Permission to Kick Ass

Jen Hope: Kindness and Connection: Your Secret Superpowers

Episode Summary

Think being a leader means having to know it all and do it all? You’re going to love today’s guest, Jen Hope. Jen is on a mission to help you become a kickass leader - and the best part to her approach is you wind up not only buying back your time, but creating an amazing team you can count on. If you’re ready to kick outdated “do as I say” leadership ideas to the curb, this episode is for you.

Episode Notes

Too many of us wind up in leadership positions by default - either because we had the most experience or because we started our own thing and needed to bring on support staff. But truly leading people goes a lot deeper than knowing all the steps and creating the perfect “to do” list. Join us for a fascinating breakdown of human behavior that’ll have you embracing your newfound leadership skillz.   

Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:

This one is jam-packed full of advice. Don’t miss out - listen now!

Jen’s Bio:

Jen Hope is an executive and leadership coach for startup leaders. With a background as the Vice President of Marketing for multiple high-growth startup companies, Jen understands the complexity of startup leadership. She leverages data and evidence-based tools that accelerate growth and scale individual and collective leadership.

A self-kindness and mental health advocate, Jen is passionate about creating safe spaces for women and non-neurotypical leaders in startup and corporate leadership. Clients will tell you that Jen provides systems and habits that improve life and leadership. They love the sharp insights, structure, compassion, and accountability that come from Jen’s coaching process. Jen’s client list includes Tenable, Oracle,, TOMBOYX, DocuSign, Relayr, BlueJacketeer, and Uplevel.

When Jen's not working, you can find her cooing over dogs, running the hills of the PNW, and singing all of the songs that play in her local grocery store and CVS.

Resources and links mentioned:

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Episode Transcription

Angie Colee (00:03):

Welcome to Permission to Kick Ass, the show that gives you a virtual seat at the bar for the real conversations that happen between entrepreneurs. I'm interviewing all kinds of business owners from those just a few years into freelancing to CEOs, to nine-figure companies. If you've ever worried that everyone else just seems to get it and you're missing something or messing things up, this show is for you. I'm your host, Angie Colee, and let's get to it. Hey, and welcome back to Permission to Kick Ass with me today is my new friend, Jen Hope. We’re talking about all kinds of lovely geeky leadership things and people management. This is all the kinds of stuff that I really love talking about. So I'm so excited about this. I know I kind of spoiled a little bit, but tell us more about your business and what you do.

Jen Hope (00:54):

Yeah, so, um, people hire me, uh, leaders hire me in, often in the startup world, as you already alluded to, to really focus in on regaining control in their lives, in their leadership, um, ultimately because they desire for something to be different. Mm-hmm. . So we go in with some laser beam coaching and guide them into the areas of their struggling, what's getting in their way so they can set out and achieve what they set out to achieve.

Angie Colee (01:19):

I love that, and I really want every entrepreneur listening to this, especially if you have this story in your head about, oh, people management. Oh, I suck at managing people. That's really something that I've struggled with. I'm terrified of hiring people. This is gonna be your episode. I have a feeling, because I have been there, I would say I have not always been the best manager or leader of people. In fact, I think I'm under, I, I started out under the same delusion that a lot of leaders probably believe in, which is, well, but I told them what to do, so why don't they just do it? Why aren't they just following my lead? Like, there's a system, there's a method, just get it done. Versus like, empowering people, inspiring them. So, yeah, I don't know where I was going with that thought. ,

Jen Hope (02:06):

It's so common. It's so common that we lead by default in our own style mm-hmm. . So that makes a ton of sense to me. It makes a ton of sense to me that we're saying, Hey, this is how I do what I do. This is, this is how I've achieved what I've achieved, come along and do it the way I do it. Which, you know, after studying some human behavior, we learn is not the way necessarily, right. We are, we're, we're biased in our own preferences. And that one of my favorite things to do is help people really unlock for themselves. Like, what are my preferences and what are the preferences that folks around me? So we can lead them in their style, in their way in, in a way that engages them, uh, to tule, like do their best work.

Angie Colee (02:48):

That's awesome. And I didn't even realize that I had this kind of leadership gap until I had the opportunity to be mentored by a leader who led by example. That classic example. Uh, so I had, you know, I had basically made a nuisance of myself for years. I was a copywriter. I wanted to be promoted to senior. I wanted that glory and that responsibility and that recognition. And of course, with the added responsibility and the added pay came training junior writers. And so I remember one day where I was struggling to train a new writer on the team because they couldn't do it, in my opinion. Like they just weren't doing it right. And I kept trying to get them to go back and follow it the way Angie would do it. Like come up with the piece and the idea that Angie would do.

Angie Colee (03:33):

And he was so generous and compassionate with it. He was like, no, you're doing this all wrong. He didn't do that. He pulled me into his office and, and sat down and told me. So if you're telling them how to do it every step of the way, how are they going to learn? How are they gonna figure it out for themselves? How are they gonna know whether it's your process that's better for this or their process that's better for this? Did you ever think about the fact that their solution could be maybe even work better than yours? You found one that works, but theirs might work better? And he just, it was such a loving slap of compassion , which just none of those thoughts had ever occurred to me before that moment that, oh, there's multiple solutions to this problem. Maybe mine is not the one, and maybe I'm not actually helping as much as I think I am by trying to walk them through it step by step the way I would do it.

Jen Hope (04:25):

So I'll like, start by kind of like telling the world something that anybody who knows me personally already knows, is that I'm obsessed with the Smartless podcast. . Um, so I'm on a podcast, I'm obsessed with podcasts. Probably not a surprise. A lot of people listen to the Smartless podcast, but one of the things I love about the Smartless podcast is this. There is a leadership undertone to it where they talk to directors and they talk to folks who are on set needing to lead people to work toward a vision that was once theirs and is now collaborative. Like Steven Spielberg, you know, recent guest and was talking about exactly this, where you get onset and you come with the idea in your mind, and then it becomes collaborative and it be starts to become everybody's idea, right? And it is that there's a way that you had envisioned it, and then you get there and you realize, oh, this isn't authentic to that person.

Jen Hope (05:16):

And I think it's the same, you know, I hear the same undertone here, or that that's not that person's process, that's not that person's vision. And there is what started and how we showed up. And then there's like, what is Yes. And having the capacity, uh, for that as a leader is, is really like a growth game, right? Mm-hmm. , when we start, we don't know that we're no, you know, young enough, naive enough to think that our way is the right way. Ugh. That's a rough lesson to learn. , um, been there raising my hand, learned that lesson the hard way. Uh, and, and then we get to see like, oh, this is what it really looks like to, to loosely hold, like open palm hold division in your hand and see what it becomes.

Angie Colee (05:58):

Oh, yeah. And especially, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have learned that with creative people, because creative people, and there's lots of creativity. I'm not just talking about the artistic sense, but in this case, I was working within a creative department and seeing the way that people solve problems and the ideas that they came up with that never even occurred to me and would never have occurred to me if we hadn't opened that conversation and had that dialogue, you know, shutting it down. And that's exactly what it is. If I had just forced my opinion and my process as the way that would've shut down all of the other opportunities, and my way wasn't always the best, that was slow. Right. That such a hard lesson learn. But that, I mean, that ties into something about your bio that stuck out to me. We mentioned this a little bit before we started recording, was that you, you said that you were a self kindness advocate, and that made me like do a little happy dance in my chair. Do you wanna speak to, to that a little bit more?

Jen Hope (06:50):

Yeah. I, I, I think this started for me at a place where I had my own kind of life, you know, pitch in the face kind of moment. Um, learning that this was not my default setting. Um, I had to learn a particularly in leadership and learning on the job. I think I, you know, like a lot of folks in startup leadership, um, I was learning at leadership as I was doing it. Not a great place to learn management for the first time early when when you're in a high pressure job under high pressure stakes, um, and have the job of both growing an organization and yourself at the same time. Like, whoa, that's a huge level of responsibility. Um, and I think what I learned in that process, kind of learning in a silo. I didn't necessarily have a coach at the time. I learned I was learning like the book version of management and leadership and self-kindness and compassion and all of these other tools that we start to learn as we reflect and was continuously like bopping myself, bashing myself, let's be really honest over the head with what I didn't know mm-hmm. .

Jen Hope (07:50):

And it made growth like that much harder. It made it like shameful. It made it, um, really miserable in a lot of ways when I was, you know, just baseline learning, um, the basics along the way mm-hmm. . And, um, it took a lot, it took a lot for me to, to really start to turn that around and to meet myself with understanding versus perfectionistic tendencies of like, boom, boom, boom. Why didn't you know better? Um, because I didn't. And so that was where things started to unlock for me. That's where I started to see in myself and really have taken this all the way through to my clients, that there's growth and then there's growth that comes with kindness. And it is so different. It is, um, it, it can be so much more useful, uh, than the experience of, of going through it with your most critical self, uh, intel.

Angie Colee (08:41):

Yeah. I love that you mentioned that whole concept of why didn't I do better? Because I didn't know better. That's okay. That's not an excuse. And if you would give your child, your sibling, your best friend, somebody that you know, and you really care about that same grace, well, why didn't you do better? Did you even know how to do that thing yet? Of course you didn't know how to do better. You deserve that same kindness and compassion from yourself as much as everybody who leans on you deserves that kindness and compassion from you. In fact, like I, you know, I know I'm sassy and I swear in all of that jazz on permission to kick ass, but I believe in kindness and respect as just a way of life because you never really know what someone else is going through. And how just taking that understanding stance versus that judgmental or frustrated or I inconvenience, this is an outrage stance, can actually solve problems a lot easier than trying to put someone in their place. Or shame. Shame is another good one. And I feel like I've been ranting about that a lot lately because shame doesn't help you do. It just shuts things down and then you don't move forward from there because it just, it's such a painful experience. It doesn't really inspire growth the way this compassion would. Is that something that you would agree

Jen Hope (09:55):

With? Oh, so much. I, I mean, I, I use a, a, a story, um, a metaphor with clients where, you know, in our most difficult moments, those moments that can sometimes show up with shame or embarrassment or that, that, like you said, that tendency to, to wanna go like internal shutdown, right? Like keep ourselves frozen. Um, this metaphor of like us sitting on a, on a front porch with like the most compassionate friend, like the person that maybe we wanted our parents to have been or, or that mm-hmm. that that teacher or, or coach that really loved up on us in a way that worked for us and what they would say in that difficult moment, right? Like to tell ourselves in that moment, like, we're not the only one who is struggling right now. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. like struggling is a part of life. Um, that, that like, we can expect to have struggle and that that is okay, that's the big human experience. Um, yeah. And then it, it, it isn't always going to be like that. Like we don't have those two, like no one, unless you were in a system, family system, education system, something, um, you know, therapy that taught you some of these things, we don't know that we weren't taught that. And so a process that really helps folks, um, move through those tough moments as well. Uh, gosh, like how much of that have helped me, uh, you know, when I was in, uh, the, the early stages of learning some of these lessons.

Angie Colee (11:20):

Oh yeah. I mean, I just, I think about how many times in life where I was really struggling to the point like, paralyzed, frozen, can't take any action. Also using that to double down on, you know, beating myself up, using myself as a human punching bag. Alright? So the same, the shame set in, I'm judging myself for failing to act in a way that I didn't know how I should be acting cause I didn't know any better. And then because I'm paralyzed because of the shame, I'm now starting to say, well, you're a jerk. Why don't you just get up and do the thing? Do better,

Angie Colee (11:51):

Just do better. Uh, wait, didn't we just cover that with I don't know how to do better? So how, how do I get to this process? Um, and I can't, I can't even enumerate the number of times that something that I thought was so shameful, something that would change everybody's perspective of me if they knew this thing about me turned out to be a total, like, almost non-issue when I just revealed that to the light of day. You know, the shadows all went away and people went, wait, me too. Wait, wait, what? This thing that I've been shutting down and beating myself up over for months is like something that other people suffer from and there's a solution to that. Wait, what? That was a mind blowing moment for

Jen Hope (12:34):

Me. . Yeah. That whole opportunity to say like, if we keep it in the darkness, right, that mm-hmm. that, that we're hiding ourselves, right. Versus this is my story, then I'm gonna live it. You know, whether I I love it or not, and then that it's all okay. Right? Like it's different. Yeah. Even if it's not exactly the, it's the same as another person's, it's still okay. Um, yeah. We all have pain. Like that's really as, uh, you know, it's a part of life and whether we like it or not, it just is.

Angie Colee (13:07):

Yeah. That's the universal human experience. So I'm curious, you know, you, you mentioned a little bit your leadership journey and you told us about what you do, but like, what really got you into this? What made this your passion? Let's talk about it in your business context.

Jen Hope (13:21):

In the business context. Uh, what I saw were folks like me being given these incredible opportunities to lead in startup organizations without the scaffolding required to do that job successfully and effectively. Right? And there were, you know, individuals, I think like me, who were making great strides in their career to, to be able to do these bigger roles and have the responsibility and to add the value that was there. And they didn't have the basics. They didn't have the, the tools that were required. Um, and that would serve them, right? It's even being beyond, you know, what they need to do it well, but to be effective mm-hmm. to be confident to be what I call self-authoring versus somebody who's trying to, in a reactive way, either control or protect or comply to be what somebody else has told them they should be or that they want to be.

Jen Hope (14:17):

Um, versus somebody who really understands the competencies of leaderships mm-hmm. of leadership, collaboration, vision, strategic systems thinking, right? Like all of these things. Mm-hmm. , balance and composure. Right? These are things that we're not taught as, as critical elements. And I think in a lot of ways, I like to like kind of debunk mm-hmm. , um, some of what we think we know about leadership and give framework in plain language that people understand and give them paths to say, okay, if these are the ways that you may show up, um, you know, in, in fear, cuz we do, we all have this, how do we move to a place where we can be generative energy giving to folks around us to the business, um, and reach, you know, further outcomes, um, versus something like that we talked about right before we started this call, which is leadership limiting our potential business outcomes. And so, like removing those barriers is what I saw as an opportunity. And, and people really being able to live these more useful, fulfilling, joyful lives alongside their career, which mm-hmm. , which is baseline for me, when you talked about being a kindness advocate, like yeah. This kindness, this inner peace, this understanding and kindness of self is sometimes at the very root of why folks are struggling. And, and that's what I, that's the barrier that I helped or hope, hoped to help with.

Angie Colee (15:40):

Yeah. One thing that really drives me nuts about this whole leadership conversation is this idea of soft skills and how it's easy to, I don't know, undervalue them or judge them or even kind of dismiss them because they're not necessarily the skills that are directly tied to the bottom line or the quote unquote success of the company. Where I think the revelation for me as I grew my own leadership skills was realizing that I was under this impression that the best copywriter was the person that became the copy chief, was the person that led the team. And that wasn't necessarily true. I've since had the opportunity to be on many teams where the best writer wasn't necessarily the team leader. And there was a different set of skills that the person who could lead the team brought to the table that, you know, the best writer either just didn't have, or that wasn't their forte. They wanted to stay in their lane and be a writer and not a leader. And that's okay, but, Hmm. Soft skills. Soft skills. I wanna give it a different name. Maybe we should give that a different name so that people value it more

Jen Hope (16:42):

. I I kind of go by the relational side versus the task side. Mm-hmm. of our balance that we need as leaders. So there's, you know, having a task orientation, that's what gets us outcomes from, from a business perspective, right? That's what gets us the business outcomes, but the relational outcomes is, that's the how we get there. , right? Mm-hmm. . That is when we are leading teams, this is how, this is our collaboration. This is the way that we, you know, have fun. Our foster team play. This is the way that, you know, people understand us under pressure. Are we balanced? Are we composed, are we authentic? Do we kind of walk or talk like those are critical pieces of who we are as a leader and how we do what we do versus the strategy, the systems thinking, the ability to, you know, achieve the business outcome. We, what, you know, the most recent leadership research would suggest that we have to have a balance, and that if we are out of balance, we're essentially limiting what we're mm-hmm. , you know, our true potential.

Angie Colee (17:46):

I love that because I know I do a lot of work on self-development. I think people that are kind of naturally called to leadership do, do a lot of work on self-development. They kind of look inward to, for answers, which I think is a great skill that I would encourage everybody listening to look into. It's hard work, but it's good work and it can only make you a better person for, for taking that work seriously and valuing yourself enough to look inward for those answers. But basically, you know, all of that boils down to, and this this concept really changed my life a couple years ago when I first heard it. A balance between being and doing, and especially in a capitalist society where we've got that, you know, the success markers and we need to do, and we need to accomplish, and we need to achieve, achieve, achieve, and earn, earn, earn. And that's how we get that recognition. But being that relational side of it, being present in the moment, enjoying nature, cultivating relationships with friends, family and loved one, cultivating relationships with people that you work with, clients, all of that stuff, getting to know people and being human in addition to achieving all of this stuff is what makes life gorgeous, I think,

Jen Hope (18:52):

And fulfilling, right? Mm-hmm. like, this is where, you know, folks will come to coaching looking for, I wanna do more at work. That's, that's what we, that's the early stage, right? That's what we hear. I wanna do more at work and it's, I not always, I wanna do more at work. I want to have more meaning. Mm-hmm. often as underlying that statement, I want to feel more connected, I want to be more connected. It's so important, right? At the end of the day, we're human. We're not like productivity machines. Um, and that's, and I hear that so often, like, let me optimize myself and, you know, I get it right. We want, we, we start to base our value on what is my output. Mm-hmm. , my question sometimes is like, how are the state of our relationships to that , right? Like, right. Because sometimes we're really looking for some, you know, maybe our fulfillment in the wrong category of our life, okay? Mm-hmm. , where, what do, I don't know, sometimes it's fun to, to ask a question that maybe that may not seem like it directly relates to the challenge, right?

Angie Colee (19:58):

Right. Uh, I know that was interesting too. Uh, when I started paying attention to that doing, and the being that balance, finding the balance there, connecting with people, I started noticing that there was a story that I was telling myself, especially since, you know, it's not really a secret that I have a D h D um, I've told myself for years that I'm just not skilled at noticing things about other people. I'm not a very observant person. I don't really see when there's something off with them, and that can lead to me being a little bit tone deaf. But when I started to shift that focus from achievements to balance of achievement and relationships, that was when I started noticing on the teams that I ran, that I could pick up on subtle cues that my writers, the people that were working for me, did not need to come to me and tell me something was wrong.

Angie Colee (20:49):

I could see by something they were doing or not doing, that there was a change, that there was something happening, and that I could often make the situation better by being the one to approach them and say, Hey, is everything okay? What's, what's going on? Talk to me. I'm, I'm here open door. Let, let's find a solution for this. And sometimes things weren't wrong, they're just like, I'm a little bit overloaded right now, so I'm just gonna be head down and focusing on this. And some, you know, once I did have a person that wound up getting on a call with me where I had asked them, you know, some, something has changed and I've noticed something going on here. Do you wanna hop on a call and, and have a talk? And this person came to the call, Artie, in tears, convinced that they were gonna be fired.

Angie Colee (21:29):

And I was like, oh, oh, oh my God. Oh my, sorry. If I gave you that impression that that was what was gonna happen on this call, I am so, so sorry. Like, do you need a moment? Do you wanna come back to this in five minutes when you've had a chance to like, to breathe a little bit? Because I don't want you to feel that way. I'm coming to this thing, you know, I've noticed these challenges and I wanna know what's going on, and I wanna see if I can help you and support you while we fix this. And I could see the whole energy change when I approached it that way. Whereas before, I probably would've been somebody that's like, why are you missing deadlines? Why is this happening? You can't keep doing this. Stop doing this. It's causing, so why can't you just fix yourself? And, you know, yeah. I, it, I think that ties nicely back to what we were talking about at the beginning about you don't really know that you could do better until you know that you can do better. And I can see looking back how that approach of just stop doing that, do better wasn't actually helping solve the problem.

Jen Hope (22:22):

There's a motto, framework, whatever you wanna call it, that I remind myself of very frequently that this person is doing their very best. Cause like, none of us throw the covers off in the morning and are like, God, I'm gonna do a job today, . Like, that's just not

Angie Colee (22:38):

Love us.

Jen Hope (22:39):

We're not right? Like, we're not rolling outta bed every day being like, Hey, you know, I'm really gonna off Angie today. Like, that's, we just don't, we don't wake up that way. Like, that's my stance, right? Like, and, and yeah. And those of us who are in pain and in struggle and who maybe haven't found the help and resources that we need yet, we can, right? Like, there can be ways that, that, you know, that, that we can not take the best care of ourselves yet. I get that. Mm-hmm. , right? And even that person wakes up in the morning and sets out to do their best, right? Yes. Like, there is, there is not, there is not, I I haven't run into anybody yet who's like, I'm really gonna go out and do some damage. Like, that's my purpose today, right? And that's where I start.

Jen Hope (23:21):

So when that person is sitting in front of me, my thought process goes, this isn't, this person isn't meeting the requirements of this role there, this is, and this is their best, right? Mm-hmm. like that is where we have to start the conversation because I don't know, I don't know what I don't know, and I do know. And if I can give them that generosity, then on my horse day, I can give myself the generosity to say, that was my best today. That was it. And, and I really can lay my head down at night, like in that integrity, um, that, that, that I did my best, even if I can do better and no, yeah, in my heart of hearts, I can do better. ,

Angie Colee (24:00):

I love that approach to it. Uh, you know, some days our best is going to be better than other days. Um, and I actually was talking about that with my life coach a while back, uh, because I found myself sinking into these spirals where on low energy days, on days where I just can't seem to get it together and focus. All of the tools and the coping skills that I've developed over the years are just, they're not working for me today for whatever reason. Um, usually having to do something with, I got some poor sleep. It's a rainy day. My cat has been bothering me. Like, I just started the day off on the wrong side of the bed. Um, and there was one day in particular that I was melting down and I told him, I just, I had this free day and I had so much that I wanted to get done, and I just feel like I didn't do anything on the business.

Angie Colee (24:45):

And he goes, okay, so walk me through your day. And I told him step by step, I got up, I did this, I did that, I did that. And he goes, so what I'm hearing is you worked on your business in this way and this way. Okay, got it. Keep going. And I, going through all of the hours, all of the appointments and the things that I did, and he kept reflecting back to me with like, okay, but isn't that working? Isn't that working on your business? So, I mean, you didn't check the exact specific thing off your list that you intended to do, but is it true that you didn't spend any time working on your business today and that you wasted an entire day and you sucked because you, it's, it feels like you're beating yourself up for a story that's not necessarily true.

Angie Colee (25:23):

And that led to such a wonderful conversation, again, that like self-kindness, being able to see that I did my best that day, even if it felt like I didn't, then we started to establish, okay, for low energy days, since I know they're coming again, what is a minimum that I can set to myself to aim for that if I achieve that, that day, that was good enough. And everything else is gravy above that. And it's usually just like one important test that I wanna get done that usually takes me like an hour, maybe two, if I can get that done today on a low energy today, Woohoo. Winning. And if I can't soft kindness, we'll try again tomorrow. Right? ,

Jen Hope (26:02):

I love that too. Um, there's that idea and there of like checking the facts. Yes. And I'm like, I come from the world of digital marketing. I started like, when we didn't even have a word for digital marketing, it was just called marketing and it was worth, you know, we were figuring out what that even was. That's when I started in search and things before Google. And, um, but with that data orientation, I've kind of, it's really been like a, a thread through all the work that I've done, even still part of the work that I do today, using data, right? To, to help us kind of tie pieces of, you know, our lives and, and threads together, right? And in this way, this idea of checking the facts, right? Where we get this hot thought, right? As it were. Like, I suck, I sucked today, whatever this thing that, like, you know, that the machine between our ears that is supposed to be our buddy, but is actually sometimes not, um, a gremlin creates some narrative that says like, oh, you really suck, or you didn't do enough today, or whatever.

Jen Hope (27:02):

This idea of checking the facts, because that's what I heard your coach do, right? Mm-hmm. like is stand by and say, well, what are the facts? Right? Give me, gimme the data, tell me what mm-hmm. , tell me what happened in a non-judgmental way. Tell me what happened in like, neutral, or what I would call like wise mind that says, okay, there's some, there's some emotion, there's some, there's some rational, and somewhere in there is what's wise and what's wise is you, you know, you did your best. Here's all the ways that you did your best, and here are some ways that we could do better. Here's some ways, like some days we're tired and willful and whatever else we're gonna be, and human and mm-hmm. , that is all okay too, right? Still, like, didn't throw the covers off this morning being like, wow, I'm gonna be a person. I know they can swear here, so I'll, I'll keep going with that

Angie Colee (27:48):

. Absolutely. Yeah. I love that idea. Maybe that's gonna go somewhere in the, in the copier, the subject line. Like, I woke up today and decided to be a person. Yeah, of course. That sounds like one, I wouldn't say easy, but like simple tool to get in the habit of practicing as you wanna grow your leadership of like, did this person that I'm frustrated with, even if that person's myself Right? Or if it's somebody on my team, or if it's somebody that's paying me or whatever, this other person that I'm frustrated with or myself, uh, doing the best that they can. Absolutely. What are the odds that they woke up and said, you know what, today I'm on a mission to up Jen's day. That's it. Goal number one, make her mad. That's it. Um, that's, incidentally, that was how I got rid of my road rage.

Angie Colee (28:32):

I really don't rage on the road. And I think it's for that exact reason, because I know that that person that cut me off, even if, even if they're following me and aggressively flashing my, their lights and, and like trying to scare me or something, that's not because they found Angie on the road and they decided she's the target. It was just because I was the person that was closest to them on a day where they were having a bad day. And I'm, I'm easy target for them, but they didn't pick me out and go, Angie's here, I'm gonna screw things up. Yeah.

Jen Hope (29:00):

Have you even look at that person too and be like, wow, you're hurting. Mm-hmm.

Angie Colee (29:03):


Jen Hope (29:04):

It's so different than like, wow, you're an. . Mm-hmm. , right? It's so different. Like, cuz we can identify, right? This is empathy, right? Like at the, at its core we can identify with you're hurting and you are trying to expel that hurting, right? And don't really know what to do with it. Mm-hmm. , if that, if we can do that, like, we've been there, you know, you like, put your phone down too hard because you're mad about a thing or you, you know, grab your purse and walk out the door or whatever, you know? Yeah. Like, you've been there, you've slammed the refrigerator. Like, so we've all done this, right? Like, you know, we've pushed a button on that elevator, whatever it is, you know, that, that is so human and whatever this person is doing, flashing their lights, honking, giving you a finger, whatever it is, it's just that, right? Yeah. It's just, it's just their hurt. It's just their day, it's just their emotion and it's not really, it's not who they are, like at their core mm-hmm. .

Angie Colee (30:00):

It's just not, you know, if we're, if we're gonna be really honest and we're gonna practice this, the self-kindness, the self-compassion, and just being real with where we're at, right? We're all humans. That means we're all from time to time to various extents. Right? I've definitely got an side to me sometimes when I'm feeling frustrated. It's just that now with, you know, taking the shame out of it, taking the self-judgment out of it to the best of my abilities, right? I'm not always perfect at that. I can recognize, okay, well that was an outsized reaction to some frustration that I was experiencing. Here's how can I, how can I learn to do better next time? Uh, how can I give myself grace next time if I try to do better and I don't achieve that? Uh, and it's just that practice and that awareness, which is something I used to rebel against too, like awareness and mindfulness, but I'm seeing just how helpful it is that helps me to not lose it in the first

Jen Hope (30:51):

Place. Capacity, right? Mm-hmm. . It's capacity. It's capacity. This is why I, this is why I meditate. This is why I recommend meditation for so many folks as preventative. Yes. Right? And, and not, not the tool always to insert in the moment. While I do believe in breath work and all of these things that we could do in the moment when we're agitated, right? But as preventative tool to build capacity there, it is like kind of singlehandedly, like been my go-to, um, mm-hmm. in managing emotion, right? Yeah. And having the capacity to handle when the seas are rough of life because, and, and in small ways and in big ways. I mean, like, you know, annoying meetings, the patients to sit through a tough call, the mm-hmm. the courage to have a conversation, right? Yes. Like all of these things, we need emotional capacity. And that's what I hear underneath that, right?

Jen Hope (31:41):

And I, when I hear people acting in ways that don't match their skillset mm-hmm. , that's what I get curious about. Like, what's your capacity? Like, and even when you talked earlier about like the days where we have like, like diminished capacity mm-hmm. , I didn't sleep as well. Mm-hmm. , my cat was annoying, my kids were sick, my blah, blah. You know, the, I had a rough meeting the day before or I took on feedback that ne whatever it is. I had a conversation with a family member that, that was challenging, like reduces our capacity, right? Mm-hmm. , we have diminished capacity, we have diminished resources, and it can create reactivity, and that's just not as skillful as we can be. That's how I look at it. That's my lens.

Angie Colee (32:21):

Love that. Because I, I remember a time too where this, this was shortly after, um, I had just taken on a new client where I was running his team. He had brought me on in that capacity to be the copy chief and to help run and, and facilitate, train the team, uh, develop all their skills, all that jazz I had been on for about a month when I experienced a breakup, like a sudden move. All of these emotions that come with it. And I know that, you know, previous corporate me before I had developed these skills would have just toughed it out, thrown herself into the work, like quadrupled the suffering. But like, don't inconvenience anybody else with what you're going through. Don't let them see the, the shame, right. Of this thing that happened to you. Whereas in this one, I valued him so much as a client and as a friend.

Angie Colee (33:08):

We had known each other for a long time before I came to work with him that I reached out to him and I said, Hey, uh, uncomfortable conversation alert. Here's what happens this weekend. I don't think I'm handling it very well, and I know that this is not the greatest time for me to basically be melting down when you just asked me to take over. And I know that you were looking forward to being able to hand these off to another leader. Um, I will probably need some backup. I'm doing what I can and I'll just, I'll keep you updated as this situation develops as to as to what I can do. And just know that, you know, you're here, you're on my mind. The team's on my mind. I'm trying, um, but I'm not fully here. And that was so mildly teary. I just like recalling that memory and how hard it was for me to put myself out there to that.

Angie Colee (33:54):

But he, you know, and the, the reaction I think that I was scared of was coming back and being like, wow, I didn't need to know that. That's way too personal. Uh, why don't we just call this whole thing off that you're letting me down instead of it that he came back to me with a whole ton of compassion and he went, wow, I'm so sorry that that's happening right now. I I know that the timing is sucky, but we'll figure it out. It's fine. Don't worry about it. Go take care of you. Let me know if you need anything. And he goes, actually, thank you. And I was like, wait, what? That was enough to shock me out of my self-pity and be like, wait, why are you thanking me for, for dropping this in your lap? And he goes, you actually just showed me a flaw with how I was thinking about my business, because I was thinking I could hire this leader to come in and take over this, and then I could hand it off and be done with it.

Angie Colee (34:46):

But what occurred to me as you were sharing this with me was maybe it's not a breakup. Maybe you got really sick. Maybe you got hit by a bus. There are all kinds of reasons that you could be incapacitated and not able to fulfill on this job. And I didn't plan for that. I didn't account for that when I hired you. I didn't think about how we would cover for you if you were out and how to make sure that I didn't have to step back in to cover for you. So like, I know that, you know, me thanking you for this is really, really weird in a sense, but it shows me how I can do better as a leader in the company. And I was like, okay, now I'm gonna cry even more for different reasons. But thank you so much and I'll talk to you later. . Wow, I didn't expect to tell that story when I came on here today,

Jen Hope (35:27):

. Oh, that story is so beautiful. Like, my hand was over my heart as I was listening to that for so many reasons, like the vulnerability of saying I'm hurting in a professional environment. Like in some scenarios we are conditioned that that is not okay, right? Mm-hmm. versus being vulnerable enough to say, I am human and I'm in a human struggle. And in addition to this role, I am a human in a human struggle, right? Yes. And like, how vulnerable and brave, oh my god, so brave. That is . Um, really, and yeah. And then to also have this person see the vulnerability in their business, which as a business owner feels like our own vulnerability. So the way that you were able to say, I am vulnerable, that opened up this possibility for this person to also recognize their vulnerability, but then also name their vulnerability in their business. Mm-hmm. . So like two people being human, saying like raising hands and saying, I'm so vulnerable. Like, oh my gosh, my heart is like warm. And like, I feel like my heart's growing. Like the Grinch, like, it's just feels like, you know, like, it's so beautiful.

Angie Colee (36:45):

Grinch references that makes me happy. . Well, and the funny, the funniest thing about this too is I'm not, I'm not gonna name him, but I, I know that people that know me will know exactly who I'm talking about. He and I are probably two of the biggest sassiest, healthiest, most confident looking brass people that you would know out there that it looks like we're confident and attitudinal all the time. And it's so funny when, you know, I, I don't run his team anymore, but when people used to like audition to write for him, they would always come in with that kind of superficial interpretation of his bravado and swagger. And I'd be like, I need you to understand that underneath that this guy is a big ball of mush and he really, really cares about all the people that he works with and the people that he does work for, the people that he built this company for.

Angie Colee (37:28):

So like the superficial stuff, it's, it's gotta go. We gotta have some depth to it. This is a real human, a real person, not a personality. Um, and I don't know, like, just like you said, that vulnerability, we're three dimensional human beings with souls. Neither one of us is the persona that we appear to be. Even everybody watching this or listening to this, they're not watching it. I'm not sharing the video. Uh, everybody listening to this and hearing, you know, kick Angie, kick, and like, no, Angie has moments of vulnerability and s and snot bubble tears. And that was especially scary because that was my first big consultancy in walking away from a very high level job. And I was terrified. Terrified that I was gonna lose it.

Jen Hope (38:09):

No, underneath what I heard too about both of you or what I know now after like enough kinda out there watching people and, and understanding that folks who have those big a feelings in one direction have just as big a feelings in another direction. Mm-hmm. , right? When we are big feelers and when we can be that passionate out in the world, that we have that much big feeling kind of in every direction, right? Like our heart Yes. Is not big just in one way, not just out in the world, but there's a whole spectrum. And if we can feel that big one way, we can feel that big another way too. It's like where we've got, I don't know, it's not always, it's, um, it's sometimes challenging to feel that big mm-hmm. in all directions, right? But I hear there's that, you know, for both of you all, like my, my little secret sauce in there is like, oh, you have big feelings in every direction, Angie, I see it

Angie Colee (39:05):

. Oh yeah. And I'm, I'm grateful for it too. Like, I remember in the, in all the processing and the self-development after that split, and whether or not it was going to impact the plans that I had, which, you know, uh, now looking back, it's been over two years since that happens and I've had so many wonderful opportunities and things that actually wouldn't have happened, or very slim to none possibility that it would've happened if that breakup hadn't happened. That it's like, okay, that was the blessing in disguise that I didn't know that I needed. And I had, you know, in that processing and the conversations that I had, some of 'em, even with clients and people on the show, uh, people would be like, oh, well, you know, you don't wanna fall that hard, that fast, or you don't wanna give your trust to people or things like that. And I'm like, no, they don't get to take that away from me. I know it's hard feelings. I know it's deep feelings. I know it's big feelings, but I love them all because the low lows help me appreciate the high highs. And I, I just don't wanna come down from that. Nope.

Jen Hope (39:57):

It's who I am. It's my superpower. It makes me who I am. I'm raising my hand because like, it me, same, same big feeler. I'm a big feeler. Mm-hmm. , I'm into big, feel big feeler people like I I am with you. I I appreciate it. I appreciate it. I used to think I was sensitive, right? No, I'm a, a big feeler man. Like, I, I just get big feels and I love it.

Angie Colee (40:19):

And I'm glad that this is becoming more of a conversation because I re you know, to tie it back to what you said earlier, I remember in the corporate environment having conversations with superiors that were like, okay, so I need you to leave your home stuff at the door, and when you're here at work, you're here to work. And I'm like, how, how, wait, do I have like a, a work brain and then a human being brain that like, what was that? Uh, there's that H B O show that I can't remember what it's called of course right now, but

Jen Hope (40:49):


Angie Colee (40:49):

The concept. Yeah. Severance that you can come into work and turn off your human side and you can go home and turn off your work side. Like, not that I advocate being work 24 7 or, you know, emo 24 7, but like, they're both part of who you are and what makes you magnificent. And make no mistake, everybody listening, you are magnificent. Even if it doesn't feel that, like you're such a unique special combination of circumstances, billions of years in the making, right? Like, look at how many things had to line up just perfectly for you to exist right here, right now, in this moment, listening to this, this is another rant that I did not know I was gonna have today, but like, for you to be here and not feel special, it, I'm gonna, no, I'm gonna rant about this. You are special. You have something to offer. And if nobody else out there in the world is telling you that, Jen and I are here telling you that,

Jen Hope (41:39):

And you're loved, right? Yes. You're loved. Yes. I love you. Like baseline, right? Mm-hmm. , if no one has told you today, like you are loved and nice bomb, like those are the things that you needed to hear, right? Like, come on , and like, here's a hope, hopefully consensual, right? Slap on the booty, like get it, get it going, right. Like . Yep. Like, like just roll with it. High five, my friend. Yeah. Yes.

Angie Colee (42:06):

Oh, I love all of this. So I know we've been kind of circling around like tools for getting better at this, but do you wanna dive deeper into that? I know that you had some ideas on how we could, you know, just tap into whatever natural instincts that we have and then develop the ones that we don't. So

Jen Hope (42:21):

Yeah. One of the tools that I, you know, I start folks in often in coaching, um, I would say almost all the time, um, is understanding behavior and our preferences around behavior and communication. Mm-hmm. , um, I work with a tool called Disk. It's one that many have heard of. Um, I've taken that dominance, influence, steadiness, compliance, uh, four colors, eight preferences, kind of on a, on a spectrum. And that's one of the, that's one of the first places for me where we can start to look at. And, and I, I would say that I think I have a unique perspective and that I look at all of the makeup of, of something like disk where I've heard others in the past, you know, share with me stories of like, oh, I'm a red mm-hmm. , I call a lot of garbage on that. Like, I'm not a red, like, we may understand that some of our preferences are, you know, above the line on dominance or below the line on dominance and what does that mean to us?

Jen Hope (43:13):

But like, we're a unique combination of human being and that has nothing to do with applying a label of a color and what that means to somebody else, to us. Yeah. Um, and, and instead we, we interpret data again, like I talked about, you know, I, I'm a data nerd and I like to dig in, geek out on, on what information tells us and then what it means to the individual. But we talked about self-awareness is that starting point and that mm-hmm. that early on, even when you first started talking about the way that you manage, I got curious about like, Hmm, I wonder what you just, preferences are around Ooh, process versus big picture thinking, right? And where if we're an early manager, can we show up in a way that maybe it, it, it never intends to feel micromanaging, but to a person who's a big picture thinker, if we're up in their process and up in their details, maybe it feels micromanage to them, right?

Jen Hope (44:03):

Mm-hmm. , maybe, and I'm making this up as an example, right? Not to say that that's what was happening then, but maybe, right? Yeah. Like maybe we were up in somebody's process and this person is like, leave me to leave me to come up with ideas in my own process and I'll come back to you. Right. For others it can feel like, you know, I like to have a, like a methodical, steady pace to my work and for some of us, like, we're ready to change just for change sake. Yeah. And that's the kind of stuff that we start to learn about ourselves in that process. Introversion, extroversion, do we have a, you know, an outgoing, you know, prefer to process externally? Are we more reflective? Mm-hmm. , do we want time to go and think about an idea and come back with our best ideas? Do we wanna make decisions?

Jen Hope (44:40):

Would we prefer somebody else to lead? Like they're all different ways of being and doing. That's kind of the how we do what we do. How do we get to, to outcomes? How do we get to what we achieve? And that's where we start. That's the tool, right? Yes. Start to understand for yourself, what is your bias? Um, I'm raising my hand here cuz I really was caught up in my own bias as the right way, as an, as an early leader, um, as a young leader. Same here. And, and it really limited me. Um, and it limited my team and it limited my outcomes. And, um, not knowing didn't stop me from really limiting myself. Mm-hmm. not knowing any better turns out isn't, um, a recipe for actually getting out of your own way. But eventually we can learn these things and we can get out of our, you know, our own way. Get, you know, be able to kind of unlock some of this leadership effectiveness that we would have if we had done the reflection, if we'd done some of this diving into the data and looking at what we l what, what we know, what we like, what we prefer.

Angie Colee (45:38):

Mm-hmm. and, uh, the, there's this interesting concept, I'm sure you're familiar with it. Uh, the beter meinhof principle, which is like, so especially now in this digital era where we're being bombarded every single day by information all the time from everywhere from our phones. It's happening overhead at the grocery store, just like information flying at us all the time. Your brain is naturally filtering out something like 90% of that because it's trying to keep you alive and is trying to keep you focused on what you're doing and what you're trying to achieve. So, uh, this, this, the easiest way that I have to explain this is the yellow car. You know, I bought a yellow car and now suddenly there are yellow cars on the road everywhere. And that's not actually true. If we go back to that story from earlier, what are the facts?

Angie Colee (46:27):

The facts are, there have been and always have been yellow cars on the road since cars started getting paint beyond black. But is it true that there were not yellow cars until you bought one? Are you that big of a trendsetter? Probably not unless you're Kim Kardashian, in which case, hey, promote me. Um, the truth is that you were just filtering that out until you saw that and that was more data that your brain started to recognize and go, Hey, I have a yellow, Hey, there's more yellow cars. What's going on here? So the way that ties back into it in, in the context of what you were saying was I heard this interesting thing about like, I don't know what I don't know. And if I assume that I kind of know what the possibilities are, I am limiting myself. I'm preventing myself from even seeing in this beder meh phenomena way that there might be other possibilities out there.

Angie Colee (47:15):

And I know that like one of my favorite stories around that was from the pandemic, this taco stand that I heard of in LA and I've told this story before, but I, I still freaking love it, right? Think about the things that you know to be true in this business. It's taco, it's high volume, low cost. There's staff that are assembling that, that need to be paid. There's perishable foods, there's all kinds of stuff. So when pandemic shutdowns happen and you can't sell high volume lowcost tacos and you've decided that all you can do is high volume, low cost tacos, what happens? How do you find a solution to keep moving forward? You don't, you go outta business, you suffer. But these folks that I really admire went well. We have, they, they came, came at it from a sideways angle. We have a lot of perishable food, we have a lot of toilet paper cuz there was a run on toilet paper.

Angie Colee (48:02):

Uh, we have people who pay, there are hungry people near us that could probably use this perishable food and can't get to the grocery store. What do we do? They started putting together these family packs of like five pounds of meat and tortillas and eggs and a pack toilet paper for people for like 200 bucks. All right? Suddenly this is not a high volume low-cost taco, but like a moderate investment, but multi meal family pack where it's neighbors helping neighbors and they get to support their community and they get to support their employees. Like I, you know, I know that that seems kind of like a random tangent, but I thought that story was just a perfect illustration of what you said. Like keeping your mind open to I don't really know what I don't know, and I don't wanna limit myself. If there are possibilities out there that I don't know about yet

Jen Hope (48:44):

There's flexibility. I heard that in there too. Like this idea of flexible thinking. Yes. Where like, I think, you know, what I hear in that too is like when we don't know any better, are young enough to have the blissful unawareness of I am. Right?

Angie Colee (49:02):


Jen Hope (49:03):

it is. Right. Like the naivete to be like, I'm so right and I'm so confident in how right I am. Oh, I miss those days. Right. Like, oh yes.

Angie Colee (49:11):

So I knew everything when I was 16. It was great.

Jen Hope (49:13):

Right? Exactly. Exactly. Right. And the confidence, the confidence to just rationally do what it was that we were doing without awareness was, you know, the bliss, the bliss of it. And also like, what were we doing? Um, but it's that, it's, and then, you know, what we start to learn is like this skill, you know, like you'll, the word again, skill of flexible thinking. Mm-hmm. , that's what I hear. Particularly for a creative individual. Like what a, what an asset to have in your pocket of, you know, I can stay flexible, I can stay open, I can stay present to what's happening. Because if we're heads down in our business and, and not able to look out and see those possibilities that this person saw, the flexible thinking to say, here's a collection of assets, how do we bundle them? ?

Angie Colee (50:04):


Jen Hope (50:05):

So bright, right? So wise in that moment. Um, and to read a trend and to read a market and to, and to read, you know, need and, um, yeah. Adding value, like that's, that's really flexible.

Angie Colee (50:18):

Yeah. It's like that creative problem solving. If they had said, how do we sell more tacos? That's not really the question that we need to answer. And that in itself is a limiting question too, because it just says that all we can sell are tacos. Right. And I'm just, you know, I'm restating the same thing in a different way for folks that, you know, if I, if I was confusing on how to wrap your head around this, but the question is, how do I stay in business? What do I sell that can keep my business afloat, that supports the people and, and is what they need? What else can I do with what I've got to make these people happy to take care of my staff and my family and make sure I'm not throwing away a ton of food? Um, I love that. I mean, that's probably exactly what you mean by flexible thinking. If there's no other term for that, then I, I love that. Are you asking the right questions to help you find a solution? Or are you asking the kinds of questions that are focusing you on one small, uh, window of possibilities, all of which kind of suck right now? Cuz they're not actually helping.

Jen Hope (51:12):

And the, the question too of like, how is this collection of things valuable? Mm-hmm. , right? Like I'm, yes, I'm keeping myself in business, but you're keeping yourself in business because the thing you're selling is valuable. Yes. Previously, you know, the, the, the taco because it was fast, because it was the right price, because it was readily available, that was the right solution. Now the meal that's available and the meat that is available is valuable in a different way. Right? The mm-hmm. the added bonus of the tp, right? Like, now we're talking a whole different kind of value. Right? That

Angie Colee (51:49):

Was just the cherry on top when I saw that. I was like, oh, that's so brilliant.

Jen Hope (51:52):

Cherry on bottom. Sorry. Anyway, . Oh my gosh, Angie, what is happening? How have we got Israel? I

Angie Colee (52:00):

Was like, before we go too far down that rabbit hole, like we've been talking for a while and I could keep it going for another hour, but tell us more about how to find out about the Gen Hope brand of leadership. Cause I want more people out there in that school of thought.

Jen Hope (52:12):

All right. So Jen Hope you can find me everywhere at J E N H O P E. It's, Hey, Jen Hope, h e y j e n h o p e on LinkedIn. You can find my I'm on Instagram as well, uh, for more of the daily stuff. So come find me there.

Angie Colee (52:27):

Nice. I think we have to do a part two. I know that this one was rambling all over the place, but it was the

Jen Hope (52:32):

Best. Amen. Kindness and teepee like how this is, this is my kind of conversation. Thank you, Angie.

Angie Colee (52:41):

That's all for now. If you wanna keep that kick ass energy high, please take a minute to share this episode with someone that might need a high octane dose. If you could do it. Don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe to the permission to kick ass podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and wherever you stream your podcast. I'm your host, Angie Colee, and I'm here rooting for you. Thanks for listening and let's go kick some.