The Happy Engineer Podcast

023: Change Your Life by Mastering Your Energy with Anese Cavanaugh

What does it take to recover $600 billion in lost productivity due to low engagement per year in the United States? How can you immediately change the experience of your daily life? Do you maintain healthy energetic hygiene?

More importantly, do you even know what “energetic hygiene” means?

In this episode, meet award-winning author Anese Cavanaugh. She is creator of the IEP Method, and author of “Contagious Culture” and “Contagious You” which I highly recommend. Her work has transformed my life and my coaching. Let’s just say this conversation is powerful.

Anese is the master of energy.

But not in a “woo-woo, this means nothing in my daily life as an engineering leader” kind of way. What Anese teaches about energy is exactly where you are being held back from bigger results, and a happier life today.

So press play and let’s chat… show up, set a positive intention, and this will change your life.


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I want to honor what Anese Cavanaugh left us with at the end of this conversation, which was an invitation for you to lean into your own intuition about what you need to do and what question you need to spend time with.

So what is that next smallest action that you want to take to move the needle forward a little in that area? I actually want you to go back, listen again if you need to, and do whatever it takes to decide for yourself what action you will take as a result of hearing this conversation.

What I will bring is one of my other absolute favorite sections of Anese’s work around BURNOUT. This is a topic that comes up a lot. It poked its head up in this episode and inside of Anese’s first book, Contagious Culture. There is a section on the seven factors of burnout.

I want to read you this for two reasons. The first is that it is really insightful and it may shed some light on part of why you are feeling the way you are at work and in life right now. But also because I believe it’s going to help you to have an awareness around what area of action you may want to take that would have the biggest impact on improving your day to day energy and state, right where you’re at.

So the seven factors of burnout, they’re not what you think. Burnout usually gets attributed to people working too hard or too long, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. There are bigger factors at play and all of them are addressable. Sure, burnout comes from not taking care of yourself and burning the candle at both ends, but more often burnout comes from one or a combination of the following… and as I read these, I want you to keep track of how many of these seven are right now creating resistance or challenge in your career.

  1. A lack of connection to purpose in what one’s working on, resulting in boredom, disinterest, and apathy. 
  2. A lack of connection to people. Not feeling seen or cared for and not having a shared sense of purpose.
  3. A lack of celebration, appreciation and acknowledgement for wins, whether little or big.
  4. A lack of safety for vulnerability, creative expression, and authenticity. 
  5. A lack of a reboot and recovery between projects or trips. 


Engineers, sidebar on this: I’ll tell you, this is huge. You work so incredibly hard on meeting a deadline. You put in those extra hours, you work those weekends, you’re under so much stress and pressure to deliver, and then you go straight from the finish line and the next day you’re leaning into the next big challenge and goal. Sometimes because of the external pressure of your company and culture, or your leader. Other times, for some of you, it’s your own internal pressure to continue to run hard. And I think this is huge, this lack of reboot and recovery, making sure that you give yourself some space.

Back to the list.

  1. A lack of empowerment and accountability not being and feeling well-used.  (Ooooh, I hear this all the time.)
  2. A lack of intention, presence, and therefore boundaries. 


These seven areas are Anese’s ingredients for burnout and if you resonate with multiple of these, it has an exponential effect on you, on your energy, and on your ability to show up and impact others the way you want to. So if you said yes to 2, 3, 4 or all seven of these areas… I just want this to be an impetus for you to lean into her work and to start noticing how intention, energy and presence is playing a role in your life.

But also maybe this should be a call to action to go get plugged in with her books, with her work and, and get help in this area, if you need it. A lot of the work that I do in my coaching program with our clients revolves around these same core ideas. And I agree with Anese 100% that it’s not just about long hours, high stress, etc. It’s not just in those areas. 

These seven buckets are far more important in your work experience. And as I say all the time, the quality of your life depends on the quality of your work life.

So take action! Which one do you really feel resonated the most for you?

What’s that smallest, most simple action you can take right now to start moving forward?

I hope you enjoyed this. I was totally fanboying over this conversation with Anese. She’s amazing. It was so great to connect with her. I can tell you she practices what she preaches and her own intention, energy and presence in this conversation really moved me, really brought me into the moment and I could talk to her all day. It was just a gift.

 So I hope you felt that same energy through the microphone here and as always keep crushing comfort and creating courage in your life, and let’s do this.

Previous Episode 22: How Subtle Unconscious Bias Hurts Your Results with Dr. Farzana Chohan




Anese Cavanaugh is a Strategic Advisor and CEO of Active Choices, Inc., a boutique consulting and training firm devoted to helping business leaders and organizations create (authentic) Positive Energy Workplaces™ and leadership through its proprietary impact models and methodology. 

She is the creator of the IEP Method® and author of Contagious Culture and Contagious You (McGraw-Hill, 2015 and 2019, respectively).

Anese is an award-winning speaker, advisor, teacher, and thinking partner to some of today’s most innovative organizations and business leaders.  She regularly contributes to and other publications that include The Huffington Post and





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Welcome back happy engineers. This is an absolute pleasure today. I’m here with Anese Cavanaugh and I told her before we started recording, but I want you to know that this is a dream come true conversation for me. Anese’s first book, which everybody needs to get a copy of “Contagious Culture” was given to me by one of my other mentors and an incredible man named Ari Weinzweig out in Ann Arbor, Michigan owner of Zingerman’s community of businesses.

[00:00:39] And I don’t remember exactly when that was, but it has been a former. Piece of work for my coaching for my life. And this is such a pleasure Anese to have you. So can’t thank you enough for making time to be with us today. Thank you. Thank you

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:52] Anese Cavanaugh: for having me. I’m so happy to be here and so happy and I love Ari.

[00:00:56] I’m so glad I gave you a copy of the book. 

[00:00:59] Zach White: Ari is a complete rock star and he’s changing the world over there in Ann Arbor. It’s awesome. But. Anese. I want to just give an opportunity here for us to start in a way at the beginning, because I think many of the engineers listening, won’t be familiar with all of your work.

[00:01:15] And I pulled up one of my favorite little sections of your first book and it’s, it’s on the chapter, uh, showing up with intentional energetic presence. And you introduce what is . Your core? Uh, method in terms of the IEP, intentional energetic presence. And I’m just going to read this really quickly and maybe leave it to you to give us some understanding and foundation of what this is all about, but it, it strikes me because every engineer I work with Anese comes with a hunger for a greater impact in the world, whether that’s career success or in their personal life, in their family to leave a legacy for their children or in some way, There’s that hunger for impact.

[00:01:55] And, and so with that said, uh, quoting from your book here. Most people think their skills and capabilities are what create their impact, but in reality, a much larger part of their impact lies in their presence or what I call intentional energetic presence, IEP for short at the end of the day. Your IEP is about how you show up in the world.

[00:02:22] And for me, that was a complete mindset shift as an engineer intelligence and know-how and skills was what I banked all of my impact around. And then I read this. So maybe just that setting the stage. Can you tell us what is this all about and lay a foundation of IEP. 

[00:02:43] Anese Cavanaugh: Absolutely. Um, it’s always still fun to hear something read back like that, of what landed for you.

[00:02:47] I listened to that and I, you know, it’s funny is that I hear you say that now. And I just think about this moment in time that we’re in right now, which at recordings 2021. And I think that statement is actually even more true than it was when I wrote it originally. 5 6, 7 years ago. So I’m appreciating that.

[00:03:04] So thank you for, thank you for sharing that. Um, all right. IEP. So IEP, intentional, energetic presence. The way I look at it is that it’s all about how we show up for each other. You know, the energy that we’re bringing to our conversations, to our direct reports, our bosses, our kids, our spouses, our, you know, it’s the energy we’re actually bringing.

[00:03:23] So being really intentional. About what is the vibe, if that resonates for you or just simply, what is the presence? What is experiencing experience? I’m creating through how I’m showing up with this human being. So that’s one part of it. The other part is the energy I bring for myself and how I’m actually showing up for myself.

[00:03:45] Because as a leader, I hold that self care, and showing up for ourselves is actually one of our most important it’s actually, I believe it’s actually our most important leadership skill, because if I’m not showing up for myself, if I’m not being my own best friend, if I’m not conscious of the way I’m talking to myself, if I’m not being present with myself, if I’m not taking care of my body and my mental wellbeing, I’m actually not going to be as helpful as I possibly could be to the people around me.

[00:04:08] So I look at IEP in both ways. There’s a little bit deeper. We can go where it’s you look at your intention for what you want to have happen. You look at the energy you’re actually bringing to the table, and then you look at your presence. You know, how present are you? And a simple example of that is, you know, somebody in your audience or you or I are about to go in and have a conversation with one of our direct reports or our boss, or we’re looking . To grow whatever might be happening before I even go into that conversation.

[00:04:37] The more clear I am about my intention and what I want to create. The more likely I am to actually have that outcome. And that impact, the more clear I am about the energy that I’m bringing to the table and, and you know, what is the energy? Am I coming in exhausted? Am I coming in burnout? Am I coming in busy?

[00:04:56] Am I coming in, um, in a state of, you know, like blame or judgment? So I’m really frustrated, you know, or am I coming in really. Clean with positive intent with my energy and then also my presence. How do I actually show up in that conversation? Those three things have a bigger impact than anything I’m going to say or do in that meeting.

[00:05:15] And, you know, I think the last thing just to make it really real for people is every single person listening to the. No, his experience of being in a room with somebody who was so brilliant, like just, you know what, maybe it’s you got, you got you engineers. I worked with a lot of you guys are so smart, so smart, super, super brilliant.

[00:05:30] However, when people hang out with that person, they walk away feeling smaller or tired or not seen or whatever it might be. So you know how this can look really simple, Zach, you and I show up together. You come to me, I might have the most perfect skills, the most perfect words, but if my energy is not clean, if I’m like sitting here in judgment or I’m really tired, I’m just not present with you.

[00:05:54] I don’t care how brilliant my words were, how good I am at what I do. I’m not happy. I’m not gonna have my best impact on you. And I might actually make it worse. So that’s kind of it in a 

[00:06:02] Zach White: high level. I definitely can relate to that situation have been there and probably been guilty of being the person on the other side, plenty of times, just, you know, engineers.

[00:06:13] We like to define terms and be really precise about things. And I know for me, when someone first said, Hey, Zach, what was your energy like in that interaction at the beginning? I really didn’t understand how to answer that question or what you meant. Can you just help us unpack when you use like the phrase, clean energy earlier and some of the distinctions on what that actually can be, or look like help us understand.

[00:06:40] W what is energy and how do I talk about it or learn more about my own. As engineering types, help us go deeper on like what it’s about. 

[00:06:49] Anese Cavanaugh: I would say, um, to break that down in the simplest without going into Adam’s all that, because I feel that scientists, I don’t, if you want to go into science, read contagious, you chapter six, there’s a whole time or 7, 7, 8.

[00:07:02] Let’s sorry. Anyway, 

[00:07:04] Zach White: there’s a whole science of 

[00:07:07] Anese Cavanaugh: basically this, the way I look at energy energy is what does the experience I’m creating? For somebody, by the way, I’m just showing up with them. What is it that I’m putting out there and what’s experience? I am creating for myself so I could be doing the dishes.

[00:07:22] And if the energy I’m holding around, it is like, oh my God, I can’t believe it. It is dishes. And my energy just feels heavy. My experience to do the dishes. It’s not gonna be. I can be having this conversation with you. And I, if I’m holding the energy stack of like, oh gosh, I got to get through this podcast, we’ve got this conversation.

[00:07:36] That’s gonna be really hard if I bring that energy, which stems, which is stemming from the emotion and my attitude, right? So if I bring that to this conversation, you’re going to feel that. And so there’s a funky energy. The other way to start looking at energy is in every single interaction with another human being, you were always creating responsiveness or resistance.

[00:07:59] Always. So for, you know, I don’t care how, you know, we do a lot of this work with engineers. We do it with doctors, they do it in healthcare. We do with education, we’ve done it with law enforcement. Like no matter what human being has done this work, anybody can relate to the feeling . Of being in relationship with somebody or . Getting that phone call where they see somebody’s name, pop up on their phone and they feel their energy contract, or they feel their system.

[00:08:24] Oh, I don’t want to do. That we’re talking about the energetic dynamics of what’s happening and we have a lot more control than we think we do most often. Um, we have a lot more control about in setting the intention for how I want to show up with that. 70% of it’s an awareness. As soon as you’ve got the awareness.

[00:08:41] Now you’re a position of power where you can change it. 

[00:08:44] That, so that was gonna be my next question then is how much authority and control do we have in our own lives? To influence the energy we show up with is it it’s a hundred percent if we just choose to, or is it something less? 

[00:09:00] I think it is a hundred percent.

[00:09:01] I think that I am at choice with how I want to come to my life. I could be going through really, really hard stuff. I, you know, this is never one of the things that people will sometimes thinks of, oh, this is just Pollyanna. Like you just pretend like everything’s great new Noonan. And to know if I’ve got really hard stuff going on in my life, part of my energetic hygiene, when I talk about clean energy, part of my energetic hygiene and keep taking care of myself is to make sure I’m getting support.

[00:09:26] I’m getting therapy. I am having a good cry every day. Like whatever it is that I need to do to make sure I’m really honoring my emotions. That actually helps me have cleaner energy coming into the something versus suppressing it and carrying it with me everywhere I go and then projecting it on people in a really . Weird way.

[00:09:44] So So that hundred percent, you know, um, I deeply believe that we have a hundred percent control over how we choose to show up with something and the energy we choose to bring to something. And sometimes that’s going to need, you know, Zach, I’m having a really hard day right now. My energy I’m coming around a four or five, six.

[00:09:59] I know I’m coming into four or five, six, I’m at choice about it. And maybe that’s okay if I come in at that level today. So it’s not about always being at a 10 and always showing up great. It is about being conscious of what am I bringing to the table and what am I doing to take care of myself so that if I am really low, I can shift it.

[00:10:15] So I feel . Healthier. 

[00:10:17] so agency, we have over ourselves and like how we decide to react to something control. We’ve got no control. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but like we’ve all just gone through something that none of us had it.

[00:10:27] We’re still going through it. we don’t have control. Like we have no control over what happens around us, what people do, other people’s attitudes, the world, like no control. We do have control over ourselves and how we decide to respond to it. 

[00:10:44] Zach White: You know, 

[00:10:44] Anese Cavanaugh: that’s, it’s really, really important.

[00:10:45] And a lot of times when people come to this work, they’ve got their feet, they got one finger pointing out and three fingers . Pointed back and they’re pointing a finger out, but, well, the world is really hard to work with or my team or my boss or my wife or my whatever. And they’re pointing their fingers out.

[00:10:59] And that’s great. Except for if I’ve got one finger pointed out, I’ve got three fingers pointed back at me, which means there is a way that I am likely complicit in some way of. At dynamic that I said, I don’t want to OK Anese so if I can really honestly get curious with myself without making myself wrong, without beating myself up about the go Ok Anese, you’re really upset about this and this and this and this relationship and this relationship.

[00:11:24] I’m the common denominator. So if I can get curious and go, all right, how am I showing up in these interactions? Oh, you know what, actually, I’m kind of bringing the energy of judgment to this. I’m bringing the energy of like, I’m super annoyed, cause I’m too busy to deal with this, but I’m in a P you know, so if I get honest about that, I know am at choice to look at well, what do I need to do to shift it?

[00:11:43] What support do I need? Um, you know, if I’m going through a really hard time, it becomes my job. Then instead of blaming everyone around me to go, okay, what support do I need right now? Life might totally be terrible. And a lot of terrible things are happening. However, I still have. Image choice around how do I prepare myself super important . Distinction.

[00:12:02] Zach White: Yeah. Thank you for that. So if I come back to this idea of impact and why it matters, then, you know, maybe someone listening is just hearing, okay. It’s how I show up. And it creates an experience for other people. Cool. Who cares? Like I just want to do great work or I just want to, you know, design this new piece of technology, get out of my way.

[00:12:22] Like, why does it matter to do this work and to have the awareness and be at choice in these areas? 

[00:12:29] Anese Cavanaugh: Well, to me, it’s two main things. One is, do you want to be happy or do you want to be miserable? So there’s one choice. Cause I don’t know about you, but walking through my life in a state of resistance and not feeling good about what’s happening, but I’m still doing good work.

[00:12:42] That, that doesn’t work for me. So do you want to be happier, miserable? And the other one is, do you want to be an invitation to people or do you want to be a command or repellent? So the way that I show up, I am either going to invite people to collaborate more with me, to, um, get on board with my ideas, to feel safe, to give me feedback.

[00:13:04] If I’m going off the cliff with something I’m trying to create, um, the way that I actually show up in that dynamic and the energy I projected my intentionality and my level of presence. That’s going to determine how much influence and connection I can have with that person. So there’s from a leadership standpoint, you know, from getting a raise, like we, you know, people, a lot of times people come to this work and they’re in a middle level position in their organization.

[00:13:29] They want to grow and they come and they’re brilliant. And they’ve got all these awesome skills. And I actually write about this in both books, but Matt, in particular contagious you, I think it was. You know, super, super brilliant, but the thing that’s getting in their way is the way that they’re showing up the energy.

[00:13:44] They’re bringing people walk away from dynamics, not trusting them, not feeling present with them. And so there’s a little, a lot of . Times that sauce, that thing that you can’t put your finger on a why you don’t understand what’s happening. Cause everything looks. A lot of time, it comes down to a person’s IEP.

[00:13:59] So the more clear you can be about your IEP, and we’re going to be intentional about that, the more likely, or to have the impact you want to have and the influence. And then on the other side, it’s just a lot more peaceful to go through. At least in my experience, a lot more peaceful to go through life, feeling clean, energetically, and kind of clear versus feeling constantly a state of struggle and resistance.

[00:14:21] And I can give you numbers too. Like if you want numbers, I can geek out on numbers, like crazy about why this is so important, but 

[00:14:25] Zach White: what’s, what’s the first number that pops into your head. 

[00:14:29] Anese Cavanaugh: oh my God. That’s so hard. Um, okay. 50% of people that quit their job. Quit their job, not because of the job they quit it because of the way the manager is showing up with them.

[00:14:41] The relationship with the . Manager, 50%,  I come. Sorry. Can I just do a couple more because I want to get on a roll, 

[00:14:44] Zach White: please. Rolling. And 

[00:14:45] Anese Cavanaugh: that’s from Gallup 52% of people who, uh, voluntarily leave their organization, leave their organization and say that their organization or their manager could have done something to prevent them from.

[00:14:56] If you drill down to it. A lot of times it is when I go in and I work with big organizations, nine times out of 10, it has to do with how are people feeling about being seen? How are they doing with giving each other feedback? All the stuff we’re talking about right now, if you look at Gallup’s numbers from 2016, they haven’t done new numbers yet.

[00:15:11] And I’m super curious to see what the new numbers are going to be. But in 2016 they found. The United States, we lost 483 billion to $605 billion a year based upon low productivity due to low engagement. Okay. Low engagement comes from people not feeling like they have autonomy, not feeling seen, not feeling cared about all of this boils down to presence.

[00:15:35] Um, and then the last two, just for fun for any of you, when you’re going in to have a conversation that matters to you, we make a decision within a 10th of a second. If we like someone trusts them and think they’re credible. We also make a decision. If we think they’re attractive and a couple of things, but like, and trust and think they’re credible.

[00:15:53] One 10th of a second, our brains, like all the quiet stuff that’s going on, subconscious, all that computes like them, trust them. Don’t like them want to hang out with them or not. So even when we got on this, what we got on this and your, your, your viewers watch this within a 10th of a second. They’re like, like her trust her, wanting to hang out with her for a bit or not.

[00:16:11] Totally fine. I have no control over that. I do have control over paying attention to what’s the energy I’m going to bring, because if I had gotten honest with you and I was like scattered and rushing around and not like I lost you guys. So the at least I have control over how intentional can I be showing up?

[00:16:30] So I’m just present with you. I don’t have to effort around it and struggle around it. It’s just being pressed. And then I can change your mind either way. So you might’ve been like, oh, like her trust her. And then you’re like, oh, I can’t stand this chick after five minutes or the other way around. And then the last thing . Is, um, they did a study at UCLA in the nineties where they looked at people’s emotions and attitudes and how they got communicated.

[00:16:53] And they found that only 7% of the impact was in the words that were being said, 93% was in our body language, our facial expressions and our tone of voice and explain experience students work for 20 years. I line up with that. There been some other studies, but I really line up with that because the intentions we bring.

[00:17:12] Really set the tone for our body language, our tone of voice and our facial expressions. So 

[00:17:18] Zach White: it’s amazing. I mean, I mean, it’s, it’s scary in a way, but it’s also really eyeopening for why this is important. And I want to connect the dot really quick. And you tell me if you agree, or maybe you take it whatever direction you want.

[00:17:31] These. One of the things I find in coaching engineers is we all know maybe either, cause we’ve been told by the world or we, we do realize from feedback at work or otherwise that we have a gap in what is typically called the soft skills. Engineers like to approach the question of improving soft skills from a skill based mindset, you know, how do you have the hard conversation?

[00:17:56] Well, teach me the five points of the crucial conversation framework, and I need to develop that skill. And what I’ve found is that. There’s no amount of soft skill development that that’s going to help you actually get the result and impact that your talking about without this IEP foundation. And to me, that’s, that’s why it’s even more important than working on skill from that intellect kind of approach that a lot of engineers take.

[00:18:22] And so do you agree with that? Or like how does that come to life? When people come and say, Hey, help our teams get better at the . Soft skills. well, 

[00:18:32] Anese Cavanaugh: well, I, well who’s so when somebody says help our team get better at the soft skills, my mouth waters a little bit, because a lot of people don’t, especially engineers, not to like stereotype, but a lot of people don’t want the soft skills.

[00:18:42] They want just the facts, like help us navigate conflict that, or give us a feedback model, give us the leadership model. Right. And before 2009, literally. So we’ve been we’ve, we’ve started, we’ve almost been doing this for 20 years, but before 2009. Companies would literally say, oh, that’s so cute.

[00:18:58] Intentions, energy presence. Oh, that’s sweet. God bless you. You must be from California. Right. And, um, they’d say we appreciate that. You think that’s so important, but we don’t have time for that. We want the skills that are going to help us communicate. So before 2009, I go, all right. And I’d kind of sneak a little bit of the IEP work and it wasn’t called IEP yet, but I was sneaking the IEP work in and then afterwards, ultimately they’d go, oh, this was different than regular leadership training.

[00:19:23] We don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re doing something different. That’s working. Um, in 2009 we had something happen where a company said, no, no IEP, just give us the stuff. So we said, okay, fine. And two months into the program. I felt like I had my arms tied because what I saw was that the company with the team, it was a leadership team.

[00:19:43] What they were really dealing with was what we’re talking about right now, the skills were great. Like they had the feedback model, et cetera, et cetera. But I went back to the company. I said, Hey, um, we either need to complete work and I’m going to refer you to somebody who’s going to really do this. Or you let me do it this way.

[00:19:57] The way my company needs to do it, because I’m now out of integrity because we’re not doing it. We flipped it around. Got the IEP work in there. Cause they said you got to do it. We’re invested. Let’s go a month later, the company came to me and said, you really let us down. You really disappointed you really let us down.

[00:20:13] And I remember that feeling like I’m . Sure you know, that, like that feeling of like, oh my God, like how? And I remember getting tears in the back of my eyes and going, I’m confused. I think the team is shy about it and they go, yeah, if you would’ve stood stronger for the IEP work, basically we would have saved a lot of time.

[00:20:30] So I had a lot of feelings about that conversation, but what I will say is the primary feeling I had walking away from that was, they were totally right. And I had not held my intentional energetic presence, strong enough to make the case for that. So in 2009, we went back and we did what I call integrity or congruency check an audit, where I looked at anywhere, where we were not fully in alignment with our body of work and how we were doing it.

[00:20:53] And we completely reorganized the company. And so that was a big. Well, we found after that was if companies didn’t want to bring the IEP work in, we just referred them out because I know how important it is when companies started letting us do it. What we found was that a feedback session that used to take six hours.

[00:21:11] Okay, because we’re going down all sorts of rabbit holes with how to do feedback sessions, like training feedback would now take an hour because if we could get the fundamentals and get them trained about, well, what’s your intention for the feedback? What’s the energy you’re bringing. What’s your presence.

[00:21:25] We got that right now. We don’t have to go down all the rabbit holes around the skill of feedback because the intention is . Clean. So there’s peace. And then I guess the last thing I would add is like, I think there’s no skill that can be done. If you are making people feel bad, being around you or you’re so burnt out that you’re not healthy and you’re feeling resentful and your health is falling apart and your relationships are falling apart.

[00:21:47] I don’t care how good your skills are. It doesn’t matter because now you’re having a negative impact on other human beings and you’re not feeling great yourself. So, um, I think that’s really important. And then from a company standpoint, I think one of the biggest things that feedback we get from companies is after we do the IEP work, they’ll say they wish they would’ve had it sooner because they’ve just spent millions of dollars on other training issues, DNI, leadership, training, conflict management, like all this stuff, but those people are doing the skills, but they’re not actually embodying the intentionality behind it and they’re not actually present and they’re still burnout.

[00:22:19] And so we’ve put that IEP work in and that’s becoming. More common. Now we’re more people are asking us to come in and do something from an IP standpoint before they even built any training on . Top of it. Um, so that 

[00:22:29] Zach White: it is so cool, but it’s, it’s really powerful. And just to mirror it back for the engineering leader, listening to this, maybe it’s the first time you’ve ever been exposed to some of these types of thought processes or what, like energy as a, as a thing.

[00:22:29] But I love this reality. You just pointed out that there is no. Developed to even the, could perfectly memorize the script, the model, master the skill, whatever that can overcome really bad intention, energy and presence. It doesn’t matter. And I mean, it’s maybe a blunt example. I had a client one time who truly expressed to me that they hated their boss.

[00:22:53] And they wanted to see their boss fail because of how they’d been treated by that person. And, and then there was a one-on-one conversation coming up and had to very bluntly tell my clients, listen, if you enter that room with an intention and energy of, I hate you and I want to see you fail, it will not matter what you say.

[00:23:13] Like there is no coaching. I can give you on what to say in a situation that will make it work in your benefit. And so. But a really bold, extreme . Example out there of what this means. 

[00:23:26] Anese Cavanaugh: Oh, I got a sack. We’re like, oh, we’re going to be, we’re going to everyone. Listen to us. We’re just, if you’re, if you’re listening and you can’t see it, we’re both like, um, the other piece of that is, so for your client, I love that you gave him that coaching your client then has to be able to find an authentic way to shift his or her state because pretending.

[00:23:38] Pretending doesn’t . Work either. Pretending might kind of work for pretending might be better than the original, but there is a way to shift that and the way to shift that, the quick cheat sheet for shifting that and to really shift your state. And I do talk about this more in the books, but the quick cheat sheet is if you can shift from, I want this person to fail, I hate them to curiosity.

[00:23:58] I wonder what’s happening here. I wonder why we keep having this conversation. I wonder what’s going on for them. I wonder why, I wonder why we have this dynamic. I wonder what it’s here’s, here’s the one that always sobers me up when I am so sure that I am just so right. And when I’m feeling really self-righteous, this is what I really need to pull in.

[00:24:15] I go, huh? I wonder what my bosses experience of me is right now. I wonder how he or she is experiencing me, this person I am so sure is such a jerk and that I am so determined to like butt heads with, how am I actually, how are they experiencing me? That one is sobering. And then the other thing to look at is can you access gratitude or any kind of appreciation for them authentically?

[00:24:45] So the gratitude might be you and Isaac are in a major. Resistance. And we’ve got major conflict going into that conversation. If I come in with all that energy, like with you, we’re going, you’re going to actually go, oh, if I got the and then we’re going to be contained, it’s all contagious. Right? Of course.

[00:25:04] So you’re going to catch my, you’re going to catch my vibe. You’re going to then turn around and give it back to me. I’m going to be like seeing he’s a jerk and then we’ve got this huge collusion going on. So instead, if before I go into that conversation, I can take a deep breath and go, what can I be grateful about Zack?

[00:25:19] And maybe I’m like nothing, but I’ll go well, you know what? I’m grateful that he’s willing to have the conversation. If I can shift. You know, the tiniest thing. I’m grateful that this conversation I’m gonna learn something in it. It’s going to make me be a better leader. So I’m gonna have to learn how to do this dynamic differently.

[00:25:36] If I can authentically find gratitude, curiosity of the state of contribution, like how can I be helpful here? If I can simply decide, you know what? I know that Zach and I are really having a hard time right now, but I really want to have a good relationship with him. Just the energy of deciding that that’s what I want changes my energy changes.

[00:25:53] my state . And when you have that conversation, it’s going to be easier authentically. 

[00:25:59] Zach White: I love, you know, don’t want to call it a hack, but this, this quick shift to say, you don’t have to go from hating them to loving them. If you can simply go from that, that really intense negative emotion to something that is curious.

[00:26:14] A neutral curiosity, a genuine curiosity that is by itself, a significant step forward to having a fruitful conversation. And, um, those listening only, you can’t see them scribbling notes like crazy. I have like 10 questions now. 

[00:26:27] Anese Cavanaugh: You want it? You want to, okay, well that’s still him. So you want to create the intention here is always to create a little bit more space.

[00:26:36] The intention is always to create a little bit more breath and space to open up the energy. So you can actually reboot and go or what’s here. And how do I, how do I want to be in this situation versus being reactive? The other thing is if you and I really have a conflict and I can’t get to a good place with it, if I can just access, you know, gratitude, we’re gonna have the conversation.

[00:26:55] I can then come in and say to you his act, I got to tell you, like, I’m really feeling tension in the relationship. I’m feeling really hurt by this thing that happened, or I’m, I’m upset about this thing that happened. Can we talk about this? So I’m not being fake. I’m not doing what I call a spiritual bypass or an override.

[00:27:13] I’m actually really being honest about this is what’s happening, but you’re going to respond to my energy if I come out strong and. You know, I, I can say that in two ways, right. I can come in and go like, you know, cheering, it’s your fault. And I have fine I’ll deal with the conflict. You’re you’re, you’re going to go resistance.

[00:27:29] And now I’ve created a resistance versus an 

[00:27:31] Zach White: invitation. I feel it right now. You’re not even actually talking to me and I feel it. 

[00:27:36] Anese Cavanaugh: I know it’s even, even pretending to do this. I always, I don’t even like to kind of live in. Well for too long. However, it is interesting for anybody listening as to start to notice tonight, when you go home your next conversation, what is your intention?

[00:27:52] What’s the energy you’re bringing and how present and start to notice. Is it creating contraction in your system, which is what you just felt from me pretending to do that? Or is it creating some expansion? And since. We want space. This space is where awareness gets amplified, which is where it twice gets amplified.

[00:28:10] And we stopped struggling with all the resistance and the misery that we create for ourselves because we get so busy. 

[00:28:16] Zach White: I would encourage the listener to watch the YouTube version of this as well. If you’re only listening because this idea of space. Uh, you know, again, the engineer in me, I’m fortunate to have done training and coaching and it makes sense, but I can remember a time when I would not have really understood what you meant, but when I see you move and posture around it, and it’s making me move too, like it’s triggering my mirror neurons and I’m like, yeah.

[00:28:39] Oh, okay. I feel it too. And then the opening of space physically, I think that’s a really useful way for someone to see. Connecting some dots between the thinking around this concept and the reality I’ll say in the arena of your life and the physical natural world, how it’s, how it will manifest and feel.

[00:28:59] It’s really, it’s really quite powerful actually. I’m, I’m inspired by, 

[00:29:04] Anese Cavanaugh: well, I noticed for doing this. So a lot of people are like, oh, this is, this doesn’t work virtually. That is not true. It actually is even more important virtually because we don’t have the luxury for me to like, reach out, tap you on the shoulder and go, does that make sense?

[00:29:15] It’s like we don’t have that physical proximity anymore right now. And so virtual, this becomes even more important. The other pieces you said, you know, in your head, this doesn’t live in your head. What we’re talking about, this information lives in your body. And when we do our training sessions, we’ll spend two days with people like really digging into this country.

[00:29:35] And a lot of times there’s a specific exercise where we’re having people really start to notice what is their energetic state and there’s questions. I will ask to put them in that state. And a lot of times people, especially if they’re engineers or scientists or whatever they want. Like, uh, any is, I don’t feel anything in my body.

[00:29:52] They’re so in their head trying to figure it out. Okay. Don’t force it. So if anybody, listen, this take the littlest thing that resonates today. The littlest thing that resonates where you’re like, huh, there may be something there. And just give yourself permission to feel into that over the next couple of weeks.

[00:30:08] Because what I find happens is trying to figure out these answers in the head doesn’t work it isn’t the body start increasing your awareness around how you feel. And your heart space and the emotion. And when you feel that contraction or you do feel some resistance or some expansion start to just notice that, and you will be in a meeting in three weeks for now and all of a sudden you’ll go, oh, I had a, I had a guy reach out to me six months after he did this work.

[00:30:35] And he goes, man, I remember a woman. I remember when we did that work six months ago. And you kept saying, well, where does this live? And where does this. I just was taking a shower the other day. And I . Realized that the, the, the energy I was feeling was anger and the anger lives here in my body. And what I realized is when I’m working with my sales team and I am communicating with them, I am leading from that energy, even though I think I’m doing all the right communication skills.

[00:30:59] It’s like, it took me six months to get. So, you know, it comes, when it comes. 

[00:31:04] Zach White: I love this. I just had a conversation with another client who was talking about how they had way too much stress in their life. They were feeling burned out and we took them down a similar line of questioning to just say, you know, tell me about the experience of that stress and burnout in your life.

[00:31:23] What, what is it like, where do you feel that? And the engineer in a lot of. Takes that question and it immediately comes back to descriptive intellectual words. Well, I’m really overwhelmed. I’m really, I have this, I have this. And so, yeah. But what does overwhelmed really look like and feel like in your life?

[00:31:40] And it took 10 minutes of conversation to kind of get to the idea of, oh, oh, what I feel is this contraction in my chest? I feel like a tightness in my neck. I feel this pain in my, in my abdomen. Finally it started to come to the surface. And once she unlocked this awareness of the body, kind of was a flood gate.

[00:32:01] She really got on a roll like, oh, okay. I do know exactly what that feels like. And so it’s. Concept of stress that you don’t want in your life. It’s this experience of the energy of stress in your life that you’re trying to get rid of. And so I’ve just, I love what you’re talking about. It’s awesome. 

[00:32:19] Anese Cavanaugh: Well, I love how you’re talking about talking with your clients because there’s the experience of stress, but often if we’re really paying attention to.

[00:32:27] To what’s happening in our body, that experiences stress often it is happening from our head and the stress is coming from the way we’re thinking about things, the stories we’re making up, the assumptions we’re making. So for example, if I’m going in to have that conversation with my boss and I’m thinking it’s going to be a hard conversation and he’s going to be hard to talk to, I’m not going to get whatever.

[00:32:46] I have now just completely created my own stress. And I’m going to now bring that into that conversation. So it is a, it’s like a Mobius strip. It’s a virtuous cycle. It never, everything is impacting the next. And the only thing you have control over is take a deep breath, sit back and just start to notice.

[00:33:04] All right, what is actually happening for me? And what do I actually want to be happening? 

[00:33:08] Zach White: is that the, if we were going to give the listener one place. They’re hearing this whole conversation. You see the importance want to make an impact? Is that the kind of exercise one to begin building a muscle around IEP is what you just described or how would you articulate start here?

[00:33:26] Yeah, 

[00:33:27] Anese Cavanaugh: I would say start with awareness. I would say, I would say, start with awareness. Start with your breath and just start noticing, um, am I feeling contraction or expand? You know, and if that doesn’t resonate, it’s like just to start noticing how you feel. And then the next step of that would be start noticing what’s your intention for a conversation.

[00:33:47] What’s your intention for, you know, for what you want to have happen. Um, then what is the energy I’m bringing to the table? And then am I actually present or am I in a million different places right now? I was going to have this conversation, which is, which is really common. Like we’re, if that’s where you’re at, if you’re going in a million places, you were in very good company because that’s where most of us live.

[00:34:07] So 

[00:34:09] Zach White: well, that’s a beautiful place land. And maybe those are the questions that we want to lead people with today, but I always finish here and then. We . Didn’t even talk about some of the things I, uh, originally thought we might, this has been so rich, so good, but great engineering. It’s like great coaching in that questions.

[00:34:29] And answers follow, and we want to be really intentional to ask great questions in our life. So for that engineer listening, who wants to be happy, they want to experience fulfillment and success. would be the question you would lead them with? Is that. The three you just listed or is there something else you might say start here in terms of a great question?

[00:34:42] Yeah,

[00:34:43] Anese Cavanaugh: would say the question is whatever you heard, whatever question you’ve heard me opposing this session, that, that, that kinda like hit you somewhere where you’re like, Ooh, like do that one. The other question I would offer that I really love is just, am I becoming more more of, or less of who I want to become in my life?

[00:34:58] Zach White: Am I 

[00:34:58] Anese Cavanaugh: becoming more or less of who I want to become in my life? And if so, how do I continue to nourish that? And if not, not a big deal. What’s the little thing I can do to shift it by how I show up. 

[00:35:13] Zach White: That’s amazing. I just want to acknowledge you as well for the fact that if all the guests on our show, nobody has ever encouraged our listeners to use their intuition around which question they heard.

[00:35:26] that that’s something to, to lean into. And I really totally appreciate that. That’s awesome. So, engineering leader, you have full permission from a niece to take whichever part of this conversation struck you and run with it. So I can’t thank you enough for your time to. I know people are going to want to get in touch with you, you know, your books and your material, like learn more about IEP.

[00:35:50] So where would you recommend people start, you know, online or otherwise to be able to get connected to your work? 

[00:35:57] Anese Cavanaugh: Oh, great. Um, go to, so there’s a couple places. One, if you just go to our sites, active choices, dot com, that’s our website. So you’re going to find a lot of stuff there. Uh, if you go to, um, IEP dot.

[00:36:10] That will give you access to a kit, like a IEP starter kit that we start with just the IEP sheet to get people activating it right away. And then there’s a, there’s a little seven part coaching series. You’re going to hear from me every couple of days in your inbox going hi, here’s something else to think about.

[00:36:27] you know, you can find me out on social media at an east cabinet. Um, I’m in a lot of like LinkedIn and then, um, Yeah, I think, think those are really good places to start again, like find me on LinkedIn that LinkedIn is a really good place to start. Um, yeah. 

[00:36:35] I am, you know, you and I were talking earlier today before we started recording about, Just whatever, whatever resonates for you. The intuition thing is really important. uh, intuition and the importance of intuition and leadership and not burning ourselves out. And I think that’s one of my core messages to people is like those red flags, those intuitive calls, those things that you feel.

[00:36:35] You got to pay attention to them. So whatever, whatever poked at you or pulled you today, like really dig into that a little bit more. Grab the book. Go find me on socials, reach out if you reach out, if you want something more, et cetera, et cetera. So thank you so much. 

[00:36:48] Zach White: Yeah. And, and listener, if, if the idea of trusting your intuition makes the hairs on your next little bit, there’s some fear there.

[00:36:55] I just really encourage you to explore that and look at it. He says work because you know that by itself is a signal. It’s an energy you want to pay attention to. Why are you. Afraid to trust your intuition and so nice. I’m going to put links to all those places in our show notes. And, and again, please engineering leaders listening, go buy a niece’s books, both of them.

[00:37:15] They’re fantastic. And I cannot encourage you enough to start looking at and applying the IEP method in your day-to-day life. It will change you. So I need to thank you again for your time today. 

[00:37:28] Anese Cavanaugh: So as fun.