TCOM Takeaway 3: De Lacy Davis and The Ripple Effect of Your Own Change

Published on: 28th February, 2022

About this episode:

John & Kristen discuss De Lacy Davis

Some things that came up for John & Kristen:

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Kristen Cerelli 0:00

Every week on our regular episodes of shift shift Blum, I get to interview people whose lives are very different from mine. And we talk about how each has navigated the twists and turns inherent in transformation. But I wonder what's universal about how people change? What are the common threads, the connective tissue, I tend to look at change through the lens of my own experience, for the most part, the artists life. Lucky for us, my curiosity is shared by the CO creator of shift shift bloom. Dr. John Lyons, luminary and author in the field of clinical psychology and systems change, who better to help me unpack all the questions that fill my mind when the interviews are over. I'm Kristen Cerelli, and you're listening to shift shift bloom, T calm takeaways, my conversation with Dr. John Lyons about a recent interview.

I called John to chat about my interview with Lacey Davis, founder of Black cops against police brutality. To Lacey was a fascinating guest. And I love these catch ups with John because I'm always curious to find out what aspects of change he hones in on. Hi, John, welcome back.

John Lyons 1:31

Okay, that's good to hear you again, Kristen. And what a great interview. I mean, what an incredible human being. Dr. Davis is fond of saying it's a work of angels to work with others, he is the essence of that. So

Kristen Cerelli 1:46

how did he come to your world?

John Lyons 1:49

So he, I met him through a guy named Ken McGill who worked at Rutgers University. And Ken was responsible for the telecom implementation in New Jersey, and did a lot of the training. And Dr. Davis became the head of the FSO, the family support organization in his county, and then became, as you can tell, he rises to leadership, right? He just, he just speaks to that. And so he took over as head of the, of the whole Fs FSL movement. And in New Jersey, it was the families aboard organizations which are designed to support family. So I ended up doing a town hall with him or he hosted and I saw I met him that way. And then I became aware of all that he was doing he we gave him the outcome Champion Award at the 17th annual TiECon conference. And then he keynoted this year, so I've gotten to know him a bit over the last few years. He's quite an incredible person.

Kristen Cerelli 2:49

Was there anything that came up in the interview that caught you off guard?

John Lyons 2:55

I wouldn't say caught me off guard I was you know that you really didn't talk that much about the FSOs. So the part of the Dr. Davis's life that you did discuss was new to me. So in the sense that I learned a lot about him and his perspective, I think was was great. I've, and I I've already known that he's a person of incredible integrity. And it doesn't surprise me that is Meyer Berg would show ethical, as I said, leading personality characteristics. So I kind of figured that that would be across all of his life. But it was interesting to hear and hear his perspectives.

Kristen Cerelli 3:36

Yeah, that was a really interesting tidbit that he shared. I never related those two things, the idea of ethics or morality and sort of those things inviting conflict in a way.

John Lyons 3:49

Yeah, I mean, so that actually pretty much guarantees it. I mean, that's sort of like, why he had trouble on the bliss horse because he wanted to do the right thing. And not everybody is quite so ethical. So it always causes conflict. I mean, Gandhi has a famous quote about that, where he says, you know, don't expect gratitude if you're an agent of change, you know, because people don't really embrace that at the same speed that you

Kristen Cerelli 4:14

do. Yeah, I mean, he talked a lot about the different iterations of his life and his career. I think a lot of qualities came out whether we were directly talking about change, or it was just through his storytelling. What are the ones that stand out most to you? And, and I'm asking that because I'm curious about he's so dynamic, and He's so charismatic, that it's easy to kind of sometimes get lost in his persona and his personality. And I think maybe miss those qualities that he's talking about or miss how it seems like he hasn't had to work to cultivate them. But he really has

John Lyons 4:57

the the juxtaposition of his Story to Jordan story is interesting, right? Because Jordan story you might be able to characterize as finding oneself with him as you get the feeling that he was born knowing himself and that his story is really how he responded to different kinds of challenges within his environment. So it's his change process is more driven by his opportunities and the challenges that he faced in different kinds of environments, just keeping walking forward. So I thought that this, the difference between those two stories was absolutely fascinating in terms of that external versus internal kind of process as the driving force of change.

Kristen Cerelli 5:41

I agree with you, it seems like he came out of the womb fully formed, or something

John Lyons 5:48

like that he has this innate set of values and beliefs. I mean, one of the things that he struck me, there are many things that you struck me was the idea that the experience of being black in America is very different than the experience of being white or the experience of being Hispanic. But the truth is the same. So although our experiences are different, the truth is the same. And so I think that's a really important message. And I think that kind of captures his set of values and guiding principles that are obviously core to how he acts. I mean, the fact that he studied adopt that child, and then followed up and did exactly what he said he did, because one of his eyes as you keep your word, if you say, you're going to do something, you do it. And I can imagine lesser people might be prone to backtrack, because they come to understand the implications of what they just agreed to do and get cold feet, but not him.

Kristen Cerelli 6:47

Yeah, that was a great moment. I think of spontaneity, the impulsiveness with which he made that offer. It frightened me to hear it, you know, I thought, What were what were you thinking? And that is kind of astounding to be responsible for the words that come out of your mouth, even if you haven't maybe been thoughtful about saying them before you say them?

John Lyons 7:19

Yeah, it's such a juxtaposition of his first job, which was rather completely plan, right?

Kristen Cerelli 7:24

Yes. Yeah, I get the feeling from him too. And he mentions this, about being a creative and about not liking. He said, he likes a lot of things, but nothing, not only one thing tremendously. And that's funny. I think he also conscious or not, invites that kind of variety into his life. And maybe it's that kind of variety that actually helps him grow and change.

John Lyons 7:59

Well, if he's if he externalizes, his change process, that would make a great deal of sense, right, that you would want to, in fact, create an environment that's always challenging you in new ways, because that's really, it's, it's responding to those challenges that you have your learning and growth experiences. So it's very different than that kind of a meditative approach of going in and finding the yourself internally. And then that guide you how you make your decisions is very much the opposite. In that sense.

Kristen Cerelli 8:26

Yeah. What do you think is the line between someone who either chooses or finds themselves in service positions, because even though he's in leadership roles a lot, he's also in service roles a lot. But then also someone who seems very much in control of change, somehow?

John Lyons 8:47

Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I think the the whole idea what draws people to service is an interesting kind of question. I think it's probably varied. I do think that there's people, and I would include myself, and that actually get a great deal of sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning by doing that, that I know, for me, personally, you know, doing things for myself, is not particularly fulfilling, because it's just not something that excites me, but doing something for somebody else. And seeing that reaction to it, and that joy from it. And that kind of stuff is actually very fulfilling for me. I don't know if that applies to others. But I do think that there is a difference in terms of people who kind of are drawn to helping others and the ability, perhaps it's the ability to experience mudita, right, the joy of others, right? I don't know. There is something different. Maybe that's something we can explore over time is good. I think there's also a difference between people who do that in the public sector because they're bound to stay poor. versus people who are doing something in the private sector where they can become rich. I'll never forget driving in the Bay Area during boom in the 80s. And listening to a psychologist being interviewed NPR about this sudden what he called this sudden wealth syndrome. What a scam, right? So I'm sure people do have adjustment difficulties by suddenly becoming very wealthy. But that's your life is to make them less wealthy by having them pay you for therapy, I suppose. But anyway, it doesn't seem the same as you know, working in a clinic and in Newark, or working as a, as a community officer in the police force in. In New York, it doesn't seem the same, right. So you're helping but there's a much different motivation. So public sector helping to me seems rather different because nobody gets rich don't that? Can't you can't be motivated by money. So

Kristen Cerelli:

yeah, I think that was a change to that he started out on the police force to support his music career.

John Lyons:

Right. That was, that was brutally honest writing. That actually was surprising. I don't know why people choose the police. But I would have never thought it was your square job. So it seems like a pretty tough square job. Right. So yeah, I mean, do you know any actresses or actors that become please, so that they can support their acting?

Kristen Cerelli:

No, many become I shouldn't say many, I know, quite a few have become EMTs and, and firefighters. Because of those sort of long shifts, and then long days off, you know, stretches of days off where you can go on auditions or shoot something, you know. And I think that early retirement is also something that attracts artistic types where they think well, I'll put my my X number of years in, and then I will, you know, retire and have a pension and keep acting. Steve Buscemi famously, I think is a was a was a firefighter, as well as an actor. So yeah, there is, but I think you don't, I think you still have to have the desire to do good to be of service to choose one of those as your day job, you know, as opposed to waiting tables or working in a corporate office, both of which I've done. I can't say I ever had the desire to become a cop or a firefighter or an EMT to support my acting.

John Lyons:

Yeah, absolutely. So the other thing that I thought was really interesting, and maybe it just me, and I was incredibly naive. But I thought, you know, hiring more, African American police would in fact help with the discrimination problem. And if you listen to Dr. Davis, the answer is no, it has really nothing to do with racial status of the police. And so making the police more diverse doesn't address the fundamental issue. And it sounded to me and maybe I'm reading too much into it, it sounded to me like it's the power differential issue is that in certain circumstances, when there's a significant power differential, that people struggle with not over, seizing the power, and that's where violence comes from, you see the same thing and relationships among athletes where there's, you know, a lot of reported domestic violence. But if you think about it, amazing power differential between a very wealthy athlete and people who are hanging out with people. And that kind of power differential creates, I think, problems in relationships. And so it strikes me that the police issue that police violence issue is that power differential, not so much the racial equity, and it just happens because of other systemic racism, that African American males in particular, but also African American generally are in a lower status position in our society. And so they're greater vulnerable because they're greater power differential from the police. So I was just struck by that. It's just, it's it that surprised me. I mean, going back to your very first question, I think that piece of it surprised me. Yeah.

Kristen Cerelli:

I made an assumption there as well, when I was reading about him and doing research that he founded black cops against police brutality, because of racial injustice. And really, it was really interesting to find out that the several times things came to conflict, violent conflict, it was with other black officers. I wonder what more he would he would say about that about what about what you've just said and about power? Go maybe

John Lyons:

it's a follow up interview, because I'd be very curious to see what he's saying because I was just reacting to what he was talking about. And that's what it sounded like to me, but um, Yeah, he would know far, far more clearly than I could we lived in that space.

Kristen Cerelli:

I didn't ask him this. But I also wonder if he feels like, clearly he felt that his time on the force changed him. I wonder if he felt like he has had significant impact on the system?

John Lyons:

That's interesting. I already an interesting question. Or I think the the one thing that you did say that talks about that kind of ripple effect of your own change is the story of his of his first adopted daughter, and the impact that had on a biological daughter, right. And so when you make a change, it actually creates these ripples that go throughout your rest of your life and other does change other people. So it's, yeah, it's a rather interesting and complex network of how the these events, some of which you're in control of, and some of which you're not in control on all have implications for, for how your life evolves, how your how your journey changes?

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah, I think we all pay that lip service. Like we know, when we're about to make a change, it might have impact on other people, but I don't know, I appreciated the way he framed, being sort of the space holder for his children and really getting underneath what they needed to make changes and how his changes were affecting them. How they were affecting their their needs to make change in response to his changes. I think that takes a lot of self awareness, and honesty, and willingness to kind of stay in the ring, which we did that did come up in our conversation, this idea of staying in the room

John Lyons:

in the swamp, right. I think y'all in the slot. Right? And staying in there that you have to say in there. I think that's, that's really a fundamental lesson as you just have to stick it out.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah. And do you have to have discipline in order to stick it out? Like, is discipline a critical key to sticking something out? Or?

John Lyons:

I don't know, maybe? I mean, maybe that's one way to frame it. But it could be courage, it could be not having any other choice, right? I mean, so there's a number of different reasons why you might stick something out. Right? So I think we attribute it, you know, externally, we look at it, and then we attributed the discipline or courage or whatever. But it's really I mean, there's 1000s of reasons why you might choose to stick in a situation. And chances are, it doesn't always work out. Right. So figure out when you have to take care of yourself. And when you're kind of thinking of yourself in this larger network. I don't think that's an easy set of choices. I think it's easy if you're a parent, easier, because you're a parent here, as he said, you know, as I think one of his best quotes is, I'm always your dad. You know that that's just how it works, right? And so that's sticking it out. It gets more complicated and other kinds of relationships, like work relationships, or romantic relationships and so forth, I suppose. Yeah, I want

Kristen Cerelli:

to look for that as we go along this idea of like, Why do Why do individual stay in different situations? Because that is related to change, too.

John Lyons:

Absolutely. Right. Either way you change, right? Because that that relationship evolves, or you get changed, because now you're doing something entirely different. So

Kristen Cerelli:

where were you surprised? Are you surprised that he's stayed in systems?

John Lyons:

I think, no, I think actually, that's where he belongs. And I think he is driven by his purpose. And I think that's an absolutely beautiful thing. And I would like to believe he'd be unhappy if he wasn't involving themselves in systems where there's some opportunity for change. So as an advocate for parents, I mean, it's pretty difficult to be the parent of a young person who has behavioral, emotional or developmental or medical kind of challenges. It's pretty hard for a variety of different reasons, particularly behavioral health kind of challenges. It's difficult because you have a complicated relationship with them. They have a complicated relationship with the school, they might be involved with the other community actors, like the police and so forth. So it's pretty difficult and so that he would choose to stay in that fight. I think his testimony to his character right. I do think that's where he's happiest is, I think, you know, the fact that he after he adopted longevity adopted, what is it three more? Yeah, I think that's testimony to his character, his integrity, his his desire to actually make a difference. I suspect he's made a big difference in a lot of people's lives. I know he's made a difference in mind even in my limited Contact, relatively speaking.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah, it was funny. I did ask him what made him happier? What brought him joy? And I could tell that that question, took him off guard. And I thought, I don't even know if he registers that. Like, I think it's great that we can pull back and go, this is where he belongs. And he would probably affirm that and say, I belong in systems as a change maker, but not maybe necessarily actually be even thinking about the happiness factor? Well,

John Lyons:

he might, I mean, I don't know, if that would be an interesting conversation to have, you know, a thread to pull with with him in terms of those sets of issues. Because I think, you know, different people experience different forms of joy, you know, and then, you know, the more you know, some style people, you don't really jump up and down, you know, this, I think you actually use the terms. I'm gonna butcher it's in a sense, I think, your ability to put yourself in your experience, and I think different people are different in that regard. And so I think, as you vary on that dimension, your expression of joy is different. So

Kristen Cerelli:

that's fascinating.

John Lyons:

I come from a very, you know, waspy background, the only emotion my father could express was, was after, so if he was happy, he'd laugh if he was angry, he'd laugh if he was sad. He laughs That was the emotion he was allowed himself to express. And so you started to listen to the nuances in the laughter to try and interpret what was the actual emotion that was there an edge to the laughter, like he might actually be angry or sarcasm to it. So I think different people are different on that. So maybe it's hard for some people to even talk about the content of joy, since it's such a release of, of emotions. I don't know. I'm just I'm thinking out loud or maybe projecting my own background.

Kristen Cerelli:

Maybe that's interesting, though, I when you say that it makes me think of, you know, they'd say the Eskimos have 200 words for snow or something your dad had one response, laughter But it had many, many, many, many colors to it. Something that I don't won't say it surprised me. But something that I was really glad he brought to the conversation was the concept of intuition. And I think he actually used that word. And he certainly used words like clairvoyance and and, you know, getting getting a feeling. I wonder how many people allow those lesser, let's say scientific forms of intelligence to influence their change making process to influence their decisions? How many people really trust that?

John Lyons:

Yeah, that's a good question. And where does that happen developmentally? Because I can't imagine that. That there's not a developmental unfolding over the trusting your intuition. I think you use clairvoyance and fluorescent fluorescence, which I thought was an interesting distinction. Not not familiar with that. But it's an interesting, interesting distinction. So I think that kind of trusting your internal cues to guide you, in terms of what's happening in your environment, is probably a learned skill. Oftentimes, I mean, some people are probably a little easier to it than others.

Kristen Cerelli:

In your work. Do you listen for that? Like, we're always talking about storytelling and letting people tell their stories and making sure you collect all the different stories in a family system to make sure you're getting the whole picture? Do you hear a lot of use of I just had a feeling or

John Lyons:

people talk about using their god I'm in a lot of work gets where it gets kind of psychological psychologize use that in a pejorative would be like psychological mindedness. You know, the idea that you do have these internal states and you use your internal states and you're aware of other people's feelings and emotions, and you're, it's like this social emotional intelligence concept that you get, are you aware of other people's feelings? Can you feel what they're feeling? Those kinds of things? Those are all really important, soft skills for people. I think. Dr. Davis has those big time. So the is I would bet his emotional IQ is off the charts. Yeah. Which is fast because he's also powerful charismatic, and he can he I mean, I've never seen anybody own a conference presentation on Zoom like he can which is no small task, right? That's, you're just a little figure on somebody's computer. And he could, he could own the cloud. And that sounds it was really rather remarkable to watch.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah, he's firing on a lot of different operation systems, it feels like it feels like, you know, he's got his intellect. But he's also got this empathy. And he's got this amazing vault of stories and this amazing bench of life experiences and all of this intuition. And it just sort of, it didn't seem to bother him at all, that the keynote was on Zoom. It was really compelling. I mean, usually I'll get up and leave, you know, or go get a cup of, you know, cup of coffee or take a bathroom break. But that keynote was riveting on Zoom.

John Lyons:

Yep. That's, that's not easy to do, right? Because a large part of what makes something a riveting is you're actually connecting to the audience. And so he was actually able to connect with the audience without actually being physically present with the audience. Right. And you don't even in our zoom platform that we use, you don't even see most of the audience, you see a small number of people. So he has such a clear sense of how to connect with people that he's able to do it even when that doesn't exist, the feedback then exists. So I asked Mike, very good actors in the movies have that same sense, although they're interacting with another actor, at least which which would have to help. But you do have to kind of have this sense of that greater communication with a larger group of people. It's an interesting skill. I don't, I was quite impressed with that.

Kristen Cerelli:

And I wanted to come back to you saying, because I do think that is that is, that is a form of intuition. It is a soft skill, to be able to create a real feedback loop when there's no real person with you. And I think he did speak into the influence of his mother and grandmother was on him. And they created, they were part of a world of people who had other forms of intelligence. And I think he was exposed to it at a really young age, and it was part of his normal, which is, maybe it's not that unique. It's it's just not it wasn't, it wasn't a huge part of my experience growing up there were there were the grandmothers who had their special which Italian, which was strange powers. But you know, other than that, it wasn't a six sensory world, the six sensory world was a very five sensory world.

John Lyons:

Yeah, in fact, mine was even more extreme. And they on the opposite direction, that that was kind of a denial of all things other than the facts, you know. And so it's, and you know, no emotion, just the facts. You know, this is probably one of the reasons why I became quite comfortable becoming a scientist, right, because no emotions, just the facts. Right. And that was very much a part of our culture growing up. So I think that that sense that emotional IQ of whatever you want to call it is, I think he was gifted that perhaps within its family, and actually could learn to develop, which may or may be one of the reasons why we feel like he was fully formed at birth. Right. I mean, because he probably grew up and that that was, you know, supported, encouraged. And it allowed his gifts to kind of manifest quickly. Yeah,

Kristen Cerelli:

I think the other other part of our conversation that I wanted to talk to you about was the idea that there's a relationship between rules and boundaries and change.

John Lyons:

Yeah, I think that's really important, because I think, as as because as is becoming clearer, relationships are such a huge part of the process of change. But different relationships are different in terms of their rules and their boundaries. And you have to respect those differences. That's really fundamental. You know, I used to when I was training, I did a lot of work with family therapy. And one of the things that is really fundamental to Healthy Families is parents need to be parents, and kids are kids. And there are boundaries between parents and kids. And if you lose track of those boundaries, that's just not a healthy situation, or you're treating kids as if they're the same level is apparent that you really have to have boundaries, and you have to hierarchies and you have to have rules. And that that kind of consistency and expectations is really important. I find that even in my leadership roles is that you do have to have some rules, you have to have some guideposts for people to know what to expect because it makes it more comfortable for them to know what are the the what's the structure of this relationship. So I think rules are really important. Now I say that as somebody who probably qualified as an oppositional defiant child right so that I fought rules and I am well known at the University of Kentucky even though I've only been there two years. I'm already well known as somebody who bends the rules, but I do really believe in rules I think rules are really important. I do think that if you're going to innovate, you have to bend the rules, but you don't want to break them, you want to bend them. And then you see how what happens is you bend them. And that's how you learn to change them, which is the difference between flexibility and adaptability, which I think are both fundamental change.

Kristen Cerelli:

Tell me Tell me a little more about that. I repeat that the difference between flexibility and adaptability, flexibility

John Lyons:

is adjusting to the circumstance. And adaptability is changing yourself so that you're different, right? And so, flexibility is to be a little bit different in different situations. So I think it's quite healthy to be flexible. And then you may or may not choose to be adaptable. Do you need to change? And you can I think this actually came through and some of what Dr. Davis was talking about in these different circumstances, different things are happening. He's needing to respond to them within his core ethics, but it's require some flexibility. And then do you. What information do you take from that experience to say, Okay, this is what I want to change. I think the adoption story is the is the best example of that kind of flexibility, translating into adaptability. Yeah.

Kristen Cerelli:

I love that. Yeah. So it's such a clear cut example. Do you think this is not? This is slightly off topic, but I'm interested because you've brought it up? Have you seen a generational change in parenting? Where there are less rules, and parents are more apt to treat their children like friends than children? I feel like I get a little taste of this on social media. And part of it might be because of social media. But do you feel like there's been a cultural shift in parenting?

John Lyons:

Not really, I think that there's probably always been permissive parents has always been strict parents. And there always will be, I think, you know, there's a lot more transparency to how people live than there used to be. And so we see stuff. And I think the things that stick out are not, you know, the parents who enforce the rules kind of thing that doesn't end up anywhere. But the other ones that kind of stick out the things are, that get noticed in this large, transparent social media bubble that we live in, tend to be the things that are a little different. So I just think it's, it's not, or there's not a real change. The other thing I'm not sure about, is if there's not a socio demographic factor involved to that, that, you know, I grew up I was in a one, you know, I would probably say it was lower middle class, SES and a lot of rule following there. And as I've evolved in my career, I'm in a different social class, right. And so, and in that more privileged class, I think there is a lot more flexibility than there was in the class. So I think there's a class distinction, a privileged distinction there, too. So I get, I think it gets pretty difficult to suss out if there's actual trends or not. Good. I think it's complicated. But I would get my gut would say, No, there's still strict parents, and they're still permissive parents and they're always having I always wondered, do you think differently? Do you think that is more poison? You see students, right. So you've seen students now for

Kristen Cerelli:

I see students, I think, I think you are probably closer to right than I am. Although I would, I think there's I was very strictly ParentId. I wouldn't say it was not extreme. There's a sort of Italian Catholic ness to my upbringing, a page of very strong patriarchal rule, rule making to my upbringing.

John Lyons:

Way to your father comes home kind of thing.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yes. Yes, very much. Wait till your father comes on. Um, I feel like I hear less of that. So so that might be interesting, too, because maybe the gender shifts that we're seeing maybe maybe men are fathering differently than I was fathered. I think

John Lyons:

that actually is a very, I if, if I were to say as there's a societal change, I think men are less distant from the job of father and then they were in my generation. I think that I think that this is the problem with the boomers is you know, we boomers, you know, we're actually not that great a dance and I think, but the some of the dads that I see that are younger, are like wow, I mean, they're really, really involved. I mean, my dad, his view was I bring home the bacon and that's my that's the limit of my responsibilities as family and so I just want to eat dinner, read the paper, watch TV, go to bed and don't bother me. And so you know, as we got older, he started wanting to have relationships. So we'd go to sporting events, you know, because that would be like a acceptable male activity. But it's not. It's just completely different now. I mean, I see some men out in public who are fathers who are just really attuned to their kids. And I think that's great. So I think if there's anything going on, it's men are becoming more attuned to parenting than they used to me. When I was young. I'd say that's good news.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah. That it takes me back to Dr. Davis. And right at the top, he he identifies himself as a girl dad, which I just thought was, was so sweet. And I think he's got he seems to have a really nice blend of being a disciplinarian, but being all in with his heart, right with his kids. And,

John Lyons:

yeah, he's a great exemplar of a good father, I suspect.

Kristen Cerelli:

So what's your takeaway, if you if you had to take one, learning from our conversation, my conversation with him maybe something you'd like to apply or try on or introduce into your life? What would that be?

John Lyons:

Yeah, actually, I looked up a quote, because I knew there was one that reminded me of this, and it's from Gandhi. He said, You must be the change you see in the world. And I think that's Dr. Davis, try that he lives, his beliefs. And he knows his beliefs. He's clear as beliefs. He's farming as beliefs, and he lives them. And he is the change that he sees in the world. And I think that's just great. I think that's really, really awesome way of being so. So I think, what strikes me the most The other thing that that struck me, parenthetically, is, and this is sort of, he talked about it, but not directly it, it seems like in the US the issue of race and discrimination is laid on the backs of people in the minority to deal with. But the actual problem is among people like you and I, President, it's, it's a white person problem, it's not a black person problem, it's not a brown person problem, it's a white person problem. And white people can't get our act together and stop, discriminating, stop being hateful just because of the color of people's skin or because of false beliefs about differences, then we're not going to solve this problem. And so I was struck by that, because, you know, we do a lot of work around equity and so forth and trying to be inclusive. And I think that's a piece of the puzzle. So the other quote that so Harry Chapin is one of the artists that helped me survive adolescence. He has a song called Night and made America famous, which if our listeners have not heard this, you should listen to it, if you listened to it a while ago, listen to it again, because it's as contemporary now as it was 40 years ago, when I when I wrote it, or whatever was, so there's a line in that song. It's funny how when you get that close, it's kind of hard to hate. And I think that's another message that he communicated is if we can learn to talk to each other and understand are different stories and perspectives, then that begins to a little bit of the time or out the hate, I do think that the pandemic has actually fueled greater hatred, because it's limited contact, and people pulled back to themselves. And the best way to not hate others, is to know others. And if you never, it's not coincidental that the people in the United States who are most against immigration are the places that have the least amount of immigration. And the places that have the most immigration don't have any problems with emigration guys, because because you're close to it, you see it and you say, this is a good thing. It's not a bad thing. But if you don't see it, if you don't know it, then you can hate it. And it's perfectly acceptable to hate it, because you just simply don't know it. And so I think that's really an important message for us, as the white community to reach out and get to know people who are different from us, so that we can understand that perspective, because the perspectives are quite different. So I also found that people who have discussion so I've, you know, I've initially thought, I'm going to feel a little uncomfortable to white privilege, people talking about Dr. Davis, behind his back, you know that what? Yeah, right. And so but at the same time, I think his message was is you people have to get it. Right. I mean, fundamentally, this is on us

Kristen Cerelli:

listening back, because I've gotten to listen back to the episode a few times, and I've of course, been a part of the editing process where you have to choose what stays in and what goes and his personal active on race in America is so moving. And I mean, moving in the way that it moves, it moves you it moved me as a white listener to do do better be better. And this is what I pulled from him to what really inspired me was, I asked him what hasn't changed about Delisi Davis in all the changes he's faced, and he said, his willingness to risk it all to take a principled position. And I thought, you know, if I would do that more, I would be much more powerful of a person than I am. And I don't mean that to down myself. I just mean, if I if I took a lesson away, which kind of rolls all of what you just what you just shared into, into how I feel about what he moved around in me, it's that thing, it's that we, we don't risk enough and, and just like you said about, you know, diversity, equity and inclusion, it that keeps falling on people of color, too. You know, and it's like, no, we have to get to the table with them and do better and do more and do alliances. More of the work. We have more of the work to do than they do. Absolutely. So, yeah, this is a it's such it's a great interview. He is a great treasure trove of I don't even want to call it information. He's just

John Lyons:

inside wisdom. Yeah. And he really,

Kristen Cerelli:

he doesn't pull punches. And that's what I really appreciated in in his answering, you know, the questions about Derek show when and all the stuff he's gone through. He really tells it like it is. Yeah. And

John Lyons:

he definitely calls it like he sees it, which is yeah, that's something that you treasure. Yep. We know exactly where it's done.

Kristen Cerelli:

Yeah, yep. We I'm sure there are so many things we didn't get to touch because he is a really great storyteller and had a lot of stories, but I hope we we touched on some of the things that our listeners will be interested in hearing your perspective on? I think so. Well, it's always good to see you, Ron. Thank you John.

Tim Fall:

shift shift Bloom is made possible in part by the prayed Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the well being of all through the use of personalized timely interventions and provider of online training in the T comm. Tools. T calm is transformational collaborative outcomes management, a comprehensive framework for improving the effectiveness of helping systems through person centered care, online at prayed and AT T coma And by the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky

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About the Podcast

Shift Shift Bloom
A Podcast About How People Change
Shift Shift Bloom is a podcast examining how people change, why they change, and how they sustain the changes that are most important to them in their everyday lives. Our guests consider themselves change makers, change embracers and change resistors — we’re all somewhere on that spectrum at different times in our lives, aren’t we? Conversations with host Kristen Cerelli explore the impact of mindset, personality, life circumstances, communities of support and sources of inspiration on the process of transformation. Illuminating how change can be both deeply personal and profoundly universal is the show's guiding principle.

Shift Shift Bloom is produced by host Kristen Cerelli and audio engineer Timothy Fall at ActuallyQuiteNice, a full-service media studio. They develop the show in collaboration with Dr. John Lyons, Director of both The Center for Innovation in Population Health at The University of Kentucky, and The Praed Foundation, which supports the development and dissemination of systems improvement strategies called Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management, or TCOM. Online at, and

Season One new regular episodes drop every Monday from February 14 to April 18, 2022, and are accompanied by "TCOM Takeaways" -- special in-depth discussions between Dr. John Lyons and Kristen Cerelli, that extract common themes, ongoing questions and powerful insights on the topic of transformation. It's safe to say there's no formula for navigating change, but John and Kristen will keep looking for and articulating the universal tenets of the process.

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About your hosts

Kristen Cerelli

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Host Kristen Cerelli created Shift Shift Bloom in collaboration with Dr. John Lyons of the Center for Innovation in Population Health at the University of Kentucky. She's also an actor, singer-songwriter and performance coach.

John Lyons

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John S. Lyons, Ph.D. is the Directory of the Center for Innovation in Population Health and a Professor of Health Management. He is a luminary in mental health policy and practice, and the original developer of TCOM and its associated tools and approaches.

Timothy Fall

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Audio producer and engineer Timothy Fall is a writer, actor and multimedia creator alongside Kristen Cerelli at ActuallyQuiteNice Studios, where they make podcasts and films and music and dinner.