LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership


Conflict at home or in the workplace arises when there is a lack of inclusivity. A safe environment turns unsafe when people aren’t being seen, heard, or acknowledged. That is why, as a leader, you need to listen, acknowledge, paraphrase, and inquire. Once you can do all of that, you’ll be able to create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone has a seat at the table. Join Alicia Couri as she talks to certified high-performance coach, international speaker, #1 Best-Selling Author, and cultural inclusivity trainer, Eva Medilek. Listen to Eva’s story of why you need to prioritize the people you love over your work. Discover the different relationship types people have. Find out how you can be an inclusive leader with her LAPI framework. Start creating a safe environment at home and at work today!

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Inclusive Leadership With Eva Medilek

Leading To Understand

During our interview, Eva Medilek was so thoughtful, transparent and deep, and she got personal. She shared her framework for active listening, her own personal story of being a driven leader and how it negatively impacted her marriage. We also went into DENI, creating psychological safety and an inclusive environment. This was jam-packed, so read to the end. You are going to enjoy it.

On our show now is Eva Medilek. Welcome. Let me tell you about Eva. She is an amazing woman and she’s so open and honest. Let me give you her bio really quick. Eva Medilek is a certified high-performance coach, international speaker, number one best-selling author and cultural inclusivity trainer. We are going to talk about all of that.

She has worked with men and women in the areas of personal development, leadership, inclusive intelligence, and mastering habits for success. Eva is a radio talk show host on VoiceAmerica’s influencer channel. Her show What’s Important Now: Making Time for What Matters Most, brings to light hot topics and guests that focus on important matters facing us now.

Being a leader in this world demands more than leadership has demanded in the past. What had worked before is no longer working now, at least not at all the level it once had. It’s time for that next level in your leadership. It takes courage to tell the world what you are about and how you’re thinking. Doing it more consistently will build confidence within yourself and in your communities.

I agree with that. Taking bold and courageous action, you’ll develop resiliency in taking on major tasks and challenges that will bring more influence and impact to your leadership. Welcome, Eva. There is so much to unpack here. Every time someone reads my bio to me, I’m like, “Who is that person?” We are going to get deep. We are going to go into some stuff, but we are also going to have some fun at the end of this. Are you ready?

Yes, ma’am. Let’s do it.

I want to ask because you had this real estate career, you were building your real estate empire, and I want to ask what happened to transition you from real estate to coaching? There’s a deep story behind that and I want to tell the readers. I’m not trying to get all up in her business. There’s a lesson in here that I want people to pay attention to. Share with us why did you take that turn in your career?

There was a commercial that used to air when I was in college and it was a perfume commercial. It had this woman come out in three different outfits. The first one was a business suit with money. In the second one, she had a frying pan, and in the third outfit, she came out in a ball gown. The jingle went and it was a catchy jingle.

“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you are a man because I’m a woman.” The tagline was the 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman. We were expected to work 24 hours a day, work ourselves to death, but at least will smell good as we work ourselves to death. Those subliminal messages, especially that women get, are that we have to be it all and do it all to have it all.

Look effortless doing this.

Yes. Still be the wife, mom, or the good life partner. When I was building my entrepreneurial real estate business, I was still working my day job. My profession was as a dental hygienist. I was a dental hygienist since I was nineteen years old. Doing that by day, working the real estate whenever I had a spare moment and cooking, shopping, and laundry. All of it.

At one point, my health started to break down. I was always exhausted, tired and frustrated, and my communication with my husband started to get a little salty. We were impatient with each other. Snapping at each other because I was working myself to death. I was burnt out, overwhelmed, exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically. I couldn’t even stay awake to watch TV or Netflix and chill. None of it happened. One day I remember looking through his phone for some photos of one of our real estate projects. That’s when I discovered my husband was falling in love with someone else.

At that moment, I realized that everything I had been working for, you are building an empire for your family, for your legacy so that you can do fun things with the people in your life who are important to you. I knew I could lose it all. I was in danger of losing it all because I had prioritized work and success without prioritizing the very people I wanted to work and be successful for. I realized that I shared the responsibility for his infidelity. I didn’t go into the victims.

If you prioritize work and success over the people you want to be successful for, you'll lose them. Click To Tweet

Let’s pause on that for a moment because that is so huge. There is his actions, but he didn’t get there on his own. That’s missed a lot. People go immediately into blame. They go immediately into accusations without recognizing, “What was my role in this situation?” That’s huge and you said some big things too. You were working and trying to persevere. There are so many leaders are overwhelmed with the workload.

Everything that’s coming at them, everything that they have to do, and feeling this, I have to do it. I have to be the one. I have to be there, and what is falling by the wayside? At what cost? Are you at home? Are you snippy with your kids and spouse or significant other? Are you short-tempered? Are you completely exhausted?

Before we got on, I said, “I wanted to get into the personal side a little bit because we bring our whole cells to work and we take our whole cells home,” and each one affects the other. People talk about balance and all this stuff, but it’s not thinking about balance. It’s thinking about who am I being in this moment at work and who I am taking home to my family that’s supposed to be so important to me. That’s why I wanted you to share that, but you took radical responsibility.

Who am I being as I’m building? What I realized was my family. I was putting so much of myself into building my legacy and that need for generational wealth that my family was getting what was left over of me and there wasn’t much left at the end of the day. How you do one thing is how you do everything, like you said.

Both of us had our come to Jesus moment. It’s, “Are we going to take this breakdown and turn it into a breakthrough or will it lead to a breakup?” That was the scary part. We didn’t know what would happen, but we committed to doing everything we could to focus on the relationship that we both desired and deserved. Not on the person, and that was the shift for me. Our commitment was to the relationship, not to the relationship with this man.

It’s because people are human. We make mistakes and we get disappointed when our expectations aren’t met. However, when you are both working to have a relationship that is open, honest, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, or whatever it is. You have that common goal. This is how I want to feel and be in a relationship and that’s what we focused on.

How did you handle the infidelity? As you said, you took responsibility, but there must be a wealth of emotions that you had to either contain or reframe. How were you able to take responsibility and manage your own emotions or feeling of betrayal?

It felt like a punch in the gut. I thought I was going to pass out, but here’s the thing that I know about my husband. If you had told me that my husband would cheat on me or I would grow a third eye, I would be buying ma extra makeup for my third eye. I know him as a human being to be one of the most integrous people. My first thought honestly was, “What did you do to have a man of such high integrity think that this was his only option?”

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive Leadership: Even the most honest man you know can be dishonest if you don’t spend enough time with them. What did you do to have a man with such high integrity cheat on you?


I swear that was my first thought. My second thought was this is going to be a great story to tell. There was a range of emotions back to what you were saying. I was hurt and I was scared. I was scared because he’s my second husband. It took a lot for me to even entertain the fact to get getting married again, but I looked at how I was being. Do you ever say to yourself, “As soon as I make a certain amount of money and the business gets here, then we can work on it? I will then eat better, work out, and then we can work on our marriage.” We have time eventually. Eventually, it came as a punch in the gut because I thought we had time. I know there are problems.

Once we get through this hump with the business, we’ll go on that vacation, do this, or talk more.

I always like to say that my husband’s infidelity saved our marriage because I got to look at me deeply and I don’t want any of your readers to think that he got off the hook because he didn’t.

He had to have his own responsibility for his own actions. Take those consequences too. I’m not going to belabor this point because there’s so much more juicy stuff we want to get to. When you said this is his only option, what did I do for this man of such high integrity that this was his only option? His only escape.

The thing about infidelity, sometimes people always say, “You are a dog. You are being a man,” and all these things, but there is something wrong in most cases. Not all cases. There are those who do it for the sake of doing it as fun. In those cases where someone’s struggling and then there’s someone else that understands the struggle that they are going through. It’s not like they decide. There’s a struggle over there too, but yes. He had to also have a real eye-opening moment of, “What am I doing? I do love this woman. How can we make this work?

It could have been drugs. He could have turned to drugs or alcohol. It could have been anything. I looked at it as we were both hurting in the relationship, but we were hurting separately, not together. Would I have been as upset if he had become an alcoholic, drug addict, or abusive? There are so many different paths. This was the path of infidelity for him to get what was missing that I wasn’t fulfilling.

There’s a parable in the Bible that talks about the rich man when he came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to get into heaven, and Jesus said to give up everything that you have and follow me. I heard a minister once describe his riches as the thing that was important to him. That was the thing that he knew would impact that man the most.

He came to Jesus. He says, “Yes. I obey the commandments. I do this. I do that.” He was saying all the things that he was doing. He said, “Give up all your wealth.” The infidelity was the thing that would have shifted or impacted you. As you said, would it have impacted you that much, whether it was drugs, alcohol, or something else? Sometimes the very thing we need to slap us into reality is what we face. We can’t turn a blind eye to it. We need to face it and take responsibility for our part in it anyway.

I will tie a bow around that it would be easier for me to forgive him if it was alcoholism rather than infidelity? We have got to look at it that way, too, because people think infidelity is the ultimate betrayal and that’s it, but there are so many forms that you can be betrayed. I looked at it like, “This man was hurting so much and I’m hurting this much.” I got into coaching after that through our journey of healing and creating a better relationship than we had.

Did you then work with someone for that?

Yes. We worked with a therapist at first, and then we worked with coaches. Coaching is powerful. I will put it out there.

One thing my husband said to me as we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and getting to the other side, he’s like, “You’ve got to help more people the way you’ve helped me because of what you did for me and how you stood for me to the best parts of me, you get to do this for other people.” The first thing I said to him was, “You know I’m going to have to share the story. I can’t hide the fact that this happened for us and you’ve got to be okay with me sharing it.” When you notice as I share it, I don’t share it to throw him under the bus. I share it in the way how my behavior was a contributing factor to that breakdown in our marriage.

That’s what led you to coaching. That whole journey led you to coaching and some of the powerful work that you are doing. I applaud you for that. Working with leaders because you see the whole person. You see not the person that’s showing up at work every day, but the person that’s also going home to help bring balance or help bring perspective into that person’s life so that they are showing up for themselves and for the things that are important.

I love that you shared all the little nuggets of the signs and the symptoms. If you missed any of them, go back and listen again so you can pick them out because if you are experiencing any of those things, it’s time to reach out to someone. Reach out to a coach, therapist, or someone and say, “I may be struggling with something and I need some help.” There’s another story about not getting into coaching but how you ended up in high-performance coaching because there’s a difference. There’s the coaching and now you are looking at helping people take it to that next level. Why high performance?

I started out coaching people in real estate investing because we were so successful, and then I realized that a lot of people were getting the knowledge and not taking action, and there were a lot of fears behind that. I went more into life coaching, and then after the incident with my husband, I focused on relationship coaching.

High-performance coaching. I was trained by Brendon Burchard. He wrote the book High Performance Habits. One of my coaches had us read that book. It’s so landed and resonated with me about how we can set ourselves up to win at home, at work, our community, and it’s all about the little habits. If you look at it this way, if you’ve ever seen a NASCAR race or the Indy 500, you notice that those cars are racing at dangerously high speeds, trying to finish the race. Win it, hopefully, without crashing and burning. That’s high achieving and high achieving is not high performing, but these are high-performance vehicles.

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership

High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way

I remember when I would see the lead car pull over and stop for a pit stop, my first thought would be, “Aren’t other people going to pass you up? Why are you stopping now? You are going to lose.” I didn’t see that taking a pit stop was necessary so the car could continue to race at its highest performance without breaking down. Before the tires go flat, engine cracks, spark plugs, or whatever. I don’t know cars. My point is in high performance, imagine most high-achieving people and I was too. That was my breakdown. I was always racing, continuing to go and I never stopped for a pit stop until I broke down and had to because my health was failing. My relationship was in break down. I’m blowing up.

Time to bring the tow truck on the track.

We were crashing and burning. High performance looks at the pit stops or high-performance habits that you need to incorporate into your life and business so that you are operating on your highest and best self in every area of your life. It’s because how you do one thing is how you do everything.

You need to incorporate high-performance habits in your life so you can operate at your best in every area of your life. Click To Tweet

One of the books I read that I loved too was Atomic Habits. Talking about those minute habits that you do to get to that too. I got to put that on my list the High Performance Habits.

When the invitation came to apply to be certified in that high level of coaching because Brendon Burchard coached Oprah, Usher, and Olympic athletes, and I was like, “I want to be a world-class coach too. I don’t want to be a regular old coach who comes to you and says, ‘What’s going on? What are we talking about?’” These are strategic habits that you create because we support what we create. We never fully are enrolled in what someone else tells us we should be doing and shoulding on us. You should do this, you should do that. “I know,” and you go on your own.

I had one of those situations.

Was somebody shoulding on you or you shoulding on yourself?

They were shoulding on me.

You know how you feel when like, “Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Bye now. Who asked you?” The power of coaching is that it’s a creative process that helps people find what brings them to their best and highest performance level and how do you incorporate that into their daily habits so that they have as much energy mentally, emotionally, and physically at the end of the day. You then start it out. Your family is getting like, “What’s up? What are we going to do now? What’s for dinner? How can I help?” All this. Instead of like me. I used to be like, “I got to sit down. Can you give me a drink?” Then I’m snoring on the couch.

You are done for the day. I will admit that I do work a lot and I am in the building process. I know that there are things that need to be done. I also do my best for my kids, as long as I’m not in an interview like this. Even if I’m on a Zoom call and they walk in. I acknowledge them and I try to take the time throughout the day.

I have a home office and I do work from home, and they are home. I take the time to go into their rooms. What are you doing? How are you doing? What’s going on? To connect and stay connected with them. I can be at the end of the night completely zonked, but I make sure I check in with them. We can always do more. I tell them, “If you need anything, get me before this hour in the evening because after that the brain is done.”

Imagine if you could set yourself up throughout the day so that your brain is not done. That is powerful and I never knew that was possible. I was like, “There’s no way this is going to work.”

I have experienced that where it’s like you are energized and not burned out by the time you get to bed. It’s like flopping in. I have both those days where it’s you are managing your energy throughout the day, managing your time throughout the day, and being excited both with what you are doing and giving everybody the best of you.

That’s what I love about high performance because it’s not high achieving, but it’s consistency. Consistency of we can call them habits and pit stops. They take literally 2 to 5 minutes. That’s how easy it is. Have you ever seen that YouTube video of a pit stop in 1978 on a racetrack compared to a pit stop now? In 1978, it was literally 60 seconds for a pit stop, and it felt like forever. I think the video was 2018. It was fifteen seconds because it was a team that changed all the tires. They do something with it and they were back out on the track literally in eight seconds. It was unbelievable.

High performance does not mean high achieving; it means consistency. Click To Tweet

They have changed the bolts. It’s not like six bolts that you are on Zoom and redoing. It’s one tire change and you are done.

It’s way more efficient now and we can bring that into our lives as well.

That’s the benefit of high-performance coaching. It brings efficiency into what you are doing. You talked about relationship, and you said that there are five relationship styles. Could you break those down for us, the five relationship styles? Let me ask that question. I will get to my secondary question.

Relationship styles are the habits, patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that we bring from our early life experiences into our adult lives that can damage our sabotage of who we want to be and the relationships we want to have, how we relate because it’s not an intimate relationship.

Relationship is everything. Being with your pets. What’s your relationship?

My pet. I had to lock her out. My point is there are five distinct styles and I created an acronym out of the word style, but the study is based on the work done by Milan and Kay Yerkovich wrote a book called How We Love. I want to give them props for the framework. If you take the word STYLE, the first STYLE is Seeks to please. The second is Tries to control. The Y is yo-yos back and forth. More of a vacillating style. L is Looking to accept blame and E Evades emotions and likes to avoid the evader, I call it. We all have those invaders in our lives. We don’t want to deal with it. They don’t cry. They don’t want to see you cry. Can we move on?

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive Leadership: The five relationship styles are based on the world style. So they are seeking to please, trying to control, yo-yos back and forth, looking to accept blame, and evading emotions.


One of the foundations that I do with my clients is I have them take the relationship style assessment quiz that you can get on to see what your style is, how it developed, and how it shows up now. How it developed from your early life experience from the household you grew up in. Did you have over-critical parents? If you got a B on a test, why wasn’t it an A? That creates a certain style in us to be those high achievers, always working for that next level and never learning how to have fun.

Men experience a lot with the evader. Boys don’t cry. Suck it up. Be a man. Stuff those emotions. You don’t need to feel them. Let’s move on. Moms do this as well if somebody has a boo-boo. “You are okay. Stop crying. It’s okay.” We stop the emotion and want to heal it immediately, which sometimes creates a barrier. The first thing I do with my clients is learn what their style is so that my coaching can be tailored with that style in mind.

That’s so important. Understand where they are right now. It’s funny that you say parents say, “Stop crying.” I always say this about my kids. I would tell them even if they are crying like they didn’t want to do something and they are crying not to do, I’m like, “You can cry. You can continue to cry but cry and do.” You can cry, but let’s keep it up, then.

It’s a lot both ends. It’s not an either/or.

It’s not either/or. We are doing both. You don’t want to go somewhere. We have to leave somewhere. You don’t want to leave. You are having fun and you are crying because you don’t want to leave. You can continue to cry, but we are still leaving. I’m having these kids walking behind me bawling. I allowed them to express their emotion.

When you think of somebody my age who grew up being raised by Depression-era parents and their parents grew up with a certain suck it up, tough it out things, that gets passed down through generations. Each generation gets more enlightened and has more tools in the toolbox to raise our children more openly. It’s that early life experience that we had to role model behavior after how we saw our parents relate to each other.

My parents. They never were affectionate. We never saw that. From a young age, I was determined not to have that same level. My children are going to see me be affectionate with their dad and now their stepdad and to the point where they go, “Stop. You guys nasty.” That’s okay, but I want you to see that married couples need to express love to each other, which is what it looks like. Love, affection, and kindness. It evolves over time, but a lot of us have some of these barriers and blocks about even showing or expressing emotion because we were taught from an early age not to do that.

It’s either inappropriate. PDA is inappropriate. Some of it still isn’t.

DE is it. Displays of emotion. How public you get with it.

Let’s transition into the workplace because we are not going to be displaying emotions in the workroom or in the workplace in that way. We will talk about relationships in the workplace and how the assessment can still help someone not in your personal relationship but still understanding who you are in the work environment. Let’s talk about that for a minute.

When you think about what triggers you, what could somebody say, do, or have a look that reminds you of the time your dad shut you down, your mom did this, somebody in school did XYZ, or a teacher or whatever. It’s about knowing the underlying feelings connected to the triggers. Conflict happens in the workplace when we don’t feel seen, heard, acknowledged, or fully listened to.

I remember trying to talk to my dad and he always had a newspaper up in front of his face. It was never any eye contact. Never any of that feeling that he was present in what I was saying. It was always something to disconnect. Imagine me working in an environment where I go to talk to my manager or my supervisor about something and they are on their emails and checking their text, and I still feel that same level of hurt that I felt as a twelve-year-old talking to my father. It’s triggering and it may be because of certain behaviors. It may cause me to shut down, back off, and not try, or it may have certain behaviors attached to that. That’s why it’s important to know yourself before you can grow.

It's important to know yourself before you can grow. Click To Tweet

That is my mantra. You got to know yourself. There are so many people who are resistant to knowing themselves truly, digging deep. It’s scary, but there’s so much beauty in it and there’s so much freedom in it. Even the things in your dark closet that you don’t want to look there. You don’t even want to see what’s behind there. There are some powerful opportunities there for you when you unpack it and understand why it’s there.

Yes, and it’s the awareness. It’s like, “What is that thread from your past still impacting and damaging your present and future?” Once you recognize it, it’s like, “This reminded me of the feeling I had and now I get to shift. How can I show up as the best version of myself? What questions do I need to ask?” I’m a fan of asking open-ended questions. I would make sure in that manager meeting like, “Would there be a better time for us to have this discussion when you can be fully present to what I’m saying? Is now the right time?” I do the same thing in my marriage. “I need to talk to you about something. When would be a good time to do that so that we are fully present because I still get that same trigger?”

When I’m talking to my husband and a text comes in and he leaves my gaze to see what the text is and then he starts answering it, that’s when I want to jump down his throat and strangle him. I realize that I’m in this work. He’s not. We did the work that we needed to do, but he will tell you in a minute, coaching, that’s your world. God bless you. You do you, and so it’s up to me to love what is. To accept what is and not want him to be different, but ask for what I need in the time is the key, instead of me getting resentful because we did our love languages test. Instead of me being resentful, ask for what I need. At work, if you are not getting what you need, how do you powerfully advocate for yourself?

One of the assessments that I do with my clients is a cognitive assessment, which helps them understand what their natural instincts are for doing. A lot of misunderstandings can also come from not the affect the feelings, but also that cognitive part because you have certain conative that have to be met as well.

If that person has a different cognitive need, it can create conflict when you don’t even realize that the conflict is there. There are so many layers and levels of understanding yourself and someone else that you are probably unaware of. Seek out people like Eva and myself who use these tools to get deeper. Getting into some of the things that you are not even aware of can help bring a lot of clarity to some of the behaviors and some of the things happening in the office at home.

I can’t tell you how many. This probably happens to you too. How many times have you been surprised with these a-ha moments that’s like, “That’s why this is happening?” Now with that awareness, you are at conscious choice to make different decisions instead of operating from that or reacting out of the subconscious. “They did this so I’m not even going in there anymore because you won’t even look up at me.”

I’m doing some corporate work with some leaders at Fidelity and we set up this listening framework. The company that I work with call it LRA, but in my own personal work, I call it LAPI. You want to Listen, Acknowledge, Paraphrase, and Inquire. There are specific skills that are built into that. I can’t tell you how many people are in the corporate setting, “I did this framework with my fourteen-year-old daughter and it worked great. I tried it at home with my spouse or my partner.”

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive Leadership: If you want to create a safe and inclusive environment in your own home or in the workplace, you have to listen, acknowledge, paraphrase, and inquire.


It’s not only when I’m working with managers and associates in a corporate setting, but these are transferable skills that inhale your communication and understanding of each other’s differences, and that’s how we create psychologically safe, inclusive environments is by following some of these frameworks. We are bringing some of our history that hasn’t been that great into who we are being at work and at home. Developing the skills to create safe, inclusive environments in your own home, corporate, and work is very powerful.

It’s so important because you are segueing into another question that I wanted to talk about, which is about biases and diversity, equity, and inclusion because you do some of that work too. The thing is, we all have biases. We all want to be included. When we start calling things like, “We have this inclusion mandate for DENI.”

We can no longer do this, but we are doing this. You’ve excluded a whole bunch of other people when you’ve made that shift. Inclusion is not about taking one thing away from one group and giving it to another, so they feel like they belong, but it’s about hearing and understanding everybody and allowing everybody to have a place. I feel like some things are getting skewed In the workplace.

You want that place to feel safe. Giving me, you or whoever a seat at the table is not the same as giving us a voice at the table and how our voices are being received and heard. We may be in the room, but how are you treating us when we are in the room. How are the conversations creating psychological safety for historically minoritized or oppressed individuals? It is about safety.

We may be there, but we may not feel safe bringing our best, authentic selves or our way of being into that same room. Like, “Thank you for letting us in, but we still don’t feel fully seen, heard, and acknowledged now that we are in the room.” That’s the nuance in the next step or next level of what an inclusive environment means and feels like to the people you intend to include.

Let me ask you something a little controversial too. Is it about making sure that everyone has the right pronouns and the right wording and language? Is it deeper than that?

I think it’s the feeling. You show respect using the right pronouns. You show respect by learning how to pronounce someone who doesn’t have an Anglo-Saxon name properly without making them feel weird, odd, or different because their parents gave them the name of an African king or queen. It’s about how does that person feel. Are they feeling safe?

How can I create psychological safety? I’m not talking about safety for your physical health. That’s a whole nother thing, but psychologically safe to bring their culture to wear their hajib. We all have names that are pronounced differently. What is the effort? Like we all have different hair. Psychological safety without making those people feel different.

Anyone feels different because it’s getting to know the person and getting to know who they are on this. That brings them in more than telling everybody, “This person’s coming in. Make sure you say this and that and the other, and you don’t say this and that and the other.” It’s about creating a culture and an environment where people genuinely want to know everyone and understand your story. I want to know and understand you and be open to hearing and not feeling like, “I’m here because there’s performative and perfunctory.”

I will say a little bit extra when it comes to listening to the stories of minoritized and traditionally oppressed communities’ experiences. Listening is a skill that doesn’t involve agreeing, disagreeing, saying that you understand, or trying to sprinkle love and light and bypass it. I will share a quick story. When I was in Germany, we went to this little all-White town.

Normally I’m in Berlin. It’s very cosmopolitan. You see everything and I don’t feel any different except for trying to speak German badly. We went to a little town where my sister-in-law lives. I was with my husband and my mother-in-law and decided to explore some of the shops on my own. Now clearly, I did not belong there and I was getting these stares. I have a Facebook group called The Intimacy of Race.

I did a post immediately about how I felt being stared at. Obviously, there’s not anybody who looks like me in this town, and it’s like there’s a spaceship coming off. I shared that feeling because I was weary and tired at that point. It’s like, “Stop looking at me like I’m different.” In the Facebook group, my group, I was getting, “They are staring because you are a gorgeous goddess, beautiful and tall.”

I was like, “Can you all acknowledge my lived experience?” It’s my group, so it’s for me to teach them, but stop bypassing what I felt and acknowledge what I’m sharing. We do that because where I’m comfortable with other people’s discomfort and we want ourselves to feel better. We are trying to make you feel better.

I didn’t need anybody trying to make me feel better at that point. I need to feel heard and my lived experience acknowledged for what it is. That’s one way to create psychological safety because what it would do for me if it wasn’t my group was like, “I’m not sharing anything with these people anymore. They don’t get it.”

Imagine people you work with sharing a lived experience with you and bypassing it, shutting down, or trying to pretend you understand like, “I was a White girl in an all-Jewish community, so I know what that feels like.” No, you don’t. Stop trying to compare your experience to mine. Be with that person’s story and lived experience without trying to interject yourself into it, and that creates psychological safety.

Stop trying to interject yourself into other people's life stories or experiences. Click To Tweet

We do that because we are trying to alleviate our discomfort and everyone else’s discomfort instead of listening and being empathetic. You don’t even have to say anything. Sometimes I give the care on Facebook. The little care. Heart with the thing because it’s like, “I want to hug you right now.” I don’t have to comment if I don’t know what to say. Sometimes even with grief because people process grief differently.

When someone is sharing the death or the passing of someone, I don’t always know what to say to them. I will just give the prayer hands or the care because it’s sometimes they want to be acknowledged. If you don’t know what to say sometimes, just acknowledge but you don’t always have to put your two cents into it.

That’s why we have the framework because it is a skill. You want to listen and you want to acknowledge.

Repeat the framework again.

It’s LAPI. Listen, Acknowledge, and then you want to Paraphrase. Paraphrase is not parroting or restating, but restate so that the other person knows you understand that you heard you and this is what you heard. Sometimes like, “No. That’s not what I meant. You might have heard me wrong. Let me try this again.” It gives the opportunity for them to know that you understand. Depending upon the situation, you want to ask a powerful inquiry like, “What do you need right now in this moment?” That’s it.

Not even what can I do because it’s not always about you, but what do you need? I need Jim over there to stop commenting on my hair every time I have a new hairdo. People can get into their sob stories too, but the important part of the asking a powerful question afterward is like, how do we move forward? Not how do we move past or move on. What would you like to experience instead? Who is the right person to talk to get this resolution so that you can advocate for what you need, and let’s move this forward?

It’s all about keep it moving forward. As I said, you could cry but let’s walk. Let’s keep moving. We are going to have some fun. I have some rapid-fire questions for you. You probably already answered a couple of them, but we are going to jump into this. I want to know what’s the biggest leadership mistake either you perpetrated or was a victim of.

To have open listening. Not listening to formulate my response but listening to hear what the other person is saying. It’s staying fully present to what they are saying without me thinking, what do I say? What do I do?

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive Leadership: As a leader, you need to really have open listening. Don’t just listen to formulate a response. You need to really listen to hear what the other person is saying.


I’m reading a book right now on attention and how quickly and how often our mind wanders, and how to bring it back into focus. It’s fascinating. What is the best leadership advice that you ever got that you still implement now?

It would be the one time I heard a coach say to someone else, “I would never want to coach who gave up on me.” It’s taking a powerful stand for the potential and the vision that you see in the people that you are leading and helping them see that.

If you were a castaway on a deserted island, what three items you wished washed up ashore or was airdropped to you and one could not be a cell phone? Things you can’t live without.

Probably my false eyelashes. Priorities. I would say a comb to comb my hair and moisturizer because I cannot live without being fully moisturized all day, every day. I will switch out the eyelashes because that was a joke, but I would like a good book to read.

You can have a library of books. It does not necessarily mean one book.

Books keep me going when I feel like giving up. They are powerful to keep me going.

Here’s a fun one. If you were a song title or a song, what would it be?

I’d have to think of a song already. I have to pass on that one because I’m having a brain fart. I will get back to that one if there’s another one after that.

This is the last one. Hopefully, by then, you can think of a song. What are you reading right now or what are your three top favorite books?

I started listening to Think and Grow Rich. I have had it for years, but I have started listening to that. That’s what I’m reading now, and the song title would be Invincible. It’s Champions, but I know that the song says, “I am invincible,” in there. I love the lyrics that go, “I am invincible, unstoppable, unbreakable, unshakeable.”

I love that. That’s added to the song list. Thank you so very much, Eva. This has been tremendous. You have been phenomenal, and I look forward to being a guest on your show.

That will be fun. We are going to be coming to you live from Germany. We all have to tune into that one because we send you the conversation, but Alicia’s going to be on the hot seat.

Thank you again, Eva, and for your openness, honesty, and everything that you’ve shared. All these tips and tools. I encourage you to go to her website, and check out all the great resources she has there, and you can take the assessment there, too, the relationship assessment. I would like to encourage you to lead yourself, lead your teams, and lead your organization with audacious confidence. Until next time, we are signing off.


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About Eva Medilek

LAC S2 5 | Inclusive LeadershipEva Medilek is a Certified High-Performance Coach, International Speaker, #1 Best-Selling Author, and Cultural Inclusivity Trainer. She has worked with men and women in the areas of personal development, leadership, inclusive intelligence and mastering habits for success. Most recently, Eva is a radio talk show host on Voice America’s Influencer Channel. Her show, What’s Important Now; Making Time for What Matters Most brings to light hot topics and guests that focus on important matters facing us today. Being a leader in today’s world demands more than leadership has demanded in the past. What had worked before is no longer working today. At least not at the level it once had. It’s time for that next level in your leadership. It takes courage to tell the world what you are about and how you’re thinking. Doing it more consistently will build confidence within yourself and your communities. In taking bold, courageous action, you will develop resiliency in taking on major tasks and challenges that will bring more influence and impact to your leadership.


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