From Conflict to Courage: Stop Avoiding & Start Leading with Marlene Chism

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

In today’s podcast, we’re joined by Marlene Chism and discuss how to build a drama-free culture that drives growth and reduces costly mistakes.

After the Interview:

About Marlene Chism

Marlene Chism works with top leaders to build drama-free cultures that drive growth and reduce costly mistakes. Marlene is known for helping managers address “the elephant in the room” and initiate conversations that gets results. Her expertise includes leadership development, conflict management, and strategic communication.

Marlene is a recognized expert on the LinkedIn global learning platform, producing educational videos on Anger Management, Having Difficult Conversations and How to Manage Conflict and Get Results in a Hybrid Workplace.

She is the author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011), No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015), Stop Drama in Your Healthcare Practice (Greenbranch 2018) and From Conflict to Courage: How to Stop Avoiding and Start Leading (Berrett-Kohler 2022).

Marlene has a degree in communications from Drury University, and a master’s degree in HR Development at Webster University. She is an advanced practitioner in Narrative coaching.

Read the Transcript

Allison:  Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders Podcast. I am your host and executive coach, Allison Dunn. I’m very excited to introduce our guest today. We have with us Marlene Chism. She works with top leaders to build drama free cultures that drive and reduce costly mistakes, drive growth, and reduce costly mistakes.

Marlene is known for helping managers address the elephant in the room and initiate conversations that get results for expertise includes leadership development, conflict management, and strategic communications. She is the author of four books, including her most recent book titled, from conflict to courage, how to stop avoiding and start leading, Marlene, thank you so much for joining us here today.

Marlene: Hey, thank you for having me.

Allison: My pleasure. I’d love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation, what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners?

Marlene: I say that in all drama, there’s always a lack of clarity. So anytime you’re feeling conflict, or drama, however you want to identify it look for a lack of clarity, because clarity can change any situation.

Allison: That’s an amazing tip and one that I’ve not yet received from any of our podcast guests. Is there a way that you would guide our listeners to figure out how to get gain or question that clarity?

Marlene: Yes, that’s a great question and it’s multifaceted, really. So one thing I look for in clarity for myself, this is going to sound really touchy feely, but truthfully, we know when we’re not aligned and when we’re not aligned, we make bad decisions. So I look for how am I experiencing this situation and if I’m in blame, if I’m angry, if I’m feeling resentful, the story I’m going to tell myself is that you did something wrong or that someone’s at fault, or it’s the situation.

If the situation was different, I would feel differently and there’s some truth in that for sure but what I look at is, OK, so I must be unclear in some area, I’m misaligned, I’m doing something outside of my value system, there’s something within me, because one of my concepts in from conflict to courage is that there is no conflict unless there’s an inner conflict first.

I always look at the inner game as the first piece and then, we can later if you want to talk about leadership, clarity, I have a way of defining that but knowing what you want out of a situation instead of complaining about what you don’t have, really being able to articulate that end result where that intention is really important.

Allison: I completely agree. In your most recent book, who did you write it for?

Marlene: Really, for anyone that thinks conflict is a problem, and any leader at any level and the reason I say that, although they say don’t mark it to everybody. The reason I say that is because if you’re at the upper level, you’re going to read this from a different lens and you’re going to see where your middle level managers are struggling and how it’s cultural instead of just them not being competent. If you’re a beginning level leader, and you aren’t getting training, you’re not getting development, you’re not getting coaching, this answers some questions.

If you’re a reader. I know not everybody’s a reader, but maybe listen to it on audio and even in the book, there’s a full blueprint on how to initiate difficult conversations and how to overcome resistance with highly resistant people. So it’s really from the very beginning of someone that wants to be a leader that’s not getting any training to someone who actually thinks they know everything. It’s a different lens to look through.

Allison: OK, that’s fantastic. I fully agree with this next statement, but I think a lot of people wouldn’t, because they’re very, like conflict resistance but why do you say that conflict is not the problem?

Marlene: Yes, it took me a while to come to that and I understand the resistance and I understand how people are seeing that but we mostly think of conflict as a problem, because we haven’t really challenged it and we’re all kind of tired of that embrace conflict, like I don’t go that far, I get why you might not want to embrace something that feels bad or maybe losing a relationship but if you can come to the agreement, that conflict itself is not the problem. It’s our mismanagement of it.

That means that if I do my work, my inner work, my outer skill, building, that conflict is going to happen but if I have the capacity to address it, deal with it, work through it, stay in a conversation, that’s how I expand and grow as a person and as a leader. So conflict itself is not necessarily the problem. It’s the way we deal with it.

Allison: Right. Cool. You talk about the impact of the leadership identity on behavior. Tell us more.

Marlene: Yes, I mean, everything is driven by how we see ourselves and I’ve really become interested in identity. I’ve always been interested in it because I think anyone like who does work like we do with coaching, consulting, we’ve looked at our identity, who do I think I am, and who do I want to be, and we constantly work on that inner game but the way you see yourself is going to have everything to do with how you initiate conversations around conflict or how you experience conflict.

As you start to shift your identity, to I’m willing to grow, and I’m willing to learn, and although I’m afraid of conflict, I’ll face it, I don’t have to embrace it but I’ll face it, once you start shifting the way you see yourself and you really see yourself as a leader, it starts to change the way you communicate, and your motivation or your decision making is less grounded in.

I hope someone likes me, or I hope this doesn’t hurt feelings, it’s more toward the bigger purpose of the individual and the organization. So you really get more aligned when you start developing your own leadership identity.

Allison: What are some of the techniques that you suggest people use to do that?

Marlene: One is just to know yourself to be aware of how you view conflict, another, there’s a lot of different techniques and I do it in different ways, depending on how I’m coaching or teaching in a workshop but there’s a specific technique that I’ve used for a long time, and it includes coming up with emotive words, like I’m feeling like excited, over the moon, thrilled, coming up with emotive words, because thought plus feeling is what helps you get into an experience and so to be able to create those emotive words first, and then journal, and this is a creative exercise, but the journaling is pretending that you’ve had a year of personal growth and development, you’ve had a few bumps in the road, you’ve had a few failures and you’re now writing to a friend or a colleague about all the excitement that has happened based on your growth and how you see yourself and how you feel and how you’ve experienced it awards that you’ve won, whatever that is, and you’re writing, as if it’s already happened, which is laying those tracks in your brain to receive that and so that’s one way you can start playing with your identity is just to try it on. Who would I be?

If I felt confident, who would I be if I wasn’t afraid of this conversation? Or would I tell my upper level senior managers that I’m having this problem if I knew that they fully supported me, versus Oh, my God, I can’t let them think that I’m incompetent and now I’m coming from a different place. So as we shift how we see ourselves, it starts to change our behaviors.

Allison: I love the fact that you’ve kind of just scratched the surface a little bit on an example of it. Can you give me a little bit of a more of a, like a story behind that so that our listeners can understand and go like, Oh, I’ve seen that, or I’ve experienced that?

Marlene: Yes, I’ve seen examples where a mid-level manager was having complaints from someone that seemed to her as kind of a pot stir, well, we’ve got a problem there already, because now we’re labeling and saying someone’s resistant and once you start putting someone in that box, there can be facts to back it up but once you start doing that, now that’s a problem. So you got an inner conflict going on.

Anyway, this person was not being heard, wanted to go forward and went over her level to her boss, that boss said, No, it’s up to your boss to and but so now we’ve got this problem where we’ve got a person that doesn’t feel heard, another colleague of hers felt the same way. It landed in a discrimination suit and the reason being is that the middle level manager didn’t really go for advice from her upper level manager, the upper level manager saw it as the lower level manager’s job, the director said, Well, that’s the manager’s job to do that. It’s not my job and so now we’re shuffling off to whose job it is, versus solving the problem and giving the coaching and support.

 Well, it turned into litigation, turned into a lawsuit, which was so stressful. For everybody involved, everybody felt misunderstood and angry and so that’s just an example of how you see yourself how you see others, your fear of handling conflict and how the cultural constructs can cause the problem as well, by the way that we think someone’s job is or isn’t and I do see, I think that upper level executives need to read this book, because often they’re very hands off and the truth is the director level and below, they need the coaching, they need the support, they need to have conversations to say, look, I’ve got a problem coming up.

I know it’s my job to handle it but I want to walk through it with you because if you know that it’s a problem, we can deal with it and if you don’t know it’s a problem when litigation starts. Now we’re in a really big mess. My book isn’t about avoiding lawsuits or any of that. It’s just to say that the avoidance creates that and so you might as well go ahead, you’re going to climb that mud hill anyway, you might as well just do it at the front of it.

Allison: Thank you for kind of that deeper understanding and obviously that, the potholes or the pit holes in not managing it well. You make a distinction between leadership identity, and then leadership clarity and I feel like your tip kind of based on that, can you tie the two together? For me?

Marlene: Yes, leadership, identity is how you see yourself and that’s in relationship to other people as well and then leadership clarity is how you see the situation and so you may be able to clearly see the situation and I’ll talk about that method here in a second but you may be able to do that yet you don’t have the identity of a leader, so therefore you don’t address it. Or you may say, I truly, I am the leader.

Yet, if you don’t see the situation, clearly, you can’t solve the problem. If you think it’s the pot stir, if you think it’s the situation, you identify as a leader, you just don’t have the capacity to solve the problem, because you don’t know how to identify with your leadership, clarity what’s going on, and what outcome you want. The way that I talk about leadership clarity is the ability to define and articulate the situation, the desired outcome and the obstacles either real or perceived.

Practical example of that is I do get people that especially since the launch of the book, they get excited, because maybe they have a problem and they say, well, we’ve got a trust problem in our organization, or we’ve got drama, or we’re not collaborating, we’re not working together, people aren’t feeling included.

They’ve identified what they think is a problem and they’ve also decided that a workshop is going to fix it but the reality is, what you have to do is you have to say what’s happening that should not be happening and what’s not happening that should be and how is this affecting the business, the organization, the teamwork, the business case, then you have to say, what would it look like if we were where we needed to be? Because you now have your two points of attraction.

Then we say, well, what are the obstacles to getting there and I can tell you that sometimes the obstacles are that we think it’s a workshop that will solve it, or the obstacle is we’ve got a checklist, we’ve only got three dates that we can do, it needs to be in August and we’ve decided, and we created all these constraints, versus really talking about an outcome that we want and where we’re starting from.

Allison: I just want to make sure I capture kind of in that. So it’s often we can’t see what we want to say that those two points again, that are to come. 

Marlene: There’s two points. You look at the first point of attract there, like two points that create a dynamic tension. So the first thing is we have to accurately describe our situation. So to say that there’s a problem, a person that’s a problem may not be the accuracy that we need. It may be structural, it may be whatever it is, but the things, the questions that will help you get to the situation. Like I know that if I can, accurately describe the situation in my proposal, I get the proposal most of the time because I can accurately describe what’s going on versus the big story that you’ve told about it.

I will ask the question, well, what’s happening that should not be happening? And if they say, well, what’s happening that shouldn’t be happening is they’re avoiding conversations, and therefore we’ve had these issues happen, we had a safety issue, we had this issue. Well, that’s how they’re seeing it but I as the consultant might see, they’re afraid to ask you for support. So that’s also part of the situation and I might have to help you uncover that later but at least if you tell me that they’re avoiding conversations, and as a result, these things have happened.

We’ve gotten a safety violation, we’ve had three people quit, we lost two big customers. OK, I know your situation. Now, we don’t know exactly why all that’s happening but we know what is happening and then we’ll say, what is it that we want, we want to get those customers back, we want to resolve the safety issue so that it never happens again, we want for people to collaborate more together instead of calling in and quitting.

Now, we have a picture of where we want to go and we have a picture of what’s happening. So that’s our two points and that may be really a close gap, or it may be a long gap but then we say what are the obstacles to getting there? Because whatever we think is in our way that is going to determine whether or not we put forth the resources, the effort, the time, the money to solve the problem.

Allison: Such an amazing advice at every level and can be applied everywhere in life, right?

Marlene: Yes. Absolutely.

Allison: Cool. Thanks, Marlene, I appreciate you kind of diving deeper into making sure we understood the two points.

Marlene: I’ve got the mails too [Phonetics], if you don’t mind me just sharing this.

Allison: Yes.

Marlene: What I give in the book as a visual. I’ve used this visual for a very long time and it just continues to serve people. The visual I have is a boat and a little guy in a rowboat. That’s in the lower left part of the book or in a flip chart, or whatever. You’re going to use a PowerPoint, and the upper right corner is an island.

There’s your two points. Here’s where we are. We’re in the boat, and here’s the island. Here’s where we’re trying to go and in the middle is a shark. That’s your obstacle. So I use the language of the island to say, Well, I wonder are we trying to go to because a workshop isn’t your island.

That’s what you think is the solution but let’s just say it’s not a workshop, what needs to happen at the end, and maybe it workshop’s part of that, or maybe it’s none of it but it’s like knowing those two points of what’s happening that shouldn’t be happening and where we want to go and what it looks like, once it’s resolved, then we can talk about the constraints of solving the problem. If you know the shark, the island in the boat, you can solve almost anything.

Allison: That’s fantastic and that is a super good visual too. Thank you. You say that anger is not the truth, but it is the fuel that gets you there.

Marlene: Yes.

Allison: Tell us what you mean by that?

Marlene: When you’re really, when you feel a lot of anger, it’s like, once that straw has hit the camel’s back and that’s the last straw. I know, everybody can relate to this, OK, I’ve had it, I’m done. I’m no longer putting it but I’m going to tell them off, I’m going to make this decision, I’m going to set this boundary, I’m never talking to them, whatever comes up, they’re getting fired because when you’re that angry, you want to take action, your body is screaming for resolution and action, because it’s hard to sit with that and what you’ll do, because your prefrontal cortex, your front part of your brain is not really working, when you’re angry, you will make decisions that you’ll regret later, whether it’s ending a relationship, whether it’s telling someone off, which for me, I get really aggressive.

This is really medicine for me, and a lot of people I work with will admit to having an anger problem. I think it’s really an awareness problem, that we’re not aware that we’ve been holding back or been allowing things for so long, until finally we’ve hit the, it’s the mother lode, we’re no longer going to put up with it anymore.

It’s being aware of when you first get irritated, when you first have a sense, when you first realize there’s a conversation that probably needs to happen a boundary that needs to be set or asking for what you want.

When you’re angry, it feels like you understand fully that you know the truth, you have no doubts about what someone meant by that you’re very clear about what you’re going to do, only to regret it, whether it’s six months later, two years later, a decade later. So just know that anger is not the truth.

It’s how you feel and it’s the truth of how you feel, it’s the truth of what you experience but you don’t know everything yet, and you haven’t had time to process it. So you need the space to process it and with that said, the problem with processing it is, once you’ve processed it, you will lie to yourself and say, well, it’s OK, I was just mad, then that causes a bigger problem because if you had that kind of anger, it needs to still be addressed.

The weird thing is, is that once you’re over it, you don’t feel like you need to. So there’s that balance you have to walk through is to say when I’m angry, I’ve got a withhold and once I’m calm, I don’t need to withhold anymore, I still need to have it. So it’s sort of like you flip it on its side. It’s the fuel to get you there, but it’s not the truth. So you just have to know I still need more information. I need clarity on how I feel about this, I need clarity on what I want. I need clarity on the boundaries I’m going to set and what’s the outcome of that going to be for me? And am I willing to accept the consequences of it? That’s the clarity that you need.

Allison: I think it takes a very aware person to identify that that’s happening in the moment.

Marlene: Yes. It’s hard.

Allison: Is there any guidance that you can give? I mean, I know that a lot of people who end up opening businesses, they’re their drivers, right? And they are perceived to be angry, and they’re quick to anger. Maybe more so than others. So what would be a tip or two, to help someone recognize that in that moment and what to do? What’s the next thing?

Marlene: God, I wish I had the whole answer because like I’m afraid of being caught road rage one day, and then it’s like this interview be like, look what she said here and like she flipped someone off when, she went through. I don’t know, like I still have the capacity to really mess up because I know myself but what has helped me is to and to be truthful about the reality of how I experienced things that like don’t hide from your shadow. Know that you get triggered like that and then really do some deep dive into say, what is it that triggers me? Or after an event where you’re sorry that you did it say what triggered me? What was the trigger? Because if I can identify the trigger, I can have a plan for the next time because usually it’s a person or a situation or a combination of both.

For example, let’s say that being interrupted as you’re being triggered, maybe you were interrupted as a kid that made you feel discounted. So now when someone interrupts you, especially, let’s say a powerful man interrupts a woman, you’ve got this stuff about being a woman and being not respected. So you got all that narrative going on. When it happens, you blow up and you pound your fist on the table and say, I’m going to be heard here, then you regret it because then you’re called overly sensitive and all this kind of stuff that women get blamed for being. So you just want to be able to say, OK, so the next time that happens, I want to notice it and say excuse me, I know you’re passionate, but I want to finish because once you take care of your own needs, you’re not as angry.

Where we get angry is we need to ask for something that we’re not asking for, or we need to set a boundary and that boundary is still an open space. So once you realize the responsibility you have to that it’s about stopping the blaming of other people and deciding what your choices are and that will take some self-reflection and it may take the circle back around, if you’ve lost your temper, or done something you regret to just go back to the person and say, I really regret my behavior. No excuses. I just want to clean it up. Like don’t try to go but you did interrupt me and then if you wouldn’t have entered, because like that’s making an excuse for it still.

Just to say, look, I really hate that I got so passionate and if I had it to do again, I would say keep going, and I’ll speak afterwards and just don’t make it so heavy but just say I really regret that and your opinions do mean a lot to me and I just wanted to clean it up. Are we OK? That way you just move on, you’ve owned it. You don’t have to make it that deep. It’s just you learn from it because I’ll tell you once you apologize, you don’t want to have to do it again. So once you apologize, you won’t do it again, I guarantee you.

Allison: I fully resonate with that and put to apology is the key to ensuring that things don’t happen again.

Marlene: It is. I had to apologize it at the nursing home where my mother is. It’s a really drama laden experience. It’s really at you’re in the unknown. There’s a lot of sensitivity, things aren’t being done, like you think they should be done and one day I’d had it and like I didn’t even notice it building and I will say I was exhausted from just bone tired. I’ve never been that tired.

My worry, it was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced and I just saw the nurse sitting there chit chatting with a CNA and there was no water. There’s no ice. I just, I blew and I just shoot, I mean, I’m just like over there saying it’s unacceptable. I’m just, I’m really fast and witty and like I justified it really for a good two or three weeks and I even shoot out the head nurse and just I felt so darn good about it and that’s that thing of anger is the truth, right? They deserved it and I guarantee you, you will find friends that will say they deserved it. You were right, which, again, there’s facts but the truth is, is that how you want to show up.

Marlene: After I had time to like, process that which took me a long time, there was a long refractory period, I was able to approach her and say like, I’m really sorry, the way I showed up, I wish if I could do it over it would be different. She goes, oh, we’re used to it. I said I’m sure you are, there was two thoughts I had. If you’re used to it, it means you’re not performing as you should be because it shouldn’t be happening all the time. Right?

That’s what’s happening that shouldn’t be happening. I didn’t say that, though because I’m not there to cause a fight. I said, well, regardless of whether it happens all the time or not, it’s not how I want to show up, I really do want to be a partner and an advocate, not just an advocate. So I just wanted to clean it up but at the same time, I do know that if it’s happening all the time with people that our loved ones, that are angry, it’s because something’s off in the system or an expectation is not being met if it’s happening all the time.

Allison: And it’s probably a fair assessment. You have a chapter in the book that’s called resistance training. Working with high conflict people, which we all know them, right? Must say that there are three types of resistance. Can you talk about that and how do you know when you’re in a state of resistance? Although, I think we are 100% of the time, always. That’s my video. [Phonetic]

Marlene: Yes, resistance. I’ve done a lot of work around releasing resistance and in writing this book, I really had this download or this insight about resistance that was just over the top for me, and it’s been helping a lot of people. So a lot of times we will recognize someone else’s resistance, we’ll say, wow, they’re so resistant and I want to make a distinction between someone saying no, and being very clear in their no, when they have the choice versus I would but it’s going to be difficult.

There’s not enough time. Yes, but someone’s to blame. I know but if you only knew, like that’s resistance, the negativity, the excuses that I would but it’s hard or like you don’t understand, I say my shark. You don’t understand my shark. That’s resistance.

We all have led people that are very resistant and they drag you down. They’re exhausting to work with but it’s a good stepping stool to learn things too from people like that. We often don’t realize we have resistance as well and we all do. We all get negative, we make excuses, we avoid. Anytime you’re depressed, that’s resistance. Anytime you’re procrastinating or stuck, that’s resistance. So resistance is just being out of the flow and no longer forward moving.

If you can identify your own that’s one level if you can identify someone else’s, which is where most of us we can identify a resistant person. Oh, they’re so negative. They’re so resistant, they make excuses resistant person. What we fail to recognize and what trips us up is, our resistance to their resistance, and how so that’s the third layer. So how it shows up is, I know I need to have a conversation with them. So I know it, I’m not resistant and I already know what they’re going to say, therefore, I’m not going to do it, because it’s going to turn into a fight and what I don’t realize is that I’m now resisting their resistance and blaming them.

If I say, well, I do think I know what they’re going to say but I’m going to go ahead and have the conversation anyway. Now we’ve just broken through our own resistance. So there’s three layers, my resistance, your resistance, and my resistance to your resistance. That’s big admit.

Allison: And I can just like catalog conversations that are around like the third level of that, right? The resistance of the resistance.

Marlene: I already know what they’re going to say, or what they’re going to throw a fit. So let’s just do this, OK? Don’t tell them. I told you this but, or let’s just go ahead and do this and apologize later because if we do it now, so that is resisting someone else’s resistance, whereas much of the problem as a leader is not doing something because you’re afraid of their reaction, or you’re afraid of how you’re going to react to their reaction and the place we fool ourselves is we think it’s about them and it’s really about us, we think, well, Oh, I hate to see someone’s feelings hurt. That’s not the truth. I hate how I feel when your feelings are hurt. I really don’t care about your feelings. I feel about how I feel when your feelings are hurt. I care about how I feel when you get angry. It’s not that I’m afraid of your anger. I’m afraid of how I feel when you get angry.

Once you start taking ownership for it, it’s like it’s OK for me to feel some discomfort. Yes, I don’t want them to scream, but they’re probably going to and I’m just going to take a breath, and you have a plan and you just deal with it. You say we yell that’s what they do. They’re loud, they’re boisterous. I’m just going to say wait up. I know, we’re both passionate and I’m going to handle it because I’m OK with how they show up. I just know how I’m going to show up. So that’s when it starts to change.

Allison: Yes. I love the, I mean, we can only control one factor in this situation when you have resistance and that’s what we’re doing ourselves. Right? 

Marlene: Yes.

Allison: Completely agree with it’s actually our problem when we’re like making a story for the resistance that we’re experiencing. Is there a big coaching tip that you can give to me as a gift when I recognize it’s happening so that they’re hearing it on the podcast? And then when they hear me say it in a coaching session, they’ll be like, oh, I know where you’ve got that from.

Marlene: Yes, I mean, it’s just, I think recognition and like having fun with it. Like, it’s just what we do, doesn’t mean you’re bad. It doesn’t mean you don’t have character. It’s just having fun with it to go, wow, look at me, like I will even say when people say well, why don’t you do? And I’ll say, Well, I’m resisting that with every fiber in my being, like, I’m just going to own it. Like, I’m just resisting.

Allison: I’m resisting this, OK.

Marlene: I’m just resisting it. So like, hey, how interesting and I don’t have to accept it. It’s OK. If I say a clear No, because then I’ve just decided, and it may seem like resistance to you if you’re wanting me to do something but if I’m already, like, here’s an example. Like, I just did a program with LinkedIn, and they shipped all the stuff to my house.

I did the filming and everything here, but and I kind of know myself in that. I will get frustrated trying to set up all the technical equipment. I know that can be a story or it can be resistance, but like knowing myself and what I’m really here to do, which is my expertise, and scripting it and speaking it and doing that takes energy and so my reality is while I could try to prove to myself that I’m willing to work through something that’s really difficult, or I could just say my husband’s going to be the one that sets this up and they actually said, why don’t you just challenge yourself next time? And just and I said, No, I’m not willing, I don’t want the challenge. I don’t want to feel the frustration. I don’t even want to prove to myself that I can do it because I’m very clear on what I’m here to do and why I’m doing it. That’s just not an area where I want to feel that resistance.

That was just a real clear part for me to say, nope, don’t want to grow there.

Allison: We must be made of the same fabric technology. Like I just resist the resistance of it. I just want someone else to take care of it for me.

Marlene: But I think that’s just a clarity to, like if the resistance comes when you want to overcome something, but you’re struggling and I’ve just come into acceptance with certain things. It’s going to take energy when I’m really being paid to do something that takes that energy. Why get sick over it, like maybe at a different time in place.

My mom’s not in nursing home, maybe I would be like let’s take this challenge and for me, it was a big enough challenge just to go ahead and do the thing from my home and I knew that that would be the amount of challenge that I’m going to be expanding into that I don’t really want to be responsible for replacing a cable and still having my makeup look good and Hello, it’s Marlene she doesn’t like, I just didn’t want do it, didn’t want to experience and I’m just OK with that.

Allison: Yes, so the level of permission of having clarity about what it is that you’re going to be openly resistant about and just 100% owning it, and that is OK.

Marlene: Yes, and that’s just a choice. That’s just clarity and I look at resistance more as being divided. Like I say, I want something but I’m not willing to do it or I’m really struggling with, like, I’m beating myself up for not being willing to do that. No resistance, I don’t beat myself up at all.

I just don’t want to learn it and I’m OK with that and I’m even OK with someone judging me for it. Like, it’s just OK because I’m clear, there was no resistance of you need to understand my point of view, I don’t need you to, if you think I’m not growing because of that, that’s OK? So it’s like, there’s just no resistance. It’s just like, it’s just going to be what it is. This is what I agreed to do and what I’m not doing.

Allison: I have some great takeaways from our conversation just for me. So thank you very much, Marlene. Is there a best way for our listeners to connect with you, follow you, engage?

Marlene: Yes, absolutely. Email Marlene @marlenechism.com. If you’re interested in any kind of, if a corporate type of work, I guess but LinkedIn if you follow me or even tell me you met me on this podcast and let’s connect or else you can follow and be updated when I do the lives. I do a live every month usually. So yes, LinkedIn or my website, marlenechism.com and then, of course, my book. Conflict and courage.

Allison: Connections to all of those will be in the show notes.

Marlene: Yes.

Allison: Marlene, thank you so much for joining us here today and all of your wise wisdom that you’ve provided.

Marlene: Thanks for having me. I’ve enjoyed it.

Allison: My pleasure.

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