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Melanie Parish: “Crises have happened before that seemed impossible”

So many people are kind. We have been in a world where politics have become more important than kindness. I see a shift. It feels nice to have people looking out for each other. Experimenting with societal kindness has big rewards for us all. As a part of my series about the things we can do […]


So many people are kind. We have been in a world where politics have become more important than kindness. I see a shift. It feels nice to have people looking out for each other. Experimenting with societal kindness has big rewards for us all.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melanie Parish.

Melanie Parish is a public speaker, author, podcaster, and Master Coach. An expert in problem-solving, constraints management, operations, and brand development, Melanie has consulted and coached organizations ranging from the Fortune 50 to IT start-up. As an author, educator, and creator of The Experimental Leader book, Melanie shows people new ways of thinking about their leadership, informed by her understanding of the fast-paced ride of technology innovation.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I always wanted to be helpful and I really want people to love the work they do. That led me to coach. With a background in sales and marketing, in the beginning, people came to me because they wanted to boost sales. Then they stayed with me and we started to work more on production and flow. I wrote a book because it was the tool I used with my clients.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Eliyahu Goldratt’s book The Goal. I find the concept of focusing on bottlenecks to be compelling and an interesting framework for my own life. I never get tired of this thought.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

1. People are resilient. We are staying home to be helpful, and we can continue to adjust. When a crisis hits, it can be difficult but as a species, humans are resilient and are able to adapt. We will adapt.

2. Crises have happened before that seemed impossible. When the crash in 2008 hit, it was terrible and hard and we recovered, rebuilt, and creativey emerged. My company lost al of its business then — I had large corporate clients who were cutting professional development budgets. We use to take our kids to IKEA to the free playroom. The big treat was a hot dog and an ice cream. I still think fondly of those times. We were poor and creative. There wasn’t less joy.

3. People are focusing on the bottlenecks of testing and vaccines. All previous timelines can be shortened when the world collectively focuses on these bottlenecks.

4. People are experimenting like they never have before. Necessity has people shifting and changing products, marketing, customer service, supply chains, and delivery in ways they never have time for. We will look back and see these changes as a time of renaissance. Things will be better. We had a lot of aging tech debt — old dysfunctional tech that no one had time to fix. This refresh will help us continue on a long term path that has renewed resources.

5. Kindness. So many people are kind. We have been in a world where politics have become more important than kindness. I see a shift. It feels nice to have people looking out for each other. Experimenting with societal kindness has big rewards for us all.

From your experience or research what are steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1. Start experimenting. Look for place you want to improve in your life or your work and try something new. Collect data. See what you learned. Figure out your next experiment. Do it again.

2. Be present in the moment that are good. Sunshine on your face, a delicious bite, a hug from someone you live with, a meaningful conversation with a co-worker on Zoom. Soak it in. Savor it.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

My “go to” exercise when I feel anxious is to list 10 things I am grateful for (I usually post on Facebook). It turns it around for me. If that doesn’t work for you, try something else as an experiment. See what works to shift.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Figure out what you want from your life 5 years from now and move toward it. 20 years ago, my husband and I said, “we want to buy a house where love flows out the windows and doors and down the street.” We bought the house. Over the years, we filled it with children and lots of friends and a bunch of dogs. The image still holds for who we want to be.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I love the world of the experimental leader and how an experimental mindset can transform the work we do.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Send us an email [email protected] Ask and we will send you a digital workbook and a code for a free course at Experimental Leader Academy. Also @MelanieParish on Twitter and The Experimental Leader on Facebook.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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