Nick, Brian, and Jon kick off Season 4 of Lead.exe with an interesting discussion on an idea from author Stephen Covey, that private victories precede public victories and its relation to so-called self leadership. Can we truly lead others if we are unable or unwilling to put in the work of leading ourselves? How can things like meditation help us "reduce noise" and tame our egos? And how can all of this help us manage the tension between what we have accomplished and what we still have left to do? All of this and more in this latest installment of Lead.exe.

Join our Leadership Hacking Crew

Music from Uppbeat (free for Creators!):
License code: PQKU4U6T0AJWPFIO

Show Transcript:

Brian Comerford  0:00
I have to tell you the most important thing to me personally, is when I hear someone else told me that I don't have a big ego. I mean, that's, you know, that's really important to me. Well play. That's that's an ego joke, right? Yeah, yeah.

Nick Lozano  0:18
We need we need our rim shot sounds

Brian Comerford  0:44
thanks for joining us for another edition of lead dot exe. We've got all sorts of information we're going to send your way. That is chock full of goodness to help you hack the leadership code. Kick it off, John.

Jon Abboud  1:00
Sure. Thanks, guys. How's everybody doing today?

Nick Lozano  1:04
Delightful. Optune. Good, man. We're pumped for season four. Right? We've got a lot of great stuff coming up in this is kind of going to be episode one of season four. I think once you guys think differently. No, that sounds good.

Brian Comerford  1:19
Episode One. So

Jon Abboud  1:23
we talked a little bit about a topic for today, which I think is a good for good for a kick off episode of a new season. As we continue to iterate on the podcast, and hopefully be make it better and better as we go. I'm not sure if my recent addition to the cast is helping in that regard. But yeah, I'll do my best. But the idea is,

Nick Lozano  1:42
you got to get more. You got to get more buzz worthy. Instead of iterate you got to go. Right, you got to do this thing, right. That's synergy right now. So we need an

Brian Comerford  1:54

Nick Lozano  1:57
Yeah, see? We got to do that. Right. We need we need to.

Jon Abboud  2:00
We'll do that with our next sprint on the combine

Brian Comerford  2:02
to make it measurable. actionable.

Jon Abboud  2:08
Okay, well, we're definitely not more effective than we were last year, but Okay,

Brian Comerford  2:15
okay. is off to a great start. Yeah, so we

Jon Abboud  2:19
so Welcome to Season Five, we're just gonna throw out season four and go right. The season tour kickoff, I thought it would be nice to talk about a concept that's, that's repeated by a number of people. I read it most recently. From an author, I'm prone to quoting Stephen Covey from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The principle that private victories precede public victories. So this concept of learning to lead ourselves before we can lead others, and continuing to lead ourselves as we go through our leadership journey. So I thought that'd be a good thing to talk about. And maybe one way to talk or to kick this conversation off rather would be hearing from each of you guys what what are some ways that that you lead yourself? And how do you think that makes you a better leader for the teams that you're put in charge of? I'll go to Brian first because he's nodding profusely.

Brian Comerford  3:21
Just go I'm nervous. John, you put me on the spot. You know, I'm uncomfortable like that.

Nick Lozano  3:27
You guys have the same haircut. So you just gotta you stick with the guy with the same haircut. Right? Okay. I'm

Jon Abboud  3:32
not really sure who I'm looking at when I'm looking at the video.

Brian Comerford  3:39
Really mess you up if I grew a goatee? There you go. So

Nick Lozano  3:43
I want to see I want to see you girl go to I

Brian Comerford  3:46
don't care. I can't do it. Because my wife says it makes me look evil.

Jon Abboud  3:53
No comments.

Nick Lozano  3:55
That sidebar. Good. Question there.

Brian Comerford  3:59
Yeah. So so. So areas that, that I sort of try to strive in, you know, for my own personal growth. I mean, I'm always working on something. In fact, I tend to rotate out books. You know, I tend to go from something that's fiction, to nonfiction, to personal growth. And you know, sometimes that may be a leadership book, sometimes it may be, you know, self help books, whatever it is. All those things that can help elevate my own self awareness. That's, that's kind of critical to who I am. But something I think you both know about me, I'm also a daily meditator. Right. And so that's been something that's been in my practice, not 100% consistently. But for about 30 years, it's something that that I've done, you know, routinely, and I do believe that meditation it's, it has a lot of benefits that sort of transcend And what I think a lot of people sort of perceive about it, you know, that it's some kind of spiritual practice, that could be true. For me, it's more a practice of getting clear. And having having mental clarity. I used to do a little exercise for about five minutes before I'd even go into a meeting, especially if I was a presenter, just so that I could, you know, get my heart rate down, you know, have a really steady rhythm of breathing, and actually not even think about anything. So part of part of the practice of meditation is, you know, not actually having any necessary thought, that is a central focus to what you're doing, it's just counting your breaths. Now, that can be different if you've got something like a mantra, and that's the thing that you're focusing on. But the point is to not focus on the constant mental chatter, that tends to be always going on in the background of our minds. And I tried explaining it to a friend of mine, who asked me, you know, what's the benefit of meditation. And I told him, you know, if you, if you took a glass of water, and you sprinkle a little bit of salt into it, and then you stirred up, that glass of water, that's like your mind, just as it sort of always is, right? You're, you're always on, you've always got, you know, ideas and thoughts, and, you know, things that are on your mental to do list that are constantly swirling around. And each one of those things grabs your attention, right? Even if it's only temporarily. What what meditation for me does is it allows that stirring to stop and everything to settle. And even if it's just briefly, then it opens the door for some mental clarity. So that when you do go into something like a meeting or a presentation that you have to lead, you're in a calm state, right, and not all scrambled up with these things that can be striking, distracting to you. But, you know, can also take away from your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. So reducing noise, and that would be one of the pillars that you would tie it to right.

Jon Abboud  7:30
I would say you did a little increase in of clarity there as well. So I want to I want to dig into that a little bit. I think it's a good topic in the mall. Put Nick on the spot, Nick better have a really good answer, because he's had time to think about it now. But So Brian, it sounds like establishing some sort of a regular meditation practice for you. You might put that in the bucket of a private victory, right? That's something that you do on your own personal growth, it helps you. What sorts of public victories Do you think that's translated into for you? Or that you can tie back to that, that private work that you do?

Brian Comerford  8:10
Yeah, one, one area. So let me comment first on part of what you just said, there, John. So, you know, I view it for my own routine, the same way that I view regular exercise, right. So actually, you know, making sure that you carve out a little bit of time, even if it's just 10 minutes a day, or even if it's five minutes, late in the afternoon, after you're done with meetings for the day, or whatever it is, just having that consistency, where it's part of, you know, your routine. I, to me having that mental exercises as important as physical exercise. So how that translates into some of the public victories? So for example, you know, I've led a lot of teams. And typically, you know, you're going into a one on one, the way that I've always structured the one on ones with my direct reports is, it's their meeting, right? It's not my meeting, it's their time with me. And so my request to them is to prepare the agenda and come to me. And sometimes what that means is that, you know, I've got to be mentally prepared to be responsive. And that starts with some active listening. So I can't just be sitting there, you know, having in mind, the next thing that I want to jump on to, you know, to say, in response to a comment that someone's making to me, I really need to listen to understand, you know, where are they coming from kind of what's their emotional state? You know, is there a psychological attribute attached to, you know, kind of what they're experiencing on a behavioral level? You know, where is the real challenge, especially if they're having a hard time identifying it. Sometimes a direct report comes to you, and they know they're having problems, and they don't really know how to identify specifically where the challenge is. And so from a leadership perspective, I think it's important to have the mental clarity, to listen, and to apprehend that information in a way that you can then meaningfully respond.

Jon Abboud  10:17
That's great. That's good answer. And I think you alluded to the reduce noise piece earlier. And, you know, I've gone over the foundational things that I have for Friant my management slash communication style before but increase clarity, reduce noise, build trust, and save people time. I've been kicking around lately that reduce noise maybe should come first, you know, increase clarity, reduce noise, maybe flows off the tongue a little bit better, but reduce noise, increase clarity, I think if you think of them as building blocks on one another, it sounds like you're taking that time to reduce the noise in your own head or in your own life allows you to go into a conversation with a one on one or before a presentation. Not only with that sense of clarity of what you're trying to accomplish, but to even perhaps provide some of that clarity for the person with whom you're communicating or leading. That, of course, builds trust and ultimately saves time. So I think that's a great example of internal work private victories, turning into public victories. That's that's a really good example. Thanks, Brian. All right, Nick.

Brian Comerford  11:19
Yeah. Hey, can I just kind of just follow on? Sure. That's odd, because I do like, how you sort of, you know, encapsulated that? No, that's okay. You know, it just occurred to me, as you were saying that, I think for me, part of the effectiveness of what that technique means for me, is that I recognize the absence of it pretty dramatically, right. Like, if I don't have that time, I noticed that it, you know, it's kind of like a bump in the road for my day, you know, what I mean? And I remember, you know, studying a lot of different techniques. It wasn't until I read, it was it was actually a biography about the Beach Boys. And Mike Love, right, the lead singer for the for the Beach Boys. He talked about studying transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And that, one of the techniques that Maharishi taught him was, you really don't need much time for this, actually, what you need is, you just need enough time to count to 10. And so what that can mean is you might be in an office, and you know, you've got a call. And so if you can just straighten up your back and sit in a good posture, put your hands on your knees, close your eyes, breathe in count one, breathe out, count two, and get up to 10. That's all the time it really takes, right? To just create sort of that bio rhythmic feedback for yourself. That helps, like, study your heart rhythm. Get yourself to a place of mental clarity, and, and help you personally be more effective. Thank you for letting me share that.

Jon Abboud  13:15
That's, that's great. You know, I think, you know, another Stephen Covey thing, I think it's him is one of the things that makes us uniquely human, he talks about the word responsibility, and he breaks it into two things, you know, the, the ability to respond. And one of the things that makes us uniquely human is that we, unlike a lot of animals, have the have the clarity of mind or the the ability to put a gap between that stimulus and response, right, so a happens B, I have the ability to respond in a way that I want as opposed to just fight or flight like a deer in the woods might you know, so I think what you've talked about details that pretty well, giving yourself that space to respond appropriately to a given situation or stimulus. So really awesome stuff. Thanks.

Brian Comerford  13:59
Respond, respond versus react.

Jon Abboud  14:02
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Exactly.

Nick Lozano  14:05
I suppose to follow that. Oh. Yeah. I mean, Brian just had a whole monologue there on a ton of stuff. I agree. But when I go back to your thing, and you ask your initial question, I instantly thought of that Jordan Peterson book, the 12 rules for life. And I believe it's that book, he has a role in there. And so it's one of the early ones too, or just like, you should take care of yourself, like you're someone who you're responsible for. And I'm probably butchering that role, but it's basically you should take care of yourself. Like, you're like you would if you were responsible for somebody else, because a lot of times and I know me included, sometimes in the past I had been stuck in you know, like, not taking care of myself putting other people first and sometimes you have to do like Brian says, You've got to work from the inside first and take care of yourself first. And for me, it's always been you know, like physical fitness, right, I need to work out in the morning, I have to go do our martial art, you know, there's something about being able to focus on yourself internally. And be in those moments when you don't have to think really, you're just reacting to what's going on, allows you to have some kind of mental clarity, and some space where you can kind of get stuff off your chest. And especially for me, and I don't know if this is like for you, John, but for the martial arts side, having that other outlet where you go somewhere else, you interact with other human beings, and half the time, we don't even know what anybody else does, right? We're just all collectively together in this moment, doing one of the same thing. And there's something gratifying about that, being able to just kind of, you know, release any energy, and just kind of be there in the moment. And I feel like having things like that, as a leader allows you the opportunity to come into situations with more of a clear head, right? You're not panicking right away. As soon as you hear the news of something terrible going on, right? You're just ready to react, because you've kind of put yourself in those situations. So I would agree with everything Brian said, and I was never a huge fan initially of meditation. Until I started talking more with Brian and find out there's different things that can be considered meditation. So for me, like I used to do traveling a lot, and I would consider swimming the same thing, right? Swimming is one of those things, if you especially if you do you know, the the freestyle or Front crawl, they call it other places, like you have your head in the water, you can't have headphones, you're just looking down at the pool and looking at the side and looking down and you just kind of hear the water and you hit hit the waves and it just allows you to have that, that moment of clarity and peace. We're not kind of inundated as much as we are today. We have phones and you know, our phones are buzzing at us or our emails dinging you know, I don't want you guys I can get a phone call my phone rings, my computer rings and like an iPad rings and then another computer rings. So instantly, I can be inundated. And and I find having that release that quiet time that peaceful time allows me to come into different situations with with more clarity and more peace of mind.

Jon Abboud  17:21
Yeah, it's all good stuff. And I think the martial arts example is a good one. And, and a nice segue into kind of where I wanted to sort of take this conversation. Of course, I'm happy for it to go and interaction because this is a fun exploration here. But you know, martial arts is a good example of the private victory being drill after drill after drill after drill and writing in your notebook. We trained to this today and watching videos and doing all those things. If we use this as a metaphor for for performance at work, or just general leadership, before you get to the tournament, right? You can't think the way Covey puts it is you can't harvest the crop you didn't plant. So what are these things? Yeah, but but the training isn't the fun part, necessarily, you know, doing the drills over and over and over again, isn't the fun part sitting down and meditating, especially at first when you're new to it, or even later on, you know, I've been a meditator for a while as well. It's not always fun. Sometimes it really sucks. Like you're sitting there, your mind keeps wandering, you're bored all these things. But it's learning to get over those things. And, you know, nobody gets an award. And nobody gets praise. And people don't sit down and just watch you meditate, because it's so great. But that victory of doing that and having that self control facilitates your ability to perform and other aspects of your life. And that's when you might get the accolades or be recognized for great performance. But all the same going back in martial arts, that's not the goal. You know, the goal was continual growth. The goal isn't to get a trophy or to, you know, get a round of applause after your presentation at work, necessarily. Those are those are great things. But when it comes to private victories preceding public victories, the goal was really your own personal self improvement. And then the other piece I wanted to add, you know, we've talked about response versus reaction. Nuka, yet a good point that giving yourself that space and that mental clarity so that you can react and you don't always have to think about it. I think that's a great example of putting in the work and the drilling to keep going this martial arts metaphor, you know, the first time you go to jujitsu, right, and somebody gets you in the mouth, freeze, what what do I do, right? Then that happens over and over and over again, and you start to realize, okay, well, here's the right response. And then and then there's this phase where you know what the right thing to do is, but your body doesn't quite catch up. And then after you do it long enough, you're doing things before you even have to think about it, and they're the right things to do. So it's an interesting progression from that aspect.

Nick Lozano  19:54
Yeah, and I would add something on to that. Just because I know we've talked about resilience to a lot, but you can also just put this THINK, THINK just us as humans, in general. And I have, and I'm sure you guys have I've gone to go do something with a group of people signed up for something and then kind of backed out last minute gave myself some reason why I couldn't do it right, maybe I got myself all the way to the door and I was like, ah, you know, what I'm just not gonna do it today is that, you know, putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. And getting experience with doing that, whether it's martial arts, or it's running a marathon or, you know, practicing meditating can help carry over into your professional life and your leadership life, right, as we get more experience with him embracing the suck, as you guys say, in the rink, alright, John, embrace the suck, right? As you get more to that, and you get more comfortable with uncertainty and pressure, the easier you can react when those situations actually happen, which I find gives me more clarity. Later on when it when I'm put in that physical situation. I'm not the person who's freaking out, like, when a whole network goes down, it's like, okay, well, what, what's our greatest need here, right? Now, we got to do A, B, C, and D, before we can do anything else. It's giving our space, that opportunity to react, right. And that that's where, you know, we're talking about those uncomfortable situations in you getting used to them. You do that on a personal level, but then can also help you in that leadership that public level to with your employees, right? If they see you not freaking out, when the whole network's down the whole architectures, you know, blowing up and people are emailing and they can't get stuff. And they just see you sitting there calm. I feel like it's a common factor for other people, too. It's like, hey, you know, he's not freaking out. So like, we don't need to freak out. We'll get this done. We'll get We'll get through it. So that's just all I wanted to add on to that too.

Jon Abboud  21:53
Yeah, exactly. Good, but haunting metaphor. Yeah. You just want to just make sure you're not the one rearranging the deck chairs,

Brian Comerford  22:03
right. Yeah, I agree with Nick on that, you know, I think it's important actually, to have, you know, that sort of deliberate calm, especially, you know, in the midst of crisis, and it is a difficult thing to maintain. Because you do have a lot of things coming your direction, particularly in technology, leadership, when you're dealing with something like an outage, there's nothing worse, especially when you you know, get the hairy eyeball from the CFO is telling you, you're losing $100,000 an hour, you know, with with your downtime, it's it's more than an inconvenience, it's a it's a genuine business impact, right. So that's a that's, that's a form of meditation in and of itself,

Jon Abboud  22:50
indeed. So I want to take this in a little bit of a different direction, then. I'm talking about ego. So I think that's a natural thing with meditation. And it really makes you think about yourself, sometimes you get some uncomfortable thoughts about that thing you did, or you said or the way you're acting, or, you know, something that happened to you maybe in the past. So what are your thoughts on private victories versus public victories in terms of ego? And I want to go a little bit further on that in terms of, you know, your, your motivation for doing a given thing? You know, do I want to be the calm guy playing the planet music? Is the Titanic sinking? Because I want to feel big and cool and be the go to person about it? Or is it because it's the right thing to do? And how does some private victories that you've had in your lives, maybe inform that question or inform the answer to that question?

Brian Comerford  23:51
Well, I have to tell you, the most important thing to me personally, is when I hear someone else telling me that I don't have a big ego. I mean, that's, you know, that's really important to me. Well, that's, that's an ego joke, right there. Yeah.

Nick Lozano  24:09
We need we need our rim shot sounds. Wow, wow.

Brian Comerford  24:17
Well, I think sort of the inverse of what you just asked is, you know, where do you operate from a space of humility. And that is a leadership characteristic that has always been one I've respected in particular, as I've worked with other leaders that I've had to collaborate with very closely, you know, and sometimes you get someone who, for whatever reason, they cannot operate from a place of humility. And they've got to, you know, make sure that sort of, they're constantly thumbing you down on you know, any variety of things right. But when you when you work with someone who you can tell, is truly talented, truly excited. variants truly knowledgeable, and they don't need to rub it in your face. They're just the, you know, operating in the same space that you are, so that they can contribute to whatever is necessary to help resolve the issue or contributes in thought leadership or whatever it is, that's when it's easy to be able to identify humility. You know, and sort of, in the absence of the, the standard ego practices, I think humility comes with a lot of self awareness. So as as you continue to try to develop those things internally. And, you know, for lack of a better term, you know, have like, a no Asshole Rule with yourself. Right? You start to identify those things, where it's like, oh, you know, actually, the way that I said that, or the way that I behaved, that could be interpreted, you know, pretty negatively by other people. And I don't want to have that kind of interpretation with my own behavior. That kind of self awareness then starts to drive, who you choose to represent yourself as. And when I say that, I don't mean, you're creating a false front. It's it's actually the opposite. It's driving more into the authentic authenticity of what it is that you can contribute to something. Because, you know, the false front is often where we get the, you know, oh, yeah, I can do that, too. Or, you know, did you know how important this thing is that I did? You know, and that's, that's where a lot of the, you know, the sort of lizard brain jumps in? Because it needs that animalistic, you know, competitive feedback to feel satisfied?

Jon Abboud  26:48
Yeah, no, I think it's a great answer. And I, you were mentioning earlier, you know, you know, when you're working with a true professional, or somebody who's truly talented, etc, I would add that in the terms of a private victory, it's also when you're working with somebody who's truly understands that they're not talented in a particular thing are that they don't have the experience and the particular thing and they're willing to learn. And that's a private victory in and of itself. And that's a vulnerable position to be in, you know, if if, you know, Brian, you hire me or Nick, you hire me for a job, and I don't quite know how to do a particular thing. I can fake it for a while, right? Or if I faked it in the interview, you know, this, this job requires the ability to speak Spanish. Yeah, yeah, sure, I can do that. First call with our international client, and I can, you know, that's gonna come up really quickly. And that's, that's an obvious example. Right? But, but there are micro examples of that all the time. Hey, do you know how to handle this task? Whatever on the team had to send this particular alert? Sure. Yeah, I know how to do that. And then oh, wait, I really don't? Do you have the humility to ask them to say that? I don't know. And maybe that's a public defeat, maybe that's not a victory. But the private victory is having a humility to ask and learn, so that you can have that public victory later. So I thought that was an interesting takeaway from what you were talking about. Right?

Brian Comerford  28:08
Yeah, I think from a leadership perspective, it's important to think it's important to be you know, very upfront about the fact that you don't know everything. And part of the reason that you've assembled the team that you have, you have the leadership capabilities, to make that team effective, you might not necessarily have the leadership capabilities to know exactly how each of the individual roles is going to get their job done. And there, you're going to have to be reliant on them to help skill you up. So that you can effectively deliver a message, you know, further up the chain, or whatever it is,

Jon Abboud  28:48
I think, I'd argue without the, the private victory to do that kind of personal growth and have that comfort in saying I don't know, you'll never get you'll, you'll, at minimum, or at best, rather, you'll kind of Peter Principle out, right, you might rise to the level of your own incompetence, but then you're just gonna be swimming in the deep blue sea and not really have a life raft for you. So, so keep going with the Titanic metaphor. But so that's all important stuff. Nick, it seemed like you had a thought, and I kind of cut you off. So I'm sorry.

Nick Lozano  29:21
No, it's fine. The only thing I want to touch on is I feel like the word ego gets a bad rap, right? Because when you think about it from a psychology term, ego just means self. Right? So when we talk about having a big ego, you're normally talking about a certain personality type, right? You hear different things where people like go check your ego at the door, I can't check myself at the door. I go somewhere I have a personality, right? Just like Brian has one and you have one. And I think it just touches on basically what Brian was saying. It's it's about humility, right and some self awareness to go along with your ego your egos there and It's always gonna be there. It's a part of who you are. And that's all I wanted to add to that conversation.

Brian Comerford  30:06
Yeah, I love that. I mean, you know, ego is critical. And, you know, ego is critical. You think of someone like, you know, General Patton. You know, part of what made him an effective leader was that he had this towering presence. And you know, that ego is representative of all of those internal things within his personality that gave him that kind of magnetism. Right? Ego is, is absolutely necessary. It's, it's the unbridled ego, and the the Type A personality. And you heard me referenced that earlier, the lizard brain, right, it's the reptilian self, that is just truly zero sum game, you know, competitiveness. That's the portion of the ego that tends to get people into trouble. And ironically, I think the most frequently you see that, you know, give rise is when you've got someone that's got very deep seated insecurities. And so that it's the manifestation of ego in that way, that is really, truly putting the false front out there so that they can seem more sophisticated, more powerful, more important, than they necessarily feel that they are themselves.

Jon Abboud  31:24
Yeah, I'll share a story on that topic. I once worked. I won't name names or offices, but I once worked in a place with with a gentleman who had had some serious emotional intelligence issues and was constantly irritating people is a really relatively high, highly paid, experienced person, retired military officer. And it got to the point where the leader of that particular team, arranged emotional intelligence training for the entire team, partly to help kind of save this one individual's ego, they didn't want to single him out. And this person had the gall to say, Well, I'm already very emotionally intelligent. So I don't need this. And just that statement alone, right? Not to mention the fact that the entire training was for this person, right? Yeah, it says a lot. So this person clearly hadn't done. The internal work, you know, there was probably if this is an intelligent person, they could probably articulate what emotional intelligence was what leadership was, again, you know, they'd been a retired military officer, they, they knew by the book, what leadership was, but that's all technique, that's all personality, it's not, it's not that deep, intrinsic work that you need to do to really apply those things in those foundational building blocks. So I think that's one of the things that that often gets left out in all this self help leadership, business literature, is you know, how to how to, you know, just take life by the horns and go get it and this that the other thing, it's, there's the other side of that coin coin, right. And sometimes we use these larger than life personalities, like, patent or like, you know, Richard Branson, or some I don't know, pick it pick a bombastic type leader. And we forget two things. One is that they're not always that way. Sometimes those leaders know very well when to apply those techniques, when to be that way. Until they're not without their faults. Who's to say that patent? You know, I think patent got the motor to Colonel like three times in his career or something like that right. Now, maybe you could argue that bureaucratically speaking, he was still right, but a lot, there's a whole bunch of army nerds that'll that'll pick that all apart. But the point is, being that way isn't always the right answer. So knowing what stimulus to apply to what situation is vitally important. And again, you can't do that you can't know those situations without doing the nitty gritty, private reflection, thinking about your own thoughts, meditating, screwing up a few times, and then genuinely asking yourself, you know, why did I respond that way to that situation? Why did I get angry? Why did I fly off the handle? Why did I treat that person that way? Why did that person treat me that way? Is there something I did that elicited that response from somebody else? And it's difficult, it's hard to look in the mirror and do those things. And sometimes it can even be painful. But it's really, really important. So one thing I wanted to my first response here is a little bit I think, I'm sorry.

Brian Comerford  34:18
John's got to respond to that. So I was gonna say my, my first response is, I didn't realize that you and I had worked at the same office before. We've all worked at

Jon Abboud  34:28
that office, right.

Brian Comerford  34:32
All right. My second response is, you know, the, I think the approach that you described that was taken, also exhibits a degree of deficiency of leadership in and of itself. If if, and what I mean by that is, you know, whenever you instantiate a policy that gets applied to a group that's really intended to address the behavior of an individual. That's the wrong kind of policy to put into place. I mean, There, there was an opportunity for someone in a leadership role somewhere along the line, to take that individual aside and say, Now we're going to be given this emotional intelligence training. And I'd like you to know, my expectation is that you're going to be the first one to sign up. Because to be completely honest, you're the only one who seems to be deficient in this area, despite what you may think of. Right? Maybe not that heavy handed. But that needs to be the context of the message at some stage and that kind of interaction. So just just my, my contribution to your anecdote there.

Jon Abboud  35:35
Yeah, no, great, very good point. I think kind of a natural next step in this conversation, I was thinking back this, this quote, stuck with me, for whatever reason, I think it was like 14 or 15 years old. On the high school wrestling team, we had like a joint practice and not a team and they had this big sign on their wall, in their gym that true pride is that which drives us to do our very best even when no one is looking. And I think it gets back to this idea of, you know, doing the work, putting in the reps at the gym, if we're talking about physical fitness, or the reps and training for jujitsu, or the the Met daily meditation and the writing in your journal or studying, studying the books before your big sales presentation, whatever it might be, you know, putting in those reps, even when no one is looking. And as I reflected on that, quote, I wanted to switch out the word even with a specially I think, I think it's what drives us do our best, especially when nobody's looking. Because I think that that marries nicely with this conversation of the ego, you know that the negative connotation of the ego is that if you're only doing it to be seen, and you're not doing it to be effective, or not doing it to better yourself, ultimately, you're going to get seen out or shown as a phony, eventually, or you're going to find that when the real task arrives, you know what Nick was talking about earlier, when, when the whole whole IT infrastructure is crashing, you might find out you're not actually up to the task the way that you thought you were. So any thoughts on that quote?

Nick Lozano  37:05
I mean, that's a good one, right? It's about doing the little things every day. And I think that's become pretty popular lately, too, with the emergence of people like Jocko Willink. And you know, David Goggins, and, you know, Reagan about Steve Jobs. And I don't know, if you read the Steve Jobs book that was out about, you know, about a decade ago, and he's talking about working with his father and their white washing fence. And his father says to him, you know, like, we got to make sure we do the backside just as good as we do the front side. And he's like, Well, what, why does that matter? He goes, because I know what the other side looks like, it doesn't matter that anybody else can see it, I know that it's there. And I think when you take that approach, and you start looking at things, that way, it starts applying to other areas of your life, right, too. And some of that might just be like your communication at work, maybe you start becoming an over communicator, over communicator, because you just want to be sure that all the things that you're doing on the back end are being seen on the front end, too, right. And there's a lot of times when we do stuff like that, like you said, like journaling, right? You might journal daily, and only go look back at it every now and then. But at that point in time, when you're doing it, you're creating a moment of clarity for you. And it's something that you can help build upon later. And that's my two cents on that on off. Brian's got a different viewpoint on it.

Brian Comerford  38:35
Yeah, that's a great example. Nick, I love that anecdote that you just shared. You know, we touched earlier on kind of this format that I've had for my one on ones with direct reports, which is to always make sure that it's their meeting. One thing that I've always kind of baked into, you know, the tail end of those meetings is an open question, How am I doing for you? And, you know, that's a method that I employ to solicit feedback. And, you know, when you're in a one on one situation, if you don't know, your, you know, direct report, well, it'll make them immediately uncomfortable and say, Oh, no, great, you know, everything's awesome. Well, they'll never give you genuine feedback. And so sometimes it may take a little bit of additional prompting, on your part to say something to the effect of, well, you know, in this latest projects, I know we ran into a bump, you know, on such and such an issue. I feel like I could have jumped in sooner. Or, you know, I don't feel like I had your back the way that I should have publicly and I wanted to check in with you. Did you feel that same way? Or, you know, how did you make it feel so, so that you can actually solicit some of that feedback and then take that and, you know, bake it into your own hands? Self Awareness. Because, you know, to, to the point of your quote there, John, every time that you're engaged in a situation, you know, on the interior, you know whether or not you're operating at your peak performance. You know, you know whether or not you're in the middle of a meeting, and you're just zoning out, you're like, Oh, my God, and someone asks you a question. You're like, oh, yeah, you bet. And you're not giving it your all, you know, you're not, you're not truly devoted to that moment in the way that you should be. So. So I think having any opportunity to solicit that kind of feedback from those that you work with both above and below you, you know, I think they're, they're equally important opportunities.

Jon Abboud  40:47
Great, yeah, that's awesome. I think it's a really good discussion, I enjoyed this. And I think that what might be a good way to wrap it up, unless either you have anything else you wanted to touch on before I get into wrap up mode. going once going twice, I think is a neat thing I there's there's a book as part of my private victory, or private work rather, not that I have the victories necessarily, I like to reread the book, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl every year. And it's a really well known book. But it's about written by a psychologist who was also a concentration camp survivor during World War Two. And he has this quote, in his book, that it can be seen that mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what has what, excuse me what one has already achieved, and what one is still ought to accomplish. Or the gap between what what one is and what one should become. So I apologize to Viktor Frankl for stumbling through that quote, but I really like that idea of the tension between what we are now and what we can become. And I think the only real road between those two things, is working on those private victories. So that one day what we become can be that that walking, talking example of a public victory. So I thought I'd leave us with that as a as a kind of a takeaway, hopefully, thought provoking quote, but I really enjoyed the conversation. Guys. I think I learned a lot from each of you in this one. So thanks.

Brian Comerford  42:22
Johnny, Kansas lava Viktor Frankl bomb, like that kind of dialogue.

Jon Abboud  42:29
That's trying to wrap it up for us. But go ahead. Yes. Nick, Nick, and Nick can edit out my wrapping it up.

Nick Lozano  42:39
Yeah, we'll leave that in there. It's fine. That's, that's a great book, I recommend if anyone hasn't read that one. You know, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It's it's generally available, you probably find it in a library as an audio book too. But But like you said, it's a great book has lots of great insights. But it's also a tough read, because he goes through the, you know, his experience in a concentration camp. And it's one more I would add on to that, too, is the Gulag Archipelago, which is kind of along that lines too. And you kind of see, it's a much thicker read, and well, that's actually an abridged edition of like four books, right? I think. So it's along those lines, it's a great read, too. So if you enjoy the Viktor Frankl book, then you'll probably enjoy that book as well, too. That's all I have to add on that one. Brian, since we're doing books, do you have one to add for that too?

Brian Comerford  43:38
Yeah, I do. But for you know, first I'll just I'll touch on the Viktor Frankl book. So you know, when I was about 20 years old, that book helped me through one of the darkest periods of my life. And, and a lot of it was because it's such a powerful story about someone who survives, because they have the willingness to do so. And, and, you know, he spends quite a bit of time talking about the psychological characteristics of those who did not survive. It's not that they couldn't, but it's that there was a choice somewhere in there about whether or not to maintain an inner strength to push through just the most horrifying set of circumstances anyone could ever find themselves in. So I've recommended that book over and over again. In fact, I currently do not have a copy of that book. Because anytime I've interacted with somebody who I know could benefit from reading it. I've always given away a copy and then I'll hit the US bookstore and I'll get another copy. Sometimes I get two copies. And, and I've even you know, I've shared it with my own son, when he was going through some of his own challenges, specifically related to the Being a competitive athlete, and kind of the, you know, the mental state of fitness that he found himself in, you know, where he would be his own worst enemy. And, and, you know, having read that book, then he was able to take it. And by the time his class got into World War Two studies, he was already like, out ahead of the group, you know, an understanding of, you know, the importance of the Holocaust. So, yeah, so that, you know, in terms of personal transformation, you know, I think there's, I mean, that book, it's, it's just monumental, it's, it's one that's, it's very difficult to top there is a story of personal transformation that I find really fascinating for, for completely different reasons. But it has a lot to do with moving someone from a space of not really having any kind of awareness of anything beyond kind of their material existence, and to having a completely profound change in personality. And that's Robert Aiman, Rose book journeys out of the body. Were one of the founders of cable, because he was dealing with a lot of stress, as a corporate executive, who did not want to take any kind of drugs that would debilitate him, you know, like antidepressants or anything, I went to see a psychologist who gave him some progressive relaxation exercises. And through the process of performing those exercises, he started having these phenomenal experiences where he found his consciousness outside of his physical body. And so that that very first book is written in, you know, he's, he's kind of an engineer by background. And so it's got a very engineering kind of approach to it, even though the topic itself might seem very new agey, you know, but that that first book doesn't come off that way at all. And it's a it's a fascinating read. And it's, I think it also opens up a lot of questions just about, you know, the nature of interpersonal transformation.

Jon Abboud  47:15
Great. Well, thank you for not letting me wrap it up. Because that was a lot of really good stuff, Brian, I appreciate it. That was awesome. Thanks. And I've also given that book away a number of times the Viktor Frankl book, I, I tend to buy it in twos and threes, because I don't get to run out of them. It's it's really a tremendous life life changing book. Thanks.

Brian Comerford  47:38
It's probably one of the most important books of the last century.

Jon Abboud  47:41
Agreed. All right, where are we actually ready to wrap it up

Nick Lozano  47:47
now? We're wrapping up. So just a little bit of closing here. If you like what you're listening to you just go ahead and leave us a review of whatever podcasting platform you're listening to this on. We're pretty much everywhere. Same goes if you're on watching this on YouTube, checking out the video version. Just go ahead and give us a subscribe if you like what you see. Go ahead and comment on the post. Give us a like or something. We'd like to interact with our audience more we'd love hearing from you when when we get feedback. If you're looking to connect with us, I'm Nick Lozano on LinkedIn. Or I'm running janitor, pretty much on every other platform. You fellows want to give where people can find you at

Brian Comerford  48:33
Brian comer forward on LinkedIn at 23 If you really want to find out about my alter ego

Jon Abboud  48:42
suspenseful Oh, we talked about ego a lot today. We didn't talk about the alter ego. That's pretty good. But you can find me at John D. Abbott on LinkedIn as well.

Nick Lozano  49:00
And we're working on him with other social media platforms. Yeah. More than just LinkedIn. So we'll get him there. We'll get up there. We'll get it just got to do one more. But with that, we appreciate everybody listening and we will catch you on the next episode.

Transcribed by