The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

As Kobe Bryant once said, “There is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own.” That’s why the Learning Leader Show exists—to get together and understand the journeys of successful leaders, so that we can better understand our own. This show is full of stories told by world-class leaders. Personal stories of successes, failures, and lessons learned along the way. Our guests come from diverse backgrounds—some are best-selling authors, others are genius entrepreneurs, and one even made a million dollars wearing t-shirts for a year. My role in this endeavor is to talk to the smartest, most creative, always-learning leaders in the world so that we can learn from them as we each create our own journeys.
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The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk





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Now displaying: December, 2017
Dec 25, 2017

The Learning Leader Show

Episode 237: AJ Jacobs - The Power of Irrational Confidence (Life As An Experiment)

A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help.  He is also editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine. He is currently helping to build a family tree of the entire world and holding the biggest family reunion ever in 2015.

In addition to his books, Jacobs written for The New York TimesEntertainment Weekly, and New York magazine.

He has appeared on OprahThe Today ShowGood Morning America, CNN, The Dr. Oz Show, Conan and The Colbert Report.  He has given several TED talks, including ones about living biblically, creating a one-world family, and living healthily.

"It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting."

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Self delusion -- Optimism helps you do incredible things.  Acting "as if"
      • "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting."
    • Great curiosity -- "I'm curious about everything... Even things that don't interest me."
  • Why he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Why the "good ole days" actually sucked -- Studying this made him very grateful for being alive today
  • The practice of radical honesty and how it got him in trouble -- He was forced to tell the full truth at all times
    • Can be good or bad
  • Gratitude -- Common among the greatest achievers -- be thankful for everything. "When you're grateful for something as small as the elevator door opening, you're much happier."
  • It's All Relative -- Building a world family true.  How we are related.  How he is related to President Barack Obama...
    • It helps with perspective and tolerance... We're more tolerant of people we are related to
    • The Global Family Reunion event
  • Why his experiments drive his wife crazy -- The year of living biblically -- Why it was so hard to follow the exact words of the Bible
  • Harvard studies -- If we share DNA, people are more open to help one another
  • Why we need to get out of the echo chamber
  • Typical day -- stretch, treadmill desk, write and walk at the same time, walking keeps him alert
    • Importance of "walks with wife" -- raises serotonin
  • Batching activities -- Phone calls
    • It's lonely as a writer... AJ needs to speak with other creatives often: "I need to bounce ideas of of others in between the alone time"
    • Doing "Skype" lunches.  He eats lunch with friends over Skype
  • Best advice he's heard: From George Clooney -- "When I get up to bat, I don't think Am I going to hit a home run? I think, where will I hit this home run?" -- The importance of irrational confidence.  Delusional optimism is helpful.
  • Stage presence (when speaking) -- Why you "owe it to the audience" to think "you're the baddest dude on the planet" and will deliver for THEM

"When I got up to bat, I didn't think, "Am I going to hit a home run?" I thought, "Where will this home run go?" -- George Clooney on the importance of self confidence

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Dec 18, 2017

Episode 236: Brian Scudamore - CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK: How To Scale A Business

Brian started his business in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 18, and later went on to franchise 1-800-GOT-JUNK? as a way to expand operations. Today, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has 1000 trucks on the road throughout some 180 locations in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

Brian has received wide recognition in the media and business community. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has celebrated appearances on the highly-acclaimed Undercover Boss Canada, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, CNN, ABC Nightline, the Today Show, The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos, and the View. His story has been told in Fortune Magazine, Business Week, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Wall Street Journal, to name a few. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is currently the starring junk removal attraction on the hit A&E reality show, Hoarders.

Brian has brought his entrepreneurial success story to many conference stages, including the Fortune Small Business Magazine’s national conference. A strong believer in personal and professional development, Brian graduated from MIT's four-year Birthing of Giants program, and has subsequently completed several years of MIT’s BOG’s alumni program, Gathering of Titans. He is also a participant in a nine-year executive education program at Harvard University through YPO Presidents’ University. (from

The Learning Leader Show

"I don't know if you can live the full potential if it's a side hustle. You need to give maximum effort."

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Focus - All in, not a side hustle
    • Faith - Belief in self, clear vision
    • Effort - Discipline
  • Why we all need an "MBA" -- A "Mentor Board of Advisors"
  • Fred DeLuca -- Subway founder - He never took his eye off the prize. He struggled and kept going. 32 stores in 12 years.
  • Are entrepreneurs born or made?
    • Brian started a carwash as a kid.  He sold candy in his dorm room
  • Creativity as a Dad -- Always build things with your kids and watch them grow together (ie. a garden)
  • Why did he start 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
    • Needed money for college... Initially called it "The Rubbish Boys"
  • Brian learned more about running a business from actually doing it than he did in school
  • The amazing story of Brian's dad "falling out of his chair" when he told me he was leaving school to run the business full time
    • "It couldn't be a side hustle."  The need for maximum effort to be successful
  • How Brian views opportunities
    • And where he thinks of new ideas to create more businesses
  • The importance of going on walks
  • Meeting outdoors in Vancouver -- "Get your muscles moving"
  • Morning routine -- Get up at 5:55
    • Power hour
    • Focus on self
    • Exercise
    • Study French, Italian (other languages)
    • Spend moments learning before the kids wake up
  • Side hustle -- "I don't know if you can live the full potential if it's a side hustle. You need to give it full effort. Imagine the possibility if they quit their job"
  • Philosophy on sales? Mentor Jack Daly -- "Ask questions and listen"
  • How he got his first 100 customers
  • "I have the best job in the world for me"
  • Brian's hiring process
  • Why he fired his entire team of 11 at one point -- They didn't have the right attitude
  • "Everyone must pass the beer and bbq test" -- "You have to want to have a beer and eat bbq with them"
    • "I want friendly, ambitious, passionate, optimistic people."
    • "Hire for attitude, train for skill"
    • Brian is the "culture" interviewer
  • Cameron Herold -- Best man in his wedding, previous business partner.  Brian shares why he had to fire him. "You cannot have 2 "fire, ready, aim" type of people."
  • The process of making mistakes on his path to hiring the right team
  • The need for Erik Church as the COO -- He is an executor.  They are a great yin and yang
    • Take a sheet of paper and write down what you enjoy doing and what you're good at.  Also write what you don't like doing and you're bad it.  Find the person to fill those gaps.  Erik does that for Brian
    • How to handle disagreements?
  • Birthing of giants - MIT -- Annual learning, monthly call
  • The importance of being a lifelong learner, be curious, ask questions
  • Book to read, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber

"I hire friendly, ambitious, passionate, optimistic people. Hire for attitude, train for skill."

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Dec 11, 2017

Episode 235: Dr. Gay Hendricks - How To Make The Big Leap

Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., has been a leader in the fields of relationship transformation and bodymind therapies for more than 45 years. After earning his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Stanford, Gay served as professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado for 21 years. He has written more than 40 books, including bestsellers such as Five Wishes, The Big Leap and Conscious Loving (co-authored with his co-author and mate for more than 35 years, Dr. Kathlyn Hendricks), both used as a primary text in universities around the world. In 2003, Gay co-founded The Spiritual Cinema Circle,which distributes inspirational movies and conscious entertainment to subscribers in 70+ countries.

Gay has offered seminars worldwide and appeared on more than 500 radio and television shows, including OPRAH, CNN, CNBC, 48 HOURS and others. In addition to his work with The Hendricks Institute, Gay is currently continuing his new mystery series that began with The First Rule Of Ten

Episode 235: Dr. Gay Hendricks - How To Make The Big Leap

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The Learning Leader Show

"The money became an effortless byproduct of doing what I love"

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Openness to learning
    • Great listener
    • They do not waste time being defensive
  • The makeup of insecure people who won't learn = Fear. A bug --> You poke it, it curls towards the center.  They are scared.  We have the same nervous system from many years ago
    • Must acknowledge the fears -- "Don't try to out argue them or "out-facts" them"
    • "Speak to your shared fears" when scared
    • The 4 things we do when scared:
      • Fight
      • Runaway
      • Freeze
      • Space out
    • Fear tries to take us out of the moment
  • His story of going on the Oprah show -- "Being on Oprah was like having 10 shots of espresso"
  • What is the upper limit problem? A point in success/happiness -- if you go past the point of it, you do something to knock yourself down.  Fears keep people locked in certain zones
  • The 4 Operating Zones
    • Zone of incompetence
    • Zone of competence
    • Zone of excellence
    • Zone of Genius
  • Most love to do? "Living full time in the zone of genius"
  • Why you should start with "10 minutes of what you most love to do" -- Then continually bump that time up
  • Making the leap -- Freedom, pressure. Stand up, walk your talk.  So rewarding, but can you make money?
    • "The money became an effortless byproduct of doing what I love"
  • Walk quietly and with passion... Auspicious things happen
  • Life rewards expression of true genius
  • Early 90's, Gay spent 30% of time in his genius zone, then 50%, then 70%, now 90% of time is spent in his zone of genius
  • His zone of genius? "Be a model of creativity.  Explain complicated things in a simple way."
    • Oprah called it "Learning to love yourself"
  • Creativity - Conscious loving ever after -- How to access more creativity? Every day after 50 is a choice between creativity and stagnation. Move, play, create new ideas.  At age 65, Gay started lifting weights.  Must keep moving your body
  • He wrote his first mystery novel at age 65 (Wow!)
  • He just sold the mystery series to Netflix to turn it into a television series
    • It's never too late to start accessing new paths of creativity
    • Put your mind on how to create more
  • Learning Leader = "Commitment to learn from the moment"

"Life rewards expression of true genius." 

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Dec 4, 2017

The Learning Leader Show

"As the leader, you are responsible for EVERYTHING that happens in your organization."

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence:
    • Humility
    • Constantly looking to improve
    • Learning
    • Willing and able to take criticism
  • Incredible story of a mutiny within the ranks because of a platoon commander's ego
  • Way Of The Warrior Kid - The message for children
    • Be humble
    • Don't give up
    • Work hard
  • Ramadi -- The epicenter, insurgency in Iraq
    • The confusion/fog of war
  • A firefight... Between friendly forces: Who's at fault?
  • Jocko took ownership - "As the leader, I'm responsible for everything that happens on that field. It wasn't your fault, it's mine."
  • "If you make a mistake, you must own it."
  • Owning the mistakes created confidence and trust with Jocko's boss
  • How do you handle a bad boss?
    • Make them look good
    • Ask for feedback, advice, ask for their approval, build them up
    • Isn't that manipulation? "Yes..."
  • "It's not just what you preach, it's what you tolerate."
  • Decentralized command -- Empowering junior leaders to make important decisions. Front line leaders must be empowered. Why? Speed
    • Being empowered as a quarterback to call an audible -- Why this was an optimal way for us to attack a defense and ultimately win games. The coaches needed to trust and empower me to do this
  • Are leaders born or made?
  • Characteristics of great leaders?
    • They take complex things and simplify them
    • They are articulate
    • They are loud (seems strange, but it's true for military leaders and a quarterback)
  • How much can you learn?  You must detach emotion, and be decisive.
  • Why wake up at 4:30 am? "It is time for me to own, it's before everyone else is awake"
  • Favorite part of work? - Podcasting and working with companies
  • How has Jocko created this lifestyle? -- Many years of consistent, sustained work
    • "Discipline Equals Freedom."
  • His discipline for many years has helped him create a lifestyle that he loves

"It's not just what you preach. It's what you tolerate."


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