How can we do better for each other? In this episode, Olga Kovtun and Olga Schmidt, volunteers from ALLATRA International Public Movement, join Patrick Veroneau as they talk about making an impact globally by creating a better global creative society. Get to know their organization and the opportunity its movement presents that aligns with what the global environment needs. They discuss global consumerism and what it actually takes to do more and help your society. With a global reach having volunteers from all over the world, learn how their members create an impact to affect global change, and figure out how people want to live in the future. Tune in and know how you can get involved in the movement.
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How To Create A Better Global Society With Two Volunteers For Allatra
My focus is on interviewing others, as well as providing research that demonstrates that there is a better way to lead for all of us when we focus on the behaviors that inspire, empower, and compel others to want to go where we’re asking them to go. My guests are both named Olga. They are part of a global volunteer movement called Allatra TV that focuses on creating a creative society. I believe never has that been more important than now globally in terms of figuring out how we can do better for each other? That’s what we’re going to explore on this episode. Let’s get into it.
Thank you so much, Olga and Olga, for both being on the show. We had an opportunity to get introduced through Zoom and I was able to be on your show. I loved the concept of what you were doing in terms of trying to make an impact globally. In the environment that we’re in right now, there is such an opportunity for what you two have put out there. I was hoping we could talk about how did you come up with this concept? What’s your background? What was that moment that you thought, “We’re going to do a live television show globally on this?”
Thank you so much for having us on your show. We do appreciate it, Patrick. First, I’d like to talk a little bit about Allatra International Public Movement. It is a movement that was established in 2011 on the basis of Lagoda International Public Organization. Participants of the movement are implementing the vast majority of global projects all over the world. It is an organization that is outside of politics and religion. Meaning we have volunteers from all over the world of any social status, age, race, any political affiliation or religious affiliation. On May 11th of 2019, we had a conference that was called Society: The Last Chance. People from all over the world joined in large conference halls. They all got together. I would say there were thousands of people. We had over 140 countries joining on Zoom video. They all got together to discuss the problems that are going on in the world. We see that there are two major things that are happening.
First, we see the doomsday clock. It’s already on showing that civilization is very close to self-destruction. Also, we talked about the climatic changes that are going on in the world. The conference concluded that the central problem of modern mankind is the consumer format of society. The only way out of the situation is to change the format of the consumer format of the vector of society to a creative one. Here we came up with this project that’s called Creative Society. The first thing that we would have to do is we thought about, “How are we going to do this? Do people want the change?” Here we had thousands of people joining us on this global conference, but maybe other people don’t see a need in the change. That is why we started doing social surveys all over the world to see how other people envision the society of the future. That is how we came up with the project Creative Society. That is why now we do Zoom calls and interviews. Unfortunately, we cannot leave the house so we cannot do person to person interviews.
For me, my background is in graphic design marketing and web design. This is what I do. This is my profession, but at the end of the day, I always felt like there was something more that I can do. There’s something more out there that I should be doing. I knew that the world we were living in, it didn’t seem like anyone was happy. It didn’t seem like we can stop the war. It didn’t seem like the people can control anything. I always questioned like, “Why is this so?” The world is like you’ve got the get married, build a house, plant a tree, have kids, and then what? Who sold us this image that this is our life? Who told us that this is what you’re supposed to be? We’re realizing that people that went through all the steps are still unhappy or don’t have time to even enjoy retirement, don’t even have health to travel, or don’t even have anything in place. It made me question things like, “What is going on here? Why are we stuck in this consumerism?” We consume people, products, and ideas. What is in it for me?When you solve a problem locally, it helps. Click To Tweet
I understood that when I do something and I don’t expect anything in return, it benefits me. It helps me to grow and to develop personally and to say, “I’m not afraid to talk to people anymore because this is important.” People are not afraid to talk to us about any other horrible subjects and negative news, but why are we sitting back and not talking about positive things? What can we do as a society? It is time right now to unite instead of separate. For me, that was the journey that I took and that we are doing it as volunteers. We have volunteers from 140 different countries or 80 different countries. We are also on different languages. We are all on different platforms. We all communicate somehow, but we are all united. We all do those type of projects that internally make every single person happy.
I love that it’s called a movement because that has so much power to it. When you think of it, it’s a movement. It’s funny because of leadership that way or how leadership needs to change. It directly is correlated with what you’re doing because one of the quotes that I will often use in leadership, if your actions inspire somebody to do more, learn more, dream more or become more, you’re a leader. To me, that’s the movement. It’s our actions inspiring others to do more. You guys both had this in 2011. This is not a new concept that you were thinking of, even in 2019, having this global conference. You were thinking about this before we were in this crisis that we’re in right now. What are you seeing now? Are you seeing a difference in terms of either more people being interested in what you’re putting out there?
Yes, definitely. When this all started, people did not see changes. They did not see problems in the consumer society we were living in. They did not see the problems in the climate back then, but now more people have a little more time to stop and think, “I’m living like a hamster in a hamster wheel. I see that there are problems going on outside. I look outside my window and it’s snowing. I can see that there’s a lot more global changes happening in the world.” A lot more people are stopping and thinking, “How do I want to live? How do I want the society to be?” We see a response from so many people all over the world that also have the same goal. They also want to do something. They want to live in a better world. They want to live in a better society. It’s funny that you said that from 2011 until now, we see so much change. A lot more people are realizing that we can do better, that we are a civilized society. We can all sit down, talk and figure out how we want to live in the future.
To me, it’s interesting too that this is the first probably global event that’s impacted us. That draws into what you’re talking about. It unifies people around the globe of saying, “We’re all impacted by this.” How many people are feeling the same thing as we’re isolated and stuck at home? Either people that have lost their jobs or people that are fearful of losing their jobs or people that are in this place of like, “What am I doing? What is this all about right now?”
Also, we realized another thing. When you solve a problem locally, it helps. It’s huge. No doubt about it. It’s great when you build a hospital in Africa or you do something locally. It’s wonderful. We also see the big picture and we see that the world’s not changing. We still have kids that are hungry and don’t have water. We still see a lack of all kinds of needs in certain parts of the country. We understand that we need to change things globally. With the technology that we have, with the scientists that we have, with everything that we have in this world, we can definitely make a global change where people live like they’re supposed to where they have medical needs, water, food. It shouldn’t be a problem. We have all that wonderful technology that is thanks to our scientists was already developed. We need to get it out there to all.Climate change is going to affect everyone at some point. Click To Tweet
I’m sure you both have seen some of the pictures that have been put up, that picture in India that was then versus now. The picture then, you can’t even see the buildings. Now it’s crystal clear in terms of all of the pollution that’s gone because we’re not all driving around and the factories are closed. There were so many examples of that now in terms of our impact on the Earth. Now that we’re all stopping, things are improving.
That’s a great example to see how people do affect the ecology, but we also have another program that does climate control. What we have learned from many scientists that we interviewed through Zoom, we are going through a lot of cycles and we know that cycles existed a long time ago. We know it was cold and it was hot. We are approaching one of the cycles based on my understanding where if you don’t do anything right now as humanity, we might not be able to survive with rapid climate change. For some countries around the globe, the climate change is so real. Years ago, we didn’t have climate refugees. That concept didn’t exist. Now every day, we have climate refugees, people that go into other countries. As a society, how do we make sure when we become climate refugees and not that country is accepting us and say, “Yes, I want you. Come in. I have food for you. I have shelter for you. Let’s work it out. Let’s work together.” Our mind is always thinking, “It’s never going to happen to me. Somewhere else, not me.” In reality, what we see around the globe, it’s going to affect all of us at some point.
We’re in one of those situations right now. Most people think that the virus that’s out there, it’s not going to affect me. It’s going to affect somebody else. Nobody thinks they’re the one that is going to become sick. It’s going to be somebody else that’s going to do it. Maybe I don’t need to do anything. We realize that we all need to do something or it’s not going to get better. There’s something that sticks in my mind based on this conversation from both of you when we’re talking about how we go through the house, the job, the planting the trees. This is what we’ve been sold. People end up saying, “What else?” I look at a lot of the research that’s out there in regard to what makes people happy. We found that it’s not money. To a point, it is, but that’s not the end. One of the things that keeps coming up as a theme is purpose, which hits directly on what both of you were talking about here. When there’s a purpose beyond ourselves, we feel more engaged in terms of what we’re doing.
There has to be a purpose. There has to be a goal. They have to be something to strive towards as well. We talked to many people around the world and they said that money is not the answer. There are people that have tons of money but are unfortunately unhappy. When you have this purpose and you have this common goal, then you know that people can do so much. You even know from your personal, for myself, once I have that goal, I know that I can do so much. Together we can change a lot of things. Here’s also the goal of the Creative Society. First, is to find out whether or not people want to live in a creative society, whether or not they want to see the change in the world and how they envision it? What would they like?
Do they want free high-quality healthcare, free education all over the world that’s high quality that is allowed for everybody? Do they want only to work four hours a week, four days a week and spend the rest of their time with their family, on their hobbies, on self-development, or anything? As we talked on our past show, people are only productive four hours a day at work. The rest of the time they spend either by the coffee or talking to the person that works next to them. We know that in order to increase productivity, all the studies do show that four hours is enough. Also, Allatra provides a platform for all the people to discuss these concepts and the model of the creative societies and all spheres of human life.
We want to find ways of uniting all of mankind and create conditions for every person to become an active participant in the life of the society. These are the things we’re working on right now to see what we can do and how people want to live. Another thing we found is that it’s important to talk about those things. If we do not talk about how we envision Creative Society, if we do not show positive examples, then. unfortunately, everybody lives the same way. There’s no change. Once we start talking about it and a person realizes that, “If they’re talking about it, then it’s possible. Maybe I can share my understandings or I can share my ideas.” When people start talking about it and the word starts going out and we can see the big, huge picture and we have a common goal, then we know what to strive towards. That’s the purpose. Once we have that purpose, we can definitely do a lot.
What do you think is the greatest challenge for both of you right now?
The greatest challenge is it’s within us. The greatest challenge is listening to your mind that’s saying, “Don’t do this. Don’t call this person. Don’t talk to this person. Do something else. Wash the dishes. Do this. Go do that.” In reality, you understand that something is pulling you away from the bigger picture because you never know by talking to Patrick what seeds you plant at that point. Patrick might talk to his wife and have a conversation about periods of society. All of a sudden, the kid hears it and says, “Yes, I’m on board. I want this.” We’ll all come out from this quarantine and all of a sudden, everybody’s talking about it. Yesterday, it didn’t exist. Now it’s our reality and we all talk about it. We don’t have negative news and CNN starts talking about how we could split all the resources that we already have around the globe and make everybody healthy. How do we make sure everybody can travel safely? How do we make sure everybody has a salary that they can afford a living? How do we do that? Come on, people. We are all in this one boat together. We know that because of the virus, COVID proved that no one is immune to anything. My biggest challenge is self-motivation and it all comes from them. It’s either I’m stopping something or I’m going forward
You hit on a great point there. We talk ourselves out of a lot of stuff. I don’t know if you’re familiar. Mel Robbins wrote a book called The 5 Second Rule. She talks about her own life experience but said, “Anytime I waited more than five seconds to do something that maybe was of my comfort zone, I talked myself out of doing it.” It was either it wasn’t the right time. I was too busy. It was a stupid idea. How many of us do that? We say, “I can’t make a difference. Nobody’s going to be able to listen to me. It’s not worth it.” We talk ourselves out of that. Also, you bring up another great point, Olga. We answer the questions that we ask ourselves. If we focus on why something can’t be done, we will find enough reasons why it can’t be done. I agree. The opposite is true with that as well. If we look to this and say not, “Why can’t we do it,” but, “How are we going to get this thing done,” it changes our focus.
What I enjoy being a volunteer for a lot of international public movement is that we redefined in how we run. It is a nonprofit. We don’t take any donations. We don’t turn any type of money around. No one is getting any salaries anywhere. If people don’t want to do something, they’ll do it. If people don’t want to do something, then it’s not going to get done. This is what I enjoy because I have been part of some of the nonprofits. We all understand that it’s set up as a business and someone’s getting a nice salary. Someone is doing that. Volunteers are coming in for a couple of hours, but this makes the whole humanity part present because there is no one that’s getting paid. Everybody’s volunteering their time. Everyone is using their best talents. The best thing is we teach each other how to do video edits, do live broadcasts, take interviews, use Photoshop, use other programs so that we can come up with content. We can put together conferences that are global and that are affecting many people around the world.With purpose and a common goal, people can do so much. Click To Tweet
With that said, if somebody wants to volunteer that’s reading, how do they do that? If somebody says, “I want to get involved in this. How do I do that?”
There’s an email address on our website Allatra.org. You can send us an email and we will gladly talk to you and see what project you would like to participate in or what you would like to do. As Olga said, we do teach. If somebody always wanted to do voiceovers or video montage, then we would gladly teach you how to do that or anything else. We have business professionals or business owners that love to be behind the camera. That’s what they always wanted to do or they wanted to do video montage and they come to Allatra. They are wearing a suit at work and they’re a business owner and they come here and they are standing behind the camera or taking interviews or anything like that.
People truly do what they love to do. Also, you said the biggest challenge, as Olga said, the most important thing is to understand that you have a responsibility, to take that responsibility upon yourself and not put it on others. That also is a big part of what we do. We say, “He’s the one that needs to do it. They’re going to do it. It’s their fault.” We never think of ourselves. We never think, “Maybe I should be doing this. Maybe I should see how I can solve it.” Taking responsibility is crucial.
Say I wanted to join as a volunteer, how would I find out what fits for me? Is there a list that I could go to say, “These are the projects, these are the things that are going on or that I could plugin or is there some type of survey that’s done on me to ask me what my interests are?”
We don’t have a database of our volunteers. We don’t collect any information. If someone wants to join, they just join and we’ll add them to the Skype group. We know they exist. They’re all there. There are people, but there’s not an official sign up form. The official sign up form is your own decision of, “I want to do something better for this world. I’m going to do it now and I’m going to take responsibility for it.” That’s what a true socially active volunteer is.
Somebody contacts us via email. We call them and ask them what they like to do. All our projects are online, so they take a look. Some people are interested in climate, so they can either look for climate news or they want to be a reporter or do anything behind the camera or our Creative Society. There’s a lot of different projects. Whatever they like to do, we’ll let them do. We teach them how to do it if they truly want to. They take responsibility and that’s it.
I love that because it’s a self-motivated volunteer.
We don’t schedule the time when you do volunteer. Sometimes we have our calls at 10:00 PM or something because that’s when the kids went to bed. For some people, they can do things during the day. Some people are in different time zones. Sometimes half of the world is already sleeping and the other half is doing something. It’s very interesting and the communication is so open. You’d be surprised how we have this mindset of everyone is a stranger. There’s no longer everyone is a stranger. Everybody is aiming at the same goal of a creative society. It’s so easy to pick up the phone and talk to a so-called stranger on another side, but you know you’re already connected to them in so many ways than one. It’s awesome. It’s so liberating. It’s like, “This is the world that we all dream of.”
We’ve probably been spoiled in some regard. You guys have been at it far longer than I have. I’ve had the show for a few years. When I look at some of the areas that are listening that are on the other side of the globe, it blows my mind to think we’re all connected. I’ve had conversations with incredible people out of the Netherlands, Australia and France. It’s it blows my mind to think about what’s available to us. As we wrap things up, is there anything that you’d like the readers to act on?
It would be great if anybody has any suggestions, questions, or if anybody wants to share with us their vision of a creative society, a world that they would like to live in, they can send us their email to AllatraTVUSA@Gmail.com. Also, we would like to invite everybody to a global conference. We had to reschedule it due to the quarantine. It’s going to be on May 15th of 2021. It’s going to be called Creative Society: Ways to Achieve It. We would like to invite anyone that would like to join and talk about creative society. This is going to be a global conference where people from over 180 countries that are going to join via video call. We will talk about ways of how we can live in the future.The biggest challenge we have is self-motivation, and it all comes from within. Click To Tweet
I will tell you I’ve appreciated this. Ever since we did the call, I couldn’t wait to have this interview because I thought what you’re doing and, in the world that we live in right now, it’s so valuable. Thank you for that.
Thank you so much, Patrick.
My two friends, the Olgas, are so inspiring to me because they are focused on looking at approaches that impact all of us as a community on a global level. As I listened to them talk, it is about creating purpose, about being for others. That’s what their whole movement is about. If we all band together, imagine what things can be accomplished when we do that. If you know somebody that you think would be interested in this episode or joining certainly the group Allatra TV, I would encourage you to forward this on. If you haven’t subscribed already, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating and a comment on this or any other episode. That is how this message continues to get out there about re-imagining leadership in a way that inspires, empowers, and compels others to want to follow our leads as well. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
- Allatra TV
- Olga Schmidt – LinkedIn
- Society: The Last Chance
- Creative Society
- The 5 Second Rule
A lot of people claim that they know the secrets to success, but Justin Breen, the founder and CEO of BrEpic Communications LLC has experienced it firsthand and used these secrets to create an epic business. Now, he wants to share what he learned with the world and help you create your own epic business. In this episode, he talks with Patrick Veroneau about what it really takes to achieve the American Dream. He emphasizes the need for a healthy and strong mindset in the entrepreneurial world, not only to succeed but to be able to survive the industry. He goes back to the basics and explains why you need to build a network of peers with an abundant mentality. Listen in and understand the reality of the entrepreneurial industry as Justin talks about what most people don’t want to hear.
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Justin Breen’s New Book Reveals The Secrets That Provided Him With An Epic Business
My guest is Justin Breen. He published a new book called Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want! To me, what is important in this book is that it’s not a get rich quick book. That said, if you follow what he discusses in this book, it is a book that can make you rich. As it relates to some of the behaviors that I talk about quite often in the work that I do, two that stood out for me. One was around clear expectations and the other was around being for others. He talks about both of these as secrets that should be employed when growing your own business. One is around being clear on the type of client that you want to take on and not straying from that. Secondly, around being for others that it’s about helping other people, that if we wait for this more to the side of giving more than what we are receiving, then we end up with much more than we need. There is an abundance mentality here. Let’s get into it.
Justin, I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this, especially after going on your site and looking at the book that you have that’s going to be published. It is about as you phrase it, your 30 secrets that you uncovered as you were developing your own successful business that you’ve had. As I was thinking about that and the environment we’re in, I thought maybe we could start off with what got you to the point of writing this book, the success of your company, and then go into how this could probably help a lot of people in this environment.
I appreciate you having me on the show. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and then connecting to people on a global, high level. I could talk about this stuff all day. I wrote this book in 43 days because it came flying out of me. There was no intention to write a book originally. I have about 40,000 followers on social media so one day I’m like, “I’m going to post the 30 things that I’ve learned from some of the top entrepreneurs in the world, those things that I’ve implemented into my company and why it’s been an instant global success in less than three years.” I posted that and what happened was, everybody is like, “You have to write a book on this.” People were printing out the list and bringing it to meetings and stuff.
The way I am is when enough high-level people tell me to do something, I do it. I sign with one of the top micro publishers in the United States, she’s out in California, Rebecca Grider, and then signed with her in late November and wrote the book. In 43 days, it’s out and I’m excited about it. Chris Voss, who wrote Never Split the Difference. One of the top business books, he’s doing forward. It’s not just a book, it’s going to help thousands and thousands of people not only potentially start their own businesses, but figure out the right way of running their businesses if they don’t know how to make revenue or do what they love to do. It’s good timing in a way, all of that’s happening because a lot of businesses are going to wind up being more like the one I created.
Justin, there are a lot of people out there thinking, “If Justin can do it, I can’t do it.” What would be nice is for you to go back to 2017 and your decision to start your own business and what was that like? My guess is, were there ever point whereas you were doing this, you were saying to yourself like, “Can I do this?”
A quick background, February 10th, 2017, I was working full-time as a journalist in Chicago. I had my job salary cut in half due to cutbacks. There was nothing I had done. The next couple of weeks I looked for a full-time job and I couldn’t find it. I started doing freelancing on the side while I was working full-time. On April 16th, 2017, I decided to incorporate while I still working full-time so no one knew I had a company yet. For the next six weeks, I reached out to 5,000 people to get my first five clients. One in a thousand, 999 noes for each yes. I’ve got my fifth client and I resigned from my full-time job the next day. A couple of days later, Robert Feder’s one of the top media columnist in the Midwest wrote that I had started my own business. That’s the long way of saying to your point most people won’t be able to do this.
They’re not meant to be entrepreneurs and that’s fine. The ones who are meant to be entrepreneurs if I can do this, then you can do it for sure. If you are willing to accept overwhelming amounts of failure and learn from it to focus on only the positive things never to give up, then you are capable of doing this. I’m living the American dream working with only the best businesses and brands in the world. I only work with visionaries, I make as much money as I want to and I have almost no overhead costs. It’s possible and honestly what’s in my book is tens of millions, if not billions of dollars worth of advice, it’s a blueprint of how I did this.
Justin, you bring up a great point and it’s important, especially now, the buzz word is being an entrepreneur and that’s the thing that you’re supposed to do. If you don’t, you suck. That’s not the case, not everybody has to do that to be happy. You can work for an organization and be happy. That’s important for people to recognize if you work for somebody else. Some people that are not their appetite. They don’t want those things.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to have a certain mindset that is rare. To be an entrepreneur like me, I’m an oddball even for entrepreneurs. I’ll go into a room and talk like this to twenty people or business owners and eighteen of them will look at me like I’m crazy an alien. Those people aren’t my focus, the focus is the 1 and 2 people that are smiling ear to ear and they get it. Because of that, I have 40,000 of those people in my network all over the world. These are the best people ever. They’re total visionaries. They have an abundance mentality, they invest heavily.When you start a business, it takes two full years to really figure it out. Click To Tweet
They never asked what do you charge or what do you cost because those people immediately go away. In my network, that’s an immediate bond, they’re not going to be my clients if someone asks me that. Being intentional and strategic in terms of the types of people I want to work with that’s what led to the company doing well. To your point, as long as you do what you love to do and what you’re good at, that’s the main secret. That’s the key. I don’t think it can be in anything. You could be doing anything and as long as you love to do it and you’re good at it that’s what important to me.
Fast-forwarding, we’re in this crazy vortex, it seems. I’m dealing with people either that I’ve worked within the past that have called to say, “I lost my job. I’m trying to figure out what to do next.” Do you have other people that have lost their job that say, “I don’t want to go back into a corporate environment. I’d like to try and fund something on my own?” There’s a larger percentage to that we know from engagement numbers that are probably thinking with everything that’s going on, is this what I want to be doing with the rest of my life? I’m wondering, can we start to weave in the 30 secrets? What do you say to people that are in this space that are saying, “I want to be an entrepreneur or I want to try and start my own thing?”
There are three main things. One, I talked about already, but do what you love to do and what you’re good at. My entire business model, which is based on me being a journalist for twenty years and being annoyed by PR firms, super simple, I love to do it and I never get tired of it. My firm writes stories that are interesting and pitching it to media and then I connect with people 95% of my day on a global level. That’s my unique ability. I never get tired of it. It’s endlessly invigorating for me so it never works. Two is when you start a business and this is important, especially now is that, in my opinion, and based on what I’ve seen and then the elite level people that I work with it’s not an overnight type of thing.
It doesn’t take two months, not six months, not a year, but two full years to figure the thing out in terms of processes, right networking groups, your style, price point, all that stuff. Number three is, only work with people that look at things as investments, not costs. I said it, if someone asks, what do you cost or what do you charge? They’re gone. They’re immediately eliminated from being clients. Those people are toxic for two reasons. One, they’ll make terrible clients based on my experience and of others, because they’re always going to be looking at things isn’t enough, financial transactional way. Second, they’re going to introduce you to the people in their network and those people are also scarcity mentality, cost mentality, and not good fits at least from my brain and then the type of business that I’m running.
I know from my own business when I think of your second point there, it’s more about patients and that can be difficult. We’re an environment where all we see is the flash at times. If you go on to Instagram, it’s the Lambos, the mansions and people don’t recognize the work that goes in behind this stuff.
For my first five clients to reach out to 5,000 people, and I say those numbers because it’s easy 5 and 5,000, but I’m sure it was more than 5,000 people. I reached out to everyone on my social media network, which was well over 10,000 people. If you can’t accept incredible ups and downs, severe depression, I don’t know one entrepreneur who has been severely depressed at one time or another. This is not a path to go down in my opinion. It’s not healthy at first for sure. It’s an immense roller coaster way of emotion.
If you think the corporate world is hard, it’s nothing. The worst day of my corporate life was even close to the worst day of being an entrepreneur. The beauty of that is, as an entrepreneur, you can learn from those failures and then learn how your brain works when you fail and then realizing that you’ll get through it and that you’ll be a way better person on the other side of things. In situations like this, where 97% of the US or the world is shutting down and in panic mode, for me, and then the people in my network, it’s business as usual.
This is life as an entrepreneur and it’s pivoting and capitalizing on this, not only financially, but then figuring out ways to help people. My business has never been busier. I’ve signed eight clients because when you only work with visionaries and people that look at things in an abundant mentality, then this is what happens. They’re not nervous about any of this. They’re realizing this is a great abundant opportunity that they can capitalize on and then help people in a profound way in that process. It’s all endless and excitement from here on out. It’s only beginning in terms of this network that my company has built on a crazy high level.
A couple of things here is that I’m thinking you start out 5,000 then you get 5. To somebody that’s coming into this that is thinking, “I could use maybe 1 of those 6 that are on the fringe because I need a little bit of runway here to get going. Maybe it’s not my ideal client but I need some runway. I’ll get rid of them later.”
That’s what I did for sure. I agree. At first, to think you’re only going to work with visionaries and the best brands in the world, that could happen. I’ve been pretty lucky, Allstate was one of my first big clients with other than a couple of months of starting. It’s good in a way, you’ll figure out the right types of people that you want to interact with, the right types of businesses, and then, more importantly, the ones that you don’t want to deal with. You can’t figure that out until you learn from that in terms of the right and the wrong things that fit for you and then don’t fit for you. It’s okay to have the wrong clients at first. In fact, I encourage that so you learn who your tribe is.
For me, and my business has taken a hit based on a lot of my work that I do from a leadership standpoint because a lot of it was in person and it’s created an environment where I’ve had to pivot myself. Looking at this and saying, “Where is this going to go? How can I take the problems that are out there and now create models, online, and coaching that’s virtual that will address the real challenges that are coming up?” We talked about this before in regards to reentry and how challenging that is going to be. It is about pivoting of saying, “What’s the opportunity to serve in this crisis?” That’s what you have to do.
If you don’t, then you’re going to be left behind. If people aren’t going to change after this type of situation then, they’re not going to change. The only reason I started a company is because of my job salary was cut in half and I couldn’t find a job. I look at these types of things and the recession, where many people started amazing businesses or pivoted or came up with great ideas. The same thing is already happening here. It’s going to be amazing even a couple of weeks or months from now. All these great companies that start because of it and the people that reenter into their regular jobs or what they’ve been doing before, I imagine there’s going to be drastic differences in good ways in terms of how those jobs look.
The businesses that don’t pivot or react to this in a productive way, those businesses will go away. That’s how life works. Now is the time to capitalize that and look at this in a positive way. Change, it’s okay. A lot of these businesses that are been stuck in the mud forever, higher education, and I can consider religion a business in this case because you can’t go to church or temple anymore, it’d be better to figure it out. Law and all these other things, look at how our healthcare is already pivoting. I have a ton of healthcare clients and it’s exciting to see what they’re doing and sign with the big online education company because they have all these courses that every college in the country could use. It’s those types of things that excite me. It’s cool.
You mentioned something you’re talking about mindset when you talk about this.
That’s the most important thing.
I’d be curious from your perspective, dial it back, when can you look to your own past and say that’s when you recognized that it was about mindset.
When you start a business, it takes two full years. At the two year point, I had weeded out all the nickel and dime networking groups. I had started to join groups, there’s ProVisors Group, which is a national organization. I had joined a group called Strategic Coach, which is an international entrepreneurial organization. It’s around $10,000 a year to be a part of it. It’s only entrepreneurs. I meet quarterly in Chicago. I’m the only one from Illinois in my group, everybody else flies in. Strategic Coach has been such a blessing because it’s changed my mindset in terms of understanding my value and my unique ability, which again is doing what you love to do and what you’re good at and then having a minimum check.
If someone won’t meet my minimum check requirements, then they won’t become my client. Having constant, daily abundant mentality and reinforcing that every single day does lead to you attracting those type of people. Ninety-five percent of my conversations and 95% of my day is with all these global visionaries everywhere about all these great things that they’re doing. When you constantly talk to people like that, you rise up with them. These are people running 8, 9, 10 figure businesses. They’re the nicest people ever. While my goal is not having a 9, 10 figure business, it is creating this network on an insanely high level where it keeps growing and growing and that’s already happened, but it’s the beginning of it.If you can't accept incredible ups and downs and severe depression, this is not a path to go down. Click To Tweet
You talk about staying in a place of abundance. Most that I talked to that are successful have some type of routine that they start out with, what does that look like for you?
For the past years, I’ve been running outside, six days a week, no matter the weather conditions, blizzard, negative twenty degrees or monsoon, and 100 degrees I will run no matter what. That’s well before I started a business. That’s a key part of my routine. A good friend of mine who’s also a client his name is Joe Martin. He’d be a great guest for this. He names his years. I started doing that. I’ve been calling it global growth well before COVID started happening. I tell myself every day, “Global growth.” Two of my clients are in Toronto and Guatemala and more than half of my conversations are with people outside of the US. When you keep reinforcing that and say it every day, and then you’re part of organizations. I’m in EO, which is Entrepreneurs Organization, that network is insane. People who are serious about growing their network on a global level, EO is amazing. It weeds out all the nonsense, companies have to make between $250,000 and $1 million, the groups that I’m in and most of these companies are way over $1 million.
When you keep reinforcing that and saying it over and over again, it’s what happens. When I started business few had said this stuff, I would have thought you were insane, but it’s legit. Another one that’s important is building relationships is a lot like farming which planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. I don’t look at any meeting as a direct business opportunity and I barely ever talk about business when I meet with people unless they directly ask. It’s more about seeing if our brains smash. I have this weird, unique ability where I could be talking to someone in Australia and they’ll say something obscure and I’ll know someone in British Columbia, Canada, who’s similar to them and I’ll introduce them. I don’t know how that works. It does. I don’t write anything down. If you asked me to build anything with my hands, I’ll have a nervous breakdown. I can’t do that, but this stuff, it’s easy for me.
When you plant these seeds, what I’ve seen is the relationships I built a few years ago when I started the business. Those people who I hadn’t heard from in years, they’re reaching out to me now, or they’re connecting me with somebody who could potentially change my life. If you look at things like that, where all these conversations that you have will be beneficial to you 1, 2, 3 years, even longer, then that’s the way of approaching it as opposed to, “I’m talking to this person trying to sell them something.” That’s complete nonsense. When I first started, that’s what I was doing and the success rate was way lower because it had come off the wrong way. It’s more about building a real relationship as opposed to a transaction, a real partnership.
LinkedIn has become this crappy environment for that, where you get people will reach out about connecting with you, and then a day later, I get some follow-up from them asking me to buy something. I said, “You haven’t done anything. There’s no value there that you’ve provided.”
It’s all BS. I have about 20,000 followers on LinkedIn and I use LinkedIn as a commercial for other people. Of those 20,000, 15,000 are CEOs, founders, like not the shysters that you’re talking about. What I’ll do with LinkedIn is, I’ll talk to an amazing CEO who’s doing this awesome program or whatever. I’ll be like, “I had a great talk with so and so.” I tagged them in it and then put a link to their program or whatever. It has nothing to do with me. I like to showcase other people. My firm’s clients are in the Chicago Tribune or The Boston Globe I’ll posts, “Thanks, Boston Globe for picking up this story.” I’ll tag my clients in it. That gives first mentality it’s an anecdotal led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for my firm. Also, all these amazing relationships that have been created by tagging people in posts and then all these amazing people get to see all the great things that these other people are doing, and then they want to reach out. The most important thing is when you surround yourself with the people that have this forward-thinking mentality and not the people that are trying to sell you something, then it’s endless joy and connectivity.
That’s a great lesson, whether it’s a secret or a lesson in regards to what you’ve talked about in your own success. When you’re being for others, it has a way from the universe standpoint of coming back around and that’s not necessarily why we do it, but it’s like a law that it happens. I am a firm believer in that.
I’ve met two people since I’ve started this that have almost the exact same brain as me where it’s a weird brain and they’re able to connect dots in an insane, it was crazy. One of the guys I met and he’s the former CEO of a giant insurance company. Crain’s Chicago named him one of the most connected people in Chicago and they were able to quantify that by like, “Here’s what his company was worth.” He’s on 30 boards across the world. That’s how they quantified how much those boards are or how much those companies are worth so it wasn’t like, “Here’s someone who’s connected.” They’re like, “This is someone who’s connected to $50 billion in whatever it is.”
Suddenly, I was sitting at his house and listening to him. He introduced me to someone who winds up being a client because he was listening to what I was saying and I could see his head spinning and he’s like, “I will stop the conversation.” He called this guy in Canada and then 2 or 3 weeks later they were my client. He said something that was brilliant. He’s like, “I give 60 to get 40.” I’m like, “That summed it up, you give 60 to get 40.” That’s unfortunately not in the book because I met him after I wrote the thing. When I write another book that’ll be in that because it makes perfect sense, you give 60 to get 40.
Especially now, we need more 60 to 40s. That’s how we get through this.
I’m more of 90 to 10, which is fun. It doesn’t matter to me.
When you go from an abundance mentality, you know that there’s enough for everybody. I don’t need to afford it.
Here’s how to dovetail that, people ask me all the time like, “Do you look at other PR firms as is your competition, or who’s your competition?” I go, “I have no competition. I’m only looking for certain amounts of brains and if they have the right brain or mentality, then there’ll be my clients or my network and if not, then they won’t be. There’s no competition.” Not only is there no competition, but there’s collaboration because my firm’s model is specific. I don’t deviate from it. If you want to do this then great, I have enough people that business is exploding. If you don’t want to do it, I’ll introduce you to somebody else. I don’t care. When you’re in these lower level, groups or dealing with lower-level mindsets and that’s what it is. It’s a lower level of mindset. That’s what it is, it’s competition. I’m trying to get everything for myself and that’s complete nonsense. There’s business opportunity even now. It’s insane how much opportunity is out there if you have the right mindset.
Of the hundreds, thousands of people that are reading, this will sink in with maybe 5% at the most of people but the ones that it does, they’ll either reach out to me or reach out to you or they’ll be like, “This is a 100% right. This is what I should be doing. These people will start their businesses or enhance their own other businesses.” I was doing another interview and the guy’s like, “Are you’re trying to help everybody?” I go, “Absolutely not.” Ninety-five percent of people cannot be helped by the stuff that I’m saying because they don’t have that mindset and they’re never going to, which is fine. I’m concerned about the 3% to 5% of people who are visionaries or have that in them and they either have it now or they’re looking for the right push to get to that level. That’s my target and it’s less than 3%. It’s more like 1% or 2%.
I will tell you personally, I’m looking forward to the book coming out because I promise you, I will be reading this because in terms of you telling your story and me reading online, what you’ve done there are lessons that I know that I’ll pick up.
I appreciate that. Here’s my point, one, I don’t think we ever even mentioned the name of the book, which is Epic Business, because that’s what happens. My PR firm is BrEpic. I only mentioned it because people might want to know what I do. This happens all the time, I talked to people and it never gets said what the actual name is because it’s not about that. It’s about way bigger things than that. When you get me talking about anything besides us, I’ll sit in the corner of me bored out of my mind, but these things are important. They can help many people I’m endlessly passionate about this. It’s funny because every time it never comes up. It’s not a shameless plug. It’s bigger people who want to know what it’s called.
I’m looking forward to reading it myself. Justin talking, you’re right. There is a percentage of individuals that will take this and find a way to apply it and the rest won’t either purchase it in the first place or we’ll say, “That’s not me. I can’t do that.”
That’s right and that’s fine. I’m not trying to help everybody. I don’t see the point of that because the number one reason why my company is successful is I’m focused on doing what I love to do and what I’m good at and then working with only people who understand that. If you don’t, then that’s fine. There are other things out there to do. The ones that do get it, those people are like a drug for me. It’s intoxicating hanging out with those people and then watching that network grow and grow.Building relationships is a lot like farming. It's planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. Click To Tweet
I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and talk about your book and the 30 secrets. That will be out for everybody to be able to go to that link. I’m looking forward to reading it myself. It’s going to be a great read.
I’m excited and thanks for having me on. I know this book is going to change people’s lives for sure.
I’m looking forward to reading Justin’s book. I picked it up on Kindle as it went out. I know that there are things that I will be able to take away from this and you will too. If you know somebody that would benefit from this episode, I’d ask you to afford it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to spread. We are focused on reimagining what it means to lead because the world needs leaders. Until the next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
- Justin Breen
- Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want!
- Never Split the Difference
- ProVisors Group
- Strategic Coach
Whatever area you’re in, leaders, more or less, have the same responsibilities and obligations. In Cutler Dawson’s book, From the Sea to the C-Suite, he shares a model he developed for leading, and in this episode, he breaks down what leadership should be. As a retired President and CEO of an 85-year-old company, he shares the experiences he amassed and the practices he was able to carry over from the Navy to the corporate world. Understand what loyalty should be like and what truly shapes a leader. Listen in as Cutler explains the importance of listening and the difference between listening to hear and listening to understand.
Listen to the podcast here:
Cutler Dawson’s New Book Provides A Model For Leading In Every Area Of Life
We’re going to be talking to Cutler Dawson, who’s the author of the book, From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office. This was such an incredible opportunity to speak with him about his book. The stories that he tells in his book are both from his career in the Navy as a Vice Admiral, through his career as the CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, which is the largest credit union in the world. If you’re a learner as a leader, you will walk away with ideas and inspiration on how to become a better leader.
Cutler, thank you for being on the show. I had the opportunity to read your book and it was one of the best books that I have read. From the Sea to the C-Suite, you’ll explain what that means to us. That would be a great place to start out in terms of what was the decision to put this book together?
When I retired from the Navy and went to being the CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, I thought about how I was going to reach out and talk to the people that worked there, many of which had never been in the military. I found over my fourteen years there that I would tell a lot of sea stories to paint a picture on what I was trying to convey to them, and they were real-life experiences that I had. They kept telling me that they enjoyed hearing them. I truly thought that they did. People started telling me, “You need to write a book with your story,” particularly my wife. She set me up with this wonderful lady named Taylor Kiland, who is the co-author. We worked together and it came together. I decided that I wanted to write the book for the employees of Navy Federal Credit Union, but also for aspiring leaders and including those that are coming out of the military that want to continue their leadership travel.
What I found interesting was even when I read the foreword you said, “We wrote the book.” To me, that stood out. I was wondering if you could speak to that because hat says a lot about your leadership.
“We” is a word that should be used all the time. A lot of people slip into the trap of using the “I” word. In this particular case, Taylor Kiland, who helped me has ghost written eighteen books. When we started the project I said, “Taylor, there’s one requirement that’s that we have to have, and that is I want your name to be on the book. You’re doing a tremendous amount of work. I can’t do this without you.” She said, “No one has ever asked me for that before.” That’s how we came about. There are many people that are like me who wouldn’t feel right and most of the people that deserve the credit, get the credit.
One of the quotes that I will often use in a lot of the work that I do around leadership was a quote by John Quincy Adams. It says, “When your actions inspire somebody to dream more, do more, learn more or become more, you’re a leader.” What stands out to me in that is actions are inspiring and its behaviors. You exemplify that in the book as you write it through those stories of your interactions. I was wondering maybe if you could speak to that a little bit in terms of your naval career?
First of all, I love the way you described leadership as behaviors because that’s spot on. You’re not born brilliant and you’re not born a leader. You’re shaped as leader on how you behave, then it results in how you behave to other people. Not only the people that you work for, but primarily the people that work for you. It’s important that you exhibit the proper behaviors to get the best out of your people. I used to put it this way at Navy Federal. If you take care of your crew, they’re going to take care of you. You would be amazed how a Navy crew on a ship knows when their Commanding Officer has their best interests at heart. They will do extraordinary things for him or her if they believe that. If they don’t believe that, they may do the minimum to get by, but as John Adams has described, they won’t do extraordinary things. They will far exceed anything that you could do it by yourself.If you take care of your crew, they're going to take care of you. Click To Tweet
What drew me to that is the inspiring part, “It’s not because I have to, but I’m inspired to do it. I want to do that for you because of how you treat me.”
How many people have we all worked for where we’ve said to ourselves, “I don’t want to let them down, I respect and like them, I don’t want them to be disappointed in me?” I had a Captain early in my career that took over from a Commanding Officer that everyone hated. He was mean and nasty. I was fortunate that I survived, and then this new captain named Pete Hedley comes aboard and he talked to you, he got around his ship, he learned who everybody was. All of a sudden, we were working so hard before we knew it, that we were working hard because we liked him and I’ll never forget that.
You talk about that in the book. You were questioning getting out at that point like, “This isn’t the place for me.”
Also, we were questioning getting out and this is a good lesson where the other officers on the ship, some of whom have never seen another a leader other than the one that was nasty and bad. Fortunately, I had seen others before and I knew there was Pete Hedley in my future. Lo and behold, he showed up. Those officers that were also thinking about getting out all stayed in.
He sounds like he was a pretty special individual.
He is and he was. We all have Pete Hedleys in our backgrounds.
There was a story that I remember reading about, and I’m not sure if it was with him or not, but it was when you were trying to raise morale and you had some of the sailors out on a power boat around burning gas. I’d love if you could talk about that because that’s a great story.
That’s a Pete Hedley story. He was trying to raise the morale of the officers particularly on the ship because he figured that if the officers had high morale, they’re going to inspire their sailors to have the same and it worked. There was a small boat that was attached to the ship that he would use to go out in the Harbor in Guam and we would go water skiing. Unfortunately, it was during the 1974 fuel crisis. He got called to task to see the Admiral to explain why he was burning fuel waterski in Apra Harbor. Pete thought his career was over. He went over to see Admiral Morrison, the father of the singer, Jim Morrison. He looked at him and said, “Why are you doing this?” He said, “To improve morale and to make being in the Navy fun.” The Admiral said, “Good for you. Mrs. Morrison and I would like to join you in the next time you go out.” We all can relate to that and it’s particularly relevant in the pandemic. Don’t lose your sense of humor and your sense of well balanced. It might be easy to like in a fuel crisis, but hang in there and try to do the right thing.
It’s a point that certainly should be listened to. In the book, one of the things that stood out to me too is you talked about wanting to be a high-quality employer for entry level employees. I was wondering if you could speak to the focus on that, but also how did that benefit Navy Federal?
Navy Federal has had a long history of being good to employees. My goal was to try to take it to another level. In fact, in many years of existence, Navy Federal Credit Union has never had a layoff, even in the great recessions. They believe in a bond between the employee and the organization. It’s the entry level employees in most cases that are going to have the contact with the customer or as we call them in the Credit Union world, member. You need a high-quality person to do that. To get them, you have to be high-quality. For example, another thing that Navy Federal does, we need part-time employees but we would give them full-time benefits to work part-time. That drives tremendous loyalty. In Federal, I used to say, “Loyalty is a two-way street. I want you as employees to be loyal to Navy Federal but in return, Navy Federal needs to be loyal to you.” That’s no different than the bond that existed in the Navy when I was there. To some extent, that’s one of the things I brought with me.
I’ll transition in the conversation around walking the deck plates and how important that was. How did that transition over from being on a ship to being in the credit union? What was the value to that?
It was a tremendous value and it was no different on the ship. I used to spend a tremendous amount of time getting around any ship that I was in command of. It had an electric impact on the crew. I also warned officers in command to not retreat to their cabin. We all need to remember that or not retreat to your office because the longer you’re in a position, the more you think, you know everything, and you have a tendency to want to stay in your comfort zone. I remember all my cruiser that I had command of. It was near the end of my tour and I’m out around the ship and I’m crawling under the number three generator in the up part of the ship. I got tired and I said, “This is hard work.” I said to the good parent on the other side, “You need to be out here. You need to see what your people are doing because they’re crawling under that generator and you need to be there and see that.”
You talk about it in your behavior items and you call it empathy. One of the ways I did that at Navy Federal is I did tremendous amount of branch visits. I would go and visit branches. I had one requirement when I visited her branch and I had to speak to every employee that was in there that day. I would talk to them about themselves. We might talk about business and we generally would get around to talk about business, but I’d ask them about them. I’d ask them about their family. I’d ask them about their background. I’d ask them about where they wanted to be five years from now.
I can’t describe to you what it did. I remember near the end of my fourteen years, I was visiting a branch and this young lady in San Diego said, “Mr. Dawson, there’s a rumor going around. We want to know whether it’s true or not.” I go, “What’s the rumor?” She said, “The rumor is there’s a picture of every employee outside your headquarters office and you know everybody by name.” I said, “We’ve got 18,000 employees. There’s not a picture outside the office. I don’t know everybody’s name, but I know your name.” She said, “Thank you.” What a nice rumor to have go around and that’s because I’m walking the deck plate. It’s what everyone needs to do. Once again, my point is the longer you’re in a position, you have to make sure that you get out and do that because you get new employees, you get new crew members and they may have never seen you before.Loyalty is a two-way street. Click To Tweet
I’ve worked for organizations in terms of coming in to have to do leadership work with different levels. I’ve had executives that will say, “I don’t go out in the group. That’s not my place. I’m here doing something else.” To me, what happens is that employees give them the right answer, whereas I get the real answer in terms of what’s going on within the organization. There are many people that are unhappy and this person is removed that they don’t realize that their behaviors are creating such a poor environment.
You have to also think about what you’re doing when you get out and about. You learn things but you can’t come back to the headquarters and punish people for things that you pick up out in the deck plates. I got in the Navy Federal and on my first trip I went to Pensacola. This young manager down there was assigned to take me around. My wife was with me on this trip. We’re going to the first stop and I started asking her questions. I’ve been the CEO for one month. I see this look of terror in her face, “What am I going to do?” She’s thinking, “How can I get these answers embedded through my chain of command before I answered his question?”
I figured that out quickly and I said, “Michelle, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” She said, “What’s that, Mr. Dawson?” I said, “The easy way is I ask you questions and you give me answers. You tell me the best answer that you have. The hard way is I reach in my briefcase and pull out this rubber hose and beat the hell out of me.” My wife jived in at the time and said, “Michelle, he wants to know what you have to say. He does not have a rubber hose in his brief case.” Fast forward fourteen years later, I’m saying my goodbyes and I see Michelle and she presents me with a rubber hose. I still have that rubber hose.
There was another one along those lines that I remember you talking about where you were going into a branch and the answer seemed to be canned. You were getting the same answer. I was wondering if you could speak to that.
Everybody wants to think things to go well for the boss. My philosophy is it is what it is. You can’t deal with it unless you know where your challenges are and what they are. I noticed in a branch visit to San Diego that I was getting the same questions and the same answers to my questions. I figured out quickly that they had been scripted by the regional manager. I completed the visit and I called him up. I said, “You can’t do this. This doesn’t help me and they’ll do it again.” When I left fourteen years later, he’s still at Navy Federal. He learned quickly but I’d have gotten rid of him if it had happened again.
Which is important because the frontline employees look to you as they need you to defend them. As a leader, if you want the real answer and they give it to you, but it doesn’t look favorably, then they’re looking at you like, “Who’s going to protect me?” That’s what happens in organizations a lot is they would love to say what’s going on, but they don’t feel that somebody truly is going to be an advocate for them. They’ll say it and then they’re expendable. It’s over.
Other things can happen too. I had an experience. Even though I’m retired, I visited a branch in San Diego in the beginning of this crisis. I’m the ex-CEO but I still care about them. I wanted to check on their morale and how they were doing. They were doing great. It turns out there’s a young lady that I had helped many years before that was in the brand. What had happened many years before was I had made a visit and I was talking to her. I sensed that something wasn’t right.
I left and I’m with the regional manager. I said, “What’s going on with this young lady?” He goes, “We moved her branch at her request because she got married and she’s gotten a divorce. Now, she can’t get back up an hour away to our other branch because we don’t have a billet for her.” She wasn’t going to tell me that. She wasn’t going to burden me with that, but I sense that something was not quite right. I said, “We’re to create a new billet for her up North and I want her transferred tomorrow.” Many years later, I come in. I hadn’t seen her since then, despite all the social distance and I got the biggest hug I’ve ever had in my lifetime. The message is it’s beyond immediate. You’ve got to pick up on the sense of things too.
In the book, you talk about that in terms of listening to hear versus listening to understand. To me, that seems to be an example of even what wasn’t being said, you were listening to understand that something didn’t jive or something was wrong.
That makes sense that sometimes you can learn when people don’t say the truth.
It’s what we don’t say or what our body language says. We don’t have to say a word. That speaks for us.
Without speaking or listening, I had a thought for everybody that I also believe the longer you’re in a position, the more tendency you have to talk rather than listen. You do it for good reasons. You do it that you’ve seen things and you’ve experienced things and you want to impart your experience and your wisdom on the people that work for you. The problem with that is if you overdo that part, you’re not listening anymore and you don’t learn anything when you’re not listening. You’ve got to try to reach the right balance.
I always remember being in sales starting out. We were always told, “You have two ears and one mouth. Use that ratio.”
I was working in Congressional Affairs for the Navy. One of my officers took a trip with a Senate staffer. When he got back, I said, “How did it go?” He goes, “It’s great. I like him.” I go, “That’s not important. How did he like you?” How does the customer like you? You may like the customer in what he or she spends, but are they liking you in return?The longer you're in a position, the more tendency you have to talk, rather than listen. Click To Tweet
Your employees are your ultimate customers.
I was at a conference on Wall Street many years ago. I’m talking to the CEO of Hartford Insurance Company. He said to me, “What’s the most important thing to you at your work at Navy Federal?” I said, “My employees are my most important thing because if they’re not taken care of and they’re not motivated, our customers aren’t going to be happy.” He goes, “My shareholders are my most important entity in my business. Maybe I should say employees.” I smiled at him and said, “You’ve got to do it. You can’t say it.”
You talk about four answers in your book. That was interesting the way you laid those out. It sounds like that was shaped in you growing up, but it certainly transferred over. I’d love to hear you talk about those four answers.
When I entered the Naval Academy in 1966, that was one of the first things that was taught to all of us. In the Navy, there are four acceptable answers to any questions and it’s a generic response: “Yes, sir.” “No, sir” “No excuse, sir” and “I’ll find out, sir.” “Yes, sir and no, sir” are obvious but let’s talk about the last two. “No excuse” means that if you make a mistake, you own the mistake. You don’t blame other people. You don’t blame the people that work for you. You don’t blame the fact that you didn’t have all the information you needed. You said, “No excuse. I will do better.” With regards to when you ask a question, if you don’t know the answer, don’t make up an answer because that can have disastrous consequences.
As you can imagine in the military, if you turn to your navigator and say, “Are we on a safe course to clear the harbor?” They don’t know and they say, “Yes, we are.” You might run a ground. It’s better to say, “I’ll find out.” If you’re the Captain, you can say, “Let’s come to all stop and not go out any further until we find out where we are.” I find those two answers to be the best. Let me give you an example of “No excuse.” I had a young lady that worked for me at Navy Federal. I had told her to put some controls in because I was concerned that we were going to be defrauded by a vendor that we were working with. She put them in and then two years later, she decided to take them out. That’s when he hit us. We’d lost money with him.
When I talked to her she said, “This is my fault. It’s none of my people. I’m the one responsible. I feel that I’ve let you down.” I responded, “You should have talked to me about this and we could have talked it over.” She lost her bonus money that year. It was about $20,000. She worked as hard as she could. She worked her heart out that next year. She got an out-of-sequence President’s Award for $20,000. That happened to equal what she had lost the year before because she was truly a person that believed in “No excuse” and she lived it.
When I hear “No, excuse,” the ownership to me goes right into another piece that you’ve talked about and that’s about the true north.
We all have to do some soul searching on that. One of my mantras has always been, “Do the right thing.” I pick that up early in my career when I went to command my first ship. I was 27 years old. I had five years in the Navy and my boss was in charge of seven ships like mine, but he had 32 years in the Navy. He wore a World War II submarine combat patrol pin. He had been in combat in submarines in World War II. When I made my arrival call on him, my first meeting with him, he looked at me and said, “Lieutenant Dawson, I only have one instruction for you. You do the right thing and I’ll back you up all the way.” That’s the way he did. I tried to tell everybody that worked for me, “Do the right thing and I’ll have your back.” Sometimes the right thing to do is not the expedient thing to do. That resonated with the employees of Navy Federal. It empowered them to do what was right for the customer and the members. At the same time, they knew that when they did that, it would be right for our organization.
One of the things that I think about, and I believe it was in the beginning of the book but certainly toward the end, could you talk to the growth success of Navy Federal Credit Union? The focus of it was almost like the byproduct of the people that created that. That really resonated.
Years before I got to Navy Federal, there was a Chairman of the Board at Navy Federal that put it very well. He said that, “An organization like Navy Federal should not grow for growth’s sake. It should grow because it’s providing superior service that people want to be part of.” Everyone at Navy Federal takes that to heart and I took it to heart too. We quadrupled in size by the time that I was there, but we didn’t think in terms of numbers. We measured our success in two things. One, member satisfaction and two, employee satisfaction.
One of the things that I would suggest for anyone that’s leading an organization, people don’t always know that they are in a powerful organization. For example, the Navy Federal came out on the Fortune 100 top places to work in the country list. In the past years, Navy Federal was number nineteen. It allowed them to realize how good they were and how good their organization was and that’s a powerful thing. One needs not to lose sight of that. With regard to member satisfaction, the other thing was that Navy Federal has become one of the most trusted institutions in the country. People believe that if they work with them, if they trust them with their finances, they will return the trust and that’s a powerful thing as well.
You have given many examples for anybody that’s either a frontline leader or an executive in an organization. The things that you talk about and your examples is a must in terms of understanding these things and what that can provide. I’m grateful for you for all that you’ve shared with us and for writing this book because there’s so much there that we can all learn from. Thank you for your service. What’s the best way for somebody to get contact with you as well as get your book?If you make a mistake, own the mistake. Don't blame other people. Click To Tweet
The title is From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office. It’s a good read for people that were in the military or not in the military. People in any leadership level will get some nuggets out of it. You can order it on Amazon by the title or by my name. You can also order it on the Naval Institute Press. It’s a little book with big print.
It’s a great read. I’m wishing you all the best.
At the end of each chapter in Cutler’s book, he lists what are called foot stompers. The term foot stomper in the Navy applies to if there was something that somebody wanted to make sure that they understood to pay attention to, that it was going to be tested on later on, that they would stomp their foot. That gave everybody the alert to pay attention. His book has many foot stompers in it in terms of the messages and the stories that he tells, in terms of helping to build better organizations wherever you are.
If you know somebody that would enjoy this episode, forward it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment in regards to this episode or any other. When you do that, it allows this message to continue to get out there about finding a better way to inspire others. That’s what these episodes are about. There is a better way when we re-imagine what leadership can look like. Until our next episode. I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best. Peace.
- Cutler Dawson
- From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- Naval Institute Press – From The Sea to the C-Suite
Navigating through a crisis takes skill and a good foundation. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau discusses the seven behaviors needed to lead through a crisis and the importance of stepping up as the leader of the pack. Reimagining leadership involves a constant pursuit of continuous learning. Patrick talks about the void that continues to widen ineffective leadership, and the lack of equipment leaders possess before taking the position. Tune in as Patrick explores the different leadership behaviors you will need to get through the hard times.
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The 7 Behaviors Needed To Lead Through A Crisis
We’re going to discuss the seven behaviors that you need to successfully lead through a crisis. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, while I’ve seen many examples of great leadership through this. Honestly, I’ve seen far too many at all levels of government within organizations and in the community that lack the behaviors that are necessary for us to be able to navigate this. I will tell you, at one point, as I was thinking of the title for this, I almost wanted to put the title as Wanted: Leaders to Address Crisis. Step Up is All You Need to Do to Apply. There are behaviors here that we’re going to talk about that will make all the difference in there based on both research and real-world experiences.
I believe there are seven behaviors that are most important. We’re going to talk about leading through crisis, but if you can lead through a crisis, then you can certainly lead through better times. What I’m seeing now is the void in effective leadership continues to widen where we’re seeing that individuals that maybe had positions of title with their authority didn’t have the equipment to be able to lead through this. This is the problem that we’re running into. The first behavior that I want to recommend is simply around learning. Leaders are learners. If you are not learning and being curious about how do you improve your skills as a leader, then you will be left behind. This environment, certainly, we’re seeing that.
I will often use and have done for over a decade a quote by a gentleman named Eric Hoffer. He said, “In times of change, leaders inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Learners inherit the earth in times of change. We’re always going through change. Especially, when you get up into higher levels of leadership that, “I got all the way here. I get it. I know how to do this.” Oftentimes, they don’t. They navigated a political situation to be able to get where they are, but they don’t have the behaviors that inspire, empower, and compel those people that report to them. That’s what we’re talking about here in terms of effective leadership is doing those three things.Leaders are learners. Click To Tweet
When you can inspire somebody to want to go where you’re asking them to go, when you empower them to be able to say, “I can do it and go where you want me to go,” and you compel them. They’re able to say, “I will go where you’re asking me to go.” There’s an intrinsic motivation there, which doesn’t rely on my title anymore or an extrinsic carrying a stick to get people to do what I’m wanting them to do out of fear. It’s those three things. It starts with learning, with always being out there to look at, “How do I improve my skillset?” That’s key to this. The next one that I will talk about in terms of the behavior is around congruence, walking the talk that if we’re making decisions in a crisis situation, what are we basing those off of?
In organizations, we probably have values, missions, and visions. To me, those are our true north that when we can make decisions and at least back them up saying that, “The decision that we’re making is based on this value. We’re staying consistent with this.” When we don’t do that, we lose our own compass. We lose those around us to be inspired, empowered, and compelled to follow where we need them to go.
The next is around appreciation. This is about recognizing that we’re all different personalities, different skillsets, that if we don’t recognize the value in that, of diversity within a group and drawing people in, as a leader, I can’t have all the answers nor should I be expected to. To me, this is about being able to draw on the resources of those around me, to appreciate, “Who do I have on this team? What are their strengths? How do I draw them into coming up with the best solution?” That’s how this works, not one person to do that or two people, but as many as I can from as many different various backgrounds that can help me to get as much information as I need to get on this.
The next one plays on that somewhat, but it’s around belongingness. We know all the research in regards to inclusion and how important that is that we need people to feel as though they’re part of the solution. That they’re part of what is happening. When we don’t have that, people feel isolated and this isn’t part of this show, but there is much research in regards to isolation and it has a negative impact on us all the way to mortality. It’s been shown that isolation in its most physical sense has a risk factor that’s on par with either smoking or cardiovascular disease as it relates to mortality. The importance of drawing people in is certainly valid.
Next, we talk about listening. Strong leaders are listeners as well, and they listen in a variety of ways to try and be curious as to what other people have to say. They don’t get defensive about it. They’re open to exploring what are the other opinions or perspectives that I can draw in. What that allows us to do when we’re listening as a leader is to diminish the negative impact of confirmation bias. What happens in confirmation bias is I look to the evidence that backs up what I believe in and I discount all the other stuff that goes against that, even if it’s valid. It doesn’t matter if we have an education level whether it’s GED or PhD, we can all fall victim to being in this trap of confirmation bias.
When we listen, it allows us to diminish the impact that confirmation bias has on us, because we’re being curious about what else is going on and that’s what we need out of leaders. The next is around empathy. It involves thinking about how do my decisions or what we’re putting out there can impact other people and to think about it from the standpoint of, “How does this affect a large business? How does this affect a small business? How does this affect a frontline employee or an owner?” When we can think about the long-term impact of all the people that are involved in a situation, we need to be able to do that. If some of you might think, “This is all too soft. There’s nothing here that has any substance.” I will tell you that the last behavior that I will talk about is around specifics.
Clear Expectations and Decisiveness
That is about clear expectations and decisiveness. If there is a trap that I see many leaders falling into is that they’re not providing enough in regards to clear expectations, to allow people to know what is expected. There are far too many people that are saying, “Guidance is coming. We’ll get this next week.” That’s not what people need. People need some type of transparency here when you’re leading them to know where are we going? The other part of this is around decisiveness. That’s the ability to act, “While I might take off all of the information around me into my decision and try and weight these things, when it comes to the end and the decision has to be made, then there are times where I’m going to have to make a difficult decision based on all the data that I can. I will not continue to push this down the road and I won’t allow somebody else to take the fall for it. I will be responsible for the decisions I make, but I will be decisive on this.”
That builds much trust in individuals when, first, they’ve been taken into account. I’ve demonstrated to them that I’ve tried to hear as many perspectives as I can on this. Here is my decision going forward. If we can’t get a consensus as a group, then my role as the leader of this is to make a final decision on this as best I can. We’re all human. There are times where I’m going to make the wrong decision. As long I am responsible for that and I can own that, then from a standpoint of inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow my lead, I’ve built a level of trust there because they know that I’m going to be responsible for what I said. In this time, these seven behaviors are important.Learners inherit the earth in times of change. Click To Tweet
The first one is be a learner, continually try and learn. That’s the only way we get better because the world continues to change. Those that are learned are the ones that say, “I don’t need to learn any of this stuff.” You are going to be left holding the bag. What you thought was leadership going forward will not work. The other six behaviors that I talk about are in a blueprint that I put together called CABLES. The whole idea behind CABLES is to think of this as though each one of these behaviors builds a stronger continuous cable when it’s wrapped around itself. When we do that, when we think of it in an analogy of a bridge, we’re building stronger relationships through these cables that we develop, these behaviors.
The C in this model is congruent with the blueprint, that’s the C cable. The A cable is around Appreciation. The B cable is around Belongingness and Being for others. The L cable here is around Listening. The E cable is around Empathy and S cable is around Specifics, which is about clear expectations and being decisive. That is about re-imagining what effective leadership is going to look like going forward. We are finding a better way. I hope you will challenge either yourself or someone around you to identify and develop these behaviors that will not only get us through a crisis but certainly will be much more beneficial when we’re not in a crisis as well in terms of helping us to grow even better. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you know somebody you think would find this valuable, I ask you to forward it to them. Please go and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment as it relates to re-imagining leadership. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
Your habits are mostly the foundations of your achievements and success, and courage is one of the best traits to have. Laura Khalil, a speaker and trainer at Brave by Design, joins Patrick Veroneau to talk about mindset techniques. She dives into different scenarios and situations that will make you think as she helps you change your perception and mindset. Learn all about negativity bias, how it’s built into us, and how it’s affecting our daily lives. Understand where the best place is to start your personal growth and break the notion of being self-made in a society where we all rely on others. Also, know how to live in the moment and appreciate what you have attained as you set time to have your own moment of gratitude.
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How To Make Courage A Habit With Laura Khalil
My guest is all about building courage in her clients. She hosts an incredible podcast called Brave By Design. She is also known as the force of badassery. After having a conversation with her several times now, I would have to say, it’s true. I will tell you this to me was a great episode, especially in the environment we’re in right now, talking about how we do that. How do we build courage? You’ll find that there are some interesting perspectives in terms of how we do this and do it together. The evolution of this podcast is about how do we learn to lead like no other. It first starts with reimagining what that looks like and that’s what this show is all about. Why don’t we get into it?
Laura, thank you so much for being on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this. You are the force of badassery. I love that. A couple of things that stood out to me as I was reading some of your background was that you combined teaching the habit of courage with business know-how. Both of those are so important in the environment that we’re in. I was hoping that we could maybe go down that path and see where we end up in terms of the clients that you deal with or the people that you’re with. How do you do that right now in terms of developing that habit of courage?
Let me take a step back and let’s talk about why I combine these two things. Those who are reading this may know or learn that I ran a very successful consulting business for a number of years doing marketing consulting for huge companies. When people started asking me to speak and teach on this stuff, I would tell them, “Here’s the business know-how. Here’s how you do it.” These are steps that anyone can learn. I can teach you how to write a contract. I can teach you how to talk to a client. I can teach you how to sell. What I began to notice was that I can give you those steps, but if you do not have a foundation in self-worth, you will find all kinds of ways to delay yourself, to self-sabotage, to throw up roadblocks and not succeed and stay where you are. Where you are may feel safer for you than where you want to go because where you want to go is unknown to you.
That’s why I began talking more about developing the habit of courage because we can give you the map. It’s not a secret of how to do these things, of how to build a business, of how to rise in your career. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you’re not courageous, I guarantee you you’re going to have a real hard time doing it. That’s why I’ve combined those two to make it a little bit easier for people to address some of the very critical mindset techniques that we can begin to use and employ now to feel more courageous, especially in those challenging circumstances where we are afraid to speak up or we are scared of what someone will think of us if we put our necks out there or we try something different. That’s where the courage piece comes in because sometimes, we’re more conditioned to shrink than to shine.
Before we started this, you had mentioned the negativity bias. I was wondering if you could speak to that in terms of where does that fit in this in terms of the habit of courage?We are all programmed with a negativity bias. We always consider the worst-case scenario. Click To Tweet
We are all programmed with a negativity bias. That means that we are all programmed to think like, “This scary thing is happening and I’m going to go to the worst-case scenario.” That’s how we are trained to think. That’s how we survived millions of years ago. That’s very normal. If you immediately go to the worst-case scenario, that’s okay, but here’s where we get intentional about developing that courage muscle. Courage is a muscle like anxiety, stress and overwhelm are muscles. How do we begin to develop that muscle when we fall into the negative? I want you to think about this question. What are the 25 benefits of this situation to furthering my values and to furthering my mission on this planet? Think about that.
That question can be very challenging for certain people to answer because they’ll immediately say, “Laura, there’s nothing. There’s nothing good. I can’t find anything. What a dumb exercise.” Think about what’s important to you. Is family something that you value that’s very important to you? How is this crisis helping you to strengthen your relationship with your family further? Tell me 10 or 25 ways. I love to get about 25 because that’s when we begin to see that negativity bias is suppressed. The nervous system comes down a little bit and we can see how everything is not in our way. It is on our way to achieving our highest potential. When we use and develop that habit of courage and to start with that one simple technique, you will begin to think instead of this being the worst thing ever, why is this the best thing ever?
I love how you talk about putting the number 25 out there because the easy thing to do is say, “Let’s think of three things.” If it’s only three, then that negativity bias will overtake it again. You’re almost building this, “How thick can I get this shell around me to defend myself against this negative bias?”
What I’ll say is when I do this with my clients and they’re working with me, I make them get to 200. That’s no easy feat. It’s not easy to do that, but you’ll notice as you begin to do this exercise, and I tell everyone, “Do it until you have tears of joy, tears of inspiration, tears of gratitude for the challenge that is in front of you.” What I tell everyone is that we grow right at the border between support and challenge. What does that mean? That means that if I’m living my life and I am so incredibly challenged by everything going on and I cannot function and I cannot find the support, I’ll give up. Conversely, if I grew up in an environment and I never have a problem in my life. I’ve got free-flowing access to money and to everything like my heart could ever desire. What happens? I become lazy.
We see this happen with people. We see people who feel extremely defeated by challenges. We see people who are wildly unmotivated and uninspired to do anything with their life because they don’t need to. How do we get out of that? How we get out of that negativity bias is we begin to develop courage. We begin to see, what challenges do I want to go after? How are the challenges that are currently appearing in my life supporting me? When you can bring equilibrium and see that this event has both the support and challenge that are helping me fulfill what I’m here to do. I talk a lot about that. I don’t know what the belief system of the audience is, but I do truly believe that we are all here to do something great with our lives.
That’s pretty core to what I believe. If you agree with that, then instead of seeing these challenges as insurmountable obstacles, let’s see these challenges as our greatest opportunities. We can divide the world into a couple of types of people. There are people who are thinking like this and there are people who are giving in to their fear and giving into distress who are paralyzed. The people who are beginning to think in this way and thinking, “How can I best serve over the next 12 to 24 months as we face this crisis?” This is not a 2-week or 1-month issue. We are forever changed and impacted. By the way, the effects we’re seeing for this pandemic will continue there. This is not the end of it so let’s get realistic.
It’s coming back. There will be other waves of it. We’re going to get more control over it when we get a vaccine and that type of thing but until then, think about what are the opportunities for me to best serve in this crisis because our highest potential is always in service to others. If you’re sitting on the couch, eating a bag of potato chips and Netflix for six months, who is that in service to? That’s not in service to anyone. That doesn’t help anyone. When we can say, “No, I need to rise above that,” I need to find, what are the benefits for me in this situation? What are the benefits for me from my natural gifts and talents to share with the world? We then can really be of service and help our communities and help this world to unite in this incredible conflict.
You hit on so many things that I’m trying to unpack here. To me, what we’re going through right now is a dress rehearsal for many things to come down the road in terms of how we approach and behave toward each other. The other thing that I think about when you were saying that is all the research out there in regards to belongingness. We need each other. We cannot get through this without each other. There is such a myth around self-made. Nobody is self-made unless you made the road you’re driving on, the car you’re in, the roof that’s over your head, and you made the food you’re eating. It sounds absurd. That’s it.
With that said, what I do believe is that we can be and need to be self-motivated. There needs to be our ability to drive from inside, but we all need each other to get through this. Lastly, as it relates to this idea of it needs to be more than about myself. As you probably are familiar with how much research is out there that says when they looked at income levels and other components, what provided the most happiness for people was those that had a purpose. Those individuals that had a purpose were those that found to be experienced the most well-being and to be the happiest. To me, the purpose is about being for others.
One of the questions I always wake up and ask myself every day, and I want to preface this by saying I’m not a particularly religious person, but this is more a question I asked to my higher self. I’ll say, “How can I best be of service? How can I help?” You start the day with that kind of thought and you will begin to see opportunities appear. We have control over those thoughts. To your point, isolation, there are so many things about the internet that have been incredible and wonderful and revolutionary, but never have people felt so isolated and disconnected. Never have we seen such high levels of inability to cope with stress and anxiety in society when we are “more connected” than ever.We grow right at the border between support and challenge. Click To Tweet
This period is teaching us exactly like you said. Nobody does it on their own. We have lived in a culture that’s a lot about self-made, self-reliance, and you can do it but it takes a village. The things that I’m seeing in my community and I imagine you’re seeing as well, I am so inspired by how people are pulling together to help. For example, our hospital staff or to help our kids in need who need lunch or dinner or who are helping our elderly folks. People are coming together in ways. I have a dog. I walk down the street 2 to 3 times a day with my dog to take her out. Thankfully, we’re not in a very populated area, but I’m waving to the neighbors. I’m saying hi from across the street because before, what would we do? We take them for granted. We’d ignored them. We’d look away. I don’t want to be seen. No. We’re learning about this community. We’re learning about reconnecting to others. It’s going to leave us in such a stronger place but it is interesting what you talk about this being a dress rehearsal. I want to hear more about that.
In our lifetimes, we haven’t experienced this kind of challenge before. You start to see how people interact with each other and how they behave toward each other. It speaks to where do we go from here. What’s the next challenge that we will deal with that is going to put us in a similar situation and what will we learn from this so that in round two, we understand where we go next.
I hope that people take that to heart because it’s true. I don’t think we’ve experienced this since probably World War II, which none of us were alive for. Our grandparents or parents may have gone through this, but we certainly have not. We’ve gotten a little bit complacent, honestly. That’s my opinion. We have gotten very comfortable. Let me talk about support and challenge for a second. We’ve gotten comfortable with being supported and challenged in other ways, but supported in certain ways where we have gotten comfortable with sitting in front of the TV and witnessing life happening outside of us. What’s going on right now is a form of attack. It’s a virus, but the difference for me in how I see it is that this virus is not an agent brought from a foreign nation.
It’s a thing going around the world. There’s nobody outside of us to attack. There’s nobody outside of us to fight. There’s no to say, “You’re the one. This is your fault.” No. That’s not real. What can we do? The only thing we can do to heal right now, the only thing we can do to “fight” this is to go within and heal ourselves. That’s the only way. To me, that’s an incredibly profound lesson in what’s happening and how do we heal ourselves? How do we become more reconnected with ourselves? How do we slow down? How do we do self-care? How do we take this time to realign and reset around what our dreams are to spend more time with our family and to reconnect with the land and our communities?
When we think about this form of “war” or attack, that’s my perspective on it. I don’t know if you share that, but it’s a very profound gift that we are experiencing and that’s my choice to see it that way. I fully recognize that other people may see this as the worst thing ever. In the habit of courage, what we talk about is every challenge is a huge opportunity and the bigger, the challenge is, the bigger the opportunity.
A lot of your work is around mindset, which that’s what this all is. To piggyback off of what you’re talking about, there’s so much here in regards to experiencing our own vulnerability. Who would have ever thought something that we can’t even see can have this great an impact on a globe, on all of us? I am a huge advocate of vulnerability in the work. We can probably dovetail into here around emotional intelligence because we had this conversation that we’re seeing more interest in emotional intelligence. I first started with emotional intelligence in 2008 when I started my company. That’s when I had gotten involved with emotional intelligence.
Patrick, what a time to start a company. Talk about a crisis but that’s incredible.
It speaks to there’s a way out. One of the things that I will talk about is your past is your power. Ten minutes ago was our past. What do we learn from that that we go forward and we navigate a better place going forward? That’s all we have. People that say, “You can’t live in the past.” I agree with that. What we need to do is leverage our past because that’s all that we have. If I don’t remember my past, I wouldn’t know how to get home again because I need to know the route to take to get home. Unless I’m going to use a GPS every place that I go, I need to understand my past.
What I hear you’re saying and the language I would put it in is it is wise not to be a victim of your history, but a master of your destiny. We take the past and we incorporate those lessons that we have learned and those gifts we have received along the way into, how am I going to set forth? What is my next step? Why am I so grateful to be alive on this planet? I’ll tell you one of the greatest gifts for me in this whole experience is the gift of presence. The gift of appreciating every single morning when I call my parents who I haven’t been able to see now for quite a while. How grateful I am to hear their voices in a way that I was never grateful before. How grateful I am to hear that we are all healthy.
We take that stuff for granted. We’re like, “They’re fine. Whatever.” That day when we go home, that day is so far off, it’s a mystery. That day could be here any day. Thinking about, what legacy do I want to leave for my community, for my family, for my world? What a beautiful question to start asking right now. I want to say for people who are reading that may find that a little overwhelming like, “What am I supposed to do? Become the next MLK, Jr.?” No. Do what you can do. That may mean being a great parent that may mean giving your kids an extra hug. That may mean leading with love instead of hate in your heart.We have lived in a culture that's a lot about self-made and self-reliance, but it takes a village in reality. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t have to be these huge acts. Remember, the people that we see in the media or we see out in front and on top, they have a whole group of people holding them up. Let’s not forget about that. That’s what it makes me think about. I don’t know if you see this, but I would probably guess you do. I see so many people who are either trying to escape the past and run towards the future that they never realize how much they have accomplished at this moment. They never have a moment of gratitude to say, “This moment I have co-created is a product of so many of my dreams and desires and wants from the past. Here I am. Thank you.”
It’s interesting you say that because I certainly know those people and I believe I’ve been one myself. I would compare it to chasing your shadow. Remember as a kid when you’re trying to chase it, you’re never going to catch it, but it’s always right there with you. It’s the same thing with happiness or wanting to be in a better place that we chase all of these other things. If we stopped, it’s right inside of us. Our shadow is right there all the time. It’s not going anywhere.
I have to tell you, I know this isn’t my podcast, but I’m going to take over for a second. One thing I love about talking to you, and maybe the audience will resonate with this, but it is so refreshing to hear this kind of insight from a man. I don’t know if you’ve ever been told that before or felt that, but it is very refreshing. A lot of times when we talk, especially about vulnerability, when we talk about gratitude, when we talk about finding inner peace, these are things that we often hear from women who are deemed like a little bit touchy, feely. I love that you bring that to the table. That’s powerful.
I will tell you, it was not always this way. I will often say that when I go in and do workshops, especially around emotional intelligence and the room that I might be in might be primarily males. I will say that as males, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that don’t exist. That has forced us to be tough and rugged and all of this stuff. I grew up playing sports. I was a bouncer in college at a bar. I did all of those. I realized that when all was said and done that it was my own insecurity that I tried to prop up through a lot of that bravado. It was my insecurity. Once I started to realize that, it was like it’s exhausting to play that role.
It’s tiring. We were saying earlier before we started, it’s so much easier to be yourself. I want to say something though this emotional intelligence piece and understanding how to interact and engage with individuals. It’s my belief that what I put out into the world, what I’m sharing with the world is an expression of my inner world. My outer world, how I talk to you, how I appear in the world, what I share, what I do as an expression of my inner beliefs, my inner thoughts and what has brought me to this moment. When we are working with individuals and we are trying to understand them and we’re trying to understand their perspectives and where they’re coming from. When we are feeling maybe a little offended by things that they’ve said or we’re feeling challenged, remember that all everyone is doing is giving you an outer expression of their inner reality. Does that make sense?
That makes complete sense. This is a whole separate episode that we need to do on this because I truly believe that. Talking about biases. We create biases on other people in terms of how we perceive somebody. We don’t know anything about them. I would say that we’re like icebergs. We only see about 10% of the other person. We don’t know the 90% that is their own backstory of why they behave the way that they do. That’s not to make excuses for people, but if we don’t come to this place of trying to understand that because you’re different than me. Rather than me judge you as being a bad person, for all I know, if I had to experience where you were, I would be in a worse place than you are now.
To that point, I want to say a lot of my work is with women and there are some very real issues and differences that women face in the workplace, of course. I want to say this. If you are an individual or a woman, or it doesn’t matter, you can be anyone, who keeps experiencing the same problem over and over like a broken record and it’s the same situation. It’s the same problem. Let’s use a concrete example. You always jumped to, “They must not respect me because I’m a woman. They must think I’m less than because I’m a woman.” If that’s a repeating thought for you that happens over and over no matter where you go and who you’re talking to, you’re the common denominator.
What does that say about the thoughts in your head about how you talk to yourself? I say that from a place of experience because I spent many years in the corporate world being told by male bosses in Silicon Valley, I needed to smile more. I needed to be nicer. I needed to soften my language. I needed to tone it down. It bothered me. It seemed like no matter where I went as a full-time employee, I would attract that. I would find these people. Eventually, I said, “I’m the common denominator. The only thing I can do is change my experience.” That’s when I started consulting and everything changed. I want to talk about why was that happening to me? Why did I keep confronting these men who kept telling me I wasn’t okay as I naturally am?
My belief is that that’s because there was a little inner critic inside my head who was saying the same thing and was looking for confirmation of that in my external reality. I went to go find it. I found it. A very strong belief that Laura, you’re not good enough. You’re too much. You can never be successful. Until I broke the cycle by leaving the full-time world and stepping into my leadership qualities and saying, “F-you inner critic,” that’s when it all changed. Suddenly, I was praised for being bold, determined, and confident. I never came across it again.
In the coaching and you probably have your own word for it, but as I was going through those, it’s called the saboteur. It was that person in your head that’s saying, “You can’t do this,” or whatever that might be. Even when we think we’ve put up the façade that nobody sees it, it bleeds out of us. We fool ourselves into thinking it’s not there. I totally agree with that. As we wrap this thing up, what’s the best way for people to get ahold of you, Laura?It is wise to not be a victim of your history, but a master of your destiny. Click To Tweet
There’s a couple of ways. The first is to come and join me on the podcast Brave By Design. We talk about how ambitious women and allies can rise and thrive. We have lots of topics and I’m angling now to get Patrick on the show so you can enjoy more of us together over there. You can also find me at BraveByDesign.net and join our Facebook community where I go live every Wednesday at noon Eastern.
This has been such a joy to have this conversation. I appreciate this.
Thanks so much for having me.
Thanks. Take care.
As you can see, Laura is the force of badassery. She gave so many valuable observations and recommendations in terms of how do we build courage as well as how do we create an environment where we’re for others and being of service to others? One of the questions that stands out to me is simply asking, “How can I help today?” If more of us focus on that of thinking what can I do to help others, we will be in such a better place going forward. My guess is you know somebody that you think would be interested in listening to this show and I’d ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t subscribed already, I’d ask that you do that. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode because that’s how this message continues to get out there. Together, we will be reimagining what leadership looks like. Until our next episode, I hope you are able to go out there and rise above your best.
About Laura Khalil
I’m a two-time entrepreneur, keynote speaker, teacher and podcaster focused on helping women achieve incredible success in their careers and lives.
I struggled in the corporate world for years, before starting my own consulting business. That’s when I realized that all the traits that had penalized me as an individual contributor were actually my greatest assets as a leader!
You don’t need to change yourself to be successful.
If you feel like you keep hitting a wall (or glass ceiling), I’ll show you how to leverage who you are to build influence with the right people and power over your life to do the incredible things I know you’re capable of sharing with the world.
The founder and host of Screw The Naysayers Podcast, Tim Alison, joins Patrick Veroneau in this episode to share his life’s story and talk about his legacy project. As he aged, Tim realized the most important things in life, and he talks about them in detail here. Learn why it’s important to have the courage to live the life you want and have no regrets in your later years. Know the signals you need to watch out for that triggers opportunities for you to make significant changes in your life. He also gives a reminder on how to use your time wisely in figuring out what’s important to you and gives some amazing life tips on what to expect when you put in the time and effort with good intent.
Listen to the podcast here:
Tim Alison Discusses Why You Need To Screw The Naysayers
If you’ve ever had somebody around that’s told you that you can’t do something or maybe he has said it about yourself that you talk yourself out of doing something, then this episode is for you. I had the great honor of interviewing a friend and a mentor of mine, Tim Alison, who hosts a wildly successful podcast called Screw The Naysayers. Before that, he had several other successful businesses. What we’re going to talk about is how to get over either our own negative self-talk or this negative self-talk that somebody puts in our head about why we can’t do something. If ever there was a time, if you want it to make a shift, this may be it.
Tim, I want to thank you for being on the show. In the amount of time that I’ve known you, I’ve gained so much respect for you and you’ve been a mentor to me on many levels. To have you on as a guest with the environment that we’re in is important. I was hoping you could talk about your journey, where you started out and how you’ve gotten to where you are because there’s a lot in there that I think a lot of people could gain value from.
First of all, Patrick thanks for having me on. It’s an honor to be here. I guess most people tend to think of my story starting in my late twenties. I was doing what a lot of people were doing at the time that was chasing the bell at the top of the corporate ladder or whatever is hanging in there as hard as I was. I was successful from the outside looking in the poster trial for what success was supposed to look like for people of my generation. At the age of 31, I was in the top 2% of wagers in the country. On the surface, I had everything I’d set out to get.
I was married. I had two kids. I had a house backing onto a park in the City of Toronto and when you have income in Toronto, it’s a wonderful buzz then but it was a wonderful place to live but I was miserable. I no longer blame it on the job. It was my inability to manage the job. I take all the ownership. There are a lot of people that did well and excelled in those kinds of jobs but I couldn’t balance it all. I was still learning how to be a husband, a father, and everything else. At the same time, I was trying to kick ass and I was so driven to be at the top of the heap and to move up as fast as I can.
Long story short, I quit. Not only did I quit but my wife and I, and our two kids moved from Toronto up to a little rural fishing village in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s a tiny little community where my wife has roots that go back on 250 years. Back in 1988, these hands were not a guarantee of much business success because mostly everybody was working on fishing boats and many still. That’s still our primary income around here or in the woods or in construction. Men had a good solid blue-collar, hard work and jobs and I have a world of respect for everybody who does those jobs and my friends are living around here, but it wasn’t for me. I started an educational software company.
I remember clearly this conversation where I went to meet with the economic development officer for the province of Nova Scotia. I drove up to Halifax, which was a three-hour drive. I sat down with him and I explained what I was planning to do and that I was going to start this company in this little fishing village. We were going to sell software and he leaned back in his recliner, he crossed his arms, he shook his head and these are his exact words. He said, “Your business will never succeed in that community.” This guy was getting paid to encourage economic development in the province. We did okay and I’ve been here for many years. I’m self-employed every single year.
You’re being modest in terms of you did okay. How okay did you do?The only thing we regret as we get older is the things we didn't try. Click To Tweet
We had about $10 million in sales. It took us about 4 or 5 years to hit the seven-digit line and then from there it ran quickly. We did that for eighteen years. It’s like a lot of industries. Here’s one of the things that people don’t think about as entrepreneurs, sometimes businesses run their cycle and I had caught a niche. I was right in the early days of computer-based training. By the early 2000s, it was going through quite a change and massive publishers. People like Pearson Publishing would buy Simon & Schuster, who would then buy all these software companies, mostly with the intent of closing them because they didn’t like the competition that all of the software was bringing to the industry. The technology was changing so fast that I remember building the last product that we created and I had co-produced it with Houghton Mifflin publishing company. I sold it to them for not a whole lot of money at that stage, but we’d had an amazing eighteen-year run and at that time our kids where either out of the university or off to college. I’m on my fourth business and in this day and age would screw the naysayers.
You mentioned at least your first example of a naysayer when you went official from economic development. What was that like leaving there because I think that’s an important lesson for people?
I’m always cautious at this stage when I’m thinking back that many years to make sure I’m not just remembering what I want to remember as opposed to what happened. It does happen. I’m upfront to acknowledge it, but honestly, it bounces off me. I thought you don’t know what you’re talking about. I did not have a clear vision and I know that everybody will say, “You got to have the vision to know exactly where you’re going.” I didn’t have a clue. What I knew was that I was good at sales. I knew that for my time, I was one of the most well-informed people in Canada when it came to educational technologies, not in terms of building it but when I saw educational technology, I could tell you what was good about it, what could be improved, what needed to be improved or if it was crap. I had built a lot of relationships.
I did that on the one side. I was confident in my ability to do something and then the flip side was that we were so determined. My vision in those days was about my family and it was about that we’re not getting dragged out of this community. This is where we want to live. We built our house. It’s on the land that had been in the family forever and that was my determination. If you’d have asked me in those early days, what was my business going to look like or if it suggested to me that I would end up selling $10 million worth of software in an education marketplace, I would’ve said you’re crazy. I started the business selling the corporations and helping them set up. Back in those days, they were called information centers. They put on computers to teach their staff how to use computers for the most part. That’s the way the technology started. I ended up doing okay there but I made all my serious money in the field of adult literacy education, literacy numeracy education for selling to schools, colleges, and nonprofits.
You have a quote on your website, Screw the Naysayers that says, “Know the life you want and have the courage to live it.”
That came to my mind in about 2005 when I was writing my first book. It did sum up the message that I had then, and I still have for everybody that’s out there in particular young people, but I’m realizing now it applies to all ages, whatever your belief system is. Most of us believe that at least on planet earth here, we’re getting one trip through. There are certainly others that have different views, but I think it’s such a shame if we don’t go for the things that we want. I think about how my life changed when we decided that we were going to come down here and moved to Nova Scotia and the friendships that I made. There’s no sign of humanity out of this window.
There’re no power lines or anything. Even now, many of our young people leave these communities and it’s true in every rural community. They’re leaving not because they want to leave the community, but because they don’t think they can get the economic opportunity. Whereas my goals in the early days were centered on solidifying my family’s ability to stay. I’d say within about 4 or 5 years, my vision had evolved to my purpose, which was about inspiring and educating other people on the fact that you don’t have to move to accommodate somebody else’s vision of what success should look like. For some people that means moving to a different community, it might be in a different career. It might be getting the perspective that you need to prosper in your current career.
Whatever age you are, try now. At my age, there’s a study on happiness that I wish everybody would have a look at it. It’s from a lady named Jennifer Aaker and she’s a psychologist at Stanford University and she had identified five stages of happiness. She did it based on her research team. They went out and they studied millions of blogs and things that were in the public domain. They searched for words that were associated with happiness, sadness, and those kinds of things. They looked at ages and stuff like that and what she identified were five stages that everybody moves through at different paces and at different times.
The fifth one, which is the last one. I’m old enough and I filter into that stage. I pulled myself back. The last stage is savoring. That’s when we start to look in the rear-view mirror and we think about the life we’ve lived and we start asking, “Did we do the things that we want to do?” What I can tell you now is I’ve had failures. Everybody has lived life and had failures. I’ve had a life of taking a lot of risks and things like that. I don’t even think about them when I look in the rear-view mirror. I’m largely satisfied because what I look at, I see that there were things that I wanted and we when we went for it, but there are a lot of awful people my age and older.
They’re now looking back and say, “I stuck at something that I wasn’t enjoying.” “I was afraid to try something because I couldn’t convince myself that it was possible. I refuse to believe in the possibilities.” People regret it. The only thing we regret as we get older is the things we didn’t try. Nobody will tell you that they regretted trying something that didn’t work out. It’s been my mantra for years or probably my whole life. That’s the purpose behind Screw the Naysayers and everything that I do these days.
You may have heard of this as well as a book that was published and it was The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It was a woman that had started a blog that was a hospice worker. What she did was she was interviewing people as she was going around in their homes and asking them, “What are the things that you wished you had done?” One of them is I wish I had taken more risks when I was younger. I think it’s Les Brown that I heard him say once that most people die in their 20s or 30s, but they’re not buried until they’re in their 70s.
Just think of the number of people that we know who are 40 years old and already counting down the days to retirement and saying, “I can’t quit the job.” Here’s the thing that happens, especially for people but I’m not telling everybody that works in a corporate job that you’re stupid. People make their own choices. What I observe in the corporate space is that people get to a certain stage and in the early days, were motivated by promotions, by progression and by increasing our salary. It’s all external based things but they are achievements and they are enough even if we’re not enjoying the job.
A lot of people wake up in their late 30s or early 40s and that pyramid in the organization has gotten awfully small. All of a sudden, there aren’t any more progressions there for them or they’re not willing to do what you would require in order to get to that next stage. Now you’re sitting there saying, “I’m making $200,000. I got all these bills. I have my pension tied up here. I can’t.” You can. You might not like the short-term consequences, but if you write that out for another 25 years, you’re not going to like that anymore. You are liking in a lot less, once you get to that age.
You know some of this story from the work that we had done was worked in an environment that was much around in the biotech industry that many people were financially making multiple six-figure incomes. The majority of them are unhappy with what they’re doing, but feel as though, “What do I do? I don’t know what else to do and financially, where am I going to go that’s going to provide me with this type of security?” It was difficult on one level to step away from that and on the other end knowing, “I’m never going to be happy if I stay in this world.”Know the life you want and have the courage to live it. It's such a shame if we don't actually go for the things that we really want. Click To Tweet
It’s the same thing for me. In 1988, 31-year-old kids didn’t quit. I was in the top 2% of wage earners in the entire country in those days. I hesitate to say this, but I’ll put it in perspective. In today’s dollars, I would have been making about $375,000 a year as a 31-year-old kid. People didn’t quit those things and I’m not saying that was easy. What I will say in hindsight is there are some things that you simply cannot put a price on like time with your family and your mental health. I talked to people on my show all the time and you do it too or we meet them elsewhere. It’s a recipe for heart attack. It’s a recipe for divorce. For a lot of people, it takes that infrastructure rattling event. I know what’s going on now isn’t going to get fixed real fast. Big infrastructure, rattling events, is so hard for us to see it at the moment. They present the biggest opportunities for us to make significant changes in our life.
When I look at the people that I’ve had on my show like Marcus Aurelius Anderson, he was preparing to go overseas with the US Infantry and had a training accident. He spent his 40th birthday in the hospital, paralyzed from the waist down, divorced, broke, had died twice on the operating table and the doctor said to him, “You’ll never walk again.” That guy is now going across the country, he’s one of the most inspirational, informative speakers you could ever get in a room. He studies martial arts under one of Bruce Lee’s disciples. He’s mobile and moving around and all these things. We see these big examples. I’m concerned a bit. I think people need to realize that it’s not the superheroes that can do this. Every day, people are making these kinds of changes all the time. I do also know that when you get to 40, 50 or 60, when we look in the rear-view mirror and start thinking about what’s gone on and the pivotal moments, if somebody says, “What was the pivotal moment, Patrick?”
Most of the time we’re going to point at something which at the time we wanted to wish away. I’m sure Marcus would have given anything not to have been in that accident. Now he’s written a book called The Gift of Adversity and says it’s the best because it woke him up and he said, “I’ve wasted 40 years of my life.” This is a guy who was serving in the US Military and taking on some dangerous missions and I’m thinking, “That’s not wasted.” He says, “You don’t get it. I was going through life, taking things for granted. I wasn’t JT McCormick would say that when he lost his first million that I realized that I was becoming like my father. I wasn’t respecting the people around me and all these kinds of things.” I hear these things over and over again. Take control of it yourself or the universe is likely going to do one of two things for you, either kill your spirit or cause something bad to happen. I was talking to Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul and he was saying, “Stop looking at the challenge, look at the opportunities.” Mark Victor Hansen, who is the co-writer of that series with Jack. This guy’s got a lot of credibility.
He’s done some incredibly amazing things aside from co-authoring books that have sold 500 million copies, but he says the twenties are going to make the roaring twenties from 1900, the last century that people hear look like nothing. He feels that with the technological advancements that are there, that we’re sitting on the cusp as hard as it is to see some of the biggest innovations and the biggest positive change that mankind’s ever seen. If we’re at home and we’ve got time if we take this chance to ask the question, “What’s going on right now? What problems are existing in this world that I would do I care about? How can I help somebody solve that problem?” Now you might be helping them solve it for free or whatever. It doesn’t matter in the short-term unless you’re starving. The opportunities are there. It’s mentally tough and I get it. The mindset’s always been important but I think now more than ever, the people that can focus the next ten years, as long as we come out of this with our family and loved ones, healthy and safe, we know some won’t and I never would minimize that. The rest of us can’t live in fear. Dig because there’s something there.
It makes me think of a couple of different things. One is we are at historic levels in terms of unemployment because of this. Many of those jobs may not return and it is an opportunity for people to reflect and say, “What do I want the next chapter of this to be?” I’m a firm believer in what you talk about. One of the episodes that I did, which was a solo episode, I talked about the three deaths in my life that I continue to learn from. That was the death of my parents at a young age, the death of a marriage, and the death of a career. Each one of those things in their own places, I would not want to revisit any one of those, but I wouldn’t be who I am now if it wasn’t for all three of those.
It’s going to be the same for everybody. There are going to be these moments for younger generations 30 and under, this is the first time you’ve ever been presented with this global opportunity. When I hear people say it’s unprecedented, it is. This rapid unemployment hasn’t been seen since the depression, but it’s not unprecedented. It did happen in the oppression. I was in the Royal Bank Tower, which is the largest bank in Canada on a Black Monday in 1987 prior to was the single biggest drop in the Dow Jones, the TSX, and all the major exchanges in a single day. If that office tower’s window were open that day, people would have been jumping out like they did a night 1929. We lived through 9/11. We lived through the Dot-com crash. We’ve lived through the 2008 financial crisis. It feels by scope bigger.
I know that we’ve seen massive changes and massive problems before. Out of every one of those changes, we’ve seen people prosper. The choice people have to make is a choice. Are you going to spend your time binge-watching Netflix, drowning your sorrows in a bottle, or whatever your source of inspiration or that failed attempt at inspiration? Are you going to use the time to reflect, use our time alone a bit to figure out what’s important to us? Look around us as well. I think there’s going to be lots of opportunities for local businesses. Everybody’s focused on building these global empires. I don’t know this is going to come to a sense of community and figure out what people are going to want to change and even around employment.
One thing I would also add, like some of those jobs may not exist. I got a newsflash for a lot of employers. There’s a whole lot of employees that aren’t going to want to come back. There’s a whole lot of employees that have been doing their work at home who are going to say, “I don’t mind if you want to let me keep doing this and wearing my casual clothes and all that. If you want me to do the two-hour commute every day and report for duty and salute you, then no.” It’s going to be a big change. It’s going to come at a pace that we need to be ready mentally and physically.
It reminds me of a quote Abraham Lincoln once said, “One can succeed is evidence that it’s available to all of them.”
I keep bringing on all these inspiring guests but there’s such a tendency in society to say, “That’s Jack Canfield.” Jack came from nothing. His parents are long gone but he didn’t have a lot of respect for the attitudes, the negativity, and everything else that he grew up around. Somebody I know that’s crushed it, they weren’t handed to it. We’re born into it. They’ve got two legs, two arms, most of them, not all of them, most of them had a brain. Nobody knows. I’ve carved out this life. I’m telling you what education from top to bottom, you got parents sitting at home realizing, “The kids don’t have to be in front of the teachers and the teachers are not doing that great.” Some of the teachers that I’m hearing are doing a better job Zooming their kids so they weren’t in front of the classroom. No offense to the teachers, but the system they’re in is badly broken that it needs to be destroyed.
How about the colleges that are still charging the full weight and everybody’s sitting at home doing it on their own? We know that that sector has been ready for massive disruption. It’s got to happen here. I think people are going to say not to mention the fact that in the short-term, there’s a whole lot of investment portfolios that were put in place to try and pay for education and stuff like that that have taken a pretty significant hit. My advice to people is to think long and hard. If your son or daughter wants to be a doctor, a scientist, those kinds of things by all means. They are leaning at all towards the future of jobs seems to be in self-employment, to be honest. How many of us are going to be working for ourselves in another ten years, Patrick? Not at all are sure that traditional education is the way to go.
There’s a tagline that I will often use in some of the work that I’m doing with youth at times, but it resonates with adults as well is this idea that your past is your power. As it relates to your past, anything that you think about from where you are that you would look where you can trace that and say, “My past is my power.”
It goes all the way back to my childhood. I was born with brittle bones and it’s like having osteoporosis for life. My bones did not absorb calcium well. As a kid, I probably had fifteen broken legs by the time I was fifteen years old. I spent most of my childhood in white plaster casts. I’m the guy who couldn’t get a date to the senior prom. I guess it turns out that girls in high school are not all that turned on by the hunk of a guy that’s on crutches all the time and hopefully, maybe some of that’s changed now. At that time, I hated it. It took me a long time to understand the gift that it gave me. The question I used to get so often is, “How did you find the courage to quit that job and do what you did against all the advice and putting the financial future of your family and everything else at risk?” It didn’t feel risky to me. I realized now that for a long time, my risk filter people said, “You’ve got a much higher risk tolerance.” I do when it comes to money.
It doesn’t mean I don’t respect money. I like money a lot and I’m careful because when I’m presented with something and I think I would like to do that. That sounds fun. That’s something that would align with my values that would be meaningful. The risk filter that I’m paying the most attention is a simple question. What are the odds of me ending up in the hospital meeting surgery for a broken bone or something? Most of the time in life, we’re fortunate enough not to have to be faced with that risk and it allowed me not to freak out. The other thing I’ve learned in business is if you put in your time and your effort with an open heart and with good intent, you always get paid for what you do, but you don’t always get paid at the same time you’re putting in the effort. There are times when you’re working your butt off and you’re not making money or an idea didn’t work and you think, “There’s $50,000 that I’ve spent a year in my time.”You should be working not only for the money but freedom of lifestyle. Click To Tweet
It’s not gone. You’ve put it out into the universe. You’ve learned all this stuff, but you’re going to get over doing something else, and then all of a sudden that thing’s going to hit. That thing only hit because of what you did before and it’s the same in the sales game. Somebody can be sitting in the office and you get a phone call, “That’s a Bluebird. I haven’t talked to Joe in two years.” Except for those two years you talked to Joe ten times that you forget these things. I don’t want to say put our head down and grinding because I’m not a believer in that, but it is about persevering. The other question I get is how did my business succeed against all those odds when almost all of the other businesses in this community and in this province that started the same year as me are long gone? I can’t tell you because I don’t know what they did. I don’t know that I did anything special as a business person, but I know the one thing I didn’t do is I didn’t quit.
I found a way to persevere and it doesn’t mean I didn’t pivot and change tactics. I don’t believe in just doing the same thing over and over again. If it’s not working, you got to figure something else out. There was no quit in me. I was not going to give up on the dream of living here in Nova Scotia and raising our family here and inspiring other people to do the same. If you can find your north star, if people could figure out what that is, then you’ll go through walls and it’s not near as painful. If you’re agonizing about maybe that job’s not coming back and you’re worried about how you’re going to support yourself, it’s wasted energy.
What you need to do is to say, “What’s my north star? What would I be willing to fight for? What do I feel so strongly about that I’ll do what I need to do?” Our human mind has such capacity that if we could figure out it was Michael Hyatt when he was talking about vision. When he was saying that if the vision is strong enough, do you on anybody else you’re working with are leading the human mind, they’ll find a way to make it happen and it’s true. What happens is that most people, if they’re refocused on, “I need to make money to support my family.” That is it of itself isn’t going to drive you enough because you’ll be aware that there are other ways of doing it. You got to find that north star.
To me, it’s almost the difference between willpower and why power. That will power is it can wane out whereas if you have why power, that’s to me is that star that keeps you.
There is the occasional exception. Ruben Gonzalez, an Olympic athlete is one guy I think to have that pure willpower of never quitting, but almost everybody else that I know it is. It’s why. People sit there and say, “I don’t know what my why is.” Don’t overcomplicate it. If you get back and think about the things that you care about, those are the things you fight for and that you want others to have. Also don’t be afraid to put yourself first, because that’s the other thing. When I talk to entrepreneurs, especially early-stage entrepreneurs, I’ll ask them, “What do you hope to achieve with your business?” Almost everybody’s going to have some version of, “I want to have an impact.”
Good for you. I want to have an impact too, but that in and of itself isn’t going to get you out of bed on the days when you’re discouraged, the news is all bad and your spouse has gotten depressed about something and everything seems to be closing in or your partner. It doesn’t work. What would get you out of bed is something internal. What’s in it for you? What’s in it for you is to be able to have freedom of lifestyle, independence to make sure you can control your calendar and spend time with your kids. Put that right in a Post-It Note in your forehead and say, “That’s what I’m working for. I’m not working just for the money I’m working for these things.”
Tim, thank you so much for taking the time. You are someone I’ve grown to have a great deal of respect for, I love what you’re doing now and I’m glad you had the opportunity to share your experiences and inspiration to help other people find a way that in this challenge, we can all grow from this.
Thank you for having me. The respect is coming right back at you.
Tim Alison is the man. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to his podcast, you’re missing out. It is one of the best podcasts out there in terms of the interviews and the guests that he has. I have learned so much listening to that podcast. In regards to his story and how you can find success in your own life, there were many things that you can draw from that. If you know somebody that you think might be interested in this, I’d ask you forwarded on to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment about this or any other issue because that is how this message of helping each other to rise above our best and to lead like no other happens. Until then, I hope you’re able to do both. Peace.
- Screw The Naysayers
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
- Marcus Aurelius Anderson
- The Gift of Adversity
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
About Tim Alison
Entrepreneur who has started and scaled four businesses. At the age of 31 Tim walked away from one of the highest paying sales jobs in the country, moved to a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia Canada, and started an educational software company. The naysayers laughed. They stopped laughing when his sales topped $10 million.
Profit Whisperer for bricks and mortar businesses where I specialize in helping business owners identify opportunities for improved financial outcomes.
Host and Executive Producer Of The Screw The Naysayers Podcast where I have interviewed and amplified the voices of guests from around the globe including the likes of Jack Canfield, Seth Godin, John Perkins and an eclectic mix of Thought Leaders, WSJ and NYT Best Selling Authors, CEO’s,Olympians, Paralympians, Professional Athletes and other women and men who have overcome great adversity. All are seeking to change the world.
Harvard Speaker, 2019 Women of Inspiration award winner in the Support Her category
Featured in CBC, CTV, Macleans, Globe and Mail, Halifax Chronicle Herald, and more.
The ability to identify and develop emotionally intelligent behaviors is key for personal and organizational success. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau talks about the origins of emotional intelligence and the behaviors that develop emotionally intelligent responses. With anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger rampant during a time of disruption, finding ways to manage these things is key as you enter a new type of normalcy. Get to know these need to have skills you have to develop to help yourself and everyone around you. Tune in as Patrick takes a deep dive into EQ and the ways it can be improved.
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Why It’s Time To Double Down On Developing Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors
In this episode, we’re going to talk about emotional intelligence and the origins behind it and why it works. This will be a series of workshops because what we’ll do is, we’ll break down each one of the behaviors that help to develop emotionally intelligent responses. That is important in the environment that we’re living in. If you didn’t think emotional intelligence was something that was relevant or important, my hope is that your outlook on this has changed because if you live in the world that most of us were living in that it is filled with anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger.
Unless we find ways to manage that either in ourselves or also in our ability to help others, we’re going to be in difficult situations as we start to re-enter with some normalcy. This is not nice to have a skill. It’s a need to have a skill going forward. There’s a lot of research that demonstrates why it’s important. As you know, this is the lead like no other show where I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other and to rise above our best and it starts with ourselves. Let’s get into it.
As I mentioned, this show will be the first in a series that we’ll explore, take a deep dive into emotional intelligence. What I want to do is to set the stage for why emotional intelligence is important. We’ll explore what is emotional intelligence or EI. Why is it important? Another thing that’s important to look at is, can it be improved? Can I improve my emotional intelligence? We’ll look at some research there as well as what does the research overall tells us about EI? The goal through this series of shows is to help you identify the skills that you can use, whether at home or at work, understand how the skills improve your effectiveness.
When you finish reading this blog, you’ll be able to have some tangible or actionable items that you can walk away with and you can start to develop this muscle yourself. When we first talk about it and say, what is emotional intelligence or emotional quotient? It’s our ability to perceive, understand, and manage both our emotions and the emotions of those around us. What it looks at to me in the work that I’ve been involved with is, there’s a connection between our emotions and how we behave, make decisions, and perform. That’s the simplest way that we can look at this.
If we think about it this way that my emotion if I’m angry, how I behave, the decisions I might make, and how I perform in that situation or if I’m anxious, frustrated, scared, stressed versus if I am in a positive place of feeling confident, happy, whatever that might be. How I am in each of those sections is going to be different? I’m going to perform differently if I’m confident versus if I’m scared. I’m going to make different decisions as well. The important thing here is to know that EI can be developed but it takes work and time, but it’s well worth that. As I said, this is not a nice to have. It’s a need to have. When we first looked at emotional intelligence, the belief is that it was conceptualized in around 1990 by two researchers, one named Peter Salovey and the other was Jack Mayer.
What’s interesting here is in 1998, Harvard Business Review had an article on emotional intelligence and it was the most requested reprint in 40 years which I find fascinating that we have a business journal that the most highly requested article is on emotional intelligence. To me, that speaks volumes about the piece that has been missing organizationally for decades is leaders and individuals understanding the impact and importance of developing emotionally intelligent behaviors. It’s not to say that it’s the panacea, but it certainly is not a soft skill. Developing emotionally intelligent behaviors is the strongest skill. I believe that you can develop or refine because it has many different aspects. Many different areas that benefit an individual in an organization. In 2002, Daniel Goleman had a book that he had written in 1995, that it became the most widely read social science book in the world. What we also find is that emotional intelligence is increasingly being used throughout the armed services. It’s also being added to business schools and medical schools as part of their curriculum. It has a wide-reaching impact. When we think about emotions, they play such a large role in our outward displays in our emotions. They help define our tone of voice that we might use. Are we sarcastic? Are we angry? Our body language, are we folding our arms? Are we tapping our fingers? Things like our facial expressions, smirks, rolling eyes, what are we doing with our body?
Improving Emotional Intelligence
How do we control those things? How do we read those things in other people? That’s part of this perception of understanding where other people are. You might be thinking, “Why is it important to improve emotional intelligence?” There were numerous studies in a number of different areas. A couple of that I’ll mention, one is work. That’s been looked at in terms of improved workgroup effectiveness. Its ability to reduce stress, burnout. We see this a lot in healthcare that it can be beneficial there. Increased job satisfaction and employee engagement. There’s a lot of research. One article that I was reading, that was a study that looked at those that had higher levels of emotional intelligent behaviors tended to rate themselves their jobs as being more satisfied in the roles that they were in. It also has a benefit in terms of increased customer satisfaction and increases sales revenue.Developing emotionally intelligent behaviors is the strongest skill you can develop or refine. Click To Tweet
My background was in biotech sales for about fifteen years. As I look back on my success in that area and the connections that I made, I believe that it was a direct result of my ability to develop emotional intelligent behaviors. Reading and understanding the situations that I was in helped me not to mislead or take advantage of people but understand the connection there and what was important. Lastly, we know with EI, we’ve seen it in terms of reduced litigation. There’s some research that I will often cite and it was called the Apology Project. This was something that was done within hospital settings where they had an initiative and they followed it where they had hospitals that would proactively, if a mistake was made with a patient, would approach them taking responsibility for what happened.
What they found though was that in those instances where that happened that litigation costs were reduced. It doesn’t say that they were eliminated but they were reduced. That speaks to emotionally intelligent behaviors in terms of empathy. How would I want to be treated? I want somebody to take responsibility if they made a mistake. If they’re doing that, I’m less likely to want to find ways for retribution on that or damages, not to say that there don’t need to be in many cases but if I feel like somebody is taking responsibility for their actions, I’m more forgiving toward that person. The reason being is because we all make mistakes. We’re humans. Can we improve this in terms of EI? I would compare this to a muscle that’s all we’re doing is developing a muscle.
When I do this work within the organizations, I will often talk about setting goals. Many might’ve heard of smart goals. I don’t tend to use smart goals. I find there’s an easier process to use, which I call to set goals. Specific, emotional, and time-bound. When we talk about developing a new set of behaviors, that’s what we’re doing. Specifically, what do I want to do here? Emotionally is, why do I want this? Why is it important for me to develop these skills? Time-bound, when am I going to complete a course by or when am I going to do this by? With time-bound, it could be, how often am I going to practice during the week? Maybe it’s three days a week. I’m going to take a close look at what I’m doing and evaluating this. It’s important to do that.
A couple of other things that are important as we talk about improving EI is one, this is about incremental change. Small changes make big differences long-term and that’s what we have to look at. Too often, we get caught up and we need immediate change. “I need to see results immediately.” That’s not the way this generally works but in the long run, you will see benefits if you do this incrementally a little bit at a time. For us to be able to do this, we’ll talk about it further in one of the actual episodes is around intentional vulnerability. To be effective as a leader and in developing emotional intelligent behaviors, you need to become intentionally vulnerable.
What I mean by that is, we need to be in a place where we can say, “I’m wrong. I don’t have the answer. Maybe I’m struggling. I’m sorry.” Those are things that when we demonstrate and we’re able to say those things as leaders, especially, as long as I’m not doing this every single day, that doesn’t build confidence in the other person or trust. I want to know if there’s somebody that I am following that they have this ability in them to be able to admit when they’re wrong or they’re sorry because if they’re able to do that if they have that capacity, I’m going to trust that person more. I’m more open to following where they want to go because I know that they’re not going to be full of fluff and not be transparent. They’re able to do that. It’s important.
Engaged Versus Disengaged Organizations
When we talk about emotionally intelligent in a workplace setting, one of the things that I will often reference is work done around employee disengagement. There’s a couple of surveys that I’ve referenced quite often. One, a Gallup Data Survey. I will often show one that is dated based on quarters from the year 2010. I will jokingly say that somebody that’s looking at my slides might be thinking, “Patrick, you might want to update your slides.” What I’m doing is demonstrating to them that in a decade, the numbers around engagement versus disengagement within an organization have barely changed at all. You find that about 2/3 of an organization, employees are disengaged. Of those, in some of the work done by Gallup, they would suggest that 15% to 19% of those individuals are actively disengaged which is more damaging because that’s a contagion where not only am I unhappy here but I’m going to let everybody else know how unhappy I am.
When we look in terms of some of the work done by Gallup, what’s the impact of this? You’ve got some employees that are disengaged. When they’ve teased out this information and looked at the top 25th percentile versus the bottom 25th percentile, they’ve seen large gaps in terms of things like absenteeism, turnover rates, theft within organizations, safety incidences, patient safety incidences. A lot of the work that I am involved with from time-to-time is in health care. Most would agree with that. There’s data around that. Some of the manufacturing groups that I work with when we look at quality defects, we can see that based on Gallup’s work that there was a huge difference in terms of engaged versus disengaged organizations as it related to quality defects and what their products work.
What’s interesting is that this data is all based on what is called the Q12. There were twelve survey questions that Gallup asks employees. What’s interesting about these questions is out of the twelve, eleven of them are directly or can be directly related to the manager or the person that person reports to. I’ll quickly go through them. One is, do you know what is expected of you at work? Next is, do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right? In the last year, have you had the opportunity at work to learn and grow? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work? Does your supervisor or someone at work seem to care about you as a person?
Is there someone at work who encourages your development? At work, do your opinions seem to count? Does the mission, purpose of your company make you feel your job is important? Are your associates, fellow employees committed to doing quality work? Do you have a best friend at work? Lastly, in the last six months, has someone at work talk to you about your progress? Out of all twelve of those, the only one that is not about or can relate to the manager or that person that I report to is, are your associates, fellow employees committed to doing quality work? I would argue that even that one, it’s simply a contagion that they may or may not report to somebody that creates that feeling in them. It’s an indirect response to that one.
What’s important here is that we know through much of the research that says, “The number one reason that somebody leaves an organization is because of who they report to directly.” There’s much influence that the person has. If I’m in the position of leadership here or hold the authority based on my title, I have a huge responsibility to whether there’s engagement or disengagement from the standpoint of the environment that is created for that to happen. I bring that up specifically to say that you could have people that say, “I can’t create or make somebody happy or I’m happy. That’s their decision.” I would agree that you can have people that I could do everything for them and they choose to not want to be happy. I don’t control that but what I do, as a leader, need to provide is the environment where engagement can take hold.
That’s what these questions address. When we look at some of the research, I’m going to mention a few here that are important as we go through is one, I will reference often is called the contagious leader. It is the impact of the leader’s mood on the mood of the group members. This was a study that was done. It was looking at investigating how are leader’s mood affects the mood of the individual group members, the effect on the group as a whole, and then three group processes were also looked at coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy. There were 189 participants in this study. The groups were blinded, so they didn’t know what was going on. The leaders were induced into either a positive or a negative mood. What they found was at the end of this, when they looked back in terms of the leaders, there was a mood contagion that was experienced. It followed a positive mood contagion created a positive mood environment. A negative mood created a negative mood environment.
This was in the Journal of Applied Psychology, where this was published back in 2005. This is important to talk about how important our role is in creating a contagious, positive environment. That comes through our ability to develop strong emotionally intelligent behaviors. The next one looked at the relationship between emotional intelligence on job performance. This was a large meta-analysis that identified about 1,100 different citations that were relevant to emotional intelligence as well as the five-factor model of personalities which is often referenced as well as around cognitive abilities in job performance. They ended up using 43 studies and analyzing those. What they found was in regards to emotional intelligence, all three streams of emotional intelligence, they looked at correlated with job performance. The present data that they looked at, all strongly supported the predictive ability of emotional intelligence in terms of job performance and it was above and beyond what they were able to predict whether it was using the five-factor model of personality or an individual’s cognitive ability.Small changes make big differences long term. Click To Tweet
This was in the Journal of Organizational Behavior back in May 2010. That is important to look at this to say, this was a large meta-analysis. What they found was that EI was able to predict job performance. Above and beyond, what some of the other tools that we might think of or areas that we might look at we’re being evaluated. More than personality, more than somebody’s cognitive ability. Next is a piece of research that looked at emotional intelligence and empathy. This was a study that was done with the fMRI where patients were monitored through Magnetic Resonance Imaging. There were seventeen participants. They were shown images of patients that were in pain. They were asked to imagine that they, themselves, were in pain. Not that they were observing a patient in pain but they were the ones experiencing the pain.
What they found was that higher responses to images were seeing when they were using imagination than when they viewed patients in pain. That part of the person’s brain that experiences pain was more active when they imagined it as opposed to looking at somebody else. What that demonstrates to us is our ability for empathy, it’s regulated by perspective-taking. The important part here is where does this play out in terms of, how we interact with other people that when we’re able to imagine what it’s like to be where they are? One, we start to feel what they’re feeling and we need to keep that in a positive way but it allows us to develop a connection level of trust with somebody where I can truly try and see where somebody else is. I would think back to some of my kids when they were going through those teenage years. I have two that are going through it is that, it’s easy for me to judge them or to hold them accountable to certain things but not take the time to wonder, what was it like when I was fifteen?
How was I behaving when I was fifteen? Is what I’m asking of them or expecting them to do, is it reasonable? Quite honestly, I was far worse at times in terms of some of my behaviors. That doesn’t mean that everybody gets to do whatever they want. We still need to talk about clear expectations but there is, I need to be able to go to that place. If I want to be able to have open communication and build trust then I need to be able to remember what it was like to be a fifteen-year-old boy. The next is around increasing emotional intelligence. Is it possible? This was a piece of research that was published in Personality Individual Differences back in 2009. What they did was they had 37 participants. Nineteen were in a training group, eighteen we’re in a control group. They train them in the theoretical models of emotional intelligence and how to employ certain skills in their daily lives.
There were four sessions, 2.5 hours over four weeks and they looked at four different areas, understanding, identifying, expressing, and managing emotions. What they found was the training group, but not the control group, scored significantly higher on trait emotional intelligence after the training. More importantly, they found the results were durable after six months. Five months after they finished this, those that went through the training, they found that the impact that it had on their emotional intelligence was durable. I would suggest that after four weeks, those participants were seeing some benefits, they were seeing some results from what they were doing, so what they did was they realized that, “This is working. Let’s keep it going.” That’s why that’s important. Not that they didn’t do anything for the next five months but it was durable because they saw results early on.
That’s the benefit that we have. We get small incremental benefits that we build off of those. That’s where emotional intelligence can be. They can become valuable to us. The model that we’ll look to going forward, there are seven skills that we’ll dissect. One is around emotional self-awareness. We’ll start out with that one. There’ll be some exercises in there that we’ll talk about how do you develop this? We’ll talk about emotional expression. We’ll talk about the awareness of others. How do you start to develop that? Emotional reasoning or buy-in. How do you gain agreement through our emotionally intelligent behaviors? How do we manage our emotions? Self-management, how do we manage others will be another module. Lastly, we’ll be around emotional self-control. We can see that we’re in an environment that all of those things are valuable.
Each one of those built upon the other one becomes a powerful model for us to manage ourselves as well as to manage those around us. That, to me, is when we talk about reimagining what leadership looks like. It’s about inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow our lead. This is foundational for that to happen. With that said, I would encourage you to stick around for each one of these upcoming show because I promise you the activities and the ability to uncover why each of these is beneficial will be valuable to you whether it’s at work, home, or in the community, wherever you are, developing this set of behaviors or this set of skills will improve any and every aspect of your life. That I will say, unquestionably.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this intro into emotional intelligence that you’ve seen where there’s quite a bit of research and evidence that backs up why this is important and how many different aspects of our lives can be impacted by our ability to develop these seven behaviors that we’ll talk about going forward. If you know somebody you believe might have an interest in reading these as well, I would ask that you forward this on to them. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode that has been published. Until the next time we get together, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.
Oftentimes, though we may fail to see it, it’s ourselves that actually holds us back from reaching our goals. Trash thoughts have been lingering in our heads and subconsciously hinders you from achieving anything. This episode, Noah St. John shares his personal story and why, at a young age, he started to question what the secret to success is. He then goes on to talk about what the first step of transforming yourself is and explains the importance of believing in what you say. He gives some tips he’s learned through experience on how to spot false mentors and coaches that will only waste your time. Listen in and learn all about the system of success and understand how it all starts inside your head.
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How Our Head Trash Holds Us Back with Noah St. John
We are certainly living in unprecedented times right now and I believe so much of how we will be able to navigate this is going to be around our mindset and the questions that we ask ourselves in terms of how that’s going to happen. My guest is the perfect guest to be able to have this discussion. His name is Noah St. John. He’s known as the Power Habits Mentor and is famous for helping entrepreneurs get rid of their head trash and make more money. He’s the only author in history to have works published by Hay House, Harper, Collins, Simon & Schuster, Mind Valley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for The Soul publisher. He also appears frequently in the news worldwide, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Parade Magazine, Entrepreneur.com and The Huffington Post.
You’ll also be able to get his book, which is Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money for free at www.FreeHeadTrashBook.com. The conversation that I had with him, aside from his book, is about mindset and how important that is. You are tuning in to the show where I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other and it starts with ourselves. Let’s get into it.
Noah, I want to thank you again for being here. It is such an honor with all of your success in so many different areas, but as well, being a former Mainer that holds a special connection to me. Still being up here, I’m suffering through the winter. You seemed to find a way out of here.
I did manage to escape. It’s been quite a journey. I’ll tell you. As we were talking about off-camera, I grew up poor in a rich neighborhood. I grew up in Kennebunkport, Maine, which many of your readers might know as one of the wealthiest communities in New England, but my family was dirt poor. I mean that literally because we lived at the bottom of a dirt road in a drafty unfinished house that my parents ended up losing to foreclosure. You hear speakers get on stage all the time. They say, “We were poor, but we were happy. We didn’t know we were poor.” At my house, we freaking knew we were poor because my mother reminded us every day that we were poor and miserable, so it wasn’t happy. It sucked.
The point is I hated that life of poverty and fear and lack and not-enoughness. That’s all I knew in my family growing up. Right down the street, I saw that there was great wealth and abundance. You hear all the time speakers say, “The secret to success is hard work.” My parents worked hard and they never got ahead. I’m like, “That’s not it either. What the heck is going on here?” People know me. My coaching clients, my audiences, and the people that come to my live events say that I’m the nerdiest nerd in the industry. I say that proudly because what I mean is when there’s a problem, when there’s something that I don’t understand and when I want to fix something, I have to get down to the molecular level.
I got to fix it. If I don’t understand something, I’ll keep working until I get it. Even from a very young age, I hated that life of poverty. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Nobody in my family could help me. I did the only thing that a nerd would do, which is I went to the library and started reading books on self-help, personal growth, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and Stephen Covey. All the classics. I’m trying to put it to work. I worked hard, but I couldn’t get them to work. After many years of trying and not seeing the success I wanted, at the age of 25, I made a decision to take my own life.
I made the decision to commit suicide. I do share that story in my books and in my programs. At the very last minute, my life was spared. I didn’t know why, but I made a decision at that moment to devote the rest of my life to serving God and serving humanity as best I could while I was still around the earth. The only problem was I still didn’t know I was here on the earth. That’s when I went on another long journey. This one more of a spiritual journey, like in the inner journey. The first one was like to try to get success on the outside and that didn’t work. I went on an inner journey. I went back to the library and I started reading more books on spiritual growth, like Neale Donald Walsch, Louise Hay, Ernest Holmes, Marianne Williamson, and Deepak Chopra. The spiritual teachers of our time.
Long story short, in 1997, I had two epiphanies that changed my life and led me to finally realize why I’m here on the earth and that’s what led me to start my company. I launched my company, SuccessClinic.com in my college dorm room with $800 and a book on how to do HTML. I have one of the original personal and business growth websites on the internet. I’ve been here doing this for over two decades now. In those two decades, it’s amazing is that we’ve helped our coaching clients and our students add over $2.7 billion in sales. What I mean by that is we felt entrepreneurs, CEOs, executives, athletes, working moms, real estate people, and people in the health profession to add 6, 7, and yes, even 8 figures to their business using my methods. It’s been quite a journey, but it started from very humble beginnings.
The part that you mentioned about attempting suicide, you are one of more than a handful of guests I’ve had on this show that have all said the same thing. At some point in their life, they were at the brink of committing suicide. I think about that now in terms of what all those people would have missed out on if you had been successful at that attempt. To me, it’s an inspiration to people as that is in that space now. That’s what we talked about before we started. We live in a world at times where everything is so clean and nice and Instagrams and Facebooks. They don’t see all of the work and struggle that went in behind this that you were able to get past to make it to this point, which is so important. For people to be able to see you, you provide inspiration for so many people to do that. With that said, it would be interesting to hear you’ve written numerous books, but as we talk about your most recent one that’s being talked about so much right now is around get rid of your head trash about money. What was it that inspired you to write this book?
I’ve written fifteen books pretty much about the same topic. It’s all about what I call your head trash. Your head trash is the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it because…” and you fill in the blank. For everyone reading, think about what you want. What is it that you want? At my company and with our coaching clients, we call it your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to grow your business, scale your business. You want to go from $10,000 a month to $50,000 to $100,000 a month. Maybe you want to hire new employees. Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to find love.
It’s not about money, but it’s whatever it is in your life. That’s your destination and your goal. This is what I want. As I stated, it’s not money, it’s your whole life. You think about that thing that you want. We all do this, but then the very next thought for 99% of humanity is, “But I can’t do it because.” This is so key. What I want everybody reading to understand is whatever you say after the word because is what you are going to make true for you. You’re going to fight to the death to defend whatever happens after the word because even if you don’t want it. We, humans, are nuts or insane. I’ve coaching clients say, “No, I want to grow my business. I want to double or triple my business like your coaching clients.” When you go to our website, you see these incredible success stories from people from all walks of life and they go, “I want that.”
When I’m coaching them and they go, “I can’t do it because…” I hear all the excuses. “I can’t do it because I don’t have the time. I can’t do it because I don’t have the money, because I don’t have the right connections, because my parents did this to me, because I grew up poor,” or whatever it might be. Whatever happens after the word because is what you will defend to the death. Here’s what I want everybody reading to realize is that we humans have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right.
If you don’t believe me, put a Democrat and Republican in the same room and have them watch a political speech and see what happens. Put a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan in the same room to watch a Red Sox/Yankees game and see what happens. Are they watching the same game? Yes and no. They’re watching the same set of circumstances on the field, but when one team does something good, one person’s happy, one guy’s miserable and vice versa. Do you see what I mean? We have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right. When it comes to your head trash, this is what I always say to people. Whether I’m doing my keynote speeches or I’m doing my live events or coaching people, I will say, “This is one time you don’t want to be right.”
It reminds me a lot of that primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, which is trying to protect us. It does that naturally to try and say, “Don’t do that.”
The amygdala that you mentioned, we call that your lizard brain. The ancient brain. It’s millions of years old versus the front part of your brain, which is only a couple of hundred thousand years old. It’s the higher thought processes. The lizard brain’s main job is to make sure you don’t die now. It’s to keep you not dead. What’s a great way to keep you not dead? Don’t go for something you’re afraid of. If you’re afraid of something, it might kill you because it could be a saber-toothed tiger. It could be a woolly mammoth. We don’t know. It’s like, “Don’t go over there.” The problem is there are no saber-toothed tigers walking around. There are no woolly mammoths. Probably you’re just thinking of doing something like doing a blog post or something or making a phone call or something. It’s not death-defying if you get my drift. The point is the lizard brain doesn’t care. It’s like, “No, I don’t care. I’m scared. I’m not doing it.” Sadly, that’s the very thing that keeps us stuck.
You mentioned three components in your book. How do those tie in?
Do you mean the three big mistakes?
When you see the book, and by the way, we’re going to let your readers know how they can get this book for free. We never charge money. You can have the book for free. The point is that the subtitle is How to Avoid the Three Big Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make. That’s the subtitle of the book, Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money. I know everybody reading this is very smart, but nevertheless, you may make these mistakes and not knowing it.
You bring up a good point on that note. I could be thinking, “I’ve got money under control. I know how to do this, but they could still be mistakes that I’m making.”
One of the big mistakes that I work with clients on all the time is literally not getting rid of your head trash about money. Not even realizing it’s there. The first step of transformation is awareness. If you’re not aware of something, how can you change it? The answer is you can’t. That’s why we believe and espouse and teach on continuous learning because if you stop learning, you stop earning. That’s so important. That’s why most people are walking around with this head trash, as I call it, about money specifically, but also head trash about other areas of their life that could be keeping you stuck. The point is to look at how that’s affecting you. I’ll give you a quick example.We humans have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right. Click To Tweet
I was speaking at a conference for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and there were about 1,000 entrepreneurs in the audience, 6, 7, 8-figure earners, very high-level audience. I finished speaking. I was literally walking off the stage. A man came out of the audience. He rushed up to me. He practically grabbed me and he says, “Noah, I want to hire you as my coach. You’re the coach I’ve been looking for.” I didn’t know this man from Adam. Ironically, his name was Adam. I said, “What’s going on?” He goes, “Noah, I’m totally stuck. I’m only making $4 million a year.” I had to laugh. Who wouldn’t want to be “stuck” at $4 million a year? I said, “That doesn’t sound like much of a problem.”
He goes, “No. You don’t understand. I’m the CEO of a company. Our company grew fast to $4 million in revenues. It’s like hockey stick growth. We have been stuck at $4 million in revenues for the last four years. I’ve hired everybody out there. I’ve hired every marketing guru and every dude.” He named all the gurus out there. He said, “I’ve thrown all this money at this problem and we’re still stuck.” He said to me, “As soon as I heard you speak, Noah, about head trash and your foot on the brake and inner game out there, everything you said, I knew something inside me said you were the coach I’ve been looking for.”
He hired me on the spot. Long story short, I coached him for about 1.5 years. In those eighteen months, his company went from being stuck plateaued at $4 million in revenues for the previous four years to over $20 million in sales. Literally, six times increase in a little over a year. How did I do that? I waved my magic wand. No, I don’t have a magic wand. My point is that what we worked on was exactly what I’m talking about right now. We worked on a big part of it was this head trash that he didn’t realize that he had been unknowingly holding himself back from the success that he desired so that.
To go back to the car analogy, it’s like if you’re driving in your car and you have one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas, how long is it going to take you to reach your destination? A very long time. That’s what my work does. My methodologies enable people to, number one, understand why their foot’s on the brake. Number two, realize that it’s there in the first place. Number three, most importantly, get their foot off the brake so they can reach their goals much faster, easier in less time.
In your experience, do you find that there’s one thing that people put their foot on the brake most about?
There’s a lot of common themes. One of the big common themes that we hear a lot is about spirituality and religion, believe it or not. I was raised Catholic. In the Catholic Church, basically, you’re wrong. That’s pretty much it. If you think something, you’re wrong. That wasn’t very fun. Let’s be honest, to have a human desire is wrong. I understand that there are some human desires that aren’t so great, but some are perfectly fine. I’d like to live, I’d like to survive. I’d like to thrive. I’d like to live well. In fact, using Adam, that client I was talking about as an example, one of the beliefs he has is, “I don’t think I can be very successful.”
If I’m successful, then what if I screw it up? What if I lose it all and so on and so on? That’s the belief. The point is if you believe it, you make true. That’s a great way and reason to go down the road of life with one foot on the brake. To reiterate what I said earlier, if you don’t have that conscious awareness, you can’t make a change. The first step to any transformation is awareness. That’s why as a coach, as a business mentor, one of the big things that I do is I act as a mirror to my clients. I say, “Did you realize you’re thinking that? Did you realize that you’re doing this?” They’re like, “I didn’t even know I was doing that.” The analogy we like to give is when you’re inside the bottle, it’s awfully hard to see the ingredients on the outside of the bottle. I’m outside the bottle and I go, “Did you know you’re doing this?” They are like, “I don’t know that.” Now, we can change it.
I think of my own circumstances at times along those lines of, of getting to certain income levels that I had expected to get to. Somehow almost sabotaging certain things. A proposal goes out late, a phone call doesn’t get returned, which is uncharacteristic. What I think of is that I’m self-leveling almost against money.
That is one example of it. Right here on page 49 of the book, I show you exactly how. This is where I show you about inner game and outer game. The point is in any human endeavor, there are always two components. The inner component and the outer component. In the SuccessClinic.com, on my live events or with my keynote speeches or my coaching clients. We say the inner game and outer game. Inner game is everything that happens between your ears that you can’t see directly, but it affects everything that you do. For example, let’s say I’m doing a keynote speech or a live event. I’ll say to my audience, “What is one area of your life where your beliefs don’t affect you?” People go, “Umm,” and I go, “Exactly. There’s no place your beliefs don’t affect you.”
Your beliefs affect your health, your wellbeing, your peace of mind or lack thereof. Certainly, your beliefs affect your money, your wealth, your ability to attract clients, customers, patients, your relationships or whatever it might be. Literally, there’s no place that your beliefs don’t affect you, but here’s the thing. You can’t see a belief. You can only see the effects of it. Also, notice that you can be doing well in one area of your life. Meanwhile, you could be stuck or struggling in another area. For example, maybe your business is going great, but maybe your health is suffering or maybe your relationships are great, but you’re not making the money you want or whatever it might be. Any combination. It’s not cookie-cutter, one size fits all. It’s all customized to each person or company or organization or team. That’s the inner game.
We also have the outer game. The outer game is everything you can see directly. That’s the systems, strategies, habits, all the things that are right in front of your face. For entrepreneurs, that’s all the marketing we have to do. The lead magnets, the sales funnels, all the customer-facing, market-facing things. That’s what all the gurus are teaching. They’re teaching all that stuff, which is it’s all fine and good. If you don’t have the inner game mastered, then like my client Adam, he’d spent tens of thousand dollars on his marketing stuff. He was bumping up against himself, against his own inner game. That’s where I came in and I showed him that. I showed him the outside of the bottle and he went, “I didn’t even know I was doing that.” $4 million to $20 million in a year, a 600% increase. Let’s be honest, on Wall Street, if you get a 5% return, you’re a superstar.
When you talk about that too, if I remember correctly, it’s like the 80-20 rule to that 80% of this is the inner game. It’s our mind.
Let me give you some famous examples. I’m sure everybody reading knows who Robin Williams is. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us. He did kill himself. He did commit suicide. Why would he do that? Unfortunately, I never got the chance to talk to him because I could’ve saved him. I could have helped him certainly. There’s an example of someone who had everything that we all want. He was rich and famous. There’s no arguing that he was rich and famous and he not only lost it all, he took his own life. Why? It’s because of what I’m talking about right now. Because unfortunately, nobody got to him in time to help him with his inner game. That was not an outer game issue. The outer game was all set. He’s rich and famous. Chris Farley, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix. The list goes on and it’s a sad list, but you see what I’m saying? This shows up. Once you start to see this, you start to say, “This is this affecting everything.”
It’s interesting as I looked at your mission as well, one part of it is to make more money. The other part is to help more people and the last is to have more fun. That’s important too because you mentioned a bunch of examples there that certainly they made more money. That wasn’t about the money. There’s a purpose, I would guess to this as well of what’s this all about.The first step of transformation is awareness. If you're not aware of something, how can you change it? The answer is, you can't. Click To Tweet
In this industry, when I say this industry, I mean the personal and business growth industry, what we see is two kinds of people. The first kind is driven by money. “I can make a lot of money doing this.” That’s great. We all want more money. We all want nice things. By the way, you can tell this about the person, the guru, by looking at their social media. Look at their Instagram feed and they’re always posting, “Look at my new car. Look at all my watch.” I don’t even wear a watch. There’s nothing wrong with nice things. We all want nice things to take care of our family, go on fun vacations. We all want that stuff. The point is, for those gurus, that’s their primary driver.
There’s another group in this industry and that’s who I like to work with. Their primary driver is impact. It’s making a difference. It’s helping people, making the world a better place, as corny as it sounds. I’ve never had the primary driver of money, I’ve always had the primary driver of impact. I’m not saying I’m better than anybody. I’m saying that it’s so funny because I tried to be like them. I tried to be like, “I want that money.” I’m going, “This sucks. Why am I so unhappy with this?” Finally, my beautiful wife, she finally said, “Why are you trying to be like that one? That’s not you.” I’m going, “I don’t know.” She read my bottle from the outside. The point is part of my mission is to make it okay and that money is part of it. It’s not the thing. It’s a thing.
I’m certainly not suggesting that I’m better than anybody else. I’m saying there are not many voices that I hear in this industry that talk about that. It’s mostly dominated by money and stuff. Get more stuff and then you’ll be happy. You get to a certain age and you’re like, “I got to know stuff.” The stuff doesn’t make you happy. What makes people happy is experiences. More importantly, shared experiences. When I go on trips sometimes, I have to go by myself. I don’t like it. I like going on trips with my wife. Why? Because that’s my best friend. I get to share going to the beach or going to see a concert or going to Las Vegas shows or whatever it is. I’m always saying, “If I was by myself, I wouldn’t be having any fun right now. It’s fun because I’m sharing that experience.” Most people feel that way.
In terms of our kids, the best time that we have is on trips, on things that we do together, wherever it is. It’s because they’re shared experiences. That’s the enjoyment of that. I completely agree with you.
By the way, numerous scientific studies have shown that when you have stuff, the perceived value of stuff, things go down over time. However, the perceived value of experiences goes up over time. You mentioned a great example. That family vacation you took with your family, you’re going to be talking about that for the rest of your life. You’re going to say, “Remember when we went to Niagara Falls? Remember when we went to the Grand Canyon?” You’re like, “That was so much fun.” The value in your mind goes up. I’m the voice now for like, “We got enough stuff. Let’s talk about shared experiences.” Raising the consciousness here.
My wife has Timehop on her phone. All of a sudden, they’ll be like, “This was three years ago on this date.” It will be, “Remember we did this trip?” I can’t remember one time on a Time Hop that it’s all memory. “Remember we got this car?” “That was a great day when I got that suit.”
We all want nice things. There’s nothing wrong with things, but you get to a point and you’re like, “Is that it?” You’re like, “No, let’s have more shared experiences.” Help more people make more money and have more fun, as you stated. That is our goal, our stated mission here at Success Plan.
We only hit on the first mistake. What’s the second mistake?
The second mistake is not finding the right mentor. That goes back to what I was saying a moment ago. It’s very easy to spot the wrong mentor. That is when they talk about themselves incessantly. You see this every day on social media. You can’t turn on social media without seeing something that says, “Look at all my cool stuff. Aren’t I awesome?” You’re like, “You’re awesome. Did you help anybody else get what they want or is it all about your stuff?” It’s so insane. I am so guilty of this and embarrassingly, I paid the gurus over $250,000, only to find out they can’t teach their way out of a paper bag.
They truly suck at teaching, but they’re great at promoting themselves. I bought it. I bought it and they’re like, “Thanks.” I’m like, “Are you going to help me.” “No, I’ll just take your money.” I’m like, “What?” The point is for example when you go to our website when you go to NoahStJohn.com and look at what we call the client wall of fame, I’d rather brag about the car that I helped you get that’s in your garage rather than the cars that are in my garage. Why? If I’m only bragging about myself, then who cares? Who cares about if you made money for yourself, but it’s very seductive? That’s what I caution people about.
You’ve got a who’s who in here of pretty heavy hitters that have endorsed this as well, but also people that have benefited from what you’re doing, which is neat to see that.
Here’s Elizabeth. She went from startup to seven figures. She had tons of head trash. She said it. Susan, I helped go from $60,000 in debt. She was about to declare bankruptcy, to a six-figure income in less than a year. It goes on and on. Aubrey was one of our students. She came to my live event and she had been in a wheelchair. Doctors told her she would never walk again because she was working herself to death. You’ve heard that phrase. She was doing it. She was working day and night. She wasn’t growing. After coming to my event, after hiring me as a coach, she doubled her business in less than a year. That’s what I like to brag about. I’d rather brag about my clients.
What about mentoring? We talked about how important it is
My point again, I’ll reiterate. Make sure you find the right mentors, not just any mentor. There are tons of dudes out there that say, “Look how cool I am. Look how much money I’ve made.” My question was, “Have you helped anybody else?” Remember, if they haven’t, if all they talk about is themselves, then they probably what they have is a personality. You can have a winning personality. That’s fine but personality is not a system. If it’s not a system, then what about you and me? How are we going to replicate them? We can’t. In my teaching, my methodology is systematic. It’s a system on purpose because I’m so methodical. I’m such a nerd. That’s the point. I’d rather be the nerdiest nerd because that means, I know that I can help anybody. Literally, we have teenagers who come to our events. We had one sixteen-year-old girl. She came to my event and she started up her own online business. Now she sells custom yoga pants and making six-figures a year.If you stop learning, you stop earning. Click To Tweet
When you’re talking 1997, you’re talking to HTML, I know you’re nerdy. You don’t have to convince me on that one.
That’s what I want people to make sure that they’re looking for systems, not personality.
My thought too is I spent a lot of time on the leadership end of things around influence. To me, that’s all it is. It’s how do we inspire others to go where we want to go? One of the things that are important, especially if I’m thinking of a mentor, is goodwill. Are you more interested in taking my money or providing me with something that’s going to help me grow? If I sense that this is about, you’re a personality and you’re making money off of me, but not helping me to get where you said I can go, it doesn’t work. Short-term, it might work, but long-term, it doesn’t.
Unfortunately, I bought it from them. They seduced me to the tune of $250,000 before I wised up. It took me a little too long. I want people to learn from my painful mistakes. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Do your homework, do your research, look at the testimonials, look at the case studies, watch the videos, go to our website. There are dozens and dozens. It’s like, “If there are this many success stories, there’s got to be a system. If there’s a system, that means I can do it too.” If you don’t think you can do it, guess what? That’s your head trash.
What’s the third mistake that you talk about?
This one could be even worse than the other two combined, and that is gathering too much information without giving yourself permission to succeed. I know that’s a mouthful of what I said. My very first book that was published back in 1999 by the Chicken Soup for The Soul people was called Permission To Succeed. One of the epiphanies that I had back in 1997, one of the reasons that I started SuccessClinic.com, my company, is I realized most of us don’t need any more how-tos of success. What we need is a system to give ourselves permission to succeed. Going back to Adam, that story I shared earlier, that was a big part of the work we did, helping them go from $4 million to $20 million in less than a year was a big part of that was helping him get his foot off the brake.
The point is we don’t live in the information age. We live in the information overload age. We passed the information age twenty miles back. There are over one billion blogs on the internet right now. You can watch cat videos for the next 10,000 lifetimes and still never be done. The point is we live in a world not only of information overload but of infinite distractions. Unfortunately, at our fingertips, every minute of every day, we have these what I call the tools of infinite distraction, our phone. Remember that the makers of all of these social media platforms and apps, their job is to keep you addicted as a consumer so that they can show you more ads so that they make more money.
When it’s a free platform, guess what the product is? You and me. We are the products. We are being sold everywhere. The point of what I’m getting at is one of the big things that we work with at our coaching clients at our live events is to cut through the clutter, having people do less and make a lot more. There are so many things you could do, but it’s like a Jurassic Park. Should you do it? It isn’t could we do it. It’s should we do it? It’s like, “Should I be doing that?” As a quick example, as we talked about earlier, I’ve been blessed to write fifteen books that are now published in eighteen languages and I’ve also helped many people. A big, big reason that I’ve been able to do that is to help people to eliminate distractions.
As I stated, we live in a world of infinite distraction. Being able to unplug even for a few minutes a day or maybe an hour or so or whatever so that you can focus, get something done is going to make enormous differences for you what most people do as they’re trying to build a bridge from where they are to where they want to be. Instead of building one bridge to get there, they’ve got twenty half-built bridges. When you have a half-built bridge, what did you do? That’s not good. We want to have one but it’s so painful. It’s so easy to get distracted. It’s so easy to get that information overload. At our live events with our coaching clients, we help people to cut through the clutter, do less, and have more.
We do get overloaded with, how many places can I go to research what I’m going to do?
There’s a phrase that we love to say with our clients at our events, which is, there’s no lack of information. There’s a definite lack of implementation and a lack of implementation leads to a lack of transformation. We don’t want information anymore. Nobody wants more information. “No, can I please have more information?” Holy crap, I’m drowning in information. The point is we don’t want more information, but what we need is implementation. That’s going back to the fear that we were talking about earlier. What if I do it and it doesn’t work? It’s head trash. Do you see how this all ties together? That lack of implementation leads to a lack of transformation. You can’t have a transformation from the information. If it did, then we’d all be multibillionaires because we all have infinite information at our fingertips. Clearly, that’s not the issue.
As we’re wrapping things up, I’m thinking you mentioned a lot about affirmations. If I’m that person that’s saying, “This sounds good. I’ve tried so many different things and it doesn’t work.” How do you help somebody in that regard? I know I follow you on Instagram and I see many of the affirmations you put out there and they’re great. They would be so valuable for readers to hear, what’s a process that you can do to be able to change the question?
For everyone reading, we’re using a new word here. It’s afformations, not affirmations. This is one of the power habits of unconsciously successful people that I teach. This is my book from Hay House called Afformations and you can learn more at Afformations.com. As we all know it, and I’m sure everybody reading knows that an affirmation is a statement of something you want to be true. This is what the gurus have been teaching us for decades. This is one of the things we like to do at our live events or my keynote speeches, whether I’m talking to colleges, universities, healthcare, or chiropractors, dentists, sports teams or whatever it is. I love to have my audiences stand up and say, “We’re going to say an affirmation. Everybody says I am rich.” Do you know what happens next? Everybody starts laughing. I go, “What are you laughing at?” They say, “I’m not rich.” I go, “You just said you were,” and they go, “I don’t believe it.” Now that’s the problem. There’s nothing wrong with the statement. We don’t believe this statement. The point is you say the positive thing and your brain goes, “Right.” In my books, I call it the Yeah, Right Response because the brain goes, “Yeah, right.” Back in 1997, I had this epiphany and I was in the shower one morning.
In my books, I call it the shower that changed everything because we’ve all had those a-ha moments in the shower. On this particular shower, I was thinking about this very point saying, “How come I been doing these affirmations, doing everything the books told me to do?” Remember, I read every book and they also had the same thing. Say the affirmations, put in a positive attitude. I wrote it down and put it in sticky notes. All of them, nothing. I was saying, “I’m happy. I’m rich. I’m successful.” No, I’m not. I’m unhappy. I’m broke. I’m miserable. I’m like, “This is not working.” I was so frustrated. I said, “What aren’t they telling us? They got to be leaving something out. There’s got to be something so crucial that they’re not telling us and something they left out. What is it?”When you're inside the bottle, it's awfully hard to see the ingredients on the outside. Click To Tweet
I was literally beside myself. I said, “What are we talking about?” We’re talking about beliefs. What’s a belief? A belief is a thought. What’s thought? I realized that human thought is the process of asking and searching for answers to questions, not statements. I said, “If the human mind is automatically searching for answers to questions, why are we going around making statements we don’t believe? Why don’t we cut out the middleman?” I said, “What would that look like?” You get this statement or affirmation, the old way. “I am rich,” and your brain goes, “Right.” I said, “What would the question be? Why am I so rich?”
Now when you asked that question, what immediately starts to happen in your brain? You start getting the answer. We’re talking about what I teach at my events and what I work with coaching clients on is the Law of Sowing and Reaping. As you sow, so shall you reap? It’s nothing new. It’s been taught for centuries, but what are we sowing? We’re sowing seeds of thought. Yet what are most people doing? Sowing lousy thoughts seeds. Why am I so stupid? Why am I so fat? Why can’t I lose weight? Why isn’t my business growing? Why is there more month left at the end of the money? When you ask lousy questions, what do you get? Lousy answers and that creates a lousy life. I said, “Why don’t we flip the whole thing on its head? Instead of asking lousy questions that leave the lousy answer that leads the lousy life, why don’t we flip that on its head, start asking empowering questions that lead to phenomenal answers and create a wonderful life?”
As I was standing there in the shower, April 1997, I said, “I invented something.” I gave it a name and the name I gave it is afformations. If you go to Afformations.com and learn more about my afformations methods. Literally, since that time, we’ve helped people to overcome addiction, to cure PTSD, to double or triple their income, to start their business, grow their business, find love. We’ve helped kids get better grades, feel more self-esteem. It’s incredible because going back to what I said at the beginning of this program when I was talking about beliefs and head trash, this is one of the things that’s causing it. The beautiful thing is using my afformations, now you can literally change your questions, change your habits, change your actions and thereby change your life.
I don’t need to tell you right now how powerful it is for you. Our brain looks for the evidence to back up the question that we ask. If more people recognized what you’re talking about, they would be in such a better place. We get what we search out in some regards. I spend a lot of my time not in this space like this, but certainly, I might go into an organization. If it’s around conflict and they don’t like the person they work with, I will say that if you’re asking yourself, why don’t you get along with that person? It’s no different than what you’re talking about. I will think of all the reasons why I can’t get along with this person. It changes everything. You have an event coming up as well. Do you want to mention that?
It’s called Freedom Lifestyle Experience and it’s a two-day transformational intensive wherein two life-changing days, I literally teach you how to master your inner game on day one and your outer game on day two so that you can have more time, more energy, better relationships and more money while working less. It’s like the entrepreneur’s dream, which is to be able to not work all the time and yet have that financial freedom and the time freedom so that they can live the life that they want. That’s why we call it Freedom Lifestyle Experience because we want to give people that experience of living a freedom lifestyle. You can get your tickets at FreedomLifeX.com. Since you’re reading to this right now, you can bring a friend for free. We want to give a special gift to everybody reading this.
Thank you so much for this. This has been I’ve loved our conversation. As I mentioned, there’s an affinity there from the main connection, but our backgrounds are similar to growing up. You have provided so much value to so many people. Thank you for that.
It’s my pleasure.
The conversation with Noah is certainly such a valuable one in the environment that we’re in right now. The questions that we ask ourselves will be so important in terms of what the outcomes will be from that. If we expect the worst, we won’t be disappointed. We will be disappointed, but we won’t be disappointed. We probably will get exactly what we’re expecting. Much of this is around our ability to think differently. I hope you’ll take an opportunity to do that. If you know somebody you think might benefit from this episode, I’d ask you to forward it on to them.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, I’d ask you to please go ahead and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to get out there. We need messages around helping the individuals understand that we are all leaders through our actions. Until our next episode, I’m going to ask you two things. One is that you lead like no other. Secondly, that you’re able to rise above your best. Peace.
- Noah St. John
- Chicken Soup for The Soul
- Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money
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About Noah St. John
Peak performance isn’t just about technology, sales, or a number of other things. It’s about your company costs, employee morale, and the way you train your team.
We can help you understand how to create habits within your team that defends against mindset and low motivation with a radically new approach to growth and organizational transformation that defines what you can do and how it will shape your advantage for years to come.
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Noah St. John is the only author in history to have works published by Hay House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Mindvalley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher. His 15 books have been published in 18 languages.
A highly in-demand keynote speaker, Noah is famous for inventing AFFORMATIONS® – a new technology of the mind – and helping people get rid of their head trash so they make more money.
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Bullying has been a long time issue, not only for children but adults as well. In the healthcare industry, eradicating bullying and incivility can mean the difference between saving a life and not. Dr. Renee Thompson joins this episode to raise awareness on the adverse effects of disruptive behaviors towards patients that at times, even resulted in deaths. She talks about the importance of proper and civil communication in being effective at your work and touches on the primary roadblock that hinders a leaders’ abilities to confront disruptive behaviors in the workplace. Learn all about the negative ripple effect of bullying and incivility, not only in healthcare, but any industry in general.
Listen to the podcast here:
Eradicating Bullying and Incivility in Healthcare with Renee Thompson
If you’ve ever worked in an organization where there’s been incivility or bullying, this is an episode you’re going to want to read. My guest is Renee Thompson. She runs a company called the Healthy Workforce Institute. Her tagline is we eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare. While our conversation is focused around healthcare and the negative impact that both bullying and incivility have in the healthcare field, as it relates to not only the environment but in regards to patient’s health and also to patient mortality, there’s something in here for everybody. It doesn’t matter what company you worked for, that we all deal with these things, bullying and incivility. How do we address these? While much of our conversation focused around healthcare, the topics and the themes are relevant regardless of what industry you’re in. Whether it’s patient health and mortality that’s being impacted, there are impacts for every organization.
I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other. It begins with ourselves because when we lead like no other, we do succeed like no other. That is my mission in the work that I do outside of this show but in this show is to try and provide resources, individuals and stories that help us all to recognize that we do have the ability to do this. All of us do. Let’s get into it.
Renee, I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show and talking about such an important topic and that’s around incivility and bullying in healthcare and the impact that it has on all aspects of the organization.
Thank you for having me. This is such an important topic, especially in this world. The industry that I focus on is healthcare. I’ve said this over and over again, the way we treat each other should be as important as the care that we’re providing. We see disruptive behaviors in every industry. However, we see more disruptive behaviors in healthcare, which doesn’t make sense when you think about it. We’re in the caring industry. Any opportunity that I have to get exposure to an audience of people who also understand the importance of this, it’s a good day.
The tagline of your business when I went on your website is about eradicating bullying and incivility in healthcare.
We don’t have time to deal with bullying and incivility when we’ve got an important job to do and that’s to care for these patients as though they were our precious families. We have a lot of strategies to address disruptive behaviors. When we look at especially bullying, we need to eradicate it. There should never be a tolerance for actual bullying in any industry but especially in healthcare.
You mentioned the keyword that I hear there is a tolerance for, which to me seems to be that has been the challenge is that there is tolerance or has been a tolerance for this.
People don’t even think they pay attention to this or they’re not doing it deliberately. They’re not saying, “By me tolerating this behavior, I know I’m impacting or causing harm to patients and employees.” I don’t think it’s a deliberate act, but it shows up in this way. You have a physician who’s extremely good, very competent. He brings the organization in a lot of revenue, but it’s somebody who is toxic, who everybody’s afraid of. We tolerate it because this physician is so good.When we don't feel comfortable communicating with each other, it stops the flow of information. Click To Tweet
I’m a nurse. I’ve been a nurse for many years. I’ve been in leadership roles. I was the director of a very large medical-surgical unit. I had some of my nurses who were so good at what they did however, they were toxic. You do work around. You make excuses or you justify somebody’s behavior. I hear this all the time, “She’s a great nurse but,” or “He’s a great physician, just don’t get on his bad side,” or “He’s excellent as a clinician, it’s he doesn’t like people very much.” We tolerate it by justifying their behavior.
We were talking about how this is an industry that prides itself right on evidence-based medicine, yet neglects all of the evidence out there around behaviors and the impact that they have on the organization itself.
When I do some training and education, especially if I have an audience, where I have, say physicians in their group, I always start with a few very prominent statistics. There’s one that came out in 2018 that showed 71% of physicians and nurses have linked incivility, not even bullying, incivility to medical error and 27% said it led to a patient’s death. Patrick, we could spend the next week talking about the studies that show the negative impact on patients, employees in the organization when disruptive behaviors go unaddressed and you’re right. We’re an industry that prides itself on evidence-based practice and research, yet we have the evidence to support addressing this, but we tend to ignore it.
What’s interesting is that the information, I haven’t seen in 2018, but that goes all the way back. Joint Commission did a survey in 2009 and they said 26%.
The Joint Commission has released several sentinel alert events over many years telling healthcare organizations, “We know that bad behavior leads to poor patient outcomes. You have a responsibility as a healthcare organization to address this, to do something about it. Numerous organizations now are holding healthcare organizations accountable for addressing disruptive behaviors because the evidence is so strong that when we ignore behaviors, it leads to poor patient outcomes.
I know this can sound absurd when you think of it this way, but could you imagine that you’re an ER physician and you have to go out and tell Mrs. Smith that her husband unexpectedly passed away because of a mistake that was made when two of the staff members were in disagreement with each other. It sounds absurd, but that’s on some levels what you’re talking about.
It happens every day and every healthcare organization. Someone is concerned about a patient and chooses not to speak up, to tell someone about it because they’re uncomfortable with how that person will react. We hear this a lot, “That’s his personality. That’s the way she is. Don’t take anything she says personally.” I’ve had many people who have said, “That’s my personality. I’m direct. I tell people the way it is.” Here’s what I say back. If your personality affects whether or not someone feels comfortable communicating with you, then you need to adapt your personality in the workspace.
When we don’t feel comfortable communicating with each other, it stops the flow of information. When we stop the flow of information that affects someone’s mom, child, or spouse. It’s very apparent. I remember when I was a new nurse, there was a time when I was concerned about my patient. It’s 2:00 in the morning. You look on the on-call schedule and you see that the physician on call is that physician notoriously known for screaming, yelling at nurses and making them feel like idiots. What do you say? “I’m not calling him. I’ll go and ask my colleagues what they think about this patient.” I’m thinking, “What if that patient was your mom or your spouse or your child?” It changes the dynamics of that. However, it’s something that we have to acknowledge and do something about.
I once heard somebody say that when you make excuses for somebody, you invite them to never change.
It’s very profound when you think about what that means. It’s something that happens all the time. I do a lot of deep dives with organizations and consulting. It always ends up that we talk about a few people there who have been misbehaving for decades. Patrick, you find out that nobody’s sat down and had an honest conversation with them about their behavior. Nobody has sat down and said, “I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but you come across as very abrasive.” That’s not okay. We see that all the time. People don’t even realize it.
The other part of that I see, Renee as well, is that even when that conversation might happen, that there’s no accountability after the fact. There’s no clear expectation or what’s next. It’s, “I don’t have time to deal with this right now. I’ll deal with it next time.”
I probably have a conversation about that pretty much every day. First of all, what I have found in several years that I’ve focused on this topic, how do we eradicate bullying and how do we address incivility? It’s to cultivate a professional, respectful, nurturing, supportive and truly a kinder workforce culture. We are not doing a good job teaching our frontline leaders how to set behavioral expectations, hold people accountable, and confront disruptive behaviors. We don’t teach them these skills. What they do is they end up using silence as a strategy. Especially if somebody who reports to them is so clinically competent.
Let’s say they read the studies and they know that they need to address this behavior. They finally built up the courage to sit down and have a conversation with that employee and they’re done. They finally had the conversation. They then say, “I did it. I never have to have that conversation again.” That’s the biggest mistake they make. It’s having one conversation, doesn’t change behavior. It’s following up and say, “We’re going to meet every week,” until either one of two things happens. They step up or they step out.
I don’t know what your experience is right now, but I’m seeing much more accountability in terms of follow-through. It’s gotten to the point where that next step of inviting somebody to step out is happening. I wasn’t seeing that before as much.
It is. There are a few reasons for that. I will say that we’re not where we need to be yet. However, we’re seeing more conversations and partnerships between the Human Resource Departments in an organization and the leaders. What I find is that there’s usually a big disconnect. I hear this all the time. The leader goes to the human resource rep and basically says, “I want to terminate this employee or I want to hold this employee accountable.” They hit a brick wall. When they hit the HR rep, who will say, “Nope, you don’t have enough documentation. You didn’t counsel them enough.”
It’s interesting because the leaders who I work with, they get very frustrated about that. I’ve talked to the HR departments and they tell me a very different story. They’ll tell me a manager barges into their office and demanding that they approve a termination. They’ll say, “I’ve never heard that this employee was a problem.” They have no documentation. On their performance reviews, it meets or exceeds expectations in the last several years in a row. How are we supposed to hold people accountable if we’re not doing our due diligence along the way?Signing a piece of paper doesn't change behavior. Click To Tweet
Where do you see the roadblock there?
The primary roadblock is we’re not equipping leaders with the skills that they need so as soon as somebody behaves in a disruptive manner, to be able to confront that person immediately, document it in a way that shows what the impact is. I’ve read so many documentations. I say to start a documentation trail as soon as you sense that there’s a problem. I’ve read some of their documentation. It’s useless. They’re based on that person’s opinion. There’s a lot of information in there that’s not necessary. I always say you have to link somebody’s behavior to a patient. Safety concern, quality concern, satisfaction concern, the way the team communicates with each other. There are multiple things that they need to do right from the beginning. It’s confront, set behavioral expectations, document, and give their HR representative and their boss a heads up early in the process. Don’t wait until you’re like the pressure cooker and all of a sudden, you’ve had enough. Start early.
How do you deal with the individual that says, “We’re short-staffed right now. We don’t have time to deal with this?”
I was the leader during the worst nursing shortage that we’ve had in many years. Let me tell you, Patrick, there were some of my nurses who were very toxic, but if I held them accountable to the point where they were gone, guess who was staffing? It was me and running my unit. It’s not easy. However, we have to think about the ethical responsibility that we have to our public to make decisions based on what’s best for them. Keeping a toxic employee, even if you’re short-staffed, even if you’re too busy, I want you to think about what we’re saying. That being busy is our excuse for putting our patients at risk, at harm. The organization as a whole needs to recognize and support and do their due diligence. You have to equip your frontline leaders. You have to get your employees involved. It can’t be on the manager’s shoulders. There needs to be a collaborative.
As I’m sure you would agree, it needs to be all the way at the top because people become fearful of thinking, “There’s no place I can go because this won’t be dealt with. I’m going to be the one that’s going to pay the price for this.”
It was a physician. I was doing some consulting in an organization. The first year we focused on nursing primarily because that’s your largest workforce. We spread it out to ambulatory care. We got the physicians involved and their chief medical officer after he was involved, he said to me, “I get it.” He’s like, “This is why this works. You have a top-down, bottom-up and everything in-between approach.” I said, “Exactly, it has to be everybody. You start at the top, but you’ve got to include the people at the bottom. You have to include all the middle people.”
It’s like being in a jungle gym. It’s all over the place.
It has to be that way. You can’t pick one layer of leadership because it’s not any one of us. It’s all of us. Every single person contributes to culture. If there are disruptive behaviors that are going unaddressed, that affects the culture.
Where do you see values in this? There certainly seems to be more noise around organizational values. That can almost be a liability to many of the hospitals that prominently placed their values out there, but they don’t honor them.
I always say, “How do you make sure that your values are living and breathing? They’re alive and how do they show up?” It’s interesting. I’ve been having a lot of conversations about values. I gave this as a recommendation to an organization. They had re-did their values. I said, “Here’s a recommendation for you when you’re interviewing somebody for a job in your organization. Ask that person, “Which of our core values resonates with you the most and why?” You’re asking, number one, did they go on your website and read your core values? If not, hand the piece of paper that has your core values to that person and say, “Which one of these?” How they answer will tell you if they’re a good fit for you.
It’s one of the ways. I will say, though, “I get it. The mission, vision, and values.” I have what I call guiding principles for my own company. What I have learned is that most employees care most about what happens in their department. Not that they don’t care about the organization, they care most about their department. Something that we do is when we work with individual departments, we work with the employees and the leadership team to create what we call department norms or professional practice agreement. They create their own setup, how we always treat each other, how do we never treat each other? That I have found to be more effective than saying, “Here are our core values, respect, integrity, and stewardship.” What do these mean to us? You form that into a professional practice agreement. Now you’re saying these are the behaviors that show that we respect each other, that shows we have integrity, but you get your employees to articulate it.
I was going to say, “That’s a great approach as well from an influence standpoint and consistency.” They’re part of developing these things. It’s easier to hold people accountable when you can say, “You’re the one that said these things were important. This wasn’t handed down from on high. You were part of the process of creating this.”
Let’s say the managers have to counsel someone or coach someone because of behavior. What I advise them to say is, “What happened? We said we would talk to each other, not about each other. We said that we would go out of our way to help each other no matter what. You didn’t honor our agreement. It’s not what I say as the manager. We agree. This is us as a team.” It’s so much more powerful. Every organization has a code of conduct. This professional practice agreement that we do, we never ever make employees sign it because signing a piece of paper doesn’t change behavior. If it did, I wouldn’t have a growing company based on this problem.
If it was that easy, can you imagine?
I would be doing something else. I wouldn’t be spending all of my time and energy on this, but I think I’m going to be busy for a long time.
When you first go into a company in terms of diagnosing this, it’s what you’re doing. Where do you see some of the biggest gaps as you go into an organization in terms of saying? Are there themes that you’re seeing where you say, “This part needs to be closed off because this is part of what perpetuates this?”The primary roadblock is that leaders are not equipped with the skills they need to address the issue. Click To Tweet
Yes. I appreciate the fact that you said when you go into an organization and diagnose it because if you look at disruptive behaviors, I see the same patterns pretty much in every organization. The frontline leaders have no idea how to address disruptive behaviors. There’s a huge disconnect between the leaders and their HR business partners. There’s no training and education regarding disruptive behaviors, not only for the leadership team but for the employees too. However, before you can solve a problem, you have to fully understand the problem. We always go in and do an assessment. We talk to everyone. We talk to not only the executive leaders, the frontline. We talk to the employees. I don’t mean people in a professional role. We talk to the physicians and the nurses. We talk to housekeepers, radiology techs and dietary aides because they see everything.
In each organization, we do find little nuances, things that are different in that organization that the executive team doesn’t even know is happening. A lot of times we find that it’s the charge nurse role, the person making the assignments that is a problem that people don’t realize or the informal but very powerful leaders in a department or in an ambulatory care center, it’s the techs, not the nurses, not the physicians. It’s the certified medical assistants, who were the ones ruling the roost. In each of these cases, we find that there’s a lack of organizational commitment to doing what they need to do to hardwire and sustain a healthy workforce culture. Some organizations, they want us to come in and do a workshop and think they can check a checkbox. If you want to change the culture, you need to get everybody involved and it can’t be done in an afternoon. That’s the frustrating thing for me because some organizations want to check a checkbox and that doesn’t change the culture.
I will often relate that to, if we think about antibiotic resistance, to me, that’s the same thing. When you go in and do a one-day workshop, to me, it’s the same thing as not. It’s like taking the loading dose part of the antibiotic, but not finishing the course. What do we know is going to happen the next time? It’s going to become resistant. That’s what I’ve seen has happened within organizations is that they’ve done the one-day trick and realized it didn’t work. It creates this resistance to people feeling cynical like, “This is the way we are. You can’t change this.”
I never thought of it that way. That’s a brilliant example. I see this all the time. That’s why sometimes I say no. If they’re checking a checkbox, I’m not going to do it. When we’re on-site and we’re doing some training and education, you can tell these people, there are people there who are so hungry for this, starved and they want the help. It’s almost a bait and switch. You give them hope and then you take that hope away from them. The consulting that I do where we’re there for a year many times, I had an educator at one of our meetings, say, “How do we make sure this isn’t another flavor of the month?”
One of the strategies, when we hardwire, is we put a healthy workforce as a standing agenda item in every department staff meeting, leadership meeting, every meeting. I say, “I’ll tell you how you make it a flavor of the month. If we say healthy workforce is important to our organization, and we’ve decided to put it on the agenda for all of our meetings, the first time you take it off of the agenda, because some other big initiative is more important, now you’ve made it one more thing. It can never come off the agenda. It always has to be top of mind, front and center no matter what.”
I do work on the performance side too with athletes. If you look in terms of how athletes operate, it’s about habits, continually setting up muscle memory. This is no different but if you continue to model these behaviors, they become hardwired into you too. It doesn’t mean you don’t slip, but they tend to take hold.
We call it our drip campaign. We drip healthy workforce best practices consistently in small bites over time. For example, people who are in my programs, I send them a Monday message. Every single Monday morning from my computer, my email, I physically type. It’s not anything that I automate or even plan ahead. It’s usually whatever I’m reading that week. I’ll give them a little nugget, a little tip. For example, one of my most popular ones is a lot of leaders when they come in, especially if it’s a 24-hour facility, I know myself. I’d come into work in the morning and I’d get slammed by the night shift who would do nothing but complain about this and that happened. I said in my Monday message, when you’re hit with that, look at your employee and say, “Tell me one good thing that happened last night, just one.” Tell me one good thing because there’s always something good. That helps overtime to influence people to start seeing the good one little tip, one little nugget. You cannot believe how many people said that one tip changed their culture, one little tip. That’s what we do every single week. We send a little nugget out, a video, a tip sheet, something.
It’s doable for people because it’s like a 1% shift. It’s not noticeable, but over time it makes a difference. You don’t even recognize it.
It’s that one little action. One thing that you read, one thing that you do that helps you to show up like you said, 1% better and even confronting bad behavior. I teach this stuff and I’m still uncomfortable. I say, “It’s okay to be uncomfortable, have the conversation anyway. The more you do that, the more comfortable you’ll feel, the better you’ll get, but don’t worry about perfection. Just try to get a little bit better each day.”
You bring up such an important point in regard to expectations. There is so much research around unconscious biases that when we bring these biases in, especially around this area of, if we don’t expect things to work out or I don’t expect this person that I’m working with is we’re going to be able to get along, then you won’t. That’s all you’re looking for is the evidence that backs up why you won’t get along.
I read something that as humans we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are negative. It’s the negativity bias. Healthcare, in particular, we’re always looking for the negative because we want to make sure that we’re identifying any complications that our patients are having so that we can intervene and treat them. If I come into my work already thinking in a negative way or even if I’m working with a coworker and maybe a few years ago, they treated me in a way that I thought was disrespectful. I hang on to that. It affects how we engage in conversations with people, how we communicate with each other. We do a lot with emotional intelligence. It’s that whole self-awareness and self-management and not making assumptions. People assume ill intent all the time. You step back and say, “Do you think they meant to do that?”
Do you do much work with mindfulness? As you talk about emotional intelligence, do you draw that in? I’m certainly seeing that in another 5 or 10 years, we’re going to look back and think, “That’s a no-brainer.” Mindfulness is important to so many different aspects of this.
Mindfulness right now is a hot topic especially in healthcare when we look at burnout resilience. I have somebody on my team and that’s what’s nice. I started this company with basically just me. I would consider that I had a personality company. As I grew and grew and hit capacity, I launched the Healthy Workforce Institute. You can’t be an institute if it’s just you. I have several people on my team knowing that I needed to focus on where my strength, my area of expertise, and that was addressing disruptive behaviors.
I have somebody on my team, her name is Bonnie Artman Fox. She’s a licensed family therapist. Her expertise is in conflict management and emotional intelligence. She is a mindfulness person. When she does some of the education and training, she incorporates that pausing and those short little meditations and being present. She’s way better than I am at it. I’ve learned a lot from her and I’ve tried to incorporate that in even my own life. It’s so important especially in the hustle and bustle of the healthcare that we have that moment to pause and reflect.
There’s a woman out of the Netherlands. Her name is Rosalie Puiman. I interviewed her a few months back. She had published a book called The Mindful Guide to Conflict Resolution. It is a fabulous book. It’s the first one I’ve come across that the whole focus of this was how do you incorporate mindfulness into conflict resolution?
Something that we do a lot and I’ve been teaching this for years, is that before you engage in a conversation with somebody, take a pause and think, “How do I have a conversation with this person that’s honest, and respectful? The last frame is, “How do I preserve the relationship with this person, no matter what this conversation is about.” Everything that we do especially in healthcare is based on relationships that we have with each other. How do I preserve that relationship? Mindfulness is all over that. It’s the ability to force yourself to take a pause before you react.It's okay to be uncomfortable. Have the conversation anyway. Click To Tweet
We talked about Joint Commission data that went back to 2009. As we come into the next decade here, what do you think is the biggest challenge as you see it for the healthcare industry in this space?
In the last several years, we’ve seen the changes in reimbursement for hospitals. It’s not fee for service anymore. It’s based on outcomes. That has led us to take a different look at the value of people on the team and how we have to work more collaboratively together. We are still not there when it comes to interdisciplinary communication and interdisciplinary collaboration. Especially when we’re looking at disruptive behaviors, we tend to focus on the way the nurses treat each other, the physicians, the med students, the interns and residents, and how they treat each other.
What we’re trying to do at Healthy Workforce Institute is bring everybody in together to say we’re all part of the same team. We’re going to see more of that in the future. For example, we had a retreat with my team and we talked about hosting an event that is designed for physicians and nurses, looking at communication, disruptive behaviors and how we can work more collaboratively together. To answer your question more directly, there are a lot of states right now that have bills sitting there that they’re trying to pass regarding workplace violence, which also includes verbal bullying and incivility. We’re seeing more of that physical violence in hospitals at the hands of patients and their family members too. This whole problem of behavior in healthcare is getting such a tension that healthcare organizations have to start doing something about it now before they’re forced to.
When we talk about disengagement, Press Ganey might be the one doing the surveys around disengagement. The disengagement is a symptom of the behaviors. As you talk about incivility and bullying, to me those are the behaviors that this is the root cause of much of this that touches every aspect of healthcare if it’s not addressed.
It does. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have either left an organization because disruptive behaviors were not addressed or they’ve stayed. They’ve tried to cope on their own. Sometimes it’s a matter of they will try to protect themselves from their coworkers. Sometimes they transferred to another department. We have a responsibility as leaders to protect them and do something about this. Sometimes they leave, but sometimes they don’t and they disengage. Sometimes having a disengaged employee is worse.
Somebody that quits and stays is more damaging than quits and leaves, but most do. Along those lines, Renee, I’d be curious about what your experience is in this area. Although there’s a mixture here of both larger populated areas, several hospitals that I do work in are in rural areas. When I speak to them, I say, “Your skill level in regards to the treatment of individuals, your behaviors is that much more important because the staff has nowhere else to go, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t quit.”
Here’s why you need to work with us because we use retention as one of those pain points especially with nurses. Nursing retention is on the top of mind for pretty much every executive leader in healthcare. While I say, “If you don’t feel supported if they feel that disruptive behaviors are being ignored, they will leave you.” However, what if you’re in a rural area and you’re the only gig in town? I’m a nurse and this is the only place I can work. If that’s the case, I don’t quit because I can’t however, I disengage.
The nurses in some parts of California make the highest salary than any of the nurses in the entire country. They don’t have a retention problem because the nurses are paid so well. That’s a problem too especially if you’ve got organizations where their nurses are represented by a union. It can add another layer of complexity. What we see is bad behavior continues and it’s much harder to hold these people accountable. Human behavior is so complex. This issue itself is it’s not an easy one size fits all, do these three things and you’ve handled the problem. It’s very complex.
It took a long time to get here. It takes time to resolve it. This conversation has been so fascinating for me. It’s an area that I have a great deal of passion as you do. If somebody wanted to reach out to you, Renee, what’s the best way to contact you?
This has been such a great conversation. I want to thank you for taking the time.
You’re welcome. Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about a very uncomfortable topic. It’s not easy to talk about bad behavior especially when we’re talking about healthcare and the healthcare industry. I’m very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to give another voice to this problem.
Here’s to positive things for 2020 and beyond.
Renee Thompson is on a mission to eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare. Her company continues to grow as a result of the work and the need for the work that she’s doing. If you’ve found this episode valuable, I’ll ask that you forward it on to someone that you think could benefit from this as well. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go on and subscribe. Also, it would mean the world to me, if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to get out there. If you’d like to reach out to me personally, I love getting feedback. I love interacting with individuals on these topics. You can reach me on Instagram @CoachPatrickV. You can reach out to me on Twitter @CoachPatrickV or you can reach out to me by email at Patrick@EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. Until our next episode, I hope you were able to do two things. One is to lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.
- Healthy Workforce Institute
- Renee Thompson
- The Mindful Guide to Conflict Resolution
- Rosalie Puiman – past episode
- Contact Us tab – Healthy Workforce Institute
- @CoachPatrickV – Instagram
- @CoachPatrickV – Twitter
About Renee Thompson
When disruptive behaviors go unaddressed in healthcare, bad things happen to patients and employees.
10 years ago, I took a leap of faith to start my own company, RTConnections, LLC. In 2018, I launched the Healthy Workforce Institute. As CEO and Founder, I’m on a mission to create a world where bullying and incivility are immediately rejected and kindness, respect, and professionalism become the new norm.
As the published author of several books, I speak internationally to healthcare organizations and academic institutions, motivating my audiences at keynote addresses, professional conferences, workshops, and seminars.
The demand for the work I do helping organizations eliminate workplace bullying and incivility has grown so much that I recently established The Healthy Workforce Institute. The HWI offers a cadre of services from presentations and workshops to comprehensive consulting and online blending learning programs. We have something for all budgets.
WHAT I DO
We work with healthcare organizations that understand that the way their employees treat each other SHOULD be just as important as the care they provide and are committed to doing something about it.
LEAVE A LEGACY
Through our proven process to create and sustain a healthy workforce, we’re stopping the cycle of nurses eating their young.
I am passionate about helping organizations create professional environments with teams of high functioning, dedicated, and compassionate employees. If you’d like to find out how I can help your organization create a professional and supportive workplace, give me a call, shoot me an email or message me on my contact page.
The way we treat each other SHOULD be just as important as the care we provide.
Contact Renee through her website:
Great leadership involves leveraging “the little things”. While skills such as critical thinking and decisiveness are important, identifying and modeling the little things is what really inspires people to follow your lead. This episode explores several behaviors that inspire others to follow your lead. You aren’t a leader if you don’t have followers and you don’t have followers if your behaviors don’t inspire others to go where you want them to go. Let me know what you think. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter: @coachpatrickv Instagram: coachpatrickv