• Empathy Everywhere,
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Victoria Ferguson (0:00):
You're listening to the Empathy Everywhere Podcast. I'm your host Victoria Ferguson, the founder of East 29, where we're establishing a conscious dialogue that connects both the physical and mental health awareness behind the Clean Beauty Movement while combining new skincare with self-care to build a movement that embodies being softer inside, out.

This is Episode Two 'Empathy Through The Lens Of Compassion' with Chava Viteze. Chava is a startup consultant with years of experience in tech, who spent the last year exploring psychology, mental health and mentoring. Her mission is to increase diversity and inclusion with an empathy driven perspective. And historically white and male dominated industries such as tech, venture capital, and startups. So welcome. Thank you for joining us today! I'm really excited to chat. We've got two episodes together, this will be our first one, obviously,

Chava Vietze (0:51):
Thank you so much for having me! Yeah, I'm really excited to talk about compassion, how to develop empathy, and where it starts. And if any time in history.. right now while we're living through a world pandemic, as we're living through an economic crisis, a civil rights movement, and we're all at home for most of us, many of us are still at home, and spending a lot more time in the four corners of our homes, it gives us an opportunity to be more introspective. And it's like, if anytime, now is the time to reflect on our own self compassion, on our own compassion for others, and develop more empathy for the world, for everyone.

Victoria Ferguson (1:31):
If there's a time it's definitely now. I mean, when we started COVID, back in March, and having time at home, I was under the impression for most of my adult life that empathy and compassion were common sense or, you know, related to common sense. But I learned, you know, pretty quickly that it's not, and it is something that I think if we don't implement it into our school systems, it's something that we should be talking about on a much larger scale for everyday basic, simple needs. If you have empathy and compassion, and you lead from that point of view, whether it's at work or at home, I feel like we can handle a lot of things, maybe in a more efficient and calm manner, versus just acting out of pure panic when something pops up that you're not expecting.

Chava Vietze (2:14):
Exactly. Now if you go into a store I'm thinking about it even more. Talking with a cashier, or you go to the post office, and you're talking to someone at the post office, or you're out at a restaurant and you're social distancing, and trying to figure out how best to act? Do I need to be six feet from this person? Do I need to wear a mask all the time, you have no idea what's going on on the other end. And if you can take yourself out of a situation, let's say someone responds to you in a manner that you weren't expecting? Is it negative, or what you would consider aggressive? And if anything, now people are at home, parents are at home, taking care of kids while also working while also trying to lead their own lives, and it is a time for us to again, be there, be open to a new way of thinking and to listen more. And through that experience, when you have experiences, you develop more empathy. And I think that the whole world is going through an entirely new experience that I'm hoping will actually develop more empathy for people.

Victoria Ferguson (3:29):
I feel like with this shift, we almost can't not develop empathy, because when we talk about say, maybe you and I are healthy, but someone with a compromised immune system, even if we're good, we wear a mask for them. So it's even just something as simple as understanding that perspective. If we can take something out of this global pandemic, and apply that to other areas, how much more beautiful could this world actually be? If we take a simple aspect of considering our neighbors during a global pandemic, how do we shift taking considering our neighbors past and after the global pandemic? We're going to have a ripple effect for a while. But if we can continue using maybe some of these simple guidelines that we're learning in this time, I think that hindsigh it might have been something that we kind of needed in the world as much as it's not what I wish we needed, because it's quite intense. When we're sitting at home, people are having more time to work on self-care, and on themselves. I've had people asking 'what are you doing for self-care? What is your version of self-care?' and I've had friends admit, 'I don't know what to do when it comes to self-care. I'm good at taking care of others, but when it comes to taking care of myself, I was able to ignore it by going out, drinking, having fun, or even simply going to work all day long every day' and not having the time for yourself so you can pass it but when you're at home, by yourself/with family, you have all these minutes/moments to be thinking 'I can be taking care of myself better, kind of like having a mirror in front of you at all times when before you had your blinders on. And I always think of when I have my son really young, he's my mirror whenever I would do he would do back and I'm like, 'That's probably not good.' And I can't tell you to take care of yourself or teach you how to do simple things. If you look at me, and I'm not doing any of them. So he was a constant reminder, that was cool for me. But when you don't have children, or you don't have these things in front of you, you just have yourself and your thoughts, and I'm assuming a lot of people have taken a nice walk down memory lane and gone on little dates with themselves during COVID. And hopefully, they've been able to get to know themselves on a deeper level, because we can't meet anyone else on a deep level if we haven't met ourselves there.

Chava Vietze (5:28):
Yeah, those are wonderful points. I think people are scared right now, there's a lot of anxiety right now. And there are a lot of people who have removed the noise, right? Let's call it that you've removed the noise of being able to go out and see your friends, being able to travel, being able to, in many regards, sometimes is escaping right from the stressors of your life, and you don't have that anymore. And you are you're home with yourself, and you're able to be introspective. And at least for me, what I realized is that I I am a very compassionate person, I come from a family that really nurtured this. So we can go back to how people go through development, right. And there's like this nature versus nurture, and nurturing is huge part of that, and the environment you are raised in or surround yourself and really your personality comes out and the way that you go through life. I was always brought up in a very compassionate environment, to make sure to look out for others, to think about when I'm voting I'm not voting for myself, but voting for the people who are marginalized, or the most vulnerable. But there's a whole part of that, that I realized that I didn't necessarily internalize, which was self compassion for myself, right?

Victoria Ferguson (6:40):
We're so worried about people around us all the time.

Chava Vietze (6:43):
Absolutely. Right.

Victoria Ferguson (6:45):
I never had my parents look at me and say 'Make sure you really care about yourself,' it's not bad that they didn't, but moving forward, do I want to teach that to my son? Absolutely. It goes back to you can't pour from an empty container you can't give to someone when you've got nothing left to give. So my one friend was saying that she takes care of her mom. And while that makes her feel a little bit full, it's still at the end of the day, she's not giving it back to herself. And I think we all needed that reminder that we do have to take care of ourselves at all times. And for me, I lost it to working in film, I'd work so many hours, and I'd come home and I would be prepping food for my son and getting his stuff ready. And it was all about either Alex or work. There was no actual Victoria time. So I started with my skincare routine, when do I have time to take care of myself? Well, I have three minutes in the morning. And I have three minutes at night where I'm staring at myself in the mirror, why not start saying positive things, or talk about what I need to work on in the time that I would spend looking in the mirror every morning and night.. that's when I got really real with myself. And it kind of evolved. I think I was really lucky to think of it that way. But it was my only few minutes where there was no kid, I wasn't at work, and that was all I had. It was enough to begin with, now I put aside 20 minutes every morning and I lay there with my thoughts. Sometimes I end up crying, it's not even a bad cry. It's just I'm letting out all these emotions that I've internalized and held in that I didn't realize I did. And same with having a baby really young, I obviously moved on it was great but when I had to go through some of my blacked out memories, actually, during COVID, I had a week straight of just crying. And it wasn't because I was sad, I just had blacked out a lot of memories and a lot of hard times, it was like 'now I'm like letting them go.' Because it was time to really take care of myself. When you work in film, and you have a child like there's no 'me' time, it's like me-ish time because still my kids asking for me/still doing something or I'm still preparing what I need for the next work day. And my weekends would be really small. But COVID allowed me the time to actually heal from all my trauma in my teens, and in my early adulthood. At 27 years old, I said 'Oh my gosh, I feel like I finally know who I am. I finally know what I'm doing.' I know that everything I've been through has taught me who I am today. But it was that whole undoing myself during COVID. That was like this is honestly what internal peace feels and looks like because I had the time to process it.

Chava Vietze (8:57):
Yeah, thank you so much for sharing that because it's such an amazing journey that we're on. And you went through that journey at a time when for many reasons, right, the world is crumbling in so many different areas. You said something really, really important that I think is when people are like 'I don't know where to start.' They don't know how to start self-care. Maybe they're a parent, and they're working and they're also being the teacher and they're also trying to take care of themselves and maintain their friends and all these different things in this world right now. But what you said is you started with three minutes. And that is a huge part of it is that you just need to start somewhere. What I have found and in this year alone, there have been like I think literally the numbers like over 1000 telehealth or mental health like mindfulness apps and things like that, that have surfaced right and been invested in recently. And the great thing about some of them, whether it's headspace or calm or blacklight, there's so many right, they allow you to start very small. And if you don't know where to find those tools, this is the time because there's so many options, just choose one. And even just starting with one minute in the morning, two minutes, three minutes, building up throughout your days or weeks to give yourself that time. You don't need to do anything you could just say, 'I'm going to wake up in the morning and do three minutes of some sort of meditation or self compassion.' I was actually speaking with a psychologist awhile ago in learning to have more self compassion for myself. And he said, very bluntly, 'do you ever tell yourself that you love yourself?' Because you tell it to other people, you give compassion to other people. But do you literally look in the mirror and say, I love myself?

Victoria Ferguson (10:43):
We have this really weird time where we talk about people, like 'you need to, you know, talk more nicely to yourself' but then at the same time, if someone comes forward and they're like, 'I think I'm great, I like what I'm doing, I'm proud of myself, or I look really pretty,' then we all kind of also give them crap for being so "full of themselves." So how do we find that fine line of 'it's okay to be and it's okay to be proud of yourself?' Social media is a very interesting vehicle where you can praise someone or yourself or you can tear someone down and I find sometimes we want people to be one way, but then when they do it, we're like, 'No, you shouldn't be that way.' I think when you're growing, you're young, and you're trying to figure it out and this is the complex of going back and forth.. I don't personally like that we're like, 'Oh, no, you're full yourself.' If someone says to me, 'I feel/look good today, I love my outfit.' I'm so for that, it makes me so happy when someone can just be confidently themselves. For myself, it's weird to say.. but when you do makeup you don't want to look better than an actor. And it's not even your preference. You want people to feel comfortable with you, and you also want to look like you know what you're doing. So I was always trying to find where I fit in, where I take care of myself enough that I am calm, I feel confident they can tell that I'm confident in what I'm doing but I'm not overly confident in who I am. And this is me, I just want to be there to make sure that the day is going well, and it's done properly. And I did my job. And I loved that. But there are obviously going to be people who look at you and you know, I never wore makeup to work because they didn't want to be over the top even though I was a makeup artist. And for me, that's kind of a silly game. But ultimately, you just have to try and make sure everyone feels comfortable but where is a line of making sure other people feel comfortable and the lines where I feel comfortable at the same time? For me, that's when I was like, 'you know what, if this makes you happy, just do it and if someone doesn't like you for it, there's ultimately nothing I can do, I will still continue to like them, because them not liking me says more about their relationship with themselves than it does personally about me. And it took me a really long time to actually understand that. But having a son who's going through going to high school in two weeks, he's been dealing with these situations that I see so vividly in my own life as well. And I feel like every time I just learned one thing, he hasn't come up in his life and I've been able to teach him right away because he's right after me every single time. I used to think that I didn't like myself many times and then you get to the point of well, how can 12, 14, 16, 20/ 21 year old know so confidently that you don't like yourself when you haven't even really met who you're going to become yet? So when I was 27, just before I turned 28, I remember finally thinking 'oh my gosh, I feel like this is who Victoria is and I really like this person.' Then my son came home crying and he was saying 'I hate myself.' And I'm like, What do you mean, you hate yourself? And he was like, 'well, everyone at school hates me!' And I just point blankly said, 'How can you hate yourself when you haven't met yourself yet? How can someone who hasn't met themselves know that they don't like you, if you aren't even who you're supposed to be yet? You're growing, you're evolving.' And he just stopped dead in his tracks and he's never said anything negative about himself. And when others say something about him, he goes, 'well they don't know who they are yet and they don't know me so they can't dislike me.' And it was that shift of, 'Oh my gosh, I learned something and I expressed it to my 12 year old and then he learned something that I mean, I wish I knew when I was 12. I wish I knew I had no idea who I was going to be because I was so confident going around like 'This is me!' No, it's not even close to who I am today, which I find funny but I think that's the experiences that we go through even into, you know, even as we get older.

Chava Vietze (13:55):
Yeah. Well you've touched on a few different things. There's been the question of 'Why is it that we have to censer ourselves? or our own confidence? That's very much something that has been rooted in our society that you can't be over the top or if you're a girl and you're old, you're bossy or something as opposed to maybe being charismatic, very organized or being able to delegate. These stereotypes I think we need to continue to break. We need to in order to move forward we have to be able to reflect on the way that we have conversations about ourselves and the way we have conversations about others and realizing that we need to develop confidence and we need to develop children's confidence much earlier on. I think that there's a lot of different ways we need to be doing that. I think that we need to be doing that in education systems. You know, I think the schools needs we need to look at education policy and curriculums and see how can we make sure that we are treating children equally, equitably with compassion and teaching them mindfulness and to love themselves early on, so that as they're going through these very difficult development stages, they know that it's okay to be different, it's not even okay, it should be celebrated their, you know, uniqueness. Competition is, you know, we live in societies, right? It's very competitive. Many of us live in individualistic societies that are, again, individualistic and so competitive. it's all about getting ahead to the next stage. And it's less about taking care of one another. Your identity is in your career and in your status, your wealth, but then you have to look at the other things, there's happiness, right, and there's family and the connections and the belonging that you have, and that stuff have actualization that we need to get back to, we need to I don't want to say normalize, but I don't necessarily have a better word for it, right? But normalize the sorts of developments and giving people the tools to manage their own stress, manage and build confidence, and it starts as children.

Victoria Ferguson (16:09):
We need to even talk about intuition in school, how can we evolve as we get older without even ever touching base on intuition or trusting your gut or anything like that in school? Another thing is, when we're in school, we talk about say, someone has ADD or is dyslexic, we so often talk about that, and it becomes like, 'Hi, I'm so and so, I'm dyslexic.' There is no, 'I'm really good at basketball, I love soccer, you know, I'm a great friend, I do this, and I also know how to live while being dyslexic.' We put in school, these big capital letters on something that perhaps we have, but it doesn't define us. And I was reading this book recently about the link between disorder and genius. And even just talking about schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, if people lead with that as the first thing that they are, when it's not, there's so many other traits that a person who say is bipolar can have where we need to soften how we talk about all these things, especially as we're growing up. And we're not talking about intuition, we're not talking about mindfulness, or we're not talking about compassion, or empathy. When we view only these things as a negative, we're only going to take them into adulthood as a negative. And we don't have the tools to view it from a software point of view. In my mind, if we looked at everything through the lens of compassion, how much better would all of these things be? we would be able to problem solve better, we'd be able to sort through our thoughts, we'd be able to be mindful, instead of having a full mind, we'd be able to discuss how we feel on a large level, or a large scale or small scale, even just telling your teacher you're not comfortable doing one thing, or you're telling your parents you're not comfortable doing one thing,. We force our kids sometimes into doing sports or whatever we want them to do, but some of them just don't want to do it. And we push them to do things and then we almost make them dislike it when they're older, or we teach them basically, even if you don't like something, you're uncomfortable, you have to do it. And then we move into adulthood and it's like, well, if you're not comfortable, you don't have to do it, or you know, you should have this job, you just need to get an education and then you can have a better job. That's not how it works today. I think when we look at how our schools run, or even how we we shouldn't talk to children like their babies all the time either, we should talk to them like they're adults, because our job is to prepare them for the next stage in life. Because whether you're a mom or dad, or you're not, we're all going to be adults in the workforce somewhere at some point. So say we treat our kids a certain way and then they go into the actual working world, they expect almost sometimes to be treated like that as well and it doesn't work. We're not always going to be in a little establishment where there's like a parental figure. It is just work and that's it. So if we establish whether it's at home or in school, how to have compassion, how to have empathy and how to use it and those tools properly, we can go into the adult world where we can have a job, or maybe we go into more schooling and we can actually treat others how we want to be treated so that they treat us how they want to be treated. A lot of the times we talk so negatively about ourselves, and it really tells someone else that they can talk that way about us as well. I find them always like 'Oh, I'm so sorry, you know I'm just being crazy.' No, I'm actually really passionate and I'm trying to change how I say words so that other people don't go 'she's crazy!' No, she's passionate. When people think about work hours or what I love they're like, 'wow, do you ever stop?' Well, no, but I love what I do and I'm really happy. They're like, 'you're doing too much.' No, I'm happy then then they're like, 'well, you're really crazy about you know, skin, aren't you?' No, I'm not crazy about skin, I am passionate about skin. And I'm passionate about communicating and talking and figuring out why I love those things. So I'm going to spend my time doing it. And then it comes to my son he goes, 'well I don't really like it because I'm not crazy about it.' You don't have to be crazy about something. The word crazy.. it drives me crazy. I don't love it. I want us to be able to shift how we talk about things so that we can move forward in a world in school or outside of school in a mindful, soft tone versus this always kind of blaring like loud, almost parental vibe.

Chava Vietze (19:33):
Yeah, you're bringing up some very good points both about development education. So we have historically put so much emphasis on IQ over EQ and I think there needs to be a lot more of a focus in education on developing soft skills and developing compassion and adaptability, collaboration, teamwork, right? And because when you bring that to the table, and you have openness, you want to collaborate, you just are open to learning new things, right? Listen, you can become a coder, you can become a teacher, you can become an expert in a certain area. But you need to be able to work with people, you need to be able to work with yourself. your entire life is about relationships. It's different types of relationships, you have a relationship with your future children, you have relationships with a partner, work is a relationship. It's all about relationships. So we need to foster not just compassion but across the board, emotional intelligence. We need to be putting that emphasis more in our educational system. I think you see it being done here and there where there is a movement toward removing that stigma that you can't talk about your feelings at work. And you can't consider mental health or burnout, right? We made a huge step in the world by having the World Health Organization recognize burnout as an actual medical condition, right? When you build, and we're going to talk about this more in another in another episode, but I do look at how private industry and how organizations do lead the way in many ways. And when you see organizations developing psychological safety within their organizations, when you have big names in different industries, who are taking care of their employees and making sure that they don't burn out and making sure they're taking care of their wellness, that will have a ripple effect. I think there's a part of this where there's policy, right, and education policy, and curriculums and making sure that we are bringing mindfulness and EQ into that education system at a very young age. But there's also a part of this, that organizations have a huge responsibility, I think, in paving the future generations of companies that are growing. So I think that we can look at this as many different ways to tackle something, whether it's policy, whether it's just getting out the word that it's okay to talk, you know, it's okay, and welcome to talk about your feeling. It's really important to take self reflection. It's important to talk to yourself, well, it's important to uplift children and young adults and build confidence with them, make sure that we don't use words that again, like you're not crazy about this, you're passionate, let's move this in a positive direction. And like I said, then there's organizations, so we've got policy, we've got doing it at home, we've got, you know, organizations and how they develop. We have technology building, this is all moving toward a more compassionate world. And that's my hope, I mean, we can talk about a lot of this and I think we're starting to see some action, but there has to be a central mission to continue to move forward with action as well.

Victoria Ferguson (22:44):
But then at the same time, I always say if you don't have the tools to find out how to be or you don't know what you want to be, I think one of the biggest lessons that we have that's really vital is we can learn from others how not to be/how not to do things. And I think if you have a conversation with someone or a relationship with someone that maybe doesn't go well, that's okay. Because at the end of the day, if you've learned how you don't want to be in one small area, or on a grand scale, that is just as vital as figuring out how you want to be. Because if you have a lot of things that happen, you're like, 'I don't wanna be like this, I don't do that.' You can figure out if you're confused, how to slowly get to where you actually figure out how or who you want to be. Because you know, you don't want to be like this/respond like that. It's just little tiny things that over time, I think you can really shape yourself, obviously, it's really early when you're 18, to figure out who you are right away. But over time, you're going to figure it out, even in the bad situations. I think that we often just try and blackout/ignore things that were bad, and we just don't want to talk about it anymore. But if you actually sit there and think about/go through with yourself an experience that you didn't love, you can learn a lot from others actions or their reactions with how you don't want to be and I think we forget to talk about that at the same time.

Chava Vietze (23:49):
Yes, absolutely. You know, in terms of experience there's looking at what others have done and learning from that, there's learning at your experiences and then from that is how you formulate who you are. And, again, that changes over time. You can think about this in a few different ways, right? You can think about the psychosocial development that people have, and how you change and adapt over the course of your life and the environments that you put yourself in, you know, entrepreneurs say it all the time, right? It's not failure, you don't you know, you may fail at something, whatever it may be. But if you can take that failure and actually reflect and be introspective, you can take that and find another success. And again, you can apply this in so many different ways and areas where, for example, I was convinced that I wanted to work in finance and I wanted to be a CFO by the time I was 30 years old and I wanted to have a white picket fence and a family and all these things and as you're living you're experiencing and I went and I had finance internships and accounting internships and I was like, God, I hate this like it was miserable. And I pivoted so many different times in my career and in my life and realize the people that I want to surround myself with realize the areas that I am most passionate about, you know, it's gotten me to a place where I've had some great successes. I've worked with some fabulous teams, and I can see a future for myself being not just successful, but the success that I defined and the happiness I define. And I was mentoring some high school students, young girls, between 14 and 18, and their biggest takeaway from not just me as a part of the career fair, but all of these different women in different industries was that one, take the time to be compassionate for yourself and give yourself the space to learn. Take up space, be okay with being like, I want to be a doctor today and maybe in three years, I don't want to be a doctor anymore. I want to go be an engineer, a teacher, an artist or want to open up a bakery. We've talked about so many different areas in the past however long time, I think that there's a part of it's also being okay with change. Yeah, not just changing the world but change for yourself. That's hard. That's I know that that's a hard pill to swallow is being okay with change because we are creatures of habit, right? But more and more this world changes every day. We've got whatever's going on with this world of Coronavirus, whatever's going on in terms of the economy, where we live, who we're living, with those things. We just have to adapt to change and be open.

Victoria Ferguson (26:32):
Well, I think what's really interesting with that is, with change, I think a lot of people get really complacent and they get comfortable and they think that the ultimate goal is to be comfortable. But for me, I learned that when I'm uncomfortable, and I assess why I'm uncomfortable. I've learned that that's when I'm growing and I'm evolving. And we need to have that uncomfortable feeling because we're going in the right direction if we are. I mean, there's being uncomfortable because you know, you're being followed by someone, right? Listen to your intuition, that's not right. But if you're uncomfortable, because you're starting a new career or it's what you really want to do and then you have to leave your previous job to go actually do this career. That level of being uncomfortable is actually you just growing in the right direction. For me, I've just stepped away from working in film, I worked in film for a better part of a decade. And here I am going well I really love skincare. I have a product that I've create and I want to do skincare that is combined with self-care and that's launching this podcast. For me, I moved, my son's went to high school, I broke up a relationship I was in when COVID hit, I had finished a show in March and then now I'm not ever going back to film, I've launched East 29th and I'm doing the podcast. And nothing in my life is comfortable right now, everything is so uncomfortable. But like but it's a good thing because it means I'm going the direction of where I want to be but I was technically comfortable in film, and I loved what I did so I had to break down, 'what did you love about working in film? You love connecting with people, so why can't you do that outside of film? What did you love about working in film, you loved hearing people's stories and sharing yours, you can do that outside of film.' So I found what made me comfortable in that job and I'm putting that into this. This is comfortable for me, but at the same time, I'm uncomfortable because now it's being recorded, and it a podcast, and people will hear it. So to me, when you find a level of familiarity in being uncomfortable, you can actually grow and evolve and you can track it. Because you're always happy Monday-Friday doing the same thing and then all of a sudden, it's 30 years later, you're like, how did I get here? Did you ever check in if you're comfortable or not? Probably not. And I feel like we need that little reminder to check in with ourselves, you know, you ask your friends and family how they are? Do you ask yourself, how are you? I mean, I do I've learned to do that over the years. But we're not told to do that. So a lot of times people just forget.

Chava Vietze (28:28):
Yeah, you make a point about taking yourself out of your comfort zone, right? Making yourself uncomfortable. And it reminds me of the way that we frame many things in life. Let's say that you're getting ready for a big presentation, and you're nervous, right? You have this nervous feeling. Being nervous, if you think about it, sometimes it feels a lot like being excited.

Victoria Ferguson (28:49):
It's just certain words in your mind, right? Negative or positive.

Chava Vietze (28:51):
In your mind, yeah, so kind of the way that you've described taking yourself out of your comfort zone, making yourself uncomfortable. If you can reframe it as excitement for change, right, as opposed to the anxiety, then you actually completely shift your mindset and propel yourself forward. I mean, there have been so many studies done where they break up a group of people, and they have to go and do a presentation. And they have to look in the mirror and say they're either excited, or I am anxious. And the people who say that I am excited, you know, they walk into this presentation and they blow people away, right, versus people who walk into it being nervous. So you know, again, there's I think so much of what we talked about has to do with just shifting your mindset by bringing positivity into your life. Realizing that bringing compassion to the world is also about taking care of yourself, but it's all a mindset change.

Victoria Ferguson (29:58):
If we can own our anxiety and turn into a positive we can use anxiety as our superpower moving forward. I know some people who go, 'I'm crippled by anxiety, how do you do everything?' I'm like, I have anxiety. There wasn't one day where I didn't show up for work and I wasn't a little bit. But again, I use different words my mind, I'd be super excited Instead, even though I knew that I was really nervous, I knew that my nerves were also because I was so excited for what I was about to do. And if I let my nerves hold me back, I won't have these great memories, or these experiences. I would much rather change the way I talked about it, have a great experience and look back on it. I'm really glad I did that, then be like, Ooh, I'm too nervous. I'm not gonna do it and then have no connections or actual experience doing it. And then I also miss out on so many things in life. And it goes back to kind of be a yes, man. I know that movie was like a really weird movie. But yes, man made me laugh because I was like, that's so true! I try to always say yes, as long as I am obviously, not putting myself or someone else in harm's way. But I decided to own all the negative emotions that I had and I decided to make them positive or happy.

Chava Vietze (31:01):
Yeah, so what you're talking about a lot is it all has come down to mental health, right? And mental well being, again, it's a topic that I think hasn't gotten the time of day for many years. Because it's always been stigmatized, to talk about your feelings and talk about all these things. But the way that you talk to yourself and though, is so outrageously important to how you actually move through the world. And these examples you've given are exactly that mindset change. Change that's taking care of your mental health and that's building empathy and self compassion for yourself, for the world. Right? But it really is the way you talk about to yourself, will have an affect or an impact in your life.

Victoria Ferguson (31:49):
It sets the tone for your day, doesn't it? Whatever is in your mind sets the tone for the beginning, the middle, and the end of your day. We're having another episode where we'll talk more about empathy in the workplace and approaching from a human first leadership standpoint, which I think is really important as well.

Chava Vietze (32:07):
Yes. Oh, my gosh, thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure to just talk through your experience and the experiences in the world. And what we're going through right now. And I just really want people to take this time to take care of themselves more and again, normalize is not the word I want to use, but..

Victoria Ferguson (32:28):
Oh, yeah, it's one of the ones out there. I mean, this was a great conversation. I'm really thankful that you joined in I can't wait to have our next one. And I'm excited for people to hear!

Chava Vietze (32:36):
I'm excited too, thanks so much!

Victoria Ferguson (32:40):
We deeply appreciate you tuning in to the Empathy Everywhere Podcast. If you'd like to connect further, you can find us @EmpathyEverywhere, or @East29th on social media, or you can check us out on. www.East29th.com

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