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Season 02. EP02: From ego to empathy with Carren O'Keefe

by Alex Normanton & Co.
November 5th 2021

In conversation with Carren O'Keefe, Executive Creative Director at AnalogFolk, Amsterdam. In this epis... More

Welcome to season two of the Doper Podcast, fueling conversations around creative wellness and turning negative barriers into positive tools for mental success brought to you by the department of protectiveness and your host Alex norman joining me today is Karen O'keefe, executive creative director and analog folk Amsterdam. We discuss how to shift from egocentric behavior to a more empathetic way of working, also how to embody an attitude of gratitude within your daily life. So Karen, we're here in your home on the Princeton Black Canal in a houseboat, which is a first for me in three years actually, I've never been on the houseboat. Well welcome. This is my first time recording a podcast on the houseboat. So so first for both of us it could become a popular recording destination.

Yeah, I think so, let's see how it goes. Yeah, if you do hear any people going past on boats cheering and waving, you know this is real Yeah, people think we're celebrities now. I don't want to thank you for your time. I know you're incredibly busy. I'm really excited to unpack the theme this afternoon. Thank you. I'm really excited to be a part of this. I think it's equally impressive and important what you're doing. People talk about physical wellness, mental wellness, emotional wellness, but I think creative wellness is equally important, not just to our field but to everyone and so kudos, thank you, I appreciate that's very kind. We're here to talk about how to navigate from ego to empathy and really how to help people shift to a more sympathetic and empathetic operational model, plus some practical tools on really how to recognize your own self saboteur and how to stay humble and grounded as with all these episodes, it's absolutely massive, but I reckon we can give it a good shot today. Let's try, let's see where we go.

I think a lot of people throughout the creative careers have come across or encountered an ego centric person or leader, but as you so succinctly put it in our pre call, you don't have to be an asshole to be great. Yes, and it's really good to just pause there for a minute and and kind of give a bit of background context to where this theme has come from for yourself within your career, has it been modeled at some point when you maybe started out? And I'm just wondering if you could describe a scenario where egocentric behavior has been at the center, it's a little bit of background about me. I actually started my career quite literally on Madison Avenue in new york, not figuratively, not watching Mad Men, but actually on Madison Avenue and you can imagine um it was quite an ego fueled place to be. I mean, I think the pressure just living in new york being in that environment and it was the dream right? Um but I got there and it was quite as dreamy as you kind of anticipate a lot of people like to say there's a lot of egos in this business.

I say it all the time. I think we all do. Uh and the reality is we all have an ego and I think I didn't realize it at the time because I was one of those people, I was in that environment and that's just what fueled everyone who was there now that I have stepped out of that and I've progressed in my career and I've moved around a little bit more. I can think back to certain times and just think about certain behavior that is just almost unacceptable. Specifically, I remember one time I was a junior copywriter and the creative director on a specific project. We got some feedback from the client that was pretty harsh on the designs and the designer at the time he was working with wasn't there. And so he unloaded on me like yelling red in the face and talking about it right now. My heart's starting to beat faster. I can feel it. Like I am transported back to that moment where I sat paralyzed in fear as he screamed at me and I just started to question every life choice I had made up until that moment. Um just I was shipped in my job, what was I doing? Like everything was my fault and I couldn't believe that I was gonna get fired all of these things.

It was about the design and I was a junior copywriter and I think now now that I am sort of in a different space and I looked back and I have been in his shoes, what I actually think isn't oh my God, that was awful of him. I think he was completely controlled by his own ego at that point and the pressure that he must have been under from the client and he let it control him and it doesn't make it okay. But if I had been able to sort of recognize that in the moment, I think I would have been able to not let it affect me as much as it did to the point where 15, 20 years later I still feel it in my body when I think about that memory. It was one I got to Portland's and I actually started to get more into yoga and pull myself out of advertising in the creative industry and develop myself outside of just within my career that I kind of was like hold on a second, it doesn't have to be this way like we don't have to be all about ourselves, are all about sort of this really like tear people down to build your own self up mentality. And that's when I just sort of kind of realized that that doesn't have to be our approach to ourselves.

And that actually it starts with us. So like I said the whole there's a lot of egos, every single person has an ego, we're all humans. And that's where I think the shift from ego to empathy actually starts is by recognizing that. So if I could have recognized in that moment that he was a human, he isn't perfect, whatever was going on with him and I can make assumptions but I don't know, I'm not him, I'm not in his shoes, but I can be empathetic to the fact that he is a human being and he has been driven by his ego in that moment and what that does is that takes the power that his ego has over me in terms of making me feel lesser than and smaller than and I think thinking about on all of those sort of experiences in my own career and develop myself through yoga and whatever else I was doing. That's where I really started to shift into this like let's let's allow ourselves to be human, let's allow other people to be human, whether it's our clients or bosses or people below us and that's when we can really start to shift into a more collaborative model because I didn't do good work the rest of the day, I sat in a tailspin of anxiety and that's not a way to build up your team, that's not a way to get to good work.

I mean I remember starting my career going from Northern England to London and I thought that was brutal, I can only imagine what it must have been like going to new york to Madison avenue corporate America dog eat dog mentality, it must have been, Yeah, maybe London Times 50. Yeah, it is. I'm really glad that's where I started my career though because I know now what I don't want to do and that's where kind of my, you don't have to be an asshole to be good mentality has come from is I've been in it, I've experienced it and I've found a better way for me And I think everyone that's the thing, everyone has to find their own way. But I think it's not to be confused with, I am super competitive. I want to be the best in the world, but I don't think that it has to be that way. I think that there's a way that we truly can foster team mentality and take care of one another regardless of what level you are. And it's better for the work. It's better for the individuals and it's better for all of our collective mental health.

You could argue that sometimes people if they've experienced that and they're not in a position of creative leadership, they've almost trying to model the same sort of thinking or system or treatment of people as that is the special magic in order to get great creative work and I know that doesn't work in the industry has changed significantly to the point where you just can't be like that actually anymore. And I think 11 of the things that is kind of my personal focus or personal mission, I think as you progress through your career, you find different wise while you're doing it and mine is to dismantle the system in which I was raised, which is kind of a phrase I use for being the only woman in the room and told that that is quite literally the only value I'm bringing at that point, not giving people sit at the table tearing people down to build yourself up, not allowing people to make mistakes or be vulnerable or be open. All of that stuff is ego driven behavior in my mind and I didn't work well in that environment. I just, I survived in it.

I didn't thrive and being able to step out of it and look at it and be able to be now in a position where I can try it differently and and see what works and what doesn't and like I said, I still am driven by ego every day. I think we all are, but it has to start with us, it has to start with senior leaders and I think making a conscious choice to continue to develop yourself, continue to look at your own behavior because you set the tone for what's okay with your team, You set the tone for how you can speak to one another. You know a lot of people because to your point, the industry is changing. Talk about collaborative teams over competitive, but how many really back that up with their own behavior the way they staff, how they give briefs, what they accepted their teams, what they celebrate. All those things end up making your greater culture and it all starts with you and your own ego. I think when we say there's a lot of egos in this business or we look at someone, like I look at that old boss that I have and I judge him for that, that's my own ego. That's our own egos, judging those people for being driven by the radios.

And so that's where I think to shift to more empathetic leadership style or to truly have empathy for your team and more importantly yourself, which is quite literally the hardest thing to do. I think a lot of times when we see someone who's so blindly driven by their own ego that they have to talk about how great they are or they only support their own ideas or they cut other people down to make themselves feel better. What they're doing is nine times out of 10 making up for a deep rooted fear or insecurity and that person tends to be compensating more than somebody who doesn't feel like they need to tell you that they're so great. I mean you say everyone's got an ego, but I think the certain individuals that you've obviously encountered and certainly I have, who amplify that you go to a ridiculous level at points where you just like this is actually suffocating me. I feel scared. Um I don't feel like you can speak up, you know, young in my career where I was working with a very, very well regarded art director of on some incredible campaigns and I was working with in one day and just whatever I did was not right.

And we must have had the same conversation over 30 times and he just wasn't communicating what he really wanted to see and pushed this campaign on. And it got to the point where he's been so rude and so personal, where he was literally shouting at me going, can you not do it? I mean, come on, it's that easy if such and such was working on, they've had it nailed by now like what are you doing? You do not understand your stupid at the time. I just literally shut down. The Mac stood up, went and got my coat and then as a walk past them and said, if you're gonna talk to me like that, get somebody else to work on this campaign, good for you. And you know what he lived near to where I used to live the following day, he was on the same tube, he sat down next to me and we had the most civil conversation you could ever imagine in the world and from that day forward, he totally respected that stood up to him because no one had and he just got away with that behavior, it's strong to make that decision.

But often in the moment you feel, you know, really shut down, really scared and I'm not able to speak your throat dries up, you start shaking, started getting hot and like this is not comfortable. I think having seen those things a bit like yourself, I try to to make that shift to be more empathetic, but as you say, we're all human and we don't get it right all of the time. Yeah. And I think that's where the having empathy for yourself comes into play, but in scenarios like that and I think especially to anyone who is listening to this that is more junior or not, maybe working with someone who's more senior themselves who is in that position, I think being able to recognize that they are being driven by their ego or that they're human. A lot of times we feel like that's the right thing to do, right? That's good, but don't think about it as you're doing them a favor. You're taking the power away from their ego to make you feel lesser than by recognizing it. So in that moment, his push for you to do that work was more of a sign about his own insecurity of getting it to where it needs to be and you never know where that's coming from.

I think one of the things that's really interesting to realize is that we are not our egos, there's a reason we say we have an ego or ego driven and if you can start to separate that out from yourself and realize that you are not your ego, you can do that with other people and understanding that echoes are actually an evolutionary thing. They developed to actually protect us as Children, either mentally, emotionally or physically for some reason and all echoes are different. So for example, being very vulnerable on this, my mom passed away when I was really young when I was nine years old and obviously having sort of what is considered a foundational love taken away so young then my ego's developed to be a hyper achiever because what I started to do was I would get a girl scout badge and someone would praise me, I would get an A and someone praise me and to a child that starts to replace that love that I had been lost and so now my self worth and my self love has been built on hyper achieving and so you can imagine what happens when I am in a pitch or I'm working on a project, if we lose or it's not going our way because I've tied myself worth or myself love or any love at all to what the outcome is, then it creates this stress in this undue dynamic on the people that you're with and that's where if you don't examine your own ego, you get into those situations and if you don't understand where it's fueled because we're all different and we all had something different that evolved.

And the unfortunate thing is that while they served a purpose for us as Children, when we're adults and we don't need that production anymore, we still have them. And unless you look at in the face and you try to deal with it, it's going to unconsciously fuel your actions with people so many times. People are ego driven the next day will be like, why did I say that? It's in the heat of the moment and it's not them, it's their ego. Where do you think this egocentric attitude there's originated from and why do you think it's still present creativity is a mystery. I mean, we talk about they're all these funny things, the muse, or where do ideas come from? Like we're not doing math, there's not a right answer. And so much of what we're doing is subjective, but there's also a vulnerability to it. We put ourselves into our ideas, we put ourselves into our design or copy it's quite literally our creation and there's an inherent vulnerability in that we're told every day, even though it's subconscious that we're not good enough through a series of small feedbacks, make this better change this, do that, we internalize that as we're not good enough, we're not good enough, we're not good enough.

I also think the more senior you get again, because there is no right answer, People need to buy into us to them. Buy into our ideas. And I think that's where people become creative directors or the person that you're working with, it becomes on them to make the quote unquote right decision. Even though there isn't one, there becomes an inherent pressure of I don't want to admit or talk about any of my weaknesses or my vulnerabilities because I'm worried that then people aren't going to believe in me. And if they don't believe in me, then they might not believe in my work or they might not trust me. And nine times out of 10, somebody who is being hard on you is being 10 times worse on themselves. And that's where I think it needs to start. It's interesting in that you separate the ego away from the person. I'm interested to know some of the reasons why egos can start to flare up in a moment or a situation if they're separate to the person, then there's something that's provoking that egotistical attitude. So what prompts that flare up maybe for yourself or for other people, it really depends on the person and the formation of their ego.

So like I said, for mine, because it's so tied to what I achieve than anything, or anyone that compromises that the heathen moment when I'm not being present or conscious or grounded in myself, my ego can step into the driver's seat and really take over and feel my actions. And I think it's this difference of and it's something I work on every single day and I am not graded it and I'm trying to be better reacting versus responding. So our egos react and I'm quite an emotional person. I think it's what makes me a great creative because we put emotion into our work, but it's also what can let my ego take over so quickly and it literally comes back to our brains. And I think that's another thing that I really like to think about is when we can separate out our ego from ourselves and we think about that, it is the wiring in our brain, it's literally the synapse. So when you behave in a certain way or you respond in a certain way and you're like, why did I do that? I will snap at somebody in the heat of the moment and I'll spend a week ruminated on it because I feel so bad about it.

You can retrain your brain, you can actually find ways to make it so that the synapse and the fires together, wires together takes a more positive path. So that you aren't just responding with fear, it could be anxiety, it could be anger, it comes out different in different people. So you're talking about those neurological pathways and I liked what you said about what fires together wires together, that's intriguing. You can give science the credit for that. There's a scientific reason why those things work because your brain what actually fires together, which is the electrical impulses in your brain. There's a thing in between your synapse which are basically the wires as you can think about in your brain. There's a synaptic cleft and were built evolutionary to make things easier for a body that we do. So even if you fake gratitude, that part of your brain will fire together and the synaptic cleft will actually start getting closer and closer, which makes those neurons easier to fire together. Which then eventually you stop faking it, eventually it becomes real and you just feel the gratitude that you once had to force yourself to feel the attitude of gratitude.

Is that something you're mentally saying to yourself or you speaking the outline? I think you can do it however, is the act of gratitude to somebody else. There's also inward gratitude to yourself. I used to keep a gratitude journal where I would just write one thing down a day that I was great before on the darkest days when you can't find a single thing you can say, I am grateful for this cup of coffee right now because it is the only thing that's going to get me through this day and it still fires that part of your brain. That's an interesting thing to think about when you're thinking about trying to shift from ego to empathy and how you can start to build that gratitude for yourself, I am happy that I got myself out of bed today. I am happy that I and truly starting to give yourself permission and empathetic for the situation you're in. I snapped at that person, I shouldn't have done that. I'm under a lot of pressure. Don't make it worse for yourself even when your ego does step into the driving seat and it's almost retraining your mind to sync with your knee jerk behavior to be reprogrammed. Can think about your mind like a record where you've got groups in it, but you can actually retrain the record.

You can make new groups but you have to work on it just like we have physical fitness. We can have mental fitness and if we don't want to respond in a certain way or if we don't want to have a certain behavior, we don't want our ego to respond with fear, anxiety, all these negative emotions. We can try to stop ourselves in the moment when we know it but it takes a level of being aware and conscious of what's happening. Get grounded into your body and I know that sounds like a Yogi thing but rub your fingertips together with such intense focus that you can feel the ridges on them just for five seconds or grab your legs. Like if you're anxious, grab your legs or grab the edge of the table and just focus all your energy on to that because our egos live in our minds and if you can get into your body for a brief second, you can tend to stop that spiral or stop it from controlling what you're thinking or doing. And that's where the react versus respond can come into play and that's when you can start changing the grooves that are in that record, changing the record ultimately as well, longer term. Exactly. Just going back to the scientific side of things you mentioned previously that you recently joined a positive intelligence course and learned the real science and neurological signals that are going on in your brain and that some of those things that cause egocentric behavior, you want to expand a little bit on what you've learned in that in terms of the scientific route of ego, you mentioned his protection.

I'm wondering if you could just expand on that point because that's quite important. I think our egos develop as for Children for one reason or another, whether it's emotional like mine was or actual physical or mental, it's really interesting the different scenarios because I think we look at people who probably had a perfect or what would be considered a perfect childhood and they still develop an ego to protect them in one way or another because we don't, as Children understand the world as it is, we understand it in a very impressionable way. And so for example, if your parent gets sick and they go to the hospital, you don't know when they're going to come back and so that can actually trigger abandonment in a child, which can develop an ego in a different way. And what that ultimately becomes. And what they talk about in the course is it becomes this judge which is judging ourselves and judging other people and actually situations, we judge all of them. Um and the way we respond and react to those situations can either be positive or they can be negative. So you have your I. Q. You have your EQ, which is your emotional quotient and then your PQ your positive quotient.

And that is how do you respond in a positive way to life stressors and what is happening. And so when you're in your survival side of your brain, which is a reptilian brain, that's where ego lives and it's the in the moment reactions that we have, but that's where you can retrain your brain through certain exercises like getting into your body and it is different. They call them peaky reps. It's different than meditation. I've done meditation for years and it's one thing to sit in your room with your crystals in your meditation cushion. And that has long term benefits as well. But this is an in the moment thing where you can keep yourself president and keep yourself from kind of getting hijacked and into that survival brain, sustaining the positive in the PQ side of your brain, what you can do is respond with more creativity and clarity and empathy and quite literally more creative problem solving. And so it doesn't mean that you're not a high achiever. It doesn't mean that you're not necessarily doing the exact same things or that you're changing the scenarios or anything.

It's just about how you respond in a way that's productive as opposed to those negative emotions, which quite literally have no purpose and aren't going to help you in that scenario that you're in. You mentioned your thoughts been hijacked if you're not careful. I think if you're negatively thinking about things and it's easy for those thoughts to be held captive and take you down a path that's not good for you. It's also kind of linked to, you know, that notion of self sabotage and those things that actually lead us away from being the best version of ourselves. Yeah. And I think that's one of the biggest things when we think about shifting from ego to empathy, when we talk about empathy and we're thinking about other people in that sense and our best brings out other people's best and our worst brings out other people's worst surround yourself with the people who bring out the best in you. But also think about how you can do that with people. Our minds are our greatest weapon either for good or bad against ourselves and other people, it can control us or we can control it.

And that's where I think, realizing that you actually have the power to work on that mental fitness and to work on the way that you respond to things. I'm just continuously impressed by the power of the mind. Visualization is a really powerful tool in a really powerful way to be able to sort of retrain this circuitry in your brain. And I know that sounds a little bit out there, but actually, um I believe it was in 1994. Somewhere around there. There's a really famous um study done at the University of Chicago called the free throw study. And it was such a landmark study that the NBA actually started changing the way that they train their teams based off of it. And what they did was they brought together sort of a group of test subjects and they split them up into three categories um into three groups. And at the beginning of 30 days they had them shoot free throws and obviously calculated their sort of average in terms of making it. Then the first group for the next 30 days, they had them actually practice free throws to improve their average.

The second group, they had them just imagine that they were practicing through those and that they were making it. And then the third group did nothing. The first group improved by 24% over the 30 days. The second group who didn't touch a basketball in 30 days just imagined that they were making the baskets improved by 23%,, 23%, only 1% less than the people who actually went out there and practice just by channeling their mind and imagining the scenario. So what that means for us and our Ego and trying to be more empathetic towards ourselves and other people is if you're about to go into a scenario, imagine how you want it to go just play that out in your mind and I know that it sounds crazy but it can really work. But more importantly, if you're in a scenario where let's say you were the art director who was working with you and he goes home and he feels awful replay that scenario in your mind not to make yourself feel worse but switch the narrative, imagine what you wish you would have done or what you wish, you would have said, you wish that you hadn't felt overwhelmed.

You wish that you hadn't yelled at someone, You wish that you hadn't made someone make you feel less than whatever the scenario is. What that does. Is it actually retrain your brain so that the next time that happens you're more likely to actually respond that way without having to think consciously about it. That's incredibly powerful thing. It's amazing. But it's also quite empowering when we realized that like we control our minds not the other way around. And if we don't like it, we can do something about it. I mean we touched a little bit on building an empathetic, creative culture. How do you think that people can help to build a creative environment where people can be free to be themselves, Be honest, be real and be really aware of what's going on around them? What top tips have you got the sort of building that as a culture? So what is the self work that you're doing on yourself to be able to actually lead by example? I think that's not just a cliche phrase. I think it's something that you have to live and believe in and I think the second is actually seen every single person as a human being, it doesn't matter they're level, it doesn't matter who they are.

But understanding that they and yourself are going to have times when their ego takes over and then creating a space where they can be themselves, where they actually can bring all of themselves the good and the bad and accepting that we're a team for a reason. One of my key things that I've always believed is that you are not alone. I am not alone. We're not alone. We are creative team. We work in teams for a reason and that doesn't mean we're all a bunch of standalone rockstar individuals, we are a part of something bigger than ourselves and that's a beautiful thing and asking for help is not a weakness, it's a strength and if you believe that and you let your team believe that and truly believe it in the sense that you live it, ask for help yourself be open, be vulnerable. You then give them permission by just living and leading your own example to do the same. And then you cultivate empathy, not just for yourself and looking at yourself, but also for them and allow them to thrive at whatever level they are.

Yeah. It's actually not an enforced model. It's a lift out model. But through really, truly demonstrating this is what it looks like. If you don't actually believe that, then that's where you have to examine yourself and figure out what works for you. It has to be personal to the individual. It's not like, okay, if you do x, y and z, then you're going to have this amazing creative culture and do some incredible work. You have to kind of take the principles and adapt it to who you are as a person and who you are within a company. Exactly. I believe, at least within our team that it's us against the world, not us against each other, what we do every day. You know those Montrose? We love to have them as a creative industry. The emails we send the slacks, we celebrate the small decisions, we make every single day are what actually make that a lived experience. And so if you don't believe it. If it's not true to you then people are going to be able to sell and it's not going to feel real because we are intuitive beings, aren't we? You know, if it's forced or or real and open and ice completely within this culture analog folk, have you practically introduced more empathetic way of day to day life within the agency.

We formed a new mission in a new North Star which was to be a progressive agency of change and to help underrepresented people and within that we updated our values and one of the values which um I helped actually formulate was bu and and what that meant was be you bring all of yourself but in return except all of others. And I think it has to start at that level and I think we try to live that every day which is truly letting people be themselves and being understanding and empathetic to the fact that they're human beings, they have a life outside of work. Work should not be life. And I think that's a big shift from going back to my Madison avenue days and living in new york for me personally, what I also tried to do is be as open and as vulnerable with my team as I can because if I'm allowed to be human, they're allowed to be human. I think people in leadership positions are afraid to do that because we're supposed to have the answers, but the truth is we don't have all the answers. And so recently we've been going through a lot of changes and one of the things I said to the team, I don't know what to do right now.

I just don't and I don't have all the answers. But I know that us as a team, we can figure it out because the one thing I do know always is that I believe in us and I believe that if we stick together and if we pull in the same direction, we'll be able to figure it out without expecting one person to carry it on their shoulders, whether that's me or someone designing something or someone who's writing something, it doesn't matter what discipline you're in. We're all on the same team. I think you have an agency model built upon those key values that is genuinely lived out. That comes across through the people they live it, but it comes through into the work, a fun place to be. We've got a really good team and we've been doing a lot of interviews with people lately and everyone asked, what's your favorite part of working here? And my answer is always the team. I've been talking to a couple of people recently and I came to find out that that's their answer to which we didn't realize. And it just made me really happy. I always think back to the previous studio which will remain nameless where I asked a question in an interview once and I said, so tell me about the culture here.

And I said, well we have a radio. Yeah, I do think though that a lot of agencies think that company culture or creative culture is the foosball table or the ping pong table or the happy hours that they have on friday. And it's not, it is what is the indescribable but undeniable chemistry amongst your team and what are the things that you value? So for us, it's collaboration over competition. It's everyone has a voice. So I don't care what level you are a junior, the same as the Ceo. Everyone has a perspective and we want to hear it. Those foundational things are, will actually make your culture and one of the ones for us is we're seriously good, but we don't take ourselves seriously. We love to have fun. We love to laugh and I just think like we can't tie our happiness to the output because how many campaigns have you been a part of that have died the day before. It's supposed to go out the door if we don't enjoy the process and the people that were doing it with, we're wasting a lot of precious time.

I'm intrigued. I mean, mentally there's a lot of really good practical tools that you've mentioned automatically. There's a really nice connection between being grounded and feeling the grooves within your fingers and I'm literally doing it as we talk to the connection between rick grooving the record that's playing in your mind. He talked about visualizing situations in terms of how could I play this better, how could it be better in that moment? Are there any other practical tools that you would highly endorse in terms of helping people to be more empathetic people? Creative leaders? I mean I think the biggest is just forgive yourself for being human because if you don't make it okay for yourself to be human then how can you accept that other people are and all these other things I think stem from that you have to find what works for you and that's why I think that self reflection bit or that self growth or self work is the critical number one thing like assemble your team who do you need on your side? Not your literal team but your life team.

I have a therapist. I think we should de stigmatize therapy because it is magic. I have an executive coach, I have a yoga, I call them gurus, their owners of a studio in Portland and I still stay in touch with them because I get so much wisdom and life advice from them. That stuff is so important and those are the people that when I have these moments like help me get back to who I am but also step outside of myself and reflect on what I'm doing or why I'm behaving because it can be too hard ourselves, you know, the team that just picks you up and believes in you and you can't believe in yourself and that's really critically important. So it's kind of key people around yourself outside of a work context. But a champion you to be the best version of yourself totally asking for help is a strength, not a weakness and that means going to other people outside of work, whatever the need that you have, because every single one of us is different. Also you mentioned, I mean we talked about it previously, the Peaky caused the emotional intelligence cause side of things I think could be really super enlightening for people, but almost to understand what's going on in your mind in order to have a different mindset.

It depends on you where you are and what you need. You can get it from books. I geek out on science. So this this course is great for me. It's going to be different for everyone. Maybe it's something spiritual for you, Maybe it is through your yoga. Yeah, I mean it strikes me just from observing a few things around your home, that mantras are quite poignant for you in your life. I'm a writer. So there's something powerful about the written word anyway, but you also have a couple of beautiful Anthony barrel posters up and the famous work hard and be nice to people classic. It is so timeless, but it feels like that perfectly represents your approach, how you like to lead. It really is something again, fundamentally authentically believe, which is why I have the poster but I will say if you notice in the kitchen, I have a burnt out poster which is work hard and be nice to people but don't burn out because the other thing that we have to recognize with empathy is the toll that it can take on ourselves and you know it's the old cliche, you have to put your face mask on first.

Um you really do have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of other people. Maybe you should approach mr barrel to make an updated post. Maybe I should, I could I have a few sayings, you don't have to be an asshole to be good because there are willing to swear on this, I'm sorry, I should've just pop it in explicit, you need to be a pG 13 rating on this podcast, You can now do your gangster rap if you want. Yes, Okay, great, go No, I get my ego won't let me. This is one of those moments where it's like, I actually don't, I thought about it for a second though, I was like I can't do this. No, I w yeah, well, I mean I want to thank you for your time this afternoon, Karen, thank you, I mean you are sat like a Jedi yoga master in this session, I've never seen someone look so more comfortable in their own skin as you, thank you, I appreciate that, you did say get comfortable. So I took that quite literally, I wish I could pull that maneuver off, I'm slightly jealous, I think you could, it takes training, rewire the grooves in your brain and then you just got to believe that you can do it, I can rewire the grooves in my brain, I'm just as scared of what might happen when I actually tried to do break something, All right, we'll do maybe start with a few, like your glasses first.

Yeah, well, Karen, thank you so much, thank you, I appreciate it, This has been really fun. Yeah, it's always fun. I genuinely love doing these sessions because you get to hear about who people really are and you get a sense of what really invigorates and ignites them, literally feel like I've had a master class this afternoon. Well thank you, it's, I'm really passionate about this stuff and I want to share and hopefully even if it helps one person out there, it will all be worthwhile. I really believe in the ripple effect. Um I think so many people are looking to make their mark on the world in these big ways, but you just don't know, you could, you know, somebody could be having a terrible day and you have a nice interaction with them and you shift their entire mindset and they go on to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Um our actions every day can really, really have a massive ripple impact on the world in a positive way. So yeah, it's been great, it's been emotional in a lot of respect general. I mean, thank you again, thank you. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Doper podcast.

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Season 02. EP02: From ego to empathy with Carren O'Keefe
Season 02. EP02: From ego to empathy with Carren O'Keefe
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