story

Episode 89: Ending the Mental Illness Stigma One Story at a Time

Illness Might Just Be a Misnomer: Learn to Love Your Special Talents

Chrysanthemums

Dale Morris caught my attention a few years ago on LinkedIn with his headline: “If you’re trying to think outside of the box, you’re still constrained by the box.”

I thought for days about that. Although I believe constraints often lead to extraordinary creativity, some of us don’t think in the context of constraints. We don’t know what we don’t know, so we try things others might think were impossible. Our older son and I are perfect examples of that. When we get an idea in our heads, we don’t think about what wouldn’t work. We think about what WILL work. When it comes to the idea of thinking outside of a box, we’re more likely to think: “Wait. Was there a box? Was I supposed to do something with a box? Damn. A box?” Sometimes that works against us, other times, it definitely works in our favor.

Dale is one of those people who doesn’t even consider why something won’t work, he just moves forward with his idea. That’s why he’s so good at what he does, both in art and in IT work.

We shared a great discussion about the possibility that certain diagnoses we call mental illness might actually be evolutionary shifts to address our very real over-stimulating environments. We also talked about how some people choose to see a diagnoses in the light of possibility - using that different way of thinking to be really good at certain tasks and jobs.

I especially loved the part of our conversation about Dale’s art when he was in college. He had a literature professor who required an essay about a work by an American author within a specific time period. Because of his differently-abled mind, he struggled with the essay. She offered to adjust his assignment: Paint your feelings about a work of literature.

He selected the protagonist from Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums. I won’t spoil the story by sharing it here, just listen.

Connect with Dale on LinkedIn to learn more about his extraordinary talent in un-puzzling IT puzzles.

Episode 74: Analogies to Create a Visual Representation of an Emotional Experience

"Sometimes I feel like I'm in my car on the highway, stuck behind a big truck. I look up at the end car on the car carrier and pray it doesn't fall off the trailer onto my head."

Those words are the gift she gave me.

It took a few days, but then I realized how her analogy applied to my situation: For months I had been driving my car along the highway, stuck behind a big truck. Because I have a tendency toward being impulsive (don't laugh), I had been driving very close to the back of the truck. I had been so incredibly frustrated being stuck there, so I kept swerving out to check for an opportunity to pass the truck, only to find a blind curve or a line of vehicles coming toward me, so I had to swerve back behind the truck, more and more angry and impatient.

Episode 72: Persistence, Curiosity, and Following Instincts Create Career Resilience

When Bob Musial failed his role-playing test in his first sales job, he was humiliated. He was the only new hire out of seven to fail that session, and that made him even more motivated to prove to himself and others that he would be successful in that job.

Episode 64: Like Change, Uncertainty Is a Constant Undercurrent in Life

Stories of Risk and Addressing Uncertainty

Marylene Delbourg-Delphis doesn’t see risk the same way most people might define it. To her, it’s all about how prepared you are for whatever step you intend to take, the people you’ve surrounded yourself with and trust to take that step with you, and your ability to address uncertainty at any given moment.

Uncertainty is, like change, a constant undercurrent of life. There’s nothing certain in life, and there definitely isn’t anything certain in business. So how do we find ways to cope with an ever-uncertain world?

As a founding CEO and a turn-around CEO, Marylene has learned to quickly identify the resources she will need to address uncertainty and to make decisions effectively. She also has learned to trust that people truly want to learn, they have the capacity to learn, and they want to do a good job.

We covered a lot of ground in our conversation about how she sees risk, and how she addresses learning and innovation in her employees. One strategy Marylene uses in her presentations is to include music, particularly classical symphonies and opera. Here are a few links we agreed to share for you - our listeners - to get a better understanding of the impact:

Hector Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique

Why listen to what Marylene has to say about building a strong, engaged, trusting workplace? For one thing, she has had great success in this area. For another, she is the one who, when she started her first US tech firm, poached Guy Kawasaki from Apple, and wrote the French forward for his recent book!


The operatic piece she mentioned, featuring Maria Callas:

And the book The Republic, by the philosopher Plato.

Learn more about Marylene by checking out her book, Everybody Wants to Love Their Job, and by connecting with her on LinkedIn.


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Episode 59: Old Stories Create New Pathways

What Stories From Your Past Still Color Your Present?

Old Stories Can Create New Pathways.png

His mother went to answer the door while his family sat at the supper table. Chris heard a man's voice, and watched as his father went into the living room. A demonstration and 40 minutes of answers to every objection later, that Electrolux vacuum salesman in the brown polyester suit with bad breath left with an order for a $3,000 machine.

Chris was 10 years old, and his image of a salesman was set for decades. Not only did his family have a vacuum cleaner they didn't need and couldn't afford, his parents bickered over it for months afterward.

Fast forward to Chris as a young adult with entrepreneurial aspirations and the realization that he'd have to get more comfortable with sales if he was going to be successful. He hired a coach who was able to peel back the layers of Chris's experience to find that vacuum salesman and his impact on how Chris saw the word "salesman."


80s Style: Friendship Pins

80s Style: Friendship Pins

In the beginning of our conversation, Chris mentioned his love for heavy metal music, particularly in the late 80s and early 90s. He spoke about wearing his Metallica jean jacket to church, and about having the opportunity to play guitar with a band on Sunday evenings in the same church, and blowing away the senior women with the sound. We made a few references during that part of our conversation, one to a scene in Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox, and another about my friend Ranjith Abraham, and his musical projects, Miles Apart.


Connect with Chris on LinkedIn, and check out his book, It’s Time to Sell. Learn more about Chris and his gifted approach to sales and leadership by visiting his website.