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April 12, 2022

159. Leveraging Curiosity for Growth and Gains with Lauren Yee

Open your mind to new possibilities for exploration, growth, and profit.


Open your mind to new possibilities for exploration, growth, and profit.

 

ABOUT LAUREN

Lauren is a natural cultivator of community and a process-driven problem solver, who has been managing people, projects, and clients since 2005.

She is a lover of puzzles, pizza, and “adulting like a kid”.

She believes that curiosity, consistency, and connections are the greatest drivers of great things.

 

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Transcript

Do things that you're not used to in, like, little little ways because you got to practice with small steps. So it's, like, less scary because we're not used to being uncomfortable and not knowing things.

 

Welcome, everybody. Today, I'm very excited. Side is to have Lauren Yee with us. She is a cultivator of curiosity, helps people open the way they think, open their minds and really just excited to have her here and help you hopefully expand what's possible in your business and your life. Thanks so much for joining us, Lauren.

 

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. Ready to chat?

 

Awesome. So Lauren is a natural cultivator of community and a process driven problem solver who has been managing people projects and clients since 2005. She's a lover of puzzles, pizza, and adulting like a kid. We'll have to talk about that. And she believes that curiosity, consistency, and connections are the greatest drivers of great things. I agree definitely with that statement question for you. Let's go right into it. Why are people so afraid of curiosity as we get older? We're told to do it as we're kids, and then at some point it shifts.

 

What's so scary about that for people?

 

I mean, I think it's exactly what you just said. We are kind of told to do it as kids, right? Be curious, be creative, use your imagination, go play on the playground, like find new friends, and then I'm going to go with once you go from elementary, primary school to secondary, middle high school and beyond, the world gets very real or starts to become more real in the sense of there are actual grades that potentially affect your future. There are right and wrong answers to tests where it's like, yeah, you did spelling as a kid, but you're learning.

 

And so it's not like you failed the spelling test when you're six. It doesn't feel like that. But you can fail tests once you're 12, 13, 14, 18 in universities and colleges. And I don't know exactly why that is the deciding factor of, like, you're old enough to fail at things now in a bad way. But I think that we get practiced in it because of the structures that we're in, whether it's with school or family, because your family and friends want the best for you too.

 

So why are you doing this? You should be focusing. You should whatever. And so we get practiced into recentering, which is not necessarily bad. But we also in the midst of all that, I feel like there's less focus on learning, creativity, growth, failure being okay because it's part of learning. Everything gets scarier or has more repercussions. And we get taught that. And some people are able to sort of hold on to bits and pieces of that feeling of kid curiosity. And there are different ways to hold on to that, too.

 

Right? Just like as a curious learning person versus curious in what you're interested in versus in your career. You could be curious in lots of ways. And I think that some people find versions of holding on to that, but it gets practiced out of us.

 

Yeah, I remember. I forget her name right now. I think it was Linda La Roche. I'm forgetting the name. But she talked about she's a speaker gosh, maybe even 20 years ago. And she's very funny speaker, keynote speaker type, motivational speaker. And she talked about seriousness. And basically it being like a disease of people being so serious about stuff and things having to be so like you said, accurate or right or everything's on the line, almost to the level of fight or flight, which it's not. If you get a question wrong on a test, it might feel like it's the end of the world.

 

But we know you're not going to die. And so at least, biologically speaking, there is fact to say no, that's perhaps whatever word you want to call it an overreaction, a retention that's not proportional to the nature of the threat. So to somebody who says, well, curiosity, I don't know, is that somebody who's just like, nosy or how would you define curiosity to people? And why is it so important as we get older, personally and professionally?

 

So I feel like when most people think about curiosity, you think about questions, right? Because it's the who, what, when, where, why? And the age when all the two and three year olds are asking you everything all the time you're like, stop asking questions. That's the beginning. But for me, curiosity are those questions. But it's kind of not exactly what's the point of the questions, but a little bit for me as an adult, it's about understanding or learning or growth, which I think are important things. Otherwise, you're just kind of there, which is fine for moments.

 

But the world evolves and kind of so do we need to do that, too? So I think being curious for your own individual growth as well as around you is important. But it's also about wonder. That's kind of like where the creative imagination curiosity can come in that you had as a kid and as an adult, the way that kind of looks like something in the real world is things evolve. We need to innovate. We need to create new technologies or ways to deal with certain processes because of the way things are changing in the world.

 

And if you don't wonder, you won't find out something new. And so it's kind of cool that's is important to just our existence, but has gotten kind of been like, no, you don't need that. Here's the right answer. Here's the wrong answer. Don't do that anymore. And it becomes a shame thing when you are wrong or when you do fail, you're a failure. Failure, not you fail that thing like you are a failure when you make a mistake, and that feels bad. Like whether it's like, we're not dying, but our worlds are our world to some extent.

 

And so it feels like I'm being attacked. It's very myopic of the tunnel vision of what's going on. And most people want to do a good job and want to grow and want to learn. But when we're told something is bad or you're bad or you did a bad job, we're like, Nope, don't want to do that anymore. And then we don't and then we lose it.

 

Yeah. It's so interesting to me when you consider, for example, in work the idea of the sort of Catch 22 I think about when we were in Peru, my wife's from Pru and we lived in Pru at different times. And I remember my frustration of being at a restaurant. And this happened multiple times where, for example, one restaurant, I said, Could I have a Sunday and their Sunday was ice cream and then the strawberry, like the compote, the mix stuff and then chocolate or something. I forget.

 

And then a different dish had strawberries. I said, Well, can I have just ice cream strawberries in the fudge? I wasn't trying to be difficult. I wasn't trying to be that guy. I was just like, don't like the compost stuff, happy to pay for it, happy to pay more for it. No problem. And there was a lot of resistance. And what I realized after running into this situation a few times that what happened is it wasn't that the waiter or the waitress couldn't understand what I was doing.

 

They had been told that this is how you do things at the restaurant. This is how it's going to be. And so it was a stressful situation for them that I first perceived as is this person really not understanding what I'm telling them? Because they would say, no, we can't do that as an American gosh. I'm born in Canada, my parents from Trinidad and Tobago. I have, I think, somewhat of a really perspective, but I just felt like such the stereotypical Jackass American, like, Are you frigging kidding me?

 

You can't take ice cream and put that hard. But that wasn't again. So for a while I'm like, because they would say, it's not possible. And as American, I'm like.

 

Of course it is.

 

How dare you tell me? It's not possible. You can't tell me. And what they were really saying is, no, you don't understand. Dude, it's not possible for me. My boss is going to fire my tail. So you might be a nice guy. Dude, I'm not going to get in an argument with him over your dislike of strawberry compost really don't care. And so it was like the creativity had been really almost, I guess, yelled out of them or whatever it was. And then yet somewhere that same person, I'm sure the boss would have said, Well, why didn't you fix that thing that I didn't?

 

Well, you didn't tell me to fix that thing. So now literally. Now then you tied and you say, okay, so now it's my job, it's my livelihood. And now all of a sudden, something that seems so minor for that person is fight or flight level stress. And again, once I realized that I, of course, felt like a Jackass, but also realized, okay, wow. How do I help this person do that? So then I would politely ask the manager whatnot and say, how so? And so doing a great job.

 

Is this possible? Okay, we're going to do that again. You're not the manager.

 

Okay?

 

Because I know the store owner doesn't mind if there's strawberries on top of ice cream on top of, yeah, it's going to be okay. How does a person and this is, I guess, a two part question. Let's say, actually, let's start at home. How does the parents do a better job? You mentioned the two year old, and that's so typical of the point where the parents we start out, we're like, Yay, Susie or Johnny's asking questions. And after a while, you start losing your mind like, oh, my God.

 

Just because please make it stop, how can a parent not lose their mind and still encourage that level of curiosity to where the person wants to continue asking and has that ability to just enjoy that and be excited for that?

 

That's a really great question. And actually a really interesting juxtaposition of fresh child curiosity. Wonder all those things. And the grownup like we've been practiced. One thing that I'd want to point out is that in that situation, being a parent or adult and everyone has their different levels. But I think that two things with adults or generally adults where we ended up one, not just we get told that there are right answers. But I think that at a certain point, we just understand that we're supposed to have the answers like we're old enough.

 

You should know better. Like you've been at this job for XYZ years. Whatever. You should know all of the answers because you've been here forever. But that is not reality and real. Who does know all the answers? Nobody. So there's this weird feeling that you're supposed to know the answers. And when we don't, even though, of course we don't, we're uncomfortable. And it's that discomfort that forces us back to comfort and safety. And where can I know or let me? I am an authority or expert in whatever realm we're talking about.

 

So I'm supposed to know everything. And I'm uncomfortable when I don't know. But of course, I don't know everything there's that just issue. I think that a great way to practice, which might also feel uncomfortable is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable a little bit or a little bit. Get uncomfortable with discomfort or get comfortable with discomfort because your kid specifically doesn't know that you don't know everything. And I don't think they're expecting you to either. But we're putting that upon ourselves. So when they are our questions, if you do know answers, you can try to answer to the best of ability.

 

Like, why does the light turn on when I turn on the switch? Okay, well, there's this thing called electricity, and it like flows from this switch, and it goes into this light bulb, and then it gives us light like, Well, how does that work? And you're like, well, there's like, wires and stuff and something with polarity. And then you're like, I don't know the answers and we panic. Stop asking questions. I don't know because we're uncomfortable. But you can also say I'm not sure because it also tells them that it's okay to not know.

 

And then you're like, let's find out together and you can both learn. You can both be a little bit uncomfortable not knowing and that it's okay to ask questions and that it's okay to not know the answers and that it's okay to keep learning because I'm an adult and I know a lot of things, but I don't know everything. And you should not just expect every adult to know everything or know the best way. And I think that that's very in a general sense of really important things.

 

I want everybody to know. And remember.

 

I think that's so huge. I just think about it again, whether it's even work situations. I'll just say adult situations of, well, the map is not working. Why didn't you figure out how to do the map or just things where again, we have this pressure on ourselves that we're supposed to know the answer. I know for entrepreneurs that's probably in a lot of ways expecting that it's almost a kiss of death, because if you decide that, okay, I'm going to do the solo. And maybe that's the case in a lot of things, because we are social animals.

 

And I think there's this concept I heard once. There's dependence, independence and interdependence. So dependence is, let's say, your child independent stage or at least the believing to be independent stage is that it starts with a teenager that says, Well, I don't need anybody. And then eventually the person says, okay, great. I'm out on my own. And at some point hopefully there's a recognition that okay. I don't need any one particular individual because that can be not so healthy. But I need people. And in fact, if I were to really take it to the Nth degree to say, well, without other people, just me by myself.

 

Now you're almost like, okay, survive in nature. Yes, you can do it. But a is it even desirable? And then in regular society? Well, no, you really can't. You can't even get your bread per se because somebody else made the bread if you really want to take it to that degree. And there's this sense again of this pressure for us to perform. And I guess with the curiosity. It almost makes curiosity feel foolish because it's like curiosity feels like, oh, I'm just sitting around as if I'm just stoned pondering the universe as opposed to actually, dude, what if, of course, maybe there's that, too.

 

But just the general sense of how could I do this? How could my life be better? How is it possible that I could perhaps have work balance? How could I perhaps make a lot of money, provide for my family and be present with my kids if I can't even entertain that question? Well, so much is just shut down instantaneously. How do we get people? Let's say who've maybe been told you're stupid? You're this you're that that was a bad idea. You're just really not that smart.

 

How can people start to cultivate that if, let's say, as an adult listing, they realize, yeah, you know what? Without gaining the whole blame and who did this just from here forward, what can a person like that do to say? Okay, going forward, I'm going to open up my possibility to at least questioning things, and I'm feeling insecure, because if I say it to the wrong person, I'm certainly not going to say it. Maybe to my trigger people who make me feel like an idiot when I ask a question.

 

But maybe I'll have some friends I go to how can a person start opening that up if they realize, yeah, this is a limitation for me.

 

It can be tough, like you said, because it is potentially your livelihood or psychological safety or, like, mental state. But at the same time, if you're in that situation, like, remove yourself from that situation, because if you're a hugger, I'll hug you. But just be in a better community of people because support is important in a general sense. I hate that for people. I feel like we all have had either a quote, unquote friend or a work environment where we've had that. And you're just like, oh, God, that was the worst.

 

Like, I stayed there too long. I kept connection with them too long. It's okay to evolve and change your situations. It's scary, but it's probably worth it if it's something that is not helping you or benefiting you. So just that part in terms of how can you cultivate that for yourself? I think again, it's a practice and it's hard, and it's going to feel weird and uncomfortable. But some of it is literally, like taking a breath, because when we are in stressful situations, especially again, discomfort or being like defense attacked our habits and brain pathways.

 

It goes to what we're used to, which is how you've been responding this whole time. So it's just like I am you are telling me these things and I believe it, and I feel bad and we're just going to repeat these patterns. So taking a moment which I know is hard and just like, especially in the moment, just like, take one breath, and you can decide to remove yourself from a situation or ask a question because I feel like a lot of times in certain situations, like without a hard example.

 

But in a certain situation, if somebody is making a statement or a comment at me or to me, the initial inclination is to respond, which is, yes, that's how conversations work, but it doesn't have to be like, you're right. Response. It can be a question for better understanding, because there is a likelihood that you've made assumptions on what they're talking about oftentimes it's correct. And we're on the same page. But not always. I can think of an example that actually, I just heard from a friend where they were conversing with a client and this client they hadn't talked to in a really long time, and they were checking in about if they wanted to get some new product that was happening for seasonal changes or whatever.

 

And this client who they haven't spoken to in a long time goes, I have this event, and I need you to come out today or in the morning tomorrow. And being someone with a schedule, I can't actually do that the earliest I can come out, and maybe at the end of the week, I understand you have the event, but I can. I can take my business somewhere else. I'm like, don't take this as a threat, but I don't need this. And she responded with, okay, and they were taken aback by that where they're like, this didn't work, how it usually works for me.

 

And they're like, Well, what do you mean? Like, I need you to do this? Well, I told you, I can't fit it. I literally don't have time until later, and I don't respond well to threats. And they went, well, like I said, it wasn't a threat. Like how they took a second and they asked the question, how could I perceive that as not a threat when you literally told me, if not this, then I will do this other thing that is going to be negative for you.

 

And they like, that person. That client could not respond because you're trying to get down to the very bottom of what's happening and understanding. It's not about fault. It's not about, like, will you threaten me? It's like, yeah, but if it wasn't a threat, like, what was it like, what are you trying to communicate? I'm trying to communicate. I'd love to work with you, but I literally cannot for a few days. And I understand that you're in a tight spot, but I cannot help you in this instance.

 

So trying to find ways to just ask for clarification, even if it's not like, a specific who what, when, where, but it could just be like, what do you mean by that? Like, if someone is in a name calling situation doesn't feel great. But you're like, okay, what makes you say that? What did I do? That makes you feel that way because I want to understand, because I want to fix it and also explain yourself, sir, or ma'am like, Why are you attacking me? So it can be as simple as kind of reframing it as a question back to them.

 

Why?

 

Yeah, I think that's one of the things. And you can correct me from all on this. I think so much of it is the intention of your energy behind it, because you can say you can come with a certain tone or a certain energy. And just again, just even who you are people, it never ceases to amaze me how people will think they're doing something clever. But if you ask them, can they spot when other people are trying to do something clever? They're like, oh, yeah, I can see that easily.

 

So is everybody else a moron. You're the only one that sees this, and then they're like, oh, you mean you saw that? Yes, we saw that. And it's kind of disturbing, but sure, a lot of the times when people look at curiosity, first there's this sense that it can be unproductive, like, again, it's just day treatment. It's not goal oriented, but in another sense, it can almost feel unproductive. If a person, let's say, keeps replaying something in their mind that happened and they say, Well, gosh, what if I done it that way?

 

What have it done that way? How is that either similar to or different from curiosity that, let's say, is helpful and in some way not to put a value judgment on it, because sometimes we do need to look back and say, oh, this happened. What do I learn from this and hopefully take forward? I'm not going to just pretend it never happened. But there can be a point where that curiosity can almost become, what do you want to call it, addictive or just not really helping?

 

How would you help a person make the distinction between those? And then how can a person perhaps even move on from that going forward? If there is something that happened to say, Gosh, I wish I had done that. What if I had done that? But I'm kind of stuck there.

 

So I'm going to reference the thing that you kind of mentioned at the beginning, what I often say and truly believe in that I want to encourage more people to adult, like a kid and what that means for me in a general sense. But there's a lot of categories of that is like own play and curiosity and empathy and all these things and how we were as a kid or how we interact with kids. One of the big ways that that takes shape is playing curiosity, because both of those things when you're a kid.

 

And again, I'm thinking like, nine or ten ish and under before we're told to like, everything's right and wrong in black and white, there's a level of play that you have again with sports or board games or imagination games that is about you're so present in them. Yes, of course you want to win the basketball game, but you're playing each play as it's happening and the game is still happening. So you can't worry about what happened. You might at a certain point, but oftentimes kids are not worrying about what happened last quarter because they're in this quarter.

 

Maybe that happens in high school and College when it gets way more serious. But you're present similarly, I think curiosity and creativity and imagination those kind of go hand in hand oftentimes. And if you are playing an imaginary playground game like We're Princes and Knights and princesses, and there's a Dragon and whatever on the playground, and then everything is forward moving, even if it's like, oh, well, we had a fight with this Kingdom, and now we have to go over there. It's not like, well, last time we went over there a problem happened.

 

It's just like, no. Now we're going over there and it's all forward thinking. Not to say, you know, as an adult, we have experience, but not to discount past experience because we learn from that, but not letting it hinder you to some extent. I feel like play and curiosity and a growth childlike mindset is about using the resources you have and knowledge that you have, but to move forward. And so like, the thing that you said about what if I did that? Yeah. That's a good thing to an extent, because you're like, we'll this situation did not work out how I had hoped.

 

How could I have done this differently? That feels different than even that general. How could I have done this differently is different than the what if I did this? What if they said that? What if I didn't show up in this outfit like it could be so many things and you cannot change the past. It's not about fault. It's about understanding and process to move forward for the better. For next time. You can be curious about situations and imagine possibilities because that's what curiosity can and should be about.

 

But if it's about possibilities, the forward thinking is what helps you the past. You cannot change. You can use it to inform moving forward. But if you get stuck in that sort of tornado of past, what if and I should have the shoulds and the ifs and could would all those if they're not helping you move forward? It's just like retention, which is like curiosity gone too far in what you can't change. And I think that that's a really important distinction because again, don't not question things that happened, but use the powers for good.

 

Yeah. Absolutely. I think one of the things you said in our pre interview was so relevant is you said your choice is less important than what you do when you get the feedback from the results of your choice.

 

Yeah. I still agree with that, because there's kind of like the black and white answer thing, right? We are told there's one way to do things. We're always looking for those articles where it's just, like, the top five ways to whatever. And they're like, oh, it's going to tell me the answer. It will tell you some things, but there's still a bunch of other ways to do something. And I think that because we're so practiced at wanting to know the right answer or the easiest way or the best way.

 

We don't always wonder or consider any other option. But if you are interested in enough or curious enough, or have an idea that sticks in there long enough, and it's not just a fleeting thing. You're like, what if I changed my business to include consulting and you're like, okay, and you're like, okay, maybe I can't do that. I'm trying to focus, but then it keeps floating around. That's happening for some reason. And you can make a choice in the best way possible. Very little things are very few things are permanent.

 

It feels like they are. And there are maybe ways where, like, oh, it'd be easier if I didn't do it. But that's not what it's about. And so you can make a choice. And it's like a choose your own adventure adventure book. That's literally what life is. We're choosing and making choices. And we have new pathways because of that. That doesn't mean that at some point, you don't end up back at a different page in, like, a loop of the book, but you can make a choice, and then you have a new set of options.

 

One of the options could be that was not the choice. I'm going to go back to where I was, and that's okay. Impossible, because you're curious. It's not necessarily a passion project, but you can make a choice. And then you have new options, and you can take action on those. And so I think we often get time stuck in the choice and the curious before it's a thing. And then there's useful creativity and curiosity and imagination. And then there's versions where it gets unhelpful, where you're just wasting imagination on negative, terrible things, which everybody does.

 

The terrible thing. I don't know why this became the norm, but the negative feelings of positive intent is confusing to me. Like, when you're wanting to try something new, even if it's just like, oh, should I try? Should I go on this weekend trip with this friend? A different friend might say, yeah, what's the worst that could happen? And we immediately go to the terrible things. But it might not be terrible. It could be really awesome. Like, oh, you haven't seen them in years. You're going to catch up.

 

You're going to have so much to catch up on. Like, remember that one time it doesn't have to be the terrible. But we are, for whatever reason, very practiced in the negative. I mean, it's like a survival tactic, right? Like, protect yourself.

 

Yeah. You had said, I remember. I love this. I just highlighted, what if you make an awesome decision?

 

Yeah. What if let's try do the thing, then you can decide what to do after that.

 

We've said a couple of times this idea of being comfortable with uncertainty, which to a lot of people, sounds scary to some people that might say, well, Lauren, things have worked out for you or you're now in this position of wherever you're at, that they would say that is above where they're at by whatever measure they might use to say. So you're successful. You're this you're that so it's easy for you to make that decision, but you don't understand. See, I'm in a situation where things aren't the way I'd like them to be.

 

How can that curiosity be a path as opposed to just something that the person who theoretically is allowed to do it now because they're successful. Whereas what I'm hearing you say and definitely my experience has been that the curiosity is a huge part of how I got successful, not just a nice side effect that I get to do now that I get to dabble with certain things I'm curious about, like, have a podcast. But that same spirit is part of why I am where I am.

 

It is a practice, which I think I've said, Everything in life is a practice. It's going to feel weird until you get better at it. And there are multiple ways that you can practice without it being. It can be like a career situation, but it doesn't have to be that again, if you're like, that sounds scary. I can't just quit my job and, like, I don't have money to float in between. While I tried this thing, practice smaller. You can be curious and uncomfortable with trying new things.

 

Like one of the tough questions. Sometimes not too scary, but like, when was the last time you did something for the very first time? It could be big or small. Like, okay, when was the last time you tried a new restaurant? When was the last time you learned a new skill? When was the last time you talked to somebody that you didn't know that wasn't a mutual friend? Because those things could be, like, potentially networking, learning new skills, potentially just getting out of your comfort zone.

 

And you can do it in very little ways, too. Again, like the restaurant thing here. Usually if you have your go to favorite restaurants and you're like, I love this dish or I know that I trust the chef's specials. I know we have a favorite table, whatever that might be. But if you try something new, like, you've never seen the menu before. What is this environment? Ambience. How is the service here? You don't really know if it's going to be easy or hard to get a check it's all a new experience, but in a relatively safe, normal, mundane way.

 

But it is getting out of your norm a little bit. And again, there's lots of little and medium and big ways to do that. And I would encourage you to try. And even if it's something like somebody you're talking to, like a friend says something that they did recently, they found they went to a concert or read a new book. And if you've never heard of that author or that band or that thing, tell me more about that. Or would you recommend me reading that or are there songs you recommend?

 

Because it's something that you don't know, and it's okay to not like things, and it's okay to decide that that's not your favorite band moving forward, but you're learning something and you don't know what to expect, and that's okay. And good. So do things that you're not used to in little ways because you got to practice with small steps. So it's, like, less scary because we're not used to being uncomfortable and not knowing things.

 

Yeah, I think there's definitely wisdom of that. I mean, you don't want to go and try something that's really huge that could have bad consequences and find out. Oh, my fear was right. I shouldn't do blah, blah, blah. Or I shouldn't do something of that nature or whatever. The risk is, if it's a big deal. One of things you just mentioned there, which I think is so huge, and I'm still learning as a father with 15 year old and twelve year old children that sometimes especially in relationships.

 

The best answer is tell me more about that and not from a sense of tell me more about that because, oh, Geez, I got to listen or not, like, tell me more about that while I'm doing here and tell me more about which feels, but literally tell me more about that because I want to know what your world is like. And even as a parent gosh, I want to know if there's stuff going on in your life that I need to know about. That maybe it's not safe that I want to understand your world.

 

Like, there's so many different positive side effects to it. If nothing more than the child or a friend doesn't have to be a child, it could be a friend. It could be anybody feeling completely heard. And then after that, if you say okay, I've now listened to the entire album of what your generation calls music by this artist who's I'll just say rapping lyrical skills are repetitive and sounds like a nursery rhyme. And we had much better rap in our day, like, joke with my son about this.

 

And I know there are good rappers, just some of the ones who listen. So I give them grapes. Dude, they're allowed to use more than five words in a song just so you know, but then I could say, okay, I've now listened to the entire album. I didn't prejudge. I've now listened. I was curious. And you know what? I'm going to actually stick with my first thought. I'm good. If I never hear that song again, that'll be okay. You go ahead. And of course, you can be playful with it and have fun with it.

 

But at least the person realizes, okay, you value me enough. In fact, that's something you really didn't think you wanted to do. You dabbled into. And of course, I've also found music that my daughter, my son listens to that. I was kind of like, Eh, I listened to them. Wow, that's really good. And then, of course, they get this sense of pride that, yes. And then my son's, like, I didn't know who, and I didn't have a judgment on one or another. I didn't know the rapper Juice world unfortunately passed away.

 

I think it was a little over a year ago, but freestyle rapper awesome. A lot of the things he does, talent wise, is considered by many one of the best freestyle rappers of all time. And my son is like, oh, yeah, he's a fan of The Police and Blink 182. And he's like, and he knows those are two of my favorite bands of all time. And so it was this connection point where if I wasn't and I really was generally curious because, again, it was a combination of, okay, what are you listening to?

 

A little bit of okay, I've listened to rap music, and some of the lyrics could be not the greatest or the most socially constructive. So curious what you're listening to, son? But it really was that sense of because for a while, I was just and he was like, you're being a Boomer, and I'm a Gen X. I'm like, okay, so now we're drawing lines. He's like, no, you're already telling me that you don't like it. I'm like, You're right. I'm doing that old person thing that old people do when they're just like, yeah, well, it's easier for me because I can find reasons why it's not better.

 

But when I got genuinely curious and listened, it's become something that's been a connection point for us. And again, and I still don't listen to all the songs my son listens to. And I still think a lot of our music and certain things I prefer, but I have a different appreciation. How can a person realize perhaps when maybe they're not being curious enough or just simply not listening enough because we all think we're nice. We all think we have a good sense of humor. None of us think we're idiots, but there's the whole joke about being an idiot or being dumb.

 

It's like being dead. It's painful to everybody except the person who has the affliction. How can a person maybe realize what are the signs that somebody is giving me other than the obvious? Like, okay, you're not listening. How can a person. Maybe if they're listening to say, wow, maybe I'm not connecting enough. What would a person be able to see to say? Okay, I'm not listening enough.

 

Okay. There's different situations, right? Where if you're in a one on one or small group conversation, sometimes it's for work and you can't not be there, and sometimes it's for fun, and you have a little bit of choice. I think that one of the important things that I want to touch on that you remind me that I was like, I don't think I've said this here. Both play and curiosity require your presence, engagement, and interest. You can't be curious if you're not actually interested. That's not real curiosity.

 

If I could ask you a question, like, yeah, tell me more about that thing. I don't really care. That's the message that's coming if you're distracted and asking questions, but if you're actually interested, you're like, oh, my gosh. What do you mean, you were there? What was that like? Where was that person who connected you to that thing? And you're actually focused because you're interested. So I know that it's harder to find that in some situations where we are required to be there, but trying to focus on kind of what you can control in that, right?

 

So, like, okay, this meeting for work doesn't feel relevant to me, but I'm supposed to hear because I'm part of this Department that's peripherally involved. So okay, I mostly don't care, but I'm trying to care because I'm here. So maybe it's the okay, what can I glean from this? What am I interested in to help me better with my job? Because in specifically, a lot of work environments, there's oftentimes siloing where we're all trying to do the same thing, but we're kind of doing it separately, and we don't always come together enough times in the process.

 

And I think that if you are in a meeting where you think it's not relevant to you, but someone has required or asked you to be there, one of two things can happen. One, you actually don't need to be there, which you can ask the question after the meeting. Like, hey, I think that my time might be better spent doing this thing. Maybe I just didn't understand why I'm here. Questions. Let me be curious and understand. Maybe you don't need to be there, but maybe you are supposed to be there for a reason.

 

They chose to invite you. They thought you needed to be present. So. Okay, why am I here? What can I gain from hearing this conversation in my understanding for my job or things that I need to do? Or maybe they're saying something that I can chime in and be like, that doesn't match up with what I was told or deadlines. So trying to figure out where your interest can be, either where it naturally is or where you can sort of rake and gather the information that is relevant to you, like, okay, I read this book, and I hated it for a book club.

 

But what can I gain from it? Because I spent time in it. I'm here. Those are really important ways that you can sort of lean into your own curiosity for engagement and understanding and those things. And sometimes when it is the casual, not work personal versions of interactions with people you made a really good point with. I had said, like, oh, yeah. The next time someone's talking about something that you don't know again, you have to actually be interested. So if it's like a plot line that you don't care about or a genre of book you don't care about, but if it does interest you, and specifically, it could be about the person.

 

So if it's your son or daughter or kid and you want to know more about their life in general, that's enough interest sometimes. But if it is like a band that you haven't heard of and you hear on the radio or something and like, oh, I love this. I've been to twelve shows. Okay, I like this song. What else can you tell me? Because it needs to be real and it needs to be authentic. And sometimes we don't know what we don't know because we're practiced out of it, I think.

 

And so the kid part of me wants you to listen more to yourself also, because sometimes we don't understand when we're interested, I think, because we're practiced out of it. So sometimes you're just like, you hear something and it stops you in your tracks and you don't necessarily know why. And you don't really know what to ask for. But you're like, what did you say? Who are you talking about? Like, did I hear that band name, right? Did I hear that play correctly? What was the plot line?

 

And that's like, the kid in you being like, hey, find out some more about that. Pay attention. I'm interested. Are you listening to me? So sometimes we don't have a question yet, or we don't fully recognize it because it's something that's, like, outside of our realm. But when something's like antennas up and stops you enough to turn and refocus for a second, lean into that a little bit. You could be like, oh, no, that's not what I thought. But lean in for a second because it's the practice of listening to yourself again, I think that's a really great way to do that.

 

There's so much to this of humility being a student, learning, being open chance to discover new things. How would you summarize to somebody? What is the opportunity cost of not turning on your curiosity or engaging with it? And what's the natural reward or benefit of doing that of engaging? It the flip side. If you don't do it here's kind of what kind of happens? And if you do engage.

 

What happens if you can be curious, it does open up possibilities because of the things that you had just said because you're open to ideas, perspectives, not knowing something, the possibility of a little bit of risk or failure, which failure doesn't have to be bad. It's just something didn't work. But you're willing to try because it sounds like a good idea. So if you can be curious enough to get to the point of trying things, it's about learning and understanding and betterment and moving forward and progress.

 

And if you aren't doing that and you're saying, like, what that tends to communicate is I'm the best or right I know what's right. Okay. Then why do you have anybody else around you? Like, if you're just like, this is the way what I feel like tends to happen is there's that stagnant nongrowth space, which from a historical business perspective, there was like, the Netflix versus Blockbuster, right? Blockbuster for those who don't know, was a VHS and some DVD rental store back in the day. And I think Netflix, actually, they started their sort of like, DVD mailing.

 

They didn't really have streaming as much then, but they went to Blockbuster, I think, to see you want to buy into this or invest and they're like, no. And Blockbuster is like, we know the best way. This is what works. It's been working forever. This is what we're going to do. We don't need this new weird, whatever you're doing, why are you mailing stuff and whatever this streaming thing is, like, there's TV and people rent stuff, and they were not open to other perspectives, possibilities, new things.

 

And Blockbuster is basically gone. And Netflix is huge and not everything is going to be like that. But you don't know what you don't know. And also you don't know everything you can't.

 

Yeah, there's a show. It's just finishing its second season called Ted Lasso. Okay. Well, I don't want to spoil it for you. There is a scene in one of the episodes where the main character, Ted Lasso. He just talks about the difference between people who are curious and people who are I forget the word he uses, but it's based, like, judgmental who think they know everything. And you'll really appreciate the scene for those of you who've seen it, if not, look up curiosity. Ted Lasso, I think it'll show up.

 

I can't tell you more than that, because then it'll mess it up. But it's a really interesting thing because his character is an interesting character and a lot of people prejudge him. And so he gets to make this point about the difference between people who are curious about why he does things that he does versus just like, oh, he looks like this. He talks like this. He sounds like he's not very educated or whatever it might be. Wow. There's so much more to this.

 

It's a big topic.

 

Yeah. Especially if you get curious. So I've got a couple sort of lightning round questions for you and some of these might actually already be. We might have covered them, but if you could give your entire target audience one skill, what would that skill be?

 

One skill, the baseline of wanting to understand instead of wanting to be right or wanting to be right, wanting to understand over wanting to be right.

 

By the way, I love the way people might or might not see this. If you're listening to the audio, I love the way you truly engage every question I'm giving you, and you are truly living like some people like, I've got to answer, there's a timer. And if I don't answer, they're going to turn off the interview and they're going to all just shut off their devices. I love how you're just doing this, modeling. They don't even have to try. This is what you do of just asking yourself the question, being present with the questions.

 

So thank you for that. What is the costliest business decision you've ever made? And what did you learn?

 

The costliest business decision?

 

Oh, my gosh or mistake or whatever word you want to call that.

 

These are good questions.

 

Thank you.

 

Okay. I didn't really cover this, but I'll try to be brief. I didn't lean into the curiosity thing at this point in my life, and I was in a job that was a terrible environment. The job, in theory, sounds like sound good and all that stuff. But the work environment and the supervisor that I had was not great. And I think that believing that somebody knew best and not trusting myself, I stayed in that situation and let several things happen where we're going to change this about your job description or change this about your pay rate or about your hours.

 

And I just let it happen because I thought they knew better and I was new and I had to prove myself and I just let it happen. And I stayed at it too long, thinking that it was what I was supposed to do to get where I was trying to be. And it was costly in the sense of I was at that job for, I think, two years. But I had people like, three months in being like, you sounds like you should quit. Like this sounds terrible.

 

Like when I wasn't actively complaining. But I was just like, how was work? And I was like, oh, this and this. And I ate lunch really late, and I left it this time. And like, that sounds bad. But I stayed at the shop for a year and a half, two years in some different ways. And I did not do what I was not doing, what I wanted or what I thought that job was going to give me. I didn't think that I knew better because this person was yelling at me that I didn't know.

 

I wasn't doing things that were helping myself as a human or as a professional individual. And it was costly in a bigger general sense versus monetary a little bit, but also just in my personal wellbeing and growth and what I was allowing myself to do or not do.

 

Got you. Thank you. That's huge. I appreciate the answer. I think one of the things people forget is just sometimes we just need to trust our gut on some level.

 

Yeah.

 

What is the best business decision you've ever made and how did you execute it?

 

Okay. Related to the story that I just had, it was kind of an accident, but I eventually quit that multiple times. Bad job multiple times because I'm a nice person and I wanted to help train somebody. And then it just kept not happening. I eventually left, but without a plan. I did not have another job lined up. I was like, I physically moved away so I could no longer work there. And I think without being like, I'm just going to be curious. Like, I was not actively thinking that.

 

But I was just like, I'm an adult that needs to survive, and I need a job. And I'm going to find something that I'm capable of. But when you're also doing that, you're like, looking for things that are somewhat interesting, like, in one way or another. Like, okay, I can be an office manager anywhere. Why this random company? They seem like they're doing cool stuff. And I stumbled into a job. I found a job and said, yeah, this was a temporary thing where I got to learn through play and teach kids stem using Lego as, like, a summer camp instructor.

 

I was like, this is a great temporary thing that I'm going to do while I look for other jobs. And then I accidentally on purpose stayed there for almost a decade, and I became, like, a coordinator and an area manager. And I started doing team building with adults with somebody using Lego because I was just like, I need to do something. And I was open to things like, this sounds interesting and fun. And people would always be like, Are you still at that Lego job? Like, not a real job.

 

But it was just like, yeah, I mean, I like, what we do, it's rewarding. I believe that it's helping people. I love my coworkers and leaning into that like, it feels good. And I don't have to be doing something else. And I helped grow the company. I went from six staff in my area. When I became an area manager, I had, like, five or six staff. I ended up with two assistant area managers and, like, 16 staff. I grew the team building Department with a colleague, which barely existed in the beginning.

 

And we were working with people nationally. It was amazing because I was interested and curious and having a good time. And what if we did our program with this theme? What if we grew in this area and you could try it and then if it doesn't work, then you're done and you've learned. So I got to do that in that accidental job after I left and started valuing myself.

 

That is awesome. All right, just a few more. What have you dropped from your business or your life? That's been the most liberating.

 

Oh, my goodness. What have I dropped? I do too many things. This is a very difficult question. What have I dropped worrying about the things that didn't work out to some extent. Again, learning from it if you can. Or like, oh, I wish I did this differently or, like, I'm going to do that differently next time. But you cannot change the past. Also, like, maybe there's a really shiny client person that you want to work with, but they're like, the most difficult person, and it's just not working out.

 

Like, okay, it's not meant to be like, it shouldn't be this hard. Like, yes, I want your business. But I also this is rough. So if it's not working, it's okay. Let's find a new way to make something else work.

 

Awesome. What are you most excited about in your work right now?

 

It's so general, but it's just, like, always I always helping people like, I want people to be all of their potential. Even when I was an area manager, like, my staff, I was like, I want to help you be a better instructor. But I also want you to be a good human. And one of my proud side things was we had annual evaluations and one there's, like, what do you want to be doing in a year or two years? And it could be personal, professional. And they had said they wanted to go back to school, and they'd been avoiding it for a really long time because I guess they had a situation that did not go well, and they were kind of traumatized by it.

 

And I was like, okay, well, how can I help you do that? Let's be accountability buddies When's the deadline to register, what do you need to do? And they're like, Well, I have to talk to my advisor and, like, okay, text me by the end of the week. This is what you're going to do. Like, this fall. You're going to do one class, and then they like, we went back and forth, and then later they eventually came back to me. And they're like, I signed up for three classes.

 

I was like, okay, that's awesome. And then they continued in semesters, and it's such a small accountability help. You can do it thing. But I was like, Yay possibilities for you. And it's like, more fulfilling for your life. And you've been wanting to do this thing. So just the idea of being able to help people reach potential all the time at any point, whoever you are, I love that. And I know it's super general, but I love that all the time. Everywhere.

 

Awesome. And what are you most excited about in your life right now?

 

I'm most excited about in my life. What day is it? Okay. Here's a real mundane one. I don't always treat myself to things because I'm just like, I just don't buy stuff often, but I'm working on celebrating when good things happen and not just like, passing them by and being like, I did a thing versus like, we did it. What's next? So I had a good thing happen. I was like, I'm going to reward myself in some way and celebrate. And I texted and told a couple of people.

 

And then I decided to buy a song book, like a music song book from a band that I enjoy that has, like, piano, guitar, vocal stuff because I've played piano and I sort of play guitar a little bit. Not really. But I was like, I love this band. I feel like it'd be really fun to play their music. And I saw it on social media. They just made a thing. So I bought it and I got it in the mail the other day and it's over on a keyboard right now.

 

But I haven't opened it or done anything so soon. I'll be trying to play some songs.

 

Very cool. That is awesome. Thank you so much. I really just enjoyed all the conversation. Where can people connect with you and learn more about your work? And we will put the links in the show so you don't have to spell out stuff, but just in general, working people find you awesome.

 

I do many things. The main couple are I speak and facilitate and want to help people and consult and do things. And I can be found at cultivatorof. Curiosity. Com. That is me. And I also have a business with two other awesome women where we run workshops and custom bespoke betterment projects to help you do better with more information and play and joy. And that is called this US Now. Com, but yeah, we both ways. We want to help people be the best people and places and teams with fun if you can.

 

Awesome. Thank you so much. I know this is something that when people hear about three day weekend, they're like, I'm going to enjoy my weekends. I'm like, yes, but also want to enjoy the times when you're in work, if you can, because why wouldn't you so thank you so much for what you've shared. Thank you for coming out. Really appreciate your help. And I look forward to hearing from people their feedback on review. Thanks again so much for coming out today.

 

Of course. Thanks so much for having me.

 

Absolutely. And as always, look forward to helping you impact more people and make more money in less time doing what you do best so you can better enjoy your family, your friends and your life. Thanks for listening.

 

Lauren Yee Profile Photo

Lauren Yee

Cultivator of Curiosity | Speaker | Facilitator | Coach

Lauren is a natural cultivator of community and a process-driven problem solver, who has been managing people, projects, and clients since 2005.
She is a lover of puzzles, pizza, and “adulting like a kid”.
She believes that curiosity, consistency, and connections are the greatest drivers of great things.