What does it mean to "stand like a superhero"? Join co-hosts Brian Comerford and Nick Lozano with their special guest Equalman (aka Erik Qualman) to find out. Among his many reasons for rising to the top of social media feeds with the world's most watched social media video, "Social Media Revolution", Erik Qualman is also a renowned motivational speaker & #1 best-selling author. His most recent book, "The Focus Project", synthesizes much of his prior insights, ranging from personal brand, social selling, & digital leadership, and combines those principles with the importance of routines, reflection & rest. Tune for this unique episode with a provoking thought-leader and find out why Equalman is a name circulating by "world of mouth".

Erik Qualman

Books by Erik
The Focus Project
Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence
What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube
What Happens in Vegas Stays
Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business
Spartan Island
How to Sell on LinkedIn: 30 Tips in 30 Days
Flawsome Book
Beyond Flawsome Book

Where you can buy Erik's books

Erik's Podcast
The Super U Podcast

0:00 Opening
1:52 Erik intro
7:10 Are digital leaders are made not born
19:24 1% better every day
25:44 Sleep
32:46 Social Selling
46:46 Digital Stamp
48:27 Recommended book
49:02 Focus project
49:55 Standing like a Super Hero
51:10 Where your can find Erik and closing

Show Transcript:

Nick Lozano  0:00
Don't get it right.

Brian Comerford  0:01
Hey, I'm awesome. I'm feeling like a superhero today, Nick.

Nick Lozano  0:05
I know. So today we had Erik Qualman. Equal man. And I know you've brought up a ton of his books like, but when you and I have had solo shows, together, you've brought up, you know, his digital leader book quite often. So it was a really great conversation. We touched on everything focused, you know, comparing yourself to other stuff to what he thinks is coming in the future. There, there

Brian Comerford  0:28
are great tips and tricks and every one of his books, and I can't recommend them more. Whether you're a leader in technology, whether you're a leader of an organization, you're in marketing, you are in sales, he's got something for everyone. And this latest book that he's put out, the focus project also delves into a lot of these health characteristics to make the best improvements for yourself standing like a superhero, being only one among them.

Nick Lozano  0:57
And with that, let's just let listeners Get on. Well.

Brian Comerford  1:08
Thanks for joining us for another edition of lead.exe. I'm Brian comer Ford in Denver, Colorado, and

Nick Lozano  1:13
I'm Nick Lozano in Washington, DC.

Brian Comerford  1:15
And we're thrilled today to be joined by Erik qualman, known by many as equal man who's a motivational speaker. Number one best selling author of numerous titles, among them social nomics, digital leader, what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, how to sell on LinkedIn, and most recently, the focus project. Eric is also the host of the super u podcast, and he's produced the world's most watched social media video, social media revolution. Eric, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us here today.

Erik Qualman  1:48
No, thanks for having me. It's such an honor.

Nick Lozano  1:51
Alright, well, thanks for being here.

Brian Comerford  1:52
Yeah, absolutely. And we want to give our audience an opportunity to get to know you, for those who may not have heard that you're ranked among the world's most likable authors right after JK Rowling. So, so I'd like you to give a little bit of your own background and I want to start with the most burning question, right? Basketball, and then digital how how?

Erik Qualman  2:19
Oh, so yeah, for First of all, being ranked, the second most likeable author is a distant, distant second, I think my mom even voted for jk rollit. She's a huge Harry Potter fan. But no, I'm really lucky to do what I do. I've been in the digital space now. 27 years. And then the last decade, I've been writing books and speaking around the world, I think we've now been 55 countries, we've reached over 50 million people, both in person and also digitally. So it's been a wild ride. And if you wanted me to get into basketball, peace or

Brian Comerford  2:58
sleep, you know,

Erik Qualman  2:59
I think it's relevant for what we do all of us because everyone that's listening, understand, it's really about that grit. In that grind. No matter what you're trying to do. It's like, Can you stay you have the initiative, right, you have the intuition to do something, and then who's gonna have the perseverance who's gonna stand through it, who's gonna have that grit. And I love basketball. Growing up, I mean, eighth grade, I wrote a magazine called swish magazine, and actually had people advertise in this magazine, when I say people, I was mainly my dad, but kind of that entrepreneurial spirit, but I got cut as a junior and my high school team, like didn't make varsity. And so then I go to college, I'm going to Michigan State University, and I still love basketball. So I go, I gotta get involved. So I'm going to go out for the manager. That's like the waterboy Top 10 programs, you got to try out to be the waterboy so here I am ecstatic that I made waterboy and the first two years on the manager, and then all sudden the dream just hadn't died. I go, I got a I got to play college basketball at the highest level. So literally just put on the weight 5060 pounds, you know, put on 5060 pounds and then and then just kept at it and then eventually, long story short, walk down the team and then got a scholarship but the reason I was able to walk on the team, I think primarily is it occasionally there's enough guys to practice and so like once or twice a year that'd be like qualman you know the manager get in there. We need a body we don't have 10 guys. And so my junior year I started to get anklet I go I should have tried out this year. I didn't have the confidence but I go I would have made the team I'm better than that. 13th guy on the bench, the carry 13 player. So it was that day they go get in. I'm like this is my shot. This is my shot. No pun intended. And I'm having like the sun is like oh, like everything is going right. couldn't miss like steals the balls. My Way, oh my god, this is it. And then I elbow hits me in the face. And I can feel I was born with two teeth missing. So I have a fake tooth, a spacer. Ooh, that feels like it knocked that spacer out. So like, kind of spit those into my hand and put them on the side of the court and keep playing because I don't want people to know, you know, I'm in here. And 20 minutes later, there's a timeout and the trainer's looking over he goes, wow, you saw blood coming. Let me look at your mouth. And he was like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, just fake it till they find two real teeth on the court, right. But I'm with that spacer. And so I'm done for the day, the whole ride to the dentist. I don't care about the pain. I'm just like, I can't believe that happened to me. And then a year later, I walk on the team and I realized looking back is oh builds that whole program around grit and grind that like the next day of practice goes quiet. I don't know if you're the toughest guy or the dumbest guy I know. He goes maybe somewhere in the middle. Looking back, like that's the best thing getting my teeth, get your teeth kicked. The best thing that could ever happen to you. So don't think about things happening to you think about happening for you. And sometimes it's hard in the moment when you're getting driven to the dentist with all your teeth out you had to in practice, but then all of a sudden that connects the dots in the future. And so it's a very long story. But it just reminded all of us about that grit. A lot of you are going through it today. Just something you got your teeth kicked in on something, and then realize it's not pleasant right now, but somehow that's gonna help you that it's happening for you.

Brian Comerford  6:36
Oh, my goodness. And you know, typically that's a metaphorical thing that we say, you know?

Erik Qualman  6:45
Kids, you guys know this, like there. There's no filter, right? Daddy, why are those teeth a different color? Okay, time to get them replaced.

Nick Lozano  6:55
They are no filter, and I lost one of my front teeth. And I wish it was an awesome store like that. But I was a kid on a roller racer and ran over a ninja turtle and oh my god now so we're near is interesting network. Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

Brian Comerford  7:10
Well, it's great. It's, I think it is a great trajectory into a leadership, motivational speaker role. I mean, it's a great backstory to have. So thank you for taking the time to share that with us. You know, the first time that that I was exposed to your work, I was lucky enough to hear you speak at a conference for for an insurance technology company called prospects. And we were in Aspen, Colorado, gave me a copy of your book digital leader. And, you know, I was immediately inspired by it, in part because it was so completely irrelevant to everything that was happening, then. The irony is, you know, now there's books, I guess it's more than a decade old. Right. And, and it still couldn't be more relevant today. So some of those things that you're talking about just kind of leading with this concept. You know, Nick and I have often posed the question, are digital leaders born? Or are they made? Right? And? Or rather, are leaders born? Or are they made? And in your case, you, you state right up front? digital leaders are made and not born? Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Erik Qualman  8:20
Yeah, it's funny, I've always my new catchphrase is digital leaders aren't digital. counterintuitive, but it's really Jetsons Flintstones, you still need a human being to lead and to help lead the whole everyone together into that transformation. So it's a beautiful thing. I talked about that transformation. A lot of you listeners, you're facing this, and it can be frustrating, because some people don't get it. They're like, wait, I thought we did that. Are we done with the transformation? I thought we like did the did that weekend off site. And we worked on it for like a month. We're good, right? though. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as you're done, you got to turn around and repaint it. And so the transformations that all the time kind of thing. And the thing is about digital leadership is it is they're made not born. And so knowing the technology changes every second, but human nature never does what I want to uncover not only for myself, but then hopefully I always start a book with a readership of one me What am I struggling with? And then so this is one reader. And then there's other people probably that are faced with the same thing. And so I want to figure out what are the habits that will stand the test of time knowing that transformation, and also this technology changes every second, but human nature never does. What can I as an individual and as a leader, practice, have those habits each and every day, to where it doesn't matter what changes I'm gonna, I'm gonna be protected for the future exists. I'm gonna help design it because I practice these habits each and every day.

Brian Comerford  9:53
And then that falls squarely into really that that sweet spot that most most of us To work in technology in particular looking for right, which is innovation, right? It's that that coveted end goal, right. But part of what you're talking about is it's really we have to have this agility. Right. It's never an end goal. It's always morphing and transition, and how are we really designating, you know, what, what that that goal is, but continuing to augment, you know, ultimately, what it may mean, or how it may impact. So I know in one part of digital leader, you know, towards the end of the book, you talk about the concept of flexible, or firm and destination and flexible and path, right, which to me is, I mean, that is what you know, agile practices is really, you know, built upon.

Erik Qualman  10:48
Yeah, no, you're right. I mean, if you look at it, firm, your destination flexible on your path. And so what that looks like is, for example, if I'm gonna use this person, just because most people know who this person is, but if you look at Steve Jobs, and so his firm destination, I want to put a dent in the universe. And then at the age of 30, a lot of your recall, he's fired from Apple by the board. So the company starts, hey, we don't need you get out of here is that too happy about it, but he goes and starts next computers, and then it becomes the CEO of Pixar. And then Apple, a couple of years later, they're going through Dire Straits about to possibly go out of business, they go, let's roll the dice, we got to bring Steve back. It's our last chance, he comes back, he's a much better leader, because it was time at Pixar. And then also, they use some of the software that they develop that next to the new Mac books. And then so at the time of his death, he puts that dent in universe, they have the largest market cap of any company in the world that time his death. And then arguably both good and also bad. The eventually iPhones changed our behavior more than anything that's come out in the last 30 years. And so it's really about that firm and your destination and then also flexible in your path. And it's funny, because the social dynamics book, yeah, it's 10 years old, there's some stuff that's already come to fruition. And some stuff that I'm hoping, I'm shocked hasn't happened. It's got to happen that not the question of if it's when. And but you recall, I'm, I'm thinking through all this, because you've got me started on this thread with the teeth that things happen for you. Jobs, right, it's firm, diastase flexware path is not happy gets fired, but in the end and help them because you may never gone on to become CEO of Pixar. If that didn't happen. It didn't. It helped his leadership. So help them come back. And then when I was writing social nomics, I was living in Boston, Boston, and he said, yeah, it's Boston. So the apartment complex my wife and I are living in. There's like this mafia control over the cable connection. Oh, my God, like that i dish whatever, Comcast, what is it like now you gotta go call Larry. Like, what do you mean, I gotta call,

Brian Comerford  12:58
it's gonna cost you to find a guy

Erik Qualman  13:01
was it was like, whatever was outrageous, and I got, well, not paying that. I'm just not gonna have TV. So I started streaming. Before it was a thing. And so that allowed me to see ahead of time, what we're now living in, like, I go, this is going to happen, everyone's going to stream. And I'm streaming the Olympics, like 48 hour delay. I'm like, NBC doesn't get it. That eyeballs an eyeball. Because I'm streaming this on a Mac Book. I have discretionary income. They're not getting it. They're going up the Nielsen ratings, it's gonna be too late for them. And it was. And so literally, they could read that and they couldn't even get out of their own way. It's like says it right in the pages. But when you live quarter to quarter, that's what happens. And anyways, you just got me on that string. That's the same thing. I didn't realize that was happening for me in the moment. I was upset. I'm like, carefully. I'm not MTV, because the Larry. Like, wait, holy cow, I can stream some of this stuff. This is crazy.

Brian Comerford  14:03
Yeah, that's brilliant.

Nick Lozano  14:04
Yeah. And the Olympic things, you know, like, that's the Michael Phelps run, right, is that there's a huge delay. And I remember going way out of my way to get the BBC feed, so that I could see it in real time. I'm like, I don't want to watch this in the evening. It's happening right now. Twitter's gonna ruin it for me. So you're talking about taking some of these, you know, situations where we're bad things are happening. Like how do you frame that to flip it around? Like the Steve Jobs example, right? He got out of out of a company that he started that had, he had to feel terrible when that initially happens, right. So like, how do we take those things and flip them around to get a different mindset around it?

Erik Qualman  14:50
Yeah, no, it's mindset is exactly that's Where's your focus goes your energy flows. And so I'm going to tell you this because not that I've mastered focus Far from it, right. It's a learning Process I'm trying to get 1% better each and every day, when it comes to how do I focus? Where does my focus go and something like that happens. So the key is not to be a Pollyanna, this all the research. So I did a ton of research and was like, here's the institutional research, here's me as the guinea pig. And then so I can kind of tell you what works for me, but it might not work for you, this other thing might work for you. But when you look at it's like, don't live there too long. So you want to kind of like this. Thanks. Alright, but me sitting here saying it's thanks isn't gonna do much for me. So let's focus, where does my focus need to go now? So Steve Jobs, he might go, okay. But focus might be like, well, I'll show them. I'm gonna start a better version over here. And so depending on what you're in the DNA, a lot of people that's what they go to. It's like, Okay, oh, you rejected my book. Alright, I'm gonna look forward to like you see in that in the airport in the number one bestsellers list, and you're saying you passed on that book? it so it's, it depends on what your DNA is made of. But it's really just trying to figure out, okay, what's what I need to focus on. Now. So allow that kind of, that's not good. I don't like this to kind of go through that process. And on the other end, okay, here we are here, we're going to focus, here's how I'm going to focus here's, our team's going to focus. And one of the ways you can do that. So is in a lot of you know, this, I know this, but I don't do it every day, even though I know I should. And I'm like a person that just wrote a book on focus. So it's like, this is how hard it is, is that the night before you should write down? What's the most important thing, what's the one thing that's gonna make everything else either easier or unnecessary. If I execute on Well, on this one thing, it'll make everything else either easier or unnecessary. And so when you write that down, it actually makes you sleep better because your brain you've tricked it to think I've taken care of that for now. But also, you're a step ahead when you get up in the morning, and you got to make sure that you attack it during your power hour. And you're probably like, What the heck's a power hour. So power hour is, we function best basically, within the hour that we naturally wake up, because our brains somewhat like the cell phone that over the day it loses its charge. So most of us start answering email just because it's easy, we can see a number it gives us a dopamine hit. But that's the last thing we should be doing. We should be attacking that one thing we wrote down the night before, that's probably gonna require actually the most brainpower. Usually that's the case, the one thing you need to do. It's I'm curious to know, Power Hour, because you're either going to be a Robin, an eagle or an owl. So if you guys, so it's Saturday, and you're gonna wake up Saturday, and let's say there's no kids, there's no alarm set. You don't have anything scheduled. Like, I know, it sounds like a fantasy, but let's just say that that's the case. When would you naturally just wake up?

Nick Lozano  17:55
I'm a morning person. I'll wake up at seven. Seven. Yeah, yeah,

Brian Comerford  18:00
I'm not going to I'm going to take advantage of sleeping in. What time would you get up? Ryan? You know, probably 845 845. Okay.

Erik Qualman  18:13
Got it. So the janitor, you're right on the couch. So if you're seven or earlier, you're Robin. If you're seven to 10, like Brian, then you're an eagle, which most people are eagles. And then if you're after 10, then you're a night owl. And so those are your power hours to understand when that hour when you naturally wake up. So seven, eight for you. It might be a 45 to 945. It's so it just depends on the day, sometimes you wake up different times, but it's really you know that your sweet spots by that 845 to 945. And so try to just attack the day before it attacks you. Again, this isn't anything earth shattering. I did all this research different books, essentially, you know, you read all this stuff for 1000s of years. And then it's like, okay, it's not the knowledge it's am I gonna do it. So I know I can give me a better shape. I got to eat better and exercise more. Pretty simple. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Just like I said, if you did one thing around focus, write down the one thing that I before and here I am I haven't done in a couple days this week. I mean, how is that possible? So it's just but over time, I've been better at it before I do at zero times? How do I get 1% better each and every day. I

Nick Lozano  19:24
love that. And I also I also love that in the beginning of that you said you're just trying to get 1% better than you were yesterday or before. So how much of that is you know only comparing yourself to your previous self instead of to others. Because I feel like comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game.

Erik Qualman  19:44
It's the number one modern day sin basically comparing yourself to others. And so it's really an I'm coming from a competitive place right from from someone that's a former athlete, but it's really the competition needs to be with yourself. Like, what's bringing you fulfillment? And most importantly, how are you fulfilling, fulfilling others cups because that's where I think fulfillment comes from. And that's where the word kind of almost derives itself. Almost everyone you talk to what makes you fulfilled when you get into it, it's because you did something for someone else. And so exactly right. And this is another thing that again, I wish I did this every day, I'm trying to get it. So I am good at doing this every day. But I like to write down plus one plus two plus three or minus one minus two minus three, how was My day, it's never neutral. So plus one, that's a good day, you know, plus two, Wow, really good day, plus three is amazing. So plus three is just like incredible. something crazy happen, your books number one bestseller, you get published, whatever it is that you're trying to do, is that that's your your, your daughter just did XYZ. So that's like, plus one, plus three, sorry, and then you got minus one minus two minus three. Now, when you do that, then throughout the day, you know, it's about being not perfect, but present or not perfect going for progress. And so if you can be present occasionally during the day, or just ask yourself check in, then that allows you to numerically Oh, wow, I'm going for negative two right now, how do I at least get this to a negative one? Like, how do I course correct during the day? So that's another really helpful tool, and you put it in like a free Google Sheet, and then track it. And when you have time again, I wish I did this every day, I'm trying to get it. So do every day, you can write down the one sentence, like why was it a negative two? Or why was it a plus two, and you'll start to see those patterns.

Brian Comerford  21:39
That's great. You know, you talk quite a bit in the focus project about the importance of writing things down, you talk about the importance of writing goals down, you talk about the idea of journaling, and journaling around your happiness. And then you give some specific reason why it's important to do the actual exercise of writing. Can you explain a little bit about that?

Erik Qualman  22:03
Yeah, there's something inherently in our DNA. And for for some of you, you might want to do a digital, but for most of us, in paper sales are up for journals, you actually there's something about the process of writing. And I feel like when I do it, it not only calms me down, but it allows me to go a little deeper on the thinking. So it's really about the process of getting that onto paper, which is good. And then you don't do this all the time. But I do find it helpful to flip back through my journal to again see patterns. But also, there might be something that I forgot that for like a year, I might have set it almost every day, like a quote. And then you go, Oh, my gosh, I totally forgot about that quote that I was living by for a year. How did that just kind of go away? Let's bring that back. But yeah, again, just write a sentence. That's the process, write a word, because a lot of us go, I don't have time to journal because you think it's 20 minutes. And sometimes it can turn into that. And that's great. But it's really again, going for that progress, not perfection. And go, I'm just gonna write a word. And of course, that's ridiculous, because you're going to read a sentence and read a word. But maybe it's just a sentence that you have time for, and you just write it down. I'm feeling this, or Wow, I'm so happy because XYZ. And so that that's hugely important to do. And actually this quote, this one I just heard the other day, which I think is great, is it you know, don't wait for life to not be difficult to be happy. And I fall in this trap. Sometimes I was falling in this year, even I'm like, oh, as soon as I recover from this injury, or as soon as we're through this with this clients, then I'll be happy. So you can't wait for that. Like there's always gonna be those hurdles in your way. So it's really about it's a good reminder for me to say, Hey, you, you've got a you know, success. Happiness doesn't come from success. You know, success comes from you being happy first. I love it.

Brian Comerford  24:02
And you know, another thing that you associate with journaling is the importance of scheduling. In particular, I'm thinking about your happiness, right, journaling, those things that made you happiest throughout the day, and then identifying them so that you can ensure that you're actually putting them on your schedule no differently than you would any other important appointment. And so that, you know, you're really prioritizing yourself, which is a lot of what the focus projects, in my opinion is about, right. It's how do you prioritize yourself so that you can be the most effective?

Erik Qualman  24:38
Yeah, exactly. I mean, there's a huge business around time management, but it's really about energy management. And to your point, Ryan, it's trying to figure out this is a good exercise to that helps me whenever I'm kind of losing track, is I'll write down what's the five things that consumed my most the most time that week, and what brought me the most fulfillment. So circle, the one that brought the most fulfillment then figuring out at a minimum, how do I add a minute more this week to that? Like, how do I dedicate more time and energy more important energy to that specific activity that's bringing me fulfillment. It works for business too. I mean, you could go into business, because they all work. I mean, this stuff, it's all harmony, to where you could do the exact same thing might be a little more specific. We're like, write down the five things that consume my time from a business standpoint, and then circle, the one that derives the greatest ROI, then figure out how do we dedicate as an individual as a team one more minute to that activity that's driving this driving the most ROI?

Brian Comerford  25:44
There we go back to that iterative process, right, that agility. So you know, since we're talking about the focus project, we've kind of shifted over into that domain, I want to ask you, and this is kind of tongue in cheek, but which came first, the principle of the importance of rest or the sponsorship of Sleep Number.

Erik Qualman  26:07
Inherently, that it's important, although that's not true, because growing up a lot of us heard like sleep when you die, you know, sleep. Like there's shirts that literally say that you're going up. And then you realize Wait, sleeps important, because it's energy management, just because I got up two hours earlier, doesn't mean I'm going to be more efficient or get more done. Probably research shows up to get less done, actually do it poorly. And so what I did the sponsorship was sleep numbers. So they basically were coming out with a new kind of bed, because you're thinking about people waiting in line for the iPhone. Why don't everything's becoming smart smartphone? Why wouldn't there be a smart bed? number was one of the first to identify it. Oh, yeah. Smart bed? That makes sense. Chip it to me? You know, I'll take a look at it. They actually had even thought about the smart bed name. When they sent it to me. I go it's Yeah, this is a smart bed. Like smartphone smart bed, because it's calculating all these pieces, like, how am I sleeping? What's the quality of sleep? And so yeah, I learned a ton about sleep, they have sleep doctors that Sleep Number, of course. So that I really learned the importance of not the actual quantity of sleep, but also the quality of sleep. And that really helps your focus, as well as intuitively again, this is like duh. But for many of us, what do we do we shortchange our sleep, because we're like, oh, I get more done. Where can I pull from, oh, I just sleep less. And then all of a sudden, six months later, like, wait, I'm getting less done. And I feel terrible. My health is suffering. So it's really a lot of focus is exactly that. It's like, what are my What am I focused on priority wise, and how I block everything else out.

Brian Comerford  27:54
And you also associate that with the importance of routine, Ram. And we've talked a little bit about reflection, right, you talking about the three R's, the rest, reflection and routine, or maybe it's the other way around, but you know, I like how I mean, this is part of what I love about your writing, to be honest, Eric is encapsulate these things, and very easy to remember. And, you know, often, you know, humorous, universally told anecdotes around these concepts, which makes it easy to remember right? And that makes your teaching powerful. But one of those things that you talk about is routine. And that's that, you know, the importance of managing this we've been talking about a little bit. What are some other areas? And in particular, I know, you know, Nick was kind of referencing, you know, how do you get up when you're down? at one thing that I'd seen you stream was about the midlife crisis, and kind of the importance of starting to tie some of these concepts together to make it a transformative experience.

Erik Qualman  28:55
Yeah, so turn that kind of crisis around on insane because we're all gonna go through it that midlife crisis where you said, like, what am I here for? Like, what am I doing? Am I and then the thing that helps me a lot, because I'll get up we all do we have that morning when we get up. Like what? And even if you wrote it down, that's another reason why you want to write it down. So you're not even thinking like, What am I supposed to do today? It's like, that is my goal today, but if you do have that writing down, sometimes you go, oh, man, like, What? What's the point? And then if you change the what, into Who? For me, that changes the whole dynamic. It's not like what am I here for? Who am I here for? And then you figure that out. You know, the old saying it's cliche, but cliches are there for a reason. It's like, the purpose in life is to find your gift or your mission. Life's you know, your purpose. Your mission in life is to find your gift and the purpose is to give it away. So it's really when I have a tough time and it happens. You wake up like what am I here for like, what's the point of conquering the world Whatever you're trying to do, and then you go, Well, that's Yeah, there's just no point conquering the world. Is it just like, Who am I here for? Like, who am I going to help today. And so that usually shifts the game and changes it around. And then getting back to like, you're comparing yourself to the Joneses, because we all do it. It's just it's inherent in our DNA. If you have siblings, you're fighting with your siblings built in there, for whatever reason is that you think about some like a famous physician like Prince. At most, you're kind of like thinking about that person for like, a couple days. And then they move on, like, doesn't matter how famous you are, how high you get on the ladder, the proverbial ladder, that at the end, it's all similar. So the only way you can live on is through others. And so that's why it's that Who?

Brian Comerford  30:50
Well, I love it. You know,

Nick Lozano  30:53
so this No, no, sorry.

Brian Comerford  30:54
No jumping?

Nick Lozano  30:56
No, I love it. Let's rock that comparing the others again to and you brought up prints, which which reminds me that I remember reading the Eric Clapton himself had quit playing guitar three times, because he thought he wasn't any good. Because he was comparing himself to his heroes who played guitar when he was just starting. So he was comparing his beginning to someone else's middle. And just reminded me of that started when you brought it up. That's great, slow in or clap?

Brian Comerford  31:27
Well, this principle of giving away, I think it ties right into something that, that I've also, you know, associated you squarely in the middle of which is this, this term social selling, the irony is, you know, I first read about it from your book, how to sell on LinkedIn, you know, probably five or six years ago, and, and yet, suddenly, after COVID, it's the thing that everybody's buzzing about, right? Suddenly, it became this thing, where, because of the pandemic and the lockdown, it made it even more critical than ever, that this become a thing. You know, that's part of the process. But you know, what I heard you say, I think is a key factor in social selling, as I understand it, which is to be out there giving away, right, I think, in fact, at one point, you talk about, listen first and sell last right is is one of those principles, and it's a Nick and I talk about, you know, really extending your hand to give something freely, versus reaching out, you know, to get something. So, let's talk a little bit about social selling, if we could kind of shift gears for a moment. And, you know, riff on that for a bit.

Erik Qualman  32:46
So you look at social selling for those who don't know what social selling is essentially using a lot of these tools out there, whether it's LinkedIn is the most prominent from a business standpoint, but it depends on what industry you're in. If you're in a decorator, it could be Pinterest for weddings, Pinterest, if you're in the dance moves, it could be Tick tock, you know, it doesn't matter which tool. But it's interesting, because what I always say is, it's Flintstones, and Jetsons. So all digital leaders understand it's Flintstones, and Jetsons, you can't replace Flintstones, which is face to face. But when time and distance are an issue, you can use these tools to deepen relationships and start relationships. So you can replace coffees and lunches. We learned that the hard way, the last 400 days. And I said time and distance are an issue. I had no idea when I wrote how to sell on LinkedIn that safety at some point would become an issue. So now you layer in time, distance or safety and this past pandemic, then you can use these tools for those relationships. And we saw how much we need it when you started the zoom with your family members on Friday for a happy hour. You like Why don't I do this all the time, because we jam our schedules way over pack. That's why you probably not doing anymore, the zoom, the zoom Friday, half hours, which are glorious, but they don't replace the actual happy hour itself. Me If You Can be face to face. There's oxytocin transfer, it's in our DNA, that it's all Flintstones, but it's that combination of the two of the world we live in. And we think about social selling, inherently selling like Daniel Pink went over this in his book drive that salesman, we think about that, like it's all these negative words. So they need to rebrand selling, because if you do selling well, you're basically listening. And so if you're in the offline world, most of us it's in our DNA, including myself, you walk into a room, you might instinctively say, who in this room can help me when you need to invert it and go, who can I help in this room. And the same holds true when you get out there digitally. Going out there. It's going to be in our DNA and we've all done it. I've done it. It's like here's my new book. Here's this thing. Here's this just about me here, check it out. Come check it instead of doing what I call posts, afford, which is shining the light on others, like, take that self into the unselfie. And fight that DNA. Get out there, figure out who you're going to shine the light on out there. And Adam grants books great because he goes into real depth on this both in the offline and digital world. It's called give and take that if you look at the research, you know, the more you give, the more you're going to receive to a point, you can't just be like saying yes to everything. That does not work. But it's about, Okay, I'm going to help as many people, respecting my capacity being focused on what I'm trying to do as well. But if we're going to win win situations, or what I'm looking out for other people, long term, you give someone what they want, you get what you want, nothing new. But it's got that social digital twist to it. Then when you go on that digital arena, so to speak, or there's digital landscapes, don't forget that it crosses over into the digital world.

Nick Lozano  36:00
Like that you bring up social selling to right, I'm pretty active on LinkedIn have been for past couple of years. And I can tell people who are just looking for something right away, because they just asked you a lot of questions. And don't don't listen to anything you're saying. So it's like, so what do you do? It's like, I'll tell my profile, you can read that. So you feel like sometimes with those people, you're just being qualified as a client, when they're just asking questions, when, when you know, everything you said, I totally agree with you, it's about playing the long game and building a relationship from there. And it's the same thing we would do in person, right. That's why I used to hate going to in person networking events, because it can feel like the exact same thing to you when you're trying to qualify a lead or a client right away. So I love that you bring all that stuff up.

Brian Comerford  36:50
In fact, one of the commandments that you refer to, and how to sell on LinkedIn is fine. But that's different than you know what what Nick just described is sort of the opposite of that, right? You're just trolling. It's like, this person might be a prospect, let's start hammering them. But as I understand it to find means that you really spend some time doing some research, you know, not just looking at a profile, but looking at what's important to what people are posting, you know, seeing sort of the patterns that emerge from either what they're passionate about where their pain points are, and then that's what can ultimately drive the engagement. And then you've also established your brand, as someone who's got some authenticity versus you're just there, you know, to gladhands somebody so that you can get some money.

Erik Qualman  37:45
The best people understand this digitally and also offline and offline, we've lived with a lot longer. So people understand that concept better. But at a networking event, you're at the networking event, and this happened to me. I mean, this lady, she was super sweet. And I'm talking to this lady's a little older. And I'd like to say my brain pride and creep there, but probably does, like I need to go talk to that person over there. But it was a great conversation is like letting her tell her story, which is awesome. And she's super interesting. And at the end, I'm like, Oh, yeah, well, I mean, but doesn't sound like you're in this industry, like, Whoa, like, what are you doing at this cocktail reception. She's like, Oh, that's my husband. And he's the chairman of the board of the Fortune 100 company, like the biggest person in the room. And so it literally does pay two, to pay it forward and post it forward.

Brian Comerford  38:41
That's great. Well, active listenership is, you know, one of those those terms that we hear a lot around that as well. Right. And that can be a key driver in establishing those relationships. And it may help really answer some of those questions. Maybe not today, but long term, where could there be an opportunity for me to come back and provide a solution for someone based on what I'm hearing? Yep. Yeah, that's great. So you know, and and you talk in social nomics, about sort of this transition from word of mouth to world of mouth, which, which I love, I love that you always have these these plays on common terminology. And, and part of that, you know, you connect into the the four C's of digital, is that something that you can just kind of rattle off for us? Because I think it's worth kind of exploring some of those things. Yeah, I might have to go in the archives. It's the curating connecting and culture.

Erik Qualman  39:45
Yeah, there you go. So those are the four C's because it's really played off Michel Porter's the four P's. And so we look at those four C's. It's inherently what we've been speaking about here. Today is a lot of it like think about curation. So people ask How many times should I post It's like, well, first of all, get away from me that says you should post X amount of times per day. Because it's not a formula like that the formula should be, do I have something of value to post? Okay, so then how do you help me out because it's that's kind of nuanced. That's kind of qualitative. Why we say three second rule, if you have to think more than three seconds, whether it's appropriate, or if it's of quality, like people should know this, that it's not valuable, don't post it. And think about email, it only becomes spam once it's not a value. And so that three second rule in terms of posting helps, and that's the curation piece curation, meaning that if you're posting, say, 20 posts this month, that primarily they don't all come from you. Like, it's great when it comes from you as an individual, very personal, but you only have so much energy and time. And so a lot of times a value is to curate, so that you know what your audience wants. And you go, I read this article, that's fascinating. I know that this part of my audience will enjoy that as well. So let me just maybe put a sentence why it's valuable to read this article on why you should maybe invest in blockchain, whatever it is that that check this out, you'll enjoy it. So that's the curation part of those. But when you think about those four C's, it's really about just doing it intuitively over time and, and collaborating with the right people. So now it's great. It's fun to see some of that stuff. It's almost intuitive now, 10 years later, other stuff. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I can't believe we're still asking that same question. 11 years out, but things move slow to their fast. It's so true. Think about virtual reality, which I'm not a big proponent of I mean, I know it's gonna happen, but I'm not a big fan of I think it's overhyped, but that's been around since 84. So this stuff sometimes takes a while or you'll think about mobile voting hasn't happened. So what happens is gonna be swift.

Brian Comerford  42:03
We won't touch that sore spot on the topic.

Unknown Speaker  42:07

Erik Qualman  42:10
Here, like this year was crazy, because I've talked about mobile going for 12 years. I'm like, so there's, well, there's always been debate anyways, we won't get in that.

Brian Comerford  42:20
No, I think it's a it's definitely a topic worth exploring. But it's one that'll easily suck up the rest of our life.

Erik Qualman  42:27
But the pandemic, I think it was only 11% of all orders came from non traditional retail means meaning they say 11% came from e commerce now and jumped to 27%. So what up? He goes like this happens. That's when that accelerates, it pulls the five years forward quickly.

Brian Comerford  42:49
Yeah, it really does. You know, and earlier in the conversation, Eric, I heard you mentioned that there are some things that you had written about in social nomics. That had not yet come to pass it, you know, maybe VR is one of those things. But can you can you pick off a couple more

Erik Qualman  43:03
that? For sure. The biggest one is shocking. Who is online online voting, so that hasn't happened mobile voting. Basically, you can vote on your phone, and people Amelie go to the presidency, but it's who cares about that, to be honest,

Nick Lozano  43:18
you know, for anything,

Erik Qualman  43:18
it's like, it's the local level that matters, the no votes at the local level, to where it literally just come on your phone, hey, this votes coming up for the school. They want a new swimming pool. Here's the pros. Here's the cons. And like two seconds, like pro con, here's who's in your network voted which way you can imagine. That's amazing. There's some other stuff that's we won't get into that rat hole, but it's gonna happen. So basically, people that say that mobile voting is not going to happen, they give out the less privacy, boom, boom, boom, that everyone should vote blah, blah, blah, blah, down the line. It's, it's exactly the same 90% of the arguments are the same as when people said people won't give their credit card to buy something online. It's kind of the same movie just 25 years later. Voting, but the biggest one, the biggest one, obviously streaming basically come It's here. It's not 100% across the board, but everyone's cutting the cord. So then come to fruition. Politics we talked about, it's going to really affect elections that's come and it's here. The one that hasn't happened, which is the biggest opportunity to actually is the definition of social nomics is that I want to know what you're buying, like, so if I have my second kid, I need to know what kind of new SUV I need to have. And so 90% of my subset bought these two vehicles, then that's what I want to do. You know that. That's the one this way you paid for it. So it's huge opportunity. It could be Facebook, they could disrupt Google because Google search is broken, because the only way they make money is for me to click on basically, you didn't give me the answer I wanted in the organic results. And so it's inherently they make billions of dollars on a broken tool. When I click on an ad, it's because you didn't give me the ganic results what I need, right, right, given the answer. And so Facebook could give you the answer through the social graph. And it saves me a ton of time I call it you know, it's multi individual redundancy, eliminate that, why does everyone have to research how to write a will and testament or how to get it, how to do it, when 90 of my friends have already done it, and they found a good place to do it. So that's social dynamics, that hasn't happened that's coming.

Brian Comerford  45:51
Yeah, we sort of have the foundation of it with peer reviews. But that's not quite, you know, the leap that you're talking about. Right? So it's fast. And I think one, one final component to that it has to do with brand. And that's a brand, whether you're a corporation, it's a brand, whether you're an individual, right, the importance of establishing your brand and then guarding against reputational damage, because once the reputational damage is there, sure, there's services that can help you, you know, undo that with online posts. But you know, Can it really be undone? I mean, talk about something that is worth curating and safeguarding against. So I know you get into the importance of brand and a number of your books, what are some of the more salient things that sort of leap to mind in your bag tips and tricks?

Erik Qualman  46:46
Yeah, no, we go into depth on this on what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube. And then so many schools were using it Middle High School and colleges that we have what happens on campus stays on YouTube as well. But the highest the high levels, all of us have what's called the digital stamp. And it's comprised of a digital footprint. That's what we post about ourselves online posts about our brand service company, but we'll stick at the individual level for this answer. And then there's also a digital shadow. That's what other people post about us online. Now, collectively, those form our digital stamp. So if you have a teenager, it's not like get off this stop doing this. It's really you want to produce your best, and then protect it. So in producing your best digital footprint, and then that allows for your best shadow. And that allows for your best stamp, which is kind of a fancy term for your personal brand, which is a modern term for your reputation, which you alluded to reputations, everything. So it's really about producing your best and protecting it. It's not about being perfect. When you have that mistake. It's about I call it being flotsam, this is floss what's possible and say, whoops, made a mistake, here's what I do to fix it, then follow through and actually fix it. And then I'll help you out actually, books that have a 4.5 star rating on Amazon sell better than ones that have a five star because it looks more legit, and you understand who the reader isn't. So it helps helps out. It's like they sell better, because it's got some information about why you might not like it. But that's about it. That's it. That's my super fast spiel on that. That's that's blossom. Thank you.

Nick Lozano  48:27
Well, I guess, as we're wrapping up here, this is a question we ask all our guests. Is there a book or a piece of media or something that's had a big impact on you that you'd like to share with everyone?

Erik Qualman  48:39
Yeah, Dale Carnegie's. That is how to win friends and influence people. That's a great read, but it's his other one, stop worrying and start living. It's a it's written in the 30s. But it's just, it keeps you on track. Because we all fall into that spot. Like we started off this conversation, where you're like, what am I What's going on? Like, what am I doing? It's like, Okay, stop worrying and start living.

Brian Comerford  49:02
Brilliant. As a one more follow on to that, Eric, of all the books that you've put out there. For one of our listeners who's interested in, you know, just sort of, you know, getting the air quality and experience what's the one to start with, in your opinion,

Erik Qualman  49:18
the focus project just because it focus all of us need it. So even if you're super savvy and talking about most of the people that read are actually better than most at focusing. So it's just a good reminder, on some tips and tricks that can help you at the highest, the high levels, and then that allows you to then go into the other books, but that one salian for for almost everybody out there. That's you think your hair's on fire at the end of the day, and you go I'm not gonna do that again tomorrow. And then it's rinse, wash, repeat. And so again, it's just it's really helpful for me to this day. That's why I wrote it because if I go back to and reread it,

Brian Comerford  49:55
very cool. Hey, can we finish with the withstanding like a superhero? Yeah, I've got short. I'll stay here because I'm so tall just gotta like. So so the the explanation behind this is that there is a physiological reason. I know that, you know, part of, we've talked with a number of different guests about sitting being the new smoking and the importance of actually standing. But you take it to another level of standing like a superhero. You got you got a quick anecdote on that.

Erik Qualman  50:30
Yeah, just make it happen. Because what it'll do motion creates emotion which creates energy and reduces cortisol for most of us. Not everybody, but give it a test stand for like a superhero for two minutes, which you know what a superhero stands like, I won't explain how to do that. Do whichever superhero you do. And it'll reduce cortisol stress reducing hormone by up to 20%. But at minimum, it creates motion, which always creates energy. So at least at a minimum, you'll have that so it's just make it happen. And do it sound like a superhero. You're all superheroes. It's all about unlocking unleashing that power on the world.

Brian Comerford  51:04
That's awesome. You heard it from equal man. Eric, thank you so much for joining us.

Nick Lozano  51:10
Eric. If people are looking for you, where can they find you?

Erik Qualman  51:14
Equal man just just exactly how it's spelled. Sounds equal man across the board and don't hesitate to reach out. Alright, perfect. We'll

Nick Lozano  51:22
be sure to post all your social stuff. And I believe you have a podcast to Super you podcast as well. Right? So we'll be sure to post all that stuff in the show notes.

Erik Qualman  51:31
Right. I love it guys. I got a rah rah. But thanks for having me on today. Thank you so much for joining us. All right. Take care, fire.