In these trying times, it is an undeniable plus not just to cope but also to thrive at work and life. To do that, we need to get some work done on our nervous systems. Sharing her insights on this is Marti Glenn, the Cofounder and Chief Experience Officer of Ryzio Institute. Marti conducts professional training and intensive retreats internationally to help leaders move beyond coping and into thriving. As she sits down with host Steve Farber, she explains the three things that everyone needs to thrive at work. Learn about how human connection plays into all of this and the answer to the age-old question: What does love have to do with it?
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This Is Your Brain On Leadership: The 3 Things Everyone Needs To Thrive At Work With Marti Glenn
I invite you to visit our sponsor, the Extreme Leadership Institute which is no coincidence because I’m also the CEO and the Founder of that company. Come visit us at ExtremeLeadership.com. Check out what we do. In short, we help companies to operationalize love, energy, audacity, and proof in the way they do business to remarkable effect, I have to say. My guest is the wonderful Marti Glenn. I’m very excited to have her here with me. She spoke at our last day of Extreme Leadership Experience in February of 2020. We got that and went in under the wire before COVID shut everything down.
We were thrilled to have Marti speak to the group and also participate in the entire three-day conference. Marti Glenn is dedicated to helping people transform their lives. As Cofounder and Chief Experience Officer of Ryzio Institute, she conducts professional trainings and intensive retreats internationally that make it possible for leaders to move beyond coping into thriving, which is a big challenge nowadays. Marti is particularly keen on crafting experiences and practices that develop the brain, nervous system, and even change the trajectory of our DNA. Integrating the latest research in epigenetics, polyvagal theory, neuroscience, psychology, leadership and mindfulness, she and her team offer experiences and practices to help leaders live the lives they long for.
She has discovered delights in teaching, the secret sauce that underlies all of this research and that is love. She’s an award-winning pioneering professor and psychotherapist. Marti has served as Founder and CEO of a number of successful companies and nonprofit organizations over the past four decades. She is the Founding President of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute known for its graduate degrees in Perinatal Psychology, Somatic Psychology and Clinical Psychology. She has served on the boards of a number of national organizations and has chaired numerous international professional conferences. She co-produced the broadcast quality documentary, Trauma, Brain & Relationship featuring Daniel Siegel and Bruce Perry, and has appeared in a number of documentary films.
Marti Glenn PhD, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Steve. It’s so wonderful to be here.
First of all, I want to hear a little bit about your story. It’s not the old Barbara Wallace, “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?” It’s not that kind of story, but let’s start with the factual side of the story.
I’ll tell you a thread that goes through that helped me get where I am now. As I think about it and have tried to put things together, I was a very curious kid. I always ask questions. I know I drove my mother crazy because I would say, “Who lives in that house? Why is this happening? Why are those people driving and those people are walking?” I would say, “Mama, what’s their name? Who is that?” She would say, “Somebody you don’t know.” She had no idea how to answer all my questions. Fast forward, I was in a very crazy and abusive family. I’m not sure how we all survive, there were six of us. As I got out, got on my own, went to college and began looking at things, I kept wondering why is it that I made it?
By made it, I mean I wasn’t addicted to drugs. I didn’t have a severe mental illness. I didn’t mean, I didn’t have trauma to overcome, but I was doing okay and half of my siblings were severely in trouble. That set me on a path to look at, what is going on here? What is that resiliency factor? What helps us get where we need to go? In my doctoral research, I was working with professors from three different business colleges and universities and we hone the question in on, what creates job satisfaction? What helps us feel satisfied with the place that we work? I thought I’ve got a good personality. I’ll bet you, personality type determines how good we feel about our work. I was dead wrong. Personality type has very little to do with how we feel about where we work. That was a little bit of a setback, which is fine.
Under what umbrella was your initial degree?
It’s in education and psychology.
Your desire to learn about that came from your experience in growing up. What was it that brought you from that to focusing on the work experience as part of your research?
Some of my professors said, “You need to work with people into business.” I said, “I’ll do that.” He contacted professors, which is unusual. I was at the University of Florida and professors from Florida State and Florida Atlanta University. They were all saying they’re the ones that crafted this with me to say, “You need to look at this.” I’m like, “Okay.” The truth is I had two little kids, I had no way to earn a living, and I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge. I didn’t care how we did it but I was very curious.
The reason behind it is the reason that a lot of people focus on business. I know this is going to sound obvious but because it was a way to monetize this feeling that you’re interested in what makes us tick, if I can figure out a way to make a living by helping people to apply that. Back to your point about personality has nothing to do with the level of job satisfaction. Say a little bit more about that.
The type of personality does determine it. For example, am I an extrovert or an introvert? That does have to do with, how I’m going to relate to people and what my needs are? If we know that, it helps us have compassion for each other. If I know that you and I are both extroverts, which I would guess is true, then we’re going to both want to talk most of the time. My husband Ken is very much an introvert. I can imagine he doesn’t have anything to say or any opinions, he sits in the meeting and says nothing, but that’s not true. It helps me have compassion and slow down a little bit if I can realize, “We’re bringing something different to the table.” My needs are different than his. His thoughts and ideas are gold if I’ll shut up and listen.Look for the good and name it. Click To Tweet
Is this something that you tell yourself or he reminds you off?
He’s so sweet. He does not remind me. I have to tell and monitor myself because I want to know what he has to say. The same is true in meetings. A third to half of the people sitting around the table in our meetings are what we would call an introvert, or I like to call them an internal processor. I process things inside my head or like the Irishman said, “How do I know what I think about it until I’ve heard what I have to say about it?” I have to say out loud what I’m thinking and drive some people crazy. It’s okay because we’re all different. We are aware that we have these differences and we process in different ways, and so we learn to have compassion for each other and share our gifts.
Tell me about the physiological side of your research, findings, and the work that you do. By that I mean, what you’ve found about how the brain plays into leadership, our job satisfaction, relationships, and all of that. The brain plays a role in all of that because without it, we wouldn’t have any experience. What specific way or ways have you found the connection there?
Let me back up a little bit. I was preparing to make a big keynote speech at a conference on this very subject. I thought, “I better check out the science here, see what’s coming up before I take the microphone.” I delved into some of the sciences in epigenetics, polyvagal theory which is the neuro system, neuroscience, attachment, trauma, psychology, all of those and these major systems were all saying exactly the same thing. None of them seem to know that they were saying the same thing that the others were saying. They were saying that we need three things in order to thrive in our lives, businesses, and team relationships.
What they’ve discovered is that for example, the gut and the heart tell the brain what to do. We think it’s the brain but it’s not. If I’m not feeling safe, seen, and okay to show up when I come to my team meeting, I’m going to keep my mouth shut or I’m going to say what I think you want to hear. If I feel welcomed, seen, and it’s okay for me to make mistakes, I feel safe, then my gut and my heart will be relaxed. My heart will tell my brain that it’s okay to move forward, have these new ideas, and push into something that we haven’t thought of before.
When you say your heart, are you talking about a physiological response in the actual heart organ or the feeling level that we associate with that part of the body?
Let me back up a little bit and tell you how the nervous system forms. There’s a nerve, I call it the nerve you never heard of is running your life. It’s the vagus nerve and it’s the longest nerve in the body. It goes all the way from the head, the inner ear, all the way down to the gut. What happens is when we’re born, we hear the human voice, the little nerve endings inside our ears start to thicken, connect with each other. We see the facial expressions and we begin to have eye contact. The nerve endings around our eyes begin to form and thicken, so we can appropriately read facial expressions. That gets the tone of voice that we hear, the facial expression tells us a lot that vagus nerve then moves down on either side of the neck and around the heart.
If we’re in a loving, connected environment, that’s going to thicken and develop around the heart. The nervous system or the heart is going to settle. That goes down around the belly. If that part of the nervous system is well developed, we can digest our food. If, for some reason, we didn’t have caregivers who were nurturing, stable, calm, and all of that very present for us. If your mom didn’t have it, she can’t give it to you so we’re not blaming moms. Thank goodness because I am one. I have no idea what to do with my kids. I do now but if we didn’t, the good news is science is telling us we can get it now. I have to say, I saw this with you at the Extreme Leadership Experience.
I hadn’t met you before. We’d had some conversations, but you, Veronica, Jenna and the whole team greeted us. First of all, you oriented us. You greeted us with eye contact like I was the only person in the world, you had all day, not like you had a list of 50 things to do, which I knew you did, but for that second, you were right there with me and I knew it. My whole nervous system felt safe, I settled, I joined the team, jumped right in, and did whatever it was. In fact, I felt so safe I did some things on stage there I have never done before. I told my real story.
I broke into song with people I’ve never seen before and we all had a great time, but you laid the foundation for all of us in creating safety. That’s number one. No matter what we do that helps the nervous system to settle, it helps the brain to know, “We can go now.” It is a long answer to your question. It’s a physiological response to the outside stimuli. It’s what I’m seeing and feeling. You can say to me, “Marti, you’re welcome here. I’m so glad you’re here and here’s your project and let’s get on with it.” Do I feel welcomed and safe? I don’t think so.
To summarize that a bit, the feeling and experience that we have when we’re young, the degree to which we’re supported, encouraged, and all that physically grows the vagus nerve. Is that the nerve that’s connecting the brain all the way down the gut?
We’re having a physical influence on. If you fast forward to now that we’re adults where you were fully formed nervous system. That nerve is still responding, right?
In saying that, we can still develop that nerve so that’s what I’m hearing and thought you said. This whole idea about that we all intellectually know anyhow. We should create an environment where people feel safe, the environment of trust, love, and support that if we focus on that first, we were likely to get a better quality of work because the effect that has on the entire physiology in a person. It helps people be present. Don’t check your texts and your voicemail when somebody is in your office talking to them or you’re on a Zoom call with them as we tend to do nowadays because it’s not nice but it’s also having a physiological effect on people. You wonder about, why don’t people speak up and why don’t we get a better quality of work. It could be because you’re going too quickly to our conditioning as business people, which is to say that business is a purely rational endeavor. When I want people to do things, I need to tell them what to do so they’re clear on it then we get it done. We skip that whole foundational step.
3 Things You Need To Thrive At Work
All this research, one of the exciting things is they’re saying we need three things in order to do this. The first one we’ve talked about is safety. We’re not talking about not falling down somewhere. We’re talking about what you said that safety of who I am and how I show up is okay. It’s okay to make mistakes, take a risk, to be vulnerable because I know you’ve got my back and that’s okay. When I feel safe, then I can begin to have experiences of who I am. We all have these weird beliefs about ourselves of, “I’m not enough. I’m too much. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough.” We all have those. If you can help me have experience because of what I’m doing, how we’re interacting, I am good, I am worthy, and I produce something for you, and I bring you this report, you could say, “Good report, glad you did the project, now, here’s the next one.” No.
If you sit down with me and you say, “Marti, I can see how much time you put on this. You ordered it in a different way and you added this thing to it. That helped our team understand where we need to go with this.” You describe what you liked about it. I have a different experience inside my body of myself. That’s the second when I have experiences of me being accepted, loved, and all that. The third thing that’s important for us as human beings is you are the witness. I have to have it witnessed. You have kids. I have kids. We know kids want you to see them. The people we work with are no different. I want you to see me from every angle. I want you to notice what I’ve done. When we do those three things, it produces the deepest love, the best commitment, and greater health than any of us can imagine.
The last one about wanting to be seen. If you go back to the stereotypical introvert, I’ve known people like this who at least on the surface claim that they don’t want to be seen. In other words, what they’re saying is, “Don’t shine the spotlight on me, have me stand up and say, ‘Marti did such a great job. Everybody, give her a round of applause.’” For me and you, that’s the greatest thing but for other people, that’s torture. We think when we asked them to stand up that we’re giving them the opportunity to be seen but there are many ways to be seen.
Being seen, I call it look for the good and name it. I see what you’re doing well and that’s working, and I don’t label it and say, “Good job, thanks for that.” I notice and I describe what I’m seeing that’s good. That’s seeing me.
Can you give me an example?
If I describe that you’ve done something and I go, “I noticed that you did this.” We usually do that part of it first. You took a risk and said, “To hell with that,” did the next one, came up with something new, and it worked. You’re saving us a ton of time here. I’m describing what they’re doing and why it worked.
As opposed to saying, “You did a good job on that thing.”
Forget it, we all want to be seen. I’ll tell you a funny story. We’ve been cleaning in the yard pulling weeds and stuff. I noticed that for years, I will pull a stack of weeds out of a bed in the garden and leave them for Ken, my husband, to come and pick up. I’m going, “This is ridiculous. Why am I leaving the stack of weeds for him to go and haul off?” I wanted him to see the work that I had done. I was howling with laughter at myself and realizing if somebody does something we want you to notice that I did it.
Does that mean that if we don’t feel like we’re being seen, it’s okay to call attention to it ourselves like, “I did the dishes, I took the garbage out without you even asking me?”
There are times whether you’re in a relationship at home, with a team, or even with your kids to say, “I’m noticing this is something that I would appreciate.” Usually, we don’t even have to say that, we demonstrate it ourselves and then they catch on. I lead by example.
I remember you talked a little bit about the mechanics of fight or flight. I’m trying to remember the context. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of that, but there was that other element that tends to be very surprising to people.
The Human Connection
Thank you for bringing it up. It’s part of the polyvagal theory. Stephen Porges, research professor in the University of North Carolina now, discovered that as human beings, we have three branches to our nervous system. We always felt we had two. Fight or flight and freeze. He goes, “No. As human beings, our best go-to place is human connection.” Before I go into fight, flight or freeze, I need to connect with a human being. I need to have an experience that I’m safe, who I am is okay, and you’re noticing me. When I do that, my whole nervous system relaxes, and I can stay in what the neuroscientists call it a window of tolerance but we call it in Ryzio a window of presence. I can stay present with you and we can interact without me either shutting down or being protective.
If somebody is going off the rails, it’s helpful to say to myself if they’re getting anxious, angry, they’re pushing back, or they’re mad at something I did, it’s good for me that I take a breath and I tell myself. I don’t say it out loud, “They’re not feeling safe right now.” I try to use the social engagement system, which is what the scientists call it, that people-to-people part. The best way to do that when somebody is at the top of their window is, “I slow down, I lower my tone of voice, and I hang out for a minute.” I might say, “We ought to look at that more closely.” I’m not defending, I’m not giving my part of it, I’m not telling them how wrong they are, because the truth is once we go out of our window and if this is your brain and you flip your lid. Once I flip my lid, it takes 28 minutes to come back online where we can have a reasonable conversation.
When you say flip my lid, it means I’ve gone into fight-or-flight.
There are ways, and we do have people that have a tendency more to shut down and leave and they go, “I can do that. No problem. That’s okay.” “What’s wrong?” “Nothing.” They shut down and you can’t reach them because they’ve gone below their window and there’s nobody home.
We know, it’s conventional wisdom again, that fight-or-flight is what happens when we’re faced with something that we interpret to be as a potentially life-threatening situation. That’s evolution narrowly where it comes to work. They got to wrestle the bear, I’m going to try to get the hell out of there, or I’m going to freeze. My whole body freeze, there’s nothing I can do. That happens in any of threatening encounters, or something that we perceive as a threat even though it’s not literally life-threatening. That’s why people get angry, yell, shut up, and tune out. Tell me if I’m thinking about this along the right lines. We believe that if it’s fight-or-flight or freeze, we have a tendency to respond to somebody else’s fight impulse in the same way. You fight, I’ll fight. You fight, I’ll freeze. You freeze and I’ll try to snap you out of it. It’s a fight-or-flight response. Now that we know that it’s not simply fight-flight-freeze, there’s also connection. Is that the right word?
That’s exactly right.
If I’m understanding this correctly, that’s our preferred state. If I can provide a feeling of connection, trust, and support in that very moment where I might impulsively go to a fight-or-flight, I can diffuse the whole situation. There are a few things here that strike me as being particularly relevant given the time in which we’re having this conversation. In a time of COVID when people are more separated, there is literally less physical connection. Our response in a lot of ways, many people is a fight-flight-freeze response to this whole pandemic. “What do I do? I don’t know what to do so I won’t do anything. I’m panicking.” There are lots of people having similar responses. What strikes me is that the opportunity inherent in that is that we were all experiencing similar challenges, which gives us the opportunity to connect more because we can relate to it.
We need to find ways to relate. Thank goodness for Zoom. If we didn’t have Zoom and we only had the sound of a voice on the phone, it’s very different, but when we’re on Zoom, I can use a lot of my nonverbal cues to help us come back. First of all, I can know inside my own head that you may have three little kids at home running around, and you’re not sure when one of them is going to break in and be having a fight or you’ve got a lot of stress going on. We don’t know when this is going to end in all the kinds of business stresses that are happening. I can do all of the nonverbal cues. I can try to have eye contact with you, which is a little difficult if you’ve got eight people on the screen, but still, we’re there. I tell people, “If you want to move faster, slow down.” The way we get more done is by slowing down. Pacing and timing gives you an unconscious clue that you’re okay, I’m okay, we’re in this situation together, and I’m understanding.
If I’m going slow, I’m not running. I’m not running toward you and away from you. Going slow is good and I mentioned I can also, from time-to-time, lower the tone of my voice, because when I get excited, my voice goes up and I talk fast, “I get so excited that I’m going to do this thing.” Everybody else is going, “What is she talking about?” Slowing down, lowering the tone of voice, and as you said a minute ago, being very present. It’s very easy if we’ve got a whole bunch of people on a Zoom call, we’re having a meeting for me to do my email and nobody will ever know. The truth is I will know because I’m not feeling the connection and I need that connection.
Going back to what you said about how we are physiologically tuned from birth to recognize other people’s facial expressions. This is what I’ve been noticing in all the Zoom meetings, webinars, and so forth that I’ve been doing is in many ways, these calls can feel more intimate. Let’s say I’m sitting in an audience and there’s a bunch of us in that room listening to a speaker, I’m part of that group. We’re all looking at a speaker who’s up there on stage at a distance. In a Zoom call, my brain tells me that I’m sitting there one-on-one with that same speaker. We’re quite literally face-to-face. If I have it on gallery view, I’m looking in everybody’s face. “Did you do that?” Rolling through the screens. Let’s say there’s 100 on the call and people waving to each other. It’s like, “This is cool.” What you’re telling us is, we’re creating a physiological response even though we’re not sitting in the same room and breathing the same oxygen.
The components of that are facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, posture, timing, and intensity. We can do all of that on Zoom, right?
Yes. We can also do that from the vantage point of not being the speaker, of being the participant. For example, we’ve seen lots of memes and viral videos. People let’s say forgetting to turn on the camera. I like to say that I enjoy these meetings because I have a great session with people. It’s very valuable and I can do the whole thing in my underwear. It’s fantastic. I remember the desk days. What I’m saying is that what I love playing around with is, when I’m part of a group, I make myself hyper-aware of my presence on the screen as part of the group. What does my face look like? Am I doing face with the droopy eye or slacked jaw because I’m not aware? I’ve had people write to me, email me as a fellow participant after a meeting and saying, “I wanted you to know that it was so great to see your smiling face on there.” We have an opportunity to influence each other’s state of mind and being simply by how we’re showing up with our face.
That’s what we learned in what we read. I did not think it was possible. People were saying, “Let’s take our programs on Zoom.” I’m going, “Are you kidding me? No, it’s not going to work.” I was stunned. We’re doing all of our programs now on Zoom while we have to. It’s amazing the depth to which people are willing to go because they feel safe. They’re having an experience together because as you say, we can see each other. I’m conscious of my presence and where I’m looking whereas if we were sitting around a table, I might not. I might be going, “When will Steve going to stop talking?” Here, I’ve got to stay on alert. I’m there.
The same is true in breakout sessions.
We do a lot of breakouts.
You can’t escape from that. You pop into a room with two other people and you can’t start your email because then people think you’re an asshole. You have to be present even more so if you’re sitting there, peer to peer. Let me ask you this, given this conversation about connection virtually. It’s important because every business is dealing with that, learning about it, the pros and cons, we have Zoom burnout. There’s a downside to everything.
We call it Zoom fatigue.
In these days, it’s not that the desire for connection is any greater than it’s ever been, it’s that we’re more aware of it. Virtual platforms like Zoom, we could use it without hesitation because it’s creating the right emotional and physical response. Let me ask you this question, and this is a peek behind the curtain for our audience. We do certifications in the Extreme Leadership Workshop and we’ve done those here in San Diego live, four-day sessions, twenty people at a time, very in-depth. We have one scheduled for the end of September 2020, beginning of October 2020, then this whole scenario came up so now we’re faced with several questions like everybody else on the planet, “Do we postpone that certification or do we do it virtually?”
Internally, we’re still having this conversation. I’m reaching out to people that have already registered for it to get their take on it. What would they prefer to do since they already committed to it? It seems to be half-and-half. My predilection is to say we should do it virtually because of exactly what we’re talking about here. We’re not compromising the intimacy by doing it. In fact, we might even be enhancing it in some ways, and then we’ll do a live day when we can where we can all get, eat together or all that good stuff. Based on the conversation that we’re having and the whole physiological and nervous system elements of this, what do you think?
We’re doing it. What I’ve discovered is that the mind can only absorb so much as the seat can stand, that’s what my mother used to say, so we have to take breaks. If we have an all-day meeting, we take breaks just like we would if we were in person. That helps. When we begin, we have a moment where we do something like read a poem. I wish we could sing together, but we can’t because that would be wonderful. You could pick up your guitar and everybody could go for it, but that doesn’t work. Having a moment where we all pause and come together, I see all the eyes on the screen, and I bring myself present, round myself as it were, is very helpful.
We orient, which you always do. You’re very good at that. The major thing here is, how do we give people experiences? It’s not the information that we need. It’s not the brain stuff. You do not call it the Extreme Leadership Conference. You call it the Extreme Leadership Experience because it’s the experience that changes our brain, grows our nervous system, and changes the trajectory of our DNA. That’s what’s creating health in our nervous systems and our relationships. Having that capacity to be present and give them an experience which you named having breakout rooms, you’ll have them practice things, and do all of this. If they can have the experience in their bodies, not just taking in information which is not what you do, then you’ve got a winner and it’s very worthwhile. It’s necessary because we need it now more than ever.
You used my scenario as an example for leaders out there who are running virtual teams that many of them have been doing, and people are getting that Zoom fatigue, it’s because we’ve been approaching Zoom calls as if their telephone calls with a visual element to it. Whereas what I’m hearing you say is, whatever the meeting is, whether it’s a weekly catch-up, a huddle or whatever, let’s treat them as an experience that they are. Get creative about how, as a leader of a team, I can bring people in as they’re not sitting there listening to a bunch of talking heads and they’re engaging in calls.
The other thing that we do, which I’m sure you do as well, is that everybody mutes, we go around, and every person responds. We do a check-in, but it’s not like, “I had cereal for breakfast.” It’s a very poignant question that takes us to some deep sharing which is meaningful. I have an experience of you sharing something that’s meaningful in your life and I connect with that on an emotional level. I feel connected to you and the next person. It’s not you coming in and delivering information to us and saying, “How’s the project going?” We’re talking about how we feel about things, what we think about things and it doesn’t take long. It’s a couple of minutes per person to go around and have everybody. We call it put their voice in the circle so that when you put your voice in the circle, it’s all the things that you know. I feel a part of things. I feel seen. I experienced you being here with me. I’m not just showing up and taking down information. It’s very different.
There’s one other element about our unusual times that strikes me, this fight-flight-freeze connection. If we’re looking at the whole conversation now, the protests, and the upheaval about the police violence and we look at all these examples that spark the protests on the Black Lives Matter Movement, etc. Many of those circumstances, where things that escalated pure fight-or-flight and got out of hand very quickly, as opposed to taking an approach of what’s become a popular word de-escalation. This is essentially what you’re talking about. That’s a more extreme example because that can literally feel and often is life or death. If you were advising a police force, given your knowledge of how the brain and nervous system works, what advice would you give?
First of all, I would not go in and give them advice. The first thing I would do is I want to hear their stories, fears, experiences, and what that was like for them. For any of us, I get chill bumps imagining that happening but anytime my story is heard, then my nervous system settles. I can feel a part of things and I can hear what you have to say. If I go in and I give advice, it could be a group of police or anybody, nobody’s listening. They don’t care until I’ve made a connection. It’s crazy. It’s not going to happen. If I feel like you’re here with me, you understand my story, you understand where I’m coming from, it’s okay that I’m different, or whatever that is. I can take a breath, my nervous system relaxes, and then I can open to hear what you have to say.
The international dialogue that happened is what you’re describing. Instead of this dynamic that we’ve created for ourselves about so many things in politics, religion, anything else that’s so polarized is because I’m telling you when you’re telling me. You’re not stopping and listening to the other perspective because I’ll speak for myself. I’m a chill guy, I don’t tell others certain things. I’m always very careful to avoid overt political commentary in my work for reasons that we can talk about some of it. I sometimes find myself getting overshadowed or overwhelmed when I’m hearing a strong point of view that’s very different from my own. I don’t like that in myself, but I do find it. It makes it hard for me to sit back, listen, and try to understand which is exactly what I need to do. Oftentimes, the hardest thing to do is exactly what we need. It needs practice.
It does. It’s also helpful if I can say, “What does that remind me of? What is there in that feels unsafe to me?” It’s not I’m adamant, I don’t like those people, they’re nasty, not all of that but looking inside myself. I try to look and see, “Where have I done the same thing? It’s not in the same level but the only difference in us is that your flag looks different than mine.” If I can find some commonality and I can find some connection within myself to have some compassion for what is going on, and then I can listen better. It doesn’t mean I have to agree or that I would ever agree, but we’re not going to ever come together until I can have some understanding and some compassion. That’s true on any level of our being. Glodean Champion has contacted me. We’re going to have some of these conversations with people, inviting people in to say, “What’s your experience?”
For people who are reading, Glodean is one of our certified facilitators at the Extreme Leadership Institute. She’s a powerful woman. She spoke at the event, African-American Woman, very well-spoken and outspoken, doing her best to respond to these times from a place of love and to be the right conversations across all the various lines and walls between ourselves. What I’m hearing you say a big part of this is changing our objective from convincing to understanding. Instead of we sit down, we have a conversation, and we have a debate, it’s the wrong objective. If my goal is by the time we’re done talking together, I’m going to understand you. You’re going to understand me, and maybe we won’t come to any so-called conclusion but what we will have done is contributed to the growth of each other’s vagus nerve.
What you said is so important. I don’t care if it’s a couple having an argument or if it’s a team at work that can’t get along. The most important question for us ask is, what is my goal here? What’s the most important thing here? Is the most important thing for me to be right? Is it most important for me to win? Is it most important for me to show how big I am and strong? Is it important that our relationship survive and grow? I often find almost all the time that it’s the relationship that’s the most important thing here. When I can keep that in mind, then that can dictate my responses.If you want to move faster, slow down. Click To Tweet
What Does Love Have To Do With all Of This?
It’s focusing the attention on the relationship and culture. As we bring this in for a landing, you said, “She has discovered and delights in teaching the secret sauce that underlies all of this research, love.” The question is, what’s love got to do with all of this?
Love has everything to do with all of it because when I’m present and I show up, I’m listening. I’m here with you. I know what’s the most important thing here. I care about you, our organization, family and I’m present. That’s love. When I can be in that place in me and you can be in that place in you, there’s only one of us in that moment and we can move forward in whatever way we need to, because of the love.
Before we say our farewells, how should people get in touch with you? What’s the best way to learn more about what you do, to learn about Ryzio and to connect with you?
Thank you. It’s Ryzio.com. It’s like we’re rising together. When we first figured it out, I couldn’t even spell it.
Marti, thank you so much.
Thank you so much, Steve.
About Marti Glenn
Marti Glenn is dedicated to helping people transform their lives! As co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of Ryzio Institute, she conducts professional trainings and intensive retreats internationally that make it possible for leaders to move beyond coping into thriving. Marti is particularly keen on crafting experiences and practices that develop the brain and nervous system and even change the trajectory of our DNA! Integrating the latest research in epigenetics, Polyvagal Theory, neuroscience, psychology, leadership and mindfulness, she and her team offer experiences and practices to help leaders live the lives they long for! She has discovered and delights in teaching the secret sauce that underlies all of this research: LOVE!
An award winning and pioneering professor and psychotherapist, Marti has served as founder and CEO of a number of successful companies and non-profit organizations over the past four decades. She is founding president of Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, known for its graduate degrees in perinatal psychology, somatic psychology and clinical psychology.
Marti has served on the boards of a number of national organizations and has chaired numerous international professional conferences. She co-produced the broadcast quality documentary, Trauma, Brain and Relationship featuring Daniel Siegel and Bruce Perry and has appeared in in a number of documentary films.
Marti is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide. She lives in Santa Barbara, California and enjoys working with her husband Ken, CEO of Ryzio Institute. Outside of work, she delights in toe-tapping music festivals, creative projects and exploring with her grandchildren.
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