I was participating in a virtual session with a world-renowned thought-leader recently. He is very well respected in serving entrepreneurs and helping small business leaders grow their businesses. He has served thousands of leaders and has great intentions. But I found him boastful and I judged him – in short, I was triggered by his ego, so I left the meeting early. I very rarely do that. I do my best to give people the benefit of the doubt and to assume positive intent. But this was an exception.


A few days after this virtual session with the thought leader, I had a meaningful conversation with Nancy Mackay, CEO of Mackay CEO Forums. I was sharing this anecdote with her and how I got really triggered. She listened and shared with me “sounds like your judgement got the better of you.” It was tough to hear, but I appreciated her candor. We then dove into a great dialogue about the importance (and challenge) of creating “judgement free zones.” Judgement free may be next to impossible, but how can we become more aware of and soften our judgments? Judgment is usually attached to our ego (personality) and often a sign of a deeper fear. As mindfulness thought leader Oprah (no second name needed!) says “Judgement simply put IS fear.” In my anecdote example above, my judgement definitely got the better of me! If I am judging others in this area, I likely need to release judgement of myself. What’s the problem with judging self and others? Well, I am learning that it creates separation. Judgement comes from the personality and our inner “Saboteur,” as my friend and Mindfulness coach Keith MacPherson calls it. Judgement says “I am right, you are wrong.” Instead, how can we connect with and lead from our hearts and come from a place of acceptance? Acceptance creates connections with others. Easier said than done!


On the weekend, I then looked at our Team Core Values at 1-DEGREE/Shift and the value of “Invite Love & Fear” caught my attention as it related to this judgement/fear reflection and relationship. After reviewing this value and supporting behaviours, I realized that I have lots of work to do (no judgement J) with this value. We find it really helpful to define specific behaviours that support a core value.

Some of the GREAT behaviours that support our Invite Love & Fear value are:

  • surface fears by naming them
  • practice humble inquiry of what’s going on
  • resolve fear with love
  • willingness to sit in the fire.

Some UNACCEPTABLE behaviours of our Invite Love & Fear value:

  • ego driven
  • shutting down real conversation
  • task/intellect at the cost of relationship/emotion. 

So, my reflection was that I got triggered by ego. Awareness and noticing our triggers are a key part of ego mastery. Next time, I will aim to notice that, get curious with these kind of triggers and be more accepting versus judging. In other words, resolve fear with love.


We all have moments every day where we are triggered by colleagues and clients in different contexts. What are you triggered by? Why? Where is this coming from? How does it relate to judgement? If judgement is the tip of the iceberg, is there a fear beneath this judgement that may be fueling it?

Let’s all aim to invite more love AND fear into our conversations. This is one small way that we can co-create more judgement-free zones, advance humanity at work and bring more heart and meaning into our day-to-day lives. Just imagine the ripple effect of less judgement and more acceptance…

“Fear is powerful, but your soul is unafraid. Find your soul and it will dissolve your suffering.”

-Deepak Chopra

-by Tim Magwood, on behalf of the 1-DEGREE/Shift team


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