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Have you ever done something steadily, week in and week out, for a period of time?

What did you learn about yourself and the world around you in the process? Was there anything that came up that surprised you?

Putting in consistent reps and hundreds of hours towards something inevitably shapes and changes you, and producing this show has been no different for me.

Today I’m celebrating the 100th episode of The Unburdened Leader by sharing some behind-the-scenes stories, learnings, and reflections from starting a podcast in a pandemic to the pillars and themes of the show that have stood out over time.


Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How unburdened leaders shape healing and growth through vulnerability and a willingness to be uncomfortable
  • How wrestling with perfectionism in the beginning has eased into taking actual pleasure in the process of working on the show
  • The positive impact of finding certainty anchors in the rhythms of production
  • How good questions beget good questions, and how that guides who I want to have on the show

Learn more about Rebecca:



Rebecca Ching: Have you ever done something steadily, week in and week out over time? How has putting in consistent reps and hundreds of hours towards something shaped you and changed you? What did you learn about yourself and the world around you? What surprised you in the process?

I am so excited to share that today marks a special milestone for The Unburdened Leader as we celebrate producing 100 episodes! Thank you for listening to this podcast. I know you have so many choices on how to spend your time and what to give your attention to. It truly means a lot. Today, I’m gonna share some behind-the-scenes stories, learnings, and reflections as I explore how putting in the reps to make this podcast shaped and changed me.

[Inspirational Music]

I’m Rebecca Ching, and you’re listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with humans who navigate life’s challenges and lead in their own ways. Our goal is to learn how they address the burdens they carry, how they learn from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.

[Inspirational Music]

Hello, hello! Thank you so much for listening today! This is a special episode as I mark the 100th episode of The Unburdened Leader! [Crowd Cheering] Thank you so much to all who listen to this show and a special shoutout to those of you who’ve been with me from the beginning. Along with my producers at Yellow House Media, your patience, support, and enthusiasm for this show continue to help me be a better writer, a better human, a better manager of my time, and improve how I approach interviews, and ask questions so my guests can shine, and listeners can meaningfully connect with their incredible hearts and stories of unburdened leadership from their lived experiences.


Now, [Laughs] this milestone moment felt so far away when planning this podcast with my producers in October of 2019. Little did I know I would be dropping the trailer for my podcast when the world was shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I recorded my first few dozen interviews with my whole family around me, schooling and working from home. [Laughs] Looking back, I shake my head and wonder what I was thinking. You know, the dogs were always barking and no doubt, you’ve heard them on the podcast. Days and nights rolled into each other during those initial months while we tried to make sense of all that’s happening in our lives and the world, all the while tackling learning the vast medium of podcasting. [Laughs] No biggie!

A hundred episodes later, the themes that stand out in the show reflect the heart and pillars of unburdened leadership. We highlight and talk about trauma-informed practices and leadership, the power of shame resilience, the necessity of bold boundaries, the freedom of Self leadership, and the necessity of befriending grief. I learned and continue to learn so much about myself and the world by developing and facilitating conversations on The Unburdened Leader podcast, and as I reflect on this milestone, I want to share with you some essential learnings and reflections that stood out to me.

All right, but first, I want to talk about the name of this podcast. After all of these episodes, what encompasses an unburdened leader, and is there really such a thing? So I want to give you some backstory first before I answer.


Now, I named the podcast The Unburdened Leader to reflect my passion for Internal Family Systems and how this lens examines how burdens impact how we lead, live, create, and connect. Dick Schwartz, the founder of IFS, defines a burden as: “Extreme ideas or feelings that parts of our inner system carry and in turn impact how we live our lives. These burdens pile on our inner system when we feel overwhelmed and disconnected in the face of a traumatic or toxic person or event.”

I knew I wanted to facilitate conversations through this lens and its intersection with leadership, mental health, and culture. I want to address, at least for me, I’ve been noodling this over the years, but the show’s title implies — I hope that it doesn’t, but just in case it might, I want to make clear that if the show’s title implies there’s such a thing as an unburdened leader, like it’s something to achieve and check the box on, no. No one is 100% unburdened who is walking this earth, no one. A different kind of title would be like The Unburdening Leader podcast or The Leader Working on Their Burdens Continually podcast maybe better reflects or is maybe a more accurate sentiment of this show, but they really don’t flow.

So, as I say to my clients and really anyone I know, we will be unburdening until we breathe our last breath, and I hope all of us will be less burdened as we move forward in life. Carrying fewer burdens does not mean we don’t feel deep grief and pain at times. It just means we respond aligned to our values and connect to our inner world and those around us when hard things happen.

When I’m thinking about this show and its title, I didn’t want to add to the polarities and toxicity out there, and unburdened leaders help participate in the healing and growth of themselves and those around them instead of adding to the collective burdens weighing the world down.


I also want to make clear, unburdened leaders commit to the ongoing process of unburdening the pain we carry, so these challenging experiences don’t shut down our capacity for vulnerability and discomfort, and we can stay present and in our bodies as we lead in all the spaces we show up. Now, for me, as someone who works towards becoming an unburdened leader, and I hope for you, you develop the capacity to deal with complicated feelings and experiences and those around you so you can keep moving forward.

I see hard conversations at the heart of unburdened leadership, too, and my guests over the last handful of years have repeatedly modeled this. The leaders we listen to on this show do not neglect to reflect on their inner life in service of the world around them because when they did, their world became very lonely, painful, and unsustainable, and they shared how they learned from these choices and made changes so they could, again, lead themselves and others differently.

So, when you think about the qualities of an unburdened leader, it’s more of like a dynamic practice, like a lifestyle. They move away from the tidy, quick-fix formulas and move towards their values, inner awareness, increased capacity for discomfort, and a deep commitment to lead with nuance, humility, and curiosity.

All right, so I gave a little backstory on the title of the show and why sometimes it gives me a little bit of rub, so I hope that helps clear it up. At least it makes me feel better explaining to you all.

All right, I also think it’s important to reflect, debrief (you all know I love a good debrief) how did I feel when I started this podcast and how do I feel working on it today, and when I reflected on that, holy cow.


I want to encourage you to reflect on your beginnings as I go through this, you know, where you are right now and when you started something that you’ve been working on for a while, because I know for me in the beginning I felt like a ball of twine inside. The protector of perfectionism ran roughshod over me as I overthought everything, particularly, no surprise, those random critics in my head and in my life that I knew would get loud if I showed up and did the thing, and they did. They all did, in my head and in my life.

But for a couple of years, I expressed that I wanted to do a podcast, and I had plans and ideas and stories and sketched things out and journaled and talked about it to people. I even had lists of really cool people I wanted to have on the show, and when I hired my producers, I felt excited until it came time to drop my trailer. I kept delaying and delaying. I mean, COVID was a great reason not to do this thing, right? [Laughs] But my producers looked me square in the eye over Zoom — I remember this moment as I was kind of waffling — and they just gently but firmly shook their heads and said, “No. Now is the time.” So they convinced me! I took a deep breath and finished what I needed to do so they could schedule the trailer. I haven’t looked back, and here we are celebrating 100 episodes!

You’ve heard this said in varied ways, right: dreams stay dreams without action, right? I have learned, though, making something big into small dreams and small actions helped me take action. Small, tangible commitments move us all into deep action. Today, I love the whole process. I may not like it, [Laughs] some aspects of it.


Even when I struggle with getting something done or figuring out what I want to say, I really have just grown to love this process, and I’m excited to develop more ways to connect with you, the listeners, and discuss how these Unburdened Leader conversations impact you. I’ve noticed I desire more interaction now with those of you listening to the show. So stay tuned!

[Inspirational Music]

Rebecca Ching: Leading is hard. Leading is also often controversial as you navigate staying aligned with your values, mission, and boundaries. Navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence, clarity, and calm. Now, I know you don’t mind making the hard decisions but sometimes the stakes seem higher and can bring up echoes of old doubts and insecurities when you need to feel rock solid about your plan and action. Finding a coach who understands the nuances of your business and helps you lead in our complex and polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing it safe and small.

Leading today is not a fancy title or fluffy bragging rights. It is brave and bold work to stay the course when the future is so unknown and the doubts and pains from the past keep showing up to shake things up. Internal emotional practices and systemic strategies are needed to keep the protector of cynicism at bay and foster a hope that is both actionable and aligned.

When the stakes are high and you don’t want to lose focus, when you want to navigate inevitable conflict between your ears and with those you lead, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader Coaching is for you and where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently than you were taught.

To start your Unburdened Leader Coaching process with me go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a complementary connection call. I can’t wait to hear from you!

[Inspirational Music]


Rebecca Ching: Another reflection that really stands out and hits on some things I’ve talked about on this show is when I started this podcast, my schedule had no wiggle room to add anything to it. That was without taking into account the shelter-in-place situation we were in at the time. I have lived my life overbooked as far back as I can remember, and my producers gave me tight production boundaries and didn’t compromise on them, rightly so. And the rhythms of the deadlines, the writing, sending questions to guests, booking guests, writing my copy, just thinking about all that I want to do with this show kind of became these certainty anchors over the last few years, not just for this show, but in my life. And the certainty anchors of the show helped me clarify my priorities and how I use my time, because y’all, doing it all is so overrated.

Doing it all really isn’t a thing, right? It took me a while. I mean, it’s been a challenge making these shifts, but slowly, as I untangled from my overcommitments, I moved from squeezing the work this show needed into an overbooked schedule to gradually focusing on building regular certainty anchors into my schedule, which keeps me, for the most part, from overbooking. Now, life still lifes, and my schedule still feels too full, but the shifts, the certainty anchors, the rhythms of the podcast continue to create more space for me as I prioritize how I use my time.


Now, things are still a bit swirly in life, but my decision to make this show requires constraints and boundaries that I’m still messing with at times but am radically better at honoring them than when I started this show, and that really stands out to me. I think, yeah, just how I honor my own time because we all are the worst violators of our boundaries, first and foremost. Doing this show really brought that to light for me, and it’s been really powerful and impactful how committing to do something and making time for it day in and day out can shift you.

No matter how many certainty anchors this show creates, I became keenly aware that I’m not immune to what I call homeostasis creep, and I know you all have your own experience with homeostasis creep. No one’s immune to it, which is why so many people feel frustrated with themselves when their hacks and three-step guides to crushing everything eventually lose their efficacy.

Homeostasis creep is a force we all face when old ways of doing life rear up and try to pull us back to old ways of doing things. It’s sneaky and sometimes hard to catch in work, life, and relationships, but homeostasis creep is a normal phenomenon. The certainty anchors of the podcast helped me catch homeostasis creep sooner rather than later.

Particularly, when I have a lot of space in my schedule, which I’ve been fighting to create more of, and I’m procrastinating writing or working on a deadline, or on the flipside, I overbook my schedule, I feel it immediately. Okay, again, life lifes. Kids get sick. Work emergencies pop up. House repairs consume extra time. I don’t see these scheduled curveballs as homeostasis creep. Things happen. But when I default to old ways of managing stress or not honoring my boundaries, I know homeostasis creep is doing its thing. Because I’ve dialed in the certainty anchors of the podcast, I can catch homeostasis creep quicker than I used to.


So I want to offer that to you, just starting to notice when you’re making changes, a lot of people feel like they backslide. Nah, it’s just homeostasis creep. Sometimes it’s life lifeing, and I think knowing the difference and seeing the data points when there are pulls, I know for me it can show up when I’m tired, when I’m getting a little bored or restless, a variety of things. But it’s starting to get used to that instead of thinking, “Oh, it’s my willpower,” or “I’m doing something wrong!” It’s just part of life and humaning. So that’s another insight.

Another one I want to talk about is why do I keep doing this show given all the time and resources required to do it? Okay, no surprise, this show involves a lot of time and resources, and despite all the work and challenges, this show is a part of my business model and a long-form marketing plan, sure, and I discovered it also fuels my joy through deep learning, connecting with incredible people, and integrating all my personal and professional experiences into this show, which stands out to me as I reflect on these last hundred episodes. I’ve had my share of, “What am I doing?” moments for sure, but they did not take away from my enjoyment of the commitment to working on the show, which says a lot to me. I can’t recall a professional experience where I truly was integrating all aspects of myself, which understandably contributes to the joy I feel and mitigates the gnashing of teeth and challenging moments that show up with doing this podcast. So I just wanted to note that.

Last night, I was reflecting on who I invite to the show and how I decide the questions I’ll ask. I heard this quote from a character Daniel Craig played in Knives Out: Glass Onion, a movie that came out I think it was later 2023.


He said: “It’s a dangerous thing to think speaking without thought is speaking the truth.” Now, this is a very timely quote, right? I did not want to do a show that added to the noise. I wanted to create something that people could connect deeply with by listening to the guests and wrestling with challenging topics around leading in this dynamic world. I feel like we’ve really achieved that, and there are still things I want to learn and grow and refine.

Before I even started recording interviews, I had a pretty messed up idea of who I was supposed to have on the show and the agendas around that. So, based on internet popularity and vanity metrics and all that stuff, rather than substance, and I’m thankful for really good producers that educate and redirect me, and as I learned more about creating a solid show, I focused on the questions you all were asking and who could help answer them in ways that validated you, inspired you, and encouraged you with nuance and complexity. I love inviting guests to join me on the show who can help answer these questions.

Now, while asking questions is not new to me, refining my questions for podcast format did stretch me, and it continues to do so. I heard Krista Tippett say in a talk I attended once: “I fell in love with great questions, and good questions beget good questions.” I completely agree, and one of my favorite things is when a guest is like, “Oh, that’s a great question!” Just imagining when that happens, I am fist-bumping the air. I’m like, “Yes!” [Laughs]

As I started thinking about this and realigning to my values and my intentions for this show, I focused on platforming and connecting with people not only that I admire or who catch my attention with their unburdened leader stories, but those that I believe will give value.


I look at my guests from the last hundred episodes, and I truly am humbled and awed to connect with dear colleagues, mentors, leaders that I had met for the first time, and people I’ve admired from afar for a while. It’s been pretty cool. And now, I’m proud to call some of the guests colleagues and even friends. I’ve met people I deeply respect, and I love introducing you to incredible leaders who have huge hearts and helping guests share parts of their stories and experiences you may not have heard before. Bringing conversations to you that I had held privately means so much, and I’m so excited to share more Unburdened Leader conversations with you, so I really hope you stay tuned.

I’d be so honored, as a little party celebration note, if you would go and subscribe to the show, if you’re not, and make sure you are. If you think you have been, there’s been some wackadoo stuff with some of the apps, so please check that, and I’d be honored if you left a rating and a review and shared this show with folks you think may benefit from it!

[Inspirational Music]

Thank you so much for joining this special episode of The Unburdened Leader as we celebrate our 100th episode milestone! I hope this debrief reflection of how creating this podcast has changed and delighted and challenged me helped you think about how committing to something, no matter how big or small or public or private, grows and changes you, especially when doing so connects you to your values and your priorities. Doing this show helps me push back on the protector of perfectionism every dang day. Was every show perfect? Absolutely not, but there would be no Unburdened Leader podcast if that was what I strived for. Deadlines become a powerful constraint along with very kind and firm producers who help me stick with those deadlines.


So when we move our dreams and ideas into small, consistent action, I believe magic can really happen. No matter how many reps you do, we must stay alert to homeostasis creep and not let it pull us back to comfort and the known, and this is the ongoing work of an unburdened leader.

You can find this episode, show notes, free Unburdened Leader resources, and ways to work with me at www.rebeccaching.com. This show was produced by the incredible team Yellow House Media!

[Inspirational Music]

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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

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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.