Are you afraid of being seen starting small? So you push yourself too hard, and you make no room for self-care. Are you proud of doing everything until health breaks down? Then, you’re doing it wrong. Attaining success doesn’t mean that you have to be in a pitiful state. Tune into this episode as Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk to certified high-performance coach Eva Medilek on how people can achieve success without sacrificing health, well-being, and relationships. Eva dives deep into setting boundaries and resistance. She also emphasizes that we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the systems in place, how we can benefit from the systems, and how we can’t benefit from parts of the systems. Once you have an education, you can make responsible choices for yourself. Tune in and learn how to prioritize yourself!
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Why Being Selfish Benefits Your Success With Eva Medilek
Achieve Success Without Sacrificing Health, Well-Being And Relationships
I am looking forward to our conversation with our guest, Eva Medilek, because we are going to talk about well-being and how that integrates with success in our lives and our work. It’s a subject matter that Jason and I addressed in an episode before because I got triggered after watching this person on television who seem to think that well-being and self-care were not priorities. I thought, “I am looking at life through a completely different lens than this woman who is in a different generation than me.” I was wondering, “Is it a generational thing? Is it a political belief system? What is it that causes us to think about life through different lenses?”
I’m curious to see if you think that applies, Eva, or if there’s something else going on that causes many people, especially the older generation, it seems, from my lens, to not prioritize well-being, get stuck in hustle culture, grind culture, work our way to the bone and get burned out. Jason and I are big advocates for self-care. I thought it would be an interesting subject matter to start with and what you’ve observed through your work.
Do you see a lot of people not prioritizing self-care for themselves? Perhaps even having this lens that no one should prioritize self-care, which seems so foreign to me. I’m curious, is that foreign to you? Is that something that you come across in your work? Why do you think it is that some people want to work so hard and push themselves beyond their physical or mental limits to try to grasp more levels of success financially, r title-wise or whatever else someone deems as success? What have you seen in your work?
I love how you reference generational stuff. In the late 1970s early 1980s, there was this commercial for a perfume called Enjoli and it was a woman. Jason, do you remember it?
It had this catchy little jingle, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man because I’m a woman, Enjoli.” I used to sing that in the mirror. I was probably in my late teens, early twenties in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s. When we talk about generational, we grew up with the idea that we could have it all, and to have it all, we have to be at all and do it all too. Ideas like that have set us up to be burnt out, stressed out, and overwhelmed.
Your ability to be successful depends on your ability to prioritize without regret. Success requires selfishness. You cannot be your best or do your best so that everyone can have their best if you don’t feel your best. The problem is that selfishness in and of itself has a bad connotation. We have to be selfish so that we can perform better. It doesn’t mean selfishness in a way that is, “I won’t share my cookie with you.” That’s my level of selfishness. I always told my kids, “You can have a kidney but not my cookies.”
Here’s the thing, until we learn how to prioritize our self-care and by the way, it is not separate from productive action. It’s a part of it. There’s a reason why and I hate to sound cliché that the airlines tell you, “You have to put your oxygen mask on first.” Being a martyr. I know this is getting real on this show but I had that Enjoli mentality when I was working full time as a dental hygienist. I was building my entrepreneurial business like a lot of people do. They still work their full-time jobs while they’re building their business. I was also cooking, shopping, laundry, doing it all, and proud of it.
I had the Superwoman martyr cape on until my health started to break down. My mood was cranky, stressed out, and overwhelmed all the time. Eventually, my relationship with my husband was burning out and I discovered his infidelity. That was the 2×4 that I needed to the head to know that I cannot be the best wife, partner, or businesswoman until I learned how to take care of myself and master the art of saying no and prioritizing getting clear. I call it my CPR. Getting Clarity, Prioritizing, and taking Responsibility to set boundaries.We have to be selfish so that we can perform better. Without boundaries, we don't know safety. Click To Tweet
Eva, something like infidelity can be a moment in one’s life that can rearrange your entire frame of reality. What you thought was real. Here you are in Superwoman mode, checking all the proverbial boxes, great mom, great dental hygienist, great budding entrepreneur, woman kicking butt in the world, doing all the things you think you ought to be doing to fulfill these roles and then you discover this news. How did that affect your sense of self, your sense of beingness in the world, being on this track, and then having this life-changing information come in? How did you navigate that emotionally? Ultimately, what did that experience do to your sense of being in purpose in the world? How did that affect that?
It was the CPR paddles. It was clear at that moment that I shared responsibility for the breakdown in my marriage. It was not 100% his fault. We each had to share 100% of the responsibility for the breakdown. I knew that the money-making priorities, what’s the point if I didn’t have the people that I loved and cared about the most to share them with me? We were talking a little bit offline about Berlin and Germany. We have a home in Berlin where we love to spend summers in Europe. That’s always been a dream of mine.
I am not good at speaking German. My husband is German. My first thought was like, “I don’t want to go to Berlin by myself.” I had a little bit of a sense of humor but in all seriousness, it was a punch in the gut. We had to come together to get clear on what our priorities were, to get clear on what’s important, and then set boundaries as to how we could support and move our priorities forward. The first thing we got clear on what we’re going to do the work it takes to break through this breakdown or were we going to choose to break up from this breakdown. That was our first choice point. Not knowing what the result would be but knowing that we would do the work to have the relationship that we both want without being committed.
I want to put this in a way that your readers understand. We recommitted to having a relationship that we both desired and deserved. However, the commitment to the relationship was stronger than the commitment to each other as a person. The reason why is because people make mistakes. When you are committed, we want it to be with each other and we wanted the relationship to be with each other but there was also a strong possibility that for us to have the relationship that we wanted and deserved, it may not be with each other. That was the scary part but we were willing to do the work to find out.
Fortunately for us, we are still together and we are going strong. In the beginning, not knowing was very difficult. We had to know ourselves individually and do a deeper knowing of ourselves, which is the foundation of the work that I do with my clients in high-performance. Most of us don’t know why we react the way we do, why we have the triggers we do, how that can damage, and how we show up in our relationships. We unpacked a lot of stuff about ourselves. We work together to learn how to communicate with each other so that we each caught what we needed in our relationship. It was a rough journey but it was worth it for us to be at the place where we are now, where we figured it out.
We are committed to each other and the relationship that we have. Let me put it this way. I’m proud that we were willing to get messy, do it, unpack what we had to unpack and get to what we needed to get to in our relationship so that we could have the breakthrough that we experienced. I get to share that with other people as well. One of the first things my husband said to me was, “You’ve got to help other people the way you’ve helped me because I was a hot mess.” I was a hot mess, too, but the way I fought to hold space for us to have a breakthrough in who we were being. Not so much what we were doing but how we were being and showing up in the relationship. That was the foundation for us to move forward.
That’s such a great outcome because it didn’t just benefit you but it benefited others through your work. Were you already doing your high-performance work before that happened, or did that come out of specifically that situation?
That was a part of the journey. I have been coaching but I was coaching specifically on success in real estate investing because that was a business I was building at that time. I was doing more general life coaching and real estate success coaching at the same time. Part of my journey was the relationship and high-performance coaching that I went through to become who I was being. I got certified as a Certified High-Performance Coach through the High Performance Institute. Brendon Burchard trained me and hundreds of other people of course. I continue to grow and develop from there. That was the catalyst to go deeper because we could have outward success.
A lot of people think, “As soon as I make this amount of money or as soon as I get this or the kids are at a school then we can focus on us.” A lot of people don’t get that chance because by the time of the as soon as happens, there’s not much of us left. You’ve drifted so far apart. Part of the both/and is having success without sacrificing your health, your well-being, or your relationships. That’s the beauty of high-performance coaching. It shows you the habits to move forward consistently to that next level of success and advancing your career while maintaining your health, relationships, energy, and your vibrancy. It’s important because when we’re spent and we’re burnt out, it affects us and the people around us. Our mood, our health, we get short with people.
I’ll share this funny story with you. When my youngest daughter was around seven years old, I remember I was walking her to school one morning. We stopped at the crosswalk. The crossing guard stop traffic then we went across the street. I look over at my daughter and she’s visibly upset, “I hate that crossing guard.” I looked down at her and I look over this elderly woman. The crossing guards in New Jersey where we were at the time, they’re all 90 years old plus. How could you hate the crossing guard? I’m like, “Why do you hate her? What happened?” She goes, “Mom, she told me to hurry up and I was going slow.” I’m like, “Why were you going slow?” She points to the sign. She goes, “Mom, the sign said slow children, so I was going slow. She’s stupid. She doesn’t know how to do her job because she told me to hurry up.”
She had literally thought that the sign meant the children should be going slow. The backstory of that was my daughter up into that point had been in and out of the hospital for a few years. She was feeling the stress, pressure, and overwhelm of trying to catch up with all her schoolwork. It didn’t take much for her to misinterpret or misunderstand or miscommunicate, and then blame others. That’s often the case with us as adults as we are stressed, burnt out, and overwhelmed. We have some miscommunication, misunderstandings and we tend to take it out on those around us.
What a great example because it also ties into this generational conversation. There are some things that separate us by our age. Differences in terms of what our environments are like when we’re growing up, how our parents are, what society is and what culture is like at the time. There are also these core things that we share across generations and ages that we can often identify with people that are much younger and much older than us. Those experiences with children are often enlightening. I also wanted to go back to your journey as a high-performance coach because something that we three have in common is that Jason and I have done a lot of work under Brendon Burchard, as well.
I considered getting that certification under the High-Performance Certification Program. I went through the academy that Brendon offers and I’ve read most of his books. He’s been a huge part of our entrepreneurial journey. I’m curious, you feel balanced, mellow and passionate about not burning ourselves out. One thing that I’m curious about is how you maintained that given that a lot of the people I found that go to Brendon’s programs tend to be hustlers, from my perspective. Perhaps I’m wrong about this.
People that are passionate about being successful that they lose sight of their well-being. That was something that I struggled with when I would attend because you would get hyped up and you would have all this work to do. You mentioned your daughter feeling the pressure of keeping up at school. I would feel that as an adult. Going to these programs and reading the books and thinking, “There’s so much to do. I want to do this quickly.” I would get caught up in the hectic element of high performance. How do you integrate the slower pace, the balance, and the true well-being amongst all the hustle and bustle of the high-performance world?
First of all, it’s crucial to make the distinction that high performance and high achieving are two different things. The energy that you’re referencing is a lot of driven, busy, high achievers, and then there is a generational thing. When I was building my business, my entrepreneurial business, I was hustling. I felt that I didn’t have a lot of time left if I wanted to retire and spend a lot of time in Europe. That was the energy that got me in trouble. If you’ve ever seen Brendon on stage, is there ever a guy with more energy, the way he bounces around like that? I’m like, “I’m exhausted watching you.”
Here’s the thing and I’m sure you’ve heard Brendon say this a lot. “A power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy.” Our problem as a society is that we think that balanced means equal. When you look at a perfectly balanced scale, the number on the scale reads zero. If you want zero results, zero happiness, zero success, then when you are trying to achieve perfect balance, you’re zeroing out your results. The power lies in knowing when to add or subtract in controlling the scale as we see fit. There may be times when this side requires a lot of hustle, bustle and energy.
It’s got to get balanced out by times when, “Now, it’s time for my family or my vacation or whatever.” Your scale is always moving. You may be seeing people on different sides of their balance scale as it’s moving. There’s a product launch or a program launch. There’s the hustle and bustle of getting that done and putting all of your energy into that. My point is the agreements and the boundaries that you make with the people who matter most to you around that.
For example, we’re going to Germany and I’ve been putting in some later night hours getting my clients straightened out and getting all the bills paid and everything that needs to be done. I don’t just disappear in my office and not saying anything to my husband, “For the next five nights, this is what it looks like for me when I’m launching a summit or program or webinar.” I spoke in Portland, as I was telling Jason. I’m going to be doing X, Y, and Z until the speaking engagement because my memory is not that great. I’ve got to practice a lot.People who know have a responsibility to share their knowledge with those who don't. Click To Tweet
There are agreements. Our personal life is going to be a little off-balance for a while as I’m spending time here and then after that, I’m back. It looks like that. It’s a moving scale. Our responsibility is to create those boundaries and communicate them because, without boundaries, we don’t know safety. This is what I need to happen. This is where I need your support. Can you make dinner for the next few nights? Can you walk the dog until that? You set those boundaries and we make joint agreements.
Before, I would be, forgive me, a girl about it and expect him to know. Expect him to read my mind, my body language, my eye roll, which women tend to be guilty of doing more often than not. I happen to be married to a man. He needs me to tell him so that he knows what to expect. I share my needs and expectations. We weren’t doing that in the past and that’s why our communication got wonky. He should know if I’m in my office, I’m busy. Now we have this agreement that when my office door is closed or I’m with a client privately, please don’t knock. That’s it, and it’s a respected boundary.
Before I put that boundary in, “Can I come in?” I’m like, “I’m with a client. I’m in a zone.” There’s so much that goes into creating that, but know that if you look at it seasonally, there are times when you’ve got to put all of your energy into whatever it is you’re creating. You’ve also got to set boundaries, communicate with them, support them so that your family knows what’s going on, and vice versa. Now, the boundaries I’m setting for taking a month off, my clients know. I’m going to be away because I need to reset and recharge and spend all of that time with my husband. My husband knows that if I’m doing all of this work now when we get to Berlin, I’m all his. I’m not one more thing, one more this. Is that making sense?
Yes, it does completely. This also brings up something when you talked earlier, Eva. You said the term radical responsibility. You were doing it under the context of a personal relationship. It’s something that I reflect on the idea of ownership and taking responsibility for what is in our lives whether that’s our relationships, our career, our financial state, all of those things. Since 2019, we’ve certainly been in this idea that has gotten a little bit tricky. We’ve been seeing people talk about the challenges of the systems that are in place in the world. Some people have the opinion that the systems are in place to prevent people from accessing or having or manifesting certain things.
We live in a capitalist system where the people at the top, get all the spoils and subjugate everyone else to being wage slaves to make their wealth for them. That’s one example. Another example is the systemic racism that exists in the country. I want to get into your book, The Intimacy of Race because I know you have many resources to share on that. The framework I’ve seen is people saying, “I get the radical responsibility idea but there’s also a lot of systems that are in place that some people believe are there to oppress and prevent them.” How do radical responsibility and this idea of living in “corrupt systems” if you will, how are those ideas compatible or not compatible in your mind?
We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the systems, what’s in place, how we can benefit from the systems, and how parts of systems we can’t benefit from. I was a part of the employee system for 50-plus years of my life. Not knowing the Federal Reserve was made up of people and millionaires. I was thinking it was a Federal Organization. There are quite a few books to educate yourselves around that. Learning how and why the system was set up, motivated me to be an entrepreneur and a business owner so that I can contribute to job creation.
As an employee, you get taxed at the highest rate but as a business owner or entrepreneur, if you set up your entities correctly, the system is set up that you make your money. You spend as much as a bit as you can and need to run your business and then you’re taxed on what’s left. As an employee, you make your money, the government takes the taxes first and you’re forced to live off of what’s left. I didn’t grow up learning that in school. I learned from Rich Dad education. Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and I went through all the courses. I invested in mentors and coaches to teach me that.
My responsibility was to get educated. Most people are not educated in the financial system of financial education because they don’t teach that in school at all. They go around being victims of the system, not knowing that the system was set up to reward people who create jobs. Also, that the Federal Reserve was set up to set up an educational system to keep people as employees. It’s funny how once you have the resources and access to education and to learn that, then you can make responsible choices for yourself.
Mine was, “There’s no way I’m going to stay an employee. I may take a job here and there because, with the W-2, I get better access to mortgages and lower rates.” It is a strategic plan of mine when I do something like that because I still run a successful real estate investment company with my husband. The system is designed to keep people poor and uneducated about how they could build their wealth. When you are in a position where you know, people who know have a responsibility to share their knowledge with those who don’t so that more people have a way to break free of the system or use the system to their advantage in a way that creates a win-win, if any of that makes sense.
Absolutely. You’re such a beautiful example of that. Especially as a woman, given that we’re still in a time, believe it or not, that women tend to not have the higher positions or as much wealth or wealth made up by themselves, the self-made woman. I feel we’re still working through all of that. It’s fascinating, as you’re mentioning when you start to examine this. Another book that came to mind is Tony Robbins’ book MONEY which I’ve been meaning to go back and reread. Both Jason and I got the book. We’re reading it separately and it was like, “This is so much work,” because it felt like every page, I read was something I didn’t know, I had to pause, understand it and take it in.
It brought me back to being in school and it was reading the textbook. It also revealed to me how much I didn’t know about money, how much I still don’t know and how I have to be committed to it. Not just making money, but saving money and investing money. These are some of the things that I would learn by going to programs like Brendon Burchard’s. Another thing I wanted to touch upon, tied into this subject matter is, Brendon is known for habits. He has that book, High Performance Habits, which is so tied into your work.
Through my research on habits, I’ve learned how hard it is for people to create them and then stick to them. Habits are an immense struggle. They come up so much in our health and wellness, physically and mentally. They come up in our finances and our careers. I’ve been stumped in how to support people on building that. I imagine, based on what I know of Brendon’s work, that’s a huge part of your coaching. What are some of the things that you’ve observed and how do you help people simply create the habits so that they can get on the path for educating themselves and then doing something with that knowledge?
Yes, I read that.
I love her writing because there’s so much humor in it. It all starts with being clear on your vision and goals. I have this formula that I use. S plus R equals R. You have a situation, that’s S plus R equals R, which is your results. Your middle R is what you have control over. Your reaction or your response, which is more of an adult responsibility or a knee-jerk reaction. You get the choice to create systems or habits that either forward your vision or pull you further away from it. You’ve got to commit to what you’re creating. Creating is always in the present moment. A lot of things I teach my clients are routines and habit stacking.
You and I were talking a little bit about the trampoline. If I don’t start my morning off on a trampoline and singing my favorite oldies songs that my husband makes fun of. He’s like, “When are you going to get into the century?” I’m like, “I made me some Stevie Wonder. I ended it with Bill Withers’ It’s Going To Be A Lovely Day.” I look at myself in the mirror, and I set myself up to win. Movement is creating the energy that I need to move my vision, goals, and intention forward. People don’t set intentions. Whatever happens in the day, they’ll react and respond to. You’ve got to control your day so your day doesn’t control you. Yes, some things come up but have habits that create a forward movement for your commitment to your goals like I did with my relationship.
I can’t hold in what I’m feeling and expect my husband to know. That was a habit of mine from my early life experiences. This is something most of us learned many years ago based on the relationships that were modeled for us, the households that we grew up in, how our parents handled emotions and conflicts, and sharing. My mother always told me, “Don’t bother your father. He’s got so much on his mind. Don’t make a mop. He’s working two jobs.” I learned to keep things in but then I thought I expect you to know. Based on my facial expressions, what’s going on in my head? Not realizing how that was damaging my relationships like, “I’ve told you once. Don’t you remember?”
Another helpful book is The 5 Love Languages. I’m sure you have heard of that one too. When we talk about habits, you’ve got to start with the end in mind. What do you want to create? What are your goals? How important and committed are you to those goals? If I don’t feel like working out and I give into my feelings, my feelings do not have my best interest in mind in that case. I’ve got to control my feelings. My feelings don’t control me. On those mornings, I was training with Jesse Itzler for an endurance challenge once. Every ten days, he gave us a new ten-day workout.You've got to commit to what you're creating, which is always in the present moment. Click To Tweet
I remember not feeling getting up. If I was traveling or I was on the road speaking to get up at 5:00 or 6:00 AM to work out. Knowing that the time I spent making up excuses not to was time I could have had the workout finished. I would spend 30 minutes convincing myself, “It’s too cold out, you don’t want to, it’s raining, the gym has germs,” all of this stuff. You’ve heard Brendon say, “Common sense isn’t always common practice.” It’s stuff like, “Get up and do it and get it over with.” Now, I can’t live without it because I’ve done it enough. I kept a lot of things that I did with Jesse then.
My point is, your feelings are rarely aligned with what’s best for you. The reason why we don’t create habits that support our goals and visions is because that little two-year-old toddler of our feelings is throwing a fit and we’re giving in to it. “All right, have the ice cream cone for dinner.” Knowing that you will have a stomachache later. You’ve got to put your big girl and your big boy panties on and say, “This action and habit are going to support my vision and my dream for what I want to create and be committed to that.”
Eva, this brings up something we love to talk about, which is resistance. In this process, you’re describing putting the big girl pants on. I wore pants for the first time in months. Speaking of pants, that feels interesting to put actual pants on. Apropos of that, I was like, “These are pants.” With resistance in this conversation, whether that’s the two-year-old tantrum, the inner voice that part of us tells us why we shouldn’t do something. What have you noticed within yourself and your clients in these high-performance habits of ways to overcome resistance?
Correct me if I’m wrong, you might have a different term for it. I interpret what you described as exerting will. I hear this part of me that says, “Don’t do it. Have the ice cream. Stay in bed. Have the ice cream in bed. Fuck it, don’t do anything now.” I have my version of that voice but willpower, is that the solution to resistance or is it more complex or even simpler than I’ve made it out to be? What’s your relationship with resistance?
My relationship is more of procrastination and distraction because that’s how resistance is subtly showing up. You could say, “No, I don’t want to.” Ask yourself, “Why don’t you want to?” I go into the inquiry. What is the feeling that’s coming within me that’s causing me to resist? Why are you resisting? Is it because you don’t want to or it’s hard? Are you afraid of what people might think? Are you afraid of failing? Are you afraid of being seen starting small?
That’s a big one with a lot of people, especially in high performance. That embarrassment of when you’re starting to ride a bike. I never learned how to ride a bike as a child. I remember my children taught me how to ride a bike. I’m looking out my window, riding up and down the street, and the neighborhood kids, “That lady doesn’t know how to ride a bike.” How embarrassing that was but I had a stronger desire to ride a bike than to let the embarrassment of not knowing as an adult stop me.
Is it Simon Sinek who said, “Your why has to be greater than your why not,” is a bottom line but when we look at distractions, procrastinations, and things we’d rather do than the thing that we know we need to do to get the thing that we want, that’s a habit? You’re not a procrastinator. You have a habit of procrastinating when things feel hard when things feel uncomfortable. There’s power in the awareness of knowing. I’m not writing my keynote because I’m afraid I’m going to flop when I stand up to give it to other people.
This is my thing. Let me get on Canva and design something. It’s my number one procrastination. Let me check this Instagram really quick or let me see what they’re saying about the latest picture of my dog that I posted on Facebook. We do things to avoid that uncomfortable feeling. The important part when it comes to resistance is to know yourself well enough to know why. Why are you resisting? Why are you procrastinating? Why are you letting distractions? The squirrel’s nest is outside my window. Why is it so fascinating to look at that when you need to be writing your next blog or your next article for a Medium magazine or whatever because we’re looking for the tail sticking out is so cute? That’s me.
It’s like, “Eva, close the window.” Stop avoiding it and set a timer. One of the things that helps a lot with doing hard things is the timer. Stay focus for fifteen minutes on one thing and even if you got one sentence down, it was a focus sentence. When you talk about resistance, my relationship with resistance is a deeper knowledge of why am I resisting this one thing? What am I afraid of? What do I feel incompetent? It’s mostly incompetence. When I feel resistance, I don’t feel smart enough or good enough or whatever to do the thing. I don’t want to do it. It’s going to be terrible. I’m going to stink, I’m going to bomb and all of that comes out.
I have a curiosity with this inquiry about knowing one’s self well enough. Whitney’s favorite question is why. The power of this question in the context of resistance is palpable. Eva, I want to pivot for a moment into your amazing work around cultural inclusivity, around race. This book that you have, The Intimacy of Race, explores this undeniable divide that we’re all looking at. Certainly, throughout the pandemic, inclusivity, diversity, justice, and race have all been very much top of mind for Whitney and myself and many other friends and colleagues we’ve had conversations with.
I want you to pontificate on this, Eva. Is there a value in applying this level of deep inquiry as an individual who may identify that they would label themselves as a racist or have the awareness around certain judgments or discriminatory practices they have, whether that’s racism, sexism, a lot of the dangerous isms we have? Is that kind of self-inquiry useful in a person say going, “I didn’t have an awareness around my prejudices, my judgments against people who have different skin color and different gender?”
Through that inquiry, if people are willing, have you found that it can exhume a deeper understanding of, “I’m this way because I have these belief systems of culture or maybe my father was racist or my grandfather.” I’m curious about your work around race, how inquiry and self-awareness play a part in people opening their hearts and opening their sense of compassion and inclusivity to others.
What I’ve witnessed with the events that spark around this worldwide discussion around race is people’s connotation, definition, the visual image of racism. It’s usually swastikas, skinheads, hate, lynchings, discriminations, segregation, and all of that. Racism is so much more subtle and unconscious. If you look at the tagline to the book, The Intimacy of Race, how to move from unconscious or subconscious racism to active allyship. Awareness is a pivotal point because of most of our racism. When I say our, it’s every color of the rainbow. Racism is subconscious. We’re not conscious of it or not aware of it.
What’s happening is we’re getting a deeper knowing of what microaggressions are. What unconscious biases are because we’re used to the overt connotation and display and demonstration of racism. Automatically, to think of yourself as racist or to have somebody accuse you of being racist, “No, I’m not. I was taught to love everybody in the Nazi color. I’ve never lynched anybody, marched, hated or anything like that.” That’s where the deeper knowing of implicit or unconscious bias is. That’s part of the work that I do with people to acknowledge that we all were educated in a racist system.
Unless you grew up in the jungle somewhere and have no formal education, you did not escape it. I didn’t escape it. You didn’t escape it. Some of the awareness in a-ha’s about myself was like, “It’s beautiful that we can become aware of it.” I became aware of how I defended and supported. White fragility to a level that I never recognized before. The beauty of the uprising that occurred had a lot of people take a good hard look at themselves. You have to know yourself before you can grow yourself. You’ve got to look at yourself honestly without judgment with space and grace.
That’s why I’m like, “Canceled culture is what the heck? Stop. People who need space and grace to be aware of and grow from their mistakes.” If we canceled everybody, we just all need to go to an island by ourselves and that’s it. Maybe take our best dog and cat with us and that’s it. Give people a chance. When you have the opportunity when you know better, then you can do better. A lot of us, and I’ll just put myself in there, simply did not know better, do not know better. Now we have an opportunity to know and grow and expand and share what we’re learning, share resources.
I started a Facebook group called The Intimacy of Race where I share resources daily, have conversations weekly. It’s not to shame, blame and guilt, but it is a safe place for what I call white and white presenting people to have resources to learn so that when you know better, you can do better. A lot of people simply didn’t know that saying all lives matter was not appropriate at that time. We get to have a deeper knowing of ourselves, where we grew up in, and what our thoughts are.
Instead of asking why, what is the next best action of integrity? What can I do? What do I need to learn? How can I be better? You want to ask open-ended questions that move you forward to what your goal is. As opposed to, why did I do that? Why did I say that? Why did I think that? We all know we grew up in a society that was built on racist ideals and principles. We got it. Now, let’s move forward. What’s next? What can we create that’s better for us?You've got to control your day so your day doesn't control you. Click To Tweet
Immediately, I joined your Facebook group because I love the conversation about those safe places to make mistakes and to be encouraged to make mistakes. That’s been one of my big takeaways through the uprising and the things that have been happening since 2020 and this opportunity to reflect on these things that I didn’t feel presented to me in quite the same way before as a white woman. As you said, I was focused on the averted demonstrations of racism that I did not feel like I aligned with.
When I looked into the white fragility and have these opportunities to observe things like cultural appropriation, which is something we had the opportunity to talk about in 2020 because I unknowingly was participating in cultural appropriation. I had this moment through my defensive reaction at first to step back and examine how I was participating in it. Instead of acting like a victim and like, “I didn’t realize it.” and all of that which is common for white people. I took it as a humbling experience to observe all different types of my behavior. Another opportunity came up for me in a much smaller way.
I spend a lot of time on TikTok. That’s my form of procrastination. As our readers know well, I will go on there but it’s also a phenomenal place for education in a lot of ways because you get to hear from voices around the world. One of the voices that I heard was speaking out against this TV show that I enjoyed called the White Lotus. The White Lotus seemingly touches upon white privilege. The whole show is based in Hawaii. It touches upon what goes on with Native Hawaiians and how the white tourists come in and take advantage of all of that. I thought, as many viewers did that the show was encouraging and pointing out what was going on in Hawaii.
An actual Hawaiian himself came out on TikTok to say, “No, this show is catered to white people and it’s through the white lens. It can’t represent someone who’s not white. It can’t represent the natives because it was made for white people to, in a way, have themselves get a pat on the back like, ‘You acknowledge your racism in this way. You’re more woke or something.’” It was a humbling thing to watch because I realized that part of me felt a little “woke” while watching that show and being like, “This is awful what white people do to the natives. All this cultural appropriation and the way that we manipulate people through our privilege.”
I was grateful to have someone point that out because if they hadn’t pointed it out, I would have continued thinking that I was evolved in my thinking. That’s the best opportunity. I’m excited to be part of your group. I also agree with the approach of pointing things out without shame. It’s like, “It’s okay that you behaved in some way or thought a certain way but now you need to change it. Don’t worry about what you did.” It’s even hard to verbalize. I don’t know if it’s coming out correctly. It’s not that we shouldn’t take accountability for our past but we can’t shame ourselves and cancel ourselves to the point where we can’t move forward. Am I articulating that in a way that you would align with or is there another way to phrase it?
Here’s what I would say about that. I never should on myself or should on other people but I do take the listen and learn approach. In June of 2020, I held a live three-hour forum called The Allyship Awareness Forum. It was a listen and learn event with six leading, powerful women of color because what I was experiencing was the silence that had previously gone on in the black community as a whole because the history of making white people uncomfortable often led to death and destruction. We then had an opportunity and experience to use our voice. People are using their voices in a myriad of different ways.
Also, as white and white presenting people, you now have the opportunity to listen, learn, reflect and digest without feeling the need to always respond or react. That’s where the difficulty with lying on both sides. Sharing our voices as people of color in a way that didn’t shame, blame, and guilt. There was a lot of pent-up anger, frustration and trauma in the way a lot of people were sharing their voices and then there was a lot of patience on the other end. There was also a lot of defensiveness, self-imposed judgment, and guilt that was ancestrally coming up in white people.
We had ancestral trauma, ancestral guilt and shame. All of this was bubbling to the surface and it was all like a volcano, spewing all over the place, and people weren’t quite sure how to handle it. When you get the social media responses that pour salt in wounds on both sides, then the reaction is to be quiet and I’m not going to share anymore. That’s it. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing. I’m afraid of doing it wrong so then nothing moves forward. We get stagnant until somebody else’s murder is videotaped.
My mission is to create a space. The book is a representation of the life forum. I decided to take that forum and put it in a digestible book where it is 101 or dummies, whatever you want to call it. It is a basic blueprint, if you will, on to get started. You don’t have to be out there with the picket signs or have signs all over your house and cars but here are ways to make a difference in your life. At home, at work, and in your community so that it’s sustainable. Just like high-performance habits, we want sustainable change in action. Not just change in action when in response to a tragic event.
What can we do in our lives that we’re habit stacking and we’re building when it comes to being an ally and having what I call Cultural Intelligence? It’s because you’ve got social intelligence, you’ve got emotional intelligence, you’ve got personal intelligence. What about cultural intelligence? What do you need to do to increase your cultural intelligence and awareness so that you are creating safe spaces at home, at work, and in your communities that our differences are more celebrated and not seen as differences? How can we create those in our world? In our bubbles? If everybody takes care of their bubble, then all the bubbles are taken care of. That’s the approach that I’m giving.
You really can’t be a high performer unless you have a certain level of inclusive intelligence or cultural intelligence. Many studies have shown that the more diverse your world is, especially when we’re talking about business, the higher your success is. You don’t want to just seat at the table that you performatively fill with diverse voices but you want to give voices to the table. You want to amplify voices in a way. You want to make sure that you can cut through some of the cobwebs for lack of a better word, so that these voices are amplified, heard and have the opportunity that they haven’t had in the past. You’re going to find how much richer your life, your business, and your success is. It’s an enrichment of who you are to have more cultural, diverse intelligence and inclusivity in your life and business.
Eva, this makes me think about how I think in the world now depending on what media you’re paying attention to. Whitney talked about her lens. Certainly, the three of us have different lenses based on our experience, our upbringings, our childhood, our races, and our genders. One thing that I try and remember as I go through life, sometimes I have amnesia, truth be told. I try and remind myself that the person I’m speaking to is living in a different frame of reality because of their belief systems, their subconscious, and the filters they have. What you’re describing is genuine diversity and inclusivity, not to fill a quota, not because it’s some corporate mandate but doing it because life is richer and more interesting.
It seems to follow nature to me because if I think about an edible garden if you have a mono-crop where you’re growing acres and acres of the same thing, the soil and the food is not as rich or plentiful or nutritious as a garden or acreage where you have an incredible variety of different things. I think about food because I love food. I think about food a lot. To back up what you said with an analogy, the richness and the diversity are what make it more fulfilling like what you described.
What we’re seeing in the world right now is people out of fear and confusion seem to be siloing their realities, “I’m only going to hang out with people that are pro-vaccine.” “I’m only going to hang out with people that are anti-vaccine.” “I’m only going to hang out with Republicans.” “I’m only going to hang out with Democrats.” “I’m only going to align with people that make me feel safe in my little shelter bubble. If they agree with me, I’ll feel safe and okay.”
That seems to be delaying the progress we could experience as a human race collectively saying, “I may not agree with you and I may not understand but I want to and I’m willing to even though we might come from different backgrounds and beliefs systems.” As opposed to what I see happening, which is, “I don’t agree with you. We believe differently. You’d be over there. I didn’t want to hear it.”
How do we get people to move from fear and this weird tendency they have to shelter and bubble themselves to say, “Maybe I can feel safe enough to speak to someone who believes differently than me, who’s had a different upbringing, race, gender, and sexual orientation?” It seems to me that the hatred and the divisiveness come from fear. What’s been your experience with the roots of that? How do we encourage people to move from this defensive stance to opening themselves to experiencing different points of view in other people’s lives?
Isn’t that the million-dollar question, Jason? If I figure this out, I’m running for president. I’m going to take over the entire country. You hit the nail on the head with a lot of people are moving in fear and judgment. I had this conversation that the real pandemic is the division. The division that this world or country is seeing right now is more deadly than the pandemic and the vaccine combined, in my opinion.
First of all, conflict happens when you don’t feel seen, heard, or respected. That’s the bottom line. How can we not only feel seen, heard, and respected ourselves but make people of different backgrounds, opinions, different humans, all of the humans in our lives feel seen, heard, and respected? It’s the power of asking solution-based, open-ended questions. It first starts with listening. Most of us listen to react, respond or defend. We’re not listening to hear or for understanding.You can't be a high performer unless you have cultural intelligence. The more diverse your world is, the higher your success is. Click To Tweet
Once you can open your heart and your ears to listen to understand a person who’s different from you, what’s going on under the rhetoric, under the under? What are they afraid of? People are afraid of dying, whether they’re dying from the vaccine or dying from the pandemic. The bottom line fear is we’re all afraid of dying. It’s how we’re going to die. Some people are mitigating that risk. “I choose to die from getting vaccinated.” “I choose to take my chance and die from getting COVID.” Whatever that looks like, it is mitigating the risk.
When you take the time to ask people what and how questions, like, “What do you think we should do? What do you feel is the best solution? How would you handle this differently? How do you think we could move past that?” Get more into the inquiry for listening to understand what’s going on with the person who has a differing view from you. You’re going to find that there’s a softening that comes down and the defenses.
Maybe somebody will say, “I’m afraid that they don’t know enough, so I don’t want to make this decision right now. I’m choosing to do nothing and wait and see.” I have people in my family that are afraid of the vaccine because of underlining and past health conditions. I get that and understand that. The dental hygienist who may come in, “Let’s buy you some gloves. Make sure you mask and wash your hands. Here’s a giant hand sanitizer. Please protect yourself as much as possible.”
There are people who are vaccinated and you want to say the same thing. My family always made fun of me. Every time I travel, I have a scarf that I wrap around my face. I was almost Michael Jackson 2.0 when it came to covering my face. I never touch the door handle at escalators. I nearly fell and broke my neck several times because of the level of cooties that I didn’t want to catch. I traveled five days before the whole world and the airlines and everybody shut down. I was coming back from North Carolina to California.
I remember looking at my family who always made fun of mommy as a germaphobe. Who is laughing now? Now we all have to wear them. As a dental hygienist, I wear a mask all the time anyway but I understand it was always uncomfortable. People have different experiences that they’re basing their decisions off of, and you’re not always aware of that. If you are willing to listen so that they feel heard, understood, and respected, that’s the first step that we get to create. Breaking down all the barriers of defenses and having a conversation like, “I get it. I understand why you feel that way. Thank you for sharing that with me. I appreciate that. Thank you. This must be hard for you.” That’s it. Shame, blame, and guilt never brought anybody together.
It’s wonderful advice, Eva. You’re closer than most to a presidential nomination. If you did decide to run, I’d be like, “This woman has some heartfelt, actionable, real-world things that she needs to share with humanity.” That being said, Eva, you have so many wonderful resources online that people can access around everything we’ve talked about. You have this incredible book that I want to order a copy of called The Intimacy of Race. Her Amazon reviews are off the charts on this book if you want to check this out. She also has an incredible Instagram that we’ve been perusing. We love that we have the rebounder connection with you, Eva.
The two of us, Jason needs to get on board with this.
If it takes me on a rebounder, I need to move.
Moving your body to Stevie Wonder on a rebounder sounds like the type of workout you would like.
When you were riffing on that, Eva, we have the same playlist. She’s dropping Motown, Bill Withers, and old soul music.
You have that special playlist you made, which is a sweet thing we’re sharing. You made that playlist to dance while you were doing dishes to get some movement. Stevie Wonder is on it.
I got multiple Stevie Wonder songs. I got Marvin, The Spinners, The Isley Brothers, and Bill Withers. It goes deep.
When I got married in 2009, I married a man who doesn’t like Stevie Wonder. My husband and I had an agreement, no Stevie Wonder. My DJs looked at me and they said, “Are you still going through with the wedding?”
I have to say something, Eva, that is so funny on this tip. I used to joke back in the day that one of my deal-breakers as far as the dating criteria were if they don’t like Stevie Wonder, they’re dead to me. I want to sit down and I want to ask your husband, “Why? How can you not like Stevie Wonder?” To me, that’s up there with someone like, “I don’t like chocolate. I could take or leave chocolate.” That’s the same level of reaction I have when people tell me they don’t like Stevie Wonder. I’ve met four people my entire life who are like, “I don’t like them.” I’m like, “What do you mean you don’t like chocolate? What alien race are you from? This is craziness.” I have to step away. I have to take time.
When I was a hygienist in New York, one of my patients was Stevie Wonder’s personal attorney. I’m at work one day and he calls me up. He goes, “Stevie is playing Radio City for one night tonight. Do you want to go?” I was like, “Yes, I will find a babysitter. I will go.” I was on the floor in the front at a Stevie Wonder concert at Radio City Music Hall. I was like, “Who can I find to come with me?” I went with a guy I used to date. He loves Stevie Wonder. I was like, “We didn’t work out but we’re going to rock out to some Stevie.”
It could have been a deal-breaker but the guy didn’t like Stevie and my husband and I had that giant hiccup in our relationship. He’s got to have some good redeeming qualities for me to still be sticking it out. I could miss out on all of the beautiful experiences and blessings with this man if I canceled him for not liking Stevie. Be careful what you cancel culture. I’m still working on him. I’m going to let you guys go.
I can’t think of a more joyful and fun way to end this episode with you, Eva. Anytime you want to break it down with some Stevie or some old soul, you’ve got a kindred spirit over here in me. Thank you for sharing your love. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your perspectives. It’s been an absolute pleasure, Eva. Thank you for gracing us with your presence!
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- Eva Medilek
- High-Performance Institute
- Brendon Burchard
- The Intimacy of Race
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- MONEY: Master The Game
- High-Performance Habits
- You Are a Badass
- Badass Habits
- The 5 Love Languages
- Jesse Itzler
- The Intimacy of Race – Facebook Group
- TikTok – Whitney Lauritsen
- The Allyship Awareness Forum
- Instagram – Eva Medilek
- Facebook – Eva Medilek
- LinkedIn – Eva Medilek
- YouTube – Eva Medilek
About Eva Medilek
Eva Medilek is a Certified High-Performance Coach, International Speaker, Author and Inclusivity Coach. She has coached both men and women in the areas of personal development, leadership, and mastering habits for success in their personal and professional lives.
She specializes in helping busy professionals have more money, time, and success without sacrificing health, well-being and relationships in the process. She uses her personal experiences along with her leadership, relationship, and high-performance training to teach you how to have it all without sacrificing it all.
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