Navigating Year-End Mental Health & Productivity for a Fresh Start

Hosted by

Sarah Morgan

CEO, Buzz A Rooney, LLC

About this episode

Inclusion Crusade 15 – Navigating Year-End Mental Health & Productivity for a Fresh Start

Host: Sarah Morgan

Guest: Charlie Pleasant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Founder/Executive clinician of The Healing Collaborative

Welcome back to the Inclusion Crusade, where I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe, seen and supported. One episode at a time. This week we are discussing mental health and productivity as the year comes to an end and a new one begins.

– Workplace stress during holiday season

– Managing mental health during seasonal changes

– Slowing down and connecting with emotions in a fast-paced world

– Prioritizing joy and worth in work

– Workplace culture and innovation


Thank you for listening! Remember to subscribe on your favorite podcast app!

Transcript follows:

Sarah Morgan 0:15
Welcome to the HR Happy Hour Network. This is the Inclusion Crusade with me, Sarah Morgan. I am on a mission to create workplaces where employees feel safe, seen and supported one episode at a time. And today I am back with our expert in residence, Miss Charlie Pleasant and we are going to talk to you a little bit about hot take tips for the end of the year and the new year that we feel like we’ll be helpful to you listeners, as you wrap up this year and start to get geared up for whatever 2024 is going to be bringing your way. So Charlie, welcome back to the show. We are always glad to have you here.

Charlie Pleasant 1:14
Thank you. Thank you. Happy to be here.

Sarah Morgan 1:18
So you and I were talking in pre show about this time of year and how much pressure and heaviness that there is for people in kind of that six week period from around Thanksgiving until the new year begins. And it’s a heavy season for most people because you are coping with family dynamics, as you go through the various holidays. You have a lot of folks that are are also coping with grief. During this time of year as the weather starts to turn hold. It tends to bring out illness and those sorts of things as well. And then, for whatever reason work decides that it wants to compound all of that by having all the meetings all the deadlines, yeah, all the events that it can stand. And what does that do to people?

Charlie Pleasant 2:37
I believe what it does. And I mean, we can do a couple of different things to people and people respond and cope in different ways. So it’s not going to look the same for everyone. Some people like to say that six week period from Thanksgiving, up until the new year, some people run and sprint to the finish line, right. For some other people they are absolutely dragging. Just to say let me get to the end of the year. I think what it can do is increase overproduction and over functioning handled in a way that is not necessarily healthy. Especially if people use production as a form of an overproduction or over functioning as a form of coping to not deal with other things. It can lead to burnout that you don’t see come in, or you can probably be in a state of burnout and stress. And your body has become so adapted to that, that you don’t recognize that you could be playing in a danger zone. For others, it brings up it can it can trend in the opposite direction into brain complete shutdown. This time of year, it’s really interesting and and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The fact that this time of year causes us or ask us to be more productive as nature is actually beginning to enter a rest season is really interesting to me. Like there is one September hits, you know, the kiddos are back in school for those that have kids that are in school, or in college or wherever they might be. But then that shifts into that and then the the seasons are actually changing where nature wise it’s going into a period of rest things fall over 20 all of that. Again, we are kicking it into high gear. Yeah. Which makes no sense to me. Never it has never made sense to me. And I’m sure that there’s somebody out here that can speak about it a little bit more from a scientific standpoint, but it just absolutely feels counterintuitive to the way that nature is actually rolling. We’re rolling it which project you know, we’re trending in the opposite direction and what’s happening.

Sarah Morgan 4:48
So we’re fighting our environment right and I think about like, I always think about like the witching hour right with that time of day when As the sun starts to set and things and just our general like barometric atmosphere changes in the way that that has impact, if you are we always talk about sundowning with people with like, dimension or even even when you are some, if you have a cold, if you have the flu, if you are dealing with a sinus infection, that is the time of day where you start to you might have been feeling good in the morning, and then the sun goes down and your symptoms come back up. There literally is something in the environment, the atmosphere, the air we breathe, that shifts, you know, at that time of day, and the same thing is happening as the seasons are changing. Like when we go like for me, I deal with seasonal affective disorder. And so when daylight savings time ends in November, I feel like the world pulled the curtain down. And because suddenly is dark, my mood has changed. And in all the things that I am able to do very normally and easily suddenly become much more laborious for me to be able to accomplish some version of like their most creative and in some cases, productive cells in order to finish the year strong and and set ourselves up for success in 2024. And this year, because of shifts that have happened in my job, have allowed me the opportunity to take more control of my schedule. Yeah. And I have been choosing very much to slow things down. And I’m curious for your thoughts. What are some? What are some ways that you advise clients and the folks that you work with? On regardless of what the demands of your life are? How do you take control to slow down in the season where rest becomes much, much more important than it does pretty much any other time of year? Right?

Charlie Pleasant 7:11
I think that there’s something to be looked at when we talk about actually working against our environment, and how that affects or impacts the way we manage, and be able to take care of ourselves when we’re dealing with seasonal difficulties, affective disorder, or just mad or major depressive disorder, or any of these other common mental health issues that that we might be dealing with. But what I’m what I’m talking to my clients about now is just the heart, stop talking to my clients about the absolute heart, stop and take a minute to just breathe. If nothing else, find your breath. In the moment yoga is very good. At this practice meditation is very good at this practice of just reminding us to take a moment pause, find where your breath is. And what I’ve also been spending a lot of time talking to my clients about is also finding out as you’re centering and grounding or anchoring yourself, that’s the second thing that I’m talking to them about as well too. Are you flailing? Or are you anchored in something, some something that’s healthy, hopefully, that you’re anchored, and it’s something that’s open? Well, as you’re working to ground yourself, I’m inviting my clients to begin to look at where you are in relationship to the external things that you’re dealing with in your environment. Because we’re at such a fast pace. A lot of times we’re unable to catch up with how I’m feeling about work. What’s actually feeling about my work, I mean, other than just the normal things that we hear that I’m stressed is I’m overwhelmed and different things like that. I’m also slowing clients down in conversations to talk about let’s look at the other states of emotional being. Is everything stress? Is everything overwhelm, or are you dissatisfied with work? Because when you begin to label what you’re experiencing in relation to what what you’re dealing with, in a correct manner, then you can begin to open up the conversation of actually what’s happening. If everything is about a man or offended. Or again, I’m overwhelmed and stressed and you’re just going to stay kind of in the box of that in that. But what if you’re disappointed? Yeah. What if you’re dissatisfied? What if you’re unhappy? And then being able to effectively label what’s happening with you in relationship to what’s going on in your external environment begins to open up a different type of conversation.

Sarah Morgan 9:53
I love that you say that too. And I love that you referenced the emotion wheel. I remember I saw something on social media is just like a meme that talked about. And it was really a hit on men and men. I’m not trying to dig on you. But one of the things is it was joking is like men. Their emotions are like crayons, they have sad, mad, glad, hungry, you know, like they’re very, very like rudimentary emotions, whereas women’s crayon box of emotions is like 16. Right? Yeah. And how but when I read that, of course, it was meant to be insulting, but I thought, Oh, how stunting? Yeah, only have a four pack of emotions to describe everything. And as I was listening to you, Tom, like, am I dissatisfied? Am I disappointed? Am I do I feel abandoned? Do I fit like when I start, like just being good? Or am I scared? Like, yes. Am I get like being able to identify those emotions and be able to, like, label them and speak direct more directly to that is a really, really important skill, that we don’t teach people one and that we don’t utilize enough in the workplace and we pigeonhole people into again, I’m stressed. You know, we may even allow, yeah, I’m overwhelmed. I’m busy, you know, and that’s not right. And it’s like, well, that’s actually not I’ve been busy and not feel emotion. It ain’t on the wheel.

Charlie Pleasant 11:38
There’s no emoji for busy if you right touch bar. It’s not. It’s no emoji for busy because it’s busy. That’s it, right? Yeah.

Sarah Morgan 11:47
Right, yeah, it’s not even available to you. So it’s like, Okay, we have to learn to like label the things that we’re feeling because our feelings are actually the thing that drives our beliefs and actions. And so if we’re not appropriately naming the things that we’re feeling, then we can’t take control of our thoughts. And then take control of our actions, we’re just kind of frantically going about. And at this time of year, when we are needing to slow down, like the world, the the, the environment, the planet that we live on at this time of year wants us to move at a slower pace, it just does. Um, what is your advice to individuals who’ve never done that kind of thinking before? As far as slowing down? Yeah, that’s a slow down, and then to get in touch with their wheel of emotion to get beyond. I’m busy, stressed, overwhelmed, to be X to eight to be able to say, actually, I feel rejected. And I feel angry, I feel like to actually tap into their feelings. And then let those feelings lead them to thoughts about the work that they’re doing. Because we’re talking about inclusion, and actions as it relates to the work that they’re doing. How do you guide people who’ve never had those kinds of thoughts before, particularly about their work, to slow down enough to tap in and be able to do that.

Charlie Pleasant 13:32
So I do it kindly. So the advice that I would give to anyone who may be wanting to explore a different state of being that’s a little bit more slow paced, it’s a little bit more flow that’s a little bit more tapped in number one is to do it with a licensed mental health professional. And someone that can actually walk you through that process, because you don’t know what emotions you might be suppressing with busyness and over functioning, and overproduction is kicked into high gear for reason. And a lot of times, it’s because it’s some, it’s because we don’t want to see something else that we that that needs our attention that’s happening in the background. And that’s not a journey you should do by yourself. That’s not something that I would not recommend a person that’s high functioning, to learn how to slow down by themselves. I think that there’s some, there’s a, there’s some partnering that needs to happen with that. Also, what’s happening biologically is that when you begin to slow down, it can feel really jarring to your system as you as you begin to regulate your nervous system. I have a lot of I have a lot of people that as they begin is what we call down regulation. I have a lot of people that feel anxious when that happens, because they don’t know what to do with the energy. They don’t know what to do. And so areas that Yeah, so when your system is down, regulating and getting back into a more balanced and harmonious state that can feel like it’s also it can it can feel jarring And then also what’s happening is that you’re not having to stress, the stress chemicals released into your system anymore. So if you’re so used, if you’re really used to have performance half functioning, you’re used to cortisol, you’re used to glucose, you’re used to all of these other things that are being pumped into your system that to sustain that adrenal is your adrenals, that are actually functioning all of that. When you begin to go into a state of downregulation, in hormonal balance, your body’s going to be like, with any other addiction, where are?

Sarah Morgan 15:33
Where is my cortisol? Oh, well, yeah, knee high.

Charlie Pleasant 15:40
And so as with any substance that’s happening in your body, the body is going to have a reaction to that when it’s not being released anymore, which can become really undoing and unnerving for people who don’t know that that’s what’s actually happening is that know, your body’s actually doing what it’s supposed to do, because we were never meant to be in this constant state at all times. I’ll give you an example of that. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I saw a meme that was floating around on social media. Not too long ago. And I really want to find out if this is true, because it would be incredible. So I always have this desire. I love nature. I love being out. In nature. I love everything about it and what it does for my body. My goal, my desire for anyone that’s listening, come scoop me up. Y’all always want to go to the neighborhoods, I’ll always want to go to those victories. Because I’m out I want to stand in all of something that enormous, enormous agree. I mean, just every time I look at it, I’m just flabbergasted. You know, it hits all my Lord of the Rings, you know, the twin towers with tree beard, and now it’s all my nerd stuff. But I love that type of thing. So there was this thing that was floating around on social media where it talked about a ray of wood being injected with I think it was adrenaline. And so it actually killed the tree. Read was that have been standing for years, hundreds of years, that it said that it actually killed the tree because it didn’t want the I guess whatever the main was saying is that it didn’t want it to stop reducing. But the overproduction actually killed the tree.

Charlie Pleasant 17:28
Now, whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. But I think that there’s a lesson to be learned in that. We’re not meant to be functioning all times at all times. There’s a benefit in wintering. As hard as it is, for a lot of people, especially the cold weather, I personally enjoy the cold weather, the cold the cooler season. I know that that’s hard for a lot of people. But there’s there is a benefit of actually going into a wintering season. And it’s duress. So if I’m thinking about this thing that was happening with the tree, the tree needed a space of rest. Yeah. And it’ll do. You know, somebody tells somebody tell us if it’s true or not, if this is actually true, but when I saw that, my heart sank, because I was just like, that’s where we act. That’s what organizations and corporations acts in this world acts of people to constantly take a shot, every day, single day, every single day. And even what we were talking about wanting to pre show. So before I even get into that, my my my answer to your question is, is that I advise you to walk with the professional if you’re wanting to work, work on slowing down, because I wouldn’t want them to fully explain everything that’s happening emotionally, emotionally, cognitively, and biochemically in your body, walking with the professional to help explain that. But going back to what we talked about in pre show, and just this, this, this concept that everything has to be shot with adrenaline and keep going is how we come to the end of the year. And I will share with Sarah that I have been fatigued by social media these days that’s constantly asking me, What am I going to do? What am I doing to prepare? For 2024? Why does to be a constant call to be in preparation of something.

Sarah Morgan 19:31
For something? Yeah.

Charlie Pleasant 19:33
And I’m having a really difficult time with that. Even as a clinician, I’m having a very difficult time with that. So when I talk to my clients, I’m always inviting the slower pace, which is the it’s a message that’s counterintuitive to our world, but it’s a message that I believe in wholeheartedly. If you ever do work with me, I’m not going to give you the 10 best point of how to get something done effectively. I’m gonna probably point to you 10 Reasons Why You can’t. And the one reason why you can possibly improve that is to slow down and catch up with yourself. Because what you might find is that the 10 points that you want to do something effectively, when you slow down, you might find out I don’t want to do this.

Sarah Morgan 20:17
I want this. Yeah, I don’t even want this, right. Yeah, so think about that as well, because I’m, I’m in the same room, we obviously we talked about this. And that’s how we ended up on the subject for the show. I’m in the same same place. As I head into 2024. I’m in a bit of a, I won’t say career shift, but definitely just like a job focus shift. Right now, and I’m not being my usual kind of frantic pace self, about lining up the next thing, I’m letting things unfold a little more naturally, and just going with the flow for a minute. While I figure out to to the earlier discussion, how do I actually feel about what’s happening? How do I feel about the work that I’ve been doing? What work gives me the most joy, and what work mate leaves me feeling energized and enthusiastic versus depleted? And so I’m, as I’m examining, and reflecting, I’m thinking about those things, so that I can be more intentional in crafting things, and again, not that everything has to bring you joy. That’s not necessarily the case. But it should be more often than not. Yeah, it should happen more often than not, um, and then to when I have to do those things that don’t bring me joy, how do I price them differently, to make that to make it worth the emotional labor and tax that it puts on me? Um, and I think that that has to, to be true for a lot of things in the way that we work and show up. And so you know, we always say no, you’re worth an ad tech like that. That’s real. And so that’s really been how I am planning for 2024 but it’s not the usual list of what conferences I want to attend or apply to speak at, or how many you know, clients that I want to land and propose and go after and social media strategy and even down to like podcast, calendaring, it’s none of those things. It’s really getting back in touch with my feelings of joy and worth and, and peace. That are what’s strong for me this year.

Sarah Morgan 23:13
And what I have been trying to encourage other people to get in touch wish as I go through, as I have conversations with others, people that are with us people that I coach, or people or crowds that I’m speaking to, or just individual conversations, like it’s time to shut this down is the joke going on right now is, you know, I’m like, I need this vibe, end of day and people like, Oh, I thought you meant end of December. But you wrote God, I thought you meant into December like night and day to day but like, end of the end of this month like to be thinking about how we slow things down because people this is a time of year where people really grapple with a lot folks are grieving, you know, the loss of loved ones. present company included. Absolutely. And figuring out what it feels like to go through a holiday season without them and what you know, and how those traditions are going to have to be different. Because of that people are struggling with how to interact with family, you know, as you go through the holidays, because we are not all living in a a Hallmark movie where everyone is just excited to get together and can’t wait to see each other there is you know, some some toxicity happening in an abuse in some cases in households that you’re having to figure out how do I navigate how do I sit across them and potentially have to break bread with someone who from Besides me, you know, and do I do that? And if I don’t, what impact does that have? Those are weighty, heavy decisions that you have to make, obviously, the financial impacts of gift giving, at this time of year and what who do i Who do I buy for? And how much do I spend, and it doesn’t matter whether you have a lot or a little, you still have to make those decisions and then to how that sometimes can become political, within your family, like, oh, you gave, so and so this and I only got that and that gets weaponized against you, even though you did so insincerity, like all of those things.

Charlie Pleasant 25:46
There’s an intersection that’s absolutely not talked about, in all of the things that you named that. I’m just sitting here. And I was just like, I can see how this serves a capitalist system that always wants to, or consumers system, you know, consumerism, it plays on holidays, it plays on grief, it claims on pitch a perfect, and the creation of those things, which could actually trigger feelings of what we might not have. And then that can actually trigger feelings of shopping. Yeah, to actually cope with it. With it. Yeah, it’s really interesting how all of this intersects at this particular time of the year, that can set us up, to overspend, to overeat to overindulge because of the fantasy of it all.

Sarah Morgan 26:39
And then again, on top of all of that, I’m having to finish up, you know, year in sorts of reporting and things of that nature, I’m having to set goals and plans and budgets. For the upcoming years, I’m having to manage staff who want their time off, but I can’t give everybody time off because heaven, heaven forbid, you know, somebody not be here. And just having that it’s a lot to navigate, and it’s very heavy on people. And then you add to that the pressures to divide to consume to project, you know, these perfect images. And then here comes the social media algorithms, I can only imagine what sorts of targeted ads you and I are about to get after this is over, because our you know, our phones, we listen to something. So um, you know, and here comes that that weighs on all of that as well. And it just, to me, feels so heavy and difficult to navigate. And it just wants, I just want to like hug everybody and then give them a big, big old warm blanket and say go.

Charlie Pleasant 27:59
Yeah, let’s go rest somewhere.

Sarah Morgan 28:01
And that’s what it makes me want to do is rest.

Charlie Pleasant 28:06
This is a time a year that I see. Although this year has been trending just a little different. That’s my word for today. But it’s been it’s actually been going in a different direction. I normally see an uptick in clients this year, around this time of year. And that’s that’s quite not been the case. But I am seeing a few. And it’s this it’s the it’s a very similar thing that I found myself starting around the Thanksgiving holiday or a couple of weeks before that it said how do we prep to be able to take care of ourselves during this time, my and I do spend a lot of time prepping with my clients about what feels realistic wood feels like it brings dissidents, and then what feels like it brings you really a good deal of joy and being able to stand in the tension of whatever decision you choose to make. Whether it does include being with family members, if it does not include, you know, if it includes distancing yourself, I think you had mentioned about what does it feel like to sit across the table for somebody that traumatized you? Well, there’s a choice that you have to make, you know, it when we when we were young baby when this happened. And that’s that’s not to say all the trauma happened, Jungen? I mean, it can happen at any course, you know, of course, in our life. But I’m just thinking about a young person who might not have had the agency or independence or the autonomy to be able to walk away from that traumatic person, having to do some work with that particular client to say, Hey, you’re not six years old anymore. You’re actually 36 with a choice, and a car and a home and in and friends and community and what does it mean to build and lean into your community during this time, which is one of the things that I love about this particular time of the year is how we’ve that we’ve linked it to like friends, giving or friends names, and being really using it as an alternate With a space to actually feel that part that you might not be able to not to replace it, but to feel that to that connection that you might be able to have with your family members for whatever the reason might be. I love I love that. I love the intentionality of that I love the thought of a lot of people who are not blood related, that are still choosing to love each other and be here in this space and connect communities together. And I think that that, that that takes bet takes a lot of just intentional thought versus where blood and we need to be together. Yeah. So those are, those are the ways that I’m prepping my clients to move into this year, and then let 2024 come in that to say, and I don’t want to, I don’t want to offer it from a standpoint of we’re just going to turn a blind eye out, it’s 2024 I think it’s okay to have goals and, and things that you want to work towards. But also allow it to be fluid. Allow it to be flexible, allow yourself the grace and afford to change that.

Sarah Morgan 31:06
It’s okay to like tiptoe a little bit into that I you know, one of the things for me that I don’t do any more is, you know, I always I don’t start my new year off. I don’t start my new year off with a whole bunch of plans. And things I like to ease into my January and let it take, let the lesson goals and things start to take shape in a different way. So I have I definitely have changed that. Whereas before, after the holidays, I tried to just like dive back in and pick up, you know, where I left off. And again, start the year in the year strong started off with a bang now. I’m like, No, we’re gonna shut it down. And then we can slowly pick it back up and out, you know, but I don’t ever try to you know, hit the ground running. And I don’t look for that, to be this to be necessarily true for the people that work alongside me or work for me either. And that makes me curious for your point of view. Because a lot as you talk to a lot to individuals about what they should be doing, what advice do you have are for those of us who lead people in terms of what they should be doing to support people as much as they can and taking that agency to, to slow down to get rest to set goals and, and deadlines for themselves that are a little bit Dare I say softer. And you know, kinder to our nervous systems, how to how managers and leaders or people begin to make that shift.

Charlie Pleasant 33:03
The biggest thing that comes up for me in how leadership and organizations can do this is let people know that it’s an option. Yeah, in that there’s a different way to actually do the work that we’ve been doing. I don’t think that there’s anyone and this could be just me having just a you know, rosy colored way of looking at it I don’t think that anyone goes into a place of employment and just says I’m going to just completely bombed this place. You know, like, you know, like 10 Bomb like physically but workwise I’m going to tank it I don’t want to be terrible I just want to be terrible at this I’m just really don’t think that the majority of people show up that way. I think people come and find positions and seek out with the hope that in this particular organization, it can highlight some things that I’m really good at. And I can show and I can show that not only to the people that are working you know working alongside within the people that are employing me but I can I absolutely affirm that in myself.

Sarah Morgan 34:16
Right and that’s the that drives me a little bonkers because when you there is an there’s not even an agreed upon definition of what those words even mean. So what may be possible and and grind into you might be nothing for me, there might be Tuesday. I always talk so bad about Tuesday, but that might just be your regular smuggler Tuesday for me, right? Like, why? Why Why? Why do that to ourselves in order to achieve someone else’s definition of success.

Charlie Pleasant 34:59
I think that’s a lot of what we we we place a value on. That’s it, we place value on what that looks like. There’s a quality, there’s a value that’s assigned to over functioning and high performance. And I’m busy busyness and the ability to take on multiple projects. And the ability to multitask, even though the research has shown for years that multitasking is the most ineffective way to do anything. So I have for you, well, we we place we place a character value on a person who demonstrates those particular qualities and a workplace and says this, that’s who you need to be. Right? Now, understanding that, who you’re saying that needs, that’s where you need to be is often in in my office having a complaint enough? Yeah, you know, you don’t see the other side of the price that’s really being paid for them.

Sarah Morgan 36:02
So, because there are, you know, on in my area in consulting, and we’re in coaching, there are a lot of bed behaving managers out there, who have bought into this hustle and grind culture and are and when they’re not able to achieve the things that they believe that they need to achieve. Or when the people who work alongside them don’t execute, the way that they felt that that person should have execute, they are losing their grip on what you know. And then they are berating individuals, or they are some I’ve seen people, you know, throwing things, and, or just, again, going on these complete tirades with individuals about all the things that they expected that didn’t happen and get done. And so you see them struggling to stay high functioning, or functional period.

Charlie Pleasant 37:15
And my question always, is, why did you want to stay at this state?

Sarah Morgan 37:19
It doesn’t like it, how was this working for you? It doesn’t sound it doesn’t sound like it is. And so, um, you know, I find myself coaching managers and, and leaders, and I’m talking like sea level leaders, presidents and vice presidents of organizations, to find their humanity within themselves first. And then to extend that, that empathy and that grace to other people. And so organizations that do so have higher rankings of people feeling engagement and satisfied, because when they feel like they are their humanity is honored. And they do perform well, that you can have both you that you can have both.

Charlie Pleasant 38:16
One of the things that I’m interested in exploring in 2024, and just beyond is doing a lot more corporate wellness training, and accusing ifs in network. I’m always curious about the parts that leadership’s lead with, or leaders lead with. I’m very curious about the parts within your internal system that informs the way that you lead and do you even have an awareness of what those so go into the current conversation that we’re having about finding your humanity, a big part of that is, is understanding what parts of my league and with that I bring into this workplace that actually dictates and curates how I communicate how we get work done in this organization. So if I’m a person who spent the majority of their life hearing that hard work, gives you the result, hard work and time gives you the results not to say that there’s any falsity to that. But if that’s the thing that’s constantly being reiterated to you over and over and over and over again, I’m very curious if you leave with a part that’s a taskmaster.

Sarah Morgan 39:27
Because the hard work I can even take.

Charlie Pleasant 39:30
How you know in the black community and I’m all I know is black Nina because I’m I’m black in that way, but how we talk about achievement being the way the achieved the value that we placed on achievement. So and I’ve even watched this, this thing again on social media floating around when a black woman gets bored, she goes out and get a degree. That is something so true. medic about that thought, yeah, there’s something that that’s a messaging, while that can be celebrated in that talk about that a lot is how achievement is one of those things that fly under the radar, as a as a as a branch of over functioning, but also a response to something else traumatic because we were awarded. Typically when we talk about the things that we utilize, that are bad coping strategies, we’re talking about how we, we can talk about sex, we can talk about drugs, we can talk about addiction, we can talk about alcoholism, but we don’t talk about achievement in the same way. That’s an addiction. But it is, yeah, so we take that messaging in, and then boom, I’m an HR. And I’m the hiring authority here. And I’ll cost and I’m only looking at the play of achievement in the resumes that I see. But you miss out that the better suited person has a characteristic or quality in their character that can actually be better suited for the work that’s happening here.

Sarah Morgan 41:06
Yeah, more you also, the way I also see that ended up getting weaponized is the way that organizations, vilify people who don’t necessarily want to advance. That’s why if I have come in at a position that, you know, maybe entry level or mid level, and I’m good, I’m good here, but I like what it is that I’m doing, I feel confident and competent. In my work, my work is effective, and efficient, I’m getting it done. And I don’t want to move up. And I don’t want to go to another department and try something different, I want to do this, I’m good with this, that we don’t value. We don’t, we don’t get people like that. There’s something like as though there’s something wrong with them for not wanting to strive for something different. And then we begin to label them in negative ways. Even though if, if that person were not in that position, giving us that stability and giving us that consistency of of excellence that they bring, it can affect a lot of other phones, it would affect a lot of other functions like I’ve been in organizations where you know, our long term receptionist, our long term admin, our long term, AP person exits that organization. And it’s a mess, though nobody know how to do nothing. Things ain’t to the level that we’re accustomed to them being because someone so is gone. Meanwhile, we was cloning someone so for not wanting to be the manager for not wanting to move to a specialist for not wanting to transfer to such and such a department. But we’re not realizing that all the time. So So was holding it down for you Dinnen, there has to be respect and appreciation due for that just as much like their hat, we have to get to a place where we honor and respect. Good work and the people who do it. Regardless. That’s it. That’s it, because there is honor, in honest, good work. And it does not matter and legal. Honest. Yeah, it does not matter whether that person’s zone of excellence is super duper entry level, super duper, executive level, right? Right, deeper knowledge base, superduper physical base, that they are in the zone of excellence for them as a human, and they are doing it well. And the work that they do is making a difference to the world in the way that it’s designed to impact we should just be glad and honored.

Charlie Pleasant 44:35
And what we might be missing in not honoring that is the fact that there’s some secret sauce to be had there. So X, Y and Z that’s been in this position for however long they’ve been that knows the ins and outs not only do they have the knowledge base of the organization in a network to move things within your organization. When we talk about slowing down and taking care of yourself, perhaps this person might have thought about wanting to move into upper management or the next whatever that thing. What they might consider going back to what we were talking about earlier, how do we how do we teach leaders to do this is that this person might have figured out what I value most is the quality of life that this position gives me to enjoy my family, or to enjoy what I do on my own, or to enjoy my children. And that allows me to function optimally, in this case, because I’m a lot more balanced. So when we talk about exploring, you know, how do we talk to leaders about this? Also understand that that, to your point, it’s okay to be what would we mentioned in norm in pre show is normalizing ordinary? Yeah, every day is not a peak moment. No, every experience is not a peak experience. And so if we’re constantly chasing that will never be satisfied, right? Because most of our days are lived in the everyday home.

Sarah Morgan 46:12
And I think we have one of the things that I can say, I’ve taken away from COVID. And not that COVID is gone. But the height of it was one of the things that I definitely have tried to convey to others is that need to allow people, the agency that they need to make those decisions for themselves and their family without pressure or judgment. That if this is if this space, is what works for me for this season of my life, and I’m doing good work in this space. Leave me alone. And let me do that. And when when, when it changes when the season changes, and I’m ready to do you know, when it goes from winter to spring, and I’m ready to grow and bloom again. Be willing to allow me that change? Yes. Yeah. Be willing to give me that opportunity. But sometimes the answer, just like the answer, when I asked the organization, can I be promoted is not right now. When the organization asked me, I should be able to give them that same answer, and have it be okay.

Charlie Pleasant 47:38
And I think it really goes back to what you mentioned earlier, is being able to reconnect to your manatee like these are people every day, these are these are everyday normal human being hands that probably have more similar goals. As the person is sitting right next to them, or the person that leadership is that they wanted, well, they want to take care of their family, they want to have some fun along the way, and enjoy some things along the way. We’re not too dissimilar in that way. So that’s that’s how we begin to introduce this conversation to leadership is is into our organization is letting them know that this is an option. That how we’ve been doing this doesn’t have to be the way that we continue to do our business, and then be mad at a person who might value hard work long hours in labor, not be mad at a person who can find who values efficiency. Yeah. And that penalize them for that, that that’s a way to do things effectively. So it’s for a lot of people in organizations. And this can be a hasty generalization. It’s advantageous to keep things looking a particular way because of how it feeds their self identity. Yeah. So it’s a brain, but it also starts innovation. Right? Right. It also stands progress. It also stands just forward movement. Yeah, but there are a lot of people that are invested in keeping things a particular way because they themselves have defined themselves with that particular thing versus actually have some some space to grow and expand here. Yeah, so it really don’t have to see that person as a threat that that sees things that want to have things a bit softer and slower paced.

Sarah Morgan 49:28
And that will make an offer because I have lifted that would make people mad, it might be like, I have worked in environments where I have a I build good teams. And I build these teams, we get along well, we end like we genuinely, genuinely everybody’s at work. So our teams have genuinely enjoyed each other. We get our work done. We go on giggling and Kiki as we go along but we’re not going to be breaking our backs to get there, we are going to work at a nice, steady pace to meet the deadlines that are before us. And it makes folks like the audacity of you to enjoy one another, the audacity of you to to finish your work and leave out here. One time, it makes folks mad. And once upon a time, I used to shrink and hide from that. And you saw I caution my team. Now statement, your statement, either y’all can stay mad, or we can have a conversation about how you too, can get some of this magic, it’s not hard. But I think if nothing else, as we close this year, and look toward the next one is to to seek ways to to slow down to normalize the ordinary, and to give more agency more individuals to select the path that’s going to work best for them and their needs. I think that’s key.

Charlie Pleasant 51:18
In the thing, looking forward to into in 2024.

Sarah Morgan 51:24
Honest to goodness, like all the possibilities, this is one of those moments where I’m in a shifting season. Sure, transitioning season, but I’m not 100 It’s like, you know, butterflies. I know we glamorize like caterpillars turn into butterflies. But we also have to remember like if you’ve ever watched a butterfly try to come. That’s a that’s a thing. You know, that’s a hard, that’s a hard transition. You haven’t just learned how to wings work and all like just watch a time lapse video. Because it takes a long time, but just watch a time lapse video. It’s not an easy thing. And I’m the I don’t know what’s gonna I don’t know, what will my wings gonna look like on the other side of this and so I’m just taking I’m excited for all the possibilities of what that’s going to bring because I I have no doubt that it’s going to be good. Like sometimes you’re you’re looking at stuff and you’re like, ooh, this could go either way. I don’t feel that way. I feel like oh, this is gonna Bisco me interested season. So you know, left me on a clay left me on a cliffhanger. But season so yeah, so I’m just waiting to see what that’s going to be but with good anticipation and high expectancy, no expectations. expectancy, right?

Charlie Pleasant 52:47
Yeah, yes,

Sarah Morgan 52:51
I thank you for rocking with me. And for the Inclusion Crusaders, our expert in residence this year, thank you. Listeners are getting a lot of knowledge out of what it is that you’re sharing and a lot to reflect and think on. And this episode has been another one of those moments. And so we thank you all for listening. And we look forward to your feedback. And we look forward to hearing the stories about how you have rested and and taking it easy as you glide into 2024. So thank you, as always for listening to the Inclusion Crusade. I am Sarah Morgan here with our expert in residence Charlie Pleasant, we are wishing you a safe and peaceful and restful holiday season and a happy new year.

Charlie Pleasant 53:47
I’m gonna shoot my shot. If there’s anybody out there that wants to bring me in to do work with your organization. I know Sarah puts my contact information in the show notes, but you can check out all of my work and what I do at And let’s connect and see what magic we can bring to your organization if you’re looking to shake things up a little bit.

Sarah Morgan 54:06
That’s right, and let’s all do great things in 2024. That’s it. Thank you all and bye bye.

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