A Conversation with Amy Waninger – Part 1

Education, Leading Ladies, Podcast

Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs Episode 24

Danielle: Hello, this is Danielle Ireland and you are listening to Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs, season three, featuring an incredible guest, Amy Waninger. Amy has such a grounded presence that really makes you want to lean in and listen. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience, but the main reason why I am so excited for you to get to learn with her is that she was, at the time we recorded this episode, right in the beginning of launching her solo business.

Danielle: I mean she’s has a lifetime of experience working for companies, but she’s really plunging in and diving into that messy middle that we talk about from previous seasons. She’s in that journey right now in this episode and you’re going to get to hear her experiences, her fears, but also how she works through that and has worked through that to create a successful solo business.

Danielle: I know you’re going to love this. I know that I did. This was one of those great experiences again, where I got to meet someone for the first time with this format and I really feel like I’ve made another fabulous friend. I can’t wait for you to fall in love with her too. Get ready to sit back, relax and enjoy Amy Waninger.

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Danielle: Would you pronounce your last name for me?

Amy Waninger: Waninger.

Danielle: I was getting pumped. So glad I asked because I would have been like Wininger.

Amy Waninger: Waninger.

Danielle: Waninger. Amy Waninger. Did I say it right?

Amy Waninger: Yes.

Danielle: Oh, don’t worry. I’ll keep this all in because it’s just… I think, I struggle with names sometimes.

Danielle: Amy Waninger, thank you so much for coming and sitting down with me for the Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs podcast.

Amy Waninger: Thank you for having me.

Danielle: I’m so excited. Though this is the first time we’ve met in person, as it often is when I interview podcast guests, this is usually our first real conversation, I feel like I already know you in some ways. We’ve had a fun and bumpy meet cute. If our friendship story were a movie, I think that we would have… It’s probably been a series of Don’t Cut Your Own Bang moments, how we kind of stumbled into one another’s lives. But I’m so glad that you’re here, I’m so glad we get to meet in person and I’m really excited to learn more about you, what you do, your story and Lead at Any Level, all of the work that you do.

Amy Waninger: Thank you.

Danielle: Welcome.

Amy Waninger: Thank you so much.

Danielle: Amy, tell me a little bit about the work that you do.

Amy Waninger: Sure. I’m the CEO of Lead at Any Level, LLC. I work with organizations that want to build diverse leadership bench strength for a sustainable competitive advantage.

Danielle: Nice.

Amy Waninger: I have programs that appeal to and inspire emerging and aspiring leaders and I really want to help companies find the hidden talent, the talent that doesn’t fit the mold in their organization and boost them up, so that when they take those leadership roles, they’re really ready.

Danielle: I love, one that, that sounds… I really admire people who have… I struggle with an elevator pitch myself and I felt like, “Dang.” As you were talking, that is so succinct.

Amy Waninger: Thank you.

Danielle: That’s so tight and it’s so clear and it just explains exactly what you do. That was beautiful.

Amy Waninger: I have resources I can share with you. I didn’t get here by myself. Trust me.

Danielle: You’re like, “Let me coach you, girl. I’ve got this.”

Amy Waninger: Let me give you the book that will tell you how to do that.

Danielle: Oh, okay. Great. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you look to the side-

Amy Waninger: Yes.

Danielle: I have a stack of, I don’t know-

Amy Waninger: Perfect.

Danielle: A bazillion books and oh yeah, anyway. Yes, I love that.

Amy Waninger: Thank you.

Danielle: Love all of that. That’s a very specific niche.

Amy Waninger: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Danielle: What inspired and sparked that specific passion in you?

Amy Waninger: Well, a lot of things. 20 years in and around IT, the last 12 to 15 of those, in management roles and the last decade or so in the insurance industry specifically. When I started my career as a programmer, I was told, people that I worked with, “Well, you’re really analytical for a girl.” Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah, right.

Amy Waninger: I got that a lot.

Danielle: Oh, my God.

Amy Waninger: I got it from guys that I was fixing their code. They didn’t even know it.

Danielle: I just had this image of you if your life were [inaudible 00:04:30], you’d be surrounded by like tampons and maxi pads just crying in front of your computer. What did they think? Numbers are so hard and I don’t know how to calculate tip and oh my God, feminine hygiene products. Oh my God, smack, smack.

Amy Waninger: Yeah, and there’s still a lot of that that goes on in IT and frankly, in the insurance industry. It’s not just women, right? People of color often excluded, just systemically. They get there and they just don’t feel welcome, so they leave. We’re facing such a talent crisis in both of those industries. I have to think that if we could just get a little uncomfortable on the inside, we could solve so many of our problems.

Danielle: Who needs to get more uncomfortable?

Amy Waninger: I think the people who are entrenched, people who are hiring managers, I think people who just have day to day jobs and that’s what my books and all my programs are about is we’re all contributing to some of these problems, right? We’re all contributing to workplaces that are not as inclusive as they need to be. We’re all contributing to feedback gaps for women in the workplace. We’re all contributing to resistance to change in our day to day lives.

Amy Waninger: When I pulled all of that out, all of the stuff that I felt really passionate about, it all came down to leadership but not leadership with a title. That’s where the name of my company, Lead at Any Level, came from. The tagline of my company is leaders can be anywhere and should be everywhere.

Danielle: Ooh, I love that.

Amy Waninger: Thank you and I mean it. Every single person has an opportunity to be a leader on their team and their space and their office, even just setting a good example for others. That’s where it starts and we all have to see ourselves there if we’re going to create meaningful change.

Danielle: I have to sit with that for a minute.

Amy Waninger: Please do.

Danielle: That’s good. That’s really good. One of my core beliefs that I try to infuse and not just the work that I do, but the way that I live is that when we see the best in ourselves, we bring out the best in the world around us. What I like about what you were just talking about specifically with leadership as it sounds like what you’re saying is that you don’t have to go for a promotion to be a leader or your leadership is not contingent. It doesn’t rest on a title that you hold or necessarily even maybe like an income that you bring in although, let’s close that wage gap, right?

Amy Waninger: Yes.

Danielle: All that and more.

Amy Waninger: Would be great.

Danielle: It’s you leading your own life and leading on your terms and leading your best life does not necessarily depend on those other things. Is that part of what you’re saying or am I missing-

Amy Waninger: Absolutely. Absolutely. We have to get to a place where people are leaders before they’re promoted because it’s too late. Once you’re out in front, it’s too late to figure that out. We need to be preparing people earlier for those roles and we need to be seeing people in action, right? Doing that work already, not because of the financial implications but because if we… I think, there are certain segments of our population that are promoted based on their potential and there are certain segments of our population that are promoted based on their history.

Danielle: You mean White men and everyone else?

Amy Waninger: I do.

Danielle: Okay.

Amy Waninger: Yes. There are a lot of people that get the promotion because somebody believes that they can do something that they’ve never proven they can do. Meanwhile, you’ve got a whole bunch of people working really hard heads down, trying to prove that they even belong in the seat that they’re in.

Amy Waninger: It goes back to, “Oh, you’re really smart for a girl.” Well, I fixed your code. Right? You don’t see that part. I look at it this way. They kind of put a spin on what you just said. There are so many problems to solve in our businesses, in our communities, in our not for profit organizations. I mean, you look around, there’s a problem to solve, right? There’s somebody who needs our help, there’s somebody who needs assistance, there’s somebody who needs opportunity.

Amy Waninger: My feeling is we’ve got so much talent that goes wasted because we refuse to see it because it doesn’t look like what we expect. It doesn’t come in the package we expect, right? Maybe it comes in a package that has mobility issues, maybe it comes in a package that’s a different ethnicity or race or has an accent or a lisp or a lazy eye, right? Whatever it is that makes us personally uncomfortable, we walk away from all the potential of that person, not just for our organizations, but for us personally.

Amy Waninger: I want everybody to be able to contribute at their full potential. I want everybody to be able to be all in solving problems and finding solutions and contributing to our economy and building everyone up. Because I think when we all win, we all win.

Danielle: That makes me think of, I cannot remember the name of this… I can’t remember this guy’s name. If I think of it and find it, I will put it in the show notes. But there’s a gentleman who created a really, it was a really, really popular charity race. It was a motorcycle ride or not motorcycle, I’m sorry, bicycle ride that, I think, would ride from San Francisco to LA along the PCH and it was all intended to raise funds for HIV and AIDS research. They started generating a lot of buzz. They were starting to get a lot of celebrities involved and so they were really raking in a lot of money.

Danielle: Well, once their nonprofit organization kind of raised a certain amount of money, a lot of people started raising eyebrows and getting pretty critical and cynical like, “Hey, well where is this money going exactly? You’re building a new building. I want this to go to the research.” When people donate money, they can get pretty, for lack of a better phrase, rigid, on how they want that money allocated.

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Danielle: The point of this man’s talk because eventually this organization got shut down and it wasn’t because it was doing anything illegal at all. It was that there was so much bad press about where he was investing these donated funds. He was investing it in paying people higher salaries, offering higher wages, giving his employees paid vacation time, actually building a company. But the problem was we were getting really hung up on the fact that it was an NPO.

Danielle: Well, his point was, we’re spending so much time fighting over a slice of the pie or arguing over where each slice of the pie should go, who it should go to, and how. His philosophy was, what if we just got a bigger pie? Right? What I’m hearing you say is that it’s not… Rather than scramble and fight for maybe existing jobs, if everyone were able to access their fullest potential, if everyone were able to recognize their unique gifts and express that in the best way that is for them, it just creates a bigger pie of opportunity rather than fighting for or finger pointing on what they’re not getting or how they need to get it, but let’s all win.

Amy Waninger: Yeah.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: Yeah. Let’s all win. If the person that can solve your problem is sitting right next to you and you never know it, think of the opportunity you both lost.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah. That’s really beautiful.

Amy Waninger: Thank you.

Danielle: Well, as I have begun to learn about myself and about other people who are really passionate about the work that they do, there’s usually, I don’t know, a personal, it hits home, right? I think, it’s harder to and I wish it weren’t this way, but it’s harder to get passionate about things that don’t personally affect you. I’m wondering how this work that you’re doing has personally affected you. I know that you just shared the story about, you know, the guy being like, “Wow, you’re really great at those for a lady.” But why is this so personal to you?

Amy Waninger: This has always been important to me. Always, since I was a kid. Fairness was huge, right? They wanted everybody to have a chance. My mom tells a story, I don’t know how true this is because you know, mom goggles. But my mom tells the story about when I turned five and I wanted to have a birthday party.She said, “Well, you can invite 5 kids or 10 kids.” I said, “No, I need to invite everybody in my class.”

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: I was insistent that everybody get to come. There was this one boy that was kind of a problem child. Right? Looking back, he probably had ADHD or something like that.

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: He was a bit of a handful and I wanted him there too. My mom said that when the moms came and dropped all their 5-year-olds off, there were 25 of us, and of course, the moms were like, “Thank you,” and ran.

Danielle: Oh.

Amy Waninger: It was my mom and 25 5-year-olds, God love her.

Danielle: Oh, no.

Amy Waninger: Yeah. But she said, “This little boy’s mom dropped him off and she said, ‘ Thank you for inviting him. This is the first birthday party he’s ever been invited to.'”

Danielle: Oh, oh.

Amy Waninger: I didn’t know that until just a couple of years ago she was telling me this, but, I mean, I remember it being very important to me that everybody be invited.

Danielle: Oh, yeah.

Amy Waninger: It was not as important to my mom that everybody actually came, but they did. She had her hands full. Yeah, she gave us bowls of icing and sent us outside to play because you could do that back then. Right? You didn’t have to have a structured thing.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: Right? It was 25 kids playing on the swing set and playing in the sandbox. The little boy in question by the way, got my red wagon and gave everybody rides around my yard in the wagon and that was what he did the whole time.

Danielle: Oh my God, stop.

Amy Waninger: It was awesome. It was awesome.

Danielle: My God, that just like hit my heart. As I was thinking a little bit more about your message and your business and what it’s intending to do, I can kind of hear in the back of my mind, maybe some criticism that you would get like, “Maybe everyone isn’t meant to be a leader,” or maybe, “What are we? A society of just participation medals,” and, “Life doesn’t always work… ” I can kind of hear that Sinek in the back of my mind.

Danielle: But hearing that story, particularly with that little boy, we all come into the world that way, right? No matter how the world or life may have shaped us, we come into the world wanting to be included. We come into the world wanting to be seen and heard. It’s factual. It’s not even just a feel good notion. I mean, it’s hardwired in our biology. Those mirror neurons that infants have when they want to look at their mother’s face to know that they’re safe. I mean, it is hardwired in our biology. Our emotional, spiritual, physical cells want to belong somewhere.

Amy Waninger: Yeah. I remember two things from that party and that was one of them that he took everybody around in the wagon. To your point about criticism, no, not everybody gets to be CEO. Right? I get that.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: But here’s the thing, we’ve all had a moment where for whatever reason,, we showed up in a way that was different. Right? A really simple example I like to give is that I had a coworker who went to a big important meeting, big management meeting in her company’s home office in Boston and when she unpacked, she realized she forgot to bring her dress shoes. She had her running through the airport shoes on.

Danielle: Yep.

Amy Waninger: The whole week. When she went to the meeting, she sat in the back, she put her feet under the table. She didn’t get up and network. She didn’t talk to anybody because she didn’t want her shoes to be an issue.

Amy Waninger: Well, her shoes were a huge issue because she wasn’t able to fully participate in this meeting because she was so afraid somebody would notice or somebody would say something. In every other way she fit in. Right? In every other way, she was one of the group, but not her shoes and her shoes held her back. Now, some of us can relate to that because we’ve shown up somewhere underdressed or overdressed. I remember going to an interview when I got my braces on for my teeth, right? I’m so self-conscious about that and I could’ve let that hold me back and I didn’t, because I decided, “I’m in this.” But some people can’t take their shoes off, they can’t change their shoes. Right? Everyday when they show up, it’s apparent that they’re not just like everybody else.

Amy Waninger: I think, if we can all think about how it feels in that moment to be the person with the wrong shoes, nobody wants to be there.

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: Right? But if we can also think about those moments where maybe we’ve been the one to exclude somebody because of their shoes or we’ve missed out on somebody’s talents because of whatever that reason is, I don’t think any of us set out, well most of us, don’t set out to make people feel excluded. No, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we can probably find times where we did make someone feel that way.

Danielle: Well, I don’t even know if it’s a matter of being honest with ourselves. I think, it’s a matter of awareness. I don’t think it’s a matter of honesty. Because, I think, there are, gosh, studies after studies of people who will take anonymous surveys, “How many of you… ” I mean, sometimes I even do this when I do public speaking. I did a session on civil discourse, “How many of you have… ” Almost exactly how you described, “How many of you have felt excluded? How many of you have felt left out? How many of you have felt tea or just know when you’re walking in a room and someone was talking about you?” They’re all like, “Yeah, me, me, me.”

Danielle: Of course, some of them probably knew where this was going and then, well, “How many of you have ever talked about somebody that wasn’t in the room? How many of you maybe though you could justify it however you want in your mind, how many of you would probably engage in gossip?” Right? Of course, like no one is without fault, right?

Amy Waninger: Right.

Danielle: I think the hard truth about people, in general, is we really live in the gray. We live in the gray, but we want to live in a very stratified black and white. It’s all this or all this. If I am a good person, I’m incapable of doing these things. But the thing is, we’ve all done some of these things, at least at some point in our lives. I think that our shame or our fear keeps us from even wanting to examine the discomfort. I think this is what you said earlier, those uncomfortable places are kind of sitting in that uncomfortable space to really understand where that comes from. How is it serving you and how is it not serving you?

Danielle: I mean, it sounds like, to your point, is it’s not serving us in our companies. It’s not really serving anyone.

Amy Waninger: No.

Danielle: But we all have it and now we’re not born with it. It’s learned behavior. It’s all learned behavior. It can be unlearned, but it’s uncomfortable because change is hard.

Amy Waninger: Yes.

Danielle: We don’t want to change.

Amy Waninger: Yup, and I think, we need to move away from identities that there are good people and bad people.

Danielle: 100%.

Amy Waninger: There are good people and I’m one of them, right?

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: We all have the capacity to do good.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: We all have the capacity to do harm. Every moment is a choice.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: We just have to keep moving toward doing more good than doing more harm. That’s not an identity. That’s a pattern of behavior. Some days we fall very short and some days we rise to the challenge.

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: I think, we just need to get more focused on those choices that we’re making and how we’re making them and why.

Danielle: When you work with clients, how do you help them recognize that and get in touch with that uncertainty or that discomfort without judging them?

Amy Waninger: I start usually by talking about unconscious bias and how we make decisions without realizing we’re making them based on preferences that we may or may not realize we even have. I think that, starting there, lets people understand that, “Okay, this is a human condition, right? This isn’t your fault. This isn’t something you may even know that you’re doing.”

Amy Waninger: But the three-step process I offer, we’re not going to undo this biology that exists within us, right? We’re not going to reroute things away from our medulla and into our cerebral cortex. That’s not going to happen. But what we can do is we can slow down a little bit.

Amy Waninger: The three steps that I offer, number one, put yourself on notice. When you’re faced with an uncomfortable situation, when you’re faced with a change, when you meet someone new, notice your own response first. Sometimes just noticing can sort of undo these snap judgments that we make.

Amy Waninger: An example that I typically give is I worked with a woman, she was a rock star employee. She worked for me. I was her manager and I noticed that I was really uncomfortable talking with her in the hallway. I kind of narrowed it down to, “Okay, I wasn’t uncomfortable if we were sitting at her desk. It wasn’t uncomfortable sitting at my desk. I wasn’t uncomfortable in meetings with her, but it was, these hallway conversations.” Well, as it turns out, she’s a lot shorter than I am and I’m used to being usually the shortest one in the room at 5’3″. I felt like when she would tilt her head up to talk to me, I was forcing her to look up to me metaphorically.

Danielle: Wow.

Amy Waninger: That really didn’t jive with my vision of myself as a leader, right? I wanted my team to feel like they could come to me with anything, like we were all on the same footing, basically. It was silly, right? She had to look up to speak to everybody because if she’s shorter than me, she was shorter than everyone else. What I was kind of thinking was an intrapersonal problem was not an intrapersonal problem. It was a problem between my left ear and my right ear.

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: Right? I was having trouble.

Danielle: Intrapersonal problem?

Amy Waninger: Intrapersonal. I don’t know, it was in my own brain.

Danielle: Yeah, yeah.

Amy Waninger: Right? Just noticing like, “Oh well, okay she knows she’s short.” Right? I can’t change that. What I can change is how I respond to it. Noticing your own behaviors allows you to kind of go back and figure out what are the values or the identities that I’m protecting or the judgments that I’m protecting with this response and what are the experiences that I’m bringing to it that are helping me do that.

Amy Waninger: Just noticing can kind of peel back some of that, because you know, honestly, you have to laugh at yourself when you realize you’re uncomfortable somebody else is shorter, but how many times do we do that? How many times do we talk to somebody? We don’t know what it is about him, we’re just a little uncomfortable and we start to disengage and distance ourselves and miss out on everything that they have to offer.

Danielle: Oh, I’ve got a great example of this.

Amy Waninger: Sure.

Danielle: I’m in a weekly meeting, where I work. Someone in the meeting, the last couple of times, has been on their phone texting the entire time. Now, I know that what they’re doing and of course, I could probably rattle off and debate all kinds of like factual evidence of how distracting cell phones are and how it decreases connection and blah, blah blah. But really, what they’re doing with their phone on their time does not directly impact me.

Amy Waninger: Right.

Danielle: It’s almost kind of like the shoes, right? Like I’m letting the shoes, in this case, this phone, keep me from fully showing up in this meeting because I’m hyper fixated on, “What the hell? Get off your phone. My God, it’s so rude.” Then, I’m getting indignant and I’m getting righteous and I’m like, “I mean, are you just telling everyone that what you have going on is more important than what we’re all doing.” But again, that is again, my unconscious bias defaults to criticism.

Danielle: I’ll see if she stops.

Amy Waninger: Okay.

Danielle: But my unconscious bias defaults to criticism. If I’m really honest with myself, to use everything that you’ve just shared with me, if I’m really honest with myself, have I ever been on my cell phone while someone else has been talking? Of course, I have.

Amy Waninger: Right.

Danielle: Now, this leads to something that I heard and I don’t know how accurate it is, but it feels true to me, so I repeat it a lot, that the things that we tend to find most issue in others are things that we tend to, and I know that in your example with height, this wasn’t a criticism or judgment, it was just an awareness that you were referring to, but for me, the things that I find myself feeling critical, judgmental about other people are reflecting an aspect of myself that’s gone unchecked.

Danielle: What I’m trying to do, and this is still fresh because this awareness is relatively new, but what I’m trying to do is when I find myself getting frustrated or perturbed about that, I’m trying to dial my focus inward and think, “Okay, what is this telling me about me and what can I do? Because if what I need to feel better is to tell this person to get off their phone, then I mean there might be a time and place for that, but I’m more of an inside out kind of person.” I don’t know if that’s appropriate for everyone. Anyway, I can really relate to that because probably the first 10 minutes of my internal dialogue was really hyper focused on this other person. But then once I really sat with, “Oh God, I’ve done it too. I’ve done it many times.” Yeah, I love it.

Amy Waninger: Yeah. Sometimes we feel that way because we’re worried that that person’s behavior is a reflection on us because we’re associated with them in some way.

Danielle: Yeah.

Amy Waninger: I think just really unwrapping that down to what’s the core problem, why is this so uncomfortable for me or why is this a problem for me right now?

Amy Waninger: The second step is to observe other people’s responses to the same situation. Maybe somebody else would, to use your example, maybe somebody else would speak up and-

Danielle: No one’s saying anything. I’m like observing other people. I actually took a moment and scanned. I’m like, “No one else is affected by this,” which-

Amy Waninger: Probably not.

Danielle: They’re not. They’re not, or at least not outwardly. That’s what kind of made me feel like I should dial inward because I’m like, “No one else has a problem with this. No one sees an issue with this.” Of course, there was probably a good two to three-minute period. I was like, “You guys, we should be saying something.”

Amy Waninger: We have to police other people’s behavior for our own good.

Danielle: Yes, of course. That’s 100% how I felt in the moment.

Amy Waninger: Right.

Danielle: That’s 100% how I felt.

Amy Waninger: Exactly. If you observe other people and you see how they’re responding, you can do exactly what you did, which is kind of file it away and say, “Okay, well that’s a different response and one I wouldn’t have thought of.” Right?

Amy Waninger: Then, you can go into what I call pressing your pause button, which is step three. When you press your pause button, you physically put your finger on that little divot under your nose. It’s called your philtrum. Everybody has one. Nobody knows what it’s for. I contend that it’s for keeping your mouth shut and your mind active for just a moment.

Danielle: I like it.

Amy Waninger: Pressing your pause button allows you to go back and look at all of the other responses that you’ve observed and your own response, initial response and think about what’s the most productive one right now. It sounds like that’s what you did. You were having this moment where you’re like, “I must say something, must speak to this person for the rude behavior.” But then you were like, “Okay, well nobody else is.”

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: “Maybe that’s more productive in this moment. I’m going to just let this go.”

Danielle: Yep.

Amy Waninger: Look at all the growth you were able to achieve in just a couple seconds of once you realized it-

Danielle: I hope it was growth.

Amy Waninger: But it is because then, the next time it happens, you can be like, “Oh yeah, I thought about that and I’ve decided not to let that bother me,” and you can move on.

Amy Waninger: We do this all the time, right? We go with our first thing or we fixate on our first thing, our first response, but we’re not going to have the same response every time. The same response isn’t the most productive in every case.

Danielle: No.

Amy Waninger: Now, if you’re trying to have a conversation with your spouse about, “I forgot to pay the mortgage and they’re foreclosing on our house,” probably then would be a good time to say, “I need you to put your phone away because we need to have a real conversation.”

Danielle: Right.

Amy Waninger: Right? Like that’s your moment to step up and enforce those norms.

Danielle: Sure.

Amy Waninger: Right? Or if you’ve just hired somebody to your team and you’re sitting there with your boss and they’re sitting there on their phone, you need to pull them aside.

Danielle: No, of course.

Amy Waninger: Right? But it’s not the same thing every time and we have to learn when to let things go or when to shift our perspective and look at it from somebody else’s eyes.

Danielle: From my background, what I would call what you’re describing is increasing awareness. We’re increasing awareness to decrease reactivity because if I had reacted based on my initial discomfort, which was, and of course the discomfort is all about me. It’s so rude, it’s offensive, it’s disrespecting, not just me, but everyone here. It goes from disrespecting me to then, disrespectful to everyone and then, it really inflates to this is what’s wrong with society, right? It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Then, I react from that place, when we…

Danielle: Because reactivity, and I use this language all the time, so I hope it doesn’t sound too therapy-y, which I don’t know if therapy-y is a word, but we’re going to go with it. That when we’re reacting from a state of heightened reactivity, unconscious or subconscious reactivity, so we’re reacting from our unconscious bias, usually we’re coming in so hot to that situation, that our reaction is grossly over compensating for what the moment probably really requires. Then, the response that we get in return from the person on the receiving end of our righteous indignation and finger wagging is defensiveness, blame shifting, shutting off, walking away, ignoring. Or what they’ll do is they’ll maybe passively walk away and then talk shit about you behind your back and they’re like, “Oh my God, you will never believe what so-and-so.”

Amy Waninger: We all do.

Danielle: It plays out all the time. Yeah, which is very different than having an aware, present emotional response. Oh, that’s good. I like having new language to even explore things that I thought I even understood, but helping me understand it in a deeper way. Thank you for that….

Amy Waninger: Sure thing.

Danielle: Thank you so much for listening to season three of Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs. This has been a blast for me to make. I hope you’ve enjoyed listening, and if you have a moment, please rate, review and subscribe. Have a great day.

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