Connecting with Fear

Connecting with Fear

This week we explore fear, how it can hold us back, hint at where we want to be, and the ways it can operate within teams in the workplace.   Fear can motivate us or drain us. What ingredients help us face fear and do it anyway and use it to our advantage?  Episode Notes can be found here at  

Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.

YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human






Alex Cullimore  0:00 
This week on Uncover The Human, we're talking about fear, which is a hugely important topic, let's get right into it,

Cristina Amigoni  0:06 
you'll hear the word hugely important a few times. So have fun...

Alex Cullimore  0:09 
Welcome to Uncover the hHuman where every conversation revolves around enhancing all the connections in our lives,

Cristina Amigoni  0:14 
whether that's with our families, co workers, or even ourselves,

Alex Cullimore  0:17 
when we can be your authentic selves, magic happens.

Cristina Amigoni  0:20 
This is Cristina Amigoni.

Alex Cullimore  0:22 
And this is Alex Cullimore.

Both  0:23 
Let's dive in.

Guests  0:26 
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  1:02 
And welcome back to Uncover The Human. Today, we'll be talking about fear and how that affects our lives in general, and we are really excited about this topic. I think this is one that we almost decided to split into several different topics, because it's going to come up a lot. Fear is a real motivator, I think, in both our lives and just in the workplace, in general, and in most of our interactions with people. So I think this is one that we had considered splitting up, but we'll just end up covering a bunch of this and seeing this come up time and time again as a theme when we talk to our guests, and it's a big one.

Cristina Amigoni  1:34 
It definitely is and we face it every day, so I wouldn't be surprised if we end up mentioning fear or talking about it, or somehow relating to it, in many more episodes.

Alex Cullimore  1:45 
It already ties into so much of what we have covered in the last couple episodes. I mean, fear really ties to belonging, fear ties to stress, fear ties to just authenticity in general, because it really can be either something that pushes you or something that holds you back from being authentic, or from feeling comfortable.

Cristina Amigoni  2:03 
And it's interesting because, as you say that, pushing you and holding you back, it really does both, or at least it can do both. And when we probably feel fear millions of times in a day, we have bigger fears and little ones, but there's always something and you know, some of the ones that we're used to, we just kind of like yeah, I'm not really comfortable and there's definitely something there, but I'm going to ignore it and keep going. And then when you're facing some huge new thing, that's when it really takes over. And they say it hijacks  the way you show up.

Alex Cullimore  2:36 
That definitely feels like a great verb for that, because it can totally hijack your thought process, it can totally hijack your actions, it takes over and can change how you're interacting and how you behave all in a moment. I actually read some study that was talking about the default setting for human brains is to be a little bit stressed, a little bit fearful, that's more of our default. And we don't feel fear and stress when our brain can identify enough flags and just identifiers that we've come to know as safe, so when we have that safety, enough boxes checked by the brain that say they were in a safe location, that's when it will start to suppress some of the stress and fear responses. But that tends to be more of a default state. We actually have stress more often. But we can suppress that when we have enough safety. I think that's an interesting thing to think about when we're thinking about fear. Because it's more of a natural state, I think we would admit to just in living day to day.

Cristina Amigoni  3:30 
From a neuroscience point of view, there are studies that show that we actually react first from a fear base, the amygdala is the first thing that everything goes through, it's like our filter of whatever situation we're in. And then depending on what's actually going on around us and what state we're in, at the moment, we can either move completely forward and react from it from a more reasoning and evaluating point of view, or stay in that kind of reactive threat area, which is the fight or flight, where everything that we used to, as tribal beings, have to go through, from saber toothed tigers to whatever threat was out there. That's what allowed us to survive.

Alex Cullimore  4:23 
Yeah, that's definitely what takes over first, and that's what makes a successful species is having that amount of fear. You can see it in so many animals, you know, rabbits are definitely one that I feel like when you walk past rabbits.  They can hide, they're ready to run at any point. And that's definitely a survival mechanism. It was definitely a survival mechanism for humans. But I think one thing that is interesting when you consider humans versus other animals is how much we depend on each other. We are much more of a community based organism we have to have that social support. So one of the things that can cause that kind of fear is not  always the threat of a saber. tiger, but it can be the threat of not belonging and not being part of the tribe.

Cristina Amigoni  5:04 
Exactly. And that's the biggest threat. When we go back to our belonging conversations around the fact that we have to belong in order to survive.  We're hardwired for that. It means that the minute we are evaluating a situation as potentially not belonging, then we immediately go into fight or flight mode. And if we don't recognize what's going on, we stay in that mode. Some of that reminds me of the energy leadership index, that we we've done and how when we talk about the seven levels of energy that we experience, throughout our day in our lives, there's no real skipping the first two, which are that fight or flight levels, there's just going through them and deciding how long do I want to be in here? Is it a split second? Is it a week? Is it an hour? Do I actually want to respond and react based on what I'm feeling at this moment? And so do I want to fight? Or do I want to leave? Or do I want to actually think about the situation, look at what's going on, and decide to respond?

Alex Cullimore  6:09 
There's a really interesting book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. He's a psychologist, I believe, but the idea is very similar to this lizard brain, amygdala, you have the first reaction to thinking fast, and you have the thinking slow, which is where the reasoning starts to take over. And so much we don't realize is happening unconsciously. And subconsciously, as we pass through that initial middle, immediate response phase, that fast response can dictate what we later then with our slower brain, so to speak, come to justify or rationalize, once we're past that initial reaction, now we're starting to, we tend to justify what has already bubbled up through that subconscious layer. And so we're actually acting, oftentimes, on something that has been determined subconsciously, before we have the chance to consciously think about it and rationalize what we're doing. And that plays well to the ELI index. And you can tell me if I'm misquoting this, but I think it was similar to this, the level one was definitely feeling shut down, isolated, you're pulling yourself back from the world and that's more where you're protecting yourself by not engaging. And then level two is much more of the fight response, where you're feeling more anger and outward momentum. And I think that's accurate, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on those. But those were my impressions of the first few levels.

Cristina Amigoni  7:26 
Those are very correct, actually, very good interpretation of those. And it's interesting when you said that the subconscious already has a response. Because I think along with the subconscious, our body, our physical body already responds. When we think about any reaction, our physical body feels something way before our mind realizes what's going on. And one of the tricks to taking that pause between what's happening and reacting, and then looking back and be like "oh, okay, that wasn't me, what just happened?"  It's realizing that something somewhere in your body already knows. And so whether your heartbeat increases, your palms get sweaty, your throat feels closed. One of the things that I know I've noticed with me, for example, is when I feel threat, in the sense of time to fight, my fists will close. Before I even know what's going on. It's almost like I'm getting in boxing mode. And so if I think of that,  of "wait, what just happened? Somebody said something, and my fists just closed."  Actually pausing and thinking that my body just reacted, it gives me enough time to then stop the automatic reaction into "Oh, let me just punch somebody in the face", verbally.Not really punch anybody in the face. But verbally, I'm very good at that.

Alex Cullimore  8:49 
Probably ready to go at any time. I think that's a hugely important piece of this because that physical body tie into the neuroscience is always there. And you've probably heard it said somewhere that if you want to feel better, you can smile because this physical act of smiling triggers that feeling in your body and it can start to release the right hormones or endorphins, maybe that helps feel like you are happy now, so you can force an actual reaction based on your physicality. So it kind of works both ways, that physicality tends to come first. And I think that's something that comes up because we like to think of mind and body is very separate, especially at least in Western culture, we tend to think about mind and body very separately, but they're obviously very tied in the body exists and kind of creates the mind or the mind is this representation from the body and so you can't really dissociate those two once there is a physical reaction there can be that mental reaction to there will be that mental reaction.

Cristina Amigoni  9:41 
Yes, exactly. It's it's definitely there. The physical reaction always comes first. It's incredible to start observing that and almost making a cheat sheet.  When my throat closes is because this just got triggered. And typically the thing that I have found in coaching Is that there's the same or similar physical reactions to similar values that get threatened and challenged. So if a value for example of not asking for my opinion, so not being included, my voice not mattering at the moment, I don't know, if mattering is a word, but  my throat actually closes, and my mouth becomes extremely dry. And so I immediately know "okay, something happened where I feel like I don't matter. My opinion doesn't matter in this instance

Alex Cullimore  10:35 
I feel that too. For me, it tends to come by with there's an immediate suppression instinct, I think, for me, that when I feel like there's some kind of threat, or I feel like somebody is about to maybe in a workplace setting that I get angry, or if I feel like I'm going to get into a fight in a personal relationship or something, I feel very shut down and I feel suppression happening immediately, I can kind of feel it behind my eyes almost, you relax, the whole, the face goes very still. And then I can start to feel like, even though I'm outwardly keeping calm, I can feel my heart rate go up, I can feel the breath start to get shorter, it starts to feel like there's a threat coming and tapping into that, I think that's a great way of putting it having a cheat sheet for that. That's a really helpful tool for not succumbing to it and not staying in that like lizard brain feeling of the amygdala, it's when you're now doing some metacognition, you're going back and reflecting on your own thoughts. And you have some knowledge of this is what's going on. And I have some control over where my reaction goes from here.

Cristina Amigoni  11:36 
And it's interesting, because as we talked about this, I don't think intention is to say that you should never let the  amygdala take over or should never be in fighting or flighting mode, sometimes you actually do have to do that.

Alex Cullimore  11:48 
That's a really good point. We, when we tend to talk about these things, and it seems like oh man that I have that initial reaction, I better figure out how to suppress that. And that's not really helpful. It's more about knowing what the reaction is coming from and figuring out how to react, maybe at a different level of the amygdala, but it exists for a reason we have that instinct for a reason.

Cristina Amigoni  12:06 
Yes, exactly. It's the choice. So you know, maybe it is the right choice for me to fight and do whatever I need to do to win a fight, but if I'm making the conscious choice to be fighting, as opposed to the instinctive reactive choice of fighting, and then looking back and thinking, "Oh, well, that wasn't exactly how I wanted this to come out."

Alex Cullimore  12:31 
I think that also plays with flight. I love the saying fighter flight, it obviously rolls off the tongue, it's got a nice feel to it. But when we think about flight, we often think about running from a situation. But obviously, that's not generally what has to happen in certainly in a workplace scenario, or in personal relationships. But the flight mechanism tends to come out more in us just shutting down, we start to get quiet, we pull away, we're not engaged. We're not interacting with anybody anymore. That's the more of the modern day flight in unless you are  hiking in the mountains, and you see it, mountain lion, at which point flight becomes a much more literal feeling.

Cristina Amigoni  13:10 
Yes, exactly. Definitely fight or I have actually no idea what you do with mountain lion. You're not supposed to run away. But that's true. away in a fight. So what exactly is the solution there?

Alex Cullimore  13:26 
I think the advice and I always wonder how helpful this is,  and you don't really hear about people being mauled by mountain lions often, thankfully, but we both live in Colorado. So this is definitely top of mind for both of us. But I think the advice is that you're supposed to like make yourself big. And yes, you're with other people, you're standing in a group and make loud noises and maybe throw rocks or something because running is definitely a bad option. They have four legs, they're going to be a lot faster than you.

Cristina Amigoni  13:52 
Yes, I imagined they would. I like that though. I like the fact that  even in an actual real,  mountain lion primitive, if you want call it primitive, but more like basic natural situation of threat device,  what protects us is a group of people. It really goes back to we are better together, we are stronger together, we can survive together, instead of alone.

Alex Cullimore  14:16 
That's a really important point, too. I like that. That's true. It is. It's better to be with other people. And that's something that is hardwired into us. We know that feeling. We know that in every scenario, we are very good at assessing. Are we more on the inside of this group? Are we on the out-group we assess that all the time. And that's something I feel comes up a ton in the workplace is feeling like that's when people start to bring up things like office politics, or they start to feel like cliques forming or there's groups of people that tend to hang out or not hang out. And that's where you start to feel the very human dynamics that you feel everywhere else in life, but we gloss over and pretend like that's fine because we feel the obligation to be there in those rooms eight hours a day, and we don't always do a good job at fostering what actual belonging is, so we can trigger a lot of fear in something as far away from a mountain lion saber toothed Tiger attack as being in a meeting in a boardroom?

Cristina Amigoni  15:10 
Yes, exactly. If you think that the response to the threat of not belonging and being alone is emotions like fear, anxiety, aggression, anger, wanting to hide in a cave, shutting down all of them, that's really why it's so important to make sure that nobody's feeling excluded. That's why it comes back into the workplace so clearly, because just knowing that if anyone at any point feels excluded, they are shutting down, they're shutting down the part of the brain that allows them to think and react and respond and, and analyze and problem solve, they go into this tunnel vision where all they're thinking about is survival. And so anything like change becomes a big deal, any change no matter what it is, becomes a big deal. And obstacle becomes a big deal. Now you're panicking, you're constantly in panic mode, because you're like "wait, but I can't figure out because I'm alone. And there's nobody there. And I cannnot ask questions, and I'm not allowed to talk to this person. And there's a bunch of meetings that I have no idea what's being said in there." And just in that the anxiety goes up. And that's it, you're done, any sort of like normal thinking, any possibility to actually resolve the problem and move on, it's gone.

Alex Cullimore  16:24 
And that's, I think, where the culture of blame becomes so specifically toxic if you raise an issue and the first response is trying to figure out who's to blame for this, that is going to a obviously create a culture where people are going to want to suppress issues because if there's anything that they will be blamed for now, that I think immediately triggers that fear of belonging, of fear of being able to speak your mind that fear of I think that can also trigger things like imposter syndrome, you start to feel that lack of belonging because you're like, oh, man, I I messed up, people are angry about this. This is something that I clearly have shown that I don't belong in this group, or I shouldn't be here, that can trigger just an endless shame spiral, at which point, you're just reacting straight out of fear. And that's where you get into more like shouting matches. And they say that anger is based in fear, and that most emotions are really just based in fear, or anger reaction is some way of covering up some type of fear.

Cristina Amigoni  17:17 
Yeah, it's so true. It's interesting to me, especially in the current climate, where we're practically living in fear 24 seven, we have this outside threat with a pandemic, which we can't see. But if we know it's there, and whether we believe in it, which is interesting, by itself, but whether we believe it's true, or whether we believe it's as bad as it is, it is or not, it's still there, the threat doesn't really go away. So whatever reaction we have, it's based off fear, we can ignore it, we can say doesn't exist. And that's still a reaction to the fear.

Alex Cullimore  17:52 
And that takes on a second dynamic to when you're talking about something like the pandemic where it lasts, as long as it has, we've been all shut in in the US, since we haven't taken it as seriously as we could have been. Now we have to remain shut down while other countries are reopening. When you have that fear lasting for long enough, it starts to change how your brain is working, it starts to become the new normal, and it becomes something where you are just used to feeling that amount of fear all the time. And now you're also running out of capacity to really deal with that.  There was a an article I read talking about surge capacity, where people who experience things like hurricanes or something that there's obviously that lasts, the hurricane itself might only last for a day, but the flooding will last for two to three weeks and so you and your family are trapped. Like we saw so many times in Katrina, there's a bunch of people on roofs trying to get to helicopters like that's when your surge capacity really kicks in and you try and make it through that emergency you get you're running higher adrenaline, when you have something that lasts not just a week, but six months and has no end in sight. That totally changes your reaction to it and can become especially exhausting. And now you start to see people getting even more irked or irritated or fearful or angry. Because it's gone on for so long that this pervasive stress has started to change how we react, and we have lost the capacity to feel as alert as we were because we are we're literally running out of gas like we have. We've had this reaction for so long.

Cristina Amigoni  19:17 
Very good points, especially the adrenaline piece and how exhausting it is. It is exhausting to be constantly in fear. It's just incredible how much that influences everything else. And the workplace is very similar. When you're constantly living with this underlying layer of fear, whether it's fear of being excluded, if you ask questions being told that you should know anything, that it really doesn't allow you to feel supported. It's always there, which means you know, now you're working 18 hours a day and then when you need help, you can really ask for help because you are not sure what the reaction is going to be. There's no way that you can produce anything that's actually close to the quality of work that you could in a situation where you don't feel fear, where you are supported. And yes, maybe you're still working 18 hours days, but you know, you're not alone. And you're not constantly wondering, what reaction am I going to get when I don't know the answer to this? Or what's going to happen when I have to ask questions, but I'm not allowed to talk to people.

Alex Cullimore  20:20 
That's a really good point. And that's where internal focus changes so entirely and why I think it's cool. And I'm really glad that it's becoming more popular to do things like have stronger mission statements and spend a lot of time on a mission statement. Because when the focus is on something like that, then if the culture is allowing it, and if everybody's really bought into that vision, the mission that " Just Cause" as Simon Sinek would call it, you can focus on that. And there might be some arguments, but everybody understands that that's the goal. And it's less focused on Oh, I gotta survive, I got to make it through this, you know, when there's a culture of blame, or there's a culture of like you were saying, not being able to ask questions, feeling like you're on the outside. And especially when that lasts for a long time, what are you going to relate to anymore, you can't connect to the mission, you're going to really just connect to the idea that I have to make it through this. You're no longer trying to do something bigger, you're not trying to make things better. You're just trying to get through it's survival mode. And in the workplace, that turns into your turnover, because you're like, "I'm just trying to survive until I get another job lined up, because I got to get out of here."

Cristina Amigoni  21:21 
Exactly. So then when you think about that, and you think about the statistics that we've mentioned in the past episode that  anywhere between 70 and 80% of the workplace is completely actively or not actively disengaged from work. That's where it comes from. Just because somebody stays in a job for years, that doesn't mean that they're actually there. Mentally, they could be gone the whole time. How many people do you talk to that you end up saying "I'm just doing the minimum to get my paycheck."That's it.

Alex Cullimore  21:52 
And that's where your mind goes when you don't have that belonging, and you don't have any interest in this, you don't feel like it's going to do anything but just give you a paycheck. As I think a lot of people drop lines like  "I pay my employees, that's enough" It's never going to be enough, because that's going to create exactly what you're saying to people who are there, just to do the minimum because, well, that's what I'm getting out of this, you could consider a job, what it does for you, the bare minimum would be paying you now you've got a two way street where both sides are doing the bare minimum, well, I pay you well, okay, you pay me to x, I'm only going to do X, I'm not going to try and make things better. And I've seen this happen in multiple places where people get really attached to the processes.  It's good to have some amount of standardization and people don't feel lost in the workplace, but when you start to punish people for not conforming to incredibly strict processes, or not allowing any kind of flexibility on that it starts to wear on people, all you concentrate on when you're punished for stepping outside of the process is just finishing exactly what the process dictates, which just really misses the overall points. Because you have to be able to iterate on those things. And you can't just have A process that you figured out, the management team figured out and decided that's what's going to work without asking anybody. And now you just have this, this process out there, that doesn't really fit the need. But when you punish people for stepping outside of it now all they're going to do is play to that process, which will inevitably just grow whatever holes are in that process until they become such a big problem, you now have to address that as a fire.

Cristina Amigoni  23:20 
Yes, exactly. Because the process is not the end product, the process is not the outcome, the process is not the service, people are. And so the process needs to be a tool that the key people use so that they can do their jobs better, that they can collaborate better, it can't be the first thing to think about just like technology, it's never about the technology. It's about the people using the technology. So there's just no win. There's no success in starting anything with thinking about the technology first.

Alex Cullimore  23:51 
And that's exactly the point technology, it's not a solution in itself. It's supposed to be creating a solution and assisting with the process. A process is not there to make the work happen. It's to make the work easier. It's to allow people to have a structure to use. And when you start to get so rigid with that, that you're attached more to the process and the people people identify that immediately. But you know, the second you're like " I've had a really rough week, and Oh, I forgot to do a status report." And if you happen to be yelled at or even just reprimanded even if it's in a private email, but especially if it's in a public email or public forum, that is going to immediately shut you down. Because you may know that, I don't know a distant relative died or you just happen to have a really hard week or you're suffering through a health issue or whatever it might be going on in your life is affecting your work. And you might feel already bad about that. You're like, "Oh, I did forget to do this status report." It doesn't help at that point to create the fear and the blame game because that's going to immediately disengaged the employee, they know that they could do better, they don't need the reminder that if you have people in the workplace who aren't living up to that, maybe that's more of a hiring problem. It's not necessarily that you should be managing to each specific process checkpoint, it's that you may have hired people that you can't trust. And that's where that two way street starts to become important between the management and the employee as well, you should be able to trust that they can do their work. And if they happen to slip up once or twice, is it worth punishing them?Because you stand a huge risk of totally disengaging them, especially if you're not careful with it. And if you haven't checked in with why they might have dropped out in the first place.

Cristina Amigoni  25:28 
And it reminds me of the quote, that it's one of my favorite quotes, when a flower doesn't grow, you don't change the flower, you change the environment.

Alex Cullimore  25:36 
That's a really good one, I have not heard that. You change the soil, you change the amount of sunlight, you put the water on it, you don't blame the flower for not growing.

Cristina Amigoni  25:44 
Exactly. And also you don't keep tossing away the flower to replace it with the new flower in the same environment,  thinking that well, "this one didn't work, so it must be a bad flower that doesn't want to grow, so let me just put another one in the same environment"

Alex Cullimore  25:57 
Same type environment, same outcome.

Cristina Amigoni  26:00 
Yes, exactly. We have a Ficus plant that we've kept indoors this whole time, but this summer, I decided to put it outside because it actually is happier outside. And it grew beautifully outside until we brought it back in because we had a snowstorm a couple of weeks ago, the first week of September. We didn't want it to suffer in the snow. And now that it's and we've kept it inside, and now that it's inside, it is has become the saddest plant ever. It's so sad, you know, and I looked at it this morning, and this plant is not happy being inside. So since we're gonna still have some good warm days for a while, I'm gonna have to put it back outside.

Alex Cullimore  26:42 
That's where it gets really tempting to get a greenhouse to try and recreate that environment.

Cristina Amigoni  26:47 
Exactly. It makes me wonder,  why is it that humans are not treated the same way? Why is it that we get these technologies, and we create these processes. And instead of figuring out why people are not quite utilizing them, adopting them, thriving with them, we keep changing the people. And that is the hardest thing to do, instead of fixing the process or the technology?

Alex Cullimore  27:10 
I love that they usually don't consult the people when you make the change. And then you turn around and blame the people when the change doesn't come across. Or you go and continually switch technologies. Because again, you're still not addressing the main problem, the technology didn't solve it, because the technology can never solve it, it's people using a technology that will solve that it's whatever you're trying to get out of it, you may have a software that is designed to do that and address that specific problem, but you're gonna have to get people to use it. And to get people to use it, you're gonna have to get their buy in, you're gonna have to get them to understand what this does both for them and for the company for the overall mission. And again, that's why it's really important to have a mission that people can actually buy into, because you can't just be pointing to a mission that nobody cares about. If you do that, that's going to be especially disengaging because you're gonna say, well, they keep pointing to this mission that I didn't believe in in the first place, I'm supposed to do more work now or make some change, or now adopt a new technology to go to some endpoint that I didn't agree with in the first place.

Cristina Amigoni  28:05 
And when we think about change is something that it's uncomfortable, which means it causes fear, going back to the fear, it means that the constant change, it's constantly living in fear, which, as we just talked about what happens when we are faced with fears, if you can never get to the optimal state of anyone's work, or anyone's capacity or potential, if you actually don't create an environment that doesn't cause fear.

Alex Cullimore  28:30 
And I think the great part about that is the flip side is that when you create that environment where there isn't that fear is the feeling of belonging, where people can actually jump in, feel engaged and plug in and feel like they're being useful, everything takes off. That's where you can't enforce productivity limits by making sure people work six hours a day, and the same six hours or something to make sure that everybody's online for these ones and all have a shared zoom call, that's not going to be nearly as helpful as creating the culture of belonging and trust, where people are like, I will get this done, I'll get it done on my schedule. And now you've got, it's either it's like a vicious or virtuous cycle, you either get that fear stoked into the workplace, at which point everything starts to turn down, people are gonna start to turn away from each other people that are turning away from their selves get disengaged, or you flip the switch the other way, you're trying to reduce the fear you make sure everybody's taken care of, and all the other things that you're worried about that you've probably started to institute, that culture of fear to try and solve. Those start to solve themselves because people are engaged and they want to make things better.

Cristina Amigoni  29:32 
Exactly. I kept thinking about how many times I was approached with questions about things that I knew nothing about, or was not involved in, I was nowhere close to part of what I do. And the only reason why people were coming to me is because they were afraid to go to anybody else. How can you expect to grow a business like this? How can you expect to serve your customers like this?

Alex Cullimore  29:54 
and then you're also if you talk about, like that kind of scenario where there's one person that everybody's turning to that person is now a linchpin and that is a bottleneck that it's not like it's bad.  That's good that people are able to do that it's good that you may have an employee that's over overachieving, or as is trusted by enough people that they turn to them, but you also risk a lot when you have all of your eggs in a couple baskets, or one basket, if there's one person everybody can turn to. There's basically nobody, and that person takes a vacation. What happens then?

Cristina Amigoni  30:23 
Yeah, it's incredible. It really comes back to the togetherness, the knowing that we're not alone, I just faced probably one of my biggest fears, which, interestingly enough, I forgot that I had that fear until I was faced with it. And I'm like, wait, what's happening to my body? And why am I paralyzed, and I can't stand up? I climbed my hike to my first fourteener on Wednesday, and it's intimidating, you're at the bottom, and you look up and you're like " wow how in the heck am I gonna make it all the way up there?" But you know it's a walk, you know it's one step at a time, I'll stop when I can, when I have to, I'll eat, I'll drink water. I have somebody with me, who's my guide, and it's gonna help me through it. So it's just a matter of keep going. And then I got to the top or almost at the top right before the last a couple of hundred yards, or whatever it was a couple of hundreds feet in this part that's  basically, gigantic boulder hopping to get to the summit. I look up and I'm like "Oh, wait, what did I decide to do? I think I forgot something. Oh, yes, I forgot that I'm terrified of heights. And I'm about to climb up giant rocks on top of a mountain that's 14,000 feet above sea level, that's not gonna be good."

Alex Cullimore  31:45 
Yeah, that's actually interesting point too, because the experience change that you first look at the summit from the parking lot, or from the early, earliest part of the trail, where you can see the summit, you're like, wow, that's far away. But you start to talk yourself into all the things that you already know, you're saying, I'm going to take breaks, I'm going to stop, this is really just a walk, it's going to be one step at a time, that's fine. And it's good to remember that even when you can get to that mindset in the beginning, it doesn't mean you're not going to come across a totally different trail, even when it's right at the end, or in the middle, you might come across something where you're going to have to reassess and re-find that personal comfort and safety.

Cristina Amigoni  32:20 
So I'm staring at these rocks. My friend is going up, the trail kind of goes off, so just pick whatever boulder you want to start hopping on. And I can't move, my body actually stopped moving. And my head started spinning. And I was like "okay, I something has changed. I'm not comfortable anymore. This is not a good feeling." And I have to say I did contemplate turning around and going back down. And I would have had I not been with my friend. And had I not felt safe to know that I can do it, because she's always going to be there. And she's going to help me through it. And she is not going to judge the fact that I'm about to get on all fours and crawl to the top of this thing. And become one with a rock all the way up. And so I made it up, I somehow crawled my way to the plaque and took a picture. And then it was time to come down. And I was literally ready to call a helicopter for a rescue because I kept looking around and all I kept seeing was void and all I kept thinking was how my head was spinning so much that I had zero control over the balance of my body. But then again, my friend was like, "I'll carry your backpack, I'll carry your walking sticks, I'll be in front of your behind you whatever you need me to be. And we'll just do this as slowly as you need it to be. " And so I crawled my way back down. With four points of contact of my body on every single rock. And once we got back to the stable part of the hike, which is just under the scramble, I was okay. Then I was finally stood up. And I was like, "Okay, now I'm fine. I can walk again."

Alex Cullimore  34:09 
You even have like the residual handshakes. I feel like sometimes I get that coming off of those heavy ones for like, I'm really nervous, get really sweaty palms or something. I still sometimes feel a little shake for the last like 30 seconds afterwards

Cristina Amigoni  34:22 
I'm sure I did. But all I remember is that I started breathing again. So I have no idea how long I was holding my breath. And the funny thing is that when I think back I know that's my experience. But I actually have very little to no memory of doing that last piece. I have no memory of how I got the picture done. I was such a tunnel vision and in darkness that the only memory I have was a staring up and then being at the bottom of it and knowing that I can breathe a bit.  The middle is gone. It's not it's not there.

Alex Cullimore  34:52 
A hugely important part of that story is that having the friend there and that's an interesting point when it comes to both just living with fear and things like climbing a fourteener as well as fear in the workplace, because if you can have what you saw there was the power of the support. And the something to keep in mind when you're either managing people or just having to be working with people, when there's a strong reaction coming up, it's easy to write a blanket statement for somebody, somebody goes, flies off the handle, they're angry at something, it's easy to be like, wow, they're an angry person, or they're really having a really bad day. But we could address this differently. If we approach this from "I understand this is probably coming from a place of fear". And it is just like having your own personal cheat sheet where you can start to feel that fear and you understand when that reaction might be coming up. And you can start to externalize that. And notice when there are strong reactions that seem out of character, or just out of place for somebody that you might know, well, and what can you do to address where that fear might be coming from. And maybe you're suggesting in the workplace, it might be something as easy as a word suggesting a change, and that person doesn't understand where they're going to fit in afterwards, maybe they think that you're automating their job away, or they think that they won't be necessary in this or they think that this is going to make their lives much harder, it's going to be some change, where now they're going to have to spend many more hours on something that they don't really want to do. And so you might get a strong reaction. And they may or may not be able to verbalize exactly what that's coming from, but more likely than not, it's coming from some basis of fear. And if you can address those fears, you're going to have a much more productive conversation and a much more productive hike, or whatever you're going on. And then you can look back at the picture and be like, wow, I did that, I checked something off my bucket list.

Cristina Amigoni  36:34 
I'm telling you, I look at the picture of me on top of the summit and I don't remember that. How did I do that? Then I remember the one thing that you just mentioned is that when I was standing there having to make a decision whether I was going to move or not. I remembered my mantra every time I feel fear, whether it's small or big. My mantra is "am I alone"  And my answer was "No, I'm not alone, then I can do this. That's how I know I can do this. When I'm not alone."

Alex Cullimore  37:06 
That's a really good quote.  Discovering the lack of being alone and understanding the power of that. And I think we've talked about this before, just in personal conversations, and maybe on some of the podcasts, when you feel that freedom to reach out for help, that's all the safety net you really need. You don't feel like you're going to be alone. You're you feel like, 'Yeah, I don't know how to do this, but I'm not alone in this, and I might be really nervous right now, but there's a way through this and I know there is." When you have somebody else around, that's the person you get to lean on when you know there's somebody around, there's not going to be so much fear. Because when you don't know something, there's somebody to turn to. And that's hugely important. A phrase that I overuse, I just realized.

Cristina Amigoni  37:48 
well, it is important. It's hugely important.

Alex Cullimore  37:53 
Thanks. See, this is safety right here. You are co-opting the phrase and now we have it shared, okay.

Cristina Amigoni  38:00 
Now we have to make sure we say that every 10 or 15 words,

Alex Cullimore  38:03 
I think it would be hugely important if we did that.

Cristina Amigoni  38:07 
Yes. So on that note, it's incredible to think about the fact that it's being able to answer that question of "am I alone? No, I'm not." But also it's not just are  there bodies around me, because it's not just this surface alone. It's a deep alone. "I know somebody has my back. I know this person has my back no matter what, I know that I'm not going to be judged. I know that I don't have to worry about being embarrassed, I don't have to worry about shame. I don't have to worry about being yelled at, or being ignored. I know that this person is here to meet me where I'm at, no matter what happens." And you know, whether it's a presentation, or climbing a fourteener, or crossing the street or learning how to walk when you're a toddler. The key to all of that is knowing that there's that person or those people that are just there.

Alex Cullimore  39:05 
I think that's incredibly important. And that's actually one thing I thought of in entrepreneurism. My wife partner here, Raechel, she has started a company and that's it's a lonely journey. I mean, entrepreneurship is, they always say like, being a founder is a lonely journey and it's better to have people around. It's why having a founding team of one versus having a founding team of multiple people that rely on and trust each other can be an entirely different experiences. And that can totally change both teams, one that's alone and one that has a team might have the same business idea. It might have the same market. applicability definitely on demand out there, but there's going to be so much work and difficulty and unknown that unless you have that trust and other people around, it's incredibly difficult and it's always said to be lonely.

Cristina Amigoni  39:50 
Well, that's why we have a founding team of two.

Alex Cullimore  39:52 
Yes. And it works out well. It's hugely important, I'd say.

Both  39:54 
Yes, hugely important.

Cristina Amigoni  39:57 
It was actually one of my requirements. I've always wanted to found a company to found a mission, but my number one requirement was  "I'm not doing it alone, because no matter what I know, I need the support."

Alex Cullimore  40:12 
So another great application of putting the human in the workplace, because if you think about personal relationships, like romantic relationships, there's often times where one person might be way more stressed out about something, they start to really feel, or there might be a situation that could be stressful to both. But oftentimes, I found that one person will calm down or change to kind of balance out the team. And when you have that feeling you that's, again, more psychological safety, you feel like, there are going to be times when maybe I'm overly anxious about something, and I'm going to either be able to be talked down on that, or I just will feel free to share that anxiety, so that it doesn't just have its place in my brain where it's just ruminating, cycling over and over again.

Cristina Amigoni  40:55 
So, hugely important. I think we could turn this into a drinking game.

Alex Cullimore  41:02 
I think Yeah. Yes. Important. Anybody who would like to make bingo out of Uncover The Human that will be three squares, anytime we say hugely important that you can drink.

Cristina Amigoni  41:16 
We should come up with prizes, on what happens when you when you get bingo.

Alex Cullimore  41:21 
First person to find a full bingo, we will send an Uncover the Human mug to and write down a note that we need to start making Uncover the Human mugs. Maybe, we do this like heat changing ones so that when you pour the hot liquid in there, it goes from Uncover The Human to Hugely Important.

Cristina Amigoni  41:35 
Oh, I like that. I really like that. That's a great.

Alex Cullimore  41:41 
We should do that for our guests too. And he's every one of our guests, after they are filled with Uncover the Human is Hugely Important.

Cristina Amigoni  41:50 
Exactly. It's  really amazing how much fear is just part of our lives. And it's always there, and that there are ways to  not live in it to not let it take over. And yet you can't skip it, it's not something you can just say, like, I'm afraid of that, I'm just not going to do it. I mean, you can.

Alex Cullimore  42:08 
You certainly can.

Cristina Amigoni  42:11 
I might have hiked up a fourteener, but you're never going to see me jump out of a plane. At the same time, it's our daily fears or fears at work our fears in the family, I mean, the more we avoid, the more they actually rule how we react. So now it's not a fear that we're facing and walking with, it's a fear that has completely taken over.

Alex Cullimore  42:33 
And it might be taking you away from something that you really are interested in, or you really want to see succeed or do something different with, you really want something important to happen with this. But there's a fear that comes with that that can stop you right in your tracks. And I think that's an important piece of it is you can't skip the fear. It's not that people who do these things or do something that you're interested in or seem "braver" in your minds, because you're afraid of doing that. Oftentimes, in fact, I would assume truly every time, these people are not doing things without fear, they're doing things with the fear. You just take it as part of your feelings, you move forward with it, you don't let it stop you, you know, it's going to be there and you don't wait for it to be gone. You just move forward without it. Or with it.

Cristina Amigoni  43:15 
Yes, exactly. One of the best definitions that I've ever seen a Fearless is not that you don't have to fear is just that you have less of it to the point of stopping you.

Alex Cullimore  43:24 
And actually, this is one interesting part of when you start to be more cognizant of listening to your own fear and finding that checklist of when you might be reacting out of fear, you can start to realize the things that might actually be really important to you that you have been turning away from for a long time, things like actually doing something like this podcast is something we've always wanted to do and have this kind of voice and do this kind of work. But it's something that can create a lot of fear internally, because it's something we want to see succeed for a long time, I wanted to be a stand up comic. And when I got to New York, it still took me about six months before I started trying it, because there's something I wanted to do so much that I was truly afraid of doing it. Because if I started it and it wasn't going well, that would feel almost like a destruction of identity at that point.

Cristina Amigoni  44:10 
That's totally understandable. And a lot of that is our attachment to the outcome. A lot of what we do is to obtain something, to reach the end, which is interesting, because it's like living life so that we can die. Because that's the end. So instead of living life so that we can live like if the end is really what we're all after, then that's not a really good way to live.

Alex Cullimore  44:34 
And if you think about any time where you have gotten to some endpoint or some checkpoint that you might have worked for a long time. Maybe it's a promotion at work, maybe it's I don't know, getting married, maybe it's having kids, whatever happens along the way that there's something that you felt was an endpoint, a deadline, a finish line, something that you've got to. How long does that feeling of satisfaction lasts because when we're going up to that point, we feel like yeah, "once I do that I will have made it I won't feel any fear anymore. Everything will just be gloriously happy energy for the rest of life, right?" I mean, it's like the happily ever after once I reach x goal, but every time we get to some one of those checkpoints, that's a fleeting moment. The really important part is what we did to get there and what we're going to do with it, and that becomes more defining, it's really fun to watch things like the Olympics where you see people when these medals, but those are after years of work, and then you have to figure out what you're going to do, you know, next year, next Olympics.

Cristina Amigoni  45:30 
Yeah, seriously. Just like this podcast, once we realized that it wasn't, whether we're successful with it or not, and, but it was about "Well, our definition of success is doing it and what happens with it, once we do it, if we end up having no one listening to this, or a few people, or a million people, whatever, that's not the point"

Alex Cullimore  45:51 
The point was facing this and doing something that was incredibly interesting to us, and then figuring out how to make that work, how we want it to work. And then it becomes a very long term journey, especially something like a podcast, it's gonna be, it's a weekly thing, we have these coming out every week, we have constant sources of inspiration, work. And the next thing to do, it's not an accomplishment of, "Hey, we had a podcast published, brush your hands off, we're done." It's an ongoing thing. And the whole point is to discover it and see how large it can go, what what else it can connect to, and the journey becomes the important part.

Cristina Amigoni  46:24 
One of the things when we look at the journey, then we can go back to the empathy of understanding that if somebody is reacting in anger, or shutting down or closing off, or whatever of the typical reactions to fear and being threatened, or if we stop and realize like, "Okay, what in their journey is going on right now? " And instead of  looking at, again, the end, which is their ultimate reaction, but trying to figure out  how did they get there, what happened that I need to be aware of, or that I can help with, to get them to react that way.

Alex Cullimore  47:00 
That's when you really change from the idea of managing people versus leading people versus coaching people when you're there to make sure they can deliver and be the people they need to be, rather than do x tasks that you feel needs to be done. I think sports is a pretty great analogy for that. You might have somebody who obviously everybody who is on the football team knows your goal is to get touchdowns to get field goals to score more than the other team. But to get that done, there's a whole team effort in that everybody's going to have to be firing on all cylinders, and not reacting from any place of fear not reacting from any place of lack of belonging, because that starts to take away from their edge from their game and from their connection to other people is the other thing about fear is that it tends to get us in our heads. And now we're no longer seeing the team too worried about what's going on internally. And when we see that happen. For other people, it's really important to hear the important one might say, to pull them back in and make sure they feel that line,

Cristina Amigoni  47:58 
I can testify that I couldn't even see my feet when I was trying to figure out how to go up and down the summit, you don't see anything, you have no vision, your vision is completely "what exactly is in front of me right now. And whatever is in front of me is a threat as well, so I want to look at it, but I actually don't."

Alex Cullimore  48:18 
And that's part of the fight or flight response too, because you get that adrenaline surge and the whole point is to focus on.   That surge happens because we have identified something that feels like an immediate threat, so your whole body goes into action to try and focus on that thing, you can't see anything you you're designed to get tunnel vision at that point, because you're supposed to be concentrating on what you have identified as an existential threat.  When we get into the modern age, when the existential threats tend to be somebody yelling at us in a meeting or something like that, it's a lot less intense than a saber toothed tiger, but the feeling is exactly the same way it tends to be represented in films, if you'll see somebody and they play like that hollow ringing sound, and you hear kind of like the distorted voices. I think we can all relate to that and we understand what that means that person's having that kind of, almost, out of body experience where  things are shutting down and all you can really feel is the intensity of the moment without feeling the actual words or whatever is physically happening. There's just an overwhelming feeling that has eliminated all else.

Cristina Amigoni  49:19 
Yes, exactly. Like when you're getting chased by a mountain lion or a saber toothed tiger or whatever it is, you don't notice the roses and you're not supposed to, because you are not supposed to stop and smell the roses, you're supposed to keep running. It is by design that you get tunnel vision.

Alex Cullimore  49:36 
And you're not supposed to be  running away from that mountain line and thinking about "Well, I do need to pick up some cheese on the way home though?" Because it's not important that might, in your overall life, be important because everybody needs to eat dinner, you have a family depending on you or something sure that's technically important, but at the moment, not where your body is going to be concentrating on.

Cristina Amigoni  49:58 
If we think of that tunnel vision,  think of how much in a workplace people are not seeing, are not understanding, are not attaching to, are not thinking about or analyzing, when they are constantly in fear.

Alex Cullimore  50:13 
What else is being missed, and we are asking people to see the bigger picture and notice things on a large project or on something that a big initiative for the company and a change that everybody knows needs to happen. This is where you start to plug into that other statistic that we love, which is like 80% of changes fail, or was that one like 92? Either way, it's absurdly high amount of initiatives and changes within an organization that would be quantified as failures after the fact.

Cristina Amigoni  50:41 
Yes, and I can probably guarantee because most famous statistician, 90% of them, or whatever the you know, whatever the statistic is, you know, 80% of the failures are due to people being afraid of the change, the change is a threat. And so they have tunnel visions, and all they're thinking about is how am I going to survive this? Well, if I put my head down and ignore the changes happening, and keep using my Excel spreadsheet, instead of SharePoint, then I'm protected, because I can still do my work. And I can still produce and nobody can tell me that I'm not producing, I'm producing.

Alex Cullimore  51:12 
I have little benchmarks of it, I have some physical artifacts.

Cristina Amigoni  51:15 
Exactly.  One of the things that I always see especially in consulting, doing change management projects was that the fear came from the fact that people individually did not understand what their own journey was going to be through the change. And before that, they just assumed because there was no communication around it, or they hadn't been included, and there was no visibility, that decisions were made for them, not with them. And so the assumption is "well, you can't make a decision for me, because you're not me, because you don't do my job, you don't see things how I see them, you don't feel what I feel, you don't know what I know, which means you're going to be missing what I actually need. And it's not going to be my journey, it's going to be your journey. And in my journey I survive,  in your journey I'm alone and I'm going to fall off the cliff."

Alex Cullimore  52:04 
And if I don't feel safe bringing that up, they're going to just live in that fear, get shut down, turn away from the change. That's why I think change management ends up getting like the idea between management and leadership. Because change management is more what you're saying where  "well, I'm going to drag people through these changes". But if you think of it more as change leadership, which is what change management is more intended to be, you are there to champion the change, and to make sure everybody can plug in and understand what their journey is going to be through this change. So they don't feel like they're behind, they're not going to actually work against the change, which can happen more often than not, but they will actually be on board, have some ownership and go chip in details that would definitely be missed, if there isn't that safety to express them. At which point you have an actual fleshed out project and way better chances of succeeding, and it will probably take a different shape than you were expecting, because there were other things happening that you didn't know about, but that are equally important. And when you can walk with those people on their journey and not shut them down in fear and have them feel like "Well, I have this part of my journey that nobody knows about, I'm gonna have to keep doing that on the side, which is now going to expand my workload. And now I'm really stressed about this change." And now you start to get angry reactions that are coming from that point of fear, but may seemingly outwardly be focused on something that has nothing to do with, it all comes much more down to feeling that fear.

Cristina Amigoni  53:24 
I always say you can't manage change. So it's, it's faulty to begin with, because nobody could have hiked up for me, I had to do it.  Change is the same way,  we can't change for people, people have to go through the change themselves. And the only way where they're actually going to embrace it and do it successfully is when they're not fearful about it if they know exactly how it's going to work. And one of those things is the visibility. And by change, we're not talking about multimillion dollar technology or process organizational changes, we're talking about daily stuff. Every day there's change. There's a reason why the mantra is change is constant, because it is every day we get a question from a customer or internally for something that we didn't expect. That's a change.  When we look at that, every day, our tasks or priorities change, because we're humans, and one of the best quotes I've seen this week is 100% of employees are human, and 100% of customers are humans. So if we don't know how to actually work with humans, we're failing no matter what we did.

Alex Cullimore  54:34 
Yeah, it was kind of funny because as we were talking about, if you think about marketing, marketing, segmentation and specific demographics and audiences your targeting, no matter what that is all encompassing no matter what you're targeting, it's humans. The humans are the ones doing it, the humans are the ones benefiting from it. The humans are the ones who will have to understand it.

Cristina Amigoni  54:52 
Yes, exactly and because humans are not zeros and ones and they don't do the same things every single time then you're in constant change.

Alex Cullimore  55:00 
No matter what it is, that's a good point too. Because when you're in constant change, if you're not addressing some of these fears, it starts to build up. And that kind of goes back to what we were saying about the pandemic lasting for so long and building that fear and changing how we interact with it. If you have enough, there's always changes. And if people are finding fear, and it's not being addressed, that can just start to snowball, you start to grow that fear. And then you start to get disengagement over time. Even if there wasn't any singular inciting incident or a few larger incidents, it's just enough small builds up that if not addressed, can carry over into something much bigger.

Cristina Amigoni  55:34 
It definitely builds up, it doesn't go away. Like we said,  you can't skip it. And it also doesn't go away.

Alex Cullimore  55:38 
So since we're humans and we will inevitably fail sometimes at these things, it's better to address them as soon as possible. And keep in mind, both when we might be reacting from fear as well as when someone else might be acting from fear. Because if we can address that, we could stay ahead of the curve and gain a whole lot of trust and a lot better relationship, and you're going to have people you want to be working with, they're going to want to be working with you. And that's when you get change agility. That's when you can actually make a lot of changes, people are just more bought into the group, they want to be there, they just want to be part of it, it barely matters what they're doing.

Cristina Amigoni  56:09 
We're not supposed to become magicians, everybody feels fears differently. Everybody deals with them differently. And so the best thing to do is to ask, it's one of the simplest way, when you see that somebody is reacting from a place of fear with whatever that 15 point cheat sheet of that is based on what they're doing and how they're responding, the best thing to do is ask them.  "How can I help here? What do you need me to do? I'm here to help you" in your state of fear not in how I would deal with fear. That's also a big misconception, if I treat them how I want to be treated when I'm in fear, they should be totally fine.

Alex Cullimore  56:52 
But we know that's not true. Because we know that we label people as some people we might see as far angrier than other people. And if we take as our base premise, that anger is based in fear, then some people are experiencing that entirely differently. And anger is not the only manifestation of fear, obviously, which is kind of the point I guess I was originally getting towards. When you have that fear or that anger, you can see that manifests in different ways, which means you're probably going to have to treat it in a lot of different ways. And make sure you understand it and assume that people will not necessarily react how you would want to react. In your case, Cristina, when you're saying that fear of being alone tends to drive it, I think that's a really good common one. And that's a good place to start. If you don't know where someone's reacting from, chances are there's some portion of it that has to do with that feeling alone and lack of belonging, that's a really good common general one. But we can all have different triggers that would launch us into fear and would have to be treated differently, like a fear of heights is going to have to be treated a little differently than a workplace argument.

Cristina Amigoni  57:49 
Yes. And I know that, like the being alone is at the base of most of my fears, or at least the solution to how I face fears is knowing that I'm not alone,  that doesn't give any indication to the people around me on how they're supposed to act, because I know, it's it's really about what do I need when I am alone. And what I may need is for somebody to just tell me that they're there, or to support me or to ask me how I'm doing, or to be next to me in silence while I'm trying to figure out how to get out of the tunnel. And so we all have a different way of looking at "well, okay, how do I help you, so that I can meet you where you are in the situation?"

Alex Cullimore  58:33 
And back to your original point, it comes down to asking, ask them how you can help. If you can't figure it out,  you can always test out if you know the way that you might deal with fear or the way that you would appreciate somebody dealing with your own fear, you can totally work on that. Give that to other people,  give the same patience or whatever you would like to see given to you, you can give that to the world. But you don't have to, you shouldn't live with the expectation that it will solve it the same way it might solve it for you and if you're lost on what to do, ask.

Cristina Amigoni  59:03 
I see it with my kids, my two sons are completely different in personalities. And when my six year old is upset, he needs to be alone. I can go in and and try to be with him and he'll throw me out of the room. And then I know that after a while I can try again. And after he's had his good 20 minutes of whatever he needs to do alone, then he'll start accepting the presence of somebody else. My older son is the opposite. My older son does not ever want to be alone. And so when he's in pain, the last thing he wants is to be sent to his room and sit there alone.

Alex Cullimore  59:39 
That's really important. That's a great example. I mean, there's obviously a lot of shared genetic material when it's both of your sons, but they can have entirely different reactions to that and the one that wants to be alone, that's a great point too, because sometimes we get hooked into the idea that well, we want to help address people's fear and even with the best of intentions, even if we're very earnest about it. We're coming out with just constantly asking somebody "How can I help? How can I help?" If that person needs just some time to process, you can end up pushing them away a little bit. And sometimes it's great just to give them a little space and say, "Hey, take the night, let's talk about this tomorrow, or let's have some time," or even allow for that. Or even better exemplify that, when you want sometimes to be like,  hey, look, I'm feeling like there's a lot of emotion charged in this, I'd like to make this decision because it's very important to whatever we're doing, this decision is so important, we need to take a little more time for it. Can we revisit this a little bit?" And start to exemplify that it's okay to ask for that space.

Cristina Amigoni  1:00:39 
And we know, there are tons of assessments out there, but those assessments actually do help, especially when we share the results. One of the things that I keep going back to is the Standout assessment and how my top strength is Creator. And that doesn't mean that I create things, well I do create things. But the definition of creator for that is that I like to understand what's under the surface, when I look at something, I'm not just gonna take it at face value, I actually have to analyze and understand what all the pieces and all the parts mean, and how it gets there, either like something that exists or something that's going to exist in the future. And so knowing that for myself, and then sharing that, it also allows for people to understand  when I have to think through things, or I'm facing something new that may be causing fear, because I don't know how to deal with it. What I need is time and information, tons of information to understand how all the pieces fit together and where the connection is.

Alex Cullimore  1:01:40 
That's a great way of putting it, that idea is great, too, because if you have different assessments, where you have different personality types, there's different things that will cause fear or not. And those will change over time. It may be something that caused you fear the first time you then dove in, understood it. And the next time you're face to face with that, you're not going to have to go through that same level of fear. And it may even go to the point where "well now this is no longer interesting." And now you have a different reaction, or you're starting to turn away from it for a different reason. So over time, our reactions can change too, especially if we're willing to face that.

Cristina Amigoni  1:02:13 
Always facing the fear.

Alex Cullimore  1:02:16 
Well, as predicted, this was definitely one of our longer ones. And I think we could probably go on for another three hours. But I think this is actually a really good breaking point for all of our topics of fear here. This is a really good summation of a great conversation. Really.

Cristina Amigoni  1:02:30 
Yes, definitely agree, and hopefully will be many more conversations on fear. I'm sure they'll come up. And it's hugely important, hugely important, that we continue to face our fears and just understand what they're telling us. What's the fear telling me? Because fear is always saying something.

Alex Cullimore  1:02:49 
Is it pushing us towards something we want? Is it making us lean away from something that we want? Is it stopping a relationship, both an internal fear of ours or an external fear from somebody else? Listening to our own fears is great, listening to other people's fears is great. All of these are very important ways to continue to live a more safe life and I don't mean safe isn't just secure, I mean, safe as in you don't feel the existential threat and the fear.

Cristina Amigoni  1:03:17 
Yes, live outside the tunnel.

Alex Cullimore  1:03:19 
Live outside the tunnel. I love that. Thank you guys so much for joining. We hope ypu join next week on Uncover the Human.

Cristina Amigoni  1:03:25 
Thank you for listening to Uncover The Human, a SIAMO podcast.

Alex Cullimore  1:03:29 
Special thanks to our Podcast Operations Wizard Jake law and our Score Creator Raechel Sherwood.

Cristina Amigoni  1:03:34 
If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.

Alex Cullimore  1:03:42 
We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas or questions. You can reach us at or on our website. WeAreSiamo on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W E A R E S I A M O

Cristina Amigoni  1:04:01  
Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others and always Uncover The Human.