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Grief is inevitable as it’s simply the other side of love.

The more you love, the more grief you feel. It’s inevitable when you’re all in on life and the relationships within it. This is the cost of a life full of love and meaning.

Daring to care means that grief and loss is inevitable.

If we let it, grief can be a powerful teacher. But first? It deconstructs. It disrupts the best laid plans. And, it brings us to our knees both emotionally and physically.

But truly feeling grief and letting it express itself is how we learn to lead well.

Consenting to grief requires inner trust that you’re going to be okay. And this, my friends, is a powerful form of Self-Leadership. It requires a lot of work and support but it’s essential to continuing to live and lead a brave life.

My guest today knows many forms of grief well and he has dared to be all in with feeling through his losses—and the losses of others who have touched his life—while continuing to step up in all the spaces he leads.

Dean Nelson, PhD is the Founder and Director of the Journalism Program at Point Loma Nazarene University, Founder and Host of Annual Writer’s Symposium By The Sea, author of Talk To Me: How to Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers, and Interview Anyone Like A Proand of God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World.

Dean is also my Sunday School teacher and a leader who cultivates one of the most sacred spaces in my life where I practice getting out of my own internal echo chamber so I can live with more grace, compassion, and courage.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Dean viewed his work while navigating recent and deeply personal losses
  • The ways grief can show up in our physical bodies
  • Dean’s conscious choice to empathize—not harden—in the face of a tragic story he was the first on the scene to cover
  • How deep grief impacted how Dean leads in his work as a journalist, journalism professor and university department head

Learn more about Dean Nelson PhD:

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meet the founder

I’m Rebecca Ching, LMFT.

I help change-making leaders get to the root of recurring struggles and get confidently back on track with your values, your vision, and your bottom line. 

I combine psychotherapeutic principles, future-forward coaching, and healthy business practices to meet the unique needs and challenges of highly-committed leaders in a high-stakes world.

This is unburdened leadership

EP 29: Frank Anderson, MD – Challenging the Fear of Rejection and Leading with Vulnerability – Part 2

Everybody’s carrying a burden that’s weighing them down. If you dare to care, it is inevitable you will end up carrying the burdens from grief, betrayal, and rejection. And these burdens are often unseen. These invisible struggles fuel loneliness, shame, and despair. Eventually, the unaddressed burdens we carry start to impact our ability to live […]


EP 27: Frank Anderson, MD – Challenging the Fear of Rejection and Leading with Vulnerability – Part 1

We watch leaders crash & burn all the time. We watch with morbid fascination as leaders fall out of grace because their unaddressed pain led them on an unsustainable path of poor choices–even dangerous and deadly choices–to avoid feeling the vulnerability of rejection. Those times when you experienced the pain of rejection leave their mark […]


EP 21: Leading With Body Resilience with Co-Author of More Than A Body, Lindsay Kite, PhD

Caring about those you lead means caring about the harm you may unknowingly be doing. Many of us who fit western standards of beauty and live in conventionally abled bodies don’t understand how our choices can cause pain. We’ve internalized ableism and fat-phobia to the point where we can’t even grasp how our words & […]

Mental Well-being

EP 19: Defining Your Own Version Success with Natalie Borton, Founder of Natalie Borton Designs

The quickest way to crash and burn your business and life is to place your worthiness and safety with the opinions of others. This may sound like a captain-obvious statement but the pull to care what others think is something fierce. And it is sneaky. The competitive drive is no stranger to many of you. […]

Work-life Integration

EP 17: Community Over Competition with Co-Founder of The Rising Tide Society Natalie Franke

Community over competition is indeed a well-worn hashtag. The cynical can dismiss it. Those beat up by year after year of injustice understandably call BS. But in practice, leading with the lens of community over competition is subversive and culture-shifting. Community over competition requires deep life-long work to unburden the load we carry of scarcity […]

Leading Teams

EP 02: How Self-Leadership Saves You From The Relentless Drive To Succeed with Dr. Richard Schwartz

My body was telling me to take a step back and reevaluate. Five years ago I had pneumonia and I couldn’t really do anything other than prop myself up on the couch and breathe… …breathe and think about how I ended up in this mess I’d run myself into the ground. My schedule was full-to-overflowing. […]


And clearing the way for a more innovative, inclusive future.

Unburdened Leaders are breaking
cycles of workplace burnout…

Are you about this, too? Let’s meet and see if I’m your coach – no expectations. Just connection.