7 Lies Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go with Sarah Ciavarri, Speaker and Certified Coach  

Sarah Ciavarri, M.Div., PCC, CDTLF, is the Founder of Level Up Leadership and she loves seeing leaders get excited about their lives and futures. As a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator, trained in all of Dr. Brené Brown’s research, and a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation, Sarah is always seeking new adventures in helping leaders craft a life they love.   

Sarah has traveled nationally keynoting and facilitating workshops on resilience, vulnerability, and authenticity.  Sarah is the author of Find Our Way to Truth:  Seven Lies Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go and to be released this summer, The Unnamable: Beyond EQ:  A Deeper Level of Emotional Understanding for Leaders and Entrepreneurs.    

In this episode, Sarah and Cindra talk about: 

  • What it means to be “Afrave” 
  • The 7 lies leaders believe and what to lean in towards instead 
  • Accessible tools to grow as a leader 
  • And what I gained from her Dare to Lead Training based on Brené Brown’s work  



FOLLOW CINDRA ON INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/cindrakamphoff/ 

TO FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SARAH: http://www.sarahciavarri.com/ 

FOLLOW CINDRA ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/mentally_strong 

Love the show? Rate and review the show for Cindra to mention you on the next episode: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/high-performance-mindset-learn-from-world-class-leaders/id1034819901 



“You can’t really be brave unless you’re scared or you have some anxiety or nervousness.” –Sarah Ciavarri @Mentally_Strong
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“…hard emotions want their day… and they’re going to come out, whether it’s through my words or through me (like slamming a door)” -Sarah Ciavarri @Mentally_Strong
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Cindra Kamphoff: Welcome to the High Performance Mindset Podcast! I am so excited to have Sarah Ciavarri here. Sarah, thank you so much for being here. I’m just pumped to have you on the podcast today.

Sarah Ciavarri: It is great to be here.

Cindra Kamphoff: I love it! I have known you for a few different things – the speaking world, but then also was able to attend your Dare to Lead training last month, which was just incredible. Sort of talk a little bit about that. I know you have another one coming up in September… we’ll talk a little bit about it. But just to get us started tell us what you do, Sarah, and what you’re passionate about.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah, I love helping people get excited about their lives. I am a transformation junkie. I love seeing systems and people and individuals break free from what they think are the limitations of the type of life they can lead and really transform… break free into living the life that fills them with tremendous joy and tremendous purpose. And that’s where our greatest energy lies. So, I have been in the coaching space for a decade and have started keynoting. I always was doing that in some way, shape or form, but really decided, maybe 7 years ago, I want this to be a part of what I offer to the world. So, I keynote a lot on emotional intelligence and Dr. Brene Brown’s research. So, I love doing that.

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, that’s awesome. And we were able to first connect at a speaker showcase. We are both part of the speaker showcase, which, if people aren’t familiar is, you know, about 20 speakers, and we have about 10 min/15 min each to give our little short keynote and a room full of meeting planners. So, a little bit of high stakes. There’s a lot of pressure…

Sarah Ciavarri: That was the first time I did that… And it for those of you listening, Cindra was just so kind. She came up right away a room full of people… I knew 2 other people. She came up right away, introduced herself after I’d finished. She was so kind, just and was a fabulous human being.

Cindra Kamphoff: Oh, well, you’re really nice, Sarah… and that’s what led us to the podcast today. And I think you have so much value, so much insight and wisdom to share with the world and I just can’t wait to dive in. So, as we get started, maybe just tell us a little bit about what like you to speaking and coaching, just so people can hear a little bit about your journey.

Sarah Ciavarri: Well, I think it started in, because I had a leadership position… in a congregation as an associate pastor that really was difficult. And I felt ill equipped to address the challenges and the dynamics and… the kind of dysfunction that was happening. I felt really… like I was trying to… I use the analogy – it felt like I was trying to chop wood with a plastic knife. Like I had a tool, but it there was no way it was going to do the job. You know it could handle the hot dog, but there was no way it could solve the situation in front of us. And so at that same point, I became aware of Bernie Brown’s research, and it was literally life changing for me because it gave me language for all of these things I was experiencing and feeling like… I’m just a bad leader rather than putting it in the category of I don’t yet have the skills I need to be really effective in this situation. And so, it shifted my mindset from one of shame to one of growth and… leaning into vulnerability to say, “Yeah, I don’t have it all figured out”. And I found this beauty… digging into that more… just beautiful communities have been made of people who come together, you know, who are wanting to strip away some of these things that prevent us from living fully or in our authentic self, or bringing our whole selves to what we do. So that is a little bit of my journey into coaching. And then it was… okay. If this has been super helpful for me, I want to create that space for other leaders. I want to create this space where other people are experiencing the same healing and freedom, and… that comes from greater knowledge. And just like that shedding of the weight of all the expectations or the things, the assumptions, we believe, and when we break free from some of that, it’s just freedom like you can physically see people’s body language change. So that is what brought me to this place, I never intended to be entrepreneur, but I love it. I love it! I love you know… all of the excitement that comes with it. And I also love meeting all of the different people and different organizations. It’s so much fun.

Cindra Kamphoff: It is fun. I think, you know, most people kind of come to speaking, don’t… I don’t think intended to be a speaker. It just happens by following their passion, and I think that’s how ended up… how I got into keynote speaking was, I started because I wanted to be more confident, speaking in front of the Minnesota Vikings… and then all of a sudden, I saw, oh, wow! Okay, there’s all these people who are doing this. you know. Maybe I could do this as well. So pretty cool, and I loved the training I just went through with you about, you know, Brenne Brown’s Dare to Lead… her book and the training that you got certified in. And then we had a group that went through last month, and it was so powerful. It’s hard to kind of explain how I grew from that, because there were so many things. But one of the things that I learned… is to set boundaries a little bit differently, and to also share with my family what I really need… those are a couple of things that I got from the training. I also really love this idea that Brene Brown talks about, and if people aren’t familiar with Brene Brown’s work, she’s a New York Times bestseller. She’s written 5 or 6 books, Dare to Lead, The Gifts of Imperfection. are a few of her books. And I love her quote of like… “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” And just trying to really be clear more with what I need in my expectations. So, I just want to thank you so much for that gift that you provided to us. And tell us a little bit about what you’ve learned, you know, being trained by Brene Brown…. and what have you learned just doing this work related to Dare to Lead?

Sarah Ciavarri: So many things… And I think the… high, high level points are. We all feel fear… and it’s what do we do with it? We all experience shame. And when we talk about it, and we’re met with empathy, things change. You know, it’s… we experience freedom we didn’t even know we got to have. So many tangible practical skills of how do you have hard conversations. You know, it’s really tapping into self-awareness. that’s the foundational place of how do we have good relationships with other people… that lean into, you know, setting boundaries that are life giving. And the interesting thing I’ve learned leading so many of these different trainings. Now, at this point, I mean. I’ve literally worked with thousands of leaders over the 10 years… is when I ask people, “So what are some boundaries you have?” or “What is a boundary?” We have really… kind of rigid ideas of what they are… you know. And there’s freedom, I think when we spend more time thinking about boundaries to realize they can change, and they’re negotiable. So, if I have a boundary now, that is around my time or around my energy, like, let’s say you’re working on a really big project. You know, you’re putting a new book together, for example. or you have a… you are project manager, and it’s coming to the end of getting that building up. Like you will have different boundaries around your time and your energy. Then you will, when you’re in a different season of your life. And that doesn’t mean we’re wishy washy… it doesn’t mean we’re inconsistent, it means we’re taking into consideration all the dynamics that we’re dealing with. So, I think another big learning… I mean, there’s so many… it’s just so fun. I mean… because you just see, all this great connection happening between people. Another big learning is… we all want people who really get us, who really see us and hear us and want the best for us, and the way we experience that is, by willing to open up and share a little bit of our imperfections. So, when you see someone you admire, or you look up to, or you want to emulate or be like. And they say, here’s the thing I’m struggling with. Here… it inspires us to be more honest and it also brings greater connection.

Cindra Kamphoff: Isn’t that so true? I think about not only the training, we just went through together and the ways I heard people kind of open up and share when things weren’t going perfectly for them, right, like you instantly connect with them. And it makes me think about your keynote. So, I love just the variety of keynote that you have. But I want to talk about one where you talk about being afrave, and I’d love for you to define what afrave means to you. And this is a term you coined… because I think it really fits with. what we’re talking about right now.

Sarah Ciavarri: So, afrave is a mash up word between afraid and brave. And if I had to boil down… like, what are some of the foundational ways I show up. I hope that this is one of them. I will have the hard conversation with my spouse even though fear is saying, “Don’t do it. It might not be worth it. You know how you’ve gone down this path before. How is it going to change this time?” That… I’m not waiting until all of that is gone. I’m going to go in and do the thing that is courageous or the thing the next right thing to do, the next thing that when I look back… so I also think a lot about legacy. When I look back, I will be proud of how I showed up. So… I had an opportunity last summer to sing The Star Spangled Banner at a Twins game…

Cindra Kamphoff: You did? Oh, my gosh! I had no idea.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, yes, it was like the craziest experience… so crazy. And so, I had this opportunity to sing, and it was a televised game… and I did it!

Cindra Kamphoff: Amazing.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, and I really owned and leaned into afrave… And what I thought was okay… like I, I have an adventurous spirit, you know… I’m like, yeah, I’m up for pretty much all sorts of fun and games. But… and I do have a background in singing. So, it wasn’t like I was being asked to go play on a basketball court where I would not have any clue… like what I was doing. I actually did play basketball and junior high, and I had to like I made my only basket one year was for the wrong team.

Cindra Kamphoff: That’s awesome.

Sarah Ciavarri: And it was at the top of the second half… and after half time, I was like, yes! I scored a basket! And all of my teammates were like, “Oh, Sarah, we love you, but…”

Cindra Kamphoff: That happened to my son’s team as well…

Sarah Ciavarri: …so I, you know, I had some skill in singing, but I haven’t done anything at this level. And I worked really hard preparing. And… I would play like Garth Brooks, or Guns and Roses, and I would have that going, and I would force myself to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Well, I had all this ambient noise going on because I was like… I just have to be able to really focus in that moment…

Cindra Kamphoff: And all the distractions… Yeah, way to train yourself for the actual event in that way, right? A lot of athletes do that where they’ll play background, noise, and things like that. So… wonderful.

Sarah Ciavarri: And do you also help athletes like… muscle memory? Where, when you go… when you do this with your right arm, you know, in connect to this action or this thought.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And I… I was thinking about this idea of afrave right? And being afraid… and you can’t really be brave unless you’re scared, or you have some anxiety or nervousness. Like you can’t, right… like I think about the times where I’m really brave, and the times I’m not. And the times that I’m not are… well, I don’t even have any of that anxiety, or being scared, or being afraid. And way to… you know, what a great example of being afrave. And way to go for it.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, yeah.

Cindra Kamphoff: What did you learn about yourself in that moment?

Sarah Ciavarri: That it’s really important for me to… I learned I would rather live with a failure than a regret.

Cindra Kamphoff: Hmm!

Sarah Ciavarri: So, you know… obviously, I have thoughts like… what if I forget the words?

Cindra Kamphoff: Sure.

Sarah Ciavarri: Like, what if I… what if it’s really crappy? What if it’s really bad? You know I… and it’s like… if that happens, I can recover. But if I don’t go for this, I will always think, “Dang man, I had this… I had this opportunity. It was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I didn’t go for it”. And you know, I want to model for my kid… you can go for things, and if they don’t work out, it’s gonna hurt. And that’s okay, we can get through that. We can absolutely get through that…

Cindra Kamphoff: And what I love about that is, you know, what is failure anyway? You know… so for a while during COVID on the podcast I asked every single expert I had on, you know, “What is your definition of failure?” And nobody had the same definition.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah.

Cindra Kamphoff: You know, one person said, well, it’s anytime I didn’t go for it, or any time I didn’t be myself, or any time I learned, right. And I think it’s if we can define failure on our terms, then we don’t have to define it the way the society, you know, defines it… well, my son was at the conference track meet this year, and a young singer was singing The Star Spangled Banner… and she got maybe like 3 notes in, and she said, “Can I start over?”

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah.

Cindra Kamphoff: It was so cute, you know, when I was like… that’s not failure, you know. She went for it, and she’s trying to be your best.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, yes. So that reminds me of a situation at an assisted living facility actually where I was serving, and it was Christmas. And there was this gentleman who had sang his whole life… whole life. Like that was a really big part of his self-understanding, his self-identity… same with me with singing. Like singing, if you asked people I grew up with, or people that I went to college with and you said… like, “Tell me about Sarah.” … probably one of the top 5 things would be “Oh, well, she sings”, you know. And he was singing, and his wife was playing the piano accompanying him, and they… he was to sing 2 solos. And he was singing one, the first solo, and she was playing like the music for the second one. So, they literally were not on the same page, not on the same page at all. Like he would start, she would start, and then they had… they had to start over, over, and over, and over again, right to like cause… they couldn’t figure out what was going on, and we probably we all were in this moment, and at the end of it… you know, he made a comment like, “Well, that was a mess”. Or something like that… and afterwards I talked to him, and you know I knew the pain of what had… I knew his pain, but what I saw was like. you know what this is beautiful, and this is lovely, because this is real. And, you know, given his age, this might be the last time he’s singing at this service. Right? It was just beautiful.

Cindra Kamphoff: … and well and talk about shame and failure. Right? I mean, I think about times where… if we approach it kind of like what you just said, with lightheartedness and a beauty in the moment that it’s not a failure to us. And then it’s like, all right… it also protects us from shame, and I know that’s a big part of your work and the work of Brene Brown. I wanted to also, Sarah, dive in because I want to make sure we cover this… your book, is so powerful, with the 7 Lies That Leaders Believe and How to Let Them Go. And I really want to dive into these 7 lies, because I think that everybody who’s listening can… relate to them in some way. So maybe just to get us started. How about you share with us what the 7 lies are?

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah, for sure.

Cindra Kamphoff: Perfect.

Sarah Ciavarri: So let me just say with the ‘on ramp’ to that. All of these are sneaky. They’re not like big, huge, huge lies that are so identifiable that we’re like that is not true. And their lies about how we should show up, how we should function, and about who we are. And in some way, shape, or form they’ve helped us… like they have been a good service, up until a point. So they are: I don’t know enough.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, number one, I don’t know enough.

Sarah Ciavarri: And how we get through that, or where we want to move is to honesty. We just want to move to a place of honesty. The next one: I must finish what I start. If you grew up hearing, “Finish your peas or clean your plate” before you were done with your meal like you get this. You must finish what you start, and moderation is the move towards more balance and health. The next one: I must follow the rules. My gosh! I was out riding a horse with our son, and we met up with this woman the trail, who we literally just met her, and we were riding with her, and she wanted to go down a trail that you know had a sign next to it that said, “No riding”, and she was like, way down the trail. And we both were like, “We’re rule followers”. She was like, “Okay, I’m coming back” just like, “I’m sure there’s just a down tree down there”. But you know, we’re like… we, we are gonna follow the rules because this is making us really anxious. But since this is about discernment… when do the rules not help us? And who is writing the rules? And what are the rules? So, this isn’t about compliance at all. It’s about when does a rule become detrimental? And we saw a lot of this with moral injury in health care during COVID, so we can circle back and talk about that if you want.

Cindra Kamphoff: Perfect.

Sarah Ciavarri: …I have to be nice.

Cindra Kamphoff: So powerful.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, yes! It’s like Thumper’s mother, in Bambi – “If you can’t say anything nice. Don’t say anything at all.” Well, then… where does that leave hurt, and pain, and betrayal, and resentment, you know? So, it’s about having boundaries. And then, people must like me. I hear this one so often. It resonates so much with people leaders who are in a positions where they’re helping, you know… in nonprofits, or in education or… someone’s been promoted into management and you know they’re navigating… I think it shows up a lot for women. And the move we want to make is integrity. We want to move towards integrity. Next, I’m responsible for it all. And there are people who are like, “You on be responsible? Here, you can have it!”

Cindra Kamphoff: Right, absolutely.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah, yeah. And this one is it… ironically, it is about hope. It’s about leaning into hope, finding hope. And then the last one is: I need to be the right type of… and then you can fill in a blank. I need to be the right type of leader, the right type of coach, the right type of speaker, the right type of… you know, friend. So, that becomes really hard when one person’s definition of the right type of friend is… you know, you pay for all of the fun things we do. And that actually is not how you understand… you know, friendship. So, all of these are so sneaky. So, the what we want to do is we want to catch them. So, to navigate through is a process… P. E. A. P. …like peas, eat your peas.

Cindra Kamphoff: Okay, perfect. PEAP….

Sarah Ciavarri: P, Pay attention.

Cindra Kamphoff: Hmm!

Sarah Ciavarri: That’s the first one. Pay attention. What am I feeling? What’s going on? Why do I feel irritated right now? After this thing just happened. I feel really awesome… to flip it – I feel really awesome. What did I do differently? How did I engage differently? How did other people engage differently? So that’s the first move. The next to move is examine. Dig in, dig in – is my thinking actually true? You know, even though it feels like truth, it can… we can be getting that dopamine release in the brain that’s like, “Yeah. I finally figured it out. This person is a jerk.” You know? I knew it all along – is that actually true? We want to dig in, because when we don’t, we just take that stuff that our brain says as truth and then it impacts how we move forward, it impacts how we show up… And we may not think it has a huge detrimental impact to our leadership, but it absolutely does. It absolutely does. And then the third step, is okay. I dug in. I got curious. I examined… now I apply. Apply the learning. Pay attention. Examine. Apply the learning. And that’s how you know we change these… that’s how we challenge these lies, also how we change… how we show up.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I think some of these lies are so powerful. I think I tend to have number 4… I tend to be nice. Maybe that’s why the training with you about boundaries was really powerful for me. I think number 5 is something I hear a lot of people say as well – people must like me. Number 6… I’m responsible for it all. So, a lot of people I work with doing one on one executive coaching, they feel like they…. you know, always have to step in that they can’t delegate… and that can be really difficult, something we work through. So, the right… I need to be the right type of blank… like the right type of mother, the right type of father, the right type of salesperson/leader, right? The right type of athlete, and then we don’t really show ourselves, and who we really are. So, I think the 7 lies are so powerful. before we dive in a little bit more to P.E.A.P., and how to address some of these lies… First tell us why you know, as you teach these 7 lies. What do you see as the importance of really understanding them? And knowing when we experience them… and what do you see the benefit of that being?

Sarah Ciavarri: The benefit is… we have greater self-awareness. And with greater self-awareness comes more autonomy to craft a life that we’re proud of. So that sounds super like… clinical. I think it… bottom line, it gives us more of the things we want in life, and less of the things that we regret, less of the things that cause us and other people pain. So, you know. people must. Let’s just go with I must be nice, and people must like me.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Sarah Ciavarri: A lot of the culture in the Midwest, you know.

Cindra Kamphoff: I know.

Sarah Ciavarri: Midwest nice. I love being kind. I love being around people who are nice… and sorry.

Cindra Kamphoff: No problem.

Sarah Ciavarri: …and generous, you know, generous in their assumptions of my actions. And you know that when you’re done in the conversation. They’re going to speak well of you. They’re going to, you know, assume positive intent. But as I was digging into this like I remember, as I was writing this book, I went to a rehearsal for a play, a musical I was in at the time. And one of the other cast members was wearing this T-shirt that said, “Keep Minnesota passive aggressive.” and then it’s super tiny type at the bottom, it said, “Or you know. whatever you think.”

Cindra Kamphoff: That’s funny.

Sarah Ciavarri: Isn’t it funny? And it really… I mean, it was so hilarious. But I want to make the move to kind.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Sarah Ciavarri: … because kind is also that same space of open heartedness. But it doesn’t have that space of like… I’m going to avoid conflict. I’m going to not say what is true… because “nice” can be super passive, aggressive, you know, and it just gets in your head. Because those hard emotions want their day. And they’re gonna come out… so whether it’s through my words or through me, like bang in my pot, some pans in the kitchen, or bang in a door when I go in my office like those emotions are gonna come. So… I lost the thought honestly, where was I going?

Cindra Kamphoff: Well, I’ll summarize then. Perfect segway. I actually… it makes me think about that quote from Brene Brown, like, “Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” And what I hear you saying is shift from “I need to be nice” to “I can be kind”. And I think when I look at your list altogether, the things I think people struggle with right now is boundaries. And I think people still struggle with authenticity, with that need to be the right kind of blank. I’m curious about this one: People must like me. How do you see that hold us back as leaders? And then you said, you know, we want to move towards integrity… tell us a bit more about that one.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah. So, I am going to actually page to that in the book… so people must like me. I grew up and function… you know… for sure the first half of my life, and it well beyond, I’m sure, with the idea that people needed to like me. So, I grew up in a super teeny, tiny town. and I think when you grew up in a super, teeny, tiny town. There are wonderful, amazing things that come with that, right? And with any situation, there are also really super hard things that come with that. And I think one of the things was you… you wanted to be agreeable and likable… so you just got along, because if you didn’t, you were like socially ostracized, you know? It could be super painful. So, people must like me is all about… being like in a place of safety. No, it’s not coming from a place of narcissism. I don’t think at all because narcissism is more about control. But people must like me is about, okay, who do you want me to be? And I’m going to be that person. So, we scan the environment, and we figure out, what are the rules? What are the social rules here? And I’m going to show up as that person. Or I’m gonna I’m going to amplify this part of myself, or I’m going to minimize this part of myself… so I can fit in here. And we have such a drive as humans to belong, you know… way back in the day, it was all about survival. Like belonging… we needed to belong, and you know the Surgeon General says we have a national loneliness epidemic.

Cindra Kamphoff: Wow.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah. And what’s really date… and this was even before COVID. We really are a lonely nation. And I hear phrases like couch rot. Have you heard this phrase?

Cindra Kamphoff: No, I have not. Tell me about this.

Sarah Ciavarri: I know. I guess it’s a new phrase that gets to the idea like… coming out of the pandemic. Why do I want to go out? It’s just easier to like watching it…

Cindra Kamphoff: … to stay on the couch.

Sarah Ciavarri: … to stay on the couch, yeah. And so, there’s like couch rot. It’s like such a graphic phrase. But it gets to the idea. Like… I’m just gonna stay here because this is comfortable, or this is just what I’ve gotten used to, and what is the benefit of connecting, you know.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Sarah Ciavarri: So the… when people must like me, though it draws us away. When it’s, I think, so so dangerous when we accept counterfeit belonging at the price of our authenticity, because.

Cindra Kamphoff: Right.

Sarah Ciavarri: And we believe it was because we amplified this part of ourselves, or we minimize this part of ourselves. And we miss the entire possibility that we could have connection… not in spite of who we are, but because of who we are.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yes, awesome. Yeah… I love what you just said… of connection with like who we really are, right. When I hear you talking about ‘people must like me’, you said, ‘who do you want me to be?’ So I’m not really being my true self, and that’s not really how I fully connect with you, either… if I’m not my full, true self.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, and you know the really hard thing about this is… if… if somebody likes me, and I’ve presented like this version of myself, they don’t… And they… it’s a disservice to them, too, because they don’t really know.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Sarah Ciavarri: They don’t really know.

Cindra Kamphoff: Mhm. Which of these other lies should we dive into? I’m, curious about, you know, we talked about, people must like me… I have to be nice. Are there any others that you see as more common as you speak on this topic?

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah. Well. as I do coaching with executives, specifically women, one of the lies that comes up, I think often… it’s a combo, because everything’s like the meal deal here, you know. One is like, “Oh, you want to believe this one? I’ve got my buddy. It’s BOGO, you can, you know, buy one, get one thing.” It’s ‘I must finish what I start.’ And what does that mean? If you are a woman who you know you’ve… and I know other people have this experience to where you’re trying to balance life, and work, and responsibilities and everything. But if you have committed to really advancing in your career… if you’re not gonna get to the C-suite…, what does it look like to not finish what you started? Like when is it okay to say, you know what, I thought this was going to be the end… this is this was the end goal, but it’s not worth it to me anymore. Like, I don’t want that anymore, and is that okay? You know, if I’ve been on this path, this trajectory of advancing and advancing, giving so much of my time and my heart and my, you know, talent to growing my career, which you know it helps… it’s an example for… if you have a daughter. I hear a lot of executive women, say, “One of the things that drives me is to show my daughter that she can have this, too.” And at what point… at what point do we get to say… and I think this is what I’m trying to highlight. At some point, we get to say, the ROI is not worth it anymore, or my priorities have shifted and that is not about failure. It’s not about not finishing, it’s simply about recognizing a shift in priorities, or a shift in the landscape. You know. I think we see that a lot with people after COVID. Leaders who… my gosh! We see this across health care, there is just a churn of deal wins because, you know… leaders are burnt out. There’s compassion fatigue, there’s the moral injury where you’ve had to make decisions that went against what in your heart got you into this. Like, I mean, I have experiences where I had to tell families… as a resident was dying at the care center, and I’m not the only one, it was everywhere. I’m sorry you can only have 2 family members here, you know.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, so tough.

Sarah Ciavarri: So, you’re gonna have to take turns. And nobody got into health care to have to be, right, that presence. So, I see that a lot.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah.

Sarah Ciavarri: And like, I think the best example is when somebody’s on hospice and… or the conversation before they go into hospice. The conversation with family of, we’re going to fight this. We’re going to fight this cancer. We’re going to fight. We’re going to fight. And at some point, that person who is going through all the chemo, who’s having all of the radiation, they may start thinking – I don’t actually want to do this anymore, but I don’t know that I get to stop, because what does my family want? And so simply hitting pause…

Cindra Kamphoff: Sure, so difficult.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yeah, so simply hitting pause and saying, hey, let’s check in how important is quality of life right now, you know, what does that look like for you? That’s why this lie can be so pervasive, and so destructive and powerful.

Cindra Kamphoff: Yeah, I must finish what I start, and the way we can move towards… away from that towards moderation. And I mean, I was thinking about a couple of things, Sarah, as I was hearing you talk about that. I mean such powerful examples of the end of our lives, right. And I was also resonating with what you are saying about the executives. And I think sometimes we’re taught that we… when we set a goal, we have to accomplish it. But the way I think about goals is I want… and I love everyone who’s listening to think about goals is more like, who can you become as you’re trying to reach that goal?

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes.

Cindra Kamphoff: Because so many times our priorities do shift or interests shift, or we start something and you’re like, you know, it’s actually what I think I’m called to do this, or I think my purpose is to do this. And I used to think that I was a failure if I didn’t reach my goals, and then, you know, then I would set myself up for more shame. So, let’s take this example of P. E. A. because I want to spend just a tad bit more time… and I know we have to wrap it up. But I want to just reiterate P. E. A., and how you could use that to address these lies. So, P: stands for pay attention, E: examine, is this true for example, and then A: apply the learning. So, let’s take an example that we can apply to PEA. So maybe, how have you use PEA or how have you, you know… maybe there’s a client who’s used it and you can share with us a story.

Sarah Ciavarri: Sure. Yeah, okay. So, I’m thinking of a leader. Who head a ton of responsibility in health care, and really really believed the lie… I’m responsible for it all. And given this person’s position as overseeing… lots of facilities, they tended to micromanage, you know, because it was hard to step back. Because they very much felt this… the weight, you know that phrase, the weight of responsibility. I mean even that phrase like there, like, there’s a magnitude to this. there’s a seriousness, you know. And so, with this person was getting burned out… like so burned out. And when we’re burned out, we’re actually less effective. And it’s so hard to let go, like so hard. And so, we worked a lot just on getting feedback. What are other people… what are their people seeing in you? What’s your family telling you? You know, how long does it take you to craft an email? So, this is like the paying attention. Oh, my goodness, like, it’s taking me 20 min to craft an email. And you know it should take me 5. At the beginning of the week it takes me 5, by Friday, you know, at 11 o’clock in the morning is taking me 20. So paying attention, and then not just like your behavior, and how your work is going, but what is going on inside of you? Like, are you happy like? Do you feel… and if happy, is not a word that resonates, that’s okay. Do you feel energized? Do you feel… do you still feel like you have per… like what you’re doing connects with your gifts and your talents and your purpose. So it was that, like paying attention to every time you start hearing that idea of, I’m responsible for it all. Which also flips into like, you know, you can’t quit or… and that it shows up in so many different ways is like, well, work is hard. Yeah, work is hard, leading through a pandemic unimaginable, right? And what is underneath that for you? So, we just dug in, and you don’t do it once. It’s not with these big things, it’s not necessarily a one and done, we dig in, we look, we have some new learning. We apply that one little piece, so maybe it’s putting more boundaries around your time. If it’s putting more boundaries, and I want to check in on my site supervisor, I want to check in with the administrator and see, are you doing this? Nope, I’m not going to. I am going to like… I’m going to say to them, ‘I trust that you’re doing your work, and I need a report by Friday at 3’, like we literally were like, what can you shift so you can give more freedom back. And you’re like, well, I still need to know. I get that. So now it’s Friday at 3, right? You gotta get the report and these are the things you wanted it. And so that’s the apply the learning. And so, pay attention. You know, I… these are situations in my thinking where I feel like I’m responsible for it all. Get curious. Dig in. What is… that actually true? Is that actually true? And sometimes it’s helpful to look at like, what are other people in the same space doing? Because well, one, everybody could be like working kind of from that same mentality, or you might see the people who have who are doing things you think are unimaginable. But if you imagined yourself doing that, it would be freedom. Or it would be a little bit of like additional energy for you. So, it’s a constant process. Pay attention, examine, and then apply the learning.

Cindra Kamphoff: Awesome. So, I think these 7 lies are so powerful. Tell us where we can get your book, Sarah, and where we can learn more about your work.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes! So I am on Linkedin. that is the best place for social media and best meaning only.

Cindra Kamphoff: Perfect.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yup. And then my website, just Sarahchavari.com. And my book… Finding Our Way to the Truth: 7 lies leaders believe, and how to let them go, you can get that on Amazon or through Fortress Press. And then I have another book coming out this fall, The Unnamable: Beyond EQ. A deeper level of emotional understanding for leaders and entrepreneurs, and that will be coming out this fall. So my website is the best place.

Cindra Kamphoff: I can’t wait to read that. Awesome. So, Sarahchavari.com check it out over there, Sarah, you also have a Dare to Lead training coming up where people can learn more about this in September. So, tell us about… tell us a little bit about the workshop and the workshop series that you’re going to be offering. If people want to learn more about how to be vulnerable, and how to really be courageous in their leadership.

Sarah Ciavarri: Yes, so this is the Dare to Lead training that Cindra went through back in June. It is 21 hours of in person, and then homework in addition to that. and you become Dare to Lead trained. So, what you get on the back side is continued education credits/units. a LinkedIn badge, and then the Daring to Lead rollout program which you can then bring to your team. And it’s like a robust book study that Brene’s team put together to help leaders continue the conversation in their organizations. So those are the nuts and bolts of what you receive, but the intangibles is an incredible learning community with other high achieving professionals who do want to grow in how they’re showing up and how they’re leading. It’s… it’s transformational. So, you can learn more on my website. we will attach a code… discount code. So, because you are a follower of Cindra’s good work, you’ll have access to this discount code, and it starts the first starts… Friday, September 8th.

Cindra Kamphoff: Awesome.

Sarah Ciavarri: so it runs a series of Fridays in the fall.

Cindra Kamphoff: Awesome, and you could… If you go to the show notes right now, if you scroll down on your phone, you’ll be able to see the discount code there, And definitely I would recommend it. I grew so much as a leader, but also as a parent and as a person, and just loved diving into the content with you and all the others that were in the group. So, Sarah, I’m going to summarize today. I love this idea being afrave, right, where we are afraid and brave at the same time. And It means, you know, moving towards the things that I think are scary. That’s when we’re afrave. I thought your content about the 7 lies leaders believe – I don’t know enough, I must finish what I start, I must follow the rules, I have to be nice, people must like me, I’m responsible for it all, and I need to be the right type of blank, whatever that might be. Just so powerful, because I know we all experience those lies, and that the most helpful one we are talking about is like, I need to finish what I start. And you said, my priorities have shifted, and that’s okay. Right? And I, I just added that goals are meant to be, you know who you can become when you set them less about if you check them off or not. And at the end, when we’re talking about PEA, the way to overcome these lies is to pay attention, examine – is this true?, and then apply the learning. So do you have any final thoughts for people who are listening? I’m so grateful that you’ve been on today.

Sarah Ciavarri: It has been so fun. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I think a final thought to share is just… the more we support one another in good learning, and showing up more authentically in our lives, the better we are all for it. So, thank you for this opportunity!

Cindra Kamphoff: You bet! Thank you, Sarah, for joining us on the podcast today.

Sarah Ciavarri: Thank you.