Carey Azzara Show Notes
Carey Azzara was filled with grief as a youth. His sister passed away at a young age and Carey was deeply affected by the loss and from witnessing the grief of his parents. Fortunately for Carey he had an amazing grandmother that helped him to get over the hump.
Carey started life in Bellville NJ, by the time he was three he was spending as much time in Newark with a grandmother and two Aunts as he was at home. His newborn sister had been diagnosed with a rare blood disease – Thalassemia. It changed his life dramatically.
Carey often says life is not a straight path. His life has had many a twist and turn. Losing his only sister when he was sixteen he struggled to regain direction. Withdrawn he focused on schoolwork and was an honor student through his four years of high school.
He entered Rutgers University, joined a fraternity, and thought about a career in medicine, but it was not to be. His only motivation to be in college was to avoid going to war. However, even that was not enough to sustain his interest in academia.
Luckily, for him the war ended before he was drafted. It would be a couple of years before he found a path back to completing his education. Since then he has accomplished goals such as the pursuit of two graduate degrees, a career in public health, VP of market research, and President of a marketing company AtHeath, LLC. During his career in marketing research and as an internet marketer he published numerous articles, reports, and books.
Along the way, an unhappy marriage ended in divorce and he met and married his current wife of nearly twenty-five years. He and his wife Patrice raised a blended family. They also rescued a few dogs.
A few years back as he contemplated retirement. He downsized his collection of classic cars and began writing short stories about the cars he’s owned. His life experiences have inspired him to continue writing broadening his story plots well beyond cars.
Carey is the author of The Lottery Curse, a book of literary fiction that shines bright lights on the dangers that can befall even the best-intentioned lottery winner.
Carey current lives in a suburb of Boston MA where he and his family have resided for over twenty years. He works everyday on his writing and the marketing of his books. He’s happy in his work and says that becoming a writer not only brings him joy, but solves the worry he had about becoming useless.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“When you create a customer persona think about their motivation.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Find people that are smarter than you to work with.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“If you’re an A performer, don’t hire B performers.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Always try to find somebody that can teach you things.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“We have a notion that we’re expected to know everything when put in a leadership role.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“You have to grow into a leadership role.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Talk to people that are in the position that you’re going to assume.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Ask successful people what they attribute their success to.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Learn what you can from someone who’s gone through the steps that you are going to take.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“You’re not going to get there tomorrow – start today with one foot in front of the other.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
“Reputation can save the day.” -Carey Azzara Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Carey Azzara was filled with grief as a youth. His sister passed away at a young age and Carey was deeply affected by the loss and from witnessing the grief of his parents. Fortunately for Carey he had an amazing grandmother that helped him to get over the hump.
Advice for others
Go talk to people that have been in or are in the position that you are going to assume.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Being the CEO of my own career worrying about the current political climate.
Best Leadership Advice Received
Hire people that are smarter than you.
Secret to Success
Be a plugger. Just plug away.
Best tools that helps in Business or Life
The relationships I have with my family.
Email: cazzara [at] gmail.com
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2kG4onP
Resources and Show Mentions
54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
Intro Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
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Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion, we’re going to have a good show today because the guests that I have today gives a very unique perspective on some of the things that are affecting both our job and our life. Carey B. Azarra started life in Belleview, New Jersey. By the time he was three he was spending as much time in Newark with a grandmother and two aunts as he was at home. His newborn sister had been diagnosed with a rare blood disease Thalassemia it changed his life dramatically. Carey often says life is not a straight path his life has had many twists and turns losing his only sister when he was he struggled to regain direction withdrawn. He focused on schoolwork and was an honor student through his four years of high school. He entered Rutgers University joined a fraternity and thought about a career in medicine but it was not to be. His only motivation to be in college was to avoid going to war, however, even that was not enough to sustain his interest in academia, luckily for him the war ended before he was drafted it would be a couple of years before he found a path back to completing his education.
Since then he has accomplished goals such as the pursuit of two graduate degrees, a career public health, VP of market research, and President of a marketing company. During his career in market research and as an Internet marketer he published numerous articles, reports and books. Along the way an unhappy marriage ended in divorce and he met and married his current wife of nearly years. He and his wife Patrice raised a blended family they also rescued a few dogs. A few years back he contemplated retirement, he downsize his collection of classic cars and began writing short stories about the cars he owned. His life experiences have inspired him to continue writing and broadening his story plots well beyond cars. Carey, is the author of The Lottery Curse a book published by Something or Other Publishing of literary fiction that shines bright lights on the dangers that befall even the best intentions lottery winner. Carey currently lives in a suburb of Boston Massachusetts where he and his family have resided for over years. Carey Azarra, are you ready to help us get over the hump.
Carey Azarra: Yes, I am.
Jim Rembach: Thanks, Carey. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so we get to know you even better.
Carey Azarra: My current passion is about writing, the marketing has to be done but the real passion is around the writing. And the editing, editing is something that is—in the early stages of my career I look upon this as kind of a thing I had to do now I look upon it as something that helps me make the story better and I will I actually enjoy it.
Jim Rembach: Now one of the things I found interesting and one of the reason that I have you on the show is because reading about your life and your story, where you’d come from and your background in market research which a lot of the folks that are both guests as well as listeners on the Fast Leader show get exposure through their customer experience and customer-care work, I think to me you have become an expert in a lot of different ways around human behavior and why people do the things that they do and why they shouldn’t do certain things.
Carey Azarra: I’d like to think that’s true. I like to think that not only my life experiences but my career and the work I did in marketing research and also in research prior to that in in public health and the fact that I grew up in a very large family all of which combine to give me appreciation for the human condition.
Jim Rembach: So when you start thinking about putting those worlds together and being able to tell a story to engage people, what do you think are some of the elements that you focus in on that essentially for you knows that it’s going to work?
Carey Azarra: For me it comes down to characters. I don’t write a lot of fiction around high-tech things, I don’t write about you know vampires and going to worlds that don’t exist, so, for me it’s about the relationships and the thing I’ve been told recently good at is dialogue. So, I try to focus a lot on understanding the motivations for each character, getting an idea of how they fit into the story sometimes that happens as you’re writing, sometimes it’s something you plan ahead and outline, a lot of times I will write bios for each character before I actually start writing the plot through and in doing that I hope to bring the characters alive and the relationships they have with the other characters in the story.
Jim Rembach: That’s the part that’s really fascinating to me because in a lot of the work that people that I know they’re doing and building personas. They build persona so that they make sure that their marketing and telling stories to those particular people in order to engage them to do business with their brands, buy their products and services, and maybe even be interested in some of their new product launches. So, when you start thinking about building that persona piece how do you go through that process?
Carey Azarra: I start with them graphics. A man or a woman, how old is this person, what’s their eye color, what hair color do they have and what’s their complexion and then I try to build from that core, what their family looks like. Are they single child in their family, were they the third child, the middle child and you build out from there because those that are the crucial building blocks for anybody’s personality and I think can appreciate better as an author as you’re trying to develop that character where they might go, what they might do or say once you have a sense or kind of where they came from.
Jim Rembach: It’s also critically important when you start talking about being able to identify your customer, be more customer-centric. When you start talking about serving them and being able to connect with them when you’re interacting them in a different touch points that an organization has with them. And you write in your recent book about The Lottery Curse about the windfall of winning money and having as you say a sudden—you had mentioned that the sudden windfall of having cash. So, for me I also think about the sudden windfall of people within an organization when it comes to now being given or getting the opportunity to become a leader, now given the opportunity to manage a particular project or an organization. So, what are some of the things that happens when somebody has that sudden windfall that causes them not to be successful with it?
Carey Azarra: Let me go back a step and just comment first on the idea that as you’re trying to think about your customers you really want to create a persona of that customer and understand not just what they might buy but what the motivations for that purchases, what’s going to bring them to the table, if you will. What’s expected in becoming a leader is someone hands you, presumably you’ve earned it, the right to take on the next level of leadership. What I try to do in my career is to find people who are smarter than me to work with. If you have the opportunity to hire people don’t hire people who are B’s, if you’re an A don’t hire B’s and if you’re B don’t hire C’s. Just always try to find somebody who can teach you things, can bring value to the team that you’re hopefully going to lead in a way that expands upon on the perspective that you have.
Jim Rembach: So that is interesting. In the book, The Lottery Curse, you talked about a couple of different folks that actually receive this windfall, how did they not do those things?
Carey Azarra: It turns out that people who receive a windfall, specifically, from the lottery but it could be other sources if they haven’t had the experience of managing large amounts of money really dealing with finances other than weekly paycheck then they something goes awry in their brain and they say just want to explode, buy things, do things that that they never had the opportunity to do before and they very rarely, there are exceptions certainly, but they very rarely step back and let some time pass and stay with where they are and they don’t—the people are successful don’t explore things too quickly, they sit back and they don’t tell a lot of people about their newfound wealth. It turns out that it’s not just the wealth and the fact that you now can afford a two million-dollar house instead of the $30, 000 home you had before, your whole social network change. The people that you’re associating with you don’t fit with them anymore, they don’t really feel comfortable around you. And t the people that you might think you would fit with, the other millionaires in the in the community, no, you don’t really fit with them either because you came into the money very quickly.
Jim Rembach: I think for me I find—as I mentioned why I wanted to have you on the show and I find it so interesting is I find a direct connection to people who automatically come into power and people who automatically come into money.
Carey Azarra: I think there’s definitely some parallels. I think there are different kinds of dangers and trap doors that you have to be careful of, and I think you’re right, they’re definitely parallels.
Jim Rembach: And so for me even when you were going through and talking about that somebody who came to that sudden windfall I pulled out a couple things from folks who have come into that position of power within an organization, that is pause. Be mindful. It is seek other help and support don’t think that you know-it-all. Understand the strength of those around you and be prepared to be in an odd position in the in-between state between those senior level folks and those ones that you just, I don’t want to say left behind, but the ones that now report to you that were your superiors previously.
Carey Azarra: I think we have this notion that is if we are put into a leadership role that suddenly everybody expects us to know everything. Expects us to be perfect in what we’re going to do it and yes, they are looking to you for, what are we going to do next boss? At the same time there is a realization that you have to grow into that role. And I think people do appreciate the fact that you ask their opinion, you’re genuinely listening to what they feel they can bring to the table and whatever endeavor it is and if you ask them to give you time they will.
Jim Rembach: I also think too, it’s really interesting because I know of several folks that have wanted, like you even say in the book people want to win the lottery, they try desperately to do but they don’t really think about what would happen if it if it occurred, same thing when you start coming to positions of power it seems glamorous, I want to move up, I want to have that bigger and greater responsibility but they don’t prepare and plan for when it does come what they’re supposed to do. If you were to give a piece of advice to those that are seeking, to want to have that position of power even win the lottery above them, what would you tell them in order to put them in a better mindset so that they allow that that glamour to consume them?
Carey Azarra: I would say, and I did this so I know it works, but I would say, go talk to people who are in the position or similar vision that you’re going to assume. Go talk to that person, ask him how—and certainly it would be better if you have somebody who you believe is successful, and go ask them what they attribute their success to? What did they do when they had to make that transition? Learn what you can from, essentially, a mentor and you know it and someone who’s gone through the steps that you’re about to take.
Jim Rembach: What we’re talking about, there’s so much emotion talking about relationships and everything in what we’re referring to in regards to becoming of power, losing power, getting power or in being disenchanted, money, windfall of those things, a lot of times we look at quotes in order to help us on the show. Is there a quote or two that you can share that helps and impacts you?
Carey Azarra: Let’s see, I think this might sound trite but I get up in the morning and I put one foot in front of the other and honestly that’s what it takes, I mean whether you’re going to be a leader or a writer you just have to put the time in and you have to be thoughtful as I said earlier you have to really put one foot in front of the other. And I have discovered is that it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon as people have said. I’ve developed a lot of marketing capacity, pretty good platform social media connections, I didn’t do that overnight I did it 20 minutes a day, day in and day out and that’s what I tell people, you’re not going to get there tomorrow but if you start today and you put one foot in front of the other you will eventually develop whatever it is you need to meet your goals.
Jim Rembach: Without a doubt. As we were through what we’re talking about is there’s a lot of stops and starts of pivots and turns and realizations and mistakes that we make and we have to get over those humps. Is there a time where you have to get over the hump and its really made an impact on your life?
Carey Azarra: Yeah. Well, talked about in the introduction one of the biggest humps I had to get over was the loss of my sister at a pretty early age. And it really threw me for a loop, not just me it wasn’t just my grief but it was watching the grief of my parents. Losing a child has got to be the single most heart-wrenching thing that anyone I think can probably go through in life. So, it just threw me and the family, my immediate family, into a collective compression and getting over that was very hard, it’s very hard. I had a grandmother, she just passed now my mom’s mom, and without her I don’t know that I would have made it and in fact I’m dedicating my next to her, she was a force to be reckoned with I tell you and she really did make a huge difference in getting me through a lot of grief.
Jim Rembach: So when you start thinking about—thanks for sharing and I’m sorry about that—when you start thinking about going through that and coming out of that and you’re talking about her being strong, how did she help you do that?
Carey Azarra: My grandmother raised six girls during the Depression. She lost her husband to a botched surgery he had a construction company and she took over the construction company, so she raised six girls during the Depression, she ran the construction company and she was one of the early people to learn how to drive this was a woman who just could not be knock down, she did get knocked down but she always got up, and that was the lesson she ended up teaching me. She would say to me, Carey in life bad things are going to happen and you’re going to get knocked down and it’s not about whether you get knocked down or not it’s about whether you get up brush yourself off and move forward and that’s what I want to always see you do, and I learn that lesson from her.
Jim Rembach: Wow! What an amazing woman. When you start thinking though about talking about the semi-retirement piece and you wanted to tell me off mic that how you wanted to make sure that you were still you know making an impact you don’t to retire to the pasture but you wanted to continue to impact and support and help and make a difference in the world. But if you start thinking about all the things that you got going on, what’s one of your goals?
Carey Azarra: Well, as I build more skills as a writer I feel like what I want to impart to people in the stories I write is the importance of relationships. I’m finishing a novel now the title is Caitlyn’s Mourning it’s about a family in Maine and it spans five generations. The story starts off with how this family ends up in some really severe challenges particularly the three main characters but it starts off with a young woman who’s just starting her third year of college. And the idea of behind the book was—it was actually inspired by a real story someone told me a story about her life and the fact that for a number of reasons that I will not get into, the only person her son had as a male role model was his great-grandfather. So there were two generations missing between he and his—and I took that Colonel and I thought that can really be a great centerpiece for understanding relationships even when there’s a big gap in the family. And so the story talks about how that gap occurred that’s the first couple of chapters and then how the family fills that gap.
Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
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Okay, Fast Leader Legion, it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Carey, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster, Carey Azarra, are you ready to hoedown?
Carey Azarra: I am.
Jim Rembach: Alright. So, what do you think is holding you back for being an even better leader today?
Carey Azarra: I’ll tell you. Recently, I’ve been very concerned about the direction our country’s going in and what’s holding me back from being a better leader, in my case leading my own—being the CEO of my own writing career is very distracted with the politics. So, that’s kind of what’s holding me back.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Carey Azarra: As I said earlier, hire people that are smarter than you are.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Carey Azarra: Be a plugger. Just plug away. I’m not the smartest guy and I’m not the most handsome guy but I plug along and that’s how I’ve been able to create successes in my life.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Carey Azarra: As tools—I’d like to say my wife but I don’t want to call her a tool but I think it’s the relationships I had with my family.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book, and it could be from any genre, that you’d recommend to our listeners?
Carey Azarra: There’s a book called the, Fifty Laws of Power, it is a little bit Machiavellian but it actually has some very good lessons in it. One of the lessons that I took from it was about reputation. And it was about this Chinese warrior who had the reputation for being just enormously fierce. To make a long story short, he finds himself in a situation where he doesn’t have the army he needs to repel the enemy that’s coming to him so he opens the gates and sits in front of the gates on top of a chair up above and just sort of challenges them in to come in, it’s a complete bluff but his reputation saves the day. And reputation can save the day and it’s easy to lose, hard to create but very much worth the effort.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information including a link to Carey’s book, The Lottery Curse, going to show notes at fastleader.net/Carey Azarra. Okay, Carey this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you have been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything you can only choose one, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Carey Azarra: I would take back my writing skills. Now that I’ve learned how fun it is, if I could go back to 25 and have my writing skills I could finish all the projects I started. At this age, I’m in my 60’s, at this age I worry about not being able to finish everything before I pass on.
Jim Rembach: Carey, it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?
Carey Azarra: You can connect with me via email, my email address is pretty simple it’s the first letter of my first name and my last name, firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also go to my Amazon page the author page, and I have a Twitter account, that’s my first and last name with the underscore between the two.
Jim Rembach: Carey Azarra, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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