256: How Perseverance is the Only Thing Standing Between You and What You Want


In 2003, an animated film hit the theaters and captured the hearts of viewers everywhere. This movie, with a score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, not only thrilled our kids, but gave adults a motivating reminder about how to react when life gets tough. 

Here’s the premise. 

A clownfish named Marlin has lost his son Nemo. As he ventures out into the unknown ocean on his search and rescue mission, he finds a travel companion in Dory, a regal blue tang with a serious memory problem. 

Dory, amidst her silliness and flaws, lives her life based on a wise mantra. In one of the most recognizable lines of any film, Dory tries to calm down a flustered and grumpy Marlin with the following words: 

“When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”   

As your eyes wandered over the words, you probably read in the sing-song voice of Dory, also known as Ellen Degeneres. The wisdom behind the mantra transcends age levels. I can think back to plenty of moments in my own life where I felt frustrated or confused and needed to just keep swimming.   

Many of our students in Career Change Bootcamp feel this way about their career. They hit a mental barrier of some sort, maybe the need for perfection or fear of breaking the rules, and they feel stuck. But progress, even imperfect and slow progress, is essential for reaching goals.   

In last week’s post, we talked about the essential nature of celebrating small wins on the road to success. To get these small wins, you have to keep swimming. Nobody knows this better than my new friend, Dan Schawbel. 

Over the last few years, Dan’s established himself as a leading voice in career and work trends as well as a NYT bestselling author. When asked how he finds success, Dan says he’s learned to lean into his strengths and just keep pushing. 

For instance, Dan has interviewed over 2000 people for his podcast. Guests include Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Anthony Bourdain, Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Ray, and Steve Harvey. But none of those guests came easily. 

To quote Dan, he says,

Sometimes I’ll stand up and point to the wall and say out loud “just keep going, just keep going.” That really is the secret. You have to keep shrugging off the negative, mistakes, and failures and just keep going. Life’s too short to look back. You can learn from the past, but don’t let it hold you back down. Just keep going.

  Want to know how long it took Dan to land interviews with those celebrities?  

  • Chelsea Handler took nine months.
  • Anthony Bourdain took three years.
  • Tony Robbins and Donald Trump each took over six years of attempts.

  If that’s not perseverance, I don’t know what is.   

To share another example, Dan’s latest book, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation drops today. When he was trying to get published, Dan was turned down by every single publisher he reached out to EXCEPT ONE. How easy would it have been to give up after the first rejection? Or the second? Or the fifth?!   

According to Dan and Dory, you gotta just keep swimming. Now, back to what Dan said about strengths. If you’ve been listening to our podcast for very long, you’ve probably heard us mention the importance of signature strengths. (If this is your first time hearing this, take a moment to look over this free guide on using your strengths to find career happiness.) Research from Gallup found that if you know and use your strengths, you’re six times as likely to be engaged at work, about 8% more productive in your role, three times as likely to have an excellent quality of life, and six times as likely to do what you do best every day. 

I like those odds. In Dan’s case, he realized he’s great at short format interviews. By keeping his conversations under fifteen minutes, he kept his anxiety at bay and increased the chances of getting a “yes” from interview guests. 

Along with recognizing his strengths, Dan cut out his weaknesses. For instance, he realized he wasn’t a strong designer, so he now pays a skilled graphic designer to complete these needs. Instead of trying to improve his low points, he focused on honing his own natural abilities.   

As you search for a role that fits your unique desires, strengths, style, and salary requests, you’ll probably hit a moment where you need to remember Dan’s advice: Focus on your strengths, and just keep swimming. (Okay, that second one is from Dory. But close enough!)   

To hear more about Dan’s experience becoming a leading voice for millennials, press play on the podcast player above.

Dan Schawbel 00:00
I just knew. I just knew it. I knew it. I knew it. And I just put so much energy. I was working over 100 hours a week, nights and weekends, I would comment on every single blog that mentioned personal branding. I was just so dedicated to it.

Introduction 00:07
This is the Happen To Your Career podcast, with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Dan Schawbel 00:14
Can you imagine what would happen if you picked up your phone right now and tried to talk to, say, Tony Robbins, or Donald Trump or Condoleezza Rice, you'd probably hit 100 foot brick wall, which is exactly what happened to Dan.

Dan Schawbel 00:20
And if 99 people reject you, like one of my early research studies, 99 companies said "no", but that one company said "yes".

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:27
That's Dan Schawbel. He's a self proclaimed serial entrepreneur, fortune 500 consultant, he's a New York Times best selling author. Dan tells everyone his life mission is to support his generation from student to CEO. And his fascination with tomorrow makes him a leading voice on workforce trends. And that's one of the things we're going to talk about today. But he didn't get the reputation he carries today without hitting a few speed bumps along the way.

Dan Schawbel 01:10
Everything I've done has been rejected by every, for instance, book publishers, every publisher besides one, and I've been doing books since I was 23. And each one is more successful than the last and it's still rejected by every publisher besides one.

Scott Anthony Barlow 01:18
When I asked Dan what he credits his success to, he gives me two major areas: perseverance, and strength. And you can listen to exactly how that actually works later on in the interview. But before we get into all that, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know where it started out with Dan Schawbel.

Dan Schawbel 02:03
It was in 2017. And I was at all day event training session at my company, EMC Corporation, I was in online marketing at the time, and we had to spend eight hours learning everything we could about over 2000 products that the company was selling. And these are very complex products, meaning that after that course, I came home and I started questioning my life because I was so inundated, I didn't even remember one product the second I got home. So I started Googling. I'm like, "Oh, there's got to be something out there for me, what am I missing." And I was googling... because my background was in marketing. I did marketing in bachelor's degree from Bentley University. It was just Bentley college back then. And I was like this gotta be something out there. And so I typed in marketing and self marketing and self branding and branding. And then eventually I got to personal branding, I came across Tom Peters famous article "The Brand Called You" which was written for the cover of Fast Company magazine on August 1st 2007. And it's the reason why Fast Company took off in the first place and people are reading it today. And he is the father of business books. The reason why there are business books is because his book in search of excellent created the market for business books. There is no market until something sells a million copies or is viewed a certain amount of times, and he created that. And it's not like the article gave me the idea for personal branding, it confirmed my beliefs and validated my opinions. During college, I had a CD portfolio of work, a business card, a website, all of these marketing materials I was using to sell myself in interviews and I kept landing internships and eventually landed a job. And so everything that he was talking about really hit home to me, especially because I was really early into social media, my first blog was called "Driven Succeed" I created in October 2006. And I was writing 12 times a week for it. And once I read his article, I was like, "Oh my god, I can be him for my generation." And I had such conviction when this happened. I knew what I could become. I saw the future. And I was 1,000% committed to this journey. Wherever it would take me.

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:29
That's super interesting. So what do you think was it about that time then that caused you to have such conviction and be able to see some of that? Because as we've interacted with lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds, there's a couple of different ways you can go, you can go with the, "Okay, I've got the conviction, let's get rolling already." Or the opposite way, which is, "Hey, how would I even do this necessarily?" So what do you think was it that put you in that place where you're like, "let's make this happen."?

Dan Schawbel 04:58
I was already doing it, I just didn't have the term for it. So thinking of personal branding that empowered me because, "Oh, I finally have the term. I can run with this." And so I took my blog "Driven Succeed". And I repositioned it as the personal branding blog, personalbrandingblog.com are still exist today. I think we have over 5,700 blog posts on there. And so I really believed in it so much that I built a whole community around personal branding for my generation, but other generations would read the materials too. So I had a personal branding blog, personal branding magazine, personal branding TV, personal branding everything, I bought, like, 40 domain names back then. I even still own personalbranding.com, if anyone wants to buy it. But I was already writing and talking about personal branding and practicing what I preach, I just needed the term to validate what I was doing. And to have it make sense when I communicate it to others. And this is right around the time when social media was getting traction, people were talking about web 2.0 and social media. And so my skills really learning about social media firsthand by having a blog, being... I was one of the first people to ever to write about how to use LinkedIn to build your personal brand for sites like Mashable and Wall Street Journal, because I was really figuring out how to use it as a 20 to 23 year old. And so all of this came together, and I was just like, "this is what I'm meant to do." And as many times as I was bullied and made fun of between cyber bullying and even friends of returnee brothers being like what is wrong with you, I just knew. I just knew it. I knew it. I knew it. And I just put so much energy. I was working over 100 hours a week, nights and weekends, I would comment on every single blog that mentioned personal branding. I was just so dedicated to it. And what most people don't know is when I started self publishing personal branding magazine, I was doing everything, everything being I was managing 100 different contributors to editors, I published it, I marketed it, I promoted it, we had a subscription model, so I was growing that, I did everything. I designed it, I did everything. And by doing that I learned a lot about business, I learned about my strengths. For instance, I learned that I'm not the best graphic designer in the world. So over the past 10 years, I have hired a graphic designer, I realized that eventually I wasn't going to have time to manage it. So eventually, it folded and I was too emotionally attached, I could have sold it to another company and I didn't. So I learned a lot of business lessons through going in creating that magazine. Through the blog, I learned so much. I never wanted to be an entrepreneur because when I was growing up, my dad had a business with 100 employees and his employees in the food distributing industry would steal from him. And I was like, "This is not really for me." But the blog told me that there was something... it was like grooming me to be an entrepreneur because I was connecting with people who were commenting on my blog ended up being the sponsors for the blog and the magazine. It was my way of figuring out who else out there cares about this topic, who wants to be part of this, who wants to invest in it. And the blog was my training ground for everything I've done since, that's why you will see the personal branding blogs still be alive in 30 years from now because I feel like it reminds me of where I've come from. And it's to support the industry that after Tom Peters established, like, I helped push this to a whole new generation. So that was phase one of my career was around personal branding. And then phase two is, you know, I think everyone needs to evolve their brand, evolve their career. And I started to focus on millennials and how they could be successful as they started to get jobs in advance in their careers. So that's why I wrote promote yourself. So each book I've written helps people get to the next phase of their career, "Me 2.0" is not just the first book on how to use social media to build your career, but it's how do you get your first job when you graduate school. And this was happening because I write the book after I've already accomplished something. So I already had a job when I graduated, and then wrote that book. And then the second book was called "Promote Yourself", it's for people who have a job who want to get ahead of that job and eventually become a manager. So I did a study with American Express on what managers look for when they promote, which are almost all soft skills like teamwork, ability, ability to communicate effectively, and prioritize work. And then now, with back to human, it's really a leadership book for the next generation. And each book emphasizes the human connection more. For instance, the first book was heavily focused on technology. The second book was a touch on technology, but there was 40 plus pages out of the 280 pages about soft skills. And then this book is way more about how to build human connections in the workplace without using technology as a crutch, as a leader and the team member. And so my mission in life that I realized from focusing on personal branding to millennials is to position myself as someone to help a whole generation through that their whole career trajectory from student to CEO. That's my mission in life and that depicts what I write, what I focused on, and really how I spend my time and money. But I only realized this after many, many years of seeing what was working, seeing what topics that I was clinging to, feedback I got, and then how I positioned myself almost in my mind of "Woah. There's a greater picture, maybe I'm meant to help this generation throughout their whole career path." Just like I was growing and advancing my career, I can grow with this group. And if this helps people who are older or in different geographies, that would be amazing. But my goal is how do I help people who are kind of like me, or want to become leaders in their career and be successful throughout their path using all the resources that I have established through my journey.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:46
So let me ask you about a couple portions of that. And I definitely want to come back and talk about how it's evolved. I think that is really important. However, one thing you mentioned earlier was, you were spending tons and tons of time and energy in a portion of this, and eventually it folded at some point along the line. So I wanted to ask you a bit about what that was like, as that was happening. And everybody has some type of phase, maybe not in that same way, by any means, but everybody has some type of phase that ends in one way or another. And I think that the opportunity there is that can be a really negative experience, or that can be turned into a really positive experience. So what was that like for you initially? And what did you do to make it a positive experience? Which clearly it sounds like it was.

Dan Schawbel 11:34
I knew in my head that I could not do the magazine for the rest of my life. And I had an employee back then who told me, he's like, "Dan, what are you doing with this magazine? It's taking up so much your time." Because I had an events business, I was doing so many different things around this topic. And it was stretched so thin. And when he did that, it was almost like, I needed someone to tell me to quit the magazine, I couldn't do it on my own. And then I went through the first phase was realizing that I need to stop publishing the magazine, focusing on the last issue, because I want to end in glory. And then coming to the realization that now I'm gonna have more time and thinking about how I can best allocate that time to help build a brighter future and support everything that I was doing. So I think that when one door closes, another door can open. And you can reallocate your time on to things that make more sense, given different objectives that you have and goals that you set. For me, I've always had to evolve. Sometimes I have to drop something like, for instance, I'm no longer writing for Forbes. But now because I'm not writing for them, I have enough time to build an Instagram following. And I have a podcast called Five Questions with Dan Schawbel. And if I was just writing for Forbes, I wouldn't have time to build all of these great assets that I'm very excited about. So sometimes, something either happens to you or you quit. And that can actually be a good thing. So it might not be smart for you to do something for 10 years, because that will eat up so much your time. So you're not spending it doing other things that might be more valuable, and that could bring you more joy and happiness.

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:11
How have you decided that? Like, let's take the example of Forbes, right? So I know that writing for something like that, or just spending lots of time writing on one particular area or project takes, I mean, even if you are an incredibly fast writer, and very gifted and everything like that, still takes time and energy and creative energy, right? So how do you decide on any of those things, but we can use that as an example, to quit and move on to something else?

Dan Schawbel 13:44
Yeah, I think it's because I was getting less traction, I had been writing for them for seven years. And it's just what I was doing was not aligning with what they were looking for, and not aligning with where I was going. And then, you know, I was just noticing a lot of my peers were growing Instagram, or growing all these podcasts and really enjoying it. And I had a podcast in 2012 and 2013. But it lead with a sponsor, the show is too complicated, it ate up too much my time. So it didn't work out. And now I feel like I have the right concept at the right time that plays to my strengths. So it's been a ton of self awareness. For instance, I suffer from a pretty extreme amount of anxiety. So I've realized that the reason why, throughout the past 12 years, all of my 2000 plus interviews have always been about 15 minutes or less with five questions is because it's very hard for me to interview someone for an extended period of time, like I get very anxious and unsettled. And so I'm quadrupling down on who I am by having these short punchy interviews because it plays to my strengths and who I am as a human and how I operate. So like I think as you get older if you really pay attention to who you are and what makes you you and special and unique, you can be much more effective, right? I know what I'm not good at, I know what I am good at, I won't do graphic design, because I'm not the best at that. I find people who have already accomplished something that I want to accomplish, and I align myself with them. But I also serve as a resource for others, right? So not just asking for advice, but also giving advice and creating a whole culture of giving and support system because as you advance in your career, things would do not get easier, right? A lot of people see as a successful person or someone who's accomplished something great, and they view them as having an easy life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:32
No other problems, right? Problems just disappear. And all of a sudden, it's easy. Yeah.

Dan Schawbel 15:37
The problems disappear. But new problems are created at the same time. Yeah. And someone who's ambitious, like us, we push ourselves harder, and to get to that next level, it's more challenging. And we have to constantly put out content, reinvent ourselves, do things differently test. And so the only way to learn and advance in your career is to throw yourself into that situation. So many people are counting on reading a book a week, or just listening to a podcast or reading a blog to solve all their problems. You have to actually act and initiate. If you're not doing it, if I didn't spend... God knows how many hours writing 12 blog posts a week, commenting on every blog, producing a magazine and doing everything needed to make that happen, having the full time job as I created the first social media position, and like almost any company, especially a big company back in 2007, like, if I wasn't doing all of that, how would I know what I'm good at, what I'm not good at, what to outsource, what to do in house or projects to work on, what to avoid, who to surround myself with, who do not. So like, the more you do, the younger you are, the better. But obviously, it's never too late to put the effort in and test things and figure out a new direction to go in.

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:51
Well, here's what I'm taking from that. In your case, I mean, you had to have an extreme amount of inputs in order to get out an extreme amount of knowledge, essentially, useful knowledge, valuable knowledge about yourself, so that you can double down in those areas that really are truly working for you and allow you to be more of you, for lack of a better phrase.

Dan Schawbel 17:13
I always lean into what's working for me. So for instance, this the interview format, I've done over 2000 times. But think of how many people I've reached out to in order to get the 2000 interviews, probably 5 or 6000 people over the past 12 years, and I get a lot of "no's", but I'm so patient, and I just constantly reach out and I constantly try and repackage and promote. So, like, I interviewed Donald Trump, but it took over six years. Tony Robbins took over six years. Chelsea Handler took over nine months. I've had Anthony Bourdain took three years, but I'm willing to constantly try and get what I'm looking for. It just takes time. And I've learned to be extremely patient with the time because there's always someone else you can interview. For most of what I've done in my life, most everything I've done has been rejected by every, for instance, book publishers, every publisher besides one, and I've been doing books since I was 23. And each one is more successful than the last. And it's still rejected by every publisher besides one. And so I think the best things in life, the things that are most gratifying, you really have to earn, you have to sacrifice, you have to fail, you have to get rejected in order to really appreciate them. And once you get that opportunity, you're going to naturally maximize it because you're so grateful that you have the opportunity. And so I think just over the past few years, I've finally got to a point after 12 years that happy with what I've done to a point where if nothing else happens, I'm still good. But it's not, like, it's not going to demotivate me I'm still motivated, but I'm finally secure in what I've done, and I figured out kind of who I am and what I'm meant to do. And the only way to do that, like I can't keep reiterating is to do as much as you can to test things, to not be afraid of failure, to reach out with the attitude that you have nothing to lose, I will reach out to anyone... I don't even question in my head anymore. Anytime I even stopped for a second to think if I should reach out sooner, I'm already... the emails already out. And so you really don't have anything to lose. And if 99 people reject you, like one of my early research studies, 99 companies said 'no', but that one company said 'yes'. And it was American Express and then I was on my way and now I'm watching my 45th research study since 2012 on next Thursday. So like, I just keep going. And I actually, anytime I have an obstacle in my life, I always say to myself now, "just. keep. going." I say with those pauses, too.

Scott Anthony Barlow 19:37
That's become your mantra?

Dan Schawbel 19:38
Yeah, sometimes I'll, like, stand up and, like, point to the wall. And just say, "just keep going, just keep going." And that really is a secret. You have to keep shrugging off the negative, off the mistakes, off the failures, and keep going because life's too short to look to the past. Of course learn from the past, but don't let it hold you back down. Just keep going.

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:02
Love that. And since I have little kids, "just keep swimming" pops into my head, too, here. But I want to come back around to what... one of your latest projects is here. And you did about 100ish interviews for the project that ended up becoming this book, right?

Dan Schawbel 20:22
There's a lot to this book. It's called "Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation". I interviewed 100 of the top young leaders at 100 of the best companies in the world for it. And it took three and a half months, it was about 850 communications, back and forth, to get approval from a company's PR department, because I want to use their names, titles and companies. And I had to get approval from the HR department to check what their age was. So it's all people ages 24 to 35. And from Uber, Instagram, GE, IBM, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, the best of the best of the best, but it took... and a lot of people reject me, I just kept going, I was like, "I'm gonna make this happen." And then I also got a research study funded the studies on work connectivity, sponsored by the virgin pulse, which is one of the 400 virgin brands under Richard Branson. And we interviewed over 2000 managers and employees in 10 countries. And that was an awesome study, it was a ton of work, too, 71 pages of research analysis. And then I did, I partnered with a professor. So over the past seven years, there have been about seven professors that have studied work isolation, and the impact on business and personal health and team commitment. And so I worked with Kevin Rockman, he's a professor at George Mason University on the work connectivity index, it measures the strength of your work relationships, work connectivity, index.com, it's a free self assessment. So all of that, plus my personal stories, advice, activities, all into one. So tons and tons and tons and tons of work. I was doing a chapter a week actually, I was drafting because I created a whole writing system, this time that I didn't for the last two bucks, where it was outline, research writing, right. So the outline frames the chapter for you. The research helps you make the chapter more credible and interesting and helps you frame your self help advice and activities and the story and then actually writing it, you're more prepared to write it, because you've already done the research, you have the outline so you know where to focus your writing. So that's been my chapter week system that I developed and worked extremely well. And it bought me enough time to bring on editors to help me smooth out the writing and make it more linear because one of my weaknesses and self awareness is my brain goes in many directions. I'm like I'm carrying on all these stats in my head, and all these things I need to do. And so I need to hire people to help me get back to center and center my writing. Again, I only know that because it's been 12 years of figuring this all out.

Scott Anthony Barlow 23:03
I'm letting you run with this, because it's super interesting to me just in the place where I've written another book, but it was actually a kid's travel journal. I wrote that with my wife. So haven't written a traditional book yet. And we're just embarking down that road. So I've been asking tons of my friends, I have written 2, 3, 4 books, soaking up all of this. So I'm just loving this part. But what I did want to ask you about though, as you're going through this process, and you did these 100 plus interviews, you did pull together all of this research, and you're writing the outlines and everything else, what were some of the biggest surprises that you had in everything that came out of this, and it probably be useful, let's briefly outline what the content is here, too, because this is a different book than some of what you've written in the past.

Dan Schawbel 23:51
Yeah, the main message in the book is technology has created the illusion of connection, when in reality people feel disconnected, less engaged, less committed to their teams and organizations, more lonely and isolated over the overuse and misuse of that technology. And one of the big most interesting things that is now part of my presentation when I speak all over the world is that technology is a double edged sword. It can be used for good and bad. It's really about how you use it. And for instance, the easiest example to say is you can use technology such as a calendar, maybe even artificial intelligence to get everyone to show up for a meeting on time in a specific location. But if you're in that meeting, and you're looking at your phone the entire time, you are not using technology properly. If you go to a networking event, and you use technology, email, your accounts, sinking people, sinking everyone's calendar to show up at that meeting or networking event, and you're not really there, you're not present and you're just too busy using that technology that brought you there, you've made a big mistake and it's going to affect your career because building one's career, as you know, is all about the human connection and those sacred human relationships. And if you let technology become a barrier between you and another person is not going to be effective, and you're going to feel very isolated and unhappy as a result. So there's been a lot of really fascinating things. I think the most interesting finding for the book that blew me away, and I'm going to be talking about a lot more in the future is that, if you work remote, you're much less likely to want a long term career at your company. And this is pretty controversial. And I've worked from home for about eight years, about a third of the global workforce works remote always, or very often, yet, two thirds of them are disengaged. So while remote work gives you freedom and flexibility to work when and where you want, and it lowers your commuting costs, people don't really talk about that, right? You don't have to put gas in a car, you don't have to maintain a car, etc. And then the cost of like cafeterias and all that, it makes you more lonely and isolated, because you're not getting the human interactions that we strive for what we need. As part of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. After food and shelter, we need love, affection and relationships. And so how are you going to perform at your very best if you lack those relationships? And the more friends you have at work, the more loyal you are, the happier you are, and the longer you're going to really stay and be productive member of your team and organization. So that's one of the things we found is that people lack work friendships, yet, we spend so much time at work. The average workweek in the United States is 47 hours a week for full time salaried employee, yet, and more than that, most people answer business email, on vacation or after work hours, always kind of working, especially if you're an entrepreneur, you're seven days a week, you're always on call. And so it's so important to likely work with more now than ever before because if you don't, your personal life will suffer. And so there's a connection between your work experience and your personal life. If you're having a great work day, you're going to come home, and if you're married, you'll be much happier, and you'll have a healthier marriage. If you hate your job, it will affect your marriage, it'll affect your relationship with your children, and your personal health. I interviewed the former US Surgeon General for the book. And he said that loneliness is an epidemic. And it has the same health risks and as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So this is a really big deal, especially a big pain point for men as they age, we start losing friendships at age 25. And men lose them quicker. And so if we're not trying to seek those friendships at work, where we're spending so much of our time, there's a big disconnect for us. It makes us lonely, isolated and unhappy as a result, which hurts our personal life.

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:53
So let me ask you about that then. Because as we've worked with people, one of the things we do in our business, by all means, is helping people get to where they want, a lot of people perceive that they want more flexibility, as well as remote work. And what we've learned from doing that is that it's that alone and it's not taken into consideration. The other elements like hey, how do you feel connection? And what do you need in terms of what are the other elements that are going to keep you more happy and more connected more often? So my question to you then is, what do you see as the... or some potential solutions to that?

Dan Schawbel 28:37
Yeah, I think the interesting thing just to start is what we want is different than how we behave. In all of my research, across the globe, even with young people, they say they want in person meetings, and to work in a corporate office place with other people, yet, they spend 30% of their personal and professional time using Facebook and other technology and social networks. So like how people are behaving is different than what they actually desire, which I think is really interesting. And so what I recommend is, it's all about embracing open collaboration, getting everyone on your team to commit to being open, accessible and honest with each other. The other thing is promoting through the book, a whole chapter on practicing shared learning. So instead of holding information to your chest, share it with others, because it's another way to interact with them. In order to keep up with the changes in our economy and all the disruptions that are occurring acquisitions, mergers, you name it, you need to help each other because the information is moving so fast that you need individuals to be the filters of that information and then share it among their team because the average half life or relevancy of a skill is only five years down. So things are changing really fast. We need to count on each other to be able to work through those changes, and have the right skills at the right time to be able to maintain our jobs and advance in the workplace. The other thing I would say is recognition, regular recognition, let's abolish annual performance reviews, because people hate them. And because the bell curve doesn't work, because if you are rated as a four, when you think you should be a five out of five, you're going to leave the company because you felt like you deserve the five. And they could only award one five for the department or the team. So instead of this, let's do regular recognition, right? You can criticize people, too, you can say, "Oh, well, you did great at this. But you could improve in this way" which is how people really take in feedback. But I think compliments are really key throughout the day, if you can do it. And recognizing people from seniority standpoint, if you're a senior leader, recognizing people makes a huge impact. And of course, people need cash bonuses and gifts. But recognition, we find it can be extremely powerful coaching.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:03
I'm curious about that. Because as well, I'm a bit of a nerd about both the research, but then the application side, too, just coming from a talent development and HR background. And then also the type of work that we do now, with helping people identify what they need. Did any of your research help identify some of the different elements or different categories in what people need? Because everybody's a little bit different is what we've discovered in terms of how and what they need specifically for recognition. Like, for one person, as you mentioned, you know, cash is great, and another person needs ongoing thank yous and acknowledgement for things and you know, another person like me, I benefit most from when my past bosses would share with me things and information that they wouldn't tell anybody else. And that was my form of recognition. I'm curious, what... if you uncovered anything there?

Dan Schawbel 31:56
Yeah, that's a great question. Sadly, all the research I've done since 2012 points to people caring about compensation the most, and cash bonuses the most, when it comes to recognition. It's just a fact. It's because the cost of living is not declining, right? There's a lot of pressure, cash is king. And I think cash will always be king. But once you get past cash, then things get really interesting. What we found as a difference between 2014 and 2016, when we ask people, what employee benefits are the most important to them? We went from... it was health care, and then health care, flexibility, and training to flexibility, health care, and training. So once people's health needs are met, once they have some degree of flexibility in their job, the number one retention tool you can use is training and development, which is why I was saying is like coaching is a big deal, because you have all these new managers, 40% of people in my age group, have a manager title and above now, and a lot of them are failing because they've never been managers before, a lot of companies don't have leadership development programs, only about 6% have like really well established leadership development programs, companies aren't focusing on succession planning. There's a big disconnect when it comes to leadership, and the leadership styles that people my age, and people who are much older are very different. The old leadership style is autocratic, which is about command and control and following specific policies and procedures. People my age, when they become leaders, it's all about encouraging the best in others, getting people to focus on a specific mission, a mission oriented, and that's why they go to the transformational leadership. So that's changed. And I think the other thing is, the importance of vulnerability, gratitude, and empathy are becoming more important, like chapter nine is leading with empathy, because everyone has their own situation, you know, a third of people suffer from mental illness in the United States. And it's a huge dilemma, and a huge issue. And it's something we have to account for. So you have a lot of the big professional service firms who have all these mental health awareness programs, which had been somewhat effective where people will wear patch that says they're open to talking about mental health issues, because it's either you suffer from a mental health condition, or you know someone who does, everyone has that in common, right, we all either know someone or suffer ourselves. And so that's why that is becoming more important as a leader now than ever before is because the stigma has, it's kind of moving away from mental health, and people are just being more honest and open about what they're going through. And we just have to be much more understanding in order to connect in a human way to others.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:39
Interesting, that is a lot of stuff. But I also want to make sure that for everybody listening, they can take away one or two things that they can actually do differently or put in place tomorrow or ask for from their leader or any number of other things. So what would you recommend that if I'm in the place where I want to be able to do this better, whether, as a leader or as a receiver, for lack of a better phrase, then what can I do tomorrow?

Dan Schawbel 35:08
Great question. I recommend, the one thing that always works is incremental change. Everyone talks about big innovations, and let's change the world, we have to get used to things in order to adjust and create new habits. It's just in our human nature, and that I don't think that'll ever change. So for instance, next time you are leading a meeting with your team, have everyone put their phones in the middle of the table. That's it, and test that out and see if it's different. And then ask people at the end of that meeting, if it was more effective, and they got more accomplished. Very simple, very action oriented. And number two, I would say, when you have a meeting, or if you are one on one weekly with a team member, ask them how they're feeling. Ask them what they need help on, ask them questions that are going to give you a sense of what this person is actually going through, their hardships, their strengths, just really pro them get to know people on a deeper level, instead of being superficial and just talking about work. Ask them like, what's really going on? Like, what are they doing for fun? I think that's so important. One of the things that companies lack, this is really interesting. I remember reading the study last year, only 20% of companies have offsites. Yet, what we found in this virgin study is that that's the number one thing that employees want to establish better relationships. And the other thing that is interesting is stop sending countless emails, one face to face conversation is more successful than 34 emails back and forth. And the number one thing that gets in the way of human connections in the workplace is email use. And so next time you're sending an email, use the email to coordinate a meeting where you're actually physically being with someone or even a videoconference, if they're in a different location, do not constantly, if you find yourself just constantly going back and forth an email, it's a signal that you are not using email properly, and just have a quick phone call, and it'll save everyone time and stress. These are like small little things that make a big difference over time, and you're training yourself to creating new behaviors that could live with you from job to job from role to role, which I think is extremely important. And the other thing is, being a coach again, one of the top things that people care about is learning and development, especially young people. So if you're managing a team, you really need to spend time coaching them and helping them and figuring what they need help on, people expect companies to invest in their learning development, both time and money. I mean, look what's happening with AT&T, they're investing a billion dollars to rescale and upskill, their current employee base, so they can move around internally and take jobs that are not even created yet. But because they're moving into new markets, they're going to need people with new skills that serve those markets. And so I think companies play a role in this. And I think individuals, the people who are listening here need to be accountable for their career and take charge of their life and make these investments on their own, whether it's at work, or whether it's at home, you can be a leader at home with your family, or in your local community or in your organization. I think that's why this is so important. Because if you want to get things done, if you want to close a big deal, if you want to lead a team, it's really about the interpersonal soft skills that are really going to make a difference for you. And if you're not investing in your team, why should they invest in you? There's an expectation that the leader is investing their time into cultivating these relationships, and training their employees.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:36
I love that. Thank you for that. I would highly suggest picking at least one of those, and starting tomorrow. It can be uncomfortable, but super easy in spite of things to be ask your team to put the phones on the table. I've done that before. Make sure that you have the follow up conversation to find out, "Hey, was that productive?" afterwards, and then you can round it out. But pick one of these at least and move it forward so that you can have more connection in the workplace, too. This has been phenomenal, Dan. I really, really appreciate you taking the time and making the time. So I've got just a couple other questions for you. One, is if they want to get the book or if they want to find out more Dan, if they got to get more Dan, where can they go to do that?

Dan Schawbel 39:22
Yes, follow me on Instagram Dan Schawbel. My website is danschawbel.com. And there you can access my podcast Five Questions with Dan Schawbel, which is also an iTunes and you can get all of my social network feeds, my blog. You know, I'm like you, I got so many different things that I have to centralize it all on my personal website. And I hope you enjoy "Back to Human''. I think it's gonna make a really big impact because we're all feeling... we're all relying too much on technology now and we need a book to give us an excuse to go meet someone for coffee or pick up the phone or give someone a hug. You need to get back to being human because we can't let this technology take control of our lives, it will leave us as very unhappy and isolated.

Scott Anthony Barlow 40:09
Well, I am a hugger. So that works out. I do really, really appreciate it. And the only other thing that I wanted to ask you just, you know, as you look back over your career, and so many twists and turns and evolutions and everything like that, aside from just keep going, what do you feel like is the biggest thing that really has kept you just keep going and evolving? What is in either the biggest piece of advice or what has been your biggest takeaway? What would you share with those people that are in that evolution place right now?

Dan Schawbel 40:39
If you want people to believe and invest in you, you have to believe and invest in yourself first. That to me is the most important. When no one believed in me when I was in my early 20s, when I wasn't taken seriously because I was writing career advice articles as a 20 to 23 year old, I just knew what I could become, I knew I had the right abilities because it all clicked for me. But the only reason why I had that self awareness is because like you, I started working when I was 13 years old. So I had eight internships, seven leadership positions on campus organizations that my school. I had an internship in high school, like I was learning all this when I was very young. So there's no overnight success, it just takes a long time because you have to figure out what you enjoy, what you don't enjoy, what your strengths and weaknesses are. And then you just keep iterating and naturally and organically growing your career from that instead of forcing an idea. I've never forced a business or research study, nothing's ever forced, it just naturally happens based on what I know I can do and what I know that I'm not as good at.

Scott Anthony Barlow 41:45
We have so much more coming up for you next week right here on Happen To Your Career. In fact, if you have ever experienced or know anybody who has ADD, ADHD, then you're going to especially love next week's episode.

Ross Loofbourrow 42:03
What worked out up to that point, pretending it wasn't there, didn't talk about it, never let other people know, and then this moment occurred where, holy smokes. I mean, I absolutely felt like I could lose my job if I don't pivot quickly in a different direction.

Scott Anthony Barlow 42:23
That's Ross Loofbourrow. And Ross and I get to break down how ADD, ADHD can actually be huge assets and huge strengths, instead of the way that the world normally looks at them as impediments and liabilities, because I believe that they're not and that's exactly what we're going to talk about next week right here on Happen To Your Career. Until then. I am out. Adios.

Dan Schawbel 42:57
I think book tours are dead unless your name is Kim Kardashian. I'm serious. It's been dead for a while though. I don't think I'm smart by saying that.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:04
Yeah, not too shabby. Way to go.

Dan Schawbel 43:08
Testing. Can you hear me Scott?

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:09
I can hear you great, Dan.

Dan Schawbel 43:12
Excellent. So I got all this new podcasting equipment because I'm launching my podcast in like two hours. So I'm very excited. You're like my first big test subject with the new equipment.

Scott Anthony Barlow 43:24
Guinea pig. Perfect.

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