Referenced in this Episode:
- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
- A Course in Miracles
- Men, Women and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough by Brené Brown
- The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism by Octavio Paz
- Feminist Accountability: Disrupting Violence and Transforming Power by Ann Russo
Colin Bedell is a queer Gemini Twin from Long Island, New York. He’s a passionate student of secular personal-growth systems, and the universal spiritual themes explored in A Course in Miracles. Complementing his work with QueerCosmos, Colin’s the weekly horoscope writer for Cosmopolitan.com. He’s written multiple best selling books including A Little Bit of Astrology and Queer Cosmos: The Astrology of Queer Identities & Relationships. And his third book Gemini debuts in January 2020.
Liz Wiltsie: Welcome to Lead the podcast. I’m so excited to welcome my guest today, Colin Bedell. Colin is a queer Gemini Twin from Long Island, New York. He’s a passionate student of Secular Growth Systems, and the Universal Spiritual Themes explored in a course in Miracles. Complimenting his work with Queer Cosmos, Colin is the weekly horoscope writer for cosmopolitan.com. He’s written multiple best-selling books including A Little Bit of Astrology, and Queer Cosmos: The Astrology of Queer Identities and Relationships. And his third book, Gemini, debuts in January of 2020. And I’ll tell you that I asked him here because he and I have a shared love of Brene Brown. So, I’m super excited to really dive into the ways that astrology informs leadership. So, Colin, welcome.
Colin Bedell: Thank you, Liz. And thank you for having me. I know that spirituality and secular leadership aren’t always intersections that people get to talk about. So, thank you so much for inviting me to talk with you about that.
LW: Yeah, I’m excited. So, let’s get straight to it. What do you see is the number one challenge that leaders face?
CB: Informed by Dr. Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, I think it is just all the ways that we armor ourselves against just criticism and critics and feedback. It’s really, it comes down to that I think it’s the armor we wear. Not the fear, its armor, because leaders are afraid all the time but they don’t have the armor on. And I think what gets us into a lot of trouble is when we believe that perfectionism and disengagement or mean-spirited criticism like that actually works, it doesn’t.
LW: Yeah. So, on the flip side, what is your sort of tip for dealing with that?
CB: Yeah. Well, I think what I believe, and this is actually something that the [Course in Miracles] speaks about often is in your defenses is your safety lies. And so, what that means is that we want to proactively assume and perceive that every single person has something meaningful and creative and brilliant to contribute. And so that’s really, the way I look at leadership is a person who holds space for the brilliance of others, takes responsibility to cultivate that, assumes that proactively without evidence, and then gets out of the way so that people can do that.
LW: Yeah, I’m going to, literally I’m going to play that back after we wrap this and I’m going to write it all down, and it’s going to be great because those four things were amazing, right? Four, right? That’s really brilliant. So, do you, do you have a kind of tangible way that you encourage folks to sort of lean into those pieces?
CB: Yes. I think it really does come down to not being tolerant of our own mind wandering. You know, I think we need to really understand that concentration, mindfulness, focus and the discipline of intellectual follow-through is the way to start here. And that leadership is a skill that is absolutely teachable, and contagious, and just transferable. And so, my skill or the real encouragement that I have for others is to just develop the capacity to learn how to focus and then to show up to the party. Yeah, with mindfulness, I have a 10-minute meditation routine that I have every day. And I’m also just really cognizant of when I’ve gone off the intellectual rails. So yeah.
LW: Do you have anything in particular when you’ve gone off the rails that help you get back on?
CB: Oh, yeah. I would, I just can immediately spot it, is where I’m at in my meditation practice, is that I know when, like, I have intellectually vacated the premises. So, it’s just a matter of returning and just announcing, ‘Okay, I have to pay attention, I’m showing up and I’m leaning into this conversation, this experience.’ Yeah.
LW: Yeah. I think one of the things that have come to me in this work is that so many folks can’t spot it in themselves when they have gone off the rails. Or when they’re starting to go off the rails, like, to catch it and be like, ‘Oh, wait.’ And then things go way sideways real fast.
CB: Yes. Well, actually, and there’s a tip for that because there’s a lot of things that could take us off the rails. It could be a shame, distraction, a lot of different things. And one of the tips that Brene Brown gave in her book, Men, Women, and Worthiness, is she asks people to tap their neocortex, which is the part of the brain in between the eyebrows to get people back to showing up to the party. Because the neocortex is the part of the brain that makes critical executive decisions. And when we are in shame, or like disengagement or numbing, it goes offline. So, you could just, it’s a little weird and awkward, but just tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Tap the part of the brain so that you can show up to the party.
LW: Wow. That, I’m going to like practice that because I know those things, right? I know about how parts of your brain shut down in different situations, but I’ve literally never heard that. So, I’m excited to put that in practice.
CB: And Liz, I promise it works. I have to do it regularly, regularly. When I’m having a conversation like this, when I’m reading a client, or when I’m working with people, fortunately, I think my meditation practice has allowed me to just be present 90% of the time, I would say. But if I’m in shame or emotional compromising, that’s when I do the tap, tap, tap motion. Yeah.
LW: Yeah. So, what is, I know we’ve talked about Brene, we’re obviously both fans of Brene Brown, but what is a book or concept, talk, whatever, that’s been really impactful for you?
CB: Of hers or anybody?
LW: No. Anything. Anything.
CB: Oh, my God, so much. I think, related to leadership though, it would be Brene’s book, Dare to Lead, right? Because I don’t think we have come to understand, under the full moon in Taurus today as this being recorded November 12, just how efficiently and simply our lives can be if we know the two to three values by which we stand on everything. I mean, it’s really that simple. She has the vast majority of the book dedicated to what it means to live into our values. And a lot of us are scattered, and we have more than three. And if you have more than three, you don’t even have priorities, right? So I think what’s been so helpful for Dare to Lead is it really consolidates and concentrated leadership style to finding two to three values by which your state of being stands, cultivating that in your relationships with others and then seeing through those collaborations what you can do to contribute in the workforce, right? And so, spirituality and connection are mine. And so, my vow with spirituality, which means I have to take a serious amount of time every week to research and study what universal spiritual themes are and what they look like in day to day practice. And then I do my best to cultivate a lot of learning on relational theory and relational technology and relational sciences so that I can put that of my work as well because loneliness is the number one public health crisis. And I believe that spiritual seekers have a devout responsibility to be one of the problem solvers in that arena. And because those are my primary values, I know where I stand. And I know what I need to say, and I know when I need to be quiet, and I know when I need to listen. And I know what opportunities are good fits for me, I know which ones aren’t because of that. And I’ve never felt more sure or convicted of who I am and what I stand for in my life because of those two values.
LW: Yeah. Yeah, that makes total sense. And it just, it’s like, okay, I can, it’s like my train tracks, right? It’s like, I know, I know what my train tracks look like, right? And I can like, do the thing.
CB: Right. Yes, do the thing. And I love that you said it makes sense because that’s the wisdom of spirituality, is that life is extremely complicated, Liz, but spiritual truth is very simple. Choose your values, make choices from that values, live into those values, put your head in your pillow every night knowing you are who you claim to be, and you will have peace. Period.
LW: And be able to articulate them to other people, right? So that they, so that, one, the people who, you know, have values that work with yours can find you. The people who actually care a little bit less about your values can stay away, so that we can all have a good time, right?
CB: Yeah. Right. And then we could also have discourse and debate about that too. Like if people want to call into question, you know, why are you so relational? And what about the fact that codependence. And what about this one, I’d be happy to go there with them, right? And I’d be happy to talk about spirituality is the path of the heart. But you’re right, I mean, I think more often than not, when you stand in integrity, your, and I’m going to get whoo-whoo, but your energetic force field just tells people, “Honey, I’m not the one, so don’t even try it. Don’t even try it because it won’t end well for you, so don’t even think about it.”
LW: Yeah. I have gotten, as I’ve gotten older, to a place where I’m like, I just really want to be as truthful with people as possible so they can make an educated decision about whether or not they want to spend time with me. And it’s like, “Okay, cool.” And, you know, you know what you’re getting, versus, like, people who sort of have a kind of a front, right? That’s like, ‘Okay, people might not like me if they knew too many things.’ And I’m like, “Here’s my thing.” It’s not for everybody. Totally fine. Feel free to exit. But if you’re here, you know what you’re getting, right?
CB: Exactly. And then also too, Liz, like how beautiful that you then have the ultimate peace of mind that people chose you for you. Rather than the feeling, “Oh my god, you know, I have to keep this facade up and I got to keep being the pessimistic, the people pleaser, whatever.” And I think what we should say to your listeners from the real, just, you know, straight talk, Liz, straight understanding point of view is that, if you are performing and perfecting and people-pleasing it outs itself, don’t kid yourself. People know what it, they smell it. So, just, if you think that other people don’t know you’re doing it, I’m so sorry, you’re really, really mistaken.
Well, and particularly in leadership, right?
CB: Oh, yes.
LW: Right. It’s like a sort of, you know, a house of cards, really. People will find it, right?
CB: They will. They will. Whereas authenticity, absolutely outs itself very quickly. And so, it’s okay if you are kind of new to this conversation, you realize, ‘Wow, this isn’t working. Great. And now let’s get to work.’
LW: Yeah. So, what should I have asked you that I didn’t?
CB: I thought your five questions, your four questions rather, were absolutely lovely. You could ask me, what am I reading currently? And what I will say, right, I’ll say that I’m reading Octavio Paz’s, Double Flame. It’s just absolutely extraordinary. The Double Flame, I should say. Yes.
CB: Yeah, yeah. And what about you? What are you reading?
LW: What am I? So, I am reading another one of my guests, name’s Desiree Adaway, recommended a book called Feminist Accountability to me. And so, and accountability is my jam.
CB: Yeah, Capricorn.
LW: And so, I got it from my local independent bookstore here in Los Angeles, that I just adore. And so that is on my list. I haven’t started it yet, but I, that is where I’m headed.
CB: I love it. Well, I will give it a peruse and that we should talk about it the next time we meet up.
LW: Great. Colin, thank you so much.
CB: Thank you so much, Liz. It’s been a pleasure.