This episode, Patrick Veroneau talks about his insights on why he thinks that more employees will quit during and after the pandemic than before and not in a conventional way. He explains why and how the pandemic can cause people to be disengaged from their work and the role that leaders and organizations’ behaviors play in it. Patrick emphasizes the dangers of having disengaged employees and provides strategies for avoiding it by being ahead of the curve in developing better behaviors. Learn and understand why you need to start identifying the challenges involved in the current work setting and provide ample care your people need.
Listen to the podcast here:
Why Many More Employees Will Quit Today Than Before The Pandemic
I want to talk about organizations at risk of having their employees quit at higher levels than they have ever seen. I know that sounds crazy in a time where we’re seeing 20% unemployment rates, who are going to quit their job when unemployment is at 20%? I will tell you, there are many people and it’s not what you think. Stay tuned and let’s get into it.
As I mentioned, unemployment is at about 20%, maybe a little more. It’s at the highest rates we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes for the most part. What is interesting about that is that we knew prior to COVID in regards to organizations for a few decades that the level of disengagement within companies about two-thirds of employees within an organization are disengaged. That has not gone away. It’s going to get worse. What I mean by that is how organizations and individuals within organizations that may be in leadership roles decide to behave toward those people that are working within the organization will make a big difference.
If there is a mentality out there of people should be happy that they have a job. It’s business as usual. You are going to see more people quit. The difference is that they will stay. They will not be leaving the organization, which is far more damaging to an organization than those people that quit and did go somewhere else. These are people that are almost like ghosts roaming the halls. They’re there, but they’re really not there. In this time, that’s what will happen more than likely. We saw this back in 2008 during the last crisis, this same process. If organizations don’t behave in ways that take into consideration what many people are dealing with, it is going to be catastrophic on a different level in terms of productivity within organizations. There are a couple of different things that I wanted to touch on here. One is we know in regards to the situation that we’re in, the level of stress that this has created for individuals is immense.
I had presented some data on a navigating stress workshop that I was doing for leaders. What I did was I cited some of the data that was out there from Express Scripts over increases from mid-February to mid-March 2020, as it related to antidepressants, antianxiety meds, and insomnia medications. All of those had incredible jumps. Antianxiety meds increased by about 37% in terms of the number of prescriptions that were filled. As it related to antidepressants, it was about 18%. In insomnia drugs, it was about 14%. What that says is how much stress individuals are dealing with?
bctt tweet=”In person, we oftentimes are more productive than when we’re isolated. ” username=”coachpatrickv”]
If we combine that with isolation, which many of us are feeling, and I know that there is so much talk about the impact or the benefit of having people work remotely, this is going to provide many opportunities going forward. I don’t deny that. However, what we know about research around belongingness is that we’re like pack animals. We need each other. There’s also research that shows that in-person we oftentimes are more productive than when we’re isolated. That’s not to say that there are benefits to this because they’re truly are. It is going to be important for organizations and individuals to understand and appreciate that decentralizing a team or isolation can also provide or present its own challenges if we don’t understand that and appreciate what is happening.
The other end of this is we think about it from the standpoint of burnout. Burnout is not new. It was in existence prior to COVID, but you’re going to see it even more in many different scenarios where you have smaller workforces yet more work that needs to be done. A lot of the work that I do in the healthcare industry, I was already seeing that. There was already a high level of burnout where many providers were feeling that they didn’t have enough time. They were overworked. What’s important here going forward is to say, “How do we deal with those things that we need to appreciate the situation that we’re in?” This is important. One of the things that I had listed here was empathy.
I’ll talk about it from two different points. One is a story that I heard of an individual, an executive that was leaving an organization. They were reducing their workforce and he was one of the individuals that were going to be leaving. The organization talked about the need for them to demonstrate empathy over the next six weeks, to be able to navigate this situation with their employees at home. It was as though this was something that they had to turn on for six weeks. After six weeks, we’ll go back to what we were doing before.
We won’t focus on empathy. To me, when I think of that, if we use this as a tool to how do we get people to go where we want them to go, not thinking about what the real impact or importance of having empathy is, then it’s going to backfire. What do you think’s going to happen to those people that all of a sudden on week seven, they’re like, “You don’t seem to care anymore? What’s going on?” I’m not saying that there’s going to be a switch there, but again, this is simply the conversation that happened with this individual.
There are ways that we can avoid this happening in terms of this feeling of employees being burnt out, being isolated, feeling more stress, feeling less appreciation within organizations, and feeling as though maybe they’re being taken advantage of because of the situation. Those things will backfire on an organization. You will have people that will quit and stay. The behaviors that I will often talk about in this are about building relationships. The behaviors that build better relationships. This is exactly what is needed at this time and at all times. It needs to be even more focused on at this point.
If we do this, organizations will be in a much better position with the employees that they have to probably solve many of the problems that they’re going to face in a much better way. The first thing that I would talk about is creating an environment where you’re a learner. There’s a quote that I’ve used in the past with Eric Hoffer that says, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.” I don’t think there’s a person out there that wouldn’t disagree that we are in a time of incredible change and the way you lead pre-COVID and the way that you are going to need to lead going forward from here. The behaviors that you will need to model are going to be different and quite honestly better in terms of getting people to feel inspired, empowered and compelled to want to go where you’re asking them to go.
Of those, we think about congruence. Remember to walk the talk. When your words don’t match your actions, there is a lack of integrity. You will build a sense of distrust within the organization if what you say and what you do are not the same things. Most organizations in their mission or in their company description say that their employees are their most valuable asset. If you don’t demonstrate that through this, if you treat people as though you should be lucky to have a job in this environment, then you will have already started down that path of people quitting but staying. Next is around appreciation. This is about recognizing the impact that isolation and restrictions have had on individuals. This is incredible in terms of the environment we’ve been placed in, where you have maybe two parents, both on their jobs, working out of home, you’ve got kids working out of a home or the opposite of this.
You have somebody that lives alone. That’s been in complete isolation. That even if there were an introvert have lost out because they haven’t been able to interact with other people. The way that we are meant to, which brings me to the next point in regards to, as we work remotely. The challenge from the standpoint of belongingness is, we need to be much more appreciative of how do we bring people together. We know through all the research around belongingness that we are pack animals, we need each other. If people feel as though they are not connected to the mission or the group or the individual, if they feel isolated, then the impact is going to be negative.Learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists. Click To Tweet
It’s going to provide an opportunity or the need for those that manage teams to find ways to connect more often with individuals without seeming as though I’m micromanaging somebody, but there is importance there. The next is around listening and I’ve often talked about listening in four different ways, listening with our ears, tone of voice, the words that somebody is saying, listening with our eyes, body language and facial expressions. That’s important. Next is listening with our minds. When we hear somebody say something, it’s listening in the way of trying to be curious as to is what they said and what I’ve heard what they’ve meant.
The only way we find that out is by clarifying simply by even saying, “What I heard you say is, is that correct? What I think you’re saying to me is this, am I right?” Lastly is listening with empathy. It’s about putting yourself in the other person’s place and saying, “How would I want them to listen to me?” If I was on the other side of that, how would I want them to listen to me of all of those? Listening with ears, mind, and heart are probably most important, especially if we’re on calls with individuals that we’re trying to listen to. What are the words? What are the tones that they’re putting out there?
If we’re on Zoom or some other online platform, that’s video, looking at their body language, what are they doing when we’re having these conversations? These are important to be listening to those people around us. The next is around empathy is demonstrating empathy for those people that are isolated, trying to understand what’s it like to be where they are in the environment that they’re in. That requires us to suspend our own judgment of what we think is going on but trying to be there for them. I was speaking with somebody, in the organization that I’m doing an online workshop with one of the directors of this group was saying that one of their managers was having a difficult time remotely.
This was somebody, as this director said, was somebody more of a hands-on manager. What that meant was they were more of a micromanager and were having a difficult time because they had employees that work remotely and they weren’t quite as compliant as they had been in the office. To me, this is an opportunity for this manager to recognize the challenges somebody else is going through, the distractions that they’re dealing with, rather than, how do I control you? How do I gain control? The harder they try and control, the more difficult it’s going to be. Lastly, it’s around making sure that we set clear expectations and hold each other to ownership of those.
We’re an environment that things are moving all the time. We don’t know what’s expected. The more ambiguous things are, the more challenging they are for individuals. The more likely people are to quit and stay. This is a time where people need to understand what do we need from each other? Maybe not what’s our function going to look like, but how are we going to communicate with each other? What can we expect from each other? What do we need from each other during this period of time? Those are things that are important that we need to recognize.
If we demonstrate those behaviors, when we look at the challenges we’re faced with, the root cause of all of our challenges are around behaviors. When we understand that and work to identify and develop better behaviors, we will build the strongest relationships we can. This is a bridge that we will travel continually, whether it’s personal, professional or in the community, these relationships that we’re building through these behaviors will get us through whatever challenge that’s coming our way. It will also reduce the likelihood that people will quit and stay.
I hope you found this helpful. There’s so much opportunity here in terms of, where we go from here from a growth perspective? That won’t happen without the right behaviors. If you know somebody you think would benefit from hearing this episode or any other, I’d ask that you forward it on. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode because that’s how this message of reimagining leadership and finding a better way, continues to get out there. Until the next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
As the old saying goes, “respect is earned, not given.” This adage is especially true for leaders in business. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau chats with Tom Renehan about the value of respect in leadership. Tom is a Certified Professional Coach who specializes in leadership and has helped many mid- and senior-level managers improve their skills as leaders. They drill down on the true meaning of respect and other important attributes of being a respected leader. Tune in and reflect on whether you have what it takes to be a leader with respect and how you can do better.
Listen to the podcast here:
Tom Renehan Discusses How Respect Impacts Leading
Respect And Self-Awareness Go Hand In Hand When Leading
Our guest is Tom Renehan, who is a good friend and a respected colleague of mine in the coaching industry. Our topic is around respect and self-awareness as it relates to effective leadership. Let’s get into it.
Tom, thank you again for being on the show. We had an opportunity to talk in what I thought would be an interesting conversation, which was around leadership but specifically around the topic of respect. I’m looking forward to where this conversation will go. Before we start that, I’d love for you to give some background in terms of how you got into coaching in the first place.
Thanks for having me. I had a very good career mostly in sales and sales leadership. As I started to think about what I wanted to do in the future, post-career, I always thought that I would be a teacher over my career. I taught at several different institutions. I got my Master’s Degree at Wake Forest University and they invited me back to teach Sales Management. I love teaching but that level bit me. I said, “This was a lot of fun.” I did it in a couple of other institutions and when I moved back to New England, I enjoyed it. I thought, “Maybe that’s going to be my post-retirement activity and teach at the college level.”
I was on the road one time and reading an article. It talked about coaching. I got more intrigued by it. I said, “People are getting paid to do this stuff?” I have adjusted my style at work. I started to research coaching and I looked at certification. You are part of that research because if you recall, we sat down and talked about the certification and why that was important. Although it’s not required in our field and you supported that certification is a point of difference. We went to the same institution and I remember that well. I was there and a few years ago that I became certified.
The second thing is I became certified in Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360. It’s a 360 assessment. I found that to be a good jump-off point for me in starting with clients and using that assessment. I’ve also found it to be very true and powerful for the people that take it and gives you real meaningful actions for them to change their behaviors. One of the reasons that I have lean towards this profession was that I’ve always managed salespeople. Several years ago, I realized that I took the sales out of it and became just people. People became my passion. Helping people become better at what their craft was, no matter what they were doing, it became my passion. That redirected and supported me as a coach. I texted my wife that very night from the restaurant and sent her the article, I said, “What do you think of that?” She said, “This is perfect for you.” That’s how I became a Certified Professional Coach.When the leader has respect for the followers, followers are going to have respect for the leader, and that's when this works best. Click To Tweet
My background was in sales training and leadership and it was always enjoyable to have people that would approach with questions or things that you could do. You had an opportunity to help them develop. We all have that same drive and then decided to say, “I want to do this under my own umbrella on how I want this to look.” Many of us have very similar stories as it relates to that.
I’m always excited to be there. You know how it is in the more modern job world is that you don’t stay at the same place for 35 or 40 years. You had several trips along the way. I always looked at something different in between jobs. Not that I didn’t have many things, thank goodness. Had I known several years ago what I knew a few years ago, my career would have taken a different turn, probably very similar to yours where you are at your age and you build a successful business. I would have taken that term several years ago, as opposed to just a few years ago. Time is good.
It doesn’t matter what age it’s at. That’s the beauty of this. It’s not like we’re out on a playing field. It’s about our physical ability. We can do it whenever. Over time, you gain more experience in terms of just life experiences that you’re able to bring to the table. It’s not that you tell people how they should do things but it’s simply you provide different perspectives. That’s the real value to it.
I call that wisdom.
As it relates to our topic, what are your thoughts on that?
Let me give you the inspiration for this topic. This story was unfolding in the media about Captain Crozier on the aircraft carrier, Theodore Roosevelt. To touch on it, I don’t want to review the news here. He was raising the flag above his crew of almost 5,000 people on one ship down with COVID-19 and he wasn’t happy about it. He ultimately got removed from his command. The video still chills me when I see him walking down the plane. His last act on that warship and his crew were cheering him, “Captain Crozier.” It said to me, “This crew, these 5,000 people respect this guy.” They don’t respect him for his title. They respect him for who he is and how he was taken care of.
That was my inspiration because of all the coaching that I’ve done, I can’t think of a time where I was speaking with somebody about how do you respect people? How do they respect you? When we think about all of the leadership traits, behaviors and skills that we talk about as coaches, this one doesn’t come up very often. Also, what’s unique about respect is that it works best when it works both ways from the followers and from the leader. When the leader has respect for the followers, the followers are going to have respect for the leader and that’s when this works best. That’s what I saw with Captain Crozier and his crew on the worship at Theodore Roosevelt.
If you think about respect defined, you can get it by position. I’m the vice president of sales and by that title, you’re going to respect that title. The problem, if you leave it at that, often that type of respect will induce fear within your organization. It’s because “I’m the vice-president here. I can’t say this. I can’t do that. I got to behave.” People get nervous around senior leadership. If that person shows due respect to his or her followers then it’s going to be a different conversation. That’s what I call a trait, it’s earned and respect. Once that leader earns the respect of their followers, it’s going to change the dynamic of that relationship.
There’s a quote that I will often recite that says, “If your actions inspire somebody to do more, dream more, learn more or become more, you’re a leader.” That’s it, no title. It’s your actions that do that. To me, what you just said speaks to that.
A very wise man that I know says that everybody is a leader. I’ve heard you say that many times and that’s great and true. I believe in that. I preach that to my clients no matter what level they are.
I do believe that. Too often, we do get caught up in this idea that we need a title to lead. It was based on a high school talk that I was asked to give up North. They were introduced as emerging leaders, these high school kids. The first thing that I said to them before I even gave the talk was to say, “Do not look at yourself as emerging leaders. You can be a leader now.” Quite honestly, the world can’t wait for leaders. We need them now. We can’t wait for two years that you get a title, you graduate or whatever that is. You have the ability to do this now and that’s what we need. I’m with you.
I was researching respect and you have to go to the dictionary and find out what the true meaning is. It’s something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. That makes sense. I pulled out my Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360 and on that, we measured the 22 behaviors, which rolls up into six leadership functions. I was just reviewing that and the word respect isn’t on that page at all, which surprises me. If you look at the characteristics of respect, it’s honesty, controlling emotions, resourceful, admitting when you’re wrong, someone who’s driven, who prioritizes, with integrity, who’s a role model, high self-esteem, who’s a giver and loyal. Now we’re getting into definitions of a leader. I thought that that was a fascinating journey in researching this topic.If your actions inspire somebody to do more, dream more, learn more, or become more, you're a leader. That's it. No title. Click To Tweet
For you, when you go through that list, is there anything in particular that you find more relevant to the work that you do or that you’ve seen in terms of one being more important than another or more difficult to develop?
Not in the work I do. Self-awareness hasn’t come up but that’s certainly another key attribute for a leader no matter what level to be able to deal with the respect issue. That, to me, is probably something in the work that I do with the people that I coach. Their self-awareness is the key thing that we talk about often. Once I get over that, things start to change when they realize the impact that they have on people. They start to lead a little bit differently. It changes the dynamic in the organization. I find that to be one of the most interesting things as I coach people.
I heard you talk about that list. The one that I know from what I’ve seen in the past that can be the most challenging is admitting mistakes and I’m wrong. There’s a vulnerability there that if you are insecure with yourself or your own abilities, it can be difficult for you to admit to, “I’m wrong. I’m sorry, I don’t have the answer. Maybe I’m frustrated,” whatever it might be. I would say most often, I see it if it’s a group of new managers or leaders, all of a sudden we think like, “I can’t let my team think that I don’t know the answers because then they’re not going to respect me,” where it’s counterintuitive. By admitting that you don’t know or that you’ve made a mistake, oftentimes it builds more trust and respect because they know that you’re not full of it.
I was with a client and he’s a new manager. He’s getting leadership coaching after six months on the job, which is wonderful for this organization that’s he’s in. The thought processes that he wants to be as good as the people that he’s leading. I said, “Why do you want to do that?” He said, “I have to know that job.” I said, “They’re the expert, you’re not. You’re the leader. Why don’t you let them do their job? Give them the space to do their job and not step right up and be them or be a Superthem.” It was an awakening moment for him that he didn’t have to be as good as they were at their job.
It’s a dance, too. I’m sure he’s wanting to demonstrate to them like, “I want to know what you do but you need to do it in a way that people don’t feel as they are being micromanaged,” or you just trust them to do what their job is.
It is a dance that’s balanced. It’s when to step in, help and learn. It’s also the ability to step back and observe. In this particular case, he’s a sales manager. Part of his job is training, coaching and developing. If he’s doing their job with them side-by-side, not observing how they’re doing their job or he’s just doing it, he’s not seeing the opportunity to be train, coach and develop as well.
Do you notice any difference in regards to helping people take on management or leadership roles? Where I’m going with this is I think of the people that have been successful in sales that can then get promoted to a manager as opposed to maybe some other field where they’re working more with other groups before they take on a management role. Being in sales myself, I saw many that were promoted to manager because they were successful as sales reps. That was their biggest downfall when they became a manager because those same skills oftentimes didn’t translate over.
That’s the old adage. The best salesperson doesn’t make the best manager. It takes me back to what I mentioned when I taught sales management at Wake Forest University and this was to graduate students. They were no people skills in it. It was all forecasting and hard sales stuff. I gained permission to remake the entire course. It made a lot more work for me but I had a lot of fun doing it. It was all people management and how do you manage people. To get back to your question, good organizations recognize that. There’s a way to grow a salesperson from carrying the bag and the feet on the street. Before they get to management, often they go to a higher level where they see a bigger picture of the organization.
The organizations that they’ve been with at the key account level are often where they learn that before they get to the people management part of the business. They understand both sides, the low level of sales organization, the higher-level account side, the people side and see if they succeed in that role prior to getting to the management. I’ve seen both mistakes. People get moved up and they failed. That is the mistake that many organizations make.
I can’t remember where I heard this but it has always resonated with me as it relates to this topic is that respect is not given. It’s earned, which again strips away the title of this thing that, “I don’t care what your title is.” It’s your behavior. Organizationally, we can say the same thing about respecting organizations. I think of congruence as well. Do I walk the talk? If I don’t walk the talk or don’t have a sense of integrity, organizationally, I think of that. We say we’ve got certain values or mission statements yet if we don’t behave in ways that align with what we say then there’s a lack of respect there. People don’t respect people that don’t follow through on what they say they stand for.
There are so many aspects of that to successful leadership. If the leader is just mouthing the words, repeating the words or dictating what they need to do instead of saying, “How are we going to get there as a team and having a collaborative conversation?” The respect is not going to come from the followers. Another overlay into this, I was in a webinar from MRG and they talked about compassionate leadership. That’s an interesting term because if you think about leaders, do they think of themselves as compassionate? Their definition of compassion was empathy in action, which I thought was fabulous. I love the way they made that very simple. Compassion is an important piece of leadership. If you show compassion much like the ability to admit when you’re wrong, that is also going to earn the respect of your followers or any other individual. It doesn’t always have to be a leader-follower. It can be your neighbor. How do you earn the respect of your neighbor or fellow board members? It goes on. It’s an interesting life lesson if we focus more on respect as opposed to leadership.
The term leader itself is evolving certainly from what it was several years ago. I remember one of my first managers in sales who then went on to become a coach. He and I would stay in contact but he said, “One of the first books that we were given as managers, the title of the book was Managing Through Intimidation. It’s how archaic it was, this idea of you need the title and you scare people into going where you want to go. I don’t think it worked then and it definitely doesn’t work now. Oftentimes, what do we do? We blame the generation now and we all know it begins with an M. The Millennials don’t want to work. I disagree. I’ve got so many nieces and nephews that are in that Millennial space. I don’t know any of them that aren’t hard workers. They’re all charting their own paths. To me, it’s more an indictment on bad leadership than it is an indictment on a generation as to why people don’t want to follow where somebody else is going. We have natural drives. If I treat you in certain ways with respect, I can do that. Also, it doesn’t mean that I’m weak or a pushover. I can do that in a way that we have very clear expectations of how this is going to go. That’s the empathy in action type. I can remember what it was like to be a frontline leader or a carrying the bag but that still doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be expectations that are going to be held because of it.Once that leader earns the respect of their followers, it's going to change the dynamic. Click To Tweet
That’s the balance we were talking about. You can still have a good conversation with somebody knowing the kids’ names, the wife’s name, what they do and still have expectations for that position.
You’ve probably heard this too, the individual that says, “I can’t get that close to the people that report to me because they’ll take advantage of me.” That’s an indictment of your lack of competence in your own skills or insecurities that create that. I know many that lead from a place of connection with individuals but also, they’re able to draw the line when there needs to be more accountability or ownership to things. You can’t have both. That’s the world that we’re coming into.
You make a valid point about the generational thing. A lot of the Millennials I coached and I enjoy it thirst for knowledge and want to get better at what they do. I don’t put my fingers at them and say, “You’re just lazy Millennials. You don’t want to learn,” but no, they want to learn. I want to help them learn.
They’re not just going to take what we say because of our age or our title. They’re going to question and be curious on stuff. To me, what more could you ask for? If more people were like that, we would have more efficient systems in many places.
To get back to our topic because Millennials could be a whole other show. Working with Millennials, I typically find very deep respect from them to me, which is very humbling. I get calls from not only informal coaching like relatives, nieces and nephews, all people that I’ve worked with but my clients as well and get calls for an occasional question. I find that very humbling that they respect me enough to say, “Tom, I’ve got a question. This is the situation.” They’ve got a dad, an uncle and other things that they can go to but I often get those calls and appreciate that.
Tom, knowing what I know of you and certainly our previous experiences, if I were to jump into one of those individuals that comes to you, it would most likely be that they know that you’re listening to them. It’s such an important skill to be able to transparently and authentically listen to somebody else.
That’s very true and a valid point because leaders often don’t listen. That’s another key skill, an attribute that we haven’t touched on. It probably could be another episode for you as well but it is truly a unique trait that takes a lot of practice. People recognize that as well.
I look at listening as a superpower. If you are a strong, authentic listener, many things become easier whether it’s conflict or miscommunication getting resolved quicker as your presence builds trust, respect and all of those things. As we wrap things up here, what direction do you think leaders need to focus on most in the situation that we’re in?
In our situation, our emotional intelligence and we touched on this a little bit, showing your own self-awareness, the awareness of others in their emotions and how things may be impacting them. I think that is critical to what’s going on in nowaday’s environment. I have a couple of Zoom calls as I’m sure you have in the past. When there is an informal meeting, we start with, “How’s everybody doing?” The leaders who do that on those calls are showing their emotional intelligence. It’s giving people an opportunity to say, “I’m nervous but I’m okay,” or whatever they’re saying on that call. It adds time to your day but that’s all right. These leaders on these calls showing their emotional intelligence are caring for other people, giving them a voice and an opportunity to say how they do it.
That’s well said and very much needed at this point in terms of that ability to check-in almost that empathy component to it. With that said, Tom, thank you for taking the time to be on the show again. I always enjoy our conversations. Respect, you’ve hit it right on the head of how important that is so thanks for that.
Thank you. It was a lot of fun.
Tom provided some great insight as it relates to the importance of self-awareness and developing respect that it’s not about the title. That respect is something that’s earned and touched on. Something that certainly is very important to the work that I do around emotional intelligence. The first component to this around self-awareness. If you know somebody that would find this episode valuable, I’d ask that you forwarded it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed, please subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment regarding this or any other episode. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
About Tom Renehan
Tom Renehan is a Certified Professional Coach who specializes in Leadership. He works with mid- and senior-level managers to help develop their skills as a leader. Tom’s approach to Leadership Development is through group workshops, one on one coaching and Leadership Assessments.
Tom is certified in Leadership Effectiveness Analysis 360 (LEA 360) which measures 22 leadership behaviors which fall under six leadership functions. Feedback is given from subordinates, bosses and peers within your organization.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
How can we do better for each other? In this episode, Olga Kovtun and Olga Schmidt, volunteers from ALLATRA International Public Movement, join Patrick Veroneau as they talk about making an impact globally by creating a better global creative society. Get to know their organization and the opportunity its movement presents that aligns with what the global environment needs. They discuss global consumerism and what it actually takes to do more and help your society. With a global reach having volunteers from all over the world, learn how their members create an impact to affect global change, and figure out how people want to live in the future. Tune in and know how you can get involved in the movement.
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Create A Better Global Society With Two Volunteers For Allatra
My focus is on interviewing others, as well as providing research that demonstrates that there is a better way to lead for all of us when we focus on the behaviors that inspire, empower, and compel others to want to go where we’re asking them to go. My guests are both named Olga. They are part of a global volunteer movement called Allatra TV that focuses on creating a creative society. I believe never has that been more important than now globally in terms of figuring out how we can do better for each other? That’s what we’re going to explore on this episode. Let’s get into it.
Thank you so much, Olga and Olga, for both being on the show. We had an opportunity to get introduced through Zoom and I was able to be on your show. I loved the concept of what you were doing in terms of trying to make an impact globally. In the environment that we’re in right now, there is such an opportunity for what you two have put out there. I was hoping we could talk about how did you come up with this concept? What’s your background? What was that moment that you thought, “We’re going to do a live television show globally on this?”
Thank you so much for having us on your show. We do appreciate it, Patrick. First, I’d like to talk a little bit about Allatra International Public Movement. It is a movement that was established in 2011 on the basis of Lagoda International Public Organization. Participants of the movement are implementing the vast majority of global projects all over the world. It is an organization that is outside of politics and religion. Meaning we have volunteers from all over the world of any social status, age, race, any political affiliation or religious affiliation. On May 11th of 2019, we had a conference that was called Society: The Last Chance. People from all over the world joined in large conference halls. They all got together. I would say there were thousands of people. We had over 140 countries joining on Zoom video. They all got together to discuss the problems that are going on in the world. We see that there are two major things that are happening.
First, we see the doomsday clock. It’s already on showing that civilization is very close to self-destruction. Also, we talked about the climatic changes that are going on in the world. The conference concluded that the central problem of modern mankind is the consumer format of society. The only way out of the situation is to change the format of the consumer format of the vector of society to a creative one. Here we came up with this project that’s called Creative Society. The first thing that we would have to do is we thought about, “How are we going to do this? Do people want the change?” Here we had thousands of people joining us on this global conference, but maybe other people don’t see a need in the change. That is why we started doing social surveys all over the world to see how other people envision the society of the future. That is how we came up with the project Creative Society. That is why now we do Zoom calls and interviews. Unfortunately, we cannot leave the house so we cannot do person to person interviews.
For me, my background is in graphic design marketing and web design. This is what I do. This is my profession, but at the end of the day, I always felt like there was something more that I can do. There’s something more out there that I should be doing. I knew that the world we were living in, it didn’t seem like anyone was happy. It didn’t seem like we can stop the war. It didn’t seem like the people can control anything. I always questioned like, “Why is this so?” The world is like you’ve got the get married, build a house, plant a tree, have kids, and then what? Who sold us this image that this is our life? Who told us that this is what you’re supposed to be? We’re realizing that people that went through all the steps are still unhappy or don’t have time to even enjoy retirement, don’t even have health to travel, or don’t even have anything in place. It made me question things like, “What is going on here? Why are we stuck in this consumerism?” We consume people, products, and ideas. What is in it for me?When you solve a problem locally, it helps. Click To Tweet
I understood that when I do something and I don’t expect anything in return, it benefits me. It helps me to grow and to develop personally and to say, “I’m not afraid to talk to people anymore because this is important.” People are not afraid to talk to us about any other horrible subjects and negative news, but why are we sitting back and not talking about positive things? What can we do as a society? It is time right now to unite instead of separate. For me, that was the journey that I took and that we are doing it as volunteers. We have volunteers from 140 different countries or 80 different countries. We are also on different languages. We are all on different platforms. We all communicate somehow, but we are all united. We all do those type of projects that internally make every single person happy.
I love that it’s called a movement because that has so much power to it. When you think of it, it’s a movement. It’s funny because of leadership that way or how leadership needs to change. It directly is correlated with what you’re doing because one of the quotes that I will often use in leadership, if your actions inspire somebody to do more, learn more, dream more or become more, you’re a leader. To me, that’s the movement. It’s our actions inspiring others to do more. You guys both had this in 2011. This is not a new concept that you were thinking of, even in 2019, having this global conference. You were thinking about this before we were in this crisis that we’re in right now. What are you seeing now? Are you seeing a difference in terms of either more people being interested in what you’re putting out there?
Yes, definitely. When this all started, people did not see changes. They did not see problems in the consumer society we were living in. They did not see the problems in the climate back then, but now more people have a little more time to stop and think, “I’m living like a hamster in a hamster wheel. I see that there are problems going on outside. I look outside my window and it’s snowing. I can see that there’s a lot more global changes happening in the world.” A lot more people are stopping and thinking, “How do I want to live? How do I want the society to be?” We see a response from so many people all over the world that also have the same goal. They also want to do something. They want to live in a better world. They want to live in a better society. It’s funny that you said that from 2011 until now, we see so much change. A lot more people are realizing that we can do better, that we are a civilized society. We can all sit down, talk and figure out how we want to live in the future.
To me, it’s interesting too that this is the first probably global event that’s impacted us. That draws into what you’re talking about. It unifies people around the globe of saying, “We’re all impacted by this.” How many people are feeling the same thing as we’re isolated and stuck at home? Either people that have lost their jobs or people that are fearful of losing their jobs or people that are in this place of like, “What am I doing? What is this all about right now?”
Also, we realized another thing. When you solve a problem locally, it helps. It’s huge. No doubt about it. It’s great when you build a hospital in Africa or you do something locally. It’s wonderful. We also see the big picture and we see that the world’s not changing. We still have kids that are hungry and don’t have water. We still see a lack of all kinds of needs in certain parts of the country. We understand that we need to change things globally. With the technology that we have, with the scientists that we have, with everything that we have in this world, we can definitely make a global change where people live like they’re supposed to where they have medical needs, water, food. It shouldn’t be a problem. We have all that wonderful technology that is thanks to our scientists was already developed. We need to get it out there to all.Climate change is going to affect everyone at some point. Click To Tweet
I’m sure you both have seen some of the pictures that have been put up, that picture in India that was then versus now. The picture then, you can’t even see the buildings. Now it’s crystal clear in terms of all of the pollution that’s gone because we’re not all driving around and the factories are closed. There were so many examples of that now in terms of our impact on the Earth. Now that we’re all stopping, things are improving.
That’s a great example to see how people do affect the ecology, but we also have another program that does climate control. What we have learned from many scientists that we interviewed through Zoom, we are going through a lot of cycles and we know that cycles existed a long time ago. We know it was cold and it was hot. We are approaching one of the cycles based on my understanding where if you don’t do anything right now as humanity, we might not be able to survive with rapid climate change. For some countries around the globe, the climate change is so real. Years ago, we didn’t have climate refugees. That concept didn’t exist. Now every day, we have climate refugees, people that go into other countries. As a society, how do we make sure when we become climate refugees and not that country is accepting us and say, “Yes, I want you. Come in. I have food for you. I have shelter for you. Let’s work it out. Let’s work together.” Our mind is always thinking, “It’s never going to happen to me. Somewhere else, not me.” In reality, what we see around the globe, it’s going to affect all of us at some point.
We’re in one of those situations right now. Most people think that the virus that’s out there, it’s not going to affect me. It’s going to affect somebody else. Nobody thinks they’re the one that is going to become sick. It’s going to be somebody else that’s going to do it. Maybe I don’t need to do anything. We realize that we all need to do something or it’s not going to get better. There’s something that sticks in my mind based on this conversation from both of you when we’re talking about how we go through the house, the job, the planting the trees. This is what we’ve been sold. People end up saying, “What else?” I look at a lot of the research that’s out there in regard to what makes people happy. We found that it’s not money. To a point, it is, but that’s not the end. One of the things that keeps coming up as a theme is purpose, which hits directly on what both of you were talking about here. When there’s a purpose beyond ourselves, we feel more engaged in terms of what we’re doing.
There has to be a purpose. There has to be a goal. They have to be something to strive towards as well. We talked to many people around the world and they said that money is not the answer. There are people that have tons of money but are unfortunately unhappy. When you have this purpose and you have this common goal, then you know that people can do so much. You even know from your personal, for myself, once I have that goal, I know that I can do so much. Together we can change a lot of things. Here’s also the goal of the Creative Society. First, is to find out whether or not people want to live in a creative society, whether or not they want to see the change in the world and how they envision it? What would they like?
Do they want free high-quality healthcare, free education all over the world that’s high quality that is allowed for everybody? Do they want only to work four hours a week, four days a week and spend the rest of their time with their family, on their hobbies, on self-development, or anything? As we talked on our past show, people are only productive four hours a day at work. The rest of the time they spend either by the coffee or talking to the person that works next to them. We know that in order to increase productivity, all the studies do show that four hours is enough. Also, Allatra provides a platform for all the people to discuss these concepts and the model of the creative societies and all spheres of human life.
We want to find ways of uniting all of mankind and create conditions for every person to become an active participant in the life of the society. These are the things we’re working on right now to see what we can do and how people want to live. Another thing we found is that it’s important to talk about those things. If we do not talk about how we envision Creative Society, if we do not show positive examples, then. unfortunately, everybody lives the same way. There’s no change. Once we start talking about it and a person realizes that, “If they’re talking about it, then it’s possible. Maybe I can share my understandings or I can share my ideas.” When people start talking about it and the word starts going out and we can see the big, huge picture and we have a common goal, then we know what to strive towards. That’s the purpose. Once we have that purpose, we can definitely do a lot.
What do you think is the greatest challenge for both of you right now?
The greatest challenge is it’s within us. The greatest challenge is listening to your mind that’s saying, “Don’t do this. Don’t call this person. Don’t talk to this person. Do something else. Wash the dishes. Do this. Go do that.” In reality, you understand that something is pulling you away from the bigger picture because you never know by talking to Patrick what seeds you plant at that point. Patrick might talk to his wife and have a conversation about periods of society. All of a sudden, the kid hears it and says, “Yes, I’m on board. I want this.” We’ll all come out from this quarantine and all of a sudden, everybody’s talking about it. Yesterday, it didn’t exist. Now it’s our reality and we all talk about it. We don’t have negative news and CNN starts talking about how we could split all the resources that we already have around the globe and make everybody healthy. How do we make sure everybody can travel safely? How do we make sure everybody has a salary that they can afford a living? How do we do that? Come on, people. We are all in this one boat together. We know that because of the virus, COVID proved that no one is immune to anything. My biggest challenge is self-motivation and it all comes from them. It’s either I’m stopping something or I’m going forward
You hit on a great point there. We talk ourselves out of a lot of stuff. I don’t know if you’re familiar. Mel Robbins wrote a book called The 5 Second Rule. She talks about her own life experience but said, “Anytime I waited more than five seconds to do something that maybe was of my comfort zone, I talked myself out of doing it.” It was either it wasn’t the right time. I was too busy. It was a stupid idea. How many of us do that? We say, “I can’t make a difference. Nobody’s going to be able to listen to me. It’s not worth it.” We talk ourselves out of that. Also, you bring up another great point, Olga. We answer the questions that we ask ourselves. If we focus on why something can’t be done, we will find enough reasons why it can’t be done. I agree. The opposite is true with that as well. If we look to this and say not, “Why can’t we do it,” but, “How are we going to get this thing done,” it changes our focus.
What I enjoy being a volunteer for a lot of international public movement is that we redefined in how we run. It is a nonprofit. We don’t take any donations. We don’t turn any type of money around. No one is getting any salaries anywhere. If people don’t want to do something, they’ll do it. If people don’t want to do something, then it’s not going to get done. This is what I enjoy because I have been part of some of the nonprofits. We all understand that it’s set up as a business and someone’s getting a nice salary. Someone is doing that. Volunteers are coming in for a couple of hours, but this makes the whole humanity part present because there is no one that’s getting paid. Everybody’s volunteering their time. Everyone is using their best talents. The best thing is we teach each other how to do video edits, do live broadcasts, take interviews, use Photoshop, use other programs so that we can come up with content. We can put together conferences that are global and that are affecting many people around the world.With purpose and a common goal, people can do so much. Click To Tweet
With that said, if somebody wants to volunteer that’s reading, how do they do that? If somebody says, “I want to get involved in this. How do I do that?”
There’s an email address on our website Allatra.org. You can send us an email and we will gladly talk to you and see what project you would like to participate in or what you would like to do. As Olga said, we do teach. If somebody always wanted to do voiceovers or video montage, then we would gladly teach you how to do that or anything else. We have business professionals or business owners that love to be behind the camera. That’s what they always wanted to do or they wanted to do video montage and they come to Allatra. They are wearing a suit at work and they’re a business owner and they come here and they are standing behind the camera or taking interviews or anything like that.
People truly do what they love to do. Also, you said the biggest challenge, as Olga said, the most important thing is to understand that you have a responsibility, to take that responsibility upon yourself and not put it on others. That also is a big part of what we do. We say, “He’s the one that needs to do it. They’re going to do it. It’s their fault.” We never think of ourselves. We never think, “Maybe I should be doing this. Maybe I should see how I can solve it.” Taking responsibility is crucial.
Say I wanted to join as a volunteer, how would I find out what fits for me? Is there a list that I could go to say, “These are the projects, these are the things that are going on or that I could plugin or is there some type of survey that’s done on me to ask me what my interests are?”
We don’t have a database of our volunteers. We don’t collect any information. If someone wants to join, they just join and we’ll add them to the Skype group. We know they exist. They’re all there. There are people, but there’s not an official sign up form. The official sign up form is your own decision of, “I want to do something better for this world. I’m going to do it now and I’m going to take responsibility for it.” That’s what a true socially active volunteer is.
Somebody contacts us via email. We call them and ask them what they like to do. All our projects are online, so they take a look. Some people are interested in climate, so they can either look for climate news or they want to be a reporter or do anything behind the camera or our Creative Society. There’s a lot of different projects. Whatever they like to do, we’ll let them do. We teach them how to do it if they truly want to. They take responsibility and that’s it.
I love that because it’s a self-motivated volunteer.
We don’t schedule the time when you do volunteer. Sometimes we have our calls at 10:00 PM or something because that’s when the kids went to bed. For some people, they can do things during the day. Some people are in different time zones. Sometimes half of the world is already sleeping and the other half is doing something. It’s very interesting and the communication is so open. You’d be surprised how we have this mindset of everyone is a stranger. There’s no longer everyone is a stranger. Everybody is aiming at the same goal of a creative society. It’s so easy to pick up the phone and talk to a so-called stranger on another side, but you know you’re already connected to them in so many ways than one. It’s awesome. It’s so liberating. It’s like, “This is the world that we all dream of.”
We’ve probably been spoiled in some regard. You guys have been at it far longer than I have. I’ve had the show for a few years. When I look at some of the areas that are listening that are on the other side of the globe, it blows my mind to think we’re all connected. I’ve had conversations with incredible people out of the Netherlands, Australia and France. It’s it blows my mind to think about what’s available to us. As we wrap things up, is there anything that you’d like the readers to act on?
It would be great if anybody has any suggestions, questions, or if anybody wants to share with us their vision of a creative society, a world that they would like to live in, they can send us their email to AllatraTVUSA@Gmail.com. Also, we would like to invite everybody to a global conference. We had to reschedule it due to the quarantine. It’s going to be on May 15th of 2021. It’s going to be called Creative Society: Ways to Achieve It. We would like to invite anyone that would like to join and talk about creative society. This is going to be a global conference where people from over 180 countries that are going to join via video call. We will talk about ways of how we can live in the future.The biggest challenge we have is self-motivation, and it all comes from within. Click To Tweet
I will tell you I’ve appreciated this. Ever since we did the call, I couldn’t wait to have this interview because I thought what you’re doing and, in the world that we live in right now, it’s so valuable. Thank you for that.
Thank you so much, Patrick.
My two friends, the Olgas, are so inspiring to me because they are focused on looking at approaches that impact all of us as a community on a global level. As I listened to them talk, it is about creating purpose, about being for others. That’s what their whole movement is about. If we all band together, imagine what things can be accomplished when we do that. If you know somebody that you think would be interested in this episode or joining certainly the group Allatra TV, I would encourage you to forward this on. If you haven’t subscribed already, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating and a comment on this or any other episode. That is how this message continues to get out there about re-imagining leadership in a way that inspires, empowers, and compels others to want to follow our leads as well. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
- Allatra TV
- Olga Schmidt – LinkedIn
- Society: The Last Chance
- Creative Society
- The 5 Second Rule
A lot of people claim that they know the secrets to success, but Justin Breen, the founder and CEO of BrEpic Communications LLC has experienced it firsthand and used these secrets to create an epic business. Now, he wants to share what he learned with the world and help you create your own epic business. In this episode, he talks with Patrick Veroneau about what it really takes to achieve the American Dream. He emphasizes the need for a healthy and strong mindset in the entrepreneurial world, not only to succeed but to be able to survive the industry. He goes back to the basics and explains why you need to build a network of peers with an abundant mentality. Listen in and understand the reality of the entrepreneurial industry as Justin talks about what most people don’t want to hear.
Listen to the podcast here:
Justin Breen’s New Book Reveals The Secrets That Provided Him With An Epic Business
My guest is Justin Breen. He published a new book called Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want! To me, what is important in this book is that it’s not a get rich quick book. That said, if you follow what he discusses in this book, it is a book that can make you rich. As it relates to some of the behaviors that I talk about quite often in the work that I do, two that stood out for me. One was around clear expectations and the other was around being for others. He talks about both of these as secrets that should be employed when growing your own business. One is around being clear on the type of client that you want to take on and not straying from that. Secondly, around being for others that it’s about helping other people, that if we wait for this more to the side of giving more than what we are receiving, then we end up with much more than we need. There is an abundance mentality here. Let’s get into it.
Justin, I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this, especially after going on your site and looking at the book that you have that’s going to be published. It is about as you phrase it, your 30 secrets that you uncovered as you were developing your own successful business that you’ve had. As I was thinking about that and the environment we’re in, I thought maybe we could start off with what got you to the point of writing this book, the success of your company, and then go into how this could probably help a lot of people in this environment.
I appreciate you having me on the show. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and then connecting to people on a global, high level. I could talk about this stuff all day. I wrote this book in 43 days because it came flying out of me. There was no intention to write a book originally. I have about 40,000 followers on social media so one day I’m like, “I’m going to post the 30 things that I’ve learned from some of the top entrepreneurs in the world, those things that I’ve implemented into my company and why it’s been an instant global success in less than three years.” I posted that and what happened was, everybody is like, “You have to write a book on this.” People were printing out the list and bringing it to meetings and stuff.
The way I am is when enough high-level people tell me to do something, I do it. I sign with one of the top micro publishers in the United States, she’s out in California, Rebecca Grider, and then signed with her in late November and wrote the book. In 43 days, it’s out and I’m excited about it. Chris Voss, who wrote Never Split the Difference. One of the top business books, he’s doing forward. It’s not just a book, it’s going to help thousands and thousands of people not only potentially start their own businesses, but figure out the right way of running their businesses if they don’t know how to make revenue or do what they love to do. It’s good timing in a way, all of that’s happening because a lot of businesses are going to wind up being more like the one I created.
Justin, there are a lot of people out there thinking, “If Justin can do it, I can’t do it.” What would be nice is for you to go back to 2017 and your decision to start your own business and what was that like? My guess is, were there ever point whereas you were doing this, you were saying to yourself like, “Can I do this?”
A quick background, February 10th, 2017, I was working full-time as a journalist in Chicago. I had my job salary cut in half due to cutbacks. There was nothing I had done. The next couple of weeks I looked for a full-time job and I couldn’t find it. I started doing freelancing on the side while I was working full-time. On April 16th, 2017, I decided to incorporate while I still working full-time so no one knew I had a company yet. For the next six weeks, I reached out to 5,000 people to get my first five clients. One in a thousand, 999 noes for each yes. I’ve got my fifth client and I resigned from my full-time job the next day. A couple of days later, Robert Feder’s one of the top media columnist in the Midwest wrote that I had started my own business. That’s the long way of saying to your point most people won’t be able to do this.
They’re not meant to be entrepreneurs and that’s fine. The ones who are meant to be entrepreneurs if I can do this, then you can do it for sure. If you are willing to accept overwhelming amounts of failure and learn from it to focus on only the positive things never to give up, then you are capable of doing this. I’m living the American dream working with only the best businesses and brands in the world. I only work with visionaries, I make as much money as I want to and I have almost no overhead costs. It’s possible and honestly what’s in my book is tens of millions, if not billions of dollars worth of advice, it’s a blueprint of how I did this.
Justin, you bring up a great point and it’s important, especially now, the buzz word is being an entrepreneur and that’s the thing that you’re supposed to do. If you don’t, you suck. That’s not the case, not everybody has to do that to be happy. You can work for an organization and be happy. That’s important for people to recognize if you work for somebody else. Some people that are not their appetite. They don’t want those things.
To be an entrepreneur, you have to have a certain mindset that is rare. To be an entrepreneur like me, I’m an oddball even for entrepreneurs. I’ll go into a room and talk like this to twenty people or business owners and eighteen of them will look at me like I’m crazy an alien. Those people aren’t my focus, the focus is the 1 and 2 people that are smiling ear to ear and they get it. Because of that, I have 40,000 of those people in my network all over the world. These are the best people ever. They’re total visionaries. They have an abundance mentality, they invest heavily.When you start a business, it takes two full years to really figure it out. Click To Tweet
They never asked what do you charge or what do you cost because those people immediately go away. In my network, that’s an immediate bond, they’re not going to be my clients if someone asks me that. Being intentional and strategic in terms of the types of people I want to work with that’s what led to the company doing well. To your point, as long as you do what you love to do and what you’re good at, that’s the main secret. That’s the key. I don’t think it can be in anything. You could be doing anything and as long as you love to do it and you’re good at it that’s what important to me.
Fast-forwarding, we’re in this crazy vortex, it seems. I’m dealing with people either that I’ve worked within the past that have called to say, “I lost my job. I’m trying to figure out what to do next.” Do you have other people that have lost their job that say, “I don’t want to go back into a corporate environment. I’d like to try and fund something on my own?” There’s a larger percentage to that we know from engagement numbers that are probably thinking with everything that’s going on, is this what I want to be doing with the rest of my life? I’m wondering, can we start to weave in the 30 secrets? What do you say to people that are in this space that are saying, “I want to be an entrepreneur or I want to try and start my own thing?”
There are three main things. One, I talked about already, but do what you love to do and what you’re good at. My entire business model, which is based on me being a journalist for twenty years and being annoyed by PR firms, super simple, I love to do it and I never get tired of it. My firm writes stories that are interesting and pitching it to media and then I connect with people 95% of my day on a global level. That’s my unique ability. I never get tired of it. It’s endlessly invigorating for me so it never works. Two is when you start a business and this is important, especially now is that, in my opinion, and based on what I’ve seen and then the elite level people that I work with it’s not an overnight type of thing.
It doesn’t take two months, not six months, not a year, but two full years to figure the thing out in terms of processes, right networking groups, your style, price point, all that stuff. Number three is, only work with people that look at things as investments, not costs. I said it, if someone asks, what do you cost or what do you charge? They’re gone. They’re immediately eliminated from being clients. Those people are toxic for two reasons. One, they’ll make terrible clients based on my experience and of others, because they’re always going to be looking at things isn’t enough, financial transactional way. Second, they’re going to introduce you to the people in their network and those people are also scarcity mentality, cost mentality, and not good fits at least from my brain and then the type of business that I’m running.
I know from my own business when I think of your second point there, it’s more about patients and that can be difficult. We’re an environment where all we see is the flash at times. If you go on to Instagram, it’s the Lambos, the mansions and people don’t recognize the work that goes in behind this stuff.
For my first five clients to reach out to 5,000 people, and I say those numbers because it’s easy 5 and 5,000, but I’m sure it was more than 5,000 people. I reached out to everyone on my social media network, which was well over 10,000 people. If you can’t accept incredible ups and downs, severe depression, I don’t know one entrepreneur who has been severely depressed at one time or another. This is not a path to go down in my opinion. It’s not healthy at first for sure. It’s an immense roller coaster way of emotion.
If you think the corporate world is hard, it’s nothing. The worst day of my corporate life was even close to the worst day of being an entrepreneur. The beauty of that is, as an entrepreneur, you can learn from those failures and then learn how your brain works when you fail and then realizing that you’ll get through it and that you’ll be a way better person on the other side of things. In situations like this, where 97% of the US or the world is shutting down and in panic mode, for me, and then the people in my network, it’s business as usual.
This is life as an entrepreneur and it’s pivoting and capitalizing on this, not only financially, but then figuring out ways to help people. My business has never been busier. I’ve signed eight clients because when you only work with visionaries and people that look at things in an abundant mentality, then this is what happens. They’re not nervous about any of this. They’re realizing this is a great abundant opportunity that they can capitalize on and then help people in a profound way in that process. It’s all endless and excitement from here on out. It’s only beginning in terms of this network that my company has built on a crazy high level.
A couple of things here is that I’m thinking you start out 5,000 then you get 5. To somebody that’s coming into this that is thinking, “I could use maybe 1 of those 6 that are on the fringe because I need a little bit of runway here to get going. Maybe it’s not my ideal client but I need some runway. I’ll get rid of them later.”
That’s what I did for sure. I agree. At first, to think you’re only going to work with visionaries and the best brands in the world, that could happen. I’ve been pretty lucky, Allstate was one of my first big clients with other than a couple of months of starting. It’s good in a way, you’ll figure out the right types of people that you want to interact with, the right types of businesses, and then, more importantly, the ones that you don’t want to deal with. You can’t figure that out until you learn from that in terms of the right and the wrong things that fit for you and then don’t fit for you. It’s okay to have the wrong clients at first. In fact, I encourage that so you learn who your tribe is.
For me, and my business has taken a hit based on a lot of my work that I do from a leadership standpoint because a lot of it was in person and it’s created an environment where I’ve had to pivot myself. Looking at this and saying, “Where is this going to go? How can I take the problems that are out there and now create models, online, and coaching that’s virtual that will address the real challenges that are coming up?” We talked about this before in regards to reentry and how challenging that is going to be. It is about pivoting of saying, “What’s the opportunity to serve in this crisis?” That’s what you have to do.
If you don’t, then you’re going to be left behind. If people aren’t going to change after this type of situation then, they’re not going to change. The only reason I started a company is because of my job salary was cut in half and I couldn’t find a job. I look at these types of things and the recession, where many people started amazing businesses or pivoted or came up with great ideas. The same thing is already happening here. It’s going to be amazing even a couple of weeks or months from now. All these great companies that start because of it and the people that reenter into their regular jobs or what they’ve been doing before, I imagine there’s going to be drastic differences in good ways in terms of how those jobs look.
The businesses that don’t pivot or react to this in a productive way, those businesses will go away. That’s how life works. Now is the time to capitalize that and look at this in a positive way. Change, it’s okay. A lot of these businesses that are been stuck in the mud forever, higher education, and I can consider religion a business in this case because you can’t go to church or temple anymore, it’d be better to figure it out. Law and all these other things, look at how our healthcare is already pivoting. I have a ton of healthcare clients and it’s exciting to see what they’re doing and sign with the big online education company because they have all these courses that every college in the country could use. It’s those types of things that excite me. It’s cool.
You mentioned something you’re talking about mindset when you talk about this.
That’s the most important thing.
I’d be curious from your perspective, dial it back, when can you look to your own past and say that’s when you recognized that it was about mindset.
When you start a business, it takes two full years. At the two year point, I had weeded out all the nickel and dime networking groups. I had started to join groups, there’s ProVisors Group, which is a national organization. I had joined a group called Strategic Coach, which is an international entrepreneurial organization. It’s around $10,000 a year to be a part of it. It’s only entrepreneurs. I meet quarterly in Chicago. I’m the only one from Illinois in my group, everybody else flies in. Strategic Coach has been such a blessing because it’s changed my mindset in terms of understanding my value and my unique ability, which again is doing what you love to do and what you’re good at and then having a minimum check.
If someone won’t meet my minimum check requirements, then they won’t become my client. Having constant, daily abundant mentality and reinforcing that every single day does lead to you attracting those type of people. Ninety-five percent of my conversations and 95% of my day is with all these global visionaries everywhere about all these great things that they’re doing. When you constantly talk to people like that, you rise up with them. These are people running 8, 9, 10 figure businesses. They’re the nicest people ever. While my goal is not having a 9, 10 figure business, it is creating this network on an insanely high level where it keeps growing and growing and that’s already happened, but it’s the beginning of it.If you can't accept incredible ups and downs and severe depression, this is not a path to go down. Click To Tweet
You talk about staying in a place of abundance. Most that I talked to that are successful have some type of routine that they start out with, what does that look like for you?
For the past years, I’ve been running outside, six days a week, no matter the weather conditions, blizzard, negative twenty degrees or monsoon, and 100 degrees I will run no matter what. That’s well before I started a business. That’s a key part of my routine. A good friend of mine who’s also a client his name is Joe Martin. He’d be a great guest for this. He names his years. I started doing that. I’ve been calling it global growth well before COVID started happening. I tell myself every day, “Global growth.” Two of my clients are in Toronto and Guatemala and more than half of my conversations are with people outside of the US. When you keep reinforcing that and say it every day, and then you’re part of organizations. I’m in EO, which is Entrepreneurs Organization, that network is insane. People who are serious about growing their network on a global level, EO is amazing. It weeds out all the nonsense, companies have to make between $250,000 and $1 million, the groups that I’m in and most of these companies are way over $1 million.
When you keep reinforcing that and saying it over and over again, it’s what happens. When I started business few had said this stuff, I would have thought you were insane, but it’s legit. Another one that’s important is building relationships is a lot like farming which planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. I don’t look at any meeting as a direct business opportunity and I barely ever talk about business when I meet with people unless they directly ask. It’s more about seeing if our brains smash. I have this weird, unique ability where I could be talking to someone in Australia and they’ll say something obscure and I’ll know someone in British Columbia, Canada, who’s similar to them and I’ll introduce them. I don’t know how that works. It does. I don’t write anything down. If you asked me to build anything with my hands, I’ll have a nervous breakdown. I can’t do that, but this stuff, it’s easy for me.
When you plant these seeds, what I’ve seen is the relationships I built a few years ago when I started the business. Those people who I hadn’t heard from in years, they’re reaching out to me now, or they’re connecting me with somebody who could potentially change my life. If you look at things like that, where all these conversations that you have will be beneficial to you 1, 2, 3 years, even longer, then that’s the way of approaching it as opposed to, “I’m talking to this person trying to sell them something.” That’s complete nonsense. When I first started, that’s what I was doing and the success rate was way lower because it had come off the wrong way. It’s more about building a real relationship as opposed to a transaction, a real partnership.
LinkedIn has become this crappy environment for that, where you get people will reach out about connecting with you, and then a day later, I get some follow-up from them asking me to buy something. I said, “You haven’t done anything. There’s no value there that you’ve provided.”
It’s all BS. I have about 20,000 followers on LinkedIn and I use LinkedIn as a commercial for other people. Of those 20,000, 15,000 are CEOs, founders, like not the shysters that you’re talking about. What I’ll do with LinkedIn is, I’ll talk to an amazing CEO who’s doing this awesome program or whatever. I’ll be like, “I had a great talk with so and so.” I tagged them in it and then put a link to their program or whatever. It has nothing to do with me. I like to showcase other people. My firm’s clients are in the Chicago Tribune or The Boston Globe I’ll posts, “Thanks, Boston Globe for picking up this story.” I’ll tag my clients in it. That gives first mentality it’s an anecdotal led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for my firm. Also, all these amazing relationships that have been created by tagging people in posts and then all these amazing people get to see all the great things that these other people are doing, and then they want to reach out. The most important thing is when you surround yourself with the people that have this forward-thinking mentality and not the people that are trying to sell you something, then it’s endless joy and connectivity.
That’s a great lesson, whether it’s a secret or a lesson in regards to what you’ve talked about in your own success. When you’re being for others, it has a way from the universe standpoint of coming back around and that’s not necessarily why we do it, but it’s like a law that it happens. I am a firm believer in that.
I’ve met two people since I’ve started this that have almost the exact same brain as me where it’s a weird brain and they’re able to connect dots in an insane, it was crazy. One of the guys I met and he’s the former CEO of a giant insurance company. Crain’s Chicago named him one of the most connected people in Chicago and they were able to quantify that by like, “Here’s what his company was worth.” He’s on 30 boards across the world. That’s how they quantified how much those boards are or how much those companies are worth so it wasn’t like, “Here’s someone who’s connected.” They’re like, “This is someone who’s connected to $50 billion in whatever it is.”
Suddenly, I was sitting at his house and listening to him. He introduced me to someone who winds up being a client because he was listening to what I was saying and I could see his head spinning and he’s like, “I will stop the conversation.” He called this guy in Canada and then 2 or 3 weeks later they were my client. He said something that was brilliant. He’s like, “I give 60 to get 40.” I’m like, “That summed it up, you give 60 to get 40.” That’s unfortunately not in the book because I met him after I wrote the thing. When I write another book that’ll be in that because it makes perfect sense, you give 60 to get 40.
Especially now, we need more 60 to 40s. That’s how we get through this.
I’m more of 90 to 10, which is fun. It doesn’t matter to me.
When you go from an abundance mentality, you know that there’s enough for everybody. I don’t need to afford it.
Here’s how to dovetail that, people ask me all the time like, “Do you look at other PR firms as is your competition, or who’s your competition?” I go, “I have no competition. I’m only looking for certain amounts of brains and if they have the right brain or mentality, then there’ll be my clients or my network and if not, then they won’t be. There’s no competition.” Not only is there no competition, but there’s collaboration because my firm’s model is specific. I don’t deviate from it. If you want to do this then great, I have enough people that business is exploding. If you don’t want to do it, I’ll introduce you to somebody else. I don’t care. When you’re in these lower level, groups or dealing with lower-level mindsets and that’s what it is. It’s a lower level of mindset. That’s what it is, it’s competition. I’m trying to get everything for myself and that’s complete nonsense. There’s business opportunity even now. It’s insane how much opportunity is out there if you have the right mindset.
Of the hundreds, thousands of people that are reading, this will sink in with maybe 5% at the most of people but the ones that it does, they’ll either reach out to me or reach out to you or they’ll be like, “This is a 100% right. This is what I should be doing. These people will start their businesses or enhance their own other businesses.” I was doing another interview and the guy’s like, “Are you’re trying to help everybody?” I go, “Absolutely not.” Ninety-five percent of people cannot be helped by the stuff that I’m saying because they don’t have that mindset and they’re never going to, which is fine. I’m concerned about the 3% to 5% of people who are visionaries or have that in them and they either have it now or they’re looking for the right push to get to that level. That’s my target and it’s less than 3%. It’s more like 1% or 2%.
I will tell you personally, I’m looking forward to the book coming out because I promise you, I will be reading this because in terms of you telling your story and me reading online, what you’ve done there are lessons that I know that I’ll pick up.
I appreciate that. Here’s my point, one, I don’t think we ever even mentioned the name of the book, which is Epic Business, because that’s what happens. My PR firm is BrEpic. I only mentioned it because people might want to know what I do. This happens all the time, I talked to people and it never gets said what the actual name is because it’s not about that. It’s about way bigger things than that. When you get me talking about anything besides us, I’ll sit in the corner of me bored out of my mind, but these things are important. They can help many people I’m endlessly passionate about this. It’s funny because every time it never comes up. It’s not a shameless plug. It’s bigger people who want to know what it’s called.
I’m looking forward to reading it myself. Justin talking, you’re right. There is a percentage of individuals that will take this and find a way to apply it and the rest won’t either purchase it in the first place or we’ll say, “That’s not me. I can’t do that.”
That’s right and that’s fine. I’m not trying to help everybody. I don’t see the point of that because the number one reason why my company is successful is I’m focused on doing what I love to do and what I’m good at and then working with only people who understand that. If you don’t, then that’s fine. There are other things out there to do. The ones that do get it, those people are like a drug for me. It’s intoxicating hanging out with those people and then watching that network grow and grow.Building relationships is a lot like farming. It's planting seeds, watching, and waiting for those seeds to grow. Click To Tweet
I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with me and talk about your book and the 30 secrets. That will be out for everybody to be able to go to that link. I’m looking forward to reading it myself. It’s going to be a great read.
I’m excited and thanks for having me on. I know this book is going to change people’s lives for sure.
I’m looking forward to reading Justin’s book. I picked it up on Kindle as it went out. I know that there are things that I will be able to take away from this and you will too. If you know somebody that would benefit from this episode, I’d ask you to afford it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to spread. We are focused on reimagining what it means to lead because the world needs leaders. Until the next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
- Justin Breen
- Epic Business: 30 Secrets to Build Your Business Exponentially and Give You the Freedom to Live the Life You Want!
- Never Split the Difference
- ProVisors Group
- Strategic Coach
Whatever area you’re in, leaders, more or less, have the same responsibilities and obligations. In Cutler Dawson’s book, From the Sea to the C-Suite, he shares a model he developed for leading, and in this episode, he breaks down what leadership should be. As a retired President and CEO of an 85-year-old company, he shares the experiences he amassed and the practices he was able to carry over from the Navy to the corporate world. Understand what loyalty should be like and what truly shapes a leader. Listen in as Cutler explains the importance of listening and the difference between listening to hear and listening to understand.
Listen to the podcast here:
Cutler Dawson’s New Book Provides A Model For Leading In Every Area Of Life
We’re going to be talking to Cutler Dawson, who’s the author of the book, From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office. This was such an incredible opportunity to speak with him about his book. The stories that he tells in his book are both from his career in the Navy as a Vice Admiral, through his career as the CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, which is the largest credit union in the world. If you’re a learner as a leader, you will walk away with ideas and inspiration on how to become a better leader.
Cutler, thank you for being on the show. I had the opportunity to read your book and it was one of the best books that I have read. From the Sea to the C-Suite, you’ll explain what that means to us. That would be a great place to start out in terms of what was the decision to put this book together?
When I retired from the Navy and went to being the CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union, I thought about how I was going to reach out and talk to the people that worked there, many of which had never been in the military. I found over my fourteen years there that I would tell a lot of sea stories to paint a picture on what I was trying to convey to them, and they were real-life experiences that I had. They kept telling me that they enjoyed hearing them. I truly thought that they did. People started telling me, “You need to write a book with your story,” particularly my wife. She set me up with this wonderful lady named Taylor Kiland, who is the co-author. We worked together and it came together. I decided that I wanted to write the book for the employees of Navy Federal Credit Union, but also for aspiring leaders and including those that are coming out of the military that want to continue their leadership travel.
What I found interesting was even when I read the foreword you said, “We wrote the book.” To me, that stood out. I was wondering if you could speak to that because hat says a lot about your leadership.
“We” is a word that should be used all the time. A lot of people slip into the trap of using the “I” word. In this particular case, Taylor Kiland, who helped me has ghost written eighteen books. When we started the project I said, “Taylor, there’s one requirement that’s that we have to have, and that is I want your name to be on the book. You’re doing a tremendous amount of work. I can’t do this without you.” She said, “No one has ever asked me for that before.” That’s how we came about. There are many people that are like me who wouldn’t feel right and most of the people that deserve the credit, get the credit.
One of the quotes that I will often use in a lot of the work that I do around leadership was a quote by John Quincy Adams. It says, “When your actions inspire somebody to dream more, do more, learn more or become more, you’re a leader.” What stands out to me in that is actions are inspiring and its behaviors. You exemplify that in the book as you write it through those stories of your interactions. I was wondering maybe if you could speak to that a little bit in terms of your naval career?
First of all, I love the way you described leadership as behaviors because that’s spot on. You’re not born brilliant and you’re not born a leader. You’re shaped as leader on how you behave, then it results in how you behave to other people. Not only the people that you work for, but primarily the people that work for you. It’s important that you exhibit the proper behaviors to get the best out of your people. I used to put it this way at Navy Federal. If you take care of your crew, they’re going to take care of you. You would be amazed how a Navy crew on a ship knows when their Commanding Officer has their best interests at heart. They will do extraordinary things for him or her if they believe that. If they don’t believe that, they may do the minimum to get by, but as John Adams has described, they won’t do extraordinary things. They will far exceed anything that you could do it by yourself.If you take care of your crew, they're going to take care of you. Click To Tweet
What drew me to that is the inspiring part, “It’s not because I have to, but I’m inspired to do it. I want to do that for you because of how you treat me.”
How many people have we all worked for where we’ve said to ourselves, “I don’t want to let them down, I respect and like them, I don’t want them to be disappointed in me?” I had a Captain early in my career that took over from a Commanding Officer that everyone hated. He was mean and nasty. I was fortunate that I survived, and then this new captain named Pete Hedley comes aboard and he talked to you, he got around his ship, he learned who everybody was. All of a sudden, we were working so hard before we knew it, that we were working hard because we liked him and I’ll never forget that.
You talk about that in the book. You were questioning getting out at that point like, “This isn’t the place for me.”
Also, we were questioning getting out and this is a good lesson where the other officers on the ship, some of whom have never seen another a leader other than the one that was nasty and bad. Fortunately, I had seen others before and I knew there was Pete Hedley in my future. Lo and behold, he showed up. Those officers that were also thinking about getting out all stayed in.
He sounds like he was a pretty special individual.
He is and he was. We all have Pete Hedleys in our backgrounds.
There was a story that I remember reading about, and I’m not sure if it was with him or not, but it was when you were trying to raise morale and you had some of the sailors out on a power boat around burning gas. I’d love if you could talk about that because that’s a great story.
That’s a Pete Hedley story. He was trying to raise the morale of the officers particularly on the ship because he figured that if the officers had high morale, they’re going to inspire their sailors to have the same and it worked. There was a small boat that was attached to the ship that he would use to go out in the Harbor in Guam and we would go water skiing. Unfortunately, it was during the 1974 fuel crisis. He got called to task to see the Admiral to explain why he was burning fuel waterski in Apra Harbor. Pete thought his career was over. He went over to see Admiral Morrison, the father of the singer, Jim Morrison. He looked at him and said, “Why are you doing this?” He said, “To improve morale and to make being in the Navy fun.” The Admiral said, “Good for you. Mrs. Morrison and I would like to join you in the next time you go out.” We all can relate to that and it’s particularly relevant in the pandemic. Don’t lose your sense of humor and your sense of well balanced. It might be easy to like in a fuel crisis, but hang in there and try to do the right thing.
It’s a point that certainly should be listened to. In the book, one of the things that stood out to me too is you talked about wanting to be a high-quality employer for entry level employees. I was wondering if you could speak to the focus on that, but also how did that benefit Navy Federal?
Navy Federal has had a long history of being good to employees. My goal was to try to take it to another level. In fact, in many years of existence, Navy Federal Credit Union has never had a layoff, even in the great recessions. They believe in a bond between the employee and the organization. It’s the entry level employees in most cases that are going to have the contact with the customer or as we call them in the Credit Union world, member. You need a high-quality person to do that. To get them, you have to be high-quality. For example, another thing that Navy Federal does, we need part-time employees but we would give them full-time benefits to work part-time. That drives tremendous loyalty. In Federal, I used to say, “Loyalty is a two-way street. I want you as employees to be loyal to Navy Federal but in return, Navy Federal needs to be loyal to you.” That’s no different than the bond that existed in the Navy when I was there. To some extent, that’s one of the things I brought with me.
I’ll transition in the conversation around walking the deck plates and how important that was. How did that transition over from being on a ship to being in the credit union? What was the value to that?
It was a tremendous value and it was no different on the ship. I used to spend a tremendous amount of time getting around any ship that I was in command of. It had an electric impact on the crew. I also warned officers in command to not retreat to their cabin. We all need to remember that or not retreat to your office because the longer you’re in a position, the more you think, you know everything, and you have a tendency to want to stay in your comfort zone. I remember all my cruiser that I had command of. It was near the end of my tour and I’m out around the ship and I’m crawling under the number three generator in the up part of the ship. I got tired and I said, “This is hard work.” I said to the good parent on the other side, “You need to be out here. You need to see what your people are doing because they’re crawling under that generator and you need to be there and see that.”
You talk about it in your behavior items and you call it empathy. One of the ways I did that at Navy Federal is I did tremendous amount of branch visits. I would go and visit branches. I had one requirement when I visited her branch and I had to speak to every employee that was in there that day. I would talk to them about themselves. We might talk about business and we generally would get around to talk about business, but I’d ask them about them. I’d ask them about their family. I’d ask them about their background. I’d ask them about where they wanted to be five years from now.
I can’t describe to you what it did. I remember near the end of my fourteen years, I was visiting a branch and this young lady in San Diego said, “Mr. Dawson, there’s a rumor going around. We want to know whether it’s true or not.” I go, “What’s the rumor?” She said, “The rumor is there’s a picture of every employee outside your headquarters office and you know everybody by name.” I said, “We’ve got 18,000 employees. There’s not a picture outside the office. I don’t know everybody’s name, but I know your name.” She said, “Thank you.” What a nice rumor to have go around and that’s because I’m walking the deck plate. It’s what everyone needs to do. Once again, my point is the longer you’re in a position, you have to make sure that you get out and do that because you get new employees, you get new crew members and they may have never seen you before.Loyalty is a two-way street. Click To Tweet
I’ve worked for organizations in terms of coming in to have to do leadership work with different levels. I’ve had executives that will say, “I don’t go out in the group. That’s not my place. I’m here doing something else.” To me, what happens is that employees give them the right answer, whereas I get the real answer in terms of what’s going on within the organization. There are many people that are unhappy and this person is removed that they don’t realize that their behaviors are creating such a poor environment.
You have to also think about what you’re doing when you get out and about. You learn things but you can’t come back to the headquarters and punish people for things that you pick up out in the deck plates. I got in the Navy Federal and on my first trip I went to Pensacola. This young manager down there was assigned to take me around. My wife was with me on this trip. We’re going to the first stop and I started asking her questions. I’ve been the CEO for one month. I see this look of terror in her face, “What am I going to do?” She’s thinking, “How can I get these answers embedded through my chain of command before I answered his question?”
I figured that out quickly and I said, “Michelle, we can do this the easy way or the hard way.” She said, “What’s that, Mr. Dawson?” I said, “The easy way is I ask you questions and you give me answers. You tell me the best answer that you have. The hard way is I reach in my briefcase and pull out this rubber hose and beat the hell out of me.” My wife jived in at the time and said, “Michelle, he wants to know what you have to say. He does not have a rubber hose in his brief case.” Fast forward fourteen years later, I’m saying my goodbyes and I see Michelle and she presents me with a rubber hose. I still have that rubber hose.
There was another one along those lines that I remember you talking about where you were going into a branch and the answer seemed to be canned. You were getting the same answer. I was wondering if you could speak to that.
Everybody wants to think things to go well for the boss. My philosophy is it is what it is. You can’t deal with it unless you know where your challenges are and what they are. I noticed in a branch visit to San Diego that I was getting the same questions and the same answers to my questions. I figured out quickly that they had been scripted by the regional manager. I completed the visit and I called him up. I said, “You can’t do this. This doesn’t help me and they’ll do it again.” When I left fourteen years later, he’s still at Navy Federal. He learned quickly but I’d have gotten rid of him if it had happened again.
Which is important because the frontline employees look to you as they need you to defend them. As a leader, if you want the real answer and they give it to you, but it doesn’t look favorably, then they’re looking at you like, “Who’s going to protect me?” That’s what happens in organizations a lot is they would love to say what’s going on, but they don’t feel that somebody truly is going to be an advocate for them. They’ll say it and then they’re expendable. It’s over.
Other things can happen too. I had an experience. Even though I’m retired, I visited a branch in San Diego in the beginning of this crisis. I’m the ex-CEO but I still care about them. I wanted to check on their morale and how they were doing. They were doing great. It turns out there’s a young lady that I had helped many years before that was in the brand. What had happened many years before was I had made a visit and I was talking to her. I sensed that something wasn’t right.
I left and I’m with the regional manager. I said, “What’s going on with this young lady?” He goes, “We moved her branch at her request because she got married and she’s gotten a divorce. Now, she can’t get back up an hour away to our other branch because we don’t have a billet for her.” She wasn’t going to tell me that. She wasn’t going to burden me with that, but I sense that something was not quite right. I said, “We’re to create a new billet for her up North and I want her transferred tomorrow.” Many years later, I come in. I hadn’t seen her since then, despite all the social distance and I got the biggest hug I’ve ever had in my lifetime. The message is it’s beyond immediate. You’ve got to pick up on the sense of things too.
In the book, you talk about that in terms of listening to hear versus listening to understand. To me, that seems to be an example of even what wasn’t being said, you were listening to understand that something didn’t jive or something was wrong.
That makes sense that sometimes you can learn when people don’t say the truth.
It’s what we don’t say or what our body language says. We don’t have to say a word. That speaks for us.
Without speaking or listening, I had a thought for everybody that I also believe the longer you’re in a position, the more tendency you have to talk rather than listen. You do it for good reasons. You do it that you’ve seen things and you’ve experienced things and you want to impart your experience and your wisdom on the people that work for you. The problem with that is if you overdo that part, you’re not listening anymore and you don’t learn anything when you’re not listening. You’ve got to try to reach the right balance.
I always remember being in sales starting out. We were always told, “You have two ears and one mouth. Use that ratio.”
I was working in Congressional Affairs for the Navy. One of my officers took a trip with a Senate staffer. When he got back, I said, “How did it go?” He goes, “It’s great. I like him.” I go, “That’s not important. How did he like you?” How does the customer like you? You may like the customer in what he or she spends, but are they liking you in return?The longer you're in a position, the more tendency you have to talk, rather than listen. Click To Tweet
Your employees are your ultimate customers.
I was at a conference on Wall Street many years ago. I’m talking to the CEO of Hartford Insurance Company. He said to me, “What’s the most important thing to you at your work at Navy Federal?” I said, “My employees are my most important thing because if they’re not taken care of and they’re not motivated, our customers aren’t going to be happy.” He goes, “My shareholders are my most important entity in my business. Maybe I should say employees.” I smiled at him and said, “You’ve got to do it. You can’t say it.”
You talk about four answers in your book. That was interesting the way you laid those out. It sounds like that was shaped in you growing up, but it certainly transferred over. I’d love to hear you talk about those four answers.
When I entered the Naval Academy in 1966, that was one of the first things that was taught to all of us. In the Navy, there are four acceptable answers to any questions and it’s a generic response: “Yes, sir.” “No, sir” “No excuse, sir” and “I’ll find out, sir.” “Yes, sir and no, sir” are obvious but let’s talk about the last two. “No excuse” means that if you make a mistake, you own the mistake. You don’t blame other people. You don’t blame the people that work for you. You don’t blame the fact that you didn’t have all the information you needed. You said, “No excuse. I will do better.” With regards to when you ask a question, if you don’t know the answer, don’t make up an answer because that can have disastrous consequences.
As you can imagine in the military, if you turn to your navigator and say, “Are we on a safe course to clear the harbor?” They don’t know and they say, “Yes, we are.” You might run a ground. It’s better to say, “I’ll find out.” If you’re the Captain, you can say, “Let’s come to all stop and not go out any further until we find out where we are.” I find those two answers to be the best. Let me give you an example of “No excuse.” I had a young lady that worked for me at Navy Federal. I had told her to put some controls in because I was concerned that we were going to be defrauded by a vendor that we were working with. She put them in and then two years later, she decided to take them out. That’s when he hit us. We’d lost money with him.
When I talked to her she said, “This is my fault. It’s none of my people. I’m the one responsible. I feel that I’ve let you down.” I responded, “You should have talked to me about this and we could have talked it over.” She lost her bonus money that year. It was about $20,000. She worked as hard as she could. She worked her heart out that next year. She got an out-of-sequence President’s Award for $20,000. That happened to equal what she had lost the year before because she was truly a person that believed in “No excuse” and she lived it.
When I hear “No, excuse,” the ownership to me goes right into another piece that you’ve talked about and that’s about the true north.
We all have to do some soul searching on that. One of my mantras has always been, “Do the right thing.” I pick that up early in my career when I went to command my first ship. I was 27 years old. I had five years in the Navy and my boss was in charge of seven ships like mine, but he had 32 years in the Navy. He wore a World War II submarine combat patrol pin. He had been in combat in submarines in World War II. When I made my arrival call on him, my first meeting with him, he looked at me and said, “Lieutenant Dawson, I only have one instruction for you. You do the right thing and I’ll back you up all the way.” That’s the way he did. I tried to tell everybody that worked for me, “Do the right thing and I’ll have your back.” Sometimes the right thing to do is not the expedient thing to do. That resonated with the employees of Navy Federal. It empowered them to do what was right for the customer and the members. At the same time, they knew that when they did that, it would be right for our organization.
One of the things that I think about, and I believe it was in the beginning of the book but certainly toward the end, could you talk to the growth success of Navy Federal Credit Union? The focus of it was almost like the byproduct of the people that created that. That really resonated.
Years before I got to Navy Federal, there was a Chairman of the Board at Navy Federal that put it very well. He said that, “An organization like Navy Federal should not grow for growth’s sake. It should grow because it’s providing superior service that people want to be part of.” Everyone at Navy Federal takes that to heart and I took it to heart too. We quadrupled in size by the time that I was there, but we didn’t think in terms of numbers. We measured our success in two things. One, member satisfaction and two, employee satisfaction.
One of the things that I would suggest for anyone that’s leading an organization, people don’t always know that they are in a powerful organization. For example, the Navy Federal came out on the Fortune 100 top places to work in the country list. In the past years, Navy Federal was number nineteen. It allowed them to realize how good they were and how good their organization was and that’s a powerful thing. One needs not to lose sight of that. With regard to member satisfaction, the other thing was that Navy Federal has become one of the most trusted institutions in the country. People believe that if they work with them, if they trust them with their finances, they will return the trust and that’s a powerful thing as well.
You have given many examples for anybody that’s either a frontline leader or an executive in an organization. The things that you talk about and your examples is a must in terms of understanding these things and what that can provide. I’m grateful for you for all that you’ve shared with us and for writing this book because there’s so much there that we can all learn from. Thank you for your service. What’s the best way for somebody to get contact with you as well as get your book?If you make a mistake, own the mistake. Don't blame other people. Click To Tweet
The title is From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office. It’s a good read for people that were in the military or not in the military. People in any leadership level will get some nuggets out of it. You can order it on Amazon by the title or by my name. You can also order it on the Naval Institute Press. It’s a little book with big print.
It’s a great read. I’m wishing you all the best.
At the end of each chapter in Cutler’s book, he lists what are called foot stompers. The term foot stomper in the Navy applies to if there was something that somebody wanted to make sure that they understood to pay attention to, that it was going to be tested on later on, that they would stomp their foot. That gave everybody the alert to pay attention. His book has many foot stompers in it in terms of the messages and the stories that he tells, in terms of helping to build better organizations wherever you are.
If you know somebody that would enjoy this episode, forward it onto them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment in regards to this episode or any other. When you do that, it allows this message to continue to get out there about finding a better way to inspire others. That’s what these episodes are about. There is a better way when we re-imagine what leadership can look like. Until our next episode. I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best. Peace.
- Cutler Dawson
- From the Sea to the C-Suite: Lessons Learned from the Bridge to the Corner Office
- Navy Federal Credit Union
- Naval Institute Press – From The Sea to the C-Suite
Our emotions can often get the best of us. That is why we have to be smart with it. In today’s conversation, Patrick Veroneau talks about doubling down on emotional intelligence and the need to control emotions. He discusses how these impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. Going deeper, Patrick touches on the ways we show up to others, the difference between being assertive and collaborative, and how we can better take hold of our emotions so we can be the best for others.
Listen to the podcast here:
Doubling Down On Emotional Intelligence And Controlling Emotions
This episode is a continuation of some episodes I’ve been doing around emotional intelligence and talking about emotional intelligence as it relates to doubling down on our ability to develop these skills. If ever there was a time that understanding the impact, the power, and the effectiveness of being, I would say intelligently emotional, it’s now. We know that emotions impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. They have such a bearing on those. If I am in a position where I’m not able to understand, manage and perceive those things, either in myself or in others, then I put myself at a disadvantage. Certainly, in the environment that we’re in now, the ability to perceive, understand, and manage emotions, either mine or help somebody else to do that. When we’re in that space, we’re developing this set of skills or emotionally intelligent behaviors, we’re going to be able to do those other three things that I talk about much more easily, and that’s around inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow our lead.
What I want to talk about is emotional expression, and there’s a quote by Aristotle around anger, and it says, “Anyone can become angry. That is easy, but to be angry with the right person to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” There’s only one part that I disagree with on that quote. It’s the part about that is not within everybody’s power. We know that we’re talking about behaviors here and there is ample evidence to demonstrate that we can modify and change behaviors. It’s not easy, but we can do it. It’s like developing a muscle. We’re going to work on our emotional expression muscle.
If you think about those things that Aristotle talked about around being angry, we can replace that with any other emotion that we could talk about. If we stick with it in terms of angry, think about that in the environment we’re in now. At the right person, how easy is it for us now to I’m feeling angry about a situation and somebody comes up to me or maybe calls me at the wrong time and I blow up at that person, but it has nothing to do with them, or maybe it’s to the right degree. It’s something that normally would be very insignificant, but because of the level of stress that I’m under right now, I blow up on that person. Maybe it’s something that happened yesterday and all of a sudden today, I decided to get angry about it, or it’s just in the right way or in the right environment is the other piece.
I could be upset with you or angry. You’re the right person that could be in the right degree and at the right time but in a sense, it’s not at the right time because we’re in a group. If we can remember what that was like to be in a group, but that I get angry at you in front of an entire audience that is on a Zoom meeting that we have, and it’s not the right time for that. Maybe that’s something that you and I should have one-on-one. I’m not going to call you out on this in front of the group and potentially humiliate you or challenge your ego on this, whatever that might be. I have to recognize that’s not where I’m going to do that.
How do we develop that ability to build stronger emotional expression and also, why is it important? If we think about it from the standpoint of developing stronger management or control over emotional expression. When we talk about emotional expression or maybe ask the question, why is it important from a standpoint of other people? I would say one of the things that we can think about in terms of developing the ability to control our own emotions better is that it provides a sense of consistency for other people in terms of they know who I am, who’s showing up.
What I mean by that is I was working with an office once and they had a manager. This was in the healthcare field. They had a nurse manager. As I talked to the staff that reported to this individual, they said, “We don’t know who’s going to show up in the morning, but that dictates how our day is going to go. If this person shows up in a bad mood, then we know people run for cover.” They don’t ask for anything more than they need from this person, because they know that this person’s volatile. They’re not predictable.Emotions impact the decisions we make, how we behave, and how we perform. Click To Tweet
When they show up in the morning and they were in a good mood, that’s a different situation. What it did was it provided so much anxiety and stress within that group because they had to wait, “Who’s showing up today, is it Jekyll or is it Hyde?” When we are that person in terms of volatility, it reduces our level of trust because they don’t know. Can I talk to you today? Can I not talk to you today? What I’m going to ask you, is it going to get you angry and you’re going to take it out on me the rest of the day? I certainly don’t want people around me to be concerned about who’s showing up, which Patrick is showing up today. Is this the good Patrick or the bad Patrick? We need to be able to recognize that.
A couple of things that are important to recognize, we can look at this in terms of a number of different ways that we can show up in terms of how we communicate and maybe how we communicate when we are in a conflict situation. Let’s look at this that we could think of five different aspects of how we might show up. It could be avoidant where I withdraw from a person. I might be angry, but instead of having a conversation with them, I choose to ignore it and not talk to that person, or maybe it’s passive-aggressive in terms of who shows up. I’m not happy with you, but also, I’m going not to address it either. We all know those situations, either that we’ve been in or other people where they say, “I’m not angry.” What they’re doing is they’re undermining what they just said or negating what they just said. It’s like putting a but in between two sentences, “No, I’m not upset, but,” or “I like the way you did this, but,” and we know that not the case.
The next is around aggressive, which is a direct approach. It’s an emotional expression that is focused on making sure that we get what we need out of this. We get our way out of this situation and we move on. We go to assertive. This is more of a direct approach of being honest and clear about solutions and events in terms of what I need, but not in a negative way. The last approach that we can take here. We almost start out with the least effective, avoidant. We go to a passive-aggressive state then we go to aggressive, then we go to assertive. We end up at collaborative. A collaborative is a direct approach like assertive is or aggressive, but it’s centered on communicating basically my feelings in providing an opportunity for others to challenge or clarify or even reframe those feeling, to make sure that they’re accurate or relevant to the situation. That’s the difference between assertive and collaborative.
Assertive is I’m going to be respectful, but it’s still going to be about what my needs are. I’m going to be asserting my needs. Whereas collaborative becomes a position where it’s about understanding what’s in the need for both of us. That’s oftentimes the idea of this third approach. This can be so important in terms of emotional expression, that when we’re getting upset or angry about things, it’s about really the pause, setting an opportunity for us to step back.
One of the things that we can often talk about in terms of emotional expression when we’re starting to get angry, we can look if that’s the emotion, if it’s upset, whatever it is, we can again go back to what we started to talk about in emotional self-awareness this. Oftentimes, we’ll go back to what our values are. If I have a value that is high in integrity, or I have a value that is high on family, and I feel like that’s being threatened or disregarded. How I show up, how I express my emotions can be very different than if it’s satisfied or not satisfied. It’s important for us to be able to find opportunities where we can pause to be able to say, “Who’s going to show up here?”
It’s like in the lesson that I had talked about self-awareness. Often, the best way for us to develop an understanding around emotional expression is to look back maybe a week ago, a couple of days ago, at a specific event that happened. What you start to do is pull that apart because what we’ll start to see when we pull these things apart is that we’re able to connect the dots. As one of the exercises that I will often talk about is we can be much more effective going forward if we understand what our triggers are from previous events.
It’s important to understand that even when we think we can hide our emotions from other people, they bleed out oftentimes in different ways. What I would challenge you to do is take some feelings and emotions that you have experienced. What are they? Why do you express those emotions to others? What are the reasons for that? If we look in terms of that continuum that we talked about of avoidant, passive-aggressive, aggressive, assertive, and collaborative. Ask yourself on that based on the emotions that you feel, where do you show up? If it’s anger, when I’m angry, do I tend to show up in the space of aggressive? Do I become more avoidant when I’m angry? Do I become more passive-aggressive? Do I become assertive?
What you’ll start to see is that there are patterns. If I’m anxious, where do I show up? Do I come become avoidant? Where am I? It’s important for us to start putting these things together. Which ones do I not tend to express for feelings and emotions? You can almost go through and look at each one of these. If I’m in an avoidance space, what are things that I am avoidant about? What do those tend to be? What values or emotions tend to bring out the avoidance side of me versus the passive-aggressive or what people? What individuals am I around that I find myself with this type of individual being more assertive or collaborative, but this individual, I seem to find that it’s more aggressive?
What you can start to do again is all about peeling the layers back on this and understanding what is it. I would strongly challenge you to look at values because what you will often find is that there probably is something within either that individual or that topic that tends to come up. That is the reason why you tend to show up as an aggressive individual for this person is as opposed to a collaborative individual with this other individual. As we develop this muscle, that’s what this is about. It’s about dissecting this, disassembling it, and then putting it back together in a way that we can recognize what those emotions are. By recognizing what they are and by setting up strategies to help us to express those better when we do that effectively, we know that we’ll make better decisions. We’ll behave better and our performance will be increased. If we are able to model this for other people, then we have an opportunity as we lead to create environments where those that report to us, their decisions, their behaviors, and their performance improves as well.
The next skill that we’ll talk about will be around recognizing and being aware of other’s emotions. That can become so important in terms of how do we navigate these situations as well. I hope you found this valuable in regards to emotional expression and how to manage your own. If you know somebody that would enjoy reading this as well, I’d ask you to forward it to them. If you haven’t subscribed, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment in regards to this or any other episode. There is a better way to lead. In this show, the guests, the data, the research that I present are all about re-imagining what does it take to create more effective leadership? We all have the ability to do that, to inspire, empower, and compel others to want to go where we’re asking them to go. As well, until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best. Peace.
Navigating through a crisis takes skill and a good foundation. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau discusses the seven behaviors needed to lead through a crisis and the importance of stepping up as the leader of the pack. Reimagining leadership involves a constant pursuit of continuous learning. Patrick talks about the void that continues to widen ineffective leadership, and the lack of equipment leaders possess before taking the position. Tune in as Patrick explores the different leadership behaviors you will need to get through the hard times.
Listen to the podcast here:
The 7 Behaviors Needed To Lead Through A Crisis
We’re going to discuss the seven behaviors that you need to successfully lead through a crisis. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, while I’ve seen many examples of great leadership through this. Honestly, I’ve seen far too many at all levels of government within organizations and in the community that lack the behaviors that are necessary for us to be able to navigate this. I will tell you, at one point, as I was thinking of the title for this, I almost wanted to put the title as Wanted: Leaders to Address Crisis. Step Up is All You Need to Do to Apply. There are behaviors here that we’re going to talk about that will make all the difference in there based on both research and real-world experiences.
I believe there are seven behaviors that are most important. We’re going to talk about leading through crisis, but if you can lead through a crisis, then you can certainly lead through better times. What I’m seeing now is the void in effective leadership continues to widen where we’re seeing that individuals that maybe had positions of title with their authority didn’t have the equipment to be able to lead through this. This is the problem that we’re running into. The first behavior that I want to recommend is simply around learning. Leaders are learners. If you are not learning and being curious about how do you improve your skills as a leader, then you will be left behind. This environment, certainly, we’re seeing that.
I will often use and have done for over a decade a quote by a gentleman named Eric Hoffer. He said, “In times of change, leaders inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Learners inherit the earth in times of change. We’re always going through change. Especially, when you get up into higher levels of leadership that, “I got all the way here. I get it. I know how to do this.” Oftentimes, they don’t. They navigated a political situation to be able to get where they are, but they don’t have the behaviors that inspire, empower, and compel those people that report to them. That’s what we’re talking about here in terms of effective leadership is doing those three things.Leaders are learners. Click To Tweet
When you can inspire somebody to want to go where you’re asking them to go, when you empower them to be able to say, “I can do it and go where you want me to go,” and you compel them. They’re able to say, “I will go where you’re asking me to go.” There’s an intrinsic motivation there, which doesn’t rely on my title anymore or an extrinsic carrying a stick to get people to do what I’m wanting them to do out of fear. It’s those three things. It starts with learning, with always being out there to look at, “How do I improve my skillset?” That’s key to this. The next one that I will talk about in terms of the behavior is around congruence, walking the talk that if we’re making decisions in a crisis situation, what are we basing those off of?
In organizations, we probably have values, missions, and visions. To me, those are our true north that when we can make decisions and at least back them up saying that, “The decision that we’re making is based on this value. We’re staying consistent with this.” When we don’t do that, we lose our own compass. We lose those around us to be inspired, empowered, and compelled to follow where we need them to go.
The next is around appreciation. This is about recognizing that we’re all different personalities, different skillsets, that if we don’t recognize the value in that, of diversity within a group and drawing people in, as a leader, I can’t have all the answers nor should I be expected to. To me, this is about being able to draw on the resources of those around me, to appreciate, “Who do I have on this team? What are their strengths? How do I draw them into coming up with the best solution?” That’s how this works, not one person to do that or two people, but as many as I can from as many different various backgrounds that can help me to get as much information as I need to get on this.
The next one plays on that somewhat, but it’s around belongingness. We know all the research in regards to inclusion and how important that is that we need people to feel as though they’re part of the solution. That they’re part of what is happening. When we don’t have that, people feel isolated and this isn’t part of this show, but there is much research in regards to isolation and it has a negative impact on us all the way to mortality. It’s been shown that isolation in its most physical sense has a risk factor that’s on par with either smoking or cardiovascular disease as it relates to mortality. The importance of drawing people in is certainly valid.
Next, we talk about listening. Strong leaders are listeners as well, and they listen in a variety of ways to try and be curious as to what other people have to say. They don’t get defensive about it. They’re open to exploring what are the other opinions or perspectives that I can draw in. What that allows us to do when we’re listening as a leader is to diminish the negative impact of confirmation bias. What happens in confirmation bias is I look to the evidence that backs up what I believe in and I discount all the other stuff that goes against that, even if it’s valid. It doesn’t matter if we have an education level whether it’s GED or PhD, we can all fall victim to being in this trap of confirmation bias.
When we listen, it allows us to diminish the impact that confirmation bias has on us, because we’re being curious about what else is going on and that’s what we need out of leaders. The next is around empathy. It involves thinking about how do my decisions or what we’re putting out there can impact other people and to think about it from the standpoint of, “How does this affect a large business? How does this affect a small business? How does this affect a frontline employee or an owner?” When we can think about the long-term impact of all the people that are involved in a situation, we need to be able to do that. If some of you might think, “This is all too soft. There’s nothing here that has any substance.” I will tell you that the last behavior that I will talk about is around specifics.
Clear Expectations and Decisiveness
That is about clear expectations and decisiveness. If there is a trap that I see many leaders falling into is that they’re not providing enough in regards to clear expectations, to allow people to know what is expected. There are far too many people that are saying, “Guidance is coming. We’ll get this next week.” That’s not what people need. People need some type of transparency here when you’re leading them to know where are we going? The other part of this is around decisiveness. That’s the ability to act, “While I might take off all of the information around me into my decision and try and weight these things, when it comes to the end and the decision has to be made, then there are times where I’m going to have to make a difficult decision based on all the data that I can. I will not continue to push this down the road and I won’t allow somebody else to take the fall for it. I will be responsible for the decisions I make, but I will be decisive on this.”
That builds much trust in individuals when, first, they’ve been taken into account. I’ve demonstrated to them that I’ve tried to hear as many perspectives as I can on this. Here is my decision going forward. If we can’t get a consensus as a group, then my role as the leader of this is to make a final decision on this as best I can. We’re all human. There are times where I’m going to make the wrong decision. As long I am responsible for that and I can own that, then from a standpoint of inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow my lead, I’ve built a level of trust there because they know that I’m going to be responsible for what I said. In this time, these seven behaviors are important.Learners inherit the earth in times of change. Click To Tweet
The first one is be a learner, continually try and learn. That’s the only way we get better because the world continues to change. Those that are learned are the ones that say, “I don’t need to learn any of this stuff.” You are going to be left holding the bag. What you thought was leadership going forward will not work. The other six behaviors that I talk about are in a blueprint that I put together called CABLES. The whole idea behind CABLES is to think of this as though each one of these behaviors builds a stronger continuous cable when it’s wrapped around itself. When we do that, when we think of it in an analogy of a bridge, we’re building stronger relationships through these cables that we develop, these behaviors.
The C in this model is congruent with the blueprint, that’s the C cable. The A cable is around Appreciation. The B cable is around Belongingness and Being for others. The L cable here is around Listening. The E cable is around Empathy and S cable is around Specifics, which is about clear expectations and being decisive. That is about re-imagining what effective leadership is going to look like going forward. We are finding a better way. I hope you will challenge either yourself or someone around you to identify and develop these behaviors that will not only get us through a crisis but certainly will be much more beneficial when we’re not in a crisis as well in terms of helping us to grow even better. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you know somebody you think would find this valuable, I ask you to forward it to them. Please go and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment as it relates to re-imagining leadership. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.
Your habits are mostly the foundations of your achievements and success, and courage is one of the best traits to have. Laura Khalil, a speaker and trainer at Brave by Design, joins Patrick Veroneau to talk about mindset techniques. She dives into different scenarios and situations that will make you think as she helps you change your perception and mindset. Learn all about negativity bias, how it’s built into us, and how it’s affecting our daily lives. Understand where the best place is to start your personal growth and break the notion of being self-made in a society where we all rely on others. Also, know how to live in the moment and appreciate what you have attained as you set time to have your own moment of gratitude.
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Make Courage A Habit With Laura Khalil
My guest is all about building courage in her clients. She hosts an incredible podcast called Brave By Design. She is also known as the force of badassery. After having a conversation with her several times now, I would have to say, it’s true. I will tell you this to me was a great episode, especially in the environment we’re in right now, talking about how we do that. How do we build courage? You’ll find that there are some interesting perspectives in terms of how we do this and do it together. The evolution of this podcast is about how do we learn to lead like no other. It first starts with reimagining what that looks like and that’s what this show is all about. Why don’t we get into it?
Laura, thank you so much for being on the show. I’ve been looking forward to this. You are the force of badassery. I love that. A couple of things that stood out to me as I was reading some of your background was that you combined teaching the habit of courage with business know-how. Both of those are so important in the environment that we’re in. I was hoping that we could maybe go down that path and see where we end up in terms of the clients that you deal with or the people that you’re with. How do you do that right now in terms of developing that habit of courage?
Let me take a step back and let’s talk about why I combine these two things. Those who are reading this may know or learn that I ran a very successful consulting business for a number of years doing marketing consulting for huge companies. When people started asking me to speak and teach on this stuff, I would tell them, “Here’s the business know-how. Here’s how you do it.” These are steps that anyone can learn. I can teach you how to write a contract. I can teach you how to talk to a client. I can teach you how to sell. What I began to notice was that I can give you those steps, but if you do not have a foundation in self-worth, you will find all kinds of ways to delay yourself, to self-sabotage, to throw up roadblocks and not succeed and stay where you are. Where you are may feel safer for you than where you want to go because where you want to go is unknown to you.
That’s why I began talking more about developing the habit of courage because we can give you the map. It’s not a secret of how to do these things, of how to build a business, of how to rise in your career. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you’re not courageous, I guarantee you you’re going to have a real hard time doing it. That’s why I’ve combined those two to make it a little bit easier for people to address some of the very critical mindset techniques that we can begin to use and employ now to feel more courageous, especially in those challenging circumstances where we are afraid to speak up or we are scared of what someone will think of us if we put our necks out there or we try something different. That’s where the courage piece comes in because sometimes, we’re more conditioned to shrink than to shine.
Before we started this, you had mentioned the negativity bias. I was wondering if you could speak to that in terms of where does that fit in this in terms of the habit of courage?We are all programmed with a negativity bias. We always consider the worst-case scenario. Click To Tweet
We are all programmed with a negativity bias. That means that we are all programmed to think like, “This scary thing is happening and I’m going to go to the worst-case scenario.” That’s how we are trained to think. That’s how we survived millions of years ago. That’s very normal. If you immediately go to the worst-case scenario, that’s okay, but here’s where we get intentional about developing that courage muscle. Courage is a muscle like anxiety, stress and overwhelm are muscles. How do we begin to develop that muscle when we fall into the negative? I want you to think about this question. What are the 25 benefits of this situation to furthering my values and to furthering my mission on this planet? Think about that.
That question can be very challenging for certain people to answer because they’ll immediately say, “Laura, there’s nothing. There’s nothing good. I can’t find anything. What a dumb exercise.” Think about what’s important to you. Is family something that you value that’s very important to you? How is this crisis helping you to strengthen your relationship with your family further? Tell me 10 or 25 ways. I love to get about 25 because that’s when we begin to see that negativity bias is suppressed. The nervous system comes down a little bit and we can see how everything is not in our way. It is on our way to achieving our highest potential. When we use and develop that habit of courage and to start with that one simple technique, you will begin to think instead of this being the worst thing ever, why is this the best thing ever?
I love how you talk about putting the number 25 out there because the easy thing to do is say, “Let’s think of three things.” If it’s only three, then that negativity bias will overtake it again. You’re almost building this, “How thick can I get this shell around me to defend myself against this negative bias?”
What I’ll say is when I do this with my clients and they’re working with me, I make them get to 200. That’s no easy feat. It’s not easy to do that, but you’ll notice as you begin to do this exercise, and I tell everyone, “Do it until you have tears of joy, tears of inspiration, tears of gratitude for the challenge that is in front of you.” What I tell everyone is that we grow right at the border between support and challenge. What does that mean? That means that if I’m living my life and I am so incredibly challenged by everything going on and I cannot function and I cannot find the support, I’ll give up. Conversely, if I grew up in an environment and I never have a problem in my life. I’ve got free-flowing access to money and to everything like my heart could ever desire. What happens? I become lazy.
We see this happen with people. We see people who feel extremely defeated by challenges. We see people who are wildly unmotivated and uninspired to do anything with their life because they don’t need to. How do we get out of that? How we get out of that negativity bias is we begin to develop courage. We begin to see, what challenges do I want to go after? How are the challenges that are currently appearing in my life supporting me? When you can bring equilibrium and see that this event has both the support and challenge that are helping me fulfill what I’m here to do. I talk a lot about that. I don’t know what the belief system of the audience is, but I do truly believe that we are all here to do something great with our lives.
That’s pretty core to what I believe. If you agree with that, then instead of seeing these challenges as insurmountable obstacles, let’s see these challenges as our greatest opportunities. We can divide the world into a couple of types of people. There are people who are thinking like this and there are people who are giving in to their fear and giving into distress who are paralyzed. The people who are beginning to think in this way and thinking, “How can I best serve over the next 12 to 24 months as we face this crisis?” This is not a 2-week or 1-month issue. We are forever changed and impacted. By the way, the effects we’re seeing for this pandemic will continue there. This is not the end of it so let’s get realistic.
It’s coming back. There will be other waves of it. We’re going to get more control over it when we get a vaccine and that type of thing but until then, think about what are the opportunities for me to best serve in this crisis because our highest potential is always in service to others. If you’re sitting on the couch, eating a bag of potato chips and Netflix for six months, who is that in service to? That’s not in service to anyone. That doesn’t help anyone. When we can say, “No, I need to rise above that,” I need to find, what are the benefits for me in this situation? What are the benefits for me from my natural gifts and talents to share with the world? We then can really be of service and help our communities and help this world to unite in this incredible conflict.
You hit on so many things that I’m trying to unpack here. To me, what we’re going through right now is a dress rehearsal for many things to come down the road in terms of how we approach and behave toward each other. The other thing that I think about when you were saying that is all the research out there in regards to belongingness. We need each other. We cannot get through this without each other. There is such a myth around self-made. Nobody is self-made unless you made the road you’re driving on, the car you’re in, the roof that’s over your head, and you made the food you’re eating. It sounds absurd. That’s it.
With that said, what I do believe is that we can be and need to be self-motivated. There needs to be our ability to drive from inside, but we all need each other to get through this. Lastly, as it relates to this idea of it needs to be more than about myself. As you probably are familiar with how much research is out there that says when they looked at income levels and other components, what provided the most happiness for people was those that had a purpose. Those individuals that had a purpose were those that found to be experienced the most well-being and to be the happiest. To me, the purpose is about being for others.
One of the questions I always wake up and ask myself every day, and I want to preface this by saying I’m not a particularly religious person, but this is more a question I asked to my higher self. I’ll say, “How can I best be of service? How can I help?” You start the day with that kind of thought and you will begin to see opportunities appear. We have control over those thoughts. To your point, isolation, there are so many things about the internet that have been incredible and wonderful and revolutionary, but never have people felt so isolated and disconnected. Never have we seen such high levels of inability to cope with stress and anxiety in society when we are “more connected” than ever.We grow right at the border between support and challenge. Click To Tweet
This period is teaching us exactly like you said. Nobody does it on their own. We have lived in a culture that’s a lot about self-made, self-reliance, and you can do it but it takes a village. The things that I’m seeing in my community and I imagine you’re seeing as well, I am so inspired by how people are pulling together to help. For example, our hospital staff or to help our kids in need who need lunch or dinner or who are helping our elderly folks. People are coming together in ways. I have a dog. I walk down the street 2 to 3 times a day with my dog to take her out. Thankfully, we’re not in a very populated area, but I’m waving to the neighbors. I’m saying hi from across the street because before, what would we do? We take them for granted. We’d ignored them. We’d look away. I don’t want to be seen. No. We’re learning about this community. We’re learning about reconnecting to others. It’s going to leave us in such a stronger place but it is interesting what you talk about this being a dress rehearsal. I want to hear more about that.
In our lifetimes, we haven’t experienced this kind of challenge before. You start to see how people interact with each other and how they behave toward each other. It speaks to where do we go from here. What’s the next challenge that we will deal with that is going to put us in a similar situation and what will we learn from this so that in round two, we understand where we go next.
I hope that people take that to heart because it’s true. I don’t think we’ve experienced this since probably World War II, which none of us were alive for. Our grandparents or parents may have gone through this, but we certainly have not. We’ve gotten a little bit complacent, honestly. That’s my opinion. We have gotten very comfortable. Let me talk about support and challenge for a second. We’ve gotten comfortable with being supported and challenged in other ways, but supported in certain ways where we have gotten comfortable with sitting in front of the TV and witnessing life happening outside of us. What’s going on right now is a form of attack. It’s a virus, but the difference for me in how I see it is that this virus is not an agent brought from a foreign nation.
It’s a thing going around the world. There’s nobody outside of us to attack. There’s nobody outside of us to fight. There’s no to say, “You’re the one. This is your fault.” No. That’s not real. What can we do? The only thing we can do to heal right now, the only thing we can do to “fight” this is to go within and heal ourselves. That’s the only way. To me, that’s an incredibly profound lesson in what’s happening and how do we heal ourselves? How do we become more reconnected with ourselves? How do we slow down? How do we do self-care? How do we take this time to realign and reset around what our dreams are to spend more time with our family and to reconnect with the land and our communities?
When we think about this form of “war” or attack, that’s my perspective on it. I don’t know if you share that, but it’s a very profound gift that we are experiencing and that’s my choice to see it that way. I fully recognize that other people may see this as the worst thing ever. In the habit of courage, what we talk about is every challenge is a huge opportunity and the bigger, the challenge is, the bigger the opportunity.
A lot of your work is around mindset, which that’s what this all is. To piggyback off of what you’re talking about, there’s so much here in regards to experiencing our own vulnerability. Who would have ever thought something that we can’t even see can have this great an impact on a globe, on all of us? I am a huge advocate of vulnerability in the work. We can probably dovetail into here around emotional intelligence because we had this conversation that we’re seeing more interest in emotional intelligence. I first started with emotional intelligence in 2008 when I started my company. That’s when I had gotten involved with emotional intelligence.
Patrick, what a time to start a company. Talk about a crisis but that’s incredible.
It speaks to there’s a way out. One of the things that I will talk about is your past is your power. Ten minutes ago was our past. What do we learn from that that we go forward and we navigate a better place going forward? That’s all we have. People that say, “You can’t live in the past.” I agree with that. What we need to do is leverage our past because that’s all that we have. If I don’t remember my past, I wouldn’t know how to get home again because I need to know the route to take to get home. Unless I’m going to use a GPS every place that I go, I need to understand my past.
What I hear you’re saying and the language I would put it in is it is wise not to be a victim of your history, but a master of your destiny. We take the past and we incorporate those lessons that we have learned and those gifts we have received along the way into, how am I going to set forth? What is my next step? Why am I so grateful to be alive on this planet? I’ll tell you one of the greatest gifts for me in this whole experience is the gift of presence. The gift of appreciating every single morning when I call my parents who I haven’t been able to see now for quite a while. How grateful I am to hear their voices in a way that I was never grateful before. How grateful I am to hear that we are all healthy.
We take that stuff for granted. We’re like, “They’re fine. Whatever.” That day when we go home, that day is so far off, it’s a mystery. That day could be here any day. Thinking about, what legacy do I want to leave for my community, for my family, for my world? What a beautiful question to start asking right now. I want to say for people who are reading that may find that a little overwhelming like, “What am I supposed to do? Become the next MLK, Jr.?” No. Do what you can do. That may mean being a great parent that may mean giving your kids an extra hug. That may mean leading with love instead of hate in your heart.We have lived in a culture that's a lot about self-made and self-reliance, but it takes a village in reality. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t have to be these huge acts. Remember, the people that we see in the media or we see out in front and on top, they have a whole group of people holding them up. Let’s not forget about that. That’s what it makes me think about. I don’t know if you see this, but I would probably guess you do. I see so many people who are either trying to escape the past and run towards the future that they never realize how much they have accomplished at this moment. They never have a moment of gratitude to say, “This moment I have co-created is a product of so many of my dreams and desires and wants from the past. Here I am. Thank you.”
It’s interesting you say that because I certainly know those people and I believe I’ve been one myself. I would compare it to chasing your shadow. Remember as a kid when you’re trying to chase it, you’re never going to catch it, but it’s always right there with you. It’s the same thing with happiness or wanting to be in a better place that we chase all of these other things. If we stopped, it’s right inside of us. Our shadow is right there all the time. It’s not going anywhere.
I have to tell you, I know this isn’t my podcast, but I’m going to take over for a second. One thing I love about talking to you, and maybe the audience will resonate with this, but it is so refreshing to hear this kind of insight from a man. I don’t know if you’ve ever been told that before or felt that, but it is very refreshing. A lot of times when we talk, especially about vulnerability, when we talk about gratitude, when we talk about finding inner peace, these are things that we often hear from women who are deemed like a little bit touchy, feely. I love that you bring that to the table. That’s powerful.
I will tell you, it was not always this way. I will often say that when I go in and do workshops, especially around emotional intelligence and the room that I might be in might be primarily males. I will say that as males, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that don’t exist. That has forced us to be tough and rugged and all of this stuff. I grew up playing sports. I was a bouncer in college at a bar. I did all of those. I realized that when all was said and done that it was my own insecurity that I tried to prop up through a lot of that bravado. It was my insecurity. Once I started to realize that, it was like it’s exhausting to play that role.
It’s tiring. We were saying earlier before we started, it’s so much easier to be yourself. I want to say something though this emotional intelligence piece and understanding how to interact and engage with individuals. It’s my belief that what I put out into the world, what I’m sharing with the world is an expression of my inner world. My outer world, how I talk to you, how I appear in the world, what I share, what I do as an expression of my inner beliefs, my inner thoughts and what has brought me to this moment. When we are working with individuals and we are trying to understand them and we’re trying to understand their perspectives and where they’re coming from. When we are feeling maybe a little offended by things that they’ve said or we’re feeling challenged, remember that all everyone is doing is giving you an outer expression of their inner reality. Does that make sense?
That makes complete sense. This is a whole separate episode that we need to do on this because I truly believe that. Talking about biases. We create biases on other people in terms of how we perceive somebody. We don’t know anything about them. I would say that we’re like icebergs. We only see about 10% of the other person. We don’t know the 90% that is their own backstory of why they behave the way that they do. That’s not to make excuses for people, but if we don’t come to this place of trying to understand that because you’re different than me. Rather than me judge you as being a bad person, for all I know, if I had to experience where you were, I would be in a worse place than you are now.
To that point, I want to say a lot of my work is with women and there are some very real issues and differences that women face in the workplace, of course. I want to say this. If you are an individual or a woman, or it doesn’t matter, you can be anyone, who keeps experiencing the same problem over and over like a broken record and it’s the same situation. It’s the same problem. Let’s use a concrete example. You always jumped to, “They must not respect me because I’m a woman. They must think I’m less than because I’m a woman.” If that’s a repeating thought for you that happens over and over no matter where you go and who you’re talking to, you’re the common denominator.
What does that say about the thoughts in your head about how you talk to yourself? I say that from a place of experience because I spent many years in the corporate world being told by male bosses in Silicon Valley, I needed to smile more. I needed to be nicer. I needed to soften my language. I needed to tone it down. It bothered me. It seemed like no matter where I went as a full-time employee, I would attract that. I would find these people. Eventually, I said, “I’m the common denominator. The only thing I can do is change my experience.” That’s when I started consulting and everything changed. I want to talk about why was that happening to me? Why did I keep confronting these men who kept telling me I wasn’t okay as I naturally am?
My belief is that that’s because there was a little inner critic inside my head who was saying the same thing and was looking for confirmation of that in my external reality. I went to go find it. I found it. A very strong belief that Laura, you’re not good enough. You’re too much. You can never be successful. Until I broke the cycle by leaving the full-time world and stepping into my leadership qualities and saying, “F-you inner critic,” that’s when it all changed. Suddenly, I was praised for being bold, determined, and confident. I never came across it again.
In the coaching and you probably have your own word for it, but as I was going through those, it’s called the saboteur. It was that person in your head that’s saying, “You can’t do this,” or whatever that might be. Even when we think we’ve put up the façade that nobody sees it, it bleeds out of us. We fool ourselves into thinking it’s not there. I totally agree with that. As we wrap this thing up, what’s the best way for people to get ahold of you, Laura?It is wise to not be a victim of your history, but a master of your destiny. Click To Tweet
There’s a couple of ways. The first is to come and join me on the podcast Brave By Design. We talk about how ambitious women and allies can rise and thrive. We have lots of topics and I’m angling now to get Patrick on the show so you can enjoy more of us together over there. You can also find me at BraveByDesign.net and join our Facebook community where I go live every Wednesday at noon Eastern.
This has been such a joy to have this conversation. I appreciate this.
Thanks so much for having me.
Thanks. Take care.
As you can see, Laura is the force of badassery. She gave so many valuable observations and recommendations in terms of how do we build courage as well as how do we create an environment where we’re for others and being of service to others? One of the questions that stands out to me is simply asking, “How can I help today?” If more of us focus on that of thinking what can I do to help others, we will be in such a better place going forward. My guess is you know somebody that you think would be interested in listening to this show and I’d ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t subscribed already, I’d ask that you do that. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode because that’s how this message continues to get out there. Together, we will be reimagining what leadership looks like. Until our next episode, I hope you are able to go out there and rise above your best.
About Laura Khalil
I’m a two-time entrepreneur, keynote speaker, teacher and podcaster focused on helping women achieve incredible success in their careers and lives.
I struggled in the corporate world for years, before starting my own consulting business. That’s when I realized that all the traits that had penalized me as an individual contributor were actually my greatest assets as a leader!
You don’t need to change yourself to be successful.
If you feel like you keep hitting a wall (or glass ceiling), I’ll show you how to leverage who you are to build influence with the right people and power over your life to do the incredible things I know you’re capable of sharing with the world.
The founder and host of Screw The Naysayers Podcast, Tim Alison, joins Patrick Veroneau in this episode to share his life’s story and talk about his legacy project. As he aged, Tim realized the most important things in life, and he talks about them in detail here. Learn why it’s important to have the courage to live the life you want and have no regrets in your later years. Know the signals you need to watch out for that triggers opportunities for you to make significant changes in your life. He also gives a reminder on how to use your time wisely in figuring out what’s important to you and gives some amazing life tips on what to expect when you put in the time and effort with good intent.
Listen to the podcast here:
Tim Alison Discusses Why You Need To Screw The Naysayers
If you’ve ever had somebody around that’s told you that you can’t do something or maybe he has said it about yourself that you talk yourself out of doing something, then this episode is for you. I had the great honor of interviewing a friend and a mentor of mine, Tim Alison, who hosts a wildly successful podcast called Screw The Naysayers. Before that, he had several other successful businesses. What we’re going to talk about is how to get over either our own negative self-talk or this negative self-talk that somebody puts in our head about why we can’t do something. If ever there was a time, if you want it to make a shift, this may be it.
Tim, I want to thank you for being on the show. In the amount of time that I’ve known you, I’ve gained so much respect for you and you’ve been a mentor to me on many levels. To have you on as a guest with the environment that we’re in is important. I was hoping you could talk about your journey, where you started out and how you’ve gotten to where you are because there’s a lot in there that I think a lot of people could gain value from.
First of all, Patrick thanks for having me on. It’s an honor to be here. I guess most people tend to think of my story starting in my late twenties. I was doing what a lot of people were doing at the time that was chasing the bell at the top of the corporate ladder or whatever is hanging in there as hard as I was. I was successful from the outside looking in the poster trial for what success was supposed to look like for people of my generation. At the age of 31, I was in the top 2% of wagers in the country. On the surface, I had everything I’d set out to get.
I was married. I had two kids. I had a house backing onto a park in the City of Toronto and when you have income in Toronto, it’s a wonderful buzz then but it was a wonderful place to live but I was miserable. I no longer blame it on the job. It was my inability to manage the job. I take all the ownership. There are a lot of people that did well and excelled in those kinds of jobs but I couldn’t balance it all. I was still learning how to be a husband, a father, and everything else. At the same time, I was trying to kick ass and I was so driven to be at the top of the heap and to move up as fast as I can.
Long story short, I quit. Not only did I quit but my wife and I, and our two kids moved from Toronto up to a little rural fishing village in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s a tiny little community where my wife has roots that go back on 250 years. Back in 1988, these hands were not a guarantee of much business success because mostly everybody was working on fishing boats and many still. That’s still our primary income around here or in the woods or in construction. Men had a good solid blue-collar, hard work and jobs and I have a world of respect for everybody who does those jobs and my friends are living around here, but it wasn’t for me. I started an educational software company.
I remember clearly this conversation where I went to meet with the economic development officer for the province of Nova Scotia. I drove up to Halifax, which was a three-hour drive. I sat down with him and I explained what I was planning to do and that I was going to start this company in this little fishing village. We were going to sell software and he leaned back in his recliner, he crossed his arms, he shook his head and these are his exact words. He said, “Your business will never succeed in that community.” This guy was getting paid to encourage economic development in the province. We did okay and I’ve been here for many years. I’m self-employed every single year.
You’re being modest in terms of you did okay. How okay did you do?The only thing we regret as we get older is the things we didn't try. Click To Tweet
We had about $10 million in sales. It took us about 4 or 5 years to hit the seven-digit line and then from there it ran quickly. We did that for eighteen years. It’s like a lot of industries. Here’s one of the things that people don’t think about as entrepreneurs, sometimes businesses run their cycle and I had caught a niche. I was right in the early days of computer-based training. By the early 2000s, it was going through quite a change and massive publishers. People like Pearson Publishing would buy Simon & Schuster, who would then buy all these software companies, mostly with the intent of closing them because they didn’t like the competition that all of the software was bringing to the industry. The technology was changing so fast that I remember building the last product that we created and I had co-produced it with Houghton Mifflin publishing company. I sold it to them for not a whole lot of money at that stage, but we’d had an amazing eighteen-year run and at that time our kids where either out of the university or off to college. I’m on my fourth business and in this day and age would screw the naysayers.
You mentioned at least your first example of a naysayer when you went official from economic development. What was that like leaving there because I think that’s an important lesson for people?
I’m always cautious at this stage when I’m thinking back that many years to make sure I’m not just remembering what I want to remember as opposed to what happened. It does happen. I’m upfront to acknowledge it, but honestly, it bounces off me. I thought you don’t know what you’re talking about. I did not have a clear vision and I know that everybody will say, “You got to have the vision to know exactly where you’re going.” I didn’t have a clue. What I knew was that I was good at sales. I knew that for my time, I was one of the most well-informed people in Canada when it came to educational technologies, not in terms of building it but when I saw educational technology, I could tell you what was good about it, what could be improved, what needed to be improved or if it was crap. I had built a lot of relationships.
I did that on the one side. I was confident in my ability to do something and then the flip side was that we were so determined. My vision in those days was about my family and it was about that we’re not getting dragged out of this community. This is where we want to live. We built our house. It’s on the land that had been in the family forever and that was my determination. If you’d have asked me in those early days, what was my business going to look like or if it suggested to me that I would end up selling $10 million worth of software in an education marketplace, I would’ve said you’re crazy. I started the business selling the corporations and helping them set up. Back in those days, they were called information centers. They put on computers to teach their staff how to use computers for the most part. That’s the way the technology started. I ended up doing okay there but I made all my serious money in the field of adult literacy education, literacy numeracy education for selling to schools, colleges, and nonprofits.
You have a quote on your website, Screw the Naysayers that says, “Know the life you want and have the courage to live it.”
That came to my mind in about 2005 when I was writing my first book. It did sum up the message that I had then, and I still have for everybody that’s out there in particular young people, but I’m realizing now it applies to all ages, whatever your belief system is. Most of us believe that at least on planet earth here, we’re getting one trip through. There are certainly others that have different views, but I think it’s such a shame if we don’t go for the things that we want. I think about how my life changed when we decided that we were going to come down here and moved to Nova Scotia and the friendships that I made. There’s no sign of humanity out of this window.
There’re no power lines or anything. Even now, many of our young people leave these communities and it’s true in every rural community. They’re leaving not because they want to leave the community, but because they don’t think they can get the economic opportunity. Whereas my goals in the early days were centered on solidifying my family’s ability to stay. I’d say within about 4 or 5 years, my vision had evolved to my purpose, which was about inspiring and educating other people on the fact that you don’t have to move to accommodate somebody else’s vision of what success should look like. For some people that means moving to a different community, it might be in a different career. It might be getting the perspective that you need to prosper in your current career.
Whatever age you are, try now. At my age, there’s a study on happiness that I wish everybody would have a look at it. It’s from a lady named Jennifer Aaker and she’s a psychologist at Stanford University and she had identified five stages of happiness. She did it based on her research team. They went out and they studied millions of blogs and things that were in the public domain. They searched for words that were associated with happiness, sadness, and those kinds of things. They looked at ages and stuff like that and what she identified were five stages that everybody moves through at different paces and at different times.
The fifth one, which is the last one. I’m old enough and I filter into that stage. I pulled myself back. The last stage is savoring. That’s when we start to look in the rear-view mirror and we think about the life we’ve lived and we start asking, “Did we do the things that we want to do?” What I can tell you now is I’ve had failures. Everybody has lived life and had failures. I’ve had a life of taking a lot of risks and things like that. I don’t even think about them when I look in the rear-view mirror. I’m largely satisfied because what I look at, I see that there were things that I wanted and we when we went for it, but there are a lot of awful people my age and older.
They’re now looking back and say, “I stuck at something that I wasn’t enjoying.” “I was afraid to try something because I couldn’t convince myself that it was possible. I refuse to believe in the possibilities.” People regret it. The only thing we regret as we get older is the things we didn’t try. Nobody will tell you that they regretted trying something that didn’t work out. It’s been my mantra for years or probably my whole life. That’s the purpose behind Screw the Naysayers and everything that I do these days.
You may have heard of this as well as a book that was published and it was The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. It was a woman that had started a blog that was a hospice worker. What she did was she was interviewing people as she was going around in their homes and asking them, “What are the things that you wished you had done?” One of them is I wish I had taken more risks when I was younger. I think it’s Les Brown that I heard him say once that most people die in their 20s or 30s, but they’re not buried until they’re in their 70s.
Just think of the number of people that we know who are 40 years old and already counting down the days to retirement and saying, “I can’t quit the job.” Here’s the thing that happens, especially for people but I’m not telling everybody that works in a corporate job that you’re stupid. People make their own choices. What I observe in the corporate space is that people get to a certain stage and in the early days, were motivated by promotions, by progression and by increasing our salary. It’s all external based things but they are achievements and they are enough even if we’re not enjoying the job.
A lot of people wake up in their late 30s or early 40s and that pyramid in the organization has gotten awfully small. All of a sudden, there aren’t any more progressions there for them or they’re not willing to do what you would require in order to get to that next stage. Now you’re sitting there saying, “I’m making $200,000. I got all these bills. I have my pension tied up here. I can’t.” You can. You might not like the short-term consequences, but if you write that out for another 25 years, you’re not going to like that anymore. You are liking in a lot less, once you get to that age.
You know some of this story from the work that we had done was worked in an environment that was much around in the biotech industry that many people were financially making multiple six-figure incomes. The majority of them are unhappy with what they’re doing, but feel as though, “What do I do? I don’t know what else to do and financially, where am I going to go that’s going to provide me with this type of security?” It was difficult on one level to step away from that and on the other end knowing, “I’m never going to be happy if I stay in this world.”Know the life you want and have the courage to live it. It's such a shame if we don't actually go for the things that we really want. Click To Tweet
It’s the same thing for me. In 1988, 31-year-old kids didn’t quit. I was in the top 2% of wage earners in the entire country in those days. I hesitate to say this, but I’ll put it in perspective. In today’s dollars, I would have been making about $375,000 a year as a 31-year-old kid. People didn’t quit those things and I’m not saying that was easy. What I will say in hindsight is there are some things that you simply cannot put a price on like time with your family and your mental health. I talked to people on my show all the time and you do it too or we meet them elsewhere. It’s a recipe for heart attack. It’s a recipe for divorce. For a lot of people, it takes that infrastructure rattling event. I know what’s going on now isn’t going to get fixed real fast. Big infrastructure, rattling events, is so hard for us to see it at the moment. They present the biggest opportunities for us to make significant changes in our life.
When I look at the people that I’ve had on my show like Marcus Aurelius Anderson, he was preparing to go overseas with the US Infantry and had a training accident. He spent his 40th birthday in the hospital, paralyzed from the waist down, divorced, broke, had died twice on the operating table and the doctor said to him, “You’ll never walk again.” That guy is now going across the country, he’s one of the most inspirational, informative speakers you could ever get in a room. He studies martial arts under one of Bruce Lee’s disciples. He’s mobile and moving around and all these things. We see these big examples. I’m concerned a bit. I think people need to realize that it’s not the superheroes that can do this. Every day, people are making these kinds of changes all the time. I do also know that when you get to 40, 50 or 60, when we look in the rear-view mirror and start thinking about what’s gone on and the pivotal moments, if somebody says, “What was the pivotal moment, Patrick?”
Most of the time we’re going to point at something which at the time we wanted to wish away. I’m sure Marcus would have given anything not to have been in that accident. Now he’s written a book called The Gift of Adversity and says it’s the best because it woke him up and he said, “I’ve wasted 40 years of my life.” This is a guy who was serving in the US Military and taking on some dangerous missions and I’m thinking, “That’s not wasted.” He says, “You don’t get it. I was going through life, taking things for granted. I wasn’t JT McCormick would say that when he lost his first million that I realized that I was becoming like my father. I wasn’t respecting the people around me and all these kinds of things.” I hear these things over and over again. Take control of it yourself or the universe is likely going to do one of two things for you, either kill your spirit or cause something bad to happen. I was talking to Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul and he was saying, “Stop looking at the challenge, look at the opportunities.” Mark Victor Hansen, who is the co-writer of that series with Jack. This guy’s got a lot of credibility.
He’s done some incredibly amazing things aside from co-authoring books that have sold 500 million copies, but he says the twenties are going to make the roaring twenties from 1900, the last century that people hear look like nothing. He feels that with the technological advancements that are there, that we’re sitting on the cusp as hard as it is to see some of the biggest innovations and the biggest positive change that mankind’s ever seen. If we’re at home and we’ve got time if we take this chance to ask the question, “What’s going on right now? What problems are existing in this world that I would do I care about? How can I help somebody solve that problem?” Now you might be helping them solve it for free or whatever. It doesn’t matter in the short-term unless you’re starving. The opportunities are there. It’s mentally tough and I get it. The mindset’s always been important but I think now more than ever, the people that can focus the next ten years, as long as we come out of this with our family and loved ones, healthy and safe, we know some won’t and I never would minimize that. The rest of us can’t live in fear. Dig because there’s something there.
It makes me think of a couple of different things. One is we are at historic levels in terms of unemployment because of this. Many of those jobs may not return and it is an opportunity for people to reflect and say, “What do I want the next chapter of this to be?” I’m a firm believer in what you talk about. One of the episodes that I did, which was a solo episode, I talked about the three deaths in my life that I continue to learn from. That was the death of my parents at a young age, the death of a marriage, and the death of a career. Each one of those things in their own places, I would not want to revisit any one of those, but I wouldn’t be who I am now if it wasn’t for all three of those.
It’s going to be the same for everybody. There are going to be these moments for younger generations 30 and under, this is the first time you’ve ever been presented with this global opportunity. When I hear people say it’s unprecedented, it is. This rapid unemployment hasn’t been seen since the depression, but it’s not unprecedented. It did happen in the oppression. I was in the Royal Bank Tower, which is the largest bank in Canada on a Black Monday in 1987 prior to was the single biggest drop in the Dow Jones, the TSX, and all the major exchanges in a single day. If that office tower’s window were open that day, people would have been jumping out like they did a night 1929. We lived through 9/11. We lived through the Dot-com crash. We’ve lived through the 2008 financial crisis. It feels by scope bigger.
I know that we’ve seen massive changes and massive problems before. Out of every one of those changes, we’ve seen people prosper. The choice people have to make is a choice. Are you going to spend your time binge-watching Netflix, drowning your sorrows in a bottle, or whatever your source of inspiration or that failed attempt at inspiration? Are you going to use the time to reflect, use our time alone a bit to figure out what’s important to us? Look around us as well. I think there’s going to be lots of opportunities for local businesses. Everybody’s focused on building these global empires. I don’t know this is going to come to a sense of community and figure out what people are going to want to change and even around employment.
One thing I would also add, like some of those jobs may not exist. I got a newsflash for a lot of employers. There’s a whole lot of employees that aren’t going to want to come back. There’s a whole lot of employees that have been doing their work at home who are going to say, “I don’t mind if you want to let me keep doing this and wearing my casual clothes and all that. If you want me to do the two-hour commute every day and report for duty and salute you, then no.” It’s going to be a big change. It’s going to come at a pace that we need to be ready mentally and physically.
It reminds me of a quote Abraham Lincoln once said, “One can succeed is evidence that it’s available to all of them.”
I keep bringing on all these inspiring guests but there’s such a tendency in society to say, “That’s Jack Canfield.” Jack came from nothing. His parents are long gone but he didn’t have a lot of respect for the attitudes, the negativity, and everything else that he grew up around. Somebody I know that’s crushed it, they weren’t handed to it. We’re born into it. They’ve got two legs, two arms, most of them, not all of them, most of them had a brain. Nobody knows. I’ve carved out this life. I’m telling you what education from top to bottom, you got parents sitting at home realizing, “The kids don’t have to be in front of the teachers and the teachers are not doing that great.” Some of the teachers that I’m hearing are doing a better job Zooming their kids so they weren’t in front of the classroom. No offense to the teachers, but the system they’re in is badly broken that it needs to be destroyed.
How about the colleges that are still charging the full weight and everybody’s sitting at home doing it on their own? We know that that sector has been ready for massive disruption. It’s got to happen here. I think people are going to say not to mention the fact that in the short-term, there’s a whole lot of investment portfolios that were put in place to try and pay for education and stuff like that that have taken a pretty significant hit. My advice to people is to think long and hard. If your son or daughter wants to be a doctor, a scientist, those kinds of things by all means. They are leaning at all towards the future of jobs seems to be in self-employment, to be honest. How many of us are going to be working for ourselves in another ten years, Patrick? Not at all are sure that traditional education is the way to go.
There’s a tagline that I will often use in some of the work that I’m doing with youth at times, but it resonates with adults as well is this idea that your past is your power. As it relates to your past, anything that you think about from where you are that you would look where you can trace that and say, “My past is my power.”
It goes all the way back to my childhood. I was born with brittle bones and it’s like having osteoporosis for life. My bones did not absorb calcium well. As a kid, I probably had fifteen broken legs by the time I was fifteen years old. I spent most of my childhood in white plaster casts. I’m the guy who couldn’t get a date to the senior prom. I guess it turns out that girls in high school are not all that turned on by the hunk of a guy that’s on crutches all the time and hopefully, maybe some of that’s changed now. At that time, I hated it. It took me a long time to understand the gift that it gave me. The question I used to get so often is, “How did you find the courage to quit that job and do what you did against all the advice and putting the financial future of your family and everything else at risk?” It didn’t feel risky to me. I realized now that for a long time, my risk filter people said, “You’ve got a much higher risk tolerance.” I do when it comes to money.
It doesn’t mean I don’t respect money. I like money a lot and I’m careful because when I’m presented with something and I think I would like to do that. That sounds fun. That’s something that would align with my values that would be meaningful. The risk filter that I’m paying the most attention is a simple question. What are the odds of me ending up in the hospital meeting surgery for a broken bone or something? Most of the time in life, we’re fortunate enough not to have to be faced with that risk and it allowed me not to freak out. The other thing I’ve learned in business is if you put in your time and your effort with an open heart and with good intent, you always get paid for what you do, but you don’t always get paid at the same time you’re putting in the effort. There are times when you’re working your butt off and you’re not making money or an idea didn’t work and you think, “There’s $50,000 that I’ve spent a year in my time.”You should be working not only for the money but freedom of lifestyle. Click To Tweet
It’s not gone. You’ve put it out into the universe. You’ve learned all this stuff, but you’re going to get over doing something else, and then all of a sudden that thing’s going to hit. That thing only hit because of what you did before and it’s the same in the sales game. Somebody can be sitting in the office and you get a phone call, “That’s a Bluebird. I haven’t talked to Joe in two years.” Except for those two years you talked to Joe ten times that you forget these things. I don’t want to say put our head down and grinding because I’m not a believer in that, but it is about persevering. The other question I get is how did my business succeed against all those odds when almost all of the other businesses in this community and in this province that started the same year as me are long gone? I can’t tell you because I don’t know what they did. I don’t know that I did anything special as a business person, but I know the one thing I didn’t do is I didn’t quit.
I found a way to persevere and it doesn’t mean I didn’t pivot and change tactics. I don’t believe in just doing the same thing over and over again. If it’s not working, you got to figure something else out. There was no quit in me. I was not going to give up on the dream of living here in Nova Scotia and raising our family here and inspiring other people to do the same. If you can find your north star, if people could figure out what that is, then you’ll go through walls and it’s not near as painful. If you’re agonizing about maybe that job’s not coming back and you’re worried about how you’re going to support yourself, it’s wasted energy.
What you need to do is to say, “What’s my north star? What would I be willing to fight for? What do I feel so strongly about that I’ll do what I need to do?” Our human mind has such capacity that if we could figure out it was Michael Hyatt when he was talking about vision. When he was saying that if the vision is strong enough, do you on anybody else you’re working with are leading the human mind, they’ll find a way to make it happen and it’s true. What happens is that most people, if they’re refocused on, “I need to make money to support my family.” That is it of itself isn’t going to drive you enough because you’ll be aware that there are other ways of doing it. You got to find that north star.
To me, it’s almost the difference between willpower and why power. That will power is it can wane out whereas if you have why power, that’s to me is that star that keeps you.
There is the occasional exception. Ruben Gonzalez, an Olympic athlete is one guy I think to have that pure willpower of never quitting, but almost everybody else that I know it is. It’s why. People sit there and say, “I don’t know what my why is.” Don’t overcomplicate it. If you get back and think about the things that you care about, those are the things you fight for and that you want others to have. Also don’t be afraid to put yourself first, because that’s the other thing. When I talk to entrepreneurs, especially early-stage entrepreneurs, I’ll ask them, “What do you hope to achieve with your business?” Almost everybody’s going to have some version of, “I want to have an impact.”
Good for you. I want to have an impact too, but that in and of itself isn’t going to get you out of bed on the days when you’re discouraged, the news is all bad and your spouse has gotten depressed about something and everything seems to be closing in or your partner. It doesn’t work. What would get you out of bed is something internal. What’s in it for you? What’s in it for you is to be able to have freedom of lifestyle, independence to make sure you can control your calendar and spend time with your kids. Put that right in a Post-It Note in your forehead and say, “That’s what I’m working for. I’m not working just for the money I’m working for these things.”
Tim, thank you so much for taking the time. You are someone I’ve grown to have a great deal of respect for, I love what you’re doing now and I’m glad you had the opportunity to share your experiences and inspiration to help other people find a way that in this challenge, we can all grow from this.
Thank you for having me. The respect is coming right back at you.
Tim Alison is the man. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to his podcast, you’re missing out. It is one of the best podcasts out there in terms of the interviews and the guests that he has. I have learned so much listening to that podcast. In regards to his story and how you can find success in your own life, there were many things that you can draw from that. If you know somebody that you think might be interested in this, I’d ask you forwarded on to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment about this or any other issue because that is how this message of helping each other to rise above our best and to lead like no other happens. Until then, I hope you’re able to do both. Peace.
- Screw The Naysayers
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
- Marcus Aurelius Anderson
- The Gift of Adversity
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
About Tim Alison
Entrepreneur who has started and scaled four businesses. At the age of 31 Tim walked away from one of the highest paying sales jobs in the country, moved to a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia Canada, and started an educational software company. The naysayers laughed. They stopped laughing when his sales topped $10 million.
Profit Whisperer for bricks and mortar businesses where I specialize in helping business owners identify opportunities for improved financial outcomes.
Host and Executive Producer Of The Screw The Naysayers Podcast where I have interviewed and amplified the voices of guests from around the globe including the likes of Jack Canfield, Seth Godin, John Perkins and an eclectic mix of Thought Leaders, WSJ and NYT Best Selling Authors, CEO’s,Olympians, Paralympians, Professional Athletes and other women and men who have overcome great adversity. All are seeking to change the world.
Harvard Speaker, 2019 Women of Inspiration award winner in the Support Her category
Featured in CBC, CTV, Macleans, Globe and Mail, Halifax Chronicle Herald, and more.
More than we gave them credit for, our emotions guide the decisions we make, the behaviors that we demonstrate, and our ability to perform. Yet, not many of us are aware of how they impact our day-to-day lives. Patrick Veroneau continues the series on doubling down on emotional intelligence by discussing the need for self-awareness. He shares some exercises that will help develop the level of self-awareness that can best serve us and those around us.
Listen to the podcast here:
Doubling Down On Emotional Intelligence: The Need For Self-Awareness
In an earlier episode, I talked about doubling down on emotional intelligence and said that I was going to make a series out of them, and this is the second in that series. We’re going to talk about self-awareness and how important that is in terms of developing a foundation for emotional intelligence. Now is the time to double down at least on understanding what is it in regards to emotional intelligence. I bet you’ll be surprised to find that you’re probably doing a lot of the things now, you just didn’t realize that’s what it was called or that was the impact of it. This series of workshops is going to help to uncover that based on work that I’ve done for over a decade now in this space with many organizations, individuals, and teams.
This emotional intelligence episode is about developing self-awareness. I’ve been playing a lot with this idea of emotional intelligence, and also to me, flipping it around to see if this is about being intelligently emotional. I think that helps some people out there that maybe connect to this in a way that doesn’t feel so fluffy or kumbaya, even though I know it’s not, it’s a strong skill. It’s something that I’ve had an opportunity and the benefit of working with since 2008 formally. If I look back on my career before that, it was about understanding or not understanding what emotional intelligence was formally. Certainly, knowing that if I were to trace back where I was successful and unsuccessful, it would come back to when I behaved in ways that were either emotionally intelligent or emotionally unintelligent. That’s what this episode will be.
We’ll look at self-awareness. What is self-awareness? Self-awareness is just about being in touch or having a good sense of who we are. What are the drivers, what are the triggers that we have? It comes down to emotions and values. When we’re dealing with emotions, they impact the decisions we make, the behaviors that we demonstrate, and our ability to perform, our level of performance. All three of those are impacted by emotions. If that’s the case, then why wouldn’t I want to be aware of what are those things? This episode looks to say, “How can I get better at understanding that?” This is a muscle.
What’s also important here to recognize is that self-awareness, like emotional intelligence, just because you’re self-aware, or you know somebody that’s self-aware, that’s not the end game. To start, hopefully, but it’s not the end game, because I will tell you in my experience, unfortunately, over the years, I have run across several individuals that I would say were very self-aware. Unfortunately, they were self-aware that they were not nice people, and they were self-aware that they were going to behave in certain ways, regardless of how it impacted somebody else. That’s not the kind of self-awareness that we’re aiming for here.Self-awareness is just about being in touch or having a good sense of who we are and the drivers and triggers we have. Click To Tweet
The first exercise that you can do in regards to developing this level of self-awareness is to Google emotions, and you’ll come up with a list. Print out that list and then go through it, and on that list, write next to each one of those behaviors, either positive, negative, or neutral, and then take the top three. The top three that are positive, the top three that are negative, and maybe three that you think are neutral. From there, what we want to do, as an example, if I were looking at a list that I’ve used before, I might have some things on there, admired, fortunate, safe, insecure, sad, frustrated, optimistic, angry, appreciated, understood, respected.
On that list I’d write down is it positive, is it negative or is it neutral? Next to each one of those, from there, what I want to do is, what events typically cause these? If I look back and say, “What workplace events, what home events, whatever that might be, typically make me angry? What workplace events or what events in general, make me feel respected? What are the events that I generally get frustrated in? What are the ones that are positive that I feel fortunate about?” Whatever those are, it’s going to be important as we go through this. What we’re going to do next is take a look and say, from emotions were there any tied to values?
You could simply Google “values” and you’re going to come up with a list. I would, again, challenge you, take three to five of those that are your top values. It might be trust, integrity, humility, competence, recognition, honesty, leadership, whatever those are, and then look to how those impact you and your own life. What I mean by that is, again, you’re doing a connect the dots exercise here. What I would ask you to do is take whatever that value is, and then write your definition of that value. What does that value personally mean to you?
If we’re looking at this from a workplace setting, look and ask yourself, or answer this question. What are workplace events that result in positive emotions associated with this value are? Write those up. Next, what are workplace events that result in negative emotions associated with that value? What you’re going to start to see is that there are connections here that probably happen more than we think. It’s not until we take a step back and start connecting the dots, we realize that we’ve got triggers. Generally, they come from what our values are.
The next part of this exercise is to answer this question saying, “Decisions I sometimes make when these events and emotions arise include behaviors I sometimes display to others when these events and emotions arise are.” Lastly, “Strategies I could implement to optimize my emotions around this value include.” What you’re doing here is you’re doing a very simple exercise of starting to connect emotions with values. From there, you can start to look and say, “When I do that, how do those things affect the decisions I make, the behaviors I demonstrate, and how I perform?” You’ll start to see that there are triggers.
This is part of developing that self-awareness muscle. What we’re trying to do is if I know that recognition is something important to me, and all of a sudden, I start feeling angry in a conversation or frustrated, and I know that I’m in a situation where that value is being threatened. What I can then start to do is what are some alternative approaches I can now take so that I control both my decisions and behaviors that in the past, maybe they were positive, or maybe they were not in terms of how I reacted to this. That’s the whole process here in regards to first understanding self-awareness. This is our foundation.
I hope you found this helpful, and I’m looking forward to the next webinar on developing emotional intelligence that will look at emotional expression, how do we take whatever the emotions are, and how do we effectively display those to other people. That can be so important in terms of helping other people to understand who we are, and it builds a level of connection and trust which we all need to be more effective in terms of our working and personal relationships.
If you know somebody that might benefit from this episode, I ask you to forward it 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 on this or any other episode that you’ve read. Until our next episode, we’ll talk about emotional self-expression. I hope you’re able to do two things, one is lead like no other, and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.