“The ability to shift and understand different cultures is good for me in the sense that I can see people, and I can educate people on what they aren’t seeing in my culture, and I can correct stereotypes and possibly bridge those divides by being unapologetically myself. The con is when you feel like you have to substitute another culture for your culture because your culture doesn’t matter.” Tayo Rockson

Show Summary

What is code-switching, and what are its pros and cons? On this episode of Stories from the Field, author, podcaster, facilitator, polymath, and third culture kid Tayo Rockson shares how code-switching showed up in his own life as the son of a diplomat, and how he learned to achieve a balance between acclimation and authenticity. We also discuss how leaders can help those outside the dominant culture feel seen and heard, and why it’s time for all of us to get comfortable with being vulnerable.

Learning Highlights from this Episode:

  • How code-switching both benefits and hurts outsiders
  • Why perfectionism is hurting leaders and how to model vulnerability
  • How DEI practitioners can stay focused on their purpose

Hear the Full Episode On:

About Tayo Rockson

As a polymath in progress, Tayo Rockson is a writer, speaker, consultant, podcaster, poet, professor, co-founder, and brand strategist at UYD Management, a strategic consulting firm that empowers organizations to incorporate sustainable diversity and inclusion practices.

As the son of a diplomat, Tayo grew up understanding the nuances of multicultural diversity while living on four continents. He leveraged his experiences to establish himself as an authority in communicating effectively across cultures and personal branding. He graced various stages to share his knowledge including TEDx, the prestigious Chautauqua Institution, and the United Nations.

Tayo is the host of As Told by Nomads, a podcast ranked in the top 5 tier of the Top 25 Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Entrepreneur.com. He’s the author of Use Your Difference To Make A Difference and a professor at the prestigious Imperial College Business School as well as Felician University. 

In 2020, he launched the national anti-racism campaign called #LetsTalkBias. In 2021, Tayo was named in Remote Weekly’s list of The 100 Most Influential Remote Experts and starred in the award-winning movie, IMPACT which is about three people who embark on a personal journey to transform the way they communicate on their quest to impact the world.



Full Transcript

Oana Amaria: So, hello, Tayo welcome to our podcast Stories from the Field. And, we’re so excited. It’s been a long time coming and almost full circle, right? My first podcast experience was on your podcast. And so, it’s nice to bring you back to ours. I am typically pretty terrible with introductions. So, I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself and really just talk about how you came into this line of work. There’s a lot behind your story.

Tayo Rockson: Yeah.

Oana Amaria: So, tell us about you.

Tayo Rockson: Well, first I’m a Nigerian. This is the Nigerian flag behind me. Today is Nigeria’s 61st birthday. So, it’s very apropos. It’s October, it’s also my birthday month. So, it is the best month. But, how I came into the line of work, as much personal as it is professional, as I was saying earlier, I’m Nigerian, but I describe myself as a cultural translator, and a polymath in progress, but we’ll get to the polymath part later. And, being a cultural translator, basically means I was always in between cultures. My dad was a diplomat, so we moved around quite a bit. I grew up in five countries and four continents for the majority of my life. But I also spent the first decade of my life in and out of several dictatorships, which opened my eyes to what it’s like to feel oppressed. What it’s like to feel like your voice is suppressed. Especially, if you feel like you have elements of yourself that are being stamped out by institutions around you.

Tayo Rockson: So, I was always one of those kids that felt like I could do something. The people that I look up to were the late Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey. And if you want to go fiction, you can go to my cousin Superman. But, I always gravitate towards the characters that inspired hope in some shape or form. Because, for me, that was a way for me to push through and understand that there was a light at the end of tunnel next day. And so, when I found social media, I started sharing stories, and it led me down this path of creating content, and working with institutions along the same lines.

Jason Rebello: That is awesome. Tayo, I want to segue right into and pull on two threads that you threw out there for us. One, this concept of you being a polymath in progress. And then, you also talked about some of your recent social media work. And, I know one of your recent posts was like, “Oh!” Your time in boarding school in Nigeria. So, wanted to give you an opportunity to expand a little bit more on both of those.

Tayo Rockson: So, for much of my life, I didn’t know polymath was, I think you would say, “Renaissance man. Renaissance person.” But, when I was in boarding school, and boarding school’s almost a right of passage. For anyone in Nigeria listening, probably understands this. Everyone in my family went through it, my mom, my dad, even with my youngest brother, and my middle brother. And so, I remember once we got to high school, we had to pick, it was science, social science, or the arts. And, I ran away from everything to do with physics or chemistry, because I was already good at chemistry with people, but I just didn’t understand the science of it. But, I just wasn’t always science inclined, but I always knew I had multiple interests. But, I always felt pigeonholed, because I felt part social science, part arts. And, I truly loved the idea of human behavior throughout history, but I had to pick one. And, I would do well in school, but I would feel like, something was missing.

Tayo Rockson: So, I started writing more of my poetry, because there weren’t any poetry classes. And when I eventually got to the United States, my dad was whispering, “I know you don’t know what you want to do.” I thought I was going to be a basketball player. And I thought I was going to be a diplomat too, like my dad, but I didn’t quite have a clear path. And my dad said, “Maybe you should go to law.” My mom had always harbored this secret desire for me to be a doctor. And, when I came to the states, I quickly realized that those two things were things that I didn’t want to become.

Tayo Rockson: And, the journey of discovering what I wanted to become took a long time. I stumbled into a marketing class, I loved it. Then I switched my major to marketing. And then, I double majored in management. And then, I minored in French. And then, when I got out of the workforce, I hated my job. I had 85-plus job rejections before I got that job. And then, I hated the job because it wasn’t what I imagined myself doing, and I couldn’t see myself doing that for 60 years. And so, I quit. I quit after this accident, that had nearly taken my life away. And then eventually, the accident led me to explore what New York could offer. I just like the idea that New York offered limitless possibilities.

Tayo Rockson: And so, if you’re not a citizen, you either get married, you go to school, or go to work. I wasn’t married. And, I had just left a job. And so, school, that was the path. And so, I constructed a plan with my parents. I said, “I’m going to get my MBA.” And, I knew that if I seeded that in there, they would love that. Because Nigerians are all about achievement, when it comes to education. I said to myself, “They know I’m getting an MBA, but I’m getting an MBA in life.” And, I really made New York my campus. I followed all the curiosities I had. I started writing more and more. I was writing about what I was confused about. My third culture kid identity, the fact that I had to choose one career, and I just started sharing stories, and people would say, “You’re a great storyteller.” I was like, “All right. I’ll do it more.” I started interviewing people, “Yo, you’re a great interviewer.” “I’ll do it more.” “Hey, you really have a concept of understanding human behavior. You should talk about your research more.” And started doing that more.

Tayo Rockson: And so, I just started taking all the shackles that I’d been programmed to believe in it by myself. And then, it led me down the path of exploring fields in media, education, and the workplace. But yeah, it was almost a 15-year journey for me, from high school.

Jason Rebello: You mentioned this concept of limitless potential. As a Buddhist, that certainly resonates with me. It’s part of the core of our practice, is tapping into our limitless potential. So, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts about why that concept is so important, especially today.

Tayo Rockson: As youth, and especially as someone that was a black person on four continents, you have this definite paradigms, the stereotypes, this prototypes or archetypes that you’re supposed to fit under. I would come into places and people would say, “Oh, I’m not surprised you’re an athlete.” And then, I’d go to another place. “Oh, wow! You’re so articulate. How did you know about this?” And, it used to frustrate me as a kid, because I kept thinking how many times do I have to reintroduce myself to an environment where everybody feels like they belong already? And, I find that happens in society. Sometimes we get to a certain age where our curiosity stops being explored, and we let our biases, which aren’t bad or good just take the predominant view of what everyone that looks like a particular person should be. And, I do think it’s unfortunate, because when you really explore deep down the potential within humans that we have, you’re going to be surprised by the multiple of things that we can achieve.

Tayo Rockson: There was a speech I gave recently and I said, “We used to think it was impossible to have all your media in the palm of your hands, but now it isn’t. And then, we used to think that it was impossible for us to fly with metal on the air, but now we can. And, I feel like when we limit ourselves and we just cap our potential, we actually stifle what could be possible. And, if you extrapolate that to the problems we have today, there’s no way we can figure climate change, racism, any of the phobias, if we don’t truly reflect within to what is really inhibiting us, or being a collar, and use our social capital to eventually really figure out how to solve those problems.” So, I feel like it’s a human thing, but it’s also… And then, an un-programming thing. I feel like when we’re kids, we know we can do more. And when we get older, we are convinced that we don’t need to do more, because we need to pay bills. And I don’t think that speaks the truth.

Oana Amaria: I love that. It reminds me, in our sessions, we talk about limiting beliefs, right? And the limiting beliefs that get in the way of some of these audacious goals, like climate change and anti-racism. And Jason, it reminds me of the comment that Nandi made about, “Oh, I know that you haven’t tried this.” Because we haven’t tried this, we haven’t tried equity, we haven’t tried really advancing anti-racism in organizations, so I love that. Something else we talk about in our sessions that I know you are a veteran at is this idea around code shifting. And, in the cross-cultural context, it’s the national culture perspective. So, you as a Nigerian in Sweden, or wherever, right? The shift you had to make… I remember when I was in Ghana, I learned Pidgin very fast. So, that I could start with my [foreign language 00:08:49] and [foreign language 00:08:51], so that it could create connection.

Oana Amaria: And so, I think it could be a tool that is actually great for adaptability, which we want as adaptive leaders, but it also could be really exhausting when you are required to morph yourself into an extrovert, because that’s a dominant culture at an organization. Or sound more white, or sound less Latinx, or put down the list of all the different requirements that we have to morph in this dominant culture, the dominant culture paradigm. So, I’d love for you to… One, what is code-switching? And then, is there an example that you can share where you found yourself having to do it, pros, cons to that, or you’re just like, “Ah, if I ever have to do this again…” And then, maybe tips on how to be successful and yet still maintain yourself in that authenticity standpoint.

Tayo Rockson: Code-switching is essentially the practice of alternative switching between two or more languages, or varieties of languages. I actually think it’s a language because you’re linguistically thinking about how to adapt. And, in my environment, the first time I ever thought about it was, when I was a skinny Nigerian kid with a thick Nigerian accent in a French-speaking country, in American International School, it was 2000. And, we had just moved to this French-speaking country, which I love, Burkina Faso. And, I thought I was Black in an white environment, in a Black country. The white environment was the school, American International School. And everybody spoke with an American accent or an adjacent American accent. People used to laugh at my accent. “What did you say?” Or, “What is your name?” And, I just remember internalizing that as, “Ah, I hate our sound. And, I need to figure out how to talk, so I get less questions.”

Tayo Rockson:
And so, I would study every single teen movie, every single Disney movie, and then Nickelodeons, “Oh, the Nick Cannon is on. All right. Amanda Bynes. The Olsen twins. Oh, Fred Prinze Jr. just came on.” So, I would just figure out the affect like, “Okay, that’s California. That’s slightly New York.” And, I did that, because I wanted less questions asked of me. And I didn’t want to have to explain myself in every environment. Now, the con of that is, you risk losing yourself sometimes. And, feeling like your culture doesn’t matter. And, there was a moment when I had an identity crisis, where I actually did that. I told people to call me Rockson instead of Tayo or Akintayo, which is my full name. And, the unfortunate aspect of that is, Tayo and Akintayo means so much to my culture. Akintayo means a warrior, or the brave one who’s brother’s joy. But I let this idea of Anglo-sounding white names as the superior narrative or the superior norm be my reality.

Tayo Rockson: And so, I said, “Yeah, I actually feel lucky that I have an English-sounding last name.” And so, I told them to call me Rockson. It wasn’t until I grew older, that I started to understand the nuance that exists between that. The ability to shift and understand different cultures is good for me, in the sense that I can see people and I can educate people on what they aren’t seen in my culture, and I can correct stereotypes, and possibly bridge those divides by being unapologetically myself. The con is when you feel like you have to substitute another culture for your culture, because your culture doesn’t matter.

Tayo Rockson: And I think, in our roles here as practitioners have as a responsibility, is to ensure that as many narratives that exist out there in the media platforms we have, or in a story or education platforms that we interact with, we need to make a responsibility to expand the stories, and to unapologetically call those things out, whenever they come into play. Whenever I’m introduced and someone says, “Hey, Tayo.” Or, “Your name’s Tayo, right?” And I’m like, “No, it’s Tayo.” “But, it should be Tayo.” “Nah, it’s Tayo.” “It should be Tayo like Taylor.” “But it is Tayo, because I’m from this culture.” Subtle things like that. Those are the things that I find help with the culture-shifting.

Tayo Rockson: But, I had to learn, yeah, white voice. I had to learn African-American vernacular. I always knew Pidgin English, which by the way, is a Creole equivalent for English speaking country in West Africa. And, I had to learn French, and I had to learn what it was like to be a Nigerian in America, and what it’s like to be an African-American. And so, there were multiple nuances that had to exist, and it plays a role in your mental health if you don’t, but it can also help with bridge and divides, if you channel the energy at the right authorities.

Jason Rebello:
I love that. There’s so much of your story that resonates with me, just being a mixed-race kid, having to speak almost two different languages, and exist in three different worlds. I had my Indian side of my family, my African-American side of my family. And then, you had just the greater culture of wealthy north side, predominantly white Chicago and that reality. And the challenge of authenticity, the benefit of being able to be absolutely adaptable and flexible, but then the risk of losing yourself like, “Who am I actually? Or how am I actually…?” Is a real challenge. So, I think, I’m always encouraged to see people like you out in the space as a face, as a visual, as someone that is telling a story that needs to be told, and people need to hear it, so that they realize so that you unconsciously give them permission to tell their truth, to be themselves, right? Like, “Oh, if he can talk about who he really is, then I can do that too.” [crosstalk 00:14:28]

Tayo Rockson: Oh, 100%. So, my students will often tell me I’m one of the first black professors they’ve seen. But, I also have international students. And, I will have Chinese students sometimes, or someone from… I want to say… Who did I have this year? I have two people from Spain this year, and one from China. And, they’ll sometimes give me a different name, and I’ll say, “Tell me your name.” Or, “I want to know your name.” We, as a class, we are going to make sure we pronounce your name. And I recognize that. The reason I recognize that idea of saying, “This is my name. This is my that.” And, I always try to tell them, “Hey, I recognize what you’re doing. And if you feel comfortable, let’s learn your culture. I don’t want you to feel like you have to hide that.” And it’s always a dance, because sometimes some people will prefer not to do that, and that’s fine, because it has to be according to what they feel comfortable with.

Tayo Rockson: But, I find that the moments that the students that I talk to look at me and hear me say that, they’re like, “Oh, wait. It’s okay? You’re not going to laugh at my name.” I’m like, “No. Why would I laugh at your name?” “Well, the other professor said that it was too uncomfortable, and he was making a Kung Fu joke. And, it made me feel like I didn’t need to say anything.” I said, “That’s not happening in this class.” And those subtle things always matter. I always address my students as King, Queens, and royalty. And at the end of the semester, they’re like, “That’s the first time someone’s called me king.” “That’s the first time someone’s called me queen.” Because we don’t promote those ideas. That your identity, your unique identity, whether you’re from Puerto Rico, or whether you’re from India, it actually matters. It actually matters. And, there’s a positive lineage that you have, that might not be depicted, but still exists. That’s the power of representation and mentorship.

Jason Rebello: We’ve had so many amazing people on this podcast. There’s so much amazing talent. It’s such an honor to be able to dialogue, and hear more about your story. And you’re doing so much, right? We’ve had people on this show, on our podcast that are filmmakers, or in that space, or are in media, or giving talks, and you’re doing it all. And I know you had a film project that you were actually in. This film IMPACT. Tell us about it. And, why we should all make sure we find a way to see it if we have not.

Tayo Rockson: So, IMPACT is a project that I didn’t even know existed until… Someone had listened to my podcast and this is years ago, and they reached out to me and he said, “We want to interview you as a potential podcaster in the movie we’re doing, where we’re chronically in the lives of three people. We’re going to be with them for a year or so. They’re down and out. Some need financial help, some need business help, but we want to teach them the power of communicating and it starts within. And, you are going to come in to narrate. You’re going to play yourself. You’re going to narrate the lives of these folks.” And, I’ve always had aspirations to showrun things and produce things. But this was a different experience because they basically flew me out to California, and then I had to shoot every scene in a day.

Tayo Rockson: So, this was a 16-hour work day and they would say, “Hey, this is one year later.” Or, “Hey, you talk about these three people like they’re there.” And, I was just saying the same things over and over again. And then, “Keep it up. Take two. Take three.” And then, you switch outfit, you go on there, you’ll find the right light. And it was back and forth, and you’re keeping the same energy, and you have to be on. And it was dawn, and then dusk, but it was a fun experiment, because I got to really see the behind the scenes of an industry… Of how stories are shaped. Sometimes you watch something on TV and you’re like, “How did this even get made? Who made that?” And, they’ve seen a long picture, right? They have other teams of people working on ideas and they’re passing that information. They’re saying, “This is not on as planned. So, in case this happens, have this person record that.” And, I’ve always loved projects like that, because I think it’s important for people to understand that life is your ability to go short-term or long-term.

Tayo Rockson: But, I want people to watch this, because I think three of these characters have three different experiences. One is a successful woman, who doesn’t believe in herself as a public speaker. She’s achieved success, but she’s got a mom who doesn’t consider that successful, because it doesn’t fit her paradigm. And, she wants to use a voice to spread joy to people, but she’s got this imposter syndrome, that on the outside, you wonder, “Why? Look at all the success you have. You built all these companies.”

Tayo Rockson:
Then you have another lady, who’s trying to figure out how to build a business, and she’s couch surfing, but she’s making every single business mistake you can. And that’s because she hasn’t worked on the internal conversation she needs to have. And so, she’s avoiding that. And then, you have another guy who’s the veteran, but he’s had thing handed to him. And so, he hasn’t really had to confront the idea of how maybe it’s privileged, that’s played a role into that, and how he needs to figure out to talk to himself, and be okay with failing, and actually accepting responsibility. All microcosms of society. Many people have imposter syndrome when they shouldn’t, many people don’t realize the privilege that they have. And many people take advantage of the fact that they have all these opportunities without giving that there. But, if you don’t figure out to communicate with yourself, there’s no impact that can be made. Thus, IMPACT, the name.

Oana Amaria: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing. One of the questions that I had for you, as you think about the multiple pandemics we’ve gone through, both from COVID to racism, to all the other isms happening in the world. What are some of the biggest challenges you think global leaders must overcome right now?

Tayo Rockson: I think we need to overcome the idea of perfection. Perfection, I believe, is a construction of white supremacy. I think, a lot of times when we’re approaching problems, such as the pandemics, people feel like, if they don’t have the perfect solution, there’s no need to try. And that’s a problem, right? Because, we haven’t been trained usually as kids to deal with that discomfort, when it’s outside of anything that we know. And, as I look at leaders, as we’re navigating mandates now, and navigating all these bids, there has to be some sense of moral courage, where people decide that, “I might make a mistake and I might not get this voting block. I might not get that. But, I have a bigger picture and a responsibility to the people that I am elected to serve.” And, people need to be able to think beyond the incentives that they might have and be willing to fail publicly. And, the more they can do that, the better.

Tayo Rockson: I also think that global leaders also need to learn how to take care of themselves. And, I’ll explain this. During the height of the pandemic… Because New York, we were at the epicenter, initially. I remember, when all the things were happening at the same time, and they still happen at the same time, when they were happening at the same time in the eye’s guess and the public eye guide. George Floyd, every single one of them, Brianna Taylor, we’re talking about the pandemic and everybody was wondering if we’re ever going to get out of this. I kept getting these messages about, “Hey, can you help me not be racist?” “Oh, I’m so sorry.” “Oh, what happened?” “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t look at you, or check in.” And, it was hundreds and hundreds of people.

Tayo Rockson: And I found myself thinking, if I don’t respond to these, I feel so bad. I know people are so bad. And then, I was gaining panic attacks. And, in the middle of panic attacks, I would get an email saying, “Hey, could you come sit and moderate a panel? Actually, we think what you pitched to us five months ago was good.” And so, I occupy the space of feeling insulted by people that should be my friends. And then, having to hold space for other people, as they try to navigate something they should have been navigated. And then, having to actually give the speech.

Tayo Rockson: And, one time I just lay on the bed and I just collapsed. And I said to myself, “I have to give myself permission to be angry, to feel like a human and to be vulnerable.” And I don’t know that a lot of leaders give themselves that permission to be angry, to feel indignant, or to say they don’t know the answer. And, when you don’t do that, what’s going to happen is your chest is going to feel heavy. It’s going to have all these little things that are inflammatory in your body. And you’re going to start to react based on the worst impulses of yourself. And we’ve seen many leaders do that.

Tayo Rockson: I grew up with dictators that would say the most outlandish things, because they just felt like someone was actually attacking their credibility. I don’t know if leaders don’t get comfortable with the idea of failure and get comfortable with the idea of vulnerability, and feeling the feelings, that we’ll be able to move forward. Because the reality is, no one is where the end of this is going. But, we can’t pretend like we’re not human, behind the whole situation. That’s a barrier to connection. And, I feel like if we don’t work on that vulnerability, and feeling imperfect, I don’t know that we’re going to have the solution that we want.

Jason Rebello: Processing everything you just shared, even as we continue to consider how our work evolves, and how even diversity, equity, inclusion work evolves to meet some of these new adaptive challenges. But it’s a great opportunity, right? And I think there’s no coincidence that the people that are coming to bear on this challenge, and are stepping into their power, are coming from so many different backgrounds, and have these really unique connections. It’s fascinating. Every time I meet somebody new, it’s amazing the vast network, and web of connection they have to people that are so different from them. That gives me hope, as we move forward.

Tayo Rockson: No 100%. And, the hope that I also get is, knowing that as more people share the pains that they’ve had, there’s more connection. I think when I was younger, at least for me, masculinity was explained to me that, “Don’t show your pain.” And, I grew up as an athlete too. You tough it out. And, I remember when I started acknowledging that I’ve always suffered from panic attacks in public and people were like, “What you?” I was like, “Yeah. I have so many panic attacks.” And then, I remember even talking about fears around driving, or any of these things. And people were like, “I can’t believe you’re sharing this. I wouldn’t share that.” But, the fact that people found unity in that, whether it was privately, that gave me an insight into what can happen if leaders model that level of vulnerability.

Tayo Rockson: But I think it would be so interesting if a president, prime minister, a chancellor came out and said, “Hey, not sure what’s going to happen, but I can tell you this, we have the best people working on this, and I will keep you up to date. I’m not going to pretend or sugarcoat this.” I think that’s actually more effective, than people getting caught in a web of lies, because they feel like they have to be someone that isn’t a real person. So, that’s just my hypothesis. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but I think that inspires hope, as opposed to what many people are experiencing now with just fear.

Jason Rebello: Well, let’s shift to something that you’re working on right now, that you’re excited about. What’s next? You’ve done so much. You’re doing so much right now. What is something that’s coming up that you’re really excited about?

Tayo Rockson: Curriculums. I’m getting into work and design on curriculums. I’m going to be teaching at Imperial College in the UK very soon. This month, actually. I’m starting this month, and we’ll be doing that for the rest of 2022, as well. And, with my current university at Felicia University, we’ll get into design some DEI courses, and some diplomacy courses. So, I get excited about curriculums because it’s an opportunity to teach critical thinking, which is something I feel like we don’t have enough of. And, critical thinking for me is just being able to know why you think, what you think, and how you think it, and how you came to that thinking. And, I find that a lot of people don’t know how to explain how they got through any line of thinking. Inculcating that into the curriculum gets me excited, because I can only imagine what the next global leaders are going to be doing, given frameworks to be able to come up with their own ideas. Other than that it’s just whatever you see on any of my platforms, Tayo Rockson, or my digital home, tayorockson.com.

Oana Amaria: I love it. We will definitely share your social handles and links as part of this. Just as a parting thought, we’re very lucky that we have access to you and we get to have these conversations. And, you are so generous online in sharing a lot of these thoughts and feelings. But, what is your request, your call to action for change agents, practitioners, champions?

Tayo Rockson: Hope is a word I’m always fond of, right? And, I have an acronym for holding onto purpose eagerly, right? Hold onto purpose eagerly. And, for every practitioner, what I want them to be reminded of, is that word, purpose, the P-word there. I think as we get inundated with opportunities, it’s always important to remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and then the why behind that. So, I will have them even reflect on seven why’s, if they can get to. Because, the fact of the matter is, you’re going to be drained. You’re going to be inspired, and you’re going to be drained, and you’re going to be inspired. And you’re going to be frustrated, you’re going to be excited. It’s like that back and forth. But if you don’t have a well of thoughts and purpose, it’s going to be frustrating for you, because you will then feel hopeless because you’re like, “Why am I even doing this? People aren’t reacting to that.”

Tayo Rockson: So, remind yourself of the purpose and get to the seven why’s of that. And start from your youth and reflect on all those experiences. And then, I’m going to add a bonus one here is, I think it’s very important to intentionally orchestrate a circle of influence around you that energizes you. There are many emotional vampires. For practitioners in the field, it’s so important to make sure that you are intentional about who is taking your energy, and who you’re giving energy to, because we have to be on almost every time we’re on places. And, the people that we’re onto, don’t know that it might be a back-to-back month of the same thing. They might not know you said the same thing previously. But, if you don’t have a moment to recharge or someone else around you who’s able to carry some burdens for you. I would encourage you to reflect and look around your circle to see who’s doing the opposite of that, because we can’t do this alone.

Oana Amaria: Okay, I love it. Thank you so much for that.

Tayo Rockson:
Thank you.

Oana Amaria:
And, thank you for being a part of this conversation, and we look forward to having more with you.

Tayo Rockson: It is my pleasure and thank you too, by the way, Oana and Jason. By the way, for those listening, they’re incredible people. You should check out Firefly Inclusion. What they’re doing is amazing. They are taking hammers and bridging down all these walls of hate. And, they’re doing it with love, they’re doing it with swag, with style. Check out their work, make sure you show them some love. And if you have any organization that wants to work with them, I’m sure they’ll be more than ready to help you figure that out. But, thank you for having me, both of you.

Oana Amaria: Hand over heart. Thank you.

Jason Rebello:
Absolutely. Thank you so much.


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