There is power in connecting with people that will allow you to thrive in everything you do. That’s one of the things Lou Diamond talks about in this episode. Lou is the host of the Thrive LOUD podcast and the author of the book, Master the Art of Connecting. Sharing his experiences from then to now, he lets us in on the story of how he started establishing and encouraging connections, explaining along the way why it is important. He also discusses the concept behind understanding and overcoming the fear of failure, giving some advice on how to propel someone into making a change in their life. Helping us to take better advantage of the power that is in connecting, Lou then divulges some tactics that we can use to connect better.
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Thrive Through The Power Of Connecting With Lou Diamond
I have a fun guest with me, Lou Diamond, who’s a great friend. We met at New Media Summit in San Diego. Lou, you helped me but we ended up helping each other by cohosting or co-emceeing a big real estate event in New York City. We hit it off. We had so much fun and had way too many cocktails afterward. We had a good time. I’m excited to have Lou on the show. Let me introduce you to Lou. He is a connector, motivator, entrepreneur, leader and a thriver. He is the Founder and Host of Thrive LOUD. He’s motivational. I felt like he would be a fantastic guest for us. Many of us are thinking about, “What’s next for us?” No matter where we are in our businesses and in our lives, what’s next? Lou is going to talk about that. Lou, without further ado, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Jen. It’s great to hang out with you again. For those of you whoever want to have a privileged cohost not only share the stage with somebody but also run an entire room of what must have been about over 3,000 people that ran in and out and watched all of our stuff, by the end our feet fell off. I’m sure. It was awesome. It was fun. We have a good balance. You have a great message and your program is awesome too. I’m excited to be here.
Thank you so much. This is why I love you so much. I hang around to you and I can get my head exploding. Lou, tell us a little bit about you. I know about you but tell us how you got to this point because you’ve got a cool background that has led you to this expertise that you have and being able to help people lead and get motivated, all of those wonderful things, achieve wonderful success.
Jen, I love to share with people that I was put on this planet to work with the most amazing companies, leaders, and brands and help them thrive through the power of connecting. I’ve always been one of those people that was a client-facing type of person, the salesy type of person, but I realized that I had a unique way of doing it my entire life. I found I was good at developing businesses, connecting and marketing messages, maybe most specifically for your readers, helping leaders thrive. Helping them not only figure out how they can manage the people that work in their organization but help them connect to their customers, to their brands, to the outside world, to investors and create a platform that elevates them to the next level. The irony is all the skills about connecting are applicable for business development, marketing, and leadership. It’s a matter of how you shape it. That’s been the muscles that I help a lot of organizations work on. It’s spectacular. It’s a lot of fun.
You started in the financial sector.
Even before that, to go back, I probably learned all the lessons I ever needed in a small 60×90 feet wide jewelry store in downtown Brooklyn, New York, which my father owned. I probably was put to work way too early. I’m not going to throw him under the bus because child laws would be violated at this point. Although I think the statute of limitations would have passed. It was the best way. That’s how I learned to connect with individuals. I then went to college and I worked in consulting for a long time and in financial services specifically, but always on that sales side and helping to promote and sell businesses.
To your point, I worked on Wall Street for a long time. There were windows of time that I loved. I started to realize that the superpowers I had been building throughout my career were ready to explode but they were being capped in the place that I was in. Eventually, I had a successful career in Wall Street. I wanted to change and wanted to take this power of connecting to many different industries, many different platforms which led me to become an author which is where I wrote Master the Art of Connecting, all the skills that you need to do to do that and then a consultant again. Running my business Thrive and eventually creating this thing called Thrive LOUD, which is not only a podcast but it has become a way of life.
Thrive LOUD, the show, is about those that are thriving in their lives, their businesses and their passions. I’m bringing together all these connections throughout my life and showing people how they can grow their world through connections. In doing that, that’s how you’re able to launch whether it’s your company, your personal mission, the direction you want to head into, all of these things are ways that we can elevate ourselves. That’s what I did.
I absolutely love that. A lot of people are in that spot. I think back on my long career and feeling coveted. It’s funny you mentioned that you felt trapped in it and I’m sure that a lot of our readers can feel that same way. I did mortgages and after 35 years it was a little mundane. People would say, “Why do you do speaking and teaching and all that stuff?” I said, “It was my fix.” I get bored and then I’d go, “I need a fix. I’ve got to go out. I’ve got to get out there and I’ve got to do something.” It charges me up because this wasn’t charging me up the way it used to. I can imagine a lot of people are in that same spot. Where do you get the gumption to get out there and make that change? A lot of people are losing sleep at night, thinking, “I want to do this but I’m afraid to do it.” What are some of the things that propelled you or the advice that you can give people that propel them to turn that switch, pull that trigger, and make that change?
Two things that I want to jump into before I go into how you face that fear and move through into courage. For the readers, you didn’t get a chance to watch Jen tapping her arm like a heroin addict for the fix. That is the image I’m going to have for the rest of the day because if there was ever somebody that wouldn’t fit into that mix, it’s Jen. It’s a funny analogy. When I wrote Master the Art of Connecting, I talked about strengthening your connecting core. This is not a physical workout. These are the things and the muscles that we have on how you need to be a master connector. One of those muscles is a fearless mindset.
To your point, for those people who are afraid to take the leap and are being held back, that fear is real. It is a real fear that you have. It is something that is inside of you. It’s okay to have these fears. I want to start off with. We would not be human if we didn’t have these fears. Having the fear, in fact, is essential because to achieve a fearless mindset, to make the leap, to make the change, to make a move, you have to understand what that fear is and what you need to do to move through it into courage.
Let’s talk about why people are held back. Most notably, this is where it all leads down to is, people are afraid to change the environment they’re in because they’re cozy and comfortable. The new thing that they’re doing is uncertain, unclear and risky. There’s a fear that’s embedded if we dig back a little deeper, Jen, and that fear is the fear of failure. We’re afraid that if we take that step, we’re going to fail. You and I know this better than most because we fail every single day. If you don’t fail every single day, you cannot succeed. You need to fail a whole bunch of times for you to win. We talked about the baseball analogy. The best baseball hitters fail 7 out of 10 times. You have to fail these times and you have to take these chances.It's okay to have fears. We would not be human if we didn't have them. Click To Tweet
Sometimes, a lot of the changes, “If I leave this safe job that I have where I’m getting paid a salary, I’m going to forgo that into doing something maybe entrepreneurial or even moving to another job and not sure what the move up might be.” Great leaders need to take these leaps. A great friend of mine who was a guest on Thrive LOUD, he was younger than me but I always look up to him. I’m taller than him. I have no idea why that is. His name is Jason Brand. He has been one of the most successful guys in Wall Street and is what we call an agricultural entrepreneur.
He had a lesson that he and I spoke about because he hired me to work on Wall Street when I came from consulting and Jason said to me, “There are two things that you need to do. If you’re going to work for somebody else, you’re going to be an entrepreneur.” His belief was, if you go work for somebody else, go work in a place where they pay you much money that it’s worth working for somebody else. That’s what people do. Otherwise, you want to have those own decisions and that own risk and your ability to step forward. That has always been something that has resonated in my life and it’s something that I recognized. I worked for somebody else until the dollars didn’t make sense anymore or I wasn’t being fulfilled inside. That was the leap I wanted to take.
That was another glass ceiling that you broke through.
I took a drop down after doing it. I went from all the way up a high number down to a non-existent number, probably even a loss in those first couple of years. Knowing two things, one, eventually I would move up and make more money and be able to support my family the way I wanted to, doing the thing that I love most, and following my passion each and every day. You know those pictures, Jen, that they show you? Here’s a picture of you and here’s the picture of you ten years ago. I looked at one of those. In that ten year window, I was working on Wall Street. I looked older then than I do now.
Funny you said that because I went to a Christmas party, to a holiday party for one of my clients and she said, “We talk on the phone all the time but I don’t see you all the time. You look beautiful. You look wonderful. Why?” I’m going, “I’m happy. I’m worried. We all worry. We’re entrepreneurs. We’re unemployed at the beginning of every month. We’re doing something and make a difference.” I’m happier than I’ve ever been, isn’t that the funniest thing?
To your readers who are doing this, the steps that I use to move through your fear and into courage, here’s my three-step thing. First of all, you’ve got to identify the fear. You have to give the fear a name. For those of you out there, my biggest fear is mediocrity. To me, being mediocre feels like failing because I want to be above average. I want to be the best at what I do. Mediocre becomes this launchpad for me. First, I’ve named the fear. I don’t want to be mediocre. Two, you have to look at the fear and spin it on its head. Take the fear after you’ve named it, spin it on its head and say, “Being mediocre still means I’m better than half the world.” Think about that. That’s a big accomplishment. We’re not talking about you’re already zero, you’re halfway there.
Your perception of where you are is, “From that, I’ve spun that fear.” Now, we’re going to say, “I’m going to figure out a way to use that as the launchpad to move you up.” That’s the recognition phase where you say, “I’m better than half the people but I’m going to use this as my trampoline to figure out how I can move forward.” I know what it feels like to be average at times. I know what it feels like to recognize that I want to be better and that’s a constant driver. I know that by spinning this, it’s the bounce to know that, “If I’m feeling an average day, that means that there’s going to be many more positive days to come.”
That method of walking through your fear, naming it, feeling what it feels like, identifying it, spinning it on its head, and bouncing up to the next level, that’s a way to move through that fear. Everyone faces it. Anyone who’s thinking about trying to figure out how to overcome it, that’s what you do. By the way, that could be how you lead your company, how you lead yourself, how you lead your family, how you make the decisions that are hard, but we all have to do them. If we go with this, it’s going to make us feel a lot better and certainly enable us to know that we understand that fear and we know how to move through it.
I absolutely love that. For more encouragement for everyone, it takes a lot of courage even to consider coming out of your comfort zone and people should recognize that. In your example of mediocrity, you’re better than probably 97% of the people out there that won’t ever take that risk and see those wonderful opportunities in their lives. Thinking about it means you’re more courageous than most people to move it forward.
It’s important for anyone who’s trying to make a tough decision. We all face fears every day with every decision we have. We’ve managed to do those things maybe and we’ve ranged and valued them in different ways. It’s important to recognize that even the smallest fears are ones that we can move through.
I want to talk a little bit about connection because there are a lot of definitions of connection. I want to make sure that our readers have clarity in what you’re talking about for connection. In fact, I’m an intuitive connector. That’s one of my avatars or my anthems. Intuitively, I know how to connect people. I know how to make the connection. Is this the type of connection you’re talking about? Is it included in the connection that you’re talking about? Would you mind sharing a little bit more about what you mean by making connections to move forward?
I do this fun little visual diagram when I talk about connections but I’ll do my best to explain it. The way I like to think of it is, think about yourself and the way you see people. I’m looking at Jen and I see Jen. If I didn’t know her, I would recognize her as a human being, another person and I would think of her as a person. The reality is that when I see Jen, I see her a lot differently. This is true, almost graphically, there’s this large bubble around her. The bubble around her is her world and it’s all the things that Jen brings to us. Because of Jen’s lovely imagery, I see her book, I know her brand, I know her business. I’ve had a chance to meet her husband. I’ve had a chance to see what she does on stage and I know where she’s from and what her history is. These almost pop up like visual assets around Jen. That’s how I see the world. When I see people, I don’t see them as that individual piece. I see the world around them and all these little assets, these visual assets that are the things that make up who Jen is.
I myself have a world around me that make up for all the things that I do, the places I’ve worked, the things I’ve described to you in the phone, my podcast, the clients I’ve worked with, my family, New York, all those things that people would represent and that’s how they see me. There’s a magical thing here in a connection. When you look at a target that you’re trying to connect with, what you’re trying to do is see where these worlds, these bubbles, if you would, where they can overlap, where they can intersect. When you overlap and these two circles come together and they overlap on where they do overlap and we’ve shared in the show, Jen’s been a guest on my podcast, I’m now one on hers. We’ve both shared the stage together. Our connections are getting more intertwined. By doing that, I’m taking a piece of Jen’s world and incorporating it into mine. More importantly, she also is taking a piece of my world together.
We went up to the moon and we were looking down at the world and we looked at Lou and Jen or the whole world, you’d see all these connections coming up together. I’m using the one of Jen and me and the other connection she has. Think of all these followers of the show. Think of all the people that are adding to Jen’s world. The more you establish these strong connections with people, the more and more overlap, your world grows, your power grows, your skillsets grow and your ability to connect to others grows.
Master connectors are those who are able to bring all these assets into a room. When Jen Du Plessis walks into a room, there is an energy about her. It is not just her lovely looks and beautiful hair, but what I will tell you is that as a gravitational force, it’s not so much that you have to go out and add new connections, people want to connect to you. That power of all those other connections, which comprises and made you this amazing individual, is an incredibly, attractive thing that brings people to you. When you have that, you have power, you have relationships, you have the ability to grow your world and others. That’s what connection is.
By the way, your visual is fantastic. I see all these little bobbleheads.
Social media helps with this, too. A lot of those visuals that you have of those assets, when you see someone you haven’t seen for a while, you may have seen them post something like, “I saw that you were on this trip and you went on this vacation. You went to this concert. You celebrated this milestone occasion.” Those things pop up and that is how we connect to other people. The graphical component of being able to do that is a wonderful thing that social media brings to us because we can’t always see everybody every single day. When we do, talking about and addressing those little bubbles are huge because those are the things that are connecting with others.
It’s like consuming brain cells, what ends up happening is you remember. As you’re describing this, I’m saying, “This is wonderful.” I’m a big connector so I can see it, but what if someone isn’t? What if someone has been sitting in an office for long and they’re not a connector or their personality type isn’t like that? I do know people this way where I said, “I want to connect to you,” and they don’t get it. They’re like, “Why are we connecting? I don’t understand.” When I introduced you to Mark Demetriou, I said, “I want to connect the two of you.” You guys connected because he’s a connector. What if someone isn’t a connector? What are some things that you could do rather than looking at the person as a person? What are some things that you could do to start connecting? The first thing that comes to mind for me is to be curious. What are some tactics that you would suggest to people?
I teased about the connecting core and the ways you’ve got to do it. The connecting core, by the way, I use an acronym. I was in consulting for a long time. I call it SAFE. I’m going to work backward because working backward is how you become a master connector. The E stands for the power of empathy. It starts with the most core skill of empathy and that’s listening, listening to others and when you listen, to your point, being curious. It’s embracing curiosity. I go through this in a whole way about the different levels of listening. There’s such power when you ask great questions, which will help start conversations that will build relationships with who you connect with. That’s what happens.
Simply asking great questions because if I’m asking questions to you, like you are on this show, you’re asking me. We’re spoiling the world here because you’re asking me these questions but a whole other bunch of people are like flies on the wall listening to the show or watching it on the YouTube channel. They’re getting a chance to see my weird loud pleas. Also, they get to see this power that I’m bringing together on how you can connect. The person who is not maybe as loquacious or outgoing, could be introverted, I want to make this clear, you don’t need to be onstage or a speaker or a consultant to connect or this big personality.
In fact, many of the people that you connect with are like you on that level. There are certain things I learned from these more quiet, naturally introverted people more so because I want them in my world too. That’s the important thing. Don’t think that because you see someone that has different personality traits that they’re not going to add value to your world or you don’t think that you’re going to add value to theirs. By learning about other people, by asking about what they’re doing, by understanding what their business is, what their personal goals are, having these conversations start relationships. It does work.
You can do this in person, as we’re talking. You also can do this digitally and there are ways that you can do it that way as well through LinkedIn and certain connections and eventually building a rapport to get to be in person. That’s where it starts. To your point, listening and asking powerful questions, embracing curiosity is where you can start. You don’t need to feel that you have to jump out and have a whole social media presence or go in front of a stage and talk to everybody. You can build it up in a way that works best for your world.It's important to recognize that even the smallest fears are the ones that we can move through. Click To Tweet
I want to comment on it before you start going backward in all the other things too. I was coaching a client and he’s a fisherman. Everything he does is about fishing. I shouldn’t stereotype. I think about the mentality of a fisherman. To me, he’s typical, quiet, methodical, likes to chit-chat but it’s not a lot of chit-chatting. He likes to have warm conversations with people but he’s not assertive in a way that allows him to get in the business because he has nice conversations with people. What I found is that he was having superficial conversations with people and not having that depth of conversation. I call it the dot-dot-dot method because we tend to say, “How are you today?” “Good.”
Not moving on to that next step.
“That’s great.” The dot-dot-dot is, “That’s wonderful. Do you have any fun plans for the holiday coming up?” “We don’t have plans,” or “Yeah, we do. We’re doing this, that and the other,” and people are, “That’s cool.” What we want to do is dot-dot-dot, “That sounds good. Do you have a lot of people coming? What’s the deal? Who’s coming? How many kids do you have?” I called it curiosity in the beginning. It starts with that second level of questioning. It’s not just asking one good question but asking a multitude of questions that stems from your point, empathy, and curiosity to learn more about this human that’s in front of you.
I can’t tell you how great it is to be able to ask questions. When you open yourself up to stepping into curiosity and that’s what you’re doing. Let’s use your fishing example. I’ve gone fishing and it’s not necessarily my passion. It’s enjoyable. Let’s say I get into a conversation with someone about fishing and I want to know, “Why do you like it so much? What is it about fishing?” If you start driving down that road and learning what it is, you’re embracing curiosity because you’re trying to understand it. This is important from our little circle example before. We might not overlap on that particular connection. However, I know plenty of people that love to fish and would love to hear more about this particular story.
In fact, this is where master connectors come in and be like, “This sounds great.” While I’m not necessarily as interested in going fishing with you, I know a bunch of people that might be right up your alley who I’d love to introduce you to or connect you to because they’re in my world. When you bridge the gap and help to connect people into your world, first of all, I can’t even tell you how this is, you are already branded in their world as somebody that can bring people together but you’re doing a multiplicative thing. You’re connecting other people into one world through you. Think about how big your world has gotten by doing that. We’ve got a one-on-one example and made it one-on-many. That type of power happens from that power of empathy, curiosity, and listening. Not talking so much. Less is more. I love the people that don’t talk too much because they could be short but I do agree with the dot-dot-dot theory. You need to bridge the gap. It can’t end right there.
Let’s say you met someone like me.
There is no one like you. Readers, let it be known, nobody.
You met someone like me and if you ask me some various superficial questions, you wouldn’t know some deep things that a lot of people know about me. I’m a competitive ballroom dancer. I’m an expert marksman.
I do know this. Don’t mess with her.
Don’t mess with me. Go ahead, make my day.
She’ll take you out from 100 yards.
You wouldn’t know those things if you didn’t go deep enough and that you could be that next question away from something that connects thousands and thousands of people.
The way I look at it is, for those that are afraid to embark on those things, recognize that failure rule is true and ask those questions too. You don’t always connect with everybody. You’re trying to find some way that people at least can see the world that you’re about and where those opportunities are because what does happen is that someone will recognize that that’s someone that you should connect to. I spoke at this networking event. It was the CEN, Cornell Entrepreneur Network event. It was a lot of fun too, by the way, because there was a live stream and I had friends and family watching the live stream. I was getting questions from them in the Q&A, which was a little odd. In that group, we talked about something that I love to do. This is what I want your readers to think about. I don’t want you to think about networking meetings. Networking is the wrong word. I call it connect working.
Your purpose in the networking meeting is not to grow your network. Your purpose is to find connections. To use that platform, I gave a whole presentation on the things you need to have to go into those meetings and the things you need to do. There are clear cuts. Your dot-dot-dot, there are follow-up steps. There are the next steps. There are things you need to do to prepare before you even go into those networking meetings to come up with a clear game plan and a goal. All of that is vital because this skillset is something you need to work on. These are the muscles. These muscles are things you’ve got to work on every day. Work them out to keep them toned and fit and that’ll make your world that much more flexible, stronger.
I’m going to use The Matrix as a better example instead of that linear thinking, which I’m a linear thinker.
You are a linear thinker.
I’m linear but the ability to connect intuitively like I do, it’s like The Matrix because I can see all the things that I didn’t see before and it’s easy. For other people, they’ll say, “You’re such a great connector. How do you do it?” It’s a learned thing. It’s like doing one push up first and then a couple.
You have to work at it.
I’d have to go way back to figure out how that all happened. It’s something that becomes natural. If you can work in the beginning, it can come something natural for you that can help you in every aspect of your business.
I’ll share this with you from being in an in-person meeting. One of the things I talk, focus is the importance of eye contact in these things and avoiding giraffe syndrome. The giraffe syndrome is when you start looking at somebody and in that room, somebody walks right behind you in the middle of the conversation and you start stretching out your neck and looking into that direction. Looking over them or around them and trying to see that. There’s nothing more disconnecting than when you’re trying to engage and connect with someone. What I will say is those skills of being focused at the moment is important. That doesn’t only apply to those networking, social situations or business growth meetings.
As a leader in your organization, this is important. When you’re talking to people who work for you or are within your room, if you start picking up a device and start texting on the device while you’re in a conversation with someone, is there anything more horrifying? Someone does not appreciate you at that moment. Great leaders I have conversations with and I say, “The more connected you are in connecting your world to your people, the more connected and supportive they’re going to be to your cause to grow that world.” That company is a brand and representation. Think of those things as you’re connecting as well.
Let’s go back to SAFE.Your purpose in a networking meeting is not to grow your network. Your purpose is to find connections. Click To Tweet
We hit the E, the empathy. We hit a fearless mindset. We already covered that part. The other two pieces are the hard gel pieces but they’re the glue. The A is authenticity. Let’s call it this way. It’s as simple as this. If you are not genuine, if you are dishonest, if you do things that break away from something, your worlds are never going to connect because we know that that is what crumbles, it is the linchpin for the connecting core. Not being who you are in the moment and that coming out when you try to connect with someone and that isn’t it. You tell someone a lie. You oversell your capabilities in a sales pitch. You say do something when you don’t. You say things are doing great but they’re not and you’re trying to figure all those things out. The more open and honest you are with somebody, it’s where you’re going to do it. I’ll make it simple. Open, honest, and from the heart in every connection you’re trying to make. That might sound a little mushy for your business people out here but the reality is that is how you need to be a master connector. Everyone talks authenticity and they use it to the Nth degree.
It’s overused because it’s a given. It is table stakes as it relates to it. Understand that A has to be rock solid. Recognize this part, when you don’t have your A in your SAFE, it doesn’t matter how good the other letters are, it doesn’t matter how empathetic, how fearless, all of those things are there. Let’s get to the S. I call it your super why. It’s your superpower. Jen, we spoke about this. Don’t we love the superheroes? Don’t we love those Marvel super movies, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk and all those guys? What we love are the stories when the superheroes discover their superpowers. When Spider-Man first learns he could climb walls or shoot webs or whatever it is. We are amazed because, by the way, we want to hang out with superheroes.
If we could hang out with people who are superheroes, I could go to a networking meeting, I could point and be like, “There’s Joe over there. That guy shoots laser beams from his eyes. There’s Jen over there. She’s the fastest person in the world. There’s my friend, Jen Du Plessis, who is maybe one of the best business social networkers you’ll ever run into, the intuitive connector.” These are real skills that are incredibly powerful that we have. When you asked me to this show, “Lou, tell us a little bit about you,” I always lead with my superpower. I was put on this planet to work with the most amazing companies, leaders and brands to help them thrive through the power of connecting. That is what I do every single day. That is my purpose on this planet. What I’m going to do is connect as many people as I can and show them how they can do it as well. My superpower is helping to embody others. When you lead with your superpower, when you define your why, your super why you’re on this planet, people want to connect with you for that reason. They want to know your superhero power. That’s the super link of your connecting core. I share with your readers, it’s hard to figure out what your superpower is.
That was what I was going to ask you. How do we find out our superpower? How do we figure that out? Is it our passion or is it something that we receive information from people that says, “You’re always this, you’re always that and I love you because of that.” Where do we get the superpower information?
The short easy answer is that all your readers should hire me to come to speak at their organization so I could share my connective drive method. If you want a little teaser for that, part of finding your super why is within you and it’s within your core-connected network. I do this little exercise which is a lot of fun and your reader can do it too. Write down on a piece of paper the 5 to 7 words that you think describe you. What you believe you are to other people, write them down. Write them down on a piece of paper. Put them on a piece of paper. Write them and put them in a drawer.
You’re then going to go out and use the wonderful internet highway here and you’re going to send emails, specifically, to those in your world, the ones that you know well. Send them to about 5 to 7 people, that’s a good number, that is in that. I’m going to give one caveat, you do not send them to family members. You don’t send them to your spouse. You don’t send it to your kids. You certainly don’t send them to your mother. You send them to people that are within your business, your personal network and you ask them to do the same thing.
Come back with those 5 to 7 words that you think. Watch what happens as they come in. Look at those words. Once they’ve all come in from the network that you trust and know and that knows you well, pull out the piece of paper that you have. The real question is, are your connected words and values connecting with others? Is your true superpower, which others see in you, the one that you see in yourself? You know that when they match up and you found the overlap of where that is, you’re on your way to defining exactly how to come up with what your superpower is because that means that you yourself know what you’re strong for and what others see you for.
I’m going to tell you how much I love this. I did this before. I was trying to figure out my brand. I was saying, “This is what I think I am but is that the case?” I sent out emails to a handful of people and said, “Give me five words that describe me.” By the way, this is an authenticity thing. I got back things like, “You’re such a connector. You’re giving. You always want to help people.” I got all these things. These are things that I knew were me and all the wonderful little accolades, nothing bad, except for one. One came back and said, “You’re this, that and the other and you’re not present.” That was a word he used for me. This exercise is incredibly important because I picked up the phone, called him and said, “Chip, what do you mean?”
I wish I had a friend named Chip. I like that.
Chip Steinmetz, that’s his name. He used to own a real estate company. I said, “Chip, I got this. I have to talk to you about it. What do you mean by it?” He goes, “You’re always there. You’re always in advance. I see you everywhere. You’re always everywhere but then when you have a conversation with someone, it’s all this superficial stuff. You’re running around like a little bumblebee trying to find some pollen somewhere.”
You’ve got a lot of giraffe heads going on.
I was coming up with all the excuses. I said, “I was having an event. I want to make sure I got to everybody. It’s a wedding.” He said, “The thing is, if you can stop and have 4 or 5 conversations that mean something, the other people will see that you’re having those conversations. That’s going to draw them to you.” Your point about eye connection and stuff like that, if you’re reading, you need to come and watch because I’m connected and I don’t look anywhere else. I’m focused. I’m present. I had to learn that skill. I’m saying that it could be that it’s finding your flaw in your superhero suit.
I wouldn’t say it’s your kryptonite but what I can tell you is that every superhero has a weakness. What they do is they figure out how to strengthen around that weakness or how to grow and develop it or eliminate it and stay away from it. By the way, those are the things that don’t make us dislike those superheroes anymore. We like the fact when we understand where people are good at certain things and maybe where they’re not. We don’t expect superheroes to do everything. We know that we expect them to do something well and that’s what we want to engage them with. That’s what we want to hire them for. That’s why we want to go to them when we need them most. I joke about this. We know that in the medical profession there are doctors and ER doctors who are good at those emergency situations that are there. We also don’t want them operating on our brains when we have brain surgery.
They’re not neurosurgeons.
Not necessarily plastic surgeons either. They make me look good every morning. Anyway, these are the things that we recognize people for. When you clearly know that for some other people, it makes it easier for you to connect with other people. It’s not limiting all the things that you do. You may do a lot of other things but people want to connect with you for that thing you do the best.
I love that and that’s okay. If you’re going to do this exercise and someone comes back, ask people to be authentic with you. Don’t say, “Don’t give me all the good stuff. Be real with me.”
The biggest thing that I’ll tell you from a business point of view, for your leaders out there, it is important to address the 800-pound gorilla in the room immediately. This is the real test of authenticity. You may have an agenda item about fifteen things to do. I’ve got one of these meetings coming up. It’s a laundry list of stuff that would be relevant once we’ve addressed a big issue at hand. What people appreciate for those that are great connectors which means they’re great leaders and those that thrive, these are people that are able to tackle the big issue at that point and pick the priority that’s most important.
It’s a great super skill to have because what that’s doing is that’s connecting everyone on the same page to an issue that they all need to get to. All these connecting skills which may think might be related to how you meet other people or get yourself hired for a job or even hire someone, all those skills are relevant in how you lead and manage your issues, your problems, your challenges in your business as well. You’re connecting to these issues and that’s the commonality that you have in your work world within your sphere.
I call that having adult conversations with adults because a lot of times that fear comes in and it says, “I don’t want to talk about it.” That’s like Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!. It’s the same premise. I love that book. I have a stuffed frog that I had on my desk forever. It reminds me, eat the frog. I gave it to my youngest grandson. I gave it to him and said, “Here you go. You get the frog.” I’ve overcome it now. I don’t need to have it in front of me. What happens is as adults, we don’t want that confrontation. We think it can be moved over under the rug. Have an adult conversation with adults.
It’s those same issues and tackling those fears and knowing how to spin through them. We have to wear the fear and understand what it feels like but that fearless mindset is going to move it through. I know I don’t want to have to deal with all my expenses and my bills. By the way, I’ve seen this. I do this. It’s weird.
What I do is I have a clear day in the month that I tackle everything. It’s my efficient way. On that day, I get excited about it because I know that when I’m done with it, it’s going to be like, “That’s off the shelf. Now I’ve got to make money next month and figure out how to do it next time.” We’re humans and as great connectors, these skills and feelings and the way we need to be, that’s what we want to connect with anyway. We want to show that humanity piece. You don’t have to be as amazing and stage present as Jen Du Plessis all the time. You can be a regular person every day doing your stuff and still thrive and connect in your own world and do a great job of doing it.You may do a lot of other things, but people would want to connect with you for what you do best. Click To Tweet
An important point here, connect with your kids. I was at a retreat and we all had to hold hands. Men were holding hands with men that they didn’t know and women with men and all this stuff. We were holding hands and we had to look in each other’s eyes.
You and I did that.
What’s that called? There’s a name for this activity. I’ve done it several times and you look in their eyes and people are trying to move each eye back and forth and you can’t look away. It’s awkward when you first do it. You’re supposed to say what I see in you. I realized, “How long has it been since I’ve looked in my husband’s eyes?” It’s, “Good morning. I got my coffee. Goodbye. What time will you be home? Can you get this? Can you get that? What do you want for dinner?” There’s not a lot of eye connecting. That’s something that we started doing. Let’s connect and see how our day went. We’ve cried. We’ve laughed. We’ve giggled and we go, “This is stupid.” We’ve also sat there and cried and realize that there’s some pain between us. That’s important to get those things out. I’m not suggesting you do it all in a work environment but I’m saying with your family. Please make sure that you’re connecting with your family and not just in the room.
We do something in our home and that is, as much as we can, we try to all have dinner together. I know that sounds like a touchpoint. Some people do breakfast.
We do dinner.
It’s that chance, “What’s going on in your day? What do you want to talk about? What do you want to not talk about?” Laugh stuff, bad stuff, uncomfortable stuff.
My son does something called High-Low-Buffalo.
I’ve heard this.
What was the high of your day? What’s the low of your day? What was unexpected? It’s exciting. You have to do it.
For the readers, I hit all. I woke up a little tired. I got excited because I knew I was going to be on Jen Du Plessis’ show. The unexpected thing was like, “I’m on. I’ve got to run and chat with her now because I missed it on my calendar.” I’m here and I’m excited. I don’t even need the rest of my day. My High-Low-Buffalo has been achieved.
Lou, what are some parting thoughts you want to leave with everyone? I know that you definitely have some opportunities. How do people connect with you as well?
I’ll do the connection piece on how they can connect with me. You can find me anywhere in social media @ThriveLouD. You also can go to ThriveLOUD.com where you can find Thrive LOUD podcast and links to my page, LouDiamond.net but that all links together on Thrive LOUD, everywhere that is. Definitely check out the episode for Jen so you could learn about her on my show, which is awesome because we get to learn about her whole story and what her world is all about. My lesson, I do this often, it’s the sign off for what I do on the Thrive LOUD podcast which is, be brief, be bright, be gone. Be brief in your messages to run through what you want to connect with people. Try to be as smart as you can and come up with that piece of brilliance that can help connect and make someone’s day. Be gone doesn’t mean drop them like a mic drop, but that means be gone and take it to the next level. Move on wondering upward, which is what thriving is all about. Be brief, be bright, be gone would be my message to your readers.
That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Lou, for joining us. I appreciate it. I know we’re going to have all kinds of other conversations. It means a lot that you took the time to come and be on the show for us and to provide the wisdom that you did because it was absolutely wonderful. I always learn from you and that’s what I love hearing.
This is more of a pleasure for me than it is for you, to hang out with you at any point in time. To your readers, you’ve got a great host here, she rocks. Jen Du Plessis is one of my favorites, one of my peeps.
Those of you that are reading, please give us a five-star rating and give us a review. We want to get your feedback as much as possible. Thank you for reading and taking time out of your day to move from success to significance in your life.
- Lou Diamond
- New Media Summit
- Thrive LOUD
- Master the Art of Connecting
- Eat That Frog!
- @ThriveLouD – Twitter
- Episode – Thrive LOUD podcast with Jen Du Plessis
About Lou Diamond
Founder / CEO Thrive
Lou Diamond is THE Master Connector. He has over a quarter century of experience in sales, relationship management, business development and executive coaching. Lou is an energetic, humorous, and inspirational business development strategist and performance coach. He has consulted with and mentored leading performers from companies all over the world. Lou’s authenticity, energy and enthusiasm for what he does is unmatched. Lou’s inspiring keynote presentation: “Connect to Thrive” – will send you on your way feeling as though you can conquer the world…. and make tons of great new connections doing it.