Jackie - 00:00:10:
You're listening to the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox Podcast. I'm your host, Jackie Ferguson, Certified Diversity Executive writer, human rights advocate, and Co-founder of the Diversity Movement. On this podcast, I'm talking to trailblazers, game changers and glass ceiling breakers who share their inspiring stories, lessons learned, and insights on business inclusion and personal development. Thanks for downloading the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox Podcast.
My guest today is Dr. Fanike-Kiara Young. Dr. Young is an Integrative wellness program Designer and Business profit growth Strategist. She uses her experience from behavioral health, clinical and educational training as a Doctor of Behavioral Health, Program Consultant, Licensed Trauma Therapist, and Master Reiki Practitioner to design and implement wellness systems for corporations, businesses, and organizations. Dr. Fanike is also a keynote speaker and the author of What the F*ck Is Your Problem?!: Becoming an Active Worker in healing your trauma. Dr. Fanike, thank you so much for joining me today.
Dr. Fanike- 00:01:22:
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so glad to be here.
Jackie - 00:01:25:
Yes, I'm so excited for this conversation. Will you start by telling us just a little bit about yourself, your background, your family, your identity, whatever you'd like to share.
Dr. Fanike- 00:01:35:
Yeah, I'm a mom. I have a now four-year old. He just turned four. It's going so fast. I am a wife. I am an entrepreneur. I like to say fempreneur as a female. And my background is in healing trauma and working specifically with women around removing those mental and emotional blocks so that they can live the lives that they deserve to live and create the lives that they want to live. A lot of my work centers around changing behaviors and us really owning our lives. And so not just being bystandards kind of saying, hey, this is what I want and this is how I'm going to get it, and I actually have power in manifesting that and bringing it to fruition. And so I help people to realize that, hey, you can create that life and it can turn out exactly how you want it to turn out.
Jackie - 00:02:37:
I love that. One of the things that you just said, Dr. Fanike, is being a bystander in your own life. And certainly all of us have felt that way at some point. It's so interesting to hear it phrased like that because we have all felt that way and some of us are feeling that way now. Are there a tip or two that you would give us as to how we get starting and started and owning our lives and stop being a bystander in our own lives but really take control?
Dr. Fanike- 00:03:08:
Yeah, I think the first thing is that realizing a lot of us right now are living lives that we don't even like. And what I mean by that is a lot of us went to college and went to school and that's great, but went to college and went to school to do things that was told to us. Right. So you need to do something that's going to be profitable and going to make you great money. So go be an engineer when really your passion is taking people on nature hikes and teaching them how to survive in the wild. And so a lot of us are walking around just unfulfilled at the end of the day. And what it all boils down to is then when we're unfulfilled, we get into just going through the motions of life, not really living, right? So just kind of the day to day. It happens, and I hear it all the time. So people speaking of like, dad, I don't even remember what I did yesterday. And when that happens, it's because you're not present in the moment. You're not present in a day because when you're present, you're clear. You're like, okay, I did this. This happened. And all of the things you can run the events, right? But when you're kind of just going through the motions, you're just going through the day to day. And a lot of people do it. Unfortunately, it's Sunday. Okay. I got to work this week, and the weeks are just passing by. So for me, one thing that was really important because I found myself in that loop. I found myself I have my doctorate, but I found myself when I was getting my bachelor's degree, my major was criminal justice, and I was, okay, I'm going to become a juvenile judge. And I was like, okay, yeah, that's great, wonderful. And then I had to sit with myself, and I was like, if you become a juvenile judge, you have to lock children up, right? You have to lock children up. And when I came to that realization. I was like, I don't want to lock children. I want to help children, right? I'm trying to help them to live these productive lives, right? And so I was like, that does not work for me. And so I changed my major, and my major became African-American Studies. And I was like, oh, I love this. And then when it was time for me to get my Masters, everyone was like, hey, you're so smart. You need to become a lawyer. You need to become a doctor. And I considered it, and I was like, but I think my passion is in guiding people and advising people and helping people to move from one place to another. And so I was like, no, I'm going to get my Masters in social work. And the theme is that social workers don't make money. And so I was like, what? Do you know what they do? Why would you do that? But I had a plan, right? And I was like, no, that's not true. Now all social workers do the same thing. And my plan was to become a therapist. I was like, I'm going to become a therapist, and I'm going to help people. And it has evolved even more because then I went on to get my doctorate in behavioral health and focused on integrated care and working with people on a holistic level. And no one could have told me that I did not need to follow this path, right? Because they couldn't see what I saw. They couldn't see the vision. They couldn't see what made me feel happy and fulfilled. So what I would say is we have to get in tune with ourselves, and we have to be honest. And to be honest with ourselves, we have to be vulnerable with ourselves, and we have to be willing to face the hard truth that the person that you think you are may not be the person that you really are. And that's okay, right? Because we all go through it's a process, and that's all right. But that's the first thing that I would say, is we have to be willing to be vulnerable. Forget everybody else. We have to be willing to be vulnerable with ourselves and to be able to say, I don't like my life. I don't like this. This does not feel good. And for women, there is this theme in society that you get married, you have kids, you get a job, or whatever the case may be. The reality is, what if you don't want kids? What if you don't want to get married? What if I don't want to get a job? What if I want to start a business? Right? And so it's so important that we become really clear about who we are, what feeds us, what makes us happy, and we honor those things outside of what anyone else thinks. And so it takes guts and courage, and you're going to get judgment, and you have to just keep going anyway.
Jackie - 00:08:11:
Absolutely. Getting vulnerable with ourselves, right? Sometimes we're the hardest person to tell the truth. I love that. That's great advice. Thank you so much for that. Dr. Fanike, you're a licensed trauma therapist, and you have a focus on trauma in your book as well. Can you share your own experience with trauma and what made helping others address their traumas important in your mission in the work that you're doing now?
Dr. Fanike - 00:08:41:
So I will say that a lot of my trauma, it started in childhood and from four years old, the first time I witnessed someone get murdered and just living in Brooklyn, New York, in the 80s, crack epidemic, things were bad. And our brownstone or our apartment was literally catacorner from the hospital where a lot of people on drugs at the time would go there to get methadone, right? As a way for them to get off the drugs while they were giving them more drugs. But back then, in the 80s, especially in New York drugs, it was just rampant. It was bad and my mom did I think, her best in trying to shield us. And so we weren't allowed to just go outside and spend time with the neighborhood children. We spent a lot of time outside of our neighborhood, but from there, six years old. And I grew up in a household where there was domestic violence. My dad and my mom were not married, but when he would come over. He was abusive towards her physically. And my sister and I, we were in this tiny apartment in Brooklyn, so there was no way that we could not hear and see what was going on. And then he died when I was six and just kind of witnessing all of that. So for me, trauma started really young. And unfortunately, I have an old school mother, and she never said, hey, do you we need to go to therapy. We need to talk to someone. We need to discuss this. How does this impacting you? We never had those conversations. And even for herself, I still, to this day, feel like there's so many parts of that that she has yet to heal from and really face herself. But in doing that, I realized that as I got older, and I'm going through life and I'm going through adolescence, and I self harmed, just growing up, I had low self esteem. I hid my body and then inside my home, there was a lot of verbal abuse going on from my mom, and there was a lot of just her being emotionally void. And I think that is how she got through her day to day, right? Just being a survivor and saying, I don't have time to process these emotions. Well, emotions are a little funny, right? You can't really turn off one and not expect the rest of them to be impacted. So when you say, hey, I'm going to just numb the emotions, you kind of have to numb them all. And so we felt the impact of that. And so as I'm growing up and I'm realizing I'm having little boyfriends here and there, but I'm not emotionally attaching to anyone, and they're emotionally attached, they're all in, and I love you, and I'm going to marry you one day and all that, and I'm like, yeah. I don't feel it, right? And so I get to college, and we have to take this Psych 101. That's, like, one of the prerequisites, so we have to take Psych 101. And I'm in class one day, and we start talking about trauma, and my teacher is explaining what trauma looks like, how trauma impacts us, the amygdala, how it holds on to this. And I was like, oh, okay, this sounds really familiar, right? This sounds okay, I need to do some more work. And I start researching, and I'm probably 19 ish at the time, 20 ish, and I just start researching, and I start looking into my father. I start looking into my mom. I start looking into why would she continue letting him in the house if he was abusing her, and why would he continue abusing her? So all of the pieces and then they started to make sense. But I was left with so many unresolved emotions and feelings and thoughts and there was no one in my family that I could really talk to because my mom did not and still to this day did not want to discuss it, will not discuss it. And so I had to kind of figure out those pieces. And so of course, that's where therapy kicks in. That's where I start educating myself. That's where I start working with people to get a better understanding of other people's lives and what it looks like. And at some point, I have to release the anger, the resentment, the feelings of abandonment, all of those things that were kind of sitting there, not dormant, right, but just kind of sitting there brewing, impacting my relationships, impacting my finances, impacting the way that I just showed up. And in doing that, I had an understanding. And my understanding was that at some point, God, the universe, the Creator spirit, whatever name you want to use, I had to internalize it as those experiences were unique to me because I had a purpose and I was supposed to take what I learned and what I got from those experiences to help other people. And when I shifted my perspective and this was later on, trust me, this was not when I was 19, 20, this was a little later in my development and my growth. But when I changed the narrative and I began to look at my experiences through that lens, it moved me from, oh, this stuff happened to me and I'm helpless and there's nothing that I could do, to a place of empowerment to say, okay, so this is a part of my superpower. This is a part of why I'm here. This is how I take these things, these feelings, these emotions. This is my process of working through them and I give them to other people. And so for me, trauma, my messaging has been in my trauma. And so specializing in it and working with others has been amazing because I'm literally able to a lot of times look at things from that person's perspective and that lens. And I get it when I hear people and I see people, I get it immediately and I'm like, I understand. So it's been amazing to shift it from that perspective to this one.
Jackie - 00:15:38:
Absolutely. And, you know, Dr. Fanike, and especially in the black community, therapy is something new to so many of us because it wasn't something that, one, we talked about or two, we advocated for our loved ones to receive or for ourselves to receive because there was a stigma associated with it, right? For so many of us, there's nothing a Nap, chicken soup or Vicks VaporRub can't cure and prayer. But really, so often we need something more to help us, to guide us to resolve things that have occurred in our past. And I just want to say that therapy is so important for so many of us, and so many of us don't even realize that we could benefit from it.
Dr. Fanike- 00:16:33:
Jackie - 00:16:34:
So I just wanted to say that when you think about mental wellness in general, Dr. Fanike, tell me, why do organizations need to prioritize that for their employees?
Dr. Fanike- 00:16:49:
We live in a culture where Henry Ford, who owned an Assembly Line, came up with this concept of an eight hour workday, and somehow this became like the golden grail of just schedules, right? So these eight hour work days, everyone works eight to four or nine to five or ten to six, and it came from someone that ran an assembly line. Most of us are not assembly line workers. And so the thing about it is that because of that thinking, right? Because with that comes the normative expectation that you come to work, you do your job, and then you go home, right? One, that's unrealistic. Two, a lot of us are spending most of our days are spent at work, right. And what's happening is we're burnt out. We don't have social lives. We have no time to take care of ourselves because most of our time is spent at work. And especially if you're a parent, by the time you get off work and then you have to deal with the kids, you have to come home, manage your family. When are you taking care of yourself? When are you recharging? When are you just having the space for you to just manage your own health and your own needs, right? So my thinking is, if we're spending most of our time at work, why don't we bring the wellness piece into the place of work? Because the reality is, if you're telling me and this is what is told, hey, here's these benefits, and we're going to cover a large portion of them, and then you cover a part of your benefits, right? But here's these benefits, and benefits are great. And you get some dental benefits, you can go see a mental health provider, you can go see your doctor. It's wonderful. Yeah. However, when am I using the benefits? Right, but the other piece is that a lot of times with benefits, for example, in mental health, if you go see a therapist and you use your insurance, that therapist from the first visit has to give you a diagnosis or they cannot bill your insurance. And so a lot of people are unfamiliar with that.
Right. You cannot submit a bill or a note to an insurance company as a provider without a diagnosis being attached to that person. But what if I'm just having a hard time with stress? Why do I need a diagnosis at that time? Because the diagnosis stays with you, it’s on your record, it's in there. So my solution to that is if we really look at people as people and not just workers and not as just fulfilling this quota. But if we look at people and we get down into what is it that each person needs?
Because my needs, let's say as a single woman were totally different than my needs right now as a wife and a mom, very different needs. But what if we get so specific to really assess what do people need, what does self care look like for them? What does mental health wellness look like for you? And instead of that employer paying for these benefits that really no one uses. Only 6% of employees even utilize the EAP, right? But they're paying for it and it's there, but no one's using it. And a lot of times it's because employees don't want to use the providers that are linked to their employers because they feel like employers will have access to their records so they don't use them and the time, when are they going to use them. But if we sit back and we say, what is it that you need? And that employer gets creative and says, how about every month instead, I give you a stipend? And let's say I give you a stipend for $300 right now. Not too much money, but $300 for me, I can get a facial, I can get a massage if that's what works for me. I can take that money and go camping if that's what works for me. That's how I destress, right? I can take that and use it on something that I actually will use. Right? And instead of it being a submit all your details, no, it was my mental health and wellness. That is what I used it on. Here it is. So the thing is that we either have to get creative with it or we’re going to continue seeing our workers, our employees, our teams burnt out. We're going to continue having high turnover. We're going to continue just seeing us not being as productive as we probably could. I am a task oriented person. That means do not tell me you have to work 8 hours to get this done because I might be doing it at 09:00 p.m. At night because that's when I'm up, right? That's when I'm like, okay. And it may only take me 3 hours to do this task. The task is done. It's done. Well, it shouldn't matter how long it took me, right. You should be compensating me based on the task, not on the time that you thought it was going to take me. No, not at all.
Jackie - 00:22:39:
That makes sense.
Dr. Fanike- 00:22:40:
So we have to get out of that Henry Ford assembly line thinking on how we run and manage our companies and how we relate to our employees and our team members.
Jackie - 00:22:52:
So smart. Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad that you brought that up about EAP because a lot of organizational leaders will say we have EAP, we have it covered. Right? But I did not know that only 6% of people use the EAP. How, Dr. Fanike, do you recommend that business leaders bring wellness into the workplace? Is it mental health days? Is it doing things in the programming of your corporation with team days and things like that? What are some of the recommendations that you have for organizational leaders that say, well, we have EAP, so we're covered? What do you recommend that they do?
Dr. Fanike- 00:23:41:
All of those things that you just mentioned. I think that, again, you have to bring the wellness into the space. And so even bringing mental health practitioners in, so, like, in office, where people can get on their calendar, meet with them, maybe doing that once a week, but having the providers come in, you can still use their insurance if that's what's needed. Or the employer can say, hey, I'll pay someone to come in here, to be here all day, maybe once a week, starting out, where people can go in there, talk to them, kind of I don't know if you watch the show Billions, but Wendy Rhoades is like, I love her, right? Yeah, kind of like a Wendy Rhoades having her that in office therapist that comes in, sits there, can process stuff with people because sometimes people don't even need an hour. They may sometimes just need 15 minutes to process through an issue. But having someone there, so that's an option. Another thing that I've seen that works really well is having a flex day. And so that flex day may be Friday, that flex day could be Wednesday. And so that's the day where people don't necessarily have to come into the office. And what they can do on that day is they can use it to schedule a doctor's appointment. They can use it to schedule to do something relaxing. They can use it to schedule whatever, but that's their day to figure out how it is that they want to schedule their time. Of course, still getting their work done, but what if I can get all my work done in those other four days and then I can use my flex day for me, right? What's wrong with that? And so that's one way, definitely. I'm a huge fan of in person wellness days in the office. I think it builds that team, it builds that camaraderie. It allows the other employees to see each other differently. And it also, I think, breaks down the barriers between managers or employers and their employees because the managers are also participating, so they get to see their managers be human as well. Right? And so with those in person wellness days having maybe some workshop facilitating going on, but then also having providers there that can provide the services, right? And so you have to really, I think, get creative. But the bigger pieces to me, for employers, it's really about letting your people know that you see them and you value them, because pretending like, everyone's fine. Everyone's okay. It's just not true. I just did a session with some CPAs, and I did a poll on burnout. And when I tell you 96% of the people on this call and there were approximately, I must say about 150 people maybe on this call, 96% of them said that they were either experiencing burnout or had experienced burnout. We have a problem. We have a problem. And we have to become really clear that you cannot wait, because a lot of them, in another poll, it was asking them about retiring, like, have you considered retiring early or quitting a job early? And most of them said, yes. And so if these things are not addressed, if we do not stop treating people like they are robots, if we do not stop, we have to let people know, we care about you. You're more than a number. And studies have shown that people will stay at a job longer if they feel valued. People just want to feel valued and seen. And so it's in our best interest, I think, as a society, to shift our thinking again away from that assembly line productivity model of work. Work. Some days, I think whoever has the power to do so, or authority, a manager or employer, hey, everyone, just take the day off tomorrow.
We're good. It's not going to fall down. It's not going to crumble in a day, right? Everyone just take the day tomorrow. Just take the day. We'll come back, we'll regroup on Thursday or Friday or whatever, right? Why not?
Jackie - 00:28:00:
What I can imagine people saying, Dr. Fanike, is, I can't do that. Right? But what they don't realize a lot of times with employees is that when you start feeling that burnout and you're exhausted, the quality of your work goes down because just not as sharp. And then, really, you're not getting more productivity by making someone push that full 40 every week, or 45 or 50, depending on what your profession is. It's okay to give that downtime because so many employees are taking it anyway. When they're sitting there exhausted or sitting there worried or sitting there not focused on work anyway, give them space to get away and then come back fresh. And I think that's so important. And that's what a lot of those do, your 40 hours, you need to be in the office less flexible, managers think. But you're not getting more productivity from your employees when you're being super rigid on how they work, where they work, times that they work.
Dr. Fanike- 00:29:09:
Jackie - 00:29:10:
I think that's so important.
Dr. Fanike- 00:29:12:
One of my favorite scheduling options, and you only really see it in healthcare, is you have the option to work. I think it's, what, 3-12 or 4-10 or five eight. Right? And I love that. I love that option. And I know most people who would take the 3-12 in a regular job. Yes, I will work three days for 12 hours, and I get to have off the other four days. Yes, but we have to get flexible, right. And be empathetic and be clear that, like you said, just because you're telling someone to work 40 hours a week doesn't mean that you're getting 40 hours of productivity.
Jackie - 00:29:56:
Dr. Fanike- 00:29:57:
No, you're not.
Jackie - 00:29:59:
And I really like that. Dr. Fanike the option to be more flexible with a work schedule, because that's also as we worry about retention in our organizations. Am I really going to leave a job where I can do a four day work week for you know what I mean? In every job, there are those bad days, right? Those frustrating days. No matter what you do, no matter how much you love what you do. But to know that, you know what? I have real flexibility here. That's a tough pitch away from so if you're concerned about retention in your organization, consider more flexibility for your employees because they appreciate it. That's fantastic. Dr. Fanike there are times when all of us feel overwhelmed or feel anxiety. Can you share a technique can we do it now? To help us release stress and relax in the moment when we're feeling those things?
Dr. Fanike- 00:31:05:
So one of my go to's is some type of breathing technique. And so one of the things and we'll do diaphragmatic breathing, okay? So the thing about it is when we start off breathing, we take full breaths, and I'll tell you exactly what I mean by that. Somewhere along the line in life, usually it's like trauma things that we go through, we stop breathing properly. And so when you breathe properly, you're supposed to breathe in through your nose. Your stomach is supposed to push out, and then when you breathe out, then it should come back in. Right? So we should take in so much air that your stomach pushes out. But a lot of us do shallow breathing. We're like, me too, and we're not breathing right to that stomach. But it's supposed to be so calm. It's supposed to be like, long, right? Your breaths are supposed to be elongated, not shallow. So with diaphragmatic breathing, it's exactly that it is breathing in through your well, first things first is take you can take both hands or one and put it on your stomach. So when you're breathing in, it's supposed to go all the way out. Just let it out. And when you breathe in, you'll feel it come back in. Right? That's how we're supposed to breathe.
Jackie - 00:32:38:
Dr. Fanike- 00:32:39:
And if you do that, I do that. At night before I go to bed, I do deep breathing, and it helps me to sleep, and it relaxes me. And so I do that about five times, and I count to four in my head. So I'm counting to four, breathing in, two, three, four, and out, two, three, four, breathe in. Two, three, four, breathe out. Two, three, four, breathe in, two, three, four, breathe out. 2,3,4,1. More time. Breathe in, two, three, four. Breathe out, two, three, four. And resume your normal breath. The thing is, right, I know my voice changes. I love it when I do my deep breathing, it changes. And I catch myself sometimes, which is breathing, and I'll say, hey, breathe properly. And I'll make myself, like, taking full inhale and a full exhale, and the shoulders drop and everything. It just shifts everything but breathing. And there's so many different breathing techniques, breathing exercises, but breathing is my go to. Breathing is designed to relax our sympathetic nerve. And so what happens is we are constantly in fight or flight mode. And what deep breathing does is it activates that parasympathetic nerve so that we step out of fight or flight. So it relaxes us.
Jackie - 00:34:42:
Absolutely. Just in that moment, Dr. Fanike, I hit the ground running. I'm going from meeting to meeting task what's on my to do list. And just taking that moment, it really dropped my shoulders, made me relax a little bit. And you're right. We just have to be intentional and conscious of like, okay, how am I breathing? If I'm starting to feel like the tenseness of the day, which we experience, how can I take just a moment, because that only took a minute. And just breathe and then resume. I think that's so great. What a great strategy.
Dr. Faneki- 00:35:24:
The thing is, like you said, we're so caught up in the day to day, and we're just moving. A lot of times we're not present in our bodies. We're not present in our minds. And so I love when you hear people say mindfulness. Mindfulness is really just you being present in the moment. So with eating, for example, like, I try to tell, I have two teenage bonus kids who are 14, one is about to be 15. And they're at the table when we're not all together because no tables are having family dinner. But when they're by themselves, the phone is there, they're texting, they're eating. And I'm like, Listen, you need to be present with your food. You need to taste all of the flavors of your food. You need to chew slowly. You need to really enjoy your food, right? It digests better. So when we can just take our time and we're present the food, it tastes better, it digests better. It's a whole moment, right? I have a big respect for foodies, like, true foodies, because they take their time and they want to taste all the flavors and they're not rushing. And so the thing is that we're go, go, and we have to start being more present, right? And that's what mindfulness is. So even with just eating, if you find yourself go, go. Start with just your food. Start with just being present when you eat your food, like, all of your meals. Like, I hate eating on the go. I cannot stand it. I hate eating in the car. It's so annoying to me. I love to cook a great meal and then sit at the table and actually taste my food. And I've learned a lot of my cooking recipes from eating other people's food and doing that, tasting the flavors right, tasting the seasonings. I'm like, oh, I'm going to recreate this. And that's how I've learned. That's how I know if they taste well. But also, am I doing it correctly? Because I'm being present. So I would say for people, honestly, start with just your food. Start with just being present when you're eating, right? Remove the phones. Me and my husband and I love this. We used to go out and we see couples just on their phones. They're just on their phones. They're not talking, and that's fine. And I remember seeing an older couple. They had to be I'm going to give them 80. They were sitting at the table. They were sitting next to each other. They weren't saying a word. They didn't speak, like, the whole time. But they were eating, right? They were eating, and they just looked so content and happy. We have a saying in the house, like, you know, the food is good when everyone's quiet because people are actually being present with their food. So no one's speaking, but we're there, we're connected, but everyone is focused on their food. They're being intentional. Right? So we have to kind of get back to that, and we have to get away from this pattern of as much as possible. Eating, running on the go. Everything is on the go. The fast food bags and just being more present. Just being more present.
Jackie - 00:38:43:
Absolutely. And that's a great place to start, Dr. Fanike, because so often we prioritize being able to do so many things at once. I don't know where we got that as like, this is a positive thing.
Dr. Faneki- 00:38:58:
Okay, tell me.
Jackie - 00:38:59:
But it shouldn't be, right? We need to really be present. Tell me, where do we get that from?
Dr. Faneki- 00:39:06:
It's horrible, and it's actually it's a trauma response. So when people are like, Go, go, you hear it's glorified. Let's talk about some of our rap music, especially. I'll never sleep and I never see the back of my eyelids. And then you hear people say, I'm successful because I get up at 05:00 A.m. Every day.
Jackie - 00:39:31:
Dr. Faneki- 00:39:32:
And I'm glad that they can do that. However, I need to sleep in because I need my sleep because I can't think. I'm processed, and I have this little Tyler running around here. So I need rest, right?
Jackie - 00:39:42:
Dr. Fanike- 00:39:42:
Tired. Okay. That doesn't work for me. The thing is, it's a trauma response. Someone and dependent on, I think just nationality and background. But somewhere in history, someone said that working hard, right? Regardless of how you feel, regardless of if you're sick, regardless of if you just had a baby in the field, get to work. Get back to work. Work hard. That's the only way that you're doing a good job, that's value, that's it. And if you're not working hard, then you're not doing it right. You're not doing this thing called life, right? And we have adopted that thinking of it has to be hard. My mom, I literally can probably count on one hand the amount of days that she took off from work when I was growing up. And I know for certain that there were days that she did not feel well. I know that, right? She would not take off work. We had games, we had track practice, we had whatever. You all are on your own. I'm going to work. Right? We have this indoctrinated thinking, one, that we cannot have good lives unless we work hard for them. Okay? So that's the first piece. But the other piece is that if you're working hard, if you're always busy, guess what you don't have to do. You don't have to face yourself. You don't have to face your trauma. You don't have to face the things in your life that are holding you back. You don't have to face those hard moments. You don't have to connect with people. You don't have to do the work. You don't have to do the inner work. And so there's two pieces. There's the messaging that working hard is the only way that we're supposed to do this. And the way that you produce and the things that you do for other people is tied to your worth, right? So if you're not doing, if you're not tired, if you're not producing like, I get so annoyed when I hear people say, well, the man is supposed to be the provider. And I'm like, listen, let's be clear about some things. I don't know about everyone else, but the last time I checked, women were graduating from college at a way higher rate than men, right? And I tell my husband this, the reality is you could get a contract, right? And that contract may be great, but I can probably get a contract at a fraction of the hours that you would have to work and make more money than you will make by working harder, right? So what makes more sense? I think it makes more sense for you to tend to the children more, do more of the activities that they need, bust them around or whatever the case may be. And let me take that contract that's probably going to require me to work 4 or 5 hours a week versus you having to work 20 hours a week, right? Because the math isn't mathing. If I'm not working hard, if I'm not doing, then I'm not worthy or my worth is tied to what I can do for people. And it's really not like you are worth so much just because you exist, just because you're here, just because you woke up this morning, just because just because you got up, just because right? You are worth so much more than what it is that society tells you you are worth. And I do a lot of work, especially with women, because we have it so bad, right? We have it so bad. And I know, like, my husband, if he needs me to do something, he has no problem with asking me. He's like, hey, I need you to do such and such. Can you do this for me? Can you do this? And I'm like, okay. For me, I had to learn because I grew up in a household with a single mother who did everything move the refrigerator, wash the clothes, cook the food, worked the job. She did all the things right? So I had to do work in having a partner. And he was like, hey, what are you doing? Do you need me to do this? Why are you doing that? No, you don't do that. I do that. And I was like, oh, okay. Wow. So now we joke about all the time. Trust me. I'm like, Baby, can you do this? I need help with this. Can you do this for me? Can you do that if I'm tired? Hey, can you do the bath and bedtime? Because if I lay in my baby's bed, I'm going to sleep. Can you do that? Right? And he's like, okay, I got you. And all we have to do is ask. And we have to know that it's okay for us to get help. And we have to know that it's okay. That vulnerability. We have to know that because we say that we need help, it doesn't mean that we're weak, right? It doesn't mean that we're weak. It just means that, hey, I need help in this moment, I'm still strong. I'm still a badass. I'm still all those things. I'm still great. I'm still an entrepreneur. I'm still a great mom. I'm still a great wife. But I need help. I'm going to go ahead and ask for help.
Jackie - 00:45:07:
Absolutely. And so many of us don't do that. We think, I should be able to handle it. I should be able to do it. It's okay to ask for help. I love that. Dr. Fanike how can we be our most productive selves? What are some of the blocks that get in our way, and how do we start to clear those blocks?
Dr. Fanike- 00:45:31:
A lot of us get so caught up in perfectionism. So that's one of the key things that I see. We may have a business idea. We may have a business, but we don't put our offerings out there. Or we may not share this is what I do. Or we may not share that website because we quote, unquote, don't feel like it's perfect. A lot of times, we get caught up in the fear of judgment. And so if I say this or if I say that, this is what happened to me as a therapist, for a long time, I struggled with telling my story because my thinking was, if I tell people that, I had this traumatic childhood. They're not going to come to me for therapy because they're going to look at me like, oh, you're broken. Or something's wrong with you. How can I come to you for therapy? And it was actually the total opposite. So when I started sharing and I started really telling my story and people were like, oh, you get me. Yeah, let me come to you, right? You're relatable. You can understand where I'm coming from. And it opened the door for people to say, oh, yeah, okay, I can go to her. Yeah. And she's really chilling. Great. So it had the total opposite effect. And so I think sometimes we get caught up in the fear of judgment and shame because of what we've been through. And then also we get stuck on it has to be perfect, and I have to be perfect, and I have to have 50,000 degrees before I can do the work that I feel like I'm called to do. I have to have all these certifications. I have to get more knowledge. I have to take more classes. And you don't. I believe this is how I look at it. I believe that we have all of the pieces that we need to follow our paths, right? And as you're going through life, you're given those things. I feel like the universe gives us more pieces. I feel like there are certain things that are put in our place in our paths, just along the journey to prepare us for what it is that we are supposed to do. And helping people to get past that has been crucial. And then I would say the last piece is we're not taught to trust ourselves and listen to ourselves. And so our whole lives are centered around other people telling us what to do, what our lives should look like. At my core, I know that I'm a philanthropist. I know I'm a humanitarian. I'm very clear about that. I know that I am someone who I want to see people win, and I want to use wealth to help others get freedom, because I think that that's super important. When I think about money, freedom is like it's synonymous to me, right? And so I want to help other people gain that freedom. That's not really a popular, hey, oh, you want to give money away? Yeah, I do, right? Like, oh, yeah, I'm trying to get rich. And I'm like, yeah, I do want to get rich, but I want to get rich so I can help people to get rich. And so we have to get out of the stage in our lives, right? Because it's a stage, which means that we can shift it, but we have to get out of that stage of doing things that are only approved by other people, and we have to get to a point where we're willing to bet on ourselves and say, you know what? This is what makes me happy. So this is what I'm going to do because it makes me happy. We have to get into a space of I don't want to say not caring, but at the end of the day, yeah, there has to be a level of and I want to say selfishness, almost. There has to be a level of selfishness that's related to you saying, I'm going to do this for me, and I've done enough for everyone else, but I'm going to do this for me. And so my four-year old, I have that conversation with him where he's like, Mommy, can we do such and such? And I'm like, no, mommy's tired. Mommy needs to rest, and I love you, and we can do that later. And in the beginning, he said, But I want to do and I was like, Great. Then you can go do that by yourself. And you can take time by yourself because Mommy is tired and Mommy needs to rest. And I had to normalize that for me and say, you deserve rest. You want to rest, rest. He'll be fine. He's okay and know that he's okay, but Mommy's going to sleep. So Mommy can be a better mommy for you because Mommy's tired. Mommy is not a good mommy when Mommy's tired, not a good person, let Mommy get some sleep. But yeah, I think we have to just get into that phase of our lives where we become okay with doing the things that make us feel good and doing what it is that we need to take care of ourselves.
Jackie - 00:50:23:
Absolutely. So, Dr. Fanike, an additional question with regard to, I guess organizations now are starting to prioritize flexibility in the workplace and understanding and embracing the whole person at work. When you have that foundation, how do you still take that time for yourself? How do you say, you know what, I've accomplished my tasks for the week. I'm going to take a couple of hours on this Friday or whatever, and just spend time outside, spend time recharging for myself? How do you balance the flexibility that you are afforded in some workplaces now with what you personally need for yourself without feeling guilty or bad or that you're taking advantage of a good foundational workplace?
Dr. Fanike- 00:51:19:
So a lot of people, because of the conditioning, because literally, we've been conditioned so from going to school because we're in school from what, eight or something like that, 7:30 to three. So we've been conditioned to be in that environment or that kind of environment, that's time based from childhood. So it's natural that for a person, and I find that especially people of color really feel like, oh, my gosh, I'm being watched, or I still need permission to kind of take the time. I've experienced that myself. And what I find, though, is that if you start to actually implement the things. It helps to shift the normalization of it. So if you every day maybe set a to do list, if that works for you, or set something like, I'm going to get these tasks done today. I'm going to get these. And that's why I said now, I'm very task oriented, so regardless of what I'm doing, I'm like, okay, this is what I have to get done. It may take me 4 hours. It may take me one, but as long as I get the task done, I'm not tied to the time on how long it takes me to do it. So if I think we can change from being so time-based. My husband is a stickler. He's like, we have to be there. It's 01:00. We have to be there around 1:30. We have to leave the house at 12:15. Whereas me, I'm like yeah, okay. 01:00. I might still be moving and this and that. And in my head, I'm like, I'm a mom. I can be late. Leave me alone. So that's my excuse. Why are you late? I'm a mom. But the reality is, even if you're not a mom or a dad or whatever the case may be, it's okay that we should have to stop feeling like we're rushing, because that's what we're doing. And as we're rushing, we're literally rushing through our lives. Literally rushing through our lives. And so I've learned how to like the airport. I live in Atlanta, so you have to be there at least 2 hours before for sure you will miss your flight. So even with that, I've learned how to get there and just be able to take my time so that I'm not having to run to the gate. I'm not having to is the plane. Has it left yet? Because that has happened to me before too. But I've gotten better with giving myself time, giving myself space. Even before today we recorded, I literally turned the lights out. I took ten minutes to just be by myself and no one's home but me. But I took that time just for me. I set my timer. So I know, hey, you have to hop on now. But taking our time, we have to become okay with taking our time. Everywhere in the world, primarily except for the US. Like when we travel, especially, we go to Ghana and they always say to us, oh, Americans, you all work so much. Americans work so much. So it's not normal. It's not normal. And I don't know how much experience or you've ever had with someone from the Caribbean or Africa, right? So it's like you go to the Caribbean and the shop hours on the door might say 09:00 A.m. To 05:00 P.m. And 09:00 A.m.. You're like, okay, where are they? Right? And they may not pop up to about 10:30 because whatever, hey, I slept in, or whatever the case may be, we have to become okay with that. And it's so much like here in predominantly, like, European based countries where time is such an important factor. Right. But it's not. What if, on my way to work, I was like, hey, I want to go on a trail and take a walk, or I just need to be in nature for a little bit to help ground myself right. Before I go into the office. Would you rather me come in grounded, or would you rather me come in after having a bad morning? And then I come into, what do you want? Right.
Jackie - 00:55:36:
Dr. Fanike- 00:55:38:
So we have to become really clear with the processes, and like I said, what people need as opposed to what we think they need, because there's a lot of assumptions out there, especially in the workplace. I'm not a fan of management and leadership choosing or deciding what the wellness program looks like. I'm not a fan. I'm like, no, you need to ask your employees, like, what do they need? What do they want this to look like? Because it makes a world of difference. Absolutely. Yeah, that's my thoughts around it.
Jackie - 00:56:09:
Good advice. Thank you, Dr. Fanike. Dr. Fanike, as we begin to wrap up and this conversation has been so great. I've taken so many notes just mid conversation. It's amazing. What's the message that you want to leave our listeners with today?
Dr. Fanike- 00:56:25:
The one message that I believe is really valuable is own your process. And what I mean by that is your process to this thing called life is specific to you, and a lot of times, your money is in your messaging. So don't discard what you've been through. Don't discard what you've learned. Don't discard if you have gone through bankruptcy, you may be able to take that experience and help others to avoid going through bankruptcy or even teaching them, hey, now that you've been through bankruptcy, let me show you how to rebound. Right? And so don't be ashamed of what you've gone through, because you can use your own experience, your own process to then help other people. And there's power in that.
Jackie - 00:57:20:
Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. Dr. Fanike, how can people learn more about your work, get in touch with you, order your book?
Dr. Fanike- 00:57:31:
I am @drfanike across all platforms. D-R-F-A-N-I-K-E. That's LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, across all platforms. And they can just go to my website, drfanike.com that's drfanike.com, and just learn more information. I also just founded this Entrepreneur Lab, and we kick off our first program next week. I wanted to create something that was more affordable for women to work with me. And so in this small group setting, like really small, no more than ten women. We worked together for six months. And in that, we are tackling the mental and emotional blocks that are stopping them personally and professionally. And all of them are business owners or aspiring business owners, and we're also doing strategy behind their businesses while doing the mental health and the trauma work. So I am so excited about that and I'm really, really happy. And I know that this is something that is a part of my legacy for me to leave here and also to be able to just help others.
Jackie - 00:58:44:
Awesome. Dr. Fanike, thank you so much for the amazing work that you're doing. I enjoyed getting to talk to you and getting so many amazing strategies and ways to think about how to empower yourself in your own life. Thank you so much.
Dr. Fanike- 00:58:59:
Thank you for having me.
Jackie - 00:59:10:
Thanks for joining me for this episode. Please take a moment to subscribe and review this podcast and share this episode with a friend. Become a part of our community on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. This show was edited and produced by Earfluence. I'm Jackie Ferguson. Join us for our next episode of Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox. Take care of yourself and each other.
Join Integrative Wellness Program Designer and Business Profit Growth Strategist, Dr. Fanike-Kiara Young, as she shares her expertise in mental health, trauma, and self-care. With a focus on personal development, mindset, and emotional intelligence, Dr. Fanike helps individuals navigate workplace wellness and business strategy, empowering them to achieve greater self-confidence and enhanced leadership. Don’t miss out on this inspiring conversation on designing effective wellness systems for yourself, your business, and your world.
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