Infamously known for making CEO’s cry, Jerry Colonna is a wildly successful entrepreneur, tech investor, and highly sought after executive coach to leaders such Gimlet Media co founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, Former CEO of Etsy Chad dickerson, and CEO of Twililo Jeff Dawson. His company Reboot.io is committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders. For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others to lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. His newest book Reboot: Leadership and The Art of Growing Up is one of Inc’s Top 20 Business Books for 2020, and has been critically acclaimed by authors such as Seth Godin, Adam Grant, Angela Duckworth, And Parker Palmer.
Infamously known for making CEO’s cry, Jerry Colonna is a wildly successful entrepreneur, tech investor, and highly sought after executive coach to leaders such Gimlet Media co founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber, Former CEO of Etsy Chad dickerson, and CEO of Twililo Jeff Dawson. He is the CEO, and co-founder, of Reboot.io, which is committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders. For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others to lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. His newest book Reboot: Leadership and The Art of Growing Up is one of Inc’s Top 20 Business Books for 2020, and has been critically acclaimed by authors such as Seth Godin, Adam Grant, Angela Duckworth, And Parker Palmer.
So one of the most important ways to do that is to commit to your own development as an adult. I think the question that we really want to hold onto is what does it take for each of us to grow into the fully actualized adult that we were born to be? And one quick answer to that is let's just start listening to each other. So let's just short the short answer to the question is how can we help the world evolve? Let's listen to each other.
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Hey everyone. Welcome to evolve, known for making CEOs cry. Today's guest is a widely successful entrepreneur, tech investor and highly sought after executive coach to leaders such as Gimlet media is co-founders, Alex Bloomberg, Matt Lieber, former CEO of Etsy, Chad Dickerson and CEO of Twilio, Jeff Lawson during the nineties.com. Boom. Here in his street credit as a venture capitalist, partnering with Fred Wilson to form flat iron partners, the high flying New York VC firm that was quadrupling investments overnight and earned the label of the princes of New York. He was also known, was also a partner in JP Morgan's partners, helped launch the $10 million financial recovery fund after nine 11 raised over 6 million as a director in the 2012 Olympic games campaign in New York city and it has been on a board member of more than a hundred organizations, but 20 years ago, despite the success on the outside, he found himself burnt out, chasing money, spiraling downward into Ambasz blackness of questioning who he was and what he was doing with his life and fighting the feeling of jumping in front of the subway train after years of trying to understand his own mind through therapy, travel, meditation, journaling, and life changing books.
He emerged with an unusual but highly effective blend of Buddhism, Jungian therapy and entrepreneurial straight talk that coaches others to begin the journey of radical self inquiry and become compassionate old leaders who can truly achieve their dreams. He's not, he's not the only one with faith in his methods. It's been featured on tech crunch, wired business insider, Forbes, CNN, and the New York post. Additionally has been interviewed in mind for his priceless insights by high profile podcasters such as Tim Ferriss, Andrew Warner and Dan Harris and his newest book reboot leadership and the art of growing up is one of the inks top 20 business books for 2020 the top 10 leadership books for the entrepreneur project and has been critically acclaimed by authors such as Seth Goden, Adam Grant, Angela Duckworth and Parker Palmer. I'm honored to welcome CEO and executive firstname.lastname@example.org author of reboot leadership and the art of growing up a tattooed Tibetan bead wearing CEO whisper himself, Jerry Colonna.
That is by far and away the best introduction I've ever had.
Well, I appreciate it that it's very easy to write when you have such an amazing career and you've had quite a few chapters in this story of your life. And where I'd like to first start off is when you were working as an investor and you were chasing limit drawbacks, being successful on paper auditing on the inside, you didn't know who you were or what you really wanted in life. Could you kind of describe what was going on for you during this time?
Maybe the simplest way to understand it is a metaphor that I often use, which is where the insight of who I am did not match the outside of who I was. And it was a very confusing time. A lot, a lot of us unfortunately will live lives where we are divided to quote Parker Palmer where, where, who we are and what we do doesn't match or to to use another image where we're out of alignment. And if you think about a wheel that is true with all of its spokes tuned just the way they're supposed to be. It can almost move perpetually, but when it's out of alignment, when, when the spokes aren't true it wobbles. And for me, not only was I living that wobbly divided out of alignment life, but highly confusing. I was getting approbations for that.
Hmm. I was getting affirmation. I was getting the adult equivalent of A's in the classroom. And the more affirmations I got, the more A's I got, the crappier I felt, because that voice inside of me that said you're not worthy. You're not who they think you are. Mmm. Just got louder and louder and louder. [inaudible] And it wasn't just the fear as an imposter syndrome of being found out. It was the constant inner criticism that I was living a lie. Of course I wasn't living a lie. I was doing the best that I could. But it took me years afterwards to understand that I was just doing the best that I could.
And when you were in that time, you were reaching quite a, quite a low and a place that you had been before previously in your life. You know, reaching suicidal thoughts and deep depression.
So for context sake I had grown up with that same kind of dissonance where I was the perpetually happy kid, the perpetually good boy to the point where in my teenage years that facade began to break down. And, and it, it became evident that it was breaking down when I started doing things that were uncharacteristic for the person that I was projecting the world. I started missing classes. I would, I would not go to my high school and I would just spend the whole day in Coney Island, Brooklyn and went to school in Brooklyn. And it, and it culminated in, you know, it showed up in things like not really being on top of college applications and and the, and the growing feeling at the time was that I, I couldn't even name what was happening inside of me.
It was just this profoundly deepening depression. It began as an anxiety cause I was always anxious as a kid and then evolved and into a deep and profound depression, which then eventually resulted in a suicide attempt on January 2nd, 1980, 1980 and yeah, no night night, January 2nd, 1981. And then that was followed by a hospital stay and a kind of rebuilding of my life. And then I kind of replicated the same things that I had done before. I just started going faster and faster and doing more and more. And I was the perpetually good kid showing up as being the one to kin in my twenties succeeding in the jobs that I was in and still not necessarily confronting the issues that were sort of, you know, inside of me. Fast forward into my thirties, and we started to see the same phenomena, which was again, outwardly successful in Widleen miserable. And thankfully the whole house of cards fell apart. Thankfully, because I had previously been in therapy for, for a number of years, seven or eight years. Thankfully I had the presence of mine and the trust too, instead of acting on the impulse to call my therapist. And you know, as I often say this, this, this is important because those who have struggled with suicidal ideation ones are more likely to struggle with it a second time.
And those who are tent are at great risk if untreated of of acting out in that way. And so I really consider myself quite brave and lucky and wise that in the moment where I felt like I was making a choice, I chose the right thing and everything that I am, everything that I have done, everything that I that you listed most of the things that you listed in, in that really, really lovely in complimentary introduction come about, came about as a consequence of choosing well in that moment
In this process of your own self inquiry and getting out of that pain, you were able to take that awareness that you built for yourself of those feelings and transform it to help other people. So how did you take that pain and turn it into a super power?
Well, thanks for naming it as such. I'll, I mean, it wasn't an obvious thing that I was doing right. I didn't sit down and say, huh, I've had a severe depression. Let me use that.
What, what happened? [inaudible] It was more subtle than that. It was a multistep process that began with, okay, this life is not working and I need to make a change. And the most obvious external change that I made was to quit my job at JP Morgan. And I didn't quit it overnight. I gave several months notice and I just, I notified my colleagues that I wasn't renewing my contract at the end of that year. And that was the year 2002, excuse me. And then I didn't have a plan. I had no idea what was going to be next. And that's important to note because I had to face the fear that not having a plan brought up. Mmm. Mmm. And to those folks who may resonate with being in a similar position they will probably also resonate with this, the fear of not knowing what to do next. And it is the, the, that the, the way we answer the fear of not knowing what to do next is we do more [inaudible] faster. [inaudible]
Try a little bit more, do one more thing. And so it's hard [inaudible] to basically walk away from titles to walk away from positions. But it was important because it was during that period that it wasn't just an internal exploration. It was primarily an internal exploration. But it was, it was the one way to think about it was I was exploring the edge between the internal and the external. I was, you know, to use another metaphor, I was on the beach between land and sea. Mmm. Rather than just swimming in the ocean of busy-ness or completely reclusive on the land in a cave somewhere. I was in this interesting in between space and it was through a number of the conversations that I would have with people that I realized that the feelings I had were actually quite calm.
And in fact, it was in Parker Palmer's book, let your life speak that I first read of someone whom I admire speaking openly about his experiences with depression. And for those of us who, who struggle with depression, when you encounter someone whom you admire, who freely gives of themselves and, and says, Hey, I have struggled, it creates a safety zone for other people to stand up and say, me too. [inaudible] And it was out of those conversations and those experiences, those, that version of me too, if you will, that the clarity that I was called to be a coach came, came through at the, at the core of your book and kind of what you've been touching on this world between the internal and the external is how the culture is of us as people, whether we're in a leadership role or working in an organization, the internal mind creates, creates the culture.
On the outside and kind of reflects what's going on on the inside. Can you kind of discuss how these two worlds relate? Yeah. I wouldn't have used those words, but I like those words. The culture of the inside of the mind reflected in the culture in the outside. I was speaking to someone yesterday who was, who was talking about the kind of coaching that I do, that I am, my colleagues at the company do. And they say, well, you know, there's a school of thought that says you shouldn't be spending that much time thinking about the past. And I just laughed. I said, you know, and according the title of a book by the sea, by this phrase, the past is always present. Hmm. The past is always present. We can either acknowledge that or we can pretend and when we pretend we created dissonance in an organization that undermines trust.
The difference, the, or the thing that I ask people to focus on, especially if you hold positions of power and authority, what I ask you to recognize is that you have a history. You have a set of belief systems that more often than not were formed in your childhood, not always from adverse childhood circumstances and not always under the best of all circumstances. They just were. You believe that work is best manifested when it's hard and it's demanding. Okay. Where did you get that belief system? And more importantly, how does it show up in the choices that you make today? Right? And that's the key. If you want to understand the point of the book, the point of my coaching, the point of everything that we at the company do, it's this, human beings do not transform into their best possible cells without understanding the mechanisms that created the conditions that they living with right now. Hmm. Simply willing yourself to eat healthy is not enough. If it was, we wouldn't have the diet industry, right? Simply willing yourself not to, to, to to or to treat yourself physically healthy is not enough to break an addiction to cigarettes.
Right? And there's nothing wrong with you because you cannot will, you're away through two things. You can will your way through to some things. Some of the times for a certain period of time, but deep transformation, it K a growth happens with cognitive awareness. Who am I? How am I organized? What is it that I'd like to be and repetition and good hard work. Hmm.
An important aspect of once you realize these things is you now are aware enough to have agency of your life and take control of those and you get to choose your life and who want to be. How do you see this play out in your work?
Well, you know, I'll, I'll, I'll again, I am a quote machine and so you've, you've managed to merge two different call young quotes. One is until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. Yeah. And the second is, I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become [inaudible]. Now if you just focus on that latter quote, you might make the mistake of thinking that this is about willpower. But when you combine the latter quote, I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become with the former. Okay. What you have is a path towards that transformation, towards that choice, towards that agency. By understanding how you're organized, what you consider to be fate, you then get to choose from that point forward. You don't get to choose your emotional reaction. You get to choose what you do with the emotional reaction. You don't get to choose whether or not gravity works. Okay? We still live in a world, right? But you do get to choose your reactions to gravity. You get to choose. For example, not everybody has the privilege of saying, I don't want to work for a toxic boss,
But you get to say, why is it that the last three bosses I, I started to work for or toxic? What's going on? There is every boss in the world toxic. And the answer to that last question is, of course, no. That doesn't mean you're responsible for their toxic behavior. It just means you may have been inadvertently complicit in, as I often say, creating the conditions you say you don't Hmm. Or unconsciously complicit in creating those conditions.
I think something that you mentioned earlier and was you know, when you're doing this, you kind of create a path for yourself to walk down and kind of know where you're going for that growth. And a lot of times, I know I've done it myself and I'm reading your book. Something that resonated with me was looking for a playbook or an answer or somebody else who knows it better than I do. And rather we all have to walk our pathless path as you
Yes. Yeah. It's disturbing isn't it? When we realize there isn't a playbook, I mean at first we become convinced that there's a, and it's just hidden from us and they, whoever they are are keeping it from us. And so we can get really, really pissed off. And then there's this, there's moment of realization where you see that there isn't in fact a playbook and that's really frustrating. But then there's something really empowering around that if you can get to that stage, it's liberating. And the liberation isn't just in some positive momentum. There is that, which is I get to create my own path. Yay. But the liberation is, if I'm creating my own path, there is no lost. If I'm creating my path, there is no wrong step.
There's just steps, which means I don't have to worry about getting that a,
I just have to put my feet one foot in front of the other and walk the path that life has unfolded for me.
I don't have to worry about the guy next door to me, the gal down the street. I don't have to look at anybody else's progress on the path. I don't have to look at their Instagram feed to see that they have a better life than I do. None of that fucking matters. The only thing that you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and do your best. And when you find yourself doubling back or in a dead end is take a step back. You might have to dust yourself off cause she got into a thicket of stuff and you say, okay, I'm not going to make that right turn anymore. And you go forward. Hmm.
When you're walking this path and you know, you were taking those steps and seeing yourself do it. I think there comes a source of internal validation as well. And you had mentioned earlier struggling with feeling unworthy or not enough or like you're not doing enough. And I remember reading in your book, you know, that time in your career when you wanted to be bill Gates rich and you were trying to strive for these things and finally reaching that point of not feeling like enough, not having enough. What was it that helped you to gather that for yourself that you are enough?
Wow. Thank you for that. You know the truth is it's still a question I grapple with. I was literally journaling this morning. What I will often do, which is just notice the feelings who notice the interactions. So it's, if you will, it's a kind of insight meditation applied to writing. So I'm noticing without judging. And one of the things I was noticing was that one of my children had texted me just a question and it prompted all sorts of emotional reactions, one of which was deep and profound pleasure that they still need dad.
Right? and you laughed and smiled, which makes me happy cause I laugh and smile when I see that. Right. My children are adults by the way. But I, but then I, I just noticed that I still have that feeling of I want to be needed. And so then I asked the question of myself, well, why is, why is that? Why do I want to be needed? And I said, Oh, because I want to know the name of good enough father. And then I wrote a good enough man and then I wrote good enough. And it was just that little moment of pleasure that I felt being needed. Yeah. That I could see very, very clearly that the root of the pleasure that I was feeling was that I quieted for a second, that underlying question. Am I good? Not even good enough. Am I good?
And so then I was able to laugh with love and compassion for myself and I wrote, what would my children say to this question? And they would probably laugh and say, rolling their eyes. Oh dad, stop. And so I said to myself, Oh, Jerry, stop. [inaudible] And then I let it go. Now when I say I still struggle with the question, that's what I mean. [inaudible] It will arise. The gift that I have given myself over all this work is the ability to work with it as it arises to come to the place where I can smile at myself with the love and say, as I used to say, we need a pool. Silly old bear. Yeah. I'm just being a silly old bear and that's okay. Something I noticed when reading your book and researching for the interview with some of my own programming from, I
Had this feeling of doing, equated to being loved by my mother. I can remember back when if I brought home good grades, then she would take me out for ice cream. And as I was reading through this stuff and just listening to interviews on you, I could see times in my life that I was trying to get more ice cream or trying to do more to get that feeling of love. And so having that awareness recently I can catch myself. Are you doing this because it's something that actually needs to be done or are you doing it because you're to keep pushing yourself to do more?
Yeah. So as you recall that experience, there was a little catching your voice. I don't know if you noticed that. Okay, go back to that place for a moment. I'm imagining that you love those moments of ice cream with mom and that it wasn't just about the ice cream obviously. What feeling did mom give you with that? Yeah, right there,
There was a lot of pride. I had pride in myself. And that I was heard and celebrated.
And you winced a little bit when you said that. So I imagine that there were times when you weren't heard and Morin's celebrated and perhaps even not a hundred percent sure of the love. Well, those right.
I would say so. My mom, she was a single mom and my dad, I saw him, you know, every so often on the weekends, whatnot. So I spent a lot of time with myself. I have no brothers or sisters and my mom worked as hard as she could all the time to provide for me, but it did leave me feeling alone a lot of the time.
If you can remember that young Brandon, what would he have wanted to hear more than anything else?
He matters that he doesn't have to do anything to be loved to be seeing.
So let's change the pronoun from he to you. And maybe you can make that statement right now. Hey, Brandon, finish the sentence. Hey Brandon.
Hey Brandon. You don't have to do anything to be loved. There are people in your life that really love and care for you and you are enough for who you are.
Hmm. Silly old bear. You know, I appreciate it.
You know, you sharing the struggles that you've had and the work that you're doing because it's in moments like that where we see, you know, even because we've had different lives, we have very similar things that we all struggle with. Amen. Brother and your work brings that out no matter who it is. And it's something that I very much appreciate. What is the power in seeing those struggles that are the same to everyone but in different people's lives?
I'm trying to decide if I'm going to go along with your little deflection move there. I'm going to take you back. How did it feel talking to young Brandon? Awkward
Nerve wracking. I think I beat up on myself a lot more than I say things of love to myself. And I think that's why it felt weird.
Hmm. Well I felt honored to bear witness to you, comforting yourself and you being able to not only say what needed to be said to young Brandon cause she said something that was true. Hmm. True. Was in those spokes for an alignment. True as in high integrity. And you spoke to a neat, and the truth is we cannot go back in time and say and have the people that we love who loved us, say all the things they needed to say to us. We cannot make that happen. Nor can we use our organizations to recreate that. But you can say to yourself, you matter, silly old bear, it's okay. I see you. I see you wondering if you met her. I see you wondering if you matter beyond the things that you do, if you matter simply because of who you are. I see all that. And I as an adult who have agency in power, if no one else in the world, I know what's true. Hmm. We can give that gift to ourselves and there's nothing narcissistic or intelligent about that. Hmm. So, okay, now we'll go back to your question. Tell me again the question. Your question was about
When you are sharing these things that are coming up. We see that the things that we struggle with are often the same things that everyone else is struggling with. They may come in different forms, but it's often as same underwriting cause how do you see that show up in your work and what's the power of that? I'm sharing that vulnerability.
A couple of months ago I was in Dublin and I was doing a book reading and fireside chat, which is like the dominant thing that I do these days. And the room was, it was our lens. It was predominantly white and there was one black woman who sat in the front row and she took a lot of notes as we were talking. And at one point we got into a conversation about what my partner caller calls early promotion, which is not unlike what experience for you Brandon. It's when we lose one of our or more of our caregivers and we're forced into an early parental [inaudible] role. And I was making the association that it's often a marker of early leadership. Anyway, at the end of the talk, this woman came up to me and share with me that you really related to that story and that her father had died when she was 13. And so then she had stepped into this role of taking care of her mother and being the, the co-equal adult in their relationship, which you can relate to but is also unfair. Okay. But it's also reality. And then she paused and she said, yeah, he died on Robin's Island,
Which is of course it's where the prison is that held Nelson Mandela. And I looked at her and I said, I was surprised. I said, Robbins Island. She said, yeah, he was a political activist from Zimbabwe and he was killed by the South African police. Hmm. And then she said to me, your story is my story now. I grew up in Brooklyn. I grew as a relatively privileged, I grew up as far away from South Africa as one could imagine emotionally as well as physically and when stories like that. And that happens to me all the time. When that happens, when someone who's external circumstances seem so far removed, it reaffirms for me in the universe Allity of our human experience.
It says to me, and it helps me understand my own reaction to reading Parker Palmer all those years ago, which is really when, when someone opens their heart and shares, human beings can connect and that's love and empathy coming out all over. And that's the true superpower. I don't know how we solve the world's problems if we do not happen to love and empathy. Hmm. I don't know. You know, this morning I'm scanning the news and there's a headline that comes across with a fee from the New York times children freeze to death. And then I had to stop reading the headline. It went on. It was about the war in Syria.
Yeah. Children are freezing to death. Children, not political combatants, not terrorists, not soldiers, not politicians. Children are freezing to death. I don't want to live in a world where that doesn't break my heart. Hmm. One of the things that also came up for me, Mmm, was the stories of when you were younger and your mom battling with bipolar, schizophrenia. My mother also has a post traumatic stress disorder with severe depression and bipolar. And you were mentioned, you know, buddy, thank you. Having to step into that, the co-parent role and be the support system for the other person. How did you deal with that feeling, that struggle of not being able to hope the chaos or be able to support that? I found that was something that when my mom, I didn't notice it much when I was younger and I think it was just because I was in it.
This is water basically. That was my life, didn't recognize it. It wasn't until I'd left for college. That Pandora's box kind of opened and I had this feeling that all I wanted to do was help her and make her smile again. But I was not able to do that. Well, now we see some of the roots of the I am not enough. Right. Because when you set yourself to the task as a child, when you set yourself to the task of doing the impossible and you know, if you're organized his, perhaps you were, that love is a consequence of having done something right. [inaudible] Love in the form of ice cream is a, which was a sacrifice for your mother, I'm sure, excuse me, love as a consequence of doing things right and then not being able to figure out how to do things right. The only conclusion that a five year old can come to is there is, there must be something wrong with me.
And so we start to see the roots of the, I am not enough question or why you were so responsive to that part of the book. [inaudible] Your question was how did I handle a bad experience? I with difficulty, I had an advantage and then I have six siblings and I had a new vantage and then I had a lot of older siblings, five of them who in various ways grappled with the exact same conditions. And each came to a different way of dealing with it. Some double down their efforts to be good, some left some fought some mediated. Mmm. And so I had these different role models. And, and I think that for the most part I navigated it in my early years by being as good as they could be until I came to be able to be out. So I moved out at 17.
And then I, I would have a very love them from a distance relationship in that way. And that was, and that had its positive aspects and its negative aspects. Okay. But I, the benefit of having my siblings wasn't just that I had role models. I also had people who, with whom I could speak. And so even though feeling gas lighted by the circumstance and feeling like am I crazy, was a predominant feeling, I could occasionally cut through that with a conversation with a sibling that would go something like, is this nuts? And then I'd hear, yeah, this is not, and that would actually feel better.
Right? Is this right? No, this is not right. This is the wrong the right. And, and that was incredibly helpful. And I would argue that I, I did that for some of my siblings as well. And so we would say our for each other. I often describe my siblings has a band of feral cats who just took care of each other. And Whoa to anyone who would try to break into or break up that we may fight amongst ourselves, but Whoa to anybody who sort of gets in there and tries to mix it up with us. Do you think this helped you later on as a coach that those first early being a lending ear to the struggles that others were having? Oh, that's a great question. Yeah. I think my first, not that you bring my attention to it, I would say that the, my first exposure to introspection and what I refer to as radical self inquiry came from watching my sisters primarily Mmm.
Who were, who were, you know, older than me. And so in their teenage years as I was sort of navigating this space and I think each of my sisters in their own ways developed their own introspective skills. And when I think about it even further and I look at each of my siblings, well, there are many differences amongst us. There are some real commonalities in that. We're all profoundly curious, profoundly inquisitive and relatively skilled at naming what's going on inside ourselves. Hmm. Most of them that have been in therapy, but yeah. But I think, I think it's what brought us to that place. And by the way, now that I think about it, my mother was the same way, right? I mean, you know, I will often focus on her mental illness as opposed to her own capacities. And while my father was typical in his generation stilted in his emotional awareness or his expression of emotion he, in hindsight I can see that he was actually much more self-aware then was probably common amongst his generation, my generation that went off to world war II.
[Inaudible] What are the, the lessons or the things that you would ultimately hope that your children, Sam, Emma and Michael learn from everything that you've gone through?
Well, the God's honest truth is I wrote the book for them. And not only did I dedicate the book for that, but I literally wrote it with the notion that I would teach the, I would leave them things. So if I could say it succinctly, it's, it's
It's that well the world may not seem to reward you for self-awareness and emotional intelligence while the world may not. I appreciate your being able to name and talk about what's going on internally for you so that you can navigate the external world. I guarantee you that life is richer and more fulfilling and more satisfying because of the, you have those skills. And maybe the thing I'm most proud of is that when they do not like what I am doing, they have no qualms about telling me that. And you know, we were both laughing. But if I think about all the people I encounter who struggle to either tell somebody that something is not working or to hear from somebody that something is not working. To be able to be in dialogue and consciously work on the relationship I think is a really, really important skillset.
Most unhappiness I think that we experienced stems from relationships that are soured in some way or another.
How do these skills transform into the things that you're helping these leaders become an use?
Well my partner called likes to say that all problems and companies, there are people problems in all people. Problems are communication problems. And so it's another way of saying what I just said in a more long winded way. You, I think that if you think back to every single coaching conversation, people think that good coaching is about [inaudible] the coach telling a leader how to do their job. And there are coaches who promulgated that notion and there are coaches there. There is a space, it's a small space, but it's an important space for people to teach a manager or a leader how to do their jobs because we don't practice that enough. But the vast majority of coaching conversations that I have ever encountered, and not just the ones I have listened in on or participated in, but the ones that I have encountered that quickly is just a fraction of what's actually going on. What's really going on is people feeling befuddled by other human beings, and the number one work that's done for executive coaching is unraveling the puzzles, demystifying the puzzles of human behaviors in the organization so that [inaudible] you can make conscious, healthy choices that are in alignment with your values as a leader
Because without that unraveling, everybody's just sort of wa working in the dark trying to figure out what's going on. I mean, a perfect example of this would be, I'm often called in because people will say, we have a trust problem in your organization, and then I think, what do you tell each other the truth? Oh no, no, no. We can't tell the truth. We don't trust each other. Well, hello. You actually have to start talking truth to establish trust. Trust is the outcome, right? It's not the, it's not the means. Right. and so then when you peel back the layer and he said, well, why don't you tell each other the truth? Well, I grew up in a safe, in an environment where it wasn't safe to tell the truth and so did everybody else. Oh, now I understand why we don't have trust in any organization. So now we have to do the growing up bit.
I think the skills of, you know, looking inward, discovering who we are and then the skills of navigating the world and everyone else who's trying to figure out who they are and now we're bumping into each other. I think are skills that should really be taught to us a lot earlier. Biggie cultivating. Yes. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on how we can better teach these in education maybe when we're younger or
You know, in our families. Well w you and I are both adults now, so let's start not so much by focusing on how we teach others, but let's start by modeling that behavior ourselves. Right. If the vast majority of adults could adopt this kind of behavior, we won't have any trouble teaching children how to do this. Okay. But children are very, very smart. People always say that. They can sense a dissonance between what you're saying and what you're doing. And so if we endeavor to teach this in the earliest ages and they're going home and experiencing something else, it wants tech. Hmm. Right. And so it actually has to be a commitment on everybody's part to talk with each other, to feel compassion, to engender a sense of self awareness. I mean, really, Brandon, what are you, what you're asking is, Mmm how do we develop what Daniel Goldman defined as emotional intelligence? [inaudible]
And it's not going to happen if the people who hold power aren't willing to do the work themselves. Hmm. So you have to go where the power is and how do we hope to change those people in power to help them develop these skills for themselves. Here's another quote. Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world, right? Too often brand. And what we do is we say, yeah, that sounds great, but if I do that and those who hold power don't, who hold power over me, then then what? It's like, well then you actually get to live your life in alignment. Okay. I'm not suggesting it's going to make your life easier. That's not easy. I said it's more satisfying. That's different, right? It's actually harder, but at the end of the day you get to lay your head down on the pillow and say, good job. Silly old bear. Hmm. Yeah. Good job. A core tenant of this show [inaudible] the reason it's called evolve is looking at the problems or things that light us up inside in the world. That we want to talk what we want to change and understanding the often changing that thing in the external world actually has to start with changing yourself with evolving yourself. And so I strongly resonate with the notion that you have to start with yourself in order to, you know, affect others. [inaudible]
I think that that's right. I think that's right. So before I get to my last question, where can everybody find you, your work and the book? Well you can read about the email@example.com. The company website is reboot.io and I guess the best place to follow me is that Jerry Colonna on Twitter. That's the, that's the place where I'm most active. I have other social media things, but I don't do very much with them.
Alright. My last question is how can we push the world to evolve?
Yeah. So I don't like the word push. So can I alter the question with how can we help the world evolve? Absolutely. Okay. So one of the most important ways to do that is to commit to your own development as an adult. You know, what you didn't ask about is the tongue in cheek subtitle, leadership in the art of growing up. And the path that I lay out is not easy, but it is adult and [inaudible]. I think the question that we really want to hold onto is what does it take for each of us to grow into the fully actualized adult that we were born to be? And how can we evolve the world where it's safe for adults.
And one quick answer to that is let's just start listening to each other. So let's just short the short answer to the question is how can we help the world evolve? Let's listen to each other. Hm. Because we don't get enough of that. Well, thank you Jerry. I appreciate you sharing your story today. You sharing the story in the book, putting it out there. You know, it's helped me. I'm sure it's helped thousands of other people that are reading it and I appreciate the work that you're doing. Well. Thank you Brandon, and I appreciate your allowing me to bear witness to that little inner exploration that we did. It made me feel your humanness and your adultness all at the same time. Thank you for that. Absolutely.
The Evolve Podcast is focused on evolving the world through evolution of the individual. Brandon Stover unpacks the stories and mindsets of extraordinary social impact founders, visionary leaders, and social enterprise experts as they share how they built startups that are solving the worlds greatest problems. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.Leave A Review