Podcast S1E9

Radikal Life Podcast S1E9: Do with Monica Guzman

Wed, Oct 05, 2022 11:55AM • 58:01

life, excellence, people, thinking, choices, important, person, relationships, disciplined, moving, moment, day, flexibility, feel, style, balance, helping, mom, cultivating, space

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP), Monica Guzman (she/her)

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  00:05
Hello and welcome to the Radikal Life Podcast. I’m Marina Patrice Vare. My pronouns are they them and MP. And I’m joining you today from the unceded lands of the Lenni-Lenape peoples. I’m delighted this evening to be introducing you to our Do Module Leader. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  00:28
Thank you so much for having me. My name is Monica Guzman, and I am an executive coach and motivational speaker. I have been working in the field for over 15 years now, helping people helping professionals be the absolute best version of themselves, both in their life, but also in their career. My areas of specialty are personal branding, leadership, communication skills, and all things excellence. I am the author of the book called Stop Being a Lazy Leader. And I’m so happy and excited to be a part of this project.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  01:08
Thank you so much for that. It’s really a delight to have the opportunity to meet you one on one for the first time. And I’m so excited to share this conversation with our listeners. I have heard you talk about executive presence. And I’m wondering if you would tell us what that is, who it’s for, and is it something that just applies in the workplace?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  01:32
Executive presence is when everything about you screams positivity and confidence. Mostly people refer to it in terms of the corporate world, when they’re talking about a leader or professional, they’ll say, Oh, she has executive presence. Wow she’s so polished. She’s so confident, the way he speaks. But I do believe that it’s also for anyone, whether you’re in the corporate world or not. For me having that executive presence just means that you know what you’re talking about, you feel good about yourself, you feel good about what you can contribute. And that radiates through you. Anytime you say something it radiates in your relationships, the work that you do it’s just everywhere. And that energy is the kind of energy that people want to be around they want to do, they want to build relationships with these types of people. They want to work with these kinds of people. And so that’s something that I try to instill, not only my clients, but in anyone that comes close to me. Feel good about yourself. Show that presence, no matter who you are, where you work, or what you do with yourself.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  02:50
Yeah, thanks for that. The word that came to mind for me was mastery. Right? This sort of like self mastery. And, you know, I heard you use the word a few moments ago, excellence and like, for me, I think about those like as linked mastery and excellence. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  03:05
I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  03:06
Yeah, I heard another thing in there that I want to pull out, give me just a moment. Just about cultivating right that it’s I heard in there that this is not something that you wait to do until you’ve arrived, right that there I imagine is a cultivation process here. And I wonder if you want to extrapolate on that a little bit.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  03:26
Yeah, you know, it is about cultivating and about being intentional. Because, you know, I do believe that we’re all born as wonderful creatures automatically, just by the fact that you’re here, you’re amazing, and you’re wonderful. But getting to that next level of success, and mastery, as you said It really is, is something you have to work on. Because as human beings, we do have moments where we doubt ourselves, or maybe we’re not feeling so great. We don’t feel like we’re subject matter experts. And so it takes a lot of practice, discipline, and skill to consistently, or as much as possible, feel good about yourself and what you can contribute. And again, regardless of your industry, or what you do for a living.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  04:14
I really appreciate that phrase, like feel good about what you can contribute. I really, I can feel that in my heart as well as my mind. Right? Like they have a sense of fullness when I imagine that. And so I’m wondering if you would tell us about you had mentioned to me that your mother’s way of doing really influenced you and I would love for you to tell us about her. And perhaps how she you know helped you cultivate this awareness.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  04:46
My mom is a special lady. She came here, we came here, from Colombia many many many years ago together. And it was quite a journey. What my mother did that was really different, and helped to shape the way that I think and the work that I do and my coaching and my speaking is that she never accepted mediocrity for herself or for me. So she was always doing in some way, whether it was immediately taking classes to learn English, or, you know, she started working out so she could be a healthier version of herself. She started taking college courses and eventually became a nurse and an author. And so I grew up as a little girl, always watching my mom doing something. And even to this day, she’s multitasking, she has lots of energy. I mean, she’s like five feet. We’re both, we’re both short, ladies. But she’s mighty. And I think that when you look at her, you can just see there’s not a lazy bone in her body. She does not accept mediocrity in any way. And even though just like anyone else, she is imperfect. She still is ambitious, and looking to see what she can do to make her life better to make herself better to improve her relationships. And that’s something that I really do admire. And I was always watching. As a little girl, that was my model.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  06:23
I really get a sense of her presence and energy. And like in my mind, and I imagine this is true, but tell me if I’m on the right track here. I imagine her isn’t very big personality, even though she’s a smaller person. Yeah, I have I have a sense of this, like magnanimousness about her. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  06:42
Oh, yes. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  06:42
Yeah. So I what I heard in there is that you had the opportunity to watch her developing herself across a number of areas in terms of her, you know, language acquisition in terms of, you know, fitness and education. And, you know, so the word that comes to mind for me for that is modeling, right? You really, you got to see someone doing, doing things that were inspirational and developmental, right, and you got to watch her become increasingly positive iterations of herself.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  07:21
Exactly. It was this constant doing. I never saw my mom sitting around for days at a time watching TV, or just sitting there eating popcorn. It was always this idea of there’s more out there. And I love that because stagnation to me is very dangerous. You know, whether it’s spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, in terms of your career, health, anything. It’s like, we have this time that we’re being given, why not make the most of it, and constantly be thinking about what’s next for me, you know, and I do believe there’s a balance there appreciating where you are, celebrating how far you’ve come, but also consistently, and lovingly, but firmly, asking yourself and asking the world like, what’s next? What can I do? That accountability piece is important. And that’s yet another lesson that my mom shared with me was, okay, you’re in charge though. And throughout my my videos and my modules, you can see that it really is about that discipline, taking ownership, not about making excuses or sitting down and just waiting for things to happen. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  08:32
I really appreciate the balance that you introduced there, right. Of celebrating right and appreciating what we have done, and also the consistency of moving towards the things you still want to achieve and accomplish. I’m wondering if you have a specific memory of an influence of your mother that you’d like to share with us?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  08:56
I do. I can vividly remember being about maybe 11 years old. We lived in this cute little studio apartment in Newark, New Jersey. And even though we lived in a rough neighborhood, my mom kept that apartment beautifully clean and organized. And I was doing my schoolwork. And I got upset because I made a mistake on the paper. And I didn’t want to erase it because I felt that the paper looked ugly. It didn’t look nice and clean if I just erased it so I ripped it up. And I’m like I’m starting over. And my mom’s like, what are you doing? What’s wrong? It was fine. I said, No, it needs to be perfect. Now it looks ugly. I’m just going to start over. And she said to me, something that I’ll never forget, and that has really served as the foundation for my work and my way of living. She said well, why are you trying to be perfect? Why not strive for excellence? And I said, What’s that? You can imagine me as 11 year old rolling my eyes and saying like what’s that? She said, Well, you know, excellence is when everything about you represents the best version of you or your best work. At the time, I dismissed it. I said, Yeah, okay, whatever, I’m just going to do this again. But over the years, I became a teenager, a young adult, etc, etc. And I realized that Mom was right. So as a former perfectionist, I can now say, and help others understand that it really isn’t about that A plus all the time. 110% all the time. You know, so if we’re doing 1 to 10, like I told my coaching client the other day, did we get to a 9.5 this week? You know, and how do you know? Because that’s still progress, that’s still something to be really proud of. And it’s also healthier. You know, you can make yourself sick. I’ve had times in college where I’ve struggled with that this idea of perfection. It’s not good for anyone. And so that was so critical for me. And I’m so glad that I’m able to share that with other people. It’s not about being free from error, or free from any kind of weakness. It’s about consistently giving your all, giving your all, giving your all in a way, as you said, that’s more balanced and that’s healthy. But still, in a way where you’re trying to achieve your greatest potential.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  11:31
I really appreciate where you ended there, right, about achieving your greatest potential because I too am a recovering perfectionist. And, you know, I think about perfectionism as really something that is debilitating, and in disabling, right, that it often can keep us from even starting, right. And so this juxtaposition of excellence, I think, is really quite lovely. And I wonder if you want to say anything more about that as a counterbalance to the debilitating things that can happen with perfectionism.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  12:15
There’s so many examples and the way that it fits into my life. I, I’ll say that, for instance, I work from home. I do a lot of my work from home and as I’m traveling, and so excellence for me shows up even in small ways, like the things that I’m willing to be flexible with. Okay, the dishes aren’t done today, you know, I want everything to be immaculate and clean in my environment. It’s okay if the dishes aren’t done today, because I went to the gym, or it’s okay that my son Nicholas’ bed wasn’t made this one day. Hey, at least I got to spend some time playing with him. Or, okay, I didn’t send that email tonight, like I wanted to, but at least I went to bed a little early. So it it always comes back to that balance. And it’s hard. It’s not always easy for people, for us, for anyone to do that. To say to yourself, Wait, hold on. Let me take a breath here. What’s good for me just as a person overall, in that moment. Are those dishes really gonna make me or break me? You know, what’s important here, and at the end of the day, again, if you can feel like you gave it your all. You’re good to go. Flexibility of mind is so important in order to be successful, but also healthy.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  13:29
Yeah, that balance between achievement, right? And, and healthy, right? I think many of us who have had the experience of striving for perfection really have lost a lot of both our physical and our mental health in that process, right. And I really appreciate the way you’ve introduced the idea of flexibility here. And I particularly love the example that you use about your son and the bed, right? Because I when I’m thinking about being the best version of myself right, I love the way that you introduce that as like the best version of yourself that you can be right so that you can bring your best work. Like some of my best work in the world is my parenting. Right? And so if I have the space to bring a bit more play and joy into that role, right. I’m just thinking about what a what a gift it is to be able to give the people, especially the young people that we love and care for right, this idea that yes, we do make our beds but sometimes we have a pillow fight and you know, do something else instead. And we used that time and now we need to keep moving. Right and that the yeah, the idea of flexibility for me right now feels like a warmth. Like it’s like oh, right, because there’s a hug there. Yeah. And that there is more spaciousness right in order to be who we want to be across areas of our lives. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  14:34
Yes. Completely. Yes. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  15:05
Thanks. So tell me what this looks like excellence and sort of doing what this looks like in your daily life, your daily habits, how it comes together for you.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  15:16
I’m very focused, obviously, on trying to achieve excellence. Be the best version of myself, not only for myself, but for my family for, for my wife, for my, our four year old son. And I bring that focus to my day, from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed. That means organizing my day in a way that’s very intentional, very organized, and very disciplined. People will ask me well, to what do you owe your success. And I’m many things many things, but one of them probably top three is discipline. I start my day, with, you know, making sure that my environment is very clean. As I mentioned, these things are important to me, it puts me in the right mindset to be productive. Making sure my bed is beautifully made, that the dishes are done, the kitchen is clean, all those things that make my environment feel good to me. Throughout my day, I am making sure that I’m on top of all of my tasks, that I’m using different methods to stay on top of my things, whether it be a calendar or a checklist. Making sure that I am using my time really, really wisely. Time is money. Time is energy. Time is so many things. It’s such a beautiful gift and I want to make sure, because I’m so grateful for every day and every moment, I want to make the most of it. Now, in that doing throughout my day, some might think that, or they might imagine me as just working all day, right? But it’s everything. It’s everything from cleaning my space, to going to the gym in the morning after dropping Nicholas off at school or doing work, or networking, or stretching or anything, right. It could be anything for me. But as long as I feel like my time is being used wisely. It’s I’m doing something that in some way, enriches my career, it enriches who I am as a person – spiritually, mentally, physically, anything. To me that’s being productive. So I try to be as disciplined as possible, as organized as possible. And I’m big on priority. So I talk about this in my in my modules, do you have not only goals, but priorities? So that if I say to myself, I really wants to get these five things done. But these three are the priorities that then it’s okay, if I didn’t accomplish all five that day. Okay, but I have the three. So we go back to the flexibility. And again, just making sure that when I lay my head down at night, I can say, I made really good use of my day. I somehow moved myself forward as a person, as a human being, as a coach, as a speaker, through the choices, the choices I made, and what I decided to do every hour. Again, keeping in mind that it’s not that I’m running around like a mouse, it could be, and we talk about this in the videos, it could be being still, working out, a variety of different things.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  18:28
I heard several things in there, and I’m trying to decide where I want to start. That was really rich. So I think I’m thinking about this gift of time, right? And how we are the makers of that time, right? Like we get to choose how it gets spent. And one of the things that I heard in there was this is not the word to use, but the word that comes to mind for me is our values, right? It’s like, you know, so I’ve heard that, like a clean environment and orderliness is something that you value. Right? And so you’re organizing your space in a way that you move best through it. Right. And I really appreciate that. And the other piece that I heard in there is the choices I made, right. And so this for me really gets at what we’re talking about with excellence versus perfection, right. Is that you’re looking at like it doesn’t mean everything goes smoothly or it perfectly every day, right? Like you’re looking at what’s unfolding, and you’re making the best choice that you can make for yourself moment to moment, right. And then where you ended there. I think I would really love to pull on this thread of stillness, right because we were talking about doing I think it’s easy to imagine someone going, going, going, going going. And I know that in my own life, the times that I have experienced the most excellence and alignment for what I want to be doing and how I’m showing up in the world, that does require a, a level of care for me that that involves some powering down. And so I wonder if that is an experience that we share, or if there’s anything else that you want to say about that.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  20:13
It is, as an inhuman, excuse me, an imperfect human. I do struggle with that sometimes, like many people do. Where I chase success and sometimes I have to force the little Monica in me to slow down. And you know, there’s no shame in that for anyone that’s listening. You know, don’t ever assume that people that are your mentors, or coaches, or people you look up to that they don’t struggle sometimes, right. And it’s important to acknowledge it. That’s something that I find to be so important that I continue to work on. It’s finding those moments where I am still, where I can do some deep breathing where I can stretch, I’ve gotten much better over the years. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when I felt guilty when I was not moving physically, or when I wasn’t, quote, working from dusk till dawn. And it took a while for me to realize the power that comes with some of those moments of stillness. But it wasn’t always the case. It just wasn’t. And so I encourage people, if that’s your struggle, that that was definitely an area for me, don’t give up. You can redefine what doing means for you at any moment. You’re evolving. It’s a skill, like anything else.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  21:38
I really appreciate that share. And I’m just I’m thinking about how much we’re rewarded. Right? For our productivity. And like, really, for me, it had been it became a thing that I chased, right. It was like, Oh, I’ve achieved this. And now by doing doing right. And it was, I mean, I would love to say that I came to rest just because I recognize its importance. But really, for me, it has been multiple times in my life around burnout, right? It’s really, it’s like hitting that edge. And I really I resonate with this idea of feeling guilty, like slowing down. And, you know, I think one of the things that has been important for me is redefining what, what productivity is, and then also, like, how important is it really, right? Like, for me, in that I think this has really shifted for me over the course of my lifetime, right? There really have been places where I’m really intentionally building my career and powering up and then, you know, for me, moving into parenthood shifted a lot of what I was doing, you know, workwise. And so, I think it’s just interesting to consider over a lifetime that, like, we’re always doing something. I would, I would argue that like even choosing to rest, right, is you’ve had to do by making the choice to stop. I don’t know, if that’s like, right, you’re still doing something in alignment, even when you stop.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  22:11
It’s by choice. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  23:03
Yeah, but just what’s coming to mind for me right now is just this way that our, our values, and our priorities shift in different times and phases of our life. And so, I will circle back again to this word that you use excellence, because I think it really does allow me to think about what’s my best expression of myself. And, and this moment too, I’m realizing that when I say it, it also helps me uncouple some of my, like productivity and doing from my worth, right? Because like, there is already like an inherent excellence in us. Right? And it’s begging to be expressed and like be in vibration with us.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  23:49
Exactly, exactly. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  23:50

Monica Guzman (she/her)  23:51
We’re naturally born with it. And so we do have to look at how we connect our self worth to our doing. Again, the balance, the balance, achieving excellence, and self awareness. Realizing again, what’s important to you. Not feeling guilty about what’s important to you. Maybe going to sleep early, or on time, is important to you. I know it is to me. You know, I’m not necessarily a morning gal. And so going to sleep on time every day is important, like you said, your values and not apologizing for that ever, ever, ever.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  24:29
I really love that and I’m just going to send it back to you for a moment just as like unapologetic about our values. Yeah, I really I feel the power in that. And I think that it really does speak to the ways that we move as individuals, with our families, and our communities, right. That like we have different values and there’s, you know, being in alignment with our deepest truth and our values for me seems like the place that is a really powerful place to do from. Right is like a

Monica Guzman (she/her)  25:09
Very powerful. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  25:10
Yeah, I appreciate that language of unapologetic about our values. I think I would love to shift a little to a idea that you introduce, which is the five words, right, or the five traits that you hope people will see and recognize in you and name about you when they’re speaking and describing you. So I’m curious what those words are for you. And then also, I would love if you would talk to us a bit about how you’re cultivating them, you know, through the way you’re living your life.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  25:48
Absolutely my five words for myself at this stage in my life, because they can change and probably should change depending on what you’re going through in life and where you are kind, polished, successful, motivating, and confident. Kind is very important to me, because I do believe that if we were just nicer to one another, the world would be such a better place. And it’s something that seems simple. Just be a nice person, be kind, you know, consider others feelings, and experiences. And that’s so important to me, I can’t be a good coach unless I’m kind. I can’t speak or inspire other people unless I’m coming from a place of love and kindness. And I strive to practice that skill every day just by being non-judgmental. I have a background in psychology. Prior to doing this work, I was a clinician for many, many years where I had to practice kindness with the families I worked with, the individuals I worked with, and you couldn’t come in, but in any other way, but a place of love and non judgment. And so that’s something that is foundational for me. The other ones are really centered around being successful, and discipline. And really to me that that excellence and productivity piece, which again, I strive to embody just in the way I make choices every day. What I choose to do with my time, what I say yes to, what I say no to, the thoughts I allow to enter into my mind, because to me, that’s part of doing as well. And I talk about that in our videos, mindset. How powerful our mind is, and what we do with our thoughts and through our thoughts. And I try very, very hard every day, to control my thoughts. So that they are loving, so that they are non judgmental, my own thoughts, so that they are focused and disciplined, and anything that comes in there, that’s not going to help me achieve my goal. Well, I consider it mental garbage. And it’s about either somehow transforming that thought or getting rid of that thought, because there’s just no time for it. I try to live a very disciplined life, as we mentioned many times with a sprinkle of flexibility so that not only so that people can see me as kind, but so that I can be kind to myself. I think that if someone were to just watch me or follow me around with a camera all day, they would see someone who is kind, cares about what people think, and cares about people’s happiness and comfort. But also someone who’s definitely a go getter who’s doing things who’s not a quitter. And you would see that again, in the work that I do, how I move, how I present myself, etc.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  29:01
I really enjoyed where when you took a turn there about you know, with yourself as well, because I really I appreciate that the things that we are cultivating that we want other people to see in us, we also need to be like, watering in ourselves, right? And like, you know, planting the seeds and then helping them grow. And I’m really especially with kindness, right? I’m thinking about how how it’s work sometimes, right? Like it like if we’re being honest, right? Like, being non judgmental often involves an entire internal dialogue of like, I noticed I’m judging now I need to stop like, you know, right, like, exactly like a whole dialogue that like takes some space and some energy and so, you know, just especially this idea of turning kindness back on ourselves, right and um, nourishing ourselves with the same things that we’re, you know, offering out into the world feels really important in there. I also really appreciated the way that you talk about being I’ll call it being responsive to your thoughts, right? Like noticing if they are moving you in the direction that you want to be going. And if not, like course correcting and figuring out what you can do to sort of put yourself in the mindset that you want to be in in order to do the rest of the things that you want to do. I also heard in there this important piece around choice, right, the choices that you’re making. And again, I’ll use the language of like alignment there, right, like are the choices that you’re making, feeding this person that you want to be in the world? And, you know, I heard you say, especially choices around your yes and your no. And I’m wondering if there’s anything that you want to extrapolate on there, both just specifically with that, but I’m also thinking in in terms also of your values and how you weigh and make choices with your yes and no.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  31:05
We can’t say yes to everything, and people that are former perfectionists tend to want to say yes to everything. It’s just not possible, nor is it healthy in my professional or personal opinion, and there’s strength in being able to say no. There are people who are listening, who might say, I feel guilty saying no to people, especially if it’s someone I love, or care about, or work with. And it has to stop. It just has to stop. Because that inner voice if you really listen closely, it will tell you, what’s good for you and what’s not. And where’s your limit. I just had to say no yesterday. Someone reached out to me about giving the big keynote in another state this Friday. Talk about last minute notice, you know, but I had other could I have fitted in? In some way yes. But But what at what cost? At what cost to my other responsibilities to my physical health. I travel enough as it is and, and so again, hard choices we make in terms of our career, our life, our health. And I had to come to a place of peace with that and say, You know what, thank you. Think of me for next year. If there’s some flexibility, we could do this. And that takes work, being able to get to a point in life where you can comfortably and confidently say, thank you so so much, I’m going to have to decline, or I’m going to have to pass but and being okay with just that. That unfortunately, I cannot commit to that. There’s so much strength in that. And you could say it with a place coming from place of love. But in a way that’s very firm. So so that yes, and that no, even that with that we’re being disciplined and strategic. And there’s a strategy there. Is this bringing me closer to my goals? Or is it hurting me? Or potentially hurting me in some way? It’s not always easy. But once you get it, it could actually be one of the healthiest things you’ll ever do.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  33:19
Really appreciate the way that you speak about communicating your No, right. Clearly and firmly. And also what I heard in this is like, and with a sense of generosity, right, like, thanks so much for thinking of me, please keep me in mind in the future. And I really I want to highlight where you said yes, at what cost, right? Because when we talk about our time being such a precious gift, right, that we get to allocate, right? The same Yes, comes you know, as a as a no to something else, right. And I will say in my own life, it often came as a no to my commitments to myself, right. And someone I wish I could tell you who taught me this phrase so that I could credit them but taught me this idea of if I only hear your Yes, right. How can I trust your Yes, if I never hear your No. Right, because it’s like, basically, I haven’t heard that there’s a boundary to you. Right? I haven’t heard where your values are. Right? If it’s always just a Yes. Right. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  34:31

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  34:32
And I think about that one a lot. And I’m still sort of unpacking it and someone said it to me, you know, a good three or four years ago at this point, right. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  34:40
Wow, I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  34:43
Thinking about that and yeah, and I think teaching our children, right, this again, like it’s always sort of one of those things that is like front and center in my mind, like, what are we showing our children about how they earn their worth, right. And so if your worth is always earned by yes and the doing right externally, then there isn’t really a lot of space for what you do in your time when you’ve said no to those things.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  35:11
I love that you mentioned that with children because you know, even through everything that we’re talking about, I teach these things to little Nicholas. And aren’t we all a child inside anyway? Right? We so freely share these lessons with our children, and we want them to be successful and disciplined and balanced. But then we forget about doing that with ourselves and so on. Thank you for that. Because, you know, I, I’m hoping that not only are we learning these lessons, but that we’re able, at some point, if we’re not already doing so able to teach them to our children. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  35:48
I, yeah, I’m just I think for me, also, I’m back to this idea of kindness. And I feel like I have gotten so much kinder to myself, by interacting with my children, right? Because I think about the way that you know, I speak to them, right. And if I hear myself talking to myself in a way that I wouldn’t want to talk to my children, which for me, has just been a tremendous, like gift, an unexpected benefit of parenting that I really am still enjoying and taking in. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  36:17
Oh, yeah. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  36:19
Yeah. So I’m thinking about, again, this piece where you’re communicating to folks, you know, your yes and your no. And I am wondering if you would share with us a little bit about your communication style, maybe the other people closest to you in your life, their communication styles, and you know, how you navigate when you have a different communication style or a difference of needs.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  36:47
We definitely have different styles in this household. It’s funny, because I talk about the styles in, in our videos, in my videos, and you know, we have the direct style, we have more of the easy going friendly social style, we have the considerate more loyal style, we have a systematic style that’s more technical. I myself tend to be a mixture of all of them. But if I had to say that there was one that I lead with it’s more of a direct style. More of let’s just get to it, and let’s get it done. What are the results? I lead with passion, etc. Now, my wife and son are definitely more systematic. If we buy a board game, I’m just ripping open the box. And let’s take like, literally just the box is broken now. And it’s like Let’s play. Meanwhile, I look over Mommy, we have to read the directions, same thing, both of them reading the directions, and I’m there frustrated, like, Come on, let’s go, let’s do it. Let’s do it. And so I try to balance it out. You know, and it’s and it’s about flexibility. And this is such an important lesson, whether it’s in your personal life, with your kids or your spouse, but then also at work, understanding our own natural style, figuring out what other people’s dominant style might be, and then meeting them halfway. For me, it takes some slowing down. It takes some patience to realize that for some people, it’s about step by step, it’s about following those directions and moving forward in a way that’s more logical and technical. And that even though my passion and my directness might be great, in some situations, hey, maybe there’s a balance, maybe I can slow down, maybe they could speed it up a little bit. And in that way, have a little bit more harmony in life. And if we’re able to do that more successfully, we see stronger relationships in the workplace, with coworkers, with our bosses, clients, partners, etc, without a doubt. But then also at home, a lot of these things work at home with our partners, I always say, Most people are not jerks. They just have a different communication style. And I’m telling you that this is so true. I’ve seen it in my personal life, and I believe in it 1,000%

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  39:17
Yeah I really appreciate that reminder that when we’re not immediately making a match in terms of communicating with someone that it’s not necessarily about them or about us, right? It’s, it’s recognizing that like, we haven’t met them where they are, right. And I do think as someone who also is largely a direct communicator, and also frequently a like in do and go mode, right. That recognizing when I’m there, right, and like when the people around me need a softer touch or like you know more of the right and ah, I it’s interesting. I also think about like forms of communication. And I’m thinking about myself right now where like, I really enjoy, like, text or email, because I can get out of my mind to the thing that I most need to like, express. And then I can go back and add the Greetings. How are you? I hope this finds you well, right. Which I think is sometimes harder for me to get like relay in person. And so you know, just thinking about the way that like modes of communication also can really Exactly, you see that in everything we do, just like you said, it could be an email, it could be in verbal communication, it could be the way we show love. It’s just the way we learn. It comes out in everything we do. It’s really interesting. And I think that the relational nature of communication overall, right really means that it is important that we understand when we’re not being met. Right? And that like, and like, to me, that feels like the responsibility of the person who makes the realization. Right. And like, hopefully, that varies across time and place, right, that that, Yeah, I’m just I’m thinking about in my own life. I am a very enthusiastic communicator, and certainly the way that I grew up talking to people. If people were excited about what you were saying, or whatever they would like cut in and like, you know, like and like, echo and be like, Yes, or like, you know, finish the sentence for you, right? Because of enthusiasm. And it was not about like rudeness, or trying to cut someone off. Right. But both you know, my partner and my mother in law, they are much more deliberate and like slow communicators in a way that I really love and admire, right? But I often I’m like, Oh, wait, I’m interrupting, right? Or like, sometimes I’ll even miss that I’m interrupt it’s like, a, it’s a work in progress for me. Because, yeah, I just, I’m just thinking about, yeah, and I’m thinking about the way those relationships are built by like, recognizing our differences, right. And then, yeah

Monica Guzman (she/her)  42:02
And then adjusting. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  42:04
Yeah. Did you have more you wanted to say there? 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  42:06
Oh, no, no, that’s fine. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  42:07
Cool. So I am now thinking about related to communication, you know, and also, you mentioned the workplace and our home places, the people that we spend the most time with. So I’m wondering if you could talk about why they’re important, you know, and what we need to know about and think about when we consider who we’re spending our time with.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  42:30
It is so true, that energy is contagious, and we might not realize it, and we allow all these people to have a space in our life. We have to understand, though, that if we’re going to be successful, professionally, personally, and we’re trying to be the best version of ourselves, we have to be cognizant of who’s in that space in our space. And I call it our personal cabinet of advisors, you know. The President has a cabinet, we should have our own cabinet. And so we should assess, Who have I allowed in my cabinet? And why are they there? And how are they contributing to my personal or professional health? If we can’t come up with anything for a certain person, we shouldn’t really consider whether that person should even be there at all. Because if someone is toxic, if someone is not only, not only are they not helping you, but they’re hurting you in some way, whether it comes to your health, your career, anything at all, get rid of them. If you don’t want to get rid of them, you have your reasons, then how about consider distancing yourself from them. I always say, you can love someone from afar, you know that these are choices you’re gonna want to make. Because if someone has a mentality of excellence, where it’s about, I want to be better as a person I want to grow, that’s going to stick. But if someone around you has a negative mentality, where every five minutes, it’s this isn’t gonna work, and why are you trying that all that sucks? That energy literally melts onto you. And that’s not helping anything. If we’re saying that time is precious, then we have to be not only deliberate with how we spend our time, but the people that we allow around us. Not everyone is good for us. And yeah, it’s not easy to get rid of people, or change how often we talk to them or how close we want to be to them. But after all, it’s your life. And so these are the choices that come with living a life of excellence.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  44:44
Yeah, I really appreciate that. And I’m thinking about, you know, boundaries and the space that we sometimes need in order to be able to love ourselves, you know, and not at the expense of you know, or not being around the other people in our lives at the expense of caring for and loving ourselves. And I think that that’s a really it’s a challenging place. It’s a dynamic place. Right? And yeah, and I just I understand the importance of like, the energy that people, you know, get on us or like, you know, lift us up with. And I’m so I’m thinking about, you know, what about the folks that we just don’t have, I’m going to say don’t have control over, like how much time and energy like they’re in our space? So I’m gonna look at the way I wrote this question, because I want to make sure I don’t miss anything that I want to say there. So yeah, like, talk to us about if one of the folks in our like, you know, closest people is an unsupportive colleague or boss, and there’s no way to leave that relationship. Do you have some ideas for us about how to take care of ourselves in that situation?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  45:58
I will say first, that there are times where we believe that we have no choice, or that we can’t leave the relationship, when in fact we can, right. So every situation is different. And I’m not saying that everyone should just go quit their job tomorrow. But in some cases, we might think that we’re stuck in a job, when in actuality, we’re not. You know, we’re choosing to go there every day. We’re choosing to be employed there. You know, there might be a situation where you decide this is not for me, especially someone like your boss, because they tend to have a really big impact on your day to day work experience. You might say to yourself, Wow, this is really toxic. It’s been going on for a while. I’ve tried to repair the relationship. I’ve tried to be flexible. It’s not working. It’s actually hurting me. Find another job, right? Maybe you don’t want to, maybe you have been looking but it hasn’t happened yet. Okay. So in most cases, there’s ways to distance yourself, both physically and mentally. For example, I’ll give just one example, let’s say your toxic boss sends you an email and it’s full of criticism. And you didn’t do this right. So mentally, you can distance yourself. Remind yourself that, Okay, this message is not personal. That’s their own style. It’s connected to how they see the world and how they see this project. It doesn’t mean that I’m bad, right? So you distance yourself from the toxicity mentally. You if it’s a coworker, okay, maybe you don’t have to go check in on them every morning or have coffee with them. So there are ways where you can move things around and not be so close to the toxic person. At an extreme, it could mean leaving the relationship or leaving the company. Or it could be as simple as not taking it in emotionally, or finding opportunities to excuse yourself, to maybe go to another space to eat your lunch. You know, little things like that, that you can do.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  47:55
I heard a couple of things in there that I think are really important. And one is the distancing yourself mentally, right, like, especially in this example, where you’re using with the boss, right, and remembering that it’s not personal. I often think about like, well, this person also has tremendous pressure on them and maybe they’re just not skillful. Right? Maybe they’re not a skillful communicator, maybe they’re not a And you know, I also think about, like, the role that fear plays, right? Is that often, right, we’re getting people’s worst fears, like exploded on us, right? 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  48:36

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  48:36
And so I’m thinking about, like responsibility, like, what we’re responsible for and what we’re not, and like, 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  48:43
I love it. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  48:44
Trying to create some space there. Yeah, and I also, you know, I think a strategy that has been important to me is just the Is this true? Right? So like, if you have one person in your life, that’s like, treating you terribly or saying terrible things about you or like, you’re like, well, would everyone else in my life say this? Right? And so, you know, like, who else who else’s voice can I put in my head alongside this voice to sort of like, 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  49:14
I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  49:15
even it out? 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  49:15
I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  49:15
Yeah. I also really appreciate this reminder that you can excuse yourself, right? That like when someone is not like, you may have to share space to some extent, right. But that there is usually some way to put a little bit of space and distance and not keep sort of cultivating the relationship any more than is necessary. So I appreciated both of those pieces. And you know, I’m thinking about Yeah, how hard sometimes it is to be kind to ourselves in those situations, right to like, not tear up ourselves or like take things personally or 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  49:57
Absolutely, absolutely. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  49:59
Yeah, yeah. And I’m also just thinking about the the joy of other relationships, right of like, if you know you have a really challenging thing happening with your boss or your colleague or like having, you know, support in the wings, I guess is the way I’ll say that. I feel like there is another thread. And I’m just going to close my eyes for a second and see if it comes back to me that I wanted to highlight there. I think just the reminder that we always have choices, right, that sometimes it can feel like things are out of our control, and, and some pieces of them are but then coming back to like, what is within our space that we can  Yeah. Yeah, thanks for that. Yeah. I was just I felt like maybe I had a follow up there but I don’t know that I do. Yeah, I think yes. It’s just sort of recognizing that, like, there are going to be people in our lives that are challenging. And then

Monica Guzman (she/her)  50:36
That’s where the accountability comes in.  Yeah. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  50:52
You know, what we do with that, right? How 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  50:52
It’s your choice. It’s your choice. And like you said, We think so often that we don’t have a choice but we do. We might not feel empowered to make the decisions we need to make. But we have the choice. We’re not, we’re not prisoners of in terms of these relationships. We can exit a relationship almost anytime we want, in most cases, and if we physically can’t leave it when we want, we can mentally, leave it anytime we want so.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  51:31
I appreciate that reminder that there are some things that we can’t physically walk away from in that moment, but that we can offer ourselves a different mental landscape. Yeah, thanks for that. I am thinking we’re getting close to, you know, the end of our conversation. And I’m wondering if you want to leave us with maybe an inquiry or a journal prompt, something that will let us take the time that we’ve spent together here and do something with it. So do you have an offering that you want to make? And then also why is that important?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  52:06
I want for everyone, tomorrow morning, to decide to be more intentional, and self aware, in terms of how you’re going to spend your day. Using a journal, or any method that you’d like, try to track your activities for a full day. And it doesn’t matter if it if you’re doing laundry, if you’re playing a board game with your four year old, if you are working on a project, I want you to track everything, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed tomorrow. And this is good. This could be helpful on so many levels, first to track productivity. What is a typical day like for me? What am I doing with my life with a random day day in the life of. Look back at that and then ask yourselves, These activities that I’m involved in are they connected in some way? Are they supporting in any kind of way, where I want to be as a person, as a professional, as a mom, as a partner, etc? Because if you notice that there’s a lot of activities in there that are just not supporting those goals in any way, you might want to reconsider how you’re spending your time. So this is a good exercise in self awareness, emotional intelligence, organization, self discipline. And when you look back at that, you have some choices to make. Again, in terms of whether or not you’re doing going in the right direction, or if there’s some opportunities there to change how you’re spending your time, and really what your priorities are in general in life.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  53:53
I love that. Thank you. I’m thinking about yeah, how often we develop habits in the way that we spend our time. But sometimes we forget to check in with like, are our habits in alignment with you know, our bigger vision or you know, what we want to be co-creating, right, like are we really, you know, lining up there? So I think this is a really rich invitation, and I appreciate it. I’m about to get to my closing question. And then before I do, I just want to check in and see if there’s anything that has come up for you that you want to share, or anything that we just haven’t hit on yet that you’re thinking like, Oh, I really want to make sure we talk about that.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  54:33
No, I think I think we’re good. We’ve been talking a lot about taking responsibility, accountability, self discipline, that balance that we talked about. All these things we want folks to remember that balance is really where it is and being intentional. Where do I want to be and what do I need to do to get there?

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  54:55
Thank you for that. Yes. I appreciate both of those words as keywords intentional and balance, right? Like moving with intention. And also, I will say grace is the word that comes to mind for me when I think about it. 

Monica Guzman (she/her)  55:08
I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  55:09

Monica Guzman (she/her)  55:09
I like that. 

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  55:11
Alright, so my closing question is What is your vision for a Radikal Life?

Monica Guzman (she/her)  55:18
When I think of a Radikal Life, I think of a life where you truly feel at peace. You truly feel that you are being or headed towards being the best version of yourself. Where again, we bring back these key words where you can say, today, I was intentional about that life I deserve for myself. Today, I did everything I could possibly do. And to feel good about that, even if, throughout the day, you made some mistakes, or you probably would have moved differently now that you’re thinking about it. A Radikal Life means that no matter what you accept yourself, you take responsibility for your choices. And you’re living with an amazingly powerful sense of passion, because as I’ve alluded to earlier, we don’t have a lot of time. You know, we don’t know when our time is up. And so that’s why I’m so big on the word intentional. Your Radikal Life is one that is deliberate and grateful for the fact that you’ve been given yet another day. So why not make the most of it? Why not live with intention, and why not live as though Hey, I might not be here tomorrow. So let’s do this. And let’s make this day amazing for myself, for other people so that I can really, really enjoy and live this life.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  56:52
Thank you for that beautiful and inspiring invitation. Thank you for that. It has been an absolute pleasure to chat with you. Thanks for making the time to spend it with me and to share with our listeners.

Monica Guzman (she/her)  57:06
You’re so welcome. I really enjoyed our conversation. I’m so happy that we get to share these conversations with our listeners. And it’s an absolute honor to be partnering with you.

Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)  57:19
Thank you for joining us, head over to our website at Radikal dot Life to sign up for your free Radikal Life Starter Kit. Our website is R A D I K A L dot L I F E. The Radikal Life podcast is produced by me Marina Patrice Vare and edited by Cassidy Vare. Our theme music was created by Mark MeeZy. Radikal Life is a co-creation with Manjot Singh Khalsa and Radikal Healing. Connect with us on social media Radikal with a K. We’re on Instagram at Radikal underscore Life underscore 22 and Facebook at Radikal Life.

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