Inclusion Crusade 2 – Responding to Changes Post-Pandemic

Hosted by

Sarah Morgan

CEO, Buzz A Rooney, LLC

About this episode

Guest: Charnessa (Charlie) Pleasant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Founder & Executive Clinician of The Healing Collaborative

On this episode, host Sarah Morgan and her guest, Charlie Pleasant, discuss mental health and self care post-pandemic.  They talked about dealing with the continual changes in our communities and how to best support people in the workplace. Sarah and Charlie discuss the importance of employers can help their employees feel emotionally safe and supported when returning to work.


Leading In Color podcast episode:

Connect with Charlie on Twitter @charliepleasant  and on LinkedIn at “Charlie Pleasant LCSW”

Transcript follows:

Sarah Morgan 0:02
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Inclusion Crusade podcast on the HR Happy Hour Network. I’m your host Sarah Morgan and I am excited to have with me in the guest chair today, Charlie Pleasant, lSCW. Did I get the initials right? LCSW So, Charlie, thank you for coming in, and meeting with me today and the listeners about yourself and about the work that you do.

Charlie Pleasant 0:35
Okay. Well, thank you, Sarah, for having me. And thank you to the Inclusion Crusade podcast for allowing this interview to take place. So my name is Charlie Pleasant. I am a licensed clinical social worker, both in the state of North Carolina and in Virginia, but I’m primarily practicing in Virginia right now. I am a level one ISS trained therapist, that’s my therapeutic orientation that I use when I’m working with clients. And I primarily work with women who are looking to improve their emotional and mental health and well being. More specifically, I work on prep work with all gamats of clients, but my specialty is working with African American women. Um, that is the niche in the work that I do. So I’m up here I am in Virginia practicing. Things have been amazingly ridiculously busy. For all the I don’t want to say the wrong reasons. But for all the reasons that are happening in the world, people are saying I’m paying giving more priority to mental health and wellness at this time, because a lot of things. As you know, in 2020, were taken away, not taken away, per se, but they were, um, we didn’t have access to a lot of things that we typically enjoy doing so with a lot of individuals eventually found out is that we’re forced to sit with ourselves at the end of the day when all things move, go away. And so that and that’s the case for a lot of people is that it’s like, I don’t have this, I don’t have this discretion, I don’t have this thing that I can get into. So now, I really have to force you know, I have, I’m forced to sit with myself in the things that come up. For me. So we have been working, supporting people. I’ve been a licensed therapist, for almost nine years. Now, God, I can’t believe it’s been nine years. I’ve been a licensed therapist for almost nine years, but I’m in 2020 is when it kicked into gear. Um, so that’s, pretty much what I do here. I’m also doing a lot of consulting with companies and organizations. As you guys didn’t hear Sarah and I were having a conversation about just the mental emotional wellness of people coming back to work, once the states are lifting restrictions, which is a lot of anxiety for a lot of people. So I’m having organizations bring me in virtually at this time to talk about how can they best support their staff and how to best support themselves, but not going to act like leadership aren’t humans as well too, they experience the pandemic just like we have, just like their employees have. So I do a lot of consulting work as well, too. So I’m sure Sarah will share my information in the show notes. But if you’re interested in connecting with me in that way as well, too. The information will be linked in there as well too. But we are here working and supporting people as best we can throughout this whole new ordeal.

Sarah Morgan 3:36
Yes. And you were with me last year on my other show Leading in Color. Yes, talking about how people can practice self care habits during the pandemic and it was such a popular and powerful episode as part of my reopening after Rona series last year. So I will link that in the show notes because that advice is absolutely evergreen and I definitely think that the listeners can benefit from hearing your advice from that perspective as well about what we can do and and the advice that you gave in that episode has been personally so helpful to me in making sure that I’m making myself care a priority and I talk about that in the most recent episode. I’m premiering my third season over at leading and color just talking about me taking a big ol pause on business and other things last year because I just reached the point where I was like nope, this you know, my health and my mental well being is just at a place where I cannot you know continue to keep this pace with everything else ahead going on. And I remember you talking about our, the way that our physiologically, our bodies respond and react to what’s going on in the pandemic and that your body knows that the world aint right. And so it is in the your fight flight. Our responses are on high alert. And we’ve been in that state for a really long time. And what coming out of that is going to do too. So excellent episode you all I’m gonna link that in the show notes so you can check it out. But I want to jump right into talking about where we are today. Here we are a year in a few weeks or so into this pandemic. Specifically, last summer, we saw a significant uprising following George Floyd’s murder. Now we here we are a year later, and his primary killer has been found guilty and will be sentenced soon. How did you cope with the verdict? And what were you seeing from your clients and from your colleagues when that happened?

Charlie Pleasant 5:57
So interestingly, enough, so you mentioned at the like, just talking about self care. So a big part of my self care practice, is tuning, not tuning out. But just making sure that I’m not plugged into things that are going on in immediate, like I knew what was going on with the murder of George Floyd. And you know, the person Derek Chauvin that was responsible for his murder. I was very much aware of everything that was happening with that. I did not watch to trial. I think black America has had their hearts broken more times than enough. When it comes to situations like this that I think for a lot of my clients, you were asking the question is how did a lot of people, my colleagues, or my clients respond to this? They were kind of reserved, and I don’t want to say disinterested, but very disconnected from it. Because there’s a part of that disconnection that’s part of self care. I have to disconnect from this because we’ve seen this pattern collectively of law enforcement not being held responsible or accountable with any type of penalty, and the devastation that that causes for communities, whether it’s black communities, whether it’s Latino communities, whether it’s Asian communities, whatever these communities are, that’s impacted by this, there’s a part of despondency that takes place. That’s part of self care. And it’s really interesting, it’s, it’s almost very counterintuitive of how we think about that in our field. But that’s one of the questions that we talked about, or I was talking about with colleagues is about coping strategies throughout all of this.

Charlie Pleasant 7:39
So the concrete strategies that we would typically like pre COVID that we were typically talking to clients about as far as disconnection, despondency and disassociation. Those are things that you’re wanting to get away from with the sake of saying, let’s put in some healthier coping strategies. And then now we had to leave had to come back to the board to say, okay, so if we’re going to look at disassociation or despondency or disconnection, there has to be an awareness of how your using the tool. So we have to put this tool back into the box as a form of self care. And clients had to do that I have even had to do that. It’s a it’s a disconnection, disconnecting from all of that, with the understanding that I’m aware of it. I know what’s going on. And I’m choosing not to participate in it emotionally. Yeah. So that’s, that’s been the biggest response for a lot of clients. So when the verdict came, I think that there, I think it was people were surprised. Yeah, no, I think that that’s even in my network, and just, you know, people that I was talking to about it. People were very surprised that this actually came down the way that it came down with guilty on all three charges. And there’s been some, um, there’s been some I mean, it doesn’t take too far to go on Twitter or any type of social media to talk about what that means for, you know, what’s the implications of this type of this type of this type of verdict as a, you know, as a preservation for law enforcement, I mean, it’s plenty of stuff that’s going on. And as far as this conversation is concerned, I was just really surprised that it happened. Um, I felt relieved for those who chose bravely to enter into a pandemic when the virus was at its most active peak in the streets, and to say, absolutely not. So I think those that risked their lives not only would have might have come up with any type of protests, and we know how protests can normally go in different communities. But those who have risked their lives and put their livelihood on the line to protest this injustice, and could have been injured, possibly injured in those things at the intersection also a virus that can kill you as well, too. So I feel like the day does those people that participated in that kind of way in the streets. And everybody had a line in this, whether you were doing it in the streets, I did most of my advocacy work virtually by way of the healing collective and hopefully know series throughout the time.

Charlie Pleasant 10:22
But we we needed that. We deserved that because we had to put aside just how much our lives were shifting to take care of a to let a family in a community know that the world cared about what was happening, or what happened to their loved one that was murder. So that so I felt like that was needed in that way. On the heels of that was four different murders. There was a murder of a black person that took place the day before the verdict, that was rare. There was a murder on the day that the verdict that was that was read murders The day after that verdict was read. So here we are, back into it. Right back into what the most, um, I can’t call his name right now. But the young, the young man in Minnesota, in Minneapolis that lost his life. Yeah, yeah, with all of this going on, there were still law enforcement that thought that it was appropriate to take another life. In the same state and the same thing in the same community, not very far. With the community not being very far away from it. So that’s the that’s the the jilting of not being able to I don’t want to say relish in the moment, but just be able to sit with the moment of having some type of justice carried out before you’re back at it.

Sarah Morgan 11:48
Surely I know, the Mi’Khia Bryant was within 30 minutes. Yeah. And I read an article about her that said, she watched the verdict. And then the doorbell rang, and her attack began. So within minutes of CNN have been like, how, just how awful, you know, was that life to be to be just from one moment to the next. And so, so yeah, you have that moment of release, with the relief that we felt that the jury got it right, this time, because there’s been so many times where we’ve watched, and these juries have got it wrong, if it ever even makes it to a trial jury to make a decision. And so it did feel good for that moment. And there definitely was just like a sigh of just like, you know, just a little moment where that adrenaline that you’ve been holding on to came down just a little bit, and then we’ll, you know, right back,

Charlie Pleasant 13:02
right back up. You’re dealing with his brother’s name is Dante right? Yes, just came to me. But just having to deal with Dante right having to deal with the young 13 year old in Chicago, then having to deal with Mi’Khia Bryant, as well, too. Yeah. It was a bit much, it was a bit much to watch the dominoes fall, just that fast back to back after, um, after having that verdict, come down. And I think it’s really interesting to even nuance this just a little bit more, because when you’re going back to your point that you mentioned earlier, in talking about the sympathetic nervous system that kicks me in everything, and being empowerment isn’t right, your body definitely knows that your body’s created to protect you. Whereas the murder, that being at the intersection of the murders that are happening of these young black and brown kids and young adults, there are some in the community who are in a process of downregulating. And then there are some that are still continually continuing to upregulate. So a little bit about the distinction with that. So the downregulation, that you’re talking about, is what we’re seeing the majority of people who are not black or brown experience we got, we have, we’re ready to lift these restrictions from these organizations in these places of work, not to say that they have not been impacted by the uprisings that have taken place, but they, that it’s different when you belong to that community, which to the group to the to that particular group. So whereas that group that’s watching it, that are adjacent to the uprisings are beginning to down regulate the groups that are part of the membership of the folks that are that are being murdered, are continuing to upregulate. So their sympathetic nervous system is not coming down, right?

Sarah Morgan 15:03
We talk about this when it comes in, we don’t call it the sympathetic nervous system and those sorts of things. But I’ve read studies, because I do quite a bit of research in my consulting work about the impact of microaggressions. And so in the world of microaggressions is more called like hyper vigilance. You get consistently micro aggressive. And so you’re on constant guard. Yep. For what it is that’s coming. And so when you talk about the up regulating, it reminded me very much of the way that we talk about workplace microaggressions and the hyper vigilance that comes out of that from people being so accustomed to being micro aggressed in their workplace, that they’re just constantly on guard to the point where I don’t even know if I can trust what you’re saying means what you say, because I’ve heard so many crazy things before, that I’m over processing, that I’m supposed to react. And it’s the same thing, when we’re dealing with these issues of police brutality, and just privilege gonna gone a muck. Yeah, in terms of racism, and just the way that people use the police, weaponize it against people of color, or doing normal things and how those how the weaponizing of that then turns into violence that often far too often leads to death.

Charlie Pleasant 16:35
Leads to death. Right?

Sarah Morgan 16:38
Go ahead and go ahead. Oh, and then we also saw when George Floyd’s murder originally happened, there were a lot of companies that issued statements at that time recommitting to diversity and inclusion. And yet, we see some of these same companies a year later. I’m not doing a whole lot to follow through on that. And when the verdict came out, not necessarily saying anything about that. And why do you think that was, is it because it’s that adjacent community, that may not necessarily be not necessarily but who is not as impacted by these things, as those of us who are a part of the community is going through that?

Charlie Pleasant 17:25
I think that we could sit here and have conjecture about that all day. Like that, there’s there’s no way to absolutely know, what goes into the decision making to continue to take a stand, or a company’s decision making and continuing to take a stand in regards to social justice, social justice, social advocacy, uprisings, different things like that. So it’s really hard to say why they would not speak on the verdict, or maybe offer something towards that. My position has been, if you start a thing, let’s continue to see it through. So if you’re really serious about standing with your associates and your employees that are emotionally, it may personally be impacted by a lot of the civil unrest, the the state sanctioned murders, the in justices, and you start out with a statement, continue to follow through, because this is also part of how you choose the brain, your associates, or your colleagues or your employees back into the office safely. Yeah, that’s not absent of what it means to return safely. A lot of people are just focused on how are we COVID safe? But how are we also emotionally safe? Well, how are you working on being set up in an environment where your employees continue to feel emotionally safe and supportive?

Charlie Pleasant 19:08
When there’s issues that pertains to them or their community? Yeah, that’s all part of the reopen in all of that stuff. This the latter part should have always been in place. But we know DEI work has been very interested in a lot of organizations. But what as we are as we stand in all of this now, it’s not just how do how do I wrap ourselves around returning employees safely from COVID? How do we return our employees safely, emotionally, looking at painting the entire picture of what’s actually taking place, especially if we started out in 2020? With a statement, how are we keep an our commitment? And I take this and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. It’s about integrity, right? How do we keep our integrity, integrity intact, when we said that these things are important, or black lives matter, or these communities are important, these issues are important to us. How do we not? How are we now following up to say, we’ve seen the verdict, we’ve seen justice. And we’ve also seen maybe the four other murders that we’ve talked about. So we still have to stay in the vein, saying that these things are important to our organization. But I can’t tell you why they won’t say it. But I will say, if you start a good thing, see it through. And, if you started, and you have not followed up with it, then I’m going to invite you to question your motivation.

Sarah Morgan 20:45
Mm hmm.

Charlie Pleasant 20:49
Is it a motivation that’s really clear about in that question, but just interrogate and be curious about it. That’s my therapy work. That’s my therapy had it this morning. Very curious about the part that comes up that released responsibility from this. Was it wasn’t a part that was scared that of that I wasn’t going to get the right feedback, but that we will be looked at the wrong way, or what others might say about our organization, depending upon what organization you are, because I’m sure, you know, people are looking across the board to see who’s doing what. But then if that’s if those are the things that come up for you. That’s not necessarily about the issue that’s about you. And those are the things that we have to begin to look at individually. And when I say you as a corporation, we’re talking about you as the actual entity, of the of the organization. So being really curious about what came up, that I’ve nailed may have started out in 2020 on board with this. But we’re not hearing more, we’ve gotten away with it focus heavily on a better question is What? What has focusing on marginalized populations, their conditions? And let me rephrase it, because it’s not their conditions, marginalized populations are put in the margins based on a certain set of external conditions. So I want to be really clear about that. But what is it been? What has it been for you as an organization to see the conditions? And possibly the participation by the majority of the of power holders in our community? And how did I see myself in that? Yeah. When am I too afraid to get too close to it again, because I begin to see some things about myself.

Sarah Morgan 22:53
That I don’t necessarily right, like, right? Absolutely. And I would encourage that, when that happens, that’s the space that you need to sit in the longest.

Charlie Pleasant 23:03
That’s the best, that’s the juicy space. Yeah, the space when you can begin to really turn that thing around. And if you’re brave enough to look at yourself that honestly in that open in that way to be that open. And you really do want to show up as a person that’s adjacent to a community and be of support and be up to be a game changer in this. That game changing piece comes when you see how you participated. And you’re able to sit with that and face that. And then work from that space.

Sarah Morgan 23:37
Yeah. Organizations who made those commitments, and then didn’t follow through or didn’t follow through consistently. Then, once you do those things that you’ve recommended, and you do sit with it, you got to be honest with the people that you’re come when you come back to them. Yeah, you have to be honest with them about how and why you dropped the ball. Because if you just make a statement last year, and then you don’t say nothing, do nothing in the in between and then he you come with another statement people will see right through that. That’s the one thing about with people with marginalized identities are BS meters have to be strong,

Charlie Pleasant 24:25
They some of the best.

Sarah Morgan 24:26
We have to be strong, because there are so many people out there trying to take advantage of us, and, and trying to mistreat us on the low and so forth, that we have to be looking for the angle, and so real, recognize real in that circumstance. And if you’re not really about it, we’re gonna see that and then and we’re not going to respond favorably to it and it will hurt your organization more than if you just never said anything at all. Because now you playing with it doesn’t and I met because you bet this my life.

Charlie Pleasant 25:04
And you’re playing in not only that, you’re playing in our face with it. And at the same time, what it also sends a message of the inaction sends a message that we want your talent that can advance my company. But we don’t want the stuff that comes along with the personal rest of it. Right with the person who holds the talent and that’s a song about as old as time. Right? When it comes to marginalized community. For sure what we want what you can produce.

Sarah Morgan 25:38
Yeah, we don’t want my child to much else and everything else. We don’t even we don’t that you’re completely on this on humanized at that point. Yeah, yeah, humanizes the word completely dehumanized, at that point, you are just a vessel for productivity. And then and that’s it. And then people should never feel that way, in their workplace, no matter what their identity is. People should never feel that way. And they were they shouldn’t feel that way in any place in any period there. Yeah, we thought my work here on this podcast. And that is definitely not something that they should ever feel right in their workplace. So in the rest of our time together, I want to keep talking about the pandemic, because we’re seeing you and I were just talking in pre show, as this is being published, North Carolina, has removed their restrictions. We’ve seen similar things Texas, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, now where you are is making the rumblings that there’ll be in the same way within a few weeks. And so, um, what should companies be looking for, to support the health, mental health and wellness of their employees as these restrictions lessen, as things open back up? Because you and I have talked a lot about, again, that that adrenaline that’s been pumping in us because we know that the world is not right. And we are responding to that with with that increase in our fight or flight instincts. And so now, we’re coming down off of that, that’s going to have an impact on how we move through the world. It’s just like, if you anytime that you have a crash of adrenaline, we all know what that feels like.

Charlie Pleasant 27:35
So that takes and you went right into the first immediate answer that I was going to share with you, look for exhaustion. Yeah, look for exhaustion. As to your point, Sarah, of coming down from adrenaline, in any situation, people get tired, people get sick. Like, you can maybe catch a very common cold because their immune system has been suppressed because of the stress. So once everything starts to level out a little bit, I wouldn’t be surprised if you see just utter fatigue, definitely a lot of anxiety that, um, a lot of employees are going to be cut returning to the workplace with, there’s a lot of variables that people can’t control when it comes to the pandemic. There are a lot of variables if microaggressions were already a part of your organization’s culture, trusted, it will be a heightened a more heightened sense of that now. Given the state of, again, we’re back at the intersection of the pandemic and civil unrest, all of that is going to play out in the workplace. Yeah.

Sarah Morgan 28:56
That’s tough. So what do companies do because there are companies who see this lessening of restrictions as the opportunity to bring everyone back together. For the most part, we view that as good. You know, everybody been in the house for a year, I got co workers that I haven’t seen in person, you know, in over a year and the thought of spending time in their physical presence, like there’s an excitement around that. But then there’s also a disruption because I am in the routine of working at home and I have been, you know, washing my hands everywhere I go, I gotta make sure I have mask. I’m double masking like I got all that going on. And now suddenly, all of that’s gone. My adrenaline is coming down is all in my nervous system, things start to settle out. And what do I do as a company who because there are some companies that are very committed to the idea of having everybody come back in the office and returning to life as it was before the pandemic. There are also a lot out there who are looking who recognize that we can’t just go back to how we were the world is different now. And we have to find new ways of working. I think that the latter is better than the former. But still, in most of those cases, for most people, it means now working outside of their homes again. What does that process need to look like to make sure that people are mentally supported as we go through the back half of this pandemic and all that that entails?

Charlie Pleasant 30:41
There is no literature to speak to any of this, because it’s so great, because we’re learning it on the fly right now. All right. So the best place that I’ve been looking is to see how companies have done things internationally. It is what it is, the US has not had the best response to managing COVID or anything, right? There are some other other nations and other countries that have done a lot more a lot more to ensure that the numbers go down that people be safe, as safe as possible. And so what I’ve been seeing for two things that keep coming up, and what I’ve seen with CEOs that are talking about this is that flexibility is key. Gotta be flexible with your employees. And understanding that there’s not going to be a one size fit all in the return. Now, I think that there’s some foundational protocols and different things that organizations can put into place about what they expect of their employees, like the six weeks or so of social distancing. Even in North Carolina has restrict lifted the mass mandate. If your organization is a private organization, you can still set into place that this is part of our culture, or what would that look like for other organizations to do so as well, that might not be private organizations that might be state ran organizations. I’m like your, you know, your V dots in your, you know, departments in North Carolina and different things like that, um, those people that if that’s coming specifically for the state, then as a state agency, they can very well saying it was lifted by the state, and we are a state agency. So we’re going the way of that.

Charlie Pleasant 32:26
So if you’re going to wait, how the state is doing this? How does that protect your employees? How do you still keep your employees in mind. So flexibility is going to be very key, but also having a reopening plan. And what that look like what that looks like is going to vary for each employee, I mean, for each organization. And the second thing that I’ve done, I’ve been reading, and that I’ve been just the trend that I’ve been noting, is hybrid working is here to stay. Hybrid working is here to stay. And I have been of the since I’ve been I’ve also been working at home and seeing clients remotely as well, too. But the favor is going to go to the corporations and the organizations that can remain flexible. And that accept that hybrid working is staying because what’s going to happen is what I’m hearing is that organizations are very afraid or very concerned about their employees not coming back to work. And they’re concerned about other people dipping into their talent pool. Yeah, it’s a natural thing that’s going to happen. Because if it’s a if I, if I’m here, and this is the organization that’s wanting me to come in, and I absolutely feel very uncomfortable coming into this place, but there’s a similar position, if not better position in the state of Illinois, that might have something completely different. I’m using that as an example. I’m not sure what their restrictions are, and teleworking or telecommuting or remote working, or however would call it the hybrid working well, more. So, you know, telecommute telecommuting. If that’s 100% that’s what I’m going to take my talent. Yeah. So what’s going to add, imagine those organizations that are not moving in the way of being flexible, are going to see a decrease in the talent that they’re able to recruit?

Sarah Morgan 33:27
Yeah, that’s fact.

Charlie Pleasant 33:46
They’re going to see a decrease in that. So and then that’s going to be how does the leadership, you know, nail deal with addressing or turning this tide? I think because we’ve had a year some change or being able to successfully work from home, kind of like the jig is up, you know, like, there is another way. That’s what people are coming into the realization of, there’s always been another way to do this. So another organization that another conversation that I would invite organizations to be very curious about is what is it that we want our folks here? Yeah, outside of stuff that absolutely has to be done in an actual setting, and get those things. And I think that there are ways that you can stagger your staff to make sure everyone’s maybe, you know, not in there at the same time. There’s a lot of the flexibility that other other companies are taking. But am I here? Because I’ll be wanting people here because at our core, and I don’t want to offend any of your organizations that’s listening today. But I’m just going to speak as a therapist because we don’t leave any rock unturned. Is it because I have an issue of trust? Yeah. When I trust my employees, is there a part of me that micromanages as hard as we do? Because at my core, I’m having a very difficult time trusted anyone? Yeah.What are some of the root causes? Things that are coming up? As you’re making this decision? Um, is there a set of beliefs about how you think people are spending their time at home? Let’s divide that in half again, is there a set of beliefs of how you think certain communities are spending their time at home? Or their time away at the office, away from the office now? Well hold a set of a set a certain set of beliefs towards a particular community or groups of individuals, that leads me to not trust their ability that leads me to believe that they need to be overseen?

Sarah Morgan 36:44
Yeah. And here’s the other thing, that let’s say, you, realize that you don’t trust certain individuals. Now, you make coming into your office a punishment? And I think that that’s danger, this equally dangerous, yeah. Because what type of like, office environment and you know, culture are you going to build when not being here is something that you get rewarded for when I trust you? And being here is a punishment for me not being able to trust you? Because I don’t see you as being as productive as I expect, right?

Charlie Pleasant 37:32
Well, here’s the thing, the pandemic is only exposed what the culture has already done. Yeah. Because the organizations that get it are like, cool, we’re at home into the foreseeable future. That already speaks to the nature of that organization prior to prior to the pandemic. All the pandemic is doing at this point is exposing what was already a part of the organization already there.

Sarah Morgan 38:01
Yeah. And I think organizations really have to think about that, I don’t think that we’re giving enough credence to that need for flex, this is an opportunity for innovation, I have sore,

Charlie Pleasant 38:14
You will miss it.

Sarah Morgan 38:16
And we are so wanting to get back to how we were before. That’s it, that we’re we’re forfeiting the opportunity for us to create moment to create something new and better that that will help us to retain talent and differentiate us from our competition and those sorts of things. And don’t give that up. Just because you think what was happening, what was normal before is better than the potential of what could be I was don’t sacrifice that because there is innovation, there’s opportunity for you to lead there is to lead in ways that haven’t been done before.

Charlie Pleasant 39:00
And it will make the difference between again to your point is going to make the difference in the type of talent that your organization retains. You lean we are at the helm of being able to just shift so many things right now. Shift the way that the world has worked. That’s exciting.

Sarah Morgan 39:25
It is exciting. And I hope to see organizations really embrace this as an opportunity and not be on such a fast track to get everybody back in the building. So that we don’t miss the opportunity to say, how could this way that we’ve been working for the last year be better than what we had like what ways is this better than what we had before and how can we continue to how can we hold on to some of that because the pandemic is hard has been hard. No doubt. But there are absolutely benefits to it, as well. And then people have learned a lot about themselves and about the ways that they work best and so forth. And we shouldn’t just toss that all away. No, as government mandates don’t force us to do it anymore. We should, you know, we should use that as an opportunity. And that’s the way that I see all government regulations. Like to me, it’s always an opportunity to innovate. Yeah, I’m in the saying now that we have to do X, Y, Z thing, okay, how do we lean into this, and make it make our organization better, right.

Sarah Morgan 40:43
And, but instead, we rebel, and it’s such a waste of energy, because you got to do it anyway. You know, businesses that are able to reopen, are gonna reopen. But do you have to do it the way that you were, or because you may find financial savings, you may find the ability to tap into talent that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do before, you may find yourself being able to move your business into markets, that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do business and before, because of embracing the flexibility, and the creativity that can come out of finding a way in the midst of all this change. And I just don’t want organizations to miss that moment. Because we’re not going to get it back. You know, once you do it, and you stand firm in this idea that we’re going back to how things were, you can’t really unring that bell. And you’re gonna you can cause definitely a lot of suffering and unnecessary disruption to to your business. At this time, if you’re not careful, and yeah, how you approach that.

Charlie Pleasant 41:55
If the return of normal this this this thing, this concept of normal is really dismissive to a lot of people’s experience throughout this entire year. Nothing is normal, and nobody is the same. Your employees are not the same people that left in March, those are not the same people that are that are that you are wanting to come back. Yeah. And what is it May, June, whenever those as people keep open reopening things, those people are not the same people. Attunement is going to be really important for leadership in organizations, to really you have to really start paying attention to your staff.

Charlie Pleasant 42:46
Again, there’s not a one size fits all, for any of this, because everybody experienced this very differently. So highly tuned are you prepared to be to your employees? Or will you continue as we’ve been seeing and reading I mean, doesn’t, you know, Google is your friend, how companies are prepared to punish or penalize their employees.

Sarah Morgan 43:14
And to cut them loose, like places that are like, listen, you know, if if the employees are not willing to come back into the office, by whatever date we set, we let them go. And to me, I’m like, wow, this is a person who rocked with you to the uncertainty of a whole pandemic. Yeah. And because now they’re having a moment where they need a little bit more time to ease back into what you’re asking them to do you just give up like this.

Charlie Pleasant 43:49
It is absolutely messed up. And this is the opposite. This is a time for you to tap into your humanity. When it comes to people. People are not machines, as much as we would try to like to make them to be they are not.

Sarah Morgan 44:06
Yeah, for sure.

Charlie Pleasant 44:08
They are not.

Sarah Morgan 44:10
So I appreciate all your advice, and I hope that that everyone will take that to heart. I have one more question. So here at the inclusion Crusade, I say that I am on a mission to make workplaces more inclusive, one episode at a time. That’s my tagline, if you will. What would you say is your crusade? What is your one thing at a time that you feel like you are doing in your work?

Charlie Pleasant 44:44
That’s a great question because I don’t have my elevator speech. No, I would probably say my crusade as a therapist is not is not to solve your problem. I’m here to help you free up headspace and heart space. So you can see the best answers and solutions for yourself.

Sarah Morgan 45:09
Freeing up head and heart space, one client at a time. I love it!

Charlie Pleasant 45:13
I cannot live your life. Your your journey is your journey, you’ll walk into your walk, where you come across and when you need, and who, who you interact with. All of those things are your individual journey. And then of course, we’re all done in the community as well, too. But the walk is yours. A lot of times what I know, and just even just from my own personal experience of going through therapy as well, too. I am a therapist who sees that there. Trust me. It is I’m serious about the work that I do. I just know a lot of times we need the mental and emotional debris cleared up or are not necessarily swept aside to be acknowledged and then put into its proper place. So you can continue to journey. That’s all that I’m here for

Charlie Pleasant 46:01
So I tell my clients that when I have clients that come in, and just like I want you to tell me what to do I say absolutely not. Absolutely not. Because my resources and your resources are different. But you already know what the best answer is. We just got to clear through some stuff. Yeah. So that’s that’s my crusade as a therapist to help clear up that headspace. And then heartspace, one client at a time.

Sarah Morgan 46:22
I love it. So you are I know doing more help. So you talked earlier about doing the support and work that you’re doing with corporate clients and also with organizations? Are there how to listeners who want to hear more from you? How do they connect with you? Do you have any events coming up virtually, that people can tap into if they want to hear more of what you have to say?

Charlie Pleasant 46:50
I don’t have any events that are opening events, I do have events that are open with that are with other companies that are coming up. And I don’t think that outsiders can be a part of that. A part of that that specifically in that workshop is catered, you know, specifically for their organization. But if you want to get in contact with me, I can definitely give you my Twitter handle, y’all I promise you I’m in the process of updating my website, this has been a process.

Sarah Morgan 47:16
Updating websites is a labor of love. I don’t have full appreciation for how hard that that can be. It’s probably like a four or five month process easy.

Charlie Pleasant 47:26
I’m probably like month three into going back with the person that’s helping me do it. And they’ve been, oh God, they’ve been so amazing. But I’m doing like new new shots, new headshots all that. Yeah, it is coming, it is coming. But you can always reach out to me via Twitter. I can also give Sarah my email to put in the show notes as well too, if you just want to shoot me a quick email. And if you’re interested in working with me, let me know. I’d be happy to come in and see how I can support your organization.

Sarah Morgan 47:57
Definitely make sure to link all your social handles in the show notes. Okay, folks can’t connect with you because I know that they are definitely going to want to hear more of what it is that you have to say because the way that you are able to break these topics down and connect it back to the therapeutic process is just something that I can’t ever get enough of and I know that our listeners are going to resonate with that as well. So I thank you once again for being a guest on my podcast and and for the all the wisdom nuggets that you have dropped on us today.

Charlie Pleasant 48:30
Thank you for having me.

Sarah Morgan 48:32
And I thank you all for listening. Once again. I’m Sarah Morgan, and this is the Inclusion Crusade on the HR Happy Hour Network.

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