Coach and author Kristoffer (“KC”) Carter joins the program to discuss his 4 permissions for leaders. Discover how to get hard-driving leaders to slow down and pay more attention to their feelings. You’ll also hear about the benefits of a spiritual approach to leadership, and the connections between yoga and leadership.
Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:
Doug Foresta: Welcome to The Will to Change. This is Doug Foresta. Of course, I’m here with Jennifer Brown. Before we get into today’s episode, Jennifer, I want to make sure that the audience knows that there is a new DEI foundation cohort coming up. Is that correct?
Jennifer Brown: Yeah. Thanks, Doug. I’m excited to announce our next cohort. So we run this about four times a year. So the next cohort is June 29th and it lasts six weeks. It is an asynchronous and synchronous program meaning, it took me a while to understand what that meant, asynchronous means that it is self-paced. So we have prepared and made a big investment in uploading resources for you to absorb on your own time, in your own time, and your own pace, but there is a synchronous element to the course meaning that there are assignments and, yes, homework that is graded by our faculty, and then there’s weekly calls on Fridays where everybody gets together to unpack what we’ve been working on on our own. So that’s the synchronous part, which means the live instructor part.
Jennifer Brown: So it’s this wonderful blend. I think it’s a best practice in terms of attending to different learning styles, but I would think about if you want to start this cohort, maybe the summertime is a great time of year to make that investment in yourself and to spend that deep dive time into your own role, your own story, your own perhaps starting to think about what kind of work you want to do, what kind of contribution you want to make to the DEI space. I mean, it’s called foundations because it is meant to be a foundational program. Then we will be adding on and offering a level two and eventually a level three on top of this foundational program, which would be for people who are moving into having the responsibility for DEI in a given organization.
Jennifer Brown: So the foundations program, though, is something that I feel should be required and it’s a prerequisite before folks progress onto the next conversation, which is much more I think about building a strategy, what are the best practices around strategic pillars, and measurements, and metrics, and focus areas for strategies. That is much more applied. I think this foundations program is that, like I said, that personal deep dive, the investigation into our iceberg, what’s under our waterline, what do we hide or bring to the fore, what has shaped us in our lives.
Jennifer Brown: When I think about my storytelling and my journey with what’s under my waterline, I think about investigating being LGBTQ, for example, but then doing the work around it has formed and shaped so many attributes in me that I’m so proud of today, and that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been challenged by the world, challenged around who I am and how I identify.
Jennifer Brown: So I think it’s worthy for all of us to spend this time and give ourselves this gift to sit with our story, sit with our diversity dimensions, do that in a community, in a cohort that is also working on that where it’s a very, very safe and brave space, and then have that space also be held by our expert faculty who have been around the block when it comes to this stuff.
Jennifer Brown: So I know that it gets rave reviews, this program, and we actually have a special discount code, Doug, for podcast listeners. So if you want to know more about the program, go to jenniferbrownconsulting.com and you will see this at the very, very top of the page. To learn more, you can read about the ROI and the kinds of learning objectives that we will be covering. There’s a registration link and then there is a discount for podcast listeners. You only need to enter the code PODCAST, all capitals, PODCAST, to get 20% off of the program fee.
Jennifer Brown: So please consider joining us. We’d love to have you. I hope the timing works. Maybe it works beautifully because I hope for all us we get a little bit of a break this summer because that’s what summers are for. Right, Doug?
Doug Foresta: That is true.
Jennifer Brown: Ideally, but we just work way too hard. So think about this as a treat to give yourself, an investment in your current and future inclusive leader self and also perhaps you’ll end up doing this work someday and this is a really critical piece to your toolkit. So go visit Jennifer Brown Consulting. Look at DEI foundations and if you decide to enroll, use PODCAST for 20% off.
KC Carter: Permission to glow in the dark is the main reason why most people hire a coach because on the surface they think it’s like the ’80s personal development I grew up. I’m going to self-actualize with witnesses. I’m going to wear a fierce pantsuits. Everyone’s going to think I’m a powerful baller and leader. That’s great. Permission to glow in the dark is all those things. It’s power, it’s audacity, but in writing the book, what I had to really confront is the relationship, the dance with the darkness.
KC Carter: The darkness is something we all have and it comes at the macro level through a lot of the things that we’re living through that we mentioned, but also our own personal fears and stories of the things we tell ourselves and stepping out of that, looking at our relationship to our own darkness and stepping out anyway, throwing the switch anyway, doing the audacious thing anyway. That’s where we find our power.
Doug Foresta: Everyone has a diversity story even those you don’t expect. Welcome to The Will to Change with Jennifer Brown. Get ready to hear from leading CEOs, bestselling authors and entrepreneurs as we uncover their true stories of diversity and inclusion. Now, here’s your host, Jennifer Brown.
Doug Foresta: Hello and welcome back to The Will to Change. This is Doug Foresta. This episode that you’re going to hear is an original recorded for The Will to Change. It features a conversation between Jennifer Brown and KC Carter as they discuss KC’s four permissions for leaders and you’ll learn what those four permissions are. They talk about the benefits of a spiritual approach to leadership and how that spiritual approach impacts the bottom line of a business, all that and more. Now, onto the episode.
Jennifer Brown: KC, welcome to The Will to Change.
KC Carter: It’s so good to be here with you, Jennifer. It’s so good.
Jennifer Brown: Good. So good and congrats on your upcoming book in October, Permission to Glow: A Spiritual Guide to Epic Leadership. You and I, we met and it was like I’ve known you for my whole life.
KC Carter: Yeah. Absolutely. What great literally divine timing that I met you.
Jennifer Brown: I think my earliest recollection of us together, KC, was at Wisdom 2.0, which is a great conf for anybody that listens to The Will to Change that doesn’t know. I hope it’s coming back in-person. Maybe it’s been virtual, but it’s this conference that I try to go to. KC, you live in this I think a more spiritual conversation about the work, and I live on this other side, which doesn’t want to have that conversation, but I want to have that conversation. So I find my way to conferences where I can tap into that and be seeing things through a different lens, but, fundamentally, so much of what you and I share, our Venn diagram is, is this deepening of our self-awareness, our work, our journey, our consciousness, bringing consciousness to others in a system that I think actively discourages all of that. I mean, that’s probably putting it mildly, right?
KC Carter: Well, this is why I always had so much respect for you and your work is that I do believe your work is spiritual medicine and a spiritual conversation about consciousness, and it’s delivered in this badass Trojan horse and a powerful businesswoman who’s not afraid to have those conversations with powerful business people who need people like them to give them the medicine. It’s the same thing I do in executive coaching and just trying to have some positive influence on the consciousness of leaders or the organization.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah. I mean, so back up and acquaint our audience with how you became passionate about this and how it feels. You’ve always had fuel to you. I mean, you burn really bright. You’re an incandescent human, but I’m sure that the work that went into that, the stripping away, the peeling of the onion, the getting down to the fundamentals, the getting in touch with the soul, and also wrestling with the demons that are with us until we banish them, and I know that work continues, but tell us your own evolution to being able to feel so aligned at this point in your life, which is how I’ve witnessed you.
KC Carter: I really appreciate that. Well, I mean, the work continues. I’ll start by saying that. It’s literally ever present. I think we start off early on our path just trying to become people that we would want to spend any time with, and let alone trying to become some sort of an example or positive influence on others. I was a performer as a kid. I toured as a bass player in ska bands, playing upwards of 250 or 300 shows a year many times without showers between those shows.
KC Carter: I had this great opportunity when I was 19 to join my favorite band, and I was terrified of them. I was so enamored like they were my heroes that once I was in the band, it was very surreal. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. They were amazing comedians and musicians, and I had to learn something like 40 songs in a few days and start going on tour.
KC Carter: So it was a learning curve, right? Part of that was learning like, “Wow! They’re actually really dysfunctional, and they party all the time, and they’re always late to gigs,” and it was just like having this whole-
Jennifer Brown: Life skill.
KC Carter: Exactly. Yeah. To this day when I work on team dynamics and culture, I take it back to rock bands. There’s just a difference between a culture of a band like say U2 or the band Rush and there is bands like the Oasis, The Gallagher Brothers. People in small groups are inherently dysfunctional. So I got this front row seat for all that in my youth and also a lot of shows and performances under my belt.
KC Carter: Just along the way, I got really into, disturbingly into personal development. It just felt like such a lifeline into how things could be. I think we’re all trying to transcend a little bit of where we came from, and I came from Nowheresville suburbia here in Ohio. So I just remember early recollections was going on Napster and ripping all of Tony Robbins’ programs.
Jennifer Brown: Oh, my gosh!
KC Carter: Yeah. Totally devouring all of them. Years later when I started having some success, I would purposely buy the triple diamond front row seat for Tony because I felt like I owed him money at that point, but I really got deeply, deeply into this. Brian Tracey, Stephen Covey’s seven habits, I mean, I loved all of it.
KC Carter: What I eventually found was that where the personal development path ended, the spiritual path began. A lot of that came back to at some point people are like, “It’s not just about making more money and being more efficient or effective. It’s about deepening your connection to your soul or finding stillness in your life.”
KC Carter: So for me, all those paths led to yoga and eventually sobriety. When I talk about yoga, I’m specifically referring my teacher or guru Paramahansa Yogananda. He wrote the book. It’s a spiritual class, Autobiography of a Yogi. I read that for the first time in 2011. While my son was being born, I was finishing it. It’s one of those books I just can’t really stop reading.
KC Carter: Steve Jobs had the same problem with that book, actually. He read it every year of his life from the time he was 17 to when he passed at 56. So it’s one of these books that eventually found me when I was ready for it. There’s a great video, by the way, that people could check out of Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce talking about being at Steve Jobs’ funeral and Steve posthumously giving that book, Autobiography of the Yogi, to every single person in attendance.
KC Carter: Yeah. The first time I went to Wisdom 2.0 was to speak. I spoke at the one in New York, and it was about that influence of Yogananda on Steve Jobs. So if I trace back these tracks, when I started off being a rock musician, clearly had no intention on evolving into a coach or a spiritual teacher. It was just these tentacles of yoga that eventually got their claws into me and have guided my development since.
KC Carter: Sadly, that included sobriety. I had no intentions on quitting the party anytime prematurely, and chose to retire my jersey at the height of my game when I was 36. I just decided to quit. So, yeah, sobriety and yoga.
Jennifer Brown: Good for you. Good for you. I know that’s so freaking hard. Weren’t you saying that you’re in the birthplace of AA right now?
KC Carter: Yeah. Akron, Ohio has given many great things to the world like rubber tires and Quaker Oats and lots of rock bands, but the biggest one I think is the path of recovery, the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Jennifer Brown: You’re probably more and more out about that and part of your journey. I just wondered how you share it now and does it still feel really uncomfortable to share it, but I know it’s doing its work in your audience as I’m sure, but I just wonder what’s that. What’s been that process of “coming out”?
KC Carter: Yeah. Sometimes it does feel a little awkward but other times it’s what I call in the book, it’s permission three, permission to glow in the dark. If I’m willing to stand in my own darkness and to own it, people like just last week, a CEO came up to me after a workshop and said, “Thank you so much for sharing that. I didn’t know.” It’s one of these things that in our culture, anyway, we started drinking at such a young age. I mean, I started drinking at the age of 14 and then just played in bands. It was always available. I was always getting arrested for underage consumption just because I literally thought, I forgot there was a drinking age. I was just so used to it. It was just everywhere.
KC Carter: So by the time I was ready to quit and I consciously decided to quit, I just took that on myself. I didn’t use AA, actually, and used a lot of meditation. The more I talk about that journey, people are grateful. They’re like, “Oh, we could consciously choose to quit or we could choose something else.” Yeah. So yeah. I try to embrace that discomfort. There was shame around it for a long time, but I could probably be way more shameful about my sugar consumption that I am about my longtime love affair with booze. I’m a sugar monster.
Jennifer Brown: As you get older, all these other weird habits that didn’t matter in our earlier years definitely start to matter.
KC Carter: Oh, totally.
Jennifer Brown: What we put in our body, we feel it, we feel it. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. I’ll tell you that I was sharing this with you earlier that as I teach this model of the iceberg, which is mostly invisible in the organizational context we talk about being sober and in recovery as one of those diversity dimensions that people feel shame and do not disclose and are fearful of biases being applied.
Jennifer Brown: Just like so many other diversity dimensions, it’s something that we don’t speak about or we actively hide and we don’t bring to “work”, right? Therefore, we make up excuses or stories or ways to get out of things that we know aren’t good for us, but, essentially, we have workplaces, the old style workplace, anyway, was fueled by alcohol, really, like client celebrations and after hours things.
Jennifer Brown: It’s one of those unexamined but pervasive norms that to me screams of inclusiveness or lack thereof, which is that we have not investigated all of these ways of these norms that are exclusionary, that nobody is speaking about how their exclusionary because we don’t want to come out about who we are and why we feel that we’re not comfortable in these place and, therefore, we avoid them, which means, therefore, we avoid that networking conversation or that connection that we might have made or hearing secondhand about something, a job opening or just the way lubrication of business that happens in that setting that I think screams out a lot of us because we’re just not comfortable in it. I think that’s such a universal idea that I wish were really, really taken to heart by business leaders as we reshape the workplace.
KC Carter: Gosh! Gosh! There’s so much important stuff in there. So, years through my career, I was finding firsthand I was helping build a startup, an amazing company that won a lot of awards for culture. I was the 44th employee. We grew it to about 900 people over a period of about eight years. So it’s a rapid growth company and all of these things that are coming to light now about culture, about don’t incentivize people to hire people like us or hire people for culture fit, and then if you add a ton of free flowing booze and taps in the break room and all that crap to it, you get this homogenized version of the fraternity you were in in college and it’s certainly not inclusive of everybody, and it just becomes this …
KC Carter: The big question I left there at that time … That was a great experience for me to quit drinking, by the way. That’s where I decided to quit. I was like, “It feels like just the conveyor belt of conformity and sameness.” I thought the most radical thing I could do at the time was not drink. So I get that.
Jennifer Brown: Wow.
KC Carter: Right. It was like me and one other girl and we held it down.
Jennifer Brown: You know it.
KC Carter: The question that always comes up to me from a little bit more of a coaching reflection is, what are we so desperately trying to distract ourselves from? Are we distracting ourselves from the harder conversations of getting to know our teammates? Are we distracting ourselves from the fact that work might be killing us sometimes and it’s a pressure cooker that we shouldn’t always need to medicate?
KC Carter: So sadly, I have less places to hide when I’m scared or upset. Alcohol is a very comfortable one, but I think it’s definitely relevant to team dynamics and culture and the workplace, certainly.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah, yeah. What you’ll find as you continue to share this is when you give people permission through your own vulnerability, then they come to you with a variety of vulnerabilities, too. So I’m sure people just feel close to you when they hear you do that and make that choice. Then it just opens up this depth that people are so desperate to share I think with another human, but that they’re carrying around as a burden.
Jennifer Brown: People just don’t understand the cost of that. I think we can rationalize like, “I can get through this. I’ll be okay. It’s not that big of a deal,” all of those excuses we make for not feeling seen and heard, right?
KC Carter: Well, I think it takes us further from what I think we’re all after here is just that real connection to our humanity and humanity of others. It’s what we crave and that we find all these fake permagrin filters to protect ourselves from being that. Yes, it’s scary to be that vulnerable out there with people, but it is truly where all the magic is. It’s where all the connection is. It’s where the connection. My company, this Epic Life, we focus on these three levels of connection, connection to self, to others, and to all that is. All that is is maybe it’s spirit for some people, but maybe it’s nature or maybe it’s just being with how crazy life on earth is in 2021. Alcohol is just another one of those ways to protect us from being with what is.
KC Carter: Back before the United States gave sobriety bad branding, sobriety in the United States means the lame absence of booze.
Jennifer Brown: Right. Oh, poor us. Yeah.
KC Carter: Poor us, but in ancient Greek times, sobriety is truly a virtue. It’s the ability and the willingness to be with what is. As an ontological coach, I’m concerned with the study of being and what most leaders I think have challenges with are just to be with the extreme discomfort of a lot of different types of situations. I think that that’s the refinement that we pursue over time. We pursue it through personal development, certainly, but at some point, like I said, I think it comes down to doing a little bit of spiritual work or maybe just trying to look at it through a different lens than just achievement and success.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah, yeah. I mean, those are the metrics that have been rewarded. Fundamentally, capitalism encourages all of that. So the workplace hasn’t been reinvented in the way that I think it’s long overdue to needing to be reinvented. I feel like some days it’s still the 1920s, where people are treated as cogs in the wheel and not seen as full people or certainly not included in a meaningful way in shaping the workplace experience.
Jennifer Brown: I know the getting comfortable with discomfort and, actually, what I advise my aspiring inclusive leaders that I speak to all day is seeking the discomfort because I might almost say that comfort is dangerous in a fast-changing world where literally, and you write about this in your upcoming book that the rug has been pulled off from under us. Nothing makes sense anymore. Our old tricks aren’t working.
Jennifer Brown: Like Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got us here won’t get us there.” I love quoting that and saying if you aren’t revisiting and challenging and super uncomfortable because you realized your techniques need to change and be replaced by something else and you don’t know what they need to be replaced with, I mean, I think that’s where I come in and you come in to say, “Well, there’s this whole other way of leading that has been missing from the equation since the beginning of time,” or I guess our modern era, not time, actually. I think it’s very uniquely probably American in the 20th century of the workplace having been built by a certain group of people not by a complete set of humans and, therefore, not reflective of all of that, and just the masculine and feminine imbalance of that is, I mean, we could go off on that, right? Yeah.
KC Carter: I have a not so hidden feminist agenda to my book.
Jennifer Brown: Tell me.
KC Carter: Well, it starts with a dedication. It says, “For Amanda and every emerging conscious leader like her, may we awaken to find you running things,” because I truly believe that the divine feminine is what is needed to rescue us from ourselves. We’ve done plenty well with the macho BS and the proving and the dominating and the fear and all that, but look at countries like New Zealand and Australia and how they handle guns very swiftly, how they handle epidemics and pandemics very swiftly, women leadership.
KC Carter: Men, we all have these aspects of our nature, too, that can be just a little bit softer, a little bit more intuitive, a little bit more okay with surrender to certain things. I think it’s a really exciting time to be alive, honestly. It’s an uncomfortable time to be growing out of all this little patriarchal industrial age nonsense, but at the same time also, we’re seeing so many powerful women, present company included, step forward to lead the charge. That to me is truly exciting. I mean, that’s the time I get to raise my daughters in. So it’s uncomfortable, but it’s a noble pursuit to be in that game.
Jennifer Brown: Yes. I think of it as like a completion or bringing of the circle, the other 180 degrees that have been missing like, “Oh, okay,” and not losing perhaps, right, what got us here either. It’s not an either or and we’re such binary creatures. Isn’t it just so annoying that it’s like agree, disagree, right, wrong? I just am like, “Can we just agree to not know the answer? Can we agree that we’re going to put the need to be right aside and explore this liminal space? There can be a more complete holistic, inclusive conversation.
Jennifer Brown: I’m sure you’ve been thinking about that in when you prepare your coachees to be transformed, I’m sure they’re going back in to organizations that aren’t ready to transform. So it can be this really tricky thing to work on an individual level and then realize that the system around the individual does not support that change.
KC Carter: Well, I think you pointed to it a little while ago and you said comfort can be a liability at this day and age, right? If you find yourself too comfortable for too long, you’re being held back on some level. I felt myself clench when you said that. I’m like, “Oh, crap! She’s right,” but the reality is a lot of that discomfort we’re asking you to look at is really on the internal, challenging your own assumptions, your own questions.
KC Carter: I mean, my teenage daughter does it with me every single night over the dinner table. She challenges being the token cisgender male on my table, she has so many friends who are coming out as gay, trans, bi, the full spectrum. The rainbow is emerging at much younger age. I have all my GenX assumptions of what that should be or how that should look or if it’s confusing or not.
KC Carter: When she challenges me in that way, I thank God I’ve surrounded myself with people who are willing and able to speak up to help me refine my thinking. So, yes, it’s that internal like looking at that mirror whether it’s a coach or your own process and saying, “Gosh! Am I doing enough things to challenge the paradigm with which I was raised or the one that I worked in for years?” On the other side of that, I see so many leaders emerging that are just blowing me away with how they’re willing to adapt and to change.
Jennifer Brown: Oh, that’s good news.
KC Carter: Yeah, yeah, it truly is. They create little catalysts of change in their organizations in their own way. I mean, some of these large companies, it’s like trying to do a U turn in a cruise ship.
Jennifer Brown: Totally.
KC Carter: It’s not going to happen this moment. It’s not flipping a switch, certainly, but they are showing up completely differently and inviting in a whole different gradient of conversation and that to me is inspiring.
Jennifer Brown: Very much, very much. I was going to ask you if you had to characterize the shift over the last year of either the willingness, the readiness, the terror of being left behind. I don’t even know. It’s just been this massive wake up call for so many people with a lot of the themes I think that you and I have probably been seeding for a long time, but to have the road rise to meet you in this way is it’s like, “Oh, well, this is what it feels like to be actually working with as opposed to pulling and pulling and cajoling and convincing,” and I don’t know, pressuring.
Jennifer Brown: I always felt like I exhausted myself trying to bring people to the table for the conversation that I believe needs to be had, but there’s a mutuality now, and I wonder how would you characterize what’s changed and then what has it enabled you to do. What has it unleashed in you in terms of burning bright because I’m sure you were held back and frustrated in so many ways that maybe you didn’t even notice because it was we had to keep our head down. We who are all about human potential are just in salt mines sometimes.
KC Carter: Right, right. Well, this is one of my favorite things about Jennifer Brown is that she gets to wear power suits and be totally on the point.
Jennifer Brown: Now pajama pants to be truthful. Someday maybe, I don’t know.
KC Carter: Yeah, but at the same time, I mean, however you want to frame that, we are light workers. We’re here to lead some of the consciousness forward. I’m not just saying it’s limited to your eye. I’m saying there’s generations upon generations of people that are being tasked with finding this confluence of where their work is and where their mission or their purpose is and how to lead people up and forward.
KC Carter: So on one side of that coin, it’s a completely brutal time to be alive because I would never want to live through what happened to George Floyd over again and having to witness that on repeat on the news. It’s tragic and heartbreaking. It’s wrong in every level, and having something so egregious that just tip people over to being absolutely fed up and knowing that things have to change and we have to meet somewhere.
KC Carter: I went through I’m sure a lot of the same things I don’t know if you went through this, but I spent part of the summer last summer thinking, “I’m a White person. I have nothing to say or to contribute to this conversation.” I marginalized myself just like, “Shut the hell up, White guy, and listen.”
Jennifer Brown: Definitely. Yup.
KC Carter: I did that thing and it was perfect timing in a way because I knew I needed to go inward and work on this book, and to chisel my own truth out of this. Then on the other side, just really trying to listen and act upon what I was hearing from others and that was a really beautiful thing to be able to reevaluate the biases I was still saddled with. If I had to tie this to my work, bringing spiritual principles into organizations, which is still on the total fringe weird side of things, we really work hard in business to divorce things like meditation or leadership or entrepreneurship. We try to divorce those things from being a spiritual conversation when what else could it be? I wonder.
KC Carter: It’s like if meditation only exists to bribe your stock market or stock prices higher or to be more efficient or to keep your workforce stress-free so we can work them harder, what the hell is that about?
KC Carter: So I had to last year for me and the ensuing lockdown, the political craziness, all of this injustice everywhere was about going back to the simple things like clinging to, okay, what is actual truth? What does work? At a very base level, what I’ve known scientifically to work in my own life is yoga. It simply means union to spirit. There’s a bunch of ways to pursue that union, and I think one of them is absolutely through authentic conversations and trying your best not to other people and to realize we are all in this together. I felt like that was the gift of the COVID-19 was think of others maybe before you think of yourself. Put on a mask. Protect your neighbor, and that we are truly all in this together. Things can get shut down. We can stop travel. We have to spend a lot of time with our families at the same four walls. How do we not kill each other?
KC Carter: It was a crazy time to live through. We’re not even all the way through it, but at the same time, there are so many gifts and these kernels and reminders that we have been on the path doing the right things or at least trying to push the right boulders of the right mountains, which is we can make life better not just for ourselves, but for all the people around us.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah. What a gift. I agree. Tragedy after tragedy last year, but it almost like we needed to be burned to the ground some of us just to be like, “Wait a second. This is not working.” Who is it not working for? The increase in empathy and shared responsibility for each other and alongside each other, that was ignited, and I loved that. It happened so quickly and on such a massive scale that I think us working one by one, you must feel like me. I’m walking along the beach and I’m throwing the dead and dying starfish back into the water one by one by one. It’s not scalable.
Jennifer Brown: Last year made it scalable. Last year, it’s like the tsunami came in and washed all the starfish back into the sea at once when some of us have been night toiling at the incremental level. Yes, it’s rewarding and it’s important, but I’ve always been haunted as somebody that things about organizational change. How are we ever going to make the big shifts that we need to make? When is that wake up call going to happen? This was the wake up call on so many levels.
Jennifer Brown: So now, you’re right. It’s the right boulder of the right hill. Yes. We have to get specific about that. Now, a year, hence, right, we’re sitting here in June of 2021. It’s gotten real and companies are a bit back to their old tricks. I think a lot of us are very vigilant about, “Okay. So what did we learn and what are we continuing to learn and what are we continuing to be not just committed to, but what are we escalating? What are we continuing to accelerate?” and not just have this momentum that was created be a moment in time, but become a new normal, and I hate that word, but a new part of our DNA.
Jennifer Brown: It’s tricky because the new cycle, humans, everybody, we are such short-term thinkers and doers and leaders. I think that fundamentally I love. This may be a good segue, KC, into your first permission in the book. There’s four, but your first permission is to chill and putting some space between stimulus and response. So let me invite you to explain that framework because I love the word permission on so many levels, but I love the way that you’ve actually packaged it. So take us through that.
KC Carter: Yes. So something you said I think sets us up beautifully, which is organizations and businesses being back to their old tricks. I mean, we have to also give a lot of compassion to the leaders running these places because there is a tremendous tension between staying profitable, keeping the lights on, especially through a pandemic while also taking good care of all the people in your charge. I mean, it’s a tremendous responsibility, right?
KC Carter: When I work with leaders, I think of a friend of mine. He runs this little family business called Smucker’s like Smucker’s jellies and they own Jif Peanut Butter. It’s an eight billion dollar a year company. My friend Mark Smucker is the CEO. He is also a house DJ. This is crazy. This guy has a record deal as a house music DJ.
Jennifer Brown: What?
KC Carter: In our hometown. This is how cool Akron is. Smucker’s was the title sponsor for pride here. So when my daughter’s band played pride, Mark Smucker was up there spinning records, the CEO of Smucker’s.
Jennifer Brown: Stop it. Stop it. Life doesn’t get any better than that.
KC Carter: I swear to God. Right. He’s not spinning crappy music. He’s interesting. So he is one of these leaders that embodies all four of these permissions. So I’ll use him as an example. Permission to chill basically starts it and it states that without some commitment to stillness in your life, you will not know what you have to work with. There’s just too much chaos and uncertainty. The military calls it VUCA, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, but to even slow down that freaking snow globe that just spins constantly in all of our heads because of media and caffeination and alcohol and all these other things that spook us our involuntary nervous system. We just have to make this defiant act each day ideally of just stilling those waters and that’s either meditation practice, mindfulness.
KC Carter: So permission to chill is my clever way of saying if you don’t train yourself to slow the hell down, nobody else is going to do it for you. You can’t just turn on the call map and say you’re cured. You need to practice, and it’s a defiant practice in such a culture that is so hyper fixated on acceleration and efficiency.
Jennifer Brown: Oh, my gosh! The antidote, you have some frenemies within later on and you have the speedy rabbit, right?
KC Carter: Yeah. Oh, I love speedy rabbit. I work with so many speed rabbits, Jennifer, myself included.
Jennifer Brown: Me, too.
KC Carter: Yeah. My coach will say, she’s like, “Your branding is all permission to chill, but you spend five minutes with you and you realize you’re anything but.”
KC Carter: I’m like, “All the more reason for me to do my damn work.”
Jennifer Brown: Teach what we most need to learn.
KC Carter: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. The permission to chill is symbolized by the pause button. Pause is just like the defiant act of hitting like, “I need a moment here. I need to take a beat, take a breath before I jump back into the action with more discernment.” The core of permission to chill is just strengthen your muscle for discernment. It’s the same thing in sobriety, the serenity prayer. Give me the wisdom to know the difference between the things I can and cannot change.
KC Carter: I really feel like leaders respond powerfully when they’re just giving like, “Whoa! I could give myself permission to chill?” You sure as hell can. In fact, I’m going to require it if we’re going to work together because speedy rabbit is not the most fun client to work with every time.
Jennifer Brown: Indeed. Can I just pause you? The relationship of this to DEI is enormous. I’ve said forever that speed is the enemy of inclusive leadership because our biases are so powerfully pop up and if we’re not careful to discern, take a moment, take even like walk away if you have the ability to do that, and examine, “Why would I have said that? Why didn’t I say that? What does it mean that somebody else said that? What is my role in speaking about it or giving feedback?” It’s these decisions we make sensitizing ourselves to even notice and be vigilant about inclusion around us I think requires that we do chill or may take a moment to say, “Let me make a choice here,” versus being driven by habit or fear, and the business world. You’re right. It rewards speed.
Jennifer Brown: I mean, everything around us rewards us. So sometimes I feel like as I teach this I’m like, “Yes, what I’m saying is counterintuitive, and it is not something we’re good at because it hasn’t been encouraged or incentivized. We haven’t had good role modeling of it.” Yet, it has to start with us. We have to start doing it ourselves. So I think it’s a good call to action for the aspiring inclusive leader to take this one to heart.
KC Carter: That’s beautiful. Another way to think of it is we should only really move as fast as the slowest moving person is able to.
Jennifer Brown: That’s perfect.
KC Carter: To bring people along, I mean, it’s just the right thing to do. Our inertia, again, in capitalist business, it’s just going to barrel through everyone at all times and then push you to the mighty dollar. We have to actively slow that down, but it starts with us. When we do it as leaders, people take that cue and they slow down. They start asking. So this will set up the second permission. Permission to feel all the feels is the difference in our culture we say, “Hey, how you doing?” and we don’t really want the answer. It’s inconvenient because speedy rabbit asks that question. Speedy rabbit says, “Okay. I’m going to check the box. How you doing? Okay. Next thing.”
KC Carter: Other cultures, they wonder why we’re so crazy. The correct question is, “How are you feeling? How are you feeling?” and then waiting and being with the uncertainty for however they’re going to answer because they might feel wounded. They might be in grief. They might be really struggling, and how are you going to be with that?
KC Carter: So permission to feel all the feels symbolized by the unicorn because it’s almost mythical in our culture to be this vulnerable is to fully own the spectrum of your emotional instrument. Feelings are, quick distinction, the feelings as I understand them are mental interpretations of root emotions. So everyone travels with root emotions that have been trained and developed since childhood, if not, before from prior lifetimes, depending on what you believe, but we have everything from cultural trauma in our emotional system.
KC Carter: So we have actual trauma. 70% of the population perhaps could be traveling with some form of trauma. If we don’t give ourselves this permission to feel, we cut off a whole huge aspect of our humanity. We’re all less because of it. So if you withhold 50% of your emotional experience just by doing what I would picture 1950s housewives like they put on the permagrin like, “Everything is fine here. Nothing to see,” and they pop another speed pill. I’m totally characterizing my grandmother from the ’50s, but she did tell my wife once. She’s like, “What do you mean you gained 40 pounds when you’re pregnant? I gained 18 pounds and that was plenty.”
Jennifer Brown: Of course.
KC Carter: You probably had the option to smoke all the way through the pregnancy and get knocked out and have the baby extracted at the end. Anyway, I digressed. So I call that frenemy, the opposite or the default of permission to feel the feels, the opposite is called game face. HR people and a lot of leaders are trained to do this, too, like don’t let them see you sweat, put on your poker face, read the prompter. We all can sense that there’s a lot of BS happening and that we’re not getting the full story.
KC Carter: So we’re always really blown away and impressed by the leaders who are willing to be brave and say, “Yeah, I don’t know what I’m doing. I am terrified.” I think Brené Brown has really put a huge body of work in giving this cause a name through vulnerability, but all this research around shame and vulnerability, it proves it out that the more we share, the more we can receive and empower others.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah. Let me do it again. I’ll relate this to everything you talk about with DEI, which is-
KC Carter: Yeah, I love it.
Jennifer Brown: Yeah. It’s so perfect. The unassailable leader, the leader with all the answers, the leader that’s in charge, and then the antithesis, I guess, if we are binary because we tend to be that way, which is the vulnerability that will somehow communicate, “I’m disempowered,” or in somehow saying, “I don’t have the answers. I’m learning. I feel uncomfortable,” even naming the discomfort and saying, “I made this mistake.” Even speaking about our “mistakes” or misuse of language, even speaking about what we don’t get right courageously would go so far in terms of permissioning that kind of showing up imperfectly amongst others, and particularly I think about certain of us look to other people that look like us for the cue, for the permission.
Jennifer Brown: So if you have a cisgender White male dominated leadership level as we do in so many companies still, and we hope to generate allyship throughout the organization, particularly on the part of those of us who have perhaps more access or influence to power and have more power, at least in the current iteration, imagine following and emulating a different kind of leadership style on the part of the people that look like you.
Jennifer Brown: Imagine seeing like Marc Benioff I always think about showing up and saying, “What do you mean we have a pay gap? I’m going to go on 60 minutes and talk about this, and then I’m going to talk about what we did about it, and then I’m going to talk about why it still keeps happening and how upset I am about it.” The overt and public admission that, “Guess what? I’m a GenX straight White man. The newsflashes that I always say is you know the least about how the world is changing. I hate to break it to you, but you are really …” and it’s risky.
Jennifer Brown: I mean, it’s not just risky, “Oh, I’m going to get canceled.” It’s risky from just a foundational viability not just as a leader. Of course, that’s one thing like, “How am I going to lead across difference? How am I going to understand the lived experience of people that isn’t my lived experience when I’ve been so sheltered and it’s not part of my vocabulary, let alone my network. I don’t have anyone I can turn to to learn with because my network is so homogenous.”
Jennifer Brown: One of things I challenge leaders to do is to do an inventory of the diversity within their immediate circles and say, “Wow! You don’t know an LGBTQ person.” If you know one, they’re everybody’s LGBQT person. I don’t know if you can claim that you have a closeness with them or a trust of them. So anyway, I’m mindful of this particular feel the feels is getting comfortable being uncomfortable. Everybody says they love Brené Brown but I don’t see a lot of practicing of this.
KC Carter: Oh, totally because it’s painful. It’s totally painful to live in that awkward weirdness.
Jennifer Brown: Super awkward.
KC Carter: There’s a gentleman here, a good friend of mine, Ace Epps. He runs the Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurial programs for this incubator that I work in. Ace came up to me after my retreat last year. Right before the lockdown, we did a retreat for leaders in Costa Rica. I felt like we had an okay amount of diversity, but Ace said, “Man, your retreat looks dope. Why don’t you market to Black people?” That was his opening question for me.
KC Carter: I thought, “Wow! I probably don’t, and I don’t even realize it.”
KC Carter: Since then, we become just fierce allies with that to help me see it through the lens. So what you said about surrounding yourself with actual diversity not to check a box, but to challenge every assumption because most of them are totally unconscious. It wasn’t overt on my part, and it probably still isn’t, and that’s probably still happening. It’s up to me as a leader to own it and to address it.
Jennifer Brown: Excellent. Excellent. Okay. So let’s move on to glow in the dark.
KC Carter: Glow in the dark. Yes.
Jennifer Brown: Yes. I pulled out audacity and power in this one, and I just loved it. So tell me more.
KC Carter: Yeah. So permission to glow in the dark is the main reason why most people hire a coach because on the surface, they think it’s like the ’80s personal development that I grew up on. I’m going to self-actualize with witnesses. I’m going to wear fierce pantsuits. Everyone is going to think I’m a powerful baller and leader. That’s great. Permission to glow in the dark is all those things. It’s power, it’s audacity, but in writing the book, what I had to really confront is the relationship, the dance with the darkness.
KC Carter: The darkness is something we all have, and it comes at the macro level through a lot of the things that we’re living through that we mentioned, but also our own personal fears and our stories of the things that we tell ourselves and stepping out of that, like looking at our relationship to our own darkness and stepping out anyway, throwing the switch anyway, doing the audacious thing anyway. That’s where we find our power.
KC Carter: So most people hire me or want to hire me to do that, but when I’m in one of those exploratory calls and a young CEO tells me and I ask them, “How are you doing? How’s the quarter going for you?” and if they say … our conversation is over because questioning it means that their game face is so glued on that they won’t tell me how it’s actually going. It also tells me that whatever their fear is, they have a willingness or an unwillingness to see themselves or to share themselves.
KC Carter: So for better or for worse, permission to glow in the dark, super powerful. We all need it. We all deserve it. It’s living out our mission in this incarnation or this lifetime to live that absolute purpose and also, you can’t do it without the two prior permissions of chill and feel the feels. You just won’t glow quite as brightly. You could perform self-actualization. You could perform high performance, but to embody it, to glow, it’s a whole different conversation and it does require the other two.
Jennifer Brown: I love that so much, KC. The frenemy within related to this one is, is it phantom pest?
KC Carter: Yeah, the phantom pest. Yeah. This character, not to be confused with the phantom menace because I didn’t want to get sued by Lucas Films. It’s terrible prequel to the Star Wars movies, but the phantom pest is this thing that we do when we unconsciously sabotage our success. So rather than glowing, we stay up all night micromanaging the PowerPoint fonts versus having the big bold conversation the next day or assuming that our content of our presentation is the PowerPoint slides and not our character or the stories we have to support it.
KC Carter: So the phantom pest likes to do these things where they stay hidden on the side of the stage like a ghost, but then they swoop. I have this old school CEO I coach and he calls it swooping and pooping. It’s just so funny to me.
Jennifer Brown: Look like a seagull. They come in and swoop on everything.
KC Carter: Exactly. They’ll be in hawk position keeping an eye on the landscape, looking ahead for threats, but then when something small happens, they swoop down and poop all over everybody. That’s the leader who refuses to glow and instead defaults back to what they can control. It’s usually not a good look.
Jennifer Brown: Oh, that’s so good. I think that’s true. I think of the impostor syndrome as the phantom pest, too, like, “Oh, you’re not good enough. You don’t belong here. You can’t glow in the dark or you don’t have enough to glow about.” I think we really diminish the uniqueness and power of our personal stories, too. I see a lot of leaders say, “Oh, I don’t know anything about diversity. I’m so privileged. I just don’t feel like there’s anything I can say that would be helpful. I just don’t know, and so I’m going to sit over here on the sidelines.”
Jennifer Brown: In a weird way, even though we think of impostor syndrome as something that happens most often to those of us who are underrepresented because, of course, it does, right? We think, “I’m just here at this table by the grace of God, and it’s just luck, and it has nothing to do with how hard I worked,” but I think leaders have it, too. Leaders have it, too.
KC Carter: Well, I mean, and this is what I love about how authentic you are, Jennifer Brown, because I know from being your friend now for years how much work goes into it offstage. Just being with your own process and you’re one of these people. You are committed to glowing in the dark in your own particular way around this topic of allyship and inclusion for everyone. In doing so, it gives me permission just to stay in that game, not to get in to the game as a cisgender White male, but to even find a voice in it, find a way to listen, be a part of it that that is you giving yourself permission that also gives others permission.
Jennifer Brown: We need more leaders that identify in that way to glow in the darkness, to set forward and be that visible public I’m an ally. When you are part of the group with the most power, that is enormous. I can’t even express the power, the exponential power of that. One person choosing to do that where all eyes are on that person, it shifts things. So I do feel that I’m here to space hold and encourage and say, “Hey, come on in. The water is warm. Yes, you may get it wrong and you probably will get it wrong. Let’s just decide to be okay with that.”
KC Carter: Yeah, and I’m sure for many years it felt terrifying and lonely and isolating and, “Is anybody going to come in the water?” I mean, at some point, “It’s just me out here,” but the line in the book that I try to remember and embody at times when I need to because everybody’s fear is real. I mean, I can’t tell you how many completely uncomfortable conversations I live in every single week with coaching clients and workshops. The line is, “Our darkness is the perfect test, contrast, and venue for our light. Darkness is a weather system that won’t fully pass so we have to laugh maniacally down that void and throw the switch anyway.” I wish that wasn’t the case, I really did. I wish I could protect my kids from having to do this, but this is what life is requiring of us.
Jennifer Brown: Oh, that’s so beautiful, KC. Oh, my gosh! I’m sure the book is full of nuggets like that. You know what other quote I love is, “We cannot wait for the storm to pass. We must learn to work in the rain.”
KC Carter: Exactly.
Jennifer Brown: That does motivate me along because I’m like, I don’t know, whether it gets better or not, I think we also have to enjoy the journey of the work. I try to say like the come in the water is warm message, I guess, is, “Hey, by the way, in coming in the water, you will be transformed in a way that you cannot anticipate from where you sit on the shore,” like in the safety of the banks of the water. You think you’re trans, but you have no idea what will change in your and what will deepen in you and what will be enabled in you.
Jennifer Brown: I guess because I feel like I have to say that a lot of times because people view this as this zero sum or a chore or a box checker or extremely uncomfortable or all of the above, and they’re completely missing what happens when you investigate and become curious and become invested in moving forward together.
Jennifer Brown: The work that you and I get to do all day is focusing on human potential and how intoxicating it is to-
KC Carter: Oh, my gosh!
Jennifer Brown: Right? It’s like, “Wow! This work.”
KC Carter: It’s literally the greatest show on earth, and to have a front row seat for that transformation is truly a privilege and an honor. It’s humbling. What I heard in your example of come in the water is great. It’s really like through allyship. It’s basically saying, “Come in. You’re held. You’re supported. This is where the magic is. Instead of the baptism by fire that a lot of people preach, it’s the old school river baptism style, which is-
Jennifer Brown: Oh, it’s beautiful. I love that image. I’m getting goosebumps. I love that because it is viewed as baptism by fire right now because we’re in such an angry polarized moment. I get that. I know why people are afraid. I’m afraid every single day. Like you said, you’re in tough conversations. I mean, identifying in the way I do, I wonder, “Do I have the permission to be in this conversation?” I mean, all those doubts, and then I just say, “Hold up. If we could all get in the water and have this community experience of holding each other and of being held, and of transforming together, what an amazing … Wow! I just want to be part of that.”
KC Carter: That’s literally the fourth permission, but before we get there, the whole example of just walking your own singular audacious path, becoming your work. You are your work. Sometimes it’s scary and sometimes it’s monotonous and you have to have the same conversation 100,000 times. Just by showing up, you’re giving people permission to push it further.
KC Carter: I think that’s all any of us could ask for from a vocation. I mean, there’s a difference between having a career and your LinkedIn profile and then finding your vocation. When you figure out what you’re here on the earth to do and you tap into it, it’s like your duty and obligation to do it no matter how uncomfortable it can be every day.
Jennifer Brown: That’s right. That’s right. Thank you. You just teed up glow in the light, which is the fourth permission. I think this is the one that really all of this hook in so beautifully to DEI work, but tell me this one in particular does, I think.
KC Carter: Yeah. So I didn’t want to believe there was a fourth permission. I was totally content with three. I did a podcast around the three permissions for a few years before some friends of mine, including one that has been a hero of mine since I was a kid, Ani DiFranco. She’s a songwriter, an activist. Basically, a couple of women came to me and said, “Glow in the dark is great and all, but what would it be to actually just no limitations just glow in the light?”
KC Carter: I immediately started thinking of lighthouses. They’ve become technologically relevant now on our Google Earth to have a concrete tower being a beacon for ships coming in.
Jennifer Brown: True.
KC Carter: Back in the day, a lighthouse was the porch light of the motherland, whatever motherland that is. These are scattered across all these borders. My grandfather who is one of my total heroes, he actually raised the money to save the Fire Island Lighthouse.
Jennifer Brown: No way. Oh, my gosh!
KC Carter: Yeah, Fire Island out in New York. The joke about Fire Island back in the ’60s and ’70s was like, “Why would anybody go to Fire Island? There’s only deer and gay people out there.” The reality is Fire Island Lighthouse-
Jennifer Brown: Still is.
KC Carter: It could be, right? The Fire Island Lighthouse is just this absolute symbol. It’s very powerful. To this day, my grandfather’s picture is in the lobby of that place, but I started thinking of what would a border of all lighthouses look like shoulder to shoulder, all different patterns, all different shapes, all different heights, all different colors meaning that what do collectives of people look like that have done the work of these earlier three permissions? What does that unleash on our planet?
KC Carter: I think what it would unleash is what we’re being called for as a human species is upliftment. I think it’s in the divine plan that we figure out ways to not only tolerate one another and live with one another, but to collaborate and cooperate with one another to transcend competition. I know that’s so antithesis to the American ethos, but to transcend competition for cooperation and collaboration, and that’s the fourth permission. That is to do the really courageous, heavy lifting hard work of being brave enough to love everyone, to love ourselves enough to know that we are held and trusted and supported and nobody is out to shiv us the second we walk outside our door like they try to sell us on the news, but people want to collaborate. So that’s the fourth permission, glow in the light.
Jennifer Brown: That’s so beautiful. I think that movement of allyship where we used to be the only lighthouse and dealing with the slings and arrows of that. Now there’s two, three, four and a bunch of lighthouses, which creates a community and a groundswell and is the scalable change that I and you have been looking for for so long, which it reminds me of the early days in the D&I world, we gay people had a really hard time even finding each other. So coming together in the form of an affinity group, it was a very emotional experience and I think still is for so many of us because so many of us are still in the closet.
Jennifer Brown: To find each other and to say, “Oh, you care about this, too,” or “Oh, you’re having this experience. I’m not alone.” I think now this next wave is the ally saying, “I’m not alone. There’s a whole community of us that are trying awkwardly, stumbling through what growth looks like,” and glowing in the light to me means stepping out with your light in the dark, right? It’s stepping out into the light about your light and saying, “Hey, join me. I’m out here and being the only one.” It’s, by the way, exhausting and it’s not only not scalable and doesn’t create the move that ocean liner, but it’s really so hard on that first lighthouse.
Jennifer Brown: I mean, imagine the lighthouse, solo lighthouse, the waves and the pressure of that versus an entire barrier of those where you can look to the right and left and you know that somebody is right there. I think that’s the feeling I want to have in all of my identities. I want to know I’ve got solidarity, strong solidarity all around me so that when the waves come, we can mitigate that together. It’s not just up to me to survive that stormy night.
Jennifer Brown: So I love … My goodness! You’ve just given me … I think I want a lighthouse on my next book cover.
KC Carter: Oh, man! Well, I’ll send you the hoodie. It has a pretty dope lighthouse on it.
Jennifer Brown: That’s gorgeous. That’s beautiful.
KC Carter: I think of us as pixels, too. A pixel doesn’t have that much to offer, but a collection of thousands, hundreds of thousands of pixels creates HD reality, and for us as leaders, it takes a tremendous amount of strength and humility to stand in the light of others and to not feel threatened. We want to default to comparison and scarcity and this is what we do on social media all day long, but to really be willing to stand greatness of others. I’m so lucky to be coaching some of the people I do because they have jobs that are beyond anything I would ever be remotely qualified for. They accomplished stuff that I am in nowhere of the same universe of in their business lives, their professional lives, their family lives.
KC Carter: Yet, when we get together on a retreat situation, there’s this palpable vibe of, “Oh, my God! I’ve been living in this corner of the earth in a little vacuum. What if I’m only one of many and there’s others out there who’ve been waiting for me?”
KC Carter: When you feel that, that connection, you lose where you went to college. You lose how you grew up. You lose a little bit of the gay, straight, Black, White, a little bit of that thing and you connect human to human. That is that part of our human genome that is more like a honeybee than an orangutan. It’s that hard wiring to lock arms and to do something bigger than any one of us can even conceive of.
KC Carter: Yeah. So like I said, writing this part of the book was one of the hardest things I ever had to wrap my head around. So I gave up and I had to just meditate on it and try to do it from just a little bit more of a soul perspective of like, “I think this is what’s being asked of us.” I think the pandemic was absolutely a piece of it.
Jennifer Brown: That’s so beautiful, KC. I see it very clearly. I think it’s aspirational. It’s probably why, I mean, you’re charting an uncharted path and to even describing it, and nailing it down and saying, “Well, what is it and where does it exist?” So I think just asking the powerful questions is going to be so helpful for readers. We don’t know what it’s going to look like in the future, right? All we can do is just try to tune up our instrument because we’re both musicians and keep it tuned, keep it ready to respond, and see what resonates.
Jennifer Brown: I think that I love, particularly the women in your life said like, “Well, what about the second piece?” I just love that, which goes back to our point about the ascendance of the feminine.
KC Carter: Well, one of my favorite examples I use in the book, I use real life examples for all the leaders who embody these permissions. I mean, one of my favorites bar none for glow in the light is Stacey Abrams. Turning a stupid cheating defeat for governor into a win for us all. You know what I mean? The selfless-
Jennifer Brown: Super badass.
KC Carter: Super badass. Every time I see her face, my body just goes in a hug position because thank God she gave all young women and young men a great example of truly selfless leadership and organizing.
Jennifer Brown: She lined up all the lighthouses.
KC Carter: Exactly.
Jennifer Brown: I mean, she is the biggest one of all, but it’s big tent. I love that, too. It’s the mutual journey that we’re all on and how can we build it better together. That’s I think what we’ve got to, this next phase of our evolution is going to be characterized by.
Jennifer Brown: KC, going through this model. I’m sure people are like, “Can’t wait to read your book and follow you.” So folks, the book is out October 5th. I’m sure there’s pre-order times called Permission to Glow: A Spiritual Guide to Epic Leadership. KC, where can folks get involved with your world and get more goodness from you?
KC Carter: Yeah. They could find everything about this work at thisepiclife.com. It’s probably the best place. Yeah. Please feel free to find me on LinkedIn and say hello. I love connecting with new allies all over the world.
Jennifer Brown: Thank you so much. Thanks for the inspiration you give so many people. I loved this conversation. It was so rewarding to me.
KC Carter: Me, too.
Jennifer Brown: We’re both, I think, it’s funny, parallel, but intersecting journeys trying to shoot the same thing, but in different formats.
KC Carter: I might just have to clear my schedule the rest of the day, Jennifer, so I could keep floating so I don’t have to deal with anything inconvenient because I do feel really good after this. So thank you.
Jennifer Brown: Stay in this space because it’s good stuff. All right, KC. Take care of yourself.
Jennifer Brown: Hi. This is Jennifer. Did you know that we offer a full transcript of every podcast episode on my website over at jenniferbrownspeaks.com? You can also subscribe so that you get notified every time a new episode goes live. Head over there now to read my latest thoughts on diversity, inclusion, and the future of work, and discover how we can all be champions of change by bringing our collective voices together and standing up for ourselves and each other.
Doug Foresta: You’ve been listening to The Will to Change, uncovering true stories of diversity and inclusion with Jennifer Brown. If you’ve enjoyed the episode, please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. To learn more about Jennifer Brown, visit jenniferbrownspeaks.com. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back next time with a new episode.
- Understanding our Evolution: Why an Adult Development Lens is Critical to Inclusivity, with co-authors Christopher McCormick and Aman Gohal
- Second Chance Hiring with Fifth Third Bank’s Chief Economist, Jeff Korzenik
- Speaking from Lived and Learned Experiences: Insights on DEI Storytelling with Carin Taylor
- The Legacy of Belonging: Jennifer Joins the BE the CHANGE Podcast
- Activating Our Allyship Meter: A Senior Leader's Journey Towards Advancing LGBTQ Equality with Erik Day