say you can do it before stressful situations, but also to do it when things are not stressful, like first thing in the morning, maybe last thing before you go to bed. Because the more you practice it, the more you use…you change your setpoint, where you’re operating from a coherent state more often during your day. And I’ve seen that. I’ve been practicing this, I think, for about two years now. I’ve really seen how, you know, I’m in more of a…more of this state more of the time. And that’s ultimately when we say, resilience. So I want to…I didn’t define it earlier, but it’s…it’s really the capacity to prepare for change, adversity. Not just the ability to bounce back from. So if you can think about it as an inner battery that you keep charged. When your battery is depleted, it’s hard to handle things that are coming at you. But if you keep your battery topped up, then you can handle the inevitable things that are going to happen in the world towards you. I mean, this being a big one, but you need to keep…and I’m so glad I had this practice when COVID hit. And this is what I really want to get out to the world, because people need to feel that they have something as a grounding mechanism that’s very simple. If you can do it…you know, we only did it for a few minutes. If you can do it for about five minutes a day to build that coherence level, I said again in the morning, at night, when things are not so stressful, in the middle of the day, perhaps, that will help you when the stress comes. And sometimes I even do it longer. Sometimes I even do match it with meditation in a way, so I played with it to some degree, but the key steps, again, are breathing a little bit slower and deeper, because that syncs up the autonomic nervous system, and then connecting to the renewing emotion. So those are the two main steps, and they’re easy peasy, but man, make a huge difference in your life.

JoDee 31:55
Yeah, very powerful. I love it and I’m excited to try it, too. So Susan, if our listeners have questions or want to learn more about this technique or others that you’ve talked about how might they reach you?

Susan Drumm 32:09
We have a little download that talks about the benefits of resilience, and also on there is a link where you can get the sensor, or the app that will…if you want to see whether or not you’re hitting coherence, it’s where you can purchase that. So you can find that at our website at Meritage Leadership slash JoyPowered. So specifically for your…for your listeners. So Meritage Leadership is spelled M-E-R-I-T-A-G-E Leadership dot com, slash JoyPowered. And you can download that and it’ll have some information on the benefits of resilience, a little bit about the program that we do, there’s an infographic about those head, heart, and body resilience, and then a link in there to get the inner balance sensor, should you like to test and really see visually how how your heart rhythms are doing in coherence or out of coherence.

JoDee 33:12
Awesome. And, of course, for our listeners, we’ll have a link to that in our show notes as well. Well, Susan, thank you so much for joining us today. That was great information and a great technique for us to walk away with.

Susan Drumm 33:26

Susan 33:26

Susan Drumm 33:27
Thank you so much.

JoDee 33:28
Susan, a listener sent us this question. “I have a Gen X employee that constantly asks a Gen Z employee for tech help. How can we foster the growth of both employees?”

Susan 33:42
That’s a great question. We know that Gen X are people that were born between 1965 and 1980, and of course Gen Z are individuals that were born between 1997 and 2012. Now, those numbers do vary by…depending on which study you look at, but those are roughly the right ages. The fact is, is that I think it’s important to talk to each individual. It is possible that the Gen X-er really enjoys teaming up with this Gen Z-er and that they’re learning from each other. I think it’s important to teach people how to fish and not just constantly feed them, but I would talk to them about that. Let’s use this as kind of a reverse mentoring or a buddy system. How can you both pick each other’s brain learn from each other and grow from it? If that doesn’t seem to be working, you know, maybe what you want to do is think about it more programmatically. If we, as an organization, we know that we’ve got folks that really could use some upskilling in technology, maybe we open it up and…particularly this Gen X-er, but anybody else from any generation, let’s really do some back to basics. Let’s get people really upskilled so that they can be strong performers. JoDee, any other advice you might have?

JoDee 34:53
Well, I just want to say that I love your answer in all regards, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re Gen X or Gen Z or baby boomers or millennials or whatever you call it, that we can all learn from each other and we all have different strengths and different ideas. And…and so, look at it as an opportunity not just to pigeonhole yourself into a generation, but to share knowledge and information with others you work with.

Susan 35:23
Makes good sense. And I’ve been reading about the generation that’s being born right now, and the term I’m hearing them use a lot about that generation is Generation Alpha, or Gen Alpha.

JoDee 35:34
Ooh, I haven’t heard that. I like it.

Susan 35:37
Sounds like we’re starting at the beginning of the alphabet, Gen Alpha, right?

JoDee 35:40
Ran out of letters.

Susan 35:42
That’s it. That’s it. Oh, what fun?

JoDee 35:44
Sort of like hurricanes, right? When you get to Z, you start all over again.

Susan 35:48
That’s exactly right. So it’s time for in the news. In late June 2020, President Trump signed an executive order that prioritized job skills over education credentials for federal government jobs. Here are a couple of relevant facts. The U.S. government employs 2.1 million civilians. Currently, two thirds of Americans do not have college degrees. So when you put those two stats together, you realize two thirds of Americans really weren’t eligible for a lot of government jobs, where college degrees were required. So this change in the selection criteria is going to be very interesting to watch unfold. No doubt there will be implications, as having a college degree was a common requirement for federal jobs. I’ll tell you, I’m not usually one to be very interested in executive orders. In fact, I think, ooh, that’s kind of minimizing the three branches of government. But I do think there’s times and places for it, and this is one that I personally think is a great idea. I don’t know what you think JoDee?

JoDee 36:47
Yeah, no, I love it as well. And typically, we stay away from politics on a personal and podcasts level. So I…

Susan 36:56
Really important, because JoDee and I are polar opposites.

JoDee 36:58
That’s right. That’s right. But I think it’s really important, and I have to tell you, I’m blown away that two thirds of Americans do not have college degrees. So that was very interesting for me.

Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. If you liked the show, please tell your friends about it. And let us know what you think of our podcast by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcasts. It helps new people find our show. The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Susan 37:38
You can learn more about JoyPowered® and find our books and blogs at We’re @JoyPowered on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Sign up for our monthly email newsletter at

JoDee 37:54
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Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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