Unapologetically BOLD: I'm not sorry for....
Being Emotional with Brandon Laws
April 9, 2021
Have you ever been told that you are emotional? Like not in a good way, kind of emotional? Like you are being too honest and real for others... If so this is an episode for you as my guest Brandon Laws talks about why he is not sorry for being emotional and how it has become a super power in his work and leadership.
Have you ever been told that you are emotional?

Like not in a good way, kind of emotional?

Like you are being too honest and real for others...

If so this is an episode for you as my guest Brandon Laws talks about why he is not sorry for being emotional and how it has become a superpower in his work and leadership.

About the Guest:
Brandon Laws is Sr. Director of Marketing & Product at Xenium HR. He has a B.S. in Business Management & Entrepreneurship from Western Oregon University and regularly writes on various business, economic, and leadership topics. He hosts Xenium’s “Transform Your Workplace” podcast, which has over 550k downloads. Brandon’s passion for self-development comes through on the podcast, as he is a voracious reader and listener of podcasts.

[00:00:02] spk_1: This show is brought to you by Safety FM. Welcome to unapologetically bold. I'm not sorry for If you're a person that is tired of apologizing for being you, you know the human part of you that sometimes feels like it has to be different at home versus work versus play. The human side that just wants to be hot, humble, open and transparent about your wants, desires and uniqueness. If you answered yes, this is for you. Join me, Emily Elrod as I dive into conversations with Amazing Guest about what you're not sorry for And creative and loving ways Let's get started. Hello, everybody. Welcome to another unapologetically bold I'm not sorry for And I am beyond excited because I have my very, very, very good friend Brandon with me. Thanks for joining me today, Brandon.

[00:01:04] spk_0: Hey, Emily. It's really good to be here.

[00:01:06] spk_1: This is gonna be a fun conversation. And just for the people tuning in, if you don't know what unapologetically bold is pretty sure that the intro told you. But if not, it is all about talking about how we're humans at home. Work and play. We were the same human there So why do we feel like we have to be different or put the proverbial mask on in certain situations instead of coming out with our true Selves? So I'm excited for you to listen in today, as I am talking with such an amazing person and so, Brandon, for people that don't know how you're pure awesomeness.

[00:01:45] spk_0: My name is Brandon Laws. I am a director of marketing for an HR consulting in payroll processing company over in the West Coast. So Portland Oregon's where we're located just south of Portland. And I've been working for this company for 12 years. Xeni Machar is the company name, and we support small and medium sized companies with their their HR payroll benefits. All that And I have built out our marketing department over the years, and I host a podcast Not like this, because I'm not on the video, but, uh, we've been going strong since 2012. Do all sorts of digital marketing. Um, but podcast is kind of like where people would know me a little bit more from so we've got we actually just hit a milestone 600,000 downloads on the show.

[00:02:31] spk_1: Oh wow, it's a

[00:02:35] spk_0: lot. I get some really good guests. Trust me, it's not me,

[00:02:39] spk_1: you know.

[00:02:40] spk_0: It's all about the guests that we get.

[00:02:43] spk_1: You do have some amazing guests, and I think that's the cool part. Two in like the work that we do, especially in the podcast. Being able to, like, get them on, have those conversations. And I just love like people like you like coming on to these shows and talking about just the real nous, you know, and even yours. It's all about being real

[00:03:05] spk_0: well, and that's actually funny that you said that. So you introduced me to chance. Um, and we did a podcast, and he was like, for the topic that we were talking about. He was one of the most real people that I like. He spoke from the heart and some of the people that I have on there really intellectually smart in a particular area, some of whom I just interviewed somebody Ph. D psychologist like just super smart people. But they're not as real and raw, and sometimes you got to have a balance of both of those things, and you are one of those people to you could be real. You're very, very real. And that's how I like to approach as a guest.

[00:03:47] spk_1: Yes. And it's the humanity which I think is a great intro into Well, you're not sorry for So Brandon Taylor world What you're no longer apologizing for.

[00:03:58] spk_0: I'm not sorry for being emotional. I'm not. And that was the first thing that came to mind when you're like, what kind of topic should you and I'm like? This is one that I've always thought of,

[00:04:08] spk_1: And it's different, too, because and I hate to do the gender thing, but you're a guy to especially like you have to come with us like if you're if you're too emotional, like it's it's like you're being a certain like it doesn't flow or something. It's like you have to have your masculinity and like, I love this because it's so real. And so I just want to dive in, like, Why did you even pick this topic like, where did it come in? Your brain like the first thing? Because you said it was your first. So what? Tell me why

[00:04:36] spk_0: It was the first thing I thought of because I think, uh, when I was a kid, I was really emotional. That's where this idea came from. And I think there's like there's a balance of being irrationally emotional, like a child throwing a tantrum, which I was probably more on the spectrum of. But I think if you can hone your emotional awareness like if you could put names to what you're feeling, you can home that. And then later on, where I think I am now is I think I'm more emotionally intelligent. So I recognize how I'm feeling about whatever situation is coming my way, and that also helps me to connect with other people better because then I can understand how they're feeling and there's like more of an empathetic connection, and I think that's that's why I love this topic, and why I wanted to talk about this is because I think if people can start, recognize how they're feeling, whether it's journaling or talking to somebody, they can go through the transformation that I did, which is now controlling your emotions in a way that's helpful

[00:05:40] spk_1: and it's so powerful because you're starting to own yourself. I come from the science side. Is that your Magdala? I call her Amy because nobody ever remembers Magdala. But Amy, she's in your brain. We all have her in there, and she's like an emotional center for our bodies and wherever they're like, feeling things. And if we don't give her name to what we're feeling like, she's just going to take it and run with it based on our past experiences. But it's so cool that you started doing this and naming your emotions at a young age because I'm training my kids to do that because I see so many adults that have outbursts and they have these things that happen and they don't know what's happening. They just know that you have an emotion

[00:06:24] spk_0: and

[00:06:25] spk_1: emotions are bad. They're actually very, very good for you, Um, but accepting them and to understand them. So talk about that for a minute. How has that helped you to get

[00:06:35] spk_0: Yeah, I'll even back up a little further because I don't think I'd really controlled it at a young age like I didn't recognize how I was feeling. I would just have these, like, weird breakdowns every once in a while, like things would bother me like what people would say would like. I would take that to heart like emotionally. Like I would cry for random reasons all the way up until gosh, I feel like sixth grade was like that turning point where I don't know if just everything about me was changing. But I was really just emotional until then and yeah, I mean, I think later on I started talking about it a little bit more, Um, whether it's self talk, journaling or actually talking with other people about it. And even to this day, like I can be very open with somebody about how I'm feeling and what I'm going through. And I'm kind of an open book from that perspective. So I think there's a lot of a lot of trust. Um, and report can be built almost immediately because of being able to talk about emotions. Now I'm feeling so um,

[00:07:41] spk_1: that's so true. I think that was a good one to flow into because the trust that can come from you being open about you being human, it's were all there. We probably have felt some way that the other people are feeling, and in some form or fashion. Not to say that our shoes are there shoes. Not to say that, but it's still a human emotion. And I haven't had this conversation with my son the other day about something he's. We asked the question at a family game and said, What's the most embarrassing moment, you or what's the most embarrassing thing you don't want to say? And like my dad, he joked, He goes. I love watching Hallmark movies in The Christmas Chronicles like you know, it's like those things that you don't want to say out loud because it's like somebody may judge you and Jay Lee had had this response on his certain thing and he got so emotional with it. And I told him I was like, I hope you understand what you're going through. Everybody experiences this. Everybody experiences fear. They experience judgment. They experience embarrassment. They experience. But to give it from a reflection of Here's a time in your human don't for me, for my it's a no judge zone and you've heard me say that. I know whenever I come to you like you're real, it's no judge. So how has that helped in your leadership style.

[00:09:00] spk_0: Yeah, what's interesting? Because, as you were talking, I was thinking about If you can't name your emotions and you don't allow people to show up and be real, people will silently suffer. And that's not good in a workplace. So I think brings how I approach it as a leader. Like if I can name the emotions and I can be open and transparent with the people that work for me or with me, they're more likely to do it. And then we can connect at a deeper level rather than just pretend like we're just perfect all the time. Because the perfectionist, it really drives me nuts. We're not perfect. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. Um, I say things I probably shouldn't like. There's there's so many mistakes that I make and and I don't feel great all the time either. And so, being able to recognize and share with other people about happy, sad, excited, like helps you connect with people better. And I think from a leadership standpoint, the more you can get in front of that and be open, the more trust you're gonna build with your people your mission and like we talked about psychological safety to me like emotional intelligence is like a foundational piece for psychological safety. You want to have a safe work environment where people aren't fearful of leaders like coming down on them hard for making a wrong mistake or whatever. I think the more we talk about it and share our emotions and how we're feeling about situations, the better off our workplace will be.

[00:10:31] spk_1: Yeah, and it also goes into the passion. If we can't show our emotions, we can't show our passion if we can show our passion. Like I talked to somebody the other day and I love I like benefits. Like I'm not gonna like I'm in the benefits space. Technically, I am a benefit for a lot of companies. But when it comes to the hiring process, I was talking specifically my father about this, like anybody that I hire or that I'm going to lead. I don't want them to come work for me for benefits. I want it for passion. I wanted that they want to do this. They want that they show their emotions that, hey, that they're gonna be pissed off whenever like I say something that's against their values, and they're like, Okay, here's the reason why I let me tell you differently. Or let me let me show you differently, obviously in a kind way. But you know, like I don't want people that are exactly like mine, And I want them that lighthearted with a passion side and being able to show it so. And I know that you have that in your work that you're allowed to show your passion. How much freeing is that? Like, how much more freeing is that to be able to be you?

[00:11:37] spk_0: That's the thing. That's interesting is that I don't know if I would have been this way if it wasn't for the people that I've been able to work with and be led by the people. I am led by our open, their transparent. They share how they're feeling. They tell you when things are not so good. They tell you when things are great and they bring their passion into your point. If you can't share your passion or you can't share when you're feeling down, it's gonna be like the surface level dance around the issues sort of thing, and it's just not I'm not putting the scientific words like you usually put to it, but maybe you can fill in the blanks. But I think like you just have a really boring, bleak environment and you're gonna get those same kind of people. That's how they're gonna show up to work. And so for me, if you can bring the passion, allow people that to be excited about what they're working on and show them how it acted to the greater purpose of the organization. How much more freeing is that? Like that's how I get to show up every day to work. And it's because of the people I work with exciting and I want to. I want to be that as a leader, it's makes me excited.

[00:12:49] spk_1: Yeah, and it gives us that next level because people want to work for that. People want to work with that and that type of person because I see a lot of times where companies want robots. They want humans sitting robots,

[00:13:03] spk_0: specific tasks or something. But still, at the end of the day, I mean, if you want people completing even the basic a task you would want their whole Selves to show up

[00:13:12] spk_1: mhm. And And that's the thing is if I have you in a robot form and that you you are just as much you don't show your emotions. You do your task. You do as I say when I say how I say, um in there and what I found is, in theory, they think they don't have to deal with the hard conversations. But how freeing is it is like, uh, my poor Bonnie. I call her my Bonnie. She works for me like I tell everybody. She keeps me saying It's amazing that I also have people that back me up or like psychotherapists and counsellors and dieticians and leadership coaches just saying. But she keeps me saying so many times on things like I told you this earlier, like try to do something good And I picked up two dogs that almost got ran over. And then they ended up killing my chickens and, like I was like, It's like I just want something good to happen. But you know, like what if I couldn't say that? What if I had to be like, Okay, task at hand? Let's do this while I'm thinking like, Oh my God,

[00:14:17] spk_0: you're living with that. So you're not able to get out those emotions. And if I mean, you knew, you know me. So you knew you were able to talk about that in advance, versus if you show up and you're tiptoeing around your leader and you're like, I'm not going to share this because they're gonna think I'm stupid or whatever, but you're gonna probably have a crappy day at work because you're not able to get that out and not to me. The right approach is to be open, transparent, about how you're feeling, what you're going through, even if it's doesn't have to be a venting session, either. It's just to let, Well, that's somebody in on on your life and what you're feeling, how your brain works. And that's how we connect.

[00:15:02] spk_1: And it's so powerful right now to do it now than ever. Like I had a podcast that was recorded before this, and it was with Sarah of Alcoa, and hers is I'm not sorry for living through a pandemic. Yeah, and it's The thing is, is like, this has brought the forefront of humanity. So going forward. And that's why I want to talk about that from it going forward. How has this shifted? What work will look like in the future? Because I don't think that you cannot look at a human as a just a robot anymore. I think you actually got to look instead of human workers. They're human beings. Yeah,

[00:15:42] spk_0: there. And you're in a good space for this, too, because there's so much more emphasis on the well being of people. Whereas I don't think the emphasis was quite there. I think we're you know, you're expecting butts and seats. I think progressive employers were thinking like Okay, well, let's focus on results and treat people like people. They're adults, Um, and just let them have autonomy and work, life, balance and all that. But I think the pandemic, what it did is shed a light or a magnifying glass on all employers because people like the ones that are working at home like the environments are not all created equal. People are really struggling. And so if you have an employer that's not really connecting emotionally to the people, how are you ever gonna figure out if somebody's suffering or not. Oh, right. And I think so many people are silently suffering. And that's why I'm bringing this this topic to light. I'm not sorry for being emotional because at least the people I work with know how I'm doing. Um, and maybe they'll let me know how they're doing and we can We can rise up together because I think this is a challenging time. And if we want to get through this, we have to open up more, even if it's virtually. I hate that. But like, Look, you and I are virtual. I've never met you in person. I wish I were good. But the fact that we could still build a relationship virtually the tools were living in a great time. Honestly, with the technology, this would have happened 10, 20 years ago. I don't know what I would have done.

[00:17:23] spk_1: Yeah, and it makes me think I'm reading the book and you probably read Read it because your book nerd, the boys in the boat

[00:17:29] spk_0: I started reading some of it. I don't like the historical, the historical nonfiction stuff I like. It's just so dense and takes a long time to read. I I will get through it eventually.

[00:17:42] spk_1: But like with that book, you know, like for me, I didn't know from history like basically the 19 hundreds to like the 19 forties sucked like it was like a lot of this.

[00:17:52] spk_0: That's what they knew, right?

[00:17:54] spk_1: Yeah,

[00:17:55] spk_0: Known like it's

[00:17:58] spk_1: yeah, but the thing that I come with it is like how they weren't allowed to be emotional like during that time. It was such a stone time. And I wonder at times, What if What if we could have been like, Okay, you do you get what you get, like you don't pitch a fit kind of mentality where this is like, Hey, I get to be me and I get to say, Hey, I and I love what you said silently suffering. You know, there's so many people that are silently suffering. So how can we help them going forward to not suffer in silence, to break out like being somebody that that is emotional, like, how can you There's vulnerability in that. How can you invite somebody to step out into what I call their hotness? Humble, open and transparency. During this time

[00:18:45] spk_0: I will share what I what I do, and I don't know if it's like the right approach for everybody, but I think there's some simple ways to do it. For one. Send notes to people like a simple text, a video, and you're like the iPhones or whatever. You're using a Google pixel or something like send a video to somebody say, I'm thinking about you. How are you doing today and make it specific about the moment in time? Like not just you ask general questions. You're gonna get general answers from people. But I think if you, for one, do that, just send notes to people. Just checking in, checking in with the people's good one on one meetings. If you're a manager, you should absolutely be having a one on one meeting at least every two weeks. I mean, every week, every week could be ideal. Check in daily if you can like a stand up meeting or something, but just like, let it be a personal time just to say, like, How are you feeling today? Like what's on your mind? How can I help you? I think if you ask those kind of questions, people will give you an answer because, especially if you're consistent about it, if you do it every so often, it's like if they don't really, they don't really care about me. They're not. They don't want to know how I'm actually feeling. But if you ask it every day and you show up, they will give you the right answer. And so it's about showing up. It's about being consistent, and that's how I do it every day. I'm checking in with my employee. I have one

[00:20:10] spk_1: employ. You

[00:20:11] spk_0: may

[00:20:12] spk_1: want

[00:20:14] spk_0: to play that reports to me. But like but other colleagues, I check in with them, too, and it's it's a little tougher with the pandemic. There's no water cooler talk. You you really have to be intentional about this. Like we use Microsoft teams. Other people use slack. So I messaged people every once in a while. Hey, thinking about you, how you doing today?

[00:20:33] spk_1: It is so powerful to because I have a few people I have talked to in my past work, and I still I send a monthly. It's like, Hey, just your monthly reminder, you're still awesome and I still miss you and it's been two years later and But it's like the thing is, is that the connections that have been created by that because I don't want them to silently suffer, and And if you want to put it on the thing, if you can't do it for yourself, do it for others. You know, like just think about others at this time, like how many of them are silently suffering and you know it. But you don't do anything about it. And so that's what I think it's it's there's a vulnerability in it. There's some scariness into it, but with without courage, there's no vulnerability without vulnerability, there's no courage. And so just step out into that. So final question for you. It's a two

[00:21:23] spk_0: part.

[00:21:25] spk_1: People are apologizing for being emotional. What would you tell them?

[00:21:31] spk_0: I don't think everybody is apologizing for being emotional. I I hope they're looking at it as a good thing, Um, because I do think like if you are emotional in a very irrational way, like my Children could be. Sometimes I hope they're listening to this. By the way, let me be amazing kicking and screaming. Thing is, it's a it's a real like non productive type of emotion, but I think you can harness your emotions in a way that makes it productive. I think it's going to help deepen your relationship. So that's what I would tell people is that if you can put a finger on what you're feeling or how other people are feeling, think of what we could build together. Think of the relationships. You'll have the connections. They'll be deep rooted. Somebody I was talking to recently, Um, I love his book Water the bamboo. I'll give him a shout out. His name is Greg Bell. He talks about how bamboo will not like you can water it, water it. It will never grow until, like maybe like 90 days in, it'll grow like 60 ft just out of nowhere. And the reason why is there's deep roots underneath the ground that you never saw growing, and he talks about relationships that way. It's like you have to water your bamboo constantly,

[00:22:44] spk_1: so

[00:22:45] spk_0: the relationships that you have to put the time, the effort all that in so you can build your deep roots of your connections with people and then watch that bamboo grow Eventually. I just love the metaphor

[00:22:57] spk_1: because

[00:22:58] spk_0: he's an idea. But I love his work. So

[00:23:01] spk_1: it's so powerful, though it makes me think there's a book that I just got and I should know what? Oh, it's the boy, the fox, the mole and the horse sending a

[00:23:11] spk_0: one all right already.

[00:23:12] spk_1: Oh, you're It's a Children's book, but it's beautiful. And if you have not read that one, like you need to get that one today, um, so major shoutout to Kevin Monroe and Paul Hari. They both, um, recommended it, and Paul actually sent it to me as well. But it's a beautiful. It's an absolutely beautiful book, but what it is it has, like these ducks that are swimming on top of the water. And it talked about like the boy asked a question about it and and, uh, one of them, I think it was a horse, said, Well, you don't know how much work there actually doing underneath like it looks, how beautiful on top. But there's a lot of paddling under underneath that's going on. There's a lot of work that's going that we don't see internally or underneath the water. It's like the bamboo, like it's got deep roots. It's gotta grow to be able to support. And if you don't think that your emotions are not a help, an exponential helper, you got a

[00:24:10] spk_0: problem. So since we're talking about books, there's one thing I wanted to just also shout out. So there's these books and I think I want to say they started. Or maybe the founder of them started in the Portland area where I am at. There's a series called a Kid's Book about You might have seen this stuff on my instagram. I just love them. They have all sorts of varying topics that are usually taboo to talk about racism, feminism, money, politics, religion, anxiety, cancer, like all these adult topics, right, But they're written in the kids format, and they talk about emotions within them. So then, at the end of the day, the kids can ask questions about like, Oh, or they can reflect and say, Oh, that's why I'm feeling that way, like anxiety. What is that? How does that show up as? And so then how these words that connect and and so I'm trying to help my kids by reading those books to them.

[00:25:13] spk_1: That's a good recommendation I got J. Lee won because of my son. I got him one because of your recommendation. So and I'll say that we've not read it yet, but it's coming.

[00:25:22] spk_0: Uh, but

[00:25:25] spk_1: they look so awesome. But that's the thing. It's like all the work I do, too, is always say it needs to be. I wanted to be a generational effect. Always say seven generations what I'm doing today. Well, how it will affect seven generations from now. And that's the thing. It's like even this podcast. It's for my kids to hear later, you know, whenever they're not gonna listen to me anymore. But it's things like this. How can we do things? And being emotional is a generational thing. It's always going to be with every generation, and once we can can harness it. And we're seeing more of the data on emotional intelligence and how much. It's more of a predictor of success. And I'll say, even in whenever I look at data sets and we do surveys and I do open ended questions like I can read the emotional intelligence in it, we did one not too long ago. I'm not gonna go into specifics, but basically one out of, uh, entire group of 50 people, One person said. I just want to be a good teammate, and I'm like you. You're my favorite. I'm like you're gonna do good because they were talking about how they understood that their emotions. We're also reciprocated, and so to use it for the good, but also when they're when they're stir crazy and when they're acting out handling it in dealing with it. So it's a double. So it's It's powerful

[00:26:47] spk_0: with emotions, I think, especially when I was younger and you're taught and I'm not saying my parents or anything like that. It's just like I think you're embarrassed by being emotional, especially as a as a male, a guy who, like you, brought up that point early on in this in this podcast, where it's like you kind of looked at you're supposed to be tough, you're supposed to be manly or whatever, and I'm like, I mean, I could be those things, too, but I am an emotional person and I saw it as a weakness, and I don't see it that way anymore. I really don't

[00:27:21] spk_1: and that's what I hope that people, whoever's listening. This gets this because we're in the South and I'll say, like even my side of the family like it's, um or I'm thinking like my husband like it's he's an emotional But it took forever for him to even start showing those because he comes from a line of, like, not the Marines. But it's that it's that hard and tough and like we don't show anything. It's like like, you know what I did back in my day, you know that I walked five miles both ways, shoveling snow and all this other stuff. You know, you hear, Um, just about how macho they were, but you didn't hear about or we even had a conversation. My great grandfather, he never was shown love like they didn't hug like they weren't showed emotions. And so what he did was just a replication of what he either seen on media or whatnot. It was a fake, and so now it's getting into this level. Now I think our generation is learning what it really is. So again, thank you so much. And I guess the last part of that final question is, where can people find you, like, shout

[00:28:21] spk_0: out that. Yeah, you can. You can find me in a couple different areas. I have a personal website, Brandon laws dot com and I have links to all my podcasts. And, like, I'll put a link up to this one. Of course. Um, if you will learn more about Zen Ian, where I work and do what I do all the marketing for xenon. Um hr dot com. You can find my podcast there as well. And if you just have your phone on you or something and you want to find the podcast really fast, get a like apple podcast and type and transform your workplace and you can find it pretty fast that way.

[00:28:52] spk_1: Awesome. Well, I am so grateful for you. Thank you so much for coming on with me today. And everybody that listen in, you'll have a blessed one. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of unapologetically Bold. I'm not sorry for this test shoot anyway, please, like and subscribe and share with your friends as we continue the message of being unapologetically bold by being hot. Humans who are humble, open and transparent. See you next time