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The job of our brain is to keep us safe. Unfortunately, this means it doesn’t care about our feeling or emotions. Nataly Kogan tells Kevin to create emotional awareness, we need to check in on ourselves. We need to ask our brains if the story it is creating is truthful or helpful? Leaders know that to help our team, we need to acknowledge that servant leadership is not martyr leadership. When we work on our emotional fitness skills, we can better serve our team. This episode was recording during our Mental Fitness Day, a Virtual LeaderCon event in April 2022.
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00:00:00:05 - 00:00:21:08
Hello again, everyone. I'm so glad that you've decided to stay with us. Chosen. Been intentional
about staying with us. The person I'm going to introduce you to in just a second. Well, I'm going
to guess that one of her favorite words is awesome. It happens to be one of my favorite words,
although most of you would probably associate the word remarkable with me.
00:00:21:08 - 00:00:40:06
And I love that word as well. I love the word awesome. And this person's book is titled The
Awesome Human Project. Her name is Nataly Kogan. And let me introduce you to her. And then
we're going to dove in. Before I introduce you, let me just say that we've been trying to have
this conversation for a podcast for a long time.
00:00:40:09 - 00:01:08:21
One person had to cancel it. Something else happened. And then and then I said to Lisa, Let's
see if we can get Nataly to be in this event. And then we'll still make it a podcast. So it'll
eventually be on the Remarkable Leadership podcast as well. But let me introduce Nataly to
you, and then we'll dove in Nataly Kogan is an entrepreneur, speaker and author on a mission
to help millions of people cultivate their happier skills by making simple, scientifically backed
practices a part of their daily life.
00:01:09:02 - 00:01:29:21
She immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee from the former Soviet Union when she was 13 years
old, starting her life in the projects and on welfare. She went on to reach the highest levels of
corporate success at companies like McKinsey and Microsoft. Well, when she still found herself
unfulfilled, she set out to discover what really leads to fulfilling happier lives.
00:01:30:04 - 00:01:50:01
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Her explorations led her to create happier. A company whose mobile app online courses and
happier at work training programs have helped more than a million people improve their
emotional health. And you can see then why we would want her at an event about improving
our mental fitness. She is a keynote speaker and the author of this book, The Awesome Human
00:01:50:01 - 00:02:09:12
The subtitle is Break Free from Daily Burnout, Struggle Less and Thrive More in Work and Life.
Do I hear an Amen? She has appeared in hundreds of media outlets The New York Times, Wall
Street Journal. She's been on the Dr. Oz Show, which would probably be a whole story. We
don't have time for Nataly. Welcome.
00:02:10:06 - 00:02:32:16
Thank you. I am so thrilled to be here. I love the enthusiasm. Yours and in chat. I love
everyone's enthusiasm about my hoodie. So if you're listening to this as a podcast, I just want
to tell you and everyone is here, this hoodie is the official awesome human honey It is the one
that I painted. It actually is the painting that is on the cover of my book, which is one of my
00:02:32:16 - 00:02:50:22
You're looking at my art behind me. Making art is part of what makes me an awesome human.
So I love the excitement and it's been so fun. And I created this hoodie for myself when the
book came out, and everyone is loving it. So we are going to soon make them available to the
world. But I love the excitement and the joy here.
00:02:50:23 - 00:02:51:15
What an awesome.
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00:02:51:15 - 00:03:08:17
To ask that if you were going to turn it into being more than just one of a kind. Right. So and I
got all sorts of things that we can chat about. See people. So people people want one and we're
getting links in there about your art and all that sort of stuff. So and people will buy one.
00:03:08:17 - 00:03:23:10
So here's the deal team. Now that's a member of my team wanting Christmas presents. So so
naturally, here's what I'm going to ask you to do for me. Once you have them for sale, make
sure you let us know and we'll let everybody here know and we'll make sure we put that in the
show notes for.
00:03:23:23 - 00:03:39:09
That so much. You know as well, when I launch the book, it's not just I say this, it's not just the
book. It's a movement to help us all embrace our humanity, our uniqueness, so one of the ways
we got to remind ourselves is buy things we wear. That's my own. That's the purpose.
00:03:40:01 - 00:03:55:19
Well, maybe that's one of the ways that you do this. But one of the things you talk about in the
book is talking back to our brains and our our last guest, Beverly. We were talking a little bit
about this idea of listening to our inner voice. You're saying we talk back to our brain, talk more
00:03:55:19 - 00:03:56:21
What do you mean we do?
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00:03:56:21 - 00:04:11:16
So apologies to all the kindergarten teachers who told us to never talk back. We're going to not
listen to that advice. So here is the first thing before we why do we need to talk about to back
to our brain right away from back to my brain? My brain is in my head. Here's the thing you
need to know about your brain.
00:04:11:19 - 00:04:29:07
Your brain does not care about your happiness, about your mental fitness, about your
emotional well-being. Your brain could care less about your feelings. Your brain only has one
priority, and that is to keep you safe from danger. Survival. That's not entirely bad news. I like
being alive. I enjoy it. But that is the thing to understand about your brain.
00:04:29:07 - 00:04:51:02
It is here to help us survive and to do that. It's developed some characteristics. For example, it
is always looking out for possible danger, physical danger or psychological danger. And it has
what's called a negativity bias. So all of our brains are much more focused on everything that is
wrong or could go wrong or did go wrong because negative stimuli indicates possible danger.
00:04:51:15 - 00:05:16:12
So under standing, that is essential because it brings us to this point, the thoughts your brain
gives you are not like objective observations of reality. They're given to you through all these
filters the brain has developed to keep you safe. Activity, bias, fear of uncertainty, establish
patterns, confirmation bias. So your brain is not telling the truth about how you feel or about
00:05:16:19 - 00:05:35:15
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So guess the good news. The good news is you are the editor of your thoughts So our job is our
practice as to hear the thought, to become aware, oh, it's coming through a filter of negativity
bias. Oh, my brain is just really afraid of uncertainty. And then to talk back to your brain kindly
because your brain is part of you.
00:05:35:15 - 00:05:52:09
So we do this kindly but firmly. I write in my book that I want you to embody like your inner
grandparent. We all know what grandparents are like, right? A kid is having a tantrum. A
grandparent doesn't yell at the kid. The grandparent gets on the floor and they hear you out,
and then they say, All right, let's think about this.
00:05:52:09 - 00:06:08:15
And here are the two. When you talk back to your brain here, the two questions I want you to
ask your brain when it gives you these thoughts that cause you to struggle, to cause you to
overfocus on the -2 questions to ask your brain. First is, is this start true? And for something to
be true, you need to have facts to support it.
00:06:08:15 - 00:06:19:21
So what you think might happen or what you think someone else thinks, those are not facts.
You have to be able to defend your fact in court. So is this not true? So just as an example, you
00:06:20:05 - 00:06:29:10
So before you go any further, before you go any further, let me just say to all of you, that
means that gets rid of almost all worry immediately.
00:06:30:14 - 00:06:32:06
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If we're honest about it now.
00:06:32:06 - 00:06:33:00
That's what I mean.
00:06:33:12 - 00:06:53:05
We have to get really clear what is the fact, right? I think this might happen is not a fact. That is
a thought. So what are the facts? So just to give you an example, you know, I work with so
many teams and companies and right now a lot of people are going back to the office after
being at home and everyone's negativity biases through the roof.
00:06:53:12 - 00:07:12:14
We're all focusing on the negative stuff. Oh, my God, I'm never going to have time for my
family. The commute is going to be horrible. I'm going to get COVID, all those things. Okay, so
we have to practice. Is that not true? Everything's going to be horrible. I'm never going to have
time for my family. Well, no. What are the facts to support it, right.
00:07:12:21 - 00:07:30:12
And so that question, as you said, gets rid of a lot of things. We just have to be really honest
about what what factors The second question is to start helpful. So if I engage in the start, if I go
along with it, if I believe it, does it help me work through this challenge? Does it motivate me?
00:07:30:15 - 00:07:49:22
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Does it fuel my energy? Does it make me a better colleague, leader or mom person? Again, a
very powerful question, because the answer is rarely yes. Like yes. Thinking about all the
horrible things that can happen makes me better said no one ever. So the way that we talk to
our brain is we embody that ed of our thoughts.
00:07:49:22 - 00:08:02:01
We recognize that our thoughts are not objective reality. There's a lot of filters, and mostly your
brain is just speaking from fear because it wants to keep you safe. So is this that true? Is this not
00:08:02:20 - 00:08:25:01
So let's you brought it up so we can't ignore it. Right We got to all this future of work stuff. Now
we're going back to the office. Some people are going. Some people are some organizations still
haven't decided what they're going to do or when they're going to do it. So do you what are
you what are you noticing with clients?
00:08:25:01 - 00:08:48:22
And and just in your observation about are these are are is our emotional fitness. You use the
phrase emotional fitness more than mental fitness. Really? We're talking about the same thing.
The is it I'm asking a general question. Is it more frayed now than it has been? Is it even perhaps
more frayed now than it was two years ago?
00:08:49:11 - 00:08:49:18
00:08:49:18 - 00:09:17:18
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Take? 100%. I mean, I was just giving a keynote yesterday, and I think I say this in every
presentation now that we have to recognize we've all just been through trauma. Right. And I'm
not a doctor. I do want to say I'm not a doctor as a psychologist, but I do study a lot. And we've
all been through something really traumatic and we've all or have depleted what is called our
surge capacity, which is our capacity to deal with a lot of stress.
00:09:17:18 - 00:09:43:07
We all have it. Humans are actually we're very good at dealing with stress like stress on its own.
It's not bad. It's one it's ongoing, which is what we've experienced. It's when it doesn't have an
end. So we're all depleted, all of our energy is depleted. Our ability to handle stress is depleted.
You know, I bet and I share this with the audience like have you found yourself that you're
snapping more, you have no patience, you get annoyed easier.
00:09:43:14 - 00:10:07:09
It's true for all of us. It's not because you're a bad person. That buffer is gone. That extra
capacity is gone because we've all gone through something so difficult. So we're all afraid, all of
our emotional, mental, physical energy is exhausted. Our mental emotional fitness is really
frayed. And I think it's really, really important to acknowledge because, you know, people talk
about going back to normal.
00:10:07:09 - 00:10:25:01
I talk about we need to get to the baseline. Like we're all below the baseline right now is a very,
like, crude way to think about it. But there's a below the baseline baseline and above the
baseline when you're a baseline, you're doing all right above the baseline, you're doing
awesome. We're all below the baseline and we need to get to that place.
00:10:25:01 - 00:10:36:11
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Where are we? Our brain feel safe. I mean, physically save psychologically safe. Well, we have
some extra energy reserves. So yeah, I'm finding this with every kind of team or a company that
I work with. I think we're all in the same boat.
00:10:37:19 - 00:10:55:01
Yeah, I'm going to come back to that below the baseline before we're done. But I, you know,
one of the things that we took for granted when we were in the office, I have on the wall over
here, it's a whiteboard. And, and a lot of people have said if we could just get back so we could
use a whiteboard again, that's a whole other conversation.
00:10:55:04 - 00:11:01:22
But in your book, you talk about the emotional whiteboard. So what do you mean, Nataly, by
the emotional whiteboard?
00:11:02:09 - 00:11:12:05
Yeah. I love that we get to talk about it. So every single one of us right now, you should just look
down because you're wearing an emotional whiteboard. And what I mean by that is.
00:11:12:07 - 00:11:17:05
I know I am wearing the official Kevin blue shirt. That will be a joke to some people on the call.
00:11:17:12 - 00:11:40:12
And you're also wearing an emotional whiteboard. And what I mean by that is all of us are we
cannot hide how we feel. We all, as human beings, we are so good at sensing each other. It's
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one of the things we're best at. So how you feel right now, it's written on your emotional
whiteboard, except other people see it through a little bit fuzzy glasses.
00:11:40:12 - 00:12:05:19
So you might say, you know, you might look at your colleague and you can see that she's sort of
less energetic than usual or seems annoyed, but you don't know why. So you're sensing the
emotional whiteboard, but you don't know exactly why. And it is what I talk about in the book
and when I work with so many teams and leaders on is we have to practice emotional
awareness to create to improve our mental fitness and emotional fit.
00:12:05:19 - 00:12:24:23
We have to actually become aware what is on my emotional whiteboard, like how am I feeling?
We ask our colleagues, we ask our families, we ask our friends, how are you? How are you
having a we have to ask ourselves we have to recognize that we have to check in with ourselves
and then we have to be open.
00:12:24:23 - 00:12:38:05
We have to share what's in our emotional whiteboard with our colleagues, with our teams, in a
way that it gives them context. I always say this. I'm not asking you to give a TED talk about
your feelings to every person you interact with, not us from your best.
00:12:38:05 - 00:12:38:15
00:12:39:20 - 00:13:00:21
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Okay. Yeah, but what I am asking you to do is to recognize how important is it, especially in a
virtual environment, but also in person to give people context. So I did it this morning. I had a
virtual meeting with someone this morning and I was just traveling under the weather. And I
started by saying, just listen, I just want to let you know, like I'm under the weather.
00:13:00:21 - 00:13:28:22
I had a tough couple of days, so if I'm sounding less energetic than normal, that's what it is. And
we can save each other so much struggle, so much unnecessary waste of energy if we just
openly acknowledge Okay, this is what's on my emotional whiteboard and it creates trust, it
creates a sense of human connection. And it is so important to do right now because we've all
spent a lot of time being really disconnected and it's hard to read emotions on Zoom or virtual
00:13:29:04 - 00:13:47:17
So we have to get more. We have to take responsibility for our emotional whiteboards and
recognize that our emotions and energy are impacting everyone around us, whether we
recognize that or not. And to actually step into a place where we are responsible and we
acknowledge what's on it and we're open about it.
00:13:48:20 - 00:14:00:17
So Amy, just put it in the chat. I'm going to can read it and let you respond to it. Unfortunately,
there are work environments that hold that against us, so you can't really be sharing how
you're feeling. Thoughts about you want to comment to Amy's point? I mean, we know it's.
00:14:01:15 - 00:14:25:01
No, no, I'm happy to you know, I work with all kinds of companies and some companies are way
more open than others. But I feel very confident saying for my work to say the following you
The Kevin Eikenberry Group © 2022 13
always have an opportunity to give people context for how you're feeling if you are in a
company or talking about emotions is not something that's practiced, you start in smaller ways,
00:14:25:01 - 00:14:50:02
So you're talking to a colleague, someone you trust, someone you know, you start there, you
just share contacts. And again, I think it's really important to articulate, to get really crisp about
what I'm saying. I'm not telling you to come into work and nonstop talk about how you're
feeling. That's not useful for anyone. I'm asking you to recognize that your energy and your
feelings are impacting everyone around you already, whether you want to admit it or not.
00:14:51:02 - 00:15:10:01
And to ask yourself, would it be helpful for my colleague or my team? Would it be helpful for
them to have a little bit of context for how I'm feeling? And if the answer is yes, then you give a
little bit of context. And that's why the practice that I teachers share one sentence from your
emotional whiteboard. It's not a TED talk.
00:15:10:06 - 00:15:11:08
It's not an essay not.
00:15:11:08 - 00:15:14:12
Venting it's not a planning, it's not the B-word.
00:15:14:12 - 00:15:29:21
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And you don't have to give all the personal details either. You can simply say, Listen, I had a
really rough meeting before this one, so I just want to let you know if I'm sounding a little tense.
That's why. Or listen, there's some stuff going on at home that I have to deal with. So here's
something a little bit.
00:15:29:21 - 00:15:46:11
Something for me, that's what it is. That's what I'm talking about. You're giving context because
people are sensing something already and it eliminates so much of that background. Oh, my
God. Is Nataly mad at me? Is she upset at me? What did I do? What did I do? Why is she not
being so calm? It eliminates all of that.
00:15:46:11 - 00:16:01:13
So it's it's a responsibility and it is a gift we can give to each other. And I have confidence from
having worked with every kind of company you can think of on the spectrum. You can always
find an opportunity to do it. You just may need to start small and friendly.
00:16:02:03 - 00:16:18:05
Now, you gave three example, boom, boom, boom, and they were all negative ones. What
about sharing some emotional whiteboard that's positive mean. I just came out of a great
meeting someone after this is going to say I was in this on this awesome event and like, we can
do that too, right?
00:16:18:21 - 00:16:49:09
Yes. 100%. And first of all, Amy, I'm so thrilled to hear that is helpful. It's breaking it into smaller
chunks. Yes. Sharing our joy our enthusiasm, our excitement, our gratitude is so important.
And, you know, it's I love that you brought this up because I cannot tell you how often people
like in the work context asked me like, Nataly, am I going to sound like really silly with my
colleagues if I'm like overly enthusiastic?
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00:16:49:09 - 00:17:08:15
There is this like weird bias or perception, you know? And by the way, I'm a Russian Jew. I come
from a culture where happiness is for stupid people. So I just want to, you know, I get it. Okay?
That's where I come from. And I'm a founder of a company called Happier, so, you know. Yeah.
So, you know, I'm just saying, like, I've had to do a lot of inner work to get there.
00:17:09:02 - 00:17:36:01
So yes, I think it's so essential to recognize that our emotions are already out. We are already
giving the signals. And so we want to. And someone just put it in, Chad, you want to make the
covert overt because it reduces struggle. And when you share something that's truly joyful or
meaningful or you're grateful for, it's literally energy, fuel for other people.
00:17:36:05 - 00:17:58:15
Literally 100% not 100%. So I'm looking at the time and the one thing I really wanted us to get
to we haven't gotten to. So I'm stopping us and I'm taking us there because you talk about the
five emotional fitness skills and then there's a whole practice around that. But I want to get
people the sense to hear about the five emotional fitness skills.
00:17:58:15 - 00:18:14:11
And for for those of you that were with us this morning, as Nataly is unpacking this, I want you
to think about what you heard this morning about the muscles, and you'll hear some
connection between those things. So go ahead. Let's talk about the time. Let you lay them out.
Give us a quick give us a quick piece in that.
00:18:14:11 - 00:18:15:07
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I want to dove in and.
00:18:15:11 - 00:18:35:08
I'll give you my short a sort of short TEDTalk on the five scales and just. Well, we're doing it,
isn't it? Go ahead. And just to define like emotional fitness, because I think it's really important.
So the way that I define emotional fitness is as a skill of creating a more supportive relationship
with yourself, your thoughts, your emotions and other people.
00:18:35:12 - 00:18:59:10
So that's what emotional fitness is. So here are the five skills. The first is acceptance, and they
are in order. So acceptance always comes first. It's the gateway, and acceptance is a skill of
looking at how you feel and the situation ahead of you with clarity, focusing on the facts, like,
here's what's going on, here are the facts, here's how I feel, and that using that as your
foundation to decide how to move forward.
00:18:59:17 - 00:19:19:11
So part of acceptance is emotional awareness. A part of acceptance is editing your thoughts
and acceptance is so essential because it gets rid of all those stories that your brain has created
that is causing you to struggle, that is keeping you stuck, and it gets you to a place of clarity like
this is what the facts are. This is how I feel.
00:19:19:19 - 00:19:36:16
What is the next best thing I could do? And acceptance of such a beautiful skill to take us from
should to could we all get stuck in this? Should the world should be like this? I should be this
way. My colleagues should be like this. Acceptance takes you to could. Here's how it is, here's
how I am, here's how the world is.
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00:19:36:17 - 00:19:39:17
What is one thing I could do to move forward? So that's acceptance.
00:19:40:04 - 00:19:42:23
Stop shooting on yourself, right? Stop shooting.
00:19:42:23 - 00:20:10:13
Right. Stop shooting on yourself. Gratitude is the second skill, and gratitude is probably more
familiar. Gratitude is a skill of focusing your attention on the small, positive moments that are
already in your day. Even when things are challenging and being really generous in sharing your
gratitude with others. And I talked about the negativity bias when we started Gratitude is the
most simple and powerful way to balance out your brain's negativity by.
00:20:10:14 - 00:20:28:19
So your brain just wants to focus on everything that's wrong. When you practice gratitude,
you're literally saying same to your brain, your brain. I know these things are challenging, but
let's also pay attention to these things that are good and meaningful and comforting. And
gratitude gives you joy. But also gratitude gives you a resilience to do the hard stuff.
00:20:29:11 - 00:20:48:16
The third scale is self-care, which I have a very different definition for than I think we think of
self-care as some kind of a luxury or like a gift we have to give ourselves after we do all the
things. Well, here's my definition of self-care. It is a skill of fueling your emotional, mental, and
physical energy. That's it.
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00:20:48:20 - 00:21:10:20
We all are. Here are human beings. We have a limited amount of energy every day. We start
with a limited amount of energy reservoir. Everything we do takes energy, so we have to do
two things. We have to intentionally fuel it, and we have to do fewer things that unnecessarily
drain it. Multitasking, negative self-talk, mindlessly scrolling social media are to some good
00:21:11:09 - 00:21:38:03
So acceptance, gratitude, self-care, the fourth is intentional kindness. People sometimes get
surprised when I talk about kindness as a skill, but I know everyone here is kind, but kindness is
a practice. It's something that we do. I always say to people, I don't care if you're kind to what I
care about. Are you practicing kindness and compassion? So the skill of kindness is simply doing
something to help or elevate another person and not expect anything in return.
00:21:38:23 - 00:22:23:16
And kindness and doing small acts of kindness and just human connection is the best way that I
know to fuel that sense of connection, to fuel our relationships which is something that is so, so
important right now. So acceptance, gratitude, self-care, intentional kindness and the final
skills, the bigger why and the bigger why is the skill of connecting to your sense of purpose,
your sense of meaning by looking at how do the things that I'm already doing, the work stuff,
the projects all the time, how do they help someone else, how do they contribute to someone,
or how do they help me reach a really meaningful Longer-Term goal?
00:22:23:23 - 00:22:33:13
That is where we derive our sense of purpose as human beings. And so those are the fire of
acceptance, gratitude, self-care, intentional kindness. And the bigger one so you.
00:22:34:05 - 00:22:50:18
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Kathryn, just put a comment in here about kindness is also a good way to approach self-care. So
would you make a comment about the connection between those two? Because there's been a
lot you obviously are coming in in the middle of this day, and a lot of these folks have been
listening to other great experts as we've gone along.
00:22:50:18 - 00:23:11:23
And you can see in there that people are making these connections right, which is absolutely
fabulous. And one of the things we've been talking about is that when we we do have a limited
amount of energy, of course, right but oftentimes when we're willing to give, we get back. So
talk about the connection between intentional kindness, the act of being kind, and how that
connects back to self-care.
00:23:11:23 - 00:23:12:19
Can you do that for me?
00:23:12:20 - 00:23:42:07
Yeah. And there it's actually like a circle, right? So something I say often is you can't give what
you don't have you cannot give what you don't have. And so self-care comes earlier on my list
and kindness on purpose because many of us have grown up in cultures and backgrounds and
kind of have learned to put ourselves last and to focus on others.
00:23:42:18 - 00:24:05:16
And we actually can't do that. You cannot be as kind and compassionate towards others as you
want if you are not kind of compassionate towards yourself. And we have to really like we have
to get courageous be honest with ourselves about that truth. The way that we treat others is
rooted in how we treat ourselves. So being kind towards yourself is the beginning.
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00:24:05:19 - 00:24:38:05
We have to learn how to be kind towards ourselves, which is part of self-care. But then as we
fill our emotional reservoir and our mental reservoir, that is what allows us to then be much
more compassionate towards others. It allows us to then bring our best to others and a true
way and there's a lot of research that shows that there is that connection, that greater self
compassion improves your compassion, greater compassion towards others, teaches you how
to be more compassionate towards yourself.
00:24:38:11 - 00:24:41:00
So there is this loop that I want you to think about.
00:24:41:00 - 00:25:02:10
I would actually, I would actually, rather than loop, I would think upward spiral, right? We had
the chance to create an upward spiral as we do one and then the other. So Margie, Margie
asked, please repeat the definition again of emotional skills. And rather than having you do
that, Nataly, I want to Margie tell us, do you want the do you want the, the, the five things or
was there something else you were asking for?
00:25:02:10 - 00:25:26:20
Because the five things were listed, someone just listed them up above in the chart so there's
something different. Let us know and I'll make sure we ask that. Let us know, Margie, and we'll
go back to that. Okay. So we got these five skills and in the book I'm going to hold it up here
that one of the things that you do is you walk us through a five week process of working on
building these things.
00:25:26:20 - 00:25:36:17
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And so we don't have time to unpack that completely. But is there something specific about
sort of that practice of building them that you want to speak to?
00:25:37:09 - 00:25:56:03
Yeah, well, I want to offer a couple of things. First is in the middle of May, I'm going to lead a
five week group Emotional Fitness Challenge based on the book. So if you guys are interested
just you can just go to Nataly Kogan.com and subscribe to my weekly email. I write those
myself. So, you know, when we do the challenge, I'm actually going to take everyone together
00:25:56:16 - 00:26:15:19
But really one of my core principal tools is these are skills. And how do you build a skill, any
skill? Forget about these skills. How do you build any skill? You start by practicing. That's what it
is. Right? If you want to become a writer, what do you do? You start writing and you write one
day and the next day and the next day and I may be first to write short pieces.
00:26:15:19 - 00:26:17:12
Then you make them longer, right?
00:26:17:18 - 00:26:18:08
00:26:18:23 - 00:26:41:00
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They go, next thing you know, you have a book. And that's one of my really core principles that
I think is really important to recognize those small steps these small practices that you do,
we've talked about a bunch of them editing your thoughts, talking back to your brain, gratitude,
kind of these small shifts, these small practices, these tiny steps that you take throughout the
00:26:41:01 - 00:27:03:17
Again, emotional fitness is a skill of improving, creating a more supportive relationship with
yourself. Your thoughts and emotions. So throughout the day, doing these small things to
improve that relationship has huge impact. Right. You don't need to make dramatic changes.
You know, great resignation. Everyone's resigning from their jobs. Like that's not necessary. If
you hate your job, that's okay.
00:27:03:17 - 00:27:26:22
But you don't have to. I think we as a culture we look for the huge thing. And so I think a really
important thing to recognize about mental health, fitness, emotional fitness is it's just about
doing these small things on a consistent basis. There's no end. You don't like do these four days
and then you're done. This is a lifelong practice, but it's a really beautiful one because we're
really fueling ourselves.
00:27:26:22 - 00:27:36:19
And I think it's really, really important to recognize that you have a relationship with yourself
and you have to nurture it, just like you nurture your relationships. With others.
00:27:38:05 - 00:28:00:02
I just have to share it. We're talking about these five emotional skills, and we talked in our last
session about the gratitude scale, the practice of gratitude and so I'm just going to share setting
a small thing I'm grateful for right now. So over here in the chat, we have a guy in Belgium and a
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guy in Buenos Aires talking with each other about whether they use the word amazing or
00:28:00:07 - 00:28:23:23
I mean, that is just I'm sorry, but that's just awesome. It's just awesome, right, that we are able
to be together. And I'm grateful that we're able to to create the space for that kind of thing to
happen. And it's not even the first time that those two people have been in the same physical,
virtual space together. So most everybody here, Nataly, is a leader.
00:28:23:23 - 00:28:44:14
And I know that like me, you work with lots and lots of leaders. And what we've been talking
about so far has largely been about what we can do as individuals. And now we have other
awards like astounding. Right. But here's my question. What's the lesson for us or what do you
want to say to us when we put our leader hat on about the kinds of things we've been talking
00:28:44:14 - 00:28:44:20
00:28:45:07 - 00:29:04:19
Well, I want to say two things. One is you can give what you don't have and you also can't teach
what you don't practice. I was that leader for 20 years. I cared about my team. I cared about
their well-being, their success. And I put them first and I put myself blessed. I took servant
leadership to me, not leadership.
00:29:04:19 - 00:29:23:18
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I thought that's what I was supposed to do. And you know what? Not only did it lead me to
burnout, but in retrospect, I was really hurting them. I was hurting the very people that I
prioritize because you cannot give what you don't have. You also can teach practices. I don't
care how many times you tell your team to practice gratitude, to practice self-care, to take care
00:29:24:01 - 00:29:41:07
If you don't make that a priority for yourself, your words are just about noise. And so that is the
most important thing I want to say to you as a leader. You know, I've given something like 70
keynotes to leaders in the past two years. I get 300 talks during the pandemic and 70 of them
were two leaders.
00:29:41:22 - 00:30:06:18
And I love working with leaders, but I am on a mission to reverse this idea that servant
leadership means putting other people's well-being first. It does not. You cannot bring your
best as a leader if you are an empty. You cannot bring your best if you lack compassion towards
yourselves. To my most important advice to leaders actually is to make sure that you are
practicing leaders ask me all the time, Nataly, how do I bring these skills to my team?
00:30:06:23 - 00:30:21:20
How do I help my team? You you must begin with yourself. You make your own emotional
fitness a priority. You practice, you talk about how you're practicing, and then you can lead.
Then you can bring these practices to your team. You have to begin with yourself.
00:30:23:07 - 00:30:45:04
Self-care isn't selfish. I've said that ten times today, by the way, as a leader, we are always role
modeling yes. And they're watching our feet more than our lips. Right. Even if we're virtual,
they're still watching our feet more than our lips. What we're doing matters far more than what
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we're saying. And so even if we're saying Hey, take care of yourself, hey, don't do email in the
00:30:45:04 - 00:31:08:10
Hey, make sure you're taking your vacation. Are you? I mean, those are simple, obvious ones.
But there's one more, Nataly, that you're that you're hinting at here. And look at the chat is
bubbling up here now with all this stuff. I wanted to go back. You said something earlier. I want
to do this. When we were talking about now that we were talking about leaders, you said that
we're all below the baseline and that we need to at least get ourselves back to the baseline.
00:31:09:05 - 00:31:29:17
What color that a little bit more from the leadership perspective. If we know as leaders that
that's probably where we all are. And you just made it pretty clear that we got to make sure we
get back to baseline. Got that. But what else? Because we're not psychotherapists and we're
not right. Like, what else do we need to be doing other than simply be aware of that?
00:31:29:23 - 00:31:33:02
To help our teams get back to at least the baseline?
00:31:33:02 - 00:31:51:15
We need to acknowledge it. And this is really hard. Most so many of our so many leaders,
including this is how I used to be before I burnt out, I thought that my job was to be
cheerleader in chief, right? So no matter how I felt, I thought my job was to show up and be
positive and confident and just point the way forward.
00:31:51:23 - 00:32:13:04
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And I had so much fear around sharing my own difficult emotions or even opening up
opportunity for people on my team to talk about theirs because I thought, oh, my God, we're
going to get stuck. It's going to bring us down. The opposite is true. You know, there's a lot of
research on what leaders, what makes leaders most effective during crises.
00:32:13:04 - 00:32:37:22
And we are all leading through a crisis. If any of you think you're not leading through a crisis,
please re-adjust where we are leading through a crisis. The most effective leaders for a crisis
are leaders who are emotionally aware, leaders who openly share their challenges with their
teams and leaders who create opportunities for their teams to openly talk about their
challenges and their feelings without descending into hopelessness.
00:32:38:07 - 00:32:55:22
So that exercise of sharing your emotional whiteboard, sharing one sentence from your
emotional whiteboard as a leader, it's a must. Everyone is looking to you. Your emotions impact
others way more. That's just the reality. But create an opportunity for your team to do that. So
00:32:56:00 - 00:32:57:09
Opportunity and space.
00:32:57:14 - 00:33:15:04
And space. So do it at a weekly meeting, say, Hey, guys, like, we're going to do this thing now.
We're going to go around, we're going to check in, and everyone is going to share one sentence
from your emotional whiteboard. And again, that frame of a one sentence is really powerful
because it just makes it doable. We're not asking for a whole thing and do that create.
The Kevin Eikenberry Group © 2022 27
00:33:15:14 - 00:33:29:21
You have to go first. You must go first as a leader because that gives people permission. But I
think that is actually a really you know, it's a little bit counterintuitive that to help us get better,
we have to acknowledge how we feel. But it's non-negotiable.
00:33:31:10 - 00:33:47:02
100%. So I know that this is going to be a podcast episode later. So we will I want you to I mean,
we're here in this place. Everyone sees all the links about all of this stuff. But Nataly, where do
you want to point people to learn more about the book and your work?
00:33:47:16 - 00:34:03:21
Give Nataly Kogan.com Nataly accept Nataly vote and why so NATO ally, KRG and accom all the
things I've talked about, we have a really great handout on there with all the five skills, all the
book, my work or whatever you want.
00:34:03:22 - 00:34:28:19
Nataly Kogan.com and eventually everybody sweatshirts so we can take care of that. So here's a
question I've been asking everybody today. We're talking you know, you're coming here as an
expert telling us what we should do, what the research tells us, and things that we should we
can and should be working on. Could be not should be. So what are you doing?
00:34:28:19 - 00:34:34:11
Like, what's something that you do that helps you with your emotional or mental fitness?
00:34:34:22 - 00:34:54:14
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Yeah. So, I mean, I I'm I'm a human, so I have to practice all the same things. Nothing makes me
special just because that's what I teach even more. I have to practice. One of the things that I'll
just share because I know our time is limited for me. My mornings are really important. I
mornings are my creative time.
00:34:54:14 - 00:35:19:16
It's when I sort of have a lot of ideas. And one of the best things I've done for my emotional
fitness as one become aware of that. And I do want to start there. It's been true my whole life,
but I just have no awareness of that. So first your first job is awareness. And the second thing is
I've tried as much as I can to design my days in a way that honors my morning time.
00:35:20:08 - 00:35:39:21
What does that mean? That means I talk to my speaking team and I said, Guys, let's not
schedule stuff before 11. Does that mean I never do a keynote before 11? No, I of course I
make exceptions. I'm a real human being. I run my own business. Right. But it's so powerful to
recognize here is what I need and then to communicate.
00:35:39:21 - 00:36:04:02
And as much as you can to design your day to honor that and for me, that is incredibly fueling.
And that honor is my humanity, my energy. And so that's one of the things that I just offer that I
do, but I offer just to think about what do you need? What are some things that you can design
into your day that really fuel you and then have those conversations with people in your life to
try and create that space.
00:36:04:02 - 00:36:06:10
Can you do it? 100%? No. Is it worth it? Yes.
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00:36:07:06 - 00:36:31:13
So I'll just I'll just sort of underline and highlight that I am also and my team will attest that I am
a morning person and that's when I am at my best in lots and lots of ways. And so I totally hear
that. But what I would say to everybody is that I think I hear often, Nataly, that a lot of people
that do what we do talk about being morning people and not everyone here is a morning
00:36:31:19 - 00:36:49:06
And the point I would say is find what your power time is, whatever that is. And it's interesting
that you picked time as one of those examples because I think it applies to all of us. But you
said much more than time. So if all you heard from Nataly just there was about your calendar,
she was saying a lot more than that.
00:36:49:06 - 00:36:49:14
00:36:49:15 - 00:36:54:13
Know, it's really about honoring what you need and actually just one I like just to make it
00:36:57:00 - 00:37:21:02
I hate definitions, like morning person, evening person, extrovert, introvert. I think we put
ourselves in those boxes. My point is that part of my practice of honoring my humanity is to
recognize that I need empty time in the morning to just be sometimes things happen.
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Sometimes that it's not about the morning. It's about the awareness of what I need and that it's
fueling for me.
00:37:21:02 - 00:37:35:12
Right. And so don't put yourself in a box morning. I don't know if I'm a morning person. Evening
person. I need quiet time in the morning and recognizing that. And then as much as I can,
designing for that is really, really powerful.
00:37:37:14 - 00:37:52:13
Nataly Kogan, it has been my pleasure. It's been my honor to have you here. Everybody in the
chat claps thank you's, whatever. And it's we've been working it, getting this to happen. I'm so
glad we made it happen.
00:37:53:06 - 00:38:06:01
And it's a joy to be here with all of you. Thank you for such an awesome discussion. Thank you,
all of you for your enthusiasm. How fun. And I hope to let's stay connected in all the ways,
including hoodies, hoodies, I know I got to work on.
00:38:06:06 - 00:38:19:04
I know the hoodies. Exactly. Listen, everybody, I'm going to do you all know the drill at this
point. I'm going to end this session. Go meet our next guest and you see all the love for you
over there. Nataly. Nataly, thank you.
00:38:19:04 - 00:38:21:17
So guess what a great audience. I love it.
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00:38:21:17 - 00:38:25:09
Thank you. It's a pleasure, everybody. All the best.
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