Staying Composed Under Pressure - Rob McKenna

Whether you work in management, customer service, as a teacher, or as a parent, no matter what your job is, the daily pressures of work can get to you. You may react in ways that hurt others or don't feel consistent with the person you want to be. If you're interested in improving how you respond when the pressure is on, our guest today is here to help. Recently named among the top 30 most influential psychologists, Dr. Rob McKenna is the founder and CEO of WiLD Leaders. He's worked with thousands of leaders across corporate, not for profit, and university settings, has given him insight into the real and gritty experience of working under pressure. His latest book, Composed: The Heart and Science of Leading Under Pressure, focuses on the specific strategies leaders can use to stay true to themselves and connect to others under pressure.

Scripture References

  • James 1:19
  • John 21:15-18
  • Philippians 2:6

Additional Resources

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Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.

Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work.

LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace.

MR: I’m Mark Roberts.

LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.

Whether you work in management, customer service, as a teacher, or as a parent, no matter what your job is, the daily pressures of work can get to you. You may react in ways that hurt others or don't feel consistent with the person you want to be. If you're interested in improving how you respond when the pressure is on, our guest today is here to help. Recently named among the top 30 most influential psychologists, Dr. Rob McKenna is the founder and CEO of WiLD Leaders. He's worked with thousands of leaders across corporate, not for profit, and university settings, has given him insight into the real and gritty experience of working under pressure. His latest book, Composed: The Heart and Science of Leading Under Pressure, focuses on the specific strategies leaders can use to stay true to themselves and connect to others under pressure. Dr. Rob McKenna, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.

Rob McKenna: Thanks, Leah. It is so good to be here.

LA: It's so good to have you. So I wanna start with maybe a probing question. I think we wanna know what led you to your research about how to stay composed under pressure.

RM: You wanna know the honest truth? Like, it's a...

LA: I do. That's what this podcast is about, I wanna know the honest truth.

RM: Well, and first of all, I have to tell you that that... When I was... That thing you read in my bio where you said I was named one of the top 30 industrial organizational psychologists, it actually said alive today. And my brother, who is my... My older brother, who's one of my mentors, called me immediately, and he said... He said, "You do know that two of those people are dead, right?" So it was like... So you just leave it to older brothers to settle you. And to answer to your question...

LA: So is he the... He's the initial source of your pressure is what you're telling me?

RM: Yeah, a little bit. A little bit. There's a lot of pressure there, but no, he's an incredible and an affirming voice in my life, but also is an older brother, so... That question, like what led me to study this, to be honest, and I think this is true of most researchers or authors is that I struggle with this myself. If I'm truthful about it, is in my own leadership roles, it's a reality in my life that I think I have tried to solve for myself. And at the same time, I just... If there's one thing, even the last couple of years... This research, by the way, that we did, goes back a couple of decades now, almost, it's crazy. And we started studying the journey of leaders, and we... If there's one thing we know, we know that leaders learn and grow as they are under pressure, and so we know that that's a research-based reality, that they learn and grow on the job, and a lot of those on-the-job experiences are quite high, they're high pressure moments, and some people would describe... Bob Thomas described them as crucible moments even.

And so, it got us really interested, back when I was involved in multiple longitudinal studies, in understanding so what is going on inside of a person? And because over and over again, people were telling... Very, very senior leaders to first level managers to parents, as you were suggesting... Mentioning is... Struggled with a very personal challenge under pressure, and so that's why we started to study it. So it's both personal for me, but it's also something that every leader in my sphere of influence is facing, so why not study it? [chuckle]

LA: And it is... It's something that is really fun to talk about in the third person and really uncomfortable to talk about in the first person. I was laughing to myself reading your intro, 'cause I've had a really high pressure situation at work this week, and my manager said to me, "Well, you're learning and growing and picking up a new skillset." And I said, "That is not what I wanted to hear. That does not feel... " [chuckle] It did not feel compassionate in the moment, even though it was completely true. And Mark, I heard you laughing a little bit during Rob's introduction. I wonder if you can relate from personal experience as well.

MR: Oh my, yeah, and it's... Now, my... If we're gonna be honest here, my wife would tell you that sometimes she thinks I'm making the pressure on myself, and that I am my biggest problem, but that's not quite true always. I mean last week was the craziest week, because I had this class that I'm helping to teach, that it sort of got layered on my whole life. So, yeah. I mean need this, and I was really excited to learn about some of the things you found, because I'm thinking, "Alright, that's gonna help." So I'm not gonna give away your punchline, but I just gotta say, you're just... Man, I think just about everybody in the world, certainly leaders are gonna say, "Oh yeah. Pressure? Oh yeah," and that's a challenge that's all the time. So your stuff is just right in the middle of our pain point.

LA: Well, let's dive right into it, 'cause I wanna answer Mark's felt need, he said he often puts the pressure on himself. And Rob, you write in your book, Composed: The Heart and Science of Leading Under Pressure, that different people react differently under pressure, and some will turn it inwards, and some will turn it outward, so explain to us a little bit about the different personalities under pressure and how they manifest.

RM: It's so... I still find this interesting. One of the reasons... So my organization, WiLD Leaders, WiLD stands for Whole and Intentional Leader Development, and when people ask me... A few years ago, a leader asked me, he said, "Can you define whole for me?" And my best definition of that is, all of it. And what's fascinating is, going back, having been a... I've taught certain classes around leader development and organizational behavior for 25 years, and what's kind of fascinating is as you teach these concepts, but also you look at the different pieces of research on the developmental journey of leaders, and you realize that the journey of a leader and their growth and learning is quite complex, so it includes lots of different variables that so often what we grab onto when we develop leaders is we grab onto one thing, like we do a retreat on one topic, but the reality of developing leader capacity is that it's multiple variables, and so quite literally, that's what I've spent my whole career building, and so even to talk about that, when you were talking about that it looks different for different leaders... You know I heard a story about the United States Air Force and having...

This was a couple of decades ago, having the best technology in the world for airplanes, so we had the best technology, and we had the best pilots. But the problem was this, is that we built cockpits to the average pilot, and so what it ended up doing was building cockpits that didn't fit any pilot. So the reality was, there's certain functionality in a fighter jet that are common, that have to be in place in terms of systems and so on, that I would suggest also is true of leader development. So that there are certain things we know: competence matters, a sense of calling and purpose matter, a network of support matter, learning from experience matters and composure under pressure matters, there's a lot of research to support all this.

But what happens though when we just say it's general principles, and we write books and we put out of pithy comments that are just sort of one-offs, is that we can miss the individual. And the reality that the way that those different variables play themselves out is nuanced, you know what I mean? It's like it's... And so it requires us to think more deeply about, that it looks different for different people, so if I were to suggest, this is one of the most amazing findings in our work, that one size fits all in terms of how people show up under pressure, it's absolutely ridiculous. There's general principles that I talk about that I can tell you about here, but the way that those things work themselves out is nuanced to a person.

Even personality which we so often put people in boxes and fix kinds of spaces around, oh, you're an extrovert. The way that extroversion actually works itself out in the life and journey of a person is awesomely nuanced, so that's kind of...

And so when it comes to showing up under pressure, one of the fundamental nuances or individual kinds of factors was that people process emotions under pressure differently, and they have different, what I'd describe as defaults, that some leaders... And even maybe this is an oversimplification, but it kinda helps to have some simplification for something that's pretty complex. That some leaders tend to respond more in terms of what's important to them, and that other leaders, and we've all worked for or we are those kinds of leaders where the pressure comes on and we're gonna hear a lot of conviction and a lot of clarity. And these are not bad people, but they have a default response that could probably be benefited by some editing. And at the same time, you have other leaders who when pressure comes on, their tendency is more to pay attention to what's going on in everybody else, with a reduced capacity to understand what's going on inside of them, like what they believe should happen. And so that's kind of the fundamental thing that we've found is that people had different emotional processing under pressure, and so that's why giving each of them one piece of advice and assuming it works for both—'cause they speak completely different languages too—so that's the kind of where we start is always identifying your default, and that's why I created tools and process to help people see their default.

LA: So, this is very interesting, Rob, 'cause as you talk about different leadership styles, I'm not only thinking about myself and other people I work with, but I'm also thinking about different leaders in the Bible who led very differently. You mentioned in your book, there are some leaders who are really good at speaking truth to power, but maybe not so good at interpersonal relationships. And I think of... I'm even thinking of some of Jesus' disciples acted differently. Like Peter was kind of like a hothead in that way. I don't imagine that he was the one who calmed the other ones down after a disagreement. I don't know. Mark, is this calling anything to your mind? My reflection?


MR: Well, yeah. I think it is so interesting, isn't it? When you think about scripture and the leaders, that you have such different personalities, right? We think of Moses as being all sort of tough and strong, but then we remember that Moses didn't wanna have to speak in front of anybody, and was feeling fearful and hesitant, and you're right about Peter. I'm imagining that John was probably a much more reflective and more dialed down. We don't know a lot about his leadership, but we know from his writings that there's sort of this deep reflectiveness. And then there was Paul, who, one of the criticisms of him is he's so tough in his letters, but in physical presence he's just not as powerful.

RM: Yeah.

MR: And so just this wide range of personalities.

RM: Am I a... I hope I'm not a heretic for saying this, because sometimes when I look at biblical characters and leaders, I think to myself, I'm not sure I would have liked so-and-so. And I'm like, but it's not that I don't appreciate them or love them, maybe, but it's like, but there's a sense in which when you see a little bit of their emotional processing, I'm not sure I would have gotten along with as well. Which may say as much about me as them, because I think of the two that sort of I contrast often, in terms of emotional processing... And again, I don't know these people, so I have to be careful about what I know about them. But you think about just David and Peter, as you mentioned, like I have a hunch that David cared deeply about what other people thought of him.

LA: Say more. Why do you think that?

RM: Just even his sense of reluctance at the beginning, when he just says, "I am from a family of nobody's." There's a sense in which David, I think, was a high self-monitorer of what was going on in other people, and I think that people would not know that about me, 'cause sometimes people...That know me or students who I've interacted with, or leaders there, they would say, the word they would use to define me is conviction, but yet if you asked me what my emotional processing looks like, I do care a lot what other people think, need and feel, almost sometimes too much. And so I think David had some of that. There was a softness and also a contextual awareness of what was appropriate that was monitoring David. Now, it doesn't mean just because David had conviction later in life, it doesn't mean that's still not there. And then with Peter, as you mentioned, I don't think it's any... Peter is kind of probably the easiest to process. Very much a, like just, "You asked me a question, here's my answer."

And so I don't think it's any mistake that Jesus, when he asked Peter those three questions, the same question three times. The way that I interpret that story is... Which is a weird story, by the way, 'cause who does that? I've done that with leaders before. Like, "Why do you lead? Why do you lead? Why do you lead?" And trying to get to the real answer. And I kinda wonder if Jesus is saying, "Peter, I know you have the answer right away, that's not the one I'm interested in."

LA: Thank goodness this isn't a podcast about interview tips, by the way, 'cause that's not what we're going for.

RM: Yeah, exactly. I don't know, I think Jesus understood, and also saw the nuance in people, that they needed different questions at different points. That's kind of my thought or my hope, anyway.

LA: So Rob, I wanna tell you, maybe I can tell you a high pressure situation that I faced this week and you could kind of like diagnose it and give me some tips, just like you're my personal coach for free or whatever. But this is for the benefit of our listeners. I'm not telling it for me. I'm telling it for the bene... Thank you for laughing, Mark. I'm telling it for the benefit of our listeners. So here's my recent high pressure situation. So I'm helping to prepare an event at a hotel in which a bunch of people are coming from out of town and they're staying at the hotel. And we blocked off a bunch of rooms for Monday through Thursday. And we're not using all the rooms for Monday and Tuesday that we blocked off, but we're over using the rooms for Thursday. So we said like, "Could we shift around our contract and move the block of rooms to where we're gonna use them." And the hotel's like, "No, you have to pay for these rooms exactly like contract." And we got legal involved. And meanwhile I'm writing, emailing back and forth to my contact at the hotel and calling her and trying to say, "Is there anything you can do?" So I am just... Now here's what I'm facing as an internal processor. I'm thinking I'm a terrible person and I'm doing a bad job and everyone's gonna know that I'm doing a bad job and I'm really not cut out for this.

So that there's the pressure I put on myself, and then there's the interpersonal pressure of like, "Oh my goodness, how do I word this email? Is the event planner at the hotel gonna like me?" And there's the high pressure of needing to get this event off the ground in the next couple of weeks. And my own response to this pressure, both this self negating attitude and this fear of other people's reaction is really getting in the way of me effectively going through the spreadsheets and making sure we have all the rooms that we need. So, diagnose my problem and give me some tips to move forward to do the work in the midst of this challenging high pressure situation.

RM: So one of the things, and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna ask you three questions...

LA: Is it the same question three times? [laughter]

RM: No, it won't be. I would do that if we had more time, but I won't do that right now.

LA: Got it.

RM: It is three different questions. That's funny actually. And I would say this, is one of the things that I talk with leaders about a lot is that readiness to lead is more inspired by questions than it is answers. So answers matter, but most of the editing that occurs in leaders is occurring through questions. That's why assessment matters. And so it's why... And most leaders believe... So you said something, you said, "Can you gimme some tips?" And I will, based on our research, I will finish with telling you a couple of tips, but I wanna ask you three questions. The first question is this, what would be different for you and for others in that situation with as much specificity as possible? What would be different for you and others for whom you're responsible in interacting if you were more composed?

LA: That's a great question. So my first answer is there would be less work for other people and for myself if I'm more composed. Because my first response, and I even did this last night, my first response is to fire off an email to let everyone know that I'm on it. So the hotel booking agent says, "Are you sure you wanna cancel these rooms?" And I fire off an email, "Of course, I wanna cancel these rooms!" And then someone else on my team says, "Wait a minute, are we actually canceling rooms?" And if I had just waited and thought about it a little bit more, had more conversations with people on my team and didn't have this pressure of, "Oh my God, they're gonna think I'm not on it," then I would have had... There would have been less work and there would have been less confusion, 'cause now there's another email from me saying, "Cancel the rooms," and then I have to go back and say, "Actually, let's think about it for 24 hours." So the first answer is less work for everyone all around if I'm more composed because in my anxiety I make more work and confusion.

RM: Okay, So here's my advice for the first question is how you show up under pressure is just as important as anything you do. Second question is this. Is your default tendency in this particular situation more to be a truth speaker or a peace keeper? In other words, is your compulsion to be more, here's how it's gonna be, or is it you're gonna spend most of your emotional and cognitive energy toward how everyone else is thinking, needing and feeling, especially about you?

LA: So my compulsion is to be a truth speaker, and that gets me into trouble. In fact, just yesterday, I was on a meeting and said, "Maybe we should run a contest and give some of these rooms away 'cause we have all these rooms." And then the other people on my team were like, "Shh. We're not supposed to say that. How loud is this? We don't want the company to know that we're under-booked and that we're under subscribed for this event." So I actually let out some information that wasn't appropriate because I'm like... I just want everyone to know what's going on. And even in this email, I wanted to let her have it. I wanted to say, "We're cancelling these rooms because of the way you treated us," and that's not gonna help our ongoing relationship with this person, so I definitely see that my desire to be a truth teller gets in the way of good relationships that might grease the works towards better solutions.

RM: Yeah, and so to the extent that's true, here's... My advice would be so to... That compulsion is not a bad thing, people follow conviction, but it's to be attentive to the other side of the equation, so to stop... Actually, with leaders who are... This is gonna sound harsh, but with leaders who are really extreme on that attention to self side under pressure in most situations, I will tell them, the advice is shut up. And it's like... And what I mean by that, and often times what they'll say to me is they'll go, "I know, how do I do that?" And so what I mean by that is stop and ask the team, put the initiative on the table, what is it we're working on and ask them, "So what are the most important things for us to do right now?" Or what do you... And so letting them... And then just not talking for 10 minutes, 'cause every bone in a person's body makes them... Especially like what you're describing, says they should speak and they should... You know what I mean? They should lead strong, and so a sense in which even giving people a moment to pause. So here's my last question...

LA: Wait a second, I like this because I was gonna bring up this passage of scripture from James Chapter 1 Verse 19, that says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger." And that was like my scripture that I had before we started this conversation, I didn't realize that was gonna be like your hard-hitting advice to Leah right there, but that's just what you turned back on me. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. Mark, I hear you going, "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm," in the background.

MR: Yeah, yeah, no, well... You tell me this. So I'm kind of like you, Leah, even your description of this thing, and now I'm sort of my pulse is up and my blood pressure is higher...

LA: You're ready to go battle with the hotel with me, Mark.

MR: But what I wanna make sure we do in this podcast, 'cause I know, Rob, that you've done some research and your research has shown what are some of the most important things to do and to have in pressure. And I really wanna make sure we let our listeners in on that 'cause I've found it so helpful. So Rob, [laughter] what does your research show us about how...If we're under pressure, what are some of the most important things we can do? We can focus on that'll help us get through that?

RM: Yeah, this is the double dip, I will ask the questions, and I'll tell you, I won't have you answering it, but I'll tell you the answers.

LA: Okay.

RM: The questions are, the things I would ask you next are, why are you leading in this particular situation? And the second question I would ask you is, if this goes well, if it happens well, what is the positive potential that will open up as a result of that? And so I mentioned those because as Mark was asking, it was one thing we did... What we identified was that people have this compulsion to do one or the other, which I call them in the book, peace keeper or truth speaker, but in our leading under pressure assessment, we call them attention to self and attention to other under pressure. And so the first step is to identify your default because it's hard to map to something I don't know what's going on, becoming aware of that. And then the next thing was, it wasn't good enough.

We wanted to know what can we do, what can we do about it? And so we spent 18 months studying this, which is what the whole... Most of my book is about, is what we identified as 11 strategies that leaders can employ, whether you're a parent or a president in these moments, and all of them mattered from... Based on our research. So I never want people to dismiss things like self-awareness mattered, not taking things personally mattered, seeing the big picture mattered. These were all of the 11, those were some of them. But we also wanted to study, if I had to pick... This is where I had to be careful because based on the entire population... So now I'm looking at averages, what were the most powerful strategies... And there were two. And so the two most powerful for most people, number one, and this was in a research, from a research language, it was soaking up the most variance in a person's capacity to remain composed under pressure was sense of purpose. And this is the thing. It's the extent to which I know why I'm in this situation in the first place.

And the challenging thing about purpose is that most leaders push on past it pretty fast. So it's... And purpose requires some excavation. I do believe that in Peter's conversation with Jesus, Jesus was trying to get him centered on his deeper why. Because Jesus, at the end of that story, was saying, "Peter, when you were young, you dressed yourself, when you're older, you'll reach out your arms," and it's that reference to the way that Peter might die crucified upside down. And so that sense in which I think by the third time Jesus asking that question is, he's excavating Peter's purpose as he's saying, "Do you have any idea what I'm actually asking you? If you say yes to this, these are the stakes, and you're going to lead, and so I'm not gonna ask the hard questions." And so my team at WiLD Leaders, we know how powerful this was for leaders. So what we do before every meeting with an organization's leaders, we ask ourselves why are we here for these people? And we think specifically about that organization. And the reason why we do that is because we know that no matter what happens, if Zoom breaks down or Rob forgets his lines or whatever, that we will be centered in that purpose, 'cause we know that that research supported that. And then the second one was sense of... Was what was called a focus on potential.

So what we found, think about this. That when a leader was able to identify positive potential outcomes in the hardest situations, it actually helped them remain composed. And it wasn't optimism or pessimism. It wasn't I have a half full glass of water or a half empty glass. It was like the leader realized, I have a half full glass of water, what could I do with that? So seeing positive potential when everyone else may have seen barriers, what it did was it centered the leader. And so if I had to prescribe, Mark, in terms of what was... And by the way, that worked, those two things were most powerful for leaders who took things personally. It was a moderated mediator, it's called research-wise, and so what it meant, and what we found was that most leaders take things very personally. That was true across almost everybody.

LA: So these are the last two questions that you're gonna ask me, which I'm not gonna answer on tape, 'cause you don't get to know. But why am I in this situation? Why am I leading in this situation? And what good could come out of it? And these sound kind of like more hopeful questions, and then the first two. The first two were necessary to kind of diagnose the situation. But the second two are really forward-looking. Because you're answering the question. When Jesus says to Peter, "Do you love me?" You're really answering the question, "What does my love for Jesus mean in this workplace situation?"

RM: There is so much in that third question from Jesus, I think... I can just picture Jesus saying with earnesty and sincerity. Not like, "Do you love me?" I think we always look at Jesus' questions like a test, or maybe not everyone does, but I think Jesus is always interested in the answer. Like what if his posture was, "Peter, do you love me?" And that invitation to... And what is... And that Jesus would be inter... Not that it was a test that Peter was either gonna fail or pass, but that Jesus was interested in what... Because maybe if Jesus... Maybe Jesus would have asked him five or six times, to center him in something so much deeper than whether it goes well or not, I think is such a powerful thing.

MR: Indeed. Well, I just think... And your caution about paying attention to all of the findings that you've discovered and are passing on, is that's a good reminder. And that's a good encouragement to folks to buy your book, by the way. I'm saying this. You didn't say it, I'm saying it. But I also think the way you distill that down. I just... Purpose and potential, and I'm thinking, I'm just thinking of real pressure situations in which I've been in, and I... It makes sense to me that if I could focus there, that would actually be helpful to me. Because what I tend to do, I think, is focus on the problem and how I'm feeling about it and how frustrating it is and that's real. And it's good to acknowledge that, but to step back and say, "Well, why am I doing this? Why am I leading? What's the... " And then...

Then just what's the potential you're... What could happen out of this? And that feels really freeing to me, even as I just think about it.

RM: Well, I do... This is why I do whole and intentional leader development, when you start developing leader capacity around composure under pressure, you quickly realize that I said that other things are relating to it, and your research would indicate that as well, it's why we have leaders do an assessment on calling and purpose prior to them getting into this content, because we know that they're connected at that sense of purpose or even the culture that you're a part of, or the community of people surround you, those all affect your capacity under pressure. But one of the things I think that is so often denied in... Let me just say church-related context is that our will matters and that the identification of self, even Jesus, or Paul in Philippians 2, when Paul says that Jesus Christ was in fully nature of God, that Jesus understanding his beloved-ness was important. And it says at the end of that story, our attitude is supposed to be like that, so our understanding of our own convictions and ourself and our will is what requires. To listen to God's will, I think our will is a part of that. And so I think there's sometimes a dismissal of the importance, and even in our own faith of understanding who we are, and even our capacity to sacrifice who we are, 'cause it's difficult to sacrifice a self that doesn't exist already.

I apologize if you all have heard this 'cause I think I told this story in my recent Ted-ex talk. I never forget this moment with a leader where I'd read that story of Jesus, and so I started doing something weird where I would ask... And I actually wrote my first book chapter called Three Questions Down, and I asked her... She was a leader in aerospace. She was a Vice President in the aerospace industry, building airplanes. And I asked her, this is such a weird thing. I said, "Why do you lead?" And her first response, I'll never forget. She said, "Well I believe in the... " This was years ago, so it was, "I believe in the 2020 vision for the business," and it was all this business speak and it wasn't untrue, but it wasn't particularly compelling.

And so I paused and I listen to it and I asked her the same question again, which is weird, because I think when you ask a person the same question twice after a response, the second time, I think oftentimes, people will think that you either weren't listening or as they sit on it longer, they'll think that maybe they didn't like their answer, so I asked her, I said, "Why do you lead?" And she said, after a moment of pause, she said, "I started getting promoted up the chain, the hierarchy in my organization, in my corporation," and she said, "To be honest, my husband and I got a little bit used to a new standard of living," and so the answer was, again, was not untrue, but it also had a little bit of shame in it almost, like her answer wasn't right. And so I did the weird thing, Leah.

LA: Don't tell me you asked it a third time, Rob.

RM: I did. I said, "Why?" And I asked it slowly, I was like, "This is taking every bit of courage in me," because I didn't wanna make her uncomfortable but I also knew the question was important. I said... Because I really... I said, "Why do you lead?" And she paused. Now, keep in mind, this is a leader who is responsible for building airplanes over a multi-billion dollar business division, and she said, "Rob, when I was nine years old, my sister and I built cardboard wings, and we got up on the roof of our house, and I put the wings on, and before I was ready, my sister pushed me off the roof, and I fell to the ground wearing the cardboard wings, and I broke my arm. And she said, "The truth is, since that moment, I have always wanted to help people fly." And I immediately thought I would fall over anywhere, and it was... But you see that excavation process, it was like her other answers were true, they weren't untrue, but it was that... I think that's a lot of the work we do is sort of... Because we know that her understanding that level, 'cause it wasn't an answer she had given before, and then that encouragement, like tell other people that story about that why, because that why is also what's gonna center you in the hardest moments, so Three Questions Down.

MR: Yeah that's awesome.

LA: That's really powerful. I think that's a good note for us to end on. I feel like it's good that we came full circle in this conversation, saying as many tips as we can get, the really powerful way forward through pressure situations is asking questions. So I'm all out of questions now, [laughter] but I'll encourage our listeners to reflect with their own questions. Dr. Rob McKenna, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

RM: Thank you, Leah, thank you, Mark.

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