023: Will Richey–Finding your voice at the DaVerse Lounge [Podcast]

023: Will Richey–Finding your voice at the DaVerse Lounge [Podcast]

Will Richey, DaVerse Lounge, Spirit of Leading Podcast

Will Richey, DaVerse Lounge founder

Will Richey says, “the power of our stories leave a great impact on one another.” I agree. His storytelling takes the form of poetry through which his spirit of leading shows.

In this episode of The Spirit of Leading, Will talks with me about his work helping us find voice in our creative expression. His life’s work is manifest through the DaVerse Lounge, a project that provides a forum for young voices to express original narratives through the spoken word.

The road to Deep Ellum in Dallas, TX involves Will’s quest to connect with the heart and soul of his mother’s Puerto Rican heritage. He wanted to hear her voice in a different way–through his own experiences. As he learned how to find that voice, and his own, through spoken word performances, he learned how to help others do the same.

Will shares credit with his partners, whose collaboration and support make his work possible. The DaVerse Lounge is housed within the Life in Deep Ellum Cultural Center, and his educational efforts are supported by Big Thought, an organization that brings creative programs to youth populations often left out.

The links below will give you more background into Will Richey’s story.

In this podcast, Will shares some of the lessons of leadership he learned in putting together a team of other artists who share the DaVerse Lounge stage with him. Combine his sense of INPowerment and his spirit of leading, and you can understand why his work is having such a profound impact.


See more about Will Richey and the DaVerse Lounge

Will Richey, Garland McWatters, DaVerse Lounge, Spirit of Leading Podcast

Will Richey (right) shows Garland McWatters word art created at the DaVerse Lounge

Will’s website Journeyman Ink

DaVerse Lounge at TEDx SMU 2013 see the video

“Push the Envelope” featuring Will Richey, presents at Oral Fixation

Alejandro Perez, Jr. of Melody Memories, Facebook page

Live artist, David Rodriguez of Dr Gorilla Studio

Life in Deep Ellum, learn about it here

Big Thought, learn more




Stop following the crowd and start following your passion

Stop following the crowd and start following your passion

According to the saying, our heart and our treasure end up in the same place when we are feeling good about what we are doing. When that’s not happening for us, people might say that our effort is half-hearted, or our heart isn’t in it, or we are not showing any heart.

Fitting in, be an original, square peg round holes, Garland McWatters quote

However they say it, there is a noticeable disconnect. And when we get discouraged, we often say we have lost heart.

The root of the issue is we don’t see any treasure at the end of the journey. So, why go?

Good question.

What we do instead

That’s when we start looking to what everyone else is doing that seems to turn them on, and we start following along. We reason if everyone else is going, there must be something to it. We join in because we don’t want to miss out on whatever it is.

Along the way we turn to a fellow traveler and ask where everyone is going. They confess they don’t know, but it must be great because everyone is going.

Such is the anatomy of a fad. It’s exciting for a moment, then we wonder what was it all about? In the end, following the crowd got us nowhere.

Unfortunately, many repeat that cycle over and over. They spend all their energy chasing one mob craze after another until many realize they are not doing anything they are personally passionate about. Nothing gobbling up their resources is repaying them with any joy.

We realize we have been suckered. We could get down on ourselves for being so silly, or . . . we could . . .

Stop following the crowd and pursue our passion

Question: in what activity do you find your deepest joy and most sincere satisfaction? What is the essence of YOU?

That is your PASSION. It defines you. It is what you must be about. It is where your heart leads you.

For me it is doing exactly this–INCouraging your spirit and helping INLarge your expectations of living INPowered. The media of my message are blogs, the Spirit of Leading podcast, writing the Marcus Winn leadership novellas, storytelling, and providing in-person INPowerment lab experiences.

I strive for my words to be the expression of me. The words you read and hear reflect the positive intent of my heart and soul. For that reason, I try to be positive in tone. When I find myself wanting to rant about my concerns over the the state of leadership as I see it, I look for the positive way to describe how INPowering leadership acts.

My passion and my heart

My passion is to help a new generation of leaders elevate the quality of leadership from the abysmal depths to which it slipped during my adulthood. (OK, forgive a little rant here.) I know we can do better, and I see it happening among our millennial generation. I want to celebrate and encourage their optimism that they can make the world better than what they got served up through no fault of their own.

To this end I devote my creative energy–every ounce of it.
Because I believe that in every facet of our lives,
at home, at work, and in our communities,
we must be
Garland McWatters, leadership development, leadership training, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, OklahomaAND WE CAN

Engagement, the shortcut to commitment

Get people engaged in your cause, and their hearts and minds will follow. Why do you think politicians and churches put new volunteers and members to work as soon as possible?

Involvement, commitment, engagement, Garland McWatters quote

There is a simple truth in the adage that people will support what they help to create. Why? We become personally vested in the success of the things we build. We identify with the project and the values it represents.

Becoming a true believer

There is nothing abstract about rolling up your sleeves and going to work. And herein is the secret: when you get involved, you get up close and personal with the goals and the values of the project.

You might even have an impact on shaping those goals. When you are meaningfully involved in an important project, you are more likely to become committed to seeing it through to completion.

Giving heart and soul

We are creatures of purpose and passion. We abhor the mindless, the mundane, and the meaningless. When nearly two-thirds of employees say they are not engaged at work, they are saying their work is mindless, mundane, and meaningless.

So, it’s not just that we give people something to do. We must connect their activity with the greater purpose and values of the endeavor.

This is especially true with younger workers. They want to do important work, says Inc. Magazine.

I’ve been astounded over and over when Millennials tell me they enjoy working hard on significant projects, seeing results, and being recognized for their effort. The key is, significant projects. They don’t want to waste their time on busy work.

Learn the power of significant engagement, and you’ll solve most of the problems with motivation.

And you will be moreGarland McWatters, leadership development, leadership training, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Related post: How movements take hold and grow

The mystery of no change

The world changes around us every day. We cannot stop it. We can only respond to it. Those who can adapt and change will thrive. Those who cannot adapt will struggle to maintain their emotional balance as well as their physical wellbeing.

Change, transitions, INPowered2 LEAD blog post

The paradox in change

Here is the paradox: by not adapting with the natural changes, you are changing in a negative way-you are losing ground, going backward by standing still.

People who resist change do so because they seem to be overwhelmed by all that is changing around them. They think that they cannot keep up with it. So, why try?

Since we spend a lot of time and energy trying to make our comfort world to our liking, we would rather keep it the same and not let anything disturb it. Therefore, we spend more time protecting our small comfort zone than expanding it. And that’s the problem.

Change in small chunks

INPowerment is growth oriented. That does not mean we have to force ourselves into uncharted seas that are too risky for us. It just means sailing a little past the horizon until we can find comfort with not having to stay in sight of land. We build our comfort and expand our world a little at a time.

This strategy works for any change we want to make. Push the boundaries a little at a time, and let your comfort zone grow gradually. Soon you will be surprised at the changes you have made.

INPowering leaders help others go to new places a little at a time. Once you have made that journey, you will be able to show others how.

In doing so, you INLarge your expectations of living,
and you become more
Garland McWatters, leadership development, leadership training, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Listening with all your heart and senses

Listening with all your heart and senses

Giving someone your undivided attention as you listen intently is both difficult and INPowering. Listening without getting distracted by your own thoughts and self-conversation is akin to a super power. And you can develop it.

listening, assertive listening, Garland McWatters quote

Like meditation, INPowered listening requires you to empty your mind and concentrate on a single focus. In this case that focus is what the other person is communicating.  Doing so will develop your capacity as an intentional and mindful listener.

The goal is to lose yourself in the speaker’s message. It’s a way of getting inside the bubble of their life with them. When I find myself in this mode, it’s like I’m trying to imagine their life and message from inside them. I totally lose myself in that moment.

Listen to what is said and how it is said

Listen for content and context. They are telling you their story at the moment. When you find yourself anticipating what they might say, or judging what they said, you have stopped listening to the message. Refocus. Just listen to the words and the story that is unfolding. There is context in the story that will help you to remember and understand.

Listen to tone of voice, volume, pauses and hesitations, inflections. There is a rhythm to their speech that conveys something about the meaning of their message: excitement, fear, hope, expectation, happiness, all the range of emotions an individual is capable of.

Watch for the non-verbal cues

Watch eyes, gestures, muscle tension, the rhythm of their breathing. This is part of your focus. Pay attention to every detail. This will keep you from focusing on yourself or about what you will say next. When the speaker stops, you will find yourself having to pause and process what they said before you can respond. This takes discipline. You will have to practice.

Feel the emotions being projected by the speaker

Try to get inside their head about what they are communicating about their hopes, dreams, expectations, disappointments, and so forth. You will find yourself feeling with the speaker–whatever emotions they are expressing.

This skill develops your empathy. When you can listen this deeply, you are finally in communion with them, which is the root of communicating.

Remember, everyone at any point in time is always exactly right. Try to sense that feeling of what it must be like to be them at that moment.

Others are INPowered to express themselves and share at a deeper level because they sense you are really into them and not just waiting your time to speak.

Listening with all your heart and senses
developed your ability to be
Garland McWatters, leadership development, leadership training, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Related posts:

What is an assertive listener? 

Can we talk?

Do your words build or destroy self-confidence in others?