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Leading With Enthusiasm with Barbara Byrne

Podcast Published On: 02.06.2019
Found In: Leadership

Episode Summary

Leading with Enthusiasm

[00:34] Welcome to another episode of Inspire People Impact Lives. Today’s topic, be enthusiastic. I’ve been looking forward to this topic for some time because I think the importance of enthusiasm is generally overlooked and undervalued while being a confident leader is important, a great leader exudes enthusiasm. To be a leader is to be about others. To be confident is to be about you. To be enthusiastic is to be about your subject. As long as you were focused on being confident, you are the focus of attention, confidence, is certain enthusiasm is creative. Confidence is serious, enthusiasm is fun. Confidence is impressive. Enthusiasm is infectious. Leading with enthusiasm will allow you to serve, inspire, and impact others.


I feel as though I’m blessed in that I have always wanted as long as I can remember to be a pediatric nurse to care for children. I never deviated from that. And so in my core, in my heart is a strong desire to take care of children, to help families deal with their child’s situation, whatever it might be, and to offer that support and my training in order to help those families see positive outcomes.

About Barbara Byrne,

Vice President of Clinical Operations at UW or University of Wisconsin, American family children’s hospital

In her role as Vice President of Clinical Operations, Barb provides overall responsibility for inpatient nursing units including the level IV NICU, the pediatric trauma program, pediatric surgical services and operating room, pediatric specialty clinics, pediatric primary clinics, Child Life services, pediatric pain and pediatric palliative care. 

Barb first joined UW Hospital and Clinics as a pediatric registered nurse in 1980. In 1989, she advanced to a role as a pediatric nurse practitioner in the teenage clinic and in 1990, began working as a pediatric nurse practitioner in pediatric hematology/oncology. 

Barb then accepted a pediatric nurse practitioner position with the Madison Metropolitan School District, but returned to UW Hospital and Clinics after three years to accept a role as clinical nurse specialist/pediatric nurse practitioner in pediatric hematology/oncology. Barb was promoted to a clinical manager role and within a year, she advanced to the director position, a role she has held for six years. 

Barb received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from UW-Oshkosh and her Master of Science in nursing degree from UW-Madison and emerged as a pediatric hematology/oncology clinical nurse specialist and pediatric nurse practitioner.  Barb received her doctor of nursing practice degree from Rush University, Chicago.

Barbara Byrne

Barbara Byrne

Vice President of Clinical Operations at UW or University of Wisconsin, American family children's hospital

Contact Barb

Episode Transcription

Introduction: 00:05 Welcome to the Inspire People Impact Lives podcast. This podcast is for people who are looking to get more out of life by making an impact on those around them. Each week we bring you local, influential business and community leaders, delivering powerful messages to help you live a more inspiring and impactful life coming to you live from Northwestern Mutual Middleton. Here’s your host, Josh Kosnick.

Josh: 00:34 Welcome to another episode of Inspire People Impact Lives. Today’s topic, be enthusiastic. I’ve been looking forward to this topic for some time because I think the importance of enthusiasm is generally overlooked and undervalued while being a confident leader is important, a great leader exudes enthusiasm. To be a leader is to be about others. To be confident is to be about you. To be enthusiastic is to be about your subject. As long as you were focused on being confident, you are the focus of attention, confidence, is certain enthusiasm is creative. Confidence is serious, enthusiasm is fun. Confidence is impressive. Enthusiasm is infectious. Leading with enthusiasm will allow you to serve, inspire, and impact others. Today I have a very special guest, someone who knows a great deal about leadership and serving others. She’s the Vice President of Clinical Operations at UW or University of Wisconsin, American family children’s hospital.

Josh: 01:33 She comes very highly recommended by our staff and colleagues. She is someone who radiates enthusiasm with all members of her organization at every level. Barb Byrne, welcome to the show. So really excited to talk to you about this part of that enthusiasm. So when I think of enthusiasm, I see it as something that is very authentic, really comes from your core or who you are. So in order to interact with people with energy care and passion, I think you have to have a strong why. So as I ask you about that, really powerful but really short word why? What’s yours?

Barbara: 02:08 So I feel as though I’m blessed in that I have always wanted as long as I can remember to be a pediatric nurse to care for children. I never deviated from that. And so in my core, in my heart is a strong desire to take care of children, to help families deal with their child’s situation, whatever it might be, and to offer that support and my training in order to help those families see positive outcomes.

Josh: 02:42 That’s awesome. So that’s what you went to school for her as well? So we talked about kids before we got on her, but not about what, schooling and all that. But yeah, that’s awesome. I got to say, my first daughter was born five weeks early, so there was a fear, you know, the nurses were prepping us, the doctors were prepping us not knowing what her size was going to be, if there’s going to be any complications. We were at Meriter at the time, but, uh, uh, they were telling us if this goes wrong, we’ll be at uw. If this is what happened, we’ll be at UW. And uh, fortunately for us there are saying fortunately it’s female because there’s more development for early based. So they’re just giving us all this info. And the nurses were so great.

Josh: 03:26 Uh, and helping us, so even more so, I mean, I think the doctors were more focused on the task at hand. Getting the baby out safe and the nurses prepping the nervous dad, which was me sitting there with my first child. Um, so the pediatric nurses and all that, I mean just, it’s phenomenal the work that you guys do. So thank you. All right. So what is your definition of enthusiasm? Because I think everyone can be different. It could be someone that’s in your face, you know, just bombastic almost if you will. But uh, why do you believe it’s so important as a leader? So I guess two part question. I’m sorry, what is your definition? Why do you think it’s important that is to you as a leader?

Barbara: 04:04 I think it’s important to say what it isn’t because some people get a little confused between enthusiasm and just always being positive and go getter. And I, I don’t believe that. I think some folks confuse enthusiasm with being Pollyanna, ish. That would not be true enthusiasm. I think enthusiasm is being able to read the situation that you’re in, being positive, but not over the top, positive, accepting the way things are, looking at where you’re headed and helping your group move in that direction and sometimes it can be humor, but sometimes humor is not appropriate. You’re dealing with a really challenging situation in your heart. You’re trying to help folks feel the importance of where we are right now and where we need to go and help the team move forward in that direction. Being real about the current situation and being authentic about it and not, you know, oh, it’s going to be fine, but really helping folks feel where they need to go.

Josh: 05:14 That’s great. So really not being fake, but authenticity is key. Really thinking about the situation. Also being cognizant of the situation where is humor needed, is humor inappropriate. Uh, that’s, that’s key. Yeah, that’s, that’s really key. So can you draw a time during your career where you’re enthusiastic nature was vital and maybe even an example, where it probably was not the right place.

Barbara: 05:41 Yeah, I think recently healthcare is going through a lot of changes and we are in a rapidly changing environment where there’s financial burdens on organizations that costs are rising and it is causing us to have to do things differently and really look at things with a leaner eye increasing our efficiency and continuing to improve patient outcomes but through a different lens than what we’ve had in the past. That can be a struggle because it’s change and whether change is for the good or for the bad. It is change and folks have a, generally all of us have a hard time with change and so for me now it’s really leaning into that change feeling in my heart what is continuing to feel about what is our vision here and how? How do we keep folks moving towards that vision through really hard times and you know, those are times that I don’t come out saying, oh, this is great.

Barbara: 06:47 We’re going through another change because that’s not appropriate. It really is meeting the team where they are. Helping them understand the why of what we’re doing and that we have a really important mission to fulfill and that we’re in this together and we have to accomplish this together and saying, I appreciate that. You know, change can be really hard, but then we still have to do what we need to do and help folks along. On the other hand, there are other times, even within this very challenging time, there’s times when it’s really appropriate to have a sense of humor. So for example, we went out to our different teams with what’s called a safety cart where we have this wheel that the staff are able to turn and then we ask a question and then they win a chocolate or something like that. So I went out with my quality colleague and we went to the different units and we.

Barbara: 07:42 It was fun and funny as the teams were working on trying to answer the questions and some of the questions are truly about safety. Other things were about, for example, the badgers. And so we were able to mix it up that way and get staff engaged and have fun with it and we went to all different types of people, whether it was the valet who parks the cars or the person who’s the greeter at the front desk or security or our staff, our nursing unit staff. So, and just had a really fun time and that was at a time when, you know, there’s a lot of stress in the air, but we were still able to have a good time

Josh: 08:23 So that’s funny that you bring that up because I heard about this wheel prior to the show because we have a wheel. Chad was telling me about wheel you have and one of the questions that we have on there, maybe it’s not even a question it’s a demand to tell us. Tell us something unique about yourself. So we add stuff like that on there. But it’s usually to breakup training, get some excitement back in the room when we’ve been sitting behind closed doors for an hour or two or something of that nature.

Barbara: 08:51 The other thing that we. One of our last question that we just asked generically to whoever happens to be in the room is what do you do everyday to help keep children safe? And that could be the guest depot person, right? And so, you know, they, some folks have had a pause for a moment and really think about what is it that I do? And it was really interesting to hear folks come up with, well, if I see that I have, if somebody is at my desk and I see that they brought other children with them and the kids are running around, I remind them to not run because they could fall and get hurt, you know? And it’s like it’s helping people realize we all, we all have a job here in helping to keep children and family safe in our environment. So that’s how we have ours.

Josh: 09:43 Exprets say that you are the average of the five people you hang out with and the books that you read. We’d like to suggest the podcast that you listen to as well. So hit that subscribe button and add Madison’s top leaders to your circle. We’d also encourage you to share this podcast with as many friends as possible. Our mission is simple to inspire people and impact lives. If you know of a friend or colleague that could benefit from listening to some of Madison’s top leaders, give us a share. Now, back to our guest.

Josh: 10:12 Oh, that’s awesome. You know what’s so cool about that is that it really gets from, you know, Vice President level down to someone that’s valet at the hospital, brought into the mission. Right?

Barbara: 10:24 Right, right. Our goal is to be one of the highest quality, safest children’s hospital in the nation and to be a model the delivery of patient and family centered care. That is our vision and also for me, my feeling in my heart when I run into different types of people. Every person that I am looking at, I truly believe that you are an essential member of this team. Whatever your job is, because we could not do our job without you. And I feel that in my heart, you know, that’s, that’s what makes the job fun is like how can you help other people feel the importance of their own jobs.

Josh: 11:09 That’s, that’s key. And that’s why you come so highly recommended to us from your, from your staff. So that’s great. And one of the ways that I’ve experienced that personally from your hospital is the safety center. My wife and I have gone there for every car seat. We’ve gone there for window treatment stuff. I don’t remember. And I’m sure she could, if she was here with us, she could tell us what else we bought there. The fact that you guys provide that as a resource that the people that are knowledgeable, they’ll even help me get as a new father. I remember taking my newborn daughter home and I was like, I asked the nurses I was like, wait are you coming with me to help?

Josh: 11:54 That would be nice. But no, I was more concerned did I have the car seat in right. I was like, I was like, I had no idea that those things are like, they’re heavy duty. They’re not easy. I end up sweating every time I take in or out a car seat out of the car and now I have four kids and it’s, it’s, it’s a mess. So and they’re all in car seats right now. But um, but that, that safety center and selling everything that if I’m correct on this it’s at cost, right? So you guys don’t make a penny.

Barbara: 12:21 Yeah, they are. Yeah. It’s a really good deal. The safety center is, but they have staff that are trained to do that work. And um, the day that we were taking the safety, wheel around. Actually I had a meeting with the team that’s involved with um, child advocacy, which includes the safety center and, and all of the team members that helped to prevent injury to children. I took the wheel into the meeting and I said, hey, you know, we’re going to do this wheel. And, and they played a little bit and then I said, so how do you each contribute to helping to keep children safe? And they sort of all in unison started laughing at me like, oh, are you kidding me? This is our job. So that staff in particular, they actually are also out in the community helping with schools a lot around safety and schools, prevention of childhood obesity. So we have teams that are out of the American Family Children’s Hospital to support children’s health. So it’s an excellent team of people.

Josh: 13:22 Yeah. Every time I’d been in there, which is more times than I can count on and I’m sure my wife has been there more than I they’ve been extremely helpful. And I did go to see them after I got my first daughter home to make sure that it was in properly. They gave me a couple of tweaks but overall I did an alright job.

Barbara: 13:39 Well, my son has a one year old and they’re still wearing the apnea monitor. He’s like we just can’t get it off. I’m like, take it off. That’s enough.

Josh: 13:50 Yeah. my second child actually there’s a commercial out there about that it’s like the mom that’s all concerned about what they’re gonna leave at the house and by the second child that grabbed the diaper off and a handful of cheerios and leave the door. That’s a first time parent as your son’s going through right now. More concerned that you’re like, okay, I got this and they’re more durable than we thought. So. All right. So back on topic a little bit we put in here about Dale Carnegie. He wrote this book called Think and Grow Rich, famous, famous book. Um, it’s been around since I believe the 19 twenties. It was one of the most, uh, it’s been documented as one of the most influential books. It was one of the first books I read on the topic of success, but he said in there if you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic, what do you say to that?

Barbara: 14:44 Well, that’s interesting. Act, right? I don’t act enthusiastic. I feel like that’s got to be in your heart. Like you have to have a passion for what you’re doing and then it’s not an act. It is, it just, it comes out in, um, in how you interact with folks and, and how the work that you’re doing, how you do that work, how you go about that work. It comes out in conversations that you’re having with team members or individuals and so it doesn’t feel like an act. It is genuine for who to who you are. And so, um, I would have a little hard time with the word act.

Josh: 15:25 Yeah. No, I could see how you could say that, but do you feel like it comes more naturally to some than it does to others? Like the kind of exuding enthusiasm.

Barbara: 15:35 I work with a lot of people around the care of children that have a passion for caring for children and in some ways that might be unique to pediatric care that there are more folks that are really, that’s their passion in life for those individuals that I work with. It feels to me like it is more of a natural inclination to exude enthusiasm around what they’re doing or they don’t tend to stay in the field because you have to find joy in this work. It’s hard work. A lot of our jobs are hard work and you have to find joy in that or and find the joy in that that you’re providing in this, in, in this case for us, you’re providing support to families and children regardless of outcome for that family or child. And that you’re giving something to them, you know, for some situations where there’s not going to be a cure that the child is going to be able to survive this situation. It’s being able to enter into that situation and really help the family through that because you’ve got a particular skill that will help to support that family and that child so that every moment counts for that family. That’s, you know, so you have to, you have to have a, you have to find your niche in that. If you don’t have the spark to carry you through those times, then you don’t, you just simply don’t last in that career.

Josh: 17:19 Yeah. I can imagine. I don’t know that I could make it in that career because I have a hard time when my kids are sick just with a cold let alone anything else. So thinking about that, because we didn’t talk about your, um, career path besides how long have you been with UW and whatnot, but was it a hard decision? And I’m doing some assuming here, so correct me if I’m wrong. Was it a hard decision for you to leave the hands on practice of being a pediatric nurse to going into leadership?

Barbara: 17:47 Oh, that’s really an interesting question. I did. I transitioned over time, to different positions always within pediatric nursing. I took joy in every position I had. So I went from a bedside nurse to get my master’s degree and I became a nurse practitioner and a clinical nurse specialist and I specialized in the care of children with cancer and blood disorders and I loved it and I learned so much about working within an interprofessional team and how you maximize the efforts of every team member to help a family through a very, very challenging time. And that was. I loved that, that position, and I had that for years and then I needed to leave the organization for a few years. My family was, well, I had an adolescent son at the time that was very demanding of my time or he was going to be very naughty without me being present around a little bit more and I just needed to get a different perspective on life for a while.

Barbara: 18:51 I could feel my soul was a little bit on the low side and a lot of energy was going out, you know, to keep, keep family going in a good direction, a balance. I needed a better balance for a while. The school district had a position open and I went into the school district for three years and I loved that. It was a very different perspective on how do you use a different team of people to surround a child in a different environment, help that child succeed in an academic world from a medical perspective and then helping the teachers and counselors and social workers and I learned so much about our community setting. So then when I went back to the university hospital, it was definitely with a different perspective for families and learning about what it is that those families go through in the community setting, which was an eyeopener to me because, you know, if you only work in the hospital, you do not completely understand the challenges that families have in the community setting.

Barbara: 19:54 So that changed how I thought about nursing and what we provide to families in the hospital. And then came back, I focused more, um, as a nurse practitioner and a clinical nurse specialist again. And then I moved into management and ’07 because I thought I really want to make a difference for the nursing staff and team members that support children in a different way. And so I went into management in ’07 and then progressed. I went back to get my doctorate degree in healthcare systems and administration and you know, just sort of progressed over the years and followed my heart for what made most sense for me and where I was at with professionally and what my goals were. They just sort of evolved over time. Each job I’ve had always within pediatrics, I’ve completely enjoyed now, not all the time. I don’t enjoy it all the time, but you know the different things I’ve learned. I’ve been really, fortunate to have a career that allows me to do that.

Josh: 21:04 Does your enthusiasm stay the same at home as it does that work?

Barbara: 21:09 Well, you should ask my husband. He would say not always. I focus. I am trying really hard and I become more mindful about this and and realizing as I’ve matured in my career that I, I used to take my work home a lot and not be able to kind of cut it off. I would just carry it with me and I’ve come to learn over the years the importance of compartmentalizing that and so when I’m at work, I’m present at work. I don’t try to carry burdens from, you know, other things going on because we all have burdens, right? I don’t carry them into the workplace. I try to keep those when I get in my car and I’m going to work. I start focusing on, um, you know, some mindful moments on the way into work so that I recenter myself and now I’m going into the workplace and I start thinking about work and I’m going to work.

Barbara: 22:08 I keep it there and then when I go home at the end of my workday, I again, when I get into the car I take another breath and just sort of let that go and go home and have a lovely home experience and if I get called because something is needed, I’m able to kind of pop out of that life for a moment, answer the call and then I go back in to my, my personal life. I don’t mind being called, that’s part of my job, but I really do try to compartmentalize so that I don’t just keep, both worlds colliding with each other.

Josh: 22:45 So I think what you just went through, there is a developed skill.

Barbara: 22:49 Yup. Definitely.

Josh: 22:51 Could you describe for the listeners that may not be so good at this yet? Uh, what you mean by mindful moment?

Barbara: 22:57 Oh sure. So, um, I took a course and stress reduction through mindfulness a couple of years ago through the UW and that’s where I came to more appreciate the need to take a breath and stay in the moment like stay in the moment, not carry a lot of baggage with you. So don’t carry all this story with you. Don’t be thinking too far ahead, but just stay in the moment. The only thing that’s real in the moment is your breath. So really grounding yourself again, by just taking a breath, we all, our minds always wander. That’s normal for a mind to wander. But too, when you realize your mind is wandering to come back to the breath and just pay really close attention to the breath, to your body. Are you tense, you know, is your face tense, your arms tense and just, you know, reminding yourself to relax and you have to work at that to kind of retrain your brain, to have that more mindful approach to life. And I am for sure, not perfect at it, but I am, I am. I more quickly realize when I’m escalating my thought or thinking too far ahead or behind, I catch it earlier so that I take a breath and come back to the moment that has been. That was an eyeopener for me to learn how much my mind goes ahead and to be able to kind of settle it back down again. That was, it was really an interesting course to learn that.

Josh: 24:33 Is that open to the public?

Barbara: 24:35 Yeah. UW health you can look at integrative medicine and the wellness program and they have that coursework out there.

Josh: 24:41 I think that’s really good because a lot of people struggle with mental health and they struggle with a kind of shame and guilt. So, uh, you know, there and I know and I’ve heard from so many moms and I told you a little story about my wife and her, you know, shame or guilt about, about should we get a sitter, a nanny or whatever, feeling like she’s filling in her job, but she’s not. So the biggest thing I say with that is take those courses, take the time to spend, read the books and watched Brenae Brown videos. Just do this stuff to take the time and learn that skill because it’s so helpful. I think that’s where you get back to um, I remember we were talking about Dale Carnegie and act enthusiastic as you were saying this. I was like, I think that’s where he was going. There’s how we are, you know, as a leader, the people that are following us are going to mirror our energy. So if you’re not mindful and you come in stressed because you got into a dumb argument at home that, you realize now in the moment that it was dumb and now you’re carrying this weight into the workplace and people can feel that when you’re trying to be this one way and lead and say this and they’re like, something’s off.

Barbara: 25:56 Yeah. And I think that concept of, having compassion for yourself is really important and recognition when you are a little bit off balance and then take the time back for yourself. And I don’t mean taking off of work necessarily, but vacations are important, but just, you know, whether it be exercising or eating right or sleeping, those are things that are important to help keep your energy up. And also for me it was my spiritual connectedness. Also if I feel like I’m kind of straying from that, you know, that it’s just I have to keep things in balance, but I’m also not too hard on myself if I can’t get to the gym or I, I’ve blown it for a week and eating food that is not particularly healthy for me. I don’t beat myself up. I just accept, okay, this, this was a difficult time and I cracked. I go back into I, you know, my balancing mode. So I think that’s really important.

Josh: 27:02 The other thing that I think that’s really important about mindfulness as you’re saying that, I was thinking about a phrase I was taught by one of my mentors “be where your feet are” and that’s really hard in today’s world where we got information flying at us, our phones, computers, calls at any different moment to be present. So I try to remember that by the way, I am not perfect at this either to go home and make sure I have the same energy at home, that I just spent eight hours, nine hours, 10 hours sometimes here at the office because my kids need me then I’m not perfect at that and I try to be mindful for all that time. But that’s the thought. That little phrase goes through my head when I get a text or an email from work that needs me, I got to be where my feet are, my kids need me right now or my wife needs me. And then at the office, same thing. They’re setting some boundaries there as well. Uh, so that was harder when we were going through pregnancies. I needed to have my phone so that if I needed to leave right away. But now that we’re out of that is like if she’s just texting or calling to say hi or whatever, that’s, that’s harder for me. So we got to set some boundaries thee too. So that’s good. So, um, aside from the effects being enthusiastic has on others, what effects can being enthusiastic have for you personally?

Barbara: 28:27 I feel as though just in general, I feed off of creative energy. I find joy when I’m able to facilitate groups and moving forward on something and maybe they were groups that originally started off maybe not on the same page at all and maybe there was some conflict going on between the groups, bringing the team together and helping the team focus on what our overall goal is, regardless of the differences that there might be. And then helping to get the group moving forward and doing brainstorming together and getting the group headed in the same direction and energized around our goals. That helps me also just feeds me.

Josh: 29:19 Alright, so you’re just bringing in the team again. I had another thought that came to mind. So let’s say there’s someone on the team that’s an energy vampire. Maybe you’ve not heard that phrase before. So John Gordon wrote the Energy Bus, which was a great, great book. He has a bunch of team building books that we’ve, uh adapted and read but a energy vampire was his phrase that he used in there. And so let’s say you have someone in there that doesn’t agree with the direction, and enthusiam that you have, how do you go about getting them out if they’re a crucial member of the team, you need them to buy into the direction you’re trying to move on. How do you go about that?

Barbara: 30:04 In a situation like that If we’re doing team work in the moment, I try as tactfully as possible to without calling the individual out, but to just remind folks on where, what the goal is of this particular meeting or project, what our goal is, if it continues, um, where there is negativity and we’re not moving to, it’s a barrier or a challenge, I will say, um, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about that after. And so I’ll just kind of put it in the parking lot in order to keep the whole group moving forward. Then I, um, then I would talk with the individual about where we’re trying to get to, what the, what their feeling are there barriers and challenges with this, help them really see we have to move in this direction and how, if it, if it comes to this part of the discussion, it’s how those behaviors are bringing the whole team down. And so, um, as thoughtfully as possible, pointing out the behaviors that are really obstructing the whole team moving forward and how one person’s attitudes and behaviors can really have a negative effect on an entire team and process. And are you able to rise above this moment and help us achieve the goals or not?

Josh: 31:35 That’s really good. Are there any questions that our audience can start asking themselves on their path to becoming more enthusiastic?

Barbara: 31:44 I think something that is important to reflect on in your workplace is being able to link your work with what are you trying to achieve in that job? What is the purpose of your job? And trying to link it to the customer or trying to link it to something that, that resonates with you. So that when you go into work every day, you really feel a purpose for your job. And then also, this was an exercise we did, um, when I was getting my doctorate degree, one of the last exercises, which was hard to do because it was the absolute last paper that we had to write and was like, oh my gosh, I just want to be done. But it was really an interesting question. We were asked to reflect on why we are where we are right now. So what brought you to this career?

Barbara: 32:39 Why are you now in this leadership position? Because most of the team members are, most of our, most of the folks going through a doctorate program are leaders in either they’re either clinical leaders or their administrative leaders or business leaders. So why are you a leader? That was an interesting exercise because I was able to think about over time from my childhood on over time what led me to where I am now. The final comment on the paper that the instructor had given us was, it is important for you as you travel through your life because there are going to be ups and downs in your professional career that you take this paper out and reflect on it. And I was, you know, it was just, it was a really good exercise to help ground you and help remind you because we don’t do enough self reflection. Like why we are where we are today. We don’t take the time to do that. But that was, you know, that was about 10 hours worth of work of really, for the writing part of reflecting on the journey that I was on and I, I gave this exercise to some other, um, some of our team members because I thought it was so good and they too are like, oh my gosh, this is really a good set of questions to ask.

Josh: 34:03 No, that’s really good. And Yeah, as you say that, self reflecting piece as to like why we are, why we are where we are or what position we’re in or whatever. I think that people just don’t self reflective and journal, but like even an emotion like why am I feeling the way I’m feeling right now and does that have any merit? Or doing some just deep thought into it versus just going through the motions or attaching your emotions to a passing thought that you had. Like we were talking about that mindfulness is that thought, even hold any relevance within my life.

Barbara: 34:36 It’s just a story, right? It’s a story you’re telling yourself and it’s not a true story. You’re putting a lot of pieces together for something that you’re spending a lot of wasted energy, I would say, in, in defending or thinking about or passing judgment or whatever it is we do that’s wasted energy because it’s. It’s not. It’s not the truth. The truth is in the moment, so your perception coming into that moment and your perception ahead of that moment, but your perception could be totally wrong. So, so it really is more important to think about the moment and not allow yourself to deviate off and come into things with all of this judgment and oh my gosh, I’m so worried because I know this person’s going to think this way and that way just stop, take a breath

Josh: 35:23 It’s all the what ifs or what ifs and retrospect, but also then I know even sometimes I’ll catch myself like this, you know, where in the cell phone age. So you know, my parents back in the day couldn’t necessarily call each other, right. Well, you know, Jenna can call me now or and say hey, I’m on my way home. So like if I don’t get an immediate response I’m like, oh my gosh is she in an accident, are the kids ok, is she, am I going to get a call that’s totally flipped my life upside down and I got to go, wait a second. That’s not even come on. Like, could that be true? Possibly. But if I spend my energy on that right now, like what is it gonna do to me, I’m going to drive myself batty. So you’re absolutely right on that. So it was very good.

Josh: 36:04 Another couple of questions I had here that were just to help the audience on when I asked you about, for people to start thinking about themselves on a path to enthusiasm, a couple of things that we put down as just thought work. What do you care deeply about, uh, when have you come alive and had this like excited feeling and what do you want to see change or how do you continue to be enthusiastic when you’re having an off day or feeling low energy? Those are things that people can go and think about. And I love the question that, um, what was it a professor or teacher or our professor, asked her at the very end, like, why? Why did you want to become a leader? Because I think a lot of people, there could be great leaders in our community and they just don’t even see themselves as leaders, but like everyone can be a leader in some fashion. Like what are you passionate about and what can you rally the troops to? It doesn’t have to be at your job, it could be at a food pantry, it could be with kids in some sort of fashion to help them musically or athletically or whatever it may be. It’s just anyone can lead is what do you find that passion in?

Barbara: 37:09 Yep. I think it’s passion. And then I think it’s um, you know, seeking out resources as you’re going along your journey and who are your mentors and you know, for most of us that are in leadership, we’ve had many different leaders that we’ve experienced, bosses that we’ve experienced over the years and every one of them has their strengths and their weaknesses. So to, as you travel through your journey, to take the strengths from those leaders that you really thought, you know, those strengths were really outstanding strengths. Think about, do you incorporate those? How do you incorporate those strengths into your own leadership style? And then those things that are weaknesses that you’ve noticed, how can you not, how can you learn from that other individual’s weaknesses? And clearly I’m sure people are looking at my style and role and thinking about, oh Barb’s strengths were this, this and this, but clearly I’ve got opportunities to learn everyday too, so, you know, hopefully folks are learning from my missteps or my opportunities and that they are learning from that as well and I’m hoping they’re sharing those with me as we go through our journey together. But in any case, I think that’s important to have a mentor or mentors that you respect and that you’re able to dialogue with and learn from.

Josh: 38:37 That’s awesome. And so if anyone on Barb’s team is listening, she’s open to feedback.

Barbara: 38:42 I think they give it to me.

Josh: 38:45 I mean, you’re open to it and most people can tell when a leader is open to feedback and not open to feedback, it’s one of those things where there are some leaders that aren’t and that usually comes from a spot of insecurity. And that’s one of those things where as we talked about our weaknesses, like you can learn from that. So I, I had one, one thought as you’re kind of going along here and I was wanting to insert it somewhere. Is there a way that you speak to men versus women differently as you lead? Because I’m thinking some men grow up in a environment where, uh, let’s say they’re an athlete and they’re used to a coach just, just, you know, pounding their fists, screaming, and that was their enthusiasm really loud in your face and, and just getting to know you a little bit today that doesn’t seem like you. So if they grew up in that and they’re like, oh, well barge, not that enthusiastic. So I was just thinking that this may or may not have any merit, but I don’t know if you, if you try to motivate or lead men or women any differently or is it just kinda all the same to you.

Barbara: 39:48 I honestly don’t think I differ in how I’m leading groups of men or women and I, I am definitely part of discussions where it’s primarily men because I might be, well I won’t stereotype, but it could be a group of primarily men, I think the common language we all speak is the goal, you know, and um, the goal being we want best for us, it’s best care for children and leading with that goal in mind and reminding folks at when I know I’m going into a meeting, whatever it might be, if I know there’s gonna be a lot of potential tension in the air, I really do lead with, do we have a common goal and get to a common denominator before we even begin the discussion so that, that sort of cuts through a lot of nonsense or pasturing any motion because we’re all in this together.

Barbara: 40:50 And so it’s trying to find where’s the common ground that we’re all headed towards and then begin there. That has been very effective in just not allowing all this chaos around you to kind of or emotion to kind of get in the way. And I stay very focused in those meetings so that if it starts getting a little unbalanced, a little strange and I’ll just kind of, I’ll continue to keep, keep us then moving forward. And that takes time to develop that skill. It’s a little bit of feel and finesse on how you don’t disregard individual’s comments, but you weave it back into the goal of the meeting. In order to keep things moving and, help people feel respected in their decisions. I also don’t get worked up when there is some emotion. I practice mindfulness at those points in time and really think about are my arms relaxed and you know, as my jaw relaxed and like maintaining eye contact with you and just breathing and are my feet on the ground to just keep myself settled so that I don’t allow all of the emotion to just infiltrate because I do not want to lose focus as we’re trying to get where we need to.

Josh: 42:13 That’s a really key point that you touched her. The very end there is the emotional that as a leader like staying grounded, uh, one of the greatest books I read is Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I think getting to know your own emotions, getting to have a larger vocabulary of emotions and on that EQ versus IQ scale has been such a, a asset for me as a leader. Understanding that there’s more than just a few basic emotions that you can be frustrated, not angry, you can be elated, not just joyful. I mean there’s certain emotions that you and identifying those and if you can remain in control, you can help others better control, you can kind of bring it back and center. Or if you sense that they need the space for a moment or just time you just let it go. Right. Just being mindful of where they’re at.

Barbara: 43:07 And being able to put the words to it and to be able to say, let’s take a break. Or would you like to take a break right now? And we can meet again tomorrow. You know, whatever it might be, but put words to it if it’s, if you can’t get it back.

Josh: 43:23 No, that’s, that’s really good. So kind of wrapping up here, I want to be mindful of your time. What, uh, what is a good book you’re either reading now or any book that, uh, you know, and obviously any book it doesn’t have to be to today’s topic, but what, what do you got for the audiance?

Barbara: 43:38 So I have two bucks that I’m reading, um, one is for work and it’s um, the authors Cy Wakeman and it’s a book called No Ego. It is to decrease the drama that goes on in the workplace. That’s interesting. She’s got youtube videos, also. Cy Wakeman, No Ego. And I think it just came out in 2017, maybe even 2018, but she and she’s got the youtube videos that, that she also does talks on, but her approach some, some things in her approach, a little bit harsh, but basically it’s really how do you cut the drama in the workplace? And it’s that storytelling, you know, that just has a life of its own. And so how do individual members of the team to cut their drama and how do you as a leader recognize that you have your own little drama going on from time to time and ever? I’m just starting to read that book and I identify like, Oh, I’ve got a little. I’m making a little drama right now. So, um, so that’s interesting. So there’ll be more to come on that as we work through that book. And when I say we, there are several leaders at the organization reading that book right now.

Josh: 44:55 Before you move to the next one, I’m wanna ask you how you guys go about that since it’s a workplace thing. Do you guys do a book club? Do you give each other a certain amount of time and then reconvene?

Barbara: 45:05 Yeah. So, um, this book was given to us at one of our workday sessions, so, um, periodically the leadership gets together to review the strategic plan and where are we going as a, as a group. And so we worked together that way, but this book was given there and then every week our, one of our quality leaders who is leading this book sends out to us a youtube video to watch for the week with some reflective questions based on the chapters . I think I’m up to chapter five now. I’m a little behind, but so that’s how they’re managing that right now in the workplace. And then I know a couple of our managers did book club together on the book, so they met at work over lunch to talk about the chapter, so that’s how they’re handling that.

Josh: 45:57 That’s good. I’d like to hear other people’s processes with how they share them and I’m sure others might as well.

Barbara: 46:03 Okay. So my goal this year in as the new year approaches, I start thinking about what is it that I want to do this year for myself. Last year’s goals were to read more for fun because I don’t necessarily enjoy reading for fun, but, I wanted to do that this year. My second one was for me to learn to knit, so I learned to knit. I knit an Afghan and now I’m on my second Afghan, so I met that goal. I do enjoy it. I joined a book club, a Social Book Club with some work colleagues. We were out one night and was right after I made that goal and we were out after work and somebody said, hey, let’s have a book club like the seven of us. And I’m like, no, I don’t want to do it. And they’re like, come on, let’s do it. So I joined the book club but um, it’s actually been a really good experience.

Barbara: 47:01 We, um, whatever book is selected by the person who we rotate, whoever collects the book, does the book club and we all have to read that book regardless of whether you want to or not. So, um, it’s been an eclectic group of books that we’ve read so far. And right now I’m reading Dina’s story and I, I’m only in chapter three. My Book Club is due in three weeks from now, so I have a lot of reading to do. That was one of our colleagues that is part of the book club is from, she’s Norwegian and this is a story about a young Norwegian woman way back in the old age and how strong of a warrior type woman she was. So I was like, okay, so it’s kind of a thicker book, so it’s gonna take me a longer time to get through. I’ve got some work ahead of me. Exactly.

Josh: 47:53 That’s fun. That’s fun. So any parting words on being enthusiastic for audience?

Barbara: 48:00 No, not really parting words. I think, you know, when you think about your enthusiasm, and I’ve said it repeatedly through this, um, discussion, it really is getting, just keeping grounded and staying pure to what you, why you’re doing what you’re doing and what impact do you want to have and helping your team achieve that and that if you have a passion for what you’re doing and can touch on that passion when things are really rough, which they always, I mean they are, they are for us all that are in leadership. It’s not all, you know, enthusiastic worthy. You know, it’s like you’ve got to generate it yourself. And I think just getting back to the passion of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it is really important.

Josh: 48:49 Sounds great. And Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People says begin with the end in mind. That’s great advice. So how can our audience get ahold of you if need be?

Barbara: 48:59 At the site. You can put my name in Barb Byrne. You can locate me through that.

Josh: 49:07 Perfect. Well, thank you so much. Really enjoyed the conversation today.

Barbara: 49:10 Yeah, it was a pleasure meeting you and being part of this. Thank you.

Josh: 49:14 Thank you

Josh: 49:17 Thanks for listening to another episode of Inspire People Impact Lives. If you’ve been inspired today, please share this episode with as many people as possible so that together our impact is exponential.


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