Transcript

Episode 170 Mission-Oriented and Heart-Centered Consulting—with Jeffrey Ring

Deb Zahn: I want to welcome you to this week's episode of the Craft of Consulting podcast. So this is going to be an episode where you're going to have some feelings because we're going to talk about mission-oriented and heart-centered work. So how can you do that as a consultant while still doing well as a consultant but doing things that really matter and are meaningful to you? And I brought on someone who has built his whole consulting business around doing mission-oriented work, Jeffrey Ring. And he and I are getting into a conversation about how we both do this, what it looks like and how to apply some really important skills like self-reflection to make it work and to make it serve the life that you ultimately want to have while you're serving the mission that matters to you so much. So let's get started.


Hi, I want to welcome to my show today, Jeffrey Ring. Jeffrey, welcome to the show.


Jeffrey Ring: Oh, so happy to be here, Deb. Thanks for inviting me.


Deb Zahn: I am so thrilled to have you on. So let's start off. Because I know you thank goodness, but others don't. So what do you do?


Jeffrey Ring: So I am a Health Psychologist by training, and I'm here in Los Angeles, the place where I was born. I do work that is all linked to health equity and health justice and improving healthcare access and quality for underserved communities that have been battered by racism and poverty and limited healthcare access.


So I do work as a leadership coach and leadership educator. I do a lot of work in behavioral health integration into primary care. I do work in resilience, wellbeing, and self-care. And then finally the area that I'm most engaged with these days is working with medical education for health justice and health equity and helping leaders, particularly in medical education and beyond, to do a better job as leaders in all ways and as leaders more specifically in those often crispy, challenging places of equity, inclusion, and diversity.


Deb Zahn: That's wonderful. And that's what we're going to talk about today is doing consulting that is mission-oriented and heart-centered and all the things that I know you value, and I value too. So let me ask this first. So there's all kinds of different ways to do consulting; you obviously have many skills. There's lots of things you could do. Why do you choose to do that mission-oriented, heart-centered work? Why would you approach consulting in that way?


Jeffrey Ring: So this has roots in my childhood, which won't surprise you as a psychologist. But when I was 15 years old, I had a very clear idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and it was a very specific calling. I wanted to become a Spanish speaking psychologist. And part of that was because my family was going through a terrible divorce, and my world had been torn and my mom took me to see a therapist and that was a powerful, healing, extraordinary series of encounters for me. And when I got stronger and grew out of the pain, I decided I wanted to be that guy that helps people that are in really difficult positions, navigating sadness or depression, anxiety, worry, and tough situations.


And then I had this friend Nikki up the street. Nikki's family were immigrants from Argentina, and I spent a lot of time there. I loved his mom's cooking, and his dad was old school and would give me poetry and music and Spanish that I didn't really understand. But one day it occurred to me if I could become a psychologist and I could learn to speak Spanish, I could make a huge difference in Los Angeles. It was like a teenage gap analysis of service needs and that's what I pursued. And actually that's what I did for 20 years. I worked as a Spanish-speaking psychologist embedded in primary care on faculty in a family medicine residency here in Los Angeles. And then from that has grown really a deeper understanding about the larger bio, psycho, social economic, spiritual needs of clients and of how we do healthcare more generally.


Deb Zahn: Absolutely. Well, I love that answer. And I know that the other thing that matters to you is having values at the core of your work and living those values. What are some of those values to you that you absolutely adhere to no matter what?


Jeffrey Ring: Yeah. So for me, it's really about equity and justice deep down. I believe that extraordinary healthcare is a right. I believe that the history of our nations starting with slavery has developed kind of two parallel healthcare systems. One for those who have, and one for those who do not. And that the access and quality and experiences of individuals in both of those systems are very different and they should not be. So I like that part of coaching where you ask difficult and challenging questions with care, questions that maybe people think and think again about how we do things. And I understand that racism as a system would prefer that we just keep doing things the way we have always done them. So I see myself in some ways as a warrior champion for a different way forward.


Deb Zahn: That's beautiful. I love that. And if you have to have values, those are wonderful values to have. And so obviously, as a consultant, you're a business person, right? So you are make a living as a consultant, and you're also obviously a person who has the deep values and beliefs that you adhere to. So how does having those values help on both sides of that equation, sort of who you are as a person, but then who you also are in the business of consulting?


Jeffrey Ring: Yeah, that's a great question. There was a time when I was not so successful in my consulting, and I was suffering mightily and emotionally with the lack of success. It was something I hadn't been very accustomed to in my prior work lives. And I worked with my coach who said to me something very important. He said, "Jeff, stop being a good soldier. Stop just doing projects that people bring to you. Stop doing projects that you don't really know how to do, unless you want to learn something new. Stop doing projects that really are not in your wheelhouse. And instead," he said, "think about what are the projects that you want to do? Who are the people you want to work with and then put yourself right in their line of sight."


That advice was life-changing for me actually because it's a really good question. Who do I want to work with? What kinds of projects do I most want to do? And I decided I only wanted to work with people and do projects that were linked to health equity and health justice. And so it did mean making some challenging decisions about saying no to some projects that weren't as relevant. And it also meant building up my own sort of self-assuredness about being able to say to someone, "I love the work that you're doing, and if there are any ways that I can be of help or support to you, I'm happy to brainstorm with you."


Deb Zahn: And say a little bit more about it because first all, you know I love that advice. Because if you just sort of do random acts of consulting and hope things get thrown at you, you could easily end up down a path that doesn't feel good and doesn't serve you, it doesn't serve the client, certainly doesn't serve the world. So I love the idea of finding what really lights you up and going and doing that work. How did you get in...And I love the second piece of, and then get in their line of sight. So what are some of the ways that you got into their line of sight that enabled you to have some of the conversations that led to you doing the work that lights you up?


Jeffrey Ring: So I'll give you a really tangible example of that. In that moment, my coach said, "Can you think of an organization that you'd like to work with?" And one came to mind. And so he said, "Run Jeff, run. Go get them. Go put yourself there." So I looked up who in that organization was in charge of diversity and equity and I learned a little bit about them. In fact, I read an article by that individual, which was fantastic and inspiring, and exciting for me. And so I sent an email. I said, "Hey, I just want you to know, that I read your article. And these are the ways in which it resonates for me. If there are any ways that I can be of help or support or actually even just if there's an opportunity to talk together, I would really value that."


So that individual wrote back to me and said, "Thank you. Appreciate that. I'm not exactly the person in this organization that would necessarily be helpful to talk with, but I have a colleague," and he introduced us. And I had a phone conversation with that colleague and we just...This explosion of synchronicity and connection. And that turned into a project that I've been doing twice or three times a year for the last seven years. A project that has then also led to other projects as so often happens. So does that help kind of give a little meat to the bone?


Deb Zahn: It does. Yeah, yeah. But it took bravery, right? To be able to essentially cold call someone and say, "Hey, I love what you're doing and I'd love to be of service relative to that." How did you get the courage to do that?


Jeffrey Ring: Well, I'm going to answer that, but then I'm going to ask you the same question in a moment. Well, what's your source of courage because I'm curious.


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Jeffrey Ring: You know what provides courage for me, Deb? It's having a clear mission. If I have a clear mission, then I have like a stronger backbone. I have rocket fuel in my tank. I mean, my mission is the mission of the national class standards, right? These standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. My mission comes from the mandates in graduate medical education and the parts they're in, which talk about equity and access and culturally responsive care and cultural humility, all of that. So when I can align myself and I can tether myself to what is sort of established calling mission, vision, then I'm good. And I, by nature, am not particularly actually assertive or courageous. I'm kind of a, I don't know. I like just to get along. But when I have a clear mission, then I just feel incredibly empowered.


Deb Zahn: Wow. I love that. So you want to know where my courage comes from?


Jeffrey Ring: Yes. Yes. Pray tell.


Deb Zahn: So here's an interesting thing, which most people wouldn't guess from me who know me, is I used to not have a lot. So sort of back in the day when I rewind into my twenties and probably part of my thirties, I was tremendously unassertive. So the things I do today were unthinkable. But I was really unassertive to the point where sometimes I was afraid to return things to stores. I mean, we're talking that level of unassertiveness. But interestingly, I had a temper, and the two sort of worked like if you've ever seen those superhero movies where somebody has a power, but they can't control it?


Jeffrey Ring: Yes.


Deb Zahn: That's sort of what my temper was. So anytime it came out, it was ill-timed and ill applied. It didn't do anything in service of assertiveness. And so it just came out as raw aggressiveness and at the wrong time. But I recognized that I had the energy. I had the power surge within me. I just needed to apply it. And truthfully, I see courage as much...And what I learned is it's as much a habit as anything else.


So I was in my twenties and to make a very long, silly story short is, the only way I could get to school...I was going to UC Berkeley and the only way that I could get to school was a bicycle because I was broke. I was paying for my own school. I was working full time, but I didn't make much money and somebody stole my bike and it turned out that the place that I bought the bike from was selling stolen bikes, and it was this whole thing. And in order to get a bike and get my bike back, I had to be assertive. I wasn't used to it, and I didn't know what to do.


So I scripted it out, and I was forced to because I had no money. And I was too far away to actually walk to school. So I forced myself to do it. And it was so uncomfortable, and I hated it. But it occurred to me that I wonder if I just did this over and over again, if it would become second nature? And sure enough, in my twenties I didn't know the neuroscience behind it or anything like that. Sure enough, every time I practiced assertiveness and practiced courage, it got easier and easier every time until it became second nature and I was able to direct the power that I had that was always mistimed and misapplied towards being able to actually set and defend boundaries for myself.


So I would say habit is the first one. And then the second thing is exactly what you said is, when it came to defending myself, I could never rely on myself to do it prior to learning the habit. But when it came to sticking up for other people, I was fierce. And again, I had to learn to be fierce for myself, but that goes to the mission. Fairness is really important to me. Generosity is really important. Justice is really important to me. And so if those things are in play, then it's easier for me to have courage because it's not about me. It's about me contributing to the right thing happening. And those are the same things I apply in my consulting business or anything else I do every single day.


Jeffrey Ring: I noticed, Deb, you're wearing your incredible Hulk green cap today for the...


Deb Zahn: For those that can't see, I am actually wearing the colors of the incredible Hulk. So yeah, I was the She-Hulk until I could actually control my powers. And now, I never lose my temper except occasionally. And assertiveness is second nature to the point where most people think I'm making it up, that I was never at a point I wasn't assertive.


Jeffrey Ring: I think that there's a hydraulic system about assertiveness and courage and that it can be shifted around within us, but I didn't really exactly know how to do that on my own. Actually coaching and therapy and other reflective processes have really helped me get to that over the course of my life, which leads me to the other observation about what you're saying is. It's really cool to be senior and doing this work. I just feel like my whole life has prepared me for each of the next projects that I'm getting. I just can't express the joy of what it means to grow into sageness] or whatever that's called. The fear that I had as an early young consultant that I wasn't going to do it or do it well or do it enough or be liked or all of that, it's melted away in a way that allows me to show up just so present in the work. I know we have to go through that developmentally, but I think it's worth just savoring how delicious it is on the other side.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. There's certainly less drama, which I appreciate tremendously. One other thing because saying no also takes courage as much as showing up in someone's line of sight and trying to get a yes. And I know that because I've also done some work related to health equity, I've been asked to do projects that I stepped back and I said, "Am I the right person to do this?" So as a white woman or a woman who doesn't live in the area, so I don't really have a stake, a real lived experience stake in the outcome. And so I've found myself saying, no, and then trying to help them find the right person because I didn't think that the work was served best through me doing it. Or I thought that in terms of who money should go to for some of this work, there are times when it doesn't make sense that it's me. And so I'm curious for you since you do a lot of this work, how do you ask and answer questions like that for yourself? And in that way, try and embody the equity that's so important to you.


Jeffrey Ring: Yeah. That's a really important question. It's an ongoing discussion that I have with myself and with others. As a white man, I ride on the waves of extraordinary privilege, power-wise, and economic wise in this world of inequality. I know that allows me the luxury to be able to pick and choose projects sometimes that others may not have. And the other side of it also is what it means to be a white man in this work and wanting to not inordinately take up this space and overshadow or eclipse the voices and wisdom and experience of others.


So there are times when it actually helps to be a white man talking about anti-racism with groups that are often very populated by many other white men. It allows a certain kind of connection and bonding and leaning in and pushing maybe each other in ways that are helpful. I don't have any other kind of magical answers about that except that it's really important, I agree with you, to be very attentive to all of those dynamics.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. And then again, that's the work of equity. Equity is not a simple solution that you just slap onto something. It's an engaged practice. And so I've found it extremely helpful to consistently ask myself who am I here and is my presence, is my voice, is that adding or is it subtracting? And if it's subtracting, then shut my yap and step off. But I appreciate your thoughtfulness on that because as you know, the diversity equity inclusion space, for some really, really good reasons and some other reasons has gotten a lot of folks sort of drawn to it and part of it. And I think that thoughtfulness is what will make the work real and actually make the outcomes and the process the right process.


Jeffrey Ring: Yeah. It's so interesting, Deb. For my leadership consulting, I use the DiSC profile. And in the DiSC there are some judgments about what is better or worse leadership, which I don't always agree with. But there is one that I scored very highly on, which is speaking out, right? To be able to speak out about issues, about vision, about ways forward. And the other side of that dialectic is holding back. And while I sort of get a shout-out from the DiSC for being good at speaking out as a white man, I'm really working on holding back. I'm really working on creating psychological safety that allows for inclusion, for other voices, particularly voices that have not been invited like women and people of color. So it's kind of a reframing of sorts of my role and my place.


Deb Zahn: I like that. Now I'm familiar with DiSC. We did it when I worked in California. They called it something else. They used animals, so it was like buffalo and deer and eagle and bear or something like that that was a little appropriative. But I was a buffalo, no shock to you. But we ended up just using it as a way to, unfortunately, it got applied to folks distancing themselves from each other and saying, well, an eagle is better than a bear and anything's better than a buffalo. So it wasn't actually well applied at all. But I've never heard the DiSC and equity come together in the way that you just described it. And it actually made my heart leap a little bit because I think a lot of the tools where it's DiSC or any of the other sort of standard tools that folks use should have roots in equity and anti-racism and all of that beautiful stuff, and I rarely hear that. How do you apply some of that and build that bridge between those tools and what you're really trying to accomplish?


Jeffrey Ring: So that's a really interesting question that speaks to a large project I've been working on recently with a large medical educational institution that wanted to increase the capacity for leaders to more effectively lead in that place of equity and diversity and inclusion. And my approach has been to not start with equity, diversity and inclusion or racism, or anti-racism. We just started with leadership. How to be a strong leader? And so we've been exploring questions of trust, questions of forgiveness, questions of conflict, the power of courage, something we've talked about here together today. And so the whole foundation of the project just is about inviting inner work and self-reflection and small work and the courage for more challenging conversations.


And then at a certain point, and then at a certain point, we can start to look at implicit bias and we actually can move to some very bold prompts and challenges around racism and anti-racism. But I think it has to be thoughtful and sequential. It has to be done with warm and steady empathic arms. It has to be done with a lot of grace and clarity. Actually, I find that process of self-reflection at the beginning, whether it's DiSC or whatever measure someone might use, is a really beautiful on-ramp to relationship building with the coach and to relationship building with ones with oneself.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. If I was forced to pick any skill that a consultant should cultivate, it would be self-reflection because so much flows from that. You can pick up other tools and try and learn things, but if you don't have the self-reflective piece to say, who am I relative to that? How do I respond in that situation? What gets triggered in me when a client looks at me when I'm say my price and I'm worried? Whatever it is, either from the business side or the service side, absent self-reflection, there will be unnecessary struggles.


Jeffrey Ring: Do you do that, Deb, in a systematic way? Do you sort of set aside time for reflection or does it sort come with the flow of your work? I'm curious.


Deb Zahn: Again, I'm a huge fan of habit, a big, big fan of habit. So I've cultivated deliberate self-reflection in my personal life, again, since my twenties. My twenties were largely filled with working related to healing. And so I didn't have the fun-filled twenties that most people had. I had the nose down, trying to figure out how I was going to be able to heal and become the person I wanted to be. So I cultivated on an ongoing basis self-reflection. And so through the habit, it's kind of natural to where I don't necessarily set aside time. But if something gets triggered and I'll say, "Hang on, I think I'm building a narrative around this. I think I'm building a case against that person. Or I think I'm building a case against myself for doing this." Then if it's got a big charge, so it's got a big emotional charge behind it, then I have to set aside time because usually it's nice and juicy and layered, and there's more than one thing going on.


And so that's where I will pick up sort of go-to tools. Journaling is a big one of mine. I'm a huge fan of automatic writing, which for those folks that aren't familiar with it, my husband's dissertation actually was on it. But automatic writing is where either with prompts or without prompts, you essentially write without a thought process or without worry about what the narrative is or spelling or editing or things like that. Really hard to do for perfectionists like myself. But I use prompts and my prompts are always, I think, I feel, I want. And then I will just sort of run through those or I'll look at a situation and I'll say, "I think this is happening. I feel this when it happens. I want this to happen." And usually, that will help reveal things and often things that if I just stayed on the surface, I wouldn't get to what's really going on.


Jeffrey Ring: I love this conversation about self-reflection. It's one that I think is not often part of our training and it's not often part of our regular work. Self-reflection is important, one, for continuous quality improvement. We can't get better if we're not really thinking hard about what we're doing. Second, this is what James Hillman said, the great union writer. He said that we can't get to the meaning of our work if we don't self-reflect. He says that the chemical formula is experience plus self-reflect leads to meaning. And without self-reflection, we only have experience.


Deb Zahn: Right.


Jeffrey Ring: So there's a wellbeing vector here too. If I want my work to be meaningful to me and we spend a lot of time at work, hopefully so, then we need to find a place for self-reflection. And I think that kind of also describes the work that I do as a coach and consultant. I'm creating a space and inviting in an opportunity for some deeper reflective practice. And it's also a muscle. It doesn't happen easily.

Deb Zahn: It is indeed.


Jeffrey Ring: You've had to write and write and write and write to be able to sort of get to that valuable flow state that lights things up for you.

Deb Zahn: Well, Ann sends you down the right path. I mean, I think of, of course, I'm talking to psychologists so I'm revealing all these things which I fight with. So I almost drowned when I was five. Off the coast of Africa, I was taken out by the rip tide, and I did survive, obviously. But I always think of that as I don't want to just be carried away. I don't want to just be swept into things where I could do something to alter the course. And I don't have control over everything. No one does. But I have control of enough things that I can deliberately choose when I truly have a choice, or I can influence when I'm able to influence. And that's what self-reflection does is it's a key to be able to choose when you're able to choose and to choose the things that at that moment in time are right for you instead of just getting swept away. And I have no interest in just being swept away. I look at the world and there's too much swept away, and that's why the world is hurting and needs healing.


Jeffrey Ring: I really appreciate you sharing that with me. I didn't know that about you. It helps me know you and appreciate you. And interestingly, Deb, you have always struck me as someone who's incredibly grounded. In the projects we've worked on, in the relationship we've had, in the work we've done, you are grounded in the plan. You're grounded in the objectives. You're grounded in the data. You're grounded in the action steps. You are organized. And I just wonder if that isn't part of what the gift of that terrible sweeping away has sort of bestowed upon you over the course of your life.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. Well first, thank you for that. That makes me misty. Don't make me misty, Jeffrey. But it does, those are important things to me. And I would say the thing that goes with it is I'm really clear about what's not my lane. And so there are things that I am not good at and as a consultant, I don't have to be and I still make a great living. So when I'm in projects, everybody is bringing their gifts and I welcome that. I mean, this is why I love...I mean, sometimes I work alone, but I also really like working in teams because it's a gift buffet, or a potluck probably is a better analogy where we all are bringing something. And I bring this and this and this and that's good enough. And then somebody else brings something else. I'm like, "Ah, I didn't even think of that. That's a wonderful thing." And that's where good things happen, which is why I loved working with you.


Jeffrey Ring: Well, it's about self-reflection. Again, what am I good at? What are my strengths? What do I want to lean with? I have come to learn that I don't like to do projects where I have to write. I can write. I think I write pretty well, but I suffer mightily with writing projects and deadlines. I just suffer mightily if I have to write for a particular client's need. And so I've just said, no. And I say to people, "Oh, the writing part, it's just not what I'm wanting to lean with. And there are lots of fantastic, good people that write and write beautifully that I can lead you to, or you can find on your own." But it's been another aspect of self-care that comes from the sage experience of time.


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Jeffrey Ring: I don't want to do things that so deplete me and drain me when I have so much I want to do and need the energies to actually lean into.


Deb Zahn: That's right. Because as every choice is a relative choice. So if you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else and if you're depleted. So yeah, they're a whole bunch of things that I'm good at and I don't do because they're depleted. But that strikes me as sort of another value of mission-oriented and heart-centered work is agency, is knowing who we are, what we want, when we have a choice and then allowing ourselves to actually make those choices sort of regardless of what other people are shoulding on us to be able to do. I love that.


Jeffrey Ring: And that actually reminds me too. I mean because this is complicated because I have been doing some writing recently about anti-racism. And I still suffer mightily, but the imperative is so strong to say something that I'm willing to shoulder through that because of the calling. But other projects less so, less so.


Deb Zahn: Yeah. And we get to, right? Because we're the boss of our business so we can actually make that decision. So if you were in front of a consultant, someone who's new to this and they're the brand new consultant or they're in their first year or something like that and their heart told them that they wanted to do mission-oriented work, but they were afraid that they weren't going to have the income and they weren't going to be able to make it work. What would you tell them?


Jeffrey Ring: That's a beautiful question. And all roads begin with self-compassion.


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Jeffrey Ring: The work starts with just embracing yourself for what's important to you, embracing yourself with love and kindness the way a best friend would embrace you and would hold you up and celebrate your work because that's the way we get grounded in our work. It's the way we put down roots. So that's the first part is, love yourself. And then the second part is, to find a way to articulate that in a direct and compact fashion so that others can begin to hear what is important to you.


Deb Zahn: Yeah.


Jeffrey Ring: And then I think finally in the self-reflective mode to think about for each project finished, what do I take with me? What sort of new abundance comes into my doggy bag from that last project that I can carry into the next project and maybe even talk about informally with others.


This woman invited me to give a talk this week on a day that I'm not available. So I didn't just say, "Thank you for inviting me and I'm really sorry. And another date I'm happy to." I also added, "I'm going to be out of town working on a new project, helping a medical school with learners and faculty immerse themselves in a community of unhoused people to build empathy, understanding and manage comfort zone." I just added that in there as a story that I wanted to tell about something about me that I care about that I'm doing. So I do that a lot to be able to be visible and also to sort of have a platform to talk about good and important work that maybe you all should be thinking about as well. Right? Because we're a medical institution.


Deb Zahn: I love that. Yeah. I would say, don't figure out all the details and then decide. Sorry, I have a little squirrel that keeps running back and forth and setting off our outside alarm. But what I often find people do is they try and figure out whether it's workable. And then if they believe it's workable, they decide. And I would actually flip it and say, decide and then figure it out. And so then figure out what's the path to make that reality. And that might give you exactly what you want. It might give you a close version of what you want. It might evolve. But if you don't allow yourself, the agency, to decide until you're certain and you figured out all of the details, chances are you'll never let yourself make that decision and you'll end up somewhere else.


Jeffrey Ring: I appreciate that. It starts with setting the right bar of excellence and perfectionism and inviting in grace and flexibility through the developmental process.


Deb Zahn: Love it. And you've of course sum it up perfectly. We use that in my family where people are like, "Oh, well, we can't get together because of la, la, la, la, la." And I always just say, "We decide it matters to us and then we figure it out because we're smart people and smart people can figure things out." And I'm the one in my family who always is like, "Let's just say yes, and then we'll figure it out." And I think it works the same way with consulting.


So Jeffrey, this has been absolutely lovely. Obviously, folks can tell what you're about. So if they want to find you, where can they find you?


Jeffrey Ring: Oh, so I'm on LinkedIn. Jeffrey Ring. And always happy to brainstorm ideas and opportunities with folks. Absolutely.


Deb Zahn: Wonderful.


Jeffrey Ring: You know, Deb, I had forgotten that you went to Berkeley as well. I did as well. And I'm-


Deb Zahn: Go Bears.


Jeffrey Ring: Yes. Go Bears. I'm heading up there next week for that project and I'm going to be stopping by Yogurt Park. And I wonder if there's a time and a place where you and I can have a yogurt together on Durant Avenue?


Deb Zahn: Oh my gosh, you were taking me back. So yes, I remember the Falafel stand that I used to eat at. It was every day. It was wonderful. But yes, no, if I'm in town, are you kidding? I would love to stop by and say hi to each other. But Jeffrey, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this. I am going to ask you my last question because it always, I think, would be helpful to hear your response to it which is, so with everything going on, how do you bring balance to your life, however it is, you define that?


Jeffrey Ring: Yeah. That's a good question. So my new pandemic sport is tennis. I started lessons during the pandemic. It's kind of distance. Right? And I love it so much. I love learning something new. I love something that's so incredibly difficult and compelling. When I'm chasing after the ball every other concern and worry and stress just falls away because I'm just trying to get the ball. So that's one half of it. And then watching tennis is incredibly compelling for me also. So that with some swimming and time with people I love and getting up in nature, that's the start. So, yeah.


Deb Zahn: All good things. Well, next time there's a major tennis event you can call because it's always on at our house.


Jeffrey Ring: Oh very good.


Deb Zahn: My husband's a huge, huge tennis fan. And I show up and I say something somewhat meaningful and then I walk away and I see who won.


But Jeffrey, thank you again for being on the show. First of all, I love catching up with you because we haven't talked in a while. But I appreciate you sharing your approach and your wisdom and lighting the way towards doing work that makes our heart sing.


Jeffrey Ring: Well, thank you for that. And thank you Deb, for creating this space, this platform of incredible resources, which were not available for me when I was starting out. It was a rough and bumpy road strewn with branches and rocks. So I'm grateful for all the resources that you so generously share.


Deb Zahn: Thank you.


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