The Unlock Moment leadership podcast: find your purpose for leadership and life

7 Wendy Willard: 'SLATHY' - A Way To Talk About When It's Not OK

Episode Summary

In this episode, I interview U.S. strengths coach and serial foster mom Wendy Willard about her Unlock Moment, in which a move to Nicaragua with her family led her to fundamentally re-evaluate her needs. Through foster-parenting 25 teenagers, she developed her simple but effective SLATHY (shamed, lonely, afraid, tired, hungry, yucky) framework to help people in families and in business find the words to talk about their feelings when their needs aren't met.

Episode Notes

In this episode, I interview U.S. strengths coach and serial foster mom Wendy Willard about her Unlock Moment, in which a move to Nicaragua with her family led her to fundamentally re-evaluate her needs. Through foster-parenting 25 teenagers, she developed her simple but effective SLATHY (shamed, lonely, afraid, tired, hungry, yucky) framework to help people in families and in business find the words to talk about their feelings when their needs aren't met.

Learn more at 

Discover SLATHY at

Follow Wendy on Instagram:

Follow The Strengths Encourager on LinkedIn:

Episode Transcription

Gary Crotaz  0:00  

Hi, my name's Dr. Gary Crotaz. And I'm a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I'm in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound, that they remember vividly, where they were, who they were with, what they were thinking, when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I'll be meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things or brought about significant change in their life, and you'll be meeting them with me. We'll be finding out what inspired them, how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello, dear listener, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. Today I am privileged to be joined by California-based coach and self styled strengths. encourager, Wendy Willard, I'm a huge fan of Wendy's philosophy around strengths and needs, and have been co-moderating online conversations with her for much of the last year. Wendy has spent the last two decades working on initiatives that improve wellbeing. Personally that's brought her deep in the trenches of child welfare, initially as a mum to two daughters, then also as a foster parent and adoption advocate across three US states and Nicaragua. Professionally, it's meant she uses her Bachelor of Fine Arts in design, and Masters in Organisational Leadership, to help mission driven organisations and families strengthen their teams to thrive. Wendy, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Unlock Moment.


Wendy Willard  1:52  

Thank you, Gary, I'm so excited to chat with you today.


Gary Crotaz  1:55  

Thank you for joining. So start out with telling us a little bit about your story and how you got to where you are today.


Wendy Willard  2:01  

Well, how much time do you have?


Gary Crotaz  2:04  

We've got a while! Give us the the five minute version and we can dig in!


Wendy Willard  2:08  

Yeah, so recently, I've been thinking about what is the thread that kind of combines or if there's a thread that you could pull that would pull on everything that I've done in the you know, my adult life, I think that that really is wellbeing. I think that even if I go back 20 years, I can think of some of the projects that I worked on as a designer. And I was always interested in how we could improve wellbeing through our work, through the work that I was, whether it was a web design project or branding or marketing for a certain company or initiative. That's just been something that really interested me. And I was mostly doing that as an individual contributor, you know, and art director, creative director, graphic designer, web designer, that type of work. And then about seven years ago, which corresponded with turning 40 I decided to go back to school, my daughter made fun of me and said it was a very midlife kind of crisis moment. And I said, I am going to study organisational leadership, because I had come to realise that creatives have a different way of looking at the world. And I loved, I've always loved being in a room of creatives, it's just super fun. I, you won't be surprised to know I have high Ideation on Gallup's CliftonStrengths assessment. So I just thrived in situations like that. And I also found though, that creative people think, we just think differently, and when you put us in a position of leadership, that means that we we approach problems in a, in a different way than someone who has a straight MBA for example. And so I said, you know, I'd love to put a little teeth to my education, my on the job training, so to speak and figure out why, why is that? Why do creatives approach the world different, approach problems different, and that was where I was first introduced to CliftonStrengths as well, was in that leadership programme that I did, that Masters level programme.


Gary Crotaz  4:36  

And when you're in that, so why, why organisational leadership, so what was going on for you that you thought that's, you know of all the things I can do, that's where I want to go?


Wendy Willard  4:46  

Yeah, for sure. I because I definitely, several people said why not just get an MBA and, and I said, Well, I'm not as interested in what it looks like to kind of structure the business. or, you know, the accounting and all of that. I'm more interested in, what does it take to build a great team? What does it look like to structure an organisation so that the team, so that you really get that one plus one equals three type mentality, right? That, that we're greater than the sum of our parts together. So I was interested in that, at the time that I went back to school, I was actually working at a large church in the Bible Belt of, of the US in southern Calif..., sorry, in South Carolina. I now live in southern California, but I was in South Carolina at the time. And I, my role was a creative director and communications director. And so the team there was about 55 people at the time. And I found, you know, I realised once again that the creatives and the communication people, you really are, that's a hub for most organisations, right, and you have a piece, your hand is in a little bit of everything, and you tend to, to get to understand very cross-functionally what's happening across the organisation. And so it really inspired me this idea of, hey, I want to understand this better. I want to, I want to move more into leadership and I want to do so with... Yeah, with with the education to kind of backup what I had learned on the job.


Gary Crotaz  6:34  

And what do you think a great team looks like? What are the characteristics of a great team, when you're imagining that, that setup that you're helping to create?


Wendy Willard  6:43  

Yeah, well, it's, it's funny, because you, you kind of teased it in, in my bio, but one of the things I've been working on, I mean, really, for the last, like, 12 years is this exploration of needs? What do we need to thrive as a human? What do we need to thrive as humans in teams? What does that look like? And so I think that my answer is going to be the same for or very similar for individuals as it is for teams. So I think the individuals inside of the teams need to have their needs met, in order to thrive, and then they need to work with each other well, right, trust one another, appreciate the best of one another in order for the team to then thrive. And thankfully, I don't have, you don't have to take my word on that, because Gallup has, you know, created a, they've done a tonne of research and created a lot of resources. And they're not the only ones. You know, there's plenty of places where you can see that this is, in fact, true.


Gary Crotaz  7:54  

And one of the reasons why I was so keen to have you on the podcast was because I really liked your take on needs, which, which describes what you're talking about now, what are the, what are the needs that people should have in when, when they're individually and as a team working really effectively? But also, I know you think about what it looks like when you, when you don't have those needs. And I'm reflecting, so for listeners who have also listened to the recent episode that I've just published with Dr. Mark Goulston, who, who is a psychiatrist and talks about a similar thing, he talks about what it feels like when your needs are not met, in a very specific sort of environment in psychiatry. I think that's a really interesting way to look at it, because all of the textbooks are filled with what it should be. But actually, when you go and work with organisations, and I've done this a lot, you see a lot of teams that are exhibiting and describing the opposite of that. So tell me a bit more about the way you think about needs.


Wendy Willard  8:53  

Yeah, so probably to, to tell, to describe it, I have to go back a little to explain kind of where I came to this because most people, a lot of listeners will have heard about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That's definitely something that is taught in schools and a lot of cases in university. And so people hear about that, and they understand, okay, yeah, we all have these basic needs. One of the things that I found out, interestingly, is that Maslow's research was done at a time when you mostly studied men, white men, that were of a certain socioeconomic class. If you wanted to look at what it took for people to thrive, you would, you know, look at that type of that group of people. And as it turns out, I was a foster parent in Maryland, starting it in 2008. And the type of kids that were coming into my home were almost the exact opposite of the type of people that Maslow was researching when he was coming up with his Hierarchy of Needs. We've mostly parented at this point now we are we currently have our 25th teenager in our home. And the first two dozen of those were mostly teenage girls. And we now have a young man staying with us who, yeah, a young man who just turned 18 recently, so I'm really excited to have some. So you see the other side of it as well. And what does it look like to parent a boy, but, but anyway, we had all these teenage girls living with us, certainly not all at the same time. But over the course of several years, I'm just noticing, you know, they had a lot of the same behaviours that most of us would classify as bad. And social workers would classify, they would say, Oh, they're dysregulated, you know, whenever they would be behaving in a way that wasn't accepted, you know, normally as kind of normal behaviour, Well they're dysregulated. And that, while that describes their behaviour, it's not something that anybody let alone a teenage girl wants to be referred to as. Right? And you don't walk around saying, Oh, I'm feeling dysregulated today, it, it just any ... it has 'dys' at the start of it, right? It just, it's, it's a bad word like it makes it, makes you feel yucky. And so I started, my solution to that was, well, let's come up with another word, let's just make up our own word that is different, that you feel okay with using. And, and so that sort of set me on this journey of what would ... you know, in the beginning, we just made up whatever words, you know, like you do with your kids, you just say whatever. But eventually I started, the more that we had kids like this in our home, and the more that I considered my own needs as a human, and what does it look like when that's not met? The more I wanted to really come up with a real word, you know, something that actually meant something. So that was the impetus of me creating this word, SLATHY, which you've heard me refer to a couple of times before. That's spelled S-L-A-T-H-Y. And it's actually an acronym.


Gary Crotaz  12:32  

So unpack that for us, what's in SLATHY?


Wendy Willard  12:35  

So yes, so each of the letters in the acronym, well, the first five letters stand for the opposite of what it looks like for a need to be met. And, and I, I basically, I did a tonne of research, I asked a tonne of people, including a lot of these kids that lived with us. And, you know, I said, What do you need, really to, to have optimal wellbeing, and I found that they could all fit into five buckets. And so the first one is Worth. And this is what we put in this bucket, your purpose, your value, your plans and your hope for the future. Right? And so the opposite of Worth is Shame, I think. This is one thing, one way that it comes out the opposite of that. So the S in Shame is the S in SLATHY. So that's the first one. And then the second one is Love. And I always like to say that the ABCs of Love are acceptance and belonging and connection. And as I learned through these kids in my home, and so many other people, you know, that doesn't have to come from your family of origin. You can find acceptance, belonging connection in many other places. And so, but the opposite of Love is, is Loneliness. And so that's the L in SLATHY. And then the third one is Trust. And this is one that I really think we don't give enough credence to in, in our culture because our culture is based on mutual trust. And I think a lot of us have seen in the last two years what happens when trust breaks down. And, and yet we don't, we don't often think about it. It's just so in, in you know, it's, it's just so woven into the fabric of our culture that we don't take a step back and recognise when trust is broken, how much that impacts us. So in this category I put safety, shelter and security can you trust for those things for example? And so the opposite of Trust is one one opposite of trust is fear. So being Afraid the A is, is in SLATHY. So we've got the Shame, Loneliness, Afraid. And then the fourth one is Rest. And so inside of this, I put, you know, physical, emotional, spiritual peace and rest. And so the opposite of that, obviously is Tired. And so that's the T in SLATHY. And then the last one is Nourishment. And this is nourishment for your body specifically in the form of food, water and physical touch. And so the opposite of that one is Hungry, and that's the H. So that gave me S L A T H. And then I grew up learning that, I grew up learning A E I O U and sometimes Y right. So I kind of, I kind of added that here that sometimes there's a Y and the Y stands for Yucky. And this has a dual purpose. Maybe there's something else maybe there's an illness going on in your life. And so that makes you feel lucky, yucky temporarily. And also can make you feel SLATHY. But also, what I found with so many of the kids that have stayed with us is they know that their needs aren't being met, but they don't know yet which bucket that it goes into. And so the the Y is like this catch-all that it can sit there until they feel comfortable talking about or even just admitting to themselves or understanding what of my other needs haven't been met. So that's the that's a quick version of where SLATHY came from. So I guess I should stop for a sec there.


Gary Crotaz  16:48  

I love it. And I want to talk about it because it's such a powerful and simple tool. But that idea that you flip around something that is describing what it, what it is when it's all great to let's have a conversation about how it really feels because it isn't all great at the moment. I think it's so simple. But it's easy to to miss that. And as you described, it was a language that you didn't have when you were looking at things like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which which is the opposite. So, so we're here to talk about an Unlock Moment. So, or moments, but with this, this sort of flash of clarity, at some point in your journey, when you suddenly knew this is the right path ahead. And I wondered whether you can bring to life, you know, where in your journey did you have that moment when you suddenly knew this is it? This is what I want to be doing? This is where I'm going? This is what it's about for me?


Wendy Willard  17:42  

Yeah, I think moments is correct. There, there's a few, but one that comes to mind is really when this became personal for me. So, you know, it was easy I think in the beginning for me to look at this and think, Okay, I'm creating a way to talk about what happens to these other kids, you know, these, I was never separated from my family of origin as a young child. So I, I wasn't, it was easy for me to say it's them and not me, right? I think there have been a lot of situations though, in the last decade, especially where I've realised that it's me, too, that all of us, you know, have this issue. And one of the first times was when we were preparing to move to Central America. And we had decided to go there for a year. And so we were renting our house furnished, but we had to get rid of all of our personal stuff inside of the house. And because we were flying, we could only take 50 pound bags, you know, essentially two per person and a carry on, as you know, if you're flying anywhere so and then we were gonna put some other stuff into storage. And when we were, well I don't know about you, but anytime I move house, it, do you always have those junk drawers like I do, where essentially at the end of that when you've been packing for however many days or weeks, you just pull the junk drawer and you dump it in a box? And then when you get to the new house, you just dump the box into the new junk drawer, right? Like and you...


Gary Crotaz  19:20  

Or leave it in the box!


Wendy Willard  19:22  

Or leave it in the box, right? You don't ever really go through it. Or at least I had moved enough times that that was my process. And I couldn't do that anymore. I realised oh there's, that's ridiculous. And so, all over the house, I found these proverbial junk drawers and started creating, I started a big sorting facility essentially. And through that process, I evacuated from my house 250 bags or boxes worth of stuff, you know that, that we had previously deemed, you know, required for life. And now, we either sold it or gave it away or put it in the trash or whatever. And you know what my biggest kind of wake up moment there? Well, one of the biggest wake up moments was I found 30 toenail clippers. 30. Okay?!


Gary Crotaz  20:22  

You didn't have that many toes?  


Wendy Willard  20:27  

No, we didn't even, yes, we were family of four, like, Okay, wait. So we do have that many toes, I guess. But anyway, I never thought of it that way!


Gary Crotaz  20:35  

You don't need a clipper for each one!


Wendy Willard  20:37  

It was ridiculous. Because toenail clippers were the type of thing where it's like, you can't find them anymore. And you just it's like, as my husband says, it's just $1 go buy it. Right? And, but, but this was kind of, I realised that this is the way that, at least the culture that I, that I live in, this is what we do. We just, we just collect stuff. And I started to consider really what was going on with that, you know, like, why was I doing that? And I realised a couple of things. And one of them was that I think buying stuff for my kids was a way to show them how much I loved them. Right? But I realised that that was just setting them up to believe that you know, happiness and love equal stuff. So that was not good. But then I also we used to think that buying stuff on sale, even if I didn't need it at that moment, was this indication of my thriftiness as a wife and mother, as if I should be given some sort of prize, right? But I realised that I was just contributing to waste, and that I should be more resourceful with what we already had. Right? So I also just, you know, to be vulnerable there, I think I recognised a tendency towards trying to earn love and acceptance. And so all of that helped me sort of bring it into perspective, that it wasn't just these kids that lived with us temporarily who struggled with their worth, or their love, or trusting people or, or rest or nourishment. But it was me too. And I think it's, it's all of us.


Gary Crotaz  22:35  

And what was the transition from, I recognise, I've got an awful lot of stuff that I need to not hold on to, to, it makes me think something about my needs and the way I want to live my life going forward. And something a bit deeper, was that transition between stuff and meaning of stuff, do you think?


Wendy Willard  23:00  

Well, and not everybody is doing this or going to do this, but for me, it meant living in a Central American country for three years, for almost three years, right? I, I took myself out of, of that kind of stuff environment where I didn't have access to Target or Walmart or Amazon. And I had to be very intentional about what I purchased and why I purchased it. And so, you know, it was one of those, I joked often that I said, I can't move back to the States until I learned how to live within five miles of a Target and not go there on a regular basis. You know, not go there for just fun. So I, you know, I had to, I think, for me, I needed to be taken out of it in order to learn how to appreciate it, I fully, I fully recognise that that's not something that everybody can do or is going to do. But that was just my, my journey with that.


Gary Crotaz  24:05  

I mean, I think and it resonates because I mean, two things I think about when you're, when you're saying that one is, in the pandemic, I think with a lot of people staying at home more than they were before and not travelling in to, to the office, not travelling into work. And that also means that you're not doing a lot of those other things that you might do when you're travelling. So, you know, having relatively expensive lunch, you know, somewhere or, you know, going to a relatively expensive night out because you're with your work colleagues, all those kinds of things. And I think for a lot of people, I've certainly talked to a lot of people who have had that realisation that they didn't need to do that to be happy in their life. But it's nice to do it sometimes. But the other thing that's making me think of was actually last night so I live just north of London here in the UK, and there was a really major power cut last night for about two or three hours that took out a large chunk of the whole region north of London, so thousands and thousands of homes, lost power, lighting, water and mobile phone signal. And it wasn't like you could walk down the road to the next street where there was power and get an mobile phone signal, there wasn't mobile phone signal for miles and miles and miles around. And I, and I was, and I was walking up the street because I was due to record a podcast actually in New Zealand, of all places. And I couldn't email them to let them know that I wasn't coming on the recording because I didn't have anything. And I suddenly realised that what it feels like to be dependent on a mobile phone signal, when you don't have one, you can't have one. So it really resonates. And I do think that a lot of people have had that sort of recognition of the difference between what felt like a need, but actually isn't a need. And that's, that's your toenail clippers, it feels like you desperately need some right now. But actually, you can get away with not having some for a while. And why, why were you in Nicaragua?


Wendy Willard  26:04  

We, well, initially, we just, it was, people think we're a little crazy. But we felt like it was something we should do, we felt like it was, is something that, you know, God was calling us to do. We didn't go with a particular mission or ministry group or anything like that, we just decided we were gonna go for a year initially and see what happened. See what you know, where that led us. And we did end up connecting with a lot of people, we realised that there was this massive need that wasn't being met. And that was for kids being adopted from, at the time from Nicaragua into another country. In order for me, for example, from the US to go to that country and adopt a child, I would actually have to live there for several years, not, sorry, not several years, several months. So anywhere from three to six months, you're essentially fostering the child in the country, before you can take them back to your country, your home country. So there are, you know, maybe two dozen, I think countries that still require that. And what happens so often is families are living in hotels for that time period. And you can imagine a mom, maybe it's a mom and a dad that go initially they they meet this child, often they are, you know, maybe anywhere from three to 12 years old. So they're speaking, but they don't speak English. And eventually the dad goes back to the US. And this mom is left there with one or more kids who don't speak her language. And she doesn't speak theirs. And it's really hard. And you know, imagine trying to live in a hotel room doing that, not having transportation and, and so we we started coming across these people and realised there was a huge need that if we wanted the families to actually go home intact, that they needed a lot of support. So we started an adoption support ministry there that we, we eventually did shut down a couple of years ago when Nicaragua closed to international adoptions, or at least to adoptions from the US. So we ran that for a couple of years.


Gary Crotaz  28:25  

Yeah. And you were there with your own children as well?


Wendy Willard  28:28  

We were, yes, we were there with our girls for about two and a half years. And then we left the organisation in charge of a Nicaraguan family. And they ran it until we had to close the programme.


Gary Crotaz  28:45  

And then coming back to the US having had that experience of you and your whole family there for a significant period of time. How did it change your perspective when you came back into American culture, American society?


Wendy Willard  28:59  

Well, yeah, the reverse culture shock, I think was actually worse than if I can say that. Yeah, I think it was worse. Something very interesting happened in the years between 2012 and 2015. And there's been a bunch of research done on this, that ... that during that timeframe was when the smartphone became kind of ubiquitous in the US. And, and so when we before we left, my kids were in fourth grade and sixth grade before we left and they were still very much they didn't have phones, they were going to their friend's house after school, playing in the street, visiting friends for sleepovers on the weekends and whatnot. And then we come back to the US and they're doing, you know, end of seventh grade and end of 10th grade, and the world had changed. Kids, everybody had a phone, kids got together, mostly online, or they would get together in homes and they would sit on their devices next to each other and play games that way. And they didn't even really do sleepovers as much it was, it was a very different world that then we at least socially, for our girls, it was very different than when we had left. And so even just looking at like worth and love and trust, and how, you know, our kids needs were, really struggled when, when we came back, and what that has looked like I think, for all of us in the last 10 years, looking at how social media, and the smartphone, how that really impacts our ability to have our needs met.


Gary Crotaz  30:50  

So you had to, I'm hearing I think that you had to work quite intentionally to reintegrate in a, in a kind of way, particularly for your, for your girls, when when they came back having been out of the country for that particular window of time.


Wendy Willard  31:02  

Yeah, it was, it was really interesting, I think we saw it. Think about when you, if you have a niece or a nephew, and you don't see them that often as, certainly not as often as their parents do. And then you see them after a couple of months, and you're Oh, they've grown or you notice what has changed, I think we were better able to notice what had changed, because we had stepped out of the culture for almost three years, and came back in whereas it was a very slow change for everybody that stayed here during that time.


Gary Crotaz  31:34  

And going through that experience for you and thinking about this whole philosophy around needs and the work you're doing with it. What do you think you've learned about yourself from going through that experience do you think?


Wendy Willard  31:48  

Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, I still, when I facilitate team sessions around this, and when I talk with individuals, and, and I love to work with families, you know, I always ask, Which of these areas do you think is the strongest for you? And which of the areas do you struggle the most? And, and so I've of course, had to take a hard look at that for myself. And I think it's, it's, for me, it's been a lot of the worth, how have I tried to earn my value, rather than understanding just, you know, my innate value as a human, and, you know, accepting that, versus trying to earn it has been something that I've definitely struggled with throughout my life.


Gary Crotaz  32:41  

And what I really resonate with and I hear in you is that you are, anyway, a very reflective person, very self-aware person, but you've gone through these particular experiences as well that have caused you to spend a lot of time reflecting on yourself as a foster parent, you know, travelling and, and taking your family with you, and so on. So what, if you were to give advice to other people, I mean, not that people necessarily want to spend time giving advice, but if you were sort of to reflect on some of the things you've learned that you think other, other people might find helpful. What do you think comes through from this focus on on needs?


Wendy Willard  33:18  

Yeah. So, you know, one of the other kind of aha moments or Unlock Moments, as you call them came, shortly after COVID hit. I had been teaching this concept of these needs and SLATHY, I had been teaching that mostly to foster parents and adoptive parents up to that point. You know, just, that was my application of it. Mostly, that was how I had come across it and developed it. And so that was where I was teaching it. And then after COVID hit, I started hearing from others from some of those parents who said, you know, the world needs this right now. Like, I, you know, someone said, my workplace in particular, I'm, I'm noticing when we get on these Zoom calls, everyone's SLATHY. But but no one knows how to talk about it. And if you ask your colleagues, well, how are you doing? The, the number one answer that you get is probably well, I'm tired, but I'm okay. You know, and, or just, I'm fine, which we know we're, you're not fine when you say you're fine, right. But, but I, but what I was realising was, again, this is really just widely applicable. And so I started hearing from people saying, my workplace needs this, you know, Could you, could you do a team session with my workplace and that really changed my focus and it broadened my focus here and helped me realise, do, do foster kids need a way to talk about their, their, their needs, in, you know, with dignity and privacy. Yes. But so do people in workplaces? We all do, right? We want a way to come into work, and to be able to share with a colleague that, you know, I'm not doing great. But when we use the word, SLATHY, it allows you to have, to maintain privacy, you don't have to tell them which of your needs isn't being met. Right. It's just I'm feeling right now I'm feeling like I have unmet needs. And, and it also gives you a way to talk about it that's really neutral. It's, you know, it's not like, I mean, I don't even think we have a good way to do this right now. So I don't even know how to correlate it, but, but it allows people to do so to talk about this in a workplace setting, in a way that I think maintains dignity and privacy and honour.


Gary Crotaz  35:58  

And I was reflecting on some of the people that I've been working with recently in coaching, and I think that piece about ubiquity is really important, because you see it in all sorts of different environments, workplaces, entrepreneurs, artists, performers, you know, you're saying, you know, in the fostering community that you're experiencing it, and, and it's also independent of seniority. So I think there's a lot of people who are in very senior roles who are used to looking at the people around them and seeing this veneer of coping and managing because that's what senior leaders look like, sometimes because they are, but sometimes, because they're really practised at looking that way. Even when they're not feeling that way. And particularly at the moment. I was talking to somebody just today actually about, some of the challenge is in, you know I do quite a lot of work in the retail industry and some of the challenges in retail, that there are so many things that are completely outside the control of senior leadership. And the thing that you're most certain of is that however good it used to look, it'll never look that good ever again, so the best you can possibly be is almost as good as it used to be. And the worst you can possibly be is way worse than it used to be. And that's a huge pressure on people actually. And I said to one of my coaches, Just become more aware that probably almost everybody around you is feeling in some way the same. They just won't say that to you, necessarily. And they won't necessarily look that way. But it just is true, that you know that conversation is happening all the time.


Wendy Willard  37:37  

Yeah. And here's the irony, right? I've asked plenty of people this. So I know this, this is true. We all think that we're always bringing the best of us to work, right? We think that when we show up at work, we're showing the Instagrammable version of us, right? And yet, it's not true. We all know the worst of our colleagues, we see it seep in, it leaks out, right? You know what your colleague looks like when they're hangry for example, you, we just do! You know what your colleague looks like when they haven't slept well, the night before. But we don't talk about this. And what I'm trying, like, my biggest goal in all of this is to help normalise that conversation that we can say guess what? Sometimes the closet is open, so to speak, sometimes my, the worst of me leaks out and shows. Now what are we going to do with that? Right? How can we approach it with compassion with, for one another? How can we have less judgement, because that's how we're going to get to the other side of this. That's how we're going to actually get to the point where the best of us comes out more often than not.


Gary Crotaz  38:51  

It's such a powerful conversation. I'm so pleased that this is exactly why I wanted you to come on the podcast to give this message I think is a really powerful one. And I think that the SLATHY concept is is brilliant. And I think more people need to hear it and understand it and internalise it and use it. And I think that, that that's, that's really, that's really important. So as we look to the rest of 2022, what, what are the things ahead for you? What do you what are you focusing on?


Wendy Willard  39:15  

I don't know, I think when we talked on Clubhouse in January, and you, I think you asked what is the word of the year or something or maybe it was Dana but I, I have said that this year, my word is curiosity. I'm, I'm really just trying to be open to new things to, to, to explore, to be curious about where all of this takes me. You know, I, I'd love to expand the reach of this, of SLATHY, of, I'd love to have more of these conversations. And I'm, I'm just excited to see where, you know where that takes me.


Gary Crotaz  39:54  

Fantastic. And where can people find out more about you?


Wendy Willard  39:57  

Well, I did finally register last year. And there's a link at the bottom to my strengths work also, which is I call myself the Strengths Encourager as you said. And so that's And I just want to say that if you if you fill out the little email sign up at the bottom of, that I will send you some questions you can ask yourself to, to just quickly, or not so quickly, if you want to take more time to do it, but to evaluate those five buckets of needs in your life, and, and to kind of consider where, which ones maybe do I want to work on or focus on?


Gary Crotaz  40:45  

Fantastic. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity, when you suddenly know the right path ahead. For Wendy was realising that life is more about fundamental needs than it is about material possessions. Working with foster children and adoption support helped her to find a way to connect with people around those fundamental needs and when they're not present for you, and to start life changing conversations with people that unlock incredible potential. Wendy, thank you so much for joining me on The Unlock Moment.


Wendy Willard  41:15  

Oh, it's been a pleasure. Thanks, Gary.


Gary Crotaz  41:20  

This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me, Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset, available in physical book, ebook and audiobook format. Follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!