Meet Leela Sinha; ze wants to transform the way you talk about Intensity. A savvy, joy-seeking, transformation-loving, Intensive Person, Leela literally wrote the book on what it means to Embrace Intensity. After realizing that ze was not “too much,” but rather exceptionally intensive, Leela made it zir mission, work, and ministry to gather up the voices and experiences of others to write zir new book You’re Not Too Much. Now, ze is here to share zir passion, wisdom, and excellent advice for all of us Excitable people to stop suppressing our authentic selves, and start living life fully.
Leela created a language that ze could use to describe zir experiences to other. Now, let zim challenge and transform your own thinking about Intensity in this week’s podcast!
- Hear how Leela was inspired to write zir book because of zir inability to describe zir own intensity.
- See how the general attitude towards intensity is turning away from a negative light to a positive light.
- Find out the ways that a strong online community fed and encouraged Leela’s ideas
- Discover the difference between an Intensive person and an Expansive person
- Join Leela and Aurora as they discuss their experiences being intensives in an expansive world.
- Learn about Leela’s Ten Point Intensive scale, and where you might fall.
- Know the importance of seeking out other Intensives
- Leela shares how being an Intensive can affect your work life, personal life, and spiritual life.
- What is the effect of the 2 point gap? Listen to find out.
- Find out if you are a repressed Intensive.
- Hear how Leela’s book, online coaching, and resources can unlock your true potential as a wildly passionate Intensive Person.
- Learn how to tailor your life in an Expansive world to your Intensive personality.
Leela’s Website: Intensives Institute
Read Leela’s Incredible book
You’re Not Too Much: Intensive Lives in an Expansive World
Reflection: On Being A Better Ally
On Being a Better Ally
At the end of my podcast interview with Leela Sinha, author of You’re Not Too Much: Intensive Lives in an Expansive World, ze said something that struck a chord and I would have loved to explore further. In light of recent political events, it has come back to my mind and I’ve been thinking about it a lot more. She said, “There are ways in which intensiveness – understanding intensiveness, helps us understand systemic racism. Because there are a lot of ways in which, over time, intensiveness has become culturally correlated with being nonwhite.”
Now, being white, I’ve come to realize that I had avoided talking about the topic of race publicly because I don’t feel qualified to speak on behalf of people of color. I actively seek out and share posts on this topic, but I almost never express my own thoughts on the matter because I’m afraid that I will say the wrong thing.
This is part of the problem isn’t it?
What I can speak to is this: partially understanding what it is like to feel you have to “tone it down” to fit societal norms, my own observations growing up in a liberal community and moving from a highly diverse Southern California neighborhood to the predominantly white Pacific Northwest.
Leela and I both grew up in the Unitarian Universalist community, a highly liberal faith. Ze was surprised when I expressed that I found the UU community to have a high percentage of intense people, when ze felt the opposite. I realized that while they appreciated a certain type of unconventionality away from the mainstream, they had their own set of social expectations that could be equally problematic if left unexamined. The focus has always been on “love and unity,” but not everyone appreciates being pushed out of their comfort zone by assertive truths.
On election day 2016, I received a copy of UU World Magazine and was drawn to this article from Bill Sinkford, the minister of the big Portland UU church on The Dream of White Innocence. He talked about his faith and hope in the liberal faith community at the beginning of the civil rights movement, and his disappointment when they pulled out of the cause when things got too uncomfortable.
It is short sided to focus only on the “love and acceptance” part without confronting the realities that got us here in the first place. As Bill says, “resistance is what love looks like in the face of hate. Resistance is what love looks like in the face of violence.”
I think it is all too easy for those of us in the “blue states” to think we are not part of the problem – it’s those other parts of the country that are so racist. I would argue though, that the most frustrated expressions I’ve heard from people of color are from those very “progressive” states. Portland, in fact, has a very sad and sordid racist history and the “veneer of political correctness with an inability to confront discussions about race directly” has been dubbed “Portland Nice”. But this “niceness” is not geographically specific, it’s prevalent in all liberal communities where kindness is only recognized when it is also “nice.”
As I’ve discussed in previous posts, “niceness” comes from a place of external expectations while “kindness” comes from a deep caring within. Insisting on “niceness” at all costs breeds either resentment, ignorance, or both.
It’s time we step out of our comfort zones and realize that there is no one acceptable way to grieve, protest, advocate, speak up or resist. For real change to happen, we have to get uncomfortable – otherwise we are just continuing the status quo.
I can’t pretend to be “enlightened” or completely “woke” myself. I don’t know what I don’t know and I can’t pretend otherwise. What I am trying to do, however, is listen, acknowledge and not minimize. We can’t be part of the solution if we are afraid to face the problem.
Leela shared a post on Facebook that was also a great reminder that when we get involved in movements, we need to follow the lead of people of color who have been leading this fight all along. I’m sharing the post below because it’s an important reminder of how we can be better allies:
From Mateo Guadalupe
“Alright, white friends. We need to talk. I’m seeing a lot of you talking about donating to ‘anti trump’ causes and huge white-led orgs like aclu and planned parenthood right now. Some of you are putting a lot of money and energy into 4-fucking-day old organizations and facebook groups started by other white people feeling compelled to ‘do something about trump.’
But the thing is, there are already brilliantly strategic, robust, multi-pronged efforts being led by those most impacted by this regime of white supremacy. People of color, especially black women & queer folks, have been leading the fight to dismantle racism and white supremacy ALL ALONG. This shit might be new to you, my blue state comrades, but this has been the lived reality for a lot of people for a long long time.
Please reconsider where you are placing your coins and energy right now. POCs already have the solutions and the strategies to win liberation. FUND THEM. INVEST IN THEM.
Give money to Black Lives Matter. Give money to black & brown lead resistance in red states, like Southerners On New Ground and SisterSong. Give money to latinxs leading the fight against deportations like Trans Queer Pueblo and Not1MoreDeportation. Fund platforms for black brilliance & critical thought like BYP100 and Echoing Ida. Support a radical funder like Third Wave Fund. This is a time for you to LISTEN to people of color, FOLLOW our lead, and INVEST in our liberation.
Take a seat, and open your wallets.”
Ep. 07 Rough Transcript
[00:00:00] And if you quote, toned it down and found yourself a place where you sort of fit as your tone down self, the odds are as you approach 40, you’re going to get sick of it. And you’re going to bust out of that box and everything that you thought you built is going to come crashing down around your ears.
[00:00:17] And you’re going to have to start over. So the last time you spend building yourself, Into a false reality. The better off you are.
[00:00:32] Welcome to the embracing intensity podcast brought to you from Quinn mountain retreat in the Columbia river Gorge. I’ll be sharing interviews with powerful, gifted, creative, and sensitive women who use their fire without getting burned or burned out and went from toning themselves down. And. Out to listening to themselves and using their intensity for creative, personal, and professional freedom of expression.
[00:00:59] My name is Aurora. Remember Holtzman after years of feeling too much, too intense, too sensitive, too emotional, too scattered, and too exhausted. I finally realized that intensity in the form of excitability is the source of my greatest power. Now, instead of beating myself up about not measuring up to my own self-imposed standards.
[00:01:21] And to help people embrace their intensity and use their fire without getting burned through events at Quinn mountain retreat, coaching and other tools that help break the stress cycle balance energy and promote confidence in your own awesomeness
[00:01:43] today’s interview is with Lila Sinha. She literally wrote the book on intense. Or should I say intensiveness her book, you’re not too much intensive lives and an expansive world explores her framework for understanding the intensive personality rather than pathologizing it. As I approach this interview, I realized how timely this idea is since I had planned to launch a year ago.
[00:02:10] I know of at least three authors who recently released books on intensity or gifted. It seems the world is ready for more approachable books on the topic. If you’d like to check those out and more relevant books, you can email@example.com page buying through that link will also go towards supporting the production of this podcast.
[00:02:33] And. Today. I am super thrilled to have Lila Sinha with us. The author of your not too much. Leila is an author. You, you minister and coach who is fascinated by pleasure, brains, trauma, and transformation. She uses tools based on neuroscience psychology. Ritual and ethics to help people understand themselves and the people around them, her book, you’re not too much intensive lives in an expansive world was published in July, 2016.
[00:03:09] She spends her spare time at the beach or cuddling with her cats. Welcome Leila.
[00:03:15] Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:03:17] So tell us a little bit more about you and what you’re intensely passionate
[00:03:22] about. Right now I’m intensely passionate about the CIF scale, that the book that I wrote and the framework that it’s based on, I am intensely passionate about transformation, about joy and about pleasure as the center of our lives.
[00:03:35] Awesome. So tell us a little bit more about your book and what inspired.
[00:03:40] Well, the truth is I was lying on my back immobilized with a back injury about two years ago. And when you have too much time to think, eventually you go from thinking about all the awesome things that are happening in your life, to all the not awesome things that have happened in your life.
[00:03:55] And as I went through the list, I realized. That everything, almost everything that had gone wrong, especially where it involved interpersonal interaction. I had involved somebody telling me that I was too much. And then I realized that my best clients and my closest friends often also got told that they were too much.
[00:04:14] And then I started thinking about this concept of too muchness and how we didn’t even have a word for it and how I couldn’t even. Think of it or conceive of it because there was no language for it. And that what language we had was all pejorative. And then I started to think about the fact that if there were people who were too much, there had to be people who were not too much.
[00:04:32] And so we ended up with this continuum and I needed names. So I picked intensive for the intense people and expensive for the not so intense people. And I put them at opposite ends of a 10 point continuum. And I started building over time. I ended up talking to a lot of people about this. I posted about it on Facebook and got 53 comments.
[00:04:52] And I posted about it again on Facebook the next day and got like 48. And so I knew I had something that was alive for people. And over the course of the conversations, I started to realize that it wasn’t. Too much, like what is too much, what does that mean anyway? But that it wasn’t even just that, that there was a whole cluster of behaviors and characteristics that went with this too muchness and that there were a group of us who all shared those characteristics and that when we were around each other, Life was sometimes a lot easier and sometimes a lot more challenging, but that the world wasn’t built for us, that the environment, the culture we were operating in was built for the people at the other end of the spectrum.
[00:05:28] And so what do we do and how do we function and how do we keep from tripping over this conflict with the culture that we’re operating in.
[00:05:36] Awesome. So tell me a little bit about your own personal brand of intensity. What does it look like for you?
[00:05:43] Well, a lot of it’s in the book. I work like, hell and I rest, like I’m dead.
[00:05:47] I do my, all my work in really big chunks. It’s very phasic. I like to make friends the same way. If I meet someone, I really like, I want to spend all my time getting to know them until I know them. And then it’s like, okay, I don’t have to talk to you every day. But if something relevant happens, I’m sure.
[00:06:02] On the phone and you’re going to be on the phone and we’re going to come and have pizza and beer or whatever the catch with that is that the other person has to also be an intensive I’m about a nine on my 10 point scale. So I’m very intensive. What I’ve found is that when there’s more than a two point gap between you and the person you’re interacting with, it can be very challenging and you have to actually deliberately bridge the gap.
[00:06:24] Two points. You can sort of skim. I’m very central. I love things that feel good and things that taste good. I’m very picky about my investment. If I’m in the wrong mood, I can’t sit in this chair to write, I have to sit in that chair to write and it matters. Like it really affects my creativity and affect everything.
[00:06:40] So I’ve learned to embrace that part of myself rather than fighting it and judging it. And that’s changed everything.
[00:06:48] So how did this intensiveness affect you growing up?
[00:06:53] Well, you know, what’s interesting is that intensive kids often show their symptoms of intensiveness, really young. There’s a gentleman named Dr.
[00:07:01] Sears. Who’s done some work with what he calls the high needs child, but I don’t even like that language because I feel like it’s. Very pejorative. It’s judgmental about the kid and I’ve had a number of parents contact me and say, you know, you’re describing my child and you’re the first person who hasn’t pathologized my child’s behavior.
[00:07:18] I actually stopped editing my book. I took a month out of the production period of my book. That’s why it was released in July instead of in June, the way I originally intend. Because I created a product for parents. They said they wanted the book. And I said, I wasn’t planning to write a book about kids.
[00:07:32] And they said, oh no, no, no, no. You have to write about a book about kids preferably tomorrow, because I have to go speak to my child’s kindergarten teacher and I need this language to do it. And I said, well, you know, a, book’s not going to have. In the next month, but you don’t have time to write, read a book anyway, do you?
[00:07:47] Because you’re the parent of an intensive child. And they said, actually, no. And I said, what can you do? And they said, five minute chunks. And like being able to use Facebook to iterate on project is an intensives dream because I don’t want to put it down. I don’t want to do studies. I don’t want to take a long time, but if I can put it out on Facebook and within 24 hours get information that will help me shape a product or a service that really serves people better.
[00:08:11] I am on it. That’s awesome. My Facebook parents all told me, Hey, we can do five minutes at a time. And so I created a product that’s meant to be consumed five minutes at a time. I, so for me growing up, my mom didn’t know she had an intensive. She didn’t know what an intensive child was. She was a student of Dr.
[00:08:29] Spock is so many parents were in the mid seventies. And so I think she was pretty taken aback. And this has taken a lot of reflection and a lot of, kind of looking back at my childhood and trying to think about what was going on. I was an intensive kid and my mom wasn’t prepared for an intensive kid any more than most parents are prepared for intensive kids and the parenting books I’ll talk about expensive kids because expensive to the majority.
[00:08:52] And so I had a lot of really intense feelings and a lot of really intense moods and a lot of really intense experiences that it was really hard to find adults who understood what was going on in my head. And as a result, I felt pretty disconnected from a lot of the adults in my life. And when I found an adult who treated me like a full human being.
[00:09:11] I glommed onto them immediately. Like it was such a relief and it was so validating and those are the adults who saved my life is the ones who treated me. Like I had a full brain and a full set of emotions and the bigness of my emotions. And my thoughts was really valid. And it. And some of those people were in my church.
[00:09:29] That’s probably why I got so attached to the church. And some of those people were outside my church. They were teachers and occasionally guidance counselors, and every so often I’d see someone. And, you know, the other thing that happened was after years and years of trying to find a space for myself and really struggling with.
[00:09:44] I lived from a lot of my middle to late childhood and early adulthood with chronic depression. And I’ve found a lot of things that have helped with that. I do not for a minute, pretend that understanding this framework will fix your depression, but it helps if you’re an intensive, it helps to know that you have a place in the world that you’re not alone.
[00:10:04] That the way your brain works is totally normal and fine. It’s just not average. And it helps to have context. It helps to have other people to know how to seek out other people who are also intensive and who will think that you’re totally awesome. Just the way you are.
[00:10:19] Yeah, definitely. I’m glad you mentioned the church.
[00:10:22] I had that same experience in the Unitarian Universalist church, myself growing up. And I feel like when I look at my son who was a total example of a high needs child from birth day one, he couldn’t nurse in public because he was too interested with what was going on. So he’s much more intensive than me, but I feel like looking at his dad and looking at myself, I adjusted much better because I had the community of accepting adults and intergenerational who celebrated differences and really found that helpful.
[00:10:53] And then when I look at his dad, I feel like he’s tried much more to conform to the expansive world. And so I definitely see where that has been a huge influence for me.
[00:11:04] Yeah, it definitely was for me.
[00:11:07] So did you ever try to tone yourself down?
[00:11:11] You know, I’m a nine, when I talk about the continuum, it’s a zero to 10 scale.
[00:11:16] And the upper end of the scale is where you tend to find the highest percentage of intensives who couldn’t hide it. And these are numbers. I am pulling out of my ass. I say this all the time. ’cause I, I want to be upfront that these are, this is I didn’t do a study. I couldn’t do a study. I’m not an academic.
[00:11:34] I don’t have access to those resources. And if somebody wants to do the study, that’s great. My experience of the world is that about 70% of the population is expensive and about 30% is intensive. And of that 30%, two thirds have tried so hard to be squished. They’ve tried so hard to act expansively that they don’t actually know their entire.
[00:11:56] And so we have 10% of the population that are intensive and have just given up on trying to hide it. And that was me. I’m too intensive, too much. And you know, I went through this period where I was reading little house on the Prairie when I was a little. And, you know, there’s Mary and Laura and Laura is the intensive and Mary’s the expansive.
[00:12:16] And I could see that Mary was quote unquote, good. And I always wanted to be good. And so I got really good at like sitting still and not talking and not having opinions. And I was really sensitive, which is one of the things that a lot of intensives are that, you know, if somebody criticizes you, you take it really deeply.
[00:12:34] And I didn’t like to be criticized because it felt really bad. So I stopped talking to people because I lived in a highly critical environment. So I manifested as both introverted and shy. I am introverted. I’m not shy. But that shyness was largely a self-protective move and I probably looked expensive, but what I was was holding my breath.
[00:12:57] So did you ever experience any physical intensity, like chronic issues or pain issues or anything like that? I’m always curious.
[00:13:06] You know, when I was a little kid, I was one of those kids that couldn’t have seams and couldn’t have tags and couldn’t have, you know, that sort of sensitivity and I’ve somewhat outgrown it.
[00:13:14] And somewhat just I’m an adult. I don’t buy things that are scratchy. I could never wear wool socks next to my skin because my feet were too sensitive. My parents couldn’t understand why I was having such trouble with wool socks, you know? So that kind of thing. Yes, absolutely. I still do. In fact, even things that are generally really soft, I’m sensitive to.
[00:13:35] If they’re not really, really soft, but really, really soft is awesome. And I will buy a piece of fabric or a piece of clothing because it feels good often, even if it’s the wrong color or the wrong shape, I believe strongly that the body and the mind are deeply connected. And so when I get a chronic cough, I asked myself what, I’m not willing to say, you know, that kind of question.
[00:13:57] Is often useful and relevant for me. But in terms of some kind of larger thing, like chronic fatigue or fibro, or no, I fortunately have not had anything like that. Yeah, it’s funny
[00:14:09] what you said about the soft thing. I just discovered there’s this one of my favorite clothing lines is actually called soft surroundings and they rate their clothes on the degree of
[00:14:21] Oh my God. I have to look them up. That sounds awesome. And you know, I discovered recently that soft stars. Do you know about soft stars there? I think they’re called testers. It’s a shoe company that mostly makes baby shoes, but also make some adult models. And they’re these like soft leather Mockus any handsome.
[00:14:42] You know about us crunchy granola as they get, but, you know, I’ll spend two hours in a shoe store, three hours in a shoe store trying on boots. If I need, you know, especially hiking boots. A number of years ago, before I went to seminary, I needed a pair of hiking boots for a camp counselor job that I had taken.
[00:14:59] And the person at REI literally brought me every pair of hiking boots in the store. And then finally he said, you know, we have a pair of hiking boots from last year that they’ve discontinued. And that turned out to be the magic pair of hiking, hiking boots. Nice.
[00:15:14] Yeah, it was funny when I got that catalog in the mail, it was from the previous owner of this house and she’s an older lady and I had had several of their things tagged on.
[00:15:23] Pinterest board. And I looked at it and went, oh, apparently I have the taste of an old lady, but they’re soft and comfy. So, you know. Yeah. That’s funny. So can you tell me about a time when you felt like your intensity got out of control?
[00:15:40] That’s an interesting question. I think intensiveness and I’m using intensiveness as a term of art to describe the whole personality cluster, as opposed to intensity specifically.
[00:15:52] I think that intensiveness. Lends itself to what we call out of control and our culture. The question is like, where are the lines between intensiveness and actual mental health issues and where the lines between intensiveness being out of control and intensiveness simply being intense and maybe more than the people around us can handle.
[00:16:16] And I think that, so this is really, this feels like a really deep nuanced question that probably would take a couple of hours of psychology to unpack. But I think the times that my intensive. Has scared me are the times when it’s intersected. I, you know, in my intro, you mentioned my interest in trauma.
[00:16:36] The times when my intensiveness has scared me at the times when it’s intersected with my trauma history, and I don’t find that it gets out of control, except when it interacts with something else. I don’t feel like I have an intensiveness problem. And that’s part of the point of my book is that intensiveness is not actually a pathology, but when it trips and I’m going to broaden a little bit and use, we, when it trips our attachment history problems or our trauma history problems or.
[00:17:10] When it intersects with other things that are sort of our stuff, intensiveness can ramp up the response and make it a lot more sharp edged and a lot higher stakes. Yeah, I definitely
[00:17:23] have experienced that for sure. Are you familiar with Dubroski is kind of the first one who coined the term over excitability, but it’s a lot of things that are pathologized, but that he sees as a sign of developmental potential high developmental potential.
[00:17:39] So he sees that intensive type personality, whether it’s intellectual, psychomotor, sensory, all of those. He sees that as a sign of high developmental potential. So not only does he not see it as a pathology, but he actually sees it as a very positive sign for future develop. That’s
[00:17:59] awesome. I have heard his name, but I have not read his stuff.
[00:18:04] Yeah. I was lucky
[00:18:04] to get my hands on one of his first books, which is actually easier to read than the ones where he tried to fit their framework because in the beginning, you know, it’s not very well organized, but it’s conversational. The S the one I started to read that was much more organized, also got much more scientificky and harder to slog through.
[00:18:23] So. Done that, but I managed to get my hands on an out of print. Copy of the original positive disintegration, I think is what it’s called. So his theory of positive disintegration, I actually mentioned this recently, I was interviewed on an ADHD podcast and I was trying to explain his theory of positive disintegration.
[00:18:41] And one of the authors that I share on my website is a, she just wrote a book on intensity and. Business Nicki Peterson, but she had this really awesome blog post about she called it Dubroski sweater and she explained the theory of positive disintegration as how we knit a sweater as we’re growing up based on all our exposure to the people around us and everything that builds our environment and develops us.
[00:19:07] But then as we go through this disintegration, we have to unravel the sweat. And then we can use the existing yarn to create something new that’s ourselves. And so that’s kind of a good summary of his theory, but he sees the intensiveness piece. What you described as intensiveness, as he would say, call over excitability or super stimulus ability is another word they use, but he sees that as a sign of high developmental potential.
[00:19:34] So it’s a lot in kind of the gifted literature and that sort of thing. So, yeah, that’s definitely. I feel like there’s a place it’s like with your book and several others coming out right now. I feel like this is really coming up as something that people are starting to see more in themselves and be more aware of.
[00:19:53] And I’m really, really excited to see. The message is getting out there. And not only is there nothing wrong with you, but there are some really amazing things about you.
[00:20:03] Yeah. It’s a set of gifts and talents and challenges, but so does everybody. Yeah,
[00:20:08] exactly. So what has helped you to harness the power of your intensity?
[00:20:13] Accepting it, seeing the work patterns, being able to articulate it and being independent in my work, I was a parish minister for four years, and now I’m a community minister, which basically means that I work for myself. And in both of those cases, the upshot of that is that I set a lot of my own schedule.
[00:20:34] And so I can decide that I’m always going to write between six and 10 or six and 11 in the morning, and I don’t have to be productive in that way. And other times of day, which is good because I can’t be, or I can decide that I’m, today’s a Workday clearly. In flow. And so I’m going to work 14, 15, 16 hours.
[00:20:53] I live alone with two cats. So, you know, I’m going to work 16 hours and basically just graze through the kitchen whenever I want it. And I’m not going to do the dishes and I’m not going to make my bed because I’m too inspired to do dishes or make beds. And then, you know, in a few days it’ll cycle out and then I’ll be annoyed that my bed’s not made my dishes aren’t done and I’ll do my dishes and make my bed, you know, having that flexibility.
[00:21:19] I think a lot of my friends are parenting children right now. And I think about how that would be different for me. If I had a kid or how that would be different for me. If I had a partner who expected things of me that I was living with or how that would be different if my life, you know, if I had a nine to five job.
[00:21:37] And I think that all of those things might make it more challenging for me to harness the power of the intensiveness, which is why I encourage, when I talk about this in the leadership and management context, I really encourage managers to know where they’ve got intensives on their team and to think really hard about.
[00:21:57] Which tasks they should assign those intensives and to be willing to give those intensives and an enormous amount of freedom in their schedule. So an expansive likes to kind of come in every day at the same time and leave at same time and know that it’s over and an intensive will come. At like two in the morning because they had an idea and work all day and into the night and maybe do that three, four or five days in a row and then need to take a week off to recover from it.
[00:22:22] And if their leader, their manager, their team lead, whatever is willing to accommodate that, then they’ll get way more productivity than if they make them come in and sit there button a chair from nine to five every single day for four weeks a month. And the same goes for volunteers in the church. You know, if you know what you’ve got, then you can assign people, things that will really allow you and them to give and get the greatest amount of gift from them.
[00:22:49] That’s something in your book that I really appreciated about that tendency to dive in and then work hard and. I like the way you expressed something about, you know, just leaving a 10 or 20% reserve. I liked that because I think so many of us who work that way feel like, oh, we need to come up with this perfect balance.
[00:23:10] We need to balance everything. And I think balancing. Is not really the goal. And so I liked the way that you express that because while we’re not ever going to be perfectly balanced, because we’re more effective when we’re really deeply diving into something, but to just keep in the back of your head, to reserve that 10, 20% so that you’re not completely crashed at the end, I liked the way you express.
[00:23:34] Yeah, don’t burn the 10%. One of my favorite prominent intensives is Daniella port. I haven’t talked to her, she hasn’t taken my assessment, but if she’s not an intensive, I’ll eat my hat. And she actually wrote a whole essay, which you can find if you Google hard enough about how balance, isn’t the thing, how it’s okay to run like hell and then stop.
[00:23:53] And that’s how she produces. And that’s what works best for her. And it, you know, people ask me if you change over time. And I think sometimes people shift a little bit, but I think your essential nature stays the same. And if you come to a place, there’s a meme going around Facebook right now, which kind of makes me nuts.
[00:24:06] That says you come to a place in your life. You know, when you essentially the implications, when you grow up, you come to a place in your life where you realize you don’t want intensity of any kind. You just want a cup of tea. And that infuriates me because it supports the notion. That somehow intensiveness is immature and that when you grow up and understand the way the world really is, you’re going to give up intensiveness.
[00:24:28] It’s like, no, no, no, no, you don’t give up intensity. You don’t give up intensiveness. If you’ve done that, it’s because you’ve gotten beaten up so hard by the world that you’re exhausted and that does happen, but it’s not because it’s a more mature approach to life.
[00:24:44] Yeah, no, I totally, the words maturity is exactly for me, what happened going into my twenties, as I thought of that as being more mature, Tony, myself down.
[00:24:54] And it’s funny how many people that I’ve interviewed said that exact same thing as they went into their twenties, they really toned themselves down to try to fit in. And then as they started getting older, they started to realize that these were strengths and now they’re using them in a positive way.
[00:25:10] Yeah. A lot of people do that. I kind of couldn’t cause I can’t, cause I’m not that person. And you know, the result of not being able to do that in your twenties is often that you have a lot more instability for a variety of reasons. I’m in a place in my life where. I haven’t been able to save a lot of money.
[00:25:27] I haven’t been able to kind of build up a lot of security. And is that tricky for me to deal with? Yeah, it is what I wish that on someone else. No, not really. But it in part is because our culture is not built for intensives. And so if you’re an intensive and you don’t find yourself in an intensive, supportive environment in your twenties, you spend a lot of time, whether you’re trying to turn yourself down or not, you spend a lot of time in an environment that’s not intensive friendly, that doesn’t use your gifts for the best.
[00:25:58] And then you have to find your way out of it. And it’s often a very long and winding road because you’ve absorbed so much of the judgment of the.
[00:26:05] Yeah, sure. And I think either way, whether it’s, you’re able to tone it down, or you’re not, you find yourself in a place of finding where you fit in the world and where your people are.
[00:26:18] And if you quote, toned it down and found yourself a place where you sort of fit as your tone down. So. The odds are I’m 41. The odds are that as you approach 40, you’re going to get sick of it. And you’re going to bust out of that box and everything that you built is going to come crashing down around your ears and you’re going to have to start over.
[00:26:37] So the last time you spend building yourself into a false reality, the better.
[00:26:43] Yeah, exactly. And that sort of happened to me through divorce and then deciding that I couldn’t stay in the school system forever. Cause that is really the opposite of what an intensive thrives on. I mean, I thought I needed it because I also have the add side of me and so deadlines and expectations help keep me in line, but it’s definitely not a thriving environment for sure.
[00:27:07] Yeah. And you know, it’s interesting, a lot of people ask me about the intersection between intensiveness and add, and I’m not a doctor and I don’t do diagnoses and whatever works for you is absolutely the right thing for you. But I do like to ask the question. So what if you didn’t need to be kept in line?
[00:27:23] I’m discovering that as in the entrepreneur part, trying to find that balance between pushing and letting things happen naturally
[00:27:32] well, between pushing and letting things happen naturally. Knowing that, you know, by the end of the year, I need to be, have done X, Y, Z, P, and Q, and making yourself do X on Monday, Y on Tuesday, you know, P and Q on Thursday.
[00:27:47] Like there’s an enormous amount of flexibility in entrepreneurial. An enormous amount of room for vision, which is one of the things that intensives Excel at, but there’s that Thoreau quote, right? Something about you’ve built your castles in the air. Excellent. That’s where they belong. Now you must put foundations under them.
[00:28:07] You know, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. There’s nothing wrong with having castles in the air. We just need each other and environment and expensive. We really like intensives and expenses need each other so that we can have both the castles in the air and the founder. So that we can both light the fires and tend them intensives, light fires, and then we walk away.
[00:28:27] Yeah. And the expense has come along behind us and go, what about this fire? You lit and we’re like, it’s lit. It’s done. And then they’re like, gee, if we get to like put more wood in it, like how’s this gonna work? And we’re like, yeah, it’s done. It’s not really interesting anymore. And the expansive is like, so you don’t want it.
[00:28:46] We’re like, man, like, can I have it? Sure. If you’re going to feed it, but like, don’t ask me to feed it. And they’re like, starting it’s the hard part. All I have to do is feed it. Yeah. All you have to do is feed it. Oh, well, okay. Right. So that’s the symbiosis. When I tell someone that story and I get to the end of it and they say, well, why should I have to tend your fire?
[00:29:07] Why should I have to clean up your mess? I’m like, oh, you’re squished intensive. You’re not an expensive.
[00:29:13] Yeah, totally. So can you think of the best advice that you’ve received as an intensive?
[00:29:20] That’s an interesting question. As some version of trust yourself, follow your heart, take a chance, take a leap. So
[00:29:30] what positive habits have helped you to use your intensity and channel it in a positive direction?
[00:29:37] Paying attention to my. Number one positive habit. That means when it sleepy, I sleep when it wants steak and potatoes for breakfast, wheat, steak and potatoes for breakfast. When I need to be alone, I asked to be alone. When I need to be with people. I have an enormous and wonderful, amazing network of people that supports me and having at least phone company, I live in a fairly remote area.
[00:30:03] I’m working on changing the. Right now, I live in a fairly remote area. I don’t have a lot of friends locally. I have a lot of friends not locally. And that brings me probably to the second really helpful habit, which is clear, graceful communication, which I don’t do it always a hundred percent. Everybody does, but I’ve spent probably the better part of 15 or 20 years doing personal growth work, self-reflective work and learning communication tools.
[00:30:31] And as an intensive and inexpensive world, knowing how to ask for what you need in a clear and grounded way and knowing when somebody else putting stuff on you and when it’s actually your stuff absolutely critical to healthy functioning.
[00:30:47] So, do you have any, a particular book that has had a lot of influence on you?
[00:30:53] Lots of books. I’m sure.
[00:30:56] I went to seminary and then I stopped reading for like two years. Cause I had read so much and my brain couldn’t take it anymore. Wow. So many books. There’s a book actually. It’s right here. So this was lent to me by some friends of mine in Western Massachusetts, and I should give it back to them.
[00:31:10] At some point it’s called miracle motors, a PERT near true story by Peggy Sanger Morrison. And it’s the story of a Quaker lay minister who gets obsessed with motorcycles. And I won’t tell you more than that. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that happens in there. It’s extensively about a motorcycle trip, but of course it’s not really about a motorcycle.
[00:31:31] Very cool. I’ll have to check that out. So you said that you’re a community minister and a coach, and obviously you have your book. So that’s obvious in terms of how you help others use their own fire through the book, but through more directly, how do you help others to use their own fire through your coaching?
[00:31:49] Well, the coaching and consulting is my ministry. And the beauty of having written the book is that it gives me a place to start with people. The number one thing I do is give them permission. It’s amazing how many people feel like it’s not okay to be themselves, or it’s not okay to do what they believed like in their gut.
[00:32:06] They believed to be the right thing to do. I encourage people by helping them see a plan going forward. So when people coach with me, typically what we do is a two hour session and we start out with whatever the presenting problem is, whatever they think is up for them. And then there’s usually a problem that’s under that problem, like a self perception issue, or a belief about the world that we can shift.
[00:32:30] And then the third stage of the process is that we come up with. Concrete, like, what are you going to do next? What are you going to do when you get off the call? What are you going to do in the next week? What are you going to do in the next month? And there are so many people who already know kind of what they need to do if they’re going to do this thing, but they need permission to do it.
[00:32:46] And then they need the steps. They need to like put it in their calendar. Okay. Next week I’m taking an hour and a half and I’m going to do that. So sometimes it’s that simple. And sometimes it’s much more about exploring what they really, really want because so many of us have buried what we really, really want, because we don’t think it’s acceptable or it doesn’t fit in with what we think our lives are going to be.
[00:33:06] And when you sit someone down and you say all the restrictions are off, what do you really, really want? Most, it’s amazing what people already know about them. And there’s witnessing, right? I mean, ministry is largely about witnessing, about being the person that sees and hears the dream and believes in it.
[00:33:23] So is there anything else that you would like to share with the embracing intensity audience? I
[00:33:30] think what I would like people to know is how powerful understanding your intensiveness is and how many places it impacts it impact your interpersonal and your interpersonal. And your leadership environments, all of those things are so important.
[00:33:49] And there are ways in which understanding intensiveness and I, I realize we’re coming to the end of our time here, and this is probably a whole other podcast, but there are ways in which understanding intensiveness helps us understand systemic racism, because there are a lot of ways in which over time intensiveness has become culturally correlated with being nonwhite.
[00:34:10] Yeah, I’m actually, I’m glad you said that because I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I grew up in San Diego where as a white person, I was in the minority and then I moved up to the Pacific Northwest where there’s a distinct lack of diversity. And so I actually have to go seek it out. Oftentimes. And one of my best friends, she’s Hispanic and black, and she just started being involved in the black parent initiative.
[00:34:37] So she’s been a lot more in Portland area. So she’s been a lot more really bringing my awareness to it a lot more again, and it’s kind of come back around. In fact, I just listening to a podcast called the black sheep podcast. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with them, but it’s, it’s about the experience of women of color who are also entrepreneurs.
[00:34:58] So I got halfway through the podcast. I was listening to on my way home today, but I see that too. Using churches and example I have a friend who’s on the autism spectrum and he’ll, he’ll kind of call out in sort of a gospel way in church, in the very quiet, very mostly, you know? Yeah. And I think about the difference church wise, you know, in that setting, especially in a big church, downtown Portland is very quiet, very, so it really stands out.
[00:35:30] Yeah. That’s an interesting dynamic too. Well,
[00:35:33] and the interesting thing about it is that if we can start to see, and this is something that’s part of my, the direction I’m taking my business is that if we can start to see intensiveness as a set of characteristics, then we can separate it both from race, but also from this concept of mature civilized professionals.
[00:35:56] And once we can say, oh, that’s not actually immature behavior. That’s not actually unprofessional behavior. It’s simply intensive behavior. Then we can give people a nice concrete list of behaviors to check their assumptions against before they make, say hiring or promotion decisions. So there’s a lot of really interesting interplay between the leadership aspect of this framework and that racism, that historical racism, systemic racism implications of it.
[00:36:24] So that’s the whole third section of. Yeah.
[00:36:27] Oh, well, and that’s the part I haven’t gotten to yet. So I’m excited to read that and anything more that comes out, if you have any posts or anything about it, be sure to let me know. I love to share that stuff.
[00:36:38] I do, actually, all of my new thinking on this subject is going into the Patrion.
[00:36:43] So you’re not too much.com, which is the book website has how to buy the book. It has an assessment, it has a bunch of videos. It has some audio files, including a sermon that I did on the. And so the infographics are there. So there’s a lot of resource at that site for this particular set of things. And then everything that I’m coming up with, it’s kind of new and edgy and maybe a little bit unformed, a little bit raw is going into the patron, which is at patrion.com/lila S so for as little as a dollar, an audio file, you can sign up as a subscriber.
[00:37:19] And then every time I send out an audio. And I record a 10 to 20 minute audio. It goes out to my subscribers on Patrion. Oh, nice.
[00:37:28] I’ll have to check that out. I’m not familiar with that. So, but I listen to a lot of audio lately.
[00:37:33] Yeah. Patrion is a fantastic crowdfunding site for artists and creatives and people are producing ongoing content of various kinds.
[00:37:42] So it’s sort of like Kickstarter only. You sign up as a subscriber and people charge either by the item or by the month, depending on how they produce, because I’m an intensive I produce in batches. So I charged by the item because I don’t want you paying for a month where I produce nothing. So when I produce then you pay.
[00:38:01] But when I don’t produce, you don’t have to pay.
[00:38:03] Yeah. Awesome. I’ll definitely check. Well, I’m so happy. I got to talk to you today cause I’ve been really wanting to explore more your concept of intensives and how that fits into the whole framework. I think I actually did the checklist, but I don’t actually remember where I fell on there.
[00:38:23] I’d probably be kind of my guest. I guess here, like a six, six. That’s kinda what I was thinking too. Exactly. That’s funny.
[00:38:31] You know, people in the middle are often the least certain about their score and I do offer, you know, I coached by the hour. And so, although I’m moving toward a more packaged based coaching, but I will retain a little bit of hourly work.
[00:38:45] And some of that is, if you really want to know what your number is, if you really want to know where you fall, the best way to find out is actually to call me and talk to me. And if we talk for an hour, I’ll be able to tell you.
[00:38:55] Yeah, that’s funny. We both had the same gas. So is there anything else? I know you shared your website information, I guess, where people can get more information on your Patrion on your website, on your Facebook.
[00:39:08] Do you have any other social media, Twitter, Instagram.
[00:39:12] I am Leila Sinha on Twitter. L E L a S I N H a. And I do have a new website. This is the very first time I’m saying it out loud, but I’m pretty sure that by the time this goes live, The website will be live. It’s intensives central.com. Oh, awesome. And that is the site.
[00:39:28] That’s really going to talk about my coaching and my consulting and my speaking and my workshop. The kinds of things that I can do to take you as an individual or you as your organization deeper, because that’s really, you know, the book just scrapes the surface, the book just lays it out. But if you really want to apply it in your context, or if you’ve got a family conflict or if you’ve got a leadership situation, or if you’re a founder of a startup, and you’re starting to wonder what the character of your company is going to be, as it moves into its fullness and out of the startup phase is, you know, startups are almost always intensive.
[00:40:04] Intensive organizations led by intensive people. But when you come out of the startup phase, you could choose to become an expensive organization. You could choose to stay in that intensive mode and that’s going to affect your hiring. It’s going to affect your structure. It’s going to affect your benefits package.
[00:40:19] It’s going to affect who you hire, it’s gonna affect everything. So, you know, I’m really excited about all the ways that this can be applied and I wanted to make it clear that that was available. So that website is just coming out and I’m really excited to have that.
[00:40:34] Very cool. And we’ll have all those links in our show notes.
[00:40:38] Thank you so much. I cannot wait to share this looking for ways to embrace your own intensity. Join our Facebook community, the league of excitable women, where you’ll meet a growing group of other like-minded women. I get what it’s like to be highly excitable and are committed to creating a supportive community.
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