Sitting in one of our apartments, having deep and powerful conversations had kind of become our thing. We shared similar values and beliefs. We explored our minds and hearts. And we had a desire to grow. Over a short period of time we observed how our challenges and celebrations crept into our lives at the office. And we knew the attempt to fully compartmentalize work and life was not only impossible, it was unhealthy. What happens at the office comes home with you and what happens at home joins you in your work.
For my 30th birthday, I decided to spend the week in New York. It was a year after I’d moved from New York City to go home to San Francisco, which I quickly realized was not where I belonged. So, as a sign to the universe, (or whatever’s out there) I came back to visit. It was where I needed to be. In that week, many puzzles pieces seemed to assemble. The most important was starting the process of moving back to New York, and second was meeting my podcast co-host, (and close friend) Jackie Goldberg. I firmly believe in no coincidences.
The late Toni Morrison wrote a beautiful quote I think about often, “If there’s a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it”. This was pre-podcasts, but I like to believe she’d have said the same applies.
One of the most valuable lessons Jackie and I have learned as coaches is how desperately people want to be seen, understood and loved as they are. This starts with the hard work of first seeing, understanding and loving ourselves and then each other. While so much of this work is an inside job and can be quite private, it gets encouraged or discouraged by the environments we exist in. And historically, work has been a place where we don’t explore this topic.
But there is enormous impact and opportunity here. By encouraging this work at the office (and everywhere else), we can support the growth of each individual and their impact on those around them- peers, teams and leaders. What would it be like if instead of hiding behind perfection, we felt comfortable enough to share half-baked ideas? How about instead of hiding that you’ve had a rough week and might be distracted, you just told your leader. Can you imagine if people were brave enough to apologize for pain they inflicted at work instead of using the old excuse that “it’s just business”?
Work gets better when we invite our whole selves to the party.
Fortunately, Jackie and I work in an environment where this behavior is in the fabric of our culture. LinkedIn is truly a special place. But, we’re also aware that nuances in our lives or any work environment can shift the ease or difficulty with which we reveal or conceal the real us. So, In the Arena was created alongside Scott Shute, LinkedIn’s Head of Mindfulness and Compassion Programs to change work from the inside out. Our contribution is to have conversations looking at as many areas of the human experience as possible, with the mission of humanizing work through real conversations. By having the conversations we’d want to hear, we’re giving people the opportunity to become more self and other-aware at work. Because walking into an office doesn’t make us robots, it makes us humans in a building together.
We believe in the power of story to connect humans. And in planning our content Jackie and I committed to sharing our own stories to connect to our listeners. We’re vulnerable and real, and sometimes it’s scary. Practicing mindfulness, awareness and compassion doesn’t make us perfect, it makes us students of our practice. We still mess this up and we want everyone to know that too. We aptly named our podcast after a line in Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech, which has been re-popularized by the phenomenal Brene Brown.
In the speech he writes, “it is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where to doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Intrigued? Every two weeks we have real conversations with each other and powerful guests that we want to hear from. And we’re confident that you’ll get something from their stories and messages too.
Join us and our global community of listeners on the journey, as we bravely explore the human experience through research, conversations and stories!