Have you ever felt like you just NEED to pursue a new direction because whatever you’re doing feels like it’s killing you? If so, it’s likely that whatever you’re doing isn’t good for your soul and is therefore probably not the right livelihood for you. Our guest, Sibyl Chavis, knows a lot about this. She’s a Harvard-trained lawyer who left her corporate job to create a life with greater clarity and purpose. She is a great example of how you can actually do hard work that is fulfilling, yet not drive yourself to exhaustion. Formerly an attorney at a leading law firm and Executive Vice President at an advertising agency, Sibyl is now the CEO and Founder of her own agency, Ripple, a marketing agency that partners with brands and companies in the social good and social innovation space. Today, Sibyl shares her shift from practicing law and how rising to her highest and best decision led her to where she is right now. You don’t have to give up your family or things you love in the pursuit of money or success. Find out how in this episode.
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Rising To Your Highest And Best Decision With Sibyl Chavis
I feel incredibly blessed in this moment to be sharing time with all of you, to be sharing time with an incredible guest. I am taking this moment for myself right now, selfishly going to be grounded, breathing, feeling alive now. That feels great. I’ve got so many wonderful things to feel great about as we all do. Also life challenges, things that catch us off guard, things that blindside us. I got blindsided with a little physical thing. I was out surfing. That doesn’t sound like too much of a problem except when your back goes out. I was literally standing up on a wave and my back went out on me. Totally my doing, my creating in so many ways, I was exhausted. I was running myself, burning the candle on all ends as some of us know what that’s like. That’s an old habit of mine. That’s an old default mode.
I pushed it for one more thing. I wanted to get in for the day and I wanted to be in the water. All that made sense. I knew I needed to get to the salt as someone said to me and yet I didn’t stretch. I didn’t take care of myself before getting into that environment. I took my body for granted. I’ve done that before, so this was certainly not the first time but a great reminder because it flattened me. It literally laid me out on my back for the better part of 24 hours. I thank the universe, I thank God that we have amazing people around us, part of our team that have skills and abilities. I got brought back. I can put on my feet with the help of some deer, lovely people and in our lives. I feel grateful to be standing at my desk at this moment, which is terrific because literally days ago if we were having this conversation, I would have been flat on my back in my bed.
I want to welcome an amazing woman. Her name is Sibyl Chavis. She’s a Harvard-trained lawyer, who left her corporate job on the East Coast to create a life with greater clarity and purpose. She’s formerly an attorney at a leading law firm and Executive Vice-President at an ad agency. Sibyl is now the CEO and Founder of her own agency, Ripple. Ripple is a marketing agency that partners with brands and companies in the social good and social innovation space. Sibyl’s primary focus is her work with sounds true where she heads up its business to consumer division. With that, Sibyl welcome to The Conscious PIVOT podcast. Thanks for being a guest.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored to be here.
It’s good to be able to create a space with someone. We’ve never met before. This is way cool to do that. I’m still a lawyer. I know you are too. I just don’t practice anymore. I retired from my practice several years ago.
I still do a little bit of it like occupational hazard and it sometimes comes up for some of the clients that I’m working with, but mostly I’d say I’m retired too.
I still use my legal training in terms of contract review, negotiations, so many things. I still use that all the time and I speak quite frequently to lawyers’ groups. I get hired to come in and unscrew them up or something.
There are other opportunities and paths forward.
It’s so true to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Frankly, what I will often say is I wrote a book called PIVOT, which was my path out of practicing law, but not so much the practice of law, but more along the lines of practicing work that wasn’t good for my soul. It wasn’t the right livelihood for me. I did it for many years very successfully, but it wasn’t the right livelihood. There are a lot of things I’ve learned since then that had I known, had I been given access to certain new information, had I more of self-awareness, my consciousness had been broader, wider. I would’ve had other options. In looking at it, I probably would have gotten out of the practice of law anyway, but the way that it went, it wouldn’t have been as much of urgency as it felt at the time.
I felt literally like I needed to get out of that work because it was killing me and anything that has that level of urgency means necessarily take your time doing it. It’s more of a rush. Share a little bit about your journey out of the law because when I speak to lawyers now, it’s often about the fact that they can choose to stay in the law. They have to develop more resilience to have longevity and to be able to perform at higher levels without exhausting themselves. That was the thing I didn’t know at the time that you could perform, you could do work that could be fulfilling, that you didn’t have to be exhausted. You didn’t have to give up your family or give up things in the pursuit of money or success. I didn’t know that then. These days, it’s one of those things that people go, “Please tell me more.” You’re a purpose-driven entrepreneur. What took you out of practicing law and where did it lead you?
I love the insight about, it’s more about your experience of the moment, necessarily all about being what makes you discontent or unhappy is what you’re doing, whether that’s a law or whatever that is. That has definitely been something that has settled into my mind and heart as well because there are so many attorneys that love being attorneys. They’re great at it. I know part of it like you were meant to be a partner, you were supposed to be here. They’re thriving. They’re in the zone. You can see them like they light up and that wasn’t my experience. It sounds like it wasn’t yours either. I recognize that it wasn’t that there’s anything wrong with the profession. It was more about, “Is this the right profession for me?” There was a point in my life where it was and I learned so much. It game me so many amazing skills that I needed, the analytical skills, the ability to think through things in a way that’s different.
There are many things that lawyers are trained on and the practice of cultivating, managing lots of balls in the air. A lot of things that definitely I know have helped me transform and grow into what I am doing. I loved that part of my career. I also knew for me to settle in with what I was supposed to do next. It was going to mean letting that go. It was scary. I had student loans. I had thought I was going to be an attorney since I was seven years old. I was from one thing to another. I’m like, “First I must go to the top undergraduate school. Then I have to go to a top law school and then I have to go to a law firm.” I climbed that ladder and I worked so hard and gave everything I could to it. When I got to the place where I was and I saw many other people thriving, loving it and in the zone. I felt like I was faking it. It was a moment.
Describe what that moment was, where you were and what was happening for you.
It’s interesting because my husband is also a former attorney. We went to law school together. We went and worked at the same law firm. We were sitting there talking like, “This doesn’t feel like something doesn’t feel right.” We came across this amazing opportunity. We went to this marketing agency but still doing a lot of law but also the business and marketing. We were there and learned so much. It’s in-house counsel with only two attorneys, but we were also doing business affairs and marketing. We got to expand our horizons beyond traditional law. My husband is like, “I always have this thirst and feeling that I’m supposed to be a writer.” I’m like “A writer?” “Yeah, I’m supposed to be a writer.”
We explored that and I was like, “I don’t know. I feel like I want to live all of these spiritual truths and practices. Everything that I read and all this time I’m spending. I feel like I’m supposed to somehow live this differently and bring these traditional skills.” I don’t know what it is, but we both had these different impulses. Every week we would have this thing called talk night. On Tuesday nights, we would sit around and talk, dream and be like, “Why don’t we do this?” These moments would come throughout the day and the next day we’re like, “This moment feels so different from the moments that I’m describing that I envision.” There was a disconnect. We both had to be very honest with ourselves because there’s so much fear. We had bills, responsibilities. We had a kid by the time we were at the marketing agency. We’d been there for eight years and you get signs.
What were some of the signs that you were getting?
The agency wanted to grow in a direction that we were both like, “Eh.” We were getting more responsibilities. We were getting more things that we were going to have to be focused on. I felt like I can’t look the CEO in the eye anymore and pretend. He honored us so much as we were coming here and growing our careers. We’d been there for eight years. We have to be truthful with him. We’re going to find our replacements. We don’t know where we’re going, but we have to go somewhere else.
This is remarkably brave because a lot of people when they’re talking about those transitions, the pivots in the career space, they’re often facing the uncertainty of, “I don’t know how I’ll make a living. I don’t know how I’ll pay my bills or I don’t know how I’ll contribute to the family.” It’s usually the one person that’s going through that pivot at that moment in time. I’ve never had an interview where it was both the husband and wife. It’s simultaneous like in lockstep.
It was respecting the moment that was put in front of us because we both had so much fear. We were going off the beaten path of a lot of our colleagues, off of where we were supposed to go. We’re still attorneys so we’re a bit risk-averse. We had a nest egg. We’re like, “As long as we can figure this out.” We both had visions of what we wanted to do, “It will be okay.” I also do have children responsibilities and you’re building a whole new profession. You’re jumping off of a cliff at the same time. It took us a little while to get to like, “Let’s quit. No, we’re not quitting.” Probably for six months, we were talking about it. One night, we were having a conversation and Rob was like, “We could stay here forever. We’re doing fine. We’re successful.” There’s a comfort. He’s like, “Don’t you feel like we’re supposed to do something that feels right, something that feels extraordinary to us?” I was like, “Yeah, I do. I totally feel that. I’m also scared.”
This is legitimately a conversation you and your husband are having where he’s asked that question.
I love that he asked it and I was very honest. I’m like, “I totally want to do this, but are we crazy? Who quits their job? Everything we’ve done, we’ve done to get here. Now we’re here and we’re having this conversation where we’re going to walk away from all of that because we feel this impulse? This doesn’t feel anything that we would do. We’re not even those types of people.”
Impulsive people, would you use the word, impulse, to describe what that was?If we rise to our highest and best decision, every step will unfold. Click To Tweet
I would say that there were definitely impulses. He didn’t act impulsively because we had to overcome the resistance and fear. You’d be like, “I’m going to quit.”
As you say, part of your training and the part of the legal’s profession as a training ground is a training ground for reasonable behavior. It’s calculated and careful.
I try to also live my moment like taking cues from what feels right at this moment, “What am I being asked to do?” Not, “What am I scared of? What are all the fears? What’s everything that could go wrong?” It is, “What feels right? What is my highest and best decision?”
What feels right? What is my highest and best position or what cues? What are the signs if I can maybe swap out cues even for signs that there are things or signposts that you either paying attention to? I believe they’re always there. We’re not always paying attention. I wasn’t paying attention last time. I sat down on the beach to put my leash on my ankle, to get into the water and surf. I had this moment where my awareness went to, “You should stretch,” and the next impulse for me was, “But I don’t have time.” I looked out on the landscape and thought it wasn’t a big day. The waves weren’t big. It was nice little clean waves I can handle in my sleep. My next response to that information, the information was there, which was, “Slow down, breathe, take your time, stretch.” If that means when you’re done stretching, there’s not enough time to surf because I had to drive up to Irvine for a business meeting then so be it. Walk back up with your board, go take a dip in the water or whatever. I pushed that signposts, that guidance, that cue. I pushed it aside. I ignored it and I went forward with it from some other place.
I don’t want to say it was from ego because I don’t know that. Even now I’m curious, what was it that compelled me to ignore the signs and go out and do what I did? Ultimately, the universe is amazingly funny. It’s got a great sense of humor. It’s incredible irony in it. Let me get up on one wave. I was feeling no pain and literally having a blast. I’m like, “I’ll ride 2 or 3 more like this, and I’ll get in. It will all fit.” The next wave I get up, I stood up, my back went and I went straight down. You’re with your husband and there are these signs. There are these cues. There’s stuff happening. You’re paying attention to it. That’s the distinction here.
We have made it this practice like we were talking about, “What is my highest and best decision at this moment right now?” Then to try to rise to that. That was the practice of rising to this because I could feel in my mind and in my heart like I’m supposed to walk away from this. I kept feeling it and I got a big sign. I was on this trip to Chicago, a business trip. I’m going to Chicago for a couple of days. I could have stayed at any hotel random. I was always in Chicago back and forth. I walk into my room. I’d been going through all of this like, “Should I quit my job? No. Yes. Yes. No. Are we going to do this?”
I walked into my room. There’s a big sign right there staring me in the face like huge and it says, “Life is about creating yourself.” It’s the exact message I needed. At that moment, that was a huge impulse to your point earlier. I was like, “I could feel it all coming in.” I sat on the bed looking at this sign. I cannot believe this. This is remarkable. I’m sitting here questioning, “Do I quit my job?” I’ve been doing this for months and here comes this sign and I can feel it. Life is about creating yourself. I was like, “You’ve got to go, Sibyl.”
Were there tears?
Yeah, I was crying, “I can’t believe this. I’m going to quit my job. My husband was going to quit his job. We’ve got to go. I can’t tell you what next year looks like but that’s okay. I know the next step I need to take is to sell my house. I know the next step I need to take is to talk to my boss and tell him that I’m leaving.” We took it to step by step. I got back from the trip and probably two weeks after that, my husband and I walked into the office of the CEO and we both quit at the same time.
Did you stay on for a period of time to find a replacement?
We did because that was our commitment to him. We still had 2 or 3 months to help him transition. We were also trying to transition, “What are we going to do? How are we going to build this life?” He was like, “Are you guys sure you want to do this?” We’re like, “We’ve got to go.” That was the thing that was super important is we felt in our hearts, took time and settled, “This is the decision.” Many people will try to talk you out of it. Your fears will try to talk you out of it. We knew we had to be settled there on it.
Integrity is the word that comes up from me when I hear here what you described. Many people will look to create their exit strategy or have their exit plan in place before they ever let people know what they’re up to, the stakeholders, the people in their lives and somebody that’s paying a salary to you. It’s usually is the last person to know. I make no judgments about that. There’s something very different about the approach that you took. You did have a lot of risks. There was plenty on the line.
There are tons of risks and also tons of faith because if we rise to our highest and best decision, every step will unfold. We know how to build careers. We’ve been building this career for many years.
It’s the only career that you’ll ever be able to build.
We’re going to be disciplined about it. We’re going to work hard. We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to keep pushing through resistance. We’re going to do our inner work spiritually, get over our fears and take advantage of the moments in front of us and the signs. They will continue to fall in place. Because you can’t see the end of the road and you can’t see like the top of the mountain, it doesn’t mean that you can’t see the next step and take it. That was our philosophy. My husband wanted to be a TV writer and he’s now writing television. It was a journey. We’re seven years in and he built it step by step, but he’s now a writer on an ABC TV show several years later. I’m getting to do everything that I’ve ever wanted in terms of living my spiritual practice, integrating that into my work, getting to work with a company like Sounds True and all these amazing authors. We’re waking up the world and I couldn’t have done any of that. I would have never found my way to Sounds True if I hadn’t had been willing to get over this resistance and this fear of letting go of the job that I thought I was supposed to have for the rest of my life.
I want to dive into two little areas that are not so little but important and also sometimes overlooked. One is I definitely want to hear what for you was the most challenging moment from the moment when you had the courage to walk into your boss’ office and say, “We’re leaving. We don’t have necessarily a plan or a place to land, but we’re following the guidance. We’re following our hearts, all that.” That’s a tough moment. After that, I want to know what the toughest moment next to that one was for you. I want to talk about resilience and how it is that you’ve developed skills for resilience and what that even means to you. Let’s hit the first one first.
There were so many tough moments between where I was then and where I was now. I’ve always believed that when you’re building something, it goes up a spiral. This is what I always say. There are times when you’re on the front side of the spiral and things are falling into place, “I quit my job. I’m going after this. I feel great. I have this idea. I’m going to create this brand. I’m going to create this agency.” Then I hit the back of the spiral and something doesn’t fall into place. I don’t get the client that I wanted and the vision isn’t coming alive. I’m like, “It’s all right, Sibyl. Don’t freak out. You’re on the backside of the spiral. You know this. This is how you got into law school. This is how you’ve got your job. This is how you’ve grown your career. It always is this spiral.”
Understanding that dynamic and understanding that I can sit on the backside of the spiral, which are these hard moments when things aren’t falling into place or when you’re being challenged or obstacles are coming, you’re being pushed more than you’ve ever thought you could. Those are the most challenging moments. For me, understanding this whole path, the growth path that I was on to now grow my new career and understanding the practice, I knew that there was so much goodness happening on the backside. Every time I would hit a backside, something in me would shrink inside. I feel crushed. I’d be like, “It didn’t work out. Life is over. What am I going to do?” I’m like, “No.” Having to lift up every time because I had to. I had a child. I had another child on the way. I was six months pregnant with my second child when we both quit.
I was like, “We signed up for this and this was our agreement. Our children didn’t. Their lifestyle doesn’t get to change.” We have to make sure that they see, “Life is the same. My parents are going after what they want. They’re digging deep and I’m seeing them do that.” I was also trying to be a role model and that was probably good because you had to fake it until you make it. To answer your question, the toughest one probably was after we quit our jobs six months in. Rob was like, “I’m going to go and try and get this job at NBC. I’m going to be this writer. We’ve done this.” I’m like, “I’m going to go start this brand called The Possibility Day. It’s going to be great. Everything’s going to fall into place. I’m writing a book. It’s going to be a boom, we’re six months in.” Nothing happened for either of us. That was a moment we were like, “This is going to take some time and some work.” That was a challenge. You’re looking at each other, you’re looking at your children in the eye. Those were moments for me.
In those moments, what was the self-talk or what was it that you and Rob, what are the messages that you were reflecting each other?
It was interesting too because it is rare that you find couples that quit at the same time to jump off the cliff. At the time, if we would have known what we were doing, I don’t know. Sometimes I’m like, “If we would have done it again, of course we would have.” Some of it is like you’re in the moment and you do it, but you’re not impulsive. It’s this interesting balance. The self-talk though is super important. I know that because I go up spirals. Just like everything else, myself talk sometimes when one of those fears would get triggered, it starts at the bottom of the spiral.
The old fear story takes you back to when you were eleven years old.There is always a spiral when you are growing your career. Click To Tweet
“This is never going to work out and why would you do this? You’ve given up everything. Your friends were trying to get your old job. Why would you do this? This is going to be awful. Your life is going to be messed up forever. Your kids are not going to have what they’re supposed to have.” All of those stories would come in and I’d be like, “No.”
Those stories if we play them out to their ridiculous conclusions, they always end up with totally destroyed, embarrassed, destitute, lonely, alone, dead. You don’t even have a place to shower at the end of that thing.
I had that talk and I also know that I have the opportunity to let that talk trigger and something in me is shifting and changing that needs to be healed at the moment. Fear needs to be released. Something needs to be realized. That practice of the backside of the spiral practice I call it allowed me to know that the negative chatter was going to be there. It’s just in the mind. I’m like, “Sit back and observe it. What’s my highest and best decision? Is it to listen to this or is it to outshine this?” To sit for a minute and take some deep breaths and let this move through my system and understand that something is processing that I want to give space to.
I don’t want to pretend like it’s not there. I’m not going to be like Pollyanna butterflies, “There’s no fear.” No, I was scared. Can I sit in this and feel this discomfort and feel my chest tightening and my heart getting speedy? Can I feel that? No, I’m okay but feel it and be like, “You’ve got this. I got this.” That practice of doing that over and over again, I got stronger. What happens? Observing and elevating the thoughts too so they need to be healed. I’d be like, “No, but you’re doing this, this.” I’m a lawyer. You’re a lawyer. You have to be convinced. I would like to talk to my skeptical mind, “You’ve done this. We’re doing this. Here’s the plan. It’s all chartered out.” I’d have a very real practical working session on my path forward, what I was going to do, what my next steps were. That would help alleviate some of the fears. Breathing would help for sure. Then I would get settled.
I love the language that you’re using to describe all of this. Obviously, your story is unique in creating a visual image of what it looks like and use the word, spiral. We can all visually imagine what it would be like to be in a spiral of some kind. They are at different stages and different places. It feels different. As you were describing a spiral, I was thinking for whatever reason, it’s like the moon, how one side of the moon we see. It’s bright. It’s full at times. It’s right there. It’s clear. There’s a whole other side of the moon we never see. I love that old Pink Floyd album, Dark Side of the Moon. There’s this whole thing that on the dark side we never see it.
Communication on the dark side of the moon was a big challenge when they were first exploring. That other side of the spiral feels like that dark side where communication has been impacted your internal communication. It feels like, “Houston, we have a problem.” The way you described that is brilliant because of the way that you reframed. This is the word I would apply to how it is that you were resilient at that time when you were in the spiral and on a side of the spiral where it led you to be questioning, “Are things going right or are they potentially going wrong?” You were assessing and you would dive into the assessment. The feedback you were getting from the universe was, “This crap is not quite right here.”
It’s an intuitive thing that we go into protection or as lawyers we go immediately toward what’s the solution. We’ve got to get deep into planning the solution right away. What you did was different because it sounded to me like you sat with it. You made it okay. You gave yourself permission to feel shitty or feel confused or feel whatever you are feeling. You got a little bit more curious about it than get scared by it. There’s the part of us that gets frightened by those feelings and those things that are familiar to us that represent a threat. You could have gone there and been there, but you also sat there, gave yourself permission, got curious, were observing what was happening. There was something new that was birthed out of that process. Is that right?
Absolutely. I couldn’t have said it better. That was my experience and how I knew I needed to move up the spiral. To also be aware, sometimes I’m like, “I’m human.” It stinks that opportunity didn’t work out. I’m going to go grab a bag of chips and some ice cream for the next two hours because I need a break. This is a journey and I’m going to climb this mountain, but I’m also human. When things go wrong and I get bad news or this didn’t work out, I’m also going to honor that. Sometimes I would honor it even with junk food and ice cream. I know what I’m doing. I know it’s not my highest and best decision at that moment. For two hours, I’m going to pout but after two hours, you’ve done something.
That’s when it’s like sit, process, move, go. Giving whatever the moment felt like, sometimes it felt like sit with it and do it right now. Sometimes it was like go, mess around, go have fun. Sometimes it was like go, think harder. It’s being honest and respectful of what felt good at that moment. When I needed more care, more self-care, more self-love or when I needed more confidence and learning that I could find all of that within could still be supported by my husband and all the people around me who are encouraging me. Ultimately, it had to first come from within. These moments that were heartbreaking were giving me the best practice.
This is what’s coming through me at the moment, but I’m going to share it anyway because I feel like permission is a word that’s relevant to what you’re describing. I say that because a lot of us don’t give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. We make what we feel wrong and that becomes a spiral of its own. Spiral like straight into the ground. You just nose dive at times because we’re not giving ourselves permission. As you said, it might not be on one level the highest and best decision to sit down with a bag of chips and a half a gallon of ice cream but on another level, it’s exactly what’s in our highest and best right at that moment. As long as that doesn’t become its own thing that takes you over where emotionally I’m not dealing and how I not deal is by eating, drinking or whatever.
I love that permission. What you said is so on point and understanding 10% of the time I’m having those moments, but 90% of the time I’m doing all of the other stuff that I know I’m going to and I’m supposed to. Sometimes I’m like, “I want to pout. I’m mad. I was supposed to win and I lost.” I used to play tennis when I was growing up. Even if I lose a match, I’m like, “I’m mad. I’m happy she won. Can I be mad for an hour? Let me burn this off.”
We could take that road on the score of parenting and many of the things where it’s interesting that as part of the elevated consciousness, which is such a positive in our world, in the area of parenting and a lot of things, we’re holding ourselves to pretty high standards or higher standards. I know we’re not going to have time to digress into this space, but there’s a lot of political correctness out there. There are a lot of people getting woke and all that stuff. I don’t want to say it like that’s not a good thing because it is a good thing. At this time, we’re holding ourselves to some standards now that maybe doesn’t allow permission for humanness.
Being the messy artists that we are, but instead, we’re supposed to now paint within these new lines, these politically correct lines. We’re supposed to apply this lens of perfection to the artwork. Yet for most of us who’ve lived long enough to know this, we know life is a big mess and it’s a beautiful mess. It’s not a bad mess, a gorgeous, amazing like when your three-year-old comes home with that painting that they put their feet on and their hands were all over, almost not discernible that there’s a house in. He or she is explaining to you exactly what’s in that painting. It’s absolutely magnificent. It’s a beautiful mess and that’s exactly what our lives are in so many ways. When we hold these standards, It’s perfect and beautiful. At the same time, it’s Its own challenge, its own thing. You’re inspiring me, Sibyl, so much. Giving ourselves permission to be the mess that we are or to have those moments or to deal with what we’ve got to deal with using the skills we’ve got in the moment to do the best we can do at the moment is itself a spiritual truth.
I was saying rising to my highest and best decision, but it starts in an intention. What is my highest and best decision in terms of my intention? My intention at this moment is for me to burn off some heat and that’s okay. That’s my intention. It may not ultimately on the outside look like the highest and best decision, but this is my intention. In terms of what you’re saying with the political things, riding the line and trying to understand all of the different nuances. There’s going to be good bazillions of them. As I always say, “I want to know your heart. What’s your intention? Is your intention to share the love with your political view?”
“With whatever view that you are debating, underneath that, what is your intention? What do you feel? Who are you trying to take care of? Who are you concerned about? What fear are you trying to work through? What is your intention with that perspective?” I feel like when you start with intention like my intention is X, Y, Z, and that means that this is my political perspective. Every time you hear the dialogue, people are talking about their opinions, “This is my opinion.” What is your intention underneath that? What feels good to you? Not what are you hearing, not what shouldn’t you do? What do you care about at this moment that’s impacting your perspective? Why that should be the law or the policy or all this stuff that we hear being debated?
The intention in the world of the woo-woo where some of us have some experience in the personal growth and human development space so that intention is a big thing. It’s also a big thing in the law. It’s fun to be able to talk about this with another lawyer because intentionality, it makes the difference between degrees of culpability in the law. Degrees of responsibility have everything to do with whether you intended that harm or intended that result or you intend it.
It leaves the latitude for learning by experience. It’s not that you can be careless or reckless with your actions, even if you’re like, “My intention was to help,” then you’re continually making reckless decisions when you know better. It’s also giving the opportunity to be like, “This is what I think and I want to say this to this person because I want them to know I care about them.” That should count for a lot. If it runs afoul of some political correctness or whatever, you’re my friend, teach me, tell me at that moment so I can learn, grow and feel it because I don’t know. If you know my heart and I’m pure and I’m coming from a good place, I may mess up. I may say some things that are out of color. I may say some things that are out of hand. I may say some things that are shaded with my perspective. The moment has come in front of us to have this moment. If I’m going to come at it with the purity of intention and you’re coming at it, let’s learn and grow together. For me to hold back and not say something or for you to get offended because you’re reading into something that I said and not say anything, we’re not taking advantage of the moment in front of us.
We hear that term, “Leading with your heart, speaking from your heart.” We lead speaker training programs and help people get on TED stages and things. We’re always helping people to understand how to speak from their hearts. What’s great, I want to connect is the intention. If you’re thinking about how is it that you speak from your heart or how can you lead from your heart? It starts with intention. What is your true intent in communicating right now? Is your true intent, as you say, to close the gap? You may connect with somebody as your true intent to understand. Is it true intention to seek, to know someone else’s perspective or is it strictly to express your own opinion? Is it love? Is it based or rooted in love or is it rooted in trying to prove something or be right?
It makes all the difference in the tone of the words physically, but also the undertone, which is what people feel, your body language, your nonverbals, all the things when we learned as children. It’s not what you say, but how you say it that changes or impacts the way that it’s received. I would love to understand better your take on resilience. Would you share what that is and even if there’s something that you do to create, consciously cultivate resilience in your life? If not, if it’s something different, then I’m curious and I know our people will be as well. How would you define resilience? Let’s start there.
I would define resilience first and foremost for myself as something that is continually helping me align with what I’m capable of in every moment. Something that has grown and continues to grow and build over time with every experience, with every challenge, with every opportunity is resilience because it’s essential for anything that you want to do. Whether it’s a relationship, whether it’s a job, whether it’s a career, whether it’s going after a dream. The resilience is one of the most essential factors I feel like that we’re all here to align with so that we can cultivate it and integrate it into our days, into everything that we do so that we can continually grow and go after the things that feel most right for us. It’s definitely something I worked at cultivating. Being aware of it, which is why I love the question and having that awareness that that’s part of the experience is like, “It’s time to be resilient.” It allows me to lean into building it more and more of your time. It’s time for the practice, which is a lot.
If we were creating a recipe for what resilience looks like from your perspective, you’ve already said a number of things that would be part of that recipe. Why don’t we take a chance at summarizing, putting into maybe some of the ingredients that go into the resilience recipe for you? What would those ingredients do you think?
It’s one like we were talking about the awareness of it and the importance of resilience that goes into it. The understanding that this is something that I need that’s essential and I’m going to practice it. I can create it.Honoring your failures allows you to respect your efforts and emotions. Click To Tweet
Some people are born resilient and some people aren’t.
I believe it grows within you. It has grown in my life over time. It’s having that awareness and understanding.
It’s awareness, number one, understanding it’s a thing and I can cultivate it, create it.
Another ingredient I would say is continually leaning into it because not only is awareness important, it’s a practice. You have to choose resilience because self-pity and all of the other things that want to weigh you down by default are always there. It’s always going to run through your mind. I call it the chief negativity officer. He or she never goes anywhere. It will always be running the sad stories, crying stories, obstacle stories. It’s not going to work out stories. The stories that are supposed to be outshined with your resilience. Understanding that as the number two is that, “I’m going to have to practice this and when I do, I’m going to be able to continually grow into it, strengthen it and it’s going to be a tool for everything that I need in my life.”
The third one I would say finally is understanding and having openness for what arises in the present moment. What’s in front of you right now and where is the opportunity to practice resilience? On those moments that come because every moment doesn’t make you practice resilience. Sometimes you get to practice progress and success. Other times you’re asked to practice resilience though. Understanding that these moments aren’t to be hated or despised. If that hadn’t gone wrong, I would have been able to practice this that I need and I’m going to get over this one. I’ve gotten over all the other moments where I needed resilience. However, if I didn’t have those, I wouldn’t have built this resilience that I’m going to need to create these huge things that I’m trying to create in my life or whatever that is that you can feel deep within that you’re supposed to do. These moments that make you bring up and practice resilience are giving you what you need in order to create what you ultimately want.
I absolutely adore that. That’s a fresh language. It will be very helpful if people can understand it from that lens that being aware, to begin with, that it’s a thing, that you can create that thing and that thing helps us. That by itself is a complete reframe. You’re finding the creative opportunity now instead of allowing the CNO to take over, your Chief Negativity Officer, to tell you how this is something that you should be passed beyond or not fair. The practice to know that you’ve got a practice or can have the option to practice it, to get great at it because there will always be times of change and times of uncertainty. Why not be prepared as though you were an athlete ready to get into the field of competition and you want to be at your very best? Resilience to me, resilience training and the practice of resilience get you prepared to be resilient before you need it. It’s getting you to practice in-game situations so that when those situations do occur, you can be playing offense, not strictly running the life, the business and relationships on defense.
If you don’t practice, you’re not going to show up that way.
The other piece of this is permission. It feels like, to me, part of this recipe that you’ve been outlining has a lot to do with allowing yourself the true freedom to be here now in this, whatever this is. To know that not only is there a great opportunity in this, but this is the only moment we have. To not give yourself permission to experience it is ironic in the sense that you’ll never get this moment back. I’ll never get this moment back. There’s no adding. It’s not like we go, “This was a shitty moment or this was me not being present or whatever I was. I’m going to add that onto the end of the game.” Don’t get to do that. Now is what we’ve got. There’s not only this great beauty at the moment for the moment’s sake, but there’s also the mystery of what’s also possible when there’s this permission I suppose to experience things and allow the next moment to take care of itself. It almost feels too carefree on some level to be responsible. Yet, it almost never fails that when we let go, when we are willing to trust ourselves, trust the universe in all of its great, wondrous mystery that things mysteriously work out perfectly. It’s so funny because you say that, but tomorrow if something goes wrong, we’re still going to have a part of ourselves that wants to fix it quick.
Not realize that something going wrong sometimes is everything working out perfectly at that moment.
Sibyl, I’ve so enjoyed this unplanned conversation.
It’s great. Thank you so much for having me and for the time. I appreciate it.
I want you to share if you could about the company that you’re so supportive of these days and we’ll talk about that.
What’s always on my mind and at the center of my heart is a company called Sounds True. It’s a very mission-driven company, doing lots of great work with some of the top wisdom teachers and spiritual leaders in the entire world. I feel so fortunate to get to work there with a great group of people who are practicing what we’re also sharing with the world and those are the transformational practices. Working with the top teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chödrön, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. It’s many to list and it’s so cool to get to do that. Those are my teachers. That’s my practice. I get to do the work and work with a great team to share it. We’re trying to give back, learn, grow and do it authentically and in every moment. It’s super cool.
I couldn’t even imagine anything better to be in that environment. Rituals are super important. Is there one ritual that you have that helps you to make those better decisions, those decisions that are in your highest good? Is there one ritual that you can think of that helps you there?
We’ve been talking about being aware of the moment in front of me, honoring that and giving myself permission and intention to do it. In terms of practical practice, it’s something that’s changed for me, but I usually take a couple of hours every morning. I’m a morning person and sometimes I’ll listen to a teaching from one of the teachers that we work with. Sometimes I’ll be silent. Sometimes I’ll listen to some beautiful classical music. Having that space to release and settle and get ready for the day. That’s been something about centering every morning and taking that time.
For me, it’s been the intention setting. It’s what you said earlier about what’s your true intention. My own belief is that when we begin the day, we can get off on the right foot or wrong foot fast. It doesn’t mean we can’t correct because we’re constantly correcting our course and things can go very right even if at the beginning, they started off differently. I hear my grandmother’s voice in my head. She would say, “Leave the house on the right foot.” To me, the waking moment of the day is super important because I want to leave the house, my subconscious house or my unconscious house, I want to leave on the right foot. There are three parts to this waking ritual. The first part is always fun and that is to wake up and begin with. Sibyl, did you wake up?
I did, yes, I feel awake.
I feel more awake now than I did before our show started. That’s the process is that it’s a gradual awakening deeper at the higher frequency of not just our thinking but our awareness, our consciousness, whatever you want to call it. Waking up is a big deal. Tomorrow if everybody will agree who’s reading this, that we all get to wake up tomorrow. I’m going to wake up, knowing when we do wake up in the morning that not everybody was granted that wish. Not everybody will wake up tomorrow. At that moment where we have unawareness of recognition even of the seriousness of that moment for a lot of people and certainly in our own lives, it’s a blessing.
We can simply take ten seconds at that moment where we have that understanding of truth. It’s true. I’m waking up. There are people who are not at that moment. That is true. We all can be grateful right then and there for the gift that we didn’t necessarily expect to receive. The third piece of this is about intention setting. I don’t often describe it this way. I appreciate you giving me this added color to it, which is it’s an intention. I start with four words every day and it’s purely an intention to leave the house on the right foot, to lead from the right place, to let the universe know what my true desire is. These four words are, “I love my life.” Those are the words. Sibyl, will you repeat those words, please?
I love my life.
Do you feel that way?
I do. I love life. I love talking to people like you and having those moments. That’s such a wonderful way to start the day. I love that.
I’m a life lover as well. These are simple things we all are learning from each other. This great way is to plus the best of our own thinking, the best of our own behaviors when we connect, collaborate with people who are doing things their own way and to see those connection points. Sibyl, it’s been a blessing. Thanks so much for being on the show.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
If you dug this episode as I have certainly, please share comments, leave a comment there. You can leave a review on iTunes as well. Let us know what you think. Let us know your questions. Have a beautiful rest of your day. Blessings to you wherever you are in the world.
- Sounds True
- Eckhart Tolle
- Pema Chödrön
- Jack Kornfield
- Tara Brach
- The Conscious PIVOT Podcast on iTunes
About Sibyl Chavis
Sibyl Chavis is a Harvard-trained lawyer who left her corporate job on the East coast to create a life with greater clarity and purpose. Formerly an attorney at a leading law firm and Executive Vice President at an advertising agency, Sibyl is now the CEO and founder of her own agency, Ripple.
Ripple is a marketing agency that partners with brands and companies in the social good and social innovation space. Sibyl’s primary focus is her work with Sounds True where she heads up its Business to Consumer Division.