Jan. 27, 2021

Shermaine Perry on growth mindset and how to become resilient in the workplace.

Shermaine Perry on growth mindset and how to become resilient in the workplace.

Shermaine Perry talks about the need for growth mindset, how to develop resilience for the workplace and personal development.


Femi (Host): What does being on the menu and ordering food or sitting at the table have to do with resilience. I know it's crazy. Can you can even connect it in this week session with Charmaine Pavey night, I sit down to talk about resilience, how to be resilient in the workplace, the mindset you need, how to approach it, the steps you can take on what to do to make sure when push comes to shove, you're one of those lifts standing and not one of those who are sacrificed in this time of crazy pandemics and or certainty in the world. You don't want to miss this session on how to be resilient in the workplace. Stay tuned. 

Femi (Host): Welcome to the you unleashed podcast with Femi. Akademi the podcast where we are passionate and bring ideas to you on how to on your best talent and be the best you can be. Sometimes I use stories from my past, but sometimes I've been people who know a lot more than I do come to the studio and we just talk about it and share some great ideas that you can take away and it can make all the difference to you. You know what I usually say I have become a believer that I'd done is better than perfect to whatever it is you do start get rolling. Are you be amazed how far you get with that said, let's get into it. Now this week, I've got a special guest resilience in the workplace is what we're going to be talking about. And I've been there when you are in the workplace. 

Femi (Host): There's always something going on around you. It's a politics is the work itself. In some cases, it's discrimination. In some cases, it's lack of acknowledgement of the work you've done. It's just anything and everything. Because if you think about it, workplace workplaces, you spend more time at work than you do with your family sometimes. Cause you're always at work, at least your best hours of the day, nine to five are spent in the workplace. So your ability to be resilient, to deal with the knocks to bounce back and keep on rolling are very important. So it gives me great pleasure to bring onto the stage Charmaine Perry night. Now Charmaine paver night is the founder and the chief learning officer at innovation consult of innovative consultants at the carb. She's engaged in educator and workforce development coach. And she's got a passion for creating a hard moments and learning solutions. 

Femi (Host): Shermaine is early in a talent development career and is viewed as a leader by peers and colleagues. As a matter of fact, I know she was recognized as one of the 2021 to watch in the American society of talent. It's not a micro-site, it's just the association of talent development. And that was his old name. She's currently working on our first book due to be published very soon, which I'm hoping we can talk about. And you can link, you could contact to our LinkedIn and that's Shameen Pavey night. She's also a certified instructional designer as he's knowledgeable about both the development of facilitation about outcome based learning and she's experienced in developing, delivering and designing customized management and workforce development programs. Shane, welcome. How are you today 

Shermaine: Doing well, thank you for having me. 

Femi (Host): it's a pleasure. It's a pleasure. It's when I first looked at this topic, I thought, Oh, this is such a rich, rich topic and visit in the workplace is something that I've been there myself. And I know what it's like to be dealing with. Maybe bullying, being bullied at work, sometimes or sometimes having to deal with huge pressure and having to deliver our stock. It's just there. So there's sometimes it's just the politics. You think you've done a good job. You see your manager or your boss, you get a bad review that knocks you off, or you don't know to back to this just a lot that goes into resonance with workplace, but tell her tummy versus audience in the workplace. What, what does that look like Someone who's resilient in the workplace or what does it not look like 

Shermaine: I'm glad you asked. What does that look like For me, it looks at like in an incredible level of flexibility. it looks like a level of self-awareness where you, you quickly learn what not to say and how to redirect that in your mind, right It's a lot of scribbling during meetings, as opposed to saying what you really want to say. And lastly, it's most about, mostly about promoting a growth mindset, realizing that every position is a stepping stone and your loyalty is to your career path and the overall organization, not necessarily a position or a direct manager or just a team, the loyalties to the overall strategic initiatives is to your overall career path and your own key performance indicators. 

Femi (Host): There's a lot in there. There's a lot in there because I know you said it in one sentence, flexibility, good mindset, loyalty to your career path and company. flexibility. W when we say flexibility though, and I know I like what you said about it's about performing, where you are about to bring back the flexibility. Does that mean doing anything 

Shermaine: Oh no. So when I say flexibility, I mean, so the wind is going to blow, right And you need to be able to still walk the straight line. So it's, it's about learning new skills 

Femi (Host): Being 

Shermaine: You're willing to step outside of your comfort zone because I personally believe you do not learn and grow in an area where you're comfortable, where you have full control and it's exactly just the way you want it. So that flexibility is being willing to step in that area of what's considered discomfort to learn new skills, to, to really go above and beyond what you are currently doing. So it's not just taking on any task and saying, you know what We are in a global pandemic and the services I typically deliver are in person. So now I need to be flexible enough to learn some technology, new technology. I need to be flexible enough to receive feedback about myself that I don't want to hear because it's never comfortable to hear something unpleasant about yourself. And I need to be flexible enough to say, you know what Someone else is more knowledgeable in this area. Let me sit and listen to them. Let me, like you said, done is better than perfect. How do I reach done How do I stop seeking perfection Flexibility is so much. 

Femi (Host): Oh yeah. And now I get it. And it's, it's that flexible. It's I love the analogy is like work in a straight line. what they're saying is it's doing what needs to be done to help the business in these uncertain times to be successful. And that means you be open to new ideas, you being open to learning, that's you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to learn a new skill. And it's also about being able to look out for opportunities to test and challenge yourself. 

Shermaine: Yes, yes. And so for me, it's never, the goal is never a trophy. The goal is never looking for a title. I want opportunities to for growth mindset, right I want opportunity to stretch my brain. I want an opportunity to empower other individuals. And those typically come with a leadership title, right Those roles. But that is the flexibility. How do I push myself to learn something different Because as you know, I'm within talent development, the job is to always pour into others, but the analogy of an empty vessel, how can you pour from an empty vessel You have that flexibility is recognizing that you're near empty and having the confidence to seek new tools, to fill your own cup. 

Femi (Host): So you can't give what you don't have. 

Shermaine: Yes. Can't give anymore. Your cup is empty. 

Femi (Host): That's awesome. Because if we take that a step further, your you're in, you're in it. You're, you're a project manager and now the company is moving online because of where we are in the world today, then it's somebody security. You don't know anything about it. Security. It's pushing yourself. Being flexible to say, devil's is a gap here. I can fill that gap. Go on LinkedIn, learn about it. Go ask, go on, go on Facebook, look, look for communities, go on Kuala, go to these places or sit down and just learn and speak to people will know better than you start to just be better than you were the day before. And that's flexibility. It's the ability to be open to new ideas, ready to learn, right 

Shermaine: Yes. Yes. And I don't think we have all the answers. Never. You either are searching for the answer yourself, which requires grit, research and networking, or you have learned enough to tap into the right network, to enter a new community of practice and to then build your skills. Like you said, again, it's being flexible, recognizing that you have more to learn. 

Femi (Host): Hmm. But for a lot of people, but then we're dealing with, so for some people there is genuine fear, right You're afraid there's the economy's changing. There's automation. There's all of this coming. And we're talking about missing links in your career. So it's having a career that can stand the test of time. Really That's what we're saying. And if your afraid you've been doing whatever you've been doing for a long time, if you've been doing one job for 2020 years, it's pretty hard to change your mindset. So flexibility has to do with the mindset as well. 

Shermaine: Yeah. I consider myself on a mission to promote the growth mindset. If you are comfortable as is it's time for you to get uncomfortable because that's where the magic happens. 

Femi (Host): If you're, if you're not, if you're not, it's only when you stretch yourself. If you're that's, when you're, you're learning for transformation to come, you've got to be uncomfortable for transformation to calm. You've got to go through the fire, right 

Shermaine: Yes. The best lessons I've ever learned and retained were from trial by fire, the moments where I was uncomfortable and completely in discomfort, those lessons will remain with me. And that's what I want to teach others. 

Femi (Host): And that's true because if I think about it as well, and this maybe comes to the fact that, I mean, I'm into learning to like you and thought about coaching, developing people. That's why to this podcast, you always bring people with ideas and people like you can open my eyes and my listeners eyes and it, and it's that. Even when you're training, they always tell you these. I remember I went for a training and someone used the analogy and he said, look, when you're trained, you've got to create a paradigm shift. Just imagine if you drive to work every day, if I asked you, what was your drive to work like You won't remember it, but the one day on your drive to work where there was a car accident, or there was a wreck, you will remember that day because something unusual happened. So it's kind of taken that step further to say the things that change you are the things that leave an impression on you and things you remember are the things that are different from the whole home, every day activity. And that's what we're asking people to do is get yourself out of that everyday mindset of, Oh, I'm just going to do what I do. Play it safe because people are used to playing it safe and play safe. It's comfortable. And I can see the temptation. It's just, I look learning new stuff. It's just harder to account earning good money. My life's easy. Why would I go out there and just change 

Shermaine: Yeah. And this is why I love this podcast. I've listened to several episodes. And the underlying theme is you only grow by connecting with others. Whether it's in a book, it's in a class, it's a podcast. It could be anything you're growing from those opportunities outside of your normal routine. And that's what we want to do. So even if you're, you don't consider it learning development, you were always learning. Even if you're watching a podcast, whether it's video or audio, you're soaking something in that's outside of your traditional routine. And depending on how much you focus on and practice and reflect and get feedback, that's where your comfort changes, where you're learning a new skill. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. Yeah. That's so true. Which brings me to the other thing you mentioned, you said, you said something which I've heard. It must be about the third or fourth time. I've heard this. You said it's not about the trophy. and I remember speaking to one of my guests, Jane and she's, we were talking about understanding the value of yourself. And we've got into this place about talking about, getting paid, what you're worth. And she ended up trying to open up my eyes to understand you've got to separate yourself from the money. You've got to make it all about being your best self, stretching yourself and every day, bringing your a game, being the best you can be every day. Because once you've been getting the best, it can be every day you will get rewarded anyway, but more importantly, you visualize and everyone then realize it's never been about the money. It's always about you knowing your true value and pushing yourself to be the best you can be. And then the money will follow. And I love it. When we said, it's not about any trophy, it's about you. It's about you. 

Shermaine: It is. It's always about you. That's why I said your, your, people. Don't like when I say this at my, you know, my daytime job, but the reality is your loyalty is to your career path, your own development, whether it's your confidence in an area, whether it's a new skill, whether it's the level of knowledge you have, the amount you want to prep, it's your loyalty is to that. While you're working with an organization, your loyalty should also be to further their initiatives. But like you said, it's not about the money. It's not about your position. You want to find opportunities. At least I do. I want to find opportunities for influence and impact on an organization that can be reducing cost. It can be enhancing their service delivery. And when I no longer feel tied to that, organization's mission. It is time for me to go back to my first loyalty, which is my career path and look for a new opportunity. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. And I love that influence and impact it's influenced because, and I always tell people this, the moment people are not looking for you. The moment people are not checking for you at your place of work. The moment nobody you go on a long lunch break and you come back to your mailbox and nobody sent an email to look for you, your, your Skype messenger or your Microsoft teams or zoom, no one sends you a message to look for you. You are becoming irrelevant because no one cares where you are. It's like you go on a long holiday or leave or you're off sick and nothing's happened. No, one's cared. No one's checked on you influence and impact. It's kind of like, okay, no one cares. So, so I love that about him. If it's an impact, but this loyalty to your own career. I think if people hear it, they can easily think it's about being selfish and Oh, you don't care about the company you work for, but that's not what 

Shermaine: I hear that quite a bit. Oh, it's a selfish mindset. I said, it's not selfish as a human being. You're looking for the human interaction in everything you were looking for, the human interaction. You want to find moments. You can grow personally and professionally. And until you find your passion, it does become a little bit selfish. Once you find your passion, your purpose, then you know, it's a little bit easier. 

Femi (Host): No, it's true. And, and this thing about loyalty, caviar power, what we're saying is as look, when you are fulfilled, when you were in your flow, when you are being your best self, when you were, when you work, you come into work and you enjoy yourself. And you're happy. That is when you are your best self that's when you're performing at your highest level. And that's when, so it's like, I'm almost sensing that what we're saying about resilience, part of being resilient, visibility, your career is also about, there's two parts to it. There's dealing with challenges, dealing with the issues, just dealing with that. But you've almost got to be proactive about creating an environment for yourself, where you can be your best, because then it's easier to be your best than to fight against something else. If that makes sense. If you've got, if you got to think about where can I be my best self, and then that helps you in your career, doesn't it 

Shermaine: That makes perfect sense. You were creating your environment for growth and comfort. To some degree, it can be mutually exclusive. And so for me, that's resilience. I want to be flexible in my career. I want to have the skills where you can pivot as needed. And so you're not that that brings you out of the zone, right Because you've picked up a certain level of tech skills. You've pushed yourself to learn enough leadership skills. I don't want to call them soft skills because having productive conflict, learning how to interact with others and to grow your team, those are hard skills. They're not soft skills, their leadership skills. So having that in place, great communication as well, that will take you anywhere. And a willingness to learn. You can, you can work at any job. Of course, there's some technical, you know, there's a little bit of a learning curve in terms of the technical ability, but those skills, those leadership skills, any job. And so that level of resilience allows you to pivot. And so you say, like you said, it's about influence and impact. It's about an opportunity to grow an area and organization yourself personally. It's not about anything else or anyone else. It's about your true innate desire to say, you know what I want to make this better around me so that I can enjoy it and others can enjoy. Yep. Perfect. 

Femi (Host): Perfect sense. Cause you mentioned something, you said fear zone. What, what's the fear zone What is that 

Shermaine: Oh, the fear zone. And there's probably another term for that. The fear zone is I sit in the corner office, just an example. I sit in the corner office and I just delegate the task out to someone else. You do it. This is my directive us phrase. I don't know why people use it. And it's where you're kind of whipping someone with your title as opposed to, and I guess maybe it's a fear of losing your position or losing your level of what you view as influence. And I would argue that leading with fear is not influence, right That is just one, one level of, delegation. It could look differently. Fear is not being involved in the work. This is detaching yourself. Completely not because of prior experiences where you're saying, I just don't want to be involved. This is just a job I'm scared to step outside of. What's comfortable for me. And it is fearful, but you have to move beyond it. And I listened to, a previous, session you had, and I can't remember the gentleman's name, but the last name started with IP. And he talked about the willingness of a child to want to ride a bike. 

Femi (Host): That's the session with Nigel. Leppington Nigel 

Shermaine: Simply because they saw another child ride a bike, that level of excitement, joy. And that's all it's on their mind. Now, even if you can't afford it, you're sick. I need to find this because this is what I'm searching for that level of desire to move forward. We don't have that fear as children. Why do we entertain that level of fear as an adult, especially in the workplace, 

Femi (Host): Especially in the workplace, but, but that's the thing in the workplace. Sometimes we think by not putting ourselves out there, we're being resilient because we think I'm being clever. I'm not putting myself out there. I'm not taking any risks. But what you don't realize is by not putting yourself out there, making yourself available for jobs, putting your hand up when there's things that need to be done, learning the skills, actually you're being the opposite of resilience. You are shrinking away. You are not being your best self. You're not shining your light. And people notice people notice. That's what people don't realize. People will notice that you're always one of those who doesn't put yourself forward and there will be a reckoning because there will come a time when they go, we need to do us. And whenever they're thinking of new exciting projects, your name never comes up because they go, well, Charmaine never put an enforce. You wouldn't be interested. Femi would be interested. And that's part of what we do that we don't realize it's counterproductive for ourselves. So I love that growth mindset. Tell me growth, growth, growth mindset. You said is, one of your passions that you've been screaming about, what's growth mindset all about, because if you hear it, you think is obvious. But tell me, 

Shermaine: for me, it's simply stepping outside of your comfort zone, learning something new, reigniting that fire you once had, you know, finding your purpose and say, how can I use that in my current role Because for many of us, you work in a position that maybe it doesn't excite you. It's not the most creative. It's not what you dreamed of as a small child. But if you can find your, why find what you're passionate about, what is your purpose Perhaps you can insert some of that in your role and then reignite that resilience. So it's, it's changing your mindset altogether. It's hard to change your mind. It really is. 

Femi (Host): No, it, it, it it's really hard. But, and I found that there are some people that you look at them, and for me, you look at the job and think that's the most boring job in the world. But some people have found a way to make this job look like the most exciting thing. And if you talk to them, they'll say, well, I'm not really a fan of it, but when I'm doing it, I just want to make sure I have fun when I'm doing it because everything else is a miserable life. So you're almost saying we've got to find a way that even in, you've got to bloom where you're planted, wherever you are today, you have to take responsibility to try and make the best of it. Sometimes that's what resilience is. Resilience is sometimes I think sometimes we can take this whole word of resilience and give it to for me, but I love what you're challenging us to say today is that resilience. And it's just putting yourself out there. Resilience is having a flexibility to say, look, if this needs doing and yeah, I'll learn, I'll develop myself. I'll do it. It's about having a growth mindset. It's about constantly pushing your boundaries of yourself to become a better version of yourself. 

Shermaine: Yes. And so, this is at the heart of what I love saying, you know what This isn't the best moment, but I'm going to make the most of it. And so, you know, I've lived all over the world. One of the most powerful experiences I was in Delhi in China, my sister was teaching at the university. There went to visit an amazing experience. I spoke with a student who wanted to practice his English. He was challenging himself to learn a new language, which is admirable, many people in different parts of the world. Speak two, if not three or more languages I speak for, I want to challenge myself to learn more. And I talk with him and I said, well, what are you studying in university He explained what he was studying, which, which I don't, I don't remember that part, but I asked him, I said, the job you're working in now tell me about it. He said, it's simple for me. I don't work. If my heart is not in it, I want to make my family proud, but my heart must be in it. And so every day he finds something to put his heart in, in his studies. And I said, can the world be so simple with the growth mindset, find something every day to put your heart in and to grow your mind. 

Femi (Host): What's, what's interesting about that story as well, especially in the world. We are today with the pandemic and with everything. And literally a lot of us for some people, this is all statistics. When you look at the news for some of us, we are starting to hear with people we know or people who know people we know who lost someone. I, it, it just starts to make me feel like, look, it's pretty scary out there. And no one knows anything. When you have people falling ill. So we have a responsibility to try to find a way to ourselves as possibly to ourselves, whatever it is, you're doing. Try to find some enjoyment and fun in it, because at a more philosophical point is that life is fragile as it is. And you've got to find a way to enjoy what you're doing, because that's a way to be resilient and enjoy life for us. Because if you're stuck in this kind of, this is not what I do. Does he And just hide in a corner. You're never going to enjoy life. So I love that. So let's switch up a bit. I like to ask a lot of my guests, this question recently, which book do you, if you, which book have you gifted people the most, or which book do you read and you think, wow, that's eyeopening for me 

Shermaine: Well, there there's so many books. I am an avid reader and one of my rooms in the house is it's packed with books. I dream of a library in my house, right Not as the border, but as a organized library, there is a book I give to everyone. There are many books that I love, but there's one called fierce conversations by Susan Scott. Okay. Love, love, love this book. I keep two copies because someone will always ask me and I love to gift a book. I am big on gifting, a book. I will give the child a book, an older adult, a book, a book, right The book itself is simply talking around how to have difficult conversations to seek work life harmony. I don't want to call it work life balance, those moments that are difficult, and you have to have the conversation and teaches you how to have the conversation. 

Shermaine: So it's really stretching your brain beyond what's comfortable. Many of us are very assertive. I will say what I feel and I've moved on afterwards, right In a very respectful way. There are some that will not engage a conversation because of their personality. They prefer to have the conversation later, non confrontational, right Different personality styles, different modalities. And what I love about this book is saying, whoever you are, whatever background saying here is how you can have these difficult conversations with tangible skills that you can practice. So for me, I'm always highlighting, practicing, finding out ways to grow my communication, because we are all comfortable with ourselves as we are until someone else challenges us. And then you say, wait a minute, now I've got to learn something new. Wow. 

Femi (Host): I would love to read that book because what I find is, I mean, the more experienced you become in working with people, you realize for the most part where there's problems, it's usually an issue of a breakdown in communication. Yes. Almost every time from relationships to marriages, to work marriages, to, to father, son, son, and daughter, brother, sister, business, to business. It's always about conversations and ironically, or maybe not one of the things I struggled with that impacted me in my own career in my early days, which I think I'm better at now was always having those tough conversations because, and in itself, if you want to link that into resilience, you probably can. Because part of the challenges, a lot of people face where they struggle at work and they've come under pressure is having those tough conversations with your managers, having tough conversations with your peers. 

Femi (Host): As sometimes you have to say what needs to be said, we need to have this conversation, but if you don't know how to say it, or you're afraid of coming across as the admission minorities, easy to sometimes go with we're stereotyped. And if you are angry, they'll say you're the angry black woman, the angry black man. And you're worried about that. And it's just finding out how to have Frank objective almost dare. I say, dispassionate conversations with people where, and I, one of the things I learned from someone who mentored me was kind of one of them. He said, look, one of the things for me, you have to learn to do is make it a fact based conversation, make it a fact-based conversation. I don't know. Maybe I haven't read Susan, but one of the things he said was look, get the facts, put the facts under the table, make it a matter of case. This is what's happened. This is the problem. This can't happen because of this. What are we going to do And that's sometimes a problem for a lot of us is we get too tied up in the emotions of it when it's a fact-based conversation. And, so that's what I learned, but I think, no, I think that, that sounds like a great book to, to, to, to check out. So what do you find then is one of the biggest reasons why people struggle to be resilient in work 

Shermaine: I think there, there are several reasons, but there are two that stand out the most with me. The first is they are unaware of how people are experiencing them. 

Femi (Host): Okay. 

Shermaine: Cause we, you know, we typically connect with those who are, have similar personalities, similar work styles. There's typically a natural chemistry there, but for those who have a different work style, you know, they bring different elements to the table. That's where we find the conflict. And like you said, it always goes back to some, some missed something with communication. So communication breakdown, but both individuals are unaware of how the other is experiencing them. And it takes an incredible level of awareness to say, you know what The problem is me. I have to learn a new skill. I have to recognize when this person hears the emotion. It's not good. If they hear only facts that doesn't resonate with them. And that's what we're talking about. Disc styles, really understanding how to flex your personality, to meet the needs of the other person. It's difficult. People need a hello in the morning. Some people just need that. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. So, so it's, it's understanding yourself and understanding others as well. Yes. Okay. So that's one, any other one that you think is, the other one 

Shermaine: It's good personally and professionally and I, I pause for a minute. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. It's about recognizing your triggers. Yeah. 

Shermaine: Those, yeah. Those deep seated emotions and beliefs and understandings that we all hold until you're unaware of it until that moment sparks the fire. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. Cause we all have previous memories, experiences, things that are in our subconscious that maybe our bad experiences, once they surface in the workplace, we just react negatively. And it's knowing what those things are. Yeah. 

Shermaine: I think to do with the other person, it's simply recognizing the trigger in ourself. Same for relationships. It's us. It's has nothing to do with the other person that is just an untimely moment for it to manifest. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. But on this topic of resilience, the thing I find as well though, is that there's a lot that goes into resilience. Now resilience required from someone who is white, a white woman or woman or white man might be slightly different from someone who's in minority, black, Asian minority, because visitings for them might be different or, or some preconceptions of things they have already baggage they're carrying around means that in the workplace, sometimes someone, sometimes you need to be more resilient because can you imagine going into a room, you're the only minority and number one, you doubt yourself because you're so, because you're the only minority you say something and people don't see anything and you start to second, guess yourself, grinder, what I'm talking about Am I going crazy here Or there are some times it's, you're so under pressure to get it right Because you know, sometimes you are being judged. The whole, whole vase or demographic is being judged on your own performance. And that brings his own pressure to some people isn't it in the workplace. And that in itself requires a kind of resilience. 

Shermaine: You've said it well, that is my experience. I'm typically the youngest person in the room. Typically the only black female in the room. And I belong to the millennial generation. Many of the individuals I am typically working with are baby boomers. There is a natural conflict that exists just based off of my own research between, two generations. 

Shermaine: So being aware of all of these things like being, so self-aware how others will experience me, what their preconceived notions are for my generation, my race, my gender. And then you walk in the room. All of that is behind you like a Cape or a mask to some degree. And you want to present the facts in such a way that it's not rigid because I am a C disc disc personality. I typically live in the facts, but I have to flex my personality, get the resilient piece as the innovative piece, as the inspiring piece. So when they hear it, they go, yes, I can connect with her. Right You have to make it more entertaining and influential depending on the room you're in. But yet you need to be sensitive. You also need to be direct as a D. It is difficult and it's a lot of work to engage with others. So for me, recognizing that trigger in other individuals in the room, because perhaps if you cough too hard, someone thinks it's a snicker and it is not that. So for us, I would say for minorities, for younger minorities in the workplace, and certainly for women seated at the boardroom table, there's so much going on in your mind before you even opened your mouth, because you want to make sure others are experiencing you the right way so that your message is delivered in the way that it will be received. 

Femi (Host): How, how, because, and I think it's one of those. You have to have thick and knocks. You have to take your bruises. I always talk about when I was much younger, young, ambitious, hungry, black man, black young man working in a global company. I was a corporate strategy analyst, which is a pretty senior, which is a pretty senior invisible law because when you're a copper strategy, young list, you're working a lot with the CEO because you're helping them with market forecast market strategy. And because I didn't have the right role models, which is very important, I didn't have the right role models, the right mentors who had been through what I've been through now. And you can get a role model, a mentor sometimes from the hard skills perspective. And I think I had that, but it's a softer skills. Someone who would tell me, look, think about this. 

Femi (Host): Don't say this. Don't say that. I went into a meeting with the CEO of a very important meeting and he started asking me questions. And I've said this before. And I say this all the time. You have to learn. You have to be humble enough and comfortable enough to say I do not know. And because I was so eager to impress and I was so afraid of looking as if I didn't know the answer, he would start asking me questions and I started making it up. Now, if you're familiar, if you've worked with people at that level, you very quickly realize they're very, they're usually very, they usually intelligent, but they're usually contagious, but also they're also quite experienced. So they usually know the right questions to ask because they are always thinking about risks. they may not know much, but they usually think what's the worst thing that can happen to my company. So he started asking me questions and because I wasn't confident enough to say, I don't know, I'll come back to you. I started making up. I started guessing and it went so badly. He later called my manager side and I said, look, don't feel comfortable that he knows what he's doing. I don't want to see him. I don't want him in a meeting with me anymore. 

Femi (Host): And I didn't know that it was only later. My manager told me and that just broke my confidence in everywhere. And for a long time, I struggled with it. Only later I've come to realize, look, if I don't know, I just told you, I don't know. And I'll come back to you. And, that should be enough for you. I'll come back to you pretty soon. but that was an area where, because I didn't know. And it's to your point where sometimes, because you don't know, and you're dealing with all of this, you're under pressure. And from a resilience perspective, that time I struggled because I didn't know what to do, but, and then I didn't know how to, I didn't know where to go, to getting the knowledge to, to grow myself. I didn't have that flexibility mindset. And so the message is sometimes it's part of being resilient as well is also going to be sometimes more importantly, boss him back from disappointments struggles, failures. That is just as important when it comes to resilience. 

Shermaine: Yeah. Well said. And that moment, while it was uncomfortable, change the trajectory of your career, because you said, I will never say that again. I see the value in saying, I don't know, but I'll find out, I love to say that they go, Oh, you should know Charmaine. I said, well, I have a command, a technical command in this area. And I'm a subject matter expert in this area. However, give me some time and I can find the correct answer for you. Allow me to research to give you the best practice possible. And then that typically changed their mindset. But like you're saying, taking risk, having a mentor, having several mentors, because you don't know how someone else is experiencing you. But I think also for resilience is being able to say, when I come home, I'm leaving work at the door to be able to turn it off at some point. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. Makes sense. Do you have a story of, or do you, is there a story of resilience that inspires you that you, you kind of, obviously like to think, Oh, that that's an example of someone that was resilient or is there something you've looked back on your life and go looking back That was pretty cool. I'm pretty proud of that. I did well there when you sort of look back. 

Shermaine: Yeah. Oh, there's so many interesting stories. One that stands out the most. Oh yeah. So the, the last position I took first day on the job, they, you know, they hired me because of my background within policy and within learning development and my ability to work within community engagement. And I said, okay, so it was around a policy or a new rollout for policies within the organization. They said, okay, maybe three days in is that you will be engaging all the executive leader, the executive team at this location. You need to do it within one week. So in a new organization of what, 5,000 people, I need to figure out the logistics invite all of these, these higher level individuals. You need to cater food. You have to come up with a presentation. I need to find the subject matter experts, all of the bells and whistles, because they don't just want an event. 

Shermaine: They need to be entertained to some degree and have a beautiful dinner. As you try to educate them, which is problematic in itself. But I said, okay, I can do that. And they're looking for you to fail. So this assignment was given to you to show this new kid. They don't know what they're doing. I'm going to prove it because I heard the conversation quietly, even though I did not let someone know that I heard the conversation, that's also part of the growth mindset is not saying what you need to say. I reached out to different departments. I said, tell me, who is the best point of contact to put this on your department head schedule. So again, not having all the information, but knowing how to find the information found out all of them. It's 40 plus individuals. Okay Who's the best person for point of contact with catering, reaching out to those individual and soliciting people. 

Shermaine: I did not know well and say, you're now on my team to help me. This is, this reflects our entire department. Now you're here to help me. And so really having to push myself beyond my comfort zone, because I don't know these individuals I'm unfamiliar with the organization, reaching out, finding their strategic plans still and saying, okay, this is my first project. It will be successful because I will not be deemed as incompetent. Not within the first week on the job. It didn't work out very well. It was successful. But the headache that ensues, because you're carrying all of this behind you and trying to fight off all of your emotional triggers. When you hear someone say, Oh, I'm going to show them something, right. I'm going to teach them a lesson. So several individuals came to me after the fact the event was successful. 

Shermaine: Thank God. And all of the individuals who assisted. And I said, this is my core team here. They did not know me. Well yet they were loyal enough to the organization to say, I'm going to help Charmaine. And I said, this will be the team. I always stick my neck out for. And I said, I will make sure that I'm flexible enough to assist them on any project. So again, there's so many moments, but this stood out to me because sometimes you're given a project to fail. Yeah. Yeah. And you have to be knowledgeable enough to say, you know what This isn't about me. This is about the organization. How can I succeed Who do I need on this team Seated at the table to help me make decisions Cause I refuse to be on the menu. Who else needs to sit at my table 

Femi (Host): I love that. I think we spoke when we spoke a while ago to plan the session. You said something to me about someone who said, if you're not ordering, you're on, you're on the menu or subject. 

Shermaine: Yes. One of my favorite coworkers, first job out of college, it has to be at least a long time now. And he will always stand out in my mind. Horse said there are two types of people Charmaine he's maybe 40 years, my senior, but incredibly knowledgeable. And I said, I need to learn from his experience. He said two types of people. There are the people who are seated at the table when decisions are made 

Femi (Host): Because they are, 

Shermaine: And there are people who are on the menu. He said, there only two types. He said, if you do nothing else in your life, you need to strive for a seat at the table because you have the heart of someone who will make the right decisions for those who deem themselves on the menu. And that's why I say leadership is so important. And resilience is important. It's about taking risks. It's about growing your mind so that you are in a position to help others. That don't realize they're on the menu. You can make a decision that will influence them and impact their career in such a way that they will grow personally and professionally. And they're not at the mercy of someone who is callous with their decision-making because everything is personal to them. And that's why I strive for the seat at the table. I said, I've got to be in a position to help other people, not the title, not the trophy, but I need to be able to lead people so that they don't suffer early in their career the way others have. 

Femi (Host): No, that that's very important because one of the things I find is when you're a much younger person in your career, sometimes you don't know better. You don't know what to do. And I mean, sometimes you get ordering student or to do. And one of the most important things you can do is to network in the workplace because you start to know what's happening. And that's how you find out what the main is going to be. one of the ways to find out what's what's the menu, what the menu is, is going to be talking to people. And I think for a lot of people, and I think I'll speak, I saw recently and they said the same thing. He said, we need to learn how to network better. Because when you network better, you know where the problems are in the company, you know where the challenges are, you know, where the battles are, you know, where they have a need. 

Femi (Host): Then you can develop yourself. You can shape yourself. You can position yourself to make sure that you're in a position to influence an impact as sometimes by being flexible, help them solve the problem. And when you help them solve the problem, guess what You're not on the menu anymore. You're at the table eating. That's what you need to do. And in doing that, you'll be loyal to the company, but more important. You're being loyal to your career. You're being loyal to your career because your career, your career is like a plant. It's like a tree. You have to water it. You have to nourish it. You have to look after it. If you don't do all of these things, things can fall by the wayside. So I think it's very important about resilience is that you're right. It is about that flexibility to, by having to grow up, might've inspire loyalty. It's about networking. It's really around just doing what you need to do to make sure you continue to be relevant. I think relevancy is a very important word. 

Shermaine: Yes. Relevancy. It's about filling the gaps, right Understanding that. What, what exists have a systems thinking approach right here are all the problems that exist in the organization. How do I grow myself to fill that gap Because that earns me, my seat at the table. And so for me, I said, I don't have to be invited at the table. I will fill a gap based off of your need to deliver a business, a service. And I will earn my seat at the table and I will bring my own chair because I don't just want to sit for myself. I'm helping everyone else because I know what happens when you're on the menu. You're just a cog in the wheel. And at some point, if you're not, you don't have that growth mindset. You don't understand. There is a table that you can be seated at. 

Femi (Host): Yeah, yeah, no, it's, it's very important. And I, and I tell people, look, there, there are loads of ways you can do this. If, if anytime you have in the company, there's people who are complaining. That means there's a problem to be solved is desk. If there's things that are getting done slowly, that means there's, there's a problem that needs to be done. If there's things that there's, if there's, if there's something where there's insufficient, what there's a lack in any part of the business, there's a problem that needs to be solved. If things get done slowly, if your customers are complaining, if your suppliers are complaining, if things are not getting done quick enough, those are indicates that there's a problem to be solved and you can put yourself forward or try and bring together a group of guys that can solve the problem. Yeah. It's been really fun to me, this resilience. I mean, how did the zillions become, what's your story How did we see this become for you Something that you became quite passionate about Because it's not, if I'm being honest resilience, I mean, until recently, most people didn't, we didn't realize how important was. So for you, has this always been a thing. And when did resilience becomes something that you become quite passionate about 

Shermaine: It's always been a thing for me. so my family's from Trinidad Tobago. We migrated all over the world. You know, our folks are resilient in the Caribbean islands, many cultures as well, but I can only speak to mine and we make the best out of whatever you have. If you have some flour and you have, one piece of meat, you will find a way to feed 12 people in your household. Even though you have a small portion. And that is something that my grandma instilled in me. That's something that my mother instilled in me and we grew up in the military. So I've lived all over the world and the mindset was, this is all temporary. While you are here, make the best of it. Dive in, enjoy life, learn something from every experience, make a new friend and friend is relevant, right 

Shermaine: Make a new connection, learn as much as you can about this culture, this area, and the military calls it opposite. Really observing around yourself, watching what's happening so that you can understand what the needs are, where the dangerous, how to fill the gaps. And so, since I was a small child, this has been the mindset. I didn't know it was considered a growth mindset or resilience. I would just say, well, I'm okay with that. Right And so this, this kind of ties into me now, wanting to pivot as an author, as a speaker, as a, just a hundred percent learning, developed professional, I said, I want to teach others this skill. This was a skill we always had many years ago. We didn't call it resilience. We didn't call it growth mindset. They would just say, you know, carry on. You can do this. Keep going, keep on, keeping on, keeping on. 

Shermaine: Right And so that's, that's what I, I want to teach others this. So I started to write children's books and coloring books. Cause I said, there are so many benefits to having a strong mental and emotional growth. We got to talk about this. And so this is, this is just kind of become a thing for me. People say, Oh, resilience. Now it's a hot topic, the word itself. But this was always a concept that we had. We just need to revisit the basics and find out how can we use that to teach others and help them grow 

Femi (Host): Yeah. I kind of like what you did there because in a way we have the moving the mystique and the mystery of resilience, resilience is it's simply just hanging in there. It's about stick. It's about hanging in there. It's about surviving. It's about grinding. It's about not giving up. It's about when things change, you adapt. So it's about adaptability flexibility. Having the mindset of, I will do what needs to be done so that I can continue to add value and be of influence. 

Shermaine: And most importantly, not waiting for someone else to say do that. 

Femi (Host): It's usually too late when that happens sometimes as well. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. Amazing. It's been awesome. I mean, I know you had quite a bit, shit us. Tell us what, if there's one thing you'd want the listeners to take away today, is there anything you'd have that you've planned for You don't want to miss this guys 

Shermaine: Yeah. There's a quote I'd like to share if that's okay. That's fine. A good friend of mine sent it to me and I had to blow it up and write it on the wall. I placed it on the refrigerator. I've shared this with others, but I'll leave the listeners with this. Whatever you think you can't do. Just know that there is someone who is confidently doing it wrong right now. They have no plans at doing it better either and people are paying them to do it. So please believe in your own excellence as much as they believe in their mediocrity. 

Femi (Host): Oh, that is so good. I love that. That's a mic drop that that's a mic drop because that's so true. There are people who don't know what they're doing. They're being paid off of it and they're mediocre. So take a shot, shoot your shot, grow your mind, do something different, your mind, your mind, something different. Amazing. Thank you so so much. And congratulations on being one to watch for 2020, how does it feel being an, how does it feel when and listen, everyone's watching it cause I'm watching now. The whole board is watching Charmaine. I 

Shermaine: Just want to make people proud. I want to have that seat at the table so that I can develop the next generation. And I know that sounds like a lot, but I want them to have it a bit easier than we did for them to quickly understand, find your purpose, start working to quickly understand, change your mindset and work becomes easier for you because like you say, you find a bit of fun every day. I want them to understand resilience is a skill. 

Femi (Host): That's amazing. That's powerful. Thank you so much for me for coming. I mean, people want to read your book. What's your book called 

Shermaine: Oh, so it's called I move a lot and that's okay. A story of a child resilience. 

Femi (Host): so if anyone wants to read a children's book or buy a book for a child around just visiting for children, it's great, but where can we get it Where can they get it 

Shermaine: You can find it on Amazon. So I will give you my website. It's amazing. A M I Z I N G L Y. So amazingly Shermaine S H E R M a I N e.com. So amazingly shermaine.com. You can connect with me on LinkedIn as well. I am always open to talking about a growth mindset because this in my mind will spread like fire. So there are books for children on there. There are guided journals, there are coloring books, but most importantly, I want everybody to just reach beyond where we currently are. 

Femi (Host): Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. So, we'll put the address, the address in the show notes as well, and the link to the book on the show notes. So people can reach it as well. It's amazing. Thank you. Shermaine for blessing us with and sharing your wisdom, experience and knowledge, passion for visitors and a good mindset's been. We really appreciate it. Thanks for coming. Thanks for having me. You've heard everyone resilient. It's really around. Keep on keeping on it's about sticking in there. I know there's all kinds of words out there, but it really is around just sticking in there. But as a few things you can do, you've got to be flexible. You've got to have a good mindset. You've got to have a loyalty to your own career path and then the company, and you've got to think influence and impact because where there is a gap for influence and impact, and you can fill it by being flexible. You are beginning to show yourself as resilience. I can't stress it enough. Being resilient in this time and age in this time of global uncertainty is critical to being able to cope and roll with the punches that this ward is chosen at us right now. So go out there, have a good mindset, be flexible, adapt and be passionate about making that impact and influence. Get on least stay on leashed.