Are you able to support your employees fully when they disclose something personal to you? Are you able to be fully present for them in these moments or does it sometimes feel a little awkward?
Aaron Tabacco, PhD, RN is an Executive Coach and the Director of Staff Experience in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. A former professor of developmental pediatrics, Aaron transitioned into his current line of work three years ago, becoming a thought leader in the development of holistic workplaces, leadership development, DEI efforts, and internal institutional workforce research. He is a highly-skilled public speaker and communicator having been featured at numerous public and private professional engagements in his areas of speciality. Aaron has several professional publications in the US, Europe, Japan, and online, and is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute at the Berkeley-Hass School of Business. Additionally, Aaron has engaged in high stakes healthcare and higher education conflict mediation for families and professionals over a thirteen-year period. He's a father of three young adult sons who live in Portland, Oregon. Aaron currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Join Amy and Aaron in this episode as they delve into how you can best support your employees during difficult times and be fully present for them.
In this episode, you will learn:
Quote from the show - ‘‘My first rule of thumb, especially as you're building skill with really practising presence, is to remind yourself that you're probably going to say it best if you don't really say anything at all. ’’
About the host:
Amy Lynn Durham is the Founder of Create Magic At Work™ and an Executive and Spiritual Intelligence Coach. She uniquely blends the ethereal and the tactical to get maximum results for her clients.
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Hey everyone, it's Amy Lynn Durham and you're listening to Create Magic At Work. Create Magic At Work is on a mission to equip senior leaders with tools they need to be a true servant leader, and actually understand what that means. Improve employee engagement, retain top talent, and transform your workplace culture to have less stress and drama. So, let's start making magic. Hi, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Create Magic At Work. We're kicking off season two with a very special guest. His name is Aaron Tabaco. He's an Executive Coach and the Director of Staff Experience in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, a former Professor of developmental pediatrics, Aaron transitioned into his current line of work three years ago, becoming a thought leader in the development of holistic workplaces, leadership development, DEI efforts and internal institutional workforce research. He's a highly skilled public speaker and communicator having been featured at numerous public and private professional engagements in his areas of specialty. Aaron has several professional publications in the US, Europe, Japan, and online and is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute at the Berkeley Haas School of Business. Additionally, Aaron has engaged in high stakes health care and higher education, conflict mediation for families and professionals over a 13 year period. He's a father of three young adult sons who live in Portland, Oregon, and he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. So please join me in welcoming Aaron to the first episode of season two of Create Magic at Work. I met Aaron through the UC Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute, the minute we connected on Zoom, we had an immediate connection, and his amazing take on how to be Present, truly Present at a high level for someone else when they come to you in the workplace and divulge maybe sensitive information. His advice is unmatched in my opinion. So please take a listen and let me know your thoughts. Thank you to all the listeners who are following and listening to Create Magic At Work. We hit another milestone with the podcast where we're now globally ranked in the top 10%. So hopefully, we'll continue to move forward and move that ranking up as we continue to support and spread the message of creating healthy workplaces. Take a listen. Rate and review the show if you love it. Aaron, thank you so much for joining today. And I'd love for you to start off with just taking it from there and sharing a little bit more about yourself.Aaron Tabacco:
Thank you so much, Amy. First, congratulations on this international ranking or what have you that you mentioned, I think that's a pretty exciting milestone. Congratulations on a second season of your podcast! I'm really honored to be here and to join you. I just enjoy you so much. So this will be a fun day. Yeah, I really appreciate the introduction, all of those very nice things you shared is very flattering. What's a good place to start with more about me do you think?Amy Lynn Durham:
Well, maybe a little bit more about how you got here. I should share that Aaron and I met because we're both UC Berkeley Certified Executive Coaches. I just noticed Aaron's name as a presenter at the annual coaching conference, and I said, "Okay, I need to connect with him." This is how the Universe works. You attract people that are meant to be in your lives. We hopped on Zoom together one day, and it was just like, oh, my gosh, it was like we had known each other forever. We became friends. I would love for you to share... and the whole reason why you're on the show today... is because I was so impressed with your presentation on Presence. How to properly be Present for someone else. If you could just share what led you to learning how to do that properly. And maybe some tips for the listeners where can we can get deeper into it. Because what really struck me was, as leaders in the workplace, which that's the main audience for Create Magic At Work, we often have individuals that come to us and share sensitive information with us, you know, not just an executive coach, leaders, they have to take a sick call, right? That's sensitive private information. They have to have conversations with individuals that just in general, they're sharing private, sensitive stuff with you. My thought is, are leaders out there really equipped to handle these conversations? I know when I was in my mid 20s, as a manager, and people were disclosing things to me, I mean, full disclosure, I don't think I handled it in the best way I possibly could. So anyways, why don't you take off from there and share a little bit?Aaron Tabacco:
Yeah, thank you. Well, of course, like most things that are skills and attributes, we develop them over our lifespan. One of the things I noticed about myself early on in my life was, for some reason, many people begin conversations with me, even total strangers, with the sentence, "I'm not sure why I'm telling you all of this." So there seems to be some sort of natural magnetism where people feel like they can open up and confide in me, and, you know, the first couple of decades of my life was coming to kind of reconcile that this is a natural part of who I am. But that also, I should embrace that rather than find that burdensome. And the first career that I had, I grew up in the restaurant world. I was working from the time I was 12 years old, and then ran my own businesses for a number of years. What was very interesting was that sort of natural disposition to hear people's stories, whether they were employees, or coworkers, or just people in the general public, you know, I sort of took on that proverbial bartender role, almost where you hear everybody's problems, and you lend a kind and open ear. And so there have just been these deep roots in my life, were being invited into a space of presence has just consistently been part of my experience. But I think that really diving deeply into this attribute and the skills related to it came when I changed careers when I turned 30 years old. It was almost 20 years ago, actually was 20 years ago, and became a nurse, which is, you know, to many sounds like a pretty significant career jump. But in a lot of respects, there were a lot of overlapping characteristics between those two paths, but I became a nurse. And as you mentioned in the brief introduction, went on to specialize in developmental pediatrics. I worked with primarily children across my practice, and their families who are experiencing, you know, lifespan, challenges and neurodiverse presentations of their kids. So these are kids who have significant and sometimes very severe behavior and or learning disorders, and require a lot of care. And so, early on in my nursing career, I started specializing, but then I also went into education. I was a nursing professor for, I don't even remember now 12-13 years, teaching undergraduate and graduate nurses about the fundamental practices of nursing, as well as some of those advanced pieces. In my first semester, with my students, I always made a point to try and convey that the way I saw my practice was that it was, for me, a spiritual practice, and that the very essence of nursing was presence, that all of these sort of fun, exciting things, they're all dying to learn about, like, using needles, and, and IVs, and all that, you know, embracing this complicated vocabulary with people was necessary and certainly helpful and therapeutic. But it wasn't the essence of what we did as nurses. I think that's kind of what brought me to where I am today, you know, having to dive really deeply into skills and being present in situations over a very long time where the stakes are very high, where the circumstances are such that it isn't just a casual, "how are you today? Oh, I'm sorry, you're feeling kind of down," but are much deeper. For example, when someone has just received a diagnosis that is very likely life altering, or maybe even fatal, or a prognosis that things are not going to go well for them, you know, or a nursing student who is failing and must leave the program. And all of a sudden has to deal with the fact that their life path is probably going to be very different now than they were planning on it being. So, you know, these are the kinds of things where moving into those spaces very consistently, over and over and over again has definitely brought me to a place where I value very highly the skills of being Present. I think you're right, most of us in our leadership positions, or even just in our lateral roles as coworkers don't really have a lot of training or skill around being fully present in the workplace.Amy Lynn Durham:
What advice would you give to a manager or a leader, on presence when someone brings them some personal news? That was unexpected?Aaron Tabacco:
Yeah. Well, of course, you know, I think in a lot of our workplaces, there's immediately a tremendous amount of anxiety about that. A lot of that has to do with things like workplace compliance, HR, law, respect, but also, you know, confidentiality, and making sure that our colleagues, coworkers or direct reports are being correctly and adequately supported. So, all of a sudden, that context is set up in our culture to be one where the receiver of whatever this news is, that's being shared with us, comes from a position of immediate provocation and anxiety. It's like, Oh, my goodness, "What do I do with this situation? What is being asked of me?" Unfortunately, the real challenge that comes with that is then it puts us in a place where the interaction is immediately in our minds about us, and not the other person. Because we're in a space where our own fight or flight mode is probably being activated. We're trying to think about all the implications of what someone might be sharing with us. And it cuts us off from actually being present for the other person, right? Because you're entirely in our own heads about what's happening. Our brain is filling with thoughts and in monologue, and worry and concern. So the challenge, then, is to figure out how do you move from that space outward into being present for the other person as a sort of a co creator of that experience for them?Amy Lynn Durham:
So in SQ talk, Spiritual Intelligence, because every episode, we tie that to, to me, you're saying that acknowledging all of those feelings that come up because of the systems we work in right now, and then recognizing, well, it's the awareness of your ego. To me, that's your ego rising up, right? In SQ it's a huge skill, understanding, creating an awareness of your Ego versus your Higher Self. So you see all of those things you just described in SQ talk, is your Ego rising. "I'm scared, what does this mean? I'm in my head about me. Okay, this is my ego being triggered. Let me tell my Ego to take a nap. My Higher Self has got this." And now,"How can I sit and be present and hear what this person is disclosing to me?" Because it can be very traumatic at times for that person, whatever they're going through in their life. Oftentimes, like we already mentioned, it's leaders that hear all of these things, and they're ill equipped to be compassionate. You know, for me, you don't have to be empathetic, because to me, empathy is taking on somebody else's stuff. For me, the real SQ skill is compassion, can you be a wise and compassionate leader? I'm curious with you, and all of this practice of really being called to truly being present for someone? How do we do that? And then how do we detach from the outcome?Aaron Tabacco:
Well, I think you really have taken us into a great place for discussion, Amy, because, you know, you'd asked, well, what's your first piece of advice? And really, my first piece of advice was 1) we have to give ourselves a little bit of grace, because we've been programmed to respond negatively to the situation. We need to jump into that awareness that you're talking about that spiritual intelligence that recognizes, oh, this is my ego. I think one of the affirming pieces we can embrace and most situations that are occurring in our workplaces where this is happening, where someone is coming to us to call on us for our presence, is that whatever decisions need to be made and actions need to be taken, they don't need to be taken in that very second where you're receiving this news. You will have time and space to react down the road and to really think about what's happening and chart the correct course. So that alone buys you a gap, and it's that gap that we can expand on. When I think about how I teach people to really be present in high stakes situations, or what are often called hard conversations. I've tended to break it down into four sort of domains of thinking. One of them first is to offer ourselves the grace and freedom that comes from realizing that understanding their situation is not even a realistic outcome, that it's really out of our reach. I think that's kind of grounded in, you know, the business world is very taken every five to 10 years with different sort of paradigms and speakers and writers. As I was a young entrepreneur in the 90s, Stephen Covey was a really big thing. One of his useful, true and profound teachings was that this idea that most people don't listen with the intent to understand, but they listen with the intent to reply. What I want to offer is, I want to build on that a little bit. Because in these kinds of situations, where someone's bringing a situation that really, you can't possibly fully understand, that statement is a little bit limited. So, we can move into a place where we can move beyond understanding. I think what we're talking about here, is embracing the idea that we can be fully present and listen to bear witness, to simply be with that person in their moment of difficulty or suffering or grief, and not have to do for them. So that's kind of that first big piece, I think, is just freeing ourselves from the responsibility that we have to somehow understand everything, and then fix it.Amy Lynn Durham:
Oh, my gosh, thank you so much for sharing that. It's almost like taking a backpack off,I felt like when you were saying that. Because, when we are in leadership, and when we are leaders that have good intentions, sometimes our knee jerk reaction is to dive in and want to fix everything. And you know, what is so interesting to me too, now that I'm thinking about it, one of the skills in SQ I think I got this all comes up to me in these episodes, is being a wise and effective change agent. And part of the skill set of being a wise and effective change agent, is you don't jump to quick fixes. You wait, you uncover the root issue of a problem, you take your time. And your advice is just so freeing to leaders because it removes that "doing" piece that we're always in, and puts us in that space of "being" for a little bit.Aaron Tabacco:
Right. And I really think that's critical. Because you know, this is part of not even just our cultural programming at this point, what we're talking about is the human brain, and the biology of our neurological system, and how we are wired to take in new information, and immediately start to say, "What is similar? What is different? How do I relate to it? And can I comprehend or understand it?" Very often, it's in these moments where we think we understand, we think that's even possible and so once again, we move back into our Ego, and we're making it about us. We're making assumptions, that something is in fact, very understandable and accessible. And the reality is that sometimes there is something that we can really relate to in someone else's story, I think of a team member who came to me many years ago and said that they were dealing with a cancer diagnosis, and that they didn't want anyone in the workplace to know, but they needed at least one person to know, so that they didn't feel alone at work, and they would have a safe space. And you know, I was thinking about, what's similar about that? Well, my father lived and died with cancer. This was in that same time period that he was dying, and or had died, excuse me. So there was a lot of sort of freshness to that. And I was prone to think, oh my gosh, I think I can understand this. But the reality is, of course, no matter what may have been similar in their stories or their needs, there is this vast part of their experience, their thinking and how it's affecting them that I can't even access. It's like an iceberg. What they're sharing is what I can see, and what I know, is what I can see, that top 10% of the iceberg, but there's so much below it that it's not even possible for me to comprehend it. Freeing myself from that sort of chain that I need to understand, it allows me to set myself aside, it allows me to set aside the knee jerk reaction of judging people for how they're responding to things and just frees me to be fully with them in that moment. That's another piece that kind of automatically flows into like this second kind of big idea, I think that goes with this is acknowledging that whatever they're experiencing, it's not your pain, and it isn't your journey, it truly is theirs. You know, whatever they're sharing, no matter how it might evoke an emotion or strike a similar reflective note in you, it isn't you, you're not going through it, you are not physically experiencing it, or emotionally or mentally experiencing it. So you can kind of self assure, or self soothe that it's not your journey. You don't have to personally navigate it. Let's jump into that space and be fully present with that person because it's not triggering all this other stuff in me.Amy Lynn Durham:
Hey, everyone, Amy here, are you looking to create a life with more inner and outer peace regardless of the situation you find yourself in? Gain unexpected insights into your leadership strengths, expand your understanding of your leadership skills, like being a wise and effective change agent, servant leadership and get tips to operate from a place of peace and wisdom with my SQ experience. It allows you to examine where you are today on developing the skills of spiritual intelligence. I'm a certified SQ 21. Coach and I nowoffer a three month 1:
1 SQ experience that helps you have less stress, more balance and brings value and meaning to your work & life. If you're interested in joining me on this transformational journey please reach out to me at www.createmagicatwork.net and click on work with me. That's me, Amy. Or you can just direct message me on any social media platform under Create Magic At Work or on LinkedIn under Amy Lynn Durham. I look forward to hearing from you. Sending magic your way! Yeah, so detailed question here. The story that you just shared where you had this individual disclose they had cancer, that could have gone two ways, or multiple ways in the work world that I could see. A leader could have said, "Oh my gosh, I totally get it. My dad just died of cancer", you know, which is not necessarily the way we want to go because that shines the light back on you. And you just said, it's not your journey. What would you propose would be the reaction? Because I'm sitting here like, what do you say? What do you say to that then?Aaron Tabacco:
Yeah, that's such a great question. Because honestly, the very next kind of major concept I try to teach my students, once we get them to kind of open up to the idea that, look, you'll never truly understand or comprehend it. It's not possible. It's inaccessible, it isn't your pain, it isn't your journey, your therapeutic help or presence is not going to have a negative effect on you, then you get into this place where "but what do I do? What do I say?"And my first rule of thumb, especially as you're building skill with really practicing presence, is to remind yourself that you're probably going to say it best if you don't really say anything at all. Now, that isn't to imply that we should be completely withdrawn and stone faced and not respond to what somebody is saying. But to be very, very careful with the use of our language, our verbal and our nonverbal language when we're connecting with somebody. Because, those words can really destroy the space that's opening between you, you know, this person's come to you with so much trust and need. The last thing you want to do is say something like, well buck up little camper, or, you know, how bad could it be? Or, you know, pull up your bootstraps, or oh, that happened to me, you'll get over it. There's like a million things that kind of have become these cultural archetypes of responding to people in situations that don't work. So often, I try to remind people that they can move into very simple forms of simply acknowledging that space and that truth to be with them. Often, my first response when someone comes to me with really big news is "thank you so much for sharing that with me, that sounds like a lot. I just want to be with you in the moment. Let's just take a moment. Let's sit with that news." Just create a space that may be quiet or reflective, nonverbal communication can be really powerful, being able to remain open and make eye contact that is comfortable without being piercing, you know, empathetic and/or compassionate rather, as you would offer, without being completely undone by the news yourself. I think that those are ways that we can start to just create some open space. Where I think people find this really tricky has to do with the fact that we, in our culture, haven't been taught to deal with silence. So the easiest way to point that out is just to say that the phrase awkward silence is something that people use often, what is awkward about it? What's awkward about it is what we're feeling, because we expect that we should be saying something or fixing the problem, or jumping in. Sometimes, we just have to learn that we have a relationship with silence that might not really be well informed or very healthy. Again, going back to the years when I was teaching students of nursing, I would role model this very early in my classes. These are first semester nursing students, and in my classes, I would be very challenging with them. I would really challenge them to bring forward high order thinking and offer questions early in these very first classes, where no one would respond. I actually really like that, I like it when nobody responds. And then the silence gets long, I actually let it go longer than it should, intentionally or not should, I guess, maybe longer than... as long as it takes for them to feel very uncomfortable with it, and I can sense it in the room. And then I usually interrupt that briefly, and say, I want you to know that I don't fear silence and that I'm interpreting your silence to mean, you're really thinking about this. I want to give you that space to do it. When you are ready, when someone's ready, then we'll jump into the conversation. But I'm not afraid of the silence. And it's very interesting how impactful that is to the students. They feel free. And it makes them question, "Well, what is my relationship to silence?" And I think that's where our tips and discussion here can go. It's when you're feeling that need to respond verbally right away. That might be a call to you to think about your relationship with silence. And what's really happening.Amy Lynn Durham:
So good. And oh, wow, how much do we have to fill silence in leadership meetings in the workplace? I mean, that uncomfortable, silent feeling. You can't have any silent gap, right? No dead air, no dead air. I want to thank you so much for offering all of that. And I want to share, you did that with me. When we first met, we started talking and we hit it off. I mentioned I had gone through some difficult moments in 2021. And you stopped me, and you said, "Amy, I just want to acknowledge what you've been through. And I just want to take a breath with you." I'll never forget it. It impacted me. I still think about that moment. Just because someone said, you didn't tell me that you understood what I went through, you didn't even ask me for details. You just said, I want to acknowledge what you went through and take a breath with you. As much as we have conversations, coaching clients down the line, leaders this, that, the other that was less than two minutes of my life that I remember that moment. It was super impactful. So thank you for that. And for everyone listening, you know, remember how impactful is something like that "being" instead of "doing" when someone is sharing difficult things with you. So thank you for sharing all of that. Did you want to add anything else to what you said before we get into the final two parts?Aaron Tabacco:
Well, I just honestly wanted to say thank you, that was really, that was really lovely to hear that that was a really impactful moment for you in our conversation and it's something that really stuck with you. I always just feel like when I respond in a situation like that, I'm just trying to honor the space and honor the trust that someone's placed in me in sharing something that's deep and personal. Again, it kind of goes back to what we started with, you know, which was this idea that we don't need to always listen to understand, or reply, or respond, but we can listen to bear witness. And really that's kind of what I try to do in those situations is just truly be a witness for them. In their grief or suffering, or loss or difficulty, because it conveys to someone that they're not being judged, and they're not alone. And that is incredibly, incredibly powerful. As a leader, to be able to have the team you work with, your direct reports, your lateral colleagues, the people you report to, know that you can create a space that is so safe, that they can share their ideas, their thoughts, their vulnerability, and not just in situations like these. But even in situations where you're brainstorming, and someone needs to bring a new idea forward to the team, or challenge an existing process or paradigm, or say, I need to put the brakes on this meeting, because I think we're going off the rails, you know, it's one of those things where if you can really just move into a space of bearing witness through your listening and presence, being that present really just reinforces like I said, the fact that you're not judging someone, so it's safe. And that is so freeing. So yeah, thanks. I appreciate you saying all of that, Amy.Amy Lynn Durham:
Yeah. And thank you for offering that. The overarching theme here to me is we're talking about polarities, and being able to hold opposing energies in the same space. It's complexity of thought and perspective taking. Balancing"doing" and "being" in our lives, especially in the workplace, where we hold high responsibility to do that. We typically are on the "doing" side, and it's at a much higher percentage than the "being". If we could balance that, I think that would move us into that quantum leadership space that you're talking about, where we have innovation and inspiration, people sharing in meetings, etc. So, on that note, what is your view or definition of servant leadership?Aaron Tabacco:
That's an interesting question. This was, you know, kind of a concept that, again, was pretty popular in the 90s, the early 90s, this idea of a servant leader, which was sort of shaking up the corporate world a little bit and making people think about that, and kind of preparing for our discussion today, I gave some thought to, what does that really mean to me servant leadership? I think it's really fair to say that I've always attempted to practice as my leadership style naturally grew over the years, to be very servant or service oriented. But, you know, your question made me think about, well, what are the dimensions of that? What are the skills of that? I think one, "being", like we're talking about today, practicing presence at a really high level really facilitates the ability for us to be in service to those that we lead. So there's that piece. I don't need to belabor that anymore today. I think also, one of the concepts that really occurs to me that's tricky about servant leadership, is that I think, sometimes there's this idea that it means the relationship dynamic is once again hierarchical, but in a reverse situation, that, you know, we place the other at a higher level in some way than we are. But I don't know that that's really true. I think the service that I think I'm really trying to provide to somebody that I care about in my workplace is more about being in service to truth, what is really true, and it's not necessarily servant and served in that context. But more, I feel like I'm a steward of the space and a steward of truth. So what do I mean by that? I think what I mean, is that very often, people come to us, in situations where we aren't really sure how to act, we don't really want to deliver hard news, we don't want to say things that might be hurtful. I think feedback situations, where we're expected or people are requesting it, is probably a great space to think about servant leadership. Because you move into that space, you're responsible for leading this individual by giving them some feedback. And you know, you're going to give them feedback about things that are going well and things that are not going well. And I have seen leaders, I mean, I've written a whole series about this because leaders really struggle with that, giving authentic feedback. But I think that that's what I mean, when I'm talking about the connection between servant leadership and honesty or truth is that you really have to commit yourself to the service of the other person in ensuring that they have honest, authentic, self reflection about what they're doing and where they are. So they can actually, authentically, move forward and progress. So it's kind of interesting. Yeah, you made me think a lot about different aspects of servant leadership. And I guess those were the two things for me was 1) presence in my relationship to truth, and 2) honesty and authenticity when working with people,Amy Lynn Durham:
I love it, practicing presence at a high level. Practicing. That was something that really stuck with me. So practice, right, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up if we're not there. And we're gonna have to have you back. Because we're gonna have to dive into your take on how to give authentic feedback, and live in truth. So definitely want to get into that a little bit more. Final piece for all my guests, I pull a message from the Universe for you from my journal prompt deck. Let's see here. And it's also for the listeners. Oh, gosh, there's this card jumping out. What are you getting? Oh, Aaron. Okay, we got Motivation! We got the little turtles going into the ocean on the art piece. So the affirmation for motivation is, "I stay mentally strong when faced with adversity." I mean, we were just talking about all of these things, right? Yeah, knowing that success is the only possible outcome. So, I stay mentally strong when faced with adversity, knowing that success is the only possible outcome. What actions can people take that can move them out of their comfort zone? Or even for you? What are you thinking? What actions can you take or implement that will move you out of your comfort zone? Give some inspiration there.Aaron Tabacco:
Yeah, I've had so much practice with this the last 10-11 years of my life. My immediate response comes from a wonderful teacher, who I've not met in person, but is really quite famous and well published author named Pema Chodren, who is an American Buddhist nun, which was something I didn't know existed. And now I've learned that in the last decade, but a prolific writer and teacher and when I was going through very difficult times, 11-12 years ago, and having to really figure out how to navigate that, one of the things she taught me, that was really profound is that nothing ever leaves us until it teaches us what we need to know. That was a huge wake up call to me in terms of how do I deal with the difficulties I'm facing? Because we live patterns? And those patterns tend to repeat over time. And we wonder why is this happening again? And how do I get through this? What that opened me to was a totally different way of approaching adversity. And it has made me a very fierce, fiercely courageous person, in the skill of turning 180 degrees into the storm of my adversity, and going deep, sitting with it being present for it, not interrogating it, but approaching my own response, my own grief, my own anger, my own fear, whatever it is that I'm experiencing, that's causing this adversity, approaching it with curiosity, honesty, gentleness, but not running away from it, right. It's been this reprogramming of fight or flight mode, and moving into a space of turning into it, embracing it and seeing what it has to teach me. Because, Amy, we don't want to keep having to have the same lesson right over and over and over again.Amy Lynn Durham:
Yeah, you just reminded me of that quote. Lessons will be repeated until they are learned.Aaron Tabacco:
Yeah, that's it, right. It's nothing ever leaves us until it teaches us what we need to know. So I guess the distillation of that is I have become an avid student of adversity. So I might not necessarily like the fact that I'm going through a hard time. But I've learned to turn into the storm rather than try and hide from it, or flee from it.Amy Lynn Durham:
I love it. Thank you, Aaron. If anybody listening wants to connect with you, and have you be Present for them, how can they reach out to you and get a hold of you?Aaron Tabacco:
Sure. I'm increasingly present on LinkedIn the last several years and that's a very common forum for I think, probably a lot of your audience. So it's easy to find me at Aaron Tabaco, I don't think there are many of us in the world. It's a very unusual name. So feel free to reach out. I'm very happy to connect with you there. Or if that's difficult and your listeners are already connected with you. Of course, you're welcome to pass on that connection and make a new link between us. I'm open to that.Amy Lynn Durham:
Yeah. And we'll put all of your information in the show notes so anyone listening can read that and they can reach out to you as well. Aaron, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today. I was very excited to have you because I think this is something that everyone needs to hear that's in a leadership role. Thank you for sending magic to the listeners today.Aaron Tabacco:
Well, thanks for creating magic with us. That's what you do. You are definitely a magician.Amy Lynn Durham:
Thanks Aaron.Aaron Tabacco:
You're welcome.Amy Lynn Durham:
Everyone, it's Amy here. Thank you for listening to the latest episode of Create Magic At Work and please come back often and subscribe, rate and review the podcast. Keep joining us for more exciting episodes where we help you transform workplace culture to systems that create less drama and stress and have high productivity and profitability. You can get your own tools for the workplace at www.createmagicatwork.net. I have a new Create Magic At Work The Journal that just released and it invites you to reflect about different themes for work and your career. Each section of The Journal contains a topic and affirmation and two prompt questions to help you journal your thoughts. Topics are like inspiring others, mentorship, expansion and productivity. So connect with me at www.createmagicatwork.net. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn under Amy Lynn Durham, sending magic to everyone and see you next time.