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Episode 026: A Conversation on Accessibility and Inclusion with Lisa Duerre

accessibility and inclusion with lisa duerre

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and guest Lisa Duerre for a deep and candid discussion on the topics of accessibility and inclusion. Lisa shares openly and vulnerably about her experiences navigating the challenges of a personal health crisis.

About our guest

Lisa Duerre is the co-founder and CEO of RLD Group, a collective of coaching and consulting experts that help tech companies and teams take culture transformation out of the clouds, banish burnout, and drive bottom-line results.

RLD Group is a certified WBENC with expertise ranging from HR Strategy and organizational design, developing leadership pipelines, talent retention, burnout prevention, and team performance in the complex hybrid work world.

Before co-founding RLD Group, Lisa spent over 20 years as a Silicon Valley executive inside Fortune 500 companies. Now, she personally works exclusively with C-suite executives in tech organizations while the larger RLD Group team works across all levels of leadership on a global basis.

Lisa is the host of the CTRL+ALT+DELETE with Lisa Duerre podcast where she interviews leadership experts and executives in the tech industry to help leaders in tech be leaders people want to follow and who drive profitability without burning out.

When she’s not busy leading RLD Group or hosting podcast guests, Lisa loves exploring her home area of Portland, Oregon with RLD Group’s co-founder and husband Randy, their daughter Emily, and fur-baby Yogi, their fun-loving Cavapoo.

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Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson 0:00
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where each week we explore a topic to help us have more powerful and transformative conversations with ourselves and with other people. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson, and joining me this week is my dear friend, and colleague, and amazing human, Lisa Duerre, and let me tell you a little bit about her before I bring her on. Lisa Duerre is the co founder and CEO of RLD Group, a certified WBENC coaching collective, helping tech companies take cultural transformation out of the clouds, banish burnout, and help drive bottom line results. Lisa spent over two- twenty years, not two- twenty, in Silicon Valley and has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Women Lead Magazine, Feedspot, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, Romper, and the Mercury News, and the list goes on. She’s also the host of Ctrl+Alt+Delete with Lisa Duerre, a top 10 podcast on technical leadership. She’s also raising awareness for women living with Lipedema, a disorder that affects one out of nine women. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa Duerre 1:13
Sarah, it’s so interesting to hear someone else talk about you that way, right? Like, well, I- well, look at that. Yes, I am. Thank you. I’m so honored, and so looking forward to this conversation. And I’m really grateful for the platform to be in conversation with you.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:33
I – you know, for those of you, just a little bit about how we connected. I think you- I think somehow we got connected on LinkedIn.

Lisa Duerre 1:40
Oh, I was stalking you. Let’s just call it- I was stalking Sarah. Sarah had these amazing little videos going on that were so impactful. And I just reached out and was, like, fangirling like, Hey, I do that too, and you’re doing amazing work, and I’m so inspired by you.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:55
And then we –

Lisa Duerre 1:57
Can I just tell the story? Is it okay?

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:59

Lisa Duerre 1:59
You reached back and were like, Oh my gosh, thank you so much. Anything you need? Any way I can support you? We’re in this together. You were so human. You know? I was just like, Yes, please. And then I kept the conversation going, because you were open and kind and curious. And yeah, it was, it was a great moment in my day when I was like, do I just go say how awesome you are? I don’t know. Because you’re awesome.

Sarah Noll Wilson 2:25
And then I discover how amazing and awesome you are, and, you know, and just that point of, I mean, this is something you and I’ve had countless conversations on – is, like, it’s so powerful to just be human, and yet sometimes it feels so difficult, right? It feels so difficult because of the masks we feel like we have to wear, or because of how people expect us to show up, you know. And that is something that, you know, what I’m excited for all of you who are listening is that – talking with Lisa, whether it’s virtual, you know, or whatever, is just like sitting across the kitchen table from a friend. And it’s- y’know, any of the conversations we’ve had, Lisa, I’ve always been like, I’m thinking of just, like, a warm mug of tea. They’re healing, they’re soothing, they’re comforting, and maybe a little, like, little hot. There’s a little heat behind it. And I’m particular- before we hop in to – right – you know, what we want to explore, what else would you want the people listening to know about you?

Lisa Duerre 3:28
Wow, well, here’s a couple things. I have to clear my throat. That’s number one. How about that for being human? Okay.

Sarah Noll Wilson 3:34
You did great.

Lisa Duerre 3:35
Thank you. I get an A. I love to get A’s. How about one-

Sarah Noll Wilson 3:38
Gold star.

Lisa Duerre 3:39
I’m a gold star. I’m – even when I’m in physical therapy, I say to the therapist, I’d like an A. Right? Like, whatever it takes. I’m all in. So one thing I would say is I’m all in. That’s how I show up in the world, to the best of my ability with whatever consciousness I have at that moment in time. I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, CEO and co- founder of an amazing business that is so life giving, for me. I’m a champion of women. I’m a lifelong learner. I battled infertility for many years, as a executive in tech. That’s no joke. And I am in the midst of a health crisis. Yeah, I am.

Sarah Noll Wilson 4:25
And, and that’s what we’re going to explore. You know, when we, when we had our last conversation you started to open up about the – I mean, the health crisis you’re in and the challenges. And just to set the stage for people at home, you know, if you don’t already know why it’s important for us to talk about our health, chronic illnesses, how to support ourselves, how to support each other, I hope by the end of this conversation, it’ll continue to shed some light. You know, but in my own journey of navigating long COVID I’ve become very much more aware of how silent chronic illnesses can be and how silent health issues can be. And we don’t even realize that someone may be suffering or how to show up. So, so let’s start from the beginning of your journey – Or where would you like to start? Do you want to start with where you are now and go back into it? You want to start at the beginning and walk us through?

Lisa Duerre 5:27
You know, I’m not sure I know the answer to the question, but I can tell you, when you say what should people know about you, I think there’s a pull through that might help us have this conversation. So I think I mentioned I battled infertility as an exec in tech. I also burned out in tech. And now I’m in a situation where I’m living with what’s called lipedema. And I’ll, I’ll digest all that for everybody. All three of those things, as much as I’ve been a walk-the-talk leader, I thought – you know, transparent, vulnerable, open, curious – each one of those, those three things in my life, in the beginning of each, I show up feeling broken. Or the mindset, the stories I tell myself, and every one of those is like, you know, If anyone finds out, you’re not going to be respected or hired or promoted or whatever, right, you’re, they’re going to be mommy tracked, laid off, or not hired in the third situation, right? And I teach – we teach – our collective brings forward influence and communications courses, among many other things. But in those courses, we talk about limiting beliefs. And so I think maybe a place to start is like, What belief have I been holding? And what belief am I ready to let go of now that I’m conscious of it? Because, yeah, each one of those very defining moments where I felt inept, unqualified, broken, ashamed, lost, overwhelmed – have all led me to much more compassion, empathy, self care, vulnerability, and I think it’s, there’s maybe a pull through here on just the beliefs that we hold. Because yeah, I’m, I’m letting that stuff go. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 7:19
There’s something that, you know, in what you just shared, of, you know, when, when you were at the starting point of some of these significant challenges, of just feeling broken. And, you know, when I think of times when I have felt that, it’s an incredibly lonely place, because, you know, the story we tell ourselves is everyone else has it figured out. Right? The story we tell ourselves is that there’s going to be consequences if I share this. And, and I think there’s, there’s, you know, part of that first part, and something that we hear a lot and, and just, you know, talking to fellow humans, whether it’s through the work or through friendships – is this real, I think this real belief that no one is suffering as much as you are. Not, not from a place of victim, but from a place of feeling so alone, right?

Lisa Duerre 8:15

Sarah Noll Wilson 8:16
And, and so I guess, you know, one thing that I’m, you know, just curious about is like, when, when, you know, when you think back to those moments where you can now look back and go, Yeah, that was really hard. What were some of the stories that you were telling yourself? I mean, you already shared some of them, but I’m curious to just spend some time in that framework together.

Lisa Duerre 8:39
Yeah. Okay, great, because I – My highest hope for this conversation – I think I have a lot of them, but one of them in this moment, right here, is that whoever’s listening – Hello, dear listener. You’re not broken. People are still gonna love you. You’re not a liability, you know, all of the – just this programming we get. You know. Bye bye. So, one of the things I think that I’ve become aware of – and I’ll talk about my current situation, so we can talk about burnout, infertility as leaders, for sure. This one is relatively new. So it’s going to be messy. And I think it might be useful to be messy together, so that people can see, because it’s very fresh for me. So, four months ago, five months ago, I got the official diagnosis of lipedema. And lipedema is a connective tissue disorder that affects one in nine women – 11% of the population in the US – and it is undiagnosed. So the way it presents itself is obesity. So I’ll just pause for a second and say, My burnout recovery – part of that was me getting my weight under control. So I would tell people back then, I was 100 pounds overweight and I lost 85 pounds. And part of my burnout recovery. And boy did I hold on to that, because I was proud. I looked better and headshots for our business, you know. And I’ve gained 100 pounds in a year. And so the story I was telling myself is, Are you burnt out again? You – boy, you’re broken. Oh, all your messaging was around, you know, you’ve got your nutrition under control. And here we are again, Lisa? So you just want to talk about, like, beating yourself up and being confused as all hell. So, what happened for me was menopause. And lipedema is exacerbated in its- This is a woman’s disease, by the way. So puberty, pregnancy, menopause, that’s when it flares. And so boy, did I, I’m already like having hot flashes and feeling crappy. And oh, my gosh, I’m in menopause. And then I’m gaining 100 pounds. And so like the story I was telling myself was not pretty. It was really bad. So when I finally found out, there’s this thing, lipedema – and I finally find one of the few doctors in the United States that can diagnose you – and they tell me yes, you’re stage three. There’s four stages, stage three. And you have two different types. Because it’s in my arms, my middle section, and my legs. I was relieved. And I had a six hour drive home. And Sarah, that whole drive home, I just cried and cried and cried. And I kept thinking, Why am I crying so much? And I think I was crying – what I know now, after a lot of reflection, was – 50-something years of feeling fat and broken, and having weight bias. And, you know, doing it to myself, having people, dear friends tell me you’re never gonna get married, because men don’t marry fat women. Like, that’s been said to me, right? So all this conditioning and programming about, you know, weight. To then be told, There’s nothing you can do and everything you did back then, you couldn’t do now, because your body’s different. You go, Oh! Well, that’s pretty liberating to not be beating myself up anymore.

Sarah Noll Wilson 8:39

Lisa Duerre 10:11
And yet, boy, there, there’s so much unlearning to do. And then there’s a lot to do to be okay. Well, I don’t know if I answered your question. But I’ll just pause there, about just some of the thoughts and the stories.

Sarah Noll Wilson 12:19
Yeah, no, I appreciate you sharing that. And, and a few, a few different things are coming up as I’m listening to you. You know, when you were talking about how one of your successes that you – was an anchoring success for you was the ability to lose weight and that you prioritized it. And, you know, and it made me reflect on, when something has become part of our identity, the failure can feel even greater when we can’t figure it out. Because it isn’t just that it was like, Oh, I want to do this. But it’s like, I’ve literally made money on this. I’ve literally been on – I mean, how many thousands of people did you share that story to? How many people did you inspire? So, and I would imagine, there’s some, like, elements of like feeling like, Not only did you let yourself down – before you got diagnosed – but also, letting down everyone that you – right? Like –

Lisa Duerre 13:21
Everybody. Everybody.

Sarah Noll Wilson 13:23
– and gosh, that is a heavy – That’s heavy.

Lisa Duerre 13:27
You know, look at zoom screen – If anyone’s watching on Zoom, like, I would hide myself and be like, Why is – I don’t know if this is TMI, but we’ll go there, right? So –

Sarah Noll Wilson 13:35

Lisa Duerre 13:36
I had to buy new underwear, two sizes in, like, a year. And I’m like, What is going on? Because I was so uncomfortable. So my head just kept getting shorter on all the Zoom calls, right? And then the in-person requests were coming, and I’m like – Uh, they’re gonna see my whole body. What am I going to do about this? What kind of fraud are you? What kind of – what are you going to do about it? Yeah, there was a – it was very heavy. The other part of this I think that’s really important to note is that, when I said stage three, that’s because it was impacting my mobility. So walking up a flight of stairs was very difficult for me. Walking the dog, I couldn’t do. Standing in line at Starbucks, let’s just say, when you want to go out for, you know, a coffee chat with someone. If there’s, like, more than five people in line, I had to sit down. Could not grocery shop anymore. I had to take one of those scooters. Right? Went to the zoo in the scooter just so I could be with my daughter and still have the experience. And so part of the mobility challenges piece is, I just thought, Well, I’m fat, so of course it’s harder. Like, no, no, that’s not it. Hello. You have a connective tissue disorder that makes all of your joints not work together well, so you’re wobbly. You are, you’re carrying so much fluid. My physical therapist said, If you could fill a garbage bag with water, like a 20 pound garbage bag of water, and tie that on your leg, that’s what you’re carrying around in fluid right now from this disease. And I was like –

Sarah Noll Wilson 15:03

Lisa Duerre 15:05
Oh, talk about heavy. So there’s – I built my brand on, you know, burnout prevention, which – I do know how to reboot from burnout. I’ve done it. I just realized that the weight loss, the healthy side, was going to have this next chapter. Yeah, so I think the thing that I would love to highlight for folks is that the mobility challenges – I would sneak them in, but when the live, come and present, or speak on stage, or run a workshop, or whatever, I was just like, I can’t walk. Are they going to want me in a wheelchair? Is this going to be okay? Are they going to accommodate? I’m putting in air quotes, because I have a whole conversation about accommodation. And then how do I navigate all this? How do you navigate it all?

Sarah Noll Wilson 15:51
Yeah. And even as you were talking, like – and, and our society has stories and perceptions about people who need accommodations.

Lisa Duerre 16:01

Sarah Noll Wilson 16:02
Right? Like, as you were talking, I was sitting there – I had a moment of, I’ve never seen a speaker in a wheelchair. Unless they were specifically speaking about their condition. Right? And, okay –

Lisa Duerre 16:21
Right? I know, there’s so much –

Sarah Noll Wilson 16:23
I mean, there’s – Yeah, there is. And, and, and I just, like – I’m having a hard time, like, articulating it. But I was just talking about this with my colleague Teresa yesterday, and about how particularly as women, we are bombarded. And it’s not it’s not uniquely women, I know men, men have image issues and stories that are told about how they should look and how they should feel and how they should show up. But it is substantially greater for women. Right? Our, our value largely is based on how well we can take care of people and how youthful we can look. Right? And not that anyone would – No one – You know, most people would say, Oh, no, that’s not true. And yet –

Lisa Duerre 17:13
Oh, please.

Sarah Noll Wilson 17:14

Lisa Duerre 17:15
Yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 17:17
And yet. And, and, and there’s something so – I struggle with this. And hearing, you know, you talk about it too, of just that relief of, like, My God, I’ve spent my whole life with so much mental energy on how I didn’t look right. Or I didn’t look good enough, or I didn’t look, right, healthy enough, or whatever the case is. And – I don’t even know what my point is with all this.

Lisa Duerre 17:45
Oh, yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 17:45
But it – It brings up so much emotion because the volume of energy, mental energy, that so many of us have to spend, combating hating ourselves – hating how we look – is quite, like – It’s depressing. It’s, like, devastating to say it out loud. And, you know, and then – and then to look at your situation, because as I was reading and preparing for this, right, like, how many people are misdiagnosed? Because it’s just like, well, you’re just – you’re overweight, and you just need to exercise more and right, like, and then we could get into the whole, like, fat shaming culture. I mean, there’s so much that we can explore, but, like –

Lisa Duerre 17:45
Yeah, can I –

Sarah Noll Wilson 17:48
So I don’t even know, like, what comes up for you?

Lisa Duerre 17:52
Well, let me just join you on that. Because yes, this has been my last half of the year. Just unlearning, right? So and then what happens is, I become more aware of how hard it is to find parking. When I needed to use the bathroom a few weeks ago, there was someone in the – I don’t even know what to call this. So I don’t have the right language. Full disclosure. I am nice but clueless when it comes to how to talk about this. So I hope I’m given grace while I share this experience, because I’m not going to say it all right. I don’t know yet. I’ve even bought a book. I bought a book because I wanted to figure out how to talk about this stuff. Demystifying Disability. Right? What to know, what to say, and how to be an ally. Because I’m just living this life right now. So I will just say, full disclosure, I don’t know what to call the stall in the bathroom that’s wider with the handles, okay? But I need that stall to be able to stand up right now. I go to the waterpark with my daughter. She’s doing her thing. I have my legs elevated, because with my condition they swell. They’re really, they’re very swollen. And I have to keep them up so that it’s easier to walk. And I’m like, I gotta go the bathroom. Well, that’s gonna take me 10 minutes to shuffle on over. You know, sweat the whole time because I’m wearing medical grade compression all over my body, get to the bathroom, they have to take it all off. And if anyone has even worn compression wear on an airplane, you know, this is no joke. Okay? Then your bladder is like –

Sarah Noll Wilson 19:08
No, you’re rolling it down and it’s tight. And it’s –

Lisa Duerre 19:59
It’s brutal, right? So you gotta – Mine goes waist high. Gotta get it down. Did we think we’re talking about the bathroom today? But we’re going to. I get – I finally make it, there is, Ah, right? Sound effect. Bathroom stall. Somebody’s in it. And I’m like, now I gotta wait. There’s 12 other stalls. Can’t do it, right? Doing the potty dance, right? Then out comes the mom with two kids. And you know what, I’ve been that mom. I’ve been in that stall with my daughter before I had this situation. And I was just grateful it was big enough for me and my daughter, so I could keep her safe. And I had all these thoughts, right, then Sarah, like, how dare you, I need the bathroom. And then I went, Wait a minute. I’ve been you too. So my whole journey right now has me recognizing the anxiety and the stress of even needing to use a restroom. And then wanting to discharge that on someone who was blocking me, and then realizing, I can see myself there, too. So it’s been quite a journey to even show myself grace and compassion. And, you know, plan ahead. So the energy of using the restroom, the energy of finding a parking space, the energy of speaking on stage and traveling a day ahead so I can just come – all of that that goes with it, so I can be my best self when I speak. It’s no joke.

Sarah Noll Wilson 21:20
It’s the – Yeah, the thing that I’m, I’m learning in my journey. And now as I pay attention differently, that, that I think for people who are listening, who maybe aren’t in a situation where they’re having to navigate a significant health situation – whether it’s acute or chronic – is the amount of planning. And, and I would imagine – so let me make this assumption – that you aren’t only planning for the front half, you’re planning for the back half as well. Right?

Lisa Duerre 21:56

Sarah Noll Wilson 21:57
And so like, you know, a dear friend of mine, she has severe chronic migraines. And so just – so it isn’t, it isn’t just the accommodations that might be needed, right, physically or environmentally, in order for people to show up. It is the intentionality. And, you know, and I’ve spoken a little bit on our kickoff episode about, you know, dealing with long term fatigue from COVID. And that was a huge shift for me of – suddenly I was weighing, was it worth me doing this? Was it worth me going out? Was it worth me seeing this friend, knowing that, like, I knew I would need a lot of time to recover, or I would need time to prepare to get up for it. And again, like, from a standpoint of the additional burden, the additional energy cost, the additional mental cost, all of that, that – It isn’t just, you know, I need this accommodation, but there’s so many other things you are having to navigate and think about, literally just to exist.

Lisa Duerre 23:10

Sarah Noll Wilson 23:10
Like not even –

Lisa Duerre 23:11

Sarah Noll Wilson 23:12
Right? Like, not even to exist at your best self, just to fuck – pardon my language –

Drop it, girl.

Just to fucking exist.

Lisa Duerre 23:20
Fucking exist.

Sarah Noll Wilson 23:21
Right? Like, I just want to go to the bathroom.

Lisa Duerre 23:24

Sarah Noll Wilson 23:24
And how, how can I do that in a way that doesn’t absolutely deplete me?

Lisa Duerre 23:29
Yeah. And it is depleting, for sure. You know, one thing I’ll say that I think – If I can impart some lessons learned on my own, you know, thought processes. I used to – It’s so interesting when I think back, you know, team building experiences, right? They, I remember one time, the team I was on, we were going to the East Coast, and they wanted us to all go in the ocean. And I didn’t want to wear a bathing suit. And I was one of the only women. And I didn’t, I didn’t want to go. And my boss said, You have to go. And I didn’t have the courage back then, as a younger leader, to be like, Yeah, no, I’m not going. If the only requirement is we get in the ocean, and I have to wear a bathing suit in front of all of you, I’m not going. So I fast forward to now. I couldn’t go. I couldn’t get in the ocean right now. The walk to the water, right? So I think to myself, as leaders, what experiences are we creating? And how can we be inclusive of everyone who’s not even talking about stuff, right? So, I’ll give another example if I can. I was gonna go to a conference. My ticket is booked. I got first class seats because right now I’m so large, I don’t fit in a regular airplane seat. That’s true. Okay? So now I have the financial investment of first class. And somebody had said to me, Oh, first class, isn’t awesome? And it wasn’t my finest moment. I said, Really? Isn’t it awesome I don’t fit in the seat? I was so, like – So I have to work on that. Right? So first class seat, paid for. Hotel room, paid for. Conference, paid for. Get the intro email. Get ready to walk five miles a day on the exhibit floor. And I was just crushed. Get ready to walk – Wear comfortable shoes, it’s not about fashion, it’s about comfort. And I’m like – So I call them, and I’m like, Hey, I can’t walk five miles a day. I don’t have a wheelchair, because I’m not fully in that yet. You know, what do you have? And I use the word accommodation. Oh, well, you know, you can rent a scooter. But, you know, the exhibit hall’s kind of squished, so might not be comfortable. And there’s 1000s of people coming in. And it was pretty much like, don’t come. Right? And I still wanted to go, because it was important for our business. And I thought, Okay, let me – I’ll get the scooter, I’ll whatever. Maybe it’ll be a way to make new friends, whatever. And then I asked about the COVID check-in protocol. And is there seating? Right. So between six and seven in the morning, everybody waits in line, takes a COVID test. Once you clear it, then you get on the bus, the bus takes you to the convention center. So I was like, great. Is there seating? Is there a way to get me to the bus? No, no, we don’t have that. And I was like, I’m not going. So I asked for a refund. It took a little while. But what I realized was, I’ve been that event planner. I’ve put all those seats together lockstep to fit as many people in a room.

Sarah Noll Wilson 23:29

Lisa Duerre 23:30
I, you know, expected people to wait in line at bars for their drinks. And I just was like, Wow, Lisa, you are so nice, but clueless. This is a phrase I learned from a dear friend of mine. And so she says, know better, do better. So I’m going to know better and do better now. But boy, the waves, when you have that lived experience. The last part of this is the word accommodation. So for me, it just pisses me off. I don’t know, for other people, I can only speak for myself. But you know, we’ll accommodate you at a restaurant when you don’t have a reservation, we’ll squeeze you in, right? That’s kind of where my head goes. So people have said that, you know, we’ll accommodate you at this next whatever. And I say, you know, I’d really just like to be included. And then it just stops them. And they’re like, What do you mean? Right? And I’m like, Well, when you have everything scheduled to go walk from this room to that room, and you’ve only blocked five minutes to make that activity happen, I’m not going to get that done in five minutes. So I’m going to feel left out. Right? So I just give examples of it. But finding my voice to talk about this is almost exhausting too, because I’m living it, and I just wish people got it. And then I think, Okay, white woman, who’s, you know, having a mobility issue at 50-something – Have you met the people around you who have been educating their whole lives and are fricking tired? You’re tired after five months? Buckle up, buttercup. Like, no, keep going. So that’s been a journey for me.

Sarah Noll Wilson 27:48
It’s interesting to hear you – When you talk about the tone of accommodations. I hadn’t, I haven’t thought about it. But as you were talking, it was like, Yeah, yep. You know, it’s like, Yeah, we – It’s an afterthought. It’s it’s almost like – Sometimes it can come off as, like, I guess we can do that for you. Right? Like, we’ll, we’ll see what we can do. Instead of, of thinking about it from a place of, right, yeah, like, being inclusive, being helpful, being supportive, setting that person up for success. You know, I can’t help – I just got back from a trip to Canada. And I’m generalizing, but the Canadians we met were outstanding. Outstanding. And so many of them, were just so tuned into, How do I take care of you? In a way, quite frankly, I’d never experienced from clients before. I mean, we always have great relationships with clients, but it was just on a different level. And so I can’t help but just, like, you know – a couple of things that are coming up for me, as I’m hearing you talk, like – How many people have had this experience and are opting out? They’re like, I’m not even going to bother trying to navigate all of this. I’m not thought of. Right? I’m not being included in the planning. I’m not being, you know, thought of with this. So I’m just not going to go, because I think that sometimes there’s a sense that it’s such a minor few. Right? So, so we’ll accommodate it on a one to one basis. Instead of, no, this is actually – there’s a far greater part of the population who would probably benefit. And, right, and this is the work of inclusion, that when we can create and build, right, for the people who are most – whether it’s marginalized, oppressed, right, negatively impacted – it literally helps the rest of – It helps everyone then, when we, when we can create that type of environment. But I’m giving, you know, just myself even, reflecting on – probably times when I was absolutely that. You know, like I remember early, early in my career leading some, like, you know, this was back in my improv – you know, like leadership – It’s very physical, and we’re playing these – we’re throwing shit, and – you know, and there was somebody who had mobility issues. And I remember being like, I have no idea how to adjust for this. And I did not plan for this, right? Or another time when somebody was blind. And I was like, I’ve never thought about how to make sure my materials were easy for someone who, you know, wasn’t like me. Right? And that’s how we walk through the world.

Lisa Duerre 31:00

Sarah Noll Wilson 31:01
And – You know, like, I think about the quote from my dear friend Gilmara, on our team, and just a good friend, and she’s like, you can’t be a great leader if you can only lead people who look and sound like you. And on some level, you know, you could even expand that of like – I don’t want to say be a great human, but – How do we just continue to expand what’s out there in the world, so we can show up and make space – not make – even I’m gonna catch my language there. Like, make space is like accommodating, like, how do we create the space?

Lisa Duerre 31:38
Oh, I love that –

Sarah Noll Wilson 31:39
– for everyone to be able to be – like, to just know I can show up. And, and it’ll be safe for me to show up.

Lisa Duerre 31:47
Yeah, the whole, like, bring your whole self to work. This is a whole new level, right? And I think one of the things I’ve learned – because we do a lot, we facilitate amazing experiences where every voice gets presence, heard, seen and valued. And we do that with a very specific facilitation way we do. And even that – I think zoom has leveled the playing field for people to be able to get their voice in. Because when you’re in person, there’s all this other stuff, right? Part of me was like, I don’t want pictures taken on me at this conference, even for social media, cuz you’re gonna see my whole body, and you’re gonna see me struggling, right? And so one of the things that comes to mind for me right now is, for every client we’re working with, and every conversation I’m in, is, What does inclusion feel like for you? And so I’m just asking that question more and more and more. Because it’s different for everybody, you know – I’m in a Facebook group for moms in tech. And one of the moms went in and said, Okay, I know it’s a first world problem – It’s really my problem, and I need some, you know, hive advice. My daughter, my child gets out of school at two. And then after – aftercare is at three across town, and I’m working and they’re making us be back in the office. Is there some sort of kid taxi or transport something, right? And, like, my heart – I just thought to myself, when you’re forcing someone back in the office, and this person, much like me about that beach, doesn’t feel comfortable saying, Hey, between two and three, I need to go run this situation, right? I need to go care for my kid, check in at the transition and make this happen. Because you have to be on and in the office, like, what are you missing out on? Because we both – I know you and I both know, the energy that goes on in the back of the mind. Is my child okay? Are they going to be okay at aftercare, is everything – right? And so I feel like the invitation is for that person’s manager to say, How can we make work really work for you? Because you’re amazing. And then the person says, you know, here’s my current situation. I’m – you’re gonna laugh, I need accommodation, right? Between two and three. And really, in my mind, I would say I need flexibility. I’d like to not be booked in meetings between two and three, so I can do this. She didn’t feel that it was even an option. So it was like, What kind of kid transport without me can I make this happen? I see this with people with elder – you know, parents they’re trying to care for, with dementia and medication management and doctor’s appointments. And this whole, right now, everybody be back in the office thing – I just want to shine a light on it and invite people to think about why. And what’s in it, you know – Where’s this coming from? And how might we have a conversation that’s different, which is, Hey, when we’re together, how do we make it exceptional? And what does that look like for you? So you can be fully present? Like, what might be in the way? So I’ll pause, but yeah, I’m pretty fired up about it.

Sarah Noll Wilson 34:45
Yeah, I think you and I could just keep lifting each other up on the soapbox on that one. Because you’re, you’re absolutely right, that the virtual world has leveled the playing field. And you know, you think about it even from a standpoint of accessibility, right? I – when I – early on, when we started to make the change to do virtual events, I remember – I’m actually, so I’m sitting in my basement right now. So this, we weren’t at at our studio yet, we didn’t have all of our – but we were doing what we can. And my parents were sitting in the couch, sitting right over there, as I was doing a session, they happen to be here, you know. We had done the two weeks of quarantine, so we could be together. So we’re like, you’re gonna be with me, even if I’m working. And my dad, after it was over, he said, You know what’s really great about virtual, is that everyone gets the same experience with you. And I said, What do you – like, what do you mean, dad? And he goes, I’ve seen you speak. I’ve sat in the back. You know, like, he’ll sneak in at conferences, or whatever, and sit in the back. And he said, not everyone can see your facial expressions, not everyone can hear you clearly, depending on the room. And that was the first time I started to really realize and see the power – You know, and then you add in, people can add closed captioning, you add in that they can control the volume, you add in that they can do what they need to do to be physically comfortable, right? Maybe my blood sugar is getting low, and I need to grab a snack, maybe I am having a headache, and I want to participate and listen, but I just need to turn the lights off for a second. Or from, you know, from a standpoint of, of not everyone is comfortable speaking into a microphone in front of 300 people, sharing their stories. But chatting is much more lower risk. Sending it to like a facilitator to share on their behalf is much more lower risk. And I think, you know, I mean, again, like humans are wired to view the world through the experience we are having, right? This is why when we think about the work of inclusion, empathy, that act of empathy becomes so critical – to consider who who might we be missing out on. And I, and I’m curious to know, because sometimes, sometimes this is a trigger for me – You know, when people are just like, Gotta suck it up. Gotta just come into the workplace. And, like, people, just, they should just be happy they have a job. Like, when I hear – when I hear people in positions of power and authority speak like that, it’s like, Why? Why would somebody want to work – Why would somebody want to work for you? Why? Why would – you know? Like, why is that the impact you want to make on somebody, is, like, tough. You know, and I get that there are times when we may have to go – kind of shit or get off the pot. Like, I get that. There are those moments, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

Lisa Duerre 37:41
No. That’s not at all what you’re talking about. Exactly. Yeah. You know, is it okay, if I join you? Because I’m so inspired by what you just said.

Sarah Noll Wilson 37:49
Yeah. Come up, I’ll pull you up.

Lisa Duerre 37:51
I am fired up on this one. Okay, so this is what happens with me. I’m so fired up, I want to be very intentional. It is an honor to lead people. Okay? This is not, like, you’ve got your army and you’re going to command and control everybody to go do what you say. You should not be a leader, if that’s your brain – if that’s the lens in which you’re looking at, that’s how your brain is wired, like, you – 27 widgets in two hours, right? Whatever. No. We are in the – an amazing opportunity in this lifetime, for the knowledge, the collective wisdom to move all of us into the unknown, in a way to where we can actually make the world better. And if you are just like, Suck it up and get in there. I guarantee you this whole concept of quiet quitting, which I have a whole conversation about with you, too, if you want. It’s just bullshit! Like, when you as a leader only have in your heart to be like, You just have to do it – You’re not even leading. That’s not leadership. Leadership is curiosity, right? And listen, have I thought, You should all be here, and this is the way it is? Of course. And there’s the time and a place. And have I made mistakes in this world? Oh my gosh, yes. And the reason I’m so passionate about it now is I can see what’s possible when you don’t have this, like, black and white, ones and zeros thinking, and you’re actually looking at the symphony of the strings and all that is on your team, to be able to bring out the best in everybody. So I – thank you for letting me just shout at the rooftops because, yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 39:23
Yes, yes, and yes, I mean, it – We, we really do have an opportunity to reshape it and rebuild something better. And maybe, maybe we can’t, you know, maybe the whole system won’t change because of the – right, like, we’re in a capitalist society. That’s the game we’re in. Right? But how can we do it in a way that’s less harmful, more energizing, more meaningful? And, you know, I was joking with with somebody the other day. He was laughing, he said, Yeah, sure, I have thoughts too, of like, work would be way more easier if I wasn’t working with people. And he’s like, And, and it would be way less interesting, and way less satisfying, and way less meaningful. And, you know, and another general manager, we were sitting and talking, and he goes, You know, I’ve been at this a while, Sarah, and I’m just really – We’re, we’re in a space now where we can’t just run the numbers and the business strategy. We, we have to be much more involved in coaching people, we have to be much more involved in setting them up for success and supporting them. And – I mean, we are in, we’re in the time of humanity right now.

Lisa Duerre 40:41

Sarah Noll Wilson 40:42
And, and quite frankly – and I know, you and I agree on this, and we’ve talked about this, and we’re both passionate about it – Work hasn’t worked for a lot of people for a very long time.

Lisa Duerre 40:54
Yes. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 40:55
And, and, and, and think of how many people have been excluded. You know, and I think about this for my – again, and, you know, like you, I, you know, I’m – I know there are things that I can do better. I know there are things I can do better that I don’t know about yet. I definitely know there are things that I’ve done in previous management that now I look back, and I’m like, Oh, god, you know, but I have to be like, you – know, better do better, right? Like, when I can see better, I can do better. Like, and – And the thing is, you know, especially when I hear people say, Well, people just don’t want to work – I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to feel like they are valuable, and can add value. Whatever that looks like. And maybe someone doesn’t have the technical know-how that we need. But every single person, I do believe, has greatness within them. And every single person has wisdom that we can learn from and we can cultivate, and we can come together to, to bring something – to create something new. Like, there, everyone has something to offer if we’re willing to listen, and if we’re willing to create the space. And I do believe, like – and maybe it looks different. You know, not everyone wants to contribute in a formal work way. But I just think of, like, how many voices are we missing out on? How much experiences, and, you know what I mean? Like, I – I’ve been reflecting a lot, so give me a moment, if I may. You know, a lot of times you’ll hear people say, like, nobody will remember, like how you work they’ll make you – you know, like the Maya Angelou. They won’t remember what you did, but how you made them feel. And a lot of people are like, they’re not going to remember your spreadsheets. And, you know, so it’s like, go out and live your life. A dear mentor of mine, and former boss, passed away recently, very young, from cancer. And, and I found myself reflecting that some of the biggest impact she made was at work. She made huge impact outside of work, but how she showed up, at – in, in, in the structure of which we spend the most amount of time with people. It was unbelievable the stories that people had about her, because of how she showed up and the space that she created for people. And even though that was, yeah, that was at work – The ripple on people’s personal being and sense of self was substantial. I don’t know where I’m going with any of this. But this is just, like, what’s coming out of my heart right now as we talk about this. Like, I just – Hearing your story and, like, reflecting on this is – We’re just missing out on so many people and creating something better.

Lisa Duerre 43:54
So, first of all, I am – I don’t like the words, I’m sorry for your loss. They don’t land well for me. So I just want to make sure I presence heartfelt – I guess I just want to say love, Sarah, for the the relationship that you had, the impact that this mentor had on you, and the fact that that has shifted now and that you’re reflecting from from the perspective of they’re no longer with us here. What you’re talking about his legacy, right? What you’re talking about is humanity. And I too, have lost a mentor to cancer, which is very interesting. And what I can tell you is, it’s the same thing, right? What you’re really reflecting on, and I think is an invitation for all leaders, is what’s your legacy? Right? And how – Do you see and do you understand that when you hold space – we call it firm leadership. If you’re flexible, intuitive, resilient, and mindful. How does – what does that do for your entire organization? Because not only are you leading these people on your team, but they have families, and they’re in the community. And what – however their day is impacted either comes home with them, negatively or positively. Period. So you are actually a much bigger part of their world than just their manager, their boss, Senior Vice President. And what you’re talking about is legacy. I think the invitation is, what’s the legacy you’re really leaving? Right? And if you walk in thinking everybody needs to be here, and nobody wants to work, that’s not, that’s not the legacy I want to leave. You know, and I – I think I just want to share something real, I’m gonna get super vulnerable for a second, not like I haven’t been – But I really want to say to you that, just this week, we held a team meeting for our collective. And everybody but one person has known I’ve been going through this, because when I’m one on one, I’m telling people, but I hadn’t done it in a team setting. And I was super anxious. And the one person didn’t know because they were brand new to our team. And I didn’t have a chance to have the conversation. It just played out that way. And we – we always start with celebrations and wins. We’re always, you know, really looking at how we’re working together or how we’re impacting our clients. So we did all that. And the celebrations – there were so many and so deep, and I could feel the energy. I almost chickened out in sharing. However, I had built, I had built the workbook for our team meeting and I had put something in there, and I was like, I gotta go. There’s no chickening out now. Right? And I didn’t do it very well, in my opinion. I was messy. I was scared. I cried. I cried. But I was letting them know, like, hey, part of the messaging you’re going to be hearing from me on stages, is about disability advocacy, and inclusion. And we’ve always talked about inclusion. But now I have this lived experience. And because one in nine women are impacted with lipedema, I’m going to be talking about this, because I feel like this is a crime. And I want to let you all know that we’re not shifting RLD group. We’re still Rebooting Leadership Drive, right? We’re still culture, burnout prevention, results, right? Bottom line results. And I’m going to up that – I’m going to shine a light on this a little bit more, because it’s important to me. I did all this, I actually showed pictures of my body so they would know what to look for. Showed pictures of my body so they could know what to look for. Crying, and talking about how hard it is to move around. And then we had to end the meeting. So I didn’t have space on the other end for any processing, right? I thanked them all, and I was saying, Hey, I just want to let you know, if you haven’t gotten a hold of me, I’m probably at the doctor. And this is what’s going on. And we’re doing great. We just landed all these deals, like, all that. When the meeting was done, I was just like, What did I just do? Like, I really questioned it. And one of the team members did a WhatsApp and said, I am so inspired by what you did. Thank you for sharing with us. How can we support you? Right? It was a very lovely message. But most of the team members didn’t say anything. They had other meetings to go to, client work, right? They had life to live. And they had all known.

Sarah Noll Wilson 48:04

Lisa Duerre 48:04
And so I had to battle tremendous vulnerability hangover. What are they all thinking? Are they all gonna go? Are they gonna leave? What did they – Whatever you want to think – Do they think I’m ridiculous for crying? Right?

Sarah Noll Wilson 48:17
Yeah, and even probably just some elements, I would imagine – Like, gosh, it would be nice to just know that, like, that was okay. You know, or that, you know, right? I mean, it’s like, I don’t need need someone to take care of me, but it’s nice when you’re like, I just ripped out my heart to you. And to just have an acknowledgement of that.

Lisa Duerre 48:37
Well, there’s a learning here, right? Yeah. Right. And because words of affirmation are my love language. I like words, right? So anyway, we went on, and I just sat with it and sat with it and sat with it, like, what’s the learning? What’s the learning? How do I feel? What, you know, what was your intended outcome in the first place? Why did you rush that? Like, all of the thoughts, because I’m a reflective person. Well, I called the newest member, because I was like, I need to make sure she’s okay. She had no exposure to this. And I’ll just say, what a gift it was to be curious and courageous and ask the question, because I was like, I don’t know what she’s gonna say. She said, Lisa, I have been in my career for over 25 years. And I have never been in a meeting where there was so much celebration and support, no competition, and that the leader led with vulnerability in a way that you did. She’s like, I’m so inspired. My husband is calling you today, because he overheard our meeting, and he wants to work with us. Okay, and I was like, What? She was like, I wish more leaders would do that. Because everybody’s battling something. Even if the leader were to say, You know what, my wife is burnt out, and I’m carrying the household right now. Or my mother has dementia and I’m trying to get her into assisted living, or I’m just tired. She’s like, If leaders would do that more. And so I hung up with that call, Sarah, and I was like, I’m so glad I didn’t react to the vulnerability hangover, and discharge my discomfort and, you know, label everybody. She was off having a conversation with her husband, another person called me the following day and said, Yeah, I have lymphedema and I don’t talk about it. 17 years, I’ve never said a word. Right? So one of the things I think that’s so important in my learning, and I want to share this with everybody right now, is that the vulnerability hangover is the opportunity for you to pause. And just simply notice, and then choose that right next step. Because if you’re not going first, your team is not going to do it. So whatever that is, if even if you’re just not sleeping well at night, you know, to just share something on the human side. So I can look back now, and I still shake when I think about it. I’m really glad I did it the way I did it, perfectly imperfect and messy. And I’m so blessed to be surrounded with amazing leaders, who also didn’t get codependent and just go try and fix me, had their own process. And that I can share that story, because I want to invite everyone to think about how might you share? What’s running in the background, in your processor that might use a simple reboot just by you downloading? Done. So, yeah, thank you for letting me share that. It was a – it was a big thing.

Sarah Noll Wilson 51:28
I appreciate you, I appreciate you walking through that. And also sharing with us what was going on in your head, because sometimes what felt messy to you might not have seemed or felt messy to other people, right? And again, and can reinforce that idea that people have their shit together – Even when you’re crying, you know, and you’re like, Oh, I’m a hot mess, people can still be like, Wow, they’re so brave. You’re like, Nope, not brave, just a hot mess. But thank you, you know, like –

Lisa Duerre 51:55
We need a new term, where we combine brave and hot mess together. I don’t know what it is. Yeah. Right?

Sarah Noll Wilson 52:01
I’m, I’m hotly brave? No, I don’t know.

Lisa Duerre 52:05
I guess we’ll just call it vulnerable, how about that?

Sarah Noll Wilson 52:07
Yeah, we’ll just call it vulnerable. Yeah. And what beautiful role modeling, in sharing, for all of us to hear. You know, like, I hear that story and I go, And that’s what leadership looks like. That’s the act of leadership, of – you know, stepping into our humanity, normalizing the imperfections. We have so many myths around leadership, that we have to have it all figured out. And we have to, you know, have a stiff upper lip, and we have to not show emotions. And we have to do all of this. And – and we’re humans who have emotions, and we’re humans who have hurt. And we’re humans who have health issues. And we’re humans who – insert whatever human condition and human suffering and human celebration you want. And, and sometimes, you know – and I know you hear this from your clients, just like we do, of, there’s a fear of like, Well, what will happen if I do that? And it’s like, you know, there’s already a cost that is being paid, because you aren’t.

Lisa Duerre 53:12
Yes. Yeah. I read something from Kelly McGonigal about, stress is when you – something you care about deeply feels at risk. And was I feeling stressed in that meeting? I mean, I was as present as I could in all those celebrations, but what was running in the background is, I’m next. I’m next. I’m next. I kept saying, I care about this. I care about this team. I care about this company, I care about our clients, and how do we – How do we walk the talk? And, yeah. I also really, really appreciated that not everybody jumped right away. So I could have that process. Because I needed the processing time. So –

Sarah Noll Wilson 53:52
It’s – I mean, the vulnerability hangover is very real. I mean, I think this is something that, you know, when, when we know that we or someone’s going into an emotionally charged conversation, whatever it is, it’s – There will need to be some recovery time. And then, you know, and then,and then the beautiful practice, again, that you role model of – here are the initial thoughts, here are the initial stories I told myself about why people weren’t reaching out or, you know, whatever that might be. And now I’m going to get curious, and now I’m going to, you know, open up space or even just like, And where does that come from? And what need do I have, and all of that. You said something on a personal level that I want to, I want to make sure gets echoed, because I think it’s really – a really important practice that sometimes seems so simple – which is when we’re so overwhelmed, sometimes we have to download to process. And I know that’s something I’ve had to learn, that I can ruminate. I can ruminate with the best of them, I can suffer in silence with the best of them. And learning that sometimes I just need to speak it out, to get it out of my body and to – and I don’t know if that’s actually what you even meant. Like, I’m going to check my assumption, actually. How I heard that – and so if that’s different than how you meant, please clarify so we can get that perspective as well – is, and sometimes we have to, we have to share it.

Lisa Duerre 55:18
Yeah, I mean, when I said download it was –

Sarah Noll Wilson 55:20
– so we can see it, so we can give space?

Lisa Duerre 55:22
Yeah. No, you’re totally on point. Because downloading for me is letting it out and having the background – having it stop running in the background and presence it for whatever it is. Whatever it is right now. Right? Yeah, yeah, you’re, we were tracking there.

Sarah Noll Wilson 55:36
Okay. And that it doesn’t have to be fixed. I think that’s the other thing when we think about – I mean, and so let’s bring this as a through line through this whole conversation. If it’s, if you are supporting, if you love, if you’re around somebody who’s experiencing maybe health hardship, maybe some kind of other hardships, some kind of other pain or hurt – there, there’s this default in tendency, that we want to take away the pain. Now sometimes I think we want to take away the pain because it’s uncomfortable for us. Like, I’m sliding the tissues over because I don’t know what to do with your tears. Instead of, you know, just – and I, and – and if I may gush on you for a moment, the thing – and you all listening are hearing this in how Lisa shows up in conversations. And you know, this was our first conversation – what struck me is your intentionality of – I’m just going to be present with you. And I’m just going to be present with this. I’m not going to give you some platitude. I’m not going to try to resolve it. I’m just going to name it, honor it, and just be with it wherever it needs to be. And that is something I think that you are – It’s like a masterclass when I’m in conversations with you, Lisa, about how you show up. Because there are things that I might feel, but I don’t always verbalize them. And so that’s, that’s a gift that you’ve given me and continue to reinforce, of how powerful it is to say it out loud. And, and so, so thank you for that. And, and thank you for showing all of us what it looks like to show up in that way.

Lisa Duerre 57:13
Sarah, I really appreciate you saying that, because not everybody receives it that way. Let’s just call that for one moment. Right? Oh, well, thanks for dumping all your stuff right here, right? I was really thinking about something else. And now I got all this going on. And so you are also someone who I experience as being in the moment and present. And I love when we get in conversation, because we don’t know where it’s gonna go. What I always appreciate about, in conversation with you – and thank you for giving me this platform to talk about this – is just how curious you are and where it goes together. Because I think you’re modeling one of the most important facets of leadership, which is curiosity. You even said, Wait, I heard download, I thought this, let me check back in. Right? Who doesn’t want a leader that’s going to take that moment and say, I just told myself what I think that means, but let’s double click. You just modeled something so beautiful that every leader can do. Because when you’re present, you’re actually asking yourself. Right? Present isn’t just in your head. Present is with me and in your head. Like it’s, it’s – There’s three of us, I guess. You’re in your head, you’re with you, and you’re with me. Yeah, I appreciate it.

Sarah Noll Wilson 58:23
Yeah. What, you know, one thing that I feel like would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t, if I didn’t ask – because I can imagine that there’s probably people listening to this who are thinking, I’ve been in that situation, I am in this situation, maybe they’ll be in this situation. And we’ve talked a lot about maybe ways that we can show up for other people when we see them in this, and how to think about that. But you know, what, what would be a couple of practices that have been valuable for you, as you’ve been working through it? You know, so what are some of the conversations you’ve been having with yourself to navigate? Because it can be – when you’re dealing with something chronic, when you’re dealing with something that disrupts your way of living, disrupts your identity, disrupts, right? It – and I’m not I’m not a fan of, like, just think positively like – Right? Like, no. There’s a time and place. And you know. I don’t know who it was, there was some psychologist who’s like, Positive thinking is like ice cream. Like, it’s okay, sometimes, but I don’t want it shoved down my throat every time I’m hurting –

Lisa Duerre 59:38
That’s awesome.

Sarah Noll Wilson 59:39
You know, but, but – You know, what are some of the things that, as you’ve been going through this, have been really effective at helping you be able to stay present with it? The challenges, to navigate through them, to reframe, you know, whatever, whatever it might be.

Lisa Duerre 59:57
You know, it’s interesting, I don’t know if I have an answer, but I’ll just – I’m gonna just process this with you real time, because I’m very aware of how much I’ve beat myself up over this. You should have known it sooner. How come a doctor didn’t catch it? Why? Why Why? Why did you have to get to immobility? Like, Why – could you not have? Are you not in tune with your body? Did you not know, you know, all this stuff. Okay? That all happened. Then there was, Well, what a burden you are to your family. How are you – You can’t even walk up the stairs to bring the groceries up, you always have to ask for help. You know, there’s a lot of not-prettiness that went on in this process. It’s still going on. Okay, it depends on the day.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:00:35

Lisa Duerre 1:00:36
So I would say that the first thing that comes to mind when you ask that question was, just noticing how I’m talking to myself in my head. Right? And noticing that, Wow, you wouldn’t talk to anybody else like this. If your friend or your daughter or – anybody, you’d be like, How can I help you? What is – My question is always, What does support look like? Because I don’t want to assume. So just noticing how horribly I was talking to myself. So I think when I got the official diagnosis, and the doctor was like, you have this, I was like, Oh, I’m not even crazy. I’m not, like, a fat person trying to say I have a disease that I don’t have, just because I – you know, all this mental yuck. So I would say the first thing for me that I’ve noticed is really just checking in with myself about how am I talking to myself. And because I’ve burnt out and done the journey of the three month medical leave, and all that went with that – not even considering the weight loss, just all the other things with sleep, rest, connection, right? Mental health support. The second thing I would say is, allowing myself to be messy, and not be all together. So the one example I’ll give that might help everybody is, my daughter is 10. She’s got her own life, she’s back to school. She doesn’t want to help me with my compression when it gets stuck on the bottom of my feet, or bring me my phone when I forgot it downstairs. It’s kind of annoying, right? And I used to say to her, You know, I count too. And I don’t think that was a very loving thing to say to my daughter. At the time it was, I was just so frustrated. I count too. So we had a conversation and she was like, Mom, when you say that – I said, Why do you get so mad when I say I count? She’s like, Because you’re not saying we count, everybody counts. And that’s usually how you show up. I was like, Oh my god, I’m just saying, you know, for 10 years, I did everything for you. I never complained. Like, why do you complain to get my phone? And she’s like, Well, because you say I count. You’re really offended, Mom, I’m really offended by that. And I’m like, Okay, so how do I remind you that I need help without you being offended? Her answer? Mom, I’d like you just to say cheese. I’m like what? She – Of all the things I could say, maybe help, or hey – Instead of Hey, honey, my phone’s downstairs. Can you get it? I count. Right? She was like, Mom, start with – Hey, honey – This is how I talk to her. Hey, honey, cheese. My phone’s downstairs. Every time I do that, Sarah – No problem, Mom. Comes right up, gives me a hug, brings my phone. And so I think the invitation for everybody is, how do you have the conversation around, What does support look like? And then the people supporting you can actually weigh in on that. So they’re not resentful or feeling burdened, because this is a whole family affair in my house. I need help. Right now. Right? And the gift and that is the languaging, and how she’s learning how to problem solve, and push back when she’s offended, and me learning – and so how do I do it? It’s like everyday messy and everyday learning. You know? So I say cheese, and it works.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:03:55
I love that. I love I love all of that. And I don’t even – I feel like that’s a beautiful place for us to wind down. Now normally I ask a question about a conversation, but I feel like you just gave us a really beautiful example of a conversation that was transformative – and also to, like, honor, honor what your daughter needed, instead of being like, Well, that was dumb. Cheese? What does that have to do with anything, but it’s just like, Okay, like, let’s, let’s, let’s try it.

Lisa Duerre 1:04:21
Yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:04:23
And so, thank you for sharing that. Lisa. Someday, we’ll see each other, and there’s going to be a full body hug if you’ll allow it.

Lisa Duerre 1:04:35
Oh my gosh, I’m not letting you go.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:04:35
You can just sit there and I’ll just wrap myself around you, is what’s gonna happen.

Lisa Duerre 1:04:41
You know, can I just say, for anyone who’s thinking you can’t build a relationship online, or everybody has to be in person, just a reminder where we started. I saw something amazing on LinkedIn. I told you it was awesome. You offered to be in community with me, and here we are. I am so proud of myself for reaching out. I am so grateful –

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:05:02
I am. I’m grateful that you did.

Lisa Duerre 1:05:04
I’m so grateful. Yeah, Sarah, the work you do is life changing, you’re changing the planet. Thank you for this platform and this conversation. I am just really grateful for who you are and how you show up. And I love being in conversation with you.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:05:21
The feelings are all mutual. And you do some pretty amazing work. So for people who are listening, who are curious to learn more about connecting with you, maybe learning about the work you and your collective do, what is the best way you would like them to connect with you?

Lisa Duerre 1:05:36
Oh, well, you know, there’s the fabulous LinkedIn. Right? That’s how you and I met. LinkedIn is great. We also have a website, RLD Group LLC dot com. Either one of those are great. And I do respond. I don’t have an Autobot in there being like, Thank you for your message. Nope, it’s me. Sometimes my team will find them and give them to me so I can respond. But it is me. And I love being in community and in conversation. So yeah, I would love anyone to reach out who wants to and is – feels inspired.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:06:05
Yeah, I would love that. And we’ll go ahead and we’ll share that information. And then, Lisa, I have just – if there’s some websites related to lipedema that you can share with us that you would like us also to include in the notes, I’d like to do that. Because I think that, especially – I mean, if you are a woman, and if you have a woman in your life, which we all do, right, it’s important for us to be aware of conditions that, that can impact those, those in our world and how to help them. It’s just heartfelt thank – Thank you, Lisa, for being on the show and sharing so wholeheartedly with us all. So thank you.

Lisa Duerre 1:06:44
Thank you, Sarah. I really appreciate it.

Sarah Noll Wilson 1:06:47
Our guest this week has been Lisa Duerre. And we explored lots of topics related to her current health crisis with lipedema, what that has – how that has impacted her, her thinking, and, and just talking about how can we, in the workplace and as just humans, show up more wholly for each other. And, you know, one of the things that I am definitely holding on to for myself, is – is really doing some deep reflection – you know, we would call it a courageous audit in our work – of what are the ways that I may not be creating and thinking about inclusive environments, inclusive spaces for people who have different physical needs and mental needs. And so that’s just something I’m holding on to. There’s just a couple of moments that made me go, Yeah, I need to think about this more. And we want to hear from you. What resonated? What came up for you? Maybe you’re going through something similar. You can always email me at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. You can connect with me on social media. I’m very active on Twitter and LinkedIn, so my DMs are always open. And so we would love to hear from you. And if you’d like to find out more about our work and how we could support your team to have the conversations they’re avoiding, check out Sarah Noll Wilson dot com to learn about our services. And if you haven’t, pick up a copy of our book, Don’t Feed the Elephants!, wherever books are sold. And if you have read it, we would love to get a review. That helps us get the word out and expand. And if you’d like to support the show, you can support us on patreon dot com slash Conversations on Conversations, where your financial contributions help support and sustain the work that we’re doing. Also, if you haven’t already, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show, wherever you are listening to this, whatever platform you’re listening to it. This helps us get the word out and continue to bring on great guests like Lisa. I want to just do a quick shout out to our team that makes this podcast possible. While you’re listening to me, there’s a whole crew behind me. So to our producer Nick Wilson, our sound editor Drew Noll, transcriptionist Olivia Reinert, and our marketing consultant Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson, as well as the entire SNoWco team. And a final big thank you to Lisa Duerre. It is just such a treat to have her on the show. This has been Conversations on Conversations. Thank you for listening, and remember, when we can change the conversations we have with ourselves and with others, we can change the world. So thank you all. We’ll see you next week. Don’t forget to rest and rehydrate. Bye.


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Sarah Noll Wilson is on a mission to help leaders build and rebuild teams. She aims to empower leaders to understand and honor the beautiful complexity of the humans they serve. Through her work as an Executive Coach, an in-demand Keynote Speaker, Researcher, Contributor to Harvard Business Review, and Bestselling Author of “Don’t Feed the Elephants”, Sarah helps leaders close the gap between what they intend to do and the actual impact they make. She hosts the podcast “Conversations on Conversations”, is certified in Co-Active Coaching and Conversational Intelligence, and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities. In addition to her work with organizations, Sarah is a passionate advocate for mental health.

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