About the Episode:
Today we meet Karen Mangia, VP of Customer & Market Insights at Salesforce. Learn how she herself became a successful thought leader by doing and teaching, and how she strategically impacts her audience through her work and her books.
Karen Mangia is one of the most sought after thought leaders in the world. She is the author of four books: Success from Anywhere: Create Your Own Future of Work From the Inside Out, Working from Home: Making the New Normal Work for You, Listen Up! How to Tune in to Customers and Turn Down the Noise, and Success With Less. She has been featured in Forbes and regularly contributes to Thrive Global, Authority Magazine and ZDNet. Thinkers 360 named her #9 on their List of Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Health & Wellness and #12 for Mental Health.
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What’s shakin, welcome back, everyone listening right now. We’ve been talking for a bit you know, so a lot of this is going to come in but my guest today is Karen Mandia. I did pronounce your last name right, Karen?
Yeah, good enough. This is what I found over time. You have a crazy Italian last name, Mangia, and I have discovered over time I have heard every pronunciation of my last name, and the only one I find truly unsettling is mangy.
Oh, wow. I don’t know how they could get that.
I know. I wouldn’t go that route. No. That’s too much rich context for me, but all others are accepted.
So if you’ve stuck with us so far, we’ve been having a good time, and believe me, you’re gonna want to share this out with three people. Trust me on this today because this is gonna be incredible. Karen has just this incredible dichotomy because she’s VP in Sales Force of customer market insights, right? Yes. Awesome. But then also an entrepreneur which is intriguing to me too. How does that work? Where’s the entrepreneur fit in?
You know, what I really appreciate about Sales Force is we have maintained our entrepreneurial spirit as a company and for some perspective, I’ve been at Salesforce five and a half years and worked into other big tech companies prior to that, and we’re so fortunate at Salesforce that we are still led by our two co founders, Marc Benioff and Parker Harris and, you know, they have maintained this entrepreneurial spirit within the company and we are all encouraged. To be more curious, ask questions, try things and particularly a drumbeat of the message over the past two years is to really be thoughtful about how we can be of service, you know, how we can use the skills that we have to try to help people navigate through these really uncertain times, and so what’s so fascinating about my job and customer market insights and working in market strategy is my job is to sort of have a big question in mind that looks in the direction of how could we build the future together, and then spend time with lots of people having that conversation about how the future could look and ideally, you know, inspire people through those conversations. I wanted to build that future and that vision was Sales Force.
As an extension of my role there, I’m encouraged to share thought leadership, you know, what is it that my colleagues and I are discovering that could be for the benefit or betterment of companies, organizations, society and really humans at large? So I’ve had the opportunity to publish four books. Write blogs and interview series,
Yes, and I’ve got colleagues who have wonderful television shows and podcasts. The idea is how do we have a conversation that really looks in the direction of what might be possible so I’m very fortunate I get to do both. I get to be curious and I get to go create and and I love so many things about my job, but that’s probably the top of the list.
That’s so awesome. Even with Salesforce having so many rounds of funding and you know, growing so large over the years that you’re still led by your two co founders because that doesn’t happen. Sales Force is a very mature company at this point. Yeah, continuously raises capital to continue expanding. I know they just acquired Slack not too long ago as well. Right.
Well as we are been thinking about how the future looks, if we really want to realize this vision of making it possible for organizations to give employees the flexibility, autonomy and choice that that they’re seeking, right that their messaging in a very urgent way that they want and need to feel happy and successful and be loyal to an organization you know, we need a new workflow, right? So, you know, when I think about something like Slack, I think about it as an invitation to think differently about what work is, how it happens and when it happens, and to really enable that asynchronous workflow in a way that makes it possible for us to have highly engaged high performing employees who have all kinds of life scenarios and preferences and ways that they work at their best, and so, you know, I think about this concept of the digital headquarters and really what underlines everything that’s happening right now with work and the workforce in the workplace is really the workflow that makes it possible to support people in their highest aspirations and outcomes in that space.
I’m guessing the work that you’re doing, you’re coming to some of those same discoveries as well. I mean, people are looking to step into a new kind of freedom even inside of companies where they already work.
For sure, right on and we’re looking at that too, because I mean, we were talking a little bit about my IPO and acquiring 50 companies over the next two years, and even from the creative aspect of this, I really see it as like this broad, plain canvas that I get to brush strokes on. Now, you know, similar to like you were saying, you get to ask the questions, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years, because it’s taken that long to get ready for our public offering. You know, it just does, that’s how long it takes, and those questions that are out there are, you know, one of them was why are people leaving so much in such droves over the past two years? Because we’ve been in this scenario now for two years, the great resignation, as it’s called another one, what’s causing this from a foundational level? Is it economics, is it just a general lack of culture, you know, which it sounds like Sales Force is excelling at too? Is it the lack of the right tools? To do your job? You know, whereas internally, we use Slack here. You know, we can get on that tangent, but we’ve even made that like the central hub of everything and even done custom development to bring a better level of customer experience with interactions bringing our customers into our Slack channels via text message threads. You know, it was a custom app that we developed for this just to meet them where they’re at.
But what have you seen because it has Salesforce, seen some of the effects with the great culture you have with the great resignation?
What we’re discovering, and I’m fortunate as part of my role, I have the opportunity to serve as kind of a site leader helping to give our distributed workforce and people who plan to largely remain in a distributed non core office context, sort of a voice in an identity just like you would for a physical office. As we listen to people and try to represent the use cases of what people need and want now, you know, what shows up so frequently are people who are asking for some more flexible work arrangements. You know, and that could range from arriving at some team agreements about what hours are you expected to be responsive because it’s easy to feel like right now. It’s all the time.
So how do we explore and have that conversation in a thoughtful way and arrive at some team agreements you can document? Also how do we honor and think about some of what people consider to be a benefit now? I mean, I was laughing because I had someone say, “You know when I think about what matters to me right now, and what I would really consider a benefit. I mean, the free bike share program doesn’t really do anything to improve the quality of my life. You know, what would have some free blocks of tutoring hours for my children, or a concierge service that could like run a few errands for me so that I could offload some of those life tasks and be more present with people whether those people are my co workers, my family when I’m with them?”
I thought, “Isn’t that interesting?” I mean, this isn’t you know, they’re saying could you construct like some it could you drop off like an Airstream in my backyard. I have a wonderful home working environment they’re saying could you offer me the gift of choice, so that I can choose and you know, you and I were just talking about The Great Resignation and thinking about culture. I think so much of what is happening right now is we are trying to solve what we feel is a very divergent gap between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect, and if I think about how to narrow that gap, I just, I almost think about a Venn diagram of how we solve for what’s in the middle that says, employees view these sets of choices as favorable and employers are willing to offer those choices.
Within that people get that sense of agency, that sense that they have some influence over the environment and context that helps them show up at their best and that can be reconciled. It just takes deep listening and deep conversations and I’m guessing if you’re bringing 50 Different companies together, you’re probably doing some of that work yourself as you’re creating a new culture.
For sure. Yeah, we’ve even brought on specialized teams, you know, that that were led by a former Navy SEAL, you know, which is I mean, they’re all about teams, you know, that they’re literally counting on their teammates, the other soldiers that are with them, for life and death scenarios every single day. So it’s amazing. We’re putting a whole playbook together to integrate cultures and bring people on board to have behavioral change, you know, because one way or the other, it’s when you acquire that many you know that some people are just going to make the choice to go somewhere else, just because it’s different. But how do we like you were talking about bringing those two perspectives together to say, “Okay, here’s where we can meet and I think you’re gonna like what’s here in the middle to it from both sides.”
So you’re saying that to both the employers and the employees, I think you’re going to like what’s in the middle? I feel like this conversation that you’re talking about, was really bubbling under the surface probably for about the last decade. It has only just accelerated over the past two years because of the economic and workplace conditions that were brought on by current worldwide events.
Well, and what I’m hearing you say is, you know, when we think about it, what shows up is we carry this myth or misconception that success is about more, right, whether that’s more products or profits, more activities, more accomplishments, we sort of buy into this belief that we have to do more, to have more to be more and that will sum up to success, right, and then along comes something like the great resignation, reevaluation, whatever you’d like to call it, and employees are sending their employers this urgent signal in mass that says, you know, the more that’s being offered and in many cases, even if that’s more pay, more PTO, or more perks isn’t summing up to success for them, and that kind of got me thinking, I’m like, “Well, maybe we’re asking the wrong question.” Maybe it’s not not, maybe it’s something more that is inherently so flawed. It’s more of what and as I started reflecting that on that thought, it was like, it’s more of what matters. People are saying, you know, I want to have room and space in my day for more of what matters. That isn’t necessarily in every case that our vision insurance, right. It’s an opportunity to live and to work in alignment with our values, right on a consistent basis.
We’re seeing a lot of that. I like how that’s becoming the forefront of the thought process of a lot of individuals now, because it used to be it. I hate old articles that you would see a decade ago. It’s like “Oh, Millennials are all about the perks,” Like are you kidding me? Like that? I don’t think that’s gonna last too long. Because it seemed to me like it was just sort of a fad, right, and if you take a look at WeWork as an example. Now, granted, there were a lot of things from the top down that were going on that were not very good, ethically speaking, you know, but if you walked into a WeWork I mean, they’d have a beer keg there. They’d have the espresso machine. You know, I used to actually record this podcast via a branding agency I used years ago that had their studios where we work in every wine. Every Wednesday, they’d have Wine Wednesday at night, and they’d have these perks. Yeah, it was great to get together, but then as soon as everything hit and even all the WeWork shut down because of the lockdowns and everything else. People really didn’t miss those. It didn’t really matter much. Even the employees you could see at the front desk as you’re walking into a WeWork just the drudge on their faces because they really didn’t care about these perks. That’s where I feel like I missed the boat over the years and saying, Well, how do we align their values with the company values and that’s the path moving forward.
Right and what shows up for me and what you said, you know, you went to a physical place and you had an experience and within that there was some sense of belonging and community because you were around a group of people who were doing the same thing and what I hear so frequently from both leaders, you know, and individuals who are in more of a work from home environment, or they feel that they’re working in a way that’s isolated from other people they might be working with, I mean, what have you discovered? Or what are you hearing from your own teams about how to create that sense of community and connectedness and belonging when we aren’t together in person? Because I feel like so many people are trying to solve for that sort of the missing piece for a lot of people is, who owns the community and how does that happen when we don’t have this common gathering place? This shared sense of identity and belonging?
I was just interviewed by Business Insider for the same exact thing, and what I mean identical that thing, and while we have a very diverse workforce to spread across the US, and a couple of outlying countries as well, and bringing together some of the employees, you know, as much as we can, every once in a while is something that we contribute to it’s like, it doesn’t matter how much the airfare costs, it doesn’t matter, whatever. Because we still have that sense of community actually, even around this show. Even around All In, and Ryan puts together a game we used to use Jeopardy, you know, and so everybody listens to it and it’s like, how do we do this, and then we give away some prizes, right? But it’s funny, because even in production the show or post production will show some of the outtakes that say they’ll do some crazy screen grabs of me right making some weird facial expressions just because they caught that freeze frame.
This happens once a week you know, and then as often as we can we bring people together at the same time even though it is a very diverse workforce. So it and you know what the best thing was, Karen? I didn’t come up with any of these ideas. Right? The entire team collectively came up with these ways to continue to build community and that’s what was incredible to me. It’s like this is happening. Without me. I just have to be like, cool, this is great. Let’s spearhead this forward.
What you are saying right now is so powerful because I think what you just highlighted is the leadership lesson of our time, and that is the role of a leader now it at least in my opinion, is not about being the one who shows up with all the best answers. Being a leader who is of the moment and of our time who resonates is about being the leader who shows up with the best questions, right? For example, how could we have some fun and create a sense of community or belonging and organization and then give people an opportunity to share it with you? You know, I think tapping into the power of curiosity tapping into our beginner’s mind is one of the most powerful things we can do as leaders right now, because none of us have the answers. I mean, as far as I know, we are all living through this global pandemic for the first time together. I don’t think we have a lot of seasoned leaders who have led through this before and just know what to do. So within that I feel like what happens is knowing is the enemy of discovering you know, if I’m so certain that as a leader, I know the answers. We miss out on the opportunity to discover what might be possible from the people we lead and all of these hidden talents and capabilities that people have started to come through.
There’s a lot of hidden talents and capabilities, a lot of them that there’s a you mentioned that one word about, you know, Curiosity is a phrase that I love that I’ve learned recently, actually that almost compels response. So from a leadership perspective, for those that are listening or watching, this is a great phrase, you know, and if it’s something like that you’re trying to figure out how to build community within your team. You know, if they don’t come into the office anymore, or if they’re diverse, spread out across the US or wherever. That phrase I’m curious is a fantastic way to start a sentence as a leader, like I’m curious how we would create more community and you say this in almost like an all hands meeting, like a level 10 meeting because it compels response, and then it just creates an open atmosphere for invitation for anybody to say, “Hey, well, I’ve got a thought.”
Well, and along those same lines, another approach I found somewhat similar and a slightly different word is ‘I wonder,’ and this is not like I wonder what would happen if you know we fired Bob because he’s late every week and his PowerPoint slides are horrendous and the project is over budget. Or like, I wonder what would happen if I updated my LinkedIn profile, you know, started going to the gym more and changed my headshot? It’s not that I wonder, is it truly a curious I mean, so imagine, you know, right now, maybe you and I are trying to solve some kind of a challenge, right, where you’ve got someone on your team who brings you this challenge, as opposed to being the manager who dispenses the wisdom theoretically, of what to do or how to solve that. The difference in moving from manager to coach is tapping into that power of curiosity that I wonder and doing the brainstorming with that colleague, right with that implant.
So I think about that, it’s like in that conversation, everything changes when you say, you know, I wonder what would happen if we asked our employees how to solve the sense of belonging. I wonder what other organizations are doing something innovative? I wonder if there’s an award we could go after that would give people an incentive for this. I wonder, you know, and it’s, it’s both of what we’re talking about here, these two very simple starting sentences. I’m curious and I wonder if it really sort of opens us up to the fact that there’s a range of possibilities and that choice is always on and always available, and I think sometimes we lose that, you know, we get stuck. We get this very narrow vision. We think there’s like one choice, one possibility and as the leader, I must come up with this and dispense it to the team, and I think this takes that pyramid and turns it absolutely the opposite direction and says how do we open up right on there’s something you said in there too, which I laughed on the inside and it when you said how do we fire Bob?
I’m curious what this is, this is a total like distraction and tangent here. But what is it about Bob because I just did an episode the other day about cybersecurity and how there’s always a bob in every organization that clicks on everything. Like how do we fire Bob, we had this joke going internally, it’s like #firebob. Who’s Bob and why does he always have to get fired?
Wasn’t that a movie with Billy Murray?
What about Bob? Yeah, exactly.
Like the therapist, and he’s taking all the baby steps. So maybe we’re all baby steps. I mean, like, when you said that I brought this poignant image to mind right? Where he realizes I think Richard Dreyfuss places therapists, right. He’s gone away from holiday and he’s starting to panic, right? So if you remember the scene in the movie, if you haven’t seen it, there’s a point where, you know, he’s kind of agoraphobic, right. So Bill Murray’s having to convince himself to get on the bus so that he can basically go stalk his therapist, and he’s literally wearing a piece of yarn around his neck with a ball jar and a lid and he’s got liquid inside of it. This goldfish. Exactly. So I’m like, maybe this is what we’re all doing. You know, we all had to put our goldfish around our neck and we’re just What about bobbing one step at a time toward a disastrous encounter with I don’t know someone famous like Richard Dreyfuss, maybe? For sure. Yeah, we can let Bob stick around for a little while I guess.
Well, I think the story of the What About Bob movie is, you know, his therapist is trying to fire him. So maybe that’s why Bob stuck as fire Bob.
That could be, poor Bob. This is phenomenal the way this conversation has gone today and you’ve had the opportunity to write a couple of books over the last. Is it0 three books over the last two years so far? Three books during the pandemic?
I’ve written three books about the pandemic.
Wow, that is mindblowing.
It is even when you know when I think about it. It’s really remarkable.
Yeah, no kidding. I mean everybody else in their grandma I like to say tried to start a podcast over the last two years.
I avoided that. So I mean, I feel like there’s some upside.
Sure, I mean your role because you’ve been withSales Force. I’m tracking the math, I think in my head five and a half years right. with Salesforce. When did you bring in the thought leadership aspect of this was it around the time of the pandemic or was it something you’ve always done?
When I joined Sales Force, I was fortunate I had already contracted for my first book Success with Less, releasing obligations and discovering joy, and so as I was talking to Salesforce about joining, I said, you know, I’ve already contracted for this book, how does this fit, and I’ll never forget, the prevailing sentiment was, Oh, that’s fantastic. please publish a book and particularly, you know, the nature of the book is about, you know, releasing the obligations that no longer serve us to make room for the people and experiences that do and they’re like, please share that story. Yes, you know, they’re like, our whole philosophy at Salesforce is business is the greatest platform for change. You’ll hear us talk about first do well then do good you know, to you know, heal thyself and heal the world essentially and your story is wonderfully within that context. So please do it.
It also helps people to see that there’s a path to share your thought leadership, you know, and work at Salesforce, and then over time, that just became a more prominent aspect of the work that I was doing, and my boss had suggested, you know, hey, you do so much work with customer listening and engagement and a methodology. You should write a book about that and I kind of laughed. I was like, I’ve written a book. That’s a lot of work, and it ended up being really just a fascinating scenario of being open to what’s possible because I contracted to write that book, listened up in February 2020, and when the whole world shut down, I knew my manuscript was due May 1 2020. I thought, well, you know, I won’t be on planes, I won’t be traveling. I could probably write a better manuscript and have it take less toll on me personally. I submitted that manuscript May 1, it was going to come out in October and a week and a half later, no joke. I was speaking with my editor and we got started talking about working from home and I said I’ve been writing this blog, and it’s going crazy, you know, what’s it like working in the publishing industry?
You know, and working from home and she said, working from home, do you think you could write a book about that? I laughed and said, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said in my life, which was “In my sleep,” Okay, by the way, you cannot write a book in your sleep released, I can’t and, and she said, “Do you think you could write it in two weeks?” I was like, “What’s in your coffee cup? No.” She said, “How about 30 days?” I said two words that really changed everything for me. Candidly, I said, “Why not?” I wrote that book in 30 days from that conversation until physically holding that book in my hand was at seven days.
So I preempted my own book with my own book, which was hysterical because then I’m contacting people I interviewed for the Listen up book, and I’m like, you’re gonna see me release a book. It’s not yours, but yours is coming like two months later, and then you know, of course I took a breather, and then people started asking, you know, well, we’re not working from home now. We’re doing something different. So now what where’s the thought leadership to help us so it kind of evolved organically. But so many times people will ask me a question like, how did you do that? Or, you know, how do we get past burnout? Or how do I make room for what matters, and what really showed up for me is thinking about, you know, how do we divest before we invest, right? How do we choose at any given point in time, the priority or priorities, divest of some things even temporarily, that are not in service of that priority? So that you can invest and so I think about replacing the word and with the word or, and then I kind of, you know, those moments of overwhelm that we all have.
I have three questions that I sort of like to ask to find my way out: why do I feel like I have no time or why am I feeling so overwhelmed? Or how could I create space that I like to share? With people, three questions and kind of a bonus question if you’re up for it, but I think about it this way. Does it have to be me? Does it have to be me right now/” Then bonus question for the win, does it have to be a meeting and what I find within that is if I can step back and I see other people doing this as well, you know, when you step out of the constant execution motive, you have three meetings booked at a time all day long, or whatever your scenario is, and you you apply those three questions in the bonus question. It’s a wonderful filter to say, you know, everything is not urgent, you know? If everything is important than nothing is important. So I think, you know, those helped create space to do things like publish three books during a global pandemic.
Yeah, no joke. That’s phenomenal. I love that, and I love how you wrote, you know, they’re like, Hey, can you write it in two weeks when you’re like 30 days and the answer you had was why not? Or I guess the question was, why not? The response you had was that and when I wrote my book, it was a couple years ago, you know, I guess I’m a writer. I’m an author. I don’t consider myself a writer. But even I did that in three days. It was just whatever works, and you know, the podcast was over the last couple years. Sure. Everybody was like picking up a microphone and everything. But there’s this thing that’s so daunting about writing a book, and there’s so much it’s in so many people’s heads that could get down on paper or on Kindle, on an iPad or whatever and get out to the world is a good message. But they’re stuck.
For whatever reason, yes, and for whatever reason, I think that contextually books still hold a certain gravitas or weight and I don’t know if it’s because we perceive them as having more permanence. Or if it’s because there’s something magical about the written word being powerful. It just seems to carry a weight and a gravitas and vigor for you know, there are stories we all start telling ourselves like, you know, oh, this is so difficult, right? Or, you know, you start to try to write and you discover maybe you have more practice. Speaking rather than writing, and for me writing is not necessarily how I speak, it doesn’t work exactly that same way, because you’re missing the context of, you know, the shift in our tones or this back and forth engagement.
So, I’ve also found it’s a different skill, but I think we do seem to still largely hold books as something weightier, and so therefore, it’s easy to sort of psych ourselves out about that, and one of the best tips I got, by the way, when I wrote my first book, so if anybody listening is stuck in that, you know, I want to write a book. I think there’s a book inside of me that needs to come out to the world. There is an app, it’s called 750 words a day, and it literally challenges you to write 750 words about anything. This could be 750 words about the beach vacation, you would love to take whatever, but it gets you in the habit of writing, and so then an ancillary suggestion that someone had offered to me in passing that I found helpful was if you’re thinking about writing a book and you feel overwhelmed, start with writing some blogs, but you know, a great blog is 750 to 1000 words, I’d say that’s a good meeting, write the blog, see what people engage with, see how that feels. Then take a couple blogs, turn that into a chapter right because then now you’re putting a couple things together.
I thought that was a great way to take a big goal and do the big act small was write a blog, put it out there, see how that feels, see what people respond to, after you have a couple put them together? And I thought, okay, that’s doable, and maybe you know, you interview a couple of people and you’ve got a few quotes then you know, you’re not always creating original words. You’re using some context from other people. I found that suggestion really helpful.
That’s awesome. Yeah, and books as well. Just as another tip I’ve never talked about this ever in 200 and something episodes when I first started doing local and regional media, I’m talking about television about four years ago now. The book was the secret key, and that was really the reason why I had written the book to begin with. It turned out to be an interesting book, I think it’s all true stories from my life. But that was The Secret Key because of the gravitas that you’re talking about. If you’re right it just got you into a different circle, right and people another level, yes, you form a segment around that four to five minute segment. It’s like I’m the author of the new book, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they’re like, “Oh, he’s an author. Cool. We’ll bring them on our lifestyle show on ABC, NBC, CBS Fox,” and that was one of the things but then you can wrap it back into what you’re doing, and that was the way to get on this local reading regional media, and then you can accelerate because once you have those, this is tips for everybody. You know, once you have those, what once you have those in line, you know, like 3035 appearances or something like that.
Then it came into this year to where it’s like hey, Bloomberg is okay with me. And I’ve done several Bloomberg appearances chatter Newsmax you know, Fox, Washington, DC, Fox and Friends is actually looking at me for the great resignation, what we’re talking about today, you know, so it’s all these things that just kind of coalesce and build this momentum, but you have to write the book first. Right?
Well, you turned that into something very powerful, that word momentum, and I talked about in my latest book success from anywhere this concept, and I tried it out on myself and found it worked and started testing it with people, and it’s my version of thinking big act small. I call it the five minute fix. Because when it’s something I mean, imagine someone listening to you wants to write a book or or they want to be in a position where Bloomberg and chatter and Fox and Friends or any other number of media outlets, you know, Netflix whatever, might be considering them, and it feels like this secret elite club, right? They’re like, how do I get there? Or how do I make the time for that, and I think about the five minute fixes this? What is a five minute step you could take each day to move yourself toward your goal.
So maybe for someone listening to this podcast, it might be watching a five minute segment that you had recorded on a show the five minutes might be looking at a page from your book, the five minutes might be downloading the 750 Words a Day App, the five minutes might be researching writing coaches or speech and presence coaches then the next day, book one, then the next day do something and what happens in that five minutes is we psychologically all feel that we can find five minutes right it’s the appetizer of time management, you can always have one bite and then if it leads to the next step great if it doesn’t work out you don’t feel over invested you’re not caught in a cycle of like I’m so of course I’m failing at my big goal, my dreams will never come true. The good news is when it works, you build exactly what you said momentum.
So a little bit at a time you’re getting this reinforcement, like I’m getting a little closer, I’m getting a little closer, and you know, I feel the same way I went back and read the first blog I ever wrote the other day and it’s horrendous. You know, I was devastated right?
I look at my first tv appearance and I’m like “Oh god!”
Oh, it’s terrible. Ugly. Terrible. You’re doing odd things. You’re saying strange things right? You’re not yourself. And then you’re picturing this more polished version of yourself until you see it and you’re like, This is so awful. But then what did you do, right? You made some changes. You iterated you kept practicing, and then you know you found your style, you found your voice, more opportunities came and you know, I found for myself so I guess I would offer this as encouragement for anyone listening and maybe you can relate. I mean, those first you know, blogs, the first book, those first interviews, in my mind, I’m picturing, you know, getting to that tipping point like “Oh, I’m just one more interview away from I’m going big time,” right, and then when that wasn’t happening, I was like, I’m failing at this. This isn’t going well. This isn’t getting the outcome I picture and what has been a beautiful perspective honestly about doing three books during the pandemic and, and having conversations like these is the benefit of perspective of stepping back and saying to yourself who wrote that first terrible blog and did that first terrible media interview?
Look how far you’ve come. There’ve been a lot of bumps and bruises and it wasn’t always easy, but you learn something, you get the benefit of experience, and I think when you zoom out and get some perspective, it’s easier to see cumulatively over time that you’re making that progress. That’s why I love the five minute fix by just like a little bit at a time. Give yourself that feeling that you’re succeeding at moving forward toward success. you’re picturing.
That’s so important. It’s so easy to get discouraged to your right because as you were talking, I’m thinking it’s like, everyone looks at this show, none of the like, “Oh my gosh, it’s Rick Jordan’s show,” you know, because I found that a couple months ago or even top 20 In some countries overseas, which is awesome. I mean, that’s incredible, right? But then you look at it like, it’s been three years, and it’s been over 200 episodes. And when I look back at the first episode, it’s like God did I suck but it’s this thing that takes some time because when you’re at the beginning of those three years, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, you know, that’s gonna take that three years.” That’s a long time but then when you’re towards the end of that and you’re looking back like you’re saying, because you did this five minute things you did episode by episode, or you did chapter of the book, chapter by chapter, when you’re done and you look back after you’ve generated the momentum, it’s like, “Wow, that was only three years.”
Well, and when I think about it, you know, sort of the days are long, the years are short, right? That’s the benefit of zooming. Out. I really think about this life cycle and for anyone really listening, I mean, I would test this with you also, Rick, this might resonate. I really think about the lifecycle of that journey as as kind of find my voice, hear my voice use my voice, because any thought leadership that you put out, whether that’s a podcast or blog, or you’re fantastic at putting out tweets that inspire or inform people, part of it is is hearing what you get excited about, like being tuned into what is it that you have to offer that you would be excited to sustain over 200 episodes or four bucks or whatever that looks like, and then, you know, tuning into that voice, right? Like really finding your style because I find it I’m sure you do to people connect with you because you’re authentically yourself at this point. Yes, you’ve polished maybe the way you ask them questions or prepare or show up differently and you learn a few tips and tricks about production. I’m sure that helped as well.
Then it’s using your voice, and you know what you’ve done is so beautiful and probably some people are listening if you’re using your voice and your talent to share your platform and let other people have a chance to use theirs as well, and I think that’s sort of a powerful journey and I found when I started writing, I didn’t always speak in sort of my voice or my own authentic style, because I was trying to get to the what will resonate, what might get picked up, and when I sort of let go of some of that, and I was like, some of this isn’t maybe authentically who I am, or I’m missing parts and I sort of let go of the need to show up as this what I perceived, well marketed, well spoken, you know, person and just said, you know, let’s have some real conversations, right? Yeah, everything changed. But I think that’s a different level of being right in order to do that, and I’m sure you found that as well. I mean, finding your style, finding your voice and then having the confidence to use it, and to open new doors. It’s a journey, right?
It sure is, you know, everyone who’s listening or watching, go back just about 30 seconds and re-listen to what Karen just said. Because what Karen would just hit on is the way to overcome what we like to call Imposter Syndrome. Because you’re not being yourself in order to be somebody who you think someone else might want you to be, and notice all the words that I threw in there. I probably could not have said it better than that, but the thing is you really don’t know, because you don’t have their feedback. There’s something to reverse engineering your audience, but at the same time, the right people are going to be attracted to you because you’re only being you.
Yes, and I started thinking about that. I mean, for everyone who’s listening I mean, think about a leader or a person who you respect who inspires you or brings out the best in you, and what are the qualities of those people and when I think about people like that in my life over time, it doesn’t matter what title they have or size of business. They’re the people I resonate with, are deeply authentically themselves and are not showing up with anything to prove to anybody and certainly not to themselves. So therefore, they connect with you at a very authentic and real level, and they bring out the best in you and they inspire you and I thought isn’t that interesting? I mean some of the best leaders that I’ve ever been fortunate to work for and best coaches I’ve ever had, and some of these are, you know, executives and really big companies, like one that comes to mind right now as we’re talking about this. I mean, chief operating officer of a very big technology company, and at the same time, he would be sending me jokes like, you know, 50 things that people from the Midwest say you know, and I’m like, how was he doing this?
But he didn’t take himself so seriously. He wasn’t trying to like, morph himself into some perfectly polished person. You know, he could tell you a joke. He knew the name of every person working in the building. I’m talking to the janitor all the way through. Someone would take photographs of him for something one time he remembered their name and 25 things about them 10 years later, and I thought, you know, that’s not rehearsed. That’s not a coach that’s just being real. Yeah.
That’s incredible. I really enjoyed our conversation today. One thing I don’t have in front of me is where can everybody find you and your books?
You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter and I regularly publish new thought leadership, including a really fun series that I’m writing right now and featuring how people are redefining success, and also how people are reworking work. So I’m having a marvelous time sharing other people’s stories and their genius. So that’s a lot of fun, but I share lots of new ideas on LinkedIn and Twitter regularly and also, the books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and all of your favorite online retailers and some independent retailers as well. So support them also.
Awesome. Look in the show notes in the description, depending on what platform you’re on. You’ll see all the links there, Karen, this has been phenomenal. Thanks for being on.
Thank you. I have so enjoyed our conversation and I know that you’re going to treat yourself after this. So a really, you know, big reward for us for such a great visit.
A good fat burger, thanks.
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