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Luis Velasquez, Nicole Donnelly, Curt Anderson
Curt Anderson 00:00
Want to oh wait, we’re Hey, David. How, wait a minute. You’re not Damon the call. How are you? Happy Friday.
Nicole Donnelly 00:09
Happy Friday, Kurt. It’s so good to be here. I’m so excited. Damon, we miss you. We miss you wherever you are. All right, isn’t it in Utah?
Curt Anderson 00:18
He was at the he was at the Grand Canyon this week. He is all over. So, our main the bandleader is out traveling with his amazing, wonderful wife today. And so Nicole, thank you for filling in. We have Nicole Donnelly on the stage, Nicole, this is like this is like hero day for me. Like I don’t know if it’s like a national hero day or something. Because like, it must be national hero day because this is like a huge, huge day for me. I want to introduce my dear friend, Luis Velez quiz that Luis, how are you? Happy Friday? How’s it going?
Luis Velasquez 00:51
Happy Friday to you, too. I uh, wow. I don’t know if I call it happy. Happy is my least favorite time day of the week? Oh, it
Curt Anderson 00:59
is? Yeah. Let’s share.
Luis Velasquez 01:03
During the week, I Oh, my calendar. During the weekend, my kids and my wife. Oh my god, I have no idea what they have planned. It’s my least favorite time, day of the week, but I love doing what I do with them. Even though you know, it’s just not. It’s not predictable. Well,
Curt Anderson 01:26
that is and I see the beautiful family right over your shoulder. I think Alexis and Nathan I think I might see their pictures over your shoulder there. So big shout out to your family.
So guys coming in. As for our live drop a note you absolutely want to connect with Luis here on LinkedIn. And so we’re going to dig deep into a super fun conversation here. Luis as we dig in, you know, I talked to Nicole you talked about like Mr. underachiever here. I’m gonna like I’m gonna rattle off some of his accomplishments. You know, I think not one PhD, Luis, is it to do I have that correct. You have two PhDs, you know, like, I called my mom when I applied and I wanted to get my PhD, but I misspelled PhD.
So they turned me down. So I so PhD, high level executive coach, you write for Harvard Business Review, you have a new book coming out, we’re going to talk about so tons and tons of things. Unpack here today, Luis, before we go there. My first question. I have I’ve, I’ve, we just have a couple questions for you today. But my first question for you today, little boy growing up, and if I’m not mistaken, Guatemala might be home for you. As a little boy growing up in Guatemala, I’d love to know who was your hero? Who was your hero as a little boy growing up?
Luis Velasquez 02:43
My dad. Nice. My dad was my hero. You know, I mean, this man was hardworking. And he sacrificed everything for his family. So I didn’t think he was my hero. And while my mom was as well, you know, they both were the driving force of our family is forever. Yeah,
Curt Anderson 03:04
that’s fantastic. And I know you’ve shared I’ve got a nice little family history background and your siblings. Everybody’s just like hitting the ball. The park, just wonderfully successful. You have a great family. I think you have a family business, do you not? Yes, yeah. Yeah. In just doing extremely well. So just so how about shout out to Mom and Dad, mom and dad’s name, please? What’s the name of mom and dad?
Luis Velasquez 03:29
My dad’s name is of Julio. Yep. My mom’s name is Bertha.
Curt Anderson 03:35
Perfect. All right, well, hey, big shout out to mom and dad for just raising such amazing incredible kids. And so Nicole, I want to dig in to a couple of things here about Luis now first off, this is I met Luis you know, like you hear like you hear about somebody virtually? Well, I heard about Luis through a book. Okay. And the book is this book right here. It is called the long game and this book was written by she’s kind of a big deal. Just a little bit of a big deal. Name’s Dorie Clark. She’s a Wall Street Journal, best selling author. And this book is absolutely phenomenal.
She wrote the book standouts real entrepreneurial you. So when this book came out, I bought it immediately. And I read this book, and I just I want to share something with you from this book. Okay. And in this particular chapter, they talked about going to extremes and I just want to share this with you just kind of set the pace for what we’re getting in here today. Okay. So so often in life, we take pains not to set ourselves up for disappointment, so we play it safe.
The code you ever play it safe, right? It’s like, you know, one of the like, talking about people’s biggest regrets is playing it safe. It doesn’t seem practical, why even think about it. We dream of becoming the senior director, not the CEO, we think, or we think big plan, how to land a gig, how to land a gig for a band once or once a week at the neighborhood pub, as opposed to trying to hit the Billboard charts.
Alright, so the big point of this chapter here is that Good somehow playing it safe versus like really aggressively pursuing our dreams. I just want to share a couple more things here. If a goal is worth pursuing, it’s worth pursuing the version of it we actually want not one that’s watered down to protect our ego big goals on their own might feel paralyzing.
How do you even start to write that novel, big goals coupled with small, consistent efforts can be exactly the galvanizing force we need to achieve achieve something powerful. That’s exactly how my dear friend valise did that. And valise is actually in this book. So I read about valise in this book, get this as a professor at Michigan State, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Luis, do you want to take the story from here?
Luis Velasquez 05:47
Yeah, um, you know, I mean, so I, you know, I was doing what I love to do, you know, I mean, and the reality is that, at that, at that moment, you know, I was Mary, I, you know, I was, my, my career path was really set out, you know, all I needed to do is publish some papers get tenure, and I was done. And, unfortunately, you know, there are things that happen, that we have no control over.
And I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When the brain when I came back from the surgery, and the, all the stuff, you know, the doctor told me, you know, you have to accept, you know, reality. And your new reality is that you probably won’t be you won’t be back to be a professor, you know, I don’t know when, and you probably won’t be able to walk straight anymore.
And that was very hard for me to accept. So, long story short, neither my professional dreams nor my marriage survive. And I think that the key for me was Okay, so now what do I do? What do I do? And I needed to reinvent myself, you don’t? I kid you not. I mean, I was thinking, okay, what can I do? I consider real estate I consider, you know, maybe I’ll just go to be I become a greeter at Walmart.
You know, many things and, and I think that the one thing that, that, that I remember my dad is that he, he got a huge accident, do it became a very successful after that. And I think that the biggest lesson for me is that we I started using the pain as a motivation to do better. And I realized that the one thing that I learned also from my dad is that the world doesn’t belong to the people that know the most are the people that learn the fastest.
And a lot of times, you know, the mistake that I made in the past is to attach my identity to what I do, I was a professor, I was kind of a big deal, you know, I have a PhD, I was kind of a big deal, you know, when all that was taken away, you know, my sense of worth unnecessarily two degrees, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, you know, and then I realized that the person that existed before, wasn’t there anymore. You know, I was a completely different person, tomorrow included. So I gave my tumor, a funny name, I call it my precious.
My precious, and it’s part of who I am. And I decided, you know, that I needed to, you know, like, do something else and do something better and detach myself from what I do, and just, I adopt the identity that I wanted to have. And at that time is like, you know, I am going to be persistent, I’m going to be committed to my well being, and I’m going to be optimistic. And since then, those three things stuck. So that’s, that’s who I am. I am an optimistic person. I am a persistent individual. And I am a committed individual. And that drives me to do whatever I want to do. And so that’s the short story.
Curt Anderson 09:06
Well, just to continue on that just give everybody an idea. So I know you deem yourself a recovering scientists. So brain tumor warrior, you and you have completed one over 100 marathons, you’ve done nine Ironman triathlons, you, you professor at Stanford, not only do you have your PhD, you have an MBA, and I just want to share this is another thing I want to share from the book.
When you were diagnosed, you were in Chicago, and you’re standing in Chicago, the day you’re diagnosed. In this book, it says that you turn to your wife and you said, this marathon is going on. I’m going to run it a year from now. And sure enough, you talk about right here. Many people suffering from the effects of brain surgery would have heated to the doctor’s request. You’re lucky to be alive.
Forget about running a marathon but Lou But Luis with his goal made all the difference. You said running at the time became the only thing that was given me a sense of winning. In Sure enough, you ran that Chicago marathon a year later, like I’m getting shows us even thinking about it. How, in what I absolutely love this, I think in here, your tagline became, forget the marathon. So it was like you kind of said, like, you know, forget the tumor.
I’m doing the marathon. So instead of forget the marathon, you took an action, like you’re saying, you twist the positive, I’m forgetting about the tumor. And then you called your physical therapy, get this, Nicole, he’s going to brain tumor, he’s going through physical therapy. And he called that, that his physical therapy was his marathon training. I mean, just like, Luis, like, how did you? How did you get that stamina? Just that resiliency? How, like, where did that come from?
Luis Velasquez 10:47
Yeah. You know, I think that I don’t want to say that I am like, that stamina are stronger than everybody I think that the war has made a difference for me is that, I think to see things from a different perspective, yeah, I remember, you know, I remember when my first memory, you know, my first memory as a kid, my dad was a truck driver. And, and, and he sometimes he will go on the road for three or four days, at a time, you know, and I was attached to him, you know, he and I, you know, were attached with me.
And I remember that, that sometimes he needed to go and I didn’t want him to go, you know, well, you know, grafted his leg or try to do something, you know, to, for him No, not to let him go. And I came up with this game, and my game was, you know, let’s do play, hide and seek.
And my dad say, okay, you know, you find me and I’ll say, You’re the secret, Mr. High, and he will do that. But he will take off. And I will keep on looking for him for three days straight, is what I’m saying. But the reality is that I realized that growing up later, you know, I realized that I knew that he was gone, yet I kept looking for him. And so how does that translate to, you know, to my recovery, I think that the key here is that if I want to act differently, I need to think differently, I need to think differently, I need to see differently.
So how we see the world is how allow us to move forward. And as I said, you know, I am not any, you know, stronger than anybody else, I just tend to see things from a different perspective, you know, and, and that’s what I do with my clients, I help them to see the possibilities, because a lot of times, we feel that we don’t have no choice. And I think that the biggest power that God has given us our life has given us is the power of choice.
And not doing anything is a choice. And seeing things differently is a choice. So that’s what I do is that I’m saying so like today, for instance, you want your house today, and it’s a beautiful day, even though it’s raining and is crappy and is windy, you know, what is the beautiful day? So I think that looking back, that was a coping mechanism for me when I was a kid, you know, I grew up really poor. So sometimes, you know, the, the the idea, it wasn’t about, I asked my kids, what do you want to have for breakfast today? You know, for us, it’s like, are we going to have breakfast today.
And, and I remember sometimes, you know, my mom was very creative about making, making, you know, making all sorts of foods, and I will fool my brothers and sisters, you know, making them believe that there was something else and even though we probably ate the same thing three days or four days in a row. So I think that that’s at the beginning was a coping mechanism for me, you know, like, how can I see things differently and survive it. But now it is like, holy crap, this is this is something that I do and, and allows me to, you know, to, to paint a picture that motivates me, rather than intimidates the hell out of me. Right.
Nicole Donnelly 14:18
Yeah, I love that. I think something that I think is really interesting that you’ve experienced is you’ve gone through a lot of pain, right? Like so much pain, but it’s how you look at the pain and how you embrace it and see it as an opportunity rather than something that’s going to hold you back.
You know, it’s like reframing that because I I look back and think like anything in my life I’ve ever done that’s worth anything is on the other side of pain and struggle. And how can we like really see our challenges not as like these terrible, awful things, but how can you reframe the pain so that you’re not suffering but you’re getting on the other side of it? So I think that’s so inspiring. Yeah,
Luis Velasquez 14:57
you know, another way of mean that, you know, it’s about you choose your pain?
Nicole Donnelly 15:07
Luis Velasquez 15:08
Like, the way I see it sometimes, you know, like, going to the gym is hard. But no being in shape is hard to say know having clients is hard, you know, like, oh my god, I’m in pain I’m not getting trying to go out there and get new clients, it’s painful and car as well. It says, your pain and I think that the way it is, what is the what is the So your point is like, what is at the other side of that in one point is regret. And the other one is regress. So yeah, you’re gonna sort of like his heart. Let’s get that the light is no easy. Life is fucking hard.
Curt Anderson 15:55
My hate me what my mom does. I’m just teasing. So I guess if you’re just joining us, you want to absolutely connect with Luis and so Luis just kind of recap, you know, PhD from Michigan State professor Stanford, you write for the Harvard Business Review, you’ve been putting out some incredible, amazing articles, I’d like to touch on those today, you have a new book coming out, I believe, can I share the title of the book I read, I read their ordinary resilience, ordinary resilience is the title of your new book.
And you’re a high level executive coach. And like everybody, you’re just getting a little small, just a sliver of just the resiliency that Luis brings.
When he’s working with his clients and his articles with his book and just everything about him. It’s just as contagious enthusiasm. Luis, let’s let’s kind of get into your process a little bit. So working with high level executives, you know, you’re dealing with, you know, there’s egos there’s challenges, you get two people in a room, there’s potential for conflict. Just Todd, can you talk a little bit about, like, how you approach working with the leaders that you work with? And just let’s go there first?
Luis Velasquez 16:58
Um, yeah, I think that, you know, that the reality is that the we all, every single one of us want to get better at something, every single one wants to, you know, accomplish something, you know, I don’t think that I haven’t met one single person that says, you know, I don’t I want to be mediocre today.
We all so I think that for me, when I meet with individuals is when I think about things, you know, I’ve been blessed to you know, work with individuals that are incredibly motivated, you know, they are very successful and sometimes, you know, they, they, it seems that there is something there that is not allowing them to move to the next level. And, and the key here is not trying to find what they need to do, but who they want to be as simple as
Curt Anderson 17:58
they want to be
Luis Velasquez 17:59
Yeah. So, for instance, you know, if you think about you know, a lot of times you know, as a small business owner as a as an individual, you know, a brown color restaurant away, you know, I am I am a person of color, I A lot of times you know, we feel that we are not looked at seriously because who, you know, who what we do or what we are, and I think that that is very dangerous, if we believe that ourselves about ourselves.
So, like, for instance, you know, the way I see this, you know, there are so many things that you need to do in order to bring your business you have to create your product, you have to like do some marketing, all this about doing doing doing doing doing, I think that the idea is who do you want to be, you know, I want to give an example. You know, one one individual, Chief Technology Officer of organization, you know, he was perceived as a bully, you know, he will come in and he will bark at people, people were with him, because of him, the organization was like, What the hell is this guy doing?
The problem is, they couldn’t, you know, get rid of him because he was one of the co founders, you know, and, and, and he was the person that basically was the, the soul of the organization in terms of he was the brain power, so he couldn’t get rid of him. So, when I, you know, when I, when I started working with him, you know, over several sessions, so I asked him, What do you want to be known for, you know, what, at the end of the when you retire from this organization, what do you want to be known for? And he said, I want to be known for the person that made this company success.
And I said, Okay, what else? I want to be known for the person that taught people and is a good mentor, and is the push people to achieve their biggest goals. And I said, Okay, let’s do that. Then, you know, focus on that. So I said, What do you want to be now is that I want to be a mentor, and say, okay, so start doing the things and mentors do is say, and he didn’t change the way he behaved, he will come and bark, it will come and push people around. But now the intention was to teach and mentor them.
So what he will do is like, hey, Kurt, you know, I know you can handle this, I want you to grow this. And I think that you know, I push you because you have so much potential. And now it’s hard working that thing at the beginning, soften quite tremendously. The pumpkin, let’s put it that way, because otherwise, he will come and just bark he wasn’t giving his intention. So I think that a lot of times, executives have a no behavioral problem by positioning problem.
Curt Anderson 20:55
Solve Awesome. Well, I want to share one thing, you work with companies like Google Gilead, Salesforce, Citibank, IBM, I just want to share one quote, in a call with somebody from Google that they shared about Luis Luis was instrumental in helping my team work through cultural issues.
After a transformational merger, he quickly gained gained the team’s trust, and tease out the critical areas for us to focus on Luis develop action plans for us to reach our goals and armed us with tools to hold ourselves accountable. He is truly a gift and leadership coach. Now, Luis, do you have a couple of approaches that I want to share? Your two key elements that you love to talk about? Is that self awareness and the change process? Could you kind of enlighten our folks a little bit on your your two keys for that?
Luis Velasquez 21:44
Um, I think that there are three things. Component number one is what I call is the what is it? What is it? What is it dialogue dialogue that I have with myself, you know, the intra. You know, what, what is noticed? Yeah, what stories do I have on myself how I see myself?
And I think that that is key. You know, the other thing that is, that is key in terms of awareness is okay, so how others perceive me? And what is the impact that I have on others? And the way I describe this, you know, like, you know, my wife, and I, you know, sometimes, you know, we’re going to find in matches. If we’re driving together, and she says, a red light, and she said, she’s thinking, Oh, my God, you know, it’s a red light, you know, be careful, you know, we want to be safe.
But when she comes out, say, hey, stop, you know, and I am I’m hearing and I, and what I hear from various stop, and I hear, Oh, my God, this is a woman that is actually trying to teach me how to drive. You said, I’m saying stop, you know, I know how to drive. You see, I’m saying, and I think a lot of times is we have great intentions with people, but the way we come across is because it doesn’t have the impact that we intend to Ha.
So I think that is another level of awareness is what is the how people perceive us? And that’s the second component. The third component is what is the impact that we want to have? So what is the expectation of the organization? You know, that was, you know, what? How do you know like, with this individual, you know, that I was talking about, you know, he said, the impact that I want to have is I want this organization to grow and to be successful.
And I want everybody here to feel that I am the best mentor for them. So those are the three things if you are aware of who you are, what are you? What are your triggers? What motivates you? How you come across? And what is the impact that you want to have in the world? Man, you off to the races, you’re off, you’re unstoppable. But having said that, I have no met one single person, then we know the answer to all those three things. Right.
Nicole Donnelly 24:16
I was just gonna say, I think that it is so easy for people to get into the weeds and not really take the time to reflect and understand the answers. Even myself. Just the other day, I was getting to signing up for a class and that one of the questions I was asked was, What do you want to be known for?
And I had to stop myself. I was like, I’m not really sure what I want to be known for, you know, and so I think I love that you approach it that way. The other thing I really liked about your example is that you weren’t you were really empathetic to this person who they were. And the way that you coach them was true to who they were as a person. You weren’t trying to change their personality style or whatever you really honed in on how you could help channel that in a much more effective way by having him lead with his intention. then. And I think that that’s really important.
Luis Velasquez 25:03
I haven’t met, you know, I think that we all get up in the morning and I have no met one person that is ice in the morning and says, I’m gonna be an asshole today. So, you know, I learned a lot from my children, you know, I have two kids. And you know, sometimes my kids, you know, they misbehave and we all children want to be good, all children want to be good. And so we all want to be good, too. And I think that there are three elements that that sometimes impede us from achieving our best. And number one is the mindset, you know, and number two are the behaviors.
And number two are the habits. Number three, the habits. And those are, you know, if you think about that, sometimes when I go in, and coach people, sometimes when what they need to work is in the mindset, you know, or what behaviors they have, or what habits they they have. And then so if once I realized that, then I can help them to acquire the skills that they will require to start making those behaviors and, and doing those habits that will allow them to, you know, to be good kids, let’s put our you know,
Curt Anderson 26:17
we slip if somebody out there, you know, they’re they’re like, Man, this is really inspiring, love your story, kind of dig in, you know, you work with high low level executives, you know, we target a lot of like, small entrepreneurs.
And so you know, you a big part of your practice or your preach is that you just hit on it, that growth mindset, can you kind of take us through like a one on one, or like, say, somebody out there that they are stuck, or maybe again, they have a small business, and they’re, you know, just kind of having challenges running, you know, managing kind of getting that growth mindset? What are what’s some advice that you would give to somebody out there?
Luis Velasquez 26:53
Um, and again, you know, going back to, you know, who do you want to know, and what is the what is your gift to the world? You know, I, we think about the grown man status, all I have to do X, Y, and Z, X, Y, and Z. And I think that for me, is, is finding the motivation to grow.
And as I mentioned earlier, you know, I am a, you know, I am an underdog, so, I, you know, I I’m actually rooting for the underdogs, and sometimes, especially small business owners, you know, especially people that, you know, they have small businesses, you know, they see their work as a struggle, they don’t see what they have as a gift to the world.
And, and, you know, if he, if I am, if I am, you know, making this cup, you know, and I say I need to, I need to sell it, I need to sell it, you know, that becomes the the motivation. But if I say, you know, this is the carbon thesis, this is a gift shoot, everybody should have this will change the life for everyone, they will, then your motivation has a bigger meaning. You said I’m saying, and then you start like, may I is, it should be a scene, if no many people understand and see this.
So, going back to what you said earlier, and stop being the booty call and stop your book, or stop being the best kept secret, the last category, because the world needs you. The world needs the product that you produce. And I think that attitude, that mindset change, allows you to give yourself permission to take more risks, allows you to give yourself permission to to, to, to fail, I You’re gonna fail, you’re not a failure, because you fail, you know, you’re successful, because you learn from your failures. And that’s the idea.
Curt Anderson 28:49
Absolutely love that. So part, you know, you help coaches, you help your executives to accelerate their leadership development. So say like, the gentleman that was like, a little bit challenging, and so on and so forth.
Again, if there’s a small manufacturer out there, and like, you know, though, they didn’t wake up this morning, say, like, Hey, I’m gonna be a jerk today, but just say, you know, whatever, something’s going on at home, or just, they’re not happy with themselves. They’re not in that happy mindset right now, you know, are there things that folks can do to like, really enhance their leadership development and to get into that more positive mindset?
Luis Velasquez 29:21
Well, you know, I think that that the idea that that mindset is gonna make you perfect. I think that the when I when I think that we all need to do is to be very self compassionate, and be able to forgive ourselves. And sometimes, you know, people come and they do things that they’re not supposed to be doing, it’s okay. But make sure that you realize that you did Iran and you’re going to ask for forgiveness or you’re going to see it’s not about no failing is about recovering quickly.
Nicole Donnelly 29:58
I love that And because then it gives you permission off to your right. Yeah.
Luis Velasquez 30:05
Yeah. So I literally one thing that I do you know, after, you know, a coaching call, or after a chemistry meeting or everything that I do, I asked myself one question, Did I do my best? And the answer is, absolutely. So who cares about the results, I did my best next time, it’s gonna be better.
Nicole Donnelly 30:26
That reminds me of Kurt, actually, because that’s what he tells his daughter every time she leaves the house, do your best, do your best.
Curt Anderson 30:35
That is, thank you.
Luis Velasquez 30:37
That’s doing. I, you know, my kids, and I don’t know if I share that with you in the morning, you know, I drive them to school in the morning. And the first thing that we do, we have a little rock, and we pass the rock around, and we say, you know, the three things that we’re grateful for, you know, I’m grateful for this. I’m going for that. And then so I, you know, once we finish that, then I asked him, so what kind of familiarity, and they said, We are a breed for family.
And we are kind, confident, strong, and, and resilient. And we’ve been doing this for I don’t know, since they started, you know, talking. It is amazing to me how those little kids have adopted that. Like, for instance, when my son is misbehaving, the only thing that instead of asking, telling him don’t do that, I asked him Is that what can people do?
Nicole Donnelly 31:39
Wow, that’s so good. You’re teaching him to self be self aware. And
Luis Velasquez 31:46
that’s so. So he makes his own choices. And I think that when we are focusing on doing doing doing doing we don’t have a choice, we have to do we have to do we have to do. And I think that the key here is finding that you have a choice, and going back to us like your choices. Like I’m not going to do it today. And that’s okay. Yeah. Yeah.
Nicole Donnelly 32:09
I love that too. Because I think it just illustrates how important it is that mindset like you intentionally doing that with your kids, right? Regularly saying those affirmations over and over day after day. That is like building resilience for them. And so to me, I’m just thinking like, as a leader, how can we identify what we want those after those values that align with what you said? Who Who do you want to be?
What do you want to be? Who do you want to be known for making that your north star and then coming up with whatever those value statements are, and just telling yourself those over and over again, so that it just becomes part of your mindset. It’s like when I go to Orangetheory, and I’m running all outpace, okay, and it feels awful, okay, I feel like I want to die. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, but I tell myself, this is so much fun. I love this, I’m having such a great time. It was awful. Apply that to
Luis Velasquez 33:02
exactly, you know, apply that to, you know, some of the leaders that I coach, and I asked him, so what kind of team do you want to have? Yeah, you know, what’s the thing that you want? And there’s well, you know, there was talking about it, and then we come up with create a document and document this, like, you know, we are we support each other, we’re transparent, and we are something else.
And that’s that those become the driving principles for his team. It sounds so they adopt they get they adopted identity. Because now if you know that our behavior is that we’re transparent. If I tell you a listen, you know, you made a mistake. You know, it’s not about accusing, you’ll know, we’re transparent. And that’s why we’re Avast why I’m telling you this.
Nicole Donnelly 33:54
So interesting. So it’s almost like there’s not really one true way to build a culture, right, like everybody’s gonna have every culture will have their own unique values. And it’s about getting in tune with those is,
Luis Velasquez 34:05
yeah, yeah, people say, you know, we have a coaching culture or we have a culture of psychological safety. Most people, a lot of people don’t understand what that means. So I think that some of the work that I do with the clients is defining, you know, like, what is what do you want to what do you want to be known for? What are you What do you want your team to be known for? Right, you know, I was working with a leader, his or her team. They used to go in the pocket. Because everybody that had that didn’t want to do something that will throw it to her.
He sounds on her team was like, overwhelmed, and she was, you know, like, she was having a hard time, you know, trying to manage that because she will think that everything that people requested she needed to do it and she will overload her team. And one day we were talking, I said, What are you, you know? And then and then and then we started talking about, you know, what identity you want to give the team? And she said, You know, I think that what we do is core for the organization. You know, it’s something that is the core.
So I said, Well, why don’t we call it the, you know, the core team, you know, and and that allow her to start changing the mentality of her team and is the core. And then we created some values in there. And that gave the team some tools to say, No, we’re not going to do that. You see, I’m saying, We’re the core. And we’re gonna focus on the things that are important that what you’re asking is not important. You need to manage that yourself.
Curt Anderson 35:50
Now, when we get in again, guys, if you’re just joining us, I see Ingres here today, your Bibles this morning. And so Luis, I was talking about you today on the podcast. And you know, again, what an honor and privilege you want to absolutely connect with Luis on LinkedIn, you have tons of great articles you’ve been putting out. Just this week, I think you had one.
Are you a difficult person to work for? You know, different topics that you come up with? Now, if I’m not mistaken, when we were we were in Miami together a couple months ago. And you shared about a touchy feely class Am I do I have that right from Stanford? And you? Can you please enlighten? Like, what is the touchy and I guess it’s like an iconic class? Can you please share a little bit of like what goes on in class? I mean, that comes into like your coaching and your articles, but what does it tell everybody about this
Luis Velasquez 36:37
class. So I’ve been, you know, fortunate to be, you know, working at Stanford, I facilitate a class that is called, you know, touchy feely is an iconic class. And the premise of the class is the following, gaining influence by connecting with others that are different from you. You know, and at the end of the day is about, you know, influencing others and helping others. We, you and I, and everybody else here is in the in the business of moving people.
You know, we move people we try, we try people to go in one direction or not. And I think that a lot of times, we just tell people what to do. And we completely miss the fact that in order for me to influence them, I need to connect with them. So one example, for instance, is you know, if I, you know, if a complete stranger comes and ask you a curt, you know, can I have? Can you borrow? Can I borrow 50 bucks? Oh, what was your first question to me?
Curt Anderson 37:41
You take credit card. Second question. What, what are you going to use it for?
Luis Velasquez 37:48
Okay, what else? What is the next one?
Nicole Donnelly 37:50
Pay me back.
Luis Velasquez 37:51
Okay, what is the next question?
Curt Anderson 37:56
Can I charge interest?
Luis Velasquez 37:59
So now, let’s split that, and I am your best FrankerZ. Right. And I said, Kurt, I need 50 more dollars, can you give? Can you can you? Can I work with yours?
Curt Anderson 38:10
I was like, Well, I know, I’ve never seen that again, you don’t? You don’t know my friend’s voice? No, I’m teasing. Right? It’d be different mindset of like somebody that you care for, or have a relationship with versus
Luis Velasquez 38:23
my question. Why would you say if I hear my best friend and ask for $50, but when you say to me, absolutely. So the difference here is that when you start going and justifying your work and defending your work, and and come up with a bunch of stuff that proves that what you’re doing is right, you know, what you need is the relationship with that individual, because what you want that individuals to believe in you.
So a lot of times, you know, if you think about this, you know, in going back to, you know, manufacturers or whatnot, a lot of times we want to show the features, why are we better, you know, all of these things. And sometimes all we require is the idea that here, this is something that I that can help you and I’m giving it to you because I care about you.
Yeah. So so the class, this class is Stanford, it helps I help the students to realize that to move people, they need to connect with them to gain influence, you need to connect with them. And that is a lot based on how they come across. And I’ll give you one example. You know, one individual at one point, you know, he was from Latin America, just like me and I resonated with him tremendously for this and every time that he will talk, he will raise his hand. And you know, every time he will talk, we will raise his hands and one student gave me some feedback.
And I said why don’t you do that? You know, it is like your drum. If you have a kid that just, you know, first grade and needs to get permission to go to the bathroom, you know, I’m someone that a student said, no, no, no, that’s the local macro, I feel that there is a lack of respect, because the way I see that is key raising his hand saying, Okay, I’m going first, I’m going now, I’m gonna tell you what I feel the same behavior to different person. And sometimes we have no idea what how we come across.
So the way the thing that we always have to be relentless about asking for feedback, and how we come across, because we need to learn something about ourselves through others. And in this particular location, you know, to say, oh, my gosh, you know, to two different mindsets are so different perspectives on one act, that is the same. He didn’t know that. So he said, What is it you’re going to do? I said, Well, I feel when I stopped doing it. You said, I’m saying, but he wouldn’t have known that if he didn’t ask for the feedback.
So I’ll go ahead. It’s about trying to try to connect with others that are different from you. And we discuss about gender dynamics, we discuss about you, we discuss things about the religion, class, you know, because we make assumptions about people all the time, and we make assumptions about ourselves all the time. And that impede us from being influential. So this class helps you to ask for feedback, and then and, and, and come across in a way that you connect with others. So you can move together.
Nicole Donnelly 41:48
I want to take that class sounds amazing. I do about that, like asking for feedback. So I think as leaders, like, I love to ask for feedback from the team all the time. And I tell you, a lot of times they really are hesitant to give it. So maybe there’s some fear there, or they don’t want to upset the boss, or I don’t know what it is. So what how do you approach that? Like, how would you ask for feedback in a way that feels safe, that they can really be radically candid, you know, in that way?
Luis Velasquez 42:21
So there are two different things that I can see here. Number one is, you know, asking for feedback, especially if there is a power dynamic. Yeah. Like you say, it’s a power dynamic, you know, me as the boss asking for you as asking for feedback that can be unsafe for you.
So, so so so it’s how you it’s how you shape your words, to elicit the response that you want. So rather than asking for feedback, I can say for instance, hey, you know, guy that presentation? How do you think he went? Love it. Or you can say, you know, I see that there was some issues there is, what, next time? What do you think that I should do better? So by asking people to give you suggestions. Yeah, I love that so much. Because then they’re the anybody. Everybody wants to give advice.
And if you both ask for advice, oh, my gosh, it means a lot to you. It’s like, if you were in a power, powerful position, and you come and say, hey, you know, yeah, I’m trying to do this, what suggestions do you have for me, you will give all this suggestion because any, you feel value, you feel relevant. You know, and you feel respected. Let’s put it that way. And I think that that’s what we need to do is not just ask for feedback, because that is if there is a power dynamic is it’s hard for the person that you ask him feedback from, to give it to you. Does that answer your question?
Nicole Donnelly 44:08
Yes, I love it. I love the idea of asking for specific suggestions and basing it specifically on whatever you’re working on at the time, rather than a general like, I’d love to get your general feedback on, you know, so that’s wonderful, wonderful feedback.
Curt Anderson 44:24
And you just had I think this another article that was phenomenal. Empower your team to solve problems without you. And I think that if I’m not mistaken, Louisa gave like a case example where like, this particular leader, felt like she was doing the right thing by like, you know, you know, forgive the, like, a little bit of a mother hen, you know, like, just, you know, I’m going to protect my people.
I’m going to show I’m going to, I’m going to shelter them from these challenges, but like she was, you know, actually causing more harm in her in her good intentions of like protecting folks. And Nicole, I thought this is a great topic for us. You know, can you Talk a little bit about like, how do you, I guess if this is a segue or continuation, part two of what you just answered? How do you help empower your team to solve those problems without you?
Luis Velasquez 45:10
Yeah. So I think that, you know, if you think about this, and then this happens all the time, especially with, you know, with small business owners, and even myself, that every single transaction is key, every single sale is key. And we want everything to be perfect. You see, I’m saying because it’s, and I think that a lot of times, we want to be in control of everything. And we hire really great people, by we want to be able to, not to control them.
But the way I the way, the way, in this particular people, these are people that want to protect their team, I am going to make sure that the year okay, I am, I’m gonna make sure that that the use of reading into travel, so there is a level there of of protectionism, because you care about them. Because you want to be in control. You said, and so there’s two different things there. But usually, it’s one or the other. And I think the key here is to realize that people want to do a great job.
And if you raise the bar for people, they’re going to get there. So it’s not about do this the way I say it, because then the law was, is very low. But if you tell them, you know, the goal is x, do it, then they’re gonna figure out a way to do it the way I the way I, the way I describe this to people is think about, you know, the difference between an author and an editor. The author writes the book, the editor of reviews, that all the components of the book are okay.
So the way I the mental model, I tell them, I tell people, the managers, you know, be the editor, let you be all right, the book, you give them the, the subjects you give them, you know, the framework, and then just let them write the book, and you’d be the editor. And a lot of times what we do is we want try to write the book with them or for them.
Nicole Donnelly 47:23
Yeah, that’s such a drop the mic moment.
Curt Anderson 47:27
Order. So we Yeah, Nicole and I were in the eastern time zone. So we’re on our program, we’ve got, you know, like we take we want to savor this a little bit. Like it’s lunchtime, like dinner, like something like there’s a good aroma in the air. So we wanted to just savor that mic drop right there. That was just I love that analogy that completely hit home of like, be the editor, you don’t have to be the author of every person of your team of your staff. And on leadership. Do you have a great quote that I want to share? You cannot control the rain, you’re going to finish that one for me, you cannot control the rain, but
Luis Velasquez 48:03
you can control if you can’t wait and rot. And I want to I want to say I want to I want to be honest, it is that cool is the only one of all the cores that I’ve said that belongs to me that I actually say I say that
Curt Anderson 48:19
there’s a Louise’s so another might just
Luis Velasquez 48:23
like for instance, the editor and those analogy that I wish he was mine, you know, that’s no mine, you know, that was what is the name of the guy who departed on Twitter and Jack Dorsey Yeah, that that was his mental model exams and so, yeah, but the idea here is is you know, the way I see it, there are there are two types of problems or you know, there are gravity problems, and there are situational problems.
And the gravity problems are things like the rain, you know, you cannot control the rain, you cannot make rain stop the sounds and and sometimes we complain about the gravity problem is all the time and tried to solve the gravity problems, we cannot do that, you know, but what we can do is to how can we deal with the rain that is falling, you know, I can put on, I can put on that jacket, I can just run or I can do umbrella or I can do the sign not to notice not to go isms.
So, and that is a situation you have, you’re in control of dealing with how to deal with rain, you’re not in control and whether it rains or not. And I think a lot of times, that’s what happens in you know that with some of my clients that they want to fix the rain, the gravity problem, you know, rather than okay, you know, let’s let’s figure it out what is in your control? Yeah. And
Curt Anderson 49:52
deal with that. Yeah, you can. We can always sing in the rain. Right, Louise, not me, but other people can sing in the rain. Nicole and rain, but I just I so I love that quote and how special is that? I just grabbed that off your website. And glad that that’s your quote, we’re gonna start winding down. I want to be mindful of everybody’s time. I know, Luis, you are super busy dude, I’m just so honored and appreciative of you beyond words. And I just and I want to share.
Again, if you guys caught you know, please go back rewind, you know, you do you were my hero before I met you in this. And I had huge high expectations come into this. You know, when I had an opportunity to meet you, and you have far exceeded them. You’ve become just such a dear friend, mentor to me. Before we wind down. I know, Nicole, you had a number of questions. I just want to be mindful to you. Did you have do you have another question there that you wanted to fight? Or you had some really juicy ones? I thought you had another good leadership?
Nicole Donnelly 50:50
Yes, I’m just like, really curious. There’s a lot, you know, just with what’s going on in the economy in the world right now. For leaders? It seems like there’s just a lot of uncertainty. Right? So I’m just curious, like, what do you what do you recommend for leaders to do to kind of like, deal with that uncertainty and lead their teams through that this uncertainty?
That’s, that may be happening in a lot of organizations right now. You know, and, you know, a lot of people are struggling with that. But what are your some of your recommendations for leading teams through uncertain times changes happening? And you just don’t really know or sure what’s going to be on the horizon? Which is, everyday when you’re a business owner, right? But like, how do you help leaders navigate their teams with that, and also make sure that they’re taking care of themselves through all of that
Luis Velasquez 51:39
there is no mine, also, about where the where the attention goes, is where the energy goes. So yes, there is a lot of things happening in the world, there is a lot of things in there certainty, but if we focus on that, you know, as is heart so I think that for for the way I see it is that every, every every when there is chaos, and crisis, there is also opportunities in there. You know, there is a quote, I don’t remember who said it, but it’s something along those lines, don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Yeah.
Nicole Donnelly 52:22
I’ve never heard that before.
Luis Velasquez 52:26
We think about that, you know, just think about COVID, COVID, Carbonite, it’s like rupt it, but also accelerated so many other businesses in there, you know, people have to adapt and find ways to dealing with that gravity problem.
But I think that the key here is no focus on Oh, my God, you know, I give an example. You know, I went copy this started, I had a two proposals to two different companies, you know, a one company came back and said, Oh, my gosh, you know, we need to be conservative. We don’t know what’s going to happen. So can we, you know, put this on hold, and when thing ends, then we can revisit it. You know, I’m still waiting for the company said, When can we start it?
Because this is what we need right now, for our people, you know, our clients, we need to get this done. So, so I think that what they did, and I remember, you know, talking to the CEO, and he said, you know, what we need to this to the reallocation of resources is not about conserving, but reallocate the resources that you have to drive the, what I call the growth engines, you know, I, you know, my wife measures a very wise woman, I got so lucky, marry her.
I one point, you know, I was working with an organization and I had some issues of when I go in there, and my contract was terminated, the contract that I had with them was terminated. That was 40% of my income. You know, and I came with my wife and I like my ideas, aha, honey, we need to like try our belts, you know, we need to do X, we need to do that. And then she says to me, Louis, you got it wrong. We need to figure out how to make more money know how to concern about how to make more money.
Yes, my holy cow completely changed my vision. And I started okay, what can I how can I spend the time that I have now you know, to, I can raise my prices, I can look for, you know, higher value clients. So I think that every crisis has Downs, but there is also plenty opportunities that you need to look for. So when there is something like that the best way to motivate your people, is to help them and use them to see the opportunities rather than the
Curt Anderson 54:58
bottom of the clouds,
Luis Velasquez 54:59
right? If I keep the outcome doesn’t matter.
Nicole Donnelly 55:06
So true reminds me of my daughter’s we were just at Spring Break last week, and we were sitting waiting for our tour to start. And they’re just bored, right, just sitting on the chair. And all of a sudden my youngest, he’s like this used up wine cork on the ground. And she gets up and she starts kicking it around like a soccer ball. It was just the sweetest thing.
And then my oldest son, she started doing it. And I was just like, Man, this is resourcefulness. Right, like trying to make the most of what’s in front of you. And they just made such a fun time did playing with this little wine cork. And I think as business owners, as leaders, you’re like, it’s such a great advice to just really focus on what opportunities and resources that you have, and see what you can do with that rather than what you’ve lost or what.
Luis Velasquez 55:47
And I love that example that you have about resourcefulness because a lot of times, you know, even business owners or even myself, you know, we think about the things are going to Well, when we have our strategy, things are gonna go well, when when I get this client, you know, things are gonna Well, when I get a promotion, things are gonna go well with x. And I think that we make plans based on things that haven’t happened yet.
Yeah, that’s so true.
Luis Velasquez 56:15
What we do then is adopt and what we what we have to make things better for ourselves and for the people that work for us. Oh, man,
Curt Anderson 56:26
another draft them like right there. So all right, as we Luis, that was phenomenal. Here’s our last question for the day. First off, thank you. Thank you, thank you, dude, you are such a blessing. You’re just such a gift. Just I’m just so appreciative that our paths have crossed.
My last question I opened up with who is your hero? And you said mom and dad. Great story. My question to you, you’re all about resiliency, inspiration, just bring bringing out the best and everybody moving forward who I might know the answer. So might be a little Captain Obvious here. Who are what is your inspiration moving forward for the rest of the year here? Who are what is your inspiration?
Luis Velasquez 57:13
I don’t remember talking about this. But now I’m awesome. Because I you know, that’s that I need to think about this. I think that I think that my inspiration, which is also my anchor is are my kids and my family. You know, they’re right over your shoulder, right, my children, you know, and I think that my my wife and I our goal is to is to grow to humans that are kind of strong companies that are resilient.
And that’s where we spend the time. And I think that if you find your motivation, then you will work through fire. To get it done, and that I will say I will work through fire for my kids and my wife. So everything that I do is to make sure that they’re you know that they’re my anger.
Curt Anderson 58:07
So and we’ll wrap up on this Nicole so I was with I was with a group in Miami with Luis and similar tech topic came up and he dropped that story. And the way he told her there was not a dry eye in the room. And so Luis, I just wanted to hit that at you again. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you and boy, thank you to the chatbox everybody out there to Patricia and gore.
You know I appreciate you guys chiming in today. Absolutely, definitely want to connect with Luis here. You’re just getting a little flavor. He’s got a great book coming out he has incredible articles on Harvard Business Review. You want to catch his motivation inspiration, his genius all these golden nuggets that he just dropped this past hour and so Nicole parting words that you want to share with our crowd.
Nicole Donnelly 58:56
Oh, it’s just been so amazing. Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to meet you Luis and just keep doing the wonderful work that you’re doing. It’s it’s so great and yeah, it’s just Bravo. I feel like I’ve just loved so you know all in and. Yep. Awesome. That’s all I got.
Curt Anderson 59:12
applause So I give Louise a big round of applause. Go out and I you know what we’d love to share with everybody First off, you know, big thank you to Luis again, connect with Luis and secondly, boy just go out and be someone’s inspiration just like you got a great source of inspiration here with Luis Luis, hang out with us for one second. We wish everybody an amazing, incredible, wonderful weekend. God bless you guys. And we will see you on we’ll be back here on Monday. So, Luis hang out one second, and we’ll see you soon. Thanks.