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The Role of Authenticity in Effective Leadership with Dr. Brooke Moran
Episode 6715th May 2024 • The Fire Inside Her; Authenticity, Self Care, and Wisdom for Life Transitions • Diane Schroeder
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In this enlightening episode of "The Fire Inside Her," hosts Diane Schroeder and Brooke Moran delve into the profound journey towards authenticity and alignment in personal and professional lives. They explore how deeply understanding and living by one's core values can simplify decision-making and enhance life satisfaction. The conversation further touches on the transformative power of viewing failures as integral learning steps and discusses the crucial role of creativity in personal growth. Offering a blend of personal experiences and expert insights, this episode is a compelling discussion on the impact of authenticity in leadership and the importance of investing in oneself. Tune in to learn how you can embark on your own journey towards a more authentic and fulfilled life.

Dr. Brooke Moran is a Co-Owner and the Human Potential Catalyzer at Zen for Business, which is a Certified B Corp and a coaching and culture and leadership development firm. Her purpose is to elevate the leadership effectiveness of purpose-driven individuals, teams, and organizations, which she has been doing for nearly 30 years. She has facilitated leadership development nationally, globally and virtually, with executives from such organizations as PwC, Microsoft, Scantron, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Stryker, Schneider Electric, Ericsson, CommScope, Children’s Hospital, Christy Sports, Lowe’s, American Burau of Shipping, Stryker, Fidelity, and more. She serves as adjunct faculty for executive leadership development programs at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business and University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, among others. She is also an emeritus professor at Western Colorado University, where she continues to advise in the MBA program.

Brooke’s professional background includes outdoor leadership facilitator, professor, executive coach, participant-centered culture and leadership development program designer and facilitator, business founder/owner, and author. She researches and writes about leadership, employee engagement, resilience, purpose, culture, and sustainability. In 2020, her first book was published: Organizational Heartbeats: Engaging Employees in Sustainability by Leveraging Purpose and Curating Culture (Routledge), which includes a Purpose-Driven Employee Engagement Model and how-to guidance that can be applied to any organization.

She takes a human-first approach to personal and leadership development and is a staunch believer that all employees can be leaders, from wherever they sit in the organization, provided they have tools, support, and courage. Brooke strikes an effective balance of creating a supportive, fun, down-to-earth, and challenging environment to ground coaching relationships, as well as culture and leadership development programs, wherein people are encouraged to be authentic and step out of their comfort zones in pursuit of evolution. Brooke poses challenging questions in the co-creative relationship, offers observations, and celebrates successes and the learnings that derive from missteps.

Brooke loves adventuring and challenging herself outdoors, including long mountain bike rides, trail running, and ski races. She co-led a team of young adults to the highest point in the western hemisphere (22,841’), skied 40 miles from Crested Butte to Aspen, CO through the night, and led month-long mountaineering and hiking expeditions. She has recently found great benefit in cold plunging. All of these have provided Brooke insight into herself, helped her hone her leadership and resilience, and have allowed her to have empathy for clients engaging in their own challenges - whether in a city or the backcountry. Brooke lives with her husband and son in Gunnison, CO; together, they ski, mountain bike, raft, hike, and travel to international destination to explore cultures, food and have outdoor adventures.

How to connect with Brooke:

Website: www.zenforbusiness.net

Email: brooke@zenforbusiness.net

How to connect with Diane

www.thefireinsideher.com 

Diane@Thefireinsideher.com 

Instagram

@TheRealFireInHer 

LinkedIn

www.linkedin.com/in/dianeschroeder5/

Are you excited to get a copy of the Self Care Audio download that Diane mentioned?

You can get that HERE –TheFireInsideHer.com/audio

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Transcripts

We feel it is important to make our podcast transcripts available for accessibility. We use quality artificial intelligence tools to make it possible for us to provide this resource to our audience. We do have human eyes reviewing this, but they will rarely be 100% accurate. We appreciate your patience with the occasional errors you will find in our transcriptions. If you find an error in our transcription, or if you would like to use a quote, or verify what was said, please feel free to reach out to us at connect@37by27.com.

Diane Schroeder [:

Hello, fiery soul. A rule that I told myself for years was that having female friendships is more challenging than having male friendships. I'm not going to defend or dissect why I believed this rule to be true for so long. However, as I lean into my authentic self balancing my feminine and masculine energy, I realized that this rule was more than likely created by my ego to protect me from future pain, as I experienced less than stellar interactions with girls at a young age, I won't go into the details of my revelation about female friendships now, but you can sign up for my newsletter at the fire inside her dot com list, where I share more details about this and other musings that we don't get to talk about on the podcast, including details on what shows books, music, and creative inspiration that I currently love. It's a nice companion to the weekly show. Welcome to The Fire Inside Her, a brave space to share stories of navigating life transitions with authenticity, using our inner fire to light the way, and self care as our loyal travel companion. I'm your host, Diane Schroeder, and I'm so grateful you are here. This week, I spoke with doctor Brookee Moran about leadership, culture, failure, experiential learning, and authenticity.

Diane Schroeder [:

If a conversation could be a love language, this is mine. Brookee is a disruptor in the best way. For example, her perspective on work Fire balance has changed the way I talk about it and embrace it in my life. This episode is full of so many wisdom nuggets. I recommend you listen with a pen and paper nearby or save and listen to it again. And don't forget, I can always use more 5 star reviews on whatever platform you're listening to. Doctor. Moran spent many years being quote, who I thought others needed me to be waste of time.

Diane Schroeder [:

She is passionate about her work and helping others step into the most effective, unique style of their leadership, which requires stepping into authentic self end quote. Some highlights about doctor Brookee Moran. Professionally, she's an executive coach, a culture and leadership development consultant, an author, an emeritus professor, expertise and employee engagement, leadership and team program design and facilitation and triple bottom line sustainability. Personally, Brookee loves adventuring and challenging herself outdoors, including long mountain bike rides, trail running, and ski races. All of these have given Brookee insight into herself, helped her hone her leadership and resilience and allowed her to empathize with clients, engaging in their own challenges, whether it's a city or the back country. Brookee lives with her husband and son in Gunnison, Colorado, and together they ski mountain bike raft hike, and travel to international destinations to explore cultures and food and have outdoor fun. And Brookee holds a PhD in experiential education from the University of New Hampshire, where she focused on self efficacy and the self designed master's degree in experiential education and leadership from Harvard University. She's an international coaching Federation certified coach, leadership circle certified practitioner, and holds an innovating for sustainability certificate from Harvard Business School.

Diane Schroeder [:

Her full bio is in the show notes. Let's get to the conversation with this badass woman. Well, today, we have a special treat. I am chatting with doctor Brookee Moran, who is just an all around badass and is one of the first people that I got to work with post fire service career, and it was such an amazing experience. I think you may have ruined it for me to work with anyone else ever again. So, Brookee, welcome.

Brooke Moran [:

Thank you. Speaking of badasses, when I got to learn that I was working with a battalion chief, like a career fire woman, I was like, yeah, baby. Bring it on. And then I watched your TED Talk.

Diane Schroeder [:

Oh, you're too kind. Really? Then you realized I was just a well paid babysitter. Aren't all leaders to some extent. Right. Okay. Well, before we dive too far into the world of leadership and authenticity, I would love to know what book you are currently reading or recently read that you would recommend.

Brooke Moran [:

Oh, boy. Okay. So I I'm a painfully slow reader. I am a voracious audiobook consumer. I listen to Vision Thinking by Temple Grandin about how different brains work and how some people think in pictures and how that can solve problems in different ways than folks who think in words and think linearly. So that was fascinating. Just started The The Startup Way because a client is reading it with his a group of his people, and I'm gonna look up The Stardeth Way? Startup Way by Eric Rees, and he also wrote The Lean Startup. And I'm also a podcast whore.

Diane Schroeder [:

Okay. Well The, why not? What is do you have a favorite go to podcast that you listen to every week?

Brooke Moran [:

I mean, I do NPR's morning edition. Someone turned me on to Smartless, which is just brain candy. And then someone we we do the hard things or hard things.

Diane Schroeder [:

We do hard things.

Brooke Moran [:

That's one of my favorites. I've just been, you know, starting to listen to anyway, I just run or ski or ride my bike, and most normal people listen to music, and I do not. I listen to books because I'm a total dork.

Diane Schroeder [:

Well, you know, I do the same. As much as I love music, and I am a complete music whore, I love listening to books and podcasts when I'm driving for long distances or walking or running, and that's really a good segue because you are an endurance athlete. You've done ridiculous, in my opinion, and I mean that with all the love of my heart. Ridiculously long physical challenges, like from Gunnison to Aspen, you skied. Is that correct?

Brooke Moran [:

Yeah. Crested Butte to Aspen. It's called the Grand Traverse. Let's be clear. That was in my thirties.

Diane Schroeder [:

So just a few years ago, we're fine.

Brooke Moran [:

Couple years ago. Yeah. I'm someone who could easily get sucked into work and doing things. I love checklists. I love getting through them. I love learning. I love growing. And so I put a challenge in front of myself and generally challenges that scare the bejesus out of me, and so it makes me get out to train.

Brooke Moran [:

And getting out is where I do my best thinking. I feel most whole when I'm in nature. I love challenges, so that's really fun, but it's just a mechanism to ensure that I get outside.

Diane Schroeder [:

Well, that's great. I'm still looking for that one thing that really motivates me to get outside. My puppy does a pretty good job recently because she needs to go out more frequently.

Brooke Moran [:

I was gonna say. Yeah. Totally.

Diane Schroeder [:

And I don't know if it's just all those years of just beating up my body. I need to find something different. I love yoga. I could do yoga every day, and that just makes me happy and grounded, but I love the outdoors too. And you live in such a beautiful place in Colorado, where you Fire to live in one of Colorado's best playgrounds.

Brooke Moran [:

It it's it is unbelievable. Yeah. I mean, it my husband's Australian. We moved here in 2003 Fire 5 years. We'll live here for 5 years, and then we'll head over to Australia. And it's been 21 years, and because we can't find anywhere that comes close. For outdoor enthusiast, Gunnison Valley is unbelievable. I can do a 20 mile ride out of my door, 18 and a half of which are singletrack.

Brooke Moran [:

I mean, it's it's ridiculous, and I'm right in the middle of town.

Diane Schroeder [:

You have had such an amazing career, and I know your core, your center is authenticity. And how did your journey kind of wind from, you know, where you started to being a professor to now being an entrepreneur and owning your own business? That is a b corp business. Can you give us a little bit about your journey?

Brooke Moran [:

Well, from a kiddo, I just remember wanting to help people and help animals. Just always. Whether it was, you know, teaching a gymnastics trip or trick or something about a horse or helping the animal, I just always wanted The. And that eventually led me to education and outdoor leadership. So using the outdoors as a vigorous learning environment to help people hone their leadership skills, their resilience, their interpersonal skills, their problem solving, conflict resolution, setting a vision, getting folks on board, inspiring people. And for on a month long trip, students, you give them The some basics and then say, alright. Let's go for it. Like, you're in charge today.

Brooke Moran [:

I'm right here helping you. Let's see what happens. And then that parlayed into being a professor because I wanted people to have exposure to experiential education, and predominantly The was happening in expensive schools, expensive outdoor courses, and not in the public schools, and I wanted to change that because for neurodiverse learners, just for folks who are hands on learners, the the worksheets don't cut it. The sage on the stage lecture doesn't cut it, and so I wanted to help shift that practice. So I went into higher education to help train folks to go into more public sectors, whatever whether that was school or rec centers or, you know, whatever it may be and give folks experiences that were challenging, supportive, very participant centered, and led to growth and confidence and a learning mindset and a growth mindset. So did that for, for a lot of years and was doing leadership executive leadership development on the side because that's getting, you know, participant centered work in leadership development really translates. So I worked in 6 different programs at Western Colorado University because leadership can translate into different industries and different fields. And The, actually, I think you'll appreciate this.

Brooke Moran [:

There's a Telemark race at Crested Butte. It's called the Al Johnson, and, it was a a mail carrier way back when, and the story goes that he would put on skis to deliver the mail. Her, like, he would deliver the mail. No matter the weather, he was gonna deliver his mail. So he would kinda telemark around to deliver the mail, and so a race was started in his honor. So it's an uphill downhill ski race, and it's Crested Butte. So, really, it's just about costumes and drinking alcohol, really, mostly is what it is. So I was 6 months pregnant at the time, and what I could find for a costume that fit was a bubblegum pink prom dress, but somehow my belly fit in.

Brooke Moran [:

And so and then I made a sash that said misconception, like conception pregnant, but also, like, misconception. Like, I actually am pregnant. Don't think this is a pillow. So, anyway, I was headed up the chairlift and chatting with these 3 gentlemen, and they're like, oh my god. It's a great outfit. How are you holding up the pillow? I was like, oh, no. It's the real deal. Like, you're gonna go into double black tureen pregnant? I was like, yeah.

Brooke Moran [:

I don't think it's smart. You know, might not be, but I'm gonna do it. And it turns out that they one of the guys on the chair owned an executive leadership firm, and I essentially stalked him until he let me work for him. So I've been working for them for, gosh, 14 years now, just on the side and working at different executive education schools and working with tons of companies, working internationally. I've been able to go to London and Tanzania and Dubai and Toronto and all over the states. So just kept building that muscle of working with executives and kind of getting a hold of that language. It's different than working with undergraduates and graduate students. And then I realized the more I worked with them, the more I realized I wanted a whole person approach to leadership development and work with folks on a longer timeline and not just sort of swoop in for half a day or a day and jump out, but really create long term relationships.

Brooke Moran [:

And so my husband and I started a consultancy, and it's been a blast to grow it and retired from the university a year and a half ago. And so I'm I'm full time doing this work and working for another couple other consultancies. Shout out to Gretchen Reed Diane Integrated Growth, who we worked for and worked together, and I'm so grateful to to meet you and and work with her and work with you.

Diane Schroeder [:

Thank you for sharing The. And it brings up some other questions. See, I just I listen. It's fascinating to me about your journey and how your core beliefs and who you are has always kind of been present in every endeavor that you take on. And so my question is, how important is it as a leader to really kind of unearth their authentic self on the journey? You know? Because it's about the journey, the journey to authenticity. So in your opinion, are the best leaders the authentic leaders or at least trying to be authentic?

Brooke Moran [:

Yes, and. Folks are not gonna be confident and grounded and be able to make hard decisions if they don't know themselves well, understand their values, and, like, just have a really strong grounding and foundation in that. If they're not really standing into their authentic self, recognizing their opportunities for growth, and and really leveraging those strengths, people can see through that, and they're just not gonna be as effective. The reason I said yes and, you have to temper it a tiny bit. I mean, let's say you have a really tough situation at home and you're really angry or really sad or really it's not like you come in and share every single bit about yourself. It's not going to be appropriate. But if you bring the essence of your true self forward and values and figure out what is my purpose, that it can guide you. And it also can help if something is off.

Brooke Moran [:

You know yourself well enough to reflect and say, okay. For example, I'm having a real issue with this person, and I can't figure it out. And maybe you identify your values and realize, oh, that person doesn't align with my values, or their behaviors aren't aligning with my values. So then you can sort of have that conversation with yourself of, like, what's mine? What's theirs? You know, how do we get through it? The other thing, if you're not being authentic, it's fucking stressful. If you're holding 2 different personalities, 2 different and I don't mean that in, like, a clinical sense.

Diane Schroeder [:

But if

Brooke Moran [:

you're sort of putting on a mask or armor in a certain situation, it's just exhausting and stressful and leads to, I'm sure, all kinds of nasty health things.

Diane Schroeder [:

Mhmm.

Diane Schroeder [:

Burnout, breakdown, the never never finding joy or happiness, I think, because you're if you're so busy trying to hold to, you know, the masks, the armor, you don't have time to connect with yourself and really experience the presence and have joy. You're robbing yourself of that by trying to get whether it's acceptance or not sure you wanna bring your, you know, full self forward because it's kinda scary. I mean, vulnerability and authenticity are like kissing cousins, and it's really scary to be vulnerable at times. Yeah. It's like but you gotta have you can't have one without the Her, really, to be effective. What would you say what steps would you give to people listening who are like, okay. That's great, and where do I even start being my authentic self? I mean, you know, I talk about it all the time. It's exhausting, I'm sure, to some extent, but how do people start? Because it is a journey.

Diane Schroeder [:

It's a process. It doesn't happen overnight. You just you don't take a pill and wake up and be like, alright. Today is the day I'm authentic. Where where do you start?

Brooke Moran [:

I think a good place to start is to observe. So when do you feel totally aligned? When do you feel most at ease or most alive or most yourself? Which, like, okay, but if I'm trying to be authentic, how do I know who my true self is? Right? There's an alignment and there's, there's a gut and there's a comfortability. Where's your comfort zone in that? And then notice what's happening. Where are you? Like, for me, I noticed more and more, oh my god. I feel like my most self, my most expansive when I am in nature, in particular, in aspen trees. Okay. Well, you don't have a a stand of aspen trees in your office, but we can incorporate those things into our lives. Or who's around you when you're feeling your most authentic self? And, conversely, where do you feel like you need to guard, and what is going on there? Is that someone else's stuff where they're telling you, don't do that.

Brooke Moran [:

Don't be like that.

Diane Schroeder [:

La la la.

Brooke Moran [:

In which case, maybe it's time to switch. And if you do have that comfortability, what is it? What's going on there? So I would say the first step is really just notice what's working, what's not working, what elements are there when you feel most like yourself, what elements are there when you are feeling, Fire, you have to mask and and create a picture. The next thing I'd say is do the values work. There's all kinds of resources online, but really distill your values to the top couple because it can help you live in alignment.

Diane Schroeder [:

Sorry. I just I have to agree with that so much. I'm taking this online course right now called, Creative Genius, and it's by Terri Trispechio. She's a fantastic author and speaker, and I just I love her work. And I've been doing a lot of writing work with her in these writing salons, but this course took me through finding my values, and it was a long module, and it did. We started with I had probably 50, and I narrowed it down to 3. What are The? The 3, authenticity, connection, and creativity. That's what I have to align with.

Diane Schroeder [:

And since I've done that, it's been a game like, it makes decision making so much easier because I think I held on to what my values were 5 years ago or however many you know, your values change, and I guess I I needed that permission of, like, they're not the same because you're not the same, and that's okay. So that's my antidote for how I agree with you how important values work is because it just makes decision making so much easier.

Brooke Moran [:

I love The. And I like, how they come to life can shift over time or how you express it. So, you know, my grandmother was an artist. Her version of creativity was watercolors and oils. Your version of creativity is podcast Inside book that you're gonna write really, really soon so we can all read it.

Diane Schroeder [:

I hope so. Yes.

Brooke Moran [:

And whatever else, how you parent, how you partner, how you I think there's so many ways to bring these things to life.

Diane Schroeder [:

I couldn't agree more with you. That really The pausing and getting still, and I think sometimes that's the scariest step for most people because our minds are so busy and we stay so busy that the idea of slowing down is terrifying because who wants to be alone with their thoughts? And, you know, you were talking earlier about the conversations in your head. I talk to myself all the time. I have a whole, you know, bunch of people that I talk to, and it's really once I slowed down, it was like, okay. Who's talking to me now? And is it someone that I need to really listen to, or can I, you know, Fire, not now, Ginger? That's my ego. So I'll just tell her, you know, not today. Not today. Like, I don't need you.

Diane Schroeder [:

Go in the back. I've got this. I've done the same with my kids. So it is scary to sit down with yourself and really observe, and, like, maybe it's, god, you've spent however many years and headed towards one specific goal, and you're like, I don't wanna do this anymore. You know? Like, it is scary, and it's so liberating.

Brooke Moran [:

Oh my gosh. Absolutely. Look at your shift you've taken. It's just amazing to me.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yeah. It's been and it it was. It was a a lot of small, like, indicators of, man, this is what I wanna do. And what I honestly think, you know, when I think about my childhood, I had a sign above my bed, and it said, girls can do anything boys can do better or something something similar to that. So I was raised with this, you can do anything you want, and I really couldn't. So I thought I had all of this freedom, yet whenever I wanted to express myself in a way that went against what my parents thought I should do, they always told me no. And so it was very conflicting when I but you said I can do all these things, so I really didn't have a choice, but I thought I did, which was great to some extent because I just didn't think about limitations or things that I couldn't do, and yet it also made me feel that I had to stay committed to one particular thing, in this case, my career. And when I realized I didn't have to and, like, there might be something more, it was it was terrifying.

Diane Schroeder [:

It was Fire I I think back to where I was a year ago. I had bursitis in my hip. My blood pressure was out of control. I was having nightmares every night about driving off of a cliff. Like, I was fine. I wasn't hurt, but I was, like, literally driving a car off of a cliff because I was in such this turmoil of the decision of do I stay or do I go? My body was a hot mess. And once I, like, made the decision, everything started getting better almost instantly. Is it, in your opinion, is the authenticity journey the easy way or the road less traveled?

Brooke Moran [:

I'm a professor. I know how to answer. It depends. Are you raised by bold, authentic people? Do you have those role models in your life? It is is it something that's valued at work? Then, yeah, it's probably easier. If you're told, no. That's not the way you should be, or this is exactly how you should be, and openness isn't valued, then holy cow, it is terrifying. What if you're rejected? What if again, the what ifs, the what ifs, The what ifs? For me, it was a journey. It was a tough one.

Brooke Moran [:

And then I look at this woman who's turned into a sex educator. She's freaking brilliant and is so open and so authentic. Cindy Pierce, you should Okay. Yeah. Yeah. She's incredible. And she just grew up very open and honest and bold as hell. Maybe it was easier for her.

Brooke Moran [:

I don't know. But I do think it's important. Easy or Her, I think it's important.

Diane Schroeder [:

It's worth it. Yes. Oh, god. View life as, you know, instead of failures and successes as connection and learning opportunities, I think, you know, it changes the mindset. Like, yeah, you you might fail or things might not go well, but that's just a changes your direction. It doesn't necessarily mean, you know, that the world is over if you don't get it right, because perfection is an illusion.

Brooke Moran [:

I've actually sort of reframed failure for myself and my clients. You're only failing if you haven't learned from whatever happened. So a mistake or a misstep, that's about growth. Do you ever I mean, this is the most ridiculous example, but I think it paints a really clear picture. When kids are learning to walk, they fall, they get up. They fall, they get up. They fall, they get up. They fall, they get up.

Brooke Moran [:

Does anyone ever look at them and go, Jesus, you're a fucking idiot. Just walk. You're such a loser. You are failing all the time. No. I mean, it's absurd. So when we're learning and growing as individuals and learning new skills or working in new places or picking up a new hobby, and it doesn't go, like, you know, crazy positive learning Her. It's just part of the process.

Brooke Moran [:

We learn from those missteps, from those or backward steps or mistakes. If we can learn from those mistakes, the missteps, it's not a failure. It's part of life.

Diane Schroeder [:

Absolutely. I love that. So what advice could you give to middle managers and maybe lower level directors that are not at that executive level yet to maybe avoid some missteps as they climb their ladder?

Brooke Moran [:

I could actually direct people to the website. I did a study on middle managers a couple years ago. We focused on the outdoor industry, so I will circle back. We focused on the outdoor industry because it is a massive, massive, massive industry bigger than oil and gas. And there was tons of research globally on the needs of middle managers, leadership needs of middle managers, but no one had focused on the outdoor industry. So we wanted to see is anything different going on there. Turns out not a whole lot is different. So if anyone wants to look at that study, it'll be a a good list of resources for middle managers to really excel.

Brooke Moran [:

More directly to your question, communication. We're the most advanced species and can communicate, and yet we just get in our own way having tough conversations. It doesn't matter what level of the organization. I hear that. The sort of mechanics of communication, how, which direction, what are the conduits, or what conduits are missing. So the kind of face to face communication, but also systems and and methods of communication are really big. Another one, this is gonna surprise you and all of your people. People get overworked, especially in big corporations, especially with these, with the computers, with everything.

Brooke Moran [:

It's really hard to shut off. So helping folks and and the term isn't so much anymore work Fire balance because it's they're so integrated now. We're working I mean, I'm in my home. This is where I work. And so work life integration seems to be more a practice, but making sure that work is not overwhelming everything. So not looking at the computer until whatever time or emails, turning the phone off, turning the alerts off, making sure you exercise a few times a week. At the very least, get out and walk around the block. Do 20 sit ups once a once an hour.

Brooke Moran [:

But, like, taking those micro times to do something for yourself and your health, making time for family or a creative endeavor, but that it's gotten The sort of work Fire balance or work life integration has gotten even harder. And I'm I mean, I'm seeing it seeing it everywhere. And, you know, we work with small nonprofits, government, bigger corporations. It's organizations and individuals need to be very, very intentional.

Diane Schroeder [:

I'm hearing boundaries. Right? Very intentional focused boundaries of what is acceptable, what isn't acceptable. And yet I think there's also this if underneath that, well, that's great. Tell me to have boundaries, but I've got a boss that I wanna please because I'm a people pleaser in nature, and I wanna keep my job. So how does all The work?

Brooke Moran [:

The most important answer is I really don't know. And whoever can figure that out, go crazy. There are cultural implications as well. You know, what is acceptable here and expected here is very different from Asia, is very different from Europe. Australia, good luck getting in touch with anyone in January because The summer holidays. Good luck getting in touch with Europeans in, like, July, August. And so those expectations are very different and allowed my 2¢ because, you know, I see a lot of corporations where they say you really need to tend to your health. You need to eat well.

Brooke Moran [:

You need to exercise. You need to take time alone. And yet, they're being expected to deliver 70, 80, 90 hours a week. So if organizations are really very serious about taking care of their people, about making sure they don't get burned out, about making sure that they are supporting well balanced healthy individuals, put it into your performance metrics in some way, shape, or form. I don't know what that looks like. That is not my area of I don't do a deep dive on that stuff. But how might people set goals for themselves around health and include it in their annual reviews or quarterly reviews? Like, put some skin in the game. Don't just say organizations, hey.

Brooke Moran [:

We got it. We're really serious about it. Okay. Well, but are you? So I'd like to see something at that level. On a personal level, I would spend years putting work first back before I was into authenticity and boundaries. And so I was always hustling to please. Right? To have job security, all that. I'm a little neurotic with, my calendaring.

Brooke Moran [:

So I put exercise in Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6 AM in orange. In my calendar is gym. And then I might have backcountry skiing on Saturday. Today, I had a long run. And so I just I put it in my calendar so it is an expectation for myself, and I block it out. Because if I don't block it out, other stuff will creep in. So I think there's a a balance of personal responsibility and leaders' responsibility, organizational responsibility.

Diane Schroeder [:

I love that answer, and I, too, put in workout time in my calendar. I have found that to be the only way I can hold myself accountable to it because otherwise, I'm like, oh, I don't need to do it. I'll get to it, and then everything else fills it up. So

Brooke Moran [:

And accountability partners. I mean, we we go to organizations that will have gyms or they have a running club at lunch. Or in Dubai, there was a vertical challenge. They're in the middle of the city, and they Her, oh god, I don't even remember, 100 and some odd floors. And so once a week or twice a week, they would all get together and go up the stairs and down the stairs training for this vertical marathon. And so that accountability, you know, talking about coaching, that accountability piece is so critical. When it is negative 20 in Gunnison at 5:50 AM and I'm supposed to be going to the gym, it's pretty easy to stay in bed. But if I know I'm picking my friend up or she's picking me up, it happens.

Diane Schroeder [:

That is a really good point because I would not be I'd be like, sorry. It's too cold. It's just too cold.

Brooke Moran [:

I I don't wanna know. Yeah. Totally.

Diane Schroeder [:

I had a thing come up. Now I that those are all really great tips. My next question is kind of going back. What tips Her are there any ways for my leaders that are listening to kind of incorporate some experiential learning where they're at now? It doesn't have to necessarily be through a college course. It doesn't have to be through an obstacle course. Are there things that leaders can do to just kind of change it up a little bit that promotes team building and trust and communication and authenticity?

Brooke Moran [:

Well, say, first, when people think of experiential learning, they think of challenge courses or being outside, and I will push against that. It's yes. It is absolutely a type of it, but you can also float down a class Fire river and have an amazing Fire, and it's not experiential learning because maybe you haven't taken that experience and transferred the learning back to home or to the workplace. So a client Gretchen and I are working with right now has decided to do a book club with his leaders. And so they have a shared experience, which is the book, then they have a shared experience, which is the discussion and q and a and things like that. And then, you know, hopefully, what it'll do is say, okay. Great. Now what do we take from here and apply back at work? So it's that transference piece that's the magic elixir of experiential learning.

Brooke Moran [:

What can people do? Here's the tricky thing is that I have found is folks that don't know how to, facilitate experiential learning, it can come and it could be shallow or sort of miss the mark, and people get lost. So I would say get a little geeky. Look at Kolb, k o l b, Kolb's experiential learning cycle. It's definitely an academic exercise, but you can at least look at the stages of experiential learning and say, okay. We need direct experience. We need to elicit the learning from that experience. We need to think about how we could apply that experience elsewhere, and then we actually have to go apply that experience elsewhere, reflect on it again, and see, oh, did that work? I have another one. I wrote a book on employee engagement, and there's a very cool company called 7th Generation.

Brooke Moran [:

They do household products and beauty products and things like that, but, really, their mission is to change the marketplace and to create a healthier marketplace. They're such a cool company out of Burlington, Vermont. And they wanted to help their employees learn about climate so they would have speakers come in and talk about climate. They went to the state capitol and did marches, like, to get involved in it. They would watch documentaries and then chat about it. And then it's like, okay. Well, how do we bring from if you're in packaging, you're in product development, you're in employee engagement, you're in The. How will you take what you've learned and bring it back to make positive changes from where you sit in the organization? So, again, the transference piece.

Brooke Moran [:

It I don't know that it totally matters what you do as long as you get to the transference piece. But the experience has to be meaty. Like, if we're all sitting down and since I said meaty, if we're sitting down down at a deli just chatting about nothing, and it's like, okay. Let's talk about transference. What are we gonna take away from today's people are gonna be like, are you joking me? There's no meat here. There's no tofu. There's no, like, you know, hummus. There's just Fire so it's gotta be something that people really wanna think about and stretch them in some way.

Diane Schroeder [:

Thank you for explaining The. And I think a really important piece of that is to include everyone. So it's every member of the organization. It's not just the important people because everyone is important in the organization and that everyone leads where they are, that you're a leader regardless of what your official title is, regardless of, you know, anything. You lead where you sit because you have that sphere of influence, and you have that ripple. And if you're going to create a successful thriving organization and culture, everyone's gotta be included.

Brooke Moran [:

1000% agree. I call it multifaceted leadership The I love what you said. Leadership is not just how much you get paid in a position and power. It's for the brand new even intern. Right? High school intern, someone intern, they have to be able to lead themselves. They have to show up on time. They have to be set some goals, be responsible for pursuing them. They have to be a respectful member of that community.

Brooke Moran [:

And then you Diane lead laterally where you have no authority over someone, but you can influence laterally. You can lead up. You have direct reports. Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree that development should be for everybody. It'll look different because there are different needs at different stages, and, also, you're sending a message that they matter. My god. Imagine if people felt that at work.

Diane Schroeder [:

Right. All the time. And imagine what that would do for communication. Right? Just just the fact of saying, look. This is for everyone. Even if you're new or you're an intern, we value you and we see you, so we're gonna do this. That communicates to me, sweet, I picked wisely for this place to work, and I'm seen as a person, not just a number or a tiny cog in a machine. I feel like I can just be myself, and I think we could talk for hours on how that leads to belonging and a healthy culture and, you know, it's a ripple effect in the best way.

Brooke Moran [:

And it lifts up the whole organization.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes. Which lifts The bottom line. I mean, that's you know, if if you're a for profit organization, it impacts that. If you're a nonprofit organization, it still impacts that. I mean, it there's nothing that's untouched by a thriving, healthy culture.

Brooke Moran [:

And to be clear to listeners, this is documented research globally. Right.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes.

Brooke Moran [:

That if you have engaged employees, it positively impacts your strategy and your bottom line.

Diane Schroeder [:

Seems like a no brainer. So why don't people do it? Why is it so hard?

Brooke Moran [:

Literally just on a call with a multinational company, and their shareholders care about quarterly results. Some organizations still I mean, luckily, the marketplace is changing. Companies are beholden to shareholders. Now it's stakeholders, which includes employees. It includes the natural world. It includes, like, the communities in which they operate. So it is shifting, and it is I'm so happy about that shift. But there are still that are really predominantly beholden to their shareholders, and those are quarterly results.

Brooke Moran [:

And so if stuff isn't looking good, then you work your people harder to squeeze every ounce of energy out of them to try to hit that whatever that benchmark is that they've set.

Diane Schroeder [:

I feel that to some extent. I also think, and this is a little on the woo woo side, but, you know, we've operated in such a masculine energy for so long that it it's just The natural order. It needs to shift a little bit for more of that feminine energy, and a lot of these skills that we're talking about fall into more of the feminine domain. And that doesn't mean that it's all female. Everyone has masculine and feminine qualities, but we've been so heavy on the masculine qualities. It's nice to kinda see the shift a little bit to try to even it out to have that balance.

Brooke Moran [:

Yeah. Very much so. And I was I was reading an article years years ago that the most well adjusted, happy, healthy people actually have

Diane Schroeder [:

a really beautiful like, if you

Brooke Moran [:

think of sort of masculinity, femininity on a identifying, female identifying. So male identifying, female identifying. So, yeah, it's important to bring that all facets of that into work and but identify when is the right Fire, Just like leadership styles. Right? If you're if you've got a call on a fire, it's not time to be like, let's come to a consensus As to what order we should get into that fire truck is not the time. Same thing with with these energies and styles. There are times for different styles, and it's important to identify what and when.

Diane Schroeder [:

And that's work you can all do on yourselves to figure that out. So, you know, there's plenty of resources out there to do that, to invest in yourself, and that's another beautiful way of taking care of yourself. It's a beautiful way to make yourself a better leader is to have that growth mindset, that lifelong learner. You know, I used to say that it was a sovereign democracy with my shift, but everyone's welcome to say what they want. But, ultimately, I made the decisions because Fire those very reasons. Like, it it wasn't the time to negotiate. And sometimes, I feel like I need to figure out how to do that with my son right now, just The the age he's at because he has zero regard for that. And so

Brooke Moran [:

we're Well, as parents, we don't know anything. You realize The?

Diane Schroeder [:

I I every day. Every day, I am really reminded how little I know. I don't understand. It's not fair.

Brooke Moran [:

I really appreciate that you said investing in yourself, and I I wanted to touch on it because I think so many people think, well, I don't have time for that. It's self indulgent. It's narcissistic. It's blah blah blah blah blah. And, oh my gosh, I will argue all day long. Investing in yourself to evolve as a human and evolve as a leader is a gift to your family, your community, the people with whom you work, your organization, and and I would even say it's a responsibility as a community member, as a family member, as an employee, improve. Like, go toward that potential. Contribute your gifts, your passion, your purpose to the world in a way that it lifts people and environments and whatever your passion is around you.

Diane Schroeder [:

Absolutely. And, you know, it it's not a bad thing. It's the programming. Some people have been programmed their whole Fire that they can't. They can't put their limiting beliefs in. Yes. Take baby steps. Create structures that work for you.

Diane Schroeder [:

Create investing in you that works for you. If you're just follow your curiosity. That's a great place to start. What's something that's always like, I wonder how that works, or I'd I'd really like to take a pottery class because I enjoyed it in high school. Sign up for the pottery class. Go hang out with the blue hairs for an hour once a week, and just get that energy out

Brooke Moran [:

And learn from them. May I ask you 2 questions?

Diane Schroeder [:

Yeah. Sure.

Brooke Moran [:

You asked me about kinda tips for stepping into your authentic self, so I would like to know that. And you also said that one of your values is creativity, and I would love to know I mean, obviously, your podcast, your writing. What else? What else you got? What other tips for us around creativity and following that? Because there's also, like, so much around the brain that that creative outlet helps our neural pathways.

Diane Schroeder [:

It connects it. Okay. So tips for authenticity. I think it's being still and listening to yourself. I agree with that. It could also show up in ways that are a little more destructive. Fire, for me, when my world fell apart personally and professionally, like, I was ignoring everything around me. I was in survival mode, and then I had nothing.

Diane Schroeder [:

At least I felt like I had nothing, and I was in a really bad, dark place. And that's when I got quiet enough to listen that, oh, I can choose a different ending. I don't have to stay in The, and I think that was probably the first step. I also read Brene Brown's Rising Strong, and that book definitely impacted my authentic journey in the best way. It kick started it between being at a really low point in my life and then realizing that that doesn't define me. And I think that's the best advice I could give is what happened 5 minutes ago doesn't have to define you. You're in the moment now and really doing a lot of the work. I mean, there's there's a point where I think everyone can benefit from some type of therapy or coaching, but not doing it alone, and I would say that was a huge help too is I haven't done this alone.

Diane Schroeder [:

I've surrounded myself very intentionally with amazing people that support me and love me, and I love them, and it's it's been a a journey for all of us, and so I think you don't have to do it alone. That would be my other tip. Find people that love on you, and it doesn't they don't have to be it can be chosen family. It might not be your family. It could be new friendships. There there's not like a, you know, oh, I've only known you for 3 months, so I don't think you can be part of my no. That's not how it works. So I would say those are a couple of my tips.

Diane Schroeder [:

And then creativity. So it's interesting. I started taking a lot of personality tests. I kinda got obsessed with them. I, like, was, like, well, what does this mean? What does this mean? And I would be, like, pretty balanced in multiple areas, except for, like, analytical thinking. No. Like, I'm not, you know, that way. But creativity was always really high, and I just have always viewed the world a little differently.

Diane Schroeder [:

So I can see something, and it's just through a different lens. And I used to just think I was weird, which I am, and it was my creativity, like, just this seeing the world differently. And I I'm left handed, but my parents tried to make me right handed, and I used to give them a really hard time about The. But I think there was a lot of that. Like, I've learned how to be ambidextrous in a very mechanical way and also in an emotional way. Like, just the fire service making sure that I was stoic and I could get down to business and make quick decisions, And then turning that off so I could journal and write and just let my imagination go, it was the balance. So I think that's kinda how creativity and getting out in nature, that fuels me as well, just walking, doing things that I love, and just being unapologetic for it, and also doing the work never really ends, I've learned, which is kinda sucky.

Brooke Moran [:

If it does, you wilt and die and are probably really sad.

Diane Schroeder [:

Exactly. And just staying curious. You know? Like, I read all the time. I listen all the time. I'm always looking to learn Diane random facts, and, you know, my dad would always say, you don't have to know everything about everything. Just know a little bit about a lot of things. Be interesting. Be, you know, curious.

Diane Schroeder [:

It doesn't mean you know everything. And I he would always read the newspaper every day, and I was like, why do you read the newspaper just so I can keep learning. And back

Diane Schroeder [:

then, I was like, oh, it's interesting, and I find myself doing that. So I think that's how creativity shows up

Diane Schroeder [:

and owning it. I feel like for a long time, creativity was like, oh, those artists or, you know, The, those hippies or you know, there was this stigma from how I grew up that creativity was bad, and embracing that, no, it's not bad. It's art. It's beauty. It doesn't have to be one thing, so I guess that's how creativity shows up for me.

Brooke Moran [:

I really think this Temple Grandin book would be interesting to you, visual thinking.

Diane Schroeder [:

I I wrote it down. I'm Inside, because, yes, that sounds perfect to me. Because I do. I see I see the world just very differently than most people.

Brooke Moran [:

Do you think in pictures?

Diane Schroeder [:

Sometimes. I don't think in colors, but I do think I can think in pictures, for sure, and I I see the way. Way, Fire, I can see the finish Diane, usually, long before anyone else does, and I get frustrated because I'm like, come on. It's there. Just get there. And it's usually not the the linear path. I I'm usually, like, I would say a disruptor, which would be was very frustrating for some of my bosses in the past because I'd always ask those questions. Like, what about this? What about that? Yeah.

Brooke Moran [:

Such a good example, though, of being curious and getting still to recognize that. Because if you don't identify that you're getting pissed off at someone because they can't see the finish line, you're not valuing where they are, you're not being a good leader. But look. You've done the work, and figure that out with your team now.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yeah. It's a balancing act. You know, I miss that. I really miss that with my crew at the firehouse. I miss challenging them in those ways of, like, throwing the big problem out there and then letting them figure it out and coming up with different solutions, and it didn't always go well. I had a few people that worked for me that were like, this is stupid. This is pointless. You know? Very black and white linear thinking, and I'm like, oh, I'm over in Pluto, like, just, you know, looking at a different perspective.

Diane Schroeder [:

So it's not for everyone, and I'm okay with that as well.

Brooke Moran [:

And I also wanna say I absolutely adore the name, The Fire Inside Her oh, I just it's the most brilliant name.

Diane Schroeder [:

Thank you. I I appreciate that. You know, it's funny. I'm getting ready. I've come up with The program now called The balanced life on purpose, which is similar to what we've talked about, that just intentionally, you know, balancing and using the elements as your guide. So grounding with the earth, learning to talk with communication, water for nourishment and healing, and fire for transformation. And I think all of it stems from, you know, that it is the fire inside you. Alright, Brookee.

Diane Schroeder [:

Well, we have been chatting for a very long time, which is okay because we could chat forever. I would love to know or for you to give one piece of advice that you think is just a universal principle that regardless of who someone is, where they're from, it's a good nugget to hold on to.

Brooke Moran [:

Oh, god. It's just just gonna be so cliche, but it's about empathy in the world in the divisive world in which we find ourselves, striving for empathy. And and I will say, the second certain people come on screen and start slandering others because they don't have empathy, makes my face turn lobster red, and I get so angry and frustrated. And yet, I think it's something that we we, I, still need to work on. What has happened to that person that they show up that way wanting to harm others?

Diane Schroeder [:

There's a book by Oprah and a doctor. I can't remember his name, but it's called What Happened to You.

Brooke Moran [:

Oh, yeah. I have that upstairs. I haven't read it yet.

Diane Schroeder [:

It's a good book that really helps with empathy and just kind of Fire, alright. This is a human. What happened to them? Anyway, I agree. Well, thank you so much for spending time with us, with me. I love this conversation, and I look forward to chatting you with you and hopefully working with you again in the future.

Brooke Moran [:

I know. Let's work together again. And thank you. I was so nervous, but this was really fun and nerdy.

Diane Schroeder [:

Good. Well, I mean, nerdy is kinda my thing. So it's my jam. We will talk soon. Thank you. Another great conversation. Thank you for giving the valuable gift of your time and listening to The Fire Inside Her podcast. Speaking of value, one of the most common potholes we fall into on the journey to authenticity is not recognizing our value.

Diane Schroeder [:

So I created a workbook. It's all about value. Head on over to the Fire inside her dot com slash value to get your free workbook that will help you remember your value. Until next time, my friend.

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