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The WHY Of Contribute: Awakening The Greatness Within With Ken Sterling

BYW 33 | Greatness Within

 

Do you often find yourself constantly pursuing a greater purpose and wanting to be a part of something bigger than yourself? When your WHY is to contribute, you love to support others and are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. Find out how you can hone in on your craft and be able to make the greatest possible contributions as Ken Sterling, BigSpeak’s Executive Vice President and Chief of Marketing, shares insights into how preparation and perfect practice can unlock the greatness within you!

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The WHY Of Contribute: Awakening The Greatness Within With Ken Sterling

Welcome to the show, where we go beyond talking about your WHY and helping you discover and live your WHY. If you’re a regular reader, you know that we talk about one of the nine WHYs, then we bring on somebody with that WHY so you can see how their WHYs played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the WHY of Contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value and have an impact in the lives of others.

If this is your WHY, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and you relish the success that contributes to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes, looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and often act as the glue that holds everyone together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Ken Sterling. Ken is an Attorney and an Executive at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau. He is also an entrepreneur and angel investor in several tech startups. Ken mainly focuses on entertainment, media and well-known thought leaders. At BigSpeak, he serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief of Marketing.

Ken’s background includes working with KPMG as a technology and management consultant, cofounding a technology company, cloud computing, cofounding an international vertically integrated manufacturing company and working as executive vice president in a boutique asset management firm charged with operating real estate and hospitality assets. Ken most recently was responsible for managing a team and real estate portfolio exceeding $300 million.

Ken holds a PhD in leadership from the University of California, an MBA from Babson College and he earned his BA in Communication and Applied Psychology from the University of California. Ken is a lecturer of marketing and entrepreneurship with Technology Management Program at University of California. Ken, welcome to the show.

Gary, thanks for having me. That description you put out there, your system and what you talked about is me to a T.

We also added your how and your what. For those of you that are reading that are familiar with the WHY.os, Ken’s WHY, which we talked about, was to contribute to a greater cause. How he does that is by making things simple, easy to understand and doable. Ultimately, what he brings is a trusting relationship where people can count on him. How does that feel to you, Ken?

It feels amazing. It was interesting. Taking the assessment, which I’m sure other folks feel the same way, it’s very challenging to pick sometimes between the two. Later on in the assessment, you almost feel like, “Didn’t I answer that question? Do I need to answer it the same way? Shall I answer it differently? Are they trying to trick me?” I know it goes counter to the trust thing but in general, nailed it.

It’s interesting because I’ve always known I was a contributor. I’ve always known that trust was big and I’ve always known that I do like to simplify things. I didn’t realize that was as much of my OS as it is. Now, it’s been a while since I took the assessment. By the way, thank you. It’s a wonderful tool. I’ve been reflecting on it a lot. I get in there under the hood and especially in working with my team. We had this very complex standard operating procedure, SOP checklist that we do for one of our very unique speakers.

What people think about you is none of your business. Click To Tweet

I remember saying to one of my colleagues, “We’ve got to make this easier for the team.” What I explained is, “We don’t need to do it for the team. We need to do it for us because the simpler we can make this, the more autonomous people can be, the less they’re going to come to us and ask for clarification.” Candidly, as much as it’s altruistic, I also believe that part of my OS on that is self-preservation.

If you make it simple, it’s easier to stay in that position or what do you mean by self-preservation?

In other words, preservation of my time. What I’m learning and as our hourglass starts to maybe go over the middle mark, as some folks here might be familiar with, I’m beginning to understand that the only thing I have for myself and what I have to offer to the world is to make the world a better place. That is a big part of my LS, as you and the assessment pointed out. What I have is time. The more I can help people make decisions on their own, the more I can help them do things and the more time I invest to simplify things now, which takes time. The better it is for the stakeholders that I’m involved with then ultimately, the better for me.

Ken, let’s go back in your life for a bit. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school?

I grew up in New York and I came out here to California for high school. By the time I was wrapping up high school, we have the senior yearbook. They do the best dressed and the best looking and the most likely to succeed. Unbeknownst to me, until the yearbook came out, they created a new category for me and for one of my classmates. The category they came up with was most non-conformist. I remember being pretty chuffed that I made a category in the yearbook. Sometimes later, I reflect on that. I said, “Was that a compliment or not a compliment?”

As a kid and in high school, I was a connector. I spanned a lot of different groups of people back in those days. There were the surfers and the skaters, the loadies, the stoners, the jocks, the preppies and the mods and also the punk rockers. I had friends in every one of those areas. My closest and best friends were skaters and surfers. I was like Bill Clinton, there was the stoner era. I might’ve inhaled once or twice.

I picture you as everybody’s good friend. Everybody liked you. You were not a troublemaker so much. People enjoyed being around.

What was very interesting is that there was a certain type, maybe a certain clique and I think it was like the football guys. They didn’t like me. I didn’t steal their girlfriends or anything like that. I was very counter to their culture. I remember reflecting on that at the time and not feeling good about it. My Nana told me this, “You can make some of the people happy all the time, all of the people some of the time, but you’re never going to make all of the people happy all the time.” Years later, therapists say, “It’s none of your business what people think about you.” Now I’m resolved with that. In high school, it was slightly challenging. Not the end of the world.

Graduating from high school, you go off to college. Where did you go to undergrad?

BYW 33 | Greatness Within
Greatness Within: You can make some of the people happy all the time or all of the people some of the time, but you’re never going to make all of the people happy all the time.

 

I did not graduate high school. I was kicked out three weeks before graduation. I don’t know if it’s anything super scintillating. I got into it. I had moved out of my house when I was young. I was homeless for a while and I was working. I was also studying for two classes and dozed off. It was my fault, my accountability. A teacher called on me. We got into it because I pointed something out incorrect, which we know as adults and evolved humans, sometimes you are graceful and don’t put people on the spot in front of 32 other kids.

I got kicked out of high school, did not graduate, did not walk and much later, I went in and became an entrepreneur. The first real formal company in my late teens, my early twenties, I dug into that deeply and didn’t emerge into academia until much later in life. By that time, I go through a JC and moved up through there and focused. I took some time off work and got the transfer to the four-year university, got that degree, got an MBA then, why not wait? There’s more. I did the PhD and some other things.

How many years out of high school did you then go to college? How many years were you in? You started a business right at the end of high school, didn’t graduate, started working with that business and how many years later was it before you went back to school?

About twenty years. It was great because I remember my first day of being on campus and sitting in this classroom with a bunch of 18 and 19-year-olds. The classes that I was taking were all transfer classes. These were all students who wanted to go to four-year colleges and some good people. I’m the connector and I want to create community. I want to do all these things. It was great because I had this internal game that I was running on myself. I didn’t belong here. What’s this old guy doing here? I’m going to be at a wedding with a good friend whom I met at the JC.

He walked over to me after class and was like, “Are you doing okay?” I said, “Yes,” and he’s like, “Everything’s cool. I’m so glad you’re here.” This is a kid half my age who reached out. My son’s age, candidly. I thought that was great. It helped that re-entry experience because there’s no class, no orientation for old people going back to school. It was a great and wonderful experience there. I got involved in those other things. I got involved in some student groups and did my best not to dominate those or overpower them. Be a regular person like everybody else and have a great time.

What was the turning moment? What’s crossing my mind is you got a business. You’re doing okay. All of a sudden, something happened that said, “I got to go back to school.” What was that?

It was a couple of things. One of them is I had a child who was about ready to go to college. I had another child in high school. I realized that I was talking about the importance of higher education to the kids. The other thing is, there have been some successes and interesting things. There’s also been like in the movie where everything’s great and the party’s going and the record scratches. One of those records scratches for me is that in 2006, I was on the founding team of a bank.

If anyone’s launched a business or ever been in a regulated business, you might understand this. It was a very onerous process to get the bank opened. We started in 2006. By the time we got the doors open, it was 2008. For folks that were around 2008, 2009, the FDIC was closing banks down. I can’t remember the stats. I think they closed 1,000 banks down across the country during that period of the great recession.

I was one of those people. The regulators came to us. They never raided us. We didn’t have the vans pull up and take over the bank. They said to us, “The way things are gone, we think you’re going to need to close the bank down. Why don’t you liquidate your loans? Why don’t you return depositors?” That was what the regulators needed. As long as depositors got their money back, then they didn’t take a loss and it wasn’t a hit for them. We did all that and it was fine.

Every learner's experience is individual. Click To Tweet

I was cruising along and I randomly got a LinkedIn email from a former employee that I had laid off during Christmas of 2002 at our tech company. Not that I want anybody to watch my TED Talk, but I talk about this on my TED Talk of how to be present with your people and how to be in the room when you need to give them bad news and how to communicate.

This former colleague reached out to me and said, “It looks like from your LinkedIn you’re looking for work and I’m working at a company. I told my boss what a great boss you were and how compassionate you were when you laid.” This was dozens of people that we laid off on December 23rd to December 24th, which was rough.

She said, “I think you’d be great for this job. Do you have a resumé?” I sent over my resumé and I had some college experience. I was transparent. I never said I had degrees. I’ve never said those things. I had done some Executive Ed at Harvard. Long story short, dream job and I get the job. I was supposed to start on Monday.

I’m a nut. I wake up in the middle of the night and I checked my email at 3:30 in the morning on a Sunday. I got an email and it said, “Ken, we need to talk.” That was the subject. “Ken, I shared your resumé with one of our board members. He wants to know if you have a four-year college degree.” I replied back, “I don’t. I hope that my resumé wasn’t misleading.”

She said, “Based on the reference that you got, the references that I checked, based on the internal recommendation and based on the way you carried yourself, I presumed it. At my company, I have a policy that nobody, not even an intern, works here without a four-year college degree.” It was a very interesting moment for me because I felt shame. I felt anger. I felt confusion. I had lunch with the founder of BigSpeak, who’s been a very big mentor and a very important person in my life for years. I had lunch with him because he was one of the references that I gave to get the job.

He said, “How did it go?” I told him and I was still in that bitter mode but not like angry that I’m going to do anything. He said, “It’s the same thing at my company too.” What he said is that it’s a demonstration of your commitment to finish something and that sank in to me. I seriously finished that lunch and got in my car. I drove up to the JC. I found the counselor’s office and I sat down. She’s retired now, Christie. I said to her, “How fast can you get me into a four-year college?” That was that journey and that’s how and why I went back to school. I was grateful for it.

Many years later, I emailed the CEO of that company and I said, “I wanted to let you know congratulations, you’re doing well. I did go back to school and life worked out. This was a great impact.” Here I am at BigSpeak and my mentor, Jonathan, who’s very special to me, I thank him constantly. “It was great to go back to school.” It was great to go back to school as an adult who had been in business for many years.

A lot of that theory stuff, I think that some people learn, they’re like, “I don’t know why they are teaching this to me,” or they can’t apply it. I was doing the reverse of that, especially in my MBA program. We were building these complex financial projections that I had always wondered, “Why are those important or why does the bank need those or why do investors need those?” It crystallized for me. That was a long answer.

No, that’s interesting. You didn’t just stop with JC. You didn’t stop with a four-year degree. What other degrees have you got? In your bio, it said you’re a lawyer.

BYW 33 | Greatness Within
Greatness Within: Be interesting and intriguing when presenting. Use amazing, powerful photographs that really connect to the audience.

 

Correct.

Tell us. What are the different degrees that you got and why so many?

I’m back in school now studying some more post-graduate, post-doc things. I love to learn. BigSpeak is a learning organization. That’s why we were founded. It’s what we do. Either through consulting or facilitation or amazing keynotes on stage. You know this because you’re a keynote speaker, Gary. We’re entertaining folks to keep them engaged. Except we’re not up there juggling balls or chainsaws and there are people who do that. You and other folks, and you especially when you’re helping people discover their why, their purpose, and how to go out there and make an impact, you’re giving people practical things and that is learning.

That’s somebody who didn’t know about your subject matter or they knew very little about it and then they sit in a seat either on Zoom or in a ballroom. An hour later, they’ve got some tools that you taught them. That’s a big part of what we do. For me, it’s being a participant in learning. At BigSpeak, this is our mission, not just a tagline. “Awakening greatness within.” A real part of that is learning and helping companies and people learn professionally and personally how to develop themselves, connect and collaborate more, and be community-wise. That’s a big part of our ethos.

You did JC, your college, then got your MBA?

Correct.

Law school?

I did a little bit of law school in between and a little bit before then went back and did the PhD, which was interesting. By the way, it was education, leadership and organizations. That set me up. During that process was when I joined BigSpeak. I liked my journey. I’m not recommending it for lots of folks and including my own kids. I think every learner’s experience is individual in how they meet the learning atmosphere.

For me, when I landed at BigSpeak full-time, it was almost like one of those movies where everything comes together. The detective puts it all together. For me, being at BigSpeak is that moment. It’s the most fun that I have had. I say to folks, “We’re not selling servers. We’re not taking things away from people. We’re doing good things in the world.” When it comes to that education journey, everything scaffolded into what I bring to BigSpeak.

Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect. Click To Tweet

For those people that don’t know, what is BigSpeak? If they went on the internet and searched for it, what is it?

BigSpeak is one of the larger speaking bureaus in the world. There are a couple of agencies that are larger than us. There are a couple of big bureaus on the East Coast that could maybe claim the largest in terms of head count. One of the things that we found through our data is we’re the largest business-focused speakers bureau out there. Meaning that we focus on business audiences. Whereas, some speaker’s bureaus might focus on colleges or associations or politicians, we mostly help businesses move the needle.

That doesn’t mean selling more widgets. Move the needle for their people. A lot of the work we do is internal work and then huge customer user conferences with celebrities and bands. A couple of years ago, we closed down four blocks of a city. We had Macklemore at a private concert, which was amazing. Some people say, “What does a speakers bureau do?” For example, you were a dentist. If you were ever at the ADA, American Dental Association, and there was a celebrity, an athlete or a thought leader that came on stage, similar to what you do now, there’s a good likelihood that that event hired a speakers bureau to find them and book that speaker who was up on stage.

We also do consulting. We do follow on workshops. There are also a couple of folks that we work with who have assessment tools similar to the tool that you have. We have a very boutique roster of exclusive speakers. For example, if you want a celebrity, we can get them for you. If you looked at our website, there are probably 3,200 speakers on there. We exclusively manage about 30 very handpicked, curated folks who I like to work with because I handle this part of our business.

They are folks that I’m at their weddings or I’m with them traveling or having fun or doing some things, having dinner. They are kind people who want to awaken greatness within. A couple of those people would be Marc Randolph, who started Netflix. Kevin O’Leary, who is on Shark Tank. Omar Johnson, who was number three at Beats. Tan Le from Emotiv Sciences. It’s a very unique roster. A couple of very cool new additions are coming out. Everyone, stay tuned for that.

If you’re hosting a big event and you want a celebrity, a big name, one of those guys, do they look you up? How does that work?

A big portion of our work is businesses. Thankfully, we take good care of those clients and they come back to us. A big portion is people that we’re in touch with that we know when their events are coming out and we’re collaborating. We do have a pretty formidable digital marketing presence. We do get a lot of inbound leads. We’ve been hacking on Google and social media for years. That’s another area that I handle and manage. That background of being in technology, of having the MBA, where I chose to focus on marketing and leadership, helped us there.

I also teach marketing at UC Santa Barbara, which is great. I would probably do it anyway. I keep those classes fresh. We do a lot of project-based work. We do a lot of group-based work where the students are working in groups together and they’re hacking on things too. It keeps me sharp. It keeps me learning. I’m a marketing and business junkie, so I’m always looking at stuff and we test all the time with things.

If I’m a speaker because there are a lot of speakers, coaches and thought leaders that read this, why would I want a speaker bureau?

BYW 33 | Greatness Within
Greatness Within: If you show up prepared, it’s going to give you confidence and the familiarity that will give you a competitive advantage over other people.

 

As a speaker, there are a couple of value propositions, to use a buzzword. What do we do for Gary? What’s in it for Gary kind of thing? I think the biggest thing is that we get you in front of the right audience. We vet opportunities. We help with your messaging and positioning. We’re a strategic partner. We look at the same data that you would have and sometimes from a different lens. We have dashboards.

“We’ve booked Gary X times this year. The average fee is this. The mode, meaning the most common fee, is this. Maybe it’s time for Gary to get a raise.” On the other side, “We’re not getting as much activity for Gary as a benchmark to others in his field or topic or as compared to maybe last financial period that we’re comparing it to. What happened?” We are being proactive.

The one thing that I’ll point out, you and I had met at that wonderful experience before with ImpactEleven and talked about this a bit with Josh Linkner and his team, is that it comes to sparking that demand or I call it the “Hey, Martha” moment. “Hey, Martha” is people sitting around the conference table or the breakfast table, reading The Wall Street Journal and they read about Gary and Gary’s new book. By the way, congratulations. I would love to hear more about your book.

It’s like, “Hey, Martha, who’s this Gary Sanchez? They’re talking about him in The Wall Street Journal.” When that “Hey, Martha” moment happens, most of that is candidly created by the speaker either by you having an amazing book or knocking it out of the park at another conference. If you have PR efforts, a lot of our speakers retained PR agencies and some things go viral. Another client who we’re very honored to work with is James Claire from Atomic Habits.

When we signed James in 2019, I think he was at about 2 million copies sold, then this horrible event happened called COVID. A lot of other things lined up for him and now he’s close to 10 million copies. If folks are numbers people and books people, that’s more copies than Malcolm Gladwell has sold of Outliers in years. James’ book has been out for a few years. Some things like that are meaningful and make a difference. For example, with James, as you can imagine, probably 20 to 30 leads come in a day. The idea of you managing 20 to 30 leads would be cumbersome for you. That’s some of the value that we bring. It’s simplifying things.

Plus, you are in the know in that world. You know what events are coming up. You’re aware of the different themes that they have. Do you folks keep databases on that stuff? How does that work?

We’re obsessive about it. Here’s what I will share. Barrett is our president and one of our partners. There’s Jonathan, Barrett and myself who are partners in the company. Barrett and I are obsessive about data. We’ve got tons of dashboards. We’ll also say it’s part science and part art, meaning that you can have all the data in the world and all the numbers in the world. As you’re probably also experiencing Gary and anyone else out there who’s an author or a speaker. there is some magic special sauce that happens.

I read Atomic Habits and it was transformational for me. That’s why I even reached out to James. Those moments are very rare. It’s this amazing alignment of the planets, forces, karma, and gods. Everything lines up. There are tons of authors and speakers out there who, on paper, have done the same things as Malcolm Gladwell or Brené Brown or Simon or those folks. Somehow, the liftoff doesn’t happen.

Looking at Shawn Achor, for example. His TED Talk, very last minute and they had a cancellation. They called him. I think he had eleven minutes to deliver that talk and tens of millions of views, high demand. It’s this virality that happens now. I remember when Sean and Brené and Simon and those folks came up, it wasn’t as much about social media. It was this viral thing that happened. By the way, also hats off to TED. In the earlier years, they were putting some of these folks on the board and in front of millions of viewers.

To be a speaker, an author, or a thought leader, you have to pick a lane. Click To Tweet

Can speaker bureaus help speakers get on TED as well?

Officially, no. Unofficially, I don’t mean that to sound like there’s anything nefarious going on. There’s the big TED and there are the TEDx events. They run autonomously. They’re run independently. They don’t technically give favor to speakers from speakers bureaus. There are times when a speakers bureau can fill out a submission form on behalf of a speaker and be transparent about it.

I’m not aware that there’s a point given or that there’s preference given to speakers who are represented by bureaus. This is purely a personal philosophy. If I was on the TED committee, I might be looking for new and fresh ideas so that maybe a speaker who’s represented with a speakers bureau might get a negative point. This is purely me thinking out loud.

You and I met in Florida. We were in the same room. There were only 40 or 50 of us, but we never crossed paths. That was so bizarre, but it was put on by a group. They changed their name. What did they change to?

ImpactEleven.

It used to be 3 Ring Circus. These are 4 or 5 guys that teach the art and the business of speaking. What is it that you see that separates the great speakers from the good speakers from the okay speakers?

What I’ll say is there’s my opinion. What gets me excited, for example, and maybe some generalities that I believe hold to be true in the industry, part of it is the checkboxes and what looks good on paper. Some of it is that magic je ne sais quoi, the thing that we cannot explain or we don’t know how to say it. What I can share for me and when I’m working with an end-user client is booking a speaker, first and foremost, they want someone engaging.

I think of the ImpactEleven group, for example, and I think of who those people are. You sat next to Ryan Estis, for example, at that dinner. You know him. That guy gets up on stage and everyone’s glued to him. The way he moves, the way he talks, the way he pauses, the message that he has and what we learned at that conference that you and I went to is to get on your first stage and to do okay, you have to have 20 to 30 reps to do that.

I used to study martial arts. My sensei said, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If you do your 20 to 30 reps and you’re doing the same thing every time, you are probably not going to have this amazing outcome when you come onto that stage at that big event. It’s getting the feedback, learning, asking people, “What did you think? How could I make that better? Give me the unvarnished truth.”

BYW 33 | Greatness Within
Greatness Within: When you talk to prospective clients, know who they are and what they want to do. Ask good questions.

 

Sometimes, that’s asking friends, families or outsiders. People who level up and go to these types of experiences like ImpactEleven and are willing to invest in themselves and up their game candidly and learn how to talk, engage and synthesize what they’re doing, I believe that Josh’s group calls it the PCT. It’s what’s the problem, what’s your credibility and what’s the transformation that you offer your audience?

Holding that as a North Star is important. Be interesting. Don’t be up there talking at people. Try to do some interactive pieces. I don’t know if I can call her speaker. One of the performers that I love to book, her name is Jade Simmons and she’s fabulous. She’s got a Yamaha grand piano. She has some synthesizers. She puts some music in there, some spoken word, some rock modern to rap to these engaging presentations. I don’t want to call it a keynote about purpose. It resonates amazingly.

Not everybody can be a Jade. Holding that as, “That’s high engagement, high interaction. How can I make my presentation a little more interactive? How can I get the audience to lean in to me?” Some speakers will have people go on their phone and do a survey, which I don’t recommend because that gets people’s attention down here versus up there. That’s the sign of death for a speaker. If I’m in the back of the room in the last five rows, people are like this then I know the speaker lost them.

Be interesting. Be intriguing. Not a lot of data. Not a lot of graphs. Amazing, powerful photograph that connects to the audience and connects to the speaker. When you don’t have an image that’s meaningful, just have a blank screen because what we all do and we all tend to do this now in restaurants, there are TVs. We do this. You’re up there on the stage, pouring out your life story and talking about WHY.os. If you have these slides, especially this data or someone has to take out their phone and take a picture of it.

This is a great way to get people on your mailing list or get them in your database. What you can say a couple of times during your presentation is, “Folks, I want to let you know I have a PDF of this whole thing. I have a workbook. I’m going to send you a link. You don’t have to take any notes. You don’t have to take any pictures. Just enjoy it.” Maybe say that two times during the presentation will keep the folks engaged. They’ll trust that they don’t need to be on their phone. Here’s a thing that happens. Phones in the pocket. There’s something interesting. They want to take a picture. They do this. All of a sudden, a notification pops up and they get sucked into this technology loop and you lost them. Engagement is key.

I still compete, but I used to compete at a pretty high level. I missed when my time ended, if you will. I miss that feeling of preparing for a tournament, preparing for an event, preparing to go to battle, if you will. Speaking is so similar to that. That’s the closest thing I can think of that I’ve experienced to competing. You have to prepare.

You have to show up. No matter what, something goes wrong, I’ve never not had something go wrong and the show must go on. You don’t know what the reaction is going to be. You think you do, but you never know what’s going to happen. It’s super fun, I think, but it’s very much like competing. Have you ever heard anyone else talk about it in that way?

A hundred percent and preparation is key. I don’t want to be cliché. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. The preparation piece, here’s why it’s most important. I work with a lot of speakers. In the earlier days, there were probably two things that speakers needed to work on. One of them is method and one of them is a mindset. As most of us know when we get into high stakes things, you have to have the mindset clear to even be able to approach the method and become a master of what you’re doing.

One of the keys to mindset is preparation and here’s why. As you know, because you’d be getting ready for a tournament, when you show up that morning and you showed up the night before and you checked everything out and you knew exactly to go, you walked things through, when you show up that next morning, it’s not a shock to you.

The more you can simplify things, streamline them, and remove the static life, the better for you and the people around you. Click To Tweet

You’re comfortable. You’re in your zone and being in your zone is preparation. I believe that’s the only way folks are going to get on their zones. It’s if they show up prepared because it’s going to give you the confidence, the familiarity and it will give you a competitive advantage over other people. I don’t like to think of the speaking industry as competitive because it’s not like you’re in a running competition or a sports competition or an archery competition, for example.

You are competing silently. When a company or an event wants to hire a speaker, probably the average number of speakers that they cycle, that they look at, is probably 30 to 40. In a way, you are competing. For example, the founders of ImpactEleven and especially Seth and Ryan who are best friends, they compete with each other all the time without even knowing it because they both have great engaging presentations. There’s some similarity in terms of audiences for them.

I often joke because usually, the two of them are selected as the number 1 and number 2. I’ll say to the company or the event, “I wanted to let you know, they know each other well. They’re going to probably be talking about this the same way you are.” I think in terms of that preparation piece, getting in the reps, taking it seriously, doing your homework for your talk and knowing who that client is when you get on that call to talk to a prospective client. Know what they want to do. Ask good questions. This is counterintuitive because a lot of speakers love to talk and they get paid to talk.

Sometimes these speakers get on the phone and they talk. At the end of it, the client doesn’t feel like they’ve got their thing out, their need or their need state. As much as all you speakers out there love to speak, be sure that you listen. Be sure that you have a couple of good questions to ask during it, then pause and let the client tell you what they need.

I can keep you here all day asking questions, but I got two more questions for you. One’s a comment question. What I noticed when we were at the ImpactEleven event was that not all of the people there had done something spectacular or created something amazing, yet they were very successful speakers. Even the two you mentioned hadn’t done like they didn’t swim across Antarctica or the Atlantic or sled across Antarctica or anything. They were phenomenal speakers and practiced their art. If I’m reading this, do I have to have created something to save the world in order to be on a big stage?

My personal opinion is no. I’m oftentimes impressed, amazed and in awe of some of these folks out there who are creating a living out of speaking, who reinvented themselves, who picked a lane. I think this is important. To be a speaker, to be an author, to be a thought leader, pick a lane. Some of the folks are generalists. When it comes down to a high-end event or corporate client, they’re looking for that expertise and knowing that one subject matter with mastery.

I think that’s a big plus for people to consider as owning it. For example, you’ve got yours and you’ve dialed yours in beautifully with an assessment tool with a honed talk around that with books. Those are indicators to people who hire speakers that, “Gary’s an expert.” For other folks that are considering this or wanting to up their game, you don’t need to swim from Miami to Cuba or swim the English channel to do it. You don’t need to conquer Everest or be a professional skateboarder to do it.

There are lots of amazing speakers out there who have a wonderful story and have focused on that one lane that they’re good at and who are interesting. I can’t emphasize it enough. Be interesting, be creative, do things that are a little bit outside the box. Not crazy outside the box, but do things that are a little bit unique and counterintuitive that will surprise and delight audiences.

The last question is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten or the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

I was very fortunate, even young, before I had done the four-year university. It’s funny because, going back to simplify, one of my business ventures early on is that I had a business venture who also taught accounting at a local JC. He had done very well for himself and this was part of his giveback. I knew who he was and I had a connection through a family member. I signed up for his class. Almost every time we met as a class, he would say, “Keep it simple, stupid.”

I always had a problem with the word stupid. I rebranded it and I do this a lot even with our own team, “Keep it simple, smarty.” If I had to, for personal life, for work life, the more you can simplify things, the more you can streamline them, the more you can remove the static, life will be a lot better for you and the people around you.

Ken, thank you so much for being here. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I’m sure our audience has as well. You’ve done a lot of amazing things. I’m sure you’re going to do a whole lot more. I look forward to us working together.

Wonderful. Thank you, Gary.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed Ken Sterling from BigSpeak. We learned so much about the speaking industry from him. If you have not yet discovered your WHY or WHY.os, go to WHYInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 to get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using to read to us. Thank you so much.

 

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About Ken Sterling

BYW 33 | Greatness WithinKen is an attorney and an executive at BigSpeak speakers bureau. He is also an entrepreneur and angel investor in several tech startups.  Ken mainly focuses on entertainment, media and well known thought leaders.  At BigSpeak he serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing.

Ken’s background includes working with KPMG as a technology and management consultant, co-founding a technology company (cloud computing), co-founding an international, vertically integrated manufacturing company and working as Executive Vice President at a boutique asset management firm charged with operating real estate and hospitality assets. Ken most recently was responsible for managing a team and real estate portfolio exceeding $300 million.
Ken holds a Ph.D. in Leadership from the University of California, an M.B.A. from Babson College and he earned his B.A. in Communication and Applied Psychology from the University of California.  Ken is a lecturer of marketing and entrepreneurship with the Technology Management Program at University of California.

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Podcast

The WHY Of Trust: Building Successful Joint Venture Relationships With Charles Byrd

BYW 32 | WHY Of Trust

 

Trust means everything. You have seen that in the ways great relationships are based on trust, when individuals and businesses go to great lengths to demonstrate that they are trustworthy, and when things crumble from the lack of it. In this episode, Charles Byrd, the epitome of the WHY of Trust and the co-author of the best-selling book, Internet Marketing Secrets, shares his story and experiences about building relationships with trust. He talks about joint ventures and why the transference of trust makes it a qualifier to build partnerships in businesses. However, being a source of trust has its share of challenges. And Charles lays down the ways you can overcome them and use them to your advantage. Tune in to gain insights and arm yourself with this information, so you can make fully informed decisions about who you associate with.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

The WHY Of Trust: Building Successful Joint Venture Relationships With Charles Byrd

We go beyond talking about your why and helping you discover and live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every episode, we talk about 1 of the 9 whys, and we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why is played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of Trust, to create relationships based upon trust.

If this is your why, trust means everything to you. You believe that when relationships are based on trust, the sky is the limit. You will go to great lengths to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and do things such as become an expert in a given area so you can establish that you can be trusted. You look to do things correctly because that is what a trusted person would do.

People with your why often enjoy numbers because numbers don’t lie. If someone breaks your trust, it feels like a knife in the gut. You find it almost impossible to have a relationship with them after this loss of trust. Although you tend to have fewer friends, you build loyal and lasting relationships with those people you can trust.

I got a great guest for you. His name is Charles Byrd. There is an official bio and his incredible background in success in Silicon Valley, but that’s not as important. What you need to know about Charles is his proven record of helping others create super profitable joint venture partnerships or relationships. Not only is he one of the most connected people in the online space, he knows how to help you set up lucrative promotional deals that clients and students book hundreds of thousands of dollars of business.

He knows how to help you get qualified leads without you needing to do paid advertising or the need for complicated funnels. I am sure that’s music to your ears. If you want to grow your business, Charles is one to pay attention to. Charles’s work on relationships, joint ventures, and frictionless systems. He has been featured in Forbes, ABC News, SiriusXM, Funnel Magazine, and The Science of Success. His new book called Internet Marketing Secrets is an Amazon best seller. Charles, welcome to the show.

Gary, thanks so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.

I’ve been looking forward to this because we are working with you. I have gotten to learn some things about you as we have had our conversations, but the rest of our readers haven’t yet gotten to meet you. I want to make sure that that happens.

I appreciate the opportunity to do so. From the moment we met, and you explained what you do, I have been intrigued by this. As you shared my results of going through your why process and other people we’re working with, it’s been interesting. What you’re doing is cool, and I look forward to the insights we’ll both discover in our conversation here.

Charles, let’s go back to when you were younger. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school?

When I was young, I lived in Canada up until the second grade. I have dual citizenship. My mom was Canadian, and my dad was from the US. Around the second grade, I moved to California, where, for the most part, been ever since, other than Stenton near London for a year. I went to high school in Southern California and some in Central California. I had some bodyboarding, beach time, and some time in the Central Valley, which was fun.

What were you like as a high school kid? Were you outgoing? Were you more reserved? Were you with a big group of friends or a small group of friends? Tell us a little bit about you.

It's empowering to come up with your own fun thing and then bring that to life and have a taste of what the next phase would be regarding entrepreneurship. Click To Tweet

I’m always very social. I’m always feeling a little step ahead, simply because I had an older brother and my peer group was two years older than my classmates. I was exposed to ideas, thoughts, and different things that felt a little ahead of the curve. I’m a class clown, but not in an annoying way, but in a fun way and pushing boundaries. I’m enjoying time with friends, family, adventures, riding skateboards, and things like that.

What do you mean by pushing boundaries?

I’m trying things probably before my peer group did and driving perhaps a little faster than most people might. It’s those boundaries. I’m being exploratory, figuring out life, not being afraid of experiences, and being a person who says yes to more things in life than not.

Were you into sports or more into the beach thing? Were you involved in your school or not so involved in the school?

I’m not super involved in school. I was probably a B student. My grades went up dramatically in my Master’s degree than they did in high school. I’m into writing, skateboarding, and music. I started playing the drums at a young age and later guitar, songwriting, and creative endeavors that, unlike sports, football, or things like that which required team activity. Most of mine were independent that you could do it on your own schedule.

You’re not as much of a team player but more of a fun, good friend and someone fun to have around.

Snowboarding, adventures, trips to the beach, and those kinds of adventures.

You graduated from school in Southern California. Where did you go to college?

I started at La Sierra University in Southern California. I was there for a year. My brother also went to that school. In my sophomore year, I went to England and went to school there, which was a phenomenal experience. Most of the students were American. There was a lot of bonding. You’re way closer to people in that environment because they didn’t have their families and networks. There are a lot of tight connections there. I’m the social life of a party person. On Tuesday, you’re studying Art History books in class, and Thursday, you’re standing in front of the art in London and traveling Europe on breaks. It’s a good way to expand the mind and continue that sense of adventure.

What were you majoring in?

Business Information Systems, which is after I finished school in Northern California, which I liked quite a bit more than Southern and stayed up here. I have a Business degree in Information Systems. A little later, after I was in my corporate career, I also got a Master’s degree in Information Technology again.

BYW 32 | WHY Of Trust
Internet Marketing Secrets: World’s Top Internet Entrepreneurs Spill the Secrets to Their Success

Tell us about your business or career path after college. Where did you start working? What did you get into?

I was raised with the mindset of, “Work hard, go to school, get a job.” The concept of entrepreneurship never came up. Even though I got a Business degree, you hardly even heard about it in the programs at all. It was, “Go to school, get a job.” That’s pretty much what I did. I got a job for a big software company in Silicon Valley. I worked for a billion-dollar software company for several years. I started on the help desk doing tech support and so forth. I’ll caveat that throughout college, I was a server in restaurants and also played in a band for several years, doing 75 shows a year around the Bay Area.

Certainly, the restaurant type of role is a customer service role, so you learn to take care of people. In the band context, booking gigs is reaching out to people, connecting, and lining up deals and bookings. Some of that fed into what we’ll be talking about a little later. I worked at a help desk for several years. I ascended the ranks there into higher levels of support. I started running large projects across a 6,000-person enterprise.

I founded the Project Management Institute. I trained twelve different project managers. I guided them all to get PMP certified. That’s Project Management Institute. I also got Cisco CCNA Certified. I ended up creating my own department, the Social Media and Collaboration Department, but I’m still in IT, which is not the best place for creative and social people. IT does not scream either one of those things.

Working to keep my life interesting there, I created something called IT TV. I would do interviews like CNET. I don’t know if you’ve ever followed things on CNET, but I made my own show like that. I started creating creative commercials, advertising the projects I was rolling out across the enterprise. I would choose the technology, create the international teams of 30 to 50 people, roll out the technology over sometimes 8 months, 1 year, or 2 years, and market and train internally within the company.

I started creating fun, punchy videos, and all the other departments wanted me to make them for them. I felt like I had that creative outlet. It was empowering to come up with your own fun thing and bring that to life. I always had a taste for what the next phase would be regarding entrepreneurship, but it’s a little too comfy in the corporate world to make that jump out of the gate there.

Is IT TV a TV station within the company?

Yes.

It’s how to connect with everybody, bring information to everybody, and excite people, that type of thing.

I would do interviews with people that were rolling out new technology, adopting a new strategy, or different kinds of updates like that. I rolled out Webex across the 6,000-person enterprise. I made a quite amusing commercial with my kids and nephew at the time, who were little kids. They’re having a whole conversation about Webex, and it was a huge hit. That’s blending the creative side but also the process, execution, and management side of things.

You have been there for several years. All of a sudden, you decide, “I’m done with this.” How did you transition to the next space?

If there's an impact you want to make, if there's a quality of life you want for your family, now is the time to do it. Click To Tweet

There were two elements involved. I talked about creating a business for a while. I even formed teams of friends and other people to create a company. We researched products. I was creating a company where we have gear that would film snowboarders going through a park and automate, giving them a video back at the end of their day. When you’re trying to fit stuff in on weekends or little holidays, you can’t get enough traction at it.

A motivating thing was the following. My mom was an OB nurse. She ran a hospital in Central California and also taught nursing school students. I got a call from her one day. She had that serious tone in her voice. I was like, “Maybe one of the kids she adopted from Sierra Leone was having trouble in school.” It wasn’t that. She had been in a minor car accident the day before. She thought she was pressing the brake but wasn’t and hit the car in front of her.

On that day, she was reaching for a fork and physically kept missing it by six inches. They took her to the hospital and found she had two stage-4 brain tumors. I could barely walk into the house to tell the family that. I piled into the car, went to be with her, and went into brain surgery that night. Effectively, I stayed at her place for the next year, taking care of her. My mom lived one year to the day from when I got that call. It crystallized that life is short. If there’s something you want to go after, if there’s an impact you want to make, if there’s a quality of life you want for your family, now is the time to do it. That fueled being a lot more confident in making decisions that, in the past, would have frightened me off.

My daughter wrote on this whiteboard here. It says, “One more day is one person. I’ll start in one more day. We’ll do this tomorrow.” The other person says, “This is day one. We’re starting now.” It lit that fire. There’s a massive difference on those two things. “I’m going to start my diet next month. I’m starting my diet now.” There will be a vast difference between those two people’s outcomes.

That lit a fire under me. I decided to create my own company. I left my corporate job and chose the entrepreneur path. I have this piece of wood made that says, “I can. I will. End of story.” Meaning I’m committing to this no matter what. I’m burning the boats. I don’t care what anyone tells me. My dad was like, “Go get another corporate job.” I’m like, “No.” He was always super supportive, but that was the path he was hoping I would take.

That event and commitment to trying something new and figuring it out are mandatory to making large shifts in your life. I can assure you, it leads to a far higher quality of life, more freedom, passion, better conversations, and opportunities you can’t even fathom compared to living in a nice little corporate world.

That time with your mother, which was a negative turned out to be positive.

I try to turn any negative into positive systematically. I try to take things that, on the surface, are annoying, but you find what is positive about it. There is some turmoil in that adjustment. I didn’t even know what company I wanted to make. I knew I was going to make something. You got to start with where you’re at. Baby step, there’s no straight line. I’m sure you’ve seen those cartoon analogies.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect the dots looking back.

The underlying thing is not being afraid to take the next step and not being afraid to commit to doing that. Once you reprogram your own way of operating, it is empowering. I’m sure we’ll get to this coming up too. I am always social. I always had a friend network, but nothing like now. It was a conscious decision to start connecting with more people in a deeper way and systematically provide them with value. It’s a learned skill. You don’t have to naturally be. I’m sure there are inclinations that support being good at connecting, finding opportunities, following up, and providing value, but it was all a learned skill that I systematized and took to a whole other level.

Let’s talk about that for a minute. You said, “Not being afraid to take the next step.” Is that a real statement? Is that reality? When you took that step, I can’t imagine you weren’t afraid, but you did it anyways.

BYW 32 | WHY Of Trust
WHY Of Trust: Commitment to trying something new and figuring it out is mandatory to making substantial shifts in your life.

 

That’s a far more accurate way of saying it. You may have some reservations about it, but you’re willing to do it anyway. I was pretty lucky because of my wife. I’m like, “I’m going to start a company.” This is probably about as deep as the conversation went. She was like, “Awesome. Go for it. I believe in you.” I have friends that didn’t have that support. They’re still trapped in the jobs they hate because of it. It is important to have supportive people around you or have the internal resolve to do it anyway.

You leave your corporate job. What’s the first business that you started?

I started my company, and I had some input. I had some friends I had gone to college that started physical products companies, wooden sunglasses, and wooden watches. About the time they were buying their third building in San Francisco, I was like, “My peer group can do this and be successful at it.” I had no idea this was inspiring.

I was chatting with them about what I could do. They were like, “Don’t do physical products like us. We’re sourcing stuff from all over the globe, having to put it together and ship it out. There are all these crazy logistics. Go for information products or services.” A light went off immediately. I’m like, “I’m already good at teaching and presenting. I have all these skills. How can I now package them?” All I needed at the time was to learn the marketing side.

I created a company. I started going to a lot of events. The product I decided to create was a low-ticket productivity course. I had no one to sell it to because I had no list and connections. As noted, I went to a lot of events and started connecting with people online. I quickly found my new entrepreneur peer group already had my ideal clients in their communities on their email lists. I started setting up presentations to other people’s audiences, delivering high-value training, and offering the deeper dive course.

I started getting traction, making sales, and making a positive impact on those people that invested. I’m growing my list rapidly. I thought, “Instead of doing this here or there, what if I take my IT and systems background, simplify, and systematize the entire joint venture process?” which I did. Eventually, people wondered how I booked 2 to 6 joint venture promotions per week for my own offers. I was at a mastermind in Aspen. My phone is lit up with text messages and emails. People are knocking on my room door. They were like, “How the heck do you do that?” I put together my first live high-ticket event called Pure JV.

This gets back to one of the points you were saying. When you commit to something specific, the road will form right in front of you. It will materialize. When the people around you know what you are seeking to do, the resources will appear. When I decided to put together that high-ticket event, I had never done anything like that. When I said I’m doing it, I’m doing it at this date. I’m doing it at this place.

People came out of the woodwork. They were like, “I’ll build your landing page. I’ll write you a copy. I have friends I can refer to this. I want to go to this.” It came together like a magnet. The event went well. Everyone got a ton of value out of it. By committing to something specific, that’s how you create the framework. You can keep making it more robust and continue iterating because continuous improvement kicks in there.

Your first event was called Pure JV. For people that don’t know what JV even means, what are you talking about? What is a JV? What is that?

That means a Joint Venture. It’s not like two companies merging, getting married, and doing things together forever, although there are some of those. They’re more like promotional partnerships. An example I like to use is Brian Tracy. Brian has a deep career, all these books on sales, and high performance. He has created a following of 500,000 people on his email list. There are various kinds of joint ventures. Even a referral is a joint venture. Brian has promoted me six times to his list. Brian has an audience that follows him for those particular reasons. I have a presentation and content that strongly matches and accentuates that message. It builds on it.

He will mail 500,000 people inviting his audience to my training. I deliver high-value training to those folks in a webinar format or maybe speaking in person, and I offer a deeper dive program for people who want to go further with it. The revenue that comes in for the students or clients that sign up that’s shared with Brian and me is a joint venture.

Do not be afraid to take the next step and commit to doing that. Click To Tweet

It’s his audience, and my product is being leveraged in a highly complementary way where everyone’s winning from the interaction. His folks get content he has never made that he may not be an expert, but it complements why they follow him. I get the benefit of a massive audience that I didn’t have previously. Everyone involved is coming out further ahead.

I have systematized the process of creating joint venture strategies for companies. I’m helping them identify ideal partners, how to get the conversations, how to guide those conversations to land actual JVs, and operationally, how you conduct it, what you need to send to the partner, what resources need to be in place, like landing pages, webinar tools, or things like that, and how to turn each one of those into 2 or 3 more. That’s one example of joint ventures. Anyone reading who has a business, who has ever received a referral, you can set that up in a systematic way. That’s a joint venture. You have people scouting your ideal clients for you all of the time.

People will say, “Charles, I get an email almost every day from people that have a list of people I can buy. They’ll say, ‘Do you want to buy my list of dentists? I’ve got a list of 120,000 dentists.’” How’s that different?

Those lists won’t perform well. Joint ventures are strategic. These are two professionals putting their minds together to serve that audience in the most effective way possible and create a successful promotion itself, so it does and performs well. When you’re buying a list like that, you’re not the first person they have sold it to. These poor people have been slammed with all things they typically never asked for. Those lists of people are opting out, or they’re black listing any mail coming through from there. Their actual effectiveness is quite low. I know a few people who have done that successfully. I never even entertained the idea because it didn’t seem like something that would work well.

To me, it’s missing the one big ingredient, which is the influencer.

Also, the transference of authority. That’s a massive part of why joint ventures are powerful. If you don’t mind, I’ll use you as an example. You’re about to be on JJ Virgin stage. You’re about to do some great things with her. You have a ton of authority in what you do already, but JJ’s audience is probably the first time many of them will be exposed to you.

The fact you’re there, you’re being featured as an expert, which you are. She was saying, “You guys have to hear from Gary. I twisted his arm to get him here. This guy is phenomenal. He is helping people discover their most fundamental motivation for everything they do. This translates to you personally, your team, and the success of your business. Write down notes and take action on what Gary was saying.” Those people will. She transferred all the trust and authority she has built up with her people, who love her, follow her, and read everything she writes. She transferred that right over to you.

That means your conversion rate and the level of impact you’ll make from people listening to what you’re saying and taking action turned up from 2 to 8 simply because of that. That’s one of the powers of joint ventures and why warm traffic versus people who pay for Facebook ads, YouTube ads, or different kinds of ads. This is warm traffic. This is endorsed JV traffic. This is JJ saying, “Listen to Gary. I vouch for him. He is phenomenal.”

If you are a regular reader, you know that our vision is to be the first step in self-awareness and the first step that people take when trying to figure out who they are. Our goal is to impact a billion people in the next several years. Think about that. How the heck are we going to do that? How are we going to impact a billion people?

One of the things you said earlier was, when you put it out there, people seem to appear that say, “I can help you do that. I want to be part of that.” That’s the essence of joint ventures. Think of how many ads I would have to buy to make that happen. An unfathomable amount of ads versus working with people that already have massive influence that can present this concept of WHY.os or the software that will do it to their audience. Compare for everybody buying ads, which can work, but how that works versus joint venture.

I’m a fan of diversifying lead flow for people that don’t run businesses. What that means is getting in front of people you can serve with your product or service. There are three main ways to go about that. You can pay for ads. This is when you’re on a website or your Facebook feed. You see ads there. You can create content, which, if you do that long enough and consistently enough, usually over a year, you will start attracting people, or there are joint ventures where people who already have your ideal clients and have these massive audiences that trust them to bestow that trust over to you and highlight you as an authority to be listened to, along with showing how that expert, who has the audience, serves that audience, shows how what you do, compliments it, strengthens it, and enables them to go further.

BYW 32 | WHY Of Trust
WHY Of Trust: The transference of authority is a massive part of why joint ventures are so powerful.

 

I’m going to use an example of a large coaching Institute, which Gary, I can’t wait to introduce you to. They’re doing $42 million a year. They service tens of thousands of coaching clients with certifications. By Gary getting connected with these folks, understanding how to line up a joint venture with them, landing that deal, getting in front of all of their current and previous coaching students, and getting in front of everyone else on their list who hasn’t even become a coaching student yet.

Look at the expansiveness of that reach. Now, all of these coaches have their own clients that they’re servicing, supporting, and helping. If WHY.os has been an integral part of getting them grounded as the first step in their journey, they’re going to bring it to all the people they’re serving. This does or can have a domino effect that replicates you out to that billion dramatically faster. As my friend Yanik Silver puts it, he wants to light 1,000 suns that themselves light 1,000 suns. This is the replication effect that joint ventures have the power to bring.

If you’re reading this, you might be saying to yourself, “I got it. In a joint venture, you talk to somebody, set up a thing where they’re going to promote to you and sell to their audience. I get it. I have heard it.” That’s what I thought. As we dove into it, what I didn’t understand was the value of systematizing the process because there is a big difference between doing something and doing something right. You can wing it but what you’ve created is different than winging it.

Maybe give an example of what you have systematized. Let me ask you a question because this was fascinating to me. You and I are going to set up a joint venture. I’m meeting you. You have a process of questions for me to ask you to make sure we’re the right fit. Now we decided that you and I are going to do a joint venture together. What happens after that?

We come to that agreement. We want to do this. It’s a great fit and service to the audience. The next thing we do for one, we choose the date for the promo. We choose the time. We choose what the specific promotional mailing dates are. We talk about when you can expect to get those emails over to your team to send out to the audience exactly when that will happen.

Every nuance of the process is systematized. An example I like to give is we give you the pieces to create the cookie cutter. After that, you’re pushing it down over and over again. You’re replicating something over and over, along with understanding how to turn each of these joint ventures into 2 or 3 more, but it’s what’s communicated to the partner and when. It’s what’s communicated to your own team to understand what to build out and by when it’s taking resources to execute a promotion, “Let’s invent some examples, but something like a landing page, creating a webinar, scheduling the webinar, and duplicating that for each promotion that’s being set up.”

Every part of it is systematized both internally within your team and with the partner, with the goal of taking the thinking out of the process. This is a paint-by-numbers approach. Instead of wondering what to do, what asset, or how to track it, it’s all in one type of end-to-end solution that makes it easy for a company like yours to get it up and going, and you’re autonomous. You have a continuous traffic source and the autonomy to execute that over and over.

I heard you say that the first time, and you probably said it again. I still didn’t get it until we did it. I was like, “Now I get what you’re talking about.” It’s one ear and out the other until we went to do it. Another example of that in what you teach, and maybe you can talk a little bit about this as well, is you talked about this thing called the irresistible offer.

“I know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard irresistible offers before. I get it. You stack on all this stuff to it so that it seems like you’re buying a whole bunch of stuff, but most of it, you won’t.” I had in my own mind what that meant. When I went through the process, it was so much different, and it has revolutionized the conversion. Conversion is so critical. You can get a lot of people on an event, but if you can’t convert anybody, what good was that? You got more frustrated.

We think of this in a comprehensive way. Joint ventures bring you warm traffic. That’s awesome. That’s only one piece of the puzzle. I am holding up a doll. This is George from the Beatles. This is the warm traffic. That’s great. We have the irresistible offer. We got Paul here. We then need the overall strategy. We got John. If you get these things right, you have a brilliant strategy. You have a fantastic offer that’s perfect for your ideal clients, and you have warm traffic. What you have there is a hit. You have a comprehensive approach to serving more people and getting great results for your partners.

Partners love promoting people that fit well with their messaging community, get people results and make them lots of money. It’s certainly not hard to line up JVs when every time they work with you, they get paid. Their people come up and tell them what a huge, positive impact you have made for them. Having something that converts well, that’s ultra well aligned, and having a strategy to do this methodically simplifies what you’re doing and integrates. It sounds easy, but how do you do that in reality? That’s precisely what we help companies do.

When you commit to something specific, the road will form right before you. Click To Tweet

The irresistible offer, for those of you that aren’t familiar with it, this is my take on it. Hopefully, I’ll say it accurately. You have your offering, and it’s great for the audience, but you go through the process of saying, “What are their objections? What are their reasons for not purchasing? What could come up that would hold them up?” Once you figure those things out, where there are three things, you create a bonus that addresses that objection. In my case, I offer them a workshop. I’ll speak at an event. I’ll take the audience through discovering their why, how, and their WHY.os.

I know what’s going to happen next. They’re going to say, “I got to have this for my team.” The next thing I’m going to offer is, “Let’s do this for your team and your business.” One of the objections could be, “When you’re going to offer that, I can’t make it. How am I going to do that? What if it’s on a day that I’m not ready for, or the only day that you’re going to offer this, I can’t be there?” How would you create a bonus or a way that addresses that objection?

Let’s say their objection is, “What I did is I created multiple times during the month that we’re going to host this event every month.” It gives them time to plan to be at it. What if an objection was, “What if I hire somebody new in three months? What am I going to do?” You create bonuses that allow you to handle that objection.

That is certainly right, along with incentivizing making a decision in a timely manner because they might go, “This is cool. We want to do it. We’ll get back to you in six months when we feel like it.” They won’t because life moves on, or some might. If you can help incentivize making a decision in a timely manner, this means you’re getting them on board where they’re excited, motivated, and sink their teeth in. Anytime they’re following what you say like that, they get results, and everyone is winning. It’s formulaic. The strategies and offers are different in different markets. That’s why we work hand in hand to help design that with you to ensure the best outcome possible.

I didn’t want to have you on the show to do an infomercial for you. That was not my goal, even though maybe it feels that way right about now because I have been impressed with what you have shared with us, what we’re doing, and the way that it’s connected the right people to us to bring what we’re doing to the world. What results have you seen this bring to people? How has that transformed their businesses?

It has been quite remarkable in many cases. Five of the clients I have worked with over 2021 have done $1.5 million to $6 million in revenue, specifically from working with us. I will highlight the $6 million one because I like the ring of that. A gentleman out of Australia named Jackson Millan, who has $11,000 offer is helping businesses like ours, focus on our core numbers, and retain more personal wealth, was dependent on Facebook, mostly for his traffic. He was doing well with it until Facebook shut down his account.

Imagine running a business, and your primary lead source evaporates. It’s an unnerving thing. In any case, he hired me to help him with his JV strategy, identify ideal partners, get those conversations, book the JVs, and execute them. He is a quick-start guy. He went a little overboard. He booked 70 joint ventures in 2 months. I checked in with him a few months back. He has done $6 million in revenue and collected $2 million in cash. He was messaging me. We share intros and referrals all the time. He was a lovely guy.

We work with coaches, consultants, course builders, and so forth. It’s tying it back to the why, being the trusted source for people, simplifying things for people, and bringing a structure and a pathway to do it the right way. We happen to be talking about joint ventures, but this is my why. You helped me see it in a clearer way. I don’t think I would’ve been able to articulate it like that. It’s grounding and important. I’m building that into a lot of my communication. I’m putting it inside my stage talks. I have several of those coming up, like Genius Network and others.

I’m going to mention the why, which you also recommended I do. It gives people the answers they need to listen to what you’re saying more effectively because they know what’s driving you underneath. They are also spot-checking. Is what you’re saying congruent with the why you expressed? This is part of the clarity you help people with this important work. I’m thrilled you transitioned your own career to enable all of us to do a lot better job with that.

What Charles is talking about is his WHY.os. His why is to create relationships based on trust, which we’re talking about. You can tell now that he is the trusted source. He is the guy in this field. All the people that you know use him to learn this process. Sometimes you do it for them. How does he go about doing that? His how is to simplify things, make them simple and easy to use, and create processes, structures, and systems that are simple. Ultimately, what he brings is the right way to get results.

His why is trust. His how is simplify, and his what is right way. I’m not sure there’s a better WHY.os for what you do than what you have. I can trust you. I can count on it. If you tell me something, it’s going to be the truth. You’re going to simplify it to where I can do it. You’re going to give me a step-by-step process to get it done. How much better could it be? That’s what I would be looking for.

BYW 32 | WHY Of Trust
WHY Of Trust: The level of impact you’ll make from people listening to what you’re saying and taking action just turned from a two to an eight simply because of that transfer of trust and authority to you.

 

It’s highly complementary because your process gave me the clarity to express it that way, even internally, to recognize that. That’s what I have been doing for a long time. Now I have a lot more succinct way to communicate it. When I reread my why, I pull this up frequently. It reinforces that. When you have that clarity of your own purpose, it becomes a sounding board for everything you’re doing.

Is what I’m doing now simplifying for people? Is what I’m doing now the right spotlight as a trusted source? It gives you a framework for decision-making. It’s cool how you’ve built out the platform, how your vision for it is big, and how I’m able to serve you because of my why to reach those billion people. It’s a full circle. It’s how I’m seeing this.

Last question for you, Charles. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever given or the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I certainly didn’t make this. It’s a title of a book. Relationships are everything. If you look at anything that matters in your life, your family, your kids, your significant other, and your clients, the only thing that brings value to life is relationships. If you look at people far further along in their life, all that ever mattered were their relationships. Recognizing relationships is everything. Systematically find ways to stay connected and provide people value. When you incorporate this into your everyday life and behavior, and you’re in service of other people, opportunities will never end.

You will feel good and congruent. You’ll be making a positive impact on the people around you. That replicates. You become a role model for people. When you’re looking out for them, they, in turn, look out for others and you. That helps us all make the world a better place. As cheesy as that may sound, it’s a fact. Relationships are everything.

Would somebody with the why of trust say anything different? The why of trust is to create relationships based upon your success. It happens when we create relationships that are based on trust. That’s perfect. Charles, thank you so much for being here. If there are people reading that say, “That is the guy that I have been looking for. I need to learn how to do joint ventures. I need to learn how to get my message out in a bigger way,” what’s the best way for people to get in contact with you?

They can pop over to CharlesByrd.com. There’s a contact form on there where you can shoot an email to Success@CharlesByrd.com. I love to hear from you. Gary, thanks so much for having me on the show.

Thank you so much for being here, Charles. I know we’re going to be doing a lot of work together in the future as we are now.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your WHY, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 to take the WHY discovery at 50% off. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe below. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using because that will help bring this to the world. Thank you so much for reading. We’ll see you next episode.

 

Important Links

 

About Charles Byrd

BYW 32 | WHY Of TrustToday, I have the honor to introduce to you Charles Byrd. There is the official bio and his incredible background and success in Silicon Valley, but that’s not as important. What you really need to know about Charles is his proven record of helping others create super profitable joint venture partnerships.

Not only is he one of the most connected people in the online space, he knows how to help you set up lucrative promotional deals that has his clients and students booking hundreds of thousands of dollars of business. Yep, he knows how to help you get qualified leads without you needing to do paid advertising or the need for complicated funnels. I am sure that’s music to your ears. If you want to grow your business, Charles is definitely one to pay attention to.

Charles’s work on relationships, joint ventures, and frictionless systems has been featured in:

  • Forbes
  • ABC News
  • SiriusXM
  • Funnel Magazine
  • AND THE Science of Success

His new book called “Internet Marketing Secrets” is an Amazon best seller.

Categories
Podcast

Finding Better Ways To Help People Achieve Their Dreams With Bryan Sweet

BYW 31 | Finding Better Ways

 

Are you often pleased but never satisfied? Are you constantly looking to improve on things so that they can end up better? Do you want people to succeed in their lifelong dreams, so you help them achieve them? If you said yes to all those things, then just like the guest today, Bryan Sweet, whose WHY is the WHY of better way. Bryan achieves his WHY by helping his clients find better ways to help them achieve their financial goals and dreams.

 

Bryan is a Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisor, wealth advisor at Sweet Financial Partners, and the creator of the Dream Architect, where he helps people live their ideal futures. Join Dr. Gary Sanchez as he talks with Bryan about Dream Architect and how to fulfill your dreams. Discover all the financial and mindset planning involved to make your goals a reality. Start envisioning your future today!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Finding Better Ways To Help People Achieve Their Dreams With Bryan Sweet

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the Why of a Better Way. If this is your why, then you are the ultimate innovator. You are constantly seeking better ways to do everything. You find yourself wanting to improve virtually anything by finding a way to make it better. You also desire to share your improvement with the world. You constantly ask yourself questions like, “What if we tried this differently? What if we did this another way? How can we make this better?”

 You contribute to the world with better processes and systems while operating under the motto, “I’m often pleased but never satisfied.” You are excellent at associating, which means that you are adept at taking ideas or systems from one industry or discipline and applying them to another, always with the ultimate goal of improving something.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Bryan Sweet. As a Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for multiple years running, he has been on the mission to help people live their retirement dreams since the start of his career in financial services back in 1979. It is because of this that he created his proprietary, the Dream Architect, which not only helps his clients maximize their distribution, planning, and retirement but also helps them strive for and accomplish their biggest dreams.

With Bryan’s vast industry experience, he has also partnered with multiple entities, including Ultimate Advisor Coaching and the Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium, which support high-performing financial advisors across the United States in the growth and scaling of their businesses. He and his partners do this through teachings on team management, marketing and automation, best practices, and all that it takes to build a high-class and scalable advisory practice. The bottom line is that Bryan thrives on helping others experience the growth and freedom that he has created and building world-class financial services, all while living the life of his dreams. Bryan, welcome to the show.

It’s great to be here. Thank you.

This is going to be a lot of fun. I’ve been looking forward to this. Let’s go back to your life. Take us back to what were you like in high school.

My nickname used to be Hyper. That might give you a little background on how I might’ve been in school. I was always pretty active in everything I did. I couldn’t sit still very long. I think about myself and the things that I do. It applies now. I’m not willing to just keep the status quo. There are probably early people predicting what direction I might go.

Give us an example. What were you hyper about in high school? What are some of the things that you did while you were in high school to give us a sense of this?

Children have these big aspirations, whether it's to be an astronaut or a fireman, but then life happens. And these people just end up letting life happen to them instead of making it happen. Click To Tweet

I was like Eveready Bunny. I was always going somewhere or doing something. I never slept a lot, and I still don’t. By how I was acting and what I did all the time, that’s the nickname that my friends gave me.

Were you into sports or drama? What were the things that you liked to do in high school?

I wasn’t a great athlete, but I was a wrestler, and I was in football. One of the things I loved to do was weightlifting. I was the captain of the weightlifting team. For whatever reason, I happened to maybe excel at that. I liked that probably more than anything else. I was also pretty good in school. I had fun with my other buddies, but I always made sure I got my homework done. I got through school well.

Where did you grow up?

Where I went to high school, I still live now. It’s a little town in Minnesota called Fairmont, Minnesota. The population is a whopping 10,000. I always liked to tell people that if there are two people at the stop-and-go lights, that’s a traffic jam, but it’s been a great little community for myself and all my business people. We’re very fortunate with technology that we can work with clients in 35 different states and 4 different countries.

For those of us that didn’t have that opportunity and never will, what was it like to grow up in a town of 10,000 people? How many high schools? Have you felt like you knew everybody?

We had a close class. We had 1 high school and 1 elementary school. Everybody knew everybody. There was like a typical high school, the East side, West side, North and South where you can have little cliques. Fortunately, I’ve always seemed to be somebody that got along with everybody. That turned out to be helpful in relationship building later on. As I thought back to where it started, I thought that there was nobody better than anybody else. Everybody had some value to add. It’s good to get to know and be friends with as many people as you possibly can.

We have a great little town. There are five lakes right in the town. There are lots of activities. In the summer, we went swimming and did outside activities. Being from a small town, it’s helpful from a business standpoint because if you do good things, word travels fast and consequently, if you don’t do things well, the word travels fast. It was a great experience. I’m still friends and business acquaintances with a lot of my high school friends.

BYW 31 | Finding Better Ways
Finding Better Ways: If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, consider selling life insurance. It’ll be a great experience where you’ll learn all sorts of skills.

 

Where did you go to college?

I must get lost easily because I don’t travel very far. I went to a division of the University of Minnesota in a town called Mankato. Back then, they used to call it Mankato State. It was 50 miles away from Fairmont, but it was a great big state school and gave me some flexibility to come back to work in the summers without traveling very far. I took up Business and a Minor in Accounting when I was in college. One of the great things looking back at what get started is that my college advisor was in charge of the marketing department. He was voted the number one teacher for like three years in a row. He’s the one that got me in my career while I was still in college.

How did you do that?

I was taking all the Business classes and Finance. I loved Accounting and numbers. I was going to minor in Accounting. I couldn’t figure even with his help what I wanted to be when I graduated. Fortunately, looking at it now, my mom would have told you this was the worst decision ever when it happened, but he was also the division manager for a life insurance company.

He said, “As long as you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, why don’t you consider selling life insurance? If nothing else, it’ll be great teaching and experience. You’ll learn lots of skills. Not knowing any better, I said, “Let’s give it a shot.” It was the first time I told my mom. Dick came down to tell my mom. I thought she was going to have a heart attack and pass out. Fortunately, it all turned out well.

What did she not like about it?

If you think of the standard stigma of a life insurance person, that’s the one guy where you see them at a party. There’s no one talking to him because they’re afraid you’re going to get sold something. That was her stigma, originally, but looking back, he was so instrumental in teaching me skills that I needed so much and still use now, even to the extent I learned how to tie my first tie with him. He gave me lots of introductions and spent a lot of time with me. Ultimately, it turned out his whole family are clients of mine now. It was like the reverse of the whole thing. He helped me and now I’m helping them.

You’re at college. Your advisor gets you moving in the direction of life insurance, you graduate, then what happens?

In life insurance, you don't work for insurance companies; you work for your clients. Click To Tweet

I stayed in the insurance business and there was an opportunity through some relationships that he had started where I opened an office in Mankato. I started while I was still in my senior year of college. Whoever would talk to you, your college buddies, family, and friends, I continued that for 1 year or 2 up there then I said, “Where do I want to spend my time? This is going pretty well.” I was doing pretty good. Ultimately, I said, “I know a lot more people in Fairmont. Maybe I should move back to my hometown because the opportunities are probably greater there just because of the people that I’ve known over the years.” I made the gradual transition back to Fairmont.

Did you add the financial piece to it or how did that happen?

I was working for an insurance company. As I got more technical knowledge and understanding, started talking to clients, and learned a lot more about the industry, I quickly became familiar with that one company that didn’t have the best products and vehicles for every situation that I came across. I’m going, “Whom do I work for? Do I work for the insurance company or my clients?” I quickly and rightfully answer that question correctly. I said, “I work for my clients.”

Shortly thereafter, I said, “I have to become independent and be able to represent any company that’s in the best interest of my clients.” It was a natural progression. Clients were asking certain things. Way back when I started, the old investment industry was mutual funds. They used to charge 8.5% upfront commissions. It was a crazy thought back then.

People were asking questions, so I slowly got into that and then ultimately did a lot less insurance simply because I didn’t have a lot of control over the underwriting and who can get accepted, but I had all the control over all of the financial planning sides. We naturally gravitated to the areas where we could be the most helpful and we had the most control.

You’ve found a better way to help people with their finances and their planning. How many years ago that you make the switch from focusing on insurance to focusing more on financial planning?

I started in 1979. Maybe eight years into my career, I opened up my own individualized office. At the time, it was called Sweet Financial Services and later became Sweet Financial Partners. That would have been in 1987.

Tell us about the Dream Architect.

BYW 31 | Finding Better Ways
Finding Better Ways: If you want to live your ideal future, you have to first envision it. Then you have to create a blueprint. You got to build the process. And you got to maintain and review it.

 

I’m in a mastermind group called Strategic Coach. I have been in that for 23 years. If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have heard of Dan Sullivan. He helps you create a better way of thinking as a business owner. Part of that class was, “How do you differentiate yourself? How do you show up differently with your clients?”

Many years ago, we were doing an exercise of trying to take what you did and create a process, name, steps, and whatnot. I’ve always been fascinated with dreams, motivational things, and talking to clients. One of the things I noticed is that when you’re a young kid, everybody wants to be an astronaut and a fireman. Everybody’s got these big aspirations, and it then seems like life happens.

A lot of times, people, for whatever reason, just let life happen to them instead of making it happen. I thought, “If we can make, as part of our process, something to help their dreams come true wouldn’t that be extra helpful and also be a differentiator?” We created the platform, which we’ve now trademarked and called Dream Architect. It’s all about all the financial planning concepts but also creating your vision for what you’d love your future to be and helping people think a lot more out of the box.

Give us an example. How do you define a dream? That sounds interesting. How do you help someone to find what we are talking about? Where do they want to be at the end of their life? Are you talking about where they want to be when they retire? What are we talking about?

It would be all of those things. It’s essentially a four-step process. The most important part of it is step one, which is called visioning, where you sit down and we have a conversation about, “If anything in life were possible, what would you like to see happens? What are the problems and issues that you’re dealing with now? What are your dangers? What are your opportunities?” Try to get as much information about pressures and concerns that they have, but also spend a lot of time on the what if or the bucket list of, “If anything were possible, what would you like to do?”

The first time we started asking those big picture, dreaming, and if anything were possible questions, people would glaze over because no one had ever asked them, but they’d never thought about it. They are going to go to work and raise a family. Whatever happened is what happened. I am a believer in it because I’ve had these things happen to me what you think about and what you put in your mind, things are going to pop up and help you get there.

I’m trying to get people to think about where they would like to be. I want to be a constant reminder and a source to help them get there because if they’re thinking about it and at our reviews, I’m thinking about it when I can bring the resources to them, or they’ll start seeing things that help bring those things to fruition. It’s learning as much as possible. It’s an ongoing thing because, for a lot of people, it’s a little woo-woo, to begin with, “What are you even talking about?”

Once we have a good idea of what would make their life utterly fantastic, then step two is we need to put a blueprint together on how we’re going to get there. These are all the different methodologies and steps. It could be anything from tax planning to introductions to different individuals that we collaborate with that might provide other services. Create the blueprint.

Experiences of any type are the things that people remember. Click To Tweet

Once we go through the blueprint with them and they’ve said, “That’s good. I’d love that. Let’s tweak this one a little bit.” It’s like building a house. You might change the design a little bit once you see the blueprint. We’ll finalize the blueprint and then we’ll go through the build process, which is making what they said they wanted on the blueprint come to life.

After we’ve made it come to life, then it’s constant ongoing maintenance. Otherwise, review it to make sure, “Are these the things that you still want to do? Are these still the timeframes? If anything has happened, what do we need to do to tweak it so you’re always on schedule? If something changed, what do I need to do to make sure I take that left turn instead of going straight so that I’m always on track for whatever’s important to me?”

Those are the four steps that we use, but it’s customized to them. We have a big emphasis on lots of questions about getting them to think about their ideal future, not only what’s the ideal future tomorrow, in retirement, or in any of those timeframes. Those are seemed to be things that people don’t normally get asked.

The four steps were you got to do the visioning. Once you envision it, you got to create the blueprint. The third step is you got to build the process. The fourth step is you got to maintain it and review it. I’m sure people are thinking this. What is the most fascinating vision you’ve heard that you’ve helped create?

We tried to collect these. When you walk into the office the first time, there’s a wall before you get to the office. It says, “It’s your dream, and we’ll help you get there.” It’s pictures of clients’ actual dream accomplishments that we’ve helped create over the years. It’s a constant reminder. We have a little story tour that goes with that when we get first introduced to people. That’s an integral part of introducing the Dream Architect process.

As far as the most outstanding one, the one that rings a bell is, I had some clients that were retiring and they’ve been disciples of what we do and been long-term clients. We took them through this process. We created a dream board for them. One of the things that they did is every time they went somewhere or did something on the dream board, they took the dream board with them when they traveled. They’d take a picture and they’d send it to us from wherever they were doing it.

That particular couple wanted to do a Route 66 trip with their grandkids. She wanted to write a book. There was a foundation that they wanted to create and all of which they got accomplished. The reason these people ring a bell is what happened is her health took a bad turn and she ended up with a brain disorder and things weren’t very good.

The rewarding thing for us and also for them is because they went through the process, they got everything done on their dream list prior to that happening. They could look back favorably. Now she’s fortunately recovered in doing much better, but not in the condition where they can go out and do lots of other things that might’ve been on the list that didn’t get accomplished. That’s probably the one that jumps out at me the most just because what happened after that forced them to, hopefully, continue to do well, but they wouldn’t have got anything else probably done on the list.

BYW 31 | Finding Better Ways
Finding Better Ways: Your brain doesn’t know the difference between any input you give. But the brain’s job is to go out and find resources for whatever you’re thinking about.

 

What are some typical dreams that you hear? Are there patterns to dreams? Are there similarities between what people say? I’m trying to think of myself from myself, and I’m sure readers are thinking in their own minds, “What would my dreams be? What is it that I haven’t done that I want to do?”

We are trying to create an even better list of questions to get people to even think deeper. It’s a lot of family-oriented things on how to help family members accomplish something. Vacations of some exotic form tend to pop up a great deal. What I found is that experiences of any type are the things that people remember. I remember one client. We had a review. I was chatting with her. I could tell she was usually this upbeat and happy-go-lucky person. She was a little down.

I stopped the conversation and said, “Is something going on? I can tell you’re not your normal self.” She says, “I got off the phone with my son.” She’s got three children. They were going to do this big family trip with all the grandkids. She said, “I had to tell him no because I didn’t feel comfortable affording that.” I went, “What do you mean? You never even brought this up.” I stopped the conversation and we use detailed financial planning software that plugs in all the numbers so we can quickly decide whether you can have this expense or that expense. I had all her updated information and I applied the cost of what this trip would be. I said, “You can do this.”

All of a sudden, her whole demeanor changed. While we were on the phone, we got her hooked up with the travel people, the airlines. This happened a few years ago. Her name’s Kathy. The first thing she says every time I talk to her is, “Thanks again for making sure I did that family trip because it’s an experience that I’ll never forget and never be able to repeat again because the kids get older and not everybody can get together.” It’s things like that. It’s gratifying to me, but also, I need to get better at drawing those things out of them. I’m finding that people can think bigger and better, but I’ve got to be somewhat of a better motivator to maybe make that happen.

Those are hard conversations, but they’re just things that we don’t ever think about. We’re doers and not thinkers so often. Have you seen that dreams have changed over the years? Have the things that people dreamt about changed or has it been pretty standard?

I saw four additional issues that continuously popped up after we’ve been doing the Dream Architect for a long time. They weren’t being solved in the regular Dream Architect process. We helped those four items with all the wealth and creating things for their kids, vacations, and whatnot, but several things popped up. The first one that I continually noticed was a dealt with purpose.

Where this applied was somebody that maybe was a business owner or a high-level executive and they’re retiring. Their whole persona is of this business owner, all the people they helped, and their clientele. All of a sudden, they are going from that to something different. In a lot of cases, they really didn’t know what they were going to do or hadn’t thought about it. That transition, in a lot of cases, didn’t go well. They didn’t know their why, which is applicable to this show. We wanted to be helpful with that.

The other thing that we noticed in the example I gave earlier, people ran into health and longevity issues. They had all this money and then something health-wise happened and/or their lifespan is going to be shortened. I said, “Which can we be doing or who can we be collaborating with to help them understand things that they can do to help with that?”

Half of the joy of being charitable is seeing the good for yourself. Click To Tweet

The third one would be legacy, which is helping maybe pass values down to the next generation or their grandkids or their kids. Part of that would also be that we ran into a lot of clients that wanted to be charitably inclined, but they were just nervous about doing it while they were living for fear they might run out of money. The problem with that is that if you do it after you die, you don’t get to see all the great benefits that you were able to deliver. Half of the joy of being charitable is to see the good in yourself. It’s to try and create better methodologies to get people to understand that maybe you can have your cake and eat it, too. What are some of the different methodologies?

The last one was experiencing. A lot of business people, or just people in general, work, go home, eat supper, go to bed, work, and never got to maybe do as many vacations or experiences as they would’ve liked. Even if they had the ability and understood, maybe they were such unique ones that they didn’t know how to go about, who do you find and who can help me with that?

They consequently never got done. Because of that, we’ve taken the Dream Architect process and we’re creating a new platform called The Dream Architect Life that has all five of those pillars, wealth, purpose, health, longevity, legacy, and experiences all together so that we can help control the concerns and other things that we didn’t see getting done. I’m not the one delivering the experiences and things, but we are collaborating with people like yourself and others that are experts in those areas and making people aware of, “If I’ve got this issue,” these are people that can help you overcome that to make that negative, turn it into a positive.

We’re going to be creating a three-day immersive where you can come to the event. We’ll talk about all five areas. We’ll do a deep dive into one particular topic. The first one we’re going to be doing is going to be health and longevity oriented. From my standpoint of, “How do I help propel and make more of these dreams come true?” it seems like that direction is going to be helpful and maybe make it more available to more people also.

What is it that you believe about dreams?

I’m very much a believer that dreams do come true, but you do have to have them in front of mind. What you think about is what happens. I’ve just personally experienced it so many times. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between any input that you give it, but its job is to go out and find resources for whatever you’re thinking about. If you’re thinking about positive things, dreams, and a better life, those things pop up because your brain is looking for that information.

When you’re looking for it and it shows up, if you’re receptive to it and then take the action steps, that’s where we’re helpful. If you’re not seeing it, we may have already known what that step is. If I know it, maybe we’ve already experienced it or had a client experience it. I can say, “This is the next step that you need to take to make that thought from a thought to a reality.”

We had talked about this one time before when I was at a gentleman’s house who is a billionaire in Palm Desert and he had this room. It was 360 degrees of glass. It was like you were standing in a glass room on top of this hill, overlooking Palm Desert. He had miniatures of the number one dream home in the world, the number one dream yacht, the best of the best that you could possibly have. I asked him, “Do you ever use this room?” He said, “ I only go in that room when I want to dream. Dreams are the most important thing that you have.”

BYW 31 | Finding Better Ways
Finding Better Ways: When something bad happens, don’t look at it as a negative; look at it as a learning experience. Those bad experiences just give clues on how to do it better next time.

 

That’s taking that concept to another level in that example.

He started as a newspaper salesman and built his way all the way up to owning a quarterly in Idaho and lots of different things. It all happened because of his ability to dream. Most of us throw dreams on the back burner. We don’t even consider how valuable a dream is.

The other point is if you think about it, a lot of times you may have a dream, but then you let somebody poo-poo it like, “What do you mean? Do you want to do that? That’s ridiculous.” It’s not ridiculous. You just don’t want to be hanging out with that person anymore because they’re going to be the Debbie Downer that makes it not happen. You and I know lots of successful people and the same story comes out, “Whatever you think can happen.” You can create your own possibilities. You can’t be around people that don’t have that same mentality.

You got to be conscious when you want something in life or you have a dream. If somebody is telling you, you can’t, not that you can permanently get rid of them because it might be a relative or something, but don’t spend a lot of time with them when you are trying to accomplish something bigger. That’s such a huge thing. There are so many naysayers in the world that can squelch that, but there are also a lot of people that want you to win. Those are the ones that are going to be the most helpful.

Do dreams have a timeframe on them or a deadline? How do you separate dreams from a wish?

To a certain extent, you can create your own timeframes with dreams, but obviously, you got to be realistic about it, “I want to be a multimillionaire tomorrow.” That’s not going to happen, but if you understand the actions you need to take and you’re willing to accept the input that will continually come when you have that as your framework, it will happen.

What also happens with people is they give up a little too soon, maybe the right time perspective. That filters away because they gave up and then they’re not it’s not front of mind anymore. I see that a fair amount. One of our roles is to be 1) The reminder. This is important to you. 2) The encourager and 3) Be the constant supplier of background information that helps them get to where they want to go.

What I have found is that the more I talk about a dream, the easier it becomes to talk about, the more likely it is that it is on its way to happening, and the more that other people know about it and then want to be part of it. I remember the first time I thought about impacting 1 billion people, helping 1 billion people discover their why, how, and what so they can make decisions and live a life of passion.

When you want something in life or have a dream, don't be around people who are telling you, you can't. Click To Tweet

When I first said that, I see people looking at me like, “What?” The more I’ve talked about it, the more obvious it has become that it’s going to happen. The more people that have said, “I want to be part of that,” and introduced me to the right people to make it happen. If I stopped saying it and only kept it internal, it wouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t have the help to make it happen.

I will compliment you for what you do. The why of yourself and knowing it is hugely important. It ties in with purpose because if you don’t get that right, you’re never going to go in the right direction and never will be as happy as you could be. Kudos for all your efforts there. To take off on what you said, in building this Dream Architect life, you nailed everything I’m experiencing in building this new platform. It was a concept.

You started talking to people and they went, “That sounds pretty interesting. Have you thought about this? Let me introduce you here.” That went from one thing and pretty soon, Forbes, Barron’s, Private Wealth, and Bloomberg were right and about the concept. Pretty soon, you’re getting introduced to other people and the people want to help you do it. All of a sudden, it accelerates the growth because you had a good idea. They want to help to promote it because it’s going to do good in the world and it’s been crazy. I’ve never thought about that, but that’s 100% of what’s happening.

The key is to figure out your dream and then talk about it.

That’s a revelation for me. Thank you. The more you can talk about it, the more likely it’s to happen and others will help you.

If there are people reading and say, “I love what he’s doing. I want to connect with him. I want to figure out my dream. I want to plan my steps. I want to start talking about it. I want to be excited about something. I want to go in the right direction.” What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

I’ll give you several ways. If you just want to know a little bit more about Sweet Financial Partners, our website is www.SweetFinancial.com. If you have an individual question about the dream architect or what we’re creating in the dream architect life, you can email me personally Bryan@SweetFinancial. Our DreamArchitectLife.com platform is coming along. That’ll be rolled out in the first quarter of 2023. We haven’t got the final website, but it’ll be done shortly. That’ll be a little more to learn about the dream architect life, which is a separate platform.

Last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or that’s ever been given to you?

It is two points. First of all, don’t give up or people give up too quickly, but I would also say when something bad happens, don’t look at it as a negative. When things happen to me, I look at it as either I won or I had a learning experience. When something bad happens, it’s just giving you clues on how to do it better next time. It’s easy to get down on ourselves. If you had those two mantras where either you won or you learned something, then, whatever happens, it’s always good. That keeps you encouraged. I’ve personally found that if that’s my mindset, then I just keep my excitement for whatever I’m doing until it becomes a reality.

What if that’s a better way to think? That’s how I see it, too. I look at it as something better is going to come out of this, but I’m wondering if somebody was different, why would see it the same way? Thank you so much for being here. It has been a great conversation. I love what you’re doing. I love the direction you’re taking thickness because you’re adding the dream aspect to just the money-saving aspect of financial planning. We can all save and make money, but if we don’t have a reason for it, then that excites us, then why do it?

It’s been an absolute pleasure to be here. Keep up the great mission that you’re on and appreciate your time. I appreciate your time.

It’s time for our new segment, which is Guess The Why. This is where we bring a celebrity name or somebody that you’re familiar with. We try to guess what we think their why is. In this case, I want to use Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s been in so many movies that you guys have all seen. He’s got a new one coming out soon. The Rock was a football player, then got into wrestling and movies. Now he does everything. What do you think is why is?

I think The Rock’s why is Make Sense. It’s to make sense of the complex and challenging. He’s a great problem solver. He figures things out. He’s amazingly capable and high-capacity. I’m going to guess that his why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. Let me know what you guys think. Thank you so much for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, then you can do it at WhyInstitute.com, use the code PODCAST50 and you can discover your why at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe below, leave us a review, and rating on whatever platform you’re using to read our show. Have a great weekend. I will see you in the next episode. Thank you.

 

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About Bryan Sweet

BYW 31 | Finding Better WaysAs a Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisor for multiple years running, Bryan has been on the mission to help people live their retirement dreams since the start of his career in financial services back in 1979. It is because of this that he created his proprietary The Dream Architect™, which not only helps his clients maximize their distribution planning in retirement, but also helps them strive for and accomplish their biggest dreams.

With Bryan’s vast industry experience, he is also partnered in multiple entities including Ultimate Advisor Coaching and the Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium, which both support high-performing financial advisors across the United States in the growth and scaling of their businesses. He and his partners do this through teachings on team engagement, marketing, automation, best practices, and all that it takes to build a high-class and scalable advisory practice. The bottom line is that Bryan thrives on helping others experience the growth and freedom that he has created in building a world-class financial services practice, all while living the life of his dreams.

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Podcast

Marva Sadler: Growing Up Too Fast And Making Sense

BYW 30 | Making Sense

 

Are you someone who is driven to solve problems and resolve challenging or complex situations and you often find yourself helping people get unstuck and move progress, your WHY is of making sense. And one with such a purpose is Marva Sadler, COO of Coaching.com. She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 20 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching. In this episode, she talks about how childhood experience can shape one’s WHYs and shares the perspective of a middle child who developed a unique ability to find solutions quickly and the gift for articulating and summarizing them clearly in understandable language. She also gives us an overview on how their platform allow enterprises to find great coaches and help coaches manage their coaching projects. If you are passionate about making sense out of a situation and developing simple solutions, this is an episode you don’t want to miss!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Marva Sadler: Growing Up Too Fast And Making Sense

In this episode, we are going to be talking about the Why of Make Sense, to make sense out of things, especially if they are complex and complicated. If this is your why, then you were driven to solve problems and resolve challenging and complex situations. You have an uncanny ability to take in lots of data and information. You tend to observe situations and circumstances around you and sort through them to quickly create solutions that are sensible and easy to implement.

You are often viewed as an expert because of your unique ability to find solutions quickly. You also have a gift for articulating solutions and summarizing them clearly in an understandable language. You believe that many people are stuck and that if they could just make sense out of their situation, they could develop simple solutions and move forward. In essence, you help people get unstuck and move forward. I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Marva Sadler. She is the COO of Coaching.com. She joined the organization in September of 2021 when the company acquired WBECS, where she was CEO.

She is an experienced business executive and consultant with many years of leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to midsize organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development, and executive coaching. Prior to joining WBECS, Marva held executive management positions like CVP, CFO, and CEO in large organizations, including Franklin Covey and AchieveGlobal.

Marva also has substantial experience across a variety of industries, leading small private organizations through startup and turnaround efforts, including positions as CEO of Veracity Solutions, a software development consulting firm, President of Hoggan Health Industries, a commercial fitness equipment manufacturer, and Chief Operating Officer of eLeaderTech, a startup software firm.

She began her career in strategy consulting with international strategy firm Marakon Associates and Bain & Company. She has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, primarily single moms, and as a board member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. Marva, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Gary. You make me sound much better than I deserve.

That was a mouthful. That tells us that you have done an awful lot in your career so far.

It’s, in part, tied to my why, interestingly.

It’s funny when I was going through your bio there. The positions that you’ve held are all perfect for somebody who has the why of makes sense. That’s why people bring you in. Make sense of this thing and then move forward.

If anybody else picked up on it, I tend to have a little bit of a career ADD. You will notice that there are a lot of different positions in a lot of different industries doing different things because I’m driven by problem-solving. My passion is about, “Let me go find a new problem that I haven’t solved yet.” I’m always drawn to complex problems. If I haven’t solved it yet, it probably means it’s because in an industry I haven’t been in, if I haven’t seen it yet, it’s because it’s a whole new thing.

For those of you that are familiar with the Why OS, the why, how, and what, Marva’s why is to make sense of the complex and challenging. How she does that is by making things simple and easy to understand. Ultimately, what she brings is a way to contribute, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. How does that feel to you, Marva?

You're killing yourself by working long hours because you're stressing your body so much that it's in complete rejection of everything. Click To Tweet

It feels dead on. I had a friend once when I was at AchieveGlobal. There was an executive meeting I couldn’t attend. She said, “It’s okay, Marva. We will just get a little Marva bubble head doll and set her up on the table. Every five minutes or so, we will pop the head of the bubble doll and say, ‘We need to simplify.'”

Let’s go back to your life now. Take us back to when you were in high school. Where did you grow up? Tell us what you were like in high school. Were people always coming to you as someone to help them with their issues?

No. It’s more of I was going to people to help them with their issues. I will give you a little bit of background that is relevant. I grew up in Utah. That’s already going to create images for people. It’s a pretty conservative state. It has a very hierarchical, prevailing religion, which says, or at least said when I was in high school, “Women should be homemakers and mothers,” and that’s our ultimate responsibility in life.

I had a woman in my neighborhood, the mother of one of my friends, who told me when I was about eighteen that I could go on an LDS mission if I wanted to when I turned 21 but I needed to understand that it would be because I’d already failed at my real mission in life, which was to get married and have children. That was the environment I grew up in. I was, by nature, a bit of a rebel. I thought, “I didn’t get this brain so I could just raise kids and be a baby factory.” I realized that’s a pretty strong statement.

I also came from a family of eight kids. I was number six. I had this very strong need to be seen by my parents because when you are a number 6 out of 8, you are in the middle of the crowd. You are not old enough to have been interesting in the beginning and not young enough to get the attention of being the youngest. My response to that was if there were something that I thought I could excel in, I would go after it because I was looking for something that I could do and excel at, that my parents would go, “Wow.”

Unfortunately, my mother was of Danish origin. Scandinavians basically never say, “Wow.” They always say, “Someone else could have done that.” I would come to her and say I just did and fill in the blank, “I became a National Merit finalist.” Her answer would be, “Your sister already did that.” “I got this big scholarship.” “Your brother already did that.” I kept racking up new things that I would try like debate championships and all kinds of things, trying to find something that one of my siblings hadn’t already done. I admit freely that this obsessive need to excel was based on the fact that I was number 6 out of 8. A lot of my energy went into that.

When you were even younger, say 5, 6 or 7, were you in a position where you had to grow up fast and be more of an adult at a young age?

Absolutely. There was a six-year gap between my next older sister and me, and a six-year gap between my next younger sister and me. My dad got very sick when I was about three. My mom had to go to work to support the family. She would drop me off at the babysitter every day. My siblings did not pick me up after school. They were busy with all their own things. I was at the babysitter until my mother could finally come and get me. It caused a real strong drive for independence on my part. I won’t go into all the details. There were a number of situations where, even at a very young age, I had to rescue myself.

One of the simpler examples was I didn’t like the babysitter because her little boy beat up on me up every day. I was about three. One day, I begged my mother to let me walk to the babysitter because I wanted some time and attention. She was in a hurry, so she tossed me in the car and got in, and I opened the door, and she drove off. I fell off, and she ran over me. She broke my arm. The tire ran over the upper part of my arm and broke my arm. I was lucky it didn’t hit my head. That would have been the end. I ended up with this cast on my arm.

When I went back to the babysitter a few days later, this little boy started beating up on me again. I had complained to the babysitter, and that hadn’t worked. I complained to my mother, and she told me to deal with it. When that task got hard enough, he beat up on me, and I whacked him across the head with that cast. I did that until he left me alone. That was the beginning of me recognizing, “I’m going to have to get myself out of whatever the situations are.” That would be my version of I grew up fast and came to rely on myself very early.

That is interesting because that’s very common. It’s the same story with everybody that has the why of makes sense. I was wondering about it because when you told me where and how you grew up, typically, I will see that scenario play out as one of the parents was a mess and the child had to grow up fast to be the protector of the rest of the family. I was curious how that was going to play out with you. You surprised me because I thought maybe it wasn’t going to play out that way but you did have to do the same thing. You were the one that you had to protect.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: Our job is to be the marketplace that brings the two together. We give you access to a lot of great assessments, products, and education so that you can continue to develop your skills.

 

Let me tell you the rest of the story. I got these 5 older siblings and 2 younger siblings. My mother was 45 when my youngest sister was born. She was done before I was born. She was just done. My dad was 51 when my youngest sister was born. They got to a point where he was off doing consulting work for Armco Steel. He would take my mother with him. As soon as I got to the point where I could drive, I became the surrogate parent for my two little sisters. They would leave us for weeks at a time.

They would leave me with grocery money, tell me to behave myself, and make sure the girls got up, got to school, came home, and were fed. I would take care of them for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. My parents would come back, wave, say hello, and disappear again. That went on through college. My one younger sister, she and my mom didn’t get along. I would go home every weekend when I was in college just to take the pressure off my little sister. When I moved away after graduate school, I invited her to come to live with me for a while so that we could break that cycle and she could gain some independence and learn to do some things on her own.

I remember my older siblings. When my little sister went on an LDS mission, we all congregated to hear her say her farewell. One of my sisters came up to me and said, “I thought you were a selfish witch to ask her to be your nanny because I thought you were doing it entirely for yourself so that you would have cheap childcare. I now realize that wasn’t your motivation at all. You were trying to get her out of a bad situation so that she could change the way she felt about herself. Look at what you’ve done. She’s now ready to fly.” I find it sad that my family would have that attitude about me, that I would be that selfish. My little sister doesn’t feel that way about me. I guess it’s okay.

I can imagine that even way back when you were good at what you did, were very capable, and had a high capacity because that’s right in line with the why of make sense. Other people can look at that and think, “She thinks she knows it all. She thinks she’s all this.” You were forced into that situation.

I leaned into it. There must have been something in my nature, to begin with, that caused me to find that as my solution and problem solving instead of withdrawing or being a victim. I chose that way to deal with it.

Where did you go to college? You went to BYU, right?

I went to BYU for both my undergraduate and graduate degree.

You got your undergrad at BYU. What was your graduate degree?

I got my undergraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to be the next Woodward or Bernstein. I loved journalism and broadcasting. I thought I was going to be a famous TV news anchor. I then fell in love with radio and realized that radio had the benefit of anonymity but also a lot more creativity. I wrote documentaries for a radio station for about a year and a half in New York City. I went back to graduate school thinking I would become a business journalist because business journalism was a big deal.

I figured that’s how I could make money. I fell in love with the business. I thought, “Where have you been in my life?” The world makes sense to me. It seemed like a whole series of problem-solving that I could use. Instead of just reporting about businesses and the problems they were having, I could get involved and solve the problems that they were having. I found it that much more interesting.

Did you start a business or did you become a business consultant?

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I became a Strategy Consultant with Bain & Company. I got recruited by the famous Mitt Romney himself right out of grad school.

What was that like for you?

It was a mixture of heaven and hell. From an intellectual perspective, it was fabulous. I interacted every day with the smartest people on the planet who were driven the way I was to solve problems, find simplicity, understand patterns, and find solutions. From that perspective, it was amazing. From the human perspective, it was tough.

I was the first female consultant who had children because, by the time I got out of graduate school, I had one child. I had him right after I finished graduate school. I then stayed and taught for a year while my husband finished his undergraduate. By the time I was done with that, I had two kids. I started as a strategy consultant with two children, which was unheard of for a female. From a personal perspective, it was hard.

To give you an idea, this was back in the early ’80s. I had a manager who finally came to me one day and said, “Marva, you are better than getting experience.” He said, “I tried to put you on a project that I thought you would be good at. The managing director wouldn’t let me do it because he said you are not allowed to travel.” I said, “What?” He said, “He’s made this decision because you have kids, you shouldn’t ever travel. You’re never going to get on a project that takes you away from home.” Being me, I walked down to the managing director’s office, knocked on his door, and said, “Can I have a minute of your time?” He was a little surprised to see me. He then invited me in.

I stood there in his office and said, “I understand you’ve made a decision about the direction of my career and that you’ve decided that because I’m a mother, I can’t travel.” He said, “I was doing you a favor.” I said, “No, you weren’t. You are killing my career. It’s none of your business. I have the right to make that decision for myself. It is not your decision to make.” I literally used those words.

He stood there and said, “I was trying to do you a favor.” I said, “That is not a favor. You have put me on the mommy track. It’s not your decision to make. I would appreciate it if you would withdraw that restriction.” In retaliation, he put me on a project that he thought was going to take me to France. I went but it was a turning point in my career because I was no longer on that mommy track. I was headed towards failure. I wasn’t willing to accept that.

You weren’t getting valued for who you were but held back because you had kids.

It was my decision to make. It was my problem to solve. It was not something that I needed somebody else to solve for me.

You were there for how long?

I was there for almost five years.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: A better way to scale coaching is to take the administrivia out of the coaching so that coaches could spend more of their time coaching and less of their time in all the administration and management functions of coaching.

 

Where did you go? Keep us going on your path.

I then took a leave of absence because I was pregnant with my third child and had some complications. I couldn’t work for a while. At that time, my husband was working for NYNEX, which was one of the big Baby Bells that then became Verizon. He was working there with an international development group. He got transferred to White Plains, New York. We moved to New York.

I took a long bit of a sabbatical and went back to work for a strategy firm called Marakon Associates, which were the inventors of value-based management, which was the marriage of strategy with financial parameters. The idea was that you could create long-term strategies based on projected cashflows. You could understand what the drivers were of a business by understanding what created cashflows because the value is all created in cashflow, not in revenue or profits.

It was a very new concept at that time.

It was a pretty new concept. The reason they were interested in me is that they wanted to understand how Bain did strategy work. They only did financial strategy work at the time. I had been a Manager at Bain on my way towards partner when I left. I joined Marakon as a Manager and helped them understand how you could apply these financial rules to developing strategies. It was a lot of fun. I got a reputation of being the person who would take brand new projects nobody had ever heard of and figure out how to turn them into a solution that we could then replicate and that we could use the new concept that had been developed to sell to another client.

That didn’t surprise me at all. You were there for how long?

I was there for three and a half years.

After that, where did you go?

I then had a personal epiphany. I was living in New York in the Hudson River Valley. I developed some symptoms that looked very much like multiple sclerosis. I was losing feeling in my hands and feet. I was losing sight in one eye. I had some pretty serious health problems. I went to a neurologist who told me I had MS. He said, “It’s chronic, progressive, and debilitating. You will be in a wheelchair and die. I suggest you try to figure out how you are going to take care of your kids.”

I wouldn’t accept that. I thought, “At least maybe I can slow it down if I take care of some of the other issues I have.” I went to see a good allergist who said, “The good news is you don’t have multiple sclerosis. The bad news is you are killing yourself because you’ve stressed your body so much, working twenty-hour days for so long that your body is in complete rejection of everything. You are going to have to change your eating, lifestyle, where you live, and everything else but I can make you healthy again.”

I got to where I was doing a lot better. I thought I was going to tough it out. It turned out that one of my kids got very sick from a spider bite. Once he was out of the hospital, I took him to see this allergist. The allergist looked at me after he tested him. He said, “If you won’t get out of here for yourself, get out of here for your kids because they’ve got the same issues. You need to go someplace that freezes hard in the winter and doesn’t have mold in the air.” He had a couple of other stipulations. We then moved back to Utah.

If your WHY is making sense, you’ll have a tendency to give advice more than you should. Click To Tweet

We moved back to Utah partly to take care of my parents because I took care of my sisters. I’m the caregiver. We went back to take care of my parents. I started a PhD program in Finance at the University of Utah and realized I was not cut out to be an academic. I had professors who would talk about these theories and then go, “We are PhDs. We don’t need to use them. Those stupid MBAs would ask how would I use this theory but as PhDs, we just need to know it’s a theory.” I raised my hand one day and said, “I’ve used that theory.” The professor said, “Really? Somebody uses this crap?” I thought, “I don’t belong here.” I went back to consulting for IBM.

You took a step back to consulting for IBM. How was that for you?

It was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of the world. I ran a program to teach IBM executives in the Asia Pacific how to do services consulting instead of how to sell boxes. I got to see a lot of Asia. I then took it around to the ISSC, the services corporation that was a division inside the US. From there, I did a couple of other things. My husband and I bought a historic Woolen Mill in Northern Utah and brought it back into operation.

Why would you do that?

It was something he wanted to do. I realized that he wasn’t going to be able to do it without my operational knowledge. We did that for about five years.

Did you eventually get into coaching?

I eventually went back to work as a Finance Director for what became AchieveGlobal, then became the CFO at AchieveGlobal. From AchieveGlobal, I went to Franklin Covey as an Executive Vice President. Training is the poor cousin to coaching. Those of us who were in the training business knew that coaching could eat us for lunch any day because the results were better. That’s how I got from training into professional services and by way of a couple of detours. That’s where my background came from that I ended up in coaching.

Were you ever a coach? Were you out coaching other people or mainly working with groups of coaches?

I have never been a coach. I tell people I’m much more of a consultant than a coach. I don’t have formal coach training. I have done a lot of small business consulting in my time where I take the entrepreneur or the small team and help them think through how to think about their business differently. A lot of that ends up being leadership coaching but I’m not going to call myself a coach because I don’t have that classic training. Given my why, I have a tendency to give advice more than I should.

From WBECS, you got to Coaching.com as they got bought out. I don’t know if you remember what I said to you way back years ago now when we were talking. It was before all the dot-com happened.

It was in the midst of trying to sell the company but I couldn’t tell you that at the time.

BYW 30 | Making Sense
Making Sense: Does it need to be said, does it need to be said by you, because as the leader, they’re all going to have to agree with you. And even if it needs to be said, does it need to be said in that public forum, or is there some other way that you could have that conversation with an individual?

 

You were the CEO but whoever gets you is going to be awfully lucky because you are that person that’s going to help them solve all. You can take in much stuff and simplify it down to where it’s useful so that it can have an impact on their lives. It shows up everywhere in your life from the time you were twelve years old or younger, even.

Maybe younger. It’s a theme.

You have been coaching since you were the mother to your two sisters because of what you did for them. You coached them through a lot of stuff.

My little sister was saying something to me. She was asking me something about childhood. I had said, “I went to the babysitter for years. Nobody would come and pick me up.” She said, “My family would never have done that to me.” She looked at me and said, “That’s because you are my family.” I said, “It’s because I knew what it felt like. I would never desert you like that or leave you to your own devices.”

Are your parents still alive?

No. Do you think I would have said those things if they were still alive? I was responsible for taking care of my parents for almost twenty years. I didn’t live with them but I lived around the corner from them so that I could pay attention to them for several years. My dad got sick, and we worked through that. I had to put my mom in an assisted living center. I was responsible all that time. Once my mom died, I took over the financial responsibility for my oldest sister and did that for about ten years before she passed away.

Here’s a question I have. Have you ever had a time in your life when life was easy, where it wasn’t a whole lot of stuff coming at you all the time? Has that ever happened?

Does that ever happen to anybody, honestly?

I think so. You’ve probably had opportunities where things could have slowed down but then, “I decided I was going to get my PhD.” You take on massive things, not just like, “I will learn how to knit,” or something. It’s more like, “I’m going to go get my PhD. I will consult with IBM.” Those are not minor little excursions for most people.

Those are direct, intentional choices that I’m making. I will give you an example of what I do in my spare time. I watched a YouTube video and learned how to create a drip irrigation system for my flower beds because it has been hot here in the Columbia River Gorge where I live. I bought this stuff. Every night, I build 1 irrigation system for 1 of my flower beds. I then called a mulch company and had them deliver 7 cubic yards of tree bark. Once I build the irrigation system, then I put the tree bark down.

That’s what I do for recreation. It’s a choice that I’m making. Quite honestly, I don’t know what to do with my time if I’m not doing something interesting and challenging where I’m learning something new. That, to me, is boring. My youngest son said to me, “Mom, you have two gears, neutral and overdrive. You are either in complete overdrive where you are going or sitting very quietly reading something, doing nothing. You don’t have anything in between.”

Coaching.com is not in the business of brokering specific coaches. We're in the business of matchmaking. Click To Tweet

Tell us about Coaching.com. It bought out WBECS. How are they different? We have a lot of coaches that read but for those people that don’t know, tell us what WBECS and Coaching.com were.

WBECS was known for the World Business & Executive Coach Summit, an annual free summit that we run for three weeks in June 2022, which features the world’s best coaching and leadership thought leaders. This 2022, Susan David was one of our headliners. Susan David is considered one of the Top 10 Thinkers in the world now. We attract some pretty impressive people. Last 2021, our headliner was Adam Grant. I measure my success by whether my children have ever heard of these people. My daughter, I had dinner with her.

She was shrugging over Ray Dalio because Ray Dalio was also one of our headliners. She was like, “I’ve never heard of him.” She’s a doctor, so she doesn’t care about business. When I got to Susan David, she knew who Susan David was. When I got to Adam Grant, she was impressed. I thought, “I’ve succeeded. My daughter is impressed with something that I’ve done.” That’s what WBECS is most famous for. We have a database of about 100,000 coaches, primarily independent solopreneurs and in the business leadership executive coaching arena. We also run high-end educational programs that we run live and virtual globally.

We’ve had people from 140 countries take our programs with thought leaders like David Peterson or David Drake, who are well known in coaching for being independent, creative, and innovative, thought leaders in areas of coaching. That’s what we are known for. It’s this business-to-coach orientation with this great database of coaches and educational content.

Coaching.com is a software platform. Their primary focus has always been on creating a coach management system for large enterprises that have big coaching projects to be able to manage those coaching projects in a way where they can track and manage the coaches, coaching sessions, and the feedback. They can do all that. They were very good at technology and software.

WBECS was very good at education and marketing. We put the two together so that we could have a two-sided ecosystem with the emphasis from Coaching.com on the enterprises and the emphasis from WBECS on the coaches to try to persuade the coaches to get on the coach version of the platform so that the enterprises could access these great coaches. Enterprises are always asking, “Is there an easier way for us to find coaches for our executives? Is there a way for us to find qualified coaches that we don’t have to go and contract with them individually or whatever?”

We are a little bit better than a lot of people compare us to or ASAP. We are neutral. We are not trying to tell the coach how to coach, what to coach, how to price or what kind of coaching to do. We are saying, “Put yourself on the platform and tell people what your specialty is.” With the enterprises, we are saying, “Go and find the coach you want to find, either contract with them directly or through a coaching company that represents a group of coaches.” Our job is to be the marketplace that brings the two together.

We are never going to take sides around which methodology you should use or what training you should get. We are going to say, “We are going to give you access to a lot of great assessments, products, and education so that you can continue to develop your skills.” For the enterprises, they can say what their criteria are, and the coaches can meet those criteria. We are not in the business of brokering specific coaches. We are in the business of matchmaking. It’s like a dating platform for the coaching and the people who use coaching. Everything that we’ve done since then has been to build on that business model.

We are now in the midst of creating partnerships with organizations that have things that are very useful to the coaches, enterprises or users of coaching so that we can create a closed system. By getting the education or the certification, the coach also becomes part of the platform. They can sell their coaching based on the fact that they are certified to do that coaching.

We are trying to find a way to create more of a marketplace for coaches. At WBECS, our mission was to raise the global standard of coaching. One of the ways that you have to do that is to create opportunities for coaches to get better at coaching but also create opportunities for coaches to do more coaching so that they can get better and get paid for what they do.

You are speaking my language. That is for sure. Coaching.com has been around for how long?

Marshall Goldsmith said “Ask yourself the questions: Does it need to be said? Do you need to say it? Does it need to be said now?” Click To Tweet

Coaching.com started in 2012 as Coach Logics, Inc. Alex Pascal, the Owner, and CEO was a PhD IO Psychologist. He worked for the Center for Creative Leadership, CCL. He had this notion that there were better ways to scale coaching to take the administrivia out of the coaching so that coaches could spend more of their time coaching and less of their time in all the administration and management functions of coaching. That’s what the Coaching.com platform is intended to do. It’s to streamline all that and make the connections to the people they coach much easier to manage so that they can become much more effective coaches and spend a higher proportion of their time coaching.

For those coaches that are reading, head over to Coaching.com and take a look at it.

It’s because the first level of use of the platform is completely free. They can have access to scheduling, feedback, calendaring, and even a paywall. They can have access to all of that and not pay anything to be on the platform. They can put up their profiles so that they can be viewed by the enterprise clients within a month or so by external people looking for coaches. They can learn a lot from our marketplace.

The first step is free. They get access to all the stuff to help them run their business. If they want more, they can get into the education, certification, and different areas to help them grow and be able to offer more. I got one last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice ever given to you?

The best piece of advice that was ever given to me was given to a lot of people, not just me. Marshall Goldsmith said, “Ask yourself the question, ‘Does it need to be said? Do you need to say it? Does it need to be said now?'” Since I’m a person who has a tendency to be a know-it-all and want to give the solution and frequently see the solution before other people see it, I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, although I’m pretty sure it sounds pretty arrogant.

As a leader, it’s easy for me to just jump in and solve the problem for people. I have those questions up where I can see them. If people can get to the answer themselves, even if it’s not exactly what the answer would be that I would get to, it’s more powerful for them. They learn more. It’s easier for them to implement. We get more creativity out of the group if I don’t step in and give them the answer.

I try to remember that. “Does it need to be said by me?” It’s because, as the leader, they are all going to have to agree with me. “Even if it needs to be said, and by me, does it need to be said in this public forum? Is there some other way I could have that conversation with an individual?” That is probably the best advice that I’ve received that I use on a regular basis.

That was super helpful because that’s a big challenge. Everybody with the why of makes sense said what you just said right there, “They are way ahead of the rest of us. You have to dumb yourself down to let us catch up.” What happened to you when you didn’t follow that series of questions or ignored that?

Mostly, I feel bad because it shuts down the conversation. It shuts down creativity. It ends the development of the individuals. I’m dedicated to people’s professional development. I disappoint myself because I cut off avenues to growth. Frequently, if I give the answer, it takes us longer to get there because anybody who has a different answer, feels like they have to justify a different answer because they are now combating the person that’s the leader instead of just offering an idea.

It’s fascinating because people with the why of making sense are so capable, have a such high capacity, are so fast, and good at doing almost anything that people stop doing what they can do and leave it for you to do because you are going to do it better and faster anyway. You then become the bottleneck. Your capacity becomes the level at which we can grow.

It’s because people are all waiting for me to give them an answer. The way to solve that is to quit giving answers and start saying, “I trust you. What do you think? You are more of an expert in this area than I am. What is your recommendation?” Handing it back to people is one of the hardest things I do every day.

As a leader, people are all waiting for you to give an answer. But the way to solve that is to quit giving answers, start showing trust in your team’s expertise and ask for their recommendations. Click To Tweet

I can imagine because we had somebody on our team with your why. He was so good at everything that I ended up finally watching him. I just sit and watch him like, “You do it because you are going to do it better, faster, quicker, and easier than I am.” He ended up becoming the bottleneck. We ended up having to part ways because we could only grow as fast as he had capacity.

If I can help other people get to where they contribute and somehow spread that, then my influence is significantly greater than if I’m the one that’s making all the decisions or taking all the actions.

I have been looking forward to our conversation for a long time because we talked long before about doing this. It’s taken us a while to get into it but had I not known your Why OS? If I had seen your picture, let’s say I’m looking through LinkedIn and, “There’s Marva Sadler right there. There’s your picture.” Could I tell from your picture, bio or anything that you have available to me any of this stuff about you? Is there any way I would have known just looking at your picture?

From the bio, probably yes. Looking at my picture, that’s a pretty deceptive picture. It’s probably the one picture I’ve ever had taken of me where I look like I’m having a good time because I always look like I don’t trust the camera.

It’s fascinating because even though I knew your why of make sense, I was curious to see how it all is played out. It makes total sense now that I know your history and how you grew up. I learned a lot more and our audience as well. No way I would have been able to tell that from your picture or probably even if I watched a video of you speaking somewhere. It would be very challenging. Now that I know, it makes communicating, connecting, and understanding you so much easier.

Frankly, if you had laid out the whys in front of me and said, “Pick which one is you,” I’m not sure if I would have been able to accurately say, “This one is me. This is my how.” As soon as I read the descriptions after I had taken the test, I was like, “That makes a lot of sense.”

Marva, if there are people that want to connect with you, follow you, or follow Coaching.com, what’s the best way for them to connect with you?

They can certainly find me on LinkedIn. That’s probably the easiest way. They can also find Coaching.com on LinkedIn. They are also welcome to email me. I don’t always get back right away but I try to answer emails regularly. It’s simple. It’s Marva@Coaching.com.

Marva, thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to staying in touch and working with you guys because you got a great organization there. It’s growing leaps and bounds now.

We are on the fast track. It’s so exciting. There are so many things that we are doing that the merger created the ability for us to take paths that neither one of us could have taken on our own.

That’s awesome. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you.

 

Important Links

About Marva Sadler

BYW 30 | Making SenseMs. Sadler is COO of Coaching.com. She joined the organization in September 2021 when the company acquired WBECS, where she was CEO. She is an experienced business executive and consultant with over 20 years leading strategic and operational growth programs for small to mid-sized organizations. She also has extensive expertise in strategy creation, leadership development and executive coaching. Prior to joining WBECS, Ms. Sadler held executive management positions (EVP, CFO, and CEO) in large organizations, including Franklin Covey, and Achieve Global, Ms. Sadler also has substantial experience across a variety of industries, leading small, private organizations through start-up and turnaround efforts, including positions as CEO of Veracity Solutions, Inc., a software development consulting firm, President of Hoggan Health Industries, a commercial fitness equipment manufacturer, and Chief Operating Officer of eLeaderTech, a start-up software firm. She began her career in strategy consulting with international strategy firms Marakon Associates, and Bain and Co. She has also served in the nonprofit sector as Program Director for People Helping People, an employment success program for low-income women, primarily single moms, and as a Board Member and strategic advisor for No More Homeless Pets of Utah. Ms. Sadler is a certified Theory of Constraints Jonah.

 

 

 

Categories
Podcast

The Art Of Deejaying: How A DJ Can Touch Your Soul With Steve Olsher

BYW 29 | Deejaying

 

People don’t often realize that the art of deejaying is a great example of the WHY of Contribute. DJs are like the conductors of a party. They have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions. They want to be part of something great without being in the middle of it. They are the life of the party, but they also need to be empathetic. They need to understand their crowd to really have something spectacular. Join Dr. Gary Sanchez as he talks to Steve Olsher about how a DJ can really get positive energy from their crowd. Besides being a nightclub DJ, Steve is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine®. He is also the founding Chairman of Liquor.com and the author of What Is Your WHAT? Discover how Steve found interest in the nightclub scene and how his passion for music brought him to deejaying. Learn how you can affect people’s collective mood with the power of music. Find out what Steve’s ultimate goal is and why you need to plan your life accordingly.

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

The Art Of Deejaying: How A DJ Can Touch Your Soul With Steve Olsher

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of contribute. To contribute to a greater cause, add value or have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and relish the success of the greater good. You see group victories as personal victories. You are behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

I’ve got a great guest for you. His name is Steve Olsher. He is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Podcast Magazine, Creator of ClubPod on Clubhouse, the largest podcast group on all social media platforms. He’s the creator of Pod Expo. Original Chairman and Founder of Liquor.com. He is also an online pioneer, who launched CompuServe’s electronic mall in 1993 and the New York Times bestselling author of What Is Your WHAT? Discover The One Amazing Thing You Were Born to Do.

He’s a real estate developer and creator of the New Media Summit. He’s the host of the number one rated podcast, Reinvention Radio. He’s an international keynote speaker and an independent media guest who has appeared on CNN, the Huffington Post, the cover of Founder Magazine and countless other media outlets. Steve, welcome to the show.

Thanks. I appreciate you having me.

That is quite a resume right there. Take us back through your life a little bit. Where were you born? What were you like as a kid growing up? Take us on your path on how you got to where you are now because that’s a lot of different things that you’ve done.

I was born in Chicago and raised in Evanston and Skokie, North of Chicago. Even from a young age, I’ve been pretty entrepreneurial. I always tried to figure out how to rev a couple of dimes together and make a quarter. For as long as I can remember, I was doing things like raking leaves, shoveling sidewalks and driveways and doing whatever I could to try to put some money in my pocket.

It started from a young age of doing the entrepreneurial stuff and that led to music and deejaying. I opened my nightclub when I was nineteen. I then got involved in the catalog world very early and the dot-com, real estate, writing, speaking, podcasting and doing live events. My wife and I own a funeral home here in San Diego.

You started doing a lot of different things from a very young age. Why was that important to you back then? When you think back to those days, what was your motivation to jump in so early and start making money?

There was altruistic thinking behind that or something that’s a little more palatable but at the end of the day, it boils down to scarcity. After my parents got divorced, we had to get out of the big house that we lived in and then watch mom struggle and do what she had to do. There was a lot of scarcity talk. My stepfather came on when I was ten and was like, “Don’t set the thermostat above 68 degrees. We can’t buy this or that.” There was a lot of scarcity that went hand in hand there. I want to make sure that if push comes to shove at least add a few dollars if need be.

At that time, were you contributing to the family or was it mostly from you?

While everybody at a party is spending money, the DJ is there making money. Click To Tweet

It wasn’t that formalized but it was more of a mindset, things that kicked in like, “This is what I need to start thinking about. How do I take care of myself? If need be, help out with mom and the family.” Generally speaking, we had enough to get by but I always felt like we needed a little bit more. I’m not sitting here saying I went without meals because I didn’t but I felt like it always would be good to have a little more on hand.

For those of you that are regular readers, Steve did his YOS, which is his why, how and what. Steve’s why is to contribute to a greater cause but how he goes about doing that is by challenging the status quo and doing things differently. Not following the typical or traditional but following his path. Ultimately, what he brings are solutions that make sense and doable and get results. You didn’t follow a typical path like, “I’m going to go to school, play on the sports teams, run off to college and do the fraternity deal and all the rest.”. You did your thing.

I did go to school. I wasn’t much of an athlete. I entered a few things here and there but I’d mess around and play basketball or those sorts of things with friends but I wasn’t starting on the varsity squad or playing any of those games at a higher level. I did know that I wanted to go to college. Mostly, to have the college experience and get out of the house was the thing.

I remember sitting down with my guidance counselor in high school and we were talking about going to college. She was giving me all the examples of the different schools and different types of schools. I remember her talking about how, if you pay in-state tuition, you can pay a lot less. We live in Illinois. If I went to a school in Illinois somewhere, it’ll be a lot cheaper than going to a school in Michigan, Ohio, California or wherever else. I was like, “What are my options?”

She started going through some stuff and then talked about Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, which was about 330 miles or so from Chicago. She said that SIU, Southern Illinois University, is farther away from home than any of the big ten schools and you can still pay in-state tuition. I was like, “That’s cool. I can go far away and farther than any of the big ten schools and still pay in-state tuition. Sign me up.” That’s why I chose SIU. It was far and I could pay in-state tuition.

Isn’t weird the reasons we pick the schools that we go to? I went to the University of Colorado-Boulder because some of my friends that I had fun with went there for no other reason. I went up and hung out with them. I was like, “This seems like a lot of fun so I’m going to go here.” It turned out okay. What did you study while you were in SIU?

I studied nightclubs because I DJ’ed in a lot of nightclubs. I studied Speech Communications and had a minor in Journalism.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: With Liquor by Wire, you could send a bottle of champagne to your friend across the state. You would just need to call them and they’ll take care of the whole process.

 

What you were doing is figuring out the nightclub world?

A little bit. I was enjoying deejaying and I liked being a part of the party without being in the middle of the party. It was my opportunity and way to be there without having to be in the middle of it while everybody else was spending money. I was there making money.

What got you in deejaying?

I played drums for nine years. I’ve always loved music and rhythm. It’s always been a big part of who I am. After I got wind of the whole DJ scene, I was like, “This is something that I want to be doing.” I traded in my drums for some turntables and started buying records. Back in the day, we had the vinyl and carried it around. It was a little different than it is now with the USB but there you have it.

You started deejaying at the different clubs. Take us through what happened after that. This is while you were in school?

It was. I DJ’ed in several clubs during college. By the time I hit my senior year, I built up a pretty decent following and it seemed like, “This is something I should do,” in terms of, contemplating having my spot because I would play and the folks would show up. I was like, “Maybe I’ll open up my spot.” At nineteen, I put together the business plan, went out and raised money and opened up a non-alcoholic nightclub, which seemed to make a lot of sense because all the bars had to close early because they served alcohol. For the folks who didn’t want to go home at 1:30 or 2:00, they had a place to go. We cover the charge for non-alcoholic drinks and some food. We did pretty well for a while.

What happened to you after that?

There's nothing quite like being in unison with the crowd. That positive energy can really change lives. Click To Tweet

From there, I ended up going back to Chicago. My mom invited me to come and join the family business. My grandfather had started Foremost Liquor stores back in the ’40s. I knew that the family business needed some help. It wasn’t my first choice in terms of, “This is what I want to do for a career.” I didn’t have any love for the liquor business. I’m not a big drinker. I haven’t been a big drinker ever.

I saw that was an opportunity there to help grow things. There was a small piece of the puzzle, which was called Foremost Liquor by wire. If you think about FTD and in terms of how they use the network of retail florists for the delivery of their flowers, that’s what liquor by wire was. We would have a network of retailers so anybody could call us and say, “This is Gary Sanchez. I’m in New York. I want to send a bottle of champagne to my friend, John Davis who closed his deal in LA.”

They’d call us and then we’d take care of that whole process. I felt like this is a pretty cool thing. It wasn’t doing a lot of business. There was maybe 1 call or 2 every couple of days. It didn’t do much business at all but I felt like it had a lot of potential. I focused on that. It helped us to launch a catalog in 1991. When I was in the grocery store, seeing the AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe disks and all that, I was like, “This looks pretty interesting. Let me see if I can go ahead and get a store for us up on one of these malls.” That’s what ended up happening. Eventually, that became Liquor.com and I bought that domain in ’98.

That would be worth a lot. Do you still have Liquor.com?

We sold that to Barry Diller IAC in 2019.

You were in the liquor business for ten years?

I was active in it from ’91 to 2000. We had the S-1 filed. We were ready to go public and everything imploded at that point. I couldn’t get out. The public market has dried up. I had signed away management rights because Wall Street wanted to see more advanced leadership but when it became very clear, those folks had no idea what they were doing. I walked away from the entire company.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: A one-voice unity festival should happen because people really are one voice that moves together. When they move or play music, they’re raising their consciousness through expression.

 

Oddly enough, after they closed the shop, I remained languished for a while and in limbo. I was able to reclaim the domain in 2005. I put together a team out of San Francisco who ran it from 2007, 2008 and 2009, whatever it was that we’d launched officially until we sold it to Barry Diller. I didn’t actively have involvement other than a board level for that second iteration but in hindsight, I should have run the thing and we would have done even better but that’s a different story.

You sold it. Was that when you started getting into podcasts?

I caught that bug around 2009. I had been doing real estate development from around 2000-ish. It was technically ’98 when I first did my deals but around 2000, I started getting involved with it more full-time. From 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, I developed about $50 million in real estate. Unfortunately, in the crash, I lost a few good properties. I had to give them back to the banks and that hurt.

I woke up one day in 2009 and was like, “I’ve been doing a lot of stuff that’s good for me and those closest to me but no one else. I need to figure out how to do some things that can help more people.” That’s when I started writing and started my first podcast episode of Reinvention Radio. I got the bug for podcasting, left it alone for a little bit and got back into it starting in 2015. I did a lot of events around podcasting and launched Podcast Magazine. It’s been a good track as far as podcasts are concerned.

You were able to impact more people through podcasts, real estate, deejaying and all the other things. It seems like you’ve progressed larger and larger.

That’s a safe way to put it. I’m in the process of trying to come full circle and see if I can impact more people through music. It’s interesting how things will come full circle like that.

What do you mean by impacting more people through music?

Being a DJ is like being a conductor. You have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions. Click To Tweet

I’m going to be doing my music festival here at some point and may even get it off the ground here in 2022 but I’ll start deejaying again and get back into music because it’s part of who I am. It’s in my bones.

When we first got on the call and looked at you visually, I wouldn’t have any idea that it’s about helping make a difference and impact more people. I would wonder and make up my narrative around what I’m seeing, especially with coffins in the background. If I had realized those were coffins, I’m not sure where my mind would have gone. Did you get out of that coffin? Do you sleep in the coffin?

I couldn’t tell if you were in a hotel room or even where you’re at. There’s a curtain in the background and an open coffin with Steve right in front of it. I wouldn’t know what I was looking at but now that we hear more about your journey, it’s obvious that as you progress, you’re impacting more people. First, it was your family and then your college family. It kept getting bigger. Tell us more about the music festival that you’re looking to do.

It’s very much a work in progress. There are very few things that moved me in terms of impacting my soul. It’s where I feel I’m most alive. Outside of the relationship that I have with my wife and the fun stuff that we can do there, there are very few out-of-body type experiences that I have on an ongoing basis. When that music goes through my soul and you hear the music and get a sense of the rhythm and then the tribal beats or the vocal range of someone who can touch your soul with their voice, there’s nothing else like it.

The original name that I was coming out with for this was One Voice. The idea is it would be the One Voice Unity Festival. It’s all about raising our consciousness through expression, whether that’s through movement or voice but collectively, we are one voice that moves together. Humanity is intertwined much more so than many would like to admit what you do impacts what my life is like. There’s no denying that. Collectively, there’s nothing quite like being in unison with the crowd. That positive energy can change lives.

Most of us will never be a DJ on the big stage playing into a big crowd. Take us through what it’s like to walk out on the stage and start. I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and that’s not a DJ but in that giant stadium, watching Queen play is an emotional experience, even though we’re not on the stage.

It is very difficult to describe but I’ll do my best. It’s almost as if you were a conductor and you have the ability to impact and influence mindset and behavior based on your actions but in a way like if you’re having a conversation with a person and you break through with them and see them light up. It’s a beautiful experience but if you magnify that by 500%, 1,000% or 10,000%, there truly is nothing more magical than when a collective group taps into that same emotion and way of being. As the conductor, to be able to influence and orchestrate that emotional rollercoaster so to speak, it’s pretty powerful in ways that almost nothing else in life can compare to.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: A DJ should know the mood of their crowd, their collective mood. You need to be able to stand in a position of compassion and empathy to really move them in a way that they need to be moved.

 

Are you taking your audience on a journey?

That’s exactly right. It’s an emotional cathartic full-body and soul journey and experience. There are thousands of great DJs out there who can do this but that’s why the best of the basket get paid what they get paid because it is a skill and an art. You talk about skill stacking and I’m sure you’ve heard the term where you take a lot of the things that you’ve done over the course of your career and you look back and go, “I can see how this is connected and how this helped me to do this.”

There’s also a stacking of innate abilities and understanding of who you inherently are and how you’re naturally wired to excel. You can’t teach someone how to be empathetic or have empathy. You have it or you don’t. You have it on various levels depending on the person. I’ve always been an empath and I can get a sense of how people are doing and what they might be struggling with. I can see through people’s bowls pretty quickly. My friends call me the truth-teller.

There’s a lot to be said for that on a level of deejaying and playing music because you almost have to have a sixth sense of where they are and what their mood is collectively. You’d be amazed at how a crowd can have a collective mood and be able to stand in a position of compassion and empathy and move them in a way that they need to be moved. As an empath and someone who has that unique ability to understand people, it lends itself well to the DJ booth.

Interestingly, we’re having this conversation because people have asked me that question, “When you’re speaking to a big audience, what is that like? How do you take them on the journey?” To me, speaking is the closest thing I know of to compete at a high level like sports. You got to prepare. You don’t know what’s going to happen. The show must go on. You got to feel your way along as you go. What I find very challenging is exactly what you’re talking about. How do you move them? What is it that makes the difference between the DJ that moves the audience and the DJ that’s playing a cool sound? What do you think is the difference?

The difference is number one, it’s like a comedian who tries to perfect their set. If you follow the comedic space at all, you know that oftentimes what the comedians will do is they’ll start working on stuff, have their material and bit by bit, they’ll show up at different places, see if they can get a little bit of stage time and start working it out. It’s like, “This worked well on paper,” but in reality, it didn’t land. They start working on it until they know their material from back in the center. By the time, these guys get to a Netflix special as an example. They are so dialed in with every piece of that. There’s nothing that’s left to chance. That’s a big part of it too in this world.

This is applicable to anyone. You can appreciate this. Big audiences start as small audiences. You don’t get an invitation to speak to 50,000 people or whatever in a stadium until you’ve spoken to 20 people 500 times. You can use your numbers on this but you get my point. It goes back to Gladwell and the 10,000-hour rule too. You have to put in the time but it’s also a matter of your speech or whatever you’re doing. You could be a salesman selling a particular product. It’s a matter of knowing your product and being able to overcome any objection and talk about that product like it’s a piece of who you are.

You can't teach someone how to be empathetic. You either have it or you don't. Click To Tweet

The other side of it too is knowing the music. A lot of the DJs do is pick pieces, components or elements of the music that may have a certain resonance to those pieces that aren’t the typical way that someone would play that song. They may take those pieces and splice them together and create their track using elements of that song that are the elements that move people. It’s a matter also of knowing the material is what I’m saying.

How much practice do you do to be who you are as a DJ? Is it an everyday thing? Is it a once every now and then thing? Is it a natural ability to know how things fit together and you don’t need as much practice? Are you saying, “I got to practice every day to be who I want to be?”

The answer is zero. This is why the act and the art of public declaration are so important because for me, I haven’t been in front of a crowd for many years since my wife and I last deejayed a wedding together. That was the last set of things that I did on the DJ side. My goal is to take the stage of my event. To do that, I got a lot of work to do. It’ll become an everyday thing for me here. The next time we talk, I’ll already have started that ritual.

How exciting. You’re getting to do what you want to do at a level that you never thought was possible. You are going to create it.

Part of the creation of doing the event is going to be getting back to honing the craft. It’s been a long time since I’ve put together selections and so on. I’ve got a pretty good ear for music and I always have but getting the selections dialed in and putting together my sets and starting to play smaller festivals. Before we’re going to do our thing, it’s like a room full of twenty people. I got to do 300, 400 or 500 of those before I can get to the point of feeling like, “It makes sense for me to have a stage of 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 or 100,000 people.” There are a lot of smaller stages that I got to start planning.

Who are some of your favorite DJs? Who do you follow? Who has kept you interested in deejaying?

Back in the day, being from Chicago, I was interested in the whole world of Chicago house music, which has a very distinct soulful, melodic and vocal-based sound. When I first started deejaying, that’s all I would play but over time, I’ve become appreciative of a lot of the newer DJs who mix the best of what’s old and what’s new and then do their remixes of some of the material as well. The best guy that I follow who I have the utmost admiration for is a guy who goes by the name of Purple Disco Machine. He is a machine that tours everywhere. If I were to model someone from a selection perspective, he and I are aligned with what he plays.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
Deejaying: To really get something built to the point where it has any meaningful traction, you’re going to have to dedicate five years to it. So try to live within the timeframe of those five-year windows.

 

I am going to look him up. I was asked on a podcast, “If you could only go see one group, who would you like to go see?” I said, Daft Punk because I would love to see them but they broke up. I don’t know if you ever got to see them but that’s who I would like to see.

It’s interesting too because, from an electronic standpoint, a lot of people don’t chalk them up to being artists. They push a button and dance around or do whatever but a lot of the guys, Daft Punk included, I never had a chance to see them other than some video stuff. They would create on the fly right there on the live set so no two live sets were ever the same.

A lot of crossover and similar things would take place because they would play along with the music and create on the spot. That’s something that a lot of people don’t do. We had a concert, a DJ and producer, his name is Worakls, was doing a lot of that live stuff as well. It’s super cool for the people that not only can DJ but can play an instrument and go along with it. It makes a cool experience.

Are you already starting to get nervous?

Not so much. I don’t get nervous about things. I’m going to have the opportunity to interview some pretty cool people at the magazine like the Paris Hilton’s of the world and some pretty awesome well-known people. I don’t get the nerves around that. I don’t get nervous around music. It’s something I love sharing.

How far off do you think your event is, the One Voice?

It’s about the public declaration. There are a couple of options. We can do something on a smaller scale. Doing smaller-scale events is something that we’ll do here in 2022. I’ll get 2 or 3 of those under my belt that I’ll throw some smaller events, bring a couple of people to hang out and do some music or something together.

Take on activities that the 'you of tomorrow' can look back at the 'you of today' and give thanks. Click To Tweet

We’ve got a lot of space here in the funeral home. We may end up doing something here, believe it or not. It’s like an event center or an event space. I’ve got 15,000 square feet here. We may do something here but in terms of a larger scale, One Voice Festival event that may have a couple of thousand people or more, that’s a 2023 thing so maybe for the summer festival season in 2023.

We haven’t even asked you about the obvious. How did you get into the funeral business?

My wife has been the Funeral Director and Embalmer for many years. She’s the one who’s been in this industry. She’s a licensed Managing Funeral Director and Embalmer. She’s known from a very young age. This is what she wants to do. She went back to school when she was younger than 40 but roughly around that time to get a degree in Mortuary Science after having been a Chicago public school teacher and then raising our kids and staying home with our kids for a couple of years.

Towards the end of that, she was like, “I want to do this thing in the funeral industry.” She got her degree and started working for some of the bigger corporations. It was time for her to have her place. I’m here doing my best to help her. It’s an interesting business because it’s not like you open a shop and everybody starts running in here. It’s a different scenario of getting the phone to ring. There are a lot of opportunities here as well. Going back to the skill stacking, you take a look at what I’ve done in the online world, marketing, PR, podcasting, live events and so on. There are a lot of things we can do to help leverage those skills that have been acquired over quite a bit of time and apply that to this world.

Last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or gotten?

The best piece of advice that I’ve ever given simply boils down to reminding people that you want to take on activities that the you of tomorrow can look back on the you of now and give thanks for those actions taken. That’s about understanding the concept of yeno, which is a fancy way of saying yes no and recognizing that almost every moment represents a moment of truth where you have to be consciously aware of what you say yes to and no to.

Your ultimate idea here is to stack those yeses in a way that leads you towards whatever those defined goals and objectives are. Ultimately, you want that version of yourself to be able to look back and say, “Thanks for doing the hard work, putting in the time with the missus, poaching the kid’s football team,” or whatever it is to be able to look back and give thanks. That’s the best piece of advice that I consistently give to people.

BYW 29 | Deejaying
What Is Your WHAT?

In terms of the best advice that I’ve received, it is a bit of advice that my grandfather gave me back in the early ’90s, around ’91 or ’92 before his passing. We were thinking about selling a piece of business and I asked him, “Is this what you want to do? You don’t want to hold on to this?” He said, “In business, we don’t build monuments.” His point was we’re not looking to create something that we have to hold on to forever. When the right opportunity comes along, you take that opportunity and move on to the next thing, whatever that next thing might be.

That wasn’t the last question. I got one more last question. What is it that keeps you going and wanting? It is not a little finger about to take on.

The fact is I’ve been doing Brazilian jujitsu for many years. One of the things that I always say is, “You can have all the technique in the world but at the end of the day, you can’t teach twenty-year-old strength.” It’s there or it isn’t. For me, it’s about movement and keeping in motion because with movement, energy is created. You have to stay moving to stay fresh, vital and able to have the energy to keep going.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s easy to say no to doing the hard work. It’s a lot easier to find a reason to say no most of the time than it is to find a reason to say yes, especially as you get older. What keeps me going or driving is not only movement through jujitsu, running, taking supplements and getting your hormones checked, especially if you’re an older guy or gal and making sure that’s stuff in line.

The other thing that I do believe in is understanding the whole concept of five-year windows. I try to live within the timeframe of those five-year windows, understanding that to get something built to the point where it has any meaningful traction, you’re probably going to be dedicating five years of your life to it, especially when you’re an entrepreneur.

Understand that if you go full out for those five years, good things can happen. The older you get, the fewer five-year windows you have. You have to be a lot more selective about what those five-year windows are but a big part of it as well is understanding, “This is a five-year window play. I need to go all in and do whatever I can do to make this thing work.” The combination of those things does help.

Steve, thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed getting to know you and hearing your stories. You got a lot of great stuff you’ve already done. I can imagine that your One Voice is going to be something amazing when it finally hits the biggest stage. Let me know and I’ll buy some tickets and be out there.

I still have the real estate bug so I got one more good real estate trick up my sleeve, something that’s going to change the game in terms of the market here because it’s been a pretty archaic system for a long time. The opportunity to disrupt the world of real estate and finally give people another option other than we’re owning or renting is well overdue. When we get up and running, we’ll come back and have another chat.

Steve, if there are people that are reading that want to follow you, learn more from you and be part of your podcast empire, how should they get ahold of you?

Subscribe to Podcast Magazine, PodcastMagazine.com/Free is the best place to go to get a free lifetime subscription and pretty much all the channels. I’m @SteveOlsher.

Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

For our last segment, it’s time for Guess the Why. I’ve been watching the documentary about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. If you’ve had a chance to watch it, it’s called The Dropout. I’m curious to know what you think her why is. I have a sense of what it is and the people that she’s followed and the people that she wanted to be like, which were people like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson.

I believe that Elizabeth’s why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. She’s not going to follow the rules or do it like anybody else. She’s going to think outside the box, see things the rest of us don’t and push the limits and people like what Steve Jobs did. Watch her movie and let us know what you think but that’s what I think about being able to watch the documentary.

Thank you so much for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com with the code PODCAST50. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe below, leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you’re using so we can bring this to more people. I will see you next time.

 

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About Steve Olsher

BYW 29 | DeejayingFounder/Editor-In-Chief of Podcast Magazine, Creator of ClubPod (the largest podcast group on social media), NY Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, Original Founder of Liquor.com, and the host of the top-rated podcast Reinvention Radio.

 

 

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Podcast

The Labor of Loving Yourself for Being Different with Lisa Schermerhorn

BYW 28 Lisa | Status Quo

 

Are you someone who doesn’t believe in following the rules or drawing inside the lines? You want things to be fun, exciting, and different – you rebel against the classic way of doing things. Do you typically have eccentric friends and eclectic tastes? Then this episode is for you. Lisa Schermerhorn joins Dr. Gary Sanchez as she talks about her WHY and how she is challenging the status quo and thinking differently. Lisa is a transformational leader, award-winning speaker, and expert in human behavior, leadership, and personal development. She also dives into releasing beliefs and emotions that don’t serve you, forgiveness, and trusting yourself more. We all have different whys, and everyone is different because of that. It’s important to honor that special thing. Tune in and get inspired to find better ways of thinking, doing, and understanding.

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Challenging The Status Quo: Finding Better Ways Of Thinking, Doing And Understanding With Lisa Schermerhorn

In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the WHY of Challenge, to challenge the status quo and think differently. If this is your WHY, then you don’t believe in following the rules or drawing inside the lines. You want things to be fun, exciting, and different. You rebel against the classic way of doing things. You typically have eccentric friends and eclectic tastes because, after all, WHY would you want to be normal? You love to be different, think different, and you aren’t afraid to challenge virtually anyone or anything that is too conventional or typical for your tastes. Pushing the envelope comes naturally to you.

I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Lisa Schermerhorn, and she is a transformational leader, award-winning speaker and expert in the fields of human behavior, leadership, and personal development. She also trained in the Winner’s Mindset with Bob Reese, the former head trainer for the New York Jets, and helped a professional golfer win Golfer of the Year. Lisa was a VP of Business Development for an innovative startup company using virtual reality to help clients with pain reduction, memory loss, and stress reduction.

As a certified hypnotherapist and master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, NLP, she helps entrepreneurs and high performers get from where they are to where they want to be much faster than conventional coaches. Lisa is also a Why.os Certified Coach, helping people discover their WHY and apply it to their life, both personally and professionally. Lisa launched her new book titled In Every Belief Is A Lie. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. Every time you read the definition of Challenge, I get chills. It’s so fitting. I tell people how much finding that out changed me because when you’re a challenge, you’re an outlier and different. As a child, I learned differently. I was very creative. I didn’t fit in very well. I struggled a lot, and I always thought that I was broken and something was wrong with me.

There was a belief that I held onto, even though, as an adult, I realized that I could function and I was smart, but there was always this little part of me that thought I was different and broken. When I got the Challenge WHY, I was like, “Of course.” It helped me own who I am. I don’t know if people be able to see this, but I live in a log cabin on the side of a mountain in the middle of Vermont. I used to live in New York City, so go figure.

Where did you grow up? Take us back to where you grew up. What was your childhood like? What was school like for you? What was it like to be Challenge and not know what it was through elementary, middle, high school, and college? What was that like?

I grew up in New Jersey. I’m a Jersey Shore, but they don’t have the accent. I’m from an upper-middle-class family. I went to kindergarten before the cutoff, so I was one of the youngest in my class. Everyone could read, knew their letters and numbers, and I couldn’t. I struggled. Every year, I was always behind. Every summer, I went to summer school and my self-esteem plummeted. I thought that I was stupid. I didn’t think I was ever going to amount to anything, but I was always very creative and artistic.

I ended up going to a summer program at Rhode Island School of Design. I was accepted there, but my parents were so afraid that I’d be a poor starving artist. They were not about to have me go to art school. I went on to Simmons College in Boston, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management. I then went to the Garment Center, where I went to work in the fashion industry. I found out how abusive it was.

I worked for one company, and my boss would walk around. We were not allowed to take lunch breaks. We had to stay in our office and be at work at 7:00 in the morning and we couldn’t leave until 7:00 at night. This was in the ‘80s. I was young and impressionable. I thought, “This is the fashion industry. It should be cool.” He would come around, eat our lunches, take a bite of our sandwiches, and get his hands in your fries. I won an award for the worst boss in a magazine. I submitted that.

When you discover someone's WHY, it helps pinpoint where people's issues could come up and determine whether or not someone's done their work. Click To Tweet

He was horrible. I was lost. I had no sense of self, who I was, and what I wanted in my life. I ended up leaving and I got very depressed. I was so depressed at one point that I was going to a therapist 2 to 3 times a week, and no one was able to help me. Finally, someone suggested a hypnotist, and I was like, “Don’t they make you quack like a duck? Who would go to a hypnotist?” I was desperate. I tried it and couldn’t believe how quickly they got to the root cause of my issue and helped me release the information I was holding onto. I decided from there that I wanted to be able to do that for other people.

I asked the woman I went to, , “Please tell me all the names of the people that you’ve trained with.” I went on to train. Due to my belief that I wasn’t smart, if you saw the list of certifications, it’s thick. I stacked them all. It was a way for me to go outside the box, be different, and help people who were different. I didn’t realize that that’s what I was doing. I was so desperate to heal myself that I went on and realized that I had the ability to help others.

I went on to study Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Tony Robbins is well known for it. It’s considered the study of excellence, so what they do is they study the people who are on top of the field and how these people think differently than the rest of us. It’s mastery around excellence. I’ve gone around and studied a number of different things on energy medicine and how our energy system works. I studied with different master teachers all over the world.

I ended a 29-year marriage. We’d gone in different directions, and I was terrified to be on my own. My kids were in college, getting ready to graduate. Someone had suggested a firewalk facilitation program where you trained for a week on how to do fire walks with other people. There were two things that I was afraid of, being alone and walking on fire, so I chose to walk on fire first. The week entailed breaking arrows from your neck to your throat, bending a 10-foot piece of rebar from your throat, and walking on four feet of broken glass. Every night, we walked 7 to 10 feet of red hot coals, and to graduate, we had to walk 40 feet of red hot coals.

Did your feet burn?

No, but I was terrified. I thought they would. I was convinced I would end up in the hospital, and those poor people in my class surprised me all week.

What was the benefit of that? I know there are people reading that are going to be thinking, “I’ve thought about doing that. I wondered about it, but what am I going to get out of that?” What did you get out of learning to do that and accomplishing that goal?

Mind over matter, because who could ever think that you could bend a 10-foot piece of rope rebar from your throat? There’s a whole mindset. For instance, when you’re walking on red hot coals, there’s something called Chi Energy, and we all have our own chi energy. The fire has its own energy as well. You have to raise your energy at or above the energy of the fire.

If you can do that, you can walk. I would never let someone walk who’s depressed or down because that’s when people get burned or they’re afraid. When Tony Robbins does his fire walks, he plays loud music and gets people cheering. Do people burn themselves? Yes, you still can. I was terrified of the 40-foot walk. I was having a meltdown. Someone in my group asked me, “How much fire have you walked this week?”

BYW 28 Lisa | Status Quo
In Every Belief Is a Lie

I said, “We started Sunday night. I probably walked about 50 feet already.” He said, “You’ve already walked more than 40 feet. This should be a piece of cake. Go.” It was my easiest walk. I remember when I walked across, I felt like I floated, and I stopped. My feet were warm. They refer to them sometimes as little kisses you get on your feet. I remember having a pair of flip-flops on, and my feet were warm, but I was not burned at all.

That’s amazing that the body can do that, and you did it. You are somebody who has stuff going on that you were dealing with and you were able to do it. Once you are done and you finished this week-long journey, how are you different at the end of that week?

I sat with my fears and thought to myself, “I faced one of my greatest fears, and I survived.” If I’ve been in this marriage for 29 years, I’m not happy, and I’m afraid to be alone, then I need to go towards it and figure it out. When I got home, I had a conversation with my ex-husband about looking at our marriage. It took a couple of months, and we ended up splitting up probably three months later.

I moved to Vermont on my own, didn’t know a soul, had no family here, and didn’t know anyone. I knew that every time I came here, I loved it so much. It felt like home. Every time I went to leave, I would cry. I knew I needed to be here. I didn’t know why. I then found a community here and felt I fit in. We have a saying, “Keep Vermont weird.” There’s got to be a lot of Challenge people here. I found my people.

You’ve moved to Vermont into a log cabin. Did you continue coaching? When did you start coaching other people?

I’ve been doing coaching on and off for many years, but I took it to a whole another level. When I moved up here, I was full-time, but I was working with people in person because people didn’t want to work online, and then COVID happened, which catapulted my work around the world. Now I have clients in Australia, Africa, France, England, Canada, and all across the country. It allowed me to connect and network like I had never done before. I ended up meeting a woman who did a marketing event. She did my WHY.

She introduced me to Dan and did the test, so he ended up doing my whole WHY. I swear to you, it changed my life. I got my business partner Kevin to do it too. What was interesting is we both have similar WHYs. You usually don’t want to team people up with similar WHYs, but we’re both Challenge and Better-Way. He has Contribute. I always know that he’s got my back and takes care of me. He also knows technology. He’s got that background where he gets the foundation done and helps make things happen, whereas I make sense. I’m the visionary, and I come up with all of these ideas, and then he helps me implement them. Even though he’s Contribute, he has some Simplify in him too.

For those of you reading, what Lisa is talking about is her WHY. It is to challenge the status quo and think differently. As you can tell, she thinks outside the box. She doesn’t follow the rules and does it her own way. That’s what’s made her, her. How she does that is by finding better ways, which are all the different courses she’s taken. They’re all better ways of thinking, doing, and understanding.

Ultimately, what she brings are our solutions that make sense, are doable, are logical, and going to work. Your partner has the same WHY and how that you do, Challenge and Better-Way, but his what is to contribute to other people and make a difference in their lives. You two have been a good combination, is what you’re saying.

The more you eliminate the things that are blocking you, the more new opportunities will start showing up. Click To Tweet

We complement each other. The difference between us is he owned his Challenge as a kid. He wore it proudly. He talks about some of the outfits that he would wear as a kid. He loves standing out, being different, and he owns it, whereas I didn’t have that confidence. I didn’t have that in me. Even though you can have the same WHY, one of the things I love about being a WHY coach is when you discover someone’s WHY. It helps pinpoint where people’s issues could come up and determine whether or not someone’s done their work or not. It makes my life easier as a coach. It helps me zero in right away and say, “These are some issues you might have based on your WHY.” It helps me get to the root cause of people’s issues fast.

What I’ve found fascinating is if you’re reading and not watching and you don’t know what Lisa looks like or Kevin, her partner, I would have never picked Kevin to be Challenge just looking at him on a screen. I would have created my own narrative around what I thought I was seeing and would have been dead wrong.

However, that’s who he would have been to me and I would have treated him that way. Now that I know his WHY and your WHY is Challenge, that opens up so many different conversations. It opens up my ability to connect, communicate, and understand you completely differently. I’m sure it’s that way for you with your clients.

Absolutely. Here’s the other great thing. He’s also at work in business. When you know the WHY of the other people you’re with, you can create better rapport, and rapport is everything because you create trust. Once you’ve created trust with someone, they’ll allow you to go to places where maybe they wouldn’t with anyone else.

For instance, I had a client who came to me because she wanted hypnosis, but she said to me, “I’ve tried five times, and no one has ever been able to do it.” I was able to establish trust by trying to figure it out. I knew from her language that trust was part of her WHY. I had to go bend over backward to make sure that she could trust me. Once she did, she was under, and we did some major work together. It was powerful. She was astonished because she said, “No one else has ever been able to do this for me.”

Having these tools are so key in helping you, especially with the right way people. When you’re a Challenge person, you’re all over the place, it’s like coloring outside the lines. You then have a right way person who’s very structured and very much about things being a certain way, we can scare them. The structure is important to them and they need things done a certain way to make them feel safe. As a Challenge person, I need those kinds of people to do work that I don’t want to do. I can’t do that. If I had to sit down and do structured accounting or do things, I would do it, but it would take me ten times longer, and it would look like a mess.

Let’s talk about your book for a minute. It came out. Tell us the title and tell us about the title.

I’ve been trying to write this book for almost twenty years. I sat down to blank pages and nothing would come out. I started to sit with my belief system and thought, “I do this for everyone else. I need to do this for me.” That belief system that I’m not smart was a flashlight shining right at me. I made a list of all the things that were holding me back.

Who am I to write a book? I was not a great student. What am I going to do with my grammar? I had all of these questions in my mind. What’s interesting is as I released them, I felt lighter and lighter. With that, if you were to imagine a highway and your destination is at the end of the highway, my highway was filled with boulders.

BYW 28 Lisa | Status Quo
Status Quo: When you know the WHY of the other people you’re with, you can create better rapport, and rapport is everything because you create trust.

 

As I moved the boulders, all of a sudden, the destination was there. For those people who understand the Law of Attraction, whatever you believe, you would attract. Unconsciously, when I believed that I couldn’t do it, then I was blocking myself. The minute I started believing in myself and I knew at an unconscious level that I could do it because I had released all that, everything started to show up. It was unbelievable. The title In Every Belief is a Lie showed up. As soon as I had the title, this book poured out of me. For five months, I wrote nonstop. I rewrote and edited it, and then I’d go back and read. I’m like, “Who wrote this? This is actually pretty good.”

It literally went right through me. It was a labor of love. It included my own personal stories of my own journey of going through my belief systems and how when I allowed myself to let go of these boulders that were holding me back, I referred to them as lies, my whole world changed. Everything changed. It’s scary because it’s vulnerable. I have a lot of personal stories in that book. You open yourself up to criticism and people saying things, but I felt my make sense is so powerful. It comes through in the book because I love to take very complicated information and break it down so it makes sense. A friend of mine read it and said she wanted to do a review. She’s a psychologist.

She said, “You took all of this information that’s so complex that I learned in the textbook, and you made it simple for everyone to be able to understand.” I was like, “There’s my make sense.” It was what I brought to the book. It’s simple steps. There are exercises in it. What’s interesting is that most people don’t know we’re programmed from the time we’re born.

We have five major brain frequencies. We start out with something called Delta, which is a big wave, and if you think about what babies have to learn. Infants have to learn the language, sound, taste, emotions, feelings, colors, how to walk, and their motor skills. It’s extraordinary. We then move into elementary school. That is another wave. It’s slightly smaller, but it’s what kids learn when they’re in elementary school, all of those things.

They’re absorbing and learning from their teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, any traumas that happen to them, and their religion. We don’t choose our religion, for the most part. We are raised in a family and told this is what our belief is, such as culture. Our cultures are very different depending upon where we come from and also our socioeconomic status.

A money mindset is huge because when people grow up with scarcity, no matter how much they try, they will often sabotage themselves because they don’t believe that people with money are happy. I do a workshop where I show a picture of a mansion, and I ask everyone in the room, “Who here wants to make $1 million a year?” Everyone raises their hand and then I ask them to tell me about the people in the mansion LA.

They’re like, “They hate each other. They’re getting a divorce. Their kids hate them. They can’t afford to heat the house.” Many people have misconceptions about money. To me, it’s an exchange of energy. Our media portrays people with a lot of money as evil as well. We get programmed around these and then people hold onto these unconsciously, and then they sabotage themselves over and over again. Even people with money never feel it’s enough.

They can run themselves into the ground working hard because they’re afraid they’re going to lose what they’ve accumulated. We also inherit beliefs. There’s actually a science called Epigenetics where they’ve done studies. One that they did with mice, where they shocked these mice every time they smelled a certain chemical smell.

They associated the smell with the shock. Their grand pups would run when they smelled the smell without a shock. We inherit those same things. If you have a great, great grandparent that maybe survived the Great Depression, Holocaust, or any trauma, that family trauma gets passed down generation after generation. It runs us unconsciously. We don’t even know that we’re doing it and why we have these fears, phobias, and anxieties.

Whatever you believe, you attract. Click To Tweet

When you talk about releasing beliefs, what is that? How do you do that? If I got this belief, how do you release it?

I have several things. In the book, I actually talk about several different techniques. I’m in the process now because I was so busy getting the book ready. I’m not going to have videos available with the QR code. There’ll be able to go in to release a belief. We store it in our physical bodies. If you think about something that’s irritating you right now, something is bothering you, someone didn’t do something or said something that hurt you, you were to close your eyes, and you can feel it in your body, you can say that’s about a fight.

From there, I ask you to release it using simple terms. Should I let it go? Yes. Could I let it go? Yes. When? Now. When you repeat that, the number will go down until you get to a place of neutrality. When you’re neutral, you can make good decisions. When your decisions are emotionally based, you end up making bad decisions.

The most important thing is that the event that may have traumatized you can’t change what happened, but you can change the way you feel about it. If someone hurt you as a child when you go back and look at that, you’ve already said, “I’ve taken on this belief,” and it’s deep in your unconscious mind that I can’t trust people.

How many times do you know people who were traumatized as a child or abused and then ended up in bad relationships after bad relationships? It’s because that’s what they believe love is or they believe that they deserve that when you release that emotion and look at it from a different perspective. I also do a lot of forgiveness work. Forgiveness is everything. People misunderstand what forgiveness is about because it’s not saying what someone did is okay.

It’s about letting it go. Knowing that it wasn’t about me, it was about the other person. When you go to a higher place, you can say, “That person was doing the best they could with what they had.” They didn’t know any better. Some people may have a hard time with that. I know in my life, the more that I was able to forgive, the freer I felt. The more joy I had in my life, the more things came to me because I was free and open.

It always confuses me a little bit when I try to figure out if I continue to release beliefs that are not serving me. What’s the end game? What am I trying to get to? What is the ideal human, or where are you trying to get somebody to?

When you release a belief that isn’t yours, your own beliefs pop up. I’m trying to think of an example in golf. If you think about it, what happens when you think about where you don’t want the ball to go? It goes there. When you let go, you’re blank, you’re neutral, relaxed, having fun, and you’re focusing on what you do want. Where does the ball go?

Where do you want it to go? What you want to do is focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Too many of us are focused on, “I don’t want to lose money. I don’t want my car to break down. I can’t afford this or that.” That’s creating your own prophecy. You put yourself in that. Does that mean that I never think negative thoughts?

BYW 28 Lisa | Status Quo
Status Quo: A money mindset is a huge thing. When people grow up with scarcity, no matter how much they try, they’ll often sabotage themselves because they don’t believe that people with money are happy.

 

Of course not. I’m a human. I was stressed out of my mind getting my book online, and all these things had to come into play. I had to go for a long walk, but then I go back. I breathe, focus, and release. I then become sovereign or in alignment with who I am, and then I can relax. I know that I’m doing the best I can with what I have for who I am now. My best now may not be the same best as tomorrow.

An example is if someone’s out drinking and they have a hangover, their best is not on Monday or Sunday, the same as it could be on Monday. Everyone does their best at the time. It’s important to recognize that in other people as well because we’re quick to judge others. I always try and go from a place of compassion and see, “What does this person need? Maybe they’re struggling. They may need my help.”

Coming from a place of judgment and reframing is also another thing that I find very powerful. How can I see this from a different perspective? How can I look at this? What’s the gift from this? I often do that when I’m going through a difficult time. I always say, “There’s going to be a gift in this somewhere. I don’t know what it is. Figure it out.”

To me, the hardest part of all of it is trying to figure out what you want. It’s easy to figure out what you don’t want. What do I want to do with my life? All those kinds of questions. As somebody growing up, it’s hard to figure that out. How do you help people figure out what they want?

What brings you joy? When you’re living your WHY, you’re in pure joy. When I’m doing my Challenge thing, it brings me joy. Every single part of my day, from the way I vacation, I buy my car, the clothes I wear, the jewelry I choose, the type of dog I choose, my house, and everything. When I’m in my WHY, I’m in joy. People misunderstand something that’s very powerful.

People think that their purpose is their job or their purpose is to make a lot of money. That brings a lot of unhappiness. It’s like what you do, Gary, you have given a gift to so many people that are in service to others. It was your brainchild, you worked hard, and it was important to you, but there was a reason that you got this out, and this is changing people’s lives. When you think about what you’re doing, does it bring you joy? Does it bring you a better way because you’re a Better-Way?

I couldn’t stop it.

When you are in your purpose, you can’t stop it. The more you eliminate the things that are blocking you, then negative beliefs, the more these new opportunities will start showing up. I’m not kidding. All of a sudden, out of the blue, I was offered a speaking gig in Las Vegas. I spoke in front of all these people, and then I got another gig in Miami.

I was like, “I wasn’t even asking for this. These are things that landed in my lap.” That’s what I want people to understand. The more they release their negative belief systems, the more they release these boulders that are in their way, the more gifts are going to come to them. You also learn to love yourself. I didn’t know what that meant. What is loving yourself? Loving yourself is setting boundaries of taking good care of your physical self, working out, being around people that you love, and learning to say no. That’s loving yourself, setting boundaries, and doing things that truly bring you joy and love. I will tell you that my days at work don’t feel like work. It’s not work. That’s how you know.

Focus on what you want, not what you don't want. Click To Tweet

You’re helping people get outside their box, right?

I try.

It’s the lies and every belief is a lie. It’s the negative beliefs that are keeping you in the box.

Here’s another thing when I talk about programming. Does this even make sense? This is not a political statement. I’m just using it as an example. You have people watching MSNBC, CNN, Fox, and whatever other channels. Are they all getting the same information? Everyone who’s watching thinks they’re getting the truth. Does that make sense? Everyone is getting partial truth, and the truth is missing. You get 60% or 80% of the truth, and we walk around thinking that we know the truth.

We make decisions, live our lives, communicate, and all that is based on the belief that we’re getting the truth when we’re not.

Exactly. I listened to a Native American elder use this story. It was beautiful. He said, “Imagine you have a Blue Jay and a Robin. The Blue Jay is talking to the Robin, saying, ‘Your nest is so messy. Your eggs are blue. How come they’re blue? How could they be blue? How do you feed your babies those worms? I don’t feed my babies.’” How do we judge each other and tell each other that we have to be a certain way when we’re all unique? We all have different WHYs, and everyone is different because of that. It’s important to honor that special thing. We don’t want to be everyone else. It would be a boring world if we were.

I always wonder with people that have the WHY Challenge. When you look back at what it was like for you to go through your childhood and young adulthood with the WHY Challenge, how could you help somebody you know, somebody that age with WHY Challenge struggle? They always are. How could you help them? What would you say to them? What would you help them understand to make it better for them, or would you?

There are two sides to that because I always say that people’s wounds are their greatest gifts. No one knows that pain like you do. When you get to the other side of that, then you know it, you have the ability to work it, and you know both sides. Now, if someone had said to me as a child, “Lisa, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re special, unique, and you think outside the box.”

If I went to a conventional public school, taking tests and exams was a struggle for me. If I had gone to a different school, let’s say a Waldorf, for my story or something that allowed me to work at my own pace and think outside the line, I might’ve flourished. Who knows? I raised both of my children very differently because I was aware of how hard it was to grow up being different.

BYW 28 Lisa | Status Quo
Status Quo: People with the WHY of Challenge and Better Way are visionaries. They see things that other people don’t see.

 

I was keenly aware of what worked well for one child was not going to work for the other. I was very mindful of that. I was not a cookie-cutter mom and always pushed my kids outside the box. My son was not happy with me, but I always tried to find creative ways because he was painfully shy. I found a sports broadcasting camp for him because he loves sports, but he would learn how to do public speaking through sports.

I was always being creative as a parent. That’s the thing with Challenge kids. You need to allow them to have the space to explore because they’re not like everyone else, and they can be very depressed. I don’t know if you’ve done studies on this. I know for me, I had learning disabilities. I’m curious as to how many Challenge people think outside the box and don’t learn in conventional ways.

One of the things that we’ll talk about when you’re out here in Albuquerque is the size of the lane that the different WHY’s need to play in. Your WHY being Challenge is you basically need some guardrails, but they got to be pretty wide. You get to play in that big guardrail as you’re moving forward, whereas, as you mentioned, the right way is not even a guardrail. It’s a line. They want a straight line. They don’t want any of that playing in there. We’re actually working with a school system right now. I’m looking at these kinds of things.

I agree because I had parents that had the right way in them. They were very much like, “This is the way you do things. This is the way you dress.” I would turn around. I went through a period where I was a blonde, brunette, red head, short, long, and curly. I have a bald spot at one point by accident. I was always playing with my hair because it was my way of discovering who I was. It was the only way I could express myself. It was changing my hair constantly to figure out who I was. That was my little of many rebellions.

It’s hard, especially when you mix the right way people if you are a right way parent, and you have a Challenge child or even simplified because Challenge kids can have chaos in their way. Simplify people don’t deal with that very well. This is a fantastic idea from a parenting standpoint if you can start to identify the WHY of your kids. I would have had higher self-esteem and maybe felt more stable and have not gone through the depressions that I did, but at the same time, those depressions made me who I am now and helped me go on this journey. I would have saved my feet a little bit of torture.

There’s so much still to be learned about how to utilize the nine WHY’s the best. You’re somebody that’s going to see something that I don’t see. I know what I know, but people like yourself that come along are going to see things. As I said, I didn’t see or notice things that I didn’t notice. You’re going to add so much more depth and meaning to how to utilize the nine WHYs and the Why.os better.

One of the things that I think about with Challenge and the Better-Way people are they are visionaries. You’re right in the way we see things that other people don’t see. Think about Steve Jobs got fired from his own company and then brought back because when someone has an idea and it scares other people, they don’t understand what the purpose of it is. As a Challenge, and I imagine it as a Better-Way, and I have a Better-Way in me, it’s a challenge to wait for people to catch up to what I see. It’s not better that I’m better than. I see things differently and then my make sense helps me explain it. It’s a nice combination for me.

If there’s a parent reading this right now who thinks they might have a Challenge child, what advice would you give to them?

Give them a wide berth. You got to allow them to do some exploring. You need to set boundaries with them, but also, if they’re in a conventional school and not flourishing, they’re going to need a different environment. It’s also about having a dialogue with them and helping them discover what their feelings are and what they’re going through. As someone who doesn’t quite fit in socially, it’s interesting because now I can go anywhere.

When you're living your WHY, you're in pure joy. Click To Tweet

I am an extrovert and I make friends very easily. I didn’t have that as a child. I didn’t understand why someone would want to hang out with me and what I had to offer. It’s about helping a Challenge child explore what their gifts are. One of the best things my mother did was get me into art because that was something that I discovered I was good at. It gave me something to look forward to in my days.

From a parent’s perspective, it’s scary to think about giving these wide bumpers to a 13-year-old girl or 15-year-old and say, “Why don’t you go ahead and play in this big area here where you can see how easily they could get taken in the wrong direction.”

It’s boundaries too. Give them wide boundaries in the exploration like art. Find something that they are good at or excel at, and then let them go. It’s not as structured. An example of this is my son took an art class in school. He went to conventional public school and he came home with this beautiful lighthouse. He was ten years old. I was like, “I’m going to enter that into a local art show that they were doing.”

I got there and there were ten other lighthouses that looked exactly like it because they were teaching kids to identically copy what they were learning. A Challenge kid would not have done well in that because I would have made all these different colors and everything. That’s what I mean by the wide berth. It is the exploration of being able to use other colors to do something that’s more impressionistic and things like that. Allow them to explore within their gifts.

Last question for you, Lisa. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given or the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?

I wish I didn’t worry as much, I could have trusted my own intuition, and everything was going to be okay. The struggle of not trusting who I was when I was younger, not knowing who I was, and going outside of myself. I gave my power away a lot. I didn’t trust that I had the answers. That caused me to worry all the time and wonder what other people thought of me. Once I finally started to stand in and know who I am, all the worry seemed to go away because everything started to show up, so less worrying and more joy and fun.

If people would love to work with you, find your book, and buy your book, how can people get ahold of you?

My website is PeakPerformanceMindsetCoaching.com. My email is Lisa@PeakPerformanceMindsetCoaching.com. There’s a link In Every Belief is A Lie. Kevin set it up for me. This is why I love having him as my partner and my contribute. You can access the book there or on Amazon. You can go on In Every Belief Is A Lie, and it’s available on Kindle. It’s only $0.99 right now. I have the hardcover as well. If you like it, please leave a review. It helps me. I’m trying to get to bestseller and you can learn all about the WHY’s. It’s in chapter ten.

Thank you so much for being here. I love the title of your book and what you’re writing about. I can’t wait to continue our relationship.

Thank you so much.

I don’t think I’m going to do a Guess The Why this time. I know it’s a little bit long, but thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your WHY, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 and it will take you for half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using. I will see you next time.

 

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About Lisa Schermerhorn

BYW 28 Lisa | Status QuoLisa Schermerhorn is as a transformational leader, award winning speaker and expert in the fields of human behavior, leadership and personal development.  She also trained in the “Winners Mindset” with Bob Reese, the former head trainer for the NY Jets and helped a professional golfer win Golfer of the Year!

Lisa was V.P. of Business Development for an innovative start-up company using virtual reality to help clients with pain reduction, memory loss and stress reduction. As a Certified Hypnotherapist and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), she helps entrepreneurs and high performers get from where they are to where they want to be much faster than conventional coaches.Lisa is also a WHY.os Certified Coach, helping people discover their Why and apply it to their life both personally and professionally.  Lisa recently launched her new book titled – In every belief is a lie.

 

 

 

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Podcast

The WHY Of Contribute: Building Up Your Confidence With Brianne Ligori

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute

 

Do you want to be part of a greater cause – something that is bigger than yourself? Do you want to stand out and not just blend in with everyone else? Do you want to feel a part of and relish the success of your team? If you said yes to those, then you the WHY of Contribute just like your guest today, Brianne Ligori.

Join Dr. Gary Sanchez as he talks to Brianne about her WHY of Contribute. Brianne was always told that she was shy and quiet, but after she found her authentic self, she opened up. She is now the co-founder of Leader Coach Intensive and is the author of Claiming Your TGI Today. Learn how she found her passion in coaching and helping leaders improve. Find out how she found her true joy and how she defines true success. Find your life’s purpose by fully aligning with who you are!

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

The WHY Of Contribute: Building Up Your Confidence With Brianne Ligori

Welcome to the show where we go beyond talking about your why and helping you discover and then live your why. If you’re a regular audience, you know that every week, we talk about 1 of the 9 why’s, then we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why has played out in their life. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about the why of contribute, which is to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. If this is your why, then you want to be part of a greater cause, something that is bigger than yourself.

You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team. You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate and often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations.

In this episode, I’ve got a great guest for you. Her name is Brianne Ligori. She lives and leads from the heart. She believes that everybody can and should live a life of purpose and joy. In her writing and coaching, Brianne is focused on a worldview of infinite possibilities and relentless pursuit of purpose. She sets an inspiring example by standing firmly for living according to her inner truth. Choosing joy, Brianne bravely set aside her dazzling corporate career to follow her bliss, sharing purpose-driven choices with the world.

Brianne worked in the corporate world for many years where she raised the bar in varying roles in sales, marketing, and training. Her desire to help people grow and learn led her to a professional coaching certification through ICF and certified training and development designation. Through coaching and training, Brianne has left an indelible mark on people by igniting their sense of purpose but her more significant legacies to build new coaches.

She put her designation to work in our corporate world by creating an internal coaching certification program, thereby empowering other leaders to leave their mark. Going even deeper, Brianna embraced her emerging passions to touch people more profoundly and launched two new businesses. Brianne cofounded The Leader Coach Intensive, a coach certification program, specifically targeting developing leaders of the future. Brianne is also poised to launch a comprehensive learning program to accompany her inspiring book Claiming Your TGIToday. You can be in awe of how Brianne lives her life with passion and joy, or you can jump into her safe hands and learn how to live yours that way. Brianne, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here, Gary.

That was a mouthful. We’ve got a lot to fall back. Tell everybody, where are you at now? Where did you grow up? Take us back into your childhood and give us a sense of what you were like when you were younger.

You're not shy. You just need to build your confidence. Click To Tweet

I am now in Paris, Ontario. For anybody who doesn’t know where that is. It’s about an hour outside of Toronto in Canada. I grew up in Brantford, so down the road from here. I had a great family, amazing parents, and a close bond with my mom, and still do now. I love athletics, which goes with a profile of contribute. I was a competitive swimmer up until university. I did racing but also did synchronized swimming later in high school. I had lots of fun with that.

As a child looking back, I was always labeled as that shy, quiet child. Looking at me now, I would never think of myself as that. It’s interesting how that path has unfolded from seeing myself as shy because that’s what I was told I was, so I started to become that to now, I’m living my true, authentic self, which is super far away from being shy and having lots of fun getting out there and speaking to people all over the world.

When did you have that revelation that, “Maybe I’m not shy. I am different than what I’ve been told I was?”

It’s quite interesting. It was one specific moment. This wasn’t until after I had my kids. I have twins. This goes back to when they were babies. I had a fantastic manager at the time. It was in the pharmaceutical industry. Her name was Mano. I remember coming back after maternity leave going, “I feel like there’s something else. I want to do something more than my current job.”

I remember approaching Mano and saying, “Mano, I want to try something different, but I’m too shy and quiet to do any of the leadership that is available.” She said, “Put the brakes on. You are not shy. You need to build confidence.” That is exactly what we did together. She supported me to build my confidence, so I was comfortable starting to step into some of those leadership roles. That is when I started to get my stride. I owe so much of where I am now to Mano. I’m so grateful, and I know she knows that. That was the moment. Sometimes these one moments can make such a difference in our lives.

You graduated high school and went off to university. What did you study at the university?

I ended up studying Kinesiology and Health Science. I am one of those girls that didn’t feel like I fit in any of the boxes. Back in the ’90s, it was like you went to school to be a lawyer, teacher, or doctor. For me, I had no clue what I wanted to do. I never felt like I fit into any of those things. Being a leader wasn’t on the list at all. I had no clue. That came later in life. I took something that looked like it looked good on paper. “Kinesiology and Health Science, that sounds cool. I think that might please people.”

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: It’s okay to jump to new opportunities. Grab new skills then go to the next thing. Apply them there, learn some new things, make some things better, and go to the next.

 

I took that program, but it wasn’t in my heart, and because of that, I sucked at it. I got kicked out of my program first year and had to take the full rest of those four years to get back into the program with my cumulative average, so I could graduate from that program. I got that, which was great but it was a grind because it wasn’t who I was. I didn’t know that at the time to be able to label that. I just felt like something was off or wrong. I didn’t feel myself. I then learned a lot through that experience. That’s for sure.

For the regular audience that knows about the WHY.os, your why, how, and what. Right before we started, I had Brianne take her WHY.os, the full WHY.os, so we knew her why, how, and what. Brianne’s why is to contribute to a greater cause as we talked about. How she does that is by challenging the status quo and thinking outside the box, and ultimately, what she brings is a better way to move forward.

When you were talking about, “I don’t fit. I always felt like a fish out of water. I didn’t feel like I knew what direction to go,” that is so in line with the WHY of challenge, and in your case, the HOW of challenge. You don’t think the same as everybody else. You weren’t born to fit in. You were born to stand out and try to fit in. What was that like for you to try to be shy and be the one that fits in?

It was painful. I didn’t get to the place until I was in my late 30s now going into my 40s where I’m truly in myself. For so many years, I wasn’t sure what it was. Everything looked okay from the outside. I was in the cool crowd and got invited to parties and all those things, but when I was doing all of those things and the things that you’re supposed to do, like the rite of passage things, it felt almost sick to your stomach like, “What’s wrong with me?” You start thinking there’s something wrong with you. Knowing some of these deeper pieces around the why is so helpful. It’s putting a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together for me now.

You graduated with Kinesiology and Health Science. Where did you go from there?

I did what everyone you would think I would do coming into kinesiology. I became a gym manager. It was expected of me, and I hated every minute of it. It was terrible. Going around the club and talking to all these people I didn’t know was not for me. Through that, I met a great woman named Paula. She owned an insurance brokerage. She said, “Why are you doing this, Brianne? Come and work for me. Come and do sales.”

I ended up going to work for Paula at her insurance brokerage. I was a sales rep for a couple of years with her. I didn’t love insurance. It didn’t quite feel right there, but I love the connection with people that I was having, and starting to gain confidence in that area. Through that, I ended up getting an opportunity at a medical device company. It was Bayer at the time. I went and worked with them.

The leadership of the future is coaching. Click To Tweet

That was the start of my many years of a corporate career in pharmaceuticals and so many different roles. I had a blast. I had so much fun. I didn’t leave that because I hated it. I left it because I was being pulled towards something different. That’s where I started to get my stride because I was able to show up as who I was, try leadership roles, and back to my why, help people. I was leading teams. I was training coaches to be better at what they’re doing. It’s all making sense now.

Was it fun because you weren’t in a box? Was it fun because you weren’t told what you had to do? Was it because you could choose? What made it fun for you?

It was fun because it was always a challenge. I had ten different roles in those years, looking back at my career. I was jumping every year and a half to two years to a new opportunity so that I could learn something new and try new skills. I would grab those skills and then go to the next thing. I’d apply them there, learn some new stuff, make some things better, and go to the next.

You started coaching, then what called you?

What sparked me to leave the business is that I had this one particular role. It was a coach training role. I created a coach training program for the entire organization, all of the managers at one of the pharma companies that I was working with. Through that, I met my business partner in my coach training business, who is Belinda Clemmensen. I hired her to help me build this program. Sparks flew. We connected like there was no tomorrow.

We had fun because we were creating this amazing program that had never been created before. It was like unchartered territory. As we started to roll this out to the organization and the leadership team, people were like, “You folks are good at this. You should make a business out of this.” At the time, I was still very much in my ego where I was like, “I need to climb the corporate ladder. I need to go to the next role.” I wasn’t ready. I said, “Maybe one day,” but over maybe a 3 or 4-year period, it kept coming back.

People kept bringing this up and saying, “You need to start your own business.” The ultimate moment where I made the choice was when one of the Women’s Leadership groups that Belinda and I were leading at the time said, “We want to become certified coaches and learn from you.” They didn’t give us a choice. It was like, “This is happening.” Belinda and I looked at each other and said, “Okay.” We started building it. We started piloting the program while I was still at my full-time job as if I didn’t have enough to do with two kids. I’d started a couple of businesses on the side. We built that, and then I left my corporate job.

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: Connection happens when it’s human-to-human level. It’s not going to happen when you’re up here and the other person is scared of you. It happens when you’re side by side walking together.

 

What’s the name of your company now?

One organization is called the Leader Coach Intensive. In that program, we train people to either become certified coaches or go into organizations to help their leaders become more coach-like because that’s the leadership of the future as coaching.

What type of coaching is involved in leader coaching? What do you do? What do you work with them on?

We develop their coaching skills. We don’t necessarily do a bunch of executive coaching with them. If they want that, we can. We pull in other people to do that work now. We’re training them to become coaches and build their coaching skills, so they can help their team to be better. It’s connected to my why of contribute. It’s supporting people to be better leaders and be more human in their leadership.

Rather than the old traditional hierarchy like, “If I’m the leader, I’m up here. You’re down here,” it’s helping bring them more to a human-to-human level because that’s where the connection is going to happen. It’s not going to happen when I’m up here and you’re here and I’m scared of you. It’s when I feel like we’re side by side walking this path together. We may have different roles. That’s okay but we’re humans in this together. That’s what we’re supporting people to do in that business.

On the note of what you were talking about there, as far as your why is concerned, another way that I’ve heard people talk about the why of contribute is to be that pebble that causes the wave or the ripple effect that goes on and on in the lives of others. You’re that little pebble that’s helping create this bigger impact. That’s how you maximize your impact.

That’s a great way to look at it.

You don't have to feel happy in a moment to feel joyous. Joy is about knowing who you are and being aligned with that. Click To Tweet

You developed the TGIToday.

My book is called Claiming your TGIToday. That’s my other business. What was I thinking about launching two businesses at once? For some reason, I thought I could do it. It’s a lot of fun. I ended up starting to write this book a few years ago. The way this happened is I was starting to see, myself included, the world in this state of what I call TGIF.

We live in a TGIF society where everybody’s wishing for the next thing. It’s cool to love Fridays. We all do, but it’s when it’s more than Fridays when we’re looking for that next promotion, house, or relationship. Sometimes people even say, “I can’t wait until retirement. I’ll be happy then.” Sometimes that’s 10 years or 20 years away. People are looking for happiness in the future. That’s what I was noticing rather than finding it now. My book is a journey to help people shift from trying to find joy in the future to finding it now because we never know if the future will be there for us.

How do you define joy?

Somebody asked me that. She said to me, “What do you think the difference between happiness and joy is?” I started to dive into that because I thought that was such a great question. Happiness is it’s in those small moments. If I get that promotion, I feel happy for a moment. I went out for a great meal with my family, and I feel happy at that moment, but joy is a deeper feeling. Joy is something where we don’t have to feel happy in a moment to feel joyous. Joy is about knowing who you are, what you want, and being able to live a life that is aligned with that. That is joy to me.

Living in alignment with what?

With who you are. It’s what matters to you at a core.

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: To find joy, you need to find your purpose. Knowing what really lights a fire in your belly. You also need to surround yourself with the right people. Then you have to live at a pace that is right for you.

 

We talk a lot about living in alignment with your why because that’s when you have passion for what you do. In your case, you’re living now in alignment with your why of contributing to other people’s success, and that brings you joy. That’s the lane where you feel at your best, have the most energy, love it every day, do it for free, and probably have many times. I did thousands of why discoveries for free because it was a better way. I couldn’t stop myself. It’s what you can’t stop yourself from doing.

It’s those things. It’s almost like time stands still in those moments. It doesn’t feel like work because you have that passion for it.

How do you go about helping people to find their joy?

The journey in my book is all based on my TGIToday formula. The TGIToday formula is purpose plus people plus pace, and it sits on a foundation of the power of choice. When I was doing a lot of my discovery work around this and a lot of my pilot projects and all of this, we dove into the factors that came together to bring people joy. These were the main ones that kept coming up as a theme. Purpose, we know that. That’s pretty much connected with your why.

It’s, “What am I here on earth to achieve? What lights my fire in my belly?” It’s surrounding ourselves with people that are going to lift us up, support us to find joy, and support us to meet our goals, rather than dragging us down and draining our energy. Next is pace, living at a pace that is right for you. This is one that I’m finding is probably the biggest opportunity for most people. Our lives are busy. We are working often and caretaking for people. We will often have a partner that we’re supporting as well. Maybe aging parents. It’s all sorts of different things. In life, we feel like we have to be everything to everybody.

It can be hard to keep up with the pace and the demands. That’s another key factor that we look at in the book. All of that is dependent on the power of choice. If something in your purpose, your people, or your pace is not lining up with your joy, you have the power of choice to do something different so that you can design a life that you love.

Do you mean it’s up to me? I thought it was up to somebody else.

Success is about taking the time to dedicate yourself to self-reflection. Click To Tweet

It’s all in your control.

If you’re not getting the results that you thought you should, could, and would, you can change that?

You can. Use your power of choice. A lot of times, people don’t realize that. We didn’t get taught that in school. It was always somebody else’s model we were being taught in school. We didn’t grow up in that way. Things are changing now. I’m seeing that with my kids. It’s shifted to a lot more internal. The thing is when we chase this TGIF life, a lot of the things that we’re seeing as success is outside of ourselves, “What’s the next job title? How much money I’m going to have? What’s the relationship I might get? What do people think of me.” All of those things sit outside of ourselves. If we want to shift that inside, we need to relook at how we define success.

That was a huge eye-opening moment for me through this journey. For me, I was defining a lot of my success on all of those great jobs and titles that I had. It could have been part of the reason why I always move in and am shaken in the corporate world. I realized I needed to shift success to mean knowing myself, who I am, my why, my purpose, what I care about, and what lights my fire in my belly. When I know those things, then I can make choices to live by that. That, to me, is success.

How do you help someone define success? That seems like a challenging thing to do because we all have our experiences, parents, or what we thought it was. How do you go about taking somebody to help them define success? It sounds like that’s a very important starting point.

It is. I lead workshops to help teams and organizations to define this. I use the framework of my formula. I take a dive into each of the phases. Those are purpose, people, pace, and power of choice. We start to look at that for each individual and what that means. We use questions. I’m a coach, so you’re going to notice when you see my book. It is all reflection questions. It is a book that you do. Defining success is about taking the time to dedicate to self-reflection.

What I see in the world, and I see this myself when I get busy, is that we don’t take the time to self-reflect and pay attention to the things around us and our inner voice because we are so busy. There is so much noise in our lives. It is about dedicating time. It doesn’t need to be hours. It can be 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, whatever works for that individual. That’s how I designed my book in small bite-size chunks because I found myself as a busy working mom that I didn’t have hours to devote. I know I needed to make a choice to invest and dive deep into what is success to me.

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute
WHY Of Contribute: You need to allow each step to unfold and trust that what’s meant to happen, will happen if you lean into what matters to you. Allow yourself not to get too attached to anything.

 

When you’re talking about taking time to dedicate to yourself, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of time, what do you do in that time? Let’s say I’ve dedicated the next ten minutes to myself. What do I do in those ten minutes?

There are different things you can do. One of the things that I do is get quiet because I believe that we can’t make room for new things to come through if our head is noisy with other things. It’s all of the things that we should do on our to-do lists and all of that. For me, when I go for walks, I don’t take music and podcasts. I’m just with myself. That’s where I get the most creative ideas and insights and, “I love doing that today. I should do more of that.”

It allows me to start paying attention to what I call in my book breadcrumbs. It’s those little tiny signs and clues, those gut feelings, and those things that keep happening like my journey with the coaching program. It allows us to tune into those. The first thing I would do is I would say tune in to almost that gap between the noise of your day because that is where the inspiration is going to come through.

It’s so easy to get schedule every minute of your day full. It’s funny. I even have scheduled thinking time, and half of the time, I still don’t even do it.

I know. It’s the first thing that goes when we get busy and overwhelmed. I hear you on that.

It’s like, “I’ll take the thinking time and do something during that.” Even for tomorrow, I’m looking at it now. Something’s gotten put on half of my thinking time. It’s easy to bypass it then get in the rat race and stay in the rat race.

It sure is. That’s what I recommend. Start with 5 or 10 minutes until people get into a habit of it because to block an hour or two sometimes can be overwhelming to think, “Where am I going to put all my meetings around that?” Starting small is, for me, always the best way as a coach that I would work with some people.

Know that you don't have to know it all now or that you have to have all the answers figured out. Click To Tweet

What has getting out of the corporate world and into the coaching world and the TGIToday brought for you? How has that changed the Brianne from ten years ago to the Brianne now?

My light is on. When I see myself speaking to you, I am overjoyed. You can’t take the smile off my face. I can speak freely, be myself, and feel like that is right, whereas when I was in my corporate job, I was often very prim, and proper, and felt like I had to impress the powers that be and maybe do things that didn’t feel 100% aligned with myself and deliver a message in a specific way that was more robotic because it wasn’t my true self. Now, I am able to fully let loose, be comfortable, and be in the moment. It’s a completely different feeling until you experience it. It’s hard to describe, and I’m sure you’re in this place as well doing the work that you love.

Maybe it would be interesting to see a video of you dancing fifteen years ago and dancing now.

It’s a totally different person. I wouldn’t be so square and awkward. Where now, I let it all hang out.

That’s awesome, Brianne. Here’s the last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The one that’s coming up for me lately is around not feeling like you have to know it all now or that you have to have the answers figured out. There’s a lot of pressure on us in our younger years. I see it even with my kids. Coming out of high school, eventually, I remember feeling like I needed to know exactly what I was going to do. I realized that is not the case at all.

Would I have imagined that I was going to be an author back when I was eighteen years old? Not a chance. I believe that we need to allow each step to unfold and trust that what’s meant to happen will happen if we lean into what matters to us, to our passions, to allow that and not get too attached to anything, and following that success will naturally happen for us.

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of Contribute
Claiming Your TGI Today: A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding Joy Today Instead Of Waiting For Tomorrow

That’s awesome. Brianne, if there are people that are reading that loved your energy and loved what you’re doing and want to connect with you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

It’s my website, BrianneLigori.com, or you can follow me on Instagram @BrianneLigori.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I’ve enjoyed your energy. I’ve enjoyed learning about joy and how you’ve brought that to your life. That you so much for being here.

Thank you so much for having me, Gary.

It’s time for our new segment Guess Their WHY. For this segment, I want to use Johnny Depp. He’s been in the news. He’s got a big trial going on now. We’ve seen him in lots of different movies. I’m wondering what would be Johnny Depp’s why. What do you think his why is? I think his why is to challenge the status quo, think differently, not follow the rules, do it his own way, get outside the box, and not do what is typical.

You see that in his marriage and what’s coming out in the trial if you’ve read much about it. You see that in the movies and the parts that he’s taken. I believe his why is to challenge the status quo and think differently. I want to thank you for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WHYInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 and get it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe. Leave us a review and rating on whatever platform you are using so that we can bring the why and the WHY.os to more people. Thanks for being here. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

 

Important Links

 

About Brianne Ligori

BYW 27 Brianne | WHY Of ContributeBrianne Ligori lives and leads from the heart. She believes that everybody can—and should—live a life of purpose and joy. In her writing and coaching,Brianne is focused on a worldview of infinite possibilities and a relentless pursuit of purpose. She sets an inspiring example by standing firmly for living according to her inner truth.

Choosing joy, Brianne bravely set aside her dazzling corporate career to follow her bliss—sharing purpose-driven choices with the world.

Brianne worked in the corporate world for many years, where she raised the bar in varying roles in sales, marketing, and training. Her desire to help people grow and learn led her to a professional coaching certification through the International Coach Federation and certified training and development designation.

Through coaching and training, Brianne has left an indelible mark on people by igniting their sense of purpose, but her more significant legacy is to build new coaches. She put her designations to work in her corporate world by creating an internal coach certification program, there by empowering other leaders to leave their mark. Going ever deeper, Brianne embraced her emerging passions to touch people more profoundly and launched two new businesses.

Brianne co-founded the Leader Coach Intensive—a coach certification program specifically targeted to developing leaders of the future. Brianne is also poised to launch a comprehensive learning program to accompany her inspiring book, Claiming Your TGIToday.You can be in awe of how Brianne lives her life with passion and joy—or you can jump into her safe hands and learn how to live yours that way.

 

 

 

 

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Podcast

Bringing Psychology To Business: Creating A Healthier Workplace With Jason Cochran

BYW 26 | Business Psychology

 

Do you relish in making the world better, even from behind the scenes? Do you count group victories as personal victories? Do you enjoy being a part of a greater cause, something bigger than yourself? If you answered yes, you have the WHY of Contribute! Just like our guest for this episode. Dr. Gary Sanchez sits down with Jason Cochran, an organizational psychologist and the co-founder of technology companies iAspire and Dulead, both of which are focused on human development. His passion is to help organizations build growth cultures where people elevate to their potential and organizations fulfill their missions in the world. Jason believes he has a lot to contribute, and not selling himself short is an important part of making those contributions. In this conversation, he takes us through the ways he contributes to the world by taking the path of psychology and bringing that into the business world. He talks about creating a healthier work environment through his 4 Principles of Connection framework, which helps people find meaningful work and fulfillment. Join Jason as he tells us more!

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Bringing Psychology To Business: Creating A Healthier Workplace With Jason Cochran

Welcome to the show where we go beyond talking about your WHY and helping you discover and live your WHY. If you are a regular reader, you know that every week, we talk about 1 of the 9 WHY’s, and then we bring on somebody with that WHY so we can see how their WHY has played out in their life. In this episode, we are going to talk about the WHY of Contribute to contribute to a greater cause, add value, or have an impact on the lives of others.

If this is your WHY, then you want to be part of a greater cause that is something bigger than yourself. You don’t necessarily want to be the face of the cause, but you want to contribute to it in a meaningful way. You love to support others and you relish successes that contribute to the greater good of the team.

You see group victories as personal victories. You are often behind the scenes looking for ways to make the world better. You make a reliable and committed teammate, and you often act as the glue that holds everyone else together. You use your time, money, energy, resources, and connections to add value to other people and organizations. I have got a great guest for you. His name is Jason Cochran. He is a business psychologist and the Cofounder of technology companies, iAspire and Dulead, in Indianapolis, both of which are focused on human development.

Fascinated with the exploration of human potential, Jason has devoted his life to building scalable solutions that attract, develop, and retain talent. He also has hands-on experience working with organizations in education and business leading people, change, process, process improvement, and digital transformation in consulting roles.

Frustrated with the shortcomings of failed employee engagement initiatives, Jason created the Four Principles of Connection framework, which is connecting with self, others, role, and the organization, which creates purpose through meaningful employee experiences and addressing the innate needs for why people desire meaningful work in their lives that leads to fulfillment.

His passion is to help organizations build growth cultures where people elevate to their potential and organizations fulfill their missions in the world. He joined Top 10 Global HR Thought Leader, Ira Wolfe, as cohost on the Geeks, Geezers and Googlization show where they interview global thought leaders concerning the convergence of people, technology, and the future of work, jobs, careers, business, and HR. The show is rated as a Top 50 Business Podcast by Thinkers360 and is ranked in the top 10% globally out of nearly 3 million podcasts.

Jason, welcome to the show. 

What an intro, Gary. Thank you so much. I am excited to be with you and your audience.

That was a mouthful. There is a lot to unpack there.

We are going to unpack it really well in this episode because we are going to talk about the WHY, which is at the center of most of what I do, or at least I try to do.

Let’s go back to where you grew up. Tell us a little bit about your childhood.

I grew up in Logansport, Indiana. It is about an hour and a half North of Indianapolis, Rural, Indiana. I had 50 people in my graduating class, and that was not a private school. That was a public school. We were one of the smallest schools in the state. Once I graduated, I went down to Nashville, Tennessee, for college. I became a psychologist. I would have stayed down there. I loved Tennessee, but pretty much all of my family was back in Indiana. I missed them, so I ended up moving back to Indiana and have been doing work in psychology in a lot of different areas since then.

What were you like in high school? Take us into your high school. Were you the guy that was on the sports teams, a guy that everybody came to to help them solve their problems, or the outcast?

I was shy. I was an introvert. What a lot of my classmates would be surprised at now is that I am doing keynote speeches and that I put myself out there to try and help other people because I mostly kept to myself. My wife was the head of the cheerleading squad in the bigger school on the other side of the county. She jokes that the only time I would make it onto the sports field was at halftime when I was playing the trumpet.

I was not a jock either, but the thing that I did well and that most of my classmates would probably say about me was I was a pretty adaptable guy. I hung out with the people who were in the skater clique, the nerd clique, and the band clique. I also hung out with the jocks. Part of that is maybe part of my personality, but part of it too was it was such a small school that most of those cliques had similar people and were in multiple parts of those groups. Those are some of the characteristics that most people would think about me.

If you open yourself up to entrepreneurship to start something that you believe in, it will change you for the better. Click To Tweet

I certainly think about myself as adaptable, but I was also very quiet. The other thing too that is very different about me now compared to who I was then was back then, I was not competitive. My parents would say, “Don’t you want to be valedictorian?” I was like, “No. I am fine with being in the A-B range and being in the 8th to 10th best in terms of academic metrics in the class.”

Now, if I am not number one, I am pushing for number one. That is how I am. I have got that competitive edge, and it is not to beat other people. It is to be the best that I can be because I owe it to myself, to the people that I love and to the world to give the best that I can to try and contribute in the ways that make it a better place.

When did you have that shift? When did you suddenly go from the non-competitive to the guy that is like, “I got to do this at a high level I can’t just blend in anymore.”

2012. It is funny to throw out a specific year number, but the reason I know that is because that is when I went from practicing as a psychologist primarily in educational schools to taking a step forward to becoming an entrepreneur and helping to start some technology companies. At that time, it was the start of the company, iAspire, that I tried to help get up off the ground with my friend, Eric Bransteter, and fellow cofounder.

I liken entrepreneurship to parenthood in many ways. You love it, but the rollercoaster of the ups and downs, the number of times you stub your toes and you think you are losing your mind is crazy. Ultimately, what it does, regardless of whether or not your venture is successful or fails, if you open yourself up to entrepreneurship to start something that you believe in, the end result will change you for the better. I guarantee it if you are open to thinking about it that way.

For me, 2012 was when I took that leap to start iAspire. That was when I started to notice the shift in my mindset of not settling in life. Understanding that there is a lot that I have to contribute, not selling myself short, and making sure that I was doing the things I need to do to make those contributions because if I don’t, who else will? There is only one of me in the world with the unique skills, gifts, and talents that I have in the way that God made me. It is my responsibility to understand those and then to use them to make the world a better place for other people.

You went off to college. How did you pick the path of psychology?

It happened in fourth grade through some personal tragedies in my family, unfortunately. In fourth grade, my grandfather took his life. He committed suicide. At that time, I didn’t know what depression was, but he was going through it. That was my first time hearing the word suicide and even understanding or hearing that people would take their own life. I wrestled with that as a kid. About a year later, my aunt, who was his daughter, also took her life. Early on, I saw those tragedies happen. I started asking my parents a lot of questions about why I didn’t know this type of thing would happen and why is it happening to people I love in our family.

By the time I got to high school, I was like, “I want to take classes in psychology. I want to understand behavior, thinking, mindsets, and emotions.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, but I was curious about it and I wanted to learn more, so then when I went to college, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist. It was going to be the way that I was going to try and make a great contribution to the world to try and help other people.

BYW 26 | Business Psychology
Business Psychology: Working for a toxic boss or work culture can put a strain on your health.

 

After that, what ended up happening was a pretty circuitous path. I started in educational psychology working in schools to create healthy school cultures. Now, what I do is I work with businesses applying the same types of principles and systems that we put in place and processes, but it is on the business side of things to make sure that the employee experience is the driver that you are focusing on until you have the type of culture you need to have as an organization. That is a little bit behind why psychology gave me an initial interest as a field of study and then why I am doing what I am doing now.

It is to have a bigger impact. I know you took the WHY.os Discovery, which told us that your WHY is to contribute to a greater cause. How you do that is by making sense of complex and challenging things, and ultimately, what you bring is a trusting relationship where others can count on you. You can sure see that play out in the path that you took. You wanted to have a bigger impact. You jumped into something very challenging, which is mental health, and figured that out as much as you could. You then became the trusted source for others to rely on as you went through school. Now, you are taking that into the business world.

For me, there are two other people that are a big part of the story as to why I am doing what I do, and that is my sister, Kim, and my father, Richard. My dad had a job that he didn’t like, but he did it because it put food on the table. It was strictly a transactional thing. I saw him do that for a long time. Unfortunately, with the chronic stress of that type of work, when you eventually get to the end of the rainbow, you think, “If I can get through retirement, it is okay. I don’t need to enjoy what I do. It just needs to provide for things.” If you do that long enough and work for a toxic boss or a toxic work culture, it can put a strain on your health or your mental health.

Unfortunately, by the time my dad got to retirement age, there were a couple of years there where his quality of life was good in terms of being able to do the things he used to be able to do, but then quickly, a lot of the health challenges started coming up. Part of that is related to the amount of stress that he went through for quite some time. My sister was an HR professional and she worked for a company that was very challenging in terms of ownership. She got to a point where she was like, “This isn’t suiting me anymore. I am going to go ahead and retire early,” so that she can go ahead and start taking care of her grandkids.

I looked back at the experiences they had with work. I know that part of my contribution, to put it in simple terms, is I want to help make work not suck so bad for so many people or that so many work environments are toxic that isn’t helpful. That is what I am on a mission to try and do through the various ventures that I am a part of, and also, toward the future too.

I have four sons. The oldest is eight, the next one is four, and then the youngest two are twins. They turned two this 2022. I am thinking about the future too. I am thinking I want this to be a world where work does make up a healthy part of your identity. It does matter beyond just being something transactional but you are doing work that makes you feel fulfilled, brings meaning to your life, and helps you grow as a person. It is also healthy for your other relationships and forms a healthy aspect of your identity too.

Why should we say it shouldn’t be that way when it is one of the biggest parts of our life?

I agree. We have made excuses for too long when it comes to working environments. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard people say, “It is just to pay bills. Work should be work and home should be home.” We have made these excuses for work to say, “I just need to get through it. It is okay for it to suck.” I don’t think so. When we make our best contributions in the world, it is when the organizational environment isn’t sapping your soul when there are basic pieces in place that make you feel appreciated and make you feel recognized. That is what led me to create the Four Principles of Connection.

I was frustrated with what I saw organizations were trying to do because employee engagement levels haven’t moved for many years. A big part of that is because organizations were looking at it as, “What can we do for our people in order to squeeze more out of them?” Instead, that needs to be flipped on its head and be, “What do we need to provide for our people?”

We make our best contributions in the world when the organizational environment isn't sapping your soul. Click To Tweet

Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that makes them feel safe and secure, gives them the resources that they need so that they can do some incredible work, and deliver value for internal and external stakeholders. I like to solve complex problems. To me, we have overcomplicated a lot of people’s strategies.

The Four Principles of Connection is all about creating experiences for employees where it helps them better connect with themselves, with others, and with a role that fits their strengths, and then help them connect to the mothership or the organization, at a high level, then you are not only providing value to your employees. You are also providing value to your external stakeholders as well because you are not churning and burning your talent.

What did you learn in working with students and schools that allowed you to make the jump into business? They seem like different animals, but maybe they are not.

Here’s the thing that I saw that was similar. There ended up being a lot of decisions that are made at the top that are then pushed down below. What I mean by that is in schools, oftentimes, teachers would say, “I can’t understand why Billy isn’t doing this in the classroom.” Have you ever asked Billy? Have you ever asked him for his input as to why he is doing X behavior and what it is doing for him and why he is not doing what you want to do?

Typically, what would happen in schools if I were the teacher is, I would be like, “Billy’s got a problem because he is getting under my skin.” What I am going to do is I am going to meet with the principal, some other teachers, a psychologist, and his parents. I am going to meet with everybody but Billy and we are going to come up with a plan as the adults as to what we want Billy to do, and then we are going to make him do it with carrots and sticks.

A famous psychologist by the name of Ross Greene came along in the ‘90s and said, “If you want to solve most of your behavior challenges in schools, you need to use collaborative problem-solving. The most important person at the table is the person who is struggling with the behavior.” Everybody wants to do well. Nobody wants to do poorly. If you don’t have Billy at the table being an active stakeholder in that participation in his own behavior, you are going to fail.

The leap to business is for too long, we have been doing things to employees instead of with them. We are at a remarkable point in history because of the labor market and the challenges of finding the right talent. The leadership in many organizations that have had a modus operandi of, “We are fine with turnover,” are starting to rethink things and think, “In this concept of employee experience, employees are our first customers.”

Every day, they are asking whether or not they are bought into the organization, culture, brand, solutions, and offerings that are going out to the marketplace. You can’t help your customers if you aren’t helping your internal customers first, which are your employees. For me, that was where I saw the parallel. There was way too much, especially at the top of leadership, coming up with things behind closed doors among leadership and saying, “This is what we think and the direction we are going to head with not enough buy-in and input from the frontline folks who, many times, are the ones closest to the real problems that the organization is trying to solve.”

Why does this seem so obvious and so much common sense? How the heck did we get so far off track?

BYW 26 | Business Psychology
Business Psychology: The most important person at the table is the person who is struggling with the behavior because everybody wants to do well.

 

It is a lot easier to hop in and solve things yourself. I don’t know about you. I’d love to hear your perspective on this. I can tell you, as a husband, many times, my wife reminds me my job needs to be to listen and not necessarily to always jump to conclusions, think I know the solution and give her the solution to the problem. The tendency for us most humans to jump to solutions is because that is a lot easier than it is to sit, be empathetic, understand things, take a while to think through them at a metacognitive level, and sort through them than it is to take the time to run focus groups and do interviews to understand the problem.

It is a lot easier to behind closed doors or in a vacuum and come up with solutions that you think to what the real problem is. That is why businesses often get themselves in trouble. It is because it is much easier to come up with solutions than it is to take time in the problem analysis step of problem-solving to dig in, listen to your people, figure out what’s going on, and put the puzzle pieces together to solve the problem.

If you get a call from a company that is struggling with culture problems, losing employees, not being able to hire, and not being able to move forward like they want to, what do you do with them? Take us through your process.

One of the first things I want to look at is the values of the organization. Something that I have learned from a lot of Dave Orrick’s teachings is when it comes to values, many times, those are formed from the inside out. In other words, they are like, “This is who we want to be,” but they also need to have this aspect of values, and who they are as a company needs to come from the outside-in. That means they need to interview the customers whom they are trying to impact and serve, and the value they are trying to deliver for them.

If you are only coming up with values internally, then you are missing a big piece of what drives your business forward, which is ultimately delivering value for your customers and those stakeholders. For me, I always want to take a look at the values first. If they are written in flowery language but it is not clear to me how I, as an employee, would need to do behaviorally in terms of my behaviors to live out integrity at Acme Corporation, that is where we need to start first.

There needs to be an understood codification of values and behavioral terms written so that people know what success looks like. I have found that is pretty much the first step with any organization I have partnered with in getting some clarity around. The values are the behavior that people understand as opposed to the flowery language that is on a poster.

There are two things there. Firstly, Can you define values for us? Secondly, give us an example of what you are talking about.

Values are sets of principles that are important for people to live out. For example, I listed one of integrity. A behavioral indicator that I like to say of integrity is one, do you follow through on what you said you are going to do? If you made a promise to another employee, to your boss, or a customer, did you follow through on delivering what you said you were going to deliver? At this concept of integrity, we are going to move it down a level to a description and say, “Integrity for us at Acme Corporation means you need to follow through on what you have promised to a customer, another employee, another staff member, or your boss here at the organization.”

At the end of the day, people can only remember so many things. What I have found is the more that you drill down and don’t have any more than about 3 or 4 values in your organization, most people are going to be able to remember those, especially if they have spaced repetition. Those things are being practiced and rehearsed, and also reinforced and celebrated.

Employees are our first customers. Click To Tweet

People need to be nominated and recognized whenever they are living out those values. When those things are modeled and you consistently reinforce those, that is when people go from having an intellectual understanding of what integrity means at Acme Corp to, “I know this is the thing that I need to do when I am in this situation and there is tension. I know what I need to do behaviorally because I know that integrity means I need to follow through on what I promised I would do for that other person.”

What I am hearing you say is companies need to have their values the way have them, but then have them defined in behavioral terms so that people know what it means. You said integrity. I get it. Everybody’s got integrity written down somewhere, but what do you mean by that here at Acme?

That is exactly right. One of the things I have learned from some communication experts is as many of us would like to think we are really good at communication, we aren’t very good at it at least in terms of communicating with the other person leaving and feeling like they have clarity around what they are supposed to do. Internally, we may feel like, “I did a good job of telling that person what’s expected and what needs to be done,” but what you did there is a perfect example. You did a reflective listening and questioning technique. You said, “If I am hearing you correctly.”

Those simple little steps to clear up the communication is so important, and that is where codifying the values and moving it from the flowery language to, “Here are three examples behaviorally of what it means to live out integrity.” Those are the things that people will eventually know, understand, and be reinforced for. That is how you are going to get your values lived out in the organization in a way that matters, and ultimately, that makes sense to them.

Do you find that most companies articulate the same values? Are there the same three values that keep showing up over and over with all the different companies you work with or are they all over the board?

There is a top three, and those top three would be Trust, Integrity, and Service. At least in the work that I do, those are the three that come up the most often. What’s interesting is that can be expressed in some different shades. There is one degree of separation from another for each company. In terms of what that is mostly landing on, it is landing on the same types of concepts that the company believes are important. Not only internally, but to make sure that they are delivering the appropriate value to their external stakeholders.

Now you have gone in. You have looked at the company values. You have seen that maybe they weren’t, but they are written out in behavioral terms so that it is clearer exactly how we behave based on these shared values. What happens then?

We got to reinforce them and we have got to do it in what I call Spaced Repetition. What I mean by that is this can’t be something that we do once a month. It has got to be something that is done on the regular or maybe once every couple of weeks. The reinforcement piece is if you have any type of award or recognition program, I highly recommend that you either align it to living out the values in your organization or you come up with a separate one specific for living out the values because it is important.

What you are going to do is you are going to have this recognition program that says, “This week, we want to nominate and recognize people that we have seen do something that relates to living out integrity. As a reminder, here are the three behavioral characteristics of what integrity means at Acme Corporation. Let’s nominate and celebrate people that you have seen do that.”

BYW 26 | Business Psychology
Business Psychology: Businesses often get themselves in trouble when they think it’s much easier to come up with solutions than it is to take time in the problem analysis.

 

You need to consistently do that and make sure that you are reinforcing to people that they are being caught in the moment and celebrated and appreciated in ways that matter to them. It is not the way we want to recognize and appreciate them, but ways that they want to be shown appreciation and recognition for living out those values. That is critically important.

This is something that has got to be consistently done over time. Whenever you bring somebody new on staff, you need to make sure that they are being reinforced at a certain cadence as well for living out those values. That is how you get people pulling in the same direction. That is how from an organizational behavior perspective, you get people focusing on the right behaviors, and ultimately, how you develop habits over time.

This isn’t something where you say, “As part of orientation, you are going to hear about our values. We have these posters that are on a wall.” The way that you do it from a behavioral perspective is you got to practice, model it, and reinforce it, and you need to be doing that on the regular throughout the year with your people.

Eventually, what’s going to happen is those things are going to become more automatic processes for people. They are going to know it like the back of their hand, and that is what you eventually want so that whenever certain situations come up and they are wondering, “What should I do?” More times than not, they are going to have the answer in their heart and in their head of how they should handle a difficult situation because they know what it means to live out integrity at Acme Corporation.

As we look at your WHY, how, and what of how do we have a bigger impact and how do we solve the challenging problems we are facing, the third critical piece to that is how do we preserve and enhance relationships? How do we create trusting relationships? How do we trust each other? What part of a company or a successful organization do you think do relationships play, especially trust in the relationship?

It starts with leaders being open, honest, real, and authentic. Here’s what I mean by that. We are going to get into the mental health aspect if that is okay. This is important. For too long, many people have felt like they can’t acknowledge the mental health challenges that they have. In fact, most of the time when we even mention mental health, people think of it in a negative light. It is no different than physical health. We are all on the spectrum somewhere of mental health, whether it is more toward the positive end and having a really healthy lifestyle when it comes to our mental health or toward the other end of struggling and maybe even possibly having some mental illness.

We have a problem with stigma in this country regarding mental health. I share with leaders, “One of the quickest ways that you can build trust with your people is to acknowledge challenges you have, whether it is with mental health, in your job, or in relationships that you have. People do not want to work for a robot or with a robot. They want to work with someone that they think comes to work and has flaws, faults, and hang-ups like they do in life too.”

If you are a leader and you think that your people think you are perfect, I got news for you. They know you are not perfect. They might be able to point out your faults better than you know them yourself. I always encourage leaders, “Make sure you are getting feedback on how you can be doing better, not just in terms of business operations, but as a human being. How can you do a better job of creating those connections?”

When we talk about trust, the first thing that people are looking for when they are thinking to themselves, “Do I want to follow this person? Do I value their opinions? Do I feel connected to them? Do I feel like I can be who I am around them and be vulnerable?” The only way they are going to do that within a business relationship is if the leader takes that step first. I often encourage leaders, “You don’t have to share everything, but you need to be able to share and open up on those challenges.”

One of the quickest ways you can build trust with your people is to acknowledge the challenges you have. Click To Tweet

The reason that leaders struggle with this, in particular, is because they are used to having the answers. They are high achievers. Typically, they wouldn’t be the leader in an organization without being very successful. There is this concept of, “Don’t show your faults. Don’t talk about those.” It is very important when you are trying to build a culture of trust with your people where they are going to feel like they are respected, heard, and seen for who they are.

It is important that leaders model that first and acknowledge their faults, admit the times that they were wrong, or talk about the things that they are challenged by. Don’t just share that with your inner circle. You need to share that with everyone to build a connection with everyone because that is what they want to do. They want to connect with you at a high level.

When we talk about building trust in an organization, it is important to define what trust is. What’s as equally important is those behaviors we say that show how we are being successful at living out trust, leaders have got to live that out. One of those things is by being open, honest, and moving beyond certain stigmas that leaders often have of thinking, “I can’t share my faults and the things that I am struggling with.” You can. Your people want you and expect you to do that, and that is how you build trust.

I have heard this a lot. I have heard leaders of organizations say things like, “I have tried all this connecting and being vulnerable stuff. All that has gotten me is a lot of extra stuff I got to deal with it but all I want is someone to get the job done.” It has added a lot of drama and trauma to the work that they have to deal with in order to get the same process done. I have heard this over and over by people who have tried the EQ and all this other stuff and said, “That all sounds great on paper, but I want this moved from here to here. I don’t want to know all that other stuff. I want something done.”

I want to add to that or hear your perspective on how you think that will affect the rapid automation or movement toward robots and having a workforce that is a robot versus a human. I know that is way out there, but it is coming fast. I heard this speaker when I was in Florida that is an AI expert. He owns a robotics company. He was saying that it is coming faster because employers are tired of having to deal with all the extra stuff. I would love your perspective on that.

The first thing we should consider is there is probably a little bit of context. Certainly, there are going to be jobs that are replaced by automation, and they should be replaced by automation. For example, a fry cook-type thin. I have seen restaurants in California that already have automation and robots that are rotating fries and doing stuff like that, but we need human beings working on delivering value as in solving complex problems. We are using our higher-order critical skills and not doing mundane, repetitive work. Those things should be automated.

When you think of the executives you referenced and certainly the ones I have heard from when they are talking about frontline employees and maybe dealing with some of this stuff of getting into the vulnerability, I certainly understand if you are running a fast-food restaurant that maybe some of those things aren’t necessary because the job itself by definition is very rote and mundane. You know that it is going to be high churn. It is probably not a destination employer-type job where someone sees themselves staying there doing that type of job for a long time.

When we talk about other types of work where we are solving complex problems, that is where you better make sure as a leader that you are developing those core relationships, because otherwise, you are going to struggle to get the top quality Millennial and Gen Z talent moving forward. There is a high expectation from those specific talent pools to work for companies that care about them as a person, and that is not going to change. They will go find another gig or start their own business. They have come up with very creative alternatives for what to do outside of working for your company if you are not showing that you value them.

I agree with you that when it comes to the rote, mundane type of work that is very repetitive and simplistic, that is going to be replaced by automation. You probably don’t need to spend a tremendous amount of time banging your head against the wall investing in vulnerability programs. However, for organizations that are trying to deliver stakeholder value or solve very complex problems in the world, you are going after the top talent in order to solve those things.

BYW 26 | Business Psychology
Business Psychology: People want to be valued and respected by their employers. And that means all of who they are.

 

One of the drivers, whether they like it or not, is people want to be valued and respected by their employer, and that means all of who they are. One of the people on our podcast is a Gen Z futurist. Her name is Danielle Farage. She shared something with me that blew me away. She said that bad leaders and bad companies can no longer hide from the talent pool when it comes to Millennials and Gen Z. She said, “We have eyes and ears everywhere.”

Before they even go in for an interview or consider putting in an application to work for your company, behind the scenes, they are going through all of their networks. They have very extensive networks because of the social media platforms they can get from Glassdoor and all of these other sources of information about the company. They are doing their homework before they come in to understand who the leadership is and what the company is beyond what’s posted on the website. They are doing the nitty-gritty of reaching out sometimes to some of the employees that work inside the organization and asking, “What’s it really like to work there?”

This is the way that the talent market is going to be. You must follow through on the employer brand. If you think some of this stuff is fluffy and kumbaya, I get it, but I don’t think you are going to have any fingers of blame to point at anybody else if you are struggling to get the talent when it comes to Millennials and Gen Zs. It is because these are the type of workplaces they demand now. This is why we are seeing a rise in certified B Corp or ESG. Quite many of the companies that are focusing on those kinds of concepts are outperforming other companies that are focused on traditional capitalism concepts in the S&P 500.

We have the data to show that this is how people work best and contribute best. We also have the research that shows 90% of business value is in your people. That is what drives the value of the business. If you aren’t making sure that you have the right practices, supports, and strategies in place for people and what they also expect from their employer, then you run the risk of not having anybody left to boss around and tell them to do their job anymore.

I love where you are going. This is the last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever been given or that you have ever given to someone?

The best piece of advice I ever got was from my mom. This was when I was in middle school. She said, “There are going to be a lot of people you love in your life, but you have no business being around,” and that has been true. I don’t know if you resonate with that or if your audience does, but there have been so many people I have cared about and I have had some amazing experiences with. In the end, if I am trying to live out my WHY and stay true to that, sometimes it meant ending certain relationships or friendships. That has been one of the best pieces of advice that I ever got.

If there are people that are reading that want to connect with you, follow you, learn more about you, or hire you, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

The best way is on LinkedIn. I don’t think there are any other Jason Cochran’son LinkedIn. I am also the Cofounder of Dulead and iAspire, so you’d be able to see in the profile that is the right person. LinkedIn is the best way to connect with me. You also can check out the company, Dulead.com. It is an automated employee experience platform. Learn a little bit of the work I am doing there. The other company is iAspire, which is used in education to help support and nurture healthy cultures. You can go to iAspireApp.com to learn about the work we are doing there as well.

You also have a very popular podcast.

90% of business value is in your people. Click To Tweet

That is right, with Ira Wolfe. The name of the show is the Geeks, Geezers and Googlization. We bring on experts like yourself. You are going to be coming on with us in a few weeks or months. We talk about the future of work and adaptability, and what it is going to take to thrive in this never-normal world, not just simply survive. I got that on LinkedIn. You can also go to Geeks, Geezers and Googlization.com to check out the website for the show too.

Thank you so much for taking the time to be here. I love what you are doing and want to support what you guys are up to.

It was an honor. Thanks for having me on, and thank you to the readers for reading.

It is time for our segment on Guess Their WHY. For this segment, we picked somebody famous or somebody that is new to the news and try to figure out what we think their WHY is. In this episode, I want to use Justin Thomas, the golfer. Justin won the PGA Championships. He had the largest comeback in the history of the PGA Championships. He tied it. He was eight strokes back at one point and then came all the way back, and won it in a three-hole playoff.

If you know who he is, you have seen his picture, and how he interacts with his family and friends, you’ll find what I believe is that his WHY is to contribute to a greater cause, add value, and have an impact on the lives of others. I am basing this on how I have seen him interact with Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was is his idol. He got to meet him and now, he is one of his best friends. It is also the way that he shows up for his buddies when they are winning. He is right there with them. When they win, he is there at the last hole to congratulate them. You can see that he wants to contribute to other people’s success.

Thank you so much for reading. If you have not yet discovered your WHY, you can do so at WHYInstitute.com. With the code, Podcast50, you can do it at half price. If you love the show, please don’t forget to subscribe below and leave us a review or rating on whatever platform you are using so we can bring the WHY and the Why.os to a billion people in the next couple of years. Thank you so much for reading. I will see you in the next episode.

 

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About Jason Cochran

BYW 26 | Business PsychologyI’m an organizational psychologist and the co-founder of technology companies iAspire and Dulead – both of which are focused on human development. Fascinated with the exploration of human potential, I’ve devoted my life to helping organizations create healthy work ecosystems that create value for internal and external stakeholders.

Frustrated with the shortcomings of failed employee engagement initiatives, I created the 4 Principles of Connection ™️ framework (connecting with self, others, role, and the organization) which creates purpose through meaningful employee experiences – addressing the innate needs for why people desire meaningful work in their lives that leads to fulfillment.

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Podcast

Challenging The Status Quo And Standing Out In Business With Scott McKain

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo

 

What does it take to stand out in this hypercompetitive world that we live in? In this episode, Scott McKain joins Dr. Gary Sanchez to share how he is challenging the status quo and helping others do the same. Scott is a globally recognized authority on how organizations and professionals create distinction to attract and retain customers to stand out in the marketplace. He exudes his WHY of Challenge as he shares valuable insight on different ways you can magnify your uniqueness in a way that serves other. Tune in to learn more from Scott with lessons from his best-selling books.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Challenging The Status Quo And Standing Out In Business With Scott McKain

Welcome to Beyond Your WHY where we go beyond talking about your why and help you discover and then live your why. If you’re a regular reader, you know that every week we talk about 1 of the 9 whys and then we bring on somebody with that why so you can see how their why is played out in their life.

We’re going to be talking about the why of challenge, to challenge the status quo and think differently. If this is your why then you don’t believe in following the rules or drawing inside the lines. You want things to be fun, exciting and different. You rebel against the classic way of doing things. You have eccentric friends and eclectic tastes. After all, why would you want to be normal? You love to be different, think different and you aren’t afraid to challenge virtually anyone or anything that is too conventional or typical for your taste. Pushing the limit comes naturally to you.

I’ve got a great guest for you. You’re going to love this guy. His name is Scott McKain. He is a globally recognized authority on how organizations and professionals create a distinction to attract and retain customers and stand out in a hyper-competitive marketplace. Scott’s book, ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction, was named on Forbes.com as a top ten Best Business Book for 2018. The first edition of his book, Create Distinction: What to Do When “Great” Isn’t Good Enough to Grow Your Business, was named by 30 major newspapers as 1 of the ten best business books of the year.

Scott’s expertise has been quoted multiple times in USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and International Herald Tribune. His commentaries were syndicated on a weekly basis for over a decade to 80 television stations in the US, Canada and Australia. He’s appeared multiple times as a guest on Fox News Network. Arnold Schwarzenegger booked him for a presentation at the White House with the President in the audience. Scott played the villain in a movie named by esteemed critic Roger Ebert as one of the 50 greatest movies in the history of cinema directed by legendary Werner Herzog.

With a client list that represents the world’s most distinctive companies like Apple, SAP, Merrill Lynch, BMW, Cisco, CDW, Fidelity, John Deere and hundreds more. Scott McKain was honored with the induction along with Zig Ziglar, Seth Godin, Dale Carnegie and twenty more in the sales and marketing Hall of Fame. After thousands of presentations in all 50 states and 23 countries, he was honored with membership in the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame. Scott, welcome to the show.

Thank you. I got to make sure my wife listens to this so she can hear all that good stuff about me there. It’s great to be with you. I appreciate it.

This is going to be a lot of fun. I have been looking forward to interviewing you. Where did you grow up? What were you like in high school? Take us on your journey to bring everybody up to speed on how you got where you are now.

I grew up in a rural community. I’m from a small town, Crothersville, Indiana. It’s about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. Our claim to fame in our local area is the bigger town in our county, Seymour, Indiana. I was born in the hospital in Seymour, Indiana. When John Mellencamp sings, “I was born in a small town,” I love that because I was born in the same small town. John is older than I am but he played all of our dances and everything in high school. It was a great place to grow up.

I remember when I was in high school, there was a basketball game where John Mellencamp played the dance after the game. Larry Bird played against our team. We went home to watch David Letterman do the weather on local television. Diane Sawyer was doing the weather on another station that we got. Fuzzy Zoeller won the golf tournament that weekend at another competing skill. I’m the failure out of the bunch. It was an incredible time and place to grow up.

My family owned the only grocery store in our small community. I stocked shelves and waited on customers. Right before my fourteenth birthday, the manager of the local radio station in Scottsburg, Indiana, another nearby community, offered me a job. It wasn’t because I had a good voice or a pleasing personality. He thought if he hired the kid of the grocery store owner, they’d buy more commercials. On my fourteenth birthday, I started working full-time at the local radio station.

My high school years were filled with a combination of working at a job and I also got involved in a student organization, FFA. At that time, it stood for Future Farmers of America. Today, it’s FFA. I became a state and national officer of that organization in the two years after I graduated from high school. By high school time, I look back on it and there’s a part of it that I wish I would have tapped the brakes a little bit and enjoyed the experience a little more. I got the chance to do a couple of things that were outside the box in terms of working in an environment where I was working with adults. I was the only kid doing that. Also, getting into a student organization was important.

Let’s talk about that. At fourteen years old, you were working for a radio station. Were they putting you on air?

Yeah. In the morning, I would do the foreign markets before I went to school. As soon as I got off school either my mom would drive me until I got my driver’s license or I would drive. I got out of school at 3:00 and went on the air at 4:00. I was on the air from 4:00 to 9:00. I would try to get my homework done during the songs. I would work there in the morning and night.

I pulled a shift on the weekend. I was working 40 hours a week and being involved in the student organization. I was competing in all the contests. I loved it. I look back on it. When my friends get together and they talk about all the stuff they did during high school, I was like, “I wasn’t there when you guys were doing that. I was at work.” It also led to a lot of the great things that happened to me later on in life. No regrets.

Let’s talk about that. The radio station is where you learned to speak. You’ve got a killer voice. Did you learn the voice or was it already your voice? How did you develop such a great voice?

There are a couple of answers to that and one is FFA is where I learned how to speak and not radio. What I learned from the radio is you had to have something to say every time you turn the mic on and it had to be condensed and it had to make sense in a short period of time. It helped me more in terms of thinking about how to make my point than it did in terms of speaking where it helped in terms of my voice. I look back now and realize that I was training it and didn’t even know it.

The ideas that were striking were the ideas that were unique or different. Click To Tweet

Remember the first time you heard your voice on a recording and how different it sounded off a recording than it sounds in your head? I had headphones on for 5 or 6 hours a day. I constantly heard my voice. When you’re fourteen is when your voice is changing. As my voice was changing, I was constantly trying to drive it down so I would sound like an adult and not like a kid on the radio. It wasn’t that I sat there and intentionally did it. I look back now and realize it might be part of it. My dad had a band and sang and all that on the weekend. My dad had a beautiful singing voice. I can’t sing but maybe some of the genes in terms of vocal quality came through.

You developed your voice through the radio station. Tell us about FFA because a lot of people are not familiar with that. What was that? How did you compete in FFA?

FFA is a unique organization because instead of being an extracurricular activity, it’s inter-curricular. For example, I took a course in agricultural sales and service that was in our high school. When we’re talking about that, the way that you learned was also to compete in a contest against folks from other schools. You would make a sales presentation and you would speak. There were public speaking contests.

I remember the summer between my eighth grade and freshman year going to Purdue University. I was sitting next to the last row and was hearing the speaker. It was the first time in my life that I realized there was more to life than Southern Indiana. Not that there’s anything wrong with Southern Indiana. It’s a great place to live in. I love it and I go back all the time. I was never exposed to what my horizons could be until that point. Something I’ll always be grateful to FFA for is giving me the privilege of seeing what life could hold.

You would travel around and compete in sales presentations or speaking presentations. What were they?

Both. I did everything from prepared public speaking contests where you work on a seven-minute speech and you deliver it and then you have to answer questions to parliamentary procedures where I would chair a meeting of other chapter members. Judges would throw you tricks of parliamentary procedure and how well did you as the chairperson handle that. I did livestock judging where you would have to go in front of judges and say, “I place this particular cow over this particular cow for these reasons.” You had to talk about how you would justify your thinking and how you justify your reasoning.

One of the interesting things I loved about that competition was you were graded to some degree on how accurately you placed in the class but what you were graded on is, how did you convince the judges of the logic of your thinking? Particularly, if you disagreed with their positioning, why? I loved that. I love that you don’t have to match everybody else’s thinking as long as you could be persuasive, interesting and accurate in why you made the choices that you made.

You had a ton of training on speaking, presence and being different from a young age.

The month after I graduated high school, I was elected state FFA president, which meant I put college on hold for a year to do nothing but travel and speak in Indiana. It’s a bad way to put it but it’s like being the Miss America of agribusiness. Every farm bureau meeting, every Corn Growers Association meeting, you were there to represent young people who had an interest in agribusiness. The following year, I was elected as a national officer. It was another year but, only this time, it was international travel representing the future of agribusiness.

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
Challenging The Status Quo: It is not just doing more communication, but how to drive narrative through our communication.

 

The other interesting thing was that I was not from a strict production background. A lot of the other folks came from huge farms. I had to justify why my difference was a positive thing and not a negative thing because it was different from the tradition of the organization at that particular time. That was a great growing and expanding experience as well because there was some pushback on, “How did this guy get this office?” That was a time of change in the organization when it was not going to be future farmers but future people involved in business and that business could be agriculture.

By the time you were 20 or 21, how many speeches had you given?

At least 1,000. Your average day was three high school assemblies, three service clubs and then a parent member banquet. Different audiences and different groups. Also, by the time I was 21, 22, I met in the Oval Office with the President. I had a personal meeting with the chairman of General Motors in the boardroom in Detroit. It wasn’t about me. It was about the respect and engagement they had with the organization. It’s hard to imagine having those experiences by that particular point.

What would you say was the biggest thing you learned from doing 1,000 speeches by the time you were 21?

What I learned was there was a particular aspect of the audience. The old joke was that it could have been an old yellow dog. If it helps the national FFA office, there will be people there to listen to it. I wanted to be interesting to my audiences. What do you have to say at 21 years old that adults are going to want to listen to?

I started making a list. I would ask the business people in the audience the most important thing that made their business successful. What was that? I would be able to say, “Last night at Ottumwa, Iowa, Bill Smith, who runs the local grocery store said, ‘This is the most important thing he’s learned in business.’” One or two things would happen either people would write that down or somebody would come up and go, “I got a better idea.”

You spend two full years accumulating this type of material. Now I could say things of interest to an adult group that was great information because it was from successful people but it was also practical and not solely theoretical. These were the things that these small business people were doing that made a difference.

For example, this was the first time I heard employees come first not customers. If you treat your employees right, they’ll treat your customers right. I started talking about that in the early ‘80s and people would write that down. No one was out there saying that. Somebody came up to me after a meeting and they said, “If people always say the customers are always right, they’re not. If you treat your employees better than you treat your customers, they’ll treat your customers great.” Those were the things that helped me be of interest to adults.

The ideas that were striking were the ideas that were unique and different. If somebody said, “We open every day at the same time,” big deal. It’s when people would say things that I would go, “I’ve never heard that before.” I would share that with my audiences. Behavior rewarded behavior repeated. When I would share unique, out-of-the-box ideas with audiences, they would respond more enthusiastically and more dramatically than if I was sharing platitudes.

We are chosen for our differences, not our similarities. Click To Tweet

By 21, you had not started college yet. Now you’re off to college. Where did you go to college? What did you study in college that led you to your first business?

I went to a small college in Central Indiana, Franklin College, for a primary reason. The guy that owned a radio station I worked for also owned a radio station in Franklin. He said, “You got a job.” With my family’s situation, I was going to have to work my way through school. All my buddies went to Purdue or Indiana University. I’m in between the two campuses at Franklin but I had a job. The funny part was I got so many requests to go give a speech. I pay my way through college more speaking. I had to leave the radio station because I was doing so many speeches.

Political science was my major. My goal at that time was that I was going to go to law school because that was something where I thought I could stand, speak, do trials and that kind of thing. Also, my grandmother’s sister, my great aunt, was a legal secretary involved at one of the big dynamic law firms in Indianapolis. I visit her and think, “This is cool, the big city and lawyers.” I learned along the way that was not what I wanted to do. That was the initial goal.

You graduate from Franklin College and then what happens to you?

The college offered me to go to work for them. I was a little older than the typical graduate. Also, I had all these experiences. This is such a weird combination but they offered me to be the Director of Public Relations and Annual Fund, which meant I was in charge of raising the cash gifts for the college and I was in charge of the PR for the college. They would let me speak a little bit, not a lot but they were okay with me doing some speeches on the side.

This is the funny part of the story, they offered me $12,000 a year. Honestly, at that point in my life, I thought, “How could I possibly spend $1,000 a month?” I couldn’t imagine it. I made more money than I ever thought. The previous year’s fund had raised about $240,000. I raised under $800,000. They offered me a raise to $13,000 a year. I thought, “Higher education is not for me at this particular point.” It gets back to what you were saying earlier, it didn’t fit in. I didn’t like the rules. They were like, “Percentage-wise, you’re getting this great raise.” I don’t think like that. That wasn’t with me.

You leave Franklin College. Where do you then go?

A radio station offered me. They knew that I was doing a lot of speaking. They knew of my previous work in radio. They said, “If you want to build your speaking business, we’ll put you on in mid-days. If the speech is in Indiana, you get off work early enough. You can drive anywhere in the state and make your speech that night. If you have a speech elsewhere, we’ve got somebody on staff that can pitch in for you. You can take as many speeches as you want.” It was the perfect thing because it gave me a solid income while I was building my speaking business.

At this point, I’m 27, 28 years old. I’ve developed my own philosophy. At the same time, I’m doing more of, “Here’s what I’ve learned. Here’s what I’ve heard from these experiences that I’ve had that are unique for somebody my age.” It was reporting on that more than my own philosophy and my own beliefs simply because the audiences were twice as old as I was at that particular time. That was how I could backdoor my philosophy and was using the quotes and knowledge that I gained from talking to so many interesting people.

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
Challenging The Status Quo: ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Ultimate Level of Distinction

 

What I was going to ask you next is, what could you possibly be speaking about at that age? Now that makes a lot of sense. For curiosity’s sake, what did you get paid back then to do a speech?

When I was in college, it was a couple of $100. I remember one group in Iowa, it was a farm co-op. I drove to Iowa and they gave me $200. They drove me to the edge of town and filled up my gas tank. I thought, “This is the best. This is cool.” I still have the contract. There was a speaker’s bureau that got interested in me, McKinney Associates.

I still have the first contract and it was from Kentucky Farm Bureau for $250. It was even in the contract, “Scott is able to join you for dinner.” I got to eat dinner with him. It was $250. I remember one speech I gave in St. Louis and after it was over, the head of the company stood up and said, “You were worth twice what we paid you.” I raised my fee to $500. I’ll remember that forever.

You started speaking. Have you been speaking nonstop since then?

Yeah. Something I find such great interest is companies would say, “What does it take to buy your brain for a year, to put you on retainer for access?” I talked about the ultimate customer experience and we own the trademark on that term, the federally registered trademark on ultimate customer experience. It helped us train and teach our people how to do that. We’ve developed coaching and training programs for those content areas. For me, the love of this is the keynote presentation.

You started writing books. What was your first book?

There’s an interesting story behind that. It’s called All Business Is Show Business. You mentioned the movie. That was because of one of these little speeches I gave. Werner Herzog, the director, this is early in his career, happened to be there doing a documentary. He was filming the group I was speaking to. We met and he called when I was a senior in college and asked if I wanted to come act in this movie. It was on Turner Classic Movies. It was such an incredible experience.

The first book came from FFA asking me to come back and speak at the convention, which was such a great honor. I’d been in FFA for years. They asked me to come back for my tenth-anniversary convention and be one of the keynote speakers. There are 20,000 people in the audience. Zig Ziglar was one of the other speakers. I didn’t know Zig. I met Zig through the National Speakers Association. I get to the hotel and check in. My wife is with me. There’s a message at the front desk, “Would you like to go to dinner tonight? Here’s my room number. Call me, Zig.” I’m like a Little League shortstop and Derek Jeter said, “Do you want to go get a bite to eat?” I can’t believe it.

We get to dinner and Zig says, “Scott, I was looking and I couldn’t find your book.” I said, “Zig, I’ve never written a book.” Zig Ziglar said, “I haven’t either.” My wife and I looked at each other. We got eight on the shelf. “What do you mean?” He said, “I get up every morning and I write three pages. After about six months somebody says, ‘Zig, you got a book.’” He smiled at me. It was a great a-ha for me. Writing a book seems so daunting of a task. I could get up the next morning and write three pages. That became the first three pages of All Businesses Is Show Business.

Distinction means you have pursued your uniqueness in a way that has significance for those groups that matter most. Click To Tweet

The reason I brought up the movie was the local television station in Louisville heard about the premiere of the movie and heard about all this. They asked me to do an interview and the news director came out and said, “We’re looking for a movie reviewer. Would you like to do that?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’d love it.” An executive with a syndication company saw it. He was in town for the Kentucky Derby. He happened to see it in his hotel room and syndicated me to 80 stations. Now I got to do all these junkets and interview celebrities.

The next phase of these interviews was the opportunity to ask Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and John Travolta, “Why did you become successful? There are a million actors. What separated you from the pack?” I’m fascinated by that. What creates uniqueness in the marketplace? What creates distinction? That and some other things that happened in my life led me to make the focal point of what I do. What does it take to stand out in this hyper-competitive world that we live in?

How many books do you have? Go through the titles so that everybody can learn about your progression.

The first one was All Businesses Is Show Business. The philosophy of that book was that what I was seeing in show business was creating these compelling, emotional experiences with the audience. You got to remember, this was years ago. It wasn’t talked about then. The term experience, customer experience or employee experience wasn’t being discussed. I would see these movies doing this with an audience and thought, “What business doesn’t want that?” That was what the philosophy of that book was.

The second was What Customers Really Want. There were gaps between what businesses were offering and what customers were looking for. I surveyed thousands of customers and reported on that. The third was called The Collapse of Distinction. Why do organizations fail to stand out? The fourth one was Create Distinction. It took that idea to the next level. The fifth one was called 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry. It was a cab ride that I had. I was telling this story in a speech. I was keynoting Express, the clothing store in the mall. They put it on YouTube and it instantly got 150,000 views. McGraw Hill saw the video and asked me to write a book about it. That was pretty cool.

Was that about, 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry? Was that the guy’s name, Terry?

Yeah. It’s a signature story in my keynote speeches about this amazing cab driver. How do you differentiate a cab? They all look the same. They all do the same Uber. It’s disrupting the business. How do you stand out in that world? This guy in Jacksonville, Florida found the ways, a system to do it. It was my observations on what every business could learn from a cab driver that is out there and being distinctive and making a difference.

How did he do it? Let’s get to that last title.

ICONIC is the next one and that’s been the biggest. Forbes was so kind about it. American Express sent all their platinum card members. It says something about it. It’s been nice. A new one that is completed but has not yet been released is called Ultimate Customer Experience. It’s a departure for me. There would not be a single thing you would learn by reading this book. It’s things you already know.

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
All Business is STILL Show Business: Create Distinction and Earn Standing Ovations from Customers in a Hyper-Competitive Marketplace

In nowadays environment, it’s the things that you would want your frontline employees to know. All my other books are pitched toward entrepreneurs, leaders and executives. This is the first one I’ve ever done. A bank buys copies for the senior executives and then they may give them to all the branch managers but you wouldn’t give them to a frontline teller. Ultimate Customer Experience is what you want to make sure that the frontline teller reads. It’s the things they need to know about delivering on the front.

It sounds like the theme that goes through all of them is how do you stand out? What did you learn from writing these books? What advice or what do we need to know on how to stand out? I know you can’t give us seven books’ worth in the time we have.

There are four cornerstones to distinction and it begins with clarity. You have to know exactly what your uniqueness is. Strangely enough, we tend to run from our uniqueness. In Australia, they call it the tall poppy syndrome. If you’re unique, you’re the first poppy that gets chopped down. There’s so much in our culture and business that encourages us to be like everybody else. We got to be clear about where our differences are.

An important aspect here is we’re chosen for our differences and not for our similarities. No customer ever says, “I love doing business with them. They’re exactly like everybody else.” I didn’t propose to my wife by saying, “Marry me. You’re like every other woman I’ve ever dated.” We’re chosen for our differences and not our similarities. You got to be specific and clear about what those are.

The second is creativity. What are you doing that’s unique? What are you doing that’s different? It’s not just different to be different. Part of the point of distinction is something that matters to the people that you’re involved with. If I slap every customer in the face, I’m different but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to grow my business. It’s creativity.

The third is communication. We look for narrative. We look for a connection. Through that connection, we build the trust that is essential nowadays. It’s not just doing more communication but it is how we drive narrative through our communication. The fourth and final one is customer experience focus. It’s constantly asking ourselves how does it feel to do business with us?

There are external customers, the folks that spend money with us. There are internal customers. That’s how we look at employees. They’re your internal customers. You have to serve them with an experience as much as your external ones. What’s the ultimate experience that somebody could have working for us or buying from us? When you go through those four cornerstones, you find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Define distinction for us.

There are three levels. The first level is sameness. Let’s take it from an external customers’ perspective. I can’t tell the difference between you and your competition. If you owned a dry cleaning business and you get my shirts done on time and at the same price, everything’s the same. Sameness is what drives commoditization. If I can’t tell any difference, the only thing I can do at that point is maybe cut my price and then customers will like that. It’s a dangerous place but it’s where a lot of businesses are.

An asset is something you invest in. It's something you nurture. An expense is something you seek to control and minimize. Click To Tweet

The second is differentiation. They say, “Here’s where we don’t do it as our competitors do.” The challenge with that is we’ve worked with so many businesses that say, “Here’s what makes us different.” You then survey the customers and it doesn’t matter. Because your logo is blue instead of green, it doesn’t mean the customer thinks you’re different. Distinction means you have pursued your uniqueness in a way that has significance for those groups that matter most.

There are a lot of restaurants in Indianapolis and I can’t tell the difference between one or the other. There are some that are different. They have a uniqueness about them. St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis is distinctive. It’s distinctive in how they treat their employees. It’s distinctive in what they do at the meal. They’ve got a shrimp cocktail sauce. My buddy, Jay Baer, calls it a talk trigger. It’s something that you got to tell everybody about. Here’s a steakhouse in Indianapolis that has higher revenue than Tavern On The Green in New York City. How does that happen? It is because they have found a way to be remarkable and distinct that they attract. To me, that’s what my business should be about and every business should be about.

It was about pursuing uniqueness that matters. You got to know your client then.

You do. That’s part of a lot of discussions I have as well. What does your client want? One of the lines I hate in businesses is, “We’re going to exceed customer expectations.” I say, “What does your customer expect? How do you see that expectation that you’re unaware of? What if they expect you’re not going to suck? You’re setting the bar high there, aren’t you?” There are these platitudes that we say. Many times, I don’t get it. They have no meaning. It’s saying the sky is blue. Your competition wants to be below customer expectations.

What should the term be? What would be a better way for companies to talk about that? You know what they’re trying to say but they didn’t say it in a way that made sense.

We are going to connect with our customers at such a level it will ensure repeat and referral business.

Much better.

If I exceed your expectations, it assumes I know your expectations. If I say, “What I’m going to do is going to be so good that you’re going to come back and buy more and you’re going to tell your friends about us.” All of a sudden, to me, not only is that a better way of phrasing it but it’s also measurable. Now I can say, “What are our retention statistics?” Now I can say, “How much referral business are we acquiring?” If we’re not getting repeat and referral business, we haven’t hit that target of being unique and compelling that we’re driving the results that we desire.

Tell us maybe another example of one that has been able to do that. Are there any examples that you can think of? Maybe a company that wasn’t doing that and then started doing that.

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
7 Tenets of Taxi Terry: How Every Employee Can Create and Deliver the Ultimate Customer

One of the case studies in the book ICONIC is the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. I did a lot of work with those folks. They were absolutely wonderful. What we did was break it down. It’s not just saying, “Our resort is going to be distinctive.” How do you do that? What’s the distinctive front desk experience? What does that look like? What does that feel like? Experience is about feeling.

One of the things that they did that I thought was brilliant was, for people who travel a lot, every front desk is the same, every experience is the same. Now they have a guy that takes care of two Golden Retrievers that are in the lobby area when you walk in. The Golden Retrievers wag their tail when they see you.

Golden Retrievers are sweet. They want you to give them a little pat on the head and that is unique. You keep layering on to that. Now, the Golden Retrievers have names, Bigsby and Griggs. They kept building on to that. You go in the room and when they’re doing the housekeeping at the end of the day and leaving the chocolate mint on your pillow, there’s a little thing with a paw print on it saying, “I won’t be curled up by your bed. I hope you two get a good night’s sleep.”

They then took the next step. They’ve got coloring books so that the mom or dad traveling could pick up the coloring book about the dogs and say, “This is where I stayed. Color in this.” The mom stays there on a business trip and then brings her whole family back the next trip because the kids want to meet the dogs and all of these things that are going on. That’s distinctive.

We also did, what’s distinctive housekeeping? What’s a distinctive gift shop? What’s a distinctive property? One of the things that they created was a wave tech pool there so that you can, in the middle of the desert in Arizona, surf the waves of the pool with a sandy beach and everything else. It’s an amazing place and amazing property. It all began with, how do we approach this differently? Yes, there are rules. If I go to the front desk, I got to get a key. I got to get checked in. I got to leave my credit card so you get paid. Why don’t we have to make that such a similar experience to everybody else? Let’s figure out how we make that unique. To me, that’s exactly what it’s about.

It feels like they’re going in the opposite direction in Las Vegas. You and I met in Las Vegas. The hotel we were at had almost the exact opposite of that. Did you happen to go by the front desk? What did you think of the experience of having nobody at the front desk, nobody to talk to, waiting in line to get your key and check in? Personally, I didn’t like it.

I didn’t like it either. That’s a hotel that’s competing on price. I don’t think that’s a good place to be in business nowadays. You and I were both there for one reason, the convention was there. The other thing is if enough people would say to the folks holding that convention, “The meeting was a great experience but the property where you had it isn’t. It’s not congruent.” If enough people would say that to them, I’m sure they’d take it out and move it someplace else. It’s too competitive now to be average. That’s the only reason I stayed there. I wouldn’t go back. Here’s the thing, it’s not like it was terrible. It was average.

The room was nice.

The room was nicer than I thought it would be based on how inferior the check-in experience was. That’s the other thing. Years ago, Jan Carlzon, who was then the President of SAS Airlines, one of his mantras was everything matters. If you’re a passenger on the plane, you drop the tray table down, it’s dirty and it’s got a coffee stain there, he said, “We look at it as, ‘We should have wiped that down better.’” The customer says, “What if you take care of your jet engines the same way you’re taking care of the tray?” I’m sure that the managers of those hotels sit there and go, “Our rooms are pretty good.” I thought, “The room is going to be a dump because look at how bad the check-in experience is going to be.” I was pleasantly surprised with the room but I’m still not going back.

Culture is the feeling of engagement that you get internally within any organization. Click To Tweet

Something simple. I love that story about the Scottsdale Princess because that makes you think about, “What little thing could I do that would make such a big difference?”

You’re exactly right, Gary. Where a lot of businesses slip up is that they think it’s going to be some hugely capital-intensive infusion that has to come to make this enormous difference. What would have happened if, in the same space we got checked in, they had enough people staffing it? Also, what if they would come around from behind the desk like they do at other properties, hand you the key and say, “We are glad that you’re here with us. Enjoy your experience. Is there anything else that we could do?” Even, “Here’s a bottle of water.” It’s less expensive to do that than it is to remodel the rooms again.

It doesn’t take this huge capital outlay. That’s where our message dovetails so well. It’s about understanding yourself and your why and then exploiting it. My friend, Larry Winget, always says when he uses that word in the best way, “Exploit can be both positive and negative.” It’s exploiting and leveraging that to its maximum potential.

I have a question for you. There’s a company that comes to mind for me. They have spent a fortune on having all the right stuff there but they’re struggling with, “How do I get my team to create that distinctive experience? How do you get your team up to speed, engaged or connected to it to make the difference?” If the team doesn’t do it, you’re dead in the water.

It has to begin with the CEO. It has to begin with the leader making that job one and not just giving it lip service. I’ve been at so many meetings where the CEO gets up and says, “People are our greatest asset,” and then they treat them as an expense. An asset is something I invest in. It’s something I nurture. I want it to grow. Expense is something I seek to control and minimize. Leaders get up and say, “You’re our greatest asset,” and then they go back to the office and think about, “How do we make sure that these people work 38 hours a week? They’re not working 40.” You can’t have it both ways.

To me, where it begins is that the CEO or the business owner in a small business has to say from the beginning, “This is the most important thing, our culture.” If you think about it, all the customer experience is the outward expression of your internal culture. If it’s not right on the inside, it isn’t going to be right on the outside. That’s where the tools that you have become incredibly valuable because it helps everybody attain their potential, which is the first step of a supportive positive culture. We’re here for the growth of everyone.

How do you define culture?

I’m asked that a lot and I always think of what Potter Stewart said about pornography, “I know it when when I see it.” I mean that in a different way. Culture is how it feels. That’s not precise. There are some places that, even as a customer, you walk in and you feel, “I had a feeling about the hotel that we were in. It’s from the way the valet parkers treated me as opposed to other properties.” Seeing that long line to check in but not enough people work, there are many different things like that.

You can tell internally they beat their people out. I didn’t see many people smiling and happy to be there like I see in other places. It’s overused and cliche but most of the people I encountered that work at Southwest Airlines are pretty happy working for Southwest. You don’t have to tell me that they have a positive culture. Their people show it by the way that they deal with customers. You don’t have to tell me that that hotel probably has a pretty rotten internal culture because they show it by the way they treat their customers. For lack of a better term, it’s the feeling of engagement that you get internally within any organization.

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
Challenging The Status Quo: Understand yourself and your why, and then exploit and leverage that to its maximum potential.

 

Is that more in line with what your last book, The Ultimate Customer Experience, is about?

Absolutely. Even ICONIC talks about the importance of the five iconic factors. The fifth one is reciprocal respect. That’s one of the things that’s difficult in organizations. The leaders want respect but they don’t think they have to demonstrate it in the other direction. Respect is reciprocal. To use as an analogy, think of a personal relationship. If I’m committed, you’re the only person in my life and the person I’m directing that to thinks, “We’re dating. We can date around.” It’s not reciprocal. That relationship isn’t going to work.

If I’m dating around and you’re sticking around, we’re great. If we have a significant relationship but we haven’t decided if it’s a fully committed one and we’re both on the same page, we’re great. When the relationship gets in trouble is when the level of commitment is not reciprocal. Why wouldn’t that be true in business? The same thing is true with customers. Businesses say, “We want loyal customers.” What are you doing to reward me for my loyalty?

Scott, last question for you. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given or the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

There was a mentor of mine in the speaking business named Grady Nutt. Unfortunately, Grady was killed in a plane crash coming over from a speech many years ago. Early in my career, he was a mentor of mine. I admired him so much that I tried to sound like him. I tried to be him. It wasn’t that I was trying to rip him off or anything like that in terms of material or style. It was sincere admiration to the point of adoration.

Grady took me out to lunch and said, “I am flattered by how much you obviously like what I do. If you’re trying to be the next Grady Nutt, the best you can hope for is second place. You got a corner on the Scott McKain market. Your job is to learn from me and other speakers and other people that you admire. Your other job is to be the best Scott McKain you could possibly be because that’s something that no one else can be.” To this day, the best advice I’ve ever received is not to run from my uniqueness and not to be content with being like everybody else. It doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with being somebody else. It means that the world is a better place when you and I and all of us be the best us that we can be.

It’s right in line with your why of challenging the status quo and thinking differently.

I hope so. I want to be aligned. Congruence is important.

If there are people that want to connect with you, follow you, know where you’re speaking and come to your next event, how should they get in touch with you?

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status Quo
Challenging The Status Quo: The CEO or the business owner in a small business has to see from the very beginning that the most important thing is the culture.

 

The best way is to go to my overall website, which is ScotMcKain.com. There’s information there on all the services that we provide and all the things that we do with our team spread across the country. If anybody wants to follow that, I would certainly appreciate it.

Scott, thank you so much for being here and taking the time. I look forward to staying in touch as we move forward.

Same here, my friend. I appreciate you. By the way, thank you for letting me take the assessment. That’s profound. It’s cool. That knocked me out. Thank you.

Thank you. Have a great day.

You too.

It’s time for our segment, Guess The Why. For this episode, I want to use Chris Rock because he’s been in the news a lot. What do you think Chris Rock’s why is? He was on stage where he got a slap across the face for telling a joke about Will Smith’s wife. It made me think about what would Chris Rock’s why be.

I learned a little bit about his childhood and how he was the small kid that got picked on all the time. He was different. He was unique. He didn’t fit in. That made me think that probably his why is to challenge the status quo and think differently, to think outside the box and to do things differently. He was forced to do that, he did do that and that’s been his why. What do you think Chris Rock’s why is? I’d love your opinion.

Thank you so much for reading. If you’ve not yet discovered your why, you can do so at WhyInstitute.com. You can use the code PODCAST50 and you’ll get it at half price. If you love the Beyond Your Why show, please don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review and a rating on whatever platform you’re using. I will see you next episode.

 

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About Scott McKain

BYW S4 25 | Challenging The Status QuoScott’s matchless experiences have continued throughout his life. They range from playing the villain in a Werner Herzog film that Roger Ebert called one of the 50 “great movies” in cinema history to being booked to speak by Arnold Schwarzenegger for an event on the White House lawn with the President in the audience; from being the author of business books named among the “year’s ten best” to membership of multiple Boards of Directors.

The tapestry of Scott McKain’s distinctive experiences have blended to create the inimitable content that makes him one of the world’s most in-demand business experts and speakers.