Creating Magic at Work with Amy Lynn Durham

Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Are you emotionally intelligent? In this interview, Amy Lynn Durham shows how you can use this strength to help those who don’t feel connected at work. In the process, you’ll learn how to create magic.

After the Interview:

About Amy Lynn Durham

Amy Lynn Durham has spent years in the corporate world successfully managing hundreds of employees for private and publicly traded companies. Her company, “Create Magic At Work”, offers Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) tools to energize and transform the workplace.

Amy is a U.C. Berkeley Certified Executive Coach licensed to teach the 21 skills associated with Spiritual Intelligence using the SQ21 Assessment.

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview


Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders Podcast. I am your host Allison Dunn, Executive Coach and founder of Deliberate Leaders podcast dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode we feature inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. Super excited to introduce our guest today, we have with us Amy Lynn Durham. She is the CEO of Create Magic at Work. Her company’s intention is to offer spiritual intelligence which we’re gonna quote as Sq and emotional intelligence as commonly known as EQ. tools to energize and transform the workplace. As an expert in building positive company cultures, Amy designed create magic at work to bring a variety of services and strategies to aid in cultivating teamwork harmony, in order to improve profits and employee morale. So no small task. Amy welcome to the show.


Hi, thanks for having me. I am happy to be here today.


Awesome. I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. What would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners today?


Oh, wow, I thought we might do this at the end. But we’ll start it off, we’ll kick it off this way. So my number one leadership tip today it may change in the future wouldn’t? Yeah, exactly right, would be to I’m really challenging people that I interact with, to think deeply about what servant leadership means to them. And if, because I feel like it’s kind of a buzzword right now. And to sort of peel back the layers as far as what that means to you, as a leader, access that internal wisdom within you. For me, it means Can we take it a step further? Can we take it past the point where we think servant leadership is answering to our customers, and our employees, and our shareholders and our co workers? Can we move it even farther? take it a step further to what’s the ripple effect we’re leaving on the planet? What about the resources that we’re using? Can we move business into a space where it’s not just for profit, but acknowledging the ripple effect that we leave?


Okay, so to the fact that for what their company is, and encompassing all of that around it, that’s awesome. Thank you.




So you’ve written a book, it’s titled Create Magic at Work, and who does not want more magic at work? So who did you write the book for in? And what is it about?


Create Magic at Work is a tiny magical book. And it’s filled with activities for leaders to utilize in the workplace. So I wrote it for the leader or the manager that wants to do some sort of connecting activity with their team. And they just need to grab a quick handbook and flip to it. And you have one right there for you. So they, they intentionally have an underlying way of skill building and EQ and sq. So emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence. I always like to share that the data shows that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%. We know that bringing people together improves profitability and productivity. And that’s what I wrote Create Magic at Work for.


Okay, so a functional book to help open up to any page and give you some ideas about it. Yeah. I just for our listeners, I mean, I know EQ is spoken about a lot. So emotional intelligence could you just share a little bit about the spiritual EQ part of things and then, you know, how are they different? And how should we be thinking about them?


Yeah, the best way I like to explain that and there’s many different ways I mean, there’s not one answer that there’s not a one size fits all. But in the adult development theory, your brain is able to start exhibiting compassion around your early to mid-20s. That’s when you can really start working on your emotional intelligence in the workplace, right? You can become self-aware of your emotions. You can have an Emotional management strategy; you can start creating connections with others. Reaching out things like that, once you get into your mid 30s is sort of that, again, there’s exceptions, but this is the adult development theory. It’s that time in your life where you start to ask these self-reflective questions. Why am I here? What’s my life purpose? What are my values? For me, it was what am I doing in this job? You know, people start questioning, I want to go off and feel like I’m making a difference. And that’s you sort of get to Sq by way of EQ. And that explanation. And spiritual intelligence is a faith neutral system, you can be agnostic, you can be atheist. As long as you believe there is a place within you that comes from wisdom, and compassion and love that you can access. You can work on the 21 skills of Sq, that Cindy Wigglesworth designed, that I’m a certified coach.


So I super appreciate you pointing out that it’s not it’s not a religious element, it’s spirituality. And could you give us I guess, like a high level, use the 21 skills that are needed with it, don’t give us all 21. But could you give us like the like the most important few that you spend the most time focusing on?


Yeah. So I’ll start with the definition of Sq there’s lots of definitions of spiritual intelligence. But the one that is associated with the 21 skills is from Cindy Wigglesworth. And she defined spiritual intelligence as the ability to maintain inner and outer peace. And make decisions with wisdom and compassion, regardless of the situation you’re in. So the 21 skills sort of encompass you being able to do that in life, which is a really tall order like to maintain inner and outer peace. Regardless of the situation you’re in, like, That’s crazy. I mean, I don’t know if I mean, that’s, that’s a tall order for us to rise you. But we can skill building that everyday. So some of the 21 skills, they’re broken up into four different quadrants, similar to EQ, if you’re familiar to Goldman, and that some of these skills are like I referenced in the beginning, the first two quadrants are more of like the inner work you would do as a leader. So are you aware of your values? Have you done values hierarchy? Have you stack ranked your values? Are you aware of your life purpose? Can you do you want to do some, you know, have a rich conversation about that and think about some questions around that? Are you aware your worldview isn’t the only worldview? Are you? What is your skill level in the awareness of the interconnectedness of life? Those are some fun ones that are what’s your, what’s your skill level in your breadth of time perception, that’s a really cool one to get into, right? And then you get into quadrant three, and quadrant four, which is the outside world start seeing you exhibit these qualities. And typically, when I issue an assessment to a leader, they take the Sq 21 assessment, and then we meet for a coaching debrief. You asked me about a specific skill, and I have to share because every single executive leader that I do a debrief with I don’t lead them in any way. They always ask me about skill 19 and quadrant four. Okay, that’s, that’s the social mastery, quadrant work and skill. 19 is making wise and compassionate decisions. So it’s super encouraging, that these high level leaders want to talk about, hey, I want to talk about skill 19. And recently, what I’m finding is there’s a polarity and what comes up with that many clients on one end, need to be more compassionate towards themselves, as leaders read. Yeah. And what they’re doing is, and I say this without any blame or judgment, they are leading in an empathetic way. But they are taking on other people’s work, thinking that they’re being a good leader. Or maybe they’re being the ear for everyone to vent to for more than the time they should allow and they’re depleting their own energy as a leader and so that’s one end of the spectrum that we can get into and you can look at your skill level there and you can really come up with some great work where you set boundaries for yourself in the workplace that’s what I would work with a client on how do I how do I set boundaries How do I make wise and compassionate decisions towards myself then the other end of that is you we’ve all I mean it’s obvious we’ve all been there kind of thing this person gets on my nerves I I so upset that they this person sent me this email right now. I can’t stand this employee they drive me crazy. How do I make wise and compassionate decisions or even on a higher scale? Hey, we have to do you know, let’s take it to the much larger scale we need to do mass layoffs, how do I make wise and compassionate decisions with that, and usually what it comes down to is these all these skills tied together but the awareness of the interconnectedness of life The taking a moment to not just look at a spreadsheet, but understand the servant leadership and the ripple effect you’re sending. And there’s lots of exercises we can do for that one in particular is just you know.


Just like me, this person is trying to experience joy in life, the Compassionate side just like me, this person is trying to avoid pain, reframing the story putting yourself in their shoes in a visualization. That was a long answer, but I got you there.


That is a great answer. And I think you did a really great job at describing the difference because I think my next question was going to be like, how do you help people understand the difference between EQ and Sq? And I think you just kind of connected Is there anything you’d want to add to that to kind of describe the difference between the two because I’m in talking about the treats like I can determine the difference between the two for sure.


Yeah, I would say EQ is more like how do I manage my emotions and it’s more that I feel part Okay, if you will, and then Sq is the deeper leadership skills that you can skill build in and it’s more of the I am okay, a part of things okay, have you ever been to a cocktail hour or a dinner party and people say what do you do or you know they try to try just answering I am see what happens.


How would you coach someone to answer that in a cocktail hour Let’s go there. So they say what do you do? What do you do?


Well I just challenged everybody to say I am instead of what I do okay good yeah. I exist I am period oh I am there’s a lost on me the first time I’m glad you know I am furious I am so put me in a box or put a mask on me. I am a human being there’s an exercise you can do with Sq to skill build and seeing how connected we are and making decisions and one of them is I like to share is when you walk down the street or if you’re driving down the street you just point to any person you see or any person you interact and in your mind you say I Am that I Am I Am that I Am that I Am that and you keep doing it till it like resonates within your higher self. And it’s a powerful exercise.


That’s a great one. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that particular one. Connection connected ness authentically connecting are huge conversations that a lot of leaders executives, business owners team leads you know, whatever category of trying to connect with people in the workplace because connection super important. How do you what would be your suggestions for people who don’t necessarily feel connected and what can they do to bring that to life for them make that magic happen?


Yeah. So I always like to say that I wrote Create Magic at Work for the beer drinking golf guy. Male executive that has Really great heart and wants to do the right thing and wants to connect their team but doesn’t really know where to start. And it doesn’t have to be this huge Sq deep dive, it can just, I have to tell you, there’s a section in my book called more than smores. And I wasn’t even going to put it in the book, because I was like, This is so simple and stupid, I’m embarrassed, people are gonna judge me or you know, whatever. But my employees, by far voted that this was their favorite activity that we had done. And so I had to put it in there. And all we did was we had a huge quarterly business review. And we were all geographically separated. But during this time, everyone was brought together for the quarterly business review. And then afterwards, we had a bonfire on the beach, and we did s’mores. And I just asked them to bring their favorite motivational quote, or their favorite passage or something that means to them, that means something great to them. And we went around and each person shared what they had brought. And they shared why it meant something to them. There was so much connection, in that hanging out having smaller session. And it was because they were lonely, we were geographically separated. And loneliness and isolation. As we know, pre COVID Harvard Business Review is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day in health care costs they found. And it just hit me that that was, that was why that was their favorite. They saw the humanity and each other. They heard what, what meant something to someone else, they saw that, hey, this person is going through the same struggles I’m going through in life, or they want the same things that I want in my life. And the beauty of it not to get to the financial piece, but it frees me up as a leader to do my job. Because now they’re connected. They know their job more than I know it, they can call each other collaborate, they can hear that maybe you know, Shane’s going through something that they didn’t know. So now they reach out to them to help them. The ripple effect that something small like that has is tremendous. And it shouldn’t be discounted. So I like to share those simple things, because anyone can do something like that.


And who does not love s’mores, right?


No, right?


Would you be willing to share one more technique that really would lock in why people should go in and get the book. And that is more on a virtual, you know, front, I feel like people are going to connect from the zoom angle. Or having that online connection. When people are remote working from other places other than the office now, more so than ever.


Yes. I’ll share my favorite one, I have a section in the book called journaling with a twist. And so spinning off from that I created a companion to the book. And I authored a deck of 33 journal prompts cards for the workplace and for your career. And each card has an affirmation and two questions to journal. So as a leader, if you’re on zoom, and you want to virtually connect with everyone, you can just pull a card mat for the group energetically, and everyone can journal together. So the card I picked, you know for the show right now is integrity. That’s what that’s what came up. And the affirmation is I make sure to carefully plan my work, and always deliver what I commit to. Then you pose these two questions for the group to journal about rapid write five to 10 minutes try to access your higher self, not your IQ part of you, right, not the I think the I Am. What tasks do I rush through. So you let everyone journal in silence on that maybe have a little background music? What tasks Do I need to complete this week with uninterrupted focus? So scaling down, so there’s 33 different themes like this one’s generosity. All for the workplace. This is a perfect connecting activity for a virtual session because you can just pull a card, have everyone journal together in silence. You have that energy going, even though it’s virtual, and then when everyone’s done journaling, they share their answers and that’s where the connection comes through.


In the sharing time showed people allow for the sharing part of it because I know silence is difficult. So Music Playing I know is key, you know, to allow people to like think but not be distracted by it. How much would they allow for a team of six people to share?


If it’s a team of six people, I would give each person maybe two minutes tops. And then I would keep the theme deep and brief. We want you to be deep and brief, deep and brief,


Deep and brief. So something that could be accomplished in probably 20 minutes, the last reflection share.


Yes, and something that will probably add to your bottom line more than going over a p&l statement. At the end of the day. I know, it’s so true. I mean, my team doesn’t remember what metrics we had on the board in that meeting, but they remembered the smores at the end and the connection. And by the way, you know, we were on top, and we were killing it.


It’s her first truly official appearance on this common seat. So yay. Stay learning the show. Do you have any other helpful tips for people who aren’t feeling connected? And they’re not the leader to run such a, you know, as a session as that’s so I’m looking to some outs to create that for me, or possibly expect them to create that for me? What would be your suggestion?


Yeah, I would not, I would never expect someone else to create something for me. And I would also offer that just because you don’t have a title as a leader does not mean you’re not a leader. Titles do not miss leaders. And I use tools and think different things like this with my friends every day. I just was in a session, a zoom session with my friend catching up. And we were looking at different themes to talk about together to inspire each other. So you don’t have to have a title to start showing connection and making a difference within yourself. Right? Go back to what we were talking about earlier, how do I make wise and compassionate decisions for myself, maybe I have my own maybe deck and I just pull a card for myself every day, I get tagged all the time on Instagram, with people that have my deck, and they just pull a card for themselves every day. So there you go.


I think that is a fantastic challenge. super curious. So you just have a session for yourself. What was your takeaway? What is your inspiration for the day based on the card that was pulled? I’m curious.


oh, I had a super magical session where it we had the goose bumps and it was a three card pool. And it was generosity, magic and time. And they were very strong messages that what am I am I am I have? Do I have a balance and my given take? That was the generosity piece that hey, that goes back to feeling depleted in the workplace, right? And is my energy balance. balanced and giving and receiving? The Magic theme was more about as we’re talking, it’s the end of September, October starting. It was more about planning out the next four weeks and a couple of micro steps and goals that we can implement. And then the time, it was so beautiful how it backed up at the end, because the time was like, hey, given all of this time is infinite, there is no finish line. And you can make it time expand for yourself. So take a breath and enjoy the journey. Because when you get to the end, it’s the end.


That’s beautiful. Yeah, for sharing. I appreciate you talking through that and sharing that that’s an example. Amy, what is the best way for our listeners to find and follow you.


So I always say if you want to be a magic maker for the workplace, go to create magic at everything’s there. And LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. Under a me lender, I often post a weekly workplace message for everyone to give you a little pep in your week and the beginning of the week. So yeah, connect with me on LinkedIn, or go to create


Fantastic. Amy, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. I truly do appreciate the tips that you’ve shared on a new topic that we’ve not yet covered here which is this spiritual and The EQ side so thank you very much.


Yeah, thank you. It was a great conversation.

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I'm Allison Dunn,

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