Leadership in an Evolving Workplace
Host Raymond Hawkins discovered that despite lacking formal leadership training, Cy Wakeman, President & Founder of Reality Based Leadership, has written a plethora of books in the leadership genre.
Announcer: Welcome to Not Your Father’s Data Center Podcast, brought to you by Compass Datacenters. We build for what’s next. Now here’s your host, Raymond Hawkins.
Raymond Hawkins: Let’s get going. All right. All right, well, thank you for listening. Thank you for joining me, Raymond Hawkins, your host, another edition of Not Your Father’s Data Center. I am recording with a dear friend of mine and the awesome New York Times best selling author, Cy Wakeman. Cy, how are you today?
Cy Wakeman: I am spectacular. How are you doing?
Raymond Hawkins: I’m doing so good. Thank you, Cy. So not only are you New York Times bestseller, you’re recording from York today.
Cy Wakeman: I am. Coincidence? Yes.
Raymond Hawkins: If you see something scrolling across the screen while we do the podcast, I mean, it’s just some high tech stuff we’ve got here on… It’ll happen occasionally during the show. If you happen to want to buy a book from somebody that might be on the show today, you can just go to amazon.com, it’s awesome. No, Cy is the best. Cy, how many books have you written?
Cy Wakeman: I’ve written four. So you showed Value-Based Leadership and Reality-Based Rules. I’ve written No Ego: How to End Entitlement [crosstalk 00:01:17].
Raymond Hawkins: Give a second, give me a second.
Cy Wakeman: Oh, you might have that one.
Raymond Hawkins: You’ve written what? Wait, hold on. Oh, wait. I grabbed the wrong one.
Cy Wakeman: Oh, that’s Extreme Ownership. That’s a great book too though. Everybody [crosstalk 00:01:25]
Raymond Hawkins: That’s another great one. Hold on. I got it.
Cy Wakeman: There’s No Ego, that’s an great book. And then in March, and it’s available for pre-order right now, I have a new book coming out called Life’s Messy, Live Happy.
Raymond Hawkins: I love it.
Cy Wakeman: And it’s all it about living well in an imperfect world.
Raymond Hawkins: So this is the last one I read. I highly recommend it. We’re doing as many gratuitous plugs as we can. Love it, love it, love it. Okay Cy, so A, thank you for joining me. I know you have far more, I mean, The Today Show or Not Your Father’s Data Center, I mean, we kind of run neck and neck for booking people. It’s very close.
Cy Wakeman: Super close.
Raymond Hawkins: It’s very close. I’ll have to check the ratings tonight, but yeah, it’s very close. I am super grateful. So Cy, yes. Cy was gracious enough to do some work with us here at Compass and that’s how Cy and I met, and love her and think the world of her and wanted to have her on. So Cy, will you back up and just give us a little background on you, how you got into writing books, how you got into coaching organizations about leadership, where BMW came from, just to sneak in some stuff from the book, but will you take us back to a little about you from when you started working and how you’re doing what you’re doing as the Grand Poobah of Cy Wakeman, Inc. I know I’m not using the right name, but…
Cy Wakeman: Oh, you are fine. You are fine. So I started out in a leadership position with zero leadership training. The training I had was in human behavior and psychology. So I started out as a counselor. And then in healthcare, we promote some of our best doers to leaders. Many times, that means we lose out twice, right? We lose a great individual contributor and we promote someone who’s not that skilled in leadership. It wasn’t I wasn’t skilled in leadership, I was not a traditional leader, because so much of what they were teaching at the time was this traditional leadership philosophy, which really was all about enabling your employees and bending reality, protecting them, codling them, over rotating on engagement. So when I got promoted from a counseling background, I looked at much of what we were teaching in leadership, and I just said, “That’s not going to work. I can’t be more responsible for your motivation than you are. I can’t be more responsible. I need to create an environment of psychological safety, but you need to skill yourself up so that you can wonder freely and skillfully in the world.”
Cy Wakeman: And so I saw the world from a viewpoint of shared accountability at the time that most people were seeing the world as that the leader was really responsible for the wellbeing of their employees. I went to traditional leadership kind of bootcamp and I saw that discrepancy. I was in charge of very big turnarounds. We had very little time. We needed to meet deadlines. These were areas in healthcare, losing money with poor quality, not giving patients what they needed. So I was sent in to stand up and turn around units. So I started doing kind of a Monday morning, forget what you learned in leadership training, and if you’re going to work on my team, come to my training.
Cy Wakeman: And I started teaching them some pretty counterintuitive approaches to leadership. We called it reality-based leadership. That would work great in a whole different world, what they’re teaching you, but this is kind of the storm we’re in. And we got great results. So people started to invite me and ask me how you’re getting these great results. And that’s where things just kind of went viral. They went organic. I didn’t think about writing a book, but I got invited to speak to more and more places about the actual results we were getting. And then in healthcare in the nineties, there was kind of a big migration out of healthcare to other industries like high tech. So a lot of the people I had worked for and delivered such good results, they would call me up and then say, “Hey, if you have a couple weeks vacation, can you come help me with my team? We need these principles instilled.”
Cy Wakeman: And then finally, I got an offer to write a book and it’s really just been a viral effort. I haven’t really intended to become a spokesperson on sanity in the workplace, but as we face the disruption we’re facing now, I think people really started to realize that while engagement’s important, if you over rotate on engagement, you’ll find that engagement without accountability creates entitlement, and it’s not sustainable during disruption. It’s just not scalable. Over relying on leadership for people’s emotional wellbeing and all the other things we test leadership with is absolutely unscalable. We need people self-sufficient in their own accountability levels that they bring to the table.
Raymond Hawkins: So Cy, there’s so much in there I want you to keep just digging with me. Will you give a us another click on when you say engagement, right? I think in the social media world, we think of engagement means somebody liked my post and that’s not what you’re talking about. Right? So will you give us a little more on what you mean by engagement?
Cy Wakeman: So a trend that happened in the last 20 years is organizations wanted to pay attention to whether their employees were engaged in the organization. They started measuring engagement levels. And traditionally, what engagement levels major is, “I intend to stay, so I’m not looking for a job, I would recommend this place to others, and I’m willing to go over and beyond just what’s minimally required and I’m willing to give more of myself to the organization.” And that’s a great thing to measure. What people missed is, depending on my own accountability level, I will experience the organization differently. The same organization will not create engagement from people in different states of accountability level. So if I’m low in accountability and I’m in any pain, I will automatically outsource that emotional wellbeing and say, “I’m in pain. My leaders are not treating me well. I’m in pain. The organization isn’t given me what I need,” or “I’m stressed. That means that they aren’t doing what I need. It really attributes any pain and suffering I have to external circumstances.”
Cy Wakeman: And right now, we’re seeing that in the pandemic, where people are taking feelings and really intellectualizing them into grievances. I’m feeling unsure and anxious, oh, and it is because my leaders don’t give me enough communication. High accountables also look at what is the organization’s responsibility. But before they do that, they look at what is their responsibility. So when high accountables are in pain, they say things like, “Huh, what’s my part in this? Have I had the conversations I’ve needed? If I’m not clear, have I gone looking for the emails I’ve been sent? Am I connecting with the people I need to connect with?”
Cy Wakeman: And then what’s left over is attributed to the organization. So it’s basically a high accountable sense, “Here’s what I can do to improve this situation in the near term, and here is a suggestion I can make to the organization in the long term.” So when you ask for engagement experiences, the high accountables answer is far more credible because it takes out the distortion of data that comes from low accountable’s victim mindset. And so we’ve even done so far as to take traditional engagement surveys, introduce an accountability metric, and filter the results of the surveys on the metric so that people can get better information about what to fix next.
Raymond Hawkins: So really, accountability being a more effective view of how is this person interacting with my business rather than just, “Hey, I’ve shown up and I’m going to do my job today,” but more, “Hey, how do you view yourself as responsible for the results, accountable to the business, and how are you showing up?” And Cy, I’m stealing one of your phrases, right? How do you show up, right? I’d love for you to talk about that, because being responsible for how I show up, and I just want to share with everybody that listens, one of the things Cy taught us in our business is, “Hey, we’re pretty emphatic about our culture inside Compass and we use the phrase calling somebody out.”
Raymond Hawkins: And you completely transformed that. Now we use the phrase calling somebody up. Hey, calling somebody up is, Hey, I want to encourage you. How do you show up to the meeting? How do you show up to the task? How do you show up to the challenge? So will you do that a little bit? Talk about how accountability that engagement really filtered through the accountability metric, it’s about how you show up. Will you talk about that some?
Cy Wakeman: Absolutely. And my work with Compass was phenomenal because they talk about pride out, humility in, and really taking care of working your own program, how you show up. And what I do a lot as a leader is I have to teach people how their mind works and how the world works. So I have to teach them how their mind works so they quit getting played by their ego. They need to stop believing everything they think, because the ego helps them justify anything. And I need to teach them how the world works, because we spend a ton of time arguing with reality, which is argument will lose, but only like a hundred percent of the time. And the way I teach people about out how their mind works is I say, imagine that you have a toggle switch on your forehead, like a light switch, invisible.
Cy Wakeman: And when it’s toggled down, you’re seeing the world through the lens of ego, that your information is distorted. You get an email that says, “Can you arrange some time with me? I want to talk with you,” and you add the story to it, I’m about to be fired or I’m in trouble. The ego always takes facts and adds story. And the stress you feel comes from your story, not the facts most of the time. So the ego distorts your information. It sees you as the victim, somebody else is the villain. And when you’re in ego, you’re using the most primitive part of your intelligence. So you see your only options as fight, flight, freeze, fun, and disengage. And when we disengage, it doesn’t feel good. So we do what I call BMW driving, which is belly aching, moaning, and whining, because we vent and venting serves a purpose. It’s the ego’s way of doing self-reflection. Now that same toggle switch goes up, same person toggled up sees the world using all of their intelligence is naturally accountable, collaborative. It’s like your best self.
Raymond Hawkins: So hold on.
Cy Wakeman: So how do you…
Raymond Hawkins: I got to stop you. Hold on, stop. I got to stop you, sorry.
Cy Wakeman: Okay.
Raymond Hawkins: There is so much in there. You said a gazillion things that are so important, right? How you see the world based on where your toggle switches up. There’s so much in that, right? If you’re in fight or flight mode, you can’t see the world accurately. When you’re in ego and you’re letting your ego drive, you see the world… I love Brene brown. I’m not sure which one of you I love more. You or Brene, you’re both amazing, right. That whole story…
Cy Wakeman: I’m glad story tie with Brene.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. The story I’m… Oh, I’ve read more of your books than Brene’s, so right now, I think you’re in the lead. But I mean, the story I’m telling myself, right? That’s a Brene phrase. I mean, you nailed it, right? What do I say about it? Well, if I’m in ego mode, I’m building, I’m crafting a story about what’s going on, and most of it’s not true, most of it’s not real. BMW, I loved your [inaudible 00:12:56]. While I’m crafting a story, I’m bitching, moaning, and whining. I’m doing something that’s impacting our org. So it’s all stuff that comes out of you so fast, but I just wanted to highlight all those and get you to go down to each one of those trails for little bit, because each one of them is huge, right?
Cy Wakeman: I love it.
Raymond Hawkins: The story you’re telling yourself, that’s so big. Why you bitch, moan, and wine because of the story you’re telling yourself and which part of your brain you’re in, where your ego switch is either on or off. All those are so huge. So anyway, I just wanted to get you to dig into each one of those a little more, because they’re so important, about all of how we show up at work.
Cy Wakeman: Absolutely. And so many people don’t know of this when their toggle switch is down. And I can’t move your toggle switch for you, that’s yours. What I can do is use a technique called self-reflection. So how do you get from low self to high self? It’s self-reflection. The brain can’t vent and help at the same time. The brain can’t create story and vent and self reflect at the same time. So using questions like, what would great look like? Is it called a greatness? I empathize with you, but instead of sympathizing, go, “I know. They do that to me too include together those people in
Raymond Hawkins: Those people in accounting.
Cy Wakeman: Yeah. I, as a leader or as a colleague or on myself, when I find myself in low self, feeling like a victim and I have no place for impact, that called to greatness is, wait a minute, if I were great right now, what would great look like? Not if the situation were better, but if I were great, what would great look like? And I use questions like [crosstalk 00:14:33]
Raymond Hawkins: Hold on, hold on. Hold on, I’m stop you again. I’m going to stop you [inaudible 00:14:33]. What does great look like? I think that one gets misused so much. We’re going to stop right there.
Cy Wakeman: It does.
Raymond Hawkins: It’s not, “How do we change this situation?” It’s, “Let me hold myself accountable.” This situation is what it is. What would great look like if I was in my best self and reacted appropriately? What does that great look like? And if I’m leading a team or an organization, that’s when I’m asking my team, not, “Hey, how do we change?” Hey, the situation is what the situation is, right? I can’t change the fact that there’s ships in the harbor with our stuff that I can’t get delivered, so I can’t build my building. Given that situation, what would great look like coming from you, teammates? What’s the best can do given the situation. I just want to clarify, when you’re saying, “What does great look like?”, we’re not saying, “How do we magically fix the world around us?” What we’re saying is, “How do you show up and be the best you can be?” Right?
Cy Wakeman: And that’s the bulk of accountability, because a lot of people believe their circumstances are the reasons they can’t succeed. Your circumstances are the reality in which you must succeed.
Raymond Hawkins: Amen.
Cy Wakeman: If your reality were perfect, we wouldn’t need you humans. You add no value in a perfect reality.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Cy Wakeman: We just [crosstalk 00:15:43]
Raymond Hawkins: Machines can do things in a perfect scenario.
Cy Wakeman: Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: I can just have a machine go, yes, no, yes, no.
Cy Wakeman: [Inaudible 00:15:48] can build themselves.
Raymond Hawkins: That’s right, that’s right.
Cy Wakeman: It’s like we don’t need the humans in that. And so many people would rather spend time arguing with reality. Ain’t it awful. And we can’t get our stuff. And none of this is our fault and we are the victims. And what you need to do, if you want to be accountable and what leaders need to do, and I love the word you used, it’s one of my favorite, given this is our reality, how can we?
Raymond Hawkins: That’s right.
Cy Wakeman: Leaders don’t manage people, they manage the energy of people. And they manage energy away from why we can’t to how we could.
Raymond Hawkins: Yep. Here here.
Cy Wakeman: And especially in disruption right now in the supply chain, so many people are surrendering to this is so disruptive, this isn’t about me. And they’re almost emerging traumatized.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Cy Wakeman: And I’m like, no, you can emerge evolved. More people emerge from trauma with posttraumatic growth than posttraumatic stress.
Raymond Hawkins: Here here.
Cy Wakeman: Leaders empathize. We don’t just go, “Suck it up, buttercup,” or we don’t have positive of toxicity, but leaders empathize. Yeah, this is unprecedented. I personally haven’t seen this big a disruption in supply chain in my lifetime. And leaders all [crosstalk 00:17:05]
Raymond Hawkins: In your 25 years, it’s never been this bad, Cy?
Cy Wakeman: Exactly. And leaders also have to imagine the possible positive possibilities and manage energy towards, but what if we could. And there lies the competitive advantage. Also, there lies calling people up to their highest potential. And in my work with Compass, I totally understood the value that Compass was getting at, because they are hardcore on really blessed accountability, not the dirty word kind, but the really, let’s do great things together for great companies. But there was one thing that the founder, I had to call him out a little bit, is that traditionally, if you didn’t grow up as one of the founder’s kids, being called out is a little scary. It’s like, “I’m going to call you out right now.” I don’t know about your childhood, but that meant, in my childhood…
Raymond Hawkins: You were [crosstalk 00:18:00]. Yeah.
Cy Wakeman: So it kind of panic. So we just, with modernizing the language a little bit, say, “Let me call you up,” because all of us are capable of greatness, and a leader’s role, a colleague’s role, appears role is to call each other up because we have a human condition. I write books on this stuff. I can be in low self toggle down and I can be in high self, same person. But the cool thing is, is it’s the same person, that in any moment, I can toggle up and see the world differently, see the world as opportunity, see portals where I can plug and play ever so subtle that I didn’t realize. And right now, we have a lot of people succumbing to a victim mindset.
Raymond Hawkins: You alluded to Crosby, so I’m just going to call him by name, right? Chris Crosby. I will say, our language, because of our work with you changed, right? We used the call out language, and now we use the call up language. And I’m going to give you another one that we use now. You use toggle up, toggle down. We ask people, Hey, are you choosing light today? Are you choosing darkness? Because if you choose darkness, you’re going to hurt.”
Raymond Hawkins: I mean, the world’s dark. There’s bad problems. There’s stuff. And back, I love the point you made earlier. Hey, if things didn’t go bump in the night, I don’t need you here. If everything ran perfectly every day, none of us would have a job, right? You could program a computer and everything it run… The reason we all have jobs is because things go bump in the night. What I need for you from you, when it goes bump in the night, as I need you to choose the light, not the darkness. I need you to choose what’s the best way I can show up and help solve this problem, not how do I explain the darkness and how it’s a handicap for me and how I can’t deliver. Hey, it’s going to go bump in the night, that’s why you have a job, so choose the light every day. Choose to be toggled up. Let me call you up. I think that’s so huge. And that’s…
Cy Wakeman: I love that.
Raymond Hawkins: You helped us that language, Cy, by the way. You coached us through that, is, “Hey, let’s not call each other out. Let’s call each other up and let’s choose the light today. Let’s choose a positive way to see this and a positive way to solve the problem. Because given the circumstances that we cannot control, we get to choose how we show up.”
Cy Wakeman: Absolutely. And what I also loved about that experience is being able to call people up has a lot to do with how they receive it. They’re like, “Thank you.”
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Cy Wakeman: “Can I have another?” And for so many of us… And again, this isn’t toxic positivity, this isn’t imagining a different world. This is dropping the story you created about the same reality and the value that we can add by just moving through the world more skillfully.
Raymond Hawkins: So I love that phrase, toxic positivity, right? This is not Pollyanna. We’re not ignoring the problems. We’re accepting them. We’re embracing them. Given these circumstances, let’s choose how we respond.
Cy Wakeman: Exactly. And I call that thinking inside the box. It’s easy to think outside the box. If only at the world were different, I’d be a rock star. Thinking inside the box is, given our constraints, how can we still attain our goal?
Raymond Hawkins: Yes.
Cy Wakeman: What can I do towards that? And it’s not about heroics. It’s not about any of that. It’s about usage. It is about conserving my energy that I might put into judging or complaining or regretting or bemoaning and saying, “I’m just going to use my energy to figure out where we are and what we could do next that would connect us.” Right now, there are… When the pandemic first hit and people would come on Zoom, I would listen the first five minutes. People were pretty engaged. They were like, “How are you doing? Do you need anything?” If somebody needed something, collectively as genius, they would jump in and they go, “Let’s figure it out.”
Cy Wakeman: I’m homeschooling three kids. I only have one laptop. People are like, “We will get you technology.” Recently, those first five minutes is [inaudible 00:21:49] and awful. Somebody should do something. This is absolutely ridiculous. And I’m like, it’s called disassociation. These times are challenging, but we cannot forget that these are our times. The next chapter written is one we co-write. It’s written about us.
Raymond Hawkins: Here here.
Cy Wakeman: And I personally believe I am here in this moment, in this time, for this reason. You all have to decide your own fate, but is no accident that Raymond Hawkins, Cy Wakeman, and other people are here in this moment. And when you are in an unpreferred reality, what a lot of us do is argue with that reality. It shouldn’t be like that. Some of us hope for a different future.
Raymond Hawkins: Hold on, Cy. Hold on. Hold on, you said, when we’re in an unpreferred reality. Let’s be fair, Cy, that’s life.
Cy Wakeman: Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: Listen, every day, nothing’s going to go exactly the way you want, so get equipped to handle unpreferred, because that’s life.
Cy Wakeman: And that’s just it. So many of us want our circumstances differently, but what we need to do is grow the skills to evolve so that we can move freely in current circumstances. A lot of people are like, “That’s just how I am. I’m going to bring my authentic self to work.” And I’m like, “Do not do that. Bring your most evolved self to work.”
Raymond Hawkins: Can you leave it at home?
Cy Wakeman: [Crosstalk 00:23:04] No, I want your diversity. Diversity, I love. I need diversity because I’m working a global operation here and we’ve got to understand our customers and [crosstalk 00:23:17].
Raymond Hawkins: Bring evolved Raymond, not natural behaving Raymond.
Cy Wakeman: Exactly. Bring your high self to work. And a lot of people want to either argue with reality or wish for a different future. But what leaders do is, they find this tiny space between an unpreferred reality and the future that could be different, and they squeeze into that space and they start using their agency and their choices to make connections. While not ideal, let’s move forward in the following way, putting all of our energy focused here so that we can connect in and co-create a different future for ourselves. And that sweet spot is where I see too many people right now avoiding. And I feel so sad for them, because if you want to wake up every day feeling pretty dang awesome about yourself, go into that dark sweet spot and bring light to it. Go into that crack and bring some light there.
Cy Wakeman: Because when you do that, not only do you bring out your best, but it’s contagious. People start to have hope again. I’m like, let’s help hope they could come back. We are not doomed. And we don’t live in the world we want yet, but we’re the ones… I have a belief that God doesn’t come find me, I grow into God.
Raymond Hawkins: Here, here. Yes.
Cy Wakeman: We’re the ones that need to grow our way into Nirvana. And a lot of us are sitting down wishing Nirvana would come by, and it’s like, no, we got to co-create that.
Raymond Hawkins: Here, here. So you said something about energy that I want you to talk a little bit more about. So I fall in the camp that I believe I wake up every day and I have a finite amount of energy and I get to choose how I spend that energy. I can go walk my dog, I can go to the gym, I can go to work, I can call and talk to my kids, I can complain, I can lay on the couch and mope. I use how to spend that energy. And what I hear you talking about is… I hear you saying, I think most of us think that in our personal life and think about that and how we, do I have work-life balance? How do I spend the weekend? What I hear you saying is, you get to choose how you spend your energy at work too. Now you can spend your energy in a BMW mode or you can spend your energy shinning light into those dark places. You’re spending energy either way. It is a choice.
Cy Wakeman: Yeah, where we put our attention and energy determines the quality of our life at work and at home, absolutely. And one thing I’ve been teaching people a lot is, we’ve been having conversations in a lot of our businesses that are completely exhausting. They’ve been going on for years. We’re exhausted. And people keep trying to get into the same conversation and improve it. I’m like, end all conversations that are exhausting, just end them, and invite people to a new conversation. So just end to some of these conversations about who done you wrong and what happened five years go. What do you need to let go of today to live the life you want, to create the results that you want? I wake up every day, I’m like, what needs to die today so that I’m freed up to live the life I want? And how am I going to love and serve today?
Cy Wakeman: And so many times at work, I have to, and at home too, but I have to use my skillset to set boundaries. So I ask people, if they’re frustrated, I’m like, “What has this pandemic revealed to you about you? What’s it revealed to you about your relationship with solitude or uncertainty or disruption? Where do you need to grow naps to have a little bit of immunity to this situation? Is it in flexibility? Is it intolerance? Is it in logistics planning? Is it in partnering with other parts of your organization?” Because to concern my energy, what the pandemic revealed to me is, working from home, I used to let going to the office set all my boundaries. I’m just like, “Oh, sorry, got to go. Everybody figure your own stuff out.” And I started learning I literally, at work or on Zoom, have to say, “I’m just not available to that. I’m not available for that, that conversation.”
Cy Wakeman: Someone wants to gossip with me. It’s like, “I’m just… I’m not available for that. What I am available for, and I’d invite you to, is let’s talk about how we bring that team to hire grounds. I’m available for that.” And I started that language has become so powerful to me where I hear myself say what I’m available for and what I’m not. And somebody came to me the other day and they’re like, “Well, I just really want to talk about… I’ve heard that other people are concerned about…” And I said, “We have 30 minutes together. I need you to make a conscious choice right now whether you want to talk about what other people heard and are upset about or… You have 30 minutes with me as a consultant. Is that really what you want to talk about, or do you want to talk about how you could move through the world more freely, more skillfully, and with more impact? Because I want you to consciously choose and not just be reacting to what’s happening.”
Raymond Hawkins: And Cy, I love… You said the comment on what’s holding you back? You said, what are you hanging onto? What’s preventing you from showing up at work and being your best self. One of the things I like coaching both my kids and team is, “Hey, don’t let a bad thing beat you twice.” Right? Because bad things happen.
Cy Wakeman: I love that.
Raymond Hawkins: Right? But don’t let it beat you again tomorrow. And we may get… Hey, we didn’t get down selected on a deal. It’s bad. Hey, we put a bunch of energy and effort and we chased hard and we thought we made a good proposal and we… Hey, losing’s part of being in business. It can beat us today, but don’t let it beat you again tomorrow. Don’t let it beat you a second time. Don’t show up tomorrow and go, “Man. I can’t believe the way that went down.” No, no. Let’s choose today.
Raymond Hawkins: And it’s got a great application, but also with my kids, right? Hey, bad stuff happens, just let it get you one time. I ask my kids, I’m like, “Hey, I’m okay with you being upset about something, but I want you to schedule it.” And they’re like, “What?” And I’m like, “Just tell me how bad it is.” “Dad, my boyfriend broke up with me.” “Awesome, that’s really bad. How long is it going to keep us down?” “Dad, it’s really bad.” “Okay, is a month enough. I’m okay. If it’s that bad. I’m a month, okay. It’s September 7th. On October 8th, we’re going to be over it. Right? And let’s wrestle with it for the next month. That’s a big deal. Y’all dated for two years. I’m good with that.” “My teacher gave me a bad grade.” “Okay, you can be upset about that between now and dinner. Can you be good by dinner?” Let’s schedule our downtime and let’s let it beat us one time and be done with it.
Cy Wakeman: And what that does is it actually says go into the feelings. Right now, people hold onto things for so long because they won’t actually just go into the feelings. Follow your breath and embody the feelings. They’re trying to identify externally and use hatred or use vengeance or it’s… That’s the work of the ego, is identifying it externally and putting blame. Why don’t you date? Well, I got hurt a year and a half ago by somebody, so I decided never to date begin. That’s something that beat you every single day.
Cy Wakeman: But we tend to do that, to be mad at the world, because we avoid just feeling the heartbreak. And the heartbreak is simply the space between loving big and having to let go before you are ready. So get about the business of letting go, put it on project status. Make it happen. Don’t skim over your emotions, but set a timer, go deep into them. What I have found, because we’re both parents, when my kids were little and they would throw that fit, the two year old throw yourself on the ground, nobody can really feel for longer than like five minutes at that age.
Raymond Hawkins: Did you say the 52 year-old throw yourself to the ground or the 2 year-old?
Cy Wakeman: Yeah.
Raymond Hawkins: I just want to make sure if you were describing me or my son. [Crosstalk 00:31:05] it’s okay. Yeah, okay.
Cy Wakeman: Exactly.
Raymond Hawkins: 2 year-old, yeah.
Cy Wakeman: So when my kids would have one of those tantrums, I would be like, “Wait a minute, set the eight timer. We’re going big. You’re a Wakeman. I want you to put more arm into this. I want more poise.” They would do it in the middle of the grocery store. I am like, “I am sitting down on the floor with you.”
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah, let’s go.
Cy Wakeman: “And I am just going to… Let’s do this puppy. I feel like crap too. Let’s go.”
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah.
Cy Wakeman: And what was so funny about that is they would be like, “Mom, what are you doing? Get up.” I’m like, “I’m not getting up.”
Raymond Hawkins: So good.
Cy Wakeman: And I’m saying that not to mock them, but if you’re going to have a fit, have a fit. If you’re going to…
Raymond Hawkins: Let’s go.
Cy Wakeman: … feel it, feel it. But what you’ll notice is that the feelings, if you’re actually willing to feel them, don’t really last that long. Feel them as they come, and then make some decisions. If you have a chronic issue, sit with that feeling till it tells you its name. And it might tell you its name is I don’t have good boundaries, or it’s name is I ignore red flags, or its name is I didn’t do my part in that relationship. I don’t know what its name is, but find the name, the lesson in it, and then move forward getting about the business of evolving there so that you can move through the world more freely. I really think it is our time to step up. Not necessarily to just have impact in the world, because we’re all about mastery, but to step up and be willing to be impacted by the world and part of that mystery, because so many of us go out with, “I know,” but right now, the world is calling for us to unlearn and be undone as much as we’re learning and doing.
Cy Wakeman: And so I really counter people I coach with. They’re like, “What are you learning today?” And I’m like, “No, what are you unlearning today? What have you believed worked for you that no longer does that is not appropriate or relevant to these times? Where does your knowing keep you stuck?” And that’s where I find partnering, a lot of times, between really good, the partner vendors I work with on different projects, I find partnering together in vulnerability with Brene Brown’s guidance to say, “Folks, we are saying, I know that you didn’t do this and you know that… What is it that we don’t know? And how can we get vulnerable and come together and talk about, I’m perplexed by this. I have reached out as far as I can reach out. I don’t know what else to do. When’s the last time we talk about that?”
Cy Wakeman: And what I am finding is that individually, we try and muscle our way through. True resilience is not about how much stamina you have or how much perseverance you have or if you’re the smartest person in the room, because the world has shown us that even the smartest person in the room gets outdone. True resilience lies in the collective genius. So the true resilient people are the people that have the best networks of positive relationships and ask for help most often and come together in vulnerable ways.
Cy Wakeman: We don’t know how to do this now that all of our stuff is on this ship, number 133 in the harbor, but let’s get together. And too many times, clients and vendors, they get together with blame and judgment. And it’s like, stop judging and start helping. Not one of us has the right idea about what to do, but let’s come together collectively and say, “Collectively we’re genius. Let’s talk about how we can make progress, given our circumstances.” And it just becomes conversations that really bring out the best in people. And I think we need more of that too.
Raymond Hawkins: Here, here. I love that, Cy. I’ll sometimes challenge the folks on my team to tell me something great that was accomplished by an individual. And I get so and so wrote a book or so and so ran a marathon or a race, those are the ones. And I’m like, hold on a minute, you don’t think the book writer had someone who taught them English, taught them how to structure sentences. There was a whole lifetime of work that went into that.
Cy Wakeman: Invisible help, invisible help.
Raymond Hawkins: Before they… Yeah. Yeah. You don’t think that that runner had a coach and had a trainer and had a nutritionist? And I mean, we do great things when we do things. We don’t do great things when we try to be individuals. And if I could think of one thing that would sum up what you do, Cy, is you teach us how to be better together. I think that’s what you teach us how to do, right? How do we get together and be better? And that’s not only good for us professionally, it’s just good for us as people. And that’s one of the things, is probably the thing I love the most about you, is that although you were in business, you’re teaching us how to be better together as people, because I ultimately think the most important thing in life is the relationships we have.
Cy Wakeman: It really is, Raymond. And I love my relationship with you. I’m such a fan, so truly.
Raymond Hawkins: Awesome. Awesome. Cy, give us a couple things. So we got listeners in Asia, we got listeners in Australia, we got listeners in Europe. Let’s say some things that I can get people to come look for you. So Reality-Based Leadership is the official business name. Is that right? If they want to hire you to [crosstalk 00:36:10]
Cy Wakeman: realitybasedleadership.com.
Raymond Hawkins: Yep.
Cy Wakeman: Yep.
Raymond Hawkins: [crosstalk 00:36:13] Cy Wakeman.
Cy Wakeman: You can sign up for the newsletter. Cy Wakeman. @CyWakeman. Sign up in the newsletter at realitybasedleadership.com. We’ve gone back, because of all the algorithms of social media, to the newsletter community. We don’t sell you stuff, but we give you tons of great contents.
Raymond Hawkins: That’s a good one.
Cy Wakeman: Follow me on @CyWakeman. My podcast is [crosstalk 00:36:29].
Raymond Hawkins: W-A-K-E-M-A-N, right? Wakeman.
Cy Wakeman: Yep. And C-Y. Yep.
Raymond Hawkins: Yeah. C-Y, Cy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Cy Wakeman: Yeah, because in Asia it’s a lot of times P-S-Y. It’s C-Y. And my podcast is out there. It’s under No Ego. You can pre-order my new book right now. It comes out March 29th. So it’s called Life’s Messy, Live Happy. And even though it’s not a business title, it is a lot of the topics we just talked about that you’re going to need personally.
Raymond Hawkins: Cy, we have to see each other again, because there’s a whole section…
Cy Wakeman: I know.
Raymond Hawkins: … in my personal library that I have books signed by my friends, and I have three of your books I have to get signed.
Cy Wakeman: I will be down there. We moved our headquarters to McKinney. I don’t know if you know this.
Raymond Hawkins: No, I didn’t know that. All right, next time you come to McKinney, I’m bringing all my books up, because you belong… You’re in library, but you belong in my home library under book signed by my friends. So you got to tell me when you’re coming to McKinney.
Cy Wakeman: I will do that. And you tell my friends at Compass I said a big hello.
Raymond Hawkins: Well, we think the world of you, Cy. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. We’re so grateful. Be safe in your travels. And congratulations on the new book and good luck that it just goes gang busters. And we really appreciate you. Thank you so much, Cy.
Cy Wakeman: Thank you.