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EpisodesGuest InterviewSeason 3

Leadership with Improv & Radical Empathy

Episode 59 | March 12, 2024

Erin Diehl, a Business Improv Keynote Speaker & Edutainer, Recovering Perfectionist Turned #Failfluencer, an author talks to us about leading with radical empathy (and improv).

Listen in as we talk and laugh about how to lead with empathy, allow for creativity in your life, and to continue to play even in a professional setting.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No”the podcast about learning to say no and set boundaries to live our best lives. 

Follow along with me as we learn from fellow strugglers and experts, so that you too can start saying no without feeling fear, guilt, or FOMO. 


Erin “Big” Diehl, is a Business Improv Edutainer, Failfluencer, and Professional Zoombie. Through a series of unrelated dares, Erin created improve it!, a unique professional development company rooted in improv comedy, that pushes leaders and teams to laugh, learn, play, and grow. She is also the proud host of The improve it! Podcast, which helps develop leaders and teams through play, improv and experiential learning.

Key Takeaways

[00:03:36] Yes, And

  • This is an improv technique to keep conversation going but can support communication elsewhere
  • Can be used with clients
  • Can also mean yes and no!

“I think we’re doing a “yes and…” Like it’s not an either/or. There’s lots of ways things can come together.”

[00:05:41] Embracing Playfulness in Professional Settings

  • When we lose playfulness we risk the loss of:
    • Creativity
    • Innovation
    • Thinking outside of the box
    • Dimming our “freak flag”
  • This can hold back your team and individually
  • Productivity can lower without the ability to have joy and play
  • Finding small ways to be silly and find something fun within your day

“we are all born into this world with imaginations and creativity and just the ability to improvise all the time.”

[00:10:09] Manifesting a creative life

  • Allow yourself to add in creativity that works for you
  • Set affirmations – “I am” statements
    • Be specific about what you want out of the year, out of the day, out of the morning, out of relationships, work, life…
  • Try new things and offer yourself options you may not have previously tried

“we talked about talking to yourself, talking to your brain more than listening to your brain, because your brain will say all kinds of terrible things to you.”

[00:15:38] Overcoming limiting beliefs

  • Remember:
    • Shitty Committe – negative thoughts and self talk
    • Positive Posse – talking to yourself with love
  • Pattern interruption
    • Clap, then forgive yourself and reframe
  • You can reframe to a positive perspective

“Well, what I’ve been saying to myself is, isn’t it amazing I’m this busy? Like that so many people are interested and it’s exciting. I just need to figure out”

[00:21:26] Boundaries and LSD days

  • Burning out our candles, completely burning out
  • Light Saver Day – preventative care, 4 day work weeks – LSD each weeks
    • Whatever brings you joy, share with others
    • Prevent before it starts
  • Creating a communication schedule so that clients and team members have expectations that provide space for you to have time for LSD

[00:32:21] Empathy and boundaries in healing

  • Learning about giving love to yourself to be a selfless leader
  • Creating community that you want and attracting what you want from the people around you
  • Developing the life you want by being confidently yourself

“Everybody’s coming from different places, but what attracts each other is this magnetic pull to the core of who you are.”

Where to Find Erin
Credits and Thanks
  • Many thanks to our friends and families (our “villagers”) for listening, and for your continued support.
  • That’s a Hard No is a production of Clever Girl Marketing
  • Marketing and Production Coordinator, Maura Del Rosario
  • Production Support, Evergreen Podcasts, Noah Foutz, Producer
  • New Rock Anthem Music: Written by Noah, and performed by his band, The Big Leagues
  • Videographer, Kae Holmberg