Leading with GRIT with Author and Coach, Laurie Sudbrink

Hi everyone. It’s Jenn DeWall. And in this week’s episode of The Leadership Habit podcast, I sat down with Laurie Sudbrink to talk about Leading with GRIT. Let me tell you a little bit more about Laurie. Like you, leadership expert and author Laurie Sudbrink has seen effective leadership that makes people want to step up and do more. And she has also seen downright terrible leadership that only inspires people to tell stories of the monstrous boss that they had! Can you relate? So what does it take to be effective? Is it power? Authority? An impressive title? Of course not. It’s about doing the right thing, even in the face of the most challenging times. And Laurie has over two decades of executive coaching, leadership training, and, most importantly, real-life business experience. And she is the author of Leading with GRIT, endorsed by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, which we talked about on the show and Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager! Enjoy our conversation as we talk about Laurie’s book, Leading with GRIT.

Full Transcript Below


Meet the Author of Leading with GRIT, Laurie Sudbrink

Jenn DeWall:  Welcome, welcome to The Leadership Habit!  Hi audience, today, we are going to be talking about Leading with GRIT! Laurie, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Thank you so much for coming in and donating your time and your expertise to The Leadership Habit audience. We are so grateful to have you!

Laurie Sudbrink:  Oh, it’s such a pleasure to be here, Jenn. And I just have enjoyed our conversations and can’t wait for this one.

Jenn DeWall:  Oh my gosh. I mean, they missed our pre-call talking about our mutual fear of spiders. Yes. And what that looks like as adults. But no, I love that we’re talking about a topic that I think the world needs right now. Right? Like we know that people are burnt out. People are the pandemic shifted and altered a lot of things. And I’m just so happy that you’re bringing this topic to our audience, but before we go in there, they know a little bit about you, but I always love starting with a great origin, you know, question and story. So Laurie, tell us a little bit about who you are and how you came to be as the author and Leading with GRIT. Tell us a little bit about your story.

Laurie Sudbrink:  OK. Sure. You know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go way back and tell you, you know, a little bit about where I came from as you know, from a family standpoint, because it’s, it’s very relevant. I grew up as a middle child of 14, and it was a blended family. So, you know, it was his, hers and theirs, and we were quite dysfunctional. And for anybody that remembers the Brady bunch that came, we were the crazy bunch. I mean, it was truly just a mad household. We had one bathroom for all those people. So it was, it was insane. And you know, we were taught to be tough, to suck it up, Sally! To, you know, even things like not, it wasn’t intentional, but the message came across that self-care was selfish, you know, things like that. Don’t give up no matter what, don’t share your vulnerabilities.

It’ll make you look weak, you know, that kind of philosophy. And through my life that served me well in some areas, but it also, you know, took its toll in some areas. So one example would be when I was, I was a single mom, I was working full time. I was taking classes at the State University in New York and I was working on a communications degree. And I remember just that it was very important to me to get perfect grades. And I would focus on that and focus on that. And I wondered why at the end of every semester, I was sick. I was, I was just down and out, and then I couldn’t enjoy my time off. And it was a pattern. I mean, it was happening cuz I, you know, did this for eight years trying to get my degree while I was working full time as a, as a single mom.

And I finally, you know, kind of dawned on me. It was like, wow. You know, and throughout the next few years, working with a coach and just being more aware, I realized that that pushing that, that tenacity, that traditional grit, you know, we need it, but not at the expense of ourselves. And it happens so often. I see it all the time, you know? So my childhood and my upbringing helped me to see in the workplace and you know, starting my own business in, in 1999 and, and working for the last 23, 24 years in this space, it really, it made me so much more aware of managers and leaders, people in leadership positions that sacrifice their health, their wellness, their relationships, that traditional grit causes collateral damage. And so my book Leading with GRIT is an acronym: Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth. So it’s GRIT with generosity, respect, integrity, and truth. And it’s, you know, it’s, it’s like we need that grit, but to have sustainable grit and not cause collateral damage, we need to make sure we’re mixing those other things in.

Who Should Read Leading with GRIT?

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah, absolutely. Like not doing it in a vacuum who, yeah, like if you had to think about your target demographic, that person that was gonna pick up that book, which is that person that you think needs to read this book right now?

Laurie Sudbrink: Well, it’s anyone that is in a leadership position for sure. Do you know? It’s and, and I’m gonna, I know this sounds really broad. And I can hone in on my customer avatar if we wanna go that, you know, micro, but as far as reading the book, leadership, in my experience and opinion, is not a position. It’s an action. And so anyone who wants to lead a better life, who wants to lead their children better, who wants to lead in their community, who wants to step into a leadership position in their organization, who is a CEO in an organization it’s a very basic kind of back to basics thinking, with generosity, respect, integrity, and truth. But what’s unique about it is the combination of these four areas. And we, you know, we look at grit as, as a roadmap, and we start with the truth.

And so anyone who wants to feel better about their, their life, their work, maybe you’re, you’re trying to get to that next level in an organization. This book will help you to do it in a way that’s authentic. You’re giving to yourself as well as others, and you feel abundance. You feel like you have enough. You don’t feel that scarcity. You’re not as stressed. You’re not as burned out. You find true meaning and value in what you’re doing, and you balance that with the rest of your life. So it really is, you know, one of those leadership books that can transcend transition, you know, the transferable skills, it’s like, you can use it anywhere. Yeah,

GRIT Doesn’t Mean Toughing It Out

Jenn DeWall: No. And I, I love that. I know we’re gonna dive into the grit model, but for those that are listening, I mean, you might have heard some messages that you could maybe recall being somehow imprinted on you when you were younger, right. Understanding that we’ve developed this like tough it up mentality. That’s actually created more challenges for us. And also in the version of like, not only our productivity and, you know, how we work together with our team, but also in mental health. And so that’s one thing that Laurie and I do wanna talk about right now is mental health at work and the importance of it. Because I know in both of our line of work with the people that we see and just given the nature of the work that we do, I don’t know if you feel this, but I feel like sometimes I’m the only person that actually gets to hear what’s going on in someone’s brain because it’s that safe space, right?

Because they don’t necessarily, leadership is lonely. They can’t say it to someone else. Or maybe it’s harder to share with a partner because they don’t necessarily understand the ins and outs of the role or they just turn into a different identity. Right. They have to be the dad or the mom. And they can’t think about work but mental health at work. It’s the one thing that I feel like we all need, but yet we have all those, I’m gonna call them stupid. OK? I’m gonna call them stupid messages that we got when we were younger. I got one that was like, don’t tell anyone, you know, never talk about your mental health, never share your problems. You make sure that everyone looks like, you know, they think this, I don’t know. I’m sure that’s what you were alluding to. Right? Like this, we’re supposed to create these images of ourselves that like, I’ve just got everything figured out what <laugh>. Yeah,

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah. You know, it’s so true. It’s like we, that old adage, leave it at the door. That just, it doesn’t work, you know, and people will stuff it inside. And then you’re wondering why they’re coming to work and blowing up, or they’re disengaged because they have too much to deal with and you’re telling them to stuff it down, you know, and that’s, that is, has been kind of the environment that, and, and you can see kinda why, you know, you certainly don’t want everybody coming in and you’re got a line outside your door, and people are laying on your couch with, you know, and you’re giving ’em tissues. And, you know, you’re just like having that kind of environment. So people, right. And we want people to be able to, you know, step into their job and do it and, and, and be able to compartmentalize to some degree.

But we have to be aware, especially with the events over the past few years, you know, people it’s really pushed people to new levels of, you know, this isolation and just the whole situation has been very challenging for people. And, you know, if we’re not aware of how somebody is showing up, how somebody’s feeling, how what’s going on with that person, we’re really missing huge opportunities. One opportunity, of course, is just to be human with someone else just to, to be there and, you know, connect with someone. And if that’s not motivation or enough for you, well, then think about it from your workplace and productivity because you’re missing an opportunity there. You’re missing an opportunity to have somebody feel like they want to be there. Like they want to do work. It’s a free motivator, you know when we really connect with someone and we really care about them, and there’s ways to do this, of course, it’s not just becoming that sponge and listening all day long.

Right. We listen, and then we help redirect them. Right. And we help them to see, yeah. You know, I, I, I kind of know what you’re feeling, share a story that when you felt that way and then help them to see, you know, what I found by doing this. And we bring them, you know, away from that. So I often hear from leaders and managers that they don’t want to become that person that has a lot of empathy and show that. Because they’re afraid, they’re just, it’s gonna be nonstop, and they don’t know how to manage it. So it’s important of course, that we learn how to manage that, but we’re not aware of what’s going on with people in these, these issues, you know, it’s going to, it’s going to come out, you know, one way or another, it’s gonna come out, you know, in the workplace, which we see all the time, and we don’t connect the dots and realize, but it’s also gonna come out in our communities, in our home with our kids, you know, it really spreads the toxicity all over.

GRIT and Mental Health

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah. Well, and it’s just, it’s a topic. I mean, last month was mental health awareness month. You know, we’re talking about how to develop grit today and what we’re not confusing grit with is just shoving it down and moving forward. Right. We’re talking about, you know, if you notice right now that you are feeling burnt out, overly stressed, that, you know, maybe you’re feeling overly anxious or depressed, it is OK to ask for help. Like, I guess like, that’s like, one thing I want to say is that I’ve embraced therapy throughout my years on this planet. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and I have loved the benefits of therapy and just being able to have someone to talk to, to kind of clear out the intense emotions that we have. And especially for me, a lot of stuff actually comes up about work because I am a high achiever, have a high sense of my identity attached to my success at work.

And so when that doesn’t happen, that’s when I have a tendency to be like, oh my gosh, I’m a failure. I not doing this. Or, you know, then it becomes that kind of just really intense message of like, trying to prove it to everyone else. Like, that’s the grit, right? Like I’m just trying to prove that I’m enough to everyone else, which is not sustainable. And so we talk about mental health, like the, before we go into grit, like I just wanted to say like, again, the importance of managing that, like getting help if you need help and obviously holding space for others, and no, you do not need to be a therapist. People out there, you are not trained for that.

Laurie Sudbrink: That’s right.

Jenn DeWall:  You do not need to be that, but you’s right. Do need to understand that this stuff exists and that these aren’t, that, that whole adage of like drop your, or keep your personal problems at the door, blah, blah, blah. Like whatever that is. Yeah. You know that that’s not gonna work in the work environment that’s coming up today. And if people feel like you don’t care, well, they’re gonna find someone who will,

Laurie Sudbrink: It’s so true. It’s so true. You know, and it’s it, you hit on a very important point, Jenn, that we’re not therapists. Even as coaches and leadership development experts, I’m I would never profess to be a therapist. When I have been in situations where it seems like somebody does need some professional help, though. I will be able to help them to see how to go about getting that, you know, give them some encouragement, just like you did with your audience, you know, to say, yeah, been there, done it, you know, been through therapy. I mean, I’ve done energy work, all kinds of stuff to help release the grief, the emotions that I’ve had over challenging times in my life. And without that help, it was coming out in different ways. I, I even had panic attacks and I didn’t know what was going on.

Never had a panic attack in my life, you know? And it, this was on the heels of my, one of my brothers taking his own life, you know, and I, that was grief that I couldn’t deal with on my own. It was not something that I could think my way out of. I couldn’t meditate my way out of it. I did, I tried lots of things. I couldn’t therapist my way out of it. Quite frankly, I needed energy work to release that emotional memory. And that’s what really worked for me. But the things that showed up before I, before I got that help, I couldn’t even believe it was happening. I remember one panic attack I had, I was driving along to a new client and I knew exactly where this building was. And all of a sudden, I didn’t know where I was.

I pulled over on the side of the road. I started freaking out. I had no idea where I was. And it was just like, I can’t believe this is happening. I mean, I knew it was happening, but I couldn’t stop it. And, and I ha I would never have like, connected those two things, but I know for sure it was that. Because after the energy work and stuff, you know, that I had done, I never had that again. You know, so we really do need to learn how to ask for help. And I’d say in the traditional sense of the word grit, don’t give up! When you’re looking and getting help, the first thing might not do it all. The second thing might not do it all. The first therapist might not work for you. It’s so important to never give up on that. Keep looking. I mean, it took me quite a while to figure it out and really get healed from those tragedies. But you can do it if I can do it; anybody can do it.

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah. I love that. You brought that up, finding a therapist. Yes. If someone’s listening, then maybe they’ve been contemplating asking for help for a little bit. It’s not necessarily, I mean, I have lucked into therapists and found great ones right off the bat. I’ve also had to go through the interview process, but I promise you that once you find that right fit, like it’s a great fit and it’s, oh my gosh. I just wish that most people would, you know, understand that maybe it’s this quote, Laurie, like you and I talked about this in the pre-call. We both are pretty empathic. Like, you know, the piece around the greatest abuse the human will ever endure is the abuse inflicted upon them by themselves. I love that quote from the Four Agreements. That is why to me, like, I think the benefit of therapy of talk therapy, even of just talking with coaches, not about like, we’re not talking, there are certain things that I would say that a coach should be OK to talk with you. And that also should be, you know, referring you to therapy for. So hopefully, people understand that blurred line. Because I know that in our profession, there’s a lot of people that maybe cross over into territory that they’re not traditionally trained to actually manage, just because they have the conversation. And that could actually cause more harm than good, so make sure that you have the right person there that’s, that’s gonna help you. But things are coming along on the mental health journey, Laurie because we have to talk about it, right? Like we have to!

The Four Agreements at Work

Laurie Sudbrink:  We do, you know, and you know, you brought up The Four Agreements and I’m so glad you did because it’s such a powerful book. And it’s changed my life as well as so many people’s. I know. I know Don Miguel Ruiz very well. Yes. Excellent. In fact, he endorsed my book. So he’s on the cover of Leading with GRIT and you know, I’ve worked with him and he’s just the epitome of self-love and love and the quote that you shared, you know, it’s, it’s just, it’s so true. We abuse ourselves way more than anybody else ever abuses us, abuses us. And we’ve gotta get to the root of that. But for anybody that hasn’t read, The Four Agreements definitely have to put a plug in there because it is a life changer. <Laugh>

Jenn DeWall:  Oh my God. That is my it’s funny. So I just, this is one of the books that it’s, well, I guess we’re doing this now, but ill two books that I always keep on hand to give out to people. So the Alchemist and The Four Agreements, I just bought this one out at a garage sale. Like, cause I just, you know, when I give one away, then I have to go and buy another one that’s right. To someone and there actual books that I just, I love, but let’s get into your book now. Right. OK. How to develop grit and like, and again, I hope that, you know, if you were listening to this, it’s just another opportunity to reflect that if you are struggling with someone, it is OK to ask for help and you never know, but it’s, it’s getting over that first hurdle or maybe some of those messages of what you’ve heard about how it’s appropriate to deal with that. You know, we’re gonna be talking about grit today, but know that you’ve gotta start with kind of acknowledging those things too, but Laurie, I’m excited. We’re going into your book. How, how to develop grit. So let’s start it. I know you kicked off the framework, but let’s just reintroduce it because you know what I know I took this interview in a, in a few different directions already. So let’s relay the foundation and talk about that starting point again.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah. And you know, it’s actually worked out exactly like it was supposed to because Don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements was who inspired me to write this book because what I was doing, I was working with The Four Agreements in the workplace. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and long story short, the publisher decided they didn’t wanna go that route to have me write that book. So I wrote Leading with GRIT to help bridge that self-help into the workplace. So it’s kind of that sneaky approach. It’s like Wiley published it first. I have since taken the rights back so that I could do more with it myself, but Wiley took it and published it as Leading with GRIT to, you know, really reach leaders in people in leadership positions with this self-help. So it’s, it’s cool that you brought that up, and the whole thing just came out because I don’t think I would’ve shared that without you bringing that up.

Jenn DeWall:  I think that’s bananas, that just came up organically.

Everything Starts with Our Truth

Laurie Sudbrink: It’s just amazing. That is I never, and I don’t think I’ve ever shared that in an interview, so it’s pretty cool. So GRIT, generosity, respect, integrity, and truth. They stand solid on their own. We need these characteristics to be successful as human beings and as people in leadership positions, for sure. Like I said, it’s the unique combination of these that really creates the success, the magic, so to speak. And so the acronym, I invert it and start with truth because everything starts with us, right. Everything starts with our truth. Who are we? And do we accept ourselves self-love so important to be able to look objectively at ourselves and be able to look at the good, the bad, the ugly, you know, and just be like, OK, this is me, you know? And, and so accepting, it doesn’t mean not changing anything. It means being able to first accept it and be OK with it because if we try to deny it and resist it, I don’t know who said this, but I love it. What we, you know, what we resist persists,

Jenn DeWall:  What we resist persists. <Laugh> yes. <Laugh>

Laurie Sudbrink:  And it’s so true. It’s like it just bubbles, and it stays in there. So it’s like, OK, we’ve gotta know ourselves, accept ourselves. We can look at what we want to change. We use the DISC profile in the workplace to help people with a very psychologically safe way to look at who am I, and what are my tendencies? What am, what am I natural at? What takes more energy and effort. And then, you know, that’s one tool that you can find out a little bit more about yourself. What do I wanna do to grow and learn? That’s just looking at your truth. So the truth is that first level. Then we go to integrity.

Jenn DeWall:  On, hold on. Let’s dive into the truth a little bit. Yeah, because I think that’s the foundation that I think is hard for some people. I would say myself included, right? Because sometimes, working within can maybe find things that I don’t love about myself, or I might also find the opportunities where I am setting myself up to be a perfect person and actually being overly critical. So then I don’t wanna look at myself because I just, and again, going back to mental health, like, it’s that unworthiness like you are worthy. Yes. You have strengths. Yes. How do you help people? Because it is that difficult piece of that bridging the gap between self-awareness and self-love, like right. and understanding the truth. Like how do you help people connect that? Because you know, as an achiever, and I know that we’ve got used to that, I’m sure. Listening to the podcast <laugh> you might be like, yeah, I know, like the stuff that I do that yes. You know, I could change, but we don’t really turn it into self-love and compassion. Yeah. Which is I think the spiral that, you know, we see in the form of stress, but, well,

The Trouble with ANTs— Automatic Negative Thoughts

Laurie Sudbrink:  Thank yeah. Thank you for honing in on that because it’s, it is such a critical piece, and it can be the most difficult piece for a lot of us, including myself, and, you know, it’s I go back to think about, think about our domestication, our indoctrination, every, all those thoughts and beliefs that get put into our head from who knows where it doesn’t matter as much as just realizing that we’re like tape recorders and this stuff has been in there for a long time and we do different things with it inside. Well, why not put loving thoughts in, instead of these, what, why I call the ants, the automatic negative thoughts and we’re so,

Jenn DeWall: Oh, I love that! The ants!

Laurie Sudbrink: The ants, you know, those ants are creeping around, and it’s like they’re itching. And it’s like, oh, I get those ants out of there. Right? Because it’s true. We do. We, in fact, I was getting some new business photos done just the other day, and I was on the zoom, picking out the photos, and we were laughing because I kept looking at all the flaws <laugh> and she was like, you’re so good at looking at your flaws, let’s start to, you know, step back. And I said, it’s so true. Thank you for showing me that! Because we do and we’ll look at all the things we didn’t accomplish. And so we’ve gotta like step back and say, let’s reprogram ourselves, because that doesn’t serve us. Well, that’s not helping anyone. It’s not helping me. It’s not helping me to be able to help you.

And so what I help people do is look at those automatic negative thoughts that they have look at the ants that might be crawling around in there. And we don’t even see ’em or hear ’em half the time. And you know, sometimes it’s just through a self-awareness journaling, those types of things working either on your own or with someone to help you stay on track, to just be aware of those at first, and then be aware of the thought you had when you were aware of those. Oh, were you beating yourself up about having too many of ’em? You know, it’s just, it’s kind of lighten up about it and have some fun with it too. Because I think that’s really important if we are our physiological state of how we are when we’re trying to be objective is so important.

So it’s like have a little fun with it. So I help my clients have some fun with looking inside and then being able to say, what can I replace that with? That serves me well, and literally reprograming our reprogramming ourselves in order to be able to do that. And I know some people think that’s some hokey pokey stuff, but it works. It really is what we focus on, we become, right? Yes. What we put in there, we become. That’s why visualizing and goal setting is so powerful because we start to shift our thoughts and beliefs around what’s possible. And then that drives our behavior to show up for that. So to be able to accept ourselves, love ourselves, it’s it does take a little bit of reprogramming because of everything that we have been conditioned to do.

Jenn DeWall:  Yes. Well, and I think I, you know, initially I think people– how do I describe this? People used to think that thought work was just kind of this bananas thing. Like, oh, why do you get to do that? And no, it’s actually tied to like how your brain is functioning. The chemical reactions that are coming through are driven by your thoughts in whether you realize it or not. You actually get to choose your thoughts. You know, like, that’s that big piece. And I’m not gonna say, like, I still have a tendency. I can get, let those ants crawl all over me and be like, Jenn, you’re really failing at life. Me too, not doing this. Like, you know, but also then I have to take responsibility that like, do I wanna pitch a tent there because that’s not gonna be productive. Like, because we actually do get to choose that. And that’s the piece that I, I think is so interesting even in the landscape of 10 years of people being like that’s bananas to think like, OK, I kind of understand that, right. If we put it in a language like this is emotional intelligence, we’re thinking about how we’re navigating our world and how we’re responding.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Well, you know, and I think sometimes Jenn,  people think that, you know, sometimes people will abuse it or misuse it. They’ll think all I have to do is say these positive things, but I don’t have to show up and do anything and it doesn’t work like that. Right. Like we get just like, oh, we’re just gonna like brainwash ourselves to yeah. It works in conjunction, you know? So it’s of course it’s doing other things as well. It’s finding what makes us feel good and motivated, for example, you know, it’s like I do grounding and earthing almost every single day, bare feet on the earth, getting energy. Like that works for me. It makes me feel good. I listen and converse and talk to people like yourself. It brings me up. It makes me like, all right, you know, motivated and stuff. And you know, music, music is a great one.

It’s like, yeah, when I’m feeling down or something, don’t listen to the blues. Like I’m gonna turn on something. That’s gonna make me like yeah. Ready to like dance. So it’s knowing ourselves and that is part of truth. You know? It’s like when we know ourselves and we give ourselves what we need, that’s when we can be authentic and confident and we’ll be in our truth. But just like you said, we’re not flawless. I have ants too. You know, it’s like, but you know what? Now with this awareness, I suffer a lot less. Not as long, I don’t pitch that tent there. I don’t stay down in that ditch with those ants. You know, it’s like, Ooh, I feel it quicker. And I know how to get myself out of there faster than I used to. So, and that’s, you know, integrity. That’s really the bridge to integrity.

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Integrity is the Action of Our Truth

Jenn DeWall:  I wanna dive into integrity. And before I even say that, I want to say this. I don’t know if you get this in your line of the work, but I do confidence coaching and I, this will stick with me because one friend, I, I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I was not confident about what we were talking about. She’s like, Jenn, well, aren’t you, the person that teaches confidence? <Laugh> And I looked at it and I’m like, you are not going to make me think that I have to show up perfectly all the time. So I think people, you know, like the last caveat of truth is like, we are always gonna be growing and probably yes. Just when you think that you have figured out something, you’re probably gonna stretch yourself and take a new risk and you’re gonna be like, oh gosh, this stuff all over again.

Laurie Sudbrink:  <Laugh> You’re oh my gosh. You’re so, so I love that because it’s like, we, if we’re not like stumbling and going, you know, and, and needing some help, we’re not being risky enough. Are we, we’re not growing, we’re not stretching ourselves enough. And it can be– and I remember feeling this way a lot more in my, earlier in my career, almost like you had to be flawless and you had to show up that way because people were looking to you for that. And one comment like that would make me feel like, oh, you know, yikes. I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Yeah. Maybe

Jenn DeWall:  I should quit my entire job. Yeah. <Laugh> exactly.

Laurie Sudbrink:  And it was like, no, you know, it’s like, of course you’re growing and learning too. Now you have to have some level of credibility. You have to have some level of that. Of course we do. But we don’t want to ever come across as flawless, especially if you’re somebody in a leadership position, because you think about what message that is sending to your team, to the people that report to you. You can’t make a mistake. You need to be perfect. You need to, you know, and you got, what’s gonna happen. They’re gonna cover things up. They’re not going to share the mistake they just made. They’re not gonna speak up because you haven’t been vulnerable enough with your team to share that you’re real and human too.

Jenn DeWall:  Yes. You nailed it with that one. All right. Now let’s go into integrity. I’m sorry that I had to go into that.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Go that’s OK. I love it.

Jenn DeWall:  I went into that reflection of being like, should I not be doing what I’m doing with a comment like that? Like, and that’s the natural thing, but let’s say integrity.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah. Yeah. So, so integrity is the action of our truth. So it’s taking action on our truth. And so it’s not about being flawless. It’s about doing your best with that. Because sometimes people think, oh, you know, being in integrity, that means being perfect and never, you know, having anything wrong. No, no, no, no, no. It’s, it’s being aware of what’s important to you and your truth and making sure that you walk the talk and do what you say is important to you. It helps you stay aligned to yourself. And you know, it helps you to, to be able to really take the action on that. So for example, if I say health and wellness is really important to me, but yet I go home, kick off my shoes, start eating Snickers, bars, watching like crap on television. It’s like is health and wellness really important to me?

What come on, you know, like there’s a disconnect here. I either need to change and say health and wellness isn’t important to me, or I need to change my actions. So it’s, it’s a way it’s a self awareness for ourselves to go, OK, something’s not in alignment here and, and we can dig deeper. So it’s, it’s, you know, it’s not grit and that whole roadmap is not meant to Ooh, you know make us feel bad. It’s made to help us look at ourselves and keep looking at ourselves. So integrity is staying in alignment. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s like when I make a mistake, if I’m in integrity, I apologize. I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings when I said that, that wasn’t my intent. I really meant to just help you see blah, blah, blah. You know, it’s, it’s cleaning up your mess that you’ve made sometimes when you were human, when you didn’t mean to. To do something maybe, maybe you’re late and you need to, you know, I’m sorry for that. Let me make that up. You know, and it’s not skirting over that. It’s and so often we hear, oh, don’t say, you’re sorry, don’t say, you’re sorry. Well, that’s for chronic sorry-sayers. You know, it’s not right. It’s not for people that we do need to sometimes sincerely apologize for something that we need to clean up the mess for. So being in integrity is just an action of your truth.

Jenn DeWall: It sounds like it’s, you know, alignment to self. To what you want. What’s important to you,  and also owning your stuff. Yeah. You know, like if you don’t come off, like, gosh, I, I teach leadership and you know what, sometimes still goof up. What do I do? Yeah. Ring, ring, ring, or set up that zoom meeting. Hey, you know what I realized that I might have left something out when we talked and I am really sorry for the confusion that that caused you. I have to own this in exchange. Like, Hey, could you do this? You know, it’s we make owning our stuff so much scarier than what it has to be.

Laurie Sudbrink: Yeah.

Jenn DeWall: <Laugh> We make it so complicated!

Laurie Sudbrink:  Do. We really do. You know? And it’s just like, when you just bring it to light you, it goes away. You know what I mean? Like you just, otherwise, you hold onto it and abuse yourself worse than anybody else. Right. Like you’re and it’s like, no, just, just be transparent. Just be like, oh, when that thought pops in your head, think about. Would it make sense? Would it help that person to share with them? Like you just demonstrated? And if it does, then by all means, share with them, you know, and, and help them to see it. If it’s just something you need to get off your back and it’s not gonna help that other person, then get it off your back with your coach or someone else. Right. Like, so be aware of where that makes sense to do that. I was having a conversation with somebody the other day about being vulnerable.

And we were talking, we, we got talking about it. We’re like, well, you know, it’s important for leaders to make sure that they’re mindful of why they’re sharing their vulnerability with their team. Because if they just come in and decide, ah, you know, and just dump on their teams that is not going to be helpful or effecti, right. Like it, that’s not the place to do it. It’s you need an outlet to do that with a coach or with a great friend or a mentor or someone. Because you said it earlier, leadership is lonely. It’s hard, but we don’t want to be venting down with our teams. You know, we don’t wanna be doing that. It’s an art when it comes to really sharing that vulnerability with purpose so that you’re helping them and you’re redirecting them and helping them grow and learn. And so that’s a bit of integrity. It’s also a bit of respect.

Respecting Yourself So You Can Respect Others

Jenn DeWall:  I was gonna say, it’s it feels like we’re moving into respect.

Laurie Sudbrink:  We Are. Yeah.

Jenn DeWall:  You talk about respect, like, what is that? Like self-respect, respecting others? What do you mean by respect? What does that encompass?

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah. Well with it, you know, you think about when you know yourself and accept yourself and you align to yourself that is indeed showing self-respect. Right. We’re doing what we need to do we’re for ourselves. And that way our cup is full and we can then start to respect others. It runneth over. Right. It’s like, we start to be able to see, oh, I don’t rely, I don’t know somebody else’s truth. I respect that. I don’t know everything. I don’t know all of that, you know? And we start to respect that they may be struggling with something that we have no idea about instead of jumping to conclusions, when somebody comes in and they’re angry or they’re throwing something around, or they just won’t make eye contact with you. Instead of taking it personally, when we are in that area of self-respect and respect, we can give it some space. We can ask some questions. We don’t let things, press our buttons because we’re whole, you know, we, we know ourselves, accept ourselves, we’re living in integrity and we’re respecting other people. And so when we respect other people, we realize too, you go back to the DISC styles that I talked about earlier. Everyone has different strengths and limitations, everyone, all of us do. That’s what makes it so interesting. And, and so cool. I think it’s cool, anyway!

Jenn DeWall:  Every person you meet is both your teacher and your student is one of my favorite principles. I just love that one, but we don’t realize that because of the, I’m gonna call it the, like that prove it. We have to prove ourselves, our worthiness to everyone else. Yeah. And so then it creates this awkwardness that just noise and being able to see that, that we all have something to share and you all, we all have something to learn like, yeah.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah, exactly. And not to be afraid of that. You know, I just heard someone on a group call the other day say that he wasn’t connecting with people in his own industry. You know, he didn’t wanna do that. He wanted to make sure that he, you know, like kept himself separate from that. And I just thought he’s missing such a huge opportunity because you learn and grow from those people. Don’t feel threatened by the people in your industry, like right. We help each other. We grow, we learn, we, you know, it’s, it’s such a beautiful thing. You know, so it’s, it’s that line of thinking. It’s like, we’ve gotta, you know, if we feel confident enough we’re, we’ll respect other people and want to connect authentically with them, you know, and, and respect that they’re, they’re different than we are.

I I know before the DISC tool, I first was introduced to that back in 1997. And I know that I never quite understood why people didn’t think and act just like me, you know, why aren’t you motivated by competition? Why aren’t you like, I just didn’t really get it until that tool shined the light on it, to help me to see that that’s not somebody else’s motivator and their stressor might be different than mine. Like for example, some people think everybody avoids conflict, you know, it’s, it’s a natural thing to avoid conflict. Not true. Some people love conflict. They love to get into that, you know? And so it’s, it’s so fascinating and interesting when we learn that about other people and we can truly respect that. It’s all good. It’s not, it’s not good or bad. It’s not for judgment. It’s just different. That’s the essence of respect.

Jenn DeWall:  Gosh, if we could, I feel like I wish I saw more in the workplace is is that respect for cognitive diversity of understanding of like thinking styles. You might be more of an analytical or you might be more of this, but understanding that we all think differently based on our lived experiences like I ask a ton of questions. It is not to undermine your authority. Right. It is because that’s how I just learn. Yeah. And, or I might be more reluctant on some, you know, to take a risk in some regard because of my past. Yeah. You know, and I just wish people had more of that understanding of like, I, maybe I say this because I say it to my 20-year-old self that really struggled with yes. My own self-confidence. Once I kind of felt that label from my leadership team, like don’t ask questions, like be more vanilla. Yeah. And then you start to think like, oh my gosh, I’m, I’m bad. I’m not like, you know, life, like, what’s wrong with me instead of being like, oh, having that self-respect, like I just have a different way of looking at it. And so do they, like, how can we understand that neither one of us is right or wrong. We don’t need to prove it. Right.

Laurie Sudbrink:  <Laugh> and you know, you brought up something that made me think about Jenn in the workplace. You know, when we, when we can teach, when we can learn, when we can when people can learn how to say these things, like how to ask questions, it’s great to be curious and ask questions, but sometimes it can come across to somebody like you’re nitpicking or you’re disagreeing, or we can come up with ways to ask those questions. Like we can preface it with, Hey, I wanna ask some questions because I’m curious about this. If we share our intent, sometimes that can just break the ice and help the other person. Right. And it’s like, those kinds of things, those little, I call ’em two-degree shifts can just make a huge difference in the workplace.

Jenn DeWall:  I love the two-degree shift. Like, Hey, I’m just gonna ask you questions cuz that’s how I learn. Like, is that OK if I ask you questions?

Laurie Sudbrink:  Right. Right. Exactly. And, and people usually wanna help. And they’re like, yeah. I mean, I wanna learn those. So, and then they’re like, well, sure. Ask me questions. You know? <Laugh>

Once You Have Truth, Integrity and Respect— You Find Generosity

Jenn DeWall:  Oh my gosh. Which I, OK. How it helps. Right. Like thinking about help, we’re going into generosity.

Laurie Sudbrink: Yeah.

Jenn DeWall: Is generosity. So that’s the complete part of the framework.

Laurie Sudbrink:  It generosity, you know, it’s like, that’s the complete part. I love the way you said that. Because it’s like, when we know and accept ourselves, we align to ourselves. We respect ourselves and others. We have a feeling of abundance instead of scarcity, we give without even feeling like we need to get something back. It’s that Pay it Forward concept. Right. If you haven’t seen the movie for the audience, it’s it just, it nails it. Right. It’s like giving without the need for recognition or the need to get something back. That’s what happens with the GRIT model. It’s like you put it into the workplace setting for a minute and you think I don’t, I don’t shy away from giving that constructive feedback. I want to give Jenn feedback because I care about her and I wanna help her to see something differently. I don’t feel so stressed out that I’m going to yell and lose it, because I’ve been taking care of myself.

I’ve been aligning with myself. So it’s that. And when I don’t, I’m OK with it. I can go and, and clean that, clean up the mess. Right. It’s not an unattainable definition of perfection. But yeah, so that generosity flows naturally. It flows authentically. We don’t have to try so hard. It just comes as a result. And we really do think of others, but not at the expense of ourselves. And I see that so much people are told all the time. Don’t think about yourself, think about other people. Think about other people that does not work if we’re not whole. And I think that’s was one of the problems with my brother. He was so about giving, and he’d give the shirt off his back, but then he wasn’t taking care of himself and we have to take care of ourselves in order to be able to authentically give. So if we’re not, if we’re feeling resentful, if we’re feeling like something’s wrong there at that generosity, then go back to your integrity and your truth. And look at that, because that’s what the model does for us. It helps us to then go, oh, if at any point in this model I’m feeling like it’s not natural. It’s not working. Then just go back to the layer or two before that and take a look and it will help you to, to repair that. So to speak.

Jenn DeWall:  Yes. And that’s where I think I love that. You say that, cause you can’t start with generosity. You can’t give away everything of yourself without knowing what you’re giving, what you want to give. Yeah. And what’s there to give. And you know, that generosity like making people just be them best be their best selves, but also not doing it at the expense of yourself. And I think, yes, I guess maybe in, you know, going back to the beginning of like talking about burnout, talking about overwhelm, talking about mental health at work. So many people mistake, generosity, like, well I can’t say no. I’ve gotta just say yes, I have to like help everyone. I have to please my boss, you to start with yourself first, otherwise it’s not sustainable, but yet it’s a, it’s a guilt that we all have like right. Because that person’s, you know, I hang myself worth–I did it for so long– to what other people thought of me. Yes. And so then,

Laurie Sudbrink:  And we’re not enough, right? We’re not enough. We’re not.

Jenn DeWall:  So then generosity becomes a prove it syndrome, which, yeah, you are exactly enough

Laurie Sudbrink:  <Laugh> yes, exactly. You. Yeah. And you know, you hit it on the head when you said you can’t start with generosity and I, I hear it. So, so often even, you know, I, I did a poll the other day on LinkedIn to find out who should come first in business, your customer, your employees, or yourself and hardly anybody put themselves. And it was kind of a, you know, loaded question. But I wanted to see, do you put yourself first so that you can give to other people, you know, so that you, you know, a lot of people did say employees and most people said customers and it’s like, we have to show up. We have to give to ourselves, not at the expense of other people, but so that we can show up for our people, our families, the people that we serve and our customers. And if we don’t give to our employees, they’re not gonna be able to give to our customers, you know? So it’s that ripple effect. We’ve got to take care of ourselves first so that we can, you know, have that feeling of abundance and be able to give where necessary,

Where to Find More From Laurie Sudbrink

Jenn DeWall:  Oh my gosh, Laurie, I have loved our conversation. So for those that are listening, you know, give yourself some love, start with finding your truth, going through, you know, the GRIT model that Laurie just shared, like truth, integrity, respect, generosity, Laurie, where can they pick up your book?

Laurie Sudbrink:  Yeah. So you definitely go to Amazon to pick up the book. I would like to put it out there if it’s OK, for a free assessment for people. Yeah, absolutely. I love assessments and you know, it’s just for self-awareness. So it’s, you can get the assessment at Laurie Sudbrink, L A U R I E S U D B, R I N K dot com and then slash GRIT assessment. And go ahead, you know, and do the assessment. Have some, self-awareness, remember to practice acceptance, be objective, laugh a little, if you need to <laugh> and what, what you get is the results. You get a score for yourself because everybody likes a score. But it’s more about self-awareness and then it will point you to different places in the book. So you can go on the self-development journey on your own if you’d like. And so I like to give that tool to people to be able to at least start there.

Jenn DeWall:  Yeah. I love that. And thank you so much for offering that to our listeners, Laurie, I really liked our conversation. I mean, these are just such important topics. I thank you so much for just coming on, talking about it and I hope to be able to have you back on the podcast again soon.

Laurie Sudbrink:  Oh, you are a kindred spirit. I feel like a soul sister to you, Jenn. I have truly enjoyed our conversations and thank you so much.

Jenn DeWall:  Thank you so much for listening to my conversation with Laurie Sudbrink. Now, as she said, if you wanna take that grit assessment, you can head on over to LaurieSudbrink.com. There you can take the assessment. You can also pick up her book Leading with GRIT and also learn a little bit more about Laurie. If you know someone that maybe could benefit from hearing this conversation, share it with them. And of course, if you enjoyed this conversation, leave us a review on your favorite podcast, or streaming platform, these your views, let us know that, Hey, we’re giving you what you need today. And I hope that you enjoy this conversation and that you’re inspired to get a little gritty today! Until next time.