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ET-087: A conversation with Mr. Brian Wood

ET-087: A conversation with Mr. Brian Wood

and your host Wayne Brown on February 06, 2024

and your host Wayne Brown on February 06, 2024

Episode notes: A conversation with Mr. Brian Wood

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

Today, I’m excited to be cyber hopping across the waterways to Arizona in the United States to chat with our guest, Mr. Brian Wood. Brian achieved All Metro Captain and MVP honors while playing basketball at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

After completing his undergraduate degree in 1987, that means he’s almost as old as me, he combined the hunger for competition and adventure by participating on several traveling basketball teams including tournaments in Denmark, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico City, Alaska, Panama and Hawaii. Juggling career, family and volunteer responsibilities, Brian was able to earn his MBA at the University of Phoenix in 2014.

Later, he secured the certified professional coach designation through the Institute of Professional Excellence and Coaching. Additionally, Brian is an accredited master practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index Program and a certified Leadership Circle Profile practitioner.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

So it was a long, long time ago, Wayne I’ll tell you that. Full disclosure, I played ball in college back in New Jersey, William Paterson University back in the ’80s. And I tell people about that now, younger people, and they’re did they even have electricity back then? And I feel so sorry for you. And anyway, that’s a whole other story, another show. But it was the best. The workouts, even as hard as the workouts were, there’s something about enjoying the process and the pain to a degree, because you know it’s pushing you to a better place. And so the tough workouts, and I loved it.

And I loved my teammates, and I loved the locker room, and I loved the lessons. And I loved even when things didn’t go perfectly, which in my case, they didn’t quite often. When things didn’t go perfectly, upon reflection, you realize and you learn that, man, that kind of shaped me and served me. And that was really a pretty big gift. Maybe I didn’t recognize it at the time. But short version, too late for that, I know, is it was just amazing. It was a great time. And it was just a lot of fun and a lot of lessons learned…

Today’s Guest: MR BRIAN WOOD

Brian served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and this together with the Athletic and Corporate America journey has provided him with valuable perspectives while exposing a clear need relative to coaching. As Brian highlights, athletes are often provided with essential coaching at an early age. However, when it’s time to transition away from active participation, more often than not, coaching no longer takes place. Brian is inspired to make a difference in his clients lives. He’s motivated to collaborate, identify, and help them pursue their higher purpose, building a legacy of greatness. So during our conversation, you’ll hear Brian and I discussing some of the details that lie beneath the surface of things we often take for granted. Topics such as understanding other cultures at a deeper level and even having genuine empathy with your partner and their struggles while they endeavour to support us to pursue our dreams. It’s a wide ranging conversation that I’m confident you’re going to enjoy.

Final words from Brian:

I would say that we are so much better than we know, and we’re designed for greatness and to show up, respectful is good, empathy is good, but to show up in a way that is less than you are to make others feel better, safer, more secure, is a mistake. I think it’s important for us to live bold and to take chances and to take big swings and just imagine the impact that you have when you live this type of life and you’re this type of leader.

It’s almost like, and I’m just kind of stealing some thoughts and words from, I think it’s Marianne Williamson. She talks about our greatest fear. And I’m not gonna go through the passage but the idea is, when we live up to our potential, we liberate others to do the same thing. And we should never shrink. Because again, when you shrink and you don’t take big swings and you don’t make big plays, all that leads to is resentment.

We’re here for a short amount of time to serve others and take big swings and live the life we were designed to live, be the leaders that we’re designed to be, and change the world….

Transcript:

[music]

0:00:03.5 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. Today, I’m excited to be cyber hopping across the waterways to Arizona in the United States to chat with our guest, Mr. Brian Wood. Brian achieved All Metro Captain and MVP honors while playing basketball at William Paterson University in New Jersey. After completing his undergraduate degree in 1987, that means he’s almost as old as me, he combined the hunger for competition and adventure by participating on several traveling basketball teams including tournaments in Denmark, Puerto Rico, Australia, Mexico City, Alaska, Panama and Hawaii. Juggling career, family and volunteer responsibilities, Brian was able to earn his MBA at the University of Phoenix in 2014. Later, he secured the certified professional coach designation through the Institute of Professional Excellence and Coaching. Additionally, Brian is an accredited master practitioner of the Energy Leadership Index Program and a certified Leadership Circle Profile practitioner.

0:01:21.1 WB: He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and this together with the Athletic and Corporate America journey has provided him with valuable perspectives while exposing a clear need relative to coaching. As Brian highlights, athletes are often provided with essential coaching at an early age. However, when it’s time to transition away from active participation, more often than not, coaching no longer takes place. Brian is inspired to make a difference in his clients lives. He’s motivated to collaborate, identify, and help them pursue their higher purpose, building a legacy of greatness. So during our conversation, you’ll hear Brian and I discussing some of the details that lie beneath the surface of things we often take for granted. Topics such as understanding other cultures at a deeper level and even having genuine empathy with your partner and their struggles while they endeavour to support us to pursue our dreams. It’s a wide ranging conversation that I’m confident you’re going to enjoy. So now Please prepare to join us on this insightful journey as our guest, Mr. Brian Wood, turns our focus to exploring ways that we can be of service to others.

0:02:41.5 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:03:00.1 WB: All right. Welcome team ET Wonderful to have you join us for today’s conversation with our guest, Mr. Brian Wood. As you would have heard me mention in the intro, Brian hails from Arizona, Brian’s an ex basketball player, an MVP, a corporate leader, as well as someone who loves the opportunity to travel. So, more recently, Brian’s turned his focus to coaching and to the service of others, and we’re going to be diving into these areas during our conversation. So Brian, welcome to the ET project. I’m looking forward to our chat.

0:03:34.0 Brian Wood: Thrilled to be here. Thanks Wayne.

0:03:34.8 WB: I’m going to do something a little bit different as I mentioned, just before we hit record, is I’m going to hit you with a set of rapid fire questions given your athletics background. I like to put athletes under pressure. So here we go. If you’re ready, let’s start with an identity question. So, who’s Brian Wood in your own words? 

0:04:00.1 BW: Brian is someone who’s doing what he was designed to do, by changing the world. And there’s a quote, the people that are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. I think that’s Steve jobs. That’s Brian Wood. Crazy.

0:04:15.4 WB: If we’re to look at strengths, do you have a couple of personal as well as professional strengths? 

0:04:24.0 BW: Personally and professionally I think they go hand in hand. I think it comes down to determination/resiliency. It’s about winning and it’s just a matter of time before we win. I feel like that’s the case. Like it’s not over until I win. And I mean that in a good way, in a way of service, but anyway, that’s not a very quick answer, but hopefully that makes sense. [laughter]

0:04:51.9 WB: Not a problem at all. All right. This one’s a little bit more thought invoking hopefully. So if you were shipwrecked on a deserted Island and you could choose two other people to be stranded there with you. Who would you choose and why? 

0:05:07.6 BW: So I can’t pick one of my kids, right? I have to take my wife and I might take my dog, Murph, just because that’s a pretty safe bet. I know that’s a cop out, but that’s all I’ve got. I fold it under pressure. I’m supposed to be a former athlete and I fold it under pressure Wayne.

0:05:30.3 WB: Very good. I’m guessing you have a list of values. What’s your number one core value? 

0:05:39.6 BW: I would say adventure is probably, if I had to pick one, that combines a couple of different things, but adventure with life and service and travel and learning. That’s probably the one I pick Wayne.

0:05:54.9 WB: Okay, excellent. And if you had to lose one of your biggest limiting beliefs, what would be something that you would start working to remove? 

0:06:06.9 BW: So that’s a really interesting question, and I’ll make this quick, but my dad was a boxer, all right? And he was a boxer in the army, and he trained us to take things personally. So it took me a really long… And not with any ill intent, that is just the way we were raised, me and my sisters. So I would say I’ve done a lot better at not taking things personally. I probably still have a little ways to go.

0:06:34.8 WB: Do you have a higher purpose that you’re striving for? 

0:06:39.3 BW: I think it comes down to squeezing as much impact into the limited amount of time that we have on this planet. And every person that we cross paths with, we have an opportunity to make their world a little bit better. So it’s operating with purpose to serve as many people and drive as much impact as possible, but also in a way where there’s poise and it’s not panic. I think there’s a quote from John Wooden, and it was, “Move fast, but never in a hurry.” So there’s got to be purpose, but it also can’t be chaotic, if that makes sense.

0:07:25.8 WB: Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, I’ll let you have a sip of tea or coffee or whatever your beverage is. [chuckle] And what we’ll do is we’ll stop the rapid-fire questions, we’ll go into some deeper responses, but I thought, given that you come from both sides of the fence, you’re a sports person as well as a corporate person, we’ll unpack both of those in our chat, probably starting with your college years, I guess, where you were playing basketball. So what was it like back then? And you don’t have to divulge your age, but back at that period in the world and playing college ball, what was life like? 

0:08:09.2 BW: So it was a long, long time ago, Wayne I’ll tell you that. Full disclosure, I played ball in college back in New Jersey, William Paterson University back in the ’80s. And I tell people about that now, younger people, and they’re did they even have electricity back then? And I feel so sorry for you. And anyway, that’s a whole other story, another show. But it was the best. The workouts, even as hard as the workouts were, there’s something about enjoying the process and the pain to a degree, because you know it’s pushing you to a better place. And so the tough workouts, and I loved it.

0:08:58.5 BW: And I loved my teammates, and I loved the locker room, and I loved the lessons. And I loved even when things didn’t go perfectly, which in my case, they didn’t quite often. When things didn’t go perfectly, upon reflection, you realize and you learn that, man, that kind of shaped me and served me. And that was really a pretty big gift. Maybe I didn’t recognize it at the time. But short version, too late for that, I know, is it was just amazing. It was a great time. And it was just a lot of fun and a lot of lessons learned.

0:09:37.1 WB: I’m guessing a lot of people, myself included, see college ball through the lens of a camera on TV or somewhere. And it’s a very glamorous sport. And I know all athletes put in the yards to get to that final outcome. What was a typical training session like? How long did it last? What sort of drill did you go through? Just the routine and the process, I’m curious about.

0:10:16.8 BW: So it started. We had a coach, Wayne, who was just psychotic when it came to being in shape and we can win so many games by being in better shape than everyone else. So it was, I remember we had to do these three-mile runs way back Wayne. And the goal was to break 18 minutes. So it had to be sub six-minute miles. And we’re not track stars, but that was the goal. He wanted to really push us. And then that was just the beginning. And that was the beginning. And that was just like the entrance fee to get into practice. I’ll tell you one workout that was just miserable. And I don’t think we played awesome defense one game. And we paid for the next practice, the next workout. And it was, Wayne, I’m not kidding you. It was 25 minutes of defensive slides. And that is the equivalent, at the time, it felt like it was three months.

0:11:18.0 BW: And it felt like a lifetime of burpees. It was just so hard. But I will say that stuff that was so painful, it absolutely built resiliency. Because it’s not like you’re making it up. And it’s not like it’s conceptual. You can get to a point where you’re doing something. You’re competing for something in business, in sports. And you can go back to that 25-minute hellacious session and say, oh, I’ve done that before. I survived that. I can win the next game. I can win the next challenge. I can win the next drill.

0:11:58.8 WB: You have that inner belief because you’ve already broken that barrier at some point. What did that type of thing do for the team bonding? Was that also a trigger for bringing the team together or drive it apart? 

0:12:13.9 BW: I honestly feel like it was punitive from our coach. [chuckle] He was so upset that we didn’t play the defense that we should have. So I don’t know if there was a method to the madness, but it went in a couple of different directions, Wayne. The first one was, it was just you hated everyone who was in your space. I don’t even want to look at you. I don’t want to hear you breathing hard. You make me sick. And then similar to what you talked about earlier and reflecting, then it became, wow! We survived that together. Now, I haven’t served my country in the military. And I suspect that when you see army buddies get together after so many years, they re-live some of these memories and these experiences, certainly not comparing myself to those heroes. The connection is there though. I imagine there’s something similar ’cause that it just felt like we survived something together, as simple as it sounds.

0:13:20.5 WB: Yeah. Very good. So while you’re doing all the sport, how much did the sport take over from the academic side? When you’re at college, you’re expected to do both equally well? Or how does it pan out in America? 

0:13:33.6 BW: So you’re talking about when I’m playing and the balance between academics? 

0:13:39.9 WB: Yes.

0:13:40.9 BW: It’s interesting as I went into my senior year and I started off slow academically, and I really had to grind it out to graduate on time, that was kind of important for me. As a matter of fact, my last semester it was like 21 credits, and I don’t even remember sleeping much because there was the basketball team and all kinds of workshops and internships and stuff. And so anyway, to answer your question, I had a ton of respect for one of my coaches when I was a senior. And he said, you’re gonna get to practice late on Thursday because you’ve gotta be able to get that last class in. So that you can graduate on time. So I didn’t mess around. As soon as class was over, I went, I really locked in and got there and did my thing. But it taught me a lesson that usually it’s not either or. Usually it’s both. Like we can do both. Sometimes you talked about limiting beliefs, Wayne. Sometimes we have this limiting belief that we need eight hours of sleep or whatever the case may be. But if we really find inspiration and motivation, we can often do both. So that’s what I went after. I did pretty well academically and athletically. And that was another great lesson that I carry through till until today.

0:15:07.8 WB: Yeah. Yeah. I asked the question on purpose ’cause a lot of people listen and they think, okay it’s such a dream outcome. We’re in the senior sports team in the college, we get the life of luxury where we can just focus on sport, which is not the case, right? You’re expected to at least pass, at least get average grades to be able to continue. So, yeah. I think it’s great. You also mentioned, Brian, about travel, and you’re right. I do love travel. Your career then in basketball gave you the opportunity to visit different countries. Share a little bit about that period and what that was like for you. What did it mean for you to be able to go to these different countries? 

0:16:00.9 BW: So my first flight, first airplane ride was from, this is really impressive. I know you’re gonna be blown away by this, Wayne. It was from New Jersey, north New Jersey to Norfolk, Virginia, like an eight minute flight. But when I was on that flight, when I took off, I said, wow! This is something that I want to do. And so some of the places they included and I know this is part of the United States, but Hawaii was a cool one. Playing against BYU and Pacific University and some of these things. Denmark was great. There was some Mexico City was another one. San Juan, another one. There’s… I have to think through. There were just, there was so many, and it gave me such an opportunity to do what I love doing, just playing and competing. And then when we went out to dinner as a team, trying new foods and learning about new cultures, it was just, Australia was another fantastic one. And I’m drawing a blank because anytime you speak travel, I fade out because it’s just so exciting to me. But tons of destinations and I loved each and every one of them. So yeah. Great times.

0:17:28.3 WB: How much opportunity did you get while you were there to look around the city itself? Like, did you have an opportunity to explore? 

0:17:38.1 BW: So I would say that I made the most of the limited time. It wasn’t the typical vacation where you spend a full week just exploring. But after we got our workouts in after the games, there was always an opportunity. Everyone went into it, went in a different direction in some ways. We all have our priorities, the things that are most important to us. Mine, like I said it was adventure and exploring and learning. So I definitely maximized the opportunities even though it wasn’t as long as I would’ve liked.

0:18:22.6 WB: What, I know I’m putting you on the spot here a little bit, but what would be some of the learnings that you did take out of this overseas exposure? 

0:18:37.7 BW: Maya Angelou has a quote and she’s got a lot of quotes, but one of them pertains to what you’re describing. And we are more alike than we are unalike. And so you’re on the other side of the planet and your belief system may be opposite from those who you’re surrounded by. But when it’s all said and done, we are way more alike than we are unalike. And that makes sense with everything, as far as I’m concerned, whether it’s religion, whether it is ideology, whether it’s almost anything. There’s something in there that connects us. And the more we look for opportunities to point out where we’re different, I think the more opportunity that’s lost.

0:19:33.3 WB: I’m on board with you there. I think my experience, at least deep down, we all share at least some common value. And it’s only when you explore and you’re open to it and you look for it, you find it. But when you find it doesn’t matter your color, your race, it makes no difference. You are just another person together with that person. I believe part of our problem is people haven’t traveled enough. People haven’t experienced, and I’m not talking about just going on a holiday, because holidays are very superficial. You see a tourist attraction, it doesn’t really give you… As an example, when I shifted to Shanghai, it took me 12 months to even start to understand the Chinese culture.

0:20:33.6 BW: Wow.

0:20:34.8 WB: I used to be so frustrated because I just didn’t understand. But once I started to understand, it all made more sense and I became more tolerant, which then meant the whole dynamic worked much better. I truly wish that more people had the opportunity to experience different cultures around the world. I think the world will be entirely different.

0:20:57.3 BW: I completely agree. And Wayne, I’ll tell you that what you describe is the equivalent, in a strange way of the 25 minute defensive slide drill. The 12 months that you were trying to figure things out and learning. But it led to growth. It made you better And the difference between that and the person, and no disrespect to anyone, but the person that was born and raised in one state is night and day because you have become curious and maybe frustrated at times, but you have this growth mindset and you are open to ideas and you’re curious as opposed to someone who doesn’t leave the state, doesn’t leave the county, and they’ve got one perspective, and they wear that like a badge of honor. So completely agree with you.

0:21:54.3 WB: We’re very good at confirmation bias. So we tend to find the things that support our view. And when we’re looking for those things, they appear everywhere and it just shuts us down and we get in that trap.

0:22:07.6 BW: One sliver, one little sliver. I told you so. There it is. See? I told you. I was right. Exactly. Yep.

0:22:15.6 WB: Unbelievable. Let’s jump now from what was sort of the glory days, the sports days now into the real world, the corporate world. [laughter] You thought sport was hard until you started working for a living. So [laughter] where did you kick off in the business world? What was the career like? 

0:22:38.6 BW: You’re just gonna bring me down a notch now. Just steadily, look into the camera here. It’s so funny because those days, I could feel myself excited when you’re asking me about these times. And Wayne, I’ll tell you, it felt like it lasted 10 minutes. It was so much fun, so much excitement. And it was gone before you know it. I was not a big time athlete. William Paterson University is a small school in New Jersey. So it wasn’t like I had aspirations of being this, NBA player or aspiration, not realistic aspirations. So going into the world of corporate, like a lot of athletes, I think you get, you move into a place where I want to compete, maybe corporate is a good place to go into. So I went down that route and I stayed there for a lot of years, but part of me, even while I was learning, and even though I had my degree, there was definitely that struggle. And a lot of athletes struggle with this, their identity. Your identity, how good you are as a human being. And obviously this is not true, but how good you are as a human being is directly connected to the box score and your performance and how the team is doing.

0:24:03.6 WB: Yes.

0:24:04.1 BW: And so that was just a struggle. So I moved into corporate and I used competition to make it better, but there was still a struggle with trying to understand who I really was and what I wanted to achieve.

0:24:23.8 WB: And I know today, part of what you do with coaching, is that you help athletes who are finishing their career and transitioning into the next stage of their life. So I can see when you have that firsthand exposure, it certainly helps to then work with others who are going through it because, experience, there’s no replacement for experience. And if you can relate firsthand, you can certainly help others. And I see that’s what you’re doing. So where did you go to, out of ball into corporate? What did you start doing? 

0:25:04.1 BW: So in the corporate world, and I spent 30 years in the corporate world, between American Airlines and Waste Management. And both of those organizations had a great run at both, lots of relocations along the way across the United States. So that gave me different perspective and lots of experiences and it was a lot of fun and it was always competition. In corporate, you’re constantly going after the KPIs. The key performance indicator. And you hit that number and your reward is you’ve gotta beat that number now. And that was actually exciting for me. And we need you to relocate to this city and we’re gonna give you 10 minutes notice, and now you’re gonna have to move your family. That was just really exciting to me. So that competition, being able to leverage that competition and all the locations I’ve worked at both of those organizations, that was a lot of fun. And I think it served me pretty well.

0:26:04.6 WB: I have to ask, you mentioned relocate and then relocate your family, and it was a lot of excitement for you. I have a lot of experience in this field as well. How was it for your wife, your family, in that transition? Did they share your excitement? 

0:26:24.0 BW: Usually when I get a tough question like that, Wayne, I just act, I fake, like the camera froze.

[laughter]

0:26:34.1 BW: And that’s what I would’ve done. But I have too much respect for you. Yeah. My wife did not endorse it. That was, to me, it was a dream come true. Wait you’re gonna drop me in one of these five cities next week. I have to figure it out. This is a dream. And my wife, who I love. I love my wife and she was the opposite. It’s gotta be structure and I need to know where I’m going in advance and all those kinds of things. I don’t wanna just figure it out. So that was, we grew and we learned and we got to see several cities, including Phoenix, but no, sir. That was a tough sell.

[laughter]

0:27:21.1 WB: I can empathize with you my friend. I know at firsthand what it is like. I mean, the adrenaline, the realization that others have seen your ability and they’re recognizing it. They’re giving you the chance, and then you come home and you talk with your partner and no disregard to any of the partners. I mean, it’s a tough thing to do, right? They have their life. They’ve built whatever they’ve built where they are. And you come along probably a little bit naive to the conversation you’re about to walk into, and don’t understand why they’re not as excited as you. [laughter]

0:28:06.8 BW: So Wayne, I have to tell you. I’m a coach, but I’m also coachable. So the first time, and this happened like seven times, these relocations, and you could probably relate to this, the first time I showed up, this is amazing news. You can’t believe how exciting this is. We’re going to St. Louis, isn’t that great? But I learned to put on a sad, ah, I can’t believe them they’re making me go somewhere. I’m perfectly content here, but I guess this is what’s best for the fam. So it was definitely a change from that first location to, as I grew older and a tiny, little bit smarter. [laughter]

0:28:55.6 WB: So if you look back over your 30 odd year career in the corporate world, what are some of the lessons that came out of the journey? 

0:29:06.5 BW: Oh, it’s… I’m gonna try to narrow this down. That’s such a good question because I reflect on this quite often. And we often do things that we think are good. I want to get along with people. I don’t wanna make any waves. I’ll just outwork everyone. And when I reflect, and actually all aspects of my life in life in athletics, in the business world, if you don’t take enough risk, you will lose. And I’m not suggesting having a game of catch on the New Jersey Turnpike. Calculated risk, right? Risk that really, that makes sense. I’m gonna push back, you know what? Wayne has challenged my values. I need to push back regardless of what position or seniority Wayne has, I’m gonna go for that job even though people think that I don’t have the right background. I’m gonna take that big shot in the game because I know I can make it versus I hope I don’t mess up. I’ll just play it safe and I’ll let someone else take the shot. So, that’s one that shows up often to me. The more chances that we take calculated strategic chances, the better. If you don’t take any risk, that’s really risky. And that leads to regret and resentment.

0:30:46.1 WB: If you come across people, now coming back to your coaching, if you come across people who are that person you’ve just described, they’re fearful of the risk, but they come talking about the need to shift or to change. How do you help them in this regard? 

0:31:06.7 BW: One question that comes to mind, is what’s the worst thing that can happen? If you went for that position, if you pushed back, if you took on that presentation, if you led that project, you raised your hand, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I get it. Maybe I can forget what I was gonna say during the presentation and I bombed, and I screwed that up. And so that’s the worst thing. So no one got hurt. Help me understand this. So no one got hurt, no one got killed, and you’re still alive and you got a ton of experience surviving that mistake. Oh, okay. That doesn’t sound so terrible. So the very worst thing is what? Okay. And then we can take it to the next step and say, all right, you know what, that’s not the end of the world, but let’s just plan for that scenario. Let’s plan for, maybe the worst thing you might think, Wayne, is I get heckled, when I’m doing a presentation. Okay. Well, let’s put in some drills. That’s what athletes do.

0:32:12.7 BW: You put in drills, You put in the drills. You take thousands of shots. And then when it’s time for you to take the big shot that really counts, you’re ready for it. Your body doesn’t go into shock. Because you know you’ve done this thousands of times before. It’s all the same thing, we can drill, let’s get in, let’s pretend that I’m the heckler. Let’s go through some role play and like again, what’s the worst thing that can happen? And now let’s create a scenario together and practice. So when that person does heckle you, you’re almost looking forward to it. It’s almost like you’re studying for a test and you come across the question like, oh, I know the answer here. This is great. So, it’s very similar. As soon as someone starts heckling you, instead of saying, oh no, this is the worst thing ever. I’m just scared to death in some way, you’re saying, wait a minute, I already practiced this. I’m ready for this heckler. And on top of that, no one’s gonna get hurt. No one’s gonna get killed. I got this.

0:33:16.6 WB: What else came out of the corporate world for you? Like what other learnings apart from how to take calculated risks? 

0:33:26.3 BW: Empathy. And it’s really interesting you can, if you are leading people, you’re dealing with an irate customer, you’re managing a project that’s upside down, you can absolutely get to the point where, okay, we’re gonna hold you accountable. We have to actually terminate you. You can head down any path that is warranted, but you start with respect and empathy. And some of the things that I’ve seen, and I fell to this trap for a short amount of time, was people were being rewarded for writing people up. Wow! What a great job he’s doing. What an excellent leader she is, she’s holding everyone accountable. Look at all the write-ups she’s got. It may come down to that. But if you’re doing that just to keep score again, to say, look what I did.

0:34:26.1 BW: I think there’s that saying, people will never forget how you made them feel. So even if you have to terminate me, but you do it with respect and empathy, that’s a completely different experience than Wayne firing Brian, and just hitting him over the head with a sledgehammer, totally different experience, and maybe that was a self-serving thing. Maybe the person who got rid of you was trying to elevate themselves and advance their career. Whatever the motivation is, if you don’t show up with respect and empathy, I think ultimately you’ll lose. So that’s a big one. I know it’s a basic one, but I feel like there’s a lot of leaders out there who don’t understand the importance of the simple basics.

0:35:23.0 WB: When was your transition into coaching? Like what took you out of the corporate world and gave you the idea that, I wanna do this coaching full-time? 

0:35:34.5 BW: So it was dumb luck, and I’m so thankful for this. I don’t know if I told you this story, Wayne. It actually came from a dark place. So when I was at Waste Management, I was one of many people that were just given bigger assignments and relocations and opportunities and fantastic. And so, out of nowhere I felt I got demoted and it really hurt. So very similar to an athlete, right? Your identity is connected to your points and your rebound. In corporate world your identity is based on your position and your status and those kinds of things. So I was really hurt and I was in a dark place, and I remember listening to one of these conference calls and they were talking about how we’ve gotta coach our employees. And since I was in such a dark place, Wayne, I was like, this is so stupid.

0:36:31.7 BW: I’ll show you. I’ll become a professional coach, and you’ll be sorry, you will regret this day. And I went through the coaching process. Dumb luck, right? Just dumb luck. So I’m so thankful that I got demoted. I went through the coaching process and I said, “Wow, this has nothing to do with anyone else, [laughter] except for me.” And I realized there’s an opportunity to help a ton of people understand. It’s not a conditional thing. It’s not your boss or the weather or the economy, it’s you. It’s how you react to stuff. And so anyway, that’s how it happened. And man, again, you don’t always see it in the moment, and I certainly didn’t when I got demoted, but I am so thankful for that moment. I gotta tell you, Wayne.

0:37:25.3 WB: So maybe explain a little bit, Brian, about what you’re now doing as your coaching career, your client base or who you’re focused on.

0:37:34.9 BW: Yeah, and there’s… I juggle, a lot and most of my clients come way by referrals. So, athletes and former athletes. I’m actually going to Paris for the Olympics to, not to compete in the Olympics before you beat me to the punch, to support athletes, English speaking athletes. So that’ll be a lot of fun. I work at ASU or Arizona State University, and they have a T4 Leadership Academy, and that’s really connected to innovation and technology and access and diversity. There’s tons of different projects. Most of my clients come from a space of nonprofit leadership, high potential executives or athletes and former athletes. But a lot of the coaching I do connects to most industries and most organizations. So I do that kind of coaching. I do leadership development training, everything from culture to accountability to diversity, equity and inclusion. So there’s just a ton of things that I do in that space, and I’m kind of all over the place, but I love it. And I can travel and do some things virtually and anytime it’s involving coaching or training and creating that ripple effect and that impact, it brings me joy.

0:39:14.3 WB: Any final words of wisdom for the listeners? 

0:39:17.7 BW: I would say that we are so much better than we know, and we’re designed for greatness and to show up, respectful is good, empathy is good, but to show up in a way that is less than you are to make others feel better, safer, more secure, is a mistake. I think it’s important for us to live bold and to take chances and to take big swings and just imagine the impact that you have when you live this type of life and you’re this type of leader. It’s almost like, and I’m just kind of stealing some thoughts and words from, I think it’s Marianne Williamson. She talks about our greatest fear. And I’m not gonna go through the passage but the idea is, when we live up to our potential, we liberate others to do the same thing. And we should never shrink. Because again, when you shrink and you don’t take big swings and you don’t make big plays, all that leads to is, resentment. We’re here for a short amount of time to serve others and take big swings and live the life we were designed to live, be the leaders that we’re designed to be, and change the world.

0:40:43.5 WB: That’s great advice. Thank you Brian. Where can people go to connect with you? 

0:40:50.1 BW: So I am a LinkedIn fan. LinkedIn is the best way to get to me and all of my social media handles can be found on my website, Man from Mars Coaching. So you can take a look at that. And I’ve got a book that’s just come out, and it’s Soul of an Athlete Stories and lessons of life-post athletics. There’s actually a movie that I’m in that comes out later this year. And text messages, WhatsApp Undefeated, 602-733-4864. And I’d love to hear from you and if I could do anything to support your world, your audience’s world, you personally, Wayne, please let me know.

0:41:38.4 WB: Excellent conversation as expected Brian. Thank you for that. Thank you for being on the ET project.

0:41:43.9 BW: Pleasure. Thanks so much, Wayne. Keep making plays out there. We’ll talk to you soon. Thanks.

0:41:49.2 S2: Thank you for joining us on the ET project, a show for Executive Talent Development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.