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Leadership and discomfort are inextricably connected.

So much personal and professional development teaches us to figure out the problem and quickly move on.

But true resilience and growth require more than just the decision to “let it go.”

Leading well requires tolerating the discomfort of being seen, not just at your filtered best, but really being seen in your strengths and also when you make a bad decision and navigate the fall-out, respond defensively to criticism, and struggle with your confidence.

Bypassing or shutting down discomfort leads to numbing and disconnecting instead of feeling through the hard things.

It is essential  that we get to know the burdens we carry and learn how to heal them so we can lead ourselves and others with more presence and generosity.

On today’s show, it is an honor to give you a window into the friendship I have developed with two colleagues of mine, Natalie Gutierrez and Kim Paulus. These friendships have become so valuable to me because safe, trusted relationships that can hold up a mirror to my growth edges are so rich and valuable.

Natalie and Kim help me kick off a new series for the podcast: The Unburdened Leader Roundtable Discussions, where I have conversations with colleagues, friends, and other leaders on topics we care deeply about.

Natalie Gutierrez is Puerto-Rican LMFT whose work is dedicated to providing trauma-informed psychotherapy to Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color/Mixed race. She supports her clients in healing legacy burdens, ancestral trauma and the impact of colonial trauma.

Kim Paulus is a biracial, queer psychotherapist and IFS clinical consultant in private practice in Oakland, California. With a background in social justice activism, she serves primarily the LGBTQIIA+ and BIPOC communities, including multiracial people and adult children of immigrant parents.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How our legacy burdens impact our ability to make friends, especially later in life
  • Why a mindset of scarcity makes deep connection difficult in our relationships and in our movements
  • How burdens of fear, self-doubt and mistrust keep us from being seen and what makes us feel safe to let our guards down
  • Why decoupling the cultural legacy burdens of power, privilege and historical trauma from shame and blame can help us take responsibility for doing the work to release them
  • How moving with urgency can bypass the slower work of making foundational changes

Learn more about Kim Paulus, LMFT:

Learn more about Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT:

Learn more about Rebecca:


Note for Clarity:

A brief explanation of some language and acronyms you will be hearing from Kim, Natalie, and myself in this segment of our roundtable conversation. At the time of this recording, the three of us are in a couple of Internal Family Systems trainings, which we often refer to as IFS. One of these IFS trainings we refer to a lot is a pilot IFS Advanced Training Program (ATP) where we were invited to participate in a year-long training program to become Assistant Trainers (ATs). The three of us are also serving on a leadership team in an IFS Level One training.

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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.