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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Mar 25, 2018

The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk

Episode 250: Shep Gordon - The Super Mensch: How To Add Value To The Lives Of Others

Shep Gordon is known in the entertainment industry as having an eye for talent and an innate understanding of what people find entertaining.  After graduating from SUNY Buffalo, Shep moved to LA and in 1969 co-founded Alive Enterprises.  Over the years, Gordon has been responsible for managing the careers of Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch, Luther Vandross, Kenny Loggins, and countless others.  He’s also credited as creating the celebrity chef,  which revolutionized the food industry and turned the culinary arts into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.  His clients that include culinary legends, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu, Daniel Boulud and many more.  In addition to the impact he’s had on the music, film and food industries, he’s also highly regarded for his philanthropic endeavors.  Shep was named one of the 100 most influential people in Rolling Stone magazine.  He was the subject of Mike Myers 2013 documentary - Supermensch The Legend of Shep Gordon.  He's also written a best-selling book called They Call Me Supermensch A Backstage Pass To The Amazing World Of Film, Food, and Rock ’N’ Roll.

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The Learning Leader Show

On meeting with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama -- "When he walked in the room, it felt like I had taken the greatest shower of my life." -- Shep Gordon

Show Notes:

  • The value that Jayson Gaignard added to his life
    • "He came to Hawaii and helped me launch my book and it was a best-seller"
    • "You should always bring value first"
  • A 1968 graduate of college -- great divide in our country at the time - Vietnam War, "I was raised a liberal Jew"
  • "I was a long haired acid dealer"
  • The Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix story -- How it got him his start as a manager in Hollywood
  • Fame -- Media is a manipulation - "It consumes people and can be very damaging"
    • "My job was to push the artist. Fame was fools gold."
    • People who wanted fame needed attention... When they stopped getting it, bad things happened
  • Shep had a visionary eye for what would be successful in the future, the ultimate talent scout.  He also understand how to earn PR for his artists to help make them famous
    • "Create things that parents hated... Which led to kids loving it." --> Alice Cooper played a show naked
    • Going from Alice Cooper to Ann Murray... Shep did great work for them and it kept leading to his next client --> Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch
  • Commonality among great entertainers? "They have that moment right before they go on stage... They are scared, neurotic, full of fear.  This fuels them to be great."
  • Commonality of those who sustain excellence?
    • "They never did it on their own.  All the best were surrounded by great teams."
  • Meeting with The Dalai Lama?
    • "When he walked in the room, it felt like I'd taken the best shower of my life."
  • How to throw a world class dinner party?
    • Great food, customized for your guests
    • Eat at a round table and always leave an extra seat (for the host to sit at and move from table to table)
    • The food needs to be buffet style
    • Send quality invitations -- "It's all about the WHO" --> You must get that part right, it's most important
    • Don't talk business
    • Think -- "What could I do to really make their night great?"
  • Life lessons -- "The failures are more important than the successes"
    • "To me, failure is not trying"
    • "If your team can't fail, you can't win"
  • Success to Shep = "A life of service to others"
    • Serving others will make you happy
    • Use you wealth to help other people (ex: "If you own a private plane, find people who will never fly on a private plane and offer them a ride.")
      • "Use your resources in service to other people."
  • Always think about how you can add value to the lives of others.

"Success for Shep = "A life of service to others" --> Helping other people will make you happy

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More Learning:

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

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

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

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

Mar 18, 2018

The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk. Episode 248: Colin Nanka Colin Nanka is the Senior Director, Enablement for North American Sales and Leadership Development at the world’s leading Customer Relationship Management Company, He is a proven sales leader with over 20 years of sales experience including time at Salesforce and Xerox Corporation.  In his spare time, he competes in multi-day, self sustained, adventure races in the world’s most treacherous terrains, including the Sahara Desert, Gobi Desert, Iceland, Grand Canyon, Atacama Desert and, most recently, in Antarctica.

The Learning Leader Show

"Success starts with a choice.  Find someone above you, below you, and at your level.  That's mentor-ship."

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence?
    • Understanding of their strengths - self awareness
    • "Do what you say you will do" "DWYSYWDO" - integrity
    • The combination of vision --> execution
  • How have you sustained excellence?
    • Know how to prioritize
    • Tiered accounts
    • Invested 4-6 hours on Saturday and Sunday while others were not working
  • "Going in on the weekend" - The sheer amount of hard work AND extra work differentiated from the rest
    • Going door to door in Canada - "It takes 20 knocks to get 1 opportunity"
      • "Good pipeline solves all ills"
      • "Flood the market with good will"
  • Marc Benioff's management process, V2MOM, an acronym that stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures
  • Why do crazy races all over the world?
    • "I hit a crisis.  I was very successful and then had a couple bad years. It hurt my confidence."
    • "I realize there is more to life than just working.  The elements of nature... A give back -- be of service to others."
    • The 2011 Sahara Desert race - Trained for a full year. 6 days a week, 160 miles/week.
  • "Success starts with a choice.  Find who's the best, learn from them."
  • Mentor-ship = "Above you, below you, and at your level." Have all three.
  • The practice of "playing up." Play against someone who is better than you in order to stretch and grow.
    • Constantly put yourself in positions to be stretched
  • Using Gallup to find your strengths -- "A very wise investment"
    • Colin's #1 strength - Learning. Curiosity
    • The compound effect of learning, growing, approaching each conversation with a curious mind
  • What have you learned from the adventure races?
    • Dealing with failure.  How to learn from others. "We all get better from sharing ideas."
  • Biggest mistake new managers make?
    • "They are constantly surprised about the "people" side"
      • How to have tough conversations
      • They try to do it all -- You need to be a multiplier -- Trust, Coach, Empower
      • "If you don't lengthen the leash, you aren't allowing them to grow"
      • First 30 days - "Focus on winning hearts and minds"
      • Do a full day off site meeting with no focus on the business.  Get to know them.
      • Utilize my "Get To Know You" document
  • Understand your team value system:
    • Vision
    • Values
    • Methods - Critical success factors
    • Obstacles
    • Measure -- The Marc Benioff model
  • The #1 value is TRUST -- Ensure this is established early on.  Empower the team to make decisions.  As the leader, be a facilitator
  • Roger Federer -- Finding joy in what you do.  Loving the practice, the process.
    • Do things daily that bring you joy in life
    • "Before I do anything for the company, I do something for myself. To bring me joy."
  • Hiring a coach? Why?
    • Colin has had a coach for 10 years
  • "Just put 1 foot in front of the other" -- 19 hour race in Iceland
  • Be: 1) Strong 2) Relaxed 3) Grateful ("It's hard to be angry when you're grateful")

"Learn the rules like a pro, so that you can break them like an artist." - Pablo Picasso

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Mar 11, 2018

The Learning Leader Show LIVE! With Ryan Hawk & James Clear

Episode 248: James Clear LIVE! - How Can We Live Better?

This was recorded in front of a LIVE audience in Columbus, Ohio.  My teammates at Brixey & Meyer had the original idea for a live event and collectively we put together an amazing evening with more than 100 invited guests.  It was incredible!   The room was full on engaged leaders.  I loved the energy! I'm already looking forward to the next one.

James Clear studies successful people across a wide range of disciplines — entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and more — to uncover the habits and routines that make these people the best at what they do. Then, I share what I learn in my popular email newsletter.

His work has been covered by dozens of major media outlets including The New York Times, CBS, Entrepreneur MagazineForbesTIME Magazine, and more.

The Learning Leader Show

"A constant dose of uncertainty will help you grow your comfort zone."

Show Notes:

  • The aggregation of marginal gains - “The 1 percent margin for improvement in everything you do.”  If you improve every area related to your life by just 1 percent, then those small gains will add up to remarkable improvement.
  • When you google “goal setting,” comes up within the top 3 answers.  James goal setting process.
    • The difference between systems and goals. Goals are useful for setting the direction. Systems are great for actually making progress.
  • If we are serious about achieving our goals, however, we should start with a much different question. Rather than considering what kind of success we want, we should ask, “What kind of pain do I want?
  • First Principles: Elon Musk on the Power of Thinking for Yourself.
    • First principles thinking is the act of boiling a process down to the fundamental parts that you know are true and building up from there.
    • Mindset shifts --> Reframing
  • Love of Travel -- Why do it? Perspective? Voluntary hardship.  "You don’t know what you’re capable of if your body has never been forced to do it." (David Goggins)
    • "You don't know your capabilities until you're forced to do it."  Put yourself in situations that forces you to do "hard things." --? Travel to Vietnam where few people speak English... Getting lost and being forced to ask for help
    • “A constant dose of uncertainty will help you grow your comfort zone.”
    • Voluntary Hardship = until you are tested, you can't develop the ability to be mentally tough or develop new skills.  Put yourself in these situations regularly to grow
  • Successful People Start Before They Are Ready - Richard Branson story…
    •  "Start before you're quite ready, and trust yourself to figure it out as you go." "Motivation is overvalued, environment is undervalued. Willpower doesn’t work, think about choice architecture."
    • “Trust the ability that you have what it takes to figure it out”
  • The "Goldilocks" rule - "Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty."
    • Why you should stretch and "level up," but not too much.  "It's not helpful to seriously play tennis against Roger Federer."  You will be demoralized.
  • How to stop procrastination using the 2 minute rule -- "There is that 2 minutes around 5:30 every day where my wife and I decide... Will we go to the gym or will we sit on the couch and watch The Office all night?" -- The 2–Minute Rule works for big goals as well as small goals because of the inertia of life. Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it. I love the 2–Minute Rule because it embraces the idea that all sorts of good things happen once you get started.
  • “Decrease the number of steps between you and the good behaviors and increase the steps between you and the bad behaviors”
  • The James Clear "garden hose" analogy
  • Why it might be a good idea to put your TV in the closet...
  • Smaller habits require smaller activation energies and that makes them more sustainable. The bigger the activation energy is for your habit, the more difficult it will be to remain consistent over the long-run.
  • “Resistance is proportionate to the size and speed of the change, not to whether the change is a favorable or unfavorable one.”
  • By contrast, when you accumulate small wins and focus on one percent improvements, you nudge equilibrium forward. It is like building muscle. If the weight is too light, your muscles will atrophy. If the weight is too heavy, you'll end up injured. But if the weight is just a touch beyond your normal, then your muscles will adapt to the new stimulus and equilibrium will take a small step forward.

"Decrease the number of steps between you and the good behaviors and increase the steps between you and the bad behaviors." 

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Mar 5, 2018

The Learning Leader Show With Ryan Hawk: Since 2015, Benjamin Hardy has been the #1 writer on  He is pursuing his PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Clemson University.  Ben's writing focuses on self-improvement, motivation, and entrepreneurship. His writing is fueled by his personal experiences, self-directed education, and formal education.  Ben's work is read by millions of people every month.  

Show Notes:

  • Commonalities of leaders who sustain excellence?
    • They continually put themselves in situations that demand a lot of them.  They put themselves in high stakes situations
    • They invest in themself
    • They create conditions for success to happen
    • Pianist John Burke (Grammy nominated)
      • He puts external pressure on himself ("I will release an album a year").  It forces him to get to work to fulfill those expectations he puts on himself 
      • Being socially invested is a forcing function
      • Signing up for the race like Parker Mays -- A date on the calendar to prepare for.  "If I don't prepare, I will fail miserably"
  • Why you should invest 10% of your income in your self
  • The best self improvement book Ben has ever read? Letting Go
  • "Willpower doesn't work."  You must create the environment to be successful -- Upgrade your mindset
  • Self signaling - How you view yourself is not permanent.  Start to alter your behavior, you start seeing yourself differently
  • You can shape your personality
  • How to upgrade yourself? -- "When you invest money, you are committed"
  • Why all high performers invest in a coach
  • Peak moments -- how to change your life for the better
  • Cal Newport - "Be So Good They Can't Ignore You"
  • Investing in relationships (Jeff Goins and Ryan Holiday)
  • How to build a platform
    • Learn marketing
      • Learn how to write viral headlines (Use numbers, matching, focused on outcomes)
      • Want To Become A Multi-Millionaire? Do These 15 Things Immediately
    • Understand structure - subheadings, short/snappy sentences and paragraphs
      • Have a call to action at the end
      • Create a landing page for email capture
  • What is great writing?
    • Be a good teacher: Communicate effectively.  Convey & connect. Weave stories in and out: Story --> Science --> Story --> Science --> Story --> Science
    • Head knowledge:  Know your space. 
    • Have heart:  Emotional rigor, intense stories
  • How to become a master of your craft
  • Your decisions determine your destiny
  • Visualize the process, not just the outcome
    • Create environments for optimal implementation
    • Pre plan for adversity to strike and how you will respond
  • Morning routine:
    • Write in journal --> "Write it down, make it happen" --> Read --> Work out.  Create momentum for yourself.  

"Willpower doesn't work.  You must create the environment for success to be achieved."

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