A fast moving very full lesson in speaking. From elevator speech to keynote. How to make them incredibly powerful.
Candy: Clarence’s goal is to create a passion filled legacy that will shift the trajectory of millions of people seeking a better life. His talk today is around courageous leadership, and I’m excited because he talks about the five immutable laws and he’s going to share with us one of those laws here, and he’s going to talk about creating a psychological view of how fear stops you from being our best, and teach you when and how to create the courage to rise from that fear. So Clarence, it is my honor and privilege to welcome to the stage.
Clarence: Thank you Candy, thank you everyone. Thanks a lot for that introduction, I didn’t know you were going to read all of that, but I’m glad you did because I do have a book coming out in a couple of months, and we’ll talk more about that at another time. But it doesn’t really portray my life per se even though the title of it is, “From the Bread line to the Board Room” when I was homeless, and ended up at some point as a senior executive, very successful. But we’ll talk about that another time.
Today we’re going to talk about courageous leader, and I know the question came up earlier, how many leaders do we have in the room? Any leaders in the room? Yeah I know you’re all leaders, yes? How many courageous leaders do we have in the room? Oh, okay. A few hands went up, I like that. Well it does take a level of courage to be a leader for many, many reasons, because it’s a jungle out there. Do you find that? It’s a jungle out there, and if you’re the right courageous leader, you can forge the path through that jungle where people will follow you. Agree with that?
Your job as a leader is to forge that path, but it takes courage because the jungle is full of lions, and tigers, and bears-
Audience: Oh my.
Clarence: Ah ha, you know, you’ve experienced that jungle. If you’ve traveled here from out of town, you’ve probably experienced the challenges that the jungle presents every single day. You’re challenged every single day, if you went to the airport, the TSA probably said, “Let’s see that bag, go through the conveyor belt one more time.” You’re challenged, little challenges. If you took a cab here, after you sign the credit card receipt, the cab driver may have given you that eye that says, that tip wasn’t quite big enough. Little challenges, you are challenged everyday by people and by life, life challenges you all the time.
Now I did mention the book that goes from Breadline to Board room, and what I talk about in the book are the five immutable laws. And we talked about some of those already this morning. Choice, the very first one, big one, choice. Commitment, we’ll talk about courage right now, confidence, and celebration. I encourage that you dive deep into each of those because without those, if you break any of those laws, you are really breaking the tenets of your personal leadership. Because personal leadership must precede professional leadership. Candy mentioned it earlier. Leadership is an inside job. So I encourage you to take these five seats, these five immutable laws, and they’re immutable because they can’t be broken. It’s like gravity, they exist. If you break these, you’re going to have a tougher time. This is the foundation of your success.
But one thing that happens with us, and we’ll talk about one aspect of it, but I’d just like to share this with you, give me a second [blows balloon 00:03:45]. Now we just did a breathing exercise-
Audience: [crosstalk 00:03:52]-
Clarence: And I think I’m out of breath. All right, well, dizzy. This can represent your life. It’s full, it’s shiny, it’s colorful. It’s got all the celebratory natures of everything that you want in life, is this the life that you want? Yes? This is the life that you have? I have this life, I want this life, I like this life. Or, would you rather have a life that was more like this? Empty, shriveled up, it had a lot of promise but it’s not full of the things that you want in life. So we all want this yes? Well, even if you have this, it’s important not to lose it. Because there are leaks in this all the time. What are some of the leaks, stress, overwhelmed, worry? We’re going to fix the leaks here, don’t go to the restroom. A lower emotional intelligence, self doubt, the biggest leak of all fear. Right?
This will make the difference not only in your life but in the life of the people who are following you, the people who look up to you. Now it took me a while to figure this one out, in fact, when I was twelve years old, my mother moved us from Cleveland to New York, and in New York, we didn’t just live in New York, we lived in we’ll just call it the ghetto. So I have a question for you quickly, does fear keep you safe, or is fear a dangerous thing for you?
I’d take a survey, but I don’t have much time. I’m going to tell you. Fear keeps you safe when it’s lions, and tigers, and bears right? Because it will tell you that you need to run, you need to avoid whatever that is. It’s the reason you lock your door at night, and put on the burglar alarm system when you go to sleep, because you fear somebody’s going to break in. So fear can keep you safe, if you know that story, it could be witches and flying monkeys. It’s all around, it could be the TSA or the cab driver, all of these things are always challenging you, people are challenging you, life challenges you. So fear keeps you safe in one respect, but when is it dangerous? It’s dangerous when it, what? Stops you from becoming what you were intended to become. It’s dangerous when you look at fear and it stops you from being your true courageous leader.
And what are some of the things that stop you? You’re afraid of failing. I’m not going to ask that person to marry me because they may say no. I’m not going to pick up the phone and call that client because I don’t want to hear no, I don’t like rejection. I’m fearful of rejection. And I might be embarrassed if I ask that person to go out with me in a public place and they say no, everybody will know. We fear all of these things internally, I’m not going to speak up in a meeting because someone might criticize me. Every time you pay attention to those fears, you are not being all that you can be, and you are not being courageous enough to be the leader that you were meant to be. Everybody get that?
If you get that say, “I get that.”
Audience: I get that.
Clarence: All right, see, what I like to do is when I say, “I get that”, it’s yours. I’m going to give you my wisdom, and once you say you get it, I’m moving on. Can I move on?
Clarence: All right, when I was twelve, we moved to New York in the ghetto. We were in the Projects, anybody familiar with the New York Projects? Seventeen, eighteen stories of concrete, steel, it’s like a prison. And the prisoners in there are insane, it is a rough, rough place. In fact, coming from Cleveland to New York, I was kind of a country bumpkin, and as a country bumpkin in New York, I got picked on every, single, day. In fact there was a forty five day period there, where I got picked on and beat up, not picked on or beat up. Picked on and beat up. After forty five days I looked like Apollo Creed from Rocky IV, I mean I was just done.
My mother got so mad, she came out to defend me, she came out and stood in front of these teenagers, and just read them the the riot act. You don’t want an angry black woman who’s son is being picked on to come out and dress you up and down, because that’s what she did. I feared for Her life, it was just that serious, and she has no idea that doing that, made my life even worse. So any mothers out there trying to defend your children, let them get through it somehow, even though I was beat up for forty five days straight. But here’s the deal, do you think that was great training for being a corporate leader?
Audience: Oh gosh.
Clarence: Oh gosh, yes. It was. You know why? Because in the sophisticated clean hallways of corporate America, or corporate life, there are the same thug like bullies and gangs that will you beat you up every day. I know, I’ve been beat up there too. And I’ve got the scars to prove it. It is a jungle out there, you get my meaning now? It’s a jungle out there, lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Embarrassment, failure, rejection, oh my. All of those fears can stop you from moving forward, or can keep you safe.
Now I’m going to share with you … here’s the executives that will ride you and beat you up. That’s really a … it’s one of those things that’s called motivation, the carrot and the stick, have you seen that one? Oh my gosh, it’s terrible. It’s external, carrot is a promise of the reward, the stick is a threat of punishment. It’s used every single day, there’s another way to get people to follow, there’s another way to get people to perform higher, hopefully, we’re going to go through some of that. I know Candy and I are on the same page that way, and I know she’s going to cover some of that.
But I want to show you my courage model. I used to call it the Bravery model until I understood the difference between courage and bravery, there is a difference. Bravery is one of those things where the private in the army sees the grenade, and just jumps on it to save his platoon, just suddenly. That’s a brave act. But courage is a little bit different. Courage comes with this … it’s more continuous, it’s more contiguous, it’s more of what you know about yourself, so that you can display courage on a consistent basis. And so this model is very easy to follow, and I’ll just share it with you very quickly.
If you see that fear is at it’s very highest, on the left, I have what I call the perceived risk line. This is the risk that you are taking when you take action, whatever that action is. If your fear is at the very highest, and your courage is at the very lowest, that perceived risk is very high to take an action, so you’re not going to take an action, you in fact are risk adverse, and you will turn and run from it, that make sense? In fact if you were to act on it in this mode, it would be reckless, you’re not ready, your fear is too high, your courage is too low.
I’m going to go through the whole chart, but let’s just go to the other side. The other side is when your courage is at its highest and your fear is at its lowest, it’s actually safe, and it’s reckless not to take action. It’s a risk reversal, get that?
All right, so in risk reversal, you’ll get to place where you’ll run to the roar. Anybody ever heard that, run to the roar? It comes from an old African story where the elders would teach the young warriors how to build their courage. And the story goes where the lion said the young lions would be at one end of the Serengeti, or the valley, as they were hunting for prey, and the older lions would be at the other end, and the older lions have lost strength, they’ve lost their speed, they’ve lost a few teeth, so they weren’t good hunters anymore, but they still had big voices.
And so as the heard that was being hunted moved closer and closer to the older lions, the older lions would stand up, and give a mighty roar, which would put fear in the herd, and the herd would turn, and run into the jaws of the skilled, young, hungry lions. So the moral of the story that the elders would tell the young warriors, is that sometimes you have to build your courage high enough to run to the roar, that’s where you can be safe.
So that’s the issue with this chart. If your courage is high enough, you will actually get a risk reversal, and you will be safer running toward the roar, and reckless not taking that chance, not speaking up in that meeting, not calling it like it is, not being your true authentic, leader of a self that you can and should be. So this courage model, I’m going to make sure that each of you get this, in fact, I have a USB, that I’m going to make sure everybody gets today that goes through the entire courage module so that you can have that, it’s a video I put together as part of one of the courses that I have. And so each of you will get that today.
So but let’s understand the … let’s call it the neuroscience of what happens with this fear and this courage. We respond to fear in a certain way that helps us survive. We have a first part of our mind, our brain, takes in what happens to us, and it decides whether or not it’s a danger for us, it’s a survival piece, it’s called the reptilian brain. It’s the first level of thinking that happens. Have you been in a place where someone you didn’t see coming up, comes up behind you and they touch you on the back?
I was at a conference about three months ago, and there was about a thousand people there, so people were bumping into each other, they were having a good time, it was really crowded, so having someone touch me is not a big deal, but at some point, someone wanted to get my attention, and it came from behind, touched me on my shoulder, and I immediately did one of those. That was the reptilian brain saying, is that danger? Should you run? Should you turn and fight? Should you freeze? The fight, flight, or freeze. That’s the reptilian brain in place.
But we have higher orders of thinking. We have the limbic system that is [inaudible 00:15:50] your emotions and your behavior, and we have the neocortex that is the higher level of thinking that allows us to reason and do many other things. And those other layers of our mind, they check in and say, should we validate what the reptilian brain has said to us, or should we just suppress that fight, flight, or freeze. But the initial thing that happens is the fight, flight, or freeze, so you are going to have fear in your life. Fear does not go away. I’m not here to say you need to be fearless, that’s a myth. You will always have fear.
How you respond to it, and you do with it is what matters, and the only way to really get past it, is not to get rid of fear, but to build your courage high enough to overcome your fear, you get that? If you get that, say, “I get that.”
Audience: I get that.
Clarence: Okay. All right, so this is what we’re talking about. Now bear with me here, because I know this looks a little morbid, and I don’t mean for it to be morbid, because here’s the real deal about this. The only thing that matters on this tombstone is not the date, not your name, not the date you were born or the date you expire, it’s that dash in the middle. That’s the only thing that matters there. We can’t change the date that were born, we don’t know the date we’re going to expire, yes you will expire at some point. If you fear death, I’m going to tell you it’s an irrational fear, because we all are. No one gets out of this alive, I hate to break it to you. We all will, we just don’t know what the expiration date is. So if you can’t change any of those dates, without some real major stuff going on on the back end, what’s really important is the dash.
Now here’s where I’m going to tell you how to build your courage. Now you know what courage is, you know how it shows up, lions and tigers and bears, or embarrassment, rejection, and failure, and how it affects your life, and how you can run to the roar or run and turn, or the reptilian brain, you’ve got all that stuff right, in about fifteen minutes. I hope you feel like you’ve gotten a lot. I’m going to tell you how to build your courage now.
The best way to build your courage is to understand that dash. Not the dash of your life, but the dash of your story. We all have a story, you heard mine very briefly, from the breadline to the boardroom, that’s my story, homeless to success. It doesn’t always have to be from rags to riches, but you have a story. I know you have a story, you wouldn’t be here now if you didn’t have your own story. I would like for you to think about it right now, what is your story? And we all have different stories. It could be from single mom to Wonder Woman, or whatever it is that you are.
You have a story, what’s important about your story is not the single mom piece, it’s not the Wonder Woman piece, it’s about what happened there. When I tell people from breadline to a board room, they want to know about the “to”. What is the “to”? I understand breadline, I understand boardroom. What did you do? That’s where your story lies. When you get clear about your story, that to, that dash, that is when you have a key to the courage that it takes to be a courageous leader.
Now the other thing with the story is, the story itself needs to be boiled down into that phrase. This is your exercise, you can do it now, you can do it at lunch, you can do it later in the day, but the first ten people that come to me and tell me their story in a phrase from this to that, put it in those terms. I want you to put it into terms from this to that. From single mom to Superwoman. From breadline to boardroom. I want your story written that way. I don’t want the thirty minute version, I want that phrase. If you can do that, now, the next thing that happens is to understand that “to” piece, that’s your truth.
Now if you’re from single mom to Wonder Woman, maybe your truth is, my kids are the most important thing to me and I’ll never do anything that will harm them, your story is another sentence. Maybe that’s the truth of who you are. Family is everything, that might be your truth. For me it was about choices, I chose to be homeless. I chose to be in the boardroom. That’s why the first immutable law is about choice, you choose leadership, you choose where you are. You’re here because of choice, that’s my truth, it might not be yours. You have a truth, and I want you to find it, because that truth is your secret weapon.
If you were to walk down a dangerous street at night, with nothing, you would be pretty fearful I’m sure, but if you had a body guard with you, you’d be a little more courageous. If you knew Tae Kwon Do, or karate, or some martial art, if you were black belt, you’d be a little bit more courageous. If you had mace, you’d be more courageous, if you had a gun you’d be more courageous walking down that dangerous street. Your truth is your secret weapon, so anytime you’re feeling that fear of moving forward on an action you want to take, and you want to create a risk reversal, go back to that secret weapon. Your truth will get you past that. It’s gotten you past so much already, don’t leave it behind, don’t leave that weapon at home, take it with you, carry it with you, it’s with you always.
Okay, with that, as a courageous leader, when you are living life that way, as a courageous leader your life is really about being and being better, becoming better, becoming more, becoming your best you, and when you live life on those terms, people will follow you. When you live life on those terms, you will attract the best of the best.
My friends, my courageous leaders, it may be your time to run to the roar, thank you.
Candy: [crosstalk 00:22:40] that was absolutely incredible. There’s so much….
YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS
The most successful people make the most of their time. Productivity is affected by several things e.g. how distracted you get (see my Squirrel video); how organized you are; how you set priorities; and a few more simple keys of managing your time. Here is one huge factor to managing and honoring your time – Monkeys.
In this Video Blog Clarence shares a key component of increasing your productivity – Eliminate the distractions.
Your squirrels are running your life. Who are they? What are they? Have you named your squirrels? Have you tamed your squirrels? You see, when we’re talking about your productivity and when we’re talking about really moving forward in the things that you want to accomplish in your life, whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, we often get distracted.
You know, I think about the shiny object. If somebody presents a shiny object to you and it’s attractive to you you might lose your focus on what you’re doing and move over to try and grab that shiny object. It’s like going fishing. I don’t know how many of you fish. I used to fish as a kid and one thing I always made sure I had was a shiny lure because I know that the fish would see the light reflecting off the lure and be attracted to it and that’s where my hook was, as well. That was a great way to catch fish.
You and I are very similar. Now, we’re a little more sophisticated than fish, obviously, but we do have a reptilian part of our brain and that reptilian brain is what keeps us alive. It’s a survival mode. It’s about fight or flight for survival, food. It’s the very basis of our existence. Just like the fish, and other animals, we have this reptilian brain that really is able to be distracted. We also have higher orders of faculty, obviously. We have the limbic brain which is about our emotions and our behavior. Then we have the neocortex which is even a higher level of thinking that allows us to create so much stuff that we create and build the cultures that we have.
At the very bottom, at the very root of it is this reptilian brain. It doesn’t go away. Those other things are stacked on top of it, as well. Let me give you another example. The fish might be too far away for you to understand or relate to. I don’t know how many golfers are listening right now, but, if you’ve ever golfed and just watch some of the professional golfers. The professional golfers would get over a ball and get ready to swing their club to hit the ball, and it only takes just a little noise to distract them. It could be a camera going off in the distance or someone coughing or someone sneezing. If they’re in the middle of a swing, that little bit of a distraction is enough to really throw their swing off, throw the whole game off for them. They’ll get upset and say, “Wow,” and that’s why people are very quiet before a golfer puts or before a golfer swings because it doesn’t take much to throw them off.
What’s happening there is the reptilian brain of that golfer is trying to determine what was that noise? Is it something I should be afraid of? Should I run? Should I just stay here? Should I fight it? It’s fight, flight or freeze and the reptilian brain is the first thing that kicks into play. Now, the higher levels of order in our mind take over. Our limbic and our neocortex say, “No, you can ignore that.” It gives us a better understanding. But, with a golfer, that moment is so quick that the rest of the brain doesn’t really have a chance to correct itself or suppress the reptilian response.
Now, that may be a little bit out there for you, as well, so I use the fish and I use the golfer. But, what’s happening with you everyday? If you get focused on your project or the action that you want to take, you get focused and you get clear on what you want to accomplish that day. What’s happening with you everyday? Are you getting distracted by the shiny object? The lure? Are you getting distracted by the noise that’s in your ear somewhere else? The phone call. Are you getting distracted by those things? Some people call those squirrels. You know, when you walk your dog and all the sudden a squirrel runs by and the dog just wants to chase it. Well, this is the squirrel syndrome and we all have it because of the reptilian brain.
However, we do have a way of suppressing it and moving forward and getting back on track. One way that I like to say that we can get back on track is to name our squirrels. If you can name your squirrel what is it that typically distracts you? Then you have a better chance of looking out for it. It reminds me of a story I was told by one of my bosses when I was working at corporate. Loved the guy, he was so funny. He was also very inventive. He would talk about squirrels that were running in his attic. Squirrels that were running in his attic. He would catch the squirrels, safely, and release them and they would come back to his attic, so obviously, he found where he thought they were getting in, and plug the hole or the area that they were getting in and he would release them but they kept coming back. Somehow they would get in.
He tells the story of catching the squirrel, a squirrel or a few, and taking nontoxic spray paint, at least he told me it was nontoxic because he knows I love animals. As he told the story he made sure that I knew he wasn’t harming any animals. He would take these squirrels after he caught them, take this nontoxic paint, and he wouldn’t literally, orange paint and spray paint their little bums. Yeah, little circle, little bums. I thought oh my God, what are you doing that for? He said, “I want to know if these are the same squirrels that were coming back.” He would catch the squirrels and then he would release them somewhere farther away from his neighborhood. Then he would come back and if there were more squirrels you’d be able to tell. This was his way of identifying the squirrels.
Sometimes we have to name our squirrels. The story goes on, it’s kind of a funny story because he was vacationing in Florida one year and he overheard a couple talking about these squirrels that had these orange circles around their bums. I don’t know, he didn’t know whether these squirrels were traveling or what was going on. The real point of this story is to let you know if you can identify your squirrels you have a better chance of dealing with them. I call it naming your squirrel so that you can tame your squirrel. Name your squirrel so you can tame your squirrel.
Now, a squirrel for me, and I don’t know what your squirrels are. I have a client who tells me that they’ve got tons of squirrels just running all around. A squirrel for me would be, let’s say, chess. Online chess. I will be in the middle of something and then I’ll get a message that says, “Hey, somebody wants to play chess,” and I’ll go on the site and I’ll end up playing a game of chess. I’ll just play one game. I’ve been working for three or four hours, I’ll just play one game. Then it turns into two or three games. It gets real competitive. Next thing I know an hour or two hours have gone by. I play time chess so that I can keep it down to a short time. I’ll still be distracted and enjoying the chase of that squirrel, but I know that it’s a distraction and it’s kept me from being productive.
What’s keeping you from being productive? Name your squirrel. Can you name one right off the bat? For me, chess. Online chess. Speed chess. Is it Facebook? Is it social media? What’s your squirrel that’s distracting you, that’s taking your eye off the ball, that’s the shiny object that’s in your ear. Something that’s just taking your mind off of what it is. Now, we do need distractions and that’s where your limbic and your neocortex part of your mind and brain needs to kick in and say, “Okay, we’re going to play this game of chess but we recognize that we have a function and a focus and a clarity around the action we want to take to get this job done. We’re going to be productive today and we’re going to get this job done.
I’ll play one game of chess, boom! Then I’m back on task. See? That is the higher level of thinking that we all have available to us that can supersede and overcome the reptilian part of our brain. I ask you, name your squirrel and then think about how you’re going to tame your squirrel. Productivity is a really big item and we’re going to talk more about the different aspects of productivity, but I call it the squid, squirrel ID is the first part. I’m just going to leave that with you. I hope that’s been helpful and look for more of these videos and we’ll talk to you again soon.
Thank you. Remember, live with an attitude of gratitude. Give when you can, and of course, you have this power to choose so love first and then choose. Talk to you soon. Take care.
Are you ready to increase your productivity, gain more influence and experience exceptional success?
Visit me at www.clarencecaldwell.com/highperformance