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The HaBO Village Podcast

Building Resilience in a World Gone Mad [Podcast]

Episode 178: Michael and Kathryn discuss the need for business leaders to build resilience in our chaotic world. If you're facing challenges in your company and leadership and want to discover the best ways to build resiliency for better judgment, lower stress, and increased productivity, then give this episode a listen!

business man with umbrella illustration

 

In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover the reasons behind burnout and the weapons you can use to fight it.

  • Find out the science behind your 'fight or flight' response and how it affects your judgement.

  • Get Michael and Kathryn's tips for building resilience in the midst of an ever-changing world.

“Resilience is like a bank account. You wear it down, but then you need to build it back up."

- Michael Redman

 

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Michael:
             Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast, where we talk about developing the whole leader for the whole business. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
             And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
             This is a podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and business owners, leaders like you who are running companies.


Kathryn:
             Our goal is to encourage you, give you practical tips and tools that you can apply today, and even more importantly, remind you that you're not in this alone,


Michael:
             Because we believe that you can build a company that is financially successful, fulfilling for you and your team and avoid burnout all at the same time.


Kathryn:
             We know because we've done it and we've been helping others do it for over 20 years.


Michael:
             So welcome to today's show, and let's dive in. We're going to talk about resiliency today. It's going to be awesome and amazing, but why resiliency? Why is that important? Well, you know what, a lot of people are talking about it these days, because there's a lot of reasons to not be resilient, aren't there?


Kathryn:
             Ton of reasons not to be resilient.


Michael:
             And what do we mean by resilient? What does resilient mean? I think sometimes there's so many different images. What images are conjured up for you when we talk about resilience?


Kathryn:
             Probably the best mental image I have of resilience is a tree that's planted by the water, roots going super, super deep, evergreen, sort of that strong, they survive storms and droughts and all sorts of things. They're just survivors. So there's this resilience about them and their roots in the right place and going deep and doing those things.


Michael:
             Yeah. And some of them are ... I think of the evergreen pine trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where you see, as you go into 5, 6, 7,000 foot elevations and you see just lots of granite, then all of a sudden you'll see these trees that are really old.


Kathryn:
             Single little tree sticking out of a rock. You're like, "How'd you get there? And how are you staying and holding on?"


Michael:
             Well, in some of them, it's very clear that they're decades old. And they've been super resilient. The average pine tree in the mountains is really resilient most of the time too. It's amazing how much the forest has come back from beetles, it's come back from droughts.


Kathryn:
             Fire.


Michael:
             It's come back from fire, exactly. Good pine trees that bend in the wind that can last, or the redwood trees that can last ... Sometimes people think that they have lasted, some of them maybe have lasted a thousand years. And then you have the oak trees that have such a deep root. And we had one in Chico that was a minimum of 500 years old.


Michael:
             So you have these trees that are ... Talk about resilient, when they can survive that much stuff going on in the world, just in the natural. Because I think when you're out in the wilderness, you realize how wild nature is and how brutal nature can be. And we have the same types of pressures that are going on in business and in life around us with media clamoring all the time and marketing messages at us all the time. And right now the highest inflation in 40 years, they say, since 1981. Money is getting expensive again. Some people don't ever remember it being expensive, but we do.


Kathryn:
             Yeah, I do.


Michael:
             Challenges can come against you, and as a business owner and an entrepreneur, these things really wear on us. And so we kind of jump into this whole issue of resiliency and why it's important, don't we?


Kathryn:
             Absolutely, by the way, not to derail us on this, but did you know ...


Michael:
             Did I know.


Kathryn:
             Did you know that the Hooker Oak, which is the famous oak here in town ,,,


Michael:
             This is the tree that-


Kathryn:
             That's the tree, was actually two trees.


Michael:
             I thought you were going to say that. I wasn't going to bring that up.


Kathryn:
             I just think that's a really cool illustration that that is one big tree and it was actually two trees that had grown together.


Michael:
             Over 500 years.


Kathryn:
             Like you and me, we're almost 500, growing together.


Michael:
             Yes. Yes. So we're starting today a series on resiliency that we think is going to be really instructive and really helpful. If you were hanging out with us in our coaching sessions with leaders, if we were coaching you or you were in one of our workshops or something like this, this is a really pertinent thing that is like, when you start having conversations, you're like, I'm just tired. I'm exhausted. I'm wore down. And there are symptoms that I'm experiencing of not being extra resilient at the moment. I'm having trouble sleeping, always being tired, not getting enough sleep.


Michael:
             No matter how much I sleep, I don't feel like I get enough. Having memory problems, short term and long term memories. I just am having a difficult time remembering all of the details we have to remember on a day to day basis and our clients and the employees. And I'm sitting down asking people going, "Okay, we haven't had a meeting about this in five hours. Would you please remind me?"


Kathryn:
             What is this about? What is my job?


Michael:
             What are we talking about?


Kathryn:
             Yeah. Well, and even symptoms like, I thought I was a good problem solver, but I just don't know what to do. I just feel very stuck. Or my patience is wearing thin, all those kinds of things. The email comes in where somebody's not happy with your work and it keeps you up all night. As opposed to going, okay, well, you know what, we can fix that and I'll deal with that tomorrow and going to sleep.


Kathryn:
             So it's funny, because when we first started talking about doing this series, we were talking about calling it leadership self care, but we realized that it's possible by calling it leadership self care people won't actually tune in because like, I don't want to talk about, what are you telling me, you have to get a massage? So instead we're calling it basically how to build resilience or-


Michael:
             As a business person and an entrepreneur in today's world, how do you build resistance? How do you build up a reservoir for resistance?


Kathryn:
             Resilience.


Michael:
             For resilience. Thank you.


Kathryn:
             Which sometimes requires resistance.


Michael:
             Resistance is futile. Okay, so when we talk about that, what are the things that we need to talk about? We need to really talk about two categories, right? The first category is what are those things that are coming against us? And the second category is what are the weapons we have? What are the things we can do? Because sometimes you're like, I don't know what to do or what I'm doing isn't enough. And I thought I knew what to do. I have some things and I'm doing them, but it's not enough.


Michael:
             Not only am I struggling with being resilient, but my staff is struggling with being resilient. So there's some attributes there. So how do we know what are the actual specific things that are coming against us? And then on top of that, what are the weapons that we have to fight with? What can we use to strengthen ourselves and strengthen our team?


Michael:
             We're going to spend today talking about this high level subject of these things. And then we're going to over the next four other episodes after this, we're going to talk about a couple of really big key things that are going to come up. We're going to talk about some of the internal and external things for stress and self care that are really important. You need to work on your inner game and your outer game. Your inner game, there are several factors that are going to be really helpful. Which ones do you work on that are going to give you the big benefits and return on your time and which ones might not be as valuable? We're going to talk about this concept of VUCA.


Kathryn:
             Might have come up once or twice before.


Michael:
             Yeah. But you know what, as much as we talk about it on the podcast, and we talk about it even in our book and we talk about it at other places, I had somebody the other day that I know we know well, who went, "I don't think we've heard about this."


Kathryn:
             Yeah, we can. We think we talk about it all the time, but again, not everybody's listening to everything we say. And even if they do it may not stick the first time.


Michael:
             It's not always-


Kathryn:
             Six, seven times. Because they're really stressed in having memory problems.


Michael:
             Well, there is that.


Kathryn:
             So we thought one of the things we want to do today is this will be a little bit more high level, but really we really want to convince you, I think is the way I want to put it, we want to convince you-


Michael:
             Wait. Yeah. At the end of this ...


Kathryn:
             That it's really worth listening to. It's really worth investing the time and energy into thinking about and really uncovering with a lot more clarity what the actual enemies are that are fighting, that are causing you to be so worn down and so weary, potentially. Or if not yet, will. T.


Kathryn:
             Hough I have not met many a leader at this point in the journey, especially with the last couple years of COVID, I've not met many leaders that don't resonate with, "I am so dog tired." Just trying to keep it all going and trying to manage all of the change and trying to figure it all out. I haven't met many a leader that's like, "No, I'm good." So I think most of us would say yeah, we're a little beat up. We're a little tired. Just kind of managing all of the things coming at us and trying to keep ourselves and our team moving forward.


Michael:
             Well we talked a little bit about some of the symptoms that happened earlier. What are some of the reasons why we realize that as a whole, as a collective, we're kind of wore out and wore down and we need to build back resilience. Because maybe this is important. Resilience is like a bank account. You wear it down and you have to build it back up. You may have gone into COVID really resilient and have all your resources there and everything else.


Michael:
             But all of a sudden, the storehouse both internally and externally, start to deplete and the money in the savings account gets thin maybe, or the energy level in your soul gets thin. There are some reasons why this is happening. One of the things that continues to come up in the research is the issue of brain chemicals and cortisol. What's the deal with all of that?


Kathryn:
             Most of you super educated, smart, smart people, you already know that we have adrenaline cortisol, these hormones essentially, that are running through our brains, these chemicals. And cortisol and adrenaline, those are really our fight or flight. So when you encounter something terrifying, you run into a bear in the woods, the adrenaline, the cortisol, it's that thing that floods your brain from the deepest parts of our humanity, this brain stem that cause you to have a little more energy and ability to run perhaps you had walking into that wood. It's that reaction. And in that constantly violation of, am I in danger? Am I in danger? And we're built to recognize danger, right? We're built to see that.


Michael:
             And to stack on what you're talking about, the cortisol is going on. Our brain, the adrenaline is coming for our adrenal glands, which is down by our kidneys, I think. And what the cortisol is doing is do I need to be aware? Do I need to be aware. Your brain is always, especially that part of your brain, subconsciously it's always looking for, is this pleasurable or painful? Is this danger? Is this going to help me thrive? Is this food good for me? Is this water good for me? Is this environment safe or is that saber tooth lion over there going to eat me? What's safe and what's not? No, that's my cat George. He's fine.


Kathryn:
             He got fat during COVID. He looks like a saber tooth lion now apparently. We don't have a cat named George. I have no idea what that's about.


Michael:
             But the issues of our brains doing that, and the cortisol and the more we're unsure, the more cortisol is being dumped into our system. And if there is anything that happened over COVID, it was we were unsure about what was going on. And we'll talk more about uncertainty in a later episode, when we talk more about VUCA and some new things that we've learned about VUCA.


Kathryn:
             But the sense of living in this constant uncertainty, where there's a prolonged season of where you're just like, I don't know what's going to happen. We don't know what's going to happen. And every day it shifts. And just when you think you understand the rules change again and-


Michael:
             There's a new variant. There's a new rule. There's-


Kathryn:
             You look at research from July of 2020, for example, we're only two months into it and we've already coined the fatigue terms around anxiety fatigue and caution fatigue, and all of those things because of the prolonged cortisol. And that was two years ago. I think most would stay we're still in that, right? Because the rules keep changing. New variants keep popping up. People talk about, oh my gosh, are we going to have to mask all over again? It's just this constant state of flux.


Michael:
             Well, and one of the things that happens, some of the side effects of that are because you have more cortisol kicking in and you're more aware, you have more energy going in. So your energy's getting depleted faster. You're burning more, burning calories. It also causes this thing that happened in the brain, which says I'm going to need more energy so I better store up more fat. And so you start craving carbs more. And America, well the world.


Kathryn:
             The COVID 40.


Michael:
             The world ... Yeah.


Kathryn:
             It was the freshman 15. It's the COVID 40.


Michael:
             The world put on weight. There was that meme that you were reading to me about how many meals have I eaten?


Kathryn:
             Oh, it says something like, I've eaten 11 meals and taken five naps. And it's still today. I was dying. This is like July of 2020. But just that concept of like the day feels like it's never going to end, working from home, being quarantined or whatever. It was right next to the other meme that said something like, I now understand why it is that when I opened the front door, the pets were trying to get out.


Michael:
             Like they've had it, they've had it. I wanted out.


Kathryn:
             I feel trapped.


Michael:
             Well, these are some of the things that cortisol, when those stress brain chemicals are hitting. And it's real important, I used to think that fight or flight was an on or off switch. And it turns out that it's actually a range and the brain can just slowly think about it instead of one or two, on or off, or zero one. Think about it in a 10 or a 20 point scale where the brain can put out one unit of cortisol or 20 units in a scale of one to 20, or 20 units.


Kathryn:
             It's like we've been on a constant IV drip.


Michael:
             Yeah. That's exactly the way it was described. This IV drip of oh, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit. And that means-


Kathryn:
             Just enough to never actually settle or be at peace. Yeah. That's obviously one of the big enemies of the current world that we live in. And then we went ahead and added to it and so the economy is going crazy. Gas prices are through the roof. All of the uncertainty. And again, these are really high level right now, but all of those things that are coming at you that allow you to be like, oh no, I already kind of knew I didn't have control. I feel even more out of control and I'm not even sure what I can control. And so all of that uncertainty, all of those enemies that are coming against us, they build and they build.


Michael:
             Another example. We're all dealing with hiring issues. Yep. Very specifically, we're dealing with hiring challenges. One of our friends who he and his wife own and run a senior living care facility, we were talking the other day and he goes, I can't. And I may have mentioned this on the podcast, but he said, I can't get good employees right now. I'm having the hardest time. I says, are you having a hard time finding people to apply? He says, no, tons of people are applying. Nobody can pass the drug test.


Kathryn:
             And, and then there's other places where people get hired and they go through the whole interview process and then they just ghost you. They don't show up, like who does that? Right. And yet I'm hearing the stories over and over and over again


Michael:
             From different companies. It's like what? We hired somebody. And then they decided, oh, well I don't want that job.


Kathryn:
             So you just went through all this effort and energy. You thought you'd solved this issue. And then not only did they not want, they never even-


Michael:
             Well, sometimes they don't. There are stories where it goes to, but we're hearing other stories where people are just saying, I'm here for a day or two and I'm like, you know what? I don't want this job. And it just took you four weeks to find them, interview them, get them hired and get them onboarded. Now they're gone. That is really frustrating.


Kathryn:
             Really hard.


Michael:
             And you can't predict that. That's very unpredictable. So it's these kind of things that are wearing us down and tearing away at our resiliency bank account. And we want to talk about what you can do in this series. We really want to encourage you to listen to this series, because we're going to bring some things that I think are really helpful to have some really helpful, tangible tools of things you can do in your outer game, in your inner game.


Michael:
             The skills that you can actually do, you can go out and do some certain things that are going to be externally helpful, and then some things that are just going to be internally helpful. And we are going to talk about sleep a little bit. We are going to talk about learning to find mental peace and try and quiet the voices that are sometimes just screaming at us when we don't want them to. How do you handle that and manage that?


Michael:
             But we're going to bring in some really interesting research on what helps us make good judgment. Because what we found out is when this resiliency starts to come down, it actually affects our judgment. So we either make mistakes in our decision-making process, or we miss things, miss important factors that on a good day, we would've caught. But we don't catch them, and or we misinterpret data sometimes. And sometimes that misinterpreting, we're irritated. And I don't know about you, but most of us, when we're extra irritated, we tend to make decisions a little bit more rashly. You know what I'm saying?


Kathryn:
             Yeah. Because you just want to, yeah. It's kind of like when you're irritated or when you're having a hard time having good judgment, it's the knee-jerk reaction to respond to an email versus I need to think on that for a little bit and see if I can feel more creative than just my initial gut reaction. I think yesterday I deleted three emails that I started to write an immediate response, because I knew exactly what I thought about that subject. And then I was like, wait, I am tired and I'm grumpy. And if I send this right now, I may regret it. I need to think through this more.


Michael:
             Well, sometimes you send something and you have to like, if I had thought about that more, not been impatient or not been grumpy, I wouldn't have to unwind something that's ...


Kathryn:
             Just creates more stress and anxiety, right? So even just the ability to have good enough judgment to be like, I don't have to solve that right this second.


Michael:
             So we have some great research that has been going on for the last 55 years plus on these issues of how do we measure the impacts on judgment. And it actually can be measured very, very accurately and with great consistency. And so we're going to bring some of that data to the table. It's going to be really fascinating to find out what that information tells us about different categories of things that you may or may not, I think you might be surprised in one or two there. And then I think some of them you're going to go, "Yeah, I knew that." There was this lyric in a song I was listening to you stay on the way home that said, "You taught me something I forgot I knew."


Kathryn:
             Oh, that's a great line. You taught me something I forgot I knew.l


Michael:
             And you're like, oh yeah. That's ... yeah.


Kathryn:
             Yeah. Well, and I think even as we just dialogue and conversate.


Michael:
             Conversate.


Kathryn:
             As we converse, as we banter about these things, I think that one of the things that happens too, is that in a world where everything feels like it's changing and you hear often and it's true, what worked and got you here is probably not going to get you there. So circumstances sometimes move us into these places of transition that are hard. And we all have to walk through transitions in life, whether it's how we run things and whatever, but even in the middle of that, we're more constantly hearing the world is in chaos. You have no control. You can't count on anything.


Kathryn:
             In the middle of that, we sometimes forget that there are fundamental, basic truths about living and interacting and being kind. And what happens if I pause and some just fundamental, basic things that don't change no matter what the situation is. We're always going to be human beings talking to human beings. So how do I pause before I respond to that client who just told me I'm doing something stupid or not living up to expectations, how do I pause and put myself in their shoes before I respond? It's just good wisdom, right? But in the middle of the tiredness and that overwhelm or whatever, we can forget that yeah, there's things that are changing, but there are also still fundamental truths.


Michael:
             That aren't changing.


Kathryn:
             That aren't changing, and-


Michael:
             Things you can trust in.


Kathryn:
             Yeah. Things that have been true forever that are not changing simply because the economy is kind of crazy.


Michael:
             Well, I find myself like yesterday, in today's world if you want to buy a piece of furniture, like we are, and it's hard to find stuff in stock, so you got to order it. And then you're looking at it on a picture and you're trusting somebody's marketing copy and you know, being a marketer for 20 years.


Kathryn:
             And then they've got the perfect lighting and the great pictures.


Michael:
             But then at the same time, those people who put all that stuff together, let's just say somebody's really intentional and trying to do a good job. It's hard to describe that kind of stuff so that everybody gets a picture and gets an idea of what you're getting. So we got this furniture. It was not what we wanted, and trying to return. It was difficult.


Michael:
             We have experienced in our household a few times when it's not going well. And now all of a sudden it's like, you feel like the world's against you. You feel like, okay, great. All these companies are selling garbage and they're not representing it well, and they're making mistakes when they send you order. You order something that's white and you get something that's brown. And you're like, okay, great. Now we went through all this time, it came on a truck, it got dropped off. Now it's got to be picked up.


Michael:
             Yesterday, when the truck came to pick up the furniture from us finally, I was annoyed at that young man who first of all, he didn't seem to care. I'm listening to him like he didn't really care about his job. He didn't have any problem dropping the F-bomb within three minutes of me meeting him, about his day.


Kathryn:
             That is some good customer service right there.


Michael:
             And this person theoretically is representing the company that we bought this from, but he doesn't work for that company. He works for some shipping company that they hired and sent over. And he's trying to talk me into lifting and moving the furniture for him. And I'm like, okay. So you could tell, I had a few reasons to be annoyed, because we paid good money. I wanted good service and I wanted to be taken care of. I was trying to be thoughtful. It's a warm day out.


Michael:
             But the other thing I realized is I was extra jaded towards all of this stuff because of other experiences I've had not only with this company, but with other companies. Now I'm feeling like what is wrong? I'm saying things like, "What is wrong with people these days?"


Kathryn:
             Generalization.


Michael:
             Generalization, and-


Kathryn:
             Nobody cares.


Michael:
             Nobody cares.


Kathryn:
             Everybody's awful.


Michael:
             You can't get good quality work anywhere, blah, blah, blah. And I had to breathe several times because I realized I was a little shorter in patience, a little shorter in understanding. And I had to babysit this guy and make sure that everything went well, so that hopefully we got our refund.


Kathryn:
             And you know what, you did it, because that refund announcement came today.


Michael:
             And we got our refund, which was great.


Kathryn:
             Thank goodness.


Michael:
             The reason I brought this story up is it's a great example of two things. One, sometimes we have reasons to be concerned or frustrated because we were made a promise and it's broken. We were made a promise of decent service or decent quality and it wasn't taken care of. But on the other side, and this is why it's not a clean cut thing, my attitude and my behavior, I had to fight against that subtle desire of being cynical and frustrated and taking certain things out that had happened in the past, out on this young man. And I didn't. I'm quite well chuffed that I didn't, but those are the things we're doing. It's like man, when everywhere I go, this is happening, then it's easier to get quickly frustrated because you feel like, I don't know. Sometimes you feel like that you're warranted, sometimes it's going to work.


Michael:
             But as business leaders, see, all these things are adding up to the way we're treating our employees, our customers, making decisions, vendors, all that kind of stuff, because our reserves are being more and more depleted. So I think these are great examples. I think they're really important. And we're going to talk about some really crystal clear things that we can talk about.


Michael:
             Over the next few days, we're going to codify some things and we're going to give you, that are coming against you so you can be more aware of specific things that are wearing you down, so that you can be more intentional about defending against them, protecting or fighting them. And then what can you do to defend yourself and defend your team, your people at work, so that you are not only defending against these things that want to wear you down, but what can you do to put back into the savings account of resiliency?


Kathryn:
             Yeah. So in case you're still not sure that you're going to hang with us and listen to this series, let me just give you a list of the benefits of building resilience. And these are but a mere few.


Michael:
             Buts? A mere few.


Kathryn:
             There may be a plethora that are not mentioned. This is merely a few.


Michael:
             A gaggle.


Kathryn:
             A gaggle. A tribe. So as we think about why talk about building resilience, why talk about self care as a leader and all of this kind of-


Michael:
             For the sake of being redundant and ringing this bell another time, what are some of those benefits?


Kathryn:
             Lower stress. Okay, we already talked about better judgment, right? Being better equipped to deal with VUCA, which we'll talk about, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. Being better able to deal with those, this gift of the opportunity to be a non-anxious presence in the face of a world of anxiety, higher productivity in your own personal world, your own ability as a business leader to work and get stuff done is increased when you have a good reservoir of resilience-


Michael:
             Easy for you to say?


Kathryn:
             I know, it was easy. It's modeling for your team. So as your leading your team, what does it look like to lead well and to have that resilience so that you are leading them well so that they are leading whoever reports to them well and so on and so forth.


Michael:
             Water runs downhill. And your example is caught by your employees.


Kathryn:
             Exactly.


Michael:
             It's very critical.


Kathryn:
             And then there's some basic things like being able to sleep at night. I don't know, that's kind of a good thing. Having more joy in what you're doing. Experiencing some of those really great things like peace and patience and hope and better morale, all of those things. These are all benefits to building resilience as a business leader.


Kathryn:
             So we just want to encourage you that this series, this topic of really moving towards becoming more resilient, building back up those reserves, if they've been depleted and being able to help others in that, as you understand more and can articulate with more clarity what is coming against us and how to fight it, those are just going to be just a handful of the benefits I think of this series. So we just want to invite you to really stick with us through this and we think you're going to learn some stuff.


Michael:
             Well, I hope it's going to help you find more energy, be more encouraged, and your company will have a greater chance of not only surviving these days that are uncertain and volatile and unexpected, but you'll actually thrive through them because we believe in the key here for us is understanding the whole leader and the whole business and taking a holistic perspective on it.


Michael:
             So again, thank you for joining us today and join us for the next few episodes of the HaBO Village podcast, where we talk about self care, leadership development, from the context of how do you be more resilient so that you can survive things that maybe your competitors and others aren't going to survive. This gives you a competitive edge. So thanks for joining us today. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
             And I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
             This is the HaBO Village podcast. And we'll talk to you later. Thanks.