PODCAST

Thriving On Vulnerability

“I just kind of stopped having shame. I thrive on vulnerability. I get to just be me , I get to make mistakes, and I get to learn from people who have a lot more experience. I think any particular wisdom that I might have at this point in my life just comes from being willing to talk about all the things with people, and hear what they have to say”  

Trust, leadership and ethics speaker Dallin Cooper, author of Get On The Bull

Answers to meeting our goals in life probably depend on trust. We model what we see and reciprocate. Vulnerability is the other side of trust.  Vulnerability extends trust. Trusting calls for vulnerability. We need to trust others first.  We are trusting them not to hurt us.  Scarily, there are no guarantees!  We have to put ourselves in a spot where we run the risk of getting hurt. Ironically, to build trust, we have to give others the chance to become trustworthy. 

 

This leads into a whole field of research about how to develop trust, what trust is, and what are the unifying characteristics of the people who you want to be around, identifying who are doing great things and who are able to make differences in the world.

“I am not achieving 100% all the time. I’m trying to do my best. Reality check – we are all going to make mistakes.  Honesty is a fundamental ingredient for building trust. Nothing’s destroys trust quite like lying to people all the time. Most of us would also say that honesty is a core element of ethical behaviour.  A very important part of building trust is accountability and taking responsibility for your actions.  What helps? “Caring about how other people are feeling and what they’re thinking and trying to understand their needs.

[00:00:00] Paula: Welcome to “TesseLeads” with your host, Tesse Akpeki and co-host Paula Okonneh. Our podcast “TesseLeads” is a safe, sensitive, and supportive place and space. Here guests share how they are navigating a diverse range of challenges, confronting their dilemmas, and shaping their futures. Our guest today is none other but the awesome Dallin Cooper. Dallin is a speaker, he’s a consultant, and he is the author of a leadership book called “Get on the Bull”. He has founded and sold both a marketing agency and a sustainable dog chew company. And he also just launched his own podcast called “Ethics for Humans”. There’s some fun things that we found out about Dallin, and one of them is that he grew up as a shepherd. Can you believe that? A second thing is that he has lived in China for some time. And the third is that he onced rehabilitated two traumatized rescue Al Packers. Today we are going to be talking about rising to the challenge, and we will have none other than the amazing, awesome, wonderful Dallin Cooper tell us all about that. So welcome to “TesseLeads” and I’ll turn it over to you and Tesse.

[00:01:45] Tesse: Hi, welcome Dallin, and I’m just so excited to have you on the show. Thank you for saying yes, .

[00:01:54] Dallin: Thank you for having me.

[00:01:57] Tesse: You know, you are amazing. I’ve read your work. I heard you on sound view, and I just thought, wow, you’re just someone who I want to connect with. And when I talked to Paula, she agreed. And you know, I’ve listened to a number of shows where you’ve been a podcast guest. And I have come across a book called “Get on the Bull”. And there’s something that stood out for me. And this is a saying, “when you become a person that can be trusted, you become someone that can lead, uplift, and make meaningful change”. Please say a bit more about that.

[00:02:39] Dallin: So I think that trust is probably one of the most important things in the world, period. And there are a few other people who have done some really cool things in the trust space. One of the first attempts at writing a book that I made, and that book has not yet come into existence, and maybe one day it will, was very much all about trust. Because the more I thought about what is it that makes people happy? What is it that makes strong relationships? What is it that makes people fun to be around? To make them good leaders? To make them good bosses? No matter what question I asked, the answer ended up coming back to trust, right? Like, do you wanna make more money? Well, then you need to trust people and they need to trust you. Do you wanna have more free time? Well, you need to trust people to handle things, and they need to trust you to take care of things with a flexible schedule. Like insert whatever your goal in life is here, and the answer is probably trust. And I said that quote at one point, because it really is, if you want to accomplish most things, trust is one of the prerequisites. And obviously that leads into a whole field of research about how to develop trust and what trust is, and that becomes a big thing. But It’s very much a unifying characteristic of the people who you wanna be around and who are doing great things. Who are able to make differences in the world. We were chatting briefly before the show that many of the governments were in different countries. But one unifying factor we have is that governments tend to be really dysfunctional sometimes. And a lot of the population is sitting there being like, wow, why can’t our government just get it together? And it’s because a lot of times half the population doesn’t trust them at any given point in time, right? Can you imagine if you just literally trusted every politician in our current world, I would call you an idiot if you trusted every politician. But wouldn’t that be awesome if they were all trustworthy? They made campaign promises and then they all did them. Like, wow, how neat would that be? And a lot of our governments and our systems and our structures are just completely paralyzed. They’re kind of cut off at the knees because they don’t trust each other. The different people within the system, the administration, the government, they don’t trust each other. The people they’re supposed to be helping don’t trust them. They don’t trust the people they’re helping. And so then you just create this giant mess and nobody actually gets helped, and nothing is actually made better.

[00:05:26] Tesse: I love that answer, cause sometimes another thing that happens is paralysis analysis. You know, people just analyze things to death and do nothing. And it gets so hard to have access and all those kind of things. But you’re right that it all starts with trust. Trust the competent, the capability, the likability, the humility, the echo rather than ego. All those things go into trust, and I really like what you’ve said. In fact, I don’t just like it, I love it. Paula. I love it so much. I’m kind of like gonna sit with that love. I’m passing over to you.

[00:06:00] Paula: Yeah, I mean, I love it. Especially when I know that Dallin talked earlier on prior to this podcast recording, about ethical leadership. And when we think about trust, you think it goes hand in hand with ethics. And I know you place a lot of emphasis on ethics and all, but is still ethical leadership. So tell me about that. You’ve gave us a very good apt description on what trust was. Where does that come into play with ethics? Are they one on the same thing or not? And I know this is a bit unfair. This seems like a very complicated question, but it isn’t. It’s just what I know one of the things you are passionate about.

[00:06:42] Dallin: So this feels kind of like one of those, a square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares type of things. I’m not sure which one is the square and which one’s the rectangle though. Right? It’s like trust and ethics go together a lot, and many of the principles are the same, right? I would say that honesty is a fundamental ingredient for building trust, right? Nothing’s gonna destroy trust quite like lying to people all the time. And most of us would also say that honesty is a core element of ethical behavior. I also believe that a very important part of building trust is accountability, right? Taking responsibility for your actions. We are all going to make mistakes. That is life. Often you actually build more trust by making mistakes than if you do everything right. Because if you let people see you make mistakes, and then you let them see you fix the mistakes, now they know how you handle mistakes. So if all you’ve ever seen from someone is the perfect shiny surface, you have to ask yourself like, okay, what are they hiding? What’s it look like when everything goes wrong? Because is this all front? Is it all fake? Is this like manicured? So when I was doing digital marketing, a lot of my local marketing clients, you know, a dentist or whatever, would work really hard to get all the five star reviews on like Google. I would tell them like, don’t try and get rid of the one star reviews. You actually want one star reviews, because a business that has 4.8 stars or 4.9 stars actually performs better than one that has all five. Cause if you have a thousand 5 star reviews, it’s sketchy. It’s like nobody has that many customers and never messes up. Right? It’s like, did you buy these? Did you bribe people? Are they all your family and friends? Like It feels off to us, and it’s like nobody’s that perfect. You know if you only have like three or four or five star reviews sure, that’s fine. But when you’re up into the hundreds, it’s like really? You’ve never messed up? You’ve never had a misunderstanding that made a customer angry? Yeah, right. What’s more likely is that you have a handful of one star reviews and then people go to the one star reviews and they read the review, and then they read your response. Because they know that you mess up. Like that’s implied by being a person. You aren’t gonna convince someone you don’t make mistakes. They wanna see how you handle it. So I think accountability is a crucial part of building trust, cause people want to see how you handle your mistakes. I would say that accountability is a crucial part of ethics, because, again, if you’re wanting to be a good person, if you’re wanting to be responsible to those around you, you’re gonna mess up. But it’s how you handle those mistakes. It’s how you own them. Take responsibility for your actions. Ethics is kind of a scary field to be in. Because at some point, I’m gonna say something, probably a lot of some things and people are gonna really hate me for it. They are going to be like, but Dallin you are supposed to be this good person that did all the things right. And like, why don’t you practice what you preach? And it’s like, I’m probably gonna lie at some point and someone’s gonna be like, Dallin, you always talk about honesty and how important it is. And it’s like, yep, it sure is important, but that doesn’t mean that I am 100% at it all the time. Like I’m trying. That’s kind of the terrifying accountability thing of this entire field. It’s like trying to build your reputation on helping people to be better people. And it’s like, I don’t know if I’m even a good person yet. So I’m talking in circles a little bit. But you can take these principles. Honesty, accountability, I would say compassion also. Whether you call it compassion or empathy, consideration, perspective. I’ve used all of those words in different ways of caring about how other people are feeling and what they’re thinking and trying to understand their needs. All of those things are things that build trust. They are also things that make you a more ethical person. I would say that ethical people are likely more trustworthy. I would think that there’s probably a correlation that people who are trustworthy are usually also ethical. But it probably isn’t always the case. I think we’ve probably all trusted people before and found out that we shouldn’t have. Because they were not being morally upright, and that’s how it goes sometimes. So there’s a lot of overlap, and there’s a lot of overlap in the principles for sure. A leader who is trusted and worthy of trust is more likely to be unethical leader and vice versa. But they aren’t like quite exactly the same thing, maybe that’s just pedantic.

[00:11:36] Paula: I love your answer. What was going through my mind is that he’s answered it as a true millennial, and why I say that is that. One thing I love about millennials is their honesty and their ability to be transparent. And that has worked in the favor of baby boomers. In that what millennials have done is to say, “hey, we are all humans, we’re gonna mess up. But what we can work on is seeing how we can correct our mistakes and try not to make those mistakes, knowing fully well that you may make those mistakes. But the effort seen in making the correction is what makes you a lot more approachable. And in some ways makes us more compassionate, so that people can see us as who we are. Because I think better leaders are leaders who show those that they’re leading that, look, I’m human. I’m going to err. I’m gonna make mistakes. But I’m here because I wanna help you, and we can grow by me growing. So I love your answer. Thank you for that.

[00:12:41] Dallin: It is interesting. I feel like we’ve really developed that level of, okay, we’re gonna mess up. We’re gonna make mistakes. It’s okay. You need to just, you gotta own those mistakes and grow and move on. And that seems to apply up until you reach a certain level of fame. And then it’s like if you’re really famous, then like cancel culture kicks in, and it’s like, no mistakes or you’re out. And I don’t know how that happened, where it’s like everybody gets mercy up until this level of famous. And then if you say something that we don’t like 10 years ago. It’s over. Your career is ruined. Okay, hopefully I just never end up that famous. Hopefully I’m.

[00:13:26] Tesse: You know I love what you’re saying Dallin. In fact, you can see I’m a fan of yours. You know, I’m super fan of Dallin Cooper. And you know what you’re saying and what Paula has mentioned about you being a millennial, and I think for me that is so rewarding for our future. Cause you know, our future is in good hands because of millennials today. I’m a big believer in that. But, I’m going to make a comment and then ask a question. Cause I’m a big fan of Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability. And being a fan of her work on vulnerability. And she’s also written a book, co-written it on “Shame and Guilt in the Black community”. And that also touched me about how race and vulnerability are tied together. So I’ve read that. And I also recently came across Gary Chapman’s book, which is on Apologies. And the types of apology, how to say sorry and actually mean it. Now, what these things are doing is a revelation to me, because I try and practice what these books are saying, and I’m finding out not easy. Not easy to say, sorry, and admit I mess up and I use what I’m gonna do to put it right and all those kind of things. But on a more kind of deeper level, I’m actually enjoying my life more now, because of that space of release of not being perfect. I never was. So the thing about being, I would ever be perfect in itself was a myth. It was never, never true. So that release of I’m human, I get it wrong, I mess up, I can cause correct, you know, all that. As long as I have a cause, I have a purpose. All those sort of things are so helpful. So I’m gonna come back to you, and this is my question. How did you get to be with this mindset at your age? I mean, I’m kind of like, whoa. How did you get here? What was your journey like coming to this place where you are now?

[00:15:15] Dallin: As my wife would say, it must be terrifying to live in my brain. And that is the thing that she has told me on multiple occasions. You wanna talk analysis paralysis. I am not fun to go to lunch with. Menus are just terrifying to me cause there’s so much to think about. And one of the things that’s kind of hard is we have no clue how other people think, right? Like I’ve often wished I could switch brains with my wife for a day, just like see through her eyes. Because it’s like you must have a fundamentally different view of just like the world than me. And it would be very interesting to be able to see and feel and think how she does. The amount of like compassion and perspective that would give would be so cool. Cause all we have is like our own little brain and narrative. So I don’t know if I actually think that different from like my wife. But I just think about stuff a lot. Like somebody asked me on one of these things, like, how do you come up with these ideas for like this book and these videos and all the things you do? And I was kind of stunned. I was like, I don’t know. You see things happen and then I just think about them for a long time until stuff comes out, right? Until I come up with ideas or answers. And I don’t think that I have extra special insight powers or anything. But I actually really love vulnerability as a topic, because it is the other side of trust, right? We talked about trust and like vulnerability is extending trust. It’s trusting someone else, not getting them to trust you, but you are trusting them not to hurt you. And so it’s like giving someone else the chance. And I have for a very long time just loved that idea. If Brene Brown didn’t already just have it on lock, I would have pursued vulnerability as a topic of expertise more. But it’s like, you know what, Brene, you got this covered way better than I think I ever could. Because I quickly realized after the awkward teenage years, which are just a tough time for everyone and nobody’s comfortable with themselves. I just kind of stopped having shame. I thrive on vulnerability. Like I think it’s a blast often to the concern of everyone around me, because I don’t have any topic that I feel like is off topic. Like I’m comfortable talking with anyone about anything, and vulnerability is something that I really enjoy. I like the act of trusting people. And I think that has caused me to put myself in a lot of situations where I get to learn from other people. Because I don’t have a lot of barriers. I don’t have like the shell and the mask that many people put up to try to protect themselves from that vulnerability. And because of that, I get to just be me and I get to make mistakes, and I get to learn from people who have a lot more experience. And I think any particular wisdom that I might have at this point in my life just comes from being willing to talk about all the things with all the people, and hear what they have to say. Because there have been a lot of times that I’ve said, oh my goodness guys, like here’s this crazy idea. Wouldn’t it be cool if this were the case? Or have you ever thought about this neat concept? And then somebody says “Dallin that’s idiotic, right? Like you couldn’t do that and that would never work. And you say, “oh, you’re right, that is idiotic”. But what if it were this way? And then that version’s better, and they’re like, “okay, maybe that makes sense”. But a lot of times if you’re scared of the vulnerability, you never get past that first step. First, you might not be comfortable sharing the idea at all, so you never get the feedback. Or you share the idea and you get the response down, that’s idiotic. And that shuts you down. Because nobody likes being told that their idea that they think is cool is not cool. I don’t know if you’ve heard the stereotype of like, you know, the kid in their physics class. It’s like their freshman physics class and they’re like, wait, but what if we put a race car on a train and it creates infinite energy and we solve the energy crisis forever? And it’s like, okay, I know that you’ve learned one month’s worth of physics. But I don’t think you actually can solve the energy crisis like way smarter people than you have tried. I was that guy. I was that guy who was like, “hey, it’s one month into ethics class, guys what if this revolutionized ethics forever”? And you know, ethics professor is like, “okay, Dallin that’s a fun idea and all, but there’s some bigger pictures here”. And being willing to just put the stuff out there and get feedback and get criticism, and keep going despite that. Not letting that make you withdraw and quit being vulnerable. I don’t know if that, that’s a very interesting question.

[00:20:11] Tesse: We thought long and hard to ask you that. Cause the things that you’re bringing up to my mind and that is vulnerability to practice it. It’s kind of scary. But as I said, for me, I found it quite liberating. So one of the things I did, I went for counseling, and for the first time in my life I invited my friend to come to this counseling session. I’ve never ever ever ever taken anybody with me to my counseling session. But this was this year. And taking her to this session was taking a risk. But we have drawn closer because she came to that session. We’ve actually become even closer friends because she saw the vulnerability. And just today she just dropped by and said, you are my mind, I’m just thinking about you. Guess what? She was right. I needed her with me today. So there’s something about what you’re saying about the barriers come down. You’re extending trust. But more than that, people see each other rather than see past each other. They actually see you. Obviously not everybody that you can do that with. But when you do it, and when you imagine extending that to our workplaces. Imagine how we are when we are saying, actually, I’m not coping today, I’m struggling here. Imagine how it is when we celebrate together and we know what we are celebrating. Envy and jealousy doesn’t become part of that equation. Just imagine what becomes possible. And with you Dallin, I think we should do more of it. We should actually take the risk and be vulnerable in a safe way, but actually be in that space. Paula, what do you think? What are your thoughts here?

[00:21:50] Paula: I love everything you’re saying. Because yeah, when barriers come down, lots of things float to the top, you know. It’s almost like a little child who says what’s on their mind, but you get really honest answers. You know, when you are vulnerable, when you’re open to hearing things from a different angle and hearing different perspectives. For example, I know we talked about being in different countries and how the cultures differ. There’s some things I’ve sat back in my quiet time and thought, “hmm, that’s a better way of doing what I’ve always known all my life”, you know? So, but Dallin, I love what you said about being vulnerable, because it’s allowed you to be you. You know, people now know this is who Dallin is. And so some of the questions or some of the ideas you put out there, people are thinking it, but they’re not brave enough to say it. And when you do say it, you now put it out open for discussion. And change comes about by being honest and saying things and looking at things from different angles. So I’m happy that you are talking about it. I’m happy that you are comfortable with being vulnerable. Because that’s where change comes about. Many times people talk, in my opinion, negatively about millennials. But I love millennials. I love Gen Z. Because I think they are addressing things that have been there and not been talked about, but need to be talked about.

[00:23:12] Dallin: So the secret is I’m just, I’m barely a millennial, just barely. I’m right at the bottom edge. That shows you how old millennials are now. It’s like, I’m like the youngest millennial. I’m like, there are some, depending on where you draw the line, there are some who would say that I’m the next one, is that Gen Z? I don’t even know.

[00:23:34] Paula: Yes, it’s Gen Z. Yeah. But you’re setting the stage so that Gen Z can do some of the things that you guys haven’t been able to accomplish. Because sometimes what happens is that as we get older and especially when we start families, we are like, okay, that was a great idea when I was 24, but now I have two mouths to feed or more responsibility. This is not such a great idea.

[00:23:58] Dallin: That’s the reason I sold the marketing agency the first time. That was the first business I started. I only sold it once. But that’s the first business I started and you know, we were doing pretty good and it was a blast. But it’s that whole like, I don’t know how much money I’m gonna make next month type life, right? Like that entrepreneurship life of some months are really great, and then some months are really tight. And when my wife was pregnant with our first son, it was like, you know, just the two of us, we make enough to at least get by all the time. But suddenly, once there’s a tiny person that relies on you in the equation, the idea of not knowing how much money you’re gonna make next month or whether you’re gonna be able to buy all the food, it suddenly becomes a lot more terrifying. It’s like, all right stability would be good. Just a little bit .

[00:24:50] Paula: Absolutely. Well, Dallin all good things do have to come to an end. I mean, we could have this conversation for hours, but it looks like we’re probably gonna have to have another podcast recording with you. But I do have one last question, and that is, what are your key takeaways for our listening audience? I know what I’ve gotten from this. But what do you wanna share? So that when the podcast ends, they can say, “hmm, he said something that has stuck with me”.

[00:25:19] Dallin: Oh man, the pressure is on. You may have noticed I am not the best at being succinct.

[00:25:26] Paula: You are.

[00:25:26] Tesse: Yeah, you are.

[00:25:28] Dallin: So I would say from our conversation here, and it’s is such a dangerous one to paint with broad strokes. But in situations where your safety isn’t at risk or anything, push the boundary of what you are comfortable being vulnerable with. Because everybody wants to be trusted, right? There’s a lot out there about how can I better relationships by helping me trust me more? How can I be more trustworthy? But we also have to remember that everyone else feels that way too. And nobody can ever be trusted if we never give them a chance to prove themselves as trustworthy. And the only way we can do that is by being vulnerable. We have to put ourselves in a spot where we run the risk of getting hurt. So that other people have the chance to become trustworthy. And often that will end up putting them in a situation where they’re willing to be vulnerable with you. And just the last thought, again, I think of it so much with my kids, that often if I want them to be honest and open up with me, I need to be honest and vulnerable and open up with them first. We model what we see, we reciprocate. So if you want someone to trust, be vulnerable and trust them first. And that’s really scary. But it makes a big difference in relationships and in life. And like what’s the worst case scenario? Again, outside of extreme circumstances, like you get hurt and you find out that that person isn’t super trustworthy and you can move on and that’s how it goes. But the best case scenario is you make a lifelong friend and grow and learn and become a way better person. And personally I think that’s worth the risk.

[00:27:16] Paula: I am leaving with that phrase in my mind, that no one can be trusted if we don’t give them a chance to be trustworthy. So push that boundary. I love it Dallin, I do love it. And so to our precious listeners, we want you to know that your stories and your lives matter. Just like Dallin said, give everyone an opportunity to prove themself first. Don’t make them guilty first. Innocent until proven guilty in other words. And so sharing your stories with others could support, encourage and nurture them. Listeners may be reassured by knowing they’re never alone. And so for our listeners, please head over to “Apple Podcast”, “Google Podcast”, “Spotify”, or anywhere you listen to podcasts and please click subscribe. And if you have found “TesseLeads” helpful, please let us know in your reviews. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, send us a note. And if you would like to be a guest on our show, “TesseLeads”, head over to “www.tesseleads.com” to apply. We would love to have you. Thanks again Dallin. You’ve been amazing.

[00:28:32] Tesse: You’ve been amazing. Awesome. Refreshing

[00:28:34] Dallin: Thank you for having me.

[00:28:37] Paula: Refreshing. I love that.

[00:28:38] Tesse: Refreshing, honestly. Re-energizing.

Sara Comes Dancing

The choreography of life leads to a growing realisation that dancing in leadership is more relevant as ever.  Dance like no one’s watching,

Sara Ramsey’s love of dancing led her to dance in the world amateur championships at the Royal Albert Hall. During the Covid lockdown she reconnected with her love of dance.  Bragging rights?   She did her fair share of Fox trotting with Anton Du Beke pre his fame. While people baked sourdough bread, she studied the psychology of dance and has developed a course for teams. “Dancing is really good for connecting people. People dance in sync with each other, build trust and connect with others” says Sara.”

Leaders need to be more agile, responsive and adaptable.  There is a choreography of people doing different things and thinking differently.  

People who work together start dancing together; especially important when they are co-leaders. Watch who tends to lead and who tends to follow. How are you dancing?   Sara also fell in love with open floor dancing which she feels embodies emotions. By moving in sync with each other you build that trust connection and start getting into real co-creative moments. Our body tells us a lot.  Listen to it. What is it telling you?

Sara’s last words? 

“Dancing in sync builds connection between you and your team members. Freestyle dancing enhances creativity, encourages problem solving and sparks innovation. So before you go into your next strategic planning session, you might just want a bit of freestyle dancing. “

[00:00:00] Paula: Welcome to “TesseLeads” with your host, Tesse Akpeki and co-host Paula Okonneh. “TesseLeads” is a safe, sensitive, and supportive place and space where guests share how they are navigating diverse ranges of challenges confronting their dilemmas and shaping their futures. The theme today is “Sara Comes Dancing” because our guest is none other than Sara Ramsey. And off Microphone we had a good laugh, because we realized that we are part of a club called “Lipstick United”. And Sara, what do you have to say about that? 

[00:00:48] Sara: Yeah, we’d all put our lipsticks on we noted as we came into this. So I asked Tesse and Paula, I said, cause you know what happens to a woman without lipstick and which they replied no. And I said, nothing.

[00:01:07] Tesse: You know, it’s so funny.

[00:01:12] Paula: Right. So that’s why “Lipstick United” or is it Lipstickers United. I don’t know which one we’re gonna keep. But yeah, we definitely have a bond, don’t we? 

[00:01:23] Tesse: Yeah, I like Lipstick United.

[00:01:27] Paula: Lipstick United. 

[00:01:29] Tesse: Oh wow. Sara thank you so much for bringing such a sense of fun. Now I get rather curious, what has led to your love of dancing?

[00:01:41] Sara: Yeah, it wasn’t just the lipstick, honestly. It wasn’t lipstick. I mean, I started dancing when I was six years old. I was the youngest child. My mom was like, this girl has too much energy. We need to do something. So I was sent off to the local dance class and I just fell in love with it, and it became my, became my life. I just loved going and I competed and there was all sort of friends there. And I was competing until I was about, I don’t know, 19 I think. I danced in the, I didn’t come anywhere. But I danced in the world amateur championships at the Royal Albert Hall. So that was very special. I love dancing. And then I reached 19, decided that I wasn’t gonna be a professional born dancer after all. And went into the world of work and sort of taught a little bit. But kind of went into it. So went completely from being something sort of very physical to went all into a left brain world of just thinking and doing all that stuff, and sadly, sadly, didn’t really dance very much at all. Until a few years ago. So I think probably falling in love with dance actually happened a few years ago. I think for me it was other people were baking sourdough in Covid lockdown, I really fell in love with dance. 

[00:03:01] Tesse: Wow, that’s amazing. And you know in that time of your dance passion and everything, did you meet anybody famous or anybody who we could recognize. Now I’m gonna put it out there that I am a Strictly Come Dancing fan. Was there anybody whose faces on strictly that you know you actually met on that journey? Come on. Bragging rights, bragging rights. 

[00:03:25] Sara: Yeah, I’ve competed against a few of the pros. But Anton Du Beke, I have done more than my fair share of Fox trotting with Anton Du Beke. And he is a pure gen and wonderful man to foxtrot with. 

[00:03:38] Tesse: Anton. Wow. Yeah. I wonder how anybody can top that. That’s fantastic. Paula Anton du Beke is one of the judges on “Strictly Right Now”. But he’s one of the nation’s favorite judge you know people, as a professional dancer and now as a judge. He actually won an award recently on NTA for the best judge of the year. . 

[00:04:00] Paula: Wow. Wow. So we are hubnobbing with the best here, right? 

[00:04:05] Sara: I know. I’m so pleased. I, yeah, I’m so pleased for him. I knew him pre  fame and, no it’s great. He’s doing what he loves, which is fabulous . 

[00:04:15] Paula: Well, it’s obvious that you love dancing. How has that enriched your life? Again, this is a audio podcast. I can see the smile and the energy stewing from you. But tell our audience how dancing has enriched your life, and I’m sure they can probably glean something from that. 

[00:04:33] Sara: Yeah, absolutely I do love dancing. I’ve always loved it. You know, I’ve always been first one up to move around and just the joy of the dancing and the music. I love that. I think where it’s really enriching my life beyond a good boogie with friends, is just kind of, I think we all go around a bit on our heads, like on the sticks of our bodies that moves us around. I think it’s amazing to just really get back into your body. I get up now in between, like during the day and you know, I’ll wander around and have a dance. Cause it’s just, there’s something about just feeling really grounded in your body and just feeling your body. I’m so fascinated by the mind and body, cause whereas we can try and think everything through rationally, actually we need to connect with our body. Our bodies know a lot, and there’s a lot of instinctive there. I think we can make much better decisions. And manage our own emotions and ups and downs if we can really sort of stay in our bodies, and dancing is a brilliant way for doing that. In lockdown, I did a course on, everyone was doing their different things and how they were trying to spend their time. With me it was dancing, I studied the psychology of dance. And how dancing as well is really good for connecting people. So there’s one thing, we’re just moving. They say dance. If you’re gonna get up and do something, dancing is one of the best things you can do. Better than sort of reading or going cycling. Dancing is much better for you. But the power of connect is just fantastic. I developed a course that I did for teams, so at the start of their weekly meetings, they would get up and do some dancing. Which is really fun and just a good way to get up and just the more when people dance in sync with each other, it helps to build trust and connection between people. So that’s what I really love about dancing. That’s the most thing. It’s the way it can connect people to themselves and to each other. 

[00:06:26] Paula: I love that. Tesse? 

[00:06:28] Tesse: I love what Sara was saying, like you do Paula about connect people to themselves and connect them to each other. You know, connecting to ourselves, sometimes we don’t connect to ourselves. And how can we connect with others if we don’t connect with ourselves? So I just love that. And how dance can be that channel to do that connection. I’m just loving it Paula. I’m just loving it. As Sara is speaking, I’m actually thinking about leadership. And Sara, I’m curious about your thoughts on how the concept of dancing and leadership can be shaped up? You know, how as a metaphor for leadership, how does dancing shape effective leadership? Do you have any thoughts that you can share with us on that? 

[00:07:11] Sara: Yeah, I love the analogy for, I think dancing in life, but also dancing in leadership. I think as we go around, we all need to be more agile and move. And I think there is something about dancing. We don’t know what’s coming up to us in life, but we can sort of dance with it. Good, bad changes. We can move around, we can learn to lead, we can learn to follow in different situations. So I think there’s something about sort of the joy of dance as well. Just that sort of movement. We’re all working with each other and I think if we can see ourselves as in a dance with each other. And sometimes maybe it’s a tango and it’s a bit of a big thing. And other times it’ll be a jive and sometimes we’ll just be doing a sort of a slow dance together. So I think that’s just kind of quite a fun way to look at it as we’re all trying to work with each other. 

[00:08:00] Tesse: There’s something as you’re saying that Sara, that comes to my mind. Cause sometimes when I’m listening to the judges on “Strictly”, sometimes they’re saying things like shade and light. Sometimes they talk about containing themselves, the dances containing themselves. And sometimes they talk about pace and they talk about positioning. Shed some light on these things in relation to leadership, what are they talking about? 

[00:08:27] Sara: Yeah, I think there is something. You know, when people start saying, I used to think that life was about, sometimes I used to say the black and white, sort of the polar world we have. And sometimes I used to say, oh, it’s navigating the gray, right? Working out which gray. And I’ve kind of gone away from that recently to go, life’s about being zebra. It’s about being like blacks, you know? It’s like, it’s about, you know, being both extreme sometimes. So it’s about, you know, shades and light and dark and gray and energy and stillness. All of those things are important in life. And I think for organizations and leadership as well. I think it’s not about being full on the accelerator and drive all the time. It’s about sometimes having a real energy spur. Sometimes sort of stepping back and reflecting and looking around at different areas as well. It’s about different people, you can all be at different sort of energies and it’s sort of a choreography of people doing different things rather than everybody all at the same time. And I think there’s a rhythm, one of the sort of analogy that tend to use with organizations now is finding organizations rhythms. What’s its rituals and rhythms, just to keep a pattern that everyone can run to as well, and keep everyone in line really. 

[00:09:36] Tesse: Honestly, I love this choreography of life. Having people know what positions they are going to be in. Who leads, who follows, all those kind of things. You’re just shedding so much light on what obviously is your passion.

[00:09:51] Sara: Yeah, absolutely. And I think around decision making, I think as organizations become much more collective and much more self organizing, really understanding about, you know having the rhythm of how decisions are made and when are they made. And just creating those structures for people so that everyone can then dance and do their own pirouettes as they need and be their own beautiful selves. But doing it in harmony with the group as well. So knowing when to come together and to do a group piece and when to go and do their own thing as well. 

[00:10:22] Tesse: So the June pandemic, you say that you went to the place of dance. What did that place of dance give you? Cause that was the pandemic at the worst of times. It was very isolating. It was a horrible time for the world in general and for particular people, it hit them even harder than others. What was dance able to give you at that point? 

[00:10:41] Sara: For me, it was suddenly I’m an extrovert. I was suddenly completely on my own. So dancing for me was the way to connect with myself and connect with others. You know, we’d have dance zooms and things like that. So for me, dancing was the way of connecting and just getting up, and I was just dancing around and connecting with the music, and really getting out of your head as well. I think we sort of live in our head. And particularly I think when it’s difficult times and there’s anxiety to just completely sort of just feel life and actually process the emotions. I was recently on a workshop, I’ve fallen in love from doing very structured dancing when I was young, to now doing what’s called open floor dancing. Which is really sort of just letting your body move and the emotions through that. And it’s so good at just processing your emotions. Shaking out, shaking out the nails as some people used to say, and just sort of feeling that through and processing it. So I think there’s something about just embodying emotions. I think you can, sometimes you can think things through and you can deal with things. Maybe if you are, whether you angry, frustration, whether you’re sad, whatever you are feeling, you can try and work it through in your mind. But actually just letting your body feel it and just process it, then the emotions kind of wash through you. And you can kind of, you know, and if you went through and then get to a sort of a more joyful of happier place at the end it.

[00:12:07] Tesse: I’m loving it. Paula, what’s coming into your mind as we listen to Sara? 

[00:12:11] Paula: I mean, it has, I mean, fascinating. And I’m just wondering if, without giving any names, if you can, you know, just tell us a fun story about someone in leadership who you saw dancing transform.

[00:12:27] Tesse: Yay. Great question, Paula. 

[00:12:29] Sara: Good question. 

[00:12:31] Paula: Yeah. 

[00:12:33] Sara: I think probably, and just with names, I think there is something about people getting into their bodies. I think that the most sort of powerful thing I’ve seen in a work situation, I think is when people who work together start dancing together. Especially when they are sort of co-leaders. And it’s really interesting to understand there’s something very basic about people moving together and how they move. And I think sometimes what shows up on the dance floor is how things happen in real life, and they can see who tends to lead, who tends to follow. How are you dancing? And I think just moving, by moving in sync with each other you build that trust, you build that connection. You can start really getting into those sort of real co-creative moments. You build quite a strong link, which it would be very hard to do that without, physically it could take you years whereas actually moving together. There’s something quite sort of primal I suppose about that. So I’ve seen people really co-create who don’t know each other well and just. Because to co-create, there’s a vulnerability there, and I think once you start moving and building that trust, it’s very powerful. So I think that’s the things that I’ve really seen. And I’m keen to explore that more. I’ve been doing some work with Hermann Muller , who’s a mind body therapist. And really it’s kind of getting people into that co-creation space and moving together and seeing what comes out of that. It’s an adventure. 

[00:14:03] Paula: It sounds like an adventure, which is exactly what “TesseLeads” is all about, you know?

[00:14:09] Tesse: Adventure yeah. You’ve  got it Paula. You never know what’s going to come out at the end, but you just kind of stay open and vulnerable to find out. 

[00:14:19] Sara: I’m fascinated as well. One of the things that I’d love to do, I think is particularly quite a lot of women, I think, who sort of, probably my generation I suppose, going into the workplace, going very sort of left brained, kind of very much in our heads and trying to work things through. And I think there can be a bit of a disconnection really. And I think starting to really kind of reconnect with that and be more embodied, which I think is quite a female way of being as well is really interesting as well, I think. 

[00:14:51] Tesse: That’s fascinating being back into your body, connecting with parts of your body. As you’re saying that Sara, one of the things that strikes me in Africa, there’s a bit about knowing what part of your body, your emotions are, you know, and locating where that is, you know. And often for me, mine is in my stomach. It’s in my tummy. When I’m really nervous my stomach gets so tight, you know. And so sometimes when I’m in meetings and stuff and that my stomach is getting tight, I’m kind of thinking, what’s going on here? What do I need to do? Because it’s actually speaking, giving me a message. Does that sound just totally not making sense or what do you say ? 

[00:15:33] Sara: I think that’s true, and I think it’s when we override our body, our body tells us a lot. And I think it’s when we override that. I know with me it’s when I override that and think, oh no, I’m just being silly. That’s the things I don’t regret a lot in life. But often I think, oh, I kinda knew that. I think there is something about our body and tuning into that is really important, I think. 

[00:15:55] Tesse: Yeah. Paula well thought you’re very quiet. 

[00:15:59] Paula: I am intrigued and bowled over by you know the interconnectivity between, you know, leadership and dance and the rhythm. And you know how, especially as Sara said in some organizations where people are just put to work together and once they start dancing, they get in sync. And I may be wrong. But they get in sync and so it seems like they come out of the dance session or whatever with better synergy than when they went in. That’s what I’m really kind of thinking about. 

[00:16:34] Sara: There’s a real connection. There’s a real connection there. That’s really kind of quite amazing to see. I was doing some work with one organization where it was a team all around the world that never met each other. And you know when everyone’s dancing to Stevie Wonder in sync. Not only is it fun, there is a real connection there. 

[00:16:54] Tesse: Yeah, I mean I love the idea of dancing to Stevie Wonder in sync. And you know, as you say that one of the words that comes to me in relation to dancing is somatic dancing. Focusing on inner experience of dancing and movement. Does that kind of resonate with some of the things that you are sharing with us today?

[00:17:14] Sara: Yeah. I dunno much about somatic dancing actually. That’s a new one on me. I need to explore that one. 

[00:17:21] Tesse: I think we’ll talk a bit more about that. But you know, I used to be very skeptical, I have to say about somatic dancing. Until I met a lovely woman who lives in San Francisco and she was into it and she got me curious about it. And now, I just think that sometimes it’s really an interesting way of doing exactly what you’re speaking about. Actually being in the movement, and actually intentionally focusing on an internal experience of movement rather than external experience or result of movement. So sometimes, particularly now that I’m kind of a bit stressed, et cetera. I actually do this with myself where I’m listening to music and I’m dancing on the inside.

[00:18:06] Sara: Oh wow. Amazing. 

[00:18:07] Tesse: Yeah, and it actually helps me. Paula sent me some music yesterday and it’s kind of like finding a way to listen to the music and then it’s an internal movement. I find it very, very de-stressing. 

[00:18:23] Sara: Okay. That sounds amazing. And so it means you don’t actually have to get up and move as well. You can just, I think I need, cause otherwise I just dance everywhere at the moment, I don’t care. 

[00:18:33] Tesse: It’s kinda of relieving of trauma as well, you know. And what I find for me, it’s actually introducing a kind of lightness around the thoughts. So like thinking of a thought as a feather. 

[00:18:47] Sara: Yeah. 

[00:18:47] Tesse: And like, and then you’re listening to the music. What I find is it actually helps detaching the thought from the intensity. This somatic stuff is quite helpful. I started from being quite skeptical, so let me put it that way. Quite skeptical. 

[00:19:03] Sara: No, I think that, I think it makes a lot of sense. Absolutely. And I think it’s interesting with the trauma, you know, different levels of trauma that people go through. I think that is something where, you know, that disconnection from the body, it’s more of us doing that than we realize, I think. And I think anything that sort of help embody us and to help sort of help process those emotions and then also sort of help us stay grounded to sort of help us moving forward, I think is just really, yeah, is really fundamental. And dancing isn’t for everyone. I kinda get that. I think it’s an easy route, you know, into things. And it’s good physically, but I think to me, it’s more about this thing emotionally and mentally of what it can do. And I think it’s interesting about the emotions is how you can, you know what the body does affects the mind, but the mind affects the body as well. And so just sort of starting to express different things through your body and just letting yourself dance like no one’s watching, isn’t it? It’s always the expression. 

[00:20:06] Paula: That’s so true. That’s so true. You know, I could stay and continue listening to you till dark. It’s dark.

[00:20:13] Tesse: So could I, Yeah. 

[00:20:16] Paula: It’s not dark where I am. But are there any other things, I mean, we heard about somatic dancing from Tesse. Is there anything that we don’t know that any little thing that you haven’t told us about? 

[00:20:29] Sara: Yeah, to me it’s like getting people, I think sometimes people are frightened by the word dance. But just getting up and moving, right? Five minutes here and there is the thing. And putting on the music, whatever it is that you like and for the mood that you are in as well. You know, I think sometimes we get stuck in emotions. It’s like, if you feel angry, if you feel sad, just shake it out, really. Shake it out, have a clearance of it. And with your teams as well. You know, like, I think it is, you know, people are often online. I think we’re sitting there in long zoom calls. It’s like, let’s have a dance. There’s like two types of dancing. If you dance in sync, it will build connection between you and your team members. If you dance freestyle, that will create problem solving and innovation. So before you have anything, you might just want a bit of freestyle dancing. 

[00:21:20] Tesse: I love it. I totally, it’s very fascinating, you know. Rich, rich things that we can do. You know, anybody can get up and do free dancing, you know.

[00:21:33] Sara: Yeah. Enjoy it and your will move. It just, the key thing is to get out of your mind. I think just your body kind of knows how to move to what it needs to do. So just go with it. 

[00:21:43] Tesse: I love it.

[00:21:45] Paula: Absolutely love it. So we’ve heard something different today from Sara, haven’t we? I learned something every day and I certainly haven’t been disappointed by you Sara. Thank you. And to our guests, your precious stories and lives matter. Sharing them with others could support, encourage and nurture them, just like we heard from Sara. Listeners may be reassured by knowing that they are never alone .To our listeners we ask that you head over to “Apple Podcast”, “Google Podcast”, “Spotify”, or anywhere you listen to podcasts, and please click subscribe. If you find “TesseLeads” fascinating, please let us know in your review. And if you have any questions or topics you’d love for us to cover, send us a note. If you’d love to be a guest on “TesseLeads”, head over to www.tesseleads.com to apply.

Selfless Caring

“Emotionally it’s very difficult to start seeing the person that you love slip away. This is my second round of caregiving. My heart goes out to all carers of patients with dementia. It’s hard for the carers. Really, really hard. It’s hard for the person being cared for too. I can’t, you can’t take care of someone else unless you take care of yourself. I’ve been out five times in the evening in the last two years without my husband. That’s not much.

 As Frank’s ability to do things has decreased, my need to spend a little more time away to go to the theatre or whatever has increased.” Carol’s honesty is heart-warming. Something most people will relate to is her Covid experience. “I’m a very social person, and so being at home alone has really been difficult. And I wasn’t alone, I was with my husband. But having been on the road for 28 years and doing a hundred to 150 cities a year, this was really just like the door slamming in your face. And I’m sure a lot of people experience that and much worse.” Carol shares her story of coping with Covid, running a business and dealing with a much-loved husband with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He also has spinal stenosis. She includes tips for self-care, caring for a loved one while running a business, and at the same time not losing your mind.

The Accidental Doctor

Dr Mick Rogers or “the accidental doctor “as he describes himself says “It’s all about the people, not just process”. Anywhere people are part of the process, they’re the most important part of the process. The soft aspects of people are the tricky stuff, the stuff that you can’t apply a model for, or you can’t work out on the spread. It requires engagement and trust and risk and exposure with people. This is where story telling matters. Stories are so important because it’s how we relate to each other. 

“We still create stories that help us explain what’s going on around us. And it’s the engagement in those stories, I think which is important and exceptional “stresses Mick. Rich discussion can start us thinking and talking differently about what good looks like and what progress look like. Our considerations can rest on how we like to be with the other people in the organisations we find ourselves in. Accidentally Mick stumbled into being accepted for a doctorate course. “I had a kind of commercial agreement with my company and I had an emotional agreement with my wife to do some more studying for a few years’’.

Carole Levy - Skits, Cartoons, and Trust

Carole Levy is an avid cartoonist with a unique combination of wit and depth. She loves analyzing the tricks of the human ego on her popular blog. And she’s published a humorous illustrated book called “The Bumpy Road To Collaboration”
(paperback, Kindle, iBook) She is a culture change partner and a senior executive coach and facilitator. She shares her life map.

A Home Away From Home

A home away from home describes Marta Maretich. Marta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. “I thought it was the best thing ever. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.” “We had a different background. I always felt different – like we knew about a bigger world. When you spoke to people in Bakersfield, you were met often with incomprehension. 

They really didn’t get it. There is something about being someone like me, where none of it is obvious. If we don’t have a conversation, you’d never know. So you have to know me.” “I feel I spend a lot of my work trying to explain my life and get people to pay attention to its details. You can look at my life in a superficial way which is the tip of the iceberg. You can say, oh, she’s just this girl from California, went to Berkeley, it’s all fine. But when you start picking it apart, nobody’s life is really like that.” The Possibility of Lions”. It is a story about loss, love and the difficulty of finding a home in a changing world. The fictional book speaks about an American family, the McCall family, and they’ve always lived in Nigeria. The Biafra civil war comes in 1967 and they have to flee Nigeria as refugees and return to the United States, where they returned to a small town in San Joaquin Valley, California.

From Acting to Facilitation

As an actor, I watched amazing people struggle with life. I was interested in helping people see each other through the experience of each other and hope that they are going to now together do really important work in the world. Sharon talks about DEI which stands for “Diversity Equity and Inclusion”. “During the pandemic, my heart broke and changed shape. It had more capacity for courage. I had lots of conversations with my courage in 2020. And I invested in the education. I wanted to have bravery and to have a voice, and to take up space, and to know how to stand much stronger in my dignity. And I did that with deep support, from many sources and many people and other leaders who have gone before me.”

Renee Reisch - My Personal Story

Renee Reisch’s personal story is honest and vulnerable. Thoughts about care, compassion, and kindness soak through Renee’s voice. “Showing kindness, compassion and caring to yourself is not selfish, it’s selfless. It is not possible to pour from an empty cup. You need to you fill your own cup for and then pour from the overflow. Sometimes we need to go within, rather than searching outside of ourselves. 

The journey is not just about the losses, it’s the total picture – what we find along the journey of our life.” says Renee. “ I lost my voice. My voice was a metaphor for what I needed to find in my own life.” “ I didn’t know what the new normal would be for me, with no voice interacting with people. I had learn a new way to communicate from all the years of just speaking my own voice but never speaking my true voice. And then losing it was to be able to find the true voice that was always within.” The Wizard of Oz, an American musical fantasy produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is close to Renee’s heart. Dorothy is directed to follow a yellow brick road that goes to the Emerald City, The Wizard of Oz’s home. “The first was a “Scarecrow” who was looking for a brain. He was the smartest one there. Then they came across a “Tin man” desires a heart. He had the biggest heart of all “The Cowardly Lion” lacks courage, but turns out, has all the courage and more. The Wizard is revealed to be just an ordinary man when Toto (the dog) pulls back a curtain.” reminds Renee. The Wizard reminds the three friends that they always had the qualities they sought. Dorothy always had the power to return to Kansas with the help of the ruby slippers, but had to find that out for herself. “There is no place like home” Dorothy gratefully exclaims.

Loving Better - The Power of Conscious Thinking

“ Everybody’s life is precious, if we can come from that place to give ourselves a chance to remember that sometimes. Be really generous and kind with ourselves when we don’t remember it. “ Becoming human is the phrase that really resonates. Becoming, evolving and developing is something that never stops. Deborah has lived in rural Sussex most of her life. She had her son at 27, and then another two children at the time she was 33. “I’ve always really valued the family life, and friends, and making meaning.” She has been driven by wanting to make a difference. 

When I encountered the arts, it helped her find an important way of making sense and understanding the world.” She was the first person in her immediate and extended family to go to university. That was a real gift, It took a lot of courage to go, because there wasn’t any history of anyone having had any academic achievement and she experienced a lot of imposter syndrome. She absolutely loved it and she loved the learning. Today, her youngest daughter is doing her PhD!

My Balancing Act

Andy Temte’s take on second chances. Most of us are out of balance, and most of us need that kind of heavy introspection at times, and really need to look inside and ask ourselves questions about who we are, who we want to be, and the impact that we’re having on others. “If somebody that’s placed me in a box actually spent the time to really understand what makes me tick, they would find a much, much more complicated story

. I’ve only been married to one woman, but I’ve been married to her twice “Andy opens up. “In my late thirties, my very early forties I had a lot of success and was wildly successful by most people’s metrics. Money, family, cars, boats, all the usual societal metrics that people use. But something was really missing from my life, I was all work all the time, not as present as I should have been in my family. And my wife and I split up and it was a real wakeup call, the process of divorce. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I realised I really had to do something different.

Professor Kandola Live and Uncut

As part of an inclusive environment, how can we start? How can we, how can I create an environment that is inclusive, that is generous, that is caring, that is kind and nourishing and also produce the goods? 

Professor Binna Kandola admits “This is a process of learning and learning, being self-reflective, getting feedback and actually trying to do better is the most important thing. “I had to educate myself when I was writing the book Racism at Work; the Danger of Indifference. I am learning myself. There’s lots of other things that I don’t know about. I am learning about myself! Sometimes I just need to listen. When somebody tells me something, I need to pay attention. Obviously its up to me to make up my own mind. That’s the big, biggest thing I’ve learned”.

Why Relationship Matter

Relationships matter to Desire Anderson because as a young recruit Desiree was exposed to fantastic pieces of work where she helped with diversity and equity programmes and leadership development. 

She was inspired by Nelson Mandela who having been released took the whole quality of forgiveness, collaboration and diversity to a different level. She mirrored this devotion by implementing practices not only in society as a whole, but in organisations. . Forging new relationships and connections with people became part of her DNA, and part of her superpower.

Amazing Coach Max Ekesi

Today we celebrate an amazing coach – Max Ekesi. “I put myself in other people’s shoes” recounts Max. Empathy is speaking to courage and boldness and forgiveness and the capacity to be agile and to diversify. I learned to navigate those different cultures.” He connects multi-generationally across the generational gaps.. Max fosters an understanding and a respect for older people. His approach has helped him in taking a more positive and optimistic approach. 

In tough times he invites us to ask” how can you create an opportunity out of the situation? By helping others it’s incredible how much you help yourself.” There is nothing he loves more than getting involved with people outside of his professional work and helping to solve problems.

If You Can Dream It, You can be it

“Everybody has something to give and you don’t have to be a Beyonce or, you know, a Rhianna or someone huge to be able to give, just give what is within, what you have to offer, what you can afford to offer, no matter how small it is, it’s still valuable What you think is really small might actually be really huge to someone else. We hear success stories, what we don’t know; the story behind these success stories. Often success does not come overnight. There are struggles” says Tomide Awe.

Tomide has been raised to find ways to be persistent and to be creative – keeping her eye on the price. When she was in school, especially in high school, she failed a lot of exams, especially in junior school. Her parents were great, ensuring that the opportunities that she did not have materialised. Her mum did not let her give up and would sit her down, and work with her to find out what she was good at, whilst continuing to improve in areas she was not so good at.

Resilience Through Adversity

The story of Robert McCrea – a successful producer and actor, reads like something out of a Hollywood movie. His personal journey screams “resilience through adversity .” Rob’s father managed to escape from the prison camp. He was a refugee from Burma at the end of the second world war whose reference for fathering was the Japanese prisoner of war camp which wasn’t much fun. His grandfather was executed in front of his father. Rob’s grandmother managed to escape from the women’s prison camp with two of her daughters. They managed to collect Rob’s father and his slightly older brother from the men’s prison camp. With all of the guns, they actually had to cross the battle plane to get to the other side. 

The two week walk through the jungle, from a place called Michiana in Burma through the jungle to Lido road, which is where the allied forces were based could only take place at night time. Unfortunately, they didn’t all make it on that journey. This environment that Rob was born into with very high achieving brave and strong women. His grandmother underwent hardships that you can’t even begin to imagine! Brought up by a father who knew anything can happen in the world, Rob become a very resilient child who grew into a very resilient young man. Rob and his sister lived in a lot of different Asian countries without actually going to Burma. His father was keen that his children had the opportunity to live and be schooled in those countries, not as expats, but as locals. While they were in touch with where they came from, they had no understanding of prejudice. For an early age Rob and his sister realised the importance of being non judgemental.

Switched On with Compassion Accountability

During the pandemic, a new meaning came to Dr Nate with compassion mixed with accountability. This is even more valuable, and the work with clients is more important at that time, when compassion needs to be reconciled with accountability. Every day with Covid -19 opens a different chapter. The need for balance has never been more important as every day it takes on a new meaning.

Dr Nate admits that his personality is not naturally compassionate or naturally empathetic. “I’m self-centered. I want to work on things. I prefer to work on tasks than be with people by nature. So I’m a pretty selfish task-oriented person by nature, by personality. So it’s a constant journey of constant struggle. But I grew up around a family that had amazing values and showed me these things.” How he treats people depends on whether his compassionate switches are on or off.

Poetry In Motion

Life can be Poetry in Motion as Kate Hammer invokes the call of Madonna ( as mother ) “not about performance or conformance, the invitation is to walk, step in, or step out with compassion, care, soothing and empathy. “ Inside the rings that Kate and her husband exchanged were the letters WWO the number 2 and the letter B, which stands for where we ought to be from a Quaker song based on the tune of an old Anglican hymn called “simple gifts”. “I can turn and turn and come down just right. If I am lucky and find where I ought to be.

” We can suffer losses or face the horror to a loss that is impending. There’s a different kind of horror to a loss that’s totally unexpected. Trauma kicks. A dream turns into the nightmare that you were not expecting. The heartbreak opens a window of grief. For Kate this happened when her mother died unexpectedly. Kate promised herself to bear that responsibility with grace. Quite strangely she realised that she had become the mother. She had always had a mom who she had been close to. She mothered her daughter who had a grandmother. Kate’s promise was to do something that her mother had never been very good at. This is to invite people in, to ask for help, to seek support, to admit when she did not understand things. Learning how to do that asking has been one of her greatest gifts.

Self Love Matters

Self love matters! Nancy White tells us why. It not only empowers us, it also helps us to be able to love and empower other people. We’re all unique and different. If we can’t love ourselves first and foremost, we can not love anybody else. Part of self-love is those things that are not only in our physical and financial arena, but in the spiritual and emotional arena. Whether it’s setting goals, going through healing processes, making these things a priority in this season in life, self-love is the fuel that enriches our lives. Sometimes poor self image gets in the way. It is so important for us to have around us people we know, like and trust.

Esua Goldsmith and Being An Only

Award winning author, Esua
Goldsmith grew up
“being an only “ in a
white working class neighborhood in the 1950s in south London. She was the mixed race daughter of a white single mom and a Ghanaian father who she never knew as a child. Often being “an only one”, Esua describes the feeling of being “an alien dropped
from outer space”.
This pervasive emotion ran like a thread
throughout her life.
 
 
She did not see herself, in
books she read , or on the television,
or
in stories told
or anywhere else. Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith (Esua) was the first and only woman of colour elected as President of Leicester
University Students Union in the 1970s. She talks
about her first book called “The Space Between Black and White”, which was published by Jacaranda#2020.

In Search Of Meaning

In search of meaning, looking for new experiences, moving to new place, having fun, learning new languages led Chinese born Melody Song, co founder of Do Good Here to Canada and then to Berlin, Germany. Her mum, a translator for cultural ministries took her to ballet as a child which gave her access to ballet shows. She lived in Canada for 20 years, 15 of those years she served as a fundraiser at Alberta ballet.
 
To Melody names matter ‘You’re given a name for a reason. Learning how to pronounce someone’s name correctly I think is the first step of empathy, – the act of trying to understand and connect with someone can start here. Our names have interesting stories and unique meanings’ she told
TesseLeads. Providing meaning and purpose has become paramount for Melody who finds she cannot live without purpose. She worked for an oil and gas company but found that was not rewarding enough. Her fun job was working for a zoo as a fundraiser, where she felt she had made a difference in preserving wildlife that were extinct in Canada for 75 years. When the conservation director said she had ‘helped wildlife today and helped to make the world better’ she knew she was in her ideal job.

When It's Make or Break

For Sade Marriott, Podcast Host at Banana Island Living it was either make or break It was either break down and cry. I was the only Black woman in my village. It was lonely. I had a little baby, so I volunteered, I reached out, I made connections and I cared for other people. I genuinely felt most people were positive because I am determined to find positivity wherever. I became part of my village community. Providing solutions rather than problems is key. If there’s anything I’ve learned is humility. When I did my PGCE my mentor who was younger than me, marked me down for interaction with the other staff. 

My daughter who was home from school at that time saw I was really having a hard time said, “mommy you’re too well dressed. Honestly you’re going to this school and you’re dressed like this? You have to fit in.” Once I took my mentor on board, I began making her cups of tea, I began rolling in baggy pants. I became sloppy and her new best friend. It worked. I did what I needed to do! In light of the Black Lives Matter conversations that we needed to have. I realised the importance of making other people comfortable and being more aware and better prepared to be inclusive and supportive. It is a fine line between being aware and making excuses. I believe it is critical to treat everybody as you would want them to treat you no exclusions, everybody. “

Nadine Robson-Mum's Inspiration Lives

Nadine Robson’s mum’s inspiration lives and is the theme of her conversation today. At heart Nadine’s mum was all about love and just being a mum. That was what she really wanted to be. She went through her own experiences of mental illness. 

Unfortunately, through some of those experiences, she made some decisions that were really difficult, and she made some poor judgment calls. The side effect of that was that Nadine was taken into care when she was 11 years old and taken out of the family home. This meant she didn’t grow up with her brothers from that age. That was really tough. It was not easy to go through that experience. Nadine Robson and Darren founded the MOE Foundation, an empowering coaching community that screams love and care.

My Delicate, Balancing Act-Sarah Giles

Sarah Giles’ delicate, balancing act is the constant juggling of motherhood, career and everything else. After a 15 year plus career in HR she quit in the lockdown, resigning from her head of HR position. “Looking from the outside, I probably looked like I had it all together, but inside I didn’t. I have to set clear boundaries, focus on being a mum and have time for myself as well. “When you are so busy looking after other people it’s very easy to lose yourself in the process. We put our own self-care off I’ve learnt so much about myself. A lot of that is through my own coaching journey.

I think it’s things that I might not have ever done before.” remarks Sarah. Sarah constantly asks herself the question “Who am I? “ She finds she is constantly evolving. As soon as she gets to a place where she thinks she is the person she wants to be, she discovers that she is growing again.

Changing The World With Wellness

We all want to change the world with wellness, but it helps to remember that “Resilience helps us to stay grounded no matter what happens to us” – Resmaa Menakem “My Grandmother’s Hands. We close our expectation gaps by actually acknowledging each other, acknowledging ourselves. 

We acknowledge what we do well and learn what we do not do so well. Rather than see failure as something that is bad, we see failure as something that helps us to do even better. In fact, some people say of failure that it’s the first attempt in learning. Agility is using this time as experimental space to fail forward, to succeed more, and to sustain success through purpose, intention, commitment, and impact.

Bonnie Marcus - Not Done Yet

Bonnie Marcus, author of Not Done Yet recalls her first big job “I had no qualifications what so ever for that job. I was barely managing my own check book, let alone running a business with 30 doctors. I somehow did really well in the interview, convincing them that I was the right person; or let me say that I was smart enough to learn. And they hired me. And a year and a half I ran eleven centers up and down the East coast in the U S for that company. 

And that was the beginning of my business career. So I often say I’ve always learned business on the job. And I had mastered how to show up confidently and own the value that I could bring. Not faking it by the way, because I couldn’t”

People's Precious Live Matter

“People’s Precious Lives Matter” says Steve Morris, Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, North Wembley. “I made a decision when I became a Vicar that I actually would not cover up the fact that I’ve had problems in the past, sometimes with depression and anxiety, I just wasn’t. I was going to be honest about it, cause I didn’t want people thinking that I was some kind of superhero and I found it one of the most useful parts of my ministry is just to say, 

if you’re feeling bad, talk to me about it, tell me what’s happening says the gifted Steve Morris.” His sharing with TesseLeads takes us through the highs and lows of life, his father, his wife and himself. Yet these struggles have served to strengthen his resolve and to cast a light on what really matters to him.

When It's OK not to be Okay

20 year old Presence Plumb inspired Tesse and Paula as she talked about when ” it is ok not to be ok.” Presence Plumb launched her podcast “It Starts with Action” in a spirit of curiosity and an intention to bring about change. Presence charts her journey from the United Kingdom where she was born to Hong Kong. What was meant to be a short stay 

turned into a seven year stint, with young Presence being bullied for poor grades. She become obsessed with fitting in and with becoming excellent. She was criticised for ‘being fat’. It was no surprise that in the face of such criticism, Presence became anorexic at 14 years and had a 3 months stay in hospital.

The Magic of Thinking and Transformation

Our guest today is David Taylor-Klaus
and we will be talking about Experiencing the Magic of Thinking and Transformation. David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) in a spirit of vulnerability, authenticity and high level of self-awareness, shares with #TesseLeads his relationship with depression, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, high levels of anxiety, limiting self-belief, workaholism and inappropriate diet.

Lisa Richards - Resilience Finding Hope

Lisa Richards talks about Resilience.
As a grief specialist, Lisa enables business people to thrive rather than to be weighed down by the pain of loss following any life change.
 Lisa shares stories of loss and courage to give comfort to those who mourn.
May those who have loved and lost be comforted.
We all suffer loss and experience grief in different ways.
Life happens as we lose people through death.
Covid-19 has snatched people from us.

TesseLeads Launches

TesseLeads was inspired by Tony Akpeki , the late brother of Tesse Akpeki. It is a safe, sensitive, supportive place and space to share, hear and tell your stories and experiences.

Lisa Richards - Resilience Finding Hope

Lisa Richards talks about Resilience.
As a grief specialist, Lisa enables business people to thrive rather than to be weighed down by the pain of loss following any life change.
 Lisa shares stories of loss and courage to give comfort to those who mourn.
May those who have loved and lost be comforted.
We all suffer loss and experience grief in different ways.
Life happens as we lose people through death.
Covid-19 has snatched people from us.

TesseLeads Launches

TesseLeads was inspired by Tony Akpeki , the late brother of Tesse Akpeki. It is a safe, sensitive, supportive place and space to share, hear and tell your stories and experiences.

Be Our Guest

Your voice matters. Your story is unique. TesseLeads creates the place and space to share your story with the world.

Be Our Guest

Your voice matters. Your story is unique. TesseLeads creates the place and space to share your story with the world.