The following is a transcription of Voice of Bold Business Radio Program 76: Know When To Grow

Program Notes Can be Found Here.

Transcript of Program 76 – Know When To Grow

Jess: You are listening to The Voice of Bold Business Radio, and I am your host Jess Dewell of Red Direction. I have to admit, this question that we ask today; when we reach our capacity, how do we know, and if we must grow? This turned in to an interesting conversation because it went nowhere that I thought it was going to go… which means I learned a lot. Also it means that there is so much more and the flow of the conversation is really what makes this purposeful and useful. We’re talking about what growth is, we’re talking about the fact there’s no quick fix, we’re talking about the fact that our personal experiences matter and you get to hear Zola and Howard talk about some of their personal experiences throughout this entire program.

Howard Strauber is head of Business Development at Invested Consultants, LLC. He is a financial professional with over 30 years of experience in financial advising, business development and brokerage and trading.

Zala Bricelj is passionately supporting people to flex their mindset and turn their vices and weaknesses into advantages and become a source of strength.

Right after this, you will meet Howard and Zala.

Announcer (amid background music): Welcome to The Voice of Bold Business, the show that provides everything smart leaders need to evaluate situations, build relationships, and create solutions. Jessica Dewell candidly talks about the skills necessary to build tenacity, and do more with less. And now, here’s Jess:

Jess: Hey Howard! When we reach out capacity, how do we know if we need to grow?

Howard: I think getting through things rather than getting around things is really the main concern I have in life. They’re always going to be setbacks. I think I grow when my proverbial back is against the wall. When I have to get through something rather than going around something. For many years I would go around things, wanting the easier, softer way. I’ve had set backs in the last year… my father has died, I had a third stent put in my heart, I have a small legal problem which I got through. You know, it’s basically life on life’s terms, and I didn’t have a choice of I could pick or choose what I wanted to do or what I didn’t want to do. Either you get through it or you don’t get through it. That’s also being 57. Being 57 and being bald and having to move my computer and do things that maybe I don’t want to do, you learn that life is on life’s terms. That’s how I do it.

Jess: Thank you Howard. Alright Zala, how about you?

Zala: My self personally, and from the work I do… I don’t think that there is a time you need to grow or you need to learn. I think it’s an ongoing process. From what I’ve seen from myself and from the numerous stories that I’ve heard and that people have shared with me, it’s usually that ‘aha’ moment or that setback as Howard also mentioned. Or that moment in time when somebody says ‘Hmm I need to change something, this doesn’t work anymore’ or ‘hmmm I feel stuck’. Things like that or that moment that happened to us that that give us a little push, or push us in a certain direction where we want to grow to either learn about the patterns that hold us back, or we want to learn something new. To overcome the challenges that we’ve come across, or simply to see what the motivation behind growing and learning is. Whenever I talk to my students, I always ask them, “What is your motivation behind growth or behind learning?” Is it the intrinsic motivation… wanting to learn for the beauty of leaning, so that I will learn something new, that I will grow to be a different person or to learn something new to acquire new skill? Or is it like an outside motivation… I need good grades, I need to be good at this, I want this from that. In the bottom line, growing is a process that is an excellent learning experience when you take it as a process that has different timelines in different stages in your life.

Jess: Let’s talk for a minute about how you define growth.

Howard: I guess the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Where, I think growth means thinking outside the box, not going for the easier, softer way, but rather something that might be more difficult to take that emotional chance, to take that psychological chance. I feel that I grow through setbacks and failure. I think when life is going well… there have been periods of time where my life that have gone very well… too easy, that’s when I tend to mess up. I learned from setbacks. I’ve also studied NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) so I’m very well aware of what to do for a living, and I do it. We can talk about that some other time.

Zala: For me myself, the biggest mindful practice to every day is to take the setbacks, or take the challenges, or take the paths that were kind of going the other way that I expected or envisioned or something like this… look at it from a positive standpoint and see, what have I learned from that? What have I gained from that? And not take it as a failure or something dramatic, life stopping. But to answer the question… I perceive growth as being as learning and living your life and being different every time you look back and say, hmmm, I’ve come a long way, or stopping at the point and saying, wow, this thing happened to me, or this situation happened to me and I reacted differently. I look at it differently and I can take learnings from it in a totally different manner than before. That’s what’s growth for me.

Jess: Let’s talk about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) for a minute because      1 – Howard’s familiar with it, and 2 – that’s your focus. The fact that Howard brought it up, I want to take a minute and I want to acknowledge that there’s a place for that in this conversation.

Zala: Yes I am an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner and author coach. That’s some of the techniques I also use. This knowledge I use in my work not only in social media and digital marketing with clients and the workshops that I do. The one thing that is really connected also to growth and learning and change is that it’s not a quick fix, it’s not a set of technique that will magically change your life. I think that it’s a set of skills and knowledge that’s helped me to understand how everybody sees and perceives growth and change and life in a different manner. It also helps me to structure the maps of every client that comes to me in a different, or let’s say, better way.

Howard: I think the most famous person that we know that we see every day who uses NLP, who I consider the McDonald’s of NLP, is Tony Robbins. I actually had met Richard Bandler. This was many years ago, I worked with a gentleman named Roy Frazier. NLP is basically the patterns of behavior, that we are either audio-visual or kinesthetic, and you can pick out those adjectives and figure out how to change people. It’s been discredited for many years. It’s been used I believe probably by spy agencies and things like that. I haven’t done it in years. I’m aware of it. I know for example I’m a very visual person. That’s why I have notes. I also know when I listen to people and looking at their cues and how they do things, I can generally figure out what adjectives they’re using and then feed them back. That’s really what NLP is. If you’re in social networking, you’re having the basics of NLP. If you’re doing this for a living, and you’re doing it successfully, meaning you’re getting ready for it, you’re figuring out other people and other peoples patterns of behavior. I’ve never met Tony Robbins. I think he’s done a service as well as a disservice to NLP. I think he kind of cheapened it. It’s sort of like 24-hour new service. I think we all are too overwhelmed by news, and I think we’re too overwhelmed by somebody like Tony Robbins. I think there are practitioners, and then there are people that just throw it out there and see what sticks to the ceiling, and we’ll leave it at that.

Jess: Okay. In the initial question I asked if we need to grow do we really have a choice?

Zala: Well, I would say unless you’re in immediate life danger, putting it off completely, for me it’s not about the question of do we have a choice. We always have a choice. When you’re faced with challenge or with something difficult, you always have a choice to remain in the status quo and say life sucks, I can’t do anything. Also to be kind of in a position of the victim, ‘Why does this always happen to me?’ Or you have a choice and say, okay, it happened, so how can I go about it and I need to change something, or I wish to change something to either react differently so it can be behavioral, or, okay what’s in my mindset, so how do I perceive this? How do I think about it, so how can I change there so my perception or hidden values or maybe something I was so accustomed for a bigger part of my life. Yes, you have a choice and say, okay, I wish to change something, or I wish to do something differently. That for me would be always the options that we have.

Jess: What would you add to that Howard?

Howard: I’m looking at the two of you and I get a chuckle. You both have hair coloring, I’m trying to hold on to my hair. This is the perspective of the aging process. I’m looking at you guys and thinking, wow, I wish I could color my hair, I wish I had hair, I’m just grateful to have hair and that it’s grey. It’s about perspective. I also think fight or flight. When you kind of be Kenny Rogers, “know when to fold ‘em”. It’s really really important. Sometimes to live for another day. This is one of the hardest things I think, especially men, know when to walk away. That to me is difficult because you know we’re the gatherer hunters sort of thing and our whole justification for existence. But at the same time, longevity has its benefits. I know a lot of people that haven’t made it to 57. It’s about perspective. It really is about perspective.

Jess: Let’s take this idea about perspective and choose a direction with it. I’m thinking about something that Zala said earlier that there is no quick fix. When we have no quick fixes, and the same thing with perspective that you were just talking about Howard, it takes a while to get perspective. We might get a download in an instant because we practice this concept of getting perspective all the time, but what we do with it is never instantaneous. I’m using the word never purposefully, because while we have this concept of instant gratification, having the stuff that we need to do, want to do, would like to do, at our fingertips is at a really sharp juxtaposition to the reality of it takes time to get perspective and get good at having perspective. It takes time to learn how to solve problems, It takes time to recognize we have a choice, even if it’s not a lot of time we can choose in a split second of how we’re going to react. The same old way, a different way, or maybe not even knowing what’s going to happen next. We’re thinking about business challenges and growth. I’m interested in this concept of there’s no quick fix, yet we still are in a mode we want to improve ourselves because we want more. We want to improve our businesses because we want more from our businesses, or our roles so we can advance up the ladder within our organization. I’d like to hear your thoughts on some of that in terms of there is no quick fix when we’re facing personal growth and business growth.

Howard: I think personal growth and business growth are one and the same. I don’t think I separated it per se. Life is generally a pass/fail exam based on I think one leader spiritual condition or what your perspective is. What I wanted 20 years ago is a lot different than what I want today. Twenty years ago when I thought I owned the world… and I’m still a part of the world… 20 years ago I owned it. I’m not there for the money. If I do the right thing I know the money will come. I also know being of service to others is important. I think that’s important regardless of what you want to move up the food chain. If you’re willing to have a value system, a value set that you can be comfortable with and what you stand for, I believe one moves up the food chain. I believe one will become that person, a man or woman, who they want to be. It isn’t about the money, it’s about what you believe in. I think it’s one and the same.

Zala: Howard, when I was thinking, and listening to you, I wanted to say, yeah I totally agree, but I see two worlds actually. There is the let’s say corporate world where we should have personal growth and business growth very well connected, but we all know how much time and effort it is defining your KPI’s and business growth and how much you need to achieve and how much ROI you need to do for this and that and so on. We spend a lot less time developing, mentoring our sales people, our back-office people, our representatives whoever it is. On the other hand, I see in the entrepreneurial world, that we have moved quite into the direction of exactly what you were describing. A lot of people focus now on figuring out your ‘Why’, so figuring out the purpose that is bigger than yourself, or following a passion that adds value to other people and kind of a servant leadership also, which I think that really aligns these to grow. Personal growth and business growth, with the main focus on what I often hear or what I’ve learned through time also. One thing is to want to grow and want to make money or want to make some money with what you do, but it’s also very important to set measurable and also realistic goals. A lot of times we see examples and practices of people who have put 10 years of work into what we see now and when people are coming they say ‘oh yeah, I want this too, so quick fix let’s go 1,2,3. Ten actionable steps for doing this and I will make it’. I think that it’s really important to step back and say, okay, so what is fruit for me? How do I see it? What is realistic for me and what can I do in 6 months, one year, five years? It is something very individual for everybody.

Jess: Howard, from his perspective in his experience and Zala from her perspective and her experience, and I’m thinking about me and mine is different than both of yours. It makes me actually think of Mike Rowe, the guy who has done eight seasons of ‘Dirty Jobs’, that tv show. One of the things he talks about is that even though the whole world is out here finding our passion… ‘I know what I need to do to make a living, and I want to do something that I can make a living at and make the kind of money that I want to have the life that I want to do the things that I want.’ It was really interesting. I was listening to an NPR podcast about TED Talks, and he was chatting a little bit about his TED Talk when they were talking about success. Do we tie growth and success together?

Zala: I think we do. From my limited experience, I can speak from myself, and also I can speak from all the stories that I hear and work with, I think that a lot of times the measurement for growth is any kind of success. Either success in material things, or success of climbing up the corporate ladder, or success of giving yourself the luxurious life. In a sense, what we see now also on social media becoming an influencer or becoming famous or successful, so having a lot of followers or having a big following, which is nothing wrong with that, but I think those are some various types of how growth and success are really intertwined.

Howard: I think where growth comes from, whatever your perspective might be, whatever your hair coloring might be, I think comes from having a work ethic and celebrating the work ethic. Showing up, being reliably reliable. You’re going to get a kick out of this Jess… that’s why I think Barney is the worst thing that ever happened to this whole world. Because I think the fact of the matter remains that if one tries, only good things can happen. I’m not saying I’m in the action game. I’m neither in the results game. Meaning, there are a lot of things whether I’m in the food chain, up the food chain, not in the food chain… there’s some things that I will not have any control over. But a work ethic at least I have some influence over. That saying “When I was young I’d walk five miles a day each way in the snow”. I think the comfort level of not having to want, that you deserve it, I think is also something to be said about what’s going on. I blame Barney. I really do.

They laugh

Jess: Zala, do you know who Barney is?

Zala: No. (laughing)

Jess: Ok.

Howard: You don’t want to know. He’s a very bad purple dinosaur.

Zala: Ok.

Jess: I like dinosaurs. Barney is very difficult Zala, because he sings this song, and all you have to do is Google ‘The Barney Song’ and you will hear it. I’m not going to say it because anybody who’s already this far, it’s going through your head, who knows it and if you’re not, I don’t want it to be in your head all day! But I had an alarm clock that sang the Barney song. I was probably 18 years old and got it for my birthday from one of my friends who thought I would get a kick out of it. I have said clock no more. It didn’t make it through my first two years of college with my roommate.

They all laugh

Howard: Come on, let’s say it, ”I love you, you love me, we are one big happy family”. That’s the biggest crock of *** I’ve ever known. Sorry.

Jess hums the Barney Song

Zala: Howard, I really like what you said before because we have had these continuous conversations about how we at a certain point in life we are stuck in a position of referencing with the outside world and referencing with our inner world, and double checking our values and our past. I think that it’s also a personal maturity growth where you come to a certain point when you say, yeah, my growth or my success is also like my intimate mindful practice or path that I don’t have to reference with anybody else or with the outside world, and that’s just okay. I think that it just takes time to get to that point in life.

Jess: You are listening to the Voice of Bold Business Radio, where I am talking with Howard Strauber and Zala Bricelj. We’re talking about, how do we know, and if we want to grow. This is a fabulous conversation so far. We’ve covered the gamut. We’ve touched a little bit on business, and I’m going to take a sharper turn toward looking at this from the business side. What you guys were just talking about Howard and Zala, you were talking about external perspective, can I make different choices the next time I go around… which is very much a self-awareness of self versus other, and self versus other without guilt or shame to do the right thing at the right time. Whatever other words that we could put around it. There are a lot of words we could put around it, So I want to know from you guys… what are your tips from your experiences so far, that help you recognize when you’re looking at a reaction of yourself, versus something external that’s happening to us that we might be reacting to.

Howard: You know, I have to accept the situation. Whether I like it or not. This is very difficult, I’m not saying I deal with completely by any stretch of the imagination. I think I’ve reveled in at 57 being immature for a very long period of time, and I think I still do. I’ve noticed over the last couple years, I disconnect myself from the situation and my reaction to the situation. Whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, the situation is going to be there whatever my reaction is one way or another. What am I going to do about the situation? Am I embracing it life on life’s terms, or am I going to pout?

First, I pout, because I’m immature, and then I move forward. I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older, I still pout, but I get through what I need to get through faster. Well we’re all dying, but I just have the urgency to move forward because it’s an adventure. It’s a darn adventure.

Jess: Howard, this is the coolest part… I’m going to pout anyway is a variation of what you said, and that is so cool to just say, yep this is the place I’m at and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with pouting. There’s nothing wrong with out “perceived” negative emptions, because we all have to have them. It’s what makes the positive ones so much clearer. So much more than anything we’ve ever had before. What would you add Zala?

Zala: I think that we are kind of living in this bubble where everybody is super motivated, or is supposed to be super motivated, super 100% all the time, super achievers. We put a lot of stress not literally on the good feelings. I think that it’s really important for not only our self-awareness but especially for growth, to say the heck, we have the whole palette of feelings and emotions and they’re okay. They’re okay as long as they don’t put us down for a week, a month, or a year, or something even worse. But it’s okay. For me, kind of the silent motto is, “I’m not okay all the time, and that’s okay.” That’s totally okay. There are ups and downs, and lefts and rights and highs and lows, and that’s totally okay. The bigger challenge or the bigger picture is to say, okay, so I have these sentiments or feelings, or I have these situations, so, like Howard mentioned, maybe time to stand a step back, or look at it from other perspective. Say okay, so this situation is there, and I can’t influence it myself directly, so what can I do about it now? How can I adapt myself, or align myself to accept it differently and just move along?

Jess: Did you know, there have been a lot of studies emotions? I’m going to see if I can find a good one, and if I can find a good one, I’ll link to it in the show notes… about the more emotions we are able to recognize, the more we are able to truly connect with another person. The reactions that we feel when somebody is present, yet really not connecting with us, if we have a lower range of emption, we’re more likely to take it personally. The bigger the range of our emotions, the more we recognize oh, they’ve got their own thing going on. I may or may not get what it is, but I get that it’s not me. My tip would be, practice emotions. Understand what they are and what the nuances are.

I’m going to tell a personal story. This is when my husband Ryan and I worked together in our first business. I would say something like, “No, I’m really frustrated”, and Ryan, at the time would say, “no, you’re angry”, and I’m like, “how can you tell me what I’m feeling?” He said, “that’s all I know”. So I said well this is what my frustrated looks like. I’ll tell you when I see your frustrated, and we’ll see. Of course, you know that’s a serious conversation that has a lot of bumps along the way, and it does not happen as quickly as I’m retelling this story. The gist is that we have this concept of if we don’t know what our own range of emotions are, there’s no way we can ever even have empathy for another person. I think when it’s time to grow or we’re watching somebody else grow and we’re witnessing that, having that empathy is a pretty big part of it. Now I’m going to go right in to the business piece. You’ll see where I’m going in just a second. I’m thinking about like processes and balance sheets and HR and all of this other stuff. Because all of those things are affected by emotions. So the more we develop our people, the more we develop ourselves, and the more empathy we can practice and understanding this vast range of emotions, it affects our profitability as a business. It affects our efficiency as a business. Would you agree or disagree guys?

Zala: I would most definitely agree. Looking back, or looking at the different types of businesses, I think that empathy for a long time, and I’m speaking from the place of being a woman in a business world, which was also a bit specific, was empathy was something that was “touchy feely”, maybe not having the right place in the business. Now we’re slowly starting to recognize that actually self-awareness, self-development, growth and empathy have a huge place in business. Because it’s not only internally that we always need to nurture our employees, we need to nurture also our business and growth. Without empathy, or lets say putting other people first, so putting our clients first, putting our prospects first… I don’t think we can do or execute our business successfully or expect it to grow if it’s not putting them first and understanding them really really well.

Howard: You know, I would agree with that. I was just also thinking about when you were talking about the range of emotions, especially in business and what’s acceptable and not acceptable. Right now we’re remote. Even though we’re all connected, we’re remote. I was wondering, as far as the range or the availability of the range of emotions, if we were all in the same room doing this, versus the remoteness. I’m only looking for myself, my perspective. Where would the volatility, or the versatility of those occur? For example, I think there’s a big disconnect below the age of 45 when I’m interacting with someone I’m texting with them, and if they’re above the age of 45 it’s usually a phone call. To me, I get a lot more information from a phone call talking to somebody than a text. You have the tonality, the breathing patterns, the stop and the start, and the text is very much standoffish boundary driven where obviously a phone call is not. Either you’re in it or you’re not. It’s also very much how we interact in business. More and more things that we’re doing are not going to be in an office. That’s just a fact. Unless we’re in a factory line, and I don’t see the three of us being on a factory line. My point is, getting back to your range of emptions, and what’s empathetic, it’s a lot different this way than it is if we were all in the same room.

Zala: It’s a really interesting and good thought, because I just started thinking… I do most of my business digitally. Although I do workshops that are face to face, so there is a mixture. Let’s say I am a lot of time more digitally connected. But I can tell you that whenever I go into an office, or to a coffee shop or to a restaurant, or to any kind of where they sell something, I’m becoming really mindful of all these small things. How they interact with me, do they have eye contact, how do they handle my questions or my requests, and so on, and I become super mindful of it.

Howard: Don’t you think from an NLP perspective that there’s more to see and feel and be when it’s face to face rather than remote, and that what you can do to somebody as well, or what you can practice somebody as well. You and I both know that.

Zala: I mean, okay, yeah, there’s one side of it. But on the other hand, I think that for me, for example, whenever you’re in interaction, because now the trend is going putting our customers first, understanding their needs. I think it’s really a good experiment of seeing the discrepancy between what we are supposed to do and what we actually do in a situation where we are. Where there is a customer in front of us and handling him or her, and what kind of empathy or customer care I am able to give in that moment.

Jess: This will be the bold piece. You know we’re talking about knowing when to grow. We’re talking about taking steps to increase our self-awareness. Part of that is through self and other, and this concept of empathy. You take this concept of empathy, and the elements of empathy, and you combine it with…so what is it I’m looking at? What is it that I see? How do I want to proceed and what is my ultimate end game here? What’s my motive in this particular situation? To get more, to get less, to move through? Who knows, right? It’s bold when you combine problem-solving with empathy. That’s going to be our closing thought for each of you guys. Tell me what you think about that, and if not, where you think it’s bold to grow.

Howard: I believe that empathy comes from within. Meaning looking and being honest with oneself. Understanding that there’s a difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is you’re getting into victimization, and we’re not talking about victimization. What we’re talking about, to me is honesty and open-mindedness and a willingness. Risk-taking comes in many different forms. We’re talking about risk-taking in business, but there’s a very fine line between risk-taking in business and risk-taking emotionally because sometimes it’s one and the same. For example, if you have an employee that has personal issues, there will be empathy to some degree to some longevity, and then sometimes you just have to say goodbye. It depends where one’s emotional tie is with this person. But longevity of the relationship, the skillset of that person or the situation, what that person brings, and what is one willing to lose as much as one is willing to gain. Personally, whatever it might be, we’re here to take risks. Whether we like it or not, we’re here to take risks. That’s what I like about the voice of what we do here for you is that risk-taking is acceptable, and that we have to be willing and open-minded. Empathy I think has less and less meaning as long as one is being honest with oneself. You can put yourself in the other person’s shoes. I think that’s really important.

Zala: For me, empathy actually starts with oneself. A lot of times we’re trying to practice empathy, or be empathetic with others, and most of the time we don’t show ourselves empathy or start being empathetic with ourselves. Getting to know ourselves, accepting the good, the bad, the ugly, the everything. Knowing ourselves, knowing who, what, where, why and so on, and building from there onwards. I think it’s very valuable when we know how to take calculated risks. Because also risks, especially in business, can vary. It can be something very simple, or it can be something that leads to a catastrophe. I think that knowing your skill set, and knowing how to put yourself in other people’s shoes, but also knowing yourself can be a really good skill to develop the practice of taking calculated risks. Because, yeah, nothing is wrong with risk-taking or with changing something, or with growing or taking a different path. But as long as it’s a bit calculated, because sometimes it’s not always, and like you said Jess, I’m using this word purposefully… it’s not always good to say, ‘yeah just jump in it and let’s go’. It’s always good to take into account different factors in different situations in life.

Jess: As you know, with every single one of these programs that we do, we get amazing perspectives. You’re going to find all the program notes with all of the tidbits and the juicy information that Howard and Zala shared at You can also search ‘Know When to Grow’.

The thing is, if we don’t understand when we grow and how we grow in our own selves first, there’s really no way that we can watch and recognize it in somebody else. When we start thinking about empathy, and we add problem-solving to it, I was really honest when I was talking about it being juicy. It’s a juicy wonderful play place and so much magic comes out of it. Just like todays program, where like I said at the beginning, it didn’t go where I thought it was going to go, yet everything here is immediately useful and helpful to you on your personal development path. As well as, as a leader how you might look at differently the development paths that each of your employees is on.

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