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Costs of Covering Who You Really Are — Kenji Yoshino and Christie Smith

Contributor: Andrea Yeh

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Kenji Yoshino and Christie Smith. Christie Smith is the National Managing Principal at Deloitte University’s Leadership Center for Inclusion.  She was named Diversity Journal’s 2013 Woman to Watch and was thrice recognized by San Francisco Business Times as one of the most influential women in the Bay Area.  Kenji Yoshino is the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at NYU, author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, formerly on the faculty at Yale where he also served as Deputy DeanTogether, Smith and Yoshino have been studying why people of all backgrounds cover up their identities in the workplace. Following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: Christie you are a phenomenally accomplished professional who is out and raising children with your same-sex partner.  Your portfolio of professional activities includes many other issues apart from those that affect the LGBT community.  You’ve really been at the forefront of bringing awareness to these complex issues that are faced by some gay men and women at work. I wonder if we could start with the question of how and when you decided to come out at work and to invest so much of your time and energy in the workplace issues affecting the LGBT community?

Christie Smith: christie smithI’m not sure that it was a conscious decision to advocate strictly for the LGBT community.  I come by this very naturally having a mother who was a tremendous social justice activist working in Newark, NJ in the 60s helping to educate black men and growing up watching my father support her in her career. He took part in raising six daughters, all of whom were very strong young women. I guess I grew up in an atmosphere that valued social justice – fighting for the underdog – with a very untraditional father figure in terms of his support of my mother and of his daughters.  I think with that as the basis, my entire life has been about the values of service, seeking social justice, and fighting for the underdog.  It wasn’t until I made the decision to join Deloitte – and I had been out as a gay woman for twenty years prior to joining Deloitte – that I made the decision through the interview process not to hide my identity and not change pronouns and not do things that I had done to cover previously in my work world because I was simply uncomfortable or felt that it hindered my professional opportunities.

SF: You had been covering in prior professional environments?

CS: Absolutely.  I was being recruited by another firm at the same time.  The stark difference between the two firms was that Deloitte wanted to know who I was, not what I had done.  It was a very different interviewing process.

SF: How was that manifest?  Was it particular questions you were asked, or was it nonverbal cues?  How did you get that sense?

CS: I think it was all of the above.  When you join Deloitte as I did, as a direct entry partner, it is a long process to be admitted into the firm. Mostly that is to honor our culture but it is also to make sure this is the right decision, not only for the firm but also for the individual.

SF: Backing up a bit, what led you to decide at that moment in your life and career that you were no longer going to cover up who you really are?

CS: I knew I was successful enough that I didn’t need to anymore, and I was comfortable enough in my own emotional journey to feel that I didn’t need to play the game anymore. If I was going to make a commitment to a firm like Deloitte – which really was a decision to join a firm that I knew I would retire from – it was going to be long-term, and I couldn’t do that unfaithfully by hiding who I was.

SF:  You had a track record of success that gave you the confidence to be more true to yourself. Do you regret not revealing more of yourself sooner in your life? How do you advise young people on this question of when to reveal oneself?

CS: I’m not sure that regret is the right word.  I am saddened by the missed opportunities by having covered or hidden an aspect of who I was.  I often say in Kenji and my work on covering that it’s almost as if you’re going to work a second job.  Imagine the feeling of only giving half of yourself to your work – half of your brain, half of your passion, half of your emotional connection – because you’re working so hard to work that identity instead of your job.

SF: Can you give us an example of what kind of extra burden or work that covering requires, this second shift as it were?

CS: It requires not engaging in personal conversation.  So when frequently asked about my weekend on Monday morning, I would probably give one response: “Oh, I went for a long run.  I’m training for a marathon.  What did you do?”  I’d immediately deflect by asking a thousand questions to the person who was talking to me, so as not to have to field any other personal questions about my weekend.  It’s not only distracting in the moment because you’re working so hard to protect your identity, but it even lingers afterwards.  For me, when I walked away from a conversation, it impacted me for the next fifteen minutes, sometimes a half hour.  I just would be distracted by the fact that I didn’t feel comfortable revealing my own identity as a gay woman.

SF: Of course, you’re basically having to lie about yourself, and that’s got to create all kinds of angst and doubt about confidence in your professional life.

CS: Exactly.  I wonder about the missed relationships that I didn’t feel I could develop.  I wonder sometimes in some instances, Could I have been more successful? Could I have served my clients better?  While there were no great catastrophes, I am left wondering, If I had felt comfortable in bringing my whole and authentic self to work, would I have had more energy to have deeper human connection and engage in greater productivity?

SF: So that’s a huge cost, isn’t it?  What have you thought about or even assessed in terms of the economics of this cost?

CS: What we saw in our research are three main things.  First, covering is happening: not just in life or the law, but at work as well. 61 percent of our respondents said that they are actively involved in hiding an aspect of themselves while at work.  Second, and as a result of the first, people are showing up feeling sub-optimized in their roles.  Finally, people who cover or feel that they have to cover are contemplating walking out the door.  The real cost is to their productivity and retention.

SF:  Kenji, could give us the short version of what brought you to focus on this issue in your professional life, in addition to all the other work that you do as a constitutional law professor at Yale and now at NYU?

Kenji Yoshino: Kenji YoshinoFor me, it was driven by the experience of being a gay man in the workplace and particularly in academia. Like many other gay people, I overcame the demand to downplay my identity. It evolved from a time when I just wanted to be straight; to passing, which was when I was in the closet; to, by the time I entered the workforce, covering, which is when you admit you have a particular identity but make every effort to downplay it.  Stew, I’ll never forget walking down the corridors of Yale Law School as a junior law professor and having a very well-meaning colleague put his arm around me and say, “Kenji, you’ll do a lot better here if you’re a homosexual professional, than if you’re a professional homosexual.”

SF: What does that mean?

KY: I knew what he meant was that I would go further and faster if I were a constitutional law professor who just happened to be gay, rather than if I were the gay law professor who taught gay rights subjects and litigated gay rights cases and wrote on gay rights issues.  Unfortunately for me, my passion was the latter.  For a couple of years I tried to heed to his advice, but after a while, I realized that I would much rather not get tenure acting as somebody who I was, rather than get tenure as somebody who I wasn’t.

SF: How did you come to that decision, Kenji?

KY: I think it was really cumulative.  I sensed that I wasn’t doing the things that were at the front of my mind nor was I doing them at the top of my game and that those two feelings seemed to be related.  I looked peripherally, and I saw that my colleagues who taught constitutional law were teaching a lot more gay content in their classes. This was the 1990s when cases like Romer v. Evans were breaking and when same-sex marriage was on the horizon.  It was a very exciting time to be in that area of law, and I felt like it was crazy that I was gay and passionate about this but couldn’t bring myself to be involved in it.

Ultimately, the decisive factor was related to the person who actually mentored me when I was at Yale Law School – an openly gay man who came from the ACLU to teach a class on sexual orientation in law.  Once Yale had hired me on the tenure track, they no longer kept him on because he was just a lecturer, and they wanted somebody who was a full-time professor.  There was this kind of irony that they wanted a gay person but didn’t necessarily want – at least according to this individual who gave me advice – a person who was too passionate about working on gay rights issues.

That’s when I started wondering about what was going on and whether there was a word to describe this phenomenon. It wasn’t conversion or passing – nobody wanted me to be straight or to say I was straight or to stay in the closet – but it was this notion of “you can be different, but just downplay it.”  Instead of having diversity and inclusion, it was diversity or inclusion; you could be included so long as you downplayed the things that made you different.  I found the term “covering” from Erving Goffman.  The more I delved into it, I realized that it seems to hit LGBT people first, but once you start pulling on the thread, it really becomes a universal phenomenon.

SF: We all wear masks, right?

KY: Exactly. All the organizations that Christie and I survey believed in inclusion on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, but when we actually talked to respondents about whether or not they felt like they had to downplay those identities in order to be fully included, we saw a supermajority saying that they had to choose between being included and being diverse.

SF: Wow.  So Christie, what did you make of that startling distinction?

CS: Well, it certainly wasn’t unanticipated. We did expect that we would find that traditional minority groups covered, on one dimension or another.  What we didn’t necessarily anticipate was that 45 percent of straight white men would also state that they covered or hid some aspect of themselves.  Many of the straight white men covered that they were participating in their son’s or daughter’s soccer game, for example.  They would say they were leaving for a meeting instead of leaving for the game.

SF: Was that the most common kind of covering activity by the straight white men in your study, or were there others that were also apparent?

KY: People reported covering age a lot as well; “I colored gray hair to look younger” was a common answer.  People also covered their class background, so if someone was coming from a working class background or their parents had not been professionals, that would be a form of affiliation-based covering.  People would cover their veteran status too.

SF: They would cover their veteran status because that was stigmatized?

KY: Yes, people would say that, particularly in advocacy-based covering, which is where you don’t stick up for your own group, that people would report hearing an anti-military joke and not speak up lest they be perceived as overly strident or militant.  But also, on affiliation-based grounds, veterans would also often report PTSD.  The veterans who reported affiliation-based covering on the basis of the PTSD were very candid.  I think we were actually honored by how candid the responses were.

SF:  Affiliation-based covering – could you define that term for our listeners, Kenji?

KY:  Affiliation-based covering is the form of covering of behaviors that can trigger stereotypes about you. The idea is that I might tell you very proudly that I’m a veteran, but I might not tell you that I have PTSD because I worry that will trigger you to have conscious or unconscious biases toward how I’m going to behave.

SF: So you were proud of those veterans in your study who spoke to you about the fact that they were doing such covering?

KY: Not exactly. I was proud of the fact that they were very candid about it, and that they were also very pragmatic.  Christie and I are very practical people, and we don’t want our research to just sit on a shelf.  We said, “What can we do to help you uncover yourself in ways that would be helpful to you?”  Some of our military respondents said, “When we were in the military itself, and we had PTSD, we had a buddy system so that somebody would know that we had PTSD and would actually support us when we were in situations where that manifested itself.” PTSD itself is not an easy fix, but assisting people who have it can be easier.  For example, say I’m going into a meeting, and I have PTSD.  A car backfires in the street, and I suddenly have an episode.  If Christie is there with me at the client meeting, and she knows my condition, she can actually help run interference for me.

SF: I want to make sure we get to what you have been doing with this research in practice by helping to raise consciousness. You were talking about the importance of really digging into how these stigmas play out in everyday life because that’s the only way we’re going to get to solutions.

CS: I think there are two buckets for the solutions.  One is the personal bucket: What will I do in order to uncover? The second is organizationally: What can an organization do to help?

On a personal level, there are five aspects we generally look to, but I’ll share a couple just to give you a flavor.  First is to develop your personal uncovered narrative – how does your personal diversity or experiences define who you are at work and your leadership? The second thing from a personal standpoint is to share your story – your personal uncovered narrative instead of your professional resume – and we have leaders who are actively doing this now. When they give presentations, they start with who they are, not what they are, and include their experiences growing up such as being the first to go to college in their family.

SF: Whatever has been a source of struggle for them – is that the key to the narrative, that it creates that sort of trust?

CS: It includes anything leaders believe they had to cover because they thought these might impact their sense of opportunity or commitment.

SF: When you’re coaching people, particularly executives, to be able to convey these stories, what do they wrestle with most? Or is it an easy thing for most people to be able to do?

CS: I think they wrestle with the vulnerability, first and foremost, but they also face an internal challenge because “this isn’t how we’ve always done it. 

SF:  How do you help them?  What do you do to coach people through that anxiety of vulnerability?

CS: We generally do that on an individual basis, through one-on-one coaching. We discuss what they stand for, what they’re hoping to accomplish from a business standpoint, and how revealing their own story – including the challenges they went through and overcame in developing a followership – will be useful in creating a culture of bringing diverse experiences in order to ultimately solve business problems on the table.

SF: So we’ve discussed your belief system about diversity and your personal story about where you’ve had to cover and how you’ve dealt with that.  What’s the third piece?

CS: I think it’s to dare to have the conversations across difference.  We’ve spent so much time in the past ten years talking about emotional intelligence as a great attribute to great leaders. That is certainly true, but what we need to do is to move to emotional maturity, which is a competency to take my own self-knowledge and create an environment in which I can have a conversation across difference and invite other people’s stories into the room.

That is a different competency; it takes more time, which we don’t like in our organizations, but it ultimately creates great teams and great innovation and enables us to delight our clients. From a personal standpoint, those are some of the things we look at.

Organizationally, we want to diagnose and analyze whether covering is happening in your organization, and, if it is, what the impact is. We administer our survey to understand where the blind spots are and where covering may be happening.  The second step is to understand where biases show up in your talent life cycle, so we examine the analytics in your hiring, retention, attrition, and performance management system.  The combination of those data sources gives us an opportunity to specifically identify where the breakdown or the stalling of leadership efforts is happening and ultimately provide point solutions to those business units, rather than just a blanket initiative across the entire organization, which is what we’ve done for thirty years.

SF: Kenji, what have you found to be most challenging about the work of engaging the organization or other institutions in doing the fundamental work of diagnostics?

KY: We actually haven’t struggled that much in the area of diagnostics. I think the real struggle has been in beginning the conversation.  Part of this project includes public education regarding self-diagnosis and organizational diagnosis, and it’s been happily a pretty smooth ride for both of us in terms of different sectors of society getting involved –

corporations but also educational institutions. Organizations are really driving to take the survey in order to understand both how they might be diminishing the authenticity and commitment of individuals who are in their organizations and how that might be hurting organizational effectiveness across the board.

SF: Can you tell us about a success story that you’re either in the midst of or that you’ve been a part of in doing this work of both diagnosis and then intervention to create meaningful change in an organization?

KY: Well, the phenomenon that Christie was sharing earlier was the “Share your Story” campaign at Deloitte, which is a form of mature vulnerability.   A number of versions of this have gone out, and I think they were outgrowths of Deloitte’s commitment to authenticity and leadership.  “Sharing your story” is exactly what Christie was alluding to earlier when leaders were videotaped and asked to tell not their resume stories, which are extremely polished and manicured, but rather to show up as human beings.

Harvard Business School Professor Robin Ely is fond of talking about “mature vulnerability,” which I think is a wonderful phrase.  The idea is that when you actually show up as a human being in one of these videos, the videos go viral within the organization because you have individuals who say that they had to cover the fact that they were gay or Latino or black or female and then explain how they overcame it.  That’s not only inspiring for people within their own cohorts, it also sends a broad signal which is particularly important to the millennial generation.

CS: I think one problem we’ve seen in our push to shift organizational mindsets for our clients occurs when you begin to talk about diversity and inclusion and all of the eyes straight, white men tend to glaze over.

SF: Why does that happen?

CS: I think it’s because they don’t feel or see a path through which they actually belong as participants in this conversation.  Rather than showing them as knights in shining armor that are coming in to sponsor a program or vilifying them because they have the roles that everybody wants, our research ironically levels the playing field for the straight, white males in the conversation of inclusion, and ultimately the adoption of the change management process is thus accelerated.

SF: So is that working?  What is the trigger that helps you get past the glaze?

KY: The trigger is the statistic.  When we present the fact that 45 percent of straight white men cover, they immediately want to know how they cover.  So when we start going through anything from veteran status to mental or physical illness to working class background, immediately people are leaning forward and engaged for the first time.  Many people in the room find themselves actually inside the paradigm.  They’re not outside looking in, rather, they’re actually part of this communal issue.

SF: What’s the main message that you want our listeners to take away?

KY: I would say to be yourself because being anybody else is a lot harder work, and you’re going to use up a lot of bandwidth to do it.  When you actually begin to be your authentic self and uncover that in public, you plug yourself into a power source that hugely benefits both you and your organization.

SF: Christie, what is your final word for our listeners in terms of what you want them to take away?

CS: I would agree that being your authentic self is important, but I think you also have to be particularly intentional. You have to develop that personal, uncovered narrative and connect it to how it defines who you are when you’re leading at work. Then you have to be able to share that story.


To learn more about Christie Smith’s and Kenji Yoshino’s work on uncovering you can visit www.deloitte.com/us/uncovering, check out Yoshino’s book, Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (Random House, 2006) and follow on Twitter @Kenji_yoshino.


Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Andrea YehAndrea Yeh is an undergraduate junior majoring in Operation and Information Management and in International Relations.


How Men Feel About Flex — Jennifer Owens

Contributor: Morgan Motzel

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Jennifer Owens, Editorial Director of Working Mother magazine and Director of the Working Mother Research Institute, about new findings on working fathers and their need for flex at work.

Stew Friedman: Today, on the first ever National Flex Day, I am pleased to welcome Jennifer Owens, Editorial Director at Working Mother, where they just released today a report on men and flexible work scheduling.

Jennifer, you just completed this study, with Ernst & Young, on working dads – give us the big findings. What are the headlines that people need to know?

Jennifer Owens: Jennifer OwensIt’s been very surprising to find that men are stressed too. They have the same work-life issues. They’re coming at them differently than women because they’re a little more confident about using flex, but they are using it. They say that they feel comfortable using flex, and they’re using flex to help with their family life.

SF: What was most surprising in the study findings?

JO: What’s so surprising is how strong men are about flex. I totally admit it – I think I have a gender bias from being an editor of Working Mother magazine, where we see everything through the “working mother lens”…

SF: Are you going to be changing the name of the magazine to Working Fathers and Mothers? Is that what’s coming?

JO: We’ve always cared a lot about the men in our lives, and the single dads – just men in general – but no. When we fix it for working moms, we can talk about the name change.

SF: You were saying that the big surprise was the intense feeling about the need for flexibility? Or how much men are using it? What was it that really sprung out at you?

JO: We talked to 1,000 men. Three-quarters of the men said they have access to workplace flexibility, and 42% say they’re comfortable with using the flexible support available at their work.

SF: So they don’t feel stigmatized, which we know is a big issue?

JO: It is a big thing, but the study says no. When we’re looking at it from a work-from-home lens, the version of flex that men like is a maximum of two days home per week.  Any more than that and they start to feel like they’re disconnected from the workplace. The interesting thing is that these results mirror everything that women tell us. I think that’s the most surprising thing – a finding that boy, you’re just like us.

SF: That’s interesting. So the dynamics of what makes flex work are very similar for men and women, is that what you’re concluding from this study?

JO:  I am. The rise of dual-income families, the rise in hands-on male parenting hours, the rise in the amount of time men are spending on housekeeping – all of these mean that the rise of work-life stress for men is happening as well. At Working Mother, we are big proponents that flex is the only way – especially for a dual-income family and even a single parent family – for men to be the best parents and the best employees that they can be.

SF: What kind of recommendations flow from this study in terms of what organizations and what working fathers – and working men more generally – should focus on? What are the key priorities for businesses and for working men?

JO: In organizations, I think we have to realize the other half of the coin. Much of the way we talk about work-life comes from a working mother perspective, and then we broaden it to think about people going for advanced degrees or having a specific passion or maybe someone with a chronic illness in their life. We need to think about the men, ask them what they need and include them in the conversation. They’re our work-life allies. This isn’t just a working mother issue, it’s an everybody issue, and while we say that, and we’ve felt that for some time, we can truly see it now.

SF: That’s certainly one of the things we found in a study comparing the Class of 1992 to the Class of 2012 at Wharton which I published last year in a book called Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family. We see that among today’s graduates – the people who are now in their twenties – that the men are anticipating conflict between work and life because they want to be more engaged at work, and yet they expect that their spouses are also going to be working full-time. It’s clear that young men and, as in your study, even men across different age groups, are in need of the same kind of flexibility that women have been fighting for for years now.

JO: Definitely. The millennial men are much more involved at home and say that it is a valuable part of their lives to be hands-on parents. We also see men from the Boomer Generation wondering if any of them are ever going to be able to retire—‘how are we using flexibility as we’re thinking towards retirement?’ Flex works at all levels, but it’s interesting that the same questions that the women are having, the men are having too.

SF: What specifically do you recommend for men who are seeking to create more flexibility in their work and in their lives?

JO: I think you need to ask for it. One good way to do this is through a pilot program, which is what we always recommended to the women. Sometimes, if it seems like an open request, it can frighten your manager into thinking you’ll never come back in the office. I think a, “Hey let me try this for 30 days or 60 days, and after that, we can check to see how it’s doing,” often works much better. But you do need to ask for it. Other studies have found that men are actually more apt to get approval for their flex requests than women are.

SF: So it might be easier for men to ask, but you just do have to ask and be unafraid. The important point you mentioned which I want to underscore is the idea of setting it up as a temporary experiment. That tends to reduce resistance and make it easier for people in the organization to get on board.

JO: Exactly. First you must prove it can work.

Jennifer Owens is the Editorial Director of Working Mother magazine and the Director of the Working Mother Research Institute. She is an award-winning journalist who has been featured in outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, Fox Business News, and USA Today. For more information on her work, visit the Working Mother online at www.workingmother.com, or follow her on Twitter @working_mother.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

About the Author

Morgan MotzelMorgan Motzel is an undergraduate senior in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn focusing on Management and Latin America


How Work Affects Health — Robert Hedaya, MD

Contributor: Andrea Yeh

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton. Every Tuesday at 7 pm EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body, and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Robert Hedaya, psychiatrist, founder of National Center of Whole Psychiatry. The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: How did you come to look at your patients as whole people not just a picture of symptoms, but people trying to create harmony and integration in their lives and health?  What is it that shaped your thinking?

Robert Hedaya: Robert Hedaya. M.D.The short answer is that back in about 1983 or so when I first went into practice, I had a patient who was a 50-year-old woman.  She had one child and a marriage that wasn’t so good, and her child was going off to college.  She started having panic attacks, and I thought she was anxious about having to live with her husband or leaving her husband. I went through a series of standard treatments over the course of a year.  Nothing worked – not therapy, not various medications, not cognitive behavioral therapy. I went back to the drawing board.  I looked at her labs and saw that the size of her red blood cell count was a little bit larger than the upper limit of normal.  I did a little research and found out that it could be a B12 deficiency.  I gave her a B12 injection, and her panic attacks cleared up overnight.  I was blown away. And I thought, “Gee, this is important.  I wonder what else I’m missing.  What else wasn’t I taught, and what didn’t my teachers know?”  I eventually figured out that it is essential to remember that the head is connected to the body by the neck.  I learned all the different interactions between the body and the mind and ultimately how the mind is really influenced by every level of our environment.

SF: As you know, on this show we focus on work and the rest of life, including our minds and our bodies and our spiritual lives, as well as family and communities.  We’re looking at how the four domains of work, home, community, and self interact; how they affect each other in both positive and negative ways; and what can be done to maximize the former.  In the National Center for Whole Psychiatry, what is your primary mission, and how do you go about serving it?

RH: l I’ve shifted my focus recently, and I’ve decided to look closely at inflammation because inflammation really is the key factor for all of our chronic illnesses.  Inflammation is affected by psychiatric conditions.  Just take an example in the workplace:  If you have a boss who is abusive, if you’re having trouble with your colleagues, or if you’re frustrated and you’re having continual difficulties, these all cause changes in your immune system, which leads to changes in your gut.   Most of your immune system is around your gut, so then you get these immunological changes, which will bring out various illnesses over time.

SF: Inflammation – can you define what that is for our listeners?

RH: When you get a cut and you see redness and increased blood flow and heat, that’s a localized inflammation. We have more and more difficulty as we age in controlling inflammation, so we might have more aches, more pains, more joint problems.  We may have inflammation in our cardiovascular system, for example. And inflammation is at the root of atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries.  Inflammation is also at the root of dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, etc.

SF: What are some of the most important aspects of the work environment that can cause problems like the ones you’re studying now with inflammation in various body systems?

RH: A useful metaphor is to think of concentric rings. On the outermost ring might be something like the stability, innovation, or financial condition of the organization that you’re a part of.  Then you move to a ring that’s closer into you, and you might have management issues, which might be having an even closer and more direct effect on you.  Of course if these are good situations, your health improves and wellbeing improve.  If there is an opportunity provided by the organization and management to grow – challenges, learning, stimulation, supportive relationships with you, your colleagues, etc. – that also supports your health.  Then if you move even a little bit closer in, it might have to do with your immediate work environment, say the floor you’re on, the office you’re in.  Maybe the lighting is affecting you in a positive way or negative way.  Maybe there’s a moldy environment.  Then you can move more intimately towards yourself to look at the relationships that you’re involved in on the day-to-day and the hour-to-hour basis at work and examine how those are affecting you.  Ultimately if you come in even closer, it’s worth asking how your skill set fits with the kind of work you do.  Does it provide you the opportunities that you as a person need to feel fulfilled, to find meaning in your life, and to be challenged?

SF: Let’s dig a little further into that if we can.  From a whole psychiatry perspective, there’s just so much you could look at, in terms of identifying the sources of physical and mental strain.  How do you know where to start?  Especially if the source of the problem is at work, how do you find that in your intake and diagnostic?

RH: I spend a lot of time with people. I’ll usually spend four hours on intake.  I’ll do a medical history and a physical, and I’ll talk with family members.  That’s something that’s not accessible to everybody.  I wrote a book about ten years ago that’s still available called The Antidepressant Survival Program.  The content of the book gives an analysis of different aspects of a person’s life.  Going through that might help you identify areas of vulnerability.

SF: So the book takes you through a kind of diagnostic checklist to look at things that might be affecting your health?

RH: That’s right.  I think that’s one way of doing it.  Another way is to think about where you feel best at work, and where you feel worst.  What are the stresses at work, and what are the strengths?  What is it you wished you had more of?  When were you happiest in your work life?

SF: I wonder if you could share an example of someone who you’ve treated where there was a work element to both the diagnostic and the treatment that helped.

RH: I have a good story about a woman who was in her fifties working for the government.   She started to become ill, and we went through the whole checklist of situations in her life, but nothing had really changed.  It turned out that an important factor was that she had recently advanced in her career and moved to a different building.  Many government buildings are old, and she moved into a building that was full of mold – it was a sick building.

SF: Sick building?

RH: Yes, it’s called “sick building syndrome.”  There was a lot of mold and toxins in the air.   It turns out many of the people that she was working with would become ill.  There was just a lot of subtle illness.  So when we got her to work at home, she just really cleared up.

SF: Amazing.  Bob, is there one piece of advice you’d like to leave our listeners with in terms of how to think intelligently about their mental and physical health and how their work affects it?

RH: I think the key comes down to finding meaning in your work; that is the most important thing.

You can find meaning in work by the nature of your work, by the nature of the relationships you have, by helping people around you, and by being of service to the people around you. Hedaya’s work underscores the importance of evaluating our lives holistically.  Given that mental, social, and physical problems may all be interrelated, finding a resolution to an issue we face may require a multi-dimensional analysis.  As Hedaya suggests, we can ask ourselves, when we have personally found our work and life most rewarding, and what were the circumstances surrounding that satisfaction?  Have you experienced instances where your physical and mental well-being affected one another in a positive and synergistic way?  Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below.

To learn more about Dr. Hedaya, the Founder of the National Center of Whole Psychiatry and his work, read his book, or visit the National Center of Whole Psychiatry on Facebook.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Andrea YehAndrea Yeh is an undergraduate junior majoring in Operation and Information Management and in International Relations.

A Life of Learning Leadership — Eric Greitens

Contributor: Morgan Motzel

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Eric Greitens, former Navy SEAL and Purple Heart recipient, CEO of the Greitens Group, and author of the memoir The Heart and the Fist, about his not-for-profit The Mission Continues, which empowers returning veterans of foreign wars to continue to serve in their home communities.

Stew Friedman: Eric, you are the youngest of the six people that I profiled in my new book, Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life. The oldest, by the way, is Bruce Springsteen, so you two guys anchored the age scale. But you’ve truly lived a number of lives in the time you’ve lived on this beautiful earth: you’ve been a Rhodes Scholar, a humanitarian worker, a Navy Seal, and the founder of a very important and successful not-for-profit about which you wrote in your memoir, The Heart and the Fist.

Let me ask you about the moments that were of particular interest to me. You were a boxer and a humanitarian worker back in the 90s. What did you learn from those experiences that served you well in your service in the military and in your founding of The Mission Continues?

Eric Greitens:  Eric GreitensI’ve truly learned a lot from both of those experiences. I started boxing when I was at Duke University—college kid going down to a gym in the inner city there in North Carolina. What was fun for me was that I had this great boxing coach named Earl Blair. Earl Blair had grown up in the Depression, served in the military at the tail end of World War II, and was working in a warehouse when he was coaching me. His real passion, though, was teaching boxing, and he was really teaching life at night to a bunch of kids who really needed it in this gym in the inner city. One of the things that Earl always said to me when I was boxing was to “watch Derek.” Derek was one of my training partners—he was about 26 years old, a professional fighter, and a construction worker. Every time I’d step up to the heavy bags, to the speed bags, to the jump rope, Earl would always say, “Watch Derek.”

The lesson that Earl knew was that we learn best when we actually have models in front of us. He understood that it’s really hard for us to learn any new skill on our own, but when we have a model whom we can imitate and emulate, it helps us learn much more quickly. Now what was fun for me was that I’d be doing this down in the boxing gym, and then I’d be back on campus later reading Aristotle, who says, “You will know what the good thing is by seeing what the good person does.” So I had Aristotle and my boxing coach Earl Blair both saying the same thing.

The lesson I’ve taken from that, which certainly we use in the work we do at The Mission Continues with returning veterans, is that oftentimes, especially when things are hard, especially when people are facing a place of pain, hardship, and difficulty, they need to have a model in front of them for how to get through it.

In practice, what we do at The Mission Continues is, if we have a group of 100 veterans coming together from Afghanistan and Iraq, and we’re at the end of our opening weekend, we will make sure that over the course of the weekend they will hear from a veteran who’s dealt with and overcome severe post-traumatic stress disorder. They’ll see and hear the story of a veteran who might have lost his eyesight, lost a limb, or been severely burned. They’ll talk to people who had trouble integrating with their family when they came back, people who struggled financially or who struggled to set up or find private sector employment. By seeing these models of people who have successfully made it through hardship, people begin to see how they can do this again in their own lives. I think that was one of the things I learned from Earl that we use in the work that we do today. I think we always have to make sure, no matter what age we are, that we have models to emulate.

SF: This is a fantastic example of one of the skills that I really hone in on in your story. For each of the six people I analyzed, I wanted to see what are the skills that these great leaders and people of significance have cultivated to lead the lives they truly want and go out and serve others with their talents and passions. The one that you’re referring to here, Eric, is this notion of applying all your resources, which means taking what you’ve learned or somehow gathered in one part of your life and applying it in others. Learning the value of models, even 20 years ago, is something that you’re now bringing to bear in making The Mission Continues even more powerful. It’s just one example of many that is illustrated in your story, and it’s a great one. Taking the lessons of experience from wherever you get them—whether it’s a ratty gym in the inner city of Durham or on the fields of battle—and then using them later in life by harvesting those skills and applying them, which you did so well.

There are other things that you’ve learned, especially in your humanitarian efforts, about how people survive in the most challenging and even horrific circumstances. Can you talk about that?

EG: My first real experience of doing hard humanitarian work overseas was in Bosnia in 1994. As people will remember, this was during the horrible campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. I was 20 years old at the time, and I was living and working in refugee camps. I remember I’d see people step off of these busses into the refugee camps, and they were literally carrying everything that they owned. They’d lost their homes, they’d lost their clothing, and they’d lost every material possession. Many of them had also lost friends and had lost family. If somebody listening right now thinks about that—what it would be like right now to lose everything you own and step. What I saw that was interesting in the refugee camps was that oftentimes the people who were doing best in the camp were the parents and grandparents who had really young kids. The people who were oftentimes struggling the most were the people who were my age at the time, older teenagers or young adults. They felt like their lives had been cut short, but they didn’t really feel like they had any purpose to serve.

SF: Because they had no dependents? There was nobody counting on them?

EG: Exactly. The parents and the grandparents knew that every single day they had to get up and be strong because their kid was counting on them. That lesson, again, is something we took to the work we do at The Mission Continues, and I think it is a lesson for all of us. When things are really hard, when we’re really struggling in a situation of pain and hardship, it’s really natural and can be really easy to turn in on ourselves. What we often need to do is to remember the fact that there are other people counting on us to be strong. When we have a sense of purpose that is larger than ourselves, and when we remember that other people need our strength and what we have to offer, it often helps us to make it through those difficult situations as well.

SF: That is the ultimate theme that I drew from writing these six biographies. I looked back and thought, well, that’s it! Each and every one of the people that I wrote about, including you, has found a way to use their particular skills and passions and converted that to value to others. I think that is how you lead the life you want—you get the strength of confidence to progress through life, through all its disappointments and tragedies, by having this mindset of “Where can I serve?” and “How can I be of value?”

EG: One of the nice things I picked out from the book when reading about Bruce Springsteen is where you talk about how he embodies values consistently and creates this culture of innovation. It’s this idea that there are specific skills that people can pull on, build, and develop, and I think your book is a whole series of models about how people can learn from others to build the life they want.

SF: Another one of the skills I thought was so powerfully illustrated in your story was this notion of holding yourself accountable. Your story, to me, is such a wonderful example of doing that when you realized that compassion and charitable works were not enough, and that, when there are bad guys out there, they must be stopped through physical means. Can you talk about how you came to that realization and what it meant for you to make the decision to hold yourself accountable for what was emerging as your understanding of what your core values really were?

EG: I remember when I was a young kid, I wanted to make a difference. In the cleansing in Bosnia and in the genocide in Rwanda where over 800,000 to one million people had been killed, I remember talking to a number of refugees, and they all said some version of, “Listen, we really appreciate that you’re here, and we’re glad that there is a roof over our head, and we really deeply appreciate the fact that there’s food for our families to eat. You’ve even set up places for refugee kids to go to school…” But what was also really clear, and in fact, one guy in Bosnia said this to me: “If people really cared about us, they’d also be willing to protect us.”

I didn’t know what to say to him at the time, but I thought about what he said later, and I realized that what he said was true. If we really care about something, then we’re willing to respond not only with compassion, but we’re also willing to respond with courage. We’re willing to protect those things we care about. For me, at the time I was doing a lot of this work, I was a graduate student. I was talking a lot, I was thinking a lot, and that was all important. But I also felt very strongly that if I was going to hold myself accountable, if I was going to live my values, I also had to find a way to be willing to protect others. That led me to think about joining the US military and ultimately the SEAL teams.

SF: What was the internal struggle there to come to that decision? In terms of being willing to make that kind of change and sacrifice in your everyday life?

EG: One of the things that happens in life is that we all want good things. I was 26 years old, and I joined the military relatively late. At the time, I was finishing a PhD, and I was in a very comfortable place where I had an offer to stay in a university and continue to teach, and I knew that would have been valuable and meaningful work. I had an opportunity to go to a consulting firm which offered to pay me more money than both of my parents had ever made in any one year period, and I also had this offer from the United States Navy where they said, “We’ll pay you $1,332.60 per month.” They said, “The deal is if you sign up on the dotted line, then you’re going to owe us eight years. In return for that, we’ll give you one and only one chance at basic underwater demolition sea training. If you make it through, you’ll be on your way to being a Navy SEAL, but if you don’t, you’re still going to owe us eight years.” It’s not actually a really great recruiting pitch from the Navy. [Laughs].

But I remember as I was thinking about all of these options, there was actually a moment when I walked into this place on the University of Oxford campus called Rhodes House, and I looked up and saw these names etched in the marble of the Rotunda where you walked into the building. I didn’t know what those names were, so I asked somebody later, and it turned out those were the names of students who had left school in World War I and World War II and who had fought and died overseas.

It’s a really powerful reminder. It was a reminder for me, and it was a reminder, I think, for everybody who walks through those doors that our lives are only possible because people before us had been willing to serve and willing to sacrifice. And for me, at that moment, I thought about what you write in your book a lot about how we have to hold ourselves accountable. When I looked up at those names, I thought that I had to take advantage of this opportunity to serve and that I had to find a way to contribute, and again, that’s what led me there.

SF: So that was the turning point, seeing those names on the wall?

EG: It was a really important moment, yes.

SF: You also told me in our conversations for the book that, even as a kid, you had kind of fantastical ideas about wanting to be in a historical moment where you did something important.

EG: Yes, absolutely. I remember as a kid actually reading these books in my local public library—I’d hang out in a little corner and read—and I remember worrying that all of the great battles had already been fought. All of the important things had already been done, and all of these new lands had been discovered. I wondered, What can I do? What can we do? I think, for all of us, if we’re going to build our vocation and really build our sense of purpose, we’re going to have to find ways to embrace our own time and the challenges that we have in front of us. Thinking like that led me to go to Bosnia and Rwanda and start this journey where I joined the SEAL teams and started The Mission Continues. I wouldn’t have been able to anticipate any of that when I was a kid, but the journey has been a good one.

SF: So how do you teach that idea? How do you convey it to young people or the people you work with through The Mission Continues—this notion of finding that connection to what you really care about, what you stand for, what you’re willing to die for, and to move in that direction? I think that’s an issue that many people face, and learning to hold yourself accountable is a skill that’s not easy to hone and develop. It’s easy to slip.

EG: It is incredibly easy to slip, and I think that one of the things we have to do is to get rid of this notion that you can find your purpose. I often tell people you can’t find your purpose because your purpose isn’t lost. It’s not like it’s sitting out there somewhere waiting for you to find it. When you look at the lives of people who have really lived full and harmonious lives, as you talk about, Stew, you find that it is a process of creation. Often what we have to do is to throw ourselves into things, not knowing exactly where they’re going to take us. For me, it was throwing myself into boxing when I was at Duke and throwing myself into the study of philosophy. When you really dive in, it’s actually in that experience of pushing yourself, of challenging yourself, of having the right mentors, of being a part of the right teams—that’s where you really build that passion and create it, actually in the process of doing the work itself.

SF: Some people think of that as education. You explore new avenues for bringing your talents, your ideas, your passions to whatever circumstances are available to you, and you discover along the way, but you need help with that, right? Your story is such a great one in illustrating how you drew on the support of many mentors throughout your life and career. You wouldn’t be where you are now if not for Earl Blair, I would venture to say.

EG: I wouldn’t be where I am without Earl Blair, Barb Osburg, my high school English teacher, Bruce Carl, my Leadership St. Louis mentor when I was a teenager, so many great professors at Duke University, and so many good friends. I think that if we have the humility to recognize that everyone has something to teach us, then we can go out into the world and find ways to learn from our peers, learn from our fellow students, learn from colleagues, and really make everyone a teacher for us.

SF:  There’s an important caveat in that statement, and that is “if you have the humility.” You learned that somehow—probably your parents taught it to you or maybe you picked it up somewhere else. How do you coach people, especially young people, to understand the importance of learning from the world around them, and especially learning from people who have been around for a while?

EG: One of the things I think we have to do is to structure activities for young people where they are, in fact, learning from mentors. Too often today when we think about education, we only think about kids learning information. There’s an aspect of education in the sense that they’re going to learn information, but there’s also an important aspect of cultural training, and this comes from coaches, and it comes from mentors. I think it’s really important for young people to be engaged in these kinds of activities where they can learn from a mentor.

In fact, it’s important not just for kids, but for all of us to do that. I found it’s important for me to do it at my age. For example, I just started Taekwondo a couple of years ago. One of the great things about that is that I got to a place in my life where I was the CEO of my own company, I was running The Mission Continues, and I was writing books, but it’s really important in my life, and I think maybe for others as well, to always be at a place where you’re learning. It’s about learning wherever you are, and it’s about building a life so that in an aspect of your life you’re always learning from people around you. I think that spirit of always being the student, at least in part of your life, is really important, especially as we get into positions of more and more power and prominence where we’re leaders in companies and leaders in families. If we have that place where we’re also always students, it reminds us to stay humble and to keep learning.

SF: Eric, let me ask you just one more question. You’ve recently become a father. Can you give us a brief insight into how that’s changed your perspective on leading the life you want?

EG: I am so excited Joshua arrived just eleven weeks ago. It’s been a mind-blowingly wonderful experience. One thing that parenting does do for sure—and other people have said this—is that it gives you a sense of your own mortality. I’m excited for the life that Joshua’s going to lead, and we, as parents, really want to think about what’s going to be lasting and what our legacy is going to be.

Eric Greitens is the founder of The Mission Continues, a not-for-profit that helps returning veterans continue to serve in their home communities, and the CEO of The Greitens Group.  He is also the author of The Heart and The Fist and a former Navy Seal and Purple Heart recipient. For information on his new book coming out in March, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life and more,visit him online at www.ericgreitens.com, or follow him on Twitter @EricGreitens.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


Morgan Motzel Morgan Motzelis an undergraduate senior in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at Penn focusing on Management and Latin America.

Gaining Self-Control — Katy Milkman

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Katy Milkman, the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor at the Wharton School with a secondary appointment at the Perelman School of Medicine, both at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has been recognized as one of the top 40 business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants, and was voted Wharton’s “Iron Prof” by the school’s own MBA students.  Katy uses “big data” to examine the choices we make and how self-control, or the lack of it, affects those choices.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: There may be a tendency to see self-control as personal issue.  Why is self-control important for performance and effectiveness at work?

Katy Milkman: Katy MilkmanMaking deadlines, avoiding distractions, focusing; these all require self-control. Self-control is linked with higher I.Q and with greater productivity. Also having self-control effects health and being healthy means you can perform better at work

SF: What’s the association between self-control and IQ?

KM: Waler Mischel, the Stanford University psychologist who originated the marshmallow test back in the 1960s, told children that they could either eat the marshmallow now or, if they waited they’d get a second marshmallow.  Then he observed to find out how long they could wait, delay gratification. He found that those who were able to wait longer ultimately attained higher IQ later in life, and higher SATs, too.

SF: So, is the ability to delay gratification, to have self-controllearned or are you born with certain propensities? What’s your take on this?

KM:  Both.The example that I use is that it’s like a muscle. You can exercise it and strengthen it to improve outcomes and health.

SF: How did you personally get into studying this?  It’s a bit unusual for a business school professor.

KM: It’s “me”search. You have to be passionate about what you study. I always struggled with food cravings, going to the gym, focusing at work (not checking Facebook and Twitter), and my sweet tooth. I struggle with self-control.  Studying it, I could see that, “Oh, it’s not just me, others struggle, too.”  Studying this phenomenon allows me to contribute to the literature on it, increase knowledge for others, not just for myself.

SF: So what are the big insights? How can we avoid temptations?

KM: Uncertainty is bad for self-control. If you don’t know if you’ll have a job, or if you’re waiting for results from a medical test, or something like that, if there are these “incidental uncertainties,” then there’s a tendency to reach for the Ben & Jerry’s,  low-brow magazines, and the like.

SF: So, anxiety, or worry, interferes with our capacity to stay focused on tasks; to exert self-control?

KM: If something is unresolved, that’s when self-control diminishes.  When are the moments that we are most motivated to have self-control? And how can we encourage workers to go to the gym, to have flu shots? Google asked these questions about its own employees. When’s the best time to deploy incentives? How about the New Years’ Eve effect?  This is when there’s a fresh start, a new year, people start diets at a higher rate, go to the gym more. There are many fresh start moments, not just New Year’s Eve.

SF: Does the beginning of the day count?

KM: Yes, in hospitals, people sanitize their hands more at beginning of day. Within the day, yes, there are fresh starts. The start of a new week, or month, following birthdays and holidays – these are other fresh starts. They break continuous flow of time. My past failures are behind me; I can restart this month, have a fresh start, a new semester.  Except on the 21st birthday!  People search more on Google for diets at beginning of the month, for example.

SF: Religions do this, denote time.  This wisdom has been around for a while through religious rituals using the architecture of time.

KM: Is there a higher rate in the Jewish population of greater self-control after Yom Kippur? We’re studying it!

SF:  What did Google do with what it learned about timing? Is there extra messaging and are there more incentives offered when people are ripe for fresh start at the beginning of the week or month?

KM: You can’t send messages out all the time.  So, yes, they now target them at those fresh start moments.

Caller from Minnesota, Molly: I only have so much energy and then it breaks down. Willpower is like a muscle, it gets tired.  What can be done?

KM: “Temptatation bundling” helps with things like struggles to get to gym and watching too much low-brow TV.  What if you only watch low-brow when you’re at the gym?!   Time flies at the gym and you’re anxious to go to gym; you look forward to it, there’s an incentive. Temptation bundling harnesses the power of the temptation of the low-brow. You only let yourself go to the burger joint when you’re with a difficult colleague, or get pedicures when responding to email. So you give in to the indulgence and you find that you have available willpower storage, so you don’t exhaust or deplete the reserve.

SF: What has the biggest impact?

KM: Prompting people to form concrete plans about when they’re going to follow through. Let’s take an example with onsite free flu shot clinics, which are important because they decrease absenteeism, reduce costs, and yield happier and more productive employees.  So, how can a company increase free flu shot use?  We did a mailing, and we did the same mailing plus a prompt for the employee to write down a date and time when they would come to get the shot.  They didn’t have to reply, they were simply asked to write this down for themselves. There was a big effect; flu shot use went up 13%. And attendance more than doubled (with the writing-it-down group) when there was only one day flu shots were being offered.

And we’ve discovered the same effect with getting a colonoscopy – which is a lot more to ask!  Same thing. Write it down. Same with voter turn-out.  The prompt is free and yields big effects. It’s a way to overcome forgetfulness and procrastination.

Katy Milkman is the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor at the Wharton School and has a secondary appointment at the Perelman School of Medicine, both at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research relies heavily on “big data” to document various ways in which individuals systematically deviate from making optimal choices. Her work has paid particular attention to the question of what factors produce self-control failures (e.g., undersaving for retirement, exercising too little, eating too much junk food) and how to reduce the incidence of such failures.  To learn more, follow her on Twitter @Katy_Milkman

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.



Choose to Matter! — Julie Foudy on Work and Life

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Julie Foudy, former Captain of the US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team, current reporter and analyst at ESPN/ABC, and founder of the Sports Leadership Academy for girls.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: You are one of the six people I profile in Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life. You especially exemplify the important skills of knowing what matters, helping others, and challenging the status quo.  You chose, for instance, to compete in an international soccer tournament over your high school graduation.  You were the first athlete to go overseas to inspect a factory before accepting an all-important and lucrative endorsement.  How did you come to understand what was important to you, what mattered most, and how did you have the courage to act on your core values?

Julie Foudy: Julie Foudy I think probably my parents helped. I was the fourth of four kids and maybe it was a consequence of being the fourth or maybe they were just hands-off, in a positive way, to the point of not coming to soccer game when I was little. I was not ever dependent on their praise. Everything I did I did it because I wanted to. I was innately competitive.

So, when I chose to go to Italy with U.S. National Team instead of my high school graduation, there was so much drama – girls saying, “How could you?”  But that’s how I won my spot on the team. I asked my parents. Now, today, parents would say, “Go!” Today parents want “success.” My parents said, “What do you want to do?”

SF: How does knowing what’s important play out in your philosophy for your Leadership Academy?

JF: We say “choose to matter.” I’m a big believer that there’s not a box that’s checked off when you’re born that says you’re a leader.  Leaders come in different shapes and sizes, including those who are not most vocal or confident. Girls, instead of raising hands, they defer. It’s the norm even with the popular and confident girls. We emphasize that you choose your attitude. “Success isn’t a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice” was an epiphany for me. We help empower girls to make decisions which strengthens them because they know we trust them.

SF: So this cuts against cultural values that girls grow up with and they have to be taught, even the athletes.

JF: Yes, we teach them that it’s OK to voice opinion, to raise a hand. It’s a transformational experience that it’s OK to be different.  Parents comment, “My kid is totally different.”  They go home with a service project in their home community. Everyone can lead. It’s personal, not positional. So, some give time once a year at local nonprofit, or once a week at senior center, most do soccer clinics for kids with disabilities. So they have to create a team to support their idea, they need mentors to learn from, and they have to work with their parents. This quiet, awkward kid…and then the school takes it on, and then the community. It’s transformational.  We ask, “If I had a magic wand, what would I change?” End bullying, clean the local park.

SF: Everybody has something they are passionate about.

JF: Yes, and that helps develop confidence. We say, “I am the change.” Empowering young women.

SF: When you were playing and you learned that the women on the soccer tour were getting a raw deal and you began your new role as an advocate for women in sports.  How can people develop the courage to challenge the norm?

JF: The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, is where I first learned about all this. Title IX one of the most profound civil rights laws: Back then, only one in 27 girls was playing sports and now one in three are playing!  Title IX is an education amendment meant to help women get into universities and colleges. But in the fine print it says that any institution that receives federal funding has to provide equal educational and sports opportunities.

SF: So, what’s the most important piece of advice you have for challenging the status quo, for standing up for what matters most?

JF: I was told, “If everyone likes you, then you’re not doing the right thing.”  And the other piece of advice is to smile through it. You’ve got to laugh.

Julie Foudy, former Captain of the US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team, current reporter and analyst at ESPN/ABC, and founder of The Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy for girls.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7:00 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.


Building a Life, Not a Resume — Tom Tierney

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community, and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Tom Tierney, Chairman and Co-founder of Bridgespan, the leader in non-profit consulting, and former CEO of Bain.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: You are one of the six people I profile in Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.  In my analysis of your life story, I describe how you exemplify the skills of envisioning your legacy, weaving disparate strands, and seeing new ways of doing things.  What do you do to ensure you’re building a life and not a resume?

Tom Tierney: Tom Tierny I heard recently that “days are long but life is short.”  It’s important to step back and ask what matters.  We are all different and have an opportunity to take advantage of our unique circumstance and gifts and apply those to achieve “success” as we define it. I try to step back and ask, “Have we achieved those things in life that matter most to us?” “What have you done with your gifts?” It’s not what’s in the bank or on paper.

SF: So toenvision your legacy, you try to keep the big picture in mind.

TT: What is success in life for me? I ask myself periodically. And at the end of the year I do a retreat with myself, and with my notebooks.  How’d I do this year with my wife? My sons? Work? Community? My volunteer activities? How’d I do? What can I do better? I keep a journal. A couple of dozen by now.  The act of writing helps me think about it and to overcome inertia.  Time marches on and we have to get ahead of time. I keep notes, get feedback from others.  My wife is my best coach. She asks, “Are you sure you’re living up to what you want to achieve?”

SF:  You have a commitment to continual learning and reflection, examining what is and what might be. And you invest time to reflect. But you must face pressure to get on with other things and pressure from others to do so.  How do you keep that commitment to journaling, reflecting?

TT: Discipline is a really important attribute. Someone asked if, all things being equal I’d rather have 20% smarter or 20% more disciplined on my team. It’s the later, because that person is able to make tough decisions at the margins, tiny tradeoffs. For example, I walk to work, and then there’s the escalator or 45 steps. I take the 45 steps.

SF: You’re smart about your choices.  They’re deliberate.

TT: Discipline manifests itself in little ways.  Do I exercise? Work at home or go in on the weekend? Not check email in the evening.  It’s the little choices on the margins that add up.

SF: How do you manage pressure from colleagues? How do you keep those boundaries?

TT: I find that most of the challenge is in my own head; thinking that I’m indispensable. I’ve experimented with being off the grid and surprisingly the world does not stop. And of the hundreds of emails, I find that someone else handled it, or it wasn’t really urgent. We too often focus on what is urgent versus what’s important.

SF: How do you remain focused on what’s really important and not get caught up in the urgent?

TT: I’ll ask the question, “How important is it today? And how important is it for the future?”  Here are my priorities, things I value, that really matter to me.  We are too reactive to the urgent. It’s asking the question. Making time to look backwards and forwards.  Creating feedback loops. And not getting caught up with inertia or what other people want.

SF: Is this what you’re teaching about leadership at West Point?

TT: I conduct seminars on how to succeed at life. People say the cadets are too young.  But this is always relevant because we are always confronted with choices. And we can learn from each others’ experiences.  We are all the same. Who isn’t struggling with having a great home life and work life?  We want to learn from authorities. But everybody around you can teach you.  A 19 year old cadet asked the question: How can I develop confidence to confront superior who I think is making a mistake? I turned it to class. Some had been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. We had a robust conversation about how to address problems with a boss. How to manage up by exerting influence versus control? You can ask questions and go through others.

SF: Exactly, others can answer if you engage in dialogue. So, what’s been your worst mistake?

TT: I have diagnosed my mistake patterns. When I have strategic life decision like who you’re going to marry. Then I think long and hard. My mistakes occur when they’re insidious voluntary errors, tactical mistakes. I rush to judgment without leaving my mind open. I can pigeon-hole ideas and people.  I can shut down the receiver and when I do that I am worse off.

SF: Maybe that’s why you are relentless in asking yourself the difficult questions, to counterbalance this tendency you believe you have.

TT: If I’m not careful, I’ll ignore, because I’m task oriented. It’s my fundamental flaw.

SF: But youcompensate for what you perceive to be a flaw.  What do you do, and what can others do too?

TT: Awareness. And put on the brakes. If I’m off, tell me that. My son says, “Dad, I hear you, but have you ever thought about it this way?” That’s the cue for me to hit the pause button.

SF: To keep the receiver open.

TT: You miss a lot of texture if you shut stuff out that which doesn’t fit with your mental model.

SF: So what’s the big idea in order to lead the life you want?

TT: I find it’s true in philanthropy in volunteering:  humanity (care about something broader than just you), humility (it’s not just about me), and courage (do right thing in the right way).  Success is defined as building a life, not a resume.

Tom Tierney stepped down as CEO at Bain to co-found The Bridgespan Group, the leader in consulting in the non-profit sector. To learn more follow @BridgespanGroup, @ThomasJ_Tierney


Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

Why Play Matters — Andy Stefanovich

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Andy Stefanovich, provocateur and leading thinker and doer in the field of creativity and innovation at work.  The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: In 1990 you founded a company called Play, which was such an innovative, original concept, to think of play at work, because we typically think of work and play as a dichotomy.  Why does being playful and creative matter in all parts of our lives – even at work?

Andy Stefanovich:  StefanovichWork should be more like play, not playful. Serious, strategic, provocative, thoughtful, innovative, creative, spirited. Those were the things I wanted to affirm. I wanted to bring this important philosophy to executives to unleash imagination, and change organizations.

Watching my father work for GM for 48 years, with no college, but a strong work ethic. He worked for a living and he was rewarded. But he wished the spirit of people were more alive.  He wished we could be more authentic without it being looked down upon on.  Mylife and career is taking that legacy and bringing it to life, asking questions.

How we can change the mood, ethos, culture?  It’s like the weather, creating a mood of innovation and truth. What mental preparedness can we build to face confusion with tolerance?  How long can you stay in a place of grey?  How do you build a mindset that is founded on consciousness and awareness?  What mechanisms do you have that are levers, tools, technology, and strategy to drive change?  How are you measuring what matters?

SF: How do you tap into the wellspring of energy and power from playing. Where do you start?

AS:  A good journal. Write about what empowers you.

SF: You write by hand?

AS: I imagine, I dream, I believe. Write the way a TED talk is constructed. Imagine walking on the stage, I believe deeply in _____.  Passion persuades. Let everyone know who you are. Be a one trick pony. It’s a profound way to capture the imagination of people. I believe it’s important now for these three or four reasons.

SF: So, you need to focus onhere’s what I believe” and “here’s why it’s important now.”

AS: And invite the world to participate. Have an open aperture.  Work should not be work, it should be play.

SF: So how to open that aperture?

AS: Figure out your strong belief, your strong view. Let those in your circle know. Create a consortium of believers

SF: Off broadway, on the road.

AS: Yes, test it with your close-in community. Condition the room, say, “this may be off the wall, but I believe that ____. “ People like intuition vs. intellectual.

SF: How is this playful?

AS: It meets the room where it needs to be. Now it’s too organized, too constructed, too perfect. Ceremonial, like a Greek Orthodox script. Ritual is half script and half chance. Give people more permission, more honesty, more truth.

SF: How do you find creativity, innovation, and change in work and life?

AS: From a curatorial standpoint. Editing the excellence of the world and putting it before others. The High Line in NYC is a good example. There are three words to guide all of it: slow, wild and quiet. Not manicured landscaping. Slow steps. What are the three words that will steward you?

SF: And mood, as you referred to earlier?

AS: It’s a way to access more of your creativity, play, innovation. Make people know that these are the three things that guide me. What are yours? Then use each other for implied expertise.

SF: What have you learned about how can a person live a more inspired life?

AS: A truthful existence. Not waking up and behaving parts. You taught me about family, community, being whole. Not whimsy, but creative center, comfortable, controlled, thoughtful, intentional. Awareness level unleashes. More truthful.  People want it. There’s too much inauthenticity.  People are starving for it.

Andy Stefanovich, author of best-selling Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation.  

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.




The Best Companies to Work for in 2014 — Carol Evans

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with Carol Evans, President of Working Mother Media about their just-released 2014 list of 100 Best Places to Work.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman:Working Mother just released list of Best Companies for 2014.  What makes a company a great Working Mother pick?

Carol Evans:  Caro lEvansWe ask 500 questions, and we get very detailed.

SF: Who has time to complete a survey like that?

CE:  Companies who care about working families including parental leave for both working parents, corporate culture, leadership, having women in middle level positions and top level positions, mentorship, support, and more.

SF: This is now a coveted position for corporations to be on this list.  It helps them compete in the labor market.

CE: It’s a big differentiator. Women look to the list for where to work. Men now want to know, too.

SF: So how can a corporation get to the top 10?

CE: Parental leave, childcare, excellence across the board on many, but not all, factors. A lot of these companies have been on the list for a long time.

SF: So the list covers all dimensions of work and life issues.  Will having good programs that support life beyond work get you on the list?

CE: If you have programs, but women aren’t advancing, then no, you will not accumulate the points you’d need to be on the list.  It’s not subjective. We want to know how many people have access to each policy and then how many actually use them.  And what about the culture; do people feel afraid to use programs designed to retain them?

SF: Policy and practice only go so far.  So cultural mores determine if they’re really being accessed.

CE: Companies have to market it to their employees. If people don’t use it, it becomes the norm not to use it.

SF: How do you ensure the data is valid and accurate?

CE: We fact check data.  And we put in magazine. That’s the best check and balance. If it’s not accurate your employees will call you on it. The companies don’t know what we’ll put in the magazine.

SF: Have you ever had situation where the company said one thing and employees said it wasn’t so?

CE: Yes, before but not now. We had a typo.  We wrote a 16 week not a 6 week leave policy.  Oh my gosh, we heard from everyone in the company!

SF: So, what happened?  Did it create pressure to increase the leave?

CE: Yes, they increased it!

SF: How does the list influence policy – apart from typos?

CE:  We launched in 1986 and we’ve seen tremendous change because of the list. First, the companies themselves benefit via the application process itself. The people writing the answers to our survey get to know what their organization even has to offer and how much it’s used – flex, childcare, going to the gym, mentoring program, ERG (employee resource group). Second, after publication they learn that they have 8 weeks of maternity leave, but their competitor has 12 weeks.  And they have to ask, as their employees do, why don’t we have that?  And then if all the top ten have X, let’s get up to that so we can be competitive. Relative to your competition or to the best. Knowledge is like gold; it’s a competitive advantage. It’s a great carrot. You give us your data. And we show aggregates. Finally, for the talent, that is for individual women, they find out from reading the magazine once a year what’s the latest and greatest in work/life. They learn ideas of what to ask for and this helps them to be brave enough to take advantage of the benefits.

SF: So it’s the knowledge that’s empowering.  In 30 years – what’s changed? What’s the big idea, the big shift? Has there been real progress?

CE: The pregnancy act was in 1978. That made it illegal to fire someone for being pregnant. Before 1978 it was perfectly acceptable to do so.  When we started the list only 30 companies were doing something. Now the offerings are much more sophisticated and culturally embedded, and they’re demanded by moms and dads and by millennials.

SF: Is technology a catalyst for some of the change you’re seeing especially for millennials?

CE: It’s a double-edged sword. Some companies are experimenting with new policies about not having the digital line crossed. For instance, Deloitte has digital free weekends to renew and refresh. On the list we uncover new things that companies are doing.  We codify the new stuff, put it in magazine, discuss it at the Work/Life Conference, tweet about it. Then next year we ask everyone else if theyr’e doing it.

SF: The list is a catalyst for change not a catalog of policies.

CE: Yes, so now we ask, Are you sponsoring, not mentoring? Do you have paid paternity leave.

SF: Working Mother is the name, so what about dads? Other demographics benefit from work/life practices. How has it spread and how does the list address these changes?

CE: Millennials demand it and that helps to get it across to CEOs. Women are like the icebreaker and behind you all the other boats get through. Women get these benefits, and then everybody benefits.


Carol Evans, is President of Working Mother Media, CEO of the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) Diversity Best Practices (DBP), and author of This is How We Do It: The Working Mother’s Manifesto. For more information check out www.workingmother.com and follow Carol at @CarolEvansWM

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

Moxie Makes New Things Possible — John Baldoni

Work and Life is a radio program hosted by Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, on Sirius XM’s Channel 111, Business Radio Powered by The Wharton School. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM EST, Stew speaks with everyday people and the world’s leading experts about creating harmony among work, home, community and the private self (mind, body and spirit).

On Work and Life, Stew Friedman spoke with John Baldoni an executive coach and author of a number of books including his latest, Moxie: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.

The following are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Stew Friedman: What is moxie?

John Baldoni: John Baldoni Guts, gumption, and determination to beat the odds.  Courage, standing up for what you believe in and your people. I always liked the word from movies of 30’s and 40’s: “That boxer, he’s got moxie.” It’s an inner resolve. When I watched the recent economic crisis and leader after leader didn’t know how to react, didn’t know how to deal with adversity, I began to think about this as a leadership challenge.

SF: How can you address the question of guts and resolve?  How can people develop this capacity?

JB:  People can tend to focus on the negative: “my project was turned down,” “I can’t connect with my team.”  I ask people to be mindful of themselves and to be situationally aware. MOXIE is an acronym.  The “M” is for mindfulness.  Explore what you want to achieve.  A leader can’t say it’s not my job, you have to take responsibility. The “O” is for opportunity. “X” is the X-factor – character compassion, creativity, what makes you, you.  “I” is for innovation and “E” is for engagement.

SF: If those you coach lack the resolve, what do you do to help them build and develop an inner resolve?

JB: Confidence is key.  Where does confidence come from?  From inside, yes, but also from what you’ve done. Sports or academic track record, your accomplishments, achievements.  We can dwell on our defeats vs. what we’ve done. To get resolve, focus on building confidence.

SF: So it’s reframing adversity and using what they have already accomplished.

JB: Part of the reframing is that you’re not alone. Warren Bennis said he never met a successful person who didn’t have a crucible.

SF: How can people develop moxie, self-confidence and persistence? How can it be cultivated?

JB: Some of us are more dispositionally inclined toward this, but can be nurtured, learned. You need to be tactical and practical. It’s not just believing in yourself, but then it’s what are you going to do about – school, professional development courses, job rotation…you need to prepare yourself.

SF: In our uncertain world with so much economic displacement and inequality where does one get the wherewithal or strength. How to get past that? There’s reviewing past accomplishments, but how else can we develop strength, internal resolve.

JB: Role models, teachers, parents, historical figures, people who inspire. How did they achieve? If we’re talking about the disadvantaged they often have street smarts, survival skills, moxie. And they can reach out to teacher coach, pastor.

SF: So, getting help from others, or learning from exemplars who’ve risen through crucibles is another strategy. How does moxie play out outside of work, in family, community, self?

JB: I If you have inner resolve, inner strength, you’re more centered, you know what you can and cannot do. Mindfulness, the “M” is critical but so is the “E” for engagement.  How do I relate to others? It’s not simply self-awareness. It’s also how am I being perceived?  I use our Total Leadership in nearly all my coaching over the past 5 years. Some leaders have stunning lack of self-awareness, they’re not aware of how they’re coming across to others.  Leadership is an active process, how to take time to take stock of themselves.

SF: It’s important to be mindful of how we come across at home as opposed to at work or with friends?  It’s important to understand how others perceive us.

JB: Yes, at work we might have false fronts, we might be fearful of losing our jobs, or we might not be in the right job.  I borrow from you, your time and attention chart. Where’s the time for yourself? How are you prioritizing? What can you do differently? Getting 360 degree feedback takes guts, takes moxie

SF: It takes courage to look inside, to find out who you really are and what you’re trying to do in this world. It’s hard work to convert what you have toward the goal of leading the life you want, a life defined by purpose and filled with meaning.

JB: MOXIE is a way of exploring purpose. You can’t foster innovation until you engage with others. Engage hearts and minds and get the commitment of others. You can only reach out and engage if you’re self-confident, purposeful, and know how you can I do it.

SF: What’s the key take-away?

JB: Guts and gumption.  Don’t let adversity be the end.  There’s no shame in being knocked down, it’s what you do with it.  You need to figure out how to get around barriers, make good things happen for yourself and others. Radiate it yourself and coach others around defeat.

John Baldoni is chair of the leadership development practice of N2growth, a global leadership consultancy, and author of Lead with PurposeLead Your Boss, and the new book, MOXIE:  The Secret To Bold And Gutsy Leadership.  For more, follow John on Twitter @JohnBaldoni.

Join Work and Life next Tuesday at 7 pm on Sirius XM Channel 111.  Visit Work and Life for a full schedule of future guests.

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