Episode 127 – Unstoppable Coach, Writer, and Speaker with Isis Fabian
The title is only the start of Isis Fabian. As with a lot of people who go through self-discovery, Isis, along the way learned that she was neurodivergent and could be classed as somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. She also learned that she had gifts, some of which made her different than some of her peers, but gifts that helped her function well in society.
I am always fascinated to meet so many different people on Unstoppable Mindset especially those who recognize how to learn about themselves and who put their knowledge into practice to better themselves and the world. Isis fits that by any standard.
After leaving College Isis worked at a London think tank for several years. While there, she began seeing patterns concerning how people interacted with and treated each other. She finally decided to leave her job at the think tank and joined a tech company where she still works today. Now, she gets to work much more closely with people as a subject matter expert concentrating a great deal on DEI, (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). I will leave it to Isis to tell her story. It is an intriguing story and worth your hearing and pondering. As I often have said in these notes, and I truly mean it, Isis as an introspective and thoughtful person offers many life lessons that can be valuable for all of us.
About the Guest:
Isis Fabian is a coach, writer, and speaker focused on expanding awareness, decolonizing thought patterns, and helping people understand and express themselves in order to be forces for positive societal change.
Fabian is an expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with nearly a decade of DEI experience, having spent most of that time conducting primary research on the US professional workforce and several global markets (Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Poland, India, Hong Kong, and Japan). Fabian’s work in research has included nationally representative mixed methodology projects on a broad range of talent cohorts and concepts to develop a deep intersectional understanding of inequity and marginalization in the workplace and beyond. Fabian’s areas of expertise include belonging, microaggressions, unconscious bias, intersectionality, equity, White dominant culture, engaging advantaged groups in social justice, women’s advancement, mentorship and sponsorship, sexual misconduct, and generational diversity.
Fabian has also spent over a year each with professionals in the following talent cohorts, interpreting quantitative data and understanding the common themes in their workplace experiences: professionals with disabilities, Black professionals, Latine professionals, LGBTQIA+ professionals, Millennials, women in STEM, and veterans. This foundation of nuanced intersectional awareness across identity groups and industries, along with Fabian’s own experience being agender and neurodivergent, guides how they build accessible content on complex topics, coach leaders from advantaged groups, facilitate conversations about identity and allyship, and envision systems and cultural norms that create equity and abundance for all.
Links for Isis:
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Unstoppable mindset is on the air once again, my gosh, that’s how it used to sound in radio right on the air. I guess we’re in the ether or whatever, which is pretty close to being on the air. I am your host, Mike Hingson. We are glad you’re here. And today we get to chat with Isis Fabian, who is an author, a coach, a speaker and has a lot of knowledge not only about diversity, equity and inclusion, but interacting with people and a lot of topics that will be fun to go into over the next hour or so. So Isis Welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Isis Fabian 01:57
Thank you so much. Right? Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.
Michael Hingson 02:00
We’re, we’re glad you’re here really appreciate you being here and giving us a chance to chat and help teach us one thing or another. And I think that’ll be a lot of fun. Absolutely. Well tell me let’s start with you. As as a little Isis growing up or whatever, tell me kind of how things started or more by you going to school and some of the early parts of your life.
Isis Fabian 02:25
Yeah, well, I was, um, you know, I was born two weeks late. So it was my brother I was I was a very big baby. I was always mistaken as being a boy. When I was young. My parents actually started dressing me like a boy because people would come up to them in the street and be like, hey, get get that dress off of it. That’s not right.
Michael Hingson 02:45
Where were you born? Where are you from?
Isis Fabian 02:46
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Philadelphia.
Michael Hingson 02:47
Okay, yeah, that’s a dress off that boy. Okay, yeah.
Isis Fabian 02:52
Yeah. And then my parents had a brother who was two years younger than me. And then they’re like, oh, we’ll just keep buying her boy clothes, because you know, he’ll wear them next. And that works out. And yeah, I definitely as a child had a very different relationship to gender, it was so much more fluid, I really thought I could grow up to be a father, I just, I didn’t realize kind of all the ways that I would be perceived, growing up into being a woman, a female, and what that would entail. But I didn’t realize there was something weird about me until I was maybe in fourth grade is the moment I really want to point to because we had to vote on school uniforms. And it was a huge elementary school. And I was the only kid in the whole school who voted yes, on school boards. And that’s when I started to realize that that was when I started collecting facts about myself things I said, or did, they got a negative kind of reaction and started to realize there’s something different about me, I don’t know what it is, but it’s not normal. And there’s something about my brain that is different from most of my peers. And that was when I started to collect that information and start really manually observing other kids and people and putting together how one is supposed to act and behave in this particular society. Despite all its absurd norms. I have
Michael Hingson 04:11
to ask, what did you discover and what did you conclude about yourself?
Isis Fabian 04:15
Well, for a while, I just thought I woke when I thought I might be like a psychopath. That was before I finished my psychology degree and realize that it’s not accurate at all. But I did eventually discover that I was on some form of neuro divergence, but definitely on the autism spectrum, although by the time I discovered that I was so good at masking that it would be so expensive and impossible to get a diagnosis. And I am so I really just identify as neurodivergent but what it’s meant is I see patterns and very complex things right. There’s a lot of positives that come with it. I was always extremely good in school. I got the best SATs score in my grade, even though I didn’t really prepare my parents never helped me with my homework. They know anything. I remember giving them an algebra question for the first time. And the question he would ask, I was like, Oh God, you know, once tonight I do on my own here with school, but it’s still all came very naturally to me. But the social side of things did not so facial expressions, and what they mean and where they come from, I had to learn all of that manually and adapt all of that manually.
Michael Hingson 05:20
But you, you seem to have survived all that discovery? Are you still discovering about yourself?
Isis Fabian 05:26
Yeah, I survived it, I think I would say the trajectory was realizing something is weird, realizing kind of the shape of what was weird. I collecting a ton of data, so that I can act not weird in most situations, appear to be a kind of successful social person. And then finally get to the point where I’m now discovering the superpowers that come with this very active, fast processing pad pattern recognizing brain that are now you know, additive and beyond what I feel like I I noticed my peers and other people can do, especially in the workplace, and things like that. So that’s the phase that I’m now definitely still discovering.
Michael Hingson 06:08
So what kind of superpowers?
Isis Fabian 06:11
Oh, wow, well, for one, I never have difficulty understanding kind of complex systems. I’ll give an example like systemic racism, for instance, right. From the moment I learned that, that that people who looked like me enslaved people who looked like my best friend, when I was a kid living in West Philly, I knew that I lived in a society where being white was the easiest thing to be. And I didn’t have to have that explained to me. And a lot of neurodivergent people, including people with ADHD will describe this very easy ability to kind of recognize and understand systemic issues because of that ability for pattern recognition. The other piece is being able to encode a lot of information very quickly. So in a conversation or in a debate or something like that, I could hear a lot, connect a bunch of dots, formulate a response and give a kind of coherent, put together synthesized reaction, very quickly to the point that I was told it was a problem at my last job, and I sort of figured out how to shut up in meetings, and just just just bite my tongue for a few minutes. So everyone felt like they kind of kind of equal opportunity to participate.
Michael Hingson 07:26
Just because you, you got it, and you’re able to move forward. But yeah, I can understand people don’t people would think you’re a show off, and you’re not trying to be a show off. It’s just the way you are. But nevertheless, that’s how they react, isn’t it?
Isis Fabian 07:39
Yeah, I just get excited. You know, and I got that feedback. You’re too intimidating. And you really need to work on that. And that was really hard to hear, because I felt like that said more about the other person than it did about me. Yeah, years later, I finally you know, I’ve tried to think more in terms of impact rather than intent. Part of my problem growing up was I was seen as as very rude because I would just say things that I considered objectively true. Like if someone said, this is such a good picture of me, and I said, that picture looks nothing like you, you know, that kind of thing. Very bad. You don’t get good reactions for that. But I was confused. I was like, Why does someone say it’s a good picture doesn’t a good picture mean it, it looks like you. So I finally learned that it didn’t matter what my intention was, it didn’t matter if I was right. What mattered was the impact I was having on other people. And if that impact is making them feel bad about themselves or feel inadequate, I finally decided that that was not something I wanted to be doing, and really shifted my perspective from there,
Michael Hingson 08:38
you and Hermione from the Harry Potter series.
Isis Fabian 08:42
That’s, that’s such a compliment. Thank you.
Michael Hingson 08:46
Did you face a lot or any real discrimination growing up? Or can you can you point to anything that gave you that impression?
Isis Fabian 08:56
I mean, certainly not as much as a lot of other people, but I was certainly you know, other than and marginalized for my my weirdness at times, I think being a white girl is one of the most difficult things you can be as an autistic child, because the automatic kind of communication style is passive aggression. You know, and it’s so complicated for someone who has a literal mind and hears, interprets everything literally. Honestly, I was probably spared quite a bit of bullying, just because it was happening. And I probably didn’t even realize it was happening. Like I didn’t get invited to the birthday party that everyone else got invited to, even though I was closest to the birthday girl compared to a bunch of other people. And I would be like, Oh, it was just an oversight. You know, and I would really believe that and like when someone tells me Yeah, like, she must have just forgot like, even though everyone’s trying to like, insult me or push me out. Like I truly would just take everything very literally and take everyone’s words at face value. And so I probably was bullied more than I realized I had a lot of moments of girls trying to be mean to me or trying to say something to put me down and I just didn’t under Stand what they were saying. I just couldn’t process it. And I’ve just filed away for later than look back years later and be like, Oh, okay, that’s now that I’ve learned the language of passive aggression. That’s what that was.
Michael Hingson 10:11
And that probably frustrated them more than anything else because you didn’t react.
Isis Fabian 10:16
Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely.
Michael Hingson 10:19
And of course, the other societal attitude that girls aren’t supposed to really be that bright. Right?
Isis Fabian 10:25
Well, it’s interesting, because I went to a pretty liberal public school, and I had a lot of teachers, including men who would say, you know, girls go to college, get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupid, or like, it was very in vogue at that time for teachers to call boys stupid and be like, Oh, he doesn’t know. He’s a boy. And like, especially male teachers, it was weird. I feel like it was a weird kind of brief moment in time. And that’s when I was going through school. So I really, until I got to college in New York, and I started to, you know, really come up against sexual assault and that kind of thing. I had no idea I was at such a societal disadvantage for being a woman to be honest.
Michael Hingson 11:05
So you went through school, though, and you certainly seem to survive and sound like an intelligent, normal person to me, somebody who’s very enthusiastic, like Hermione, so there we go. But but you know, so you went on, and where did you go to college, or how did all that work out?
Isis Fabian 11:24
I went to New York University. And it was amazing, because I had felt like an adult and a little child’s body for so long. And I was just so excited. I was also six foot one, by the time I was going to college and eventually got to six, two, so I was treated like an adult. And I had to exist in the world as an adult, when I felt like an adult for the first time, I still had a lot of those social shortcomings in college. But I had learned enough from my high school experience about how to be a popular girl, you know, and so all the popular girls from the other high schools that came to NYU, all gravitated to me and we all became like this group of popular girls that it was such a weird time, because I had never been in that in that population before. And it was so looking back, I mean, it’s very kind of cutthroat, place to be in. And it’s, it’s a little bit scary. But again, a lot of it what over went over my head. And that was really just the point of time where I kind of became an adult and then eventually really found the people that I wanted to be close to and have as lifelong friends.
Michael Hingson 12:29
Did you find from an intellectual standpoint, though, the college challenged you a lot more than although you are good at detecting patterns and figuring those kinds of things out. Did college challenge you more with that?
Isis Fabian 12:43
A little bit. Some of my classes, yes. Others I was like shocked at how much harder they were for some of my classmates than they were for me. But classes, like in economics college is where I discovered economics. And that was just a huge thing for me to learn, you know, micro economics, the way like tax incidence is calculated and how price elasticity works like these were all these new concepts that helped explain the world around me. And, you know, I took money in banking, I took econometrics, I finally had language and math with which to look at the economy in which we all live and participate. And that that was hugely exciting. It was challenging, because I took pretty challenging classes, but really, really exciting.
Michael Hingson 13:26
What did you want to major in and be when you got out of college when you when you first started, at least?
Isis Fabian 13:33
When I started, I was thinking psychology because I took AP Psychology in high school. That was pretty much the only reason and it was also one of those things where I had this inkling like I might figure out what it is about my brain. If I stick with this, and keep learning more about this. And I if anyone who’s majored in psychology probably has had the same discovery that a lot of people with a wide range of neuroses and mental health conditions are psychology majors. So yeah, I was certainly among quite a hodgepodge of people. I did end up doing a double major in psychology and economics. And I came one class short of a minor in Spanish as well.
Michael Hingson 14:13
Wow. So you’re you’re a pretty busy person.
Isis Fabian 14:17
I guess so I’d love to learn still do.
Michael Hingson 14:20
Yeah, there’s nothing better than learning which is one of the reasons I love unstoppable mindset. I get to learn from so many people even though they’re short hour long courses. Every little bit helps. Yeah, well, what did you do after you graduated?
Isis Fabian 14:34
So after I graduated, I kind of fell into working at this think tank. I’d worked a little bit at a at a nonprofit in London before that just as like an internship. And so because I had that nonprofit experience, I guess I had and I’ve done a lot of research for that role as qualified for this role at a research think tank that was focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. I never heard of that before. It was just called Diversity and Inclusion at the time. And it was such a bizarre world because it was this company that had its own, you know, political hierarchy. And it was dominated by white women. So it was that same population that I had struggled with so much earlier. And I barely had the means to deal with at the adult, elite level of adult white women passive aggression, but I, I liked that it had a, you know, social equity component. I liked what we were helping companies do, we putting out research about these topics and consulting with companies to make leaders more inclusive and things like that, but a lot of what was happening inside the company, like a lot of nonprofits, we were not practicing what we preach. I think that’s the case for a lot of people who have nonprofit experience, but that’s where I was at being there for seven years. And that’s where I really got the basis for my research foundation. Now, you said you worked in London for a little while. Not long at all. I was there. When I studied abroad, I had an internship that was one of those brutal parts of my life. I was doing my double major living in London, which I did not like, I did not like London one bit. And doing that internship. So it was very brief.
Michael Hingson 16:09
Big Ben kept you awake at night? Hmm.
Isis Fabian 16:13
It was just not I felt like someone I lived in New York for a while that point, right. So it was like it felt like someone saw London. And then they’re like, I could do better. They made New York, they felt like taking a step backward.
Michael Hingson 16:24
Well, still, I’ll pop it you gain some things from the experience over there. I mean, you couldn’t help it, I’m sure.
Isis Fabian 16:31
Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s my first real professional experience, it was exciting to actually be like working on something that had nothing to do with school and nothing to do with an assignment, right? Like I was researching for larger projects and contributing something, it was a totally different mindset.
Michael Hingson 16:48
So you went off, and you worked for this company for seven years. And then you left or what happened?
Isis Fabian 16:57
Well, while I was there, I by the time I left, I was doing three different jobs. And you could not put everything I was doing in the job description. And that was one of the reasons I left I felt like, you know, I was really being taken for granted. And I was really being worked to the bone, I was having a hard time. But the bigger reason was after seven years, and you know, most of those years spent doing qualitative research, in addition to interpreting a lot of quantitative data on the, you know, white collar knowledge worker workforce, I was seeing because of this pattern based mind, I was seeing these tremendous commonalities across groups, you know, I was interviewing, between the interviews I did, the focus groups I did, and the big online virtual focus groups I did, I must have talked to 1000s of people around the globe, about their experiences. And I started to see these commonalities. But it just wasn’t clicking for the people above me at this research organization, I felt like they were always trying to take the qualitative quotes or something and shove it into a pre existing storyline or pre existing story, whether the project was about black professionals or about women in STEM. And I felt like I was having this like mind blowing discovery experience with every conversation I had, because I was able to take all the information from that conversation and kind of aggregated, synthesize it but also file every story away in my mind to come back to for later. And it was a really incredible experience. And after enough time, I just felt like I’m not serving, I’m not doing justice to the people who are taking the time out of their lives to tell me these stories, by staying at this organization and continuing to try to put people into these big data, buckets and warp those stories to fit a narrative. So that was why I left I wanted to go work with real people and support people directly and be a resource for them.
Michael Hingson 18:46
So what did you do?
Isis Fabian 18:48
So I came to a tech company, where I am at currently working kind of as a just an internal subject matter expert, I do a lot of presentations, like I told you, before we started I was just in San Francisco doing an external presentation for our community of lawyers in our ecosystem on implicit bias. I just tried to make that content as accessible as possible for people, I really make it clear that I do not subscribe to 95% of what the diversity and inclusion industry does, because it hasn’t worked or it has backfired. And I’m like when I see you know, the scared white men on my Zoom screen. I’m like, we’re not here to shame and blame people. We’re all here to learn and grow together. Because making someone feel bad has never helped them learn. Right? Like that’s that’s never been the case. Shame has never served to do that guilt has ever served to do that. And so I really tried to help people look inside themselves, their own intersection of identity, their own set of lived experiences, their own preconceptions, and to interrogate that in ourselves, I think it’s really important to reframe, you know, the Diversity and Inclusion and Social Justice conversation is often said To shut up and learn, right? Like you have so much to learn, you have so much to learn. I really think it’s a lot more to unlearn, there’s so much to unlearn. And we’re capable of doing a lot of that by just really interrogating our own kind of beliefs.
Michael Hingson 20:12
It’s interesting to hear you say what you did, the way you do that the dis, the diversity and inclusion in history hasn’t worked. I mean, that’s a very relevant way to put it, because it hasn’t diversity, for example. And it’s my pet peeve, which I talk about here occasionally. So hopefully, people don’t get too bored. But disabilities are not included in diversity at all, it’s been completely thrown out. We hear about gender, race, sexual orientation, and so on. But people don’t even deal with disabilities. And my position is, that is so unrealistic, because every single person on the planet has a disability. And for most of you, it’s that your light dependent, you don’t do well when there’s not light around, and your disability gets covered up by the fact that a light bulb was invented. And it’s a very low tech solution, although we’re doing better at making more efficient light bulbs, but still, power goes out, you’re in a world of hurt, you know, for me, it doesn’t matter at all. But nobody pays attention to the technology that that deals with your disability. At the same time, nobody wants to spend money when looking when I look for a job to give me alternatives that will allow me to do the same thing that you can do. Or people think it’s so amazing how a blind person can use a computer. Why? You know, we we really just don’t deal with true inclusion at all. And I will let people get away with saying, Well, we’re inclusive, because we deal with women and race and so on, but you don’t deal with disabilities, you’re not inclusive, all right, diversities been changed. But disability does not mean a lack of ability. And it is a characteristic that in one way or another we all have,
Isis Fabian 21:59
right. And people who wear glasses too, right? It’s like great solutions there for you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to see either. And I think you know, when it comes to race and gender and sexual orientation, all these other categories that hasn’t been solved for either these organizations aren’t inclusive, to anyone if they were then anyone from any background would have that experience of belonging and an equal opportunity to reach their full potential and an equal opportunity to demonstrate that potential. And that is just not the situation that we’re in, we actually did do a project while I was at that organization on professionals with disabilities, that was a global project. So I got to talk to people in Brazil and the UK across the US. And these are people like companies, you know, who have I don’t know, if you I’m sure you’re familiar with the federal government mandates, you must have 2% of people in your workforce have to have a disability if you’re going to contract the federal government, and those are the companies right, once they get that requirement. They’re like begging all their employees to disclose their disability, but they’re not an environment often where it’s safe to end for people with visible disabilities. You know, they’re not even coming to work to that at that company in the first place. Because it doesn’t have those, those inclusive practices.
Michael Hingson 23:08
What’s ironic about that is that 25% of all persons, according to the Center for Disease Control, have a disability. Why isn’t a 25% ought to have have a disability, or they don’t, but they don’t deal with that. It’s also like, when you’re going off and dealing with government contracts, they’ve got this thing called set asides for women owned businesses, veterans and so on. Nothing for persons with disabilities. And it’s it’s it’s ironic, and we’ve had mandates, we’ve had requirements, regulations, and so on regarding internet and website access from the federal government about the federal government since 2010. Yet, overall, the number of or the percentage of websites within the government that are truly accessible, it’s not all that high. Right? Right. It’s,
Isis Fabian 24:02
yeah, and I always point to that, like, I, when I have these diversity conversations, there’s so many people who feel like hyper competent on diversity or whatever now. And I always bring in like, where’s your ableism? At work that when was the last time you looked at that, right? We’re all at different places on these different journeys. And if you really commit to it, you get to that place where you see the intersection of all of these groups and those shared experiences and disability is one of the most important ones to talk about. Because even with the Americans with Disabilities Act, I mean, we go back not that long ago, we had the ugly laws. And now today, we have, well, we have a lot of people getting long COVID Right and realizing how difficult it is to be someone with a disability in this country. We also have restrictions on how much money someone who is on disability can have in their bank account and you can still pay people disabilities below minimum wage, like we’re clearly a country and a government that wants to devalue and marginalize the lives of people with disabilities despite the fact that to your point, so many people have Have them in a study we did actually found that 30% of knowledge workers have disabilities.
Michael Hingson 25:05
Fortunately, like some of the minimum wage things are are getting better like sheltered workshops that were required under Section 14 C of the Javits, Wagner eau de Act are. One, we’re allowed to pay less than minimum wage, and a lot of that is fortunately, getting to not be so acceptable anymore. But it’s just such a long process. And it shouldn’t have to be that way.
Isis Fabian 25:31
Yeah, I love the example you gave about light bulbs, the way I, the one that I give it, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, is imagine if you woke up tomorrow, when everyone could fly, except for you. You’d be like, Oh, well, you know, I can still use the stairs or use the escalator or use the elevator, I’ll get ready to go. But what about when they start taking those things away, and I build new buildings that don’t have escalators that don’t have stairs don’t have elevators, because you’re the only person who can’t fly. Now you don’t feel like there’s nothing wrong with you, right? You just have been made to have a disability by your environment, it’s this, our culture, all of us contribute to it. That’s why I find it so fascinating people like oh, I’ve never even thought about ableism and disability before when every person participates in it to such a great extent, just by existing in this society and going about our lives the way we do.
Michael Hingson 26:18
Well, it’s really fascinating the way we look at a lot of things, you go into many places of business. And you can go into the break room. And there’s this nice fancy coffee machine where you can get hot chocolate tea, 500 million different kinds of coffee, and all you got to do is touch the screen and you’re in good shape. But they don’t even much make machines anymore, with buttons that would allow me to have the same level of access. And there are some alternatives I can use, if I can afford them, or if the company would pay for them. Like there’s a service called IRA, a IRA, which is an app that uses a we uses the phone’s camera, and a Kinect with an agent and the agents are specially trained to describe. And they’re very well trusted. So you can even use them to go over tax information and banking information and all that because the agents know how to read it and give you what you want. They’re trained to do that. And they signed confidentiality and non disclosure agreements. So it’s a really sophisticated operation. But at the same time, it costs money. And a lot of companies won’t even pay for it. I know a lawyer in Canada, who wanted to use IRA, and she was a lawyer dealing with colleges and so on and at a campus. And fortunately, she and we helped was able to demonstrate why it was valuable for her to have access to IRA to be able to read documents, Ford disclosure and and for dealing with discovery for for court trials and so on. So she more than paid for itself. But it still took more work than it should have to make that happen.
Isis Fabian 28:10
Yeah, absolutely. And there’s so many people who just, they can’t advocate for themselves to that level, they shouldn’t be expected to, they don’t want to put themselves in that position. Or they’re told, you know, not to rock the boat. And it’s just so many so many people who do not get what they deserve and what they are entitled to just to do their job.
Michael Hingson 28:28
So for you, how does your neuro divergence intersect and deal with your advocacy and your your goal of dealing with social justice?
Isis Fabian 28:40
Well, I think like I said, a lot of neurodivergent people or maybe I didn’t mention this, you don’t really have a passion for fairness. You know, we’re very obsessed with fairness, a lot of us and I think part of that comes with having to learn all the rules of this society, right? You learn through trial and error. It’s very manual kind of process. We don’t kind of, or at least speaking for myself, I didn’t learn these things automatically. And so then when I see injustice, unfairness, I just can’t I can’t just accept it and not want to participate in doing something about it. That’s kind of where it started. For me. I was like, I can’t What am I going to do go get a job in wealth management or something and what just exist in this completely unfair world where it’s all going to be on my mind, I did think about trying to get maybe you get into senior positions somewhere else and you can advocate from there but it’s just all I ever wanted to put my passion into and I see how our collective liberation is tied up into this right like ableism is another great example we are all suffering for living in an ableist society every person whether they consider themselves to have a disability or not the ways that we are expected and acculturated to hide. You know, the ways that we need help for instance, the ways that we marginalize and dismiss people in our lives when they fall ill and they need needs support. We’ve just normalized this, this marginalizing of anyone with any kind of infirmity, or disability of any kind. And now we have all these people with long COVID. And this huge population who are joining the ranks of people who are not served by this environment. I mean, it’s just all of this affects all of us. And I use that also talking about like, white supremacy culture, and the way that shows up for white women. One of those ways is perfectionism. You know, perfectionism is killing us. It’s such a big part of our culture among white women. And it’s, it causes a lot of suffering. These are all interrelated concepts, if we could liberate ourselves from all the things that prevent us from just living as our full, authentic selves, able to participate, fully able to actualize our unique potential fully, we would all every single one of us be better off right men would be better off without patriarchy. And the foreman exists all the pressure that puts on men to be a breadwinner to, to not show you know, vulnerability and certain emotions, to not enjoy certain things or hobbies. Like there’s so many ways that that that patriarchy obviously hurts women, but it’s also hurting men. And so rich men as well. Yeah, a lot in herds, especially boys today, you know, I I’m worried about how easily radicalized they can be by someone like Andrew Tate, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but there’s a lot of these podcasters and the Insell world? And no, it’s because they have none of these role models, because visible role models of positive masculinity, and there’s just proliferate writing, you know, role models of negative masculinity. But yeah, I think once I’ve really discovered, I have a talent for explaining some of these things to people, I have a talent for creating space for people to explore these things and move along in their understanding and their own passion and activism. And all I care about is, you know, being able to bring that freedom and joy to other people that comes with being able to actualize your own potential. So that’s, that’s why I guess, you know, if I wasn’t neurodivergent, I’m not sure I ever would have gotten to that place.
Michael Hingson 32:05
Well, but you are who you are, and you do work to be yourself. And it’s, it’s unfortunate that sometimes we we are so discouraged from being ourselves where we’re, well, people try to fit us into a particular mold and particular way of, of thinking or they want to think about us in a certain way. And when we aren’t that way, they get pretty upset.
Isis Fabian 32:31
Yeah, yeah. And my brothers. Oh, sorry. Good. No, go ahead. Yeah, I just the other, I guess, big pieces, my brother and his journey with bipolar and some really difficult, you know, life experiences has also been the other big catalyst for me. It forced me to let go of everything that was superficial and not important in life, and recognize how much of all these social rules and social success and whatever that I had learned how to perform, was meaningless and not useful, and not who I was not who I actually was. And so it took the kind of safety of that successful, you know, social existence for me to discover that it started shedding those things. But my brother’s own difficulty, you know, with psychosis, he disappeared at one point, right, the beginning of the pandemic, we came this close to dying. And between that and the pandemic, it was really the trigger to journey inward to recognize what’s really most important to me and to find who I really am. And the joy that has come with that is just something I want to bring to as many people as possible.
Michael Hingson 33:42
I was going to ask you about your brother and what’s what’s going on with him and just learn a little bit more about him because you guys have in, if you consider what what’s going on with him to be a disability, you both have different kinds of disabilities. So how does that interact? And how does, how does your journeys together been?
Isis Fabian 34:01
Yeah, yeah, we definitely both have disabilities. And, you know, at some point he’s diagnosed with bipolar is that in different diagnoses, maybe they’ll change at a certain point, when it comes to mental health conditions like that. You’re you just get to know the person and the conditions so thoroughly that no diagnosis is gonna give you more information than what you have, from your experience with that person. He’s doing extremely well. Now. I mean, after this last episode, and April 2020, he went through this like a dark night of the soul in the middle of this, they had like an ego death experience. It sounds like what people have experienced on you know, extreme psychedelics, you know, and he came out of it and almost Jesus like version of who he was before. I mean, he used to be someone who was very antagonizing, very grandiose, very difficult just in a lot of ways. He made my childhood very difficult. At home, just he could just push me to this day, no one can get me to raise my voice except for my brother. And he still doesn’t know he doesn’t do it. And so now I just now I have a new superpower that no one can get me angry no one on earth. He’s just undergone this complete transformation. And I’m so grateful. I mean, it’s a miracle that he is the man he is today, given what a tyrant and a demon he was as a child. But he also has suffered so much. And all of that behavior, as it often does, you know, came out of suffering. And so, you know, going on that journey with him having to recognize that someone experiencing psychosis, right, which is literally you’re experiencing a reality that is different from the consensus reality that everybody else is experiencing, or that everybody else would agree to. Going through that with someone and really digging deep to figure out where they’re coming from and what’s happening to them and not coming from this paternalistic, patronizing, you know, silencing approach that is so normalized in our society, unfortunately, as a way of reacting to mental illness and people with mental health conditions. I’m so grateful that our family has never stigmatized taking medication for anything. And he’s been able to do so well, I think because he’s had just the unconditional love and support of every person in his family. But at the beginning of this, when things really started getting bad, I was not helpful. I was very ableist, you know, I was very much looking down my nose at him and be like, Oh, I can’t believe this is happening to me, you know, now I have a crazy brother, you know, like that was, I’m just being honest. Like, I have to be honest, in this work like that is where I was at. And through him, I transformed from that person, to the person that I am now and have a lot more humility, and I’m just very grateful for everything he is taught me whether intentionally or not, I’ve learned so much from him. Well, I
Michael Hingson 36:45
don’t want to give him ideas if he ever listened to the podcast, but now that he is the way he is, does he have a sense of humor? Oh, he’s always sensitive. So So has he. So now when is he going to get you to raise your voice just to spite you?
Isis Fabian 36:58
Michael Hingson 37:02
I told you so don’t let him listen to the podcast.
Isis Fabian 37:04
No, no. Honestly, he I can’t even tell him about some of the things he said and didn’t when he was younger, because it devastates him so much. He doesn’t even remember you know, when he’s when you’re a kid, you’re just and you’re looking for someone’s buttons, you know, you’ll say whatever you’ll do, whatever. Now He’s so sensitive and so sweet. He’s devastated to hear about these things is like, oh my god, I can’t believe I said that to my own sister. I’m so sorry. I’ll never make it up to you, you know? And I’m like, listen, listen. I don’t need any apology. Right? Like who you are today is better than I ever hoped that tyrannical little boy could become. So please, I was very we’re all good. There’s nothing that you said or today does as a child that could possibly taint my experience. So if you heard the podcast, he probably wouldn’t. I hope he probably.
Michael Hingson 37:46
At least I’ll make him. At least we can make him smile. Yeah. So you’re six to how tall is he? He is six, five. Okay, so the two of you got to do great at volleyball. I won’t go to basketball but you guys got to do great if
Isis Fabian 38:01
you would think I did get recruited by our high school volleyball coach at a school dance when I was a sophomore. He was angry. I remember anger from the six foot seven man saying why don’t I know who you are. But he made me come to a volleyball practice. It did not go well. It didn’t go well. Well, it’s just not. I’m not that coordinated, unfortunately.
Michael Hingson 38:20
Well, nevertheless. It’s another goal.
Isis Fabian 38:25
Oh, yeah. I mean, now I’m married to a six foot eight man who played basketball, you know really well. And he’s come back from a basketball game last night. He still plays it intramural and I’m like you better pray. We have kids, they get your your athleticism and not mine. They’ll just become another six foot two theater kid.
Michael Hingson 38:43
No kids yet? No, not yet. We actually just got married in September. We’ll see there you go. Well, things to shoot for? Start your own team. But you know, I’m, I’m really glad to hear about your brother. And that’s great that he’s he’s really become a person who’s a lot more aware of himself and that you guys have a much better relationship. I would think now than you have in the past, which is so cool.
Isis Fabian 39:09
It’s awesome. And when you have a sibling you know, they all you went there all you have at the end of the day when you lose your parents like it’s so incredible to have that relationship with a sibling and it’s so devastating. It would be so devastating to me if I didn’t have it. So I am grateful for him and you know, innumerable ways
Michael Hingson 39:27
so you don’t have your parents anymore. Now we do we do.
Isis Fabian 39:31
They’re getting old though. My dad’s about to turn 70 Just you know, they were older significantly older than us and you know, they won’t they just won’t be around forever. So I just lucky to have a sibling at all, but especially one that I have such a close relationship with
Michael Hingson 39:44
unless they spied you and decide if they’re gonna stay around no matter what you think.
Isis Fabian 39:48
Oh, listen, I actually love my parents and hanging out with them a lot. I hope they stick around to 120 that’s that’s good with me.
Michael Hingson 39:57
Yeah, well I won’t be 73 next month, I figure I’m gonna stay around for quite a while yet.
Isis Fabian 40:04
Great, you’re probably in better health of identity.
Michael Hingson 40:08
I’ve been working with that, though, I will admit. So that’s true. Well, so in terms of all that you’re doing, with with all the learning and so on that you’ve had, and I know that you obviously love to learn and continue to learn. How is all that impacting or helping you in what you actually do today? And so, you, you, I know, you just got back from talking to lawyers, and so on. So what, what do you do? And in terms of your job, and how has everything made that possible?
Isis Fabian 40:44
Yeah, well, I think spending seven years getting to do this research and talking to people from so many different identity groups has definitely given me more of a bird’s eye view of these systems of oppression and things like that, and having to observe my own thought patterns from such a young age. And really, notice the way my brain works and reacts to things has given me I’ve now learned in the work I’ve been doing more recently, the ability to kind of bring thought processes into conscious awareness. So for example, one of the things I teach about a lot is implicit bias, right. And most unconscious bias trainings are not impactful. In fact, many of them backfire. And they often consist of listing stereotypes about different groups and how you shouldn’t believe these things. But what I do is not just explain the different types of implicit bias, but really explain how they work and how they feel when they show up in our minds, and how we can deconstruct our use of biases and our use of mental shortcuts in our own thinking in our own minds. And I always give examples, right? Like I I’ll give like 10 examples in a given presentation. One off the top of my head is like, I noticed one day as I was on a crowded subway platform going up the stairs that I didn’t get out of the way for a black man. But I did get out of the way for a white guy. And I just noticed that it happened, kind of back to Mac. And then I realized like, oh, wait, what was that? Like, I had noticed that. And that’s part of my neuro divergence is I noticed a lot, I noticed so many things in my environment, I noticed. And I just collect information. And so now I have the skill set to actually look at that information. And identify Is there a bias there? So for most people, you know, they don’t even notice moments like that, but I use those examples, because then people might look for those moments in their own lives. And then I’ll use others of you know, say, I’m interacting with a new colleague, and I leave the interaction with a negative feeling about them, or a negative feeling about myself, you know, we have the capacity to go back and, and reflect on that interaction, reflect on where that feeling came from, what was the triggering moment, what was the impression that I had of that person. And then to realize, maybe the person that I thought was arrogant, right is actually someone that I feel intimidated by, or I feel threatened by. And if they had been a different gender, or if they had been older than me instead of younger, or if they had been the from the same group as me or anything like that, I might not have had that reaction. But we have to take the time to actually reflect on those things to recognize where we might be relying on a bias or a mental shortcut. Instead of just assuming this, this false notion of objectivity. Nobody can be objective, even our visual world, and it’s so hard for sighted people to understand, but the visual world is not an objective reality, right? I’m also an avid lucid dreamer. And so I wake up in dreams all the time. I’m like, this looks exactly the same, you know, it’s the same. And I’m being you know, my brain thinks it’s the same everything’s it’s real, right? I just in the middle of this book, The Case Against reality by a Donald D. Hoffman that deconstructs how, essentially, the visual world is just like a computer screen, it’s just a way of interacting with a more complex system than we could possibly comprehend. And so we have this belief and objectivity you see with optical illusions and things that can trick you and show you like, actually, this is not objective at all. And so if our visual field isn’t objective, certainly our thoughts and beliefs about other people are not objective.
Michael Hingson 44:21
Something that comes to mind is when you notice something, like are you reacted to someone or are you You moved out of the way for the white guy and you didn’t find the black guy? Do you learn from those things and you you have enough of an introspection in your in your body and your soul that you can then learn from those things and not do it more in the future? Do you have to analyze it a lot and then make a decision or how does all that work for you?
Isis Fabian 44:55
Yeah, so it does, again, as someone who has been in constant self reference my whole On life to to recalibrate my behavior to be normal, I’ve just taken that system and applied it to recalibrating my behavior to be not racist and not ableist. And these other things, right. But what I’ve noticed is, in anyone who does this work on themselves, we’ll get to this place as well, you just lose interest in more homogenous media and things like that. And you start developing more of an interest in different stories, and you start developing an interest in film and TV shows and books that are being written and produced by people from groups that you’re not familiar with, because that’s what changes in your mind this kind of implicit hierarchy that we already have there, right? For instance, there are so many people who don’t know someone with a disability. And so where are they getting their information about people disabilities from? Right, they know they exist, so you must be getting them from somewhere. And it’s not, it’s usually from a very biased source. If you think about it, right, the more they make it up, or they or they make it up, but it’s still, I would argue, coming from a seed of ableism, that is planted in our society, right? They see the handicap parking spots, and they see, you know, the way people are depicted in the media, they see the way their parents tell them, like don’t look at that person in a wheelchair, don’t do that, you know, like they that’s, that’s all data that we’re taking in. And it leads us to have these these views. So once you realize that you have those views, and you’re behaving that way, then you automatically start seeking out a much different world of media and entertainment and influencers that you’re following, and voices and pod tests and, you know, spaces you go to and people you hang out with. And all of that starts to evolve and that on its own will also do a lot to deconstruct those automatic behaviors that we aren’t as aware of,
Michael Hingson 46:50
can we all learn to be more introspective and more self analytical than we tend to be?
Isis Fabian 46:56
I think so I’m hopeful that we can take more notice of our choices, and ask ourselves why I made the choice why I felt that way. Another example I gave was, um, you know, and a lot of it has to do with coming into the present to so people who meditate or who work on that if you’re already living in the present, you’re gonna be much better at noticing these things. Another example I gave was, I was just in Mexico for my honeymoon. And when I was choosing a place to sit on the beach, or by the pool, if there was a Mexican family right next to that area, I didn’t really think about the way that I might be taking up space or if I was intruding on their space, because you know, I have my own space of this cabana. Right. But if there’s a white family or another white couple, especially, God forbid, attractive, like, from God knows what country right there, right, I would have that more conscious like that trepidation, but just making sure they don’t feel like I’m encroaching on their space, I might approach from the other side like, and we just do these things automatically. If we don’t bring ourselves into the moment and start reflecting on our own behaviors sitting down at the end of the day, and reflecting on the conversations we’ve had the ways we reacted to different people, the times that we felt, you know, defensive, the times that we felt irritated, and really look at what triggered those feelings and where they came from, then we’re not going to change these behaviors. And unfortunately, I think a lot of people today when it comes to social justice, diversity and inclusion, they think, Oh, I have no power, I can’t do anything, I can’t change anything. The reality is that we are all part of the fabric of oppression that other people are experiencing.
Michael Hingson 48:32
Do you think that if you were to go back down to Mexico and go to a beach and discover that you were coming up to an attractive white couple now that you would react differently now that you’ve noticed that?
Isis Fabian 48:43
I think I just wouldn’t Yeah, I think I wouldn’t have I wouldn’t rather be right. It’s not that it would it bothered me, it’s more just as being more thoughtful about being more quiet as we approach giving them more space. Right. I think it’s more that I would apply that same thinking to the Mexican family, but in the moment, and that is exactly what I did. Because I noticed myself having those thoughts and feelings as I approached the situation. And so I didn’t modify my behavior in either situation. And I was the same in both, right? But if I hadn’t brought those things into conscious awareness, I might have acted differently. Between and that’s
Michael Hingson 49:16
that’s the point. You have this wonderful gift of built in introspection that happens a lot more than I think it probably happens for most of us, although we can learn introspection, you talked about meditation and so on, and I do that and I love quiet time to think and look at what happened today. What went well, why did it go well, and could I have even made it better? What What can I learn from this other thing that happened today? And why does that still bother me? And I think that we all need to do more of that than we do. I I used to say I’m my own worst critic. You know, I love to listen to my talks when I give speeches and travel and do a lot of that. And I’ve learned, that’s the wrong thing to say, actually, I’m my own best teacher. Because if I really look at what I’m saying, or what I’m doing, or what worked or not, no one else can truly teach me they can point things out. But if I don’t choose to learn it, if I don’t accept it, and allow myself to be the best teacher that I can be to myself, I’m not really going to fix anything.
Isis Fabian 50:26
Absolutely, exactly. And I think that comment about being my own worst critic speaks to one of the mental traps that we often fall into. And this is one of the other pieces to this puzzle, right. As a perfectionism, I talk a lot about about individualism, the illusion of objectivity, which I mentioned before, the good, bad binary, and perfectionism. And I think the good bad binary and perfectionism really work hand in hand, in our inability to change our behavior a lot of the time, this is why for a lot of us when we’re told we’ve made a mistake, right? Or we someone calls out a mistake, and our heart starts racing, or they say, that’s a microaggression, or something like that. Because we have this binary, our culture puts everything in a binary, you’re good, or you’re bad. And it’s, you know, it’s black, or it’s white, you know, it’s right, or it’s wrong. And the reality is that things exist on a much wider grayer spectrum than that with a ton of nuance. And so, if you’re dealing with perfectionism, and someone’s essentially telling you even a small thing, tells you well, if I’m not perfect, I’m failure. If it’s not perfect, it’s nothing like that’s kind of our reaction. But we’re perfectionists and we’re deep into that thinking. And it’s hard for us to be corrected or to learn, especially when someone’s opening up something as big as ableism, or racism, or misogyny in our thinking, it’s so big, our reaction instead is to deny, deflect, get angry, get defensive, because we’d rather maintain the reality we’re currently living in and the story that we’re telling ourselves. But if we can notice the good, bad binary, in our own thoughts, in our own assessments of situations, we can start to decolonize our minds remove these thought patterns from our minds. You know, in my old job, I had a boss, who I thought was just out to torture me, there was a while where I was like, I’m trying to figure this person out, because I don’t understand why I have to suffer so much under this person. Is she evil? Malicious? Like, why is this happening? And eventually, when I learned about the good, bad binary, that was the first situation that came to mind. I was like, I’m constantly trying to figure out is she good? Or Is she bad? The reality is that she’s a person. And it’s, there’s a lot more nuanced than that. And it’s somewhere in between, and she might not be as competent as she should be for her job. And that might be leading to all these negative downstream effects for me, and maybe she should be held accountable for my suffering, but it’s not this good, bad thing. And we often because of the good bad binary attribute much more negativity to certain people, and much more positivity to other people than they really deserve in their actions when there’s actually much more nuanced than that. And the perfectionism plays into that, as well. I think even people who had don’t identify as perfectionist, you know, it’s such a scourge on our society when we noticed that negative self talk. That’s the perfectionism, right? And when we noticed that we’re not giving ourselves credit for everything we got done today, right? You spent all day being nervous for the big meeting. And then once it’s over and it went, Well, you forget about it on to the next thing to worry about, instead of be like, Oh, my God, I really did an awesome job in that meeting that one as well or better than I ever could have hoped for. Most of us don’t do that we do not give ourselves that. And that’s the perfectionism piece too. So if we can notice those things, in our own minds, we will stop thinking that way as much. And then when we have a learning opportunity, it’s not going to feel nearly as threatening, you know, getting feedback doesn’t feel like an attack anymore. It’s all, you know, these are all the things we can work out on our own without having to have any big influence in the world or taking any other kind of action. It just prepares us to be able to learn when the opportunity arises.
Michael Hingson 54:01
And you know, I go back to my own worst critic. It’s such a negative thing. And there’s so much more to be gained by looking at it from the positive standpoint. I’m my own best teacher. All right. So somebody said something about me today. Great. I have that. Now, let’s look at what they said. I’m trying to understand why they said it. And what does it really mean for me, right? That whole idea of going within yourself and analyzing it is what’s so important, because you can you can find out, Oh, maybe, oh, they really thought that because of and it wasn’t really true. But then you can go back and deal with it or you can go back and address it and how you deal with them in the future. But you can do so much more. If you look at things in a in a more positive way rather than running yourself down. We’re all as capable as we want to be.
Isis Fabian 54:59
Mm hmm. and building that, that then builds self awareness that allows you when you get that negative moment or comment or whatever it is, you are then able to understand the difference between this is valid feedback that I need to understand versus that person saying a lot more about themselves than they are about me.
Michael Hingson 55:17
That’s right. Because you can look at everything that happens in your life. You look at what what people say about you. And it doesn’t need to be a criticism. It’s what they say, Now, what are you going to do with it? And you have to make a decision. And it has to be a volitional, conscious decision. Was that the right thing? What were they right? Or are they just trying to be obnoxious or whatever the case happens to be, but we’re the ones that can learn from our own best teaching efforts. Right,
Isis Fabian 55:51
exactly. And or are they responding to something, maybe in the wrong way or through many, many layers have their own bias, but if I can peel all that back, I might find a kernel of truth that is useful for me, like, that’s what I finally realized with that, that quote, unquote, feedback, you’re too intimidating. And you might work on that. And I went and asked everyone on my team, I was like, what does this mean? And they said, you know, oh, you’re just really quick on your feet, you know, you really someone asked a question, or there’s a thorny issue that we have to solve, and you just immediately have an answer, you immediately connect all the dots, and it just, it makes it um, you know, it’s not a bad thing, you know, it’s very impressive. It’s just, you’re, it’s, it’s, it can be hard to be in the presence of someone like that, right. As they were explaining that to me, then years later, I can reflect on and be like, there is something here, there was something useful here. For me, even though for such a long time, I rejected that feedback. And it was bad feedback it is. And it was not on to the point. And it was not actionable, either. But at the end of the day, there was impact I was having on people. And I was finally able to recognize the importance of what that impact was,
Michael Hingson 56:51
right. And if people are giving improper feedback, and so on, and you can really go back and look at it, then you can decide how you want to address it, how you want to deal with it in a positive way. Right, which is really what we all should be doing anyway. Because that will help us all the more be able to interact with the next thing that comes along. Yeah, absolutely. Which is so cool. You’ve been coaching a lot of people you do a lot of coaching today, I assume in the organization? And do you do coaching outside of just the organization that you’re a part of? Or is it all the inside?
Yeah, well, I’m actually in the process of getting certified by the international coaching Federation as a as an ICF. Coach, and you need 100 hours to get that. So I am at the moment, definitely open to external coaching clients that are outside my organization, and I have one or two, kind of do those outside business hours, and that I do ones inside 100 hours. But also, when I leave this organization, whenever that does happen, my plan is to be fully independent, and working for myself so that I can be joining the various projects I hear about and the people who need me for something or want my support on something and whatever capacity that looks like, my goal is to get to a place where I am spending all of my time, right, all of my work energy is going into the places where it can be the most useful. And in an internally facing role. Obviously, there’s there’s a lot of limitations there. So that’s why I have my website, isisfabien.com I finally went live just so people who see me doing these various presentations and things know where they could find me and find my LinkedIn and contact me if they want to. I just love to connect with people hear their experiences, hear their stories. Like I said, I love nothing more than learning. So having any conversation with anyone is always of tremendous value to me.
Michael Hingson 58:49
So how is all of that coaching impacting you? What kind of effect do you think that it has on you that maybe you didn’t have happening before?
Isis Fabian 58:59
Oh, that’s such a great question. Discovering coaching has been probably one of the most exciting things that’s happened to me in the past year. This is the year where I got married and bought a house and got my first caps. Oh, that’s how exciting it has been. Because now I can use my rapid processing and my pattern recognition to support other people on their discovery in their own minds, right. Like people have these aha moments during coaching and they’re they blow my mind as much as they blow the other person’s mind. I don’t have the answers, right. But apparently, I do have the tools through that, that you know, brain that I have, I have the tools to get them to those dots in their own world and their own head and their own experience with their own skills are their unique potential to connect those dots to see something that couldn’t see before when they think they’ve, you know, tried every door every path to find a door that they’ve never seen before and solving their or challenge or discovering that maybe what they thought was their challenge isn’t the real challenge. And just, you know, reaching their their full potential witnessing that is incredibly energizing and being able to center someone else, instead of centering myself as someone who, as you can hear talks a lot, and has been told, you know, they’re intimidating in meetings, and I jumped in, and I just, I have so much to say, and I’m connecting so many things like this new practice of centering somebody else and their discovery, and just being their support. I call it you know, an expedition partner on that journey of discovery, it has been so rewarding. And I really want to hone that skill. So I can serve as many people that way as possible,
Michael Hingson 1:00:41
is in coaching really about helping people learn self discovery.
Isis Fabian 1:00:46
Michael Hingson 1:00:49
And it is, it is something that more of us ought to learn. And again, we can teach ourselves if we really would think about it. How do we go about changing biases and thought patterns, and maybe teaching ourselves or teaching others this whole idea of introspection and self discovery? Well, first, we teach other people to do some of what you do.
Isis Fabian 1:01:14
Well, first, any one of us have to admit that we have self discovery to do, right, I think there’s too much of us are too many of us walking around thinking we have it all figured out. And we already know all the answers. And we already know ourselves. Certainly people on therapy are probably closer to that place than others I would say. But it does start with admitting that there is a lot that we don’t know and don’t observe about our own thought patterns and our own behaviors, and the drivers behind those. So you have to start there. And then it is a practice of noticing thoughts and feelings as they arise and noticing them right for you. When you feel your heart rate go up. When you feel wanting to disengage from something, you have to start noticing those feelings and thoughts and judgments. And if you don’t have time until later, you can still hold them at arm’s length and interrogate them and say, Where did this come from? Right. And then when we really get to the root of where it came from, it’s up to us if we accept or reject that feeling if we accept or reject that story, an example I’ll give is from a friend, Wayne, who I used to work with the great guy is an older white man who got into this work, because he discovered he works at Whiteman, school diversity partners long name for a great organization, a bunch of white men doing this work. And he just discovered that he had a passion for it and for understanding his own mind. And he gave me the example of he had just gotten off a plane and had a really bumpy landing. And as he was getting off, he saw that the pilot was a woman. And he noticed himself have the thought, Oh, so that’s why it was a bumpy landing. Because it’s a woman flying the plane. He noticed himself have that thought. And then he told me about it. And he said, and the reason he’s telling me it’s not to it’s it, he’s not shaming and judging himself, right? Who wants to tell someone that they would that they had that sexist thought, right? Yeah, it’s because he’s proud that he was able to bring in awareness, right. And then he was able to choose a different story, he was able to say, maybe that was a really challenging landing, and someone else would have had an even bumpier landing, you know, or maybe she’s just early in her inner pilot career, this could have been her first commercial flight. And that actually might have been a really impressive landing to her superiors, given whatever other conditions were present whatever other story that could be true. For gender, race, we don’t notice. Yeah, who knows? Who knows, right? But instead, if we don’t notice those things, those stories tell themselves and they reinforce our existing biases. If we do not bring them into conscious awareness, that is what they do.
Michael Hingson 1:03:48
But still, we, we, we, so we see these biases, it is so great that he was able to go back and recognize what he did.
Isis Fabian 1:04:00
Right? And he told me that story because and honestly, him telling me that story. got me excited about how easy it is to notice these things and to share the things we’re noticing. Right?
Michael Hingson 1:04:10
Yeah, absolutely. What What kind of mental traps do you notice or encounter when you’re coaching people that you try to teach them not to fall into?
Isis Fabian 1:04:22
I think it goes back to you know, the perfectionism is the biggest one, right? You notice yourself having a thought like the one Wayne told me about and your reaction is shame and anger at yourself. And so you don’t even want to bring it to conscious awareness. Because you as soon as you start to you’re like, oh my god, I’m not the type of person who thinks that right? Again, it’s that is that binary of I’m a good person. So I don’t have thoughts like that. And that’s how we fail to build this practice is um, if we’re still allowing those perfectionist tendencies or the binary thinking to dictate a lot of our, you know, thought patterns, so if anyone’s having trouble with this I think it’s better to start with, do I notice perfectionism? Where do I notice perfectionism? And the way I’m showing up and the way I’m doing my work and the things that are, you know, stressing me out in life? Where do I notice the binary? Right? I would ask anyone who’s listening to this? Can you think of a situation in your personal life or your work life right now, where you are telling yourself a binary story, right? Like the one I had with my boss, my boss’s dad, right? Like, can you find that? And then can you pick a different story? Can you find a different story that doesn’t involve any kind of binary, so starting those types of practices, can really help because I think perfectionism and the binary thinking are two of the biggest ones that will create, the traps that we fall into. And another trap honestly, is thinking we’re done learning, you know, we might get to the place where we’re really good at noticing a lot of thoughts related to racism, or related to sexism. And we think we’ve got it all figured out. The reality is until we’re noticing and about everything, and I mean, everything, right, even beyond groups that we think of as marginalized groups, right? You’re you just haven’t, we’re never done learning, we’re gonna die, still not having finished our learning. So that’s another thing to always be on the lookout for. I think it’s also important to look out for preaching to other people, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, especially as I’ve gotten into coaching, people don’t really learn a lot from what they’re told, right? When they’re just told things. If you can help someone discover it on their own, if you can ask thoughtful questions, and lead them right ask them. Why do you think that? Oh, I didn’t realize you believe that. Oh, what does that why did you use that word? Like when someone says, oh, I don’t know, I didn’t like that candidate for this job. She seemed pretty arrogant was like, Oh, that was my impression. Oh, Where’s that coming from? Right? Ask them questions. Don’t just jump in, like, Oh, my God, you’re sexist, right? Because they don’t actually learn anything, if anything that’s gonna further radicalize them against women in the future. So to not be sucked into the temptation of the social justice warrior, holier than thou persona that is so enticing at those early stages, when you actually develop enough of a vocabulary and enough of an understanding through that self reflection and all that learning to then go top down to and call out others. That’s where that individualism comes in. That’s another mental trap, right? And think, Oh, I’m separate from everyone else. This is a badge of honor, that I’m good at this, and you’re bad at this and that impulse to show I’m good at it and you’re bad. I’m better than you that competition that’s implicit in individualism. That’s a big, that’s a big problem. And I think it’s causing a lot of people to disengage from this learning, and push a lot of people in the wrong direction.
Michael Hingson 1:07:40
Invariably, when people start falling into some of those traps, the bottom line is, it’s going to come back to bite him someday.
Isis Fabian 1:07:48
Yeah, or it’s just gonna stop your learning in its tracks.
Michael Hingson 1:07:52
Yeah, especially if you choose not to learn anymore, and you choose not to learn from the things that are happening. It’s going to come back and get you i. For me, I love to learn. One of the things that I still say it, the internet is one of the greatest treasure troves I’ve ever found as a way to learn and discover things. And it’s just amazing what I, what I find and learn on the internet. But for me, it’s been such a great information source that I never had access to before, not being able to read newspapers and all that sort of stuff, but everything I do, and that’s why I love unstoppable mindset. I get to learn all the time. And I still believe if I’m not learning at least as much as everybody else listening to the podcast, I’m not doing my job, right? It’s got to be that way. Because it’s all about a sense of wonder and a sense of discovery of new things for all of us.
Isis Fabian 1:08:42
Absolutely. And when we don’t expect ourselves to know everything and expect ourselves to be perfect at everything, then we can really experience that wonder of discovery instead of feeling scared and intimidated by be confronted with the fact that there’s something we don’t know or something that we’re, you know, a whole area that we’re completely ignorant about, that becomes wonder and excitement instead of fear.
Michael Hingson 1:09:04
Absolutely. Well, this has been absolutely joyous and wonderful to do. If people want to reach out to you and learn more about you or talk with you. How might they do that?
Isis Fabian 1:09:16
They can feel free to just go to my website, Isisfabian.com. Yes, yep, i s i s F as in Frank, A B as in boy, I A N.com. You’ll have my LinkedIn there and the things that I’ve written and how to contact me, and feel free to reach out about anything. I also, you know, having been in this work for so long. I love hearing what other people have in their minds and the questions that are percolating in their minds. There’s not a lot of safe spaces to ask those questions these days, and to, you know, kind of be vulnerable about what we don’t know. So I also appreciate hearing about that kind of stuff from people and what their their challenges are, those funds
Michael Hingson 1:09:54
will have to go see if your website’s accessible or how inclusive it is.
Isis Fabian 1:09:58
Yeah, I just put it up there. You’re on Google site the other day, so please let me know.
Michael Hingson 1:10:03
Well, you know, seriously, if you want to even check it yourself, you could go to accessibe.com. A C C E S S I B E.com. There’s a free website audit and they’ll it’ll check your site out. And it will tell you what’s good, what’s not good. What needs improvement to make it more accessible? It depending on how complex the website is, it may very well be it’ll just say, Well, it’s great, depending on what you have on it, but I’ll have to go look at it to it’ll be fun.
Isis Fabian 1:10:30
Awesome. Yeah, it’s it’s very simple. And I’m looking at it right now. So thank you so much.
Michael Hingson 1:10:35
Well, thank you again for being here. And I want to thank you for listening. Love to hear your thoughts. Please reach out to Isis and reach out to me at Michaelhi, at accessibe.com. Love to hear your thoughts and your observations about this. Of course, if you wish you can go to www dot Michael hingson h i n g s o n.com/podcast. And hear more episodes of unstoppable blind set from there or wherever Podcasts can be found. Please give us a five star rating. Like if you’re at iTunes or whatever, give us a five star rating we love to you to get good reports. And if there are things that you want us to do better tell us and also for all of you, Isis, including you if you know other people that we ought to have as guests on the podcast. I’d love to hear from you. We we’d love to bring more people on different viewpoints, different observations, different ways of thinking, different things to think about. So please, anybody who has any thoughts, love to hear from you and bring some other guests on. But again, Isis for you. Thanks very much for being here. This has been absolutely marvelous.
Isis Fabian 1:11:42
Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Mike. It was an awesome time.
Michael Hingson 1:11:51
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.