The Generational Lense on COVID-19 with Jenn T. Grace, Lindsey Pollak, and Jennifer Brown

[00:00:00] Jenn: [00:00:00] Hello, Jennifer, how are you? 

[00:00:03] Jennifer B: [00:00:03] Hello? Jenn T grace. I’m all right. Happy Tuesday. We’re bummed another very long week. 

[00:00:11] Lindsey: [00:00:11] Yeah, it’s Tuesday. And we’re already saying that 

[00:00:14] Jennifer B: [00:00:14] already saying that. Oh yeah. Yes, yes. But these, these are something to look forward to. So I always get, I always get pumped up. 

[00:00:21] Lindsey: [00:00:21] They are. And I am pumped up today to be talking to Lindsey, which I feel like our conversation is going to be just so exciting to kind of see where we go with this.

[00:00:29] So, Jen, it was your idea to invite Lindsay on. So I’m curious, you know, what your, what your original spark was for those who were watching this. And of course we can get into the meat of this generational lens on COVID. 

[00:00:40] Jennifer B: [00:00:40] Oh yes. Well, Lindsay is the generation’s expert in the workplace and we’ve known each other for, Oh my goodness.

[00:00:47] 15 years, maybe. Um, she’s an author business owner, um, total amazing marketer. Um, great writer. I know you, you, at one point you were going to go straight my 

[00:00:58] Lindsey: [00:00:58] book 

[00:01:00] [00:00:59] Jennifer B: [00:00:59] years ago. I remember those conversations and I just, I trust Lindsey, she’s kinda my podcast. She’d kind of decode. Generational dynamics because they’re so prevalent.

[00:01:10] Um, they’re such an important lens to carry with us, whether we’re, we’re a Boston sort of helping our team and understanding how people work and why they work and what their values are and how they move through the world. Um, but it’s also. Really important to talk about it now in the light of the crisis and all the changes that people are navigating, because that, I think there are clues in what Lindsay knows that will help us navigate this whatever generation we’re in, but also importantly, to have a lot of empathy for the other generations.

[00:01:40] Um, particularly now whether it’s a discomfort with technology or comfort with transparency or, um, our socioeconomic backgrounds or our parenting status and the difficulties that some people are having balancing. Same things. I just cheat. She gives a, you give a name and a lexicon to us in a structure, Lindsay, um, for understanding [00:02:00] this really important aspect of diversity and also, um, the generation Z insights you have.

[00:02:06] I also make sure we get to, um, which is the generation that now is turning about the oldest of whom are turning 24 or so. Um, and now how this crisis is going to inform them because each one of our generations has our crisis. Um, our challenge, right? Our thing that kind of shapes us and, and really dictates who we become in many ways, because our values are fundamentally shifted when these things happen.

[00:02:31] And I think we can all agree that what’s happening right now is a mess. The shift and the people who are feeling that the most are those we’re coming of age right now. So I do think this will appeal to people on a lot of levels. And also just how Lindsey you’re pivoting your business. Like, you know, you’ve got an audience right here of lots of business owners who were probably sitting here wondering what could we be doing right now?

[00:02:52] Uh, should I be doing anything? How do I take care of myself and my level of stress with my revenues disappearing? [00:03:00] You know, what are, what are you doing about that? So, yeah, I mean, I want to hear about that too, cause you’re such a savvy business owner too. And so I would love to hear. What tips can you give us right now with dumb, anything 

[00:03:14] Lindsey: [00:03:14] hit us.

[00:03:15] So with that, no pressure, all that. Okay.

[00:03:25] Well, thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be the meat in the Jenn sandwich today. Um, I love the work that both of you are doing, um, personally and professionally, um, These are insanely, um, challenging and unique times, but this is what. Totally fascinates me about generational identity because of moments like this.

[00:03:48] When you talk about generational research and generational diversity, this is exactly what we talk about, which is a universally shared experience among a group of people. Now we’ve never [00:04:00] had an event like this that is globally shared among. Everybody. So it’s certainly impacting all of us, but, um, Jen Brown is, you said, um, certainly we are all individuals.

[00:04:13] I believe we are more alike than we are different, our socioeconomic status or sexual orientation or gender identity at so many, or Myers-Briggs personality type introvert extrovert. I mean, there’s so many factors that go into who you are. And how you live your life and the decisions that you make. What I talk about in the workplace context, which is really where I specialize with my research and writing on generations is based on your generational experience and identity, what expectations do you bring with you when you enter the world?

[00:04:44] So what technology do you expect to be available to you? What do you think your work life integration will be? So if you walked into a newspaper office in 1950, that’s a really different experience than walking in today, right? So all those factors [00:05:00] influence kind of what you bring with you again. So many differences, but that’s where the similarity is.

[00:05:04] So when I look at this current situation from a generational lens, I think you also have to look at the life stage lens. So there are plenty of millennials who are single and living with roommates, but there are also plenty who are parents or have elderly parents. So it’s not universal, but where you are in your life is going to have a very different outcome about how you take this.

[00:05:27] And to your point, I think gen Z. Is where I would look first because psychologists tell us that around age 10 to 13 sort of puberty is when you are imprinted with your generation. So look at the great depression on the traditionalist. Look at civil rights, women’s rights movement, Vietnam television on the baby boomers.

[00:05:49] Uh, for gen X or like me, it, uh, for me, I was 11 when the challenger exploded. So I just have such a visceral memory of that experience for a millennial. It might be Columbine, [00:06:00] um, or nine 11. And now I think all of us are experiencing this pandemic for kids in that age range. History tells us that we’re going to see the impact that this has for a long time on their finances and how they view the economy, um, what careers they choose to go into or not go into and just end with Kim Leer.

[00:06:23] Who’s a colleague of mine in the generational space, said one of the ways she defines a generation is who are the heroes? To that generation. And so the heroes, if you’re in world war II, might’ve been Winston Churchill, right? Um, if you are a millennial, it might be a.com executive, right? If you are a gen Z right now that very well might be a health.

[00:06:45] Professional. It might be a nurse. It might be Anthony Fowchee. It could be, you know, anyone who’s sort of in a helping profession. And so I think that what we’re going to see with gen Z is that this moment has a lot of outcomes for them in terms of their [00:07:00] workplace and personal decisions. So a lot to unpack.

[00:07:03] But this is like, Oh my gosh, we were watching a generation be defined right now. And I find that really fascinating from a research perspective, because often it takes years to realize what those moments were. There’s no question in my mind. We are in it right now. 

[00:07:19] Jennifer B: [00:07:19] It’s so good. Yeah. 

[00:07:21] Lindsey: [00:07:21] I feel like there’s so much to unpack.

[00:07:24] Let’s do it. Go for it. I have a question. Um, 

[00:07:30] Jennifer B: [00:07:30] so, so what are the blinds generational blind spots in this altered landscape, Lindsay of being productive together, but apart, um, whether that’s, you know, technology usage or mental health, um, supporting each other. You know, with, with what we kind of identities that we haven’t been, um, bringing with our, to our work selves basically, is everything is kind of getting laid out on the table now in a different way.

[00:07:55] I wonder, um, we have a lot of, probably five generations on [00:08:00] here who are maybe struggling with some of them struggled with those before the crisis. And then I wonder, um, how you’re advising people to get the most out of multigenerational teams right now that are separated. Where different strengths are coming to the fore where certain comfort with like digital access or technology, or whether leaders are uncomfortable perhaps with, I think how kind of democratize things have all of a sudden become.

[00:08:27] Um, and that’s not something I, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the unique baby boomer that’s really comfortable with. That, because I think they grew up in that work. The workplace was a command and control kind of place. Um, and then we, as gen Xers were sort of the lost children. 

[00:08:43] Lindsey: [00:08:43] I’m not sure, like 

[00:08:43] Jennifer B: [00:08:43] we want, you know, we, we were influenced and we reacted badly.

[00:08:46] I think to that, we were very independent. We were very like, um, I guess I’m cynical about institutions. Uh, and so that was us. And then the millennials came after us and then there’s generation Z. [00:09:00] So I do wonder, like what, what is, um, what is being enabled generationally right now? Uh, and then what is proving to be difficult?

[00:09:10] Um, and given the constraints and the opportunities of this, of working in this way, which 

[00:09:14] Lindsey: [00:09:14] we are, and like how you would frame that. Um, I think the technology piece is what we have to talk about first because we are literally using it right now to have this conversation. Um, certainly the digital divide as a parent of a New York city public school child.

[00:09:28] You know, when you save, just put school online, you are now leaving out huge swaths of people who don’t have wifi, who don’t have devices, um, who aren’t able to use computers or don’t know how. Um, so we’re certainly seeing that digital divide play out across generations, but particularly children and households that don’t have that technology that we take for granted.

[00:09:49] Um, the positive side. Um, you know, we’re having this conversation after, during Passover and after Easter, the number of, um, traditionalist and baby boomers [00:10:00] who said, well, the only way I can see my family during these holidays is by figuring this thing out. And no matter how resistant you were, you just made it happen.

[00:10:09] And so I think that. One of the positive outcomes of this is all the people who said, no, I don’t do that. Right. I don’t do, I don’t do zoom. I don’t do FaceTime or now like, okay, I guess I do. And so it just sort of overcame that. And I think the opportunity for young people to be the experts on that and to have a moment of serving the needs of some of their older colleagues was a real moment of pride.

[00:10:31] Um, I think for a lot of people, which is really positive, On the flip side of that, I’m a big fan of the concept of co-mentoring or reverse mentoring where you don’t just have an older. A more experienced mentor, but you go in both directions, right? The young person has a lot of guidance to give to, and I think teams need to keep that in mind.

[00:10:49] I’ve seen a lot of desire on the part of young people for the comforting advice of Xers, boomers and traditionalist who have been [00:11:00] through something hard. Right. So I lost my.com job in the.com bust of 2001. I was unemployed through nine 11. I had to job hunt through the aftermath of that. There are a lot of young people who were not working during the global financial crisis of 2008, 2009.

[00:11:17] So I think we’re a lot of older professionals. Certainly none of us have ever been through a pandemic before, but to be able to say, well, this is what we did. These are the steps that we took. This is how I was persistent and resilient. That perspective has been really valuable. So I think that, um, everybody’s seeking something now and everyone has something to give is a really positive cross-generational opportunity right now.

[00:11:41] And I’d really encourage leaders and individuals to not just live in your bubble of, well, I’m going to talk to all the other gen X or moms that I know who are staying at home, but I need to talk to people in their eighties and I need to talk to Laura teenagers and I need to talk to people who are very different from me.

[00:11:57] So not only that I can get comfort and see [00:12:00] that we’re all in this together and, and be of help, but also as a business opportunity, where do people need support right now? So if you are a consultant or have your own business or a job hunting, if you’re in your own echo chamber, you’re not going to see those opportunities.

[00:12:14] But if you connect outside of your identity generational, otherwise I think you’re going to find a lot more creativity in how to get through this situation. I love that that is like one of the most amazing kind of soundbites and takeaways for people to be thinking about, of not just kind of preaching to your choir, but really kind of seeking, seeking things outside.

[00:12:35] And I’m wondering, like, do you think that people are more open and receptive now to this concept? Or do you still think that they need to hear it from. An expert like yourself to say, listen, here’s the, here’s a business value or here’s a personal value or some kind of takeaway or whatever it is to do this.

[00:12:53] But do you think that people are organically or naturally kind of going out on their own and saying, yeah, I really I’m. I need to seek that comfort [00:13:00] and hearing from someone who’s been through something rough or do we think that it needs to be a little more. Pushed, honestly, I have not seen that. I wish I could tell you.

[00:13:08] I have, I’m an optimist by nature. Um, I was really, really surprised and you think not much surprises you at a certain point, but I was really surprised and distraught. Um, I hate to even give it any voice, but at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a meme and a hashtag going around called boomer remover.

[00:13:28] Um, that people are single great. We can get rid of the older people now. Um, when a lot of grocery stores opened early hours, so that older shoppers could go and not have a risk, they called it millennial free shopping. Um, and all of that, I was really surprised that in this moment, people still.

[00:13:46] Immediately went to shaming and criticizing other generations. And I was really distraught by that because I thought it was anything is going to, I actually thought maybe my work is going to become irrelevant because people will say it doesn’t matter. We’re all humans, you know, let’s be [00:14:00] supportive and man, that didn’t happen.

[00:14:02] And the immediate instinct and I’m sure in your work I’d love to hear it was let’s blame. The other generations let’s blame the kids going on spring break, which was important and horrible. But to me was individual choices, not a generational choice. Um, so no, I have not seen people naturally gravitate.

[00:14:21] Um, I do think that, you know, what’s neat about generations. Everyone knows about generations cause families are generations and everybody, at some point is. Part of a family, so you get it. And so I think the kind of zoom pictures of people talking to their families has had a multigenerational component, but no, I I’m concerned that when things get tough, we go into our corners and surround ourselves with people we know.

[00:14:43] And even just one last thing. Um, all these people having zoom, uh, cocktail hours with their colleagues is great. But who are you including Korean funding. Are you remember? Are you remembering people who are not just the ones that you naturally grab a drink with after work? You know, I’m just a little concerned that we’re [00:15:00] kind of just going into those little bubbles.

[00:15:01] So very long answer to a short question, but no, I have not seen a lot of multigenerational optimism and I want to push for it because I think it could be helpful. Yeah. Like even, I feel like I’ve been hosting some of those, the happy hours that are happening, Jen and I have been doing these calls and we’re really trying to just bring in different vantage points to have conversations about this.

[00:15:21] So I feel like for me, I’m definitely going to kind of push for that because I can even think about areas that I could improve in. Where I could be reaching out to folks who were either older or younger than I am to find that comfort and solace in what we’re all going through. So I think it’s just a really important message and it doesn’t seem that difficult to execute.

[00:15:37] So if you’re watching this, I encourage you to take Lindsay’s advice and just go talk to somebody else. And I don’t know, find, find comfort because I think to me, that’s, what’s really interesting about all of this is that there’s like this collective comfort in all of this chaos, because we are, there is no one who is not.

[00:15:55] Being impacted by this. And I think there’s something really unique about that. I mean, one [00:16:00] idea on that is, um, a lot of interns and college students are having their job offers rescinded, which is a huge problem. And, um, what a great way, particularly if you’ve ever had an intern ever in your business, invite them onto your calls.

[00:16:17] Right. Bring them in that youthful energy. Their perspective is so different. They would so value to be included in a professional context. That’s just one way is to think about who are interns, who are potential interns. We can invite them to participate. And I think they’re really being overlooked in a lot of ways.

[00:16:34] Jennifer B: [00:16:34] I feel like that’s the case with interns in general, I feel 

[00:16:37] Lindsey: [00:16:37] like they’re

[00:16:41] so long. I had interns within my business. And even now I have a couple of much younger people on the team and there is a lot of value because there is that energy there’s that different, different frame of mind and thought process. It’s the diversity of thought as Jen, you talk a lot about, 

[00:16:57] Jennifer B: [00:16:57] yeah. Yeah. I wonder.

[00:17:00] [00:16:59] Um, Was he, you know, we talked a lot about the values shift that millennial, the millennial generation was and is bringing into the workplace, right? One that values diversity and inclusion, one that, um, wants to be seen and heard and feel that their work has meaning and purpose. And, you know, we’re all about purpose orientation, right?

[00:17:20] The three of us, like we’re blessed to be able to work from our purpose every day and business owners get to do many of us get to do that. Um, but the. I wonder if it’s always this pushback on the changes that did of different generations are bringing to the workplace that Oh, Like life is going to happen to them and their things are going to get real.

[00:17:41] Lindsey: [00:17:41] So 

[00:17:41] Jennifer B: [00:17:41] you’re talking about getting things, getting real right now. They’re good. They’re pretty real. Uh, 

[00:17:46] Lindsey: [00:17:46] but do you, do you 

[00:17:47] Jennifer B: [00:17:47] imagine, I guess what sorts of values might come out of this that would be then manifested in. The workplace that would bring a big shift, like a seismic shift, just like every generation entering that workplace [00:18:00] brings a seismic shift and they should, I mean, that’s actually a good thing.

[00:18:04] Lindsey: [00:18:04] Um, but what’s what do you 

[00:18:05] Jennifer B: [00:18:05] predict? I mean, I know it’s super early, but maybe you, you have, you read the tea leaves. I mean, I would trust your intuition about where this is going more than anybody, but what are you. Yeah. So you think like, it’s, are we going to lose ground? Um, when it comes to bringing our full selves to work, I hope not.

[00:18:21] Um, or is it going to accelerate and what is that gonna look like? And 

[00:18:24] Lindsey: [00:18:24] I haven’t actually framed it in that way of, of that particular element to bring your whole self to work. But I think it actually is the right framing for what I, what I’m thinking. Um, look, nobody knows, but here’s what I think two things, um, I think this will certainly expand remote work, but I actually think we’re going to see such a joy of coming back together and such a valuing of, Oh gosh, I actually really like going to work.

[00:18:51] And I was saying, um, gen T might relate to this, my eight year old was like, I miss school. I was like, okay. You know, that’s a good [00:19:00] thing. You know, I’m not, I don’t hate it. I think there’s going to be some, I mean, I’m just feeling, I miss work. I miss conferences. I miss seeing people. And I think that a new found appreciation for colleagues and conferences and even some meetings, I think certainly it will expand remote work.

[00:19:18] Yes. But I don’t think it’s going to be an Oh wow. Working from home is great. And let’s do it all the time. I think that there’s really going to be, I think for maybe not forever. Um, but for a while, that appreciation, which is really, really positive, um, on the other side, in terms of wholesales, I think that we were, I think barreling towards a mental health crisis in the workplace and in our country, these guy, rocketing rates of mental health concerns among millennials and gen Z has been something I have been trying to highlight forever.

[00:19:50] I personally suffer from anxiety. I’m a huge advocate for mental health services in the workplace. I think that will become just [00:20:00] a critical need. That is we don’t even know the ramifications of what’s happening right now. So I hope that it accelerates what was already, I think, a very strong push in that direction, particularly from large companies.

[00:20:12] Um, in terms of, we need to pay attention to the mental health of our employees, of every generation, but particularly of millennials and gen Z. So yeah. Those are just two thoughts. I’ve been noodling, but I’d love to hear your, your thoughts on predictions too. 

[00:20:26] Jennifer B: [00:20:26] That is so true. The mental health pieces I’m coming to the fore whenever I pull the audiences and it, and it was, it was emerging before the crisis.

[00:20:34] And I was predicting it as one of those things that we needed to de-stigmatize the discussion about, and then. Raise the awareness of, and go through that process. We’ve like we’ve gone through about gender issues or race and ethnicity issues or sexuality issues like that. Mental health would be that next frontier that we need to reconcile, um, and show up truthfully about so that we can be counted.

[00:20:59] And so [00:21:00] that the understanding of course can go up and then we can take action organizationally and, and build the support. Right. Which is, which is the change curve that we go through with all diverse identities. Which, you know, at one point we didn’t understand. Right. And now we do have understanding and policies and cultural heritage months.

[00:21:17] In fact, I think may is mental health awareness month. 

[00:21:20] Lindsey: [00:21:20] So 

[00:21:21] Jennifer B: [00:21:21] thank you, Lindsay, for sharing your struggles, because I think part of what you just modeled is that transparency about who we really are and what is concealable from others. Um, I think a lot of those concealed identities will parenting is another thing that people, you know, conveniently kind of left out of the frame or didn’t really, you know, women and men who wanted parental leave for example, but didn’t take it because it’s so stigmatized, which is true.

[00:21:45] Um, there was a lot of this like, uh, bargaining and avoidance and like, Kind of not wanting to talk about, uh, parenting and family and flex and all that. So I do think this is going to be a really revealing [00:22:00] time and things are going to come to the fore and then at least we can shine some light on them and deal with them and build them then into the strategies that we need.

[00:22:07] Um, so I personally, the acceleration that’s happening for that is important. The other thing I’ll say is the stigma of mental health in certain communities. Is where it gets really important from an intersectional perspective. So it’s mental health issues, but it needs to be seen through the lens of different identity groups and different communities and how prevalent.

[00:22:28] It is. And he, so we’re talking, we’re having a generational conversation and then I might add the layer of race and ethnicity, or we might add the layer of LGBTQ people and the incidences and struggles with mental health. And, uh, that, that, that had happened in certain communities. And the stigma, for example, that exists in the African American community about talking about, um, mental health, like Taraji Henson.

[00:22:50] I think it’s doing some really public work and important work on that. So, um, it’s, it’s really, I think what, how we need to look at things now is intersectional, [00:23:00] including the generational lens. I think people leave out a lot and then we add in the identity based characteristics and others. And we have a pretty interesting mix to work with, um, in terms of building better workplaces that reflect us all.

[00:23:12] Um, we have a long way 

[00:23:14] Lindsey: [00:23:14] to go. What I’m really concerned about. Um, Is, yes. People are showing their children on camera. Yes. People are talking about their mental health struggles. I have been getting a lot of side questions after these conversations about, well, yeah, but what if I lose my job because of 

[00:23:34] Jennifer B: [00:23:34] this?

[00:23:34] Lindsey: [00:23:34] And I would love to bring my whole self and not make it on the camera, but. They’re cutting people at my company. So how honest can I be? And I think the economic uncertainty of this, I feel like the first week or two, it was just like, Whoa. And now it’s like, Oh gosh, there could be ramifications to what I reveal right now.

[00:23:55] Um, and I think that’s a very real concern that we have to acknowledge that people are [00:24:00] afraid that if they show, um, anything. That they might get laid off. 

[00:24:05] Jennifer B: [00:24:05] Right. That’s so real. That’s coming up all over my calls all over them. And, and the fact of like, you just brought up Ken, you know, I need to put makeup on and get myself together because this is my performance.

[00:24:15] Now it’s literally like my performance review is going to be based on how I show up in the video virtual world. Um, It’s for those of us who already struggled to bring our full selves to work because of diversity dimensions. Um, there’s a level of not being able to hide now that, um, I think a little bit intrusive for some of us who do need to hide or want it’s our prerogative to hide.

[00:24:39] Um, so that feels a little bit like we’ve been thrust. Into the spotlight in a way that feels dangerous and risky. And I, I do agree. Um, and yet if, if you can’t learn without knowing someone that is, you know, it’s like knowing your first day friend changes everything. I mean, that was what the sort of tipping point for [00:25:00] gay marriage was literally like having the gay friend or having the trans friend, like it’s, it’s a revelation to really understand what’s going on for someone.

[00:25:08] And it changes you. And so, yeah, I mean, I’m, I’m very torn as well. Like I’m telling leaders like this is your time, like be seen and, and take, there’s an opera. There’s a vacuum here that you can step into and really have, have a lot of power to influence things right now. But there is some risk to doing that.

[00:25:27] And there’s more risk for some of us than others. I mean, do you think young people have, like, how would you quantify the risk if you were giving advice around a young person, like right now, in terms of how they have to show up. Um, but like maybe what would your advice have been pre and has it changed at all?

[00:25:42] Like how are you advising? 

[00:25:44] Lindsey: [00:25:44] It’s such a great question. So I do a lot of, I’ve been doing a lot of webinars for, um, young talent. Mostly at larger organizations, but also through nonprofits, um, about sort of how to navigate your career through this as a young professional. And I [00:26:00] have to be really honest that one of the things that I say is this still counts towards your career.

[00:26:06] So you can’t. Fall off the grid, right? You can’t say, well, I’m working remotely, so I’m just going to phone it in because this is a weird time. And so you have to kind of think about on the other side of this, where do I want, what do I want to say? I did. Right. Did you know, did you sleep all day and then kind of do the minimal work or did you show up and did you.

[00:26:29] Help people. So where I go is do the best. You can like the real best you can. Right? So show up, do your work. Um, it won’t be perfect, but with the information you can do the best that you can. And you know, it’s such a cliche now, the mr. Rogers line, but where can you be a helper right now? And being a helper might be supporting a colleague who was.

[00:26:54] Suffering. It might be admitting that you’re not perfect. And talking about, you know, [00:27:00] like I had a little hair growing here that I was linking to showing somebody on the screen, right. To say, don’t worry. Everybody’s, you know, everybody’s got issues right now. But where can you be of service? And that might mean helping your boss that might be getting a project done.

[00:27:12] That might mean leading a call because somebody else is too upset to do it, but you still have to step up. So I don’t think this is an opportunity to completely give up on anything you ever wanted, but you have to, you have to still show up. And I think the way to do that is to be okay. In a giving, helping supportive capacity when possible.

[00:27:32] And I think for young people, that could be the defining moment of your career that elevates you because a lot of people are not taking that opportunity. So I’m always looking for kind of the opportunity and I think that’s what it might be right now. I feel like to add to that though. Also thinking about not comparing yourself to what other people are doing.

[00:27:49] And I feel like that’s applicable for people in workplace settings or people who are self employed or employing people, you know, like many of the people watching this are business owners [00:28:00] that we can’t compare ourselves to what someone else is doing on either extreme, because I think that there’s, um, there’s just a lot of.

[00:28:09] I dunno. I just, I feel like comparing yourself in general is unhealthy. And I think now it’s even worse. Cause I feel like there’s a lot of pressure depending on what camp of people you’re in, where now’s the time to double down, go all in, go hard. And then there’s the other side of it where it’s like, you know what?

[00:28:24] Everyone else is taking a hiatus. I’m going to take one too. And I think if we compare ourselves to either of those, there can be a great detriment there to this around mental health in particular. I’ll be honest. I, um, deleted Twitter and Instagram from my phone and I only allow myself to check it once a day now because I was comparing myself so much to primarily for me, other parents.

[00:28:46] Um, but it was really hurting my mental health to look at social media. Hm. Do you, do you find that your seeing a lot of just different community groups, like I know Jen, you were talking about just, you know, [00:29:00] the many different layers of identity and different groups that we associate with, but I know for me, I happen to follow a lot of just mom bloggers in general, the comedians.

[00:29:09] Just cause it’s I find it just, it’s just a pastime of mine. It’s just watching like mom comedians, and they were doing like a mom town hall the other day and it was just all of them. And there was like six different comedians and they’re all just like, Going on and on about how terrible mothers they’re being right now, basically.

[00:29:25] And I find, I found comfort in that, but I’m curious, like if we’re seeing like other groups and cohorts of people, having those conversations, like obviously Jen and I, you were, you and I are leading, you know, those conversations around, you know, what can we be doing in our businesses? You know, like for that, it’s like, okay, I’m not the only mom who’s flailing and falling apart right now.

[00:29:44] But like, are there other different kinds of. I would, I can’t call moms niche groups, but you know what I mean? Like, are you seeing other niche groups kind of popping up where it’s like, for this reason I need to feel seen and heard by my people. However, I’m defining [00:30:00] my people curious either of you have thoughts.

[00:30:06] Yes and no. I have, um, been deleting a lot of. Oh, sorry. I’ve been meeting a lot of people where they don’t know that you did. Um, I’ve been really curating what groups I feel comfortable in and I don’t. Um, and it is the authenticity and I also, I have to curate my mood. So sometimes I’m like, I gotta get my business go.

[00:30:28] I got to, I need people who are pumping up and, and working hard and like going for it right now. I want to be part of that. And other days I’m like, I don’t want to see that at all. So I think a lot of it is based on mood even more than what those communities are. But yes, I would say I have some of those communities professionally and personally, but I am.

[00:30:45] Yeah. I mean, It’s up and down how I feel about each one on a given day. I’ll just be honest. I don’t love everybody all the time right now. And probably people don’t love me all the time.

[00:30:58] What are you doing? Do you feel the same way? I [00:31:00] know you’re you’re 

[00:31:02] Jennifer B: [00:31:02] I mean, I’m, I’m doing a lot of supporting, so I’m kind of, I’m there to be. Another, another name and zoom a and R a, an encouraging word and chat, you know? Um, so, and I’m also kind of seeing what other, how people are dealing with this and thinking, getting ideas.

[00:31:20] And I’m sure people are getting ideas from me. Right now, you know, sometimes I’ll print out somebody’s newsletter and just sit with it and think about like, why does this work right now? Like what? Cause it’s so delicate right now, how we communicate it and how we add value and how we are of service. 

[00:31:35] Lindsey: [00:31:35] And, um, 

[00:31:36] Jennifer B: [00:31:36] I think we’re all struggling to know.

[00:31:38] We need to sell in order to survive, but know that no one’s buying right now and no one’s in the mood and. You know, it really is service more than it is sales. So yeah, I think I’m, I’m, I’m just trying to, to not judge, but I do think paying attention to your, your likes and dislikes right now is really important data for us.

[00:31:59] And it [00:32:00] may change hour to hour like Lindsay, you said, and 

[00:32:01] Lindsey: [00:32:01] it may be 

[00:32:03] Jennifer B: [00:32:03] like, it’s sharpened for me, for sure. Like, I find myself I’m very easy easygoing person, but I’m definitely like having an allergic reaction sometimes to things. And, um, so I would say I’m very sort of hyper aware right now, and maybe that’s a result of things quieting down and shifting so much is that we see things in a different way.

[00:32:24] And I don’t want to lose that, that heightened sense of that sensitivity because to me, that’s data about myself. Like it’s data about things I wanted to say, but that we’re in our, in articulated. Like they were never. They never came to the surface. And so I can hear myself differently now. And, and I think that the noise has gone away or changed.

[00:32:44] Right. So all of a sudden we have time and this is like a way in a time, I think, to explore your likes and your dislikes and understand why and say no. And if you don’t, as friends are striking me kind of wrong, like, and I’m letting them know that [00:33:00] like in a way that I wouldn’t have, and then I’m also appreciating some friends.

[00:33:04] In a whole different way because of the way that they’re like speaking my love language right now. 

[00:33:08] Lindsey: [00:33:08] So, so 

[00:33:09] Jennifer B: [00:33:09] I am kind of really, I’m getting honest and I’m paying attention in a different way. I’m speaking the truth more, I think, um, which is my work, uh, of not being a people pleaser all the time. Um, and I, and I’m very grateful for that.

[00:33:25] So, but yeah, I think, um, if you’re not in the mood for things say no, and don’t like, whatever, you need to walk away from a commitment. You know, I, that took even to give yourself permission to do that is huge for some of us that are so perfectionistic. And so like always there for each other, like to say, you know, I can’t do that today.

[00:33:45] I’m not feeling up to it. I feel sort of up to here and I’m really saturated and I have nothing left to give, like, to be, to have the freedom and the permission to do that right now is something you should take and grab and, you know, make the most of, because life doesn’t slow [00:34:00] down this way. Very often, and we don’t have to sort of ponder the existential questions like we do right now.

[00:34:07] And, um, so there’s a lot of truth in that and a lot of important digging and, and it’s important to not get distracted by stuff that isn’t hitting the spot right now. And we can be, we can be selfish about 

[00:34:19] Lindsey: [00:34:19] that. Um, it’s interesting. When you talk about the things we can cover mental health is, is often somewhat easier to cover, right?

[00:34:26] Um, for those of us who want to, and, um, I don’t think it’s interesting lately. And I did this yesterday. I said, I just, um, I’m not able to have that conversation right now. You know, I’ve had a hard day, um, and I would never do that in normal times. And in some ways COVID has given me cover. To say, like everybody’s having hard days right now.

[00:34:48] And I have found myself saying, you know what, I’m just, I’m just a little down right now. And I can’t do that. And I wonder, I hope I keep that. Beyond because it’s [00:35:00] so, and people are like, Oh my gosh, of course, no problem. And I’m like, would they have said that in normal time? So, you know, I like to be able to say that out loud is, is really somewhat of a gift.

[00:35:10] I know people are suffering and this is a terrible time, but yeah, that’s, you’ve just made me realize, wow, I’m actually saying it now where I used to say, I have a meeting now I’m actually saying no. Yeah. 

[00:35:22] Jennifer B: [00:35:22] Awesome. Glad you, you feel the same. It’s like that. It’s sad that it takes something like this to like look out for ourselves, right.

[00:35:29] To put our oxygen mask on and to stand up and put that boundary around ourselves 

[00:35:34] Lindsey: [00:35:34] to say, 

[00:35:35] Jennifer B: [00:35:35] yeah, cause it didn’t you’re right. It didn’t matter before it’s like we could just do, do, do, we can produce all day long with three of us. Like, gosh, we could like with the ingenuity and the hard work and the professionalism and this triad, it’s like, we show up like always and, um, professionally and thinking everything through.

[00:35:54] And I mean, To be imperfect is harder for some of us than others. And that’s, that [00:36:00] is the work. So Lindsey, I’m glad you should always know. You can text me and say, you’re not feeling 

[00:36:05] Lindsey: [00:36:05] so we’ll be able to have more 

[00:36:08] Jennifer B: [00:36:08] conversations with each other to just kind of hold that space and be like, just, I don’t know, like you can show up in perfectly with me, you know, and, and, and communicating that to our loved ones and colleagues is, is, uh, Something, hopefully we never lose.

[00:36:22] Lindsey: [00:36:22] Can I ask a question from inside the sandwich? Am I allowed to, to start? And she had a question for you. Um, I can’t tell you how many people have said to me. Well, this is such a great moment to write your next book. I haven’t been able to write. So I’m curious what you are hearing from the authors and just in your business.

[00:36:42] Everyone said, Oh, this is a perfect time to hunker down and write and. I haven’t been able to, you know, I feel like there’s two camps of people on the writing front and there’s very little in the middle, in my experience. So like Jen, I’ve been hosting, I don’t want to call them community calls, but calls every Friday for [00:37:00] people who have questions on publishing, editing, writing anything related to books.

[00:37:04] And there are the people in there that are. Double down, they are cranking out words, fast and furiously. And then there are others who have all the intentions in the world of doing it and they can’t get out of their own way. And that’s typical in general for people writing a book. And I know that, you know, you’ve, you’re New York time bestseller.

[00:37:21] So clearly, you know, you’ve put out some really amazing work, but like you have to get into that writing routine and in that mindset. And I think that the mindset piece is the missing piece right now for so many people, because we can say like, yes, you in theory have more time. But if you’re not feeling like you’re, you’re not feeling like your cup is full, how are you going to devote any energy to something that is so meaningful to you?

[00:37:43] So I think from a mindset standpoint, that’s where a lot of people are struggling right now. Just in, 

[00:37:48] Jennifer B: [00:37:48] yeah. Yeah. 

[00:37:52] Lindsey: [00:37:52] It’s just one of those. 

[00:37:53] Jennifer B: [00:37:53] This has been really restorative. I don’t know about for both of you just so great to keep it so real and, [00:38:00] you know, giving, I think the biggest takeaway is like, you know, Take off like expectations on ourselves, um, around perfectionism, around being productive around like somehow like magically taking this time to do something you’ve been waiting to do.

[00:38:17] And, uh, and the cult that we have all created of productivity. Um, it’s, it’s just not a thing, not a thing anymore. So if you’re doing that, you know, give yourself permission to 

[00:38:28] Lindsey: [00:38:28] cancel things, 

[00:38:30] Jennifer B: [00:38:30] uh, you know, like not do them, uh, not like for do something during this time, even though theoretically you have the time to do it.

[00:38:38] Like it’s not about that. Um, and that’s a huge shift. So thanks for defining that. 

[00:38:45] Lindsey: [00:38:45] What was that phrase that we were saying this morning was an activity 

[00:38:48] Jennifer B: [00:38:48] like dual activity is not the same as productivity. I, yeah, like just getting distracted with keeping ourselves busy, to kind of as a coping strategy, 

[00:38:58] Lindsey: [00:38:58] right.

[00:38:58] At the same time [00:39:00] and gen T I think it goes to what you said. Um, when I have been energized to do things I’ve been totally in flow. So I feel like when you get rid of all the stuff that you ha, when you admit what you didn’t want to be doing, when I do say, Oh, I feel like writing right now where I think I’m gonna reach out to that client.

[00:39:15] It’s been really great. So. Particularly for people who have their own businesses follow that, that energy, because I think sometimes it might be leading us in the right direction. Does that make sense to both of you? When I do have the energy, it is like a laser focus 

[00:39:30] Jennifer B: [00:39:30] as far as will 

[00:39:31] Lindsey: [00:39:31] go with you. 

[00:39:32] Jennifer B: [00:39:32] And then when she leaves.

[00:39:33] Then you may be like, back on 

[00:39:35] Lindsey: [00:39:35] accident

[00:39:39] happened recently just a couple of weeks ago, I created a brand new program that had been on my mind for literal years, and I just felt that wave of flow. I’m like I have to do this. And I spent 60 hours in one week and I, I completed this. Um, but then I. You know, paid the price because I’m like, okay, I need to slow down like 60 hours a week is not my thing.

[00:39:58] Um, but yeah, because it was [00:40:00] in flow, but if I had tried to do that over time and be like, Oh, we’ll do five hours a week. It would have taken me five more years to actually get to it. So I think there’s something beautiful about being in flow and then following the flow. 

[00:40:12] Jennifer B: [00:40:12] I agree. I love that you brought that up.

[00:40:14] I’m glad we brought that. Raise that, cause it could also be an incredibly creative time for everybody and not to be ashamed of that when it does strike you. And to make the most of it when you have it. It’s just to know that if I think of it as being visited by the muse, 

[00:40:29] Lindsey: [00:40:29] you know, 

[00:40:30] Jennifer B: [00:40:30] um, so celebrate it when it’s there and if it’s not there, that’s okay too.

[00:40:36] So it’s such 

[00:40:36] Lindsey: [00:40:36] a beautiful way to end it. Just, you know, celebrating the muse. Maybe we’ll show off too much about it on Instagram. That’s all I would say. Just, just know, just like tone it down just a little, if I’m doing fine when I’m not in the flow. So, you know, I don’t want you chiming into your Instagram that one time per day.

[00:40:55] And then being like, I need to cut them out of my lives. You’re dead to me.

[00:41:04] [00:41:00] Well, thank you both so much for the work that you do and for these conversations and keeping it all going. Um, I’m so grateful and it’s been fun. It’s nice to smile and laugh and, um, and talk about big stuff. So thank you. 

[00:41:17] Jennifer B: [00:41:17] Thank you. Well, thanks Dan T 

[00:41:19] Gracie, you know,