The Unburdened Leader

The Unburdened Leader podcast, hosted by Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

Basic Member

Latest Episodes

EP 108: Speaking Truth to Power: Taking a Stand Guided by Faith and Love with Dee Kelley

EP 108: Speaking Truth to Power: Taking a Stand Guided by Faith and Love with Dee Kelley

What do you want to be known for? And what actions do you take to be seen in that light? 


What lengths do you go to to avoid being misunderstood and viewed differently than what you want to be known for? 


What drives what you want to be known for, and what are your choices to uphold your desired image or reputation?


Most of us have multiple internal agendas that shape our decisions and how we show up and are seen by others and ourselves. Our values, fears, and burdens, internally and externally, drive us. 


When we place our worth and safety solely in the hands of others, we go to great lengths to hold on to how we want to be perceived. Lengths that too often leave a wake of chaos, abuse of power, manipulation, and betrayal–all to maintain the illusion of control.


We need more leaders who give us hope and reverence for humanity and others. These leaders do the work to build their capacity for discomfort so that they can lead with conviction, humility, and a deep sense of connectedness bigger than their personal ambitions or fears.


Joining us today is a guest who embodies the principles we discuss on this podcast. Dee Kelley is a leader who leads with love and compassion, demonstrating the power of these qualities in leadership. Our conversation with Dee is a reminder that compassion and empathy are not signs of weakness, but rather, tools for personal growth and resilience.


Selden “Dee” Kelley is a lifelong learner and a beacon of knowledge. With five degrees, his academic prowess is unmatched. He served 18 years as the Pastor of the First Church of the Nazarene in San Diego, demonstrating his deep understanding of faith and its intersection with personal development. 


A driving force in his life is to help others discover the rich guidance that dream work can provide for their journey toward health and wholeness. He now helps people connect with the power of their dreams as a pathway toward new insight, better decision-making and improved creative thinking.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why Dee wanted to open a conversation about the relationship between the LGTBQIA+ community and the church, and why he has no regrets despite the consequences
  • How Dee came to realize that the things he feared in others were invitations for learning and growth
  • Why we need to commit to having hard conversations even when we don’t know the outcome
  • How a strong sense of values and identity apart from his position in the church softened the loss of his role and credentials
  • How Dee’s case sits in the larger context of faith communities grappling with and declaring how they will relate to LGBTQIA+ communities


Learn more about Dee Kelley:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 107: The Seasons of Entrepreneurship: Leading a Deliberate Life with Laura Roeder

EP 107: The Seasons of Entrepreneurship: Leading a Deliberate Life with Laura Roeder

What are you deliberate about in your life?


What does living deliberately mean to you?


Would you say that you’re a deliberate person? Would those who know you say that you are deliberate in how you live your life and lead?


Living deliberately can be a real challenge, especially when we’re constantly dealing with unexpected issues and navigating through the many crises in our world. The pace of life is so fast, it often feels impossible to slow down and reflect before taking action.


But there’s something deeply important about being deliberate if we want to cultivate life, work, and relationships that align with our values. It is messy, awkward, and challenging, but it is so worth it.


Today’s guest has built a career that serves her personal needs, values, interests, and skills through deliberate action, even when it flies in the face of conventional wisdom about entrepreneurship. 


Our guest today, Laura Roeder, is a true inspiration. She's a lifelong entrepreneur and the founder of several bootstrapped companies that have each reached multi-million dollar status. Her ventures include Paperbell, CoachCompare, MeetEdgar, Marie Forleo’s B-School, and LKR Social Media. She's been recognized as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and has shared her insights on entrepreneurship at prestigious venues like the White House, the Virgin Unites Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Laura’s desire for time freedom has impacted her decision-making as a business owner
  • How launching a business immediately before having her first child fundamentally changed the way Laura has run every venture since
  • Why leaders need to let go of the belief that they can’t teach someone else to do what they do 
  • How owning up to your mistakes and the steps you’ve taken to fix them builds trust
  • How Laura has navigated her desire to work and to lead after selling a company for a life-changing amount of money


Learn more about Laura Roeder:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 106: Trauma, Leadership, and Healing: A Colleague Conversation with Sarah Buino

EP 106: Trauma, Leadership, and Healing: A Colleague Conversation with Sarah Buino

Do you have thoughts about how the word “trauma” and other therapy-speak terms have bled into our day-to-day conversations in person, at work, and on social media?


Do you feel pressure to perform being “okay,” even when you’re anything but?


Have you ever pursued a project or career milestone only to realize, once you achieved it, that it no longer fits your life, values, or interests?


Today’s guest is a long-time, respected colleague who joins me for a profound and thought-provoking conversation about all of the above and then some. It’s a privilege to have people with whom we can engage in deep conversations without hesitation or self-editing; this chat is no exception.


Our guest, Sarah Buino, is a renowned speaker, educator, and therapist. She is the founder of Head/Heart Therapy, Inc. and Head/Heart Business Therapy, and a member of the adjunct faculty at Loyola University Chicago. Sarah is also a podcast host, known for her series, ‘Conversations With a Wounded Healer' and 'The Burnt Out Practice Owner.’ Her work focuses on the role of personal healing in caregiving and the challenges of group therapy practice ownership.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How the concept of ordinary trauma helped Sarah recognize what was and wasn’t her responsibility as she healed
  • The essential difference between discomfort and trauma and how it relates to our relationship with agency
  • Why being “okay” is just a data point, not a destination
  • How mindful awareness sets the stage for healing, regardless of modality
  • Why Sarah maintains that therapy is political and that we have to lead through values and relationships
  • How Sarah and her colleagues brought their values into their group practice
  • How Sarah came to realize that she was done owning her practice and ready to move on


Learn more about Sarah Buino:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 105: Dr. Frank Anderson: A Loving and Kind Approach to Healing and Leadership

EP 105: Dr. Frank Anderson: A Loving and Kind Approach to Healing and Leadership

What does healing mean to you? 


What expectations do you hold around how we heal and how quickly we heal?


Meeting our basic human need to be loved and experience belonging can be the root of many things we do, say, and want–for better or for worse.


Many of us have experienced relationships that shape how we pursue love and belonging, how we respond to folks who are different or have differences, how we handle conflict, and how we navigate not being perfect and not knowing all the answers.


So, how we seek love and belonging and perceive and pursue healing are inextricably connected.


Under those circumstances, we want to rush our healing process, achieve our desired changes, and be fixed as soon as possible. The stakes are high!


But we do not arrive at “healed” and coast for the rest of our lives. There is no three-step plan to change, heal, and thrive ever after.


Healing is a lifelong process that must be pursued and revisited with the ebbs and flows of our lives. Sometimes, those ebbs and flows feel like tsunamis, forcing us to revisit old wounds or discover new spaces in our stories that require our care and attention so that we can find love and belonging within, first and foremost.


Frank Anderson, MD, returns to the show to discuss his beautiful new book, To Be Loved: A Story of Truth, Trauma, and Transformation.


Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is an author, psychiatrist, therapist, speaker, and trauma specialist who’s spent the past three decades studying neuroscience and trauma treatment. He is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS therapy model. His published work spans contributions to literature and training for a clinical audience and works accessible to the general public.


Content Warning: We cover some heavy topics around verbal and physical abuse, conversion therapy, and suicidal ideation. Please take care as you listen to this conversation.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How the process of writing his memoir caused Frank to interact with his past in ways that surprised him
  • The tricky balance of telling stories honestly but from a loving place, especially with his family
  • How releasing his anger and coming to forgive and love people who harmed him gave Frank space and freedom to forgive himself for the harm he has done
  • Why Frank says healing happens first emotionally and somatically within yourself, and then you can work towards relational healing and forgiveness
  • How different phases of Frank’s life have influenced what and how trauma he unpacked and released
  • Why do we have to stop clinging to divisive polarities and recognize the good and bad in ourselves and each other 


Learn more about Frank Anderson, MD:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 104: The Intersection of How We Lead, Love, and Grieve with J.S. Park

EP 104: The Intersection of How We Lead, Love, and Grieve with J.S. Park

If you love, you experience loss. 


Looking back over the last few years, who or what have you lost? A loved one, a friendship, a relationship, a pet, a job, your health, your community? Something else? 


Have you had time to reflect on and grieve your losses and find meaning and sense in all you experienced? 


And how do you talk about your losses with those around you, if at all?


We cannot engineer the experience of grief out of our lives, but many try, at a significant cost, to their well-being, their relationships, and their ability to function, connect, and lead.


Grief will always do its job regardless of our response to grief’s presence. And the more we try to avoid the heartbreak, mess, awkwardness, outrage, and vulnerability, the more we disconnect from our humanity and those around us.  


So, the question for us is: How will we respond when grief comes knocking in our personal lives, work, and world? 


Joon ‘J.S.’ Park is a hospital chaplain, former atheist/agnostic, sixth-degree black belt, suicide survivor, and Korean-American, a person of faith and valuer of all. 


He is the author of As Long As You Need: Permission to Grieve, part hospital chaplain experience and memoir, and The Voices We Carry: Finding Your One True Voice in a World of Clamor and Noise.


J.S. currently serves at a top-ranked, 1,000+ bed hospital and was a chaplain for three years at one of the largest nonprofit charities for the unhoused on the East Coast.


Content note: This conversation covers topics around sexual abuse, suicide, and experiences of racism. Joon’s message and heart feel healing and gracious as he shares some tender issues. But please take care of yourself as you move through this beautiful conversation.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • The physical toll of unacknowledged accumulated grief that J.S. took on through his chaplaincy training
  • How contending with pervasive and severe suffering daily challenged and reshaped J.S.’s faith
  • How he began to grapple with his experiences of abuse, racism and internalized shame
  • Why we need to learn to engage with a range of grief and validate our responses to it to heal
  • What we can learn about others when they use clichés and platitudes in response to grief
  • How working closely with grief has changed J.S.’s concept of what it means to be successful 


Learn more about J.S. Park:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 103: The Burden of Shoulds and Moving Towards Self-Compassion with Alison Cook, PhD

EP 103: The Burden of Shoulds and Moving Towards Self-Compassion with Alison Cook, PhD

Are you aware of all the expectations you hold yourself to?


The day-to-day buzzing of our inner life can feel relentless, can't it? We're all too familiar with the bombardment of 'shoulds' about how we should act, dress, talk, move, etc. It's a struggle that resonates with each one of us, making us feel understood in our shared experiences. 


We carry so many shoulds from our family of origin, culture, difficult life experiences, work experiences,  people we respect, and people who we want to respect us. 


But the shoulds that mess with us the most and lead to the heaviest burdens are the stealth shoulds around what we should and should not feel.


Today’s guest, Dr. Alison Cook, returns for the third time to share her transformative new book. This isn't just a guide that addresses these 'shoulds ', it's an empowering invitation to unpack our stealth expectations of ourselves and our world. It's an invitation to approach the 'shoulds' that show up in our lives with curiosity and compassion, paving the way for personal growth and self-improvement.


Dr. Alison Cook is a psychologist and teacher who has spent two decades helping individuals name what's hard and take brave steps to transform their lives. She is also a best-selling author, teacher, and host of The Best of You podcast. She co-authored Boundaries for Your Soul and is the author of The Best of You, and I Shouldn’t Feel This Way. Alison is also a certified Internal Family Systems therapist, a dear friend, and a trusted colleague.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • The internal tension and disorientation Alison experienced when she couldn’t accomplish what she “should” have
  • How following her system’s lead led Alison to make a surprising connection to another pivotal transition in her life
  • Unpacking the familial and cultural origins of our shoulds around work and success
  • The high personal and social stakes of not making space to name what we’re feeling 
  • Why it’s vital to be able to discern who can best support you in processing what you’re going through
  • How to cultivate space for yourself to witness the hard things, rather than bypassing from naming to fixing 


Learn more about Alison Cook, PhD:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 102: Toxic Leadership: The True Cost of Workplace Trauma with Mita Mallick

EP 102: Toxic Leadership: The True Cost of Workplace Trauma with Mita Mallick

Many of us are familiar with the kind of person who easily earns the moniker ‘toxic’ and instills fear, rage, and frustration in those around them.


What do you do when you work with a toxic leader?


How do you feel when toxic leaders continue to get promoted and receive accolades?


And what do you do when others make excuses for these toxic leaders, like saying their skill set or network is too important to the organization and you have to “take the good with the bad?”


Toxic leaders and cultures take a toll on you, especially when you have your own relational wounding history. You may try to speak up or feel shut down, but there’s another common theme: How betrayed you feel when your experiences are met with silence, inaction, or retribution.


We're at a critical moment regarding leading, accountability, and culture. But one thing that still feels constant is the impact of our history with relational wounding and relational trauma, and how that impacts how, or if, we speak up in the face of injustices from toxic leaders and toxic work culture.


Today’s guest wrote a book on the impact of toxic leaders and cultures, including how we often protect toxic leaders at great expense to the staff and the business. As someone who was bullied both as a child and in the workplace, she has some very special insight into this all-too-common experience.


Mita Mallick is a corporate change-maker with a track record of transforming businesses. She has had an extensive career as a marketer in the beauty and consumer product goods space, fiercely advocating for the inclusion and representation of Black and Brown communities. Her book, Reimagine Inclusion: Debunking 13 Myths to Transform Your Workplace, is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Seller.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • The practical toll on the business of enabling toxic leaders to continue to manage teams
  • The psychological and physical impact of the workplace trauma created by working under toxic leaders
  • How people end up in environments that recreate the harmful relational patterns of their past
  • Why those with more power in the workplace need to speak up on behalf of others
  • How executive coaching can be used as a Band-Aid to cover toxic behavior
  • How guilt and empathy for the teammates we’d leave behind can keep us stuck in toxic environments


Learn more about Mita Mallick:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 101: Transforming the Legacy Burdens from Relational Trauma with Deran Young

EP 101: Transforming the Legacy Burdens from Relational Trauma with Deran Young

Do you feel frustrated by recurring struggles with self-doubt, hypervigilance, and overwhelm?


Behind many of your inner doubts, self-judgements, fears, and insecurities lie echoes from old betrayals or relational hurts.


These breaches of trust in important relationships don’t necessarily lose their impact on how you lead and work just because they happened a long time ago.


So when you're doing something new or high stakes, or there's an experience in a relationship at work or in your personal life, or you respond to a collective trauma that taps the echoes of your old wound, it can bring up old ways of responding or old patterns that impact how you honor your boundaries and values. 


And the expectation that you should ‘be over this by now’ when you are human and working with others adds to your stress and frustration.


But the reality is that healing from relational wounds and betrayal traumas often comes in stages and seasons, and you may need support along the way.


Deran Young is a licensed therapist, New York Times Best-Selling Author, former military mental health officer, and the founder of Black Therapists Rock. This nonprofit organization mobilizes over 30,000 mental health professionals committed to reducing the psychological impact of systemic oppression and intergenerational trauma.

She obtained her social work degree from the University of Texas, where she studied abroad in Ghana, West Africa for two semesters, creating a high school counseling center for under-resourced students. She is a highly sought-after diversity and inclusion consultant working with companies like Facebook, Linked In, Field Trip Health, and YWCA. Deran has become a leading influencer and public figure committed to spreading mental health awareness and improving health equity.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • The importance of learning to recognize the cultural and familial legacy burdens that impact us
  • How shame and an inability to be vulnerable shut down speaking the truth about cultural and personal histories
  • How early relational trauma can lead people to feeling out of place, not just at home, but in the world at large
  • Why our earliest experiences with our caregivers have such a deep impact on our relationships later in life
  • The lasting impact of the roles we take on as children in dysfunctional families in how we lead ourselves and others
  • How cultural expectations and perfectionism can dehumanize mothers and leaders
  • The potential for psychedelic-assisted therapy to change our relationships with our burdens

Learn more about Deran Young:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

EP 100: Celebrating 100 Episodes: Behind the Scenes of the Unburdened Leader

EP 100: Celebrating 100 Episodes: Behind the Scenes of the Unburdened Leader

Have you ever done something steadily, week in and week out, for a period of time?


What did you learn about yourself and the world around you in the process? Was there anything that came up that surprised you?


Putting in consistent reps and hundreds of hours towards something inevitably shapes and changes you, and producing this show has been no different for me.


Today I’m celebrating the 100th episode of The Unburdened Leader by sharing some behind-the-scenes stories, learnings, and reflections from starting a podcast in a pandemic to the pillars and themes of the show that have stood out over time.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How unburdened leaders shape healing and growth through vulnerability and a willingness to be uncomfortable
  • How wrestling with perfectionism in the beginning has eased into taking actual pleasure in the process of working on the show
  • The positive impact of finding certainty anchors in the rhythms of production
  • How good questions beget good questions, and how that guides who I want to have on the show


Learn more about Rebecca:


Resources:

Bio of The Unburdened Leader

The Unburdened Leader podcast, hosted by Rebecca Ching, LMFT, is a show that focuses on the journey of leaders who have faced their own personal challenges, worked through them, and emerged as stronger and more impactful leaders. The podcast aims to provide insights, strategies, and inspiration to help leaders navigate their own struggles, prevent burnout, and lead with authenticity and effectiveness.

Each week, The Unburdened Leader features conversations with leaders who have overcome various obstacles and achieved personal and professional growth. These leaders share their experiences, lessons learned, and practical strategies for leading without being weighed down by stress, burnout, or isolation.

Rebecca Ching, a licensed therapist, and expert in leadership development, provides valuable guidance on redefining challenges, embracing vulnerability, and cultivating essential qualities such as courage, confidence, clarity, and compassion.

Similar Podcasts

"The Digital Marketing Podcast" is a weekly podcast and hosted by Ciaran Rogers and Daniel Rowles.

Women & Wealth, a podcast hosted by Bernstein Private Wealth Management.

Podcasts

Australia

Dental Protection Australia podcast, hosted by the Dental Protection advisory team.

"SaaSy as F**k" is a podcast hosted by Jon McGreevy and produced by Alex Radford.

Finance Regulation Technology, presented by the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

Podcasts

United States

The 'All Things Book Marketing' podcast, hosted by Smith Publicity.

Podcasts

United States

Business with Beers, hosted by Brian Beers.

"Music Ed Tech Talk," formerly known as "Robby Burns + Friends".

back-to-top