Chris is joined by Robin Blanchard, author, speaker, and executive coach. The discussion focuses on Servant Leadership, the importance becoming a Servant Leader, and common misconceptions of this leadership style. Robin also overviews the topic of Situational Self Leadership. What is Situational Self Leadership? Hit play and join the discussion.
We are honored to have Lynn Sheurell. She is internationally known for her ability to accelerate clarity for entrepreneurs who want productive and profitable results. As a business strategist, she translates her clients’ challenges and opportunities into inspired action to live and work beyond the bounds of reason, break through inertia and generate fresh results.
Communication is both a science and a fine art. Here to help you better understand its mechanics is Matt Abrahams, a passionate and innovative coach.
On today’s podcast:
- There is no right way to communicate
- Public speaking as a potential threat to our future
- How to prepare for a talk
- How to tame anxiety
- The trap of procrastination
- Have a goal-driven, structured approach
There is no right way to communicate
Communication has to be at the foundation of our leadership toolbox if we aim really high.
Matt teaches leaders how to be comfortable with themselves when it comes to their communication. Many people don’t feel comfortable doing presentations or speaking up in meetings, but that can be changed.
Many people also feel that when they are communicating they are performing, that they have to do it right. In fact, there is no right way to communicate. There are certainly better or worse ways, but if you put the pressure on yourself to do it right, you’re actually undermining your ability to do it at all.
We perceive speaking as a threat
We tend to see speaking in front of others in high-stake situations as threatening. It’s a threat to our potential future. For instance, entrepreneurs are afraid that they will not receive funding or support.
A lot of our anxiety around speaking is the threat that we feel from the potential negative future outcome.
Many people, because of their perceived inability to communicate effectively, feel that they are not as worthy or as valuable as other people, even when they have fantastic ideas.
How to prepare for a talk
What can you about it? You can start by saying:
- I have interesting and valuable information to share.
- It’s not about what I want to share, it’s about what others need to get. The audience-centric approach focuses on the needs of the people you’re communicating with and it can really help you get out of your negative space.
Preparation is key to feeling confident. When it comes to preparing a high-stake communication, you have to figure out what your goal is. A goal has three fundamental parts:
- Information – what do I want my audience to know?
- Emotions – how do I want them to feel?
- Action – what do I want them to do when I’m done?
Take the time between now and when you’re presenting and divide it in half. The first half is preparation time, the second half is practice time.
How to tame anxiety
You then have to learn how to manage the anxiety you feel. You have to take a two-pronged approach:
- Managing the symptoms of anxiety
- Managing the sources of anxiety
Many of us when we present, we blush or we perspire because we’re nervous. It’s an automatic result of our blood pressure going up. We can reduce the sweating and blushing by simply holding something cold in the palms of our hands.
There are lots of sources of anxiety. One is feeling evaluated. If we could do something to distract our audience’s attention, then we can feel better. For example, if we start a meeting by taking a poll or showing a video, we can take the attention away from ourselves and we can put it on whatever that activity is. In doing so, we also get to engage our audience.
The trap of procrastination
Many of us procrastinate because we don’t like feeling anxious. It’s easier to just put things off. In reality, it just makes them worse.
The insidious part about procrastination is that it builds in an excuse. If you have a major presentation coming up and you delay preparing it, and then you give it and it doesn’t go well, you can always say to yourself “If only I put more time in.”
If you want to fight procrastination, first, create a plan and stick to it. Second, publicly commit to that plan. Also, give yourself a reward every once in a while if you’re sticking to the plan.
Have a goal-driven, structured approach
So how do you know if your message was successful? Ask yourself “Did I accomplish my goal?” Having a goal-driven approach provides you with a way to assess success. After the communication, you also need to reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
Structure is very important. Any effective communication needs to be structured. Matt’s personal favorite structure is the “What? – So what? – Now what?” structure.
In this structure, you define what it is you’re talking about, then you provide the reason why your communication is important, and finally you talk about the next step, the approach you want people to take.
This week I am joined by bestselling author and speaker Christine Perakis. Christine talks about her experience with Hurricane Irma and how it shaped her leadership and business skills.
On today’s podcast:
- Leadership lessons to be learned
- We should never be complacent
- Mistakes are made for learning
- Learn to have tolerance for uncertainty
- The four roles of leadership
Leadership lessons to be learned
In everything we do, there are leadership lessons to be learned. More often than not it’s the failures and the mistakes that really help polish us.
On September 6th, 2017, Christine was alone in her home in the British Virgin Islands, which got hit by the biggest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic base. It was the second largest weather event in the history of recorded weather and it destroyed everything around and left them without infrastructure, running water, electricity, you name it.
Christine had done all the preparations from her training before the hurricane, and she discovered she felt a sense of complacency. She had weathered other hurricane seasons before and her home, in particular, was very well protected. She thought that she was so well protected, that she spent the day before helping others.
We should never be complacent
Her mentality in approaching preparation was the mentality of a boat captain going offshore who has to be fully functioning and self-sustaining.
She soon learned the things she didn’t do well. She didn’t have a satellite tracker nearby that would have allowed her to communicate by text and email, and she didn’t have her VHS radio close, which used to be her main source of communication with the community when the telecoms were down.
Despite her initial sense of security, she soon found out that complacency can kill. That’s also true in business and leadership. We should never allow ourselves to become complacent.
Mistakes are made for learning
When all hell broke loose, she was alone in her home. She didn’t know anyone else on the island who was alone during this hurricane. Two weeks later when they were hit again, she made sure that she was with her community. You learn from these experiences.
In conflict and in disaster, it’s important to be with your team, and not just by yourself.
Christine had to be mindful during the whole time while she was stuck in her house because she didn’t have anyone to talk to and there was no distraction. She spent a lot of hours writing down what she was learning every moment in order to make sure that she would never go through this experience the same way again.
Learn to have tolerance for uncertainty
Christine discovered seven key leadership skills through her experience. The most important of them is tolerance for uncertainty and adversity. That’s being able to view challenges as opportunities.
This is a critical cornerstone to coping with any situation: learning how to live in a rhythm that you can’t control, which is pretty much every day when you’re an entrepreneur.
Christine chose to commit and devote everything she had to the community’s greater good. This sense of purpose helped her move in a direction. She had a vision for what needed to be done and then started doing it.
The four roles of leadership
She really learned how to best use her resources. It’s a skill set that most of us don’t ever have to think about, unless we’re starting a business or if our survival needs aren’t met.
She realized that there are four roles of leadership:
- The passive role: that’s people who expect a designated leader to take over and give them what they need. They usually sit back and hope for the best, and are unwilling to assume a leadership role of their own.
- Active leadership.
- Peer leadership: being able to help your friends and your community in what they need.
- Self-leadership. What in me has to grow so that I can be a functioning member of this team, culture, society, or business?
Exercising flexibility and being willing to step into each of this roles is critical to survival, to thriving, and to having a successful business.
This week I have two amazing guests: Danny Creed and Craig Marshall. Together they are on a mission to help entrepreneurs make the most out of their ventures. Join us for a truly inspirational talk!
On today’s podcast:
- How to deal with everyday stress
- The benefits of meditation
- Nevermind your failures
- How to be comfortable with yourself
How to deal with everyday stress
Danny works with a lot of executives and entrepreneurs, and he realizes that now that we have access to technology 24/7, most of us think that we should do everything. One of the first steps in professional relief of stress is to organize your day.
If anybody tries to sell you time management, run. You have to learn to prioritize the things you need to do and then manage your time accordingly.
A German philosopher once said, “Never allow the most important things in life to be at the mercy of the least important things”.
For thousands of years, yogis have known that most of us think, on average, about 1000 thoughts an hour. The goal of yoga is to slow things down so that we can go deeper and think more creative thoughts.
Yogis developed very simple breathing techniques. When you meditate, your heartbeat slows down and your thoughts slow down as well.
Nevermind your failures
Danny’s philosophy on a mistake or a problem is that it’s a failure only if you don’t learn something from it.
Danny’s four-step process to overcome your failures is:
- What happened? Be very honest and don’t point any blame at someone else
- Why did it happen?
- How will it never happen again?
- See you later aka move forward and don’t look back
It’s not a big deal to reframe our challenges if we really understand the need to look at them from another level.
We are all creating our own reality. Our thoughts are turning into things, so it’s really all about focus. If we frame something as a failure, we’re going to get more of it. It’s a spiral and there is no happy ending to an unhappy journey, as Craig likes to say.
We all have inner self-talk. Through meditation and mindfulness practices, we can reframe who we think we are.
Most people live a “circumstantial life”: they believe that once they get all their ducks lined up they will be happy. When we’re at peace, we draw all the circumstances we want.
How to be comfortable with yourself
We’ve been trained to give the easy answer instead of the right answer in life. Danny asks people “Do you live your life in survival mode or possibility mode?”
The Life Success Chart is a pie chart broken down into nine areas of life that Danny and Craig use. They ask people to put a dot in every one of these slices. If you put a dot in the middle of the pie, it means 0, if you put it on the outer side, it is a 10. So if you reply with a 5 at a specific slice, you would place your dot somewhere in the middle.
You end up with 9 dots on the pie chart. If you connect all these dots, it’s an amazing graphic picture to look at.
The word “yoga’ from Sanskrit literally means union. Yoga is a lifestyle, it doesn’t have to do just with the body.
In order to get a hold of our minds, we have to first recognize that sometimes our minds cannot control our minds.
My guest this week is Career Coach Angela Copeland. Join us for an episode filled with useful information about how you can land your dream job and advance in your professional career.
On today’s podcast:
- Try continuous interviewing
- Networking trumps everything
- Keep your resume updated
- How to prepare for an interview
- Should you follow up after the interview?
- What’s the biggest misconception about the job search process?
Try continuous interviewing
We don’t usually spend so much time thinking about the next level of our career. Should we be doing this regularly instead? Yes, we shouldn’t wait to be in a painful situation and then desire change.
Angela believes in “continuous interviewing” aka always networking, always keeping your eyes open, always thinking about the next step.
We have to be our own CEOs and constantly be looking for new opportunities if we want to successfully advance in our career.
Networking trumps everything
What’s the first thing to do when you want to switch jobs? You should study what people in your industry whom you admire are doing.
A common problem a lot of job seekers face is that companies normally say “Apply on our website, and if you are a good fit, we’ll call you.” It sounds so easy, and you just assume that someone will call you and it’s going to be great.
But the thing is that when a hiring agent is looking for someone to hire, they don’t think “I’m going to get some Internet resumes from strangers and look through them”. Instead, they think “Do I know anybody for this job or do I know someone who knows someone?”
Networking trumps everything. Knowing the right person will almost always get you further.
Keep your resume updated
Our resume is our snapshot of who we are as professionals. You should get someone to proofread it, but don’t hire a resume writer, because you need to work on it yourself. It helps you think of the message you are putting out there.
You should carry copies of your resume, either on your phone as a PDF, or as a piece of paper. Your resume should be one or two pages long, ideally.
Be careful to include things that reflect your real experience and your achievements. Interviewing is a little bit like going to a dinner party, and there are certain things you should leave out. For instance, things related to money, or your religious or political views. You can also leave out your references and your GPA.
You shouldn’t dust off your resume when you need it, you should look at it on a regular basis because you never know when the opportunity could knock.
How to prepare for an interview
First off, get some good rest and then go and have a fun time. A lot of interview decisions are based on “Do we like this person? Do we want to spend time with them?”
Another idea to take time to really write your elevator pitch. You can go through and practice other tricky questions, like “What’s your greatest weakness?”
You also have to do your homework in terms of researching the company.
Should you follow up after the interview?
Yes. You should send a thank you email and a thank you card.
Why do both? Because very often the company will decide that day or the next day who they want to give the job offer to. If you only send the handwritten card, they may have already made the decision, and you’re too late.
You do want to send the card though because if you do you’ll probably be the only person who does it. And that really helps to make you stand out. You can throw in your business card along with your handwritten note.
What’s the biggest misconception about the job search process?
When you’re looking for a job, and you find a job description, very often that job description will have a “Requirements” part. So often the biggest reason people are not applying for jobs is because they assume that they are not qualified.
Very often the companies are willing to talk to people who don’t meet all the requirements. Maybe they are actually having a tough time finding good candidates.
If you think that you can do a job, apply and let the company decide.
When we think about consensus, persuasion, and delivering the very best message, it all starts with communication. My guest this week, Keynote speaker and award-winning journalist Eleanor Beaton shares a wealth of practical knowledge and inspiration on how to be the best leader you can be.
On today’s podcast:
- Communicate incisively and on point
- Learn how to position your ideas
- The challenge of leadership
- Constantly reinvent yourself if you want to succeed
- Want more of Eleanor?
Communicate incisively and on point
We know that communication is important. It should be at the foundation of our leadership toolbox. So how do we take the jump from being a good communicator to being a good persuader?
It all comes down to a critical skill that we will see again and again and again in the world’s most successful leaders. To Eleanor, a successful leader is someone who can drive the business outcomes in a way that is also driving happiness, performance, fulfillment both for themselves and for their team.
There are two components you should keep in mind:
- Stop explaining your ideas, and rather position them. Don’t talk vaguely about your ideas. You want your communication to be incisive and on point.
- Really dial up how you perform in meetings. Meetings are the critical unit of performance inside any organization. Every important thing gets decided or undone in a meeting.
Learn how to position your ideas
When it comes to positioning your ideas, there are some things you should pay attention to:
- A controlling idea. Rather than just talking generally, take a position and share a controlling idea: your opinion on where things need to be.
- Give people the details: the who, what, where, when. Offer them some stories or some examples that drive the controlling idea home.
- Own the promise. When this group of people follows you, what will be possible?
Where does the confidence come from? Practice, practice, practice.
The challenge of leadership
As a leader, it’s important to be humble, authentic and transparent, but it is also important to have excitement. If you can’t get excited enough to say “This is where we’re going, this is what’s possible for us.”, if you can’t courageously own that, who can? That is the challenge of leadership.
The reality is that the majority of our waking hours are spent at work. We give so much of our time, energy, attention, blood, sweat and tears to our organizations. As leaders, let’s make that count for something.
You have to have the courage to move from being a student to being a teacher. You have to recognize that your insight and your experience have value.
Constantly reinvent yourself if you want to succeed
The leaders who always seem to get the most traction, the ones who are able to tap into the most endless stream of opportunities are those who have taken control of their personal brand, who are contributing their thoughts and ideas in journals, conferences, on podcasts, who are really speaking their truth. You develop the courage to do it through the commitment to take action and to share what you know.
You should be able to reinvent yourself in order to stay relevant. It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can do that in a couple of ways:
- By making sure that you continue to build your network.
- By making sure that you are continuously taking on stretch assignments. Find new ways to cultivate your creativity.
Want more of Eleanor?
Check out her show, called “Fierce Feminine Leadership: the Success Podcast for Ambitious Women”. She is on a mission to help her listeners cultivate the courage, the skillset and the inspiration they need to bring the fullness of who they are to their professional world.
What can you expect from her show? Fierce, no holds barred, fun, direct content that gives you inspiration to absolutely be your best.
This week I am joined by humorist, speaker, and author Robert Wilson. Robert shares some really funny stories, and some wonderful advice on how to become a better storyteller and bring more innovation to your life, and to the lives of others.
On today’s podcast:
- Telling stories that make a point
- Creativity is not a gift, it’s a lifestyle
- Want to become a risk-taker? Start with baby risks
- Keep a journal of your achievements
Telling stories that make a point
Robert tries to tell stories that make a point. He usually writes about achievement, motivation, leadership, creativity, and innovation.
Most often than not, what he writes about is what he was dealing with that month. It may not be specific, but he might write on that topic area. He learns a lot from self-reflection and just putting it on paper helps him learn from it. Other people can learn from it as well.
Creativity is not a gift, it’s a lifestyle
Robert has learned over the years that creativity is not a gift. From when we are small, we are constantly told to conform, and by the time we reach adulthood, many of us have repressed their natural creative abilities. Many of us believe that creativity is a gift, when instead it is a skill that anyone can regenerate at any point in time.
You can learn how to re-stimulate your creativity. In Robert’s opinion, creativity is not just a skill, it’s also a lifestyle.
When you are an innovator, you expose yourself to new things all the time: experiences, ideas. By doing so, you open new areas in your brain that otherwise wouldn’t be open. When that happens, you can make more connections.
Want to become a risk-taker? Start with baby risks
Sometimes people are afraid to bring their creativity forward. Creative thinkers are risk-takers. How do you become a risk-taker? You can start by taking baby steps. Innovators have been taking risks all their lives, so they are comfortable with doing that.
You can start small in a number of different ways. For example, if you read the newspaper every day, and you never read a certain section, read it. If you drink coffee every day, switch to tea for a week. Switch hands when you brush your teeth. Write with your non-dominant hand.
Taking risks means there is something that you can lose. You can start with baby risks, in order to get comfortable with that.
Keep a journal of your achievements
It’s a good idea to keep a journal of our achievements. A lot of the times we forget a lot of these little things that we’ve accomplished, and it’s good to read them through and pat ourselves on the back from time to time.
These little achievements build up and they allow us to start building the confidence to do more and more.
We can also observe other people who are accomplishing what we want to accomplish. If we see these people, we can say “If these people are doing it, surely I can do it too”.
Encouragement from others also helps enormously.
My guest this week is leadership coach and author Lolly Daskal. Lolly shares with us what are the seven archetypes that exist in all of us, why they are important, and how they connect to our best version of ourselves.
On today’s podcast:
- For each of our strengths, there is a weakness
- The seven archetypes within all of us
- Awareness is the first form of learning
- Listen and coach people, don’t try to fix them
- How to be the best version of ourselves
For each of our strengths, there is a weakness
Lolly’s book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, is not just a leadership book, it’s also a life book, because it’s based on psychology and human development. Human development makes us into leaders.
She talks about leadership as the core fundamental of human behavior.
Within all of us, there is a polarity of character. For everything that is great about us, there is a gap. For every strength, there is a weakness. In times of stress, even though we have the qualities of greatness and strength, we always go to the gap.
The seven archetypes within all of us
The book opens up with seven archetypes. These are archetypes that Lolly has seen within not only leaders, but in every person she has ever encountered.
The first archetype is the rebel. The rebel wants to make an impact and a difference. The strength to be able to do that is confidence, and we all want to have confidence so that we can be the rebel. But 99% of us who are high-achieving individuals suffer from the impostor syndrome. The impostor has self-doubt.
We have to know what to do when we bump into our gap. If you bump into the impostor, you have to understand where this comes from. The impostor syndrome comes from comparing ourselves with others.
Awareness is the first form of learning
When we do our job, we can’t just be impulsive, we have to be mindful, intentional. Lolly always has small conversations with herself almost like to keep her in check. That’s how we can grow and become the best versions of ourselves.
How can we recognize a gap? Awareness is the first form of learning. Once we know that these seven archetypes do exist within us, we can change our mindset.
Each one of us wants to have greatness in their lives. We all want to leave our mark. But we want to do it in a way that makes a difference. The way to do that is to constantly learn who we are on the inside. To lead outwardly, you first must learn to lead from within.
Listen and coach people, don’t try to fix them
Another archetype is the navigator. Most of the people listening to this podcast are very smart, practical, pragmatic, and successful. But when someone comes to them with a problem, they tell people what to do. Instead of being navigators, they become fixers.
When we should up as a fixer, most of the people think of us as being arrogant. When someone comes to you with a problem, be the navigator: listen and coach them, don’t try to fix them. This is a game-changer.
We are not one archetype or another, we are all of them. These archetypes are based on virtues, and they give you an inner core GPS. They give you the opportunity to find out in each situation which person you need to be in order to be great. If you don’t pick an archetype, you will end up leading from your gaps.
How to be the best version of ourselves
The book is like a blueprint on how to be the best version of ourselves. Because it’s based on virtues, it’s about confidence, loyalty, trust, integrity. If you become these archetypes and you are always conscious of leading from your greatness instead of leading from your gaps, you will be known as an individual who is trustworthy, reliable, and responsible.
The next time you bump into someone who isn’t living up to their potential, offer them help. The next time someone comes to you with a problem, listen to them. The next time someone says “This is how you need to do it”, become the explorer.
The book teaches you what to do in every situation. Greatness is not something reserved for just a few. It can be achieved by every single person. You just have to choose it.
My guest this week is a best-selling author and coach Henry DeVries.
Henry is here to teach you all you need to know if you’ve decided to put your thoughts down on paper and finally write your book.
On today’s podcast:
- The who, what, when, where, why, and how to write the right book
- How to get started
- The eight great stories
- The benefits of independent publishing
The who, what, when, where, why, and how to write the right book
Henry’s mission is to give people the who, what, when, where, why and how of writing the right book that will make a difference for them.
Everyone has a book inside that needs to get out. Nobody really wants to leave this world without getting their book out there. However, a lot of these books won’t serve their authors, they will not help them with their company cause or career. So Henry chooses to be the myth-buster: authors are not promoted by books, instead authors promote the books. That’s the key.
A book is a tool to help you get what you want. Henry thinks that a book is the number 1 marketing tool. Speaking as a result of a book is the number 1 marketing strategy.
How to get started
If you already have a title and an idea about the book, the first step is to create a blueprint for the book. There are some starting elements for the blueprint:
- A book needs a working title. Henry likes trifecta titles:
- They work as speech titles
- They work as book titles
- You can get the .com URL (the domain name) so that you can start to create a little fence around your intellectual property
- The book also needs a working subtitle about the promise, the outcome that people want.
How do you figure out if the title is right? You start with a working title. Henry calls it “The North Star”. You should always go for clarity when choosing your title. And then try to be congruent with your audience: they need to know what your book is about by looking at its cover.
The eight great stories
After you have a working title and a URL, you have to understand the eight great stories. There are eight great stories that humans are hardwired to hear:
- The overcoming the monster story
- The underdog story
- The story about a comedy
- The story about a tragedy
- The story about a mystery
- The story about a quest
- The story about a rebirth
- The story about an escape
The story you choose dictates its table of contents. There is a different table of contents for an overcoming the monster story (it’s a problem-solution table of contents) and a different one for a quest story (it’s about a call to this quest).
You need three parts in a book. The biggest mistake new authors make is the fact that they want to launch into part two of their book, without having written part one. Part one is the why, part two is the how, and part three is the what’s next.
You need to start with the why and tell the reader why this is important. In chapter two you ask the question: “If this is important, how do we fix it?” It’s the how, the guts of the book. Afterwards, there needs to be an aftermath.
The benefits of independent publishing
You can record your thoughts, and take notes for each chapter. You can find a service to do the transcription for you. You can also hire an editor or a ghostwriter to help you.
There are many technologies and techniques to get the thoughts out of your head and down on paper so that others can read them.
Traditional publishing can be an ordeal. You have to make a proposal, it can take months for them to decide whether they will publish your book or not, then it might take a year to get the book out there. That’s the old way of doing things.
Henry helps authors be independently published. This is not the same as self-published. Independently published means that you hire experts in the field who know editing, art design, book production. For most people it’s a zero net sum investment: if you sell 1000-2000 books, which is doable if you really market your books, you can earn all the money you invested in the publishing back.
If you choose independent publishing, you retain control of the project and of the intellectual property.
The real money is in getting hired as a speaker or as a consultant or coach. Experts with a book can speak in the $5.000-$10.000 range.