AuthorRyan Hawk

Episode 254: Robert Kurson – How To Be A Master Storyteller: Rocket Men, The Most Daring Mission In NASA History

Episode 254: Robert Kurson – How To Be A Master Storyteller: Rocket Men, The Most Daring Mission In NASA History

Robert Kurson is an American author, best known for his 2004 bestselling book, Shadow Divers, the true story of two Americans who discovered a World War II German U-boat sunk 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey. Kurson began his career as an attorney, graduating from Harvard Law School, and practicing real estate law. Kurson’s professional writing career began at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a data entry clerk and soon gained a full-time features writing job. In 2000, Esquire published “My Favorite Teacher,” his first magazine story, which became a finalist for a National Magazine Award. He moved from the Sun-Times to Chicago Magazine, then to Esquire, where he won a National Magazine Award and was a contributing editor for years. His stories have appeared in Rolling StoneThe New York Times Magazine, and other publications.  His latest book is titled, Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon.

Episode 254: Robert Kurson – How To Be A Master Storyteller: Rocket Men, The Most Daring Mission In NASA History

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“I made a lot of money. I bought a BMW, a stereo, a bicycle… All the toys.  And I was miserable.  You can’t hate what you do and be happy.” –> “Writing started with a basic curiosity that would grow into love.  I knew I would do whatever it took to be a professional writer.”

Show Notes:

  • How Rob quickly realized going to Harvard Law School was a mistake
    • “The people who liked being at Harvard Law School are the people I liked the least.”
  • Following that, he got a job at a large law firm in Chicago — “Made a lot of money, bought a BMW, a stereo, a bicycle… And I was miserable”
    • The big corporations/large law firms “punished creative thinking”
  • Writing… “It all started with a basic curiosity that would grow into love.” –> “You can’t hate what you do and be happy”
  • The theme of writing stories — “Freedom… Being unbound.  When I was writing stories, the time would go so fast.”
    • “Whatever it cost me, I was going to get out of practicing law, and be a writer.”
    • “I begged for any job.  I’m incredibly persistent.  I came in on the weekends and took high school football scores as my first job working for a newspaper as a writer”
  • How can others follow their love/passion? “Never give up, do it at night, weekends, refuse to take no for an answer.”
    • “I was unwilling to see my life go that way.  I would never stop trying, no matter what.  There was no choice, that’s what I was going to do.”
  • Key ingredients to being a great story teller?
    • Understand the structure, the arc, the format: inciting incident, challenge, the heroes journey, the battles –> The beginning, middle, and end
    • How the long car rides with his dad gave him a prime example for story telling — “My dad was a travelling salesman and he would often take me with him.  He’s the greatest story teller I’ve ever known”
  • Why write about the Apollo 8 mission? — “They are the first 3 men to leave earth and go to the moon.  The people at NASA say Apollo 8 was the most daring mission of all time.  They orbited the moon 10 times.  It was the most rushed mission in history.”  They needed to beat the Soviets and rushed it because of that and President JFK
  • George Lowe – The NASA manager had the idea to go without the lunar module
  • The 3 astronauts refused to give up.  No matter what happens, they wont’ give up.  Most of the astronauts were fighter pilots in the war.  They developed a psychology that “it won’t happen to me.”  They were fearless.  They had self-delusion and irrational confidence.  That fueled them.  They were not afraid to fail and had already failed many times in their lives
  • Neil Armstrong crashed on a test flight… Just an hour later, he was seen in his office doing paperwork as if nothing happened.  The best astronauts were not phased
  • What Rob enjoyed most — Meeting each of the 3 astronauts.  All 3 are alive and still married (rare in the astronaut program).  They are down to earth, humble leaders
  • Rob describes what it was like flying with Frank Borman
  • What it was like watching Apollo 13 with Jim Lovell (who was also on Apollo 8)
  • The power of constraints — “Deadlines can help us do incredible things.  Construct them for yourself.”
  • Rob’s routine — At desk by 6:00 am and work until 2:00.  “After that, my work isn’t very good.”
    • Structure it first, organize, and storyboard it
    • Take a lot of walks with a digital recorder and speak the story out
  • Rocket Men has been optioned by Netflix

“Deadlines can help us do incredible things.  Construct them for yourself.”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE

Want To Cold Email Your Heroes? Read This…

After recording more than 250 episodes of my podcast, The Learning Leader Show, one of the common questions I get from listeners is, “How do you get such high quality guests?”  My consistent reply is “I start by sending them a cold email.”  Their inevitable follow-up is, “What do you write?”  The purpose of my post today is to answer that question.

Get Specific

First, specifically tell the potential guest why their work has made your life better.  Do not simply say “Your work is inspiring.”  Tell them why they inspire you.  For example, when I first sent Jim Collins a cold email, I told him why Good To Great had changed my life.  “Your work helped me understand AND find my personal “hedgehog”. Additionally, I learned and implemented my own “20-mile march” because of what you wrote in Great By Choice. “I learned that my paranoia about my sales quota was actually an advantage and helped me achieve high levels of success because you revealed that high achievers have something called productive paranoia.”  I told him specifically why his work changed my life for the better.

I told him specifically why his work changed my life for the better.

Uncommon Commonality

Find an uncommon commonality — Find something you have in common that will come as a pleasant surprise to this person.  This takes time and research. For example, when I sent a cold email to Adam Grant, (someone who gets thousands of cold emails each week), I did extensive research on his background, (in addition to his books/TED Talks).  I learned that Adam earned his PhD from The University of Michigan.  I happened to have played a game and scored a touchdown in the big house (got called back for a holding penalty after the fact) while I was the quarterback at Miami University my sophomore season. In the email I wrote him, I told him about the game and the touchdown and connected with him on a deeper level.

This part takes time and research, but it will differentiate you from the rest of the typical cold emails they are receiving.

Be Credible

Share information that adds to your credibility.  Some credibility for me that I communicate in each cold outreach: I’ve recorded more than 250 episodes over the last three years… That there have been millions of listeners in more than 134 countries worldwide… Forbes  called it “the most dynamic leadership podcast out there.”  Inc Magazine named it “1 of the 5 podcasts to help you lead smarter.” I will share some of the leaders who have been a guest on my show that may interest them (I tailor the names depending on who I’m emailing).  If you’re just starting out and don’t have that type of credibility built yet, write something notable about yourself (“I traveled abroad and gained incredible perspective, etc).

Ask

Then, make the direct ask in bold. “Would you like to join me as a guest on my show?”

You can tweak the language to your specific ask, but make sure it stands out, so they know exactly what you are asking them to do.… One last note: DO NOT use the phrase, “Can I pick your brain?” Instead, say, “Can I ask you for advice?”  It sounds more appealing (and less creepy).

Gratitude

Next, thank them and ship it.

Results

My response rate has remained high (80%+) and the acceptance of my offer has increased as my show has become more popular.  As with anything, it was much harder at the beginning of this process more than three years ago.  However, following this formula helped me land some incredible guests before I even launched the show (I recorded 22 episodes prior to launch).

Sending cold emails to your heroes can be very rewarding… If you do it right. Developing a friendship and earning respect from people you look up to can truly change your life.  This was discussed on episode #232 of my show.  After cold emailing hundreds of people, recording more than 250 interviews with the world’s brightest leaders, I was able to make my “side hustle (The Learning Leader Show)”, my full-time work at Brixey & Meyer.

CONTINUE

Episode 253: Aubrey Marcus – Total Human Optimization (Own The Day, Own Your Life)

Episode 253: Aubrey Marcus – Total Human Optimization (Own The Day, Own Your Life)

Aubrey Marcus is the founder and CEO of Onnit,  a lifestyle brand based on a holistic health philosophy he calls Total Human Optimization. Onnit is an Inc. 500 company and an industry leader with products optimizing millions of lives, including many top professional athletes around the world.

Aubrey regularly provides commentary to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, The Doctors and The Joe Rogan Experience. He has been featured on the cover of Men’s Health, is the author of the life-coaching course Go For Your Win, and his first book is Own The Day, Own Your Life  from HarperCollins.

Episode 253: Aubrey Marcus – Total Human Optimization (Own The Day, Own Your Life)

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“If you have 5 employees, don’t focus on growing to 180 employees. Focus on #6, and the #7. Just the next one. You must surrender to the process.”

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Mental Override
      • They are willing to do the thing you don’t want to do (ex. turn the knob to COLD in the shower)
      • Focus on the little things… The little things become the big things
  • Instead of thinking of your life as a whole, focus on making this one day great… OWN the day, own your life
    • Identify the process and structure you need for your ideal day…
    • Do it one day at a time
  • The ability to create you environment and “own your current space” regardless of the environment
  • The difference between 2012 (with 5 employees) and today (180 employees)
    • “Then I did everything, I had to.  Now, I have an incredible team to help.”
    • “If you have 5 employees and you want to grow, don’t focus on 180 employees. Focus on #6, and then #7. Focus on your team and your customers.”
    • “Surrender to the process.”
  • Aubrey is a questioner… Why?
    • “I’m constantly reminded how much I don’t know”
      • “I’m always open to continued learning. I have a curiosity mindset.”
  • “I was down to my last $110K which was loaned to me. If AlphaBrain failed, we were done… Fortunately, it sold out quickly.”
    • The importance of Joe Rogan
  • “I was completely all in.”
  • “Instead of focusing how to be friends with Joe, I focused on who I was as a person… And becoming a person that people would want to have around.” Focus on yourself
    • “The 30 minute coffee with Joe turned in to a 4 hour dinner”
  • “People will detect and know if you’re not genuine” — You must be yourself
  • “Rules are for dogs. Human beings should be driven by morality. By what’s right and wrong.”
    • How about rules at Onnit? — There are some that are necessary (talking about sex, or safety.  Both are important and there are strict rules)
  • Having an open relationship with his fiance, Whitney
    • “I questioned the nature of love. What is true genuine love? How does that look? It’s wild… And challenging.”
    • “This isn’t a fairytale. It can feel like you got struck by lightening in the solar plexus.”
    • “Having an open relationship is not for everyone and I don’t advocate it.  I’m an advocate for understanding relationships.”
  • The importance of writing Own The Day, Own Your Life
    • “All of our work needed to be documented. There are over 300 clinical references in the book.”
    • Process? “You must show up and write… Even when you don’t feel like it. You have to have the mental override.”

“I know nothing. But every day I ask questions and take a seat at the table where Truth likes to have snacks.” – Aubrey Marcus

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 252: Tom Peters – In Search Of Excellence

CONTINUE

Episode 252: Tom Peters – In Search Of Excellence

Episode 252: Tom Peters – In Search Of Excellence

Tom Peters is co-author of In Search of Excellence—the book that changed the way the world does business, and often tagged as the best business book ever. Sixteen books and almost thirty years later, he’s still at the forefront of the “management guru industry” he single-handedly invented. What’s new? A lot. As CNN said, “While most business gurus milk the same mantra for all its worth, the one-man brand called Tom Peters is still reinventing himself.”  Tom’s bedrock belief: “Execution is strategy—it’s all about the people and the doing, not the talking and the theory.” (Keep up with Tom at tompeters.com, ranked #9 among “The Top 150 Management and Leadership Blogs.”) His most recent effort, released in April, 2018 is titled, The Excellence Dividend.

The Tom Peters stats: 40 years/3,000+ speeches/50 states/67 countries/5,000,000 people/7,500 flights/5,000,000 miles/18 books plus numerous ebooks/10,000,000++ copies sold/600 syndicated columns/ 3,000 blogposts/75,000+ Tweets/150,000+ Twitter followers/55,400,000 Google hits.

Episode 252: Tom Peters – In Search Of Excellence

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“Excellence is the next 5 minutes… Or not.”

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of those who sustain excellence:
    • They are “thoroughly decent human beings”
    • They help other people grow
    • They really care about the people they work with and help them get better everyday
  • Quotes from Tom Peters:
    • “Arguably the eight most important words a leader can utter: “THANK YOU.” “I’M SORRY.” “WHAT DO YOU THINK?”
    • “Priority #1, #2, #3: Culture. Culture. Culture. “It IS the game,” Lou Gerstner on IBM turnaround.
    • “My 20-year-old “agile”: WTTMSASTMSUTFW/Whoever Tries The Most Stuff And Screws The Most Stuff Up The Fastest Wins.
    • “Every meeting that does not stir the imagination and curiosity of its attendees is what I like to call a PLO: a Permanently Lost Opportunity. I am all in favor of eliminating unnecessary meetings!”
    • The big corporations/large law firms “punished creative thinking”
    • “You must create space for people to be better than they ever have.”
    • “Excellence is the next 5 minutes… Or not.”
    • “Cost cutting is a death spiral. Our whole story is growing revenue. Are you going to cost cut your way to prosperity? Or are you going to spend you way to prosperity? Over invest in our people, over invest in our facilities.” (Vernon Hill)
  • The key to being a great manager? “MBWA” — “The minute those words came out of his mouth, my life changed (Managing By Wandering Around)
  • The importance of being intentional and thoughtful
  • My Dad is a huge fan of Tom’s work and told me to read his work
  • “Your culture is managed every minute of every day”
  • The process to prepare for your week as the leader (Sunday night work)
  • Start your meetings with “Good morning”
    • “Find a smile, find the energy” –> Your team will follow your attitude and behavior. “It’s your duty to be in a good mood.”
  • How to run a world class meeting?
    • A meeting can and should be excellent” –> It sets the stage for the next 5 days. Think about it and prepare.
      • Will it be an upper or a downer?
    • Should have civility and thoughtfulness –> “No smartassery”
  • The definition of a great teacher is “someone who is desperate to help their students succeed.”
  • How to choose better people to promote?
    • “First line leadership is of supreme importance”
    • “We always hire for character.” –> Theo Epstein: Look at the analytics and combine them with culture and character to decide
  • Training — “Practice should be harder than the games”
    • Neighbors with Bill Walsh — “The Score Takes Care of Itself”
    • He spent the first 18 months as the coach of the 49ers developing a new culture
    • John Wooden — Similar story about culture building
  • Jerry Seinfeld spends six months at very “out of the way” clubs in order to add a new 2 minutes to his stand up routine — Be that deliberate
  • Tom’s training and preparation for a speech (even after doing 3,000+ of them!)
    • Read on the company and the industry in depth
    • Read what’s going on in the world – stay up to date
    • Read about the specific city where the speech is being delivered, read the local paper, pick up little vignettes
    • Awake at 2:00 am rearranging the PowerPoint slides — “I make about 700 changes”
    • How do you feel 30 seconds before you go on stage? “Pure fear, there is enormous pressure for me to deliver for them”
  • Why you should always write thank you notes
    • Campbell’s Soup CEO wrote 30,000 thank you notes
    • Home Depot CEO wrote them every Sunday

“Every meeting that does not stir the imagination and curiosity of its attendees is what I like to call a PLO: a Permanently Lost Opportunity. I am all in favor of eliminating unnecessary meetings!”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE

Episode 251: Joey Coleman – How To Never Lose A Customer Again

Episode 251: Joey Coleman – How To Never Lose A Customer Again

Joey Coleman is the Chief Experience Composer at Design Symphony – a customer experience branding firm that specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing customer experiences. His clients include individual entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, non-profits, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies. For over a decade he’s worked with clients that include NASA, Network for Good, Hyatt Hotels, Zappos, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the World Bank.

Joey is a recognized expert in customer experience design, an award-winning speaker at national and international conferences, and has taught business and creativity courses at both the college and graduate school level. Past appearances include presentations at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management, Google, the Georgetown University School of Business, Stanford University, Zappos, YouTube.  Joey’s first book is titled Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty In 100 Days.

Episode 251: Joey Coleman – How To Never Lose A Customer Again

Subscribe on iTunes  or Stitcher Radio

The Learning Leader Show

“The best way to say thank you to someone is to show love to the people they love.”

Show Notes:

  • The 3 things a great keynote speaker does:
    • Change how you think
    • Change how you feel
    • Change how you act
  • The 60 second SPEED pitch from Joey (this is something Joey has never done before and it was incredible!)
    • He speed talks what happens following a purchase you make and how you can secure a customer for life
  • The stages: Assess, Admit, Affirm, Activate, Acclimate, Accomplish, Adopt, Advocate
  • The importance of your messaging within the first 100 days
  • Research and science back — From Harvard, Bain, Stanford
  • “People who get promoted most and fastest are those who positively impact the business.”
    • “People we like get promoted”
  • Why write this book? — Needed to work out all the kinks, document the 46 case studies and the people/companies who have implemented “the first 100 days” strategy
  • Why do companies lose customers?
    • Selling to human beings – people are skeptical and get buyers remorse
    • Fear, uncertainty, and doubt
    • The new business sales people are not aligned with the account managers
    • More energy spent on getting new clients instead of taking care of the current ones
      • “For a marriage, it requires a lot of work, continually building, communicating, growing.” A client should be treated in the same manner
  • Why are the first 100 days so important?
    • Must be on-boarded properly
    • If your customer gets to day 101, they will be with you for at least 5 years
  • The Garrett Gunderson experience
    • “When I showed up, he had a 6 pack of root beer for me and said, ‘I wanted you to feel like you are home.” — A preview of what it would be like to be a customer of theirs
  • The $35,000 golf ball — Pebble Beach
    • Pay attention
    • Record small details that could help you later
    • “When you talk, I listen”
  • Strategic appreciation — How to say thank you.  The use of gifts, presents, and pictures
  • The best way to say thank you to Joey — “Do amazing things for my wife and kids.”  — Delta did this for Joey and he is a customer for life
    • As John Ruhlin would say, “The best way to say thank you to someone is to show love to the people they love.”
    • Don’t send gifts for the holidays when everyone else does.  It’s about timing
  • “If you’re going to host someone, welcome them at the door… Offer them a glass of water.”

“A great speaker can: change how you think, change how you feel, and change how you act.”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

CONTINUE