0:00:06 - Felicia Jadczak
Hi and welcome to the she Geeks Out podcast, where we geek out about workplace inclusion and talk with brilliant humans doing great work, making the world a better and brighter place. I'm Felicia.
0:00:15 - Rachel Murray
And I'm Rachel and let's get into it. Happy to be here.
0:00:20 - Felicia Jadczak
So much to get into, I know.
0:00:22 - Rachel Murray
Oh, did you know that this year the numbers for the last day of the year is one, two, three, the numbers 123123.
0:00:35 - Felicia Jadczak
This is how long of a year it's been. I was literally thinking January 23rd, 2023. I understand now what you were saying. I did not know that, I did not think about that. That's exciting.
0:00:48 - Rachel Murray
You're welcome. I'm sure it means absolutely nothing, but I did want to share that with you and also I know that we didn't prefer this, but I need to tell you that I've also been listening to a podcast around alien life. So like say more, because you know I love the alien. I know Exactly, it's a fresh air episode. I will include it in the show notes and I highly recommend that you listen to it because it's probably the first time that I have been convinced that there's really no aliens that are hanging out here.
0:01:20 - Felicia Jadczak
There's so many alien theories though.
0:01:24 - Rachel Murray
No, it's not that the aliens don't exist, it's just like. Why would they come here?
0:01:28 - Felicia Jadczak
Well, yeah, I mean totally. I feel like you know. I will say I think some kind of life form exists. I don't know if it's aliens as we think of them, but if it is, why would they come to this like trash floor?
0:01:39 - Rachel Murray
Exactly, or the universe.
This is it Like it's sort of the backwater, like what is the point of it? And I was like, oh good point, are we just treating it like you know the way that we used to believe that you know the sun revolved around the earth? I feel like it's the same. But here we are. It's a new year. Almost we are barreling toward 2024. Yeah, and we made, we wrote, a blog post about some DEI trends that we're expecting for 2024. Do you want to briefly talk about them before we get into the meat of the work?
0:02:17 - Felicia Jadczak
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I mean, really, you kind of took the lead on this and pulled together some great thoughts and ideas for what this work will entail, and, of course, I agree, as always, with everything. So I'll actually have you start us off because this is really, I know, a passion that is near and dear to your heart like really talking about AI and what the impact AI is going to have for DEI in 2024 and beyond, and I think it's just become such a hot topic. But, yeah, tell us more.
0:02:47 - Rachel Murray
Yeah, it is a really hot topic, and I'll put another plug in for another podcast episode, by the way, such as being of AI that I will also include, which is Trevor Noah's interview with Sam Altman, the head of Chatchabee Tea Open AI. There's like pros and cons there's always the case when it comes to technology, and so with AI, there's amazing advances that are happening. There are tools that are being used that can help identify when bias language shows up, and so that's a great. So we mentioned Textio is a great example of that, but then there's a lot of risks as well. So a lot of concern around making sure that AI is inclusive of all and being, and it's all about who's actually creating the AI, how is it getting built, who's feeding the machine, and so how are we getting that information? How is that going to show up? So it's kind of a mixed bag, but I think it'll be really interesting to see how it evolves.
And one thing that I'll note from that interview that I thought was really cool that Sam Altman was talking about. He said look, we could have put Chatchabee Tea in a lab for years and then sort of release it out to the world, but we wanted to release it earlier on so that it could have this exposure to everyone. So, interestingly, like the more people that use it, the more women they use it, the more black and brown folks they use it, the more people with just different identities use it, the better the tool will be in supporting everyone. So I just encourage folks to use it.
0:04:30 - Felicia Jadczak
Yeah, it's super interesting too, because two things I want to add into the conversation is first, I read literally today somewhere I probably read it, but I don't know where but somewhere I read that there's been a lot of advances in AI that are getting us closer to understanding whale language.
So it's like not at all out of the realm of possibility that at some point in the future we may be able to talk to whales, which is really, really cool because like talk about the aliens of depth.
So that was kind of mind blowing because I hadn't really thought of using AI for that purpose before. And then the other thing I wanted to mention was going back to sort of what you were just saying with like who's building all this stuff and how we bake in our biases and our discrimination and all that. There was I think it was a New York Times article that came out recently that sort of highlighted like the best minds of AI, and one of the big controversies was that they only highlighted men and they left out a ton of amazing women who are not just should be part of the conversation, but like are actually like really huge contributors to pushing forward AI, and so it was a huge, you know sort of kerfuffle. And so just again thinking about not just what does chat GPT have to offer to everybody getting involved, but who is also directing the ethical you know sort of dilemmas of building an AI.
0:05:54 - Rachel Murray
So 100%, 100% agree with all of that, and we actually have a bunch more trends as well.
0:06:01 - Felicia Jadczak
So many more trends, we can go through them quickly.
0:06:04 - Rachel Murray
I'm like, do we go through them or do we just send them to the place?
0:06:09 - Felicia Jadczak
Well, how about this? Let's just do like a quick rapid fire on out of the trends and then, if people are interested in more, let us know and we can do more. More podcast, deep dives. So I love that for us. Next trend hybrid flexibility is here to stay. Do you agree? Disagree? I know a lot of companies who are on both sides of this argument.
0:06:31 - Rachel Murray
The next one is managers need more support, and I mean, when has that ever changed, really? But it's nice to know that people are actually starting to pay attention to it, so please help your manager to people. Managers are people managers, largely because they were good at the job that they did not because they were good at managing people, so help them to do that, If that is something they want to do, please.
0:06:53 - Felicia Jadczak
Yeah, and I think this is nothing new either. But mental health support is going to be even more critical. We have a wild year ahead of us with 2024.
0:07:01 - Rachel Murray
So we need to figure out how to support ourselves.
0:07:05 - Felicia Jadczak
What's happening? Oh, you know, just a possible revisitation of 2016 and Trump to start off with. Again, I don't even know, there's too much, there's just so much happening, but the world is ending climate change, American, you know. World War three, I don't even know.
0:07:25 - Rachel Murray
I might as well have to say it's America. The final season. Watch what happens. The final season, Stay tuned.
0:07:32 - Felicia Jadczak
Hopefully we don't end on a cliffhanger, all right.
0:07:37 - Rachel Murray
The next one we have is the DIT teams and employee resource groups maturing and evolving. They certainly really popped up in 2020. And now it's. I think they're starting to really get the kind of support and appreciation that that they didn't. And I just want to call out the. There were amazing ERG large companies that have had ERGs and DIT communities for years, decades, but there's just been a real push for it, I think, across all industries now. So it's it's cool to see that happen.
0:08:08 - Felicia Jadczak
Yeah, and then coming up after that is leaders who don't care about DEI are going to have trouble attracting quality talent. So you know it's been a bit of a swing back and forth over the last couple of years around the great resignation and then power coming back into the hands of companies. But I think you know the reality is still that people you know folks who are candidates, people who are employees we're still starting to assess and judge companies more and more on whether they value these things. Do they, you know, do they provide resources, do they buy in, do they offer benefits? So it's just becoming more, more critical and so leaders got to get, get behind it.
0:08:49 - Rachel Murray
And finally, DEI is taking a more global, local approach. Dei is not just a US thing. It is, especially with multinational organizations. There's a real need to support cross-cultural communication. Competency, humility when it comes to understanding other people from not just across the street, but from everywhere.
0:09:12 - Felicia Jadczak
So those are our hot takes, hot takes. There you go. We'll have to revisit like halfway through 2024 and see how we do. That's a great idea, wow.
0:09:23 - Rachel Murray
Would you like to introduce our lovely guest, or would you like me to?
0:09:28 - Felicia Jadczak
How about we both share it? I'll start us off and then kick it over to you. I love that In true co-CEO partnerships. I love it. So really thrilled to have this interview with this guest round out, our sort of end of year, because we have known Jung Star for a long time and she is just absolutely lovely and I think the way I like to think about this podcast is it's going to feel like a warm hug and so really thrilled to have been able to chat with her and for all of you to hear her. So she is a consulting partner at a company called Soulco. She's also a leadership coach and just really an all-around good woman and good human.
0:10:05 - Rachel Murray
So yeah, take it over, take it away, shall do. Yeah. So she left her corporate law world asking some really important questions that I certainly can relate to is what makes people come alive and thrive at work, how can we experience joy in our work life and how can we struggle less and be more creative? I think, really important questions, and I love that we're ending the year with this because I think it will hopefully inspire you to consider those same questions. Yeah, so enjoy.
Well, hello, happy listeners. Hello Felicia, hello Jung, hello, hello. How was everyone on this? Fine for listeners. This is actually we're recording this on a Tuesday, so I like to say Taco Tuesday. How was everyone on this? Taco Tuesday.
0:11:01 - Felicia Jadczak
0:11:02 - Rachel Murray
I mean, now I kind of want some tacos, but I know and this will get published on a Wednesday, so I apologize if you're actually listening to this on the day that it comes out, you'll just well you can eat tacos on Tuesday. On Wednesday, that's fine too. I am so excited that, jung, you are here. Jungstar, you are here and we have so many questions for you and already just feeling your positive energy through the screen, which is just like magical already. So I am just excited to get this party started. We always ask this question because the people that we talk with we never once fascinating. Everyone's got stories, but the ones we bring on are even more exciting. So let's just hear your story. What's your origin story? How did you get started?
0:11:54 - Jung Starrett
First of all, I am just so happy to be here and connecting with you and I've been thinking a lot and this is actually, I appreciate, the space that we can connect together and be able to also not just the origin story but, as I was looking back at the origin story, the whole year, how it's been. So it's been a very reflective time for me, and also just to this October. October 26 was my 12th year anniversary of starting this journey to really come alive at work and working with joy and meaning. And what is that like? Before that 12, 12,. Before that 12 year journey started, I actually was a corporate lawyer, I was a technology lawyer and it was a great run. I really love the work because it was at the intersection of business, technology and law and technology was going at a faster rate than the law was evolving and, being a Taipei personality, I just love that dynamic area of constant like on the go and achievement and, you know, just succeeding, and that worked for a while.
But after 20 years that I started to wonder is this what success and happiness is about? When everybody said, like you have all the signs of success, you know good career, good job, you know you're married, you have kids, you have a house, cars, but then why do I feel so hollow inside, right, and am I supposed to be happy and like rah, rah, zip them by every morning? But it was so hard. It was hard for me to feel that gap and I kept asking myself what is wrong with me. Am I not supposed to be happy? But I don't feel happy, so that way of thinking. But interesting thing was I was actually losing energy. So it was almost like my body was saying look, I want a divorce. And I remember sitting in a conference room and all the executives were discussing this one particular deal and I needed to understand what the terms of the deal would be. So I'm listening, I'm tuning in, but what I can see is that just everybody's just like almost like throwing balls at each other and not really listening. And in the back of my mind I go like, wouldn't it be wonderful if people listened? And then, as soon as I said that, you know, voice came out out of nowhere and I'm like look who's talking. You know you never listen to the rest of your body, you're always operating neck up. And then I just almost went like this Did anybody hear that voice and I realized, whoa, okay, there is that.
And then, as I was tracking my this, this exhaustion was constant. And I remember a friend looking at me and say Jung, for the past six months, every time I see you, you say you're exhausted. I'm so exhausted, I get it. You work so hard. But if not this word, what do you want? What do you really want? And then I go oh my God, I don't know what I want.
But right after I thought that, another voice came and said who are you? And then it was just like a double whammy I don't know what I want and I don't even know who I am. So this, the being disconnected from the body, really made me feel this disconnection between not knowing who I am and what my work is, what my true work is. You know, what is it that I truly, truly want in life? And then the last part to this story is that? So because I was losing energy so much, I thought, like you know, physical exercise is going to get me energy right. So even like six, I couldn't do anything relaxing like yoga would be too relaxing. So I have to do Bicram yoga Like 90 minutes Excuse me, 104 degrees Fahrenheit, right, 90 minutes, the body is already smelling against the retelling of this.
Exactly, exactly. My body is like okay, so I would do that and I would go to work, but every step going into the office it's like a piece of my soul is dying. And that particular day I went to the office, I turn on the computer and as soon as I look at the emails, like shh, like my energy was just going, just sucking out of my body, and I said this is really scary. You know, maybe I should go home. So by midday I packed up and then I went home and then I made a beeline to upstairs bedroom and I was like laying down. As soon as I hit the bed, shh happened again. I feel like the whole body was being sucked out of energy and I said this is really scary. Should I call 911? What do I do?
And as soon as I thought that I heard the garage door open and my husband was coming home with picking up the children we had twin daughters Back then. They were like nine, 10. And I was like I'm so relieved they're here Now I don't have to call 911. But my husband also missed the fact that my car was in the garage and so they made a beeline to the kitchen and he's giving them snacks and I'm listening to them. I'm like, oh my God, I can hear my loved ones talking and, you know, laughing, and I thought to myself is this what death is like? You can hear the voices of your loved ones, but they cannot see you and you cannot be with them, and I fell asleep, you know, from that state.
So those were the, those were the origin of, like, I had to do something about this. But you think that once you know it, you can do it. But this habit, energy, is something else, right? So you're so good at what you do, but that's not where your heart is any longer. You've outgrown that, that place. But if not this, then what? And not knowing what's next and the fear of the unknown got me stuck in a place of I don't know what to do, but just keep doing what I knew how to do. So the only way to get out of that place was just getting off the highway, right off ramp. So that's what I did in 20, 2011,. October 26, 2011. That's when I said, okay, let's get off. It's not another job, it's not another career. I want my life back.
0:19:18 - Rachel Murray
So did you. You basically said I'm off. And then what was your process to get from that getting off that off ramp to the on ramp and this glorious road that you're on now?
0:19:31 - Jung Starrett
So you think that like one year is? You know, when you're going 200 miles an hour every day, like one year is like, oh my God, you know that's an amazing time to figure your life out, right? But as the pandemic has shown to us, like two years, three years and then prolonging that, it's not, like you know, a finite thing. I think one thing that I can remember is that I went for at that time I would pay anyone, follow anyone who could help me find that what it is that I wanted, right? Isn't that interesting that, instead of like doing this inner journey, like tell me, tell me what I am good at, tell me what I should do, please someone tell me. So went on a weekend retreat and it was a carmel California beautiful beach, and the facilitator said I understand that you don't know what you want to do, you don't know what your work is, but what do you want in your life? And I kept thinking that's why I'm here and you're asking me, like, what do I want in my life? Like you know, like I paid you all this money to come here and you're asking me what do I want in my life? That's not fair, but of course I didn't say that to her, but she said so, instead of trying to think out, go to the beach, collect the shells and then think of the qualities more qualities that you want in your life. So I said, okay, maybe I can do that. I thought that was kind of ooh, like it's too ooh for me, but you know, when you're desperate, like you know anything. So I did. I did go out, I sat on the beach just looking out on the horizon and I said what is it, jung, that you really really want more in your life? And, surprising to me, that five qualities just like jumped out, screamed at me and I was actually surprised. And the first thing was joy. I want joy that like I could just like jump up and down, that kind of joy, like I want more joy in life Because I felt so dead. And the second thing was I want to feel alive, like I want more vitality. I don't want to go to work half asleep, you know, half awake. I want to feel alive at work. What would that look like? But vitality. And the third thing was abundance. And I don't know if anybody experienced this, but this is what I experienced every night when I go to bed.
Oh, my God, I didn't get enough done in my to-do list. I get up in the morning and I say I didn't sleep enough After the yoga thing, all that shower, and I'm looking at the mirror, I'm like I don't look good enough to go to work during the day. I don't know enough, I'm not smart enough. You know I don't have enough. You know not enough, not enough, not enough. So I said I want abundance. Can I live from the place of abundance instead of scarcity? And not enough all the time.
And then the fourth thing was I want to play more, but not, like you know, just playing all day kind of thing, but like more creativity, can I play with workmates? More creativity at work? So joy, vitality, abundance, creativity. And then I said I want to live with gratitude. So these are the things that I don't know how to get them, but those are the things that I wanted. So I wrote all them down and then release them in the ocean and at the time I thought, like what is this going to do? The whole workshop didn't give me the plan, but anyway, like what is this going to do? But I am amazed, 12 years later, that that's what I have in my life and I'm just like amazed at the power of intention. It was said so long ago and as I was reflecting back, that that moment is so, so alive, as if it was yesterday. Wow.
0:23:39 - Felicia Jadczak
It's so powerful hearing you share this, this part of your life, and so, first of all, just thank you for sharing all that. I'm like, really, there's so much to dig into and I just wanted to double click on one thing you just said, which was that that power of you, know, intentionality, and then also that release, right, it's not just about thinking it, it's about expressing it in some way, right, rachel? I don't know if you know this, but I'll just share like a really, really quick side story. But, john, I, when we last saw each other in person, which was pre pandemic, when we both were working out of the same co-working space, I was very much single then.
I'm married now, but before I met my husband, I went through this period where I was, like you know, unhappy, not mean kind of people I wanted to meet and, long story short, I decided to write down a list of all the qualities that I wanted in a partner. It was a really long list. There was like at least 20 items on it, and I wrote it all down and I put it away, and then when I started, when I met and when I started dating my now husband, I was like, oh, you know, like, for fun, let's pull out this list and see how many points he gets on it and to my surprise, he he matched, like, I think, every single item on the list, like every single item on the list. I was like, oh okay, the only item that he didn't fully match was I wanted someone who wasn't totally focused on drinking, and he doesn't drink at all. So I was like I'll still give him that point because basically it still counts.
But all that to be said is I'm such a big believer in the power of like. It doesn't have to be like religious or woo woo, but there's such a power and I think, verbalizing what you want, because then I think it helps you focus on that versus the distractions that aren't exactly what you want in life. So thank you for sharing that very, very powerful for me to. Yeah, can you, can you talk a little bit about? So you sort of talked about this, this journey of realization, getting out of the rat race. You know, I think it's. You can't really describe that better than being a lawyer getting out of that. And now you have this company called soul co and I was wondering if you'd talk a little bit about that and maybe sort of the next piece of the bridge between sitting on the beach and then starting this, this new company for yourself.
0:25:54 - Jung Starrett
Yes, so the company name soul co came from a marketing person who actually named for us. But that one year sabbatical, we committed one thing. We said we're going to learn from life now that our teacher will be life. So every day we're going to blog about this and we're going to share our experience of learning from life what it is to embrace the uncertainty. And that was not knowing. That was so scary for me, like my fear. It took me three years to actually step off the highway right. So it was so scary. But like, okay, now just bow down and learn from life what it's like. Whatever you know life throws at me, how am I going to respond? So we decided to recall the block. So we did a soul play family 365 experiment and we committed to each other. We're going to write a blog post every day and share out what we are learning.
So that was one year experiment that we did soul play family. And then when the marketing person heard, that's like okay, so co sounds like a good place. But actually another reason it's so co is that I was born in soul Korea. So soul and soul and sound is similar. So co is with, so with soul, that this journey is with soul and we always talk about like corporations or companies and you know, whatever, like, oh, sold us company, sold us corporation. Like yes, but why don't we put soul into a company? We say no to soul and then we say so, less company. So what is going on there? So what if we have this journey with our soul as our friend? And so it was a lot of learning, and that one year was basically we were out in, we went out from Boston to Seattle. We live there for seven and a half years and then we return back to Boston. And at the same time, when our twins were 10 years old, we were asking the same question what is education for? And are we doing the same thing to our children that was given to us, which is just work hard, put your head down, get you know good grades, go to good school, get professional degrees and just climb, climb, climb and meet and exceed expectation. Does that really make you happy, and are we expecting the same from our children? So we thought we needed to come back to both his parent and my parents. Were. They live in Massachusetts? They were at the time. My parents are still alive. We returned to Massachusetts, and so one year was almost like relocating again back home and in a way that it was coming home, but we still did not have this inner skills, which I didn't know at the time. So, being a lawyer, you think that everything, every problem that you can solve with thinking, and so we thought, you know, we're two smart people, you know we can, we can work this out, we can figure out, like, how to find work that would feed our souls and our family. Well, one year goes by After we return here.
I went from high tech corporation to higher education, so that environment, thinking that it's more experimental, it would be more of a learning place, where for the future generation. And what I learned is that actually this collective culture, consciousness, is everywhere. It's not just the corporate environment, it's the higher education, higher education. And so I thought, because I went through my own transformation, my own change, that I could actually help others, other leaders, to go through the same. But what I realized is that a lot of leaders want change. They won't change so much, but they don't want to change. They want everybody around them to change. And in my thinking at the time that if I can give them how to change, you know the map, the strategy. That's what everybody was looking for. So people aren't changed because they don't know how.
And in my former job, every six months we went through New York. I know what changes. On top of that, I was able to change myself. I can help others wrong, wrong, wrong and so many. I'm sorry so many times that I realized, just because I did it does not mean that others can do it. You actually need a different skill sets to help others. It's not telling people what to do, because there is a knowing doing gap, and I found it in myself.
As a leader. It's hard. Even if I know what the right answer is, it's not what I think. That matters is what people think. It's what people want, it's where people want to go. And as a leader, my job is to create the conditions for people to thrive.
And that really made me think that, wow, you know, failure after failure after failure, what I can see in myself is that I actually need an inner capacity, because my outer action is really coming from the inner condition, interior condition.
And what does that mean? Emotional right, psychological safety that I need to create for myself trust. I need to trust myself to be able to trust others. So those capacities were something that I didn't have and I didn't learn. So I steeped into emotional intelligence skills training, I steeped into mindfulness training, I steeped into All these things, and I think that I was going like down, down, down, deeper and deeper and deeper, because it really called me that I need to heal my own inner hurts and wounds, as well as learning how to love myself, like falling in love with my own inner goodness, my own genius, my own beauty, and can I lead from that place. And so that's what I did, and actually from 2016 until 2020, like four years, as if like going back to school, but it was my own curriculum that I've sort of arranged to do that.
0:32:42 - Rachel Murray
And then 2020 came and I thought like yes, let's do this. What happened in?
0:32:47 - Jung Starrett
2020. 2020 show the local. There was a venture cafe in Kendall Square. So there we, as we all know, there's a very thriving entrepreneurial community, right. So the incubators and accelerators that I've witnessed have been part of as mentors a lot of knowledge like how to set up the company, to finance, to legal marketing. These are all knowledge, but every single founders that I've met actually struggling with this inner challenge, inner space, inner territory. So, to think about it, the entrepreneurial challenges, really the challenge of the journey of self awareness, constantly testing ourselves right and rising up to the challenge and learning more about ourselves, because the change has to happen here for us to be able to bring it out to the world. And so I think that the company was really actually tackling that part of the founders journey.
There was this one program manager that I've been speaking with and he's just like you know, emotional intelligence skills. Everybody's not wanting to soft skills. Can you help us with that? Can you do a one workshop? I said I don't think one workshop will do. How about we do an eight-week journey in the new year 2020. Let's do the eight-week journey of emotional intelligence and I can provide a curriculum.
2020 comes, so we did one of January and another one in February. By March it was locked down, so we had to move online, and that was a really rich learning experience for me. I mean, I used Zoom even before the pandemic, since 2017, 2016. So the online experience wasn't new, but what I wanted back in 2012, I wanted the whole world to stop. Because I couldn't stop the world. I needed that space to go inward. But when the pandemic happened, the whole world shut down and it was an incredibly powerful moment when people can actually go within and look at what's happening Right. So that was a powerful 2020. And then, you know, uncertainty, unknown. So I can go on and on, but there was a lot of learning that happened during the pandemic years that still persists today. Well, sorry.
0:35:31 - Rachel Murray
I'm so glad that you were able to for lack of a I hate this word, but pivot into the official slapping at me for those of you who are just listening. But yeah, I mean, a lot of people really struggled for that transition, so it's great that you were able to do that. I was, as you were starting to tell that story. I was thinking I wonder if they were relieved that the pandemic happened so they would only have to do two sessions, because there's so much fear in doing some of this work sometimes that it could be like, oh, thank goodness there's a global pandemic. Looks like we don't have to actually learn about the soft skills. But I would love to ask you shared this with me before around the U School and I wanted to. I know that you're such a fan of it and I wanted our listeners to learn about what U School is and how it's impacted you in your work and your thinking.
0:36:28 - Jung Starrett
Yeah, thank you for that question. As a teacher, I think we always learn from the learners and learning and teaching is like one and the same. And when, again, another incubator out of Australia and I was teaching this Emotional Intelligence Skills course and one of the founders actually said you know, jung, what you're teaching is so valuable. All these Emotional Intelligence Skills you must know because you're in Boston MIT Presencing Institute and TheoryU and my company actually came out of that you know online course, and I said, oh, actually I do know about TheoryU because I met the author, otto Shamar, the lecturer at MIT, two years before then at a mindful leadership conference. So I wanted to learn more about the TheoryU. I bought the book but I never read it. And then why not? You know? He said this course has changed his business. So I took the course and I realized like, oh my God, somebody actually did research and the journey that I went through actually has names and labels. And now I can explain what I've gone through through this framework.
And the reason I love about TheoryU is a theory of change and oftentimes we're trying to solve the problems social problem, economic problem, financial, what kind of individual and collective problems from looking at the past and learning from the past, and there's a lot of learning that we can bring from the past. However, in this time of disruption and in this global economy and things are so complex and complicated there is not one solution that would work for everything. How do we learn from the future? So the course itself is called ULab, so U comes from the TheoryU, ulab 1x learning from the leading, from the emerging future. So how do we learn from the future, which is kind of a radical concept? So, instead of looking at what happened, what are the best practices? And those things work in certain situations right, when we need to react quickly to fix a problem or when we need to reorganize and look at what works and what doesn't work policy changes. But there are deeper level changes that our society and the world is calling for today, which is reframing, meaning that how do we think differently, with fresh, new perspectives.
And then, at the deepest level, regeneration. How do we regenerate our civilization? At a you know Mundo level, but also in an individual level, like all of us at some point in our lives, like we're asking this question how do I reinvent myself? Like what is it that you know that? Like I've outgrown my older self. What is my future self calling me Like? How do I make that transition? So it's that kind of level of change. So it's a framework, it's also practices and tools that helps change makers really go through this as a community.
And the thing that I really love about this is that this interior condition is not just for the individual, but how do we get to the interior condition or inner space of the collective, the society, the workplace right, the organization? How do we look at it together? And it really starts with the deep listening and seeing things from everybody else's perspective. So I learned something right I need to be willing to be changed, and so the practice really is this openness. And what I love is this such simple things that we can do every day. And the reason I love bringing this practice to workplace is that most of us most of you know, most of us adults spend most of our waking hours at work, with our work colleagues right, or the customers right, and so we can practice this being grounded but open.
So I'm like right Like a tree, like grounded, deeply rooted, but open to the possibilities. So it's really coming from the place of possibilities as opposed to, yeah, what's not working all the time, because we know it's not working. But the work that needs to get done is at a deeper level, not at a like rearranging the Titanic deck chair is not going to help. We have to go into the engine room and to see what's not working. It's so great.
0:41:33 - Rachel Murray
I love this concept because it's so easy for us. I think it's that is the default, like you said is saying well, this is the way we've always done it. You know, this is the way we're thinking about past versus thinking about future thinking. I think it's so powerful and I'm curious can you share an example of, like a tool or an exercise for people to start thinking about this in the workplace or elsewhere, or in their lives?
0:42:03 - Jung Starrett
So this concept okay. So during the pandemic time, what you school, the Presencing Institute, did was 14 week journey and again, it was the whole thing was open to the public. The whole global village actually came together during the pandemic time and held the space. I mean, their job was to hold space for people to come together. And I realized my husband, charles, and I realized that you know what, since 2016, we've been doing this inner journey. We've been deepening this inner skills. We have something to offer. What can we do? You know how can we help?
So we created this, what we call hub within the youth school, called leadership for business transformation. So how can we have leaders, the entrepreneurs, to come to this place and reenvision right, re-imagine what the business can do, business as a force for good? So that was May 2020, soon after the lockdown and people from more than 10 countries came and we thought that all the leaders actually would like to talk about, like, new strategy or new ways of doing things, new products and services. That wasn't the case. What it was is that every leader want to come to this place, where there is no apparent answers, but wanted to listen to other people's experience and being able to also share their own experience of challenges and difficulties and suffering that every single one of us was going through at the time, and this basic need to be seen and to be heard and to be understood and the power was. It's not the solution or answers, but it was really about seeing the reality more clearly together. Right, because I don't hold the entire truth and I only have mine, my truth but what is other people's experience like? And another one of that is that when we can really be in a safe space to share that we can be reflected back, that each of us can reflect back our highest potential that I do not see. So I came to believe that our blind spot may not be our weaknesses, because all of us know. When we ask, well, what are your strengths, I don't know what are your weaknesses, and we have this like long list that we can recite off of you know anything? Right, but it's just like being able to, our blind spot might be our genuine potential that we may not see, but someone else can reflect back. So that was amazing.
So this community we held weekly session because what we thought was that it would be nice to have a safe space weekly where people can come, but also to practice deep listening and being present, because what's lacking in this world is that a space where we can actually create space together to listen to myself and listen to others. And that's what we practiced, and from there, all the companies or organizations or people who are actually wanting to like. How do we help employees feel connected? How do we feel like, how do we create this kind of psychologically safe space? What we've experimented for two years every Tuesday we met for 90 minutes and for two years, what we created and this guiding principles that we used every single time we reminded folks, this is what we're practicing together. So the five principles that we practice together first is the confidentiality. It just makes the space safe.
We do not talk about what's shared here outside, and that was one rule. Second rule no expectation, no obligation to speak. Speaking in most spaces, the person with power and title and position get to speak a lot, but this space is not about speaking. Actually, not speaking is not mandatory, but it's because my presence is a gift to the group and group presence is a gift to me. And what do we mean by presencing and participation, deep listening. So everybody who shows up must listen deeply, with open mind and open heart.
And then the fourth thing is we're not here to fix or solve anything, so no pressure off. So many consultants and coaches are always carrying this burden of value at. Oh, I have to say something, I have to solve problems, and that no, because we're here to see the reality more clearly. So we own our own wisdom. We speak from I, I see, I sense, I feel, I experience. Not you should do this. No advice giving. And then the lastly, silence is welcome. We said silence is part of the conversation. So we leave space gap so that the things can sink in. And then also, anybody wants longer silence can ask for it. So we had this five grounding principles to create a safe, respectful and caring space so everybody can show up as they are, without the mask, although we had to wear mask outside. Without the mask Is it possible? Possible, and so we saw that if it's possible here, it's possible anywhere. It's beautiful.
0:48:05 - Felicia Jadczak
There's so much alignment with some of the work that we do at SGO, so I'm really appreciative to hear it from your perspective, because you know it's. It feels like we're in a community of creating these safe spaces and also learning and listening. And I know, on a side note, the silence piece is the one that I, as a facilitator and a participant and a leader, tend to have the most problem with, because I always tell the groups that I work with if it's in a workshop or something like that I always tell them at the beginning that I hate silence. So just know that if I'm deliberately allowing for silence, it's on purpose, because my inner self always wants to jump in and say something to break up the silence. So I think it's really powerful.
Thank you for sharing those five principles. I want to use what you were just talking about as a bridge into the next topic that we want to talk to you about, which is the concept of trauma healing, and that's something that you explore a lot in your work, and I'm wondering if you could maybe tell us a little bit more about the work that you're doing in this area, what it is, and you know how we can start talking about this in the context of everything that you brought up so far.
0:49:19 - Jung Starrett
Thank you for asking that question. So, first of all, I don't have the right letters next to my name to be the trauma healer. However, during the pandemic, during the pandemic especially, so much was going on, so many losses, the grief that the whole world was experiencing together and George Floyd murder, all the cracks in our society was showing up. Right, the essential workers. Without them, for their healthcare workers, people delivering groceries, retail stores, everywhere, like when, and we can see that who is really essential for the well being and the health of our society? You know the hospitals, the healthcare workers going through so much and every day they were experiencing trauma every day. And what I especially in the presence of the U School frame that you theory, you framework.
There there is two mode that we can go into when we are challenged with disruption. Or you know something that is brand new that we're not, we don't know how to deal with. Presencing is opening right and opening the mind with curiosity, opening the heart with compassion, opening the will, with courage to engage in that situation. But the other one is called absencing. We're closing the mind, we don't see, we're blinded, like, oh, I don't see any suffering. We're closing the heart and not willing to feel and closing the will, frozen, and I'm just going to be, you know, protecting, you know my own safety, so we can go in that way, but but but my question is, what makes people to go into that mode?
Because the mode of closing the mind, closing the heart, closing the will, the trauma that I was interested in was the collective trauma aspect of it. So I took some courses and collective trauma healing because, yes, we have personal trauma in our lives and the trauma can be like you know, accidents or you know a lot of horrific things happening to me in one time thing, but trauma can be a daily thing. There's a complex trauma, a lot of different things that I've also learned emotional neglect, even if you know you got every other needs met. The emotional needs not being met is also trauma, right. But then also societal trauma, this structural violence, direct violence, but also attentional violence, not being seen as another human being that's also a trauma. But then there is that. So that's the collective trauma.
But then historical trauma, generational, intergenerational trauma, and when we look at today, what's happening today, whether it's an ecological divide right between ourselves and the planet, social divide, us and them, or the spiritual divide, and when we say spiritual divide me who I am today and me that who I can be tomorrow, that's disconnect, that's a spiritual divide. All these divide is a consequence of the prior generations, how they lived. When we look at the world history, there's war everywhere and we are the inheritors of all those trauma. At the same time that we have and our ancestors survived and we also have the resilience, we also have the possibility of a different choice, different direction that we can go into. So this healing part became really interesting to me that how can we because body knows how to heal, mine knows how to heal but how we create the conditions?
I think that was the work that is missing. That is the missing we all, because we are so trained and like, I want the result, I want the goal, this is what I want. I have to go after it directly. But actually we don't control the outcome. But we can do the inner work. But the journey is collective, so one person doing the work is not enough, right? So we have to do it together. So that's how I got interested in this trauma healing and being able to understand another person suffering At the same time me, I myself, doing the work to create the inner capacity to hold not only my own suffering to heal, but also having the wherewithal to, as we said, the holding the space to hold another suffering. And how can we heal together? And transformation comes from that healing. And I think once we heal my body knows what is the right thing to do.
0:54:50 - Rachel Murray
And that is beautifully said, and I want to acknowledge that. Yes, you may not have the letters that go after, but I do think that we are. What was that for?
0:55:01 - Felicia Jadczak
I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I was going to say I don't think you need those letters because the whole time I was thinking it feels like I'm sitting in a university classroom listening to a lecture. So I was like who needs these letters?
0:55:16 - Rachel Murray
Yeah, yeah, and that's what I was going to say as well is I don't think you need these letters not only for what Flesha said is Jung, your, your maybe university lecture, but also just like a lovely session, like you know you just such a lovely way about you, and also that it's so important, I think, to your point of doing this work is that we all have a responsibility to play a role because it is collective, that it shouldn't just be left to the people who are professionals, but all of us be able to hold space for others. So you, giving that gift to other people to be able to hold those spaces is is so important. So I just wanted to acknowledge that we have so many questions. There's never enough time for all these questions. I don't know why I put so many questions in this full issue.
0:56:10 - Felicia Jadczak
This is. It's great to dig deep and go into, I feel, like every person we have on. We just do part two with everybody.
0:56:20 - Rachel Murray
I know, I know, I know, but I want to talk about this. I almost want to give this question to Felicia because of her idea, but I will.
0:56:30 - Felicia Jadczak
No, it's okay, you can ask the question. But yes, for listeners were like what are they talking about? I didn't have an idea around the same, you know sort of naming structures.
0:56:41 - Rachel Murray
Which we might get to. We get to it, but you. So you have a program called third space, which Felicia was like. I have this idea we should call the third space, so it was amazing seeing you have something called third space. Can you talk about what third space is and how you came up with this program?
0:56:59 - Jung Starrett
Yes, so the third space actually came out of pandemic time when I it's like we fell upon it accidentally. We thought that creating a space for leaders to come together for how to move forward. But what we noticed is that so many I mean most of us have workplace, we have home, but this third place is a place where there is neither work nor the home. But it's space for me, but not me alone, because all of us can create that space. You know oneself, I'm an extreme introvert. So for me, meditating, contemplating, walking, journaling, these are so important and I can be alone. But a third space is to show up, stepping into this. We always call it a circle, stepping into a circle where I do not know who I am. There is no obligation, no expectation to know anything, but it's really embracing into that place of not knowing, but I discover who I am. You see, like I think that I think all of us are infinite possibilities, but any given moment, are we creating enough space for us to hear ourselves and really digesting our life? Just like we eat food and it goes to stomach, it gets digested and nutrients or nutrition comes out of the food and no rest goes out, but we never actually have this life experience. We just, like you know, put it like we never digest it. So what if this place called third space and we hold space? We co-create the space with those five guiding principles that I shared before co-creating a safe space for us to come together and be able to reflect on what our life experiences being heard, seen, understood, and from there the possibilities that we normally don't see arises, that we can hear ourselves more clearly, we can see things more clearly, we feel things.
I mean, as we know, emotion without feeling, without like feeling, nothing gets done. Right, when I was doing the emotional intelligence training, it was just like, you know, the beautiful car sitting but the engine is not working, the car's not going anywhere. So the emotion is that motor, that engine. So being able to feel ourselves and sensing the possibility, and with the group of others who are witnessing your life journey, that we know what next action is Like. We feel it, we sense it and we can take it. And so it's really a creating a community of people in a space and a lot of people have told us that we don't have a space like this, you know, and every time people get together, yes, we talk, but we don't talk about things that truly matter to us, from the heart. So it's a really a heart space, but I think what people are sharing is that it gives them a sense of hope and also clarity that they haven't had before. That's right, that's why.
1:00:33 - Felicia Jadczak
I also have the same idea, because it was also, exactly as you said, born out of the pandemic, when I, as you, and I'm sure other people out there too, realize, okay, we have the home, we have the work. But the third space is what I found myself missing the most, because what I was missing was commuting, riding the bus and the train, and when you know, it's the people who I knew by sight and you know a community, but I didn't know who they were. But we, you know, it was like, oh yes, this person sits in a seat on this bus on the same day, same time, every day, and there was, like you know, the barista at the coffee shop and it was people walking around, people in the coworking space, and that's what I was missing is those spaces where we had to cut those out of our lives completely. So that's where my idea also came up with that name. But we have so much more to talk to you about Jung and not enough time.
1:01:31 - Rachel Murray
Can. I interrupt one second, flesha, because I know we have this other question, but I want to like briefly and we have like I know like a few minutes, but I did want to if you could ask the question around the fact that Jung actually works for us, yes, okay.
1:01:46 - Felicia Jadczak
So last question and yes, we only have a couple minutes left, so I don't know you'll have to limit yourself, jung, but we did want to ask you. You mentioned this already, but your business partner is also your husband, and that's unique. I'm someone who my parents were in business together for decades and so I know all the ins and outs of how that can play out. So could you share a little bit on what it's like to work so closely with someone who is also family, who's also your life partner? What are the pros and cons? How has that been for you?
1:02:21 - Jung Starrett
Thank you. Charles and I we met on April Fool's Day, 1995 at the Museum of Fine Arts and I was attracted to the back of his head. I will tell you that story some other time because it's more than few minutes. Anyway, the more we got to talk to one another, we said, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, we have to work together. But I was a corporal lawyer at the time. He was getting his PhD in Ethnomusicology of all things.
So how do we work together? So we had this dream of working together for a long time. So since 2015, when we co-founded Solco, we've been working together and we learn from each other all the time. He and I, we're both like learners, like we love learning, but also we are each other's practice partner, like sometimes I'm his student, sometimes he's my student, and we learn together and we constantly debrief after all the work and there's so much richness to it. And so, like community of two, and we wanna grow and that's my aspiration is that we cannot do the work Like we need the collective, we need the community, we need like-minded, like-hearted people working together to change the world, create another alternative right? We don't see yet, but it's everywhere. I think it's happening everywhere, like your community, like so many other people that I see. How do we connect this island of coherence together and then, just like, shine the light out so the young people can see? Yes, we can, it is possible.
1:04:05 - Rachel Murray
Well, first of all, I just wanna say, okay, I understand now. So you started out wanting to work together. And then, because I'll tell you right now, my husband is like not interested in working with me.
1:04:16 - Felicia Jadczak
I don't know why not. I mean, you're delightful to work with me.
1:04:20 - Rachel Murray
Thank you, Felicia.
1:04:21 - Felicia Jadczak
You're delightful, you're my self-made, oh my gosh.
1:04:27 - Rachel Murray
Okay, so I think we just have time for, like the one question that we have to ask every guest, which is what are you geeking out about? And it can't be anything that we've already discussed.
1:04:42 - Jung Starrett
Oh yeah, the self-care challenge. Is that what? The question is what am I giving out?
1:04:48 - Rachel Murray
No geeking out.
1:04:50 - Jung Starrett
Oh geeking out oh yes, I love to geek out. My hero is Ting Nhat Hanh and I am currently reading this book, but also taking a course Zen and the Out of Saving the Planet, so anything that has to do with the inner journey and healing and taking care of myself, taking care of each other and taking care of the planet, I mean that would be the topic that I would geek on, day and night and even in my sleep.
1:05:20 - Rachel Murray
Beautiful, beautiful. I'll take it, thank you.
1:05:24 - Felicia Jadczak
This has been so delightful. Jung, thank you so much for sharing. You've just, I feel like, shared so much information and I feel peaceful and just very light, so really appreciate it. If people wanna learn more about you, about Solco, about anything else that you've got going on in your life, where's the best place for our listeners to find you?
1:05:46 - Jung Starrett
It would be solcoleadercom. Perfect. Thank you, and always you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Always a pleasure to learn and share together. Yes, wonderful, Beautiful. Thank you so much, Jung.
1:05:57 - Rachel Murray
We really appreciate your time and your wisdom and your kindness. So I'm gonna say goodbye and make it awkward, because that's the way to do it. Listen, do you wanna add into any of that awkwardness?
1:06:11 - Felicia Jadczak
with me. I think you did plunge you for both of us. I think you did plunge you for both of us.
1:06:17 - Jung Starrett
Thank you for listening you are such good listeners and thank you for the work that you're doing, and I honor you and appreciate everything you do, but, most of all, be who you are the beautiful, brilliant leaders. Thank you.
1:06:33 - Rachel Murray
Oh same, right at you, right back at you. Well, that was lovely. We hope that you feel more centered and at peace after this conversation. I know that we certainly did.
1:06:46 - Felicia Jadczak
Indeed. So we're gonna take a little break at the end of the year, but before we head out, we wanna tell you about our next free webinar coming up in January. So it's going to be all about kick starting 2024 with some impactful DEI programs. So if you're listening to this after the 17th of January, which is when this webinar is taking place, don't worry, you will be able to go over to sgollearningcom and get the micro course. We're all about the micro in 2024. So if you wanna know more, you gotta listen to it, and you can get the complete list of upcoming public programs on our website at chicxoutcom. So don't miss that.
1:07:21 - Rachel Murray
And thanks so much for listening. Please don't forget to rate, share and subscribe. It makes a huge difference in the reach of our podcast and, by extension, this work. So visit us on YouTube, instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date on all things. Sgo.
1:07:37 - Felicia Jadczak