story

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.


Are you enjoying listening to episodes of this podcast? Are you wondering how you can help me sustain this project, to support and encourage the sharing of important stories?

Here are a few ideas!
1) Leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast service like iTunes or Stitcher
2) Share a link to the show and tell people why you like it
3) Become a sponsor (for as little as $2/month) by going to Patreon

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.

Can You Bring Your Whole Self to Work?

Stories About Finding Your Fit

An introvert. That's how Jeff sees himself, despite being a successful salesman, and that's part of the reason his first career path led him to  a biology degree and a research position.

He realized at some point that spending all day every day in a lab, mostly by himself, didn't bring him as much satisfaction and stimulation as he thought it would. His colleague found her outlet as a bartender on weekends, and he realized he wanted to do something similar to bring some social activity into his life. Thanks to a few introductions from friends, he found himself training and then working as a DJ on weekends.

Not only did he enjoy the opportunity to get out on weekends, he liked the extra cash he earned. On top of that, he realized that despite his introverted tendencies, he was really good at engaging an audience and getting people to step out of their comfort zones.

After a few years of his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde life of research scientist by day, wild DJ at night, he started to feel that sense of dissatisfaction again. He realized he felt split, like he was living two completely different, separate lives, and he wanted to be able to bring his whole self to his whole life. That's when he started to explore other options in his field, and found a great fit as a salesman.

How many of us have started down a career path with interest and passion, only to realize the choices we made might not really satisfy all aspects of our character?

The question, then, is how to transition into something that's a good fit?

Jeff Bissen shares his story here, in the hopes that others will see themselves in his story, and make the necessary changes so they, too, can find satisfaction by finding a fit that allows them to bring their whole selves to work.


Are you enjoying listening to episodes of this podcast? Are you wondering how you can help me sustain this project, to support and encourage the sharing of important stories?

Here are a few ideas!
1) Leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast service like iTunes or Stitcher
2) Share a link to the show and tell people why you like it
3) Become a sponsor (for as little as $2/month) by going to Patreon