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259: Susan Fowler: Let go of the junk food motivation

Junk Food Motivation comprises a multibillion-dollar industry Susan Fowler shares new research on the science of motivation. When she shared these findings with the CEO of one of the world’s largest financial institutions and John Calipari, University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach, they immediately changed how they led their people. Susan Fowler was born and …

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Karen Chaston: Live Love by Design

206: Karen Chaston: I did not honor myself

Karen Chaston Show Notes Page

Karen Chaston tragically lost her son Dan and she went straight back to work. She knew how to be a CFO, not a grieving mother. Eventually, she learned that his passing was meant for her to wake up. She now knows that you can have that career, but it doesn’t have to come at a cost to you.

Karen was born and raised in Sydney Australia. She is the third oldest of 6 girls and 1 boy. The boy is the baby and even now at 53, he’s still the golden child!!

Her parents were married for just under 52 years. Sadly, her dad passed away in 2003, though her mum is still going strong at 88.

In 1973, at age 16 Karen gave birth to a daughter who she adopted out. Karen then decided to not complete her final year of high school and started her banking career which lasted for 10 years.

At the age of 19, she moved north to the Gold Coast which is in South Queensland (another Australian state) with her then boyfriend Andrew. She married Andrew a year later in 1978. Earlier this year they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

They have three boys Ben (37) Josh (34) and Dan. Josh and Dan were twins, unfortunately Dan passed away at age 27 in July 2011.

After the twins were born, she took six months off and then she was offered a 4-week casual job at Dreamworld (a theme park on the Gold Coast), which lasted 14 years. In 1996, when she was Financial Systems Manager, her CFO boss suggested that if she ever wanted to be paid what she thought she was worth she had better go and get her bit of paper. She listened. Then whilst working full time from 1996 -1999 she studied part time at Bond University for Master of Accounting Degree (life was her undergrad). Then in 2001 she was granted her CPA status.

From there she rose the corporate ladder very quickly, eventuating with her and Andrew returning to Sydney to be the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a publicly listed company form 2008-2013.

After losing her son in 2011 and then 15 months later, choosing redundancy (being laid off) she started on her journey to becoming her own best friend. A journey through life’s university, empowering her with the wisdom to become an author, speaker, trainer, radio co-host and ultimately, her founding the Live Love By Design brand which includes online and offline programs, book, soon to be released Live Love By Design TV and Live Love: Give Back to Teens Project.

Karen and Andrew currently live in Sydney, but plan to move back to Queensland soon.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @KarenChaston4u to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“Everything starts with you, where a lot of time, we tend to put ourselves last.” – Click to Tweet

“How often do we end up fighting with colleagues, all because we haven’t taken the time to look at them from a different perspective.” – Click to Tweet 

“We’re constantly not only battling against our peers, but our self as well.” – Click to Tweet 

“We self-sabotage, so many times.” – Click to Tweet 

“It’s about being more conscious in everything you do.” – Click to Tweet 

“How many roles do we play during a day?” – Click to Tweet 

“When you have great relationships, especially with yourself, everything is just easier.” – Click to Tweet 

“It’s all about you actually understanding what you want out of life.” – Click to Tweet 

“So many times, we don’t even define what success means to us, we take on someone else’s definition.” – Click to Tweet

“There’s a million ways to look at anything, but we get stuck in, this is the way we do things.” – Click to Tweet

“We all forget to breathe, properly.” – Click to Tweet 

“You can have it all, but when you drift apart from who you are, life doesn’t work.” – Click to Tweet 

“It will take you nine months to birth your new way of life.” – Click to Tweet 

“When you start to change, everyone around you will start to change.” – Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Karen Chaston tragically lost her son Dan and she went straight back to work. She knew how to be a CFO, not a grieving mother. Eventually, she learned that his passing was meant for her to wake up. She now knows that you can have that career, but it doesn’t have to come at a cost to you.

Advice for others

You are the only person you are going to spend your entire life with. So, put yourself first, find your strength, courage and truth to make sure you live a life that is true to you.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Not really very much. I’m only in competition with “yesterday me”.

Best Leadership Advice

Schedule everything in your calendar. Look to if it’s been your joy, moving you closer to your goal, if you should delegate it, or eliminate it.

Secret to Success

I genuinely listen to people and myself. I keep asking questions, is there an easier way of doing this better.

Best tools in business or life

Constantly monitoring my goals and how I’m closing gaps in each pillar under the live love way of life.

Recommended Reading

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

A Journey To Becoming Your Own Best Friend: A Woman’s Guide To Getting Out of Her Own Way

Contacting Karen Chaston

Website: http://www.karenchaston.com.au/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KarenChaston4u

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/empowerwomen/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

206: Karen Chaston: I did not honor myself

 

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.

 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to give us a quite different perspective on our careers and our lives. Karen Chaston was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. She’s the third oldest of six girls and one boy, the boy is the baby and even now at 53 he’s still the golden child. Her parents were married for just under 52 years. Sadly her dad passed away in 2003 though her mom is still going strong at 88. In 1973 at the age of 16 Karen gave birth to a daughter who she adopted out. Karen then decided to not complete her final year of high school and started her banking career which lasted for ten years. At the age of 19 she moved north to the Gold Coast which is in South Queensland with her then boyfriend Andrew. She married Andrew a year later in 1978. 

 

Earlier this year they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have three boys Ben, Josh and Dan. Josh and Dan were twins and unfortunately Dan passed away at the age of 27 in July 2011. After the twins were born she took 6 months off and then she was offered a four week casual job at Dreamworld which is a theme park on the Gold Coast and that lasted for 14 years. In 1996 when she was financial systems manager her CFO boss suggested that if she ever wanted to be paid what she thought she was worth that she had better go and get her a bit of paper. She listened and then while working full-time from ‘96 to ‘99 she studied part-time at Bond University for a master of accounting degree then in 2001 she was granted her CPA status from there she rose the corporate ladder very quickly. Eventually with her and Andrew returning to Sydney to be the chief financial officer of a publicly listed company from 2008 to 2013. After losing her son in 2011 and then 15 months later choosing redundancy, which is being laid off, she started on her journey to becoming her own best friend a journey through life’s university empowering her with the wisdom to become an author, speaker, trainer, radio co-host and ultimately founding the Live Love by design brand which includes online and offline programs a book soon to be released, Live Loved by design TV, and Live or Live Love: Give back to teens project. Karen and Andrew currently live in Sydney but plans to move back to Queensland soon.  Karen Chasten, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

 

Karen Chaston:    I certainly am, thank you for having me. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Well, I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? 

 

Karen Chaston:    My current passion is Live Love by design. I just love everything about it and I truly wish that I had this wisdom this understanding when I was a lot younger. Which is why my passion project is a Live Love Give back to Teens Project. I’m very passionate about showing this wisdom with young women especially young women who have had an unexpected pregnancy like I did in their teens or early 20s so that they can understand that no matter what choice they made whether they decided to keep the child, get married, raise it as a single mother or to abort their child or to adopt their child out like I do they still can live their dream life they still can have everything they desire or they require are the keys to their success which I share in the program, Live Love keys to a young woman’s success. 

 

Jim Rembach:     As you’re talking I started thinking about a lot of different aspects of I guess you’d say self-sabotage barriers, self-inflicted wounds, our own humps that we put in front of us. 

 

Karen Chaston:    Yeah, limiting beliefs the whole lot of it. 

 

Jim Rembach:     So when you start talking about the Live Love by design, for me I could initially say, oh this is just all fluffy stuff, but however I also know that you’re a CPA so there’s got to be some structure and frameworks and things like that, tell us a little bit about that? 

 

Karen Chaston:    There is a lot of structure. There’s nine areas of life in my Live Love our wheel of life and I like the fact that there’s nine. The reason being is nine is all about birthing, it takes nine months to birth a child and it really does take these nine areas of life for you to birth your Live Love way of life that I like to say. The nine areas are mentally, professionally, financially, family, socially, physically, spiritually, emotionally and environmentally, now that’s a lot to remember. So for ease I’ve bought them into four pillars which is all about you, all about your relationships, all about your expertise, and all about your wealth creation. And it should be in that order that you actually create everything. So everything starts with you, whereas a lot of time, especially women, we tend to forget about ourselves we tend to put ourselves last. And what happens when that happens? We end up in resentment we end up exhausted and we end up going when is it my time? 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s very interesting that you say that. Because when we start talking about development, skill development, personal development, when we start looking at work—I was just reading a study that was talking about training and development at work and one of the things that was saying is that for a lot of organizations where the struggle becomes is that people don’t take the time to do it. Kind of like here in the States people have a lot of vacation or holiday time that they just end up sacrificing, they don’t take it they just continue to work on through. When you start talking about Live Love by design and being able to make sure that you’re investing in yourself and doing those things how do you get people to actually do that?

 

Karen Chaston:    Okay, so I show them the benefits of what happens when they do it. When they do spend the first hour of themselves each day and looking after themselves before they go to work and how different they are when they turn up to work how more productive they are how energized they are all day long. By showing people the difference is how they can actually go, I’m going to do it. And it’s quite interesting that you said that about taking leave and taking time to go to take the time to rejuvenate yourself. I always left every job with at least four weeks annually up my sleeve. I never did it, I worked, worked, worked. That’s why I love this program because I have lived that life of the people that I assist I can say firsthand, I know what you’re going through I’ve done it I burnt out I put on weight I did all of the things that I’m telling you not to do so I’m coming from that experience and I know how different. Not only I would have been but how different my colleagues would have been if I had these gems when I was in that role. Every single person in that organization would have been more productive would have been happier would have been truly coming to work and understanding each other. How often do we end up fighting with colleagues all because we haven’t taken the time to look at them from a different perspective?

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, so as you’re talking I started thinking about how a lot of folks are saying that the younger generation is kind of requiring a workplace that is more like that. Is it possibly that we’re going to kind of grow into this as the workforce shifts or do we really need to make and take a proactive stance in moving things forward? Let me also add this one piece is that, here in the States there’s this whole gender pay equality thing that’s been existing as long as women have been in the workplace. 

 

Karen Chaston:    Yes, it’s the same in Australia, it’s the same reward. 

 

Jim Rembach:     So then if we talk about those things, and Live Love by design, is it part of that issue that kind of causes women to have to—I have to prove myself I have to compete at a higher degree I can’t give up—is that contributing to this issue?

 

Karen Chaston:    Totally. I totally agree. I know for a fact that I worked harder than any colleague or any peer of the same level it was because I was constantly trying to prove myself. And of course we’ve all heard of the imposter syndrome, we all have that and I thought it was just women that had that but I’ve spoken to a lot of men and a lot of men have it as well. We are constantly waiting for someone to tap us on the shoulder and say, you know what? You shouldn’t really be in this role you’re not as good as what you think you are. We constantly not only battling against our peers but our self as well we self-sabotage so many times. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, we’re talking about a systematic approach that has the nine areas of focus. For me, like you said it was a lot, but then I also thinking about I can’t focus on nine things, maybe that’s a gender problem too I don’t know, from a system perspective how do you get to make sure that holistically they’re actually helping and lifting themselves up in all areas?

 

Karen Chaston:    Okay, so it’s actually quite simple and you’ve got to love the world we live in. We have a calendar, you schedule everything into your calendar and every week you review who you were at the start of the week what your goals were for the week and then you review at the end of the week and you just do that continually. So you’re continually moving forward you’re continually focusing on all nine areas of your life. Once you sort of get into the habit, and this we know it takes 62 days to form a habit, once you actually get into the routine it’s more about tweaking as opposed to, oh my god I’ve got to spend all this time looking at the nine areas how on earth can I possibly do that? It’s just about getting it and starting to understand how better you feel? How more alive you feel? Just by the fact that everything is coming together. How many times do people come home and they bring the worries of the day with them into the home. And then they end up fighting they’re not spending time with their family they’re not really there because they’re still going over the day in their head and they just plop themselves on the couch and sure they might have the TV on but they’re not even focusing on anything. It’s about being more conscious in everything that you do. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, you just described my day of the past three days in a row. 

 

Karen Chaston:    You need to learn to transition then. And it’s so easy to do it you can just sit in your car for five minutes and breathe and then consciously say, who do I want to be when I walk through that door? And you can be that person. How many roles do we play during the day? There’s a lot isn’t it? And it’s about consciously starting your day walking through your day because you know what your days roughly going to be like and saying, who am I going to be in every different meeting in every different scenario? And then you bring that person into the scenario and everything just works easier because you’ve created it in your mind before you even start it. Sure it might not go a hundred percent the way you are but it’s going to be a lot easier. So you’re not bringing home that really tied burnt-out person and you’re then, okay I’m going to be a husband now I’m going to be an father now, so that you are actually, consciously making those relationships better in your life. When you have great relationships especially with yourself anything is just easier. 

 

I’m trying to think through all this and without knowing exactly the entire system program and all of that but I’m starting to think about isolation. Meaning that, okay I’m trying to do these things I’m trying to execute this system I’m trying to be proactive and get in front of this whole issue because it’s kind of like you–I always used to talk about training of people either you take the time and put in the investment to train those people otherwise you just end up doing it all yourself and they never learn the job and you have to invest upfront have the hard work come first in order for you to enjoy the easy later. I see this being very similar in that perspective. However, I would think that you would need to have some type of peer support at least to have the common thread with somebody else that kind of, hey, we’re going through this together, kind of like that buddy system. 

 

Yes that works but it’s all about you actually understanding what you want our life. So many times we don’t even define what success means to us. We take on someone else’s definition and we wonder why we’re either falling short or we achieve it really quickly and we’re still unfulfilled. So it is about you sitting back initially and defining what success means to you in every area of your life. Then you say and you’ve got to be really honest with yourself now, where am I now?  So if 10 out of 10 is success, where am I now? And more than likely you’re below five because you’ve never taken the time to do this. Then you figure out, okay, what are the action steps to get me from five to ten? Then you schedule those action steps keep reviewing, keep reviewing, keep reviewing and then you will achieve it. When you get to ten out of ten you will up the ante. And then you go back to five again and you just keep doing that and that’s how you create it. When you know inside of you what success means to you in all of areas of life you actually then are consciously always going where am I at? Where do I want to be?  How do I close that gap? How do I close that gap? And that’s what I love about it is because you’re actually consciously taking control of your life as opposed to just letting circumstances tell you where to go. But every single job I had circumstances got them for me I didn’t consciously go, I now want this role I’m now going to go there. Sure I became a CFO of a publicly listed company but that happened because I was in the current role I told him I was bored I told them I was going to start actively looking for another job and they said come to this company we’re directors here we want you there in that role. I didn’t even have to look for a job it just came to me. 

 

Jim Rembach:     It’s very interesting as you’re talking it reminds me of a brief conversation that I had really just yesterday with a friend of mine. She started talking about a lot of her female friends are going through, she call it a mid-career not a midlife I think she called a mid-career crisis. And really not trying to find their way on where they want to go next. And to me as you’re talking I’m like, oh, this is a solution for them. 

 

Karen Chaston:    Exactly and they are my ideal clients. Because it all comes from a different perspective. Let’s face we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s about someone else coming who has no agenda apart from helping them to succeed and say have you ever looked at it from this perspective? And let’s face it there’s a million ways to look at anything but we get so stuck in, this is the way we do things, that we don’t look outside of those areas. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Yeah, I think that’s an issue in a lot of different ways isn’t it? When I started thinking about the transition and all that you’ve gone through and the pivoting and going a different direction and coming to a lot of these realizations is that I can think of a lot of inspiration that you have found along the way. One of the things that we do in the show is look at quotes for that. Is there a quote or two that you can share that you like?

 

Karen Chaston:    My favorite quote, and I’m pretty sure everyone watching this or listening to this actually have been on a plane and they’ve all heard it, please put your own oxygen mask on first before you assist others. Now I found that’s not an emergency situation that is an everyday requirement. Because when you are all topped up when you are energized when you have looked after yourself first you can have anything come at you and you will not react you will just consciously know how to deal with anything. And you really do assist others all day long nothing fazes you because you’ve taken the time to breathe you’ve taken the time to look after who you are. And our breath is the most amazing thing on helping us in any scenario and we all forget to breathe properly deep into our bellies. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s a good point because I even talk about breathing, teaching my young middle school baseball players when they’re up and have a whole lot of anxiety and things like that and I’m like, look, stop, pause and breathe.  

 

Karen Chaston:    Exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:     They look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe they’ll figure it out someday. 

 

Karen Chaston:    Get them to do it get them to notice how different they feel. Like consciously say, how do you feel at the moment? And they’ll feel it. Then say, okay, let’s do a couple of deep belly breaths. I like to call them my conscious loving breath. And then say, how do you feel now? And they’ll go, wow, then they’ll brave all the time. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s a good point. Okay, so now when we talking about again this transition everything I know you’ve had humps to get over. You and I’ve had the opportunity to chat on several occasions and we’ve had some really good discussions and I know you have a lot of good stories to share. But is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share with us? 

 

Karen Chaston:    Yes there is actually. It all comes back to when my son passed in 2011. I did not honor him. I did not honor myself. I went straight back to work because I knew how to be a CFO I did not know how to be a grieving mother and to be quite honest I didn’t want to be a grieving mother. And that was meant to be my wake-up call and because I didn’t wake up I had to have another tragic event which was me being laid off. It was my choice when two companies merge together and they decided to offer me 2/3 of my current salary. I started to realize that I didn’t want to do it anymore I just couldn’t do it anymore it was just too draining on me. I now know that Dan’s passing was designed, and I’m pretty sure that we designed it on the other side, for me to actually wake up for me to actually start doing what I’m doing now to help the world to understand that you can have that career but it doesn’t have to come as a cost to you, for your health. There’s a saying, I gave up my health in order to get my wealth and now I’m spending my wealth to get back my health. And that truly was me and I truly believe I was heading for major illness—heart attack, stroke, and diabetes possibly even death. And it was through that life university phase of me actually learning new concepts learning new awareness that I came up with the, Live Love by design. It’s about helping people to actually go, you can have it all. But when you drift apart from who you are, life doesn’t work it may for a little while but it won’t wrong turn and that’s what I love about who I am today. I honestly wake up every day and I just love who I look at. I love my life and I like to say I dance to work and I tap-dance home because it is a new way of doing things as you said the younger ones are looking for a new way. We’ve been doing it this way for so long. Look at all the cancers in the world look at all the illness look at what stress is causing everyone it doesn’t have to be that way. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright, so gosh, there’s so many things are just flying through my head as you’re talking. I want to kind of get an idea of say a transition period. In other words I am struggling with some of these things today and I do put in or I’m going to put in the effort to make some changes but how long was it going to take me to really start getting some momentum from it?

 

Karen Chaston:    Okay, let’s put it this way as I said in the beginning nine months it’ll take you nine months to birth your new way of life and depending on how focused you are depending on how much you notice how much easier life is you could get there quicker. Okay, now nine months it sounds like a long time but how quickly do our years go by? How quickly do they fly by? It doesn’t take that long. But as with everything it comes back to you consciously deciding consciously seeing who you are today and then designing who you want to be. Because you can do it it’s really easy. You think nine months, come on, how old are you? For me it’s not even 161th of my life, so it’s not that long but you can do it. Not only will you do it when you start to change everyone around you will start to check. When you become happier when you become to truly enjoy your life it’s really easy. And you’ll be like, oh my god, why didn’t I know this when I was 20, that’s exactly what I say all the time. Why didn’t I have this wisdom when I was that young? Why didn’t I look after myself first when I was younger? Let’s face it it’s a lot easier to look after yourself to maintain than it is to do a big major overhaul. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Most definitely. Okay, so when you start talking about launching all these things and you’ve been working at this program and this work for a while, this coaching work, what are some of your goals?

 

Karen Chaston:    Some of my goals, well as you said in the beginning I’ve just launched my Live Love by design TV show, I obviously want to get out there I want to speak more I want to go into more corporations. I truly want to be able to go in in to back end, especially in accounting firms and especially in lawyers and all those sort of areas where I was really dealing with, banks and everything to actually go, come on it’s not working like you’re burning out your employees let’s look at a new way of doing things let’s just trial it let’s actually see what a difference this will make let’s actually have your employees work less hours but be more productive. Like how cool would that be? Why do we have to be there for 10-12 hours a day? We don’t, we can if you’re honest with everyone your staff are only working probably six hours of that 10 12 hours. They’re doing other things they’re just trying to cope to get through the day. So let’s actually bring it down so that they actually work less hours more productive you make more money and everyone is happier. That sounds pretty good to me. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Does to me too. And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. 

 

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive and loyal employees who have great work relationships with their colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright, here we go Fast Leader Legion it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay, Karen, the Hump day Hoedown is a 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. Karen Chaston, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Karen Chaston:    I am.

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Karen Chaston:    Not really very much, every night I actually really look at my day and I always ask myself two three questions and it’s in answering these questions that I always make sure that I’m continually moving forward and I like to say I’m only in competition with yesterday me no one else.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 

 

Karen Chaston:    To schedule everything in your calendar. To constantly look at it to constantly see if it’s bringing your joy, moving you closer to your goal or whether you can delegate it or eliminate it. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Karen Chaston:    I genuinely listen to people and myself. I keep asking questions especially—is there an easier way that I can do this better? 

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life? 

 

Karen Chaston:    Constantly monitoring my goals. How I’m closing the gaps in each pillar under the Live Love way of life. All about you all about your relationships all about your expertise and all about your wealth creation. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion, and it could be from any genre? 

 

Karen Chaston:    It’s the, Five Regrets of the Dying from Ronnie Ware, she was an Australian palliative care nurse. She interviewed people for years. The Five Regrets were: number five, I wish I had let myself be happier, number four, I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends, number three, I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings, number two I wish I had not worked as much as I did, and number one I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Karenchaston. Okay, Karen, this is my last hump day hoedown question:  Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? 

 

Karen Chaston:    You are the only person you are going to spend your entire life with. Put yourself first find your strength, courage and truth to make sure you live a life that is true to you.

 

Jim Rembach:     Karen it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share it the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you? 

 

Karen Chaston:    They can contact me through my web sites which is, livelovebydesign.com or karenchaston.com.au and please reach out because I would really love to assist you in birthing your new live love way of life. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Karen Chaston, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

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. 

 

END OF AUDIO. 

 

 

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154: Kumar Mehta: There will always be someone who will listen

Kumar Mehta Show Notes Page

Kumar Mehta experienced a culture shock. After working for Microsoft for many years, he became the CEO of Blue Ocean Market Intelligence. The same people that used to respond to his emails and phone calls when he was at Microsoft, now would not talk to him. His calls and request became less important without the Microsoft brand. That’s when Kumar learned a hard lesson about innovation.

Kumar grew up in Bombay, India and went to The University of Iowa for his doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Socioeconomics.  The first thing he noticed when he arrived, besides how friendly Iowans are, was that there were likely more people that lived on his street in Bombay, then in all of Iowa City.

His father was a doctor, an accomplished surgeon who spent half of his professional career working for free (the other half to support his family).  This taught Kumar at an early age to give to society.

Kumar has had a broad variety of careers, his education and early work was in pharmaceuticals, from there he spent almost fourteen years in the technology industry working at Microsoft, from there he was CEO of a large data analytics company and now is in his fourth career writing, speaking and thinking about innovation.  He believes that innovation is the one constant that has enhanced human life since the beginning of time and is committed to providing knowledge that enhances the rate of innovation.

In addition to his focus on innovation and being the author of The Innovation Biome: A Sustained Business Environment Where Innovation Thrives, Kumar serves on the board of the Committee for Children, the nation’s largest nonprofit focused on social and emotional learning for children.   He also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future.

Kumar lives in Seattle and plays more golf than any human should (though he thinks it is not enough), with his wife Palvi, a Seattle tech CFO.  His son is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Chicago and his daughter (also from U Chicago) is in Oakland teaching middle school math as part of Teach for America.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Kumar Mehta to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“When companies innovate all of our lives get better.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet

“Understand the foundational building blocks of innovation, it’s the only way all of our lives get enhanced.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet

“Most people that talk about innovation have a solution, but when you try to apply it to everything it’s just not going to work.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“You have to match the activities you need to do for the types of outcomes you want to generate.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“All the innovations that we’ve encountered in our lives have changed the human experience.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“The bigger the experience change, the bigger the innovation.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Experiential innovation is all about changing human experiences.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Innovation is almost always building on something else.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Every innovation has always been worked on simultaneously by other people.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Companies who want to innovate, very often don’t even know what they’re doing.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“If you systematically think about it, your chances of releasing breakthrough innovation enhance substantially.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Everybody is innovative.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“One of the problems with companies is that they just believe they’re not innovative.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“The large majority of startups are started by people who spend 6 or more years in a larger company.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Companies have the talent to innovate, you just need to recognize it and give the environment to thrive.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“There’s absolutely no reason why every company can become more innovative.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Innovation is not about the value in creating ideas, it’s about ideas creating value.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“There will always be someone who will listen, all you have to do is find those people.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Companies that are chasing the big breakthrough, are never going to get it.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“The only way to get that big breakthrough is to have thousands of things happen all the time.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Every innovative company that we can think of has had more failures than successes.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Being innovative is not a one-shot thing.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“Trust yourself and be committed to what you want to do.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

“You have to believe that you know more than you give yourself credit for.” -Kumar Mehta Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Kumar Mehta experienced a culture shock. After working for Microsoft for many years, he became the CEO of Blue Ocean Market Intelligence. The same people that used to respond to his emails and phone calls when he was at Microsoft, now would not talk to him. His calls and request became less important without the Microsoft brand. That’s when Kumar learned a hard lesson about innovation.

Advice for others

You have to believe that you know more than you give yourself credit for.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Myself

Best Leadership Advice

Trust yourself and be committed to what you want to do.

Secret to Success

Empathy

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Everyone around me.

Recommended Reading

The Innovation Biome: A Sustained Business Environment Where Innovation Thrives

The Godfather

Contacting Kumar Mehta

email: Kumar [at] bridgesinsight.com

website: https://www.kumarmehta.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kumar-mehta-ph-d-807931/

Resources and Show Mentions

Developing a Better Place to Work

Increase Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture

Empathy Mapping

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

154: Kumar Mehta: There will always be someone who will listen

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So, move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more.

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I get to talk and present to you somebody who really gets into one of the things that I have a passion for, and that’s innovation. Kumar Mehta grew up in Bombay, India and went to the University of Iowa for his doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Socio economics. The first thing he noticed when he arrived besides how friendly Iowans are was that there were likely more people that lived on his street in Bombay then in the entire city of Iowa City. His father was a doctor, an accomplished surgeon, who spent half his professional career working for free the other half to support his family this taught Kumar at an early age to give to society.

Kumar had a broad variety of careers. His education and early work was in pharmaceuticals from there he spent almost 14 years in the technology industry working at Microsoft. From there he was CEO of a large data analytics company and now is in his fourth career writing, speaking and thinking about innovation. He believes that innovation is one of the constants that has enhanced human life since the beginning of time and is committed to providing knowledge that enhances the rate of innovation. In addition to his focus on innovation, Kumar serves on the board of the Committee for Children, the nation’s largest nonprofit focused on social and emotional learning for children. He also serves as a senior research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for the Digital Future.

Kumar lives in Seattle with his wife Palvi and plays more golf than any human should, though he thinks it’s not enough. She is a Seattle tech CFO. His son is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Chicago and his daughter also from the University of Chicago is in Oak teaching middle school math as part of Teach for America. Kumar Mehta, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Kumar Mehta:   Yes, absolutely. It’s great to be here and thanks for having me here.

Jim Rembach:   Well, I’m really excited to have you on the show because I the work that you’ve been doing on this particular topic is something that I have a passion for myself and I love bringing out folks like you who really made some headway in how we can all do a better job at innovating. I’ve given our legion a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

Kumar Mehta:   My current passion is removing misunderstandings, fallacies, removing all the cloud and the uncertainty around innovation and trying to really cut to get to what is innovation and how can companies innovate. The guiding principle behind all the work I do is that when companies innovate all of our lives get better and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. If organizations, nonprofits, for-profits, big companies, small companies if they just understand the foundation or building blocks of innovation how innovation can happen how it has happened from the beginning of time that’s the only way that all of our lives will get enhanced. Whether there’s innovations in pharmaceuticals, whether there’s new things in technology, whether we have a new iPhone or a new cure for an incurable disease.

Jim Rembach:   For me as I started reading through your new book—The Innovation Biome, I think one part that you just said that’s critically important is that I didn’t even realize all the different aspects of innovation. You even talked about how innovation can be described and you list a few terms—you have product innovation, process innovation, service innovation, platform innovation, business model innovation, frugal innovation, radical innovation, open innovation, it goes on and you said that there’s really over a hundred different types of innovation. I was just astounded it’s no wonder why we’re in trouble moving forward because there’s so many different things. And you

also had mentioned that depending on the type of innovation that you’re that you’re trying to undergo is that you have to use unique tools for that type of innovation because if you used the wrong tools you’re going to fail to begin with.

Kumar Mehta:   Yep, you’re absolutely right. Most people that talk about innovation invariably have a solution either they’re a consulting company with a solution or they are software platform or they’re someone who has what they believe is the solution to innovation and that’s what they pitch. Now, that’s one tool there’s nothing wrong with whatever they’ve come up with though very likely it’s kind of well-grounded, well-reasoned it works. But when you try to apply to everything then it’s almost like using a square peg in a round hole it’s just not going to work. You have to match the activities you need to do for the kinds of outcomes you want to generate that is often not viewed by people studying or presenting innovation.

Jim Rembach:   One of the things that you had talked about in order to try to, I guess real things in and be a little bit more focused so that people weren’t all over the place with their thinking about innovation. You talked about experiential innovation, what is that?

Kumar Mehta:   Experiential innovation is about changing experiences. All the innovations that we’ve encountered in our lives have changed human experience and the bigger the experience changed the bigger the innovation. Now, some of them are brand new things. For example, the invention of an automobile was a brand new thing, the invention of the airplane was a brand or the creation of the Internet was a brand new thing. But applying the Internet to online commerce or online banking has changed our experiences forever or taking the airplane and applying it to commercial aviation changes our experience forever. Experiential innovation is all about changing human experiences it could be a new thing but in many cases it’s connecting dots. For example the iPhone, one of the innovations that all of us use and enjoy every day is basically connecting dots there was GPS technology, there was touchscreens, all these things that were out there, the web browser, mobile technology was there and putting them all together in this beautiful package that we can’t live without, that is connecting the dots and that is experiential innovation.

im Rembach:   Thanks for sharing. One of the things that I have always talked about, and you’ll have to tell me and correct me if I was sending people down the wrong path, I think it was a fallacy for me and is for many people that innovation is that light bulb moment where it’s uh-huh all of a sudden something just comes in front of me and it’s totally revolutionary. But when you think about innovation it doesn’t seem like that’s the way it works. It is the dot connecting thing it’s like, I take this thing and this thing and then therefore do some synergistic type of activity to it and now I have something new.

Kumar Mehta:   Correct. Yes, innovation is never a light bulb—very often a light bulb goes up in people’s mind when they see something but it’s almost always building on something else. If you look at the light bulb, literally the invention of the light bulb—no pun intended here—before Thomas Edison’s light bulb there were dozens of other light bulbs that were invented. His light bulb was special because it lasted longer but it was built from everything else that was done so far. The other thing he had done also was he had created an entire cluster of value around an electric meter and all these different things, the surrounding things that were necessary to make an innovation viable and make it the one. But invariably every innovation has always been worked on simultaneously by other people and it’s always an iterative thing. There are so many examples and sometimes examples cut across industries. If you take contact lenses for example, an innovation that millions of people use and it’s been a fantastic innovation and correct the vision. The notion that you can use lenses covering your eyes had been around for a very long time but it was just not feasible to create contact lenses because no one could take mold of sensitive corneal tissue because it was just too painful you just can’t go and measure. So, that innovations sat dormant for decades, I think it was like 60 years. Completely unrelated comes another innovation called anesthesia and that was for something else something completely unrelated. All of a sudden these two meet and now with the availability of anesthesia you’re able to take molds of people’s corneal tissue in people’s eyes and therefore contact lenses something that was dormant for decades got new life and now became a viable thing that all of us can use.

Jim Rembach:   When you start talking about all of these different types of innovation frameworks—when I had the opportunity to interview Dr. K.H. Kim from William and Mary who wrote the book, The Creativity Challenge, why we

are having problems. One of the things that you talk about in the book is that we’re spending more and more money on research and development so that we can innovate and but the return on that dollar is continuing to shrink over time so we’re producing less and less creative thought and innovations. Companies really have to do a better job of first of all knowing the problems with that and addressing that. And then also creating the proper frameworks, of course culture and all those things, in order to be able to capitalize and have innovation occur. You talk about the model called the care model. What does that do for folks?

Kumar Mehta:   The care model basically lets you understand and lets you see what you’re doing. The care model is basically four things that companies do and every company does these four things in varying degrees in order to stay in business. The first is the activities, things you just have to do to keep the lights running whether it’s building manufacturing, selling, doing accounting, finance, doing all the stuff you need to do to keep your business going. The second set of activities you do is advancement activities, you’re improving upon what you’ve already done. So, you’re building the next generation of your car or of your smartphone or of your laundry detergent or you’re taking what you have and making it better or selling it to more people or selling it in more countries you’re just improving upon what you’re doing, improving a process or your products. The third set of activities are the reframing activities. These are activities where you do entirely new things. This is what’s cooked up in R&D labs things that the world has never seen and these are just a development of something brand-new. And the last set of activities and this is not done often enough, are the experiential activities as we just talked about is not necessarily coming up with something brand new but creating new value from things that are already there.

Companies who want to innovate and who want to have these fantastic groundbreaking, earth-shattering innovations that they’re all thirsting for very often don’t even know what they’re doing. They have this big R&D spend they have all these all these different efforts but they don’t know how much time, energy, resources they’re putting towards it, advancement activities or reframing activities or experiential activities. And in many cases each of these activities as we talked about earlier require different tools and different approaches so you need to first understand what you’re doing and then you match the right tools and approaches to doing them. If you don’t do that

then innovation just becomes a shot in the dark, it may happen it may not happen. But if you systematically think about it your chances of releasing breakthrough innovation enhance substantially.

Jim Rembach:   I guess what they say is serendipity is not a good business model?

Kumar Mehta:   It can be good but you can’t count on it you can’t predict it.

Jim Rembach:   Definitely not. Okay, so, I also would think that a lot of people may say, well the whole R&D and innovative types of things are really reserved for those huge companies or those companies that are in certain sectors that are huge or for the startup, nobody else can really do any innovation, but you say that’s not quite true. As a matter of fact you shouldn’t give up, that’s part of what you talk about in the Innovation Biome, what do you really mean by that?

Kumar Mehta:   I think everybody can be innovative and I think everybody is innovative. One of the problems with companies is that they just believe they’re not innovative. They look outside and they see all these cool startups doing all these great things and they say, You know, I need to bring that culture in. I need to become like them so I need to create my own startup or I need to do something like that. One of the things that people don’t realize, in fact there was a study done by the Kauffman Foundation, I think it was 75 % of people who go and start successful startups come from these very companies. So, the entrepreneurial talent is there unlike the vision we have of these geniuses who from a very young age do these incredible things and there are many of those, the large majority of startups are started by people who spend six or more years in a larger company and the average age of a startup founder is closer to 40. One of the I make in the book is that companies have that talent you just need to recognize it and give it the environment to thrive otherwise these people with great ideas, these entrepreneurial people are going to leave and go and start their own startups. But if the larger companies allowed them and give them the ability and the rewards and the motivation and everything else they’re more likely to be successful. Eighty to Ninety percent of startups fail but if this these great ideas have the resources and backing of a large company the brand and all the things that the large company brings there’s absolutely no reason why every company cannot become more innovative.

Jim Rembach:   I dare to say that—when we start talking about innovation, when we start talking about   trying and failing when we start talking about being that creative speaker who wants to be innovative and being an environment that squashes you, there’s a whole lot of emotion that’s associated with all of this. One of the things that we look for on the show are quotes to help inspire us and get us moving in a certain direction or kick start us. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

Kumar Mehta:   There’s one quote that I wrote in the book, Innovation is not about the value and creating ideas it’s about ideas creating value. Now that is something—that’s a quote that’s been picked up that I wrote on the book. If I look outside I think the quote that drives me is, Be the change you wish to see in the world, and this is a quote that drives and guides many people but it’s something that I think it’s just a brilliant quote that I try to aspire you.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks for sharing that. I know too when we start talking about, probably your path as well as many other paths and definitely the path of innovation and the trying and the failing and the learning and all of that stuff, there’s a lot of humps that we have to get over in order to finally   get that breakthrough moment? Is there a time where you’ve had to get over the hump that you can share?

Kumar Mehta:   I’ve always had to get over the hump. My career has been going from going from one brand new thing to another. After studying pharmaceuticals I wanted to move to Seattle and I ended up joining, at that time a relatively smaller company called Microsoft. I knew nothing about technology all my education and work was in pharmaceuticals and I had to get over the hump the learning curve of understanding some pretty technical stuff to be successful at Microsoft. After Microsoft, I was the CEO of a large company of over 1200 people called Blue Ocean Market Intelligence—I’ve never been a CEO before I didn’t know how to do it. Going from a company like Microsoft where—the fact that you have Microsoft in your business card gives you a position of authority.

Going to a company that not many people have heard of it was a culture shock for me that people didn’t respond or didn’t reply to my phone calls or emails. That was like, wait a second everyone replies to my email and then and I had to realize not to take it personally. Instead, hey, everyone wants to

talk to somebody from Microsoft and the very same people don’t want to talk to you if you’re at some no-name company or a smaller company. I have to just remind myself that, hey, this is possible with the push with innovation with thinking in a new way about things there will always be someone who’ll listen all you have to do is find those people who listen. Again now as I start a new career, it’s not necessarily a new career, but as I start my career into writing and speaking and educating people on innovation it’s kind of back to the same thing. People say, hey, there’s so much written about innovation there’s so many books and I got to re-educate people and level set them.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks for sharing. As you were talking I started seeing that you’ve had continuous resiliency. And when you start talking about that innovative spirit and creating innovation and when people start coming up with new ideas and even when you start talking about the contact lens of thing being shelved for 60 years before it was able to come to play is that innovation is not a quick thing it seems like it’s a very long-term play. How important is resiliency and persistence in innovation?

Kumar Mehta:   It is incredibly important because companies that are chasing the big breakthrough are never going to get it. The only way to get that big breakthrough is to have thousands of things happen all the time and every day and it’s when you have all those little things happen that something breaks through into something big. Every company we can think of, when you think of the most innovative companies in your mind, every single one of them has had more failures than successes and more misses than hits but we just think about the one hit because it so overwhelmingly dominates everything that the company does and we don’t think about the hundreds of failures that have gone towards making that. So being innovative is not a one-shot thing it’s not a one-time deal that’s what the innovation biome, is it’s a culture it’s an environment where innovation happens all the time. When you have that innovation happening all the time you’re going to get rewarded far more than you can ever imagine.

Jim Rembach:   Based on what you were just saying and just thinking about things myself is that there’s a whole lot of failure that’s going on and you have to have a strong community to be able to pick one another up, in addition to yourself, so that you can ultimately get to that big prize. Okay, you talked about this transition that you’re going through right, you have the book, you’re trying to do some speaking, increase your exposure and teach

people so that we can   turn around this poor return on investment on R&D spend, and I definitely wish that I can help you in some way possible, but when you start thinking about all of those things that you have including your golf game on your plate, what’s one of your goals?

Kumar Mehta:   My goal is actually a pretty broad goal. What’s driving me is actually when I retired from being the CEO of my company, was that I wanted to impact a million lives in a positive fashion. And then I kind of thought, why a million why not a bigger number? And I figured that the only way I can impact lives is by helping organizations how to innovate. By providing the real knowledge and not selling something—not selling a tool, not selling an approach just kind of taking innovation breaking it down into its components and educating people—hey, if you really want to innovate here’s what you can do and as companies innovate all of our lives get better. So the impact I can have is through this kind of leverage.

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.

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that improves the empathy and emotional intelligence skills in everyone. It provides a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement and provides integrated activities that will improve the leadership and collaboration skills in everyone. This award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and higher performing employees that have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better.

Jim Rembach:     Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Kumar, the Hump Day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Kumar Mehta, are you ready to hoedown?

Kumar Mehta:   Yes.

Jim Rembach:   Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Kumar Mehta:   Myself.

Jim Rembach:   What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Kumar Mehta:   Trust yourself and be committed to what you want to do.

Jim Rembach:   What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Kumar Mehta:   Empathy.

Jim Rembach:   What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Kumar Mehta:   Everyone around me.

Jim Rembach:   What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it could be from any genre, of course we’re going to put a link to the Innovation Biome on your show notes page as well.

Kumar Mehta:   My pick my favorite book from when I was a child, The Godfather.

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Kumar Mehta. Okay, Kumar this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why.

Kumar Mehta:   I take back my self-belief and my confidence and the ability to trust myself. When I was 25 I probably didn’t trust myself enough and I was unsure but you have to believe that you know more than you give yourself credit for. And if you just believe and commit to what whatever you’re out to do you’re very likely to succeed.

Jim Rembach:   Kumar it was an honored to spend time with you today can you please share with a Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

Kumar Mehta: You can connect with me on LinkedIn or go to my website, www.kumarmehta.com. Or just email me at kumar@bridgesinsight.com.

Jim Rembach:   Kumar Mehta, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

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 www.fastleader.net. So we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

 

082: Megan Constantino: From that hump I got a baby bump

Megan Constantino Show Notes

Megan Constantino decided to go on national television to share one of the most un-cool, un-sexy things you could think about. Being completely driven by God, she and her husband Frank decided to go on the Steve Harvey to share their struggles with infertility and it made all the difference for them. Listen to Megan’s story of courage and getting over several humps.

Megan was born and raised in Beckley, West Virgina with her older sister. And as a young girl Megan was best known for talking.
Megan has networked since birth so a career in public relations flowed naturally. But bigger than business, she believes anything is possible with God’s will and relentless hard work.

With His help, Megan has overcome some unique life challenges including conquering an eating disorder as well as infertility. Her and her husband shared their journey in marriage and parenthood very publicly to create awareness and hope for others in similar situations. This included national media interviews such as being guest on The Steve Harvey show and an article in Parade Magazine.

Megan’s life experiences have instilled a perspective in her of confidence and courage, making anything possible. She has a life mission to help others reach higher.

Megan is the Chief Creative Officer of Parachute Partners. For more than a decade Megan has helped to build brands through marketing, public relations, business acceleration strategies, social media strategies, advertising, branding, event planning, and product placement.

She’s been responsible for marketing and public relations for a host of organizations across a range of industries including higher education, sports, non-profits, established corporations, and startups. Her clients have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Women’s Health, Parade Magazine, BBC, as well as television shows such as The Steve Harvey Show.

Megan now resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, as the proud wife of Frank and mother to Blake, their miracle 18 month-old son.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @ParachuteMeg and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“It’s hard to promote yourself and sometimes you need someone.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet

“You need someone behind the scenes to do the scrappy work.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“It is a marathon and not a sprint, it does require resilience.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“You have a personal brand, you can choose to mold and craft that.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“Social media has leveled the playing field for building your brand.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“My entire career has been nothing but overcoming humps.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“Parenting is the most exhausting and rewarding role.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“Things I am learning as a parent I am able to apply in my professional life.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

“Sometimes you have to pare it back and focus.” -Megan Constantino Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Megan Constantino decided to go on national television to share one of the most un-cool, un-sexy things you could think about. Being completely driven by God, she and her husband Frank decided to go on the Steve Harvey to share their struggles with infertility and it made all the difference for them. Listen to Megan’s story of courage and getting over several humps.

Advice for others

Courage can help you to be the change that is needed.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Delegation…I like to do it all myself.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Fewer and bigger. Sometimes you have to pare it back and focus and do fewer and bigger.

Secret to Success

I am a natural connector. I look at every relationship and opportunity and I analyze to find every possible way that I can make a difference.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

My project management system. I do not have a virtual assistant so I send myself reminders. I use basecamp.

Recommended Reading

Each Moment We’re Alive. A Musical and Photographic Story Inspired by Cancer Survivors

Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results—Without Losing Your Soul

The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and Transforming Your Workplace

Contacting Megan

Website: http://www.wejumpwithyou.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/constantinomeg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParachuteMeg

Resources

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

082: Megan Constantino: From that hump I got a baby bump

 

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 today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show who to me is someone of inspiration that we can all learn something from. Megan Constantino was born and raised in Beckley West, Virginia with her older sister who just won teacher of the year in Raleigh, West Virginia counties school. And as a young girl Megan was known for talking. Megan has network since birth so a career in public relations flowed naturally. But bigger than business she believes anything is possible with God’s will and relentless hard work. With his help Megan has overcome some unique life challenges including conquering and eating disorder as well as infertility. Her husband shared their journey in marriage and parenthood very publicly to create awareness and hope for others in similar situations. This included national media interviews such as being a guest on the Steve Harvey show an article in Parade magazine. 

 

Megan’s life experiences have instilled a perspective in her of confidence and courage making anything possible. She has a life’s mission to help others reach higher. Megan is the Chief Creative Officer of Parachute Partners. For more than a decade Megan has helped to build brands to marketing, public relations, business acceleration strategy, social media strategies, advertising, branding, event planning and product placement. She’s been responsible for marketing and public relations for a host of organizations across a range of industries including higher education, sports, non-profits, established corporations and startups. Her clients have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc. Entrepreneur, Women’s Health, Parade magazine, BBC, as well as on television shows such as The Steve Harvey Show. Megan now resides in St. Petersburg, Florida as the proud wife of Frank and mother of Blake their miracle 18-month-old son. Megan Constantino, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Megan Constantino:    Yes, absolutely. And I have to say just being quiet during that short period of time was a challenge for me. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what you’re current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

 

Megan Constantino:    Sure. I’m living my dream. I have long to live in sunny, southern Florida for many year and I feel that everything in my life work-related, and personal has led me to where I am, personally and professionally. I have started my own company, I finally jumped out front there and I’m having an exhausting but exciting ball serving really world re-known leaders, amazing companies and helping them grown their business in this world. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And I appreciate all the work that you’re doing. One of the things that I really wanted to have you on the show for is because in today’s world I think that everybody who wants to make a difference and make an impact really has to improve and enhance their own PR skills. And so when you start thinking about that, more social world those that are creating an environment and an inviting platform and things like that are the ones who are going to be chosen, followed and admired, respected, all of those things that we talked about in regards to leading, but when you think about folks and really that issue that many of them have associated with being afraid to put themselves out there being afraid to really be public, what would you say to those folks?

 

Megan Constantino:    Holy smokes! I can completely understand what they go through because I’m used to my clients being on your show. When you asked me to join you I nearly fainted, so, I can empathized with first the fact that it’s hard to promote yourself and sometimes you need someone who is outside of the box, outside of the picture to step in. and then secondly, you’re busy. You’re doing the work, you need someone behind the scene to help you research, to look at new opportunities and to do a whole lot of scrappy work to get your message in front of new audiences, and that’s my passion. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think you bring up a really important point that so many folks maybe just don’t have exposure to. One of the things that I talk about is ignorance. If you look at ignorance in the dictionary what the definition means is innocent, unknowing. However, the word ignorant or ignorance has got a negative connotation on our society so no one would say, well I was just ignorant about it because they don’t want to be dumb but the fact is that I think so many people are just ignorant in regards to like for example everybody who says everybody has a book on them, right? So write your book and then, there you go. But the fact is that running the book is really the simple part of actually being published and being recognized, the harder part is promoting it.

 

Megan Constantino:    Absolutely. Really, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scene, many months in advanced at times and you’re doing it really, really fine tune strategy. My favorite quote and probably every person I’ve ever had a long discussion about marketing or promotions with I always say to them it’s always about “The right person, asking or offering the right thing at the right time in the right way” and sometimes it takes five times of that. It is a marathon and not a sprint and it does require resilience but I think my real key is I’m going to encourage her and the people I work with they know they’re not alone, they’re not alone at 8 a.m. they’re not alone at 8 P M my eyes and ears are out there on their behalf at all times and to me that is a mission and it brings fulfillment to me to see them grow and to see them move forward and  they become one program like your show. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I appreciate you sharing that because I think we all need to be reminded of those things. I work with a lot of folks who are working with an organizations who I think have that same, you want to call it a platform problem, PR problem. One of my very good friend, a senior level leader in a very large organization, really got a comment from folks internally that you’re not known in the industry and then they view that as something that was a potential antagonist or preventative thing to help them to move on to yet even larger responsibilities with the organization. So, I don’t think anymore that it’s a situation where it’s just the entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, authors, even companies to have to really think about PR it’s also the individual.

 

Megan Constantino:    Yes. Whether you like it or not everyone out there listening you have a personal brand. You can choose to mold and craft that in the direction that you want to go or you can let it be as it is. Obviously people are going to have their own opinions but you have the opportunity to craft and move in the direction you want. And social media has level the playing field but I think more than that I think people need guidance they need a mentor and really you just need someone there to encourage you as well. And ultimately that busy executive you mentioned, they don’t have the time to monitor so it continually changes every day something new has change you just have to stay on top of it. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah and I think you brought up a good point as far as a specialization. As you’re saying that I started thinking about—for me while you and I, we’ve been working in social media and doing all that for many, many, many years so it’s easy for us to pick up the things that do change and shift and we can switch gears, but gosh, to be able to put all of that in what we know into somebody else’s hands that now has to do it is not an easy thing, it takes a lot of effort.

 

Megan Constantino:    It is extremely overwhelming even for someone like myself that is neck deep in the industry all day every day the full marketing gamut, it’s ever changing and it’s exhausting.

 

Jim Rembach:    I think sometimes we also can get exhausted because of having to get over humps and goodness knows some of us have to keep getting over the same one, speaking for myself. But can you think of a time where you’ve had to get over the hump and it really made a difference for you and it really gave you that inspiration, can share the story?

 

Megan Constantino:    Oh! Yes. This maybe one of your juiciest you’ve had because it’s a personal story but it rolls into my entire life experience. I’ve had several humps. One I overcame an eating disorder. I did not do that alone and I share about it in a very public way both for myself and to help others and it took a lot of faith, effort and courage. So, fast forward to my adulthood every position I’ve ever had has been reaching higher perhaps stepping into situations I’m not comfortable with. So my entire career has been nothing but overcoming humps to get into straight, stretch, hurdles to the next hump. So fast forward to two years ago as you mentioned at the beginning of the show, how in the world did I end up on Steve Harvey in front of 3 million people talking about infertility? That’s quite the hump right there. I basically went on national television and shared about one of probably the most uncool, unsexy things you can think about out there but it was completely driven by God. Our families were hesitant, nervous but supported us and I’m telling you that hump in itself was larger than just overcoming infertility, it completely changed my mindset in life as a whole, there is a solution there is a possibility out there. So, we dove in, we went on that national TV show and it turned out the best it possibly could and God gave us our baby boy, I was pregnant literally a month later. So, how about that? You probably can’t—so, from that hump I got a baby bop. 

 

Jim Rembach:    We’re friends on Facebook so I get the opportunity to see some of your pictures of being on the beach when it’s cold where I am, although I’m not even that far north. I’m really happy for you and Frank that you’ve been able to have that gift be given to you and hopefully there’s more to come. I know you have a lot of things going on. Yes, you launched a new business and I love your tagline, please say it real quick.

 

Megan Constantino:    We jump with you. It’s Parachute Partners and our website is www.wejumpwithyou.com because when you’re going to jump off into a new area of business or a new area in your life and you need quality, affordable and hand and hand partnership, that’s us we will jump with you. If you’re going to jump from an airplane, we will be your tandem partner with that parachute.

 

Jim Rembach:    So, when you start thinking about all the things going on, family, business, what are some of you goals?

 

Megan Constantino:    Well, my first and foremost goal is to continue learning thing parenting thing. Understanding that I actually probably will never be an expert at this and I will continue to change, I will say that parenting is the most exhausting and absolutely most rewarding role in my life. The things that I’m learning as a parent I’m also applying in my professional life. For example, if you are present and working, work very hard be completely focused, give your best. The same thing with my child, I’m working remote I struggle with that, there’s a hump for you. A ping goes off on my phone, I need to spend time with my son. Do I answer that client’s email? So that’s actually a challenge that I’m going through. But everything that led from the humps, the reason I launched my business was, to be honest with you my husband lost the position that brought us here. So I had this moment of opportunity and I have been feeling like it was time to go out on my own. And at that point I jumped, I decided that now’s the time. I’m working hard, I may as well work hard and do exactly what I want and serve the type of folks that I want. So, I would say that almost an aha moment an epiphany as you call it, happened when Frank lost that job and actually shortly thereafter Frank did get a new and amazing position, but here I am had he not lost that position I would not have felt the courage and the motivation to go ahead and do what my heart’s desire and what I knew that I had in me. I’ve only been in business for myself now for four months and just feels so natural and the appreciation and the satisfaction in result they’re there, it’s amazing. 

 

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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Alright, here we go Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Megan the Hump Day Hoedown is a 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. Megan Constantino are you ready to hoedown?

 

Megan Constantino:    I’m ready to hoedown. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. So what do you think is holding you back from being even better leader today?

 

Megan Constantino:     Delegation. I like to do it all myself, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Megan Constantino:    Probably I would say pure and bigger, I tend to want to do it all to have my cake and eat it too. Sometimes you have to pair it back and focus and do for your own baker. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Megan Constantino:    I’m a natural connector. I look at every relationship and every opportunity and I analyze it and find every which possible way that I can make a difference.

 

Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Megan Constantino:    I’m going to default to technology and I love my project management system because I don’t have a virtual assistant so I send myself reminders to remind my clients if they’re coming on your show, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is that tool?

 

Megan Constantino:    Base camp.

 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, and it could be from any genre?

 

Megan Constantino:    Just one? Just one… I have three. One is, Each Moment We’re Alive, it’s a musical and photographic story inspired by cancer survivors, and that’s by Deborah Alts and you can find that on debrasong.com. Karen Hurst, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your Soul, it’s written in plain English. It’s fun and it’s real. And Chris Edmonds’ The Culture Engine, a framework for driving results and inspiring your employees and transforming your workplace, and it is the real deal. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to that and other bonus information from today show by going to fastleader.net/Megan Constantino. Okay, Megan this my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age 25 and you’ve 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, so what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Megan Constantino:    I would take courage because at 25 years old I work for a university that was ran in a very unhealthy way and today that university is closed and I imagine not only myself but probably all the faculty and staff would have—and I would take courage back. I’m not going to name the university because half of them will probably listen to this one’s I share it on social media but I would take courage back because I could have been the change that was needed. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Megan, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you? 

 

Megan Constantino:    Sure. You can find me on Facebook, just look me up, me our company—Parachute Partners. Or you can email me if you have any questions. If you want to get together have a chat and brainstorm, I can be reached at megan@wejumpwithyou.com

 

Jim Rembach:    Megan Constantino, 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. 

 

END OF AUDIO

 

 

055: Justin Robbins: I got there and I immediately felt lost

Justin Robbins Show Notes

Justin Robbins graduated from High School with honors and was on his way to become a music teacher. But in his first semester in college he immediately felt lost. Justin then made a big decision to drop out which sent him on a three year journey to find his way. Listen to Justin tell his story of finding his passion and getting over the hump.

Justin Robbins spent much of his youth in Bloomsburg, PA, a small town in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley. During his teenage years, Justin’s family moved to the suburbs of Washington, DC where he was actively involved in his school’s music and theatre arts programs.

Through Justin’s late teens and early 20’s, he lived in a variety of locations and experienced an assortment of educational and professional opportunities. By the age of 22, Justin had been a hotel general manager, a US Navy recruit, and the booking agent for a Grammy award winner. He gained exposure to unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and used these experiences to develop a well-rounded world perspective, as his career gained momentum.

Along the way, he also earned money by working in numerous frontline customer service roles from paperboy to call center agent to cashier. Eventually, Justin’s career brought him to Hershey, PA where he spent five years in the contact center for the “Sweetest Place on Earth”. While at Hershey, he became responsible for many of their hiring, training, and customer experience initiatives.

Justin is currently employed as the Community Director for United Business Media where he leads both the Incoming Calls Management Institute’s and Help Desk Institute’s brands in bringing research, best practices, and impactful content to the contact center, customer service, and IT support professional’s communities.

Justin volunteers as the Newsletter Editor of AGAPE, a mission serving his local community, as well as a high school youth leader at his church. He is a husband and father to three children and enjoys taking his family on adventures across the country and currently lives in Danville, PA.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @justinmrobbins and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“The way to really build the skill is to practice it.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet

“I don’t know that it’s a matter of overcoming the fear…it’s bridling it.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“It’s a matter of using it to motivate me rather than let it get the best of me.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“I had this choice to let fear get the best of me…or I could own these fears.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Internally, we know what ignites our passion.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Be true to you.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“You’re not going to do your best work until you recognize what is true to you.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Who are you really and what are you meant to do?” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Focus on who you are internally.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Too many of us settle for something because we’re afraid.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Always be a student.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Seek and pursue people who are doing really great things.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Dream bigger, dream bigger, dream bigger.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

“Never give up, sometimes we fail…get over it, move on.” -Justin Robbins Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Justin Robbins graduated from High School with honors and was on his way to become a music teacher. But in his first semester in college he immediately felt lost. Justin then made a big decision to drop out which sent him on a three year journey to find his way. Listen to Justin tell his story of finding his passion and getting over the hump.

Advice for others

Be true to you. You’re not going to do your best work until you recognize what is true to you. Focus on you and who you are internally.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Setting the bar too low. I don’t dream big enough. Dream bigger.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Never give up. Sometimes we fail, it’s going to be a failure, get over it, and move on.

Secret to Success

Personal drive. Being genuinely excited, enthusiastic and wanting to constantly get better.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

The insight of really great authors who are really wise and provide excellent advice and ideas for just thinking outside of my norm.

Recommended Reading

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

Contacting Justin

LinkedIn: https://twitter.com/justinmrobbins

Twitter: https://twitter.com/justinmrobbins

Resources

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

055: Justin Robbins: I got there and I immediately felt lost

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.

How do you get higher contact center agent performance? It’s when customers grade the call and the ratings and comments are used to motivate and coach agents. Uncover hidden secrets and replicate your best agents with the real-time insights from the award-winning External Quality Monitoring program Customer Relationship Metrics. Move onward and upward by going to www.customersgradethecall.com/fast and getting a $7,500 rapid result package for free.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader Legion, today I am so excited because I have somebody on the show that we get to tap in to their knowledge and their energy in order to help us get over the hump. Justin Robbins spent much of his youth in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania a small town in Pennsylvania, Susquehanna Valley. During his teenage years Justin’s family moved to the suburbs of Washington DC where he was actively involved in the school’s music and theater arts program. Through Justin’s late teens and early 20’s he lived in a variety of locations and experience an assortment of educational and professional opportunities. By the age of 22, Justin had been a hotel manager, a U.S. Navy recruit and a booking agent for Grammy award-winning artist Kevin Max of DC Talk. He gained exposure to unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and use these experiences to develop a well-rounded, world perspective as his career gain momentum. 

 

Along the way he also earn money by working in numerous frontline customer service roles from paper boy to call-center agent to cashier. Eventually Justin’s career bottom to Hershey Pennsylvania where he spent five years in the contact letter of the sweetest place on earth. While at Hershey, he became responsible for many of their hiring, training and customer experience initiatives. Justin is currently employed as the community director for United Business media were he leads both the Incoming Calls Management Institutes and Help Desk Institute branch in bringing research, best practices and impactful content to the contact center, customer service, and IT support professionals communities. Justin volunteers as the newsletter editor for Agape, a mission, serving his local community as well as a high school youth leader at his church. He is a husband and father of three children and enjoys taking his family on adventures across the country and currently lives in Danville, Pennsylvania. Justin Robbins are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Justin Robbins:     Oh, Jim, you know, I’m so excited to be here. 

 

Jim Rembach:     And I’m glad to have you. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better.

 

Justin Robbins:     I think the best way to put is building community. What are the things that really got me  through all of my experiences along my career is just having that sense of belonging and knowing that there are others just like me pursuing the same types of things, experience the same types of problems that I’m experiencing, and so for me that’s my passion. It’s finding those people, helping them get connected and just kind of getting forward momentum, building relationships, gaining experiences, again it comes down to building community.

 

Jim Rembach:    I really admire that in you because I had the opportunity to meet you several years ago and it seems like just in a very short period of time we rapidly found a connection with one another. And it seems like you’re just one of those folks that of course is, gifted with that but you also nurture that in yourself and continue to grow that. What are some the things that you do in order to help you enrich and build that inherent skill that you already have?

 

Justin Robbins:     For me it’s always been a matter of immersing myself in those types of situations. My wife and I, we are polar opposites, it’s probably something really important to know about us, and my wife is—you tell her let’s go meet a bunch of strangers and spent a night with them, they’re probably a million things that she could think of that she would rather do, but for me those types of situations is actually where I get to sharpen my blade, that’s really where I get to hone this skill and figure these things out. It’s one of those things that it’s hard for me to teach someone and to tell someone how to something if I’m not able to, I don’t have the experience and the exposure to do it myself. So, for me the enriching opportunities, the way to really build this skill, is to practice it in as many opportunities and as many chances that I can get.

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s such a great point and even for myself, I know there’s certain things that I would like to get better at, kind of set the goal, but however I let fear stop me from doing that very thing. So, how do you overcome that fear?

 

Justin Robbins:     I don’t know that it’s a matter of overcoming the fear as much it is maybe bridling it and really understanding how to use it to gain momentum and just have that forward inertia in propelling you and motivating you. Taking back to high school when I got into theatre and gone into singing, I had this terrible stage fright. If I ever get in front of people, it just terrified me. And kind of got to this place internally where I realized that two choices, I could let fear get the best of me and I’d still have to get in front of people and they would see that kind of trepidation and they’d see me, I’d stumble, I’d be shaking and so I could let that fear get the best of me or I could use that fear to really drive me and say, “I have this opportunity to be in front of these people and I can give them my best, I’m going to be scared regardless.” People still say that me today, I’ll get up in front of—whether it’s 15 people 1,500 people they’re like, “Do you get nervous? Do you get…? Absolutely, every single time but it’s a matter of using it to motivate me rather than let it get the best of me. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think a great way of putting it, don’t focus in on trying to get over that hump of that fear but bridle it and use it in order to propel you forward and thanks for sharing that. I have to share with everybody since we’re on audio and you don’t get to see us, Justin is also one of those folks that I look up to by being one of the most best dressed folks that I’ve ever seen in an event, and I’m like, “What’s Justin going to wear?” and I’m a guy, right? But the feminine side has to come out because I need to see what Justin’s wearing. Great dresser and also great person, great personality, if you haven’t had the opportunity to see Justin speak you definitely want to look out for that. Talking about your background in theater and everything that we share as far as the different experiences that you had and those are the things that can add so much to our own life and where we’re is those experiences. But we need inspiration, you’re an inspirational person, and we focus on quotes on the show to help give us that. Is there a quote or two that kind of stands out for you that provide you with that energy, that you can share?

 

Justin Robbins:    Yeah. For me, there’s one quote that, and I share this at every opportunity that I can when I’m with a group people, it’s actually by Maya Angelou and it says, “Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.” That really does resonated with me that we so often say, “Oh, I wish I could do this, I wish I could have this change in my organization, I’d really like to see this happen differently or I wish, I wish—and we have all of this ideas and all of this intentions but really it’s a matter of what are we going to do with that? How are we going to put it into action? That’s really going to define us, nobody’s going to know a spire of wish list, and they’re going to know by what we actually made happen, and so for me that’s just kind of a personal drive and a personal motivator.

 

Jim Rembach:    One of the things that you said in there, and thanks for sharing that quote, that kind of stands out for me and what I’ve tried to do as part of a personal practice is try to share what my intent is before I start talking about a thought or an idea or trying to encourage people to have some dialogue because I don’t want them to unfortunately get a wrong perception of what I intend. If you don’t tell people your intention they’re going to make up what they perceive to be your intention and it may not be what you want so, I try to incorporate that in my dialogue.

 

Justin Robbins:    That’s a very good point, Jim.

 

Jim Rembach:    And you kind of made that stand out for me, so thanks. When you start thinking about all of the things that you’ve had experience doing and really helping you be where you are today, I know there’s been a lot of humps and not that it’s a negative in any way but doing and shifting and getting all those different experiences are from many different reasons and some of them are humps that we just can’t get over so we just divert our path and just go somewhere else but were still moving forward, that’s the intent, right?  Is there a time that there was a hump that you had to get over and it defined you to take a better path? Can you share that story? 

 

Justin Robbins:    This is actually not a commonly shared story that I’m telling, it’s probably something that a lot of people don’t know about me. When I graduate from high school I was in the National Honor Society in the program, I was kind of all through high school set that I was going to be a music teacher. And so I went in to my freshmen year of college, went in at the honors program, I was really excited about music education at a school that at that time had a really great music ed program, and I got there and I immediately felt lost like I didn’t belong not  in the sense that college wasn’t necessarily right for me, but I realize that the degree I went out for wasn’t what I wanted to do. There were variety of factors impacting my life at that time but I realize that I was kind of lost, I personally lost, I was just mentally lost, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But I did feel that right there at that time that I was just like spinning and making no forward progress. 

 

So, I made the decision at that point after part of my freshman semester of college, to dropout. And so I dropped out of college in my freshman year and for a number of years I talk about all of those things I did before I turn 22 and it was just me just trying to see what would stood out, some of there were really great, really exciting but there were also some really miserable, terrible jobs, horrible bosses, making not much money at all, and honestly for probably a period of at least three years it was not good. I mentally was kind of in a bad place at times, I would spend the little money that I had on things that I really didn’t needed and honestly Jim for the bigger part of it, I was lost. And I didn’t really know where I wanted to be and what I want to do. 

 

I was thankful to a number of mentors who are externally in my life. Externally feeding in to me who really help me regain my focus, regain my charge and step back to this place where I realize, I do have a choice. It went back to that place of fear and I had this choice to let fear get that best of me and to play this victim of circumstance where I could all this fears, all this anxieties and aligned with, what was I ultimately passionate about? What did I feel that I was really good at? And just pursue that and invest my efforts and invest my time and energy and honing myself into a very specific skill sets that would really allow me to pursue my passions, allow me to pursue the things that I thought and that I had received recognition for being good at. And so, for me that hump was, this was just a period of insecurity not really knowing who I was or what I was meant to be doing with my life over that three-year time when I decided to drop out of college.

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that story. For me,  I had a similar scenario where I was in between a job and what I wanted to do some of the things that you said just resonated with me so much because it was a scenario were the anxiety just started overwhelmingly me. And being able to try to figure out a way out was—it was so dark, it was so difficult. The thing for me that helped too was the thing it sounds like it helped for you—yes, some good mentors but, also really focusing on one thing. I think for me I was trying to focus in on so many things that’s part of what was driving me nuts.

 

Justin Robbins:    Exactly, absolutely.

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that story. For me, I also think about, you had a heck of a lot of strengthens and some good support because mine was a couple months, years was a little bit longer than that. But definitely both of us have come out on the other side at this point and I’m so glad that you’re part of the Legion. When you thinking about all of those experiences and that time and even where you are today, all of that, if there was a piece of advice that you would give to the fast leader legion, what would it be?

 

Justin Robbins:    I thought long and hard about this one, really what I think it comes down to is, internally we know what ignites our passion, and we know what that one thing is that if we can do for the rest of our lives and not get paid a cent for it that’s the thing that we would pursue. I feel that this could be a hard advice to get, sometimes at least it was maybe hard for me to process but really my best piece of advice for the nation is to be true to you. And that might mean having to turn down some things that maybe you like, maybe they made you feel good, maybe they have make you feel good but you did them because you’ve got something out it. Whether that money, whether that was prestige, whatever that was, ultimately you not going to be satisfied, you’re not going to your best work until you recognize what is true to you, who are you really? What are your design? And what do you meant to do? 

 

That come to some people easily, they might be doing that right now. For some people they might have been trying to figure it out but still aren’t there yet. Honestly, what I just say is really focus on who you are internally? What do you feel? What your pulse racing about? Where do you get that excitement over? And pursue it, pursue it, if you do you’re going to find the satisfaction that go beyond any paycheck you could ever get. They’ll going to go beyond any level of procedure, every trials you could ever receive because ultimately you’re doing what you’re meant to do. I think to many of us settle for something because where afraid of what that might mean if we ultimately pursue what we thought called to do. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that. Another thing that stood out that as you were saying that is I started thinking about control. Oftentimes we try to control so many things and I had the opportunity to speak with this one coach as part of their marketing for their services it said something  along the lines of, “Take control of your life.” And I said, “You know what, we all want to hear that and as a concept we embrace that, we attracted that, we want that but in fact that’s the thing that harms us when we try to control so much because when you try to control and the more you try to control, you in fact, control nothing. It’s one of those oxymoron in regards to trying to thrive and find happiness, you can’t control it you just have to do what you said, focus. Think about the things you enjoy and release, that’s where the value will come from in your life. So I know for you—gosh! You have so many things in your plate including helping youth at your church being a father, raising a family, a husband, managing these communities and these brands, speaking, writing there just so many things that just so many things that you have going on right now, if you were to say you have some goals what would they be?

 

Justin Robbins:    Yeah, that’s a great question, Jim. For me, one of the biggest goals that I think is never going to change is to never, never settle for what I know about my craft and about my community and my industry. Today I think it’s really easy, particularly people leverage you as an expert in the field and people secured, I think it can really easy to fall in the trap of—“Yeah, I really know what I’m talking about. Man, I’m good, I think I’m good at where I’m as, as far as how good I am.” For me one of the goals is to never get to that point and to never be that person but to really always be a student of my craft and really always be a student of the industry and the works that I’m doing, so that’s a big goal for me. Always look for opportunities, always find somebody who’s smarter that I and find a way to surround myself with those types of people. 

 

I mean, one of my tactics for most of my career is to find people who are really great at what they do and surround myself with them, and so that’s a continuous goal for me, to seek and pursue people who are doing really great things and make them part of network of friends and my network of community. Another goal for me is to continue to figure out the whole work life balance. I think for a lot of us that’s something that we say is important to us. I been saying it’s important to me but putting a goal on making sure that—we talk about family, we talk about friends and recognizing that it’s their support, their ability to carry us through is what enables us to be successful in our careers. So, that’s a goal for me. Another goal, just rounded out with three is, I love being outdoors and a goal for 2016 is to spend a weekends doing subzero camping. That’s a goal to make it through three days in a really, really cold weather with a bunch of guys that are just awesome friends, so I don’t want to chicken out—that’s a problem with my goals right now.

 

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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Jim Rembach:     Alright here we go Fast Leader Legion it’ time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Justin, 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. Justin Robbin are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Justin Robbins:     I’m ready to hoedown, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Justin Robbins:     Honestly, setting the bar too low. I think I just kind of set a goal and I settle for that and I don’t dream big enough. So, dream bigger, dream bigger, dream bigger.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is the best leadership advice you have received?

 

Justin Robbins:     In line with that is just never give up. Sometimes we fail it’s going to be a failure, get over it move on. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Justin Robbins:     Just personal drive. Just really being genuinely excited, enthusiastic and wanting to constantly get better.

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps to lead in business or life?

 

Justin Robbins:     The insight of really great authors who are really wise and provide excellent advice and ideas for just thinking outside of my norm.

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, it could be from any genre?

 

Justin Robbins:     It’s “The promise of a pencil” by Adam Braun.

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader Legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today show by going to fastleader.net/Justin Robbins. Okay, Justin 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? 

 

Justin Robbins:     I can’t make a decision, Jim, this is so hard. I would say I would take back the knowledge of where I’m going to be in the amount of years, it wasn’t far ago so I’m not going to say the number of years, but just what’s going to happen in the next series of years for me, I would just take the knowledge of where I’m going to end up and really just kind of say, “Look you know you have somethings in front of you right now but just continue to work hard and continue to stay true to you and everything’s going to work out okay. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Justin, 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?

 

Justin Robbins:     Absolutely. If you go on Twitter I’m @JustinMRobbins, also LinkedIn/JustinMRobbins, if you look on the Internet for Justin M. Robbins you’ll probably going to find me, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Justin Robbins, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the fast leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

 

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 www.fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

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