page title icon Michele Borba

130: Michele Borba: Changed my life on the spot

Michele Borba Show Notes

Michele Borba was in Rwanda distributing backpacks to deaf kids. Her transformational moment was when a sobbing child keep reading a hand-written note. If there’s any need for empathy, that child was sharing it; it was human connection. Listen to Michele share her story about how we can move onward and upward faster with our current global empathy crisis.

Michele was born and raised in San Jose, California as an only child with wonderful parents. Her dad was a school superintendent and her mother was a kindergarten teacher.

She is a former classroom and special education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience, including work in a private practice with children with learning and emotional disabilities.

She received a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. in Learning Disabilities and B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, and a Life Teaching Credential from San Jose State University.

She is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting, child and bullying expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s empathy and social-emotional intelligence and character, and reduce peer cruelty.

She is an NBC contributor who has appeared 140 times live on the TODAY show and countless shows including: three Dateline specials, Dr. Phil, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Dr. Oz, TD Jakes, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, MSNBC, Fox & Friends, Countdown, 2 NBC Education Nation specials, Inside Edition, Fox, The Early Show, CNN and Dr. Drew and featured in TIME, Washington Post, Newsweek, People, Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Globe and Mail.

Borba is the award-winning author of 24 books translated into 18 languages and her most recent work is UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About Me World.

Michele lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband Craig and has three grown sons.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @micheleborba to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Empathy matters and we better start the dialogue quickly.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet

“20% of Fortune 500 Companies require employees to have #empathy training.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“There’s been a 40% drop in 30 years in empathy for incoming freshman.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Empathy; it’s one big diagnosis that we need to look at together.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“This most plugged in generation is the most people-lonely group.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“We’re more likely to be innovative when we collaborate with others.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“What’s wrong is raising this generation to be about me, as opposed to we.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“A child who thinks we, not me, makes a major difference in our world.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Our children are hard-wired for empathy, but we have to nurture it.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Emotional Intelligence skills will be more important now more than ever.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Emotional literacy is the gateway to empathy and creativity.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Every employer is looking for the cognitive side of empathy.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Perspective taking, the cognitive side of empathy, can be taught.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Our behavior matches our mindset.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Character is very void in our world right now.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“When ethics and morality goes, civilization goes.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“It all starts with empathy.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“You can cultivate empathy.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Empathetic children do better in the workplace.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Be a humble leader.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“We need other people to build us up.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Surround yourself with models, because models help you be the best human you can be.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Virtue is made up of habits.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

Quotes from Michele’s TedTalk

“Just because we’re hardwired to care doesn’t mean it’s innate.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Empathy is a verb, it needs to be active and meaningful.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“You don’t learn empathy facing a screen.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Empathy is made of habits we need to work on.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“If you practice empathy enough, then you can live it.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“When empathy wanes, so does humanity.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“We exercise everything but our hearts.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

“Empathy is the best investment we can make for our future.” -Michele Borba Click To Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Michele Borba was in Rwanda distributing backpacks to deaf kids. Her transformational moment was when a sobbing child keep reading a hand-written note. If there’s any need for empathy, that child was sharing it; it was human connection. Listen to Michele share her story about how we can move onward and upward faster with our current global empathy crisis.

Advice for others

Let’s start a national dialogue that empathy matters.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Not enough sleep.

Best Leadership Advice

Be a humble leader.

Secret to Success

I surround myself with unbelievable people. I have a network that is very supportive. We need other people to build us up.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Notebooks. I carry them with me to write down ideas and I process them later.

Recommended Reading

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

Contacting Michele




Resources and Show Mentions

Charles Vogl: The Art of Community

Christine Porath: Incivility in the Workplace

KH Kim: The Creativity Challenge

Increase Employee Empathy

Empathy Mapping

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.


Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

130: Michele Borba: Changed my life on the spot

Intro Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.


The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So, move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to to learn more.


Jim Rembach:  Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today that really can give us some insight into a growing problem it’s one of those crisis situations that we currently have right now in the marketplace and in our society and it’s just not getting a whole lot attention, so I’m glad she’s here. Michele Borba was born and raised in San Jose, California as an only child with wonderful parents. Her dad was a school superintendent and her mother was a kindergarten teacher. She is a former classroom and special education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience including work in a private practice with children with learning and emotional disabilities. She received a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s in Learning Disabilities and a BA from the University of Santa Clara and a life teaching credential from San Jose State University. 


She’s an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author and parenting child and bullying expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s empathy and social, emotional, intelligence and character and reducing peer cruelty. She is an NBC contributor who has appeared 140 times live on Today’s show and countless shows including three Dateline specials Dr. Phil, The View, NBC Nightly News, The Doctors, Dr. Oz, TD Jakes, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric, MSNBC, Fox & Friends, Countdown 2 NBC, Education, Nation Specials, Inside Edition, Fox , The Early Show, CNN, on and on. 


Borba is an award-winning author of 24 books translated into 18 languages and her most work is UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All about Me World. She lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband Craig and has three grown sons. Michele Borba, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 


Michele Borba :    I am so ready, thank you Jim. 


Jim Rembach:  I’m excited that you’re here. Now I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we get to know you even better? 


Michele Borba :    My current passion is starting a national dialogue that empathy matters and we better do so very quickly. I just have actually working around the world as well. Last week I spoke at Sesame Street on it and I’m on my way believe it or not next week to Abu Dhabi to do a speech with a crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Internationally people are realizing this is the problem, what I want to do is start United States of America realizing we have a problem with our kids. 


Jim Rembach:  Yeah, when I had the opportunity to get introduced to your work and here you speak about this particular topic it resonated with me at so many different levels because what I see is that all of these kids that probably for the past 10 years or more have really been more self-absorbed, have not been focusing on collaborating and get to knowing one another and it’s creating a situation to where when they get into the workplace we don’t have people that know how to get along very well and how to connect very well. 


Michele Borba :    You have just defined what I am hearing from every workplace manager/employer. In fact, 20% of Fortune 500 companies are now requiring their employers to do have empathy training because they’re so lacking of it. What you’ve also described in crisis is not just something that we think about in terms of our feeling but it’s actually been tracked by the University of Michigan. For the last 30 years fathom this, they have been looking at incoming college freshmen in the United States of America and they’ve been giving each kid regardless of zip code, regardless of gender from West coast to East 14

Coast ID League to Community College this simple little narcissism personality test. And what they found happened actually around the year 2000 this nosedive began to be very clear that empathy was going down, down, down in fact 40% drop in 30 years of the American kids while at the same time the other thing that you just mentioned a 58% increase in narcissism and self-absorption. That doesn’t make a good citizen it also doesn’t make a good partner and heavens for sake doesn’t make a good employer or employee.


Jim Rembach:  That’s for certain. One of the guests that I had previously on the Fast Leader show talked about how we’re actually raising the loneliest generation ever. Also when you start thinking about all of some of these other economic statistics associated with innovation is declining. A lot of people think that we’re very innovative because they only see the tech sector as far as innovation is concerned but they’re kind of a novelty and a standoff and standalone but even them when you look at their R&D spending the ROI on R&D spending over the past several years has declined dramatically and it’s all contributing to this collaborative issue in this whole people connection issue.


Michele Borba :    I think that we’ve summed it all up and often what we do is we put it in little packages or there’s the problem or there’s the problem or were they lonely or they’re too plugged in and really it’s one big diagnosis that we need to look at very clearly together. Certainly a plugged in generation we also know is even though they’re the most connected is actually the most people lonely group that we’ve ever had and that doesn’t make a real collaborative, creative, innovative, and kind of person because we’re more likely to be innovative and creative if we do so with others. The Thoreau model is few and far between but even when we’re in the workplace what we discover as many of us would rather be texting or sitting at our own little cubicles as opposed to turning. Or we are texting to one another as opposed to turning to the guy who’s sitting in the cubicle right next to you. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do, I think the biggest thing that we’ve been doing maybe is wrong is raising this generation to be about me as opposed to we. And when we flip that and that would be my definition of an unselfie, a child who thinks we not me you flip the lens and you start looking at others it makes them major difference in our world. 


Jim Rembach:  It does. And listening to your TED talk there are several quotes that I was able to pull out to me that just stood out. I also had another guest on the show, Christine Porat, and talked about incivility in the workplace and one of the things that I saw as a comment on Amazon book comment about her book was someone said, hey, this is really just common sense stuff. Okay, it’s common sense but it doesn’t mean that we’re practicing it and one of your quotes was saying, just because we’re hardwired to care it doesn’t mean that it’s an eight.


Michele Borba :    Yeah, I think a lot of times we think that in order to be a good human being or a collaborative human being we have to won the DNA Sweepstakes in altruism. When all of the research is actually on our side we need to exercise the skill set, in fact, if we look at empathy as a skill set of habits that actually can be cultivated it makes a lot more sense because then we can break it down and go this is doable. Our children are hard-wired for empathy but we also realize that unless we intentionally start nurturing it, it lies dormant and that’s what I think is a problem. We’ve got a lot of kids in sleep mode as well as in adults because we’ve sort of put this over to the side assume that it’s going to blossom or assume we don’t need to work on it and we’ve also as a culture I fear put all of our sweepstakes into one side of the report card it’s all about the degree we get, the GPA, the SAT score, as a result all of those human qualities are really not being worked on. I always tell parents when’s the last time you saw a bumper sticker that said proud parent of a kind kid. It isn’t part of RMO and it’s a result I think we’re really handicapping our children and handicapping the workplace. 


Jim Rembach:  There’s so many things—as I listening to you explain some of the statistics and talk about these situations that for me as a father of three kids, who are two middle-schoolers and one elementary schooler and my daughter oldest daughter is now getting ready to go into high school and so needless to say this whole w competitive talk around getting into college competing for candidates and they actually had three recruiters come from some pretty notable schools—Duke University, Virginia Tech University and a small prestigious Liberal Arts school up in New England but when they were explaining their entrance process and how they go through and review the candidates they want it was all emotional intelligence based it’s like you’ve got to have the academic credentials yes but then you also have to have this high emotional intelligence in order for you to be seen as a right fit for us. But they’re not teaching that in the school. 


Michele Borba:    Yes, I think, in all fairness to schools, we used to do that as parents with our children and that was turn and talk and face-to-face connection. How was your day? How are you feeling? In fact, we’ve already realized that we’re already short changing our boys at age two we talk far more feelings with our daughters than we do with our sons. As a result this digital divide and the emotional intelligence divide gets further and further away from us, bottom line on this is they’ve also clearly came out with—just six months ago, a list of the top ten qualities that will be ones that globally all of us need in order to function in the real world and one of those you’ve already mentioned emotional intelligence skills will be more important now more than ever. We’re really going to survive as a civilization the capital is human capital and I think that’s slowly falling apart. When I wrote on UnSelfie and it’s actually was a 10-year journey, Jim, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in terms of flying the world to find the answers and interviewing the top researchers the first thing that was clear this can be cultivated. Second of all I tried to come up with if it can be cultivated then is it ever too late or ever too early it seems like it’s a womb to tomb scenario, so we’re all in good shape we can keep working on it. Third thing is that there are specific skills—when I wrote on UnSelfie I came up with the nine habits that are critical. It starts with what you’ve already mentioned it emotional literacy is the gateway to empathy. It’s the gateway to creativity because it’s impossible to be pro-social turn and go how are you feeling, or gee, you need help without being able to read the emotion off someone else’s face. So, that’s step one and we’re already realizing that our kids today, your middle school children by the way, feel far better off texting than talking, you’re not comfortable because we’ve lost that face-to-face connection. I see people just sitting side by side and they’re still texting they’re not talking. The second one is they also need a moral identity that’s a rudder it means I am going to be social responsible, I am a kind-hearted person we put the whole bottom line into—yeah, you’re a smart kid but in the bottom line is we’ve asked our children how important it is for you to be a kind-hearted person. Harvard study was unbelievable 80% of kids said the most important thing that my parents wanted me is to get the good grade. And then we turned to the parents, how important is it and everybody’s face went—oh, my gosh, that’s not true. Well, our messages aren’t seeping into our kids so we need to develop that. Third one is every employer said they’re looking for the cognitive side of empathy. That’s the employer that can get into the shoes of the client and go how would I feel if that happened to me? We’re going to be a global world where there will not be barriers and walls there will be bridges that we better be able to figure out how we can all unite and get along so we’re more inclusive and perspective taking the cognitive side of empathy also can be taught. So, those are just three of the nine that are critical but the good news is this isn’t an app and it’s not a program and it’s not a worksheet the best ways to do this are just naturally, intentionally weaving it in. Fourth one is absolutely fascinating and that’s moral imagination. Let’s start reading more so we get into the shoes of different diverse groups. Understand a journey into different worlds because what we discovered is literary fiction is one of the strongest ways to boost empathy those of us who read literary fiction they put us in MRIs, they found a part of our brain where compassion is actually lights up when they read passages from Grapes of Wrath or To Kill a Mockingbird. And then they read Danielle Steele and 50 Shades of Gray and we flat line. So, bottom line is we got to read and we’ve got to get into the world of others. Films can do that, elevating experiences could do it but we need to be a little more intentional about it Jim. 


Jim Rembach:  I think you make a great point. Even at work as I was thinking about at a work situation we talked about doing more with less, we talked about our productivity and things like that but we don’t look at it in context of making a connection and being intentional in doing that and we have to do more of that in order for that collaboration to occur the whole setting the right example piece. I love what you said in regards to one big diagnosis because one of the guests that I even had on the show Dr. KH Kim, talks about this whole test centric culture and needing to compete and get the grade and how that is really stymied and stifled our creative thinking. There was a statistic that I even saw a few weeks ago that mentioned that the number of startups from an entrepreneurial perspective just 10 years ago was in the low teens and now it’s dropped into the low single digits people just aren’t being creative and starting their own thing and being constructive and this whole connection to other people is to me I think it’s that one big diagnosis issue that we need to do something about it and do something about it now. My kids when I asked them, why did God put you on earth? They say to help others and I hope they never lose that. 


Michele Borba :    Yeah, yeah, Jim can you imagine if the world did that. In fact, fascinating thing is it’s that mindset that we create in our children that we fail to realize how powerful we are as parents. Just those everyday things of what we acknowledge, they come home and the first question out of our mouths is what you get. But how often do we say what kind thing did you do? Did you see somebody else being a kind person? The more we talk about it actually and why you studies are on our side children begin to internalize that’s the kind of person I am because that’s how I was raised and as a result our behavior matches our mindset. What we’re doing is instilling that it’s all that stuff of who you are is what you get as opposed to the kind of person you become. I think character is very, very void in our work right now and that’s an extraordinary concern when ethics and morality go and that’s what makes us good human beings and want to connect with one another civilization goes, the bottom line is we’ve got a problem. You mentioned creativity we’re already seeing that that used to be our staple as the United States of America but one of the big things we’re now seeing is that it’s starting to nosedive in the third grade with our kids, that’s another huge concern. Collaboration is nose diving with our kids in fact Generation Z, which is the generation right now out in the workplace,  three key things that we see about them—well a number of them. The first is you mentioned they are the loneliest. Second, they’re not team players, now there’s a tragedy. Third is they’re more competitive so that’s me against you as opposed to we. They are focused but even the bottom line when we asked our children 10 20 years ago what do you want to be when you grow up? It was a doctor, a lawyer, a helper, I want to make a difference. What do you want to be when you grow up right now? Rich or famous are the two items over and over again at the top of their lists, that doesn’t make a collaborator either it makes it I’m going to get the money. 


Jim Rembach:  Yeah, there’s somebody who talks about the phrase and actually has created a brand around the self-made man, the reality is that none of us are that. We all need other people in order for us to make a difference and to get made—if you want to use that as a phrase. I think both of us can probably talk all day long because we’re very passionate about this whole issue and quotes are some of the things we focus on the show in order to help focus, drive, do all those things from an emotional perspective and help us to hopefully make a difference. This particular issue, even though we’re started talking about one big diagnosis, and if we look and try to boil the ocean it ain’t going to happen so we have to focus on making a little bit of a difference today. Is there a quote or two that you can share that will help us do that?


Michele Borba :    Well, I think the number one is it all starts with empathy, now that sounds so simple and quote unquote but if you really start to think about—so, where do we do to start turning this around? The easy one that comes back from us is start ** thinking that it’s all about empathy and everything the thing that you’ve talked about from collaboration to teamwork to emotional literacy to people skills that’s the basics of it if we don’t have that the rest of it—it’s a scaffolding, it’s a staircase to start with empathy and start building our way up. Good old Aristotle told us also way back when that the best way to become a really good human being is to surround ourselves with good examples and then exercise our virtue. What is our virtue? Maybe it’s just our common humanity. Finding the skills that you think are lying dormant in yourself and start not just changing your diet, changing your exercise program, but figuring out what am I going to do and keep working out or exercising the habits that are going to make me a better human being.


Jim Rembach:  Yeah, because those are also the habits from a career perspective that cause people with high technical skill to hit the ceiling in their mid-40s and not go any higher. They’ve got a flip the switch it has become more emotionally based, leverage that technical skill to become that better human being in the workplace and at home. When we start talking about all of this, it’s a huge hump, and we all have humps that we have to go through in life in order for us to learn these important lessons that self-awareness, peace and many other things. Is there a story that you can share when you had to get over the hump?


Michele Borba :    You know, the most interesting thing that happened to me in terms of all of this was actually in Rwanda. There I was distributing backpacks to children, can you imagine who are all in an orphanage who have been abandoned by their parents, whose grandparents were slaughtered in a genocide of a hundred days, neighbors killing neighbors absolutely the most horrific thing. And I was in an orphanage with deaf mute kids and there I was giving out these little teeny backpacks very inexpensive but inside them they were all packed by children in the United States. There was a pencil, a notebook, little pieces of stick of gum and a handwritten note from a child. The moment that was just transformational to me was we given out these backpacks and this one kid was frantically going through this backpack pulling everything out I’m looking very distraught and I kept going my gosh do we need to give him another notebook, is he missing the pencil, what is it? No, I finally discovered what he was looking for was the handwritten note from a child and once he pulled it out he puts this note up to his chest and he starts to sob he’s reading it over and over again and I’m standing behind him and it just says hello, I’m your new friend from Minnesota I looked up Kigali I know where you live and I packed this backpack for you and he just couldn’t stop sobbing he turns to me points to my tears and then signs the word for love and I realized on the spot that’s the human connection for every child in the whole world. If there’s any need for empathy that child was sharing it and it all starts with one, it starts with face-to-face connection—changed my life because on the spot I turned and said what can I do and I became the goodwill ambassador flew all over the world with the most impoverished protocol’s that you could possibly imagine giving out laptops for children from a program called MIT because I realized that was going to be the one that maybe help them see there was other kids in the world besides themselves. But the fascinating thing is what I just described actually is what exactly the research says, empathy starts with one, it starts with face-to-face connection and when you realize you’ve made a difference on one child or anybody else’s life you are transformed it’s impossible to go back to where you were. Stop collecting coins to be APRA, go out and do one service project or make a difference with one person’s life, I’m just saying to them, how are you? You look upset and what will happen is your empathy just starts to open up and you keep doing it over and over again. It’s simple, we’re looking overlooking the simple things Jim.


Jim Rembach:  Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Sometimes we make it too complex and then we start overthinking things and we put up walls and barriers and then we remain that lonely person, kind of strange how that works. We talked about the work that you’re doing of course, we talked about w living in Palm Springs how you shared with me off-mic how beautiful it is there today, and you have three grown sons you have a lot of things going on. When you start thinking about goals, what’s one of them?


Michele Borba :    Again to just spread the word that empathy really matters. What I realized when I—in fact when I’ve spoken to now over a million parents and teachers all over the world and I find the same reaction whether it’s this month it was in the Philippines, a month before that it was a Egypt, I’ve spoken from coast to coast the bottom line from every parent is their mouth goes open when I say you can cultivate empathy. And if it’s lying at a 40% drop in 30 years we have got to realize it matters and we can turn it around and I think that’s the starting point. Change always starts with knowledge and the first step is realize you can make a difference collectively we can make an even bigger difference. My goal is to keep trying to get unselfie into parents hands, luckily the coolest thing is schools are now doing book clubs all year long for parents and counselors and teachers to read it so they’re starting to discuss it and I think that’s where we start, we start with knowing we can make a difference.


Jim Rembach:  The thing is for me I’m looking at it from a workplace perspective and from a leadership perspective. I’m looking at all the statistics associated with the economic impact both as an individual and as an organization when they improve their emotional intelligence skills. When you design the customer experience and you use emotion, when you use a motion in order to lead others it makes not only a world impact it makes a financial impact. And just like you said the title of your book, Why Empathetic kids succeed in our all about me world, they succeed in a multitude of different ways.


Michele Borba :    I agree with you. And I think the big piece on that one is redefining success to broaden it so that it’s a human being, is the success we’re really doing we’re all about trying to raise a child who has the potential to be the best they can be who wants to make a little bit of difference in the world. Actually empathetic children are actually happier kids they have stronger relationships, they do better in the workplace, they’re more employable, they’re critical thinkers, they have perspective-taking potentials they have lower stress rates, phenomenal! Mental health needs are going to be in fact—in fact I have it number six in unselfie, self-regulation. If we can lower our stress we fight the empathy gap because when stress builds and we know we also have another problem and that is the mental health epidemic in our country with our children no place in the world, United States of American kids are more stress, more likely to be depressed, more likely to be suicidal that alone should make us all shudder and not go to sleep.


But if we can teach them the skill on how to self-regulate, I learned that one by the way from flying to Tibet interviewing monks the most amazing—just deep breathe breaths they would tell me take a slow deep breath that’s the fastest way to relax they showed me exactly how to do it. If you inhale then hold it in then exhale twice as long as you inhale, oh, my gosh! fastest relaxation process. And then once you do that you can actually do the second piece which is you can start building compassion. And think about compassion, if you think that sounds soft and fluffy, I learned the same thing on working in 18 US army bases, Navy SEALs pulled me aside and said that’s the same thing that we are now doing. We’ve retrained ourselves to keep our fear down or stress down and our courage up. I said, what is it? The first thing we learn is deep breathing. My gosh! If the simplest thing from monks to Navy Seals are learning it, why aren’t we teaching it to our children? So, that’s another piece.


Jim Rembach:  And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor: 


An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that improves the empathy and emotional intelligence skills and everyone. It provides a continuous diagnostic on employee-engagement and provides integrated activities that will improve the leadership and collaboration skills in everyone. This award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive and higher performing employees that have great working relationships with their colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit 


Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Michele, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Michele Borba, are you ready to hoedown? 


Michele Borba :    I’m ready. 


Jim Rembach:  Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 


Michele Borba :    Not enough sleep. If I had more sleep, I would be able to write and I’m already working 16 hours a day but it’s all driven by passion. 


Jim Rembach:  What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 


Michele Borba :    Use it, be a humble leader. If you’re a humble leader even from Jim Collins, Jim of Good to Great, you will actually are going to be able to be more supportive and get leaders, other people, your employers to listen to you because it’s all about teamwork together.


Jim Rembach:  What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?


Michele Borba :    I have surround myself with unbelievable people. I have about a network that are very, very supportive. What happens is every once in a while they call me up and say how you doing? We need other people to just build us up and boy I had found a network of supporters.


Jim Rembach:  What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life? 


Michele Borba :    Notebooks. Small skins I have 50,000 of them. I always carry them with me and that’s actually how I’ve written 24 books. It’s always been—every time I have an idea write it down or I’m going to forget it about five minutes from now. They are unbelievable.  I process them later on go through them and all of it comes to be.


Jim Rembach:  What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, it could be from any genre, and of course we’re going to put a link to UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All About me World. 


Michele Borba :    I like empathy. Actually there’s a book called empathy that I think was emotionally charging to me you can get that just about anywhere, UnSelfie obviously I would hope that you would read. There was really some other ones that were just really key points to me, Born to be Good was another on that I think what’s fabulous. They were all instrumental because they all kind of said the same thing and that we can cultivate empathy.


Jim Rembach:  Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to Okay, Michele, this is my last Hump day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. So, what’s skill or a piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?


Michele Borba :    Oh, My gosh! I think the same thing that would be back and that is—even when in college the most powerful piece that I ever learned were from Aristotle and that was about surround yourself with models because models are how you become the best human being you can be. Look for somebody who inspires you and exercise—virtue is made up of habits. Clearly, when I look back about it and I rewind everything Aristotle nailed most of what I am now, I’m looking at now and I’m reading it back going he had it all right but what we just need to do is maybe look back at the Greeks. 


Jim Rembach:  Michele it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?


Michele Borba :    Well, thank you for that. I’m on Twitter @Michele Borba, I’m a one “L” girl, Jim. Or my website that’s the best way there’s always a contact card in there for speaking or evaluating or just reading 50,000 blogs out there about what we can do to raise a stronger, healthier more empathetic generation of kids.


Jim Rembach:  Michele Borba, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!


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