Conscious Leadership and Culture w/Sarah Hawley

Conscious Leadership and Culture w/Sarah Hawley

Matt is joined by Sarah Hawley to discuss Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture.

Sarah is the CEO and Founder of - a platform that helps build happy, high performing teams. She is also a speaker, and author of the book "Conscious Leadership: A Journey From Ego To Heart"  

In the episode we cover:

[+] The state of remote recruitment in the current economic climate

[+] Sarah's experiences building multiple fully remote businesses

[+] The lessons learned from asking her team how happy they were at work for the first time

[+] Perks vs Remote Work Culture in a remote workplace

[+] A fantastic primer on Conscious Leadership and the huge benefits it can bring individually and collectively

[+] The role of vulnerability in conscious leadership  

And more besides.

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Voiceover (00:03):

Welcome to leading remotely, helping remote first leaders navigate, survive, and thrive in this new world of work. Let's make remote work.

Matt Hayman (00:28):

Hi, and welcome to leading remotely. I'm your host, Matt Haman, and I'm excited to share a really great episode with you today. I'm discussing conscious leadership and conscious culture with my guest. Sarah is the CEO and founder of A platform that helps build happy high performing teams. She's also a speaker, an author of the book, conscious leadership, a journey from ego to heart. In this episode, we cover the state of remote recruitment in the current economic climate Sarah's experience is building multiple fully remote businesses. The lessons learned from her asking her team how happy they were at work for the first time perks versus culture in a remote workplace, a fantastic primer on conscious leadership and the huge benefits it can bring individually and collectively the role of vulnerability and conscious leadership and more besides my thanks to Sarah for talking with me and modeling her own commitment to vulnerability and transparency on the show without delay, let's get straight to the interview. Sarah Hawley, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Sarah Hawley (01:29):

I'm good, Matt. Thank you for having me. I'm excited. You know, I just love to talk about all of this stuff, so let's yeah, I'm excited to be here.

Matt Hayman (01:36):

Fantastic. Great to have you on the show, obviously, you know, the book is, is fantastic. I've read the book really, really impressed by it really enjoyed it. Lots to talk about besides why don't we start with grow remotely though. Can you tell us a little bit more about the platform and what led you to, to build that company?

Sarah Hawley (01:51):

Yeah, for sure. So I turned my company's remote back in 2014 and really the journey of turning my company's remote and leading from a distance was something that transformed me as a leader. I became a much better leader and, um, my book conscious leadership that you were referring to kind of goes through that, that whole journey and, and probably explains in more detail than would be able to get into in the podcast of what that transformational journey was like. But when I sold my last company in 2018, I was sitting with myself and thinking like, what am I most passionate about? What do I most wanna work on next? And hands down, it was remote work. I couldn't see a world where that wasn't our future. Um, and this is obviously pre pandemic. So I had no idea that something like that was gonna come along and kind of really push us into it, uh, collectively in overnight.

Sarah Hawley (02:45):

Um, but I think that is one of the gifts that's really come out of that. So remotely is the company that I started. Um, I started working on it in 2019 and started working a lot faster once the pandemic started, but we are a remote work marketplace. So we help any company anywhere in the world find higher and retain aligned talent anywhere in the world. So similar to kind of a gig or freelancer marketplace. However, we have a culture first approach. We have an end to end HR tech for the leadership side of, of the bus of the marketplace, the business side of the marketplace. And it's all about building your entire team and long term position. So that's the big difference. It's not a freelancer marketplace. It's really helping companies hire and build their entire team and helping professionals find those conscious culture first companies to work with.

Matt Hayman (03:33):

So I've asked this of a couple of people on the podcast. I'm interested to get your tape with what looks like the economy tightening a little bit. I'm curious. Are you seeing any, any waning of the appetite amongst employees for remote first roles or, or would you say it's actually the opposite and people are more inclined to go for remote first roles

Sarah Hawley (03:51):

Now I'm definitely not seeing any waning. I mean, obviously I'm firmly in the remote work space. So, you know, maybe if I worked in a bigger corporate and, you know, we had hybrid and remote roles and whatever, I, I don't know. I don't know what that experience is, but, um, no, I, not at all. I mean, I think, yeah, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out and whether as people become more nervous about can they actually get employment and that kind of thing, whether it will shift, but at the same time, like remote work is a global conversation, it's a global opportunity. So there's a lot of opportunity right now for companies as well, to be more creative about where they're hiring from and bringing in this diverse group of talent that can also help their wage budget go further. So, yeah, I, I don't think so. And I really hope that we don't get into a world where people use the economic downturn to force people back to offices. I mean, it doesn't make sense. Ultimately companies can also be saving the expense of an office. So really that would be an area where I'd be looking as a leader. If my company was under strain due to economic situations, like, okay, well, if we're gonna cut costs, why not cut the office cost rather than the people cost?

Matt Hayman (05:07):

One of the other things I think that comes up a lot time and time again, is because remote first is a relatively new experience for a lot of people. Are you and your team speaking to companies about how they put themselves forward as remote first, how they actually make it clear about what remote first means for their organization? What sort of things are you saying to them and what sort of things are they are coming

Sarah Hawley (05:28):

Back? Yeah, for sure. We're actually soon to launch our culture first certification program. And what we're doing is allowing companies to turn their profiles public at the moment, a companies that's a pro profile on remotely and it's not publicly searchable, but we're changing that because one of the big things we wanna do is really showcase all of these businesses that are remote first and are culture first as well. So yeah, we're definitely helping right now through our content and we have monthly webinars and things like that, but we really wanna bring that into our technology as a way to showcase these small to medium businesses all over the world who are really progressive and forward thinking, they understand the value of culture and they are wanting to communicate with the world that they are remote first and people are looking for those companies. For sure.

Matt Hayman (06:12):

Yeah, totally agree. So let's think about them conscious leadership and conscious culture, the main focus of the episode today. I wanna circle back to the book for just a moment. One point that really stood out to me is where you tell the story of the first time you asked your team how happy they were at work. I think there's a lot of leadership lessons inside of that experience. And I'd love you to just sort of unpack that story a little bit and give a bit more, give a bit more background to

Sarah Hawley (06:36):

That story. Yeah. So I did a three year program that is a, a joint program between entrepreneurs, organization and MIT. And after the first year I came back to my office in Australia at the time. And actually, no, that's not, that's not even correct. Cause it was 2016. So I didn't come back to my office. I just came back to work  um, from having this week off and or week of learning. And one of the things that we had learned about at the entrepreneurial master's program was around the importance of culture and the importance of understanding the real perspective of your team on your culture. And it was very, when I was sitting in that session, it was very like my body was activated and I was like, dang, like I'm telling myself that we have this amazing culture, but I don't know for sure how people feel about it.

Sarah Hawley (07:26):

And in truth, I have a sense that they don't think it's as good as what I think it is. And so I came back and I just put out a survey, simple, how happy are you out of 10 and why? And I believe we did a more detailed survey soon after, but that was kind of the first question that I asked. And I think the results came back like six or seven out of 10. I can't remember the exact number now, but it was, you know, it wasn't terrible or it wasn't great either. And I remember when I asked everyone just how sick I felt, kind of knowing that the answer wasn't gonna be as high as I would like, and just scared about what I was gonna find out, because I was really finally actually looking internally at our culture and asking our team, versus just thinking in my mind and projecting my ideas out about how amazing we are and telling people come and work here.

Sarah Hawley (08:13):

It's so amazing, but like really asking people and really hearing from them, the things that they liked, the things that they didn't like. Yeah. So it was, it was scary to put it out there. The feeling from when I sent it to like, as the answers started coming back in was very like sick in my stomach and then seeing that final score. But once it was done and I was looking at the score and looking at the results actually felt so empowered cuz I was like, wow. I actually know. Now I know what people think and feel, I know the things that we can do to improve. And it wasn't necessarily easy because some of the things that came up were maybe things that I thought we were doing well that we weren't. And I had to really confront that and sit with it. But every single month from that point on, I asked my team and I still do to this day, we built it into the technology it remotely.

Sarah Hawley (09:02):

So everyone, you know, who works on remotely, they answer how happy are you every, every single month? How happy are you out of 10 at work and why? And I use that now as like my leading KPI, my leading metric, because I think that, well, I know that if my team are happy and engaged, everything else in the company is gonna work a lot smoother. If they're not happy and engaged, then eventually things are gonna start to break down internally because they're not gonna necessarily treat the customers as well or treat each other as well. Not because I mean, they're nasty, but just because if they're unhappy, like things are gonna start to give and, and we're gonna start to experience some muck in the culture. So it's it's confronting, but it was literally the best thing I ever did completely transformed my leadership. This was one of the big things because now I was actually looking at it and actually able to focus inward and see where were our areas for improvement? Where were my areas for improvement?

Matt Hayman (10:01):

One of the reasons I love that story so much. And you elaborate on this in the book is the fact that you had a lot of what we might call window dressing. You talk about the, the perks, the trinkets, almost of, of what you might think of as really high value perks. But you realize over time that, that, that really wasn't what was making the difference. Would that be a fair summary?

Sarah Hawley (10:19):

Totally. And I think it's almost, it's very similar with companies. We get obsessed with our product and or our service and what we are bringing. But if we don't ask our customers, like, do you actually value these things that we do? Like, what do you value and what don't you value if we're not having that conversation with them, we are just enamored with our own reflection in the mirror. And we don't really know for sure how the rest of the world season experiences us. It's exactly the same with the culture. So I can create all of these perks and benefits and things that I think are really cool and really fun. And if I don't ask my team, if they actually like this stuff that they actually value it and what do they value? Because turns out, you know, some, some of the things they value are things that I just do naturally without even thinking about it.

Sarah Hawley (11:02):

I don't even place value on it. And so that's an opportunity for me to see, oh, wow, that's actually a real strength. That's really valuable. I should own that. I should talk about it. And this other thing over here that I thought was really cool is like, nobody cares about that. And I'm putting all their, this energy into it. And I'm thinking that it's really amazing. And they're just like, don't really care. It doesn't really resonate with me. And I think off, like, I just wanna throw out there that I think the office physical space can create a lot of that as well. If we ha if we think we have this really cool space with a really cool ping pong table and we do free food on Wednesday, like that can be something that culture really hides behind. Is that the right word? Like it, we think that that's culture, but it's really not. And excuse. Yeah. It's like what people really value as being trusted, being empowered, they value their freedom. They value, you know, the autonomy and all of that. And if we think that they value the ping pong table, because we like it and we think it looks cool, like that's, you know, something that is often overlooked, I think.

Matt Hayman (12:02):

Yeah. And, and for me, the overlap there with the remote workplace is, is really clear. I think cuz some organizations strive to hire top talent in remote roles. They throw perks, they throw out advantage perks that somebody might have. But actually when you look at what matters to people, similar to what you've said, it's about the team. It's about the trust. It's about the autonomy to undertake the work and the way that you choose to do it. So I think it's a really useful, it's the reason I wanted to bring it up. I think it's a really useful for reminder for people that there's a lot more to it than just perks, especially when it comes to the remote workplace.

Sarah Hawley (12:32):

Totally. I mean, if I look at all of the feedback and the anecdotal evidence that I have of my current team and what they value, one of the highest value items is the transparency in our culture. That's one of the things that people value the most, everything. I mean we're a startup, so there's a lot of up and downs. It's a rollercoaster and we're very transparent about that as a leadership team with the organization. And I can see through the feedback from the monthly question and also just through comments and different things that, that is very, very highly valued. And that's not necessarily something that you would think of when you are putting together your perks and benefits, but like actually people really wanna work in a place where they know they're not being BSed all the time.

Matt Hayman (13:19):

From your perspective, then what does conscious leadership actually entail? What's your definition? How are you defining

Sarah Hawley (13:24):

That? Yeah, I think the first point is doing your own work as an individual and bringing that into the workplace then. Um, so it's really looking inward and knowing that every, you, you play a part as a leader, I play a part as a leader in everything that's happening in the organization. So if we're having challenges and problems, the first thing that I do is look at well, how have I contributed? Where is this in my energy field? Where am I participating in this or not participating or whatever it might be, that's allowing it to kind of grow and expand and be a part of what's happening. So I think that's a big part of it is looking inward first, not overtaking responsibility, like knowing that we're not the whole entirety of a, of a challenge or a problem necessarily, but we're certainly a part of it.

Sarah Hawley (14:12):

And then I think it's around bringing your whole self to work. So as I was saying, like doing that work and then bringing it in, but we all are whole people. The, the idea that we're a professional self and a personal self is really quite flawed. Um, obviously there are attributes and aspects of us that come alive in our professional world and there are attributes and aspects that come alive in our friendships, in our lover ships. Like we are, we have different elements in different parts of our life, but it, it's not like we actually cut off the other things when we are in one scenario. And so pretending that, you know, something incredibly challenging in our personal lives, isn't going to impact our work. Life is false and vice versa, pretending. I mean, it's almost, I think it's accepted in the world that, oh, if work's stressful, it's like, yeah, it bleeds into your personal life.

Sarah Hawley (15:02):

That's all really normal. But then we like shame people. If they're stressful, personal life comes into their professional life and that's not realistic. So I think learning how to bring our whole selves in a way that is authentic, transparent. And it requires, you know, a lot of vulnerability because it's not easy to show up to a leadership meeting, for example, you know, in a situation I had recently and my husband and I were just going through a really tough time and just showing up and being like, I just, I just need to let you guys know I'm in it right now. Like I'm having a rough time. Me and my partner are struggling. We're gonna start doing some therapy and, and working through things. But like right in this moment, I'm, you know, really having a hard time. And it's, it's, it's distracting from everything because this is my foundation of my life.

Sarah Hawley (15:50):

And of course, I don't think anyone in the world hasn't had a tough time with their partner. Like, it's not like people are like, oh my God or anything. They're just like, oh, okay. Yeah, I get it. I know what it's like when that happens, it's really hard to focus. And the thing that I've learned is actually when we just express what's real, the charge usually dissipates. And we actually can focus a lot better on our work and on the situation at hand, because we're not trying to put all our energy into hiding it and pretending, oh, just pretend I'm really good because you know, these are my team and I really need to show up for them. And I'll just pretend I'm in a really good energy. Like that requires a lot more energy than just opening the meeting and saying, Hey, just want children to know I'm going through a tough time.

Sarah Hawley (16:32):

My energy's a little low today. That's why love you all appreciate you. Let's get into, you know, what we're doing like, but bringing all of that, the highs and the lows and the challenges I think is a really big part of conscious leadership because it creates a safe space for other people to do the same. And the reality is those in our team are gonna go through things in their personal lives as well. And how many times have we seen in organizations where all of a sudden somebody is not performing at the level that they usually do, and we don't know why we're scratching our heads and we're thinking what's going on? Like, do they not like it here? Are they interviewing elsewhere? You know, we just don't know we're filling in the gaps. And then maybe they get a performance review where we give them all this feedback of areas they need to improve.

Sarah Hawley (17:15):

And so then they're probably even more stressed out. And lo and behold turns out, you know, someone in their family's really terminally ill or they're going through a divorce that they just didn't feel safe to bring that into the workplace. So now they're also holding the shame of looking like they're not performing and they're not good enough. And we are also as leaders battling this, like, are they not happy here? Are they leaving? Like what's going on? If we could just bring that stuff in, then it just makes for a much smoother, uh, environment for everyone. But it's up to us as leaders to create the safety for that. And what that means is radical authenticity and vulnerability. And that's very scary and very challenging. And, you know, as the leader, what I've found in my experience since going on this journey for the last, I mean probably, yeah, definitely since 2018, I had a breakdown and I shared that with my team. And that was like definitely a layer of that was a level of depth that I really kind of haven't gone back from, I suppose. Um, but what I've found is that I'm definitely the most vulnerable, the most authentic, the most open and willing to share, but I have to be to create the safety for everybody else.

Matt Hayman (18:25):

Wow. And yeah, really appreciate your, your, uh, candor and transparency, uh, really powerful. One of the things I think that perhaps perhaps puts people off a little bit is how do you protect yourself in that situation as a leader, if you're getting all of that input from your team about what's going on in their lives, how do you, and where do you draw the line in terms of being there to support, but in an appropriate way and, and managing the relationship as, as a leader versus a therapist, how do you navigate that?

Sarah Hawley (18:56):

That is a really good question. I think that's, you know, really important and also comes back to leading from examples. So when we are sharing with our team, when we're bringing our vulnerable, authentic selves, we're not coming to them to hold space for us necessarily, or, you know, solve our problem for us or guide us. We are just letting them know that this is what's going on. You know, and I think this is it's, it's a hard line to draw because say in my situation, Theodore GTIN, one of my co-founders, I mean, we're very good friends. We've been, this is our third company together. Um, we've spent time together in person. She lives in Romania, but we actually do support each other through personal stuff as well, but we're not gonna be like in our leadership meeting and I'm gonna be like, I'm going through this.

Sarah Hawley (19:45):

And then she's like, oh my God. Like, how can I, like, that's not really how it happens. It's just more sharing where we're at. And you know, people may give a reflection of like, I'm here to support you. I hope you're doing well. You know, thanks for sharing, but it's not like we're diving into somebody's problems. And I think that's part of, part of learning is as a leader, yes, we show up and we share authentically, but we're not asking for these people in our team to support us, help us solve it for us. And, and on the other side, that is a boundary issue. And, and that's something that we need to learn as leaders. This is part of doing the inner work, is having the boundaries. So offering to support one of our team members like, are you supported? How can I support you is really important, but that support could look like, do you have access to a coach or a therapist or whatever you might need in this situation, like not offering ourself as that necessarily boundaries is, you know, really some of the hardest work or at least it has been for me.

Sarah Hawley (20:45):

I know some people are better at it than others. And it really, a lot of it, I think comes down to our upbringing and how our parents taught us boundaries. Um, and they all tried their best. And, you know, I try my best as a parent as well, but you know, often we find people have boundaries that are like walls. And in that case, they're not gonna be showing up vulnerably authentically and they're gonna have zero space or time for someone else. And as a leader, that's gonna create a very unsafe environment for people to be able to show up and share on the opposite side, if we don't have any boundaries and we are vomiting, all of our stuff all over everyone, we're leaning on our team for emotional support and then we're welcoming them in when they need emotional support. Like we need to find a balance in the middle.

Sarah Hawley (21:30):

And I think that's really important for leaders to do. I just wanna share one other thing about conscious leadership that I feel is like the most important thing is just to hold ourselves in really high integrity about how we speak with each other and about each other. So for me, it's like, I would never say anything to anyone about someone else that I haven't already said to that person or that I'm going to say to that person. So maybe I reach out to someone for some, you know, I might wanna spitball like how I'm gonna have a conversation, but that will be the one. And only time that I talk about that situation before I go address it with the person and that person that I've chosen would be a very trusted source. But I see this and I, I wanna share it because I think it's pervasive in company culture is people just talking about each other, just bitching and backstabbing and all under the guise of like, we're trying to make the company better.

Sarah Hawley (22:26):

And like, this is really problematic and how are we gonna solve it? But really like, quite frankly, it's just bitchy because the only way to solve these things is to just have direct conversations, address things. The first time they happen, get, get them moving. And if the person is not the right person navigating them out, but that's one of the biggest, hardest things to start shifting as a leader, if that is in the culture is just like from draw a line in the sand and be like, I will not speak about anyone with anyone else. And, and leadership teams are really guilty of this, where we are in the leadership teams. So we talk about all the people in the challenges, but that is not safe because as soon as somebody steps their foot in the wrong direction, you're gonna be speaking about them as well, or they're gonna be speaking about you as well. And it, it just does not create any safety and it can really eat away at the culture. So that just popped into my mind as something that I think is really important to bring people's attention to because I just see it like often

Matt Hayman (23:27):

Do you lead a remote team, but struggle with spontaneous communication and collaboration? If so, I'd like to invite you to check out our platform, a virtual workspace, where teams connect, collaborate, and grow working side by side from anywhere for a limited time only podcast listeners can use the discount code L R P 30 to get 30% off your first three month subscription or annual plan head on over to, start your free trial today and use discount code L R P 30. Now back to the interview. So let's build on that for a bit, then this idea of conscious culture, what are some of the markers for you that indicate that there is a very strong, conscious culture within an organization

Sarah Hawley (24:11):

When people are mindful of the language they're using, when they're, when they're speaking, they, you know, speak with a pace that allows them to process a little bit, as they're speaking, find the right words, the right language, maybe they're correcting themselves as they go. Um, because I think that just shows this consideration and awareness for others and for inclusivity and for own, for own reflection and growth. Definitely not like speaking directly to people versus behind their backs. Like the moment a leader starts complaining to me about someone in their team or whatever. I'm just like, yeah, your culture sucks. Like I just know it because that's the reality. And it, like I said, it is pervasive, but it's really more that when I see a culture thriving, it's like we have a problem we've recently identified it and we are addressing it right away. This is not a problem that I've been talking about for three years on repeat.

Sarah Hawley (25:12):

And that's, I think that's a sign of an unhealthy culture is when you're looping around the same issues, the same challenges. And it's not to say we don't loop for a little bit, even when we're conscious, like I find myself in patterns and then I'm like, okay, this is a pattern. So it might take me a few iterations to see it. So I'm not saying, you know, it's not about being perfect and never having challenges. I mean, that's not realistic. There's I think when you're leading from a place of consciousness, it's almost like, all right, I'm just sitting in the constant challenge. Like it, that life is always gonna throw something at me next to work through. But it's really about, like, once we have something in our awareness, we're gonna do something about it. We're gonna try and improve it. We're gonna try and shift it, unblock the energy, whatever it might be. So I think things like being able to see that people have consideration and respect for each other, that they're careful with their language to be self-aware and considerate of other people. And we're not just circling around problems over and over and over again.

Matt Hayman (26:13):

So I'm also interested in remote culture specifically and conscious remote culture. If, if you like, are there any specific challenges there around what we've talked about that are, you think are, are more pervasive inside of remote first culture?

Sarah Hawley (26:26):

It's interesting because I don't really think it's actually different. I think that the culture is the culture. I think that operating fully remotely allows us to see and experience the culture more because we, we are not distracted by the physical. So when we're physically going into a space and sharing that space for eight, 10 hours a day with a handful of other people or, or hundreds or thousands of other people, there's a lot on our emotional, energetic systems. That's being filtered. We're dealing with all these different people's personal habits, levels of tidiness, cleanliness, um, how much they wanna talk or not talk. Um, there's just like a lot that our systems are literally kind of regulating all day long. Um, when we remove all of that and every person gets to be in the environment that they thrive in most, it's a lot easier to see, like, what really is our culture?

Sarah Hawley (27:24):

Like, how do we really show up for each other? How do we talk with each other? How do we, what do we value here? So I don't really think it's different. I don't think the things that I do now don't need to be done in an office or, or what have you, I think ideally they would be done in any environment leading with consciousness and heart would be done in any environment. I think certainly for me, it was easier to see it and focus on this aspect when I didn't have the distraction of the office, but I don't think it's any more or less important.

Matt Hayman (27:59):

Okay. So last question then from me, you've got a remote first leader sat in front of you. They're fairly new to conscious culture, conscious leadership. What are some of the small steps they can start to take to improve that culture?

Sarah Hawley (28:11):

Yeah, that's a great question. I think the first thing is surveying your team. So asking them how happy they are and then using, like using the results, like looking at it and sharing them transparently with them. So you might not share the actual written feedback, especially in a small team. You know, you can often actually attribute who said what or you think you can. And so you just don't wanna like add that in, but you can definitely share the score and you can share the themes of the things that we heard in your own own language and feed it back to them. Um, so I think this asking for feedback, but then immediately showing the team, we're doing something with this. We care about it and we're doing something and practically what that looks like as well is noticing, you know, the things inside of you where you feel defensive, you feel upset, you feel unseen, unworthy, untried, like you've failed.

Sarah Hawley (29:01):

Like all of these different things might come up because we obviously don't, you know, for most people getting the negative feedback isn't as easy and getting praise feels a lot better. So there can be things that we need to work through to understand like, oh, wow, I haven't been doing as good a job in this area, as I thought, what does that bring up in me? So I do think as well, another practical step is, is doing this, you know, work about of self. So do you have a coach or a therapist or someone that, or a community, a group, whatever it might be where even just reading books and doing the exercises, whatever it might be, but what is your rhythm and your pace for actually looking inward and doing that work. And then the next step I would say is just slowly, little by little, starting to share more of yourself in that way with your team.

Sarah Hawley (29:53):

And what that could just look like is, so last week I shared with you all that our culture school was seven out of 10. And you know, one of the big things that we wanna work on is being more transparent with our communication or what have you. I just wanna let y'all know that, you know, that brought up some stuff for me. I was feeling a little bit like a failure, which is a story that comes from my teenage years where I was trying to, I don't know, do a good thing at sport or something. And I, I kept, I didn't succeed and whatever it might be, whatever you've kind of connected dots on. And just say, I just wanna just share transparently that that's what I've been moving through. So I'm really grateful for the experience to do this work on myself because I'm, you know, learning and growing through that.

Sarah Hawley (30:38):

And I really care about what you guys shared and I'm gonna keep, keep showing up. So it doesn't have, that's what I mean about, that's just an example of going back to what we were talking about earlier about the boundaries as well. It's not this big sob story of like, oh my God, you guys said these things. And then I feel like a failure and I've been sad all week. It's just like, acknowledging, like this came up for me and I'm showing up and doing my work to learn through it and grow through it. And I really wanna express to people that when we feel triggered and heightened, it's really hard, like that is intense in our, in our bodies. And so not to shame ourselves either, but that's the gold, like, that's what you're looking for. Like when you feel really heightened, where it's hard to wrangle and control the feelings in your body where you feel angry, frustrated, sad, that kind of spirally, like it's hard to get your wrap your hands around it.

Sarah Hawley (31:27):

And you're like, thank God that person's not in front of me. Cause I'd probably punch them or whatever it might be like, those are the, that's the compass. That's like, wow, there's some gold here that we need to look at. And it's really tricky because what we actually feel in that situation is righteous in our feelings. Like we have been wronged, the person is wrong, what they did, but if we dig a little deeper, th this is just a story that is playing out, that's iterating a past story. That's a version of something that's happened to us in the past that we're still hanging onto. And some other person could experience the exact same situation and not feel anything because if they don't have that story and that framework, it's not gonna trigger them. So just starting to really feel when those emotions get heightened and knowing that that's your inner work and I've gone off track a little bit, but I will, I will come back to another practical step on that.

Sarah Hawley (32:17):

So that is something as leaders where when we get heightened and we're feeling frustrated or things aren't moving or whatever it might be like, knowing your own patterns that you, you tend to like act in a way that maybe you don't act in 90% of the time when you're, when you're calm. Um, and I'm not saying it's necessarily anger, but whatever it is that kind of seems to come out of you at times, that's a great first practical thing that you can do as well is instead of acting it, notice it and speak it. So I say in my leadership team meeting, if I can really heightened, like, okay, wow, that conversation that just came up is really bringing something up in me. I'm feeling a lot of feelings. So I would like to park that for right now, so that I can go away and, you know, process the feelings that I'm having that feel really intense.

Sarah Hawley (33:05):

And then can we circle back on Tuesday at 10:00 AM to continue working through that situation or whatever that, I mean, that takes a lot. It takes a lot of time actually to bring awareness to when we're feeling heightened and all of that. But I think that's a incredible skill for leaders to do is notice when they are in a heightened state deescalate themselves and the situation. And sometimes, I mean, I've had a situation where I actually had to end the meeting, cuz I was like, I'm not even gonna, I can't even like focus my attention on something else. Like I am so activated by this situation that I'm not even functioning anymore. So this meeting is pointless. Um, right now it's not pointless in its reason for being, but it's pointless for right now. So can we, I need to go away and process this and can we come back tomorrow? And that skill takes time, but we'll really serve you well, um, for deescalating things and not ending up doing and saying things that are even harder to unwind later,

Matt Hayman (34:06):

That that's a really, really good summary of, of where people can make some, some really good inroads and, and also not put too much pressure on themselves to try and, and be, be perfect too soon, um, to give themselves time to grow into that new type of approach, I think is really important as well. Not, not trying to do everything all at once is, uh, is really key. So Sarah, thank you very much for what has been a really, really enjoyable conversation. I really appreciate the, the honesty, the transparency and, and everything that you've shared on the call. If people wanna find out a bit more about you and the work that you do, where should they go?

Sarah Hawley (34:38):

Yeah. And my absolute pleasure. I, like I said at the start, I love talking about this stuff. So thanks for being here with me and giving me the space to dive in and really appreciate all of your questions as well. Best place to connect with me is on LinkedIn. Um, and I share a lot of content and thoughts and I, I share pretty openly and transparently with my kind of broader community, the things that I'm moving through as a leader and founder of a fast growing startup. So if that's interesting for people as well, that's some of the content that I share, but yeah, and you can also check out as well. If you're interested in what we're doing there. And my book conscious leadership is available on Kindle and Amazon and audible and all the places.

Matt Hayman (35:20):

Excellent. And I have, yeah, I've read the book. I think it's really enjoyable and well worth a read. So yeah, I definitely, uh, would recommend it to, to anybody in this position. So Sarah, thank you once again, really appreciate your time coming on the podcast, having this conversation, sharing those insights and thank you very much.

Sarah Hawley (35:34):

Yeah. Thank you so much, Matt. This is just a great podcast that you do for people as well. So thank you for doing this work in the world.

Voiceover (35:44):

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