About the episode:
Ron Karr explains his mindset on the definition of velocity, meaning it is speed with direction. Learn how living as a Leader instead of a victim will be the motivating factor of having a positive mindset.
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About Ron Karr:
Ron Karr’s number one premise is: What would the world be like if everyone acted like a leader and not a victim of circumstances”? Ron has worked with leaders of organizations on six continents to eliminate risk, gain buy-in and achieve better results faster with the Velocity Mindset®. For the past 30 years, his presentations and advisory services have generated over a billion dollars in incremental revenues for his clients. Ron is the author of the bestselling Lead, Sell or Get Out of the Way. His latest book, Velocity Mindset® shows leaders how to turn their vision into reality.
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Stop Looking For A Job, Look For Your Future | Ron Karr
I get excited for this because I have a former President of the National Speakers Association with us who has many years of proven sales and leadership experience. He’s the author of Lead, Sell or Get Out of The Way and also the author of The Velocity Mindset that we will be talking about.
Keynote speaker and sales growth expert, Ron Karr, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Rick. How are you doing?
I’m doing amazing. Energetic as always. How about you?
Same. I have too much energy that I don’t know what to do with it.
That’s what everyone says about me too. It’s like, “I wish I had half of your energy.” It’s like, “Why don’t you have all my energy?” Everybody could have that. It also depends on how you feel about life and business or your mission, your purpose, everything.
Energy is important and it’s also what we are living in our life that adds or takes away from the energy, which we will get into in your interview.
We were talking before the show a little bit, too. You said comment, you research me and you love seeing entrepreneurs that make it. I was about to say this, and then we’ve got scolded a little bit, which is okay because we are saving it for the show. I feel like every day is almost like I’m starting fresh like I’m always in a startup mode.
When I was in sales and even on my own business, I always say that every day, I wake up unemployed. What am I going to do to be employed? You are only as good as what you did yesterday. What are you going to do? Be relevant.
It’s almost as if sales and businesses are a serial plot. I think back to TV shows that I have enjoyed and there are the episodic ones. I love Friends back in the ‘90s. They just had a reunion. That’s a good one for me to tune out to at night. The series that I get stuck into is something like The Blacklist to where there’s an underlying serial plot that happens throughout the entire season. That’s how life and entrepreneurship are, at least, I feel like it should be. You get this underlying plot that exists but every single day, you are doing something fresh and new.
How about this? Us being the underlying plot because all success and failures win at one concept.
National Speakers Association, I have known individuals that have been a part of that. You were the President of that for a while, right?
Yes. In 2013 and 2014.
How did that roll for you? It seems like some waves exist in that association here and there.
Like any organization, you have your cycles but I have been a member for many years. It has been a great learning tool for me as I grew my speaking and consulting business. The relationships that you make in the organization are lifetime, so it’s great. If you asked me when I was fourteen years of age that I think that was in my dreams, the answer was no.
I shared the story when I had my acceptance speech for the presidency. I said to 2,000 thought leaders and speakers, “Many of you don’t even know what I’m going to tell you. As a young boy, I was basically humiliated, and that’s a polite way of saying bullied each and every day by supposedly friends and other people for one reason.” I was diagnosed with a speech impediment. I couldn’t enunciate the letter R.
When people would ask me what was the condition, I couldn’t even tell them because some brilliant person decided to name the condition with a word that starts with a letter I can’t even annunciate. It was called rhotacism. I call it “hotacism,” and I was given a name by my brilliant parents Ron Karr, so I couldn’t even enunciate say my name. When you speak to friends, talk to girls and they came in to tell them what it is or your name is, the bullying would come in and it was very painful.
I learned at an early age when the pain gets to be so great and you don’t like the reactions, you’ve got to change your actions because it’s the actions that create the reaction. If you don’t like it, what are you going to do about it? I went to a school pathologist and I spent 45 minutes with her and stormed out in disgust because she had me putting my tongue in places that I couldn’t even fit and words of sounds came out that I didn’t recognize. I went back to my pain as we all do sometimes. We think that there’s not a better way.
After another painful year, I decided, “We are going to fix this.” I found a speech pathologist in New York. I went to see her and asked her, “Does it really help?” She said, “Yes, but you have to understand it’s not going to take 1 week or 2 months. Are you committed to making it work? It’s going to take once a week here for 6 months, 2 years, whatever it is, plus everyday practice.” When I made that commitment with her, I’ve finally got rid of it in two years.
Why did I make that commitment? I didn’t have any say in my vision at that time. What I had was a vision of living life fully free. The only way to do that was to fix my speech impediment. I share that because in the book, The Velocity Mindset, if I ask you what’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word velocity, the word would be?
Right, that’s what we get, momentum speed but that’s not velocity. That’s all it is in people’s minds and you’ve got burnout times. How many times are we running out so fast each and every day doing our to-do lists, and at the end was so exhausted but we are asked, “What did we accomplish?” The true definition of velocity is the speed with direction. It’s the direction, where you are going, that is the reason why we are all dragging our lives but we don’t get to where we want to be. It’s either the wrong direction, we don’t have a direction at all or we don’t even believe in the direction.
That seems a prerequisite before even having the speed to get there. Otherwise, you are going in multiple different areas and you have no idea what you are doing.
For example, you go into the Newark Airport and you want to go to Miami, you ask the pilot, “Where we are going?” He goes, “I have no clue.’” Would you stay on that plane? The answer is no. The pilot starts with the end of the site, Miami, works his way back, picks 2, 3 or 4 waypoints that he knows where he passes them. He’s on his way, then he looks for the obstacles, storms, winds, makes some changes for that and he finds the best way to get there safely and faster. That’s what you have to have.
The gentleman who wrote the foreword to the book, Dr. Nido Qubein, who was the President of High Point University, I interviewed with him and we talked about having a vision. He came from Lebanon with $50 in his pocket and he builds himself into a multimillionaire. He’s the President of High Point University and he has been inducted into many Hall of Fames. He’s made it.
When he came here to the US, I said, “Nido, you must have had a vision?” He had a great distinction. He goes, “Ron, I hadn’t envisioned what I wanted my life to be, but the clarity of vision only comes with the journey.” You don’t have to have all the details upfront. One of the things we write about in the book, The Velocity, is when people create destiny and we can get into how to do that. What scares people is when they think big and they don’t have the answers upfront.
If these people had that destiny and they had the answers up front then they are not thinking big enough. When you are trying to chart new territories, then there’s no data for you yet. How can you have the answers? What I want everybody to understand is leaders are not charged or having all the answers. Their job is to fix the destiny and figure out what the questions are to get the answers.
That’s a key point too. Figuring out what the questions are. There was a good friend of mine, Naveen Jain, the tech billionaire, who was on the show. He was like, “A lot of entrepreneurs, they go wrong by trying to come up with all the right answers. The successful ones have the right questions.”
I will give you an example. I was brought in in the early ‘90s by a multinational chemical manufacturer. I spoke to all the divisions and there’s one division, the VP came up and he goes, “We created this reagent for mining copper. It took us twenty years. The copper mines are going bankrupt. They cut in half the cost of mining copper. When we came out in the ‘80s, our sales went up like this significantly. What then happens when that happens? Your competition seizes money, they reengineer, they can’t match your product so they do it by price.” At the time they’ve got ahold of me, their world’s market share went from 80% down to 60% but the largest copper mine in the world, the company that had five mines, was going up for bid.
He said, “Can you help us with a bid?” I said, “Sure.” I flew out to Tucson and we sat down. I said, “One question, what do you want from my intervention?” All that industry did is bid every three years for the lowest price. That’s what they did. They relied on their past experiences to come up with what they wanted. They said, “We want to win the bid.” I said, “That was not my question. I want you to leave your past experiences or your biases aside from what you think can and can’t happen. I want you to get into your heart. What do you truly want? What is your passion?”
All of a sudden, they started saying, “Why do we have to bid? We save this industry.” I said, “What do you want?” “Negotiate an agreement.” I said, “How long?” “They usually do sweet as ten years.” “How much of that 25%?” They demand 75%. I said to them, “You can do that if you really want to. Negotiate a deal for ten years for 75%. You have to recognize it takes a set of actions to get there than it does to win a bid.” If I break this down, what we did was what I call in the book a clean piece of paper. Whenever you want to create different results, do something different, achieve different ways of living for your life, whatever it is. Having that clean piece of paper, put your biases and experiences aside, and write down what you truly want to create for yourself. Forget, whether you think is possible, not just put it down.
They then asked me a fateful question after we did that, “How are we going to do it?” My answer was, “I have no clue.” They go, “What?” I go, “You don’t have the answers yet because you haven’t done it. Our job is to go and ask good questions of the market, find out where the gaps are and put together a value proposition that’s going to motivate them to want to do that.” Months later, they close a ten-year, $200 million deal. They changed the way the industry worked.
The how almost acts like a safety net for a lot of individuals I have noticed. It’s a reason to not even proceed in the first place because they feel that when they have the answers there, it’s almost as if they are trying to find all the reasons to say no. They are trying to come up with all these things. It’s like, “We are trying to get there but if we find out the how, I can’t do that. That’s going to be too much work or I don’t know the right people with the right competencies to accomplish steps 8, 9 and 10 out of this 27-step plan.” The how prevents people from stopping. I have always felt like that real true committed entrepreneur, when everyone else finds the 99 ways to say no and not do something, they find the one single reason to do it. That’s what makes us a little crazy and insane but also successful.
Let’s get into why the 99% come up with that answer that they can’t do it. The premise of The Velocity Mindset was this, what if everyone in the world lives as the leader and not a victim of circumstance? What would the world be like?
You are opening up a can now because you are starting to talk about victim mindset
I came to that because, after the presidency of the National Speakers Association, that was the pinnacle of my career. The time was not my own so my speaking engagement went down and out but I faced nine surgeries right after my presidency in three years. Most of them were on my back. Do you know how Tiger Woods had a one-level fuse in his back? I have nine levels of fuse and I still play golf.
How are you doing now?
I’m playing golf, I’m okay. The thing is when I was down and out during those surgeries and I couldn’t travel, you start thinking about your life. At that time, I was approaching 60. I started thinking to myself, “Look at your successes. There are no great successes. It’s the president who is saying all that and stuff.” I started looking at things that I didn’t even accomplish. When I started asking myself why it’s because I didn’t even try because of my fears and my stories. We all have stories and fears in our minds, even the most successful people.
I started thinking about it, and then I started looking at velocity, speed, direction and I decided, “I don’t have a lot of time left.” I’m approaching 60. The runway is getting shorter. I want to do some of these things and let it get going. When I thought about speed, I realized it’s not just speed, also, it’s about the direction and I started doing that. It gave me the passion for the next phase of my professional life to still have The Velocity Mindset movement so that nobody at the end of a time wakes up and is depressed because they didn’t even try to go after what they want.
When I looked at it, the stories that we have in our minds, this was a powerful thing and I’ve got this when I was young. I’m a son of a Holocaust survivor who has been documented the children of Holocaust survivors who have abuse in the family. Why? Is it because a father didn’t love the son? No, they loved them. What they went through was so horrific.
They would do anything to keep the son from having to face the same fortune so he was very strict and abusive. It led him to no confidence. You start thinking, “Why is someone doing this? I know he loved me.” As I went through getting rid of that albatross around my neck and I was dealing with a coach, the one thing that she blew me away with was this concept.
She goes, “Whatever your father did with you, he did for his own reasons, which you don’t know. You are assuming but whatever he did, you internalized it and created a story as to what you think it meant. The good news is whoever writes the story, can rewrite it.” Stories have been fueled by emotion. When I tell people, “If the story is serving you well and propelling you for it, leave it, it’s great. If it’s not, then rewrite it because the only one who’s going to lose and not move forward is you.”
That’s what came out of that, and that’s what we put into The Velocity Mindset. How do we get leaders? Who is everybody in this world? It’s because you are a leader of your own life even if you are not even managing other people but how do we get people to start having the stories, fear and stopped them, dream as to what they want to create and get on that journey to do so.
I have a question for you based upon that too. Everyone knows the well popular book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. There’s a phrase in that book that says, “Desire backed by faith knows no such word as impossible.” That’s quoting Napoleon Hill. You are talking a lot about fear, and so as I, but all the reasons why people fail to move forward or actually they make a choice.
They don’t fail because fail implies trying. Fail implies that they started some movement to begin with but make a choice to not even start or to stop halfway through but there’s fear that’s involved in that. What’s the threshold, and like Napoleon Hill talks about, how does that desire finally overcome the fear?
The desire has to be so great in terms of what you want that you are willing to put up with anything to get there. That’s the basic answer to that. What happens is when people have a destination mapped out for themselves and they are not passionate about it, they don’t really believe in it. They are not going to do it because all of those fears will get in the way and anything that can stop them will stop them.
That’s why we say start with those two pieces of paper. What’s going to energize you? What’s going to give you the mojo that you want to make this thing happen going forward? When you get to that level and the passion is there, that’s when you will start dealing with the fears a little bit better. The fears and the stories we think are insurmountable but if you can understand that you created that so you can change it, it takes away a lot of the emotion and negative emotion from that.
Why do people have fears? Number one, many of us have the perfectionist syndrome. I go into that about my back surgeries. The great book, Healing Back Pain, by a doctor who recognized, “I can give you all the pain pills I want, but most back pain is not because of structure, it’s because the mind gets close to the subconscious, “You don’t like it,” and the mind creates pain as a diversion. Let that sit there.”
It’s a great book, Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno. At the end of the day, we were only going to do what we want to and what we are passionate about. We are not going to do what people tell us to do. We are going to do what we want. Ground yourselves in the passion and then understand you don’t have to have the answers upfront. That takes away some of the pressure. The other thing is to understand that you must fail in that process. What do I mean by that? Failure is going to happen, whether you want it or not. It’s part of life.
Usually a very good part of life. Even with failure, it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to suck when you are going through it.
Let’s take baseball. I’m a Yankee fan, don’t hold it against me. If you have a baseball player hitting 300, they have been considered a hero and given tens of millions of dollars. What is a 300 hit of me? It means that every 10 at-bats, 7 times they feel miserable and only 3 times they get a hit. We don’t get penalized for the failures most of the time. When that batter strikes out, how do you respond to it? What’s the story you tell yourself? “I’m no good. I can’t do this,” which is going to be a negative connotation going forward.
That’s human nature too, especially in the moment of the suck.
Do you sit in and say, “This is what we put in the book. What can I learn from it and do differently next time?” Take the emotion away from it and struck out. My daughter played softball. She was a great power hitter. In one of her summer leagues, they were 8 and 8, won 8 and lost 8. With the 8 and 8, you qualify for the playoffs.
A couple of their losses are downright nasty. There was this one team that had a pitcher that was pitching at 65 miles an hour. In softball, it was the equivalent of 95 miles an hour. They couldn’t get their bat on the ball. They were losing to nothing, and in the third inning, they’re on mercy. They now move fast forward to the playoffs.
They won the first game and all of a sudden, they find themselves in a championship game. Who are they playing? That team and that girl who they couldn’t get that bat on the ball. It’s New York, New Jersey, it’s mid-July, humid hot, these girls are panting, warming up. What do you think their mindset is all about? “Why are we even doing this? Let’s go have pizza and they can be the champions.” That was going through the minds. The two coaches have them up here for help, then they see me and they say, “Mr. Motivational Speaker, come here. You’ve got five minutes, motivate them.”
Don’t you love that? I have experienced the same thing. It’s like, “This guy is the most inspirational guy. Rick, what do you got?”
It takes five minutes to get going. Let alone have a beginning, middle and end. Then again, I’m dealt with nine female teenagers. Is there any such thing as a motivated teenager, let alone nine girls about to be killed?
There’s stuff that motivate teenagers. I have to.
Before I even start, they are putting them on a bench. Out of my eye, I see this one girl giving me the evil eye. Who is that? My daughter. She’s trying to get me in a message, “This is my life. You better not screw it up.” Talking about pressure. I’m trying to think of what to say. The most mundane motivational quote came out, “If I ask you not to think about pink elephants, what are you going to think about?” They all say, “Pink elephants.” “Why? I asked you not to.”
The secret is the mind cannot trust the negative. I said to them, “I know you lost. That’s history. You couldn’t get the bat on the ball. We know that, but you have a choice now. If you go up to the bat and all you have in your mind is thinking about how you hope you don’t strike out, remember the mind doesn’t process, you only think about striking out and all your body and mental actions are going to be towards that. That’s what’s going to happen. What’s the opposite of striking out?” They said, “Get a hit.” “That’s all I want you to do. Visualize the direction you want to go. Where is the ball going to go? Can you do that?” They go, “Yes.” They won that game 7 to 4.
It just goes to show that any day, you’ve got a poor team beat a good team. Why? It’s because it’s not just the skills that come to play, it’s the mindset. That’s why we call it The Velocity Mindset. You dictate your mindset, and it’s so powerful because it dictates what you can do in life and can’t do. Many times, when I’m talking with sales or leaders, the first thing I’m saying is, “Before you figure out what you are going to do with that customer, what’s your mindset?”
Let’s play out this scenario. Federal unemployment supplementation is done. People are having trouble finding a job even though there are a lot of job availability that exists, but depending on where the country is, different places don’t have as much job availability. The Midwest has a lot more but then you look on the Coast and there are a lot less. It depends.
It’s almost like, “What am I going to do? What if I have trouble finding a job? I’m going to have trouble finding a job.” How do you shift their mindset in that to be like, “I’m going to be successful. I’m going to find a job that’s going to be over and above what I need to support my family, and the Federal unemployment supplement that’s done doesn’t even matter?”
Stop looking for a job then. That’s what I would tell them, “Stop looking for a job. Look for your future. Start with that clean piece of paper. What are the outcomes you want from that job? What’s the lifestyle you want? What’s the type of environment you want as a job? What do you want to feel like? What are you willing to put up with? What are you not willing to put up with? Then go create that.” When you have that in your mind, then number one, you’ve got to have passion. You are going to have a new creative juice released to find out what jobs fit in that category. More importantly, they are going to do what it takes to get there because they want it so bad, but who’s motivated by having a job?
That is that blank piece of paper, I love that. If they have done that, what comes after that blank piece of paper? There has to be some action around that, and that’s the speed.
Not so much the speed. It’s your actions now. The reason why that direction is so important, it’s like when I deal with that chemical reagent company, your direction dictates the actions you do a daily basis. If you don’t have the right direction, then you are going to be doing actions and don’t serve that, and that’s why you don’t accomplish it.
As the pilot story, start with the insight, “What do you want to create for yourself?” Work your way back to get those waypoints. What are the 3 or 4 things that you know you are hitting them and it’s going to lead to that job? What are the potential obstacles? Try and map out a way to move forward. What are the actions that are going to help you get there?
For example, if all you have is the need to find a job, that means you are going to be taking any interview that comes along, you are going to be going in there, you are going to be doing things that may not serve you well in that interview. You are not going to have the results that you want and you are going to get more depressed.
When people want to make a career for themselves and want to help people, and that career happens to be in the medical industry. They want to become not a job as a physical therapist but they want to be the physical therapist that makes people’s lives better so they live longer. What are the actions that are necessary to get there? It’s got to be a different set of actions and finding a job as a physical therapist.
I want to encourage people too like we were talking towards the beginning of the show, you at least hopefully might not even know what all those actions are, but at the very least, you will know at least what that first action is.
We go back to what Nido said. You have an idea of that direction but the clarity of what you need to do comes from the journey. Don’t put that pressure on yourself in the beginning. Know the first question. The first question is one of my waypoints, “What are the 3 or 4 metrics that I know that if I’m hitting them, I’m going to be on my way?”
It’s like driving in fog. You’ve got the GPS but you don’t know how many red lights you are going to hit along the way. You can only see a car length in front of you. As you continue going, you are like, “I don’t know if I’m going to hit traffic or not, that’s going to slow me down, or if I’m going to have to stop and use the restroom. If it’s going to take me too long, where I need to get some food along the way and stop and rest.” I’m sure everyone is picking up the metaphor. When you are driving in the fog, it’s like, “I can’t see what’s in front of me.”
That’s why speed is not just about how fast. You get more speed when you do the right actions. You may not be going as fast as somebody else, but you may get to the end result faster. One of the things we talk about in the book for The Velocity Mindset is the Art of the Pause. Sometimes you even need to gain velocity by stopping.
My first sales job was selling copiers in 1980. I was seduced by raw business machines. It was the first plain bond copier, so they went from liquid toner to dry toner, and I’m so proud of it. Fifteen pristine copies. “Where’s the collate?” “Don’t worry, it will be here in six months.” “Where’s the duplicate?” “It will be here in six months.” Now I’m going and signing up for a copier.
Unless you work in a law firm or a print shop, most people don’t know what a copy machine is anymore.
A copier is like a printer now. I go into an office manager and I said, “I sell copy machines.” “Can you have like the machine on the third floor, the big Xerox, that can collate and duplicate?” I go, “No.” “Come back when you have it.” For four months, I didn’t sell one thing. Remember, your reaction is changing your action. I decided to pause. I have what I call a board meeting, me, myself and I. We went into a diner in New Jersey.
I said, “What do you want to do? I want to sell machines. I want to make a certain amount of money. What are you doing now to do it? I’m talking about copiers. What happens? I can’t compete with Xerox.” I had to reevaluate what I am selling, “Am I selling a copier? One of the things I teach clients is to sell outcomes, not the how, and the copier is the how. What is it that the copier is doing? It’s a communication vehicle for the company. Maybe I need to switch the conversation from selling a copier to selling a communication vehicle.” I tried it. I didn’t know it was going to work.
I went out to the next meeting and I said, “Would you agree with me that a copy is nothing more than a communication vehicle?” She goes, “Yes.” I said, “What are your biggest challenges when it comes to communications in the present copier system that you have?” “Sally and Pete get up on the first floor for one copy.” They’ve got to walk to the staircase, chit-chat, go up to the third floor, wait behind all the big jobs, then they have to make that journey back. It could take them two hours. I said, “How much time is lost a week?” She stunned me. She said the equivalent of two full-time employees. I go, “Would you like that back?” She goes, “How?” I said, “I’m not competing with Xerox. It’s a great machine. Keep it. I’m going to fill the gap for you. You take one of my machines, fifteen copies a minute, wait for the one job, put one on every floor, you would get back two full-time employees.” I started selling three machines at a time.
Let’s talk about this. Could I easily have said, “The company screwed me. They promised me it was going to be on six months?” Sure. Did they fall back on their promises? Sure. The reality is I still want to make a living. The reality is it was still on me to be successful. I had to find a way to be successful. That’s what I meant being a victim or leading yourself out of situations to a better scenario.
You are an inspiration to a lot of people. The Velocity Mindset I’m sure is sold everywhere. Everywhere we could find it.
Amazon, online books, wherever you want.
We can find you at RonKarr.com. Everyone, the book is The Velocity Mindset.
Can I offer your audience something? If they want to create a leadership assessment, all they have to do is go to VelocityMindset.com. It’s a free leadership assessment. You rate yourself but it’s not just a rating. Usually, you will give best practices and tips on how you can move forward in those areas in your life. That’s totally free. You can download a free chapter if you want or buy the book, and then you will see everything else.
If you want to rate and review this show, send a screenshot too because we will give you a copy of The Velocity Mindset just for doing that. It’s for the first ten people that do it. How about that? I love your approach to this. Ron Karr, thank you so much for being on.
Thank you, Rick, for what you are doing in the world and for inviting me to be on.
- Lead, Sell or Get Out of The Way
- The Velocity Mindset
- Ron Karr
- Speech Pathologist
- High Point University
- Naveen Jain
- Think and Grow Rich
- Healing Back Pain
- Amazon – The Velocity Mindset