In this podcast episode, we’re In The Company of Rachel Service. Rachel is the Founder of Happiness Concierge: a kick ass training company that helps people ace their work and lives.
After suffering anxiety, depression and burnout in her 20s, she realised work was killing her and created Happiness Concierge to help other people be more impactful at work. Her training helps individuals in organisations learn tactical ways to make a bigger impact at work.
- You always have a choice of how you respond. Good, bad, ugly: you can control how you respond if you’re aware of how you’re feeling.
- Most people don’t want to be jerks. They just don’t have the experience, tools, support, know-how to use their words.
- Workplaces have a huge opportunity to shape behaviours.
(Rachel over delivered and gave us four!)
- No behaviour of yours affects only you. Behaviour is contagious – when you stand up for yourself, someone else will likely be watching, thinking ‘maybe I could do that, too’.
- Learning how to say no will change your life.
- Take advice from people who are in the shoes you want to be in.
- Waiting for approval is like waiting for Kanye to lose his ego: ain’t never gonna happen. Do things before you’re ready.
[00:00:35] Kylie: Today in the company of Rachel Service. Rachel is the founder of Happiness Concierge, a kick arse training company that helps people ace their work and lives. After suffering anxiety depression and burnout in her 20s, she realised that work was killing her and so created, Happiness Concierge, to help other people be more impactful at work with less stress. Her training helps individuals in organisations learn tactical ways to make a bigger impact at work. Welcome Rachel.
[00:01:06] Rachel: Thanks so much for having me Kylie.
[00:01:09] Kylie: I’m so excited to have you here today to talk about the things that we’re going to talk about because they are so prevalent in work today and we definitely need to have a conversation around how we show up to work in a way that is good for us good for the organisation, is sustainable and enables us to be able to to reach some higher goals in our lives without taking ourselves down in the process. But before we jump into the fantastic work that you do at the Happiness Concierge I would love to find out a little bit more about who wee Rachel was back in your home country of New Zealand and what things did you love doing as a child.
[00:01:51] Rachel: Well I’m a I’m a Loudie. And I think I’m loudie because I was one of five kids, Catholic family growing up in New Zealand. My mum was a teacher and now an academic. My dad was a salesman. And when Mum said that when I was born I was just such a rush to be born and I can’t I have never stopped ever since.
[00:02:14] So you know she said you were just such like a puppy Rach. She’d just run run run run and then. Sleep on the floor. And I don’t know that that’s changed. And when I think about the younger right show I think one out one out of five kids, I was definitely the loudest and there was a stage I’d be on it and if there wasn’t a stage I’d make one and always making them dances and dance routines and terrible songs and you know dressing up my little brother and sisters as props in my show, and just go up basically believing that I was in fact in Destiny’s Child and that I was going to Beyonce. Only recently have I realised that’s actually not true, but I’ve become my own version, I suppose, of a rockstar. So yeah.
[00:03:00] Kylie: Fantastic. So that’s it’s interesting that your mom was a teacher and your dad was in sales. You know that obviously plays out in what you find yourself doing now in in your role but where were you in the birth order of those five kids.
[00:03:16] Rachel: I was number two so my older sister two years apart, so Mum Mum and Dad had five kids and a little under the age of 10. And yeah wow, and my older sister two years apart me and she really took their looking after the gang role. And I think I was basically the naughty one who took no responsibility, just whatever I like, yeah so number two, no responsibility only until recently I suppose.
[00:03:45] Kylie: So that’s a learned skill in your adult years Rach?
[00:03:49] Rachel: Right. Reluctantly, like reluctantly.
[00:03:51] Kylie: And now that you’ve learned those things your you’re sharing them with the rest of us those hard won lessons. Before we jump into that the other question that I would really like to ask you is, as now fully formed Rachel, what what is some of the three guiding principles or beliefs that you have in that you hold in your life now?
[00:04:14] Rachel: Good question. And I think I’ve come to realise that we always have a choice in how we respond to things and how we behave and how we talk and how we act towards others.
[00:04:28] In my 20s I very much believed that the world was happening to me and none of it was my fault. And so I firmly believe now that we have a choice, now I know that studies and research proves that, if we stay angry after 90 seconds we’ve made a choice to do so. So you always have a choice in how you respond.
[00:04:46] Through my work I suppose I’ve discovered that most people don’t want to be an asshole. They don’t want to be a jerk. Most people do have good intentions and they want to do the right thing, they’re just not give them the tips or the tools, or they haven’t been given the life experiences, or they’ve not been for an opportunity where they can feel safe to say ‘I don’t know how to be a grown up in this situation.’ And there is only a small percentage of people through my studies of psychology have discovered that people do not want to change. With the exception of course of manipulative types who have no change the consequence if they do change.
[00:05:25] And I think the third belief is that I really really really believe that workplaces have such a massive opportunity to shape the way that we behave at work. we spend 80 percent of my time at work and therefore the flow on effects it has around behaviours, violence, gendered violence and the way that flows on into the rest of our society. I think there is a massive opportunity for workplaces to do some really kickass work around shaping the behaviours and teaching people how to use your emotions at a really constructive way.
[00:06:02] Kylie: Amazing. Absolutely the impact that organisations have around shaping us, is is one of the reasons why I wanted to have this conversation in this podcast and talk about you know what is what actually happens to humans inside organisations, the light and the dark of that. But perhaps we need to go back, rewind now a little bit back to what it was like for you in your 20s working given that you were in a hurry to be born. You know from the moment that you that you took your first breath you were in a hurry a lot. How did that manifest in your working life in your 20s?
[00:06:47] Rachel: I supposed I always felt like time was running out or that I was wasting time instead of spending time. And I’ve now reframed that wasting time is just spending time.
[00:06:58] And I think I had all this ambition but I didn’t yet have the skills or the experience or a really clear goal of where I was going. And someone, you know I’m the daughter of a salesman, I’m really good at the gift of the gab, I can sell myself some to any job. So much so that I keep giving jobs that were completely out of my league. And I don’t know how to say no, I don’t know how to ask for help, and I just it’s too embarrassing to ask for help. Are you crazy? It would mean I’m a quote “failure” you know? So what that meant is that I just worked as hard as possible, said yes to everything, and crucially tied my identity of who I was as a person to how “successful” I was at work. And that meant in my mind working as long hours as possible, sighing that I was so busy, as a sign of how important I was in life, and you know things around how much money I was making started to define me. And just so you’re with that money range from anything from my first job being $18,000 dollars a year ad sales executive, to be 70000 dollars a year for a communications rep. So you know we’re talking about money which would sit around the average Australian wage between $50,000 a year but still that came to define how good I was both in my performance at work and as a person. And truth be told I didn’t actually have an identity outside of work.
[00:08:32] So yeah a lot of lessons hard learned and I suppose the first lesson was when I passed the bathroom in my early 20s. And you know you’re young in your 20s you think YOLO, you just move on. Learned nothing from that. And then in my mid 20s I went through a breakup and thought I don’t need to deal with those hard feelings, I would just throw myself into work, and then not being able to stand up one day due to [sic:lack of] fatigue. And then later on my 30s going through freelance work going, ‘Oh I’m going to see a burnout coming here, oh oh how can I see that I created this moment and in fact I am the common denominator here. Maybe there’s something that I can do differently to change that in future.’
[00:09:12] Kylie: So what industry were you working in Rach to foster, you know you could probably apply to any any industry, but do you think the industry that you were working in, kind of encouraged that hyper overwork?
[00:09:28] Rachel: I think I’d worked both client side. I was in PR and communications which is a very active industry so that you very much had to be available at a minute’s notice for a journalist or a client.
[00:09:41] So the role I was in was a contributor. Certainly my first job was, eventually the firm went bankrupt so I don’t know that they were really clear and what they were looking to achieve. In every sector I did report to people who saw me as a really confident, autonomous person who didn’t really need me much handholding, so they probably stepped back a little bit, and ultimately I wasn’t really clear what success looked like. I just sort of felt busy that would solve that. So I think looking back now certainly my personality type had a predisposition to that, but I also think the working environment there are a number of probably red flags I’d say now was a professional going into organisations, it is lack of clear structure lack of an idea of what success looks like, inability to have constructive conversations around what is accepted and unaccepted behaviour, and also an education around how do you work best Rach, let’s work with that and then let’s support you to recover afterwards. If you’ve got a busy campaign let’s support you to take a week off after that because you’ve done you know a week’s worth of overtime in the last few weeks. Essentially those conversations were not conversations that I was privy to so, a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B there, and certainly that’s what I see when I go into organisations.
[00:11:02] Managers don’t really know how to have that conversation and people reporting to those managers don’t really want to have that conversation because they’ve lost perspective and they’re overtired and fatigued as well and too scary as well.
[00:11:14] Kylie: It’s a Catch 22 when you’re when you are then in that position where you’re so fatigued and you’re so at your wits end to be able to put up the red flag and say ‘you know I need help’ or ‘I’m in this place and I don’t know how to get out of it and I’m still in crisis mode.’ It’s a very difficult place to be able to recover from within that existing organisation, and especially if it’s an organisation where that’s part of the culture. You know where it’s sort of fostered as being ‘this is what we expect.’ So I was really interested in what you just said around having conversations about acceptable behaviour, what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. And we’re talking boundaries there, about boundaries in organisations.
[00:12:01] In your work that you do now what what kinds of things, who are you talking to? Are you talking both to organisational leaders and teams around that around having those conversations and what does that look like?
[00:12:18] Rachel: Yeah there have been a few interesting groups to emerge. So there’s probably three demographics of people who seek a one-on-one counsel with me through the workshops I do.
[00:12:28] And the first group is 45 year old plus, usually females senior executives or females who’ve been in a role for a significant amount of time, so five years onwards. And the challenges that they face is that they’re working with, they have been working for say five to ten years with an organisation and then being perceived a certain way, and they’re looking to change their perception. And they’ve also had a massive of confidence knock. So their confidence has eroded over time. And they’re looking to have their thoughts validated. And part of that group are also wondering who they might be without their identities as work, as parents, as mothers if they’re mothers, as partners. And I’ve had individuals with in that age bracket say to me ‘I don’t know who I am without work, my life is for everyone else’ and even individuals saying things like ‘I actually feel dead inside, I don’t care about my work anymore.’ And often it’s the first time they’ve articulated that.
[00:13:29] The second group that have arrived in my offices probably over the last six months are males 35 to 45, and they have recently or have recently have had a professional set back or their direct manager or their intimate romantic partner will call me and say hey ‘he’s acting out of character’ or ‘he’s acted aggressively recently’ or ‘he’s dropped the ball at work.’ The phrase ‘dropped the ball’ is pretty used with these individuals and now they have these individuals in my office I say ‘Well what’s going on?’ And often it’s a triggered emotion related to something very early on in life that has demonstrated itself within the workplace and their role as a provider, as a performer, you know all the Ps around you know what it means to be a masculine leader, are being challenged.
[00:14:22] And then the third group I work with people leaders who are working with lots of different demographics, be it younger workers. So the first zero to five years of your work where you’re learning about what ‘professional’ looks like, and are you allowed to talk in meetings, and is turning up at 9:30am with a latte OK or not?
[00:14:40] And then working with high performers who want more more more more more.
[00:14:45] And then also working with working with individuals who are displaying toxic behaviour and unsure how to have those conversations. And truth be told, don’t really want those conversations. Rather not talk about it. And the first question I ask is ‘Great so what’s been done to date to address this behaviour?’ ‘Oh no. You know I’m not here to learn about that. I just wanna learn how to manage millennials.’ That’s a really interesting phrase which has cropped up and that’s consistent across all markets, all industries in all age levels, which is really interesting.
[00:15:19] And then recently when I did a workshop with a group of very young leaders. So we’re talking around 18 to 24 year olds. We did a we did some work around what what behaviour looks like when you’re in your green zone and you’re up in life and you’re doing great. Your yellow zone, where are not feeling quite in control. And then your red zone when you’re actually out of control and acting aggressively or passive aggressively. And interesting, at a young man, a young white man, I think he was around 22 from observation. He said ‘oh I didn’t realise that I had a choice to not be angry at work. I didn’t realise I had a choice to get out of that state. And that’s something I’ll be taking with me.’ This is his first, second year of a quote ‘real’ job. And that’s when I realised, wow we have such an opportunity here, workplaces here to teach what appropriate behaviour looks like, in young men, women, people of all identities, genders, ages and ethnicities. And that’s that’s when I thought, wow this work has real power to influence people to kick ass at work in a constructive way, which can only lead to positive behaviours outside of work with their intimate partners and friends and wives.
[00:16:28] Kylie: There’s so many things in that. I would love to go and just explore what those zones, because that sounds like a really useful tool, and obviously cracked something opened for this young man. So I would love to talk about that, if you wouldn’t mind sharing that with us.
[00:16:45] Rachel: Yeah, I would love to. So I talk around a traffic light system, how we all have an internal traffic light system with green, yellow and red. And the reason it’s so simple, is so when you go into that zone you can identify it pretty quickly. So interestingly at my Anti Burnout workshops or my Ace Your Work workshops, I’ll say, ‘Hey, before we kick off can you give me a show of hands how you work best?’
[00:17:09] And people say ‘Oh no we’re not here to learn that, we’re here to learn how to be more efficient.’ So I say ‘Great, tell me how working best is for you. Are you morning person or a night person life whether you autonomously or in chaos, you know you’re only child or many child, and very seldom suddenly individuals will be able to tell me that straight away – it will have to be a worksheet and work through which gives us a clue. We’re making a lot of assumptions around what people being fully formed humans before they arrive to us in any way or state, right? Yeah. So that’s fascinating. I mean certainly when I came to create happiness concierge I don’t actually know what that looks like for me and I was in my 30s. OK. So that gives us another clue. So when I’m in my yellow zone, and I don’t know about you calling people listen to this but when am I in my yellow zone, I am conscious of what I’m doing but I’m still going to sit that third latte. I feel a bit anxious, probably a bit sweaty, a little bit overwhelmed and just kind of ‘nod’ panicking. You know when you have conversations with people who are in this zone, and I’ve been in so many times myself, you kind of want to crack open the door and be like ‘Hey bro. All right. You’re all good.’ So when we think a little bit out of control. And the red zone is when you either feel completely out of control, overwhelmed, or are more likely to say phrases such as ‘I didn’t know what I was doing’ or ‘I had a black spot emotionally’ or ‘I had I was really angry when that happened. I can’t quote ‘control’ what I’m doing when I’m in that zone.’
[00:18:38] Psychologists tell me that every action is a result of your thoughts and your beliefs and your actions and your fears. So when we talk about a red zone it’s about saying to people in all workplaces it’s okay to say that we all have a red zone okay. I, myself, am passive aggressive, more like you be sarcastic. I actually get a sore eye because I roll my eyes so much when I’m in the out of control zone, and that I’m critical of others. Glass half empty and I’m a cruel cruel person to be around when I’m in that zone. And so when we talk about those zones, we bring out the elephant in the room and say ‘hey everybody has these what are some tactical things we can do to get out of the red and into yellow, and once we’re back in yellow, how can we slowly massage us back to the green.’ Let’s get real we’re not going to be green full time, but when we’re in the yellow zone, that gives us a clue. And when we have those conversations of people leaders from all ages and people in the groups and the people leader says ‘I tell you I know when I’m in the red and I just lose my lose my stuff around a meeting not going on time, I’m going to make a commitment to pull out my yellow card and say sorry guys I’m acting out of line. And that gives people permission to say ‘Oh we do all act badly. That’s part of the human condition.’
[00:19:49] It’s okay to admit that because when we don’t admit that in places that’s when some very very very toxic behaviour can come out and play, even by people who are you know great people, who just act out of line when they’re stressed. Like we all do.
[00:20:03] Myself included.
[00:20:05] Kylie: That it’s such a simple way of giving people a framework and a language around get in being curious about their emotions and being able to label what is going on. You know in much of the training that I’ve gone through to you know they talk about being able to label it in order to tame it. And you know the fact that you’ve given them language to help them label it and also normalise that this is part of the human experience and that it is you know okay to feel these things but also here are some tools to help you manage it and communicate it and and hopefully bounce back up out of it, because we can’t always be working. It’s just not in our human capacity to always be in the Green Zone but to have some, you know some shared dialogue. So do you say you do this work in teams within organizations:
[00:21:05] Rachel: Yeah. Both one on one and within teams. The most common requests I get is ‘Can you come in and talk to our team around managing millennials?’ And what I read on that is great there’s an opportunity to talk about behaviours and that’s not to do with millennials. It’s across the whole board. So certainly the my most common request come in to talk about something that’s not threatening something that everyone can look and improving on, but really it’s a thinly veiled disguise to talk about feelings. But in a way that’s like ‘Hey guys life is a bit of elephant in the room was think about some ideas to tackle it.’ And when you talk about tackling things, or using sporting analogies, like you say label it it to tame it. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. It can be really really powerful. And then I’ve had people as a result contact me privately to say ‘I just want to let you know that I felt out of control recently and thanks for letting me know I have a choice. Choice’
[00:22:04] Kylie: Yes. And that goes back to that belief that you were talking about that you do actually have a choice in how you respond. And the first step is it is a no as it said with that young man, ‘I didn’t realize I had a choice other than to be angry at work.’ That’s phenomenal. How do we arrive forgetting that we actually have choices. What do you think? You know I’m I’m fascinated by the idea that we have to be a different person at work and that we have to leave our humanity at the door when we walk in. Why do you think that is?
[00:22:45] Rachel: Ugh! So many thoughts on this! I suppose the first thing I’ve observed is that we’re taught, we’re taught how to treat others the way that our parents or a parental figures teach us how based on how they have treated each other, around respect, around language, around patience, around conflict, whether one avoids conflict or one leaves the room when they’re faced with conflict, or whether they come back and use their grown up words. I think how we’re raised is one factor, I think who we socialise as another and around accepted behaviour. Yeah, it’s so complex but I suppose the biggest contributor to that kind of sense of whether I can quote ‘be myself at work’ is around, I believe, language, the language we use around leadership training. I mean sure let’s use that language is that helpful, but is it helpful. Is it helpful language to say ‘When I’m home, I’m a 34 year old single woman and when I’m hired as a happiness concierge I’m a leadership consultant. Are you f-ing for real?’ I’m a human saying here are some observations I’ve made based on human behaviour, but the truth is when we talk about money, status, ego and ego what it means to provide or be a leader or why we seek to be leaders, I think that some really interesting work and certainly the biggest the biggest contribution to my burnouts was the feeling that I was my private self at home. You know dancing in the mirror to Beyonce, versus my public self at work which was professional when I wore suits. And I know that ’cause the first thing my Dad bought me my workforce was a suit to signal you know like I’m f-ing proud of you and want you to look the part and go you. And so many years I also had some heels and fabulous wardrobe, by the way, but it was only recently where I actually felt comfortable to not wear high heels to work because that was a subtle signifier about what it meant to look, dress, act, speak the part. And so yeah, why when we can talk about what it means to be successful and leadership, I think addressing the language around ‘Do you want to work with people who are your sort of people?’ and are clients of your internal clients as other kind of wilderbeasts who don’t have families and anxieties and thoughts, are all people and we’re all good at different stuff and let’s kind of get over this obsession with leadership. I would encourage it. I think it more useful language could be like behaviour traing or being good people training. It could be that could would be more helpful I think.
[00:25:27] Kylie: Thie suit analogy is so much the armour that we put on in order to protect ourselves from the vulnerability and the uncertainty of showing up and not knowing how it’s going to go and especially when you said when you’re in your 20s and you didn’t know things you didn’t feel like you could ask for help and you know it was kind of this bravado of you know I need to have it all figured out. And the suit is actually almost like a physical manifestation that I’ve got my shit together and I’m out in the world and I know these things, when we all know, we all inside have our doubts, our insecurities, our fears, our you know our ups and downs, and personal challenges that arise that we have no control over that decide to turn up one day and make themselves at home and give us work to do. So I think you know that that whole idea of you know how we actually armour up before we go into work and then how that physically manifests in this this shell that we then operate within is is so interesting. And the languaging around leadership is because it’s so palatable, you know rather than saying ‘Oh I am a human that needs to do a bit of work on my own personal stuff’ you’re know the kind of admitting that ‘I don’t have it all worked out’ is just is not something that we’re comfortable hearing around others. And yet it’s it’s how we connect and how we bring out the most in people. So Rach, you have a number of workshops that you run. Would you mind, one of the one of the ones I’ve become really interested in is the values audit, and would you mind giving us a little bit of insight into how that works?
[00:27:22] Rach: Yeah yeah so and one of the biggest contributors to people feeling overwhelmed or right in their red zone from when I talk that language, is feeling that way one person at home one person at work. And when I say that what’s really important you they say ‘I don’t know.’ So I get them a pack of, I think it’s around 56 cards with words such as honesty, integrity, respect, family, love, power, money. All of these words and I ask them to choose three words that folks evoke some form of physical or emotional response in them and they don’t need to know why. They just need to feel a physical or emotional response, and then I ask them to choose one word one word or one value that they would rather walk away from than compromise. And often they find with those three words that the three words they give them a emotional response, they realize that those words are not showing up in their current day to day either at home at work. So for females predominantly they’ll use the word they’ll select the word ‘recognition’. Men will often use the word ‘family’ and across all genders and industry is a word that is very commonly selected as ‘integrity’. And when I ask a little bit deeper about why integrity is presented within they often say my colleague my boss they talk the talk but they do not walk the walk, and they do not support the actions that they purport to say that they do, and the words that I ask around ‘What is one value that you would rather walk away from than compromise?’ often that reveals to them that that’s why they either at my Anti-Burnout workshop or the Brand You workshop or anything that can get their hands on, is because I don’t feel like I’m working to my inner values. And I think the biggest lesson that I have learned is when we don’t work to our inner values we start chipping away at inner self around our worthiness, can your even trust my point of view, is the thought valid, and it erodes our confidence and we end in a role that either doesn’t serve us, we’re not kicking ass, we’re not earning what we believe we’re truly worth, and that affects every single other aspect of work, who we believe we deserve to be partner with, intimate partners, who we deserve we belong to, we deserve to work with, and what we deserve in life. So yeah it’s a bit deep, it’s a bit life coachy but I encourage people to go there. And interestingly one of the most popular with recruiters and people leaders, when they’re looking for a light hearted activity to do over a team building lunch. And I think that’s really interesting that like a facilitator to have what’s quite a heavy discussion. But again around positive solutions this is a positive. We want to get to know you want to help you kick ass at work using your values. And by the way they’re all possible at work. Sometimes it’s around articulating them. Going Aha. Well actually all I need to do to resolve that is tell my boss ‘When you do this thing but you don’t follow up, that really annoys me. It can be as simple as that.
[00:30:36] Kylie: Yeah yeah. So that was interesting that you mentioned that you saw there was gender differences around those words. Can you explain that a little bit more?
[00:30:48] Rachel: Yes so the word recognition is very popular with professional women. And there are a few theories on that. So in a recent workshop I did with a recruiter, recruitment leaders from lot of blue chip firms, the women were predominantly 45 plus. And they said the word recognition and they said the following or variations of the following, ‘I always try to get my staff recognition and tap them on the back because I never get that myself’ or ‘I never feel like I get that myself.’ So an observation we make in these sessions as if I’m demonstrating behaviour out of a deficit, how can I use it deficit to say to my people leader, I need a bit more of this to top up my mojo tank. Because often we’re good at deflecting our feelings forward, but we’re not good at facing upwards or backwards. And around the men saying family, I had one really interesting moment where a CFO said to me ‘I’ve chosen the word family and I’m going to put this in my wallet because I realise that I say this is important to me but when I look at my schedule, I don’t make time for that. I don’t make time for that.’ And he said that he and his partner had really made steps around banning the phone at dinner times. And he said actually ‘You know I am going off to do recreational things and saying that I’m busy but really it’s because I’m avoiding, just you know spending time, with the thing that I would like more which is family.
[00:32:15] And I wonder whether that plays a larger and statistically less men take paternity leave than women around a gender stigma around whether it’s okay for a man in Australasian countries or non Swedish countries feel to take part in paternity leave, around conversations you know heterosexual couples have around a financial split of finances when they have children, make a decision to have children, or whether they find a lovely surprise of a child. All those subtlies come into play. And I think also with the integrity part I mean it it’s across all ages and groups, that is absolutely no surprise for me, because when I speak to managers and say ‘Hey so what have we done to work with this construct to behaviour, you can pay me thousands of dollars to come in and tell you logic over a few hours over lunch, or you could use the following sentence.
[00:33:11] They say that might be great if you can come in. That would be great because there’s a stigma around being quote ‘the bad guy’ right.
[00:33:20] But studies have shown that people have more respect for their bosses when they laid down the boundaries and they had the hard conversations and they say to be honest, as the people leader said to me when I was 22, ‘Rach, I love the enthusiasm. Can’t have your high heeled feet on the chair when you’re in the client meeting, but love that you turn up to it today.’ And if he hadn’t said that to me I thought it was normal work behaviour. You crazy what another bloody milennial.
[00:33:49] Kylie: So how do we show up to have those hard conversations? What are the what are the things where… because we need to be having them more often, and we need to be having the courage to have them, how do we how do we actually talk about those things, and how do we present.. show up to you know to have things, when often confrontation is one of the things that we would rather, you know, fall off a cliff than, you know, show up and have a hard conversation that might upset someone.
[00:34:21] Rachel: That’s really interesting isn’t it. So I’m really interested in the word ‘conflict’ or ‘avoiding conflict’ or being the bad guy because ultimately you’re avoiding conflict, when you have these conversations you’re escalating bad behaviour. And I think that you know I think that removing any, firstly removing any emotion from the fact swap what you’re about to give that person, so always delivering, like a ‘no’ sandwich like, hey validate the other person ‘Love that you turned up to work today, just letting you know turning up at 10am isn’t thew way we do business from here.’ When we say things like ‘we’, ‘we do business around here’, it’s less finger pointing, just say, ‘That’s not how we did business around here. Anyway, looking forward to..’ something more positive. But I think you’re more likely to be motivated to have constructive conversations when when you realise that the behaviour you embody, is the behaviour that you accept, and the behaviour that others mirror or taught from you. So when you say to someone, you know, ‘Hey buddy, turned up to work today 10am today, just letting you know you gotta be here at 9am, it’s kind of a thing.’ Other people in the room when they’re becoming new managers, just go ‘oh that’s how I have that grown up conversation’ because so many you know so many colleagues of mine, over a wine, will say ‘oh my God you know this colleague’s driving me nuts. They keep running late.’ ‘Great. So have you told them they can’t arrive late?’ ‘Nah, not going to do that, I don’t want to be the bad guy.’
[00:35:48] And that’s when I realise well we’re not taught how to have these conversations and friendships and intimate partnerships, or in other worlds, so why the heck would we do that when money, ego and power is at play? We’re put in the worst possible arena. So the more that we can be taught that and be encouraged to use our words in real life, and that’s about how you’re taught, how to socialize, your friends, and all that, and without fear of consequence or asking yourself what is the worst case consequence someone is going to act rationally or out of line, nine times out a team that has zero to do with your execution and more to do with their internal filters. But equally, you drop a plate on the ground the plate is still broken. You’re still going to have an effect from that and that’s based on whether you’ve seen your parents or your friends or those who’ve raised you have constructive conversations that have ended well, or not, through passive aggressive marytdom, sighing and slamming the door and avoiding, or storming in the next day. It’s around, have I been taught to use my words and, can I go home and actually feel proud of the way that I’ve communicated today? Well hopefully yes but probably not. We’re all human. What could I do better tomorrow. Because someone out there is watching you going, oh, that’s how I be a grown up. I want to be like her, him or them.
[00:37:06] Kylie: So being a grown up at work. Oh my gosh. I know what it’s like to be at work and feel like you’re at kindergarten so at this point we’re all just trying. You know we’re all just doing our best at what is in our capacity at the time, but that awareness that we talked about you know the fact that you do have a choice and being able to own the fact that you have a choice, is is the first step of that. I think that’s super important and then having the language around that. But what about if it was something that was a little bit more serious than just someone showing up for work late or perhaps it’s just someone who’s serially turning up for work late? You know when you know sort of such a laise faire approach might not be getting through? What are your suggestions for some of the tougher conversations?
[00:37:59] Rachel: Yeah I think always remove the emotion. So always have an output be it with a family or friend, where you can have those emotional, reactive conversations, very like it’s so frustrating. Like get the feeling out first, if that’s at the gym or with a partner or just. And then second I would seek the counsel of your HR Rep, or internally to say ‘hey what would I need to put in place to ensure that we’re managing this effectively, and we’re doing the right thing by this individual?’ And often you’ll find that a record of verbal and written communication outlining the non acceptable behaviour the suggestions that you had to support that individual to either a) not do that again or b) train them, so they’re aware of their skill gap can be very advantageous. So, for example, if there, very rarely is behaviour done in isolation. So if you’re having a challenge with an individual, who might be for example, acting inappropriately to another team member, he, she or they are very likely to have acted inappropriately. statisically to other humans in their life and therefore any written evidence that you can have that says ‘hey I just want to you know that that behaviour is not not not how we do business around here. I just want to have this in writing to say hey let’s not continue to do that. If this does continue will need to have another conversation’ means that cumulatively over the days, months and years that you have written examples of this behaviour which is not acceptable. And I think having a conversation with a witness can be very advantageous and understanding, and of course the person who you’re having a tough conversation with has the right of course to bring a support person as well. Recording that conversation is highly advised, as well as following up in writing as well. People don’t, people are less likely to act through bad behaviour, if there are consequences applied. So being very clear about what the consequences would be if this behaviour was to continue as a really good first step.
[00:40:08] Kylie: So what came up for me when you were talking about that was understanding that emotions always get the first crack at whatever story is evolving or unfolding in front of us. So, we all know we can think we you know we like to believe that we’re thinking beings first. And you know and then we have feelings and emotions. But in fact it’s it’s not that way at all. We are emotional beings first and foremost who sometimes think and feel certain ways. So that’s so insightful, what you said about when the emotions come to town, find a healthy way of discharging them some way and knowing that about yourself about what do you need, do you need, have you got that phone a friend that you can just cut out a little believe xxxx. You know someone that’s inconfidence and that you know will be on your side but discharging that in a healthy way, rather than taking down you know like that Michael Douglas film, all those years ago. So I love that. You know I love that sort of find a way to have a conversation about this with someone who is safe that you can get you can get it out and let the emotion, get curious about what’s what’s behind your emotion as well. And then it sounded to me also like you know there is some kind of rehearsing or trying to unpack it or unfolding you know what what’s actually happened and find a way into it. That’s that’s what I was saying has been quite helpful and useful in that and having trusted parties that you can you can call on. Because as you said we’re actually not taught how to have these hard conversations or maybe we are taught but we don’t necessarily have good role models. We’re not taught perhaps in a proactive or positive ways actually to have these conversations where where we all recognise that we’re emotionally hooked in the first instance and who to us give ourselves some space between that emotion and our response and take a breath, and have some languaging around that. So thank you for sharing that. It’s great to say that that’s the work that you’re putting out in the world.
[00:42:24] Rachel: Well yeah I remember, and it continues to teach me a member remember a workshop just saying she’d read a study that the best time to respond to an e-mail was three hours after the fact because that’s how long it takes your brain to calm down. So that will be a lesson for us all.
[00:42:40] Kylie: And I’m I’m actually looking into the area of conversational intelligence which is all about the neuroscience of conversations and cortisol which is our stress hormone has been shown to stay in our system for up to 26 hours after sort after the initial trigger.
[00:42:56] So if you think about the accumulation of stress, and you were talking about adrenal fatigue, you know in your 20s, you know if that continues to you know ride through our system and be triggering that distrust that happens in our brain when when we’re getting to get into that, it’s no wonder that things small things can become big things. Because I was listening to a video by the management consultant and expert Jim Collins yesterday, and he said you know you need to confront the brutal facts or they will confront you. So if you don’t have these hard conversations it’s not like the problems go away. It’s that they they persist and they manifest until one day they become a much bigger problem. And so I think that’s one hard lesson that I’ve learned in my business life is to try and have those uncomfortable conversations sooner rather than later because they don’t get any more comfortable. And the problems don’t get any smaller. So. So I’m with you in showing up and having those conversations. Could you tell us a little bit more about the other workshops that you run. So you you have one is about finding your mojo again. I love that word and it’s so you and I can imagine, and I see you you know calling up your inner Beyonce, when you talk about mojo. What happens in a mojo session?
[00:44:36] Rachel: Well I’m a believer that everyone has a capacity to be their own version of a rock star. They want to the rest is just admin so in and mojo session, and we go to what’s important to you, your values, the people who are giving you mojo, and the people who are causing you a mojo deficit that’s called a people audit, and that’s a free tool on my website. We talk about the ways in which you work best at work, which you thrive or where you survive, and then we talk around like a why are you my room today, what are you feeling, what’s your first emotional response, and what zone are we in there: green, yellow, red, and what filters are happening in your life. So if you’re in the red zone are you displaying suspicion, passive aggression, avoidance. And if so, what’s triggered that, you usally do a bit of a map, like ohh, this reminds you of your mother when you were 12 or whatever, or whatever it is that, I’m not talking about you mum if you’re listening to this.
[00:45:36] But, and then we go okay well, if that is the case, and the greater goal is to feel great at work or even just better to how we are now, what are some easy wins that you can take home with you, to go, oh you know what I’m going to be okay, and sometimes your practical tools, and often it about validation. You’re not crazy. You’re not alone. Yes. Yes. I, an independent source, who is not an intimate partner or your boss, agree with you. You are not crazy. So that’s mojo session. And then I also do workshops on Brand You which is about embracing your inner imposter syndrome and communicating your value in a way that doesn’t feel sleazy, salesy, inauthentic and how to say, ‘G’day, this is my name, this is what I do and what I want to do more of.’ And then I also do and AntiBurnout workshops which is around hey how to work more effectively, how they have grownup conversations, have deliver a ‘no’ sandwich. And also how to ask for what you want. And I do find it approximately 20 percent of participants in those Antiburn Out at workshops are actually HR managers who are new managers going, ‘I’ve got a few people in my team right because I find my symptoms. I’m just here to learn what are the red flags and what are the words I should be using?’ So they come to learn, learn from there. But ultimately it’s about giving yourself, you know mojo and work and or life. So then when you do have challenging things crop, it about saying ‘Hey is that important? Is that going to help me earn or learn more. If not is it really worth my time?’ So that’s some lessons I’ve learned myself and I know she with others both in Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and in September and October Vancover and San Francisco.
[00:47:15] Kylie: You’ve gone global. We’re just like the universe of happiness concierge now. But I’m just mindful of the time and we’re coming to a close. So what are the three things that you would love for people to take away from our chat today?
[00:47:32] Rachel: I love a good takeaway session, umm…learning how to say no will change your life. So happinessconcierge.com.au/sayno, download the template – learn that the no sandwich.
[00:47:45] Kylie: Is that the no sandwich?
[00:47:46] Rachel: That’s the no sandwich. You’ll learn how to say no. It will actually just change your life. Never seek advice from people who aren’t in the shoes that you would like to be in. So be mindful of taking advice from people who may have best of intentions but might not have the experience to help you get to where you’d like to go next.
[00:48:04] Waiting for approval from others is like when for Kanye to lose his ego, it’s never going to happen. Do things before your before you’re comfortable. That’s the only way you get better at something it is by doing something before good at it.
[00:48:18] And finally no behaviour no behaviour affects only you. All your behaviour affects other people good, positively or otherwise.
[00:48:28] And you talk about things that you’d like more of and not what you are currently doing. Talk more about the things you’d like more of. It would be you might be surprised at what opportunities present themselves.
[00:48:41] Kylie: With that’s the bonus plan because we just got five instead of three. So thank you. Thank you for putting those in. Where can we find out more about you and what you have to offer the universe.
[00:48:55] Rachel: Happinessconceirge.com its got everything you need to know, upcoming events, free how tos and templates. Love to see their rates.
[00:49:03] Kylie: Rach, thanks so much for having a great conversation with me today. One of my beliefs is things don’t get better unless we talk about them and the work that you’re doing in the world absolutely helps people find the courage to have those conversations, and have somebody in their corner that will give them really practical advice and tools and tips and the validation that these things are important in life, and you’re not crazy for not knowing how to do them. or slipping up. Because conversations don’t happen in a vacuum, as you said, and also they are not a one time thing. Just because we may not have experienced a good conversation over something doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road, it’s an ongoing thing, and that’s one of the lessons that I’ve learned, is that a tough conversation doesn’t just happen once, it might be an ongoing dialogue, and the conversations that you’re encouraging people to have in their workplace and how and how to show up at work, obviously not only has great opportunities to impact the contribution that they make to their work, but also to then show up in their lives as the kind of people that you have to live with integrity. As long as we’re talking about. So thank you for doing what you do.
[00:50:20] Rachel: Thank you for having me.