014: Emotional Mastery with Dr. Marcia Reynolds

By May 20, 2016Podcasts

 

Dr. Marcia Reynolds headshot and quote “People want you to be present more than they need you to be perfect” from interview in episode 14 of the How to be Awesome At Your Job Podcast with Pete Mockaitis

Dr. Marcia Reynolds provides tools for some extra self-mastery of emotions to enrich ourselves and our colleagues.

You’ll hear:

1) The story of a dramatic exchange in jail that altered Marcia’s life trajectory—and made me cry.
2) Key coaching questions that make people stop, think, and become open to change.
3) The four steps to change your emotional state at will.

About Marcia:

Dr. Marcia Reynolds coaches, teaches and presents at conferences worldwide on leadership, emotional intelligence, and personal success. She is the author of 3 award-winning books, The Discomfort Zone, Wander Woman, and Outsmart Your Brain. Her doctorate is in organizational psychology with an emphasis on the challenges and needs of high-achievers in the workplace. She has overcome many roadblocks and detours in life, which makes her writing and teaching personal, practical and inspirational.

Items mentioned in the show:

Dr. Marcia Reynolds Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Marcia, thanks so much for appearing on the How to be Awesome At Your Job podcast.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Thanks Pete, I really appreciate being here.

Pete Mockaitis
Well you’ve got so much great stuff to share and I’m really looking forward to jumping right in, but I’m quite intrigued. So you’ve got your doctorate in organizational psychology and you have figured out some key insights associated with overcoming challenges and needs of high achievers, and in the process of getting that wisdom you say lots of that came from overcoming many of your own road blocks and detours. I’m very intrigued. Can you share a little bit about that first?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Okay. Well I’m going to give a little bit of the journey and then go backwards a little.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
First the whole concept of really trying to understand challenges and needs of high achievers actually comes from of course facing my own and thinking something was wrong with me and I was weird. And so I started my career on down one path and like many people fell into another. You know, I started my first masters was broadcasting, I got a job at a psychiatric hospital.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh wow.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Pushing televisions around. And it was for the training department, and my boss decided to go get her doctorate and dump the whole department in my lap, and I became a trainer and went on and got another degree in instructional design. So it was sort of, it was accidental.

But I found that, you know, about every three years I would start getting kind of antsy, what’s next, what else is there, and by five years I was gone. So it was, I moved across industries, I you know, always took on things I didn’t know anything about it, and I learned along the way because I think I learned you just say yes, you jump into it and you do it. But when I finally jumped out and started my own business, and decided to go get my doctorate because I was really interested in the brain and why do we do what we do, and when I went to do my doc—my dissertation, you know that’s a tough choice, because you have to find something you can finish in this lifetime.

Pete Mockaitis
And that’s somewhat original.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah, exactly. And you know, you have to do a review of the literature, and with the internet, reviewing all of the literature out there on a topic can take your lifetime, you know. So I actually was looking, I was listening to somebody talk at a conference, and he was explaining women in the workplace, and I was like “well that’s not true at all,” it was so old fashioned what he was thinking. And it wasn’t at all like me or my clients, and so I went out and I said you know, so let me look at the literature, what are they writing about smart, strong women in the workplace.

And at that point, which was only 2008 when I started this research, it wasn’t that long ago, there still wasn’t anything out there. It was all about women who are passive and wouldn’t speak up for themselves or wouldn’t lean in, and I was like what about the rest of us. So when I started doing the research and talking and interviewing these women all around the country, I found that there were many women like me that had this restlessness and were often misinterpreted, our intentions, and then I found that many of these same challenges that men had, the younger men coming into the workplace, that they were also you know job hoppers and misunderstood, and so that’s when I wrote my dissertation and that turned into a book, Wonder Woman.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes. Wonder Woman.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah, and again, many men that have read it have said, “Yes, yes, that’s me too.” So it’s really all about what we face, we smart, strong people in the workplace that seem to be wholly misunderstood.

Pete Mockaitis
Well indeed and that’s some interesting areas there. You know, one area of your history I’d like to zoom in a little bit is, can we hear a little bit about the story of a semi conductor company that was near bankruptcy, you were in charge of the employee development program, and then it went off to have a highly successful IPO. I’m curious to what extent was your training program a key enabler of that, and what made it so fantastic?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well I think what made it so fantastic is because I learned what, not just what to do, but what not to do, because the company prior to that that I worked for was a world renowned company that they were the top in the world for dumb terminals attached to main frames, and when we shifted into smart technology, they couldn’t make the shift because nobody talked to each other, everybody was in their silos.

Everybody thought they were right, and it was just difficult to make changes, there was no flexibility in the workplace. I watched that company go down, and they were sold twice, and I was in charge of sales training at the time and our products were awful. And they tried to do teams, but nobody liked each other. So I left, in two years they went bankrupt.

My next job was this company that was near bankruptcy and they said here’s a bunch of money, go do whatever it is you do. Well I got alliances in the company which is so important, I had some champions in management, and they changed the product in the market, but we changed the organization into cross-functional business units, and really worked with everyone to work together as teams, how to deal with conflict, manage stress.

And so yeah, many of the programs, not just the training, but how we implemented the programs, led to this success that three years later we were the top IPO in the United States. So yeah, that was a big deal, but again I learned from the mistakes of what not to do that I was able to then determine what to do in order to make that work.

Pete Mockaitis
And within those programs and the implementation of the overall transformation, would you say that there were kind of any real particular shifts that just opened things wide up for them, it’s like once they kind of got in their bones or a message paradigm, things were really starting to cruise, and what were those?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
I think the main thing, and when I said to you these were cross-functional teams, that meant that we were taking people out of their own groups and making them work with other people, and especially like the engineers working with the factory workers, and really having to come to understand that these people do this work all day and they’re experts, and they’re smart.

Just because they don’t have the same degree as you, you still have to look at what they bring to the table. And that was not easy, that whole thing about I’m the expert, I know everything, to turn around and to look at people and to appreciate them and to value what they bring, whoever they are.

And that’s not just cross functional within the company, but we had a factory in Taiwan, we brought one up in Thailand, so that meant cross cultural communication. And just because people don’t speak English as their first language doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
Pete Mockaitis
Amen.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Right. That was I think one of the most critical things that took us over into you know, that really being able to see people and to honor them in order to work together, to bring the best out of all of us. That’s what made the difference.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s fantastic. And I’ve never heard anybody articulate that before, but I think that really is lurking somewhere in the kind of unspoken consciousness of folks. Is like they don’t sound smart, therefore they’re not smart…

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Right. Well they call it unconscious bias, and you know, and it’s everywhere. So I do a lot of work with Maersk, you know the Danish shipping company, and the head of diversity there tells this story about there was these three guys that needed to hire someone into their team, and they were all Danish, and one guy says right in front of the diversity manager, “well I don’t know if we should hire this guy because he’s French, which means we’re all going to have to speak English.”

Pete Mockaitis
Oh.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
So they weren’t going to hire the best candidate just because it was going to inconvenience them to have to speak the same language. You know, and she just looked at them and said, “do you know what you just said?” And that’s the thing is that we have these thoughts, we take these actions, and don’t stop and think. And we can do that for each other just by saying, “do you realize what you just said?” You know, so we help each other see these unconscious biases.

Pete Mockaitis
Fantastic. And that’s a great segway, you said, you ask the question, “do you realize what you’ve just said?” And in your book The Discomfort Zone has a lot of content in there associated with asking the questions as you put it that short circuit defense patterns.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Right.

Pete Mockaitis
Now, how do we do that? Or what are some killer questions that are great for that purpose?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well one of my favorite questions is just: “How do you know that to be true?” You know, that just stops people like, huh? You know, cause we just say things that we’ve heard or that we’ve been thinking for years without really stopping. But you know the point in the book The Discomfort Zone, the main point is that when you’re struggling with someone who’s stuck or their just not seeing the bigger picture, that you just can’t tell them, you know, you have to do this or you have to see it this way, you have to stop and listen to their story, you have to see what they see first.

And somewhere in there, and when they’re telling you this, and you stay really curious and ask them questions, you’re going to see their block, you’re going to see what’s stopping them from seeing what else they can do. And that’s when you ask about that.

You know, like for example, and just an example that happened to me, you know I was talking to my boss and complaining about my peers and you know my whole team, and nobody works that hard, not as hard as me, and they just don’t get it. You know that constant thing that we often do. And he says, “Wow, you know, I can see that you know you’re really upset with them, and that you’re really even disappointed. And I’m wondering you know, is that it? Does everybody always disappoint you?”

Pete Mockaitis
Wow.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
And that made me stop. But then he said the killer question, he said, “Will anyone ever be good enough for you?”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
And I was like, oh my, and I realized how many times I just sit in judgment, just by those two questions. And so again, you know, he could’ve told me, oh stop it, stop judging people, and that would’ve had no effect.

But by asking me the question that made me stop and look at myself, it changed my mind, and it actually changed my behavior forever. And that’s what The Discomfort Zone is about. How do you listen for what it is you need to ask to change someone’s mind?

Pete Mockaitis
Tell us, how do you listen? What are some key things to tune in for, to be on the lookout for?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah. Well you know part of it is that you know you still have to go in believing in the person and go in, you have to check your emotions, because you have to go in with an open mind and caring about this person that’s sitting in front of you. Otherwise you’re not going to be with them well enough, you’re just going to listen for what you can criticize them for.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
But if you’re honestly there to help this person, to achieve, you’re creating this open space where you both will be able to dig a little deeper into this situation. So you really have to check yourself first.

So there’s a number of things in the book that talk about how to create the mental space that opens you up and makes them feel comfortable. Once they’re comfortable then they’re almost like, you know, they’re willing to answer your questions. They’ll think your questions are because you care, not because it’s interrogation. And then you just start asking them, you know,“so tell me the way you see it.What do you think is going on?” You really need again to see their story. But then you have to notice the emotional shifts. So, like I see that, like today I had a client and he was talking about a part of his job that he absolutely loved, and then what didn’t work, and I said “you know you have so much passion for this part of your job, but then you were talking about this part which is a critical element of your job, and your energy just went away.” And I said, you know “How many years do you think you could spend trying to balance this work where you really hate half of it?”

Pete Mockaitis
That’s a great question.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, and he actually came up with an answer, “probably only a couple more years at that.”So by noticing his emotional shifts, you know, that’s the most powerful thing when I notice, like my boss noticing my disappointment, when I notice people are passionate, or irritated, or sad because they feel betrayed you know by the company, and I’m just curious, I just ask about that.

“So I noticed that you’re a little resentful, tell me about that.” And it’s amazing when people start bringing that up, we get to the truth of what’s really bothering them and stopping them from moving forward. Once they start to see the truth for themselves, I don’t have to tell them what to do, they clearly know. You know, like when I said that to my client this morning, he’s like “okay a couple years.” So okay, “what do you need to do now to prepare yourself for possibly shifting your career in a couple years,” and he decides I don’t have to tell him. And that’s the beauty of you know using the techniques in The Discomfort Zone, of you know, it’s a coaching approach where it’s inquiry based and reflection.

I just tell people what I see and what I sense. It helps people stop and think for themselves. And as human beings, we have busy, busy, busy, busy minds and we don’t stop and think. And anyone that allows us just to stop and reflect and think is doing us a great favor.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so great. As I visualize those scenes in which you’re asking those questions, I can imagine if I were on the receiving end of those questions, I think that my first response would be uhh… it’s almost like, you caught me.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
And that’s why it’s called The Discomfort Zone, it’s not my discomfort, it’s yours. And I gotta know that when I make you uncomfortable it’s a good thing.

Pete Mockaitis
So I want to kind of backtrack just a little bit then, you mentioned that it’s important that you establish a space, environment of comfort and trust and such, and I imagine in many ways that’s done weeks, months, years before the conversations are happening. In terms of just the overall ways you’ve treated and interacted with that person and the quality of that relationship, but I also imagine there maybe are just some tactical things that you’d want to do in the hours or days or even moment of the conversation. And what are some of those things?
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah. Well first Pete I just want to say that people think like oh it takes forever to build trust, and I don’t think so. You know, again, because that’s part of what I do is when I coach people is that I build that trust pretty quickly.

But again, it’s an intention, it’s a conscious intention that we have to create to remember you know three things: one, when I’m with someone, I need to be interested in them, and their goals, and what they want. It’s not just about me, my KPIs, my goals, my problems. It’s like, who is this person? What are their dreams? What are their desires? What is it they want they’re not getting? So it’s really like starting to think that through before you go. But then to stop yourself and say, “can I stay with this person in a positive space?” Am I angry with them, am I disappointed, am I irritated? Can I shift to being hopeful, to being you know caring, compassionate, and confident? Curious even, I’m just curious about what’s going on with you. It’s like when I come in with that, it’s amazing what curiosity will do, I mean real, genuine curiosity matched with I care about you. How much that, you know how far that goes in building trust if it’s genuine. This woman sent me this article just last week, I was teaching a class and she told me about it, about this thing called Radical Candor.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yes.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah, but the whole thing about Radical Candor is that you can’t have that unless you care about the person. Otherwise they won’t trust you. But if they know…

Pete Mockaitis
If you don’t care, it’s just radical jerk.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Exactly. But if they know you do, and that’s the problem is that for years, we don’t even talk about that, for years I taught leadership classes and there really wasn’t anything about you have to care about the person and open up your heart and your gut. It’s like, you know, we can’t talk about that, but that’s the truth.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s just business, that’s too touchy feely for us.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
I know. And I’ve always been accused of that, and yet the leaders that do it always come back to me and say, wow that made the difference, thank you. You know so it’s like, so what I said to you about my history, you know, I’ve often, people have often said, what really drove you to doing this work? And I say, oh I fell into it and all of that. But in truth I had a very, very difficult young adult time. And I turned twenty in jail, so…

Pete Mockaitis
No kidding.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
I can say that now, now that I’m doctor and have done all these things, you know. But you know the interesting thing was the person who changed my life was this woman that I met there, that you know I was sulking about something, and she just got in my face and said, “You have no idea who you are.” And she just ran off about how smart and how courageous I was, and all these things about me that she was the first person I think in my life who really saw me.

You know, everybody wanted me to be this straight A student, and the top athlete, and all that external stuff, but nobody was really seeing me, you know. And it took that moment, and I think that was the most significant moment in my life, that if you look at everything I write and everything I teach is about can you stop and see people, and see what’s really powerful in them. And if you can see that, what a difference in their life it will make. And if every leader did that, that would be so awesome.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh my gosh, you have me tearing up.

[laughter]

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Good.

Pete Mockaitis
So can you tell us a little bit more. She said, you have no idea who you are, and I imagine she went on, and she shared some things associated with who you are. What happened after that?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, the rest of the story was the reason why we were there and I was complaining was that we were thrown into this isolation together because we instigated a riot.

Pete Mockaitis
You’re holding out on us. Can we just backtrack it shortly before prison and then go through riot into the…

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
It was just this little thing. But you know, so I was just talking about how, what a failure I was that everything I tried to do in my life just turned bad. I mean, look where I was. And that’s when she got up and she actually did get in my face, pinned me against the wall, and said “you don’t get it do you? You have no idea. You are smart, you’re strong, and you just care about people, and when you get that in here,” and she pointed to her heart, she says “you’re going to get out of here, and that’s how you’re going to make it in this life.” And that’s what made the difference.

And you know what, I can’t tell you Pete, how many times I work with people that when I ask them can you list to me your greatest internal strengths, how difficult that is. Even that is like, well they don’t want to be boastful and they don’t know. They don’t know. You know, they say, “oh I’m a good worker,” and I’m like, “what makes you a good worker?” SO it’s like we have to claim these internal things if we’re going to bring them out into the world. And again, that’s what she did.

And I’ll never forget that, because what she did say to me, you know because I walked into that place, I said to you I was a straight A student, top athlete, I walked out with a life to return to, you know, most of them don’t have that. She had said at a later time, “you know you’re the one; we really need to see you make it because you’re the one that gives us hope.”

Pete Mockaitis
Wow.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
So I carry that with me. And I carry that thing, that responsibility almost, like she gave that to me. And I do feel it’s important, it’s important to know that, but to always remember where that was. That the people that help us in our lives aren’t always the people we expect. That they can show up from anywhere.
Pete Mockaitis
Wow. That’s powerful, thank you. And did you stay in touch? Is she aware of what happened?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
No. I mean that was many, many, many years ago.

Pete Mockaitis
Well I’m just thinking that feels like a movie scene, you know, in this cell, pinned against the wall, dramatic words of truth washing, it just sounds like, you know…

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah. No, no, no. I’m not going to say that I walked out and life was easy, it took me a while to get everything together, and you know by the time I did, but I did have to say you know that I walked out of there and three years later graduated suma cum laude from Arizona state. But I really had to focus my life, and so I kind of didn’t think about all of that for a while. And so you know, by the time I started saying, hey this story is important to share with people, I lost track.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, that makes sense. Well, so you said something earlier about shifting to curiosity, and if you’re possible to be a hopeful, positive presence for someone and shifting to curiosity, and you know in your other book Outsmart Your Brain, that’s one of the things you teach there is how you can shift your emotional states at will.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yes.

Pete Mockaitis
That sounds powerful, do tell. How does one do that?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, you know first just say what you just said, Pete. How have you shifted? You have to want to first. You know, so many times we, you know, we make decisions with our emotions and then we justify them with our logic, so I get mad and I say, “I have a right to be mad,” and so first you have to stop and say “I want to shift, I want to make this shift.”

Because if you don’t do that, you know, you’re just going to get stuck in the stage you’re in and find some good reason for it. But then, the technique that’s taught in Outsmart Your Brain was actually developed, I was working with this sports psychologist and we had been asked to define how top athletes get into the zone.

And I actually went out and interviewed quite a few professional athletes and asked them, “in that clutch moment, what do you do?” And there was consistent across the board in many different sports, particular things, and the first thing is always to start with the body not the mind. You know so we always say, I have to change my thoughts, but if you don’t release the tension in your body first, you’re’ not going to be able to sustain a clear mind and to make the shift.

So you breathe, do a quick body scan; release the tension in your neck, in your legs. You know you can do this in just a couple seconds. And then they said, which I thought was so powerful, they said, we clear our minds, we don’t do that positive self-talk thing where it’s like, “I’m a winner.” They said if you think about winning, you’re going to entertain the thought of losing.

So it was like you clear your mind, and you drop your awareness into your center. And your center is the spot just below your navel, and in many martial arts they teach centering and your chi and your qui, and your point of strength is in the center of your body. And they all said you know that’s how we clear our mind is we drop our awareness to this center because you’re really strong when your awareness is centralized.

And then it was the golfers that said, they called it a swing thought. They said one thought, you go back to the one thing you want to think about and you anchor on that. So if it’s keep your head down, or you know, arms back, whatever it is.

One thought. What I then say is choose one emotion. So you want to stay calm, you want to be courageous, you want to be confident, compassionate, and maybe you want to be angry. But choose it. And you just you know every time you start to loose it, you go back and choose it again. You take that breath, relax your body, clear your mind, center yourself, and think of that one word.

Pete Mockaitis
And so, you’re choosing that emotion based upon you know what you think is most critical in this particular moment, or what you’re most kind of afraid of you’ll fail to show…?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well I like to choose the emotion before I even go into the conversation. So it’s you know the key word. So I do think, what’s most, what’s essential for me in this conversation? Do I want to be strong and show confidence, or is it that I need to be calm and patient?

You know, what would be the most important emotion for me in the conversation I’m about to have. You know, of course you can always flip it to something else if something else happens, it’s just a little harder to do that. So I say pick a word and stick with it. And then you have to feel it. You don’t just say to yourself, “I’m confident.” You have to actually feel it.

Pete Mockaitis
And I, as I kind of cruise through these steps, you know first I have an intention and a will to make this shift, secondly I’m starting with my body and my breath, third I’m clearing my mind and going to center, fourth, I am zeroing in on the one emotion. And so when you say you have to feel it, I mean, do I just automatically feel it if I’ve done the first four things and I’m focused in on it, or kind of how does one manifest or bring that forth.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Generally if you’ve done the first steps, if you say to yourself, curious, and really inhale it, you probably will feel it because you’ve got, you’ve cleared yourself. But in Discomfort Zone I talk a lot about you know when we listen to people with our entire nervous system, and there’s four organs in your nervous system that receive information and process it and create ideas and have memories, and those three organs are your head, heart, and gut.

And so if you’re wanting to show care about this person, you have to really feel it in your heart. And again I know that comes back and feels like touchy-feely, but honestly if you can recall someone in your life that you’re just so grateful that they’re in your life, where do you feel that?

Pete Mockaitis
Yes. It’s, so, my heart, it’s, and I guess, I’m thinking… you mean “heart” as in the literal, physical, blood pumping organ as opposed to my spirit, or my center of self. Just to be clear.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, I’m really talking about that blood-pumping organ, you know, because that’s where you do feel, you know care, compassion, gratitude. But courage, courage you feel in your gut. You know you always say, I have the guts to do that. So when I’m working with clients and they want to have courage, I have them breathe in the word courage and have them feel it actually in their gut, you know, because that’s where you feel that I can do this, I can do this, so it’s not in your head.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, and I suppose if I wanted to feel wisdom, or insight, or clarity, I would focus on my head.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Right. So yeah, curious is often in the head, but again it’s that curious open mind. There’s a feeling to that as well, I’m curious. You know, so I would say play with these and say the words, and see if you can feel them. In Outsmart Your Brain, and on my website OutsmartYourBrain.com, I have a free inventory so you know you don’t have to actually go to the book, it’s actually on the website, but it says you know you should stop throughout the day, you know two, three times a day, and you can set an alarm on your phone, but just ask yourself, what am I feeling and why?

And start noticing what you’re feeling, because most of us are what we call knack-ups, we don’t pay attention to our feelings. And so if you start to notice, and where are you feeling that, it’s going to start creating an awareness of the occurrence of emotion in your body, which you know most of the emotions that we feel during the day are happening somewhere within your body, and so when you start to notice that it also gives you the ability to start learning how to feel it when you just say the word to yourself. So it’s a two-way thing.

So if you practice with starting with your own awareness, what am I feeling, where am I feeling it, why? You start to be able to be more in control of your emotions as a human emotional being. So we are, we should ought to pay attention to it, otherwise we become victims to our emotions. This way you learn how to become master to your emotions.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, I like the sound of that. Mastery. Well, boy. I feel like we could talk at length, and maybe a follow-up interview is necessary in some months to come. But before we shift gears just to be sensitive to time to the final segment that the fast faves, is there anything else that you want to make sure we get out there?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, you know actually my favorite saying from Discomfort Zone is you know people want you to be present more than they need you to be perfect.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that sounds re-Tweetable.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yay.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s good. Love it thank you. And can you share any other favorite quotes that you find inspiration from again and again?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well I have one on my wall that says, “when I dare to be powerful, to act in the service of my vision, then it’s no longer important that which I’m afraid.”
Pete Mockaitis
Alright, who said that?
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Audrey Lord was her name. she was an activist. And I have one more.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright, let’s take it.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Gosh, it’s blanking me who said it, but he said, “I have too many more lives to live than to spend any more time in that one.” And I love that because it just says, you know what, it’s always open to move on, you know, you don’t have to ever stay stuck.
Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. Great. And how about maybe a favorite study, or an experiment, or piece of research that you find referencing again and again.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
You know, I often talk about you know being present with people outside of your head, and it’s really creativity. So there’s a piece of research where they mapped the brain of rappers, and they found that at the beginning of the rap, their cognitive brain was very active. So you know, they started, they were intentional with the start of the rap.

Then as they got into it, their cognitive brain goes completely silent, and there’s these sparks in the middle brain, just sparks coming out, and you know they just go with what comes up. And then when they go to close it, the cognitive brain comes back online. And I always tell when I work with leaders, you know it’s the same thing, when you’re in conversation with people, quit rehearsing in your brain what you’re going to say next. Just be present with them and trust what comes up, because you know it’s going to be amazing. And you know it doesn’t have to be perfect, and they’ll tell you, but it’ll move the conversation forward. So I love that study with the brains of rappers.

Pete Mockaitis
I guess that’s why the call them flows, they are just kind of rolling with it.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah, and it’s the same thing I recently read a similar thing on jazz musicians. You’re right. It’s flow. So can you be in flow when you’re in conversation with people? Why not?

Pete Mockaitis
It’s an exciting thought. Could you share with us a favorite book of yours?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
It’s always whatever book I’m reading at the moment. So actually there is a book that I use a lot in my training, and it’s very, very old and it’s called, I Am Thou. And it’s really all about when we’re talking to people, it’s about getting out of our ego self I and being with the person as if they were special, and you know, what would you see. And so that wrapped with the zen mind, beginner’s mind, can I have a beginner’s mind in any conversation and quit knowing everything and how people would be. Can I just be present and say today’s the day everything’s going to be different? And see what shows up.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright. And how about a favorite website or online resource?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
You know, I like the Heart Math Institute, there’s a lot of, and they just came out with a book called Heart Intelligence, but they do a lot of research on what’s actually going in that heart pumping, blood-pumping organ. That has a lot to do with how we connect with people and make choices in life.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite habit for you? Something that you’ve adopted as a personal practice that’s been really transformational.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Oh, well you know I was born in Arizona, I still live here, and one of the reasons is because like as we’re talking, I’m looking out on a mountain, and I know that whenever I start to get real wrapped up in something, and my emotions start to go crazy, I put on my hiking boots and I go out on the mountain. And I have my feet touch the ground, and that just centers me. So I just know that even when I’m travelling, you know, go outside, go for a walk, you’ve got to bring yourself back to present and center in order to do your best work.

Pete Mockaitis
Great. And how about a favorite tool, whether that’s a gadget or a software or a hardware or a thought framework that you use often?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
It’s funny because the first thing that came to mind is I have this great jar opener.

Pete Mockaitis
I’ll take it, I’ll take it. Tell us about it.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
I don’t know, it’s this weird contraption thing that’s kind of round up top that you can clamp and fit on any jar and it just opens it up. And you know I’m not a big woman and so I do work out, but you know what it’s crazy isn’t it how they make things so difficult to open.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s fun. Do we know who makes the jar opener?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
No. I can’t even tell you where, I’ve been hauling it around for years. It’s a great contraption.

Pete Mockaitis
Well how about any favorite time saving tricks or approaches that you use to get many things done?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
You know, I, you know the greatest thing that’s running our lives is email, and so you know the whole thing about don’t do email all day long, I find that when I have a ton of email it bothers me at first, but then it’s easier to get through when there’s a lot than to try to go back and do drips and drabs all day. And I have this thing called, it’s called the sanebox.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, right.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
And you know it?

Pete Mockaitis
I know that RamitSethiwas advocating for the sane box.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah, you know I love it. I love it. It separates my mail into Sane Later, the stuff that comes in and I can decide if I want to keep it or not, and things that I never want to see again I stick in a Sane Black Hole and it just immediately goes to my trash. It’s not a spam filter, but it just, you know, when I travel and I’m in a hurry and I just want to read the most important things, it sorts that out. It takes about a month or so to train it, but once you train it, at least if I’m on the run I can get to the most important things, and then I can look at the Sane Later box later and just quickly determine are any of these emails important and I trash the rest. So I like that.

Pete Mockaitis
Great. How about a favorite role model? Or someone that you look up to and admire, and why?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Well, I know there are leaders out there, but it was always my grandmother. You know, she was even smaller than me. I’m barely five foot, so just to put that into perspective. And she was shorter than me, but she was just tough. And she escaped during the Bolshevik revolution when she was like fifteen years old and she raised this family. Her husband was sick and she raised five boys pretty much on her own. She got a job, she became a manager rightaway. And I think she’s the one who instilled in me that there’s always a way, and you don’t have to be perfect and know everything, you just step in and do it. And I think I just learned that from her.

Pete Mockaitis
Beautiful, thank you for sharing. And a favorite way to find you. If folks want to learn more about you, would you prefer that they go to a particular website, or Twitter, or email?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
OutsmartYourBrain.com is my website, and I’m Marcia@OutsmartYourBrain.com. Yeah, but check out the website because there are lots and lots of things on there, assessments and a quiz, and stuff on emotional triggers. If you Google emotional trigger, I got number one.

Pete Mockaitis
Well done.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Thank you. Yeah, I would say go to the website, and from there if you have questions, you know you can email me. I am on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, all those things.
Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. And do you have a favorite challenge or call to action that you’d like to leave with?

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
To remember that it’s really not all about you.

Pete Mockaitis
Alright.
Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
That’ll do it. Marcia thank you so much, this was a delight and so much fun, I really appreciate you sharing your time and your insights, and it’s been very enriching for me, and hopefully everyone listening.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds
Thank you, this was fun. I really appreciate it.

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