Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think
Episode 175 - Be true to yourself at work in a skillful, brave, and kind way, interview with Cassandra Goodman
In this episode, Cassandra Goodman shares the foundational practices that support individuals to be true to themselves at work in a skillful, brave, and kind way. She believes that by being authentic, individuals can tap into their highest potential and make a meaningful impact in the world.
Cassandra draws from her three decades of business experience and working with various organizations, including Bupa, Zoom, and Adobe, to provide insights on how to stop caring about what others think, address injuries before seeking new jobs, and be self-aware. She also emphasizes the importance of reflection time and playfulness as adults. Tune in to this episode to learn how to honor your authentic self in the workplace.
Resources mentioned in this episode
Other resources from RenataBernarde.com :
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About the Host, Renata Bernarde
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients
Timestamps to guide your listening
07:10 - Breaking the Conformity: Strategies for Job Hunters to Stand Out in Interviews
11:35 - The stress of surface acting
15:31 - Dealing with injuries
22:30 - Leadership Vs. Leaders
38:24 - Reflection
47:34 - Playfulness as adults - Gamification
Transcript of this episode
Cassie: All these layers of parts of us. And so, many of these parts have lost connection, lost faith in those core qualities. So that really is why I'm pioneering this practice of self-fidelity. It's really about the restoration of faith in who we really are, the reconnection and trust in these innate qualities.
That these are the qualities that help us to activate our highest potential. And these are the qualities of true leadership
This conversation with Cassandra Goodman was recorded. Live a few weeks ago on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You will notice that it was a live conversation because it's a bit noisier than most of my episodes. I hope you don't mind. Cassandra is a wealth of knowledge about leadership.
Being authentic to yourself and being your best self at work. She has two amazing books that I really enjoy gifting my clients. And I hope that you really enjoy this conversation and take a lot of notes from it. As I often do, when I catch up with her.
I also have my group coaching program. Open for enrollments until the 10th of a botch. If you're watching this. In February and early March 2023. I would love you to learn more about the group coaching program and enroll. If you're ready for another job, as soon as possible in 2023. If you're listening to this later, you can join the waitlist and join me next time I open enrollments, I don't do it very often.
So, this is an amazing opportunity, and I hope to see some of you there with me in this amazing community of professionals, looking for their future and planning ahead being really. Intentional about where they're taking their careers. If you have any questions, all you need to do. It's look at the description notes under this.
Podcast episode, find my contact details and getting touch. I'd love to speak to you. To see if you're a good fit for the program. If you're listening to this podcast, chances are you are a good fit for the program. All right. Let's listen to my conversation with Cassandra Goodman. I hope you enjoy.
Renata: All right, Cassie, we are live. If you're watching us, thank you for joining us today. We're playing live on my Facebook page, Renata Bernarde on LinkedIn. I think both Cassandras LinkedIn profile and my profile will be showing you this. And also on YouTube on the Job Hunting podcast. Channel.
So go check it out, choose where you want to watch as I have here Cassandra Goodman, who is a good friend of mine, who is the founder of the Center of Self Fidelity, as you can read below, because now this live stream has branding and titles and I'm really in love with that. Cassie has written two amazing books.
The first one made me cry, made me love it so much. It's here. Self-fidelity. She's gonna explain what self fidelity is if you don't know, and you probably don't if you haven't read the book. And then her second book was just launched late last year. Being true. I bought many copies of this. Every client of mine gets one, and I'll explain why in a minute.
And Cassie's work is really about being, sorry, Cassie. I will say a few things first, and then, and then I'll let you talk . And I just wanna make a proper introduction because I'm so excited. It's all about being true to yourself at work and during job hunting. It's even a trickier business. We're gonna dive into that in a minute.
but she helps leaders to become who they want to become. And you know, she believes that being true to your deep selves will liberate you to achieve your high potentials. And I was thinking about it so much this week as I was preparing for this interview and thinking that I wish some of my clients are listening to this because there are some that are still Being challenged are some, so many of us are challenged with that self-awareness, and I wanna say a little bio from Cassie before we start our conversation.
She has over three decades of doing a business and working in a corporate sector in senior leadership roles, including when she was global director of employee and experience at Bupa, and she was accountable for the wellbeing of. Over 86,000 employees around the world. She's also an accredited coach and an expert facilitator and speaker trainer and consultant.
Renata: Cassie has provided us with a very popular and much loved masterclass is inside my group coaching program. And it has made a huge impact on my clients that have watched it over the past couple of years. And she has worked with many organizations both in Australia and overseas, including Zoom and bn, Adobe origin Energy Australia and so on.
So you can go to her LinkedIn profile later and read more about her. Please follow Cassie. She posts regularly on Instagram, on LinkedIn, and you know, her posts are really inspiring, motivational. So if you're seeking a new job and you're interested in career advancement, personal development, professional development, Cassie is certainly one to follow.
Did I do you justice?
Cassie: How was that? ? . Thank you Renata. I wish we had time for me to reciprocate with all the fabulous things you do in the world, but I think your community knows you well and all the amazing work you do in this crucial chapter between jobs to figure out who the hell we really are and how we find a career that really activates that.
Thank you. I'm honored to be here. I'm really honored to call you a good friend, and you've been such a big fan of my work. I still remember when you read my first book, self-fidelity, and you called me and said it's actually a really good book.
you're an excellent writer. Your writing style is just so easy to read. And I say this, with all due respect, you know, it's, important concepts that you have thought about it, and you have ruminated and you spit it out in a way that makes total sense for people that are in a hurry to learn.
And then with this second book, I think what you are asking people to do is to step down from the race and take time and use some of the tools that you're suggesting. I loved the tools. I'm all about tools. But before we dive into the book itself, I want to ask you this. Okay?
Renata: Because I've been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. Job Hunters are usually very ready to please others. , right? Mm-hmm. either they have lost their jobs and they're currently out of work, or they don't like their jobs, which is apparently most of the population of, you know, in the corporate world today, if you look at all of the research that has been done last year and this year, you know, it's between 50 to 80% of everybody employed wants to change jobs, , and you know, they, want to be in a better organization. And for that reason, they seek culture and they seek fit. But when they go for job interviews and they're really keen to get a job, they're easily conformist. So they want to conform, they want to fit in, they worry about what the people think. They're competing for an opportunity.
There are others that are competing with them. So how do you deal with that? Cassie, what would be your advice for my listeners?
Cassie: What incredibly important questions. Renata, I can tell you, you thought deeply and everything you've said is absolutely true, right? So. We all have these parts of ourselves that wanna conform, wanna please, wanna fit in, because that's what we've been told forever, right?
Good leaders or good employees fit in. We don't stand out because that would be inconvenient. We fit in. And so, absolutely I think the first thing that comes to mind as you talk about these really tricky situation of how do we stay true to ourselves in an interview situation, the first thing that comes to mind is to bring this really strong awareness of the part of you that really wants to fit in, that really wants to conform to say and do whatever it takes to get that job. You know, you wanna put 10 burning hoops in front of me? I'll jump through all 10 hoops and do some assaults on the way if you just please give me this job. , right? We've all been there.
Right? So I think the first thing is bringing awareness to that part of you. I mean, I call that part of me and my little mis sheever , who spent decades. Believing that she could somehow achieve her way to this elusive destination of worthy bill, finally feeling like she was enough in the world. Right. So one, I would say bring an awareness.
Oh, okay. This part of me, I can sense that I'm trying to say the right thing. I can sense that I'm doing all this research so that I can mold myself put on these masks that I'm just gonna be like this chameleon. I'm gonna come in and just completely blend in. . Yes. You won't even know I'm here. You know?
Yeah. So bringing that awareness that we are conditioned to do that. It's normal to have parts of us that wanna do this, but also knowing that ultimately when we do this, we're only skimming the surface of our potential. So that's the first thing that comes to mind. The second, the context here, of course, is it depends a lot on your financial context and the job you are going for.
If you are a single parent and your household relies on your income and your dream job happens to be in an organization with a really controlling CEO who demands compliance to keep a job then, of course, we're gonna do what we need to do to feed our family. I'm a mom of two kids. I get the reality, right?
Mm-hmm. . So I don't wanna take this kind of Pollyanna view. Let's be true to ourselves and everything will be fine. It's not that simple. Right? So everything I've shared today is really in that context of what is the risk we're taking in showing up as our authentic imperfect selves?
How big is that risk, really? What would be the implications of us being, you know, spat out by an organizational system that happens to be led by people who demand conformity. And I've been in those systems and I know the price you pay to play. So yeah, it's a context to awareness, it's an understanding of that this is normal, but it's also an understanding that until we really have the capability to honor who we are, until we have the capability as leaders and individuals to show up in a way that's authentic and imperfect, we don't feel like we belong anywhere.
Yeah, that's what the research, you're not gonna do a take mirage.
Renata: I know we've spoken about this. you know, that I have been in that exact situation of not being able to be pick and choosy and just fit in and do the work and feed my family and have a job, you know, being new to a country and all of that.
But one thing that you highlighted in being true, you know in the beginning of the book is the stress of surface acting, and I do feel very strongly about that from a personal experience and also what I see my clients do in order to fit in. And this is why I think career planning and designing is so important because if you are in that situation where you feel like your surface acting for quite a while.
You don't want to continue to do that. You need to have the stepping stones in place to move yourself out of that situation that can cause so much damage and injury. So we're gonna talk about injury in, minute, but can you explain to the listeners what stress of surface acting is? Cause I, really enjoyed reading about it.
Cassie: Yeah, I'm really glad that part of the book resonates because it's this hidden cost, right? That the toll we pay for fitting in conforming, but it's an invisible toll often we are not even aware and I talk about it as like the second job that we have, we have our first job, which is hard. Then we have our second job of pretending we've got all our s h I t together.
Can I swear on your podcast, ? Yes. Pretending you can. pretending we have all our shit together when inside is a different story. So this second job of suppressing, denying, numbing, pushing aside, conquering, shutting up. What did, I heard someone say about silencing the inner critic like this work of
suppressing numbing, disowning parts of ourselves. That's the second job. That's the emotional labor of surface acting. When the face we have to put on the world, the gritting and bearing it is not congruent with our inner experience where we just wanna scream . Yeah, that's an extreme example, of course, but.
Renata: I want to make a, sorry to interrupt. I want to make two comments here that I think are important. First of all, the stress of surface acting is not necessarily linked to a job you hate. I read an an amazing article last year and I, sent it to my newsletter subscribers and it was with a woman that had been incredibly stressed from a job she loved.
So that's the first thing I think people need to realize as well. And the second thing, from personal experience and also working with clients, you don't actually notice the stress and the injury is creeping up on you until you abandon that job or you hit a wall, and then it even takes a few weeks, if not months, for you to look back and think, oh, my good.
Or for your body and your health to catch up with you. Right?
Cassie: So true. I remember I was working in a system that demanded a high degree of surface acting. You towed the party line. You did not question the people in power. You did not point out the fact that what we said we stood forward was completely the opposite of what was happening.
You did not point that out. And this company paid really well. I was at a very senior role. I did not realize the toll it was taking. And when I finally left that organization, I'll never forget the moment. I, you know, I was carrying all the tension in body tension in my shoulders, my neck. I was getting these migraine headaches.
I remember I went to my chiro, it was only three weeks after I left, and he said to me, what have you done? Your body is completely different. He didn't even know. He was like, what has happened? Your body is completely different. I was like, yeah, I left that I hated, well, I left that organization. That wasn't good for me.
That's probably a better way because the job itself was actually really good. I left the organization which demanded the surface acting and he could just feel it in my body within the first five minutes of the treatment. So you're so right.
Renata: That's impressive.
So if you're listening to it later, you can also comment below or send me a note. I'd love to hear from you. If what we're talking about today is resonating with you.
One of the things that I do a lot in my coaching practice as a career coach helping people find jobs is dealing with injuries, which is one of the things that you address in your new book being true and how important it is for you to address those injuries and, understand them, and have that self-awareness.
I made a note in the book that I wanted to discuss with you, that what you wrote in this book will help me explain to my clients the importance of understanding what the injuries are for you right now at this point in time before you move on to another role not just because it's good for you, which is your point.
I get it, Cassie . But from a performance level, at the recruitment and selection process, it can negatively impact your ability to get another job if you don't understand it. Because there is something about the injuries in you that even if you're not showing them or talking about them somehow, It's reflected on your body language and how you talk about your past roles and how you talk about your future career opportunities.
Your pitch is just not right and nobody can put a finger on it on why you weren't selected.
Cassie: This is so true. I've never thought about that. But how many times do you have friends or coaching clients who don't get a job, who haven't done that work, aren't congruent? I call this congruence between what I'm saying and who I know I am at my core because I've done all this work to tend to my injuries.
Therefore, we have this congruence. And then they get this really vague feedback and I've never connected the dots between that vague feedback that's really hard to coach around. Yeah. And this lack of congruent of this, energy, I mean, I don't want to get all woowoo, but it is like an energetic sense we get from someone who's done the work, , who knows who they are, and stands grounded in that sense of self.
Yeah. I've never thought of it that way, but I think you're spot on.
Renata: Yeah, it happens a lot. My role as a coach is to be very much like a tennis coach. I know everybody's tired of listening to me talking about tennis. Apologies if you're following me. That's all I talk about. But I'm there sitting at the box watching you play, and then before and after the game, I will give you advice on the things you need to improve how you were.
In relation to your competitor, and you know, my people, my clients are very good, right? So they are, they're 80% in order for us to reach the next 20% and make them super excellent and highly employable, it's sophisticated. Advice. It requires very much that self-awareness, that vulnerability to accept a little bit of tweaking when you are already so good.
And it's usually at the tail end of the process where things get complicated. Yesterday I was with recruiters in the city. I had several catch-ups. And one of them said something to me and I wanted to, sort of say my piece, but we moved on and I, you know, I hope she's listening now you know who you are.
She said something that, that I hear all the time and, and I hear all the coaches say it too. You know, if you're at the tail end and you're going through all of the process and it's between you and another person, this is great news for you. It's just a matter of time. But what happens to some of my clients because
we've cleared all the other qualifying processes. The job application is perfect. The phone screen is, great. The first interview is great. The second interview is great, and then at the tail end, they don't get chosen. So when I reach that point, you know, then it's really sophisticated advice.
It's about embracing your vulnerabilities. It's about understanding what is it that is the impediment. And look, it could be environmental, it could be a bias, and we address it if there's an elephant in the room at the tail, and we address it right at the beginning, at the next time and we, we move on with that.
But sometimes I think it's that something that people just can't put their finger on that's holding that candidate back. Yeah. And I, I think you can say it's a matter of time because one of two things will happen. Either they will understand it and learn and convert at that very final step in the future.
Or, you know people won't notice and they will move on with that injury. But you know what I mean, it's.
Cassie: I know exactly what you mean. And you know, as you're talking, I've just had an insight. Can I share it about when I didn't have a job? And I think it's because of what you're saying.
So I have this part of me who's, who for decades tried to achieve herself, her way to worthiness, right?
And for her it was all about proving, competing, you know, being. the best she could be. And it was a very solo pursuit. Right. And I remember once in my career an older manager very kindly pulled me aside into a room and he said, Cassie, you know, you don't have to keep trying to prove yourself.
It was very kind advice. His name was Jeff. Jeff said, Cassie, you know, you don't have to keep trying to prove yourself. And I, I still remember the inner dialogue I had, which was Little Missi, and she's like, what are you talking about? I'm just warming up . That was my thought, right? Yeah. But so this proving energy I think is a good example cause I did go to an interview around that time at a different company and I actually decided to pull out of the interview process myself.
Cause I realized it wasn't quite for me. But the feedback I did get just before that happened was we're a little bit worried that it's going to be all about you. That was actually what they said to. Yeah. And they pick up on that proving energy that I was trying to prove myself and, and their interpretation was, are you really a team player?
And at that time I probably wasn't because this proving energy, cause trying to somehow feel like she was enough was coming through. either through my language, probably my language, my tone, what I was talking about, and I've just realized that, it was that proving energy, which led to that feedback.
Who knows if I would've been given the job off of, I'd gone to that final interview. But yeah, they, they, I remember them saying we're a little bit concerned. It's going to be all about you if you got this job. Mm-hmm. . And now, and what you just said is like, ah, yeah, that was little Mr. Achiever trying to prove herself.
So Of course, yeah. they saw, They had x-ray vision into, you know, have these little bit x-ray vision into that little part of me that was like, trying to prove, prove herself, who didn't really believe that she was. ,
Renata: But that's so hard. You know, like I think it's part of our evolutionary makeup to care about what the people think and to prove ourselves as worthy of that community.
Right? I mean, our brains have stopped evolving or they evolved quite slowly compared to where we are in the world today. I was discussing this with my friend and also a great leadership coach, Gary Ryan yesterday, when I met him in town. And, I think this is something that you address in your book as well, you know how do you do that?
You know, why should we stop caring so much about proving ourselves?
Cassie: Well, there's a couple of reasons I think I'll speak for my own experience. This energy of proving is not, is anti-leadership in many ways. Cause it's all about me. It's not inclusive. And you know, I talk a lot in my leadership programs about the dynamics of linking versus ranking, right?
And so right from school, right through society. The context around it, the systems were part of are all about ranking. Who's top dog, you know, and I spent eight years in GE and they're well known for this. Everyone was actually forced ranked to the bottom 10%. The top 10% got to go to Cape Cod, which I, that's what me top 10% was so desperate to stay.
Right. so it's ranking. Is what the system does. Right. How was
Renata: brutal, wasn't it? Is it still in place? Sorry to interrupt. No, that was a
Cassie: Welsh, that was a Welsh phenomenon and it was brutal. Well, it was great for me cause I got to go to Cape Cod Barcelona, you, you name it. I got all, all the fancy stuff. I remember eating lobster on the beach, Cape Cod, you know, in that 10% thing.
Hashtag , you know living the good life. So yeah. But it was brutal and it took a lot for me to stay there. , right. And it came at a very big. cost. So, but my point is, we are conditioned to want to prove ourselves because our reward seems so great. But, I talk about the energy of the striving, the proving, the perfectionism, the ranking, the competitiveness, the combativeness.
Mm-hmm. . It's not sustainable. Right? It comes, it's very polluting. It's not renewable, it's not sustainable, it's not inclusive. It's all about us. There's this book I read to my kids, and it's about the Caterpillar pillar. These pillar caterpillars, they're crawling their way to the top of the caterpillar pillar.
No one knows what's at the top. And actually at the top of the caterpillar pillar, the top caterpillar just gets pushed off the pole and plummets to his death children's book. And then one of the caterpillars in the caterpillar pillar realized that there could be a butterfly and just fly off the pile.
Renata: But it makes total sense to me and it kind of leads me into this next now you probably realize how I've been avoiding you for weeks because I didn't want to talk about it until now, but I have this other thing that I want to discuss with you, which is leadership. So imagine a situation where leaders are being appointed based on that reward system like you had at it, right?
That sort of brutal, really sort of competitive scheme. And you wrote in your book basically the difference between leadership and all the frameworks and the knowledge that has been created around it. And the fact that our leaders still suck according to all the research that we have around the world.
saying people yes, need their jobs because they don't like the culture. It's not about well, salary and payments still an issue, but since the beginning of the pandemic, the other part o of the percentile that people have. , you know, that disliked about their work is growing. Mm-hmm. , you know the lack of leadership or the bad leadership, the culture that's not there or is bad.
How can we have had so many leadership theories and frameworks and knowledge designed and still have that situation. Because
Cassie: boatload of money, . Mm-hmm. , it made people a boatload of money. Here's my 10 capabilities to great leadership. Learn these 10 things and you'll be a great leader. By the way, here's my program, 5 million.
Yeah. So I, I think part of it was his industrialization of leadership and, to quote myself if that's not weird. Renard, yes,
Renata: I add very meta.
Cassie: Go ahead. There is no shortage of how to leadership models. Google how to be a good boss and you'll get almost 2 billion results. If you want to read a book on leadership, you have only over a hundred thousand titles to choose from, and yet, research reveals only 35% of employees feel inspired by our boss.
And I reckon it's probably even less than that sometimes . And so, yeah, one of the shortfalls I say in this book is that we're, a lot of the leadership models are to say, to become a good leader, these are the capabilities you must. , right? So we're kind of striving to imitate or, you know, to acquire this model of leadership when actually true leadership is about activating what's innate.
Mm-hmm. , right? So when we look at the qualities, the best qualities of human nature, the qualities that are innate, the qualities of compassion, creativity, playfulness, connectivity, vitality, courage I've missed some, but innate qualities. These are the qualities of leadership, right? Mm-hmm. , and why I love coaching leaders on this framework is that, you know, the point is not to become a good leader.
The point is to become yourself, right? That's a Warren Benes quote of Bo there, but how might you really understand? How the very best of human nature is blending and expressing itself through you because it's a one of a kind, blend and expression, one of a kind. There's no other leader on the planet like you Renata.
There's no other leader on the planet like me because we are unique and it's a very unique way. I think about bottles of essential oils. You know, I have lots of drops of playfulness and lots of drops of vitality. Probably, you know, compassion and courage like we all do, but the ratio of that mix is unique.
I have my own blend of that. So really it's about. reconnecting to that, learning how to activate and amplify that. But to do that, we've got to understand all these little parts of ourselves, right? Who are blocking access. We've got all these little parts of ourselves. Mm-hmm. many of whom have lost connection.
Like it just keeps going and going. And this is a simplistic model of my inner
Renata: world. For those of you listening on the podcast later, Cassie's open in babushka and taking lots of little Cassie out of, well, that one seems to have each.
Cassie: It's you, Cassie. And so, yeah, if I always say, if we chopped ourselves open like a tree, there'd be all these rings of, parts, right?
All these layers of parts of us. And so, and many of these parts have lost connection, lost. faith In those core qualities. So that really is why I'm pioneering this practice of self-fidelity. It's really about the restoration of faith in who we really are, the reconnection and trust in these innate qualities.
That these are the qualities that, help us to activate our highest potential. And these are the qualities of true leadership. . Yeah. Mm-hmm. .
Renata: That's so great. So I now think about your parts all the time and I was wondering if you would be open to coming up with cards. You know, how many coaches have cards? I think you need cards.
That's my advice to you. Now, you know, I love your books because sometimes I'm like, oh, you know, which part of me is annoyed, you know, which might of me is pro, is you. Not sort of allowing my full self to flourish doing this task. And I, can flick through your book and find it, but I wish I had a little set of cards with all of the different parts.
Cassie: that's the next step for you. I'm happy to create a card and there is, I can send a link. There is a beautiful illustrator who works outta the US that. done these beautiful illustrations of parts that you can buy a deck of cards that is beautifully illustrated. So I'll share that link.
And maybe you should check that deck of cards cause I feel like that little tool already exists in really incredible illustration. So, okay. Lemme share that and you can share that with your community. I mean, my model of parts. I offer up some high level kind of job categories of our, in a part, so to speak.
I can share these cards, but the thing is, there's this beautiful quote from do I have the book? It's a beautiful book called A Healing Space. I don't know if you've ever read that. Mac? No, I haven't. Beautiful book. And in it he says there is a, a map written inside of you in a language that only you can dec decide.
And I really love that. So your parts are very unique, colorful, intriguing little creatures. And whilst you can relate to some of the parts descriptions, I do really encourage this kind of navigation and this exploration of self and an openness to really unique parts. You know, I've got one coaching client who's got a part that's a little white mouse, for example.
That's always foraging for snacks. So when she feels overwhelmed, she'll reach for these salty, sugary snacks and she's got this little mouse part that's always at her side, making sure there's always these snacks at hand, which she knows is not good for her. So she really relates to a little white mouse.
She's got a part that's like a boxer. I'm coaching a c e o and he's whole identity for his whole career has been this fierce warrior. But he's discovered this little boy inside of him with a dinky plastic shield and a dinky stored, you know? And so that he's like this little kind of childlike boy that's trying to protect and fight, but is not equipped to do it.
So, so what I'm trying to say is I'm glad my model helped keep getting to know your parts in a way that makes sense to you. And there can be, you know, try to be really creative and open about what do these parts feel like for me?
Renata: Yeah. No, that's very good advice because when people are looking for work, let's say they're unemployed and they're looking for work, there is this sense that of urgency of look, finding something else quickly.
Then they do find something else and. talking from experience from people that I, that I coach, right? Then we catch up and they say, oh, I wish I had used that transition time better. You know, I wish I had done what you told me to do and do a bit of hygiene into my life and self-awareness and understanding.
In this I believe now that I've been coaching full-time for three and a half, . This is why I believe sometimes people ping pong or boomerang in and out of an organization, so they find their next job. Yeah, very quickly. And it's a complete misfit and a little bit of insight that they had in during that transition makes them really aware very quickly.
that it's not gonna work. That's, or, or something horrible happens, you know, and it really is a complete disaster. And then they're out again. So if you're listening and if you're looking for work, one of the things that I have been saying to people is it's very likely it's okay for you to be without a job.
Yeah. It's very likely you're gonna be fine for longer than you think.
Cassie: Yes. Right. Because we, we like to catastrophize that and often with a few pointed coaching questions, which I know you are a master at, we quickly realize it's actually not about true financial crisis. Here. It's more about this loss of identity.
Who the heck am I if I'm not the highly paid executive? Right. And I've been through that loss of identity and the re-understanding of self, reimagining of self, right? So often it's not about, you know, can you not go six months if you cut back with , the savings that you've got. It's actually, if people are being honest, it's this loss of identity that work related identity.
And as you were talking earlier about , we have these parts of us that are so eager to conform and, and jump through all. Burning hoops to get that job often driven by this fear of loss of identity in many cases. The reality, we know that if you have to pretend in a job interview, you're gonna have to do a really good job of pretending once you get in there, if you're pretending to be something you're not, or you know pretending to have congruence with values that don't really harmonize with your own values, for example.
Or working with people who, you know, are not really coming from a place of serving the greatest good. Once you get in, then, then it's like, oh gosh, now I've actually gotta keep this pretense up. And that's when it, when the toll really hits, right? So I think. , it's easy to forget that people think, oh, I just need to get the job and it will be okay.
But no, you, you've gotta keep up the facade. You've gotta keep wearing those masks and armor and that they're heavy and they take its toll as we talked about. And yeah, often it is this loss of identity. Well, if I'm not, that high achieving executive, who the heck am I? And that's that inner work that, that often we resist, right?
I, I'm really shocked by the amount of leaders I meet who kind of say to me, I never look inside.
Renata: Oh my God, I wasn't going to talk about that. Now, the reflection time. Yes. So I have a theory, right? Years ago, I, was the CEO of a foundation called the John Monash Foundation and General Sir John Monash Foundation and, John Monash is a hero in Australia, an amazing human being. Very much a Renaissance man. Many different, both strings to his bow and his great grandson gave me a set of books with his diaries. One thing that made me reflect about what you said about reflection time is this, " A hundred percent sure that John Monash was a great general engineer and lawyer and human being because every day he sat down and he wrote in his diary. And that opportunity for him to reflect on the learnings from that day and what he could do better the next day or just, you know talk about what had happened and, and put pour out his emotions on paper because he was, you know, in the first world War and losing men and, you know, being in very difficult, tough situations all the time.
When he was in a Australian, when he was overseas, Hmm. Made better, a better person. Yeah. And we have lost that. Now you and I have. Of the privilege of every, I, I don't do it every day, but every week I have to think about something to write on the podcast, and I have to reflect on what I've learned from my clients, from my practice, from the job market , and put something in writing and, you know, talk about it for 15 minutes or so, to do a new episode.
So it has made me a better coach every time. and a
Cassie: better human and a better leader. Yeah,
Renata: exactly. A better person. And I'm much more in tune with what I want ,much more focused and crisp and sharp on what I want to achieve for my career, for my life. I don't get distracted as much for things mm-hmm.
about things that don't matter to me. And I, find it really hard to convince even my clients to dedicate the time. to do this practice. Yeah. You know, they hire a coach and they want me to sprinkle some fairy dust on them, and make them better, and it doesn't happen like that.
Cassie: Yeah. Oh yeah.
Absolutely. That's fully congruent with my experience of, of coaching and working with leaders and. So what's your hypothesis on why people don't want to do that reflection work? Cause I've got one
Renata: I think because when you do it for the first few times, I would say the first month or so, it's bloody hard.
Mm. You are confronted with things and you, you write things down, for example, and then they surprise. you, for you, you've come to realize that something is injuring you. You mentioned injuries or something has really affected you that day. You know, it is quite confronting at the beginning of the practice and then people, but their walls up again because they don't want to feel those emotions.
It hurts. . Mm, yes. Over it. With time, I, I've learned that, you know, like if I, if you are doing a thought leadership piece, this is another thing that people struggle with. I, most of my c all of my clients are brilliant at what they do. They could all be writing about what they do as experts and they find it really hard to put pen to paper and write.
A LinkedIn post for example. Yeah. Yes. Right. And it's cause they fear What other will, other people will think about them? They, they fear the reaction. They, they may not be the ultimate experts in. AI or cybersecurity or marketing or whatever, so they don't feel like they're up to the task. very much like you and I when we started, right?
Like, you know, oh, am I really your
Cassie: coach? Go to their grave with their best work inside them, right? This is a great quote that like, the graveyard is the most valuable land in the world. Cause it's full of, you know, books that are never written, ideas that are never shared, you know? Yeah. Most of the people go to their graves with this stuff because, belief that I, I have to be the expert.
I have to have all the answers. Yeah. I can't handle the criticism. Yeah. It's so sad, right? That leaders aren't using their voice because gosh, what an amazing platform. We have, you know, I, I do post most mornings on LinkedIn and, you know, by lunchtime I've reached sometimes three, five, 10,000 people with, with these messages.
And every time I do that, I think of my grandma who had to retire at the age of 21 when she got married, and what she would give to have a voice. And yet we're not taking this opportunity to speak up for what's good and what's right and that you can see . I'm passionate about this subject, so yes, we don't speak up.
Yeah. And, I think you know, I've been there and this feeling like if I look within, it's the whole can of worms. And if I take the lid off, my life is going to fall apart. And for a lot of the senior leaders I coach who, who this driving, proving, perfecting competing identity have propelled their leader.
It's really, really scary to say. What? What do you mean that this is not actually the best way to be as a leader? What do you mean? That I have to kind of shift energy sources from this coal fire that's been so powerful to a different energy source. Like that's scary. . Yeah. So there's a lot of fear and often I'll say, look, we don't need to just like open this can of worms and just pour it out on the table here.
Let, let's just start by taking one worm out, and having a little look at that one. Yeah. And then we can do the next one. But let's, putting the lid back on the can of worms is not a solution. . And you know, I think underneath that fear, my hypothesis is a lot of us. Petrified to look inside is really terror because we're scared that by looking inside our worst fears will be confirmed, and that worst fear is that there's something really wrong with us.
Mm. That's the fear underneath it. There's something really fundamentally wrong with me, and if I look inside, that fear will be confirmed, and I think that's why I'm so happy that I have written to my knowledge, the first book that brings the internal family systems model into business. Because this model changed my life to understand there's not one.
There's all these parts of me and these horrible, nasty thoughts I think about myself and others aren't really who, who I really am. Yeah. That these, that these nasty parts and thoughts and urges do not reflect the essence of who I am. They're actually parts of me that have lost their way, that just need my leadership and care.
And, and to me that's a missing piece, right? When, when I start to explain to leaders this new understanding of self. Because I think that fear there's something wrong with me comes from these nasty. Constant, judgmental, horrible thoughts. we all have, right about our kids, our partners, our colleagues, ourselves and people.
You think if people re, if there was a megaphone attached to my head right now, and what was going through my head was blasting, I, I would be locked up friendless, homeless, like, and so I think there's a lot of inner space and courage that comes from. A new understanding of self. You know, and in my book, one of the things I do is redefine self-awareness as this understanding that we are multiple, that we all have multiple parts.
And that's a normal, natural adaptive response to a heartbreaking world to have many parts. And beneath that part, all those parts, we have a core and we can lead our parts through a stronger connection to that core, that new understanding of self and new understanding of self-awareness. I think is a foundation that really gives us the capability and the courage to start to look within.
Renata: I don't know if you've seen this movie or read the book, the Luckiest Girl Alive. It's a movie now on Netflix, and there is this scene. It's a, a very interesting book partly based on the office true story, which is heartbreaking, really. But she has that Surface acting down to a T.
Her internal dialogue is horrible to herself and mostly horrible to the people around her as well. Mm. And there is a scene in the movie, Cassie, where she's confronted with a very stressful situation. And in the movie you can hear what she says, and you can listen to what she's thinking as well.
But she accidentally says what she's thinking in front of people, and all of a sudden that surface acting , just disappears and people know what she's thinking about them. And it's really like, wow, you know? And that is the situation that I have found can happen in a very different scenario.
When you are in a stressful situation at work, for example, all of a sudden it hits a wall. And you then burn out or you burn a bridge, you commit what we call a C L M A career limiting move.
Renata: Because there's just so much that you can take.
Cassie: Well, it's like holding a beach ball underwater, right? Like when we suppress. It's the surface acting is like holding a beach ball underwater. Like my hands are shaking for those who are listening. for eight, 10 days, hours a day, five days a week, rolling this beach ball underwater.
And we're getting more and more shaky more and more fatigued. And then the beach ball pops up in the most inopportune moments in an exaggerated way. So yeah, that's when we push our parts down. When we don't honor them, we don't understand them. We don't give them what they need, then.
Yeah, that's exactly what happens. We have these moments where they burst forth and I coached a client once who was a chief people officer, and he had this volcano part that had, was prone to explosion in board meetings, And he, he was known to drop the FBO, slam the door and, and storm out of a board meeting, which is a pretty big CM in capital letters
And so he had to work with this volcano part that was erupting, and it was really just a little boy who, who was treated really badly by his father, who just needed his love. Chief people officer to love and care for him in the way that his dad didn't and it. I didn't take years of therapy. It was a few really precise guided conversations with this little boy who was so petrified of feeling weak.
So the volcano was a protector for that injured part that never again said, never again will I feel weak, because that was the worst thing in the eyes of his father to be weak and pathetic. And so the volcano part was the protector of that little boy and the volcano had vowed to this chief people officer.
Never again will you feel weak and, and will. Do that for you by exploding with rage at any sign of weakness. That's my job for you. And of course, that, that was really a career limiting part, which continued to make cameo appearances at any sign of weakness. So yeah. Yeah.
Renata: Cassie, I want to thank you so much for sharing that, and I want to end our conversation talking.
Playfulness and the fact that because we are grown up, that's the other takeaway from this new book of yours, because we're grown up, it doesn't mean that we need to stop being funny and playful and being excited about the world and learning and you know mm-hmm. falling down and, hurting our knees and getting up again.
Where in the world, I mean, we are now in 2023. We can get over the fact that the fact that being adults doesn't mean we get it. We get our shit together all of a sudden. I mean, I'm 51 and I'm still, I still don't have my shit together. And the other thing that I think is great about the exercises that you have and the way that you explain your different parts is babushkas and all of that is gamifying this project for people.
It's really interesting, and that's another thing that we haven't spoken about that I think is very aligned between our practices is I gamify job hunting, I gamify job application. I know it sounds nerdy, but I like people to follow my games when I am, you know, teaching them how to apply for jobs because if you make it into a game, you have all the clues you need to move forward.
You know, it's fun. It's way more interesting. So I teach that it's part of my IP and I love it, you know, and I, I get super nerdy about it. Nothing makes me more excited than a client playing the game of job applications.
Cassie: I love it. And I've never thought of it as gamification, but that's exactly what it's, and I've been so lucky to have been mentored by Dr. Stewart Brown, who runs the National Institute of Play in the US and I, I met Dr. Stewart Brown when he came out to Australia to run the Stanford D School from play to innovation. And I'm trying to get a scheduler Zoom with Stuart to check in who he's now in his nineties, I believe, or late eighties.
And he really has pioneered this idea of play and then when, when we are playing. We are engaging in the purest expression of who we are and that the road to mastery has to be paved and illuminated through play. That's how we learn. It's how we connect. And so there's so much great theory and evidence around the power of reconnecting to our innate playfulness.
I think. , you know, a lot of the leaders I coach that playfulness is right down to pilot light setting because we've been taught that work is the opposite of play, when actually that's a big fat lie. The opposite of play is depression.
And we're mistaken about the difference between being childlike and childish.
So being childlike. And really staying connected with our innate playfulness as a core need. And an essential part of leadership is vital not only to wellbeing, but to performance, connection, engagement, joy, you name it, it all stems from this. And so, yeah, I, I think certainly the way I approach this idea of being true to ourselves is through this idea of a playful practice that we hold it lightly, and that's why use babushka.
Stories about the crazy stuff that goes on in my inner world to really try to bring this sense of lightness and play. That this doesn't have to be heavy, hard slogging walking through, you know, thick mud. You know, this can actually be a bit of a dance. And I do think often about the dance with my parts, you know that we are dancing with them and we are, we're trying to form a relationship, and take the lead. You know, I was saying to my kids last night, I've got part of me that after a big day really wants to come home and pour a glass of wine, but now I put a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling in the fridge and she loves the sound of that cork popping. And I give her a lovely glass of non-alcoholic wine.
And, I dance with her. I give her what she wants, but I set my own boundaries cause I know alcohol is not good for me. So that's a small example in my life, how I dance with these parts with playfulness and lightness.
Renata: Oh, lovely. Your book has been lovely to read and play with . I've had a lot of fun with your exercises and I want to catch up with you in the coming week so you can come back to the group coaching program.
I'm teaching it again starting late this month, and I hope to have a masterclass with you and a different one at that, cause I want us to address some of these exercises with the group. Are you keen? Are you Game?
Cassie: I'm in and I've got a brand new and improved masterclass that really talks to these exercises.
And I would be absolutely delighted to share that with your community.
Renata: Thank you so much, Cassie. Thank you so much for the talk today. I hope you can understand why I've been avoiding talking to you. I was so excited about having this conversation.
Thank you so much to everyone that has been watching. And Cassie, thanks once again, you're a superstar. I love
Cassie: you. Talk again soon. Bye