Episode 19 Transcript: How to Let Everybody Win

EPISODE 19: How to Let Everybody Win

Originally Aired:  June 20, 2017  

Rich Tafel is Managing Director of Raffa Social Capital Advisors and the former President of Public Squared, a social entrepreneur strategy-consulting firm. It is the nation’s leading financial service organization in the social change arena. He has personally coached more than 600 social entrepreneurs. Rich is motivated by a belief that we are all here to make the world a better place. His passion is creating new solutions to address America’s dysfunctional government. From 1993 to 2002, Rich was the founding Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that works within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for LGBT people in the United States. He was one of America’s earliest political activists campaigning for gay marriage. He also pastors Church of the Holy City in Washington, DC. We’re very lucky to have Rich here with us today at Elephant Talk.

MY NAME IS ANDY HORNING, AND THIS IS ELEPHANT TALK. IT’S ABOUT ALL THINGS RELATIONSHIP – THE SOULFUL, THE SILLY AND THE SEXY.

AH       As I was looking at the work that you do and looking at the history of the work that you do, I was amazed at a couple of things. One is your desire to do good in the world, your desire to change the world for the better, and the second thing and maybe that’s the first thing is your willingness to be courageous and go against the flow. You’ve done a variety of different things.

RT         Yeah. So I have a variety of jobs. I do social impact investing during the week which means I work with social entrepreneurs and I marry them up with investors and I try to coach them and make them successful to change the world but get a return for investors. I’m working on a project in the political world where I’m working with a grant from the Democracy Fund at Pepperdine School of Public Policy to imagine a healthy conservation movement and then working with thought leaders on what that could look like. But on Sundays, I do preach at church here in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., that is this gorgeous Gothic church on 16th Street that has very few members left and we’re really trying to figure out what is church, what is spirituality for the next generation. I’m leading a conference this summer is on spiritual entrepreneurism. People who want to change the world, but what’s their business plan and what are they doing to change their inner life? How do they keep constantly growing and evolving spiritually? At the same time, how do they learn how to pitch? How do they learn how to do a spreadsheet? How do they learn how to do a financial projection? I find these two worlds are very disconnected and so I’m seeking to find leaders to bring that together too. So it’s another translation.

AH         I love that.

RT         Those are two completely different languages. I’m arguing that for the spiritual entrepreneur who has a vision of changing the world, if they don’t have a business plan, if they don’t speak the language of numbers, if they aren’t audited, if they can’t pitch to investors, they’re not going to exist with their mission. And to the person that I work with in the Wall Street office, I basically ask, “What’s your purpose? Why are you here? What’s the good that you can do in the world? My gosh! You got so much power. And just moving that power and finances a little direction towards social good, solving water, helping poverty. You can do so much good.” And so those are the different conversations. I’m trying to bring those two worlds together.

AH         You’ve really pushed the envelope so to speak on issues. What gave you the courage to say, “You know what? I’m going in. I don’t care if people agree with me or not. I’m bringing Republicans and Democrats together. I’m talking about what it means to be gay as a Republican”?

RT         The only thing I can point to in my life was having a strong spiritual background which undergirds all the work that I do and coming from a loving family, not a perfect family, but I do think there’s sort a key foundation points in my life I look back on and then I say, “Well, I was pretty lucky to have the family that I have.” I’m one of the six kids, parents that loved me and were involved in my life, still close to everybody in the family. So that’s fairly unusual I think in some ways. Also, spiritual background that you’re here to do something bigger than yourself. It’s not about you. It’s not just about selfishness and accomplishing your checklist. There’s a bigger issue and that is making the world a better place and doing good in the world was a fundamental principle for me.

AH         So even when you’ve received pushback you were able to hold true to that belief that, “No, no. It’s okay. I’m going to stick to what I believe here.

RT         Yeah. I think that in those moments in my life when the core of who I was was being described not as who I am. So people would say horrible things about me on all sides of the equation, left, right, in politics particularly, and particularly religious people. I mean, that’s where I had a lot of my most major debates would be with people who would call themselves Christian as I call myself Christian. What I discovered in that is the sort of existential question you ask yourself, “Well, then who am I? If they’re saying this about me and they’re saying this about me and they’re saying this about me and none of it is true, then who am I?” So when you then go back on that, I turn back. For me, it made for a deeper spirituality. And I don’t know what I would’ve done without that because everybody’s identity of you is not accurate and the way they’re describing you, you’ve got to go back to something more core and it turned out to be a life-changing experience doing that in my 20s has been a game changer for me. I feel very lucky. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody in their 20s, but I’m glad I went through it and it’s a game changer.

AH         How did you get to that spiritual place of finding your core? Can you go to that moment in time? What helped you bring it about?

RT         My experience of life is that we go through what I would call… what’s referred to often by the mystics as “Dark Night of the Soul”. So I’ve gone through them repeatedly. So I would say, unfortunately, I thought, “Wow! I’ve gone through this once and I’m not going to have to go through that again.” And I find that each part of my life evolves to a different level, something else has to burn off.

RT         It’s constantly shedding, constantly going to a deeper level. When I was really having the identity crisis would be between college and going – I went to a state college in Pennsylvania. I’ve been accepted to Harvard Divinity School to study theology. I was going to be a minister. I was really excited and that summer, it kind of all fell apart. And I just remember saying to myself, “Oh my gosh, I’m gay.” And I can’t be a minister. I’ll lose my friends from the soccer team, my family won’t accept me. So when you’re at that age and nothing makes sense, at least for me, you do think of suicide because you can’t imagine a strategy. Well, that won’t work and they won’t accept me. What’s the point of life if every group that you know and everything that you know is against what you fundamentally know about yourself? Something said to me, “Hey, look, if you’re willing to take your life, why not risk living your life? What are they going to do to you? Kill you? You’re going to do that to yourself.” So what can anybody do to you that you’re not willing to do to yourself? So why not give it a shot? That was very logical. It’s almost like a lawyer speaking to me and it was like, “Hey, that makes a lot of sense.”

RT         Why would I do something worse to myself and others aren’t even saying they’ll do?” And then I did. I did come out. And then everything bad that I imagined did happen. So it wasn’t like I was delusional and imagining a bad scenario. It was pretty close. And then work through it and once you work through those, you define yourself separate from how other people define you. It made me stronger spiritually because I realized this thing is real and I’m not even sure these relationships are that real. They’re not going to talk to me ever again because of this one aspect of myself, which I don’t really completely understand, but they’re not with me in it. So maybe this other is deeper. And then eventually, everyone came around. The point this many years later now people literally telling me that they were always with me. They literally deny any story of being against me, which I find so fascinating how we create memory.

AH         I thought you were going to say people have come back to me and apologized and said, “I didn’t speak out or I went against you and I was wrong and I’m sorry, Rich.”

RT       No. Everybody has rewritten history. The key point for me is you have to start with forgiveness. In other words, I don’t need to be right. I don’t need to say, “Well, yes, you did. You were terrible in that situation.” And let me tell you what. I have brought up some of the exact phraseology because it’s so awful and people have literally said, “That’s really insulting that you would ever even think I would say that.” I think when you’re talking about conversations, the need to win is one of the worst needs. I don’t really care what was said. It’s important for me to remember it. It’s fascinating for me that everybody has rewritten history, but we’re all the heroes of our own story. When someone takes that away and tries to make us not the hero of our story or really a bad character, that makes healing harder and forgiveness more difficult, but I’ve been kind of amazed when everybody is like, “Oh, I think I was with you from the beginning.”

I think historically, we’re always editing our past and I think it’s important to let people edit their past a little bit in my experience and let everybody win. Let people win in their story. Why not? What’s the goal? The goal was to have reconciliation to be accepted. How we get there? It’s going to be messy, but you have to allow for that messiness, I think that’s fine, and start with forgiving people because you need it yourself. I’ve certainly treated people very badly in my life that I didn’t even realize. And as I get older, I look back and I feel even worse for things I did in junior high school or high school when I didn’t even have the awareness of what I was saying or doing.

AH         But how did you give them the forgiveness from that? What helped you get there?

RT       Someone once said to me, “You’ve done a 360 degree of evil on yourself.” So I’m aware of my own shortcomings. I’m aware of my own. I would even use the world evil. I know my weaknesses. So when I look at myself and I say, “Oh my gosh! This is me. I’m doing the best I can, but the Grace of God, I’m not in different circumstance.” Then it just makes me look at the world and say, “Oh, everybody is struggling. Everybody is doing the best they can generally.”

So people are looking for someone who will let them win in a scenario and most of the complicated disputes that I’ve been in, I find a way to let everybody win, and realizing that I’m no better than them. You know I’ve struggled with things and I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been cruel to people. So understanding that just makes me very forgiving because I don’t see myself as any better.

AH         I mean you’re making friends with humility.

RT         I think for me humility has been the key thing in my life. I’ve become more humble as I become more self-aware. It’s not a false humility. It’s just like I’m working on this.

AH         Like you can take bigger risks, stretch yourself bigger because you know and own that it’s part of being human that you’re going to make mistakes.

RT       And so much of our culture now is structured in such a way as for me to be good, you must be bad and that’s how I keep my false pride. So you are the bad guy. I’m the good guy. Nothing you can do can make you good because if you become good, I can’t retain my status as whatever I see myself. That’s what’s locked in our political culture.

Unfortunately, we should be saying, “Hey, I’m doing the best I can and I’m struggling and I’ve got my weaknesses and I look and work with other people and they’re struggling too. Can I be vulnerable with them and share my own weaknesses? And also, can I let them win? Can I play to their better angels as opposed to locking them in? And so much right now is almost comical if it weren’t so disastrous. People are wedded to having the enemy be demonized and remain where they are.

AH         Yeah. It’s such a simplistic notion this black-white, either-or, and all nuance is lost, is gone.

RT         Exactly. It’s very binary. It is propped up by a number of systems, the media and the political parties are two examples where my…

AH         They thrive off of that.

RT         Yeah, because literally they’re telling me, my value in the culture is to be with this team and so that gives me virtue. It doesn’t matter necessarily what I’m doing in my life. It doesn’t matter what my job is. It doesn’t matter if I’m really helping humanity, but I’m on this team. And this team is fighting for the future of the world on the good side. And the other team is fighting against the goodness of the world on the other side. So that is reinforced through a political partisanship but also media campaigns and then our social networks. We’ve kind of locked in through social media into networks that constantly reaffirm.

AH         Reinforce.

RT         Everybody is afraid to go into the no man’s land between the two trenches.

AH         Do you get that where people are trying to pull you over to their particular side?

RT         Yes, absolutely. Part of the strategy in the political world is when you can be an enemy today but if you would come to our side, we would praise you the most as a smart person from whatever side. One day I’m a genius, so I’m the kindest most brilliant person. The next comment that I make though could make me the enemy and that’s the treasonous betrayer that must be destroyed.

AH         Being set up on pedestal really sets you up for, “You’re going down.”

RT         Right. So it’s important for me when I am on that pedestal, you have to have a sense of humor and you say, “Oh my gosh! This isn’t going to last long.” This is kind of funny and it’s probably dangerous that I’m here on something. They’re using me for something, but they’re not really interested in me as a human being.

AH         In that space between, what do you stand for?

RT         The complexity of humanity and the world moving forward, those are grand themes. I’m interested in getting shit done. So how do you get a bill passed? How do I keep my eyes on the prize to accomplish something in the political system or am I using business to accomplish it, through investments and social enterprise? In my spiritual world, am I helping people really be honest in their inner life and develop an inner life that’s missing right now? So it’s really focused on what the goal usually for the person or group I’m involved with. I guess my secret sauce would be that I work with groups that seemingly could not get together to accomplish goals. So that would be where I’m at my happiest. It’s like literally you two hated each other. Coming into this, now you’re actually both declaring a win on an outcome that everybody would say is good for the world.

AH         Nobody would deny that that’s a bad thing.

RT         Nobody would deny it, yeah. They might have problems giving each other credit, but they will certainly take the win.

AH         So what do you do? So you bring disparate groups together, disparate people together very opposing views that are seemingly entrenched in their own perspectives often at the opposite end of the spectrum and you bring them together. What are you doing?

RT       The skill set that I think is the most important right now for leaders in the world, which hasn’t yet been developed, but I think what you’re working on is you’ve got it is translation. The ability to have a conversation where you hear me and I hear you. I have discovered that we might speak a common language, but we are just generally talking through each other. And most of us in the worlds that I travel in have a little antenna on their head and they’re kind of listening. And as soon as they find a phrase that means you’re on the wrong team, I can keep smiling, but I’ve dismissed you, like I’m done, I don’t have to go further with you. There’s nothing we could do together. And so that’s generally how most conversations are going. People are holding them. They think that they’re being successful, but each side is written off the other almost immediately. My work is basically spending a lot of time with each of the players and saying, “What is a win for you? What will make you look good? What will make you feel good as your greatest purpose? What will help your fund raising, your financial, whatever the panoply of things that you’re concerned about?” But usually it’s respect. People want to be respected and they don’t want to be condescended to or disrespected.

Okay, what does that look like for you? What is it looked like for you? It’s different for everybody. How can we create a strategy that everybody can take that back afterward? And they often don’t share the credit even afterward. That’s ironic, but at the end, they don’t say, “I’m so glad we pulled together with these various forces.” After it breaks apart, they generally say they did it alone and it feeds a bigger narrative on their side, on their team, and there are some very powerful narratives in the culture right now that are almost like rivers and you jump in and you’re just pulled into that narrative. They’re not generally true, but they’re very, very powerful. In the political world, it’s a business to keep us divided, frankly. So there’s a business interest, a financial interest, and a power interest to keep us divided. In the other worlds that I work in say social enterprise where I work with impact investors and entrepreneurs, well, the entrepreneur wants money to deal with their vision and the investor wants to make money doing good. But they speak completely different languages. So getting them to communicate is a very important part.

AH         As you said we generally listen for a little bit then my antenna has already decided that you’re different for me or you’re not in my camp so I’m writing you off. I’ll pretend and engage, but you’re gone on some level. So you’re extending that listening timeframe and saying, “Hang in there. Hang in there. Keep listening. Keep hearing one another. Keep speaking.”

RT       That’s exactly right. I actually feel that what we’re in a deficit now as a culture is really listening. And I find that I can work with almost anybody who would never think they could work with me when they start the conversation.

And when I’m facilitating the discussions, I don’t need to win anymore. My win is for them all to work together. They’re like, “Wow! He really didn’t jump in and push his own agenda.” They’ll often say, “What’s your agenda in this? What do you want?” And I’ll say for this to succeed but for you to win, that’s my job is to make you win. How can I help you win better?”

RT         And I’ll be looking for a win for them. They know that. They know I know their world. But I find that when people make mistakes with me that I would call politically incorrect, rather than shutting them down with ideological argument or a win, I know, “Wow! They’re telling me the truth,” because what they’re saying right now is actually quite insulting and that was I think a big chunk of my education on gay issues in the ’90s. Politicians kept saying I was the first they never met who was gay which of course a third of their staff was gay, but no one knew at the time.

RT         But they would say politically incorrect things to me that were insulting and I would listen and I wouldn’t correct and because I said, “Oh my gosh! This is it. Now I’m really hearing what they think.”

AH         You’ve got transparency.

RT         I’ve got transparency. And there I can work. There I can work.

AH         That’s the curve swung too far back in the PC culture where it restricted people’s opportunity to speak aloud some of these things.

RT         Totally. We’re in a culture where people are terrified, so terrified of being policed in a conversation that were being seen as not virtuous for what they say that what they’ve done is they’ve suppressed those same ideas. The ideas don’t go away. The way I’ve learned to talk about them when certain people goes away and that’s why I’ll be in certain conversations with people and they’ll think it’s safe to say certain things and I’ll be sort of stunned. But it shows that, wow, as far as we think we’ve progressed, we’ve progressed at policing what we say to each other. I think a lot of things have been pushed underneath the surface.

AH         It’s almost even worse because now we put on the front that we’re amenable to the dialogue, but in fact, we’re holding our deep limited belief underneath the surface.

RT         That’s been my belief all along. I mean, I’ve not had anybody really agree with me on that, but my theory all along has been when you take a view point and suppress it’s like putting into the dark. But it’s not really going to be challenged.

RT         I think puts sunlight on things, like let’s have the conversation, but let’s all be insulted a little bit, let’s be hurt, let’s have people hurt our feelings because only then can we get to an honest conversation in the culture. I think that the policing even of humor now is gotten so over the top that everybody is on edge trying to be virtuous. But I’m much more concerned about things like racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, which I would never hear in good company. I live in the cities, but I hear it in private ways, in private conversations that a very well-educated, very power people, and I think, “Okay, wow! It looked like one thing on the surface, but there’s something much deeper. We have to bring it to light.”

AH         This is exactly what happens in dysfunctional relationships or relationships where trust is starting to break down because now I’m retreating into my camp and if you say something that’s offensive, now I can hold on to that and be like, “Yeah, but you said this.” And of course what that does to the dialogue is just kill it. Now we’re in our camps and now we’re fighting or it’s kind of a protracted or contracted kind of engagement, but it’s all about not showing the wrong thing because then you might come after me or I might come after you and then one of us is wrong. I just wish people mess up in relationship more, mess up sharing stuff, and that became more socially acceptable to say the wrong thing and this awkwardly courageous world that I’m wanting, which is we step out into the world, but we stumble and trip and fall and say the wrong thing and it’s okay.

RT         My experience is that the debate in the culture is a reflection of debate of when I facilitate small groups which is the debate we have in couples, which I find also is the debate we have within ourselves. People have different voices within themselves that have different players and one is dominant for a period of their life or whatever or they squall certain voices even within themselves and I find that when they do that, that person, that voice that’s silence becomes a saboteur like, “If I’m not going to be heard, I’m going to sabotage your life this way until I get heard.” In relationships, I think people even look at, “Well, he cheated on me. Now I’ve got a pass for every conversation. I can bring that right back up,” so then therefore, never have another honest conversation about anything because I’ve got the trump card of, “Well, don’t forget, you did this.” So, I do wish we would give each other the luxury of making mistakes because we all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. That to me and being vulnerable enough to admit you make mistakes knowing that you can be actually forgiven.

AH         Sort of part of being human, right? That’s what I say.

RT         I do. I think it’s just part of being human.

AH         It’s like I’m a human, my name is Andy, I make mistakes

AH         I almost wanted to start this conversation by saying, “As a white heterosexual male who is from a Christian, Catholic family, what mistakes am I going to make in this interview in asking the questions? What assumptions? What biases are going to be prevalent?

RT         I think, you know, I also lead Christian-Muslim dialogue through the National Council of Churches.

RT         And so recently I was speaking to imams and I started literally by saying that. I said, “I’m going to give my take on some historical things and I’m going to apologize upfront if I get this wrong. This is my theory, but I hope you’ll let me make mistakes with you so that if my theory is wrong, I’ll change.” Because I feel like when it comes to Islam in United States everybody is on eggshells and can’t talk about it. And even I who studied world religions and have studied the Quran, I’m incredibly ignorant, so just for starters. So I started that way and I think it is a great way to acknowledge like I’m probably not going to get this right, but I’m doing the best that I can.

AH         And work with me.

RT         They were so gracious in their response. They said, “I don’t why you apologized because your comments were so on the mark.” They couldn’t have been that on the mark, right? But they went on their way to be like gracious back to me afterwards and said, “You said this and this, that’s just a unique insight that we’ve not seen among Christians.” So I think are we finding the wins for each other? It comes back to that word humility. If we start with humility, we can have really amazing conversations.

AH         Yeah.

RT         Those conversations by not nuancing it, I think actually are fostering what we are calling the rise of the alt-right and the groups that discriminate and are openly discriminating. They’re playing off of this subterranean thing that people are thinking. People would say about Trump, they would say, “I don’t necessarily like him, but I like that he says what he thinks.” What they’re really saying is I appreciate he’s speaking the things that I think and I can’t say at my neighborhood barbeque or in my supermarket or at my church.

AH         He becomes the perverse expression of something that we can’t actually speak out right ourselves.

RT         Exactly. Exactly. I think that’s a lot of his strength,

RT         Let’s make mistakes with each other. We’re going to get it wrong. If you’re a white person talking about race and racism, you’re going to get it wrong. If you’re a Christian talking about Islam, you’re going to get it wrong. If you’re a straight person talking about being gay, you’re going to get it wrong. Let’s allow people to get it wrong and then have the honest conversation.

AH         I don’t know what you think about this, but, fragile. I think as white heterosexual men we’re fragile and maybe the whole world is fragile but we’re so fragile, our psyches are so fragile, “I can’t admit that,” or It’s like, “No, we all screw up.” Do you see fragility in the culture?

RT         Yeah, amazing fragility. You’re right, that the majority, the very powerful privileged white majority is very fragile and growing more fragile. They have been advanced by privilege. I find that the straight white male, when they say to me, I feel like we’re the only group that’s under assault. So there is fragility there. We’ve dangerously as a culture all tied ourselves to victim narratives. Which if you’re a victim, you’re therefore not responsible for your behavior and you can’t really have an honest conversation. You have to stop the victimizer and that’s a very dangerous thing. And so if everybody is a victim, the power of victimology is you don’t have to look at yourself. You only have to look at the oppressive group that’s after you and organize your group against it

AH         The way in which you talk, I imagine that you’d be a fantastic partner in intimate relationships just because your understanding of the nuance, the intent versus impact. Are you in a relationship?

RT         I am in a relationship. Though I would say I am – I haven’t been very great at relationships. That would be growing edge. I don’t think I’ve particularly great. I think my partner now might say that I do a good job. But I think also as I’ve gotten older again, this desire to win or be right has decreased. But I would say the earlier parts of my life particularly say my twenties, thirties, the ambition, the desire to win, to be right, a good arguer, a good debater, which makes it very tough in relationship. I could win the debate even if I probably wasn’t right. I don’t think I’ve done that great. I don’t think I would be teaching any workshops on how to be a great partner, but I’m doing the best I can.

AH         The experts on my end who are giving the advice I think often aren’t always great executors of that advice. And so part of what I wanted to do is bring laypeople so to speak out there talking about it because oftentimes those are the people who really know how to do it, not us who know how to talk about doing it, which is a whole different thing.

RT         Yeah. I think one of the big shockers of my life have been the people particularly in the spiritual world. I’ve always been amazed those great teachers, the dysfunction I’ve seen on the other side. We’ve seen the worst examples say in the Catholic church but very respective preachers and then having completely dysfunctional even horrible lives on the other side even engaging in evil. So it is interesting to me that with power, particularly in religious areas, there tends to be almost in my experience, I haven’t seen any studies on this, but a correlation to exploitation in relationships. So it’s something to keep in mind. To your point about the experts, I want to see what their personal life is like as well.

RT         So I work with spiritual entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, political leaders of the future, if anybody would spend any time with them, they’re kind people, they want to do good. So everybody I work with is kind of a very reassuring world view of the future. I help them navigate more complicated say bureaucracies at Washington, which is a different system. So I’m not cynical. I don’t get down about it. I do have a spiritual outlook that we’re going through a period. I understand that throughout history, we’ve gone through evolutions of different cultures and crashes and ups and downs. So I would see us in that moment. If you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the world is really moving to a really beautiful space, where you know at one point, all we did was worry about getting food and shelter and we’re now at a period where people are really asking profound questions of purpose and meaning and self-actualization and that’s never happened and it’s happening around the world. I have these conversations with people all over the world.

RT         In a few weeks, I’m giving a presentation called “What Green Can Learn From Pink”. Why did gay rights succeed so dramatically in twenty years but environmentalists lost all that steam? It lost its popularity and it became partisan. I thought what’s interesting is some of the young people in the group who are planning it said, “Well, the gay rights issue was always going to be successful. You just have culture on your side.” And it’s so interesting. I was like, “No, it wasn’t like that in the nineties.” So it’s interesting when something succeeds, we think, “Well, that was always going to work.” So that also actually makes us less optimistic about the future because we can’t remember what worked which we thought once was impossible.

AH         So this is part of what I’m trying to do on a one-to-one level in relationship is help couples tell the story because oftentimes they’ll be like, “Those days were bad. We were almost divorced, but now we’re great.” And I want to say, “Wait, wait, wait, time out. Rewind the tape and slow it down because I want to know what you did differently that you survived.” And they have the sort of amnesia themselves. They’re like, “Well, I don’t know. Do you remember?”

RT         Right. Right. I often tell people, “Keep a journal for this period because you’re not going to believe how bad it is and what you did to get out of it.” Because once you’re out of it, I think as human beings, we don’t want to remember. We want to remember a positive story which we kind of had that downtick, but what was it? What year was that? I don’t remember.

RT         To your point in relationships, if we can’t remember how we got through that last crisis, when we face the next one, we’ll say, “This is the first time,” and anything like this has ever, ever happened. My experiences in, particularly in relationships, working through bad times and difficult things day in and day out, that’s what builds for the long term, but remembering, let’s talk about it. When did we ever have an argument that was so bad that we want to end things? We tend to want to gloss over it because even by speaking about it, it means we’re like, “Oh gosh, we don’t want to make it happen.”

AH         It’s that fragility.

RT         That’s the fragility. We’re very fragile.

RT         I’m always amazed when I meet people who are religious, who are stunned when bad things happen to them because they will happen. People that you love will die. You will have disease. There will be a crisis. There will be a terrorist attack. It’s going to happen. We know it. We’re all so surprised each time. So I think it is important to build strength to kind of really drill in those different times. What did we do? What did work out? What did we say to each other? How do we forgive each other? And my gosh, that’s what made us so much stronger for whatever we’re going to go through next.

AH         Rich, thank you for your time.

RT         My pleasure. I’m glad to be supportive of what you’re doing. I think important conversations at all levels are the most important thing we can do.

AH         And oftentimes, the ones we’re doing at home with our partner, that sort of give us the practice and the momentum to head out there.

RT         Absolutely.

AH         Although it can work the other way where we get inspiration from our professional life and bring that home.

RT         Right. It can go both ways.

AH         Yeah. Thanks, Rich.

RT         My pleasure. Thank you.

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2017-06-19T12:53:10+00:00 June 20th, 2017|Transcript|0 Comments

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