Episode 142 – Unstoppable Community Developer with Victoria Cumberbatch
Victoria Cumberbatch describes herself as “a passionate facilitator and community developer”. Because she has traveled extensively throughout the world she has gained some insightful and fascinating views of community and how all of us live and function within the community arena. We had a great discussion about how people view themselves and how they all too often permit others to control how they feel in their skin.
Victoria owns her own coaching and consulting company where she works tirelessly to guide people through self-discovery to help them “uplevel” and design their lives.
I hope you listen to this fascinating discussion and that it will give you a bit of a different perspective on the world and how we all live in it. I found a lot of nuggets of information that I will ponder and put to use. I hope you will do so as well.
About the Guest:
As a strong, compassionate, exuberant leader with nearly a decade of experience in creating engaging and dynamic experiences; I will successfully guide individuals and groups towards greater self-awareness, cultural empathy, and ways to lessen overwhelm.
I am a passionate facilitator and community developer with a wealth of experience in leading sessions that promote self-discovery as a way to uplevel and design your life. I believe in the power of connection and collaboration, and I strive to create spaces where individuals can come together to grow, learn, and get on the path toward their goals.
Over the years and through a multitude of workshop types, I have honed my skills in creating engaging and dynamic experiences that encourage participation, collaboration, and creativity. I am known for my exuberant, coaching leadership style + my ability to create a safe and supportive environment for the space.
My values of integrity, honesty, trust, and rigor – drive me to continuously improve, receive training, and make a positive impact in the lives of those I work with. I am committed to creating meaningful and impactful experiences that empower those ready to reach their highest vision.
My exuberant leadership style and commitment to excellence [neè perfection] have allowed me to successfully guide individuals and groups towards greater self-awareness and cultural understanding, resulting in more productive and fulfilling lives.
Ways to connect with Victoria:
Workshop Booking: [https://tinyurl.com/speakervmc]
*If you’d like to request something custom, please reach out here: V@adventuresOFcommunity.com*
Monthly Newsletter: tinyurl.com/aicnewsletter
VIP Day for Engagement: [https://hello.dubsado.com/public/form/view/63c18dfd8d61d06a1fd639df]
Attend my retreat: [tinyurl.com/DRetreat23]
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
Well, hello once again and I’d like to thank you for joining us here on unstoppable mindset wherever you happen to be. We’re glad you’re with us. Today we get to interview and I hope I pronounced that right Victoria Cumberbatch. Did I pronounce that right?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 01:33
beauteous pronunciation? Thank you for that.
**Michael Hingson ** 01:37
What a deal. And Victoria. Welcome to unstoppable mindset.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 01:41
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m Joy is Victoria is
**Michael Hingson ** 01:45
known for creating communities helping people really understand a lot about being more self aware. And other things that we’re going to talk about. I don’t want to give it all away because she gets to talk about it. But you just got back from doing being part of a workshop in San Francisco. I’m jealous. I love the Bay Area. And we lived there for 12 years. But you did happen to be there and a lot of the rain.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 02:11
All the rain pretty much all the rain start to finish. So yeah, not not the best if I just say, but I was inside. So
**Michael Hingson ** 02:18
no, there. Yeah, yeah, me. Me too. I don’t mind we had a little bit of rain here. But not nearly what the Bay Area is had not nearly when other parts of southern California has had, but I just have never understood people. Yesterday morning, I was watching the news. And there was a reporter who was at this place where a bunch of cars had tried to drive through this deep sort of created lake of water from all the rain and got stuck in this one guy pulls up to it stops, looks at everybody looks at the water and then force it and tries to go through and of course Mark Federalists the reporters going there he goes, he’s gonna get he got us. Ah, yes, Lee. You know, there’s no logic and doing that. And anyway, even Jimmy Kimmel had a video of it last night I understand so
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 03:17
well, that that is our the impatience of our society right there that yeah, we an example that.
**Michael Hingson ** 03:25
I remember when we moved to New Jersey. We were not where it was before we were building a home. My wife was in a wheelchair her whole life. And so we built a home in Westfield. But they were back, she and her parents came back, we were checking on the house and then doing some other stuff. And we were looking at, we were on Route three and looking at this big lake of water in front of us. And we stopped because we knew that there was no way that we were going to get through and it took about a half hour 35 minutes before the rain led up enough for us to be able to then go through like crazy world.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 04:03
Yeah, and in New Jersey. That’s unusual.
**Michael Hingson ** 04:08
Yeah. Yeah. What do you do? Well, tell us a little bit about you. I’d love to hear kind of your story growing up where you’re from, and all that sort of stuff to sort of set the stage and we’ll go from there.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 04:19
Wow. Okay, so a robust background knowledge. Let’s see, I am a only child to a set of interracial parents, moms, Irish dads, Asian Barbados. Shout out Rihanna. In New Jersey in North New Jersey, not to be confused with the rest of the state which is not New Jersey. I’m ready to hear from the people that have something to say about that. And yeah, my mom was a teacher. My dad was a cop. All the men in my family were first responders at 911. And just after you know that I went to college at the University of Maryland to study international development and and conflict management, focusing on the Balkan Wars. Because I had a really standout professor Dr. Friedel, who’s Croatian, we got some really deep conversations about that, and very full story is that now my boyfriend of four years is from Montenegro. And came came here to emigrate to this country, in that last bit of the Balkan Wars, actually, so would have ever thought that would have come full circle in that way. So I can’t speak their language, but I certainly can empathize with their plight. And from there, I had always, well, actually, let me pause for a second, I graduated into the recession. So there was not much opportunity for me to capitalize on all the internships that I had, and so on. So I did go back home and I got certified to teach history actually, there’s kind of like a last ditch effort to be a functioning citizen world. And it was with much chagrin, although history is my favorite. Just discipline of study and being a teacher is certainly an admirable profession, but I didn’t think it was for me, so.
**Michael Hingson ** 06:17
So that recession was 2008. It was 2008.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 06:20
I graduated in 2011. And, and like, nobody was hiring a bachelor of arts like that was cute. I certainly didn’t know what I’d be getting myself into into the real world. And so I was home for a while. And what I ended up doing was I would take long term substituting position, so maternity leave, things like that. He was a classroom for quite a while. And then I would backpack, Central America, South America, Watkins throughout Europe for like eight to 10 months at a time. So I would do that back and forth, back and forth, probably till about 26 When I had my first big girl job at Stephen Siller, tunnel to towers foundation in Staten Island, first responder organization. And that was when I started being officially in community. But of course, I was off the title that I had. It’s like program development or something. And then I lasted for about a year, got my dream job at a place called Remote year, where I oversaw a group of 50 adults who worked remotely digital nomads, and we traveled around the world together as a group as a community. And we moved every month for a month around the world. So we went to 12 countries in that timeframe. And I think that was my like, executive community and business course. Doing that in a year. That was intense. After that, I made a web series, which you can find online still, I traveled some more. And then I did voiceover and community management at osmosis and medical education startup, which has now been acquired by a company called Elsevier, er, and the pandemic. So we’re like, um, I am just fast forwarding. So during the pandemic, I just my boyfriend who I just spoke up to Sean, we did van life that we traveled throughout the US in a van and I stepped down from my full time position and maintained my role at osmosis as a consultant, I’m still with them as a consultant doing facilitation and mentorship and development of some leadership roles within their org. And I also contribute to the transformational leadership community by coaching at those trainings, you know, landmark ask, in my TTS coffin Institute type of training. So that brings us to currents.
**Michael Hingson ** 08:50
That’s a pretty full life. No doubt we allow different ways. Well, so I do want you to talk about osmosis. I also want to tell everyone, Victoria is not a shy person, because soon after we met, she said, I read about you and know your story a little bit. Would you be willing to speak to people from osmosis and do a virtual presentation? So how do I how can I see no, so I did. Like I said, she is not shy about asking, which is great. People should ask what’s on their mind and talk about what’s on their mind. So that works out really well. So you, you, you have certainly been through a lot needless to say, and I appreciate what you said about the whole issue with the recession. I know that when I worked for Kurzweil Computer Products back in the late 70s and into the 80s, which was purchased by Xerox and Kurzweil was run by Ray Kurzweil, who developed the first time the font optical character recognition system, and all of the salespeople. Once the Xerox acquired the company all the Kurzweil salespeople were kind of made to go away All the people selling their commercial products, which included B, I was the last person to be let go. And they said, Well, you’re just not selling as much as you weren’t, well, we had a major recession going on in it, and nobody was buying. And in fact, I had sold a product the day before. But you know, this is amazing what what people did, but I’ve always called Xerox did what a lot of companies do. They just want the technology, they don’t want the people but all the real tribal knowledge and intelligence and knowledge is with the people not the product. So yeah, what do you do? Yes. But anyway, be that as it as it may. So, so you, you have you have done a lot in developing communities, and so on overall, how do you define yourself? How if somebody says, well, well, what are you who do you what do you do? How do you describe or define yourself?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 10:51
Yeah, so thank you for this question. This is something that I am, or have more recently been delving into, because I’m definitely a product of my millennial, stern societal, I identify with what I do in the world, as opposed to how I show up in the world. So I have been, you know, migrating from the doing to the being. So I like to now describe myself, if someone were to say, well, who are you, you know, what do you bring to the table, I am on the page of a strong, compassionate, exuberant leader, that’s like my first that’s how I view myself. And that’s how I want to be viewed the world. And if there is misalignment with that, I would want people to let me know there’s a gap. I also identify as biracial, as you heard, as an only child, I click those are two separate communities of people. I identify as a woman identify, as, you know, the sacred titles of daughter and soul sister are like really deep, connected friendship that goes beyond the superficial kind of wax surface friendship. So that’s how I define myself, I really try not to define myself by what I do, because my hope is that what I do comes through, like, I hope that you can pick up what I do by how I show up on this podcast, or how I show up on a call you and I have or only show up in socials, you know,
**Michael Hingson ** 12:14
find that for me a little bit more when you talk about how you what you do in the world, as opposed to how you show up in the world. Yeah. So I think it’s a very important topic that it’s worth defining and understanding better.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 12:28
Thank you. Yeah, I agree. So So I am a recovering perfectionist, if I do say, so maybe others would say I’m not recovering, but we’ll see. And from that, I have realized a few things about myself. One is I have this pretty long standing story or belief that I am inadequate, that I am not enough. And so I need to prove my worth, I need to deserve accolades, I need to deserve people’s attention, I need to do more in order to be seen or be given attention or be told, you know, great job, you know, pat on the back. And that has helped that has been up to current really how I perceived myself in the world. People like to say, what do you do when you go out to a networking event? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? And I always struggled with that. And instead, really, what I want to know, what makes you up? What qualities what characteristics what ways of being get to show up that are true to you as a person, and then the rest gets to come later, like the doing part comes later. So I have really been on this page of how can I be more and do less being for me, strength, compassionate exuberance. Patients? Collaborative, right, these these, they were just like, latent words flippin flippantly said. And now I view them as the lens through which I look at the world.
**Michael Hingson ** 14:09
You said something that I want to delve into a little bit he talks about us feeling a little bit inadequate and so on. And I’m not used specifically but why is it that so many of us feel inadequate, or somehow get this mindset that we’re inadequate?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 14:28
I don’t have the answer. I don’t know why, but I do know. So I’m hosting retreat, actually the end of this month slash beginning of the month, so April 1 to the sixth and the whole idea is that it’s about disconnecting from the imposter syndrome, the overwhelm the stress the language to reconnecting to myself as I am my whole wherever I am, I am meant to be so honest. And my co facilitator and myself where I want to say just counted, but really, I guess we weren’t that much at how many responses, it was unanimous responses that I’m not good enough. I have to deserve my my place in the world basically, is what we found from doing this research that we have with other people. And just like strangers, like just strangers responded to this, so and they were varied and age varied and all the demographic categories. And I’ve really feel like, I don’t know exactly, but technology, social media has a pretty like, at percentage piece of that I am sisterly comparing myself to others in my field, in my age range when I went to high school with and I could see them instantaneously 24/7 365. There’s no you only get, you know, on Sundays, page six, what people are doing, you don’t only get to see who’s doing what once a year or at your high school reunion after 20 years, we know what’s happening. And there is the this there is this facade, and I’m gonna keep it real with you. To me there is this facade, the societal facade of I’m doing more than what’s actually happening. And I have to also maintain and upkeep this persona that I am, you know, jazz hands, I’m, I love what I’m doing, and I’m passionate about it. And I, I love what I do, but that may not be true. So why are we even saying that? Just found there’s a lot of disconnection and and inauthenticity.
**Michael Hingson ** 16:34
Yeah. It’s It’s unfortunate that we we judge so much. And we insist that everyone has to live up to some standard. The problem is, we don’t necessarily do it ourselves. But we want everyone else to do it. It’s the old do, as I say, not as I do, and 100%. And that’s so unfortunate that we see that in the world. And I think that contributes a lot to it. And we had it before social media, but certainly it’s a lot worse, worse with social media that now everyone has to be so tied into all of this.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 17:17
Yeah, and I think the piece there that that is, you know, reading between the lines is accountability, and being accountable for how you show up being accountable for the things you say, and the impact that that leaves, be accountable to having hard conversations and accepting oof, damn, I messed up on that one, I really get to either acknowledge or apologize here. They’re those things. I don’t see those things happening. I don’t see them happening to startup culture. I don’t see them happening in my like, millennial, you know, populate population culture, I don’t see those things. So to to be outstanding, as an individual. Accountability gets to be a part of that. Yeah. And it doesn’t seem to be in my perspective,
**Michael Hingson ** 18:07
I think that’s really the issue is that accountability isn’t really there. And again, we don’t hold other people to the same standards that we live at. Right. However you deal with that. And right, the bottom line of all of that is that we, we tend to make people crazy. And we also want such instant gratification about every single thing, that then when people aren’t necessarily wired to do that. They’re less than we are.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 18:40
Yeah, yeah, there’s that comparison point, which again, it’s just that is not serving that isn’t serving us, as individuals, as community members, as you know, partner is spot on a lot. It’s not serving to be accountable is to be an upstanding and outstanding citizen. In my honest perspective, I asked to be something that gets added to like school curriculums and stuff. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 19:03
And it’s, it’s unfortunate, but it is something that we definitely have to figure out how to deal with in one way or another. But it just was a question that popped up. And I just thought it was worth exploring, because I think you’re right, that so many of us feel inadequate, rather than accepted for who we are.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 19:23
Right? Right. And that gets to start with us. I heard recently. The level with which you are intimate with yourself is the capacity with which you can be intimate with other people. You know, an intimacy doesn’t necessarily only mean in the bedroom, of course, it means you know, depth of conversation showing up in tears, right, like all these authenticity and vulnerable moments. So I think that that’s also just really important to know, we get to be accountable with ourselves first, and then we can ask others to show up to
**Michael Hingson ** 19:55
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of one of the things too to think about, and the problem is that when we feel inadequate, we also don’t really have as much confidence in ourselves, nor do we necessarily respect ourselves. And until we can get over that, it’s hard to move on in a lot of different ways.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 20:18
Yes, absolutely. There’s nothing to add there. That’s absolutely true. If that’s the hurdle, we all get to jump over or find a way around. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 20:27
Well, that gets back to something else you’ve you’ve talked about before, which is do you carve out your space in the world, or you just fit into a space?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 20:37
Yeah, that is, yeah, that’s a big one that I’ve been considering as well. And I thought and had been migrating and navigating the world as though I have to fit into what is here. So I need to figure out ways to put my, you know, whimsical, exuberant, bouncy energy into a linear box. And I got into when I, when I first started dating D, my boyfriend, who will now be known as D and not his full name. I, we I remember, specifically, this moment very vividly, we were on a snowy hike in Vermont. And I said something like, oh, you know, don’t How do you feel like you fit in the world? How have you ensured you have fit in the world, and he’s, he’s six, five. So he’s like a big guy, right. And he didn’t even turn around to look at me. To him, this was flippant, it was like right on top of his head. And he said something like, I will never work to fit into the world, because I’m just too big physically, mentally and emotionally. So I have always felt that I get to consistently carve out my space. And I adjust my space, as I see it. And I actually have to stop moving, because I just felt like I got hit with this profound thought it was the first time I considered that, like, oh, lemon, how I get to carve out my space, I can be big and take up space. And that doesn’t take away space from anyone else. Because there is nothing but like this infinite space, basically, for us all to thrive and be in and figure ourselves out. It was just really big for me. So I can’t say it’s defaulted yet that I don’t, you know, care about how I fit into the world. But I do now. Try to consider I get to carve.
Michael Hingson 22:36
Yeah, and that’s a, that’s a good thing. There’s, there’s a lot to be said, for carving, as opposed to just fitting. And sometimes, though, it’s okay to just fit. And it’s really important to know the difference and know the merits of both.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 22:50
Yeah, and I think that’s it is, again, it’s with these things that we’re talking about it takes Blyden yield me individually sitting with ourselves to reassess the beliefs we have lived with. That’s really what it’s about is like, what are my beliefs around fitting in the world? What does fit what does it? Where can I accept just fitting and where do I have to carve? And I just, again, back to the like social media, to do sing, to sing after seeing in order to prove my worth. Always doing never being? When do people really sit down and just talk to themselves about what they believed? I mean, that’s where the goodies come from.
**Michael Hingson ** 23:32
Well, and the other part about carving is, it’s okay to carve. But don’t carve, just to carve, carve, because there’s a reason to carve a specific unique state with a tenant with intention, right? Yep, absolutely. And it’s something that we don’t just tend to, to see as much as we see it. Well, you know, you’ve experienced a lot. So if I were to quote Oprah, what do you know for sure. I love that question.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 24:04
I love that question. And I think about it often now okay, still things I
**Michael Hingson ** 24:08
know for sure I do as well.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 24:11
Things I know for sure. Rest will never be overrated. Vulnerability is a superpower connection and ships of all kinds relationships, friendships, right, like work ships, all ships are what make the world go round, and they get to be prioritized. And then my last one is Harry Potter, any film any book, and the greatest showmen will always get me into a better boat even if I’m in the absolute despair.
**Michael Hingson ** 24:42
Here I have to acknowledge that I’ve read Harry Potter a number of times and love it and I tend to watch the movies although the books are better than the movies and I’m scheduled because yep, I listen to I have both the British versions and the and the American versions tonight and but I love Jim Dale As a reader, yeah to reach the the American version. Yeah, he is absolutely great. Yeah, yeah. He’s a great reader. I know for sure that I have abilities, and I’m going to do my best to achieve them and meet them and use them to help others. I know that these podcasts are a lot of fun to do. I know that when I progress and go beyond this world, I will have at least contributed something and how much I’ve contributed will really as much as anything be up to other people, but I know I’ve done the best that I can do.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 25:41
Absolutely, yeah. Delicious.
**Michael Hingson ** 25:45
And I think that’s as good as it gets, you know, I know that I am as much a human being and as capable as anyone else. And that the whole idea of disabilities, for example, is so totally wrong and misunderstood because disability does not mean a lack of ability. Everyone has a disability of some sort, disabilities or characteristics and you know, you’re one of yours is he you see light, you know, you don’t do well without light. Right? That’s okay. We love you for it anyway. But the bottom line is that we, we all have challenges and we all have gifts, and I know I have gifts, and I love to sometimes find new ones. And that’s okay, too.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 26:27
That’s definitely okay, too. And when you find the gifts, and you stumble a little bit and figuring out how to do this thing, experimenting, testing yourself, possibly making mistakes, like let’s normalize making mistakes, well, let’s normalize failure for you know, lack of a better term, because that is how we get to grow. And that is coming from someone who’s a recovering perfectionist. So I’m clearly telling you what I am trying to have be a part of my life. But I wish that that sort of normalization would be part of it. And when you were speaking about Sorry, I just want to say when we’re speaking about disability, the it doesn’t mean lack of ability. It made me think of terms like fearless or shameless. Were, like fearless doesn’t mean there’s, there’s no fear, it just means that there’s less fear. So I think we often use a lot of these words incorrectly. And as misnomers.
**Michael Hingson ** 27:21
Well, it’s not even less fear as much as it is learning to control it and use it in a positive way. And God lead as easier as mutation. Right, and not letting fear overwhelm you.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 27:33
Yeah, exactly. That’s what came up for me when you shared that about disability.
**Michael Hingson ** 27:36
Yeah. And I think that’s a very important concept to, you know, to really deal with. But we, we have a lot to learn as a people as a race and as individuals. And ultimately, I think one of the, the biggest things that I think I know for sure is that I have said something wrong for years, which is, I’m my own worst critic. I listened to my speeches. And I’ve always said, I’m my own worst critic, I will criticize me more than anyone else. And it took me a long time to realize that wrong thing to say, actually, I’m my own best teacher. And that completely changes the paradigm. And the reality is, it’s the way it should be you were talking about mistakes and failure, what are those, those are just ways of learning and encountering experiences that will help us grow. So failure, we shouldn’t necessarily be judged for that. Unless we don’t subscribe to Einstein’s theory. You know, when he talks about insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results, if we if we subscribe to that concept, then that’s our problem. But if we don’t subscribe to that and we have challenges, then what we need to do is analyze it every time something happens that is unexpected for us and see if it was a good thing or a bad thing in our own view, but more important how we then adjust and deal with it.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 29:06
Yeah, that’s huge the your viewpoint and essentially the lens with which you look through the world has shifted based upon her choice of your mindset. That was a choice you made. However, going along this belief of yourself and Herbalife that, you know, I’m really hard on myself and I should be because that’s how I get better. Whereas changing it to be in a bow, I’m a really great teacher of myself, I am my best teacher and look at all these opportunities I get to experiment with and improve that completely changes the game for you as a person, which then what almost lightens your load right now. It’s not so now the the idea of getting it wrong is not so heavy. It’s just part of the process. So yeah, yeah. Phil, you on that?
**Michael Hingson ** 29:55
Yeah. And again, getting them wrong. What is that? Right So the bottom line is So we need to get away from worrying about getting it wrong. The thing we need to do is to worry about getting it. And we’ll, we’ll go we’ll work through it.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 30:12
Yeah, that’s a great distinction. It’s not about right or wrong, good or bad. It’s about being in the process doing it, getting it having new understandings being an experiment or be a river, like, like the Ernest Shackleton’s of older, like, even even up it’s a mango, oh my God, what’s his name, Leonardo da Vinci. They will like multi passionate, multi hyphenate sorts of people they were not pigeon holed into one thing, I do this one thing, I am this thing. They were multi, they were constantly exploring themselves, their knowledge, what they knew to be true what they didn’t. And they were supple and pliable and adjusting it up yet we look to those sorts of people as heroes and so on have, and it’s just not replicated here. So I wonder what, I wonder what that gap is?
**Michael Hingson ** 31:03
Well, it’s, it’s a gap that may be different for different people. But it is something to think about. And maybe you will find a way to verbalize that to help other people analyze their own gaps or their own connections, which is always good.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 31:21
Yeah, that’s, that is the hope. I mean, that’s why we do things like this, right? having these conversations so that we can get what we think out of ourselves, and hopefully to touch others, but also leave even we understand old things differently. Now sharing them with each other, right?
**Michael Hingson ** 31:37
Absolutely. Well, for you, what are some experiences you have had, that have kind of altered how you you that you show up or that you’re existing in the world?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 31:49
Oh, well, we’ll all shared most of one that just happened, which I just told you about. So you already know, this one’s coming. But I had the privilege of volunteering or staffing, basically a transformational leadership cohort program. And so essentially, you know, you’re in a rural, there’s a group of people, 5060 people, and they’re going through a set of processes in order to understand their own limiting beliefs, you know, strip off some trauma, rip off some baggage and almost re upholster themselves, like a phoenix rising from the from the ash, right. Like, essentially, that’s how I would illustrate it. And my so this, this is only I’m only a few days out of this experience. So it’s like very top of mind. But some words are terms that have a new meaning for me, and I am being intentional about adding them into how I show up in the world include Potter, like, honor, you know, that was a word that I would think of as Oh, honorable samurai are like honorable these these people in these groups that were super disciplined from from ancient times, when in fact, I was honored to be in this room with people in their most real, raw, authentic or verbal states. And it felt, I mean, I felt it, the collective room was almost throbbing, right? It’s just unbelievable. And with honor, also the real definition of honesty, which is less about truth, telling, and more about honoring thy self. So again, it goes back to self esteem, it goes back to work, it goes back to advocacy for myself, it goes back to all these things we spoke about earlier. So just the word honor has come from coming with new meanings. For me, the term rigor and being rigorous with that I want otter to be an intention in my life that I want to share with the world, it becomes rigorous to hold myself accountable because no one else is or has proven themselves to to that so I’m going to do that. Like, that’s rigorous, and that feels right, for me. The other one is dignity. You know, and that still kind of stems off of honor and self esteem and worse than how I view myself and how I view the world. And then the last one is around the idea of bearing witness. And yeah, it was being in that room, and having the privilege to bear witness to people falling apart, essentially fallen fully apart in a way they may not have ever was anyone else in their lives, partners, spouses, exes, children, anyone and it’s a really privileged space to be able to be in there and hold people to that. So that experience is altered the meshoppen world and also it has emphasized how much being in contract You shouldn’t or being of service, it needs to take up more space in my in my life that that comes to be that gets to be at the top.
**Michael Hingson ** 35:08
I think you’ve covered, I think you’ve covered a little of it. And I want to, I want to ask you, if you’ll tell us another one. But before we do that. So I think you’ve talked about this a bit because of what you’ve just said. But what did you really learn from the experience of being on the other side? And, and all of the experiences that you had? And what will you take forward from that?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 35:29
Well, the thing that comes to my mind is right now and that question is when I went through the prep, so the only way that we can come back to coach or staff, this process is if we have gone through it ourselves and graduated as such. And I graduated in October of last year. And being in the room this time, as staff, I have dissociated, numbed out and blacked out, I was throughout my entire process because of how consistently was triggered and how consistently, I was stressed about not knowing the answer, not feeling in my body and knowing how to answer the question like, how do you feel? You know, I don’t know. I think I feel like this, I didn’t have such a vocabulary of feeling. I didn’t know how things felt in my body, I was very logical. Now I’m testing out, like literally saying feelings out loud. Think I’m angry. And I think I’m angry. And it feels like this in my body like this, because this just happened. And I’m doing that specifically with D who like knows that I’m trying to click on this. So even that feels really supportive. That’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve learned is associated and what actually be present. And attentive, and an active hearer less listener, actively hearing what people are saying, the way you actively hear what I’m saying. And you have follow up questions based upon what I’m saying, as opposed to whatever it’s listed before, right? Like that’s, those are things that get to be practiced, I don’t think they’re just a knee.
**Michael Hingson ** 37:10
What’s another experience, there are key you have one that you can point to where you have had something that happened to you or whatever it may have altered your view of how you show up or in the world and other experience with Sr. RB, you have more than one,
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 37:28
I do have more than I have on top of my head. It’s way more tangible for those that are like that was too ethereal. So when I was in college, there’s something called law at the University of Maryland, at least there was something called Alternative Spring Break. So you could go on a spring break trip, but it was more service based. And I went with a small group to Atlanta, Georgia, and we were going to be working with the homeless community. And you know, like we to a furniture depot or like a third like thrift store going to a men’s homeless shelter speaking with the men, and they’re going to women’s homeless shelters be with women, they’re going to soup kitchens being in service, okay. All that stuff. So this was when I was you know, 1933 now, but it’s still very vivid. And I got into a few conversations with some of the bad in the men’s homeless center, going into it with fear going into it with judgment, going into it with prejudice, and coming out of it. Feeling confused. Honestly, I didn’t realize how, one of a variety of reasons as to why people get down on their luck. And they’re not an all most people are not mentally ill all whose people are not dry protected. All holes, people are not all these blanket statements and judgments as a society we’ve put on homelessness, some people have their homes foreclosed, and we’re ashamed to tell their family members. So instead of asking for help, they went to a homeless shelter until they could get themselves on their two feet. To me that was and I was speaking to one particular man. He had three daughters all poem, doctor, lawyer and a teacher, they could have housed him, they could have helped him and he was so embarrassed and humiliated and ashamed. And that really broke me apart because I thought Damn, if either of my parents if that ever happened to them, they couldn’t know that on their first call. And yeah, my mindset certainly shifted on homelessness, and also on phone. Just like the blanketing of prejudice. We do unconsciously put on people. And I do have to say it was unconscious because I didn’t even know how I didn’t even know how I felt about the homeless until I went into that experience. I hadn’t even took time to think about it, you know,
**Michael Hingson ** 39:48
any notion why he didn’t reach out to his daughters or his children at all? And this went the other way was embarrassment or
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 39:57
he was yeah, he said that he was embarrassed and ashamed, he said he was embarrassed. And as an 18 year old girl, I was like fuck conned your girls don’t you know, I didn’t really share what he was saying, which was then basically he was crying out was like I, I didn’t ever think I’d be in this spot in my life. And now that I’m here, I am humiliated. And I don’t want anyone to know about my humiliation. That was like, very sad to me.
**Michael Hingson ** 40:26
That’s a as a good point.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 40:29
Yeah. Because really, if we don’t have community, or even a tiny support system of like three people in our life you can rely on and what do we have? 10? What do we have? And that just made it very clear to me, like, we need our people around us for real, we got to be honest with them.
**Michael Hingson ** 40:47
And once again, we live in this world where everyone judges us, and we oftentimes aren’t confident enough to just be able to say, look, this happened, and I’m going to seek whatever help I need to move forward.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 41:06
Right? Right. So I, you and I get to be change agents in every day that we live in our intention of sharing what we know to be true in the world and working on our own selves. I
**Michael Hingson ** 41:22
I think you’re absolutely right. I think everyone can be change agents. I’m I’m a great fan of Gandhi’s comment above Be the change that you want to see in the world, without a
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 41:33
doubt, without a doubt. And I think that, you know, I’m just because I’m a bit more of a realist, I try not to be on the pessimistic side. But I would say, definitely a realist. Everyone is not doing that right now. But everyone does have the capacity to to be changed they want to see in the world. And I think I have I emphasize you and me, because I really can only speak for my own personal perspective. But sure, once you know, like, once I become aware of some of the things we spoke about today, particularly the accountability piece, now I get to hold up how I’m accountable to myself, and I get to model that in every relationship and every community in every space I fill up. And now my hope, my intention is that that impact is mirrored, at minimum, right at least, oh, wow, she really upholds herself to a certain level. And, you know, look at look at these things that she’s been able to do. Look how she shows up, look at how joyous and exuberant she is. I I’d like some of that. That’s, that’s my hope, at least. Yeah.
Michael Hingson 42:41
That makes sense. And ultimately, ultimately, we can only do what we can do, and we should not judge ourselves, much less allow other people to judge us if we’re not adhering to or living up to some potentially artificial standard. Because we all have gifts, we all have challenges. And our gifts are not all the same. And that’s okay.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 43:09
And what a beautiful point, diversity makes it all work beautifully. So if we were all the same, that would not work like life, everything would have words that we know new ideas, there’d be no new innovations, there’d be no money thing. But I have a question for you. Do you find that was your renewed lens out the way you look through life as you are your greatest teacher, not your freedom, critic, that you still have to kind of coach yourself into believing that or is it defaulted now? And that’s what you think?
**Michael Hingson ** 43:42
Oh, it is absolutely what I think one on once I realized it, and went, Oh my gosh, why am I calling myself my own worst critic, how negative that is. And I suppose someone could come along and find some better thing to say. But until they do know, I don’t even have to coach myself. I don’t even think about it anymore. And I will always say I my own best teacher now comes from a background of loving to teach. And I should have realized that a lot sooner and changed my vocabulary. But that’s okay. This is it out though. Yeah, right. And I’m glad I did. I think it is absolutely important. No one should ever call themselves their own worst critic where you are your own best teacher, because the reality is, you cannot teach me anything. Period. You can give me information. But I have to ultimately be the one to teach myself to accept that and to then move forward with it and teach myself that that’s a great idea or that’s appropriate or whatever. Ultimately, only I can teach me, everyone else that all my teachers in school could show me how to do things. But ultimately I had to teach myself which also gets back to I had to learn it, but I can’t learn it. If I’m not teaching myself, which also says we’re probably better teachers, ultimately that we think we are.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 45:06
Sure there’s a ton of like repressed suppressed gifts and capacities we each have because of fear, you know, or, or just unconscious defaulted movements and blah, blah, blah.
**Michael Hingson ** 45:19
So we were talking about diversity and all that. And I know this is only one part of diversity and disabilities get left out of diversity, but we won’t worry about that discussion right now. What’s cultural awareness for you? And how did you decide what you think cultural awareness is?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 45:35
Yeah, cultural awareness is definitely my thing these days. So it came, before I go into like the nitty gritty, I will say, in a larger sphere, I have been fortunate to grow up traveling, like immersive traveling since I was about four months old. So that’s been a part of my life, my whole life. And my mom instilled it in me. So I’ve been in 65 countries and counting, you know, it’s it’s very important to me to engage with a variety of cultures around the world because I am just so invigorated by all the activities that happened within culture, you know, as small as having an espresso after dinner in Latin America or or in the Balkans to as grand as you know, San Gennaro festival or festival here or there or Holi festival in India right like those big things. And I’ve read recently read a book called the Culture Map by Erin Meyer and it i for graciously read it, it is nonfiction. And it was, it was it almost was like I wrote it from my own experiences and what you know, across cultures in the world and being across traveling across cultures in the world, and how people differ based upon the lens through which they look so like, it goes back to this conversation we’ve been having. So for me, it’s two things. So culture in my own definition, is the accumulation of shared deals, understandings, rhetoric, cuisine and history that are attached to a group with meaning. So all those things can be separated and if they have no meaning, they don’t necessarily equate to culture that because meaning is attached, I think it becomes culture and then awareness to me is conscious incompetence. I don’t know if you know like the four stages of competence but there is that and one of them is called conscious incompetence. And to me that’s just the like the recognition of something combined with not yet knowing much about it. So it’s like more than the stillness of observation and before full knowledge so basically cultural awareness is a pivot point. It’s before d pi is before Diversity Equity and Inclusion underlying it is okay I have just become aware fat my coworker is a Jamaican immigrant from a single parent household you know, that grew up in religion. I have just finally found that out about my coworker and now I can better empathize with the lens through which they look at hierarchy at work through and because of that, now I get to make a choice now No, no, I haven’t like a like enough information to determine Alright, I’m gonna delve deeper into this like relationship based co working or I am not an either of those are absolutely beautiful, whichever they choose, but you at least have some knowledge behind it. So that’s how I look at it.
**Michael Hingson ** 48:47
Will Tell me what do you do today? What’s your your day job? What kind of work are you doing? And you’re you’re somewhere I can hear things in the background. So what is it you do?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 48:56
If I couldn’t be at home I have to apologize. There’s construction on my house and then a coffee shop. So I was doing the best I can for you. I
**Michael Hingson ** 49:04
hope it’s got good coffee. Anyway. It sure
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 49:06
does have good coffee, at least I’m a little jittery, lol, but I am a community development consultants. So what that means is for one on one mentorship packages, like for newbie, or creating community managers, as well as VIP days for those people that that oversee or manage that community already and want to supercharge their engagement. So I do offer that now. Also advising. What I am spending much more of my time in is facilitating workshops along a lot of what we spoke about definitely cultural awareness, definitely personal development, professional development, employee engagement. And I’m on a trajectory to become a certified leadership coach. So that’s where I’m trending toward at this time.
**Michael Hingson ** 49:55
So you basically are working for yourself, do your own business, you’re not working for an intercompany or anything like,
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 50:01
I’m correct? That’s correct. Yeah, no,
**Michael Hingson ** 50:02
that’s okay. That’s okay. Yeah,
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 50:04
I should have started with that.
**Michael Hingson ** 50:05
Yeah, no, no, no, no, that’s okay. Because I didn’t ask it in a way that would lead you to do that necessarily, which is fine. But that’s cool. So you’re, you’re really trying to help people. And I know you’re wanting to, and you’ve been helping people to create communities, but create self awareness, which is, I think, extremely important, we all need to be more aware of ourselves. And you were asking me earlier, whether I have to coach myself about be my own best teacher. But there are other things that I do have to watch. Because in our world today, there are so many challenges very, very frankly, I get very frustrated with a lot of what I see our politicians doing. And and I have to remind myself, you don’t have any control over that right now. And you need to not worry about what you don’t have control over when you do have control is at elections. And that’s the time to deal with it. But I am amazed at what people do. And don’t do. I was hearing on the news a little while ago, about in this state, there has been a lot of discussion about the gas prices being so high and that the governor wants to deal with getting the legislature to to pass laws about the amount that that they can profit that the gas and oil companies and so on can profit and all that. And then negotiations broke down? Why should that be a problem? Given the fact that we all know the gas prices are very high, and that the oil companies get all sorts of subsidies and all that, and they continue to raise prices? And nobody is doing anything about it? Where’s the conscience? You know, where’s the moral compass? And it’s not there, which, which is what really frustrates me there’s a there’s a lack of a moral compass. But I don’t have control over that, except for me.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 51:55
Correct. And you get to choose how upset or not you’re going to be I’ve Well, I
**Michael Hingson ** 51:59
can that I can learn to not be upset. And that’s the big challenge, because there’s so many forces that try to make you upset.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 52:06
Yeah. Yeah, that is billion percent true. And I’m sure that if people listen to this, there’s certainly going to be a school of thought where you can’t get to choose like, this is happening at me, and I’m reacting, and that’s what it is. But
**Michael Hingson ** 52:21
so we’re gonna count. And there’s the key right there. You’re reacting, correct. Look, I had no control over those terrorists attacking the World Trade Center. Right? Yeah, what I did have control over is how I dealt with it. And so, so many things come to mind, I met a guy how, several months later, he joined the police. Because his brother had been killed at the World Trade Center. And he wanted to do in all those terrorists. Very common. Yep. You know, and that’s, that’s not constructive. Now, doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to, to help try to create environments to not have this happen again. But hatred doesn’t need to be one of them. And he had control over how he reacted. And I have control over how I reacted to the World Trade Center, and how I deal with everything that I do and so to you. And the reality is that we need to use our moral compass to help us react in the best way possible, to whatever situations we face.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 53:31
Yeah. And something I just recently learned, which is, this is going to be a dicey one. But all events are neutral. And your response, your your meaning that you give to your audience is what is essentially what gives it its weight for you. So yep, that’s, that’s difficult to hear, because there are really egregious events that happen in our world. And, you know, I think an easy example is like, like female genital mutilation, that in one culture is viewed as an initiatory be sorted that needs to happen in their culture. And for them, it is right. Those of us that are not in that culture, we may find it to be completely opposite. Who was right, who’s wrong? What is right or wrong? I think it gets, it gets dicey. And that’s why it’s an interesting view to think that all events are neutral. The rest is up to you.
**Michael Hingson ** 54:28
Well, I don’t know that I would say that the events are necessarily neutral. But I do believe that ultimately, the effect is neutral for you until you react to it in some way. And that’s what we have to deal with. I mean, it’s really difficult to say that the terrorist attacks we’re on the World Trade Center were neutral, they were very destructive. And killed a lot of people but for me, it was even being there a neutral event, until I decided how to react to it.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 55:01
Right. And I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just noting that that because you view that event as deleterious for our culture and abysmal, does not necessarily mean that that everyone else felt the same way. There were certain things that were very, very far from the East Coast that don’t remember exactly where they were that days. Sure, what they were, you know, it just doesn’t have the same level. So they
**Michael Hingson ** 55:29
it goes deeper is like it goes deeper to, because there are people who absolutely celebrated what happened that day. Absolutely. And so we get back to what’s the moral compass do with. And I think that there is a moral compass that we all have access to. And I think that that’s something that we have to deal with. But even if you decide it was a horrible event, that’s still doesn’t determine how you necessarily personally, emotionally, and effectively deal with the event. And that’s the big issue.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 56:06
That is the biggest issue. Right? Then there’s still that next step of okay, what am I going to do about this? There’s still the choice now, someone going to be a cop? Is someone to go the military? Is someone going to, you know, talk to their children about what this was? And what it meant is what’s going to happen now? Yeah, I hear that. Yeah.
**Michael Hingson ** 56:24
Well, if people want to reach out to you and learn more about you, and maybe get some coaching or whatever, how do they do that?
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 56:31
They do that by going to Adventures of community.com. Or finding me, Instagram is one of my most used socials. So that’s Adventures of V as in Victoria. And I’m also on LinkedIn. So those are the three most common places I’m at. And that’s just Victoria Cumberbatch. Cool.
**Michael Hingson ** 56:31
Well, I hope people will, in fact, reach out I think you have a lot to offer. And you’ve got some good perspectives that I think people can learn a lot from. So I hope that they will. And I hope they’ll react positively to our podcast, because we really appreciate you being here. And we appreciate you all listening out there. And please give us a five star rating. We love it. Conversations are always stimulating when we get to have a good deep conversation about something not everybody will necessarily buy into it exactly. But that’s okay. It’s all about learning and understanding. And so I hope that everyone liked it. Please give us a five star rating. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Yeah. And I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to email me at Michaelhi at accessiBe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or go to Michael Hingson H I N G S O N.com/podcast. Where you can check out other episodes and you can leave comments there as well. But we hope that you will. But Victoria, once again, I want to thank you for being here. This has been absolutely fun. And let’s do some more.
**Victoria Cumberbatch ** 58:01
Yeah, thank you so much. My goal is an absolute joy and pleasure to speak deeply with someone thank you for the opportunity.
**Michael Hingson ** 58:14
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.