At the core, people simply want to be acknowledged as being another human. Humans like to belong and to form a connection over numerous similarities: likes, quirks, or goals. Ironically, there is sometimes a gap in how humans connect when trying to empathize with the human experience. Could it be that each individual is mentally wrapped in their own world? Could it be that individual human experience varies so much that the likeness in the larger human experience is hard to see?

To explore this idea of human connection, I discuss being human, showing up authentically, and tapping into empathy with Dr. Gena Cox. Dr. Gena Cox contributes to this world as an industrial psychologist, executive coach, author, and speaker. At this point, she advised corporate leaders for over two decades on creating a work culture where leaders respect, develop, and elevate all employees. She currently provides part of her Heart Value through her company Feels Human Inc.

Being an organizational psychologist, Gena pays particular attention to how humans choose to interact with each other. Gena explains that the human connection is the most important factor in organizations, but also the factor that most people don’t think about. I speak with Gena to understand more about being more aware of interactions, along with being aware of the choices we make to communicate our value. I want all of us Striders to accept the mindset that it’s not just acceptable to voice your value, but it’s admirable.

On the topic of embracing and advocating the value of self, Gena and I discuss shifting our mindset of fitting in a “box” for the corporate world to focusing on showing up authentically so we connect with who will appreciate us fully, quirks and all. Gena reminds everyone that someone may be waiting to connect, but they won’t know unless the authentic connection is initiated. The more you connect and empathize the easier everything else is. Listen to Gena talk through the goal of reducing misunderstood differences and bridging the gap to elevate human connection.


In this episode:

[00:23] – Welcome to the show!

[01:56] – In this time, more than ever, realize that voicing our value is acceptable and admirable.

[03:18] – Gena says employee experiences are majorly based on their managers.

[05:52] – Gena tells her favorite example of a leader.

[07:45] – Why did Gena name her company Feels Human Inc.?

[10:03] – Gena writes this small message whenever she wants to brighten someone’s day.

[12:42] – I explain the concept of Wise Walks to Gena and ask a few questions to discuss.

[14:37] – Gena shares what happens in her new experiment of creating a connection with people by saying “Hello.”

[17:20] – Humans have a tendency to create an “us vs. them” dynamic, and it’s normal to be different, so Gena emphasizes that there must be a mutual trust of good intention.

[19:36] – Gena says she connected with a stranger over a random social media post, which brought joy to her day.

[21:11] – I talk about my shift in perspective around fitting in a “box” for the corporate world.

[22:19] – Gena gives her take on the skill of fitting in a “box” for the corporate world and what her shift in perspective helped her realize.

[23:58] – In order to connect with authentic people, figure out how to maneuver and make choices that showcase your authentic self.

[25:49] – Gena says you never know who is waiting to make a connection with you.

[27:53] – Thank you for listening!


Memorable Quotes:

  • “We have to voice our value to reclaim our value and activate appreciation, so that we get exactly what we deserve.” – Mary Tess Rooney
  • “If you’re brave enough to celebrate your uniqueness, or what makes you different, then you have the opportunity to connect on such a more intimate level.” – Mary Tess Rooney
  • “I want the people who come into my world, who are attracted to me, to be attracted to me in an authentic way, for everything that I am.” – Dr. Gena Cox
  • “Sometimes, the most powerful gift that you can give to someone is to ask them for something that you need.” – Dr. Gena Cox
  • “The one person whose life you’re going to change for the better. You probably have no idea that that person is there already waiting for you to reach out to them.” – Dr. Gena Cox
  • “You can only meet the need if you initiate the connection.” – Dr. Gena Cox


Links and Resources:

Mary Tess Rooney


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Gena Cox