Associating Identities with Values with Linda Lovin

Associating Identities with Values with Linda Lovin

In today's podcast, we are thrilled to welcome Linda Lovin for an incredibly thought-provoking and integrative conversation. We started by asking ourselves the question, "Who are you?" and Linda's response was so insightful that it may shock you into rethinking your own answer. If you typically begin your answer with "I am a," then you won't want to miss this opportunity to gain a fresh perspective. Our talk with Linda was incredibly authentic, and we can't wait for you to hear it.

Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.

YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human







Alex Cullimore: Hello, Cristina.

Cristina Amigoni: Hi. How are you?

Alex Cullimore: Doing well. We just had one of those conversations that's just so thought-provoking. It's so integrating. It's one of those these weeks where we've had a long week, but then we have one more item on the agenda and it's recording a conversation like this. There's just so much energy you get by the end of it, and it's really fun to be able to share those. I guess, I'm currently feeling great and reinvigorated on all the things that we've gotten to do.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. I was thinking the same way. It's amazing how little energy I had going into it, because of the week we've had and the lack of sleep and everything else and how much energy I have now, just from one meaningful, authentic connecting and just genuine conversation. 

Alex Cullimore: I agree. Our guest this week was Linda Lovin, who is a coach and –

Cristina Amigoni: Uh-oh.

Alex Cullimore: Ironic that I introduced it that way. We really got to discuss this identity and not attaching to titles and I threw a title right away, right in there. I'll take the make-up on that one.

Cristina Amigoni: Just wired that way. Yes, one of the first things we talk about, which we then thread through the whole conversation is this expectation and autopilot on attaching a title to the question, who are you? Actually, we go into how we don't even answer the question, who are you, because we're answering a different question. But when somebody says, who are you? Our default mode is ‘I am a’ fill in the blank. But that's not the question. The question is, who are you? What would it take for us to actually know and be able to answer, I am filling the blank, not a mother, a consultant, which what we do. It's not who we are. I still don't know how I would answer the question, who are you? I was thinking about it the whole time. I was like, “I hope she doesn't ask me, because I don't know how I would answer it without an a and a list of things and a resume.”

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. It was a good reframing of her own question when she also asked things like, how would you describe yourself? It's still a place where it's ripe to immediately be like, “I am a lawyer. That's how I describe myself.” It is again, back to what we do is when we think more about how we describe ourselves and if we challenge ourselves to look outside that title, how do we describe ourselves? Who are we? It's a great question to ask anybody. Just a great conversation. She's very eloquent about thinking about identity. It's such an important thing that runs through our lives in ways we don't really think about, until we take the time to actually pause and look at it.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Definitely. I highly recommend this conversation. I'm sure we'll have many more with Linda.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. Please enjoy.

Cristina Amigoni: Enjoy.

Alex Cullimore: Welcome to Uncover the Human, where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives.

Cristina Amigoni: Whether that’s with our families, co-workers, or even ourselves.

Alex Cullimore: When we can be our authentic selves, magic happens.

Cristina Amigoni: This is Cristina Amigoni.

Alex Cullimore: And this is Alex Cullimore.

HOSTS: Let's dive in.

Authenticity means freedom.

Authenticity means going with your gut.

Authenticity is bringing 100% of yourself. Not just the parts you think people want to see, but all of you.

Being authentic means that you have integrity to yourself.

It's the way our intuition is whispering something deep-rooted and true.

Authenticity is when you truly know yourself. You remember and connect to who you were before others told you who you should be.

It's transparency, relatability, no frills, no makeup, just being.

Alex Cullimore: Welcome back to this episode of Uncover the Human. Today, Cristina and I are joined by our guest, Linda Lovin. Welcome to the podcast, Linda.

Linda Lovin: Thank you. Thank you so much, Alex and Cristina.

Cristina Amigoni: Welcome. We're excited to have you.

Linda Lovin: I'm excited to be here. I'm curious. I'm curious as to where this is going to go, what I will get to talk about and things. I even have my pen and paper. I'm ready.

Alex Cullimore: Excellent. That's a lot of pressure. We're going to have to wait up to do. Linda, let's introduce you a little bit to the audience. What's your background? What brought you here?

Linda Lovin: Oh, my goodness. Alex, you want my titles?

Alex Cullimore:  No, your story. We want your story.

Linda Lovin: My story is after 50 years of employment, started working when I was 15, right? I'm 65-years-old. I was like, what am I going to do? How am I going to ramp up all these things that I've done and all these titles that I've had and who am I really? Started having the deep, inner secret conversations with myself on the legacy I want to leave in the world. A friend recognized that maybe I would enjoy coaching. A year ago, I signed up with Collective Institute and had their initial training round. Now I've been finalizing certification with them and loving my business of coaching. It is pretty amazing. That's what brought me here. This is my seventh career. Is that crazy?

Cristina Amigoni: It's awesome. It's not crazy.

Alex Cullimore: That's great. That's so cool. You're talking to two chronic reinventers, 

Linda Lovin: How does that happen? When you were 18, and somebody said, “What do you want to be when you go up?” Did you say, “I want to change jobs every whatever.”

Cristina Amigoni: I love the fact, yeah, we are chronic reinventers. I know that for myself, I've learned, I've gotten the awareness and the acceptance and actually, it's how I function and present expectations of others of me is I love learning new things and getting deep enough to – for some things, get dangerous. Then I like doing them and inventing how to do them and creating them. For the ones that then become static, I'll do them once to see how it goes, twice to tweak based on the first time. Then after that I'm like, “Okay, I'm done. Next. What am I learning?”

Linda Lovin: There’s something on freedom in that, though, because the whole idea of transferable skills. But you kind of those. You go, “Oh, yeah. I could do that. I could do that. Sure.” So much fun. Alex, you too, huh?

Alex Cullimore: Oh, yeah. Oh, I love exactly that cycle, Cristina. Just like that learning portion. You do it twice, maybe to tweak a little bit and that third time when it comes around and it feels pretty much the same. Like, all right, nope. It's time to do something else. Let's go learn something different. Let's go try something different. Let's go combine two other things. I don't know.

Linda Lovin: Well, and somebody said to me today, your day is never the same. In this job, it is certainly is not. It's amazing, I have had jobs that day after day after day can get repetitive. You write the word stagnant. That is not on my vocabulary. Oh, my gosh.

Cristina Amigoni: One of the things we've talked about, which is very much tied to what we just said in our introductions was this piece about the coaching journey that we're on, because one of your many careers is being a coach. How a core part of what we see in others, and we hopefully help them walk through is the identity.

Linda Lovin: Yes.

Cristina Amigoni: I think that the flexibility that all three of us clearly have, it's tied to the fact that we don't anchor our identity into our job title, our career to the point where we can't be flexible. It's a big deal to change. How do you feel about that?

Linda Lovin: Yeah. Well, and it can get exhausting to keep reinventing yourself over and over is exhilarating as much as at moments you go – I have to explain who I am again. Cristina, I had an interesting experience. I'm a member of Rotary, and we have this 32nd two-minute deal. Tell us about you. Introduce yourself to the members. About three years ago, I was handed the microphone. No time to prepare, right? I listed off my titles. As soon as I sat down, I knew something didn't feel right. I'm just doing a lot of work with identity right now, just trying to figure out how people identify and came up, and don't you dare tell me somebody else’s, or I coined is that I think it's an original thought, but I could have read it. Who knows? Who knows? Can I try something out on you guys real quick?

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Anytime.

Alex Cullimore: Please.

Linda Lovin: Play along. I've already told you that –

Cristina Amigoni: That’s fine. We'll give you full credit. It is your original thought. You heard it here first.

Alex Cullimore: I'm done recording, so yeah.

Linda Lovin: Alex, if I were to say to you, Alex, who are you?

Alex Cullimore: Yeah, that's a hard question.

Linda Lovin: What would you say?

Alex Cullimore: There's definitely been times in my life where it would have been a list of titles. I would have been like, “Well, I do this. This is the thing that I'm currently on.” Then I probably would have, somewhat abashedly hidden some of the other titles since they're in such different fields. It would sound like I'm – for lack of a better term, career schizophrenic and lots of different identities all at once. I think now, I'd probably root it a lot more in if I was to describe myself, in values. I'd read a lot more as I want to lead from curiosity. That's honestly the one that comes up every single time I do any value assessment is curiosity is always just key. Curiosity and authenticity. I love getting to bring that out in other people. Whether that's self-serving or not, since those are my values, I don't know.

Linda Lovin: You've hit on exactly what I have found people to say. I am versus I am a. Outside of the coaches, like you guys, the people who I've just asked my clients, for example, who are you? I'm a, I am a, I am a. Then I said, take out the word a, who are you? You're right. It goes straight to the boundaries. It's an aha moment, and that's what I did in this meeting. I am a, or I was a label, label, label, title, title, title, title, title. But that's not who I am. It's been interesting to get to the who are yous without a title. It hits. I mean, it hits at every transition of our lives. Look at us talking about transition. It works for everybody. Then you get to ask the whys, right? Okay, I am a teacher. Why? Well, because I like the schedule. Why? Sometimes you keep mining it down and they get there. It's like, I value education, or I value seeing the light go on in a student's eyes. The real purpose. That I am a. That was my aha moment of, “Oh, my gosh. How many people identify with I and I?”

Cristina Amigoni: I never thought about it.

Alex Cullimore: That’s a wonderful reframe. I love it. That's so cool.

Cristina Amigoni: I mean, seriously.

Linda Lovin: There's a book out there that I'd read somewhere.

Alex Cullimore: Not one that we've read. This is definitely a Linda original. We'll stand. We'll put a favorite on it.

Cristina Amigoni: I’ve never thought of the fact.

Alex Cullimore: As far as we know.

Cristina Amigoni: That we add the a and then list the resume, the LinkedIn profile. I've gotten to a point where – and I'm sure it's my own button that I need to resolve, but I get triggered maybe a big word, but I lose interest. That's probably a better way to say it. I lose interest when in a presentation, in a workshop, in a place where somebody is about to provide value in some way, they start with the resume. Most of the times, we're already in the room. We already chose to be here and listen. I've done my work. If I wanted to know the resume, I would have looked on LinkedIn before showing up. If I didn't do that, it's because that's not important to me. Can we get to the value? Can I learn from you? Because learning your resume is not learning from you. I'm not learning anything that I couldn't have looked up myself. I then find that I turn it around on me and start realizing like, how many times did I used to walk in and expect myself, or think that people were actually interested in listening to my resume as a first thing, first way of getting to know me. We actually reverse that as a company with our clients. When we meet prospective clients, or people within our client group that we haven't met yet, we ask them if they want to hear about our background and have them make the choice. Because we know, we've been introduced. Somebody invited them to the meeting. They can research LinkedIn, just like we can. Rather than imposing the rattling off of like, “Well, I started in consulting in New York and then I became a management consultant. I learned this and then I did that and then I went to MBA school.” It's like, if you're here and you're trying to determine whether you should listen to me, if I actually provide some value, that is much better than my 10 years, or 25 years of naming places and people.

Linda Lovin: Exactly. Exactly. Yet, I did look you guys up, because I'm curious, one. But sometimes it does provide some kind of connection for those people who don't associate their identities with values.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes.

Linda Lovin: Oh, we did the same kind of work. There's going to be a connection in there somewhere. Probably the three of us would go to values, but they want know what city you work in. Do you know what's the one degree of separation within your –

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, I look people up all the time. Don't get me wrong. Because I'm hoping for that – what's that one connection? What's that maybe surface connection that then can get us to break the eyes to get to the values, to really see if there is a human connection behind it. That definitely helps understand with interests if people get to work in their interest area. What are some of the things that I can connect to before I know the human? Because I haven't gotten to know the human yet. When I think about it from the reverse side, it's more about me, because I know how much I look people up. I'm like, well, then when I walk into a room, do you want to know about me? Maybe you just finished looking me up.

Linda Lovin: Why, right? We don't need to check.

Cristina Amigoni: Exactly.

Linda Lovin: Well, the other thing that in introducing yourself to clients, it's like, no, the client knows who you are, right? They ended up inviting you. Exactly. I even found and I'm rebelling against this. I mean, my resume is here are the dates and here's the title. I know you're supposed to go back and hide the dates and just say, for 10 years I work in this role and had these responsibilities. I understand what you're supposed to do, but I'm really struggling and rebelling. I just want to go, “Now, this is what it is. If you want to get to know me, call me.”

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, I'm there. Full on. That's it. If you want to get to know me, call me. Otherwise, we can all do the math. If I say 14 years, you're going to go back to calculating when I was supposed to graduate from college and add the 14 years and figure out like, “Oh, that was 2003.” I was in the same industry. Why not put the dates? Put the dates.

Linda Lovin: It’s so funny that you say that, because I don't know. There's a degree of authenticity. Here are the facts, guys. I just go with the facts. Then let's have the fun part of getting to know each other, right?

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. I like that idea. It gives me an idea for resumes, maybe instead of just, “Hey, here's my title and here are the years.” It's fun to have the years and the title, but hey, there's – some people are getting better describing, here's what I did in the role. But it would be really interesting if people started putting, here's what I learned from this role. Here's what I take from this into the future. That might be a really cool, addition to resumes. That would be a cool way to see how people have thought about their own journey.

Linda Lovin: Okay. I'm writing that down.

Cristina Amigoni: First note, Alex.

Alex Cullimore: Yes. I got one thing written down.

Cristina Amigoni: It's a competition. Now I got to figure this out.

Alex Cullimore: It's not a competition, but I'm going to write a point on my board here.

Linda Lovin: That is true. Maya Angelou says, and I have this right here on my desk, so I'm reading it. “You are not the work you do. You are the person you are.” I recently read and I have no idea where I read this. It's not an original thought. Your obituary is going to say what you did. They've gotten really nice here lately, as to loving mother and yeah, a little bit about yada. But still titles. The friends who show up and tell stories about you are going to talk about your values. You're going to talk about what they’re going to do. They’re going to talk about why they're taking time to be at your memorial. Isn't that who you are?

Cristina Amigoni: It is.

Linda Lovin: I just find it fascinating. Here's another reason. The first time I ever heard this, here's my title, but I did. I had a bookstore and the women would come in in May and oh, my gosh, I can't wait for graduation. As high school senior, get them out of here. Can't wait, but have a great fall. In the fall, they would come in and go, “I don't know who I am.” I remember, that's the first time I had ever heard grown people say they didn't know who they were. Since then, I feel honored that people are opening up and saying in this transition, I don't know who I am. This is a new thing. My realization that we all go through it, we do have all new identities. Sometimes we just have to talk it out and figure it out. What's the strength? It's so much fun to do. It's like, strength is there. I mean, the belly button is there, you just need to find it. It's there. You've got a core. Let's have fun. Let's dig. Let's find this thing. That way, you don't ever have to come ask me to look for your belly button again. I have no idea where that is. 

Alex Cullimore: Oh, I like that.

Cristina Amigoni: It's a great one.

Linda Lovin: Those things is there.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Just lift the armor. Get rid of the armor, and find your belly button.

Linda Lovin: Yeah. It’s all there. Isn't it fa – Oh, stop it, Alex. Stop that.

Alex Cullimore: That's just funny. It's a funny image. Something when we talk about so much like, letting go of the armor during coaching and helping people echo some masks and find that, just the fact that under that instead of just being a core person is like, a search for your belly button is hilariously focused for me. I don't know. I think it's a hilarious image.

Linda Lovin: Oh, my gosh, the metaphors that are coming up in my head right now. The kind of person. Just like a belly button, you all have strengths 

Cristina Amigoni: I was just thinking of an opening coaching question for all sessions, so that you can understand where we are, which is you started coaching session and the first question is like, “Okay, what kind of day is it? Do you know where your belly button is, or are we searching for it today?”

Linda Lovin: Okay, you can cut this whole thing out if you – 

Cristina Amigoni: No, no. This is staying.

Alex Cullimore: We're going to call this advanced navel gazing.

Linda Lovin: Sometimes things just come out. That one just came out. I have no idea where that – No, seriously. Understanding the strengths. Okay, it's in there. You got to find it, but – or them. Hopefully, everybody has at least one they can go to and then expand on. I just find the whole thing about identity interesting. Can I give you another quote?

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, yes. Please.

Alex Cullimore: Please.

Cristina Amigoni: Keep them coming.

Linda Lovin: We all read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I was leading a discussion on that this week. I just thought this was great. This is James Clear. When your behavior and your identity are fully aligned, you are no longer pursuing behavior change. You're simply acting like the type of person you already believe yourself to be. Is that alignment, finding your strength, knowing your identity, and aligning your identity with who you really, really are. Not a title.

Cristina Amigoni: Without a title. That's the thing. Your title is not who you are.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. It's incredible, though, that we all do have somebody that we are and spend so much time with that identity. We externalize that. In the language that you're talking about, whenever you say, “I am a,” you're now putting a label in that. You're living in that box. This is now where you assigned your identity. Your identity still exists and it always does there. Coaching is a great way to get into that core and understand it. It's incredible that that's always there. Yet, we focus so much on the box that when that changes, we feel like we've lost the identity, because we just haven't paid attention to the fact that it was there in the first place.

Linda Lovin: Yeah. Here's the other interesting part about this to me. There are so many people who hesitate to go there.

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, yeah. It's scary.

Linda Lovin: What is scary. I don't know why it's seen as a weakness. Why is that? Maybe you guys can help me with that. Why is it a weakness for someone to identify their strengths? I mean, if you think about – oh God, here goes my head again. Think about Russell Crowe. I mean, he's out there and he's a gladiator. He knows his strengths. Yet, if you talk to some people with titles, they don't want to let you know who they are.

Cristina Amigoni: My first guess, just gut reaction is they don't know who they are. They haven't done the work.

Linda Lovin: Why? Are they afraid that it's going to show a weakness, as opposed to understanding that it's really a strength?

Alex Cullimore: Sometimes I wonder if it's reinforced that we're supposed to work on our weaknesses, or not supposed to talk too much about our strengths. There's some reinforced idea that, well, be humble about that. Maybe you're good at that. Maybe you're not. Let other people decide that, or something. Or it's like, well, if you have weaknesses, that's what you should really be focusing on and developing that. You can deliver your title better if asked. There is where you deliver your title again and refocus yourself on that. I wonder if there's emphasis on that as well.

Cristina Amigoni: Well, at the same time, we can't share our weaknesses, because we're supposed to be perfect. If we have weaknesses, then we don't deserve the title and all the status stuff that goes with it. We can't share our strengths, because that's bragging and we can't share our weaknesses, because that's whatever, the opposite.

Alex Cullimore: Vulnerability.

Cristina Amigoni: Vulnerability and we could be rejected because of our weaknesses and all of a sudden, we're not perfect. Then we default to something external to us. A title that's the same that millions potentially, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people have. Then it's not really about us. It's like, people will relate to you based on the title and they'll make the judgments based on the title. They'd never have to really see the real you and you never have to really show it, because if I'm a senior partner, well, then you respect me just because of that, not based on how I treat people, what I actually do to improve life for myself and others.

Linda Lovin: Okay, Cristina. I just wrote that down. You guys are one and one on the write down thing.

Cristina Amigoni: Yes.

Linda Lovin: I think that’s exactly – Yeah. Because I like the idea if we say, “No, this is a strength of mine,” then that does sound like, ooh-hoo-hoo, braggy, braggy.

Cristina Amigoni: Not to us.

Linda Lovin: That fine point of vulnerability and admitting weaknesses. That's why I like the word curiosity. You don't have to admit it. You can always just say, “I'm just curious.”

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. That’s true.

Linda Lovin: The mutual work, I go I’m just curious, as opposed to I'm scared or, oh, I've got this attitude. But then, the title does give you that neutral. Then you think about people who say, I have to act this way, because I have this title.

Cristina Amigoni: Yup.

Linda Lovin: I have to act strong, or I have to act decisive when I really don't know what I'm doing. It would be such a better team if I just sat back and kept my mouth shut.

Cristina Amigoni: I have to hide my weaknesses and my strengths at the same time with that. If I have strengths that are outside the title, the norm of the box of the title, I can't share those. I can't show that, because then it confuses people.

Alex Cullimore: That's interesting. It's two layers of using the title as a shield. You use it either, like this is who I am, then you don't have to do the work. Then you also then attach strengths and weaknesses almost to the title and you don't have to worry about – when people are looking at you, or evaluating you, it's just like, well, then maybe it's about the title. Maybe it's protecting ourselves from that, even as we desperately cling to that identity and shield itself.

Linda Lovin: Wow. Okay. Here's another James Clear. This is the last one. It's one thing to say, I'm the type of person who wants this, versus I am the person who is this.

Cristina Amigoni: Very different.

Linda Lovin: When you're thinking about your identity and your habits and what you do, I want to think of myself as active. Therefore, I will go to the gym, so I can tell people that I went to the gym. Therefore, they think I'm active and I am being active while people think I'm being active. Is that weird?

Cristina Amigoni: I'd say, that's normal human society, where we stand today.

Linda Lovin: Yeah. But because I see myself as active, I will be active, that they've only wish I were active, or I want to someday be active. Winners and losers all have the same goals. That was another James Clear quote. I lied if then I said that was the last one. That resonates with me. I mean, everybody wants to be a title of some kind. I want to be whatever, as opposed to I am, that therefore my actions will follow what I am. The power of titles. That's a title of a book.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, that is a title of a book.

Alex Cullimore: That's a great book. I’d read that.

Cristina Amigoni: Let us know what it comes out.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. You bring up a good point, like I am the person who does this. I am a person who is active. Then you're assigning to – you're getting into the lifestyle of somebody who is active. When you say, I want to be active, what you're saying is I am a person who wants to be active. Now you're investing in that space of wanting and not being. You're investing in that distance relationship with what you're saying you want, which is being active.

Linda Lovin: Distance relationship. I like that. Well, I mean, we can choose any vocation, but those people who say, “I'm a writer,” or, “I like to write,” dramatically different person than the person who says, “I'm a published author.” Sometimes the titles we give ourselves, or I try to write, or I enjoy writing. You are a published author. Act like it. Own it. You are. You’re successful coaches. Own it. Is that bragging? Is that getting too big for your riches? Is that being grandiose in your idealization of your identity? Or is that just who you are?

Cristina Amigoni: I think it's getting too big for the people in the room who don't have that self-confidence.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah. Getting too big for your bridges is a relative state. I mean, other people won’t cast upon you.

Linda Lovin: Interesting. I think it's going to be fun to see if you take the I am a. The next time you hear an I am a, if it hits. Because there are people and I have plans who’ve said, “I don't know who I am.” That's –

Cristina Amigoni: One new part.

Linda Lovin: It's just a goldmine. Oh, it's just so much fun to watch the aha moments and go, “Yeah. Actually, that is what I am. Or, no. That's not who I am.” Then they come up with, this is my goals, my visions, my strengths.

Cristina Amigoni: Isn't it interesting how we don't even grammatically actually answer the question correctly. Because when we answer the question and coming from a non-English speaker, this is taller. We answered the question with I am a consultant, I am a coach, I am a lawyer, I am a senior partner, I am a VP, I’m a CE, whatever, insert whatever. Title of the moment will give you the confidence to walk the room. The question is not who are you? The question we're answering is what do you do? Grammatically speaking, we're not answering the question correctly, because we should be actually saying, “I practice law. I coach people.” What do you do? You don't return it with I am. I do XYZ. 

Linda Lovin: You bring up the whole thing of the being and doing. These are who are you? Again, you're not the work you do. You are the person you are. Because you're the person you are, Maya, sometimes that's why you do the work you do.

Cristina Amigoni: Exactly.

Linda Lovin: When you do the work you’re doing, without knowing why you do what you do, that's where the disconnect I think comes in.

Alex Cullimore: Totally agree.

Linda Lovin: Do you find that with the people you work with?

Alex Cullimore: Yes, we were just spending this week in the leisure development course, where people are understanding the changing of identities. You get into leadership, you lose some of that identity of being maybe the individual contributor that was promoted to being a leader. It is a change of identity. Now, the phrase that everybody brings up all the time is, what got you here won't get you there. That was you then. Now, you're in a different role. When we have to detach ourselves from the idea that we are a list of skills that we bring to the table, and suddenly, have to do something entirely different, it's a huge identity crisis moment for a lot of people. It is so much attachment to that being who we are. Cristina, your linguistic point, I think is spot on. I think it points to how in our brains, we connect to those. We connect doing and being. We keep saying it as if it's the same thing, even though grammatically it's entirely off.

Cristina Amigoni: It's like, somebody asking you, what do you want to drink? And your answer is no. Okay. What have you answered the question?

Linda Lovin: It's so true. Oh, my gosh. I hadn't thought about that. Okay, Cristina. You've got another thing to write there.

Cristina Amigoni: I am winning.

Alex Cullimore: Takes the lead.

Cristina Amigoni: That's who I am. I am winning. I just escalated the ceiling of bragging. Even on fire.

Alex Cullimore: I just attached to the state of winning. I am that now.

Linda Lovin: That's exactly what conversations about this bring up. Just another layer of, “Oh, yeah. That makes sense.” Then when that happens, it's that wonderful aha moment that you go, “Oh, I get it. I know exactly who I want to share that with.” Because then, we want to share the aha moments.

Alex Cullimore: You know what I find to be a hilarious twist on this is that I would comfortably say, knowing all of these things we're talking about of identity and not wanting to attach to a title, I can fairly comfortably say, I am a coach. Because I see it now as a mindset. It is an expression of values of curiosity of wanting to be there with people and help people and adjust that. Not because I have clients, or not clients, or paying clients, or not paying clients. None of that is wrapped into what coaching means in my head. Coaching becomes a mindset. Then I'm comfortable saying I am a coach, even if we discuss so much about not attaching to that title. I still feel like, yet, I have somehow found a title that I can assign to, without feeling like I'm violating the principles of not being attached to a title.

Linda Lovin: How about if you rephrase that? Does it make it easier if you said, “I am a coach, because I value”?

Alex Cullimore: Absolutely. In my mind, that's where that sentence ends. That is exactly where it goes. I am a coach, because that's how I express, how I interact in the world. Not because it's in set coaching sessions, not because it's in this hour of a meeting and it's just how I prefer to approach the world. That's a good encapsulation of things that I value.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, I like that. I am a coach, because of how I show up for other people. That's what makes me a coach. It's not the certification. It's not the hourly rate. It's not the number of clients. That's why coaching is being. It's not doing. True coaching, successful coaching, as in value producing, value giving coaching, it's a state of being. It's not a state of doing. I coach clients is a state of doing.

Linda Lovin: But being with.

Cristina Amigoni: But being with. Creating that space. You can coach in any situation. It doesn't have to be a coaching session. When you're a coach, you just coach when you communicate, when you show up for people.

Linda Lovin: We think about those moments in our lives that you will never forget when you're with. Being with someone who's giving birth. Holding someone's hand as they pass along. Being with moments, where you don't have to say anything, you've created that, I call it sacred space in a non-religious way. That space that can't be described in any other way, except so full, intimate space, where you don't have to communicate in any other way, but being with. Just being. That's coaching to me. That's just that intimate moment when somebody has that revelation of, as I've said, this is a strength and I can use this and this is going to change me. That strength may change, but now I know the process of asking myself the questions of how to get to the next spring, or how to use the strength in this situation. To be able to be with and witness that is an honor.

Cristina Amigoni: I think witnessing that transformation from the awareness that light bulb goes off, to the acceptance and the release of judgment, because of this new thing is different from the old thought, the old way of seeing things. Then the power and I think that's where the magic really happens and you can feel it in the room and I think we felt it multiple times this past week and especially on our last day there. When you can just feel that leap into consciously choosing to embrace this new awareness, and knowing that they're going to fly when they leap.

Linda Lovin: I love it. I love it. It's the best. It's one of those things. When I run across someone who's having an issue, I'll give them your name. Or someone who I feel needs someone to talk with and I want to go, why are you waiting till you get on the field of combat to be ready to learn how to use the weapons that you need? That's a brutal, violent way of thinking of it, but in life sometimes, as you just used the term armor, I guess maybe that's where I'm picking it up. I'm saying this, how do we come in strong, so that we can be our best selves? You don't do your first 500 push-ups for the first time as you went into “battle.” You know what I'm saying.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Yeah.

Linda Lovin: The thing in preparation for that moment is essential. I think, Alex, when you say I'm a coach, it brings up so many questions and brings up so many judgments in people. Oh, what are you out to do? I don't want to tell you my secrets. Are you trying to get me – that bulge something that I didn't go there? Are you going to make me cry?

Cristina Amigoni: Yes. The answer is yes. If you cry, we succeeded.

Alex Cullimore: There it is. There's your measure of success.

Cristina Amigoni: That's the measure of success.

Linda Lovin: Maybe, or maybe you walked into the room, oh, here's the one that happened last Friday. It was so awesome. At the end of the session, and this was an aha moment, that I just floated it on and I'm still floating on. She said, “I didn't want to tell you that I came in with a really stress – a big stress headache. I didn't want to start our appointment like that, because I needed to be present. I just want to let you know, I don't know what happened, but it's gone.” As the coach, you're grinning inside, because you're going, “Coaching works. It just moves.”

Cristina Amigoni: It does.

Linda Lovin: It's transformation. I left the meeting real fast, because I wanted in right there. The bait out and the crying.

Cristina Amigoni: The music chime comes in and you're like, “We're done today.”

Linda Lovin:  They should get it. She's the one who did it. She did the book. It was wonderful. It was a wonderful day. Titles and bellybuttons.

Cristina Amigoni: That was the name of it. That is a title of a book.

Alex Cullimore: Titles and bellybuttons.

Cristina Amigoni: Titles and bellybuttons. Who’s not going to buy that?

Alex Cullimore: One thing I want to write down from what you just said, Linda, is the idea that you can do some of this work for yourself before you're in a situation where you need it. What if you do some time and it's something – I think we – just based on how we work in society and how we've generally done it, we're usually behind the eight ball by the time we're out in the world. We don't have this awareness and this need for it, until we hit some stumbling block where we’re finally like, “Wait, I need to look up.” It is a really good point that that doesn't have to be when we do the work. We don't have to wait until it's a big struggle and we're already in the battle to start thinking about, what can we do to prayer ourselves? What can we do to gain our own mental resilience? To the point where it doesn't have that falling off a cliff moment, or hitting a wall? What can we do better in preparation?

Linda Lovin:  I truly, truly wish I have had some of this insight early in my life. I think I would not have searched for my strengths in exterior ways. Yeah, I really do value this whole process so much. Yet, what's very – I'm just talking about it in a meeting. We have to be careful of vocabulary you use and talking about it. I call it woo-woo. Sometimes it can get really, really woo-woo and therefore, turn people off because it's not practical. It's not the way we talk. We talk about consciousness and mindset and these words that if you're in the business, or you're of a certain ill reading, or whatever training, you get. If you've ever been in that, it just sounds too ethereal, foggy, spiritual. It's just out there, as opposed to practical.

Alex Cullimore: So intangible, we feel like we can't even talk about it.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, but isn't everything intangible? That's the thing. We put things in boxes, thinking that's tangible, numbers are tangible. Until somebody, 10 years from now, is going to prove us that 2 plus 2 doesn't equal 4. They probably have already proven that. We just decide what's tangible and what's not tangible. Isn't living, being aware of our conscious and unconscious and knowing how to understand that way more tangible than any science out there, gravity, that's made up. Everything else is made up.

Linda Lovin: We're not trained, or my generation was not trained that way.

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, mine either.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah, mine either.

Linda Lovin: I think there is more of a movement now toward understanding peaceful communication, understanding compassion, understanding empathy, that is celebrated even commercially. Thank goodness. As opposed to in the past, we never let down our guard.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, because we're all so perfect. It works out so well for the people around us.

Alex Cullimore: Delivering the results I wanted.

Cristina Amigoni: Well, we could probably go on for hours and hours and hours and days and days and days and pretty much debunk every single piece that's out there in life. It's all philosophy lesson. I'm finally utilizing my philosophy degree. In search of bellybuttons.

Alex Cullimore: Oh, that is a dissertation I would read every day.

Linda Lovin: Oh, goodness.

Alex Cullimore: That just means we're going to have to have you on a few more times, Linda. We're going to have many more of these conversations.

Linda Lovin: I’m just, when can I come out? Oh, my gosh.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah, we might uncover some help for people and be horrible.

Linda Lovin: When I said I was leading the discussion on books, I do call this that discussion books for living and I had to think about it for a while. Because life, thank goodness, we are finally getting to the point, we realized, you know, life happens. It's my saying, because it’s accepted more than the other. But life in all of these messiness. Life in all of its knots and twists and turns, how exciting. Wouldn't it be putting if we didn't?

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. Life either happens to us or by us. We get to choose.

Linda Lovin: That's right.

Alex Cullimore: That's one good, succinct summation of coaching. It's helping you understand there's a choice. That that is a choice.

Linda Lovin: Yeah. Guys, I have thoroughly enjoyed talking with you. We could philosophically talk. Cristina, when you get into real deep philosophy, I'm going to give you my philosophy. Can I give you my philosophy?

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, yeah. Please.

Linda Lovin: Her name's Dolly Parton.

Cristina Amigoni: She's a good one.

Linda Lovin: Dolly doesn't know it. She's my sixth cousin. We do need to let her.

Cristina Amigoni: Oh, my God. It's awesome.

Alex Cullimore: Oh, cool.

Linda Lovin: I know. Cool. My relatives and her relatives grew up in the Haller together. Bless her heart. She'll figure it out someday that we're related. But this is what Dolly says. Find out who you are and do it with purpose.

Cristina Amigoni: Absolutely.

Linda Lovin: I love that.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah.

Alex Cullimore: That's a great one.

Cristina Amigoni: That is a great one. On that note, what is your definition of authenticity?

Linda Lovin: You told me at the beginning of the podcast, before we went on that, you've been asking me that. I haven't had a chance to actually formulate a philosophical response. Authenticity is having the space, the joyful, free, non-judgmental space to use a term like bellybutton, and know that it's going to be received in the spirit with which it is said.

Cristina Amigoni: That's awesome.

Linda Lovin: Thank you for making this an authentic experience. It was a lot of fun.

Cristina Amigoni: Definitely. It was a lot of fun.

Alex Cullimore: Thank you for bringing bellybuttons back in for your definition.

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, exactly.

Linda Lovin: Because I’m still shocked by it. 

Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, it’s wonderful. Where can people find you, Linda, to have more of these conversations outside of listening to our podcast?

Linda Lovin: Love it. No, my website is I'm real original.

Cristina Amigoni: You’re authentic.

Alex Cullimore: Right.

Linda Lovin: My Gmail is

Cristina Amigoni: There you go.

Linda Lovin: That is all. I do appreciate it. I love conversations like that. I'm growing. I'm learning. I am. These active things moving forward. It's having conversations like this that make me come alive. Thank you.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you.

Alex Cullimore: Thank you.

Cristina Amigoni: Conversations this, it's why we started the podcast.

Alex Cullimore: Yeah.

Cristina Amigoni: We like to come alive multiple times a week.

Alex Cullimore: As much as possible.

Cristina Amigoni: As much as possible.

Linda Lovin: Welcome back to Colorado.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you.

Alex Cullimore: Oh, thank you so much.

Cristina Amigoni: We will, for sure. Have a wonderful weekend.

Alex Cullimore: Thank you so much for joining us, Linda, truly.

Linda Lovin: Thank you. Thank you, guys. It was a pleasure.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you.

Alex Cullimore: Thank you, everyone, for listening.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you.

Cristina Amigoni: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo Podcast.

Alex Cullimore: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Laura, and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood.

Cristina Amigoni: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.

Alex Cullimore: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas, or questions. You can reach us at, or on our website,, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. WeAreSiamo is spelled W-E-A-R-E-S-I-A-M-O

Cristina Amigoni: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others and always uncover the human.