Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things culture, leadership, and teamwork across business and sports.
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Brendan: This is my conversation with Gary De Rodriguez. Gary has privately coached over 11,600 people worldwide and is internationally recognized as the go-to person for personal and professional relationship breakthroughs.
Have you ever wondered why some people are better at building relationships than others? The answer lies in something Gary said early in the interview. You bring the relationship with yourself to the relationship with another.
This interview will give you greater context to those profound words in order to give you answers to help you strengthen your own relationships professionally and personally. Check out my three key takeaways after the interview. I'll also share a coupon code to access a 33% discount on Gary's Building Incredible Relationships online course.
This is The Culture of Things podcast. I'm Brendan Rogers. Sit back and enjoy my conversation with Gary, where we start by learning about Gary's extraordinary and confronting background.
Gary: I had a pretty dramatic and traumatic childhood. My mom was bipolar. She was an alcoholic, drug addict, and would attempt suicide every now and again. Always when I would find her I was thinking she was dead.
I had a series of events that I had PTSD from that as a kid. Because she had a certain level of woundedness, I think it geared me to start looking for a resolution, and then I had a lot of trauma as well. I was molested by her from the time I was in diapers until I was about 11. I was raped at 15. I was an IV drug addict starting at 14 to about 18. That was methamphetamine, crystal meth, and heroin.
I had this awakening. It was like a spiritual experience that got me clean and sober in 12 hours. I was a guy that smoked three packs of Marlboro longs a day, shooting drugs, and dealing drugs. You're too young for this so you probably won't remember. But have you ever heard of a Celtic folk singer named Donovan? If you say no, I'm going to cry. But you haven't, I guess.
Brendan: [...] going to lie.
Gary: That puzzled look up on your face. Donovan was this Celtic folk singer contemporary with the Beatles and all that. My girlfriend at the time bought me front-row tickets to go to a concert of Donovan's. I'm hanging out in the front row, and I decided to go straight. I'm not going to do drugs. I just had my pack of cigarettes, which was my lifeline.
I'm sitting in the front row, Donovan comes out, and he's tuning up his sitar. It was the [...] Yogi days when everyone wore white linen and sat on [...] of flowers and there are sitars. He comes out, he sits down, and he's tuning up a sitar. The concert's just about ready to start.
He looks down at me and he goes, you are wasting time, and it's like every neuron in my body lit up. There's a part of me that knew exactly what he meant. I sat there going, I'm wasting my life and I'm going to die if I continue down this road. I'm going to die. I'm going to waste my life.
I took up my cigarettes, broke them in half, and I never smoked again. I went home and broke all my needles. I flushed about $80,000 worth of drugs down the toilet. I had to be dramatic. I'm a Leo so I had to be dramatic.
It was raining out. Of course, it had to be raining. I just got some water. I went out on a hillside at about 2:00 AM when I got home from the concert and sat down. I'm not a religious guy, but I'm a highly spiritual guy. I went out on a hillside and cried in the rain all night long. When the sun came up, I was a different person.
I think through all those trials and tribulations, I began to become very, very in tune with what causes people to, first of all, lose their emotional balance, become a dumpster fire in relationships, and ruin other people's lives. What caused that and what was it?
What happened for me was my mother would use me as her kind of surrogate psychotherapist from the time I was about eight on. She told me in a very cryptic way that she had been gang raped by her father and a group of his friends.
I began to look at everything that she had become was because of unresolved trauma, like deep-rooted unresolved trauma that followed her generationally because what was perpetrated upon her got perpetrated upon me. I began to look at that going, it's unresolved trauma. That's one of the key factors that actually impact relationships in a way that makes them unworkable.
It's not that we don't want to be loved. It's not that we are crazy. What it is is that our hearts have been broken to a point to where we have oftentimes love anchored to pain or love anchored to rejection or abandonment. When love shows up in our adult life, we'll either run from it, we'll sabotage it, or we'll push it away.
I began to start looking at, okay, if it is unresolved trauma, then how do I begin to start, first of all, healing myself and second of all, paying that forward? Soon after that happened and I was out on my own, I began meditating and found a yogic path that I still follow today.
I've been meditating for about 54 years now under this yogic tradition. I haven't found anything better, so, of course, I stay where I am with that. But that sort of created this circle of, how do I go up to a high logical level and begin to heal all the things down in my behavior, my beliefs, my values, my sense of identity, my capabilities? That gave me a foundation to work from. After that, the AIDS crisis hit. I think this is where I really launched.
My whole career was in the AIDS crisis, in America, in Southern California where I grew up, no one was doing anything with AIDS. The government would not fund research, nor would they fund any viable cures for AIDS. It went about six years into the epidemic and the government had still done nothing. That's where in America, an organization called ACT UP happened and began to do riots and disruptions throughout the government's functioning to bring awareness to the AIDS crisis.
I started teaching a course in miracles for spiritual support with people that were diagnosed who were dead in three months. Then I did rebirthing, which was a continuous looping breath process that release trauma. I came to the point where I realized I needed something more directional and faster, so I began studying hypnosis to work with the subconscious mind, and then neuro-linguistic programming.
That coupled with a lot of the shamanic work that I had already been studying led me to this place where I started sort of seeing this golden thread that ran through all, especially indigenous cultures. And then started running more through the quantum sciences and started running through mind sciences like neuro-linguistic programming and working with hypnosis.
I launched my coaching career in a postage stamp-sized office and just brought in whoever would come and see me. I'd go out on the streets and say, hey, is anybody having any problems? I'm going to work on you. I eventually honed my skills. I've coached now about 11,700 people worldwide.
I got a lot of practice in the trenches, so to speak. I've developed a trauma resolution technique that decodes your nervous system in anywhere from 10–20 minutes, and it decodes it permanently. You won't be able to get the trauma back in the same way with the same emotional punch ever again. It's a permanent change. I discovered it quite by accident.
I'm currently writing a book on that. That's kind of how I got the whole engine started was do a lot of pain and suffering like most of us have. I don't think I'm necessarily unique. I think what my goal is, what my life purpose is, is to find methodologies that are not laborious, that are getting results fast, and helping people make permanent change. That all collide in this one beautiful thing called a relationship.
You bring the relationship with yourself to the relationship with another. I know there's this question that was asked to me. What is the ultimate purpose of relationships? Some people say, always to have kids, propagate my genealogy, and leave a legacy of my DNA here. Personally, that never interested me at all. However, what did interest me was that—I don't know if you've ever read any of Carlos Castaneda's work on the teachings of Don Juan, the Toltec master there.
Don Juan would say that we all live in a bubble of our own reality. The very first thing as we look out of our bubble of what we think is reality, but it's just our best version of it. Not good, not bad, just the best version we can make up. But what we see is a reflection of our own face on the inside of the bubble as we look out into the world. When I read that, I was like, well, that's pretty spot on.
I believe that our relationships are very, very similar to that metaphor of looking out of the bubble of your reality and seeing your own face. In relationships, you will see things about yourself that you will not see anywhere else. You will understand some of the heartache, some of the pain that you carry, some of the anger that's deep down inside that you carry that has gone unresolved.
I'm like a guru when I'm single. I'm a dumpster fire when I'm in relationships. I have worked very hard on being in a relationship that I happily, successfully maintained for 20-some-odd years. It has not been without sweat, blood, and tears, but it has been me facing myself, of which I wasn't always comfortable looking at the shadow parts of myself.
But if you want a great personal development seminar or you want a great leadership seminar, get in a relationship and make a commitment to yourself that you'll be the one that will hold the relationship together and return yourself back to love in that relationship rather than fight for being right.
One of the things, I think, especially from a leader's perspective, when we're leading an organization, it is tremendously challenging and tremendously disheartening because we get to see these parts of ourselves that we don't know what we're doing. We surround ourselves with smarter people, hopefully. Hopefully, we've graduated out of that old paradigm of, I know at all, it's my way or the highway business. We have a great team that's collaborative around us that we know, like, and trust. But not every leader has that.
In most leadership positions, there's no sanctuary in the four walls of your organization. There's responsibility, there's action. There's making choices with sometimes not enough data. There's crossing your fingers and hoping that not everybody sees that you don't know exactly what you're doing, but you're winging it with the best data that you've been able to come up with, and you're nervous every time.
Now, that is a place. I've been there. I've run companies you know, with several hundred employees. It's difficult, but the one thing I know that I have to have is I have to have a sanctuary. I have to have someplace to rest. If I don't have it at home, where do I have it?
So many leaders find themselves burning out in multiple ways because they generally starve their love and attention from their home, from the people that are literally most important to them because they have nothing left to give once they walk through those doors, except for a bottle of bourbon. That becomes a disconnect that the wife or the husband can only maintain and pull up with for so long because of course, they have their own human needs desired to be met.
Our children begin to start to dissociate from us because we're not available. They make up their own belief systems. We have to remember that children, regardless of their age, are drawing conclusions because we are meaning-making machines.
When they see us completely absorbed in something or on the phone pretty much 24/7 and we're not playing with them, we're not engaging with them, we have detached ourselves from our loved one, primary partner. Then the children know exactly the cohesion or the disconnect of the parent because that is where they get their psychological safety, seeing the parent engaged and loving towards each other.
If that doesn't exist, the children will suffer psychologically. What we have is that we have to begin to find that place that's a sanctuary inside our personal relationships at home and have the skills to be able to do it so that we can maintain the grind that it takes to run an organization. You need to ask me questions if you choose to.
Brendan: Absolutely. I'm going to ask you a question now. What does that person, that leader, need to do as a first step to create that sanctuary?
Gary: That is such a great question. One of the things that I know is that when we have that sanctuary, it's created by, first of all, the leader having their own mental-emotional management skills, having the values be understood, and become congruent in word, thought, and action with those personal values.
Values are one of the most important things that often get ignored because we think we know our values consciously. But unless you do contrastive analysis and put a person through a contrastive analysis process, because values are deeply unconscious, unless you're contrasting values, they won't necessarily land. They'll pick what they want to believe as the top values, but it won't be their top values.
I was just working with a gentleman this evening with 1000 employees. His thing is, I am miserable right now, I'm depressed. I'm like, well, tell me what's going on. We did his values. Integrity was his number one value. He just left his girlfriend after multiple breakups that they've had over a five-year period of time.
He said, I feel like garbage because I feel like I don't like myself. I'm like, you don't like yourself because you committed to things that you didn't keep your word to. You over-commit because of your codependency and wanting to be liked and loved. You promise things that you can't deliver. You think you can, but you know you don't have the history that proves that you can.
Your patterns of codependency come up. Your fear of commitment and your definite disengagement and abandonment issues come up. And then you bolt from a relationship that is trying to commit itself to you because commitment means constriction. As a consequence, you'll sabotage it, and that's what you did. Because you sabotage it, that's incomplete. That's completely opposite from your number one value, which is integrity.
The word that has to happen is that we start unraveling the evidence from the trauma you've experienced, and we start looking at then, how do you get in alignment with yourself before you can actually truly be completely connected and aligned in a relationship. Most people, when they do coaching, they don't dive deep enough. They're not resolving their trauma. They're not resolving their limiting beliefs or not aligning their values.
They're not learning how they've created their own internal world. This way that we've created us to be us, we don't even know how we did it. We really have to kind of open up the owner's manual for the human mind. I'll tell you a quote that kind of demonstrates what that owner's manual is. It's a quote from Buddha about 3000 years ago from the Dhammapada.
Buddha said, "The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed turns into a habit. The habit hardens into your character. So watch your words and your thoughts with care and let it spring for concern for all living things. For as a shadow follows the body, as you think and speak, so you become." Encased in that quote is this huge body, a window into the owner's manual for your mind.
If you think about how people come up with the things they come up with as far as their perceptions and how they choose to respond to the outside stimulus of their life, it's over a complete period of time.
I've done a lot of regression work with clients. Sometimes those core significant events that have been the root cause of certain deep, unknown, unconscious, sabotaging emotional states, happened at a very, very young age between birth and seven, and soon we have most of the neurological connections firing off than any other time in our life. This is when we're modeling everything that we see.
That period of time, we develop the thing called an imago, an unconscious blueprint. Think about it this way. We watch our parents to determine what love is, what you do to get it, what you do to make it go away. We figure out ways that we can get what we want and manipulate best as we can as children. We develop our core beliefs.
If there's violence in the home, it is a known scientific fact that alcoholism, disconnected parents, violence in the home, psychological, disjointed, lack of safety, all that actually contributes dramatically to the cause of major diseases later on in life. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, all that begins to start manifesting in the body.
Now, there's scientific evidence to this. If you do any research on it, you'll see that every organ has a psychological emotional equivalent. Lungs are about grief. Heart is, of course, the broken heart. Kidneys are about forgiveness or withheld anger. Kidneys are about forgiveness, liver is about anger. If we start looking at where some of these imbalances in our body happen, we can actually trace them back to core significant events that happened in our childhoods because we start developing a worldview. Because when there's an event that happens—we are meaning-making creatures—we make a constellation of beliefs around this event.
Dad didn't come home to take me to my baseball game. Some of the beliefs that can be generated from that is he doesn't care. He's never cared about me. He doesn't show me enough attention. I must not be worth it, something I've done wrong. Maybe if I'm more perfect he'll love me more. There are all these beliefs that start to become compounded.
We have this little thing called RAS system, reticular activating system, that when our beliefs become large or we have dramatic events where beliefs are formed, we start sorting our reality for evidence of that belief. We eliminate things that are contrary to that belief. We end up growing this behemoth of evidence that what we made up as very young children oftentimes is the only reality that there can be.
If you've ever hung out with really negative people, hopefully not, but if you ever have, you'll know that something over here can happen, and everyone interprets it and like, that's kind of interesting, that's kind of cool, and they'll walk away from it with an interpretation of something negative. We have to realize that we're building our personality through key significant events, through modeling our family of origin. This is why the sins of the father and mother have visited upon the sons and the daughters because they're modeling us.
Then we get core significant events, we develop constellations of beliefs. And then from there, we gather evidence through our reticular activating system, which is a little organ back of the skull about that long, about pencil thin, and there you have it, we start developing our world. Here's the deal when it says, that's how we start to think, through the modeling of our family of origin. But the next piece of what Buddha said was, "The thought manifests as the word." Language is a symbol of what we think and what we experience.
What we do to solidify it even more into our nervous system, we start creating a narrative and telling everybody about how we think it is. Generally, we're in the thing called the Drama Triangle, which is victim, villain, and hero. Then we're running our narrative and running our narrative. As we run our narrative, we are forming a movie inside of our heads.
When you have internal representations coupled with language, we start forming these neurological connections which form superhighways of neurology in our body. Our thoughts are electrical charges that follow the path of least resistance. The most conditioned neurological pathway is what we form into a habit. Then we habitually believe, think, and speak until it hardens into our character. And then we have what we have in our personalities.
We're just attempting to survive our environments as children, but we end up creating something else. Unless we begin what I call the great unraveling, unless we begin this process to actually return back to this core aspect of who we are, that little Buddha inside of me that walks around and hugs trees—not that I would do them anymore, but I may—I just want to be this guy that contributes great things to people and have this positive impact as I can.
When I dance out of my body at the end of my life, I can look back on the planet and see millions of lights lit for something that I've done. That's my objective. But we all have to decide, we have been given a hand of cards. This technology I'm talking about wasn't even in existence when your parents were young. I'm going to really date myself. Maybe your parents were, but it wasn't for mine.
Brendan: Let me ask you something, Gary. Let's go back to those 11,700 people who you've impacted in a positive way through your coaching and all of this stuff that you've referred to. Are you saying that in your experience, every relationship that is being damaged in some way comes back to somebody's trauma in their life and potentially very early on in their life?
Gary: I would say yes to that. From the perspective that our worldview is we can—see trauma is not necessarily something horrible happening to you.
Brendan: I understand.
Gary: It can be a spanking that was undeserved and you make up a whole constellation of beliefs around that. It could be a mother that was so depressed that she couldn't engage with you. It could be around you growing, feeling, and having this very big longing for massive attention from women because you never got it and you always yearn for it from a key principal female figure in your life.
These things that drive these qualities inside of us that we don't understand why we feel the way we feel, why we are pulled in the direction that we're pulled, all those will go back to something deeply unconscious. We have to become, I think, quite curious. As to my own self-leadership, what is the unraveling I require to do so I can show up with a pure heart rather than a product of my conditioning and a product of me modeling the dysfunctions of two parents that of course, they didn't know any better either?
How can I begin to stand on the shoulders of the ancestors that came before me, hold up the light, and say, I'm going to be the one that does it differently? There's more information now on how to open up the owner's manual for your mind than there ever has been on the planet before.
I keep thinking, well, then anyone who's hanging it out now gets curious because if you do enough exploration, you can begin to heal those things that you haven't been able to figure out why the emotions are what they are, why you have certain fears or certain desires that sometimes become overwhelming.
What's driving those things? They just don't come out of nowhere. What drives that? If 90% of us rest at the subconscious level and we're sitting back going, I want to be at full potential, but why aren't I? Why do I have all these sorts of anchors on my feet seemingly holding me back?
I go to Tony Robbins and I read John Maxwell. It's all about leadership, and I have to be self-aware. What I'm talking about is self-awareness on steroids because if you're not self-aware of what the deeper emotional drivers are, what your unconscious beliefs are that's running the show underneath your conscious desires, you're not going to get very far. You're going to get pretty frustrated telling the truth. Eventually, you'll give the one-fingered salute to all leadership development, because none of it is diving deep enough.
Brendan: Can we unpack that a little bit more? Let's open the owner's manual, guide for the mind. Let's link this back to the great unraveling, but let's start. Again, you correct me if my starting point is not quite accurate.
To give some context for people listening and watching on YouTube, I'm a leader in a leadership role, and I am having a relationship challenge with somebody on my team. In your experience, can you give somewhat a common scenario may look like in that, and then what we need to start to unpack around the great unraveling? And then we'll move to how do we progress that forward that gives them the actionable items that we can move forward with. How does that sound?
Gary: I'm all over that. This is multi-layered and it's context-dependent. It really does depend on the leader. There are some leaders out there that really have it together. They're doing the right thing in their leadership roles. There's no doubt that there are foundational skills that really have to be enacted.
Those are standard. I'm not going to speak to the standard qualities of leadership. But this is more for the leader that has this sense of I want to be massively effective, but I'm not getting yet the buy-in or the respect that I need to be able to influence effectively.
Brendan: Will you go into that? How important is that for a leader?
Gary: I think it's very important because when you think about what teams actually do, they model the leader. If they don't respect the leader, then what happens is that the leader becomes ineffectual. I've seen this over and over and over again in executive teams.
The one thing that I think is important for leaders to understand is that it takes a very long time to win the trust of someone and one conversation to destroy it. Peter Drucker said so beautifully in his definition of leadership that leadership is really an exercise in congruency and consistency. If it's an exercise in consistency and congruency, what drives that? We'll tie that back to the Buddha quote.
First, it was a thought, then there was a word, then there was the deed, then there was the habit, and then there was the character. Obviously, at an unconscious level, there are things operating in that particular individual that are destroying or showing up incongruent, not consistent that does not build the trust and the buy-in of their team.
One conversation, that's all it takes to nosedive a person's credibility in the eyes of a team because everyone is watching you to figure out whether you know what the hell you're doing and whether they're safe or not. Whether it's viable to stay with this company because you have a great leader running it, they're going to go through the storms that inevitably happened, and I feel trustworthy that this leader will guide us on the way. You don't have that, you don't have consistency and you have people leaving for other jobs.
The very first place for someone in a leadership position to do is notice whether they have their own mental-emotional management skills or not. If they do not have mental-emotional management skills, then they absolutely need to get them. Let me speak a bit about that.
Brendan: Before you just go into that, how do they know if they do or don't?
Gary: Based upon the respect and buy-in they have with their teams.
Brendan: It makes sense.
Gary: The next step of that, let's put in a family metaphor. Executive team, mom and dad. Older brothers and sisters, your management team, it's your supervisors. Below that are the youngins. We have to remember that the management team is the brand ambassador of the vision, values, and mission of the executive team.
If the managerial team is not invested in and they're given a deep enough dive into their own leadership potential, they will not be able to represent the brand of the organization. A company's profit center is when the end user meets the employee of the organization. It's generally a lower-end employee, and yet the least amount, generally, of investment dollars goes into that level of the organization and training. They are the profit center.
Those are the ones that say to your customers, we have a great set of values, we have an incredible mission. I'm hysterically happy to work here because we have a purpose and a vision. I'm excited to change the world through my contribution to this company because it's so fabulous. If you don't have that, then you have cracks at the top and the executive team to execute their vision. Remember, a crack at the top is a tsunami wave at the bottom.
This is why alignment is so vitally important in an executive team, like priceless. You don't have alignment. If people aren't taught how to think collaboratively and problem solve collaboratively at the top, then you're going to have fractures throughout. I go through an entire process to install that at the top and then secondarily through the managerial team because my whole perspective is that there's genius in every strata of the organization.
If you just are making changes at the top and you think you've got it all because you're so smart, you need to wake up because there are going to be stratas of the organization below you. They're going to see that solution that you're coming up with, they're going to see it from their perspective and add another dimension of identifying risk and solution to those particular solutions you think you're so smart creating at the top. They're going to have a whole nother place.
If they're the ones that are being deeply impacted in operations and strategy to roll out your solutions at the top, you better include some of them. You better have representatives from all that. Wherever that solution touches your teams, you better have members of those teams included to help with the problem-solving so that they can add a dimension of how that's going to impact their departments. Because they'll see things you'll never see and they have the experience you don't.
Think about it this way. When someone builds something like a solution, they're the last ones to tear it down. But when they're given a solution, first of all, you don't engage in their innovation. You don't engage their heart and their imagination, nor do you show them respect. What you ultimately do, which should be the fuel of your succession planning, is you condition them to not think.
Why would you not be empowering people across the stratas of your organization? If you ever want to leave the position you're in and finally retire knowing that you're leaving your baby in the hands of someone that comes up the ranks, because as soon as you bring in another executive from some other company, they come in and change everything and ruin the culture in about three months.
If you're bringing people up, training them to think, and showing them the model how you do it and have them be involved, you actually start then securing your succession planning. You'll find a genius in the ranks and files of your teams, but you have to include people.
Brendan: What process are you going to take, say, an individual or a team through in order to start to unpack their genius? I was going to focus on the negative there, but let's focus on the positive. What process do you go through to get that genius out there, get that awareness going, and repair the trust that you mentioned before?
Gary: The first thing I do is I want them to understand who the other players are. I want them to deeply respect who the other people are and see that diversity is good. I'll do a series of assessments. I'll do a behavioral assessment. I'll use a process called the extended disc.
Most discs are four quadrants. Our company created one that is eight quadrants. We go in and explain about the behavioral differences, communication preferences, and personality kind of styles, and go through the D, the I, the S, and the C so people can understand that every one of those styles are imperative for a really functional team because every one of them have a different gift.
Then I go through a psychometric assessment, which is sort of the newest one out. Our company got approached to be a representative of this particular assessment. I have found so much value for it. It gives us seven dimensions of personality. One is our reasoning ability, our thinking, how we think. It's on a scale of one to nine
If you're hiring someone in, what this assessment does is it takes your four top performers, condenses the personality qualities into an algorithm or success pattern. Have you ever heard the manager say, oh, I wish that 10 more of Fred over there? Now you actually can take Fred's personality, match people's profiles, and get a percentage match to Fred's personality, which gives you more indication that they will be innately hardwired to be a high performer in that job role.
We've developed a success pattern on four of the top performers. Then when someone is a candidate for that job, we do the assessment. We're able to measure whether they have the personality qualities to be a top performer. How far are they in the success pattern, how far are they outside the success pattern, and it gives you a percentage match. If you get someone that's a 95 or 97 percentage match, that would be a much better risk as far as hiring a new employee for a job role that they had at 97% job match to than someone who had a 67% job match to.
This gives you confidence in being able to locate that talent that is going to be innately, personality-wise, hardwired you to create in that job. You can do these algorithms or these success patterns for every job role in the organization and start to take the guesswork out of hiring the best people for that particular job role. Just because you're not great for that job role, they may be great for the job role down the road in that other department.
The good thing is that when you do assessments for people that are already engaged in that job role, it gives you an inbuilt coaching program and a managerial report that helps a manager coach that employee to bring them into that success pattern. The seven qualities are thinking strategies, how fast you think, how abstractly you can think, how quickly you're going to learn, or are you going to learn through repeated process of having to do it physically a few times until you get it mastered.
That is really important for onboarding. You have to know how to train the person. That becomes a critical point in onboarding. That's when it's competitiveness, then we have a sense of urgency, then we have take charge. If you're hiring a manager and they have a low take charge, they have a low sense of urgency, and no competitiveness, do you think that's going to be great managerial personality traits for a sales position? Probably not.
If you have a customer service rep and they have low manageability, like on a scale of 100, you have a one, and when you're a customer service rep, there are so many systems you have to do to the tee, but they have low manageability, which means they will rebel against all systems. They won't follow protocol, they will take shortcuts. If their attitude is low on the spectrum, let's say a one or two, they're always going to see the glass half empty. They're always going to be questioning the existing manager and they will always be slightly disruptive.
There are all these things that you get to look at that helps you and helps the executive team understand who each other is and then how to engage with them, how to interact with them, and where your strengths are to use those strengths in the problem solving process. That's the first step.
Brendan: In regards to that, Gary, there are so many great tools out there, we know that. We don't want to unpack all of those. But what are those things there, those tools available? Why do you believe they're so important in order to build the opportunities to enhance relationships, to really solidify relationships, to build the level of trust that we know is needed around relationships?
Gary: I think it's to begin to halt the hallucinations. Remember, people are meaning-making creatures. They're seeing through the interior of their bubble and their own little model of the world. They don't necessarily see the truth. We have psychological and emotional triggers.
Have you ever been on a team where there are two team members that just don't like each other, like they feel repelled from each other, they won't and can't get along? It's because there is some sort of emotional trigger happening that actually is quite disruptive to them being able to work through or work with that person.
I used to work with a gentleman that was a high level attorney in American Honda. What happened to him was he had deep unresolved issues around growing up with a real critical father. He'd fly to Japan and sit in executive meetings. As soon as the high level Japanese executives would start to ask him questions, he would freeze like Bambi in the headlights. Part of it was because he associated male authority with the demeaning behavior that his father and the verbal abuse his father always wielded on him.
He immediately would go small instead of standing up with knowledge—he was incredibly accomplished and very smart—instead of standing up and being the man he was. There will be individuals sometimes on teams that act as triggers for us. We get to look at that and then we get to start resolving it. This is why in every single group I go into work with, I always suggest an executive coaching package so I have the opportunity to coach everyone on that team to make sure that whatever is being done in the training is that there's no disruption on the inside.
If I feel that people are hiding from me, I generally drill down really hard that will have them in tears in three minutes because there can't be hiding inside a team that is responsible for probably hundreds or thousands of people's lives. We cannot afford, at a leadership level, to bring in our unhealed issues, our fractured perspectives and not be 100% committed to working collaboratively. It's so immoral, as far as I'm concerned, because so many lives are affected by what you do or what you don't do.
Brendan: If we look at leadership and what I like to say the pinnacle of leadership is elevating others, are leaders really equipped to get into that level of, I guess, emotional support to help elevate others to the level that need to be?
Gary: I think, at a certain degree, they are. If they're not supporting the ongoing training and evolution of their key team members, then they're not. We republished back in 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing house on a book that is called Humanistic Business: Profit through People with Passion and Purpose. That book really goes through about nine different cultural capacities or competencies that should be present to build a culture of caring, of evolution, of self-actualization, and part of it is ongoing team development.
It becomes a really vital aspect of it because unless people get exposed to that type of education, they won't get it anywhere else, they don't get it in college. They have to get it within the organizations and ranks and files of the organization. If you're teaching them skills to actually manage their lwives, their heads, their emotional states better, which is a huge payoff in the organization, because if they can, they can exhibit consistent congruent behavior.
You know what the cost of incivility is in the workplace? There was a study done and 70% of the workplace intentionally decreased work effort based upon incivility in their departments. It was like 38% intentionally caused sabotage to the projects because of incivility. We have this huge ramification that happens. Eventually, we can lose high level employees, which is going to cost the company.
I think it's 450% of their annual salary for a high level employee, 150 of their annual salary of a mid level employee, anywhere from 30–50% of their annual salary for a low level employee. Why? Because of just functional relationships. We really have to look at, if we're not training our people, the hidden cost and all of that is attrition.
It becomes like we have to train our people to care, to show up, to want to evolve the people that are directly reporting to them, and to take it as one of the key competencies for leadership in that organization, in your organization. But that means that the leaders at the top have to do that work, thought, and action consistently and congruently.
If they don't, they break the trust, they get called hypocrites. And before you know it, no one's doing it because no one believes it. This is why the evolution of the leaders at the top has to be thorough. They have to have the care, the values to want to actually make tremendous impact on others.
Brendan: Too big responsibility, isn't it?
Gary: That's why they have to have sanctuary at home because it all ties together. It all ties together.
Brendan: What's the next part of this great unraveling?
Gary: You have to teach people how to think because people aren't taught how to think. You take seven different perspectives. All credit due to wherever I get information. It comes from the Six Thinking Hats and you can google that. It's a great book.
It goes through seven different perspectives. I added a few perspectives and morphed it so it worked better in the trenches for me. The seventh perspective is the long term ecological effects of whatever solution that you come up with. There are multiple benefits to this exercise, which is taking first, gathering the facts.
I'll do it really briefly, you gather the facts. Next, you go through the room, and you talk about how you generally identify a problem. I have a team. They'll come with all the problems that everyone's identified, then we'll have the team vote on the problems, and then we identify three top problems that need a solution that are historical, that breaks people's morale, and they want them solved and they've never been solved.
We pick three top ones, and then I break the group's up into pods, thinking pods. Each one tackles one of the problems. We oftentimes have three teams tackling one problem when the group's big enough. We go through seven thinking strategies. Gather the facts, go through the room, and tell how that problem that you're tackling has impacted you emotionally. That may not sound like an important step, but it is vital.
I was working with a pharmacy chain in Australia. When I went in, the CEO pulled me aside before we started. He took me out into the hallway and he said, you better know what you're doing, because the company's going to die today or it's going to be saved. And it is in your hands, so you better know what you're doing. I'm like, fair enough.
I walked in. These are good Aussie blokes. It's just as good as a problem solving process there is. Some of them hadn't spoken to each other in over a year and they were siloed. The group that wasn't speaking was angry.
They thought the executive team was gouging the prices and doing all kinds of stuff that they weren't doing. We get down, I go to the door, and I locked the door. I said, okay, I use bad language too because I kind of have to use bad language in Australia.
Gary: Very relatable. I had to get credibility.
Gary: I've locked the door, I'm the one with the key, no one leaves. No one leaves until these problems are resolved. I don't care if it's 3:00 AM or 5:00 AM. I don't care. No one leaves until we put out a solid effort to resolve this problem. Then I said, and we're going to go through the room and I'm going to ask you how this problem that we've identified as a core problem solve, how that's impacted your life. If you even try to divert that question, if you attempt to nullify your emotions and not be authentic and transparent with them, I will drill down on you so hard, I will have you in tears in three minutes.
I fundamentally said, don't F with me. So let's start because you have to get dominance or you have to go in there and you've got to be a rougher dog than they are. We started going through the room speaking about that particular issue.
Not to frighten everyone, because people get frightened by emotions, I have no idea why. But by the time you got to the middle of the room, the whole room had tears rolling down their face because what they were realizing is that all the people that they judged, all the things they thought about that this person was this, thought that, believe this, and their actions were this, they realized that they were all in the same pain.
They'll have the same heartache. They all wanted the same ultimate outcome, it was resolution. That one step brought the whole team to this collaborative resonance of emotional agreement. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
The next step is going through a risk assessment like what are the risks? If we don't resolve this, what happens? Then we go into, what are the positive possibilities? We go to the risks, then what are the positive possibilities? What can we achieve by resolving this?
Then we go to a very creative part, which is creating solutions, innovation kind of part of the thinking strategy. What are the ideas that we can generate collectively that will provide some solutions and help us grow out of this particular malaise that no one could ever talk about or get to a resolution to before?
That becomes very interesting because at the end of it before we go to finally the proposal part of it is we start gathering all the ideas together and then start amalgamizing ideas from different groups. By the end of the day, you have this really beautifully, well thought out, risk-assessed solution. Then we go to putting the solution together. They're doing another risk assessment of, okay, let's project this out in time. We have a solution. Let's project this out in time six years from today.
What are the risks of this? What are we not seeing that we might need to see? Native American culture is very interesting. They have said you never make a decision about anything unless you analyze the effects of that decision seven generations after you. If our world governments would do that, we'd have a very different world.
Once that's done, we go into an alignment process. There's a variety of different qualities to that. There's the versatility principle. This has nothing to do with gender, but it has to do with the qualities of leadership of both feminine qualities and masculine qualities like decision-making, action, making sure that it works. All masculine and feminine colors would be caring, making sure there's inclusion, having collaboration.
Between that, we always drive for, what is the versatility principle that we can bring to the table so our leadership in this is actually very well-balanced? The next thing is the thing called Shuva, which is a process of literally communication and acknowledgement, especially when people are presenting proposals that they're invested in because you want to encourage it always.
Shuva's use, it's a principle developed by a good friend of mine. She has an incredible company that I absolutely adore. She wrote a book called Core Alignment. It's worth a read, definitely.
Now what we do then is we go into the whole process of, how do we get to alignment? That is by someone presenting the proposal. There's a whole series of getting clarity, asking respectful questions, acknowledging the courage it took, and the thought power it took to even present it.
We go through this process called Shuva, which is I'm going to totally see you. You're going to have my full attention. I'm going to hear you. I'm going to ask strategic questions to get clarity. I'm going to compliment. I'm going to ask questions to get clarity. We're going to look at how we can add to it or subtract from it from a group that will be the decision-makers, and then we get commitment.
That commitment goes through a very particular voting process, but Shuva is used throughout. So we're always giving this sense of acknowledgment and this sense of inclusion, asking strategic questions just to make the proposal better. Once we get done with all of that, then we do a vote on it. That process then will be rolled out into operations and create a part of the strategic plan.
This is something that I think if people were taught how to think and come to a consensus, our historical problems would be way less. People would finally see movement, have more faith in the leadership because remember when you asked before, Brendan, how did leaders sustain this sense of influence? People have to see movement out of the malaise of historical issues that have never ever been addressed, fundamentally because people haven't known how to do it.
When the leader becomes deeply involved in understanding their own self-leadership, the congruency they have to live from, the values they have to demonstrate, knowing that the upliftment of people, the evolution of people has to be a prime concern, they have mental emotional management.
Then that's a whole nother training that happens where I go into a variety of different techniques from transformational language to a thing called some modalities, the language of the brain, to being able to resolve key significant events, content free, so it's corporate appropriate. Content free that people can facilitate each other and just learn these techniques so that you learn how to self-facilitate yourself to lower the charges and the triggers you've got emotionally so that you can show up more congruent and more consistent.
Not that this wouldn't help your relationship at home so you can have that sanctuary when you go home, but it absolutely would. All of these techniques are interchangeable between creating that sanctuary at home, creating more respect, and I will say buy-in and performance from your team members. Because when you start to evolve, everything starts to change.
It doesn't happen to you, it literally happens from you, from your thinking, like Buddha said, your words, and your character that people want to model. If they don't want to model it, you need to earn their desire to model you. That's your own personal journey.
Brendan: Very well said. I want to go back. There's a couple of things that really stand out for me around that process you've taken us through. The first one is, how important to relationship building or even in the example you've given, relationship repairing, is choosing a problem, a real meaty problem to solve together?
Gary: I think it's vital. I think it's vital because people become exhausted by leadership not making movement in breaks in the operations or the systems that cause them tremendous either overwork, drudgery, or emotional pain because it is so antiquated. People become disenfranchised and they feel uncared for.
It is a passive act of saying, I really don't respect you and I really don't care for you because if you've got to do that eight hours a day and I don't care if it's going to drain you dry, at the end of the day, you've got nothing left for your wife, your children, or your husband. I don't care.
It's a little just too much work for us to do and tackle right now. We've got other priorities. How do you think that employee feels? Because that is what the unspoken inaction is actually communicating. The silence at the top speaks volumes at the bottom. That was really good.
Brendan: It was fantastic.
Gary: I've never heard that before, but that was good.
Brendan: It just reframed a little bit of my own thing. I 100% am congruent with what you're saying, but just what you've said has taken it to another level in my own mind as well. The second thing though that's come out, and I guess I'm interested in how deliberate was this. Because what I'm hearing when you are talking through the process you go through, this unraveling, the great unraveling as you refer it to. As you're explaining the parts to it, I'm starting to link that back to some of your early conversation around working styles.
Again, don't worry about what type of profile or assessment tool we're using, but fundamentally, there are various styles. That great unraveling process, it almost felt like there was some deliberateness around the different qualities coming into that process that could come into their own and contribute to getting really positive outcomes. Was that deliberate?
Gary: Absolutely. Think about it at home. What if you knew that your complaint about your husband was like he's not social. He doesn't want to go out, go to dinner with our friends, and things like that. What if his people contact, he's hardwired as an introvert? What if he's a high C in the extended DISC? Which means he's even double introverted.
Are you going to beat him over the head because he is hardwired that way? No, you're going to accept him, you're going to love him, you're going to create a sanctuary for that introversion, and you're going to help him feel safe. There are so many things that the assessments give us the ability to communicate better, to be able to engage with another person and have a deeper level of understanding.
Remember, our conversations are literally everything. The quality of the conversation is the quality of the relationship. If you don't understand the communication preferences of how another individual is hardwired, then you are at a major disadvantage.
A lot of the companies that I work for, I go in with the MX, I go in with the DISC, and I work with the managers and I say, okay, every one of your employees gets to go through these assessments so that you understand how to best coach them, how to best engage with them, how to best inspire them, how to best motivate them based upon their preferred communication styles and so that you understand even how to train them. If they had a three in reasoning ability, you're going to train them differently than someone that has a nine in reasoning ability.
If they have high, high, high competitiveness, you're not going to put them in charge of a team because they're going to be all out for themselves. But if they were in the middle of competitiveness, that would be a much better match for being a team player. All of these indications of personality start to give you insight into what kind of job match they're going to be for the role that you want them to take.
If you're going to promote someone, the worst thing that organizations do, say, oh my God, this guy's so great at his job. He's incredible. Let's let him run the department. Let's make him a manager. Worst, stupidest thing people can do. Fabulous at their job, horrible as a leader running people.
What requires to happen is we require to know more around our employees than we may have invested in before. You start learning that piece of the puzzle, everything starts to change and your managerial style improves.
Brendan: We're both, I guess, preaching to the converted, let's say. This stuff is super important. We get that. We know that. We use it. What are some of the common objections you may get in relation to, hey, we want to build more relationships, but we're sick of assessments, we're sick of that, and people not putting deliberate time into things like relationships?
Gary: What's a direct question? Say it a little differently.
Brendan: What objections do you get from people who you may be looking to work with around putting time into relationships and you happen to use some assessment tools around, which they may have used before and not got the benefit that they wanted to get from it?
Gary: One of the things that happens in organizations is that people are often already have their resentments built within the teams and they don't want to let it go. That's one. The other is that people don't want to put in the work to change because they already feel like it's not going to do any good because they've already lost faith in the leadership.
When I see people disenfranchised and disengaged, which is the biggest problem. They're disengaged because they're disillusioned with the leadership that they don't care enough to apply. That's the biggest thing that I run across. They don't care enough to change. They don't care enough to apply the skills because they're already, I've got one foot in and one foot out, I don't care enough about them, or I'm pissed off at them. And I don't want the company.
It's not my highest goal. I'm going to come in here, I'm going to earn a paycheck, and that is about as much effort as I'm going to put in. I'll do my job to an acceptable level, but I'm not going any further than that. That's the biggest part of it. Part of what has to happen is the management, especially the leadership team, has to evolve.
Not a fluffy little I'm going to read a book and hear a TED Talk, not oh, have you read this latest book on leadership. I get very irritated by that. Annoyed is the word. You have to go deeper. You have to change. I often tell leaders, this company's position it's in right now is a reflection of you, of your beliefs, your commitment, your drive, your heart, and your soul. That's what's being displayed in front of you.
If you're going to practice extreme ownership, you better own that. You better look hard and deep at yourself. It's like, oh, I need five of these people and everything will be good. No, dude. It's you. It's you. This is where the deep dive needs to happen.
Brendan: What scares people, leaders in particular, in moving forward on a journey like that?
Gary: Oh, that's easy. They think they're a fraud. I can't tell you how many times I've run across that one.
Brendan: A fraud in what way?
Gary: That they don't actually know all the intricacies of what they're doing, they don't have confidence in themselves. One eye's looking forward and the other eye's looking behind them to figure out who knows that they don't always know what they're doing. Granted all of us have been there, all of us have done that. I most certainly have done that. But I know that I have done in past companies that I've run is gone in and said, I don't have the answer for this. I will literally go out.
In one company, I had a couple hundred employees and I went out to the warehouse. I said, we're having a team meeting. We had a team meeting and I said, we're losing about $15,000 on this equipment repair costs. I don't know how to solve it. I don't see a way out of it. I want to give bonuses for Christmas, and I'm being shackled because we have so much equipment repair costs going out of our profits.
This is before I knew any of this. This was before I was a consultant. I just said, I need to get what your ideas are around this. There are 200 people here. Let's come together, get in groups, talk about it, figure it out. Let me know what you come up with. At the time, these were $5, $6, $7 an hour employees.
It was a long time ago when that was a good wage. Not like I might go sweatshop keeper or anything. It was a good wage back then 40 years ago, even longer than that. But they came back. I was paying these equipment repair guys $50 an hour, they were small engine repair people. I was like, what do you mean you're small engine repair people? You're out doing manual work right now out in the field. You could be in the house correcting all this and saving us thousands of dollars a month. We just changed everything.
We had a couple truck mechanics. We had two small engine repair guys. We're like, bring them in house. We saved thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars over that year because of that. People have answers.
Brendan: The leading question I just have to ask then is, how important vulnerability in a leader in order to build that connection, the ability to connect with people, particularly people in the team?
Gary: I think vulnerability is fine. I think it's important because people have to view the leader as human. They want to care for them. Sometimes the more vulnerable you are, the more people will care.
If you're not taking massive action solving historical problems, moving the needle on things that have haunted the team members in the trenches of what you're attempting to do because you haven't been able to figure out what's broken in your operation, if you haven't done that, you can be as vulnerable as you want and it's not going to meet anything because they're not going to care.
Oh, look, he has a tear coming down his eye. I don't give a [...]. Quite frankly, I'm suffering every day because that guy won't take action.
Brendan: It's really what you're saying. My understanding of what you're saying, it's a combination of both that character and the ability to be vulnerable, but you also got to have a level of competence that you're going to help solve problems.
Gary: It's that whole versatility principle. No, you have to have the masculine merge with the feminine. That's not gender, those are archetypes. It becomes really, really important that that occurs, but you got to take massive action most importantly. You have to see where people are suffering and do your very best to solve it.
If you don't have the expertise to do it, gather your teams together, go through a thinking strategy problem solving part, get consensus, get alignment, and roll it out into a solution. Stop wasting time.
Brendan: Gary, one other thing I want to ask you before we start to wrap this up is, in regards to relationship—we spoke a lot about the leader, the self-responsibility, and that level of self-awareness—what owner is on the other party given that relationship at a minimum requires a couple of people?
Gary: You're speaking about in an organization, marriage, or partnership?
Brendan: In an organization.
Gary: An organization. I think everyone has the same level of responsibility that a CEO does. I think they have the responsibility to come up with the best expression of their congruency, consistency, and a valuable alignment that they can. Whatever that the CEO is taking on is a personal responsibility.
Every single representative of the leadership team needs to come up with a singular commitment and same education so that everything that's coming down the levels of leadership is about we're going to make this company the best company to work with because we're going to show up with installing the best cultural competencies that we can. Beginning with we're going to move the needle on things that have been frozen for so long so people don't suffer so much.
We're going to create educational formats and genuinely care about the evolution of each person. We're going to dream manage our teams. We're going to find out what your dream in the organization is.
And when opportunities come up, we're going to keep you in mind to move it into that position going through an assessment to see if you're a great draw match for that position. But we're going to move you and help you evolve. Not only your education, but your professional skill level, perhaps even managerial duties, but we're going to evolve you as a human being.
I loved more than anything that company I worked with, that pharmaceutical company in Australia. I get teary thinking about the CEO. I do, I get teary. I'm a little [...] right now. I just remember, I trained his whole entire team. I don't know how many people were there, but it was like a conference room full of employees. There are probably at least a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty people there.
He got up, he had such faith in me. He was such a beautiful guy and said, I don't know what Gary is going to do, but I know it's going to be great. He said, I don't care if you're with us for 30 days or 30 years, I want your involvement with our organization, I want your life to be better from your association with us. Stay as long as you want, go in a month, I just want whatever you take from our organization to make you a better human being. I thought, that's a leader.
I still hold him in the highest regard from the respect of that I've worked with a lot of companies who were just like, eh, hire someone else. They're not working out. Rather than what's happening with that person? Have they had appropriate training? Is there something else occurring that we need them in? There are employees who show up who intentionally like, I'm not working. Those people are people who need to be repurposed to another job somewhere else. Those employees that actually show up and want that job they've applied for, they want the job.
The other ones will lead themselves out. Their congruency and consistency will show up as well. Quite frankly, in my opinion, everyone should be held to the same standard of congruency and consistency. Because that means you have integrity. Every employee that should become a cultural competency that everyone is held to that standard.
What generally happens is when employees see that level of congruency occurring, they model it and they naturally become it. Because that's what is expected. Every department, every manager of every department has to have that as a cultural competency. And they get measurable on it during the reviews.
Brendan: It's a great example, it's a great story you've shared. I don't think I've met a leader that I remember that doesn't talk about how important people are in their organization. But then a lot of those leaders aren't congruent with their actions about supporting those words. Without going back to some of the stuff that we've talked about much early, people can link that back. What is it that is in the organizational challenges day-to-day that these leaders have that is stopping them from prioritizing that from it just being words for most?
Gary: There are multiple things. One, they're overwhelmed. Another, they feel emotionally exhausted especially if they don't have a sanctuary at home. They really have no place to rest. They end up just not thinking as clearly or being as congruent as they need to be. It's because their resources are so low.
I have a huge compassion for people in a high leadership position because I know how difficult it is. It's not easy. One of the things, if we wanted to go down there but I know we're running out of time, is you have to spend time in some form of meditation. You have to still your mind so that you allow yourself to lower your heart rate, center in on the thing that's most important to you. I've meditated an hour and a half every day for about 55 years. It's a really important part of my morning routine. It is something that I think is imperative to do to start your day in a routine of centering and aligning yourself first with what's most important.
At the end of the day, each one of us, I know for myself, I got really tired of collecting shiny objects and questing for personal significance. I think it's a fruitless path. What is a fruitful path is making an impact on people's lives in a way that you can be remembered with a kind heart. This is the one thing that I think most of us lose sight of. That we are going to die and we have allotted so many breaths.
When I was in India, I had the great good fortune of studying with a living master. He would say, every hair in your head is counted, every breath is counted. The value of one breath cannot be paid for with all of the wealth of this little speck of dust in a sea of specks of dust called earth. He said, gather all the wealth from all the specks of dust throughout the physical universe gathered in one place could not buy you one human breath.
We say don't waste it. We have to create a legacy with the breaths that we have. In that legacy, I'm going to go out here on a limb. I have a belief system that whatever this creative force is, regardless of what faith or belief that you have, it's a spark of the divine in everyone of us. The true temple is really the temple of our relationships.
How I treat you is how I enact that aspect of the divine. I do that every day. This is the philosophy I hold as I'm working with clients and when I'm training an organization. I'm hoping people wake up out of the illusion into something that can be a strategic path to a sense of consensus, oneness, and a sense of their own purpose.
If you don't get in touch with that, and it's very, very hard to have the stamina to continue to do this work and to continue to lead an organization. I started clients this morning at 7:00 AM. I've gone straight through until now and it's almost 9:00 PM my time. But what I know I get energy from this. I'm not tired, I'm not exhausted, I'm energized.
I personally want to thank you for being such a great interviewer, having me. I'm very honored to be on your show and be interviewed by you. I deeply appreciate the work that you're doing in the world. I just think that for all of us who feel this kind of calling to be impactful positively on our employee's lives, on company's lives, I don't think our governments will ever do it.
But consciously aware leaders, when the organizations can have such a massive impact on the communities in which they're serving, that we are the ones that can actually have the greatest philanthropic impact in our world when we choose to.
Brendan: I think I'll have no choice now but to ask you the last question, Gary, which is who or what has had the greatest impact on your leadership journey?
Gary: That's a great question. I'll say this, and we won't have time to talk about why. I'll say this, I had a point in my life early on in my career when I really had a crisis. I called up my native American teacher, Marilyn [...] and I said, I need to do a vision quest. I need to come to the mountain and pray.
The vision quest is very intense. It's like no food, no water, you sleep out in the elements, you have a prayer pipe. You sit in a circle of your prayers. For me, this one was four days and four nights with no food, no water, no sleep, and this constant request for whatever miracle I'm praying for to manifest itself.
I'll share this because it's pretty intimate. I was in such a state because of a really profound betrayal that happened that I said to myself, I can't live in a world like this unless I know that I'm being guided and that something higher has a place in my life and that it walks before me. I can't do it, I won't do it.
I made Marilyn promise me that if I didn't get my vision, which she would know because she's a tremendous empath, that I wanted to die, I would starve myself out in the mountains. I was 9000ft up in the middle of the rocky mountains and I was prepared to die if I didn't get my prayer answered. She was so beautiful and so empathic she agreed to it. She told me later, she said, I agreed to it because you were willing to die for it and I knew, I knew that you would get your miracle because of the depth of your desire, and I did.
I had this miraculous thing happen to me out there with a squirrel, believe it or not. First it was a bear. I don't know if you've ever smelt the breath of a bear, but it's not fun. I thought for sure he was going to crush my skull and drag me out of my prayer circle and I would be bear food. But he did not. It was a very intense, miraculous, magical experience.
But when you want something enough, when your desire is strong enough—this I guess the closing thing I'd like to say to everybody who's out there leading organizations. When you desire to evolve yourself enough, when you desire to really do the right thing, then ask for something to infuse you, whatever you believe in. If it's nothing, if it's the wind in the trees, ask that. But ask for something to infuse in you the strength, the knowledge, the self awareness to do the very best job you can do to empower and enlighten the people in your organization. Pray for it like your life depended on it. Ask to be guided and trust your gut and you'll start making better decisions.
Do collaborative iterations with teams, get multiple perspectives. But most importantly, align you. I got completely aligned from that experience. When Marilyn knew I got my vision, she came out to retrieve me from the mountain. We walked back to the sweat lodge in silence. She fed me marinated buffalo meat and sweet corn and she had the fire really warm and hot inside the lodge. She asked me for my vision.
When I told it to her, we probably cried for three hours because it was so beautiful and so life changing for me. But she accepted my challenge and supported me in this kind of radical endeavor I wanted to do. For that, I am eternally grateful and she helped me return back to myself. That alignment was the greatest push personally in my leadership development that I could ever do. I deeply respect her and am blessed that I had the opportunity to work with her.
Brendan: Gary, thank you so much for sharing that intimate story.
Gary: Big, long answer. I apologize.
Brendan: You don't need to apologize for anything. Your ability, it's so great to always talk to people and your another shiny example who is following their calling and just having a great impact. I'm sure that the 11,700 people you've connected with and had a massive impact on their role, that is obviously exponential because they have various relationships. And I'm sure if they're taking on your good words and wisdom that they would have a massive impact in their relationships in their lives.
Once again, thank you so much for spending time with us and talking about how quality relationships make a massive impact in leadership circles. Thanks for being a guest on The Culture of Things podcast.
Gary: It is my pleasure. I'm so honored to have met you. I so enjoyed what little time I let you speak. I've got to hear an Aussie accent again, I was stoked by that. Thank you for the kindness and the opportunity.
Brendan: An absolute pleasure. This is an interview, Gary, so you're allowed to talk more than me.
Gary: Good. Because I'm a big blabbermouth so I'm happy for that. Thank you, Brendan.
Brendan: The individual reflection I had re-listening to Gary's interview and writing these takeaways was very emotional. My wife and I have been approved foster carers for over a year now. It can be confronting, challenging, and extremely rewarding all at the same time.
When I consider the words you bring the relationship with yourself to the relationship with another, it's so relevant to foster. Why are children in foster care? It's always because of relationship breakdowns. And in our experience, it's always off the back of trauma. Helping these special little people overcome trauma by loving and caring for them unconditionally is our key focus. By doing this, they learn to love themselves. We hope this will minimize relationship breakdowns in their journey, and ideally set them up for a brighter future.
These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Gary. My first key takeaway: Leadership is a responsibility. A responsibility mindset tries to focus on serving others. Think about it, so many lives are impacted by what you do and what you don't do. It's a massive responsibility that should never be understated or taken lightly. The best leaders understand and treat leadership as a big responsibility.
My second key takeaway: Leaders prioritize relationships. If you're the leader of a senior management team or a business owner, remember what Gary said, a crack at the top is a tsunami wave at the bottom. Take responsibility for your own relationships and the relationships in your team. Prioritize time with your team to work on them consistently. Prioritizing relationships is a game changer.
My third key takeaway: Leaders create sanctuary This is a place where they can be in their own thoughts and reflect. Reflect on questions like, what are they bringing to their relationships? What's in their past that is impacting their current relationships? And what can they do to improve their relationships? The best leaders create a sanctuary to allow regular reflection.
So in summary, my three key takeaways were: Leadership is a responsibility, leaders prioritize relationships, and leaders create a sanctuary. What was your personal reflection after listening to Gary? Let me know at thecultureofthings.com, on YouTube, or via our socials.
To get 33% off Gary's creating incredible relationships course, go to garyscourse.com and enter coupon code culture100. That's culture100. Details are also in the show notes. Thanks for joining me, and remember, the best outcome is on the other side have a genuine conversation
Thank you for listening to the cultural things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit brendanrogers.com.au to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate, and give a review on Apple Podcasts. And remember, a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.