Karen Allen discusses how she took the lessons learned from surviving an unimaginable personal tragedy to teach leaders how to build their leadership resiliency muscles.

Resiliency is a skill which directly relates to increasing your acumen in the leadership tactic of Leading with Courageous Agility (the ability to have the fortitude to take calculated risks to stand up for what you believe, and do the right thing, even when the consequences or future are unclear).


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  1. Why being resilient is not about suppressing emotions or bad habits. It is about dealing with them to affect positive change and outcomes. 

2. Why living on auto-pilot is a recipe for mediocre accomplishments and a success inhibitor for high achievement of goals.

3.  Karen’s addition to the LATTOYG Playbook:
The “STOP & SHIFT” mindfulness exercise.  Give yourself permission to dedicate 2-5 minutes each day to pause all activity and visualize specifically what you want to do or achieve. Do it before a meeting or presentation or before you go to sleep.  Even though this exercise is extremely simple, it is based in neuroscience and can make you much more productive.  Visual affirmations have proven to boost confidence and resiliency.

Courageous Agility leaves room for understanding differences, personal evolution and positive change.


    [3:48]  What made Karen up-end her career path to do what she does today.

    [8:14]  How Karen used her learnings from her personal tragedy to help leaders in the workplace.

    [9:51]  The moment Karen discovered the most powerful mindset exercise that she teaches today.

    [12:25]  What gets in people’s way of successfully using the mindset exercise.

    [18:15]  Why Karen loves Dr. Carol Dweck’s work.

    [19:22]  Learn the difference between mental strength, mental health and mental wellness.

    [23:23]  Karen’s entry into the LATTOYG leadership playbook.

    [27:35]  Signature Segment:  Karen’s LATTOYG Tactic of Choice

    [30:48]  Signature Segment:  Full Disclosure

    [34:20]  Signature Segment:  Karan’s Take 

    Karen M. Allen is a Mindset Expert and TEDx Speaker who is passionate about empowering highly motivated individuals and business leaders to harness the power of their mindset and develop the self-awareness necessary to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential.

    After the unexpected loss of her husband, Karen reclaimed control of her fate by rediscovering and healing herself from the inside out. Since 2014, Karen has been studying the human mind, positive psychology, and post traumatic growth.

    –  Website:
    –  Karen’s Book:  Stop and Shift
    –  Karen’s TEDxOrlando talk
    –  Karen’s speaker reel
    –  LinkedIn
    –  Instagram
    –  Twitter

    Simon T. Bailey
    Dr. Carol Dweck

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    Episode Sponsor

    This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership, the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services, all designed to up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.

    Click the plus button on the tab to access the written transcript:
    Episode 1: How To Transform Personal Tragedy Into Leadership Resiliency with Karen Allen

    00:00:  What started this whole journey was a tragedy of tremendous tragedy. I lost my husband at a very young age. I was only 29 years old, and he was actually gunned down while teaching his CrossFit class. So there’s a lot of trauma, you know, wrapped up in that story. But I think the highlights of it are definitely, one, navigating a sudden change when everything seems normal and good.

    00:29:  Welcome to the Lead at the Top of Your Game podcast, where we equip you to more effectively “lead your seat” at any employer, business or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now your host, leadership tactics and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell Rhodes. Hi there.

    00:58:  I’m Karan Rhodes. And on the show today, we have Karen Allen, who is a mindfulness expert and CEO of the firm, 100% human. She discusses with us how you can take the lessons that she learned from surviving a personal tragedy in order to build your own resiliency muscles. You know, resiliency is a skill which directly relates to increasing your acumen in the leadership tactic of leading with courageous agility, which is all about your ability to have the fortitude to take calculated risks, to stand up for what you believe in, and to do the right thing, even when the consequences or future are unclear. You know, Karen has shared her life story via TEDx talk. And she has coached leaders at companies such as HubSpot, and Sprint.  She has also previously partnered with former Walt Disney exec Simon T. Bailey, to deliver a training series called Spark Growth. And you know, this is so cool, because Simon graciously wrote the foreword for my book Lead at the Top of Your Game. And I knew Simon personally, and I knew Karen personally, but at the time, I didn’t know they knew each other. It’s such a small world, right? Well, anywho please listen, as Karen both shares her story, in addition to a great mindfulness exercise to add to our playbook. And this exercise is one that I’m confident will increase your chances of being successful before any big leadership initiative. And also listen to our entire episode because I share one unconventional way that I personally use to get re centered and focused during a very busy day.

    02:46:  So enjoy.

    02:48:  Well, hello, Karen, I am super excited to have you on the podcast today. And for our listeners out there who don’t know, we have been friends for quite a few years following each other’s businesses and everything. And so when I launched the podcast on leaders that are doing big things in their profession or industry, of course, you were one of the top ones that came to mind. So thanks again for joining me today.

    03:15:  Oh, thank you for having me. It’s always good to be in the presence of other people who are just on the same vibration, putting good work in the world and helping to magnify other people’s strengths. So I feel super honored to be here with you.

    03:29:  Wonderful. Well, let’s dive right in. I would love for you to kind of start off by sharing your story, especially of why your focus around mindfulness and growth and mental health is so important to you. Would you mind sharing your story in just a little bit with us?

    03:48: My story is why I do what I do. You know, I didn’t go to school to be a psychologist, I wish I had gone to study neuroscience because I’m fascinated by it now. But it actually started through my own personal journey and the mess of my life, we’ll say, that helped me to realize how important it is that we take care of our mindset. You know how when we harness the power of our mindset, we can quite literally change our lives. And that’s what happened for me. But what started this whole journey was a tragedy. A tremendous tragedy. I lost my husband at a very young age. I was only 29 years old, and he was actually gunned down while teaching his CrossFit class. So there’s a lot of trauma, you know, wrapped up in that story. But I think the highlights of it are definitely one navigating a sudden change when everything seems normal and good. Which after living in this pandemic, we can all relate to that right? You think that you have checked all the boxes, you know you’re going through life and paving the way for something good for yourself and your family and then BAM out of nowhere, tragedy hits and that definitely what happened for us. And the other part of that was his death was actually a ripple effect of several other losses and changes. And one of the first things I realized is that, you know, grief isn’t just tied to death, it is about sudden change, it is about loss, it is about going through hardships that we just find very difficult to manage. And it could be anything like, again, for me, it was losing my husband at first, but then I ended up losing my house, I lost my car, I lost my job, I lost so many things in one year. And again, I realized that grief is not just the death of a loved one. And that’s what many of us believe. So, again, in this year of pandemic and different trials that we’ve all gone through in stress, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re feeling some grief in there, listener. So don’t don’t let that surprise you either. It’s very normal. But what I realized after going through all of those hardships, I found myself in a moment where I knew I had a decision to make. And either way it was going to make a decision, even if it was a bad decision, right. And that moment was when my two year old son walked into the room. And he asked me, you know, Mommy, are you going to get up today? And I just recognized I could either give up, which I don’t think anyone would blame me for I mean, I’ve gone through a lot of things. But the other choice was get up. And I somehow I just intuitively knew that I had to pick a path. And that path of getting up, you know, it wasn’t like this light switch that just turned on. And I was like, Oh, I can do this. It was you know, one breath at a time, one moment at a time. And even making that decision that was very early on before I had lost my house and my car and my job. So I had to kind of incremental itself to living life moment by moment and trying to make the best of it. Even if the best was laying down and crying everything out in that moment, maybe that was the best thing I could do. And so through all of that, that’s why I say “mess.” Through all of that mess, on the other side, the other side, some people may think that, again, there’s this light switch moment, it’s not that it was me consciously choosing my response to my life. Me not playing the victim, but taking responsibility even for my healing. And so once I started to become more aware of that, I recognize the power of our mind. And I started doing some things that you know, now their mental exercises, or there are visualizations that I’m teaching clients. But again, it absolutely saved my life. And I’m very passionate about normalizing this conversation around mental health because some people think that mental health is just an illness or disorder. And it’s not, it’s everyday stressors. It’s just like your physical health, right, you’d go out for a walk, you would make sure you get enough sleep, because your doctor told you it’s good for your physical health, there are things we should be doing for our mental health as well to take care of ourselves. So I learned it in the midst of a tragedy, but I’m trying to meet people where they are. So hopefully they can learn some of these valuable lessons before they endure a tragedy.

    08:06:  There’s so many nuggets in there. But I just would love you to take it one step further. Because for my listeners know that I’m a super fan of yours, I know you’ve applied some of these lessons that you’ve learned, actually to help individuals and leaders in the workplace as well. Can you share some of how that has been applied? Or through you know, trainings or workshops? Or how can that shift in mindset really help strengthen leaders?

    08:33:  The possibilities are endless. Once you tap in, it’s like, you can’t ignore the fact that your mindset is the most valuable and powerful tool that you have. So for me, I thought first I was wanting to, you know, cure grief in the workplace. But it was a time where people did not want to talk about grief, you know, like the elephant in the room. And also most people didn’t recognize that grief, again, was more than just the death of a loved one. I started down that journey. But what I recognized again, was it wasn’t the grief that that was me focusing on the problem. It was more about instilling compassion and empathy in the workplace. Right. And that is what I shifted my first shift in my business to focusing on the solution. But I was still very early on in my healing journey. So I was still learning some of these skills. And I was discovering how what I was doing intuitively, actually was rooted in neuroscience and positive psychology. So it was so early on, I wasn’t ready to tell people because I wasn’t sure how this could work for other other folks, right? At some point, I was like, Am I just lucky. But I continue to, you know, teach different very practical skills on how we can bring compassion and empathy in the workplace as I was figuring out some of the internal work and mindset work. And then it was this moment that I recognized the most powerful mindset exercise that I use, and I was able to tie it to, again, mindfulness, positive psychology and neuroscience. And I recognize the power based on what I discovered in my studies. And so that is called Stop and Shift. That exercise, it’s like it’s my signature keynote. It’s something I teach everyone. And the reason I teach that first is because it helps you to develop a certain level of self awareness that you really need before you pursue any change. Now, I believe that all change starts with a change in your mindset, because your thoughts and create your beliefs and your actions and your words, you know, this.  But for those who don’t, you may think that you need to change your actions. And yes, your actions do need to change. But first, you need to change your mindset that that’s what produces those actions. So Stop and Shift is one of those very easy, simple two step exercises that once you start doing this, and this is where the epiphany came for me, the more you practice it, the stronger you get. And again, to relate it back to physical health. If you were imagining yourself as a nine year old child, and you did a push up for the first time, of course, it would be hard, right? It would take a lot of effort. But if you did one pushup every day, from nine years old, until right now, recognize that you’d be stronger, you know that, you know that you’d be stronger. It’s the same thing with your mental health, if every single day you do something and stop and shift is like a push up. If you stop negative thoughts, cycles, and you shift them to a positive productive direction, you’re creating new neural pathways in your brain, you’re teaching your brain to be stronger. And then when you find yourself torn up in a hardship or maybe just a low point in your day, you can recognize that because you’ve developed your self awareness, and then you can move your thoughts and your focus to be more productive direction, which gives you more energy or peace or, you know, whatever would be productive in that moment. So that’s one of the exercises that I teach folks, because it really is a great starting point to jumpstart your mental strength training.

    12:02:  And it’s so simple but easy to use, but sounds like extremely impactful for people. What if anything, is an makes this hard for people? Because I know people run a million miles a minute, is it them just not being willing or carving out time to stop and shift their mindset? What’s the biggest challenge that someone has to really leveraging this great tactic that you have?

    12:25:  Well, the first thing is, if you don’t think about it in that way, like, Oh, let me stop. This isn’t helpful. Let me shift. So if you’re not even there yet, the biggest thing that’s in your way, is just this unconscious living, mindless living, autopilot living, right? You’re just going through the motions, thinking that you’re being intentional, but have you really checked in with yourself? Have you taken a moment to see if what you are doing, whether it’s the work or the conversation that you’re in? Or the relationship you’re in? Is that aligned with your best self? And maybe you even need to discover like, who am I who do I really want to be because that is where Stop and Shift gets easier, when you know who you want to be and you’re very clear about who you are as a person or a partner or professional, and you align yourself with those values, every decision is so much easier to make, right? You’re able to shift a lot faster. But I think the other thing, like Okay, so you are aware that you can do something with your brain and you’ve heard Stop and shift, what gets in your way old habits, usually. Because think about it. Now you may be in your 20s or 30s, or 40s, or 50s or 60s, wherever you are hearing this and you’re like, oh my goodness, I can take action, I can tune into my mind. But now you have one year 30 or 40, or 50 or 60 years of habits that are built up to unlearn so that you can get out of your way. And this is how I like to describe it to folks. You know, if you were to walk through a forest, and you walk the same path every day, then it would be very easy, right? It’s a well worn path. But if you were to step onto a new path, you have to do some work to clear the brush and then you know to kind of push the leaves down and eventually that will become a well worn path. But those are the neural pathways in your brain. If you’re hardwired for impatience, or for anger, or even for like lazy behavior, that those are your well worn paths in the forest of your brain. But if you want it to make any changes, which again Stop and Shift helps you to shift to new habits to positive action to productive habits. When you do that you’re creating a new neural pathway. So just know that that takes some time. And you have to unlearn the bad habits that you’ve been using you know that have almost created I think for me, it’s been like armor right some of my habits bad habits have been armor so I can have as little risk or suffering as possible when we know that life is gonna happen. So you can only protect yourself but so much building the right tools is what really helps you to get through it.

    12:34:  Now that makes a ton of sense. And as you know, I’m extremely passionate about building up strong leaders so that they can really execute and work hard to build better communities in which we all live. But one of the things that I always teach my clients as leaders is that it is exhausting to be a high performing, a constantly high performing, exemplary leader and and you are always faced with obstacles, especially when you’re reaching for new challenges or trying new initiatives or being assigned a whole new piece of work and your business or industry or what have you. And I can definitely see how some of the leaders who better differentiate themselves as being constantly high performing, have probably used your technique with you know, stopping and not being overwhelmed, I would say with the negativity that’s happening, and really shifting to a more positive mindset so that they can continue to not only go themselves that lead their teams as well, would you agree? Or or would you think there, there’s another thought process going on with your top performing leaders? 

    16:04:  I do think that that’s part of it? Definitely. But I think the other part of that is that I do think that this sets me apart from some coaches who work with highly ambitious people, which I do, those are my people, because I’m, you know, me, I’m thinking about when I need folks first, and I start to engage, and I’ll use private coaching as an example, because it’s different when you’re in a group atmosphere. So when I’m diving in deep one on one during my private coaching, it’s not just they know how to shift, but oftentimes, they have just stuffed down those things that they’re shifting from, and I am not about that. We are not suppressing anything, right? We are acknowledging it, we are learning how to engage with those very difficult emotions or, you know, challenging decisions, because you actually gain more power if you can create space for both the problem and the solution. And so while again, I think yes, to answer your question, I do think most leaders are stopping and shifting. But I think that the one piece that I usually am working on spending some time working on with my clients is you have it down, but you left some stuff behind that we still need to overcome. And typically, again, this is just one of those habits that you have to unlearn. And the reason why I can meet them where they are, because that was me. I thought that being resilient was completely ignoring all of the things that felt like baggage or that you know, was hurting me or hindering my productivity, I would just try to ignore them and keep moving forward. But that’s not helpful. Because you find out how strong you are, when you actually engage with those, you know, bad habits and you find out why am I doing this? Okay, what’s a better way of doing this? Or you find yourself in the middle of a challenge, and instead of just trying to step it away, quickly turn to the solution, think like, Okay, well, how did this challenge arise? Why is it hard for me to engage with it? Or this person? Okay, well, what else should I learn from this? And that’s why a lot of my teaching is really, it’s also grounded in principles of growth mindset, because what I love about Dr. Carol Dweck work is that she acknowledges that things may be hard, and it’s not about your natural abilities. So it’s not about you being a natural optimist, right? It’s more so about what is your attitude and effort towards this problem? Because that is where you really flex your strength.

    18:32:  I’m just curious. Karen, do you find that leaders, their eyes glaze over when you start to talk about mindfulness at first? I mean, it’s gotten more popular, I’d say in the last couple of years. I don’t know if it was pandemic driven, or what have you. But I remember, you know, maybe say four or five years ago, when you would speak about mindfulness and growth mindset in the workplace, sometimes some people’s eyes are gonna glaze over a little bit like, oh, here we go, a touchy feely kind of approach, when it is so important to one’s mental health. And ultimately, when success when you’re in a good place mentally, that has a direct correlation to what you’re executing on and in the level you’re executing. Do you find pushback these days? Or how do you suggest leaders overcome their hesitation around mindfulness?

    19:22:  I’m a speaker first. But I do hold space for a small roster of private coaching coaching clients. I will say on the speaking side of my business, throughout this past 18 months or so, during the pandemic, I have had so much more of an increase of specifically asking for talks on growth, mindset and resilience. And because I talk about mental strength training, they will see that and they’ll say and also mental strength and just to pause for a second when I’m talking about mental health, I think that under the umbrella of mental wellness, so I am too changing the conversation around mental health because I think again, people think mental health is just if you have an illness or disorder. But if we talk about the umbrella of mental wellness, the other components in there are not just mental health, but you have mental strength and mental performance. All elite athletes have mental health coaches. Okay, we will talk about resilience, and that’s literally mental strength. And then mental health has to do with more of our brain health, if we do have some if we do have an imbalance, or just like how we naturally take care of our brain. So now what I’m seeing is that people are more open to having a conversation around mental wellness, because they recognize there’s a bigger picture here is not just about illnesses and disorders. Now, on my private coaching side, I will tell you that every CEO that has sought me out or executive, they’ve specifically said, the reason they want to work with me is because they want to be a more mindful leader. They want to take good care of their people. And they want to make an impact in their community. So what they’re recognizing is like, yes, part of it has to do with my mental health. But it’s also more so about getting grounded in my intentions through this work, through my gifts and my talents and my natural interest. So what I like to say is, oh, you’re looking to be more mindful. And that’s what I think about mindfulness. Every moment, you can become more mindful. And when you do that you’re building on the good, and the good gets better. And it also helps you to get through those challenging moments. So I do think, again, there’s been an uptick in interest on that, because we have gone through a time where people are now understanding more, or I should say, maybe even thinking more about their priorities, like is my work or or, you know, my daily activity just about going going going? Or do I want to soak up life, more?  Do I want to be more intentional about the work I’m doing and not just do it for a paycheck or because I have to, but because I literally love offering this to the world. And that is where I think the pandemic hasn’t just like, you know, done something to our stress levels, and made us more aware that we need to take care of that. But it does help people to really get more clear on what type of life do I want to live? And how am I designing that life?

    22:17:  No, that makes a ton of sense, Karen, and it’s so resonates with me, one of the things we try to do in this podcast is to open up the playbooks a little bit and give our listeners some you know, a tip or trick or tool or something they can carry forward. And because I’ve been following you so long, I know you have a very comprehensive program and offerings or what have you. But I was wondering if I could pull out for you, from you at least one little tip or advice or trick that we could leave our listeners with that we can add to our playbook to help them lead at the top of their game?

    22:51:  I’m always putting stuff out there. Because I really think that we should be sharing practical tools. I don’t know about you, but like, if you give me a blueprint, I can follow it right? I love that kind of like organize visualizations. I love those. Right? So that is why I do create a lot of lists. So the first thing I would say is if you would like to continue to build on this, I am giving out tools or advice or just you know, new habits on my weekly newsletter called Joy Bombs. So you can come over there, and also on my blog. So I will give you one thing here, but trust and believe there’s so much, much more. One thing that I’ve recognized with most of my clients starting off, they just need to give themselves permission to pause. But they think that doing more is actually more productive. And so when I introduced this habit to them, they are so surprised at how much more productive they are when they only took 10 minutes to be still. I used to think meditation was for monks. And I also could not meditate because my mind was so busy. And I also think, again, because of some trauma, I couldn’t focus. So I stopped trying to meditate. And I started doing other things that again, were just more mindful. And this is one it’s very, very simple. And it sounds silly, but it is like it is gold for me. Every night before I go to sleep. I would just say thank you for this, you know, thank you for this, and I would kind of bring my nervous system down. But then I would start to visualize specific things that I wanted. So for example, before I did my TEDx talk, I was visualizing myself on a stage and I could see everything I could see what I was wearing, I could see what was on my feet. I could see my son off in the corner. I could see you know, people in the crowd and I would start to dream before I was asleep. So that’s what I started to do back in the day. I started teaching clients this and I said, “Now you don’t have to do it before you go to sleep. That’s a great way if you’re coming down for a busy day. Do it before a meeting. Do it before you you know, give a presentation. Do it before you send even an email” right? What do you want to express from this now the reason this is so impactful is because you are now channeling all of your senses into a visualization that is bringing what is most important to you typically your values into the center of your focus. And a lot of times our mind is sporadic on all the what ifs. So we feel led on all of these different directions, because we’re chasing the what ifs. But if you can just visualize for two minutes before meeting. for 10 minutes before you fall asleep, or even just in the middle of the day, as you’re kind of decompressing, and you need to recenter yourself. It’s an easy introduction to meditation, when you feel like you’re just supposed to, like sit there and chant “ommmm” and not think anything or like the different kinds of meditation, because again, we can go into all of this. But this meditation is a focused meditation. And now you are aligning all of your energy, your emotions, your thoughts, to a place that is also aligning with what you’re called to do, right? Because you have that stillness, you can listen more clearly. And you can just focus and visualize on those things that are it’s kind of like, you know, an affirmation, if you will. It’s like a visual affirmation, just calling in those things that you want seeing yourself doing it. And part of what the reason why I teach this to clients is It also boosts your confidence. So yes, it helps you to center. But it’s also a confidence booster as well.

    26:23:  You know, I so agree with you with that I do meditate that I can only do that for brief periods of time, because my mind goes a million miles a minute as well, and I try to be still but I can’t, I haven’t yet been able to do like the 30 Minute Meditation kind of thing. Not yet. However, I will share with you that I love to garden. I have an organic garden out back. And so to gain additional energy and clarity, I will go and take a hot tea and sit out in the garden and just be still. Listen to the birds, focus on what you know, what maybe I want to do next. And like you said, visualize that, how I want to show up and be present, you know, and I can do that for five or 10 minutes and feel like I can run a marathon. Oh my god, Karen, it does.

    27:19:  Like you said, there’s so many ways to do it.  You could, if you have goldfish, we have goldfish in the house, I’ll watch the goldfish for five minutes. And that’s like a way to live, let things decompress while you’re watching dishes, enjoy the warm water on your hands. But it’s just all about being more mindful, you don’t always have to meditate.

    27:35: That’s true, there’s a lot of ways to become more mindful and be conscious about it, right? As you know, that I have one of the signature segments of our podcast. And as you know, I’ve written a book on the research I’ve conducted on high performing leaders, and out of the research came out seven leadership tactics that most successful leaders use in one way, shape or form during any kind of their leadership effort. And so I was just curious with you, and I’ve given you those seven previously.  If there was one that pops out or resonates for you that either you’ve used, or that you’ve seen successful leaders use in your industry,

    28:15:  I love the list. So first of all, thank you for taking the time to do this research, because, well, I couldn’t agree with it more. I think that these are absolutely key indicators of strong leaders, and not just because of who they are as a person. But what I noticed. And this is also how they care for people. So that’s where I was thinking that was the lens that I was kind of looking at these from and I would say Courageous Agility, because it leaves room for differences. It leaves room for change. And it also leaves room for what I think is going to be the most important skill as a leader moving forward. And that is adaptability. Right. So being agile and adaptable, being open to change. We are in an ever changing work environment,

    29:06: Ever changing lady.

    29:07:  And we need to continue to leave room for that. Because as we evolve as individuals, our businesses will evolve, the world will continue to evolve. And if you cannot keep up with the change in a supportive way with your people, you will find that you’re quickly left behind and I’ve seen countless stories of this, especially in this last year we had to transition to virtual and as people are thinking about re-entering the workplace, not being flexible enough to see that this hybrid workplace if you will, is necessary and may be necessary for a long time. And I would even say forever. I think that this was overdue, honestly. I mean, I think it was way overdue. But I can see the value of meeting some in person time when that when the time actually feels right. So I liked the courageous cart in front of this, Karan, because I believe that sometimes you have to be on the forefront of change. And you can’t wait for other people. Because if you wait for others, it still may be too late then. So if you have a courageous heart, and you can lean into what you believe is right for the good of people. Yes, Courageous Agility for me is absolutely the number one.

    30:23:  Oh, I love that. I love that explanation. And I’ve also observed that if you do lean in with Courageous Agility, as you mentioned, that really encourages others, your teammates, your followers, your family members, whoever it is, to also find the courage to lean in with you. And you’ll find you have more followers than you know, over time.  Well, we have just a few more minutes and I want to feature our final segment, which is called Full Disclosure, and it’s just asking a few questions about you to give our listeners some insight on just about you as a person and some things about your life. So in as much as you feel comfortable in sharing, we’d love to hear. So I’m just curious Ms. Karen, do you have a favorite sport or sports team by chance?

    31:11: I love all sports. I’m an athlete. I will even watch curling in the Olympics because summer, winter doesn’t matter which one I’m watching the Olympics the whole time, but I will say I played a lot of sports growing up. Volleyball was my favorite sport to play. Yes. And I still will get on the court if I can, but not beach though.

    31:11:  I love it. I love it. We’re we’re kindred spirits in that I’m a sports fanatic too. So I always have to include that as one of the questions. I’m curious of what is your favorite? Either cocktail or non alcoholic drink of choice?

    31:50: Yes. So I don’t like the taste of alcohol.  My younger self is like, what?,  but no, I don’t like to see alcohol anymore. I will say that my favorite drink would definitely be a warm cup of coffee. But in my coffee, I added a dash of cinnamon right before I hit brew. And something with that. Yes, it is so good. And that’s why when people say oh, do you want to go get coffee? I always do drink my own.

    32:21:  I’ve never tried cinnamon before. That’s a new one on me. I’m gonna have to try that. I will drink some coffee every now and then. Okay, that’s a good one. And then Karen, what is your favorite way to decompress?

    32:33:  As of recently Pilates with the reformer. Yes, I love Pilates because it is just, it’s a low impact way to work out and stretch. But I would also say I love listening and dancing to music. I have a rising desk and part of it’s because I’m a speaker. It’s also because I like to dance while I work.

    32:57:  Kill two birds with one stone right? To fit your way of life. Wonderful!

    33:02:  Karaoke in the house. I’m like, it doesn’t matter if none of us can sing.  Let’s just have fun. So yes, dancing and singing, I would say is my favorite way to decompress.

    33:11:  Well, I want to thank you so much for your time today. And I definitely want to leave with our listeners. If you will, please come and check out the show notes. There will be links to Karen’s website, her book or podcast and a lot of access to goodies that she has. So I do encourage you to sign up to her newsletter. I read it every single week. She does a couple sometimes some weeks. But I tell you, there’s always nuggets that you can gain for every last one of them. So before we close any last parting statements you’d like to say Miss Karen?

    33:43:  No, I again, thank you so much for creating this space where we can just highlight the things that excite us, you know, from our genius zone, but also so we can serve others. So love being here with you today. I’m always open to connecting. So definitely find me connect with me. And let’s keep the conversation going.

    34:01:  Thanks, Karen. And that’s our show for today with Karen Allen, mindfulness expert and founder of 100% Human. Links to her TEDx talk, her book, her website, and her entry into our leadership playbook can be found in the show notes. Now for my segment called Karan’s take, where I give tips on how to take the insight from today’s episode and make it real just for you. Let me just say that leaders are not immune to the strains of their mental health. Living on autopilot can definitely be a success inhibitor and a recipe for self destruction. As such, you know, I do encourage all employers to include energy balance and wellness training as part of their leadership development program. This is the only way for your leaders no matter their career stage, to be able to truly show up as their best selves at work. You know, my book, I do outline what it takes to be a true leadership athlete, and offer a variety of resources and tips there, but if your organization would like a thought partner on how to make it real for your employees, feel free to reach out via our contact page at, and we’ll set up a complimentary brainstorming session to see what will work best for your organizational culture. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you “lead your seat” at any employer, business or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled “Karan”. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their People, Talent Development and Organizational Effectiveness initiatives on an on demand, project or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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