In this episode, I'm joined by Kylie Lewis, founder of Of Kin. Kylie speaks about why vulnerability is needed in schools.
Kylie is a leadership developer and climate reality leader specialising in building brave leaders and courage cultures. She is a certified facilitator of Dr Brené Brown’s work on courage, vulnerability, shame and resilience (The Daring Way™, Rising Strong™ & Dare To Lead™), a Conversational Intelligence practitioner and a systemic team coach. Her vision is to build capacity for brave conversations in boardrooms, classrooms and loungerooms across Australia.
Further learning related to this episode/references:
Learn more at teacherhealer.com
Music by Twisterium from Pixabay.
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Today I'm joined by Kylie Lewis who is a leadership developer, climate reality leader and founder of Of Kin, a training organization based in Melbourne.
It specializes in building brave leaders and courage cultures.
Kylie is a certified facilitator of Doctor Brené Brown's work on courage, vulnerability, shame and resilience.
A conversational intelligence practitioner and a systemic team coach.
Her vision is to build capacity for brave conversations in boardrooms, classrooms and lounge rooms across Australia.
Welcome Kylie, thank you for joining us in teacher Healer today.
For having me, I'm actually.
Very excited to have the privilege of speaking to you.
Not only 'cause you're just a fantastic special human being 'cause we had a chat earlier, but also because you know you're a certified practitioner in the daring.
Sure am and I am a Brené Brown fangirl.
So it's super great and I want to learn more.
So I thought you might be able to kick this off by telling us a little bit about your work, and I know you've been in schools and especially early learning centers.
So I'm going to hand it over.
Yeah, sure, so I have a company called Of Kin and in my in the in the in my business I work really with leaders and developing courageous, daring, brave leaders. I do that predominantly through public workshops and executive coaching and working inside organisations with their leadership teams.
And I've been doing that.
I've had my own business for eight years, but I'm really in the last three years, in particular, working exclusively with Renee Brown stair to lead.
So the daring way curriculum that you mentioned just before that came out of her work in in daring greatly and rising strong.
Which is fantastic work that is sums up the research that Renee has done in the areas of courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy over the last.
For say 15 years.
And then in 2018 she published a book which was really taking the same concepts but studying them in an organizational context.
And that really was the area that I wanted to dig into having, you know, having having had a career of you know the last 20 years working in organisations, I could see the real value of the stuff that she had talked about in daring greatly and rising strong but really wanted it in a context of organizational development.
'cause I could just say that there was a massive need for that.
So yeah, so I've been working working with that pretty much.
Uhm, exclusively for the last three years.
Brilliant and has it been a good time.
Yeah, it's been amazing.
It's the most rewarding work I've probably ever done and I found it.
It can be a little bit selfish because every time I dig into the work and deliver the curriculum and work alongside people exploring it and.
Letting that work sink into their bones, I learn something, you know it, it helps deepen my leadership practice as well so you know, the most common feedback that I get from people is that it's either made them feel comma as a leader because they have a greater awareness and an insight of how they operate.
Nation, what their triggers are, and they have an appreciation for their emotional landscape.
As a leader.
And have some tools in their toolkit to help approach that and to rumble with, you know, the difficult parts of leadership, particularly around having hard conversations and giving and receiving feedback.
Those kinds of things so people feel comma because of that and and they also say that it hasn't just.
Impacted the way that they show up at work.
It's how they show up in their lives as a whole person, and so they're really talking about.
You know the self awareness of who am I in the world no matter which arena that I show up in and and how do I?
How do I want to be in the world?
What what choices do I have now that I've got sort of a bit more of a?
Awareness of how I tick.
Umm, it sounds like much more than a leadership program.
I sometimes sneak Lee say that.
I think I think.
As human beings, there is somewhat maybe have a tendency to give priority to professional development that we see that there's a payoff in terms of our career or our work or our competency in that area.
And perhaps we don't tend to that as much in our personal development.
I think I think.
Sort of some of the magic of data lead is that it's very much within an organizational context and how you show up in a leadership capacity.
But it will change who you are as a human being.
Fundamentally in in all parts of your life.
So there's a little bit of kind of justifying.
What I think I need, but then filling the gap is probably what you actually do need.
If you know that old chestnut, yeah.
Tell them what they want given.
What they need, isn't it?
That's exactly it, yeah, so this is.
The bit that I'm really interested in, because you know, teacher healer.
My vision is that education can be a force for positive change in the world and healing, and you know you're working with educational leaders, so to heal themselves by the sounds of it in some ways, tell me a little bit more what what kind of process does a person go through in one of your programs?
The curriculum, the way.
That it's sort of been set up is.
Having some self awareness about what gets in the way of you showing up, perhaps as a brave leader or with a little bit more courage in your career so you know we start from the place of investigating the question of where would you like to be braver in as a leader, you know.
What is your personal call to courage as a leader?
And I think we don't very often stop and ask ourselves that question.
And so that sort of deliberate reflection, sort of straight off the bat about what sort of getting in.
The way of.
How I would like to be, you know, and for many people, it's kind of like, well, actually.
How would I like to be?
Is there do I have a choice?
Yeah, is is there.
Is there a way?
Through some some of these things that I'm bumping up against all that I'm feeling deeply uncomfortable or unsure how to tackle.
So we start off.
We start off there.
We sort of say you know, where would you like to be braver in your working life?
Uhm, you know where are the places where you're kind of holding yourself back?
What would you like to change and what are some of the things that you might identify that you might need?
You know what are some of the skills that you think you'd like to develop in order to be able to answer that call.
If anyone followed grenades work before.
You know they would.
Have heard her talk about the man in.
The arena quote.
And and how?
It's not the critic who counts.
It's actually the man who's in the arena, who you know is in in the arena of their lives.
And striving to do their best and to to make change.
You know in.
In in the greatest kind of outcome will be.
Festival, but for many of for many of us we will actually, you know, fail at doing that, and we'll end up face down in the arena.
But the most important thing is.
That while we were doing that.
We were daring greatly, so I've really, yeah, really hacked that quote, but.
The idea the idea is.
That we can often sit outside of the arena.
Of our lives, for fear.
Of what the critics will think.
And and sometimes those critics are very real.
You know, tangible people in our world.
Sometimes it's the imagined stories that we've made up about what might happen, and and sometimes we're our own critic as well and can get in our.
Own way of.
Showing up more bravely.
So we take that idea of of you know where would you like to be?
Braver to be able to get into the arena and and show up in those ways.
And then we start investigating well what what is getting in the way and what what do we need to do that and so we start off really exploring vulnerability and the the discomfort of vulnerability which remained defines as risk uncertainty and emotional exposure.
Umm, and nobody likes to feel those things.
Nobody likes to feel exposed, you know, uncertain or you know to really take on much risk.
We spend most of our lives trying to get comfortable trying to get sick.
You're trying to, you know, keep a lid on everything.
Uhm to stay safe.
But what we don't realize is that often in our hunt for sort of staying, staying safe and staying out of vulnerability is, you know, and often we do that because we fear things like.
Uh, we do fear uncertainty.
We we we.
We have fears about what what that might have for us.
We might feel anxious, we might be worried about feeling shame, or we might feel shame.
And so we try and minimize all of those things.
And when we shut down vulnerability when we shutdown risk uncertainty and emotional exposure, we shut down actually.
Our opportunity to experience.
All of the other things that also happen in the birth place of vulnerabilities.
You know, love, belonging, and joy also come out of vulnerability.
Courage, empathy, inclusivity.
Uhm, giving and giving hard feedback.
Ethical decision making resilience and resetting those are also all born in vulnerability, so we spend quite a lot of time upfront.
What are some other myths around vulnerability?
Uhm, how they might be showing up in our leadership practice.
Uhm, we investigate.
You know what're the?
What're the noisy things that we hear when we're going into the arena.
You know whose voices are we hearing a man?
Who's who's who's?
Got power and and then what do we need in order to be able to step forward?
Into into answering that call, you know who is in our empathy seats.
Uhm, what kind of self compassion can we offer ourselves and we think about doing something brave.
So we spent a lot of time really rumbling with vulnerability because it's the foundational piece for a brave life.
But we often build, you know, we've often grown up either thinking that vulnerability is weakness.
That vulnerability is not something that we do and or we think we can go it alone, UM.
Or that vulnerability requires us to over share everything in our lives?
You know, there's there's.
There's lots of vulnerabilities as sorry there's lots of nips around vulnerability that we really spend some time investigating and and then talking about.
You know what we need to be able to do to to rumble with the discomfort of vulnerability so we don't shut down.
All the opportunities that come in being able to sit in the discomfort of it.
Gosh, I'm the more I'm listening to you, the more I'm like.
Gosh, it's so great.
Leaders are doing.
This, but it could work at all layers like wouldn't you just love for all teachers to do this when you love for the students to be?
You know that question.
About what's your?
Call to courage for a teacher that is an epic question, like because.
Everyday stepping in front of a class of unpredictable kids.
It's, uh, colder, courage, isn't it?
And and so why do you keep showing up?
And I I guess I'm gonna throw it out to the listeners to put on their list to think about this week.
Let's you call to.
Why do you keep showing?
Up, you know the other thing.
I really loved was that.
I do have self compassion.
I don't know if you might unpack that one.
A little bit more.
Yeah, I I just want to quickly go back.
Yeah, I think the I think teachers are absolutely among amongst the bravest people and professions because every time you step into a classroom your Stephanie.
You're stepping into an arena.
And and yeah, it is uncertain what will happen.
There's no guarantees.
So how the class is?
Going to go, you know how.
How everyone else is showing up to that?
And so yeah, absolutely.
And hats off to educators everywhere.
I I in actually delivering the data lead curriculum, self compassion I think is probably one of the most important takeaways that participants have.
So one of the.
One of the things that we often find ourselves in when we're thinking about being brave.
And we're thinking about going into the arena, and it's those moments where we think about having that hard conversation or pushing back on an idea or challenging the status quo.
Or you know, pitching a new way of doing things like all of those arena moments that are full of discomfort.
Anywhere where there's that vulnerability, you know.
It's in those moments that we have a choice to think.
Am I going to say this?
Am I going to challenge this?
Am I going to call this out?
Am I going?
This into the mix of what's happening.
We and it seemed that moment where we can, where we can think, UM.
You know we can hear the voice of shame, so grenade talks about shame.
Driving 2 messages.
Never good enough.
So you know or never enough, never enough mess so you know.
Well I'm not experienced enough to contribute this or I'm not senior enough to be contributing to this.
I'm I'm not old enough to be experience, you know, to be doing these things like you know.
So whatever, you're not.
Enoughness is, and even if you can get past that is well.
Who who who AM
I who do I think I am to be contributing this anyway, you know?
And it it's.
In those spaces that we can find ourselves holding ourselves back and she calls these the cheap seats.
Or no, she sorry she calls these the season ticket holders in the arena and so if there are different kind of sections in the arena of where we think we're going to be brave, there's the season ticket.
Holders of comparison.
Shame scarcity that always show up.
When we think about doing something brave.
Uhm, there's the cheap seats of you know people hurling advice and criticism and judgement, but who will never actually be in the arena and doing the things that you're doing, there's the box seats you know which are normally held by the people who built the arena who hold power.
You know who can potentially be.
Operating from stereotypes.
And and then the two most important seats in the arena.
Empathy and self compassion and the people in the empathy seats are the people who you know only want the best for you that can rumble with the discomfort of saying.
Yeah, that was really hard.
And yeah, I can see that you did make a mistake and I'm going to be here and help to help you clean it up and and and push you back in the arena.
And sometimes we need professional empathy seat sitters in that area.
You know one of the exercises that we ask in the curriculum is who is in your empathy seats.
You know who is going to show up without judgment without a hidden agenda and and he's only going to be there for the best of you and.
It's generally a very small number of people that do that, and sometimes you even need to have a professional.
You know empathy seats that are at like a mentor or a coach or a.
Therapist and and the other most important.
Seat is the seat of self compassion.
When we when?
We hear the the season ticket holders of shame.
It can often be a very noisy section that's saying.
You know in that not enoughness that I'm the only one experiencing this lack of confidence or this.
You know this this struggle, this hard moment that you know it's me alone kind of that's not adequate in this situation or experiencing these emotions.
The voice of self compassion recognizes that.
Those emotions feeling that way.
You know being uncomfortable is part of common humanity.
It's not me alone that is going through these issues or having these doubts or worried about these things or concerned about these things.
So the voice of self compassion 1.
The same voice that you would offer to a loved one who maybe use or going through something difficult.
A difficult challenge.
That same care and concern that you have and warmth that you have for that other person.
You offer to yourself.
And so you know, grenade draws on Kristin Neff work in self compassion and it's basically talking to yourself the way that you would talk.
To someone you love.
So for example, if you if if you could see your best friend.
Struggling with the thing that you're struggling with at the moment.
What would you wish for them?
What would you wish that they would do for themselves, or what advice or support or encouragement would you give to them?
And cultivating you, giving that to yourself.
Yeah, so it's that it's talking to ourselves like someone we we love.
It's recognizing that the emotions, the difficulties that I'm facing, and the emotions that go along with that.
Aren't just me having a hard time of this situation that as a human being alive on the planet today, I'm having a very human experience that is common to the constraints to the concerns to you know, to the situations that I find myself in.
So it's not me.
Alone, I'm never.
I'm not gonna be the only one that has ever struggled with this in the past or to struggle with it in the future.
It's just what's with me at this point in time.
And that third piece, then, is the mindfulness peace.
It's it's the mindfulness piece of being able to recognize and identify those emotions.
And and and this is where emotional literacy becomes really important.
Being able to recognize and name our emotions.
And instead of denying them or pushing them away or diminishing them.
Or pretend that they're not in there.
They're not there.
We can say to ourselves, gosh, I'm
Feeling in struggle right now I I'm feeling anxious.
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and worried.
I'm feeling frustrated and you know, I might be feeling a bit angry with how things are going at the moment.
And and being able to sit with that rather than diminish it or push it away or pretend it's not.
There and just observe it.
Just going well, what what's this telling me what's this telling me that's important?
To my values to my contribution to my purpose, and then I need to be paying attention to.
And I can I can allow myself to acknowledge these emotions to maybe sit with them for a moment.
To get curious about them.
And then have some strategies to move through it.
I don't have to set up camp in these emotions, I can experience them.
I can visit them.
I can be informed by the data that they're trying to communicate to me about what's what's happening and what's going important.
What am I bumping up against that?
I need to get curious about.
And and I can move through them.
So self compassion is really that talking to yourself like someone you love, recognizing that it is part of the common humanity rather than only you're going through.
And the mindfulness to just pay attention to your emotional life.
That it's important and that it has information and that.
Whether or not we want to acknowledge it, emotions actually get the first crack at anything that happens in our life.
We rationalize thinking, you know that we are thinking doing beings who sometimes feel.
But the but the fact is that we are feeling human beings.
Emotions will get the first crack at it and and so we need to be able to get a bit better perhaps than what we have in the past and and maybe.
For any of.
Your early childhood educators or primary educators.
I know they spend a lot of time.
In you know social, social, emotional intelligence, space.
Lot of us.
Older folk have a bit of catching up to do on hopefully what's happening with the younger generation and through those curriculum.
Now yeah, brilliant.
I can't wait to see that sort of start to flow into secondary and hopefully secondary teachers can take that on board to.
I know that sometimes things don't translate between the earlier years in the upper years.
But yeah, wonderful work, but.
I'm I'm really thinking about, you know you're talking about mistakes in that sense of not being alone, and I know that.
In schools there is more and more collaboration happening, but certainly the schools that I've been in there's still a very siloed environment in many subject areas where.
Yeah, you might have your faculty and you might have your meetings and everything, but when you walk.
Of the class you there in your own most of the time, and there's this real great sense of autonomy that haven't freedom that happens with that.
But I I feel like.
You know, I've seen a lot of schools try to implement observation programs and feedback and.
Things and, and I know a lot of teachers are a bit frightened of that, and they don't like looking like they make mistakes.
And I think leaders are definitely in that category.
Principles are, gosh, you wouldn't want to be called out doing something wrong in some situations.
The sticky sticky ones that they get.
So I guess.
00:23:15 Speaker 1
But what's the?
Way to break that down is it just we need to talk about it more like do we just need to say yeah I'm human and I messed up.
I did this thing rather than keep it all secret or what's your solution?
So one of the pieces that goes sort of extends further with this art.
With this metaphor of being in the arena, is this idea of how we are more up ourselves when we go into those arenas.
And so in the research grenaded she was, she was trying to understand.
From observing transformational leaders or brave the brave leaders that she had identified what was what was the you know?
What were some of the differences in how they approached?
Hard conversations giving feedback.
Receiving feedback handling change.
And she talks about what she calls armored leadership behaviors versus daring leadership behaviors.
And So what she found out was through the research was that we can all feel afraid.
00:24:23 Speaker 1
Made at work.
We can all be fearful of being observed of getting feedback or things not going to plan of making mistakes.
And but that's not necessarily what keeps us from being a brave leader, so her research found that even the bravest leaders can can can feel fear.
So it's not necessarily the case of, you know.
Uhm, you you can only be courageous if you don't have any fear like.
That's actually a big.
Like a big myth as well.
Coverage is actually.
Fear walking is what Susan David out of emotional agility, talks about.
Yeah, so yeah.
So courage isn't the absence of fear.
Courage is the ability to say.
I can feel afraid of actually what's going on right now, but you have a choice.
You have a choice.
Have to say.
So I'm gonna armor up and I'm going to.
I'm going to be the Noah and I'm gonna always put myself as someone who has the right answer.
I'm I'm going to potentially avoid hard conversations wherever I can.
I'm I'm going to hold a position where I'm I strive for so much perfection that it's not my issue and it's not my problem.
Because, you know, I strive so much to have everything right all the time that it's probably going to be somebody else that's stuffed something up, you know?
So she talks about this idea of of weaken armor up and in armoring up it really drives disconnection.
It really pushes it.
It pushes people away when.
Uhm, you know I'm carrying around this armor and the big one that we talk about. You know there's 38 different behaviors that she has in the latest version of the curriculum that was released last year.
The biggest one is for many of us, and I think this is particularly true of teachers who are in the position of having to be the Noah and having to be right, you know.
Because we're imparting knowledge and you know, we're we're, we're holding space for learning and we ask, you know, we have some expertise.
It's this idea that if I always have to be the know and be right, then I'm less likely to take the space of.
I'm here to be a learner and to get it right.
And so if we want to be daring, leaders are holding that space of I'm a I'm an ongoing learner.
I'm a curious.
Person I may not always get it right, so I'm here to learn how to get it right.
Over time I will ask lots of questions.
I will be open to feedback.
I will recognize that you know different experiences that other people have.
Different education, different cultural backgrounds will have.
A whole range of things to.
Offer that I couldn't possibly know about.
So we spend a lot of time talking about.
Being armored up and what we need to do to be able to to put our armor down in the arena so that we can have vulnerable kinds of conversations.
So if you know the situation that you described about, say, being observed in the classroom.
Uhm, you know they could.
That that can be.
That can be something that I imagine teachers could feel quite anxious about.
You know, they know that they're being evaluated.
They know that they might, you know, be gonna get some hard feedback at the end of that, you know, and there can.
Be this whole.
Idea of OK I'm gonna put I'm gonna put a uh you know some armor I I want this to go perfectly I want to you know I'm performing perfecting.
Pleasing, you know.
Trying to do all of.
And and when it doesn't go to plan 'cause no plan survives its impact with reality.
You know where do we go with?
That you know what's our, what?
What is our reaction when things don't go well?
How do we?
How do we handle then the discomfort of of failure or disappointment or set back?
And and for many of us you know we maybe not have haven't seen it.
Well, model very well.
We haven't necessarily seen other people.
Bounce, be able to bounce back with.
Come with grace and with compassion and empathy when things haven't gone well.
So you know, in that scenario that you talked about with the teacher, a conversation with with perhaps the person that's coming in to observe, and the and the teacher beforehand, that is an assurance that we're actually both on the same side.
This is actually a learning opportunity.
For both of us.
US and that I'm here to help identify you know what what's going really well and where your strengths are, and then perhaps what are some of the other areas that I can help fill some gaps in?
Or you know, help answer any questions you might have around you know.
The things that you're struggling with or you'd like to develop a stronger skill set in.
It's the intention that you set up beforehand.
Like what's the?
What's the purpose of this?
Activity that we're doing together.
Uhm, because if I have a sense that you're in this with me and you're here to support my growth and development and help me.
Uhm, deal with the discomfort of, you know, being the learner in this situation.
Uhm, then I must.
I'm much more likely to stay open to taking on feedback and growing rather than keeping the armor up and keeping defensive and shutting down opportunities to learn and grow.
That's OK, isn't it?
I'm just thinking it back on some of my experiences and some have been better than others.
You know at one school it was just a nightmare doing that observation.
It was like a tick box exercise.
It was full of anxiety.
And then another time it was really collaborative process.
It was enjoyable.
There was lots of planning involved.
There's lots of chit chat about.
Hey, I'm going to experiment with this thing.
Let's see how it goes and there was a little bit more risk taking and it was.
How it was set up by the leaders.
Yeah, and So what you're talking about there.
Is psychological safety.
Umm, so and and psychological safety I've seen defined by Timothy Clarke is rewarded vulnerability.
So you know how safe is it for me to be vulnerable here?
Uhm, how safe of how safe is it for me to say I need help?
I have a question.
I don't know the answer.
I made a mistake.
Yeah, and the I don't know.
Perhaps the kind of meta kind of view on this, or maybe the ironic part of it is as teachers.
This is hopefully what you're hoping to do with your kids with children.
Yeah, because kids can't learn unless.
It's a psychologically safe environment.
And often what I found in working across professions, not just with with teachers.
Or educators, but.
We we sometimes can get fixed in us in our professional roles as this is what we do with our clients or our customers or who we serve that we forget that some of those principles in fact, probably most of them also are relevant in how we show up as a leader or a colleague or a team member.
Without the people as well.
Yeah gosh, I'm really taken by that idea of like what did you say encourage vulnerability or what was that?
And so Timothy Clark calls it rewarded.
Vulnerability rewarded, yes?
Yeah, so you know I actually get rewarded for asking questions.
I get rewarded for contributing.
I'm learning that, you know, I get rewarded for challenging ideas like they're not things that are pushed away or seen as.
Negative or, you know, think something to get resentful about.
It's actually great I'm.
I'm so glad that you did that.
It shows you're engaged. It shows that you care. It shows that you are thinking and curious, and that's that's that's what we want. And it goes back to Renee's definition of leadership.
Which is about a leader.
Is anyone who has the courage to develop the potential in people and processes.
OK, so, uh leader.
As anyone who has the courage to develop the potential in people and processes so a leader isn't somebody who just has the title of leader or the position or the power of leader.
Or you know the you know the the formal given authority power of leader I've seen.
I've seen you know, school in in air quotes, leadership teams.
That I wouldn't necessarily call leadership teams, administration teams.
Yes, management teams, yes leadership.
Not so much.
You know, and then you could probably walk around a school ground and you could see you know people who don't have.
Formal leadership authority.
00:34:18 Speaker 1
Absolutely leading in, you know, in their development of building other leaders.
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
Yeah, I'm just.
I'm like I, I'm going to go back to that psychological safety thing you discuss because that to me is a game changer.
What you said, 'cause I've thought about psychological safety in the classroom as you do because you want kids to feel.
Safe, but I've.
Never thought of it in that way.
For me it's meant like you know, how do you stop kids from picking on each other?
Or how do you you know?
How do you create a safe space for discussion where people are going to?
Say nasty things or.
Rude jokes or whatever but.
But to think of it as this.
Rewarded vulnerability to be able to.
Fail and make mistakes, and to be a learner and to admit you don't know.
I mean, that's key, isn't it?
How brave is?
I'll never forget there's this story ahead with this young man who was.
A very talented musician I know he would have been in a choir outside of school.
And everything and he.
He came to my class and we were doing some recording on an iPad and he just would not engage and most of the kids were loving this.
They were like, yeah, I'm going to make my installing.
It's going to be super great and he's like not not having a.
Bar of it.
I'm like what's the deal man like why aren't you giving this a try?
He's like me, I had this idea of my.
What I want it to look like and I'm not going to be able to do it.
It won't come out.
Perfect, so I'm not going to try.
And I've never forgotten that and I I wasn't able to get him over the line in that instance, but he wasn't willing to fail and it wasn't about what anyone else thought either.
It was about what he thought of his own work, and I don't think he's willing to.
Admit to himself.
That he has worked to grow, and I suppose I said to him, you know, I know without mate.
You have to do an outlook 100 times badly before you do something good you know and he took that on and I hope that that stays with him.
But it's yeah you have to be willing to.
Fail, don't you?
You have to be willing to fail and.
You have to be.
Ready to accept that?
Perfectionism is a trap.
Like perfectionism just works against everything that's good in our lives.
That just I just wonder if you have a piece of advice here because I've met so many teachers, especially graduate teachers, who will spend hours upon hours upon our planning, planning, planning, planning every lesson through the minute, right?
And I know that there's you know, we've got some political action happening at the moment with teachers who are overworked and we need to try and save them some time.
So what is your advice to those teachers who need to plan everything to?
Yeah, there's a big difference between perfectionism, which is.
Defined perfectionism is a function of shame.
Affection ISM is a feeling of not enoughness.
And what I'm trying to do is I'm I'm trying to put on so much armor.
That I can minimize.
Judgment shame and criticism.
And that's and it's.
It's all based about what will other people think?
Healthy striving comes from a place of saying what do I wanna get out of this?
What does success look like for me in this?
What you know what's what's in this?
That is the learning opportunity for me that I'll take on board.
And so when we're when perfectionism is driving, we're really hustling very hard for our worth.
And when we think about healthy striving, it's it's an acknowledgement to say.
It's really the acknowledgement is that I can be a learner and I can keep growing.
I can start here and I can give it my best shot where I'm at now and recognize that I might not have all of the answers.
I might not have it all figured out, but I'm gonna get in the arena and give it a go.
So and I'm gonna be compassionate towards myself as a learner in this space, the same way that I would be compassionate and cheer on.
You know my best friend who might be going through the same situation, yeah?
Once I do this thing.
I will have some learnings out of that and that's how I get better, Umm?
So I couldn't possibly, especially as a.
Graduate I can't.
Possibly be expected to know everything you know to have this skill of what I hope to have as a, you know, as an educator 10 years down the road from now.
So this is.
Where I'm starting with what I know, yeah.
So who can I lean in?
To to have a discussion.
00:39:24 Speaker 1
Who can I?
Ask some questions about.
Uhm, what conversations might be helpful?
What's my list of questions that I could tap into a mentor or somebody else about?
Like very often we think we have to do this all on our own.
And that's another myth of vulnerability that you know I, that I can go it alone.
You know that somehow I don't need other people.
And and that just pushes up against our biology of how we're actually hardwired.
We are actually hardwired to being in connection with other people.
We are a social species.
We've only ever survived by being in connection with other people.
Umm, and so sometimes, particularly when we're you know when we're trying to prove and perform and perfect.
We can take a.
Lot of that on ourselves rather than saying.
This is what I'm sort of feeling like a it.
This is where I'm.
Struggling with who can I reach out to you to have this conversation?
Is it a?
Talk with is it a phone conversation with?
You know one of the other graduates and just asking have they got any insight?
Is it with a coordinator or a mentor?
That ever been been assigned in the school and being OK?
With feeling emotionally exposed in that.
Yeah, and we're not normally practiced, right?
That's why that's why.
It's that's why it's brave.
00:40:50 Speaker 1
That's why it's brave to do that is to admit I don't feel I've got a handle on this.
Can I look this through with you and and just get some feedback?
Yeah, no good at 5.
I wish I had done that more in my first year and I would definitely second what you just.
Said yeah, I think.
A lot of burnout in that perspective can come.
It's the psychological burnout of feeling like I.
I should have this all together, yeah.
Do you think do you think that?
That happens when I'm thinking.
Yeah it does.
It absolutely does, and I've I've seen it in my friends as well and just seeing them run themselves ragged.
And I wasn't one of those guys, but I didn't reach out for help either.
Have drowned in my.
First couple years.
You know, yeah, and you know what was really surprising.
Renee talks about in the research.
So when when we look at the curriculum, rumbling with vulnerability is a big piece of the work.
The other skills that there's four skill sets of daring leadership rumbling with vulnerability living into values, so getting clarity of values.
Braving trust so really understanding what trust looks like and then learning to rise.
Which is how you get back up after a failure or disappointment or.
A set back.
But in the trust piece when she was looking at trust.
And and the research into that what the one of the most surprising things was one a really big trust earning behavior.
That she discovered was asking for help.
Which seems really kind of intuitive.
Yeah, but leaders will say when somebody asks for help.
I find that I trust them more.
Because I know that they're engaged and they're thinking about what's going on and they're willing to ask a question to make sure that they have got it right.
Rather than kind of winging it or covering it up.
00:42:51 Speaker 1
Kind of, you know, it's kind of counter intuitive when you think.
About it, but.
Asking for help is actually a big trust building behavior.
You think about.
Think about it with kids in the classroom.
It's a permission slip, isn't it?
Than to just go.
It's OK to limit, you don't know.
It's good to ask for help.
You'll actually be smiled upon for doing it, but I think that helps be a little bit more brave, doesn't it?
Yeah, I mean I could sit here for like what you were saying.
You know I could sit here all with my Saturday trying to figure out this Lesson plan or trying to plan it.
You know to the NTH degree.
Or maybe I could sit down, you know, for half an hour with a friend and talk it through.
And get some feedback and kind of get some assurance, but this is OK.
Or, Umm, you know.
Like so often we think we have to work it all out on our own, and I think that's that's where you can also see the silos happening in schools or on teams or.
You know, in cultures where we're also armored up thinking that we have to be all be there, no and all have to be right rather than as a collective.
That's our responsibility to work together.
To constantly be learning and checking in with each other and getting it right together.
Yeah, and I feel like I've seen I've worked in primary and secondary and I feel like I see that collaborative behavior happen much more often in primary schools and.
It's it's gold.
What happens isn't it?
Yeah yeah, now I wanna.
I wanna dig a bit deeper with you Kaylee.
I have a question here that.
I guess what I want to know is you know what's your biggest lesson that you've brought out of?
Doing this work.
From having worked now with.
Probably a few 1000 people doing this curriculum I and and how you know and?
You teach what you.
Need to learn right?
That's what is.
Often fed and you know about educators, yeah.
00:44:53 Speaker 1
I, I think the two big pieces from this work that I've realized by getting this work in my own bones so I can show up with other people and and talk about it.
Is the self compassion peace absolutely 100% game changing revolutionizes how you show up in the world and your capacity.
To keep showing up over time, you know this sustainability.
Of your leadership.
But the other big piece is boundary.
Umm and really being able to get clear about boundaries of what's OK and what's not.
And and being able to rumble with the discomfort of setting boundaries that might.
Ruffle feathers with other people that people might get annoyed about or push back on.
But in the absence of setting your own boundaries, other people just will fill up your cup, your priorities, your space, your commitments.
Unless you are clear about your boundaries about what's OK and what's not OK and what you are prepared to do and what you're not prepared to do and what's driving those.
I think we can find ourselves in a place of.
Of burnout, you know, and, uh, big kind.
Of a big.
Uhm, way to look at at.
Boundaries and understand what boundaries are.
Anywhere in your life where you experience resentment, right?
So resentment is a really good indicator that there's a boundary issue that needs to be addressed, yeah?
So if I'm feeling resentful because I've been.
Asked to do this thing.
I need to investigate what's that bumping up against.
You know, is it that?
It's just been expected of me without anyone checking with.
Me if if I have capacity to do this.
You know, have I said yes to doing this when actually I really wanted to say no?
Uhm, you know, is there an injustice or inequity here that actually needs to be addressed that needs to?
Be talked about.
Rather than, you know, potentially just me sucking.
It up or.
Just, you know, looking the other way.
Wherever there is resentment, there's normally a boundary issue that needs.
To be discussed, explored observed.
And and a boundary set and held.
And when the context changes, boundaries change.
And so I saw, you know, with the arrival of COVID and just the complete turning inside out of everything.
Yeah, for a sustained period of time.
Yeah, like the mess like the.
Most hail with that you.
You know it was, uh, recontracting of boundaries.
Umm, so in this situation, what's OK and what's not OK, and it's really hard when there's so much of so much of what might be happening is out of our control.
And and so we really need to focus what's what is in my control.
What what can I control in this situation?
And what and?
What do I need to put push back on them?
How do we renegotiate these boundaries together given the context of what's happening both in my personal life?
You know of what's happening with me and in in in the professional context.
And that's not easy work I think.
Yeah, when I talk when I talk with leaders and when they asked me, you know what they?
You know, some of the biggest things that they get out of this work is.
Is self compassion and boundaries and and being able to rumble with the discomfort of boundaries and because often in those boundaries conversations are hard feedback conversations.
And that's the that's the kind of other area like I was working with a bunch of.
Principles from New South Wales earlier this week.
You know, and some of their calls to courage were things like these are principles saying I wanna be braver to have more difficult conversations.
I want to be braver, implementing change, especially when I meet resistance in staff.
I'm letting go of the things I've implemented.
Letting go of perfectionism.
I I wanna be braver it sticking to my point when it's not a popular one.
Oh tough one yeah.
I'd like to.
Develop more skills and giving constructive feedback so.
You know, so some of those.
Some of those skills.
Come because having those conversations work Ryerson boundaries to be.
You know we're talking about education and talked a lot about.
Grenades work, but.
What is fit for you personally?
What is your wish for education?
Gosh, that's such a big question.
I think I think.
My biggest wish.
For education as a whole.
Is actually honoring what it is to be a human being.
In the world.
To really honor.
The role of vulnerability for us as learners and our capacity to learn our capacity to show up and engage with each other and work together collaboratively collaboratively to solve.
And address some of the biggest issues that we've ever had to face as as a as a species.
So one of the things I'm just a short story to maybe finish up on, but.
In 2019 I was part of a program called Homeward Bound, which is a global leadership program.
You are not brilliant.
00:51:45 Speaker 1
A lot, yeah.
I I know of this program yeah.
So I was invited to.
Join the visibility stream faculty and visibility is all about.
Empowering well in the homeward bound context, empowering women in stem from women from leaders in women in stem backgrounds from around the world to have the will and the skill to bring the to to, you know, increase the impact of their work on the world and to raise their leadership capacity.
And in that experience.
It's a 12 month online program that culminates in a three week voyage around Antarctica readings. Yeah, 8080 women in stem from 26 different countries around the world, all on this one ship floating around, you know?
00:52:38 Speaker 1
It's not like.
The regular recipe for a tea party.
Yeah, let's look at this.
Look at things that come to mind when you know and.
It's like that.
Type of people and we spent a lot of time doing a lot of container building to build psychological safety before we went on the ship.
Yeah, so we.
Actually did quite a bit of digging into some of the work that we do with.
But but one of the women on the ship, who is part of the faculty as part of, I guess there Elder program.
They called it.
At the time, kind of, you know.
The the the.
Older, wiser, more senior experienced kind of women wears Christiana Figueres.
And she was the UN executive secretary.
Who led the negotiation of the Paris climate agreement?
Like I still pinch myself too, but I I'm.
This incredible woman from from South America who wound up leading perhaps the most important negotiation.
Of our times yeah yeah it you know and it involved 195 nation state.
Having to unanimously agree on these climate targets and pathway forwards, and I didn't realize.
But when you go to you know anything that's kind of done in the UN.
You have to get unanimous agreement for it to be enshrined, we.
And and what was so interesting to me is learning about.
Christiana was that she wasn't a politician.
She wasn't an economist.
She wasn't a scientist.
She was actually a trained anthropologist, OK?
And what that meant was what that meant was that she understood culture.
How I should say?
She understood that to make change we need to meet people where they're at and seek to understand their stories and what's going on for them.
And so during her tenure in that role.
And I don't know if many.
People realize this, but Paris?
Climate agreement climate agreement which?
You know which which happened in 2015? Two 1016.
They had tried to.
Do it at Copenhagen in 2009 and failed.
Yeah, and so Cristiana came in.
Kind of after that, and one of the things I realized was her being an anthropologist meant that instead of kind of sitting in, you know UN headquarters and trying to negotiate everything from from there.
Is that she went and visited every single one.
Of those countries.
She went to seek to understand.
195 countries, yeah, and to seek to understand what's going on for.
And to show up.
And to show interest and to be curious and to honor the reality of what was going on for those people and to listen genuinely with curiosity about their concerns and their limitations.
And what would need to happen in order for this agreement to take place?
Right, that takes that.
Takes an extraordinary amount of self awareness.
To be able to go to a country, say for example like Saudi Arabia, where as a female negotiator.
She had to potentially put aside.
Perhaps some of her own kind of you know, beliefs about you know the role of women in.
To meet these people where they're at for this higher purpose of.
You know this.
Needing to come to an agreement about how we're going to go forward and solve this massive problem, which affects all of us.
You need to have a pretty good sense of self.
You need to have a pretty good sense of your own emotional reactivity and develop some skills in navigating your own emotional landscape in order to be able to kind of create the collaborations that.
We so desperately need going forward.
We need to be able to drop our own egos and show up in service of the work in each other.
With the clarity of our own values, you know.
With a with.
A with a sense of purpose and impact and and and you know.
And one of the other things was I learned from her boundaries.
In her role.
She she never took meetings after 7:00 o'clock.
Tonight, you know shared this massive, huge global role, but she was like, no, I don't do.
I don't do evening meetings.
I don't do dinner meetings, you know, I I finish my day at this time and that enables me the space and the UM, resetting and.
The you know.
Rejuvenation that I need to be able to come back to.
Work tomorrow and go again.
So she held space and she modeled that for the team that she worked with as well.
So it became expected that this is when Christina is available.
This is not when she's available.
This is what she can do.
This is what she can't do.
And so I guess on my wish for education is too.
Is to really have a greater appreciation for what it is to be a human?
Come to recognize the diversity.
Uhm, that exist within us, and to find a pathway to each other rather than seeing it as division.
And I think for I think a lot of that does come from our own self awareness of what it is to be human today, the the compassion that we can.
Offer ourselves, I think when we show up to ourselves with more compassion where.
We're more able to do that for others as well.
Yeah, and that when we practice setting boundaries for ourselves, we can role model what that looks like for other people as well.
I'm I'm getting the sense that this is going to be one of those episodes that our teachers listen to over and over and over again.
I can't even draw the threads together for that because there were so many learnings and ideas that are applicable to our own lives.
I feel very inspired.
That's my pleasure.
Thank you for the opportunity to do that, and I I love working with educators because I know that not only is there the opportunity to help.
In the sustainability of their own practice of being educators, but educators influence generations.
And it can just take one educator.
In your life.
To change the trajectory.
Of someone's life, hopefully for good.
Uhm, and you know when I think about.
What has led me to doing the work that I do today and where some of my strengths come from and the things that I get most joy out of I.
Can track it back to some really.
Wonderful educators that I've had in my life and and in fact in fact one thing that's really interesting.
The best leader I've ever had in the corporate world was a primary school teacher who then went out into business.
Oh yeah, skills as you probably don't want to say this, but skills are very transferable.
Great teachers have very transferable skills across a broad range of industry.
Please come so when I think about when I think about the role of education and educators doing some of the most important work there is to be done in the world and and doing it in a way that really honors the whole humanity of a student and the whole humanity of a teacher.
That's where I think.
That's what gets me excited about working with teachers.
Brilliant, I'm excited to thank you so much.
It's absolutely my pleasure.
Thanks for the opportunity.