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Transcript of It's Okay if You're not Okay podcast Episode 09 12/20/2019

Keith:              Did you guys have new year's Eve traditions or plans that you do or do you plan specifically this year that you already know about? Try to stay up past 11. I will text you at midnight. I'll be awake. I'm, I'm always awake. Uh, new year's Eve. But really? Yeah, I always stay up till midnight sometimes if I just don't want to fight it, fight it.

Kate:               My parents always had a really cool tradition that we got suckered into because we thought we were winning on it, but we, so my brother and I would get to pick one thing that costs money and one thing that didn't each and that was would be things that we did that day. Like we were given like a certain, like we couldn't be like fly me to blah blah blah. And then the deal was we had to be in bed by like nine or something and then my parents would have the evening and that was their way of compromising. Like, Oh my gosh, I get to do all of this. And my parents are like suckers.

Speaker 3:          [Laughing]

Keith:              my parents, I'll just say my oldest stayed up with us last year for the first time, so that will continue to be more of my 27 kids participating with us. That makes that a little bit different each year.

Renee:              That's awesome. My parents always hosted the New Year's Eve party for them and their friends. Yeah, it was a great, super great memories, but of course, I mean we would go to bed way earlier before the parents celebrating started and so we would, as kids, my brother and I get to go with like the, the food buffet first, like all the food that was put out. So we get to make our plate first. I always remember two things. I would fill my plate and then put the black olives on my fingertips so I didn't have to waste space on the plate, on my fingers. As you are carried your plate. Then if mom said, um, like when I brought my plate down or you threw it away, "Hey, where did you leave the tails for the shrimp?" I just said, "what tails?" So my mom did not realize she didn't teach me how to eat shrimp cocktails.

Keith:              I thought you were gonna say you hit him with a couch or something. Nope.

Renee:              They look so delicious. Oh, I'm sure. I had had a trick cocktail before and they just had Dale shrimp with tails on her. She'd taken them off. I'm an, obviously I was elementary school age and I ate them.

Keith:              And lived to tell about it.

Renee:              Oh heck yeah. I do detail my shrimp now. In case anyone was wondering.

Keith:              Thank you for that detail.

Renee:              Oh, okay.

Keith:              Let's just jump in and see what happens.

Renee:              That's what I usually say at the pool.

Everyone:           [Laughing]

Keith:              Welcome friends. Thanks for joining us for another episode. I'm Keith.

Kate:               I'm Kate.

Renee:              I'm Renee, and it's okay if you're not okay

Keith:              And it's almost new year into 2019 just a few days away and so we are going to talk about new year's resolutions without talking about new year's resolutions. All right. But first...pretty tricky, right? Two things. One is our disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast do not necessarily represent those of Johnson County government or Johnson County Mental Health Center. And then second, if you love this podcast, please let us know about it. Or if you don't, we'd like to know that to help us know how to connect with you better, you can leave a review and a rating on your favorite podcast app and then share on your social media pages or send a text to your friend, inviting them to join us on the, It's Okay. Crew. Okay, so let's jump into this idea. So everybody's going to be talking, reading blogs, re-tweeting tweets in the podcast, listening to podcasts about wrapping up 2019 the best, the worst, and then making resolutions, right?

Keith:              This is what I want to change about myself is kind of the bottom line of a resolution. This is what I want to do better or this is what I want to change about myself. This is what I want to make different in 2020 sure we're intentionally pausing before we get to the resolutions to look back on 2019 in a very specific way that helps with our mental wellness and gives us an example for the holiday of what we can do on a daily basis. So Renee help us understand what that practice is as far as living in the present, looking backwards and how that helps us for the future.

Renee:              Sure. I just think it is a good skill to own ourselves so that we can best model and teach others is living in the present, right. To do that, I think it's really helpful to look back, but to not live back. Yeah, that's okay. Right. And to look forward, not to live forward. We live in the presence, but it's okay to look forward and look backwards. And so I think that we, as we talk about resolutions and can I say that you'll, our next podcast is on setting goals like goal setting. Okay, great. Yay. Or next podcast.

Keith:              So, if you want to know that wait for two weeks and you'll hear about it.

Renee:              Right. So that, that is that right? The looking ahead at some things I'd want to change some things. I want to be different. But then the looking back is, um, what can we, what, what lessons can I draw from my past year about things that I maybe have learned, maybe how I have grown? Maybe, um, things I wasn't successful in and I can go, cool. I don't want to try that again. Um, awesome. So, you know, I just wanna I to focus on the living in the present, but it's okay to look forward and look backwards just as long as we're not living in those spaces.

Keith:              Yeah. It's kinda reminds me of a few weeks ago, the big fad on multiple social media platforms was people posting pictures of themselves at beginning of the decade and the end of the decade. And then people would reflect on that. And it's interesting. So

Kate:               I purposefully did not participate in that one.

Keith:              Well I did, but all I said was 2009 2019 and didn't say anything about it, but many people are talking or have been talking about that and um, and like reflecting on things that had changed in those years. But just the, the importance of really thinking about where we've been and how that shapes who we are now and we can have kind of a more informed, more self aware presence when we're thinking about our hopes for the future.

Renee:              Absolutely.

Keith:              So maybe it'd be fun if we just took some time taking Johnson County Mental Health Centers theme of everybody can learn, change and grow, and think about a way that we have learned changed or grown. It's a lot harder to say in the past tense, uh, in 2019 as just kind of a model of ways you could look back and reflect on your own life and some maybe some skills or things you learned.

Kate:               I guess I'll, I'll start us off because I'm not really sure the direction I'm going to go.

Keith:              Cool.

Kate:               So I will keep it broad and just say one of the biggest accomplishments that I have seen for myself over the past year is the, I don't want to say the ability to, the willingness to step out in fear regardless of how hard that is. Now, I'm not perfect, but there have been several steps that I've taken that are fearful. I still have a long ways to go, but I'm making progress.

Keith:              I call that courage or bravery, right? I mean like it's not, well, you know, it's not that there is no fear. It's not, the fear goes away, but you do it in the place. Like recognizing that fear and like just like that's courage that it, that's wonderful. A wonderful thing to be proud of and thoughtful of a way you've learned or, or changed or grown. Yeah.

Renee:              And that you said I did it a couple of times. Yeah. That's cool that you recognize there were multiple occasions where you owned that and displayed that and that you're here like right now going, yeah, I did that. And one of those things, whether you experienced, um, like success or whether whatever you did just kind of stop dead in its tracks. Like those were, those were moments of you changing, growing, learning that that's the cool part is it's not about the success of the project or the, the item, it really is that personal moment. Um, that's awesome. Yeah.

Keith:              Probably my favorite example for you on a place that you had courage to do something.

Renee:              Yeah.

Keith:              Was coming up with the idea for this podcast and getting the group here.

Kate:               Which everyone was a part of and did great work.

Keith:              You were the one who brought us together and you put the foundation together for the podcast. And so that is something that you did in the midst of probably some fearfulness to speak a new idea and to make it happen. So thank you.

Kate:               Thank you guys.

Renee:              I mean, you're welcome.

Renee:              Thank you, Kate.

Kate:               All right, next.

Keith:              You know, I was thinking about a few years ago, this was kind of like a workplace traumatic experience that I had. Uh, and I always, I just wanna acknowledge the fact that I am hesitant to ever use the word trauma because I know the stories of trauma that other people experience and I often compare mine to theirs and think mine is insignificant. Also acknowledging that this was a moment of, of severe, like it was significant to how I felt about myself for a very long time afterwards.

Kate:               Which makes it real.

Renee:              Yes, absolutely.

Kate:               Yes. Absolutely.

Keith:              So I had an experience in a place that I worked, uh, several, several years ago that was involving conflict with a person who had kind of built up, uh, months and months of negativity towards me and I was unaware of that and all came out at once in a really negative workplace experience. Uh, that was just deflating on so many levels.

Keith:              And so when I think of this year, the thing that I'm most excited or proud about, uh, something I've learned, a way of learned, changed, and grown, is that there were multiple times this year that I recognize that there was conflict between me and another person or that I may have hurt someone else or that, um, somebody else had hurt me. All three of those things being, being true, that I, um, I took the first step, the initiation, the initiative to go and talk to that person one-on-one about this situation and resolved it positively. And so for me that this was a really cool year in that regard...

Kate:               That's impressive.

Keith:              ...because I didn't have that skill back then, which is what was my contribution to that experience blowing up w, um, was not acknowledging that earlier and, and take the initiative to resolve that. And this year I did and multiple times went and talked to people. And so I'm really proud about that and excited. The more, yeah, the more I do it, the better I get at it. And I feel like it's something now I almost can say, um, I'm kinda good at it now. I mean, there's people that are really better, I'm sure, but I'm, I'm happy with, with the things I've learned and how I've started to do them.

Kate:               I think that's amazing because one of the things people forget is that... Like when we talk about the word conflict, we immediately go to it. Something of like a negative connotation, negative place. Because we don't have the skills all the time to have those tough conversations. And so I just, I mean, hats off to you. That's huge because you're helping show that conflict can be something that you can learn, change and grow from and can be a positive when you have the healthy conversations in a way that are respectful and so, but it doesn't make it easy to do. Right. So, kudos, kudos, kudos.

Keith:              I don't like there's, I'm sure there's data out there, but most conflict in my experience comes from a miscommunication or misunderstanding. And it's not really that two people really just hate each other naturally, you know, like it's really that people don't understand each other or they've communicated in a way and not understood each other or understood a perspective and things. And so that skill has really helped me in those, like, so when I say that I've been able to have those conversations successfully, I mean that I've had conversations in the midst of conflict and I'm still friends and have good relationships with the people I've gone and talked to. Like that's what makes it successful to me, which is different than that initial experience where resulted in, um, like broken relationship, never really talking to the person again, even though we were, you know, like just, um, it's just a stark contrast to the ability to walk through disagreements or conflict. And so, yeah, I mean, looking back at 2019, I'm, that's one of the things I'm most proud about in 2019.

Renee:              I love it. I think it, I mean, I guess it takes on really all three of the learning change and grow. Right. Um, looking back on something and reflecting, you want to do something different. And so learning what you need to do to make it different.

Keith:              Yeah.

Renee:              Growing, trying it over and over and over again. And I hear you right now, right. Keith has changed. You will approach relationships at work or you will approach w replace whatever word, conflict, disagreement, misstep, miscommunication. You will approach that differently and that's changed. Yeah. Um, I that's, that's really cool. Yeah, it is really cool.

Keith:              Thanks for celebrating that with me.

Renee:              Yeah, most welcome. Uh, so my looking back on 2019 actually started at the end of 2018 and I didn't really know that this was going to go anywhere. So I was asked to participate in an exercise that was a little more, um, made me a little more vulnerable than I thought it would be.

Renee:              So it was just um, it was a very, it was a small, intimate group of people that I really care about, trust, respect. Um, so the vulnerability was on my end. I never felt judged, nothing. Uh, nothing like that. We were asked in the small, in the small space to bring a list of things we felt really competent in, in, in um, mostly in our work life. Okay.

Keith:              Yup.

Renee:              And then a list of things that we didn't feel competent in. And at first you're kind of like, wait a minute. Like I have to admit I'm not competent in some things. But then as I, um, then as I started making the list, it was much easier to start listing what I was not competent in. So making sure that I was giving myself credit for what I was. Okay. So we go through this activity. Fantastic.

Renee:              Um, you have probably heard in multiple, um, podcasts before. I do not journal. I can't stand it in this one occasion. I put it in a quick note in my phone so I could have this list for quick reference.

Keith:              Somebody mark in the record books that Renee took notes.

Renee:              2018 2018 it was like, so yesterday.

Keith:              Or like last year. A whole year ago.

Renee:              Yes.

Keith:              I'm sorry. I totally derailed your train of thought.

Renee:              No, not at all. So we were, it was in this, within this project, we were looking at things and I had my phone pulled up and I was looking for through some quick memos cause I had had some information saved in there and I came across my competent not competent list and of course was drawn to the not competent list and had a total personal aha moment when immediately, uh, really kind of as a flood of experiences over the 2019 spoke directly to one of my incompetencies and how I had, um, unbeknownst truly to myself without any, any purposeful behavior or intention had made huge strides in one of my incompetency.

Kate:               Amazing.

Renee:              So it was delegation. So I had to come to terms with when I, um, get asked to do something or when something gets asked of my team, I hang onto it, I hang onto it until it's this polished little gem and that I'm okay with it. I can speak to all of the character traits about me that speak into that. That's a whole podcast episode in and of itself.

Keith:              Sure.

Renee:              But I hung on to things I couldn't ask my, I couldn't relinquish stuff to my team, imperfect or unfinished. Um, but at the same time I was preventing my team from input and and finishing things that maybe even be rightly had been theirs or putting too much on myself and then not being available for my team or for other projects. And so all of the sudden in this natural experiences of just, you know what, I'm going to choose a and this is going to go to my team.

Renee:              Wow, that felt really good. So (a) is going to continue to go as that trickles in (b), man, I'm going to bring this up in conversation with a colleague. Can they do this for me with me? Am I the best person? So sort of asking myself questions throughout the year. And so I come down to the end of 2019 I'm not perfect. I will continue to grow. I'm excited for 2020 but I have learned to in a healthy and professional way, delegate things to others.

Kate:               That's huge.

Renee:              And that's so hard. And it's hard to say because it sounds like a bossy and I write and that's, that's very different. It's delegation is very different.

Kate:               Yeah, that's huge.

Renee:              Thank you. I appreciate it. I was proud of myself. Okay.

Keith:              I keep hearing as we're thinking, as they're talking, all three of us, the thing that we're most excited about is I, I get a sense that we're excited to continue to do that more in the future.

Renee:              Oh, for sure.

Keith:              Man. It's hard. I'll, you know, delegating is hard. Conflict, stepping out and fear and when you have fear, all those things are hard. But all of us are excited to do that more and better in the future. And it's things that we used to not do or we weren't very competent.

Renee:              Sure.

Kate:               When you're doing that list, eventually you started to notice that you're doing, it was way easier to do the things that you need to improve on and you're like, but it's important to recognize the accomplishments. And I remember you saying that and I started to reflect and I was like, okay, what would I say back to that? And then I would say, if you're listening, make sure you celebrate yourself. Cause I've already, I showed at the beginning I was like, okay, move on. You know, it's super uncomfortable to be recognized or to recognize in yourself. And so I've already been a bad, um, person for that. But I love that you mentioned that cause it's uncomfortable but it's needed. What would you say to someone as we talk about being present in the moment, not living in the past, not living in the future. What skills, strategies, feedback would you give to someone who might struggle with being present in the moment? Especially around the time where everyone focuses on past and present.

Renee:              Yeah, for sure. I, first of all, I would give every single person permission to don't set a resolution. I don't, I don't care. Right. Don't look back at 2019. If, if really, truthfully, just staying right here and today is what you can do. Stay there please. You don't have to, again, you control that. I want to go back to what I said originally to Keith's response is looking back is different than living back in it. If you are healthy in a healthy and a safe space to look back, do it, and then come right back to today. Awesome. So what I have to do is I can look back and go, Hey, here's, you know, three things I delegated really well, but guess what guys? There's about 16 that I didn't, but because I can recognize both of those, when I'm faced with something and ask today, I go, okay, is this what experience have I had with this in the past?

Renee:              Is this something I should delegate? I'm not certain, what's my comfort level? I'm going to hang onto it for another day. That's today. That's it. So my, my first is please you, you have permission to not have to, you know, plan for for 2020 and some sort of goal setting resolute way. And you sure don't have to be a, you shouldn't have to be forced into looking back at 2019 in some reflective analytic way. You can live here and that's okay. If you choose to look forward or look backwards, just look, take a look and come right back here. Center, take a look. Come right back here to today.

Kate:               Well said.

Keith:              Yeah. This is, it's kind of interesting. I think I definitely had the tendency to live in the future or to be concerned more about the future than today or the or, um, the past, um, is where, where I tend to be and that has been something probably that would be another thing I could list in 2019 that I've been improving on as far as living in the present. Um, it's, it's like a daily struggle like all the time for me.

Renee:              I appreciate you saying, uh, I appreciate you identifying your struggle in staying present here when you are very future focused. I'm, it's very easy for me to stay here and sometimes I struggle with looking ahead. Uh, so I wanna I want to go man, that we can sit and probably have really a great conversation about how we do that and learn from each other. Right? Cause looking forward and looking back can be super healthy if we do, if we're in that healthy space and do that living in today, man, if I don't plan and I don't have enough money in my bank account for my bills tomorrow, um, I'm living too much in the day. Right? But I'm sure I'm sure that even just Keith and I as persons can sit and have a conversation about where we live in most comfortable and where we struggle the most in that space and learn from one another.

Keith:              And, and I think that we, we ground each other, right? I mean, you, you bring each other, my, my wife and I are very much, um, helpful to each other in that way and in several components of our personality and the way we approach the world. We, we lean out from each other and we help pull each other into a more healthy place in those areas that we tend to both be extremes in opposite directions and that, and that's helpful.

Kate:               That's cool.

Renee:              Yeah.

Keith:              One thing I was thinking about and this, uh, not to go too far into into the weeds here, but when you think about being in the present or being in the future, it's kind of interesting. You look back in, so some, some ancient Greek texts, uh, you think about some words that are used to describe and they get translated English into to be or to do and things.

Keith:              Um, there's two different words that the in Greek that both get translated in that same way of, of being or practicing. And one of those as this idea of a to do list. Like this is what I need to do. And I think in some ways that's often where we go. I mean, think about a new year's resolution. I rarely, I don't even remember a single new year's resolution I've ever had, but I think that's the idea is we want to do this. And so we make this list of things we want to change and we check them off to do it. The other Greek word is PO and it is the same word you think about for poetry. And it brings in a lot more of a creative sense to life and in this idea instead of to do, to be, and this is really helpful for me when I'm trying to shape and frame how I'm living my life.

Keith:              So thinking about new year's resolutions, looking in the past future is not so much, these are all the things I want to do to change myself, but to be, to experience the presence, the present, to, to live into the midst of creativity on a daily basis. And sometimes living into that ends up me tasks that I can check off a to do list. But I center myself around more this creative sense of being instead of doing. And that helps me often, um, be grounded in the present and not so stuck in the future. And also not so stuck in the past cause it's this daily creative work that I'm a part of.

Renee:              And that's the best word you just used was stuck. Right? I love to encourage people to look forward and look backs. The stuck part is what we want to avoid. Right? And so I think again, I love that. I was really, I don't know, it was kind of intrigued and almost forgot that I had the opportunity to respond in a conversational style here guys. I just was kind of taking in it. Um, you're, you're a good lesson giver and I, I appreciate that from you. And it, I come back to the clinical world of man. That's why I need mindfulness in a clinical technique of, and I am, I'm the one of the biggest culprits of going, I can't meditate. I just fall asleep. I do. I mean that is simple enough. I, I, I do, but what I have come to terms with for myself is, um, my mind, our minds are taken away by technology all of the time, um, by, by people, by obligations, by other things.

Renee:              And by engaging in a mindful activity for a couple of minutes a day or a couple minutes for a couple of days a week. I improve my brain functioning. Like so my right left side, which again, my thinking, my creativity, my being, my doing in five minutes of mindfulness. And this is coming from the person who loves mindfulness. And I have had to scour what mindfulness works for me cause guys I cannot sit and picture clouds flying by and putting my worries on a cloud. Goodnight. All right, good night. Mine. Mine is breathing in counting and I love structure in it. And again, might sound silly, might sound simple, but in doing that for a few minutes a day, um, my being in this moment is so much more rich.

Keith:              Yeah. I guess my last thought, and maybe this could be my wrap up thought, um, here, it's, you know, our Thanksgiving episode that we did was really significant for me when you're thinking about past the present and future is just gratitude. Just finding a place to be grateful, not silver lining, things that stink, but just finding a place to be grateful, um, is a very grounding mindfulness exercise that you can do is just a few minutes. You don't, you could write down, you don't have to, but just finding a place to be thankful to, to be grateful.

Renee:              I love it.

Keith:              Well, thanks for joining us for our last episode in 2019. We'll catch you all again in 2020 happy new year. I'm Keith.

Kate:        I'm Kate.

Renee:        I'm Renee, and it's okay if you're not okay.