The pandemic has caused so much panic to many of us but what is even more threatening than the virus is the fear and irrationality that come out of it. As we live through unprecedented times, it helps to take a step back on how we behave in the midst of this crisis and get a hold of ourselves to see the better course of action to take. Patrick Veroneau dedicates this episode to behaviors that will help us deal with the pandemic as well as the behaviors that will undermine our ability to come through this crisis stronger than we are now. Join him to find out!
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Why Fear And Irrationality Are More Threatening Than Any Virus
We are living through unprecedented times right now and this episode is about behaviors. Both behaviors that will help us to deal with this crisis as well as the behaviors that will undermine our ability to come through this crisis stronger than we are now. It’s our choice in terms of which way we’re going to go. The goal of this episode is two-fold. It’s to identify irrational behaviors and unconscious biases that we all fall victim to so that people can hopefully stop some of the panics that’s going on but also, to talk about what behaviors do we need to work together to make sure that we come out of this thing stronger than we went into it. This is the show where I’m nearly 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 rise above our best. It starts with ourselves and never in our history do we need people to behave in ways that inspire others more than we do right now. Let’s get into it.
As I mentioned, I wanted to talk about some irrational behaviors, unconscious biases, however, you want to label them. The first one is around what’s called the availability heuristic. What happens, in this case, is people overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. As an example, a person might argue that smoking is not unhealthy because they know of several people that have contracted cancer or lung cancer because of smoking. Therefore, that’s all the data they have. Smoking doesn’t cause cancer. In the same situation that we’re in right now, there are those who may be depending on their age, think somehow they’re immune to this or it will impact them less because they are younger.
While that might be true, what it doesn’t take into account is what this will do regarding overwhelming our healthcare system so that those who are older and don’t handle us as well, the resources they need will not be there. We’ve heard over and over again why it’s important to flatten out the curve. That’s what this speaks to is just because you think this is a stronger version of the flu that you’ll recover from, others will not. The next bias that I’m going to talk about is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is one that says, “We only tend to go with the information that confirms our perceptions.” It is one where we only look to the evidence that confirms whatever our perceptions are. One of the many reasons it’s hard to have an intelligent conversation about climate change with some people is they will often look to the weather in terms of always being a variant.People overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. Click To Tweet
“It’s really cold one day so tell me about global warming now,” where they will try and lump weather and climate as the same and they’re not. Where do we see that in this place? Confirmation bias is such that there are those out there that will say, “It’s not going to impact us,” or “This is what we’ve done. This is why it won’t be the same.” We’re discounting the evidence that says that this thing is a runaway train at times if we don’t take it seriously. To play off of that, another cognitive bias we can run into is called the ostrich effect. The ostrich effect is just as it sounds. The decision to ignore dangerous or negative information by burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich. To me, we see this right now. There are many that are doing the ostrich effect of thinking, “It won’t be as bad as it was in Europe or in China because we’re in the US and we’re different.”
If you look at the data that’s being presented now, it says that we are in the exact same situation as Italy was. Quite honestly, I would rather look back on this and say we overreacted than be in a situation that says, “I wish we had taken this more seriously.” Certainly, that’s what you hear many in Italy are saying. The last one is around scarcity. Scarcity is so important here in that we’re seeing it over and over again. I believe the mainstream media is part of the problem here that they have created some of this. They’ve created a sense of panic where people are rushing to supermarkets and to other outlets to overwhelm them in regards to buying up things in bulk that prevents everybody else from getting the piece just that they need as well. There’s an enormous amount of research around the scarcity effect.
We know that we’re more motivated to avoid the loss than gain. This is playing itself over and over again. In grocery stores, it is never more evident right now but this plays itself out over and over again. There’ve been studies that they’ve done where they’ve looked at sales in grocery stores of an item like soup. When they limited the number of cans a person could buy, people bought more soup than if they could buy as many cans as they wanted at the same price. We see that happening whether it’s toilet paper, hand sanitizer or any other thing that’s going to be the next thing.
People are going to watch everybody may be buying one so you start to think, “I need one myself. If I’m going to buy one, they’re going to be gone if I don’t get two of these things.” We fall victim and prey to this that we feel like if we don’t get this, they’re all going to be gone. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and it builds on itself. Unfortunately, there are those out there that are unscrupulous when it comes to this. They go around and buy as many as they can to take advantage of people later on.
One way that we can help prevent this if we all recognize what’s going on. That there is enough for everybody if we slow down and recognize the irrationality that’s happening to us. We wouldn’t have the run that we’ve got now in regards to the items that are unavailable. What happens if it’s somebody who is in need of that like an elderly individual but because a knucklehead felt the need to store a case of hand sanitizer in their basement, now somebody that needs this doesn’t have it available to them. That’s the unconscious bias component of this.
The other component to this in regards to the positive behaviors that we need to demonstrate is one to pause. This is not to stick our head in the sand but it’s simply to take a step back and be able to say, “What do we need to do to change the trajectory of this?” We need to understand that we will either be part of the problem or part of the solution. One of the best ways that we can do that is if we think in terms of behaviors of being for others. We’re practicing social distancing to save our physical health. We are going to need to practice social assisting if we are going to come out of this with community health and strength that is strong as well.
In the long run, that is going to be far more damaging to our communities if we cannot find a way to work together to deal with this. That means all of us taking responsibility. If it is a restriction that we all follow and not one person think that they’re above it and they’re going to go against it because, “This isn’t me. I’m not the one that’s going to contract this and spread this on.” I’m sure each person that has contracted this thought that they were not the one that was going to catch it either but somehow they did. We all need to work together on this.
Both from the standpoint of understanding what irrational behaviors and unconscious biases we will be dealing with to control those but also is just out there doing the right thing and helping out those that in your community that needs your help. If everybody does this, if we work together to support and hold each other accountable through this and do what needs to be done, we will be far better off in the long run. If we don’t, then we will pay the consequence long-term.
I hope this episode has provided you with some information that will help you to deal with or support somebody else going forward. If you know somebody you feel would benefit from this episode, I’d ask you, please forward it to them. This is such a critical time. It would mean the world to me and not about vanity likes or any of that other BS that’s going around. I would love to know if this episode resonates with you because this is what it means to lead like no other and to rise above your best. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do both. Peace.
What are disruptive behaviors, and why is it vital to identify and eliminate them in your organization? Disruptive behaviors have significant correlations with poor teamwork, low job satisfaction, greater emotional exhaustion, and increased depression. The result? A weak organization that produces poor outcomes. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau discusses the disruptive behaviors you need to watch out for in your organization and how you can eliminate them. You’ll also discover what behaviors your organization should practice to reinforce strong relationship bridges within your team.
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How To Identify And Eliminate Disruptive Behaviors In Any Organization
We’re going to talk about disruptive behaviors and in the past couple episodes or posts as well, I’ve mentioned a study that was put out there in regards to disruptive behaviors and a scale that was developed as it relates to healthcare. Although we’re going to talk about healthcare-related disruptive behaviors, in my experience over the past decade, I will say that the disruptive behaviors that have been identified as being negatively impactful in a healthcare environment are certainly relevant to other industries as well. What’s important about that is that the same disruptive behaviors can be experienced in one industry, they can be eradicated by the same methods as well. That’s really what we’re going to talk about. Not only what were the disruptive behaviors, but also how do we eliminate these disruptive behaviors from happening within these organizations?
The first part of this is to talk about an article that was published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, it was 2020, it was published in January 2021 and it is volume 46, pages 18 to 26. The title of this is “Associations Between a New Disruptive Behavior Scale and Teamwork, Patient Safety, Work-Life Balance, Burnout, and Depression.” The background of this was basically to say disruptive and unprofessional behaviors frequently occur in healthcare and adversely affect patient care and healthcare worker job satisfaction. These behaviors have rarely been evaluated at a work setting level, nor do we fully understand how disruptive behaviors are associated with important metrics such as teamwork and safety climate, work-life balance, burnout, and depression.
The objectives of this study were to use this survey tool that had been presented to healthcare workers across the US healthcare system, and it was aimed to introduce a brief scale for evaluating disruptive behaviors at a work setting level. It was looking at investigating associations between disruptive behaviors, as well as other validated measures for safety, culture, and wellbeing. When we look at the results of this, one or more of the six disruptive behaviors that I’ll mention were reported in almost 98% of the workplace settings. Disruptive behaviors were reported in similar frequencies by both men and women and by most healthcare worker roles.Appreciate people for who they are. Click To Tweet
Disruptive behavior climate was significantly correlated with poor teamwork climate, safety climate, job satisfaction, and perceptions of management. It also was correlated with lower work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion, known as burnout, and increased depression. What’s important to note here is, when we look at a P-value, P-value in this study was 0.001 in terms of validity, which is very important. The conclusion of this paper that was printed was that disruptive behaviors are common, measurable, and associated with safety culture and healthcare worker wellbeing.
The authors went on to say that this concise, disruptive behavior scale affords researchers a new, valid and actionable tool to assess disruptive behaviors. What’s interesting is this study is based on work that was done back in 2008, a survey that was done. They asked healthcare providers in regards to not only how often had they experienced disruptive behaviors in their workplace setting, but also what impact that had on patient safety. I think the most concerning one of all that I remember reading of that study was where they asked providers, “What impact do you think disruptive behaviors have had as it relates to patient mortality?” Twenty-seven percent of the respondents of that survey suggested that they believed disruptive behaviors had some impact on patient mortality, which to me is mind-blowing.
What were the six disruptive behaviors that were identified? The first was listed as when an employee turned their back on another person before that conversation was over. That was the first disruptive behavior. The second disruptive behavior was hanging up the phone before a conversation was over. The third was bullying other people. The fourth was trying to humiliate others publicly, and obviously, those are pretty loaded, both bullying and trying to humiliate others publicly. When I think of public humiliation, I often think of gossiping, but that’s probably where I’ve seen this the most. What happens is somebody talks about somebody else, spreads a rumor, all to make themselves look better at the other person’s expense. The fifth disruptive behavior that was mentioned was around making comments with sexual, racial, religious, or ethnic slurs. The last one was showing physical aggression, for example, grabbing, throwing, hitting, or punching. Obviously, those we see much less frequently, although throwing is probably the one that would be seen the most.
When the prevalence of each of these was evaluated by the researchers, what they found was the prevalence for bullying was 31%. The prevalence for turning their back before a conversation was over, was 37%, hanging up the phone on somebody before the conversation was over was 27%. Publicly humiliating somebody else was almost 29%. Making comments with sexual racist or ethnic slurs was almost 22%, and showing physical aggression was about 12%. Those are the disruptive behaviors that were identified.
When we look at it from a standpoint, even though this was related to healthcare, what they looked at was what’s the correlation between disruptive behaviors? What they found was there was a significant correlation when we looked at those six disruptive behaviors around poor teamwork climate, safety climate, job satisfaction, perceptions of management, lower work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion or burnout, and increased depression. We talk about this from the standpoint of healthcare. I can tell you certainly from my own experience when I look at disruptive behaviors, those are ones that I would say that without a study being put in place in those areas, I would say those are the ones that I see very much in line with what’s seen in healthcare. Also, from the standpoint of what happens to the organizational climate when that happens. I would say many of those things are still the same. Poor teamwork climate, job satisfaction, perceptions of management, work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion, burnout happens outside of healthcare, as well as increased depression.
How do we address this? We see here, the evidence continues to mount in regards to what we should probably just expect as common sense. That when we behave in the wrong ways, obviously they have a negative impact, and now simply it’s about research validating that common sense. There are two areas that I think are very impactful when we look at eliminating or reducing disruptive behaviors. On a team, first off, because I think that’s where it needs to happen, I’m often reminded of a quote by Einstein, where he said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil. It will be destroyed by those who watch evil and do nothing.” I truly believe that as the same with disruptive behaviors within an organization.Listen with your eyes, ears, mind, and heart. Click To Tweet
Unless people work as a team and decide not to stand for that as a group, then there can be 1 or 2 individuals that get to go rogue, or run outside of what everybody else wants to see. There are conversations that I’ve had where individuals have said, “I’d love to see this go away, but I’m afraid to bring it up to this person because I’m afraid that the target is then going to be put on me.” It’s the feeling of the person feeling, “I’ve got nobody to back me up on this.” It’s like going up against the bully, knowing that you’re on your own, nobody else is going to protect you, and that’s a difficult place to be and that’s why it’s so important for a team to unite.
One of the things that I use in a lot of the work that I do is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni. As an authorized partner with DISC and Wiley Publications, we do an assessment based on the five dysfunctions of a team, but also incorporating personality work into that too. The benefit of that has is, one, the team gets to identify on levels that were identified in Pat Lencioni’s work on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. What level of trust do we have as a team? How do we approach conflict as a team? How do we approach commitment as a team? How do we hold each other accountable as a team? How focused are we on effective results as a team, as opposed to individually just being concerned with ourselves? When a team is able to do that, there’s an opportunity now to identify what are the problems that are going on within that group.
On top of that, what I also use is what I call the CABLES Blueprint that’s based on six behaviors that create stronger relationship bridges within a team. That is the way that we look at it. We can think of this just like the Golden Gate Bridge that one three-foot cable is made up of about 30,000 individually wrapped cables. When we think about this in terms of behaviors on a team or building stronger relationships with on that team, each one of the behaviors in the acronym of cables is representative of a type of behavior that will build a stronger bridge. Part of that is to get rid of things such as disruptive behaviors. The first one is around Congruence and Consistency, and having teams or individuals identify how important it is to have consistency on the team.
We often hear talk about values. If one of our values is around respect or integrity or collaboration, disruptive behaviors really can’t happen if we’re congruent to the values of collaboration or teamwork. The next one is around Appreciation, that’s the A in the CABLES, and that has two components. One is about understanding biases, appreciating other people for who they are, and all of the biases that come into play, and we all fall victim to unconscious biases. We would deny many of them and that’s why they’re called unconscious biases, but when we understand the negative impact that biases have, we can start to do something about that and build stronger teams. The other part of appreciation with the A in CABLES is Accolades. It’s about recognizing people for their contributions, building a healthier environment because of that.
The B in the model CABLES that we talk about is around Being for others, but also Belongingness. The Being for others component is about my effort to try and provide more benefit than I’m gaining from this relationship or this interaction on this team. The other part of that is around Belongingness, and we know the impact that belongingness has, whether it’s at school or in the community, or at home. We’re pack animals. We need to feel a sense of belongingness. When we don’t have that, our behaviors probably are not at their best. If I’m leading a team or part of a team, I have a responsibility to try and provide an opportunity where people feel as though they belong to this group, they’re part of the team. When we push somebody outside of the team, gossiping, bullying, whatever it might be, we ostracize somebody. We know the negative impact that has on an individual. Burnout, depression, could be as well acts of aggression. It gets to that level. That’s why that’s so important.
Listening is the next behavior that we talk about in terms of building a stronger relationship bridge. That is our fourth cable. I would say listening is like a superpower, that to be able to truly and authentically listen to somebody else is going to provide an environment where it will naturally start to eliminate disruptive behaviors. Listening with our eyes, listening with our ears, listening with our mind, and listening with our heart. If I’m listening with my eyes, I’m looking for things like body language. I’m trying to listen to somebody based on how they’re acting. If I’m listening to words, then I’m listening to the tone of voice, the words that they use, truly trying to listen. If I’m listening with my mind, I’m constantly assessing the conversation for is what they’re saying, really what I’m hearing.
I’ll give you an example. I was speaking to somebody that was talking about a challenge that they were having with their boss. The challenge came up in terms of the boss, the manager, said to the individual, I’m not going to argue with you about this. I knew both sides of this. The manager’s intention to say that was meaning, “I’m in your corner. I’m not going to argue with you about this. I’m with you on this.” The employee took this to mean when the person said, “I’m not going to argue about this with you,” was like, “This conversation’s over. We’re not going to talk about this anymore.” You can see those aren’t the same things at all, but how it was interpreted was completely different from how it was meant to be received. That’s why listening with our mind can be so important to question, “Is that really what I think that person meant?”
Listening with empathy is the last part of this, which is trying to listen in a way that we’d want to be listened to. The next one is empathy by itself, and empathy is so important. Empathy requires a lot of vulnerability for us to be in a place where I’m truly going to try and place myself in your shoes and see things from your perspective. It is one of the strongest behaviors that we can have and oftentimes gets misinterpreted as weak, when in fact it is the strongest.
The last one of the CABLES behaviors is around clear expectations, and when we think about this as it relates to disruptive behaviors, if we have clear expectations around what is acceptable behavior within this team, then we already have a guideline of how we’re going to treat each other. The other part of clear expectations or specifics is accountability. It’s that when people don’t behave in ways that are in alignment with what we have said is appropriate behavior, then there needs to be accountability for that or an ownership for that. Oftentimes that’s where this slips. There are the bad behaviors and they’re ignored or, “I hope I don’t have to deal with this right now,” when in fact we do. We’ve got to deal with these things because it’s the only way that we’re going to be able to extinguish disruptive behaviors and the negative impact that they have is by standing together.
This is part of that being a team. There’s a commitment that we all make to each other as a team. These are the rules of the road that we’re going to run by. When we do that, when we can provide that environment, we almost set peer pressure for each other to behave in ways that suffocate out disruptive behaviors. That’s the only way that this truly happens. I’ve got to do my part but it can only be done as a team if we’re going to get where we need to go effectively. I hope that this information that I’ve given to you in regards to the research around disruptive behaviors and their negative impact, as well as some solutions and behaviors that create an environment that suffocates out disruptive behaviors, is helpful.
If you know somebody who you think might benefit from this show, I ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please, go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you’d leave a rating or a comment as it relates to this or any other episode that I have. That’s how this message continues to get out there. I’ve had some incredible interactions as a result of these in terms of the messages that they’ve been able to provide for people. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is rise above your best. Peace.
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.
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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
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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:
Being smart and decisive are essential characteristics of leadership, but it’s the little things that create motivated and inspired followers. Patrick Veroneau explains that these “little things” refer to how we behave towards others. Being a good listener, having empathy, giving others a sense of belongingness, and appreciating others are examples of the little things we can do that change everything. As leaders, it is our responsibility to impact the people who look up to us not only during working hours but even beyond when they go home to their families. Listen to this episode and learn how you can apply the little things to your leadership style! Remember, people may forget what you said, but they will never forget what you made them feel.
Listen to the podcast here:
Great Leaders Leverage “The Little Things”
The topic of this episode is about leadership as it relates to the little things, and the little things are the big things as it relates to followers. I know there’s a lot of talk out there about the importance of critical thinking and decisiveness, and don’t get me wrong, those things are very important in regards to effective leadership. It’s the little things that will create motivated and inspired followers, not how smart you are. It will come back to how well do you behave toward others? That’s going to make the difference in terms of your effectiveness as a leader. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to go where you want them to go, without that, but they’re certainly not going to be inspired or want to do it. That’s what this episode is about. I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those that have inspired others to do great things through their own actions, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other. It starts with ourselves because when we lead like no other, we will succeed like no other. Let’s get into it.Be the reason someone smiles today. Click To Tweet
I’ve been thinking about this episode and it is the result of an inspirational quote that I read or wrote an article about. The quote came from a Christmas gift that my son gave me, which was a jar filled with 31 days of motivational quotes or inspirational quotes. Each time I’ve pulled one of these out and read it, I’ve done a journal entry on it that I posted online with a picture of the actual quote. The reason that I’ve done that as I’ve looked at these and thought and some people might be thinking, “What are inspirational quotes have to do with effective leadership?” I would argue that they have everything to do with it because leadership doesn’t exist without followers, and followers don’t exist without inspiration. The one that stood out to me was I read, “Be the reason someone smiles today.”
I thought that is so simple, yet so elegant. What I mean by that, is that it is the little things that make all the difference. It’s not the critical thinking and the ability to be decisive, again important that’s going to inspire people for the most part because I can have high intelligence, very good at critical thinking, I can be very decisive. If either of those are done in a way that is disrespectful to those that are following me, disruptive, lacks any type of care, or demonstration of goodwill toward them, then yes, maybe they will follow where I’m asking them to go only because they feel like they have to, but it’s not going to be the same.
As leaders and managers, we have such a responsibility, especially in a work environment where those people that report to us, we impact not only their time on the job with us, but when they go home. It doesn’t end there, because if I have a leader, manager who doesn’t treat me in the right way, that makes me feel stressed out, threatened or bullied, that goes home with me. My kids, my spouse, my significant other, and my friends feel that. That stays with me. I know because I’ve been in those situations before where I felt that and my family felt it, where I might be traveling with a manager, and three days before I’m going to travel with this individual, I start getting headaches and start feeling stressed out. I’m on edge because I know what’s coming, all because of the behaviors I knew that I was going to experience. It is such a responsibility that you take on when you have other people follow you.When we lead like no other, we will succeed like no other. Click To Tweet
What are those qualities? What are those little things that make all the difference? There are a few that I’ve listed. One is listening, the other is empathy, belongingness, and the last is around appreciation. We talk first about listening in terms of the little things that when we truly demonstrate that we are listening to somebody else, the impact that that has on that individual is that it allows them to feel as though you’re invested in them. That you’re truly trying to understand their perspective. In a lot of the workshops that I do, the leadership training that I’m involved with, the coaching, when I talk about listening, I talk about it as though it’s a superpower. I then talk about it in terms of four different approaches.
Leadership is about listening with our eyes and that’s body language, facial expressions, being able to recognize, understand and read those on other people. The next is listening with our ears, tone of voice, words that are said, specific words that are being used. There’s an image that I will put up of noise-canceling headphones when I talk about listening in a PowerPoint or in a talk. The reason I do that is because, to me, when we listen to somebody else, if we can imagine that we have noise-canceling headphones on, when we do that, why do we have noise-canceling headphones on in the first place? It’s to drown out everything else so that only what we want to hear is what we’re listening to through those headsets.
If we can think about it that way in terms of how we listen to somebody else, think of what that does for the other person like, “When I’m locked in on you. I’m listening to you and I’m canceling out everything else that’s on around me, it’s you and I. I’m listening.” The next is listening with my mind, and that is rather than jumping to conclusions, it’s about listening on a level of asking the question. “Is what they’re saying, what I think I’m hearing or what they mean?” I clarify that. The last part of this four-way listening, is around listening with the heart, and that’s listening in a way that says, “If the roles were reversed, how would I want them to be listening to me?” When we do that, we’ll find out that we may listen much more intently if we can put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and say, “How would I want to be listened to right now?” It changes things.It's the little things that make all the difference. Click To Tweet
The next is empathy, and just like listening with the heart, listening with empathy is about being empathetic toward another person, trying to put myself in their shoes. “How would I want to be treated if I were them? What if this was me? What if it was my first role in the company? What if I was the one that had made the mistake? How would I want to be treated? Will I be given the benefit of the doubt? What would that look like?” Questioning that from the other person’s perspective. It’s interesting because empathy, I still hear at times is one of these that seems a little too weak, and, “If I’m empathetic, I’m going to be taken advantage of,” and I say, that’s BS.
The person that says that is the person that’s insecure in their own ability to lead. If you can’t demonstrate a sense of vulnerability in yourself, to me, it says more about your own lack of confidence in who you are than the other person. I can promise you, you clearly can be decisive and direct and hold people accountable, yet also be compassionate and empathetic for them as well. Not only can you, you have to. Empathy is not a nice-to-have in leadership. It is a need-to-have behavior. The next one moving on is around belongingness and this is creating a sense of connection that as a leader, as somebody that has people report to me that role, “If I can create an environment where they feel part of the team or part of the group, they feel connected when I do that.”
This is a person that’s more engaged, more inspired, more motivated, and there’s ample research that demonstrates the impact that belongingness has on team structure, organizational structure, and personal wellbeing. When we don’t feel as though we belong, it puts us in a high sense of stress. Some of the negative impacts of lack of belongingness go all the way back to individuals that commit suicide. It is believed that there is a connection there. Those that feel as though there’s no connection with others are more likely if they’re in that place to commit suicide.
If we go back thousands of years, and I’ve mentioned this before, the worst thing you could do is vote somebody outside of the tribe. That was a death sentence. People couldn’t survive out in the wild without that core group of individuals that you watched over each other. Fast forward to now, I would argue that, that is no different, it is still a death sentence. It’s a different death, but it is still a death when we’re voted outside of the group, when we’re ostracized whether at work, school, or at home.
The last behavior that I’ll talk about in terms of the little things that are the big things, is appreciation. As a leader, as a manager, when we take the time to recognize other people for what they do or who they are, that has a huge impact on who they become because what it demonstrates to the person is, “I am interested in you and I’ve recognized certain things and I want to make you aware of them.” It lets people know that.
Those are the four little behaviors that create huge, massive results in regards to inspiring those around you to follow your lead. There are certainly others, those are the four that I’m going to mention for this episode. As I close this out, a reflection that I have is based on a quote by Maya Angelou, where she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That last part goes back to the small inspirational quote that I read in the beginning of this, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” If you think about that in regards to what Maya Angelou said, people will never forget how you made them feel, and smiling does not happen without positive feeling. As you go out into your workday or back to your family, your significant other or community, what are the little things that you can do that will create massive results? You truly do make a difference based on how you behave toward others.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you know somebody you think would enjoy reading this, I’d ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t already subscribed, please go ahead and subscribe. That’s how this message continues to get out there. It would mean the world to me, if you’d leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode because again, that’s how the message continues to get put out there. I’ve had some very heartwarming comments that have been made. If you’re interested in hearing more about what I do, you can follow me on Instagram, @CoachPatrickV, or you can reach out to me on my website at, EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. I love getting emails as well, my email address is, Patrick@EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other, and the other is to rise above your best.
In this episode, Corey Poirier joins Patrick as they talk about helping people find their purpose and passion and his book, The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. Corey shares the catalysts that led him to write his book and where he got the inspiration for his style of writing. They discuss the importance of expectations, discipline, and gratitude as Corey shares the pearls from his remarkable experiences. Get a deeper look into Corey’s drive to help other people by understanding their why. By surrounding yourself with the right people, learn how you can accomplish your goals quicker and the success keys that you need to put to action in your life.
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Corey Poirier Wants To Help You Find Your Purpose and Passion
For those of you familiar with Napoleon Hill, my next guest to me, is the modern-day version of Napoleon Hill. He’s interviewed over 5,000 successful individuals from all different walks of life, individuals like Les Brown. He’s also shared the stage with individuals such as Deepak Chopra. On this episode, we’re going to talk about his book, The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. Our conversation is about passion and purpose. We talked about expectations and discipline and gratitude. There are so many pearls that Corey spoke about in his own experiences and where he wants to go in his drive to help other people. It’s interesting, even from the book where he does an exercise in helping other people to understand their why, he says that, “My name is Corey Poirier. My passion is speaking to audiences about passion, purpose, legacy and customer service. My purpose is to inspire, motivate, donate, entertain and educate.” In this episode, he does all of those things. Let’s get into it.
Corey, thanks for being here. I sent you the picture sitting down in Marco Island in Florida on a beautiful night, reading your book out on the deck, The Book of WHY (and HOW). There were so many pearls in that book from start to finish and in terms of how you end the book, which is unique in terms of the different voices that you bring into this book. First off, what was the inspiration for the book in the first place?
That’s a great question because a lot of times, when we write a book, there’s one thing that we can go to and say, “This is what triggered it. This was the catalyst. This was the one thing.” I can’t say this with this book. One catalyst was that I went through this period where I worked for a Fortune 500 company for five years. I started with them and they didn’t have a training program. I thought it was weird. It was the 58th largest company in the world at the time. My training program was, “Here are 25 business cards. Here’s a pen to write your name and here’s this Zig Ziglar VHS.” For people reading, if you’re not sure what a VHS is, let us know and I can inform you. If people think of Blu-ray, it’s what we use before Blu-ray and DVD. Having said that, the Zig Ziglar tape at the time, I was like, “This is my training?” I didn’t have a clue who Zig Ziglar was. I watched that tape and I still tell people that was more than twenty years ago. I can still tell people 2 or 3 big memories from that video that I watched once. That’s how much of an impact of that in my life.
There were two things that happened. One, I admired what he did in that paper with storytelling and how he’s able to reach me through a videotape. At the same time, I still said, “I can’t believe this is the training at our company.” I wanted to make sure in the future that other people didn’t have to go through that. Even if the company didn’t provide training, they at least could afford to take the training. That was the catalyst or my speaking and training career. I realized as I was working on this book that in fact was also a catalyst for the book because it was another way to get those messages out. That was at a point where I go back to Steve Jobs says joining up your dots. That was one of my dots. The other one that pops into my head was having done these interviews that I mentioned in the book. Now I’m over 5,000, which seems insane. I’m interviewing the top influencers.
After learning so much, I had this hungry desire to find a way to share this insight with other people. I’ll give you one more third dot. Think and Grow Rich was the second book I’ve ever read in my life. It was a game-changer book for me. Napoleon Hill followed a similar path to what I’m doing now. He interviewed thousands of thought leaders and that book was made up of 500 millionaires, the insight he got from 500 millionaires. Loving his writing style and also the idea of getting inside the minds of some of the world’s top influencers and sharing that, that was the third catalyst. You probably noticed, Patrick, the book is written in the style that Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie wrote. It’s more of a storytelling style that is from years gone past versus modern storytelling. If I look at the catalyst versus inspiration, those are the three dots that I can join.
It’s interesting, especially because you mentioned two of my favorites, Zig Ziglar and Napoleon Hill. I would agree with you there, which brings me to the tagline of your book, Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. I’m sure there’s a meaning behind that in terms of that tagline.
The timeless part, you’re not wrong. The timeless part is two messages. One is that the people like the Zig Ziglar’s, four decades plus of speaking and teaching and what he was teaching was timeless. What he taught 40 years earlier was still relevant on the last day he spoke. Having said that, the other side of it is these interviews. Learning from all these top influencers in the 2000s, in 2006 and 2010 and 2020. I’m learning these things and I go back to the foundation of Napoleon Hill. Napoleon Hill talks about all the contemporaries that inspired him 20 and 30 years earlier.
You can go back through those times, but Napoleon Hill is the best comparison because of the type of work he did. That book was written in 1937 and I’m learning stuff that it’s different because we’re in a modern world, but if you take the modern world part out of it, everything he taught then is still what the influencers are doing for the most part. There are some variances, but what he taught is timeless. You’re not wrong. The idea behind the timeless secrets relates to the fact that these things I’m learning now have always existed, but the majority of people don’t know it.
As a matter of fact, I keep this one on my desk at all times. What I loved when I read that the first time was at the beginning of this book, he speaks to the fact of, “I’m not creating anything new, but all I’ve done is reassembled other ideas and things in a way that works better.” When I read your book and especially the way that it ends where you draw in many different individuals to give their insights. To me, that seems to be part of that where you’re saying, “I don’t have all the answers. These aren’t original thoughts. I’ve combined them in ways for a reader to be able to access them maybe better.”
In fact, to put a stamp on that, even when I have an original thought, I get taught different and I’ll give you an example. Two things. One thing I have been teaching for a while, and I don’t even have a sexy name for it, but it’s the surrounding yourself with exercise. I referenced it in the book where I had this moment in my life where I was battling anxiety, hypochondria, and then I got past it. How I get past it was finding my why, but fast forward a few years and all of a sudden, I was starting to slip back. It was like, “Why? Nothing’s changed that I know of.” I went back to that great quote and I always reference two people, either Les Brown or Zig Ziglar.
I could probably find the answer because I interviewed Les and I’ve interviewed Tom Ziglar many times and Ziglar before his passing. I could ask Tom and Les because he has quoted this, but the quote essentially says along the lines of, “The only difference between the time you have now and in five years’ time will be the books that you read and the people that you meet.” I went and looked at what books am I reading? That was easy. I was reading the right stuff. As a side note, I only started reading at 27 years of age. I’m making up for lost time now with my reading. The other side was, who am I surrounding myself with? It came to me. Why don’t I do this exercise? Why don’t I right now do an inventory? I wrote down the people that were adding toxic energy to my life on the left-hand side.
At first, I wrote everybody, but then I put a plus or a negative beside them. I separated them and had the negative on one side, the toxic energy people, and the people that were bringing positivity in my life on the right-hand side. I went one by one and said, “Who can I reduce time with? Who can I eliminate time with? Who can I spend more time with?” The interesting part though, Patrick, and when I did the actual test or the inventory is, I would’ve thought it would have been like 16 out of 18 positives. It was more like 14 negatives that I was surrounding myself with. It was easy to see this is why I’m getting back into a funk the more I’m hanging with the wrong people. I thought that was an original thought, the idea of doing that exercise. A good friend of mine, Tiffany, Jack Canfield trained her. She goes, “Corey, I love that exercise. Jack did it last week.” I said, “What do you mean?” She told me, “He does that in every session.” I thought it was an original thought and I never heard it through Jack. Is it possible I picked it up somewhere? Maybe, but I thought it was an original thought and then I was proven wrong once again.
If you follow Napoleon Hill, you’d say you found it through the ether, but it’s the energy right there. It’s interesting when you say that Jim Rohn has been quoted with saying that you’re the average of the five people you hang around the most. I certainly believe that whether it’s 5, 3, 4, or 10, but we do draw energy off of each other. There’s a synergy to that and a compounding.
I’ll even go so far as to say people ask me, “Where do you get all the energy?” I’ll add that one of the misnomers is people think because they see my lifestyle that I don’t sleep at night and let me correct that right away. I’m not the four-hour sleep guy. I’m not the Robin Sharma 5 AM Club guy. I’m typically up at 8:00 and now we have a 2.5-year-old. I’m not always getting solid eight hours asleep, but I go to bed in the range of about 10:00 and get up at 8:00. I’m set on a ten-hour sleep. People are like, “How can you accomplish so much?” There are a couple of answers to that but one of those answers is I surround myself with the right people. The reason I’m not getting as stressed out, the reason I’m not getting bogged down is that I’m with the right people 90% of the time. That gives me energy.The only difference between the you of today and the five years’ time will be the books that you read. Click To Tweet
The other side is because I’m serving my passion and it gives me the drive to do it. The last component is some of these timeless secrets I share in the book. We’re going to dive into that, but one of them is the power of no. That was a big one to realize what’s in my genius zone and what’s not. How do I say yes and no to each of those things? If I can say no to a bunch of things, I can say yes to the few that’ll move the needle, then I can get more of those done than the person that says yes to everything. That was a long way to say that for me, I have the energy because of who I’m surrounding myself with. I do believe it’s we surround yourself with. Not only that, when you surround yourself with or learn from the right people, you get the shortcuts. You get the way to do something quicker because you learn what they’re doing differently than you.
You mentioned 1 of the 6 secrets is talking about the six success keys. Would you go through those?
The first one is a lot of people who bought the movie The Secret or the book, The Secret, and said to me, “This is going to change my life. This is it. Everything changes now.” For those that didn’t read it, the core message is around the Law of Attraction, which we think about and associate with will draw into our life. For me, right away, I loved it. I love the fact that The Secret brought many people into talking about whatever that is, new age, magnetism, the Law of Attraction, positive energy, mental health, all that mindset stuff. Here’s the cool news. When I wrote the book, I probably only had interviewed one person that was in The Secret. Since that time, as of now, I’m at six. Five of the six have reaffirmed what I felt when I watched it, which was that it was awesome. It delivered a lot of what was supposed to, but the big caveat was it didn’t talk about the other law that’s as crucial, in my opinion, which is the Law of Action.
The first secret I talk about is you need to practice the Law of Action. I used to say, “You could try to draw anything yourself if you want to, but if you never step in front of the light of where it’s being drawn to, you’ll never receive it.” Lisa Nichols gave me a better and funnier way to explain that. She said after she was in The Secret, she started going out, doing talks to explain it to people. She said, “I want to explain it like this. You’re going to have a visual board on your wall next to your couch for a year. You can sit on the couch the whole year and look at that vision board twenty times a day but never get off the couch. All you’re going to have at the end of the year is a big lump on your couch.” To me, that’s the Law of Action and Attraction. In the book I talked about, you need to combine the two. The Law of Attraction works but if you don’t ever get up and take action, you can’t expect it to draw it to you.
If you watch The Secret, it showed a motorbike outside with a ribbon on it and you’re going to walk out and have the motorbike because you thought about it hard last night. Does that happen? Maybe once, but that’s an anomaly. That’s not happening every day. We know that. I gave the example in the book. You might remember this, Patrick, but it’s a good example. I put down a list. This was my visualization. I put it down on my vision board. I want to share the bill with a top speaker, one of the most recognized international speakers. I put five speakers on the list. The first one I put on the list was Deepak Chopra and I was going to go in order and say, “I want to speak with one of these.” I went to Deepak’s site and tried to find an event when he was speaking at. I found one site that was public. There were a few that were private summer retreats, but one public event where you could share the bill the whole year.
Interestingly enough, it was in my own backyard. Literally, it’s one of the few times I could drive down the street to the shop. I reached out to the group and she said, “Corey, we’re full.” We didn’t know each other, but she said, “Sorry, we’re full.” I said, “I’ll leave my name in any way, just in case.” Sure enough, a couple of days later I got a message from her. Her name’s Ann. I still know her now. She said, “Corey, we had a cancellation. Do you want my spot?” I took the spot, but here’s my message to that. If I was practicing visualization and wrote down that board, but never reached out to Ann and they were already full, what are the odds I would be the speaker they would randomly find, discover and call all in a matter of two days at when they had a cancellation? Probably zero or close to nil.
To me, that’s a perfect example. If I practiced Law of Attraction, that would have passed me by. You also have to watch for the synchronicities. Something happens that’s outside of your, “I want to have this happen,” but something happens to the right side and you don’t listen to it, then you can’t be mad whenever what you’re trying to draw to yourself doesn’t come to yourself. The other last thing I’ll say is you have to put in the work. I interviewed people would know him, but John Gray, Men are from Mars. John told me that he did an intention every day for eight years around the book, Men are from Mars. His goal was to be the number one bestselling relationship author in the world. It took him eight years. It took time to get on New York Times list.
Usually, it happens right away. It took him time. It was 1 or 2 years. The bottom line is the books then sold 100 million copies. It’s the number one bestselling relationship book times ten now. Second is The 5 Love Languages, if anybody’s curious. The point is that John did that every day for eight years. The other thing is we were led to believe that you’re going to wish and dream about this and it should come into your life right away. I’ve had people. I told them, “It took John eight years to do that.” They’re saying, “He must’ve been manifesting wrong.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? He did something that nobody else in history has done. Do you think they should take eight hours?” You get my point, hopefully. Take action.
The word action is within attraction. The two are together. Attraction and action are together in the same word. I completely agree with you on that. You need both. I’m a believer in the energy, that idea of the Law of Attraction, but not by itself is going to get the job done. You need discipline. You need to put in the work to get there. That’s what you did. You want it to be a speaker with Deepak Chopra. You didn’t wish it. You took action. You worked to make sure that there were opportunities for that to happen.
I referenced somebody else in the book who did this. A great example is a friend of mine named Christine Campbell. She’s a musician. You might remember I mentioned this, but she did the same thing with Bob Seger. She wants to share the bill with Bob Seger. It was announced he was coming to town. What she did is every morning and every night she said, “It’s so great to be sharing the bill with Bob Seger tonight. It was great to be sharing the bill with Bob Seger yesterday.” She did that every day for three months. At the same time, she put out a petition and she put her name out there and try to get people to vote. There was a vote going on, plus you got a petition going for her to share it. She took action, but she also still visualized every day too. The end result is she was she shared the bill with him once and he brought her in for a second show. She even got bigger than her wish and she manifests the bigger, but she still was practicing the act. That was success key number one.
Success key number two has to do with comfort zone. I talked with this in my second TEDx Talk about crushing your fears and expanding your comfort zone. What I’ve found is there’s a great quote that says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It was Neale Donald Walsch who said that. I truly believe that. My life changed. Everything changed when I got outside of my comfort zone. I shared that. I found my why and it got rid of my anxiety and my hypochondria. That started in stand-up comedy. It evolved into speaking thankfully. I started with stand-up comedy and that was way outside my comfort zone. If I would have walked out of that club and knock it on that stage that night, my whole life will be different. I suspect I wouldn’t be talking to you. I may not have ever read my first book. I would have never gotten to speaking. Everything would have changed. It all started by me being willing to get outside my comfort zone. In the book, I talked with exercise about how you can baby-step your comfort zone so you’re not jumping in the deep water right from the beginning.
Before we go on, it’s important for those reading to know how many stand-ups have you done?
There have been a few more since the book, but I don’t think many. As of the last count, it’s approaching 750 shows over the course of about nine years.
Which to me speaks to the discipline. You persevered. You were grinding through it when it wasn’t comfortable. Talk about an uncomfortable place to be. I haven’t done standup, but I’ve done a lot of improvs. Even that, it’s uncomfortable at times, but that speaks to your success.Passion is what you do, purpose is while you do it. Click To Tweet
First of all, thank you. I’ve done improv too and it’s funny how one of them gets that. For me, stand-up’s more comfortable than improv, but I know a lot of people have done improv. It’s way more comfortable than stand-up. I did improv at the Groundlings Studio in Hollywood. They are like The Second City of improv essentially. That was a cool moment. The neat thing is for me, and this is the power of grinding it out, as you said, is I look back at those first shows. The first show, I shared a bit in the book, how I did the first two jokes about the mic turned off and that was the start. How big would it start? I bombed horribly and I went back week after week.
I want to say maybe two years before I had five minutes. How crazy is this? I had five minutes of material that works. I’ll tell you one thing because people always ask, “What kept you going?” I read an interview with Jerry Seinfeld back then from a book called Comic Insights. He said that it took him two years to get fifteen minutes of work. I said, “If I’m a third of the way to Jerry Seinfeld, then okay.” It also told me that this is where we start. Another friend of mine, her name is Tracey MacDonald. She was the only female Star Search winning comedian ever, but maybe the only Canadian one. She won $250,000. I moved to Hollywood with a movie pilot and Tracey told me it took her five years to get her first headline. She was at one point voted the funniest comic in the world and it took her five years. Those things pushed me through, but here’s where I was getting to. The shows that I’ve done that I’ve added up to that 50, now I discriminated heavily.
When I’m doing a show, there has to be a big reason. One of the last shows I did was with The Second City. Who would’ve thought that guy that was bombing and couldn’t get to laughs together could eventually perform at The Second City or The Improv? Now I do those kinds of cool shows. It’s not that I’m a comedian and that they come to me for those shows. I have connections that I still have from back then that’ll say, “Corey, I don’t know if you’re interested, but I found that there’s a spot at The Second City this weekend.” In that case, I flew to Toronto and I brought my girlfriend. The first and only time she’s ever seen, I do stand up at The Second City. How epic is that? The point is that I was on those first 200 and 300 shows. I was a far cry from Second City. I look back now and I realize every time it was starting over. Every time I was building up the gumption to get up on that stage again and it was never easy.
Before we go onto the next one, there’s a dance that I find that goes on and I mentioned it to you in one of the pieces that I use. You certainly demonstrated the expectation and the discipline, but also there’s a level of gratitude I feel that that plays into this. To me, it’s almost a dance to be content with where you were in terms of that next show, but also the drive to go on to the next one.
I’ll tell you something that took me a long time to learn. If I’m being honest, I don’t even know if I learned it by the time this book was originally done. I don’t even know if I fully, truly grasped this even a few years ago. I was doing it, but not to the extent that I am now that I’m conscious of it, which is the gratitude for the journey. I put in a quote not that long ago, and again, it’s probably not an original quote, but I thought it was at the time. It was more of a question that made it unique. I said, “What if the journey is the destination?” I believe that could be true. I went through periods where for a long time, I enjoy getting to the destination.
What the challenge with that is as soon as you’re done, you go next. What’s up now? You wait all this time building anticipation, you think you’re going to enjoy the destination you get there and you don’t enjoy it. What are you enjoying? I switched and I was enjoying the journey, but not the destination. Finally, I reached a place in my life where I’m enjoying both. The answer to your question, it’s gratitude now for both. When I was doing the comedy, I was enjoying it at the moment, but I was only enjoying the time on stage and chatting with the guys afterward. The week leading up to it, I wasn’t enjoying it. I was only enjoying the payoff for about fifteen minutes a week.
If I were to go back and do stand up regularly now, I would enjoy every night. I would enjoy the bombing. I would enjoy the hiccups. I would enjoy the great stuff. I would enjoy that moment where I and the audience is in a synergy. You need to be grateful for the journey. That’s the takeaway. I’ll add-in, this is another thing that I’ve since come across learning after I wrote the book. There’s always the next book. I’m working right now on what I consider to be my modern-day version of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the more for business people, totally different focus. One of the areas I want to focus on that I didn’t talk about, there are new things that have come out, which is cool that Napoleon Hill wouldn’t have had to deal with, like living the unfiltered life.
That’s one of my last talks. The idea of people getting online and saying, “Check out my great house.” What you don’t see is when the camera goes off and somebody chasing them off the lawn and saying, “Stop filming in front of my house.” We don’t see that part. The other one is this whole idea of being happy. What I’ve discovered is that there’s a lot of influencers, and it would shock us how many, who don’t enjoy the journey. We don’t talk about it. Nobody wants to admit it. If a person’s an influencer and they’ve maybe they have one million followers on Twitter, they don’t want to tell anybody. They don’t want anybody to know they’re not enjoying the journey. As entrepreneurs and influencers, we need to talk about that because I’ve noticed in interviews, if I press enough with the questions, there are a lot of people that struggle with enjoying the journey. This is a big one.
I don’t cover it in the book, admittedly, but that’s for the next book. We’re going to success. Number three. Key number three. His one, I talked about this. This is the one I mentioned earlier, the power of no, essentially. You could call this the power of focus. Mike Lipkin, a Canadian speaker, he said to me, “I think what it is, Corey, is these people go all in.” That was a cool distinction. I’m calling it the power of no, the ability to say no to all the things that won’t move the needle so you can say yes to the few that will. It’s cool to sanction and say it’s also going all-in because what that means is that the idea is you should be going all-in with the person when they’re with you.
If you’re not with the person, maybe you go all-in with your phone. The idea there is to give 100% attention to whatever’s in front of you, not try to separate it amongst various different people. Also, I talked about Robin Sharma. I asked him, because like me, he works with the people that are focused on technology. Let’s say at the time he was working with Blackberry and he was working with Apple. If you think about that these devices are designed to distract us. I’m putting them on the spot because I’m saying, “What would you say to somebody if they said, ‘Is this a good thing? Should it be focused on the person and the device?’” I thought his answer was a great political answer because he is working with these groups as well.
He said, “I will tell you this. I feel that there’s no way you can give 100% attention to two things at once.” It’s almost like the whole thing like if you chase two rabbits, you’ll never catch one. He’s basically said, “If you put a person in a room of salesperson that gives 100% attention to the CEO in front of them and you put another person with equal skills, everything equal, that gives attention to both their phone and the CEO.” Who do you think is going to win that deal 9 times out of 10? The person that gives the CEO all their attention. What I’ve learned is that the top influencers somehow find a way when they’re with you to feel like they’re with you and nothing else is on their mind. Whereas I would say the average, most people don’t. They’re always thinking about what’s next.
They’re never listening to the person. They’re already getting ready to ask another question or say something else. I call it the power of no. It’s being able to say no to this thing. You can say yes to something else because we all know if you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else. Do you have to choose? It’s their ability to choose what things to say no to. They know how to say no and to say no way more often than everybody else. That’s the success key number three, being able to do that.
We’re onto the next one. I put together four and five. I talked about it. Four is the problem, but it serves us well. There’s the solution and it’s served as well. I combined the two of them, but essentially the success key number four relates to the fact that we’re in what I call an information-heavy wisdom society. What does that mean? There’s lots of information bombarding us. In fact, we’re bombarded with information, but getting to the actual wisdom that’s going to make the difference is the new challenge. That becomes the new, “How do we do this?” Most people struggle because they’re overwhelmed with the information. They don’t know where the wisdom is. They’re constantly looking for new information, constantly surfing, constantly getting overwhelmed, like the people that go on Facebook and then six hours later, they’re asking, “Where did the time go?”
That’s what’s happening even in the business world. We go to a magazine shelf and you see twelve business magazines and they all contradict each other. Not only that, we’re ignoring the fact that each one of them has 50 pages of information. Who has the time in a month to go through whatever that works out to 400 pages of information to get the one little piece of wisdom that’s going to change the game for that? First of all, that’s the challenge, but it also presents an opportunity. The top influencers, what they do differently is they figure out who the best sources to learn from are. They figured out that you should go to the people who’ve already curated for them. They get that wisdom quicker than everybody else. They make use of it quickly.Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet
They fail quickly so that they can learn quickly. An example could be a podcast. You and I, when we were running a show, ideally we’re curating. We’re picking a person that hopefully is going to bring some insights who are listening. We’re curating and we’re doing it an hour-long or our 45-minute long intake, rather than saying, “I’m going to bring on Corey for an eight-hour day and you’re going to listen.” Not only that, people can stop, they can pause. They can come back later. My point is that they’re trusting you as the curator. When I read, say, Success Magazine, I’m trusting at the time it was Darren Hardy. Now Josh publishes it. When Darren Hardy was publishing, I was trusting that Darren was vetting all that stuff so that I don’t have to go through 25 books to get the same content.
The influencers, in my opinion, that is rising to the top, they know how to get to the right sources. They don’t bombard themselves with 1 million sources. They get to the right sources and they get their wisdom quicker. That could be them saying, “I’m going to listen to TEDx Talks and I’m going to listen to TEDx Talks around this idea.” That could be their source. Their source could be Success Magazine. It could be this show. It could be the Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, Lisa Nichols. When I picked three of them for three months and they say, “Here’s what I want to learn from right now.” That’s what they’re doing differently. Whereas other people, everywhere they go, they try to learn something and they don’t realize they put so much in their head, they can’t act on it.
I think of the word distillation when I think of that, of how do we boil this thing down to the most important components. I go back to the subtitle of your book in terms of timeless secrets. At times, have we not overcomplicated things, but there are some of these ways to success are much more foundational and timeless than we deal with now?
I would go so far as to say that the sad part is it’s like dieting. I know we all hate that word, but it’s like dieting or eating better. I still struggle with this, but the irony is I know what it takes. I know what works. Most of us do. If I say this, then people still argue that it’s wrong because people want to have a new way of approaching it. If I said eating not less but eating better, moving more and eating less of the wrong stuff and then exercising if you want to get in shape. That’s it. Those four things. Yes. How many words have been distributed in the last five years even? We don’t even know. Ten billion? I don’t know how many words have been to try to teach us how to get better shape, but it always comes back down to the fundamentals.
It’s the same with like the idea of saying no. People in their front office for 200 years now say no. You go back to the Romans, I’m sure. You didn’t get to see the King or whatever. You had to go through people who said, “No, you can’t see him right now.” We don’t like to look at it that way, but if you think about it, I can’t call Tony Robbins. I can’t pick up the phone and call him on his front desk. I can’t call through the front office and then say, “Put him right on.” He’s got people set up to say no. He doesn’t even know it’s happening, but he needs that system. The more things we have, the bigger the system has to be to do that. My point is that it’s been existing forever. These people are also being discriminated about what gets through in terms of wisdom. They’re also saying no to all the information, so they get to the wisdom. This has been fundamental and timeless. Do you want a bonus one?
Number six, I call it the bonus one because originally, I was going to do five and then I added one. The bonus one is I call it the non-talent factor. For example, other people might call it the 10,000-hour rule. In front of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He made it famous, even though I know he wasn’t the person that figured it out if you will. I’m not even talking to the 10,000-hour rule as a whole. I’m combining it with something else, which is that I believe firmly that some people are born with a natural talent, but I also believe that some people craft an unnatural talent and can sometimes become more successful than the one with the natural talent.
This is a weird belief to say, but I believe that there’s at least one. There’s more than one, but I believe there’s at least one more Wayne Gretzky in the world, but we’ll never know it because that other Wayne Gretzky or Wayne Gretzky’s never honed their talent like the Wayne Gretzky we know. He was out in the ice at six years of age with his father every morning before school. There was another person that probably could have done that the same as Gretzky, maybe even better, but never honed it. If they did play hockey, they played for fun. They never put any time in. By the way, that’s been a common thing like Sidney Crosby. I have a friend who runs a hockey school. Sidney Crosby is one of their students.
He said, “Corey, that guy was here two hours before everybody else. He had a key to the building at nine years of age. He was game playing before I was at work. I get into work and look down. That kids down there escape.” This isn’t a coincidence, but we love to say, all the kids got matched out. I wish I was as talented as him. There’s a non-talent factor. Part of it comes from finding out what your purpose is and serving it. I’m escaping the word passion because a lot of people are tired of hearing the word passion now. I’ll say purpose, which is bigger. In the book, I describe it as to why you do it. I say, “Passion is what you do. The purpose is why you do it.”
We’ll talk about purpose for a minute. I think they’re purpose-driven and because of that, they’re willing to hone the craft and work harder and put in more hours than other people. In the book, I shared how a renowned fiddler named Natalie McMaster, as she shared the bill with some of the best musicians in the world. She didn’t name names, but she said, “Corey, there’s people that were beside me playing that could have been in bigger stages than I’ve ever been on and bigger stages than other people. They never hold the craft. There are people I shared the bill with on big stages, like The Tonight Show and stuff like that who probably should have never made that stage, but they were passionate about it, they put in the 10,000 hours that they got there.”
I also shared Alan Andrews who runs a hockey center. He told me that there are lots of players that everybody said they’ll never make the NHL and they didn’t care. They didn’t care what Alan said. They may be NHL. He said, “There are people that we looked at and said, ‘That person’s goal is they should be the next Gretzky and they never made it.” It’s a non-talent factor. If you’re willing to, A, figure out what your purpose is and be driven by it, and then B, put in more hours than everybody else. They do what nobody else will. That to me is the non-talent factor.
When I think of what you said, I think of two things. I think of beliefs and behaviors. Those people believed in themselves more than what other people were saying about them. Back to the behaviors, what did they do? They put in the work. Their behaviors create a difference. I fully agree with you there, which leads to the next piece of this. As I read, it struck me and I had never thought of this that way when you said, “When did you retire?” It’s not what most people would think about.
No, and I don’t think I shared it in the book this way, but where it started is, I did this talk for a financial services group like a life insurance company with financial planners in the audience. I posed the question. That’s how I opened my talk. These people are working with people’s money all day, helping people retire. I said, “How many people in the audience feel that if I hadn’t invested any money and I hadn’t made any plans to retire and I didn’t win the lottery, nothing came up and no money came into my life. How many people feel like to retire at twenty years of age?” If I got a hand, it was a person being smart.
I don’t even think I got one hand, but I may have gotten one, but it was a room of 400 financial advisors. I said, “I’m going to now prove to you that I did and I can retire at twenty years of age. What’s the definition of work?” I brought them through all what they defined as work. The idea was I was trying to show them that if you’re not working anymore, then you’re retired because we define work as we work until retirement. My argument was I haven’t worked a day since I was twenty. I’ve often said that in the joke, “If you would catch me working, you let me know and I’ll stop.” I haven’t worked since I was twenty because I love what I do and nothing feels like work.
To me, I retired when I was twenty and now the rest of it is all fun and games. I retired and I’ve been retired for years now. It’s not the definition other people put on it, but that’s their choice to put that definition on. They’re putting the definition that they have the money to do what they want and they have the time to do what they want. Even if you use that definition because I’m self-employed, because I’m following my purpose, it took years to get there. Even by that definition, I can do what I want. I get to travel all I want. I calculated it. Some of these are work-related, but I’m talking like one day work, twelve days not working. I calculated my girlfriend and I and my son.You need to be grateful for the journey. Click To Tweet
He was with us for every trip. We did six occasions in one year. Now you might say, “There was work.” I call them pleasure trips, but there was work associated with it. I went to Hawaii for a week, maybe ten days. I did one talk that lasted 45 minutes. That was the only time I was on stage working with the client. I didn’t even see them until the day of the event. Let’s say I put in a half a day’s work. I got to stay in Hawaii. By the way, in that case, they pay for the trip. We went on to Phoenix and we stayed there for another six days and I didn’t work there. I get to take three weeks’ vacation. Even if you go by that definition, I’m retired. By my definition, anybody can be retired as long as they can figure out how to do what they love and do more of it.
It’s interesting because I feel the same way. I don’t look at days of the week in terms of work that I’m doing other than things that are scheduled. If I do things on a Sunday or a Saturday, it doesn’t feel any different to me. There are a love and passion for it, to use that overused word, but it doesn’t feel like work. A lot of the work that I do is with organizations’ engagement and this thought of how few people enjoy where they go when they turn the key in the car in the morning.
The other thing is we talked about joining the journey versus the destination. How many people live their life going, “When I’m retired, guess what we’re going to do?” There are 25. They’re saying, “I’m not going to join this journey of this next 40 years. I’m going to enjoy the day I retire.” Sadly, we see it so often. People retire and a week later they pass away. Does that mean you only had one week of your life that you enjoyed? The question becomes, why does that happen often? It’s because they’ve lost their purpose. Even if they hated their job, it was a purpose every day and they lost the purpose unless you replace it with another purpose. I always say to people, “If you want to figure out what your passion is, ask yourself what would you do if you won the lottery?”
Most people love to say, “I’d go to the beach and retire.” You would probably for two weeks. The question is what are you going to do when you get back? Nobody can stay at the beach forever. I’ll correct that. There might be the odd one, but we’re talking less than 1%. To that point, the idea of retired, why not set up a life for yourself? This is from Seth Godin. I don’t want to steal his thunder, but why not set up a life for yourself that you don’t have to escape from. That’s retired. Where that story came, which I thought was brilliant, is he was on the beach one day working and this couple behind him and they probably didn’t think he could hear them. They said, “How sad is that guy? He even has to work on vacation.” He thought to himself, “How sad is it that they have to work all year only to take two weeks to come here?” His thing was, “I send out my blog. It takes me 30 minutes. I sit on the beach all day. How’s that working?” His idea was, “Why do you have to set up a life you feel you need to escape from?”
Are there rituals that you have in terms of how you start your day out or how you end your day?
There are rituals, but admittedly, sometimes they fall off. I’d love to be that guy that says every day, it never changes because it always works perfectly. I talked about in the book, Jack Canfield’s Hour of Power. That was a big game-changer for me. I asked him Jack the question what does he most account for his success? At first, he didn’t want to give me one answer because he has a book called The Success Principles with 64 of them. I finally pushed him for that one. He said, “Probably my Hour of Power, which basically what it means is every day he spends twenty minutes exercising, twenty minutes learning and twenty minutes meditating.”
The reason I said it works so well is that he’s feeding his mind, body and spirit every morning before most people start. I rephrase it like that my body and spirit. I have never heard him say it, but that’s probably not an original idea. Somebody else probably had that too. That’s a callback to our earlier conversation about original ideas. The Hour of Power, I’m going to say more often than not, over the last ten years, I still get the learning always. Even when I’m not practicing as well as I could be, I always seem to get the learning. Even thinking about the interviews I do everyday. I get the learning in no matter what every day. It’s broken down by twenty minutes. The twenty minutes of meditation, I get that in 50% of the time and exercise. I was on a good run.
I fell off here with traveling and my own self to blame, but I know I need to be doing it. I can feel the difference and I know I should be doing. That would be one ritual is the Hour of Power. My girlfriend and I, we do a thing called MEPSS once a week. We’ve been good and then we slipped off. This is a reminder to me, but what we do is we do an inventory. MEPSS stands for Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. What we do is I’ll say, “Corey checking in,” and then I’ll tell her how I feel in all five of those areas. We’ll discuss it. She’ll do, “Shelly checking in,” and she’ll tell me her plan. That’s something she picked up in a treatment center. She’s five years sober, but she went through recovery and that’s something she picked up the broadest from there. That’s another ritual that we practice.
What else I love is your first answer in regards to saying these are things that I don’t do all the time because that’s inspiring as well for people to hear that, to say, “I can’t do it. Corey does this every day. That’s why he’s where he is.” To say, “I don’t do these all the time.” Ideally, that would be great, but you don’t need to do it every single day to reach your goal. You need some consistency to do it along the way.
Robin Sharma, I saw an interview with him and he put out the book called The 5AM Club. I was impressed. I was surprised because I see him as somebody who’s ritualistic and sticks to his plan. He said people ask him all the time. It was in an email of his or something. “Do you stick to the 5:00 AM thing?” He said, “I’ll be 100% honest, no. I’d love to say I do. There are days I don’t feel like getting up at 5:00.” He was blunt about it. I thought that was great because the tendency would be to say, “I crush it,” especially when you’re teaching it. I love that he said that there are days that at 7:00 I’m like, “What did I do?” I’m sure with him, he’s saying that but I’m sure it’s like once a month, but he still says it happens.
It makes everybody else feel like, “He’s human too. I can do this.”
I’m sure we’ve all heard the thing when you fall off the horse. I believe a big reason a lot of people quit is that they fall off the horse and then they think, “Crap, now everybody’s seen me fall off the horse. Now I fell off the horse. I’ve already failed. What’s the point of keeping going on?” I think there’s more success in falling off the horse and going, “I fell off the horse. I’m going to get back on.” When you’re eating a certain way and you go six days in a row and eat grapes, and then you have one bad slip up and then people throw in the towel, that blows my mind. I was that person too. I get it, but it blows my mind because the truth is it’s one little tiny misstep. The average of those seven days, you’re still way ahead of most people. That’s a key part of it is we quit too easily sometimes because we think if I fail once it’s a failure. New Year’s resolutions, how long do they last? The average, 90% fail within the first three weeks. That’s a whole other story about how long it takes to create a habit, but I digress.
It’s a whole other story that is extremely important. Maybe we’ll do that for a second show. I’d love that. If there’s somebody that’s picking up your book, what do you hope they walk away with after they’ve read it?
That’s a big question because I feel that this book, there’s so much content that takes you in different directions. I mentioned this too in the book that I’ve designed it to be a theme, but at the same time, each act should stand on their own. That was designed to be that way. For me, if I said what would they take away, this is not meant to be a copy because I’ll circle back to this a little more. I’ll dive into this more, but on the front end, it’s what works for them. In other words, what they’re needing, I hope they take away that from the book. Having said that, what that should look like is goes back to the subtitle. I hope for a lot of people, they start realizing these timeless secrets aren’t that hard. These things have been sitting here all along and people have been using them. They’re not saying, “I get the secret. I’m not sharing it with you.” It’s that we don’t realize either they’re there or we don’t realize how common they are, how common it is for these high achievers to say no. The opposite scenario, how common it is for most other people to say yes. It’s the awareness of these timeless secrets so they can practice them.Fail quick and learn quick. Click To Tweet
Since the book has been out, I’m sure you’ve had all of the feedback that you get from people that have read the book. Is there any surprise that you’ve had in terms of, “I wouldn’t have expected that?”
One of the big ones for me is two things. One is on the power of why. The people that I had felt already found their passion and their calling, the amount of those that said, “I’m glad you put it this way because I realized I was a little off track,” that surprised me. The people that I didn’t even think would admit that. The other one is how many people talked about how cool it was to have the bonus quotes that you referenced in the back of the book. I’d love to say I see that all the time, but it’s rare. I can’t think of many books that insights in the back of them and it wasn’t intentional to be unique, to be honest. It was just I love sharing people’s stories. That’s why I’m putting here is that it helped share other people’s story and their magic and that felt natural to me to add their quotes. The number of people that said, “One quote in there changed the way I view my life.” If you think about that, there are 400 roughly bolts in the back. One quarter to 400, not including the whole book itself, of somebody saying changed their life. That was the other thing that surprised me, how big of an impact those individuals could have.
I loved that. It was unique. It’s not something that I’ve seen in any of the books that I’ve read. Certainly, testimonials and books, but not the way that it was formed. I appreciated that. To be honest with you, I haven’t gone through all of them.
I’ll have one thing, which is funny. You said about testimonials. This is going back quite a ways when I said, “Would you be interested in having an original quote of yours in my book?” There were a few people that sent me along testimonials. I said, “No, I meant that.” Other people said, “Do you want a testimonial for the book. I’m happy to do a quote.” I said, “No, I want one of your original quotes.” “What do you mean original?” It was such a foreign thing that people thought it meant testimonials. I ended up getting a few testimonials from my other book unintentionally. That would have worked out, but it wasn’t intentional, but I said, “Can I use that?” Also, I’d like to get an original quote from you both about how you use speaking. It was my other book, my speaking book.
As we’re speaking about your book and the other services that you provide to individuals, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?
It depends on which part you want to talk to me about. If it’s about getting a copy of the book, let’s say it’s as simple as that, we do have a site set up called TheBookOfWhy.com. It’s an easy way. Another option I would love to give. I believe that if you get to discover who I am and you’d like who I am and it resonates with you, there’s a better chance you’re going to want to talk further anyway. If I can, I’ll give away people a free copy of my other book, which is called The Book of Public Speaking. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s me revealing to people the secrets of how to speak on stages. That’s called The Book of Public Speaking and no surprise, probably, Patrick, the website is TheBookOfPublicSpeaking.com.
If you go there now, you can get that free book. The third thing is if you want to connect with me further, I also help people get on stages and get paid to get on stages, and all that stuff. The best way to reach me there, you can go to my main website, which is ThatSpeakerGuide.com. On that site, it has all the social channels and everything. That’s the hub. If you want to reach out and say hi or you want to learn more about what I do on that side of the world, ThatSpeakerGuide.com. If you want a free book, TheBookOfPublicSpeaking.com. If you want to grab a copy of the book that we’ve been talking about, TheBookOfWhy.com.
I didn’t realize you helped people to get on stage as well.
I’ve been a weekly paid speaker for years, which is rare. I did not know that when I started. There are a lot of people that speak on stages that aren’t getting paid and we don’t realize that. I had a lot of people that have been speaking for years come to me and say, “Can you help me get paid to do this?” They see I was speaking so often and I comment out openly about how I didn’t do any no-fee costs. These were all paid. People were like, “How are you getting this much? How are you landing these often?” I launched what I call The Speaking Program. I landed three TEDx Talks in a short amount of time. People came to me and said, “How can I land a brand on top?” I launched a program around that. That’s another side of my life. I do help people land talks like I’ve been doing for years and also land branded talks.
This has been such an enjoyable conversation with you, Corey. I pulled many pearls out of your book and it reinforced a lot of my thoughts and beliefs and experiences as well. I believe they are timeless. Thank you for that.
Thank you, Patrick. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’ll call it a to be continued.
I appreciate that.
Corey left many great pearls in that interview. As he talked about things like the six secrets to success and around expectation and gratitude and discipline, there are many opportunities here to rise above your best in regards to following what Corey talks about. He’s interviewed over 5,000 people to gain even more evidence as to what are the recipes to success and not financial success, but success in life overall. If somebody that you think would benefit from this episode, I’d ask that you forward this on to them. If you haven’t subscribed already, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you’d leave a rating or a comment in regards to this or any other episode. Until our next episode, I hope you can do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best piece.
- The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Secret
- Men are from Mars
- The 5 Love Languages
- Comic Insights
- The Success Principles
- The 5AM Club
- The Speaking Program
About Corey Poirier
Corey Poirier discusses his best selling book, The Book of Why and How and the impact it has had on many who have read it. We discussed the six secrets to success, how to find your passion and purpose as well as many other pearls. He is a modern-day Napoleon Hill and has taken a modern-day approach to drawing lessons from many successful people to help others become successful.
Having the skill to read body language is extremely beneficial in sales, or when you’re trying to influence others to see from your perspective. Susan Ibitz, the Owner of the Human Behavior Lab, joins this episode to provide clarity on the common myths surrounding body language. Learn as she explains why it’s only an indicator of what’s to come and why you should still keep your ears open to verbal communication. With the rise of social media platforms, influencers can be seen everywhere you go, and Susan defines the difference between an influencer and actually having influence. She also shares her wisdom on leadership development as a key factor to gaining influence in order to actually be able to do your work properly.
Listen to the podcast here:
How to Read Body Language and Understand Resistance to Improve Your Influence
If you’re in a leadership role or a sales role and you’re curious about ways to increase your influence, this is an episode you’re going to want to read. My guest is Susan Ibitz. She’s the owner of a company called Human Behavior Lab. From an influence standpoint, her work is in the area of understanding body language and micro-expressions, being able to read those things in terms of increasing our ability to understand other people. In this episode, we’re talking about leadership, whether you’re selling an idea, a product, a service, or it’s simply getting somebody to say yes to your request. The more information you can have and the more educated you can be in all of those areas, the better and more effective you are going to be in ethically influencing others to get where you want to go. That’s what this episode is going to be about. It is a preview into the webinar that we’re going to do on this topic as well.
Susan, thanks again for being on the show. This would be a good opportunity for us as we are preparing to do a webinar together on a range of different topics around influence, whether it’s influence versus influencer body language. How people can be more effective in terms of getting others to say yes to their request is one of the things that I’m thinking is going to be valuable. In this episode, we could maybe hit on some areas from your perspective where you think it’s going to be valuable and why it’s important that people understand how to develop and influence skills on a higher level.
When you propose the idea of the webinar, I jumped and says, “Yes, let’s do it.” I’ve been studying for some time how influencers work in the media. Everybody’s crazy about like, “This person has 150,000 likes, have 2.8 million followers on Twitter and we don’t have that.” There’s a difference between an influencer and have influence. There’s a difference on a yes, a maybe, actually and no in a negotiation. Those are the factors that people oversee and overlook on how to interact with others and be more influential.
We’re going to be on board. We’re going to talk about misconceptions on the media. We’re going to be talking about when you’re negotiating face-to-face with someone, what are the facts on the body language, on the language, and on the micro-expressions that can determine if the person is engaged, is open to move forward or it’s a no-no? We need to change and adapt all the time. If you keep doing the same craziness and you expect a different outcome, this is the perception of madness. We need to stop the madness to try to keep doing the same things and we need to adapt.
Susan, it’s funny when you say sometimes it’s good to hear a no. It reminds me of a lot of the sales training that I used to go through. We used to talk about that in terms of saying, “If you don’t hear no, you’re not selling yet.” Give me an example of somebody that’s trying to get influence or trying to gain a request from somebody. What are some of the things that somebody can try and cue in on in terms of body language? Maybe that’s demonstrating that somebody might be resisting where they want to go. Are there certain things that maybe as a sales rep or as an influencer would want to try and key in on?If you keep doing the same craziness, and expect different outcomes, this is the perception of madness. Click To Tweet
The first thing I’m going to tell is a myth that I don’t get bored to emphasize. When somebody is crossing their arms, it doesn’t mean that the person is not engaged or is not open to doing the business. Some people cross their arms when they think because it’s a soothing situation. If somebody is crossing arms and nodding head to the side, that is a sign a person is comforting themselves and is thinking. Why? Because all the organs that are vital to survival are in the chest and the abdomen. When we cross the arm, we protect those because we’re going to comfort our self.
When the person is ready to make the decision, you’re going to see that person open their arms. That’s when you need to make the final decision. When is crossing the arms a negative sign? If I cross my arms, cross my legs, and I do my turtleneck. Turtleneck is when your shoulders get higher and your neck gets smaller because the neck is a sensitive part of your body too. If I’m crossing my arm in front of my chest, protecting my organs, I protect my neck, cross my legs, and most importantly, pull my body away from you, that’s when you have a negative sign.
That’s when something is going on. If you add to that factor that the person is angry, surprise, disgust or dislike, you have a problem. You still can save that situation if the person hadn’t verbalized the no. Why? People don’t pay enough attention to the words. I’ve been fighting in trainings when people say, “No, I don’t care what they say. It’s about the body language.” No. The body language and the micro-expressions are giving you an indication that there is a probability that the person is not going to accept your negotiation.
Until the person doesn’t verbalize no, you still have time. Come back with more questions. “Is there maybe anything that I haven’t addressed? Are there any questions that maybe because of my long presentation, you haven’t had the chance to do? Is there any other information, expert or feedback that you maybe need to make a decision?” If you say, “You need to make a decision,” you’ve given the other person the cue that, “I need more information to make the decision.” If I say maybe, it’s like, “I need more information. I don’t need more information. I’m going to make the decision.”
It’s simple once you get it. It’s complex to change the mindset on the selling. Selling is an emotional situation. When I train people who sell insurance, I say, “You’re selling the future.” If I tell a father who has three kids in college that that’s the insurance you need. Why? “If something happened to you, your kids are not going to college. Your kids are not going to have the life that you expect to.” It’s an emotional selling. You need to connect to the emotional point of what is going on with that person in their life. You need to connect. That’s where your knowledge is important, Patrick because you work with empathy. I’m not a good empath. I’m a fixer. You have developed empathy. Now you tell me how you’re going to talk about empathy.
As you were talking about listening or words, immediately from an empathic standpoint, I went to four-way listening, which I know is something we’re going to speak to as well. It’s the importance of four-way listening where we listen with our eyes, which is where you’re talking about micro-expressions, body language, folding arms, what are people doing and being aware of that. Listening with our ears, the words, the tone of voice that somebody might use. Even the word choice can be important to cue in on certain words that are being used. I would agree that it is something that needs to be respected. It’s space for the amount of words. From an empathic standpoint, it’s trying to listen in a way that if I was on the other end of this, I would want to be listened to.
That to me is the empathic part. It’s trying to put myself in the buyer’s shoes of trying to understand. When we talk about the model around resistance, the great model which I know will come up around, what are the five reasons why people may resist? One of those is around goodwill. If I feel like what you’re asking me to do is only serving your own best interest, but you haven’t demonstrated any care or concern with its impact on me. Naturally, I am going to resist. I’m not going to want to go where you’re asking me to go because I feel like you’re only interested in yourself. What are you going to get out of this? The environment that I came from prior to going out on my own was in the bio-sales or biopharma area. That was very much an industry that was filled with suspicion where you’re dealing with practitioners and physicians asking them to use certain treatments. Oftentimes, they’re looking and saying, “Are you concerned about my patients getting the best treatment or are you making sure that you get the sale for the treatment that you represent?” There’s a huge difference there.
When I train sales people, one of the problems of the younger ones is that they don’t have the experience to relate to others. When a doctor threw that question to you, you need to be fast in your feet and talk about the experience. Charles Bukowski says, “When something happened to a writer, it’s a book on the happening.” Experience, failing, and success is what makes you good in what you do because now you can shift shoes. I have a friend who’s a psychologist who says, “My life being so messy gives me such an empathy channel with my patients, because now I can understand what they’re feeling and what they’re going through.”
If you haven’t had a friend who may have an illness and you need to sell a medication who similar, or you haven’t talked to patients to know what they are going through. If you don’t ask the right questions to come out with the right way to approach it, it’s never going to happen. Some people call it empathy. I’m calling it having open conversations, depending on what your group is and the way you need to address it. Stories sell more than facts. Even with people who need facts, they’re going to need the story to support those facts.
We might be talking about products here. Leadership is very much the same way. When we talk about empathy, how I will oftentimes relate to leadership work that I do is to remind myself what it was like to be an employee and to report to somebody else. What were those things that motivated me? It’s almost like putting on my employee hat when I’m doing work with leaders to help them recognize what the other side of this situation they’re dealing with. If they want to inspire people, you need to have an understanding of what it was like to be an employee.Experience, failure, and success, it's what makes you good at what you do. Click To Tweet
Your first customer is your employee. I think it’s Oracle. I read an article about how their employees are replicating in the media the experience they have as an employee. They have better strong media replication through the employees than the Marketing and PR Department. They’re talking all the time about the experience, the training they have, how happy they are to come to work. They’re taking pictures of the desk. People are relating to, “Those employees are happy. It must be a good company.” Another thing that concerns me is 60% of managers that I talked to, and I found a replication on that study too, is they are put on the position and they have never given any skills to manage that. Some companies do, “This is the best sales rep we have. He must be good enough to be a manager. Let’s put him on the manager position.”
That person hates it because you take away the adrenaline rush to be on the street. Second of all, you didn’t give him any soft skills, any communication or any leadership command. The only thing he knows is selling. He keeps selling himself. He’s selling to the team that he knows what he is doing. He doesn’t have the knowledge to keep the door open to have people to come to talk to him for learning the one-on-one experience. That is extremely dangerous. There are a couple of studies that came up that soft skills are going to be more important than hard skills. Hard skills are being an engineer. You need to be an engineer to produce a product.
If you’re not creative or if you cannot communicate with the other engineers on your team to develop a product, what is the meaning of being intelligent if you cannot have empathy, creativity and leadership? We are in an era where things are changing. Sometimes companies are looking more to have a PhD from Harvard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still extremely important for some position to have the leadership and the knowledge to know how to manage your team, communicate with your team, to have a better environment of working. People don’t leave companies. They leave that management. If 60% of that management don’t know what they’re doing, you’re going to lose good people in your team.
It’s just a shift. There’s not enough support probably for managers to take on those roles. It’s shifting who the customer is or allowing them to understand who used to be their customer, their new customers, the people that report to them, and giving them the skillset. Oftentimes, I would agree with you that you can have managers that then come in and think, “I was successful doing it this way. Everybody else should do it the same way.” You lose that ability. More than each of your customers are probably a little bit different. You had to approach them differently to get what you were hoping to get out of that relationship. You have to treat it differently.
You will often hear me talk about from a leadership perspective. Leadership should be part of onboarding. There should be some component to leadership development as an onboarding component when you bring employees on because it doesn’t cost a lot. It allows the organization to level set in regards to what are the behaviors here that are going to be important. We started this conversation out talking about influence from a standpoint of maybe selling a product. There’s very little difference that you will find in terms of leading people as it relates to influence. That’s one of the valuable things that will come out of the webinar as well. We’ll be able to talk about what are the things that create resistance within a team or an employee that your behaviors or your being able to read situations will impact your ability to influence better.
Companies are afraid of the cost of training. When they say, “It’s going to cost us too much logistic to train the team.” How much money are you losing? How much money are you avoiding to make because you don’t want to invest? You are approaching this in the wrong way. You’re not spending money. You invest in. Why? You don’t kill your capital. You live on the interests. Now you’re killing your capital. Start putting the capital to make money and live on the interest. I have news for you, 90% of the people check online before they’re going to make a decision. Even if they’re going in person to buy a car or work with a realtor, they’re still going to look for the brand. How much influence you have? How your reviews online work, 90% of the time.
Now we don’t have influence only with one-on-one. You have online influence. You have influencers. If we do our webinar once a day for 30 days, we’re still going to have things to talk about because it’s crazy. You and I agree that one of the most difficult thing was what part of influence we’re going to be talking because this can be crazy. We can talk for five hours and keep bringing the topic because influence is everything. It’s how you talk to your kids to do their homework, how you talk to your wife where you’re going to go on vacation, how you talk to your customers to buy training, how to have the influence of media, and how other people are influencing you. I talk about the evil, the good and the ugly of influence can be good and bad.
To me, the term ethical influence will be thrown out there. I do believe that Bernie Madoff is somebody that understood all of the principles of influence but use them for the wrong reasons. That’s it. The influence tools themselves, the principles behind it or the research isn’t good or bad. It is what it is. The best thing that you can do is understand it from both perspectives. One is to understand how to leverage it more to be successful ethically, but also to be able to recognize when maybe you’re being influenced in an unethical way yourself.
I always say, “You can have a hammer and kill someone and you can have a hammer and save somebody who’s trapped.” I would say it’s the person using the tools. It’s not always the tool. It’s your intentions and what you do that makes the difference. You can use bad things done in history and make good things with that.
To set the stage for what’s to come, what would you tell individuals that want to jump on this webinar? What are they going to walk away with?When you train people, you’re not spending money, you’re investing. Click To Tweet
We’re going to talk and we’re going to have live Q&A. We’re going to be taking questions as they come in. It’s going to be a conversation where people can jump. I love that. The good news is as soon as the webinar ends, we’re going to have the webinar on demand. We’re going to send you to a website where you can go and watch the webinar any time you want. You can still make Q&A. Every time you make a question on the webinar on demand, those questions are going to go you and I and we can answer the people. It’s like having a life connection with you and me for a month. It’s a new way to interact with people. I’m going to bring some cases about the false influence and the mystified, how some people think there are influencers on the media, it doesn’t work. Sometimes 151 likes don’t mean that it’s going to be monetized or you’re influencing people in the market. Tell me your side, what are you going to bring to the webinar?
We initially talked about what are the reasons why people resist. I’ll be talking about the five reasons why people generally resist saying yes. How to piggyback off of what you’re speaking to in terms of being able to read those resistors are? How can you tease those out so that you can overcome those? My experience and belief is we hear a lot of conversation around how do you get people to say yes. My own experience and belief is that all yes need to travel through no first. When we understand the noes, what those are, we’re able to more effectively get to a yes and getting somebody where they need to be.
The good point is you know that through experience. You’re going to talk about what happened in your own skin. Without experience, you are not able to tell people.
This is where research and theory meet the real world.
The conversation with Susan was about understanding the difference between being an influencer and influencing. How to leverage understanding the word somebody uses, their micro-expressions, their body language? How all of those things play into more effectively read other people and get them to say yes to your requests. Again, I use that ethically. I hope you’re able to jump on the webinar that we’re going to have. You’ll get to learn more about how you can lead like no other and in the process, learn to rise above your best.
Susan Ibitz from Human Behavior Lab and I discuss how to leverage the understanding of body language and the origins of resistance to ethically improve gaining agreement with others. Attached is the link to our complimentary webinar on February 5, 2020 at 7pm Central time.
Register here: https://humanbehaviorlab.com/webinar/?fbclid=IwAR2PPE2Gu43_fwIjpo0bvEJUEqcXL85bOpBMUNnSbTDAADLtv0k8b9EfuqU
John Lee Dumas, the Host of EOFire, joins this episode to share his mindset and perception in making a daily podcast possible despite all the warnings of those around him. He explains the power of expectation, especially if coupled with discipline and gratitude. John also talks about how social media masks all the hard work and effort that happens behind the scenes to raise awareness that creating content isn’t as easy as it seems. Learn how he took his experience in the army and incorporated it in his strategies as an entrepreneur and his tactics in overcoming stressful situations with gratitude. Know and understand the importance of having a plan as he emphasizes that a goal without a plan is nothing but a wish.
Listen to the podcast here:
EOFire host John Lee Dumas Talks About Expectation, Discipline, Gratitude and His Success
John Lee Dumas or otherwise known as JLD, is the host of the podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire, which when it started out was a daily podcast. For anybody that has put together a daily podcast, that’s a lot of work. The mentors and those that were helping him put his podcast together, told him, “John, you’re crazy to do a podcast every single day that you’re going to burn out.” He took that challenge on and clearly has been successful at it because he’s had over 2,000 episodes. He has million-plus listeners a month. He’s generated business out of this that nets over seven figures of income every year and has done some incredible things.
He interviewed some amazing people. Everybody from Gene Simmons to Tony Robbins, which was in an episode that I love and certainly he’s been much more involved with. In our episode, he speaks about three important things. One is in terms of how he created his success or God through his challenges. We talked about expectation, discipline and gratitude and how each of those, in his own words, he has leveraged to as help to get him to where he is and how those things based on our conversation will probably continue to propel him toward future success in his business and in his life. I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things such as John Lee Dumas does, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other and it starts with ourselves. When we lead like no other, we succeed like no other. Let’s get into it.
Thank you for being on the show, John. You’ve been a huge inspiration to me in terms of me starting up my show. As I was thinking about us talking a lot of the background behind you, everything that’s out there is all about your success and how well you’ve done. To me, that’s the curse with social media at times is that we don’t see all of the work that goes in behind the scenes, the struggle, the challenges, and my hope was to be able to talk to you about a couple of different words. One is the expectation, another is discipline and another is gratitude. See how those fit into how you’ve succeeded, where you are. First off, thinking back to when you first started your own podcast and expectation, how does that wordplay into your success?
One thing that I do look back of my life and one area that I continually have a similar outcome on is playing to win. I did it when I was a little kid and when I was playing with my little sister, no matter whether it’d be a game of cards, I was a one and a half year older than her. I should have let her win, but I was always like playing to win the same thing in athletics, in college and in the military. My expectation when I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire was, I was playing to win. I was planning to come into the podcast game and completely dominate.You’re not going to be good on day one, but with consistency you can get good quickly. Click To Tweet
I wanted to be the first person to successfully launch a daily podcast, interviewing the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. I did it from a place not too far where you are and that’s 99 Silver Street, right in the Old Ports in Portland, Maine. That’s where I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire. I remember I hired my mentor, Jaime Masters, and I joined Cliff Ravenscraft, who’s the Podcast Answer Man’s Mastermind. I told both of them, as well as the other people in the mastermind, what my goals were with Entrepreneurs on Fire, which was a daily podcast, interviewing an entrepreneur seven days a week. Both of them said, “We love your passion, love your excitement, but reel it back because you’re not going to be able to continue with that schedule, finding guests, you’re going to get burned out, your listeners will get burned out. It’s a lose all the way around.”
My expectations were to come into dominate. Not to come in and do what everybody else was doing, which was a weekly podcast or at most, a couple of days per week, I wanted to come in. Go all in and have the expectation that I was going to become the number one podcast that interviewed entrepreneurs daily. I was also going to be the worst podcast that did it daily. That was the only podcast I was going to do it daily interviewing entrepreneurs. That was my expectation from day one was to come in, to blow the doors off, and another thing that was going to be attached to that was important was, I was bad at my craft.
I didn’t know how to interview people, to podcast, to host a podcast interview, nor to direct a question and answer session with another individual human being. I didn’t know any of these things. It was I going to get good at it, doing it once a week. I don’t know the things that you consider yourself good at, but you didn’t get good at them doing them 50 times a year. You got good at doing them 50 times a day. You didn’t go out and practice one foul shot when you were playing basketball and go home. You practice 500 foul shots and then you went home. That’s the attitude I wanted to bring to Entrepreneurs on Fire was the expectation that, “I’m not going to be good from day one, but I am going to get good quick because I’m going to do it consistently. I’m going to have repetitions. I’m going to go all in. I’m going to put in those reps.” My expectations from day one were not realistic. They were to come in and blow the doors off, make things happen, but sometimes those unrealistic expectations have a way of coming.
It’s interesting you say that because we think of expectation, the law of attraction. Maybe, you certainly had a belief that things are going to work out, but on top of that, you have the discipline, which is that next word that I talk about, making it happen. I hear you talked a lot about stoicism. How did those things play into your success?
Let’s break down that word discipline. When I look at the word discipline, I’m hearing the word disciple. When I hear the word disciple, what am I being? I’m being a disciple of a plan of action. You hear a lot of people run the New Year they have this goal or that goal and all these different things. I ask them, “What’s your plan to accomplish that goal?” They step back and they say, “I don’t know.” I’m like, “A goal without a plan is a wish.” If you want to go ahead and a wish, that’s okay. I know that most people want more than that.
Going back to my military days, when I got disciplined, instilled into me. I was going to war. I was going to Iraq for thirteen months as a tank platoon leader. That means a 23-year-old Second Lieutenant in charge of four tanks, sixteen men, and a platoon of tanks in Iraq, in a war. I knew that if I wasn’t disciplined, if I didn’t take what I was doing seriously and creates a plan of action, then I was going to fail. Failure in that situation meant either myself possibly getting killed, my soldiers potentially getting killed, and putting other people in real harm’s way. I was able to take that real world, scary war environment, and apply entrepreneurship. I didn’t pretend that I was putting people’s lives at risk, but I took that same discipline, create a plan of action, and said, “This is how I’m going to win.”
When Jaime Masters and Cliff Ravenscraft, the best by the way, in the industry and podcasting back in 2012, when they looked me in the eye and they tell me, “This can’t be done.” I say, “If they say it can’t be done and I figured out a way to do it, the world is my oyster.” That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t do an interview every single day, which is what everybody thought I was going to do. They’re like, “You’re going to have to wake up every day and find somebody to interview and interview that person that day.” I’m like, “I’m going to find eight people on one day and I’m going to interview all of them. I’m going to batch like a baller. I have six days,” I was working seven days a week and I still do at times, “I have the other six days of the week to do other things, to grow my business, grow my website, my email list, courses, create content, do this, do that.” That’s where they came into focus.
The last thing that is important here is as I see it from your successes, things don’t always go the way you want, or there are struggles and setbacks. To me, where does gratitude fit in terms of that dance between you expect you’re going to get where you need to go, but not at the point of not being grateful for the process and learning along the way?A goal without a plan is just a wish. Click To Tweet
Two of the best things that I’ve created since I launched Entrepreneurs on Fire are my journals, The Freedom Journal, and The Mastery Journal. Both of them start with the day one task of, “I am grateful for.” I want people to say, “There’s a lot of things that are going to stress you out. There’s a lot of things that are going to go wrong. There are a lot of things that are going to happen to you that you don’t have necessarily control over, but let’s start the day with something that you’re grateful for.” Let’s be honest, Xavier, they’d be grateful for win in the Big East.
Providence 401, they’re pretty grateful for being at the top of the Big East in the best conference in college basketball. There are things to be grateful for. I watched the St. John’s game. I am grateful that I got to watch that game from my bed in Puerto Rico. I get to continue to watch the team and a sport that I love. That’s something to be grateful for that’s unique. When you wake up every morning, you’re like, “I’m grateful for my kids.” It loses meaning. Not that you’re not great for your kids because you are, but spice it up. Be grateful for them in a verbal way once a week, once a month, but take the things uniquely that you’re grateful for, like that comfortable chair that you’re sitting in right there, or the fact that you can be here.
I can be in Puerto Rico and it’s like, we’re in the same room. Audio quality is great. All this stuff is great. It’s amazing. That’s the power of gratitude. In my military days, what helped me is it gives me perspective. As bad as things sometimes got at Entrepreneurs on Fire, when this happened or this happened or that happened whatever it might be, I can be like, “I’m not getting shot in the deserts at 115 degrees sweating my butt off and doing all of this.” It’s perspective. I can always find gratitude and something because that’s not happening to me.
John, if there was one word that you would leave for anybody that’s out there, either starting a podcast or taking a risk to do something that they feel passionate about, what would you say to them?
Focus. That’s the one word. Follow one course until success. Many people come out with that one great focus and they fail because they lose the focus. They let other things take over in their life.
Disciple and focus. Two value bombs that you left me within my audience. Thank you for taking the time. Love you. Take care.
What a great job with John in terms of talking about expectation, discipline, and gratitude. We talked about discipline as being a disciple about focus as following one course of action until success. Those are certainly value bombs that he lives by. I hope you were able to gain value from those as well. John’s website, EOFire.com is filled with many valuable offerings, whether it’s podcasting or goal setting. There are certain things on there that you’ll find valuable. There’s a journal that he puts out called The Freedom Journal. It’s one that I’ve used with many of my clients to help them set their goals and track those to success. If you know somebody who would enjoy this episode, I’d ask you to forward it on to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe. That’s how this message continues to get out there. It would mean the world to me if you’d go on and leave a reading or a comment on this or any other episode, and until our next episode, I hope we’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best.
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