Why It’s Time To Double Down On Developing Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors – Episode 087

LFL 87 | Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors


The ability to identify and develop emotionally intelligent behaviors is key for personal and organizational success. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau talks about the origins of emotional intelligence and the behaviors that develop emotionally intelligent responses. With anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger rampant during a time of disruption, finding ways to manage these things is key as you enter a new type of normalcy. Get to know these need to have skills you have to develop to help yourself and everyone around you. Tune in as Patrick takes a deep dive into EQ and the ways it can be improved.

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Why It’s Time To Double Down On Developing Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors

In this episode, we’re going to talk about emotional intelligence and the origins behind it and why it works. This will be a series of workshops because what we’ll do is, we’ll break down each one of the behaviors that help to develop emotionally intelligent responses. That is important in the environment that we’re living in. If you didn’t think emotional intelligence was something that was relevant or important, my hope is that your outlook on this has changed because if you live in the world that most of us were living in that it is filled with anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger.

Unless we find ways to manage that either in ourselves or also in our ability to help others, we’re going to be in difficult situations as we start to re-enter with some normalcy. This is not nice to have a skill. It’s a need to have a skill going forward. There’s a lot of research that demonstrates why it’s important. As you know, this is the lead like no other show where I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other and to rise above our best and it starts with ourselves. Let’s get into it.

Emotional Quotient

As I mentioned, this show will be the first in a series that we’ll explore, take a deep dive into emotional intelligence. What I want to do is to set the stage for why emotional intelligence is important. We’ll explore what is emotional intelligence or EI. Why is it important? Another thing that’s important to look at is, can it be improved? Can I improve my emotional intelligence? We’ll look at some research there as well as what does the research overall tells us about EI? The goal through this series of shows is to help you identify the skills that you can use, whether at home or at work, understand how the skills improve your effectiveness.

When you finish reading this blog, you’ll be able to have some tangible or actionable items that you can walk away with and you can start to develop this muscle yourself. When we first talk about it and say, what is emotional intelligence or emotional quotient? It’s our ability to perceive, understand, and manage both our emotions and the emotions of those around us. What it looks at to me in the work that I’ve been involved with is, there’s a connection between our emotions and how we behave, make decisions, and perform. That’s the simplest way that we can look at this.

If we think about it this way that my emotion if I’m angry, how I behave, the decisions I might make, and how I perform in that situation or if I’m anxious, frustrated, scared, stressed versus if I am in a positive place of feeling confident, happy, whatever that might be. How I am in each of those sections is going to be different? I’m going to perform differently if I’m confident versus if I’m scared. I’m going to make different decisions as well. The important thing here is to know that EI can be developed but it takes work and time, but it’s well worth that. As I said, this is not a nice to have. It’s a need to have. When we first looked at emotional intelligence, the belief is that it was conceptualized in around 1990 by two researchers, one named Peter Salovey and the other was Jack Mayer.

What’s interesting here is in 1998, Harvard Business Review had an article on emotional intelligence and it was the most requested reprint in 40 years which I find fascinating that we have a business journal that the most highly requested article is on emotional intelligence. To me, that speaks volumes about the piece that has been missing organizationally for decades is leaders and individuals understanding the impact and importance of developing emotionally intelligent behaviors. It’s not to say that it’s the panacea, but it certainly is not a soft skill. Developing emotionally intelligent behaviors is the strongest skill. I believe that you can develop or refine because it has many different aspects. Many different areas that benefit an individual in an organization. In 2002, Daniel Goleman had a book that he had written in 1995, that it became the most widely read social science book in the world. What we also find is that emotional intelligence is increasingly being used throughout the armed services. It’s also being added to business schools and medical schools as part of their curriculum. It has a wide-reaching impact. When we think about emotions, they play such a large role in our outward displays in our emotions. They help define our tone of voice that we might use. Are we sarcastic? Are we angry? Our body language, are we folding our arms? Are we tapping our fingers? Things like our facial expressions, smirks, rolling eyes, what are we doing with our body?

Improving Emotional Intelligence

How do we control those things? How do we read those things in other people? That’s part of this perception of understanding where other people are. You might be thinking, “Why is it important to improve emotional intelligence?” There were numerous studies in a number of different areas. A couple of that I’ll mention, one is work. That’s been looked at in terms of improved workgroup effectiveness. Its ability to reduce stress, burnout. We see this a lot in healthcare that it can be beneficial there. Increased job satisfaction and employee engagement. There’s a lot of research. One article that I was reading, that was a study that looked at those that had higher levels of emotional intelligent behaviors tended to rate themselves their jobs as being more satisfied in the roles that they were in. It also has a benefit in terms of increased customer satisfaction and increases sales revenue.

Developing emotionally intelligent behaviors is the strongest skill you can develop or refine. Click To Tweet

My background was in biotech sales for about fifteen years. As I look back on my success in that area and the connections that I made, I believe that it was a direct result of my ability to develop emotional intelligent behaviors. Reading and understanding the situations that I was in helped me not to mislead or take advantage of people but understand the connection there and what was important. Lastly, we know with EI, we’ve seen it in terms of reduced litigation. There’s some research that I will often cite and it was called the Apology Project. This was something that was done within hospital settings where they had an initiative and they followed it where they had hospitals that would proactively, if a mistake was made with a patient, would approach them taking responsibility for what happened.

What they found though was that in those instances where that happened that litigation costs were reduced. It doesn’t say that they were eliminated but they were reduced. That speaks to emotionally intelligent behaviors in terms of empathy. How would I want to be treated? I want somebody to take responsibility if they made a mistake. If they’re doing that, I’m less likely to want to find ways for retribution on that or damages, not to say that there don’t need to be in many cases but if I feel like somebody is taking responsibility for their actions, I’m more forgiving toward that person. The reason being is because we all make mistakes. We’re humans. Can we improve this in terms of EI? I would compare this to a muscle that’s all we’re doing is developing a muscle.

SET Goals

When I do this work within the organizations, I will often talk about setting goals. Many might’ve heard of smart goals. I don’t tend to use smart goals. I find there’s an easier process to use, which I call to set goals. Specific, emotional, and time-bound. When we talk about developing a new set of behaviors, that’s what we’re doing. Specifically, what do I want to do here? Emotionally is, why do I want this? Why is it important for me to develop these skills? Time-bound, when am I going to complete a course by or when am I going to do this by? With time-bound, it could be, how often am I going to practice during the week? Maybe it’s three days a week. I’m going to take a close look at what I’m doing and evaluating this. It’s important to do that.

A couple of other things that are important as we talk about improving EI is one, this is about incremental change. Small changes make big differences long-term and that’s what we have to look at. Too often, we get caught up and we need immediate change. “I need to see results immediately.” That’s not the way this generally works but in the long run, you will see benefits if you do this incrementally a little bit at a time. For us to be able to do this, we’ll talk about it further in one of the actual episodes is around intentional vulnerability. To be effective as a leader and in developing emotional intelligent behaviors, you need to become intentionally vulnerable.

What I mean by that is, we need to be in a place where we can say, “I’m wrong. I don’t have the answer. Maybe I’m struggling. I’m sorry.” Those are things that when we demonstrate and we’re able to say those things as leaders, especially, as long as I’m not doing this every single day, that doesn’t build confidence in the other person or trust. I want to know if there’s somebody that I am following that they have this ability in them to be able to admit when they’re wrong or they’re sorry because if they’re able to do that if they have that capacity, I’m going to trust that person more. I’m more open to following where they want to go because I know that they’re not going to be full of fluff and not be transparent. They’re able to do that. It’s important.

Engaged Versus Disengaged Organizations

When we talk about emotionally intelligent in a workplace setting, one of the things that I will often reference is work done around employee disengagement. There’s a couple of surveys that I’ve referenced quite often. One, a Gallup Data Survey. I will often show one that is dated based on quarters from the year 2010. I will jokingly say that somebody that’s looking at my slides might be thinking, “Patrick, you might want to update your slides.” What I’m doing is demonstrating to them that in a decade, the numbers around engagement versus disengagement within an organization have barely changed at all. You find that about 2/3 of an organization, employees are disengaged. Of those, in some of the work done by Gallup, they would suggest that 15% to 19% of those individuals are actively disengaged which is more damaging because that’s a contagion where not only am I unhappy here but I’m going to let everybody else know how unhappy I am.

LFL 87 | Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors

Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors: There’s a connection between your emotions and how you behave, make decisions, and perform.


When we look in terms of some of the work done by Gallup, what’s the impact of this? You’ve got some employees that are disengaged. When they’ve teased out this information and looked at the top 25th percentile versus the bottom 25th percentile, they’ve seen large gaps in terms of things like absenteeism, turnover rates, theft within organizations, safety incidences, patient safety incidences. A lot of the work that I am involved with from time-to-time is in health care. Most would agree with that. There’s data around that. Some of the manufacturing groups that I work with when we look at quality defects, we can see that based on Gallup’s work that there was a huge difference in terms of engaged versus disengaged organizations as it related to quality defects and what their products work.

What’s interesting is that this data is all based on what is called the Q12. There were twelve survey questions that Gallup asks employees. What’s interesting about these questions is out of the twelve, eleven of them are directly or can be directly related to the manager or the person that person reports to. I’ll quickly go through them. One is, do you know what is expected of you at work? Next is, do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right? In the last year, have you had the opportunity at work to learn and grow? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work? Does your supervisor or someone at work seem to care about you as a person?

Is there someone at work who encourages your development? At work, do your opinions seem to count? Does the mission, purpose of your company make you feel your job is important? Are your associates, fellow employees committed to doing quality work? Do you have a best friend at work? Lastly, in the last six months, has someone at work talk to you about your progress? Out of all twelve of those, the only one that is not about or can relate to the manager or that person that I report to is, are your associates, fellow employees committed to doing quality work? I would argue that even that one, it’s simply a contagion that they may or may not report to somebody that creates that feeling in them. It’s an indirect response to that one.

What’s important here is that we know through much of the research that says, “The number one reason that somebody leaves an organization is because of who they report to directly.” There’s much influence that the person has. If I’m in the position of leadership here or hold the authority based on my title, I have a huge responsibility to whether there’s engagement or disengagement from the standpoint of the environment that is created for that to happen. I bring that up specifically to say that you could have people that say, “I can’t create or make somebody happy or I’m happy. That’s their decision.” I would agree that you can have people that I could do everything for them and they choose to not want to be happy. I don’t control that but what I do, as a leader, need to provide is the environment where engagement can take hold.

That’s what these questions address. When we look at some of the research, I’m going to mention a few here that are important as we go through is one, I will reference often is called the contagious leader. It is the impact of the leader’s mood on the mood of the group members. This was a study that was done. It was looking at investigating how are leader’s mood affects the mood of the individual group members, the effect on the group as a whole, and then three group processes were also looked at coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy. There were 189 participants in this study. The groups were blinded, so they didn’t know what was going on. The leaders were induced into either a positive or a negative mood. What they found was at the end of this, when they looked back in terms of the leaders, there was a mood contagion that was experienced. It followed a positive mood contagion created a positive mood environment. A negative mood created a negative mood environment.

This was in the Journal of Applied Psychology, where this was published back in 2005. This is important to talk about how important our role is in creating a contagious, positive environment. That comes through our ability to develop strong emotionally intelligent behaviors. The next one looked at the relationship between emotional intelligence on job performance. This was a large meta-analysis that identified about 1,100 different citations that were relevant to emotional intelligence as well as the five-factor model of personalities which is often referenced as well as around cognitive abilities in job performance. They ended up using 43 studies and analyzing those. What they found was in regards to emotional intelligence, all three streams of emotional intelligence, they looked at correlated with job performance. The present data that they looked at, all strongly supported the predictive ability of emotional intelligence in terms of job performance and it was above and beyond what they were able to predict whether it was using the five-factor model of personality or an individual’s cognitive ability.

Small changes make big differences long term. Click To Tweet

This was in the Journal of Organizational Behavior back in May 2010. That is important to look at this to say, this was a large meta-analysis. What they found was that EI was able to predict job performance. Above and beyond, what some of the other tools that we might think of or areas that we might look at we’re being evaluated. More than personality, more than somebody’s cognitive ability. Next is a piece of research that looked at emotional intelligence and empathy. This was a study that was done with the fMRI where patients were monitored through Magnetic Resonance Imaging. There were seventeen participants. They were shown images of patients that were in pain. They were asked to imagine that they, themselves, were in pain. Not that they were observing a patient in pain but they were the ones experiencing the pain.

What they found was that higher responses to images were seeing when they were using imagination than when they viewed patients in pain. That part of the person’s brain that experiences pain was more active when they imagined it as opposed to looking at somebody else. What that demonstrates to us is our ability for empathy, it’s regulated by perspective-taking. The important part here is where does this play out in terms of, how we interact with other people that when we’re able to imagine what it’s like to be where they are? One, we start to feel what they’re feeling and we need to keep that in a positive way but it allows us to develop a connection level of trust with somebody where I can truly try and see where somebody else is. I would think back to some of my kids when they were going through those teenage years. I have two that are going through it is that, it’s easy for me to judge them or to hold them accountable to certain things but not take the time to wonder, what was it like when I was fifteen?

How was I behaving when I was fifteen? Is what I’m asking of them or expecting them to do, is it reasonable? Quite honestly, I was far worse at times in terms of some of my behaviors. That doesn’t mean that everybody gets to do whatever they want. We still need to talk about clear expectations but there is, I need to be able to go to that place. If I want to be able to have open communication and build trust then I need to be able to remember what it was like to be a fifteen-year-old boy. The next is around increasing emotional intelligence. Is it possible? This was a piece of research that was published in Personality Individual Differences back in 2009. What they did was they had 37 participants. Nineteen were in a training group, eighteen we’re in a control group. They train them in the theoretical models of emotional intelligence and how to employ certain skills in their daily lives.

There were four sessions, 2.5 hours over four weeks and they looked at four different areas, understanding, identifying, expressing, and managing emotions. What they found was the training group, but not the control group, scored significantly higher on trait emotional intelligence after the training. More importantly, they found the results were durable after six months. Five months after they finished this, those that went through the training, they found that the impact that it had on their emotional intelligence was durable. I would suggest that after four weeks, those participants were seeing some benefits, they were seeing some results from what they were doing, so what they did was they realized that, “This is working. Let’s keep it going.” That’s why that’s important. Not that they didn’t do anything for the next five months but it was durable because they saw results early on.

That’s the benefit that we have. We get small incremental benefits that we build off of those. That’s where emotional intelligence can be. They can become valuable to us. The model that we’ll look to going forward, there are seven skills that we’ll dissect. One is around emotional self-awareness. We’ll start out with that one. There’ll be some exercises in there that we’ll talk about how do you develop this? We’ll talk about emotional expression. We’ll talk about the awareness of others. How do you start to develop that? Emotional reasoning or buy-in. How do you gain agreement through our emotionally intelligent behaviors? How do we manage our emotions? Self-management, how do we manage others will be another module. Lastly, we’ll be around emotional self-control. We can see that we’re in an environment that all of those things are valuable.

Each one of those built upon the other one becomes a powerful model for us to manage ourselves as well as to manage those around us. That, to me, is when we talk about reimagining what leadership looks like. It’s about inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow our lead. This is foundational for that to happen. With that said, I would encourage you to stick around for each one of these upcoming show because I promise you the activities and the ability to uncover why each of these is beneficial will be valuable to you whether it’s at work, home, or in the community, wherever you are, developing this set of behaviors or this set of skills will improve any and every aspect of your life. That I will say, unquestionably.

LFL 87 | Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors

Emotionally Intelligent Behaviors: Empathy is regulated by perspective-taking.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this intro into emotional intelligence that you’ve seen where there’s quite a bit of research and evidence that backs up why this is important and how many different aspects of our lives can be impacted by our ability to develop these seven behaviors that we’ll talk about going forward. If you know somebody you believe might have an interest in reading these as well, I would ask that you forward this on to them. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode that has been published. Until the next time we get together, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.

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Crisis To Career Change: How To Make Your Next Move – Episode 086‬

LFL 86 | Career Change


The pandemic has surprisingly become an accelerator for many of us. It has unexpectedly taken away jobs and forced us to finally confront that impending career change we have so wanted to make. Now that we’ve found ourselves in this situation, where do we begin? In this episode, Patrick Veroneau imparts his advice to help us turn this crisis into an opportunity to make a career change and take our next move.

Listen to the podcast here:

Crisis To Career Change: How To Make Your Next Move

In this episode, I’m going to talk about careers, and specifically, the title of this will be From Crisis to Career Change: How to Make Your Next Move. I had so many calls or emails from individuals that I’ve worked within organizations that either they’re concerned about their jobs or they’ve lost their jobs, as well as other people that are just unhappy in their situations. This environment that we’re in right now has forced a lot of people, maybe to think about things differently in terms of where do they want to go next. This episode is going to touch on that, but also provide an opportunity to be on a webinar on April 13th at 4:30, to discuss this more in detail and hopefully be able to help people out.

As I mentioned at the start of this, this is about how to help people out, wherever they are in terms of their career right now. Some of you that are reading this may be without a job right now, others may be concerned that you’re potentially going to lose your job. Others may be thinking at this time, with everything that’s going on, “Is this what I want?” I think this has provided a real opportunity. If we look at the data that I deal with all the time, it’s that employee engagement within organizations is generally very low. It’s only about a third. Two-thirds of employees within an organization are disengaged.

If that’s the case, to me, I look at this right now is almost halftime in a game where I now get to take a look at what do we need to do in the second half of this game to make sure that either we’re winning, or what adjustments do we need to make sure that we’re best suited when we go back out on the field? I don’t care what stage of life you’re at, this is not about halftime, “I don’t have enough time to make a change.” That’s not what this is about. This is just looking at that in terms of saying we have an opportunity right now. It’s almost like the clock has stopped for many of us to be able to reflect and find out where do we want to go?

You have an opportunity here as dire as things might seem at times. Click To Tweet

I’m going to put together a series of workshops, the first one or the first webinar, the title of it is, From Crisis to Career Change: How to Make Your Next Move. This is a space that I love, and the reason being is because, for the last decade, I volunteered a workshop that I’ve done locally on how to help people interview because there is both a skill and a strategy that you need in regards to how you interview. That’s only a part of it. The workshops that I’m going to put together, or the webinars that I’m going to put together, will talk about things like how do we set goals? More importantly, how do I learn to be happy where I am?

There’s all research behind these things. There are things that I work with within organizations all the time, from a leadership perspective, especially around helping people understand how do I feel good about where I am. A lot of that is around three things. One is emotional intelligence, a real deep dive into understanding that emotional intelligence is a strong skill, not a soft skill. People are seeing it more and more. We’re in a time where there were a lot of emotions. When you understand how to navigate those, how do you perceive and understand and manage both my own and those that I’m working with? Their emotions were more effective.

The other is around influence. I’ve been fortunate that I was able to train under a gentleman named Robert Cialdini, who was one of the world’s experts in influence when I traveled down to Arizona State University where he was. I was able to go through his workshops and learn so much from that. The last piece is around personality. Specifically, I use DISC, the DISC that’s part of the Wiley Publishing Group, but I’m sure there are other forms of personality out there. That’s simply the one that I have become most comfortable with and find that it’s most beneficial to the work that I do. More importantly, we combine emotional intelligence and personality and influence, the understanding of why people say yes, why they say no, and how irrational we are at times. We set ourselves up to be able to navigate any situation that we’re in. That’s what these workshops will do.

LFL 86 | Career Change

Career Change: Two-thirds of employees within an organization are disengaged.


I mentioned talking about learning to be happy, how to gain agreement, how to set goals, where do I want to go? How do we do that? What’s most effective? How do we set good habits? There’s a lot of research behind all of these things. What are some assessments that you might be able to take that are free or are nominal in regards to what they cost and what they can provide for you in terms of helping you shape? Where do you want to go?

Also, talking about how do you network? How do you network using things like LinkedIn and Facebook, to be able to figure out what your next path is? This series of workshops will not be how do you quit your job, and you make six figures or seven figures on the internet. That’s not to say that you can’t do that. If that’s your thing and you decide that’s where you want to go, great. A lot of people are doing it, but this is not going to be. I’m going to show you the bling and the piles of money and the Lambos. This is realistically looking at how do I create, if anything, a seven-figure mentality in terms of how I live my life regardless of what my bank account has in it. If we can do that, you will be successful everywhere you go.

We all have a disability and we’ll talk about that in these workshops. I hope you’ll have an opportunity to take part in this. There are lots of people that are questioning where they want to go next. I’m putting these out there as a free series of workshops because there’s an opportunity here. You have an opportunity here, as dire as things might seem at times, or somebody you know that is in a very dire space. There’s a way out. To me, this is an opportune time to be able to do that. If you know, somebody that you think will benefit from this, I’d ask you to forward this on. All the information on the webinar, and resources is here, as well as the registration for that and I hope you’ll join me. Until the next episode, I hope you’ll do two things. One is lead like no other, and the other is rise above your best. Peace.

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    Heather Younger Talks About Why Employee Loyalty Is Critical – Episode 085

    LFL 85 | Employee Loyalty

    Employees are the first customers of every organization. And how you treat them is automatically reflective of your company and determines how loyal they are going to be. Heather Younger, the CEO and founder of Employee Fanatix, has been an advocate for the importance of creating engaging environments for employees in relation to organizational success. In this conversation with Patrick Veroneau, she shares a glimpse of what you can learn from her book, Seven Intuitive Laws Of Employee Loyalty. Tune in and learn more on how to become an effective leader for your organization.

    Listen to the podcast here

    Heather Younger Talks About Why Employee Loyalty Is Critical

    Employee Loyalty Is The Key To Organizational Success

    In this episode, we’re going to talk about employee loyalty and how important that is. Especially in this environment where we might have people who are remote or are at the frontlines. How do we treat them in ways that they want, to remain focus on what we’re asking them to do? My guest Heather Younger is certainly somebody who is an expert in this area. She runs a company called Customer Fanatix. She’s also a TEDx speaker. She has an Amazon bestseller called The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty that we’re going to be talking about. She also runs a podcast called Leadership with Heart. I enjoyed this episode with Heather in talking about how do we create environments where employees do feel engaged. There’s so much to this. Let’s get into it.

    Heather, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate having an opportunity to talk to you and your company, CustomerFanatix.com resonated with me for a number of reasons because when you talk about the customer, it’s about the employee first. That’s so important when we talk about disengagement in organizations and how do you create engagement. Oftentimes, organizations forget that their first customer is their employee. If they understand that and treat them right, everything else falls into line.

    It does and there are some complexities to that. I think about companies that might have that philosophy, but they might not be physically sound, for example. You have to have a mix of both. It’s amazing how much I’m getting smarter every day. I love the fact that I get to learn every day from things that people might see as failures of other companies or myself or things I’ve done, or things that are like, “That was a home run.” Look inward ourselves first. Self-leadership is the most important. From a leadership perspective, leadership is something that drives a lot of the stuff that I do. It’s been an evolution.

    You mentioned leadership driving this. You’re running your own company now. What was the driver for you to start doing what you’re doing now?

    It’s interesting because it goes way back to when I was a kid. Fast-forwarding it, several years ago, I worked for a company that was going through a merger of five companies. I knew it when I came aboard but I took it because I wanted to own the entire customer journey. I went on and pretty quickly I could see that the merger was happening. The culture was going downhill. Nobody trusted each other inside the new companies. People’s titles sounded awfully similar to titles of people that were coming aboard on other companies. People were like, “Are they taking my job?” It was a lot of that. What happened was a lot of people inside of the place I was at in Colorado were coming to me and saying like, “What is going on? My manager is not saying things. No one’s telling us anything. I saw this person over here.”

    It’s all the whispering, watercooler talk. People weren’t trusting people. I went to the head of HR and I said, “We need to do something about disengagement and distrust like a trust.” She’s like, “You’re right. You should go do something about that.” I’m like, “What?” At that point, I was running an external customer experience for the organization. I’ve been a manager of teams for a long time. I thought about it for a second. I was this culture bearer for the organization where when I see things happening that were great, I’d always uplift and recognize people whether they on my team or not. I always wanted to highlight the good that was happening inside the organization.

    She thought I might be the right person to do it, so I did. I created an employee engagement council. It included people from all the other companies on that. Within six months, things started to change. We started to force them to talk to one another. We put them in fun situations where they start to get to know each other, and then the mistrust, doubt, fear starts to lay a little bit. We all knew that this merger is happening. I knew that there were going to be some layoffs happening because they hired all these big people and paid a lot of money. They can’t afford all of it. The product wasn’t growing and selling as quickly as they wanted.

    The layoff happened and I get laid off. It hurts. I was the breadwinner of a family of six at the time. It is a big deal, but I realized right at that moment that organizations usually are lacking that person as a catalyst to bring people together, to seek common ground, and to be the voice of employees back to leaders about what it is that their people need. They’re either not taking the time to find out what their people need. They don’t care what their people need or they’re too busy doing other things and that is not a priority. I felt called to do the work, to be that voice, to be the catalyst, and to help leaders understand what their people need in order to give them what they want. I tell you what they need so you can get what you want.

    You bring up such an interesting point in terms of being that voice back to leadership. How they decide to hear that is a whole different piece to it. My experience has been oftentimes, coming in from the outside, that employees give me the real answer where they might give somebody within the company just the right answer. We’re the eye as to what’s going on.

    Organizations forget that their first customer is their employee. If you treat them right, everything else falls into line. Click To Tweet

    My personal mission is to help organizational leaders and their employees find their truth. They find their truth, not my truth. I help them do that through employee focus groups, creating culture teams, evaluating employee engagement, survey comments, reading every darn comment, filtering that up, letting them know what the main things are, and then getting back to them. I have found a smaller percentage of people than I would have thought are not as receptive to the feedback I provide. I have gotten good at it because I’ve been in this customer and employee space, having to be diplomatic but also being direct, and I’m a lawyer. It’s all those things mixed in together. I’m good at synthesizing and not over-complicating it for the executive leadership team.

    I’m giving them key themes and recommendations that hopefully, they can buy into and letting them off the hook. They are overwhelmed by themselves. Particularly if it’s a publicly traded company. They got the shareholders, the board, and all these things are going on. It’s like, “All we need from you is a yes to the resource allocation. I and HR or whoever the internal sponsors are, we’ll get it done, but then we also may need you to do videos to show if it’s a remote or whatever it’s at. We need you to do town halls where you are showing your support for the initiatives that we’re doing. In the end, I’m not expecting you to do 5,000 more things, now that I’m telling you these three things that your employees need. If however, you listen to what I’m telling you that they need, and I’ve heard it across the country and the world, if you do these three things, you will see huge differences in this and that. Trust me on this.”

    They’ll trust me up to a certain point until they start to see proof. They see proof because we make sure. For example some of the companies that are the best places to work, we’ll see if they’re already there, do they move up? If they’re not there, do they get there? Some of that is proof. We get to go to these recognition ceremonies where they made it to these spots then they see, “It looks like this stuff works. It’s changing our culture. Our employees are feeling better about stuff.” The trick is helping HR grab the business analytics that connects to the people analytics. That means something to the executive leadership team because it’s those analytics, numbers, and end results that speak to them. The key is not just the best places to work and things like that. How does that tie to your key business metrics? Are you seeing any movement of the needle in that regard? I talked to them about that. It’s trying to get really clear. That’s why I have IX as Customer Fanatix. It’s not Fanatic, it’s Fanatix because the IX means it’s driven by metrics. It’s because it’s driven by data. This is not just a gut check. This is data, either quantitative or qualitative, we’re using that to drive the voice of the employee forward in the culture.

    Along those lines, you also have a best-selling book, The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty. I key in on that word intuitive.

    As you should because it is right. All the stuff that you and I talk about, there are a lot of us talking about it in a different way, all different angles about similar things. They are intuitive. These are not rocket science. You can research this for 25 years and you’re going to come up with the same exact thing I put in there because it’s true. The key is that people over-complicate it. When I try to do a keynote, I try to layout 3 or 5 things you want to do differently as leaders. I say, “Don’t over-complicate this. Please use what I’ve said as motivation. You need to evaluate what it is you’re doing for your people. What emotions are you producing in them.”

    My theory is that employee experience and loyalty are driven by emotions. Organizational leaders who have the power to create the experience with people that are inside those walls drive the emotions for those people. That determines whether they want to stay with the organization or they want to walk out the door. That’s what I talk about. It’s trying to help them understand, what is it that you do? From the emotional intelligence and communication perspective, what are you personally doing or not doing, or saying or not saying that makes your people feel unimportant, disrespected, unheard and not valued? What are you doing? What are you saying? What are you failing to do? Once you start to evaluate that self-leadership focus, then you start to see things change in your neck of the woods. We can’t try to control the entire picture but we can control ourselves individually. If each of us controls us individually, what a better world it would be.

    When you talk about metrics and the intuitive component to this, oftentimes, I will use research to validate common sense. It’s all it is. It’s the research that’s out there in a number of areas that you talk about around behaviors, personalities, and the impact that it has on the organization. It’s using that research to validate because if I say it myself, it doesn’t mean anything, but if I can pull in a research that says, “This has been studied over and over again that this has an impact.” All it is common sense. That’s the only reason I use that. That’s the intuitive part that you talk about. From there, when you talk about the intuitive component of it, how do you help people? The two areas that I know you focus on a lot is emotional intelligence and personality. How do you pull those two things into an organization?

    The beautiful part about Customer Fanatix is I know more about the organization than they do because I’m taking their survey because most of them don’t have time to do this. I and my analysts have, but I personally review all of the 5,000 comments. I’ve done that every cycle over the years. I know your organization well. Let’s say a lack of communication is the thing that boils up, or the method in which you communicate or the mode. I don’t know but it depends on what they say. If it looks like it’s the leaders or supervisor level that are missing the bar as far as communicating effectively, showing appreciation, whatever that might be, then I’m able to make that business case through the data that we need to have training.

    That’s how we introduced DISC, which is the communication and behavioral style training. The reason why that’s important is because usually, a lack of communication is the key to conflicts. It’s the thing that brings conflict in most cases. It’s the thing that people are getting confused by things because there’s a misinterpretation of what’s happening. The DISC helps to increase awareness. The awareness portion of it is how I’m able to connect that to emotional intelligence because self-awareness is that doorway to emotional intelligence. Once they know that and realized, “I am like that. I didn’t realize people saw me that way.” Increasing the awareness that way.

    It doesn’t make them perfect. It makes them better. What I’m mostly interested in doing is helping people get better, improving every day, and be more aware of who they are, how they are perceived, how they impact others, what’s happening in other people’s worlds. All of those things when you think of emotional intelligence. I don’t necessarily talk to them in all of those ways because I don’t want to use jargon. The awareness part of it is simple in trying to get to the importance of understanding. That is key.

    LFL 85 | Employee Loyalty

    Employee Loyalty: Employee experience and loyalty are driven by emotions. Organizational leaders, who really have the power to create the experience with people that are inside those walls drive the emotions for those people.


    We spoke about this before we started the actual show around emotional intelligence. Even that word at times, if you were to use that, it can throw people off or make people defensive because we think, “Emotions, this can’t be. This is a little too soft. What good can come out of this from an organizational standpoint if we’re talking about emotions?” When we come in, we are all emotions. Either we’re frustrated, happy, sad, content or whatever it might be. We show up as emotions. Wouldn’t it be best to understand how to identify what those emotions are and to be able to see them in other people? That’s what the skillset is.

    That’s a great way to boil it down. I had gotten to this point. It was like, “How do I simplify most of it?” My clients who are COOs and CFOs don’t love the idea of me talking about emotions. Even when I do my keynotes, I try to provide lots of examples of what this means. When I’m hoping to happen is people are seeing on it. They’re seeing what happened to them before, from their manager to them. They’re seeing themselves on what they did to their employee that morning. In the stories I’m telling, I’m hoping they see themselves one way or another, either as the person who did it or the person who received that negative thing that created the negative emotion. It’s through the stories that I am able to illustrate that to people, but most people were like, “What are the numbers? Where are the numbers? Why don’t you tell me the numbers?” I’m still not going to talk to you about this.

    I am a big fan of DISC. There’s a lot of value there. How do you use that within an organization? Is there anything that you do to collectively use that or is it all individual?

    How I do it or how I was set up to do it is I do an individual evaluation of each person. When they do the assessment, I speak with them offline before a team workshop. I did that with those people we talked about earlier, with a group of oil and gas guys. Multiple different times, I went out and spoke with them and did that. It works well on teams but I like to do offline work first to make sure that they can ask me personal questions and I can get deep into their areas of improvement. When we get together as a team, it’s more of a fun reflection.

    It’s an interesting insight and the questions and the small group stuff that breaks out makes them realize that the guy on the pad and the guy in the office and accounting have similar worries. There’s more safety over here in the field. For them to see that when they’re in that small group and then figure out how they talk to each other to get more stuff done, that’s when the light bulbs come up. I had one guy, he was in the training and he was not feeling it. He was cussing, “It’s not me.” He was a huge naysayer. I was afraid that that particular workshop was going to go off track because he was not feeling it.

    He was saying that the profile that was given to him was not who he was.

    The entire process is a bunch of bull, everything from his profile. He was talking to people next to him. I was trying to keep my cool. I was like, “Everybody else is doing it. I’m going to make sure that everybody else understands.” About 3/4 of the way through, he goes, “This is so me.” He became a believer towards the end. The next day, I was training another cohort inside the same company. He comes up to me and he goes, “Heather, I talked to my wife about this. I am such a believer. I am so sorry.” Now, interestingly enough, I am coaching him on the emotional and social intelligence side. He’s taken that assessment and he wants to grow in his leadership. This guy is a D in DISC. He’s a person you would think that has the lowest self-awareness. In the end, he’s the one who wants to dig deeper to find out how he can be better so he can lead more effectively.

    It’s like a double convert out of him. You’ve got him on the social and emotional intelligence. In regard to organizations, when you’re dealing with top-level, mid-level managers, frontline, what do you think is most important in terms of the work that you’re doing?

    In the space that I am in, I feel like meeting people where they’re at is probably the most critical point. Whether as a consultant or a supervisor or anybody, just relating to one of the people. It’s meeting them where they’re at. Each one of those levels, it’s figuring out where they sit, what their life is looking like because then I’m able to fully use my voice to portray theirs more accurately. If I go in as a cookie cutter and assume, “You manage people and that’s it,” I might not know exactly where they’re coming from or where they’re sitting, and then it’s going to be hard for me to get in their shoes. I need to get in their shoes quite a bit in order to advocate for them.

    I don’t know if that’s what you were getting to but with each of them, I treat them individually. It depends if there are some executive leaders that are wanting to move up. If I’m doing coaching and they want to move up, I always tell them, “I’m not going to be somebody who’s going to help you do a statistical analysis and presentations on stats. That’s not what I do. I’m more of the side that’s going to be relational.” If you’re looking at, “How do I strengthen my relationships with the people that are at the higher-ups and people who are my colleagues? There are conflicts here. There are barriers here. How do I do that,” that’s the place where I come from. When I go into work with any of those leaders, I’m going to be figuring out what those barriers are for them, and try to help them come up with some solutions to that and move past them.

    Self-awareness is the doorway to emotional intelligence. Click To Tweet

    That answers much of my question. I asked this not knowing the answer, but in terms of the experience that I continue to learn more about the environments every year that I’m in thinking, “Where is the most impactful role that we have in terms of what we do?” As much as I enjoy working at an executive level, I looked down on a frontline basis and think, when we talk about employee engagement, this runs so much of what happens. I don’t see the president of the organization on a daily basis but I’m impacted by the person that I report to directly. That ripples out everywhere. Do you know what I mean?

    Yes, that’s hard. I feel like they have different impacts and equally as important impacts. Now that I have been doing more executive coaching, it’s not the thing I’ve led with. It’s not the main thing I do, but it happens to happen either from keynotes that I do or from other work that I do in the employee engagement space where they need it. They’re looking for coaches and I’m there. What I see from the executive level and the importance that they play in engagement is that they provide access. They open the door. There are green lights or red lights. Let’s say I’m talking to a frontline supervisor and the supervisor needs to access training for their people. At this point, training is not available for that level in the organization.

    Let’s say the training is only for the mid-level manager and above, or the training is not even available to the people so that supervisor doesn’t have a lot of power. They’ll go to their middle-level manager or the middle-level manager might go to the director or the VP. In the end, if I have access to the C-Suite, I can say, “There are some things when I saw this in the survey comments that were big,” or whatever. I feel like they do a lot of green, red and orange lights. If we can get them to change the signals, then all the way down to the bottom, things start to change.

    There’s a huge impact. I do agree with you that when we talk about being cared for and feeling cared for, it starts with that frontline manager. It does go up to every lineup there up to the C-Suite, but it starts with them. We stay for how we feel and because we see them every day, they produce more of the feelings. There’s a huge amount of impact for the individual employee, but above organization when we’re looking at organizational culture, that C-Suite is so impactful.

    I completely agree in terms of if they’re not modeling what we’re doing or you’re doing on the lower level, then it breeds this cynicism of employees saying, “It’s important for us but why aren’t you doing it? Why don’t you follow through?”

    I love to be able to work with them on the quirks they have because we all have them, and to help them overcome their own internal barriers because every barrier we have is in our head. I like to be the person who helps them get out of their own way and lead more effectively.

    Do you do much around values when you go into an organization? Do you look at their values in terms of behaviors? I asked that specifically because one of the things that I will often run into is not necessarily a value, but one of these taglines that we always hear within organizations that our employees are our most valuable asset. In terms of most organizations, especially those that are disengaged, if you were to say that, employees would chuckle saying, “The photocopier gets more love than I do.”

    I do look at values. Sometimes if I’m talking to a leader and there’s someone that subordinates them and they are not living the values, then I ask them, “What do your values say? Do you have that aligned inside your performance review process? Are your values inside there so that you can hold people accountable inside that performance review?” Often they’re there, but no one’s enforcing them from top to bottom in most cases. There are some organizations that you’ll land on where they take things very seriously.

    It’s interesting. I teach emotional intelligence on DISC. I’m talking about caring leadership but if I see one of my team members has not done it and acting counter to our organizational values and even our team culture and values, I will call them on the carpet and say, “You understand how important these values are to me and to the team. I noticed that you did this, which was counter to what teamwork means inside of my team. It was undermining. It was not fair to the individual. I’m going to write you up. This is counter to the values we have.” I have done that before. Not a lot, but I’ve done it because it pissed me off, to be honest. It takes a lot to get me mad but when I see someone doing something that’s hurting a team member purposely like doing something that’s undermining, sneaky and all that, it’s not okay with me at all.

    They’re like, “I did something not so good with her.” I’ve had to do that a few times in my career. It shocks people. When people talk about soft skills, which I hate the word soft because it’s super hard to do, emotional intelligence, communication, behavioral style, and understanding your impact and what they need from you for you to fill them up so they feel heard. When I do all of these things that sound so touchy-feely. I bet you, that same person who’s doing that to the people, if they feel good from their leader, they’re walking with their shoulders up. I always like to put them like, “Think about the time how your manager made you feel like, what happened?” Those are the things that I like to bring up at all levels. I don’t care what level. No one’s beneath it.

    LFL 85 | Employee Loyalty

    Employee Loyalty: If we can get leaders to change the signals at the executive level, then all the way down to the bottom, things just start to change.


    To me, these are the strongest skills. It’s a strong skill, not a soft skill. When you understand the impact that this has, your ability to call somebody out was emotionally intelligent. It wasn’t out of weakness that you were able to do that because the weak thing would’ve been to ignore it or not want to have that conversation. You bring up a bigger point as it relates organizationally when we talk about values. Do we live these values or don’t live these values? What you did was, “You’re not living the value.” You made the individual realize that these things are being looked at. It sends the message to everybody because other people were watching, “What are they going to do here? Let’s see how they’ll put money where the mouth is.”

    The interesting thing about all this is that sometimes it’s not lived out in aggregate about the entire organization, but how I look at this is I am an individual leader that has an individual team. I am choosing to live it out in my team. You’re on my team and thus you shall choose to do that. There’s no option to live out the values in my team. Maybe the CEO isn’t living that enough. I can’t help that. I can’t control that. I can control me and you. I can make sure you’re living out values. It’s the one thing that gets underneath my skin when I see people do it, especially when they do it to one another. It’s like, “We’re a team. We are in this together. We were trying to do our best work together in our own little hubs. For you to do this other thing to this team member when it’s undermining, it does not promote a positive culture in the team.” That’s what’s most important because all the teams make up the organization.

    You bring up such an important point there about the self because all we can control is ourselves, regardless of what somebody else does. I can’t tell you the number of workshops that I’ve been involved with, especially around emotional intelligence where somebody in the group will say, “Who should be in this workshop is Sally” or “Jim should be here.” Everybody’s chuckling like, “They should be.” I’m like, “They may need to be here. I don’t know, but they’re not here. All you can control is how are you going to interact next time with Jim or Sally because that’s all you can control. Jim or Sally may never come here and never want to figure this out, but that doesn’t impact what you do.”

    Holding people accountable on the team and saying, “If you’re going to be that type of team member, you need to be thinking about another place to go. I hope you find that place but if you aren’t in line with the values and you don’t believe the values are important in teamwork. Teamwork for me is a top one. If you don’t believe in valuing your coworkers, I’m sorry, you can’t be here now. We can play and have some serious fun together if you’re interested in living by those values.”

    You have to have those conversations. There are those times where the strongest skills are in place and the communication and all that, knowing that it takes emotional intelligence to be able to call someone on it and make sure that you’re living it. We have to make sure there’s alignment here. I’m holding you accountable because I’m holding myself accountable. If I do that stuff, I’m going to feel bad for myself that I shouldn’t have done it. If someone calls me on it, I’m going to say, “You’re right. I let myself down.” I’ve had to apologize. It’s what it is.

    You mentioned seven intuitive laws. Can you speak to those?

    The biggest one was giving them good managers. That’s the number one thing. In my next book, The Art of Caring Leadership, I’ll be focusing on the leader and what does caring leadership look like. The actual brass tacks of it. Giving them a great manager is the first and then making sure that we appreciate our people. Seventy-seven percent of employees said they don’t feel valued for the work they put in. Fifty-five percent said they would leave an organization for one that values them. We have to make sure that appreciation is the heart of our organization to create a culture of appreciation.

    It’s not about bonuses and trophies. It’s so simple. I don’t mean to stop you, but along those lines of appreciation, what do you find is a stumbling block within an organization around appreciation?

    I don’t think there are barriers that they can’t remove. There are barriers that they placed there. Most barriers that exist in our lives exists in our minds. There are very few things we can’t accomplish. We’re not going to be able to jump off the top of a building and not die. These are intuitive things. In the workplace when we think about appreciation, it’s the leader or the coworker or the customer. Everybody’s taking a personal responsibility to say, “I want to make someone feel good.” With the leader, the manager of the team, it’s asking each individual what it is that makes them feel appreciated. Not everybody feels appreciated at the exact same thing. That’s maybe the one barrier. It’s to understand our obstacle and thought process to figure out what motivates that person.

    One of the other things or laws in the book, which is probably the most important thing out of all things because it emanates everything else, would be listening. Listening to your employees and do something about what you hear. Listening and do something. First, listen, then do something. It’s intuitive. A lot of times, employees are giving feedback to HR, to their managers and they rarely ever hear anything back. When they do hear something, it’s negative. Even if the organization is making movements and taking strides based on feedback they heard, they tell the people that they had anything to do with it. The reason why it’s important that you listen and act is that then there’s power in the voice. The people feel like a level of importance is significant. All of us want to feel significant. That’s why that’s so important.

    Almost every barrier we have is in our heads. Click To Tweet

    It’s back to alignment again. When you’re listening in and you’re doing, there’s an alignment there. It demonstrates that you’ve been heard.

    Alignment is so important in every aspect. The other one is making sure that they are growing professionally and that you’re offering them opportunities for growth, whether it’s inside the organization from training, or outside, whether it’s a career path like job shadowing. There are a lot of different ways to do that but the key is that employees are seeking fertile ground. I don’t care if you’re a Millennial or not. All of us want a place where we can grow. If they don’t find that fertile ground, they will go somewhere else to find that. They will get it somewhere else. The key is if you’re trying to retain your people, you want to create an organization that has that fertile ground where people can stay there with you.

    Another one, which is the last one, is paying them equitably. I always tell to tell people that pay is important but it’s the last thing if you’re doing it equitably, to start with. If people can’t feed their families like in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If they’re not meeting their basic needs, money is going to be the number one thing. If they’re meeting their basic needs, money is not the number one thing. It is the last thing, and the other thing is about appreciation, giving them great managers, listening to them, making sure they grow, things like that. Those are going to be the things that are going to make a difference.

    It’s so funny how you’re getting all this stuff from a book. Go get the book. You can read all of this. Go check it out and then you can buddy in and put stickies on it and write stuff on it. The next book I have on caring leadership is going to be mostly drilling down to that first concept of giving them good and supportive managers. In the end, that was the crux of all of it. Based upon all of my research and the experience I have looking at, who is it that’s driving the experience of the people? Why do people want to leave or stay? It may not be their manager only. It could be the C-Suite we talked about where they’re not doing green lights. They’re doing tons of reds and yellows, so then all of those managers up the ranks are pausing or having to act and behave certain ways because of the yellow or red light that’s happening.

    When I talk about caring leadership with managers, it’s not just the frontline supervisor, which they are the most impactful. It’s all of those folks that can turn the knob on decisions that need to be made to make the experience better. Increased payroll, more paid time off, the gym inside the place, whatever that is. They are the ones that have to say, “Yes, no.” It was all the way down. What does caring leadership look like? I’ll be defining that more. It’s based upon the podcast that I have, Leadership at Heart, all those interviews I’ve had with leaders that I have tried hard to do quite well but not perfectly. On the other end, it’s all that information I received from employees on all the surveys I’ve read and all the focus groups I’ve been in. I’m super excited to have that boil up into some key concepts that leaders can hopefully, go back doing in a way that produces much better experiences for their employees.

    I loved how you said that in regards to leaders that are trying to do it well but not perfectly. The other component of this is that we’re all human. When we behave in the right ways long enough, we are given a little bit of latitude to know that we’re going to make those mistakes. As leaders, nobody’s infallible. We’re going to make mistakes. I want that leader that’s going to be able to say, “My bad, I was wrong. I made a mistake.”

    That’s the best leader ever. If you’re doing it every single day, all day, that’s a problem. We’ve got to fix that. That’s the best part I love about the podcast I have because I ask the leaders, “When was the time when you weren’t the best leader? What did you do to come out of that?” That’s the beauty right there at that moment where they’re able to be vulnerable and tell us all, anybody who’s reading. How they came out of it gives us all solutions to come out of those things.

    It gives everybody else that reports to that individual like, “They’re human too. If I make a mistake, I can say I made a mistake because they did.” Whereas if you deal with somebody that’s always like, “No, I don’t. I’m always right.” I’m not going to feel comfortable saying that I’m going to make a mistake if the person that I report to can’t do that themselves. I love what you said because when I will do work in that area, I want somebody that can say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong. I’m struggling,” but I don’t want that person coming in and doing every day saying, “I made another mistake.” It’s not a person I’m going to follow, but I do want that to be in their ability to do that. To get your book, what’s the best way for somebody to do that?

    You go to Amazon, look up The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty, you’ll find that. If you’re interested more in leadership and listening to leaders from all walks of life, check out my podcast, Leadership with Heart. Hear all those different people who are leading teams actively. They’re not people you might consider like a thought leader or something. There are people who are in an organization managing and acting right now.

    How about your website?

    LFL 85 | Employee Loyalty

    Employee Loyalty: Listen to your employees and do something. It’s important that you listen and act because then there’s power in their voice. And the people feel a level of importance and significance.


    It’s CustomerFanatix.com. I am rolling out a second one that will be HeatherYounger.com, but this Customer Fanatix, we focused on helping organizations and their leaders and employees find their truth. That’s going to be the only focus that Customer Fanatix will have. I’m super excited about that. That clarity with the business is going to help, instead of it being everything to all. Being able to meet the organization’s needs in that way is so important. If we aren’t listening, we have to listen better.

    I appreciate this conversation. It’s such an important topic right around employee engagement and treating it as though it’s the customer. I love that approach to it. Thank you for taking the time.

    Thank you. It’s been great.

    Heather did such a great job of talking about her own past experience in terms of the organizations she’s working with, how she helps to create a level of engagement, where this needs to start from which is at the top, and how she does that. Also talking about the seven intuitive laws of employee loyalty as well as what’s next for her and her company and helping others to lead like no other. If you know somebody you think would benefit from this episode, forward it out to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, 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 of helping others to lead like no other continues to get out there. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to lead like no other and rise above your best. Peace.

    Important links

    About Heather Younger

    LFL 85 | Employee LoyaltyHeather’s personal Why emerged as she sought to find meaning from her difficult experience growing up in the 1970s. As the only child of an interfaith and interracial marriage, both Heather and her Black father were shunned and excluded by extended family because of the color of their skin. While the sting of exclusion left Heather with a lot of questions growing up, it also led her to develop a high level of resilience and a deeply inspired commitment to advocate for anyone who has ever felt devalued.

    Today, she credits her capacity to navigate complex social dynamics and discuss identity in the workplace to those early experiences, and is dedicated to creating opportunities for organizational leaders, teams, and individuals to learn strategies for reframing adversity while empowering leaders to change their workplaces for the better.

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    How To Leverage Stress And Effectively Lead – Episode 084

    LFL 84 | Leverage Stress

    Stress is different from encountering challenges because we need challenges to be better. How do we recognize stress? How do we navigate it? Most importantly, how do we leverage it? Patrick Veroneau talks about identifying our ability to leverage stress that is very critical to where we end up with this recent pandemic crisis. This episode will provide deep and valuable insights into the origin of stress and the activities to gain strength from our experiences.

    Listen to the podcast here

    How To Leverage Stress And Effectively Lead

    Stress Has Its Origin In A Perceived Lack Of Control. This Episode Helps To Regain Control.

    In this episode, we’re going to talk about leveraging stress and leadership, and how the two things are very much intertwined. What I’m going to present to you is a workshop or a webinar that I’ve conducted a few times for some of my clients, as well as some organizations out there on how we leverage and navigate stress. We need to be able to do that. These are stressful times. There’s no doubt about it, but our ability to understand physically, psychologically and emotionally where stress comes from and how to identify it and then the tools that we can use to manage or navigate stress are going to be so important to us.

    I will tell you through my own experiences in many of the episodes, the challenges that we’re going through now. How we come out of this on the other end will be a result of how we deal with this going into it, that there are things that can be positive that will come from this. That’s not to say that there aren’t going to be struggles and challenges. I don’t deny that. We’re all dealing with those, but there is ability here to leverage the stress and challenges that we have. When we do that, that is about leadership. Our actions inspiring others will do that. Let’s get into it.

    I’m here to present a very timely webinar on stress management. The title of it here is How to Effectively Navigate Stress in Uncertain Times, which with things that are going on in your own communities around the world, is a time where we all need to understand how we first recognize the origins and the impact that stress has on us, but also the strategies for effectively addressing stress. A lot of the things that I’m going to talk about will be topics that I’ve discussed on the podcast that I run. I also have a company called Emery Leadership Group, where I focus on leadership development, team development, and individual development. It’s around what I would term as leadership re-imagined. It’s how we look at leadership in a much different way.

    This stress management webinar that we’re going to talk about is a leadership webinar. The reason for that is our ability to navigate stress, either our own or to help others is inspiring. It’s about actions that inspire. Here’s some of my background. My Master’s is in Organizational Leadership. I established my business in 2008, which was at a time when there was a financial crisis. Certainly, I’m familiar with stress in that regard. The focus of my work is in a few different areas. One is emotional intelligence. One is personality, which I use DISC for that. Lastly, it’s around influence and bias research. A lot of the work that I do, especially in the influence side, is from work that I had been involved with in trainings through a gentleman named Dr. Robert Cialdini.

    A quote that I will often use is by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Even though this is about stress management, it is a leadership webinar as well because our actions and how we are able to navigate stress has the ability to inspire those around us, whether they’re employees, family members, friends or community members. We do have the ability to impact on a very high level here. The objectives of this webinar are a few things. One is to explore the biological, psychological and social aspects of the human stress response.

    I’ve underlined that because this is a response. How we choose to deal with the stresses in our lives is our response. It impacts us physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. We’ll understand different coping strategies that can help us. Lastly, we’ll talk about a model that I created called POWER. It’s based on a lot of research that was done by a number of different researchers. One of them being a gentleman named Shawn Achor out of Harvard University, who created what was called the 21-Day Happiness Challenge. We’ll talk about how those activities can impact your ability to deal with stress.

    Coping is the day-to-day ability to control emotions, perceive reality, and think rationally in the ability to solve problems. Click To Tweet

    The Human Stress Response

    When we talk about the origins of stress, first, many of us are familiar with the CDC. If we weren’t before, we are now, the Center for Disease Control. They have a definition of stress, which is, “Harmful physical and psychological responses when job requirements don’t match, capabilities, resources or the needs of the worker.” All of those, with many people having to work remotely now are feeling those. Even if you’re not working remotely, you’re still feeling, especially if you’re in retail places that are necessities. There is a stress that comes with that, “Am I going to catch the virus that’s going around by being in that much contact with other individuals?”

    What’s important here to recognize is this is not to be confused with challenges because we need challenges. Challenges can be very positive. They force us to move forward. The goal as I look at this is, “Are there ways that we can take some of the things that we perceive as stresses and create and turn them into challenges?” The next is, “How stressed are we?” The American Psychological Association survey done in 2014 said, “Stress in America: Paying with our Health.” It looked at four different areas: work, money, family and health. We’re dealing with all of those in terms of stress. This was a little over 3,000 individuals. What they found was that 60% of those that were surveyed considered stress in work to be significant. Also, 64% said financial stress was to be significant.

    If you were to take that in 2020, I’m sure these numbers would be much higher. What’s important to recognize here is that emotional support mattered. We talked so much about the importance or the need for social distancing. While that might be good for our physical health, it is detrimental to every other type of health that we have, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. This is an example of that. When these individuals were surveyed, without support, 43% said that their stress had increased over the year before. Also, 43% said that they had experienced depression as a result of that lack of support. Whereas those that did have support, only 26% said that it had increased over the previous year and 32% had experienced depression over the last year. Again, high numbers, but we can see that emotional support matters.

    What are the causes of stress? I have causes of stress response and perceived lack of control. When we’re talking about stress, stress is the result of a lack of control. If I’m stressed financially, it’s because either I’m not making enough money or too much money is going out. If I’m stressed about work, there’s a piece of my job that I don’t control. Either maybe I’ve got a manager that is difficult right now or I’m in a role that I don’t feel like I’ve got control over my career. If we pull this thing back, we can find that our stress, generally, the root cause of it comes from a lack of control. There are two kinds that we’ll talk about.

    One is external causes, family, work, economic, school, major life events, unforeseen events, and also isolation. We talk about social distancing being important and that social distancing can be a very high reason for our level of stress. We talk about internal causes or the other cause for stress here, worry, fear, attitudes, and unrealistic expectations. Maybe it’s past experiences or histories that we’ve had. When we look at signs and symptoms of stress, we can see right across the board. Whether it’s cognitive, behavioral, emotional, or physiological, it impacts every aspect of those. Cognitive is decreased concentration and memory.

    Our ability maybe even to do very rudimentary tasks are impacted when we feel like we’re in stressful situations. Behaviorally, it can increase irritability and cause withdrawal and violence. Emotionally, it can create fear, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Physiologically, we know there are so many studies out there that talk about the negative impact that stress can have here, increased blood pressure, increased heart rates, respirations, somatic sleeping issues, and also decreased immune responses, common stress associated diseases. This isn’t to say that these diseases the origin starts out primarily in stress. It’s simply to say that stress has been identified as a component of each one of these that is listed here.

    Next, we talk about the effects of a wandering mind. This was done by Harvard researchers: Matt Killingsworth and Dan Gilbert. It was published in Science of 2010. The title of this was A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind. What they did was they sampled 2,250 adults and it was done on their iPhones. Randomly throughout the day, they would get a text. When they received that text, what they had to do was answer these three questions, “How are you feeling right now? What are you doing right now? Are you thinking about something other than what you are currently doing?” What they found was that in almost 47% of the cases, there was mind-wandering.

    LFL 84 | Leverage Stress

    Leverage Stress: We all have equal ability to resourcefulness. Nobody can take that away from us except for ourselves.


    More importantly, what they found was that people tended to be considerably less happy when their minds were wandering. Now, we are in one of those places that our minds can wander often if we don’t have routines or structure in our day. There are many people that are now working from home and environments where there isn’t structure. This could be either I’m working with a group of people that are in our house together or maybe I’m an individual. I live by myself and this is creating a real problem for me as well to be able to set up a routine or structure. This can have very damaging effects on us because what we tend to do is if we don’t have structure, our mind can easily wander.

    When we think about this in terms of thinking traps, I’m listing three here. One is this idea of the victim, “Other people or circumstances are the sole cause of my setbacks or problems.” We look to other people to blame our current condition on what happened somewhere else. In each one of these, we can go down a very dark road. The next one is catastrophizing, which is around ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes of a situation. We’re in that where many people can look and say, “It seems like all the news is about how many people are dying,” without looking in terms of saying, “Not that it’s not a serious situation we’re in, but the great majority of individuals will get well.” Even financially or whatever other struggle that we’re dealing with, eventually, we will come out of this.

    The next one is helplessness. Negative events are going to impact all areas of your life and you have no control, so back to this lack of control in terms of stress. If we were to go back around a wandering mind, we can think, “If I have too much time to think about these things, it can get very unhealthy.” We’ll look at this from two different approaches in terms of positive coping, which to me is around responding, and negative coping, which is around reacting. The positive helps us to be able to resolve stress or become resilient. The negative coping, even though it might feel good in the moment, in the long-term, it is more damaging to us. We’ll explore both of those.

    First, activities that promote positive coping. One is realistic expectations. Set realistic goals or expectations for your day. Remain positive while planning for challenges. I have here Sully in US Air. If people remember Sully from US Air puts his plane down in the Hudson River and people ask him, “How could you do that?” He said, “It was something that we plan for.” He had practiced that many times, not necessarily landing in the Hudson, but similar type of situations. Even though the expectation is for a positive situation, it’s preparing for, “What am I going to do if things get stressful? How am I going to deal with this?” Setting realistic expectations may involve, “I have to work from home for a full day today, knowing that this is not going to be like when I’m in the office. I need to give myself some cushion here to understand that this will not look the same as when I’m in an office.”

    Next is about routine. Maintain a schedule. It’s important in terms of keeping a schedule, get dressed, take a shower and wear the clothes that you would normally wear if you go out to work. Lastly I’ve got listed here is limit news streaming. Pick only certain times in the day that you’ll check the news. Maybe it’s for ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at the end of the day. Do not leave a TV on streaming because when we do that, all it’s doing is feeding negative information. We don’t need to know what’s going on every minute of every hour on the news because I guarantee you, there aren’t going to be many positive stories that are going to be uplifting. It’s simply going to put you into a downward spiral.

    The next is around reframing. Change the way we look at things, “How will I get stronger from this?” Ask yourself better questions. Journaling can be a powerful one in terms of helping us to process information. Writing them down, but also on a positive note. The next one here is around nutrition and hydration. This was one that was given to me by one of the fitness trainers that I interviewed on my show. He talked about generally, we don’t get enough water. His calculation that he used was to say that we should multiply our body weight by 0.6. That will give us the number of ounces. If I weigh 200 pounds, then what that’s going to equate to is about 120 ounces of water that I need to drink in a day. It’s almost a gallon. The importance of that is that when we’re bored or we don’t have structure, do we look to eating? I know I’m guilty of that. I’ve seen it in our household that we eat because it’s there. It’s something to do. If we’re drinking more water, it fills up our stomach and makes us less hungry as well.

    Secondly, limit the number of processed foods. Try and have fresh fruits, vegetables, or small things that you can snack on if you’re going to. The next is around relaxation. Learn relaxation techniques. Take time out. There are many different apps out there for mindfulness that are important. I’ve got here that says, “Find your happy place.” What I mean by that is, as part of your routine or day, I know it can be difficult for many of us, but find a place in your house that is not about work. Try and isolate what you do for work and that routine to a certain part of the house, apartment, or wherever you live. What’s important is, if I want to sit on the couch where the television set or the living room is, then I want that time to be about relaxation. I don’t want my mind to confuse the two of, “I work in this space, which is stressful. I come to relax and what has become acquainted with me to a place of stress.”

    Admit when things are a struggle. Nobody has the answers all the time. Click To Tweet

    Lastly, discuss the problem. Utilize existing social supports to problem-solve. Talk to people, whether it’s FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, social distance walking, whatever it might be, find time in your day. I don’t care how much of an introvert you are that we need each other. Isolation is damaging to us. Find regular check-in times that we can have with people to be able to address this. The next part is about avoiding negative coping. These are the reactionary ways that we cope, avoiding and withdrawal. We run that risk when we talk about social distancing. If we’re afraid to be around other people, this works against us on every other aspect of our health.

    Negative attitudes, especially if you were in a house with other people, it creates a contagion that my negative attitude will bleed out to other people and that will create negative attitudes in them. Before we know it, in a sense, we’re not flattening the curve in our own house as it relates to negative attitudes. Anger outbursts, they feel good in the moment. They don’t work well long-term. Alcohol and drugs act as depressants. Negative self-talk, it’s never going to get better when we fall into that trap. This is part of that wandering mind. Resentment, “It’s somebody else’s fault that I’m in this situation.” Lastly, violence. That coping mechanism becomes such an extreme that we lash out at people violently.

    Coping Strategies

    When we look at coping and resilience, we can think of this in two different ways. To me, the coping is the day-to-day, ability to control emotions, perceive reality, think rationally, and problem-solve. Those are our day-to-days. I might be able to problem-solve for three days in a row or think rationally and then all of a sudden, it becomes too much for me. On day four, I can’t do this anymore. This is where resilience takes over. This is the long-term ability for us to bounce back and a positive coping capacity to deal with this. What does it do? It provides resistance to negative events. The more resilient we can be and the more we can train for this, which we can, the more we’re able to deal with this long-term.

    When we look at this, I have here resourcefulness. We can think of two different things, resources and resourcefulness. We are always going to lack resources. “I don’t have enough time, money, or the right space. I’m too tall or too short. I don’t have enough here. I’ve got too much here.” I don’t care what it is. We will all lack resources. What we all have the equal ability to leverage is resourcefulness. That is around, “How am I going to deal with this? If I don’t have enough money, what can I do? What things can I control?” That’s where we need to come back to. That’s the resourcefulness piece of it. We all have equal ability to resourcefulness. Nobody can take that away from us except for ourselves.

    When we look at some of the resilience builders, I’ve got some listed here. Positive role models, humor, optimism and expectancy, religion and spirituality, social support, thought record, and lastly, what I’ll talk about in a little more detail is the POWER Journal. When we talk about positive role models, why is that important? First, they create just as we talked about a negative contagion, positive role models create a positive contagion through their attitudes. Maybe they’re optimists. We’re around people that are uplifting. This doesn’t mean that somebody is a Pollyanna or they never look at the downside, but they’re people that generally are able to roll through resistance.

    Those are people we want to try and attach ourselves to in many ways. People that have high values or have values that are important, empathy, generosity, or competitive here. People that are saying, “I’m going to find a way through this. I’m not going to let this thing dictate my life.” You want to be around those people because they can be inspiring. Skills, people that are good at problem-solving. There might be people that are out there that are good to bounce questions off, challenges that you’re dealing with, “How would they deal with this?” Lastly, behaviors. I want to surround myself with people that are good listeners and encouraging in terms of their behaviors. How important that is.

    The next is around optimism and expectancy, positive beliefs. There’s a cognitive reframing that we’ll talk about called the thought record, and our ability to believe that there’s a meaningful cause. What we’re going through right now, there’s something that will be positive that will come from this. This is not to say that you’re a Pollyanna because the green triangle with the X in it speaks to the other aspect of this, which we need to balance. It is important to acknowledge relevant negative factor. I believe this is a leadership webinar. If you have people that report to you, family members and friends around you, our ability to say, “I’m struggling, scared or sad,” our ability to put ourselves in places that we create ourselves intentionally or vulnerable spaces is important.

    LFL 84 | Leverage Stress

    Leverage Stress: Faith and hope have a strong impact. They are associated with both psychological and physical wellbeing guards against despair.


    With that said, if I’m a leader or if I’m following somebody that’s leading our group, that’s not to say that I want that person every day coming in, saying, “I’m struggling and scared again now. I don’t know where we’re going now.” That’s not leadership. What I do want is I want that person to be able to admit when things are a struggle. We know, through work that I do, is that people trust people that are real and transparent. Nobody has the answers all the time. If I’m able to say that like, “I’m struggling right now. I don’t have an answer for this,” it provides more trust in somebody else. It doesn’t negate my ability to lead. It’s about being real because that person probably knows, “I don’t know where we’re going, but I don’t give up on that. I will find a way through this. That’s what I’m working toward.”

    There’s a huge difference there, but we need to say it when we’re struggling. If you have kids, they need to see it because it gives them the ability to be more open about how they’re feeling. If we stuff it inside the whole time and do the, “I’m a leader, nothing bothers me,” you will lose trust in individuals because they won’t feel as though when they’re struggling, they can come to you. That’s a fact. The humor is next. It’s important here. There’s so much research around the many different areas that humor helps us when it’s about stress, physical healing, or emotional healing. There are so many different ways we can do it, movies, books, jokes, or gifts, we need to laugh at ourselves in situations because it helps us to get through them. However you need to do that, find a way to have humor inserted into your daily activities.

    Next is around religion and spirituality. This is not specific to any one religion or spirituality. It’s simply to say that we know through research, there is a strong impact here or it’s associated with both psychological and physical well-being. It guards against despair. To me, this is where faith and hope come into play. I once heard somebody say, “If you feed your faith, your fears will starve.” In my own life, I would agree with that. I’ve experienced that myself. It provides social support around belongingness. It also provides positive role models. Lastly, it provides a positive mission. This is about being for others. Never do we need the idea of being for others more than we need it right now.

    Next, we’ll talk about it from a standpoint of social support. There’s so much out there in regards to belongingness research. Social support has a profound effect on life expectancy. We know that isolation and poor social support are associated with poor stress response. They create more despair. Patients have better outcomes with a strong social network. Lastly, I’ve got few hardy individuals go it alone and eventually will perish. I truly believe that. We can’t do this on our own. We are pack animals. The research backs this up that if more than 10,000 years ago you were voted outside of a tribe, that was a death sentence. You couldn’t do it on your own. I would argue that the same thing happens now when we’re isolated from groups or each other, that there’s a different death that we might die, but it is still a death.

    Lastly, a lot of my work is around this idea of self-made. There is no such thing as self-made. It’s a myth. You cannot be self-made because self-made would mean, “I make the roads that I drive on. I make the car that I drive in. I make the computer that I use. I created the lights that I work under, the roof that’s over my head.” We need other people. We need each other. With that said, what we can be is self-motivated. That’s a difference and we all have that ability. None of us are self-made. That’s more damaging than it’s helpful. Rather than think of it as self-made, think of it as self-motivating. That’s what we can be.

    The next is around cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ve brought in one component to this, which is called the thought record exercise. This is about how we take a situation that might be catastrophizing and turn it into a rational response. This is about challenging our thoughts in helpful, realistic, and balanced ways. Take whatever that thought is that you might have and then say, “What’s the evidence that this automatic thought is true or untrue?” I would argue, do it for both. Next, “What’s the worst, best and most realistic thing that could happen?” That helps us to understand what’s the best case, worst case and the reality of this.

    Next is, “Can I live through this?” As dire as things seem, you can live through this. The majority of people will live through this. What’s the bigger picture? Next, “Am I thinking in all-or-nothing terms? What can I do to solve the problem? How can I help myself deal with this?” We’ll talk about one exercise that might help in terms of setting up an inventory. Next is, “What difference will this make in 2 weeks or 10 years?” You can change the days there. You can say in 4 weeks, 2 months, 5 years, whatever that might be, but challenge yourself that way.

    We need to be able to laugh at ourselves in difficult situations because it helps us get through them. Click To Tweet

    Power Model

    Next is the POWER Journal that I’m going to talk about. The POWER Journal is based on a lot of different research around both happiness and well-being. One of the things that I’m going to focus here on is a model that I put together called POWER, which is an acronym. It talks about five different behaviors that if we can implement these on a daily basis, we know the research has demonstrated that these five types of activities create more happiness and well-being in our lives. The first one is around Praise, if you can start your day out in the morning, thinking of three different things that you’re grateful for. Although this is very limited here, the POWER Journal that I’ve created is available to anybody for free. There’s no call to action after this. You won’t be asked to buy anything or join any other groups. It’s a ten-page journal that I had developed to help many of my clients be able to, on a more regular basis, build their own resistance.

    Praise, the first one, is about gratitude. What are three things you can be grateful for? I would challenge you to think of three things differently each day. Also, I would ask you to think about the challenges that you’re faced with. Find a way to be grateful for those, “This challenge that I’m currently faced with, I’m grateful for because what it’s going to do is create this event or build up this skill in me because of this challenge.” The next is around Others. How can I make an impact for somebody else now? We’re so challenged with social distancing. This is so important.

    From a leadership perspective, it’s about being for others. How can we do something for somebody else? You might know people that are working from home but they also live by themselves. That can be an immense struggle and burden on individuals. Find ways to reach out to those people around you to see how they are doing and what they need. Maybe setting up FaceTime with them to be able talk to them to see how they’re doing. We need that. What that creates inside of us when we do it for others is it increases our own feeling of self-worth. That’s where a lot of this research comes from.

    Next is around Writing. I had mentioned around journaling. In the research that was done, people only had to write for two minutes a day. Generally, what you do is at the end of the day, write 2 to 3 sentences of what went well for the day. What you do if you think about starting out your day being grateful for three different things and end your day in a place of what you are grateful for, for the day. You have to force yourself maybe at times to think about, “What did go well today?” For the littlest things, “We didn’t have an argument in the house today. Everybody worked together today.” Whatever that might be, force yourself to write 2 to 3 sentences about what went well for the day. The reason for that is that we bookend our day. We start out in a positive place and we end in a positive place.

    Oftentimes, the way we are wired is, if we’re going to bed, we think about either what we didn’t get done today or dread what’s coming tomorrow. If we think about this from a standpoint of going to sleep and the importance of restorative sleep, it works against us. If we go to bed in a negative state, we probably don’t sleep as well, which impacts our ability to create restorative sleep. Next is around Exercise. A lot of the research in the study that was done by Shawn Achor, they only had to do ten minutes of exercise each day. That’s a walk around the block. Whatever it might be, but just getting that physical time. We need that.

    Some of the research that I use is around studies that were done with patients that had been diagnosed with major depressive episodes. What they found was in some of these studies, and I’ve got them referenced in the journal itself, as little as 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week. What they found was patients that had had major depressive episodes that were clinically diagnosed that after ten months of this study, they tended to present better than those patients that were on either an antidepressant or were on antidepressant and exercise at the same time. Exercise by itself in several of these studies proved to be best. That’s not to say that if you’re on antidepressant, you stop it and start working out 3 days a week for 30 minutes, but it’s simply to suggest that there is an enormous amount of research in regards to the importance that exercise has. There are multiple ways that we can exercise. It’s not all about running or cycling. You need to find what works for you.

    Lastly is around Relaxation. This is two minutes of quiet time. This could be just for two minutes, practicing your square breathing, four seconds in hold, four seconds out and then you repeat. Doing that for two minutes has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in individuals. These five things that I’ve talked about here, I’ve turned it into an acronym called POWER. Praise is around gratitude, Others is around doing stuff for other people, Writing is about journaling, E is for Exercise and R is Relaxation. This is mirrored off of a lot of work that was done through a number of different researchers, but also through a study that Shawn Achor did called the 21-Day Happiness Challenge. As part of the journal that I’ve created, at the end of this is a tracker here. You have a three-month tracker, where on a daily basis, you check off, “What did I do? Did I do my praise for today? Did I do something for somebody else? Did I write today? Did I get my exercise? Did I find the time to relax?” Those things are so important. It’s part routine, but these are the most impactful activities that have been proven to help both our well-being and happiness. If you go to EmeryLeadershipGroup.com, that’s where you can go on and get that free PDF digital copy of it.

    LFL 84 | Leverage Stress

    Leverage Stress: There are different behaviors that if we can implement on a daily basis. Research has demonstrated that these create more happiness and wellbeing in our lives.


    Next, we’ll talk about this last learning exercise. What you want to do is take any source of stress that you might have and conduct an inventory of coping strategies that you use now or have used in the past and include the negative strategies as well. List your strengths and factors that may enhance your resilience. We’re taking an inventory here. On step four of this, while you’re considering these, develop a personalized stress management plan to enhance both your coping and resilience. If you remember, we talked about Sully from US Air. This to me is like the Sully US Air learning exercise. What I’m doing is I’m looking at the areas that I know are going to create stress for me throughout the day. These are the things that generally create stress where I am and here is a plan that I’m going to follow that’s going to help me address these. When we do that, we’re going to be in a better place.

    Before I move on to closing this out, I want to mention one thing here, which is around the jack pine cone and how this can inspire us. The seeds in the jack pine cone don’t release until they’ve experienced either extreme heat on their own, which would be very high heat, or it’s generally a forest fire. Once that occurs, the seed that is in this pinecone is able to be released because it gets so hot that the resin melts away and opens up or it liquefies. I believe that many are experiencing what feels like a catastrophic fire. If we think of it in this way, there are many opportunities and chances for us to be opened up in ways that we never would have been opened up if it wasn’t for the situation that we’re in. I would challenge you to think about it this way that you look at it in terms of, “What opportunities are going to open up for me because of this?” It’s ones that you will create. They won’t show up without you exploring and looking for this. We need to do that.

    To review this, stress is a part of everyday life. It’s a perceived lack of control. It can promote growth and competency. If unrelenting and overwhelming, it can cause adverse effects. Negative coping causes additional problems. When we look at this in terms of positive coping, what does it do? It increases our resilience while diminishing the adverse effects of stress. It promotes physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual health. What I’ve done throughout this is provide a number of different strategies and activities that you can take. We are all different. What is going to work for one person isn’t going to work for somebody else, but there is something here for everybody and it is all based on research.

    When we review these, set realistic goals, exercise regularly, eat healthy, get adequate sleep, maintain a work-leisure balance, create positive reframing and optimism, enhance your social support, and practice using this POWER Journal. With that said, we’re all in this together. This is about being for others. Going back to the initial quote from John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire somebody to do more, dream more, learn more, or become more, you are a leader.” There’s nothing in there about a title. Our ability to navigate stress and help others to navigate their stress are actions that will be inspiring. We all have that ability and responsibility to do that. I wish all of you the best as you take this challenge on.

    I hope you found this episode beneficial to wherever you are. If you know somebody you think might be able to benefit from this as well, I would ask that you forward it onto them. I’m going to ask that if you haven’t subscribed yet that you do that. It would mean the world to me. It would help me to continue to get this message out there, is if you found this valuable, leave a rating or a comment in terms of this or any other episode. To me, this is about two things. One is leading like no other. It’s also helping us all to realize that we all have the ability to rise above our best. When we do that and when we’re there for each other, we will leverage the stress and situation that we’re under and we’ll be better because of it. Until our next episode, I wish you all the best and peace.

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    How Our Head Trash Holds Us Back with Noah St. John – Episode 083

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back


    Oftentimes, though we may fail to see it, it’s ourselves that actually holds us back from reaching our goals. Trash thoughts have been lingering in our heads and subconsciously hinders you from achieving anything. This episode, Noah St. John shares his personal story and why, at a young age, he started to question what the secret to success is. He then goes on to talk about what the first step of transforming yourself is and explains the importance of believing in what you say. He gives some tips he’s learned through experience on how to spot false mentors and coaches that will only waste your time. Listen in and learn all about the system of success and understand how it all starts inside your head.

    Listen to the podcast here:

    How Our Head Trash Holds Us Back with Noah St. John

    We are certainly living in unprecedented times right now and I believe so much of how we will be able to navigate this is going to be around our mindset and the questions that we ask ourselves in terms of how that’s going to happen. My guest is the perfect guest to be able to have this discussion. His name is Noah St. John. He’s known as the Power Habits Mentor and is famous for helping entrepreneurs get rid of their head trash and make more money. He’s the only author in history to have works published by Hay House, Harper, Collins, Simon & Schuster, Mind Valley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for The Soul publisher. He also appears frequently in the news worldwide, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Parade Magazine, Entrepreneur.com and The Huffington Post.

    You’ll also be able to get his book, which is Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money for free at www.FreeHeadTrashBook.com. The conversation that I had with him, aside from his book, is about mindset and how important that is. You are tuning in to the show where I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other and it starts with ourselves. Let’s get into it.

    Noah, I want to thank you again for being here. It is such an honor with all of your success in so many different areas, but as well, being a former Mainer that holds a special connection to me. Still being up here, I’m suffering through the winter. You seemed to find a way out of here.

    I did manage to escape. It’s been quite a journey. I’ll tell you. As we were talking about off-camera, I grew up poor in a rich neighborhood. I grew up in Kennebunkport, Maine, which many of your readers might know as one of the wealthiest communities in New England, but my family was dirt poor. I mean that literally because we lived at the bottom of a dirt road in a drafty unfinished house that my parents ended up losing to foreclosure. You hear speakers get on stage all the time. They say, “We were poor, but we were happy. We didn’t know we were poor.” At my house, we freaking knew we were poor because my mother reminded us every day that we were poor and miserable, so it wasn’t happy. It sucked.

    The point is I hated that life of poverty and fear and lack and not-enoughness. That’s all I knew in my family growing up. Right down the street, I saw that there was great wealth and abundance. You hear all the time speakers say, “The secret to success is hard work.” My parents worked hard and they never got ahead. I’m like, “That’s not it either. What the heck is going on here?” People know me. My coaching clients, my audiences, and the people that come to my live events say that I’m the nerdiest nerd in the industry. I say that proudly because what I mean is when there’s a problem, when there’s something that I don’t understand and when I want to fix something, I have to get down to the molecular level.

    I got to fix it. If I don’t understand something, I’ll keep working until I get it. Even from a very young age, I hated that life of poverty. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Nobody in my family could help me. I did the only thing that a nerd would do, which is I went to the library and started reading books on self-help, personal growth, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and Stephen Covey. All the classics. I’m trying to put it to work. I worked hard, but I couldn’t get them to work. After many years of trying and not seeing the success I wanted, at the age of 25, I made a decision to take my own life.

    I made the decision to commit suicide. I do share that story in my books and in my programs. At the very last minute, my life was spared. I didn’t know why, but I made a decision at that moment to devote the rest of my life to serving God and serving humanity as best I could while I was still around the earth. The only problem was I still didn’t know I was here on the earth. That’s when I went on another long journey. This one more of a spiritual journey, like in the inner journey. The first one was like to try to get success on the outside and that didn’t work. I went on an inner journey. I went back to the library and I started reading more books on spiritual growth, like Neale Donald Walsch, Louise Hay, Ernest Holmes, Marianne Williamson, and Deepak Chopra. The spiritual teachers of our time.

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Holds Us Back: You can’t see a belief, you can only see the effects of it.


    Long story short, in 1997, I had two epiphanies that changed my life and led me to finally realize why I’m here on the earth and that’s what led me to start my company. I launched my company, SuccessClinic.com in my college dorm room with $800 and a book on how to do HTML. I have one of the original personal and business growth websites on the internet. I’ve been here doing this for over two decades now. In those two decades, it’s amazing is that we’ve helped our coaching clients and our students add over $2.7 billion in sales. What I mean by that is we felt entrepreneurs, CEOs, executives, athletes, working moms, real estate people, and people in the health profession to add 6, 7, and yes, even 8 figures to their business using my methods. It’s been quite a journey, but it started from very humble beginnings.

    The part that you mentioned about attempting suicide, you are one of more than a handful of guests I’ve had on this show that have all said the same thing. At some point in their life, they were at the brink of committing suicide. I think about that now in terms of what all those people would have missed out on if you had been successful at that attempt. To me, it’s an inspiration to people as that is in that space now. That’s what we talked about before we started. We live in a world at times where everything is so clean and nice and Instagrams and Facebooks. They don’t see all of the work and struggle that went in behind this that you were able to get past to make it to this point, which is so important. For people to be able to see you, you provide inspiration for so many people to do that. With that said, it would be interesting to hear you’ve written numerous books, but as we talk about your most recent one that’s being talked about so much right now is around get rid of your head trash about money. What was it that inspired you to write this book?

    I’ve written fifteen books pretty much about the same topic. It’s all about what I call your head trash. Your head trash is the voice in your head that says, “I can’t do it because…” and you fill in the blank. For everyone reading, think about what you want. What is it that you want? At my company and with our coaching clients, we call it your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to grow your business, scale your business. You want to go from $10,000 a month to $50,000 to $100,000 a month. Maybe you want to hire new employees. Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to find love.

    It’s not about money, but it’s whatever it is in your life. That’s your destination and your goal. This is what I want. As I stated, it’s not money, it’s your whole life. You think about that thing that you want. We all do this, but then the very next thought for 99% of humanity is, “But I can’t do it because.” This is so key. What I want everybody reading to understand is whatever you say after the word because is what you are going to make true for you. You’re going to fight to the death to defend whatever happens after the word because even if you don’t want it. We, humans, are nuts or insane. I’ve coaching clients say, “No, I want to grow my business. I want to double or triple my business like your coaching clients.” When you go to our website, you see these incredible success stories from people from all walks of life and they go, “I want that.”

    When I’m coaching them and they go, “I can’t do it because…” I hear all the excuses. “I can’t do it because I don’t have the time. I can’t do it because I don’t have the money, because I don’t have the right connections, because my parents did this to me, because I grew up poor,” or whatever it might be. Whatever happens after the word because is what you will defend to the death. Here’s what I want everybody reading to realize is that we humans have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right.

    If you don’t believe me, put a Democrat and Republican in the same room and have them watch a political speech and see what happens. Put a Red Sox fan and a Yankees fan in the same room to watch a Red Sox/Yankees game and see what happens. Are they watching the same game? Yes and no. They’re watching the same set of circumstances on the field, but when one team does something good, one person’s happy, one guy’s miserable and vice versa. Do you see what I mean? We have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right. When it comes to your head trash, this is what I always say to people. Whether I’m doing my keynote speeches or I’m doing my live events or coaching people, I will say, “This is one time you don’t want to be right.”

    It reminds me a lot of that primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, which is trying to protect us. It does that naturally to try and say, “Don’t do that.”

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Holds Us Back: In the personal and business growth industry there are two kinds of people, those driven by money and those driven by impact.


    The amygdala that you mentioned, we call that your lizard brain. The ancient brain. It’s millions of years old versus the front part of your brain, which is only a couple of hundred thousand years old. It’s the higher thought processes. The lizard brain’s main job is to make sure you don’t die now. It’s to keep you not dead. What’s a great way to keep you not dead? Don’t go for something you’re afraid of. If you’re afraid of something, it might kill you because it could be a saber-toothed tiger. It could be a woolly mammoth. We don’t know. It’s like, “Don’t go over there.” The problem is there are no saber-toothed tigers walking around. There are no woolly mammoths. Probably you’re just thinking of doing something like doing a blog post or something or making a phone call or something. It’s not death-defying if you get my drift. The point is the lizard brain doesn’t care. It’s like, “No, I don’t care. I’m scared. I’m not doing it.” Sadly, that’s the very thing that keeps us stuck.

    You mentioned three components in your book. How do those tie in?

    Do you mean the three big mistakes?


    When you see the book, and by the way, we’re going to let your readers know how they can get this book for free. We never charge money. You can have the book for free. The point is that the subtitle is How to Avoid the Three Big Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make. That’s the subtitle of the book, Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money. I know everybody reading this is very smart, but nevertheless, you may make these mistakes and not knowing it.

    You bring up a good point on that note. I could be thinking, “I’ve got money under control. I know how to do this, but they could still be mistakes that I’m making.”

    One of the big mistakes that I work with clients on all the time is literally not getting rid of your head trash about money. Not even realizing it’s there. The first step of transformation is awareness. If you’re not aware of something, how can you change it? The answer is you can’t. That’s why we believe and espouse and teach on continuous learning because if you stop learning, you stop earning. That’s so important. That’s why most people are walking around with this head trash, as I call it, about money specifically, but also head trash about other areas of their life that could be keeping you stuck. The point is to look at how that’s affecting you. I’ll give you a quick example.

    We humans have an infinite capacity to make ourselves right. Click To Tweet

    I was speaking at a conference for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles and there were about 1,000 entrepreneurs in the audience, 6, 7, 8-figure earners, very high-level audience. I finished speaking. I was literally walking off the stage. A man came out of the audience. He rushed up to me. He practically grabbed me and he says, “Noah, I want to hire you as my coach. You’re the coach I’ve been looking for.” I didn’t know this man from Adam. Ironically, his name was Adam. I said, “What’s going on?” He goes, “Noah, I’m totally stuck. I’m only making $4 million a year.” I had to laugh. Who wouldn’t want to be “stuck” at $4 million a year? I said, “That doesn’t sound like much of a problem.”

    He goes, “No. You don’t understand. I’m the CEO of a company. Our company grew fast to $4 million in revenues. It’s like hockey stick growth. We have been stuck at $4 million in revenues for the last four years. I’ve hired everybody out there. I’ve hired every marketing guru and every dude.” He named all the gurus out there. He said, “I’ve thrown all this money at this problem and we’re still stuck.” He said to me, “As soon as I heard you speak, Noah, about head trash and your foot on the brake and inner game out there, everything you said, I knew something inside me said you were the coach I’ve been looking for.”

    He hired me on the spot. Long story short, I coached him for about 1.5 years. In those eighteen months, his company went from being stuck plateaued at $4 million in revenues for the previous four years to over $20 million in sales. Literally, six times increase in a little over a year. How did I do that? I waved my magic wand. No, I don’t have a magic wand. My point is that what we worked on was exactly what I’m talking about right now. We worked on a big part of it was this head trash that he didn’t realize that he had been unknowingly holding himself back from the success that he desired so that.

    To go back to the car analogy, it’s like if you’re driving in your car and you have one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas, how long is it going to take you to reach your destination? A very long time. That’s what my work does. My methodologies enable people to, number one, understand why their foot’s on the brake. Number two, realize that it’s there in the first place. Number three, most importantly, get their foot off the brake so they can reach their goals much faster, easier in less time.

    In your experience, do you find that there’s one thing that people put their foot on the brake most about?

    There’s a lot of common themes. One of the big common themes that we hear a lot is about spirituality and religion, believe it or not. I was raised Catholic. In the Catholic Church, basically, you’re wrong. That’s pretty much it. If you think something, you’re wrong. That wasn’t very fun. Let’s be honest, to have a human desire is wrong. I understand that there are some human desires that aren’t so great, but some are perfectly fine. I’d like to live, I’d like to survive. I’d like to thrive. I’d like to live well. In fact, using Adam, that client I was talking about as an example, one of the beliefs he has is, “I don’t think I can be very successful.”

    If I’m successful, then what if I screw it up? What if I lose it all and so on and so on? That’s the belief. The point is if you believe it, you make true. That’s a great way and reason to go down the road of life with one foot on the brake. To reiterate what I said earlier, if you don’t have that conscious awareness, you can’t make a change. The first step to any transformation is awareness. That’s why as a coach, as a business mentor, one of the big things that I do is I act as a mirror to my clients. I say, “Did you realize you’re thinking that? Did you realize that you’re doing this?” They’re like, “I didn’t even know I was doing that.” The analogy we like to give is when you’re inside the bottle, it’s awfully hard to see the ingredients on the outside of the bottle. I’m outside the bottle and I go, “Did you know you’re doing this?” They are like, “I don’t know that.” Now, we can change it.

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Holds Us Back: The goal is to help more people, make more money, and have more fun.


    I think of my own circumstances at times along those lines of, of getting to certain income levels that I had expected to get to. Somehow almost sabotaging certain things. A proposal goes out late, a phone call doesn’t get returned, which is uncharacteristic. What I think of is that I’m self-leveling almost against money.

    That is one example of it. Right here on page 49 of the book, I show you exactly how. This is where I show you about inner game and outer game. The point is in any human endeavor, there are always two components. The inner component and the outer component. In the SuccessClinic.com, on my live events or with my keynote speeches or my coaching clients. We say the inner game and outer game. Inner game is everything that happens between your ears that you can’t see directly, but it affects everything that you do. For example, let’s say I’m doing a keynote speech or a live event. I’ll say to my audience, “What is one area of your life where your beliefs don’t affect you?” People go, “Umm,” and I go, “Exactly. There’s no place your beliefs don’t affect you.”

    Your beliefs affect your health, your wellbeing, your peace of mind or lack thereof. Certainly, your beliefs affect your money, your wealth, your ability to attract clients, customers, patients, your relationships or whatever it might be. Literally, there’s no place that your beliefs don’t affect you, but here’s the thing. You can’t see a belief. You can only see the effects of it. Also, notice that you can be doing well in one area of your life. Meanwhile, you could be stuck or struggling in another area. For example, maybe your business is going great, but maybe your health is suffering or maybe your relationships are great, but you’re not making the money you want or whatever it might be. Any combination. It’s not cookie-cutter, one size fits all. It’s all customized to each person or company or organization or team. That’s the inner game.

    We also have the outer game. The outer game is everything you can see directly. That’s the systems, strategies, habits, all the things that are right in front of your face. For entrepreneurs, that’s all the marketing we have to do. The lead magnets, the sales funnels, all the customer-facing, market-facing things. That’s what all the gurus are teaching. They’re teaching all that stuff, which is it’s all fine and good. If you don’t have the inner game mastered, then like my client Adam, he’d spent tens of thousand dollars on his marketing stuff. He was bumping up against himself, against his own inner game. That’s where I came in and I showed him that. I showed him the outside of the bottle and he went, “I didn’t even know I was doing that.” $4 million to $20 million in a year, a 600% increase. Let’s be honest, on Wall Street, if you get a 5% return, you’re a superstar.

    When you talk about that too, if I remember correctly, it’s like the 80-20 rule to that 80% of this is the inner game. It’s our mind.

    Let me give you some famous examples. I’m sure everybody reading knows who Robin Williams is. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us. He did kill himself. He did commit suicide. Why would he do that? Unfortunately, I never got the chance to talk to him because I could’ve saved him. I could have helped him certainly. There’s an example of someone who had everything that we all want. He was rich and famous. There’s no arguing that he was rich and famous and he not only lost it all, he took his own life. Why? It’s because of what I’m talking about right now. Because unfortunately, nobody got to him in time to help him with his inner game. That was not an outer game issue. The outer game was all set. He’s rich and famous. Chris Farley, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix. The list goes on and it’s a sad list, but you see what I’m saying? This shows up. Once you start to see this, you start to say, “This is this affecting everything.”

    It’s interesting as I looked at your mission as well, one part of it is to make more money. The other part is to help more people and the last is to have more fun. That’s important too because you mentioned a bunch of examples there that certainly they made more money. That wasn’t about the money. There’s a purpose, I would guess to this as well of what’s this all about.

    The first step of transformation is awareness. If you're not aware of something, how can you change it? The answer is, you can't. Click To Tweet

    In this industry, when I say this industry, I mean the personal and business growth industry, what we see is two kinds of people. The first kind is driven by money. “I can make a lot of money doing this.” That’s great. We all want more money. We all want nice things. By the way, you can tell this about the person, the guru, by looking at their social media. Look at their Instagram feed and they’re always posting, “Look at my new car. Look at all my watch.” I don’t even wear a watch. There’s nothing wrong with nice things. We all want nice things to take care of our family, go on fun vacations. We all want that stuff. The point is, for those gurus, that’s their primary driver.

    There’s another group in this industry and that’s who I like to work with. Their primary driver is impact. It’s making a difference. It’s helping people, making the world a better place, as corny as it sounds. I’ve never had the primary driver of money, I’ve always had the primary driver of impact. I’m not saying I’m better than anybody. I’m saying that it’s so funny because I tried to be like them. I tried to be like, “I want that money.” I’m going, “This sucks. Why am I so unhappy with this?” Finally, my beautiful wife, she finally said, “Why are you trying to be like that one? That’s not you.” I’m going, “I don’t know.” She read my bottle from the outside. The point is part of my mission is to make it okay and that money is part of it. It’s not the thing. It’s a thing.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that I’m better than anybody else. I’m saying there are not many voices that I hear in this industry that talk about that. It’s mostly dominated by money and stuff. Get more stuff and then you’ll be happy. You get to a certain age and you’re like, “I got to know stuff.” The stuff doesn’t make you happy. What makes people happy is experiences. More importantly, shared experiences. When I go on trips sometimes, I have to go by myself. I don’t like it. I like going on trips with my wife. Why? Because that’s my best friend. I get to share going to the beach or going to see a concert or going to Las Vegas shows or whatever it is. I’m always saying, “If I was by myself, I wouldn’t be having any fun right now. It’s fun because I’m sharing that experience.” Most people feel that way.

    In terms of our kids, the best time that we have is on trips, on things that we do together, wherever it is. It’s because they’re shared experiences. That’s the enjoyment of that. I completely agree with you.

    By the way, numerous scientific studies have shown that when you have stuff, the perceived value of stuff, things go down over time. However, the perceived value of experiences goes up over time. You mentioned a great example. That family vacation you took with your family, you’re going to be talking about that for the rest of your life. You’re going to say, “Remember when we went to Niagara Falls? Remember when we went to the Grand Canyon?” You’re like, “That was so much fun.” The value in your mind goes up. I’m the voice now for like, “We got enough stuff. Let’s talk about shared experiences.” Raising the consciousness here.

    My wife has Timehop on her phone. All of a sudden, they’ll be like, “This was three years ago on this date.” It will be, “Remember we did this trip?” I can’t remember one time on a Time Hop that it’s all memory. “Remember we got this car?” “That was a great day when I got that suit.”

    We all want nice things. There’s nothing wrong with things, but you get to a point and you’re like, “Is that it?” You’re like, “No, let’s have more shared experiences.” Help more people make more money and have more fun, as you stated. That is our goal, our stated mission here at Success Plan.

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Holds Us Back: It’s actually very easy to spot the wrong mentor, and that is when they talk about themselves incessantly.


    We only hit on the first mistake. What’s the second mistake?

    The second mistake is not finding the right mentor. That goes back to what I was saying a moment ago. It’s very easy to spot the wrong mentor. That is when they talk about themselves incessantly. You see this every day on social media. You can’t turn on social media without seeing something that says, “Look at all my cool stuff. Aren’t I awesome?” You’re like, “You’re awesome. Did you help anybody else get what they want or is it all about your stuff?” It’s so insane. I am so guilty of this and embarrassingly, I paid the gurus over $250,000, only to find out they can’t teach their way out of a paper bag.

    They truly suck at teaching, but they’re great at promoting themselves. I bought it. I bought it and they’re like, “Thanks.” I’m like, “Are you going to help me.” “No, I’ll just take your money.” I’m like, “What?” The point is for example when you go to our website when you go to NoahStJohn.com and look at what we call the client wall of fame, I’d rather brag about the car that I helped you get that’s in your garage rather than the cars that are in my garage. Why? If I’m only bragging about myself, then who cares? Who cares about if you made money for yourself, but it’s very seductive? That’s what I caution people about.

    You’ve got a who’s who in here of pretty heavy hitters that have endorsed this as well, but also people that have benefited from what you’re doing, which is neat to see that.

    Here’s Elizabeth. She went from startup to seven figures. She had tons of head trash. She said it. Susan, I helped go from $60,000 in debt. She was about to declare bankruptcy, to a six-figure income in less than a year. It goes on and on. Aubrey was one of our students. She came to my live event and she had been in a wheelchair. Doctors told her she would never walk again because she was working herself to death. You’ve heard that phrase. She was doing it. She was working day and night. She wasn’t growing. After coming to my event, after hiring me as a coach, she doubled her business in less than a year. That’s what I like to brag about. I’d rather brag about my clients.

    What about mentoring? We talked about how important it is

    My point again, I’ll reiterate. Make sure you find the right mentors, not just any mentor. There are tons of dudes out there that say, “Look how cool I am. Look how much money I’ve made.” My question was, “Have you helped anybody else?” Remember, if they haven’t, if all they talk about is themselves, then they probably what they have is a personality. You can have a winning personality. That’s fine but personality is not a system. If it’s not a system, then what about you and me? How are we going to replicate them? We can’t. In my teaching, my methodology is systematic. It’s a system on purpose because I’m so methodical. I’m such a nerd. That’s the point. I’d rather be the nerdiest nerd because that means, I know that I can help anybody. Literally, we have teenagers who come to our events. We had one sixteen-year-old girl. She came to my event and she started up her own online business. Now she sells custom yoga pants and making six-figures a year.

    If you stop learning, you stop earning. Click To Tweet

    When you’re talking 1997, you’re talking to HTML, I know you’re nerdy. You don’t have to convince me on that one.

    That’s what I want people to make sure that they’re looking for systems, not personality.

    My thought too is I spent a lot of time on the leadership end of things around influence. To me, that’s all it is. It’s how do we inspire others to go where we want to go? One of the things that are important, especially if I’m thinking of a mentor, is goodwill. Are you more interested in taking my money or providing me with something that’s going to help me grow? If I sense that this is about, you’re a personality and you’re making money off of me, but not helping me to get where you said I can go, it doesn’t work. Short-term, it might work, but long-term, it doesn’t.

    Unfortunately, I bought it from them. They seduced me to the tune of $250,000 before I wised up. It took me a little too long. I want people to learn from my painful mistakes. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Do your homework, do your research, look at the testimonials, look at the case studies, watch the videos, go to our website. There are dozens and dozens. It’s like, “If there are this many success stories, there’s got to be a system. If there’s a system, that means I can do it too.” If you don’t think you can do it, guess what? That’s your head trash.

    What’s the third mistake that you talk about?

    This one could be even worse than the other two combined, and that is gathering too much information without giving yourself permission to succeed. I know that’s a mouthful of what I said. My very first book that was published back in 1999 by the Chicken Soup for The Soul people was called Permission To Succeed. One of the epiphanies that I had back in 1997, one of the reasons that I started SuccessClinic.com, my company, is I realized most of us don’t need any more how-tos of success. What we need is a system to give ourselves permission to succeed. Going back to Adam, that story I shared earlier, that was a big part of the work we did, helping them go from $4 million to $20 million in less than a year was a big part of that was helping him get his foot off the brake.

    The point is we don’t live in the information age. We live in the information overload age. We passed the information age twenty miles back. There are over one billion blogs on the internet right now. You can watch cat videos for the next 10,000 lifetimes and still never be done. The point is we live in a world not only of information overload but of infinite distractions. Unfortunately, at our fingertips, every minute of every day, we have these what I call the tools of infinite distraction, our phone. Remember that the makers of all of these social media platforms and apps, their job is to keep you addicted as a consumer so that they can show you more ads so that they make more money.

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Get Rid of Your Head Trash About Money: How to Avoid the 3 Massive Money Mistakes Even Smart People Make

    When it’s a free platform, guess what the product is? You and me. We are the products. We are being sold everywhere. The point of what I’m getting at is one of the big things that we work with at our coaching clients at our live events is to cut through the clutter, having people do less and make a lot more. There are so many things you could do, but it’s like a Jurassic Park. Should you do it? It isn’t could we do it. It’s should we do it? It’s like, “Should I be doing that?” As a quick example, as we talked about earlier, I’ve been blessed to write fifteen books that are now published in eighteen languages and I’ve also helped many people. A big, big reason that I’ve been able to do that is to help people to eliminate distractions.

    As I stated, we live in a world of infinite distraction. Being able to unplug even for a few minutes a day or maybe an hour or so or whatever so that you can focus, get something done is going to make enormous differences for you what most people do as they’re trying to build a bridge from where they are to where they want to be. Instead of building one bridge to get there, they’ve got twenty half-built bridges. When you have a half-built bridge, what did you do? That’s not good. We want to have one but it’s so painful. It’s so easy to get distracted. It’s so easy to get that information overload. At our live events with our coaching clients, we help people to cut through the clutter, do less, and have more.

    We do get overloaded with, how many places can I go to research what I’m going to do?

    There’s a phrase that we love to say with our clients at our events, which is, there’s no lack of information. There’s a definite lack of implementation and a lack of implementation leads to a lack of transformation. We don’t want information anymore. Nobody wants more information. “No, can I please have more information?” Holy crap, I’m drowning in information. The point is we don’t want more information, but what we need is implementation. That’s going back to the fear that we were talking about earlier. What if I do it and it doesn’t work? It’s head trash. Do you see how this all ties together? That lack of implementation leads to a lack of transformation. You can’t have a transformation from the information. If it did, then we’d all be multibillionaires because we all have infinite information at our fingertips. Clearly, that’s not the issue.

    As we’re wrapping things up, I’m thinking you mentioned a lot about affirmations. If I’m that person that’s saying, “This sounds good. I’ve tried so many different things and it doesn’t work.” How do you help somebody in that regard? I know I follow you on Instagram and I see many of the affirmations you put out there and they’re great. They would be so valuable for readers to hear, what’s a process that you can do to be able to change the question?

    For everyone reading, we’re using a new word here. It’s afformations, not affirmations. This is one of the power habits of unconsciously successful people that I teach. This is my book from Hay House called Afformations and you can learn more at Afformations.com. As we all know it, and I’m sure everybody reading knows that an affirmation is a statement of something you want to be true. This is what the gurus have been teaching us for decades. This is one of the things we like to do at our live events or my keynote speeches, whether I’m talking to colleges, universities, healthcare, or chiropractors, dentists, sports teams or whatever it is. I love to have my audiences stand up and say, “We’re going to say an affirmation. Everybody says I am rich.” Do you know what happens next? Everybody starts laughing. I go, “What are you laughing at?” They say, “I’m not rich.” I go, “You just said you were,” and they go, “I don’t believe it.” Now that’s the problem. There’s nothing wrong with the statement. We don’t believe this statement. The point is you say the positive thing and your brain goes, “Right.” In my books, I call it the Yeah, Right Response because the brain goes, “Yeah, right.” Back in 1997, I had this epiphany and I was in the shower one morning.

    In my books, I call it the shower that changed everything because we’ve all had those a-ha moments in the shower. On this particular shower, I was thinking about this very point saying, “How come I been doing these affirmations, doing everything the books told me to do?” Remember, I read every book and they also had the same thing. Say the affirmations, put in a positive attitude. I wrote it down and put it in sticky notes. All of them, nothing. I was saying, “I’m happy. I’m rich. I’m successful.” No, I’m not. I’m unhappy. I’m broke. I’m miserable. I’m like, “This is not working.” I was so frustrated. I said, “What aren’t they telling us? They got to be leaving something out. There’s got to be something so crucial that they’re not telling us and something they left out. What is it?”

    When you're inside the bottle, it's awfully hard to see the ingredients on the outside. Click To Tweet

    I was literally beside myself. I said, “What are we talking about?” We’re talking about beliefs. What’s a belief? A belief is a thought. What’s thought? I realized that human thought is the process of asking and searching for answers to questions, not statements. I said, “If the human mind is automatically searching for answers to questions, why are we going around making statements we don’t believe? Why don’t we cut out the middleman?” I said, “What would that look like?” You get this statement or affirmation, the old way. “I am rich,” and your brain goes, “Right.” I said, “What would the question be? Why am I so rich?”

    Now when you asked that question, what immediately starts to happen in your brain? You start getting the answer. We’re talking about what I teach at my events and what I work with coaching clients on is the Law of Sowing and Reaping. As you sow, so shall you reap? It’s nothing new. It’s been taught for centuries, but what are we sowing? We’re sowing seeds of thought. Yet what are most people doing? Sowing lousy thoughts seeds. Why am I so stupid? Why am I so fat? Why can’t I lose weight? Why isn’t my business growing? Why is there more month left at the end of the money? When you ask lousy questions, what do you get? Lousy answers and that creates a lousy life. I said, “Why don’t we flip the whole thing on its head? Instead of asking lousy questions that leave the lousy answer that leads the lousy life, why don’t we flip that on its head, start asking empowering questions that lead to phenomenal answers and create a wonderful life?”

    As I was standing there in the shower, April 1997, I said, “I invented something.” I gave it a name and the name I gave it is afformations. If you go to Afformations.com and learn more about my afformations methods. Literally, since that time, we’ve helped people to overcome addiction, to cure PTSD, to double or triple their income, to start their business, grow their business, find love. We’ve helped kids get better grades, feel more self-esteem. It’s incredible because going back to what I said at the beginning of this program when I was talking about beliefs and head trash, this is one of the things that’s causing it. The beautiful thing is using my afformations, now you can literally change your questions, change your habits, change your actions and thereby change your life.

    I don’t need to tell you right now how powerful it is for you. Our brain looks for the evidence to back up the question that we ask. If more people recognized what you’re talking about, they would be in such a better place. We get what we search out in some regards. I spend a lot of my time not in this space like this, but certainly, I might go into an organization. If it’s around conflict and they don’t like the person they work with, I will say that if you’re asking yourself, why don’t you get along with that person? It’s no different than what you’re talking about. I will think of all the reasons why I can’t get along with this person. It changes everything. You have an event coming up as well. Do you want to mention that?

    LFL 83 | Holds Us Back

    Afformations®: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk

    It’s called Freedom Lifestyle Experience and it’s a two-day transformational intensive wherein two life-changing days, I literally teach you how to master your inner game on day one and your outer game on day two so that you can have more time, more energy, better relationships and more money while working less. It’s like the entrepreneur’s dream, which is to be able to not work all the time and yet have that financial freedom and the time freedom so that they can live the life that they want. That’s why we call it Freedom Lifestyle Experience because we want to give people that experience of living a freedom lifestyle. You can get your tickets at FreedomLifeX.com. Since you’re reading to this right now, you can bring a friend for free. We want to give a special gift to everybody reading this.

    Thank you so much for this. This has been I’ve loved our conversation. As I mentioned, there’s an affinity there from the main connection, but our backgrounds are similar to growing up. You have provided so much value to so many people. Thank you for that.

    It’s my pleasure.

    The conversation with Noah is certainly such a valuable one in the environment that we’re in right now. The questions that we ask ourselves will be so important in terms of what the outcomes will be from that. If we expect the worst, we won’t be disappointed. We will be disappointed, but we won’t be disappointed. We probably will get exactly what we’re expecting. Much of this is around our ability to think differently. I hope you’ll take an opportunity to do that. If you know somebody you think might benefit from this episode, I’d ask you to forward it on to them.

    If you haven’t subscribed yet, I’d ask you to please go ahead and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to get out there. We need messages around helping the individuals understand that we are all leaders through our actions. Until our next episode, I’m going to ask you two things. One is that you lead like no other. Secondly, that you’re able to rise above your best. Peace.

    Important Links:

    About Noah St. John

    Peak performance isn’t just about technology, sales, or a number of other things. It’s about your company costs, employee morale, and the way you train your team.

    We can help you understand how to create habits within your team that defends against mindset and low motivation with a radically new approach to growth and organizational transformation that defines what you can do and how it will shape your advantage for years to come.

    Since 1997, our clients have added more than $2.7 BILLION DOLLARS in sales.

    Noah St. John is the only author in history to have works published by Hay House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Mindvalley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher. His 15 books have been published in 18 languages.

    A highly in-demand keynote speaker, Noah is famous for inventing AFFORMATIONS® – a new technology of the mind – and helping people get rid of their head trash so they make more money.

    Noah’s engaging and down-to-earth speaking style always gets high marks from audiences. Meeting planners call Noah “a BIG draw” and “a MUST-HAVE RESOURCE for every organization.”

    As the leading authority on how to eliminate limiting beliefs, Noah delivers private workshops, live events and online courses that his clients call “MANDATORY for anyone who wants to succeed in life and business.”

    One of the world’s most sought-after experts on business and personal growth, Noah also appears frequently in the news worldwide, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, The Hallmark Channel, NPR, Parade, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Entrepreneur On Fire, Woman’s Day, Los Angeles Business Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Forbes.com, Selling Power and The Huffington Post.

    Fun fact: Noah once won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii on the game show Concentration, where he missed winning a new car by three seconds. (Note: He had not yet discovered his Power Habits® Formula.)

    Book Noah to speak at https://BookNoah.com

    Get our Free Productivity Guide at https://SJECGlobal.com/

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        Why Fear And Irrationality Are More Threatening Than Any Virus – Episode 08‪2‬

        LFL 82 | Fear And Irrationality


        The pandemic has caused so much panic to many of us but what is even more threatening than the virus is the fear and irrationality that come out of it. As we live through unprecedented times, it helps to take a step back on how we behave in the midst of this crisis and get a hold of ourselves to see the better course of action to take. Patrick Veroneau dedicates this episode to behaviors that will help us deal with the pandemic as well as the behaviors that will undermine our ability to come through this crisis stronger than we are now. Join him to find out! 

        Listen to the podcast here:

        Why Fear And Irrationality Are More Threatening Than Any Virus

        We are living through unprecedented times right now and this episode is about behaviors. Both behaviors that will help us to deal with this crisis as well as the behaviors that will undermine our ability to come through this crisis stronger than we are now. It’s our choice in terms of which way we’re going to go. The goal of this episode is two-fold. It’s to identify irrational behaviors and unconscious biases that we all fall victim to so that people can hopefully stop some of the panics that’s going on but also, to talk about what behaviors do we need to work together to make sure that we come out of this thing stronger than we went into it. This is the show where I’m nearly obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others to do great things but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to rise above our best. It starts with ourselves and never in our history do we need people to behave in ways that inspire others more than we do right now. Let’s get into it.

        As I mentioned, I wanted to talk about some irrational behaviors, unconscious biases, however, you want to label them. The first one is around what’s called the availability heuristic. What happens, in this case, is people overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. As an example, a person might argue that smoking is not unhealthy because they know of several people that have contracted cancer or lung cancer because of smoking. Therefore, that’s all the data they have. Smoking doesn’t cause cancer. In the same situation that we’re in right now, there are those who may be depending on their age, think somehow they’re immune to this or it will impact them less because they are younger.

        While that might be true, what it doesn’t take into account is what this will do regarding overwhelming our healthcare system so that those who are older and don’t handle us as well, the resources they need will not be there. We’ve heard over and over again why it’s important to flatten out the curve. That’s what this speaks to is just because you think this is a stronger version of the flu that you’ll recover from, others will not. The next bias that I’m going to talk about is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is one that says, “We only tend to go with the information that confirms our perceptions.” It is one where we only look to the evidence that confirms whatever our perceptions are. One of the many reasons it’s hard to have an intelligent conversation about climate change with some people is they will often look to the weather in terms of always being a variant.

        People overestimate the importance of information that is available to them. Click To Tweet

        “It’s really cold one day so tell me about global warming now,” where they will try and lump weather and climate as the same and they’re not. Where do we see that in this place? Confirmation bias is such that there are those out there that will say, “It’s not going to impact us,” or “This is what we’ve done. This is why it won’t be the same.” We’re discounting the evidence that says that this thing is a runaway train at times if we don’t take it seriously. To play off of that, another cognitive bias we can run into is called the ostrich effect. The ostrich effect is just as it sounds. The decision to ignore dangerous or negative information by burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich. To me, we see this right now. There are many that are doing the ostrich effect of thinking, “It won’t be as bad as it was in Europe or in China because we’re in the US and we’re different.”

        If you look at the data that’s being presented now, it says that we are in the exact same situation as Italy was. Quite honestly, I would rather look back on this and say we overreacted than be in a situation that says, “I wish we had taken this more seriously.” Certainly, that’s what you hear many in Italy are saying. The last one is around scarcity. Scarcity is so important here in that we’re seeing it over and over again. I believe the mainstream media is part of the problem here that they have created some of this. They’ve created a sense of panic where people are rushing to supermarkets and to other outlets to overwhelm them in regards to buying up things in bulk that prevents everybody else from getting the piece just that they need as well. There’s an enormous amount of research around the scarcity effect.

        We know that we’re more motivated to avoid the loss than gain. This is playing itself over and over again. In grocery stores, it is never more evident right now but this plays itself out over and over again. There’ve been studies that they’ve done where they’ve looked at sales in grocery stores of an item like soup. When they limited the number of cans a person could buy, people bought more soup than if they could buy as many cans as they wanted at the same price. We see that happening whether it’s toilet paper, hand sanitizer or any other thing that’s going to be the next thing.

        People are going to watch everybody may be buying one so you start to think, “I need one myself. If I’m going to buy one, they’re going to be gone if I don’t get two of these things.” We fall victim and prey to this that we feel like if we don’t get this, they’re all going to be gone. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and it builds on itself. Unfortunately, there are those out there that are unscrupulous when it comes to this. They go around and buy as many as they can to take advantage of people later on.

        LFL 82 | Fear And Irrationality

        Fear And Irrationality: If we work together to support and hold each other accountable through this pandemic and do what needs to be done, we will be far better off in the long run.


        One way that we can help prevent this if we all recognize what’s going on. That there is enough for everybody if we slow down and recognize the irrationality that’s happening to us. We wouldn’t have the run that we’ve got now in regards to the items that are unavailable. What happens if it’s somebody who is in need of that like an elderly individual but because a knucklehead felt the need to store a case of hand sanitizer in their basement, now somebody that needs this doesn’t have it available to them. That’s the unconscious bias component of this.

        The other component to this in regards to the positive behaviors that we need to demonstrate is one to pause. This is not to stick our head in the sand but it’s simply to take a step back and be able to say, “What do we need to do to change the trajectory of this?” We need to understand that we will either be part of the problem or part of the solution. One of the best ways that we can do that is if we think in terms of behaviors of being for others. We’re practicing social distancing to save our physical health. We are going to need to practice social assisting if we are going to come out of this with community health and strength that is strong as well.

        In the long run, that is going to be far more damaging to our communities if we cannot find a way to work together to deal with this. That means all of us taking responsibility. If it is a restriction that we all follow and not one person think that they’re above it and they’re going to go against it because, “This isn’t me. I’m not the one that’s going to contract this and spread this on.” I’m sure each person that has contracted this thought that they were not the one that was going to catch it either but somehow they did. We all need to work together on this.

        Both from the standpoint of understanding what irrational behaviors and unconscious biases we will be dealing with to control those but also is just out there doing the right thing and helping out those that in your community that needs your help. If everybody does this, if we work together to support and hold each other accountable through this and do what needs to be done, we will be far better off in the long run. If we don’t, then we will pay the consequence long-term.

        I hope this episode has provided you with some information that will help you to deal with or support somebody else going forward. If you know somebody you feel would benefit from this episode, I’d ask you, please forward it to them. This is such a critical time. It would mean the world to me and not about vanity likes or any of that other BS that’s going around. I would love to know if this episode resonates with you because this is what it means to lead like no other and to rise above your best. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do both. Peace.

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        How To Identify And Eliminate Disruptive Behaviors In Any Organization – Episode 08‪1‬‬

        LFL 81 | Disruptive Behaviors


        What are disruptive behaviors, and why is it vital to identify and eliminate them in your organization? Disruptive behaviors have significant correlations with poor teamwork, low job satisfaction, greater emotional exhaustion, and increased depression. The result? A weak organization that produces poor outcomes. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau discusses the disruptive behaviors you need to watch out for in your organization and how you can eliminate them. You’ll also discover what behaviors your organization should practice to reinforce strong relationship bridges within your team.

        Listen to the podcast here:

        How To Identify And Eliminate Disruptive Behaviors In Any Organization

        We’re going to talk about disruptive behaviors and in the past couple episodes or posts as well, I’ve mentioned a study that was put out there in regards to disruptive behaviors and a scale that was developed as it relates to healthcare. Although we’re going to talk about healthcare-related disruptive behaviors, in my experience over the past decade, I will say that the disruptive behaviors that have been identified as being negatively impactful in a healthcare environment are certainly relevant to other industries as well. What’s important about that is that the same disruptive behaviors can be experienced in one industry, they can be eradicated by the same methods as well. That’s really what we’re going to talk about. Not only what were the disruptive behaviors, but also how do we eliminate these disruptive behaviors from happening within these organizations?

        The first part of this is to talk about an article that was published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, it was 2020, it was published in January 2021 and it is volume 46, pages 18 to 26. The title of this is “Associations Between a New Disruptive Behavior Scale and Teamwork, Patient Safety, Work-Life Balance, Burnout, and Depression.” The background of this was basically to say disruptive and unprofessional behaviors frequently occur in healthcare and adversely affect patient care and healthcare worker job satisfaction. These behaviors have rarely been evaluated at a work setting level, nor do we fully understand how disruptive behaviors are associated with important metrics such as teamwork and safety climate, work-life balance, burnout, and depression.

        The objectives of this study were to use this survey tool that had been presented to healthcare workers across the US healthcare system, and it was aimed to introduce a brief scale for evaluating disruptive behaviors at a work setting level. It was looking at investigating associations between disruptive behaviors, as well as other validated measures for safety, culture, and wellbeing. When we look at the results of this, one or more of the six disruptive behaviors that I’ll mention were reported in almost 98% of the workplace settings. Disruptive behaviors were reported in similar frequencies by both men and women and by most healthcare worker roles.

        Appreciate people for who they are. Click To Tweet

        Disruptive behavior climate was significantly correlated with poor teamwork climate, safety climate, job satisfaction, and perceptions of management. It also was correlated with lower work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion, known as burnout, and increased depression. What’s important to note here is, when we look at a P-value, P-value in this study was 0.001 in terms of validity, which is very important. The conclusion of this paper that was printed was that disruptive behaviors are common, measurable, and associated with safety culture and healthcare worker wellbeing.

        The authors went on to say that this concise, disruptive behavior scale affords researchers a new, valid and actionable tool to assess disruptive behaviors. What’s interesting is this study is based on work that was done back in 2008, a survey that was done. They asked healthcare providers in regards to not only how often had they experienced disruptive behaviors in their workplace setting, but also what impact that had on patient safety. I think the most concerning one of all that I remember reading of that study was where they asked providers, “What impact do you think disruptive behaviors have had as it relates to patient mortality?” Twenty-seven percent of the respondents of that survey suggested that they believed disruptive behaviors had some impact on patient mortality, which to me is mind-blowing.

        What were the six disruptive behaviors that were identified? The first was listed as when an employee turned their back on another person before that conversation was over. That was the first disruptive behavior. The second disruptive behavior was hanging up the phone before a conversation was over. The third was bullying other people. The fourth was trying to humiliate others publicly, and obviously, those are pretty loaded, both bullying and trying to humiliate others publicly. When I think of public humiliation, I often think of gossiping, but that’s probably where I’ve seen this the most. What happens is somebody talks about somebody else, spreads a rumor, all to make themselves look better at the other person’s expense. The fifth disruptive behavior that was mentioned was around making comments with sexual, racial, religious, or ethnic slurs. The last one was showing physical aggression, for example, grabbing, throwing, hitting, or punching. Obviously, those we see much less frequently, although throwing is probably the one that would be seen the most.

        LFL 81 | Disruptive Behaviors

        Disruptive Behaviors: Empathy is one of the strongest behaviors we can have, but it often gets misinterpreted as a weakness.


        When the prevalence of each of these was evaluated by the researchers, what they found was the prevalence for bullying was 31%. The prevalence for turning their back before a conversation was over, was 37%, hanging up the phone on somebody before the conversation was over was 27%. Publicly humiliating somebody else was almost 29%. Making comments with sexual racist or ethnic slurs was almost 22%, and showing physical aggression was about 12%. Those are the disruptive behaviors that were identified.

        When we look at it from a standpoint, even though this was related to healthcare, what they looked at was what’s the correlation between disruptive behaviors? What they found was there was a significant correlation when we looked at those six disruptive behaviors around poor teamwork climate, safety climate, job satisfaction, perceptions of management, lower work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion or burnout, and increased depression. We talk about this from the standpoint of healthcare. I can tell you certainly from my own experience when I look at disruptive behaviors, those are ones that I would say that without a study being put in place in those areas, I would say those are the ones that I see very much in line with what’s seen in healthcare. Also, from the standpoint of what happens to the organizational climate when that happens. I would say many of those things are still the same. Poor teamwork climate, job satisfaction, perceptions of management, work-life balance, increased emotional exhaustion, burnout happens outside of healthcare, as well as increased depression.

        How do we address this? We see here, the evidence continues to mount in regards to what we should probably just expect as common sense. That when we behave in the wrong ways, obviously they have a negative impact, and now simply it’s about research validating that common sense. There are two areas that I think are very impactful when we look at eliminating or reducing disruptive behaviors. On a team, first off, because I think that’s where it needs to happen, I’m often reminded of a quote by Einstein, where he said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil. It will be destroyed by those who watch evil and do nothing.” I truly believe that as the same with disruptive behaviors within an organization.

        Listen with your eyes, ears, mind, and heart. Click To Tweet

        Unless people work as a team and decide not to stand for that as a group, then there can be 1 or 2 individuals that get to go rogue, or run outside of what everybody else wants to see. There are conversations that I’ve had where individuals have said, “I’d love to see this go away, but I’m afraid to bring it up to this person because I’m afraid that the target is then going to be put on me.” It’s the feeling of the person feeling, “I’ve got nobody to back me up on this.” It’s like going up against the bully, knowing that you’re on your own, nobody else is going to protect you, and that’s a difficult place to be and that’s why it’s so important for a team to unite.

        One of the things that I use in a lot of the work that I do is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni. As an authorized partner with DISC and Wiley Publications, we do an assessment based on the five dysfunctions of a team, but also incorporating personality work into that too. The benefit of that has is, one, the team gets to identify on levels that were identified in Pat Lencioni’s work on The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. What level of trust do we have as a team? How do we approach conflict as a team? How do we approach commitment as a team? How do we hold each other accountable as a team? How focused are we on effective results as a team, as opposed to individually just being concerned with ourselves? When a team is able to do that, there’s an opportunity now to identify what are the problems that are going on within that group.

        On top of that, what I also use is what I call the CABLES Blueprint that’s based on six behaviors that create stronger relationship bridges within a team. That is the way that we look at it. We can think of this just like the Golden Gate Bridge that one three-foot cable is made up of about 30,000 individually wrapped cables. When we think about this in terms of behaviors on a team or building stronger relationships with on that team, each one of the behaviors in the acronym of cables is representative of a type of behavior that will build a stronger bridge. Part of that is to get rid of things such as disruptive behaviors. The first one is around Congruence and Consistency, and having teams or individuals identify how important it is to have consistency on the team.

        We often hear talk about values. If one of our values is around respect or integrity or collaboration, disruptive behaviors really can’t happen if we’re congruent to the values of collaboration or teamwork. The next one is around Appreciation, that’s the A in the CABLES, and that has two components. One is about understanding biases, appreciating other people for who they are, and all of the biases that come into play, and we all fall victim to unconscious biases. We would deny many of them and that’s why they’re called unconscious biases, but when we understand the negative impact that biases have, we can start to do something about that and build stronger teams. The other part of appreciation with the A in CABLES is Accolades. It’s about recognizing people for their contributions, building a healthier environment because of that.

        The B in the model CABLES that we talk about is around Being for others, but also Belongingness. The Being for others component is about my effort to try and provide more benefit than I’m gaining from this relationship or this interaction on this team. The other part of that is around Belongingness, and we know the impact that belongingness has, whether it’s at school or in the community, or at home. We’re pack animals. We need to feel a sense of belongingness. When we don’t have that, our behaviors probably are not at their best. If I’m leading a team or part of a team, I have a responsibility to try and provide an opportunity where people feel as though they belong to this group, they’re part of the team. When we push somebody outside of the team, gossiping, bullying, whatever it might be, we ostracize somebody. We know the negative impact that has on an individual. Burnout, depression, could be as well acts of aggression. It gets to that level. That’s why that’s so important.

        LFL 81 | Disruptive Behaviors

        Disruptive Behaviors: Recognizing people for their contributions builds a healthier working environment.


        Listening is the next behavior that we talk about in terms of building a stronger relationship bridge. That is our fourth cable. I would say listening is like a superpower, that to be able to truly and authentically listen to somebody else is going to provide an environment where it will naturally start to eliminate disruptive behaviors. Listening with our eyes, listening with our ears, listening with our mind, and listening with our heart. If I’m listening with my eyes, I’m looking for things like body language. I’m trying to listen to somebody based on how they’re acting. If I’m listening to words, then I’m listening to the tone of voice, the words that they use, truly trying to listen. If I’m listening with my mind, I’m constantly assessing the conversation for is what they’re saying, really what I’m hearing.

        I’ll give you an example. I was speaking to somebody that was talking about a challenge that they were having with their boss. The challenge came up in terms of the boss, the manager, said to the individual, I’m not going to argue with you about this. I knew both sides of this. The manager’s intention to say that was meaning, “I’m in your corner. I’m not going to argue with you about this. I’m with you on this.” The employee took this to mean when the person said, “I’m not going to argue about this with you,” was like, “This conversation’s over. We’re not going to talk about this anymore.” You can see those aren’t the same things at all, but how it was interpreted was completely different from how it was meant to be received. That’s why listening with our mind can be so important to question, “Is that really what I think that person meant?”

        Listening with empathy is the last part of this, which is trying to listen in a way that we’d want to be listened to. The next one is empathy by itself, and empathy is so important. Empathy requires a lot of vulnerability for us to be in a place where I’m truly going to try and place myself in your shoes and see things from your perspective. It is one of the strongest behaviors that we can have and oftentimes gets misinterpreted as weak, when in fact it is the strongest.

        The last one of the CABLES behaviors is around clear expectations, and when we think about this as it relates to disruptive behaviors, if we have clear expectations around what is acceptable behavior within this team, then we already have a guideline of how we’re going to treat each other. The other part of clear expectations or specifics is accountability. It’s that when people don’t behave in ways that are in alignment with what we have said is appropriate behavior, then there needs to be accountability for that or an ownership for that. Oftentimes that’s where this slips. There are the bad behaviors and they’re ignored or, “I hope I don’t have to deal with this right now,” when in fact we do. We’ve got to deal with these things because it’s the only way that we’re going to be able to extinguish disruptive behaviors and the negative impact that they have is by standing together.

        This is part of that being a team. There’s a commitment that we all make to each other as a team. These are the rules of the road that we’re going to run by. When we do that, when we can provide that environment, we almost set peer pressure for each other to behave in ways that suffocate out disruptive behaviors. That’s the only way that this truly happens. I’ve got to do my part but it can only be done as a team if we’re going to get where we need to go effectively. I hope that this information that I’ve given to you in regards to the research around disruptive behaviors and their negative impact, as well as some solutions and behaviors that create an environment that suffocates out disruptive behaviors, is helpful.

        If you know somebody who you think might benefit from this show, I ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please, go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you’d leave a rating or a comment as it relates to this or any other episode that I have. That’s how this message continues to get out there. I’ve had some incredible interactions as a result of these in terms of the messages that they’ve been able to provide for people. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is rise above your best. Peace.

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        Eradicating Bullying and Incivility in Healthcare with Renee Thompson – Episode 080

        LFL 80 | Eradicating Healthcare Bullying


        Bullying has been a long time issue, not only for children but adults as well. In the healthcare industry, eradicating bullying and incivility can mean the difference between saving a life and not. Dr. Renee Thompson joins this episode to raise awareness on the adverse effects of disruptive behaviors towards patients that at times, even resulted in deaths. She talks about the importance of proper and civil communication in being effective at your work and touches on the primary roadblock that hinders a leaders’ abilities to confront disruptive behaviors in the workplace. Learn all about the negative ripple effect of bullying and incivility, not only in healthcare, but any industry in general.

        Listen to the podcast here:

        Eradicating Bullying and Incivility in Healthcare with Renee Thompson

        If you’ve ever worked in an organization where there’s been incivility or bullying, this is an episode you’re going to want to read. My guest is Renee Thompson. She runs a company called the Healthy Workforce Institute. Her tagline is we eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare. While our conversation is focused around healthcare and the negative impact that both bullying and incivility have in the healthcare field, as it relates to not only the environment but in regards to patient’s health and also to patient mortality, there’s something in here for everybody. It doesn’t matter what company you worked for, that we all deal with these things, bullying and incivility. How do we address these? While much of our conversation focused around healthcare, the topics and the themes are relevant regardless of what industry you’re in. Whether it’s patient health and mortality that’s being impacted, there are impacts for every organization.

        I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those whose actions are inspiring others, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other. It begins with ourselves because when we lead like no other, we do succeed like no other. That is my mission in the work that I do outside of this show but in this show is to try and provide resources, individuals and stories that help us all to recognize that we do have the ability to do this. All of us do. Let’s get into it.

        Renee, I want to thank you for taking the time to be on the show and talking about such an important topic and that’s around incivility and bullying in healthcare and the impact that it has on all aspects of the organization.

        Thank you for having me. This is such an important topic, especially in this world. The industry that I focus on is healthcare. I’ve said this over and over again, the way we treat each other should be as important as the care that we’re providing. We see disruptive behaviors in every industry. However, we see more disruptive behaviors in healthcare, which doesn’t make sense when you think about it. We’re in the caring industry. Any opportunity that I have to get exposure to an audience of people who also understand the importance of this, it’s a good day.

        The tagline of your business when I went on your website is about eradicating bullying and incivility in healthcare.

        We don’t have time to deal with bullying and incivility when we’ve got an important job to do and that’s to care for these patients as though they were our precious families. We have a lot of strategies to address disruptive behaviors. When we look at especially bullying, we need to eradicate it. There should never be a tolerance for actual bullying in any industry but especially in healthcare.

        You mentioned the keyword that I hear there is a tolerance for, which to me seems to be that has been the challenge is that there is tolerance or has been a tolerance for this.

        People don’t even think they pay attention to this or they’re not doing it deliberately. They’re not saying, “By me tolerating this behavior, I know I’m impacting or causing harm to patients and employees.” I don’t think it’s a deliberate act, but it shows up in this way. You have a physician who’s extremely good, very competent. He brings the organization in a lot of revenue, but it’s somebody who is toxic, who everybody’s afraid of. We tolerate it because this physician is so good.

        When we don't feel comfortable communicating with each other, it stops the flow of information. Click To Tweet

        I’m a nurse. I’ve been a nurse for many years. I’ve been in leadership roles. I was the director of a very large medical-surgical unit. I had some of my nurses who were so good at what they did however, they were toxic. You do work around. You make excuses or you justify somebody’s behavior. I hear this all the time, “She’s a great nurse but,” or “He’s a great physician, just don’t get on his bad side,” or “He’s excellent as a clinician, it’s he doesn’t like people very much.” We tolerate it by justifying their behavior.

        We were talking about how this is an industry that prides itself right on evidence-based medicine, yet neglects all of the evidence out there around behaviors and the impact that they have on the organization itself.

        When I do some training and education, especially if I have an audience, where I have, say physicians in their group, I always start with a few very prominent statistics. There’s one that came out in 2018 that showed 71% of physicians and nurses have linked incivility, not even bullying, incivility to medical error and 27% said it led to a patient’s death. Patrick, we could spend the next week talking about the studies that show the negative impact on patients, employees in the organization when disruptive behaviors go unaddressed and you’re right. We’re an industry that prides itself on evidence-based practice and research, yet we have the evidence to support addressing this, but we tend to ignore it.

        What’s interesting is that the information, I haven’t seen in 2018, but that goes all the way back. Joint Commission did a survey in 2009 and they said 26%.

        The Joint Commission has released several sentinel alert events over many years telling healthcare organizations, “We know that bad behavior leads to poor patient outcomes. You have a responsibility as a healthcare organization to address this, to do something about it. Numerous organizations now are holding healthcare organizations accountable for addressing disruptive behaviors because the evidence is so strong that when we ignore behaviors, it leads to poor patient outcomes.

        I know this can sound absurd when you think of it this way, but could you imagine that you’re an ER physician and you have to go out and tell Mrs. Smith that her husband unexpectedly passed away because of a mistake that was made when two of the staff members were in disagreement with each other. It sounds absurd, but that’s on some levels what you’re talking about.

        It happens every day and every healthcare organization. Someone is concerned about a patient and chooses not to speak up, to tell someone about it because they’re uncomfortable with how that person will react. We hear this a lot, “That’s his personality. That’s the way she is. Don’t take anything she says personally.” I’ve had many people who have said, “That’s my personality. I’m direct. I tell people the way it is.” Here’s what I say back. If your personality affects whether or not someone feels comfortable communicating with you, then you need to adapt your personality in the workspace.

        When we don’t feel comfortable communicating with each other, it stops the flow of information. When we stop the flow of information that affects someone’s mom, child, or spouse. It’s very apparent. I remember when I was a new nurse, there was a time when I was concerned about my patient. It’s 2:00 in the morning. You look on the on-call schedule and you see that the physician on call is that physician notoriously known for screaming, yelling at nurses and making them feel like idiots. What do you say? “I’m not calling him. I’ll go and ask my colleagues what they think about this patient.” I’m thinking, “What if that patient was your mom or your spouse or your child?” It changes the dynamics of that. However, it’s something that we have to acknowledge and do something about.

        LFL 80 | Eradicating Healthcare Bullying

        Eradicating Healthcare Bullying: We don’t have time to deal with bullying and incivility when there’s an important job to do and that’s to care for the patients.


        I once heard somebody say that when you make excuses for somebody, you invite them to never change.

        It’s very profound when you think about what that means. It’s something that happens all the time. I do a lot of deep dives with organizations and consulting. It always ends up that we talk about a few people there who have been misbehaving for decades. Patrick, you find out that nobody’s sat down and had an honest conversation with them about their behavior. Nobody has sat down and said, “I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but you come across as very abrasive.” That’s not okay. We see that all the time. People don’t even realize it.

        The other part of that I see, Renee as well, is that even when that conversation might happen, that there’s no accountability after the fact. There’s no clear expectation or what’s next. It’s, “I don’t have time to deal with this right now. I’ll deal with it next time.”

        I probably have a conversation about that pretty much every day. First of all, what I have found in several years that I’ve focused on this topic, how do we eradicate bullying and how do we address incivility? It’s to cultivate a professional, respectful, nurturing, supportive and truly a kinder workforce culture. We are not doing a good job teaching our frontline leaders how to set behavioral expectations, hold people accountable, and confront disruptive behaviors. We don’t teach them these skills. What they do is they end up using silence as a strategy. Especially if somebody who reports to them is so clinically competent.

        Let’s say they read the studies and they know that they need to address this behavior. They finally built up the courage to sit down and have a conversation with that employee and they’re done. They finally had the conversation. They then say, “I did it. I never have to have that conversation again.” That’s the biggest mistake they make. It’s having one conversation, doesn’t change behavior. It’s following up and say, “We’re going to meet every week,” until either one of two things happens. They step up or they step out.

        I don’t know what your experience is right now, but I’m seeing much more accountability in terms of follow-through. It’s gotten to the point where that next step of inviting somebody to step out is happening. I wasn’t seeing that before as much.

        It is. There are a few reasons for that. I will say that we’re not where we need to be yet. However, we’re seeing more conversations and partnerships between the Human Resource Departments in an organization and the leaders. What I find is that there’s usually a big disconnect. I hear this all the time. The leader goes to the human resource rep and basically says, “I want to terminate this employee or I want to hold this employee accountable.” They hit a brick wall. When they hit the HR rep, who will say, “Nope, you don’t have enough documentation. You didn’t counsel them enough.”

        It’s interesting because the leaders who I work with, they get very frustrated about that. I’ve talked to the HR departments and they tell me a very different story. They’ll tell me a manager barges into their office and demanding that they approve a termination. They’ll say, “I’ve never heard that this employee was a problem.” They have no documentation. On their performance reviews, it meets or exceeds expectations in the last several years in a row. How are we supposed to hold people accountable if we’re not doing our due diligence along the way?

        Signing a piece of paper doesn't change behavior. Click To Tweet

        Where do you see the roadblock there?

        The primary roadblock is we’re not equipping leaders with the skills that they need so as soon as somebody behaves in a disruptive manner, to be able to confront that person immediately, document it in a way that shows what the impact is. I’ve read so many documentations. I say to start a documentation trail as soon as you sense that there’s a problem. I’ve read some of their documentation. It’s useless. They’re based on that person’s opinion. There’s a lot of information in there that’s not necessary. I always say you have to link somebody’s behavior to a patient. Safety concern, quality concern, satisfaction concern, the way the team communicates with each other. There are multiple things that they need to do right from the beginning. It’s confront, set behavioral expectations, document, and give their HR representative and their boss a heads up early in the process. Don’t wait until you’re like the pressure cooker and all of a sudden, you’ve had enough. Start early.

        How do you deal with the individual that says, “We’re short-staffed right now. We don’t have time to deal with this?”

        I was the leader during the worst nursing shortage that we’ve had in many years. Let me tell you, Patrick, there were some of my nurses who were very toxic, but if I held them accountable to the point where they were gone, guess who was staffing? It was me and running my unit. It’s not easy. However, we have to think about the ethical responsibility that we have to our public to make decisions based on what’s best for them. Keeping a toxic employee, even if you’re short-staffed, even if you’re too busy, I want you to think about what we’re saying. That being busy is our excuse for putting our patients at risk, at harm. The organization as a whole needs to recognize and support and do their due diligence. You have to equip your frontline leaders. You have to get your employees involved. It can’t be on the manager’s shoulders. There needs to be a collaborative.

        As I’m sure you would agree, it needs to be all the way at the top because people become fearful of thinking, “There’s no place I can go because this won’t be dealt with. I’m going to be the one that’s going to pay the price for this.”

        It was a physician. I was doing some consulting in an organization. The first year we focused on nursing primarily because that’s your largest workforce. We spread it out to ambulatory care. We got the physicians involved and their chief medical officer after he was involved, he said to me, “I get it.” He’s like, “This is why this works. You have a top-down, bottom-up and everything in-between approach.” I said, “Exactly, it has to be everybody. You start at the top, but you’ve got to include the people at the bottom. You have to include all the middle people.”

        It’s like being in a jungle gym. It’s all over the place.

        It has to be that way. You can’t pick one layer of leadership because it’s not any one of us. It’s all of us. Every single person contributes to culture. If there are disruptive behaviors that are going unaddressed, that affects the culture.

        LFL 80 | Eradicating Healthcare Bullying

        Eradicating Healthcare Bullying: Statistics in 2018 showed 71% of physicians and nurses have linked incivility to medical error and 27% of them said it led to a patient’s death.


        Where do you see values in this? There certainly seems to be more noise around organizational values. That can almost be a liability to many of the hospitals that prominently placed their values out there, but they don’t honor them.

        I always say, “How do you make sure that your values are living and breathing? They’re alive and how do they show up?” It’s interesting. I’ve been having a lot of conversations about values. I gave this as a recommendation to an organization. They had re-did their values. I said, “Here’s a recommendation for you when you’re interviewing somebody for a job in your organization. Ask that person, “Which of our core values resonates with you the most and why?” You’re asking, number one, did they go on your website and read your core values? If not, hand the piece of paper that has your core values to that person and say, “Which one of these?” How they answer will tell you if they’re a good fit for you.

        It’s one of the ways. I will say, though, “I get it. The mission, vision, and values.” I have what I call guiding principles for my own company. What I have learned is that most employees care most about what happens in their department. Not that they don’t care about the organization, they care most about their department. Something that we do is when we work with individual departments, we work with the employees and the leadership team to create what we call department norms or professional practice agreement. They create their own setup, how we always treat each other, how do we never treat each other? That I have found to be more effective than saying, “Here are our core values, respect, integrity, and stewardship.” What do these mean to us? You form that into a professional practice agreement. Now you’re saying these are the behaviors that show that we respect each other, that shows we have integrity, but you get your employees to articulate it.

        I was going to say, “That’s a great approach as well from an influence standpoint and consistency.” They’re part of developing these things. It’s easier to hold people accountable when you can say, “You’re the one that said these things were important. This wasn’t handed down from on high. You were part of the process of creating this.”

        Let’s say the managers have to counsel someone or coach someone because of behavior. What I advise them to say is, “What happened? We said we would talk to each other, not about each other. We said that we would go out of our way to help each other no matter what. You didn’t honor our agreement. It’s not what I say as the manager. We agree. This is us as a team.” It’s so much more powerful. Every organization has a code of conduct. This professional practice agreement that we do, we never ever make employees sign it because signing a piece of paper doesn’t change behavior. If it did, I wouldn’t have a growing company based on this problem.

        If it was that easy, can you imagine?

        I would be doing something else. I wouldn’t be spending all of my time and energy on this, but I think I’m going to be busy for a long time.

        When you first go into a company in terms of diagnosing this, it’s what you’re doing. Where do you see some of the biggest gaps as you go into an organization in terms of saying? Are there themes that you’re seeing where you say, “This part needs to be closed off because this is part of what perpetuates this?”

        The primary roadblock is that leaders are not equipped with the skills they need to address the issue. Click To Tweet

        Yes. I appreciate the fact that you said when you go into an organization and diagnose it because if you look at disruptive behaviors, I see the same patterns pretty much in every organization. The frontline leaders have no idea how to address disruptive behaviors. There’s a huge disconnect between the leaders and their HR business partners. There’s no training and education regarding disruptive behaviors, not only for the leadership team but for the employees too. However, before you can solve a problem, you have to fully understand the problem. We always go in and do an assessment. We talk to everyone. We talk to not only the executive leaders, the frontline. We talk to the employees. I don’t mean people in a professional role. We talk to the physicians and the nurses. We talk to housekeepers, radiology techs and dietary aides because they see everything.

        In each organization, we do find little nuances, things that are different in that organization that the executive team doesn’t even know is happening. A lot of times we find that it’s the charge nurse role, the person making the assignments that is a problem that people don’t realize or the informal but very powerful leaders in a department or in an ambulatory care center, it’s the techs, not the nurses, not the physicians. It’s the certified medical assistants, who were the ones ruling the roost. In each of these cases, we find that there’s a lack of organizational commitment to doing what they need to do to hardwire and sustain a healthy workforce culture. Some organizations, they want us to come in and do a workshop and think they can check a checkbox. If you want to change the culture, you need to get everybody involved and it can’t be done in an afternoon. That’s the frustrating thing for me because some organizations want to check a checkbox and that doesn’t change the culture.

        I will often relate that to, if we think about antibiotic resistance, to me, that’s the same thing. When you go in and do a one-day workshop, to me, it’s the same thing as not. It’s like taking the loading dose part of the antibiotic, but not finishing the course. What do we know is going to happen the next time? It’s going to become resistant. That’s what I’ve seen has happened within organizations is that they’ve done the one-day trick and realized it didn’t work. It creates this resistance to people feeling cynical like, “This is the way we are. You can’t change this.”

        I never thought of it that way. That’s a brilliant example. I see this all the time. That’s why sometimes I say no. If they’re checking a checkbox, I’m not going to do it. When we’re on-site and we’re doing some training and education, you can tell these people, there are people there who are so hungry for this, starved and they want the help. It’s almost a bait and switch. You give them hope and then you take that hope away from them. The consulting that I do where we’re there for a year many times, I had an educator at one of our meetings, say, “How do we make sure this isn’t another flavor of the month?”

        One of the strategies, when we hardwire, is we put a healthy workforce as a standing agenda item in every department staff meeting, leadership meeting, every meeting. I say, “I’ll tell you how you make it a flavor of the month. If we say healthy workforce is important to our organization, and we’ve decided to put it on the agenda for all of our meetings, the first time you take it off of the agenda, because some other big initiative is more important, now you’ve made it one more thing. It can never come off the agenda. It always has to be top of mind, front and center no matter what.”

        I do work on the performance side too with athletes. If you look in terms of how athletes operate, it’s about habits, continually setting up muscle memory. This is no different but if you continue to model these behaviors, they become hardwired into you too. It doesn’t mean you don’t slip, but they tend to take hold.

        We call it our drip campaign. We drip healthy workforce best practices consistently in small bites over time. For example, people who are in my programs, I send them a Monday message. Every single Monday morning from my computer, my email, I physically type. It’s not anything that I automate or even plan ahead. It’s usually whatever I’m reading that week. I’ll give them a little nugget, a little tip. For example, one of my most popular ones is a lot of leaders when they come in, especially if it’s a 24-hour facility, I know myself. I’d come into work in the morning and I’d get slammed by the night shift who would do nothing but complain about this and that happened. I said in my Monday message, when you’re hit with that, look at your employee and say, “Tell me one good thing that happened last night, just one.” Tell me one good thing because there’s always something good. That helps overtime to influence people to start seeing the good one little tip, one little nugget. You cannot believe how many people said that one tip changed their culture, one little tip. That’s what we do every single week. We send a little nugget out, a video, a tip sheet, something.

        It’s doable for people because it’s like a 1% shift. It’s not noticeable, but over time it makes a difference. You don’t even recognize it.

        LFL 80 | Eradicating Healthcare Bullying

        Eradicating Healthcare Bullying: Before you engage in a conversation with somebody, take a pause and think, “How do I have a conversation with this person that’s honest and respectful?”


        It’s that one little action. One thing that you read, one thing that you do that helps you to show up like you said, 1% better and even confronting bad behavior. I teach this stuff and I’m still uncomfortable. I say, “It’s okay to be uncomfortable, have the conversation anyway. The more you do that, the more comfortable you’ll feel, the better you’ll get, but don’t worry about perfection. Just try to get a little bit better each day.”

        You bring up such an important point in regard to expectations. There is so much research around unconscious biases that when we bring these biases in, especially around this area of, if we don’t expect things to work out or I don’t expect this person that I’m working with is we’re going to be able to get along, then you won’t. That’s all you’re looking for is the evidence that backs up why you won’t get along.

        I read something that as humans we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and 80% of them are negative. It’s the negativity bias. Healthcare, in particular, we’re always looking for the negative because we want to make sure that we’re identifying any complications that our patients are having so that we can intervene and treat them. If I come into my work already thinking in a negative way or even if I’m working with a coworker and maybe a few years ago, they treated me in a way that I thought was disrespectful. I hang on to that. It affects how we engage in conversations with people, how we communicate with each other. We do a lot with emotional intelligence. It’s that whole self-awareness and self-management and not making assumptions. People assume ill intent all the time. You step back and say, “Do you think they meant to do that?”

        Do you do much work with mindfulness? As you talk about emotional intelligence, do you draw that in? I’m certainly seeing that in another 5 or 10 years, we’re going to look back and think, “That’s a no-brainer.” Mindfulness is important to so many different aspects of this.

        Mindfulness right now is a hot topic especially in healthcare when we look at burnout resilience. I have somebody on my team and that’s what’s nice. I started this company with basically just me. I would consider that I had a personality company. As I grew and grew and hit capacity, I launched the Healthy Workforce Institute. You can’t be an institute if it’s just you. I have several people on my team knowing that I needed to focus on where my strength, my area of expertise, and that was addressing disruptive behaviors.

        I have somebody on my team, her name is Bonnie Artman Fox. She’s a licensed family therapist. Her expertise is in conflict management and emotional intelligence. She is a mindfulness person. When she does some of the education and training, she incorporates that pausing and those short little meditations and being present. She’s way better than I am at it. I’ve learned a lot from her and I’ve tried to incorporate that in even my own life. It’s so important especially in the hustle and bustle of the healthcare that we have that moment to pause and reflect.

        There’s a woman out of the Netherlands. Her name is Rosalie Puiman. I interviewed her a few months back. She had published a book called The Mindful Guide to Conflict Resolution. It is a fabulous book. It’s the first one I’ve come across that the whole focus of this was how do you incorporate mindfulness into conflict resolution?

        Something that we do a lot and I’ve been teaching this for years, is that before you engage in a conversation with somebody, take a pause and think, “How do I have a conversation with this person that’s honest, and respectful? The last frame is, “How do I preserve the relationship with this person, no matter what this conversation is about.” Everything that we do especially in healthcare is based on relationships that we have with each other. How do I preserve that relationship? Mindfulness is all over that. It’s the ability to force yourself to take a pause before you react.

        It's okay to be uncomfortable. Have the conversation anyway. Click To Tweet

        We talked about Joint Commission data that went back to 2009. As we come into the next decade here, what do you think is the biggest challenge as you see it for the healthcare industry in this space?

        In the last several years, we’ve seen the changes in reimbursement for hospitals. It’s not fee for service anymore. It’s based on outcomes. That has led us to take a different look at the value of people on the team and how we have to work more collaboratively together. We are still not there when it comes to interdisciplinary communication and interdisciplinary collaboration. Especially when we’re looking at disruptive behaviors, we tend to focus on the way the nurses treat each other, the physicians, the med students, the interns and residents, and how they treat each other.

        What we’re trying to do at Healthy Workforce Institute is bring everybody in together to say we’re all part of the same team. We’re going to see more of that in the future. For example, we had a retreat with my team and we talked about hosting an event that is designed for physicians and nurses, looking at communication, disruptive behaviors and how we can work more collaboratively together. To answer your question more directly, there are a lot of states right now that have bills sitting there that they’re trying to pass regarding workplace violence, which also includes verbal bullying and incivility. We’re seeing more of that physical violence in hospitals at the hands of patients and their family members too. This whole problem of behavior in healthcare is getting such a tension that healthcare organizations have to start doing something about it now before they’re forced to.

        When we talk about disengagement, Press Ganey might be the one doing the surveys around disengagement. The disengagement is a symptom of the behaviors. As you talk about incivility and bullying, to me those are the behaviors that this is the root cause of much of this that touches every aspect of healthcare if it’s not addressed.

        It does. I cannot tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have either left an organization because disruptive behaviors were not addressed or they’ve stayed. They’ve tried to cope on their own. Sometimes it’s a matter of they will try to protect themselves from their coworkers. Sometimes they transferred to another department. We have a responsibility as leaders to protect them and do something about this. Sometimes they leave, but sometimes they don’t and they disengage. Sometimes having a disengaged employee is worse.

        Somebody that quits and stays is more damaging than quits and leaves, but most do. Along those lines, Renee, I’d be curious about what your experience is in this area. Although there’s a mixture here of both larger populated areas, several hospitals that I do work in are in rural areas. When I speak to them, I say, “Your skill level in regards to the treatment of individuals, your behaviors is that much more important because the staff has nowhere else to go, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t quit.”

        Here’s why you need to work with us because we use retention as one of those pain points especially with nurses. Nursing retention is on the top of mind for pretty much every executive leader in healthcare. While I say, “If you don’t feel supported if they feel that disruptive behaviors are being ignored, they will leave you.” However, what if you’re in a rural area and you’re the only gig in town? I’m a nurse and this is the only place I can work. If that’s the case, I don’t quit because I can’t however, I disengage.

        The nurses in some parts of California make the highest salary than any of the nurses in the entire country. They don’t have a retention problem because the nurses are paid so well. That’s a problem too especially if you’ve got organizations where their nurses are represented by a union. It can add another layer of complexity. What we see is bad behavior continues and it’s much harder to hold these people accountable. Human behavior is so complex. This issue itself is it’s not an easy one size fits all, do these three things and you’ve handled the problem. It’s very complex.

        LFL 80 | Eradicating Healthcare Bullying

        Eradicating Healthcare Bullying: Leaders have the responsibility to protect employees because sometimes they leave, but sometimes they don’t. They disengage, and having a disengaged employee is worse.


        It took a long time to get here. It takes time to resolve it. This conversation has been so fascinating for me. It’s an area that I have a great deal of passion as you do. If somebody wanted to reach out to you, Renee, what’s the best way to contact you?

        They can contact me through my website and that’s www.HealthyWorkforceInstitute.com. There’s a Contact Us tab or they can email me at Renee@HealthyWorkforceInstitute.com.

        This has been such a great conversation. I want to thank you for taking the time.

        You’re welcome. Thank you so much for inviting me to talk about a very uncomfortable topic. It’s not easy to talk about bad behavior especially when we’re talking about healthcare and the healthcare industry. I’m very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to give another voice to this problem.

        Here’s to positive things for 2020 and beyond.

        Thank you.

        Renee Thompson is on a mission to eradicate bullying and incivility in healthcare. Her company continues to grow as a result of the work and the need for the work that she’s doing. If you’ve found this episode valuable, I’ll ask that you forward it on to someone that you think could benefit from this as well. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go on and subscribe. Also, it would mean the world to me, if you would leave a rating or a comment because that’s how this message continues to get out there. If you’d like to reach out to me personally, I love getting feedback. I love interacting with individuals on these topics. You can reach me on Instagram @CoachPatrickV. You can reach out to me on Twitter @CoachPatrickV or you can reach out to me by email at Patrick@EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. Until our next episode, I hope you were able to do two things. One is to lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.

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        About Renee Thompson

        When disruptive behaviors go unaddressed in healthcare, bad things happen to patients and employees.

        10 years ago, I took a leap of faith to start my own company, RTConnections, LLC. In 2018, I launched the Healthy Workforce Institute. As CEO and Founder, I’m on a mission to create a world where bullying and incivility are immediately rejected and kindness, respect, and professionalism become the new norm.

        As the published author of several books, I speak internationally to healthcare organizations and academic institutions, motivating my audiences at keynote addresses, professional conferences, workshops, and seminars.

        The demand for the work I do helping organizations eliminate workplace bullying and incivility has grown so much that I recently established The Healthy Workforce Institute. The HWI offers a cadre of services from presentations and workshops to comprehensive consulting and online blending learning programs. We have something for all budgets.

        WHAT I DO
        We work with healthcare organizations that understand that the way their employees treat each other SHOULD be just as important as the care they provide and are committed to doing something about it.

        Through our proven process to create and sustain a healthy workforce, we’re stopping the cycle of nurses eating their young.

        LET’S TALK!
        I am passionate about helping organizations create professional environments with teams of high functioning, dedicated, and compassionate employees. If you’d like to find out how I can help your organization create a professional and supportive workplace, give me a call, shoot me an email or message me on my contact page.

        The way we treat each other SHOULD be just as important as the care we provide.


        Contact Renee through her website:

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        Great Leaders Leverage “The Little Things” – Episode 07‪9‬‬‬

        LFL 79 | Little Things


        Being smart and decisive are essential characteristics of leadership, but it’s the little things that create motivated and inspired followers. Patrick Veroneau explains that these “little things” refer to how we behave towards others. Being a good listener, having empathy, giving others a sense of belongingness, and appreciating others are examples of the little things we can do that change everything. As leaders, it is our responsibility to impact the people who look up to us not only during working hours but even beyond when they go home to their families. Listen to this episode and learn how you can apply the little things to your leadership style! Remember, people may forget what you said, but they will never forget what you made them feel. 

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        Great Leaders Leverage “The Little Things”

        The topic of this episode is about leadership as it relates to the little things, and the little things are the big things as it relates to followers. I know there’s a lot of talk out there about the importance of critical thinking and decisiveness, and don’t get me wrong, those things are very important in regards to effective leadership. It’s the little things that will create motivated and inspired followers, not how smart you are. It will come back to how well do you behave toward others? That’s going to make the difference in terms of your effectiveness as a leader. It doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to go where you want them to go, without that, but they’re certainly not going to be inspired or want to do it. That’s what this episode is about. I’m not only obsessed with interviewing those that have inspired others to do great things through their own actions, but also in uncovering the research that demonstrates that we all have the ability to lead like no other. It starts with ourselves because when we lead like no other, we will succeed like no other. Let’s get into it.

        Be the reason someone smiles today. Click To Tweet

        I’ve been thinking about this episode and it is the result of an inspirational quote that I read or wrote an article about. The quote came from a Christmas gift that my son gave me, which was a jar filled with 31 days of motivational quotes or inspirational quotes. Each time I’ve pulled one of these out and read it, I’ve done a journal entry on it that I posted online with a picture of the actual quote. The reason that I’ve done that as I’ve looked at these and thought and some people might be thinking, “What are inspirational quotes have to do with effective leadership?” I would argue that they have everything to do with it because leadership doesn’t exist without followers, and followers don’t exist without inspiration. The one that stood out to me was I read, “Be the reason someone smiles today.”

        I thought that is so simple, yet so elegant. What I mean by that, is that it is the little things that make all the difference. It’s not the critical thinking and the ability to be decisive, again important that’s going to inspire people for the most part because I can have high intelligence, very good at critical thinking, I can be very decisive. If either of those are done in a way that is disrespectful to those that are following me, disruptive, lacks any type of care, or demonstration of goodwill toward them, then yes, maybe they will follow where I’m asking them to go only because they feel like they have to, but it’s not going to be the same.

        LFL 79 | Little Things

        Little Things: Leadership is about listening with our eyes to recognize and understand body language and facial expressions.


        As leaders and managers, we have such a responsibility, especially in a work environment where those people that report to us, we impact not only their time on the job with us, but when they go home. It doesn’t end there, because if I have a leader, manager who doesn’t treat me in the right way, that makes me feel stressed out, threatened or bullied, that goes home with me. My kids, my spouse, my significant other, and my friends feel that. That stays with me. I know because I’ve been in those situations before where I felt that and my family felt it, where I might be traveling with a manager, and three days before I’m going to travel with this individual, I start getting headaches and start feeling stressed out. I’m on edge because I know what’s coming, all because of the behaviors I knew that I was going to experience. It is such a responsibility that you take on when you have other people follow you.

        When we lead like no other, we will succeed like no other. Click To Tweet

        What are those qualities? What are those little things that make all the difference? There are a few that I’ve listed. One is listening, the other is empathy, belongingness, and the last is around appreciation. We talk first about listening in terms of the little things that when we truly demonstrate that we are listening to somebody else, the impact that that has on that individual is that it allows them to feel as though you’re invested in them. That you’re truly trying to understand their perspective. In a lot of the workshops that I do, the leadership training that I’m involved with, the coaching, when I talk about listening, I talk about it as though it’s a superpower. I then talk about it in terms of four different approaches.

        Leadership is about listening with our eyes and that’s body language, facial expressions, being able to recognize, understand and read those on other people. The next is listening with our ears, tone of voice, words that are said, specific words that are being used. There’s an image that I will put up of noise-canceling headphones when I talk about listening in a PowerPoint or in a talk. The reason I do that is because, to me, when we listen to somebody else, if we can imagine that we have noise-canceling headphones on, when we do that, why do we have noise-canceling headphones on in the first place? It’s to drown out everything else so that only what we want to hear is what we’re listening to through those headsets.

        LFL 79 | Little Things

        Little Things: Listening with empathy is about being empathetic toward another person by trying to put ourselves in their shoes.


        If we can think about it that way in terms of how we listen to somebody else, think of what that does for the other person like, “When I’m locked in on you. I’m listening to you and I’m canceling out everything else that’s on around me, it’s you and I. I’m listening.” The next is listening with my mind, and that is rather than jumping to conclusions, it’s about listening on a level of asking the question. “Is what they’re saying, what I think I’m hearing or what they mean?” I clarify that. The last part of this four-way listening, is around listening with the heart, and that’s listening in a way that says, “If the roles were reversed, how would I want them to be listening to me?” When we do that, we’ll find out that we may listen much more intently if we can put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and say, “How would I want to be listened to right now?” It changes things.

        It's the little things that make all the difference. Click To Tweet

        The next is empathy, and just like listening with the heart, listening with empathy is about being empathetic toward another person, trying to put myself in their shoes. “How would I want to be treated if I were them? What if this was me? What if it was my first role in the company? What if I was the one that had made the mistake? How would I want to be treated? Will I be given the benefit of the doubt? What would that look like?” Questioning that from the other person’s perspective. It’s interesting because empathy, I still hear at times is one of these that seems a little too weak, and, “If I’m empathetic, I’m going to be taken advantage of,” and I say, that’s BS.

        The person that says that is the person that’s insecure in their own ability to lead. If you can’t demonstrate a sense of vulnerability in yourself, to me, it says more about your own lack of confidence in who you are than the other person. I can promise you, you clearly can be decisive and direct and hold people accountable, yet also be compassionate and empathetic for them as well. Not only can you, you have to. Empathy is not a nice-to-have in leadership. It is a need-to-have behavior. The next one moving on is around belongingness and this is creating a sense of connection that as a leader, as somebody that has people report to me that role, “If I can create an environment where they feel part of the team or part of the group, they feel connected when I do that.”

        This is a person that’s more engaged, more inspired, more motivated, and there’s ample research that demonstrates the impact that belongingness has on team structure, organizational structure, and personal wellbeing. When we don’t feel as though we belong, it puts us in a high sense of stress. Some of the negative impacts of lack of belongingness go all the way back to individuals that commit suicide. It is believed that there is a connection there. Those that feel as though there’s no connection with others are more likely if they’re in that place to commit suicide.

        LFL 79 | Little Things

        Little Things: If you can’t demonstrate a sense of vulnerability in yourself, it says more about your own lack of confidence in who you are.


        If we go back thousands of years, and I’ve mentioned this before, the worst thing you could do is vote somebody outside of the tribe. That was a death sentence. People couldn’t survive out in the wild without that core group of individuals that you watched over each other. Fast forward to now, I would argue that, that is no different, it is still a death sentence. It’s a different death, but it is still a death when we’re voted outside of the group, when we’re ostracized whether at work, school, or at home.

        The last behavior that I’ll talk about in terms of the little things that are the big things, is appreciation. As a leader, as a manager, when we take the time to recognize other people for what they do or who they are, that has a huge impact on who they become because what it demonstrates to the person is, “I am interested in you and I’ve recognized certain things and I want to make you aware of them.” It lets people know that.

        Those are the four little behaviors that create huge, massive results in regards to inspiring those around you to follow your lead. There are certainly others, those are the four that I’m going to mention for this episode. As I close this out, a reflection that I have is based on a quote by Maya Angelou, where she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That last part goes back to the small inspirational quote that I read in the beginning of this, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” If you think about that in regards to what Maya Angelou said, people will never forget how you made them feel, and smiling does not happen without positive feeling. As you go out into your workday or back to your family, your significant other or community, what are the little things that you can do that will create massive results? You truly do make a difference based on how you behave toward others.

        I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you know somebody you think would enjoy reading this, I’d ask that you forward it on to them. If you haven’t already subscribed, please go ahead and subscribe. That’s how this message continues to get out there. It would mean the world to me, if you’d leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode because again, that’s how the message continues to get put out there. I’ve had some very heartwarming comments that have been made. If you’re interested in hearing more about what I do, you can follow me on Instagram, @CoachPatrickV, or you can reach out to me on my website at, EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. I love getting emails as well, my email address is, Patrick@EmeryLeadershipGroup.com. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to do two things. One is lead like no other, and the other is to rise above your best.

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        Corey Poirier Wants To Help You Find Your Purpose and Passion – Episode 078


        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion


        In this episode, Corey Poirier joins Patrick as they talk about helping people find their purpose and passion and his book, The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. Corey shares the catalysts that led him to write his book and where he got the inspiration for his style of writing. They discuss the importance of expectations, discipline, and gratitude as Corey shares the pearls from his remarkable experiences. Get a deeper look into Corey’s drive to help other people by understanding their why. By surrounding yourself with the right people, learn how you can accomplish your goals quicker and the success keys that you need to put to action in your life.

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        Corey Poirier Wants To Help You Find Your Purpose and Passion

        For those of you familiar with Napoleon Hill, my next guest to me, is the modern-day version of Napoleon Hill. He’s interviewed over 5,000 successful individuals from all different walks of life, individuals like Les Brown. He’s also shared the stage with individuals such as Deepak Chopra. On this episode, we’re going to talk about his book, The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. Our conversation is about passion and purpose. We talked about expectations and discipline and gratitude. There are so many pearls that Corey spoke about in his own experiences and where he wants to go in his drive to help other people. It’s interesting, even from the book where he does an exercise in helping other people to understand their why, he says that, “My name is Corey Poirier. My passion is speaking to audiences about passion, purpose, legacy and customer service. My purpose is to inspire, motivate, donate, entertain and educate.” In this episode, he does all of those things. Let’s get into it.

        Corey, thanks for being here. I sent you the picture sitting down in Marco Island in Florida on a beautiful night, reading your book out on the deck, The Book of WHY (and HOW). There were so many pearls in that book from start to finish and in terms of how you end the book, which is unique in terms of the different voices that you bring into this book. First off, what was the inspiration for the book in the first place?

        That’s a great question because a lot of times, when we write a book, there’s one thing that we can go to and say, “This is what triggered it. This was the catalyst. This was the one thing.” I can’t say this with this book. One catalyst was that I went through this period where I worked for a Fortune 500 company for five years. I started with them and they didn’t have a training program. I thought it was weird. It was the 58th largest company in the world at the time. My training program was, “Here are 25 business cards. Here’s a pen to write your name and here’s this Zig Ziglar VHS.” For people reading, if you’re not sure what a VHS is, let us know and I can inform you. If people think of Blu-ray, it’s what we use before Blu-ray and DVD. Having said that, the Zig Ziglar tape at the time, I was like, “This is my training?” I didn’t have a clue who Zig Ziglar was. I watched that tape and I still tell people that was more than twenty years ago. I can still tell people 2 or 3 big memories from that video that I watched once. That’s how much of an impact of that in my life.

        There were two things that happened. One, I admired what he did in that paper with storytelling and how he’s able to reach me through a videotape. At the same time, I still said, “I can’t believe this is the training at our company.” I wanted to make sure in the future that other people didn’t have to go through that. Even if the company didn’t provide training, they at least could afford to take the training. That was the catalyst or my speaking and training career. I realized as I was working on this book that in fact was also a catalyst for the book because it was another way to get those messages out. That was at a point where I go back to Steve Jobs says joining up your dots. That was one of my dots. The other one that pops into my head was having done these interviews that I mentioned in the book. Now I’m over 5,000, which seems insane. I’m interviewing the top influencers.

        After learning so much, I had this hungry desire to find a way to share this insight with other people. I’ll give you one more third dot. Think and Grow Rich was the second book I’ve ever read in my life. It was a game-changer book for me. Napoleon Hill followed a similar path to what I’m doing now. He interviewed thousands of thought leaders and that book was made up of 500 millionaires, the insight he got from 500 millionaires. Loving his writing style and also the idea of getting inside the minds of some of the world’s top influencers and sharing that, that was the third catalyst. You probably noticed, Patrick, the book is written in the style that Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie wrote. It’s more of a storytelling style that is from years gone past versus modern storytelling. If I look at the catalyst versus inspiration, those are the three dots that I can join.

        It’s interesting, especially because you mentioned two of my favorites, Zig Ziglar and Napoleon Hill. I would agree with you there, which brings me to the tagline of your book, Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance. I’m sure there’s a meaning behind that in terms of that tagline.

        The timeless part, you’re not wrong. The timeless part is two messages. One is that the people like the Zig Ziglar’s, four decades plus of speaking and teaching and what he was teaching was timeless. What he taught 40 years earlier was still relevant on the last day he spoke. Having said that, the other side of it is these interviews. Learning from all these top influencers in the 2000s, in 2006 and 2010 and 2020. I’m learning these things and I go back to the foundation of Napoleon Hill. Napoleon Hill talks about all the contemporaries that inspired him 20 and 30 years earlier.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        Finding Purpose And Passion: When you surround yourself with or learn from the right people, you get the shortcuts, you get the way to do something quicker.


        You can go back through those times, but Napoleon Hill is the best comparison because of the type of work he did. That book was written in 1937 and I’m learning stuff that it’s different because we’re in a modern world, but if you take the modern world part out of it, everything he taught then is still what the influencers are doing for the most part. There are some variances, but what he taught is timeless. You’re not wrong. The idea behind the timeless secrets relates to the fact that these things I’m learning now have always existed, but the majority of people don’t know it.

        As a matter of fact, I keep this one on my desk at all times. What I loved when I read that the first time was at the beginning of this book, he speaks to the fact of, “I’m not creating anything new, but all I’ve done is reassembled other ideas and things in a way that works better.” When I read your book and especially the way that it ends where you draw in many different individuals to give their insights. To me, that seems to be part of that where you’re saying, “I don’t have all the answers. These aren’t original thoughts. I’ve combined them in ways for a reader to be able to access them maybe better.”

        In fact, to put a stamp on that, even when I have an original thought, I get taught different and I’ll give you an example. Two things. One thing I have been teaching for a while, and I don’t even have a sexy name for it, but it’s the surrounding yourself with exercise. I referenced it in the book where I had this moment in my life where I was battling anxiety, hypochondria, and then I got past it. How I get past it was finding my why, but fast forward a few years and all of a sudden, I was starting to slip back. It was like, “Why? Nothing’s changed that I know of.” I went back to that great quote and I always reference two people, either Les Brown or Zig Ziglar.

        I could probably find the answer because I interviewed Les and I’ve interviewed Tom Ziglar many times and Ziglar before his passing. I could ask Tom and Les because he has quoted this, but the quote essentially says along the lines of, “The only difference between the time you have now and in five years’ time will be the books that you read and the people that you meet.” I went and looked at what books am I reading? That was easy. I was reading the right stuff. As a side note, I only started reading at 27 years of age. I’m making up for lost time now with my reading. The other side was, who am I surrounding myself with? It came to me. Why don’t I do this exercise? Why don’t I right now do an inventory? I wrote down the people that were adding toxic energy to my life on the left-hand side.

        At first, I wrote everybody, but then I put a plus or a negative beside them. I separated them and had the negative on one side, the toxic energy people, and the people that were bringing positivity in my life on the right-hand side. I went one by one and said, “Who can I reduce time with? Who can I eliminate time with? Who can I spend more time with?” The interesting part though, Patrick, and when I did the actual test or the inventory is, I would’ve thought it would have been like 16 out of 18 positives. It was more like 14 negatives that I was surrounding myself with. It was easy to see this is why I’m getting back into a funk the more I’m hanging with the wrong people. I thought that was an original thought, the idea of doing that exercise. A good friend of mine, Tiffany, Jack Canfield trained her. She goes, “Corey, I love that exercise. Jack did it last week.” I said, “What do you mean?” She told me, “He does that in every session.” I thought it was an original thought and I never heard it through Jack. Is it possible I picked it up somewhere? Maybe, but I thought it was an original thought and then I was proven wrong once again.

        If you follow Napoleon Hill, you’d say you found it through the ether, but it’s the energy right there. It’s interesting when you say that Jim Rohn has been quoted with saying that you’re the average of the five people you hang around the most. I certainly believe that whether it’s 5, 3, 4, or 10, but we do draw energy off of each other. There’s a synergy to that and a compounding.

        I’ll even go so far as to say people ask me, “Where do you get all the energy?” I’ll add that one of the misnomers is people think because they see my lifestyle that I don’t sleep at night and let me correct that right away. I’m not the four-hour sleep guy. I’m not the Robin Sharma 5 AM Club guy. I’m typically up at 8:00 and now we have a 2.5-year-old. I’m not always getting solid eight hours asleep, but I go to bed in the range of about 10:00 and get up at 8:00. I’m set on a ten-hour sleep. People are like, “How can you accomplish so much?” There are a couple of answers to that but one of those answers is I surround myself with the right people. The reason I’m not getting as stressed out, the reason I’m not getting bogged down is that I’m with the right people 90% of the time. That gives me energy.

        The only difference between the you of today and the five years’ time will be the books that you read. Click To Tweet

        The other side is because I’m serving my passion and it gives me the drive to do it. The last component is some of these timeless secrets I share in the book. We’re going to dive into that, but one of them is the power of no. That was a big one to realize what’s in my genius zone and what’s not. How do I say yes and no to each of those things? If I can say no to a bunch of things, I can say yes to the few that’ll move the needle, then I can get more of those done than the person that says yes to everything. That was a long way to say that for me, I have the energy because of who I’m surrounding myself with. I do believe it’s we surround yourself with. Not only that, when you surround yourself with or learn from the right people, you get the shortcuts. You get the way to do something quicker because you learn what they’re doing differently than you.

        You mentioned 1 of the 6 secrets is talking about the six success keys. Would you go through those?

        The first one is a lot of people who bought the movie The Secret or the book, The Secret, and said to me, “This is going to change my life. This is it. Everything changes now.” For those that didn’t read it, the core message is around the Law of Attraction, which we think about and associate with will draw into our life. For me, right away, I loved it. I love the fact that The Secret brought many people into talking about whatever that is, new age, magnetism, the Law of Attraction, positive energy, mental health, all that mindset stuff. Here’s the cool news. When I wrote the book, I probably only had interviewed one person that was in The Secret. Since that time, as of now, I’m at six. Five of the six have reaffirmed what I felt when I watched it, which was that it was awesome. It delivered a lot of what was supposed to, but the big caveat was it didn’t talk about the other law that’s as crucial, in my opinion, which is the Law of Action.

        The first secret I talk about is you need to practice the Law of Action. I used to say, “You could try to draw anything yourself if you want to, but if you never step in front of the light of where it’s being drawn to, you’ll never receive it.” Lisa Nichols gave me a better and funnier way to explain that. She said after she was in The Secret, she started going out, doing talks to explain it to people. She said, “I want to explain it like this. You’re going to have a visual board on your wall next to your couch for a year. You can sit on the couch the whole year and look at that vision board twenty times a day but never get off the couch. All you’re going to have at the end of the year is a big lump on your couch.” To me, that’s the Law of Action and Attraction. In the book I talked about, you need to combine the two. The Law of Attraction works but if you don’t ever get up and take action, you can’t expect it to draw it to you.

        If you watch The Secret, it showed a motorbike outside with a ribbon on it and you’re going to walk out and have the motorbike because you thought about it hard last night. Does that happen? Maybe once, but that’s an anomaly. That’s not happening every day. We know that. I gave the example in the book. You might remember this, Patrick, but it’s a good example. I put down a list. This was my visualization. I put it down on my vision board. I want to share the bill with a top speaker, one of the most recognized international speakers. I put five speakers on the list. The first one I put on the list was Deepak Chopra and I was going to go in order and say, “I want to speak with one of these.” I went to Deepak’s site and tried to find an event when he was speaking at. I found one site that was public. There were a few that were private summer retreats, but one public event where you could share the bill the whole year.

        Interestingly enough, it was in my own backyard. Literally, it’s one of the few times I could drive down the street to the shop. I reached out to the group and she said, “Corey, we’re full.” We didn’t know each other, but she said, “Sorry, we’re full.” I said, “I’ll leave my name in any way, just in case.” Sure enough, a couple of days later I got a message from her. Her name’s Ann. I still know her now. She said, “Corey, we had a cancellation. Do you want my spot?” I took the spot, but here’s my message to that. If I was practicing visualization and wrote down that board, but never reached out to Ann and they were already full, what are the odds I would be the speaker they would randomly find, discover and call all in a matter of two days at when they had a cancellation? Probably zero or close to nil.

        To me, that’s a perfect example. If I practiced Law of Attraction, that would have passed me by. You also have to watch for the synchronicities. Something happens that’s outside of your, “I want to have this happen,” but something happens to the right side and you don’t listen to it, then you can’t be mad whenever what you’re trying to draw to yourself doesn’t come to yourself. The other last thing I’ll say is you have to put in the work. I interviewed people would know him, but John Gray, Men are from Mars. John told me that he did an intention every day for eight years around the book, Men are from Mars. His goal was to be the number one bestselling relationship author in the world. It took him eight years. It took time to get on New York Times list.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        Finding Purpose And Passion: If you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.


        Usually, it happens right away. It took him time. It was 1 or 2 years. The bottom line is the books then sold 100 million copies. It’s the number one bestselling relationship book times ten now. Second is The 5 Love Languages, if anybody’s curious. The point is that John did that every day for eight years. The other thing is we were led to believe that you’re going to wish and dream about this and it should come into your life right away. I’ve had people. I told them, “It took John eight years to do that.” They’re saying, “He must’ve been manifesting wrong.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? He did something that nobody else in history has done. Do you think they should take eight hours?” You get my point, hopefully. Take action.

        The word action is within attraction. The two are together. Attraction and action are together in the same word. I completely agree with you on that. You need both. I’m a believer in the energy, that idea of the Law of Attraction, but not by itself is going to get the job done. You need discipline. You need to put in the work to get there. That’s what you did. You want it to be a speaker with Deepak Chopra. You didn’t wish it. You took action. You worked to make sure that there were opportunities for that to happen.

        I referenced somebody else in the book who did this. A great example is a friend of mine named Christine Campbell. She’s a musician. You might remember I mentioned this, but she did the same thing with Bob Seger. She wants to share the bill with Bob Seger. It was announced he was coming to town. What she did is every morning and every night she said, “It’s so great to be sharing the bill with Bob Seger tonight. It was great to be sharing the bill with Bob Seger yesterday.” She did that every day for three months. At the same time, she put out a petition and she put her name out there and try to get people to vote. There was a vote going on, plus you got a petition going for her to share it. She took action, but she also still visualized every day too. The end result is she was she shared the bill with him once and he brought her in for a second show. She even got bigger than her wish and she manifests the bigger, but she still was practicing the act. That was success key number one.

        Success key number two has to do with comfort zone. I talked with this in my second TEDx Talk about crushing your fears and expanding your comfort zone. What I’ve found is there’s a great quote that says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It was Neale Donald Walsch who said that. I truly believe that. My life changed. Everything changed when I got outside of my comfort zone. I shared that. I found my why and it got rid of my anxiety and my hypochondria. That started in stand-up comedy. It evolved into speaking thankfully. I started with stand-up comedy and that was way outside my comfort zone. If I would have walked out of that club and knock it on that stage that night, my whole life will be different. I suspect I wouldn’t be talking to you. I may not have ever read my first book. I would have never gotten to speaking. Everything would have changed. It all started by me being willing to get outside my comfort zone. In the book, I talked with exercise about how you can baby-step your comfort zone so you’re not jumping in the deep water right from the beginning.

        Before we go on, it’s important for those reading to know how many stand-ups have you done?

        There have been a few more since the book, but I don’t think many. As of the last count, it’s approaching 750 shows over the course of about nine years.

        Which to me speaks to the discipline. You persevered. You were grinding through it when it wasn’t comfortable. Talk about an uncomfortable place to be. I haven’t done standup, but I’ve done a lot of improvs. Even that, it’s uncomfortable at times, but that speaks to your success.

        Passion is what you do, purpose is while you do it. Click To Tweet

        First of all, thank you. I’ve done improv too and it’s funny how one of them gets that. For me, stand-up’s more comfortable than improv, but I know a lot of people have done improv. It’s way more comfortable than stand-up. I did improv at the Groundlings Studio in Hollywood. They are like The Second City of improv essentially. That was a cool moment. The neat thing is for me, and this is the power of grinding it out, as you said, is I look back at those first shows. The first show, I shared a bit in the book, how I did the first two jokes about the mic turned off and that was the start. How big would it start? I bombed horribly and I went back week after week.

        I want to say maybe two years before I had five minutes. How crazy is this? I had five minutes of material that works. I’ll tell you one thing because people always ask, “What kept you going?” I read an interview with Jerry Seinfeld back then from a book called Comic Insights. He said that it took him two years to get fifteen minutes of work. I said, “If I’m a third of the way to Jerry Seinfeld, then okay.” It also told me that this is where we start. Another friend of mine, her name is Tracey MacDonald. She was the only female Star Search winning comedian ever, but maybe the only Canadian one. She won $250,000. I moved to Hollywood with a movie pilot and Tracey told me it took her five years to get her first headline. She was at one point voted the funniest comic in the world and it took her five years. Those things pushed me through, but here’s where I was getting to. The shows that I’ve done that I’ve added up to that 50, now I discriminated heavily.

        When I’m doing a show, there has to be a big reason. One of the last shows I did was with The Second City. Who would’ve thought that guy that was bombing and couldn’t get to laughs together could eventually perform at The Second City or The Improv? Now I do those kinds of cool shows. It’s not that I’m a comedian and that they come to me for those shows. I have connections that I still have from back then that’ll say, “Corey, I don’t know if you’re interested, but I found that there’s a spot at The Second City this weekend.” In that case, I flew to Toronto and I brought my girlfriend. The first and only time she’s ever seen, I do stand up at The Second City. How epic is that? The point is that I was on those first 200 and 300 shows. I was a far cry from Second City. I look back now and I realize every time it was starting over. Every time I was building up the gumption to get up on that stage again and it was never easy.

        Before we go onto the next one, there’s a dance that I find that goes on and I mentioned it to you in one of the pieces that I use. You certainly demonstrated the expectation and the discipline, but also there’s a level of gratitude I feel that that plays into this. To me, it’s almost a dance to be content with where you were in terms of that next show, but also the drive to go on to the next one.

        I’ll tell you something that took me a long time to learn. If I’m being honest, I don’t even know if I learned it by the time this book was originally done. I don’t even know if I fully, truly grasped this even a few years ago. I was doing it, but not to the extent that I am now that I’m conscious of it, which is the gratitude for the journey. I put in a quote not that long ago, and again, it’s probably not an original quote, but I thought it was at the time. It was more of a question that made it unique. I said, “What if the journey is the destination?” I believe that could be true. I went through periods where for a long time, I enjoy getting to the destination.

        What the challenge with that is as soon as you’re done, you go next. What’s up now? You wait all this time building anticipation, you think you’re going to enjoy the destination you get there and you don’t enjoy it. What are you enjoying? I switched and I was enjoying the journey, but not the destination. Finally, I reached a place in my life where I’m enjoying both. The answer to your question, it’s gratitude now for both. When I was doing the comedy, I was enjoying it at the moment, but I was only enjoying the time on stage and chatting with the guys afterward. The week leading up to it, I wasn’t enjoying it. I was only enjoying the payoff for about fifteen minutes a week.

        If I were to go back and do stand up regularly now, I would enjoy every night. I would enjoy the bombing. I would enjoy the hiccups. I would enjoy the great stuff. I would enjoy that moment where I and the audience is in a synergy. You need to be grateful for the journey. That’s the takeaway. I’ll add-in, this is another thing that I’ve since come across learning after I wrote the book. There’s always the next book. I’m working right now on what I consider to be my modern-day version of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the more for business people, totally different focus. One of the areas I want to focus on that I didn’t talk about, there are new things that have come out, which is cool that Napoleon Hill wouldn’t have had to deal with, like living the unfiltered life.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        The Book of WHY (and HOW): Discover the Timeless Secrets to Meaning, Success and Abundance

        That’s one of my last talks. The idea of people getting online and saying, “Check out my great house.” What you don’t see is when the camera goes off and somebody chasing them off the lawn and saying, “Stop filming in front of my house.” We don’t see that part. The other one is this whole idea of being happy. What I’ve discovered is that there’s a lot of influencers, and it would shock us how many, who don’t enjoy the journey. We don’t talk about it. Nobody wants to admit it. If a person’s an influencer and they’ve maybe they have one million followers on Twitter, they don’t want to tell anybody. They don’t want anybody to know they’re not enjoying the journey. As entrepreneurs and influencers, we need to talk about that because I’ve noticed in interviews, if I press enough with the questions, there are a lot of people that struggle with enjoying the journey. This is a big one.

        I don’t cover it in the book, admittedly, but that’s for the next book. We’re going to success. Number three. Key number three. His one, I talked about this. This is the one I mentioned earlier, the power of no, essentially. You could call this the power of focus. Mike Lipkin, a Canadian speaker, he said to me, “I think what it is, Corey, is these people go all in.” That was a cool distinction. I’m calling it the power of no, the ability to say no to all the things that won’t move the needle so you can say yes to the few that will. It’s cool to sanction and say it’s also going all-in because what that means is that the idea is you should be going all-in with the person when they’re with you.

        If you’re not with the person, maybe you go all-in with your phone. The idea there is to give 100% attention to whatever’s in front of you, not try to separate it amongst various different people. Also, I talked about Robin Sharma. I asked him, because like me, he works with the people that are focused on technology. Let’s say at the time he was working with Blackberry and he was working with Apple. If you think about that these devices are designed to distract us. I’m putting them on the spot because I’m saying, “What would you say to somebody if they said, ‘Is this a good thing? Should it be focused on the person and the device?’” I thought his answer was a great political answer because he is working with these groups as well.

        He said, “I will tell you this. I feel that there’s no way you can give 100% attention to two things at once.” It’s almost like the whole thing like if you chase two rabbits, you’ll never catch one. He’s basically said, “If you put a person in a room of salesperson that gives 100% attention to the CEO in front of them and you put another person with equal skills, everything equal, that gives attention to both their phone and the CEO.” Who do you think is going to win that deal 9 times out of 10? The person that gives the CEO all their attention. What I’ve learned is that the top influencers somehow find a way when they’re with you to feel like they’re with you and nothing else is on their mind. Whereas I would say the average, most people don’t. They’re always thinking about what’s next.

        They’re never listening to the person. They’re already getting ready to ask another question or say something else. I call it the power of no. It’s being able to say no to this thing. You can say yes to something else because we all know if you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else. Do you have to choose? It’s their ability to choose what things to say no to. They know how to say no and to say no way more often than everybody else. That’s the success key number three, being able to do that.

        We’re onto the next one. I put together four and five. I talked about it. Four is the problem, but it serves us well. There’s the solution and it’s served as well. I combined the two of them, but essentially the success key number four relates to the fact that we’re in what I call an information-heavy wisdom society. What does that mean? There’s lots of information bombarding us. In fact, we’re bombarded with information, but getting to the actual wisdom that’s going to make the difference is the new challenge. That becomes the new, “How do we do this?” Most people struggle because they’re overwhelmed with the information. They don’t know where the wisdom is. They’re constantly looking for new information, constantly surfing, constantly getting overwhelmed, like the people that go on Facebook and then six hours later, they’re asking, “Where did the time go?”

        That’s what’s happening even in the business world. We go to a magazine shelf and you see twelve business magazines and they all contradict each other. Not only that, we’re ignoring the fact that each one of them has 50 pages of information. Who has the time in a month to go through whatever that works out to 400 pages of information to get the one little piece of wisdom that’s going to change the game for that? First of all, that’s the challenge, but it also presents an opportunity. The top influencers, what they do differently is they figure out who the best sources to learn from are. They figured out that you should go to the people who’ve already curated for them. They get that wisdom quicker than everybody else. They make use of it quickly.

        Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Click To Tweet

        They fail quickly so that they can learn quickly. An example could be a podcast. You and I, when we were running a show, ideally we’re curating. We’re picking a person that hopefully is going to bring some insights who are listening. We’re curating and we’re doing it an hour-long or our 45-minute long intake, rather than saying, “I’m going to bring on Corey for an eight-hour day and you’re going to listen.” Not only that, people can stop, they can pause. They can come back later. My point is that they’re trusting you as the curator. When I read, say, Success Magazine, I’m trusting at the time it was Darren Hardy. Now Josh publishes it. When Darren Hardy was publishing, I was trusting that Darren was vetting all that stuff so that I don’t have to go through 25 books to get the same content.

        The influencers, in my opinion, that is rising to the top, they know how to get to the right sources. They don’t bombard themselves with 1 million sources. They get to the right sources and they get their wisdom quicker. That could be them saying, “I’m going to listen to TEDx Talks and I’m going to listen to TEDx Talks around this idea.” That could be their source. Their source could be Success Magazine. It could be this show. It could be the Zig Ziglar, Jack Canfield, Lisa Nichols. When I picked three of them for three months and they say, “Here’s what I want to learn from right now.” That’s what they’re doing differently. Whereas other people, everywhere they go, they try to learn something and they don’t realize they put so much in their head, they can’t act on it.

        I think of the word distillation when I think of that, of how do we boil this thing down to the most important components. I go back to the subtitle of your book in terms of timeless secrets. At times, have we not overcomplicated things, but there are some of these ways to success are much more foundational and timeless than we deal with now?

        I would go so far as to say that the sad part is it’s like dieting. I know we all hate that word, but it’s like dieting or eating better. I still struggle with this, but the irony is I know what it takes. I know what works. Most of us do. If I say this, then people still argue that it’s wrong because people want to have a new way of approaching it. If I said eating not less but eating better, moving more and eating less of the wrong stuff and then exercising if you want to get in shape. That’s it. Those four things. Yes. How many words have been distributed in the last five years even? We don’t even know. Ten billion? I don’t know how many words have been to try to teach us how to get better shape, but it always comes back down to the fundamentals.

        It’s the same with like the idea of saying no. People in their front office for 200 years now say no. You go back to the Romans, I’m sure. You didn’t get to see the King or whatever. You had to go through people who said, “No, you can’t see him right now.” We don’t like to look at it that way, but if you think about it, I can’t call Tony Robbins. I can’t pick up the phone and call him on his front desk. I can’t call through the front office and then say, “Put him right on.” He’s got people set up to say no. He doesn’t even know it’s happening, but he needs that system. The more things we have, the bigger the system has to be to do that. My point is that it’s been existing forever. These people are also being discriminated about what gets through in terms of wisdom. They’re also saying no to all the information, so they get to the wisdom. This has been fundamental and timeless. Do you want a bonus one?

        Number six, I call it the bonus one because originally, I was going to do five and then I added one. The bonus one is I call it the non-talent factor. For example, other people might call it the 10,000-hour rule. In front of the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He made it famous, even though I know he wasn’t the person that figured it out if you will. I’m not even talking to the 10,000-hour rule as a whole. I’m combining it with something else, which is that I believe firmly that some people are born with a natural talent, but I also believe that some people craft an unnatural talent and can sometimes become more successful than the one with the natural talent.

        This is a weird belief to say, but I believe that there’s at least one. There’s more than one, but I believe there’s at least one more Wayne Gretzky in the world, but we’ll never know it because that other Wayne Gretzky or Wayne Gretzky’s never honed their talent like the Wayne Gretzky we know. He was out in the ice at six years of age with his father every morning before school. There was another person that probably could have done that the same as Gretzky, maybe even better, but never honed it. If they did play hockey, they played for fun. They never put any time in. By the way, that’s been a common thing like Sidney Crosby. I have a friend who runs a hockey school. Sidney Crosby is one of their students.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (Think and Grow Rich Series)

        He said, “Corey, that guy was here two hours before everybody else. He had a key to the building at nine years of age. He was game playing before I was at work. I get into work and look down. That kids down there escape.” This isn’t a coincidence, but we love to say, all the kids got matched out. I wish I was as talented as him. There’s a non-talent factor. Part of it comes from finding out what your purpose is and serving it. I’m escaping the word passion because a lot of people are tired of hearing the word passion now. I’ll say purpose, which is bigger. In the book, I describe it as to why you do it. I say, “Passion is what you do. The purpose is why you do it.”

        We’ll talk about purpose for a minute. I think they’re purpose-driven and because of that, they’re willing to hone the craft and work harder and put in more hours than other people. In the book, I shared how a renowned fiddler named Natalie McMaster, as she shared the bill with some of the best musicians in the world. She didn’t name names, but she said, “Corey, there’s people that were beside me playing that could have been in bigger stages than I’ve ever been on and bigger stages than other people. They never hold the craft. There are people I shared the bill with on big stages, like The Tonight Show and stuff like that who probably should have never made that stage, but they were passionate about it, they put in the 10,000 hours that they got there.”

        I also shared Alan Andrews who runs a hockey center. He told me that there are lots of players that everybody said they’ll never make the NHL and they didn’t care. They didn’t care what Alan said. They may be NHL. He said, “There are people that we looked at and said, ‘That person’s goal is they should be the next Gretzky and they never made it.” It’s a non-talent factor. If you’re willing to, A, figure out what your purpose is and be driven by it, and then B, put in more hours than everybody else. They do what nobody else will. That to me is the non-talent factor.

        When I think of what you said, I think of two things. I think of beliefs and behaviors. Those people believed in themselves more than what other people were saying about them. Back to the behaviors, what did they do? They put in the work. Their behaviors create a difference. I fully agree with you there, which leads to the next piece of this. As I read, it struck me and I had never thought of this that way when you said, “When did you retire?” It’s not what most people would think about.

        No, and I don’t think I shared it in the book this way, but where it started is, I did this talk for a financial services group like a life insurance company with financial planners in the audience. I posed the question. That’s how I opened my talk. These people are working with people’s money all day, helping people retire. I said, “How many people in the audience feel that if I hadn’t invested any money and I hadn’t made any plans to retire and I didn’t win the lottery, nothing came up and no money came into my life. How many people feel like to retire at twenty years of age?” If I got a hand, it was a person being smart.

        I don’t even think I got one hand, but I may have gotten one, but it was a room of 400 financial advisors. I said, “I’m going to now prove to you that I did and I can retire at twenty years of age. What’s the definition of work?” I brought them through all what they defined as work. The idea was I was trying to show them that if you’re not working anymore, then you’re retired because we define work as we work until retirement. My argument was I haven’t worked a day since I was twenty. I’ve often said that in the joke, “If you would catch me working, you let me know and I’ll stop.” I haven’t worked since I was twenty because I love what I do and nothing feels like work.

        To me, I retired when I was twenty and now the rest of it is all fun and games. I retired and I’ve been retired for years now. It’s not the definition other people put on it, but that’s their choice to put that definition on. They’re putting the definition that they have the money to do what they want and they have the time to do what they want. Even if you use that definition because I’m self-employed, because I’m following my purpose, it took years to get there. Even by that definition, I can do what I want. I get to travel all I want. I calculated it. Some of these are work-related, but I’m talking like one day work, twelve days not working. I calculated my girlfriend and I and my son.

        You need to be grateful for the journey. Click To Tweet

        He was with us for every trip. We did six occasions in one year. Now you might say, “There was work.” I call them pleasure trips, but there was work associated with it. I went to Hawaii for a week, maybe ten days. I did one talk that lasted 45 minutes. That was the only time I was on stage working with the client. I didn’t even see them until the day of the event. Let’s say I put in a half a day’s work. I got to stay in Hawaii. By the way, in that case, they pay for the trip. We went on to Phoenix and we stayed there for another six days and I didn’t work there. I get to take three weeks’ vacation. Even if you go by that definition, I’m retired. By my definition, anybody can be retired as long as they can figure out how to do what they love and do more of it.

        It’s interesting because I feel the same way. I don’t look at days of the week in terms of work that I’m doing other than things that are scheduled. If I do things on a Sunday or a Saturday, it doesn’t feel any different to me. There are a love and passion for it, to use that overused word, but it doesn’t feel like work. A lot of the work that I do is with organizations’ engagement and this thought of how few people enjoy where they go when they turn the key in the car in the morning.

        The other thing is we talked about joining the journey versus the destination. How many people live their life going, “When I’m retired, guess what we’re going to do?” There are 25. They’re saying, “I’m not going to join this journey of this next 40 years. I’m going to enjoy the day I retire.” Sadly, we see it so often. People retire and a week later they pass away. Does that mean you only had one week of your life that you enjoyed? The question becomes, why does that happen often? It’s because they’ve lost their purpose. Even if they hated their job, it was a purpose every day and they lost the purpose unless you replace it with another purpose. I always say to people, “If you want to figure out what your passion is, ask yourself what would you do if you won the lottery?”

        Most people love to say, “I’d go to the beach and retire.” You would probably for two weeks. The question is what are you going to do when you get back? Nobody can stay at the beach forever. I’ll correct that. There might be the odd one, but we’re talking less than 1%. To that point, the idea of retired, why not set up a life for yourself? This is from Seth Godin. I don’t want to steal his thunder, but why not set up a life for yourself that you don’t have to escape from. That’s retired. Where that story came, which I thought was brilliant, is he was on the beach one day working and this couple behind him and they probably didn’t think he could hear them. They said, “How sad is that guy? He even has to work on vacation.” He thought to himself, “How sad is it that they have to work all year only to take two weeks to come here?” His thing was, “I send out my blog. It takes me 30 minutes. I sit on the beach all day. How’s that working?” His idea was, “Why do you have to set up a life you feel you need to escape from?”

        Are there rituals that you have in terms of how you start your day out or how you end your day?

        There are rituals, but admittedly, sometimes they fall off. I’d love to be that guy that says every day, it never changes because it always works perfectly. I talked about in the book, Jack Canfield’s Hour of Power. That was a big game-changer for me. I asked him Jack the question what does he most account for his success? At first, he didn’t want to give me one answer because he has a book called The Success Principles with 64 of them. I finally pushed him for that one. He said, “Probably my Hour of Power, which basically what it means is every day he spends twenty minutes exercising, twenty minutes learning and twenty minutes meditating.”

        The reason I said it works so well is that he’s feeding his mind, body and spirit every morning before most people start. I rephrase it like that my body and spirit. I have never heard him say it, but that’s probably not an original idea. Somebody else probably had that too. That’s a callback to our earlier conversation about original ideas. The Hour of Power, I’m going to say more often than not, over the last ten years, I still get the learning always. Even when I’m not practicing as well as I could be, I always seem to get the learning. Even thinking about the interviews I do everyday. I get the learning in no matter what every day. It’s broken down by twenty minutes. The twenty minutes of meditation, I get that in 50% of the time and exercise. I was on a good run.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century (Think and Grow Rich Series)

        I fell off here with traveling and my own self to blame, but I know I need to be doing it. I can feel the difference and I know I should be doing. That would be one ritual is the Hour of Power. My girlfriend and I, we do a thing called MEPSS once a week. We’ve been good and then we slipped off. This is a reminder to me, but what we do is we do an inventory. MEPSS stands for Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. What we do is I’ll say, “Corey checking in,” and then I’ll tell her how I feel in all five of those areas. We’ll discuss it. She’ll do, “Shelly checking in,” and she’ll tell me her plan. That’s something she picked up in a treatment center. She’s five years sober, but she went through recovery and that’s something she picked up the broadest from there. That’s another ritual that we practice.

        What else I love is your first answer in regards to saying these are things that I don’t do all the time because that’s inspiring as well for people to hear that, to say, “I can’t do it. Corey does this every day. That’s why he’s where he is.” To say, “I don’t do these all the time.” Ideally, that would be great, but you don’t need to do it every single day to reach your goal. You need some consistency to do it along the way.

        Robin Sharma, I saw an interview with him and he put out the book called The 5AM Club. I was impressed. I was surprised because I see him as somebody who’s ritualistic and sticks to his plan. He said people ask him all the time. It was in an email of his or something. “Do you stick to the 5:00 AM thing?” He said, “I’ll be 100% honest, no. I’d love to say I do. There are days I don’t feel like getting up at 5:00.” He was blunt about it. I thought that was great because the tendency would be to say, “I crush it,” especially when you’re teaching it. I love that he said that there are days that at 7:00 I’m like, “What did I do?” I’m sure with him, he’s saying that but I’m sure it’s like once a month, but he still says it happens.

        It makes everybody else feel like, “He’s human too. I can do this.”

        I’m sure we’ve all heard the thing when you fall off the horse. I believe a big reason a lot of people quit is that they fall off the horse and then they think, “Crap, now everybody’s seen me fall off the horse. Now I fell off the horse. I’ve already failed. What’s the point of keeping going on?” I think there’s more success in falling off the horse and going, “I fell off the horse. I’m going to get back on.” When you’re eating a certain way and you go six days in a row and eat grapes, and then you have one bad slip up and then people throw in the towel, that blows my mind. I was that person too. I get it, but it blows my mind because the truth is it’s one little tiny misstep. The average of those seven days, you’re still way ahead of most people. That’s a key part of it is we quit too easily sometimes because we think if I fail once it’s a failure. New Year’s resolutions, how long do they last? The average, 90% fail within the first three weeks. That’s a whole other story about how long it takes to create a habit, but I digress.

        It’s a whole other story that is extremely important. Maybe we’ll do that for a second show. I’d love that. If there’s somebody that’s picking up your book, what do you hope they walk away with after they’ve read it?

        That’s a big question because I feel that this book, there’s so much content that takes you in different directions. I mentioned this too in the book that I’ve designed it to be a theme, but at the same time, each act should stand on their own. That was designed to be that way. For me, if I said what would they take away, this is not meant to be a copy because I’ll circle back to this a little more. I’ll dive into this more, but on the front end, it’s what works for them. In other words, what they’re needing, I hope they take away that from the book. Having said that, what that should look like is goes back to the subtitle. I hope for a lot of people, they start realizing these timeless secrets aren’t that hard. These things have been sitting here all along and people have been using them. They’re not saying, “I get the secret. I’m not sharing it with you.” It’s that we don’t realize either they’re there or we don’t realize how common they are, how common it is for these high achievers to say no. The opposite scenario, how common it is for most other people to say yes. It’s the awareness of these timeless secrets so they can practice them.

        Fail quick and learn quick. Click To Tweet

        Since the book has been out, I’m sure you’ve had all of the feedback that you get from people that have read the book. Is there any surprise that you’ve had in terms of, “I wouldn’t have expected that?”

        One of the big ones for me is two things. One is on the power of why. The people that I had felt already found their passion and their calling, the amount of those that said, “I’m glad you put it this way because I realized I was a little off track,” that surprised me. The people that I didn’t even think would admit that. The other one is how many people talked about how cool it was to have the bonus quotes that you referenced in the back of the book. I’d love to say I see that all the time, but it’s rare. I can’t think of many books that insights in the back of them and it wasn’t intentional to be unique, to be honest. It was just I love sharing people’s stories. That’s why I’m putting here is that it helped share other people’s story and their magic and that felt natural to me to add their quotes. The number of people that said, “One quote in there changed the way I view my life.” If you think about that, there are 400 roughly bolts in the back. One quarter to 400, not including the whole book itself, of somebody saying changed their life. That was the other thing that surprised me, how big of an impact those individuals could have.

        I loved that. It was unique. It’s not something that I’ve seen in any of the books that I’ve read. Certainly, testimonials and books, but not the way that it was formed. I appreciated that. To be honest with you, I haven’t gone through all of them.

        I’ll have one thing, which is funny. You said about testimonials. This is going back quite a ways when I said, “Would you be interested in having an original quote of yours in my book?” There were a few people that sent me along testimonials. I said, “No, I meant that.” Other people said, “Do you want a testimonial for the book. I’m happy to do a quote.” I said, “No, I want one of your original quotes.” “What do you mean original?” It was such a foreign thing that people thought it meant testimonials. I ended up getting a few testimonials from my other book unintentionally. That would have worked out, but it wasn’t intentional, but I said, “Can I use that?” Also, I’d like to get an original quote from you both about how you use speaking. It was my other book, my speaking book.

        As we’re speaking about your book and the other services that you provide to individuals, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

        It depends on which part you want to talk to me about. If it’s about getting a copy of the book, let’s say it’s as simple as that, we do have a site set up called TheBookOfWhy.com. It’s an easy way. Another option I would love to give. I believe that if you get to discover who I am and you’d like who I am and it resonates with you, there’s a better chance you’re going to want to talk further anyway. If I can, I’ll give away people a free copy of my other book, which is called The Book of Public Speaking. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s me revealing to people the secrets of how to speak on stages. That’s called The Book of Public Speaking and no surprise, probably, Patrick, the website is TheBookOfPublicSpeaking.com.

        If you go there now, you can get that free book. The third thing is if you want to connect with me further, I also help people get on stages and get paid to get on stages, and all that stuff. The best way to reach me there, you can go to my main website, which is ThatSpeakerGuide.com. On that site, it has all the social channels and everything. That’s the hub. If you want to reach out and say hi or you want to learn more about what I do on that side of the world, ThatSpeakerGuide.com. If you want a free book, TheBookOfPublicSpeaking.com. If you want to grab a copy of the book that we’ve been talking about, TheBookOfWhy.com.

        LFL 78 | Finding Purpose And Passion

        Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

        I didn’t realize you helped people to get on stage as well.

        I’ve been a weekly paid speaker for years, which is rare. I did not know that when I started. There are a lot of people that speak on stages that aren’t getting paid and we don’t realize that. I had a lot of people that have been speaking for years come to me and say, “Can you help me get paid to do this?” They see I was speaking so often and I comment out openly about how I didn’t do any no-fee costs. These were all paid. People were like, “How are you getting this much? How are you landing these often?” I launched what I call The Speaking Program. I landed three TEDx Talks in a short amount of time. People came to me and said, “How can I land a brand on top?” I launched a program around that. That’s another side of my life. I do help people land talks like I’ve been doing for years and also land branded talks.

        This has been such an enjoyable conversation with you, Corey. I pulled many pearls out of your book and it reinforced a lot of my thoughts and beliefs and experiences as well. I believe they are timeless. Thank you for that.

        Thank you, Patrick. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’ll call it a to be continued.

        I appreciate that.

        Corey left many great pearls in that interview. As he talked about things like the six secrets to success and around expectation and gratitude and discipline, there are many opportunities here to rise above your best in regards to following what Corey talks about. He’s interviewed over 5,000 people to gain even more evidence as to what are the recipes to success and not financial success, but success in life overall. If somebody that you think would benefit from this episode, I’d ask that you forward this on to them. If you haven’t subscribed already, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you’d leave a rating or a comment in regards to this or any other episode. Until our next episode, I hope you can do two things. One is lead like no other and the other is to rise above your best piece.

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        About Corey Poirier

        Corey Poirier discusses his best selling book, The Book of Why and How and the impact it has had on many who have read it. We discussed the six secrets to success, how to find your passion and purpose as well as many other pearls. He is a modern-day Napoleon Hill and has taken a modern-day approach to drawing lessons from many successful people to help others become successful.


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