Inspired Action for Imperfect Humans – S2 Ep4: “Check It At The Door”

Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans – S2EP4: “Check It At The Door”

“Check It At The Door” Brief Summary of Show: 

In this episode learn to take inspired action and we ask the question; Do we need to “Check It At The Door”? when it comes to leaving our emotions when we go into work. Hosts Kyle and Christopher tell a story about work environments where they were told to check their emotions at the door, and discuss why that may not be the best business practice, and why emotions can be a super power.

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“Check It At The Door” Transcript:

They all mean different things, depending on who it’s coming from. You’re too anything is a criticism, period. And anything that you are too much of is also an asset.

Is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action? Welcome to Inspired Action for Imperfect Humans. Each week, we give you real life stories and thought-provoking research that inspires your soul to live a more fulfilled life, through your own actions. From the heart of Calgary, Canada, here are your hosts, award-winning coaches, Christopher Lawrence and Kyle Kalloo.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls. What an exciting, I always love your intro. Our intro is so amazing. I am with Christopher James Lawrence this week and he is with…

Myself? No, that’s where you say Kyle Kalloo ’cause I just said

Oh, I see, I see.

Okay, let’s try this again. I am here with Christopher James Lawrence this week for this exciting podcast and he is with the amazing, the incomparable

Wrestler extraordinaire.

Okay, let’s just move into it. You know what, Christopher? I need you to check your attitude at the door. You know, what’s interesting? That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today. Check it at the door. Just think about that for a second. I want to share something with you and I’ve been really excited to talk to you about it as well. Is this thing that, you know, I was doing a workshop actually yesterday with some some executive leaders and they’re all in different organizations, as well as some middle management leaders, and we’re doing a DiSC review and we’re going through the different profiles, and I think at some point we’ll do a podcast a little bit more detail on that. ‘Cause we do a lot of work in that space. But one of the things a particular style of leader said is, “I just feel that employees should just check it “at the door, leave their emotions. “Don’t like me, things happen in life “and whatever, whatever, but we’re here to do work. “We’re here to move forward”, and listen, I know what some people already are thinking. And I applauded him for being honest, being vulnerable and actually saying it out loud because I know, from working with a lot of these leaders, sometimes they feel that way and it’s not just leaders, some other people feel that way. Colleagues sometimes feel that way. It’s like, I don’t want to hear you griping about dah, dah, dah, dah, just do the work. Let’s just get it done, right? And so it made me kind of think about, how many other people are actually checking at the door? Like, what’s your input on this whole concept? People should just check their feelings or check any distraction in the organization at the door.

So Kyle, much like you, I have coached over 2000 people in a one-on-one setting, primarily on the topic of career, certainly other things, but I’ve coached over 2000 people in one-on-one settings and over 10,000 people in group settings, in the last, nearly nine years now. And I’ll be honest with you, I think that the phrase, “Check it at the door”, is an over-simplification of something. Like that’s our, get the statement out as quickly as possible because something you’re saying or doing is uncomfortable or unprofessional or whatever. I understand the intent of what they’re saying, which is, “Hey, sometimes when we bring our crap “to the office, it becomes a distraction.”


But the phrase and statement itself are an oversimplification and they’re also, I think if we were to follow it the way they’re saying it, they’re asking you to leave a part of your psychology at the door, a part of your memory, a part of your human experience. And so actually, I would say that a statement like that is anti-human, which is why big corporations, especially big, old corporations, get criticized to filth for being heartless, their employees just being a number because of that. I mean, certainly I did extremely well working in corporate Calgary. Extremely well, always promoted, moved up the ladder very quickly, big bonuses, all of that stuff, big salaries, all that stuff. I was a good performer. But I was a good performer because of my sensitivity. And so it’s like, I think there’s something to be said here about like, hang on a second, like, what do you mean, check it at the door? And I think that we actually need to have a more specific definition of that. I remember once, last time this happened, it was the very last time, you know, ’cause this stuff shows up until you own it. I remember one employer, he said that to me, he says, “Christopher, you’re rather sensitive “and I think you need to check it at the door.” So being the sensitive person I was, and unmanaged, I don’t think I had a lot of emotional intelligence, right? Being an unmanaged, sensitive person. Like sensitivity is a superpower, but like all superpowers, it requires training to use it to your advantage, right? Like sensitivity is not a liability, it’s a superpower. It’s just that like Superman’s laser eyes, without training he’s burning holes in walls, right? So it’s like your sensitivity needs to be trained and harnessed well. Well, being the sensitive person I was, I slammed the door and I said, “Let me tell you about my effin’ sensitivity.” And I said, “And the next time you say it, “you’re going to attach a big fat bonus to it “because that’s why my team is the most efficient “and why I am successful, it’s because I tap into that.” I didn’t get fired

Okay, that was my next question, Okay, so…

I didn’t get fired.

When you got walked out.

Yeah, I didn’t get walked out, but actually it kind of put him in check. So I have a particular passion for this topic of checking it at the door.

Is that the same as, and just to be clear, being sensitive because I also hear the, “You’re too emotional”, like is that dissimilar to you’re too emotional? Is that always in the…

Oh, I think they all mean different things depending on who it’s coming from. You’re too anything is a criticism, period. And anything that you are too much of is also an asset. Like we don’t have behaviors that serve no purpose. All of our behaviors serve a purpose that we consciously or subconsciously, habitually, evolutionary-wise believe support us.

Interesting, yeah. So let me ask you this, ’cause I know you’re the research guy and you know, with this topic. So what, ’cause I think you blogged about this sometime before, a kind of chat within your practice, but have you ever come across some research that actually talks about, should employees or should people check things at the doors, so that they’re not distracted in the organization?

So certainly there’s some really compelling research coming out of Brene Brown’s work, and if you haven’t heard of her, you need to look her up. I know you have Kyle, but to our listeners. If you haven’t heard of her, you need to look her up. But I think everybody’s heard of Brene Brown, certainly in North America, she would be, you know, for the most part, a household name and her research is very compelling. Like all social research, you know, it needs to be advanced, improved, that kind of thing. I think Kyle, what we’re talking about here is emotional intelligence. So asking somebody, and actually I had the best leader. I’m going to say his name, his full name, because I want to give him credit for this.


Dan Barch.

Kyle Kalloo.

Oh no, so sorry.

Oh, all right.

Sorry folks, I tried.

It wasn’t you. Oh girl, if we need to go back and talk about the time that you read me at WestJet ’cause you needed something done.

Let’s not talk about that.

That’s a whole other story. Living with Kyle Kalloo.

Back to Dan. Back to Dan.

So Dan Barch, I had an emotional reaction and he’s the first person that ever, ever called it out, in what I would say is the strongest way that a leader ever had. I had an emotional reaction and he pulled me aside and he said, “You get emotional.” I said, “Yeah, I do.” and I got defensive. And he said, “Listen, listen. “It’s okay that you have emotions.” He said, “I have emotions too.” And he said, “Christopher, I wanted to punch “the guy in the face.” He said, “It’s not that you have emotions, “it’s not that you’re having a bad day “because your spouse is divorcing you, “or, you know, your kid is doing drugs or, you know, “whatever it is, you didn’t get enough sleep maybe. “It’s not that you’re having a bad day, “it’s, what are you doing with it?”


So it’s okay to bring it to the workplace but we have to use emotional intelligence. So I actually did find something here about, it’s an article called, “Linking Emotional Intelligence, “Spirituality and Workplace Performance.” And then the subtitle is, “Definitions, Models and Ideas for Research.” So basically what they were doing is they were saying there’s more research that needs to be done.


And I thought the word spirituality was interesting. Let’s be clear, spirituality and religion can be the same thing but spirituality and religion are not the same thing. Okay?

All right. So this comes from The Journal of Managerial Psychology. I’m sure Kyle, you didn’t even know that existed.

I did not.

And for those avid researchers, volume 17, number three, pages 203 to 218. Okay, good. So I’m just going to pull some pieces of the abstract here, just for the sake of time. So, despite, and I think the first sentence is probably the most compelling, the first part of the first sentence. “Despite a reluctance on the part of “organizational researchers to deal with the “subjects of emotion or spirituality, “recent researchers have begun to argue for the importance “of exploring the relationship to workplace performance. “Recent research, for example, “has shown a positive relationship “between emotional intelligence and workplace success, “Similarity, they may be related to “workplace performance or effectiveness.” and that’s what the paper explores. So I just thought to myself, I think that’s pretty compelling research, you know, checking it at the door isn’t always the right thing. But the question is, if you’re bringing it in the door, what are you doing it and how are you showing up?

That’s a great question. And I think we’re going to, I want to tie that into the inspired action, just in the end, when we talk about some tips but one of the things I just want to address really quick and bring it up to you. ‘Cause we’ve been doing a few podcasts now as we start these other things and some people have noticed a little bit of our format, that we always introduce some form of research. I’m curious from your perspective, why do we touch on research? Like, why is that necessary for us to mention research?

You know, I think Kyle, so much of the research that we use is social base. So like I know, and I’ll keep saying this, like I am not, naive to the challenges that social research brings, right? Repeatability is a problem, but we still have to work with the best information we have today, right? This is no different than hard science, right? Vaccines is a hot topic right now. Let’s not get into it. And don’t say that C word, but, you know, vaccines are a hot topic right now, vaccines have improved years over years. If we looked at the original vaccines versus now, we might, and you’d maybe have to talk to a medical researcher, but we might look at that and say, “Oh my God, like that was barbaric.” So we have to build off what we know to get better. And I think Kyle, you and I have a shared value around education. And we both believe that education is the best thing that allows people to become questioning, to think in gray areas, as opposed to black and white. And to challenge our own biases. Nevermind, we so often use it to challenge other people, but maybe we need to use it to challenge ourselves, our own biases, and our own way of thinking. And so that’s why we rely on research. That would be my answer to that question.

I totally agree, yeah, yeah. I totally agree with that as well. It’s a great thing to be reference point because here’s the thing, someone else has done some of this work, right? ‘Cause a lot of times some people feel, I’m the only one, I’ve never done it. It’s not to say to influence you to go completely to the other way or to when you get into an argument over social media and someone’s like, “Where’s your facts?” It’s there to continue a dialogue and to be able to explain that. So I just wanted to bring to it, ’cause we got some comments and people were just were curious around it naturally is, why do we talk about research or reference research? And you know, is it really to sway someone to one direction? Again, we’re just sharing our opinion based on our own experiences and if someone can learn from that, great. If someone makes it better for them, that’s fantastic. So coming back to this piece of it, Christopher, so what would you suggest? ‘Cause I agree with you. We are one whole person and I don’t know anyone who could truly, fully check anything at the door. It’s still going to be in our head. I remember, a situation where, you know, this dad in the doctor’s office grab his little kid that was running around, causing a ruckus and you know, puts her on the chair and says “Stop running.” You know what I mean? And ’cause he was frustrated and he was all this other stuff and she’s like, “Daddy”, and he goes, “Yes, what?” And she goes, “I’m still running in my mind.” You know what I mean? So even though he wasn’t seeing the physical running, she still, we’re still doing it. So even if we check the door but–

Can we just give kudos to that little girl? Like that little girl’s going to be the next Prime Minister of Canada. That is amazing.

She’s still running.

It’s like, you can tell me to stop running, I’m still running in my mind

Mind, exactly. You know what I mean? And so even if you physically can’t see them, checking it or they may show you that check at the door, it’s still happening and that’s actually still the distraction. So it makes sense. So what would you say, as far as to be able to give to our listeners as, what could they do? What inspired action could they take this week? If they’re just mindful of this when it comes to checking at the door, so to speak. If I could jump in, I have got two things in mind for me, For me, it’s one, the best advice you’re ever going to get from a flight attendant is, “Don your own mask”. Put your own mask on, being aware that this is happening for you, this experience, whatever happened that you’re supposed to check at the door, that this is happening, a death, a breakup, something traumatic, whatever that is that you know, is going to be a distraction. Putting your own mask means, what do I need? Asking yourself, what do I need in this moment? What is happening to me? What am I experiencing? That piece of it.

The second thing–

If I could actually comment on that, Kyle, I think so often we use that example of donning your own mask, and it’s certainly become a huge part of pop culture, although both of us having worked for an airline years ago, there’s a very specific reason why. And so, it’s like, if somebody beside you, or your child is beside you, is incapacitated, our tendency is to put their mask on first, should the plane begin to depressurize. The problem is, by the time you get their mask on, you’re out, it happens that fast. So actually, you have to put your own mask on first and then you can help others. Because if you don’t, you can’t help anybody else. So by ignoring your own needs and literally hard stop, check it at the door. Oh BS, we know you’ll be distracted the whole day. We know you’ll struggle. We know that your performance won’t be as good as it could have been. We know that maybe you’ll be more grumpy, or more sad, or more depressed, or more distracted throughout the day. If you do not check in with your own needs first, you are a detriment to the other people on a plane, or in this case, in your workplace, right. You’re not helping yourself and you’re not helping them, by running yourself into the ground.

Absolutely, thank you for adding that. And the second part I would say definitely is, speak up. I could tell you from the leaders, for myself as a leader and work with other leaders, we do want to know about it. We do want to hear how we can help you, right? We’re not these callous people without feelings and all these other stuff. We may show up that way. That may be the talk at the water cooler or that may be the talk now in the breakout rooms on Zoom or whatever you’re doing. But I can tell you, they want to know. Now here’s the thing.

You may not know–

They want to know, yeah, I was going to say, they want to know, with appropriate levels of detail because I know some leaders are just like, don’t give me detail. Like they, they might just need to know that something’s going on.

And what do you need? Yeah, here’s what I need today. I need to get out of two or three meetings, if I can. I need whatever it is, like I need to just do a little bit of like reflection or whatever. It’s just like, “Hey, I might be distracted today, you know, “because I’ve got something going on at home, “but still present.”

Yeah, and if you don’t know how to have that conversation with your leader, I can assure you 9.9 out of 10, is there’s someone else in the office, or in the organization, or in your inner circle, that knows how to have these conversations. So tap on them, right?

I would say, I agree, tap on them. But I’d also say, send an email to our podcast, which you’ll see in the show notes and on our outro there. And ask Kyle, because this is what he does for a living. He helps people learn to talk to their leaders, and he helps leaders talk to their staff, and he helps people who want to be emerging leaders get into that leadership glass ceiling. And so why not take advantage of it and have a chat with him?

I appreciate that. And so what would you suggest? So those are the two things for me, right? Is check what you need, and be able to speak up. And again, get some support or help to have that conversation, ’cause chances are someone already talked to that leader already about something similar or just know how to talk. What would you say is the inspired action?

I think for me, Kyle, the first one would be work with who you are, not against who you are. So if you’re a sensitive person or if you’re going through a divorce or you’re an angry, frustrated person or you’re generally a happy person, whatever it is, work with who you are. Now, what that means is recognize, like I said at the beginning, that those things can work to your advantage when you get them under the right control. You have to learn to use them to your advantage. So work with who you are and that also means be really careful of the story you’re telling yourself.


You know, be careful. Have you ever walked into a retail place? I know you have, cause we talk about it all the time, and somebody’s like, “Sir, sir, sir! “Put your mask on” or “Sir!” Sorry, Shane you’ll have to adjust the volume. You know, “Sir, sir, please wait.” You know, or they roll their eyes and it’s like . And then I learned this from you, Kyle. Like that’s somebody who has not only, not checked it at the door, but they’re telling themselves a story. So part of working with who you are is, recognize that you are telling yourself a story that might be full of assumptions. And to put that in check, right? By the way, Kyle’s great phrase to say to people like that is, “Oh listen, I know that you have said that “to a hundred people today, “but it’s the first time I’m hearing it, “so I just need you to say it “like it’s the first time I’m hearing it, “because I didn’t know.”

Absolutely, absolutely. And then the second thing, Kyle, would be to engage in empathy and I think this is a really key and critical part of the workplace. There is so much research coming out about empathy in the workplace. Empathy does not have to look like softness. And I think that, there are a lot of strong alpha leaders out there, men and women, who are strong and you know, probably transgendered as well. I know we have to be sensitive about gender. But there are a lot of strong leaders out there who are alpha leaders and they see something like empathy as like, it makes them uncomfortable because they feel like they have to do or behave in a certain way. And what I would just say is that all empathy is, is it’s an acknowledgement that somebody else is going through something hard or difficult. That’s all it is. And so all you have to say is, that sounds really hard. Is there something specifically that I can do to help you? They will feel hurt, they will feel supportive. If they want to get into the details of the story, you say, “Yes, I hear you, I’m just wondering, “is there something specifically I can do? “It sounds like you need to talk about it. “Could we set you up with somebody “that could do that for you? “Because I’m actually not sure how to manage that situation “but if you have needs that I can help you with here, “like if you need to take a break, “or get out of that tough meeting at the end of the day, “maybe we can talk about that.” Right? So empathy is just an acknowledgement that they’re going through something but we don’t have to go to the details. And what it does is it just redirects the person. And I see that as leaders, but that’s also for yourself to remember too.

For sure.

And it goes back to your first point, Kyle, if people recognize what they need, then they can ask for it.

Absolutely. And I love that. At the end of the day, you could lead yourself, right? It’s not just also about others. So with that note, guys thank you so much for listening and thank you for those great insight, Christopher James Lawrence. And I want to say to our listeners, what is one imperfect inspired action that you will take this week? Starting today, based on the stuff that we’ve been talking about, because in our opinion, you don’t have to check it at the door. Thanks for listening. Until next time, we will see you. Have a great day.

It’s our goal to build a global community of Inspired Action takers. And we can only do that with your help. So if you love Inspired Action, please leave a review on your favorite podcasting app and share us on your socials. You’ve heard from us, now we want to hear from you. Go to and tell us, what is the inspired action you took this week? Next week, on Inspired Action for Imperfect Humans.

Because I’ve been there. I’ve been the guy, I’ve never done it, but I’ve been the guy that’s want to hit reply and say, “Assholes”. I’ve been that guy. And I know I’m not a bad person.

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