Stress and Resilience with Dat Tran

resilience stress thinkydoers podcast Dec 04, 2023

The long-term stress sustained during and since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on our collective wellbeing. The American Psychological Association’s annual “Stress in America” report this year shared that “APA psychologists widely agreed there is mounting evidence that our society is experiencing the psychological impacts of a collective trauma.”  

In our personal and professional lives – especially for those of us who possess an “overthinky” brain -- we’re experiencing high levels of stress, overwhelm, and burnout. To help us understand these issues (and what we can do to resolve them), we’re joined by Dat Tran, an inspiring leadership coach and speaker (and fellow Thinkydoer). After more than a decade in the consulting and global strategy world, Dat discovered that the path to realizing his purpose focuses on inclusion and resilience. Today, he empowers leaders and organizations to reach their peak potential with well-being as a central focus. Since taking the stage for the first time in 2022, he has delivered over 50 keynotes and workshops, reaching thousands of people at leading companies and organizations worldwide. In this episode, Dat offers insight into the relationship between stress and resilience, provides us with a practical framework for managing stress, and shares some easy-to-understand examples to help us understand the risks of burying or processing stress without releasing it. To transform how you manage stress in your everyday life, become more resilient, and propel yourself toward higher performance and wellness, tune in today.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Insight into Dat’s vision and the role of inclusively and resiliency in his practice.
  • His experience of stress and burnout on the path to becoming a life coach.
  • Ways that neurodivergent people may excel at simplifying complex information.
  • An understanding of the relationship between stress and resilience.
  • What Gabor Maté teaches us about trauma and healing.
  • Bury, release, process: three options for managing stress.
  • Surprisingly simple ways to release stress mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  • Why there is no “perfect” way to release; get creative!
  • Risks of processing stress without release, particularly for over-thinkers.
  • The significance of play, sleep, passion, and community.
  • How to intentionally design your life to release and process stress.
  • Dat’s advice for knowing when and how to speak and show up.


“When we experience stress, and we're able to release it, process it, and really understand it, what happens then is, one, we heal the stress, [and] two, we become more resilient.” — Dat Tran [09:27]

“The key word for me is safety. Releasing [stress] allows us to safely be present with ourselves, with our minds, and with other people.” — Dat Tran [16:22]

“Learning how to integrate [stress management] into our day-to-day [life] can help us be a light that teaches and models for other people how to live a healthy lifestyle by intentionally releasing and processing.” — Dat Tran [33:44]

“The road to leadership is not the person who says the most, but the person who can walk into a room and guide everyone else's thoughts, programs, activities, structures.” — Dat Tran [35:25]

When we bury stress, we sweep it under the rug, we minimize it, we ignore it, we fight it, or we run away from it. The reality is when we sweep things under the rug in our own home, the home doesn't get better. It just gets dirtier. Then we start to cough. We start to feel uncomfortable. When we invite other people into our home, they feel uncomfortable as well.”  0:12:11

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Dat Purpose

Dat Tran on LinkedIn

Gabor Maté

Sara Lobkovich

Sara Lobkovich on Instagram

Sara Lobkovich Email

Sara Lobkovich on X

Red Currant Collective

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Red Currant Collective on Instagram




Episode 14 Full Transcript:


[0:00:06] SL: Welcome to the Thinkydoers Podcast. Thinkydoers are those of us drawn to deep work, where thinking is working. But we don't stop there. We’re compelled to move the work from insight to idea through the messy middle to find courage and confidence to put our thoughts into action. I'm Sara Lobkovich and I'm a Thinkydoer. I'm here to help others find more satisfaction, less frustration, less friction, and more flow in our work. My mission is to help change makers like you transform our workplaces and world. Let's get started.




[0:00:47] SL: This podcast has been dedicated to OKRs up until now, but we'll definitely still be incorporating OKRs into our content. That's never going to go away. We're also branching out into adjacent areas of interest for Thinkydoers. Think motivation science, cognitive science, conflict resolution, high performance and sports science, and of course, organizational behavior.


My goal is to help those of us deep thinkers and busy-brained people compelled to implement our visions, feel less alone, and build stronger toolkits for increasing our effectiveness and impact in our workplaces and in a world that might not always be designed for our success. Stick around if you're strategically wired in a world of fast tactics. If you're introverted, we welcome extroverts, too, but we really cater to introverts here. If you're neurodivergent, you're in good company here.


Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Dat Tran, founder of Dat Purpose and professional coach focusing on purpose, inclusion, and resiliency. I invited Dat to speak with us today after hearing part of his workshop on stress. I myself have lived with chronic, symptomatic, medical stress. Dat’s simple, actionable approach to stress, I just found it really helpful, I thought y'all would really appreciate it. We'll get into those details during the interview. First, I just want to welcome you to Thinkydoers and have you introduce yourself.


[0:02:29] DT: After 13 years of transforming organizations through diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as through technologies, I recently decided to leave that industry to go out and transform the world by empowering leaders, employee groups, and organizations towards their peak potential with well-being and inclusivity. The vision that I hope to achieve is to go out and help people live with more purpose, to find out how to do it in an inclusive way that invites allies and champions and advocacy into their life so that they can go live that purpose, and to find the resiliency so that they can overcome any headwind and challenges that come their way.


I also identify as someone who is neurodiverse, having to learn how to navigate my own mind over the years. I would like to believe, gained a certain level of mastery over it. Most recently, one of the things that I've been really thinking about is stress management. I've come to learn that I've actually had really good stress management skills over the years. Breaking it down and trying to understand my own lived experiences, I was able to come up with a framework that I've been giving talks on that I really hope will go transform the world, especially in this post-pandemic time.


[0:03:48] SL: The conventional approaches to how to handle stress can be really overwhelming for people who are experiencing it. Before we dive in, we will get to those actionable practices, I'd really love to hear just a little bit about your journey and how you became so passionate about helping people and leaders build resilience and manage stress in their lives.


[0:04:15] DT: I think early on in my career, I always knew that I would end my career as a life coach. Honestly, I never really knew what that meant. What I really knew was that I really loved serving and helping people. Throughout my career, I was a mentor. I was a guide. I was constantly putting people first. In the pandemic, I think it was 2020, in the fall of the pandemic, I realized that I hit burnout. I really didn't know my purpose or what direction I was going anymore.


I remember deciding that enough was enough. I went and I meditated every day for a few weeks. Find harmony with my mind. I read a lot and spent every day with my nieces,nephews and family, and woke up one day feeling a greater sense of purpose. Although, I really didn't know what it was. One thing led to another, and some folks came to me and they said, “Hey, Dat. I think you'd be a really amazing life coach.”

Last year in January, I decided to take that leap of faith and make that investment to learn what it meant to truly be a certified and professional coach. On day one of the training, I realized that was it. This is it. This is the rest of my life. Through this training course, I personally saw myself transform, day in and day out. To me, before and after coaching was completely different. Before coaching, I felt purposeful, but I didn't have clarity, or resilience, or balance, or inclusion, so how could I live that purpose?


After coaching, I felt a strong connection to my own purpose and found how to do it inclusively, I gained the resilience to become unstoppable on this path. I started helping other people do the same. I saw people transform from a life that they never thought was possible to a life where they have no more limits to their future, to their potential. This included professionals that were early and straight out of college, and also professionals who were 25 years into the workforce, being able to unlock a new side of themselves.


I started giving talks. I started giving presentations. I started engaging and shining my life onto the world. One thing led to another. I delivered 50 talks. Then that led me to leaving the corporate world and leaving Microsoft to start doing this work full-time. We have so much wisdom out there. We have so much knowledge. As someone who likes to overthink, one of the challenges that I see is that I intake this information, but I have no idea what to do with it. I think the way that my brain works and loves work is I love to make wisdom accessible. I like to take wisdom that feels really complex, knowledge that feels really complex, that doesn't really make sense as it is, and transform it into a very basic, simple process so that it can be accessed by the people who really need it, without overcomplicating it.


People that may normally overthink can take it and not overthink and use it to change their lives. That's how I got to where I am today.


[0:07:09] SL: You said something in there that really sparked my – this is fascinating, because you and I operate very differently. What I also feel is that I feel compelled to make things simpler for people. To take what's difficult and then figure out how to make it easy. It's one of the things, I think, neurodivergent brains are sometimes really good at because we don't have the same heuristics and mental shortcuts as other brains do. It's really cool to hear what I picked up in your work and what I appreciate so much about it is that special skill-set of taking the complex and making it simple.


[0:07:52] DT: Oftentimes, when I think about how my brain works as someone that identifies with ADHD is that it's jumbled. There's so much information and none of it makes sense to me. When I can take that information and then transform it from being jumbled to something that makes sense is when I can truly package it and put it away and give it rest in my brain. That's such an amazing feeling because that gives my brain and myself passion, purpose, and almost a positive relationship with the thoughts that I have.


[0:08:28] SL: Frameworks. I'm not the original source of this. I know someone else said it first, but frameworks are my love language. It's that distillation, what is so complex to me, being able to distill it down and make it simpler for someone else and more accessible for someone else is my drive. It's that distillation is just so needed. It is really challenging to put together a toolkit for managing stress when you are experiencing stress.


I want to get into the material of your approach. Tell us first to begin with, what's the relationship between stress and resilience?


[0:09:12] DT: Yeah. When I think about stress, I think of it as a wound. I think of it as a shock to the body. If you think about a wound that you may develop as a child, as an adult, you get injured, you heal from that injury and then you become stronger. That is resilience. When we experience stress and we're able to release it, process it, and really understand it, what happens then is, one, we heal the stress, two, we become more resilient and stronger from the stress. Then two, we have clarity on how we can navigate it next time it comes up. Resiliency is our ability to overcome stress that comes our way, to tackle it again when it comes next time, and to always get back up when new stress happens and learning how to do that.


[0:10:02] SL: Yeah, it's a delicate balance between we shouldn't have to suffer to become what we can be. We don't glorify trauma. We don't highlight trauma as necessary. For those of us who have experienced trauma, what we can yield with work is that resilience that you're talking about. It's not that people should have to suffer to get there. Folks like you and me who have suffered and who have developed these toolkits then can share them with everybody as potentially valuable and helpful.


[0:10:38] DT: Yeah, Sara, what I want to build on top of that is this framework by Gabor Maté. Gabor Maté is an amazing, amazing writer and not really in this space. How he describes trauma is that trauma is not the wound, or event that happened to you. It's the wound that is left over from that event that we have not yet overcome or healed. I think folks like ourselves who have gone through that suffering and have gone back to do that healing, to overcome it, can now take our own wisdom, our own experience and share it to the world, which we're doing right now. I'm so excited to do more of. Thank you for bringing in those thoughts around trauma, around insights, and about moving forward.


[0:11:27] SL: Yeah. You bet. It gave me goosebumps when you said healing, because I think that is such a part of it. My other life is in sports. In professional sports, we know we need a healthy amount of stress to perform at our best. It's not that stress is bad. It's that unhealthy stress is hard on our systems and hard on our performance. What really stood out to me is when you talked about the simple approach that you coach people through, who are experiencing stress. Tell us a little bit more about practical application for folks who are struggling with stress and struggling with what to do with their stress.


[0:12:11] DT:The way that I think about stress is that we all handle stress in three ways, consciously or unconsciously. The first way that we handle stress is we bury it. When we bury stress, we sweep it under the rug, we minimize it, we ignore it, we fight it, or we run away from it. The reality is when we sweep things under the rug in our own home, the home doesn't get better. It just gets dirtier. Then we start to cough. We start to feel uncomfortable. When we invite other people into our home, they feel uncomfortable as well.


In addition to burying, we can release, and releasing stress is really about taking the garbage out and taking what is unnecessary and allowing us to feel more free, to feel more light, to feel more clean. Then the third is to process. Processing stress is about healing that stress, so that we can come more resilient and finding clarity. Really, the three-part framework is bury, release, and process. When I say bury, it's not intended to trigger anyone, or cause any uncomfortable feelings, but really use as an example. If it's all right, I want to share a story that just showcases what happens when we bury stress, or –


[0:13:24] SL: For sure.


[0:13:25] DT: – we don't deal with it. The biggest awakening moment in my life when it came to stress was probably a few years ago. I decided to go spend time with a friend. I stayed with them for the entire week, and then we spent every evening together watching movies, cooking dinner, going out. I thought we were having an amazing time. One day, they came to me and they said, “Dat, I don't think this is working out.” I said, “What do you mean?” They said to me, “I feel like you're physically here, but mentally and emotionally you're somewhere else. All I can do is feel your stress.”


It was such an eye-opener for me because what I realized at that time was that I was carrying all of the stress from work, burying it, which made it so that I wasn't able to be present with myself, or with them. We all have those moments where we're so overwhelmed by stress that we can't be present. These moments where we're around other people who are so stressed out, that we don't want to be around them, because they can't be present. That's what I think about when I think about the impacts of burying. So that, instead of burying, we can go out, release, and process.


[0:14:32] SL: Well, we'll loop back to that idea of the thinking and release. That's something I really want to get into, because I know it's going to apply for our listeners. Before we do, you talk about three simple things that people can do to release stress. I'd love to hear a little bit more about those.


[0:14:51] DT: When stress happens to us, what ends up happening is that there's more energy, there's more additions to our mental, emotional and physical health. It can feel like a burden. It can feel really heavy at times when we have that stress. Instead of holding on to it, what we can do is we can release it. There are three ways that we can release stress. The first way is to mental release. The second, emotional, and the third, physical.


Mental release can range from a variety of different things. We can read, we can listen to music, we can journal, we can do arts and crafts. Emotional release is about crying. It's about letting out the emotions. It's about venting. Maybe it's about going by yourself, driving and screaming at the top of your lungs, that you can just let out that energy that you don't need emotionally. Physical release is about letting it out physically. We can do that by going for a walk, doing yoga, or playing sports. My favorite way to release is running. Whenever I feel a lot of stress, I go for a run. By the end of that run, my stress levels have decreased significantly.


We can think of release as taking stress that feels overwhelming and releasing it down to the point where it feels manageable, where we feel safe to show up, where we feel safe to not need to release the stress onto other people. The key word for me is safety. Releasing allows us to safely be present with ourselves, with our minds, and with other people.


[0:16:32] SL: I don't think I've ever thought of stress as energy before. I am never going to be able to unsee that now because we require energy to do everything that we do. Our world revolves around energy. I love that I have a visceral understanding now to think about stress, we’re thinking about it as energy. That's really helpful.


[0:16:58] DT: Yeah. What I loved about what you said there around thinking of it as energy is that energy is just energy. Energy is something that we can gain and something that we can remove. Energy that we don't need that stays in us for too long becomes murky, weighs us down, impacts our performance, and impacts our thinking.


[0:17:15] SL: One of the things that stood out to me when I listened to the workshop that you gave is I am also someone who releases stress by running, but I am currently in a body that is not able to run. I've had to develop other tools for releasing stress. Just yesterday, I actually did my first seated weight workout, because that's what my body can do right now. Just feeling that release, I didn't realize how much I missed it, because my body is limited right now. Instead of then letting that spiraling down of energy from my body not being 100% dictate my behavior, doing a seated weight workout, I felt like a million dollars.


I think it's really important when we think about that physical element of release that looks different for everyone. There isn't a right or wrong way to have a physical release. Most of us can get creative about how we can achieve a physical release and then have that beneficial aspect to our energy, instead of that downward spiral.


[0:18:29] DT: Yeah. What I love so much about what you said is there's no perfect release. There's no perfect way and there shouldn't be only one way. The reality is, is that when we have stress, we need to release it. How we release it is up to us. In some situations, we require a mental release. Some situations require an emotional release. Some situations require physical release. It's really about understanding what type of release activities are best for us in the moment. What our bodies, emotions, and mind are capable of and using that activity and having a healthy range of activities that we can access at any point to help us with that release.


[0:19:10] SL: When you talk about stress management strategies, one of the things that you talk about is when we process without release. That leapt out to me when I thought about our listeners here because we are self-identified over-thinkers and might be over-processors. I think about you sitting on the sofa next to your friend watching Netflix. I know what the inside of your brain probably looked like. It's processing at a million miles a minute and it never stops. What are the risks of that? Then, what are the risks of not releasing when we are one of those folks who is wired for processing?


[0:19:56] DT: When we think about processing, we can think about it as finding clarity. It's really about looking at ourselves and our thoughts and our mind in a mirror having a conversation with it and trying to organize it. One example that I like to think about is that we can think of our mind as a maze. Every single time we have a new thought, we're adding to that maze. We add, and we add, and we add more and the maze gets bigger and bigger and bigger.


When stress happens, the maze shakes, and it moves around. It also creates this layer of fog in the maze that doesn't allow us to see clearly. Releasing is the act of clearing up that fog, so that we can see that maze. Cleaning up the maze and processing is our ability to move from the beginning to the end of that maze and maybe move it around so that progression becomes linear instead of confusing and all around.


When we try to process without releasing first, it's like walking in a dark maze where we can't see around and we get lost and we get frustrated. The risk of processing without releasing is that it gets us overwhelmed too quickly. We end up giving up and we process the wrong things. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we can just go and take a five-minute walk, listen to music for five minutes. The next thing you know, half of what we're trying to process magically dissipates.


[0:21:26] SL: This is something I won't be able to unsee is the thought of processing without release is one of the triggers for overwhelm. It's just so simple, and so powerful to think about that way. For me, I think about it as changing the channel. When I'm overthinking, I want to go from hyper-focus into a more creative, or flow mindset. For me, it's walking. I just think about it as it's changing the channel. Sometimes we have to make a physical change in order to reset our circuits for better thinking.


You also made the gift of talking about how your brain works and how it is inside. When you were talking about, thinking about a brain as a maze, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. My brain is not that organized inside. My brain is messy, sticky notes all over a blackboard.” It's really, it's just fascinating to me also to listen to people talk about what their experiences of their brains are. I just love to hear a little bit more about how you experience your brain and then how you organize your brain to do the work that you do.


[0:22:40] DT: Yeah. Can I get your permission to use the sticky notes as an example?


[0:22:45] SL: Of course.


[0:22:46] DT: I love that you shared about how your brain works in sticky notes. If we use that as an example on this, this framework of bury, release, and process, you might think that your brain at any moment creates a thousand sticky notes. Just a thousand different thoughts goes on that board and you look at it and you think, “Wow, that's a lot of thoughts.” Burying it is saying, “Oh, I'm going to come back to it later.” The next thing you know, you come back and nothing makes sense anymore, because it's been too long.


If we try to process and connect all the dots to these thousand sticky notes, we get overwhelmed and then we walk away. Releasing is the act of just taking a step aside, going for a walk, going for a run, doing yoga, playing, or being creative and coming back. 75% of those sticky notes have just naturally fallen off on their own without us doing any work to look at it.


Then processing is the act of taking the 25% that is left, connecting them together and then turning it down from 250 random sticky notes to maybe 10 that just powerfully resonate that we can now share with other people. That is how I think so many of our brains work, whether it's sticky notes, whether it's a maze, is that when we live every single day, we get more and more and more information. Growing up, I used to think that information was power. I used to think that reading and learning was power, it would give me an advantage in life.


What I came to realize is that it's not information that's important, it's insights. My definition of insights is in looking within and having a sight of yourself within. I define insights as taking information and giving it internal meaning. Processing is taking all of these signals and giving it meaning to ourselves, so that we can remember it and pass it along to others. I think how our brains, so many of us have been curious, we're always looking for more signals, for more information, but then we don't know what to do with this information.


It requires us to release the information that's not necessary to us and process the information that is so that we can become more resilient, more knowledgeable, more wise, and more of an elder that can now take this information and share it with the world so that we can all learn from it.


[0:25:22] SL: I think I'm going to have to write you a check for a coaching session after this. I really admire how simple and distilled your work has become. I marvel at how you achieve that. I don't know how you do it. Now hearing that description, what I don't do is let the extra sticky notes fall away, while I'm releasing.


[0:25:49] DT: That’s so powerful.


[0:25:51] SL: I have all the sticky notes, and I go for my walk, and I'm thinking about all the sticky notes, or if I'm not thinking about them, I'm doing whatever I'm doing, and I'm still background processing, but it's all the sticky notes. Then I come back and it's all the sticky notes. It's really insightful to think about physically, maybe I don't come back to the same board with all the sticky notes. Maybe I pull out a fresh sheet of paper and see which ones hung on the wall after my walk, and have that experience of the ones falling away that we don't need to hang on to.


[0:26:30] DT: By intentionally releasing and intentionally giving our mind a break to some other activity, the space remains the same in terms of how much space we have. With the sticky notes falling off, we have more space within that to become more creative, to design, to play around, instead of trying to add and fit and fit more sticky notes in there.


[0:26:51] SL: I appreciate hearing another Thinky person talk about play as a flow state and have recently become energetically aware that hyper-focus for me is not flow. Hyper-focus is alien abduction, time loss, like lack of time awareness. I'm an oldest, and I've always been a serious brainy oldest. Play is not something that comes naturally to me. That distinction of including play, even for those of us who are Thinky, is one of the things that helps us find flow and find the difference between that hyper-focus state and that flow state. Thank you for bringing up play. We all have the capacity for play and for finding the play, just like the movement and the other forms of release that work for us.


[0:27:50] DT: That's a good segue to, actually, where I'm hoping to take us next. Upon reflecting on my own life, I thought, gosh, what are the most powerful forms of release and process? I actually believe that the most powerful forms of release and process are four different ways. One, it's sleep. Sleep is super important to us, because when we sleep, our mind, body, and emotions process on their own. That allows us to have a long-term and short-term memory, and also feel a greater sense of relaxation the next day.


Additionally, it's play and passion. When we are playing, our stress magically just disappears. When children are playing, the stress disappears and goes away. They don't become more resilient necessarily, but they don't show up with stress. Also, passion, doing things that we really love. I think you can do art, you can paint, you can do creativity. When you put your hand on that canvas, or when you dance, your stress just magically melts away. Sometimes you can process through that passion.


Then, finally, community. Not just any community, but a community hat helps you release and process to them. When we used to go into the office, our work tribe shared our passions around work. We would be able to release and process through them. I think that all three of those things are things that most of us have probably lost sight of since the pandemic. Inviting more play, inviting more passion, and surrounding ourselves with a community that shares our passion and our purpose can help us process.


As an introvert, the reality is, I don't really like being around people. Or maybe I do. What I realized is that actually, I don't like being around people that don't share my passion and purpose. When I'm with someone that shares my passion, purpose, and play, I feel like I become an extrovert. That to me is a clear distinction about how I – and when I turn into an extrovert versus an introvert, and the key relation to that is play and purpose and passion.


[0:29:58] SL: But making time to get together physically, or virtually with people who feel affirming. I don't have to mask. I can behave from the inside out with authenticity. Then that's what feels so rewarding. I feel lucky I had that through the pandemic, through my work and my activities. I know a lot of people didn't and grew increasingly isolated. I hope folks hear your message that even for those of us introverts who really thrived at home, it is still important to find that connection through a means that works for you.


All right, so we're getting close to our time, and I want to get nitty-gritty. How do you use this framework in your daily life? How would this be applied?


[0:30:54] DT: One of the big things that has hit me is our daily lives before the pandemic and afterwards is completely different. I think before the pandemic, we all had so much time to release and process without realizing it. For most of us, it was the commute. The commute to work, we release and process home stress. By the time we get to work, we can show up, we can release and process work stress through the hallway conversations, through the connections, through the lunches, the socials, and then we release and process our work stress on the commute home. By the time we got home, we could be present and show up for our loved ones.


In the pandemic, what would happen is we would get up out of bed, we would make breakfast, and we would hop on our chair and go straight to work. Without work, we don't have that human connection. Many of us have lost that human connection, actually. When we get off of work, we simply turn our chair around and then we go straight to the evening. What's happening now is that since life has no longer been designed for us and we've lost touch with that release and process, we have to design our life to be intentional about release and process.


One way that we can use it is at the very end of the day, if our loved ones, our children, our friends, our family come to us and say, “Hey, Sara. I really want to spend time with you.” The work that has been really hard. Instead of saying, “I feel really overwhelmed. I can't do it right now,” we can say, “I care for you, and I want to spend time with you. I need about 15 minutes to release and process, which will allow me to be more present with you.”


In the middle of a fight, let's say, the fight is getting really heated and you're starting to feel overwhelmed because you're processing at a million miles an hour, you can say, “Hey, can we take a pause really quick? Because I'm feeling really overwhelmed. I need to go take about a 15-minute walk, or maybe a five-minute walk, so I can go release and process and come back so that we can have a healthy conversation going forward. I may need to release and process again, but let's keep doing it, so that we can move forward.”


At work, instead of having a four-hour back-to-back meeting, you can break an hour in and say, “Hey, how about we take a 15-minute break and do a breakout exercise, so everyone can release and process, and then come back and share our findings to build in, release and process.” Then, another example here is in one-on-one conversations, whether it's at work or at home, if you have an action you need to take before the meeting say, “Hey, Sara. I noticed there's a lot going on. Is there anything you want to share before we jump into business?” Because if we don't do that, that barrier, that stress can overtake, but giving them that five minutes can allow you to move it forward.


Then finally, I think what's so important about this is that as parents, as aunts, uncles, as family members, our children and next generation model our behavior. We need to learn how to release and process, so that we can teach and pass on good skills to the next generation. Otherwise, if we bury, our children and everyone else buries with us. Learning how to integrate this into our day-to-day can help us be that light that teaches and models for other people how to live a healthy lifestyle by intentionally releasing and processing.


[0:33:55] SL: So important. I hope listeners are inspired to try some experiments, especially in release for our listeners and finding the ways to release that work for them. I have one last question for you. Is there one learning, or piece of advice that you learn through suffering that you'd like to share to make the path a little easier for others that follow behind you?


[0:34:25] DT: One learning that I want to share is no when and how to speak and show up. I think some of the biggest mistakes in my career have been when I had an idea and I went and I shared it without release and process, which ended up overwhelming other people, or it came out too early because I hadn't really thought through it yet.


One of the superpowers that I was able to develop over the years is to be able to, and as a leader at Microsoft, is to be able to come into a meeting room, instantly release and process, and then share with people, “Hey, this is what I've heard. Would anyone like to add on to that?” Because that allowed me to, one, gently process my own thoughts and give a space for other people to process and share without overwhelming them. The guidance is to learn how to release and learn how to process, so that instead of pushing out quantity of thoughts, you're sharing quality of thoughts that can help move you and everyone else along.


The road to leadership is not the person who says the most, but the person that can walk into a room and guide everyone else's thoughts, programs, activities, structures. We do that by sharing well-quality, processed thoughts.


[0:35:43] SL: That's so true, and such a wonderful place to end our conversation, Dat. Thank you so much. Is there anything you'd like to share as far as how folks who are interested in your work can find you?


[0:35:57] DT: Yeah. I would love to connect more. My purpose in life is to selflessly change the world to others, to light and elevate every world that we touch. If anything that was talked about today resonates with you, I would love to have a conversation, feel free to reach out. Or check out my website, Thank you so much. Thank you, Sara, for giving me this opportunity and platform to make wisdom accessible and share these thoughts with the world.


[0:36:29] SL: I have a feeling this won't be the last time that the Thinkydoers are going to hear from you.

[0:36:35] DT: Awesome. Me too.


[0:36:36] SL: Yeah. Thank you for making the time. It's been a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks again, Dat.


[0:36:42] DT: Yeah. Thanks, Sara.




[0:36:44] SL: All right, friends. That's it for today. Thank you for joining and listening. I really can't wait to hear from you about what in this episode resonated, where you got stuck or confused. Remember, that's always on me, not you. I would love to hear your feedback. Also, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter at Or we have a master waitlist at If you want to receive the one email that includes everything that's about to launch around here, you can hear about everything happening all at once before the general public.


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