Episode 63: Being a Leader During Difficult Times

Do you ever feel that you are ineffective, inconsequential or just plain irrelevant during scary times in our world? Jimmy shares the strategies he learned from The Strategic Coach to keep focus and lead his team during times that are beyond scary. You will find this interactive discussion with Shannon Waller to be one filled with ideas, creativity and accountability for leaders.

You will gain insight into:

  • How you can maintain your leadership capabilities during even the most scary times of life
  • Strategies that will help you find your passion to serve your family, team and the public with greater effectiveness
  • How to structure your days and week for the most productivity
  • Why it is vital for your success that you utilize the services of a coach and accountability partner

Podcast Transcript

Good morning! Hey, this is Jimmy Williams with Live a Life by Design your Monday morning moments of motivation, to help you be a bigger, better, and bolder you. The last few weeks of the pandemic has brought about change to all of us. Some good, and some not so good. But the one thing that you need to learn about change is that it is inevitable. It comes whether we’re expecting it. It comes whether we’re prepared. It just comes at any time it wishes. But I’ve got good news for you today. In this Live a Life by Design episode we are going to visit with someone that knows all about change. This is one of those people in life that I am so fortunate to have been a friend now, and met many years ago through a program that has exponential to the development of not just my mindset as an entrepreneur but the development of our businesses.

I’m talking about a group called The Strategic Coach, founded by two individuals of which have such differing backgrounds you wonder how they met. But when I got to speak to both of these individuals, I realized quickly that a negative and positive polarity does attract. Babs Smith, which I’m going to call the brains of the unit. Babs is just a wonderful lady, talented, beautiful woman, and she is such a behind the scenes person that she develops, she helps promote and she just moves this company forward to help bring solutions to those of us as entrepreneurs that need this type of assistance to reach our goals.

And then there’s Dan Sullivan, I just love Dan. Dan is one of the best creative minds I have met during my lifetime. So you can imagine, our guest today has been around Babs and Dan now for, gosh, I would say about 29 years or so. She has been a driving force between Dan, Babs, and adding her to this increment is kinda like chili powder added to anything. Man, it just adds the spice of life. She brought into this an excellent approach on how to communicate to entrepreneurs. Of course, I’m talking about someone that is an outstanding friend of mine.

Her name is Shannon Waller. And Shannon has a wonderful, wonderful history and background. I’m not going to go through all of it, but I am going to tell you, she is an author. She’s a podcaster, she’s a blogger, she’s a speaker, she’s a mom. She’s an entrepreneur in her own right. She is a certified Kolbe Consultant, and we’re gonna talk a little bit about Kolbe, for those of you that haven’t used Kolbe. K-O-L-B-E. I love this, matter of fact, I do not hire anyone on our team until we get their Kolbe score to see if they match up for the position. But more about that in a moment. Her most recent book is an outstanding read called Multiplication by Subtraction. It’s a guide to gracefully letting go of wrong fit team members. Hey, join me today in welcoming my good friend, Shannon Waller. How are you?

SW: I’m great, Jimmy, after that introduction how could I not be? Thank you so much!

JW: Well, we don’t embellish here, we just state the facts, Shannon. Just state the facts. Kinda like that old Dragnet show, you know. Just the facts, mam, so.

SW: I love it. Well, I’m really honored to be here, and you’re one of my favorite people. I often get to speak to you on a weekly basis. So I’m absolutely delighted, thank you.

JW: So the true claim to fame, and I’m just going to jump right into this Shannon, the true claim to fame for you is that you just happened by luck to be Marilyn Waller’s daughter. How did this happen? I mean this lady, to me, is outstanding.

SW: She is. And she’s one of my main influences in my life and she is one of the most big and open hearted human beings on the planet. She is incredibly loving, supportive, wise, and so, I don’t know. Whatever good circumstances, good fortune, blessings, whatever your idea framework is, somehow I lucked out. Yea, so I just have a wonderful mom. And I work with her and I know, probably you’re gonna also talk about my sister Julia. So Strategic Coach is not a family business, but we are a business of families, and so, there’s a husband and wife team, Babs and Dan, which you’ve talked about early, and you do, you totally nailed it. Babs, without Babs, there would be no coach. In fact, Dan, for her birthday, year or two ago, was like no Babs, no Coach. And so without her there’d be no multiplication of Dan out in the world. So, yes, Julia, my sister, and my mom, Marilyn are two big positive influences in my life.

JW: Gotta tell ya though, the whole group at Strategic Coach, and folks I’m going to talk to you a little bit later about how you can get some excellent free resources going through this time of change and disruption in your world and your business. There will be some links in the show notes to this episode where you can do that. As well as some links to her books. We’re gonna visit here in just a moment, Shannon, about some of the books. I’ve read all of them. They’re outstanding, easy reads that have a great amount of implementable material in them. And I’m gonna visit with you about that in a minute. But I just gotta ask a quick question, though. How did you ever determine you wanted to get into the world of entrepreneurial coaching?

SW: What a great question. No one’s asked me that for a long time. It’s really interesting, Jimmy, I have always been interested in people in business. So a lot of people look for, you know, how to grow. And people go into, you know, philosophical pursuits, or education or medicine, or you know, how are they going to grow as a person. And I actually think business is, for me, one of the big opportunities to grow. Mostly because depending on how well you do, people will pay you, or not. So to me it feeds back for all of that. So when I was going, my first course, or degree program that I signed up for for college was actually Philosophy. Super practical, not. And so that was all that I could find that I was interested in. Then I transferred schools and there was a program around training development. It was actually business in Psychology, so it’s like people in business, and that had been my interest for a long time. So I just, from my school career on, I have a three year degree from a university in Ontario, Canada. Which, I just have to tell you because it’s funny. It’s the longest degree title for three years you’ve ever heard. It’s a Bachelor of Arts Administrative and Commercial Studies, Social Organization and Human Relations.

JW: Wow, so is your diploma like a 11 x 17, or something?

SW: Pretty much. It’s crazy, I don’t know how they stacked it all in there. The print got kinda tiny at the end. That was a long time ago, but it was a great program because it was all about not only the business side, but the people side of business. And then I went into sales, well, I actually worked for a training company. And then one of the lines of business was actually renting out seminar room space. Which Strategic Coach rented that seminar space. And that’s how I first met entrepreneurs. I have to tell you, the entrepreneurs who showed up to come to Strategic Coach workshop were completely different than the ones who showed up for corporate training. Very different, much more, they’re like you.

JW: Right.

SW: And I noticed that pretty stark contrast. Anyway, little bit of a long story but anyway, ended up working directly with Strategic Coach and that was July of 1991. So, yes, almost exactly 29 years. And I just, I was really impressed with the clientele. I was really impressed with what they did. I wanted to be someone who was working directly with clients. And I wasn’t, I was a backstage admin function at that point. Which is not my unique ability. And so I jumped ship. I started off in sales, but after a little while I knew I was good, but I was never going to be great. You know, I could make a very healthy living. And then I went back to school and took a certificate program at a really great university here in Toronto, and signed up for Training in Design Certificate. Got three courses in, came up with the idea for Strategic Coach Team Programs and got too busy doing that to ever finish the certificate program. But it fulfilled its purpose. But it’s kind of interesting, my career for the last 20, well since 1995, is kind of the result of a school project.

JW: That is great. See folks, those of you that thought getting through high school was tough and undergrad school was tough. She’s still doing it and, you know, been doing it since, you know, like three years, so hang in there.

SW: Yea, it works. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs to figure out which one is your prince, but there you go.

JW: That’s exactly right. So you mentioned a term I’m sure our listeners are not of understanding. In Strategic Coach, the very first meeting literally we are learning about unique abilities. Let’s talk a little bit so they understand by what we mean by unique ability, and everyone has unique abilities. It’s just the identification of them and then the utilization of that to reach those goals in life they wish that’s passion for them. But tell us about unique ability.

SW: Excellent, so I’d love to. And actually, let me just draw the whole model, well visually, verbally at least, is we all have a whole bunch of different things that we do. And one of the lenses through which we can look at those activities is there’s some things when we put it, I’m going to start with the hardest ones first and get down to the easiest ones. And by the way the quantity gets narrower as well as we go through. So, all of us have things that when we put in the time and effort we don’t get the results. There’s certain things we do, we call them incompetent, which is a bit of a triggering word for some people, but frankly we were not put on the planet to do these particular things. One small example from mine, is I’m, I think of myself as being fairly handy. I can fix things. But apparently that stops when it comes to changing tires. My husband and I were driving to a course one time, and we had a flat tire. And I thought, great, I’ll get out the jack. I don’t know what Bruce was doing at the moment, but then I didn’t know that, well what happened was, I ended up putting it in upside down.

JW: Ut oh, ut oh.

SW: I was trying to push the Earth away from the car. That didn’t work too well. So, Bruce is like, ahh, that’s not how it works honey, I’m like, woops. So that is one of my incompetent abilities, and I’m not willing to invest a whole lot more into getting better at that.

JW: Understood, understood.

SW: But all of us have things, you know some people say they can’t boil water or that sort of thing. But we’re laughing about it. And the point about your incompetent abilities is to have a sense of humor, because we all have them. But then there are things at which we are competent. My goodness, we have to be competent. That’s the deal. Well, that’s actually only ok as far as we’re concerned. That’s where you reach minimum standards, you’re ok, but it’s still kind of frustrating, and sometimes hard. And a lot of other people are just as good, so there’s a lot of competition. Then there are fewer number of things at which you are excellent. This is where you have superior skill. You are better at it than most people, and that’s just not, that’s not just your ego talking. This is actually people come to you and go, Hey Jimmy, you’re so good at, you know, communicating. Can you help me put this speech together? Or thinking about starting a podcast, no idea how to do it, can you help me? Or radio show, or whatever. You know, you’re a gifted communicator and you know, a relationship person. So that would, you know, I also happen to know it’s a passion of yours too. We all have things, some people are brilliant with spreadsheets. I’m not. I create about two a year. You know, it’s like we all have different things at which we are excellent. So you put in time and effort, and you’ve actually risen to a level of excellence. A lot of people stop here. But there’s a level of brown outs, not burnouts, but it’s brown out, when you just don’t have any passion for it, but you get a great reputation. Sometimes you get paid really well. There’s great teamwork. So you have this sense of positive feedback on the outside, but on the inside you’re a little bored. A little dead. But we’re not done. So, the center of the circle, the center of you are those few activities of which you have superior skill and passion. You love it. Your eyes light up, it gives you energy. I know that after a day of coaching, which is one of mine, I might be physically tired, but I have trouble sleeping because I am just so excited by everything that happened and it’s hard to kinda calm down. And all of us have those things. Things that make our eyes light up. Ideas, conversations, ways of doing things, creating systems. I mean, fortunately there are as many unique abilities as there are humans on the planet. And what’s great is, one of my passions is unique ability teamwork. So I’m gonna focus in on those few things that I’m unique at. That means I’m not doing a whole bunch of other stuff, I want to partner up and find, and collaborate with people who are unique and passionate in those things I am not, and I will compliment them and they’ll compliment me. So, I, if you can just imagine what our world would be like if all of us were doing things that we love to do, or passionate about, and we had superior skill. Our productivity would go through the roof and we’d be having a lot more fun doing it, so unique ability is definitely worth something, you know, to pursue, most of us kinda settle, I think, or are coached into competent or excellent. But frankly, the best playground in the world is unique ability, it’s also where we make the greatest contribution and the greatest impact. So, yes, that’s a long answer, about unique ability but it’s just so critical, and so important to everything.

JW: Yea, and so, so, I’m all about practicality as well. So to find my unique ability, I took the advice of my coach, then, Colleen Bowler, I hope she’s listening. I’m going to send this link to her. She, for my first three years in Coach, now I’ve been in Coach for 9 years. I took a sabbatical, wrote a book that’s coming out later this fall, it’s the title Live a Life by Design or by Default is the title I’ve been working on. But anyway, my point is that Colleen said hey, send out an email to some of your closest friends or clients and just ask them what they find about you that’s unique. Because it’s hard to look in the mirror and, Shannon, know what my unique ability is. Cause I may be, like you said, talented in several areas, and I’m very, I’ve got advanced degrees and all these things. I’ve got certifications, but my passion lies in what we’re doing right now. Helping others realize their bigger future by helping them understand how to get there. And so, unique ability to me is something that is so fun. Because what it does for you, guys listening, is it lets you play on the playground you design. Not the one that’s out in the city that they put out that everyone can climb on. This is just for you. So let’s talk a little bit. Now we’ve got our unique ability identified, how do we utilize that time so that we can “work harder” on ourselves and less on our job and create more money for ourselves? Now I’m not a money podcast, here Shannon, but I’m telling you I invest, I don’t spend, I invest in Strategic Coach annually. And I have yet to receive a year that it wasn’t exponentially returned to me in identifiable areas of our business. Incredible. I mean not just money. In operations, in relationships, in development. Let’s talk a little bit about how you use the entrepreneurial time system for what you do in your world.

SW: Oh my gosh. Well, entrepreneurial time system is such a core concept and I think it can be used for everybody. It’s a little, you have a little more freedom if you’re actually a business owner or entrepreneur. But entrepreneurial time system consists of three different types of days. And that is, and it really is an entrepreneurial time system because, and I used to own every possible planner, time planner that existed. And I failed at most of them. Actually all of them, truth be told. And so what, the normal thing is you break up your day into 15 – 20 minutes chunks. And you try and get them as productive as possible. This is not that. And so, when we call there’s two different economies, actually. There’s a time and effort economy, which if you have a j-o-b, job then you know exactly what that looks like. You’re actually rewarded more, a little bit more on time and effort then necessarily on results. Entrepreneurs have decided to cross what we call the risk line into the results economy where the goal here is to minimize time and effort and to maximize results. So it actually is set up to reward and to pay for the development of your unique ability. Going back to your financial question a minute ago. And we, if you think that just from a sports or entertainment model, we pay large sums of money to watch some people work because they are unique at it. You know, our favorite baseball player. Or your favorite theater. We will scrimp and save on groceries so we can afford to go to Disney. Or we can afford to go to an event. You know, so that’s where some amazing value creation. So that’s easy to see out there, but guess what, it’s also true for every single one of us. The more unique you are the more people are willing to experience that and pay you for that. So the time system is really designed for people who are, you know, willing to take some risk, but also, and get paid on results. And if you want to develop your unique ability really fast, brilliant way to do that, scary but brilliant. But you need a different type of way to organizing your time. If you’re simply trying to play whack a mole and get stuff done for other people, it’s probably challenging to do that. But as far as I know, we are the only productivity system in the world based on free time. So, the very beginning of the time system talks, so we break everything into 24 hours. Forget this 20 minute chunk thing, this is 24 hours. And it’s midnight to midnight. So a free day is 24 hours midnight to midnight, during which you do absolutely no work. You’ve heard me say this a million times. On the weekly planning call. And it’s tough because we have trouble disconnecting. And now we’re 24/7 and during covid-19 tons of us have been like, oh my gosh, what’s a free day. But it’s really powerful, because you get to step away and you, we get a lot, a lot happens in the background of our brains. We get to process a lot of things. It’s, we’ve found, actually that free days and rejuvenation which is Latin for to make oneself young again, so you get to replenish, you get to reset, you get to refresh. All of those re words really apply on a free day. Super tough for a lot of people to do, they don’t know how to spell one, much less take one. But it’s powerful, because when you step away from your life in whatever way shape or form. When you come back, you come back with a new brain. You come back with a new clear perspective. So, we coach people, the more innovations you want to put into your business a year, you need to take that number of vacations. Of chunks of time off. And the chunk of time could be 2 days, 5 days, 9 days, whatever. Two weeks. Whatever makes you happy. So it starts with free days.

Now if you’re gonna take some days off the calendar, so if we take 365 days and you take a chunk off as free days, probably your revenue goal didn’t go down, so that means you have to become a lot more focused. So focus day is the next type of day. And this is where we coach our clients to really focus on your top 3 money making or results producing activities. And it’s 80% of your average working day, not 100. Please take time to talk to your team. To eat lunch. You know, to go for a walk if you need to. So focus days are 80% of your average working day spend on your top 3 money making or results producing activities. And you know, a lot, we really coach our clients, and this is true for everyone, we all think we do 30 things that are really important during a day. What are the top 3? What are the top 3 that are actually going to produce those results that are so important to you. And then we do need a third type of day, and that’s called a buffer day. And a buffer day, it’s a very important. It’s like the oil in machinery. It’s the mortar between the bricks. Without that, you can’t sustain free or focus days. And so buffer days are when you clean up messes. You delegate what we call stuff. Stuff and messes are technical terms at Strategic Coach. You also learn and grow and put in place new capabilities. For me, it’s boiled down, it took me a while to figure this out, like two and a half years in Coach. To figure out that when I give direction about my time, I’m not a good scheduler, but I do need to say when I want time off or what I want, who I want to spend time with. Like you, Jimmy. So, I give direction on my calendar. I have to spend some time organizing the stuff or it goes everywhere and I can’t find it again. And then, also that’s critical, and then communicating with my team. So, what do I need to give them, what do they need to give me? How do we make sure projects are moving ahead. So when I finally figured out those were my three consistent buffer activities the whole time system went into play. And really clicked into gear, and last thing to say about this. It’s really, a lot of people think they need five focus days a week to be productive. It turns out, at least when you’re in the results economy, one to three is usually plenty in order to accomplish the results, and buffer and free. So it’s a really nice proportion, and people don’t get tired and they don’t need to retire. That’s a whole other conversation.

JW: Do you know that, so you summed it up. And I have mentioned how this system works for me personally and for my team on earlier episodes of our podcast. But I wanted you to give the ultimate reasons behind this, just like you did. Why we have the days we have, and what you’re doing within those days. I will tell you my secret sauce, and I don’t just reveal any of these secrets to just anyone, so Shannon you’re gonna be first listening, just like everyone else. My secret sauce, though, when I came back from my first one day full day visit Chicago, Strategic Coach. I came back and I said, I’ve got to implement this time system. Don’t take this wrong, my entire career depends on it. If I want exponential growth, there’s only one Jimmy, I’ve got to do this right. So I immediately added to my focus time and to my buffer time and free days the first year, I went from doing about 3 weeks of vacation to 8, within 12 months. So folks what I’m telling you is if you will take to heart and implement what you are learning today on this podcast just in vocal form. I assure you, go to the website, we’re going to give you that link here in just a little bit. These will work. But you have to believe and implement. One of the biggest secrets I’m going to share now is how I got this done is I got away from what I call email jail. You know what I’m talking about Shannon?

SW: Yep. Definitely.

JW: I turned this over to a great executive assistant that is just phenomenal. And she can go separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. And I only spend my time on about three or four primary emails I need to get things done. She takes the other 150 or whatever I get and just takes care of them or dumps ‘em, whatever. So you mentioned something about those buffer days, now let me explain what a buffer day means to me. It is me taking a day to allow me to take a better free day, or a more focused productive focused day. It’s not a sluff day. It is not a day, a lot of people think buffer, ok, well that’s just a slack and you play games on the computer. No, I really don’t. I will tell you, I use those days very much intended to have a better free day. So I will typically take a buffer day before I take an extensive two or three week period off of time. And then I’ll take, maybe in two or three buffer days, just to get the team really lined up for what’s going on, right? But when I come back from those free days, guess what day I have? A buffer day, right! So you don’t want to just dive in and go to work, so let’s talk a little bit about, how do we pivot, Shannon, during this time of disruption? Now you mentioned, you’re in Toronto, love your city by the way, but got some bad news for you about Toronto. I’m afraid the Blue Jays aren’t gonna get to have a full season, we’re not doing anything down here in the Southern part of the hemisphere, it’s, I hate it. I’m a baseball fan. But let’s work on what we can control. So how do you pivot and give great leadership during times of disruption, during as you say, scary times as Dan puts out on his podcast. These are scary times for a lot of people, but look, we don’t have to react, we can respond with the right tools. How do you do that?

SW: Oh, well, there’s a whole bunch of different ways. I could talk for hours about that. One of the ones is, one of the things I’m noticing, just to tie this into the time system for a moment. One of the things is make sure you’re not getting what I call crispy. Now so…

JW: Crispy?

SW: And that, that means really tired. Because when we’re tired, when we’re getting burnt out that’s when we start to get reactive, and so I don’t know about you, but in any, and by the way, anyone who’s an entrepreneur has kinda signed up for scary times. Right, we’re in a global scary time right now, ‘cause things are so unpredictable. Although, we’re starting to climatize. Which is pretty incredible. Humans are amazingly adaptable and resourceful. But the one thing is to really kind of take care of yourself and to make sure that you are rejuvenating, that you are sleeping enough. That you are, you know, taking care, it’s so tried and true. You’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can put it on the person next to you on the airplane. So the same is true. If you expect to help other people, but you’re not taking care of yourself, you’ll just fall down. So I think really, one of the things that I know, and ways that I’m very committed to being productive and useful in this particular, I mean, I want to be like that all the time, but there’s even more opportunities at the moment. But if I’m getting tired, then that doesn’t really work so well. And we want to have a creative response rather than a reactive response. So understanding what you personally need in order to be able to do that. That includes the people you spend time with. The books you read. Listening to this conversation hopefully is uplifting and inspiring and getting you to know yourself and have confidence in your own capabilities more. So I think that’s a lot of it. And there’s a really interesting little twist here, Jimmy, that I find that’s nuanced in the English language just fascinating. Reactive and creative have the same letters rearranged. Right, same as create and react. And so, we can be reactive which is responding kind of negatively where we lash out or get mad, or I lose my temper. Other people do other things. Or they get sad or they cry or they blame. All those things. Or we can get creative, which often means pausing. Stepping back. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s talking to a really good friend. You know, where we can say, ok well this is interesting, haven’t dealt with this before. How can I help? How could I be of use? And I have to mention, Dan has, he actually created this after 9/11. It’s called the scary times success manual. And it’s 10 different strategies for how to, number 1 for example is forget about yourself, focus on others. Forget about your commodity focus on relationships. Forget about the sale, focus on value creation. Those are the first three. And it’s like getting out of our own little uptight heads and beings. And focusing on how we can assist others. And it’s been such a powerful guide. So a lot of us are in positions of leadership where people are looking out for direction. And there’s nothing worse than going, I’ve got nothing. You’re feeling trapped and stuck, and I don’t know what to do. Then these things can really help and that’s at strategiccoach.com. We’ve a whole resources section, scary times. Everything, videos, podcasts, we’ve done a whole deep dive series. It actually turned into a book that will be published in September. Who knew, that was by accident. Which was kinda cool. Nice by product. But there’s just, look for how you can contribute to others, when we stop focusing on ourselves, I think this has always been true, for people who are involved in charitable work, or just helping others. Even if you’re having a bad day, call somebody and think about how you can help them, your day will get better. And so, people, some people make a practice of that. I think our society has gotten a little out of the habit, but that’s, there’s so much opportunity and so many people who could use just a friendly phone call right now, including your clients. You know, that I think that there’s lots of ways that we can reach out to handle people’s kind of emotional well being. And then all sorts of great things cascade from that.

JW: I call this find a need and fill it. That’s kinda what we do. You know, if it’s one of your passions, you enjoy it. So I work very close, it’s not going to shock anyone that’s listened a long time on this podcast. What we work with are Parkinsons, you know, diseased patients. So for, we call them PD patients, and I have done everything I know to help these people. I’ve got personal family members, clear, close friends that have this dreaded disease, and I will tell you, there’s a place for you. Anyone listening, there is a need out there. Go fill it. That gives you purpose during a time like this to place someone else above yourself, and then the clarity will come. And let’s talk about clarity for just a second. I will tell you, one of the tools, matter of fact I’ve got three. I carry these in my briefcase. Now I know that sounds rather geeky Shannon, but here’s what I carry in my briefcase. I carry my impact filter, I’ll have two or three of those, because sometimes I get something on airplanes, I’m not flying right now, but when I’m on an airplane that’s my quiet time, right? And so, I’ll put on my Bose cancelling headset, and I can just think through, OK, how can I sell my team on this being an idea that we think would be bringing value to our clients. And then I love strategy circle, which is another tool of Strategic Coach, very early tools. These are some of the more basic tools, but they’re just so impactful, I can’t get rid of them. I just use them all the time, right? So, sometimes, you know, you can be creative and get new ideas and new tools and so forth, but sometimes folks, you just gotta go back to those core tools that help us have an opportunity to find our way through all of this. And then lastly, my best tool too, the experience transformer. Everything I do in terms of client meetings. We use them for team meetings. We use them for client events. Whatever Shannon, the experience transformer. Those three core, what I call tools, are with me at all times.

SW: You just picked my three highest used tools. So, and, let me just talk about those for a moment, because they’re pieces of paper with boxes and squares and you fill them out. So, but, to go, oh I hate forms. Because we work with pretty high intensity distractible entrepreneurs, they’re like, ugh, it’s a form. I don’t like forms. They’re not forms, they’re thinking tools. And they help you have a conversation with yourself, so that you can have a better conversation with others. So it is so fun to put your brain on paper and one of the things I love, and you described them in the perfect order too. Is that when I start with an impact filter, which is simply, you know, what is the idea. And then there’s the purpose, what is it? Importance, why? Like what difference will this make? With the ideal outcome. So that that’s kinda of where you’ve intellectually sold yourself. So I’m getting clear on my own idea, then you get to the worst case scenario, I always start with the bottom. The worst if I don’t take action. So what’s the opportunity cost if I don’t do this, or if I blow it. Like, what could go wrong. What’s the cost? And then the best case scenario, if we do really win at this, if we do accomplish that ideal outcome. So by that time, you’re both intellectually sold and emotionally sold. Now for those of us, you know, come up with lots of ideas. Then we wing them at our team and then we get bored with the idea two weeks later, or we forgot, the teams still been working hard at it, most annoying thing out of life. Cause I work with….that’s why I started the Team Program 25 years ago. And, and so, it’s designed to be a filter for a reason. You will filter out those ideas you’re not intellectually or emotionally sold on. And then you get your success criteria. You know, what’s gonna insure the best result and prevent the worst. And so, by the time you’re done, you have created, on 8 1/2 by 11, and there’s even a fast version that’s five minutes and it’s half a page, which I carry, I have it on my desktop all the time. And it’s, and your team goes, ok, I got this. You know, just eliminate so many millions of those communication breakdowns that happen, and you might have going to mention this anyway, but we actually, the impact filter is available for non-Strategic Coach participants in our book called The Extraordinary Impact Filter. So we have this really great, what we call Ambition Series of these books we publish every quarter. It’s quite a project. And that is one, as is the Strategy Struggle, which is actually the foundation tool of Strategic Coach. Experience Transformer is not in book form yet, but hopefully that’s coming in the next year or so. But they’re just, strategy circle helps you take that idea and then figure out what are all the obstacles and then the strategies to accomplish it. And, again, it’s where your brain’s gonna go. But it’s done in such an organized, streamlined format. You don’t get off track. And when you see it in writing, you can get some emotional distance from that and look at it much more clearly. The whole point of this was clarity. So these tools are amazing. I always feel so much smarter at the end, then when I started. How much do I love that?

JW: Me too. And what I love about these tools, is it allows you to reflect and recreate maybe something you’d been doing earlier, and something all of a sudden a lightbulb goes off, Shannon, and you go hey, I haven’t used it in this manner, let’s go this way. Again, the pivoting issue. And it doesn’t have to be in times of pandemic, folks. If you’re listening, anytime you feel like you have reached a small wall, I call them that, cause every wall can be broken down guys. If we reach a small wall, or some challenge for us. Just turn a few degrees one direction or the other. Look at it from a different set of eyes. Take a different breath, take a deep breath, release it and go, now let me think about this differently. And so let’s talk a little bit now, we’ve talked about Strategic Coach, I’m going to give a lot of information to you listeners on this at the end of the show notes as well. But I wanna move over to what I call the personal Shannon. This is the one where we’re gonna dive deep for just a moment and find out really what makes you tick. Tell me, who are your mentors and why did they get placed on such a high level for your life?

SW: That’s really interesting. You sent me that question earlier, I’m like who are my mentors. And I don’t, it’s interesting Jimmy, I don’t actually strive to emulate other people.

JW: Right.

SW: I care too much about unique ability to do that. But there are people who have shown up in the world, especially during challenging times that I really, I respect how they’ve handled things. So that’s those are the people I would say are my mentors. And so one of them is definitely my mom, Marilyn. So, I grew up in small town Ontario, and my parents moved to Toronto big city. I was country mouse becoming a city mouse. Awkward transition, let me tell you. I was very naive, gullible 7 year old when I moved to Toronto. City kids were a whole different breed. Anyway, but my parents end up separating and eventually getting a divorce and how they handled that, and my mom especially when she said I will always have a relationship with your father. And we are committed to you, just because we’re not together anymore doesn’t mean that we’re not a family.

JW: Right.

SW: And she was really good friends with my step-mom, so that’s a class act.

JW: That is.

SW: That’s incredible. And that has been her commitment for 40 years. So that’s always really impressed me. And she’s just got a heart a mile wide, as you were talking about.

JW: Very familiar.

SW: Yes, and then my dad was one of those very gentle, very wonderful, I don’t know how to describe him. He’s passed away now, actually, my grandfather had Parkinsons, but my dad passed away of a brain tumor. At 76, which was way too young, cause his dad was alive until 91, so go figure. But anyway, he was just one of those, again, really classy, caring, loving, endlessly supportive and a man of huge integrity. So, for me that was really one of the things that I took from him. And then Babs and Dan. As you talked about, Babs, without her there wouldn’t be our company. And she’s, I first met Dan, and I was kind of expecting this great connection with him and then we went out, it was my interview process. And we were at a restaurant, and then Babs was the one who had such warmth and such welcoming. And Dan was a little harder to talk to at that time. And it was like, whoa, and they have such an amazing relationship. Wow. I mean, they’re business and life partners. Married and just an incredible couple on so many levels. So she’s someone, and if, you have to picture this guys, Dan’s about 5’9, you know, kinda, and Babs is 6’2, 6’3 with curly hair.

JW: Right, right.

SW: So she’s really tall.

JW: That’s why I said varying backgrounds and if you look at them they are just negative and positive to me. And I don’t mean that in a negative sense. I’m just saying they attract each other. They just stick like glue.

SW: Like magnets.

JW: I do have a special favor of you, since you’ve brought this up about them being your mentors as well. Is this in any way gonna cost me my membership of being there, since I’ve bragged on her and not, ok. You know, Dan, I didn’t know if he looked at that.

SW: Well, actually, a ton of people make the opposite mistake. Oh, Dan this, Dan that, and I’m like, I need to clarify something. You want to know who runs Strategic Coach? It’s Babs. It’s not Dan, so you actually got it better, you got it right, and no one else does. So.

JW: Well, I’ve got to tell you, that I’ve been there, like I said, 9 years, I will say this that I consider her the CEO and I consider him the CCO, that’s the Chief Creating Officer is what I call it.

SW: She is the CEO, by the way.

JW: Yes, that’s right.

SW: And Dan get’s, he doesn’t tend to get frustrated too much, but he’s like, no you got it wrong guys. So, no, it’s not going to cost you anything. In fact, it gives you points.

JW: Oh, good good, OK.

SW: Yea, and then, Dan, I have to say, you know, we talk about being a hero to people. And Dan has, he is the Chief Creative Officer, there’s no question he’s unbelievable. He’s the goose that lays the golden eggs. I tease him with that sometimes. I don’t know, and I work closely with them. I still don’t know exactly how he does it. But anyway, he has been, he shifted his thinking faster than other human beings I have talked to during covid-19. He pivoted, we said, Dan you can’t coach a live workshop, and the thought about it on the plane ride home from Chicago. When he was home, self isolated, he shifted his thinking, went into scary times, and has been creating so much value, he’s been so steady and so positive, and so encouraging. He’s 100% my hero. And I don’t say that lightly. I don’t give that to many people.

JW: Right.

SW: But he has been rock solid. And just, everything he’s done has been a contribution. And that’s been his focus. And I don’t know what he’s had to transform backstage in himself to be able to be that person, he’s been unbelievable. And I loved and appreciated him before. We’ve been friends for a long time, cause we were friends outside of the company, but wow, he just went to a whole new level. So his ability to provide clarity, confidence, calmness, and positivity has been at a whole new level. He’s amazing. So, check out Scary Times.

JW: Yea, did I hear you right, saying that you might have elevated him right up there with me as being a hero, is that what you’re saying, so Dan…

SW: 100%

JW: Yea.

SW: Yea, yep, you did darlin. He is, you know, and I’ve been saying this to people. Dan is 100% my hero during scary times.

JW: Wonderful.

SW: Yeah, he’s been incredible.

JW: He….

SW: Even more so than usual, yep.

JW: I don’t want him to come the next time I see him in Chicago and not be able to put a sweater over his head, but I really think a lot of the guy. I tell ya, I give him credit for a lot of where I am today. And the entire team, folks, you don’t just get Dan, you get an entire team. Like I said earlier, Colleen Bowler, I’ve attended in Toronto, Patti Mara’s presentation, she does a great job, Gary Klaben, I’m just mentioning a few of these people. Adrienne Duffy, Gina Pellegrini, they have got a team of people that are so talented. And the good news about it, they are all doing the same thing that we are doing. They are entrepreneurs that also give of themselves. A full day of coaching so that you can get some benefit from someone that’s walking the path with you, if you will. Hey, so let’s talk a little bit now, if you could have any other career in the world, Shannon, I’m talking just let the mind go. Doesn’t matter your background, what would it be and why?

SW: What an awesome question, because I’ve been in this career for so long now, this might surprise you. It would have to be something with animals. So I wanted to be a zoologist when I was younger.

JW: Wow.

SW: And, now I actually don’t think I have anywhere near the science background or capability to do that, but if I could go hang out and look after dolphins. Or if I could go be with the gorillas in Rwanda and be Jane Goodall’s assistant. That was my colleague Nichole, I’m like, oh, I think I might have to steal that one. I want to do that too. You know, I just would 100% be with animals. My, I have two dream trips. One of them was to Africa, and I, oh actually want to go work at an elephant sanctuary.

JW: Oh, yes.

SW: And one other thing, this is more of a hobby, but I would definitely also consider interning at a chocolate shop. That would be another passion of mine.

JW: Only if they allow you to immerse yourself in that business. And I mean from the standpoint of maybe eating as well as handling, that’d be me.

SW: I thought you just meant dunk my whole head in a vat of chocolate.

JW: That’s me. I’ve gotta tell you though, my weight system would probably be thrown amuck. It would just be terrible. Now so, let me ask you this, why do you think it’s important to Shannon Waller to influence others? Why is it important to you to influence? And I don’t know if you know this, but you influence a lot of us on your weekly planning calls, your monthly booster calls. Your books. Ladies and gentlemen, this lady never sleeps, now she says she has free days. They may be free, but she’s not sleeping, alright. Tell me, why is it important for you to influence people?

SW: That is such an interesting question. I want to influence people who want to be influenced, right. So it’s not manipulating. I want to influence people to help them solve their problems or challenges. Like why I wrote my books is because I created the Team Programs is because I saw problems. And I hated seeing people in pain. I hated seeing, you know, these problems between entrepreneurs and team members. And I wanted desperately to do something that would solve them. So, influencing to me, is actually problem solving, I think. And sharing strategies that I think can make people easier and have more fun. That’s actually part of my unique ability statement. So people can, you know, contribute more and be happier with themselves and have better teamwork. So, that’s really my why is because that’s what’s really important to me. It’s, influence is how I do it. But it’s not why I do it. Does that make sense? My way is because I want to help, in my limited area of unique ability and contribution expertise, I want to help solve certain problems because I just want to see people out of pain and having more fun. That’s really my what I want to influence for. And have people more, be more connected. One of my mottos is know thyself. And so I really endeavor as a leader and as an influencer, well not an influencer in the social media sense by any means, but as someone who has influence, I have to know myself. Otherwise I’m misdirecting, and then want other people to do that too. So I don’t want to influence someone in a direction they shouldn’t go, that would be morally wrong in my opinion, but I want to influence someone in the direction that they really want to go to and help them accomplish their goals. That gets me up in the morning.

JW: I gotta tell you, I have been blessed in this area as well. I have, I don’t want to say socially influence, but I have been used, this title has been used with me, that I’m a social influencer in my space and particularly in central United States, and I look at them and I go, look, I don’t want to create followers. I want to help empower students. See the difference, and I stole that from Jim Rohn and made it my own, and changed it a little bit. But just learn from people, like you’re saying. Read the books that Shannon has. Take those ideas, those strategies, those tactics and put them to work in your way. How you function with that, how it makes your life better, easier, more productive. And so, Shannon, I’ve got one last question before we wrap up, I could be here all day, but I know you’ve got a busy day. I do have one last question. If you could leave our listeners, 27 countries we are now heard in, we are just honored to be heard in that many countries. Thousands and thousands of listeners. We get comments every week that say something to the effect of, I needed to hear this. I needed this on that Monday morning, so we want you to give our listeners that one statement of advice about influence, leadership, legacy, whatever topic you wish, what would be one word of advice or statement that you could leave our listeners with today?

SW: Oh my goodness, this is a big question, by the way, congratulations on your success, that is fantastic, oh wow. I’m impressed.

JW: It’s all because of our great guests and the team I have behind me, I’ve got engineers, transcriptionist, I’ve got people that know what they’re doing. I literally get to just come on here and talk to people I admire.

SW: And you’re someone who wants to do that, and has a passion for helping to multiply and expand those things that you think are really useful for other people. So, love that. I think my biggest piece of advice is, well, kind of goes back to what I said, know yourself. And don’t assume that other people are like you. That’s a big, big challenge. You had mentioned Kolbe earlier, so you know, by the way, there’s zero financial anything between either of us, or Kolbe, but just a phenomenal useful tool to give language to how you naturally problem solve and strive. And then the other thing is, this is going to sound like an interesting piece of advice, but be aware that we all operate on several different levels. There’s our intellectual level, this is our learning, our cognitive, and the world rewards this in a lot of ways. Degrees and certifications, and all those things. But then there’s also your heart. So what do you care about? What is important to you. And then, the other thing to get in alignment, by the way, you’re gonna really study and be those things which you’re passionate about. Hopefully. You’re gonna have a lot of fuel for learning about those types of activities. And then there’s, this is what Kolbe actually measures, is your striving, your gut, right? So how you problem solve, how you take action. And the happiest human beings I know, the most aligned, the ones that are most fulfilled and making the biggest impact whose hearts, whose heads and hearts and guts, to use a tactical term, you know, are all in alignment. So if something is out of alignment for you in that way, work to fix it. You know, and I’m sure, Jimmy, that’s why your advice is so useful, because, so follow your passions but educate yourself and then figure out how you best problem solve and who do you want to be a hero to? Who’s your audience? And then go do that. You know, so getting yourself into alignment, head, heart, and instinct, I think is probably one of the best things I could encourage people to do. Which means you really have to know yourself on a bunch of different levels, to really live a happy fulfilled and contributing life.

JW: Outstanding advice. Folks, this is the reason for this podcast is to bring you these types of talented, respected individuals. It doesn’t matter their profession or industry you’re in. This is advice that can be adapted to anything. Even if you want to swim with dolphins or work with elephants, according to Shannon, so we…

SW: That’s true.

JW: Absolutely. Thank you, Shannon, so much for joining us today, it has been my distinct pleasure to have you, and we’ll say, I’m going to put everything in the show notes so that you can get in touch with Shannon’s assistant. Get a hold of The Strategic Coach, it will be in the show notes as well, and understand that you gain in life only when you give yourself to your utmost abilities. And what I mean by that is, if you’re struggling out there today to make a decision on what you wish to do or want to do in life. Look up this Kolbe, kolbe.com system and it will help you understand how you operate. It’s just that simple. And, like Shannon said, I get nothing out of this. This podcast is not being funded by anyone, Strategic Coach or otherwise, I don’t get any discounts, I’m not asking for anything. I just wanted others out there to know what has helped Jimmy become a bigger, better person will help you as well.

Thank you for joining us this week, Shannon, it’s been truly our pleasure to have you, and for those of you out there today that want to be a bigger, better and bolder person for your future, this is the podcast to listen to. So go out today, make your world a better place for those around you, and live your life by design.

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