Owning Your Balance: Work, Life and Personal Power
This is an episode about owning your balance in the workplace and embracing your personal power to thrive. The conversation covers remaining flexible and open to refining personal goals and being true to yourself, always.
About the Episode
This is an episode about owning your balance in the workplace and embracing your personal power to thrive. The conversation covers remaining flexible and open to refining personal goals and being true to yourself, always. The burnout culture is discussed and practical advice is given on how to embrace the ideal of the work life balance, manage stress and prioritize your mental health and wellness. More and more, there seems to be a generation gap in the workplace between generation X and millennials and the conversation dissects how the two generations can work and learn from each other. Emotional intelligence is also discussed at length, and the listener will walk away knowing what emotional intelligence is, how to use it and why it is an important skill to master in order to thrive as a leader, employee, and individual. According to Krystal, owning your voice and embracing the fact that your voice has value, being respectful of other voices, and using empathy, are practical ways to navigate in life and the workplace. In essence, this episode uncovers the “soft skills” that one should strive to develop to show up as their best selves every day.
Key takeaways include Krystal breaking down her mantra “I remain under construction. I will not be too proud to review, repurpose and reposition”. This life statement, she says, has kept her on her toes, promoting constant self-reflection, improvement and refining her life’s purpose and goals. In essence, the more we remain committed to one way of doing things and expecting one outcome, the more frustrated and unhappier we become. Part of owning your personal power is your ability to be open to change, dropping the resistance, and making moves towards the lives we truly want to live.
The conversation uncovers the history of the hustle and burnout culture and how workspaces have endorsed the notion of “the more work you do, the more valuable you are.” The tides are steadily shifting away from this; as more emphasis and appreciation is being placed on the work life balance ideal, one which is carried/believed deeply by millennials. More so globally, the discussion centers on embracing the work-life balance, prioritizing mental health and wellness.
Leslie-Ann and Krystal discuss the generation gap in the workplace, as more millennials are meeting generation X employees as colleagues or managers, or the reverse. Krystal says there is much for both parties to learn from each other. Millennials can learn from Gen Xers the value of patience, persistence and grit, while the millennials can teach leaner methods of doing things, especially through technology.
Krystal dives deep into what exactly is emotional intelligence, steps to using it and why it is important for everyday life, especially in the workplace. She defines emotional intelligence as knowing what you're feeling, knowing the source of those feelings, and then using that knowledge to come up with a logical next step relevant to your situation. Sometimes how we feel personally has nothing to do with what’s happening around us and being able to discern our feelings can go a long way, personally, at home, and in the workplace. This practice, she says, grooms empathy, which is a very important tool people must embrace because it can bring out the best in ourselves and others.
Having high EQ (emotional intelligence) and empathy are two ideals great leaders must possess. Krystal says that leadership is the ability to produce work through other people and to do so, one must embrace empathy, compassion, and leave room for colleagues to have agency to make certain moves and decisions.
Finally, Krystal affirms that our voices have power and value, as we all hold a different perspective of the world. In the workplace, at a meeting, dealing with situations, we must all remember to speak our truth respectfully and clearly. However, the value of our voice is going to be impacted by the level of respect with which we’re treating other people's voices. We must be open to other voices; respect is something that stimulates trust, builds connection, and improves our people management skills.
Motivational speaker, personal productivity coach, entrepreneur, author and Instagram personality Krystal Tomlinson chats with Leslie-Ann about owning your balance, personal power and thriving in the workplace in these dynamic times. She shares with the audience best practices to remain highly motivated, flexible, and goal oriented—all while maintaining your authenticity and personal power. The chat covers the generational gap in the workplace, canceling the burnout and hustle culture and adopting the work life balance to ensure optimal health and wellness and productivity. Krystal also gives practical advice on not only how to use emotional intelligence in the workplace but on how to master the concept personally. Finally, the conversation concludes on owning the value of your voice and having respect and an open ear for other voices too.
About the Guest
From a conference stage to a small company retreat, Krystal is skilled at customizing her presentations to ensure impact. An effective communicator, she crafts presentations and tools that stirs action, independent thinking and hyper-engagement. From a troubled teenager who was transferred to 4 high schools, narrowly missing expulsion 3 times, she became a 3-time World University Debater and the only female in the Caribbean to cop the title of Public Speaking Champion at the World Universities Debate Championships. Her journey to self-discovery is the foundation of her presentations, demonstrating the power to choose and un-choose who we want to become and show up with courage— no matter our background, mistakes and failures. Author of the book Kill Fear: The Art of Courageous Living, Krystal bravely shares her experiences with confronting and killing the three big social fears of this generation: The Fear of Criticism, failure, and loneliness.
Krystal holds certification from Australia’s Curtin University in Reputation Management in a Digital World, The Science of Happiness certification from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in International Relations, Political Science and African Diaspora Studies. She is the Founder and Lead Strategist for the Success Farm Life Academy and has curated a vibrant community of Goal Getters in her group coaching programme - The Harvest Hub - and continues to train hundreds of students to master the Art of Public Speaking through her Speak with Courage Online Course. Her philosophy is, “I remain under construction. I will not be too proud to review, repurpose and reposition.”
Season 3 – Episode 4 - Krystal Tomlinson – Transcript
LESLIE-ANN SEON On this episode of Seon 180, I'll be chatting with Krystal Tomlinson, an inspirational, influential voice that has gone the distance in managing work-life balance. We're moving beyond the borders.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Be bold. Take risks. Lead by example. Believe in your power. Say what you feel, mean what you say. Hi, I'm Leslie- Ann Seon, host of the new podcast series Seon180. Join me at Seon180 on this journey of discovery and advancement.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Searching for that ideal house, or rental property with a picture-perfect view of the ocean or lush green hills and breeze that gently caresses your face. Century 21 Grenada helps our clients to go beyond the search to living at Century 21. Our agents understand that a home isn't just walls and a roof, but a sacred, inspiring place where you learn, laugh, play and create. Contact us today at c21Grenada.com or give us a call at 4734405227. Go beyond with century 21.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Hello, my friends and welcome again to Seon180. I am your host Leslie-Ann Seon. On our podcast series, we feature Caribbean voices from around the world who are making real differences in their areas of influence. I invite you to check out my website at Seon180.com or visit your favorite podcast streaming sites for current episodes as well as past shows. You can also visit my Facebook or Instagram page for weekly updates, tidbits, advice and interactions with me, your host and fellow listeners. We are now into season three of Seon180.
We have brought you voices of trauma and triumph, discussing a diverse range of topics from healthcare to finances, from banking to leadership, from motivational to mental health. Today we'll be discussing life style and personal productivity, and we have one awesome dynamo from the land of wood and water, a daughter of Jamaica, Krystal Tomlinson, who is, what I describe, as a personal development evolutionary, having moved from a conference stage to a company retreat. She is skilled at customizing her presentations to ensure impact. She is an effective communicator, having moved from a troubled teenage childhood to becoming a three-time world university debater and the only female in the Caribbean to cop the title of public-speaking champion at the World Universities Debate Championship.
Her journey to self-discovery is the foundation of her presentations, demonstrating the power to choose, and choose who we want to become and show up with courage no matter our background. She is an author of the book “Kill Fear - The Art of Courageous Living”, and bravely shares her experiences, killing the three big social fears of this generation, the fear of criticism, their fear of failure, the fear of loneliness. She is the founder and lead strategist for the Success Farm Life Academy and has curated a vibrant community of goal getters in a group coaching program, The Harvest Hub, and continues to train hundreds of students to master the art of public speaking through her Speak with Courage Online course. Her philosophy is what I adore. I remain under construction. I will not be too proud to review, repurpose, and reposition. Welcome, Krystal, to Seon180.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Thank you. Thank you, Leslie, and thank you so much for having me as a guest. It is my pleasure. And I'm very excited to connect with and share with your audience.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Excellent. I am excited myself and I want to begin with that philosophical statement. I remain under construction. I will not be too proud to review, repurpose and reposition. In other words, we are a work in continuing progress. Tell us, to our audience, what this means.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON So I came up with that as my my mantra on my life statement when I got to about age 23 and I realized that so many points in my life, I thought I knew, I knew what things were going to happen. And the more I knew, the harder it was for me to adapt, to be flexible, and to accept that things have changed or I'm not going in the direction that I would have planned for them to go. The longer I spend resisting what is, the longer I spend insisting that this is what it is, that I know for sure that it's going to end—It creates a barrier between me and the opportunities. It creates a barrier between me and the present moment that has its own gifts to give me, and it slows me down in the process of life, because life requires change, it requires the repositioning, it requires the review and the repurposing. So, I'm not living my best life by being resistant, stubborn, and insistent that what I had in my mind as the vision has to always be what is my reality. So, it has helped me to deal with loss. It has helped me to deal with disappointment, with failure, with uncertainty, fear. And I've not found reason to change it in the last nine, almost ten years now, but, I'm still open to repurposing even my life statements. But, for now, I know it really does touch me in the right, right spot, depending on the season that I am in.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Yes, I think it is very relevant, because sometimes there is this reluctance to, to keep moving, to keep improving, to keep progressing. We remain in this neutral zone, through fear, that we don't want to push forward uncertain things. So having that underpinning of the philosophy in one's mindset, I think, is important for us to overcome a lot of challenges today, both personal and professional.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Absolutely. Absolutely. And I can share a very real example. When I was changing careers, one of the big assets I had was the mental fortitude to not be worried about what I was losing, and to focus on what I was gaining and how I was going to grow. So, I moved from an academic background into a media and communications background, then into a corporate management background, and then into entrepreneurship. And for each of those stages, the next stage is new, the next stage is scary, the next stage is risk-taking. And for all of those stages, I'm under 30, I'm young, I don't have all the experience that I need to feel confident, but just being sure that I can always review where I started, I can always take a second look at the steps I've taken. I can change direction if where I'm going is not how I envisioned life to be turning out, and none of those shifts equals failure. It is just life and me accepting the ebb and flow and choosing to be in flow versus fighting the current.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Exactly. Now, you say all of this with such ease, but I know that you are a lifestyle and productivity coach. I know that you focus a lot of your work on personal productivity and wellness, with a lot of emphasis on work-life balance, and I want to give you a little joke, a little story. I first heard this phrase “work-life balance” at a dinner party and a young guest was sitting there in a discussion with us and she said, you know, I am really thrilled that my husband's workplace allows for work-life balance. And, my friend who was sitting next to me, we looked at each other and we're like, what is she talking about? Because, of course, we're from different generations. And we said “work life balance,” because we are both workaholics, quite frankly. And so, we could not understand this statement at all, and we thought it was so amusing. Well, I have to tell you, I had a revelation during the pandemic, because I then totally understood what this young lady was speaking about, because when your life is passing in front of you in a short snap, you recognize that, you know, certain changes have to be made. So, my question to you is, what is this— is this a relatively new way of thinking, work-life balance? And what advice would you give for people who are striving to achieve that, one, and advice for those like me, two years ago, who found this amusing work-life balance?
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Your first question—it is relatively new, and it came out of the overwhelm that became a natural part of a productive life. So, if we look at how the society grew in terms of our ability to, to generate wealth and build out our economies, we had different periods that required different types of work. So, if you're looking at your agrarian, you know, what are some seasons that you're just not going to work because the land is barren, you’re in a period where it's fallow, nothing can be planted. So, in your seasons for planting, you know, you're getting off at this time of the day and planting on this full moon. I really that you have to work on a farmer's almanac when we're going to have rain on what we're going to plant. And then once you've planted, you have our rhythm and a routine for watering, for flowing, for weeding, and then for harvest and then for rest.
So, we started out with that kind of simplicity, but even in that simplicity, there was technical knowledge and wisdom, and we're able to build societies on that way, to work. But, a man could leave the farm, a man could leave the stables, and go home in time to sit and have dinner with his family, and many of the gender imbalances that existed in that relationship, people had time to spend with their family. No matter how hard you worked, there was time to spend with your family. Now, we got more productive, as we got more capitalist driven, we decided that no holds barred. What is a weekend? We can work 24 hours a day so that we have 24-hour economies and we're judging other countries like, like Jamaican economies, for example, for not being 24-hour economies. Because why can't I just get up out of my bed at 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and just have everything open and available to me? Another fight for access, for more. There should not be an unceasing of the work. And in order to facilitate that kind of appetite, people have to not be at home but be in these spaces of work. So, we've grown to, to now believe that we don't really need rest. And if you're serious enough, you can just commit all of your time and focus in your strong and healthy years, and then when you retire, you get your rest, and so, we reward in the workplace the staff member who comes in early and stays late every single day, and is willing to work on the weekend without additional compensation. We celebrate the person who runs themselves ragged just to meet a deadline, just to complete the campaign. Back-to-back to back-to-back to back. The person who gets promoted is the one that looks as though they would sacrifice an arm for the company, that is the person that we wanted to see sweep. That is the person we want to make managing director or CEO because they are willing to die to get the job done. And we will celebrate that, we reward it, we promote it, and, you've now entered a space where the World Health Organization has named stress as the pandemic—the world, a global pandemic. And this was before COVID19, but COVID19 seems to have tied into that and created even more stress and anxiety in a world that was already stressed out. Technology amplified that sense of being stressed out because now you're working hard, but, when you take your phone off, everybody's making hard work look easy, everybody's happy. Everybody is just flying all over, you know, taking many days off and just looking glamorous all the time. And that amplifies your stress, because I'm stressed out doing the work, but now I feel like I'm doing the work wrong because why can’t I look so relaxed, like these people are looking?
LESLIE-ANN SEON Like these are the folks. Yes.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON And it's complete stress. So, when we talk about work-life balance, it comes out of the need to solve that problem. I want to work hard. I want to earn my keep. I want to sweat so that I can eat from the sweat of my brow, but, I don't want to die. And that is what the data is telling us—People are losing quality of health because they're not resting. So, the brain is rejuvenating the body, the muscles, the cells are rejuvenating. In order to stay awake, we're feeding ourselves up with coffee with these high energy drinks and all kinds of food that break down into sugar very quickly so we can stay alert and awake, and then we have a problem with diabetes and cholesterol and then non-communicable diseases are killing more people than any other kind of situation, like war or violence, where we're actually dying because of what we're eating. And we're eating that way because we don't have time to prepare good meals. So, we need the fast food because between work and home, I do not have the time. So, I just…
LESLIE-ANN SEON No time to exercise either.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON No time to, no time to sleep, no time to prepare proper meals. So, it is to focus on working ourselves to death, literally. That has created the need for us to start talking about work-life balance. Is there a way for me to be a high-performing employee and still be mentally well? Is there a way for me to be high-performing and still be physically where to focus on my job and still give my family the energy and the time that's needed, so I raise healthy children, and the TV or the nanny doesn't have to raise them for me? And more and more, we're hearing the answer “yes.” Yes, there is room for that. Yes, there is room for that. Let us create it, let us advocate for it, let us create new systems in our workspaces to make this a norm versus the burnout culture, which is the norm.
LESLIE-ANN SEON So, do you think this is why we have this generational gap that the millennial has discovered, that this is the way we want to live and work in a balanced environment? We're not prepared to have these toxic stress levels as our parents or perhaps even our grandparents. And then, of course, you have, on the other hand, your managers or your owners, etc., having a completely different view, like you say, which is you have to meet the deadline at any cost and the employee who gives the most hours is the one who is rewarded the best. How are we getting these two extreme ends to converge into a path of, you know, unison, in terms of success and personal accomplishment?
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON, I think we first have to accept that both groups have something to teach the other. Each can teach the other something. So, when we think about patients and grit and stick-to-it-iveness, certainly my parents’ generation has like master's and Ph.D. in this kind of ethic. They, there were no shortcuts. And even if there were shortcuts, you weren't celebrated for taking shortcuts. You are celebrated for the amount of time that your shoulder was on that wheel. And so, they also learned the benefit of patience, working long for the result that you want—Compared to this this generation or reality in terms of work ethic is a little different. We here now talking about a microwave culture, where you want to, you know, think of the idea today, send one email, and then, by tomorrow, you're a billionaire. You want to pop it in the microwave and just bam! I just know I just came up with an idea and somebody for me for $10 billion dollars. So, we don't have a high value placed culturally now, on patience, on things taking time, on earning it, on going the long way round.
Now, if we accept that we can learn something about patience, about grit, about focus, about sticking to it, not just giving it three months and giving up but being willing to give it three years to see that the plan will actually work, then millennials can learn from the management team that exists in the workspaces we're entering, and if those management teams also accept that they can teach that to us, versus saying, you don't have it, you guys don't know anything about it. If we shift that approach to, well my position on this is, and let me show you how this ethic comes to life in our company culture, so, if we take a mentorship role as managers and leaders, then we can train millennials up into the positives of the culture. But of course, managers, you leaders have to be willing to learn something too from the millennials, because that inclination to get it as quickly as possible can increase efficiency. So that's how technology comes into play. We're trying to bridge the gap as quickly as possible between communication, trade, commerce, all of these things we're looking for quickly to get it done, but quick doesn't always mean efficient, right?
So, you can accept that they have a pace at which they work and there's a level of impatience in how they work, help them to maximize that now, marshal that energy—and that’s where the emotional intelligence training comes in, marshaled energy that you have towards the goals that you're trying to accomplish. So, if my skill is that sort of, you know, quick thinking, moving, and taking action, emotional intelligence team leaders will pair me with a manager who can help me to pace myself and give me feedback as quickly as I need it, but also to coach me in the right direction for my energy. So, if I'm a communicator at heart, a good manager would know to pair me with somebody who can be more of an analytical thinker so that I get supported with the data and the information to communicate properly and effectively. Maybe I'm a analytical thinker and I want to spend a lot of time doing the coding and the math and the strategy and the planning, you probably need somebody who takes action paired with me on my team so that after I do all of that brain work, there's somebody who can take that and turn it into something that can generate a profit, that can solve a problem in the business.
But, it means looking at each competency and saying ah, there's value in that, and here's how we're going to help you to maximize on this skill set that you have, instead of saying you're not doing it our way, come and learn it our way or else you're a bad employee.
LESLIE-ANN SEON So, break down this emotional intelligence for the audience. What does this emotional intelligence mean and why do we need it in the workplace? And is it a tool that we need to navigate the workplace?
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON So, absolutely yes to your last question. In fact, it is, data has found it to be the most important skill in the workplace. Seventy (70%) of work that gets done, in terms of somebody with a high IQ, but a low EQ, they are outperformed 70% of the time by somebody with a high EQ and an average IQ. And here's why: we all use our IQ to get the job. So, when you put your skills and qualifications down on your resume, on paper, you're telling the employer what your IQ really is. So, from your grade scores at CSEC or CAPE, the quality of your first degree, the years of experience, you've had enough experience in a particular field, the second degree that you have—all of those come together to give us a sense of your IQ. So, everybody who gets the job and comes into the office, it's accepted that we all have, at par, the same IQ working with. Now the person who is going to manage their time better is not an IQ; it's the person with the high EQ, who knows that what I'm feeling right now is fatigue, and that fatigue comes from not sleeping last night because I was up on the phone. To be aware of this feeling and to know the source of this feeling gives me an opportunity to correct it. So, a high EQ team member says, you know what I'm going to do tonight? Put my phone to charge downstairs so it doesn't keep me up late at night and then I'm at work tired and grumpy.
The low EQ team member, feeling tired and grumpy, says to everybody else in the office, I am so overworked. They treat us so unfairly. I wish they would take off some of the workload off of us because it is just unfair. You not tired? I am tired too. I'm going to go talk to them about cutting down the workload because this is so unfair. They have not yet assessed, what am I feeling. What is the cause and the source? Is there anything I can do to correct for this on my own? And then if you try and you realize that okay, for real, it is about the workload, then we move into a more intelligent conversation with your manager. But you can tell who has the high IQ, high EQ, and who doesn't, based on who they give responsibility for solving the problems and whose fault the issues are in the workplace.
Collapsing into a quick definition of emotional intelligence: it’s knowing what you're feeling, knowing the source of those feelings, and then using that knowing to come up with a logical next step relevant to your situation. So, if I'm angry with my spouse, do I just move into an inflamed conversation, where I say anything that comes off my tongue and then apologize later or knowing what I'm feeling, what's the source of my feeling, and then choosing a logical way to have my needs met or to communicate with my partner what the problem is. The same issue we find when team members are having conflict. Emotional intelligence is going out the window. I no longer see an issue, I can see a person who is wrong, who needs to be fixed, and then if somebody is telling them wrong versus saying, the problem is this thing that we can fix together, we can't come to a point of agreement because I don't think I need to be fixed. So, how are we going to move from here? Because if you think I have a problem and I think I'm not the problem, then where I'm standing, there is no problem and you are not the problem. We're not able to assess what the source of the feelings are that we have, we begin to attack people, instead of looking at our emotions, and the data that is embedded in those emotions to improve our relationships with our self, managing ourselves first, and then managing the teams and the people that we're working with.
LESLIE-ANN SEON So it's, it's introspection and execution—and for someone like yourself, if you're called into a workplace because there's a lot of conflict going on, whether it's between, you know, the hierarchy or within the hierarchy, or between managers and employees, what are the first things you look for in, in entering that work place? And then secondly, after you've assessed the critical issues, what what are the first bits of advice that you would deliver to the managers and the employees?
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON So, the first step is self-assessing. So, there are 4 to 5 stages, depending on the models that you look at for emotional intelligence. First stage is self-awareness, self-regulation, so I after become aware of what I'm feeling, I do what I need to do to manage those feelings so they don't get in the way of the work I'm trying to do. Motivation is the third, so being able to move myself and using my feelings to move myself when I need to move myself. Empathy is the other element of emotional intelligence—So, recognizing what is happening with other persons and being able to connect with them, to support them or to help them to get the job done if we're in our work space. And, the fifth element is social skills. So, my ability to have influence with other people. So, leadership, when we look at it from an emotional intelligence perspective, leadership is the ability to get work done well through other people. You can't do that if you don't exercise empathy, because if I don't think you understand me, you can't get the best out of me.
LESLIE-ANN SEON But, some may say, some may say, Krystal, why we need these soft skills? Leadership is about power. It's about executing. It's about directing. Why do we need these soft skills?
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Well, that's it. That's the challenge with definitions of leadership. If you see leadership as moving people, whether they want to be moved or not, then you end up in a space that is undemocratic because it means people don't have any choice: two, you can’t get buy in. So, if you're not there with a whip cracking it over people's back, work doesn't get done, and turns into a micromanager, which is an inefficient use of your time. So, the better you are as the leader, is the less presence, physical presence, you need in the space, for the job to get done because you're able to communicate a purpose, you're able to clarify what the outcomes are. You’re able give people agency to solve problems, you’re able to empathize with them when they make mistakes but still hold them accountable. That builds respect, builds trust, self-initiation, so people are able to move to solve problems even before you become aware of a problem, they move to solve it because they work in a team that helps to build trust and confidence in themselves and not a, you better do it or else, so without a consequence it doesn't get done. So, if, if I go into a company that needs emotional intelligence training, one of the first things I do with the team leaders is a self-assessment session, asking them across those five domains how they would rank themselves as leaders, self-aware, their ability to regulate their emotions, and we go right down the list with them, and then, we invite the team leader, team member that they are leading to do a similar assessment of them. So, the first place you're going to start even when they ask me to come in to teach their team emotional intelligence, I'm starting with them as the leader because they are setting the pace and if they don't understand what they're asking me to teach their team, it's almost like we're working backwards. I give the team members the same scale as the manager who does not appreciate the set of skills, and so everybody's just frustrated, so, we start with the leader. They do their self-assessment and then we have a team member assess them, anonymously. If it's a space that's a little volatile and conflict-ridden and you don't want to get punished for telling the truth, so we can do it anonymously. And then the leader gets to see what their team members think of them on those metrics. Are you a self-aware leader? You think you're rating your rating at a five out of five and your team is telling you that you are a two out of five. Could that be, could everybody just be wrong and you are the only person that's right? Let's let's begin to practice this first so that when I start delivering to the team the issues that are going to come up, because it's usually going to be leader-centric issues, when you hear them start raising issues with you, you and I would have already covered that in a one-on-one session, so you're able to brace for that feedback and to deal with it in an emotional intelligent way.
So, we do that session with the team leaders and then we do the same thing with each team member, so most of the times you'll find that there is a review process that the teams are on, maybe a quarterly review, and that's when they ask for a little more training tool that they can use at the next quarterly review session. So, you ask your team members where they think they rank, you share with them where you think they rank, and then together you co-create bases on the levels of ranking, you can focus on everything at once. You pick the lowest areas where you think you're struggling. Could it be empathy, inability to see things from somebody else's perspective? What are the things, the biases that could be standing in the way of that? Who are the persons that they find it harder to be empathetic with? What are some of the words that they're using to deal with this person? What are the past experiences? Can we bring that person in to see if we can locate some of these issues? I would just start to work quadrant by quadrant with those issues, and then by the next period when we do an assessment, the self-assessment and the other assessment of you, then we can write to see if there's any growth based on where we said we were. Was it empathy? We come up with some activities that we're going to work on, week by week, month on month, that allow you to assess your skill as somebody who's more empathetic and allows other people to assess you, as well. So, we've gone from the small actions, like creating gratitude jars inside offices, where people felt the work was thankless—that was one of the reasons why the energy was low. Nobody ever told them thank you but everybody quarreled when a mistake was made. And so, we started with a gratitude practice. Can we create a gratitude jar where you drop some things in there the end of the week it’s read publicly. Thank you to a member of the team. Even if you can't give gifts, can we do check meetings instead of saying who's late on all the work or where are we on certain projects? We ask for people to do a check-in, how are you? Last meeting you shared with those that a family member wasn’t well, how is that going? And allow people to talk about the things that really are on their hearts and minds to talk about, so they feel understood and they feel like I'm in a workspace that cares about me. So, it depends on what the workspace needs. After we've done the assessment and we get buy in and commitment from the team members, then we create certain metrics and milestones related to those activities to see if people are improving, once we start doing things a little differently.
LESLIE-ANN SEON So, so, this is all measurable then, it's all measurable.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON All measurable. And we've had to come up with rules in workspaces—rules around how we give feedback because sometimes it’s the brashness, the harshness, the “publicness” of the negative feedback that makes people angry and makes them not want to work harder, because why do you try to embarrass me all the time? It's feelings. It's how people feel when they come to work that affects whether or not they're going to do well. And some persons think it's about pay, so you say, get this job done and you get a bonus and you wonder why people aren't working for the bonus. People will leave the job and go on work, in a charity space for free. It's not money. It's not money for me to get up five days a week, 40 hours out of my week, lose sleep, lose time with my family.
Money alone can't compensate for a toxic work place. I need to feel respected. I need to be heard and I need to feel seen. And the more we we accept that that is a normal human inclination that we have, we can create work spaces that are less toxic and that meet that need for social connection that humans are always looking for, and that's why you have gossiping at lunchtime. People are just looking for ways to connect, and the easier you make it, less toxic, they will connect with each other. So, I think if we accept that that is okay and that is a fact, that people need people, and workspaces should be a space where we can connect and build trust, then we can start improving our systems and our culture to stimulate that.
LESLIE-ANN SEON This is fantastic. I am really digesting a lot of what you have said. In fact, some of them reflect on me. So, I do like the gratitude jars that you spoke about. This is, this is critical information, but, I also wanted—before we closed off, because our 30 minutes is coming up—I also wanted you to impart some advice to the millennials, the young workers, how they can own their voice in the workplace, how they can thrive in in that space and speak up for themselves? Don't be afraid to—whether it is to seek promotion, whether it is to seek a meeting with the boss about a problem, or whether it is to confront a fellow employee on a, on a matter of conflict. Tell us what what you want to say to these young employees.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Your voice has value, is the first thing. Don’t think that you are too young to have valued input in the workplace, whether it's in a meeting, whether it's over lunch in your cubicle—your voice has value. There's a perspective that only you are carrying in this world, and we improve the quality of decision-making when as many perspectives as are on the table are considered, for people can’t consider what you haven't told them. So, come from a place first, that your voice has value. The value of the voice is going to be impacted by the level of respect with which you're treating other people's voices. So, not because your voice has value it means you're going to devalue or undervalue somebody else's voice so you can be heard. Respect is something that stimulates trust, builds connection, and improves your chances further up the corporate ladder. So, be open to other voices as well—voices that disagree, voices that dissent, voices that chastise. You can learn from all of them.
Don't be afraid, is the third thing I would say. Don't be afraid to have your flaws made visible. If you look at every opportunity, even your failures— if you look at every opportunity and see the growth that is inside of it, you can't get left behind even if you miss out on a promotion. Even if you lose your job. Even if you don't get the raise that you've asked for. In those moments of disappointment, there is something to learn. Be patient enough with yourself to sit down and figure out what am I to learn about this? And if you find it hard to learn on your own, reach out for mentorship, which is the next thing I would recommend.
Don't believe that you have to find all the answers on your own. Your mentor could be sitting right next to you in the work space and your mentor could be behind your phone screen. It could be somebody that you find, follow, and subscribe to online, who speaks to the heart of the issues that you're having and gives you guidance and advice on how to overcome them, but mentorship is a way for you to access a shortcut to learning and wisdom. What it requires is your asking for help if you want it from a real-life person or taking the initiative to go and find somebody that you can learn from.
We are disconnected as much as we are hyperconnected in this era. Yes, you can reach everybody at a press of a button, but if we're honest, the quality of our relationships are significantly less than my mother and my grandmother, because they spent time and real contact hours with other humans. Our generation is not doing that, and so it really is going to require effort for us to connect with other people; and mentorship is a great place to start to let people know that you are open to learn, you're open to grow.
And, the final thing I would say is, keep your growth mindset with you. I call it having your baby face on at all times. What is the baby face? If you remember how we all came into this world—we came in as little babies, unable to walk, talk, feed ourselves, change ourselves—there's nothing we could do on our own, but, over time, we learned. We learned how to speak. We learned how to creep. We learned how to walk or to run. We just kept learning and learning. Some of us learn the entire English language by the age of four. We learned an entire language by the time we're four years old and we can communicate with the adults around us. You don't lose that capacity as you grow older. So keeping that baby face on puts you in a position to always be learning. OK, I come in to this job, I do have all the skills, I have on my pampers right now. Eventually, I'm going to grow to be potty trained and then I'm going to be able to wear my briefs and my panties. Yeah. And that's what I'm going to do—put on my big or my big boy shorts, and I'm going to be able to put on my shoes and lace that myself and I'll be able to feed myself and I'd be able to do all of these things on my own. We have to trust that you can learn to do that. Don't expect to know everything. Don't pretend to know everything and what realise you don't know. Be humble enough to learn—you've known all your life how to do it.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Learning is a continuum. It's a continuum. Thank you, Krystal. I've enjoyed talking to you— owning your balance, work, life and power. I really appreciate the advice that you've imparted Krystal. Tell us something about the services your company offers.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Sure. So, the Success Farm, a Virtual Life Academy where we offer in-person public speaking coaching, and, of course, we deliver trainings for teams and individuals. A large part of the work we do happens virtually, through our online courses.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Excellent. Thank you so much for all of this. I really appreciated having you on Seon180, Krystal. All the best, for the rest of the year and beyond.
KRYSTAL TOMLINSON Thank you so much. It was a pleasure, and take care to you and your team, and to your listeners. All the best.
LESLIE-ANN SEON Thank you very much. Likewise.
LESLIE-ANN SEON I want to thank Krystal so much for chatting with us today. And for me, I've learned so much from her, I'm going to hang on to that gratitude jar suggestion. So, I look forward to you, the audience adopting some of the advice moving forward, and I'm sure you're excited to do the same, as well.
Thanks again, Krystal, for joining us here today, and thank you audience for being with us once again on the Seon180 podcast. This is season three, and we continue to learn from our community of professionals who've graced our platform. Don't forget to hit us up on the social media platforms. Tune in again next Sunday for another episode, and we look forward to seeing you on YouTube or Seon180.com.
Thank you again. Be safe, everybody.