Stand Tall in Your Story - Whitney Dunbar
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: (singing) Hello. This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of The Baddest Women's Council Podcast. I'm super glad that you're here. Over the last couple of weeks... Well, more than a couple, last several weeks, I have been sharing the stories of the women of Rise and Thrive Indianapolis, Season Two. Rise and Thrive is an experience that I created several years ago, for seven career women to go through a seven- month experience. And it all culminates into a big celebration event that we hold with music and drinks and food and laughter and celebration, and take these womens' stories to the stage. Because I believe that when we stand tall in our stories, we give others the courage and the confidence to do the same, which is just the ultimate in great connection. And so, today's episode is with Whitney Dunbar. She's an Executive Leader with the Delta Faucet Company. And Whitney is going to talk today about doing hard things. And it's interesting, isn't it? If you think back on your career, how much you've been able to overcome and learn from... I am an Executive Coach, and I don't know a single high- achieving woman that hasn't made it through some tough stuff. And while we don't really like to think about that being the greatest teacher, because in the moment, it's a complete pain in the ass; but looking back on it, I can say that my toughest experiences were my greatest teachers. And, as we lead people and raise children, I think it's a really important topic, to sit and remind ourselves that sometimes letting people that we love go through tough stuff can be the most loving and kind that we do for them, so that they can then appreciate the lessons and the tenacity and the resilience that is born from the struggle. So, let's hear it from Whitney.( singing)
Whitney Dunbar: "You can be brave and scared at the same time." That's a quote I see every morning, as I walk downstairs and start my day. As a family, we reflected on the craziness of 2020, and planned for 2021. My young daughters were learning to navigate friendships, and how to use their words instead of their actions. We felt like that quote gave them permission to feel all of the feelings that comes with growing up, but empower them to make those choices. If I'm being really honest with myself, I needed that quote more than they did. I was becoming a high- impact change leader. I was stepping into my confident and authentic voice. I had become more vulnerable as a wife and as a mom. I was doing big things. I needed to take risks. I needed to be brave. And that was scary. There's this Apple commercial that defined the brand to a generation. I felt like it defined me, too. The quote in the commercial went like this:" Here's to the crazy ones; the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs and the square holes, the ones who see things differently." I spent most of my awkward formative years splitting my time; some of it fully stepping into it, coloring outside of the lines, and the other part, pushing it as far away as I possibly could, to feel accepted and part of the group. As you might imagine, that didn't feel quite right. And those around me knew it, too. So I unpacked it bit by bit over the years, and here's what I found out. I do see things differently, but I'm probably somewhere in the normal middle, with a little leaning towards the rebellious. External labels, like misfit, just that: a way to help us understand complex things. It was the internal label that I gave myself that really mattered. I am uniquely me. And with that label, I could go on to live into the more important part of that quote with my slight modification." The ones who are crazy enough to believe in themselves, and think they can change the world, are the ones who do." Accepting, embracing, and showing up as my authentic self every day is a brave choice I must make; but I know I can do it, because I can do hard things. When I look around our house, we have pictures of our trip to Disney. They're full of laughter and memories and smiles. But the year leading up to that trip had been really hard. I was on a project at work, where the work was unfulfilling. I lost my team to a mini reorg, where I felt all of the weight to make it right for my people and the company, and none of the input on the decision. I was in a negative head space. I was tired, feeling empty. Luckily, I had a mentor who stepped into my life, and pushed me through that moment. And this trip to Disney was about five months after that push. So I was walking around the grounds, giant Disney- adorned mug, full of coffee in one hand, and a stroller with a two- year old and the other; it was like we had the place to ourselves. It was quiet. The sun shined through the sky, and Hamilton lyrics floated through my mind." Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now." And in that moment, gratitude filled my heart, and I decided to let God back into my life. And I made the commitment to never take anything in my life for granted again. And I would honor that commitment in how I try to find the hope and the good in every situation, how I use my family's time and resources, and how I leaned into my gifts and talents that He gave me, to live out His plan for my life. Now, religion, and God is complex, complicated, and I still grapple with it. Having faith in something I can't see, and sometimes I cannot feel within me is a brave choice I make each day; but I know I can do it, because I can do hard things. Now call me crazy, but if I had the opportunity to clear all of the hard paths ahead for my girls, I would not do it. I believe dark, the opposite of light, pain, the opposite of joy, failure, the opposite of opportunity; we cannot have one without the other. Have you ever cried at the dinner table? You don't have to raise your hand, but I see you. I am you. And there's one time about a year and a half ago, that my girls just won't let me live down. Our work decided that they wanted to change why and how people were doing their jobs; and that meant changing the work they did, and how they were organized to get it done. As a leader in that change initiative, I could see that I would likely be promoted at the end of it. So the day came to find out what was going to happen. I walked into the office, cautiously optimistic that all of the hard work that I had done, the value I brought, was about to be recognized. As I walked into the room, within one minute, my heart dropped. That role had been put on hold, and traded, in a corporate game. I was sad, devastated, disappointed. I was hoping to spend that weekend celebrating with family and friends. And now I was left with another complicated story to tell and relive for the next few months. During that time, I turn to my favorite Harry Potter quote," Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." It was my constant reminder that while I have no control over what happens to me, I always had control on how I responded to it. I get to let it... I could let it define me, or I could define it; an opportunity, a learning. And this time, I believed in myself, I believed in the different future I saw for our company, and I believed that God had a plan that I just couldn't see. So in the wise words of Anna, from Frozen 2," I had to choose the next right thing." And I knew I could do it, because I can do hard things. I remember these block letters above a chalkboard in grade school; they read," What is popular is not always right. And what is right is not always popular. And what is right for me may not be right for you. And that's okay. You are beautiful in all that you are." I hope you live your life with gratitude in your heart, and if you believe, God by your side. I hope you take risks, and you fall down, and you get back up, with hope for brighter tomorrow. And I hope you show up each and every day as the unique, complex, incredible person that you are. But I don't just hope this for you. I know it can be so, because you can do hard things. Thank you.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I hope Whitney's talk has inspired you to be brave and scared at the same time, because that's how we move up. That's how we rise. So, my reflection question for you today is," What do you need in your life, to sit with some of the challenge, and sit with some of the difficulty, in a way that helps you be more brave?" Is it time for some quiet reflection? Is it some great connection in your life? What is it for you? What do you need right now? We'd love to support you. Please connect with us at badasswomenscouncil. community. Follow us on Instagram. If you're looking for some one- on- one coaching, or to be a part of Rise and Thrive, Indianapolis, we would love to hear from you. Make it a great day. When I work with my clients, I want them to discover their unique, personal story, so they can then stand tall in that story, and live a life full of soul and emotions and their natural curiosity about their unique gifts, talents, and abilities, so they can live a thriving life. Because our brains are hardwired for stories, and our brain wants us to thrive. So I help my clients tap into that. And I also have a sponsor for this podcast, called StoryBook, which is a unique and innovative platform that helps you bring your company stories to life, by tapping into the emotional flow and the natural curiosity that we have about your products and services. So check them out. You can go to my website, wethrive. live. Click on the" Stand tall in your story" link, and see the kind of work they're doing for us. Or go to their site, cantaloupe. tv. And there's hundreds of stories there that they've created that you can experience. Check them out. We're so grateful to work with them, and for them to sponsor the podcast. Please join the online community at badasswomenscouncil.community, where we can continue the conversation, and you can meet other badass high achievers like you. Thanks so much, make it a great day. If you like the music for the podcast, go to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you listen to your music, and look up Cameron Hession, Clouds. You can download the full song there. He's got some other stuff out there as well. And y'all, he's my son. It'd be great if you'd go and download some of his stuff.( singing)
In this week's Stand Tall in Your Story series is Whitney Dunbar. Whitney is the Head of Commercial Operations at Delta Faucet Company. Today, her story is about doing hard things, taking risks, falling down, then getting up and learning from your experiences. Listen now to Whitney's inspiring speech!