Doing Business as a Highly Sensitive Person

William Allen

My guest today is William Allen whom I met on the HSP Entrepreneur summit that Rose Cox organized last year. And we are talking about his experience doing business as a highly sensitive person.

William is a first-time author with a writer’s heart and researcher’s mind. After getting a degree in Psychology with an eye on doing psychology research, he recalibrated for a career in Information Technology. He found himself in a thirty-year career as an Information Technology manager at Wells Fargo who enjoyed managing highly intelligent, often difficult staff, many of whom were highly sensitive. He was awarded a prestigious Corporate Management Excellence award for his empathetic management style.

In late 2016, he began his blog, The Sensitive Man, about his experiences, as a highly sensitive man. The blog became the genesis of his book, Confessions of a Sensitive Man. He feels that HSP males need to take their keen insights and intuition and make them public. He would like to shed more light on highly sensitive males and the much-needed role they need to take in our society.

"As highly sensitive people we pick out the nuanced information and that makes us really valuable" – @sarahsantacroce #humanemarketing Click To Tweet

In this episode, you’ll learn about doing business as a highly sensitive person as well as…

  • What does it mean to be Highly Sensitive (HSP)?
  • Can men be sensitive and still be masculine?
  • How can we be more sensitive in business?
  • What’s our role to play in business?
  • And much more…

Listen in below or scroll for the highlights and the full transcript

What does it mean to be Highly Sensitive (HSP)?

Being Highly Sensitive (HSP) is a trait where individuals have heightened sensory processing sensitivity. This means they tend to be more attuned to subtleties in their environment, such as noises, smells, and emotions. HSPs often feel deeply and may become easily overwhelmed by stimuli that others might not even notice. They tend to be empathetic and compassionate, but they may also need more downtime to recharge due to the intensity of their experiences. Overall, being an HSP is about having a unique sensitivity to the world around you, which can be both a gift and a challenge.

Can men be sensitive and still be masculine?

William discussed how masculinity isn’t defined by a lack of sensitivity, but rather by a complex mix of traits that can include both strength and emotional intelligence. He emphasized that men can absolutely be sensitive while still embodying traditional masculine traits. In fact, being in touch with one’s emotions and empathetic towards others can be considered a strength rather than a weakness. William suggested that society’s narrow definition of masculinity often overlooks the value of sensitivity, but true masculinity encompasses a wide range of qualities, including the ability to connect emotionally with others.

How can we be more sensitive in business?

William highlighted the importance of empathy, active listening, and genuine care for clients in fostering a more sensitive approach in business. He emphasized the need for businesses to prioritize relationships over transactions and to truly understand and address the needs and concerns of their clients. Additionally, he suggested incorporating mindfulness practices into daily routines to cultivate awareness and empathy in business interactions. Overall, being more sensitive in business involves fostering a culture of empathy, understanding, and genuine connection with clients and colleagues.

The 7Ps of Human(e) Marketing as a Roadmap – Starting With You!

The 7Ps of Humane Marketing and its 1-Page Humane Marketing Plan is a roadmap for HSPs who want market from within, aligned with whom they are.
Rooted in reflection, they start with the P of Passion to think about our bigger WHY and then continue to help us figure our very own Personal Power: what’s your Human Design type? what’s our story?, how are we wired?, what are our values and our worldview? Picture this journey as an exploration of our vision, mission, values and the unique strengths we bring to the table. By intertwining Passion, Personal Power, People and Partnership with traditional elements like Product, Price, and Promotion, the 7Ps of Humane Marketing carve a path that not only resonates with our ideal clients but also amplifies the impact of our business.

It’s a holistic approach, where every marketing decision reflects the depth of our commitment, echoing the principles of a truly humane and conscious business.

>> Read more about the 7Ps of Humane Marketing.
>> Read more about Marketing for Changemakers
>> Find out about the Marketing Like We’re Human aka The Client Resonator Program

William’s Resources

William’s Website

Connect with William on:



Sarah’s Resources

Blog: Empathy in Marketing – a Strategy for Highly Sensitive People

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Thanks for listening!

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Sarah: [00:00:00] Hi bill I’m. So looking forward to our conversation. Thank you so much for being a guest on the humane marketing podcast. 

William: Thanks, Sarah. And I am so delighted to be with you and looking forward to it. 

Sarah: Yeah. So we’re going to go right deep into it as we do as highly sensitive people. And also as introverts, I find that we like to go deep.

And so that’s really also the topic of our conversation to talk about high sensitivity in business and. And what that means, and, and you identify as a highly sensitive male. So I’m really curious to hear the story about when you found out that you are a highly sensitive person and, and what that meant, like what changed when you found that out and learned more about what this trade is all about?

So can you take us there and tell us. [00:01:00] 

William: Sure. I, you know, I think my whole life I’ve known there’s something different about me. I grew up in a very traditional part of the United States and we’re. Male masculine role models were set in stone, so to speak and you had to follow along. And I found a lot of times it was hard for me to do that, and I knew that was something different about it, but this was way before Dr.

Erin had published her book on high sensitivity. And it was probably just kind of in a sort of very formative stages with some of the other research that was going on about high sensitivity and children and so forth. But I had no navigational tools for that. And so I spent most of my life adapting myself to what.

Men were expected to be like, and that was kind of going against my authentic self, but nevertheless, pressed on, because that was the pressure that I think a lot of men find [00:02:00] themselves under is trying to project this masculine side that doesn’t allow for some of these other things that we term as sensitive.

Probably about mid 2005 or 2006, somewhere around there. I found Dr. Aron’s book. It was actually, somebody had sent me a newsletter and it was about high sensitivity and they had recommended the book highly. So I picked the book up and I read. And like, I think like most highly sensitive people, I went to the book and said, yep, that’s me.

That’s me. That’s me. That’s me. That’s me. And it, it resonated with me because it was the first time in any one particular place that I had seen. So many of the things, characteristics and traits that I. Enumerated and explained in one place. And so it really did make a lot of sense to me, but there is this problem.

I was as a male, I was having a difficult time grasping [00:03:00] endorsing, you know, and believing that I was quote unquote, a sensitive man. And that was kind of the difficult point for me, even though I knew and acknowledged it, all these characteristics did fit me. The term sensitive was just something that kind of was like a roadblock for me mentally.

And it honestly took me through about 10 years of mulling this over. Cause because it’s kind of very much like a highly sensitive person anyway, is mulling this over and over in my head until probably about 2016. I started writing a blog about it. I think. This would be a good way of me putting my hand around it and doing a little research and understanding.

And so I wrote a book, I mean, a blog for a couple of years and I just hit all the topics that I wanted to know about as a highly sensitive man. And by doing that. It was a way of allowing me to embrace and get answers for questions I had. And then eventually as a result of writing the blog, I wrote [00:04:00] my first book confessions of a sensitive man.

And that’s when I put it all together. And I think at that moment, this was a couple of years ago at that moment that I was doing that, I finally really started to say, you know what, this is who you are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. And this actually is quite a gift. And so that’s when I, the sort of the loved ones, I read that my arms around being a sensitive man and saying, this is, this is who I am, and I’m not gonna apologize for it anymore.

And that was a kind of a Eureka moment for me. So it was like the initial launch. You know, in the early two thousands, a ten-year period of struggling with it. I think a lot of men do have that problem. And it’s, it’s funny because it’s not necessarily the trade it’s the label that we give the trait that a lot of men struggle with and they kind of reject it.

Yeah, it’s 

Sarah: interesting because I feel like, I guess the [00:05:00] experience is in this case, very different between. Men and women because the women, yes, there is some of that as well. Right. The criticism, or you’re just so sensitive and, but it’s, it’s more probably seen as something positive in a woman where you’re right.

It’s more negative in, in a, in a man. I remember reading this line that you said that your father told you, are you a man or are you a mouse? So, so it, it comes with this traditional upbringing and the idea that we think, well, men have to be strong and the opposite of, you know, sensitive. I guess the experience is very different, even though there might be struggle also with being in a female body experiencing being a highly sensitive person, but it’s very different.

Let let’s look at, besides the term Sensitive let’s look at the trade by itself. Like there’s a lot of listeners on [00:06:00] this show that don’t know what high sensitive, highly sensitive person what that means. Right. It just, maybe that’s just a term that we, we came up with and we think, oh yeah, I’m very sensitive to certain things, but it’s actually a, a personality trait.

So can you tell us a little bit more about that? 

William: Certainly ha highly, since highly sensitive people are high sensitivity is the scientific name for it is called sensory processing sensitivity. And that’s a mouthful. Most people are used to the terminology, high sensitive, but sensory processing sensitivity is kind of the theory.

And this is the thing that Dr. Aaron has been expounding for the last 30 years, sensory processing sensitivity. Is part of a larger theory called environmental sensitivity theory, and it has many different models underneath it. One of which is sensory processing sensitivity. And what environmental sensitivity [00:07:00] theory is addressing is how does the organism.

React to the environment they’re red. It’s basically an environmental reaction to various environmental stimuli and so forth. Sensory processing, sensitivity individuals fall on a spectrum of sensitivity, right? And you think of a bell curve, right. Something we all remember from. High school math and at the very top end of this bell curve, which is really a curve about how sensitive people are within the environment they’re in.

Okay. The 20, 25%. And I’m now I’m hearing as high as 30% of human population has this trait of sensory processing sensitivity. Okay. That doesn’t mean that the other 80% don’t have it. It just means simply that those people at the Hyatt experience, environmental changes more. Pronounced. And so if it’s a positive change, they react positive.

It gets a negative change. They react [00:08:00] negatively. And the people that follow them, the other 80% react in a much more different way. And they’ve got to divide into three groups, the ones on the least and are called and they use a flower metaphor, which I think most people could understand. Dandelions are on the low end.

They’re very Hardy. They can adapt very well, easily and less sensitive to the environment. Tulips are in the mix. They’re a little hardier than say the highly sensitive people are, but still nonetheless, they are affected by the environment as well. And then there’s the orchids, which is what they call the highly sensitive people.

Now with all that said, what I’m trying to say by this is that yes, there are individual characteristics that we acknowledge for highly sensitive people, but it’s, it’s a much broader thing. You’re just overly reactive to things, or you’re just too emotionally sensitive or you’re too impacted by criticism or you’re too frail.

It’s much more than that. What the outside world sees when they see those things. Is is the [00:09:00] reaction that we’re having to environmental changes around us. Okay. And so it could be sensory environmental stuff. It could be emotional stuff, et cetera, et cetera. Now there’s four characteristics, right? That we recognize now for highly sensitive people.

And it’s, you can use the acronym. Does D O E S D stands for depth, the process and highly sensitive people have this capacity. To take data information and process it at a very deep level. That means they connect dots, that push things together. Sometimes it leads to overthinking surely, but for the most part, you wind up with.

Creative output if given the time and the space to do this deep processing, that high sensitive people do. That’s why so many, highly creative people are highly sensitive because they have this capacity to do this. The O stands for overstimulation, which is something that happens as a result of being, getting too much data and having too much processing you have to do.

Yeah. That’s something [00:10:00] that a lot of people see and they, the term that comes from. You’re too sensitive or you’re being sensitive makes you weak, but that’s not true. If you were getting the kind of data. That we were, we get typically in the high end of the sensitivity scale, it would be overwhelming for most people to, especially if you’re doing all this processing with it as well.

So it does get overwhelming at times. So that’s a characteristic E stands for emotional reactivity. This is another thing that people tend to associate the highly sensitive people. We feel deeply, very deeply. We feel emotions at a very deep level. And that a lot of times appears to people to be overreacting.

But in fact, it’s simply just the way we process emotional information. The other part of the E is empathy. We’re extremely empathetic people. We care about people. Lot of us are in the helping professions are doing things that help people do. That’s where our heart [00:11:00] is. We’re very empathetic individuals.

And it’s not, I don’t know the exact physical mechanism that causes. There’s a thing we refer to as mirror neurons that we all have, whether you’re sensitive or not, that allows you to mirror back to the person you’re with. In a, as a communication establishing link, right? So I don’t know whether highly sensitive people have more mirror neurons or they have more finely defined in tune, mirror neurons.

I don’t know, but the fact is it’s very important. And part of that empathetic part of us also can make us a little naive sometimes and trusting people. So it, is it be, it could be a two edge sword. The last. Is the sensory part of it. The doctor calls it, sensing the subtle in the environment. I’m not, I’m not sure that our sensory organs are more powerful or whatever, but I do think the filters that pass that information on.

Are more open with us. I’d like to think of it like [00:12:00] an aperture and a camera. Ours is a little bit more open or maybe a lot more open depending on who we’re comparing ourselves to, but it passes a lot of stuff to us. So the metaphor I always use, the analogy I always use is if you’re walking into a party, a highly sensitive person will be that person who notices that the music may be too loud, that there’s someone with perfume or cologne.

And the other side of the room that it’s too powerful. Or it could be something like we sense a vibe in the room because looking at body cues and things like that, we sense those things. We pick out that nuanced information and that makes us kind of valuable when you’re talking about. One of the greater purposes for highly sensitive people is to serve as kind of Canary in the coal mine is to serve as a kind of an early warning system.

So all four of those characteristics are the ones that are scientifically evidence-based characteristics. Now, a lot of people will talk about other things. Those are the four main ones that I like to kind of [00:13:00] stick with those, because we do know that there’s evidence for them, 

Sarah: So much in what you just shared.

And, and it’s kind of, it’s funny because my, my brain is almost like overstimulated right now by listening to. These different concepts, but I think what would help also here is to give some specific examples. So I can give one, cause I, I just you know, experienced a four day workshop that I attended after not being anywhere in person, any kind of in-person events.

So I, I went to this four day workshop 50 people. And I knew as an HSP, you kind of know already in advance. You’re like, oh my God, this is going to be a lot. How am I going to deal with this? I hope I’m not going to get sick because of the overwhelm. So this is a very specific example where. As a highly sensitive [00:14:00] person, you need to kind of know your boundaries.

You need to know when you want to be engaged. And when you want to have alone time, because you do need this extra processing time. And, and I admit that. I’m not there yet. Like, I still had very bad nights asleep because it was just so much information. Not just, I’m not just talking about the content, but just even meeting all these new people, my brain needs just do analyze everything.

And that’s that deep processing that then often, unfortunately, Over, you know, instead of sleeping. And, and so that’s a specific example that I can think of right now. What example could you share bill? Well, 

William: I think, I think that’s a, that’s a great example. It could be very easily generalized to just about every highly sensitive person.

Although most highly sensitive people are introverts 70% [00:15:00] of. There’s still a 30%. There are extroverts that you would think the extroverted high sensitive people would, would thrive in an environment where they’re out meeting and greeting people and going like that. But the reality is they still have to have that downtime.

So those things that you were talking about, that’s always been something that I’ve had challenges with is getting out there, trying to do something new or try to do something that is. Not familiar for me and having to process all this kind of data, that I’m feedback data that I’m getting about, how I’m doing.

A lot of that may be coming from me. It may be coming from people that I’m working with or people that I’m around. But that seems to be one area, especially with highly sensitive people that I think can be generalized to just about everybody in this category is because at some point you’re right, you get out there.

You’re, you’re trying something new. And you have to give yourself, allow [00:16:00] yourself the time to do this downtime, this assimilation process of doing things. That’s one of the things with highly sensitive people too, that I think is kind of problematic. It’s one, there’s a lot of people out there who are highly sensitive, who don’t know it, or they.

I’ve never heard of highest since I’ve talked to people all the time and I, as I’ve talking to them, they go, you know, I think I’m highly sensitive and suddenly you see the light bulb go on. So that’s part of the problem is getting people to embrace and understand the. And the other part is once you understand it, now you have an understanding, cause you’ve got a framework to work with is how do you deal with these times when you are overwhelmed?

How do you deal with those times when you’re out in the public eye or you’re in a social function or whatever, what is it that you need to, how do you do that? You said something really great about boundaries too, because I highly sensitive people combos have this kind of. Loose boundary system that allows too [00:17:00] much in sometimes.

And in some times, in some cases allows the wrong people in who can crossover these boundaries that we should be setting up and it causes a an so an emotional effect on us. So part of it is learning to deal with, with the, the characteristics. Cause there are challenges to them. But it’s still on whole, is this great and wonderful gift.

And that’s part of doing that part of assimilating. That is the idea of how do I deal with those moments when I struggle, when I, you know, overstimulated or I I’m feeling too deeply and it’s not the appropriate time. How do I regulate myself? So those are kinds of things that I think highly sensitive people need to learn to be able to do, because those kinds of experiences you’re talking about.

Half an hour all the time, especially to heart sensitive people.

Sarah: I feel like the struggles. So the things where we need to learn, how to deal with [00:18:00] having that trait that’s kinda what we focus on because we don’t really understand how we would be if we didn’t have to trade. And we don’t know. How much he brings to us. So you mentioned, for example, as a positive, it’s connecting the dots or, you know, sensing the room and then making adjustments to me, that is just so natural that I listen and then I go, oh, okay.

Here’s the answer that. I don’t know how it would be if I didn’t have the traits. So that doesn’t necessarily come out as a positive to me. What I do see though is how society is not meant or, you know, quotation marks for HSPs. And so it always feels like, oh, I need to fight against a system. So it, yeah.

Do you recognize yourself in that? 

William: Absolutely. And I think part of, part of it again is [00:19:00] this is a. When I visit a lot of social media groups where they’re talking about high sensitive topics. Very often, I think what’s happening is a lot of people who are new to the trade are coming on line with it.

And naturally you want to go someplace where you’ve got other people like yourself, but the focus tends to be on, I won’t say necessarily the negative side, but the, certainly the challenges and the focus seems to go there as opposed to. How do you deal with it? Or how do I, how do I cope with this? And a lot of people do jump in and that is, what’s great about the support side of that.

But the idea ultimately is to say, okay, this is a, a wonderful gift and like most wonderful gifts. There’s a price you have to pay for having it. It’s just a kind of a balancing thing with it. And I think As highly sensitive people, we need to learn these little strategies, these tips and things. And none of this is complicated.

I mean, it’s just not as putting them all [00:20:00] together in the framework of who you are as a highly sensitive person. And when you do that, you start to realize I could do this breathing exercise. It can calm me down, or I definitely need to go. So. For 25, 30 minutes an hour or two hours, and just calm down and relax and process.

Once you understand that’s part of your normal wiring, that’s how your brain works. It’s not a, it’s not a dysfunction. Then you approach it diff because you see it in a different light. Now, you know, this is how I’m constructed. 

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. So good to kind of stay with the positive side. What, how do you saying, can we be more sensitive in business and what kind of role do we get to play as highly sensitive people in this?

I call it the new business paradigm, you know, kind of the post COVID to me, that is the beginning of the new business paradigm. So how [00:21:00] does that look like and what can our role be? 

William: I think we have a very significant role to play, not only in business, but in, in all aspects of life, but let’s focus on business because frankly, most of us spend most of our life doing some type of business, whether we’re running a business, a small business, or we’re part of a large corporate environment or large company or whatever.

And I think highly sensitive people. Can have positive effects on both environments. It may be a little more difficult. And I keep hearing this over and over again, that for highly sensitive people, very often doing the entrepreneurial thing is, is more conducive to setting the environment that you need to have in order to be happy and thrive.

But it does have its own challenges because you’re it, you’re the boss. You’re the one who has to make everything work. And if you’ve got employees, you’ve got to make it work for them too. In the corporate environment. It’s a little more challenge because it’s more [00:22:00] confined. You can only do so many things and so forth, but I think.

From a corporate perspective, highly sensitive people can start having an impact on how the environment is constructed because that’s so important to us. Right. What kind of a seating situation there is? Is there good lighting is it is, is Is it too hot or too cold in there. And the environment are is there too much noise, too many distractions, et cetera, et cetera.

And there’s some things probably that we could detect and participate in trying to evolve the environment we’re working in and a more empathetic way in looking at how we treat others and within the environment, especially in, within management and within areas that where you’re leading people, right.

On the entrepreneurial side, I think this is really where we can shine because frankly we can define a business that a is successful. And yet still adheres to, and I love the term you use the humane part of business. This part of [00:23:00] business unfortunately seems to be getting further and further away from us.

And I really think what’s happening. COVID being the great example is that’s opened up. So out of the box here Pandora’s box, if you will open up that box and we can look at what we do and how we do things, and that can help HSPs could be instrumental there as well by saying. These kinds of things are more conducive to my better work environment.

It probably will be. So for other people as well, not necessarily everybody, but it will, there are certain things, kindness in business, you know, it’s not always about competing is sometimes it’s about cooperating. So that everyone benefits from something, these are the kind of concepts that are. To highly sensitive people because of our empathetic nature and are wanting to be good stewards, not only of our environment, whether it’s work environment, whether it’s our life.[00:24:00] 

But that’s some of the things I think that highly sensitive people can do to affect change and your good ideas and your good thinking and all those things are important, but we tend to be wallflowers when it comes to. Participating in that way, we don’t feel like our ideas are good enough. We don’t feel like they’re going to be accepted.

And this is where we need to start recognizing again, our strength and where that is in terms of what we bring to the table. That being able to observe things that other people are missing means that we may have to work a little harder to get the point across, but it doesn’t make it less valid because nobody else has seen it.

Mm. Sometimes we’re the first ones to see it. And I think in, in, in both entrepreneurial world and corporate world, I think those things are valuable characteristics to be able to be a good creative problem solver and be very empathetic and intuitive. 

Sarah: Yeah. When, when you said we, [00:25:00] we are sometimes the first ones to see the problem and others don’t see it at yet.

That definitely resonates with me with, you know, my journey from gentle marketing to humane marketing. And, and only now really people are like, Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what we need. We need a humane marketing revolution, but 2, 3, 4 years ago, I started talking about that and nobody, I was like, hello, you know, I’m all by myself here.

And, and, and it’s yeah, again, I would kind of say, well, it’s a gift, but it’s kind of a hidden gift because I felt I really felt alone, but I agree with you that. That’s, those are the Mavericks that we need to bring the change. Right. Otherwise, nothing changes if nobody sees the new things that need to be brought in.

So yeah, sometimes 

William: it’s, it’s not just seeing something new, but it’s also [00:26:00] seeing something that’s missing, you know, like a puzzle piece that’s not there yet. And being able to recognize that that’s. You know maybe a standard way of doing things at this point that needs to be because it’s missing, right.

That’s again, that’s what I love about this humane marketing and humane sales and things that you have written about is because that’s the framework we need to be operating under. And if we’re going to really shift the way business looks at things and how business interacts with the insurance. At the fundamental core level, it has to be more human.

It has to be about protecting all of us. And I think that it starts with that kind of shall we call it sensitivity to what’s going on in the business? 

Sarah: Yeah. Now, bill, you kinda know the story that the transformation from gentle, the word gentle that I used before to then [00:27:00] switching to humane and, and I found it interesting, kind of the resistance I got from mainly from the male audience to the word gentle.

Everybody else kinda loved the word gentle, but a lot of males. Well either they were not attracted to it at all, or if they were they’re like, yeah, you know, it’s not a great word. And so the minute I changed it to humane, a lot of more men are now showing up and saying, yeah, that, that is interesting to us.

So what do you, what are you thoughts on, on this? How come we can be sensitive? Do you words, just like we said before, you know, highly sensitive people, P men are like, Ooh, I don’t know. I don’t want to be that. I think it’s the same with the word gender. 

William: Exactly. I don’t know. I’m absolutely positive. It is.

Although, you know, it’s a lot of it don’t have the problem being called a [00:28:00] gentle man when a gentleman, right. They don’t have a problem with that, but they do have a problem with, if you were to cut the word in half and say gentle man, they might find that a little different to the tape and assimilate.

Yeah. You know, when we talk about things like sensitivity and why it’s so hard for, especially for men, but it’s hard for a lot of people too, because if you’ve been labeled your whole life as being too sensitive and that’s been considered to be not a good thing, Then the last thing you want to do is be called sensitive because all those memories, all that maybe unconscious material that, that was negative to you has been associated with a, a very neutral word sensitive, right.

It really is more sensitive as more about. Sensory than it is about emotional reactivity or anything else. In fact, I was D D I wrote a blog article about sensitivity and what’s wrong with the word general. I mean, with what’s wrong with the [00:29:00] word sensitive. And I looked it up, you know, I looked up at Webster’s type definition for it.

Nowhere in there was. Sensory processing sensitivity, you know, it was, it was frail or weak or overly emotional, whatever, those kinds of terms. So that sort of is why so many people struggle with it. Now with men. And I even highly sensitive, man, I’ve had highly sensitive men telling me, well, if I’m around a bunch of highly sensitive guys, I don’t mind using the term, but if I’m in a place where there is a mixed crowd, I just can’t see myself using it.

And so I think that’s why there is a sort of gentle movement. I like that to sort of shift away from sense sensitive is a term that we refer to ourselves as, and moving it towards high sensory intelligence. This is something Dr. Tracy Cooper is working on with a few others, and the idea is to give it a much more positive sort of connotation.

Then it’s like, we all know. [00:30:00] That there’s nothing wrong with the term word sensitive. It’s just that if you throw it out in the world, it comes back with mud on it. I don’t know why it just does. So as we’re getting people to understand about the. And understand that it’s a positive and understand that it’s not a disorder.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Perhaps if we label it something, put a different candy wrapper on it, it’ll be better in the long term, so that people call it at least investigate and learn about it and understand it. And I, I think that’s the important thing. 

Sarah: Yeah. I agree with you. It’s like. Yeah.

It’s like starting off with the wrong foot already when you were saying, you know, because it would be helpful for us to maybe deal better with boundaries. If we can say we are this and that, you know, we are highly sensitive, but the minute you say highly sensitive people. Oh, okay. [00:31:00] Go deal with it. So having a term that is kind of neutral, I think would be more helpful and it wouldn’t take so much courage to actually say it like, you know, introvert it’s, it’s almost.

It had in the beginning, it had a little bit of a bad connotation to it, but now it’s more widely accepted. So, so maybe it just highly sensitive, also needs to go through some kind of transformation in order to be more widely accepted and not with so much, 

William: it was a speaker. Cause I know this is your area’s marketing it’s sometimes the terminology makes a difference.

Right? It’s. You just sometimes have you wind up with a turn, that’s just, isn’t going to fly it even though, you know, you don’t mean one thing or the other with it. It’s how is it perceived by the world? If the world says, you know, we’re not going to embrace this and you’re really, you’re fighting a hill battle here.

And I think [00:32:00] sometimes just a little pivot and a little shift, which is what I think is happening here. More people open up to it. 

Sarah: It’s funny that, you know, I went through this with gentle to humane and now we’re having to do the same thing with highly sensitive. Yeah. It is. It is really marketing the term.

Right. And, and, and I think. It will be only beneficial to all the highly sensitive people to have a term where they don’t feel like they have to apologize. It’s almost like you have to apologize for being that. Yeah, 

William: exactly. Here’s the funny thing about it though, is it it’s took me 10 years to get to the point where I could accept sensitive and not be ashamed to talk about.

When I was writing the book, I had to say something about what are you writing a book about? And then it’s like, there’s this blank to hit? My face is like, how do I describe this? So I just started. Saying, it’s a book about high sensitivity and men [00:33:00] and, and you could see the look on their face. And then I would immediately go in and explain and get a foothold with them before.

At some point almost everybody male and female would say, you know what? I know somebody like that, I have a cousin like that, or I have a, a brother like that, or I have a parent like that, or one of my kids. It becomes relatable that. And once you get them past that term. So I’m okay with whatever they, the direction is with, wants to change the name.

That’s fine. I’m okay. If it steaks sticks around for a number of years, I got used to it. Now I’m 

Sarah: afraid we’ve done the work. Yeah. It’s all about, you know, doing the work and accepting it. I think that’s, that’s why. Yeah. We’re, we’re having this conversation under the P of personal power because. Once you own it and you do the work, then, then it becomes your power.

It becomes your superpower. Like at this [00:34:00] workshop I just went up to the host and I said, I’m not going to be participating in the evening workshops. It’s too much for me. And she said, oh, I really applaud you for being brave to show up and say that. And so it, it felt like. Being perceived in a good way.

Even though it did take me some courage to go up to her and be the only one who didn’t want it, or we’ve 

William: got a great example. That was a great example of. Setting up boundaries and standing up for yourself. That’s what I think more highly sensitive people need to be okay with doing that kind of. Yeah.

Sarah: And the difficult part, I think is that you need to learn to say no to the things that you want to do. It’s easy to say no to the things we don’t want to do, but it’s harder to say no to the things that you actually would like to do. You know, I, I know I was missing out on some of the events in the evening, [00:35:00] but I need to do prioritize self care before that.


William: Absolutely. Yeah. And that is so key. That’s so key to be able to do that. Tell 

Sarah: us more about your book before we wrap up here. 

William: The last, the first book confession of a sensitive man, it came out about a year or two ago was really my experiences of growing up as a highly sensitive man. Some anecdotes from my life and that kind of thing.

And it was trying, I was trying to write a relatable book for men to read who could say, look, you know we may not have had exactly same experiences, but I can relate to what, what you went through. The second book, the one that just recently came out is more of a kind of a trail guy is what I like to call it.

I use a lot of metaphors for trails and hiking because I like doing it. But it’s kind of a trail guide. On being a sensitive man, dealing with some of the things that challenges that we deal with, whether it’s workplace or whether it’s relationships or whether it’s environment having to sort of stand up for yourself, setting those [00:36:00] boundaries and things like that.

And so ideas on brain training, how to keep, teach your mind to calm down and things you can do to make your brain more resilient. So it’s kind of a tool kit of things that I had discovered throughout the course of my life. The funny thing about my life is that I had been sampled so many different things and I never understood the time why I was doing that.

Just all kinds of techniques and books and theories and so forth and so on. And it turns out that it was useful in helping them construct this book. So that’s, even though you’re doing stuff that you don’t really get half the time, sometimes it’ll come and play later on in life. 

Sarah: Yeah. It’s that part? The connecting dots, 

William: right?

Exactly. That finally the dots make sense, right? Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. But anyway, that’s kind of what the book is about. And it’s also about my hopes of where we go from here. And what’s 

Sarah: the title of the second one it’s 

William: called on being a sensitive man. And so it’s about, you know, now that [00:37:00] we’ve established that we’re sensitive men, how do we, how do we live with it?

How do we deal with it and how do we go forward? We are 

Sarah: so good. This has been absolutely fantastic. I could go on and on tell you all about my specific examples, but yeah, we need to wrap up. So I really, really appreciate your time here. I always have one last question and that is what are you grateful for today or this week?

William: Well, I, you know what, one of the things, I guess I’m grateful for is all the wonderful people that I’ve met and on this journey so far, and every week, there’s always somebody new that gets sort of added to the list that shared experiences is validating. Especially if you’re stepping out on a limb and you’re saying, you know, talking about things that are sometimes difficult to deal with.

Having a network of great people. That are [00:38:00] somehow connected to you. That’s that’s, I’m extremely grateful for that. 

Sarah: Wonderful. Yeah. Yeah. Me too. Like the podcast for this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my business as an introvert and HSP to just, you know, di. Into it and go really deep.

And then at night, allow myself to process and really digest information as well. I think as a consequence of, of realizing that deep processing, I, I also just slowed down the podcasting and only release an episode every two weeks. Again, it’s about boundaries and really feeling into it. And. You know what it’s actually too much for me.

Do you kind of just, you know, like a factory split of these podcasts, I need to sit with the humans for a bit and really, yeah. Go 

William: deeper. We are, you, you’re a real natural, I I’ve enjoyed this [00:39:00] conversation. I enjoyed speaking with you. So thanks for having me, you know? 

Sarah: Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on and we’ll speak again.

Take care.

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