Ep 10. Brie Childers
Show Notes / Transcript
In this episode, we meet Brie Childers.
LinkedIn profiles give business context and our stories share who we are, so be sure to check out Brie’s LinkedIn profile too.
Welcome to the Connection Requested podcast. I'm Mark Tweddle co-founder of YouTellYours, providing online team-building events to connect your remote team. I don't know about you, but I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn. So this podcast is how we are going to get to know them.
I want my LinkedIn connections to be more meaningful and the best way I know to create that connection, that human understanding, is through storytelling.
So each week I get a guest to try some of the same exercises that we developed for our team events. Be sure to check out my guest's LinkedIn profile either before or after listening so you can find out about their businesses, their skills, and their experience.
Enough explanation. Let's jump right in with our guest's name story.
Two minutes to tell the story of your name with no preparation.
No one else can tell that story better than you.
You are the subject matter expert after all?
So my name is Brie, spelled like the cheese. And according to my mom, the way I got my name was because there was a 3,500 Names To Name Your Baby Girl book that she and my dad picked up in 1970, apparently. Well, sorry, it would be 71 or 72, right? Depending on how soon before me, they, uh, named me.
So I didn't really like my name because nobody had ever heard of it. So I would run into a French person, tell them my name. And even though I can't do a French accent and I still have to try right now. And they would say, "Oh, no, your parents wouldn't do that to you." And I was like, yes, my parents did name me after a cheese.
So for a long, long time, I wouldn't even try Brie cheese. Refused to. My aunt made me try it when I was 18 and it was delicious. And I was like, oh, okay, well, I guess I'll at least incorporate this.
Then when I was 21 or 22, I was in a photo class. I'd never signed up for a photo class before ever. And so I didn't know if I liked it or not. And there was another girl in my class named Brie.
Well, I've made it my whole entire life without another Brie in my class.
I wasn't interested in having another Brie in my class, so I almost dropped out just to avoid being in a class with another person named Brie.
And if that had been the case, I literally wouldn't have become a photographer. So the fact that I have an issue with my name almost cost me something that I have loved to doing for the last 25 plus years.
So that makes me laugh. And the other thing that makes me laugh is my sister's name is Ann. So the name Brianne or Brianna is super popular now and has been for awhile.
My sister's name is Ann. My name is Brie. Nobody had ever heard of the name, Brianna or Brianna or Brianne or Brielle. So I sometimes just feel like my mom had some odd serendipity with her name selections that other people do not seem to have.
I like the way Brie decided to only talk about her first name.
You know, one of the aspects of these storytelling exercises is that there's no right or wrong answer. There's just choices, and they're either clear or unclear.
When we tell a story, it's not always necessary to get the full story or all of the context. You can just share the part of the story that you want to share.
I know Brie from when our kids went to the same school and every day we used to stand as a group of parents at the bus stop.
Slowly, but surely we got to know each other it helped to know that if something happened and I wasn't able to be there to meet my boys off of the bus.
There'd be a group of people that I could trust to make sure that everyone was safe.
That's the power of connection as far as I'm concerned. And whatever we can do to strengthen those connections, speed up those connections, create more of those connections. The more connected society is, and the stronger society is.
Okay let's see a brief two minute story starting with " The teacher I remember is..."
Okay. The teacher I remember is I'm going to go with the negative one. I was in sixth grade. This is dark by the way, but I guess we're allowed to be dark. We can do it if we want. Right. So sixth grade, my mom takes my sister and I on a trip. We're going to be gone from school for two to three weeks. The teacher knows that my assignment is to keep a journal of my trip and come back.
So I did keep a journal in my trip, but on this trip I had two half-brothers that died in a tragic car accident when they were 17 and 18. So my journal included their death, their funeral, and who knows what else?
So when I come back to the classroom, um, I don't remember the specifics of this and I swear I'm not even sure I would know what the teacher looked like. Like a whitish, maybe blondish, not too young. But my point is, is that she's not specific to me.
She said I was a liar and that she was disappointed in me or whatever it was. She was very mad at me for this journal and said, I'm calling your mom, we're going to have a meeting.
So I was in trouble for this journal. My mom then comes in and is like, yep. Yep. That all happened. And the teacher I know, felt bad, but the reason why this has always been such a strong memory for me is because it makes me realize how much teachers don't understand what's going on at home. Parents really should be telling them when things like this happened in the first place.
Kids are often, very much, uh, what's the word like taken for granted overlooked assumed that everything's fine. So it bothers me that teachers often forget that there are kids going through real life things, and that they need to have some compassion and they need to be curious. And her effort really made me realize how many adults out there work with kids, that don't actually do right by the kids if the kids are going through traumas.
That was quite a story. And a real example that you can never really know what someone else is going through.
Listening to Brie's story, I'm also reminded of the first loss that I experienced in my family. My grandfather on my dad's side was killed when he was hit by a car while crossing the road. I think I was about seven or eight years old, and I know that I had no idea how to process that. My lasting memories involve having to try to explain the unexplainable to my younger sister, and the shock and the grief that I experienced nearly a decade later, when I realized that I was driving down the same street that my grandfather was killed on.
My passenger had no idea what was going on. Or why I was so suddenly in floods of tears.
You can never really know what someone else is going through.
What's also interesting is Brie's focus on the lesson and not the teacher.
I think that's one of the things I like most about Brie. She's focused on learning and improving. And she's always curious.
Unfortunately, when I was a kid, I was that kid. The one that didn't do his homework and made up all sorts of stories that led teachers to not believe the stories that kids tell them. So Ms. Boyd, if you're listening. I do apologize for my lack of effort 44 years ago.
And I think I now..
No, I do now forgive you for making me dance to the music of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Let's hear Brie's connection story.
When I think about connection and I think about what I've decided recently is the most important thing to me, in regards to any kind of leadership, any kind of teamwork, any kind of group projects... So I have in the last two years realized how much I enjoy soccer coaching of younger ish kids.
I've never coached anybody over 14. Most of them have been younger than that.
And it took me a long time to understand the connection, between that and my photography career; which is a lot of portraiture, a lot of fashion. So I finally became aware of the fact that photography has done an amazing job of setting me up for coaching, which doesn't logically make sense, but the underlying base, important ingredient is connection.
Most leaders will get on podcasts or Ted talks or whatever, and talk about the fact that without connection, you don't have anything. There is no leadership, there is no group, there is no success as a team, unless there's a connection.
Usually when I think about photography, I don't actually think about how I can connect with this person. I just know that whatever is required of me to connect with them is required of me to actually successfully do my job that day.
I can't get away from that.
So the very few times when I haven't been able to make a connection with the talent, it doesn't mean that the photos are horrible. It doesn't mean that I don't get rehired, but it means that when I'm looking at the photos myself, I am not giving myself an A or even a B on them.
I know the missing ingredient. I know. I didn't quite figure out how to get them to let me see them or to be with me on an exchange level. They were too guarded or I didn't figure out a way in.
But the same is actually true with coaching kids, which is you have to be able to find a way in, or they just aren't that interested in whatever it is you're trying to get them to do.
It's easy to connect with kids for me, especially at the moment I'm working with girls, that part's easy because I see what I like, and I can say, "I like this."
"And how are you today?"
"And what's your teacher like", and whatever. A connection with kids is a lot of just asking a question, letting them tell you. Being open with who you are.
But the parents are a lot harder to connect with. Their guards are up. There's not as much time with them. They don't really care about small talk, which is fine, and what they're caring about their kids.
So I'm at this interesting point of knowing that my strength is connecting with people, but how do you connect with people without the access to them?
So that is my next question Mark, of becoming a good coach, is how you connect with people without knowing them?
Oh, my God. Last week. I thought that would be the end of football and soccer stories, but no. Brie sticks one end just before the final whistle.
I like Brie's question too.
"How do you connect with people when you have limited access to them?"
You know what? I think it's a bit like that riddle that befuddled me for a long time.
" What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?"
Well, the best answer that I know of is that the unstoppable force stops, and the immovable object moves.
So, how do you connect with people when you have limited access to them? I think that you have to create more access.
Perhaps it's an event like a party, or I have another idea, which is perhaps it's by writing a personal note for each player to share with a parent or guardian, describing how you see their effort at soccer, their strengths, and their challenges.
And the more you make that note personal and clear, the more it will be able to be used as a starting point for greater connection.
Do you feel like you're getting to know Brie? If you looked at her LinkedIn profile right now and you needed her help or advice, would you be more comfortable having a call with her? I do hope so.
And if nothing else, I hope that you've learned that Brie is awesome.
I'd love to know what you think, and if you have an answer to Brie's question.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a voice message via the Connection Requested page on anchor.com.
Please share this podcast, preferably on LinkedIn, and keep on having fun making the best of connections.