LifeBlood Podcast → on Growth Through Discomfort

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Sometimes growth requires a little discomfort. On this episode of LifeBlood, we talked about how to help people love their lives, how organizations can help position their people for success and why not all organizations do it with Judy Ryan, CEO of Lifework Systems, culture transformation specialist, consultant, trainer, author and columnist. Listen to learn the four core needs everyone needs to have met!

Interview Transcript

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on quick ask before we get started today I am working to help people lead happier and more contented lives my part of that is money so if you enjoyed today’s episode or if you’ve enjoyed past episodes please take a minute and leave a quick review on iTunes subscribe that helps uh the show clam up the rankings and helps more people uh find it so thanks a lot Judy are you ready I am so ready well I’m Ready the people are ready let’s go welcome to money Savage engage this is George grumbacher Judy Ryan is the CEO of Life work systems a culture transformation specialist a consultant a trainer an author and a columnist her purpose is to create a world in which all people love their lives I’m excited to have you on Judy tell us a little a little bit about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do thank you so much George I’m really happy to be on here and I appreciate your questions very much um I am a mother of five Millennial children I’m a grandmother of eight grandchildren and I’m very very passionate about this work that I’m doing um well I’ll tell you a little bit about myself in terms of this work I was introduced to a psychology model that some people who have studied psychology might remember hearing about but he just didn’t get very much press and his name was Alfred Adler and his work really changed my life life very profoundly first in raising my family in a very unconventional way and really healing some things that had happened to me that really happened to everybody even under the most typical conditioning that people have today so this his work has really helped me to become this strong clear sighted contributing person that I feel proud of and um I recently read a book about him called the courage to be disliked and it was written by these two Japanese authors and they said in the introduction that Adler’s at least 100 Years of his ahead of himself and I’ve been saying that since the 80s when I learned about his work so um he it’s because his psychology model is very counter to what we think of as the power games that continue to be really popular today so um that’s why I love his work is it’s really crucial to creating a healthy community of people compared to an unhealthy one and um how we use power and that’s something that probably a lot of people would rather just kind of keep on the down low because they like the way they can use power now so um do you want me to tell you a little bit more about that George yeah yeah I’m definitely interested in what you mean by by that contrary to the power games yeah so Adler is the person who coined the phrase inferiority complex okay so today a lot of people know Berne Brown do you know ber Brown okay she’s an international celey now author researcher and everything and her work is on shame and vulnerability well Adler’s work has always been on that too he said something to the effect that if we don’t get the conversations and the conditions right wherever people are gathered even if it’s in their homes or in their schools or in their workplaces the natural result will be that people enter into inferiority complex and when they do they start to have these very uh diagnosable symptoms of internal and external struggles so things like being addicted depressed an you know having anxiety having obesity and all these kinds of internal struggles people go through and then the external struggles are things like all of the isms that people are experiencing all the win- lose Dynamics I’m right you’re wrong let me convert you and fix you and change you and um those are all coming from the conditions that create those inferiority feelings so even B Brown when she goes and does talks large corporations large organizations will say bne we just love you but let’s not really talk about that shame stuff it’s just a little too dark and it makes people a little too uncomfortable but what Adler and Berne Brown are both saying because she said it’s her number one platform is that if we could do this part differently we’d have a completely different world and that’s been my experience is that if we could learn how to create a certain set of conditions that we are not commonly created people would be very different with one another and it’s just kind of hard for people to recognize it because all they really know succinctly most of the time is like a power over power under sort of Dynamics so in a um a Adan model in a teal organizational model which is the model that we use and that we’ve built it’s all about shared power it’s all about celebrating power guiding power even from whatever ever age or title anybody has so for example when I was growing up I I mean when my kids were growing up we did family meetings and we shared the rotation of the management of those meetings and one time we were invited to demonstrate a family meeting in front of a large audience of parents and teachers and we had the five-year-old run the meeting and yeah yeah they were so surprised because she knew how to hold the authority she knew how to delegate she knew how how to manage the process she knew how to you know end on time all those things and what happened afterwards was the audience had all these questions for the kids because I had at that time they were four of the five and um they could confidently talk about the way that they came to conclusions when we problem solved as a family and I said to the audience you all probably are you know really shocked or surprised that a 5-year-old has that much leadership capability but what you don’t know is how hard it was for me to learn to be a good follower of 5-year-old because I’m a pretty dominant mother and I wanted to steamroll her a lot of the time so I had to learn how to encourage and support and and um be patient with a with a five-year-old leader and and that’s kind of what I see is missing in the world today is people don’t know how to lead and follow with agility either they think of themselves as a leader or as a follower but not both and and that’s part of the reason we can’t keep up with things well today is just something as basic as leader follower agility and then we also uh we did a lot of things to actively promote something that I’ll be talking about I’m sure more than once but U four core needs that all people need to feel so we would remove everything from the family that would make our kids feel um the opposite of this empowered lovable connected and contributing and so we would be we would in order for them to feel empowered lovable connected and contributing we were constantly teaching teaching them task ownership which meant how to do things they were capable of doing as soon as they were capable of doing it managing relationships managing the budget at the grocery store managing the grocery shopping we would teach them how to do it and drop them off as a group and they would get to the checkout and the lady that you know the oldest was 11 and she’d say where are your parents you have hundreds of dollars oh we know what we’re doing she’s got the list he’s got the you know so we really uh practiced all of what we learned from in our our uh family which really created an incredible outcome of leader follower agility and intrinsic motivation emotional intelligence those sorts of things well I love it and you’re speaking my well not technically speaking my language because these are a lot of terms that I’m that I’m not familiar with but but the I but the the ideas and the principles that you’re talking about I I think are so so important so why are many of them absent from our culture today you know I think part of it is that power the way we know it seems so powerful like for example if I held a gun to your head George and said you know empty your pockets and you thought I’d use the gun on you it would look like it’s very effective right yes most times it would if I also said look I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you do something the way I want you to do it if it’s not outrageous to you you probably would do it so using the control models that we’ve used I’ve just named two of them fear tactics power over autocratic command and control that’s all one of those uh the other one is using a dangling a carrot those are control models there’s two other ones one is if I say George I’m so proud of you or George I’m so disappointed in you I could be very much able to at times with certain people manipulate Behavior pretty quickly with those things another one would be to spoil and pamper you and enable you uh in an effort to get you to be a good citizen so we’re we’re so used to doing those things we don’t even recognize that they are the problem and so that’s why people so it’s almost like the difference between well I can just pop some candy in my mouth and I can have a Sugar High versus like right now I’m on ketogenic and I feel a totally different kind of energy than a sugar high but it it is a a complete transformation to be a fat burning person versus a carb burning person and one has a lot greater health benefits so the same is true around culture it may look more powerful to threaten people or give them a dirty look or you know throw a reward out but it is not um the answer got it well and that certainly makes sense so it’s just a matter of this is what we’ve been conditioned to do this is the way things have been done for a long time and moving outside of for lack of a better term the the that that that box puts you at risk of being disliked yes so yeah I think we are kind of insane in what we’re doing here’s a story that will sort of illustrate that there is a prison in Florida that used an adarian approach meaning used Adler psychology and the typical rate of recidivism which means repeat reincarceration so typically when a person is incarcerated they go into a cycle of crime they don’t just do it once they do it over and over that rate is normally about 60 to 70% Nationwide which ironically is what our disengagement rates are according to the gallop organization in in our our entire uh work communities so when they used an Ayan approach the the recidivism rate went down to 4 per. wow I’ve seen similar results in the work that I’m doing with companies but it’s not for the faint of heart it requires a lot of Courage it requires a lot of dismantling um and one of my favorite quotes is by a man who wrote a book called the half-life of facts why everything we know has an expiration date and that’s a book uh written by Sam arbisman and he said this about change blindness he said we have a problem with it right now in the world of facts and knowledge he said sometimes we’re exposed to these new facts like you could be exposed to the teal organizational model and we’ll we’ll sometimes just filter it out because there’s been a lot of information on different psychological organizational models but really the problem is that we have to go out of our way to learn something new so like for me to learn a ketogenic diet was very new it’s very different it’s not comfortable so to learn something new we have to go out of our way and our blindness is not a failure to see the new facts it’s a failure to see the facts in our minds have the potential will be out of dat so what I see in some of the more conventional leadership mindset is oh my gosh I don’t want to look over here at this new thing because now now I’m irrelevant now my uh my strengths are irrelevant I’m out of date and so that fear of being irrelevant keeps people from actually looking where it’s time to change something it’s really kind of crazy when you think about it because none of us are ashamed if we upgrade our phones but we’re ashamed if we upgrade the way we see our human systems and it should be just as natural to say oh my gosh we have this new thing that we are really seeing is more effective so you know for me the hardest thing about my work is spitting in the soup of what people are used to and telling them that it’s no longer helpful to them

right and that’s such a it’s such an interesting thing um you you you talk about or you talk about be having the courage to be disliked and one of my favorite authors is Seth Goden he talks about um needing to be a meaningful specific work versus being a um a Wandering generality and talking about how you’re not for all people and I just couldn’t agree with that more um and it’s actually for me as I’m going out and about and trying to find organizations to work with for for for what I do I want to try to find out who who the NOS are sooner rather than later and just move on to the next ones are are there certain size organizations cuz as you were talking I was thinking that the a middle manager type is probably the last person you would ever want to talk to because they probably wouldn’t want to take a risk so is a company too big is is is a company too small um I actually don’t find that it’s about the size of the company it’s really about a psychographic uh I see the people that are best able to to transition over to a teal organizational model are people that have a strong positive healthy ego a strong ego is somebody who is not threatened by creating other leaders it’s not created by um complete equality and so that could be somebody at a midlevel it could be somebody at the front line that makes sense a senior now of course the people in the senior positions are the best one to have bought in and I know um I know we’ve worked with companies that were very large where we worked with subsets of the companies even in the through the sea Suite but they were nervous about keeping their projects on the down low because their their other senior leaders were leading by intimidation is what I call it you know and they kind of begrudgingly came around and said well you know we’re we’re we’re shifting everything around again if you need to you can call that life work systems company because they can see the numbers they can see how well it’s going in there but it’s not the way they lead and so um it’s just very interesting it’s it’s the most ideal when you get the CEO on board with a transformation process like this but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done in other you know we we find our best entry point is of in operations people because they’re the ones that are seeing all the facets of the business and how well it’s doing overall I guess that certainly makes sense so you mentioned the four core needs that that that everybody needs to needs to have met we talk about those yeah absolutely absolutely Adler said that we’re social we need this to in order not to feel inferior we need to have this sense of belonging and significance in a way that we experience it on a Feeling level and so the feelings that we all need to feel are number one and and these aren’t in any order I’m just naming them this way um the first is we need to feel empowered like how empowered was it that my kids could lead a family meeting how empowered was it that they could help make big decisions and small decisions how empowering that they could learn to go do something that most kids their age weren’t even allowed to do or weren’t even thought to be able to do so that’s one example another one is people need to feel lovable and this is a really important distinction to me personally because I was raised in a family that would be considered a very ideal family I was not sexually abused I was not physically abused my family outwardly affectionately loved and supported and took care of me and I learned a lot of really good things for my family one thing they were not good at and I didn’t understand it and it made me feel guilty in my 20s when I struggled with anxiety and depression because I thought what do you have to be anxious and depressed about you know you had a really really great childhood sure but what they didn’t know how to do that Adler helped me understand is they didn’t know how to learn from a child for example like there was no reciprocal thinking process it was oh no you will be Catholic you will be a a very conservative uh you know Republican you will if I if I would disagree with my family they would very politely tell me how I was wrong and convert me like that was just the standard thing and I think it was very common in the 60s when I was being raised and they didn’t know how to empathize so if you were a very emotional child or a sensitive child you just didn’t know how to even be heard or seen that way and I think that’s what’s happening intergenerationally but also between all different kind of different people is this inability to be more receptive to each other like if you look on even social media the big the biggest thing that you see that’s so distressing is I’m right you’re wrong oh for sure right not tell me more about that I’d like to understand how you came to that thank you for sharing that with me no for that agenda and um and really meaning it right so so that feeling lovable is not being loved it’s feeling seen and heard I remember in my 20s I went to a therapist and I said why I keep having this recurrent dream that I’m walking around my house and I’m all by myself and he said because intellectually and emotionally you are and it was that understanding of people needing to feel lovable and it sounds simple but it’s it’s actually it is simple but if you have never made an intention to do it with people you won’t and then another uh core need is to feel connected so we can all think about you know the kid who shoots up the school because they feel isolated you know that’s worst case scenario people need to feel that they are chosen and connected and part of and that they’re just as important as everyone else and that there’s High trust and all those things that go with connected in a healthy way and then we also this one is very much overlooked like The Lovable one is and it’s giving people the opportunity to be contributing so sometimes when I go to an organization and they say what do you mean you’re taking away our rewards I remember when I was in a school one time and I told the the school stop rewarding parents for going to the PTA meetings like they’d say we have to give them a steak dinner and all this stuff I said stop it what you want to do is call them up and say hey would you bring a quote to open the meeting would you bring a report on such and such would you bring a bottle of soda like give them something a way to contribute makes people feel good but we’re all so uncomfortable receiving that we don’t give people opportunities to contribute and it really costs everybody that we don’t we’re not aware of that in fact the people that most need to contribute are usually the ones that the least is expected of them isn’t that the truth yeah well those those are excellent I think that certainly as I was listening I was able to to think about different examples in my life when when when I’ve seen people not have that or when I have seen people have that um and when you give people what they need in those areas a lot of the time they do light up and totally do I mean even look at that prison I’ll just give you an example of this Geor think about the person that’s in prison because they joined a gang and one of the guidelines for the gang was that they had to go out and murder somebody right you know that happens right sure if that person joined that game because it was the first time they ever felt truly empowered lovable connected and contributing and they didn’t think they could get it outside of the gang they’ll override their conscience and their fear of imprisonment to get those cornetes met and so one of the things I believe that they did in that prison was they probably went to those inmates and said look you’re no different than any me or anyone else you wanted to feel empowered lovable connected and contributing just like I do so take yourself out of the Monster Box we’re taking you out of the Monster Box you don’t need to you know cross those wires let’s find a better way to get those needs met for you like let’s help you find a better way to get those needs met I think that is a big part of what was different because we’re we’re that desperate for those needs and we don’t know we are I think that’s right well Judy Savage Nation is ready for your difference making tip what do you have for them okay so um I have a couple things I kept switching back and forth in my mind um one of them is uh I really believe that knowledge is very powerful I had a phone call the other day from a woman who was 104 years old and she had read one of my articles and she said it made a huge difference I said I can’t wait to meet or I’ve not met a person 104 years old but what I would really encourage people to do is twofold one is I would have them really look at their lives and say Where am I either creating these feelings in myself and others or di diminishing these feelings in myself or others and it’s really those four corns am I looking in the mirror in the morning and going you’re so beautiful you are such a child of God I’m so happy you’re here you’re making such a difference or am I going oh my God I see another wrinkle oh my God I think I gained five pounds or whatever you know like we’re really not conditioned to create these four core feelings in ourselves or other people so you want to do kind of a two-fold thing how do I put things in my life that make me feel those and how do I remove things from my life that don’t and for from the lives of those I care about so that was a huge underlying reason I did this work with my family I was like oh my God that just makes sense how can I do more of that um the other one is just to get information because the hardest thing that I have is to educate people on these other approaches I mean just like parenting or anything else you can find all kinds of different approaches this particular more equality minded shared power personally responsible models they’re not as well known they’re not as well supported so I would just say um one of the things that I would really recommend is if anybody’s listening to this and they want to know more we we collect a a collection of Industry articles on our website and these are articles that are not written by me there’s a whole bunch of articles on there that are written by me but these are written by like Forbes and Inc and deoy and those are really helpful to see what’s going on in organizational cultures but also these same things apply in families or in schools and you could go in there and you could learn about what kind of culture helps with the intergenerational problems what kind of culture is important for diversity and inclusion what kind of culture is important for agile and for um uh you know today’s rapid change in the world and so if they go there they can read what the industry Giants are saying about all those topics all in one place on my website so that would be a tip that I would give them because the more information you have the more information you want um that’s what I experienced in my life well I think that is great stuff that definitely gets it come on come on Judy Judy thank you so much for coming on where can Savage Nation learn more about you my website has has a lot of stuff on it that people can read or download or watch or whatever and it’s uh lifework so it’s like lifework and my email address is the same it’s just Judy Lifeworks perfect well Savage NAA if you enjoyed this as much as I did show Judy your appreciation and share Today’s Show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to LifeWorks check out all the great resources and material IAL and articles they have on that site thanks again Judy thank you George it was my pleasure and until next time keep fighting the good fight because we are all in this together before I go quick announcement I’ve been asked by so many people over the past couple of years about how do I start a podcast that I’ve developed and released a course that will teach you exactly how to do that step by step from figuring out the kind of show that you want to have to understanding how the technology Works behind it and then how to get great guests and keep the thing moving and how to grow it so if you’re interested in that check it out you can go to george podcast course and you’ll find it there you can just go to the website I’ll also list that in the notes of the show what’s up Savage Nation please support the show by subscribing leave us a review and definitely feel free to share us with somebody you think would like it come on

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