Sara Lobkovich isn’t afraid

The initial prompt for this conversation was “What would you accomplish at your job if you had no fear of losing it?” Sara Lobkovich is the perfect person to respond. She not only helps organizations identify and navigate positive change, but she’s been challenging her perception of fear in activities like climbing and motorcycling her whole life. What follows is an honest, raw conversation with someone who is keenly aware of the line between security and fear and the benefits of balancing both.

You can find Sara at Red Currant. and subscribe to her newsletter at

As an audience, you guys are terrible at providing feedback. I dare you and leave a message or a voicemail for me. The best and most interesting messages will be added to future episodes, and I can’t wait to hear from you. Music for The Strategy Inside Everything is by Sawsquarenoise. The Strategy Inside Everything is a podcast for people who think for a living.

Host Adam Pierno is an author, speaker and strategy consultant. Learn more

Send in a voice message:
Support this podcast:

Transcript of this conversation –

Adam Pierno 0:02
This is The Strategy Inside Everything. I’m Adam Pierno. The Strategy Inside Everything is the podcast for people who think for a living. If you have an idea, a question or you want to push back on something you hear in this episode, go to and leave a message or a voicemail for me. The best and most interesting messages will be added to future episodes. And I can’t wait to hear from you.

Hi, welcome back to another episode of the strategy inside everything. We are both terrified for the conversation we’re about. As I say, excited, yes, terrified and excited. Thank you. As I say frequently, it takes a lot took a long time to get this one scheduled. I think we had it on the calendar two or three times I don’t even know. But I’m really grateful that we’re able to get it in today. Sarah, how are you?

Sara Lobkovich 0:59
I’m great. I’m so delighted to be here. Adam. Thank you.

Adam Pierno 1:03
Today’s guest is the principal consultant at red currant collective. Sara Lobkowicz. Sarah, how are you?

Sara Lobkovich 1:10
I’m good. It’s sun’s shining, that atmospheric river has moved along for the moment. So it’s a good Friday here in Seattle?

Adam Pierno 1:20
Oh, yeah. Well, it is 110 plus here in Arizona. So we are we are baking, we could use a little river. Right about now.

Sara Lobkovich 1:29
We’ll try and send some your way.

Adam Pierno 1:31
Before I would, I would gladly accept it. Before we jumped into our topic, which is about fear. I wanted you to introduce yourself to the audience and tell them about kind of your career path and how you got to where you are because it’s it’s really interesting.

Sara Lobkovich 1:48
Yeah, it’s, I mean, like, almost everyone here, it’s a wacky path. Yes. Um, my formal education is as a writer, and so English major. And started with computers in the fifth grade. I can’t tell you what year that was.

Adam Pierno 3:04
I’m a gentleman I wouldn’t ask.

Sara Lobkovich 3:06
Yeah, I founded my first online content company, in, you know, when I was still in high school with two of my teachers, and that was in the early to mid 90s.

Adam Pierno 3:20
That’s pretty crazy.

Sara Lobkovich 3:22
Before the, you know, it back then it was listservs and bulletin boards, but Usenet groups telnet BBSs. So, like, That’s how far back my connected communication orientation goes. Yep. That’s carried through till now. You know, that. And also, yeah, that passion, and also the kind of being able to observe and listen globally, you know, and hear conversation beyond that I grew up in a teeny tiny town, you know, so like, getting outside the walls of my physical upbringing. Then, so early career in technology and writing led to mid career as a lawyer. So of course, I’m a note, I’m another one of those, you know, went to law school practice law for about four and a half years, and then had an opportunity to shift to working in public policy. And that was, I mean, I went to law school to help people and work on some specific civil rights related like human rights law kind of work, which I got to do, you know, which was really rewarding and amazing. And then moved into the public policy sphere, not practicing law on environmental outreach. Nice. Um, But then by that point in my life, I was climbing half I’m a rock climber mountaineer. Of course, of course, I was climbing, about half time writing about climbing, really active as an early influencer in the outdoor industry, while doing this outreach, you know, work in public policy. And then ultimately, that moved me into the work that became my my advertising and strategy career.

Adam Pierno 5:33
So a natural transition from public policy and rock climbing into into advertising,

Sara Lobkovich 5:40
it doesn’t make any sense unless, like, for me, it makes perfect sense how the things tie together and one leads to the next, you know, and then, in advertising, I kind of came in through the side door, there was a huge need in trying to think of what the years were between, like 2012 and 2016, there was just an enormous need for strategic ops support around content and distribution planning, you know, content strategy. So I came into, I came into advertising through the content strategy door, and then landed in strategy and planning got. So worked in strategy and planning and in, like, in big advertising, and then that led to what I do now, which is, basically I consult with organizations and people who drive real outcomes in the world, to help them develop goals and approaches to implementation that help them do better, not, not just look better.

Adam Pierno 7:08
So that’s the focus on the OKRs that allow people to really break these big things into doable, achievable parts.

Sara Lobkovich 7:16
Exactly. And objectively measurable progress. It was, you know, as a content strategist, and then even as a brand strategist, my craving was for impact and measurable impact. You know, client happiness was not a client happiness was not a measure of success that I am wired for. I am wired for impact human impacts, like how do we make the world meaningfully better?

Adam Pierno 7:56
And how do you measure?

Sara Lobkovich 7:57
Yep. So that’s how this you know, that’s kind of how it all evolved? And how those funny dots connect to each other?

Adam Pierno 8:05
When did you found Red Currant?

I formed the business in early 2020. I had moved out of a W2 consulting position and planned to launch in early 2020. And because I pay attention to what’s happening in the world, saw some news reports that made me think it might be important to have health insurance, you know, and to, like, have a not be launching two businesses, because we were launching our other business at that time. So I formed the company decided not to launch and did one more w two job, partly so that we could get our other business off the ground. And partly to have, you know, basic kind of stability. It was, it was great. That job I took was a great opportunity, you know, to learn and learned a ton in that role. And thengive me more time to think about it to gave me more time to refine my brand, you know, and really plan who I do this for and what I thought that what shape the work would take. So then formal launch was in March of 2021. And we’re, you know, we’re up and running and going gangbusters.

Yeah. I mean, there’s no shortage of people I would imagine that are looking to do what you described, which is figuring out how to measure whether the work you’re doing is having an impact. Or so you know, especially once you have seen digital metrics, you’re like why isn’t everything measurable?

Sara Lobkovich 9:56
Yeah, you’d be really surprised. I mean, there’s still a heavy emphasis on the appearance of progress and the appearance of measures and metrics.

Adam Pierno 10:06
So ranking things, figuring those metrics out is really hard. So let’s skip it and just figure out what’s the what’s the BS metric we can put

on? Yeah, or what makes us feel good about our work? You know. So that’s, that’s why we really focus on organizations and leaders where there’s no argument that the outcomes are measurable, you know, we work to improve safety, to reduce risk, you know, we work with, we work with organizations that are working to improve educational outcomes, meaningful access outcomes. So, you know, we’ve, we’ve really tried to, we do a lot of exploratory conversations, because there are people and leaders who are invested in actually doing better in every industry, you know, every field every industry, but we do see some patterns in education in certain parts of technology innovation in automotive and motorsports, you know, where there are big human outcomes, that meaningful improvement, doing better, instead of just do having pretty slides. Yeah.

Don’t get me, you know, on slide creation.

Sara Lobkovich 11:31
I know.

Adam Pierno 11:32
And that is part of what we’re what I wanted to talk to you about is I think, if I have to go all the way back in time, and remember this, I think I asked a question about what would happen if you weren’t afraid at work? How would that change your performance? Something? Something like that? My tweets auto delete, so I can’t I don’t know for sure. But that was so much. Okay. Yeah. So I knew it was about fear, obviously. But I was coming out of a meeting at work, where I could tell someone was visibly terrified, like, scared for their job. And I thought, Oh, I gotta talk to that person to make sure they’re okay. And I thought, wow, what would be unlocked? If they just didn’t have that fear? You know, and I think you’re the exact right person to talk to about it, because of the way you are measuring outcomes for impact. Give me this give me the background on fear at work. And like, Yeah, I’ll come do you think it is in the industry as you touch on that the the organization’s you wait into

Sara Lobkovich 12:39
the fear is perhaps the largest barrier to impact in the organizations I work with? A huge part of what we do is actually the, you know, the side effect. organizations and leaders bring us in because they want to achieve more, they want more impact. Our how helps recognize that. Fear may be one of the things holding organizational performance back. Yeah. And fear at work comes from

Adam Pierno 13:24
all different places, you know, talk about it and tell me more

Sara Lobkovich 13:27
it fear at work can come from our conditioning, it can have nothing, you know, it’s like it might have nothing to do with our work lives. Fear at work can come from past, workplace or otherwise trauma, fear at work can come from not knowing what the criteria for success is. That’s for me, that was a huge part of what led to me doing this work. That is, yeah, it’s like when you don’t know what the measures of success are, or when you’re in my career in advertising, even working in this space that I did, was subjectively evaluated, you know, so I could do my best work. We could even win the work in the room, and then lose it in procurement, you know, things like that, you know, or so. So I just became really fascinated with how do we remain motivated when we’re in subjectively evaluated environments? And increasingly, for me, the answer was, let’s reduce subjective evaluation criteria. Let’s replace subjective evaluation with objective measures of success that we all can agree on and align toward heard and worked hard together. That was rather unpopular in advertising,

Adam Pierno 15:07
quantifying and measurable goals that people could could know how they’re tracking IDs. Yeah,

Sara Lobkovich 15:13
there was a lot of resistance. Now, I think I didn’t have an answer at the time, you know, now I think there’s sometimes a resistance to objectively measurable targets in creative circles, because creative can be inherently subjective. What I, you know, when I work with creative teams, now, what we get to do is get creative about the goals we set, you know, we can apply the same creativity that leads to subjectively excellent or subjectively poor, you know, work, we can apply that creativity to ask and answer the question. What are what are our clients measures of success? What do we have to do to win with the client, but then also, knowing that if we only set those outcome goals around, we’re going to win this work, we’re going to get the client promoted, you know, the same things that are in all of our, you know, pre pitch goals. What we’re missing is performance goals, we’re missing? How do we want to feel about our work? Or what are the rewards for us of doing this work, even if the client isn’t happy or satisfied. So that that became the passion for me is, you know, for me, partly existing, and I worked in some really healthy work places, and I worked in some extremely unhealthy workplaces. And so, you know, there were fear, there was fear. In both types, you know, when you’re in a healthy, high performing awesome workplaces, there’s the fear of, did I just do my best work? Am I good enough? Am I you know, am I going to be able to pull that out? Again, you know, fear for a whole host of fears, fear? What if we get acquired? What if the client fires, you know, there’s their fears in the healthy workplaces? And then in the less healthy workplaces for us, there’s all the additional fears around whatever are whatever the unhelpful help unhelpful voices are? In our head, those get amplified, they get amplified? Because I think the environment, I think

Adam Pierno 17:50
those interpersonal fears are more of the fears that affect me more directly, like if I, if I have goals, and they’re numerical, or, you know, I know what I’m aiming for. I can sort of self soothe and calm myself down and just go look at him and say, Okay, I’m tracking I’m okay, or I’m behind, but at least I can make a plan to catch up. I think it’s more though, political stuff and the stuff you can’t control of like, what if this person at the top doesn’t like this other person at the top and that trickles all the way down? Is my job is going to be safe? You know, those those kinds of things are really stressful that you’re like, well, now do I have to overachieve for both my reputation and person’s reputation? So hopefully, someone notices that I’m different or worse. So even.

Sara Lobkovich 18:41
Yeah, I think the the flexibility that we develop when we put ourselves in the driver’s seat of our careers by embracing goal setting, you know, it doesn’t have to be organizational goals, right. That was the transformation for me was setting you know, literally objectives and key results from my own work and growth and development and career. That was the big lightbulb moment for me. Then when I had that for myself that made everything that came at me interesting information. So you know, so then I can decide whether to Yeah, whether to react to it. But then when the leader above the leader and the client and the whatever it let me it’s this is fun to have this conversation with the strategist because it that let me get curious and observant and then say how does this help or hurt my ability to achieve the goals that I’ve set for myself?

Adam Pierno 20:00
How often do you give yourself permission to rewrite those goals? or edit them?

Sara Lobkovich 20:06
It depends. So when I’m working organizational

Adam Pierno 20:10

Sara Lobkovich 20:13
and lawyer, but it’s actually a pretty simple answer, if I’m working with other people. So if we’re working organizationally, there is a benefit to setting our goals and then not changing them. Yes. So we set our goals, we lock them in for whatever the agreed period is, might be, the duration of a project might be a quarter, you know, whatever that is, we’ve got a duration in mind, we set the goals, we lock them in, and no matter what happens, we don’t change them, we might decide that one is sending us in the wrong direction. So if that’s the case, then we just cross that one out, we retire it. But when we’re working with other people, you know, it’s really helpful then to lock the goals for a certain amount of time and see what we learn in trying to achieve that goal. So with the model that I advocate for and work with, you know, we’re typically setting as clearly identified either aspirational goals where progress and learning is a win whether or not we achieved the outcome. Or we’re clarifying, is this a commitment that has to be hit 100%? Because there’s some kind of risk or consequence, if it isn’t. So when we have that clarity, then we can set the goals, we can work to them, you know, for whatever the duration is that makes sense, and then get to the end and say, how did we do on what did we learn

Adam Pierno 21:55
of you, but there’s some that you hinted, I’m guessing that you’re gonna say, there are some times where we have to flex,

Sara Lobkovich 22:02
yeah, on, you know, especially on duration. You know, once we learn, I do work with objectives and key results, I work with an approach to objectives and key results, that’s our Connected strategic brand, like it’s a different flavor of objectives and key results, that wraps objectives and key results in some, ultimately, in some measurement, modeling, and in some learning agenda, you know, work. And so, you know, when we do that, then we learn the words and meanings of this toolkit. And then they can be more flexibly applied. So once we learn the words and meanings, then they become words with meanings that have a job that we can use them for. And, you know, then the durations can become more fluid, the individual goal setting, you know, and then right now, I have to say, to folks on our team, you know, we’re more fluid, because we know what the words and meanings are that we’re working with. So we can say, this goal is a quarter, you know, we’re gonna work on this for about a quarter another one we’re going to work on till we get it done, you know. But, so there’s more flexibility when you’re when you’re setting and working towards schools singularly.

Adam Pierno 23:31
But how much how much of that space in understanding or the lack of precision of language or precision of understood language among a group leads to an anxiety or an you know, an uncertainty where it’s like, Well, I think they mean this, but I’m not really sure if they mean this, how much have you seen that it that that is a contributor

Sara Lobkovich 23:54
to Yeah, hear hugely, and that is why we take the approach we do when we don’t have externalized goals. So when we’re in an organization where everyone’s working hard and doing their best work, you know, we’re all going to work hard and do our best work, or where we only have those big out the outcome measures, like we’re going to win this pitch, we’re going to win X award, we’re going to achieve 100,000 new followers for a client or a certain engagement rate. Those outcome goals are motivating. Sometimes if they’re within the realm of possibility you know, they’re the further they

Adam Pierno 24:42
are from reality the less motivated me are exactly sounds good, buddy. Go for it.

Sara Lobkovich 24:46
Yeah, exactly. You know, but those kinds of goals and that’s what a lot of organization you know, that’s a lot of the goals that we have to work with in organizations are those big if we put it in a athletics analogy. We’re going to win the race. There is a healthy amount of motivation that comes from wanting to win the race. That is motivating. That is a, you know, if we’re an athlete, and we’re training and we’ve got the right tools, that’s a healthy amount of stress, that is stress that contributes to performance. But to carry the athletics analogy, if all we’re focused on is winning that race, what if we get injured during training? What if we have a bad weather day? What if Danilo Petrucci shows up from, you know, to ride in moto America in the superbike class, you know, like, there are factors beyond our control in whether or not we can achieve on, you know, whether we can achieve that outcome goal that most of our goal setting is, you know, set around. So then that’s where the fear comes from, is that we don’t all agree on what our performance measures are. We all agree we’re going to try and win. But we don’t have shared goals around. If we don’t win, how are we successful? Or if we don’t win? What are we working on learning together?

Adam Pierno 26:25
Right? Because theoretically, in that construct, you could set a personal record, or a team record and finished third. Yes. Shouldn’t that still be considered some kind of a success? Yes. If you set goals, yeah.

Sara Lobkovich 26:38
Yeah, exactly. Because then you’d know, what did we set out to learn together? You know, for me, I was the guy on the plane. During my agency life, like I was the one that got put on the plane. And sometimes I didn’t know where I was going. And then I would answer the questions on the plane and then walk into the room and then come, you know, it’s like, and that’s good as well. Yeah, like, it wasn’t always like that, like, there were often much more lengthy, you know, that was, but but like, that was a part of my job was to be the guy on a plane. And I had to find a way to keep my motivation up to do that every day, when nothing there set me up for success to do my best work. You know, so then I could set my own performance criteria. So

Adam Pierno 27:37
what was your fear level during that? Like, because that is a weird, on some level? Sometimes that role is very freeing, because it’s your you say, Well, I have they’ve sent me out into the wilderness with no tools. Let’s see what happened, you know, what can I make out of this? And so in some ways, it can be free. But yeah, there’s a, there’s a lot of anxiety when you know, there’s 30 people back on your team at the office that are relying on you to figure it out on the plane and come back with answers that lead to whatever billable work you need to sell.

Sara Lobkovich 28:09
Exactly. That’s why I joked at the beginning about being terrified and excited to talk to you today. And one of I mean, I said, I was a climber and one of my old climbing partners had two little girls, and we’d go climbing and take the girls out, and then you know, put the kids on the rope and they would start to climb, and then inevitably, someone had a bad day. And so someone wants a crying sometimes that happens in climbing. And I heard my friend’s name was Paul. So when one of his little girls got scared, he looked at her and say, you know, well, honey, how are you doing? What are you feeling? And she’s like, I’m scared. And then he’d say, All right, what else are you feeling? And then she’d think for a sec and say, I’m really tired, or I’m hungry, or I’m excited, you know? And so I didn’t realize how important that would be Paul, thank you. Like, I’m gonna send him a thank you note. Like, I didn’t realize how important seeing him do that with his little girls was for how I went from where I was to where I am today. Because that’s the question. It’s like, you know, in that situation, the first few times, I was the guy on the plane. I was just terrified. You know, but you do it a couple times. And then it’s like, I’m learning. Like, I’m figuring out how to how to do this, like, speaking on my feet isn’t my strong suit I teach so I develop curriculum, I rehearse it and then I deliver it. So you know, same thing like that was a challenge for me as a lawyer to be able to speak on my feet.

Adam Pierno 29:58
Why did those mean people put you in that position,

Sara Lobkovich 30:01
because clients trusted me, I could establish the trust, you know. And it’s my self limiting. I almost just said a bad word, but it’s my self limiting stuff that makes me afraid. So when you know, you get, you get a couple of reps under your belt, and then it’s like, gosh, I like this is a fun puzzle, this is something that I can figure out my way to do that fits me. And if I’m only focused on bringing back the win of the work, I’m not going to do my best work. So how can I refine my practice my approach my toolkit, you know, I think that’s why this is so much fun to do I really focus on I call them thinkI doers, you know, strategic operators, like thinkers who have to generate outcomes. Yes. Because then we, I mean, the, the work I’m working on reducing to publish now is work that I’ve been learning for 20 years now. And that’s, you know, like, more of that good stuff has to get repeated and repeated and revved and as to get into the world.

Adam Pierno 31:26
And is that repetition? You know, the the first time you were the guy on the plane, you were scared? The fifth time? Was it just the repetition? Or did you create a process for yourself to to create the goals or to say, Okay, well, here are the three things I want to learn on this flight, you know, on this this trip, which, which was more, which do you think waited more to overcoming the anxiety and fear of that?

Sara Lobkovich 31:50
The it’s definitely that practice building. So this is where my motorsports life comes up to. It’s like, I Ms. I co own a seat up moto racing. It’s a moto America, national US level, road racing team and speed shop. So my other life is in high performance motorsports.

Adam Pierno 32:20
You don’t strike me your tone. As we’re talking. I knew this about you. But now that we’re speaking for the first time, your tone doesn’t really jive with what I would imagine that motocross world is as an outsider. That’s interesting.

Sara Lobkovich 32:35
Yeah, it’s always a bit of a curveball. It’s even worse, I do road racing. So sport bikes, on, it’s like f1 on motorcycles. Basically, it’s, again, this is something like it doesn’t make any sense, externally to people who meet me in certain capacities. But there’s a there’s a belonging that I have found among Tinky doers. Like this is why I was so excited to talk to you. It’s like, you’re one of the folks that creates inclusiveness and belonging in this field that isn’t present everywhere. I’ve found, I might still be in advertising, if I had found this kind of belonging in advertising. I left advertising to create my own belonging in the consulting practice that I have now. And, you know, I found my belonging and my people in motorsports, and I came into it in a weird way. Like I came into it purely practical so that I could, here in Washington, if you’re on a motorcycle, you get to go to the front of the ferry line. So when I was in law school, when I decided to go to law school, I was like,

Adam Pierno 34:08
this actually makes 100% sense based on my limited knowledge of you. I’m like, oh, yeah, of course. There’s an absolute practical reason why you got into motorcycles. Yes. This makes Yes, yes.

Sara Lobkovich 34:20
100%. I don’t know many people that get into motorcycles for practical reasons. But yeah,

Adam Pierno 34:27
it’s the opposite. Yeah, no, it’s nice. It’s like I should be going out and buying a bike just because it’s like, I gotta do something irrational now,

Sara Lobkovich 34:35
know, if I’m gonna go to law school in Seattle, and I’m going to live in Kitsap County. The only way to make that possible is to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I did it started earlier than that, like I grew up in Port Townsend. So Officer and a Gentleman and Richard Gere and the motorcycle and then oh, you know, like I had childhood when I was Yeah. By the time I was 16, I knew that I would have two wheels of an A van someday, which I do now. And the third piece was like, I always wanted to live in Portland, and I haven’t lived in Portland, but I do love Portland still. But those were the three things I knew about myself.

Adam Pierno 35:20
You’re a motorcycle ride away. Yeah. Yep.

Sara Lobkovich 35:24
And so, yeah, so it, you know, again, it’s like, I got into motorcycling for practical reasons, but then I found it terrifying. And I was gonna say

Adam Pierno 35:35
there’s a exhilaration that is both fear and excitement.

Sara Lobkovich 35:39
For me, it’s less my, my adrenaline system is a little a typical, you know, so I’m not a thrill seeker, despite riding motorcycles and climbing rocks, and well, no, you

Adam Pierno 35:56
did it to do did it to jump to fairyland? You do? Because you were looking for a rush?

Sara Lobkovich 36:00
No, I did it to jump the ferry line. I did it because it’s hard for me, you know, because I kind of find my Zen when things are challenging. And those things that work I’ve done the work I do now. It’s all on that cusp of stress that helps us perform better. And fear. You know, it’s like, it’s always kind of in that tension

Adam Pierno 36:36
does the does the exam that you get from writing, and the column that you find in your work come from? Knowing that you have to be tracking three, four things at the same time for the ride to be successful. Whether that’s a race or just I mean, on a bike when two wheels in what I can imagine is very often slippery conditions like if you’re not paying attention to all those things, as at all times disaster is ahead, you know, and work can be the same way in in knowledge work, where if you’re not paying attention to all the goals, at least peripherally? Oops.

Sara Lobkovich 37:15
Yeah, I think that’s such an awesome question. I’m really excited to answer it, because I’ve never answered it before. Not a bit before. No, no, you know, I just do what I think the the reason it’s such an exciting question is that I wasn’t born and conditioned this way. Like, I was born and conditioned to be afraid of everything, you know, and to I had some early childhood trauma. So I’ve got some stuff that I live with. I also have some executive functioning challenges that may stem from trauma may stem from, you know, other brain chemistry, diagnosis, whatever. So I didn’t begin my life with the skills to be able to slow down what was coming at me, and then consciously respond to it. The skill set that I now have, has been really hard earned, over the course of a whole lot of years, to be able to this is wild, to say this out loud, but basically to recover. So it is an ongoing process for me now in my mid 40s of recovery, that I think is what sometimes I think about like how much of this is unhealthy adaptation to my traumas, and upbringing and environment. But having this conversation is like no, this is actually like a massive recovery playground for me that whether it and I didn’t have as strong of skills when I was climbing seriously. But the sport of motorcycling and doing the work that I do in my professional life the way I’d now do it. Both of those things have let me continue. It’s both of those things have let me continue building my toolkit for slowing down my experience of what’s coming at me and being able to make you know, I said that interesting information joke earlier, which isn’t a joke. It’s like I can is what’s coming at me. A actual risk is is what’s coming at me abuse? Is what’s coming at me harmful? Or is what’s coming at me setting off my alarm? Or is what’s coming at me interesting information that I can slow down my system and process. Yeah. And so, you know, I think that’s what it is because I didn’t start out a great rider. I’m still I’m a very highly trained motorcyclist. Thanks to finding, you know, I work with some of the best coaches in the US. And they work with me, even though I’m slow. Because I’m so dedicated to learning, you know, but, but, you know, thanks to all that work, it’s like, it’s the same thing. It’s just finding the place where you can practice and not everyone has to be recovery. But whatever the skills are, that help you practice slowing what’s coming at you down so that you can separate your thinking feeling and doing and be intentional about each take care of your with your

Adam Pierno 41:26
with your response, but you’re doing it in a way that has been processed by you, not just a reaction. Exactly. And that’s what half of the fear is, is a non processed response.

Sara Lobkovich 41:43
Yeah, it’s, you know, I’m not a psychologist, so, and I’m not a neuroscientist.

Adam Pierno 41:50
Give your time. Sir. There’s still

Sara Lobkovich 41:53
no more school. No more school that isn’t motorcycle related. No, the inner that’s we’ve got when we talk about fear, and I see this a lot when people are

engaging with fear in their work lives. Again, like I find it helpful, I find it helpful to break it down. are we experiencing the chemistry of fear? Is something harmful? Yeah, triggering fear. You know, which, it’s really important that that work, don’t slow our, you know, that is like, react, like, something is harming you, then react? Yeah. And, and we should, and some of us have trauma histories that mean that we don’t, and I did see that a lot in my advertising. You know, it’s like the freeze response was, I experienced it, and I saw my team experience it, you know, a lot of free weights. And so, that’s one of the really rewarding things I do now is you get to react if you’re being harmed. And that is a controversial statement that reflects my privilege. But I, but I believe other people might not receive it this way. But like, if you’re being harmed, react, you get to get angry, you get to say no, you get, you know, you get to protect you. That’s what protects you. Yeah. Yeah. And if we all can develop the skills to be able to identify, you know, am I being harmed? Or am I feeling fear? Am I feeling anxious? Am I feeling fear or anxiety? Because of voices in my head that are true or not? You know, it’s like, that’s where the slowing down?

Adam Pierno 44:02
Is my self talk building on something? Or is what I’m processing now building on my own self talk that is feeling anxiety that doesn’t even exist? Yes. Or is this legitimately harmful or or threatening? In a way? Yeah, I need to that I need to react to. Yeah, exactly. That’s a hard thing to know how to process in real time or any amount of time. I mean, that’s a hard that’s a that’s a lesson you have to learn that as trading. They have the gap. If

Sara Lobkovich 44:32
that. Like, if that kind of sparks something for any of your listeners, the place that I actually the and I think this would be different for different people, but the place that I found that ability was in bystander intervention training.

Adam Pierno 44:56
Yeah, I studied this a little bit as well. Yeah, it’s

Sara Lobkovich 44:59
like cuz I didn’t expect that. I mean, we, I’m still an activist, I can’t help myself, you know, I’m my injustice, intolerance and injustice sensitivity is like if I had a ranking like that is at the top of who I am on what I do. And I’m lucky to live in a place that has like formal bystander intervention training. And there was a point in my bystander intervention training, and then in my activism, where I had to decide where to place my body, in terms of risk. And in bystander intervention, you know, that’s where we learn the skills to slow down what’s happening, and then make conscious decisions about what we do next. And, you know, for me, it took that, like, it took literal bystander intervention training, to then develop the skills to, you know, to recognize my chemistry, I’m going to have the flood of chemicals when something happens, and then I can react emotionally to the flood of chemicals, or I can feel the chemicals, let them dissipate and then decide.

Adam Pierno 46:26
conscious, it takes awareness of the process. That’s gonna happen. Yeah, yeah,

Sara Lobkovich 46:31
it does. But yeah, I was like, thinking about that this morning, before we got on the line, like, where did that ability come from? For me? And for me, it was in bystander intervention training, and then in the physical decisions I had to make as a bystander. Yeah. And then once you’ve done it in that capacity, then it applies.

Adam Pierno 46:56
Yeah, you’re able to internalize it, say, oh, yeah, I can apply this all these other ways.

Sara Lobkovich 47:02
I feel a responsibility to share this stuff with other people.

Adam Pierno 47:43
I’m grateful that you did.

Sara Lobkovich 47:44
You know, it’s I mean, I, I talk about my personal history in a very, no shame way. Because when we are harmed, there’s no shame.

Adam Pierno 48:06
You actually didn’t do anything?

Sara Lobkovich 48:08
Yeah. I mean, I’ve done lots of things that I’m not proud of, you know, it’s like, I have inflicted harm, you know, but in terms of these, like the, the things in my life that have contributed to me working on this toolkit, you know, I just have no shame about those things. And so being able to then share practices, you know, and also share enough of my life story, I don’t think people should have to suffer to develop this toolkit. So saying, You shouldn’t you shouldn’t have to hide your trauma. No, you know, but if I if I can, you know, do what I do. Like none, that isn’t, I guess at some point, it was a conscious decision, and I make the decision about what I’m going to share in a given moment, but, you know, but I make that decision, and I don’t have any shame about what I choose to share. And then any longer, you know, then, then sometimes I hear from folks are like, I can’t believe you talked about that, you know, that happened to me, and I couldn’t talk about it, you know, but then also, I don’t think people should have to survive trauma to build this toolkit. So there are people who can listen and say, I can work on learning, a toolkit for slowing down my by emotional reactivity, I can learn a toolkit for making conscious decisions when I fear chemicals go off, you know? And so it’s it’s kind of the pointy end thing. It’s like I do things that put me in objectively dangerous situations and that has led to a toolkit, that then you don’t have to be in objectively then dangerous situations for that toolkit to be usable and useful. And still get the benefit. Yeah, so it feels to me, you know, it feels like a bit of a mission on both fronts.

Adam Pierno 50:39
Sarah, thank you so much for making time and joining me today. I really appreciate it. Where can people find you online?

Sara Lobkovich 51:09
The two best places are; we’re building out our mailing list right now for red current collective, my practice and the ThinkyDoers community that’s coming soon. And so you can add yourself to the email list for that at find RC dot C O, slash subscribe. And then we’re just getting started with Reddit Currant Collective on Instagram. So it’s Red Currant, underscore Co. On Instagram and red current here is cu r r a n t nothing. Nothing in my in my world is easy to spell.

Adam Pierno 52:13
I will definitely add those links to this to this episode. Sara, thank you again for joining me. I really appreciate it.

Sara Lobkovich 52:19
Thanks, Adam. This has been a blast.

Adam Pierno 52:22
The Strategy Inside Everything is produced by me, Adam Pierno If you like what you’ve heard, leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Actually, I have no idea if that helps, or if it’s ever done anybody any good. If you really want to help the show, and you liked what you heard, share it with someone else who you think will dig it. That’s the best way to help the show and keep the conversation growing. New Music for the strategy inside everything is by Sawsquarenoise. If you have an idea, a question or want to push back on something you hear here, go to and leave a message or a voicemail for me. If you want more information on your host Adam Pierno you can find it on and learn about my books, speaking and consulting practice. Thanks so much for listening.

Transcribed by