Catalytic Leadership

Harnessing Mental Clarity for Peak Performance and Productivity, with David Allen

January 08, 2024 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 25
Catalytic Leadership
Harnessing Mental Clarity for Peak Performance and Productivity, with David Allen
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Prepare to transform your approach to productivity as we sit down with David Allen,  the mastermind behind the revolutionary Getting Things Done methodology. In our enlightening conversation, David takes us from his formative years in Berkeley through to his groundbreaking work as a consultant, revealing the martial arts principles and the pursuit of mental clarity that shaped his innovative system. Discover how GTD has become the cornerstone of effective leadership and personal achievement, with David's insights on the initial corporate embrace by Lockheed shedding light on the power of structured efficiency.

Embark on a journey to mental freedom with our guide to implementing a clear and organized system. We'll reveal the secrets to capturing all your commitments, making decisive actions, and curating a personal system that liberates your mind for peak performance. Learn the art of the weekly review—a practice that, despite some initial skepticism, proves to be a game-changer in maintaining focus and alleviating anxiety. By the end of our discussion, you'll be equipped with a decision-making framework that promises to enhance your engagement with life's demands and create the mental oasis you've been seeking.

Closing our session with David Allen, we explore the profound connection between intuition and wisdom, and how embracing our inner voice can steer us towards a life of fewer regrets and greater fulfillment. We touch upon the legacy of sharing knowledge and the unexpected scalability of the GTD method, emphasizing the necessity of externalizing our commitments to navigate life with more clarity and precision. For those eager to dive deeper, David extends an invitation to further engage with his work, whether through his videos, his books, or personalized coaching opportunities. Join us for a transformative experience that will arm you with the tools for leading with intention and achieving personal fulfillment.

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Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Speaker 2:

Hey, it's William and welcome to today's episode of the Catalytic Leadership podcast. Each week, we tackle a topic related to the field of leadership. My goal is to ensure that you have actionable steps you can take from each episode to grow in your own leadership. Growth doesn't just happen. My goal is to help you become intentional about it. Each week, we spotlight leaders from a variety of fields, organizations and locations. My goal is for you to see that leaders can be catalytic, no matter where they are or what they lead. I draw inspiration from the stories and journeys of these leaders and I hear from many of you that you do too. Let's jump in to today's interview. I'm so excited today to have David Allen on the podcast. David is one of the world's foremost thought leaders on productivity. David's 35 plus year career as a consultant and executive coach have earned him the titles of personal productivity guru by Fast Company Magazine and one of America's top five executive coaches by Forbes. His best-selling book Getting Things Done the art of stress-free productivity, has been published in 30 languages, and the GTD methodology has been adopted by leaders and executives all around the world, including by me. I'll tell you, david, I'm so excited you're here. Thank you for being on the show.

Speaker 3:

My pleasure, brother. Yay, glad to be here.

Speaker 2:

This book Getting Things Done I first read almost 20 years ago now and it revolutionized the way that I work and live. It's been part of my life for all of these years. I told you previously that I have bought and given away or recommended your book to more people than I can possibly remember, as I've spoke to them and coached them. I would love for you to share some of your story with our listeners, particularly around GTD and your development in this process and as a leader. I think this whole thing gets started.

Speaker 3:

I needed a job Excellent.

Speaker 2:

It's good to eat and live indoors right.

Speaker 3:

I wasn't sure what to do with my life. I was an American intellectual history major in graduate school in Berkeley in 1968 and then I discovered that I wanted to discover myself. This is Berkeley in the 60s, so you can discover yourself. Time and all the self-help stuff and self-improvement stuff and self-explanation stuff, meditations, martial arts, spiritual practices, gurus all kinds of things. I dropped out of school to find who I was instead of just studying people who found who they were. I said, okay, that's my job. They don't pay people to do that, so I still had to make a living. I wound up helping other friends with their businesses. I had a number of friends who knew what. They had started their own businesses and had small little enterprises going. Some of them needed some help. I said, well, maybe I could just engage with them, see what I could do. I wound up. If anybody does any Wikipedia research on me, they see I had 35 jobs by the time I was 35. Many of those were just helping friends with their businesses. When I walk in and I see what they were doing, I go well, how can we do this easier? Because I'm the laziest guy you ever met. My whole thing is okay. Is there some simpler, more efficient and effective way to do what you're trying to accomplish here. I wound up I couldn't have put those words on it back then, but I just wound up helping people project by project. It turned out they actually paid people to do that. They call them something consultant. Wow, I guess that's what I am. My career became in 1982, 83. I said let me see if I can sell myself on a project by project basis to help people, whatever their systems were, whatever they were trying to do. Also, as my life got busier and I was fairly successful at a small level with that and my life got busier and more complex, I said, wait a minute. Based upon my experience in the martial arts by that time I had a black belt, karate and I had done a lot of spiritual practices and so forth I said clear space is a really nice place to operate from, but a complex world and a busy world is pretty easy to screw up clear space. I was after just techniques for myself. I was always hungry for them. That I could find out that would make my life had worked easier. So I could be as lazy as I like to be. I discovered, piece by piece by piece, things that ultimately became part of this whole methodology that I was able to cobble together, recognize and format and objectify what became getting things done as a methodology. I didn't wake up one morning with all this. It was like, piece by piece, oh, that works, oh cool. Then I turned around and used that piece with my consulting clients and that piece worked for them too, created more clarity, more space, more control, more focus. I went, wow, that's cool. So as I cobbled all that together, that became just part of the core of what I was doing in my consulting practice. We didn't call it coaching back then, but that's a lot of what it was. The founders of the CEOs of these small businesses, then some guy in the big corporate training world had a human resource in a big corporation, saw what I was doing and said, well, david, gee, we need that kind of result in our whole culture. And you designed something Like a training program or something around what you've come up with. Instead of just one-on-one people, can you, is there some educational model that you might be able to create? So I said I'll try. So in 1963, 64, I did a pilot program. I designed a personal productivity training program for a thousand and we did a pilot program for a thousand managers and executives at Lockheed in 1983 and 84 in California and it hit an earth. It's like wow. I was suddenly thrust into the corporate training role. That could have fooled me. That was not some major plan, it was just that it was the best job and not all of that. It was the humbliest audience for what I'd come up with At that time in the early 80s, particularly in aerospace, you know flattened organizations, huge change, all kinds of tsunami of email was beginning to show up out there and so the fast-tracked professionals were very hungry for what this was about, what I'd come up with. So my consulting actually turned into a lot of one-on-one coaching. Not only was my training then, ultimately over the next 20 years, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in American companies, but then I was asked to come in to sit one-on-one with you know senior people to see if I could help them implement the methodology for themselves personally. So I literally spent thousands of hours, not only in training hundreds of thousands of people, but lots of time with some of the best and brightest and busiest people you'd ever meet, and it took me that long to figure out what I'd figured out. I thought I was the last guy in the world to learn this. You know, I was coaching people making a lot more money than I'd probably ever seen in my life, and I thought, well, they should have already figured this out. Eh no, they hadn't, and you know. And they were very hungry for some next level of game that could keep them more in control of the changes that they were all dealing with. And it turned out that my stuff was brilliant for that. But you could have fooled me, and at some point, you know, somebody said, david, you ought to write the book In case I got run over by a bus. Well, let me write a manual about everything that they come up with over all those years. And that's where the first edition of Getting Things Done was published in 2001. So you probably saw that first edition, you know, not too long after it was published.

Speaker 2:

I did and I'll tell you I had been a student of productivity for a number of years. At that point, you know, I started as a teenager, with jobs in that time in my life, and found the day timer system and was drawn to it. And then the Franklin Covey system and was drawn to that. I mean it just everything that could help me do and jungle the number of things I was juggling and help me do them better and more effectively. I was like, oh, this is helpful. The GTD was a whole different ballgame because it wasn't a tool, it was a methodology.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a set of principles, and how you apply those principles is quite unique to you and quite customizable. I think that's what principles are. The principles are intact.

Speaker 2:

I think that's what draws people in. You know the people that I have shared this system with, that I talked to. You know different people in all different spheres of life, from C-suite leaders to military leaders, from government employees to small business owners and solo preneurs. Everybody can can see the value and adapt it and adjust it in such a way that it fits what they do. And it's not well, you have to be a Mac guy, oh, you have to be a PC. Oh, you have to use this tablet or this tool. It's not like the old Palm Pilot, right, or it's not like the way everything has to fit in this ecosystem. It's adjustable for whatever you do, wherever you do it.

Speaker 3:

Well, that was my intent was to write something that would be as evergreen as possible. We fly to Jupiter in 100 years. You still need an inbasket. You'll still need to capture what has your attention. You still need to decide is there an action? Is there some project tied to this? Who's going to handle that? How do you, how do we manage the inventory of things we still need to do? We haven't finished yet. I mean, come on, this is universal stuff.

Speaker 2:

You are known for saying that the mind is meant for having ideas, not holding ideas right.

Speaker 3:

Well, I framed that but I'm not the guy who I sort of experienced that. You know what? 40 years ago, myself personally, with a mentor of mine who sort of talked me about that. But the cognitive scientists in the last decade have now validated that your head, your head, did not evolve to remember, remind, prioritize or manage relationships between more than four things before you start to lose cognitive ability.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that leads to overwhelm. I mean, the world today is moving in a different pace than it did back in the early 80s.

Speaker 3:

Well, that's all relative, and the early 80s as somebody. Then they go. Oh my God, this is the world moving much faster than it was in the early 70s. It's like oh, come on, that's right. Well, that's probably universal.

Speaker 2:

It feels like there are more inputs, though I mean in your pocket you carry around a device that just is well. If you let it and if you don't control, it will constantly barrage with notifications, with inputs.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's what I call channel creep. Yes, and the channels have increased. Those channels, each one of them has potential for being potentially meaningful to you. That's the problem. So that's what's changed, really is that there are increased channels, increased volume, increased speed of inputs into your world. That, as to your point, that you have allowed into your world that still need thinking about, still need decisions about, still need to decide what does it mean, what do we need to do with it? So that has increased exponentially for sure, given the digital world.

Speaker 2:

I think the overwhelm that so many people, particularly in the entrepreneurial space, experience this overwhelm that's just so much to do, so many inputs, so many demands, so many commitments that you've made it affects so many people in such a big way. And this is why I share your book, because I'm like this is a way to deal with this. I mean, if you're talking to somebody who just feels like they just have a tidal wave crashing over them every single day, where do you start when you're explaining GTD? How do you begin the process of explaining how this can be helpful?

Speaker 3:

Well, that's two different things. How do I start by explaining what it is and how do I start by having it implemented? So oftentimes I don't tell them what the implementation is going to be involved. If they've said, hey, come on, david, bring, come on in and let's do your process. The less they know about it, probably the better, otherwise it'd freak them out. So, by the way, we're going to collect everything that has your attention. We're going to get it out of your head. We're going to park it in a big pile here. We're going to go through all of that and have you make the executive decisions about what these things mean, and then we're going to set up and customize a personal system for you that's going to manage the inventory of the totality of your commitments that you can then set up and review on some consistent basis. And that's it. How many people would go? Oh, I can't wait, that's right. When can we get started? But if I were trying to explain that to somebody, I'd say well, look, do you have as much room in your head as you want to be as creative and strategic and as loving and as present as you'd like to be? If they say yes, then I go great, show me how you do that, see if I can learn something from you. If they say no, then we're willing. I say, well, okay, would you like to know how you create more space, more room in your head? It's not about getting organized. It's about being appropriately engaged with the things that are grabbing your attention so it clears your head of all those things that keep ringing your bell internally. How do you stop doing that? I need cat food. Well, that shouldn't pop up at 3 AM in the morning, because you can't buy cat food at 3 o'clock in the morning. Is cat food posted on the fridge so that it never goes to the store? Is it going to get cat food? Come on, that's how you appropriately engage with that commitment. It doesn't mean you have to go get cat food to stop it. It just means you have to make sure you've got some sort of reminder that you are the right person who's going to see it at the right time to then make the right behavior, so that some part of you can let go of that as something that has your attention clear space.

Speaker 2:

That mind-like water concept that you talk about, the calmness where you're able to respond from a place of calm reflection. That's always resonated from the very first time I read that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah well, it's true. Ask any martial artist, ask anybody out there. Look at the. What do you think the Olympic athletes do before they go on, before they start to perform? Deep breathing, clearing their head. They're getting clearer, they're relaxing. That sets the stage for much higher performance and much more elegant reaction and response. Otherwise, you're going to overreact or underreact, which means you lose.

Speaker 2:

When people are getting started with the system and they begin to capture, and the first step, and they begin to gather everything together and capture all the commitments, all the things that need to have a next action associated with them, or projects or whatever they are just everything is captured. How do you begin the process of helping to process that? If somebody's listening to this and they're like, okay, I can make a list, I can pull everything together, now what? Because that just looks like list soup.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, well, they're lists of their lists. Most people's lists are just sort of accumulated list of stuff that have their attention at multiple levels of meaning. So basically the way you do that is take item one. If I were working with you personally, we'd empty everything out of your head on separate pieces of paper and then I'll be sitting in your entree and the rule would be you take the top item first, one item at a time. There's a one-way valve out of your end basket it does not go back in and then you need to make a decision, and that decision is a pretty simple algorithm. It's called what is this, what's the nature of this thing you just got? And then, is it some actionable item, yes or no? If not, that means it's trash. It's reference material or something to put on hold until some reminder later on you want to build into your system. If it is something you need to act on, then how long would it take to act on it? If you could do the action needed on this thing in less than two minutes, you should do it right. Then it would take you longer to organize it than to do it. So that's the two-minute rule, which is brilliant. And then, of course, if it takes longer than two minutes to do whatever you need to do about that thing you wrote down on your list, then you say, well, are you the right person to be doing whatever needs to be done on this? Can you delegate it, yes or no? And so, if yes, then whatever your process of delegation is, write a note, write a memo, write an email, whatever. Send it off. If no, I've got to do this, then great. If you can't finish in two minutes, where are you going to park some reminder of what you need to do about that? That's a website you need to surf, that's a document you need to draft, that's an email you need to craft About the sticky problem you're dealing with. And where are you going to put reminders of those things? And then, once you make those decisions, then you move to step three, which is organize that stuff. Where are you going to organize your reference material? Where are you going to organize your trash? Where are you going to organize reminders of things you need to do? Where are you going to organize reminders of the projects that are driving those things you need to do? And that's your organization system. That, basically, I basically defined and formatted for people as the simplest way to keep track of all that stuff, and some external brain, some external inventory, and that's how we would process that whole list.

Speaker 2:

Now what you just walked through, the flow chart in your book is on one page that walks through the process and for the first, I bet two, two and a half years that I was learning the system and executing this. I actually printed that. I made a copy that put that on my wall above my desk as a reminder because I needed to see it so that I wouldn't get stuck and that I wouldn't try to let the perfect be the enemy of the great.

Speaker 3:

So often it's like, okay, I need to make the perfect choice, or the busy get in the way of getting clear. Yes, yes, so easy to pick one of those things up and let me run down that rabbit trail, as opposed to wait a minute. You're running down that rabbit trail, but you've got 16 more rabbit trails sitting in your inbasket. That may not be the rabbit trail to run down right now.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the capture, the clarify that we're going to organize. I mean, this is the core of your system.

Speaker 3:

The fourth part of the core. It's the core of how do you get control? Yeah, how do you set priorities is another model.

Speaker 2:

And this is reflect, Like the fourth component. Reflecting this is the weekly review, and that's a game changer when it's done well, but it's so intimidating for people when they first start to do it. Do you find that?

Speaker 3:

Sure, most people resisted like the plague.

Speaker 2:

So how do you overcome that resistance? I don't know.

Speaker 3:

You overcome it by realizing if I don't do it I'm going to feel crappy, and I don't like it feel crappy. So the biggest hindrance that most people have to implement this is their I'll call it their addiction to ambient anxiety. They've been in ambient anxiety for so long, so consistently, they don't even realize there's a way out, there's another place to be. But once you actually start to experience getting rid of that, then you'll do whatever you need to do to get back to clear space again. So if you could get back to clear space without doing weekly review, be my guest, absolutely. I met very few people who could even come close to it without doing some version of step back. Take a look at your larger inventory of your game and say and catch up, bring up the rear guard, essentially for all the stuff that's happened in the last week or two that you haven't captured or clarified or done something with. But you've got them and they're on you and they're spinning internally and subliminally. So you can't these days if you're a knowledge worker. A knowledge worker basically is anybody that's to think about what to do in their job. No, he's not self-debate. When you show up, that means you're going to have to stop and think, and thinking is hard work.

Speaker 2:

That's why so few people do it. According to the old quote right.

Speaker 3:

Well, a lot of people think they're thinking, but what they're doing is just regurgitating and rehearse and redoing things in their mind they've already thought of before. It's just the squirrel in the cage of they're going yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but you need to, but you need to, but you know what are you going to do. That's not thinking. That should be being reminded about what you you know, all the stuff that's been parked itself in your psyche.

Speaker 2:

You know, in his book Soundtracks author and John A Cuff writes about the repetitive thoughts that we have in our minds, and so many. So often those soundtracks can be broken and we are repeating unhelpful things to ourselves. Our self-talk is unhelpful. One of the things that I found with GTD was that it helped me to replace those broken soundtracks with healthy ones. Because of the weekly review I was pre-deciding. I was pre-determining what the priorities were going to be. In so far as you can, you can't foresee everything that's going to happen this week, but in so far as I could, I was pre-deciding and pre-determining what was going to matter most, what I was going to focus my time and energy and mental space on. So there was never a point in the day where I wonder what should I be doing right now. I'd already decided that For me, that was so incredibly helpful and when I'm talking to people about the value of this, I shared that with them and I tell them this is why you have to do it. You have to press through the discomfort, because the other side of this is you get out of the white water that is daily life and you find that calm place.

Speaker 3:

Most people feel best about their job about a week before they go on a vacation. Why? Why do you think that is? They're sitting there looking at all the stuff they need to handle, all their commitments they've got. They're handing off everything they can hand off. They're trying to get clear so that they can be out of the golf course or in the swimming pool or on the beach or whatever with their kids and not have any of that on their mind. Well, what do they need to do to get it off their mind? Well, they need to decide what it is. They need to park it somewhere. They need to build some sort of trusted external way to keep managing those commitments. I just say you know you should be on vacation all the time.

Speaker 2:

That's the goal, right? I mean, the goal is to have that mindset, no matter whether you're about to go on vacation or whether you just got back.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but it's not free.

Speaker 2:

And there's always a cost.

Speaker 3:

You don't get there by trying to ignore it, you don't get there by avoiding it. You have to. The way out is through. You have to step into it, decide what it is, decide what all these things are. And you don't need to finish all that stuff, you just need to appropriately engage with it.

Speaker 2:

You find that there's a need for something on a larger scale once a year. You know, at the end of the year or at the beginning of a new year. So often people you know will set resolutions and we know the failure rate of New Year's resolutions is very, very high. But with a system like this, where you're weekly evaluating your landscape, is there value in, once a year, taking an even larger bite of the apple, so to speak, and look at at a higher level? Sure.

Speaker 3:

If that has your attention, if some party of you says, hmm wonder if this is really what I'd be doing, what do you think you ought to be doing? So, yeah, I mean, as you know that, you know, gtd. We identified six horizons of our own commitments, the top one being your purpose. You know, why are you on the planet? How are you doing, as well as your core values, what really matters to you? And then there's your vision of if you were fulfilling that purpose wildly successfully. What would you be doing five years from now? Three years from now, would your life and work style look like or sound like then and that's another level that you might need to identify, if you haven't already. And then, more operational would be okay what are the things you need to accomplish over the next, you know, three to 24 months to make sure that your big vision happens? Oh, yeah, we need to get our finances in order, we need to make sure we get the kids into college, we need to make sure X, y and Z and that's where you have goals or objectives within the corporate world. That would be more of what your organizational plans and strategies would look like. Probably is that horizon of goals and objectives driven by. You know what's the purpose of the company, what's the vision of where it's going and so forth, and then what are the goals you need to accomplish and things to finish up in the longer term. And then you have all the areas of focus that you need to manage and maintain to be able to get there. How's your health and vitality? How are your finances? How's your relationships? How's your? All that stuff which also then impacts how many things and what you decide to do during the day. You need to eat. That's a handle your body, handle your energy. You know you have all kinds of things that you that you need to be taking care of in terms of areas of focus and accountability. You don't finish those things. It's like an org chart. You don't finish sales, you don't finish operations, you don't finish quality control, you don't finish admin. Those are just things, those are areas that you say are those okay to make sure that we get where we want to go? And that's area, areas of focus and responsibility, and that's what I call horizon to. Horizon five is purpose and principles. Horizon four is be your vision. Horizon three would be your, your goals and objectives. Horizon two would be areas of focus and accountability, but you need to just manage and maintain at some level, you know, optimally. And then you have horizon one, which are all the projects you've got about all that. Oh, I need to get tires in the car. We need to, you know, organize the, the, our trip for the holidays we need to. You know, I need to hire a VP of marketing. I need to. You know I need to get a new assistant, and you know those are all projects that you've been have, you know, trying to manage all that above stuff. And most people have between 30 and 100 of those if you include all your personal as well, just typical inventory of how many things people have at that level. And then you've got the ground level. Ground level, or what are the act, the physical, visible actions you need to take about any of the moving parts of any of that emails to send websites, to serve stuff to talk to your life partner about, you know. Phone calls, you need to make documents, you need to draft things, you need to edit, and most people have 120 200 of those. So you know you've got these multiple levels of commitments that you have. So when you say you know, is it helpful to reflect on some higher level. Well, sure, if that helps you get more clarity about what you're doing. But if you've done that sufficiently, then oftentimes most people just need to get more control down on the action and project level, so then they're cleared up to then think more at those higher levels. Very hard to think at those higher levels if your day to day of life is out of control.

Speaker 2:

That's so true. And mental margin, I think, suffers when there's not a system like this. When you don't have this type of system, you're just at the mercy of whatever's loudest in your life, right, sure? Whatever's urgent in the moment. If you're surfing that particular water, you're just at the mercy of the system that doesn't stop. There's not a point where oh well, it'll calm down at some point. Oh well, after the holidays, everything will settle down. One of the greatest myths I hear people tell themselves you have obviously the books, and you know a number of books that you've written on this system and how this works and how people can implement this. But you also have other ways people can engage with the system if they want more help than what comes through your books. You have partners around the world who help people implement this.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's a lot of what our business has become is really supporting a huge network of really elegantly certified trainers and coaches who deliver this methodology on a one-to-one basis, as well as public trainings, as well as in-house trainings around the world, so we have a whole network of those. Anybody interested in that. Depending on where you are in the world, you can go to our website gettingthingsdonecom, take a look at training and coaching and then click in your country and you'll see who delivers stuff in your world.

Speaker 2:

You know, it's easy for somebody to look at someone who has found success in their field, like you have, and say, oh well, he's never dealt with the challenges and the struggles that I deal with as an entrepreneur, or he's never had to struggle like I'm struggling. Can you share about some of the challenges that you faced along the way?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, hiring senior people to try to implement, try to expand what I was doing or keep track of the expansion that was happening no matter what, and making some wrong calls about that. And it takes you a while to find out that I was the wrong person and the wrong situation and basically I was driven by what I thought were time-sensitive decisions I had to make, as opposed to doing really due diligence and relaxing and say wait a minute, david, don't make a decision based upon time pressure. I would say there were two big decisions about that that taught me that lesson. Made decisions too early that cost me Seriously, that's really good, yeah and All right. Those are pretty much the main things. Otherwise, just follow my nose and stay positive with whatever showed up and whatever, because I'm not really that aspirational, either financially or otherwise, and not particularly entrepreneurial. I've been more of an educator, researcher and educator than anything else, just delighted to find a way to build a business that I could support myself to keep doing.

Speaker 2:

I love that your journey is not one that you would have anticipated. The tosses, the turns, the twists. If you'd talked to yourself when you were 20 years old, you would not have seen what has happened, I bet.

Speaker 3:

I would. The one thing that I probably learned in my 30s that I, if somebody said what advice would you give yourself, your 20-year-old self would say start to listen to something called your intuition. That's still inner voice. I never really recognized that I had an inner voice that had a lot more intelligence than my conscious mind did and being willing to relax and access that and pay attention. You could call it intuition, you could call it spiritual advice, you could call it whatever. I didn't really realize that I had that opportunity and possibility until I was in my 30s Would have made a difference. Not paying attention to that is what caused the mistakes.

Speaker 2:

I think there's so much wisdom there, and that is wisdom that is born out through a lifetime of leading and doing what you've been doing. At a certain point in our lives, we begin to think about legacy. I'm curious have you given that thought? If you could define what you want your legacy to be, what would you say to that?

Speaker 3:

I did it. I wrote the book, that's it. I had no expectation. I had no aspiration, but had no expectation whether anybody would buy it. But it could be good. I just needed to get it out of my head and basically create a manual of all the best practices I had learned in 20, 25 years of my career and just get it out there. Then people who had years to hear eyes to see whatever could pick it up if they wanted it. I knew it worked. I knew it worked. I knew it worked in the most challenging environments. I had no idea how popular it was going to be, but the fact that I wrote it. At that point I went well, gee, I guess I'm done. Then I said well, I guess God's not through with me yet. I'm still around. That's right Now. What? Now what? I said well, I guess I teach this stuff. Maybe I should just figure out how effectively, with how little effort, I can get this information to as many people on the planet that might want it. That changed. That was a big change. It was not so much a change, but it was a big kind of an aha. I had no idea that my stuff could be scaled. I thought it was just if you only had it with me you could get it. But I wasn't sure I had any model that would be able to then scale this methodology. Once I wrote the book and then got it out there in the world and got the first email the weekend after it was published, a lady had picked it up at Barnes Noble and said wow, david, I read your book, I implemented it, changed my life. I went oh my God, I guess somehow this can work virtually in some way, that is, that this information can somehow get spread. That's changed, I guess since the early 2000s. That's changed the focus of me and the people working with me. I was like, okay, how can we best scale this? We're still working on that.

Speaker 2:

It's a never-ending project. There's never a point where you check that off and say, yeah, we're done, we're good enough.

Speaker 3:

Well, I could check it off and say the stuff has been put in place that the people who care will keep this thing going. I'm getting pretty close to that already, Wow.

Speaker 2:

David, so often, David, people will walk away from an episode like this with one big idea. If you could define what you want that one big idea to be, what would you do?

Speaker 3:

Stop using your head as your office. It's a crappy office.

Speaker 2:

It is. It's not designed to do that.

Speaker 3:

It's not designed to do that. It's designed to make good decisions based upon externalized forms of your commitments and the things you need to focus on or want to focus on.

Speaker 2:

I know listeners are going to want to stay connected with you and continue to learn from you what is the best way for them?

Speaker 3:

to do that Probably, especially from the area of the newer generation, like videos and YouTube stuff. Thinkthingsdonecom slash. Youtube has a lot of my short little videos I've done about all this stuff. My three TEDx talks I've done. All of those will reinforce everything that I've said here, just to give you another spin on them, see another way to think about them, express them.

Speaker 2:

David, it has been such a joy to talk with you today. Thank you for sharing so much of the wisdom that you have learned over time with everybody listening.

Speaker 3:

My pleasure buddy Thanks.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode. If you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticaleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out. My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. If you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticaleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticaleadershipnet.

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