How to Create a Company Culture of Accountability

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Listen Now: How to Create a Company Culture of Accountability

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In this episode I speak with Jason Polstein about how he applied self-accountability as a concept inside his organization in the face of major loss. He also describes how growth mindset has changed his language and how staying open to possibilities preserves brainpower. We end with discussion of how Star Trek and Neil deGrasse Tyson changed how he thinks about how he communicates.

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Jason: I’d say, upon the discovery I was probably heavy in the red zone.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Red Zone is, like, I’m going in there and I’m blaming, um, I’m not taking any responsibility for it and it’s your fault.
Laura: Yup.
Jason: Green Zone is I’m coming in and saying, like, “Hey. We had this result that wasn’t what we wanted or wasn’t what we expected. How do we, as a group, get together and without blaming or without pointing fingers, how do we talk through it and understand how we can change it so next time we have a better result?”
He shares with me how that meeting went, and the impact that was still felt months later.
Jason: And she said, “I know last time we had this exercise it was like, hey, what could I have done to prevent this” and she said, like, “Well, I wanted to bring this to attention now because, like, I’m seeing this and if I say nothing, if we go through this exercise, this is something I could’ve done to prevent this–”
Laura: That’s so awesome!
Jason: Yeah. It was really great.
We also talk about concepts like growth mindset, and how staying open to possibilities saves valuable brainpower:
Jason: Just like the cost of, like, filtering what I can and can’t do seems like not a good use of my mental capacity.
He also shares how Neil deGrasse Tyson shared what ended up being a beautiful metaphor for self-awareness:
Jason: And he showed the opening of Star Trek but there’s no clouds. No clouds. No clouds. Then, you know that iconic picture gets taken with Earth, you know the background with the moon, and you see the clouds.
Jason: And from that moment forward, all renditions of earth have clouds.
Jason: And it’s stuck with me and, and I kind of feel this way with the communication side of things. It’s like I don’t know what I don’t know yet and my perspective on things, like, there’s probably so many things that, like, I’m perceiving to be- totally wrong that are clear as day in front of me.
We even get into how potty training is a beautiful example of the conscious/competence ladder of learning, but I’ll let you hear that when we get to it. For now, please enjoy my conversation with Jason Polstein:
[3:47]
Laura: Okay, so Jason, thank you so much for being on the show. Can you please introduce yourself to the listeners?
Jason: Yeah. So, my name’s Jason Polstein. Um, I’m one of the co-founders and CEO of, uh, Rip-It and, uh, at Rip-It we, um, we’re actually a softball company. We design and manufacture equipment for softball players. Uh, but really what we do at Rip-It is we try to provide a experience for young girls to play team sports, uh, enjoy team sports, and learn the values that you get from team sports so as they transition to become young ladies, you know, they have, like, this background and understanding competitiveness. They understand value, they understand hard work, they understand how to work with teams. Um, so it’s really kind of the cause that we champion at Rip-It–
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: –uh, and we choose to do that through creating great, uh, products that they’ll love to use on the field.
Laura: Nice. Okay, so, tell me the story of how Rip-It even started. ‘Cause I think it’s kind of a cool story.
Jason: Sure. So, um, so Rip-It started– so, so I co-founded Rip-It, uh, with, uh, my brother and also my dad. So, the three of us co-founded it. And, uh, we have a younger sister. And my younger sister, she was playing softball one day and, you know, she was out on the field and, uh, ball got hit (and she was an awesome player) but ball got hit and somehow she got distracted and hit her in the nose and broke her nose. And my dad, being a, uh, you know, an engineer, he was in construction, we always had welding equipment, all that stuff in the garage. So, one day, he goes into the garage and he designs this face mask for her to wear on her helmet because the other ones they sold in the store you just couldn’t see out of them. They were like really bulky. They were built for baseball and baseballs much smaller than a softball so there’s all this unnecessary bars on it. So, long story short, he designs this face mask, puts it on the helmet and goes out to play with my sister and parents on the team are like, “Hey, can you make one for our daughter?” And he’s like, “Sure.” So, after that happened a few times, um, we kind of talked about it and we were like, hey, you know, maybe we should try and make these and sell them and see what happens. Um, at the time I was still in college so when I was home for summer one day, or one summer, it was, you know, let’s build a website, let’s put these on a website and see what happens. And, uh, we literally had no experience doing any of this, like–
Laura: Mm hmm. It’s all brand new.
Jason: Yeah. We didn’t understand anything.
Jason: Supply chain management. What is that? You know, how do you sell things? Like, we just put it on a website and kind of wanted to see what would happen. And it started going around, we’d sell a few here and there and then one day we got over 500 face masks–
Laura: Wow.
Jason: –and it’s like, wow. Like, who’s buying 500? So it was a retailer who was buying them for their store. Um, and I think it was at that moment where we realized, like, hey, you know, like, we actually have something here that’s… people want. Um, and then, at the time, we kind of went for a few years where it was just kind of a part-time hobby, uh, while me and my brother both finished college. And then when we finished college we decided to, hey, let’s do this full time instead of getting real jobs.
Laura: Real jobs.
Jason: Fast forward to today and that’s where we’re at. Yeah.
Laura: Okay, well, so say more about today. Tell me about the business now. What have you grown it to?
Jason: Yeah, so the business has grown really, really well now. I mean, we’re, we’re positioning ourselves to be, like, the, um, softball lifestyle brand for people who play softball. And, um, what we found on this journey is that women’s sports and softball in particular are really underserved. Um, typically brands design for boys first and then they kind of take those designs and translate it down to girls, which a lot of times just means make it pink. Um, which, you know, really there’s, there’s some big differences between baseball players and softball players, both from like the sport but also the player, right? There’s some big difference between a 16-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl and how they approach, you know, sports, how they approach how they want their clothes to look, and all these things. So, what we found as we were doing this is that no one is really paying attention to these players because the market was so much smaller than baseball. So, today, what we’ve done is we’ve really built a company around saying, you know, what are the biggest pains that these players have and the coaches and the parents that are putting their daughters through this softball and how do we design products that eliminate those pain points and make the sport more enjoyable so they stay in the sport for longer? Um, so that’s kind of what we do now. And we, uh, we started in hard goods, that being basically like face masks and helmets and this year we just launched apparel. So apparel– this is the first time we’ve gone into apparel so now we have pants and shirts and, um, we sell the majority of our products through, like, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy, uh, retailers like that. So pretty much across the country and in Canada
[8:15]
Jason: What we found is just that there’s a huge group of these underserved people who are really passionate about the sport that they play and they’re really looking for someone to pay attention to them and make things for them. So that’s kind of what we’re doing.
Laura: That’s so cool. And so the essence of what I’m hearing you describe, you know– So Shea is coming up – Danya Shea and her work with Fervr. I know that you worked with her to have that, that customer empathy–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –and that’s absolutely what I’m hearing you describe is, you know, let’s put ourselves into their position. Let’s think about what’s going on for them and serving them. Like, that’s so awesome.
Jason: Yeah. So, there, there’s a funny story we like to talk about where, you know, this is a few years ago before we kind of like fully understood, like, how to listen to our customer and, like, co-create with our customer. Um, so I like to say, you know, there was a group of people, you know, bunch of 30-something-year-old guys sitting around a conference room trying to figure out what a 12-year-old girl wants to buy.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: The fact that none of us had ever been a 12-year-old girl, you know–
Laura: Uh huh.
Jason: –there were obviously some–
Laura: A challenge.
Jason: –yeah, there were some successes and a lot of flops, right? So, once you start going out, you start having conversations with these players and their parents and their coaches and understand them better and then bring them into that whole product development process to where, you know, you’re not just creating a product and saying, “Hey, what do you think about this?” It’s like, “Hey, let’s design this product together.”
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And by the time you’re done it’s like, “Hey, here’s this thing we created together.”
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And they just want to use it and all the other people who have those same problems immediately go, “Oh, my gosh. That solves my problem.”
Laura: That’s awesome. Well done.
Jason: Thanks.
Laura: Nice.
Jason: Thank you.
Laura: Um, alright, so let’s see… we met, actually, at the Canvs* co-working space. There were some kind of networking thing going on. Something with UCF and, um, I don’t even know what.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: There’s like a million events there all the time.
Jason: Yeah. I, I think you’d just, you’d just, I think you had literally driven in from the airport. You had just landed from Austin I think.
Laura: Yeah, I had just got back from Austin. Yeah, that sounds right.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah. So we started to chat about that and then we had lunch and I learned more about your company and, uh, I invited you to, to join the workshop that I’ve run a few times now called Leading a Grounded Life.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah. So, you, you attended that and you brought somebody else from your leadership team.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: So, what can you tell me about your experience of going through Grounded Life?
Jason: Uh, it, it was great. Um, I mean, it, I feel it’s always a good thing when you go into something and you leave there, like, with, like, more questions than answers to a certain extent. Right?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: So, like, you taught us stuff about, like, how to think from our perspective. You know? And understanding that, like, how I feel is basically, like, you can’t make me feel a certain way. It’s how I feel. And then taking that and then going home every night I would tell my wife, like, it felt like I was in therapy for like three hours.
Jason: But in a good way. Right?
Laura: Okay.
Jason: And, and then, like, you know, having conversations with her about it and basically saying, like, “Wow. You know, like, thinking about how I approach things today with certain people and how I acted and how the outcome of that conversation, the outcome of that discussion, you know, how could I have done it a little bit differently to be more in line with what we learned today or through the Grounded Life thing?” And every time I’ve gone through and kind of like (and these are all new muscles for me so like I’m not, I’m still not very good at it yet)–
Laura: Okay. There’s the yet.
Jason: I’ll put a yet in there. I try to add “yet” a lot. But, um, but yeah so the fact that I’m still not good yet, I kind of a lot of times will have– I know I need to have a conversation about something so I kind of take a step back and I’ll think about it. I’ll be like, okay, how do I want to approach this? What’s the best, you know, way to think about it from my perspective? Like, what are my triggers?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And kind of identify those ahead of time before I go into the conversation so I know, okay, likely going into this conversation, this is likely to trigger me, so let me, let me deal with it now, internally, and figure out how I’m gonna diffuse that. So that way when the conversation starts I can try and stay more in the, as you like to say, the Green Zone.
Laura: So, I wanna back up a second because I’m curious. You said when you know you wanna have a conversation. What’s even the trigger at that point that leads you to say, “Mm. Let me pause first and think about it before, before just having the conversation.” There’s already something that you’re noticing or feeling in your mind or your body that says this might be a tough conversation. What are you noticing?
Jason: Yeah. So, I think– at work I think what, what I see is, um, it’s centered around coaching moments, I think. You know? So like maybe something wasn’t done correctly or more often the case it wasn’t done to what exactly I was thinking. And a lot of times it’s just because I didn’t articulate it clearly enough, you know? Um, but pretty much every time now where I go into an, a situation where I think I might be coaching, the conversation is built around, like, the result we wanted wasn’t exactly what we got, so how do we coach the person to get the result – what I’m looking for next time? Um, and that’s kind of taking a step back and just thinking about it. And there’s like a really good example because the other person on, at Rip-It who went through the, the course with me, um, you know, he was having this coaching moment with one of the employees that was in his department and it was really great because I could see that he was kind of struggling with it a little bit. Right? I could see that there’s some weight on him ’cause, you know, this particular employee he was coaching, you know, in the past she didn’t, she would get very defensive about feedback.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Um, so it was really cool because we, I saw it as having this, you know, struggle with it so I asked him. I said, “Hey, so what are you struggling with right now?” And he started talking about it. So, I said, “Okay. Let’s just, let’s you and me sit down. And let’s figure out, like, how do we want the conversation to go? Like, how do, how do we need to structure the conversation to get the best outcome we’re looking for?” And we actually sat down there and kind of almost role-played it–
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: –a little bit back and forth until we got something that, you know, sounded like it was, um, coming from a place of, uh, trying to understand and coming from a place of being in the Green Zone.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: But still at the same time feeing, like, comfortable saying it that way. ‘Cause a lot of times I think what I’ve found is that, and, and this is kind of blending– ’cause I know we have the meetups that we do–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –every so often. You know? So, some of this I know we learned post meet-up but that whole, um, the green lining.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Um–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –and I think the, oh jeez, what is it, the five levels of openness?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Yeah. So, five levels of openness. I remember when we were at the meetup, it was basically saying, you know, obviously the best is five, right, and then if you can’t do– if that doesn’t feel right, you know, you go up a level. And I think it was part of that, like, having that conversation, we talked for probably 20 minutes and we got to the point where, uh, the person was gonna have a conversation. He really felt comfortable-
[14:51]
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –with the way he was delivering it. And it wasn’t, it was more on level four because level five he said, “This just doesn’t feel right to me. I, I don’t know if I–” He, he felt like it would come across as, like, not genuine.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: You know? So–
Laura: And that’s so important, that whatever we’re communicating is authentic. I mean, that’s the whole essence of the levels of openness is that we’re, we’re being more and more authentic in what we’re saying. So, yes, if it starts to feel inauthentic, that’s not, that’s not it. That’s not right.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: So, it sounds like the conversation that you had with him, which, first of all, it sounds like you were almost even coaching him to go into his coaching moment with his employee–
Jason: Um.
Laura: Maybe.
Jason: Potentially. Potentially.
Laura: Did it feel like you were problem solving together, maybe?
Jason: Um, so, I feel like we were both on the same level of knowledge.
Laura: Okay.
Jason: So I think it was just having like a, a–
Laura: It was like–
Jason: –another person.
Laura: –supporting him?
Jason: Yeah. Another person who you could bounce ideas with and just get feedback on so, I mean, I’d like to say, I’d like to hope when I’m coaching I tend to have a little bit of a, you know, higher knowledge level–
Laura: Mm.
Jason: –than the person I’m coaching. So, I don’t know if that was the case. But sure. It was more of a conversation I think.
Laura: Okay. that’s so interesting that you said that and I want to dive into it for a moment because when I’m– so when I think about coaching, specifically, I feel like there’s a skill set for coaching, specifically, and there’s process. But I don’t even know how much it’s even based in knowledge. So, I wasn’t there for the conversation–
Jason: Sure.
Laura: –I don’t know if it actually was coaching but it sounds like if you were there, helping him get more clear about, uh, his own thoughts and feelings, the story that he had in his head, um, and helped him be able to communicate that in a way that, “Oh yeah, this feels true and I feel like when I’m talking to her about what’s going on for me, yeah, I’m good with that.” I feel like your support to him, like, that could absolutely be coaching.
Jason: Sure. Yeah. By that definition, sure. Coaching.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: I, I think, I mean at the end of the day I guess a coach is part, you know, is partly inspiring the person to do greatness, right? If you think of just the actual, like, of sports coach, right? Part of being sporting, a coach in football or something gets the team ready to play, you know, get them inspired to go out there and play their best game and then part of it is, like, drawing of the game plan and making sure the team executes correctly. So, I mean, if you look at it that way I probably wasn’t, I’m probably not knowledgeable enough yet to do the execution part of it, you know–
Laura: Okay.
Jason: –to hep someone execute, but I can, I have enough grasp now to maybe do more on the inspiration. Like, hey, let’s go out there and let’s try and do this the right way as opposed to the, you know, I don’t want to say the wrong way but the less effective way.
Laura: Yeah. See, I love that you said less effective. ‘Cause even the whole “right”/”wrong”, you know, is– I try to get people away from that.
Jason: Sure.
Laura: ‘Cause I don’t know if there is a “right” way.
Jason: Sure.
Laura: Everything that I do is about how can I be as effective as possible?
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: And we’re all wrong all the time so, like, I don’t know that there is just one right way. There’s no one silver bullet. It’s always just about – how can I show up more effectively today than I did yesterday?
Jason: Sure.
Laura: And if I take two steps back how can I regain ground and, I don’t know, I feel like I’ll be better in 10 years than I am today, which means that I’m not doing everything today as well as I could be.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: And in 10 years I’m still not going to be doing everything as well as I could be, ’cause I’ll be better in 11 years than I am in 10. You know what I mean?
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Like, it just keeps going. So, getting away from the whole dichotomy of right and wrong and everything just being more or less–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –I feel like that really creates so much more flexibility in our thinking and our mindset.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: It creates room for self-compassion.
Jason: Yeah. Late– lately in, on the business side of things I like to talk about trending in the right direction.
Laura: Mm. Yeah.
Jason: So I think, I think–
Laura: I like that.
Jason: –that’s a good way to look at it ’cause, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna kind of like zig zag, you know, around.
Laura: Absolutely.
Jason: But if the trend’s in the right direction that’s kind of what I–
Laura: That’s a good word.
Jason: –think you wanna see.
Laura: And I just said “good” and I don’t always like to do good and bad.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: I like that word though. Altogether, like that word. Alright, so I wanna come back because you’ve thrown out a couple, um, phrases that I’ve talked about before on the show. And so, if people have listened to previous episodes they know, but you’ve mentioned Green Zone and green line. And I would love to hear how do you describe green zone to people?
Jason: Okay. So, let’s hear green zone.
Laura: It’s not a test. I just want you to know.
Laura: You told some people on the team about it, right?
Jason: Yes. Yes. So, um, so maybe I can just walk you through, like, how we used it?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Okay, so we had a, um, we had at the time, wh– something that looked like it was a really big mistake from a product standpoint, from an ordering standpoint, to the tune of, like, a couple hundred-thousand-dollar mistake. Um, and, you know, after going through the, the class and, and understanding the Green Zone and also basically, you know, looking at it not just from like, blaming but trying to take self-accountability for, like, where maybe my own actions led to this thing even though I wasn’t directly responsible for it, type thing.
Laura: Yeah. Which, can I just interrupt you–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –for a minute? ‘Cause, I mean, to the tune of a couple hundred grand, like, that’s not small.
Jason: No.
Laura: Even for a very successful organization making a lot of money. Like, that’s not a small– I mean, that’s gotta be a very emotional discovery.
Jason: Upon the discovery I was probably heavy in the red zone.
[20:26]
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Right? But, um, but taking a step back and then saying, like, because this whole idea between red zone and green zone, it’s like, and again I’m probably gonna totally butcher this here, but this is the way that I kind of look at it. Red Zone is, like, I’m going in there and I’m blaming, um, I’m not taking any responsibility for it and it’s your fault.
Laura: Yup.
Jason: Green Zone is I’m coming in and saying, like, “Hey. We had this result that wasn’t what we wanted or wasn’t what we expected. How do we, as a group, get together and without blaming or without pointing fingers, how do we talk through it and understand how we can change it so next time we have a better result?”
Laura: That’s a beautiful explanation.
Jason: Okay.
Laura: I love that.
Jason: Okay. Cool.
Laura: Well done. You passed.
Jason: I passed.
Jason: Yeah, so, so getting back to the story. We had this mistake and, you know, we sat around the room and there, there were probably, what, six of us in the room. The six of us on the executive team. And we basically went around the room and we asked the person next to us, like, what did you do to prevent a solution to the problem. And, oh, let me back up for a second. Before we did that, I pulled a different thing from the class. Right? So I wanted everyone, I wanted everyone primed for the green zone so we sat across from each other and did the rotating, you know, so I sat next–
Laura: Expressing appreciation.
Jason: Appreciation. 30 seconds I talk about, hey, what do I love most about Laura? What inspires me about you?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And all these things. And then we rotated. So everyone, after going through that was like, man, I love everyone I work with.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Everyone’s awesome.
Laura: Oh, that’s beautiful.
Jason: So everyone’s in a really, really good mindset and then we, we ask that question. You know? “What did you do to prevent a solution to the problem?” And everyone was in the Green Zone at that point and everyone now was taking accountability going around and saying, like, “Well, you know, I probably could have done this. I could’ve done this.” We kept going around. We went around probably three times.
[22:10]
Laura: Okay.
Jason: And after we went around we realized that, as a group, while it might have been one department where the mistake was made, as a group we had determined that, you know, there were definitely things that we could have done individually to have solved the problem.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Um, so that was, that was, like, a really, really cool experience going through.
Laura: How would you describe the energy in the room even after that? ‘Cause I– okay, so, just to kind of get this picture. So, you guys do this appreciation line. So, in my experience, doing that (this sounds so cheesy) but there really is, like, love in the air. So much genuine appreciation. People are feeling good. All the brain waves are just like, yeah. And now it’s like, “Ooh. Remember that giant mistake that happened? Let’s talk about that.” And I think for a lot of people, like, maybe their hearts sink or they just, nerves go up–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –but this process, this self-accountability circle and exercise you did is pretty different from how most companies go about talking through big mistakes. So– but can you say anything about what you noticed with the energy during and after?
Jason: Yeah. So, I mean, when we first lined up and started talking back and forth about how much we love each other, um, I think people thought I was crazy at first–
Jason: –’cause it’s like, “What are we doing? This is not normal.” You know? But, but after we went through that, like you said, like the energy in the room was, was very different. You know? I’m trying to think here. I think everyone was smiling.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: You know what I mean?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Unconsciously, you know, smiling. You know? Happy. Like, feeling better. Everyone felt, the room was lighter.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And then it just really, I think everyone’s defenses went down.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: They, they felt that they were in an environment where the people around them trusted them. The people around them respected them. And it wasn’t an environment where, if you took responsibility for something that you could have done– no one’s gonna go, “Well, why’d you do that?”
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Or “Why didn’t you do that?”
Laura: Right.
Jason: You know, it was like, “Okay, we’re all just gonna be accountable for things that we could’ve done that we didn’t do.”
Laura: Yeah. People aren’t gonna throw things at me.
Jason: Yeah, exactly.
Laura: This is just about getting information out there on the table so we can solve the problem.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: Not blame.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Awesome.
Jason: And I think, also, we had a lot more participation.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: So, like, a lot of times (and I’m pretty sure this is common with most groups) but you have, like, a few people in the group who are the most vocal and you have a few people in the group who are much better listeners. And this process, especially when you go around and ask the question, the people who typically are listeners are now also providing great input and the people who are typically talking most of the time are now listening. Um, so it kind of created a really cool balance around the room of, you know, listening and talking.
Laura: Awesome. And you captured the question perfectly. I don’t know if that just stuck in your brain or if you, like, checked your notes before we talked today but I think that the wording of the question is really important. It’s “What did you do to prevent a solution to the problem” rather than saying “How did you cause it? Or “How did you contribute…?” Can you speak to what came up in terms of people’s answers based on the wording of the question?
Jason: Yeah. So, people, people obviously could understand the problem, right? But then some people found it hard to, because some people were so removed from it–
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: –that they really had to spend, you know, maybe 10, 15 seconds really thinking, like, well, jeez, what could I have done? But everyone was able to come up with at least one or two things that could have made the mistake not happen.
Laura: Do you have an example that might, like– ’cause some listeners might be going, you know, like, “What, what the hell would that be? I mean it had nothing to do with that. How could I possibly have had any impact?”
Jason: Let me think here. So, I can give you– it happened, like, what? A year and a half ago now? So, like, I don’t know– or about a year ago now. So, I don’t know if I have– I, I’ll give you an example of something that just happened yesterday that was a direct result of that exercise that we did. Maybe it was six months ago. I can’t remember now. But, um, so, uh, the person who heads up our operations, Director of Operations, just called me into her office yesterday and wanted to have a chat. She was like, “Hey, you know, I ‘m looking at this thing here and this just doesn’t quite make sense.” It was a sourcing issue, right? With product development. And, you know, one of the struggles is when you’re creating a new product, you know, you also have to source the factory that’s gonna make it. And a lot of this is, like, new relationships, new everything, and we brought on some new people who also aren’t 100 percent on board yet with how we do things as an organization. Right? So there’s, there’s some learning going on right now. And she kind of pulled me in. And she’s like, “Hey. You know, I know this really isn’t my job but I noticed this thing–” (’cause she was CC’d on some of the emails) “–I’ve noticed this and I remember last time you said (and it had to do with minimal order quantities and pricing compared to other factors that we use now being a little bit out of alignment)– And she said, “I know last time we had this exercise it was like, hey, what could I have done to prevent this” and she said, like, “Well, I wanted to bring this to attention now because, like, I’m seeing this and if I say nothing, if we go through this exercise, this is something I could’ve done to prevent this–”
Laura: That’s so awesome!
Jason: Yeah. It was really great. So, it led to, you know, getting, yesterday, the people in the room–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –who were like, “Okay, hey. This has been brought up.” And it was interesting because there was, there was a, there was this feeling of a little bit of a Red Zone feeling in the room.
Laura: Mm.
Jason: Because, to a certain extent, it felt like there might have been some blame going on even though that wasn’t the intention. Um, but there was an emphasis put that, you know, hey, there’s no Monday morning quarterback going on here. You know, we’re, we’re not saying, “Hey, we should have done it this way.” We’re just saying, “Hey, this is something that we see. What do we want to do about this now?” Um, and I think after about an hour, hour and a half conversation, now we’re in a much better place where the, the team as a whole understands, like, where the mistake (and maybe it wouldn’t have been a mistake) but where the mistake could have-
[28:05]
Laura: Could have.
Jason: –come from.
Laura: Yes.
Jason: And now we’re aware of it. So, everyone’s aware of it and is understanding that, hey, we need to keep an eye on this.
Laura: This is such a beautiful example. I feel like this happens in companies all the time where somebody sees something, doesn’t look or feel quite right and the internal thoughts go and she thinks to herself, “Well, this really isn’t my job.” Or, exactly to your point, that bringing people together, maybe it had a Red Zone feel, blaming, so that person goes, “Well gosh. I could say something but they’re gonna think that I’m, you know, getting all up in their business and they might be mad at me.” And, for real, like, these are the thoughts that happen that leads somebody to go, “I’m just gonna stay out of it. I’m just gonna stay in my lane. I’m just gonna do my job because this is not up to me.” But that’s– I mean, no executive, no leader wants that mentality. Every leader that I know wants to have a team filled with people that are constantly looking out for what’s gonna be in the best interest of the organization.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: And putting that above their own individual fears of “Will they be mad at me if I bring this up?” I love this example. I love that she even referenced the exercise and–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –how she was like, “This is something that, if this happened, I could have done to prevent the solution.”
Jason: Yeah. And, and I think she, she said the question back in the right way, too, actually.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: You know, so it was really–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –cool to see that. You know, and it was, it was funny because, like, when she said it that way to me, it kind of triggered me, like, okay, let me, let me now try to understand what’s happening here, right?
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Because this person is throwing up the red flag, saying like, “Hey, there’s something going on here that I wanna make sure we, we have covered.”
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: You know? So, it was, it was good. I think that if I’m looking back on how I could improve on it though–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –um, you know, getting back to this idea of trending in the right direction–
Laura: Uh huh.
Jason: –right? So, I think that if I had getting back to this idea of, like, not being really good at this yet to take a moment to step back and say, “Okay.” Instead of calling the meeting immediately, like, hey, let me take 10, 15 minutes and really think how do we want to approach this to make sure everyone’s being collaborative and there’s not, no one feels like the finger’s being pointed at them?
Laura: Okay.
Jason: Um, ’cause I, I do feel that we had a little bit of that and I feel like we maybe even left the meeting with a little bit of that feeling still there, which just means that we’ll be dealing with it at some point in the future.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: So–
Laura: Well, it’s never too late.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: That’s one of the things I really want leaders and, and people out there to keep in mind is that it’s not ever too late to go back and say, “You know, even though– maybe that meeting was three months ago…” Or, oh my gosh. I’m serious, like, seriously I’ve had people be like hanging onto things for three years, 10 years, whatever. So, going like, “Hey, that thing that happened back then. I really think I could have handled that better and I’m sorry that I handled it the way that I did–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –because I value the relationship with you. I wanna come in, in a self-accountable way.” Like, it’s never too late–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –to go back and continue to practice self-accountability.
Jason: That’s a great point. And I think we’re gonna have another meeting tomorrow to kind of, like– because the other thing is it kind of uncovered a little bit of ambiguity from the team as to what we’re trying to accomplish. So, tomorrow we’re gonna have a meeting where we kind of get everything back in line. And it’ll be an opportunity–
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: –to approach it better than I did yesterday.
Laura: Yes.
Jason: Um, yeah.
Laura: And that’s what this is all– okay, so, like, one of, one of the core values of my company is progress over perfection. So let go of perfection. Just forget about it. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Perfectionism is toxic.
Jason: Sure.
Laura: If all I’m focused on is making progress and how quickly can I recover from Red Zone to Green Zone, I never put out an expectation to people that they never be Red Zone. We are emotional creatures. We’ve evolved to be fear based. So that’s gonna be part of our human experience. It’s exactly to your point, though. How can I– is it 10 minutes, 15 minutes? What can I do right now to get myself centered, grounded, and back to a place where I’m really just focused on solving the problem? Rather than coming in with even a little bit of emotion that can put an edge to my voice or where I slip and say something that sounds a little bit “blame-y” when that’s not my intention.
Jason: Yeah. And, again, I tend to think a lot about the meetup when we talked about the, uh, the green lining. And, you know, the body language.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And trying not to sound passive aggressive.
Jason: ‘Cause there’s all these things and they’re still new to me. So, that, that’s why I said, like, taking that 10 minutes to, like, really sit down. Almost play in my head, like, okay, how do I want this conversation to go. Where do I think I might be tripping up? Where is my body language not gonna be right? Like, where, where am I gonna be–
Laura: Not aligned.
Jason: –not aligned, right?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Where, where, where’s it gonna be hostile, maybe, or perceived as hostile? And just trying, trying to figure out all that and then have the conversation.
Laura: So, how do you summarize or explain the green line to people?
Jason: So, the green line, and I tried explaining this to a few people at work, so the green line is the ideal, um, path of communication where you’re open, honest, and, um, I guess the– it’s more talking about how you feel and how the particular situation is making you feel and making sure the other person understands that and not being, you know, condescending, or not being passive aggressive, or not, you know, having negative body language but just truly trying to make sure the other person understands how you feel. Um, in a way that they also know that whatever this issue is that you’re trying to get through, like, at the end of the day, like, hey, we’re both on the same team, we both want this thing better, and let’s just have an open, honest conversation about it.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Um–
Laura: And feelings is a really big part of it because having an emotion in a conversation which– I mean, so much of business does feel personal and we’re so invested and so, yeah, emotions can get wrapped up in there. So, being open about feelings is a big part of it. And also making requests. You know, what is it that I want from somebody?
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: That can be– or what’s my intention? So, yeah, green line is I want to be open about my experience. Everything that I’m aware of-
[34:07]
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –about my, my thoughts, my feelings, my intentions, what I want from you, I can just say it. It’s this weird thing where it’s actually incredibly simple. What if I just said the things that I was aware of happening for me right now? I notice I’m feeling frustrated. I know that I really wanna solve this problem. You know? I’m feeling frustrated. Just, whatever. It’s like, just say what’s true.
Jason: Yeah. I mean, when you put it that way it does seem very, very simple.
Jason: I, I think–
Laura: But…
Jason: No, not but. I think what I struggle with sometimes is, um, just being conditioned of how I’ve dealt in conversation in the past.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Um, just, like, instinctively just going right into that conversation that way. And I’m not saying– I definitely don’t, I don’t think I yell a lot. I don’t think I’m a negative person a lot. But just, there’s such a fine line between, like, doing what you described and doing what I’m used to.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And while this, it’s very nuanced between, like, the words you’re using and the way you’re projecting it, the result of the conversation is significantly better–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –when it’s done the way you described it. Um, so I think that’s what I struggle most, most with right now which I, which I’m getting better. I mean, I’m definitely getting better. I probably need to make more of an effort to remind myself to practice. Uh, ’cause I think it’s like anything. You just gotta practice until you–
Laura: Exactly.
Jason: –until it becomes second nature.
Laura: Yeah. There’s that whole, um, unconscious/conscious, incompetent/competent ladder. That whole thing. Are you familiar with that?
Jason: No.
Laura: Okay. It’s, it’s what you’re describing. It’s the process that people go through as they’re learning anything new. At first we, we don’t even know that we don’t know it. And then you become aware of this thing but you still are incompetent. Right? So that’s conscious incompetence. Then you move to conscious competence, which is where I think you are right now. You’re aware of it and there are times where you’re actively practicing it. It’s maybe taking some extra brain power or you’re pausing ’cause it’s not yet second nature. And then, finally, you end at unconscious competence where it just becomes how you are and you don’t have to think twice about it. So, we go through the same process as children when we’re learning to walk.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Or even driving. I love this example for myself. Remember when I was learning how to drive in the early days of my learning permit, it was like I could not have the radio on or anything because I was- there was so much for me that I was trying to do. So I was working on my conscious competence of steering, staying in the lane, you know, pushing the accelerator and the brake not too hard, not too fast, checking the mirror, what’s going on. Like there was just so much for me and, you know, now, of course, I drive someplace and barely remember how I got there.
Jason: Sure.
Laura: ‘Cause it’s just, like, unconscious now. Everything is so habitual and I’ve learned it so well. Same thing with all of these practices.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: It can just become the way that you communicate and you don’t, you don’t even thinking about it anymore.
Jason: That’s awesome. So, I’m gonna totally write this down at home because my wife and I are potty training our daughter right now.
Laura: Ohhhh…
Jason: So we’re one week into it–
Laura: Oh man.
Jason: –and we’re a few rungs up on the ladder–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Yeah. We still have a ways to go to get to the top. But, but yeah, what you’re describing is (’cause this is my first child) after going through this potty training–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –literally correct. Right? ‘Cause like–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: That’s cool.
Jason: Yeah, that’s really cool.
Laura: Yeah, you’ll probably notice it now for a lot of things that–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –that you’re learning or that you can reflect on.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: That learning process. I think so many people look at communication and being part of a team and just anything with human behavior as though it’s something totally different than any other skill set. Um, there’s this belief or expectation it’s just personality, or I should just be able to do this or it shouldn’t be this hard or require this much work. And what changes if somebody looks at communication or being a leader or being a member of a team as requiring a set of skills just like any role, any job and, yeah, if you wanna get better at it you practice it. And just like any skill that you practice, it can just become second nature. So a lot of people I think don’t try because they think, “Well, I just, this is just how I am. This is just what it should be.” And actually, the, you know, “This is just how I am” that’s a classic fixed mindset which I wanted to circle back ’cause you mentioned “yet”–
Jason: Oh, sure.
Laura: –which is all about growth mindset. What do you remember about growth mindset and using words like “yet”?
Jason: Yeah, so, um, so I, I catch myself a lot of times saying something and then, like, two beats later I go “yet.”
[38:41]
Jason: You know? So, so the idea here is that if I say, you know, “I can’t speak Spanish” then I’ve basically told myself I can’t speak Spanish.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: If I say “I can’t speak Spanish yet” um, allowing my mind to be open to the possibility that if I choose to learn Spanish, I can choose to learn it and I will learn it.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Um, so that’s basically the way I look at that, you know, adding “yet” to the end.
Laura: Yeah. Beautiful. That’s exactly it.
Jason: I’ve noticed, like, it’s– for the people I’ve had the conversation about “yet” with–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –um, it can be a little bit contagious. You know? At least that’s the way–
Laura: That’s great.
Jason: –I’ve, I’ve seen it.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Almost to the point where, you know, sometimes I’ll say it and then I’ll say yet or, or they’ll say something and then we’ll pause and I’ll be thinking and I’ll be about to say “yet” and then they say “yet.”
Laura: Nice.
Jason: And they’ll just kind of grumble a little bit, like, yeah, I caught it. You know?
Laura: Uh huh.
Jason: So, it’s kind of cool how, like, I really feel that if people, if people understand that concept (and, again, it’s one of those things, right? It’s taking me a little bit of time to make that part of my normal vocabulary, if you will, right?)–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: (To finish something that I don’t currently do with yet.) Um, but I think if people do that, it does shift your perspective on things.
Laura: Absolutely.
Jason: So I, I think it’s a very healthy way to approach things in general.
Laura: Yeah. So, okay, so one of the things that I think sometimes stops people from embracing growth mindset or using a word like yet is that there is an implication with the word yet that I will in the future. And so, sometimes I think people feel like they’re then obligating themselves to do it. So the most ridiculous example I always use for myself (because I also, I say yet constantly) is I could say, like, “Well, I’m not an Olympic figure skater yet” as though, like, that’s actually in my life plans. Right now I have no life plans to be an Olympic figure skater. And so what I think is important about growth mindset is just because I believe I can do anything doesn’t mean I’m obligated to.
Jason: Sure.
Laura: So I can make a conscious choice to not put energy into becoming an Olympic figure skater but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do it. And just because I could doesn’t mean I have to. so it’s like this weird disconnect where people don’t want the obligation or feel like they’re somehow committing to improve on something because they don’t want to put the energy into it and so they tell themselves that they just can’t do it.
Jason: Yeah. So, I think, I feel like I’m just quoting a lot of stuff that you say–
Laura: That’s great.
Jason: So, I’m definitely listening when you’re talking. You can tell. But, um, I think one thing you said, and I’ll paraphrase it here, you know, it’s just a tool in your toolbox and if it makes sense to use it, use it. If it doesn’t make sense to use it then, you know, don’t use it. And I think when I look at using “yet” in your example, right, I’m not an Olympic figure skater yet, I’d rather have that open mindset activated in all scenarios, even the absurd ones–
Laura: Absolutely.
Jason: –because I’m not gonna do the absurd ones.
Jason: I’m not likely going to, you know?
Laura: Probably won’t.
Jason: Probably won’t. Right? But the, the cost of closing, the cost of having a, can you have a partially closed mind? I, I, I almost feel like it’s on or off, like, for me personally. So, like, I feel like I approach life with I can do anything if I put my mind to it–
Laura: Yes.
Jason: –and decide I want to do it.
Laura: Yes.
Jason: And just like the cost of, like, filtering what I can and can’t do seems like not a good use of my mental capacity.
Laura: I personally agree with that. I like to keep all doors open because that doesn’t exhaust me or scare me–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: It’s like, to acknowledge that I could do anything, to me, feels great.
Jason: Well–
Laura: It serves me.
Jason: I think, too, just if I could tie that back to kind of like what we did in the beginning of Grounded Life, I think if you, if you go through and you identify the, the core values that matter most to you and, and what I’ve started to do (and again, still working on it) but trying to make my decisions through those lenses and if I say “I’m not an Olympic figure skater yet,” even though I don’t say yet, like, if I look at my core values and, and what I’m using to make my decisions, I’m likely not going to try to be an Olympic figure skater, right?
Laura: right.
Jason: It’s, it’s not what’s important to me.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Um, so, I think, you know, I feel like they’re all pieces that all fit together and I feel like once I, once I get them all mastered and they’re all kind of put together, everything starts clicking a little bit better. So, yeah, so I’m a big fan of “yet.” I’m, I’m trying to use it more often and I catch myself now. Before I didn’t use to catch myself. Now I’ll say something. And like I said, a couple beats later I’m like, “Oh man. Yet.”
Laura: Yet.
Jason: You know? Yeah.
Laura: Nice. Which, I like that too. It’s not too late.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: That changes the message to your brain. Your brain goes, “Got it. Yet.”
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: But maybe. Just keeps it open.
Jason: Yeah, so, so I’ll get back to potty training. Right? So, first day. We haven’t made it to the potty… yet.
Laura: Yet.
Jason: Right?
Laura: Yeah. It’s gonna happen.
Jason: It will happen.
Laura: I mean, just about every child learns how to do it. So–
Jason: When she’s 10 years old, I guarantee you she’ll be going to the potty, right?
Laura: Exactly.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Um, okay, so I wanted to– oh, I wanted to go back to the values, actually. Um, ’cause yeah, that was, um, week two I think. We talked about values in Grounded Life. Do you have an example of maybe a decision that, after going through that, you were more conscious of how that core personal value was guiding the choices you were making?
[44:14]
Jason: Uh, let’s see here. So, yeah, so one of the things that I’ve been conflicted with in the past is, you know, time management has been something that’s, uh, difficult for me at times because there’s, there’s a lot of things I try to cram into the day and there’s just only so many hours in a day. And I think that’s where, you know, going through the process and then understanding my core values and kind of ranking them in importance, um, which was a whole other thing that I didn’t really want to do–
Jason: –but–
Laura: Most people find it challenging.
Jason: Yeah. So, so health is always something that’s been really important to me. Um, I mean, growing up I always played sports. I always tried to be healthy, I try to eat healthy and all of those things. And I would start getting conflicted where, when I would have something I want to do but then also, like, well if I do this I won’t have time today to, to work out or exercise or do something that I want. And I’ve kind of started to make peace with this idea that working out is, is less important than some of these other things. And if I do it three times a week as opposed to six times a week, like, I’m okay with that. You know? So, in the past I would have been really conflicted. I would have been upset.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: I would’ve been, like, really angry with myself. Like, “Man. I feel like such a loser. Like, why didn’t I, why didn’t I get this done. Like, I should be working out and all these things.” So, that’s kind of just a thing personally where, like, now when these things come up I can kind of put it through that, that filter and say like, where does this fall in my priorities? And give myself permission to, if it’s something that’s one of those lower core values, give myself permission to be like “Hey, you know what? I’ll do it tomorrow–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –’cause this other thing is more important.”
Laura: So, you’re also describing the essence of self-compassion, right, which is not beating yourself up for your choices or for how things have gone. And you’re also talking about making your choices more consciously which I think is also really core to self-accountability, right, which is kind of where we started with that whole self-accountability circle. I own my choices. I’m not saying, “Well, I didn’t have time so I didn’t do it.” It’s, “Well, I didn’t make time to do that and I’m okay with that.”
Jason: yeah.
Laura: And if I’m not okay with it, I don’t have to beat myself up for it. I can choose to just make a different choice today and tomorrow.
Jason: Yeah. And I mean, I’ve, I sometimes find myself beating myself up for it.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: But then I pause. And I kind of, like, reflect back on, like,– ’cause to the point right, there’s definitely time to do it if I make time to do it.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: So, what am I, like, what am I choosing to do with my time instead of that–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –and is that more important to me?
Laura: yeah.
Jason: And, and when I go through that, you know, process it tends to, I tend to feel better about myself.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: Even though I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to do, you know, in the past I would’ve been, like, really upset. My wife would be like, “Wow, you’re in a really bad mood.” I’d be like, “Yeah. I didn’t work out today” you know and all this stuff.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: So, so yeah. But, um, but yeah, it, it definitely, it definitely works. I find, though, what works really well and I should do it more often but I don’t do it often is planning my week out.
Laura: Mm.
Jason: So, I was– I had a good stretch where every Sunday evening I was planning the next week out and going through the things I had to do for work, getting them on the counter, then going through and, like, picking and choosing time blocks that were left. What are important for me to get done? And putting them on the calendar. Um, and I found that was, that was a really cool exercise because I was, like, proactively deciding how I was gonna spend my time through the lens of what mattered most. And then if there were some extra time somewhere else and there were something that didn’t matter that much to me and I had the time to do it, sure I’d do it. If not, no big deal. So, that’s something I’m gonna try to get back to is that proactive planning.
Laura: So, let me ask you. What has stopped you from doing it recently?
Jason: I just don’t like doing it. It, it sounds weird. Like, I just, I don’t like doing it yet.
Laura: Nice.
Jason: I, uh, yeah, I just–
Laura: What do you not like about it?
Jason: So, I think two things. One thing is sometimes I think at the end of the day I’m just so mentally drained, like my brain’s just mush. Like, it’s, it’s time to turn off for the day and just sit in front of the TV and just do nothing. Um, so I think that’s part of it. I think part of it is also, I don’t wanna say like, um, I don’t know the best way to put it but, like, I might be putting off the fact that, uh, I might be putting off making decisions.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Right? ‘Cause, like, I know if I sit down to do this I’m gonna have to make decisions about how to spend my time.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: If I don’t do that, then, well, just do it as it comes. You know? As things come up, I’ll just see if I can do it or not do it. Um, and I think it’s one of those things that I was– so, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Um, because, to me, I’ve always just looked at New Year’s as like, it’s just another day.
Laura: It’s relatively arbitrary.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: It’s like, I could choose today to be New Year’s. Like–
Laura: Right.
Jason: –it doesn’t really matter right? But, um, I do think there’s some value in every so often, whether it’s every quarter or ever six months, every year, like, revisiting things that are working well for you and things that aren’t working well for you and then mak– writing down how you want to change. Um, so I think that’s something that I’ll probably revisit in the next week or so is kind of sit down and think, “Okay, in the past year what did I do that really worked well for me and should I repeat that this year? And what didn’t work well and how do I want to change that?” So–
Laura: Nice.
Jason: –the planning is one of the things I gotta get back on because I, my life is better when I do that. So–
Laura: Yeah. And so what I would, um, what I would invite you to do if you wanted to is campaign for it. Like, sell me on it. Tell me all the reasons why you should bother putting any kind of time towards planning your week. Like, convince me. ‘Cause if you can’t convince me then you’re certainly not gonna convince yourself.
Jason: Sure. Okay. So, alright. So, step one, if I look at, uh, personal, right? So, there’s only so much time in the morning and so much time in the evening in between work, so how do I wanna spend that time? Right? I’ve got a two-and-a-half-year-old at home, right, that I see only on the weekends or in the morning or at night before and after she gets back from school. So, how do I wanna– what do I wanna do with her that helps her develop better as a human being? You know, that she gets enough time to interact with me and I get enough time to interact with her. So, kind of making sure that I block out those times, ’cause that’s really important. Um, and then also on the work side of things, just understanding that we’ve made one year goals, three year goals, and kind of like a 10 year vision as to where we want to be and if I don’t take actions every day to move the company in that direction, the odds of getting there go down. Right? Because, like, I’m not actively planning how I’m gonna methodically do that every day. So, that’s another reason why-
[51:05]
Laura: Okay.
Jason: –I should be planning. And then the third thing is just getting back to the health thing. I have to plan some time within all this schedule for me to have kind of like me time where it’s just like, hey, you know, take a step back, no one’s depending on me, no one’s, like, asking for anything. I can just go run, I can go to work out, whatever it is. Do yoga if I need to relax.
Laura: What happens if you don’t get your you time?
Jason: Um, so I’m pretty good at, like, not having you time for a very long time but then, like, it reached a tipping point where I think my performance starts struggling. Like, I, I don’t think I’m as pleasant to be around.
Laura: Mm hmm. What happens if you’re not as pleasant to be around?
Jason: Uh, when I’m not as pleasant to be around? Jeez, let’s see here. I definitely don’t have, um, deep, meaningful, productive conversations.
Laura: Is that important to you?
Jason: Um, yeah. Yeah, I think it is. I mean, because just from the work side of things, I mean, the more effective I am as a communicator, the better we perform. Um, like, if I’m having a bad day and people can tell I’m having a bad day and I’m not communicating well, then they’re having a bad day, then the people that work under them are having a bad day and it kind of cascades down.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: So, so I think just, you know, yeah. It, if I am in a good mood, then I can help the other people around me be in a good mood.
Laura: Yeah. Like you can serve other people better when you’re taking care of yourself first.
Jason: Yes.
Laura: I, I believe that so whole-heartedly.
Jason: Yeah
Laura: And I think a lot of people get stuck into a mindset of, “I have to do this for this person. I have to do this for this person.” And at a certain point, there’s self-neglect happening and then, yeah, and then, ooh gosh, now I’m not showing up in this world the way that I really want to. I probably not being the kind of husband I want. I’m probably not being the kind of leader I want. I’m probably not being the kind of father I want. And so, even though sometimes it feels selfish in the moment to say, “You know what? I want me time,” actually doing that is the most important thing you can do for the relationships in your life that really matter.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. No, I, that, I think that’s well said.
Laura: Yeah.
Laura: Awesome. Well, you know, so for me, I think, I don’t know if it was the book Switch or something that talked about, like, the elephant and the rider. So, if you’re talking about if you’re trying to influence somebody to do something, there’s the logical side and there’s the emotional side and we often try to use logic–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –to convince other people of things, um, but we’re very emotional creatures. And so if I’m not fully tapping into my own emotional reasons for why I wanna do something, I’m not very likely to do it and so, you know, that’s kind of, I think that’s where I go when I’m thinking about wanting to change a habit or a pattern or get back to something that I think was helpful for me in the past. It’s like, but like on the emotional level, why? You know? How will I feel? How will my life experience be different? And how will I be aligned with my values if I’m doing these things for myself and I’m showing up in this way? I don’t know. I feel like, for me, that’s more compelling a lot of the time than logic.
Jason: Yeah. I, I would joke, I don’t know why humans evolved this way because it would be so much easier if we were just all logical human beings–
Jason: –you know? Um, because then I could just like, like there’s no emotion in it. It’s just like, hey, we need to do this. We need to do that. Whatever, whatever, whatever. But it’s not the case so, yeah. Understanding that and embracing it and learning how to best communicate through that emotional side of things–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –I think is really… the more I see and the more I practice that I really think is the key to just being an effective human being maybe is the way to put it.
Laura: See, I actually feel like what’s the point of life without emotion. If I don’t have joy, if I don’t have happiness, humor, love, laughter, then what the hell am I doing? Like, who even cares–
Jason: Sure.
Laura: –if I don’t have that emotion? And so, yeah, there’s the flip side. There’s the contrasting emotions that can be tougher, but, to me, if everybody was just logical all the time and we were, you know, robotic, like, do I enjoy things anymore?
Jason: Sure. Well, let, let me rephrase it. Maybe instead of, like, the emotional being the first filter it goes through, the logic was the first filter it went through and then went to the emotional filter.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: I feel like maybe somehow, somehow that evolutionary process we got the filters reversed.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: I don’t know. But it is what it is. I can’t change it.
Laura: Yeah.
Laura: Can’t change it yet. Um, right now it’s just about awareness.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Right? So the more aware I am of those emotions then I’m more able to access the logic.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah. That’s why I’m such a huge advocate for self-awareness.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve also been a big, uh, proponent now of, like– so I went to see, uh, see, uh, Neil deGrasse.
Laura: Oh, nice.
Jason: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen him but it was, it was really good but there was one part that really stuck me. I swear I think about it almost every day and it was this idea of, like, he showed a picture of the earth prior to, you know, us going to space. And it was just artist renditions of the earth, right, ’cause obviously no one had taken a picture of it yet. Right?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: ‘Cause they can’t take a picture of it. Never any clouds.
Laura: Ah.
Jason: Pulling all these images but never any clouds, never any clouds, never any clouds. But surely, like, you go outside you see clouds. Like, people know clouds exist.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And it was kind of funny. He said, “Surely Star Trek got this right.” And he showed the opening of Star Trek but there’s no clouds. No clouds. No clouds. Then, you know that iconic picture gets taken with earth, you know the background with the moon, and you see the clouds.
Laura: yeah.
Jason: And from that moment forward, all renditions of earth have clouds.
[56:49]
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And it’s stuck with me and, and I kind of feel this way with the communication side of things. It’s like I don’t know what I don’t know yet and my perspective on things, like, there’s probably so many things that, like, I’m perceiving to be- totally wrong that are clear as day in front of me. So, so kind of like what I’m looking at now is just trying to figure out, like, how do I try and take a step back and how do I communicate better? How do I seek to understand other people better so I can start perceiving these things that are right in front of my face–
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: –that I’m just, there’s not in my perception right now.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And, and that’s kind of, like–
Laura: What a cool metaphor.
Jason: Yeah. Uh, it bugs me every day because I’m thinking, every day I go through life and I go, “I know I perceived something today that was totally wrong and I don’t know what it is.”
Laura: Yeah. What are the clouds that I’m not seeing?
Jason: Yeah. What are the clouds that I’m not seeing? You know? So I just thought that was really cool and to me, right now, part of that is, um, you know, obviously not being really great at following all these awesome communication, you know, process that you teach. Not being great at that yet, you know, I, I think that’s part of that thing is just understanding, like, you know, there’s so many conversations that I end with, just normal day-to-day conversations, like maybe you go get a coffee and you talk to the person making the coffee. It’s a conversation and what better conversation could I have had with that person?
Laura: Mm.
Jason: What more deep meaningful conversation could I have had? Because you know just in every day interactions, all these opportunities–
Laura: So many.
Jason: –and it’s not like they’re wasted opportunities but they’re, to a certain extent, like, they’re not optimized.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: And, and just how do I go out and how do I, how do I consciously think optimize all these opportunities to be a better communicator but also practice being a better communicator?
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: So yeah.
Laura: I love that. ‘Cause it is. It’s like tiny moments–
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: –can really shift how somebody else’s day is going and their mood and then that can be contagious in a really positive way.
Jason: Yeah and the cost is nothing.
Laura: Yeah. Nothing.
Jason: I mean–
Laura: One of my favorite quotes (and I have no idea where it came from, I totally forgot) was “You don’t have to try to be kind. Just stop being unkind.” And I like that way of thinking. I like thinking that my natural default setting is to be kind and generous and that other things get in my way of doing that sometimes but that is me, most authentically. And I think that that’s actually human. ‘Cause we’re hard wired for human connection. All of us are. And so, to have a moment and connect with your barista, right–
Jason: Sure.
Laura: –for 15 seconds before you let the next person move up, like, yeah, that’s what we’re here for. I feel like that’s actually the little things that matter.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Alright, so I always ask this question towards the end which is what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to anybody who’s listening that they could do right now, immediately, today, completely independent from me or anybody on my team, just what’s one thing that they could do right now that you think could help them be more effective in their relationships or with communication?
Jason: Okay. So, I’m a huge fan of the power of written goals. Um, so I’d say if there’s one thing I could say that’s worked well for me is taking a moment to write out, like, what do you want to accomplish in the next year, three years? Whatever the timeframe is. And then take a moment to say, “Okay. If I want to accomplish this in the next year, what do I need to accomplish in the next 90 days?” And then break that down and say, “Okay. In the next 90 days I need to do this. What do I need to do in the next week to keep me on pace?” And this really weird thing has happened for me and I tell people it’s almost, like, magical or at least it seems magical. I find if I write something down, it tends to come true.
Laura: Mm hmm. Manifest.
Jason: Yeah. It just, it just happens. right? I don’t, I don’t know how it happens, it’s literally magical. I don’t know how it happens but, like, I think it’s that I, I really, truly believe that when you write it down, the act of writing it down (and you talk about free writing a lot)–
Laura: Mm hmm. .
Jason: –but I think the act of writing down what your visioning. Right? So, so I have this vision, something I want to be or something I want to occur and I write it down. I think part of it is I’ve, my mind is now open to that possibility.
Laura: Totally.
Jason: And, and I think once you do that, your perspective on things changes and you start perceiving things, like you start hearing something and you go, “Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. That, that belongs to my goal.”
Laura: Yeah. That aligns.
Jason: Yeah. It aligns.
Laura: I’m gonna pay attention.
Jason: So I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna pay attention to this. But if you hadn’t written it down, it might have just been noise that you didn’t hear.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: Um, so I, I think that’s, in my experience, that’s been, like, the most impactful thing is when I take the time to really think, like, where do I want to be in a year or whatever timeframe you pick and just write it down.
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: And then orient yourself around that.
[1:01:44]
Laura: So, question. Have you, have you done this for yourself in terms of how you wanna show up in terms of communication in relationships?
Jason: So, yes, I have done it once. Once I’ve included, like, kind of– I tried to be… so I’m a big fan of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Um, I know that’s a pretty morbid way to look at it but I think his example is, you know, what are people gonna say at your funeral–
Laura: Totally.
Jason: –type thing.
Laura: Yeah. Start living with the end in mind.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah.
Jason: So, um, I have, I have sat down and think, like, what am I gonna work on this year with thinking about the end in mind? Again, super awesome process. I got a lot of value from it. Um, I need to do better at being more consistent with it. Um, and revisiting more often. ‘Cause that’s the other thing too. I, I think it’s great to write it down. It’s really great to revisit it often. For, for two reasons. One, to see, like, hey am I getting any traction on this? But also asking the question “Is this still relevant?”
Laura: Mm hmm.
Jason: ‘Cause it’s possible that something I wrote down, something I maybe thought was something I wanted to do 10 years ago, I mean, maybe is irrelevant now so I should probably stop doing it if that’s the case. So I think, yeah, just revisiting it. But yeah, ideally, in my perfect world, right, (I’m gonna do this now. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this this week, right, because–
Laura: Nice.
Jason: –I had this conversation and I convinced myself, right, after talking to you)–
Laura: Excellent.
Jason: –but I think the key is to, to have the, to have the personal and professional goals for the, for the year or whatever timeframe you’re putting in and just put it down and, and magically it will happen.
Laura: Oh, yeah.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: Love it.
Jason: Yeah.
Laura: That’s the essence of manifesting.
Jason: Yeah. It’s great. It’s awesome.
Laura: This has been so fun. Thank you so much for being on the show. Is there anything else that you wanna say or touch on before we wrap up?
Jason: No. This was a lot of fun. It’s awesome.
Well, thank you so much for being on the show.
Jason: Yeah. Thank you for having me.
[1:03:39]
Outro: Hey, I want to let you know that if you want to watch live and communicate real-time with me and my beautiful co-host Kayla, we have a new Facebook Live Stream that we call Coffee or Wine that streams live on Sunday evenings at 7 pm Eastern. We’re in Southeast Asia until May, so we’re coming to you live from the future – the whole idea is maybe you can drink some Sunday evening wine, but we’re at least going to tell you that what is in our morning coffee mugs is coffee. Thanks for listening, and if you like the show, will you please do me a favor, and rate it 5-stars on iTunes? I want to get this information out to as many people in the world as possible, and 5-star ratings help other people find us. Also, please check out the website – we have full transcripts and links for each show that you can find at gallaheredge.com/podcast. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk again soon.

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