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083: Sandy Lamb – Ownership, Accountability, & Emotional Intelligence

Sandy Lamb is an executive coach, keynote speaker, and TedX speaker coach. She did the corporate gig and saw executive coaching and leadership development as the perfect way to use her skills, help other people excel, and balance work with family and wellness. Sandy helps executives build a culture of belonging and respect by focusing on authentic leadership and emotional intelligence.

She’s the CEO of Altitude Executive Coaching and today, Sandy joins the show to talk about EQ – Emotional Quotient – empathy, and self-awareness.

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Key Takeaways

00:56 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Sandy Lamb, who joins the show to talk about early financial lessons she learned and why she never treated money as an idol

08:12 – Sandy’s path to executive coaching

11:46 – Male-saturated versus male-dominated

13:09 – Emotional Intelligence, empathy, and self-awareness

23:43 – Privilege and avoiding the victim mentality

31:09 – The Four Progressive Areas of Empathy

36:23 – What empathy is really about

39:50 – One thing we can do to increase personal and financial success and one thing to completely ignore

43:58 – The last thing that Sandy changed her mind about and a place Sandy has visited that had a profound impact on her

48:09 – Jonathan thanks Sandy for joining the show and lets listeners know where to connect with her

Tweetable Quotes

“Now, my focus is primarily on the executive coaching and for promoting women in STEM. I don’t have an engineering degree, but I want more and more women to know that they’re worthy and that they can enter into that male-saturated industry, not male-dominated.” (11:22) (Sandy)

“Emotional Intelligence is your ability to be aware of your emotions as they’re coming up in real time.” (15:36) (Sandy)

“The key, and what I’ve really dug deep on, is this idea of empathy. And empathy really falls under social awareness in the EQ assessment world. So, it’s important to have an understanding of your own emotions.” (19:15) (Sandy)

“Understanding what it is that you have a passion for doing – what excites you to get up and go to work every day? So, there’s a piece of that that really comes into play when you’re looking at, ‘What’s the right role for me?’ And most people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their supervisors. So, again, it goes back to that relationship and this idea of, ‘Can I work for somebody who doesn’t necessarily align with my values and beliefs?’ And I think that’s something that we need to ask ourselves.” (20:02) (Sandy)

“The whole idea of women’s empowerment and being empowered is taking matters into your own hands. Don’t complain about what’s happening around you. The way in which you change your situation is you make it happen.” (26:36) (Sandy)

“Empathy is not about agreement and it’s not even necessarily about understanding as much as it is about listening. Sometimes, people just want you to listen.” (36:23) (Sandy)

“Don’t make a statement when you can ask a question. Because when you make statements, you’re talking at people; you’re not talking with them. And you are assuming that you already know what they need.” (39:19) (Sandy)

Guest Resources

Sandy’s LinkedIn

Sandy’s Email

Altitude Executive Coaching

Altitude Executive Coaching Facebook

Altitude Executive Coaching Instagram

Cracking the Rich Code: Volume 10

Books Mentioned:

The Oz Principle

Uncommon Ground

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Hey, welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Sandy Lamb Sandy is an executive coach, a keynote speaker, and a TEDx speaker coach. She did the corporate gig and saw executive coaching and leadership development as the perfect way to use her skills help other people excel and balance work with family and wellness. Sandy helps executives build a culture of belonging and respect in the workplace by focusing on authentic leadership and emotional intelligence. She’s the CEO of Altitude executive coaching. She’s one of my co authors in the number one international bestseller cracking the Rich Code, volume ten. I wanted to have her on to talk about EQ, or emotional quotient and empathy. Sandy, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Sandy Lamb: Thanks for having me, Jonathan.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m excited for the conversation. First, where do you call home and where are you connecting from?

Sandy Lamb: I am in, well, original home is Chicago, Illinois, but I’ve been in Colorado Springs, Colorado for almost ten years now.

Jonathan DeYoe: But grew up in Chicago.

Sandy Lamb: I did.

Jonathan DeYoe: What kind of lessons did you learn about money or entrepreneurship as a kid growing up in Chicago?

Sandy Lamb: Well, I grew up on the southwest side, so not in the city, but in the suburb. Went to an all girl catholic high school. And I would say, well, the first lessons that I learned were from my parents. Seems like the usual, right? Probably. And I was thinking about this the other night and recalled that my parents lived in their home for almost 40 years in the Chicago area and was very typical at the time. And he paid $16,000 for his new home. I was thinking about that. Wow. Total mind blow, right? And so what I learned about money was, interestingly enough, money has never been motivator for me. It’s never been an idol for me. And I think, thankfully, it’s because I’ve always had a great job and had a good income and never really had to worry about it, but also because of the way I was raised and the fact that my parents were very frugal. We didn’t think you and I talked about this. We didn’t go to five star resorts as kids. We went camped in a little pop up camper or in a tent and drove all over in our little station wagon. So I just had a respect for money, a healthy respect for it, but it never really was a motivator for me.

Jonathan DeYoe: A lot of people have different stories about growing up, and about one of mine involved was going from store to store to store to store, comparing prices for jeans to buy for school. Many people have stories about their parents interactions around money. So do you have any of those kinds of stories that sort of you remember and they become part of your money story, like parents relationship with money, some way of spending that you guys had as kids, but those stories that become blocks in your money wall?

Sandy Lamb: Well, I can tell you that I hate sears and grandma’s because that seemed like the place that my parents always shopped for clothes.

Jonathan DeYoe: Mine too.

Sandy Lamb: Um, yeah, so that tells you something right there. I also grew up working at Kmart, which kmarts aren’t really around anymore, but I got a job at, my neighbor across the street was head of HR at Kmart, and got me a job at 16, and I worked there all through high school and came back during college summers and worked there. So that tells you something, too. I’m already working kind of at a discount store. And the funny thing is, at the point when I got money in my life and I started having a career and making money, my spending habits were still like the Kmart and the Walmart, and it’s still that way today. I mean, I still shop at Walmart and at Kohl’s and some of these other stores. No sears. Thankfully, there are no sears in the. But. So even when you have the money that you can spend, you don’t necessarily do it just because. I appreciate the value of money. But my best friend in college and to this day, I used to call her frugal fanny because she was just, like, super frugal and still is very much a tight one when it comes to money. But, yeah, it’s just kind of the way we were raised. And my parents didn’t have a lot of money, but we didn’t want for anything necessarily either.

Jonathan DeYoe: I mean, I’ve talked to people who had money and didn’t spend it, and I’ve talked to people who didn’t have money and wanted to spend it. I sort of fall in that category. And so later in life, I want the nicer car, I want the bigger house, because I wanted the things I couldn’t have as a kid, and I wanted to provide those things for my kids and for my family because we couldn’t have those when I was a kid. But it sounds like you’re pretty. Just consistent. Like there was enough money and you just kind of went along with it and it was okay, and it kind know becomes the lessons later. I’m frugal, and that’s what I am.

Sandy Lamb: Yeah. I guess the one area where I splurge maybe, is I grew up driving like, you know, my very first car was a ford escort, and then I, um, owned a Honda for a little while. And then when I was living in California, near where you are now, I bought a Lexus at auction. And what they say, it’s like, once you buy Alexis, you never go back. So I will say I was pretty consistent about driving Lexuses, which seemed like extra to like, compared to my Fords or whatever I grew up with. So I guess if there’s any guilty pleasure, that’s it for me, is my cars. And now, after having two of them totaled, but thankfully, one was when my daughter, who was 17, was driving and six of the airbags deployed. So I say they’re very safe cars. Uh, it did its job, and now I’m driving an Audi, so it still feels kind of. Ah, good.

Jonathan DeYoe: They’re nice.

Sandy Lamb: They’re not the modest, but it’s like the one thing that I allow myself. We don’t live in like, million dollar home kind of thing, but I drive a nice car.

Jonathan DeYoe: You don’t have a choice. In the Bay area, like, every home is a million dollar home. It’s pretty crazy. This is true.

Sandy Lamb: The rent that I paid when I lived there was like three times the mortgage that I paid here when I moved.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I mean, we look at Colorado because of the. My dad says you need to stop your California neighbors from moving to South Dakota because they’re driving up real estate prices and they’re driving me crazy. Right. So he’s. No, no, you’re not allowed to come home. No one else is allowed to come here either. Uh, you feel the same way? Protect.

Sandy Lamb: Well, they’re moving to Colorado, and they’re also moving to Texas, I think. From what? Yeah, I mean, it’s when the housing market was so hot here. I was getting aggravated because the people from California were just coming and paying cash and just can’t. Nope, you can’t have that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yep. We. It’s like, you know, the asset value is completely different here versus there, so it’s easy for us to move. It’s impossible to move the other way, though. No one can retire in California. It’s rough.

Sandy Lamb: Well, that’s true, but I guess if you’ve lived there long enough, you can. Well, then you can someplace else.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, then you can. So I want to talk about altitude executive coaching. But before I do that, let’s give us the path, because I know you did some corporate experience. First tell us how that, uh, develops into starting the coaching programs.

Sandy Lamb: Yeah, so I started, graduated with an economics degree, went to work right away out of college. One of my best friends from high school, she went on to have eight children, never went to college, and she had a job as a corporate secretary for this company called Bethville. And I was like, okay. She’s like, I can’t find anything right away. She’s like, come to work here. And so I did, and that was like, the summer of 90, and I stayed with the company for 27 years, and I would have never in a million years thought that was the case. But just opportunities kept presenting themselves. I worked in project controls and did cost and schedule, worked in accounting. I pretty much did every business function within the organization and moved all over the country. So I moved eventually to Maryland. Said, uh, if I’m going to stay with the organization, the company, I need to move to their home office, their headquarters, which was in Maryland at the time, met my husband there, who also worked for the company. So, yeah, there was that, uh, fishing off the company pier thing that happened, and we’re still together 26 years later. So it was a good thing. And so I did every business function, but I was working with and around engineers, but I wasn’t an engineer, so I often partnered myself. I eventually moved into program and project management, and I often was partnered alongside somebody with a technical background. So I worked with a PhD in nuclear physics. I worked with a PhD in nuclear engineering. I was always working with somebody who had that technical expertise, and then I was kind of like the brains and the business behind the operations. So, eventually, fast forward to my last job here in Colorado at the army depot. We worked on destroying the chemical weapons stockpile for the government. So really exciting jobs, great work. People are like, why would you leave that? Well, I left because eventually I was like, this is as far as I’m going to get, I’m never really going to get much further than that. And it was a lot of self sacrifice. You mentioned in my intro that I really had to find a way to start blending family and wellness. I was the job where I worked 10 hours a day. I commuted an hour each way. I was up and out of the house by 05:00 every morning and back really late. And there was just no time for me and self care, let alone some quality time with my family. So they asked me to move to Australia, and I said, thanks, but no thanks, and quit. And I had been thinking about doing the coaching thing, but it just got accelerated about three or four months before I wanted it to. And my husband said, just go do this. You know, this is what you want to do. And so I did. And I started originally doing business coaching, but very quickly realized, yeah, strategic planning is kind of boring. I can do it, but it’s boring. And it’s not really what I have passion for. So now my focus is really primarily on the executive coaching and for promoting women in STEM. So the idea is I don’t have an engineering degree, but I want more and more women to know that they’re worthy and that they can enter into that male saturated industry, not male dominated.

Jonathan DeYoe: I got that.

Sandy Lamb: You’ve heard my spiel.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, we’ve heard the spiel. For the listeners, we always want to refer to it as male saturated, not male dominated. And you want to just say why since we’re talking about it?

Sandy Lamb: Well, I think words matter. I’m also a speaker coach, so words matter to me. And as a mom of two daughters who both excel in science and are interested in careers in science, when we talk about things as male dominated or dominated by a particular gender, well, it’s going to turn people off. Women or girls are going to look at that and say, this isn’t really for me because I don’t want to be surrounded by people that don’t look like me kind of thing. And so I think the terminology of male saturated just feels softer. It feels more open, and hopefully it encourages more and more girls to pursue something that they can be really great at.

Jonathan DeYoe: Is I’m just adding my own flavor. But it also saturated doesn’t seem loaded with intent, the way dominated seems loaded with intent. I don’t think anyone set out to make engineering or finance or whatever, like all men, that wasn’t the goal, but it’s the reality. And so it is saturated. But I like that better.

Sandy Lamb: Well, yeah, we talked about this, and you’re like, but isn’t it dominated by men? It may have been in the past, but that’s not where we want it to be in the future.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right. Let’s use the words and go in the direction, right?

Sandy Lamb: That’s right.

Jonathan DeYoe: Where does the idea of emotional intelligence come from? Where does this come out of?

Sandy Lamb: Well, when I first got certified as a coach, that’s when I first got exposed to it, because we partner with an organization called TTI Success insights that does assessment, multiple assessment work. So if you’ve heard of disk, if you’ve heard of 360, there’s a number of different assessments, tools that we use as coaches with our clients. And I just got really interested in this idea of emotional intelligence because EQ was one of the assessments that was offered. And when I started my coaching and I was trying to decide how do I grow this business? And I thought, I really want to be on stages, and I really want to speak to people about something that I’m really passionate about. I started talking to a lot of women in the industry, and what I heard over and over again was, well, I can’t show emotion at work. It’s a sign of weakness. I mean, I heard it repeatedly, or I heard, oh, yeah, I’m really self aware when it comes to my emotions. I just don’t talk about them or don’t bring them up because that’s frowned upon in the workplace. So I talk about it in my chapter, in my book, and I’m very clear to tell people that suppression is not an effective self management or self regulation strategy. If we just push this down and push this down, what happens? Eventually it blows up. And you heard my story in my book about, in the chapter about how it blew up for me. It wasn’t my funnest moment. And so it was a great lesson for me, though. And I think that nowadays, the earlier that we can, I’m coaching 40, 50 year old men and women around this subject that had they learned about it in high school or even middle school in terms of how to social and emotional intelligence now is coming into the schools earlier and earlier. And I love it, absolutely love it and applaud that because it’s really difficult for people to deal with emotions. But it is such a part of who we are. We can’t just check that at the door. And so this idea that we can’t show emotion at work or that we can’t bring it to work and open up about those types of things is just, to me, it’s taboo. And that’s another dialogue that I want to change.

Jonathan DeYoe: I want to just kind of go back, define it. What is emotional intelligence?

Sandy Lamb: Well, so emotional intelligence is really your ability to be aware of your emotions as they’re coming up in real time. And the EQ assessments that I do are divided into four key areas when it comes to emotional intelligence. Self awareness, self regulation, social awareness, and social regulation. So it’s about self and then it’s about others. So how well do we know our own emotions and can we manage them effectively? And then how well do we understand how our own emotions impact other people? And how well are we at reading their emotions in a, uh, networking relationship perspective? So it’s key when it comes to interactions and just relationships in general. So that is a very important part of it and something that, in my career, I guess I didn’t realize early on the importance of those relationships. And so the more that you can open up and really share of yourself and be vulnerable and share your leadership in an authentic way, the more you allow your teams to do the same, you give them permission to do the same. And I still have people that worked for me ten years ago or more just reaching out. And how are you, and how’s your family? I mean, everybody that worked for me, I knew their families, I knew their children. I mean, I knew everything about them because I invested, and it was important to me. So that was, uh, what made my decision easy, to just leave my husband’s. Like, you can do this for a living instead of just one small part of your overall job. So that really appealed to me. I think the relationship is, they’re so important.

Jonathan DeYoe: When you think about tiers of leadership and then people that do the work, who is it most important for? Or is it just like, you get different benefits at different levels?

Sandy Lamb: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that it is when we define a leader, right. We talk about who’s a leader. I mean, anybody can be a leader, right? So in my mind, it applies to all levels. But what’s important is I want to educate the people that are in that position, that have people working for them because they set the stage for others to follow. Right. So if they’re not leading with emotional intelligence, then the people underneath them are not going to be either, because they’re going to be like these women that I talk to and say, well, I can’t show emotion or I can’t cry, or I can’t talk about my home life because that’s, God forbid, this is.

Jonathan DeYoe: So funny to me, because there’s a story that reverberates in my head that my dad told me about. He would go look at people that would manufacture parts for the computers that the company he worked for would put together. This is 50, 60 years ago when we just had vacuum tube computers, and he would go and he would interview the managers. This is something he told me. He said, if, uh, you go to the manager and the manager has a mustache, everyone underneath that manager has a mustache, right? If you go to the manager and he’s clean shaven, everyone is clean shaven. So when you say they set the stage, I take that really literally. Like, if you come to work and you talk about your family and the importance of that balance and all this kind of stuff, then you get to lead and everyone will follow. But if you don’t, then everyone just has to buckle down and work and ignore all that crap.

Sandy Lamb: Well, I have to say, I’ve never had a mustache, though I have worked with mustaches.

Jonathan DeYoe: Remember, this is 50 years ago, like, when it was more saturated. Even more saturated.

Sandy Lamb: Got it.

Jonathan DeYoe: So it’s important for leaders. It’s important for people that are. I think you mentioned doing job searches as well. How would you use emotional intelligence when you’re just getting on the work ladder?

Sandy Lamb: I think that the key, and what I’ve really dug deep on is this idea of empathy. And empathy really falls under social awareness in the EQ assessment world. So it’s important to have an understanding of your own emotions. I think it’s important. There’s another piece of emotional intelligence that is in EQ assessment, but I don’t talk about it as much, and that’s motivation. So the piece about motivation is really all about internally. It’s not about, like I’ve told you, I’ve never been motivated by money ever. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some people aspire to just keep climbing the ladder and keep making more money, and that’s wonderful, but that’s never been a motivator for me. So what is internally motivating you? So, emotional intelligence really plays into that from a motivation perspective, understanding what it is that you have a passion for doing. Like, what excites you to get up and go to work every day kind of thing. So there’s a piece of that, I think, that really comes into play when you’re looking at what’s the right role for me. And most people don’t leave their jobs. They leave their supervisors. So, again, it goes back to that relationship. And this idea of, can I work for somebody who doesn’t necessarily align, ah, with my values and beliefs? And I think that’s something we need to ask ourselves. So many times we feel stuck in a role, and whether it’s because of money or for whatever reason, we feel like I have to support my family. That was the hardest part for me, too, is like giving up a six figure income to just start all over again, midlife kind of thing. That was scary. But it’s one of those things, like, I wanted that for me, and I wanted it for my children to be able to see that. To say, you don’t have to, especially as they’re at that age right now in college, trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Look, you don’t have to have it all figured out. At 19 and 20, I thought I did, maybe, but my career has gone so many different directions since then, and now I’m m in a totally different world.

Jonathan DeYoe: You wrote something in the book, or, uh, not in the book, in the chapter that I wanted to pull on a little bit because I want to make sure that I understand it correctly and I think I might be taking it the wrong way. So you wrote, have you ever worked with somebody you don’t like, and then you follow that up with the fact that you don’t like them is not their problem, it’s yours. So please explain that. Ah, why is that important to point out?

Sandy Lamb: I love that. So you’re going to have to tell me afterwards what you thought when you first read that. People do get stumped up by that a little bit. So the message there is that self awareness is the key to emotional intelligence. So you need to be aware of yourself, but you need to own your own emotions and your own behavior. So emotional intelligence begins with personal responsibility. So I say, if you don’t get along with somebody, I can’t control that. I can’t control how they act, I can’t control their behavior. I can only own a thoughtful response to that. So the key to self awareness and, uh, more importantly, self regulation, which is managing your emotions effectively. I’m very careful not to say control and control your emotions, because I also have been known to say you can’t control your emotions any more than you can control breathing. They’re going to happen, they’re going to come up. It’s part of who we are. Right? But, uh, what you want to do is learn how to manage those effectively, and managing those effectively means I’m not going to let your behavior, your bad behavior, reflect poorly on me because I’m going to react and come down to your level kind of thing. I’m going to emotionally react in that moment. That’s not to say that I have always done that. Well, of course, but it’s a work in progress. But that’s why I say it’s not their problem, because they don’t know any better. They go on about their day and they’re going to continue to be the way they are. Right? So all you can do is control or not control. All you can do is manage the way you respond to them. And so I say, own your own thoughtful response rather than an emotional, gut, negative reaction kind of thing.

Jonathan DeYoe: I think that’s pretty much how. That’s kind of how I took it. But the reason I wanted to poke at it was because, and I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, say anything wrong, but I’m going to. My mouth perfectly fits my foot, so if I put my foot in my mouth, just call me on it. I think that we have a moment in time where there’s a lot of blaming for inequality. There’s a lot of blaming or the lack of taking responsibility for the things that I can do to better a situation, my situation, my family situation. Not to say that there isn’t privilege, not to say that there isn’t. Not to say that I wasn’t given a really dealt a really good hand in life, not saying any of those things. It’s just, it seems to me that sometimes when people have the ability to improve their situation by owning their emotions and react in a more thoughtful way, they don’t. And sometimes they point a lot of fingers and they get angry and there’s a lot of social media that comes up and there’s a lot of stuff that happens. Do you see that sort of a cultural norm changing? And then if so, how do we get to the individual and say, hey, just worry about you, like, the emotional intelligence ends with your sphere of activity. You can’t control anybody else. How do we really focus people back on making changes in their choices?

Sandy Lamb: Yeah, I love that question. First of all, have you been stalking my LinkedIn? Because I just did a post on. I just did a post on privilege, honestly, and my Maya Angelou quote that I love, which is do your best until you know better. And when you know better, do better. What you’re talking about is at the heart of my coaching, my executive coaching for women, my very first conversation. And like I say, it doesn’t always fit, like they don’t always buy into it. But what I tell them is, put your head down and do your work. Like, stop worrying about everything else that’s happening around you, because all it is is a distraction and an excuse. One of my biggest. I don’t know if I talked about this in the chapter or not. I’d be surprised if I didn’t. But one of my biggest pet peeves is just people that fall into this victim mindset. Yes, I had a pretty privileged life for the most part, I would say. I talk about my adoption and just being blessed, coming into this family and feeling worthy because I was chosen by this family. Out of everybody in the nursery that day at catholic charities, right, I was the one like, that big, ugly head of hair. It was me, like, wow, I feel pretty blessed. But I had a great life when it comes to that. But doesn’t mean I didn’t face challenges as a woman in a male saturated industry. I mean, I was not always given the opportunities, but I didn’t bitch and moan about it because it didn’t do me any good. Did I have my moments? Sure. But really, what I want is the whole idea of women’s empowerment and being empowered is taking matters into your own hands. Like, don’t complain about what’s happening around you. The way in which you change your situation is you make it happen. So I really want to encourage more and more women that are in those industries to lean in. You don’t need permission, right? Don’t ask for permission. Beg for forgiveness after the fact kind of thing. But don’t sit there and play victim, because that does you no good whatsoever. I mean, it does you no good. And, I mean, I deal with it with my kids, too, not just women. My son likes to play victim a lot, too, and I call him on it because it just doesn’t serve you. And at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s suffering, really, in that scenario. And so find ways to change your situation, but focus on you. Focus on you being the best version of you. And when you are, people will notice it may take a little bit longer, all of that, but in the interim, hopefully, you’re doing what you love to do.

Jonathan DeYoe: And I love that. And I think it’s kind of asking given sort of the public conversation. I think it’s asking people to buck the trend. It’s very trendy to bitch on social media. It’s very trendy to be a victim. And I say this recognizing, just like you said, I’m blessed with many, many privileges. And when I see somebody that is less privileged than I am, but not doing the work and instead complaining about something, I’m just like, I can’t say anything. It doesn’t allow me to say anything. But I want to say, hey, if you just, like you said, put your head down and do the work, you will get recognized. Any employer who sees somebody put their heads down and do the work, they’re going to want to advance that person. That is gold.

Sandy Lamb: Uh, and it’s come true in my coaching too. I mean, my very first executive coaching client, I worked with her for 18 months and she eventually got promoted into a VP position. But she spent a lot of time on our very early sessions, just bitching and moaning. And I listened to it up to a point, and then I was like, okay, are you done? Let’s go do the work.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, time to do the work.

Sandy Lamb: And that’s really what I mean. There’s a book, our last project in Pueblo, Colorado that I was talking about. We read a book called the Oz Principle. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but it’s a great book. And it was like a required reading for all of our leadership team. And we went through a complete cultural transformation. That was a really interesting project where my company was the lead and we had two other prime, very large organizations. So it was a melding of like 1200 employees and really three different corporate cultures. So very difficult circumstances, uh, as far as that goes. But it talks a lot about victim mentality and victim mindset in there. And I think it’s okay to go below the line is what they call it. Like, it’s okay to go below the line, it’s just not okay to dwell there. So I think there are days when you will have those moments, but you can’t live there. You can’t dwell there. You’ve got to come above the line.

Jonathan DeYoe: And I think that the reality is if you do live there, the person that that costs is you. You bear the brunt of that cost. And if we would focus more on that, we have the political divisiveness happens and people get angry with each other. But in that anger, if you then are self reflective and go, huh, that might be true, but for me to excel, I have to do the work. And you realize that then you can excel, but if you don’t and you just succumb to that polarization and ah, they suck and it’s terrible and it’s bad. And I can’t get by because of this and this and this and all kinds of excuses. You suffer, right?

Sandy Lamb: For sure.

Jonathan DeYoe: And you become part of that conversation. In the negative side, nobody wants to.

Sandy Lamb: Help a victim either. That’s the other thing is, you may think that that’s doing you some good, but it’s not. Nobody wants to help somebody who doesn’t want to help themselves.

Jonathan DeYoe: Politicians want to pretend, and, uh, they get a lot of messaging, and that’s unfortunate, but there’s a lot of people that pretend to help the victim because that’s how they get votes. I think that’s a problem anyway. That’s a totally different topic. Let’s not go there.

Sandy Lamb: That’s another podcast show.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s a totally nother podcast show. I got to have another podcast that I can talk about that kind of stuff. So, in the chapter, you talk about those, and you already mentioned sort of the four progressive areas of empathy. And I think you just touched on social awareness is one of them, and self awareness is one of m them. Can you just kind of go through the progression? How does the progression work?

Sandy Lamb: Yeah, the two are self awareness and self regulation. That’s kind of where it starts. Those are dealing with your own emotions and look and really reflecting inwards. So it’s sort of like more about you. And then it moves into what we call others, the other category, which is, now that I’ve gotten in tune and in touch with my own emotions, do I understand the impact that they have on other people? Do I understand how they work to build effective relationships or how they work to tear those down? Uh, depending on how we’re using them. So it’s kind of separated into that self versus others. And I always say self awareness is like the foundation, really. So, if I can’t be aware of my own emotions as they’re coming up in real time, then it makes it very difficult for me to manage them. And also, if I can’t be in tune with my own emotions, then it makes it really hard for me to care about Jonathan or anybody else. Right. It’s like I’m dealing with my own cris, like I can’t really be concerned or empathize with somebody else. So, to me, it feels like whether or not that’s really the way it is in EQ, in the assessment world, uh, for me, it feels like they build on one another. And so it really starts with that idea of self and then works into your interactions with others.

Jonathan DeYoe: Do you recommend something crazy like a meditation practice for improving self awareness?

Sandy Lamb: Oh, absolutely, yeah. If you look at the assessment report, which is great. I love the way it’s laid out because there are those five areas, so motivation is one of them in the one that I give. And so when I work with people, I say, pick an area, and you pick that area. And then you go to that page in the report, and it gives you specific ways in which you can, if Jonathan wants to work on it, literally, and it talks about. So a lot of the things, a couple examples of things that I’ve used with my clients that have worked. If it’s a self awareness type thing, you want to be, like, journaling, you want to be reflecting on whether it be a Monday or a Friday at the end of the week. I don’t always recommend Fridays sometimes because it’s like, by that point, you’re really burnt out. But maybe as you start the week, just reflect on what did I do the week before and reflect on the types of things that trigger you. So when I talk about this idea of managing my emotions or whatever, well, when so and so said this, right, it really set me off. Right. And so the more that you can be in tune to those things that are triggering for you, the more then you can effectively manage them. When it comes to empathy, that really falls, like I said, into that social awareness and the other category. One of the simple ways this, to me, is just so basic and so easy to do. One of the simple ways that we can work on empathy is when I’m having a conversation, I can say, jonathan, right in the middle. I can just throw your name in there. And all of a sudden, when you do, like, how does that make you feel? I know. You’re just like, you perk up. It’s like just this idea of, oh, my gosh, I’m being seen. Um, I’m being heard. I’m being valued. Like, just saying your name. Just the simplest of tools. Uh, that’s what I love about the assessment tool that I use, is that that is just a simple, yet effective way. And I have a client right now that does that so well, and I’m just reinforcing that. I said, you know that when you do that, it’s really key to demonstrating empathy. And she’s so good at that. She’s also falling into the victim mentality. So we got to work on that. But that’s just a simple tool, something that you can do immediately, but you.

Jonathan DeYoe: Have to be authentic with that. I know people that do that who’ve been trained by, in sales. And if you say the person’s name eight times and they’ll fall in love with you as a sales. That kind of thing. Um, you’re aware of that as a sales training tool as well?

Sandy Lamb: No, I was never a saleswoman, so I can’t speak to that. But I will say it’s a great tool for remembering people’s names, too. So that’s what I use it for. But, yeah, if I don’t say, if somebody were to say Sandra, then I know I’m in trouble. Right? That’s how I knew I was in trouble when my mom used Sandra versus Sandy and raised her voice. So not in a condescending tone do we slip the name, you know, in another way that really acknowledges and just makes people feel seen and heard? Empathy. Okay, I’ll take a deeper dive for you into empathy, if that’s.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah.

Sandy Lamb: Because I think what is super important about empathy to me that people don’t necessarily understand is that empathy is not. I agree with you. Okay, so people are like, oh, and I told you, I feel like I’ve had a privileged life. So there are people that have been homeless, have had far worse circumstances for me. Right. And so you think to yourself, well, I can’t empathize with that person. I can’t put myself in their shoes. And really, empathy is not about agreement, and it’s not even necessarily about understanding as much as it is about just listening. Sometimes people just want you to listen. I talk a lot in my coaching about setting intention for conversations and things like that. So sometimes when you walk into your boss’s office, just say, you know what? I just want you to listen. I don’t want you to solve my problem. I don’t want you to fix it. I just want you to listen. And that’s the best gift we can give, is to just set that intention and make it clear about what it is. And sometimes I just want you to listen to me. And the other thing, I think Brene Brown does the best job about distinguishing the difference between sympathy and don’t. Because you grew up homeless and you had such a hard life. Yes, I do feel sympathy for you, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t feel empathy for you. But empathy rarely does a response when I’m sharing something vulnerable and open with you. Rarely does a response solve that or help that situation. So don’t feel called to say or, uh, to solve it or to say something. Just say, thank you for sharing that. Thank you for being willing to share that.

Jonathan DeYoe: It seems really important, though, because you started that with saying you might go into your boss’s office and say, I don’t need you to solve this. I need you to just listen. Right. But that means you have to be aware that what you need is someone to listen, someone with authority to listen. So you have to have that self awareness in order to go and have that social conversation.

Sandy Lamb: Well, and guess what? You also have to have that relationship. Right? So you have to have that relationship with your boss or with your supervisor, even with a coworker, where you can be willing to say, to share vulnerable things and to say, I don’t need you to solve this for me. I just want you to listen. And there’s so much power in. I, uh, talk in the chapter about, I wish there was a way that I could put pictures and stuff in there, because there’s a symbol that I use when I present on this, that is a japanese symbol that demonstrates listening. It’s a combination of symbols. And to actively listen means you use your eyes, means that you use your ears. You are completely not distracted. There are so many factors that go into listening, and this symbol just does this amazing job of bringing it all together to say, active listening. The other thing that’s super important is that when I say to you, Jonathan, how’s your week been? I actually have to care about the response, right? So often people just say, hey, how’s it going? How’s your week? Good. Yeah. And so I talk a lot about the importance of. I said this to my son the other day, don’t make a statement when you can ask a question, because when you make statements, you’re talking at people, you’re not talking with them, and you are assuming that you already know what they need. Right. Ask the question, bring them into the conversation, then care about what it is that they actually say in response to it. Uh, so often people just like these niceties, how are you? How’s your day? But we don’t really care about how their day is. If we did, we would sit and listen.

Jonathan DeYoe: Got to listen. So I ask everyone to simplify things for us. So there’s an enormous amount of noise, right. So just really simply, if you met somebody that you saw, you wanted to help quickly, what is the one thing you would say to them? Do this and you will have better personal and financial outcomes.

Sandy Lamb: I would say it kind of goes back to what we have been talking about, and that is this idea of ownership and accountability. I can’t hold other people accountable to expectations. Number one, if I haven’t been clear about what those expectations are, but if I haven’t, demonstrated that same behavior myself. So I think it’s really, this idea of personal accountability is just so important to me in life, not just workplace, but also home. Same way with my kids. I can’t ask you to do something that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself.

Jonathan DeYoe: I think the penultimate coaching answer, if.

Sandy Lamb: I’m being too cliche.

Jonathan DeYoe: No, not that at all. Not at all. If you’re in the gym and you have a trainer, the trainer holds you accountable. Like, if you have an accountability partner that you do the thing and you report the thing to the person and they report their thing to you, that’s accountability. That is the number one thing. And if you’re accountability to yourself, that’s everything.

Sandy Lamb: Well, and I spend a lot of time early on in my business deciding, am I a coach or am I a consultant? That could probably be in a whole nother podcast episode as well. But in my mind, what sets me apart as a coach versus a consultant is, do you want me to do the work, or do you want me to help you to figure out how to do the work right. And ultimately, how we become better is to figure out how to do these things for ourselves. So, as a coach, it’s my job to hold you accountable, but it’s also my job to ask the right questions and pull this information out of you. Right. So it’s about the personal accountability, but my role as a coach is also about, uh, so often we know the answers, we have the answers within us. We just need somebody that asks the right questions to pull m them out.

Jonathan DeYoe: I totally agree. On the flip side of that little piece of advice, let’s say that there’s, again, tons of noise, a lot of people trying to sell ideas and sell products. What is one thing that they might be doing that you would say, hey, stop doing that?

Sandy Lamb: Well, I had a similar conversation, so I’ll share this with, uh, this was, uh, not my executive coaching client, but a speaker coaching client. And I just was on a live LinkedIn. There was five or six really hot shut women onto this. They’ve clearly made it. And yet the first ten or 15 minutes of the conversation was them telling me how wonderful they are and name dropping and how this and how that. And I think, talk about eliminating the noise. When I coach my speakers, I say, don’t waste the first ten minutes on stage telling me about your resume or how wonderful you are because you were selected to be on that stage for a reason. They already know that you’re going to deliver value. So I think we waste a lot of time with telling people how great we are and just feeling like we need to do that, when in reality, we’re where we are because of all of those great choices and great relationships and great leadership that we demonstrated. So just embrace that and stop feeling the need to validate or justify or rationalize.

Jonathan DeYoe: Assume your value.

Sandy Lamb: Assume your value.

Jonathan DeYoe: Assume your value.

Sandy Lamb: Just stand like I’m worthy, period. I don’t need to sit here and tell you, because in my experience, those that need to tell you how wonderful they are are typically not so wonderful.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Or they’re really struggling with their own self value. Like, they’re really struggling. So, uh, I promised at the beginning that there’d be a couple zingers at the end. Right? So we’re to that point where it’s zinger time.

Sandy Lamb: Zinger time. Okay.

Jonathan DeYoe: Zinger time. And they’re not zingers. I say that, but it’s because it surprises some people. So what was the last thing you changed your mind about?

Sandy Lamb: I’m reading a book now in my Bible study group called Uncommon Ground by Timothy Keller. And, interestingly about, it’s really rooted in your faith in Christianity, but it’s this idea of, how do we coexist with people that don’t think and believe the same things that we believe. So I think the last thing I changed my mind about had to do with this. And again, it was like taking my own advice in terms of listening, rather know. We have this mindset. And I actually was watching it on a show. The other called it’s a type of bias, but it’s this idea, know, if I win, then Jonathan has to know. And so one of the things that zero sum bias is actually, that’s what it’s called, zero sum bias. So this idea, and I think that what has been made a profound difference for me, is this idea that, uh, there can be a win win without a like. And maybe my win is, you know, and maybe if we entered every conversation to say, there’s something for me to learn, know, I know that Jonathan knows something that I don’t. And if I enter it with the idea that I want to learn something new versus, I want to just change his mind about we. We’re always having these conversations. It depends on. Again, it goes back to intent, like, am I having this conversation with you? Am I talking louder? Am I going over and over a point because I want to change your mind? Or is it just because I want you to hear my perspective? And I have these conversations with my kids as well. It’s like, I don’t necessarily agree with you on a particular subject, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not open to hearing what you have to say about it and understanding why you feel the way you do. If we approached more conversations with that open mindedness, rather than like, I win, you lose, and it’s all about me being right and you being wrong, that’d be powerful.

Jonathan DeYoe: It’d be huge. That was a mind change for you. So a month ago, two months ago.

Sandy Lamb: You were like, I don’t know if I’d go that far. It’s been a while. It’s probably not the most recent thing, but it’s just something that comes. It’s being reinforced so much with this book that I’m reading and I’m sharing more with the women in my Bible study that has just come across louder and louder for me, I think, for sure.

Jonathan DeYoe: So can you name a place that you’ve been to really had an impact, a place that’s had a really big impact on who you are today? And what was the impact?

Sandy Lamb: Bali, Indonesia. It was 2020. And I was there in the middle of COVID so I went to go speak at a women’s leadership and empowerment conference. I flew out there, like, on March 5, I think, and I flew back on March 13. So, literally, Covid had hit, and it was such a. Like, I felt like I was in a bubble. I honestly didn’t want to leave because things there were so different than things were in the US. Thankfully, I wasn’t listening to the news and wasn’t really watching tv. The profound impact that Bali had on me. I’m going back to Bangkok in March this year to speak at that same conference, because just that whole part of the world is the people are amazing. When you talk about feeling welcomed, feeling valued, it’s incredible the things that they do that make you feel like, I mean, there was chaos happening in the rest of the world, and I would come down and get my coffee, and they would bow to me in the morning and say, good morning. And it was just like, I felt like I was in a whole nother world to the point where I really didn’t want to come back. But it’s one of those things. Like, it had a profound, uh, impact on me. That same organization tomorrow, people. I went to be a board member for that organization so that I could continue supporting them and continue speaking at these conferences and just sharing that experience with other people.

Jonathan DeYoe: Sounds wonderful. I just want to say, uh, as expected, this is a great conversation. I appreciate you coming on. How do people connect with you?

Sandy Lamb: So my website is altitude exec.com and my email is slam at altitude exec.com and you can find me on LinkedIn. Sandy Lamb And that’s probably the best way to.

Jonathan DeYoe: Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Sandy Lamb: Yeah, it’s on LinkedIn.

Jonathan DeYoe: Okay, great. Well, thank you so much for coming on. There’s a lot of value here. Let’s all remember to, uh, work our way towards that empathy.

Sandy Lamb: Yeah. Thanks so much.

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