The architecture supporting excellent academic leadership and management!
What it takes to motivate tomorrow's architects, using excellent academic leadership
Want to become an architect? Don’t let anyone put you off!
After listening to or reading this episode you’ll have a new perspective!
We’re making conversations about education count, with Kevin Singh – Episode 81!
Kevin talks us through what it takes to demonstrate excellent academic leadership and the impact it can have.
Big take-away quote from this conversation about using excellent academic leadership to encourage the next generation of architects:
“We recognise all the students are different, have different backgrounds, you have different skills, abilities, different ambitions. If universities were some of the things that people accuse them of, we wouldn’t give that level of choice…”
Kevin Singh, Making Conversations Count – (May 2022).”
(Hard of hearing? Transcript here).
Strapped for data? You can hear a lower-bandwidth version of the episode here.)
Who is Kevin Singh?
Professor Kevin Singh is Head of the Manchester School of Architecture as well as the Director of “Space Studios” in Manchester.
Kevin is also part owner of a bar and restaurant.
But this entrepreneur isn’t just in it for the money.
As you’ll hear, he has a very clear mission in mind.
To leave an impact on students and buildings alike.
In this episode of the “Making Conversations Count” podcast, Kevin explains to Wendy how educational frameworks are important and need to be handled correctly, and why he’s not bothered about being commissioned for a big New York skyscraper!…
Scroll down to continue reading this episode in which Kevin Singh shares his thoughts on academic leadership and its impact on architecture
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What does Kevin do when it comes to pushing forward for the future of architecture with his acadmemic leadership skills?
His frustration with some of the outdated views around academia is clear.
He doesn’t want students to be put off from their dream of a career in architecture.
And that’s largely the backbone of what appears to be his gift.
A gift for very specific academic leadership
Changing the narrative around university education
Kevin makes it very clear during this episode that he feels there’s a misconception around the value of a university education.
And specifically when it comes to architecture, how that can impact on the students’ learning experience.
“I think higher education is incredibly professional these days, and people that aren’t close to it don’t realise that.
And I think it’s,very disheartening for academics when you read things in the papers about meaningless degrees and how tutors getting time off, I mean, people say to me, what do you do in the summer?
I do my job.
My job is a full time, year round job.
I don’t all go off and sit on a beach for two months.”
Kevin reaffirms students that they should feel confident in their decision to take the leap of faith and start their learning.
He also reassures that the rewards will come.
Watch the episode promo!
Managed to catch the previous episode yet? Click play on the player below to listen!
The impact good architecture can make
It seems Kevin’s goals and dreams within the business of architecture are less worldly and more worthy.
He’s seemingly uninterested in having his name attached to some big multi storeyed sky scraper in London or New York.
He’s much more at home improving a space that’s lacking, or developing a building that creates change.
“We do lots of social housing in our practise.
And again, had feedback from residents that… wonderful place to live.
They never imagined they could live in a house like this and so on.
For me, architecture is about changing people’s lives.”
Kevin’s pivotal conversation!
No spoilers, but the theme of Kevin’s pivoltal conversation sounds like something from a Marvel super hero movie.
Definitely not one to miss!
“As a leader… really trying to use that word rather than the manager.
I think leading and management leadership and management are two almost entirely different things for me, but I think you can start to launch kind of vision if you like a way forward once you know what you’re passionate about, you know what you believe in, once you know what the structure is. .”
In this episode of “Making Conversations Count” in which Kevin Singh shares his thoughts on architecture and using better academic leadership for shaping it:
- Kevin’s values around ‘taking responsibility’ and comparison
- The real continuing value of education
- The impact architecture (and solid educational leadership) can make!
- Kevin’s pivotal conversation
So, Wendy’s takeaway from the conversation in this episode about academic leadership in architecture with Kevin Singh?…
“The key take away for me from this conversation is how Kevin has followed his own goals and taken every opportunity as it’s presented itself creating a diverse professional life from Head of School, his own architect practice and a bar.
No matter which hat he is wearing at any given time throughout his day, his own values are at the core.
Responsibility is what you assume.”
Please do let us know your take-aways from this episode by leaving a comment at https://makingconversationscount.studio/Review-Kevin-Singh
New to this site? Learn more about Making Conversations Count podcast:
“Making Conversations Count” is a podcast from WAG Associates founder and telemarketing trainer Wendy Harris.
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Dynamic read-along transcript
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Kevin, it comes to the part in the show where I always say to guests, Bring along a conversation that counted for you. So are you ready?
I’ve got two, actually, but if it’s only one you want, then I know which one was the most important one. Uh, so in the mid 90s, I was doing a master’s and I was leading the student society at the Birmingham School of Architecture. And I ran the society and arranged an evening lecture by a couple, Sarah Chaplin, Eric Holden, actually, who were really influential to me. And actually, they were the people that said, don’t just do what everybody else does. You can follow your own career. I organised this lecture and this is before the days of mobile phones, and they were late and they’d come up from Oxford and I didn’t have any sense of how far away they were. And I had a room of probably 200 people. 150 people. I was panicking. I’m a very punctual person anyway, so I’m sure it was part of that. But I have this room of people and one of my tutors said to me, do you know why you feel like this and why you feel in the pressure? And he said, and I’ll never forget it. He said, Responsibility, is what you assume. I’d organise a lecture, I’d assume the responsibility. I’d taken it on. And so I felt responsible for all of those people and for the time that they’d given to kind of come to the event. And fortunately, they turned up not long after and everything was fine. But I think that’s something that. And of course, it works very subconsciously for a long time. But in the things that I lead, I like to give people responsibility. I think most people won’t let you down. They can feel a sense of autonomy to sort of shine if you like, and you empower them. I think the extension of that is that I’ve become a really big believer in structures and organisational structures and also recruitment, that if you recruit the right people into the right structure and the structure is right, then you leave them to get on with it. And they assume that responsibility the majority of the time, they don’t let you down. I think that, quote, responsibility is what you assume. In my previous job, I haven’t said it so much here, but in my previous job, I used to say the phrase, “It’s your dog, Charlie Brown”. And it reminded me of Snoopy, where when Snoopy was naughty, all the other kids would go, Is your dog Charlie Brown? You sort him out, you make it all right. And I think it’s that same principle. You’re responsible for something, make it right. And that was, I would say that was about 1995, 19 96. I think it stood the test of time as well as. And I’m not even sure it was meant to kind of advice, really. I think it was more of an observation by a guy called Steve Ferrar. I think it was more of an observation by him, really stoked with me, but again, it probably didn’t stick with me instantly. I think years later found its way to the front of my, uh, mind again. And I suppose maybe when people have said to me, well, why do you trust me? Why do you give me this responsibility? I suppose I probably tried to think about when I understood what responsibility was, and I think that was probably the point.
That word trust, isn’t it? If you can underpin people with that value. The structure that you’re talking about is the culture of wherever it is that you work in. And if you’ve got the right sort of culture, it can feel like family. And then you go back to what we were talking about earlier, which is if you’re doing the thing that you love. It’s never going to feel like work
As a leader… really trying to use that word rather than the manager. I think leading and management leadership and management are two almost entirely different things for me, but I think you can start to launch kind of vision if you like a way forward once you know what you’re passionate about, you know what you believe in, once you know what the structure is. And then it becomes really easy to sort of make decisions moving forward because you say, well, that’s the vision. That’s the structure, the decision should kind of almost make themselves because they fit or they don’t fit. Are they in line with what you’re trying to do? I think, uh, what that also becomes really useful is when you talk about patience, things don’t happen instantly, certainly in higher education.
Twenty year overnight success story you mean.
In my personal life and in the moment, I’m probably not a very patient person. Literally in the moment if I’m in a queue or I’m waiting at a bar or something… but in my professional career, I’ve been incredibly patient. I mean, my architecture practise is 21 years old, and it’s probably only the last… almost post pandemic, actually, that has gone to another level and has become sort of particularly profitable, et cetera. And in education, I think when you have that vision and that structure, it almost encourages you to be patient because, you know, it can’t all happen at the same time. So you sort of have a road map for where you want to get to, and it really helps you be patient because you say, okay, the next time I can appoint a new member of staff, they need to go in there, because that’s the next most important thing to achieve the vision. Yeah, I think that combination of structure and vision and of course, one’s very sort of soft in a way and one’s very logistical, but that combination of those two, I, uh, think they’re just the foundations for pretty much everything I’ve ever done, really. Yet with all those things, you have to start somewhere. In architecture education, I’ll talk a lot about white paper problem. A student has to design the building, and they start with a white piece of paper, a blank piece of paper. And you’d often get students who are almost paralysed to design anything because they want it to be perfect straight away, and it can never be perfect straight away. Design is an iterative process. You have to go through tens, hundreds of iterations. And so I always say to students, start, just start. And the first thing you draw will probably be really horrible. But that’s okay because without the first one, there isn’t the second one and the third one and the 10th one and the 20th one and the final one. And that’s the advice that I follow, my own advice. When I’m designing, uh, something, I just start. And sometimes you look at the first thing you’ve drawn and designed and you’re like, oh, God, that really isn’t very good. But then you learn the lesson from it. And I think it’s the same again in leadership, when you’re managing people, leading people… initiatives, if it’s well intended. And again, it goes with the vision and all of that kind of thing. Just make a style, just try it. And, yeah, of course, it won’t be perfect and accept it won’t be perfect. But how do you improve it? And eventually you can refine it to a point where it works really well. But I think what’s the real, uh, problem is when people won’t try something because they know it won’t be perfect and then you’re paralysed and then you never move forward and you just don’t improve things. So there’s many times when something we’re working on at the moment, something I’ve done before, which is a sort of nuanced assessment system to say, don’t compare apples and pears. One person might design a really small building in lots of details. Someone might design a really big building that’s really theoretical and not very much detail. You can’t compare those and you shouldn’t set them the same, really, because they have different ambitions, different agendas. So we’re trying to work on a system that rewards what people have set out to do. It’s something I did previously in my previous school. It’s something that I tried to bring here as well. We didn’t crack it in one go. We’ve kept continuing to improve it and hopefully soon it will be where it needs to be. But if you don’t try, I think that’s the problem.
And that’s the nuance, isn’t it? Being able to reward individuals because they are set differently to the next person and the next person that is tackling the same task. You’ve nailed it for me there, Kevin.
The proof is in the pudding, really, that having a bar, having an architect practise running, uh, the School of Architecture. But these are values and lessons that have been able to be applied across them. So it sort of proves that they’re not just for architecture Practise, or they’re not just for education, because they are really about dealing with people and how you get the best out of people and relationships with people. When someone, one of my staff said to me recently, how have you got all of this extra support? How have you been able to do this and this? So the simple relationships, if you have good relationships with people, you’re far more likely to be able to achieve what you’re trying to achieve. If you go around arguing with everybody and making enemies of people who’s going to help you, why would they?
And likewise, even if you’re trying to achieve a goal on your own, doesn’t mean that you don’t need the support of other people.
Yeah, and mentors are really great and I don’t think I’ve really formally had a mentor, but I had a psychometric test once for a job and some interesting things sort of came out of that. And I think sometimes as we’ve talked about today with that one conversation, sometimes you don’t know where that really salient advice is going to come from where the Penny drops and so, yeah, I think talking to ranges of people architects were terrible that we sort of all know all the other architects. We don’t always know people as much outside the profession. I love talking to people in other industries and disciplines. I was talking to a guy that runs a distillery here in Manchester the other day and we’re just talking about dealing with staff and dealing with people.
People are people. That’s what it all boils down to at the end of the day, doesn’t it? If anybody wanted to carry on the conversation with you in terms of architectural or the leadership that you’ve spoken about today, what would be the best thing for them to do?
Well, I’d be happy to start conversations probably by LinkedIn. That’s probably quite a good way. Yeah, my LinkedIn profile is pretty easy to find.
Thank you so much. We’ll put the details on the show notes for people to be able to get in touch. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Thank you so much, so much for joining us on the show.
Thanks for the invitation. It’s been really interesting. Reflection, actually.
I’m reflecting more now.
Click this box to read the full Episode Transcript - Conversation around etiquette and manners - "Making Conversations Count"
You’ll read about:
Blaine and his TEDx Talk (1m02s)
Chief Results Officer? (3m47s)
Observations of business owners and entrepreneurs who struggle with results (12m19s)
Change doesn’t happen quickly enough but stick at it because it’s worth it! (23m25s)
Blaines’s conversation that counts (30m13s)
Blaine and his TEDx Talk (1m02s)
We all have these little idiosyncrasies that we like to hang on to... 21 seconds... an hour. If I was to say to my daughter, you've got all day to tie to your bedroom, guess what? It takes her all day to tidy her bedroom. So it's got to be the same in business. If you tell me I've only got 20 minutes to do something, I'll get it done with spare time!
Yes. Everything from when people argue for the limitations they get to keep them, to it's the lens that you look through that actually creates your life. So I call it the lens of the future, but that is so key. And then finding practical ways to program the subconscious mind to help you. Right. I did a TEDx Talk where I asked people to change the unlock screen on their phone. And so now, for years, I've been getting great feedback from people saying that made a big difference in their life. So whatever you're trying to bring about, you put that on your unlock screen. You can also have your family stuff, and then you can make a customized image. But many people have nothing. They have, like, the default unlock screen, which is interesting, but you see that screen, you unlock your phone 60 to 150 times a day. So it's a real strong way to keep putting what you want to bring about, what you think about what you bring about. It's a way to program that subconscious, but it's super powerful, and you're so right. That how you see it creates the reality. And if people get that, that's a big breakthrough.
Confession time. I did the unlock screen on my phone, and it was a picture of myself in actual fact, when I felt that I looked the best, I was slimmer, no Covid pounds. And it has been working because initially I was looking at it and thinking, this is I really don't like this. But it has had an impact. It's changed with what I eat, the what I drink, the getting up and moving more. So I'd say to anybody, just give it a try!
Yeah. Agreed. A lot of this stuff is self evident. Just try it for a little while. And you may not see it consciously, but your subconscious mind is still seeing it. And maybe you change it. Maybe you turn it to the side or you add some words to it. You can also kind of mix it up. I like to mix mine up every couple of weeks, but it's having the same core thing on there,
Chief Results Officer? (3m47s)
No, it is interesting. So what got you to become the chief Results officer then, Blaine?
So, for me, there were two moments of dawning comprehension where the world changes almost on a single thought. And for me, the first one came in college. I went to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and I've always been kind of maybe like you and the listeners. I've been a little bit of a seeker, a seeker of knowledge. How can I do better? What could I do better? And so I saw this ad for an audio cassette tape. So I'm kind of dating myself. This was back in the 80s, but when I went to college and I sent away for this audio cassette, which was an abridged version of "Think and Grow Rich", it was actually this guy Earl Nightingale reading "Think and Grow Rich". And I got that audio tape, and then I subsequently purchased the book, and I realised there that "Think and Grow Rich". Now, the book is about Think and Grow Rich, but the riches can be anything. It could be financial, he talks about that, but it could be harmonious relationships, your health. And that's where this concept of what you think about you bring about. That was where I first got that. And I realized, now, wait a second, I'm in a lot more control than I realized. And I had a lot of success because of that initial reading of that book. And actually, I met my wife. We've been married 30 years, so I met her.
Yes. That was kind of the first thing that started me on the journey there and started kind of taking control of myself a little bit more. But then the big change, the big dawning comprehension moment number two. I came back from a business trip, my degree's in computer science, I was working as a software engineer, and I came back from this long business trip, and my son Beau, he was one year old, and he was, like, giving me the cold shoulder when I came back. And I said, hey, Beth, what's going on? What's wrong with Beau here? And she said, well, you were gone so long, he kind of forgot who you were. And I was like, what? I mean, that hit me emotionally pretty hard at night. And I realized when I was a kid, I'd come home to an empty house. Both my parents worked. And so that night I had this moment of dawning comprehension, and I made a clarifying decision. Now, when you make a clarifying decision, it kind of like, cuts out a lot of other decisions, cuts out a lot of noise and really focuses you almost like a laser on one thing. And that decision was that I was going to be a work from home dad. And so it took me a year. It took me a year to get there because we were kind of conservative and wanted to save up enough money and have living expenses in the bank. But anyway, a year later, my wife said, if you can make more on your side hustle thing, whatever you're doing here from home, and you make more money at that than you do from the job or even the same, then you can go, you can cut away the job. So I did that. So it took me a year, but I did that and I left my job. And that was 27 years ago. And so for the last 27 years, I've been working from home, running businesses that really have no daily operations. So I've been able to do a lot of self development and that's what led me on the course to become the Chief Results Officer. I started helping people. I created a company called Selfluence, which is really kind of the art and science of influencing yourself. But more than that, it's the power that you already have to influence yourself. You don't need any special software, you don't have to buy anything else. You have it all kind of within you. And I started helping a lot of mastermind groups and they said, hey, you're helping us get results every week. We're going to call you the Chief Results Officer. I'm like. Oh, I like that. So I like the title. I took the title and then I went to the US Patent Office and I registered the title. So now I can say I'm America's only Chief Results officer. But anyway, I've been doing that and I think that's why I'm here. I think God has me on the planet to help people take control of their lives by taking control of themselves. So that's what I've been doing. Now, pretty much 27 years from home, kids are out of the nest now, so I have a lot more time to serve clients than I did before, but I really do enjoy it.
What a benefit for Beau, really? And gosh, we say this so often on this show is that there are things that you can do that can help and aid us, but ultimately it comes back to self. It doesn't matter. So you're saying that you decided to do something. Reminds me of Rob Begg who's a past guest as well. He's also a mindset expert and he says if you decide, you've also got to commit and that's effectively what you've done. So there's a lot of entrepreneurs out there that I think they decide that they're going to work for themselves, but they don't commit. Do you see that it goes hand in hand?
I do. And I think there's a third component, and that is the action right there. There's a famous joke. Three birds are sitting on a tree, one decides to fly off. How many birds are left? And the audience typically says two, but no three. One made a decision, but they didn't fly off, they didn't take the action right. So I think what you think about, you bring about that. It's a combination of you make the decision right, and then you need to commit to that decision, but your commitment shows up in action. And so it's the action steps you take that kind of determine if it's real or not. And I will say that many decisions and desires kind of die on the vine because they're not strong enough for that person. And you can tell they're not strong enough if they don't want to wake up early, stay up late, and really put the action behind it. Right? And that's where you see the people really begin to move forward, because it's even taking the action. Even if you're going in the wrong direction, at least you're moving. They say you can't steer a parked car. You got to be moving. You got to take action. And it's in the action that really you kind of learn more about it, and then it can either grow, or you might realize that you're heading in the wrong direction. But that's okay, because it's in the knowing of where you're going. That's the fun part. And I like to tell people, you can't change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction. So if you figure out where you want to go, you can point in that direction and then start to move there. But in turning and facing, like, whatever it is you really want in life, you're going to feel the energy chemically. You're going to get excited about it, you're going to feel it.
It's a bit like stepping out into the sunshine, isn't it, and feeling it on your face. It is that much of an impact. But that's great course correction, isn't it? If we have these navigation systems built in, we are also tied to the magnetic force. So why do you think we have moved away so far from what comes naturally to us? Blaine, what's your take on that?
When you can get back to these core things? It feels good, it feels right. But today, more so than any time in the history of the world, is that there are so many distractions, and the level of distractions are so high. And everybody that I know has one of these, which is a smartphone, a cell phone. And so that can be like the greatest tool of productivity or the most evil distraction machine known to man or woman. For me, it's the level of distractions number one, and the loss of think time. That would probably be number two. Of time where you are... it's almost like more shower time, where there's no phones, there's no electronics, there's no outside world. People need more of that. I tell them, your phone has airplane mode. That's not just for airplanes. You can use it during the week, too. But I think lack of Think Time and distractions are the two things that pull you away, maybe even from who you are, who you want to be, your self development. So switching, that is possible, right? So switching, removing distractions. Right. So my family isn't super happy about it, but I've removed all the rings. Dings and dings. My phone never rings. If I'm expecting a call, maybe I'll look for that. But typically, I never answer the phone, and I've really cut down the distractions, number one. And then number two is I put a lot of think time back into my day and into my life and I think that makes a big difference.
Observations of business owners and entrepreneurs who struggle with results (12m19s)
What's your observation then, Blaine, of working with entrepreneurs and business owners that are struggling with that productivity and getting the results that they need? What's the first place that you sort of get them to be doing something slightly different?
I serve primarily business owners and the number one problem is overwhelm. Too many things to do and they're typically a day behind or more than a day behind things. And so what I like to do is first of all, show them that there is something to go after and I call it a day ahead. And so I like to take entrepreneurs from being a day behind to just being behind to being caught up, to being ahead to being a day ahead. And there is this thing, I call it the day ahead lifestyle which I live most days now, not every day, but most days I'm a day ahead. So when I wake up there may be some appointments like this podcast, but all the to-do's are done. Like I have no to-do's for the day and I'm working on tomorrow's to-do's. And so this concept of moving into that just first of all know that it's possible to be a day ahead. And my wife is back in school now getting a master's degree and she likes to be a week or two weeks ahead on homework and other things so you can get there. But the first thing is you've got to handle the overwhelm. And so typically what I see that works the best is to do some kind of a mind dump of all these things that you have to do. Now if you just do a mind dump alone, you're going to be more overwhelmed but guide them through. So get out a piece of paper and start to write down what are all the things that are top of mind. They're swimming around, oh, I've got to do this for this client or I got to do that. I've got these appointments, I've got to do this with the products, whatever it is. You have all these things swimming around and write all those things down and spend at least 15 minutes doing that and then take maybe a five minute break and then come back, maybe go a little bit deeper. Also, sometimes I provide a lot of prompts, a lot of questions to kind of pull more and more stuff out of your head and get it on paper. So the last time I did that in a big way, I ended up with 453 items on my list.
Super overwhelming. Look out. Yikes. But the key is that you must immediately process the list. So it's in the immediate processing of the list that the overwhelm begins to subside. Because what I mean by processing the list is that you put an end next to things you can do now, something that takes less than five minutes. If it's a bigger project, I also say, look, why don't you write to the right of it? What's the next step on that? It might just be scheduled meeting with so and so, send somebody an email, something that's quick and fast. But you write an N next to those things that you can do now, and then you write an S next to things that need to be scheduled. They need to be done in the next, let's say, a week or so. And then D is next to things that you can delegate, you can give to someone else. Not that you're going to do it, but you could do it. It's possible to delegate. And then L, which should be the most used letter of all, stands for later. And those are things that are not pressing, let's say, in this week. Now, sometimes people do it just for the day. Like, what am I going to do today? Some people might do it for a month or a quarter. But one of those things that you can let go a little bit, you can put on the later list. And most of the time, like out of my 400, I don't know, probably 300, something of those were later items. But they're out of my head now and they're on paper. And then what happens is then you go after you take maybe 30 minutes and do a bunch of the Ns, get a little... start winning the battle of the brain chemicals, get the dopamine going, the serotonin, you're getting stuff done, you're moving forward. Then the bigger ones, you schedule those into your calendar, maybe you see what the next small step is again, win early, win often. And that starts to get them out of the overwhelm and get them into kind of high value, productive action. That's one thing I do. The other thing is that all entrepreneurs and business owners, most people, want to compress time. And so I do have a framework called the 30 Minutes Hour. It's how to get an hour's worth of stuff done in just 30 minutes. So sometimes I walk them through that framework as well, because if they can compress time, they're winning.
Yeah, there's a lot about what you've said there that comes back to feeling in control of the situation, isn't it? And thinking is just energy, isn't it? You've got all these thoughts and they're just randomly popping in and out of your attention span... by putting them down on paper makes perfect sense because you can look and it not take up your attention of worrying about it because you've already decided how you're going to do something with it. Is it next? Is it later? Is it a big thing? But it frees your energy up to be laser focused on the tasks that you really do need to do. And there's just that feeling of striking off things off your list, isn't there? That satisfaction of done that, done that... the fact that you've gotten to the end of a list is an achievement itself. But getting into the habit of doing that on a daily basis, that's got to be where the results are coming from.
Yes, you're exactly right about those open loops and all that thing that's swimming around in your head that you have to keep remembering, right? And when you get rid of those things now you've got some more room, some more capacity and you even feel better, like you said. And then also you're right about the checking off the list. A lot of times I'll ask business owners, have you ever done something and it's not on your list but you write it on your list so you could check it off? We've all kind of done that. But that gives us the dopamine that like physically shows up. You get a little square of dopamine in your brain and it feels good. Your body, your mind, it wants you to get stuff done, right? So it rewards that. So you are right. And a lot of it is how you think and what you think about you bring about and how you think makes all the difference and actually changes your reality. I call it the lens of the future. But how you say or say to yourself or how you think the prediction of the future is going to go, that is what you're going to end up creating, right? So the story I like to tell about that is let's say that I say, Wendy, look, I'm sorry but today is going to be one of the worst days of your life. And so then you go out and you're like, I don't know if Blaine's right or not. And then you're almost hit by a car and you say, wow, look, Blaine was right. I was almost hit by the car and you're shaking and you're like, oh my, what else is going to happen? And physically, brain chemical wise and physically, you get scared and you kind of get small and you're worried about the rest of the day right? Now if the same morning I said to you, Wendy, today is going to be one of the best days of your life. You're looking through a different lens but the same thing happens. You're almost hit by the car and you go, well Blaine was right. I was saved. Like, why was I saved? God still has something for me to do on this planet. I'm still here. And then you're exuberant. Now there's a little fear from the accident almost happening but right out of that you come up and you're not down, you're up. And the brain chemicals and your physiology is all like, this is a great day, what else is going to happen? Great. And so the same circumstances happened, but you created the reality based on the lens that you're looking through, and that is some of the biggest brain science and discoveries that are happening now is that you create that world based on that lens. So have you found that to be true in your...
Yeah, all the time. For me it comes down to language and it can be habitual. It's conditioned what we pick up from other people. You know that saying of who you surround yourself with, if that's negative, then that brings you down. I'm a positive kind of person in the main and it's hard if you're the only positive person sort of bringing the negative people up as well. So yeah, for me it's an energy thing. Everything is around energy and if you use the wrong language, it's like saying, oh, I nearly got hit by a car, but Blaine said it was a good day. You go, my luck was in and yet, it's got absolutely nothing to do with that. So it reminds me a little bit of the Matrix movie series that literally you can design the life that you want. How badly do you want it?
Yeah, agreed. And you're right about the people you hang around with. And I'm all for helping people, but I don't like maybe a third of the time I can be around people that are, let's say, at a lower frequency and have issues and I want to help them. And then a third of the time I like to be around people kind of my own energy level. And then another third of the time though, I want that higher energy. Right. I want to be kind of like you said, moving up and it can be tough. The other thing is if you're stuck in that lower energy or in that I call it head trash...
It's a good term.
Yeah, everybody has head trash. Now, my head trash, because I do a lot of things, is small and it's in the corner, but it's still there. And actually I do this thing called a mind shower every morning to kind of take the head trash out. But I like to tell people who are stuck with a lot of head trash that the solution to pollution is dilution. So if you ever see like if there's a liquid, a dark liquid in a beaker, the more clear water they add, it'll get less and less and less and less and soon it will be clear. What I find is the ratio is different for everybody. Like I need maybe a five to one ratio. So if I have 1 hour around negative people and bad things, I need 5 hours of positive. I got to pour in the positive to dilute down that negative. But realize that it is a bit of a battle, but like you said, what are you pouring in? Who are the people you around? What are you listening to? What are you watching? What foods are you eating? That all has energy and vibration, too. So you can really pour in so much of the higher vibration stuff that it does begin to minimize and kind of there's this little point where it'll flip over and you'll feel like you're in control of those thoughts rather than those thoughts and that negativity being in charge of you.
Change doesn’t happen quickly enough but stick at it because it’s worth it! (23m25s)
And you're right, really. That energy, the dark water into the clear, that's like recharging a battery, isn't it? When you need to go and find some positive to sort of just, you know... and I would say that people give up too soon. You can be adding clear water in and adding positivity into that dark water. And it could just be that you're just frustrated that the change is not happening quick enough. Please just stick at it because it's worth it.
Yeah, it is worth it. And realize that there's some people that will pour the dark ink back in the water, right? So you have to start to guard the inputs of your life, guard the inputs of your brain and your body. Because sometimes people don't even mean to do it. It's unconscious to them, but they are negative towards you or low energy.. so yeah keep pouring the positive and keep pouring it in big doses. I remember my favorite mentor is this guy Jim Rohn... I don't know if you remember...
Yeah, I know Jim Rohn.
Yeah, he's my favorite guy. I got to meet him and host him at an event one time and for him, he had this series, it's called The Power of Ambition, which I listened to on audio cassettes. Again, back to the dating myself. But I listened to that program 50 times in a row because I was at a point in my life where that's what I needed and I could finish the sentences of that program, but that's what I needed. That's what I needed to really get through some tough times. I mentioned before that I broke free from my job. But if you realize at that point we had a one year old son, I had a 50 hours week job and I started two other businesses at the same time. I mean, my marriage almost didn't make it through that year. So now we made it through that year and many others. But there are times where you got to lean into something, leaning into a mentor or whatever that positive thing is for you. But today there's so much available online and through things like Audible.com and podcasts like this, I mean, fantastic stuff that you can be pouring in that positive on a constant basis and you can do it at the same time as doing something else, right? You're driving in the car, pour in the positive. You're exercising poor in the positive, doing household chores pouring the positive. My wife and I were cleaning this weekend, and I was listening to a book on tape and just pouring in the positive.
Yeah, no, Neal, the producer, he'll be laughing at this now because he basically says, Wendy, in your world, there is no room for excuses. And there isn't really, because I understand that people can get into a position or a situation and not realize that they've gotten there, but there is always something that you can do to get yourself out of that. There are no excuses.
I like to say, when I lost my excuses, I found my results. That's a little quote I like to say. And you're right. And the other thing people need to be clear on is it's all about you compared to you, not you compared to other people. Now, if you want to change your happiness, you can compare yourself. Right. So if my ego is getting too big, then my wife can say, well, how much money does Oprah make every year? Okay? Yeah. I'm very small. But the opposite is also true, is if I'm feeling down, my wife can say, how many of your friends have no job and the freedom that you have. Right. In that comparison, you can regulate your happiness, but for your results, it is best to compare you to you. Right. Let's just better your best. And for me, this definition of success is kind of you moving towards your goal, whatever that is. So it's very personal, whatever that personal goal is. And if you find yourself in this situation, you can begin to move out of that situation and celebrate just maybe those first steps out of that situation. Right, so you're comparing yourself to you. So, yes, you can change direction overnight, and then you can begin to make measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time as compared to where you are. Right. And so, yeah, I think that's a valid point on happiness. And then also, no excuses for you getting better. Now you're human, so you're going to have bad days. That's right. But you just want to ride again, get back on the horse, ride again, and ride a little bit better. Figure out some way that you can ride a little bit better. So you go a little bit longer and you get a little bit closer to where you want to be and who you want to be.
And like you said at the very beginning, Blaine, growing rich and success is not necessarily about numbers in a bank balance. It can be how you want to live and who you want to live that with. Your reasons why.
Yes. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is there. I mean, you need a certain amount of money for food and shelter and those things, and if you're struggling there, then there's a lot of help. Right? I mean, the Internet, podcasts like this, books like Think and Grow Rich, there's a lot of resources there. But you have to take the step like you have to have the desire and then, as we said earlier, make the decision, commit to the decision, but then take some action behind that decision. Right. And when you feed the decision with action, then you're going to find out, is this really something good for me or not? And most people find that it is. And then they start moving forward. And then it's funny that when you start moving forward, it's kind of a little slow and slogging in the beginning, but as you get out of the mud and you get out of that and you start to go faster and faster and faster, typically then things start to move really fast. That's exciting as I see that in people when they adopt, say, a new habit and then all of a sudden now everything else in their life is kind of taking off.
It is just about making that start. If you make the start, you're already ahead of where you were.
Blaines’s conversation that counts (30m13s)
It seems only right, really, at this juncture, to ask you about a conversation that created a turning point for you. I've got a feeling that it may link to what you were talking about with your career change and things like that, but you might surprise me because of course I never know what's coming next.
So what was that one conversation that changed your life either for business or for personal?
It started as a conversation and changed my life. And that was actually Jim Rohn. And so Jim Rohn, a friend of mine, introduced me to Jim Rohn and then I was able to actually host him at an event I was running. And I got lucky because he had a house in the Phoenix area and this event was in Phoenix and he happened to be there. So it was very easy for him to come to this event. And so he came to that event and I got to hear him and share the stage with him. But the things that he said that evening had a big impact on me. Right. And one of the things he says is it's not what happens that determines your life future, it's what you do about what happens. And that was the beginning of kind of the lens conversation as well. But he said that, so it's not what happens that determines your life future, it's what you do about what happens. And I realized in that moment, I realized that I didn't have to worry about circumstances, the economy, the pandemics, and all these different things that's going to happen to everybody actually. But it's my response to what happens that determines the outcome of my life and my businesses. And then he went on to say the other thing he said that night was don't wish it was easier, wish you were better. And I was like, Whoa, that was big. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more wisdom. And he just got me to switch it to see that praying and begging for things to be better or easier, that was just going to fix the thing one time. If I increased my wisdom and I got better, that's going to increase everything for the rest of my life. And so that started me on a nice trajectory. But it was that conversation that night with Jim Rohn that I think led me to this course of becoming the Chief Results Officer. Now, having the time to do that with my son. Having the inputs was the "Think and Grow Rich" book. But it was that conversation that night. He also said, profits are better than wages. And I was like, oh, poof, I've got to do more of my own business. So that was it.
Wow. I know, previous guest Brad Sugars, he was influenced by Jim in a big way, and he talked about that on the show as well. Isn't it interesting, because we've already kind of touched on this, that just by switching your language out just changes the end results of what you want to be creating.
Agreed. And a couple of years ago, I read this one book called The One Thing by a guy named Keller, and in there he said and some people say different ways he says, when you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. It was just that language right there. That's where I realized, now, wait a second, let me say that again. Let me hear that for real. When you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. And so what happened is that was the trigger for me kind of processing my own language, right? So if I start to say, I'm too old, I'm too this, I'm too that, I can't this, I can't that, won't all that almost negative kind of self talk. And it was on big things and small things, I realized it was almost like the predefeated mind, I'm never going to try that thing, because I've just accepted that limitation. And then I started hearing that language in other people, and now I can't go anywhere without hearing people arguing for their limitations all the time. But it's gotten so good in our family or in some businesses, masterminds that I work with, they'll say, oh, now Blaine is going to say you're arguing for your limitations there. But that consciousness around what you say is so big, and that can be kind of that pivotal point in your life, is when you start to listen to and process that self talk. That's big.
Yeah. Awareness. Self awareness. It can be a real driving force... or not. Well, thank goodness for Jim Rohn. Honestly. Thank you, Blaine, for sharing your story and so many different productivity hacks that we can apply to our own business and go away. I'm going to just go and sort out my mind trash later. I got to do another dump.
And I will say, look... on the head trash. The thing that has helped me the most and my clients is really that concept of the mind shower. Meaning like most people take a physical shower every day, but how often do you take a Mind Shower where you kind of wash out your mind and take out the head trash? Now there's apps. I use an app called Headspace, kind of a meditation breathing app, but I do that every single day. And I've done that now because the app tracks like 1500 days in a row. I've done this Mind Shower, just a little thing like that. Now I like a ten minute Mind Shower, but if I don't have time, I'll do a three minute Mind Shower. But doing that, I do that first thing in the morning, every morning. And that's made a big difference because I feel like at the beginning of the day, I'm kind of taking control of my mind showering it out, cleaning it out a little bit, but then also getting that lens ready for the day to make the most from the day.
Yes, it fits with your computer science background as well. It's almost like you're defragging the system and every day just hit reset. And then that head trash writing everything down in such a big overwhelm. It's not going to be that big anymore, is it? Because you've already got a handle on it, right?
I've had an absolute blast. I know who to reach out to now when I need either some head trash or a Mind Shower. Thank you.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this and I just want to take a moment to thank you. This is not easy to put all this stuff together and put it online and you have a big results ripple, queen of conversations here. You have a big results ripple and I will bet that you are touching lives not yet born that somebody 20 or 30 years from now is going to find this stuff and it's going to make a difference. So I want to congratulate you on that and leave you with this. That the bad news. The bad news is time flies. The good news, you're the pilot. So pilot well.
Thank you. I've got to go and cry now.
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TL;dr - want the episode summarised in one paragraph, and in your own language? Here is it.
ENGLISH: “In architecture education, I’ll talk a lot about white paper problem. A student has to design the building, and they start with a white piece of paper, a blank piece of paper. And you’d often get students who are almost paralysed to design anything because they want it to be perfect straight away, and it can never be perfect straight away. Design is an iterative process. You have to go through tens, hundreds of iterations. And so I always say to students, start, just start. And the first thing you draw will probably be really horrible. But that’s okay because without the first one, there isn’t the second one and the third one and the 10th one and the 20th one and the final one. And that’s the advice that I follow, my own advice. When I’m designing, uh, something, I just start. And sometimes you look at the first thing you’ve drawn and designed and you’re like, oh, God, that really isn’t very good. But then you learn the lesson from it. And I think it’s the same again in leadership, when you’re managing people, leading people… initiatives, if it’s well intended. ..”
في تعليم الهندسة المعمارية ، سأتحدث كثيرًا عن مشكلة الورقة البيضاء. على الطالب أن يصمم المبنى ويبدأوا بقطعة بيضاء من الورق. وغالبًا ما تجعل الطلاب المصابين بالشلل تقريبًا يصممون أي شيء لأنهم يريدون أن يكون مثاليًا على الفور ، ولا يمكن أن يكون مثاليًا على الفور. التصميم عملية تكرارية. عليك أن تمر بالعشرات والمئات من التكرارات. ولذا أقول دائمًا للطلاب ، ابدأ ، فقط ابدأ. وربما يكون أول شيء ترسمه فظيعًا حقًا. لكن هذا جيد لأنه بدون الأول ، لا يوجد الثاني والثالث والعاشر والعشرون والأخير. وهذه هي النصيحة التي أتبعها ، نصيحتي الخاصة. عندما أصمم ، آه ، شيء ما ، أبدأ للتو. وأحيانًا تنظر إلى أول شيء رسمته وصممته فتقول ، يا إلهي ، هذا ليس جيدًا حقًا. ولكن بعد ذلك تتعلم الدرس منه. وأعتقد أن الأمر هو نفسه مرة أخرى في القيادة ، عندما تدير الأفراد ، وتقود الأفراد ... المبادرات ، إذا كانت النية جيدة.
SPANISH: “En la educación en arquitectura, hablaré mucho sobre el problema del libro blanco. Un estudiante tiene que diseñar el edificio y comienza con una hoja de papel en blanco, una hoja de papel en blanco. Y a menudo hay estudiantes que están casi paralizados para diseñar cualquier cosa porque quieren que sea perfecto de inmediato, y nunca puede ser perfecto de inmediato. El diseño es un proceso iterativo. Tienes que pasar por decenas, cientos de iteraciones. Y por eso siempre les digo a los estudiantes, comiencen, solo comiencen. Y lo primero que dibujes probablemente será realmente horrible. Pero eso está bien porque sin el primero, no hay el segundo y el tercero y el 10 y el 20 y el final. Y ese es el consejo que sigo, mi propio consejo. Cuando estoy diseñando algo, empiezo. Y a veces miras lo primero que dibujas y diseñas y dices, oh, Dios, eso realmente no es muy bueno. Pero luego aprendes la lección de ello. Y creo que es lo mismo nuevamente en el liderazgo, cuando estás dirigiendo personas, liderando personas… iniciativas, si es bien intencionado.…“.
FRENCH: “Dans l’enseignement de l’architecture, je parlerai beaucoup du problème du livre blanc. Un étudiant doit concevoir le bâtiment, et il commence avec un morceau de papier blanc, un morceau de papier vierge. Et il arrivait souvent que des étudiants presque paralysés conçoivent n’importe quoi parce qu’ils veulent que ce soit parfait tout de suite, et cela ne peut jamais être parfait tout de suite. La conception est un processus itératif. Vous devez passer par des dizaines, des centaines d’itérations. Et donc je dis toujours aux étudiants, commencez, commencez simplement. Et la première chose que vous dessinerez sera probablement vraiment horrible. Mais ce n’est pas grave car sans le premier, il n’y a pas le deuxième et le troisième et le 10e et le 20e et le dernier. Et c’est le conseil que je suis, mon propre conseil. Quand je conçois, euh, quelque chose, je commence juste. Et parfois, vous regardez la première chose que vous avez dessinée et conçue et vous vous dites, oh, mon Dieu, ce n’est vraiment pas très bon. Mais ensuite, vous en tirez la leçon. Et je pense que c’est encore la même chose dans le leadership, quand vous gérez des gens, dirigez des gens… des initiatives, si c’est bien intentionné.…“
GERMAN: “in der Architekturausbildung werde ich viel über Whitepaper-Probleme sprechen. Ein Student muss das Gebäude entwerfen, und sie beginnen mit einem weißen Blatt Papier, einem leeren Blatt Papier. Und es gibt oft Studenten, die fast gelähmt sind, um etwas zu entwerfen, weil sie wollen, dass es sofort perfekt ist, und es kann nie sofort perfekt sein. Design ist ein iterativer Prozess. Sie müssen Dutzende, Hunderte von Iterationen durchlaufen. Und deshalb sage ich den Studenten immer, fangen Sie an, fangen Sie einfach an. Und das erste, was Sie zeichnen, wird wahrscheinlich wirklich schrecklich sein. Aber das ist in Ordnung, denn ohne den ersten gibt es den zweiten und den dritten und den zehnten und den zwanzigsten und den letzten nicht. Und das ist der Rat, dem ich folge, mein eigener Rat. Wenn ich etwas entwerfe, ähm, fange ich einfach an. Und manchmal schaust du auf das erste, was du gezeichnet und entworfen hast, und denkst, oh Gott, das ist wirklich nicht sehr gut. Aber dann lernt man daraus. Und ich denke, es ist wieder dasselbe in der Führung, wenn Sie Menschen führen, Menschen führen … Initiativen, wenn es gut gemeint ist.“
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