The One Leadership Tool You Are Probably Overlooking

The One Leadership Tool You Are Probably Overlooking

Leadership is a critical component of any successful business. We have Dr. Dena Samuels from Dena Samuels Consulting with us today. She is going to share the one leadership tool you are probably overlooking. We are going to dig into all the details so you can start putting this tool to use in your business today.

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The One Leadership Tool You Are Probably Overlooking



Tim Fitzpatrick
Leadership is a critical component of any successful business, we have a special guest with us today and we are going to share one leadership tool that you are probably overlooking. We're going to dig into all the details so that you can start putting this tool to use in your business today. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the right plan. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I'm super excited to have with me Dr. Dena Samuels from Dena Samuels Consulting. Dena, welcome, and thanks for being here with me today.

Dena Samuels
Thank you so much for having me. Tim, This is great.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. Yes. Well, you used to live where I do, but you've recently moved. You moved from Colorado to D.C. That's been a good move for you?

Dena Samuels
It's been great. I'm closer to my kids now and I just feel really good about the move.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, awesome. Well, it's always good when moves are a good thing, not the opposite. So before we start talking and dig into this leadership tool, I want to learn a little bit more about you, what you're doing. We usually start with some rapid-fire questions. Are you ready to jump into those?

Dena Samuels
Ready to jump in.

Tim Fitzpatrick
OK. All right. Awesome. So when you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Dena Samuels
Well, of course, salsa dancing, why wouldn't I?

Tim Fitzpatrick
OK, salsa dancing, I love it. So, gosh, this could move into the next question is, what's your hidden talent?

Dena Samuels
Well, yeah, that is definitely salsa dancing. Most people don't know that about me. I would say my hidden talent is I can hold plank for three minutes at least.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Wow. OK, I'm impressed. So for those people that don't know what the plank is, you're on your elbows.

Dena Samuels
You're either or both your hands and you're in a plank position, your whole body is flat and you're just holding yourself up.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So your body is parallel to the floor.

Dena Samuels
Well, yeah, except your heels are lower than your arms. So it's more like at an angle but yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Slight angle. And for anybody that has done the plank, you know that three minutes is a darn long time. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Dena Samuels
I would say that when you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. And what does that mean in our lives in terms of like what do we need to shift to do things so that things show up differently than how we are currently?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's a very appropriate piece of advice for what we're experiencing today, isn't it? What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Dena Samuels
That I've been a lead singer and rhythm guitarist in a band for over a decade.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome, what kind of music?

Dena Samuels
Classic and alternative rock, but I love like R and B and more soulful stuff as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Very cool. That could have been a hidden talent too. You got, you're just throwing all kinds of things out of me. What does success mean to you?

Dena Samuels
For me, success is probably different than most people's idea. Maybe not, but I think about it as spending the bulk of each day in a place of open-heartedness. I think about when I'm open-hearted, it's sort of like I'm open to anything and I what I call infinite potential. That's who I am. That's who I think we all are. And so success to me is living in that space. It's to me that's like where the juice of life flows.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So if you can be in that space, you will naturally be successful.

Dena Samuels
I believe so.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Very cool. Where's your happy place?

Dena Samuels
On the beach, listening to the waves, you know.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, so it's good that you, if that's your happy place, is good that you moved from Colorado because we don't have a whole lot of beach.

Dena Samuels
More time In the last couple of months, just since I moved here, I've spent more time by the Potomac than I've just can't get enough of the water.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, awesome. What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

Dena Samuels
I would say integrity first and foremost, I would also add to that like trustworthiness, compassion, joy. You know that they're joyful in their lives. I know people who are who are dragging the energy down in any given space, like if a friend needs a hand, needs a shoulder, I'm there. I'm happy to hear it. But if there's just this constant state of drama, not so much. So joyfulness.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Thank you for sharing that. So tell us more about what you do at Dena Samuels Consulting. How do you how are you helping business owners? What's that look like?

Dena Samuels
Yeah, absolutely. So just as a quick background. So I was teaching at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs for 20 years, social justice studies is what I focused on. So courses on racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, all the things and I was consulting at the same time, writing books and all of that. And people would have called me and said, "Hey, I saw I read your book, can you come and speak?" Those kinds of things. So about three years ago, I left my tenured position to consult full time. And now, especially after George Floyd's murder last summer, spring, the end of spring, I've gotten more and more calls from organizations, corporations, campuses that are saying, "I know we need to do something, but I'm not quite sure what it is." So I've been doing a lot of that kind of consulting where I'm doing sometimes I'll do an equity audit, which is I don't really like the word audit, but it's more of an exploration into a person's into an organization to see how culturally inclusive are they. And so I do that. And then I bring trainings in where whether it's on implicit bias, microaggressions, building up culturally inclusive environment, all of what I do actually is through the lens of mindfulness. And so we can talk more about that now, or do you want me to jump into that?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Let's do it.

Dena Samuels
So just for folks who are unclear about what mindfulness is, mindfulness is really an ancient practice. It didn't start from anybody who looks like me with white skin. It was in Eastern philosophy, eastern Eastern practices, and comes from indigenous cultures, other religious practices. And what I learned about seven or eight years ago, I came across some research that showed if you have any kind of mindfulness practice, which could be where it came from. So maybe it's a prayer, some couple of minutes of prayer or it's a spiritual practice or it's simply focusing on the present moment, right? Focusing on your breath, for example, it actually calms you down and all of a sudden your interactions with others shift it, in fact, lowers your bias. And that's the research. That's what got me that it lowers your bias. Because at the time I came across the research, I had been doing implicit bias, unconscious bias trainings for like a decade and a half. And now all of a sudden, my worlds collided because I happen to have my own mindfulness practice. And I was like, "Oh, my goodness." That's the topic of my latest book, too, how to use mindfulness in all of these ways for healing. Stress relief. Health, empowerment, social justice, and environmental justice. So I know the tools.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So when we talk about mindfulness and obviously this is mindfulness, is this tool that we're going to talk about today, because I don't think a lot of people immediately think of mindfulness when they think of leadership tools. But like, for example, meditation is a mindfulness practice. But there are obviously there are a lot of other mindfulness practices as well, correct?

Dena Samuels
Yes. And a lot of people get this confused. They think, "Oh, when you're talking about mindfulness, you're only talking about meditation." You know, traditional meditation. Zen meditation, those kinds of things. And that's really that's just one piece of it that you may or may not want to practice that you can still be practicing mindfulness and never do any kind of formal meditation. I think about mindfulness as a much bigger umbrella that incorporates so many other things. So, for example, if you're a runner and you go for a run maybe a couple of times a week or every morning or whatever, and you're out there and you just feel you're all of the problems or anything you're concerned about, they just slip away. Anybody who knows what that feels like. That's a mindfulness practice then. So most people are already doing some form of mindfulness in their lives. They just have not connected it with this. And what it does is it clears away it allows you space. That's where a lot of insight comes in, innovation when our brains, our minds are calm and clear. That's when the excitement. That's when the juice starts to flow. It could be running. It could be drawing. It could be writing. Maybe you like to write in a journal. Maybe it's you know, it's really it could be just breathing. There's so many different ways that we can practice this.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But I think one of the things you said is really important. You talked about being present, right. Mindfulness, practicing mindfulness is being present in that moment that you're in. Right. So if I'm mountain biking, I'm not thinking about all the other stuff going on in my life. If I'm practicing mindfulness while I'm doing that, I'm just I'm listening to the tire on the dirt or the watching the sun come in through the trees or whatever is. Am I on the right track there?

Dena Samuels
One hundred percent. Yes, absolutely. And in fact, using your senses is a great way to get into it. Like, if you just pause for a second and listen to what's going on in the world, you're hearing your focus is on hearing, you know, when you ask me what's the best piece of advice I've ever been given, the other one that I was thinking about was where your focus goes, energy flows.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes.

Dena Samuels
So if your focus is on what you're hearing around you, nothing else really comes to the comes into focus. If you are smelling something, you think about freshly baked bread or something cinnamon or something like that, all of a sudden it's like overwhelms all your other senses and you're really in the moment, your in the present moment.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So people listening or watching this may go, "Gosh, this is great. But this seems kind of like fluffy. Like how do I bring mindfulness into my business and use it as a leadership tool?"

Dena Samuels
Yeah, lovely. It's a good transition into on terms of being inside your organization, whatever that is, a corporation, campus, whatever. And basically one of the ways there's so many tools and I can I have many tools in my latest book, but one of them is what I call a ten-second vacation and I call it a ten-second vacation because that's what it feels like. You feel like you've been on vacation when you're done and it literally only takes 10 seconds. The reason I use it as a leadership tool is because you can do it with nobody even noticing you're doing it and you're you could be in the midst of a meeting and people are flying questions are flying or there's trouble that's going on or whatever. And you feel your stress starting to rise and you're like, "How am I going to handle this in this moment?" I'm sure we've all been there. We've all experienced something like that. And so this is the opportunity. The only thing you have to do is to remember you have access to it. And so if you would, I'll take us through it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, let's do it.

Dena Samuels
Yeah, OK, so the first thing you do and literally once you get this down, it takes 10 seconds. So what you're going to do and you can in this moment, you can close your eyes, but when you're in the midst of a meeting or wherever you are close your eyes. Right. You can do this with your eyes open, but it's helpful at least to practice it with your eyes closed because sort of shuts out any distractions.

Tim Fitzpatrick
OK, I'm closing my eyes.

Dena Samuels
Ok. Closing your eyes and just notice where your body is in your seat or wherever you are. Oh, and if somebody is listening to this and they're driving, please don't close your eyes. But so if your eyes are closed or even if they're not, just notice where your body is in your seat if you're sitting. Just for just focus in on that. Notice how your body is doing. Notice your breath. Notice your inhales and exhales. And then when I'm going to invite you to do is to take a deep breath, but don't do it quite yet, just keep breathing while I explain. What you want to do is you can count to four on your own time. It doesn't have to be exactly four seconds, but I use that as sort of just a quick reminder of what we're doing. You're inhaling for a count of four and then you're exhaling for a count of six. And as you exhale, try to pull your shoulders down away from your ears, really just relax into your body and that's it. Count to four in. And count of six out. How do you feel if you coming when you come back, feel free to go ahead and flutter your eyes open. And just notice, how does your body feel? Does it feel any different?

Tim Fitzpatrick
I feel more relaxed.

Dena Samuels
More relaxed. More calm. So when you think about this so if things are flying in your face, right, that people are asking questions or demanding things of you or whatever, and you feel your anxiety rising or whatever, your maybe there's some tension, maybe your face gets flushed, maybe you're triggered by something someone said and you take that 10 second vacation. Really what you're doing is you're calming your parasympathetic system. And what happens is, rather than reacting to what's going on, which isn't going to go well, by the way, probably, if you're calm, the stuff is still there. You haven't you haven't gotten rid of anything but what you've done, it's all still right in front of you. But you changed yourself. You've changed the way you are relating to whatever the situation is. So you're coming from reacting to responding. It's the leadership tool

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So it's. Yeah. So we can use mindfulness not only for ourselves, but, you know, everybody else in the company. And I'm assuming that also helps with the culture, too, right, because, look, we've all. Look my wife was going through some training last week, and the person that was training her, he was super nice. And then one day something happened and he kind of snapped at her and she came home to me and she was like, "Gosh, yeah, it was I mean, it was really weird. He got you know, he got really upset with me today." And I'm like, I'm guessing that that had nothing to do with you and it had everything to do with something else that was going on. Sure enough, she goes back in Monday totally different. And he actually apologized like "I'm so sorry. You know, there was some stuff that happened in his personal life that was just boiled up." Right. And that's how it was expressed. Well, that's obviously not a good thing for anybody. I'm guessing look, none of us are perfect. We've all done that. But if we can use a tool like this to avoid those types of situations, it's better for everybody else involved, right?

Dena Samuels
100 percent. It shifts the way you see the world. It shifts the way other people see you. What I notice all the time is when I talk to my clients and they'll say, you know, people are coming up to me saying, what do you what have you done differently? You seem so much calmer and you seem so at peace like, can I have some of that? You know, just it's catchy, if you will. Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you it seems to me that being able to use mindfulness tips like this ten-second vacation or anything, similarly, you also have to have a certain level of self-awareness as well, because if you don't, you're not going to catch yourself going to that before you go to that place that you don't want to go. Right?

Dena Samuels
Yeah, that's a beautiful, very perceptive point, that mindfulness as you practice the calming aspect of mindfulness, as you understand, as you feel your body, because it's really a bodily you know, we're it's not just from our head. We can kind of feel our body calm down. And the more we're in tune with what's happening in our body, the more we're able to respond in ways that are going to be more peaceful. And I think that over time and practice, you start to notice even the smallest, like subtle shifts in your body. "Oh, my stomach seems to be clenching up right now. What's going on?" And that you may never have noticed before. You may never relax before.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So is what we focused on here is that you can use mindfulness as a leadership tool by using mindfulness to help make sure that you respond in any given situation the most appropriate and the most helpful way. Am I missing anything there?

Dena Samuels
No, you got it. I will also add, because what I do is diversity, equity and inclusion work is that it's not only the most effective way, it's also the most inclusive way. So that rather than and this is sort of a tie in to how does this work as an culturally inclusive tool. And that is that if you are calm so think about it this way. We are all bombarded by stereotypes all day long. Just it's in our culture. It's where it's in the air we breathe. So when we see people or we're interacting with people across social differences, that maybe we don't have a lot of experience or we don't have a lot of friends or colleagues or whatever that come from this particular social group membership, whether it's based on race or gender or sexual orientation or any of these things. Right. And you know, what can happen is there can be sort of this disconnect and because all the stereotypes are coming up. So the mindfulness practice, the way this works for to become more culturally inclusive is when you can when you've practice and, you know, my stomach's a little tight here because I'm dealing I'm talking to somebody who I don't know much about their culture and I'm feeling a little nervous. I'm afraid I'm going to say the wrong thing. If you can notice that, right, then you're not going to just try to be nice. Being nice we know that's not culturally inclusive, just being nice. Like, obviously, we want you to be nice, but we don't want people to say, "Well, I'm nice to everybody, so therefore I'm culturally inclusive." That's not how it works. We actually you know, I have my own research that shows, you know, not talking about the stuff race and gender and class, and it's called colorblindness and it's more exclusionary. It's actually pretty racist to be colorblind. As it turns out, my own research shows that if you think, well, if we don't talk about our I don't know about somebody's race or I don't talk about somebody's race ever or people's race in general, I don't go to that subject because I'm afraid I'm going to get it wrong. It turns out their behavior is more exclusionary. And this is like my own national research for my dissertation show. I have the data to show that. And this was leaders across fields. It didn't matter what field they were in. It was they thought, well, I should be colorblind. And as it turns out, no, that doesn't work. The idea here is the reason that mindfulness works too as an antidote to that is that when you're talking with somebody across social differences and if you're having anxiety, you breathe into it as you're talking and all of a sudden the stereotypes kind of calm down. And then you're interacting with the person in front of you. That is a mindfulness practice. Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Do you feel like I want to I want to jump ahead to one of the questions we were going to ask, because I think this is since you're already talking about it, you mentioned this concept of mindfulness and diversity, equity, inclusion. How what let's dig into this a little bit. What, like what is it?

Dena Samuels
Sure. So, again, this idea of of being calmly interacting with others. So what happens often in the work that I do is I'll go into an organization and they'll say, you know, I'll hear people say, and I'm sure everyone here has heard this. This also, you know, "I don't have a biased bone in my body. You know, I'm nice to everyone." And people really believe that's true. You know, I'm nice. So therefore and as I mentioned before, that's just not enough. We need we are more segregated today in terms of race and as some other social group memberships than we were even during the civil rights era. We just so we're not building relationships across social differences, and because of that, we don't know how to interact and we're not interacting. We're not building those relationships. And it's very it's problematic. In my mind, the best antidote to social injustice is building relationships across social differences that that's what we need to do and doing this in a mindful way where we're acting with people in a way that brings people together as opposed to causing a rift, that's the key. So, a couple of things I might recommend for folks is, first of all, is to think about going to Harvard, Harvard's Project Implicit. Do you know about the implicit association test?

Tim Fitzpatrick
No.

Dena Samuels
So they take five minutes each. There's one on race, there's several on gender sexual. There's a whole page worth of different ones you can take. They each take five minutes. And it's compared with 10 million other people who have taken the test. So you get your results right away and it shows you have a strong bias in favor of, let's say, as most people do in this country, a strong implicit bias in favor of whites against black people. And that's literally it'll show you that strong preference. You may have a moderate preference, you may have a slight preference, maybe there's no preference and then it flips. So it's on a seven-point scale. You get one of those as your as what came out of your and basically you're on a keyboard and it's helping you to and some people may have already taken it where you're pressing with your on the left or the right. Right. Or if you're on a mobile device, you're using your thumbs left or right or your fingers some way. And all that to say what happens is they're really trying to figure out if it's pulling out, what's in your brain that you don't know, is there. That's what we call unconscious bias. Right. And so once you get your results, you're like, "Oh, I didn't even know I had a bias against whatever group it is." Right. And once you know that that's true, then that's like the first step, right? Don't please don't say think. "Oh, I'll just take this test and I'll be done." The second step is taking action. What does that look like? And so that's where I come in. I come in and do trainings on very specific strategies you can take to lower your bias. I always invite folks, especially white folks, but really everyone to do the race test first, because most people, especially white folks, will take every other test there is, except for the race one. They're so afraid that this is going to show up that they're racist, which is not what the test is showing. Really, what test will show is that there's some stereotypes that we've gotten stuck in your brain that you don't even know, are there. So it's not about blame or shame. It's more about, "Oh, once I know that they're stuck in my brain now, what do I do to minimize those biases?"

Tim Fitzpatrick
So you're helping people understand their individual biases. And once they understand those, then they can. Act and behave in a more inclusive way within the organization, is that it?

Dena Samuels
Yes, yes. Down to the breath that they take before they engage.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, OK.

Dena Samuels
That's where the mindfulness piece comes in and my strategies are all filled with. I mean, we all breathe, right? We're all going to have breath until our last one. And that's a beautiful way of calming ourselves down. It's such a useful tool that we have to use.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What's the difference between unconscious and implicit bias?

Dena Samuels
They're really used interchangeably. So implicit you can think about is the opposite of explicit. Explicit is something that is very obvious. It's out there. We know what it is. It's either spoken or the behavior that we show. Implicit is something that we don't even know is there. It's unconscious. It's hidden from us. And that's just the way our brains work. And I go into detail. I'm not a neuroscientist, but I know very well about how this works in our brains. And so in my trainings, I talk a little bit more about that so people really understand what's going on. But that's sort of like I said, that's sort of the first step. After I do implicit bias training, I typically talk about microaggressions and I don't know if folks are familiar with the term microaggressions.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Let's make sure we're all on the same page.

Dena Samuels
Sure. Absolutely. I love the level setting that's important. So microaggressions are anything that some invalidate anyway you might be invalidating someone or somebody might feel invalidated or slighted or, you know, in some way they feel like that wasn't OK to say or that wasn't OK to do. Right. And those kinds of things, oftentimes they're spoken of as subtle. Subtle. One way that I've heard Dr. Gerald Wing Sue, he's written many books on the topic and there's lots of people it term came out of the nineteen seventies and he's written books much more recently. And the way he describes them are papercuts. He's like, you hear something that somebody says about one of your social identities and it feels like a papercut, like it stings, but it's like I can live with it and I, I don't have time to put a Band-Aid on it. I'm going to keep going. And throughout the course of your day, you've gotten so many that you end up know bleeding. Right. And so that's exactly the way micro aggressions work. That term when it's described, is often known as subtle racism or subtle. I don't like to use the term subtle, mostly because it doesn't feel subtle at all to the recipient of it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right.

Dena Samuels
But to somebody who is doing it, they might think, I didn't say, what are you talking about? I didn't know that was not OK to say. And because nobody has ever challenged them, they think it's OK to continue saying that. And we all have been in situations where we've witnessed this or we've been the microaggressor ourselves. And again, it's not about blame or shame because most of this is about just ignorance. We just don't know. So this is where we're training comes in where people need to understand more about what they don't know, they don't know.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Is as you go through some of this training, it sounds like obviously there's a lot of self-awareness building here and truly understanding because we all have biases whether we recognize them or not. It's just I mean, it's all part of our upbringing, right? I mean, that's where a lot of these things come from. If we're not sure, like you talked about earlier, I'm talking to someone, I'm kind of getting that tightness in my stomach because I'm not quite sure how to how to interact. Is it OK to actually communicate that now, you know, to the other person and get their feedback so that you do know better how to communicate or how they might respond? Like, how do you handle that?

Dena Samuels
It's such a great question because I would say no. And let me explain why that's not a good practice, mostly because then it's putting the onus on the person who has probably gotten a bunch of other microaggressions throughout the day. It's putting the onus on them to explain why what you just said was not OK. Right. Or how you should behave with me if you've got tightness in your stomach, like it's your problem, honestly.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it's it's mine.

Dena Samuels
Right. To know it, to understand it, and be aware of it is the first step in my mind. And that is a mindfulness practice. It doesn't happen right away. You really need to be focusing on it. In the midst of feeling a little overwhelmed that that whatever is coming up, you're trying to. But the whole thing about mindfulness is noticing. We want to notice. We also want to take action. But first we need to stop, pause and notice. And so, yeah. So then it's a matter of recognizing what's happening. And it's not to say that you're that it's terrible to make mistakes or whatever. I always say, like in my career, in my life, I live what I would consider more of a multicultural life. I have friends in friends and loved ones that I care about. I've spent a lot of time learning about other cultures, yet I'm still microgressing. And I believe I will microgress for the rest of my life only because I have a commitment to myself to put myself into situations with cultures that I don't know so much about because I want to learn and not at somebody else's expense, of course, that's not my goal, but that mistakes will happen. And I put mistakes in quotes because I think of them as learning moments. And so those are going to happen. And that's part and parcel. The question is, what do you do when you make that kind of when you overstep in some way or you step in it, so to speak? When You do. And so that's part of what I train. What I teach also is what how do you intervene either when you witness the microaggression in a way that's going to call the people into the conversation rather than making them feel like they're being called out? When you are the micro aggressor and somebody challenges you hopefully gently and says, "Yeah, that wasn't so cool what you just said." Rather than getting defensive, you say, "Oh, wait a second, I didn't know that. How do I what to do?" And how do I need to, for lack of a better word, make amends with the person who I microaggressed against or the people that sometimes it's in a group.

Tim Fitzpatrick
So I want to pull this out to make sure I've got this right and make sure people that are watching and listening get this. What I'm getting from this conversation here is that in order to have an inclusive culture and leadership, you have to have mindfulness first. Like, if you don't have mindfulness to be aware of where there are deficiencies, it's going to be really difficult to have inclusive leadership or culture.

Dena Samuels
So in my mind, I would say yes to that. Maybe to other people, they'll say, you know, there's other ways and there are other ways before. I mean, I've been teaching inclusive leadership for, you know, a couple of decades at this point and the first decade and a half, as I said, I didn't bring mindfulness into it at all. And I think they were still successful workshops and trainings and classes and stuff that I taught. So it's not that mindfulness is required, but that mindful inclusive leadership, it's like doing social justice from the inside out. I can't, in my mind, I can't think of a better way of doing this because it's really using your own body as sort of a gauge of how it's going. And you learn so much not only about yourself, but about others when you're being more mindful in that moment. So, yeah, in my mind, maybe it's not the only way to do inclusive leadership, but of course, I think it's the best way.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, OK, thank you. So let's finish off on on self care here because a lot of. Business owners, entrepreneurs, I think we kind of neglect ourselves. We get wrapped up in what we're doing and where we want to go, how can we use mindfulness for our own self care as we grow our business?

Dena Samuels
I love this. So, you know, when I talk about inclusivity, right. And talking about building cultural inclusion and I will come back to the question, don't know.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's OK.

Dena Samuels
When I think about cultural inclusion, I think about the idea that there are systems that play. These systems, that of racism and sexism and heterosexism, ageism, all of these things that are built into the systems in our institutions are into our government, into our media, into all of this stuff, it's built in. And so, you know, some people will say, "Well, mindfulness isn't going to change that." Right. And I say maybe yes and no, right? I'm not suggesting that it's going to change that necessarily today, but that those systems are made up of human beings. And so if we transform the human being, to be more aware, to be more mindful, that it's going to trickle out bigger systems. So when I think that's important to mention, but also for our own self-care is to think about those systems are pressing on us all. And for some of us more than others, depending on the different social identities that you inhabit in your whether it's based on any of the social identities I've mentioned before and those systems can press on us. Self-care can look like what I was talking about. One of the many tools is that 10-second vacation, is think about how if a microaggression happens or something comes that somebody says something or does something or a company or that the United States something, the government comes at you with something that feels oppressive, it's not that you're necessarily going to be able to change that thing today, but that for you, for your own self-care, taking that mindful approach, whether, like I said, whether it's running or going for a walk in the woods or climbing a mountain or being out in nature, all of these things are beautiful mindfulness practices that allow you to resource yourself so that you're able to come back to the world in ways that are going to be much more effective and calm so that you can live a more peaceful and in my mind, joyful life.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So would you say that doing that gives you space from it so that when you come back to it, you can think about it more objectively?

Dena Samuels
I think so that you maybe if there are things that are happening that are triggering for you, I'm not suggesting that you go for a walk and oh, it's all better now. I'm not suggesting that at all. But I will say that it will make a difference in how what your next steps will be, that you can if you can, especially if you can clear your mind. Oftentimes we think, oh, I kind of I got to really focus on this problem and and really attack it. And, you know, and people come at problems really violently. If you think about the language even that we use to think about problems and the and so a mindfulness practice is to if you can clear it away. One of the ways we can do that is to compartmentalize. We can put it in a box in our mind, right in our mind's eye. We can kind of put it in a box and just breathe knowing it's there. It'll be there when we come when you come back. Not going anywhere. But that if we can breathe and let go of it for a few minutes, that typically is when the innovation, as I mentioned before, that's when those really cool ideas, creative ideas come in that you would never have had the time or the capacity to think about before. And all of a sudden it flies and you're like, oh, easy. I know how to handle that.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. It's like how many people great ideas happen when people are doing those types of things. Right. And I think a lot of us forget that just because we don't we're not aware that we're thinking about something, subconsciously, our mind is doing all kinds of things, right. So it's when you go from, OK, I've got this problem, you've been thinking about it, and then you go do something where that gives you space that where you're practicing mindfulness, your brain may still be working on that problem subconsciously and you don't even know it. And that's why when you're doing it, all of a sudden the solution pops right into your head.

Dena Samuels
That's right. And I mean, for anybody who is a writer, has written anything, oftentimes you're always advised, you know, go take a break for a few minutes and then come back to writing again. That's why. Because you're clearing your mind of whatever is in the forefront of your mind. It's still working its magic back here. But, you know, and then you come back to writing and you're like, oh, when you just have a whole rush of energy.

Tim Fitzpatrick
This has been an incredibly enlightening conversation, Dena. I really appreciate you taking the time. Any last-minute thoughts, words of wisdom you want to leave us with?

Dena Samuels
I would say that if, you know, to leave this session, whatever with something, it would be that 10-second vacation, it would just be to think about your own self-care that often times, especially as leaders and wanting to be better leaders, it really has to do with self care most of the time, like the example that you used of what happened with your wife. It really is about, it's about you. Right. Rather than rather than taking all the situations that are coming at you, it's really about how are you showing up in your life, you know, either on a personal level, but also in the organization like how are you showing up and what are you doing, what steps are you taking to show up the best way you possibly can.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. If people need help with mindfulness using mindfulness and leadership, you've talked a lot about diversity, equity and inclusion. Where is the best place for them to go to get more info about you?

Dena Samuels
My website is for sure. Dena Samuels dot com. And please, if there's a question that you don't see answered on the website, just reach out. You can reach out right through my website and happy to respond as quickly as I can.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. That is Dena Samuels. D-E-N-A Samuels dot com. Dena, thank you so much. I really appreciate the time I have learned and I'm sure that other people will as well. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to tune in. Again, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing. If you want to gain clarity on where to focus your marketing efforts right now, hop on over to our website. Rialto marketing dot com. That's R-I-A-L-T-O marketing dot com. Click on the get a free consultation button. Guarantee you will walk away from that call with some clarity on where you need to focus right now to get the best return. Until next time. Take care.


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About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Marketing. At Rialto Marketing, we help service businesses simplify marketing so they can grow with less stress. We do this by creating and implementing a plan to communicate the right message to the right people. Marketing shouldn't be difficult. All you need is the RIGHT plan.

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