EP 82 | The Hidden Loneliness Epidemic with Unni Turrettini

Uncategorized May 10, 2024
This latest episode of Being in the Arena delves deep into the hidden loneliness epidemic with special guest Unni Turrettini. Host Zach Arend explores how loneliness affects our ability to be our best selves and bring our creative energy to everything we do. Unni shares her journey of self-discovery, from initially resisting the topic of loneliness to uncovering its profound impact on individuals and society. Through engaging conversation, they highlight the importance of connection with oneself and others, offering practical insights for navigating modern challenges. Join them as they explore the transformative power of connection and the path to a more fulfilling life. 
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Unni Turrettini: Just ask yourself, start like, you know, what, what do I want?

Who am I? Start building a relationship with yourself,

 Welcome back, or welcome to Being in the Arena. Today, I've invited a special guest, Unni Turrettini. Unni was in Youngstown, Ohio with me when we gave our, our TEDx talks, and she spoke on something she's calling the loneliness epidemic. And when I heard her talk and as I've gotten to know her, I just knew I had to have her come on the podcast.

And so this is a conversation between Unni and I that really explores how loneliness affects us in our abilities to be our best and to bring our, our creative energy to everything we do. If you've ever wrestled with "what do I really want?" 

"What's my vision?" 

Or "how do I tap into that creative side of me and feel a connection with myself and others?"

Then you're going to want to listen into this conversation. So without further ado, let's get right into today's conversation with Unni Turrettini.

Zach Arend: Okay. Well, let's do this.

Unni Turrettini: Let's do this.

Zach Arend: Let's do this. Yeah. So yeah. Unni, I asked you to come on just to, you know, I have a podcast called being in the arena and it's really about, it's, it's a podcast for leaders, but really not just not leadership. tips and tricks and behavior. It's really about the art of leadership, the art, the creative act that is leadership and being in the arena of your life, your business, and just playing full out in whatever it is you're doing.

And so,

You know, naturally, when I met you, I was like, "Oh, gosh, I..." we just, I don't know, we, I felt a connection right away. And the more, the more I got to learn about your message and the work you're doing around loneliness, I was like, this is so relevant to the work I do. and it was kind of, it caught me a little off guard.

Cause when I first heard loneliness, you know, I was like, well, I don't know. I mean, kind of, maybe, but then you got into like the, how it affects our ability to be our best and engage with others and bring our full creative energy to anything we're doing. That's when it just like I locked in on it.

I'm like, "okay, she's onto something." And so I was excited to have you come on here and just talk a little bit about, you know, your TEDx that you did in Youngstown. You and I both had our TEDx and I I listened to it again this morning and just took some notes. I, there's some questions I would love to ask you. I don't know where this conversation will go. Like, I, and that's how I like to play. I like to, I'm not very scripted. I love just like, okay, let's get in here and see where this thing goes.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, because we, like, that's, what's real, what, what is here right now in the moment, and that's also for all of you, you know, listening and watching this is, you know, what's here. That's why we also want you to comment and ask us questions and tell us what's on your hearts, right? Because that's what, that's what leadership is.

That's what connection is. And, you know, there's so much talk about, you know, leadership and Corporate and government and all that, but really leadership is you and me. it's what we do. It's how we show up every single day for ourselves and for the people we love and for our communities, right.

And our colleagues, whatever it is. So it's really, and, and we know Zach, I mean, the lack of trust right now in our society, trust has never been lower it's never been, you know, I mean, I think there's like less than 20 percent of people who believe in our, who trust our governments right now. I mean, it's ridiculous.

Less than 30% trust government. leadership in companies. You know, we're just in a really, we're in a place right now where actually it's, you know, it looks pretty bad, right? But what I liked, I actually see opportunity. And I like to be optimistic about this because this is a really good place to start out.

I don't know how you feel about that, Zach, but I think this is a really, this is, this is where we get to. Every one of us, we get to decide who we're going to be, how we're going to show up, and how we're going to move forward and create something new, something more beautiful, because we actually have the opportunity to do so.

So if there's something that we don't like in our life, I like to think of it that way. If there's something I'm not happy with in my life, I like to, to, to ask myself the question, what would a more beautiful situation look like? What would a more beautiful life for me and my, my kids? What would that look like?

Zach Arend: Yeah.

Unni Turrettini: I wrote it down and then I, you know,

Zach Arend: Yeah, well, that's where I'd like to, let's, let's dig into that because I remember having a, we were, it was over dinner and we were talking about the applications to this, to, and just how you help leaders thrive without conflict. You know, that, one, the number one thing is I hear from people is "I, Oh, I, I don't like conflict. I, you know, I don't like confrontation." And I always get a little curious about when I hear that. Cause I'm like, well, what's leading you to believe that it is conflict or it is con confrontation. Cause it, it can also be just known as communication and connection, I would think, you know? And so I think that's where your work comes in to help people reframe some of that.

I would love to, I would love it if we could explore that in this conversation. And then also maybe let's start with a little bit of just your story and kind of how you landed upon this topic of loneliness, like, why is it important to you in the first place?

Unni Turrettini: Yeah. Oh God. Yeah. That's a it's it's been a while. Right. And I'm kind of like I landed on the topic, not willingly, let's put it this way. I was a reluctant, you know, like I did not want to touch the topic of loneliness. And I think it's because I felt lonely for so many years myself, and I didn't even want to admit it to myself because when, you know, I, I felt that, okay,

I'm feeling empty, dissatisfied, but I, like, I have everything, like everything looks good on paper. Like I had a, you know, I'm quite successful in my career. You know, I have law degrees from, from three countries. I worked at very prestigious firms. I got married to a really great man. We have two healthy kids.

Now we have a dog. I mean, my life looks pretty good. So if I'm feeling empty and lonely, that means that I failed at social connection. Right. And I was looking at everybody else and they all look so happy and they all look like they have it all together. And I'm like, I'm a failure and I can't even talk about it.

I can't even think about it. It like even admit it to myself. It took me so long to do that, Zach. And... But what I, what I just want to, you know, just how I really got into that. Cause I was, was, I was working in corporate and in law and finance, you know, for about a decade. And then I took a break when my kids were really little.

Cause I, you know, I really wanted to, you know, be home and spend time with them. And then we have this, this was in 2011. We have this horrific mass shooting happen in Norway in 2011, where this young man, 32 year old Anders Breivik. He he killed 77 people. He first, he, he exploded a bomb in Oslo city center.

That, you know, still a disaster area today. So many years after. Then he got away and went to this island where there was a teenage summer camp and he started shooting. And he, and he, you know, like he killed 77 people, hundreds of people, like seriously wounded, like losing a limb, losing an eye. And most of them were teenagers.

And I just had to know how that could happen. How someone who looked like me, who grew up like me, you know, we're not, you know, this is, this is Norway we're talking about. This is not a poor country. We have a welfare system. We have everything in place for people to thrive seemingly. Right. Again, everything looks good on paper.

And then, so I needed to understand. So I started studying him and then that led me to studying hundreds of similar mass killers around the world. And I wrote a book. It's actually right behind me there called the mystery of the lone wolf killer and that really talks about what are the, what are the symptoms?

How can we prevent this from happening again? And what I found when I was researching for this Zach was that all of these killers no matter where in the world they came from no matter their background and you know, they were they all struggled with belonging. They didn't feel like they fit in or belonged in our society. They were lonely. And that's when that my own loneliness really hit me And it hit me so hard that I felt that I could, you know, I had empathy with these horrific killers.

I understood where they were, where they came from, right? Why they, why it would, why that disconnection could finally lead to that horrific violence. Not that I ever can justify their choice, how, you know, what, what they did. But I understood them. And so when I, when that book was published and then I was thrown into public speaking, I had to like, and that's how, and that's how, by the way, I ended up training with Bo Eason, who we both trained with and you're, and you're still in his world.

And I, if I, you know, ever spend more time in the U S I will go back and train with him again. Cause he's so cool. You know, he's so amazing and it was right. He's really the best. Right. And he trains people to be the best because I, you know, back then I didn't know how to speak in public. I didn't think that I would have to speak in public, but you know, I, I did, you know, I had to promote my book.

So I went out and I, and I started speaking about this and I started sharing about my own loneliness. And it just hit something, you know, hit a chord with people. And that's when I discovered that I wasn't the only one. There were, you know, a lot of other people who felt the same way.

Zach Arend: You know, and I was, I was, I said, I was relistening to your TED talk again, and I've, I've heard it a lot. You know, you and I shared our TED talk before, like we were rehearsing together. And so we've, we've heard our stories a lot. And the one, I just wanted to share a few that resonated most with me along this line, because one, and you've already kind of touched on this, in your TED talk, you share a scene where you're holding, is it your daughter or a little baby?

Unni Turrettini: It's my daughter.

Zach Arend: Like kind of this realization, like I have everything that I, like, my life is great, like, wow, look around. And yet there is this emptiness inside and just this felt sense of loneliness. And, you know, some, you know, when you hear things and it just kind of gives you a little chills, like, "Ooh," like there's something there for like, you know, that moment and then there's another moment in your talk where that moment when you said, "Unni met Unni."

And that's another moment just gave me chills. It's like, "Oh," and so when you let, let's talk about that.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: The emptiness, the loneliness and the connection,

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: Because, and the, and the last thing I want to share on that is like, you're talking about this mass killer, you know, that you in your hometown and the fact that the, your ability to have empathy for that I just want to acknowledge your... the only way you can do that is remove the judgment.

Like they're... most, most of us see something in the world and we judge it so much that we don't even see it. We don't see it. We see our own story about it. And the fact that you could see and have the curiosity to go deeper into that world just says so much about your work. And I just wanted to acknowledge that.

Because most of, my experience, most people would just run from that topic and write it off. And just to want to acknowledge you for that. So let's get into this emptiness, loneliness, and then what does it mean for Unni to meet Unni and that connection with self, I would love to explore that a little bit

Unni Turrettini: Yeah. Oh, thank you. Thank you for all of that, Zach. So when I, when I first started out with this whole, you know, loneliness, human connection topic, you know, I thought of the sort of the definition of loneliness that we have and that's in the dictionary is that loneliness is social isolation. It's when you either, you don't have enough people around you or the quality of your relationships are not satisfactory.

So there's the, there's a need for social connection that you're not getting. So that's, and we think about like, you know, older people, you know, all their friends have died and they're kind of find themselves like living alone and, you know, they don't have their spouse anymore. And so we think of, you know, older people or people just living really remotely that, you know, that social isolation, but loneliness today.

And by the way, I call loneliness a pandemic. It's our current pandemic because let's look at the numbers just for a moment. One in four people around the world is dealing with loneliness right now. One in four. And in the United States, it's one in two. So half the population. I mean, that is just shocking, right?

It's shocking. And so when we look at all those people dealing with loneliness, they're not, they're not isolated. They live in cities. They have people around them. They have families, they have spouses, often they have kids, they have colleagues, they have friends, and yet they feel lonely. Meaning they feel unfulfilled, like their need for connection isn't met.

Zach Arend: Why, why, why the, why do you think us Americans are so lonely compared to the rest of the world? I mean, one in four, one in two, that's a significant difference.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, but you know, I, I think actually the I think perhaps you're not more lonely. I think just the measurements, because you have, there's, there's, I think you just come further when it comes to how you measure it in the United States. The research that we have around loneliness is more developed and more sophisticated in the United States than it is over here in Europe, for example.

So I think. Maybe that when you're not more lonely, I think probably the numbers over here are, they should be higher, you know, exactly for the reason why I didn't want to talk about my loneliness because I felt shame, right? I didn't want to admit it. And because how could I, like, I have people around me.

There's no reason for me to feel lonely. I'm okay. Like, everyone's like, I'm okay. You know, I'm good. So that's, you know, I think the numbers are higher. In the rest of the world and and also depending on where we are, we know that people in the Western world are lonelier than in the developing world.

And I think that is because in a lot of countries, when you look at, you know, places in Africa, in South America, where people really, their sense of community is a lot stronger. Right. They depend on each other to take care of their parents and their grandparents and everybody's kind of like living together.

You still have that village feeling right?

Zach Arend: What you're just sharing there, that, that community we have, and there's all kinds of research, right? Like the diminishment of community in America, in the world with social media and all. Yeah. We have these kind of false communities that doesn't really create the connection.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, absolutely.

Zach Arend: and when I wrote my TED talk, one of the quotes I came across was from Sebastian Younger's book, Tribe.

And he's speak, he's talking about this topic too. And one of the quotes, I just absolutely love modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.

Unni Turrettini: Yes.

Zach Arend: And that's, that's where I think you and I started really connecting. Cause I want to, like, I'm all about asking more of people, raising that bar of necessity, because when you do that every morning, I wake up, I know what I'm here to do.

I know who needs me. I, and I, there's purpose and meaning. And then, and so let's keep going. But I just wanted to share that because I don't know. I've just, this is resonating.

Unni Turrettini: Absolutely. And that's something, you know, by the way, I want to talk, I want to get to that Zach actually, if we can after or later, because that's so important when it comes to feeling connected is to be demanded of, because think of it like, and you know this, but I just want to share this to, to, for everyone else is that when.

And we think today that like, Oh, like life is so stressful, work is stressful. Especially here in Europe. We have this like attitude, like to, we, we think, you know, we're, we're we shouldn't be asking too much of people like our employees, our, our, our teams. We, Oh, you know, you need to like, yeah, you need to take a break and rest.

And you know, you're so stressed and overworked. No, we're not stressed and overworked. We are bored. Like you said, in your talk, and I want, I want you to get into that too, because that's really important. You know, super important when it comes to feeling lonely or connected. Is, and so we want to, 

when someone is asking you to step up and do something, they are asking you because they believe you can do it.

So they believe in you and that brings something out in you and in all of us when someone is demanding of us. That "I better step up. Can I do that?" Like, "yeah, well, if he thinks I can do it," you know, or "she thinks I can do it, that must mean I can do it." Right. And then we become better version of ourselves.

We contribute more and contribution is one of our basic human needs and one of the elements of connection that, that we need in order to feel connected. But just back to like, before we get more into it, cause I want to hear about like, because your, your talk is so important. And so I want, I want you to share, like, if you, if you, if you can, I want you to share a little bit about like more about that, but I just want to get back to why we're so lonely, right?

Even if we have people around us. And that is because we are disconnected from our own self. And that's, that

Zach Arend: so glad you went here. This is where I was hoping you'd go. Yes.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, that was missing for me.

Zach Arend: Well and and let's just tie it all together because you know this idea like we're not burnout We're bored. This, like, we're having the same conversation. We're just using different words and I wanted to say this and then let's go to this because it's funny i'm always like I don't know if I could ever write a book because i'm constantly like changing how I see things. For example, the more I've been saying we're bored, I'm like, well, no, actually some of us need to feel bored.

We've never felt bored because we're so distracted, we don't ever feel the actual feeling of boredom. And what if boredom is kind of the doorway to some spaciousness to kind of connect with now. And, and so this is bringing kind of opening the doorway to connection with self. So as a possibility, maybe we have to be bored for a while to allow something new to come in.

Unni Turrettini: Well, you know, I actually think you should write this book because right, the right, right here, there is something that haven't been really explored yet that I've seen anyway. And that is that what you're saying is like, we're not, we're not overworked. We're not like, it's just, it's, we're bored and it's so true.

And what, and when we are bored, what do we do? When we are, when we don't feel connected to our worth, when we don't feel connected to the people around us, when we don't feel that, like we have a mission that is bigger than ourselves, which is purpose. We, we, what we do is that we distract ourselves with all kinds of addictions.

We all do it. Binging Netflix. Drinking a little, you know, too often, you know, wine, whatever you know, shopping. That's, you know, it's been a big one for me. And like, you know, all these things, eating, drinking, all these things that we do to distract us and to numb the discomfort of being with ourselves.

Right? So, and that is the disconnection to self. And that is something that I say to my clients is that try to become aware of when you are feeling discomfort and what you do with that discomfort. Are you able to sit with it and just like feel it for a few minutes, or do you automatically grab that piece of chocolate or you go online and you shop, or you like, you're like on your phone, scrolling on TikTok and Instagram, right?

Like when do we do that? And so...

Zach Arend: Can I share an example of that? I've been doing, you know, I'm always playing around with things and I took social media, I took Instagram, I took my email, I removed it all from my phone. So my phone is becoming, as Cal Newport would say, less and less interesting right now. I'm making it less interesting, so I don't spend so much time on it.

Well, now I'm becoming aware of all the times I grab my phone. Like, it's just like this impulsive, impulsivity to check. Or, or, or what I'm learning is to escape. It usually shows up when I'm writing. Or when I'm reading something that's kind of challenging, like I, all of a sudden I'm like, looking for reaching for my phone and then I grab it, I'm like, "there's nothing on here for me. I took it off." And so when you said that, that escapism, that distraction, like that unwillingness to be with discomfort or the uncomfortable emotions,

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: But that's where the gold is. Isn't it?

Unni Turrettini: That's where the gold is. And that's what I, you know, I would encourage you to write this book because first of all, you have a, you have a vision of all of this that is, that I think is really refreshing and then people need to hear. And for everybody, like, please follow Zach, like of my people, please follow him on Instagram, on LinkedIn.

And, and, you know, learn and watch his TED talk because it is really important and yeah, so, so back to the boredom. So I don't think we need to be, to sit and be bored. We need to sit and be with ourselves and that is not the same as being bored.

Zach Arend: Yeah.

Unni Turrettini: Right? So 

we need to have that space and time to actually connect with our own self. And whatever is coming up, we need to let that come up and sit with it and feel it.

I like to write it down just to like organize my, my brain a little bit, like "what's going on here? What am I feeling?" Without judging. And back to like what you said about judging, right? Without judging it because we all have it.

 We all have anger. We all have dissatisfaction. We have envy. We have jealousy.

We have all these like really uncomfortable quote unquote negative things that, you know, we feel. And, and so, so that is not boredom. Now, another thing when it comes to connection that I'm just came up to me now about boredom is that I think a lot of us have gotten into like old, just old habits. Like, we're hanging out with the same people, and I'm not saying that you should, you know, clean out in your friendships and just remove everybody and start over, but I, but I think that taking stock of the people and the connections that you have around you every so often, and you don't have to cut or burn any bridges, but I like to think of it as circles, social circles.

And so we have, like, I have my inner circle, which is my husband and my kids like in like the really just like the closest ones. And then I have like several circles and you can move people in and out of those circles, right? You don't have to like, cause you don't have to call people, like most of us don't call everyone like every day anyway.

So I'm, you know, it's just really about "who are the people around me that I feel energized when I've had a conversation with them, like the connection that when you talk about that, we had a connection, that's exactly it. That's, that's what I call relational energy. We want to have relationships that create relational energy.

And that is just the energy that is created in our social interactions. If you feel depleted, drained, tired, like all negative after you spend time with a group of people or, or, or even just one, one person, then maybe move that person to an, to a circle that is further away for a while, right?

Zach Arend: And that right there though, that requires some spaciousness to notice the noticing of like, "Oh, isn't that interesting?" Curiosity like, "Oh, isn't that interesting how I'm feeling?" And not making it something wrong with you, but just getting curious. We're like, what's, 'cause again, most of us stay so distracted we don't notice how our energy ebbs and flows around certain people or certain... it's people, it's the things that we do, our work. You know, one of the things I help leaders with is like, what are you, what are you doing that maybe you're good at, but you don't love it. It doesn't energize you. And. And we get over obligated with all this stuff. And this, it's funny, I just went here. Like, this is why I share in my talk that we're not over, we're actually not over obligated. We're not doing deep down what we know we can do. We're not listening to that desire in our heart, that passion, that calling. And that what you're saying, it just is so great because paying attention to your energy, paying attention.

And that starts with a connection with self being with emotions. And I want to, I want to talk about now, like, as we start to connect, let's do this. I want to make sure we leave with some practical takeaways, but let's do that at the end. 

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: You're making, I'm, I was reading this book this morning. I came across this thought leader from like the 1930s. You know, I like people, like people, nobody's heard of the guy is a, he's an architect. He's a sculptor. He's a physicist. He's like a modern day. Well, maybe not modern day, but he's. The next best thing to Da Vinci I've found. Well, he's, he's giving these talks to IBM back when IBM was the apple of the world.

And one of the lines this morning I read, and I love it. He's talking about creative expression. And he said, "all creative expression starts with an inward implosion resulting in an outward explosion." I'm like, "yes." So connection with self. We need, that's what's like stokes the fire. Like this, how I'm imagining it. And that only happens with being with the emotions and listening and paying attention to what's alive in you. And now let's talk about the external. Now, now it's because it's, let's just as it let's, let's just say, it's not just about, you know, sitting in a, in a mountain, you know, lodge, just meditating for 24/7, some of us might be like, "yeah, I'd like to try that," but.

There's also, I believe like, yes, that, but then we need to put it into action and make a contribution onto the world. Put some creative act, some expression out there. So let's now talk about the outward expression. As you start to become more connected, how does, what does that look like now in our workplaces in business and entrepreneurship and as, as an artist, as a writer, whatever's coming, whatever resonates with you, but I'd love to

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, no.

Zach Arend: Expression.

Unni Turrettini: Absolutely. And just before we get to that part, though, I just want to, because, because a lot of people ask me, well, how do I, how do I connect with myself? Like how, like, what, what are you even talking about? Like connect with myself? Like I am connected with myself or like, I think I am or whatever, you know, it's like, but here's the thing.

Most of us are actually disconnected from ourselves. And that is because we are, most of us are in survival mode 70 percent of the time. At least, at the very least, so survival mode is what our brain puts us in that state when it feels that we are threatened. And so when we feel like we do not belong, when we feel that we don't really fit in, when we feel empty, dissatisfied, not really part of, we go to work or, or wherever, and we're not like, we're not like, we do not get what we need out of all those social interactions in the workplace is that we automatically, without, this happens on a subconscious level, we go into survival mode. And what then what happens is that and most people know this is that the these chemicals, the brain triggers the release of a bunch of chemicals that puts us in puts us in high stress.

And that shuts off everything, every function of the body that is not necessary for your survival, including the frontal lobe part of the brain. And this is like 40 percent of the brain that is then shut off. And this part is the CEO of our lives. This is the thinking part. This is where we make, you know, and other press where we make connections to other people.

This is where we can make long term decisions. Take a step back, see the perspective and figuring out what is the best solution here in this particular situation. We lose those those capacities, which is why so many people are dealing with brain fog and feeling, first of all, these chemicals exhaust you because they're there over time and we're not meant to run away from, from tigers every minute of the day.

So they really, they, they start tearing us down. So we're exhausted and we can't think straight and connection seems impossible. Like all these things are just so hard for us because we are in survival mode. So we need to learn with simple tools and we need to practice deactivating our survival mode on a daily basis so that we can actually reconnect with ourselves so that we can have connection with other people.

And I think a really important point here when it comes to that sort of creative expression and connection with other people is that in survival mode, we, our only focus is on our immediate environment, our body, you know, physically to be safe and and you know, we're observing around us. We become suspicious of other people.

We look for danger. We look for enemies. We stop trusting people. And we only, our reality is only what we can see and feel and hear those like, and, but we know, and this is something that Einstein said that we are as, as human, even though like you and I were looking at each other and we are dense physical bodies entities, right?

But actually our body is 99. 999 percent energy, empty space. That we know. That is just physics. That's just how, so knowing that we are all energy and energetic beings, we impact each other's lives. So how, how you are today, how you're feeling Zach, if you're feeling lonely and depressed and down, and you know, maybe you have some addictions, you know, what happens and we know this from research is that your state of being impacts at least 10 people around you. So one person's disconnection, loneliness, depression is impacting so much more. And the other way around too, right? When we are feeling amazing, feeling great, feeling connected, feeling like we, we like we're, we're, we're, we have so much life, you know, like in love with life that also impacts our environment, right?


Zach Arend: I have a question about that.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah, yeah.

Zach Arend: Like the, I I've, I believe you, right. Like we've, I think a lot of, like, I like to check in with my gut, my instincts. Like, "is that true? Yeah, that's true." That's true. And what I'm thinking about though, is like, yeah, our energy affects people, you know, and the people around us will affect our energy. Can, if we're all affecting each other. Am I, am I a victim to other people's energy or am I a creator of other people's energy? The dance between the two. And I'm, I don't know if I'm making, if that's a clear question.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: Like, how do we, how can you, is it possible to be the creator of that energy without being too affected, you know, being at the effect of other people's, maybe lower energy?

Unni Turrettini: Yeah. And that is a really good question because we are affected. Right. But I think that brings us to something that you talk about so well. And that is that personal, you know, that radical personal responsibility. Like, like you say in your talk, saddle your own horse, right? Like you said, like you guys, if you haven't watched Zach's talk, you know, we have, you have to watch it.

It's so good. So freaking good. And it's about that. It's about saddling your own horse, which to me, I take that like we can, because we can take that in all sorts of ways. Like how, what does responsibility look for you? But in, in, for me, when it comes to connection, it means you are aware. Like I'm aware.

Yeah. Other people are affecting me, but I get to choose. I get to take responsibility for how I'm feeling and I'm actually deciding, I'm setting myself up for success. Every single morning I decide who do I want to be today and I actually physically write it down in my journal. Who do I want to be today?

I have like a daily practice where I center myself, where I ground myself and I decide, I set myself up and I like, I decide how am I going to do it. How am I going to feel and how am I going to behave? And I, and I take that, like, I decided that not from Unni who I am today or yesterday, I decide I've decided who I'm going to be in the future when I've obtained all the things that I want to obtain, when I like, when I've reached my, the goals that I have today, right?

Like I want to be... I'm a world renowned, you know, thought leader in, in the, on the topic of human connection when I'm there when I'm giving talks to thousands of people, and I'm invited to, to all these like places to speak and to and to, to have, you know, to connect with people. And my next book that I'm writing actually right now on human connection when that had, you know, that, that book has sold millions of copies.

How like who, that, that Unni,

Zach Arend: Yeah, that I want to talk about this because I want to slow down a little bit on this topic because you're actually hitting on one of my, I'm writing a lot right now and I'm, one of the first practice I teach in my keynotes that I share. It's something I call Eyes on the Bronc. And when I was riding rodeo, like there's all kinds of distraction, noise, like commotion, all the people and the grandstands, the music, but when you got in the back of one of those broncs, everything came down to, there was this spot where the horse's neck connected with the shoulder. And if I just kept all my attention there, everything else just dissolved. And it was like, I was just able to be in flow with the horse. And it was like a dance. And this is a metaphor for what you're saying is where are you putting your focus and attention? And so many of us, this moment, we start thinking about a bigger vision for our lives or our businesses or who we're being we ask ourselves the question, "well, how?" Well, how?

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: And the immediate, I believe when we ask ourselves the question of how all we're doing is looking in our past or looking somewhere outside of us to try to figure out where we can, like, get that answer, that answer.

And all we're looking for is certainty. And the only way through certainty is faith. But what you're talking about is coming from your future. I think like coming and I, I kind of like making your vision, not a place to get to, but a place to come from.

Unni Turrettini: Yes.

Zach Arend: And I want to talk more about that because that is, I think that's the first thing.

Like if we're going to start to change who we're being and start to change the results in our lives, it, it starts, well, it first starts with that connection to self, we'll say. You know, we're kind of making this up as we go, you know, like this conversation is a co-creative process. But then it's like, okay, now that we're starting to have a awareness of who we be and where we are

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: Now, I think we're shifting into the, "okay, how do we now bring that into the world, making a vision and making that a place to come from?"

Unni Turrettini: Yeah. 

Zach Arend: Who would I be being as that person, doing the thing that I would love to do or create? So let's talk more about that. Yeah, just jump in. Like how, how do we do that effectively? Because a, it's counterintuitive. It doesn't, it's not something we naturally gravitate

Unni Turrettini: This is like, like, so few talk about this. Because we all like, and this is something I, you know, and I, and I'm a big follower of Joe Dispenza. I do his meditations. He talks about this, like, who do you want to be like, create that future you and feel like it and practice feeling like it. Because what we, where we put our energy is where we, where we put our focus and that's what we get more up.

Right. And then I'm also actually right now, I'm, in a, in a program with like a challenge with Benjamin Hardy, the who is an organizational psychologist. And for those who don't know him, he has written a really good book called "10 X is easier," I believe it's called "than 2 X" about that 10 X mentality, which is what, what Bo Eason is all about, which is what, what Joe Dispenza is all about, even though they're using different words. Right. But this is what we're talking about right here. And that's what you're talking about too, by the way, in your, like in your talk, it's just that you're using different words and Benjamin Hardy said something on a call recently.

He said, the future is where I wrote it down. But the future is the source of your resources. And that takes commitment, right? It takes commitment, actually letting go of your past and using your past as a tool for, you know, learning, wisdom, and all of that, but not being defined by your past, but actually making a commitment.

" This is where I'm going. This is my big goal. This is my big vision for myself, for creating a more beautiful environment for myself, for my kids, for my family," or whatever that is for you. Right. And then making a commitment, meaning you take a big step, like a leap of faith in that into that unknown.

Unni Turrettini: And that's, you know, you said that, right? Like the uncertainty. Our world is filled with uncertainty. We have to actually get comfortable with uncertainty. Meaning, that we just take some leaps into it and trusting that it's going to work out and knowing that there will be doors opening. There are resources available to us that we don't know about right now because we haven't lived it yet.

It's not in the past. It's in the future, right? And living in the future like that, living according to your future self, that also means that we have to let go of a lot. All the things, all the

Zach Arend: I have a question.

Unni Turrettini: people. Yeah.

Zach Arend: Yeah, because this topic, I, you know, I do workshops and we'll do some trainings and what I often hear is, because it's exactly right. The vision is what starts to demand something of you. And it, it, it tells you who to be. It informs how you show up and the vision, having that vision, Eyes on the Bronc, right.

But what I hear often is "I don't know what I want. I don't know what I want." And the truth is the bigger the vision, the simpler life gets and the easier, and the more you have some, like, it just, the more this stuff works. 

Unni Turrettini: Because you have to get rid of distractions when you know what you want.

Zach Arend: Yeah, but most of us don't know, like, it's like we can't, it's like, there's this block that just, I don't know what I want.

And so can we address that? Right. Not that I don't know if we can address

Unni Turrettini: No, let's talk about that.

Zach Arend: but how do, how do we take some steps to start to see a bigger vision because that's not easy. It's not natural. I

Unni Turrettini: It's not natural because, well, actually it is very natural to know what we want. It's just that we have, it's a cultural programming that tells us, like, all the things that we need to do, get a degree, you know, education, get that job, you know, get the two kids, get the dog, like we were programmed to what, how we're supposed to live and what we're supposed to do in order to feel fulfilled.

That's like the conditioning, the programming, right? That has disconnected us from ourselves because instead of focusing on "who am I?" and "what, do I want? How can I express myself in the full, in the best and fullest way and follow my dreams?" Your dreams were shut were shut down when you were little and so you changed yourself, you just let that, let that go, you forgot about those dreams and who you were and what you wanted to do with your life and how you wanted to express yourself and instead focus on fitting in right?

That's what we all do. So it takes a little bit of time of de-programming and to just, and it really starts with something as simple as, for me, part of my daily practice again, you know, and it's taken me years, but it doesn't have to take people years to start to ask yourself the question. 

Just ask yourself, start like, you know, what, what do I want?

Who am I? Start building a relationship with yourself,

 because unless we have, actually have a good relationship with ourselves, we cannot have a good relationship with anyone else.

Zach Arend: Yeah, that, that right there. And I just want to share something that I remember when I was a I was a vice president of sales and my goal, well, you know, I remember sitting down with my coach like six, seven years ago, and he's like, "what are your goals, Zach?" And 'cause I was starting to work with an executive coach and I'm like, "I wanted to work on my executive presence and grow my network."

And it was just very, like, it was what I was supposed to say, you know, like I see that now. But the more we started coaching and we started peeling away that stuff, like "really?" And the question he always asked me, he's like, well, how does that serve you? He's like, "we need to stop focusing on serving others for a moment and get back to serving yourself because you're the one that is going to be of service.

So we got to take care of you. And it's all, what started happening as I started getting rid of stuff is I started writing. I started a blog on Medium.com. Like nobody, I didn't share it. I just started writing. And oh my God, something just started to come open for me and that writing or whatever creative act, I think there's something about getting out of the logical side of the brain and using some creativity.

Unni Turrettini: Yeah.

Zach Arend: And something I've been sharing with clients, right. You know, I'm, are you aware of who Julia Cameron is and Morning Pages?

Unni Turrettini: Oh my goodness! I have the book right here.

Zach Arend: The Artist's Way. Yes. So I was, I was sitting down over coffee with somebody just this week. She had reached out and it was this topic of "I don't know what I want." And this is where I pointed her that Artist's Way book. That book. Because it is full of exercises and just ways to kind of spend some time with yourself, but not in like a self care way.

Like I'm going to get a mani, you know, it's not like getting a deep massage. It's like, no, like really be with your thoughts and just like, tap into that part of you, that's just like, like, I love Morning Pages 'cause it's like, just write. Stream of consciousness, just write. And I think that's the part of us we've got to learn to connect with because it's where all the information is.

Unni Turrettini: That's connecting with us. And then, and the 99. 9999 percent that Einstein talks about, that's when we connect to that part of us, which again is what Ben Hardy calls the source of resources, lies in that part, like the unknown, right, that we don't know about yet. And the insights, I don't know about you, Zach, but the insights I'm getting in writing and just like free writing and it can, you know, it starts with like, "I don't know what to write.

This really sucks. I feel really bored." I about. And, you know, like. It starts there and then it just like grows into something else. And I just like, allow like the pen to just like move almost, and the goal that comes out of that is just insane. So I, yeah, I highly recommend it. It's transformative.

Zach Arend: So there's two, I'm hearing two, there's probably more, but two connecting with the breath. We've, I think we've touched on that and you really go deep into that in your TED talk. So, connecting with the breath, writing, just like stream of consciousness, just, just writing. Just writing for nobody other than like, just writing.

Unni Turrettini: And connecting with you, like asking yourself,

Zach Arend: Connecting with you.

Unni Turrettini: "Who am I? What do I, what do I really, what makes me happy? Not my mom, not my spouse, not my kids. What makes me happy?"

Zach Arend: Yeah. Oh yeah. And when you can articulate it and it happened this week, I was sitting down with coffee and someone was referred to me and we were just talking through some, her career goals. And of course the career goals aren't really the goals, you know, everything she was saying, this is what I'm trying to do and I need to do this.

And that's like, " Well, what I really want is to be able to travel, have time with my children, my daughter, and make a contribution to some, a company that I, I value." It, it was so simple. And it's like, "great, make that a place to come from." Like, who would you be being? And now let that inform, because otherwise we're chasing after checking boxes.

It's like, "oh, well I first need to probably get an MBA cause I'm going to need to have that. And I need to find a company that's going to have great benefits. And then I need to..." and it's like, well, no wonder we're exhausted and don't look forward to our day because we're full of all this stuff the world's telling us we need. My experience is we don't need any of it. Like we have so much of it within us. And if we could just get rid of that BS and

Unni Turrettini: Yeah,

Zach Arend: have that, that outward explosion of who we are. People fall in love with like, people follow courage. People follow courage.

Unni Turrettini: Exactly. And they, they want to be, you know, if you can be someone that inspire people, and how do you inspire people? By exactly that. And this is, you know, Joe Dispenza talks about this. You have to overcome your circumstances, everything that's wrong with your life today. That, you know, you want to get out of lack, you know, debt, whatever, you know, whatever your circumstances are.

But if you can feel like you would feel if you had all the wealth in the world and you had accomplished, like, you know, all the things that you want to accomplish, if you can feel like that, practice feeling like that. And whenever you forget, cause we forget all the time, come back to it. You know every like catch ourselves come back to it, feel like that, think like that, act like that. And that doesn't take anything.

We can all do it. We can do that. Like how do you like? How do you feel? Well, you know for me I feel free. I feel abundant. I feel like I have so much love in my heart. I have so much empathy. I have so much compassion. I'm not judging. When I come from that place, I meet people, someone cuts me off in traffic, I'm like, I'm good.

I'm good with me, good with everyone else. You know, and back to the question, when you said to me, what does it look like to be connected? It's that. When you can come at life, imagine you come into the office, you're feeling so good. Like you're like loving on all your colleagues, you know, you smile and say, hello, you look people in the eyes.

When you talk to someone, you give them your full undivided attention because you're present. Like you're right here, you're present. And that is such a gift in this day and age of distractions and phones and all sorts of things, right? If you can be present with people, what happens often with such a gift being present because when you're present with someone, you're attractive.

There is a charisma. People think you're charismatic, they think you're attractive because it feels really good to be in the room with someone who's present. And what happens? And this is so beautiful, is that often it has the power of bringing them out of survival mode and into the present moment as well.

Zach Arend: Yeah. Back to the energy and our energy effects. 

Unni Turrettini: And when you show up like that and you are like that during your day, I guarantee you, doors will open, people will be friendlier with you, they will give you opportunities. You are like, you walk in that like you're confident, know what you're doing. You're just like so willing to give. Right?

And that is, I mean, what a gift, right? What a gift to the world to show up like that. And that's, I think that goes back to what you were saying, like what you were saying, talking about taking, like, Saddle Your Own Horse.

Zach Arend: Well, that, what you're saying there is everything you're talking about this who you be and feeling it and taking it on, like, if you were to double click and go even deeper into my messages of Saddle Your Own Horse, that's really where I'm leading people, is, when we hear the word responsibility, I think a lot of it incites blame.

Like "who's responsible for this?" You know? "Oh, you are?" no, it's like I heard somebody once say this responsible as in response able, you are able to respond. You are the source of your, you are the creator of your life or okay, co-creator of your life. But it's, it all starts here and you get to choose all of that.

Unni Turrettini: I have like a a method, if you will, that I help people with. And the short of it is like to wrap it up is that I call them the three Cs. So connection consists of, of Connection, Confidence, and Contribution. And connection is two parts. So it's the connection to your own self, and then connecting with other people, but you have to connect with your own first with your own self first, you know, deactivate survival mode and then create relational energy with people like being present, looking people in the eyes, showing you care. And you can do that in a few seconds. It doesn't have to take long, right?

It doesn't take any, any effort, hardly any effort. And then there's the confidence part because when someone says they're lonely, what they're really saying is I don't believe I'm worthy of love and connection. So what that means is that really in reality, we don't have a loneliness pandemic, we have an unworthiness pandemic.

And I don't like, I've spoken to so many leaders, Zach, like, like who you wouldn't believe. You, you, you'd think that they are the most confident people on the planet. We all have, you know, issues with confidence and we can all be more confident. I'm not talking about bragging or being like brash and all of those things, like arrogance, I'm talking about the real confident, like knowing who you are and what you're bringing to the table and what you're bringing to the world and, you know, taking that personal responsibility, that kind of confidence.

Right. And then the third is contribution. Which is, we've spoken about that already, right? Like, what are you bringing? What are you actually bringing to the table? Do you have a vision, a mission, a goal that is bigger than your, than yourself? Like, how can you bring more? How can you contribute more?

And my favorite way, like the easiest way in the world to do that when people ask me, like, "well, how do I, like, where do I even start?" and this is so easy anyone can do it. And I call it HOPE; Help One Person Everyday. Just little thing. Do you want to share this? Like, do you want to, do you want to watch Zach's talk and you share it with 10 of your friends?

You know, to help them as well. Then you've helped Zach and you've helped the other, you know, 10 people, you know, just little things like that. Pick up the phone, call someone that just tell them like, listen, I know we haven't spoken in a while, but I really care about you. Help one person everyday. It takes so little and it does so much.

Zach Arend: That's who you are to me. Like I've, you like, you really embody your message. 'Cause you've helped me and supported me and my journey. And I know what it brings out in me. It's like, I want to show up for you. Like I just, I think that's the beginnings of community, you know, like boom, now we've created a necessity for one another and the connection, I want to share this. Like connection's something I've struggled with, like, 'cause I'm a driver and achiever and I'll run through people, walls, whatever. When I started to slow down, something really simple is I, in the grocery store, at the checkout counter, I look her or him in the eye and I, I smile and I say, "thank you."

And then I pause and I just notice what I see and, oh my God, it's not just like a reciprocate. It's like true human connection where you see them smile and light up. Like, Oh my God. Almost as if like, damn, I think I might be just the first person to have done that today for that person.

Cause you see it, you just see it in their eyes. You know what I mean?

Unni Turrettini: You make someone's day, really, by something so seemingly insignificant, right?

Zach Arend: Well, let's, let's, let's complete, where do we send people? Like, 'cause if anybody can help you with connection, confidence, or contribution, it's Unni. And I, and I'm speaking from my own experience. So where, where can we go and learn more about your work, Unni?

Unni Turrettini: So, follow me on social media. I'm on LinkedIn. I'm on Instagram. Instagram is my favorite platform. So, you know, please follow me there as well. 'Cause that, that's where I kind of like nurture and share a lot. I'm also on TikTok and you can just Google my name. I'm the only person in the world with my name.

I know I have a long and complicated name. So just Google my name and you find me and you find my social media and my website and just please connect, please follow and connect with me. I'd love, I'd love to have conversations on social media and I do respond to everyone. So, yeah.

Zach Arend: Thanks, Unni. We'll have to do this again sometime.

Unni Turrettini: Yes, we have to do it again.

Absolutely. And for everyone, for anyone who's not following Zach, please follow Zach and where can we find you Zach?

Zach Arend: Well, my website, it's probably the best spot. www.zacharend.com. Z A C H A R E N D. com.

Unni Turrettini: Amazing. Amazing. And please follow Zach on Instagram and LinkedIn as well. And yeah, let's do this again, Zach. This has been amazing. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.