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June 30, 2023

#62: Kymberly Dakin-Neal: The Theory of Curiosity and Listening

#62: Kymberly Dakin-Neal: The Theory of Curiosity and Listening

My guest for this episode is Kymberly Dakin-Neal. She is the author of "Head, Heart, and Hands Listening in Coach Practice." It is available for Pre-Order on Amazon now and will be released by Routledge Publishers on July 4, 2023

It is a phenomenal book about the art of listening. In fact, our conversation was an exercise in listening as we explored a number of topics, including:

  • How do you open up to different points of view? 
  • How do you let in different points of view? 
  • What does it look like to truly tune in? 

Kym has a point of view about listening, and it is much more than just parroting back what someone else has said. In her view, listening is a whole body experience that can change outcomes. She tells the most wonderful story about making a choice between finishing her emails or hunting for earthworms. Who knew earthworms could be so memorable!

It's always a treat for me to share these conversations with another coach, and you bet I took a bunch of notes for my own reference, and I’m guessing you will too.

Here is her official Bio:

Kymberly Dakin-Neal is a mindset coach specializing in effective communication and professional presence for over a decade. She works successfully with newly promoted employees, women running for office, entrepreneurs pitching new products. Kym helps train medical professionals in more productive listening and patient communication via the Standardized Patient program at Tufts and Kaiser Permanente. Kym has also developed and recently sold a bookmarking app called, "Nugget" to eliminate the need to take notes in online meetings. She is a mindset coach with Positive Intelligence. Her book “Head, Heart, and Hands Listening in Coach Practice” will be released in July, 2023 by Routledge Publishers.


  • The theory of curiosity and listening. (3:04)
  • When we stop being curious about each other. (9:06)
  • Social media’s demand for engagement. (15:54)
  • The fear of failure and success. (21:21)
  • The sage powers of empathy. (29:18)
  • How does your awareness come to you? (39:21)
  • Money vs. Time. (44:17)
  • The first time I got 360 feedback. (50:04)
  • Putting the information in a good mom place. (58:14)
  • The saboteur influence and the pressure gap. (1:04:59)
  • Coaching Real Leaders podcast. (1:11:02)
  • How do you train people to listen to your dreams? (1:15:37)
  • The two marathons of writing a book. (1:21:03)
  • The value of setting clear boundaries. (1:25:36)
  • How to make totems out of old pottery.
  • The theory of curiosity and listening. (3:04)
  • When we stop being curious about each other. (9:06)
  • Social media’s demand for engagement. (15:54)
  • The fear of failure and success. (21:21)
  • The sage powers of empathy. (29:18)
  • How does your awareness come to you? (39:21)
  • Money vs. Time. (44:17)
  • The first time I got 360 feedback. (50:04)
  • Putting the information in a good place. (58:14)
  • The saboteur influence and the pressure gap. (1:04:59)
  • Coaching Real Leaders podcast. (1:11:02)
  • How do you train people to listen to your dreams? (1:15:37)
  • The two marathons of writing a book. (1:21:03)
  • The value of setting clear boundaries. (1:25:36)
  • How to make totems out of old pottery.

Additional Links:

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker

An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us by Ed Yong

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk 


Intro  00:02

Welcome to Creative spirits unleashed where we talk about the dilemmas of balancing work and life. And now, here's your host, Lynn Carnes.


Lynn  00:20

Welcome to the creative spirits unleashed Podcast. I'm Lynn Carnes, your host, my guest for this episode is Kym Dakin. She is the author of head, heart and hands listening and coach practice. The book is coming out on July 4, if you're hearing this before July 4 2023, it's coming. And if you're hearing it after go buy it. It is a phenomenal book about the art of listening. And our conversation really was an exercise in listening. We didn't talk about the book the whole time, as much as we talked about curiosity, and what does it take to get more of it? How do you open up to different points of view? How do you let in different points of view? What does it look like to truly tune in? Kym has a point of view about listening. That is it's much more than just parroting back what someone else has said in her way in her book. Listening is a whole by experience. And it changes outcomes. She knows what she's doing about it because she's trained people in very difficult environments where they have an agenda, but they also need to listen in order to create relationship. For example, she worked with the environmental agency in the government to help people going out in the field talk to difficult landowners. So the truth is, by the way, I call them difficult landowners if you listen, they just have a different agenda. So she's learned how to teach people how to listen to each other. Through that. I'm sure you will totally enjoy this conversation with Kym. Let me tell you a little bit more about her. She's a mindset coach specializing in effective communication and professional presence for over a decade. She works successfully with newly promoted employees, women running for office, entrepreneurs pitching new products, and more. Kym helps train medical professionals and more productive listening and patient communication via the standard patient program at Tufts and at Kaiser Permanente. Kym has also developed and recently sold the book we just mentioned ourselves sorry, she was recently sold a book marketing app called nugget to eliminate the need to take notes online in meetings. She's a mindset coach with Positive Intelligence and her book had heart hands and listening and coaching practice will be released, as I said in July of 2023. So I hope you enjoy this podcast with Kym Dakin. Kym. Welcome to the podcast.


Kym  03:04

Thank you so much, Lynn.


Lynn  03:06

I'm so glad you're here. I've been thinking about a couple of words that come up when thinking of you and thinking of your work. And it's these two words, listening and curiosity. Can you can you tell me Is it even possible to disconnect those two words? Tell me what your theory of curiosity and listening is?


Kym  03:30

Is it possible to disconnect those two words? Well, you can be curious about something without tuning into the sound of it. You know, you can be curious about something and go search for something online without without listening to something. But I think it's hard to deeply listen, without a sense of curiosity. And I know for myself, if I am not in tune with my own curiosity, my listening is is really compromised. Interesting, but I love that question. That's a really interesting question. Yeah, I can see


Lynn  04:23

your mind your wheels are spinning go away. Can I get fit?


Lynn  04:28

Because i i


Lynn  04:31

So have had to cultivate curiosity for myself. And it's made me wonder why did I have to cultivate it when it's the most natural? Yeah, like young living beings are naturally curious when I got my puppy in the fall. Her curiosity about dam kill me. Her she was wanting to check out everything. And when you look at little Kids and again, I think parents of toddlers will say, Yeah, their curiosities about them kill me, because it's just such a natural thing. And somewhere along the line,


Kym  05:09

we lose it, we lose it. What happens? What happens to our curiosity? Where did it go? Question, and I am so glad you're asking it. Because you're right, as adults as working adults, as part of our very, very hyperactive, hyper connected world, we somewhere have lost the curiosity muscle. And you got to get it back. You got to cultivate it, you got to exercise it. And I think I'm coming to believe at least from my own curiosity, what I've witnessed in others, the key element to tapping into your curiosity, curiosity, is to be willing to spend the time to tune in to really ask questions to Google something, right? Even just Googling something taking the time to do that. It can dismantle our sense of, you know, the hamster wheel. Right? And if I don't allow myself to take the time to explore something, then my curiosity muscle flattens out. Yeah, well,


Lynn  06:32

what what would you say it we're putting in place of curiosity in that case?


Kym  06:37

I think we're putting into place activity, hyper achievement. I know for myself, sometimes I'll say, Well, yeah, I'm gonna I'm gonna list that thing I'm curious about. But I can't dig into it right now. Because I've got 20 things I got to accomplish first, right? Or maybe I'll dig into that when I'm on vacation. Or it's, it's shunted aside. And what I've noticed is, again, going back to little kids. My husband has two grandkids, who are just full of beans and in high curiosity. And the other day, they landed in our house. And the oldest one came to me in tears and said, My pet wormy died. And I was like, Oh, it was earthworm with dry, dried up. And it died. He said, quick, we have to go find some other earthworms. And I was like, you know, I was in the middle of reading the paper. I was in the middle of doing my emails. But there was something so compelling about his need to find earthworms that I'm, before I know it, I'm out in the backyard in my pajamas, digging for worms, right? Because I didn't want to say no, to his pain. And his curiosity is where do we find earthworms? I know, worms, right. So we go out there with a little trowel. We dig up for earthworms. GRAEME Kym gets to impart wormy wisdom about how you keep them alive. And, you know, it was just, it was delightful. And so much


Lynn  08:40

more memorable than your


Kym  08:43

email. Oh, God. Oh, yes. Yes. I know for myself that social media, all the things we're supposed to be doing for our careers and doing to get our books out into the world, doing doing doing doing doing, like it flattens, Latins, our curiosity. And not only that, when we stop being curious about each other, when we stop being curious and ask, why do you believe that? What's underneath that? Tell me the story behind that. When we start just insulating ourselves and surrounding ourselves with people who think the way we do think people who do the same kinds of things we do people make the same amount of money that we do. It's just, we're all in silos. We've been siloed and siloing is the opposite of curiosity. Yeah.


Lynn  09:47

And, you know, I silos was a big word we used to use in my corporate world when I was in banking, and now I work in with and I think you do to work with hospitals and so forth. It's stunning. In how quickly people can get in silos where they're not crossing those boundaries of, you know, I remember in one of the hospitals, especially during COVID, they were having a hard time getting rooms, getting people out of the emergency room because the rooms weren't ready because housekeeping and the emergency room were able to coordinate because they were in two separate two different silos.


Kym  10:25

Right, and then it becomes dangerous.


Lynn  10:27

And that way, now you're talking about people's lives. But but it happens. I live in a small community that is 1000 people, but there are three very distinct communities within the community, those who are like front, those who are in the resort and those who are outside of that. And, you know, politicians use those in column voting blocks. Yeah. But but it's, and you know, you you were very, that you said something very savvy. I feel like when you said we have been siloed. Because I do feel like we I don't want to completely pick on politicians. But I do feel like they use messages to create disconnect from each other, and to take away our curiosity and send messages that you're supposed to know, as opposed to being curious, so that they can get their way. And it becomes a form of brainwashing to us even though I wouldn't think we think of it as brainwashing. You agree, invitation


Kym  11:27

to not dig deeper. It's an invitation to not be curious. Invitation to simple answers. Black and white, good and bad. Us in them. Yep. Right or wrong. Right.


Lynn  11:41

And I struggle with it. Because again, back to that whole busy, and I'm trying to achieve things and it's like, give me the headline, don't make me dig in. Don't make me find the nuance. But there's always nuanced. It's always


Kym  11:53

nuanced. But we're also exhausted. I mean, aren't you? Isn't there a part of you? That's exhausted? By all the things I'm told I need to keep up with? Well, again, I'm


Lynn  12:08

told, right, I'm tall. As you know, I have been working very hard to start shedding those Yes, things. In other words, I'm trying to stop shitting on myself. And, you know, really not buying into and agreeing to all the things I'm supposed to do. That's right. So it's become much, much more targeted. Not that I've got it mastered. But I, I like, I'll give you an example. The other night, my husband wanted to go to an event that he thought he should do. Yes. And I said, You know what, I'm just not doing it. And it wasn't a fight at all. It was just, that's important to you. But it's not to me, and unless you need me there for some reason, and I will be there if you need me to be. I would much prefer to stay home and hang out with the dog because I haven't seen her all day.


Kym  13:00

Yes. Right. Right. But that's, you know, that's, that's not a lack of curiosity on your part that is setting your own boundaries, and naming what you need,


Lynn  13:12

which is I think, what gives me space to be more curious. That's it, because I think that's I think that's your point is we've lost the


Kym  13:18

mental space. And frankly, we things come to


Lynn  13:23

a so easy. I've, I've been I've read Sapiens recently, have you read the book Sapiens, I am not familiar with this. It's it's a short history of human kind. And it talks a lot about the hunter gatherer society. And for the last couple of years, I've been thinking a lot about going all the way back to like Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how we were as small bands of people. How were we hardwired to be in the world, because in the current modern world is moving so fast. I feel like we're getting disconnected from our human nature, which I believe is naturally curious. We don't have to go hunt for food, we don't have to count on each other, somebody to take care of skinning and somebody else to take care of planting and somebody else to take care of making up the clothes and so forth and so on. And all we have to do is hit a couple of buttons, I mean, really easy buttons on Amazon, it shows up at our doorstep. And so we've lost track of if you will, the correct language is supply chain, but how things come to us and I feel like that has made my curiosity less of a necessity. And more of a luxury.


Kym  14:35

That's a really good point. Yeah, more of a luxury. Right? Same way, it's a luxury in terms of time, you know? Right. And so, if I feel like I can't possibly follow my curiosity until I can get stuff off my to do list. It's like, time becomes a luxury and Yes, it's gotta move it from the luxury column to the necessity column.


Lynn  15:05

Well, isn't it interesting though, that I just like, look at the paradox, we were just talking about how busy we are. So if our law if, if computers made our lives easier, like I remember doing spreadsheets, for example, by hand, I still have some from when my when I was in college and like, I started to spreadsheet Queen of the universe with a pencil or ruler and a piece of graphic paper, or, you know, column to paper. And now, of course, I've got Excel. But if, if computers make things easier if Amazon's made things easier if the modern world has made our lives easier, why are we so damn busy? Yes. Is it really easier? Have we really improved anything? Or have we just become like, I don't know, electrical zombies? Because the like, we're surrounded by electrical fields all the time? I don't know. Yeah.


Kym  15:53

Like I agree with that. Also. So much wood is supposed to make our lives easier. As far as the internet, computers, it demands us to engage with it on a consistent basis. It doesn't just do its job and stay in the background silently. It wants us to engage. And I think that is part of the the trap of it. And I keep, you know, trying to discern which social media channels I'm really going to pay attention to, because I can't do them all. Nor do I want to do them all. Yeah. Because again, it's a it's a communication channel, it becomes its own community. And it demands engagement. It does. I've got to pick and choose otherwise. I'm just, you know, I'm just poking around hurting things.


Lynn  17:00

Doesn't mean anything, right.


Kym  17:02

And it's I'm not engaging in conversation. I'm just, I'm just getting things off my to do list. And it just feels so unsatisfying. Yeah, well, there's


Lynn  17:12

no, there's no end in that achievement game. I, you know, have thought about a variety of things I've achieved. And it's interesting, because on the, on the front side of it, before I've achieved it, it feels like, if I can just get that when I reached this point where I have gotten to that place, I will be okay. Things are gonna be good. And like, I'm a, you know, I'm a water skier. And I remember several years ago, I was skiing in the tournament scene. And my whole thing was I wanted to run a pass in a tournament at a certain speed 32 miles an hour. And that's fast for a woman and I did it and pumped my fist and walked around, you know, feeling amazing for oh, I don't not even by the time we'd gotten in the car. The thing was over, like, the excitement was over. And then I came home and it was like, Okay, now what's next, and I kept trying to go for the like, next thing. But as I've sort of continued to develop my self awareness, I started record and fell off that horse in 2017, which really changed things for me. I began to realize that just that mindset of needing to achieve achieve achieve takes you away from the moment and it takes me away from you know, I love your language called tuning in. I'm not tuning in when I'm trying to achieve


Kym  18:47

that's right there is in the Positive Intelligence coaching model that I've undertaken. There's actually a saboteur called the hyper achiever, which is very big in my saboteur lineup. It always switches places, between one and two with hyper achiever and restless restless is distraction, you know, running up the new shiny thing, which is curiosity light, you know, and it and it for me, it's like, oh, wow, let's follow that for a while and then it same kind of thing. It just fizzles out.


Lynn  19:27

Right. Look, there's a bird. I'm really good at that one, too. Right. You know, so now are the is this tell me about this model you just described? Yeah, Positive Intelligence. All


Kym  19:35

right. Here's that shameen develop this coaching model. Several years ago, several decades ago, actually. He was an Iranian immigrant whose family moved to the States when he was very young. He had a very hard upbringing. And it it turned him into a pretty bitter controlling person. He was also an extremely gifted engineer. So he started a couple of businesses that were highly successful until they collapsed because nobody wanted to work with him. And the last business, he started, the board got together and ran an intervention, and said, You have got to learn to work with people better, because nobody can stand you, and your business is going to die. So he got curious, he started digging into his own mental habits and associations. And he came up with this framework, nine different saboteurs that are in alignment with one's internal critic that he called judge, and also five sage powers, ah, that we can strengthen and employ to neutralize the saboteurs. And the saboteurs are based in our childhood responses to stress. So they were erected internally, to help us through hard situations. So they're not necessarily negative, except that as we develop and grow, they become more and more fear based. So I know that you and I have talked about our hyper achievers, our impulse to do and accomplish, that became my way of dealing with a family dynamic, where all the attention went to my younger sister, because she had ADHD off the charts. And we didn't even know what to name it at that time. So the only way I could gain parental attention was to achieve achieve achieve achieve straight A's, the lead in the play, you know, a really good pianist won competitions, the same sort of thing you're talking about. Yeah. Right. It's like the satisfaction of those accomplishments is gone. In a matter of minutes, or maybe hours at most.


Lynn  22:19

I call that my gold star mentality. Because that's what I did. I was an A student, I had a younger sister, she, she, you know, probably wasn't getting more attention than me. But I felt like she was. Cuz, you know, my whole world was rocked when she showed up. It's like, Wait, I thought I was the only one. And now that


Kym  22:38

I have that in common. And that little


Lynn  22:41

one seems to be needing more attention than me now. I don't understand, you know, so yeah. And so I was Miss achiever, and I literally did make straight A's all the way through college. I mean, from grade school through college, it was one of my big things. And


Kym  22:56

yeah, yeah, the same thing, double major in college, straight A's summa cum laude, you know, the minute I graduated from college, I got mono. That was my body telling me that. Oh,


Lynn  23:12

yeah. Isn't it interesting how our body


Lynn  23:16

will catch up with us? Yeah.


Lynn  23:18

And I, as you were speaking about those nine, sample tours, and the sage powers, I feel like the the core of all of our human work takes some form of this and I love watching how different people make sense of


Lynn  23:38

how do I


Lynn  23:41

begin to tap into who I was born to be the sage within me? Yes. And get past that wall that my young child that was damaged and all of us were damaged in some way? Absolutely. That was damaged in childhood that wall that I erected to get me by, yes. How do I get through that in a way that safe and the body is such a key, you know, vessel Vander Kirk's book The Body Keeps the Score is such an important work because as I've discovered, when I met when I'm doing that work, my body is changing. Like I can feel in my body where I have held certain long term emotions and walls. That's


Kym  24:29

right. That's right. That comes up in my coaching practice too. Like we hold tension and stress in so many places in in our bodies. There was one person I was working with Zoom was a runner, and her her husband. I think actually, you know, Julie Hughes's story,


Lynn  24:54

I know Yes, I know. I do know


Kym  24:57

that to you from your but I I'm so much stress around her husband's illness was in her ankle to where the news of him having a dreaded disease, made her unable to walk, even though there was nothing wrong with her ankle, but that's where her stress went. Yeah, yes. Wow.


Lynn  25:22

Well, and it will become eventually it will manifest into things that are very real.


Kym  25:27

Absolutely. It absolutely will.


Lynn  25:29

You know, I saw, it might have been in the Body Keeps the Score, I can't remember, but because I've read several books on this topic, but I remember, one of the stories was somebody who got ALS. So Lou Gehrig's disease. And what the medical professionals around this person had noted was, for some reason, the nicest people were the ones who got it, meaning not nice, because they were socially nice, but nice to the point where they gave up themselves. For the sake of other people. That's right. And if you think about Lou Gehrig's disease, what it does is, takes away your ability to move.


Kym  26:13

Wow. And so that


Lynn  26:19

and so you start looking and actually one of the seminal works on this is you can heal your life by Louise Hay, which I thought was a crazy book, when I first saw it, I read it, and I was like, nobody ever taught me this. And this doesn't look right. And, you know, she outlines kind of how those things can manifest in the body. And I found it to be tremendously accurate.


Kym  26:38

She was a real visionary in that area, for sure. Yes.


Lynn  26:41

And and, you know, was able to self proclaimed cure herself of cancer, which I highly doubted when she was in her 60s. But I think she lived well under 80s or 90s. And if you make it past 80, to me, you've you've everything else after that is gravy, right? Like I gave her that. Checkmark, she she obviously did something. Okay. Right. Yeah, this is the thing is that our bodies will hold us back because we're not able to tune in which our body is the tuning fork. That's because we've erected this wall.


Kym  27:16

Well, yeah, and I like this. This is fascinating about Lou Gehrig's disease, because what you're describing is people who can erect boundaries, who are always doing others, and that is the pleasers saboteur intelligence lineup. I have not coached anyone who's female, who does not have that somewhere high up in their saboteur alignment. Because that's how we're socialized. And to getting past that, for some people is a real challenge. It is so deep, it's so deep. Because if you think


Lynn  28:02

about us, humans, we can't fend for ourselves. We have to have other people we do from birth either. And but even even as adults, regardless of homes. I mean, it is a complete fallacy to think somebody can go live off the grid and live on their own and not have help. The guy that


Kym  28:19

shows up by themselves, pull themselves up from


Lynn  28:23

the bootstraps. Yeah, look around you. You're not you know, I used to say everybody except for that guy that's living out in the mountains that they think was the bomber in Atlanta, because this for a while this guy can't remember his name, but he was living off the mountains of North Carolina. He was supposed to be like this mountain man that could do it. And in the and guess what they found out that he was getting food at the back of the grocery store. He was getting help to


Kym  28:48

do that. Oh, you're talking about the guy they were searching


Lynn  28:51

for, for searching for in the mountains. Right? So he was the like, I thought maybe the one exception and I'm sure I mean, we know people who have have survival stories out in the mountains in the woods, but but the truth is, we really just can't live alone, we cannot live a fulfilled life alone. And so that pleaser is going to come up because we need some measure of understanding that we have to live in community. That's right. It's when it's overused. That's the problem


Kym  29:18

over us. That's an based on a certain amount of fear. Always comes to fear doesn't it always comes to fear. It's either what is is this impulse based in fear, or is it based in love? And that's the sage powers are really all about love. And one of them getting back to what we started this conversation with. One of them is the Explorer power, which is curiosity.


Lynn  29:44

What are some of the other ones in the sage? I'm really curious to know how


Kym  29:47

they be empathy, curio, explore power, innovate power, which is coming up with creation. Yeah, creative solutions. Navigate which is widening your perspective, being able to discern what's important. This navigate is tricky. For me, everything seems important all the time, which is a recipe for insanity. And finally, action. And what I like about that lineup is that it goes from internal to external. It goes from now to young. Yeah, right. Well, and okay, so, and for me, I know that I can be guilty of taking action, way too soon. Before. Right before I've worked through empathy and all the others,


Lynn  30:40

we had a saying when I worked at Bank of America called the way we did everything was ready fire aim. Yeah. There it is. Yeah. Right, because we just move to action so much more quickly. But when I look at those words, and then I just, I, again, I take myself back to what it would have been like, and I can only know this from reading books and watching movies, to live in a hunter gatherer type society, explore, innovate, navigate, take action, empathy, like caring for each other. Was it Margaret Mead that said, they found the first time they found evidence of somebody having been haven't had a broken bone that that's when they knew humans began to create community because they had been able to heal the bone. They had had enough empathy around them, that somebody else could take care of them, while a large bone like I think it was a femur healed. So that was evidence of empathy in that group, because it's like, we know you can't move. So we will bring you your food, we will take care of you until this very large bone knits itself back together.


Kym  31:53

What a great story. Wow.


Lynn  31:57

So I think it was Margaret Mead that found that and I just find that's, like something that's missing for us. Now. We're like, not always, but it's just I look at those five things and go, that's who we were born to be? How do we find ourselves back that way?


Kym  32:12

That's right. That's exactly right. And I, I think what I will cause to me about the Positive Intelligence model, is that for one thing is an engineer. So he's come up with an app that is full of wick ab exercises, just I mean, do this, this is this at its simplest, and you can do this. No matter where you are, no matter who you with, you just take your thumb and a finger and you rub it, rub them against each other so that you can feel the ridges in your fingertips. You keep doing this, and you keep paying attention to what's going on to you physically. And after a while I notice in doing this, that I have slowed myself down. I just did the same thing, right? I mean, and that's simple. That's not getting your meditation pillow and telling yourself, you have to sit there for 20 minutes, which I personally have never been able to really effectively do. Yeah, right. I like


Lynn  33:24

this a lot. I like things that you can do. In between, in between, because all of my clients are having to learn as they go, they don't get the luxury of going away for multi day retreats as much as they used to, or even taking time out to go meditate if they want to during the day. I've always felt like my work was to show them as you just did me. How do you meditate? And the work because it is the work. That's it. That's it. So I it's funny that you gave me the that you specifically said the ridges on the fingers. I'm currently reading a book called An immense world. And literally last night, the chapter I was reading, they were talking about the power of human touch and how sensitive we are relative to other animals. The other one that is faster than us and better is the sea otter. Because they have really like they have to be able to dive down and figure out the difference between an oyster and a rock and a clam and so forth in the ocean. And they've tested them on ridges on like plastic boards, and were as accurate as they are on feeling. Very slight differences in the ridges from one board to the other. Right but the otter the sea otter is super fast. Yeah, they do it much faster than we do like in milliseconds, right. They can tell the difference between I mean, the different boards, but, but the fact that we have that as a superpower that we are at our fingertips are incredibly sensitive. And that dexterity is one of the things that simply separates us from a lot of other animals. Because Can you imagine a bear? For example, big bear claws tried to do that. This is a fascinating exercise. So how did you come to start finding such like, practical things? Like, what was it that called you to find? Not the ethereal and esoteric but but the grounded stuff like you do?


Kym  35:41

Um, you know, I think it was over time, it wasn't the result of any big event, but a dawning realization that I needed something that could keep me in my world. I'm not a person who wants to, you know, I think I'm extremely fortunate that way. I don't feel the need to step away and recover from my life. Very, you know. But if I don't, I realized several years ago, if I can't come up with a way to tune in and slow myself down, I'm just going to be stuck on the surface of my experience. And it's extremely unsatisfying. For me, at least I found that extremely unsatisfying, as a place to live. That means I have surface relationships, I have surface accomplishments. And I started to realize that one of the things I was missing was that feeling of being able to be curious, and to dig in, and to ask questions, and to follow my work, wherever my curiosity might take me. I deeply, deeply missed that. And so I figured that I needed to find something I could do consistently during the day, that would slow me down. So I started experimenting with what I call, like breathing brakes, right. It's like, the transition time between activities, or transition time between places. If I if I had an appointment, I would show up, I would sit in the parking lot. And just take five deep breaths, and notice what's around me, right. And when I got to the place, if I was sitting like in a waiting room or waiting for an appointment, whatever, I would sit there, I would try to take between three and five deep breaths and do the same thing. And I started to notice that I was a much better parent. When I did this. I was much better partner. And my relationships, were starting to deepen, because within those breathing breaks, more interesting questions would come up for me that I could I could ask whoever I was conversing with, I could tune in more to what their experience was about. This was long before I started coaching. But I on that track, I know that there are certain things I need to do every day, that sort of constitute a ritual for me, that will set my day off much better. I mean, when Rob's grandson came in and sort of interrupted my ritual, I could have gone to a place of, well, no, we'll do that later. But like I described before, there was something so compelling about it. And so deeply satisfying, to the point where that happened last week, and it's still in my mind, it's still resonating. It's in our hearts, that it's in my heart and


Lynn  39:21

as you pointed to your heart just then.


Kym  39:23

That's right. Plus, my daughter in law's said one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. She said, Kym, you're like Miss Frizzle in the magic school bus. Oh, thank you so much. My daughter Skylar evolved out of the Magic School Bus way too quick for me.


Lynn  39:45



Kym  39:46

I love that.


Lynn  39:47

Oh, that's so funny and I don't think we I don't think we watched it. I'm feeling like I want to go understand this a little better. So how over as you've, you know, been on your Journey and since we're fellow coaches, we both I feel like coaches. I feel like we become coaches because we need coaching. We needed coaching, and we need coaching.


Kym  40:09

Thank you. I'm so glad you said. Absolutely, absolutely. Yes,


Lynn  40:15

it was missing in my life way too long. I can't even imagine what my career would have been like if I had discovered having a coach sooner. And so what happened though, as I began to have coaches, is, they just would ask questions that would prompt awareness in me. And it came in different ways. How does your awareness come to you? Like it? Has it been in big epiphanies? Does it come in silent whispers? Does it grow like the dawn where it's sort of like, you can't you can't you know, if you think about the dawn, in the mornings, there's like this moment where it's like, when does it really get fully light, like Dawn lasts for a while. And at first, there's just that little whisper of light, I mean, barely there.


Kym  41:04

That's grow for me. That's a beautiful question. And this is what's coming to mind for me. A couple years ago, it was Maria Shriver has several books out. And she, she's got a podcast, I believe. She runs the Sunday, Sunday newspaper, the Sunday News. And she told this beautiful story of a friend of hers, who showed up at her door one day with a large vase and a bag of marbles. And he said, Maria, you've only got a limited number of days left on this earth. How many of those days are going to be meaningful for you? And the question is, what constitutes a meaningful day. And I've started tracking meaningful days itself, are because they're not necessarily the good days. But oftentimes, they're the days where I learned something. And sometimes those learnings are painful. I'm in a coach group. It took me a long time actually meant to get into coaching. Probably because I felt like everybody and their mother was a coach. It's like, listen to coach. It was like, Well, I, you know, stand in line, take a number. But some of my really good friends from my New York City days, I'd gotten into coaching deeply. And they're, they're the ones who got me into this Positive Intelligence model, which I really wanted to. And they'd been getting at me to get into coaching for a while. So I finally capitulated. But I'm in this group of highly experienced, who have coaches who have years of experience on me, and I am doing recordings of my session, and I'm getting feedback from them. Some of it is hard to take. Some of it is great. But these are people whose opinions and expertise and heart centeredness I really trust. So I had a tough Friday, last week. But that was a meaningful day. Because I learned some hard lessons, but I also learned what I could do to improve. Also, you know, the, the situation with the earthworms and Rob's grants, kids, that was meaningful day, because that just was joyful. And again, tuning into somebody else's curiosity, just to see what happens is just joy for me. So what constitutes a meaningful day is an exercise that lets me build awareness and I have my own marble jar now. And my own marble jar,


Lynn  44:18

that's brilliant.


Lynn  44:22



Lynn  44:23

had that. It was, it was actually I can remember where I was sitting and the epiphany moment about this time thing. And I'm sure it was an epiphany moment because I'd had a million little things hit me about time on this earth. Yes, but I was listening to a guy named navall Raava Khan talk who's a venture capitalist, and really brilliant guy. He was talking about his investments in invest in venture capital. And being a banker and, you know, kind of a money person. I've let myself become very oriented. around money. And just as like a, almost like it was stipulated, and, of course, return on investment matters more than anything, was my sort of core belief. And then he said something talking, I don't know who he's talking to. But he said something like, he goes, Look, I don't mind losing money, what you cannot do is waste my time. And then he went on to say, you know, that's the one thing I can't replace, I can get more money, I cannot get more time. Right. And I was in my art room, I think I was painting at the moment. And but that's cool, because it made me remember, this is meaningful work to me, like, create acts of creation are such an important part of my life. And I all of a sudden was like, holy cow, I've had it wrong my whole life. This money thing versus time thing.


Kym  45:57

That's right. And that that's a sobering realization, isn't it? Because our, our whole culture, our whole culture is built on the opposite. And it's gotten so many nasty places?


Lynn  46:15

Well, I think it's gotten us into the mess we're in globally, globally. And I think it's created a lot of dissatisfaction with people, when you're starting to look at like, who are the happiest? Well, they're not the wealthiest


Kym  46:29

of the wealthy guess? No. Right. It's how they value their time.


Lynn  46:35

And it's people who are in community, right, you know, in small areas and have relationships and have enough. That's right, right. And so yeah, I've really, I've really come to recognize that so that I just wanted to call that out. Because the Marvels is a very beautiful, tangible representation of time left, and I've just lost in the last couple of several months. I've lost two friends fairly suddenly. And without it, you know, you sort of recognize how how precious it is because neither one of them knew that was their last day. Whereas like, with my mom, she went down a long path. So we kind of saw this coming for months, there was for us, there was time to prepare. I don't think it was necessarily good for her. It's a lot of suffering when you decline like that. Oh, yes. But to recognize every single day, you could wake up and go, You know what, this could be the last one. So how do I make it meaningful?


Kym  47:42

That's right. And, yeah, go ahead. You


Lynn  47:46

were about to say something?


Kym  47:47

Well, just when you were talking about your mom, I, the base that I chose for my marbles belong to her. And that was a conscious decision on that part, because my mother was somebody who just could not sit still. As her mental facilities were declining. She filled her days doing ever smaller loads of laundry. I mean, do not she was living in a beautiful, beautiful area in Colorado. She and my dad used to love to go out hiking and biking and but once he passed Well, I can't say that. Once he passed. My mom had like two other boyfriends because she was always the prettiest girl in the room. Right. But once she started to, you know, wind down small ever smaller loads of laundry. And it's as if her world just got smaller and smaller. Yeah, to talk her into taking walks with me, in this beautiful area. I had to talk her into coming places with me. She was just she couldn't. She by that point in her life. She had not developed her curiosity muscle, enough to be able to just sit and tune in to where she was. She had to stay busy. And I don't know how many meaningful days my mom actually could claim. So that's why I wanted to fill her VIP case with some meaningful days.


Lynn  49:32

That's beautiful. Yeah. I've witnessed that with a lot of the women in my family that shrinking you know, I remember with my grandmother, we eventually couldn't get her out of the house couldn't get her to come visit anymore. We had to go to her and she was still physically capable. But not interested in leaving like she shrank her world and so I'm I'm having to be mindful of that as well because I can overdo the getting rid of what I I think of is BS things to the point where I'm shrinking my world.


Kym  50:04

That's right. That's right.


Lynn  50:06

So the other thing is, you know, in your story about what your meaningful day was with the coaching and the feedback, you know, I know you've probably had this I remember the first time I got 360 feet back.


Kym  50:18

Yeah, it was, it was,


Lynn  50:22

that was another life defining moment while I went out and they said, We're gonna give you some time with this. And they said it before they gave us the report. And I'm like, Ah, that's gonna be great. I don't need any time. And man, I had to go find a tree in the woods to cry next to because


Kym  50:37

it is. Ouch. Yeah, it was a big Ouch.


Lynn  50:41

And you want to know what they told me? My my number one thing and all my 360 feedback over the years. Lin doesn't listen. I needed you and I needed the book that you've got coming up, because I truly was like it. I mean, the idea of tuning in, forget about it.


Kym  51:05

Yeah, right, exactly.


Lynn  51:06

I knew what to do


Kym  51:07

fast. We're going too fast.


Lynn  51:10

And I knew what to do. I knew where to do it. I knew how to do it. I just needed you to do it the way I wanted you to do it. No questions asked. There it is. That was my leadership style at that stage of my life.


Kym  51:21

Sure. And that's what most of us in our culture recognize as leadership. Right? I know the way follow me.


Lynn  51:29

Yeah, the old I call it the old John Wayne. Method of leadership. And you know, I grew up on John Wayne movies and loved those watched him with my dad. But I watched one the other night, and I was like, That guy is a son of a pitcher Nepali.


Kym  51:45

Absolutely, absolutely. Right. Because we know better now.


Lynn  51:49

Well, the character is this, it was certainly not appropriate in today's environment, it definitely, probably not in any environment, if you actually really look at it. Like he grabbed some woman by her hair and dragged her and I was like, Oh, my gosh,


Kym  52:02

there's just power over. And we


Lynn  52:04

thought Yes. And that hope you and I've talked about this before that whole context, idea of power over power under versus power with? Yes. And how do we help people learn how to have power with that's what true when you see somebody who's got real power? Yeah, that's, that's what it looks like.


Kym  52:23

That's right. And they have the power to collaborate, they have the power to bring out the best in the people around them. It's it's a very different kind of power. We've kind of labeled it soft skills. Yes, because I hate that term. Now. Because it's the wrong language, the wrong language.


Lynn  52:47

It's, it's a it's a way to dismiss it. Yes. So that I don't have to do it, I'm gonna call it woowoo. or soft. Or, you know, and I, one of the terms I often use is invisible, or unseen, unseen. Because those are more tangible words, because a lot is happening in the unseen world.


Kym  53:10

That's right, like, but it hits us. It hits us in our unconscious. I've done a lot of that voice coaching with people, particularly women, who are, like newly upgraded in their respective jobs, to positions of more visibility. And they go into situations where they have their status is lower, because they're female, or they're smaller, and I tell them, your voice, can be a superpower. That can be a status equalizer. I'm like, five, three, I've looked like a kid through my 40s. But somebody told me, If you develop your voice, you can you can. You can claim a lot of space locally. And so I did you can. And so I would work with people. I worked with that partner. We were leading workshops for doctors, physicians, practitioners were very high status in their, in their respective practices, but they couldn't work with anybody, because they come up through the star system. And you know, John Wayne. Yeah, that's their, you know, their role model. But nobody could work with them. So we would work with them in workshops, and my partner said it was so much fun to watch me walk into a room and be pretty much ignored. But once I opened my mouth, everyone turned around to pay attention. Which was really interesting, because what voice sound hits us in our unconscious places, we're such a visual culture. We go right to what people look like, and we put them in their boxes quickly. because we're all really, really fast. But if we can tune in to what people are really telling us, and the truth beneath the words is something I talk about a lot in the book. And the model is the head part enhance framework. Listening. So, head listening in a nutshell, is retaining, tuning into the facts, something already proven something that's happened in the past patterns that get replicated over time and have already been established. Head listeners, you know, our data geeks, they can retain all that information, and they're extremely valuable. Heart listeners may not be able to retain all that stuff. But they can tune into the truth of what's happening interpersonally they tune into voice tone, they tune into body language, they tune in to what's really going on the psychology under an exchange, hands listening in the best of all possible worlds is a combination of those two things. Listening is listening for opportunities, listening for problems to solve actions to take, I suspect that you are probably wired as a really effective hands listener. It took me a while to it took me a while to tune into exactly what kind of listener I am. I always thought it was empathy in spades, I got a listener. But when my child went through a really tricky adolescence, and I tell this story in the book, she came home, you know, day after day, we would sit on the porch, she'd be in tears, didn't have a boyfriend, her friends were all weird. All of this, right. Didn't have the body type everybody's supposed to have when you're 15. We would listen to this day after day. And I started to run out of patience. And I started to ask questions like, Well, okay, this is bad, but what are we going to do about it? And she would turn to me she go, Mom, I just need you to listen. I was like, yeah, and my husband, who I know is a very good heads listener. He seemed to have endless capacity to just hand her the tissue box and say, you know, yeah, that's, you know, which was what she needed. And it was those exchanges that I had to look at, to see hmm, I think I'm listening. But I'm putting this information in different places in myself. And that's when I started to get curious about the different ways we listen, how we tune in what we listen for what we do with the information, and what situations are better for hands listeners versus heart listeners versus head listeners. So that Okay, so the frame, you


Lynn  58:14

have to tell me where that it's a cool framework. Where did you put that information? Like when you said I was putting it in a different place in myself, I'm I'm envisioning if it was me, I would be putting it in the good mom place and myself. And if my daughter because I went through a lot of stuff with my daughter when she wasn't doing what I expected. It hit really deep in my core of I'm a I'm a bad mom, I suck. So tell me about yours, though.


Kym  58:44

Yeah, in that moment, I felt like a bad mom. But I also got, I got curious, I got curious about this sort of disconnect, because it's not that I wasn't listening to her. I was just putting it in a place in myself where I wanted to fix it. Oh, yeah. Better. Yeah, that is not a bad impulse. It's just that it needs to be put in the right place in her journey. And I wanted to fix it too soon.


Lynn  59:27

Okay, so sit, let me see if I'm understanding this. It's that you wanted to fix it, but it was really hers to fix.


Kym  59:37

Is that thank you. That's, that's part of it. And also, the timing. You know, I, I learned through that whole thing, that one of the gifts of being a mom to my particular child, is that she is extremely articulate about what she's feeling when she's feeling it. And we're going to hear about it. And this is, to me, I value this because if I had to raise a kid like I was, I went underground, I got quiet, I started doing stuff very quietly on the fringes where nobody would notice. I didn't get that kid, and it was a real blessing. But that means you're, you're on the porch for three or four weeks, you know, listening to what feels like the same sort of sob story over and over again. And I have that capacity, but only to a degree. So that was good learning for myself.


Kym  1:00:41

And also, because I'm a hands listener, I can put two and two together and come up with


Kym  1:00:52

possible things to try that will make the situation better when she didn't have anything, when she didn't have a date for the prom. And in our small, rather privileged town, the prom is like, it becomes everything it does, then you got all the moms in the grocery store talking about it. And you know, so I was like, alright, what can we do? Let's Escape from Planet prom on prom weekend. So I got us out, I got us out to Boston, I had a coupon for high tea at the Boston Harbor hotel. We took the train down, we had the best time. And we escaped from planning to prom. And it was the best thing to do at that time. Because I got us out. And I learned from that experience, Rob and I both learned that whenever we could get Skylar out of town, out of the country, she came back with a wider perspective, with her feet on the ground her feet under her when she graduated college. She went to Europe by herself for five weeks. Wow, if you don't think I was like on pins and needles the whole time. Which she came back with such a sense of who she was and what she was about, that it took that that Escape from Planet prom to sort of prime that pump. That's really a great story.


Lynn  1:02:32

Well, you know, that feet on the ground, you know, I was thinking about the way I experienced you as a coach. And like the the exercise with the fingertips together. And the breathing the breaths in the car, or as you're waiting for a meeting, right, and to grading those breathing practices, which of course, as a coach, I, I obviously love breathing, it's a big thing. But I also love practical and your way of doing things is not surprising that your daughter ended up with her feet on the ground. Thank you, because you have very practical things that make sense for the moment.


Kym  1:03:12

Thank you. I think those are important that I mean, you know, years and years and years ago, I went through my woowoo stage. But I came to the end of it going, I still have to get back to real life. And how how am I going to you know, it's like coming back from a yoga retreat, or a week long. Question still becomes, how am I going to work this back into my


Lynn  1:03:42

work this back in? Well, you know, I had the same experience, I call it the road rage problem, because I would go away for a retreat and I would get in the space and I would be there and I did


Lynn  1:03:52

many of these retreats. Then I drive home


Lynn  1:03:55

and I'd be lucky it on a two or three hour drive home if that's what it was that I didn't have road rage. Right and the big epiphany for me another one of those was when I was coming back, I tell this story in my book dancing the tightrope, Bruce, this guy that I was working with on the horse if you want to know more about Bruce, he's been on my podcast and so forth. But they he was we were coming. I told him on the way home Jennifer and I were having a very awkward conversation because she had hated the day and I had loved it. And I said okay, so then we hit the this place where there was a traffic jam and I said Bruce, I just wanted my James Bond car to blow all the cars out of the way so I could get home and he didn't even flinch. He goes great opportunity to work on patients. There it is. And I was like, but I don't want to work on patients and he goes well, how else are you gonna get it? He said that's one of your tools. And you know, I was like the tools he listed we've already talked about today like timing and feel and patience and problem solving and curiosity. Those are the two rules that he's constantly saying I want you to learn to build up your mental tools so that they are greater than or equal to the pressure of the situation. And that's the when it when they're below you have a pressure gap. And when they're above, you're there.


Kym  1:05:18

That's right simple. And in the Positive Intelligence model, we call that the saboteur influence. And that the stronger you can get with your Sage muscles, just exactly what you're talking about, the more your saboteur influence will be muted.


Lynn  1:05:36

That's exactly right, which I call reaching for your rules. It's the same thing, because every one of those characters has a set of rules about how you do things. And sometimes those rules are in conflict. So some days you do this, and some days you do that, right, we we have these different conflicts that we have to somehow sort out because our rules don't necessarily make sense. But


Kym  1:05:58

sometimes they're on a collision course.


Lynn  1:06:00

That's because they're based in fear. And they're not based in any kind of logic or,


Lynn  1:06:06

or love, or so.


Lynn  1:06:09

So you talked a little bit about your book, give us the overview of what is this book about? Who should read it and kind of what's in there.


Kym  1:06:17

Okay. Um, before I do that, I want to tell you a quick, fun, saboteur story. I love it. Please do. One of my clients is a is a prolific French speaker. Prolific is not the word I want to use. But you know what I mean? Yeah, but you're


Lynn  1:06:36

a writer always looking for the best words. I know that word, but first, my first thought was when I need it.


Kym  1:06:43

Fluent. She's a fluent French speaker. Curious about the basis, that entomology Is that another word?


Lynn  1:06:56

Yes, I think it's it. entomology is the word.


Kym  1:06:59

Okay, good. She got curious about the Entomology of the word, saboteur. So she looked it up. It turns out saboteur is based on the word sabko, which means clog. And tour came into use during the Industrial Age, when the French, they used to be peasants, but now they're industrial workers in the factories, they would get pissed off at management, they would take off their wooden clogs, throw them into the machine, and the whole thing would stop, clog up the works clog up. That story just tickled me. Because that's exactly what seven tours too. They clog up our works. They get us functioning in the world in ways that are just not not our best beings. And they don't result in, in what we want to happen for ourselves and for other people.


Lynn  1:08:08

You know, I'm thinking about the people that we both coach, and people, especially who are living in a corporate environment where there's a lot of sabotage, both self sabotage and other sabotage. Yeah. And I've I've witnessed it to the point where I use a term that often gets my clients attention, I call it sibling rivalry. Oh,


Kym  1:08:33

because, yes, it can happen. It is true,


Lynn  1:08:37

because you're seeing what I see, what I came to realize is there's always two games going on one, the game about how to create a better product. In our case, you know, I was in my last role, we were trying to basically build really good bankers, we took people out of college, and we train them to assess risk, to meet with customers, to talk about what we had to offer, help that customer build their business and so forth. And that was my product, if you will, was what is the quality of people coming out of our training program? Can they do the job? But there was this other game going on called? Work? Sometimes it just started with the budget five, can I get enough budget to do what I think I need to do? Can I get enough approval to get and I don't mean approval of budget, but I mean approval of myself of my team of how I do things, so that I look good relative to my other peers? And how do I like please the boss and how do I, you know, Where do I sit at the table when we have a meeting or when we have an event? Or who knows me and who doesn't know me and all of that like, you know, some people call that political but at its root, it felt like trying to get Mommy and Daddy's attention? Yes. And then all those things I did to get Mommy and Daddy's attention is the things I would bring to work. You're not in furiously this, you've seen that


Kym  1:10:02

and done it myself. Yeah, who has it? Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I love that. I love that example. Because it is its sibling rivalry. It's the family dynamic, put into play all over again,


Lynn  1:10:17

all over. And as a result, what I began to see is that game would often sabotage and clog up the works, more than getting the work done. It's like, if you could just get everybody's attention on what does it take for us to do this thing? Yes, then. And we had those moments of flow where the team saying, you know, where we just, we just were in an amazing creation, and it's somebody you get hit, they'd get hit, and they'd be like, like throwing that shoe in the works. That's right. And sometimes it was me, and then we're just looking at him going, what are you doing? Now? And why can we can we resolve this so we can go back to what matters?


Kym  1:11:02

Exactly, exactly. And that's why I mean, that's, that's why Shirzad, I'll just put in one more plug for Positive Intelligence. He created this program, and offered it initially at no charge to coaches around the globe. Really, he wants people to be able to work with corporate teams to dive into that saboteur influence, both individually and on the group. Yes, yeah, it can because really powerful.


Lynn  1:11:37

It's extremely powerful. And I'm hopeful that as people listen to this podcast, and are wondering about coaching, that they don't like that they would get that, go get that app, you know, start with that, and, you know, follow you and I on our newsletters, like I put out a ton of free coaching on the coaching digest. You do the same, and actually, I'm gonna throw a shout out to somebody who I'm not getting she's not even really in my close network. But I have found a podcast called coaching real leaders with Muriel Magnum Wilkins, and she actually coaches people on a podcast, so you basically get a one hour conversation of her with someone she's coaching, almost never with their real name because they want to stay. Like I'm the secret weapon I have. In fact, I think right now all of my coaching clients are paying for me directly there in the corporate world. I don't think I have anybody right now if I'm just scared to think about it. Yep. That are paying me directly as a secret weapon, if you will. Yeah. Right. And but she does this and I've been listening and the sabotage word comes up. Because I think the most recent one I listened to it, he I don't know that they use the word sabotage. But anybody who listened would have said, Ah, he is his own worst enemy. And when he gets out of his own way, yes. Because he had had his responsibilities go from big to shrunken. And then he had to own Well, yeah, I did all these things that would make them take those people away from me. That's right. Exactly. And so I'm, it's a, you know, it's a very cool podcast to get a sense of what if somebody has never been coached? What does a coaching conversation sound like? That's right. I like that. That's, and I feel like, we all need somebody to be able to do that. For us. I continually get coaching mine is now in a very different realm than it was before I work every single month with Bruce, the guy told you about the horses, and I can't even begin to tell you every single time I leave, I can feel that my mental tools have ratcheted up to another level. Oh,


Kym  1:13:45

yeah. Yeah, it can be that powerful. For sure. Yeah. Yeah.


Lynn  1:13:51

And a lot of this starts with reading. So let's talk about your book, because people are probably by now just dying to hear, okay, I've got this book coming. She's got this book coming out that can help me be a better


Kym  1:14:02

listener. Well, I'll tell the story that really sparked this whole inquiry for me. I was doing communications training for the Department of Environmental Protection. The reason they hired me is because they had field operators that were going to go out off into rural parts of the state to engage in conversations with landowners who were doing something to their land that was in violation of some sort of environmental role.


Lynn  1:14:41

Oh, we see that around here all the time, by the way, right, right. And they're scared to go to some people's land because they're afraid they're gonna get shot.


Kym  1:14:49

Well, there's big dogs, there's guns, these, these conversations are almost always hostile. And so I was hired to try I tried to get them to communicate better with these hostile landowners. But what I started to understand is that to a person, these field operators are data geeks, they're head listeners, and their underlying belief is that if I could just impart the information that I know, I will be able to convince this landowner of the error of his ways.


Lynn  1:15:27

Oh, that is a mistake. So many of us make it so obvious.


Kym  1:15:34

It was just they were so frustrated,


Lynn  1:15:36

right? Smoking is bad for you. It kills you know, well, that you know, that kills you quit smoking?


Kym  1:15:45

Yes, yes. So I started to get curious about how they were listening, what they were listening for, and how I could train them to listen for something different. So how do you listen to build relationship? How do you listen, so that you can position yourself as an ally in whatever this guy's underlying dream is? Maybe he wants to fill in the wetlands, because he needs to make he needs to get his car repair business there because he needs to make more money? How can you position yourself as an ally, that will speak to that underlying dream? Without him filling in the wetlands? Right? Maybe he just wants to build a playground for his grandkids? How do you speak to that underlying? And how do you create enough trust? So that he will divulge that to you? That became what we started to work on? And that became the basis for the head part enhance framework?


Lynn  1:16:55

Amazing? Well, it's


Kym  1:16:57

also I mean, I have to also say that it's based on a framework that is the Waldorf model of early childhood education, along with whole body listening. I mean, the act of active listening has been, you know, in the in the pipeline for a long time. We know what we're supposed to do, we're supposed to nod. And we're supposed to summarize. And after a while, it's like, I'm, I'm watching these dynamics, I'm thinking, Hmm, people are getting really good at acting like they're listening until somebody takes a breath and they with what they have to say. So that those influences are what created this, and then everything's shut down with the pandemic, right? I had all this juicy in person, work, training work. It all went up in smoke. But that to your point about time versus money, suddenly, I had time. And I had time to write this book, through the program that you and I are both the writing community program that we're both formed. So that was the impetus behind the book. And I, when I got my publishing contract, I, my book was maybe, I don't know, 30,000 words. And they told that they told me when they accepted, finally, the sixth version of the book proposal. They told me it had to be at least 65,000 words. And I thought I had said everything I have to say, wow. Right. Right. But the I worked with a wonderful editor have Heather Evans, who was a treasurer. She asked so many interesting questions, and had so many beautiful suggestions that fleshing out that book became a true pleasure. It was joyful. It was a chance to follow my own curiosity. How do people in the CIA listen? How do people in situations of domestic violence Listen, how do people in the military listen, I, I put out a story about my dad, who was in the Korean War. He was in intelligence. And even though he didn't understand the Korean language, he had an interpreter for that. He said he got really good at discerning whether somebody was telling the truth, simply by being able to read body language. That chapter was so much fun to flesh out. How does hostage negotiators listen different from the rest of us? Talk about building alliances, they have to do it very, very quickly, building trust very, very quickly. So I started asking questions, how do people who are new to our culture, immigrants, refugees, who don't understand the language? How do they listen? What do they need to do to tune in. And then I would recall, coaching clients that I've had over the years, whose stories I could put in, you know, without naming names, of course, that became one of the most joyful journeys of creation that I've experienced in a very long time. And as far as creating a book and getting it out into the world, for me, creating the book


Kym  1:20:52

was fun. Now, getting the book out in the world is totally different.


Lynn  1:21:00

This is what most people don't understand about. There's, there's really, two if there's not three marathons, there's for sure, two, I think it's like there's, I think there's two marathons the end, like a little mini sprint in the middle, because the writing of the book is one whole marathon. Oh, yeah. And then the other big marathon is getting it into the world. And that goes for a very long time. You know, it's not a moment in time where the book is launched. And then you can just sit there and do nothing. The in between is the packaging of the book. Right? Like I found, once I had the edited manuscript, it had to be laid out, you had to decide on graphics, we had to decide on cover, we had to decide on, you know, what goes in the back and, you know, frontmatter, backmatter, all these things that we all take for granted in books is sometimes nervous even look at them. Don't have to be there. Yeah, the format, like which font you choose how much spacing actually matters?


Kym  1:21:59

It does? Oh, yeah. And having to make decisions about stuff like that, I was really grateful. And a publisher who just said, choose between this, this and this, you know, like you would with a small child,


Lynn  1:22:12

because that's, that's what I wish I had, you know, I didn't have a publisher, I wish I'd had that I did have a phenomenal format, or I've got to give Tabitha Babcock a shout out because she did a it's a work of art there. You know, it's, it's, you're handing them a work of what's interesting is like, if I paint something and I take it to the framer, the framing makes a huge difference. I mean, if you look at different framing with different paintings, you start to realize that it's amazing, it is a huge difference. The format or of a book is a lot lot more involved. It's more like a bronze artists because if you look at a bronze artists, they they they send to the to the bronze factory, a clay mold with it's this moist clay. And then the bronze artist takes over and does that in different pieces, and then has to put it back together because that none of these big bronzes that you see are done in one piece. And so the artist has to like think about where to break it and how to put it together. So you don't see that little marks and so forth. But the person who created the sculpture in the first place is not involved in that. And then the person who created the thing in the first place, gets it back and helps with patina and so forth. Well, a book is a lot more like that. Because when we hand it over to the format are there the one has to make it look artful.


Kym  1:23:27

Exactly, exactly. Yeah.


Lynn  1:23:30

Oh, yeah, I just did this with an article. By the way, I have an article, it's called Waiting under pressure. Oh, goodness, a mental model for growth. And I had had it formatted before. It's got some things that are also in my book. It's almost like a short version of my book in a way.


Lynn  1:23:46



Lynn  1:23:48

I had had a short version of it, or a formatted version, but I found it hard to read and hard to follow. And so I sent it to a new format or this week, and what I got back was so beautiful. I mean, he did call out where they should be where I had lists, he made it easy to read. I want the information to be easy to, you know, absorb and so forth. And so I Yeah, huge shout out to the people who do that kind of work.


Kym  1:24:14

It's pretty stunning. Yeah. I also got my daughter who's a really gifted graphic artists to do a couple of infographics. Oh, I love infographics. I do too. And she did an amazing job. I also wanted to say that the whole Positive Intelligence model is stitched throughout the book. Yeah, you know, I can tease out connections between that model and what I was talking about. And it became such a fun exploration and so interesting to start to build connections between different ways of thinking, listening, absorbing information, and the saboteurs and sage. So, so what what


Lynn  1:25:00

I'm noticing and as I'm thinking about how you come through this process with your book going from 30,000 to 65,000 words or whatever, letting the publisher influence in the editor influence your path, if you will, is sometimes I think the reason I don't listen is because I don't want to have to learn something new. Because if I listen, I might have to change. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And what I really admire about watching you through this process is that you are letting it in, which is walking your talk in


Kym  1:25:36

a way. Yeah, thank you. And if anything, I know from experience that I, I err in the opposite direction. It's like I can be led down to many rosy paths that ended the garbage cheap. Like, I can go down to many foxholes. Um,


Lynn  1:25:57

I can understand that. I can imagine that too. Because if we, if we let everybody influence us to a high degree, who are we? We're not ourselves. But if we don't let them influence us, who are we? Right? Like, it is finding that balance?


Kym  1:26:12

That's right. That's right. I'm reading this book now that I, that I just, it's changing my world, speaking out rights prior Parker's the art of gathering. Do you know,


Lynn  1:26:24

okay, and I don't, I'm writing it down.


Kym  1:26:28

I think what I'm coming away with, you know, she's she's focused on making optimum group engagements. And what I'm coming away from is the value of setting clear boundaries. Who is this meeting for? And who is it not for? We've all sat through meetings, thinking, Oh, am I doing here? I'm wasting my time. I have very little to contribute. I'm just here with a pulse. That's it. Yeah. And then we've also been in meetings where, yes, our expertise is being engaged, we're having a great time. And then somebody else is sitting there like a rock. It's like, discerning who is not supposed to be in the circle is just as important as who gets invited. And secondly, interpersonally. It's like, what am I going to pay attention to today that's really aligned with my goals, what's meaningful and important to me? And what am I going to set aside today? Right there? Yes, my mother and her tiny circles of laundry could never manage to do, right. And if I don't watch myself, I can become distracted by what's going on in my space. And like, I hate clutter, it distracts me. But if I can set that aside long enough to accomplish what I really want to do, then I can deal with the clutter with a lot more joy, attention and presence than I would have otherwise. And it's possible


Lynn  1:28:11

to deal with clutter with joy, attention and presence. That's right. I've been playing with this activity, because I'm hauling things back and forth between my house and mystic waters, I've got the dog, I'm always coming back with groceries or mail or my briefcase or whatever. And there was, there was a time when I would be like, the drudgery of it all, like I'm ready to sell the camp because I don't want to have to carry these things. And then I was like, What a silly thing. I began to like, notice the joy of what's one good load look like going in? And how do I like not pile the eggs on top? And then have them drop? Or how do I like, make sure all the grocery bags can hang and just be very joyous and present in just gathering the things in my car. That's right, and carrying them into my house


Kym  1:28:59

and getting curious about how this would work the best way.


Lynn  1:29:04

Exactly. And you know what that translates to, when I'm working with a horse, it's like instead of like trying to slap the saddle on and get the bridle on and get on the horse and rush rush which sets the horse's mind to a whole like, oh, what's going on kind of plays with some horses anyway. It like when you go about things that way the horses just kind of settle like, okay, we're doing this. And then we're doing that like all we're doing right now is centering the saddle. Okay, now all we're doing is just seeing if the birth is in the right place. Now all we're doing is and so you're right clutter can be something that we can just deal with joyously in its time


Kym  1:29:42

in its time. And I'm, I'm being pushed up against this right now. We just my daughter graduated college. She's going to come home for the summer. And we had to move a whole SUV full of her stuff into our space and she is taking During her time making decisions, it is driving me up to walk into the living room and see a pile of stuff. I can't imagine. She hasn't made decisions about it, but she's doing it in her own time. And I have to honor your cycles. Yeah. So I know, there are places that I can go and go to my co working space and do my work. without distraction. I have to make that adjustment for her time cycle. And I'm willing to do it rather than boom, boom, boom, her and I going at it over right amounts to just a bunch of stuff.


Lynn  1:30:42

It's a trade off. But sure, you use the very important word around the dealing with the stuff, which is making this decisions. And we a lot of times have clutter and and stuff storage closets, I have them I'll raise my hand to say yes, me of things for I can't decide where it goes. So it's just going to sit there until I can decide,


Kym  1:31:05

well, you know, and some of this stuff has meaning for us. You get to be certain age, you've collected things that has meaning. Yeah,


Lynn  1:31:14

that's true. And I'm like, we were talking about this the other night, because we did not absorb a lot of my parents stuff into our house. But there was one, which was I was grateful for Oh, wow. Yeah. But I wanted certain things right and select things. So I've ended up with a couple of pieces of my mother's art. I have a clay sculpture she made in college of an African woman's head, and I've got a painting that she won an award with in my art studio from her college days. And that's what I wanted. I don't have all the and a couple of little knickknacks that I've integrated, like I've got her little stamp holder, right? And so every time I get mail, I get to think about it, but it's practical. It's right.


Kym  1:31:57

It's practical. And I discovered from a friend of mine, who is who is an artist, a professional artists, that there are certain things you can do with pieces of relatives, China, dishes, and glass. She creates totems out of them. Oh. And I've started doing that with the stuff that is in my attic, from my mother's And Rob's Mother, you and they come out with the right glue. I think it's e 2000. Okay, e 2000. Super, super, super glue. You can stack them up in ways that feel extremely satisfying. Also, honoring the people who had them before you. Right, and not having to you know, sell them for 25 cents in the yard sale.


Lynn  1:32:52

Well, that's the see. That's one of the problems. And it's like we're supposed to want the China but I don't want to serve on China. No, it's not my thing I have. Actually my thing is, I make I've made all the pottery that we eat off of plates, bowls, cups, everything I've made. The idea was that that is less breakable. I've learned you still can break that pottery.


Kym  1:33:18

But I can make no more. That's right. And oh, that's beautiful. I


Lynn  1:33:21

didn't know that. Yeah. Now that was one of my goals when I started pottery. And it's actually now I've got to find another goal because now that I've pretty much supplied myself. Yes, pottery is is it takes up space. So it's taking up all the space in my cabinets. But now I've got to find ways to either move the pottery on or, you know, stop making it and do something else.


Kym  1:33:39

So there used to be a pottery painting studio near our house. Sky and I were over there a lot. So yeah, I know exactly why we've got a lot of those. And when they break, I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. You know, so I had this be in a broken pottery. Well, the pandemic because then you know, time, couldn't spend the whole time writing. Sure. I made my smash garden.


Lynn  1:34:07

I have dreamed of doing that I have a box of old pottery that needs to be smashed, so I can make a smash garden smash garden. It's


Kym  1:34:13

  1. It's kind of like mulch, you know, you put into place between your plants. And it became very fun during the during the the election to you know, super impose certain politicians faces on the backs of these plates and going after that with a hammer.


Lynn  1:34:33

Oh, I used to do that with tennis balls when I was in the corporate world. I'd imagine certain faces as I smashed the


Lynn  1:34:40



Lynn  1:34:42

I love it. So, so tell everybody again, the name of the book when it's coming out and then how to find you.


Kym  1:34:49

Yes. Okay. The name of the book is head, heart and hands listening. In coach practice. It's coming out July 4. But it's accessible on Amazon now. And through Routledge publishers are Oh UTDGLADG. Exactly. ratledge. Okay. And it's being marketed primarily right now to the college departments, coaching departments social work, communication, leadership. And so it's priced accordingly. Unfortunately, oh, this is why my kids college education cost so much. But the paperback there is a paperback version. And there's also an E version, a Kindle version. Good. Yeah. And so I am also in negotiations with them about doing an audio version of it. I've, I have audio narrated and produced audio books in my background. So I'm going to be the one to do the audio version.


Lynn  1:35:56

I read the book I, I have not done an audio book. I I can't bring myself to read my book. But I think you writing your book is going to be amazing.


Kym  1:36:08

Well, it's a chunk of change in terms of time, for sure.


Lynn  1:36:12

It is a big commitment. And it's not just a straightforward reading. There's a lot to it. There is


Kym  1:36:17

a lot to it a lot. Yeah. But the place to find me would be KYMDAK i n.com. There's a page about coaching this page about the book this page, but the other work I do. And yeah, anybody can email me, Jim. Okay, why am at given daikon.com


Lynn  1:36:43

Yeah, and your fat, your website just looks fabulous. Thank you. It's it's very beautiful and clear, and shows you shows who you are who and just the specialness, of who you are. So I'm so incredibly grateful that you were able to make some time this morning for us to have this conversation.


Kym  1:37:03

This was such a treat. I mean, you've been getting reviews from the other people I know who then interviewed by you. And as you are a wonderful listener, thank you, for whatever you had to do to get into this place. are a wonderful listening.


Lynn  1:37:20

I will take that I have been validated by the woman who wrote the book, all of those people who gave me that feedback. 25 years ago, I've done it.


Lynn  1:37:30

are listening.


Lynn  1:37:31

I want my Goldstar. Well, thank you so much, Kym. And for those of you listening, if you enjoy this conversation, please do share it with your friends, subscribe to the podcast. We love your comments. And you can always give me a voicemail on my on my website at Lynn carnes.com. There's a little voicemail button on the right click that and you can actually talk to me. So with that, we'll see you on the next podcast. And thanks again, Kym. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the creative spirits unleashed podcast. I started this podcast because I was having these great conversations and I wanted to share them with others. I'm always learning in these conversations, and I wanted to share that kind of learning with you. Now what I need to hear from you is what you want more of and what you want less of. I really want these podcasts to be a value for the listeners. Also, if you happen to know someone who you think might love them, please share the podcast and of course subscribe and rate it on the different apps that you're using, because that's how others will find it. Now, I hope you go and do something very fun today.