Traci Ruble: The Wanderful Podcast with David Pearl

By Rachel Crowther

Traci Ruble – “When I listen, I am not alone…”


Traci has worked with people on their relationships for over 16 years as a couples counsellor and psychotherapist; describing herself as a “candid, clever, and integrative psychotherapist/couples therapist. I talk like a regular person and love “getting in the mud” with clients as an equal.”

Having survived six divorces as a child, born to a teen mom, she says “really I’ve been working with couples since I was four. I have my own lived experience of not being heard and being an outsider.”

Traci is the chief listener and volunteer executive director for Sidewalk Talk, a listening and volunteer-led global movement and non-profit, now in 15 countries across 90 locations with 8500 listeners listening as their own activism and growth practice.

She sat on the sidewalk in San Francisco in 2015 and continues to be moved by the changes this project has made in her own life. From getting more conscious about her own privilege, the challenges of leading while female, the link between connection and boundaries, and sustainable heart-centered organizational growth.  

Traci is working on her first book and is a sought after speaker and couples expert.  Aside from thoroughly loving her work, Traci also loves to be outside wandering in the trees, running, and goofing off with her husband of 17 years and two tween sons. She also loves couch surfing on some of the Sidewalk Talk chapter leader’s couches and listening with other teams around the world. Traci is currently living in Germany until 2022


0.00 – 00.45

Theme / Introduction

00.45 – 05.03

Introducing Tracy Ruble

05.03 – 09.20

Traci explains ‘Sidewalk Talk’

  • The importance of listening and compassion
  • Confronting bias about people
  • Falling in love with a stranger after 10 minutes
  • Paying attention to economic injustice


Compassion happens between equals


How do you know when the (sidewalk) talk is done?


Traci’s communication style (listening versus talking)


The joy of listening to other people’s stories


Traci is an anxiety sufferer – Traci wants to be liked


Traci’s new relationship to Leaders and Leadership


How Traci made life difficult for previous leaders?

‘High maintenance but worth it’


Are we asking for what we really want?


The questions we ask people on Sidewalk Talk


How does Traci experience and tolerate the word NO?

The importance of developing a capacity to say NO


Cherishing the tender parts of Traci Ruble


How does Traci meet the world in cool ways?

  • Giving people the ‘cherishing’ face
  • Meeting people with the ‘sparkle’ in their eyes


How to amplify your own sparkle – Inviting clients to put themselves in an ‘egg’ and put inside what ever nourishes them.


Using Metaphor and creativity to create resilience


The ‘Wanderful’ Exercise: the ‘egg’ walk


Post-Wanderful Exercise – What came up for David Pearl?


Additional thinking about your ‘egg’

Resources Mentioned

Sidewalk Talk (Traci Ruble TED talk)

Sidewalk Talk

Internal Family Systems by Richard Shwartz

Standout Quotes

“It’s super pleasurable to start listening to other people’s stories and to start listening in a way you can elicit more of their personal story – it’s just incredibly gratifying and enlivening.” (Traci Ruble)

“Compassion happens between equals.” (Traci Ruble)

“When I’m listening, I just think, I’m not alone, I’m human with you and that feels really good.” (Traci Ruble)

“Thank you for leading me today, I feel so appreciated.” (Traci Ruble)

“As I’ve stepped into a leadership role, have I made myself approachable enough as a leader? to have people feel safe enough to know that they could ask (for what they need or want) ? (Traci Ruble)

“I smile at you and I say ‘how’s your day going? Would you like to sit down and be listened to?’ “ (Traci Ruble)

“Tolerating the No because No is a representation of a boundary and all boundaries are between two humans is the defining ground of what I need in order to be in connection with you and if I’m saying no, I’m saying I’m not available to be in connection with you.” (Traci Ruble)

“When we’re little kids we don’t like No, because we’re on our way to a goal, we don’t like our directionality being thwarted. But as we age into adulthood we need to develop the capacity to hear No with grace and not make it all about us.” (Traci Ruble)

“When you seek somebody who ‘sparkles’, notice what part of you rises to meet the ‘sparkle’” (Traci Ruble)


Traci Ruble

Twitter @TraciRubleMFT

Instagram @TraciRubleMFT

Instagram @sidewalktalkorg

David Pearl

Twitter @davidpearlhere

Instagram @davidpearl_here

Andrew Paine (Producer)

Twitter @ItPainesMe