Minter Dialogue with Michael Tennant

Michael Tennant is an entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of “The Power of Empathy, A Thirty-Day Path to Personal Growth and Social Change.” In this conversation, we explore how to handle adversity, strain and addiction. We dive deep into the power of empathy and how important it is to work on yourself. We explore issues of mental health, finding your WHY and some of the key insights in his book.

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Music credit: The jingle at the beginning of the show is courtesy of my friend, Pierre Journel, author of the Guitar Channel. And, the new sign-off music is “A Convinced Man,” a song I co-wrote and recorded with Stephanie Singer back in the late 1980s (please excuse the quality of the sound!).

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS: emotions, empathy, resilience, work, stiff upper lip, showing, cognitive, anger, affective, challenge, minter, purpose, book, feel, love, experience, michael, deeper, relationship, somatic

SPEAKERS: Minter Dial, Michael Tennant

Minter Dial 00:05

Hello, welcome to Minter Dialogue, episode number 548. My name is Minter Dial and I’m your host for this podcast, a most proud member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. For more information or to check out other shows on this network, go visit There’s lots to explore. So, this week’s interview is with Michael Tennant. Michael’s a fellow empathy activist, who’s an entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and author of the book, “The Power of Empathy, a 30-day path to personal growth and social change.” In this conversation with Michael, we explore how to handle adversity, financial strain and addiction. We dive deep into the power of empathy, and how important it is to work on yourself. We explore issues of mental health, finding your why, and some of the key insights in his book. You’ll find all the show notes on And if you can spare time, please consider dropping your rating and review. And don’t forget to subscribe, certainly to catch all the future episodes. Now for the show. Michael Tennant! How lovely to have you on my show. We almost had a chance to meet in real life. You have just published a book, “The Power of Empathy,” and it feels like a really useful time to be talking about this. Great to have you on my show. In your words, who is Michael? Michael Tennant?

Michael Tennant 01:43

Yeah, Michael Tennant. I am a son of father loving husband. I’m the founder and CEO of curiosity lab. We make products that make practicing empathy, easy and accessible. And our mission is to make practicing empathy mainstream.

Minter Dial 02:11

That’s who I am. That’s lovely. Well, I did want to start off by saying I it feels like you’ve been through the wringer in this journey. And would you feel that that’s an appropriate description?

Michael Tennant 02:27

Yeah, yeah, I would say so I’d say we’ve had we’ve had some really, really wonderful moments, life changing moments throughout, but we’ve been really present to challenge as well.

Minter Dial 02:42

It’s some level I don’t want to say it’s but it’s sort of, and in the sense that these life changing moments, I feel in I mean, I’ve done maybe 700 of these episodes. And when I get someone on who’s done something courageous, big as done a massive transformation, typically, it’s because of an thanks to the hardship.

Michael Tennant 03:09

Yeah. I often talk about the most difficult parts of my journey emotionally, which happened in 2019 is my emotional rock bottom. And this moment where I really had permission to look at all of my life differently, and permission to let go of any incumbencies that might have been deterring me from trying taking risks, being willing to fail.

Minter Dial 03:48

Now you were I mean, at some levels may be living the highlife, your grand your founder of agency. And in doing a lot of things and all of a sudden you say you had the permission. It’s some level that was given to you. Did you take it?

Michael Tennant 04:08

I think the highlife, the inertia I was in was taken away. This commitment to the material things that I had…

Minter Dial 04:30

The swank flag?

Michael Tennant 04:32

Totally. I had a gone from being a high six-figure, advertising and media executive to starting a business having it start really strong, but have it start to hit headwinds for the first time as a entrepreneur. Those headwinds were being negotiated, and navigated alongside my business and romantic partner, so sadly, when that business failed, the relationship also failed. And immediately after that I lost two of my older brothers. So, in a very fast period of time, I went from just living this somewhat unintentional but very easy to be distracted by, great job, great projects, decent amount of money, decent amount of bills to follow it to, okay, everything that I had, I now am in danger of losing.

Minter Dial 05:49

And then not to mention the fact that that was preceded March 2020.

Michael Tennant 05:57

It ran directly from accepting uncertainty, learning to accept uncertainty, learning to survive through the biggest losses I ever had, and losing two of my older brothers in 2019, but then into just almost like a kind of — I joke sometimes and say that I the road trip that I went on for five months, there was a little bit of madness in it. But like I said, I had hit my emotional rock bottom. You know, I had a short stint in between where I was working as a chief marketing officer. So, I had this title to prop me up for a while, and then they let me go. And I just, you know, I basically needed to learn how to how to anchor from inside, how to heal from the inside out how to heal, by sharing, sharing myself, and being received in a way that I previously had too much ego, to attempt too much to lose, per se.

Minter Dial 07:20

And maybe, in that there’s the stiff upper lip, there’s the sense if I show I’m weak, I am weak. Yeah.

Michael Tennant 07:30

I like that you touch on that. Because you know, right now, I feel tingling down my shoulders, and actually down my scalp as well. And I’m thinking about the times, the time when I left from, you know, my community in Bed / Stuy, which had its own reasons and own shields that I needed to hold up, it was a quite, you know, embattled neighborhood. I grew up in the remnants of the crack epidemic, not even in the remnants in the heart of it, and in the remnants of it, and was able to get away to boarding school. But no, but I remember showing up in predominantly white, you said, stiff upper lip, so that’s what targeted it because yeah, that that somehow, you know, got acquired a different type of shield. In order to be safe in elite white America, I needed to learn how to protect in a different way. And in some ways, you know, I’d say the downside is, you know, that stiff, stiff upper lip data, you know, probably helped me in corporate America as well.

Minter Dial 08:41

Well, it sounds like it’s a help, or a betting maybe and sometimes detracting, the word you use is resilience is your, what’s your shield? And I kind of interpreted that as a little bit like stiff upper lip.

Michael Tennant 08:56

Oh, yeah, thank you for bringing up that opportunity to present a nuanced view on resilience. When resilience became an anchor value for me, this is after. This is after ahmaud arbery was gunned down in Atlanta. And I can feel the sadness that I felt the end and the despair that I felt then the commonality that I felt I was I was living with my parents and in Florida, in the middle of the pandemic. And I connected that to you know, just other moments of struggle throughout my life and struggle throughout my parents life and the struggle that as a young black man growing Hang up gratefully in schools that prior to boarding school where I was taught by predominantly black and Caribbean teachers who taught me a lot about the struggle from, you know, the Atlantic slave trade to how that manifested in the Caribbean world to have that manifested in the Americas and instill all the greatness all the thought leadership the artistry, the resilience in the hole, the very myriad of ways that that showed up. So, you know, what I really wanted to do is to take trauma and turn it into a badge to turn trauma into a gentle shield. Resilience, something that we don’t need to be weighed down by, but rather propelled by there’s a question in my conversation game. That is, what is what is it my conversation game actually curious? And that is, what is one trait you’re proud to have inherited from your parents? Resilience is one of them.

Minter Dial 11:36

I’m almost inclined to say it’s a little generational at some level, because they, and let’s say, Well, I’m more closer to your father’s age than you. But I don’t consider myself part of the older generation in that respect. But there is a notion that the older generations didn’t have a vocabulary didn’t have exposure to and we’re ingrained with the idea of resilience. We’re ingrained with the idea that life is full of adversity, and that is why you need to be resilient. Yeah.

Michael Tennant 12:17

Yeah, there’s certainly my parents would have a different relationship with the word resilience than I do. Because there’s this expectation, I think, and it’s not actually it’s not just, it’s not just across color lines. It’s not just across generation lines. I’d say, myself, I’m about to turn 40. December 1.

Minter Dial 12:57

So, you’ll have to keep trying to get closer to me. Quite a long way off.

Michael Tennant 13:03

But I do think that, you know, my generation, having been raised, I think there’s a there’s still a cultural inertia around a stiff upper lip as the norm to be aspired towards. And that type of resilience, this sort of, it’s shameful to not show the spectrum of emotions that show up throughout struggle, that kind of resilience. And that’s not what I’m meaning to celebrate.

Minter Dial 13:39

No, I can understand that. Of course. The fact that you lost your two brothers, do you have other siblings? I don’t remember reading anything else about other siblings?

Michael Tennant 13:51

Yeah. I have one older brother and I have a few half-siblings.

Minter Dial 13:57

Right. The two of them together when I first read the time he said he lost two brothers in the same year. I was just imagining it must have been a car accident both of them in it. The fact that they, I mean, there were absolute shocker before 50 years old, to die so close to another I mean, you what is just terrible but two?

Michael Tennant 14:21

Yeah, I’ve had a surprisingly this the some really interesting camaraderie that’s shown up among people who understand what it’s like to lose a sibling. Young. It’s, it’s certainly it’s certainly usually so unexpected, that it just tends to rippled through a family differently. I’m, especially when the parents are still alive. So, it almost seems to skip a generation of loss which no one wants any loss. But in some ways, that tends to be somewhat more understandable. So, I was kind of almost like a, my brothers could almost been, in some ways they could have almost been my parents, they were there was a 13-year difference. So, I really had this. I think most siblings, especially among brothers, there’s this, this like hero like admiration of an older sibling. But my brother Chris, when I lost him, it just it destroyed me. He was he was not only an older brother, what I would come through the reflection that I’ve done through my work of empathy and, and through being supported and men’s work and healing, I’ve come to realize that Chris was one of the few people that showed me consistent gentleness. I didn’t have language like that, at that point. But one of the reasons why it was so hard to lose him is that we just had a different bond. And then my brother, Darren, who they’re both they’re the middle, the middle two, but my three oldest brothers, they were born really close to one another in Jamaica. And then I came 13 years later in America, the same mum, with the same mom. And when Darren passed, it was it was also really devastating because he was an Army veteran. He didn’t share to any extent, the health challenges that he was working through. So, when he went from being hospitalized for a week to being released to passing the same weekend, he was released, that came as a really big shock to everyone. But one of the things that stuck out to me was how much he suffered in silence and was unable to share that he what he was going through?

Minter Dial 17:16

Well, I’ve studied a lot of what happens with veterans that come back from war. And so, I’m quite familiar with those issues of sharing pains and so on. You mentioned, just now the notion of working with men and one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, because I don’t know about it, is your participation in the leadership group, the men’s leadership group, Every Man. And I wanted to tie that in with something else, which is that the question is, we, as you so rightly point out this spike crisis in mental health. I mean, it’s basically across the West, not just in United States. And there’s a corresponding lack of therapists, not just the United States, but in Canada, in France, England, Australia. What do you what do you think is causing the spike?

Michael Tennant 18:23

Yeah, I smile, because in a way I didn’t know if there was, it was almost like a layup. Well, I think the most obvious and discussed cause is loneliness. I guess, through the thesis that I’ve been focusing on, and where a lot of the attention I’ve spent is that a lot of it is being caused by our lack of ability to confront our most difficult emotions and particular shame among them, the shame that shows up whenever we try to go deeper with ourselves or with one another. You know, men, men, we essentially have been conditioned to believe that showing up any emotion is meant to bring up shame. So, let’s simplify it there and just say, using man as a case study with the privileges that we are able to take advantage of as, as men in our society. I think there also is this burden that that you know, that we that we live within that says “Don’t show your emotions.” And if you do, you should feel shame. And if you do feel shame, that’s the worst thing you can feel.

Minter Dial 20:07

Well, I mean, let’s say to quibble of all the emotions, or at least the Big Five that you talk about, I’m pretty sure we’re allowed to share joy.

Michael Tennant 20:20

Yes, we’re allowed.

Minter Dial 20:22

Yeah. And then even anger is almost masculine. In some regards, it’s toxic in other terms, but it’s a more a statement of strength. But shame. Whoa, sadness, weak, vulnerability. Seems to be the maybe the bridge between those emotions and the shame.

Michael Tennant 20:46

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think, you know, anger is a protective emotion. When you really look at it, oftentimes, is this motion that we feel permission, and some, you know, I’d be remiss not to say that situationally. Obviously, like the emotion of anger, at times is weaponized against men of color, which is something I’ve started needs for, women of color as well. Women period. Yeah, but that anger, you know, I’ve actually done a lot to speak about us all having permission to let anger into the room in a more constructive way. Acknowledging that anger oftentimes is here to protect something, if we’re being just vulnerable. Maybe anger is speaking up in the place of shame or fear or fears. Okay, if I’m under attack, then anger has all types of permission to be here, we want that here. Right? Most people would say, hey, if someone is going to tap into to anger to protect us, then that’s okay.

Minter Dial 22:10

Hence, the notion that it’s masculine, at that point. Right? One of the going back to the loneliness story, the other sensation I have, and obviously not backed up by any data of any sort, and I wanted to pick it up with something you wrote, I was addicted to experience intense emotions. And I feel somehow that this notion of wanting intense emotions is also a deeper problem within our society. It’s almost like, if you look at it, we have a generally good life going on generally, when we have access to medicine that 150 years ago didn’t exist, progress, and so on, and United States isn’t officially at war. And the life expectancy is generally longer, except of course for your two brothers and so on. But there seems to be a craving to need to have intense emotions to feel like I exist.

Michael Tennant 23:29

Yeah, I try to recall specifically, where I use that. Oftentimes, what’s most resonant for me at the moment is how that shows up in dating contexts. Particularly, I had a history of pursuing really exciting dating contexts, that ultimately would burn out.

Minter Dial 23:55

So high passion. Is that you mean sort of like high passion, high glamour?

Michael Tennant 24:01

I would say that would be, as I started to recognize, like, hey, this isn’t working for me, that would be the way that it might look, I started to realize that I would pursue very, very extroverted personality types, much more extroverted than I am. And I didn’t really have a great relationship with myself to realize that there was only but so much of it that I could take at a time and then I didn’t know how to communicate when I needed rest. I think that you know, as you were speaking through the different permutations of how that might show up, I think, our as a society, our relationship with media, our relationship with consumption in general. I think I spoke earlier about making a high salary but then having the cost to match you know, the keeping up with the Joneses, if you will. So, So yeah, I do think we’re addicted to, to the chase, in some ways more than we recognize, and, and even now as I’m much more proud and feeling in my integrity with my relationship with pursuit or pursuit of excitement, I still find it as a challenge as a new dad as a homeowner. All of a sudden, there are these new routines that very much differ from my lifestyle living in the East Village of New York. In my 20s, and 30s, well.

Minter Dial 25:46

No doubt that you and I shared a few things before going on, but presumably have many even though 20 odd years a difference that we may have. So, Michael, I want to swing into empathy a little bit more, obviously, the topic of your book, “The Power of Empathy.” It’s a great read, it’s really personable. And the other thing that’s really interesting about it is it’s very actionable, you really break it down in ways that people can materially either, you know, read it in little bite sizes, read it, one full swig, but there’s always these exercises, it’s great. And in the process, you dive into what is empathy. So, if I start off by saying, you know, obviously, I’ve written about empathy, I tend to think of empathy as just two types, even though I know that there are up to five types. So, I usually refer to cognitive and affective, but even in those already, not in the cognitive, but in the affective, the, there’s a quite a big difference. So, talk us through how you and how you came to your definition or fall on that. Threefold: cognitive, somatic and affective?

Michael Tennant 27:03

Yeah, I didn’t know I actually now I want to research like five.

Minter Dial 27:09

Let me dive into one of them like self-empathy. And I can’t remember the fifth one right off the bat.

Michael Tennant 27:13

But Okay. Interesting. Well, I think that immediately, this vision of a pyramid of understanding of empathy of empathy came into my brain, which I’ve never talked about before. So, we’re going to co create together, and at the top is this under this, putting yourself in the other shoes definition, I feel like that takes the cake. Most people come up with some version of that empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and I’d say deeper, slightly deeper sub definition is to feel either sympathy or compassion for others, this very kind of outward focused definition of empathy, then I love the two the two buckets of cognitive and affective and just underneath that, so I might as well just bridge to that I then when I dive deeper into the shared lexicon of speaking of empathy, I then talk about cognitive, affective, and somatic and I usually talk about somatic in the middle. I think somatic is so for your listeners who may not be that familiar with these definitions, cognitive is an intellectual understanding. And when I explain it, I usually say as long as you know, the five core motions, and you can start to test Hey, is that what’s showing up, then you’ve already kind of leveled up your cognitive understanding of emotions. Those are joy, fear, anger, shame and sadness. Affective is it was the way that I defined it. So, I’m curious how you define it. But for me, it is how it is being able to attune to what’s needed in the moment. And that usually, you know, the empathetic leaders that we see or we experienced, that’s, that’s what we’re experiencing their ability to, to really nuance their behavior, their words, their direction, their support for what’s needed on an emotional level. So, I’ll pause there before I talk about somatic, right.

Minter Dial 29:39

So, two comments. The first is Well, we I talk about affective emotion, empathy is literally feeling the other person’s feelings. And that’s what I call affective empathy and cognitive being the understanding of the other person His thoughts, feelings and experience their context. What’s interesting, the second comment is, if you look at the neuroscience, your definitions, possibly in reverse order, if I may, are much closer to what the brain does, which is emotion, feel it, go to my memory bank, evaluate that emotion, where does it come from, and then I start thinking about what is resist all mean, and then at the end, I have an action. So, if I, if I repeat that back in empathy words, affective in your term, or emotion anyway, somatic memory bank, getting a little bit more of a grip on that emotion, and then the cognitive rationalization understanding of what’s going on to you.

Michael Tennant 31:03

Yeah, I’m playfully present to our differences in how we approach this language. Yeah, so but I do love the how you contextualize the brain processing of emotion. So, for me, cognitive is the intellectual understanding, the building blocks. It would almost be the five core emotions; that this is your mortar, your bricks. Somatic is sensing, this is the art, this is the biology, it’s actually we can feel the emotions in our body. And the more that we are present to it, we can actually connect the five core motions to them actually showing up in our bodies before we process which of them they are. So, I spent a lot of time in our model, just actually forcing us to break those into two parts more often than we normally do. And then the way I approach affective, and not just me, is how you put it together in real time. It not being a mechanical process. You’ve done you’ve broken it down into these are the emotions, this is how it feels when they’re present, to a point where you now have the confidence to act on that knowledge instantaneously, or slowing the pace down so that you have more space to act on that knowledge that showing.

Minter Dial 32:46

Well that I suppose in reflection, the difference is the anchoring around emotions themselves. Whereas I tend to accept much more the idea of understanding the thoughts. Yeah. That of course, as one will know, are always preceded by some emotion. Yeah. And of course, in the way the brain works, the way the emotions and that somatic element is happening so quickly, it’s instinctual. But then we have the brain, we go into the cortex, and we were a little bit more thought thoughtful about what’s happening in reverse order. But and then to what extent in your, your experience, is it possible to teach these forms of empathy? Because if I were to say I, I’m not a feeling kind of guy, or I don’t I don’t show my emotions. Is that something you can teach? Yeah.

Michael Tennant 33:59

So my book and our model believes, yes, my life experience and the experience that I’ve witnessed among other men specifically who are deeply steeped in somatic experiencing as a practice says yes. And then my, I guess my bias would say that most of us take comfort in going to the intellectual almost as a protective mechanism that I, this model means to kind of present that as a premise and say, Hey, let’s try and see what happens if we try to attune to the emotions above the thought.

Minter Dial 34:52

Right and this is the cognitive piece, the beginning for me, which is actually knowledge of cognition of The five start with the five emotions. And not and it’s certainly not to quibble. But one of the things that’s interesting for me as I’ve been reading is how, how difficult it is to be accurate about the emotions that we’re feeling. Oh, and, you know, the, let’s say even the difference between fear and anger. Yeah. That can be a little bit complicated. But there are so many other emotions that we are I think we hear in classifying us as men dudes. Not so good at splitting hairs in those other emotions.

Michael Tennant 35:40

Yeah, what I’m hearing is, is even being given the prompt to say visit, an emotion that up until this point, you’re not perhaps not that easy for you to access is a challenging prompt to give is a challenging prompt to follow. And to get something out of it. Does that sound right?

Minter Dial 36:04

Well, yeah. And the definitions and the nuances between them? Yeah, then there’s sometimes fleeting, they might be regrouped. You might be feeling multiple emotions, and then re categorizing them actually being able to split which ones which and what’s causing what, yeah.

Michael Tennant 36:26

But how often do we do that, though, we experience these emotions, that we actually slow down and try.

Minter Dial 36:38

I would certainly agree with you. And that’s why your exercise of mindfulness and, and leaning into this and breaking it down the little exercises you have at the end of each chapters is totally worthwhile. We just forgot the last that. So, that was really interesting. But the last piece I wanted to talk about was more about your entrepreneurship and what you’ve been doing, you obviously had a sort of a pivot from one company, or the same company curiosity lab, to this new mission you have. And I would love for you to describe, you write about purpose. And I’m going to, I’m going to, for this point, I’m going to copy a text that your paragraph you wrote about purpose, because it’s something I write about a lot. And you wrote, by channeling purpose, you are establishing empathy rituals that direct your emotional awareness outward. You are in effect, increasing your capacity for self-compassion, a key component of channeling purpose, which can have an enormous positive effect on your sense of happiness. And from the rituals you establish the empathy that is discovered can unlock new possibilities in your relationships, from the personal and romantic ones, to professional family and community relationships, and most importantly, your relationship with your own dreams and ambitions. Only tomorrow, I you know, when you read that, or you hopefully if you’re listening to that you’re thinking shape, I mean, purpose is big, huge, it’s going to do everything. Give us what is purpose for you, and to how purpose can really shift people’s lives.

Michael Tennant 38:22

And, I love that excerpt that you pulled, you’re going to have to message me, remind me specifically where that came from, because it really does seem to sum up the entire model five phases of empathy, specifically as applied to the individual. This book certainly leans more to the individual than, say, an industrial organizational context, which a lot of the empathy work does. And the reason I do that is I mean, my personal purpose is to really surprise ourselves as a society on how we can break down our walls of division. But my approach is that if you if you feel better, then you have more capacity for those difficult challenges. So, my bet is that if I help you maximize your well being and your happiness with these tools that by the way, also support you in having challenging discussions from your you know, your closest familiar relationships out to strangers or adversaries even, right. So, how do I help you to unlock happiness and well-being? It’s that, through my experience, I was able to overcome my biggest challenge is by having a regimen of consistency, around pursuing my purpose, or even around having dialogue about what is my purpose, and then landing on that, and wow, all the happiness when I landed on a deeply resonant purpose, now that purpose has changed, it’s probably changed, like, at least like nuanced from some similar roots, but maybe six, seven times since 2019, on this, this healing journey and, and every time it feels like wow, it feels like endorphin boosts, right. All of those things that we talked about in terms of chasing these, like artificial spikes of, of excitement, springing from my mind, and my self reflection and my ability to articulate it to me, right. So, essentially, we give you building blocks that help you to actually not only land on a deeply heartfelt and resonance, we’re teaching you how do you feel and label those feelings? And then how do you use that, that access that willingness to have that sitting title log that we just kind of, you know, in some ways, it would seem like we were splitting hairs, but I think we’re practicing we’re practicing empathy lives with one another. And, and through that, that deeper awareness and the tools of doing that, then you get to you get to really feel what matters to you. And so, much so that you can put language to it cognition as you as you, as you say. But then the rest of the model then says, now that I know what it feels like to find deeply resonant values, and to put it into a purpose statement that I can call upon easily, I don’t have to, I don’t have to like labor to grab that statement. Now I can apply that every time I interact from, from romantic partners, to co-workers to strangers to challenging choices that show up because they inevitably, inevitably do because we’re people.

Minter Dial 42:09

And so how Michael, do you intentionally insert in your day? What are your tricks for icy tricks as new techniques for making it happen? Yeah.

Michael Tennant 42:20

So I mean, we spent a lot of time talking about the initial building blocks, but I’d say that, you know, the attempt to understand in a very, kind of intimate and slow way, how emotions are showing up for me in day to day interactions in our conversation, in my interactions with my one-year-old, with work with entrepreneurship. I love that I get to bring this work to entrepreneurs, because we’re facing spikes in emotion all the time, surprises that we need to be resilient for being resilient yet, we deal with shit, but deal with shit in a way that is sustainable. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s a new thing that entrepreneurs and everyone who works is calling for is and has more permission is I want this to be sustainable. I want I want to be a part of pushing that collective life expectancy up, I want that, I want that for me. I want that for the people I love. So, I mean, how do I do it? Well, I have a daily practice of mindfulness and slowing down, which helps me to also channel slowing down in emergency cases as well. Because I have a muscle around it. And part of that is, is meditating or spending time in a garden or running or walking. But while I’m doing that, I’m checking in with my body. So, I’m having a dual conversation, where I can then say, what is what is present for me beyond what I might have spoken to anyone else what is present underneath the First Order responsibilities.

Minter Dial 44:26

It’s sort of like having a meta version of you. There’s you walking and sweating or doing that activity, but then there’s you watching you sweat, you observing what’s happening, and taking distance from it, maybe to contextualize almost what’s happening.

Michael Tennant 44:44

Yeah, I love it. And so, we just spent, we just got to that phrase, speaking about that meta relationship with yourself in service of your well being in service of your happiness. But if you have that a bit allegiance to do so in service of those things. Now imagine what happens when perhaps you’re in a conflict that involves multiple people. And you can support yourself as you’re trying to show up in your integrity, and in alignment with your purpose, even though all these emotions are coming in ping pong game off of your past experiences and right, but then you may also aspire eventually, to witness what might be showing up for the other key players in the room. Now, your ability to practice with yourself on a daily basis leaves you prepared to have a better shot at that, say, you’re always going to win, you win or walk out with a smooth, you just facilitated this smooth closure to the situation. But you’re most likely going to be surprised and more proud of your abilities to show up in those in those situations than you may have been in the past.

Minter Dial 46:13

Well, the other I mentioned self-empathy, where you’d rewrite about that, the word the other term that I frequently talk about is organizational empathy. And, and try to think about how you as a company show up in these areas. And that’s obviously a lot trickier whole thing. I there’s another sentence, I loved it. And we’re going to end with this, which is really to comment on empathy is not so secret cheat code for uncovering our true desires, and our unique paths to happiness. I thought that was about as sexy align, as they get.

Michael Tennant 46:51

Lau, oh, man, I’m going to take sound bites of you reacting to this book and play them back. When I’m having challenging moments, so that I can tap into the feeling that I have. Thank you so much for those complimentary words. Yeah, I mean, I think that statement taps into two things. One is bringing tangible process, to using your emotions, to unlock what you truly desire. The other is bringing a process of trying to understand the subconscious that shows up that gets in the way of your true desires.

Minter Dial 47:53

Like the ego, I would say…

Michael Tennant 47:56

For example, like the ego, like our fears, like our biases. Those are the big ones that show up for me right now.

Minter Dial 48:06

Beautiful, Michael, how can anybody go grab your book? And or follow what you work on? Maybe get some of your curious tools that you have? What’s the best way to go get that all that?

Michael Tennant 48:23

Yeah, I’m grateful that we have achieved a suite of tools, as you say, cheat codes, if you will, that help people make empathy, practicing empathy, really accessible in their lives. The book can be found, it’s called “The Power of Empathy.’ It can be found in booksellers everywhere around the world. Our conversation game actually curious, we love it when people buy from us. But it’s also quite widely distributed. So, actually curious, the conversation game that teaches empathy. And yeah, reach out to us. The five phases of empathy model, which is outlined in the book, I get to teach it at schools and corporations across the world. I’ve also just recently released a self-guided course at the five phases of, where you can have my guidance at your own your own pace, to work through the five phases of empathy. And I’m just really grateful for this platform to share that.

Minter Dial 49:31

I’d be listening. You’re most welcome, Michael. I’ll put all those links into the show notes, and I look forward to shooting or chewing the cutter or shooting the shit. Another time, perhaps in real life. Thank you very much, Michael.

So a really heartfelt thanks for listening to this episode of The Minter Dialogue podcast. If you liked the show, please remember to subscribe on your favourite podcast service. As ever, rating and reviews are the real currency of podcasts. And if you’re really inspired, I’m accepting donations on You’ll find the show notes with over 2100 blog posts on on topics ranging from leadership to branding, tech and marketing tips. Check out my documentary film and books including my last one, the second edition of “Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence,” that came out in April 2023. And to finish here’s a song I wrote with Stephanie Singer, “A Convinced Man.”


I like the feel of a stranger

Tucked around me

Precipitating the danger

To feel free

Trust is the reason

Still I won’t toe the line.


I sit here passively

Hope for your respect

Anticipating the thrill of your intellect

Maybe I tell myself

There’s no use in me lying.


I’m a convinced man,

Building an urge

A convinced man,

To live and die submerged.

A convinced man,

In the arms of a woman


I’m a convinced man

Challenge my fate

I’m a convinced man

Competition’s innate

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


Despise revenges

And struggle to see

Live for the challenge

So life’s not incomplete

What’s wrong with challenge

I know soon we all die


I’m a convinced man

Practicing my lines

I’m a convinced man

Here in these confines

A convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man

Put me to the test

I’m a convinced man

I’m ready for an arrest

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman.


I’m a convinced man… so convinced

You convince me, yeah baby,

I’m a convinced man

In the arms of a woman…

Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. After a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence (2nd edition) (2023); You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader (Kogan Page 2021); co-author of Futureproof, How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

👉🏼 It’s easy to inquire about booking Minter Dial here.

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