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Episode 52: How to Spark Brilliance as a Leader with Jackie Insinger

Brief summary of show:

I’m excited to share this episode with you, because it’s with my dear friend Jackie Insinger. We talk about her new book, Spark Brilliance, and the lessons we can learn about being a kind and empathetic leader.

Throughout her career, Jackie has brought her expertise in Cognitive Psychology and Interpersonal Dynamics to the business world as a sought-after Leadership and Team Dynamics Coach.

Using her research-based, action-oriented methodology, Jackie helps leaders and teams focus on unique strengths and authentic connection in order to increase performance, results, and fulfillment. Her Positive Psychology-led framework, Platinum Leadership, has been a game-changer for thousands of people and businesses throughout the world.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [2:00] What you will learn from Jackie’s new book, Spark Brilliance

  • [7:00] Can you really fake being in a positive mood if you need to be?

  • [10:55] How we can help make other people better

  • [20:55] Tips to get out of neutral emotions and into the positive ones

Jackie has a psychology degree from Duke University and a master’s in human development and psychology from Harvard. She is a member of both the Forbes Coaches Council and the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council and lives in Denver with her husband, Rob; two sons, Simon and Miles; and enormous Newfoundland, Hailey, aka Big Nazty.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Jackie

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Hi everyone. It's Natalie. I'm so excited for today's episode. I am fortunate to have smart friends and smart colleagues. And my guest today is one of my very best friends. I can't wait for you to meet her. You know, that friend who maybe you don't talk to for a few months. And then when you finally see that. Three hours go by while you're talking. And even when it ends, you feel like you could just keep talking and catching up for so much longer. That's my friend, Jackie, the topic for today is really important because it's all about being all that we were created to be. In our relationships in our performance every day, also in our outlook on life, Jackie and singer uses her two decades of experience to break down how positive psychology, the science of human potential motivation, and what makes life worth living, how it can transform your life, your work, and your family.

[00:00:53] I am so proud of Jackie and her new book called spark brilliance. And I know that you're going to love what she's sharing with us today. Here's our.

[00:01:02] Jackie. I look forward to each of my interviews, but I have looked forward to this one so much because we've known each other for so long. And the book that you have written is can I just say brilliant? So tell us about it. Let's start off with sparking brilliance and what the book is.

[00:01:21] Jackie: The book is like my third child. As you played a huge part in it, Natalie, for about 10 years now, you were one of the first people that said to me, like, you need to write a book, you need to write a book. And I always have that voice in my head of you saying that to me for so long. And so it's been spinning for a long time. And finally it got to the point where I had like, you know, 20 years of experience and this, all these different experiences with, with clients and different things that worked and stood out and you know what I'm going to do it.

[00:01:53] And I'm going to put it together and realized, you know, I had a different angle than a lot of people did and started pulling the. Together with all of those pieces and realized that I really had a book. So here it's, it's ready and I'm super excited about it. And it's called spark brilliance and, you know, the subtitle is how the science of positive psychology will ignite, engage and transform your team.

[00:02:15] And it's really about how. It's a guide. It's a real guidebook. It's a playbook on what can you do to let your own spark and then use that spark to really ignite the brilliance and really like set off fireworks in those, around you to up-level happiness, fulfillment performance in all areas of your life.

[00:02:36] Natalie: We talk a lot about this concept and I know you've mentioned it before. You have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help everyone else self. Taking a loving yourself first. Like we, talk a lot about this, but what does it really mean? Because I think it's easier to say that than it is to really do.

[00:02:54] I know, as a busy mom, you're the same or children are friends and we've been through this, like it's hard to take care of yourself when you're really.

[00:03:02] Jackie: Yeah. It feels like a luxury that we often don't have in the day and time is our greatest asset. It feels like, and we don't have enough of it. Right. And so it's often like an eye roll thing right.

[00:03:15] Where it's like, oh, you need to build in self care. It's like, well, when, how great. But what does that mean? Is that a five minute longer shower where nobody can bother you? Right. Or what does that look like? Yes, it is so important. And, and again, I think my angle on it is really around the brain and behavior reasons behind it with the first line and the last line of the book here, it begins with you, and it really is your light that does ignite those around you.

[00:03:44] And there's a whole concept called emotional contagion, which is really a fancy word for. we are like a good germ, right? We can spread our emotions to others and we do all the time. Not consciously. So in 33 milliseconds, you will instinctively pick up on my mood. Good, bad, ugly, joyful, whatever it is.

[00:04:05] Even strangers. There are studies that they put three strangers in a room for two minutes, never met each other before whoever has the dominant emotion has cascaded to the other two people. Same thing in an elevator. By the time you get to the 10th floor, whoever has the strongest emotion it rubs off. So there's this concept of how we show up will inevitably influence how other people feel, whether we like it or not.

[00:04:32] So with that, my, my reframe on this, you know, you know, it begins with you is. Life becomes easier, right? When other people around you are happier are in a better mindset, aren't in that negative or you know, pushback phase, as we all know with family members, when, when your kids come home from school and they're, they're grumpy and they're, you know, resistance or whatever those moods are, everything just shrinks.

[00:04:57] Right. Or. No. I know for me, if Rob, you know, isn't in a bad mood, like when he walks in and I'm in a good mood, right. And his bad mood might be stronger than my good mood and it just pulls it down. Right. Or vice versa if he walks in so happy and I was frustrated, it just lifts you. And so this idea of how do we lift ourselves?

[00:05:17] To then cascade that out to our families, to our teams, to people around us, because that, again, just perpetuates this virtuous cycle of positivity, which makes everything easier and everything works. Okay.

[00:05:32] Natalie: So let me ask you this, because I think about this a lot, especially with my kids. We've been through this by the way.

[00:05:38] I want to mention Jackie totaled it up because when I was doing the morning show she was coming in and doing, was it weekly? Bi-weekly, I can't remember weekly on parenting topics. You have a history with that. You've done amazing things with families and parents over 40 interviews. You've told me that we've we've done over the years.

[00:05:58] Is that right? So it's fun to get to talk a little bit longer, but what this makes me think of though, is when my kids come in the house and I'm already in like a stressed mode, they walk in and I'm very aware that I need to be in a good mood. I need to bring positive energy. Can you fake it? Is it okay to fake that so that everyone, because when you're not, but you know, you need to, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:06:23] Jackie: You know, I think that's a really great question. When it comes from a subconscious or unconscious mimicking or mirroring, I don't think you can fake what people pick up on from like the neuroscience perspective. However, the caveat there is. When you fake it for yourself, you can actually change your mood.

[00:06:46] Right? So just the act of smiling, elicits, you know, the, the neuro-transmitters and all these things in your brain that actually make you feel happier. So you can fake it for yourself to then move into a better space, which then cascades and is contagious to them. But just to build on that for a second.

[00:07:06] I don't think it means in my perspective that you always have to be happy because that again is a terrible trap that many of us myself included fall into. However, I think authenticity is really important. So to be able to say to your kids, if you're in a bad mood, like, you know what, I've had a really rough day, I just need a few minutes.

[00:07:27] I'm going to really try to get out of this space so I can be present for you in a really positive way. Right. So even just sharing that and owning that, Hey, it's not all perfect. It's not all great. And I'm not in that place right now is fair and fine. And in the meantime, trying to get into that place, knowing. However you show up will impact those around you.

[00:07:48] Natalie: Yeah. I think that's very, very valuable because there's a piece of me that doesn't want to fake it. Well, you know me because we've been through this, like the dentist part of me wants to say I'm really not having a great day, but I need to fake it, but can I bring my mood up if I do? So I like hearing that, that you, you can't really fake it. It's okay. To be honest about it, but that you, you can turn your mood around. By just smiling or faking it a little bit so that you can