020: Dedication to Finding Purpose Transforms Lives with Dr. Jason Brooks

By on August 28, 2018


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Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. His life mission of changing lives and growing leaders provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed.

Dr. Jason has almost 25 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in multi-million and multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 organizations in multiple industries (including Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Accenture, Gap, Inc., Hunt Brothers Pizza, Addiction Campuses, SmithKlein Beecham, Gaylord Entertainment Company, Emerson Electric Company, and American Addiction Centers). He is an expert in leading personal and organizational transformation of all kinds. He is founder and CEO of The Catalyst Leadership Group, a leadership solutions firm focused on growing leaders from the “inside-out” and helping them to unleash their full potential to deliver high-impact results through their work and leave a legacy of success and significance in life.

As a bestselling author, speaker, entrepreneur and executive, leadership consultant, executive coach and co-host of the Step into Leadership Podcast, he brings a heart for helping leaders of all kinds achieve their greatest potential, one step at a time.

Dr. Jason has earned the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in psychology, Master of Business Administration, MS in mental health counseling, and BS in management. He is a Certified Executive Coach, Board Certified Coach with specialty designations as Executive/Leadership/Corporate/Business/Career Coach, Senior Professional in Human Resources and National Certified Counselor.

Dr. Jason lives just north of Nashville, Tennessee with his bride, Darla and three wonderful children, two sons and a daughter.

Key Points from the Episode with Dr. Jason Brooks

  • Dr. Jason Brooks is focused on two major themes in his life – he changes lives and grows leaders. He sees that as his calling, and how he’s placed every day is how he delivers on that.
  • He is the Chief People Officer for Addiction Campuses, which has facilities across the country to help people overcome addictions, and he’s charged with developing leadership of the organization so they can be a crucial part of transforming the lives of those seeking help.
  • He also has several consulting practices focusing on leadership development for people across all different kinds of backgrounds, which is where he and I met through the podcast he does within that work.
  • When you are operating at the center of your passion and really making a difference in the world in alignment with your values and the center of your passion, it doesn’t feel like work no matter how hard you are working.
  • So many people go into their day with a sense of drudgery on their faces. That what he tries to help people break through and ignite opportunity and find their passion. That’s how we maximize potential in ourselves.
  • When we’ve been in a rut for a long time, we get to a place where we often feel comfortable where we are and don’t spend the energy on breaking out. We are resigned to continue on. He shared a quote he once heard about ruts, “A rut is nothing more than a grave with no end.”
  • He was the first born in his family, and that set the stage for a responsibility and burden as the first born to achieving and the pressure of taking care of the family and living up to parental standards. As he achieved, the judgment always came that he was expected to achieve, so rather than celebrating what he reached, it was almost not valued. When he shared his interests (namely, in music), he was dissuaded from pursuing it because it wasn’t good enough, and needed to go back to something more grounded economically (e.g. accounting).
  • Through pursuing the path he was “supposed to” he kept feeling an emptiness and boredom. He would get into a new job, do well and improve things, and then get bored and leave for the next job.
  • The question was whether he was never satisfied (and couldn’t be), or whether he wasn’t able to use the creativity he was so longing to use. It turned out to be the latter, and that’s the path he pursued as his career progressed by taking the initiative to go on the journey and face the challenges to grow.
  • He realized he wanted to more than just “the right thing” and do something that would impact people’s lives, and went on to get a masters, an MBA and a doctorate over the course of seven years while also working full time.
  • Through a very intense process in which he pushed himself so hard, he finally found the value in himself and not simply because of the sense of obligation to someone else (such as his father). So now, he performs not because of obligation to the outside world, but because of a sense of his own capability and self-worth.
  • When you position yourself to let that inner part of who you are come out, that’s where the fullness of who you are and the impact you can make really gets to shine.
  • He shares the five values of a high impact leader: 1. Character, 2. Growth, 3. Relationships, 4. Results and 5. Vision.
  • Leadership is not just organizational leadership, it’s about leading your life. It’s about influence for yourself and for those around you. This mirrors the discussion Aaron Keith Hawkins and I had in episode 15 of the show.
  • Through our struggles, we learn and grow, and become better able to help others. Dr. Brooks shared some of his struggles, such as having to borrow money from his parents as a 40-something adjust to pay his mortgage and save his home, which taught him a lot about humility and stability, which he brings to his work today. It was also a break in the standard he’s had to live up to as the first born who never fails.
  • We can fall into the trap of comparison, which is the first step toward jealousy, then pride and then arrogance, which can all unravel us and be anchors in our lives that can hold us back from living a life as we truly can every day.
  • In looking back at some of his biggest professional struggles or failures, he realizes it wasn’t about what he was going to do, but rather points to focus on who you are going to be. It’s not in the ‘what’, it’s in the ‘who’.
  • You never learn as much as when you teach. When you find the growth in yourself, help other people on their path, and you will find yourself growing and learning in ways you wouldn’t have before, and often may find yourself growing more through teaching than when learning and perhaps more than the person you’re helping may get.
  • When you stretch yourself and stumble and fall, you have two choices. It can either be a prison or it can be a school. You can feel trapped and can’t break through, or you can learn from it, grow and move ahead. Seeing it as a school and not a prison is your choice, so don’t choose to make failure final.

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019: Finding Humility & Balance in the Unexpected with Tim Fargo

By on August 21, 2018


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Tim Fargo is a two-time Inc. 500 winner. After declaring bankruptcy in 1991, he took that moment of struggle and decided it wasn’t how he would be defined. He pushed himself forward, launched a new company, and sold it seven years later for $20m. He then wrote his book, Alphabet Success, and built the basis for his current company while promoting his book.

Today that company, Social Jukebox has thousands of customers around the world using it to post to their social media accounts.

There’s nothing quite like going from thinking you’re hot stuff to donating blood for cash to wake up your humility.

Key Points from the Interview with Tim Fargo

  • Tim currently runs Social Jukebox, a business that came to be by accident when he was trying to achieve something else. While the “something else” wasn’t developing the way he had hoped, Social Jukebox became its own thing, and he recognized the need to shift his focus from what he had intended to what he was having success with.
  • Success wasn’t always part of Tim’s equation. Years before, he lost everything personally and professionally when his event marketing company went bankrupt along with him personally. This stemmed from Tim getting caught up in his own success, amassing debt that ultimately brought him down. And taught him a huge lesson about not believing your own hype and knowing what signs to look for that can help you check yourself.
  • When we fail, the worst thing you can do is let that failure have a lasting meaning in your life. While you can and should learn from it, you don’t have to let failure be your story or definition from yourself. Tim proved this first hand as he went on to start another company (after a journey and process of growth) that he eventually sold for millions of dollars.
  • We talked about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s obviously been wildly successful as an actor, but that was not his path. He was on a trajectory to be an NFL star until an injury took him out of football in college. If he had taken that ending of his goal as a defining failure, he would never have pushed himself so hard down the path that he’s been on now. He realized his tenacity, dedication and drive were his skills, not just the physical capabilities needed in professional football, and he used those values to propel him down a different path.
  • Every time Tim has let his mind get “infected” with the idea that he’s somehow special or better-than such that his way (and only his way) will prevail, it’s been fraught with disaster. That is the essence of what lead to his bankruptcy. Instead, it’s about having the humility to recognize that you were wrong, but then find the lesson you can take forward.
  • Tim leaves us with some advice about balance when it comes to ourselves – we’re never quite a dumb as we think we are, nor are we quite as smart as we think we are. We’re somewhere in between.

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018: Why Vulnerability & Honesty are Key to Having Power with Sonya Looney

By on August 14, 2018


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It’s perseverance and attitude that propelled Sonya Looney to 25+ mountain bike endurance wins across the world including stage races in more than 20 countries. As a veteran stage racer and former 24-Hour World Champion, Sonya continues to endure all flavors of adventure and challenge in places like the Sahara Desert, Himalayas, jungles of Sri Lanka, South American Andes, and rural mountains of Haiti.  Her mantra “Be Brave. Do Epic Sh!t” prevails across all of her endeavors from motivational speaking, writing for multiple publications, to designing fun lifestyle products for her company, Moxy & Grit.

Sonya is the host of the popular podcast, The Sonya Looney Show where she speaks with experts across the categories of mindset, inspiring stories, and plant-based nutrition to give listeners the tools to live a purposeful and fulfilling life.

Key Ideas in the Interview with Sonya Looney

  • As an engineer at a solar energy company, Sonya Looney was pursuing a very different path from the one she ended up on, until trying mountain biking and getting totally hooked. While she had always been athletic, and had pushed herself in many areas of her life, mountain biking spoke to her in a way nothing had before, and has opened up the door to some amazing experiences taking in the world, its people and all the beauty it all has to offer.
  • During her time as an engineer, she had this desire to travel the world and ride her bike, but didn’t see how that could ever happen. Her journey is how it happened as that is exactly what she does in her life today as a professional mountain biker who has raced in over 25 countries around the world including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Morocco, Haiti and many others.
  • What started as a very physical relationship with her competitive sport evolved into a more entrepreneurial lifestyle focused on how she can tell stories to people about how to live a better life that was inspired by her experiences all over the world.
  • How do we set expectations that push us ahead and yet don’t set us up for disappointment. There’s a line between being too easy to meet, being apathetic and being totally unrealistic. Ultimately, it’s really about what we do when we do or don’t meet those expectations and how we treat ourselves or others as a result (depending who did or didn’t meet those expectations).
  • When things go wrong, we have a choice of what we look at and conclude. If we focus on all the things that go wrong, we lose out on seeing any of what went right, and can end up defining ourselves through that failure.
  • Resilience is a muscle, and the only way to grow a muscle is to test and strain it through exercising it. Don’t shy away from the risk of failure, and don’t quit if you fail. Learn and grow from it to move forward.
  • When someone else is going through this, be mindful of what their needs are to get through it. Often people need validation of what they’re feeling, and that is ok. You don’t have to argue against or dismiss what they’re feeling. The same is true for you. The feelings around failure are valid. And you can move through them after processing them.

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017: The Power of Consistency in Finding What You Seek with Dorie Clark

By on August 7, 2018


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Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Recognized as a “branding expert” by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc. magazine, she is the author of Entrepreneurial You (Harvard Business Review Press,), Reinventing You, and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine and one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year by Forbes. It was also a Washington Post bestseller. Her books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Arabic, French, Polish, Korean, and Thai.

Clark, whom the New York Times described as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives,” consults and speaks for a diverse range of clients, including Google, the World Bank, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Yale University.

A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, Clark is an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a Visiting Professor for IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. She has guest lectured at universities including Harvard Business School, the Harvard Kennedy School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Georgetown, NYU, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the University of Michigan.

Her work has been published in the Harvard Business Review Guide to Getting the Right Job and the Harvard Business Review Guide to Networking, and she is quoted frequently in the worldwide media, including NPR, the BBC, and MSNBC. She is also a regular commentator on Canada’s CTV and was named one of Inc. magazine’s “100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference.”

A former New England Press Association award-winning journalist, Clark directed the environmental documentary film The Work of 1000, and was a producer for a multiple-Grammy-winning jazz album. 

At age 14, Clark entered Mary Baldwin College’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. At 18, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College, and two years later received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. You can download her Entrepreneurial You self-assessment at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur.

Key Ideas in the Episode with Dorie Clark

  • Dorie grew up in North Carolina, where she went through school at a very accelerated pace, graduating from college very young, and taking that as an opportunity to escape a world where she didn’t feel she quite fit in.
  • She struggled to find a single path of success, and quickly learned a core lesson of her work today around perseverance and consistency. This becomes a theme for so much of her coaching and writing work, and the basis of a lot of what we discussed in the show.
  • Serving people in a true way–by being in touch with and working from your true values, interests and expertise–is the path to your greatest success.
  • To find success, you have to apply yourself with apply yourself, be consistent and persistent. That’s how you will get results. She learned that first hand, after taking two to three years and writing several hundred articles for top publications before she got activity and outreach as a result of all of that effort. While that may sound daunting, the results make it worth it, while also create a huge moat around you in terms of the effort someone else would have to put in to replicate your success.
  • The qualities that may make you a success at one time or in one situation in your life may actually work against you in another, so it’s important to think about your fit and why you will be success in each new situation we enter into.
  • When trying to get your message out, Dorie shared questions to get you thinking about what you need to do. What is it that makes me qualified to deliver the message I want to deliver? How can I demonstrate or show that? How can you do the things that come out of these questions?
  • She shared a self-assessment exercise, which is linked below, to help get you started on the journey of

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